Notice how the panel is stacked. The latter guy speaks about “bad” patents and does not oppose software patents as a whole. So neither side (of the two) is against software patents, certainly not the moderator (who is in the ‘law’ sector). Where are the programmers?
Novell has filed its opening appeals brief [PDF] in the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust litigation regarding WordPerfect.
Another company that turned from a controversial Linux contributor (NTFS driver) into a Microsoft taxman is Tuxera, which now offers several patent tax options for several platforms including Android. From its latest press release:
Tuxera comprehensive file systems portfolio for storage solutions and other embedded devices include Tuxera NTFS, Tuxera exFAT, Tuxera HFS+, and Tuxera FAT.
Those are Microsoft patent Trojan horses. Just like SUSE in its different ‘flavours’, these should all be avoided. For those who think that Apple file systems (HFS+) are benign, remember Apple’s patent aggression against Linux and consider this latest action which involves software patents:
In ongoing legal proceedings in California, Apple has added six new devices to its patent infringement claims against rival Samsung, getting them in late Friday evening ahead of a deadline on changes to the scope of the complaint. The new additions essentially cover just about every piece of Samsung hardware now available in the U.S. market, with modifications that also account for recent software updates.
We should reject every technology which is associated with Apple. This branding company clearly still wants war. Groklaw, which covered the above case better than anyone, has just received a sort of award and finished putting all the trial transcripts from Oracle vs. Google online:
I’m happy to tell you that we now have all the remaining trial transcripts from the Oracle v. Google trial, and you can find them all in the Oracle v. Google Timeline by date.
These attempts to tax Linux/Android using patents have been largely facilitated by the USPTO, but they are not successful yet, with the exception of Microsoft’s FAT patents. █
Posted in Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: Turmoil at the USPTO as its head quits without much warning right after getting flak for his remarks on software patents
TECHRIGHTS had been worried about Kappos’ appointment even before it was made formal. The USPTO has since its appointment gotten even worse reputation, including some harsh criticism from the corporate press. Now Kappos is exiting:
The director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), David Kappos, announced Monday that he will step down from his post in January. President Barack Obama has not named a successor.
Kappos was serving as the top patent attorney for IBM when Pres. Obama asked him to take over the USPTO in 2009. When he arrived, the University of California Berkeley alumnus inherited a patent system in crisis. The USPTO was facing a growing backlog of pending patent applications—and the volume of patent litigation was increasing rapidly in the IT sector.
Might this have something to do with criticism of his remarks last week [1, 2, 3, 4]? Who will replace him? It probably can’t be much worse. Let’s pressure President Obama to stop appointing lawyers to head a office which deals with technical matters. █
The departure of Steve Sinofsky so soon after the launch of Windows 8 was not a vote of confidence by the maker of the world’s largest operating system. But is it a sign of Microsoft‘s imminent collapse?
Last week, usability expert Jakob Nielsen wrote a devastating critique of Windows 8 on his Alertbox blog. He writes, “One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product’s very name has become a misnomer. ‘Windows’ no longer supports multiple windows on the screen.… When users can’t view several windows simultaneously, they must keep information from one window in short-term memory while they activate another window. This is problematic for two reasons. First, human short-term memory is notoriously weak, and second, the very task of having to manipulate a window—instead of simply glancing at one that’s already open—further taxes the user’s cognitive resources.”
Crapware. Windows laptop and desktop PC buyers are used to all that extraneous preloaded software, but you’d think after all this time and negative press about crapware, we’d see the end of it with new Windows 8 PCs. Wrong. InformationWeek asked several PC makers (Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo) to list the software that comes preloaded on their new Windows 8 systems, and crapware is still alive and well.
Some types of preloaded software is essential (e.g., hardware drivers) and other perhaps at least sensible (e.g., pen input management tools). Trial software and other third-party software, however, plainly are not only unnecessary but oftentimes problematic. Internet security suites and “system performance boosting tools” can really drag down a system. Windows 8 already comes with anti-malware built-in with Windows Defender, so packing in trial versions of Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet Security Suite is pretty offensive (you can’t or at least shouldn’t run a third-party suite and Windows Defender at the same time.)
Well, barring third-party money for crapware (which helps lower the cost of a Windows licence), the lies from Microsoft begin as the PR machine struggles to say something positive. As a journalist and online friend showed me a short while ago, “Near the bottom of t[he] story, @Reuters tells t[he] truth ab[out] #Windows8 “sales figures” aka “channel stuffing” pages.” The headline, alas, says: “Microsoft sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in month: executive” (attributed to Microsoft, taken with a grain of salt).
Those are unused licences and free giveaways that they count as “sales”. Microsoft uses these dirty tricks (or lies) every time Windows is (re)released. The general method is to issue ‘copies’ (whatever that means when it’s all just bytes) and then claim them to have been “licensed” and thus count them. Microsoft is now trying to just dump Vista 8 on the market (it is the common carrier for cash cows like Office), but Vista 8 is just technically inferior and less familiar to users than some free operating systems such as Linux Mint 14. Using UEFI, Microsoft is now hoping to block (from booting) most such operating systems (including old versions), or make it complicated for average users to run them.
“I think it will be a big problem come the holidays, when people get their new computers.”
To quote the incident he cites: “I got a new Lenovo T530, I added a SSD as second disk, and now have a win7, UEFI boot on MBR partitionned sdb disk.
“I tried latest beta installer for wheezy (beta4), but it could not boot in UEFI mode”
Yes, perfectly fine binaries are refused the right to run. This begs one to ask, whose computer is it anyway? Here is another new example which says:
There are no physical to virtual disk converters for Restricted Boot, even from non free, Microsoft people like VMWare. Why am I not surprised? http://www.kubuntuforums.net/showthread.php?61188-Dual-Boot-12-10-or-migrate-OEM-Windows-8-to-a-VM-on-same-laptop-in-Linux It would be better to forget about Windows than fool around with dual booting.
Watch how complicated it can get: “So after reading up on the issues with UEFI and enabling/disabling Secure Boot I’m wondering which is the most bombproof way to approach this? If the Dual Boot scenario with Kubuntu 12.10 and Windows 8 /UEFI does not behave (as it has in the past with BIOS and Grub Loader on the MBR) can I do a migration of this OEM installed Windows 8 to a VM in Kubuntu on the same laptop??
“In other words, nuke-n-pave the existing OEM Windows 8 hard drive, install Kubuntu 12.10 on clean HDD, then migrate that OEM Windows 8 image to a VM running on 12.10.”
Will Hill writes: “Turning off restricted boot is a huge, undocumented pain in the neck. A six step process, with two steps found by trial and error, is detailed.
“… these steps are performed without documentation, with no hints and with big warning pop-ups letting the user know what a bad idea disabling Secure Boot is. This is not something the average user is going to know how to do, nor will they likely want to follow through if they read the on-screen messages. … I went back to the merchant’s website and discovered something. There is no mention of Secure Boot, UEFI or Windows 8 certification anywhere on the page.
“Restricted boot is a significant barrier to gnu/linux use and a threat to software freedom. You can boot hardware before you buy it, but even then you can’t be sure. This is what Microsoft has always done with BIOS but this time Microsoft has reserved the ability to deny the user completely. UEFI is non free software with enough networking capability to contact Microsoft or OEMs without the user knowing and it can modify itself. People need free software from the metal up.” [http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20121126#qa via, https://plus.google.com/u/0/112860174577325685245/posts/MFXB2syddZy]
Răzvan Sandu quotes SJVN as writing, “Windows 8 is a one way street for consumer PC users…”
“Or, better,” says Sandu, “DON’T buy Windows at all!”
More importantly perhaps, encourage GNU/Linux distributors to fight UEFI, e.g. with an antitrust complaint — that is — rather than play along with it; secondly, do not allow journalists to quote fake Microsoft numbers that are Vista 8 PR, not without a challenge anyway. Expect Microsoft’s PR agents to be banging on publications to write down those fake numbers in the coming days, creating only an illusion of success. The only “success” Microsoft has had is that this Xmas season many people are unable to install/boot GNU/Linux on the PCs they bought or received as a gift. It’s the gift of corrupt motherboards, fried by Microsoft executives who knew exactly what they were doing. █
The news is sensational, according the French magazine L’Express the offices of France’s former president Sarkozy were victim of a cyber attack, but what is even more remarkable is that for the offensive was used the famous malware Flame.
On the origin of the malware still persist a mystery, many security experts attribute it to joint work of Israel and US development team.
Let’s remind that according the analysis on Flame source code conducted by Kaspersky the malware is linked to Stuxnet, a version of the famous virus shared a module with the spy toolkit.
A contributor of ours wrote: “I imagine this is one of the reasons France is moving away from Windows.”
Articles including the above article fail to call out Windows. As our contributor put it: “This article fails to mention Microsoft or Windows or France’s move away from both. Non free software like Windows is better able to violate people’s privacy than any malware author.”
Which government is next then? Perhaps now they know that using blobs made in other countries — blobs that can auto-update (i.e. hijack the machine) — is a threat to national security. It’s no speculation but a fact. █
Patents on software are “every bit as well deserved” as patents on air flight, the electric bulb, and innovations that enabled the industrial revolution, Patent and Trademark Office Director David J. Kappos said in a Nov. 20 speech in Washington, D.C.
Aiming his remarks specifically at “those reporting and commenting on the smartphone system patent wars as if to suggest that the [patent] system is broken,” Kappos said, “let’s move beyond the flippant rhetoric and instead engage in thoughtful discussion.”
Software patents have long been contentious things, but patents in other areas of science are also becoming frequent subjects of editorials and court cases, with biotech and genomics making it to the US Supreme Court. Now, if an editorial in Nature is to be believed, nanotechnology is set to become the latest patent battleground.
Joshua Pearce is a professor at Michigan Technological University, and he very explicitly argues for taking an open-source and open-access approach to nanotechnology research. But he also goes well beyond that, calling for a patent moratorium and a gutting of the law that governs tech transfers from government-funded university research. At stake, he argues, is the growth of a field that could be generating trillions of dollars of economic activity within a few years.
It’s been announced this morning that Intel is acquiring ZiiLabs, the subsidiary of Creative Labs that previously was 3DLabs. Intel is gaining “certain engineering resources and assets” plus licensing rights to certain ZiiLabs patents and other technologies surrounding the GPU.
Intel has been having problems recently (Android plays a role) and its head, who stood behind the company’s criminal behaviour, is said to have been sacked for it (not effective immediately). Maybe Intel is planning to tax some more those who do manage to actually sell a lot of chips. That’s where patents come in.
Here in Canada, we gave our proverbial thanks over a month ago, and since all the Americans at Techdirt have taken off for the weekend, I thought I’d take a moment to put together some advice on preparing a great Thanksgiving turkey—with a little help from the USPTO.
If you’re tired of the traditional roast, maybe it’s time to try a more creative preparation—just be careful you don’t run afoul of any patents. Here’s an idea: with some skilled knife-work, you can slice a turkey into pieces that resemble various cuts of steak—and that method will only be under patent for another five years!
Here is a corresponding response to Kappos. Now he is part of the problem, so his inane propaganda is being addressed:
Note the giant and very questionable assumptions in the middle of that one: that it’s “innovators” seeking to “protect” “breakthroughs.” I’d argue that none of the three things in quotes is accurate. Quite frequently it’s lawyers who haven’t actually innovated at all looking to shakedown actual innovators for broadly worded patents that never should have been granted, and which are being interpreted to cover things they don’t really have anything to do with. That’s not innovation. It’s extortion… backed up by the US government. It’s a travesty.
Even worse, Kappos is still relying on the absolutely ridiculous “study” that the USPTO put out earlier this year, despite the fact that its methodology has been widely debunked for including grocery store baggers as “IP innovators.” Sorry. And, if you look at what their actual report shows, it suggests that patent-intensive businesses aren’t doing so well. Somehow he ignores that. Of course, perhaps that’s why his office rejected a promised interview with me earlier this year, and could only defend the patent claims by arguing the most bizarre correlation argument in the world, that because Steve Jobs was innovative and had patents, therefore, patents worked.
Some lawyers’ Web sites obviously support Kappos. We know whose side he is on. More people need to speak about this bias in the whole system. It was subjected to a coup and the infiltrators won. As one pro-software patents site put it, Kappos revealed himself as part of this camp.
Last week, Director of the USPTO David Kappos delivered a keynote address to the Center for American Progress that focused on software patents and the smartphone “patent wars.” The speech is noteworthy for the Director’s strong defense of software patents.
The conference was a one-day conference, which started at 8:50 am and ended at 5:20 pm with a a reception afterwards from 5:30 to 6:30. There was a lunch break from 12:15 to 1. The schedule can be found at the conference website. It was adhered to closely.
The morning program consisted of three panels. The first was the Keynote and was titled “What is the Problem?” The second was “Panel #1: Legal Reform, Part 1.” Then after a coffee break we had “Panel #2: Agency Reform.”
The afternoon panels were called “Keynote #2: Views from the Trenches” and then “Panel #3: Legal Reform, Part 2.” After this an afternoon coffee break, then “Panel #4: Self Help” and at the end “Keynote #3.”
Some of you who were not in attendance were able to view the sessions live, except for the talk of Richard Stallman who refused to have his talk streamed on the ground that Silverlight used. Since I was actually present, I do not have the live streaming to look at, and thus my presentation of what happened is based upon my notes, which in what follows might be embellished by memory and thus not word-for-word correct.
This event too got stacked by lawyers, the leeches in this whole system. It is time to reclaim the patent system or just bury it. It’s for lawyers and plutocrats, not science and technology. Not anymore anyway.
Here is a technical person explaining why we should end software patenting. There is a good image inside this article showing how the cartel works and how it uses lawyers to keep challenges (to quality and also price) out of reach. To quote the introduction: “Patents make sense in some industries. When it costs a billion dollars to develop a new pharmaceutical, a company needs protection during that process to make it worth the risk of trying.
“But software doesn’t have that overhead. Too often, software patents just end up making the incumbents complacent and discourage brave, disruptive experiments.”
“This video by Marginal Revolution writer and economics professor Alex Tabarrok makes a clear argument against software patents.”
Mike Masnick expressed his views on why the USPTO is a lost cause for those of us who pursue reform from within:
While the US Patent Office has officially declared its desire to put its head in the sand concerning the problem of patent trolls, it appears that other parts of the government aren’t necessarily going to ignore the problem. The FTC and the DOJ are planning explore the issue with patent trolls at a public workshop next month (they use the currently popular term “patent assertion entities” rather than “patent trolls” but it’s clear what they mean). And the indications are that they may be looking to use their power to crackdown on bad behavior, potentially even using antitrust tools…
We’ve been pointing out for a while that one of the reasons why advancements in 3D printing have been relatively slow is because of patents holding back the market. However, a bunch of key patents have started expiring, leading to new opportunities. One, in particular, that has received a fair bit of attention was the Formlabs 3D printer, which raised nearly $3 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. It got a ton of well-deserved attention for being one of the first “low end” (sub ~$3,000) 3D printers with very impressive quality levels.
This progress is not stopped by patents. So much for encouraging innovation… █
10% of desktop PCs being thin clients seems small but it is not. They last three times as long as thick PCs and they can run GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. That’s huge, a potential 30% loss of share for Wintel. That’s right; thin clients don’t need to be x86. They can be ARMed as well.
In the tech news in the last couple of weeks, there was an announcement of an intel branded mini-pc. There have been many of these small desktop machines in the last few years. Very small footprints, low power consumption, most are silent due to a fanless design.
The appeal of such small machines is obvious. Taking negligible desk space, they can sit out of the way, or even be hidden. They can be mounted to the back of a monitor for use as industrial signage, or a pseudo all-in-one design for the desktop. They are ideal for limited space installations like in mobile homes, or a small collage dorm room.
Do you depend on your computer for your living? If so, I’m sure you’ve thought long and hard about which hardware and software to use. I’d like to explain why I use generic “white boxes” running open source software. These give me a platform I rely on for 100% availability. They also provide a low-cost solution with excellent security and privacy.
Alternative, Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu haven’t historically carried much weight with PC gamers. Very few PC games have been made for Linux, over the years, ever since the company that was porting AAA gaming titles to Linux (Loki Games) went bankrupt in 2001. And while it’s possible to use a “compatibility layer” such as Wine to run Windows PC games in Linux, the results are mixed at best and require a lot of technical tweaking, sometimes even in between updates.
Colorado-based indie PC hardware company System76, however, clearly expects that not only are there PC gamers on Linux out there, but that some of them are willing to pay $1,499 for a tricked-out gaming laptop — the 17.3-inch Bonobo Extreme. Like all of System76′s machines, it runs the Ubuntu flavor of Linux; and its actual price tag is $1,599, but it’s gotten a $100 discount for the holidays.
Is Google preparing to release a Chromebook device with a touchscreen? That concept was reported in a Taiwanese newspaper and discussed by DigiTimes and CNet. The idea isn’t out of the realm of possibility. After all, Google has been exploring the touchscreen arena with its Nexus tablets, and Chrome OS includes a touchscreen keyboard. Furthermore, new, low-cost Chromebooks such as Acer’s $199 entry (seen here) are arriving at a fast clip. Touchscreen Chromebooks aren’t a great new opportunity for Google, though.
Google is committed to the Chromebook and a report out of China indicates a Google-branded model is on its way. If true, this is a smart move and would help the fledgling desktop platform gain traction. The sellout success of recent Nexus products shows Google finally knows how to do hardware.
China Times reports Google intends to launch Chrome OS netbooks equipped with touchscreens. Compal, a Taiwan-based ODM, is tasked with the manufacturing. Per this report, Google placed the order itself rather than relying on a 3rd party like Acer or Asus as with the Nexus products. Internal components will begin shipping to Compal this month, a sign that China Times takes to mean the product itself will ship yet in 2012.
The AWS Marketplace, which is generally used by software companies to market their commercial appliances and software for use in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), now also lists free basic images of the Debian Linux 6.0.6, CentOS 6.3 and FreeBSD 9.0-Release operating systems.
While no future generation Geode processors are coming out of AMD, the open-source community still continues to maintain the Geode X.Org graphics driver. Released on Sunday was the xf86-video-geode 2.11.14 driver.
systemd, a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts that provides aggressive parallelization capabilities and uses socket and D-Bus activation for starting services, is now at version 196.
NVIDIA has published initial patches for providing open-source 2D hardware acceleration support on their NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 SoCs. This work is based upon the experimental open-source Direct Rendering Manager driver to be merged into the Linux 3.8 kernel.
Times are great with NVIDIA dabbling with more open-source code and Imagination looking at some level of open-source PowerVR support. This weekend I wrote about NVIDIA working on open-source support for their Tegra graphics while this morning new open-source patches arrived from the NVIDIA Finland office.
In this article is a large OpenGL performance comparison looking at the frame-rates in different Linux games for different AMD Radeon Linux graphics cards when running the stock Ubuntu 12.10 operating system (Mesa 9.0 + Linux 3.5), the Catalyst Linux driver (fglrx 9.0.2) as found in the Ubuntu Quantal archive, and then when running the very latest Radeon Git code: The Linux 3.7 kernel, Mesa 9.1-devel, and xf86-video-ati 7.0.99 Git.
Whether or not you know Jon a little or a lot, we hope you learn something new about him in this profile, from how he ended up in Boulder, Colorado to the ski run named after his father, to what he’s running on his desktop and how he suggests Linux newbies get involved in the community.
With the Linux 3.8 kernel in early 2013 there is going to be an open-source NVIDIA Tegra 2 DRM driver. NVIDIA is currently working out initial patches for applying 2D acceleration atop this mainline Linux kernel driver.
It seems the binary curtain among ARM graphics vendors may finally be falling. Aside from NVIDIA contributing to the open-source Tegra DRM driver and other interesting actions recently in the ARM Linux space, Imagination Technologies may finally becoming more open. It’s looking like there may be a surprise open-source play out of Imagination for PowerVR graphics in the near future.
In recent days I have heard from two independent sources about Imagination Technologies likely having a “modestly open” reference driver to deliver for PowerVR graphics processors in the near future. It seems thanks to greater competition in the ARM graphics space (e.g. ARM’s Mali), more openness among SoC vendors, Intel switching to in-house HD graphics on future Atom SoCs, the continued success of Linux/Android in the mobile space, and new requirements being presented on the Linux desktop (i.e. Wayland), we are finally on the verge of seeing a fundamental shift out of Imagination Technologies.
There’s just a few weeks to go until the release of LLVM 3.2, but AMD is still trying to get its “R600″ GPU back-end merged into this next compiler infrastructure release.
Going back to March, AMD has been trying to merge its R600 GPU back-end that is optionally used by their open-source graphics driver stack and is a requirement for the Radeon OpenCL support with the open-source driver. The LLVM back-end can be used as part of the R600 Gallium3D shader compiler. (See benchmarks of the R600 LLVM compiler back-end from several months ago.)
GIMP developer Nicolas Robidoux seeks to leverage a freedom-based crowd-funding solution to bank-roll completion of the Nohalo/Lohalo/Lojaggy/Loblur suite of image resamplers for GEGL. The idea started back on Nov. 11th in the GIMP mailing list. Robidoux answers whether or not he plans to create a project on Kickstarter or not.
I have only recently discovered Netflix and signed up without thinking there may be issues playing back the streaming media on Linux. I have done many searches on the subject and found some interesting discussions and the only solution that seems to work.
When writing earlier this week about the poor state of the open-source id Tech 4 / Doom 3 community even after one year of the id Software game engine being GPL licensed, several readers wrote in and tweeted about “The Dark Mod” having not been mentioned.
For those not familiar with The Dark Mod, it’s a total conversion mod of Doom 3 that seeks to remake Doom 3 as a game inspired by Looking Glass Studios’ Thief game series. This Doom 3 mod brings in new game-play functionality, unique AI characteristics, new maps, and custom art assets.
There’s more good open-source news today besides NVIDIA publishing open-source 2D acceleration code for Tegra. id Software has just released the source-code to their new Doom 3 BFG game under the GPL license!
Nearly one year to the day since releasing the original Doom 3 source-code, a.k.a. the id Tech 4 game engine, and one month after the Doom 3 BFG source-code was approved for release under the GPL, id Software has finally carried out the code drop.
One you may find interesting: We switched from SDL to GLFW, a HUGE change that will eventually allow Scrumble to function on Macs and on the open source opengl drivers. This affects how I deal with display initialization and input, among other things.
After the successful developer sprint in Berlin in 2010, the Kate and KDevelop teams met for the second time from the 23rd to the 29th of October. This time, the developer sprint was held in the beautiful city of Vienna. In total, 13 contributors discussed and collaborated on the future of Kate and KDevelop for a whole week.
The Qt Developer Days conference took place earlier this month in Berlin, Germany. For those not in attendance at this open-source development conference, the slides for many of the Qt talks have been uploaded with coverage on Qt Quick, KDE Frameworks 5, and other interesting areas surrounding this tool-kit soon to finally reach its major 5.0 milestone.
Slides for the different 2012 Qt Developer Days talks can be found on this KDAB Qt Conference page. At the time of publishing there aren’t slides available for all of the talks, but a large number of them.
If you are someone like me who missed the icon resize feature you can rejoice as the feature is “coming back” with Dolphin 2.2. Well, it’s not coming back in sense the way it was but the developers are adding an option to the context menu of Places Panel, similar to the one found in the context menu of tool bar where you can resize the icon. So, while icons in the side panel won’t resize automatically, you can use the context menu to manually resize them.
The ITTIA DB SQL embedded database is now available as a plugin for the Qt application and UI development framework from Digia. The combination of ITTIA DB SQL and Qt enables rapid development of user-friendly data-driven applications with a level of performance that is only possible with native code.
Qt is a cross-platform C++ application and UI framework that is widely used to develop software with a graphical user interface (GUI), as well as non-GUI programs. Non-GUI features include SQL database access, which can both execute arbitrary queries and map results to lists and fields in the user interface.
Once upon a time, GNOME, along with KDE, ruled the Linux desktop. Then, in 2010, GNOME’s designers decided to ignore their users’ wishes and introduced a radically new desktop interface: GNOME 3.
Many users hated it. Not even two years later, even GNOME’s programmers were wondering if their interface was “staring into the abyss?” Now, GNOME developers have woken up and are offering a way for GNOME users to go back to a GNOME 2.x style interface.
But is it too little, too late? Will GNOME actually be offering a real, return-to-the-past desktop interface?
The GNOME Project has been working hard to evolve and improve GNOME 3 since it was initially released in April 2011. We’ve made substantial progress, introducing new features, like GNOME Online Accounts, the lock screen and integrated input sources. We’ve also adjusted and refined many parts of the core UX, including improvements to the Activities Overview, the new-look Message Tray and ongoing work on System Settings. This is important work, and there is more that still needs to be done.
Switching between Applications is one of the core functionality for every Desktop. While Gnome3 does this perfectly with choosing Apps through Overview, some complains have raised against the (Alt+Tab/Key Above Tab) functionality.
The GNOME 3.7.2 development release was made available today. The two major changes with this latest GNOME 3.8 pre-release is the elimination of the GNOME Fallback (non-Shell) mode and now depending exclusively upon GStreamer 1.0.
Hard on the heels of the news that the old GNOME 2 desktop is coming back by popular demand, the Cinnarch project late last week announced that its new Linux distribution combining Arch Linux with the alternative Cinnamon desktop environment has now reached beta.
Every now and again a project springs forth to tout the advantages of a generic or all-distribution package manager. A one-size-fits-all approach was the Holy Grail of Linux for a while and several ideas came and went silent. However, hope springs again and Guix is its name.
West Point’s motto is “Duty, Honor, Country.” I graduated in 1993. Why did a former Army Officer end up at Red Hat?
Red Hat is an “Open Source Software Company”. In order to work here, you have to understand those four words.
Software. The world is run on Software now. There are more computers in your life than you are aware of. You carry one in your pocket. One wakes you up in the morning. One runs your coffee maker, another your oven. Your car has multiple computers in them. But computers do nothing without software. Without software, a computer is a corpse. Software makes things happen, things that were not even dreamt of in our parents time. Software is the magic we dreamed of after seeing the Magicians Apprentice. Software is the Force we wanted to control after seeing Star Wars. It is that incantation that makes the world conform to better suit our mood.
* Help your language reach 100% support in the Debian Installer
* Debian Installer 7.0 Beta4 released
* Debian newcomer experience survey
* Other news
* New Debian Contributors
* Release-Critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
* Important Debian Security Advisories
* New and noteworthy packages
* Work-needing packages
* Want to continue reading DPN?
Microsoft’s Windows 8 dominated countless headlines in the weeks leading up to its launch late last month, but October saw the debut of another major operating system as well.
Canonical’s Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal” arrived a week ahead of its competitor, in fact, accompanied by a challenge: “Avoid the pain of Windows 8.” That slogan appeared on the Ubuntu home page for the first few hours after the OS’s official launch, and attracted considerable attention.
The Nintendo Wii U in-store demo booths maybe running a modified version of the Ubuntu operating system instead of the Wii U itself.
One user on Reddit obtained a snapshot of one of the systems that hadn’t booted correctly because it was missing a “USB key”. Instead of showing the games available to try out, in this case Rayman Legends, it displayed a screen for the Ubuntu OS.
Believe it or not, this isn’t meant to be inflamatory. This is an honest reminder of showstoppers that persistently prevent Ubuntu from becoming what I really do want it to become, and what I think it has a chance of achieving: a complete replacement of Windows or OSX.
In fact, I will confess that I like the user interface on Ubuntu more than one on Windows, and find it almost on par with the one in OSX. You might even find me proclaiming Ubuntu as the OSX of the PC world. It at least could have the potential of becoming that.
In Mint 14, MATE and Cinnamon have both received major enhancements. The release features MATE 1.4, which according to Mint developers “not only strengthens the quality and stability of the desktop but goes beyond GNOME 2,” on which MATE is based, ” by fixing bugs which were in GNOME 2 for years and by providing new features which were previously missing.” The full list of MATE enhancements is available online.
However, they both have different approach towards it. Linux Mint has become a distribution which is keeping people in center and building UI and technologies around them, whereas Ubuntu is putting technology or UI in the center and people outside it. None of the two approaches are right or wrong, chose what you like. Unlike Windows 8 or Mac at least here you have choices.
There has been a ton on news in the open source world revolving around the Raspberry Pi. It was one of the first low cost, ARM computers to be targeted at the hobbyist and educational markets. I’ve owned a Raspberry Pi for many months now and while it does an alright job at playing media files and acting as a small server – for most computing tasks it simply didn’t have enough resources available to be useful.
I would like to take a few moments to introduce Buffalo, the access point and router which provides network connectivity to portable computers in the Free Software Foundation’s office. More specifically, we are using Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH, which features the free-software-supported Atheros AR9132 chipset with 32MB of flash memory and 64MB of RAM.
The Raspberry Pi, an ARM-powered £20 computer sold as the educationalists’ dream, is finding its place as a media player in many tech-aware homes, but installing media player XBMC and plugging in a TV is hardly the spirit in which the Pi was conceived, especially when one can get one’s hands good and dirty with the minimum of effort.
The camera for the Raspberry Pi that was announced back in May is now taking shape. A prototype of the Pi Cam was presented at Electronica 2012. It offers a 5 megapixel sensor and can record 1080p H.264 video at 30 frames per second. The camera connects to the Pi’s free CSI pins and is controlled via the I2C bus. Potential fields of application include low-cost surveillance camera systems and robotics. The camera is set to cost $25.
Over the last 18 months, the $35, Linux-powered, education-oriented Raspberry Pi credit-card-sized computer has experienced an almost-unabated success story. The 700MHz ARMv6-powered computer has sold tens of thousands of units to beardies and educational establishments alike, is still on back order, and has attracted hundreds of hackers who have contributed alternative operating systems, software packages, supplementary hardware daughterboards, and more. Today, we’re happy to announce that Raspberry Pi has made perhaps the biggest step towards mainstream adoption: Notch and his Mojangstas have unveiled Minecraft: Pi Edition.
It’s incredible to see how Linux runs on devices of various sizes, power and built for diverse purposes. Linux is, like technology itself, deeply integrated in our daily lives and we don’t seem to even realize it! While looking into supercomputers I was pleasantly surprised to find different/weird devices that run on Linux: Weird, in a sense that they run on Linux and we never expected them to do so!
We expect that you already know that Linux is running on 94% supercomputers and on various high-end computers and devices in science centers for research purposes. Also the popular Android operating system too is based on Linux kernel. This implies all the Android handsets (currently claiming major share in smartphone market) and tablets are in turn employing Linux at heart! Now let’s investigate some places you might not have expected to be running on Linux.
Just in case you missed it, the Tizen project just launched a brand new site at tizen.org. It’s been substantially redesigned and updated to make it easier to find project information, and reflects the new look and feel of Tizen.
That’s what Facebook’s calling it, at least – a clever play on the word “dogfooding,” which is itself a term used to describe when a company tests or uses the very products it’s trying to push out into the consumer market. In other words, the notion that, “our product is so good, we’ll use it ourselves.”
In Facebook’s case, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine has pulled up some pictures of just how dramatically the company is hoping to get its own employees on board with Facebook apps on the Android platform.
At the start of this month Samsung announced that channel sales of its mini-tablet-sized smartphone, the Galaxy Note II, had passed three million unit sales in 37 days on sale. Now the Korean mobile maker has announced that cumulative global channel sales of the device have exceeded five million after around two months since launch.
Samsung does not typically break out device sales to consumers but its channel sales measure provides an indication of how much end-user demand its sales channels are experiencing.
The online newsgroup for OpenJDK, the official open source Java implementation, has been airing discussion of a Java version for Android. Such an option would allow Java developers to work directly within the most widespread mobile operating system.
Android is surging, their remains no questions about it. Android is a proven platform now and that is particularly showing in the burgeoning apps market. Google Play Store is now home to nearly 900,000 applications and games. More than 25 billion apps and games have already been downloaded from Google Play Store. About an year ago, we did a brief round up detailing 10 must-have games for Android. But things have drastically improved over a one year period. Here’s our “take two”. 30 must have games for Android in 2012.
Intel is killing the desktop, but not quite as soon as people expect it to, there will be one last gasp, but that is irrelevant. Word is finally leaking there won’t be a desktop PC chip in a bit over a year.
In a story that SemiAccurate has been following for several months, Broadwell will not come in an LGA package, so no removable CPU. The news was first publicly broken by the ever sharp PC Watch, english version here, but the news has been floating in the backchannel for a bit now. The problem? This information wasn’t floating around the OEMs or the majority of the PC ecosystem, they had no clue. What does all of this mean? Quite a bit.
This was shocking news. Sitting across from a doctor holding a clinical folder with your name on it, and hearing him say the words “low-grade glioma,” “language and comprehension areas of your brain,” “surgery” and “chemotherapy” is a very weird experience.
My first idea was to seek other opinions. Maybe this hospital is wrong. Maybe there are other places that wouldn’t need to do surgery. Maybe there is a laser, a chemical, an ancient tradition, a shaman, a scientist, a nanorobot.
I felt incomplete about the way that the medical system was handling my situation.
DreamWorks has released its OpenVDB open source C++ library for general community consumption and adaption.
The animation studio has used the technology itself on its “Rise of the Guardians” fantasy film that features a whole group of childhood legends including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
This in effect means that DreamWorks has spent millions of dollars developing specialised technology to make one of the most expensive animated movies ever produced only to now give it away free of charge on the openvdb.org/ website.
More camera support, similarity matching, geotagging, image grouping and a Facebook exporter are among the top new features in darktable 1.1, the latest release of the open source photography workflow application. The Canon EOS M is now supported and Samsung NX support is fixed in the new release. The ability to match images that look alike with similarity matching is now a standard feature.
Over the past few years, enterprises, particularly in the financial services industry, have had to cut costs while simultaneously enhancing innovation. While this may sound contradictory, it has been possible with the strategic use of open source software (OSS).
Mozilla on Monday announced the release of Firefox 18 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it now from Mozilla.org/Firefox/Beta.
ownCloud Inc., the company behind the world’s most popular open source file sync and share software, announced today the closing of a second seed round, led by current investor General Catalyst Partners, a growth equity and venture capital firm investing in exceptional entrepreneurs.
The Lexington, Mass.-based company will use the funds to further expand its more than 70-partner strong channel, aggressively expand its large enterprise and education customer base and support service providers who implement file sync and share based on ownCloud.
The FreeBSD Security Team has announced that on 11 November two servers as part of the FreeBSD.org hosting infrastructure have been compromised.
The compromise is believed to have occurred due to the leak of an SSH key from a developer who legitimately had access to the machines in question, and was not due to any vulnerability or code exploit within FreeBSD.
The OpenELEC Linux distribution that aspires to be a leading multimedia OS within an entertainment center is nearing its 3.0 release. The OpenELEC 3.0 Beta was released and now it’s based upon XBMC 12.0 Frodo.
That compares with just £218,000 that has been spent on the free software-based solution using the city’s own LiMux distro. As well as zero costs for software upgrades, the open source approach also saved money because it was not necessary to upgrade hardware, unlike for Windows – something that is worth remembering.
Four more years. This happened because of you. Thank you,” Obama tweeted soon after he defeated his Republican rival Mitt Romney in a closely contested 2012 US presidential poll.
Well, we are aware of the fact that the President of the United States of America and his tech team were all over the Internet embracing different kind of tools -may be from social media or from different online campaigns – to win the 2012 presidential elections, but many of us are not aware that open source software also played an important role during the US elections.
“This is a hard one,” Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. mused. “The development of FLOSS in such a capitalist and competitive world demands solidarity, talent, idealism and passion. So when it comes to discussing the inclusion (without malice) of not-FLOSS code inside Linux, things get very hot — that’s when the passion comes in.”
RTS OS is a unified storage operating system from RisingTide, which is a Red Hat competitor.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time to give open source presents. The opensource.com team gathered ten of our favorite gadgets to help you pick out that perfect present for that special (open source) someone.
Scanlime’s Beth modded a remote control vibrator, replacing the interface with an Arduino-based sonar controller that she can activate with any part of her body, playing it like a theremin. The result is pretty cool — it “closes the feedback loop” between the vibrator’s intensity and the user’s physical response. The post includes a detailed technical breakdown of the reverse-engineering steps that she used to work out how to hijack the control mechanism, and the steps that went into building the remote, including a 3D printed chassis. The plans are open source hardware (CC-BY-SA), and posted to Github.
For your postprandial pleasure I present the an open-source vibrator that you (or your partner) can play like a theremin. The story of how it came to be is pretty amazing and involves FCC chip lookups, bit-tracing, and lots of assembly code. In short, it’s an amazing effort in DIY hardware hacking that serves the dual purpose of education and giving pleasure.
In case you didn’t know it, Google is one of the largest contributors of open source projects in the world, and runs a number of programs focused on open source development. One of the more fun programs that the company runs each year is Google Code-In, through which pre-university students (13-17 years old) can create open source software for community use, and win prizes for their efforts. This year’s Code-In event starts today, and will run for 50 days.
Are you one among them, who wants to know what exactly is open source, who has thirst to learn new in open source technologies, a novice developer and doesn’t know anything about development and thinking to involve yourself in open source software development?
KDE developers are currently contemplating the idea of allowing a subset of the C++11 language to be used within the KDevelop code-base. This C++11 change would happen for the KDevelop 4.6 integrated development environment release. Reasons are shared in this article for why one should consider using C++11 code.
Milian Wolff, a developer on the KDevelop IDE, has proposed to their development community that a subset of the C++11 language be permitted following the KDevelop 4.5 branching in a few weeks.
My son Fallon, who is six and still hasn’t lost any teeth, has a beef with Apple, iTunes, and the iOS App Store. “Apple is greedy,” Fallon says. But he has come up with a way for Cupertino to improve its manners through a revised business model.
A Wall St analyst performed an comparative report at the iconic mega-retail palace Mall of America, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He found that on on 23 November, shoppers at Apple’s store in the famous mall bought an average of 17.2 items per hour, versus the 3.5 items that were purchased at Microsoft’s store, located just opposite the Apple shop.
People talk about Moore’s Law as if server chip manufacturers had to obey it like some kind of cosmic speed limit. In reality, Moore’s Law is an idealized goal, and one that is increasingly difficult to attain year after year for server microprocessors.
The New York Times reports that there is internal strife within the administration about the willy-nilly use of drones to kill people abroad (2,500 since President Obama took office) and, fearing defeat at the polls, the Obama administration was working overtime to lay down a set of rules governing robotic assassination.
As a rule, junior or mid-level officers and officials, particularly spokesmen, prefer to stay behind the wall of anonymity of their office. They are termed “IDF spokesman” or an “officer in the Southern Command.” They are rarely mentioned by name. However, as part of the IDF Spokesman’s victory lap after Operation Cast Ballot, in which it tries to convince the natives it won the hard battles in the burning-of-consciousness theater, it exposed some of the people in its New Media unit in an article in Tablet. One of them, New Media Department Chief Lt. Sacha Dratwa, then became the focus of a cheap item in Gawker, of the kind we have become accustomed used to: he’s a sensitive man, he’s a normal guy, he likes macchiatos, he posts pictures to Facebook. The people in the IDF Spokesman unit probably thought this was good for showing the human side of their hasbara warriors; good for scoring a few points, if not with their target audience, then with the dying breed of kind Hadassah aunts from the United States.
(Beirut) – Egyptian police and military officers have arrested and detained over 300 children during protests in Cairo over the past year, in some cases beating or torturing them, Human Rights Watch said today. Frequently, these children were illegally jailed with adult prisoners, tried in adult courts, and denied their rights to counsel and notification of their families.
At first, the latest awful news from the Democratic Republic of Congo sounds like just another installment of an ongoing saga common in the Western media, “Vicious African Tribal Factions Hate Each Other.” Several thousand armed predators who call themselves the M23 Movement and are inappropriately described as “rebels” have just seized control of Goma, a regional capital, and the renewed fighting is adding to a death toll that has already risen above 5 million since the Second Congo War started in 1998.
Battlefield drones and robots capable of choosing their targets and firing without any human oversight won’t arrive for a few decades, experts say. But a new Human Rights Watch report calls for an international ban on fully autonomous “killer robots” before they ever become a part of military arsenals around the world.
A soldier charged with giving US secrets to the WikiLeaks website is due to return to court for pre-trial proceedings.
The hearing for Private Bradley Manning is scheduled to begin in Fort Meade, Maryland, on Tuesday afternoon and run until Sunday.
Manning is expected to give evidence in a defence motion seeking dismissal of all charges.
Sweden’s ambassador to Australia took an Australian columnist to task for defending WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange against rape allegations, documents recently released by the whistleblower website reveal.
An Army private charged in the biggest security breach in U.S. history is trying to avoid trial by claiming he has already been punished enough by being locked up alone in a small cell and having to sleep naked for several nights.
A United Nations investigator called the conditions cruel, inhuman and degrading, but stopped short of calling it torture.
Greenhouse gas emissions are hot news these days — especially in the lead up to an election when candidates, at least those who claim to believe in climate science, vow to do something about the biggest environmental crisis facing our little blue planet: climate change.
Responding to a letter by 80 CEOs published in the Wall Street Journal calling for budget cuts to reduce the deficit, 350 economists published a letter calling for job stimulus and growth instead. CEOs Wrong To Promote Dangerous Budget Cuts, 350 Economists Say. These economist warn that cutting government spending during a downturn is the opposite of what should be done, pointing to examples such as the economy of Greece which collapsed immediately after deep austerity cuts which made unemployment worse. Instead we should be focusing on boosting employment.
By 2020, more than one-quarter of U.S. workers will be working low-wage jobs, not making enough money to keep a family of four out of poverty. The corporations that employ the most low-wage workers, meanwhile, “have largely recovered from the recession and most are in strong financial positions.” 92 percent of them were profitable last year, while three-quarters are making more in revenues than they were before the recession.
The government’s welfare reform minister has suggested lone parents, sickness claimants and other people on benefits are too comfortable not having to work for their income, saying they are able to “have a lifestyle” on the state.
In an interview with House Magazine, Lord Freud is reported to have said the benefits system is “dreadful” and discourages poor people from taking the risks he implied they should be willing to bear to change their circumstances.
As the eviction row rumbles on, a number of Spanish mayors are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to their citizens being thrown out onto the street for mortgage non-payment. City leaders across the country are warning they will close their accounts with banks that continue a policy of carrying out eviction orders without giving those affected an alternative.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein urged Congress and President Barack Obama to cut Social Security, arguing that the program cannot “afford” to keep funding longer modern retirements. He left out that Social Security currently has a $2.7 trillion surplus and could strengthen its financial footing further by simply taxing more of the income of wealthy executives like Blankfein himself.
Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) — The shadow banking industry has grown to about $67 trillion, $6 trillion bigger than previously thought, leading global regulators to seek more oversight of financial transactions that fall outside traditional oversight.
The size of the shadow banking system, which includes the activities of money market funds, monoline insurers and off- balance sheet investment vehicles, “can create systemic risks” and “amplify market reactions when market liquidity is scarce,” the Financial Stability Board said in a report, which utilized more data than last year’s probe into the sector.
The evolution of the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask from a clever element in a comic book and film to a meme and a global symbol of online and offline resistance has been quite remarkable. A highlight of that trend was earlier this year when MPs in the Polish parliament donned the masks in protest against ACTA, spurred on by massive street demonstrations against the treaty that had recently been held across Poland.
Italian journalists plan to strike next week in protest against a law that would send them to jail for defamation but would let editors off with a fine, the journalists’ union said on Thursday.
The senate earlier passed an amendment to a bill that would set a maximum sentence of a year in jail for anyone convicted of defamation, while editors-in-chief and managing editors face a maximum fine of 50,000 euros ($64,400) or 20,000 euros respectively.
The measure must be approved by the Chamber of Deputies to become law. Italy has more than 20,000 full-time reporters, according to the Journalists’ Guild.
I welcome changes in the Hungarian Media Legislation that have been proposed or already made by Hungary. However, these changes do not address all the outstanding substantial concerns I have. My concerns remain serious, and I expect Hungary to not only continue its dialogue with the Council of Europe but to take rapid further action. In other words, it is not enough for the government to say it is in talks with the Council of Europe.
The past week’s violence in Gaza has rekindled calls for Twitter to shutter the accounts of U.S.-labeled terror groups such as Hamas.
Seven House Republicans asked the FBI in September to demand that Twitter take down the accounts of U.S.-designated terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Somalia’s al Shabaab. The letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who said Wednesday that the recent events vindicated the request.
One of the technology-related civil liberties battles that ACLU affiliates around the country have been fighting in recent years involves defending students’ rights to privacy and free expression in the new electronic media that are becoming such a large part of their lives. For some reason many school officials seem to believe that when it comes to online communications, students have no such rights
A Texas high school student is being suspended for refusing to wear a student ID card implanted with a radio-frequency identification chip.
Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when the semester began in the fall. The ID badge has a bar code associated with a student’s Social Security number, and the RFID chip monitors pupils’ movements on campus, from when they arrive until when they leave.
Recently I wrote about an ACLU of Michigan report that highlighted the problem of police cameras being installed outside of people’s private homes. Last week I learned from my colleague Doug Bonney of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri about an even more egregious incident involving video surveillance of a private home in Missouri.
We’ve written a few times about the urgent need to reform ECPA — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which is woefully outdated, having passed in 1986. Of course, every time there’s an attempt to reform it, it seems to fail, often because folks in law enforcement like the outdated law that lets them easily spy on others without a warrant. The latest attempt at ECPA reform is a mostly good proposal from Senator Leahy that (as expected) has law enforcement types livid. The crux of the reform is that law enforcement would need to get a warrant for most situations if they wanted to peer into your electronic lives. That seems entirely consistent with that quaint concept sometimes referred to as the Fourth Amendment.
Some things change, but others stay the same. While the types of threats facing Internet users worldwide have diversified over the past few years, from targeted malware to distributed denial of service attacks, one thing has remained constant: governments seeking to exert control over their populations still remain the biggest threat to the open Internet.
In a massive blow to multinational agribiz corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, and Dow, Peru has officially passed a law banning genetically modified ingredients anywhere within the country for a full decade before coming up for another review.
Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision 3 years after the decree was written despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization due largely to the pressure from farmers that together form the Parque de la Papa in Cusco, a farming community of 6,000 people that represent six communities.
You might recall that way back during the Oatmeal/Funnyjunk saga, Charles Carreon — the villainous attorney defeated in that story — went after an anonymous blogger, Satirical Charles.
After forcing Register.com to give up the blogger’s name (by threatening to add Register.com as a defendant in a lawsuit to be filed the next day – a lawsuit Carreon never filed), Charles Carreon promised legal fire and brimstone, asserting a ridiculous theory of trademark liability (because Carreon trademarked his own name). Carreon warned that he would pursue the blogger to the ends of both earth and statute of limitations.
A new paper suggests that box office revenues were negatively impacted after the shutdown of Megaupload. The dip in revenues was most visible for average size and smaller films. According to the researchers this may have been caused by the loss of word-of-mouth promotion by people who used the popular file-hosting site to share movies. For blockbuster movies the Megaupload shutdown had the opposite effect.
A few years ago we wrote about how UCLA professors were barred from continuing an existing program in which they had streamed properly licensed DVDs to students. The lawsuit came from the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME). We noted that one of the key aspects of “fair use” is supposed to be that it allows for educational use, and it seemed ridiculous that any such streaming wasn’t fair use. After thinking it over, UCLA decided to stand up for itself and put the videos back online. AIME sat on this for eight or nine months and finally sued, arguing that its contract with the University meant that UCLA had given up its fair use rights, and that even if it was fair use, it was a breach of contract. A year ago, the judge dismissed the case, mostly focusing on the question of whether or not AIME even had standing to sue and whether or not, as a state university, UCLA could hide behind a sovereign immunity claim.
Toshiba just took down one of the most popular sources of repair information for their laptops, Tim Hicks’ laptop repair manual repository at Future Proof. Tim’s site is one of the only places online to get ad- and malware-free, manufacturer-authorized manuals. Check out the full editorial I wrote on the situation for Wired.
We’re not surprised by Toshiba’s actions: we’ve known about manufacturers’ iron grip on repair documentation for a long time. We’ve known about the infuriating and elaborate ways manufacturers will keep users out of their own hardware. We’ve known about the unfortunate extension of copyright law to repair documentation—that’s a big part of why we got started, after all.
But we are upset. Taking repair information away from users means less repair: only the very brave, very experienced, or very stupid will try to service a laptop without a manual. And less repair means more disposable culture, more toxic mining and manufacturing, and fewer jobs in independent repair shops.
This kind of early-morning raid would be more appropriate for dealing with serious and dangerous criminals than 9-year-old girls (barely even mentioning that the girl’s father claims her attempts at downloading failed, leading them to go purchase the music legally anyway). Similarly, the fact that for such a trivial case the account-holder’s name and address were obtained from the ISP, and a search warrant issued, shows how out of control the law has become in this area.
The Open Rights Group has been given leave to intervene in an important court case, signalling a growth step for the organisation – and signalling their need for your support.
ORG has also applied to the courts for leave to act on behalf of a large group of people who could be “speculatively invoiced” by a company claiming to act on behalf of pornographers who believe their work has been downloaded without a license. Speculative invoicing is now a well-know ploy where, based on ISP data obtained using a court order, a law firm tells its victims they have been identified as downloaders and that they can escape prosecution by paying a large fee to the lawyers. It’s a legal shake-down long overdue for a legislative fix.
Republicans have historically been strong supporters of copyright protections—and not because of big money special interests, because most of Hollywood’s and the recording industry’s political money flows in the other direction.
Rather, it’s because, as a property right, copyright is a critical element within the GOP’s market-orientation. Markets simply don’t work without property rights. You can’t have contracts, or licensing, if you don’t have clear and enforceable property rights. ALL business models, not just “new” business models, rest on property rights.
In this paper we make use of a quasi-experiment in the market for illegal downloading to study movie box office revenues. Exogenous variation comes from the unexpected shutdown of the popular file hosting platform Megaupload.com on January 19, 2012. The estimation strategy is based on a quasi difference-in-differences approach. We compare box office revenues before and after the shutdown to a matched control group of movies unaffected by the shutdown.
A few folks sent over the following story of how Disney is being sued for copyright infringement. Seems a bit ironic, given just how strict Disney has been over the years in enforcing its copyright and being at the forefront of efforts to expand copyright law — even as it tend to build some of its greatest works by copying works in the public domain. In this case, a design company produced a graphic that consists of drawings of dozens of dogs, each with a little signature under their names:
Governments certainly have more than enough to concern themselves with these days – financial crises, natural disasters and terrorism, to name just a few. Given that’s the case, it’s surprising that so many are finding the time to worry about what kind of standards the products and services they purchase comply with. But they are.
That’s the case in the EU, where the final terms of version 2.0 of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) were the subject of heated debate, resulting in a watered down definition of what should be regarded as acceptable standards for use in enabling communications between EU member nations. It’s also the case within those EU member states that are considering adopting definitions similar to the original formulation that appeared in the original, 2004 version of the EIF.
It’s somewhat ironic that this discussion is occurring not in the context of standards generally, but with respect to information technology (IT) standards, where the standards of greatest concern are those that enable interoperability. I say ironic, because once a standard has become universally adopted in the marketplace, customers – including governments – have little choice but to adopt it as well, because interoperability standards not only enable government IT systems to interact with each other, but also with the citizenry. Moreover, one great economic benefit that can be gained from procuring products and services that comply with widely adopted standards is that it protects the purchaser from becoming locked in to the proprietary products and services of a single vendor.
Updegrove then writes about what happenedin the UK very recently (regarding FRAND and beyond). It seems possible that FOSS adoption here will come through the requirement of fair competition via standards.
It is worth noting that, now that EPO is moving gently towards software patents*, Karsten Gerloff from the FSFE sounds his horn again:
How software patents are delaying the future
This fall, I went to Amsterdam to talk about “How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future”, on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. The other people on the panel were patent attorney Simon Davies, and Ioannis Bozas, a patent examiner at the EPO. The panel was moderated by James Nurton of Managing IP. Despite our very different views on the subject, we had very friendly and informative conversations before, during, and after the panel.
For the EPO, organising this debate was something of a gamble. They’re widely criticised for their practice of awarding patents on computer programs, and the debate tends to get rather heated. While I couldn’t disagree more strongly with the way they do things at the EPO when it comes to software, I give them credit for putting this debate together. It was also refreshing to hear Ioannis state clearly that the EPO grants patents on software, as long as the program makes a “technical contribution”—that’s somewhat clearer than the line about “computer-implemented inventions” we’ve mostly seen the EPO employ so far.
A lot of this war on FRAND can suffer if the unitary patent is passed, whereupon lots of foreign patents can infiltrate the UK, for example. European programmers and even non-programmers should become active on this matter. █
____ * Elver said today in the FFII’s mailing lists, “I was just sitting with a government official who mentioned that something or other will be decided on the 12th of December regarding the unitary patent system in Brussels.”
How widespread coverage and talking points from the tiny minority which is patent lawyers have contributed to biased and at times utterly distorted reporting on the subject of software patents around the world