Media Coverage of the Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Includes Microsoft Talking Points and Moles, No Discussion About Patent Aspects

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A review or a survey of media coverage about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal, which was generally appalling and very much misleading, not just deficient in the sense that it added nothing new

WE are very frustrated to have found very poor coverage about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal. It’s disappointing to go one article after another and find almost nothing new. It’s just echoing (or parroting) what the companies are saying. There is no real effort to do journalism, reporting, in-depth investigation. Media coverage about the EPO tends to be the same in the English-speaking media.

Katherine Noyes, who used to work for the Linux Foundation, wrote that “Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat for Linux on Azure” (maybe this headline is the editor’s, not hers).

Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat? Come on, what is this, a wedding? It’s hardly even a shotgun wedding. In an effort to go lyrical they’re turning this into a sham and a mockery. The article itself does not really add anything new. It says nothing about the patents [1, 2, 3] because it’s a soft piece, not investigative journalism. This article is complete with quotes from Microsoft mouthpieces like the Gartner Group and IDC (part of the employer of the writer, IDG).

“Red Hat, despite asserting they don’t believe Microsoft has any patents that read on their products, included a standstill agreement in the deal. Sources tell me it is carefully phrased to comply with the GPL. If Red Hat felt they had to do that with their new partner, there’s no doubt everyone else remains at risk.”
      –Simon Phipps
We have been having a bit of a deja vu today (and yesterday) because a lot of what’s said about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal deal is pure marketing. Shallow and inaccurate, with very few exceptions (usually not in the mainstream media).

Simon Phipps wrote some hours ago that he had “updated [his blog post] to include the patent standstill” (a crucial addition). To quote the amended text: “Red Hat, despite asserting they don’t believe Microsoft has any patents that read on their products, included a standstill agreement in the deal. Sources tell me it is carefully phrased to comply with the GPL. If Red Hat felt they had to do that with their new partner, there’s no doubt everyone else remains at risk.”

Yes, exactly. Red Hat has just sold us all out, just because it can help Red Hat attract some customers. This is selfish and even — if one dare say it — malicious.

Florian Müller, who used to work for Microsoft (for a while) after he had campaigned against software patents, wrote: “One could argue that challenging all those patents allegedly infringed by Linux in court would have done FOSS a greater service than a deal.”

He also wrote: “One *can* be more demanding than @webmink: Red Hat could have brought declaratory judgment actions against MSFT patents on that Chinese list [...] Simon Phipps applies a high standard to “MSFT loves Linux”: love should include giving up all related patent rights” (source).

Müller is actually right in this case and this agrees with what we wrote about Red Hat about half a decade ago. For those who forgot, here are some reminders:

The corporate media is full of complete nonsense (no depth at all) about this deal. Watch the coverage in the financial press, calling it “”Co-Location” Partnership” or a “Microsoft Tie-Up”. It’s more like a sellout.

A lot of such propaganda we have been seeing today while making a partial record of it. Why are the people who cover these issues not familiar with Free software and patents for instance? They’re clueless because their critical skills require some knowledge of the topics covered. They’re just so easy for marketers to bamboozle. These people should be told by their editor: If you don’t grasp it, don’t write about it. Just repeating what PR spokespeople and press releases (from notorious liars like Microsoft) say isn’t journalism. Sadly, a lot of people who do just that call themselves reporters.

Klint Finley, writing for a large publication, uses words like “Frenemy” and says this: “As recently as 2007, Microsoft was threatening to sue Linux users for patent infringement, though it soon backed down.”

With all due respect, this is nonsense. It’s revisionism and it’s a lie. Microsoft didn’t back down, it sued TomTom for instance and it still uses patents for extortion, even under the current leadership. Examples include Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS, and Dell.

Adrian Bridgwater, sometimes a Microsoft apologist (with the openwashing and all), chooses to go with “Microsoft Loves Linux” in his headline (also with an image at the top along those lines, just like Katherine Noyes). This isn’t journalism, it’s more like Microsoft marketing; why are these people helping Microsoft lie to the public? Do they think it’s just fun or funny? It’s very irresponsible ‘journalism’. Just like Noyes, Bridgwater quotes IDC, but to make matters worse, he quotes “IDC software analyst Al Hilwa”. Does he even know who Hilwa is? Did he check? Hilwa used to work for Microsoft, but there is no disclosure of this obvious conflict of interests and he habitually comments on Microsoft as an "analyst" without explaining that he actually came from Microsoft. Bridgwater’s article is shallow and nothing about patents gets mentioned. What is the reader supposed to conclude from it? The headline says “Microsoft Loves Linux”, the image at the top says “Microsoft Loves Linux”, and the article quotes as an ‘expert’ a person from Microsoft who pretends to be independent. What a coup!

One of the better articles we have found on this subject came from Sam Varghese and was titled “With Microsoft and Red Hat in bed, what happens to SUSE?”

To quote Varghese: “The Microsoft-Novell deal — SUSE was then a part of Novell — was initially signed in 2006 and, after its initial five-year term, was renewed in July 2011 for a further five years until the end of 2015. It has hardly two months left to run.

“There has been no word from either SUSE or Microsoft on what happens next. SUSE’s leaders are currently in Amsterdam attending the company’s annual national conference.”

It is a good article and it makes some valid points. It is rather reassuring to know that some real journalists still exist out there. They may not be loved by all (far from it), but therein lies a yardstick for success. Journalists who never piss anyone off are probably just cowards who don’t do the job they’re supposed to do, which is unearthing new information, not repeating talking points packaged and delivered in bite sizes for so-called ambitious ‘journalists’ to paste into a Microsoft Word document, then dispatch to a self-censoring editor (censorship based on the publisher’s sponsors’ expected reaction). Real journalism can hurt people’s feelings; ‘safe’ ‘journalism’ (puff pieces to appease or invite advertisers) does not.

Finally, as well as the important/enlightening quote below, we wish to remind readers that patent ‘peace’ with a company like Microsoft does not protect any entity from satellites of this company, e.g. patent trolls. Remember that shortly after Novell had signed its patent deal with Microsoft both itself and Red Hat got sued by the Microsoft-connected Acacia for patent infringement. It wasn’t the last time, not even from this one single satellite (there were settlements down the line even as recently as 2 years ago).

“In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space.”

SCO’s Strategic Consultant Mike Anderer

Is Anybody Still Using Microsoft Windows? Now Is a Fine Time to Stop.

Posted in GNU/Linux, Vista 10, Windows at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’d put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1.”

Steve Ballmer, 2001

Linus Torvalds

Summary: A reminder to readers that Windows is going dark and GNU/Linux awaits as a potent substitute

WITH Vista 10 (see the relevant articles in our Wiki), contrary to promises from Microsoft, after the so-called ‘upgrade’ people start paying to be spied on. As [1] below shows, these hidden costs are phased in quite gradually but shockingly (at least to some) and privacy violations are only getting worse [2], as people inside Microsoft privately confirmed to us (some of them have even been experimenting with GNU/Linux and may be ready to defect). Windows won’t be ‘fixed’; it won’t be — as the slogan about Vista 7 used to say — “my idea”. It’s all just Microsoft’s and the NSA’s ideas. Users have been rapidly turned into the products, just like in Facebook. They’re the commodity being sold by the millions, in bulk, to spies and advertisers. That’s Microsoft’s vision of Windows.

“Inevitably, judging by the popularity of Android and Chrome OS (now outselling Windows laptops), people will probably use GNU/Linux anyway, almost anywhere.”Anyone reading Techrights from home without a Free (libre) operating systems such as BSD or GNU/Linux would be wise to give a quick go to at least one of the several major distributions just released. The entire *buntu family was released about two weeks ago, but worth considering are also the two distributions which come in numerous ‘flavours’, as they got released just earlier this week. At this moment of time we can’t recommend any of these in particular (for different reasons), but we hope our readers realise that Windows is only getting worse — not better — especially when it comes to digital rights. Inevitably, judging by the popularity of Android and Chrome OS (now outselling Windows laptops), people will probably use GNU/Linux anyway, almost anywhere. Moving to GNU/Linux these days is moving ahead of the curve.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Didn’t Know You’d Take OneDrive’s ‘Unlimited’ Storage This Far

    A year after its launch, Microsoft is making some changes to its OneDrive cloud storage plans—including eliminating the unlimited storage offered to Office 365 subscribers, because according to Microsoft, some people got greedy.

    In a post to the OneDrive blog, Microsoft wrote: “Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.”

  2. Microsoft confirms Windows 10 is harvesting more data than ever

    MICROSOFT HAS ADMITTED that Windows 10 is collecting more data than any of its predecessors, and there’s not much you can do about it.

    In an interview with PC World, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore defended the collection of what the company refers to as “basic telemetry”, explaining that it is a necessary part of improving Windows’ functionality.

    Windows has always collected information like this. Every blue screen of death creates an error report which is uploaded to Microsoft. But so much more is collected now and, yes, this does mean that search terms that you enter into Windows as well as anonymous machine gibberish is going up to the cloud.

Links 5/11/2015: Framing Linus Torvalds, NetBeans IDE 8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Xiaomi Will Start Selling Two Linux Laptops In 2016

      According to a press release by Inventec, their company is currently in collaboration with Xiaomi Corp. to produce two new laptops. Xiaomi will start selling two Linux laptops early next year, according to a report. Both will be introduced under the Xiaomi name brand and are reported for a scheduled release date in the early part of 2016.

    • DDoS, botnet, and fiber cut fail to stop Twitchers crowd-installing Linux

      The Twitch in the Shell project has successfully installed Arch Linux using hundreds of people simultaneously hammering keys in a terminal. One of the organizers has explained to The Reg how it was done.

  • Server

    • Unikernels: The Next Generation of Cloud Technology

      Most technologists have heard about software containers (or simply “containers”) – a technology that became popularized by Docker, which is an open platform for building, shipping and running distributed applications through containers. Containers use shared operating systems to create a capsule, of sorts, to contain your application.

      They are increasingly popular, but are not the panacea able to solve all the new challenges cloud computing presents. Problems mainly pertaining to security tend to hinder this technology. However, a new technology on the rise — unikernels — holds great promise for the next generation of cloud infrastructure.

    • Juniper Goes All in for SDN

      Disaggregated Junos software is part of Juniper’s effort to extract that software value in a more meaningful way, while providing more choice to customers. With the disaggregated model, instead of simply just putting Junos on top of hardware, now there will be a thin Linux kernel with containers into which Junos, services and other third party tools and apps can be deployed.

    • ISG Cloud Comparison Index™: Cost of Public Cloud Linux Highly Competitive with Internal IT

      The October ISG Cloud Comparison Index™ shows configurations that are run on a public cloud version of the Linux operating system can be highly cost competitive with those run on internal information technology. However, when deciding between options, buyers need to consider the significant price differences between cloud providers and the added costs of running enterprise-class operating systems on the public cloud, the report said.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.10 Release Fixes Over 400 Issues
    • LXQt 0.10 Released!

      This release, we focused on cleanup, polishing and quality-of-life improvements, with over 400 issues fixed and dozens of new translations. We have also gained two new frameworks: Solid, which replaces liblxqt-mount and some custom power management code and libkscreen, which replaces system xrandr calls and is wayland forward-compatible.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • LISA 2015 – Washington DC, November 11 and 12

        KDE will have an exhibit in the Expo at the upcoming LISA (Large Installation System Administration) Conference. The full conference takes place November 8 ‒ 13 in Washington D.C. The Expo is open on the 11th and 12th. There is no charge to attend the Expo.

      • Qt on Android Webinar slides

        It’s hard to believe that more than a year has gone by since BogDan and I did our Qt on Android webinar! Like all good things that come to an end, so has the hosting for the archived version of the webinar. We hate to deprive anyone of still useful content, so here’s a link to the slides from the webinar for anyone who’s looking for them.

      • Tips from the Experts

        We’re looking forward to exposing some gems hidden in the KDAB knowledge base. And we’d love feedback too—tell us if you find these tips useful, or what dramatic results you’ve achieved. We love to help, and we love hearing stories about how we helped. Your feedback helps us know that we’re on the right track.

      • Kubuntu: KDE 4.14.3 Bugfix release for Trusty is now available.

        I have been hard at work to bring to you 4.14.3 Bugfix release for Trusty!

      • A pager for activities

        One of the new useful tiny plasmoids that will be available in Plasma 5.5 is one called Activity Pager: you can find it in the kdeplasma-addons package of the release.

      • Call for new Plasma wallpapers contribution

        We’re all excited for the new release of Plasma coming in less than a month and we at the Visual Design Group want to make it more exciting for our users too.

        Every other release we try to change the extra wallpapers that we’re shipping with Plasma to our users and now it’s time the refresh the collection again.

      • Upgrading libhybris

        One of the most important dependencies for our phone project is libhybris. Libhybris is a neat technology to allow interfacing with Android drivers allowing for example to bring Wayland to a device where all we have are Android drivers.

        Given that KWin provides a hwcomposer backend which uses libhybris to create an OpenGL context. All other applications need libhybris indirectly to have the Wayland OpenGL buffer exchange work automatically.


        As we now use upstream libhybris I hope to see distributions to pick up the work and provide a Plasma phone spin. I’d love to see an openSUSE phone or a Fedora phone (or any other distribution).

      • QRegExp + QStringLiteral = crash at exit
      • Latinoware 2015

        Having Six talks on the event, whe managed to talk about beginner stuff to advanced ones without leaving anyone behind.
        Our talks this year
        – KDE Sysadmin: You can help even if you don’t progam (speaker Gomex)
        – KDE and Linus: Living Dangerously – my adventures in Programming (speaker Tomaz Canabrava)
        – KDE: First Steps to Contribute (speaker Icaro (Igor) Jerry Santana)
        – KDE Plasma Mobile (speaker Helio Castro)
        – KDE Plasma 5: Full of Resources (speaker Henrique Sant’Anna)
        – KDE: The structure behind it (speaker Helio Castro)

      • Calligra 2.9.9 Released

        We are happy to announce the release of the Calligra Suite, and Calligra Active 2.9.9. It is recommended update for the 2.9 series of the applications and underlying development frameworks.

      • Krita 2.9.9 Released

        The ninth semi-monthly bug fix release of Krita is out!

      • Krita 2.9.9 (Open-Source Photo Manipulation Software) Brings A Lot Of Changes

        As you may know, Krita is an open-source image manipulation software, allowing the user to either create pictures from scratch or edit existing images. It is good because it supports most graphics tablets very well.

      • Where have I been?

        And this is the reason behind my disappearance, my job at BlueSystems was not fun anymore and every project I mantained at KDE felt more like a chore than anything else. After a month of not jumping out of the bed to head to work it was time to move on. So I passed maintainership to the people that were actually doing the job (special mention to David) and I quit my job as a full time KDE hacker.

      • Embedding QML: Why, Where, and How

        KDAB believes that it is critical for our business to invest into Qt3D and Qt, in general, to keep pushing the technology forward and to ensure it remains competitive.

      • Winners Selected from Giveaway

        And the giveaway is over! I want to thank everyone for entering and showing your support for Krita.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • MATE 1.12 released

        After 5 months of development the MATE Desktop team are proud to announce the release of MATE Desktop 1.12. We’d like to thank every MATE contributor and user.

      • Welcome to Alexandre Franke, new board member

        As many of you will be aware, Christian Hergert recently stepped down from the GNOME Foundation Board. As a result, we’ve had a place on the board to fill. In these situations, the bylaws [1] state that the Board of Directors may choose a replacement of their choosing [2].

      • Native file choosers in Gtk+

        Ideally something like this would be completely hidden by the toolkit, and the application would just use the regular file chooser APIs. However, the Gtk+ filechooser APIs expose too much details about the file chooser dialog, which means it has to be a regular in-process widget. Unfortunately this means we can’t replace it by an out-of-process dialog.

  • Distributions

    • CoreOS Debuts Tectonic, a Commercial Kubernetes Distro

      CoreOS has taken the wraps off Tectonic, a commercial distribution of the Kubernetes container manager, one focused for enterprise usage.

      Tectonic can be used to run container-based workloads across a variety of cloud services, or within an organization’s own data center, or it could be used to shuffle containers across these environments.

    • The Decline of Linux Diversity

      Eleven months later, the decline seems to be continuing at about the same rate, with the number of active distributions down to 276, and the decline is starting to seem an actual trend.

      Critics might argue that the apparent trend might not be a trend at all. It could be a reflection of Distrowatch’s criteria for listing a distribution, or how quickly Distrowatch posts new distributions. However, given that the site regularly posts announcements of new releases for both new and established distros, there seems no reason for either to be a factor. Admittedly, Distro Hunt, a newer, similar site, includes listings that Distrowatch does not. But since projects can add their own descriptions to Distro Hunt, it’s possible that some of its entries have never had a release or disappeared without taking down their descriptions. Moreover, unlike Distrowatch, Distro Hunt provides no easy way of counting the total. The best available (if tentative) evidence, then, is that the trend exists.

    • Reviews

      • GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux

        The GALPon MiniNo distro is akin to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It will rival any of the leading Linux communities for performance.

        Widespread acceptance in the educational and consumer markets with non-Spanish-speaking users is at risk. The developers have to improve on the language localization issues.

        Critical packages like the system update launchers display in Spanish only. Others software titles have the same problem. Others suffer from bits and pieces of vocabulary crossover

    • New Releases

      • Vinux 5.0 released

        This release features not just the Unity Desktop, but Gnome-shell and the ever popular Gnome 2 fork called Mate, though we primarily will support Unity only.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • SteamOS Is Now Ready for Launch with Updates to Linux Kernel 4.1 and New Drivers

          Valve is getting really close to the launch of the Steam Machines, and the developers are preparing the SteamOS distro. They have just released a new stable update, and it comes with a ton of updates.

        • What happened to Mepis?

          My Linux migration story started in 2009, when I bought a tiny Asus Eee pc netbook pre-installed with Linux, a version of Xandros that I did not like much.

          In trying to replace it, I had my first encounter with Xubuntu (no wi-fi support), Debian (minimal shell), and Mandriva, which I installed because it supported wi-fi out of the box.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Software Centre To Be Replaced in 16.04 LTS

            Users of the Xenial Xerus desktop will find that the familiar (and somewhat cumbersome) Ubuntu Software Centre is no longer available.

            GNOME’s Software application will – according to current plans – take its place as the default and package management utility on the Unity 7-based desktop.

          • Prototype: A GUI-friendly Snappy

            So this is the week of the Ubuntu Online Summit, and many of the sessions are discussing Snappy. As you may know, Snappy is currently pretty geared toward embedded, headless devices. However, it is the successor to Click, and eventually the phones will be based upon it. To drive that effort forward, a few colleagues and I had a session (you can watch the video) where we discussed the path forward for supporting snaps on other devices, specifically the phone and the desktop.

          • The Ubuntu Online Summit Begins Tomorrow For The Xenial Xerus

            The Ubuntu Online Summit for developers and contributors to Ubuntu Linux begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday as planning gets underway for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, a.k.a. the Xenial Xerus.

            The Ubuntu Online Summit runs from 3 November to 5 November and can be monitored via summit.ubuntu.com.

          • Mark Shuttleworth Kicks Off Ubuntu 16.04 Development Discussions

            The video is embedded below for those interested in detail what Mark had to say during his nearly hour-long talk. Among the focuses were reiterating that Ubuntu 16.04 is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, work is ongoing towards the Ubuntu convergence goals and they are making progress, and also talk of Ubuntu in other areas like drones.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Will Try To Be Python-3-Only, No Python 2 By Default

            For years Ubuntu developers have been working on moving from Python 2 to Python 3 and for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS next April that goal will hopefully be finally realized.

            There were some dreams that the Python 2 to Python 3 migration would happen for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS so that Python 3 would be the default, now two years later, it looks like it might finally happen for the Xenial Xerus. A session was held today during the Ubuntu Online Summit for migrating over to Python 3 by default and to no longer ship Python 2 as part of the default package-set.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Drop Ubuntu Software Center for GNOME Software

            Canonical is looking to make some substantial changes to the Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), and the developers are preparing to drop Ubuntu Software Center and replace it with GNOME Software.

          • Firefox 42 Arrives in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical just revealed that the latest Firefox 42.0 is now in the official repositories for the users of Ubuntu 15.10, Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Unity 7 to Support Snappy Packages

            Canonical has invested a lot of time and resources in the new Snappy packages, so it’s only natural that the developers want to make sure that people will be able to use it in the regular deb-based Ubuntu system.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Drops Brasero and Empathy, GNOME Calendar to Be Adopted

            Ubuntu developers have a lot of plans for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and it already seems like it’s going to be a fascinating release. They have just announced that the Brasero and Empathy apps will no longer be included by default, and GNOME Calendar will be implemented.

          • New USB Startup Creator Is Being Made for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            The application used in Ubuntu systems to write ISOs to USB disks, the Startup Creator, is being redesigned and rebuilt for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • Mark Shuttleworth Thinks That Using Ubuntu Touch On More Phones Would Be A Mistake Right Now

            As you may know, Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch is used by default on Meizu MX4, BQ Aquaris E4.5 and BQ Aquaris E5 and officially supported on the LG Nexus 4. While the BQ phones are mid-range, Meizu is among the most popular phone vendors in China, the MX4 being a premium headset.

          • Various Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Decisions From This Week’s Summit

            Aside from trying to make Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Python-3-only, Kubuntu developers planning for Xenial, and Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote, there’s also been a lot of other interesting sessions to happen over the first two days of this week’s Ubuntu Online Summit.

          • Firefox 42 Has Been Added To The Default Repositories Of All The Supported Ubuntu Systems
          • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Desktop Screenshots Tour

            Ubuntu 15.10 will be supported for 9 months for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Core, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin along with all other flavours.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind blows Helix Cloud, Pulsar Linux, Rocket RTOS toward IoT

      Wind River unveiled a “Helix Cloud” platform for IoT development and management, plus two small-footprint OSes: a “Rocket” RTOS and “Pulsar Linux.”

      Intel subsidiary Wind River has released Wind River Pulsar Linux, an IoT-oriented version of its commercial Wind River Linux distribution, as well as a new Wind River Rocket RTOS. Both of these embedded OSes are designed to work with a newly unveiled Wind River Helix Cloud platform for developing, testing, monitoring, and analyzing cloud-connected IoT applications. Wind River Helix Cloud is available in App, Lab, and Device versions, and is said to provide “anytime, anywhere access to development tools, virtual labs, and deployed devices.” (see farther below).

    • DAQ SBC runs Linux on Zynq, offers FMC expansion

      Innovative Integration’s “Cardsharp” SBC is an XMC form-factor board that runs Linux on a Zynq-Z7045, and provides an FMC slot compatible with FMC modules.

      Innovative Integration has launched a “turnkey embedded instrument” called the Cardsharp designed for embedded and mobile instrumentation, remote autonomous I/O, and distributed data acquisition applications. The Linux-based, 149 x 74mm XMC form-factor single-board computer is also said to be “perfect for portable or vehicle-based data loggers or handheld field equipment use.”

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Move over FireFox OS and BlackBerry, Tizen is now the Fourth Largest Smartphone OS in Q3 2015

          Earlier this year, Tizen overtook the Firefox Operating System (OS) and became the world’s No.5 Smartphone OS in Q2 2015. That was an Important step for the Linux based OS to gain wider recognition. Now, according to a published report, Tizen has overtaken Blackberry to become the Fourth largest OS shipping in Q3 2015. Android saw a slight Increase in market share whilst Apple gained momentum with their new iPhone models and Microsoft, Blackberry and firefox all drilled down.

        • Video: TIZEN – The OS of Everything

          Tizen the OS of Everything. That was the slogan that the Tizen Developer Conference (TDC) 2015 in Shenzhen this year. Tizen was Introduced to devs as a versatile OS that is light on CPU, Battery and Memory. You can develop WebApps using HTML5 / CSS3 / JS and also Native apps using Native – C / EFL. There are also Hybrid Apps, but as the name suggests are a mix between Web and Native apps.

      • Android

        • Android for Work now in more than 19,000 organisations
        • What it’s like to switch to Android after using only iPhones for 6 years
        • Google Android Update Includes Fix for New Stagefright Flaw
        • The best smartwatch for Android

          Smartwatches really only came onto the scene in a major way in the past two years — Google, Apple, and Samsung are all hoping it’ll be the next big computing platform. Since then, we’ve seen lots of manufacturers try different strategies for strapping a computer on your wrist, but they were all pretty bad experiences — until right around now. More importantly, smartwatches have stopped looking like hideous wrist gadgets and more like, well, watches.

        • Is Google spinning a merged Chrome/Android OS for laptops?

          So far, most of the signs for a potential merger have occurred on the Chrome OS side rather than Android. In April of this year Google opened up its App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), enabling the porting of Android apps to Chrome OS. In addition, the Chrome OS Chrome Launcher 2.0 features a more Android-like Material Design, and integrates Android’s Google Now personal assistant.

          There was not much evidence of a Chrome OS infusion in the most recent Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” release. However, Google recently furthered its vision of Android on the desktop with the Pixel C, a keyboard-convertible tablet developed by Google’s Chromebook team.

        • Why an iPhone user switched to Android after six years

          A user switches to Android after six years of iPhones

          There’s been quite a lot of stories in the media about Android users switching to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But there are also some iPhone users who have gone the other way and switched to Android.

        • An Android Phone After 6 Years of iPhones

          Before I switched to Android I googled like crazy for similar articles. I was interested in the most common experience of former iPhone users on Android phones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find too much. So I want to share my notes to help fill this gap a little bit.

        • Mossberg: It’s time for Google to make its own hardware

          It’s Nexus time again, the time each year when Google ships its hero devices in the Nexus line. That’s a brand of phones and tablets commissioned by the company starting in 2010 — not to be huge sellers, but to show the world the best of its Android operating system.

          Nexus phones are meant to present the latest versions of Android, in pure form, unadulterated by the software overlays and bloatware apps added by the hundreds of Android phone makers. They also give Google a chance to showcase its own latest apps and services, which are sometimes missing entirely from Android phones, especially in emerging markets. And, unlike most other Android devices, they get updated almost as soon as Google releases patches.

        • Sony Open Device Program Interview: Opening Much More Than Just Software

          At the Big Android Barbecue 2015, we had the honor of interviewing Alin Jerpelea from Sony, after his great talk on Sony’s plans to open up the hardware of their devices as well as future plans for their developer programs. You can find the full, highly recommendable talk here.

        • Google tries to woo enterprises with new Android for Work initiatives

Free Software/Open Source

  • Myth-busting the open-source cloud

    The Linux Foundation report states that in 2013, many cloud projects were still working out their core enterprise features and building in functionality, and companies were still very much in the early stages of planning and testing their public, private or hybrid clouds.

  • Neo Technology Releases openCypher Query Language to Open Source

    openCypher promises to accelerate a quickly expanding graph data space because it offers new benefits for users, tooling providers, organizations and end users.

  • Kustodian goes open-source only after success with BlueScope SOC

    The decision represents a market shift for Kustodian, a multinational provider of penetration-testing and other security services that has worked extensively with commercial SIEM platforms in the past. However, CEO Chris Rock told CSO Australia, it recently became clear that open-source solutions – in particular, the ELK stack from Elasticsearch – offered a significant new opportunity to democratise the delivery of SOCs that often weighed in north of $1m using conventional commercial products and services.

  • Is open source overtaking Splunk?

    Trying to understand open source adoption is a challenging task. In contrast to public companies, the metrics of open-source projects mostly rely on the number of GitHub stars (which is public) or the number of downloads (which is often unknowable).

    As a co-founder and CEO of Logz.io, I’ve been heavily involved in the open source log analytics domain through working with with the community and focusing on the ELK Stack.

    The background: The ELK Stack is the combination of Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana that is used specifically in log analytics. Logstash ships log data to Elasticsearch, which indexes the information in a searchable datastore. Kibana then takes the datastore and shows the information in graphical format for log analysis.

  • Open Source Initiative launches free webinar series

    As you might expect the Open Source Initiative (OSI) uses quite a few open source tools to support our work in promoting and protecting open source software, development, and communities—things like content management systems (Drupal), wikis (XWiki), issue tracking/bug reporting (Redmine), desktop sharing (BigBlueButton), membership management (CiviCRM), etc.

  • Video: No more open source foundations, please!

    Not every new open source project needs a new foundation. In fact, the rise of all these new foundations could be hurting the open source cause

  • The new collaboration model for open source | #LinuxCon2015

    Cross-community collaboration is developing and thriving inside the walls of this year’s LinuxCon 2015, and people like Diane Mueller, director of community development at Red Hat OpenShift, are leading the charge.

  • Open source software gains depth

    The ability to scale up and stronger security has seen a pervasive proliferation of open source software (OSS) although these don’t have as many competitive features as proprietary software, according to the Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey conducted by Black Duck Software, a company that facilitates the adoption of OSS.

  • Logz.io Introduces ELK Apps — a Free App Store for Open Source Log Analytics
  • The 100:10:1 method: my approach to open source

    The first step was to find a notebook and a pen and just write down 100 ideas for interesting open source projects. These project ideas ranged across all manner of topics, depth, and quality. I thought of wild language ideas, new features in existing projects, system designs, protocols, missing documentation, interesting forks, golfing code, games, prototypes, implementations of paper ideas, second-systems, whatever.

  • Polishing cars wasn’t in my job description

    My advice for anyone starting out in open source is simple: Be humble, but bold. The great thing about open source is that you can make a great impact, but you have to do it within the confines of a community, and learning how to bring your best while working in sometimes challenging interpersonal situations is a skill that you can only acquire through practice.

  • Proprietary tools for FOSS projects

    My position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

    At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

  • OOSMOS goes open source
  • 8 tips for creating cultural change in your organization

    To foster engagement and keep people posted, publish and share both individually and as a team. Setting a schedule is difficult, but you should try to publish at least one reflective post per month (I do one a week). Pre-populate tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite during meetings. Utilize tools like IFTTT, Zapier, Buffer, etc. There are easy ways to share ideas around the Web. Use them!

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Metis to Offer Intensive Hadoop, Spark Training
    • How Will the Big Data Craze Play Out?

      I was in the buzz-making business long before I learned how it was done. That happened here, at Linux Journal. Some of it I learned by watching kernel developers make Linux so useful that it became irresponsible for anybody doing serious development not to consider it—and, eventually, not to use it. Some I learned just by doing my job here. But most of it I learned by watching the term “open source” get adopted by the world, and participating as a journalist in the process.

  • Databases

    • Open Source MongoDB Updated with Enterprise Features

      MongoDB Inc. announced a new version of its open source-based NoSQL database with features designed to make it more attractive for enterprise use.

      MongoDB 3.2 can handle a wider range of mission-critical applications, its parent company said, and has been extended to handle new enterprise-oriented tasks “by deeply integrating with the modern CIO’s technology stack.”

  • Oracle/Java

    • NetBeans IDE 8.1 Information

      NetBeans IDE 8.1 provides out-of-the-box code analyzers and editors for working with the latest Java 8 technologies–Java SE 8, Java SE Embedded 8, and Java ME Embedded 8. The IDE also has a range of new tools for HTML5/JavaScript, in particular for Node.js, KnockoutJS, and AngularJS; enhancements that further improve its support for Maven and Java EE with PrimeFaces; and improvements to PHP and C/C++ support.

    • NetBeans 8.1 IDE Released With Java Enhancements, HTML5/JS/Node.js Goodies

      The NetBeans 8.1 IDE continues to be focused around the latest Java 8 technologies from Oracle, but there’s also a number of new tools for HTML5, JavaScript, Node.js, KnockoutJS, and AngularJS. NetBeans 8.1 has a number of additions for easing development with Node.js, adds/enhances support for a wide variety of HTML5 and other JavaScript technologies, also advances some PHP and C/C++ language handling, and the NetBeans profiler has been redesigned while adding new features. There’s also better Git support with NetBeans 8.1.

  • CMS

    • OctoberCMS RSS Feed

      October is a content management system (CMS) based on the Laravel framework. Many of my readers will already know that I am a huge fan of Laravel. The framework makes development workflow a breeze and takes care of a lot of the mundane tasks. Linuxphile is, in fact, built on Laravel. I had also developed http://twistedtastes.com using Laravel. After the development of Twisted Tastes my wife and I came across October.

  • Business

  • BSD


  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Vanderbilt’s medical capsule robots’ hardware, software goes open-source

      Researchers around the globe who want to customize medical capsule robots won’t have to start from scratch – a team from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering did the preliminary work for them and is ready to share.

      Through a website and a paper revealed at a pair of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conferences, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pietro Valdastri, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering Akos Ledeczi and their team made the capsule hardware and software open-source.

      The paper, titled “Systematic Design of Medical Capsule Robots,” ran in a special issue of IEEE Design & Test magazine dedicated to cyber-physical systems for medical applications. Within years, Vanderbilt’s capsule robots, made small enough to be swallowed, could be used for preventative screenings and to diagnose and treat a number of internal diseases.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Not Just Academics Fed Up With Elsevier: Entire Editorial Staff Resigns En Masse To Start Open Access Journal

        It’s really somewhat astounding just how absolutely hated journal publishing giant Elsevier has become in certain academic circles. The company seems to have perfected its role of being about as evil as possible in trying to lock up knowledge and making it expensive and difficult to access. A few years ago, we noted that a bunch of academics were banding together to boycott journals published by the company, as more and more people were looking at open access journals, allowing them to more freely share their research, rather than locking it up. Elsevier’s response has been to basically crack down on efforts to share knowledge. The company has been known to charge for open access research — sometimes even buying up journals and ignoring the open licenses on the works. The company has also been demanding professors takedown copies of their own research. Because how dare anyone actually benefit from knowledge without paying Elsevier its toll. And that’s not even mentioning Elsevier’s history of publishing fake journals as a way to help giant pharmaceutical companies pretend their treatments were effective.

      • Open source textbooks not flunking out

        Finally, a bit of good news on the college costs front: A study out of Brigham Young University finds that free open source textbooks do the job pretty darn well.

        The study of nearly 17,000 students at 9 colleges found that open source textbooks (or open educational resources — OERs in academic lingo) found that students learn the same amount or more from the free books across many subjects. (Here’s a sampling of the sorts of texts available, via a University of Minnesota site.)

        What’s more, 85% of students and instructors said open textbooks were actually better than the commercial ones. The research focused its results based on measurements such as course completion, final grade, final grade of C- or higher, enrollment intensity, and enrollment intensity in the following semester.

  • Programming

    • Pyston 0.4 Released With Even Better Performance
    • Pyston 0.4 released

      A lot has happened in the eight months since the 0.3 release: the 0.4 release contains 2000 commits, three times as many commits as either the 0.2 or 0.3 release. Moving forward, our plan is to release every four months, but for now please enjoy a double-sized release.


  • Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

    A US software company has signed on with IBM to release a new native build of Big Blue’s OS/2.

    Arca Noae said its “Blue Lion” build of OS/2 will run on the bare metal of PCs without the need for an emulator or hypervisor.

    Those still using the 28-year-old operating system and its applications typically run the stack in a virtualized environment on modern reliable hardware. The bare-metal OS will be freed from its virtual prison, and released to the world, in the third quarter of next year, we’re told.

  • J-Day: Denmark’s start to the holiday season

    The nation’s bars, pubs and discos will be jam-packed with drunken partiers decked out in Santa hats and elf costumes on Friday. Welcome to the strange Danish ‘holiday’ known as J-Day.

  • Hardware

    • New MCU-like Intel Quarks sip power, but skip the Linux

      Unlike the current, 400MHz Quark X1000, found on the Intel Galileo hacker SBC and numerous IoT gateway products, these new microcontroller-like Quarks run at only 32MHz, and support bare-metal code and real-time operating systems (RTOSes), but not Linux.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Some Use Chalabi’s Death to Lay Blame for Iraq War at His Feet

      Bush’s own Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told 60 Minutes in 2004 that Bush “sought a way to invade Iraq.” Recent emails show Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair planning the Iraq war a whole year before 9/11. Put simply, the Bush administration didn’t need “convincing”—what it needed was fodder to convince the American public (not all of whom, of course, were ever convinced). These are two entirely different readings of history that have, in the past 48 hours, become dangerously conflated by some.

    • Caught On Tape: U.S. Army Jeep Rear-Ends A Nuke

      With helicopters hovering overhead, and surrounded by an army of security forces, this is how America transports its nuclear weapons. However, as this onlooker captures, amid police harrassment for filming, it appears one of the military trucks was just a little too close and rear-ends a truck carrying a nuclear missile.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • NASA Scientist Warned Deniers Would Distort His Antarctic Ice Study — That’s Exactly What They Did

      A new NASA study found that there has been a net increase in land ice in Antarctica in recent years, despite a decline in some parts of the continent. The study’s lead author astutely predicted that climate science deniers would distort the study, even though it does nothing to contradict the scientific consensus on climate change or the fact that sea levels will continue to rise.

    • Climate change missing from full Trans-Pacific Partnership text

      The final text of a huge 12-country trade agreement has confirmed the “worst nightmares” of environmental groups, with no mention of climate change in its lone environment chapter and weak enforcement mechanisms, Australian academics say.

      The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was finally released on Thursday, with Trade Minister Andrew Robb saying the deal will deliver “substantial benefits for Australia” in the rapidly growing Asia Pacific.

      The TPP is the biggest global trade deal in 20 years, involving 12 countries in the Pacific region which collectively represent over 40 per cent of world GDP.

  • Finance

    • Chevron’s Star Witness In $9.5 Billion Corporate Sovereignty Case Admits He Lied

      One of Techdirt’s earliest posts on corporate sovereignty was back in October 2013, when we wrote about the incredible case of Chevron. It used the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism to suspend the enforcement of a historic $18 billion judgment against the oil corporation made by Ecuador’s courts because of the company’s responsibility for mass contamination of the Amazonian rain forest. Given the huge sums involved, it’s no surprise that things didn’t end there.

    • 5 things that wouldn’t be happening if America were a functioning democracy

      We Americans have been deceived by the notion that individual desires preempt the needs of society; by the Ayn-Rand/Reagan/Thatcher aversion to government regulation; by the distorted image of “freedom” as winner-take-all capitalism; by the assurance that the benefits of greed will spread downward to everyone.

      Our current capitalist-driven inequalities will only be rectified when people realize that a strong community makes successful individuals, not the other way around.

      Here are a few of the ways we would benefit with a social democracy.


      Nationally, we spend over $1 trillion per year on defense. Not just the half-trillion Pentagon budget, but another half-trillion for veterans affairs, homeland security, “contingency operations,” and a variety of other miscellaneous military “necessities.”

      But that’s not enough for the relative few at the top of our outrageously unequal society. The richest Americans build private fortresses to protect themselves from the rest of us, as they scoff at the notion of a 1950s-like progressive tax structure that would provide infrastructure funding for all of us.


      In the extreme capitalist mind, Steve Jobs started with boxes of silicon and wires in a garage and fashioned the first iPhone. The reality is explained by Mariana Mazzucato: “Everything you can do with an iPhone was government-funded. From the Internet that allows you to surf the Web, to GPS that lets you use Google Maps, to touchscreen display and even the SIRI voice activated system— all of these things were funded by Uncle Sam through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, the Navy, and even the CIA.”

    • “Your little brother is not the ultimate authority”: How Jeb Bush cheated America & helped deliver the presidency to W

      When some of us hear Jeb Bush’s new slogan, “Jeb can fix it,” we don’t think of a mechanic getting under the hood and fixing the nation’s problems. We don’t even think of Jimmy Savile, the notorious British pedophile, whose show was called “Jim’ll fix it,” although some people sure will. No, we think about Election 2000 and the Florida recount, where Jeb proved that his slogan isn’t all hot air. Whatever else he did as Governor of Florida, when it came to that election, Jeb fixed it.

      Anyone old enough to remember that election night, which was 15 years ago today, will remember that the outcome of the electoral college depended on that one state. And what came next is exactly what anyone would have predicted would happen when an election is so close it triggers a recount in a state in which the levers of power and the electoral machinery are run by one of the candidates’ brothers. That candidate was the one who became president.

    • China Regulator Probes Competition Claims Against Alibaba

      China’s commerce regulator will investigate accusations by JD.com Inc. that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is unfairly pressuring merchants to shun competing platforms, JD said, ratcheting up a battle between the nation’s two biggest online retailers.

      The State Administration for Industry & Commerce accepted JD’s request to look into Alibaba’s attempts to lock in merchants ahead of the crucial “Singles’ Day” promotion next week, JD said in an online post Thursday. China’s second-largest Web retailer has accused its larger rival of forcing merchants to choose between the two, which it said hampers competition and violates regulations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Sketchy Food Scanning Company Abuses DMCA To Censor Critical Reporting

      Another day, another example of copyright being used to censor. A few weeks ago, we wrote about a sketchy crowdfunded “food scanning device” company called TellSpec, which had ridiculously threatened the online publication Pando Daily with laughably ridiculous defamation claims. The threats were ridiculous for any number of reasons, including the fact that the statute of limitations had expired and the commentary wasn’t even remotely defamatory. There were also some weird (and stupid) threats about suing in the UK, despite TellSpec being based in Toronto and Pando in the US. At some point, TellSpec then denied having made the threats, but that appeared to be pure damage control.

    • Copyright Terms And How Historical Journalism Is Disappearing

      The National Endowment for the Humanities announced last Wednesday the “Chronicling America” contest to create projects out of historical newspaper data. The contest is supposed to showcase the history of the United States through the lens of a popular (and somewhat ephemeral) news format. But looking at the limits of the archival data, another story emerges: the dark cloud of copyright’s legal uncertainty is threatening the ability of amateur and even professional historians to explore the last century as they might explore the ones before it.

      Consider that the National Digital Newspaper Program holds the history of American newspapers only up until 1922. (It originally focused on material from 1900-1910 and gradually expanded outwards to cover material from as early as 1836.) Those years may seem arbitrary—and it makes sense that there would be some cut-off date for a historical archive—but for copyright nerds 1922 rings some bells: it’s the latest date from which people can confidently declare a published work is in the public domain. Thanks to the arcane and byzantine rules created by 11 copyright term extensions in the years between 1962 and 1998, determining whether a work from any later requires consulting a flow chart from hell—the simple version of which, published by the Samuelson Clinic last year, runs to 50 pages.

  • Privacy

    • Surveillance bill: broad support gives way to alarm over detail

      The total redrafting of UK surveillance laws was under growing challenge last night after an initially broad political welcome gave way to alarm at the detail of the proposed sweeping powers for spies.

      MPs and privacy groups raised concerns about the proposed judicial oversight regime set out by Theresa May – while the home secretary also revealed that since 2001 ministers have issued secret directions to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk.

    • ORG’s 10th Birthday Party!
    • Investigatory Powers Bill published and now the fight is on

      The Government’s just published the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. It will decide the surveillance powers that the police and intelligence have for years to come.

    • ORG response to the draft Investigatory Powers Bill

      “This Bill will redefine the relationship between the state and the public for a generation. The government needs to get it right and made sure that the UK’s law enforcement and security agencies can fight serious crime while upholding all of our human rights.”

      “However, at first glance, it appears that this Bill is an attempt to grab even more intrusive surveillance powers and does not do enough to restrain the bulk collection of our personal data by the secret services. It proposes an increase in the blanket retention of our personal communications data, giving the police the power to access web logs. It also gives the state intrusive hacking powers that can carry risks for everyone’s Internet security.”

    • The surveillance bill is as big a threat to state security as to individual liberty

      The past week has seen the most bizarre spinning. The BBC and the Times suddenly “managed to secure” exclusive stories about the wonderful world of secret intelligence, shamelessly pegged to the premiere of the film. The Times offered a gushing prospectus of work inside GCHQ. The BBC’s Frank Gardner sat, obsequious, in a darkened room and asked faceless voices what it was like being “the real James Bond”. It was like a spoof promotion video for the Stasi.


      Despite the fearmongers, Britain faces no threat to its territory or political stability, nothing that remotely justifies the massive intrusion into privacy originally sought by GCHQ and the police. Today’s threat is from fanatics and criminals who want to shoot people and explode bombs – extremely dangerous but not a state threat. The question is, does this require Britons to have their every phone call, email and browser record stored, scanned, registered and, inevitably, shared with spies, the police and – whatever anyone says – a wide range of public officials?

    • Surveillance, privacy, and the British press

      So why is the majority of the British press so relaxed about mass surveillance? Why do they not associate this threat with the ‘300 years of press freedom’, which they hold so dear? Have they not read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which explicitly links the death of freedom with the death of privacy? Even the United Nations (not always first off the mark where human rights are concerned) is able to see the danger here, as evidenced by the creation this year of a new special rapporteur on ‘the right to privacy in the digital age’.

    • The Investigatory Powers bill: will it work in practice?

      The intention is that the draft Bill will be the basis of consultation, with a revised Bill being published in 2016. This revised Bill will need to be enacted by the end of next year, as the current Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act expires on 31 December 2016 and one section of it has been quashed by the High Court as from March 2016.

      Publication is therefore the start of what may be a year-long legislative process. On the face of it, the government intends to take the legislative process seriously. The Bill has been published with extensive explanatory materials, fact sheets and impact assessments. The page count of those documents is higher than that of the bill itself — the government wishes to give the impression this process is to be done properly and thoroughly.

      Of course, what the government brings to parliament next year may not correspond to this draft, and it may be that the government pushes measures through at speed next year which are not in this version. So it is too early to say that this draft Bill puts “parliament in charge” as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation said on Wednesday.

    • Interception, Authorisation and Redress in the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

      The Government has published a draft Bill on Investigatory Powers that it hopes to see through Parliament within a year. If it becomes law, the Investigatory Powers Bill will replace much, but not all, of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, as well as the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014.

      It is the Government’s response to the Edward Snowden revelations, and to three different reports that made almost 200 reform recommendations between them.There will be much debate about the powers set out in the draft Bill. It proposes to give certain powers of the intelligence and security services a (new) legal basis in statute and will consolidate much of the law in this field. While the nature and extent of these powers is open to disputation, if there are to be such powers, it is surely better that there is avowal and regulation, rather than secrecy and denial.

    • Surveillance bill triggers alarm over sweeping powers for spies

      The total redrafting of UK surveillance laws was under growing challenge on Wednesday night after an initially broad political welcome gave way to alarm at the detail of the proposed sweeping powers for spies.

      MPs and privacy groups raised concerns about the proposed judicial oversight regime set out by the home secretary, Theresa May, who made the dramatic admission that ministers had issued secret directions since 2001 to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk.

    • Wikipedia founder urges Apple to stop selling iPhones in UK if government bans encryption

      Jimmy Wales has suggested that Apple should stop selling iPhones in the UK, if the government passes a new law that would prevent technology firms and service providers from using end-to-end encryption to protect private communications.

    • Encryption ban banished from draft UK surveillance bill

      Britons could soon have their web surfing recorded for later police consultation, but the government has reportedly backed off plans to order companies like Apple to unlock encrypted phones and messages

      A threatened ban on encryption has been banished from a draft bill on surveillance powers in the U.K. — but the government plans to explicitly allow bulk surveillance of Internet traffic by security and intelligence agencies.

      U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May began by listing the things the draft bill did not contain as she introduced it in Parliament on Wednesday.

    • Microsoft Didn’t Know You’d Take OneDrive’s ‘Unlimited’ Storage This Far

      A year after its launch, Microsoft is making some changes to its OneDrive cloud storage plans—including eliminating the unlimited storage offered to Office 365 subscribers, because according to Microsoft, some people got greedy.

      In a post to the OneDrive blog, Microsoft wrote: “Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.”

    • Microsoft confirms Windows 10 is harvesting more data than ever

      MICROSOFT HAS ADMITTED that Windows 10 is collecting more data than any of its predecessors, and there’s not much you can do about it.

      In an interview with PC World, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore defended the collection of what the company refers to as “basic telemetry”, explaining that it is a necessary part of improving Windows’ functionality.

      Windows has always collected information like this. Every blue screen of death creates an error report which is uploaded to Microsoft. But so much more is collected now and, yes, this does mean that search terms that you enter into Windows as well as anonymous machine gibberish is going up to the cloud.

    • First take on the Investigatory Powers Bill

      The long-awaited Investigatory Powers Bill has been published at last. The draft Bill is almost 300 pages long so it is going to take us a while to go through the detail but here is our first take on what it contains.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: I Want to Be President to Save the World

      The United States is governed at the national level by two major parties: the right-wing Republicans and the center-left Democrats.. It has been 165 years since someone was elected president who did not come from this political duopoly, which does not represent the full range of views held by the U.S. electorate but has worked hard to ensure that the candidates it puts forward are often the only ones from which voters can choose.

    • House Passes DHS ‘Insider Threat’ Program Bill That Could Impact Whistleblowers

      The United States House of Representatives passed legislation to establish an “insider threat” program at the Department of Homeland Security, which would permit the continuous monitoring of credit, criminal, and social media activities of DHS employees and would potentially impact national security whistleblowers.

    • California Cops Are Using These Biometric Gadgets in the Field

      Law enforcement agencies around the country are increasingly embracing biometric technology, which uses intrinsic physical or behavioral characteristics—such as fingerprints, facial features, irises, tattoos, or DNA—to identify people, sometimes even instantly. Just as the technology that powers your cell phone has shrunk both in size and cost, mobile biometric technologies are now being deployed more widely and cheaply than ever before—and with less oversight.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

      The text of the TPP was released by TPP Parties on 5 November 2015 and can be accessed by Chapter below. Legal verification of the text will continue in the coming weeks. The Agreement will also be translated into French and Spanish language versions.

    • Statement on the Release of the Trans Pacific Partnership Text

      Instead of combatting the ability to bring cases such as Eli Lilly’s, the TPP’s investment chapter invites them. Any time a national court – including in the U.S. – invalidates a wrongfully granted patent or other intellectual property right, the affected company could appeal that revocation to foreign arbitrators. The new language would also make clear that private companies are empowered by the treaty to challenge limitations and exceptions like the U.S. fair use doctrine, or individual applications of it. Adoption of this set of rules in the largest regional trade agreement of its kind would upset the international intellectual property legal system and should be subject to the most rigorous and open debate in every country where it is being considered.

    • Copyrights

CopyCamp ’15 in Warsaw Discussed the Problem of Patents on Software, Which Still Exist in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is definitely still a problem “as such”


Summary: An IT security & Free Software consultancy based in Warsaw explains that “many think Europe is free from software patent” when the matter of fact is that “rules for software patenting were not accepted as obligatory.”

IT wasn’t until this morning that we knew about this activism in Poland. [via Benjamin Henrion, the FFII’s President, as well as Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, whom the EPO tried to bully]

To quote the Web site softpatents.bitshack.pl:

This year, it is ten years ago that the proposed European Directive for “Computer Implemented Inventions” a.k.a. software patents was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament, after a dramatic struggle of “freedom fighters” against corporate interests.

Since then, many think Europe is free from software patents. It is far from true. The rejection of the directive actually did not mean that software patents were forbidden from that time, but that some – questionable – rules for software patenting were not accepted as obligatory.

The situation is worse than ten years ago because courts in European countries are not setting proper limits on software patentability. We would like to talk about Polish bad and good examples, which remain unknown. We think that discussing them openly would strengthen the proper trend.

According to this program, Władysław Majewski gave a talk titled “Rejection of Patent Directive – 10th anniversary“. It’s over now and they would “like to discuss the message we should convey to wider audience on 32C3 in Hamburg.” That’s a little far from Munich but not too far from Berlin. Maybe EPO examiners can help these people extend their message, making their views on the subject more widely understood.

For our readers who are still not familiar with the harms of software patents, Henrion has just highlighted this position/stance statement from the Free Software Foundation Europe, which says:

Software patentability is another area of concern that needs to be addressed on a European level in order to unleash the full innovative potential of Europe. Despite the fact that software is explicitly excluded from patentability according to the European Patent Convention, software in Europe is de facto patented under “computer implemented invention”. The European Patent Office (EPO) grants more than 5 000 patents yearly in the fields of “computer technology”and “digital communications”3, that in practice cover software. Software patents in the form of “computer implemented inventions” have the highest growth rate, according to the EPO, and the number of granted software patents has been rising at a rate of 3 000 per year.

Software is treated as “literary work” and is protected by copyright under Software Directive 2009/24/EC, thus making the additional protection through patentability unnecessary. Moreover this burdens innovators with extra costs and legal risks, and hinders market competitiveness. The loss of potential innovators and new actors on the digital market due to the unclear status of software patentability is a high price to pay for the EU.

FSFE wants to highlight the legislative actions taken on national level in order to tackle this issue, in particular the decision of the German Parliament in 2013 to effectively limit the patenting of computer programs, as copyright protection is already available. This decision was also welcomed and supported by German SME associations. Furthermore, several studies have shown that companies producing software do not deem patent protection as a useful mechanism spurring future inventive streams. On the contrary, companies find that software patents hinder the rate of innovation and lock-in the market in favor of few monopolistic companies.

FSFE asks the Commission to follow this example and propose a clear requirement that software solutions shall not be patented under any unclear terms implemented by the practice of the EPO, and to further strengthen copyright protection for software, so that no rights received under copyright will be devalued by third parties’ patents covering software in “computer implemented inventions”.

To those who work at the EPO, please consider doing what you can to protect European programmers as well as programmers worldwide (proprietary and Free software alike). These people don’t want patents, they already have copyrights and that’s enough. Anyone who says that they need patents is either a liar or someone who profits from it, usually without writing a single line of code.

The “EPO’s Investigative Unit Exposed” series will continue very soon.

The EPO’s Investigative Unit Exposed: Part III

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Investigative” is an understatement, maybe even a euphemism

Florian Andres

Summary: A closer look at what has become known as the ‘gestapo’ of the EPO, starting with the founder of the Investigative Unit (I.U.), Florian Andres

PARTS I and II examined the roots of the EPO‘s Investigative Unit, known internally as the 'gestapo'. Starting today, our plan is to explain what makes up the notorious Investigative Unit and who is doing what.

Our series is likely to upset some managers at the EPO, but we can assure the management that our new sources don’t have a personal grudge. They just want to inform the world what is happening inside the EPO. The EPO’s management likes to brag about “transparency”, so we are basically trying to help. Seeing that the EPO sure does struggle when it comes to transparency, we believe that transparency can also come from below.

“The EPO’s management likes to brag about “transparency”, so we are basically trying to help.”We begin our in-depth series with Florian Andres, former PD 0.6 and founder of the Investigative Unit. “Mr. Andres was appointed by Battistelli,” explained a source to us, “as the Principal Director of Internal Audit and Oversight (PDIAO or PD 0.6) sometime in 2010 or 2011 and he held this position until his retirement in December 2014.

“Mr. Andres oversaw the establishment of the EPO Investigative Unit in 2012.

“In the article entitled "Staat im Staate" ("A state within a state") published in the weekend edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 20/21 December 2014, he was described as “a friendly, bearded man from Switzerland” who was responsible for writing the EPO Investigation Guidelines.”

“His most notable achievement during his time as PD 0.6 seems to have been the “whitewashing” of Željko Topić by means of a sham internal investigation.”

This was reported on by Techrights earlier this year.

Some time ago an anonymous person sent us a photograph of Mr. Andres being confronted by protesting EPO staff in front of the EPO headquarters in Munich. That was on the 17th of October, 2013. It was on the rare occasion of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the signing of the EPC (we strongly advise readers who work for the EPO not to click on this link as it can facilitate tracking by the Investigative Unit and its peripheral goons). To just quote what’s on the page, it’s self-glorifying hogwash which goes as follows:

Hundreds of people joined our celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the signature of the European Patent Convention (EPC) in Munich on 17 October 2013. They heard our keynote speaker Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and leading experts including Tian Lipu, Commissioner of the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office, Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, CEO of GE Europe, and Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom. These panellists, moderated by Nina Dos Santos of CNN, debated the role of innovation in driving the European economy and how the EPC can continue to ensure that Europe maintains its place amongst the leaders in technological innovation.

It’s interesting to see the CEO of TomTom in there. Remember what Microsoft did to TomTom in Europe using its now-maligned software patents (which probably should never have been granted in the first place).

In the next part we are going to look at other key (high-profile) members of the I.U. We won’t delve into their personal lives; that’s what the I.U. does to its victims and we won’t descend down to its rather shameful levels.

The photo of Florian Andres was taken at demonstrations in a public space in front of the main EPO building in Munich and has been pixellated in order to obscure other persons present.

More Information Emerges About the Microsoft-Red Hat Patent Agreement

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good for Red Hat, not so much for anybody else…

Red Hat and Microsoft

Summary: Informed (GNU/Linux-centric) journalists who looked beyond the misleading press releases and the distracting marketing campaign have managed to find out and highlight the patent issues associated with the Red Hat-Microsoft deal

AS WE noted in our previous coverage, Red Hat does not want anyone to speak about — let alone know — the patent aspects of its deal with Microsoft. Most articles, following a dry (on facts, not on marketing) press release, say nothing about it. Here is one puff piece that plays along with the “Microsoft Loves Linux” narrative, which is extremely misleading (lulling us into dangerous optimism). The author writes: “It’s a long way from the days when the former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described Linux as a “cancer.” Last year his successor, Satya Nadella, proclaimed that “Microsoft Loves Linux” mainly because of its importance in the cloud.” No, Nadella is still attacking Linux and Android using patents. Consider the deals with Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS and Dell. Patent extortion in action!

“Microsoft Loves Linux” hype… is just not true… covertly spread open-source-related FUD…”
      –Simon Phipps
We quite liked Simon Phipps’ take on this (without IDG’s editorial shadow). He is the former head of the OSI, so this matters a lot. He wrote:

All the same, let’s be clear that all the “Microsoft Loves Linux” hype I saw at SUSECon in Amsterdam yesterday and at other events earlier this year is just not true. Microsoft Azure loves Linux, there is no doubt; it is a basic requirement for them to become relevant on a cloud market dominated by AWS and Linux. They have been out in force at every commercially-oriented open source I have attended this year and have a full-scale charm offensive in place.

But the rest of the company still does not. They still seem to covertly spread open-source-related FUD about LibreOffice here in Europe. They haven’t foresworn making embedded Linux vendors pay for patent licenses of dubious necessity. The Azure business unit is certainly embracing the ecosystem the same as many before them have done so in their steps towards open source. But the Windows and Office business units show no signs of “loving” Linux and only modest signs of co-existing with open source.


If they want to signal the end of hostilities, step one is to sign the Mozilla Open Software Patent License Agreement or join OIN. Until one of those happens, I remain sceptical of Microsoft’s love for Linux.

“Microsoft” and “Love” don’t belong in the same sentence. These sociopaths, as I only recently found out, tried to get me fired from my job. Microsoft hardly even behaves like a normal company. It’s more like an informant (of the NSA among others) and a cult, led by a fake ‘philanthropist’ egoistic thug.

Writing for IDG, Phipps softened his words somewhat and wrote: “Software patents have also been a sticking point. Red Hat made clear that it does not acknowledge the validity or enforceability of Microsoft’s patents, but all the same has demanded a stand-still agreement guaranteeing neither company will pursue patent claims against the other or its customers. There’s no indication whether this extends to partner ecosystems.

“As opposed to the Novell SUSE patent covenant, the Red Hat Microsoft partnership now provides for what Red Hat is referring to as a patent standstill in the FAQ.”
      –Sean Michael Kerner
“That is a key issue for the open source community. While its Azure business unit has been professing love for Linux and smothering everything in penguins, the rest of Microsoft has carried on attacking the Linux ecosystem with patent claims and showing little accommodation for open source in its cash cow Windows and Office endeavors. Azure may be desperate for validation in a tough an competitive market, but the rest of Microsoft still needs to change more than going silent on its antipathy for open source.”

Writing for another big publisher (but not IDG), Sean Michael Kerner shed some light on the patent situation:

The path to the Microsoft Red Hat partnership has followed a long and winding road over a decade of mistrust and competition. In 2007, Microsoft alleged that open-source software infringes on more than 200 of its patents. Previous Microsoft partnerships with Linux vendors, including SUSE (formerly part of Novell), involved a patent covenant to deal with intellectual property issues. At the time of the Novell deal, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was very clear on his views about Linux patents; he noted that Microsoft’s deal was only with Novell SUSE Linux, and others still have an issue with infringing on Microsoft’s intellectual property.

In an FAQ posted by Red Hat, the company states, “Red Hat and Microsoft have agreed to a limited patent arrangement in connection with the commercial partnership for the benefit of mutual customers.” As opposed to the Novell SUSE patent covenant, the Red Hat Microsoft partnership now provides for what Red Hat is referring to as a patent standstill in the FAQ.

In response to a question from eWEEK, Cormier strongly emphasized that Red Hat remains true to its core open-source principles and is not compromising on them in the Microsoft partnership.

“Red Hat and Microsoft did not acknowledge the validity or value of each other’s patents,” Cormier said. “This is a commercial deal spurred by strong customer demand for our solutions to work together.”

“In order for the deal to work, Scott [Guthrie] and I agreed early on that it would only work if neither of us compromised our core business principles, and we did not,” Cormier said.

Senior Red Hat employees who have spoken to me about this have done effectively nothing to refute what I wrote. One of them falsely claimed that I compared this to the Novell deal (I didn’t, it would make no sense).

Not many people have noticed the part about patents because Red Hat did a fine job hiding it. Phoronix just said that “Microsoft and Red Hat have jointly announced a partnership today to “deliver more flexibility and choice” in the cloud.”

That sounds a little bit like Novell and Microsoft trying to characterise their patent deal (colluding against GNU/Linux vendors other than Novell) as “collaboration”, “interoperability”, and so on. Tim Anderson, a Microsoft booster from The Register, did not mention anything about patents.

“Due to layoffs there are limited resources and Microsoft is now counting on patents as a strategy against GNU/Linux. “As other articles from The Register serve to remind us, Vista 10 has been a catastrophe (The Register, to its credit, wrote a great deal about this). Its latest article makes is apparent that OEMs too — not just useds [sic] — will be force-fed Vista 10 pretty soon. As it was put two days ago, “Satya Nadella’s firm has quietly let slip that October 31, 2016, will be the final day for PC makers to buy copies of the operating system for pre-install.”

Microsoft cannot maintain Windows like it did back in the days of Windows XP. Due to layoffs there are limited resources and Microsoft is now counting on patents as a strategy against GNU/Linux. It promotes people accordingly. Let’s not forget other assaults on GNU/Linux, such as UEFI restricted boot, which complicates and at times makes impossible installation of GNU/Linux on whiteboxes.

Dutch Political Action Against the EPO’s Management Greater Than Previously Estimated

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John KerstensSummary: Sharon Gesthuizen and John Kerstens (left) only two among many more who are actively working to stop Battistelli’s reign of terror

TECHRIGHTS has received constructive correction regarding this article from two days ago, covering the EPO scandals. Our ‘error’ is not quite realising just how big the political motion against the EPO management really has become in Dutch Parliament.

Some of our readers “think that [we] may have understated the significance of the “Motion by Gesthuizen/Kerstens concerning adherence by the European Patent Organisation to international legislation”.

“John Kerstens of the Dutch Labour Party and some of his parliamentary colleagues in the Dutch Parliament have been very active tabling various questions about EPO matters over the last few years.”

“John Kerstens of the Dutch Labour Party and some of his parliamentary colleagues in the Dutch Parliament have been very active tabling various questions about EPO matters over the last few years.”
      –Anonymous reader
“But this time round, it was more than just a parliamentary question. Supported by Sharon Gesthuizen from the Socialist Party, Kerstens tabled a motion that was voted on by the Parliament. The results of the vote can be found here.”

One reader says “this means that a national parliament of a host state* of the EPO has passed a motion calling on the government of that country “to do all that is possible to force the European Patent Organisation to adhere to international legislation”.

“In case you are interested, here’s list of the Dutch politicians that have been involved in tabling parliamentary questions at both national and European level:

Labour Party

Socialist Party

We welcome corrective or additive feedback as it helps accuracy of our articles. We do, however, advise people to do this anonymously, for their own protection.
* The EPO “host states” are Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. The EPO headquarters are in Munich. There is a small branch office in Berlin dating from the “Cold War” era. The main branch office is in Rijswijk (a suburb of the Hague) in the Netherlands. There is a further small branch office in Vienna which is responsible for publications and associated ancillary tasks.

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