IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 19th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 19/11/2009: Chromium OS, Lots of Fedora 12 Coverage

Posted in News Roundup at 8:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Intel Divulges Information on TRIM for Linux

    Since that post, I got in contact with Intel who clarified a few of the points surrounding the issue of using TRIM under Linux. Sure, this is a topic that bores most people, but as a full-time user of the OS, I care about it quite a bit, and I’m sure a lot of others out there are in a similar situation as me. And as frustrating as I’ve found tracking down the information to be, I’m hoping this investigative sleuthing will affect a lot more than just me.

  • Time to compile the naughty list: Who isn’t playing nice with Linux?

    Here are just a few of the miscreants mentioned, who either clearly stated they don’t support Linux or any browser other than Internet Explorer; whose services can be used, but not necessarily initiated by any other than a Windows system; or who are just generally difficult to get along with:

    * Citibank
    * AT&T
    * Illinois government sites
    * Verizon DSL
    * EarthLink DSL
    * Juno/NetZero
    * Juniper Networks
    * UPS CampusShip
    * Department of Defense systems (U.S.)

  • Linux Outlaws 122 – In a Gnome Shell

    This week on the show: Source for Android 2.0 has been released, Microsoft admits GPL violation, SAP disses Sun, Microsoft patents sudo?, Windows 7 runs bad on netbooks, Fab tries out Gnome Shell and much more.

  • Desktop

    • Doctors All, Car Crashes, and Insurance

      When I got this drive, I formatted as an ext3 drive but that’s not 100% necessary if you are going to dump compressed backup files on that disk. Modern distributions like Ubuntu/Kubuntu should just see the drive and give you an opportunity to mount the drive. Clicking on the drive icon lets me open up a file manager. Using the file manager, I can just drag and drop into that folder. Easy.


      For the curious among you, the Buffalo LinkStation runs a version of Linux called Fahrenheit.

    • Head to Head: Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 9.10

      Windows 7 turns to face its latest challenger in the form of Ubuntu 9.10, the latest and greatest flavour of Linux to be released.

  • Google

    • Google Chrome operating system’s first appearance scheduled

      While Google is remaining mum about all the details, I’ve learned that they will be demonstrating the new Linux-based Chrome desktop operating system on Thursday, November 19th.

    • Google open sources flash-happy Chrome OS

      Today, via webcast from its Mountain View headquarters, Google VP of product management Sundar Pichai and Engineering Director Matthew Papakipos unveiled an early version of Chrome OS, the much-discussed browser-based operating system the company first announced this past summer. This initial build has been open-sourced as the Chromium OS, with Pichai saying that outside developers will be able to work hand-in-hand with internal Google coders on the same code tree.

    • Releasing the Chromium OS open source project

      Today we are open-sourcing the project as Chromium OS. We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open source community and developers. As with the Google Chrome browser, development will be done in the open from this point on. This means the code is free, accessible to anyone and open for contributions. The Chromium OS project includes our current code base, user interface experiments and some initial designs for ongoing development. This is the initial sketch and we will color it in over the course of the next year.

    • Google Chrome OS Source Code Now Available For Download
    • 5 Expectations for Google’s Chrome OS Event

      Google will finally take the wrapper off its highly-anticipated Chrome operating system during a presentation at Google HQ on Thursday. The event will include a complete overview of the product featuring a Chrome OS demonstration and Q&A session. Sundar Pichai, Google’s vice president of product management and Matthew Papakipos, Google engineering director for Google Chrome OS, will speak at the event, according to TechCrunch.

    • Google Chrome OS: What to look for this week
    • Real Chrome OS developer preview screenshot
    • Chromium OS
    • Google Chrome First Official Screenshots
    • Chrome OS: Some Early Preview Videos

      While the software does not currently appear to be in an easily installable state, requiring developers to build their own Chrome OS environments for the time being, the OS does look quite promising and Google’s “Stateless” objective where all user data resides in the cloud reflects an extremely modern concept in OS design.

    • 7 Google Chrome Extensions You Must Have

      Google Chrome Extensions are here and really doing great. If you are thinking about what is Google Chrome extension and how to install then (eligibility), then read our coverage on Google Chrome Extension launch. There are loads of extensions released by different parties but here we are going to take 7 extensions which you should install on your google chrome to make your life much easier.

  • Server

    • New Aussie Supercomputer Runs Linux

      The fact that a new supercomputer runs Linux should hardly come as a surprise to anyone. What else would it run? W7? ROFL. Well, if it did run W7 I’m pretty sure someone would have been all over the reporters for the Sydney Morning Herald making sure that they mentioned it in their article “Australia’s new supercomputer outflops the lot“. However, since it isn’t, the reporter had a discretion on what to report, and they didn’t mention what operating system it ran. I had to look the thing up on Wikipedia, where it told me that it runs Linux – Centos actually.

    • HP Adds ProCurve One Partners, Apps

      HP expands its app blade switch effort with new partners and programs. And does the fact ONE is Linux-based matter?

    • SSDs Take Center Stage

      Solid state drives (SSDs) — also known as flash — are everywhere. In fact, they may even have done a great service to mankind by diverting messaging away from green IT. The big server and storage OEMs seem to have gotten over their fixation with green IT, courtesy of their enthusiasm for SSD.

    • The Best Free Linux Music Servers

      A home computer makes an ideal appliance to store and stream music. The purpose of a music server is to deliver tracks when requested by a client. The server can deliver music to machines over a local area network as well as computers connected over the internet.

  • Kernel Space

    • How The X Stack In Ubuntu 10.04 LTS May Look

      Canonical’s Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (codenamed Lucid Lynx) is taking place this week in Texas, but happening right now on the Ubuntu-X mailing list is a discussion about what the X.Org plans are for Ubuntu Lucid.

    • Benchmark Your System With PTS Desktop Live [Linux]

      One of my favorite activities is to compare new hardware with old after an upgrade. One of yours might be to show your best friend how much better your machine rocks than his (or vice versa). Remember, the best feature of the Phoronix Test Suite Desktop is the FUN!

  • Applications

    • Goggles Music Manager For Linux

      Goggles Music Manager is a music collection manager and player that automatically categorizes your music files based on genre, artist, album, and song. It supports gapless playback and features easy tag editing.

    • Top Backup Solutions for Linux

      For years I have watched in amazement as most articles highlighting various Linux backup solutions merely point out the same old list. While their authors enjoy their “FoSS-ness,” they fail to realize that, in the real world, not all of the solutions provided make sense for the casual user. Half of them are really enterprise only.

    • Backup your data with Grsync
    • Gnome Music Player Client (GMPC) + MPD – Just WOW [Linux]

      GMPC is a GTK2 client for Music Player Daemon. I’m not going to talk about Music Player Daemon again, because we covered it when we talked about Sonata (including how to configure Music Player Daemon – MPD).

    • Open Source Email Archiving Software

      Email archiving is an application that accumulates, index and provide quick, searchable access to email messages independent of the users of the system using a couple of different technical methods of implementation. The primary function of email archiving software is to capture and maintain all email traffic flowing into and out of the email server so it can be accessed immediately at a later date from a centrally managed location. If you are looking for an open source email archiving software, then read on.

    • Scribble Notes with SimpleText

      Here is a genuinely useful Web-based application — SimpleText. It is, indeed, a rather simple online note-taking application that is positively light on features. It doesn’t offer any fancy text formatting tools, and you won’t find any advanced sharing capabilities in it either. So what’s so “genuinely useful” about it, then? Again, it’s simplicity.

    • Proprietary

      • Fluendo S.A. Announces The Codec Pack Release 10

        Fluendo is an established leading provider of multimedia plug-ins for the GNU/Linux Market, and has succeeded in offering legal end-to-end solutions working with multiple formats and platforms.

      • CodeWeavers releases CrossOver Games 8.1 for MAC and Linux

        Despite a crazed assault of zombie playtesters on their headquarters, CodeWeavers, Inc., a leading developer of software products that turn Mac OS X and Linux into Windows-compatible operating systems, today announced the release of CrossOver Games 8.1 for both Mac and Linux, available immediately.

      • 7 Must Have Linux iPhone Applications

        Linux Command Reference (FREE) – This iPhone app is a handy command reference for the Linux Terminal. Perfect for situations when you need to reference a command but you’re in the server room without your computer.

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments

    • Making your mixed KDE and GNOME desktop look cool
    • KDE

      • We are still alive! summary of the last weeks in kamoso land.

        We have been quite quiet the last weeks on blog posting, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not working on kamoso. So if you are one of those who think that kamoso is “yet another dead kde webcam project” you’re wrong :)
        Here we have some heads up.

    • GNOME

      • The Second GNOME 2.30 Development Release

        While GNOME 2.30 will not be the release that goes on to become GNOME 3.0 (instead it will be GNOME 2.32 in September that grabs the “3.0″ tag), the second development release for the 2.30 series is now available.

      • What We Talk About When We Talk About Zeitgeist

        There is a tangible confusion around as to what Zeitgeist is and what it isn’t; what it can do and what it can’t do. This is partly our own fault because we could have communicated this whole thing better, for instance we have some very outdated wiki pages lying around that you should probably stay away from until we updated them. In this post I aim to give a semi technical run down of the core Zeitgeist functionality and how we expose it for you to work with. This should hopefully clear out some confusion.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Interview: Red Hat on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

        I’d like to thank Kerrin Catallozzi, Andy Cathrow and Jim Brennan from Red Hat for taking the time to indulge a rather small Linux oriented website with an interview.

      • SDC goes open source with Red Hat

        SDC selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its interoperability, which allows it run on the organization’s IBM and Dell servers, as well as for its Red Hat Network Satellite console, which allows centralized management of all resources.

      • NSA helps Apple, Sun and Red Hat harden their systems

        his was made publicPDF in a hearing at the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 12 rolls out impressive features

          Although last in this line of releases, Fedora is perhaps the most interesting of the releases. While it is the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora is not nearly as conservative and prides itself on its just-out-of-beta features. This time around Fedora introduces features such as Bluetooth audio support, multi-touch input for tablet PCs, better package management and broader network support.

          On the desktop Fedora includes Empathy, a new generation of instant messenger that supports chat, video and audio on most popular IM platforms including AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, Jabber, Live (MSN) and MySpace. Using Empathy users can share their desktop with friends and use a webcam to create audio and video chats.

        • Fedora 12 Screen Shots
        • Fedora 12
        • Upgrade from Fedora11 to Fedora12 Constantine
        • Fedora 12 – it’s a horse, not a camel

          On the desktop, Fedora 12 offers the latest versions of GNOME and KDE, complete with all the usual updates to the standard GNOME and KDE applications. On the GNOME side that means the new Empathy IM client and the slightly revamped, somewhat more polished theme we mentioned in our review of the Fedora 12 beta release.

        • Fedora, Still Pushing The Envelope

          This new release certainly feels very solid and is definitely worth the upgrade, today. Due to Fedora’s stance on free software, users might not get the same “out of the box” experience that other distributions might offer. Even so, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Either way, using only free software certainly helps to make Fedora more stable and it’s great for users who don’t need proprietary software.

          That aside, Fedora 12 “Constantine” continues the tradition of pushing the envelope of free software and could just be, the very best Linux distribution of 2009.

        • Fedora 12 LXDE Spin withdrawn (for now)
        • Fedora 12: Screenshot gallery

          Fedora 12 was released yesterday by the Fedora Project, marking a dozen releases over the past six years.

        • Fedora 12 Installation and Post Installation Guide

          Fedora 12, codenamed Constantine, is released! Just for the info, Fedora is an RPM based Linux Distribution, an Operating System in other words, developed by the community supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat. Fedora contains only free and Open Source software. Some of Fedora’s 12 new features are Gnome 2.28, KDE 4.3, better web cam support!, and many others. Finally presto is enabled by default which means smaller updates to be downloaded and faster updates also!

        • Fedora 12 On A Stick (Tutorial)
        • Fedora 12 Constantine – Reference Cheat Sheet
        • How to Upgrade your existing system to Fedora 12, Constantine
        • Active local console users get to install signed software on a machine they d…
        • New Fedora Spins site with Fedora 12

          With the release of Fedora 12 we’ve given the spins.fedoraproject.org a bit of a facelift. :) (What did it look like before? Pre-facelift spins.fedoraproject.org.)

    • Debian Family

      • Debian – The Universal Operating System

        The other day, I blogged about the Debian Installer, and I stated that I find it to be one of the most flexible and possibly most powerful operating system installers. Well, continuing with a series of posts on Debian, I want to mention how flexible the operating system is by itself, from installing to running. The claim from the Debian project that it is “The Universal Operating System” is spot on, and I hope this post shows you really how universal it truly is.

      • Knoppix

        • Knoppix 6.2 Based on LXDE

          Klaus Knopper has updated his Live Linux Knoppix to 6.2 and chose LXDE as the desktop environment. Also included is ADRIANE, the talking menu system for the sight-impaired, in version 1.2

        • Knoppix 6.2 arrives

          The Knoppix developers have released version 6.2 of their popular Linux distribution. Knoppix is a bootable CD distribution of Linux incorporating automatic hardware detection and can be used to demo Linux, as an educational CD, a rescue system, etc. Knoppix uses on-the-fly decompression so it can have up to 2 GB of data and software installed on a distribution CD. The latest release is based on the “Testing” and “Unstable” branch of Debian and includes several bug fixes and updates.

      • Kubuntu

        • The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 9.10

          This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 9.10 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Kubuntu 9.10 is derived from Ubuntu 9.10 and uses the KDE desktop instead of the GNOME desktop.

      • Ubuntu

        • Good karma: an in-depth review of Ubuntu 9.10

          Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala, was officially released last month. In this comprehensive review, Ars takes you under the surface for an in-depth look at the new features and major architectural changes.

        • 20 Essential Tips Every Ubuntu User Should Know

          So you’ve read our Complete Beginner’s Guide to Linux and have decided to adopt an open-source operating system–congratulations! But diving right into a new OS is daunting, even if it is as polished and stable as Ubuntu. That’s OK though, because we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the 20 most important skills that every Ubuntu user should have. These tips, ranging from basic GUI manipulation to advanced system recovery, are essential to your Windows-free computing experience.

        • Why Ubuntu release schedules should be changed

          While this pace of development has given Ubuntu a goodly portion of the small number of GNU/Linux desktops worldwide, and also had an effect on many other distributions in that they have tended to release more often in order to compete with Ubuntu, there are indications that it is better for Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, to rethink its strategy.

        • Fewer Games To Be Included In Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

          The biggest factor in choosing (or not choosing) games is based on their size. An Ubuntu LiveCD has to fit on a 700mb CD and room is at a premium.

        • 7 cool applications to improve your Karmic Koala experience.

          If you are using Ubuntu, you probably know there is some 2000+ applications you can install on your system. Obviously you would not need to install all of those to get the best out of your system, the following 7 applications will help give you more from your setup in case you have not installed them already. Some of them are available in the revised software management hub called the Ubuntu Software Center.

        • PulseAudio Revisited

          Karmic Koala (Ubuntu 9.10) has come out now, and I’m still getting 70 hits a week on my original article concerning PulseAudio. The situation has changed radically, and so that people will get correct information concerning it, I felt it necessary to revise my previous findings.

      • Qimo

        • Qimo 4 kids – NGO Interview 5

          After a short hiatus I’m back with the NGO interviews. This time I spoke with Michael and Michelle Hall of Qimo 4 kids.


          LC: So what is your experience of this good or bad , have you picked up any nice tips?

          MH: Explaining to the people we’re donating computers too that they don’t have Windows on them. How to create a custom distro!

          LC: What would you suggest to our readers that are interested in an initiative like yours?

          MH: Just do it. There is no barrier to entry, you probably have or know somebody who has an old computer that isn’t being used. You probably also know a family, school or daycare that can’t afford to buy computers. It takes literally an hour of your time, at most, and will have a life-long impact on those you donate too.

        • Tux Paint a Drawing program with nice effects for Children
  • Devices/Embedded

    • HP spins ARM- and Atom-based thin clients

      HP announced two thin clients that run its Linux-based ThinPro distribution. Using Intel’s Atom N280, the t5745 offers 1-2GB of DDR3 RAM, 1-2GB of flash, and eight USB 2.0 ports, while the t5325 incorporates a 1.2GHz Marvell/ARM processor, 512MB each of RAM and flash, and four USB ports.

    • Android for MIPS platform gains debugging support

      MIPS Technologies announced the availability of an Arriba for Android Porting Kit (APK) for the MIPS architecture, co-developed with Viosoft. The Arriba APK includes a suite of tools for porting Android to MIPS-based platforms, and includes Android versions of Viosoft’s Arriba Linux debug and profiling tools, plus MIPS Technologies’ System Navigator EJTAG probe, the companies say.

    • A tiny cloud in Android
    • Phones

      • Droid by Motorola sales hit 250K

        Verizon Wireless sold 250,000 units of its Droid by Motorola phone, according to eWEEK, which has also given the Droid a rave review. Meanwhile, the rumor of a Google-branded Android phone refuses to die, Palm’s CEO trash-talks the Droid, and tomorrow Google will unveil its Linux-based Chrome OS, say various reports.

      • Verizon Droid’s Sales Surge: Report

        Trends in app development are also starting to look more promising for Android-based devices in the Droid’s wake. Flurry said it’s seen a “sharp increase” in new applications being developed for the mobile OS — an increase of 94 percent from September to October.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • How Jolicloud is adding support for GMA 500 graphics

        As I mentioned the other day, the folks behind the netbook-friendly Jolicloud operating system are in the process of adding support for machines with Intel Atom Z5xx processors and integrated GMA 500 graphics. For the most part, systems with GMA 500 graphics don’t perform as well as laptops with the more common GMA 950 graphics chipset. But GMA 500 does have a few tricks up its sleeve. It can handle hardware decoding of some HD video, for instance. And the Atom Z5xx/GMA 500 combo uses less power, which helps prolong battery life.

      • Laptops for each student in 13 schools

        In line with the national drive to arm the younger generation with the knowledge of English and Information Technology, the Education Ministry has taken steps to issue laptop computers to each and every student in thirteen schools. The program is carried out under the “One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program conducted by the Education Ministry in collaboration with the University of Colombo. The program is funded by the World Bank. Under this program, 1,250 laptop computers will be distributed to students in 13 primary schools.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Gene testing firm goes titsup
  • Guest post by Daniel Vorhaus and Lawrence Moore: what happens when a personal genomics company goes bankrupt?

    4. So What Does It All Mean? If the company’s policy clearly permits the sale of genomic information in the kind of transaction that could be consummated in a bankruptcy case, then such a sale can go forward. But if the policy prohibits such a sale, or if the policy is unclear or does not address the subject at all, a transfer may still take place–subject to the ins and outs of bankruptcy law, including provisions specifically applicable to personal information. We’ll turn to that in the second part of this series.

  • Ho Chi Minh City hosts open source software summit

    Over 500 participants from 15 countries will join one of the Asia’s top events on free and open source software (FOSS) to be held in Ho Chi Minh City this Friday.

  • Asterisk VAR Wins On Wall Street

    The VAR Guy met EUS Networks CTO Jeronimo Romero yesterday. Since jumping into the Asterisk market in 2005 or so, EUS has lined up more than 1,000 Asterisk customers. But this isn’t your usual VAR. The 24-person company has four Linux developers who customize Asterisk deployments for customers.

  • Introducing OpenShot

    At release 0.9.52 the program is very stable and I experienced no crashes during my tests. In my opinion OpenShot is well on its way to becoming an attractive and powerful editor. Presently it lacks some features I like in other NLEs, but I suspect its developers will add those and other features in due time. Like many similar projects OpenShot is in need of external assistance, so if you’d like to help produce a high-quality GTK-based NLE for video you might consider hopping on to the OpenShot train. Coders are welcome, but other aspects of the program need love too. Check with the devs to see how your talents can be employed by the project.

  • Zenoss Enterprise 2.5 Released, Now Features Amazon EC2 Monitoring

    Open source network monitoring software vendor Zenoss announced the release of Zenoss Enterprise 2.5, the company’s commercial version of its flagship product. It sports several new features, most notably Amazon EC2 monitoring that provide users with dynamic snapshots of performance and the ability to drill down on performance issues with “inside the instance” monitoring.

  • Open Source Gets Bigger CeBIT Spotlight

    That’s the news coming out of Hannover, Germany the permanent home for the CeBIT show, where the CeBIT Open Source 2010 event will be taking center stage at one of the largest expo halls according to show organizers Deutsche Messe. According to Britta Wülfing, CeBIT Event Manager, the shift of the Open Source exhibition to the more prominent Hall 2 is a direct response to the huge popularity this segment of the show enjoyed in 2009.

  • Haiku OS Alpha 1 Screenshots

    As you may or may not know Haiku OS Alpha 1 was recently released. It is a full featured and improved clone of the old BeOS. OSNews has a nice review starting with a bit of history.

    I downloaded and burned a live cd, but it doesn’t seem to support my hardware since the kernel stopped the boot up and threw me into a debug console. I then decided to run and install it in VirtualBox and take many screenshots as I explore the OS. Overall I would say that it packs quite a punch for a revival of an old operating system in a first alpha release. It looks better than the last BeOS release (R5) and comes with some improvements including support for modern hardware (albeit not all as my example would imply).

  • IT: ‘Open source key to software re-use of public administrations’

    “Free and open source software enables more effective actions, with a very low cost, when financing small projects for public administrations”, says Osvaldo Gervasi, president of Umbria’s Open Source Competence Center (CCOS) and professor of Computer Science at University of Perugia. “This type of software is key to the re-use of applications by public administrations.”

  • Animating with open-source

    IF YOU watched the 15Malaysia (www.15Malaysia.com) independent film collection, you would have noticed a unique entry called Rojak! that combined live action with computer graphics.

    What is even cooler is that the filmmakers used open-source software to achieve this effect on the near-five-minute film. The fact is that the filmmakers — brothers Jordan, 29, and Mussadique Suleiman, 32 — are open-source software diehards.

    The duo have been using open-source software for animation and editing TV commercials, documentaries and music videos for the past eight years.

    Better known as the Suleiman Brothers, they specialise in hand-drawn animation, 3D and 2D motion graphics, video compositing as well as image processing.

  • Office Suites

  • CMS

    • Midgard2 9.09 “Mjolnir” released

      Lodz, November 18th 2009 — The Midgard Project has released stable release of Midgard2 9.09 “Mjolnir” – second release of the new generation of the Midgard content repository.

  • Mozilla

    • Personas: 10 Million and Growing

      The Personas movement continues to grow with over 10 million people choosing to personalize their Firefox.

    • Firefox faces browser clone war in China

      The browser war in China is heating up but not quite in a way that resembles the Western markets, as Mozilla’s Beijing chief explains.

      While browser makers in overseas markets often tout their products’ Web page rendering speeds and ability to run richer apps, China’s browser landscape calls for customized browser versions that bring additional features in order to demonstrate value to users.

    • Still some new tricks in Firefox 3.6 beta 3

      Continuing with its new quick beta turnaround strategy, Mozilla has released a third beta just a week after Beta 2

    • Mozilla kicks rebel coders to kerb with Firefox 3.6 ‘lockdown’

      Nightingale said from Firefox 3.6 onwards – including future beta releases of that iteration of the browser – it would prevent third party applications from adding code directly to the components directory.

    • Firefox beefs up addon security

      Mozilla will add a new lockdown feature to Firefox 3.6 that will prevent developers from sneaking addons into the program, the company said.

  • FSFE

    • Freedom Food: FSFE to cook for its donors

      For this year’s round of fund-raising, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has cooked up something special. The biggest donor of 2009 will share a cooking session with FSFE’s President and other members of the organisation’s executive team. FSFE is looking to raise 100,000 Euro during the last quarter of 2009.

  • Openness

    • Opening up Semantic Search to Ordinary Users

      Could open source help realise this long-held dream? That’s the question a project called the “Interactive Knowledge Stack” (IKS), funded by the European Commission to the tune of 6.57 Euros, is trying to answer.

    • Has Ordnance Survey Managed to Find a Clue?

      This suggests that people in government are gradually beginning to understand that they can give away much of their data – well, actually, *our* data – and still generate revenue by targetting particular remunerative sectors.

    • Bureau of Meteorology to release water data under CC

      For Australia water (or the lack of it) is a big deal. So big in fact, that the Commonwealth Government saw the need to establish a national initiative for monitoring and publishing water data. Charging the Bureau of Meteorology with the task, their Improving Water Information Program will aggregate hundreds of other government departments’ and agencies’ information into the National Water Account, an integrated, national water monitoring and data collection service. And the Bureau are encouraging their partners to release their data under Creative Commons.

    • Measuring Citation Advantages of Open Accessibility

      Over the past decade, a good number of studies have attempted to demonstrate that open access journal articles have higher citation rates than traditionally published ones.1 These open access articles are either published in open access journals or are made publicly available through open access repositories. More methodologically sound studies, however, are needed to pinpoint more exactly the impact, if any, of open accessibility on citation rates and to look at the issue of impact (or non-impact) more closely. For instance, of those journal articles that have been made openly accessible, about what percent of them benefit from open online availability? What percent of them do not?

    • Public Domain Calculators
    • In The New Content Economy, Consumers Want Access Not Ownership

      If we can accept the fact that under-25-year-olds will not own content and stop the nostalgia for “the good ol’ days,” we can create a new economy that is even greater than the economy that we are leaving. Then the content owners and the eco-system around it will all become much more profitable and be able to re-invest in the creation of even better content that feeds this whole system.

    • Finding the laws that govern us

      Starting today, we’re enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar. You can find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey), or by topics (like desegregation) or other queries that you are interested in. For example, go to Google Scholar, click on the “Legal opinions and journals” radio button, and try the query separate but equal. Your search results will include links to cases familiar to many of us in the U.S. such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, which explore the acceptablity of “separate but equal” facilities for citizens at two different points in the history of the U.S. But your results will also include opinions from cases that you might be less familiar with, but which have played an important role.

    • Book Availability

      When we in the summer launched this project, today was a rather firm launch date (#egov2009). So it was very satisfactory, at midnight, to launch the digital version. Download the PDF here or here (1,1MB).

    • Sir Tim: “Public Data is a Public Good”
    • Put in your postcode, out comes the data

      Government data is a valuable resource that we have already paid for. We are not talking about personal data but data that tells us, for example, about the amount and type of traffic on our roads, where the accidents are, how much is spent on areas where these accidents occur. This is data that has already been collected and paid for by the taxpayer, and the internet allows it to be distributed much more cheaply than before. Governments can unlock its value by simply letting people use it. This is beginning to happen in a number of countries, notably in the US under the Obama Administration, and in June Gordon Brown asked us to advise the Government on how to make rapid progress here.

    • Introduction to the Archive
    • Free Culture Forum: Getting it Together

      As regular readers will know, I write a lot about the related areas of openness, freedom, transparency and the commons, but it’s rare to find them literally coming together like this, in the Free Culture Forum:

      Across the planet, people are recognizing the need for an international space to build and coordinate a common agenda for issues surrounding free culture and access to knowledge. The Free Culture Forum of Barcelona created one such space.


      All-in-all, this is an extraordinary document with which I find myself in pretty much total agreement. It’s an great achievement, and will be a real reference point for everyone working in the fields of digital freedom, openness and transparency for years to come.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Birth of the SGIP (Live from Denver)

      I’ll be attending the Grid Interop conference today through Thursday (they were kind enough to give me a press pass), which serves as the venue for the SGIP launch, and will blog on the conference, as well as the voting outcomes, as events unfold, so stay tuned.


  • Parents demand control over text messaging

    More than 90 per cent of parents want more control over their sprog’s texting habits, and would buy more phones if they had it.

    Messaging company Acision spoke to 1000 mobile phone users and established that parents would be happy to equip their ankle-biters with mobile phones at an even younger age, if only they had more control over the kind of person with whom they were communicating.

  • Arkansas cop tasers 10-year-old girl

    An Arkansas cop has been suspended after tasering a ten-year-old girl who repeatedly “screamed, kicked and resisted” when her mother attempted to get her to have a shower before bed.

  • Norway to Help Protect Guyana’s Forests

    For the past year, President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana has traveled the world offering to place his nation’s forests under international supervision if other countries paid his citizens not to deforest the tropical landscapes.

    The campaign received major support last week when Norway announced a $30 million commitment on Monday for the small South American nation to implement an “avoided deforestation” plan. If the program demonstrates success, Guyana will receive an additional $250 million through 2015.

  • The Fire this Time: Copenhagen and the War for the Future

    To be young and aware is to suspect that, in the end, the debate about climate action isn’t about substance, but about rich old men trying to squeeze every last dollar, euro, and yen from their investments in outdated industries. It is to agree with the environmentalist Paul Hawken that we have an economy that steals the future, sells it in the present, and calls it GDP. It is to begin to see your elders as cannibals with golf clubs.

  • The Coming Nuclear Crisis

    The world is about to enter a period of unprecedented investment in nuclear power. The combined threats of climate change, energy security and fears over the high prices and dwindling reserves of oil are forcing governments towards the nuclear option. The perception is that nuclear power is a carbon-free technology, that it breaks our reliance on oil and that it gives governments control over their own energy supply.

    That looks dangerously overoptimistic, says Michael Dittmar, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who publishes the final chapter of an impressive four-part analysis of the global nuclear industry on the arXiv today.

  • UK

    • Security agencies can withhold ‘secret government information’ in civil cases

      MI5, MI6 and the police will be able to withhold evidence from defendants and their lawyers in civil cases for the first time, the high court ruled today.

      In a move that has widespread implications for open justice, Mr Justice Silber agreed with the security and intelligence agencies that “secret government information” could remain hidden from individuals who are suing them.

    • Census: the opt-out and the opportunity

      I’ve been asked (by pacifists and others concerned that the 2011 census is managed by a US defence contractor) what are the legal options for non-participation. I know it’s not a question you’ll welcome, [however] I believe I fully understand the arguments about why it’s safe and a good thing to do, and that Lockheed Martin will process the data in the UK and lawfully etc.

    • UK Government moves to free more public data

      Gordon Brown has announced that the government plans to open up map data from the Ordnance Survey, the UK’s national mapping agency. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister in a speech at a Smarter Government seminar held at Downing Street where Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt also talked about the work being done with the “Make Public Data Public” project. According to The Guardian, the opening of map data will be part of a wider move to publish over 2,000 sets of data, which could include, for example, road-traffic counts, property prices, and motoring offence statistics.

  • Finance

    • Geithner and AIG, the Rashomon version

      You get the sense that at this point in the game, Smith would not be satisfied by anything less than a firing squad. What she sees as uncritical reportage others could interpret as “leaving the Fed hung out to dry.” For example, the audit reports that Fed was worried about “violating the principle of the sanctity of contract.” Come on! The financial world was falling apart and the U.S. government was on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in a frantic effort to stave off utter disaster. In that milieu, the supposed sanctity of contracts is a bogus excuse, mere cover for doing nothing.

    • Barron’s Shows How Warren Buffett Got 120% Return on the Goldman Sachs (GS) Deal

      Now on dissecting the returns that he will be earning from his Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) investment, Barron’s says we can realize that he has beaten the US treasury also to earn a handsome return from investing in the same company, during the same time period and almost at the same price.

    • Watchdog: Geithner Tried to Negotiate With AIG Counterparties

      What could the Fed have done? It could have abused its regulatory authority: threatened the banks that wouldn’t play ball with some sort of retaliation. But this would probablyhave created deep problems with the French. It would also have further devastated a shaken banking sector. Leaving aside the morality of using regulatory authority for unauthorized purposes, countries where the regulator arbitrarily uses its authority to secure sweetheart deals for the government do not have robust, thriving financial sectors.

    • Goldman Sachs Says Sorry For The Housing and Credit Crisis

      Presumably, Blankfein is sorry for the role Goldman Sachs played in “cycling cheap credit.” In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs sold $40 billion in securities backed by 200,000 risky, exotic, and sub-prime mortgages. The company promoted the securities as triple-A rated investments – the safest kind of investing except for government bonds and T-Bills.

    • Blankfein Apologizes for Goldman Sachs Role in Crisis

      “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret,” Blankfein, 55, said at a conference in New York hosted by the Directorship magazine. “We apologize.”

    • Thain defends Wall Street bonuses

      Former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive John Thain, who was fired after a scandal over the payment of billions of bonuses to Merrill traders, argued on Tuesday that big payouts played no role in triggering the financial crisis.

    • Goldman Sachs says sorry

      Such a simple and direct admission should have been made by a number of financial executives months ago, but it is to Blankfein’s credit that he has made it even as the pressure on Wall Street from Washington seems to be diminishing.

    • Goldman Sachs: It’s Worse Than You Think

      As Timothy Geithner was struggling to keep the mega-insurance company afloat last year—and save all the other companies that would have gone down with the A.I.G. ship—UBS of Switzerland offered a two percent discount on what it was owed. OK, so maybe accepting 98 cent on the dollar wasn’t going to change the fate of the world. But at least it was something.

    • Bank Bonuses Surge; Goldman Sachs Executives May Earn More Than In 2006

      In 2006, employees at the firm earned an average of $622,000 each; in the first 9 months of this year, the bank set aside compensation of $16.7 billion, or $527,192 per employee. If Goldman Sachs continues to allocate a similar amount of money to compensation of employees in the fourth quarter, the average payout at the firm will amount to around $688,000 per capita, or a massive 10 percent increase over individual earnings for 2006.

    • Goldman Sachs Nearly Bankrupted AIG

      During AIG’s bailout, Goldman had influence over the decision to use public funds to pay 100 cents on the dollar for these CDOs (the underlying risk of the credit derivatives), but none of the information about the volume of Goldman’s trades with AIG–or the Goldman CDOs hedged by AIG’s other counterparties–was made public.

    • Goldman Sachs

      “People are wondering why Goldman is making such bumper profits… What they don’t realize is how little competition there is left in certain areas…

      Lots of banks just want to get rid of ‘funny’ assets at whatever price to please their freaked-out shareholders. Goldman operates under no such constraint, and there’s no end to golden opportunities to make money.”

    • Goldman Sachs does God’s Will while 49 Million go Hungry

      It’s going from obscene to disgusting. Each day reveals how we’ve traded away our sense of decency and the common good in exchange for pure, unadulterated greed.

      Unemployment is a statistic. We hear it so often that, unless we are without work, it loses its meaning. Even when we learn that the U6 jobless rate hit 17.5 percent it doesn’t really register. After all this isn’t the 1930s. We have few bread lines or Hoovervilles. We’re not lined up outside of banks praying we can get our savings. We’ve come a long way…or have we?

    • Protestors to Goldman Sachs: “You Are Not God” – Bernanke Explains Why

      Getting capital flowing back into the real economy will require capturing these outrageous profits while reducing risky speculation on Wall Street. A good way to do this would be to impose a small financial transaction tax on all profitable stock transactions. A study by Dean Baker’s Center for Economic and Policy Research show that a tax as small as .25 percent per stock transaction would raise $140 billion dollars for the government. Millions of jobs can be created by investing that money in projects and programs that would put people to work: jump-starting the green economy, rebuilding our infrastructure, assisting struggling manufacturers, and aiding struggling states so they aren’t forced to lay off teachers, firefighters and police officers.

  • AstroTurf

    • Energy industry front group plans “teabagger” protest at Gore’s event in Portland

      I just got word that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is planning on protesting a presentation Al Gore is making tomorrow night in Portland, Oregon.

      Under the guise of the “teabagger movement” AFP will do what it does best, which is protesting clean energy and green jobs.

      It’s hard to believe this is much of a grassroots “teabagger” movement when the organizers get so much money from the largest private energy company in the United States.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • UK.gov hoovers up data on five-year-olds

      The government obsession with collecting data has now extended to five-year-olds, as local Community Health Services get ready to arm-twist parents into revealing the most intimate details of their own and their child’s personal, behavioural and eating habits.

    • Hollywood wants to own your outputs (and that’s a good idea)

      Opinion: the cable industry’s top man in Washington wants to make his case to Ars readers over Selectable Output Control (SOC)—Hollywood’s ability to shut down specific outputs on your A/V gear to prevent piracy. Far from opposing it, geeks should love SOC, he says; it’s technological progress in action, it won’t break your (current) TV, and it’s good for consumers.

    • IGF attendees: America, surrender the root zone file!

      Complaints about continuing US government control of Internet domain name issues surfaced again this week in Egypt at the UN-backed Internet Governance Forum. Should the US government step even further back from the Internet?

    • Muzzled by the United Nations

      This afternoon (4pm local time, 9am EST, 9pm Beijing) I will be speaking on a plenary panel about social networks. I and the other panelists have been told very clearly by people in charge that we can’t mention specific U.N. member countries, and we’re discouraged from “naming and shaming” any other kinds of specific entities as well. It’s going to be rather difficult to discuss emerging issues related to social networks without being able to give any specific examples of specific countries and companies. More broadly, it’s rather difficult to make progress in global Internet governance without being able to discuss specific cases in the public meetings, or applying any value judgments to what any of the actors are doing. But that’s the United Nations for you. Last night I considered whether it even made sense for me to remain on the panel. I decided to stay on it because I hope that I can get a message across – albeit generically – about free expression concerns on social networks, and how the Global Network Initiative is one way to help companies navigate these concerns.

    • Spain Codifies ‘The Right to Broadband’

      Spanish citizens will have a legal right from 2011 to be able to buy broadband internet of at least one megabyte per second at a regulated price wherever they live, the country’s industry minister said on Tuesday.

      The telecoms operator holding the so-called “universal service” contract would have to guarantee it could offer “reasonably” priced broadband throughout Spain, said Miguel Sebastian in a statement sent to media.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • We See Your ‘Copyright Contributes $1.5 Trillion’ And Raise You ‘Fair Use Contributes $2.2 Trillion’

      The copyright industry lobbyists absolutely love to throw around the bogus and debunked stat that copyright contributes $1.52 trillion to the economy. That number is derived by taking any business that kinda sorta maybe touches copyright (including things like furniture and jewelry) and then assuming that all of the revenue they make is entirely due to copyright. Yes, that’s ridiculous. But, if the copyright lobbyists are going to use such bogus methodology to push their agenda, it seems only fair for those on the other side to use the same methodology. Last week, we wrote about a biased editorial by two newspaper industry lawyers in the WSJ (who failed to note the conflicts of interest), claiming that Google violated copyright law, and attacked the concept of fair use.

    • Oh No! Nobody Reads! Oh No! It’s Too Cheap For Everyone To Read!

      Reader Robin Trehaeven alerts us to a fantastic opinion piece in the Library Journal by Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, in which she does a superb job mocking what she refers to as the “accessibility paradox” where those who are used to being gatekeepers to information at the same time as they’re supposedly promoting the benefits of greater information, suddenly start whining when information really does get more accessible.

    • Kicking People Off The Internet Not Enough In South Korea, Copyright Lobbyists Demand More

      If you thought that the entertainment industry would stop at having the ability to force ISPs to kick people they accuse (not convict) of file sharing offline, you might want to pay attention to what’s happening in South Korea. South Korea, of course, is home to very high broadband penetration, with exceptionally high speeds. And, not surprisingly, there’s a lot of unauthorized file sharing going on there. Of course, if you looked at the Korean cultural world, you’d immediately learn that smart entrepreneurs and entertainers quickly learned to adapt and take advantage of this new world. Entrepreneurs like JY Park recognized the changing marketplace, and adapted — and the massive success he’s had with artists like Rain and Wonder Girls, suggests that perhaps “piracy” wasn’t a big deal. All you need is some smart business people who can adapt.

    • Are The Record Labels Using Bluebeat’s Bogus Copyright Defense To Avoid Having To Give Copyrights Back To Artists?

      Now, of course that sounds ridiculous, to hear that record labels can get a new copyright on just remastering a work… but, that sounds an awful lot like the argument made by Bluebeat.com, concerning its “psycho-acoustic simulation” re-recordings of famous songs, that enabled it to claim a new copyright.

    • ASCAP, BMI And SESAC Continue To Screw Over Most Songwriters: ‘Write A Hit Song If You Want Money’

      At some point, musicians and songwriters need to learn that these organizations are not doing things in their best interests at all. They’re simply bureaucracies to funnel money to big names, while limiting the competition.

    • Sounds of silence? Fees spur venues to scrap live music
    • Walmart Won’t Let Family Print Photos Of Dead Relative For Funeral

      After the death of a relative, Mike put together a photo tribute for the funeral, in order to “remember the good times,” he says.

    • The strange death of illegal downloading

      The moral is simple. We are not a nation of thieves, but if a supermarket leaves its doors open and shuts down the tills, it should be unsurprised if people help themselves. The music industry lets illegal downloading thrive because it didn’t provide an easy, affordable way to pay. That was left to Apple’s iTunes, the likes of Last.fm and now a new generation of sites, which offer music at prices that reflect more fully the near-zero cost of distribution. While the music industry was lamenting that users wouldn’t pay for tracks, the same people were paying up to £3 a pop for ringtones on their phones. Why? Because phones have an easy payments system.

Red Hat Summit 2008: Boyd Davis Keynote

Video: Chrome OS (Linux) Introduced

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Videos at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Video of the new operating system from Google, as Ogg

Direct link

How Denmark Avoids a “Scientology Cult” in IT

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.

“Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.

“I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

Summary: The rather secret story of migrations to Free software and ODF in Danish municipalities

A government delegate once compared Microsoft's methods to “Scientology cult” because along with its partners it is hunting down resistance to Microsoft products.

We have already seen Microsoft getting 'disobedient' CIOs fired/ousted, which is only to be expected from a company that endorses bribing people and using an "insider friend"/"fox". A lot of people still think of Microsoft as an innocent and professional company, but that’s because they never encountered the wrath one does when getting on Microsoft’s “wrong side” [1, 2] (or "Wong" side).

OSOR has just published this report which is encouraging news for ODF.

Representatives from three European member states, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, took part in the second Open Document Format (ODF) interoperability workshop held in the Italian town of Orvieto at the beginning of this month.

Fabio Pistella, president of Italy’s Center for ICT in Public Administrations (CNIPA), in his opening address told the attendees of the workshop that Italy is about to start a three-year promotion campaign on open source software, writes Roberto Gallopini, one of the organisers of the ODF workshop on his web blog.

OSOR has another new report about migration to ODF and Free software in Denmark (also here):

The municipality announced on 6 November 2009 that, as from the next week, it will start to use OpenOffice, alongside its proprietary alternative. However, the municipality plans to fully move to OpenOffice eventually.

Rødovre has installed OpenOffice on seven hundred desktop PCs.

The municipality’s move to OpenOffice was announced at the annual OpenOffice conference ‘OOoCon 2009′ which took place in Orvieto, Italy, from 3 to 6 November 2009. At the conference, Leif Lodahl, a volunteer project manager for the Danish OpenOffice project, gave a presentation on the integration of existing document management tools with OpenOffice: “Moving to OpenOffice improves control over the documents and allows the municipality to automatically convert relevant documents to PDF.”

Microsoft will not let this be. It never does, as Russian schools teach us.

“Microsoft will not let this be. It never does, as Russian schools teach us.”One of our readers from around this region writes: “Rødovre, Denmark, just west of Copenhagen, has kept secret its deployment of OOo on 700 machines until recently, to avoid interference from Microsoft. Over in Lyngby-Tarbæk, which has already made a switch to OOo, Microsoft is trying to get key municipal staff fired, a tactic which has been used with success elsewhere by finding weak-willed or easily “influenced” bureaucrats.

Rødovre currently has OOo deployed parallel to Microsoft Office, an option that many are apparently unaware of being able to do. That allows the legacy software to be phased out gradually and smoothly.

Regarding an interference, worth including here is the Turku incident (cited in this Comes vs Microsoft exhibit along with other places in Finland and Scandinavia in general).

Our reader continues: “Underneath the facade of desktop software is a fight for control over the information flow and, by extension, the work flow and thus governance of the population. Rødovre is still limited by a proprietary document management system, but like other municipalities will publish open source extensions to OOo that work with that document management system. The fight to get Rødovre’s governance out from under the absolute control of an outside, foreign interest is by definition a fight for local, if not also national, sovereignty. Sedition using backstabbing over smiles and beer is no less sedition through other means.

There are good, FOSS-based document management systems in wide use already around the world, including but not limited to these:

To paraphrase a point in the argument, a school does buy a text book when it does meet the educational requirements and especially when it is also cheaper than one that doesn’t.

It’s not Microsoft fighting for a contract, it’s Microsoft fighting to gain or retain control over the governance mechanism — against the local, national and EU governments.”

It may also be about gateways to and formats for accessing information, which is why Microsoft goes crazy over Google.

To say more about Denmark, there are the banking issues that are rarely talked about. In light of the Bing failure [1, 2], we also happen to learn that “it is an example that the problems exist even today, as they have at the beginning. The hole in Bing is about the same as last year’s Danske Bank (DB) catastrophe. It was actually a consortium of banks, but we’ll call it DB, who fell victim to Microsoft Sharepoint’s security. DB’s business and individual customers lost an inestimable amount of money by having inaccessible or pillagable online accounts. AFAIK the amount these customers lost has not been published it is so big.”

We would like to finish with a somewhat mystifying new press release. Watch what it says there at the end:

Product highlights include new visual mapping of relational data sources; new XQuery code refactoring functionality; increased support for several EDI data formats; SOAP 1.2 support; and new integrated data sources including ZIP, Java™ Archive (JAR), Microsoft Open Office and OpenDocument.

Does Microsoft own OpenOffice.org and ODF now? Or is this an erroneous reference to Office ‘Open’ XML, which is a name Microsoft chose in order to confuse?

Related posts:

Danish tower
Keep Denmark free

The Quest to Daemonise Critics of Microsoft

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Mischaracterisation and demeaning sensationalism as tools of making sticklers of law and ethics look bad

LAST WEEK we pointed out that critics of criminal activity tend to be portrayed as 'bad guys'. This is very sad. In essence, it leads us to a state where criminals are glorified and they also set an example for others to follow, having shown what felons can get away with. Nice guys need not finish last and good people need not be excluded from deciding on world policy. It takes a lot of talent to take people whose intentions are good and moral value is high and then totally reverse this, casting them as “irrational haters”. Richard Stallman is a good example of victims of this tactic. He is a big target to many.

It is almost understandable that some people view Microsoft’s GPL violation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and the company’s response to it as something worthy of credit. Even proponents of GNU/Linux are led into feeling this way.

To its credit, rather than damning the tool to program hell, Microsoft released the tool’s source code under the GPLv2 licence.

Microsoft’s PR people are trying to portray this latest GPL violation as something positive instead. But why “credit”? Microsoft had no choice. As we put it back in July when Microsoft was caught violating the GPL, "Microsoft's Goodwill is to Obey the Law" (having broken it and gotten caught). This is a repeating pattern wherein Microsoft is trying to inverse truisms and add exaggeration with strong words like “evil” or “hate” to provoke or stigmatise critics.

“This is a repeating pattern wherein Microsoft is trying to inverse truisms and add exaggeration with strong words like “evil” or “hate” to provoke or stigmatise critics.”Yesterday we gave an example of this in relation to Matt Asay’s “The convenient fiction that Microsoft is evil.” We deliberately link to the Linux Today page which contains a lot of comments. The response from Linux Today is largely negative, and rightly so.

What a terrible, almost trollish, headline to use. Maybe this is why Microsoft employees (or former Microsoft employees who now serve Microsoft from the outside, e.g. Mono) pretend that he is the second most influential person in “open source” (never mind those developers, lawyers and marketing people are much more important!), expecting that he’ll reciprocate.

It is rather insulting when people who work with Microsoft preach to people who strictly stick to the law about how irrational and intolerant they are. As if to say, “follow my lead for peace and harmony along with peace-loving and harmony-loving Steve Ballmer. We should forgive Microsoft every year for any crime that’s committed again and again. What’s a bribe between two tolerant people? What’s a recurrence of hundreds of times to a behavioural pattern? Let us have compassion.”

It’s a patronising attitude and it is not fair.

The facts speak for themselves. Microsoft is still attacking GNU/Linux in very disgusting ways [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Here is one new response to Asay’s piece. It’s titled “Convenient Fictions” and it is sarcastic.

It’s a convenient fiction that a vocal minority within the open-source community believes Microsoft is the source of all evil in the technology world.

For “such people“, it is far easier to denounce an imaginary one-dimensional straw man directing irrational “hate” towards a single entity than a principled stand against anti-freedom activities, no matter the source.

The fact of the matter, as a moment of honest research will show, is that the “vocal minority” has something to say about Microsoft, Apple, Intel, the MPAA, the RIAA, and many other entities – large and small – that engage in anti-user, anti-Freedom activites.


However, it makes no more sense to take this single incident and use it as exculpatory evidence than it would to use this single incident as damming evidence. Yet, by connecting this single “error” to the hateful straw man, that is exactly what “such people” are attempting – avoiding any mention of over a decade of history of clearly-not-mistake hostile and illegal actions.

Such dishonest apologetics do no one a favor. They do not cast Microsoft in a more favorable light. They do not strengthen the credibility of the apologist. And they do not convert the critic.

Asay was not alone with this line of argument. A decades-long writer of books about Microsoft development is sort of trivialising criminal activities and describing critics as though they are kids or “Star Wars” enthusiasts by exaggerating. It’s titled “IT Needs Its Darth Vaders” and the response to it is negative. Rainer Weikusat calls it “babble”.

Does the psychiatrist know about the existence of control freaks?

Well, does the psychiatrist know about the existence of (still kicking and very much alive) control freaks? For example, what’s going on with the secret ACTA negotiations — the looming threats of global DMCA, three strikes laws, etc.
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_ta gs&task=view&tag=acta
Or does the author believe that we should all sit down and relax and trust our future to the the benevolent senator Palpatine?

A few days ago we wrote about Microsoft’s latest PR move for “open source”. Well, “open source spin” is what it ought to be called when Microsoft does useless things to confuse people and characterise something whose core is all proprietary as “open”. Moreover:

[T]he TCP/IP stack will not be open-sourced – because, as Peter Galli, who runs Port 25, Microsoft’s means of communicating with open source, says , “the TCP/IP stack is third party software that Microsoft licenses from EBSNet, so we do not have the rights to distribute that source code.

“If someone needs to access the source code for the TCP/IP stack, they can contact EBSNet directly.”

What use is a framework that caters to internet-connected devices without a TCP/IP stack?

Watch “FOSS” mentioned in relation to Word documents in this new press release. It was a long time ago that we warned about "Open Source" losing its meaning because of Microsoft (OOXML described as “open source” in the Times of India right after massive corruption).

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

Can’t Trust Microsoft with Code, So Why is Fedora 12 Mono and Winforms Dependent?

Posted in ECMA, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bug eyes

Summary: Fedora 12 includes Microsoft/Novell software that falls outside the ECMA standard, despite the fact that such code is problematic

MICROSOFT APOLOGISM is a subject that we wrote about yesterday and will revisit later today. Regarding Matt Asay’s “Apache: ‘No jerks allowed’,” a reader tells us: “Matt seems to have a self-contradictory summary. Which is it? Microsoft is part of Apache or no jerks allowed in Apache?

As a reminder about Microsoft and Apache, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18].

The tail bit of the article seems to neglect the Apache perspective. It is, or at least was, about the Apache Foundation and its projects. What about the quality of Apache? What about the sustainability of Apache? Those are important.

“Microsoft’s Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartman works with the Linux kernel and got caught with his mouth open. Microsoft did a hit and run on him, with his own help.”
To look to another project, the Linux kernel, we see what can go wrong if a project lets naive people let jerks walk all over them. Microsoft’s Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartman works with the Linux kernel and got caught with his mouth open.

“Microsoft did a hit and run on him,” argues our reader, “with his own help.” We wrote about this right here.

Our anonymous reader concludes as follows: “The assertion that code should matter, if taken at face value, should also then take into consideration the history of coding and engineering quality coming out of Redmond. Or should it? Maybe there is only One Microsoft Way for all projects and code quality should be a thing of the past.

The bottom line is that Microsoft code cannot be trusted because it only serves Microsoft shareholders, to whom GNU/Linux and Free software are not acceptable, as they are antithetical. Red Hat is making a mistake right now because it follows the footsteps of OpenSUSE 11.2 by becoming dependent on Winforms. As the following new post emphasises:

The Fedora 12 Constantine GNOME Live CD is Mono free, but installing GNOME from the DVD pulls in not only Mono itself, but also support for Windows.Forms (mono-winforms), which is outside the ECMA standard (and not covered under Microsoft’s horribly inadequate Community Promise).

While Constantine no longer includes Tomboy, it does still include F-Spot which is a .NET application.

Mono was removed from the Live CD of Cambridge, but is it not time to apply the same policy to a full install? F-Spot can be replaced by Solang, for example.

An Inventors’ System Hijacked by Lawyers

Posted in Australia, Law, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English gentleman

Summary: An Australian patent lawyer lobbies for more patents; other examples of lawyers using the legal system for selfish purposes of profit

APART from monopolies and patent trolls, some of the biggest proponents of widening the scope of patents are actually lawyers, many of whom are also patent trolls. The patent system was originally created to reward and incentivise inventors*, not legal middlemen, but that’s just where we ended up; today’s patent system tends to be a wasteful system which provides protectionist measures in various fields, enabling giants in their respective areas to either exclude competitors or to tax them. In one form or another, we have actually said this many times before. That’s the gist of where we are today, namely a system consisting clerks, lawyers and parasites guarding their own profit. They will not let this system go without a fight and they will invest in lobbying as much they are able to milk this system. At some point last year, staff of the EPO protested over this problem and there was a strike.

TechDirt has just done some fantastic job showing what type of people defend ridiculous practices of patenting; it is sometimes people who haven’t patents but instead they exploit those who have some (emphasis in red is ours):

Australian Patent Lawyers Claim Patenting Genes Is Necessary For Biomedical Research


This is, of course, ridiculous. First of all, much of the research on these things is often done via government and university funding — and it’s often done for reasons other than locking up a monopoly on the technique. Reasons such as helping people live better lives (*gasp* — what a concept!). Or, more to the point, it’s done so that firms can sell an actual product. If they have to compete in the marketplace, that’s a good thing, as it pushes them to be more efficient and offer a better overall service, rather than just jacking up prices. And how do they offer a better overall service? Oh yeah, often by continuing to do more research and creating new breakthroughs.

These sorts of claims of industries collapsing are moral panics and folk devils put forth by patent attorneys who are really afraid that it’s going to hurt their own business.

TechDirt has also found this new AP report which says: [via]

Jackpot: Lawyers earn fees from law they wrote

Every lawsuit filed or even threatened under a California law aimed at electing more minorities to local offices — and all of the roughly $4.3 million from settlements so far — can be traced to just two people: a pair of attorneys who worked together writing the statute, The Associated Press has found.

That is pretty much what one finds in patent law too; it’s about using and bending the law to increase profit, not to increase value to society (“innovation” for example).

Our reader Jose X has had the following to say about this problem:

Bad laws don’t last forever

I’d love to hear the argument that a broad description of something (the patent claims), which keeps the whole world from using or experimenting with anything that falls under that general description and hence remove as well the incentives (to everyone but trolls) for “improving” such a broadly described invention, somehow doesn’t stifle and slow down innovation, at least as these patents add up and start getting enforced so that the “wow” of the patenting system wears away.

If you create great software, good for you. Sell it or share it or do whatever you want. It’s illegal to infringe on my rights to also build great software. One of the exceptions possibly being that by infringing on my rights (and on the rights of everyone else on the planet) that this will somehow promote progress.

Remember, every single necessarily broad (and useful) patent removes rights that everyone had prior to that patent. And this presumably can happen for 20 years (a large fraction of each inventors/users productive life). So patent after patent handcuffs all inventors further and further. The better the patent, the stronger the handcuff, even if other very smart inventors find the (broad) invention obvious, have already made the discoveries/inventions in essence, or could within days, weeks, or months.

The necessarily broad patents, very possibly written up by someone that doesn’t really have very deep knowledge of the area, prevents those with real knowledge and many years of work from continuing along perhaps some very important path (at least this is the case if the patent vaguely describes an important path). All patent claims are quite vague. It’s easy to get the general idea down without knowing the nitty-gritty details and deeper implications and implementation details.

Software and the Internet have enabled virtually everyone to participate and contribute to society as inventors and inventor’s aids: to invent things and sell or share them or use them however they want. We aren’t talking about billion dollar factories whose control and reconfiguration is inaccessible to most people because of the extremely high price tag to play that game.

Software patent advocates, meanwhile, want to prop up the existing market leaders (who are already protected by copyright monopolies and by the very successful trade secret protections that foil interoperability) by preventing competition from less well funded and smaller competitors and from those collaborating on open source. In short, to prevent real competition from the very many hungry and competent folks lying outside the castle walls.

The only justification they have left is: “but the law says I can because the law says I can get 20 years of exclusive access because I wrote a description for something that (gulp) is new and nonobvious to the majority of laypeople — I mean, practitioners. So there.

Fortunately the Constitution trumps bad (and illegal) laws.

BTW, software stands out. I don’t see anyone ever copy/pasting/editing/manufacturing/redistributing a skyscraper with rocket boosters at virtually $0 and 0 time in the material world. But such is absolutely possible with software.

Software is open to all. Any monopoly on software (if it’s over something important) will likely have GARGANTUAN opportunity costs for society.

Remove my rights and incentives (and everyone else’s) to develop thoughts so that they can sit on these for 20 years. Yeah, no wonder some with savviness and money support software patents.

The transition from developed thought to implementation is trivial for software. The reason is because of how precise is the math that lies as the foundation of digitalization, where the abstract models and the physical models, for all intents and purposes, work identically.

And still, some with supposed experience in the field (and assumed honesty) state that software inventions are no different than material inventions and/or should not be treated differently.


Some of those people just happen to be patent lawyers, to whom more patents mean more revenue.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

* Or to encourage more new creations, perhaps defending small inventors from companies with investors and high capacity for copying ideas. That is what the system is said to have been conceived for.

Spoof: Behind the Google Scenes

Posted in Google, Humour, Microsoft at 12:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rupert Murdoch - WEF Davos, 2007

Image from Wikipedia

Summary: A hypothetical exchange of ideas published for humour

AS a little bit of background, see:

One of our readers has produced this spoof ‘memo’, which reuses some phrases that can be seen in real memos. It goes like this:

------- memo to billg -------

From: nathanm
To: billg
Date: 6 November 2009, 3:05 am
Subject: the threat from Google

It’s come to my attention that Google is making money out of Internet Search. This despite our best efforts, buying up Yahoo search patents, promoting litigation against the Google book deal and so on. I mean it’s not as if we went after Google to pay up royalties on our patented search patent technology, oh, wait, we did so just that… never mind.

I think our forward looking strategy is to tie up with some mega-media corporation offering them prime place on Bing and get them to criticise Google for stealing content. We’ll get them to enthuse the rest of the online media to move to paid content, despite the fact they are virtually cutting their own throat. Whatever we do we mustn’t ever let slip that content – paid or otherwise – is next to useless, if no one can find it, and we will of course control exactly that.

We’ll also plant… er… seed the media with suggestions as to paying people to move from Google to Bing. Make sure it looks like it isn’t coming from us. Once we’ve got ‘free’ content shutdown and most content on Bing, we effectively control the Internet toll road…

First thing in the morning:

From: billg
To: rupertm@wsj.com
Date: 6 November 2009, 9:05 am
Subject: lets be partners and make lots of money

Dear Rupert,

Those evil people at Google are stealing all your content, but I can help you. Lets be ‘partners’ and Microsoft will give your material exclusive priority on our upcoming Bing. All we ask in return is you remove your content from Google and trash them in the press and government. Of course once Google is defeated and Microsoft owns Internet search, we’ll effectively own both you and your content, but by then it’ll be too late. And it isn’t as if you are clever enough to notice you being used as a stalking horse in out battle against Google. It isn’t the first time we played one ‘partner’ off against another with empty sweet nothings.

Thanks to our anonymous reader who wrote these E-mails/memos.

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