Summary: An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows
This is the first show to have been recorded this year and hopefully the resumption of TechBytes as a weekly of bi-weekly show. We are hoping to facilitate live broadcasting of the show as well (coming soon). The show officially turns 5 in just 4 weeks from now.
2000+ people have already watched Tim’s video and that is potentially 2000 people that might not use Linux based on invalid arguments.
Hopefully a few more people will read this article and therefore redress the balance somewhat.
Before I go I wanted to mention that Tim has produced his own counter argument called “5 Reasons To Use Linux”. The points in that video state that Linux is multikernel, is open source, has support for many different hardware devices such as the Raspberry PI, has lots of distros (which kind of counters against point 5 in the reasons not to use Linux) and finally it is free.
Now there are concrete numbers to show that Chromebooks are in fact beating the sales of Windows notebooks. Microsoft fans may not accept it, but Microsoft knows how credible a threat Chrome OS is: That is why they ran an anti-Chromebook ad campaign, and why, we presume, they have created strategies to counter Chromebooks. You don’t come up with such plans to mute a non existing threat.
The non-profit organization called The Linux Foundation has announced that they are offering free Chromebooks to all students who enroll in their Linux training program during the month of September 2015.
Asus’s new Chromebook Flip isn’t the first touchscreen Chromebook we’ve fondled here at The Register. That accolade belongs to the Lenovo N20p. But since the N20p has been discontinued in the UK, Asus needn’t worry about its new convertible being overshadowed by it.
“Everyone has their Chrome OS.” That’s a theory a co-worker and I came up with, hypothesizing that everyone has that niche piece of technology that they unabashedly love. For my co-worker, that’s Windows Phone, but for me, my “Chrome OS” is, in fact, Chrome OS. Despite all the jeers and sneers I get on a weekly basis, I wanted to prove just how useful Chrome OS actually is. For all the naysayers who claim you can’t do work on a Chromebook, I’m here to tell you that you can – to a point. Here’s what happened when I spent a month using only Chrome OS.
I have to confess: I sort of hate laptops. It’s a thing with me. I have so many customisations and tweaks on my Windows desktop that using a laptop either feels like a crippled experience, or a hassle managing two separate computers. I also don’t tend to buy expensive laptops because I don’t use them often enough to make the price tag worth it. It’s safe to say that my experience will not reflect everyone’s needs.
Google decided to put its container project Kubernetes [ku-ber-net-ease] out in the wild because “there is power in open source”, its co-founder tells ComputerworldUK.
The project, which aims to simplify containers for organisations looking for faster app launch and scale-out, began as a “grand experiment”, Kubernetes’ co-founder Craig McLuckie reveals. During the build, he discovered that if Google built a cloud platform in the open, “it would be better across any measurable dimension.”
For this, GENCI will have access to some of the most advanced high performance computing technologies from the rapidly expanding OpenPower ecosystem, which includes a wide range of computing solutions that use IBM’s licensable and open POWER processor technology. OpenPower is supported by more than 140 OpenPower Foundation members and thousand of developers worldwide.
Jiri Kosina sent in his pull requests for code he maintains within the mainline Linux kernel, with one of the notable subsystems being the HID updates.
Most notable to the HID feature updates for Linux 4.3 are yet more Wacom driver improvements, which are a mention for almost every kernel cycle. Wacom highlights for Linux 4.3 include support for the Express Key Remote and various bug-fixes and feature work.
While yesterday it looked like the EXT3 driver would be removed in Linux 4.3 as the pull request was sent in and there were no objections brought up last month when it was proposed, Linus Torvalds has taken issue with removing the driver.
The IBM s390 architecture will gain fake NUMA support with the upcoming Linux 4.3 for providing faster performance under some workloads.
Martin Schwidefsky sent in the s390 patches for Linux 4.3 and there he mentioned the main highlight being this “fake NUMA” (Non-Unified Memory Architecture) support. “The big one is support for fake NUMA, splitting a really large machine in more manageable piece improves performance in some cases, e.g. for a KVM host.”
Now we come to the systemd controversy. It started as a replacement for something called init. A running Linux system has about 20 different programs running in userspace. When the system boots up, it has only one, a program called “init”. This program then launches all the remaining userspace programs.
Fixing a broken Linux System can be a cumbersome job if you don’t have the idea of what exactly is going on. What most of us do when we gets a broken Linux system? Most of us searches the forum and/or google about the problem. While we hate troubles, how about installing a ‘Trouble Maker‘ application, which essentially creates troubles, gives you hard time and want you to fix broken system.
Guild Software has announced the release of a new maintenance version of its popular Vendetta Online 3D space combat MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) for GNU/Linux, Android, Mac OS X, iOS, and Microsoft Windows OSes.
As part of an ongoing series of asking you stuff, today I ask “What was your favourite Linux game release from August?”.
Personally, I’m seriously torn on this, as we had quite a number of great releases, but I think it’s going to have to be Company of Heroes 2. The game has hooked me in with the interesting cut-scenes, and the great gameplay.
However, as shared last week, Arma 3′s Linux future isn’t entirely clear. The beta is now public, but based on sales and other factors will determine whether it will be maintained for the longhaul and graduate from beta.
The Unreal Engine 4.9 game engine update brings significant improvements to mobile Android/iOS support, Steam VR and Gear VR support updates, experimental DirectX 12 support, editor improvements, and a wide range of renderer advancements to boost the visuals.
Aside from “every frame being perfect” with Wayland among its many advantages over X11, another benefit will be for greater power-savings in properly implemented software when a display is turned-off/sleeping.
The developers of the Ubuntu-based Netrunner Linux distribution have announced the immediate availability for download of the second point release of their LTS (Long-Term Support) version of Netrunner 14.
Tomasz Jokiel from the Porteus Linux project announced earlier the release and immediate availability for download of the Porteus Kiosk 3.5.0 operating system based on Gentoo Linux, after being in development for approximately three months.
Today, we are pleased to announce the beta availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, the latest version of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 beta includes a number of new features and enhancements – furthering Red Hat’s mission to redefine the enterprise operating system – while continuing to provide the stability, reliability, and security required to meet both the demands of the modern datacenter and next-generation IT requirements. A focus on security, manageability and system administration, as well as a continued emphasis on the functionality to build and deploy Linux containers, helps Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 beta provide enterprises a trusted path towards the future of information technology.
After announcing the release of the DebEX KDE Linux distribution and the availability of a custom Linux 4.2 kernel for Ubuntu- and Debian-based operating systems, Arne Exton is now happy to inform us about the immediate availability for download of the GNOME edition of his DebEX Linux distribution.
Since last December we’ve been receiving emails from a company working on an Ubuntu Tablet inspired by the failed Ubuntu Edge campaign. That company is apparently going to start accepting pre-orders for their device soon with hopes of shipping this unofficial Ubuntu Tablet in January.
The last we heard of this Ubuntu tablet was earlier in the year when they shared with us their Intel specifications on this tablet and in March had shared expected pricing on the tablet with hopes of shipping the device later this calendar year. Last week I received an unsolicited email from Mark Jun of MJ Technology.
The Ubuntu Kernel Team at Canonical had their regular meeting on September 1, announcing the rebasing of Ubuntu 15.10′s development kernel packages, the master-next branch, on the recently released Linux 4.2 kernel.
Linux-based operating systems are like those friends you make in high school–you know the type: reserved, quirky and not quite like the rest of the pack. But intelligent and the kind that, once you get to know them, will stand by you through thick and thin.
Ok, that may be a stretch, but you get the idea. Linux comprises but a fraction of a percent of operating systems deployed, and with reason–it’s traditionally been difficult to set up and use. Which is why it used to appeal only to users with a higher level of computer proficiency: basically geeks. But while this was the case back in the day, plenty has changed–today installing and using it is very comparable to the Windows experience.
The lead developer and creator of the Linux Mint and Cinnamon projects, Clement Lefebvre, announced earlier today, September 2, that the upcoming Cinnamon 2.8 desktop environment will offer a visual workspace switcher applet.
F&S announced a COM that runs Linux on Freescale’s Cortex-A7 based i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, and offers dual Ethernet, WiFi, and an industrial temperature range.
Since May, when Freescale unveiled its new, Cortex-A7 based i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, we’ve seen several announcements of computer-on-module products that incorporate the new, more power-efficient processor. These include two products from TechNexion — an EDM form-factor COM and a module fits in an Intel Edison socket — plus an SODIMM-style COM from iWave Systems. Now, F&S Elektronik Systeme has announced that it is adding an i.MX6 UltraLite-based “efus-A7UL” module to its “efus” COM family.
After reporting last week news about the Ubuntu MATE 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) operating system running on the Banana Pi BPI-M1 SBC (Single-board computer) device, we’re informing you today that Snappy Ubuntu Core runs on Banana Pi BPI-M2.
Samsung unveiled its Tizen Linux-based Gear S2 smartwatch, which it teased a few weeks ago at the recent Galaxy Note 5 and Edge S6+ launch. The round-faced watch boasts up to three days battery life and features a rotating bezel to augment the touchscreen UI. It will also be available in a slightly thicker 3G model with up to two hours of life that supports voice calls, according to a report from The Verge.
IT has spent lot of time and money in the last five years to secure mobile apps, considering technologies such as mobile application management servers, app wrapping, app containers, thin-client-style Web apps, and even mobile virtualization.
But IT has spent very little effort on actual mobile apps. As a result, mobile devices continue to be largely user-driven, email-oriented devices that IT simultaneously fears for spurious security reasons and considers a poor substitute for a real PC. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re looking for the absolute best value Android smartphone out there: Yep. Yep, you should. The only hesitation you should feel in your heart is that Google will most likely be announcing two Nexus smartphones possibly by the end of the month. A Google Phone means two devices very similar to the Moto X, definitely getting upcoming Marshmallow update first, and ones that could even be a part of Google’s new Project Fi wireless service.
But what Nexus most likely won’t have is a look tailored specifically to you and legitimately useful Moto apps you’ll want to use. Pull the trigger or wait—it’s a win-win.
Lenovo says improvements have also been made to the projector inside, which has gotten brighter and can now beam out a 70-inch picture — and you can point it at either the wall or your ceiling this time. Sound quality is also a major focus, as the Yoga 3 Tab Pro has four front-facing speakers and what Lenovo describes as “virtualized Dolby Atmos” for an experience the company says can replicate surround sound. Such claims rarely pan out, but if you need to throw on a Netflix movie for a small room or restless kids (like say, when Netflix gets first dibs on Disney films next year), it might work out just fine.
There are several reasons. If you have an idea for a utility or framework or whatever, and you would like the support of an entire community of developers, open source is a great way to go. If you want your code “out there” so it can be reviewed and critiqued (which will improve your skills), open source is a good solution. If you are just out of school and want to establish yourself and show off your coding skills, start an open source project. Finally, if you’re altruistic and just want to help the software community at large, yes, please, start an open source project.
Version 2.0 of CloudRouter , an open source router designed for the cloud, is actually two versions, one based on CentOS Linux, for network operators looking for a stable version with long support cycle, and another based on Fedora for rapid iteration of new features, Jay Turner, CloudRouter project lead and senior director of DevOps at IIX , tells Light Reading.
The founding members are Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix. The goal is to “create a new, open royalty-free video codec specification based on the contributions of members, along with binding specifications for media format, content encryption and adaptive streaming.” The word open is used many times in the announcement, but only once with source. Is “open” the same thing as “open source?” Roy Schestowitz at Tuxmachines.org doesn’t think so. He organized the news of the AOM under the title “OpenWashing (Fake FOSS).”
It is difficult to trust some of these players, but Mozilla’s David Bryant today wrote that the work will be released under a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the GNU GPL.
As of today, just after Microsoft announced its membership in the Open Media Alliance, they also quietly changed the internal development status of Vorbis, Opus, WebM and VP9 to indicate they intend to ship all of the above in the new Windows Edge browser. Cue spooky X-files theme music.
Mozilla, the foundation behind the Firefox Web browser, may declare in its mission statement that “the Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible,” but it’s going to have a hard time realizing that vision with less than 1 percent of the mobile market share globally.
Being a company with a core value to “Embrace Open Source,” when it came to launching a public cloud service it made sense to want that offering grounded upon powerful, versatile open source software that could deliver scalability, resiliency, and security. Because of that, it was an easy choice to base it upon OpenStack’s open source platform – and here’s why.
More businesses may be trialling Hadoop within their organisations to gain insight into unstructured data, but it is the ability to cut storage costs that will drive mainstream enterprise adoption, according to WANdisco’s CEO.
David Richards, the chief exec of the company which is co-headquartered between Silicon Valley and Sheffield, says that fast-growing data demands mean that those who do not adopt open source tools such as Hadoop are at a competitive disadvantage.
Ever since the LibreOffice open-source office suite was forked from the Oracle OpenOffice suite in 2010, its community of developers has been working to improve it. The latest evolution of LibreOffice, version 5.0.1, came out Aug. 27 and provides users with new features and improved performance. LibreOffice bundles multiple components as part of the suite, including the Writer Document, Calc Spreadsheet, Impress Presentation, Draw, Math Formula and Base Database applications. Being able to import and export in multiple formats has always been an important element of LibreOffice’s interoperability capabilities. In LibreOffice 5.0.1, Writer now has improved Apple Pages document import capabilities. For PDF export, the ability to time-stamp a document is now enabled. Manipulating images is now improved across the suite, with the ability to crop an image with a mouse. The Calc spreadsheet now benefits from improved formula handling as well as new conditional formatting capabilities. LibreOffice is typically available as the default office suite in many Linux distributions and is also freely available for Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows applications. Here, eWEEK takes a look at key features of LibreOffice 5.0.1.
So for this issue that coincides with pupils around the country heading back to school, we’re supplying our own guide to help you and your children get a head start with coding in Python, using the Pi at school, choosing the best languages for the jobs you want to do and taking a first step into developing web applications.
Last month we looked at the argument that the open source business model is flawed because selling maintenance and support subscriptions doesn’t provide companies with enough revenue to differentiate their products from the underlying open source software or to compete with the sales and marketing efforts of proprietary software companies. The argument was advanced by Peter Levine, a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.
At the recent Open Daylight Summit, Margaret Chiosi, the Distinguished Network Architect said, “We don’t need money. We need participants. We need people to work on use cases and bust things out.” In other words, the open source community is at a point where it needs involvement more than dollars.
Open source increasingly depends on end-users who will create code, contribute documentation, and innovate to make open source projects relevant and useful. In order for open source to continue its upwards trajectory, fully engaged end-users that together create a vibrant and active community are necessary.
LLVM 3.7 along with sub-projects like Clang 3.7.0 have been officially released this afternoon.
Hans Wennborg announced 3.7.0 a few minutes ago on the mailing list. “This release contains the work of the LLVM community over the past six months: full OpenMP 3.1 support (behind a flag), the On Request Compilation (ORC) JIT API, a new backend for Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF), Control Flow Integrity checking, as well as improved optimizations, new Clang warnings, many bug fixes, and more.”
A web developer from South Africa said a bug in a tool for using Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE with code-sharing site GitHub inadvertently exposed his sensitive data – and the error cost him more than $6,500 (£4,250) in just a few hours.
Carlo van Wyk of Cape Town–based Humankode said he used the GitHub Extension for Visual Studio 2015 to commit one of his local Git code repositories to a private repository on GitHub.
Unfortunately, however – and unknown to van Wyk at the time – a bug in the extension caused his code to be committed to a public GitHub repository, rather than a private one as he intended.
VP9, and its planned successor, VP10, is an open-source technology that, like its competitors, compresses online video so that it takes up less capacity on IP networks, making delivery easier and more reliable. Article
There will be blood in September — literally, according to the Internet postings of end-times believers.
The night of September 27-28 will bring a “blood moon.” To skywatchers, it simply refers to the copper color the moon takes on during an eclipse, but to some Christian ministers, the fourth and final eclipse in a tetrad — four consecutive total lunar eclipses, each separated by six lunar months — fulfills biblical prophecy of the apocalypse. (The first three in the series took place April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; and April 4, 2015.)
In promotion for his 2013 book “Four Blood Moons,” Christian minister John Hagee claimed that the tetrad was a sign of the end.
“The coming four blood moons points to a world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015,” he said.
Something stinks about Europe’s trash. A two-year investigation into Europe’s electronic waste found that most of it is stolen, mismanaged, illegally traded, or just plain thrown away.
The European Union has guidelines on how to correctly dispose of unwanted electronics, like IT equipment, household appliances, or medical devices. But, according to a report published Sunday by the United Nations University and INTERPOL, only 35 per cent of electronic waste was disposed of correctly in 2012.
Manuel Blum, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who won the Turing Award in 1995, has been working on what he calls “human computable” passwords that are not only relatively secure but also don’t require us to memorize a different one for each site. Instead, we learn ahead of time an algorithm and a personal, private key, and we use them with the website’s name to create and re-create our own unique passwords on the fly for any website at any time.
A car manufacturer recalled more than a million cars following security concerns about car hacking, as the National Insurance Crime Bureau issued an alert about a “mystery device” being used to break into vehicles by defeating the electronic locking system of later-model cars.
So-called connected car “convenience technology” could put consumers at risk.
“Right now, what has happened is the digital key fob has become a way for someone to steal your car,” NICB investigator James “Herb” Price said.
We recently ran a sponsored series from Fox Technologies on Linux.com. We want to thank the company for its support and for sharing useful information for SysAdmins and developers alike. Fox Technologies is continuing the conversation with a free webinar September 17 that will address security considerations in moving from VMs to containers. More information about this webinar is below.
Citigroup has published an analysis of the costs of various energy sources called “Energy Darwinism II.” It concludes that if all the costs of generation are included (known as the levelized cost of energy), renewables turn out to be cheaper than fossil fuels and a “benefit rather than a cost to society,” RenewEconomy reports.
“Capital costs are often cited by the promoters of fossil fuels as evidence that coal and gas are, and will, remain cheaper than renewable energy sources such as wind and gas. But this focuses on the short-term only — a trap repeated by opponents of climate action and clean energy, who focus on the upfront costs of policies.
Actually, fuel costs can “account for 80 per cent of the cost of gas-fired generation, and more than half the cost of coal,” RenewEconomy says.
Three senior scientists who collectively produced two decades of government research on controlling badgers to reduce bovine TB are among a group of eminent experts to call for an immediate halt to the badger cull. The intervention comes as figures reveal the government has spent nearly £7,000 killing each badger so far.
Professor Lord Krebs, Professor John Bourne and Professor Ranald Munro write of their disappointment that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has extended the controversial cull to Dorset and called on it to immediately reconsider its decision to continue culling badgers.
On Sunday, the New York Times maintained a long, proud tradition of uncritically repeating official claims that the US—despite having twice the population, eight times the military budget and a nominal economy almost ten times as large—is “lagging behind” Russia on a key military strategic objective…
So here we have it: Pro-NATO think tanks and military brass feed a narrative to the Times, the Times prints it with little skepticism, then these very same forces turn around and use this reporting to justify its military buildup. The crucial question as to whether or not America is objectively “lagging behind” is never really approached critically.
More importantly, the normative question as to whether the US has any intrinsic obligation or right to maintain parity with Russia in the Arctic is never brought up. The assumption is just taken for granted, and once it is, US military officials and their friendly establishment press are off to the races debating how—not if—they can amass more military brass in another corner of the globe.
This is nothing new, of course. Ominous warnings about “gaps” with the Russians are a decades-long tradition in US and Western media. Over the past few years alone, the US has “lagged behind” the dreaded Russians in the following departments:
Online and traditional propaganda
Now let’s remember: Russia’s military budget is one-eighth the size of the US’s—and 1/14th as large as NATO’s cumulative $1 trillion in annual military spending. But we’ve been here before. During the Cold War, the public was constantly told the US was “lagging behind” Russia in developing enough nuclear weapons.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday ruled against India over its national solar energy program in a case brought by the U.S. government, sparking outrage from labor and environmental advocates.
As power demands grow in India, the country’s government put forth a plan to create 100,000 megawatts of energy from solar cells and modules, and included incentives to domestic manufacturers to use locally-developed equipment.
It’s always dangerous when followers of an insular cult gain positions of power. Unfortunately, that appears to be the case with the Washington Post editorial board and the Federal Reserve Board cultists.
The Federal Reserve Board cultists adhere to a bizarre belief that the 19 members (12 voting) of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) live in a rarified space where the narrow economic concerns of specific interest groups don’t impinge on their thinking. According to the cultists, when the Fed sits down to decide on its interest rate policy, they are acting solely for the good of the country.
Those of us who live in the reality-based community know that the Fed is hugely responsive to the interests of the financial sector. There are many reasons for this. First, the 12 Fed district banks are largely controlled by the banks within the district, which directly appoint one-third of the bank’s directors. The presidents of these banks occupy 12 of the 19 seats (five of the voting seats) on the FOMC.
A lawyer representing two Vice News journalists and their assistant on Tuesday denounced a Turkish court’s decision to arrest them on terror-related charges, calling it a government attempt to deter foreign media from reporting on the conflict with Kurdish rebels.
The arrests have prompted strong protests from media rights advocates, the U.S. and the European Union.
An Australian reporter for the ABC, Will Ockenden published a bunch of his metadata, and asked people to derive various elements of his life. They did pretty well, even though they were amateurs, which should give you some idea what professionals can do.
Yes, the WSJ has a right to see these files… but not until the DOJ decides these investigations are really and truly over — a determination that has yet to be reached for files zooming past the half-decade mark.
The oral arguments delivered in June provide a little more insight into the DOJ’s thought processes — mainly that it should be the sole arbiter of document releases. The DOJ went past the constraints of its earlier argument — that “open” investigations are not subject to “common law access” — by claiming that documents used in the course of investigations, even closed ones, are not public records.
After searching through the Ashley Madison database and private email last week, I reported that there might be roughly 12,000 real women active on Ashley Madison. Now, after looking at the company’s source code, it’s clear that I arrived at that low number based in part on a misunderstanding of the evidence. Equally clear is new evidence that Ashley Madison created more than 70,000 female bots to send male users millions of fake messages, hoping to create the illusion of a vast playland of available women.
The closure of the station appeared prompted in part by pressure from other European Union nations trying to cope with the influx of thousands of migrants flowing through Hungary. Europe has been overwhelmed by a surge of migrants, with over 332,000 arriving so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Over 100,000 Irish Water protesters turned up on Saturday for another massive show of opposition towards the unfair second tax on the nation’s water supply. The high numbers were a definite message to the unpopular Fine Gael and Labour government. The movement which is made up of many parts, will not be going anywhere until they end their plan to continue with a tax that is one too many under the austerity policy.
A FORMER US SECRET SERVICE AGENT HAD ADMITTED to charges relating to the theft of digital currency collected during the investigations into the Silk Road and its criminal activities.
The Silk Road is, or was, an online bazaar for the sort of things that can be bought in the real world. It was smashed apart by hard working agents in a successful effort that was later revealed to be tarnished.
Unfortunately two lone, former secret service workers have put their hands up to the theft of bitcoins gathered during the raids, and admitted that this was the wrong thing to do.
Over the weekend, Spencer Ackerman published a fairly incredible story about a newly appointed West Point professor, William Bradford, who had written a paper, published in the National Security Law Journal, entitled Trahison Des Professeurs, in which he argues (among other things) that US academics who oppose current US anti-terror policy should themselves be targets for killing as a “fifth column.”
Dr. Peter Moskos: “There’s Not A Result Of Cops Getting Killed From Black Lives Matter … There Are Fewer Cops Shot This Year Than Last Year. Are You Willing To Give Black Lives Matter Credit For That?”
The government is coming under increasing pressure to take in more refugees from the war in Syria, with former foreign secretary David Miliband saying on Wednesday that not welcoming more refugees would be “an abandonment of the UK’s humanitarian traditions” of the 1930s and ’40s.
However, David Cameron has said there is little point taking in “more and more” refugees, adding that it’s more important to bring “peace and stability” to the areas refugees are coming from. So far, 216 people have been accepted under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, with a further 2,000 asylum applications from Syrians in the 12 months before June.
Fans of movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z are waking up to bad news this morning after Netflix revealed in a Sunday evening blog post that it will not renew its contract with Epix, the premium cable channel whose deal with Netflix put those movies (and plenty of others) on the streaming service.
The recent leak of the intellectual property chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently entering its 7th year of negotiation, shows that New Zealand’s negotiators are doing a good job holding the line against more restrictive copyright laws. Things like allowing righsholders to veto parallel imports, mandatory statutory damages and requiring consent for transient automatic copying of files as they transfer across the internet, which would have taken an axe to our copyright law, now all appear to be off the table. Unfortunately, longer copyright terms and criminalisation of technological protection measures are still there, so not all is won.
I’ve written before though about some of the things that aren’t even in TPP and which are needed to level the playing field, particularly with the US. One of those things is fair use, a US law defence, which creates a broad and flexible exception to the exclusive rights a rightsholder would otherwise have. So, for example, US cases have held 2 Live Crew’s parody of Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman, even though it was for commercial gain, was fair use. Links and thumbnails created by search engines have also been held to be fair use. Google also claims that its scanning of tens of millions of books without permission, is fair use. Timeshifting TV programmes for later viewing is fair use. The US Supreme Court has sent Google and Oracle back to the Federal Court in San Francisco to decide if Google’s use of Oracle owned java APIs is fair use. The list goes on. Of course, for a rightsholder, a successful fair use defence can put a big hole in its exclusive rights – that’s why Oracle is fighting so hard in its API case.
Australia National University’s Dr. George Barker suggested that New Zealand could do well by strengthening its copyright legislation. He warned against the fair dealing exceptions that have crept into the law and asked, “Why not have copyright law like property law—i.e. it lasts forever?”
That is a good question. And it is an important one as New Zealand and other countries consider extending the term of copyright under the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Current New Zealand law maintains copyright in written and artistic works for 50 years after the death of the writer. Copyright in film and sound recordings is shorter, lasting 50 years from the works being first made available. While the text of the TPP is not yet public, it appears that the agreement would extend copyright’s duration to 70 years from the death of the creator.
The U.S. Government says it’s in no way responsible for the fate of Megaupload’s servers, which were raided and seized as part of the criminal proceedings against the file-sharing site. The authorities reject the proposal that they should buy the servers to preserve user data and other evidence.
Posted in Patents at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Yet another “over the Internet” patent gets flagged
Summary: Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations
“Stupid Patent Of The Month” this month was mentioned by the EFF on the last day of August, giving us another glimpse at “over the Internet” patents — so-called ‘innovations’ that basically involve just connecting an existing thing to the Internet. It’s a sham and an embarrassment to the USPTO. Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations is just a litigation apparatus, which makes it a classic patent troll, not just holder of an ugly patent.
The EFF’s rant (composed by Daniel Nazer) was reprinted in TechDirt, as usual, stating: “Imagine if the inventor of the Segway claimed to own “any thing that moves in response to human commands.” Or if the inventor of the telegraph applied for a patent covering any use of electric current for communication. Absurdly overbroad claims like these would not be allowed, right? Unfortunately, the Patent Office does not do a good job of policing overly broad claims. August’s Stupid Patent of the Month, U.S. Patent No. 8,788,090, is a stark example of how these claims promote patent trolling.
“A patent troll called Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, LLC (“RCDI”) owns a family of patents on a system of customizing products. Each of these patents stems from the same 2006 application. The idea is simple: connect some kind of product mixer to the Internet and allow users to make custom orders. The application suggests using the system to make beverages or shampoo.”
This is basically a software patent and it ought to be thrown out along with many other patents that are equally ridiculous. Watch Apple‘s latest ludicrous patent to have made headlines. Putting smoke detection “over the Internet” or “on a phone” is now deemed patentable too? Were the patent examiners drunk?
“The problem is not just various particular companies but the system itself. Until or unless it correct itself this abuse will carry on.”“Patents need to be questioned,” wrote IP Kat today, “questioning whether we have that balance right.” Alluding to the recent articles from The Economist (almost a month later), the author “notes the magazine’s support for the abolition of the UK patent system in the 19th century. The Economist is not immune to flip-flopping (e.g. flip-flops on African economies). TechDirt finds flip-flops on patents in the last five years. In 2015, The Economist is arguing in favour of patent policy reform with higher thresholds for patentability and shorter terms in what they call a “rough-and-ready” system.”
It is clear that the aforementioned RCDI patent is not just some rotten apple. Many other patents are equally ridiculous if not even more ridiculous. The problem is not just various particular companies but the system itself. Until or unless it correct itself this abuse will carry on. █
Summary: Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)
TECHRIGHTS has chronicled the post-Alice aftermath and the demise of software patents in the United States for well over a year. We wrote about the subject dozens of times and gave examples of cases that demonstrate change, both at the courts (rulings against patents) and at the patent office (examination guidelines being tightened).
The USPTO‘s evolving guidelines for examiners are very much instructed by courts’ decisions. Each time a court invalidates a patent granted by the USPTO it serves to discredit the USPTO and decrease confidence in (or perceived worth of) USPTO patents. According to this interesting new post from a pro-patents blog, the “USPTO provides the following data on petitions challenging examiner decisions:
– the average decision time on petitions challenging a final Restriction Requirement is 91 days, with a 47% grant rate.
– the average decision time on petitions challenging the finality of a rejection is 46 days, with a 39% grant rate.
There are many more statistics there, based on petitioners’ data. Even more interesting, however, was this other pro-patents blog. Usually patent lawyers are denying the magnitude and weight of the Alice case, but this one admits the harsh reality (for patent lawyers):
Courts Everywhere are Finding Software Patents Invalid, So What Next?
The Supreme Court’s June 2014 ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank calls into question the eligibility for patent protection of these issued utility patents on computer software, and is a barrier to future applications on computer software. Alice and its progeny compel software developers to look beyond patents to protect their intellectual property. What are these alternatives? When and how can they be used?
In Alice, the Supreme Court found that an issued patent protecting high frequency trading software was invalid because it was directed to patent ineligible subject matter. Unfortunately, the Court provided little or no direction as to how to determine patent ineligibility. The Court said that a “patent-ineligible concept” is “an abstract idea.” So the natural next question must be: What is an abstract idea? The Court defined “an abstract idea” as “[a]n idea of itself,” or one that is “a fundamental truth.”
With the issued patent challenged in Alice, the Court used this definition to deem them directed to an “abstract idea” and therefore patent ineligible. But the Court did not explain how the patented claims were “drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement” in the high frequency trading software realm. The Court did not pinpoint what fundamental truth the patents purported to protect such that they were ineligible.
We are gratified to see that people no other than the pro-patents crowd are coming to grips with the demise of software patents, even in the United States.
“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”
Summary: What Microsoft et al. call ‘Next-Generation Open Media Formats’ are basically neither open nor acceptable (it’s DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub ‘Open Source Tools’ are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse
“Alliance for Open Media” is the latest Orwellian name/title for that which casts DRM collusion as “open”. Typical DRM proponents are part of it (Microsoft included) and so is Mozilla, which joined the DRM cartel about a year ago, causing much anger among many of its strongest supporters. DRM is not “open”. It’s not even compatible with the notion of “open” as this strictly requires proprietary software. Mozilla gave up on “openness” when it entered the DRM conspiracy and now we have the press littered by lots of puff pieces that frame DRM as “open” (however they define open, maybe alluding to patents). These are manufactured false perceptions and spin, calling a DRM conspiracy “Next-Gen Video Format” [1, 2, 3]. Here is the press release. It’s hogwash.
It is sad to see the Open Web falling over like this, after the MPAA essentially bribed the World Wide Web Consortium, which had hired a fool from Novell (we wrote a lot about this in prior years). These people are trying to set up ‘standards’ with patents on them and DRM as part of the (secret) ‘standard’. When it comes to what they define to be “open”, it’s just about patents. When a bunch of companies agree not to sue each other (like OIN, which has just added WSO2, but proved rather fruitless when one member, Oracle, sued another, Google). “In joining OIN, an organization dedicated to defending the Linux ecosystem, WSO2 extends its commitment to fostering innovation through open source software,” says the summary from the new press release. That’s nothing to do with innovation. It’s nothing to do with FOSS, either. Many members are proprietary software companies just agreeing on patents being pooled together. Many of these patents pertain to sofwtare and are therefore inherently incompatible with FOSS. Therein lies the core of the latest spin, misleadingly named “Alliance for Open Media”. It’s not a standard but a collusion. That’s what it is. It is, at best, a patent pool.
In other news, we have just come across some truly bizarre openwashing of Microsoft Office. Sam Dean is once again doing a service to his apparent new hero, Satya Nadella. Under a rather misleading headline Dean describes something which facilitates proprietary software as “Open Source”. But it’s not open source, it’s bait for OOXML and proprietary software. Watch the article starting with nonsensical claims:
Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? New CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets previously reported on his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft’s Azure cloud is already Linux-based.
Any GNU/Linux instance running under Microsoft’s control is already compromised, with back doors included. It’s basically dependent on proprietary software from a company which notoriously colludes with the NSA.
Talk about distorting the notion of “openness”…
Those who can successfully ‘sell’ the corruptible media OOXML, Office and DRM as “open” can probably also ‘sell’ it genocidal carpet-bombing as “spreading freedom and democracy”, or disabled people as “special people”. █
“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“
The “no place to hide” (therefore, might as well give up!) propaganda
Credit/Source: The Register
Summary: How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft’s gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to ‘upgrade’ to Vista 10
WE ARE a little baffled to see a whole bunch of ‘news’ stories about Vista 10-esque surveillance being silently/covertly expanded to Vista 7 and Vista 8 through Windows Update. This is not news. It was noted in Techrights last week and also nearly a month ago. What took the corporate media so long to notice reports of these serious privacy violations which may actually be a violation of Microsoft’s EULA (hence susceptibility to legal action) and also render these operating systems inadequate (or illegal) for some firms to use, without any prior warning from Microsoft? China has banned Vista 8 or later (in government at least), but not Vista 7. Microsoft has essentially changed the behaviour of Vista 7 for more data harvesting, making the transition to GNU/Linux more urgent if not imperative. This could potentially lead to lawsuits, too.
“Windows 10 is a deliciously good operating system…” –Microsoft propagandistMicrosoft Peter wrote about this (joining the spin), as did IDG‘s Microsoft apologist (after a lot of Vista 10 promotion). He wrote in an excessively promotional fashion about this. Here is his opening: “Windows 10 is a deliciously good operating system, all things considered, but its abundant user-tracking has prompted many privacy-minded individuals to stay pat with older versions of Windows. Now, Microsoft’s providing those concerned individuals a reason to upgrade.”
So because Microsoft is infringing the privacy of all users now (not just Vista 10) they are urged to upgrade? Where does this spin even come from? Is this like the latest memo to come out from Redmond? It’s gross beyond belief. It’s similar to the previous spin from Microsoft boosters, who insisted that “privacy is dead” anyway (or something along those lines), hence Vista 10 is grand, inevitable, even a trailblazer.
This whole opportunistic spin (as described above) is utterly shameless and editors ought to be checking if the so-called journalists whom they hired are just Microsoft propagandists, serving more like moles for Microsoft, not reporters. Maybe they don’t even mind as long as Microsoft buys advertising space from them (the budget grew around the time of the release of Vista 10). Maybe such ‘writers’ are merely a reward or a bonus to Microsoft. It’s like advertising (sometimes with detailed marketing-like slideshows) in the “content” sections.
Earlier today Jamie Watson asked: “don’t write and ask me what I think about Windows 10. I don’t use it” (but installed on a multi-boot machine).
We are meanwhile seeing the corporate media quoting Microsoft’s claims about number of Vista 10 users as fact, despite Microsoft’s long history of making up numbers, lying, changing definitions to fit some propaganda, etc. A lot of so-called Vista 10 ‘users’ don’t even use it anymore. Some never boot into it. Some tested it as a virtual machine under another system. And so on…
Proprietary (i.e. secret) methods of measuring usage of proprietary software are about as accurate and honest as Microsoft’s characterisations of Free software and GNU/Linux. █
“There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free.”
Wait, Steve, don’t you guys say Vista 10 too is “free”? Like in communism?
The fact that I used Linux and contacted an organization for German and American Linux users was in itself…well, I’ll let you assign any adjectives that you see fit. Now let’s tie in to the only person in Germany I solicited to help me find my baby girl. Let’s place her at the same post office at the exact same moment in time, in the same city of 75 thousand people. Let’s talk about the fact that a woman 30 feet away from the window heard the woman at that window ask for her mail.
The sources believe Xiaomi will likely release a 15-inch notebook as it is the mainstream size in China and will adopt Linux operating system. The notebook is estimated to be priced at CNY2,999 (US$471) and will heap pressure on competitors’ simliar products priced between CNY4,000-6,000.
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced it will give away one Chromebook to every person who enrolls in Linux Foundation training courses during September.
Chromebooks have become increasingly popular these days, with various models burning up the sales charts on Amazon. But what is it about Chromebooks that make them such a formidable competitor to the iPad? In a recent article, CheatSheet listed five reasons why Chromebooks are a better option than Apple’s iPads.
One increasingly popular approach is container-based computing, designed to support flexible, scalable computing. Linux containers, which are just now beginning to find their way into the HPC environment, allow an application to be packaged with its entire software stack, including portions of the base operating system files, user environment variables and application “entry points.”
“Photon Machine” is the name for a new, stripped-back version of ESX that’s being cast as a “microvisor”. The Machine is designed to host virtual machines running Photon OS, the stripped-back version of GNU/Linux that VMware announced in April. To manage both, VMware will also release “Photon Controller”, a control plane that will drive the Machine and OS so that it becomes possible to spawn and manage a great many containers.
The good news: Linux is on the up and moving like a freight train. 87% or organizations added Linux servers this year. About the same will add more Linux next year. Windows deployment has fallen from 46% to 26%
Jiri Slaby, the maintainer of the Linux 3.12 LTS (Long-Term Support) kernel branch, announced the immediate availability for download of the forty-seven maintenance release, a milestone that brings enhancements to various instruction set architectures, as well as many updated drivers.
Three days after the release of the Nvidia 352.41 long-lived branch proprietary video driver for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris operating systems, Nvidia announced on the last day of August the immediate availability for download of the short-lived Nvidia 355.11 graphics driver.
Following this weekend’s Radeon R9 Fury open-source Linux driver tests with the DRM-Next code to be merged into Linux 4.3, the latest Mesa 11.1-devel Git code, and LLVM 3.8 SVN for the AMDGPU compiler back-end, I proceeded to run some bleeding-edge open-source Radeon Gallium3D graphics versus AMD Catalyst Linux benchmarks on Ubuntu.
The outlines of an open source hardware platform continue to come into focus with the introduction of what is claimed by university researchers to be the first general purpose graphics processor design.
On the Plasma workspaces Display Power Management Signaling (DPMS) is handled by the power management daemon (powerdevil). After a configurable idle time it signals the X-Server through the X11 DPMS Extension. The X-Server handles the timeout, switching to a different DPMS level and restoring to enabled after an input event all by itself.
The CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) open-source and cross-platform printing system for GNU/Linux and Mac OS X operating systems reached version 2.1 after being in development for approximately three months.
In a recent interview with PC Gamer, lead producer Brandon Adler of Obsidian said, “I don’t think it was worthwhile developing for Linux. They are a very, very small portion of our active user base – I think around one and a half percent of our users were Linux.”
The idea of gaming on Linux PCs used to be nothing more than a cruel joke—so much so that many Linux enthusiasts dual-booted Windows in order to play PC games. But thanks to the impending release of Valve’s army of Steam Machines, Linux gaming is on the rise, with dozens of big-name PC games going Linux native in recent months. Now for the bad news: The makers of one of 2015’s best games regret their decision to embrace Linux.
DiRT should now work properly right away with most gamepads, instead of you needing to rotate sticks and press a bunch of buttons to get it working each time. I’m looking forward to them adding this behaviour into older ports too.
It’s my pleasure to announce the Open Beta version of Marble Maps for Android. Marble Maps is a port of the Desktop application Marble Virtual Globe and right now features an OpenStreetMap viewer, search and routing. The app is not yet feature complete; future updates will add turn-by-turn navigation, improve vector rendering and add basic OSM editing capabilities.
It is time for one more Randa Meetings this year, and over 50 KDE developers are going to participate in it along with me as well. The Randa Meetings is a codesprint sponsored by KDE and organized by Mario Fux, in which KDE developers from all across the globe are invited, and get to sit under the same roof and work together to collaborate on different ideas, coming up with some awesome feature implementations within a time span of about a week. These meetings generally focus on a common topic every year. Last year (2014) it was focused mainly on porting of various KDE applications to the KF5 framework. Similarly, this year we have a common focus as well, and it is aimed at bringing more of KDE to the mobile platform as much as possible. Now, since I am a Marble developer, let me tell you in brief what are my plans for Randa Meetings this year.
This week I want to quickly talk about two projects which have caught my attention. The first is OpenELEC. The OpenELEC (Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) distribution is an operating system which turns a computer into a media centre. OpenELEC is available in several editions. There are 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and a build for people running older NVIDIA video cards. There is a build for WeTek Play Systems, a depreciated build for AppleTV systems, a Freescale build and a couple of builds for Raspberry Pi computers. I decided to continue my Raspberry Pi experiments and downloaded the OpenELEC build for Raspberry Pi 2 computers.
Robert Shingledecker, the creator, maintainer, and lead developer of the Tiny Core project announced earlier today, September 1, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Release Candidate (RC) build of Tiny Core Linux 6.4.
Today, September 1, Jerry Bezencon has announced the immediate availability for download of the final version of the Linux Lite 2.6 operating system, a release that brings a great number of new features.
Linux Lite 2.6 has been released today, using XFCE, Firefox 40.0.3 and LibreOffice 5.0.1 as default. It is based on the Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS Trusty Tahr and received a new Control Center application, permits the users to backup the system via Systemback which is pre-installed, the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination can now be used to trigger the shutdown, restart and logout dialog and uses GNOME Disk Utility for partition manage, VLC as the default media player, a new dark theme and new wallpapers.
SUSE is one of the Linux trinity — which comprises Red Hat, SUSE, and Canonical. SUSE is also one of the leading contributors to many open source projects, including the kernel itself. However, the company went through challenging times as it was acquired by one company after another. It seems that things have stabilized with the Micro Focus acquisition, so I sat down with Michael Miller, SUSE’s Vice President of Global Alliances & Marketing at LinuxCon and talked about topics ranging from acquisition to future plans.
Lenovo, which recently lost one of its top enterprise business leaders and has so far failed to recover all sales previously produced by IBM in x86 servers, is ramping up efforts to win more business. The latest is the addition of Red Hat OpenStack. Lenovo is also offering rebates and other software.
We are at an incredible intersection in history. The growth of computing, the Internet, and education is creating a wealth of open innovation around the world. While this was born back in the early days of “free software” in universities, it is now a global phenomenon powering major infrastructure, banks, devices, and more.
Adam Clater, principal cloud architect at Red Hat‘s North America Public Sector organization, has said platform-as-a-service is helping federal information technology professionals shorten the time it takes to deploy applications.
Paul Carroty posted Friday of the news that Lennart Poettering merged an ‘su’ command replacement into systemd and Fedora Rawhide – coming to a Linux system near you next. Elsewhere, Hackaday.com’s Brian Benchoff said new FCC regulations just killed Open Source firmware replacement and Phoronix.com today reported that LILO is being abandoned. Several polls caught my eye today as did the new Linux workstation security checklist.
While Fedora 24 isn’t set to be released until H1’2016, developers are already working on getting a NetworkManager 1.2 pre-release into the distribution’s archive early.
NetworkManager 1.2 is a major update that is set to happen later this year. Given the magnitude of the update and NetworkManager being important to the Fedora/GNOME desktop, the developers want to get the fresh code into F24 packages early.
My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.
Over the past few weeks, the fate of Ubuntu’s Software Center has received a lot of press. There have been ample ravings about how the Software Center is about to vanish from the face of the Earth. In reality, it’s not going anywhere yet. What is changing, however, will be the ability to submit new applications or updates to existing applications. In this article, I’ll explain what this means and where things will likely go from here.
Cinnamon was the first project to receive attention. Its power applet now shows vendor and model information, box pointers look better, and multi-monitor support was further improved: When switching workspaces, the workspace name now appears on all relevant monitors, output names (i.e. plug names) are shown alongside monitor names (in the screenshot below that allows us to distinguish two identical Dell monitors via the name of their display port).
Axiomtek’s fanless “NA150″ network appliance runs Linux on a Marvell Armada 370 SoC and offers five GbE ports, a 2.5-inch drive bay, and mini-PCIe wireless.
The NA150 is latest addition to Axiomtek’s family of compact desktop and rack-mountable network appliances, but it appears to be the first to stray from the well-trodden x86 path. Unlike the company’s similar circa-2011 NA330 and NA320R systems, which were powered by Intel Atoms, the NA150 is built around Marvell’s ARMv7-based Armada 370 system-on-chip.
This morning Google revealed their new logo and design language evolution, complete with Android implementation. We’re having a look with what Google describes as “designers from all across the company, including Creative Lab and the Material Design team” at what it took to design this logo and this new look. We’ll see first how the new look will appear in a web browser on your desktop or notebook computer. We’ll also see how it’ll appear on Android – colors, animations, and everything in-between.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Smart Protect will allow phone makers and mobile security software vendors to enhance their existing security products, the company said. For operators, it should mean less fraud and network congestion associated with malware traffic. For consumers, it should mean improved protection of personal data with minimal impact on device performance or battery life.
Samsung’s flip Android comes with two 3.9-inch Super AMOLED panels with 768 by 1280 pixels of resolution, both of them protected by layers of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4, which is the same ultra-resistant glass that you’re going to find on high-end Samsung handsets such as the Galaxy Note5 or the Galaxy S6. The handset draws its processing power from the hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, a SoC that’s paired with 2 GB of RAM.
If you want one Linux-based OS to run on all of your devices, Android-x86 could become a viable alternative. The major advantage to running Android on all of your devices would be keeping all of your settings, apps and Google services on an equal footing. That is not happening yet, however.
Chih-Wei Huang, project maintainer for the Android-x86 Project, last month announced the release of Android-x86-r3 — the third stable release of the Android-x86 project.
It certainly is more refined, but it is a work that needs more progress.
After weeks of teasing out little details on Twitter, Nextbit has finally spilled the beans on what they’ve been working: Robin, a “cloud-first” Android smartphone.
So what does “cloud-first” mean? At least initially (the company suggests that the cloud integration will only get deeper in time), it means smart, automated offloading of your photos, videos, and apps to free up the local storage space on your device.
Robin has 32GB of storage built in. As you fill this, it’ll automatically back up your photos and apps to a private 100GB box on their cloud server.
Open source code. GitHub and other cloud repositories enable developers to share and consume code for almost any purpose imaginable. This reflects today’s practical, non-ideological open source culture: Why code it yourself if someone else is offering it free under the most liberal license imaginable?
In her Texas Linux Fest keynote, Joan Touzet talked to us about how to improve our open source communities. Joan’s talk was a series of stories about communities who have faced a crisis and then rose above it.
When XBT Holding S.A. decided to simplify how its subsidiaries provided global hosting, network solutions, and web development they turned to the open source cloud infrastructure platform OpenStack. By consolidating the offerings under a single service provider, Servers.com, customers can more easily browse, mix, compare and choose the most suitable services.
There is another OpenStack-focused startup on the scene, and you have to appreciate its creative name: ZeroStack. The cloud computing company has come out of stealth mode to introduce a private cloud solution that it claims is easier to configure, consume and manage than any other technology on the market.
Only a few days ago, Apache, which is the steward for and incubates more than 350 Open Source projects, announced that Apache Lens, an open source Big Data and analytics tool, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Now, the ASF has announced that Apache Ignite is to become a top-level project. It’s an open source effort to build an in-memory data fabric that was driven by GridGain Systems and WANdisco.
Science is swimming in data. And, the already daunting task of managing and analyzing this information will only become more difficult as scientific instruments — especially those capable of delivering more than a petabyte (that’s a quadrillion bytes) of information per day — come online.
Tackling these extreme data challenges will require a system that is easy enough for any scientist to use, that can effectively harness the power of ever-more-powerful supercomputers, and that is unified and extendable. This is where the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s (NERSC’s) implementation of SciDB comes in.
I just pushed a new release of PiwigoPress (main page, WordPress plugin dir) to the WordPress servers. This release incorporates new features for the sidebar widget, and better interoperability with some Piwigo galleries.
Students spend the 16-week long course learning practical skills using real tools. To support their systems, students learn about using support tickets and documentation by using RT and MediaWiki. To deploy and maintain their systems, they learn about configuration management using Puppet, system monitoring using Nagios, and backup and recovery using Bacula. But the broad concepts are more important than the specific software packages I just mentioned. The point is to learn, for example, configuration management, not to be trained to use Puppet. The software used by Clark is used because it works for him, but the software is flexible and changeable.
SAP SE has become the latest big technology company to throw its weight behind open-source data-sifting software called Spark as it tackles information streaming from industries such as retail, telecommunications and transport.
ownCloud Inc. have announced a partnership with HackerOne to help with the newly created Security Bug Bounty Program in an effort to find vulnerabilities and fix them before they become an issue for users.
The author of stunnel has (once, twice) asserted that stunnel may not be used with LibreSSL, only with OpenSSL. This is perhaps a strange thing for free software to do, and it creates the potential for some very weird consequences.
First, some background. The OpenSSL license and the GPL are both free software licenses, but they are different flavors of freedom, meaning you can’t mix them. It would be like mixing savory and sweet. Can’t do it. Alright, so maybe technically you can do it, but you’re not supposed to. The flavor, er, freedom police will come get you. One workaround is for the GPL software to say, oh, but maybe wait, here’s an exception. (Does this make the software more or less free?) Here’s a longer explanation with sample exception.
X11 clients on the Beagle Bone Black .. that’s X11 over the network, with the X Server elsewhere. No display as yet. The FreeBSD wiki notes that there’s no (mini) HDMI driver yet. So I built some X11 programs, xauth(1) and xmessage(1), and installed them on the Bone. Since I bought a blue case for the Bone, and it is the smallest computer in the house (discounting phones .. let’s call it the smallest hackable computer in the house) the kids decided to call it smurf. Here’s a screenshot of poudriere’s text console as it builds packages.
If you’re not familiar with the string of open projects that the Blender Institute has kicked out over the years, you might not be familiar with the term “open movie.” Simply put, not only is Cosmos Laundromat produced using free and open source tools like Blender, GIMP, Krita, and Inkscape, but the film itself, and all of its assets—models, textures, character rigs, animations, all of it—are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Want to see what a production character rig looks like? Or know how that giant color tornado was created? How about actually using a character (or just a prop) in your own project? Maybe you even want to redo the entire film to your own tastes. It’s an open movie! You can!
I don’t like automation — I love it. I whisper sweet nothings, come ’round with flowers, and buy milkshakes for automation. I’ve even stood outside the window with a boombox for automation. I will go out of my way to automate tasks that, while they are not terribly tedious, I don’t want to have to remember exactly how to do them somewhere down the road, when months have gone by since the last time I had to relearn them.
Over the last 10 years, OpenSSL has published advisories on over 100 vulnerabilities. Many more were likely silently fixed in the early days, but in the past year our goal has been to establish a clear public record.
It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.
Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.
But that “huge role” often disappears when the the leading papers are discussing the carnage that results from the air attacks that the US is supporting and supplying. Thus when the Times‘ Rick Gladstone (8/22/15) reported that “Saudi-led airstrikes on a residential district in Yemen’s southwestern city of Taiz had killed more than 65 civilians, including 17 people from one family,” according to Doctors Without Borders, and that the death toll in the war included “hundreds of civilians killed in airstrikes,” Washington’s role in facilitating those deaths went unmentioned.
This Monday through Wednesday, President Obama will be in Alaska, visiting melting glaciers and remote towns and meeting with other Arctic leaders. On Sunday, the president made a major statement by officially renaming Mt. McKinley — the U.S.’s highest peak — Denali, its traditional native name.
The trip’s purpose is to highlight climate change — and for Alaska in particular, the change has been dramatic.
These Wall Street veterans all know who Blythe Masters is. She’s the wunderkind who made managing director at JPMorgan Chase at age 28, the financial engineer who helped develop the credit-default swap and bring to life a market that peaked at $58 trillion, in notional terms, in 2007. She’s the banker later vilified by pundits, unfairly some say, after those instruments compounded the damage wrought by the subprime mortgage crash in 2008. Now, one year after quitting JPMorgan amid another controversy, Blythe Masters is back. She isn’t pitching a newly minted derivative or trading stratagem to this room. She’s promoting something wilder: It’s called the blockchain, and it’s the digital ledger software code that powers bitcoin.
Colion Noir, a commentator and web series host for the National Rifle Association (NRA), warned the parents of slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward against becoming “so emotional” in response to the fatal shooting of their children that they channel their “grief-inspired advocacy” to the wrong effect.
CNN repeatedly asked former Vice President Dick Cheney for his criticism of Hillary Clinton’s email practices during her time as secretary of state, but the network failed to acknowledge the fact that Colin Powell, who was secretary of state during the Bush-Cheney administration, similarly used a private email account to conduct State business.
As someone who has been reporting on license plate readers (LPR) for some time now, it actually surprised me when I heard that Roanoke, Virginia, shooter Vester Lee Flanagan had been first located through the use of the scanning device. While the devices have been in use in Virginia for years, their effectiveness and efficiency there—and nationwide—is questionable.
According to local media accounts, when Virginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff received the suspect’s plate number over her radio last week, she punched it into her LPR system and got an alert that the car had passed by not three minutes earlier. Within 10 minutes, Neff and other officers converged on Flanagan’s location, finding that he had shot himself, ending the manhunt.
Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff co-hosts for the Project Censored show provide an update on human rights abuses in Mexico funded by US; they speak with researcher/journalist Laura Carlsen in Mexico City.
A “featured blogger” for Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger touted the Center for Medical Progress’ (CMP) widely debunked sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood to compare doctors who perform abortions to terror group ISIS.
For years we have been graced by cheap consumer electronics that are able to be upgraded through unofficial means. Your Nintendo DS is able to run unsigned code, your old XBox was a capable server for its time, your Android smartphone can be made better with CyanogenMod, and your wireless router could be expanded far beyond what it was originally designed to do thanks to the efforts of open source firmware creators. Now, this may change. In a proposed rule from the US Federal Communications Commission, devices with radios may be required to prevent modifications to firmware.
Russian search giant Yandex has ordered U.S-based Github to take down a tool that allows downloading of MP3s from its music streaming service. Yandex, which has 60% of the local search market and has deals with Universal, Sony and Warner to offer a Spotify-like platform, says that the music downloader is illegal.
Posted in Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular
THIS post looks at the past week’s news and groups the news by topic.
Software Patents in India
The patent maximalists from IAMwrote at the very beginning of this week that “India is becoming more receptive to software patents”, despite the fact that software patents are not allowed in India. IAM is framing India’s policy as a bad thing: “Two subject areas have long dominated critiques of the Indian patent system by foreign (and especially US) companies and government bodies: pharmaceuticals and software. But, the recent release of new guidelines for the examination of computer related inventions (CRIs) by the Indian Patent office (IPO) provides the latest sign that the country may be headed in a more software-friendly direction. That has the potential to affect not just filing activity in the country, but also efforts to sign up licensees there.”
We have not seen this anywhere else in the media, only in IAM, which is strongly biased on favour of software patents. India is hopefully not falling into the software patents trap at the same time that the US is cracking down on software patents (court rulings post-Alice and consequently new examination guidelines).
This whole episode mostly serves to show how biased the ITC really is. For years, despite lack of fairness, the ITC systematically helped Apple (a US-based company) ban rival imports. This affected only rivals from east Asia. The ITC bureaucracy ought to be challenged. Who does it really serve?
Prof. Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School recently came up with an eye-catching headline, “Faith-Based Intellectual Property”. It’s the title of a paper whose abstract bemoans policies that are based on dogma rather than reality. The abstract states: “The traditional justification for intellectual property (IP) rights has been utilitarian. We grant exclusive rights because we think the world will be a better place as a result. But what evidence we have doesn’t fully justify IP rights in their current strong form. Rather than following the evidence and questioning strong IP rights, more and more scholars have begun to retreat from evidence toward what I call faith-based IP, justifying IP as a moral end in itself rather than on the basis of how it affects the world. I argue that these moral claims are ultimately unpersuasive and a step backward in a rational society.”
The term “faith-based IP” (ignoring facts, embracing dogma) resembles the terms often used in the copyright debate, where the wishes and the interests of the very few (moguls and middlemen) outweigh public interests. It’s class war. Controversial new laws are being used to authorise passage of wealth and power to few plutocrats’ hands — plutocrats who also happen to bribe politicians for these laws to be passed.
Meanwhile, a plutocrats’ oppressive tyranny uses a famous casino’s hotel (I was there earlier this year just to look around) in order to harbour more ‘IP’ nonsense, as covered by IP Kat (with its new policy for comments) in a four-part series [1, 2, 3, 4], concluded by this final (belated) part. Watch how lawyers collude or conspire in super-expensive places to just monopolise things; public input has zero impact on their decisions or findings.
PTAB Versus Kyle Bass
Kyle Bass was mentioned before, but rarely regarding the patent pressure he was using to crash companies (we covered this once before, but not in great depth). According to this, “Kyle Bass, the hedge fund manager who filed a number of inter partes review petitions against pharmaceutical companies, has struck terror into the shriveled hearts of the pharmaceutical industry. The first petitions he filed were against Acorda Therapeutics, and its stock dropped on the news.
“The pharmaceutical industry immediately started lobbying to change IPR procedures to make themselves invulnerable. Senator Coons even offered an amendment to the PATENT Act to block IPR petitions from anyone who hasn’t been sued for patent infringement. (The amendment failed.)”
PTAB’s involvement is noteworthy here. There’s more about PTAB in IP Kat and bigger sites for lawyers [via]. To quote the most prominent article: “Kamholz was on the front lines as the America Invents Act (AIA) remade the PTAB and created new proceedings that revolutionized patent litigation. About 60 new administrative judges, many with prestigious resumes in private practice and government service, have joined about 25 veterans of the PTAB’s predecessor, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, to take on most of the inter partes reviews (IPRs) and covered business method reviews to date.”
Here too we have patents being used by billionaires (or at least millionaires) to rig the market. When will more people out there realise who the patent regime really serves? █