Richard Stallman Explains Why We Need the Four Freedoms

Posted in Audio/Video, FSF at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New audio from Swapnil Bhartiya


Patents Panel in FOSDEM

Posted in Audio/Video at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Audio recording of the patents panel in FOSDEM

The (formerly) SFLC folks have published this ogg file which takes us back to the FOSDEM panel:


Audio/Video Statistics

Posted in Audio/Video, Site News at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A lot of multimedia files served over the past week

TOMORROW the blogging will resume at full steam, but today we took a quick look at the past 6 day’s retention for non-cached, i.e not Varnish-served, pages (logs older than 4 weeks are deleted). These suggest a record high of 9462 .ogg files, 15613 .ogv files, and 1498 .mp3 files downloaded in the past 6 days without the proxy/cache. This is roughly twice the usual number and today we also noticed a PageRank surge. In terms of PageRank, we are one of the highest ranked Linux-oriented sites right now (PageRank 7 front page) and the server has been slow due to heavy bandwidth usage. This was like an unintended experiment.


Web Plug-ins Dealt a Blow

Posted in Audio/Video, Site News at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thanks to Firefox/Mozilla, Google, and even Opera


Summary: The World Wide Web is getting freer, so we are finally going to embrace both Ogg and WebM for multimedia

Microsoft Silverlight is nearly dead and Windows Phone 7 is never going to save it because it just isn’t selling. Flash, in the mean time, is under attack by Google from two fronts; one is WebM and the other is a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool.

For those who have not heard yet:

  • Google offers Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool

    Google announced an online tool allowing developers to convert Flash animations to HTML5. Thanks to “Swiffy,” those animations can then be run on Apple’s iPad and other devices that do not support Adobe Flash.

    As HTML5 appears to be moving ahead of technologies such as Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft Silverlight with some developers, Google has moved in with Swiffy, a new Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool.

  • Swiffy- Convert Flash files to HTML5

    Swiffy is a small tool from Google that converts Flash files to HTML5 for use on non Flash player devices.You can upload SWF file and Swiffy will convert it to HTML5 file which can be displayed on all modern browsers “with a high level of SVG support such as Chrome and Safari.”

People sometimes ask why TechBytes makes content available as YouTube videos in additional to the original Ogg files; well, the answer is always the same. YouTube won’t require Flash for much longer. it will be webM-based, without the dependence on the MPEG cartel , either, Google deserves credit for doing the right thing in that regard. We will soon have the option to choose between WebM and Ogg.

Remember what makes Google different from Apple and Microsoft (which actively support the MPEG cartel).


ES: Promotor de Ogg Contraataca Contra el Cartel de MPEG-LA

Posted in Audio/Video, Patents at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg Theora

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Después de los ataques de MPEG-LA en contra de codecs libres, Xiph.org presenta un recurso de apelación ante la FTC.

“Xiph.org pide a la FTC para hacer la práctica de patentes submarinas contrarias a la competencia”, señala esta persona[http://twitter.com/ActivelogicEU/statuses/82343583239245824] que nos enlaza a una página aparentemente nueva[http://xiph.org/press/2011/ftc/] de los creadores de Ogg. Techrights publica Ogg Theora videos en una base diaria y TechBytes hace Ogg Vorbis por lo menos una vez por semana. Estos son buenos algoritmos de compresión que han sido objeto de ataques de la Microsoft y Apple-promotores del cartel mafioso conocido como MPEG-LA. Hemos escrito sobre él en este sitio muchas veces antes y también hemos creado una página wiki[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/MPEG-LA].

“Esto le da al titular de dicha patente la capacidad de impedir o eliminar de los mercados todo el que pudiera competir con sus propias ofertas.”

Para citar la introducción a esta queja: “Xiph.Org presentó las siguientes observaciones en respuesta a la solicitud de la Comisión Federal de Comercio de comentarios y anuncio de un taller sobre las actividades normativas cuestiones, Proyecto Público No. P111204. El objetivo del documento es la ley y expertos en políticas. Como tal, se utiliza un lenguaje técnico-jurídico que no puede ser inmediatamente accesible a un público más amplio. En caso de duda, consulte a un abogado de patentes antes de publicar diatribas tiempo a Reddit o Slashdot.

“Las patentes afectan a las normas de una manera fundamentalmente diferente de cualquier otro contexto. La competencia normalmente limita el valor de una patente, con el valor determinado por la ventaja de la técnica patentada por la siguiente mejor opción. Sin embargo, las patentes esenciales para la aplicación de una norma de ganar su valor a partir de los efectos de red. La innovación a menudo no juega ningún papel. Esto le da al titular de dicha patente la capacidad de impedir o eliminar de los mercados todo el que pudiera competir con sus propias ofertas.”

Como hemos señalado a principios de este año, la mafiosa MPEG-LA[http://techrights.org/2010/05/26/mpeg-cartel-and-microsoft-backlash/]ha sido objeto de investigación. Se reconoce que algo perjudicial para el público que está sucediendo allí.

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.


Ogg Backer Strikes Back Against the MPEG-LA Cartel

Posted in Audio/Video, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg Theora

Summary: Following the attacks from MPEG-LA against free codecs, Xiph.org submits an appeal to the FTC

“Xiph.org asks FTC to make the practice of submarine patents anti-competitive,” notes this person who links to a seemingly new page from the creators of Ogg. Techrights publishes in Ogg Theora on a daily basis and TechBytes makes Ogg Vorbis files at least once a week. These are good compression algorithms that have come under attack from the Microsoft- and Apple-back cartel known as MPEG-LA. We wrote about it in this site many times before and we have also just created a wiki page.

“This gives the holder of such a patent the ability to hinder or eliminate entire markets which would compete with their own offerings.”
To quote the introduction to this complaint: “Xiph.Org submitted the following comments in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Standard-Setting Issues, Project No. P111204. The document’s intended audience is law and policy wonks. As such it uses technical legal language that may not be immediately accessible to a wide audience. If in doubt, please consult a patent attorney before posting long rants to Reddit or Slashdot.

“Patents affect standards in a fundamentally different way from any other context. Competition normally limits the value of a patent, with that value determined by the advantage of the patented technique over the next best option. However, patents essential to the implementation of a standard gain their value from network effects. The innovation often plays no role. This gives the holder of such a patent the ability to hinder or eliminate entire markets which would compete with their own offerings.”

As we noted earlier this year, MPEG-LA has already come under investigation. It is recognised that something detrimental to the public is going on there.


Novell’s Mac-only Mono and Some Notes About Ubuntu

Posted in Apple, Audio/Video, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, Ubuntu at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aluminum Macbook

Summary: Grouping of the latest news about Mono at Novell and developments at Canonical, some of which require more attention

NOVELL continues to pollute GNU/Linux. Sadly enough, it has managed to spread Mono and Moonlight further than it ought to have managed, despite the obvious problems and warning from the FSF. Novell’s interests are Novell’s own interests and the interests of partners like Microsoft. Novell views Red Hat — not Microsoft — as a top competitor. Novell has just bumped up or pushed again into a technology site its whitepapers against Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and it is serving Microsoft with Moonlight at the Winter Olympics. Mono is not about GNU/Linux, it’s about .NET. Moonlight is not about GNU/Linux, it’s about Silverlight. Derived from these we have Mac-only software that uses Microsoft’s APIs (and software patents that Novell is happy to acknowledge). From a new interview with Ed Burnette:

Ed: So you still need a Mac to do iPhone development?

Joseph [product manager for Mono at Novell]: MonoTouch does require a Mac. Some of our users prefer to use Visual Studio for editing their code; however, the tools to build with MonoTouch only run on the Mac.

Yes, Novell is now excluding GNU/Linux, but that’s not exactly unusual. The Mono team serves as a complementary software division for Microsoft based on the latest developments that are disappointing. Novell is trying to add .NET support even to MeeGo. What would Nokia say? What would Google say about MonoDroid? Would Windows/Microsoft assimilation be beneficial?

Meanwhile we find that Zonker is still promoting Novell’s Banshee, just as he did last week. The developers from Novell try to get more coders involved in Banshee (developers from the outside). It’s typically just Novell employees (and former Microsoft employees) who seem interested in Mono.


Moving on to developments around Ubuntu, it is worth noting that Canonical hired from Microsoft and Novell. This has proven to be unhelpful so far and now that OpenOffice.org is put back into Ubuntu Netbook Edition (after backlash from users), Groklaw’s Pamela Jones says “Great. Now can you get rid of that mono stuff and put GIMP back in? Thanks.”

“Now can you get rid of that mono stuff and put GIMP back in? Thanks.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Canonical is removing the GIMP despite the fact that most people who participate in polls are opposing this decision. It’s the same with Mono. In the case of OpenOffice.org, Ubuntu did actually listen to the community, which is an encouraging sign. Pamela Jones also writes: “I see Matt, newly hired by Canonical, is already pushing proprietary software for Linux. The mystery meat fusion at Ubuntu is clearly the direction. Note also the use of the description “savvy”, implying that those who don’t fuse FOSS and proprietary software are not savvy. We’ll see. And not to be unkindly logical, but if it were apples-to-apples equivalent already, why does he think Linux needs proprietary solutions? And speaking for myself, I don’t use Skype, and I never need to.”

The decision to adopt Yahoo! (Microsoft) for search involved no public consultation with the Ubuntu community [1, 2, 3] and now that it's irreversible, complaints do carry on. Here is a nice new way of putting it:

WTF : Ubuntu Linux to use Bing for Search


Yes, you read that right. Ubuntu selects Yahoo, Yahoo Selects Bing, Google Selects Ubuntu.

Go figure.

This is more confusing than driving in Boston.

Here is a portion from one of Asay’s latest posts, which he titled “Is Microsoft a four-letter word?”

Wall Street, for its part, doesn’t much care for Microsoft, either, judging by the cold shoulder it has given Microsoft’s stock over the past 10 years.

Perhaps getting the hint, a slew of Microsoft executives have jumped ship in the past few years.

Won’t someone give Microsoft a break?

Probably not, and, ironically, this industry indifference may be just what Microsoft needs, as it offers the company freedom to take bigger risks and shields nascent product efforts from criticism.

“Giv[ing] Microsoft a break” would be a very bad idea because Microsoft is constantly attacking GNU/Linux (as we show here every day) and that includes Ubuntu. There is another new request from the Ubuntu community and we would like to ask readers to take part in it. “As you may know,” told us one person, “Ubuntu is integrating the 7Digital Music service into Rhythmbox in their upcoming Lucid Lynx release. Currently, this music service offers some tracks in FLAC, all tracks in MP3, and none in OGG. I started a petition to make them possibly consider using OGG on all their tracks.” Give it a look and sign if you agree. The petition says:

To: 7Digital Inc.

One of the main concerns of the inclusion of the 7Digital music store into Canonical Ltd’s offerings is the fact that it offers only two formats: MP3 and FLAC. FLAC is an incredibly large format and is not heavily supported across music players. Ogg, conversely, is supported on numerous mobile media players and devices and is comparable in size to MP3′s. The Undersigned request that 7Digital offer their entire music collection in a second Free Software format, the abovementioned Ogg Vorbis. Is has no patents attached to it, and requires no proprietary codecs for playback. This would help spread acceptance of the Ogg Vorbis format, and would be heavily beneficial to Ubuntu users.

In short, we the Undersigned request that 7Digial Inc include all of their music in the Ogg Vorbis format alongside the other two formats.

Go sign it please.


Ford and Microsoft Distort “Open Source”

Posted in Audio/Video, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The product known as “SYNC” is fraudulently described as “open source” in some more gullible circles

THIS is an unimportant subject that was mentioned a couple of years ago. Basically, Ford and Microsoft have this project called “SYNC”, which they wrongly describe as “open source” or “open-source” even though it’s proprietary and it comes from companies with a vicious, predatory history. They are faking and thus cheapening the term “open source”, which harms Open Source as a whole (Novell is doing that too).

Let is be stated that “SYNC” — like Zune — is Microsoft project for DRM-laden PMPs. There is no reason, for example, why Dana Blankenhorn (last mentioned a couple of days ago) should write about it under the headline “Open source in your car or an open source car”

Is the following the sole characteristic of “open source”?

The folks at Ford, which alone among America’s automakers avoided the hand of government during the Great Recession, are out with a release describing what has happened since they began the process of opening the Application Program Interface (API) of their SYNC program to outside developers last year.

Back in 2008 we published the post titled: “Microsoft Tries Casting “Open Source” as “Open APIs”

We addressed this subject again 2 months ago, under: “O’Reilly Does Not Know What Open Means (Let Alone Free)

We realise that “SYNC” sponsors FLOSS Weekly at the moment* — it’s a product which the host promotes to keep the show going, always without saying the “M” word (Microsoft). To his credit, he never really describes the thing as “open source” (because it’s not).
* Yes, it’s rather ironic that a show on FLOSS accepts sponsorship from proprietary software vendors that vilify FLOSS and promotes those proprietary software products. But still, it’s a good show.

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