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‘Visual Studio Code’: Not News, Not Free, Not Open Source

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 4:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another publicity stunt from Microsoft, this time going under the name ‘Visual Studio Code’, which is basically proprietary lock-in

DESPITE an openwashing campaign and an effort to deceive the public (as chronicled here before), Visual Studio is (and will remain) proprietary. There is currently yet another PR blitz from Microsoft, which at the moment is trying to openwash it and pretend that it’s ‘news’ (it’s not, it goes back to last year).

Sadly, some FOSS proponents have already fallen for it and Phoronix is doing marketing for Microsoft [1, 2]. This is not really news and it’s not even a surprise. It’s just some publicity stunt which got Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-friendly sites on board. There is a press release and a lot of what looks like ‘prepared’ coverage (ghost-written or written in advance with a so-called ‘embargo’) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16].

Microsoft may be good at marketing, even when it comes to proprietary software whose aim is to promote Microsoft APIs, i.e. Microsoft lock-in.

Microsoft’s Patent Attacks on Android Not Covered in the Corporate Media, Only Microsoft as the ‘Victim’

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues”

Noam Chomsky

Summary: Omission of important developments around Microsoft’s war on GNU/Linux and Free software, notably against Android and ChromeOS as of late

II IS HARD to remain apathetic or even maintain neutrally towards the corporate (or “mainstream”) media when it shamelessly does so much Microsoft promotion, including dissemination of utter lies, which Microsoft calls "marketing" (nice euphemism for lies). Here is Eric Knorr, IDG’s editor of InfoWorld (one of several IDG technology ‘news’ sites), continuing to act more like a Microsoft salesman. If Microsoft can get away with gross distortion of facts, like saying that it “loves Linux”, then truth is a primary casualty and the press/media becomes complicit in Microsoft’s war.

Here is Microsoft’s propagandist Paul Thurrott writing about the "embrace extend extinguish" endeavor bu Microsoft against Android and Linux. Microsoft loves neither of them; it hates both of them and it is busy trying to destroy them from the inside (because attacks from the outside have not worked so far). Where is the media in all this and why is it not covering Microsoft’s patent war on Android and Linux? It’s nowhere to be seen, even when new extortion deals are announced (almost nobody covered this at all!). We only find a lot of comments about it, but nowhere in the corporate press is there sign of that. It’s like there’s an effort to hide evidence that Microsoft is viciously attacking Android and Linux using patents and other subversive means.

Microsoft is trying to stay relevant and keep Windows within the game by mixing it with the platform which is now most dominant and Linux-based (Android) while at the same time attempting to devour GNU/Linux in its ‘cloud’ (Azure). Remember what Microsoft did to Netscape and Java in the 1990s. Any such “embrace” by Microsoft usually means an embrace of a python; the ultimate goal is to kill.

What we found rather disturbing was the degree to which the narrative of Microsoft of the victim got pushed into the media. “Microsoft loses mobile patent infringement lawsuit,” said a Microsoft-friendly site. It is not about patent extortion failing but about Microsoft being the target of a troll, much like itself and its own trolls. “A U.S. International Trade Commission judge,” says the report, “has ruled against Microsoft in a patent infringement lawsuit, finding the company used patented software from InterDigital Inc. in its mobile phones.

“The judge ruled Microsoft infringed on two wireless cellular patents, which date back to original patent infringement claims against Nokia in 2007, which Microsoft acquired in 2013. The judge said it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from being imported into the United States, though the full trade commission must review the decision before any ban takes place.

“In a statement, Microsoft confirmed it would continue to challenge the patent infringement claims as an ongoing part of the process.”

ITC rulings do not immediately take effect, so Microsoft will most likely get its way at the end (see I4i vs Microsoft for similarities). Why is this even such massive news? We wrote about InterDigital before and there is nothing exceptional about it. It has been around for a long time (it used to fight with Nokia), Google wanted to buy it, and it hired an executive from Mozilla. Reuters considered that to be top news with subsequent updates (at least two of them). It said that “Microsoft Corp lost a round in a potentially costly patent battle when a U.S. International Trade Commission judge on Monday found that the software giant used InterDigital Inc’s technology in its mobile phones without permission.

“The judge, Theodore Essex, said that Microsoft infringed two wireless cellular patents owned by InterDigital, a patent licensor, and said it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from being imported into the United States.”

That’s about it. No real reports, i.e. reports which add something new, have since then arrived. There have since then been many dozens of superficial (PR-like) articles about this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36], despite the fact that almost nobody ever buys these phones and Microsoft barely even counts in the mobile market. There is not even a ban, expect an appeal to come.

By contrast, here is some of this week’s coverage about Apple in China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Apple, unlike Microsoft, at least has some market share. Why is it that corporate media only ever covers patents-related news when giants like Google, Apple or Microsoft are in some way involved and pro-patents slant is possible?

As we mentioned the other day, Google is not looking for a real patent reform anymore, it just wants to buy a lot of patents. We found about a hundred different articles about this, including 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18].

Where are the stories about Microsoft’s patent attacks on Android and GNU/Linux? Why is there such deafening silence on this important matter? There is seemingly no interest in investigative/original journalism anymore, just promotion of brands.

As Core Issues Still Not Addressed, Another Protest Against EPO Management Scheduled for Tomorrow in Munich, Germany

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO protest

Summary: On Thursday (tomorrow) yet another demonstration is organised in Munich, less than a week ahead of the UPC decision (May 5th)

The EPO’s corrupt management is not off the hook. No solution has been reached. Last week we wrote about the EPO's management which was trying hard to appease its critics ahead of May 5th. We did wonder why so much momentum had been lost when it comes to opposition, but as it turns out, based on this announcement [PDF], staff will march to the Dutch embassy tomorrow, knowing that Dutch politicians are already aware of the issues and may take serious action (among other reasons, including the role of the Dutch branch and the court at the Hague). This was only announced two days ago (far shorter a notice than before), which limits Battistelli’s ability to threaten staff which ‘dares’ to exercise the right to protest. Here is another take on it.

“I don’t know if you went on this webpage lately,” wrote someone to us, “but some other articles than the one from “Le Monde” concerning the office are available [...] some translated [into] English.”

El Pais (the Spanish newspaper) wrote about it [PDF] and so did Ingeniøren (Danish website), which published a piece [PDF]. “An article about the French management in France Telecom,” says our source, “a case more and more similar to the EPO,” was published here [PDF] by SUEPO.

Here is the English translation of the article from El Pais:

The “Happy Office” goes on strike

Staff at the EPO, the European patent authority, which employs 7,000 people, is declaring war on its President after 40 years of happy existence

Miguel Ángel Noceda Madrid 19 APR 2015 – 00:10 CEST

It is the authority on which all the patents of European companies depend. More than 7,000 people work there, highly qualified people from a range of European nationalities, making it the second biggest inter-governmental employer in Europe. It is almost 40 years old, and its employees have passed that time in a calm and peaceful organization, with the assurance of support from staff who are well paid and enjoy enviable conditions.

But it is an organization which is also little known. This is the European Patent Office, the EPO, and behind this happy façade a crisis is brewing which is putting the employees on a war footing, due to the “dictatorial attitudes” of the President, Frenchman Benoit Battistelli, with the consent of the Board of Administration, which represents 38 European states (those of the EU plus others not in the Community).

The EPO was founded in 1977 by way of the European Patent Convention. Its tasks consist of examining the applications, which, if granted, come to be known as “European Patents”. Headquarters are in Munich, although there are also three outposts, in The Hague, Berlin, and Vienna. It is the second largest body in Europe, in terms of budget and number of employees, after the Commission in Brussels. The Office, which in 2014 dealt with 274,000 applications, is financed by the income from the patents.

It benefits from extraterritorial status, which allows it to make its own rules when it comes to taxes, social security, and pension schemes. It does this with the International Labour Organization (ILO) as supervisor. In other words, it’s a happy world, where the employees earn an average of 5,000 Euros, and have medical and family benefits into the bargain.

But in the view of the majority union Suepo (acronym for the Staff Union of the European Patent Office), to which 50% of the workforce are affiliated, this whole world could come crashing down thanks to the decision adopted by Battistelli, a long-standing French official aged 64, and graduate of the prestigious National School of Administration (École Nationale d’Administration – ENA), who came into office in 2010 and was ratified last year for another mandate period.

Suepo have denounced Battistelli for cutting back the employment rights of the staff members, abusing the judicial immunity which the organization enjoys, and having created a stifling and intolerable environment. According to the employees, who have raised the issue before the courts by way of French attorneys William Bourdon and the Spanish Ledesma y Asociados, Battistelli has at no time consulted the representatives of the personnel when it came to putting his reforms into effect. And they also accuse him of taking reprisals.

The union accuses Battistelli of having changed the rules, and of having made it “impossible” for a decision to be reached internally. The list of accusations which has accumulated during his time in office is a long one, and significant: Refusal to recognize the union representatives as the legitimate representatives of the staff, and proposals for changes in the structure of employee representation; installation of filters to block internal E-mails; censorship of internal publications; introduction of rules whereby an employee can be investigated without the need for them to be advised of this beforehand; change in the rules for calling strikes, in such a way that this now requires a petition to the President signed by at least 10% of the workforce, and a minimum participation of 40% in order to be quorate.

As well as this, the unions accuse of Battistelli of not having allowed an investigation into the causes of the suicide of an employee at his place of work, and of isolating the members of the staff who have suggested that the management bear responsibility in this suicide. And they add that he has systematically refused to follow the recommendations of the Internal Complaints Committee.

In the light of all this, they are petitioning the European Commission, which already holds a majority of representation on the Administrative Council, such that, “if they wish to take seriously the use and promotion of the Unitary Patent”, a policy be instituted which will be sufficient to settle the conflict “by means of the introduction of policies of consultation and negotiation, and not of repression and intimidation”.

Here is the English translation of the article from Ingeniøren:

EPO: the image’s feet of clay are crumbling

By George Brock-Nannestad 10 Feb 10:46

IDA chairperson Frida Frost came to the following conclusion about the future Patent Court in Ingeniøren on 12 May 2014, before the referendum:

“… And of course small businesses must safeguard their inventions with a patent. There is no reason to stand idly by, waiting to see what will happen in practice under the new collaborative system. Conversely, it makes complete sense to enter into the unitary patent on a level playing field and to be able to influence collaboration as much as possible to optimise this. Not least for the sake of small businesses.”

The way things look at the moment, small businesses in particular will suffer hugely in the slightly longer term because the foundations of the unitary patent and the Patent Court are rotting away.

Right now there is a very unfortunate development at the only subcontractor of unitary patents, i.e. the European Patent Office EPO. Up until now, this development has been the concern of specialists: patent attorneys and judges, as well as case handlers – the highly educated patent specialists who work at the EPO. In recent months, they have been so frustrated about the consistent erosion of their ability to do a good job that they have been out demonstrating in Munich, where the EPO has its headquarters. The most recent demonstrations ended at the Danish consulate in Munich, because the president of the EPO’s Administrative Council, the highest responsible authority, is a Dane.

I cannot at this juncture provide a course on patents with a view to explaining in depth where the problems lie, but I can cite some principles. There are a few blogs online where discussions are ongoing, and the most professional one is http://ipkitten.blogspot.dk. Try a Google search of <"administrative council" ipkitten>.

As stated, there are two independent problems which will have the combined effect of degrading legal certainty.

One problem is inherent in the actual basis from 1973 and 2000, the European Patent Convention (EPC). All countries have a Board of Appeal associated with the patent system – in Denmark, it is Ankenævnet for Patenter og Varemærker (the Patents and Trade Marks Appeal Board). Anyone who is dissatisfied has two instances to approach. However, if the EPO rejects a European patent application, that leaves only one independent instance, i.e. the Board of Appeal. That is the “asymmetry flaw” when it comes to the EPC.

The EPC emphasises that the Board of Appeal should be like a court, independent of the administration, precisely because it has to determine whether the administration is in error. And, if anyone is unhappy about the Board of Appeal having upheld the approval of the European patent application, then in each country where it has been validated, it is possible to conduct an opposition proceeding against the now national patent. Once the Patent Court is up and running, it will be possible to conduct an opposition proceeding there, and thus impact all Member States in one go. In other words, an error at the Board of Appeal is not the last word when it comes to approved patent applications.

For more than a year, the Administrative Council of the EPO, at the instigation of the president (actually outside his remit), has been making plans to subjugate the Board of Appeal directly to the management of the EPO. Going forward, the EPO Service Regulation will also be applicable to the Board of Appeal. The Service Regulation places fixed constraints on staff conduct, and the extension of appointment of Board of Appeal members and any promotions will now become contingent on performance. This has led to strong protests from judges at courts and patent courts throughout Europe. They are frankly appalled that it is possible to force through suspension of the independence of the Board of Appeal.

There will no longer be even one independent instance for a company that fails to get its European application approved. That amounts to serious prejudicing of rights!

The other problem is that the case handlers are being given less and less time to process cases because they are required to meet purely arbitrary production targets to make savings for the EPO. Those savings will not result in lower charges. It could be said that, going forward, case processing will become rather perfunctory. In other words, neither the applicant nor any competitors will be able to assess whether any right granted will be fit for purpose or something to be wary of. The case processors, who are specialists in their field, have used every means at their disposal to protest about this.

It is now being suggested quite seriously in professional patent advisory circles that clients should be advised to avoid the EPO (and thus the unitary patent) entirely and apply nationally, the way things were done long ago, before 1978. Things have become much easier today, partly because many countries now accept submissions in English, which in some countries then have to be translated into the local language by a later deadline. But that is tantamount to declaring the bankruptcy of a system that has had so much invested in it since 1978.

The entire EPO system is now run by a group of self-perpetuating, incestuous officials who are far more adept at manipulating the system than politicians imagined. Unfortunately, the president of the Administrative Council is a Dane who, back in the day, arrived with great words about setting up pan-European collaboration in order to reduce the bulge of applications, whereby some of the case processing for European patent applications would be done by the national patent authorities as external suppliers. It really makes you wonder why he has moved from this open policy to an extremely closed one, complicit in the president’s manipulation.

A subcommittee of the Administrative Council, known as Board 28, will be presenting a proposal on Wednesday regarding the future administration of the EPO, and the Administrative Council itself will adopt this at an actual Administrative Council meeting in March. There are no channels for arriving at a dialogue or for influencing the Administrative Council, except if the ministers with responsibility in the individual Member States take the matter up. Unfortunately, however, the five-yearly ministerial meetings prescribed by the EPC have never taken place! And the planned diplomatic conference, designed to modify the EPC in line with lessons learnt from how it has been working up until now, has been taken off the table.

Why should users have the wool pulled over their eyes? Why should the European patent system of the future be degraded?

“Among the some interesting blogs and websites,” said our source to us, there is this item from the pro-patents site IAM. It says that “transparency and independent oversight look unattractive for many that work inside IP’s major institutions. Such reactions are understandable among people who, like most inside the IP world, entered the field when it had a very different, much lower profile. Nevertheless, I am afraid, that’s the way it has to be. We cannot hold off on doing the right thing because it discomfits certain people and interests. IP is too important for that.”

The problem is not only transparency, there are much more severe and far worse problems than that. Staff of the EPO is not going on strikes and protests because of lack of transparency. That’s just a convenient straw man of EPO apologists.

Pharmaceutical Patents and Hedge Funds: Evil Fighting Evil

Posted in Patents at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Revisiting the subject of patents on life or life-saving processes, plus a hedge fund’s extortion-type attack on such patents (for quick profit)

TECHRIGHTS has been focused on software patents, but in earlier years there were quite a few articles here about other notorious kinds of patents that should not at all exist because they kill a lot of people and contribute nothing at all to innovation, progress etc. They are clearly against public interests.

“We examine the effect of pharmaceutical patent protection on the speed of drug launch, price, and quantity in 60 countries from 2000-2013,” said this new article about evidence from TRIPS, responding to some rather disturbing developments around patents and lobbying from pharmaceutical giants (seeking more protectionism from governments, especially Canada’s). See last week’s article “Startup Pledges To Cut Cost Of Breast Cancer Genetic Testing From $4000 To $249″. It says that a “startup called Color Genomics is announcing that it will provided genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer – the same genetic tests that led Angelina Jolie to have her breasts and ovaries surgically removed – at one-sixteenth the cost of the main test that is currently used.”

“They are now using patents, or threats of invalidation thereof, to manipulate markets.”This isn’t about pharmaceuticals’ abuse but it is related to it and it tackles patents which pertain to life — patents that oughtn’t exist in the first place.

Much of the news coverage this month actually revolved around a case which was mentioned here before because of the very dirty tricks involved (“hedge funds are extorting money from pharmaceutical companies by either filing or threatening to file for re-exam,” is how Steph put it). The Wall Street media wrote: “A well-known hedge-fund manager is taking a novel approach to making money: filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.”

Other Wall Street media wrote: “Shire Plc is “confident” it will prevail against a U.S. hedge fund’s challenge to its drug patents after winning a similar fight with Actavis Plc, according to an intellectual-property attorney for the Dublin-based company.”

The Financial Times went with the headline “Shire rebuffs hedge fund’s attack on patents” and various Wall Street-centric sites covered it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] without paying much attention to the unethical side/aspect. Here is a press release, coverage from lawyers’ media, and some from pharmaceuticals’ media [1, 2, 3]. Since one party is Irish, even the Irish press covered it, adding to a lot of other reports in English [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

To put it in very simple terms, what we have here is abuse by gambling agencies/firms (hedge funds) that so often act like vultures in order to make a quick buck. They are now using patents, or threats of invalidation thereof, to manipulate markets. We have sympathy for neither side because both hedge funds and companies that hoard patents on drugs (to artificially elevate prices) are deeply unethical. Both have been criticised here before.

UCLA Foolishly Grooms Microsoft’s Patent Troll Nathan Myhrvold (Intellectual Ventures), Who is Busy Attacking Android and Linux These Days

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: More news about Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ anti-Linux tool, who lost a battle because of last year’s SCOTUS ruling and is now groomed by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

THE PATENT troll known as Intellectual Ventures is so vast that it does not need an introduction. It is one of the most hated entities in the world, rivalling even ALEC (which Bill Gates financially supported, just like he financially supports Intellectual Ventures). This monstrous patent troll is very closely connected to Microsoft and people from Microsoft. Just look who’s heading and funding Intellectual Ventures. To quote leaked E-mails, “Intellectual Ventures, the investment vehicle and sometime patent troll set up by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold [has] taken to market by TerraPower, which is partially funded by Gates.”

Well, we wrote about this ‘special’ TerraPower relationship several years ago. This greedy bunch is looting; it’s looking to profit together, as once again Gates is subsidising his mate Nathan Myhrvold, in order for both Gates and Intellectual Ventures (and sometimes Microsoft) to profit, often at the expense of the public. That’s a disturbing pattern which we have shown repeatedly and demonstrated for almost a decade now.

“All we have here is a patent troll who attacks Microsoft’s rivals, including Android and Linux.”Last week we wrote about Microsoft's troll (Intellectual Ventures) losing software patents. This is important because Intellectual Ventures attacks Linux and Android (even this month, as we highlighted weeks ago). Something must be done about these vultures (not ventures). All we have here is a patent troll who attacks Microsoft’s rivals, including Android and Linux. It is run by a friend of Bill Gates, who uses Gates’ and Microsoft’s money to attack their rivals. One potential solution to this is not to crush trolls but to crush software patents. As it turns out, based on this report, it was the SCOTUS decision regarding Alice that demolished these vultures’ agenda. Quoting The Register: “A US district court has torn the heart out of two patents wielded by Intellectual Ventures against two antivirus makers.

“In a judgment [PDF] this week, Chief Judge Leonard Stark ruled that Intellectual Ventures’ US patents 6,460,050 and 6,073,142 were “ineligible,” meaning they are too vague and the technologies they described unpatentable.

“The ’142 and ’050 patents described email filters designed to catch spam and malware. A third Intellectual Ventures patent, 5,987,610, which described “computer virus screening methods and systems”, was upheld by the judge.”

Here is some subsequent press coverage and a press release. As one headline put it, “Citing ‘Alice,’ Judge Squashes IV Email-Sorting Patents”. It says that “Latham’s Douglas Lumish and Paul Hastings’ Yar Chaikovsky teamed up in a successful Section 101 attack on two Intellectual Ventures patents.”

This helps show that trolls can be combated by squashing software patents, not just by obsessing over patent trolls (the small ones, not big ones like Microsoft).

We were shocked and disgusted to discover last night that UCLA put this horrible troll in a commencement ceremony. An article’s author, Ara Shirinian, decided to write about this without mincing words. He complained and said that “keynote speaker for UCLA’s commencement ceremony has just been announced as Nathan Myhrvold. He is the cofounder of Intellectual Ventures, the worlds biggest “patent troll,” a company that exploits the loopholes in the patent-granting system by collecting patents and suing other companies, both big and small, hoping to get a piece of their revenue.”

Watch the comment which says “Intellectual Ventures is the patent troll division of Microsoft. It exists to keep the large foot of Microsoft Corporation firmly on the throat of the entire Tech Industry.”

This article drew attention from Tim Wilson, who asked: “Will UCLA students protest patent troll founder’s selection as commencement speaker?”

They definitely should. UCLA has too much pride and reputation to associate itself with parasites and aggressors. Are they actually paying this troll for his self promotion?


Links 28/4/2015: Plasma 5.3, Cutelyst 0.8.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Citrix Delivers Linux Virtual Desktop Offering

      Citrix is out with some interesting moves in the Linux virtual desktop arena. The company has a new kit called the “Linux Virtual Desktop Tech Preview” which is available here for XenApp or XenDesktop customers with active Subscription Advantage accounts. Citrix Partners can get it as well.

    • Chrome OS will get Lucid sleep mode

      François Beaufort, a Google developer, writes on his Google+ page that Chrome OS is receiving the ability to perform some Wifi functions while the device is sleeping.

    • VXL Launches Gio 6 Linux OS for its Suite of Thin, Cloud and Zero Client Desktop

      VXL Instruments has developed and designed exclusively in-house, VXL’s new, industry-leading Gio 6 Linux operating system features a new look, user-friendly design together with greater flexibility, connectivity, security and multimedia capabilities.

  • Server

    • Linux vendor Cumulus rolls out management pack

      Linux network operating system developer Cumulus Networks this week at Interop rolled out a management platform that provides a common interface and operational process for data center racks.

      The Cumulus Rack Management Platform is based on the company’s Cumulus Linux network operating system code base. Out-of-band management switches running Cumulus RMP may be managed by the same Linux toolsets as both servers and data-plane switches running Cumulus Linux, the company says.

    • VMware Draws on Open Source to Manage Cloud Micro Services

      VMware last week released details about two new open source projects that aim to bridge the divide between the company’s virtualization software and other vendors’ containers. Both projects integrate into VMware’s unified platform for the hybrid cloud, allowing the company to create a consistent environment for cloud-native and traditional applications.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Brief Update On Fwupd For Linux Firmware Updating Of Devices

      One of the latest focuses of prolific free software developer Richard Hughes has been on fwupd, an open-source and easy way to update device firmware.

      Fwupd is part of the initiative to make updating of UEFI/BIOS easily from the Linux desktop and fwupd can be used for updating the firmware of peripheral devices like Richard Hughes’ ColorHug device.

    • Updating OpenHardware Firmware

      One of the use-cases I’ve got for fwupd is for updating firmware on small OpenHardware projects. It doesn’t make sense for each of the projects to write a GUI firmware flash program when most of them are using a simple HID or DFU bootloader to do basically the same thing. We can abstract out the details, and just require the upstream project to provide metadata about what is fixed in each update that we can all share.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Radeon R9 290 OpenGL On Ubuntu 15.04: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D

        While I’ve posted some new AMD OpenGL benchmarks on Ubuntu 15.04 since last week’s release of the Vivid Vervet, the Radeon R9 290 wasn’t tested since at that time this Hawaii graphics card was busy on other Phoronix test systems. However, due to the interest level in seeing some fresh Ubuntu 15.04 numbers for the Radeon R9 290 series, here’s some numbers.

      • Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D Driver Now Exposes GLSL 4.10

        While there’s still more work to be done before advertising OpenGL 4.0~4.1 compliance, the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver is now advertising support for GLSL 410 (4.10), the GL Shading Language version to match OpenGL 4.1.

      • GTX 750 Maxwell Acceleration Starts Working On Nouveau With Linux 4.1

        While the Nouveau developers remain blocked by NVIDIA on bringing up accelerated support for the GeForce GTX 900 series, with the forthcoming Linux 4.1 kernel there is initial GeForce GTX 750 “Maxwell” accelerated support out-of-the-box.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • BackBox Linux 4.2 Is a Complete Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS [corrected URL]

      BackBox Linux, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, developed perform penetration tests and security assessments has just received a new update and is now ready for download.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • CUDA enabled programs

          There is a new repository available with CUDA enabled programs in package format. This contains programs that have been linked to CUDA libraries or have CUDA support enabled. At the moment this is available only on Fedora 21, if there is sufficient feedback I will enable it also for other distributions.

        • Making It Easier To Deploy CUDA On Fedora

          While Fedora 21 ships with decent OpenCL support, if you’re running the binary NVIDIA graphics driver on Fedora Linux and wishing to use CUDA-accelerated programs, it’s a little bit easier today thanks to a new third-party package repository.

        • FLISOL Panama 2015 Report

          Panama Fedora team participated in Festival Latinoamericano de Instalación de Software Libre (FLISOL) given on Saturday, April 25th at Universidad del Istmo, main campus.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8.0 Jessie Debuts After Two Years of Effort

        New Debian releases don’t occur every day, or even every year. This past week, Debian 8.0 codenamed Jessie was released after nearly two years of development effort. Debian is the first major milestone update for the GNU/Linux distribution since Wheezy was released in 2013.

      • why not trying to package Hadoop in Debian?

        OpenStack Sahara already provides the reproducible deployment system which you seem to wish. We “only” need Hadoop itself.

      • Backporting and git-buildpackage

        For working with Debian packages, one method of maintaining them is to put them in git and use git-buildpackage to build them right out of the git repository. There are a few pitfalls with it, notably around if you forget to import the upstream you get this strange treeish related error which still throws me at first when I see it.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Arrow Electronics Joins Open-Source Software Pioneer Linaro to Help Bring Innovative New Boards to Market
    • Compact embedded PC runs Linux on Bay Trail

      Aaeon’s ruggedized, 158 x 95 x 20mm “Boxer-6403″ PC offers Celeron or Atom SoCs, plus four USB ports and double helpings of GbE, serial, and mini-PCIe I/O.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Learn more about the Tizen Web Application Development Process

          Tizen is a new Linux based HTML5 centric Operating System that will offer developers a great opportunity for developers to bring their existing or new apps to a brand new ecosystem, where they actually have a chance of being discovered, and better still stand a chance of generating some real cash revenue.

        • Samsung’s 4K SUHD Smart Tizen TV

          The Samsung Smart TV revolution is upon us, and Samsung promises to redefine your viewing experience with television. We now have curved screens that feel more natural to watch as we see the world in a non-linear way, so why should we watch TV on a flat screen?

          Samsung Tizen TV offers some great image quality and promises to be able to become the Smart hub of your Smart home, allowing you to control peripheral devices from the comfort of your armchair.

      • Android

        • Android could ignite the Nokia of old

          For an entire generation, the name Nokia will stir up a lot of emotion. From the iconic 3210 to the symbolic N95, the pre-smartphone years were Nokia’s heyday and a large majority of current smartphone users will be able to recall using a Nokia handset in their past.

        • Disney’s Infinity Digital Toys Finally Come To Android With The Toy Box 2.0 App

          If you’re not familiar with Disney Infinity, it’s basically the media giant’s answer to digital toys like Skylanders, Angry Birds Telepods, and Nintendo Amiibo. The gist is that you buy your kids RFID-enabled collectible statues, they stick ‘em on a base station, and then they can use digital versions of those characters inside the Disney Infinity game. Is there a technical reason that a completely digital character needs a $15 hunk of physical plastic to unlock? Why certainly, so long as “technical reason” includes “making Disney a boatload of money.”

        • Google blushes over Google Maps showing Android icon urinating on Apple icon

          As of Monday, all was well in Pakistan’s Ayub National Park, at least as far as Google Maps was concerned, which was showing it as a verdant green swath of pixels.

          It was a nice change from the image of Google’s Android icon peeing on an Apple logo: an image that a map prankster uploaded to Google Maps and which had stayed up for an undetermined time.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition to get Android 5.1 Lollipop

          The Galaxy S4 may be more than two years old now, but it’s still very much a part of Samsung’s Lollipop upgrade plans. The device has already received an Android 5.0 upgrade, and according to a new report, Google Play Edition variants will get Android 5.1, too.

        • Will This Android Wear Update Fend Off the Apple Watch?

          Meanwhile, Google has kept the ability to customize Android Wear low compared to Android for smartphones and tablets, which has caused several manufacturers to experiment with homegrown solutions. These updates keep Android Wear’s feature set compelling enough to keep most OEMs from venturing out on their own.

        • The Livescribe 3 smartpen finally works with Android devices

          Livescribe has been in the business of merging physical content you generate — things like hand-written notes and voice recordings — with the digital world for years now. The Livescribe 3 “smartpen,” which launched in the fall of 2013, was certainly its most successful attempt to date. The combo of the Livescribe 3 pen alongside specially designed notebooks meant that you could take traditional notes, make drawings, do calculations, or anything else you do with a pen and paper and have them synced to your phone, tablet, or computer. That’s assuming you were an iOS user, of course — the Livescribe 3 only supported Apple’s mobile devices.

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Release Details Arrive

          While the Android 5.1 update probably won’t be hitting the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4 anytime soon, it does appear that the rumored Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update will be hitting at least one device in the near future.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘All Weather Is Part of Actual Climate’
    • Climate change could drive air conditioning to boost carbon emissions

      The climate is full of feedback loops. When a warming climate melts sea ice, the water that’s left behind reflects far less sunlight, leading to a further warming. Now, some researchers at the University of California Berkeley have looked at a human feedback loop: the relation between climate change and air conditioning. Using Mexico as an example, they find that the rising use of air conditioning may boost the country’s electricity use and carbon emissions by 80 percent before the century is over—but only if economic growth continues at a pace that allows people to buy air conditioners.

  • Finance

    • The End of a Job as We Know It

      The concept of a job, as we know it, is starting to go away.

    • Wall Street Halts Twitter Trading Following Earnings Leak (Liveblog)

      Wall Street briefly halted trading for Twitter stock Tuesday afternoon after the company’s Q1 earnings were leaked early.

      Twitter missed analyst’s revenue projections, and the market reacted as Twitter stock quickly dipped almost 6 percent before trading was halted. Trading then resumed, and the stock finished the day down more than 18 percent.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Vouchers on the Move: Return to School Segregation?

      Twenty-five years ago, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the nation’s first school voucher bill into law. Pitched as social mobility tickets for minority students, Wisconsin vouchers allow children to attend private, and sometimes religious, schools on the taxpayers’ dime.

  • Censorship

    • Salman Rushdie: The authors boycotting event awarding Charlie Hebdo a prize for free speech are ‘pussies’

      Salman Rushdie has accused fellow authors, including Peter Carey and Michael Ondaatje, of being “pussies” for boycotting an event organised by the free-speech organisation PEN at which the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is to be given an award.

    • Rieder: Why ‘Charlie Hebdo’ deserves free speech award

      A debate has erupted over the decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

      It was at the offices of Charlie Hebdo that an assault by Muslim extremists in January left 12 people dead, including the publication’s top editor and a number of prominent cartoonists.

    • Demonoid Blocks Adblock Users – Fair or Fail?

      Demonoid, once one of the Internet’s most popular torrent sites, is now barring users who try to visit the site with advert blocking software Adblock installed. The move raises some interesting questions, not least the value of revenue to torrent sites and the intricacies of whether or not content really should be ‘free’.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

Links 28/4/2015: More on Debian 8 “Jessie”, Fedora 22 Beta Walkthrough

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2016 might just be the year of Linux on the (virtual) desktop

    Come November, some “pundit” will declare that next year is the year of Linux on the desktop. This November, expect a twist on that prediction, as 2016 could just perhaps conceivably be the year of virtual Linux desktops now that Citrix has taken kit capable of delivering it into Beta.

    That kit is called the “Linux Virtual Desktop Tech Preview” and can be had here if you’re a XenApp or XenDesktop customer with an active Subscription Advantage account. Citrix Partners can get it too.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Anti-Systemd People

      For some reason the men in the Linux community who hate women the most seem to have taken a dislike to systemd. I understand that being “conservative” might mean not wanting changes to software as well as not wanting changes to inequality in society but even so this surprised me. My last blog post about systemd has probably set a personal record for the amount of misogynistic and homophobic abuse I received in the comments. More gender and sexuality related abuse than I usually receive when posting about the issues of gender and sexuality in the context of the FOSS community! For the record this doesn’t bother me, when I get such abuse I’m just going to write more about the topic in question.

    • Unix and Personal Computers: Reinterpreting the Origins of Linux

      So, to sum up: What Linus Torvalds, along with plenty of other hackers in the 1980s and early 1990s, wanted was a Unix-like operating system that was free to use on the affordable personal computers they owned. Access to source code was not the issue, because that was already available—through platforms such as Minix or, if they really had cash to shell out, by obtaining a source license for AT&T Unix. Therefore, the notion that early Linux programmers were motivated primarily by the ideology that software source code should be open because that is a better way to write it, or because it is simply the right thing to do, is false.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.1 RC1 with Initial ACPI Support for ARM64

      Linus Torvalds announced a few minutes ago, April 27, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Release Candidate version of the upcoming Linux 4.1 kernel, due for release later this year.

    • Reducing power consumption on Haswell and Broadwell systems

      Haswell and Broadwell (Intel’s previous and current generations of x86) both introduced a range of new power saving states that promised significant improvements in battery life. Unfortunately, the typical experience on Linux was an increase in power consumption. The reasons why are kind of complicated and distinctly unfortunate, and I’m at something of a loss as to why none of the companies who get paid to care about this kind of thing seemed to actually be caring until I got a Broadwell and looked unhappy, but here we are so let’s make things better.

    • Intel Haswell/Broadwell Power Use On Linux Still Moving Lower

      The latest work of Matthew Garrett is on further lowering the power consumption of modern x86 systems powered by Intel’s Haswell and Broadwell processors.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Gallium3D’s HUD Gets New Customization Options

        For the past two years there has been an optional Gallium3D HUD to display various performance-related metrics as an overlay while running OpenGL applications with the Gallium3D drivers. With the latest Mesa Git code, the heads-up display can be a bit more customized.

      • Intel Is Making Some Progress With Compute Shaders

        One of the big extensions of OpenGL 4.3 and also a requirement of OpenGL ES 3.1 is support for compute shaders. While the work isn’t complete yet, Intel’s open-source developers are making progress on GL_ARB_compute_shader support.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon GPUs With Linux 4.0 + Mesa 10.6-devel

        For at least the few graphics cards tested, the results of Linux 4.0 + Mesa 10.6-devel didn’t end up being much more interesting than the stock Ubuntu 15.04 numbers with Linux 3.19 and Mesa 10.5. However, for those interested, I’ve enclosed the results in this article. Though the Radeon HD 6870 numbers are missing as with Linux 4.0 stable the graphics card could no longer properly mode-set on this system: the HD 6450, HD 6570, HD 7850, and R9 270X all were fine in this situation.

      • GCC 4.9.2 vs. GCC 5 Benchmarks On An Intel Xeon Haswell

        For those craving some more GCC 5 compiler benchmark numbers following last week’s release of GCC 5.1, here’s some new comparison numbers between GCC 4.9.2 stable and the near-final release candidate of GCC 5.1.

        Pardon for this light article due to still finishing up work on migrating to the new Phoronix web server while separately working to take care of thermal issues coming about in the new Linux benchmarking server room.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KActivities powered recent media in Plasma Media Center

        As you may have already read the blog post from Eike Hein about Building on new pillars: Activities and KPeople in Plasma 5.3, activities can provide the useful information about the recent applications and resources used by them.

      • kreenshot-editor is incubating

        Now, kreenshot-editor is a new Qt-based project that was inspired by Greenshot’s image editor. It is hosted on KDE playground. It focuses on the image editing task, can be invoked from command line and should also provide a resuable editor component which could be integrated into other screencapture tools. The current code is already separated into an image editor widget and the main application.

      • Spring break for the KDE system monitor
      • Kubuntu 15.04 With Plasma 5.3 – A Totally Different Kubuntu

        The latest version of Kubuntu, 15.04, aka Vivid Vervet was released last week and it’s available for free download. With this release it has become the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment.

        There are chances that some users may still have bad memories of Kubuntu. It’s true. Back in 2011 when Ubuntu made a switch to Unity, I started looking for alternatives as their desktop environment was not suited for me. I started trying KDE-based distros and Kubuntu was among the top choices. However my experience with the distro was mixed. It was buggy, bloated and GTK apps would look ugly in it. That’s when I found openSUSE and settled down with it.

      • Google Summer of Code 2015

        The list of students accepted to the 2015 edition of Google’s Summer of code has just been published. We’ve got two students this working on Krita: Jouni and Wolthera. Wolthera has been a Krita developer for quite some time, working on color selectors perspective assistants and more, while Jouni has contributed with bug fixes for 2.9.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A brief glimpse into usability testing

        This provides the description and results of my 1-person usability test for GNOME version 3.14.2. I set up the test environment on a virtual machine running Debian Jessie, and conducted the usability test with only one participant on February 21, 2015.

        When doing usability testing, I strongly believe that understanding the participants is a very important point that we shouldn’t ignore. Here, the tester was a 23 year old female student in computer science, who self-reported a medium level of computer expertise.

  • Distributions

    • BackBox Linux 4.2 Is a Complete Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS

      BackBox Linux, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, developed perform penetration tests and security assessments has just received a new update and is now ready for download.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 5 Release Candidate Includes the LXQt Desktop, Supports Intel Broadwell

        After several delays, the Mageia development team, through Rémi Verschelde, announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the Release Candidate version of the upcoming Mageia 5 Linux operating system, due for release sometime in May 2015.

      • Debian 8 and Mageia 5 RC Released Over the Weekend

        What an exciting weekend that just passed. First up, the long-awaited Debian GNU/Linux 8.0 “Jessie” was released in live and traditional installation media. Elsewhere, Mageia 5 Release Candidate was released with UEFI support and other installation improvements. In addition, LibreOffice 4.3.7 was released Saturday as well.

      • All things come to those who wait

        While you wait for the download to complete, all restless and eager that you are to try this new release, let’s talk a bit about this release candidate: what can you expect of it, and why did it take so long?

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8 Jessie released

        For the first time since 2013 the Debian team have released a major upgrade of Debian, bumping it up to version 8. The new version has gone under the moniker ‘Jessie’, a continuation of the Toy Story themed names.

      • Debian Edu 8.0 Beta 1 Is Now Available for Testing, Based on Debian 8 Jessie

        The Debian Edu / Skolelinux project, through Holger Levsen, announced the general availability for download and testing of the first Beta release of the upcoming Debian Edu 8.0 distribution.

      • Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ arrives following Ubuntu 15.04 release

        The DEBIAN OPERATING SYSTEM has reached version 8.0 as the company announces the latest edition of the popular Linux distro.

        The Debian ‘Jessie’ release information says: “After almost 24 months of constant development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 8 (codename Jessie), which will be supported for the next five years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and the Debian Long Term Support team.”

      • Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ Released: The Road To systemd Is Complete

        Following nearly two years of “constant development”, Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ hit the Web this past weekend. As with Ubuntu 15.04 and its derivatives, all released last week, Debian 8’s most notable feature is the adoption of systemd. With this move, Gentoo becomes the final major distro that doesn’t ship with systemd as default.

      • Debian 8 “Jessie” the GNU/Linux-based operating system released

        After being for almost two years in development, Debian 8 “Jessie” version is now released for download. Debian is a Unix-like computer operating system and a Linux distribution that is composed entirely of free and open-source software, most of which is under the GNU General Public License, and packaged by a group of individuals known as the Debian project.

      • Debian 8 released
      • Debian ships new ‘Jessie’ release with systemd AND sysvinit

        The Debian project is touting new ports for ARM and POWER architectures, a bunch of software updates, an upgraded Gnome desktop and better security in its just-unleashed Jessie release.

        However, El Reg fully expects that the switch to systemd as the default init system will divert at least some attention from the release.

      • Updates tothe Debian sources editor

        If your browser performs automatic updates of the extensions (the default), you should soon be upgraded to version 0.0.10 or later, bringing all those changes to your browser.

        Want to see more? multi-file editing? emacs and vim editing modes? in-browser storage of the modified files? that and more can be done, so feel free to join me and contribute to the Debian sources editor!

      • Debian 8 Linux moves to systemd by default and drops Itanium and Sparc

        Debian, one of the most widely used Linux distributions, has been updated with the release of Debian 8 ‘Jessie’, which now uses systemd to initialise the system and ships with updated versions of the Gnome desktop and numerous other enhancements.

      • These Are Good Days

        I decided to use the last hour of my day to install Debian GNU/Linux 8, Jessie, again, this time with defaults from “tasksel”: Debian desktop XFCE and “base utilities”. I did this in a virtual machine while grooving to a stream of my local “oldies” radio-station, checking the weather on the web, blogging, browsing the web and Beast’s CPU is barely above idling speed, and I’m nowhere near out of RAM. It’s all surreal compared to the work we had to do in the old days: downloading multiple .iso files, burning CDs, checking them for defects…, having the installation fail to boot or not start X, and the old systems ground away for an hour or more. Heck, Beast doesn’t even have a CD-drive these days.

      • GLT15: Slides of my “Debian 8 aka jessie, what’s new” talk

        I wasn’t sure whether I would make it to Linuxdays Graz (GLT15) this year so I didn’t participate in its call for lectures. But when meeting folks on the evening before the main event I came up with the idea of giving a lightning talk as special kind of celebrating the Debian jessie release.

      • virt-builder Debian 8 (Jessie) image
      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Distribution Updated With KDE 3.5 Forked Desktop

          Q4OS 1.2 “Orion” is the new release that is re-based on Debian Jessie, focused on shipping its own desktop utilities and customizations, and designed to run on both old and new hardware.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is Ubuntu moving away from .deb packages? Here is the complete story

            Canonical loves to shake things up. After introducing Unity, HUD, Mir, Click and Snappy the sponsor of Ubuntu is now contemplating moving away from just .deb based desktop and adopting its own Snappy.

          • My Ubuntu Phone is here!

            The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition comes in a nice, fancy package, with the right dose of orange color. Inside the box, you will find a phone that’s neither too big nor too slim. It’s more like what the mainstream market used to offer a couple of years ago, which makes far more sense than the ultra-slippery models today. Aquaris reminds me of iPhone 4, not that I’m a great connoisseur of phones and what they should be like, but that’s how it is.

          • First impressions of Ubuntu 15.04

            Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system is probably the most widely used Linux distribution in the world. Ubuntu is made available in several editions, including desktop builds, server builds and there is a branch of Ubuntu for mobile phones. Ubuntu provides installation images for the x86, ARM and Power PC architectures, allowing the distribution to run on a wide variety of hardware. The most recent release of Ubuntu, version 15.04, includes a fairly short list of changes compared to last year’s Ubuntu 14.10, however some of the changes are significant. Some small changes include an upgrade of the kernel to Linux 3.19 and placing application menus inside the application window by default. A potentially larger change is the switch from Canonical’s Upstart init software to systemd.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New gst-rpicamsrc features

      These bring the GStreamer element up to date with new features added to raspivid since I first started the project, such as adding text annotations to the video, support for the 2nd camera on the compute module, intra-refresh and others.

    • The most recent project hits a Yak-shaving milestone…

      …so that’s sucked me into the world of spectrometers, reverse engineering the protocols to use them on Linux (oh, yeah, I need to publish that), binning leds by hand with a makeshift integration chamber…

    • 64-bit STB SoC supports 4K video and Android TV

      Marvell announced an “Ultra” version of its Android-focused Armada 1500 STB SoC that advances to a 64-bit, quad-core Cortex-A53 foundation for 4K delivery.

      The Armada 1500 Ultra (88DE3218) is designed to “enable PayTV operators and set-top box (STB) manufacturers to cost-effectively deliver small form factor devices with feature-rich 4K entertainment and gaming services,” says Armada. As with earlier Armada 1500 system-on-chips, it’s primarily focused on Android, with specific support for Android TV

    • Interview: Eben Upton

      The founder and CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation talks about the Pi Model 2, and how Google’s Eric Schmidt convinced him to knock down the price.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen DevLab coming to Bangalore and Mumbai in India for May 2015

          Following on from the successful Tizen DevLabs in London and Paris, we have some great news for developers as the Tizen DevLab Series is coming to India, well specifically to Bangalore and Mumbai. If your a you’re a novice or an expert, a programmer or an innovator then you are welcome to come along, you could even find yourself winning a Samsung Z1.

        • [Game] Angry Birds comes to the Tizen Store and the Samsung Z1

          The hugely successful game Angry Birds is now available for the Tizen based Samsung Z1 Smartphone. The game is an Android App (equivalent to Android Angry Birds version 5.0.2.) that is running on the Z1 thanks to OpenMobile’s ACL technology.

          Angry Birds is an iconic game for MeeGo and Tizen as this one of the big games to be shown running on developer devices at Tizen developer events. The original game supports In-App purchases, but this doesn’t seem to be working with the Tizen Store, most likely a compatability issue. The gameplay is pretty good and any slowness can be attributed to the modest hardware of the Z1.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • File a bug!

    Sadly, these are often just empty words. “Patches welcome” can be a seemingly-polite way of saying “your problem is not important to me. Go solve it yourself and I’ll accept your solution.” And telling a user to go file a bug can be equally dismissive, especially if the bug-filing process is unpleasant.

  • Bazel, Google’s Open Source Build System

    One of the most important, yet unsung, applications in a software developer’s life is the Make utility, or its equivalent. Make first appeared in 1977 and has been with us ever since. There are a very large number of build utilities, some based on Make, others completely different. The principle remains the same. The build system has a set of rules that tell it how to build an application from source files, usually fetched from a version control system. The Make utility reads the rules, then runs the compilers and linkers to do the build. The really good ones will run tests, as well.

  • Linux Freedom vs. Convenience

    One of my favorite websites that illustrate this point is WhyLinuxIsBetter.net. As the page loads, you’re immediately presented with clear, easy to understand reasons why Linux is better than proprietary operating systems. Now granted, the website is a bit dated. But the overall message is timeless and positive. What this site does well is show its readers exactly why Linux on the desktop is awesome. From its features to its built-in safety, everything is clearly illustrated and easy to understand.

  • Events

    • PyCon 2015 conference report & video roundup
    • [Event Report] April Python Pune Meetup 26th April, 2015
    • [Event Report] Docker Pune Meetup #5
    • Open Source Conference in Oslo – May 8 – 10

      In just a few days we’ll have an open source conference in Oslo. I’m happy that we’ll have a Qt and KDE track, so I’d like to invite everyone to join for the weekend May 8-10 at the University of Oslo.

    • LinuxFest Northwest in the Books for 2015

      Feast or famine: This is the typical modus operandi for FOSS shows, where Saturdays (or the “first days,” whatever they are) are a literal beehive of activity on the expo floor while talks are standing-room only. Sundays (or “second days”) — ah, those second days — the activity drops off a bit.


      With Sunday being more low-key, I got to catch up with LibreOffice’s Robinson Tryon, who said that the show was a hit for the project. Without the cacophony of multiple conversations going on at the same time, like on Saturday, we got to talk about advances LibreOffice is making in Android, which is going faster than expected, and various aspects of document freedom, not the least of which is the successful growth of Document Freedom Day. Heady days are in store for LibreOffice.

    • KVM and Xen to Hold Joint Hackathon for Open Source Virtualization

      That’s right. The teams behind Xen Project Developer Summit and KVM Forum recently announced plans to co-host a hackathon and social event on August 18, 2015, at the close of the Xen Project Developer Summit and on the eve of KVM Forum. Virtualization is one of the most important technologies in IT today, so it makes perfect sense for the two best hypervisor projects to collaborate and socialize at an event that celebrates their similarities and bridges that gap between all things KVM and Xen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Microsoft & Education: The Song Remains the Same

      One of our hardware donors emailed me and asked if I would come to Austin and pick up a dozen Optiplex 745s with 17 inch monitors and accompanying keyboards. These Dells already had scrubbed drives and had either 4 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on what they were originally assigned to do. I said I most certainly would and arranged a time to be there. This donor has been especially generous to us, and not with just decent hardware. They also present us an annual Christmas cash donation of $1000. On the years they do employee matching, it is more than that — a lot more.

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

    • EUR 38 million EU funds for ICT in Malta

      Over the next seven years, the EU is funding ICT programmes in Malta with some EUR 38 million, the government of Malta announced in March. The funds are part of a EUR 400 million package earmarked to finance socio-economic development in the country. ICT is seen as one of the main ‘enablers’ for development and innovation in Malta.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Can funding open source bug bounties save Europe from mass-surveillance?

      The report also suggests promoting open-source software as a way to build resilience to surveillance, which could be achieved by funding audits of important open-source software. Among several products it highlights is disk encryption software, TrueCrypt, which was recently subjected to a crowd-funded audit that was able to rule out the existence of NSA backdoors in the product.

      “TrueCrypt is a typical example of a problem of the commons: worldwide use of software package was probably dependent on two or three developers,” the study notes to highlight why funding open source projects may be valuable.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

      Calm yourselves, readers. The Spring 2015 C++ Standards Committee Meeting takes place next week in Lenexa, Kansas. And at that meeting much of the discussion is expected to consider C++ 17, a major revision of the programming language due in 2017.

    • Atom Shell is now Electron

      Atom Shell is now called Electron. You can learn more about Electron and what people are building with it at its new home electron.atom.io.


  • UK Elections

    • Clegg Hoist With Own Petard

      Indeed if the total number of votes cast in the UK for Tories plus Lib Dems is equal to the total number of votes cast in the UK for Labour plus Scot Nats (which is more or less what the polls are showing), then Labour plus the Scot Nats will win approximately 35 more seats than the rival bloc for the same total votes, entirely because of the Lib Dem veto on the Boundary Commission proposals.

    • General Election 2015: What do MPs think about mass surveillance?

      Like the British public, the vast majority of MPs had no idea about the extent of bulk data collection by the security services when whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke out. With the election pending, what do parliamentary candidates think there needs to be done about mass surveillance?

    • BBC Mock Balance

      Whereas the “equal time” allowed the SNP candidate included BBC commentary giving direct personal criticism of her, there was no critical note in the Alexander side of the coverage. An interesting example of how the state propaganda system works.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Dan Bull’s ‘Death To ACTA’ Video Silenced After Claim From Rapper Who Used The Same Sample

      Back in 2010 we wrote about rapper Dan Bull’s excellent “Death to ACTA” song and video, which is a parody of Jay-Z’s “Death of Autotune.” In 2011, we further wrote about the MP3 of that song (which Bull distributes willingly on file sharing platforms) being taken down from Mediafire due to a questionable takedown request. Now, years later (well after ACTA is pretty much long dead), Dan’s discovered that his video on YouTube was just silenced due to copyright claims.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook denies fresh allegation that it DOES collect the text you decided against posting

      Ever written out a status update or comment but decided against posting it? One techie has claimed Facebook collects this content, despite the company’s claims to the contrary

    • Encrypting Your Laptop Like You Mean It

      Unlike in Windows and Mac OS X, you can only encrypt your disk when you first install Linux. If you already have Linux installed without disk encryption, you’re going to need to backup your data and reinstall Linux. While there’s a huge variety of Linux distributions, I’m going to use Ubuntu as an example, but setting up disk encryption in all major distributions is similar.

    • Facebook Messenger Gets Video Calling on iOS, Android

      Move over Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Facebook wants to host your next mobile video chat.

    • Senior Police Officer Suggests Companies Allowing People To Use Strong Crypto Are ‘Friendly To Terrorists’

      The technology is not being “exploited” by terrorists, it’s being used by them, just as they use telephones or microwaves or washing machines. That’s what those devices are there for. The idea that trying to make broken internet technologies should be “front and center” of technology companies’ thinking bespeaks a complete contempt for their users.

      This constant refrain about how awful strong crypto is, and how we must break it, is simply the intelligence services implicitly admitting that they find the idea of doing their job in a free society, where people are able to keep some messages private, too hard, so they would be really grateful if technology companies could just fall in line and make life easier by destroying privacy for everyone.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Treaties

      • As resistance grows, TTIP is increasingly in trouble.

        It’s been a couple of months since my last TTIP update. That hiatus reflects the talks themselves, which feel strangely suspended. That’s not to say nothing is happening: indeed, there’s an air of desperate busy-ness beginning to creep into the proceedings as even the most fervid supporter of the agreement realises that TTIP is not going to be finished by the end of 2015, and people rush around vainly trying to do something about it. That’s pretty astonishing when you remember that the original plan was to finish it by the end of 2014:

      • President Obama Demands Critics Tell Him What’s Wrong With TPP; Of Course We Can’t Do That Because He Won’t Show Us The Agreement

        President Obama is apparently quite annoyed by the fact that his own party is basically pushing against his “big trade deals” (that are not really about trade). Senator Elizabeth Warren has been pretty aggressive in trashing the TPP agreement, highlighting the fact that the agreement is still secret (other than the bits leaked by Wikileaks). In response, President Obama came out swinging against the critics of TPP arguing that “they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

      • NYT Lets Economic Pundit Disappear TPP’s Economist Critics

        So all economists are for TPP because TPP is a “free trade” bill and all economists are for “free trade.” Simple, right? The only reason Congress wouldn’t pass fast track, Mankiw suggests, is if politicians listened to voters who were “worse than ignorant about the principles of good policy.”


Microsoft is Attacking Android Like Never Before, Qisda the Latest to Sign Patent Extortion Deal

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft says it wants peace, but actions suggest otherwise

War chair

Summary: More blackmail and propaganda against Android, courtesy of the gentler, kinder, ‘new’ Microsoft

DESPITE recent Outlook scandals, Microsoft is trying hard to inject it into Android devices, either by blackmail or by bribing (as we correctly foresaw). Microsoft’s Mouth wrote about it and so did other embedded ‘journalists’ of Microsoft or friendly media. They help the "embrace, extend, extinguish" efforts of Microsoft (targeting Android). One site called it “crapware [...] for Android” (crapware being Microsoft spyware). Some say that Microsoft is developing software to wipe Android from Android devices and install Windows instead. Here is the next potential step towards it [1, 2] (Microsoft can delete Android from the Windows partition).

These attacks on Android sure are serious and Microsoft lobbied (usually through proxies) European regulators to help with the attacks. Quoting Microsoft proxies, the Microsoft-friendly Cade Metz continues his anti-Linux blitz in Condé Nast (toxic agenda). The headline is equally toxic, as should expected from Metz. It says “Google Faces Huge Forces in Fight Over Android’s Future” and it’s full of anti-Android talking points from Microsoft front groups. There is some kind of deliberate attack on Android in the media; Microsoft’s booster Julie Bort helps an anti-Android company right now and all that Microsoft boosters can do at the moment is promote Microsoft spyware for Android, unless they just trash Android. Mark Hachman, a Senior Editor at IDG, promotes Microsoft’s overpriced and underpowered product by framing it as a Google ‘killer’ or whatever. His byline says “Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats.” Well, enough said…

In other news, Microsoft continues with the effort to extort Android/Linux. As Fagioli, an occasional troll against GNU/Linux, put it the other day: “Microsoft continues earning money from Linux — increases patent licensing agreements”. While we know these deals are patent deals, we do not know if anything at all is being paid to Microsoft, so Fagioli lacks evidence. Fagioli wrote: “If you choose to laugh at Microsoft over its mobile presence, feel free, but please know that Microsoft is laughing too; all the way to the bank. What you may not know is, Microsoft makes money from Android handset sales thanks to its patent portfolio. In fact, it also collects money from Chromebooks too. In other words, Microsoft is profiting from Linux, since both operating systems are based on the kernel. Today, Microsoft increases its number of patent licensing agreements, by making a deal with Qisda Corp.”

“Microsoft attacks Android using entryism, lobbying, media distortion, extortion, misguided regulators, etc.”Qisda is not widely known to the public (Wikipedia has some details) and whether it pays anything at all to Microsoft we do not know. Google, in reaction to such offensive deals, pursues and gets granted thousands of patents per year. It is now trying to buy some more. As IDG has just put it: “Looking to offload some patents and make some extra cash? Google may be an interested buyer.

“The Web giant on Monday launched a Patent Purchase Promotion, an “experiment to remove friction from the patent market and improve the landscape.” On May 8, Google plans to open a portal where you’ll be able to tell the company about the patents you’re willing to sell, and how much you’re looking to make.”

Vista 10 (merely a brand, or "marketing" as Microsoft puts it) for mobile phones is a total joke and a dead end without any signs of gains, only massive financial losses. Microsoft is reportedly bricking phones with Vista 10 Preview. The report is inherently flawed, however, because as iophk put it: “The shill can’t even make an honest comparison there, he has to restrict it to within Microsoft world. Most “popular” Windoes(r) phone…”

We too spotted this article the other day. We found it when looking for articles of the same author, after he had attacked GNU/Linux or something along those lines.

In summary, there is no ‘new’ Microsoft. Microsoft attacks Android using entryism, lobbying, media distortion, extortion, misguided regulators, etc. Extortion apparently does not bother regulators, even if it’s against the law. To say that Microsoft loves Linux is like calling Stalin a man of peace.

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