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07.24.14

Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation’s Lobbying for ‘Common Core’ (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Valerie Strauss

Summary: Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation’s lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption

THE Gates Foundation is pretty clever scam which is not used for much other than tax evasion and lobbying, as well as tax-exempted investment in companies which it lobbies for, under the guise of ‘charity’. Gates is not unique in that regard; other plutocrats, including the Koch Brothers, use similar loopholes that are accommodated by a government they habitually bribe (the Republic is plutocrats-led). There is a new article titled “The Koch Brothers vs. Bill Gates” and it says: “The Gates Foundation is the world’s largest, at $37 billion in assets, according to its tax filings. That number alone makes it far, far larger than any single or cumulative Koch gift. Some may argue Gates spends money on philanthropy, not politics; but Gates has actually perfected the practice of using nonprofits to influence politics. Leftists claim to hate this tactic—witness the manufactured rage and proposed Internal Revenue Service regulations aiming to curb politics-minded conservative nonprofits—but it seems they actually just hate when it’s used against them.”

What has been quite evident is that Gates bribed lots of nonprofits in order for them to help him lobby for a profitable (to him) agenda, not only in education but in many other areas. Dealing with education for the time being, Salon has published the article “Bill Gates needs to drop his Common Core obsession”. It says: “The billionaire’s latest little fixation is catching hell on all sides. Here’s why he’s better off simply moving on”

Well, it’s all about profit, using (exploiting) “the children”. We have written about this for years and now it has become acceptable to speak about it in corporate media. Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post (where Gates’ close friend and wife used to be on the broad of directors) explains “How Microsoft will make money from Common Core (despite what Bill Gates said)” and other sites cover that also. To quote: “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has used up over $200 million in an effort to push the Common Core Standards Initiative in the last couple years.

“On the Microsoft Web site, a webpage dated April 22, 2014 entitled “Tech Essentials for Testing Success” describes in considerable detail how schools using computer-based, Common Core-aligned tests will now need to spend a bunch of money — on Microsoft products.”

Here is an article which names American Federation of Teachers (AFT), one among very many groups that Bill Gates bribed in exchange for lobbying. To quote: “Though the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) received millions of dollars in funding from the private Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development of the Common Core standards, the union will begin its annual convention in Los Angeles Friday with the announcement that it will award grants to assess the standards and write others to replace them.”

This is what the Gates Foundation is for. It’s for lobbying, with profit at the bottom line.

The plutocrats’ rag, Forbes, almost properly explains that ‘charity’ by plutocrats is tax evasion with PR (aside from ‘charity’ for PAC). Read this between the lines:

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s latest gift of more than 21.7 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway class B stock — valued at $128.98 per share at Monday’s close — decreases his personal fortune from $65.9 billion down to $63.1 billion. He slips one spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, moving into 4th behind clothing and real estate magnate Amancio Ortega.

So it’s the virtual giveaway, it is a game of stocks/shares. To people like these, it it important to be perceived as generous whilst actually hoarding ad infinitum. With publications like Forbes (glorifying the super-rich) they actually succeed at fooling a lot of people. Let’s hope this will change in the coming year. Their perception management Jihad sure faces obstacles in the age of the Internet.

USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

Posted in Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Going back to physical, backing away from “abstract”

Bulb

Summary: Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom

DESPITE the CAFC‘s push for expanded scope of software patents, the SCOTUS ruled in favour of new limits, whereupon the USPTO began rejecting software patent applications, among other things like rejection of software patents in the courts. This was wonderful news!

An article by Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP’s Intellectual Property Practice Group (i.e. patent lawyers) said that the USPTO had “Preliminary Examination Guidelines” for software patents after the SCOTUS ruling. To quote:

Following closely on the heels of the Court’s decision, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued guidelines for the examination of patent applications claiming abstract ideas. The guidelines are preliminary and the USPTO indicates that it will issue additional guidance after further consideration of the Court’s decision and public feedback.

This article was also published here.

Holland & Knight LLP (patent lawyers publishing behind paywall) wrote that the US “PTO Provides Examiners with Guidance on Software Patents in Light of U.S. SC Ruling” and Glaser Weil IP File said: “Though recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have not provided much help, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s efforts to more closely scrutinize software patents is reducing the incentive for patent applicants to seek vague, broad claims, experts told USPTO officials at a forum Tuesday.”

There are also new articles about it, written not by patent lawyers.

The signifiance of the above articles is that even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that software patents are facing news limits. Weeks ago they worked hard to deny it (we gave dozens of examples), hoping that the SCOTUS ruling would go away or go unnoticed.

Steph writes about the patent lawyers’ propaganda rag, IAM ‘magazine’, calling them “silly”. She says: “A while back you published this article about a study that came out, touting the damage that patent trolls do to start ups. OK, not necessarily start ups, but “entrepreneurial activity”. And not necessarily “patent trolls”, but NPEs/PAEs/Euphamisms-of-the-Month.”

UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 1:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Folder

Summary: Only “Microsoft as the standard” is the ‘standard’ Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office’s judgment reveals

AT THE BEGINNING of this week we learned that the British (UK) Cabinet Office, a highly influential department with technology imperatives, did the correct thing by no longer requiring British citizens to become clients of Microsoft (and users of expensive spyware) to merely communicate with their government. The Cabinet Office “goes open source” is how one news site put it, but ODF, the OpenDocument Format, is not necessarily about Free/Open Source software. ODF is about many applications working together, not via formats that are designed around a single application and its various versions (that’s what OOXML is).

Techrights did not break this news. It was Andy Updegrove who did, along with Cabinet Office. Quoting Updegrove:

The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.

The Cabinet Office stated:

The open standards selected for sharing and viewing government documents have been announced by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.

Not too shockingly, as one ought to expect, the following day Microsoft attacked this decision. despite claiming to have ‘embraced’ ODF. “Microsoft attacks UK government decision to adopt ODF for document formats” said one headline, stating: “Microsoft has attacked the UK government’s decision to adopt ODF as its standard document format, saying it is “unclear” how UK citizens will benefit.

“The Cabinet Office announced its new policy yesterday, whereby Open Document Format (ODF) is immediately established as the standard for sharing documents across the public sector, with PDF and HTML also acceptable when viewing documents.”

“Turning its back on Microsoft Office’s native formats, the UK government has adopted the Open Document Format for all its sharable documents,”
writes Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, but if Microsoft is really all about openness, then Microsoft should welcome this decision, not attack it. It is quite revealing that Microsoft is not really interested in fair competition, interoperability, and openness.

“UK government makes “big step forward” on open document standards,” said the headline from Opensource.com (Red Hat).

We already wrote so much about it and warmed the Cabinet Office about Microsoft’s abusive responses, which include trying to get people fired, bribing some other people, using (or exploiting) disabled people to attack people’s rational decisions, and so on.

Dr. Glyn Moody wrote about “Massachusetts ODF fiasco a decade ago” and said about this important milestone: “Let’s Not Mess it up””

While celebrating this great news, I really want to emphasise Bracken’s point about managing the switch properly. We can be absolutely certain that Microsoft will fight this decision in every way possible. It will certainly seize on any problems that arise during the implementation as “proof” that it was the wrong choice. That makes it crucial that the open source community do everything in its power to aid the Cabinet Office here.

One particular area that concerns me is cross-compatibility. I’m hearing stories about difficulty in transferring ODF files from LibreOffice to Apache OpenOffice, with formatting of things like tables being messed up in the process. This is completely unacceptable: one of the benefits of adopting an open standard is the ability to swap in and out different applications. If that theory proves impossible in reality, we have a huge problem.

I would therefore like to entreat all the open source projects and communities that work on ODF to get together and sort this out. In the wake of the fantastic – and brave – move by the Cabinet Office, providing full interoperability among open source implementations must be a priority.

Yesterday’s news is truly a unique opportunity to show the power of open standards, to promote the benefits of open source, and to bring about its wider dissemination both in government, and among home users. The price of failure here would be extremely high: yet more years in the wilderness, as happened after the Massachusetts ODF fiasco a decade ago. So let’s not mess it up.

The Mukt, which covered this important development. delivered yet another call for Google to adopt ODF as the default document format, ending Google’s cowardly approach towards document formats.

We feel as though we played some role in the above (being among hundreds of people who wrote to the Cabinet Office). We not only wrote a lot about it and also wrote to the Office itself almost a dozen times, engaging in a discussion with members of staff.

07.23.14

Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

Posted in Microsoft at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another quick look at Microsoft’s horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia

The pure fiction that Nokia and Microsoft are the only aspect to be debated in amid the layoffs discussion was covered here before. It is coverup, it is ‘damage control’, and it is successful PR. There is no lack of analyses, e.g. [1,2,3]. Here is Ahonen saying that “Elop authors another moronic memo”. Based on him, a third of those to be laid off have nothing to do with Nokia. “First,” he said, “my deepest sympathies to the 12,500 former Nokia staff who now carry Microsoft business cards, who will be fired. Its nearly half of what was left of ‘The Division Formerly Known as Nokia Mobile Phones” after all the layoffs that Elop’s mismanagement at Nokia caused in the previous four years. I did warn that the layoffs would not end, when the Microsoft purchase of Nokia was announced and as we’ve seen, the division has been producing ever more losses and ever shrinking market share. The solution by the new CEO Nadella at Microsoft is predictable as its harsh: more layoffs. I had hoped that Microsoft would have endured these highly skilled specialized labor for longer, letting them try to find some remedy to the handset business or assist other Microsoft hardware (or mobile) evolutions but no. The new CEO has spoken. And as new CEO, now is the right time to make the big cuts. Microsoft has never seen this kind of mass layoffs before, and as the whole corporation, the cuts are about one in ten employees. But they are almost exclusively inside the Nokia handset part. And unfortunately for Microsoft’s mobile unit, Elop still gets to keep his job (for now).”

Microsoft has already used Nokia to make antitrust complaints against Google and Android in Europe. Andrew Orlowski has this update on it:

Industry sources have confirmed to The Reg that the European Commission is once again prodding Google’s Android contracts with phone makers. Preliminary letters, sent out a month ago, merely ask the phone makers if they find anything in Google’s contracts restrictive.

Windows revenue is decreasing despite squeezing of customers who are locked in. This does not look good for Microsoft and some sources speak of new work limits. “After announcing a big round of job cuts,” says this article, “Microsoft issued new policies concerning contract workers and how long they can work for the software giant.” These are the hallmarks of a company in collapse.

The layoffs at Nokia are actually Microsoft layoffs but there are also purely Microsoft layoffs. Microsoft has been trying to paint it as a Nokia issue using an ugly memo which gets slammed as follows: “Well, congratulations to Satya Nadella and the Microsoft HR and communications teams, because you’re stealing from the best—or maybe you all took the same course in corporate doubletalk and truthiness as part of your MBA programs. Microsoft this morning announced far and away the largest round of layoffs in its history, and Nadella’s e-mail drips with that familiar mixture of faux sympathy and non-information that is so typical of carefully managed corporate communication.”

As there are many dead products at Microsoft, so it should not be surprising that Microsoft also kills Android endeavours from Nokia. “Citing lack of interest,” says this new article, “Lenovo pulls 8-inch Windows tablets from the US,” so Windows is not a viable alternative, that is for sure.

“Detractors further derided Windows 8 as a misguided attempt to be all things to all people that actually ended up pleasing nobody,” said this other new article, so there is consensus on this. “In China, Windows Phone saw a collapse from 3% to o.6%,” says this report and even a Microsoft booster, Preston Gralla, calls BS on claims of the Bill Gates- and Microsoft-funded Gartner Group. Meanwhile, reveal the words of Bill Gates, there may be an attempt to import cheaper labour. As Sen. Jeff Sessions put it, “Super billionaires aren’t happy apparently… They declare we need to import more foreign workers. Mr. Gates says we need to let more and more people into our country to take those kinds of jobs.” See more here or here. Apparently, Bill Gates is now a writer for the New York Times, a paper for the plutocrats, by the plutocrats, cheapening the 99%.

It is fine for everyone around the world to share jobs. What’s not fine is using globalisation for a race to the bottom, as Microsoft did with criminal lobbyists such as Abramoff in the past, amid Gates’ immigration policy hijack (we covered it years ago).

Microsoft announced layoffs but said nothing about the temps it had been hiring to hide shrinkage of the company for years. There was a puff piece/PR from CNN [1, 2], to which there was a response in Pogson’s blog.

For those who want what Nokia would have offered if it weren’t for Microsoft, there’s Jolla, which has just reached another 1.0 milestone [4,5].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Told You So blog about Nokia Predictions and Analysis

    Now look at Nokia. That ‘struggling’ Nokia which in 2010 still sold its smartphones running on the ‘obsolete’ Symbian system. Nokia in 2009 sold 67.8 million smartphones. Did Nokia lose sales to Apple in 2010? Did that number go down while Apple’s iPhone grew so much? No. Nokia grew. Really? Yes reallly. Nokia’s smartphone sales grew to 103.6 million units (the final, corrected number by Nokia financial reports). Nokia’s smartphone sales during calendar year 2010 grew 35.8 million units !!! The gap between Apple and Nokia smartphones was not narrowing during 2010. Apple was not catching up to Nokia. Nokia smartphone unit was the global juggernaut totally crushing its competition – and yes – the numbers are indisuputable, the gap between Apple iPhone and Nokia smartphones was GROWING during 2010, not shrinking. Apple was not ‘catching up’ to Nokia, Nokia was indeed ‘pulling away’ from Apple (and from Blackberry and from Samsung etc). And Nokia did this profitably, and its smartphone unit produced a Nokia-record profit by Q4 of 2010. Nokia was not losing, The numbers are crysta-clear if you can do basic math. Nokia was clearly winning the war.

  2. Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months

    When Microsoft swallowed half of Europe’s biggest tech company, it was only a matter of time before it spat something out. And so it has, ending Nokia’s thirty-year roller-coaster ride.

    However, the decision will make tens of million of its customers take a look at Android – surely the last thing Microsoft wanted to happen.

  3. Nokia X, We Hardly Knew Ye

    “I told you so” is a refrain that’s oft-heard here in the Linux blogosphere, and more often than not it refers to some fleeting Microsoft tie with FOSS that subsequently goes wrong.

    The latest example? It’s a doozy. Redmond not only is laying off many, many thousands — most of them in its ill-fated Nokia unit — but also abandoning its short-lived support of Android through the Nokia X line of phones.

  4. SAILFISH OS HARDWARE ADAPTATION DEV KIT RELEASE 1.0

    Months back, we had Sailfish OS released on Nexus 4, in very alpha stage while many things didn’t work and after any update they got better and better and more stuff started working.

    Now though, Jolla is asking YOU to port the OS to your Android device (Running Cyanogen Mod 10.1.x) while it’s hot.

  5. It’s Now Made Easier Porting Jolla’s Sailfish OS To New Android Phones

    This week Jolla has finally released their Hardware Adaptation Dev Kit (HADK) publicly to make it easier for enthusiasts/developers to port the Sailfish OS platform to new Android smart-phones.

07.22.14

Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

Posted in News Roundup at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Survey: What are the Best Open Source Cloud Projects?

    Linux.com is teaming up with The New Stack to do a survey about what you think are the most popular open source cloud projects.

    The next-generation of the enterprise is being built now with open cloud technologies. Your choices will help identify and recognize the most popular open source projects that are defining the new way to build and manage applications and systems.

  • EFF releases Privacy Badger add-on for Firefox and Chrome
  • ‘Privacy Badger’ Browser Add-On Protects You from Online Tracking
  • Privacy Badger beta released. Install it on Firefox and Chrome

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the release of Privacy Badger beta. This comes roughly three months after the alpha version was released.

    Privacy Badger is a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome that’s designed to stop “advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web.” And it’s designed to require zero configuration to use. Just install and forget it!

  • EFF announces open wireless router firmware to share network

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an organization fighting against illegal surveillance programs in the courts. It also contributes to a open and secure internet by funding the development of software like HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger.

  • EFF Aims To Launch An Open Wireless Router

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is today announcing a new Open Wireless Router initiative today at the HOPE X conference.

  • The value of open source is the open development process

    Scott Wilson agrees that open source matters because of open code, but just as important is the process in which the code is made. Open development of code is in the social nature of many programmers, hackers, documentors, and project managers. So, what is it about open development?

  • Solderdoodle USB rechargeable soldering iron brings open-source portability

    The active talk of Open Source Technologies took root in Uganda during the mid 90s when a few enthusiasts started experimenting with the use of software like Linux which was in its infancy back then.

  • Excellent Free Distraction-Free Tools for Writers

    Fans of the typewriter remain a vehement group. They view the typewriter as something really special, a tool which makes the connection between languages. One of the attractions of a typewriter is that it offers a distraction-free alternative of modern day methods for producing a document. They challenge the writer to concentrate on what really matters – the content. They force the writer to think.

  • Are We Comfortable With Commercial Open Source Now?

    But open source has of course progressed and been adopted widely albeit in more ‘back office’ circles. It is hard to talk about the growth of big data analytics applications without mentioning Hadoop, while the rise of NoSQL databases has flourished such that even Facebook recently announced its own Paxos algorithm-based project called Apollo.

  • Uganda’s Open Source friendly Policies and Sleeping FOSS Community

    It was such a challenge for the initial Open Source promoters to break through onto the corporate scene and later the Government. The rampant piracy of software that existed then (and still exists) made most software consumers disregard the issues that were being raised by the Open Source Software community against the blind adoption of proprietary systems.

  • Events

    • OSCON 2014 – Crash Course in Open Source Cloud Computing

      I’ll be presenting an updated version of my Crash Course on Open Source Cloud Computing presentation at OSCON 2014. I have some new material on Docker and SDN along with the latest updates on cloud software. Here’s the official excerpt:

    • Webcast and Easier Tools Aim to Demystify Hadoop

      Hadoop is steadily making its way into many enterprises, thanks to its ability to surface unique insights from very large data sets. It power and success as an open source platform are a direct result of the fact that it can perform analytics that go beyond what traditional analytics platforms are capable of. All of this came to the fore at the Hadoop Summit held recently in San Jose, California.

  • Web Browsers

    • Best Linux Browsers

      Choosing the best Linux browser for your needs requires just a bit of homework: Web browsers for the Linux desktop have evolved over the years, just as they have for other popular desktop platforms. With this evolution, both good and bad revelations have been discovered. Revelations from new functionality, to broken extensions, and so forth. In this article, I’ll serve as your guide through these murky waters to help you discover the best in Linux browsers.

    • Chrome

      • Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

        If you’ve been wondering why the battery life on your Windows laptop or tablet seems so lousy, your Chrome web browser might be to blame – and it may have been sapping your system’s juice for years.

        A documented bug in the source code for the Chromium open source project seems to account for the mysterious power drain that some users of Google’s web browser have been experiencing.

      • Chrome Brings Text into Focus After Lagging Other Browsers

        If you’re a regular user of the Google Chrome browser, you probably know that the nightly builds and beta channel versions often incorporate cutting-edge features that you can’t get in the stable release. These features also often foreshadow what will soon arrive in the stable release.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 31.0 Has Been Released!
      • Mozilla Thunderbird 31.0 Officially Released with Lots of Fixes and Important Changes

        Mozilla has officially released Thunderbird 31.0, an email and RSS client, for all the available platforms, and the developers have actually made a number of improvements to the application.

        The first version has been released in the Thunderbird 31.x branch, but unlike some of the previous updates, this one actually brings something interesting. It’s been a while since Thunderbird received any real improvements, but that’s not exactly Mozilla’s fault.

      • Mozilla Unleashes Firefox 31 Web Browser

        The Firefox 31 web-browser is out this morning with new features.

        New to Firefox 31 is improved download security by trying to block known malware (based upon Google’s functionality in Chrome), a search box has been added to the new tab page, a new certificate verification library, HTML5 WebVTT support for video playback with subtitles, and various developer-focused improvements.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Introducing Tyler Livingston, a summer Licensing Team intern

      Hello. I am a rising Third Year law student at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, TX. I am working hard to master the technical aspects of law, electronics, and software. My current interests involve protecting individuals and investigating new technology, particularly in the communications field by utilizing licenses for authorship, art, and inventions. Prior to law school, I attained a bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    • GNU Parallel 20140722 (‘MH17′) released

      This release contains a major change in central parts of the code and should be considered beta quality. As always it passes the testsuite, so most functionality clearly works.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Over 170 Primary Schools In Geneva Switched To Ubuntu For Classroom Teaching

      Over 170 primary schools and secondary schools in Geneva are switching to Ubuntu for PCs used by teachers and students, which were earlier using a proprietary software. The move has been successfully completed for all the primary schools. For the rest 20 secondary schools, the migration is expected to be completed by the next academic year.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Is PHP 6 or PHP 7 Next?

      Debate is currently raging in the open-source PHP community over what the number will be for the version of PHP that will succeed the current PHP 5.x series.

    • [cfe-dev] [3.5 Release] Tentative Schedule
    • PHP5′s Successor Might Be PHP7
    • An alternative to devilspie/devilspie2

      Recently I was updating my dotfiles, because I wanted to ensure that media-players were “always on top”, when launched, as this suits the way I work.

    • GCC 5.0 Is Expected Next Year

      GNU Compiler Collection developers are beginning to come to a consensus that GCC 5.0 will be released in 2015.

      While GCC 4.10 is the current release under development since the GCC 4.9 debut this spring, GCC 4.10 will likely be relabeled as GCC 5.0. There’s a fresh thread on the GCC mailing list that talks about GCC version bikeshedding.

    • Cisco relaunches Developer Network
    • Looking at the Zooniverse code

      Recently I’ve been looking over the Zooniverse citizen science project and its source code on github, partly because it’s interesting as a user and partly because I thought writing an Android app for Galaxy Zoo would be a good learning exercise and something useful to open source.

Leftovers

07.20.14

Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • EFF releases experimental open wireless router firmware

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced the release of the alpha version of an Open Wireless Router firmware. It was officially announced at the HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City.

  • Standardized open source products are the key to unlocking the lock-in trap

    Mårten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, argues that when companies lock in to their own design and customizations, it’s as harmful as when they lock in to a vendor. Mickos explains why he thinks using standardized open source products is the best way to avoid both types of lock-in.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Geneva class-rooms switching to free software

      All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Makeblock Starter Robot Kit Review

        The Makeblock kit is all about assembling building blocks in three major parts: putting together the Arduino caddy, constructing a chassis for it and finally programming it via Arduino IDE.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs

      Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from “illegal internet pharmacies.” Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that’s a whole different discussion), but it’s insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don’t want shipping companies to be liable for what’s in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘Mysterious’ Plane Crash – Who benefits?
    • Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down

      It will likely take some time to determine who downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people onboard. Initial speculation is that someone with a missile battery mistook the plane as a military aircraft, but the precise motive may be even harder to discern.

    • Airline Horror Spurs New Rush to Judgment

      President Obama and the State Department’s “anti-diplomats” are fanning flames of anger against Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. But some U.S. intelligence analysts doubt the popular “blame-the-Russians” scenario, reports Robert Parry.

    • Three Lessons We Need to Heed from the Soviet Downing of KAL 007
    • MH17 makes the situation in Ukraine an American crisis and an EU catastrophe
    • Rebels, extremists have easy access to advanced missiles
    • Russia: US implicating rebels

      On Saturday, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US administration sought to pin the blame on separatists and Russia without waiting for the results of an investigation. “The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington’s perception of what is going on in Ukraine,” he told Russian news agencies. “At least, that is how the relevant statements can be interpreted,” he said. “Despite an obvious and indisputable nature of the arguments provided by rebels and Moscow, the US administration is pushing its own agenda,” he said. Meanwhile, a rebel leader appealed to Russia for help with worsening conditions at the crash site of a Malaysian airliner, accusing the Ukrainian government of preventing experts from arriving and allowing bodies to rot.

    • MH17 joins long list of commercial planes shot down

      Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was blown out of the sky while flying across eastern Ukraine, was not a sole casualty of warfare.

    • Missiles are now so easy to get that it’s a miracle more planes haven’t been shot down

      Stinger man-portable missiles may also threaten the U.S. Army crews of Apache helicopter gunships recently dispatched to Baghdad to secure the airport and defend the U.S. embassy. Intelligence reports say that the Islamic State organization, also known as ISIS, has likely captured U.S.-made Stingers. In seizing major cities such as Mosul and Tikrit, and overrunning four Iraqi army divisions, Islamic State fighters have reportedly taken control of two major weapons depots, where Stingers were likely stored along with other sophisticated U.S.-manufactured armaments.

    • Russia’s Missiles Stung the World Long Before MH17

      On May 1, 1960, a U-2 spy plane operated by the CIA took off from an airbase in Peshawar, Pakistan. The existence of the U-2 was a secret. It had an unusual appearance created by its long, slender wings. These wings gave it the ability to fly at heights beyond 70,000 feet to the edge of the stratosphere, way above any other airplanes.

    • All hands stained with blood

      Ricardo and Lugo flew back to Trinidad and checked in at the then Holiday Inn in Port of Spain. There, that said evening, that local police under Randolph Burroughs arrested them and found incriminating evidence that linked them to anti-Castro CIA operative Luis Carriles.

      It turned out that the CIA, and possibly higher officials in Washington, were aware of the plot to blow up the Cubana plane. Even worse, Washington helped Carriles escape and evade prosecution in Venezuela and/or Cuba (Ricardo and Lugo were jailed in Caracas).

    • Ex-Shin Bet Chief: Israeli Illusions Fueled Blowup

      Yuval Diskin, who served as director of Israel’s Shin Bet security service from 2005 to 2011, posted some rather blunt observations on his Facebook page this morning regarding the tit-for-tat murders of teenagers, the Palestinian rioting in East Jerusalem and the Triangle (the Arab population center south of Haifa) and what he fears is coming down the pike.

      It strikes me that he’s probably saying a lot of what IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz was thinking at this week’s security cabinet meeting, when Gantz’s far more restrained comments led to a tongue-lashing from Naftali Bennett. In other words, this is how the current meltdown looks to much of the top Israeli military and intelligence brass. It’s what they’ve been saying privately while in uniform and publicly after retiring (and occasionally even while still in uniform). I’ve taken the liberty of translating Diskin’s Hebrew into English.

    • Hacker Group Anonymous launches #OpSaveGaza, an intensive online offensive against Israel

      In an online offensive against Israel, the global hacker group took down hundreds of Israeli websites including that of Tel Aviv Police Department, which is still not available, at the time of writing this report

    • Israel Vows to Escalate Gaza Offensive: 341 Killed
    • Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

      The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

    • Israeli envoy to US lands in hot water

      Dubai- Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer landed himself in hot water Thursday when Palestine activists posted a barrage of sarcastic questions to his Twitter Q&A #AskDermer thread. The Q&A was held amid escalating violence between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza. The hashtag, which was used more than 20,000 times, included questions that were harshly critical of Israel’s strategy in Gaza. Many tweets by activists were snarky, and others were angry. Eli Clifton wrote: IDF says houses, hospitals, schools and mosques are weapons depots. What were the “human shields” shielding on the beach? #AskDermer US Dept of Drone War wrote: A Palestinian walks into a bar. Do you A) Blow up the bar, B) Blow up the person’s home, or C) Kill 4 random kids on a beach? #AskDermer

    • Israel-Gaza conflict: Baby killed by tank as IDF begins ground offensive
    • Hamas raid kills two Israeli soldiers

      In their most audacious attack Saturday, Hamas fighters dressed in Israeli army uniforms slipped from central Gaza into Israel through a tunnel and attacked an Israeli army patrol, killing two soldiers and injuring two others. The army returned fire, killing one militant and forcing the rest back through the tunnel into the Palestinian territory.

    • Despite Israeli Push in Gaza, Hamas Fighters Slip Through Tunnels

      Eight Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel some 300 yards inside Israel on Saturday morning, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Israeli military uniforms, the Israeli military said. The gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two Israeli military jeeps on patrol, starting a battle that killed two Israeli officers and one of the militants, according to the military. The rest then retreated underground, back to Gaza.

    • Hamas Fighters Infiltrate Israel Through Tunnel and Kill Two Soldiers

      As Israel continued its deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, Hamas militants sneaked into the country on Saturday and killed two soldiers, delivering the worst blow to the Israeli military on its side of the Gaza border in years.

    • Pakistan condemns US drone strike in NWA
    • US drone stike on Pakistan compound kills 11

      Pakistan has condemned the US drone strike in North Waziristan in which 15 suspected militants were reportedly killed early Saturday, saying these strikes would have a negative impact on its efforts to bring peace and stability in the country and the region.

    • Death toll rises to 11 in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan
    • New York officer in fatal arrest placed on desk duty
    • Complaints About Chokeholds Are Focus of Study
    • Outrage Mounts Over Death of Staten Island Man Placed in NYPD Chokehold [Updated]

      When LIRR workers and the MTA reached an agreement to avoid the strike that would have begun on Sunday, it seemed that Mayor de Blasio and his family would be able to leave for their ten-day Italian vacation on Friday, as scheduled. But on Friday evening, De Blasio’s office announced that the mayor would remain in New York until Saturday “to attend to City business.” According to the New York Times, the mayor wanted to “spend more time making calls to elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy, and talking to the police” about Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man who went into cardiac arrest and died after NYPD officers put him in a chokehold on Thursday. Anyone who has seen the cell phone video of five cops piling onto an unarmed Garner can probably understand why De Blasio felt the need to at least briefly postpone his trip.

    • Israel begins heaviest bombardment yet in Gaza, sending residents fleeing
    • Opinion: Self-righteousness is the siren song of war

      Even the educated are not immune to these feelings. Consider, for instance, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a well-paid speaker and author, respected by many as an expert in international affairs. Yet, in an interview with Charlie Rose on May 29, 2003, Friedman justified his support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on the grounds that if we killed enough Iraqis, Arab terrorists would give up believing they can attack us without repercussions. He concluded by saying that “they” needed to see “American boys and girls going from house to house from Basra to Baghdad” and telling people to “suck on this!”

    • Of Planes and Proxies

      In the nineteen-eighties, the C.I.A. handed out Stinger surface-to-air missiles to the mujahideen

    • Clinton papers on Iraq, Haiti released

      President Bill Clinton’s advisers carefully considered how to explain the president’s military action against Iraq in 1998 as the House was debating his impeachment, according to records from the Clinton White House that were released Friday. The documents also touched upon al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, consideration of military action in Haiti in 1994 and preparations for Supreme Court nomination hearings.

    • Top 6 takeaways from the Clinton document dump
    • Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1988 Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1998

      The latest batch shows Mr Clinton asked his national security aides whether the CIA overstated bin Laden’s role in the August 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

    • Markus R. case highlights spy game between Washington, Moscow and Berlin
    • Can the US accept allies as equals?

      By expelling the CIA station chief in Berlin recently, Germany hoped to jolt the United States into paying attention. Germans are outraged by reports that American spies may have been working inside their security services. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that hostile operations like this “contradict everything that I understand to be a trusting cooperation between friendly partners.”

    • Loss of trust

      A specialist on German foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations has described the US as a “weak superpower” whose spying methods and surveillance on other countries is solely driven by a feeling of insecurity.

  • Finance

    • US states with higher minimum wages gain more jobs

      The 13 U.S. states that raised their minimum wages at the beginning of this year are adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not, providing some counter-intuitive fuel to the debate over what impact a higher minimum has on hiring trends.

    • Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It’s Falling.

      The finding comes from a recent investigation by Christoph Lakner, a consultant at the World Bank, and Branko Milanovic, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center. And while such a framing may sound startling at first, it should be intuitive upon reflection. The economic surges of China, India and some other nations have been among the most egalitarian developments in history.

    • When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid’

      Whether I was working as a barista or a paralegal, the story was the same: My employers wanted me to keep my mouth shut about money.

    • What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People

      When the water trucks arrived near Arlyssa Heard’s home on the west side of Detroit at the end of June, the 42-year-old single mother of two said it felt like the entire neighborhood was being taken over. “There were water trucks literally circling up and down blocks. I’d never seen so many in my life,” she says. “It’s like they were the police hunting down a criminal.”

  • Censorship

    • ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ Aims To Stop Porn Access In Public Hotspots

      The UK government has launched the ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ licensing scheme – an effort to make harmful and pornographic content inaccessible through public Wi-Fi networks.

    • ‘Pirate’ Site ISP Blockades Reversed By Court

      As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds.

    • Dotcom’s MEGA Blocked in Italy Over Piracy Concerns

      The Court of Rome has issued a nation-wide block of two dozen sites that facilitated the distribution of pirated movies. Among the blocked domains is Kim Dotcom’s cloud hosting service Mega, Firedrive (formerly known as Putlocker), and even Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • That Comcast Customer Service Rep Wasn’t Going Rogue

      During her time at Comcast, Bruce attended an all-day training session, on a Sunday, four times a year. At the training session, 40 people would be lectured by a trainer who would give “pep talks” about the importance of retaining customers and making sales. In addition to managing calls, Bruce also worked at the counter, where she was instructed to try to convince customers to keep their service, even as they were returning cable gear following a processed cancellation.

    • Verizon made an enemy tonight

      This Netflix video streams at 375 kbps (or 0.375 mbps – 0.5% of the speed I pay for) at the fastest. I was shocked. Then I decided to try connecting to a VPN service to compare.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Now Bullying Fully Licensed, Zero Revenue Music Site

        Earlier this week it was reported how the RIAA had decided to turn the licensing thumbscrews on a site offering decades-old radio archives for download. Now another archival site, one that pays thousands of dollars in license fees to BMI, ASCAP and SoundExchange yet makes not a cent, is now in the RIAA spotlight.

      • [Old] Dotcom’s Mega Plans $179m Public Listing Via Reverse Takeover

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has announced its intention to go public with a backdoor listing on the New Zealand stock exchange. The deal, worth a cool NZ$210m ($179m), will be actioned via a reverse takeover of a local investment shell company.

      • Chrome Blocks uTorrent as Malicious and Harmful Software

        Google’s Chrome browser has started to block downloads of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent. Those who attempt to download the software are told that it’s malicious and harmful, hinting that the website might have been hacked.

Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

Posted in Mono at 5:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jo Shields

Summary: Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin

The most notoriously foul-mouthed Mono booster is joining Xamarin, which is funded by Microsoft-linked sources and enjoying an alliance with Microsoft, trying to spread Microsoft to everything.

As put by Mr. Shields himself, he got “a job offer 3 months ago from my long-time friend in Open Source, Miguel de Icaza. Monday morning, I fly out to Xamarin’s main office in Boston, for just over a week of induction and face time with my new co workers, as I take on the title of Release Engineer.”

Enjoy a job funded by Microsoft veterans, to promote Microsoft software, and be managed by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza. Now it’s “pay day” for your years of harassing Mono sceptics.

Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Bend Software

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software

THE improperly-named AllSeen Alliance recently let Microsoft in, immediately discrediting itself. But it’s not just FOSS foes, proprietary software giants, patent trolls and software patent lobbyists that are among the AllSeen Alliance’s members. It’s even a company that sued Chrome using software patents. It seems like growth for the sake of quantity — not quality — is what the AllSeen Alliance is after. Since the AllSeen Alliance is tied to the Linux Foundation, this bodes poorly for Linux as a whole. Here is the AllSeen Alliance’s latest mistake: “Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.”

Did the AllSeen Alliance bother to check Red Bend’s history? Maybe, but probably not. Having said that, since the AllSeen Alliance even opened the door to Microsoft, it does not seem to bother at all with quality control. Its name seems to insinuate in-house (universal) surveillance and judging by its members, that is the route it is quite likely to take.

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