EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.14.15

Links 15/1/2015: KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta, Elive 2.5.2 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Popular Open Source CSS Frameworks for Developers

    Whether you’re a CSS rookie or frontend virtuoso, frameworks can be used effectively during the early stages of development. Crafting a website from scratch is sometimes useful and oftentimes necessary. But it’s not the only solution in this wacky open source wonderland.

  • A Deeper Dive Into the Shark Tank: How Open Source Technology Enables Agile Business Growth

    ABC’s Shark Tank is a US television show and a favorite among American entrepreneurs. Each week, business owners offer up a piece of their equity in exchange for cash from savvy and respected investors. It’s exciting to see entrepreneurs get their dreams funded — but what do these contestants have in common? And although a majority are using WordPress, what other platforms and CMSs are these businesses running on?

  • Lumicall: big steps forward, help needed

    Lumicall, the free, open source and secure alternative to Viber and Skype.

  • Under the hood of I2P, the Tor alternative that reloaded Silk Road

    Tor is apparently no longer a safe place to run a marketplace for illegal goods and services. With the alleged operator of the original Silk Road marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, now going to trial, the arrest of his alleged successor and a number of others in a joint US-European law enforcement operation, and the seizure of dozens of servers that hosted “hidden services” on the anonymizing network, the operators of the latest iteration of Silk Road have packed their tents and moved to a new territory: the previously low-profile I2P anonymizing network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Stable Updated with New Flash Version, but Not for Linux

        The Google developers have been keeping themselves busy and they’ve released a new stable version of the Google Chrome browser that comes with an updated Flash (not for Linux) and a few other changes and fixes.

      • Chrome, Contributing Made Easy, and Linux Kills

        Today in Linux news Jim Mendenhall discusses whether Chrome OS is a Linux distribution. In other news, Konrad Zapałowicz said contributing to the Linux kernel is easier that one might imagine and another Linus quote is making headlines. Elsewhere, Danny Stieben compares Linux to BSD and OpenSource.com is wondering which distro you use.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 35 Is Officially Released

        Mozilla has announced that a new version of the Firefox browser, 35.0, has been released and is now available for download. As usual, the new release is full of interesting changes and improvements, although it’s not all that exciting.

      • Support Collab House Indiegogo Campaign

        who has been a contributor for many years. Vineel is raising money for Collab House, a Collaborative Community Space in India which has been used for many Mozilla India events and other open source projects.

      • Fresh Player Plugin Sees New Release (Pepper Flash Wrapper For Firefox)

        The Adobe Flash Player plugin that’s bundled with Google Chrome is in the form of a PPAPI (or Pepper Plugin API) plugin and Mozilla isn’t interested in adding support for it. Because of this, Rinat Ibragimov has developed Fresh Player Plugin, a wrapper that allows Linux users to use Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Firefox and other NPAPI-compatible browsers.

      • Firefox says Hello! on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva

        The new update to Firefox 35 is available on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva.

        I have been expecting this update because it includes Hello, the new video-call feature from Mozilla.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Go vote on OpenStack Foundation bylaws

      When open source projects grow, their governance models must evolve to support them. We’ve written on the governance of the OpenStack project before, but an important event taking place this week is to make some modifications that might make a big difference.

  • Funding

    • NoSQL Pioneer Basho Scores $25M To Attempt A Comeback

      Basho was once a rising star in the NoSQL space, but over time other vendors began to move in, and it lost a step or two — then came a big turnover of key personnel last year. With the company ready to start anew, CEO Adam Wray says a new $25M cash infusion should help get Basho moving.

  • BSD

    • Linux vs. BSD: Which Should You Use?

      At MakeUseOf, we cover Linux quite a bit as the “alternative” to Windows and Mac OS X. However, those aren’t the only three operating systems out there — there’s also the BSD family of Unix-like operating systems, which are technically speaking different from Linux.

      In the name of fair competition, it’s time that we gave BSD operating systems some recognition as well. And there’s no better way to do that than to compare them against Linux. What’s different about BSD operating systems, and should you be running it instead of Linux? How does Linux and the best BSD desktop OS, PC-BSD, compare on the desktop?

    • DragonFlyBSD Pushes Big Sound System Update, Borrowed From FreeBSD

      Users of DragonFlyBSD on the desktop (or otherwise using sound on this popular BSD platform) will benefit from the next major update of the operating system.

      DragonFlyBSD has pulled in the sound system from the FreeBSD 11 development code and it offers a huge improvement over the previous code, which was from FreeBSD 6.x.

      With this new sound system update there’s smarter volume controls, improved HDMI/DisplayPort audio, an easy way to switch the default sound device, and HTML5/YouTube videos should now play with sound out-of-the-box. There’s also new hardware support with this new sound update.

    • BatMon.app OpenBSD ACPI support
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • These pictures are worth 1,024 words

      These beautiful badges come in four different styles, each with three color schemes to pick from. They’re perfect for sharing on social media or embedding on your Web site or blog, and we’ve provided embed code that links back to pages that will help new people get acquainted with free software.

    • Norwegian Bokmål subtitles for the FSF video User Liberation

      A few days ago, the Free Software Foundation announced a new video explaining Free software in simple terms. The video named User Liberation is 3 minutes long, and I recommend showing it to everyone you know as a way to explain what Free Software is all about. Unfortunately several of the people I know do not understand English and Spanish, so it did not make sense to show it to them.

  • Project Releases

    • RcppGSL 0.2.3

      A new version of RcppGSL is now on CRAN today. This package provides an interface from R to the GNU GSL using our Rcpp.

    • Lua 5.3 Brings Support For Integers & UTF-8 Support

      Lua 5.3 was released today with a variety of new features for this lightweight scripting language.

      The big ticket items for Lua 5.3 is support for integers, official support for 32-bit numbers, bitwise operators, basic UTF-8 support, and functions to pack/unpack values.

  • Licensing

    • Allwinner Accused of Breaking Linux License Rules

      Fabless processor company Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) has been accused of violating the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is distributed.

      The alleged violations are within the software development kits that support the writing of software for some of Allwinner’s 32-bit system-chips, according to Linux-Sunxi, a community of open-source developers that has formed around the Allwinner SoCs. The Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system, and therefore a significant factor in the tablet computer market which has been a key part of Allwinner’s business to date.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdfunded Open-Source Dildo? Crowdfunded Open-Source Dildo.

      A startup called Comingle is trying to raise $50,000 to launch The Mod, a “multivibrating open-source dildo.” OK, you’ve got my attention.

    • Open Data

      • OpenStreetMap: Help us #MapLesotho

        You are invited to participate in a mapping event with OpenStreetMap (OSM) that will kick off on January 16, 2015 called #MapLesotho Mapathon! Last year, we had 5 out of 50,000 American OSM users participate. By contrast Germany had over 200 and Poland over 40. Let’s show the world that America can map with OSM!

  • Programming

    • What is a good IDE for C/C++ on Linux

      “A real coder doesn’t use an IDE, a real coder uses [insert a text editor name here] with such and such plugins.” We all heard that somewhere. Yet, as much as one can agree with that statement, an IDE remains quite useful. An IDE is easy to set up and use out of the box. Hence there is no better way to start coding a project from scratch. So for this post, let me present you with my list of good IDEs for C/C++ on Linux. Why is C/C++ specifically? Because C is my favorite language, and we need to start somewhere. Also note that there are in general a lot of ways to code in C, so in order to trim down the list, I only selected “real out-of-the-box IDE”, not text editors like Gedit or Vim pumped with plugins. Not that this alternative is bad in any way, just that the list will go on forever if I include text editors.

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2015

Leftovers

  • Oxford Junior Dictionary’s replacement of ‘natural’ words with 21st-century terms sparks outcry

    Margaret Atwood and Andrew Motion among authors protesting at dropping definitions of words like ‘acorn’ and ‘buttercup’ in favour of ‘broadband’ and ‘cut and paste’

  • Same Performance, Better Grades

    Academic achievement hasn’t improved much, so why are college-goers getting higher GPAs than ever before?

  • The Clever Way Amazon Gets Away With Not Always Offering The Lowest Prices

    The average shopper likely thinks Amazon has the lowest prices anywhere on the web.

    That’s not always true. In fact, Amazon will tweak its prices many times per hour (equaling millions of individual price changes per day), taking advantage of the psychology of price perception.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • You can’t stop crypto, Mr. Cameron

      I am COO of a London-based startup, Eris Industries, that specialises in distributed computing. Hence, cryptography is involved. If the UK bans proper E2E encryption we are going to pack our bags for more liberal climes such as Germany, the U.S., the People’s Republic of China, Zimbabwe, or Iraq.

    • Security Tests – SCAP Content

      While the SCAP technologies are interesting, they have limited value without security content – the actual set of security tests run by SCAP. Fortunately there is a good set of content available that can be used as a starting point.

    • Cyberattack Results In Physical Damage To German Steel Mill’s Blast Furnance

      A report [pdf link] recently released by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) details only the second known cyberattack that has resulted in physical damage. According to the report, hackers accessed a steel mill’s production network via the corporate network, following a spear-phishing attack. This then allowed them access to a variety of production controls, culminating in the attackers’ control of a blast furnace, which prevented it from being shut down in a “regulated manner.” The end result? “Massive damage to the system.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Letter to Senate crossbenchers in relation to Julian Assange

      Please do not be distracted by the array of reputational attacks – including that he is everything from a rapist, megalomaniac and a traitor – that have been made on Mr Assange. The claims are entirely irrelevant and have no bearing on his fundamental human rights or the right to the presumption of innocence. Indeed Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Murdoch Press Redundant as Liberals Attack Wikileaks and Others

      Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, has been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two and a half years. He has not been charged with any crime. Wikileaks has extensively exposed the US military’s crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including its killing of journalists – and the USA’s ongoing efforts to oust democratic governments. The Swedes have used sexual assault allegations against Assange which are based on ridiculously flimsy evidence as a pretext to do the USA’s dirty work. Highlighting Sweden’s gross hypocrisy and its true motives in the Assange case, in 2001, US agents sexually assaulted two “rendition” victims in Stokholm in the presence of Swedish officials. Nobody has been prosecuted for it. One positive outcome of Assange having challenged Sweden’s efforts to extradite him for questioning is that it forced the UK High Court to describe the allegations against him. I strongly encourage people to read the court’s account (paragraphs 74-76 and 93 in particular). Under normal circumstances (i.e. when US “security interests” are not involved) allegations based on such weak evidence would get tossed by a legal system with any respect for the accused’s presumption of innocence. The only credible reason Swedish prosecutors have not dismissed them (as they initially did) is to punish Assange for his work with Wikileaks. There is even less excuse for Sweden’s refusal to question Assange via Skype or by travelling to the UK. Swedish authorities recently questioned a professional hockey player via Skype regarding assault allegations so that he wouldn’t miss a game. I learned about that from the Wikileaks Twitter account many UK liberals would like everyone to ignore.

    • NY Times Reporter Blasts Fox News’ “Political Attempt To Make [Obama] Look Like He Is Soft” On Terror Following Paris Attacks
  • Privacy

    • Letters to the editor: Mass surveillance is not needed
    • Could Cameron Be So Stupid as to Undermine Encryption?

      Taken at face value, his words imply much, much more. As well as those chat apps, encrypted email would be affected. The UK government might be able to use warrants to twist the arm of big companies like Google and Microsoft to hand over encryption keys for specific users, but it won’t be able to do anything about users of smaller services that have been set up specifically to avoid that eventuality. And what about PGP, Tor and OpenVPN? Even HTTPS could be a problem, since soon many sites will be using certificates provided by the Let’s Encrypt project, and unlike companies providing such services, it will doubtless be unwilling to hand over anything to British government.

    • Can the government ban encryption?

      But in an era when communication takes many forms, and with the added problem that much of this communication is encrypted, how easy is it to turn this sound bite into reality?

      [...]

      “Encryption is mathematics, not technology. It can’t be suppressed by law,” Mr Bloch told the BBC.

      Whatever route the government elected in the UK in May decides to go, Prof Woodward hopes that it will listen carefully to the technology industry.

      “The government will need to take a lot of wide-ranging advice as this has the potential to go spectacularly wrong.”

      It is also worth noting, he added, that the men involved in the Paris shootings were known to the authorities and had been under surveillance until it was deemed that the threat from them had lessened.

      “The security forces need better resources not more powers.”

    • What does David Cameron want?

      Of course, that is impossible. You cannot ‘always’ be able to open, read, or find a record of a communication. Nor should it be compulsory for you and I to record every time time we talk to someone, online or offline. But we should take a moment to consider what Cameron might actually be proposing.

    • UK declares war on privacy under the facade of “national security”
    • ORG responds to Cameron’s call for legal powers to break encryption
    • Cameron wants to ban encryption – he can say goodbye to digital Britain

      On Monday David Cameron managed a rare political treble: he proposed a policy that is draconian, stupid and economically destructive.

      The prime minister made comments widely interpreted as proposing a ban on end-to-end encryption in messages – the technology that protects online communications, shopping, banking, personal data and more.

      “[I]n our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?”, the prime minister asked rhetorically.

    • ‘David Cameron hates your privacy’

      Sorry, but that’s not a system, it’s a bit of red tape. A pathetic formality lies between the government and access to the most sensitive personal communications data ever amassed. The content — not just the metadata — of your phone and email conversations, your instant messaging and literally anything else you can think of. It’s all fair game in Cameron’s eyes. Strong encryption may well face some sort of ban or prohibition. The intimate details of your internet activity could be watched over at will.

    • Exclusive: Edward Snowden on Cyber Warfare

      It’s the new NSA director saying that the alleged damage from the leaks was way overblown.

    • Attack in France shouldn’t blunt drive for NSA surveillance reform

      Politicians and Beltway commentators are today consumed in a debate over whether President Obama, in failing to attend the march in Paris, failed to show solidarity with the victims of the terror attack and the cause of free speech in general.

    • A Summary of the Snoopers’ Charter

      It was almost inevitable that the Communications Data Bill, aka the Snoopers’ Charter, would be called for once again in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. Having regenerated a number of times since the powers were first mooted in 2007 under a Labour Government, the powers have proved to continuously be controversial due to their un-targeted nature.

    • How To Safeguard Surveillance Laws

      I watch with alarm as, in the wake of the barbaric murders in France, politicians seek increased surveillance powers for the security services.

    • Letters from ORG’s Advisory Council members: Mass surveillance is not needed

      It is not just libertarians who are dismayed by the growing calls for the return of the Snooper’s Charter in response to events in Paris, but anyone who has studied the reality of recent terrorist atrocities and the role of intelligence and surveillance.

      The Charlie Hebdo shooters — just like the murderers of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombing suspects — were known to the authorities, and had been for years, linked with known groups.

  • Civil Rights

    • Times Reporter Will Not Be Called to Testify in Leak Case

      James Risen, a New York Times reporter, will not be called to testify at a leak trial scheduled to begin this week, lawyers said Monday, ending a seven-year legal fight over whether he could be forced to identify his confidential sources.

      The Justice Department wanted Mr. Risen to testify at the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer charged with providing him details about a botched operation in Iran that was intended to disrupt that country’s nuclear program. Mr. Sterling had raised concerns inside the government about the program, and prosecutors suspect he took those concerns to Mr. Risen, who described the program in his 2006 book, “State of War.”

    • Trial Begins for Former C.I.A. Official Accused of Breaching National Security

      Twelve jurors and two alternates, an even mix of men and women, will hear the case in a trial that is expected to last three weeks. Prosecutors released a witness list that includes Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser, as well as several C.I.A. operatives who will testify behind screens and reveal only their first names and last initials.

    • DOJ, Which Once Claimed James Risen’s Testimony Was Necessary, Now Tries To Block Other Side From Using Him

      The James Risen saga is basically over, but ended in a bizarre way. As you hopefully recall, this case goes back many years, and involves the DOJ trying to convict Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official, of leaking info to Risen. However, Risen has made the compelling case that the DOJ’s desire to involve him was an attempt to punish him for earlier work he’d done exposing questionable practices by the intelligence community — and specifically to force Risen to give up a source, so that future whistleblowers can’t trust him. This backfired massively, as Risen fought this entirely, promising never to give up his source, even as the issue went up the Supreme Court (which refused to hear the case), but technically ended with a court saying Risen had to give up his source. Risen still insisted that he would not, and he’d go to jail if he had to. This put Attorney General Eric Holder in a bit of a bind, as he’d promised not to put reporters in jail. Thus, last month, Holder blinked, saying the DOJ would not force Risen to give up his source. However, he was still supposed to testify, just not on that.

    • “There are indeed consequences”: The case against Gen. David Petraeus

      The Espionage Act is a bad law — but here’s why the former CIA director needs to be prosecuted for violating it

    • Obama Calls For New Hacking And Privacy Laws, Hackers Keep Hacking

      While the hacks on Monday appeared relatively superficial and limited to CENTCOM’s presence on third-party social media sites, the proposals from Obama targeted incidents where digital intruders access the inner workings of a company’s computer systems and steal personal data. When companies get hacked like this, executives, employees, law enforcement, and contractors can often find out about the incident long before the customers whose data has been breached.

      Obama today called for a single federal standard on notifying customers that their data has been breached, within 30 days of the hack.

    • Charlie Hebdo, “Free Speech” and the Hypocrisy of Pencils in Western Media

      To be fair, he wasn’t wholly responsible. If it wasn’t for all the lunacy that preceded him, I probably would have dismissed his cartoon as just another Herald Sun atrocity, more a piece of Murdoch-madness to be mocked rather than trigger for outrage.

      But context is everything. And after days of sanctimonious blather about freedom of speech and the Enlightenment values of Western civilisation, his was one pencil-warfare cartoon too many.

      The cartoon in question depicts two men – masked and armed Arab terrorists (is there any other kind of Arab?) – with a hail of bomb-like objects raining down on their heads. Only the bombs aren’t bombs. They are pens, pencils and quills.

      Get it? In the face of a medieval ideology that only understands the language of the gun, the West – the heroic, Enlightenment-inspired West – responds by reaffirming its commitment to resist barbarism with the weapons of ideas and freedom of expression.

      It is a stirring narrative repeated ad nauseam in newspapers across the globe. They have been filled with depictions of broken pencils re-sharpened to fight another day, or editorials declaring that we will defeat terrorism by our refusal to stop mocking Islam.

    • Feinstein’s Uphill Battle To Permanently Ban the Use of Torture

      “Never again.” This was the vow of many lawmakers and government officials when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its long-awaited so-called “torture report” examining the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA under the Bush administration.

    • Suspensions Voided for Two Ted Stevens Prosecutors

      Top U.S. Department of Justice officials violated policy in suspending two prosecutors involved in the botched case against the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a federal board ruled this month in declaring the discipline invalid.

    • Letter From an Army Ranger: Here’s Why You Should Think Twice About Joining the Military

      Make no mistake: whatever the news may say about the changing cast of characters the US is fighting and the changing motivations behind the changing names of our military “operations” around the world, you and I will have fought in the same war. It’s hard to believe that you will be taking us into the 14th year of the Global War on Terror (whatever they may be calling it now). I wonder which one of the 668 US military bases worldwide you’ll be sent to.

      [...]

      The number of non-combatants killed since 9/11 across the Greater Middle East in our ongoing war has been breathtaking and horrifying. Be prepared, when you fight, to take out more civilians than actual gun-toting or bomb-wielding “militants.” At the least, an estimated 174,000 civilians died violent deaths as a result of US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan between 2001 and April 2014. In Iraq, over 70% of those who died are estimated to have been civilians. So get ready to contend with needless deaths and think about all those who have lost friends and family members in these wars, and themselves are now scarred for life. A lot of people who once would never have thought about fighting any type of war or attacking Americans now entertain the idea. In other words, you will be perpetuating war, handing it off to the future.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband

      President Obama today called for an end to state laws that restrict the rights of cities and towns to build their own broadband networks.

      In a report titled, “Community-based broadband solutions: The benefits of competition and choice for community development and highspeed Internet access,” the White House said it wants to “end laws that harm broadband service competition.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • We Need to Stop the White House From Putting TPP and TTIP on the Fast Track To Ratification

      Senators are now working around the clock to re-introduce a bill that would put trade agreements on the fast track to passage in the US after those deals are finalized. Deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been negotiated in almost complete secrecy, except for private industry advocates serving on trade advisory committees who can read and comment on these texts. That has enabled these agreements to include extreme copyright and other digital policy provisions that would bind all signatory nations to draconian rules that would hinder free speech, privacy, and access to knowledge. Under fast track, also referred to as Trade Promotion Authority, lawmakers would only have a small window of time to conduct hearings over binding trade provisions and give an up-or-down vote on ratification of the agreement without any ability to amend it before they bind the United States to its terms.

    • Please Write to Your MP to Ask for Parliamentary Scrutiny of TTIP

      One of the many big problems with TTIP is the lack of democracy: it is being negotiated behind closed doors, with virtually no input from the public. The texts will be made available once the negotiations are complete, at which point it will not be possible to make changes. Even the national parliaments will be limited to a simple yes or no vote.

    • Copyrights

      • Record Labels Try to Force ISP to Disconnect Pirates

        A long running legal battle between the world’s largest record labels and an Irish-based ISP has resumed today. Sony, Universal and Warner want UPC to warn and disconnect subscribers found sharing infringing content online but the ISP doesn’t want to foot the bill.

      • Piracy Notices Boost Demand For Anonymous VPNs in Canada

        The mandatory piracy notifications that were implemented to deter copyright infringement in Canada have boosted the interest in anonymous file-sharing tools. Data from Google reveals a massive increase in searches for VPNs over the past two weeks, while VPN providers see a surge in traffic and sales.

Google Has Eliminated Microsoft’s Dominance in Operating Systems, Microsoft Resorts to Propaganda, Child Exploitation, and EEE

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Dutch weed

Summary: As Linux becomes the dominant kernel at Windows’ expense Microsoft pulls old tricks including media manipulation, AstroTurfing, co-opting schools (making Windows obligatory for future generations), and EEE (embrace, extend, and extinguish)

THE so-called ‘PC’ — a term which refers to a long-lived form factor (but only one among many these days) — is not the sole focus of today’s computer industry. Overall, putting together all form factors, Linux is the victor and a lot of the press said this after CES 2015. Our daily links contain examples of articles which speak about this. PCs are not even necessarily where the big money is. Far less so than ever before…

While it may be common to say that GNU/Linux has single-digit (percentage) market share in desktops, the opposite is true in some areas and Microsoft remains in single-digit market share in phones. As Ahonen put it the other day:

So then the Evil Empire. Whats Microsoft up to? Well, they were at one point the biggest player from the computer industry and for much of the past decades have been the most profitable of that industry. They did see mobile coming early on, Bill Gates launched Microsoft into the mobile OS wars and Windows Mobile at its peak was the world’s second most used OS on smartphones with 12% market share (slightly less than the level where iPhone currently is in 2014 – if you want a warning from history haha).

Steve Ballmer then threw all that away with his silliness starting with ‘no migration path’ (why on earth not, after Microsoft – which managed to migrate DOS users to Windows on the PC, how could that same Microsoft make such an elementary blunder). So today Windows Phone OS has under 3% market share of new sales, and all those phones were essentially given away – sold at a loss – and even after that we just heard last year that one in three Windows based smartphones had never been activated (likely most were simply manufactured, shipped to retail and never sold). So the real market share for Windows in smartphones is dismal now, at 2%. It is the most toxic of any ‘ecosystems’ and developers are abandoning the sinking ship. It is now only a question of time when will Nadella shut down (or sell) the Lumia unit.

Microsoft has totally lost it and Android is totally winning, not just in phones but increasingly in tablets, TVs, etc. Microsoft’s attacks on Android failed miserably and according to reports like this, Microsoft is giving up its anti-Google Jihad that makes it so publicly known how much of a loser Microsoft became. As the British press put it: “MICROSOFT HAS APPARENTLY PUT THE HOARY old Scroogled campaign in a sack, filled it with rocks and thrown it off a cliff.

“Scroogle, a riff on Google and Scrooge, a fictitious miser, was a Microsoft marketing whizz that used to shine a negative light on a rival and, by association, a positive light on its own gear.”

It failed.

Microsoft, being a propaganda company, did manage to bamboozle many people into accepting Vista 7, but Vista 7 is now pretty much dead [1, 2] for many people who will refuse to embrace Vista 8 — an operating system which failed in the market more miserably than Vista. How many are going to turn to Chromebooks, Android devices, and so-called ‘PCs’ with GNU/Linux?

Microsoft’s propaganda does not end with the ‘Scroogle’ de-emphasis; Sue Gee in the Microsoft-centric propaganda site “i-programmer” (misleading name) is now preying on children. Microsoft is “infecting teachers,” to use a term that a reader of ours used to describe it and the end goal is to impose Microsoft software on helpless children who cannot resist. This shameless pro-Microsoft site basically publishes what looks more like a Microsoft advertisement than an article, hailing Microsoft slavery as “skill”. It wasn’t alone, either. Hypocritically enough Microsoft uses the term “technology trap” to describe the alternatives and ITWire’s Microsoft booster lays out there yet another Microsoft puff piece, stating: “It’s back-to-school buying season, and both Intel and Microsoft have decided to inject some life back into the Wintel alliance and promote Windows-powered devices as the ideal back-to-school student technologies.”

Preying on children as their last resort? To avoid the “technology trap” as they put it? What a nerve they have…

“Preying on children as their last resort?”Speaking of propaganda pieces, watch ZDNet‘s Microsoft advertiser, Mary Jo Foley, paying lip service to the Microsoft “loves Linux” nonsense, as does the Microsoft-friendly Pedro Hernandez (there is history there), who advertises Microsoft surveillance over GNU/Linux servers.

The company now offers an Azure Data Center Migration Solution and expands support of its Migration Accelerator to include Linux servers and virtual machines.

This has virtually nothing to do with GNU/Linux, except Microsoft’s attempt to embrace, extend and extinguish it. These tactics worked for Microsoft before, but they are not working anymore. Just look what happened to Novell.

Microsoft — Like David Cameron — Attacking the Computer Security Industry

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is essentially a snitching company, unconditionally serving those in power

Police

Summary: Microsoft’s latest moves that help expose its real policy when it comes to computer security and people’s privacy

THE OTHER day we mentioned demands for back doors, which basically would make any piece of proprietary software (where back doors cannot be removed) utterly useless for any serious work because secure communication is a cornerstone of computing in a connected environment. We also mentioned Microsoft hiding many of its existing back doors even more aggressively, essentially telling users nothing about their easy-to-compromise systems.

“Always remember that Microsoft makes money from spying on users (government subsidies for the back door access), including in cases where this directly benefits Microsoft’s business interests”This article from the British press says that this “move was criticised by some security professionals, who said it would hinder organisations’ ability to quickly test and deploy Microsoft’s updates.”

They should just quit relying on Windows. Sony can tell them how reliance on Microsoft Windows already caused them to be doxxed against, potentially costing the company many billions of dollars in damages. One security-oriented professional “called the change, which was made with no advance notice, an “assault” on IT security teams.”

Microsoft “assaults” the IT security industry. It attacks security itself, too. To quote further from the article: “Other industry observers said the change may have resulted from a broad reorganisation at Microsoft that began in 2013 and included large-scale layoffs in the middle of last year, with the Trustworthy Computing security group shut down in September. The reorganisation is itself the result of a broad industry shift toward mobile devices which has diminished the importance of Microsoft products such as Windows.

“Prominent figures at MSRC have left Microsoft, including senior development manager Jonathan Ness and Dustin Childs, group manager of response communications. In November Microsoft discontinued a long-running webcast in which engineers gave details on the monthly updates.

“Microsoft said in a statement that while ANS is no longer public, the company may also “take the appropriate actions to reach customers” if it determines that “broad communication” is needed for a specific situation.”

So Microsoft Windows bug doors are becoming more secretive now. Nice timing given Cameron’s call for back doors in everything; he would be so proud. Remember that Microsoft tells the NSA (and hence GCHQ too) about these bug doors well before they are patched, even 3 months in advance (Microsoft does not bother to patch holes until much later, if ever).

GNU/Linux is completely different because the code is visible and everyone can patch holes as soon as they are revealed. There are huge software repositories for which source code is available, so even underlying applications — not just the operating system — can be fixed. On Windows it is a sordid mess of random downloads of binaries from the Web and so-called ‘crapware’ that comes preinstalled with Windows and often has malicious behaviour. As Jim Lynch put it the other day: “I guess the bottom line here is to try to avoid being the sucker by installing crapware in the first place, regardless of the operating system you are using. If you don’t understand or aren’t sure about what’s being installed THEN DON’T INSTALL IT on your system. And only install software from trusted sources that don’t engage in the freeware bundling shenanigans.”

Free software has none of these issues. The user is in charge.

Caspar Bowden, whom Microsoft fired for 'daring' to care about security and privacy, talks about Microsoft’s publicity stunt case (intended to make it look like Microsoft cares about security and privacy). He now says he hopes Microsoft’s publicity stunt will go down in flames and here is why: “His reasoning is that the US government can use other legal instruments, such as FISA 702 or Executive Order 12333, to brush aside such niceties as Safe Harbor or binding corporate rules (BCR) to get its hands on such data perfectly legally any time it likes, and as such the whole case is a smokescreen that actually suits both parties.

“”Even if Microsoft wins that case, and I hope they don’t because that’ll just shore up the whole rotten system, it will make no difference to surveillance by the NSA under FISA 702 or Executive Order 12333 [see below],” he told Computing.

“Bowden – who was the chief privacy adviser to 40 national technology officers at Microsoft before he was “let go” in 2011 after revealing what FISA 702 implies for the firm’s non-US customers – believes that this is all for show. It is part of a campaign of “cloudwashing” on the part of government and the industry, he says, that deliberately conflates data security – over which US cloud companies and their customers can take an active role – and government surveillance, over which, for legal reasons, they cannot. FISA 702 allows the US government to install surveillance apparatus inside the data centres of US companies. These interventions are covered by the espionage law, and anyone revealing their existence could face a lengthy jail sentence, as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer revealed.”

Bowden is a Brit speaking about Ireland in the British press. We are happy to see him using the term “cloudwashing” — a term we have used a lot for years. A lot of the pro-cloud hype is about increasing surveillance; it’s often the business model. Always remember that Microsoft makes money from spying on users (government subsidies for the back door access), including in cases where this directly benefits Microsoft's business interests.

Working to End Oracle’s and CAFC’s Inane War on Interface Reuse

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Java, Oracle at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nontechnical people in black gowns and white wigs to decide on huge things

Wigs

Summary: The US Supreme Court may soon start dealing with a legal assault on Android and in the process hopefully end the notion of copyright on APIs

SOFTWARE bully Oracle, which pretty much put to rest all of Sun’s Free software except few successful items (e.g. MySQL and VirtualBox, but not OpenOffice) and now attacks Java’s integrity by preventing deviations using abuse/misuse of copyright law, is still at it. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), one of the most ridiculous and insidious courts in the world (both corrupt and biased), let Oracle have its way against Android, essentially sending a warning shot not just to those inspired by Java but everyone who reuses names of/in interfaces. This is dangerous and it is heading for judgment by the highest court, SCOTUS.

“Just like software patents, here we have something that both Free software and proprietary software developers should be united against.”According to some articles about SCOTUS, such as this report from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, the case that can affect so many programmers is potentially to be decided by the same court that recently defanged a lot of software patents (much to the regrets of the USPTO). Vaughan-Nichols writes: “Google has had enough of its long-running legal battle with Oracle over whether application programming interfaces (API)s can be copyrighted. The search giant has asked the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bypass further battles in lower courts and address the API copyright issue once and for all. SCOTUS, in return, is soliciting the Obama administration for its view of the case before moving forward.”

Well, it is proceeding pretty much as expected. The British media put it like this:

The US Supreme Court hasn’t decided whether it will hear arguments in the long-running dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights, and it has asked the Obama administration to weigh in before it makes up its mind.

An expert in legal matters of the Free software world recently [1] named this case one of the top 10 “FOSS legal developments of 2014″. It is probably one of the top “legal developments of 2014″ if not one of the top “technical legal developments of 2014″, especially when it comes to programming. The case affects not only FOSS. Just like software patents, here we have something that both Free software and proprietary software developers should be united against.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

    The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

    The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts