01.20.10

Red Hat Formally Complains About Novell’s Masquerading

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, Windows at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell is trying to lock Red Hat out and away from its very own customers, formal letters of complaint dispatched by Red Hat

Former Novell employee Matt Asay writes about Novell’s latest scandal, which had Red Hat formally respond with letters of complaint (see image).

Novell slapped for impersonating Red Hat

[...]

As its white papers allege, Novell thinks it can offer high-quality support for SUSE Linux, the Linux distribution it owns and ships, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), the Linux distribution that it…doesn’t. The company has been offering a migration plan from RHEL to SUSE since at least November 2008, but it recently raised the ire of Red Hat in Portugal in its marketing approach.

The Var Guy has just published “Red Hat Counters Oracle, Novell Linux Support Claims” — a post that addresses some related points.

At first glance, Red Hat’s biggest rival is Microsoft. But take a closer look and Red Hat seems to be equally concerned about two other fierce rivals. They are (1) Free Linux and (2) so-called low-cost Linux support offerings from Novell and Oracle.

Novell does not properly compete against Windows. It competes against UNIX and Red Hat for the most part. We will provide some more evidence of this later on.

Novell Gives Money to the Scandalous SYS-CON (Behind Attacks on Groklaw, Systematic Defamation of Critics, Web Spam)

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sys-Con logo

Summary: Novell is providing funds to a very controversial network that distorts the SCO case, defames its critics, and grossly abuses netiquette

SEVERAL companies have already embargoed SYS-CON for some of the borderline criminal activity that we wrote about in:

It is not too shocking to find that Novell, Microsoft’s strong partner, is feeding that monster called SYS-CON. How do we know? SYS-CON is posting information about this in many of their domains (more of their usual Google spamming that got them banned).

Patents or Life

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Contradiction between values of patents (mortality) and values of sharing (morality)

ON MANY occasions in the past, Boycott Novell showed that patents are costing many lives. When life is put at greater risk someone can make a profit. Here is another new proof that patents work in reverse to life. For background:

Mike Mellace only has to look at his 4-year-old son Ammanuel, brought home from an Ethiopian orphanage a year ago, to know what it means to save a child from malnutrition.

Here is TechDirt’s interpretation of the above:

Patents Being Used To Keep Starving Children From Getting Therapeutic Food Paste

We’ve seen way too many stories of patents being used to hold back medical treatments or drugs in communities that need them most, and now a few of you have sent in this troubling story of how a French company, Nutriset, has been using patents to block competition with its therapeutic food paste for malnourished children. Apparently, the company came up with “a mixture of peanut butter, powdered milk, sugar and vegetable oil fortified with 40 vitamins and minerals,” called it Plumpy’nut, patented it, and started offering it to various aid agencies. Apparently, it works great, but anyone else who creates anything remotely similar comes under attack from Nutriset’s lawyers, who apparently like saving children only when there’s no competition from anyone who might do it more cheaply or more efficiently.

Against Monopoly says, based on the Mises professionals, that a reform of the system is needed:

As I note in my article “Radical Patent Reform Is Not on the Way,” Mises Daily (Oct. 1, 2009), there is a growing clamor for reform of patent (and copyright) law, due to the increasingly obvious injustices resulting from these intellectual property (IP) laws.

3 weeks ago we showed why ACTA would kill people, so people must start getting involved in the ACTA process. “For ACTA trolls,” says the president of the FFII, “use the Lisbon treaty Art218.10 and ask the European Parliament to be fully informed about negotiations…”

He must be referring to “ACTA trolls” like Paul Rübig [1, 2] and Pedro Valesco-Martins.

Links 20/1/2010: Open-PC Debuts, Dell Mini 5 Runs GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What Linux Event Should You Attend (and Speak at)?

    We just announced our event line-up for 2010 and the Call for Papers for CollabSummit. I’m very excited we’re offering the continuation of events that have been with us for awhile (CollabSummit, Kernel Summit) along with the second year of LinuxCon.

  • LCA (Linux.conf.au)

    • Linux.conf.au – Day Two

      Gabriella Coleman

      The second day of the conference dawned just as bright and sunny as the first. The opening keynote was delivered by Gabriella Coleman, Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She spoke on the history of the FOSS movement as birthed by Richard Stallman and it’s paradoxical growth during the same period that governments and corporate bodies were pushing their agenda for stronger IP and copyright control. Gabrielle took the audience through the wrangling that forever forced the FOSS community into the political arena and created the biggest threat to the traditional concept of IP that exists today.

    • Google Wave Extension Gallery On Its Way

      During a mini-conference on Wave at Linux.conf.au 2010 in Wellington, Google showed off its forthcoming Extension Gallery for Wave. While you can currently browse through a basic list of extensions and add them manually, incorporating an Extensions gallery link into Wave itself (which is already active on a small number of test accounts) is much simpler. The same approach certainly proved helpful with Chrome’s Extensions feature.

  • Desktop

    • The Tower of Babel

      But in remembering this, it brings to mind what new Linux users may be going through…and more to the point, what we probably need to remember in teaching them.

      Sure, we speak the language…it’s second nature for us. We think nothing of a file system with identifiers such as .etc and .var. Sudo apt-get and sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list rolls off our fingertips as if we were navigating the simplest of tasks. Some find the /.init/.d folder and subsequent commands second nature.

    • Open-PC Begins to Take Shape

      The Open-PC project initiated by KDE board member Frank Karlitschek has released the specifications for its first computer. The desktop with dual-core Atom processor is due to arrive in February 2010.

    • Dell Mini 5 teardown shows 1GHz Snapdragon

      Otherwise, the 5-inch tablet will have multi-touch compatibility and a customized version of the Android 1.6 operating system. The device will be available in a few colors, including pink, black and red. It is also known the Mini 5 will have a 5-megapixel camera, and there is the possibility of a secondary, front-facing camera, though this is not confirmed.

    • Dell Mini 5: Diving Deeper Into Linux
  • Server

    • 5 Great OEM Linux Servers

      Linux has long been popular in the datacenter, and Tier 1 vendors like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell have all had good lines of OEM Linux servers for several years now. IBM even puts Linux on mainframes. Traditionally these vendors have relied on Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise Linux, and mainly targeted the enterprise.

      Now Ubuntu is showing up in OEMs everywhere, giving us more options than ever. Here is a roundup of five different OEM Linux servers for different tasks and budgets, from the home network to the mainframe.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • From Gtk to Qt: Amarok, Knetworkmanager, and Kopete

      One app I didn’t replace is Pidgin. Kopete works fine for me now (it used to complain that my password for MSN was wrong when it wasn’t), but it doesn’t have a couple of features I want. One I can forgive is that it doesn’t allow you to save and use other people’s moving smileys. However, I want to be able to cycle between chat-tabs using ctrl-tab, something I couldn’t even find in the Kopete shortcuts. That means that at the moment, I’m staying with Pidgin.

    • KDE vs. GNOME: Email Readers

      Aside from perhaps the web browser, an email reader is likely to be the first application configured on a new computer installation. And, if you are using a desktop, the default choice is likely to be KMail if you are using KDE, or Evolution if you are using GNOME.

      Both KMail and Evolution are thoroughly modern email readers, with few differences in general functionality. However, if you had to choose between them, what parts of the user experience might change your mind?

      To suggest an answer, I retraced the steps I made eight months ago when I moved from GNOME to KDE, comparing the two mail readers in everything from their interfaces to their features and configuration settings for accounts, contacts, message sending, and other functions. The result was a clear but not unqualified winner.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Crowdsourcing the KDE Web Site

        The KDE Project is taking a smart approach to reworking the KDE Website. Lydia Pintscher put out the call Sunday for contributors to pitch in with content and screenshots for one or more KDE programs by January 23rd.

        KDE apps are broken down into three batches on the wiki. Contributors are asked to pick one (or more) apps and submit a screenshot, and basic information about a project such as its homepage, features, IRC channels, and so forth.

      • New Decoration control module

        There are a few things in KDE’s desktop shell which have not changed for a very long time. For example I remember that the first KDE version I used (that was a 3.x with x << 5) had the same control module for window decorations as the one we will have in KDE SC 4.4. The interface displays a dropdown list with the names of the available decorations, a configuration panel for the selected decoration and a preview. This results in wonderful tabs inside tabs user interfaces – just look at the Oxygen configuration in 4.4.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 176

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #176 for the week January 10th – January 16th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu 10.4 Lucid Lynx Alpha 2, Ubuntu Developer Week, Ubuntu User Day, new Ubuntu Women leadership, and Free Culture Showcase.

      • Ubuntu Forums Hits 1 Million

        That’s right, we have 1,000,000 members on Ubuntu Forums now, and I’m glad I could be a part of that awesome community :)

        A snippet of the screen:
        UF’s Member 1,000,000

      • Linux Mint 8 KDE CE Release Candiate Leaked

        Just a quick note to inform you all that the day has finally come. Really! The Linux Mint 8 KDE Release Candidate was recently leaked and can, as of this writing, be downloaded either directly or via a torrent. If you download the torrent, please seed to at least 1.5x (150%). We will, of course, have a full review upon the return from CampKDE.

      • Hardware database in the Community website

        A new “Hardware module” was added to the Community website. This module allows you to register your hardware and to search for hardware devices based on multiple criteria.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Its Multiple Personas

    Customizing and theming, or “skinning”, your open source browser is about to get easier, thanks to the integration of Personas in the upcoming Mozilla Firefox 3.6 release.

    The Personas engine, which enables users to easily change the way the browser looks, had previously been available as a Firefox add-on, but will soon become part of the default browser itself. Other popular Firefox add-ons, including Weave and Prism might one day follow suit, as well as a new technology for add-ons called Jetpacks, Mozilla said.

  • Episode 0x1F: Is Mobile Software Freedom Possible?

    Aaron Williamson, Karen Sandler, and Bradley M. Kuhn discuss the issues of software freedom on mobile telephone devices.

  • Openness

    • EU: Open Universities open source master published first two books

      The first two course books have just been published online for what is intended to become a university master programme on free and open source software and open standards.

      The online master programme, Free Technology Academy (FTA) is organised by the University of Agder in Norway and two of Europe’s open universities, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain and the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands. Coordination is handled by the Free Knowledge Institute, based in the Netherlands.

    • Open data in France: the state of play

      Like in many countries, the first steps into open data came from the research and the Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) communities. WikiMedia France and OpenStreetMap.fr are probably the most popular open knowledge projects in France. Early websites like Mon-Depute.fr — a vote monitoring project created by an archivist — or droit.org — a very active project from l’Ecole des Mines on legal publication — helped a lot to make democratic data available. Our work at Regards Citoyens on parliamentary activity with NosDéputés.fr and on electoral data is a new step for French open data for democracy and civil society.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Cool hack – html5tube

      Did I mention I hate flash? I do. It crashes a lot, and is overall a bad thing for the web, in my opinion. But I do enjoy watching videos on the web, and unfortunately, up to this day, flash is what most sites use to show videos. Months ago I read a couple of blog posts with nice hacks to make Firefox able to play youtube videos without using the flash player. Some recent discussions with colleagues at work got me itching to try my hand at something similar for Epiphany.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Massively pro-CCTV organisation slams report by massively anti-CCTV organisation for not being “balanced”. And in other news, here’s my cousin, Mr Kettle

      When a camera has been placed in location X, law enforcement’s resources flow away from X and towards Y. Often, as a result of this decision and the failures I’ve outlined here, a crime committed in X goes unsolved, with all the suffering and disappointment for victims that goes with that, because of the wholly false reliance that has been placed on those cameras.

    • Body scanners – an expensive waste of time?

      I think this demonstrates the total pointlessness of the full-body scanners that are set to invade our privacy and humiliate passengers at our airports.

      While children and families are being subjected to smirking staff with body scanning surveillance, everything these expensive machines should catch goes sailing through.

    • “Sheer Practicality” – sheer madness on DNA

      So there we have it: “sheer practicality” is all that stands between our current situation and the biometric data of every man, woman and child in Britain catalogued on a government database. Moreover, the 20-digit code is as close an approximation to the ‘actual genetic material’ as is possible. This is poor trickery by the government; the infringements upon our privacy remain in full view.

  • Health

    • US GM report an insult to truth and democracy

      EXTRACT: The [US] report is an insult to Italian democracy, and to European farmers, food producers, retailers and consumers. It is also riddled with misinformation. (item 2)

      NOTE: Over the last couple of years, GM supporters have gone all out to try and break down global resistance to GMOs, yet if anything they seem to be losing ground. Nowhere is this more the case than in Europe where the miniscule amount of GM crop cultivation has actually been shrinking, and a series of countries have introduced outright bans.

    • Analysis: Swine flu is not just a hoax by big pharma

      As the dreaded autumn wave ends and official deaths remain relatively low, the backlash against the H1N1 pandemic response is in full swing. Claims range from a massive overreaction by health authorities to a conspiracy cooked up by big pharma. But while swine flu may have boosted profits for vaccine manufacturers, the reality of the pandemic is more complicated.

    • FDA does about-face on exposure to BPA

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday reversed its much-criticized position on BPA safety, saying it was concerned about the chemical’s effects on fetuses, infants and children.

    • FDA Backpedals on Safety of BPA

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is backing off its much-criticized position defending the safety of a ubiquitous chemical ingredient in plastics called Bisphenol-A (BPA). FDA now says it has “some concern” about the effects BPA has on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children, and is offering the public tips on how to avoid the chemical.

    • Tea Party Money-Bomb Elects Scott Brown, Blows-Up Obamacare

      The Tea Party money bomb has also blown up Obamacare, the President’s muddled health care reform plan. While many pundits point to local issues that helped Brown win, the fact is that Brown ran hardest against Obama’s health care bill, and won despite personal appearances in Massachusetts by Obama and Bill Clinton, and despite a desperate but failed Democratic effort to beat back the insurgency.

  • Finance

    • A Wall Street pay puzzle

      The explanation for Wall Street’s high pay lies elsewhere. Most of us are paid based on what we produce or, more realistically, what our employers produce. By contrast, Wall Street compensation levels are tied to the nation’s overall wealth. Investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms and many other financial institutions trade stocks, bonds and other securities for their own profit. They also advise mutual funds, pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals on how to invest and trade.

    • Editorial: Sticking it to banks

      President Obama’s proposal to tax bailed-out banks offers taxpayers a momentary thrill of retribution, but it’s not likely to change Wall Street’s risky behavior.

      The fees would be imposed on about 50 of the largest banks, based on their liabilities. Among the targets are Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc. – firms with assets of more than $50 billion.

    • They Still Don’t Get It–Wall Street May Sue Obama

      They robbed Americans of their future. They cost perhaps a generation of hard-working people a decent pay check. And they left millions of people with empty 401(k)s, with some seniors being booted from their retirement homes because there was no money left. And, yet, they still don’t get it–or maybe they truly don’t care.

      Wall Street is threatening to sue the president over his quite modest proposal to tax the banks who created the greatest economic crisis in the past 50 years…

    • How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America In Four Easy Steps

      They’ve been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they’re preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

    • Goldman Sachs bankers to lead $108bn bonus windfall

      Wall Street bankers are set to receive a windfall of $108 billion

      Wall Street bankers are set to receive a windfall of $108 billion in pay and bonuses – more than four times Australia’s annual military spending.

    • Goldman can’t be blamed alone

      Figuring that out means asking the likes of Blankfein or Dimon basic yet pointed questions such as whether their business model was, and possibly still is, broken. That didn’t happen. Instead we got Commissioner John Thompson asking Morgan Stanley’s Mack for suggestions on ‘how to think about innovation and managing the risks associated with innovation.’

    • Too Big to Fail, Not Too Big for Jail

      U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today. He cited his strong statutory authority to go after the firms that had a role in the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. His team was tackling securities fraud, accounting fraud, financial discrimination and fraud related to the stimulus bill. It was an impressive list, but what was not impressive was the first case he touted – Bernie Madoff.

    • Puzzled all the way to the bank
  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Secret Jesus Codes on U.S. Military Weapons

      In 2005, Trijicon won a $660 million, long-term contract to supply the scopes to the Marine Corps. Spokespeople for the Army and the Marine Corps denied knowing about the biblical markings, even though numerous discussions have appeared about them in Internet talk forums and on YouTube since 2006.

    • U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret ‘Jesus’ Bible Codes

      U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious “Crusade” in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.

    • Senator Dodd’s Dilemma: Who to Take to the Ball?

      On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama’s signature financial reform, a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), was in trouble in the Senate.

      Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) was considering dropping the idea of creating an independent, stand-alone consumer protection body, empowered to crack down on banking abuses, in order to get a regulatory revamp passed this year with bipartisan support. Dodd is apparently considering shrinking the CFPA into a division of an already existing federal agency (no doubt one with a proven track-record of failing consumers.)

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • UK Digital Economy Bill: Internet policing code released

      A code which will act as the model for Ofcom, the UK regulator, to supervise the new copyright enforcement measures against peer-to-peer downloading, has been drafted by the UK government.

      The Digital Economy Bill provides for the regulator, Ofcom, to supervise the new copyright enforcement measures targeting Internet users. The measures, which occupy over one third of the Bill, initially target peer-to-peer users, but in fact, the scope of the Bill looks set to go much wider. (I am still in the process of analysing it, but this is my current view.)

    • HOWTO talk to your MP about the UK Digital Economy Bill – workshops this Saturday

      Florian from the UK Open Rights Group writes in with news of an upcoming set of workshops to help people who care about civil liberties and the open and free Internet talk to their Members of Parliament about the terrible Digital Economy Bill…

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Sookman Deflates Pending Lists Claim to Vilify Artists

      Oh dear. I hadn’t seen this post of Barry’s before he retweeted it. Um, how do I put this politely? Barry, you messed up.

      Prof. Geist tries to taint the recording industry as blatant copyright infringers, without ever delving into the industry wide accepted custom for clearing mechanical rights. The pending list system, which has been around for decades, represents an agreed upon industry wide consensus that songwriters, music publishers (who represent songwriters) and the recording industry use and rely on to ensure that music gets released and to the market efficiently and the proper copyright owners get compensated.

      But Barry, the recording industry are blatant copyright infringers. Or at least they sure give that impression. Let’s see:

      Cher sues UMG over royalties

      JoJo Sues Record Label

      TIMBALAND SUES RECORD LABEL

      Courtney Love Sues Record Label

      Allman Brothers Band sues record company for $13M

      Eminem Sues Record Label Over iTunes Royalties

      Beatles to sue record label

      Eurovision star sues record label over contract dispute

      Smashing Pumpkins sue record label over use of songs in Pepsi promotional deals

      Travis Tritt sues record label

    • British cinemas see best performance in seven years

      Admissions hit 173.5m and combined box office takings in the UK and Ireland exceed £1bn for first time

    • Offline Book “Lending” Costs U.S. Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion

      Hot on the heels of the story in Publisher’s Weekly that “publishers could be losing out on as much $3 billion to online book piracy” comes a sudden realization of a much larger threat to the viability of the book industry. Apparently, over 2 billion books were “loaned” last year by a cabal of organizations found in nearly every American city and town. Using the same advanced projective mathematics used in the study cited by Publishers Weekly, Go To Hellman has computed that publishers could be losing sales opportunities totaling over $100 Billion per year, losses which extend back to at least the year 2000. These lost sales dwarf the online piracy reported yesterday, and indeed, even the global book publishing business itself.

    • CBS permanently seals Jack Benny television masters

      Today I was informed by Peter Murray, Lorra-Lea’s assistant, that she had talked with CBS’ Vice President of Business Affairs, and “there are so many issues with those shows, that even if we took the time to figure it out, we still almost certainly wouldn’t do the deal.” So that’s it. Access to the Jack Benny television masters is sealed.

      In 1964, James Aubrey told Jack Benny that his weekly television series was terminated with the words, “YOU’RE THROUGH, OLD MAN!” Sadly, 46 years later, CBS has repeated the sentiment by condemning these shows to permanent silence.

    • ACTA Negotiations, Round 7 Agenda Posted

      The next (seventh) round of ACTA negotiations is scheduled for Guadalajara, Mexico next week.

    • Time To Recognize That The Recording Industry Is Not The Music Industry

      For a while now, we’ve tried very carefully to not make the mistake that is common in the press (and among politicians) to assume that “the recording industry” (i.e., the record labels) is “the music industry.” The two are quite different. In fact, by almost every measure, the music industry has been thriving over the past few years, while the recording industry is in rapid decline. And yet, the two are regularly confused.

    • What are the ‘Music Industries’?

      The term ‘music industry’ is a misnomer. In reality the ‘music industry’ is not one industry, it is several independent industries. This is an important distinction because if we say that there is a “crisis in the music industry” it suggests an equal amount of misfortune for everyone (musicians, the recording industry, the live-music industry, Internet radio, etc.) and in fact this not true. Misuse of the term ‘music industry’ distorts the reality of the situation. For example:

      * The RIAA occasionally misrepresents itself as being a figurehead for the entire “music industry” when in actuality it is a trade organization for a group of labels in the recording industry.

      * Peter Jamieson, chair of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), attempted to speak about the “The Music Industry Crisis” at an industry convention in the UK in September 2003, but instead outlined issues particular to the recording sector.

      [...]

      While it may be difficult to completely eradicate the term ‘music industry’ from our everyday vernacular, journalists and media outlets should certainly be more conscious not to say “the music industry” when they specifically mean to say “the recording industry”.

Week of Monsanto: Video

The World According to Monsanto – Part 4 of 8

Obama Finally Slams the USPTO, But Parrots Talking Point from Microsoft and Intellectual Monopolists

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Steve Ballmer at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Failure to understand the true role of patents, especially at the government level; pharmaceutical industry veteran admits the patent lie; IPCom officially loses patent crusade

Steve Ballmer has been lobbying President Obama to increase the pace at the USPTO and Obama is now saying that the “Patent office’s system is ‘embarrassing’,” according to The Hill. Also, according to a closer look, his problem with the USPTO is not the notion of monopoly as a business model but that the USPTO does not issue enough patents. We saw this talking point before, Mike Masnick denounced it, and he is doing it again by concluding with:

It is embarrassing (perhaps the fear of patent infringement holds the patent office back from modernizing?), but not quite as embarrassing as the fact that the patent office has not done its job of “protecting and promoting innovation” at all for a very long time. Given the number of questionable and obvious patents that it has approved, and its willingness to create massive patent thickets, it has become clear that the patent office has been much more focused on processing patents, not in promoting innovation.

Why are politicians convinced that intellectual monopolies are necessary? Because big businesses tell them so? Of course they would, it’s beneficial to Big Business after all; it’s a protectionist measure.

“Why are politicians convinced that intellectual monopolies are necessary?”Some of the most renowned patent propaganda defends the pharmaceutical cartel, claiming that patents are needed in order to save lives. Several weeks ago we wrote about fallacies of pharmaceutical patents (see Novartis for example [1, 2, 3, 4]). At the time, we also showed that the Gates Foundation was a multi-billion dollar investor in pharmaceutical patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. There is an unethical issue here [1, 2], but most people overlook it due to propaganda.

To debunk the myths, the Against Monopoly Web site has just made use of the confessions from a pharmaceutical veteran, who admits that patents are not needed by them (unless profit is the sole motive, not cures).

Lessons from 60 years of pharmaceutical innovation

[...]

He also admits that “in many organizations, short-term priorities encourage marginal innovation, which provides more reliable returns on investment, at the expense of major change.” He recognizes, in other words, that the current incentive system rewards the development of me-too drugs over novel therapies. Finally, he admits that alternatives to the traditional patent system, including prizes, may be required to boost R&D productivity.

Very encouraging words!

Indeed. It is increasingly made publicly known that patents are just a naked emperor. Here is patent taxman IPCom [1, 2, 3] losing its case against Nokia. It was a pretty major story in yesterday’s news.

Nokia has scored two consecutive victories against German patent license manager IPCom in the U.K, it said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the U.K. High Court announced that two IPCom patents named in a suit brought by IPCom against Nokia are invalid, and therefore can’t be infringed upon, according to Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant. The patents are related to how phones connect to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network, he said.

Nokia has new issues to worry about because of Apple [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which is trying to embargo Nokia products (in response to Nokia’s attempt). It’s a tit-for-tat game which does nothing to advance science.

Microsoft Tries to Pollute Standards with Software Patents Where It is Illegal

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In both Europe and in India, Microsoft is trying to exclude Free software with patent tax inside basic interoperability information

NEELIE KROES said some controversial things last week [1, 2, 3, 4]. She has been criticised recently for allowing Microsoft to embed software patents in interoperability ‘standards’ (these are not real standards), despite software patents being illegal in the EU.

Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat defends Kroes and argues that she is a better position-holder than others in the Commission. He is probably right, but it is important to remind Kroes that what she is doing is harmful to Free software sometimes. Some of the key issues she just fails to grasp as the Microsoft lobbyists fool her.

This comes after her hearing last week. If you take a closer look at what Neelie told us in that hearing, I fail to see why it is wrong. However I fully understand that some other companies and organisations are alarmed. This is what she had to say wrt Open Standards (transcribed from the hearing which is ironically only accessible with non-open Microsoft stuff):

5- Digital society depends upon open standards and interoperability. And with this in mind, public organizations should practice what they promote. If they don’t use open standards, why should citizens? I will pursue this from local authorities up to european institutions. If public data such as maps, weather information and health advise is not interoperable, how can it be exploited in new ways? And for such reasons I want to explore new ways to develop ICT standards in Europe.

So Neelie wants to explore new ways, wants to enforce the use of open standards, wants to free public data. I am not going to tell you who might have a different opinion. But I am sure, my dear Lazyweb, that you know which company I am talking about.

Over in India, a new report suggests that Microsoft is also trying to shove software patents into standards, despite the fact that software patents are illegal in India.

India’s open source software lobbyists allege that the country’s proposed draft recommendations for adopting open technology standards and software for automating different government departments and functions, favours popular software solutions from large companies such as Microsoft.

According to people familiar with the draft recommendations, a meeting of the apex body on Standards for eGovernance was held last week, and the policy is close to being approved. ET was shown a copy of the proposed recommendations by one of the persons who requested anonymity.

[...]

The most contentious point of the policy is that it includes standards which may be royalty free and non discriminatory (RAND) as compared to fair royalty free and non discriminatory (FRAND), which many experts had recommended.

“The entire standard should be royalty-free and not just the “essential” parts of it. In other words, All patent claims necessary to implement the standard should be royaltyfree. Also, royalty free on FRAND/RAND is self-contradictory. If a Standard is Royalty Free (RF) then it cannot be RAND,” says Venkatesh Hariharan, a blogger and expert on open source affairs.

Microsoft previously bullied even Indian professors [1, 2] for daring to stand up for real standards — standards that are neither software patents encumbered nor the ownership of Microsoft.

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

Patriotic Duty to Abandon Microsoft

Posted in Australia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More governments join the call to replace Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, some even explicitly recommending Free software

THIS is a subject that we have already covered in the following posts:

Several readers have told us (via IRC, comments, E-mail) that two more governments — English-speaking ones even — are finally recommending the abandonment of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and thus the establishment of diversity. This already leads to a huge increase in downloads of Microsoft rivals (warning: obtrusive paywall), as no version of Internet Explorer is currently secure. It is probable that many people abandon Windows altogether because the government makes the warning official. From Jamie in the UK:

Now fast forward to today. The headline is the same. Again. The only thing that has changed is Microsoft’s response – instead of “it’s only one flaw”, they say “it’s only in one very old version of IE” – which is a sly way of implying that it is the users own fault. Never mind that independent experts have said that it exists in IE 7 and IE 8.

How many times do we have to do this? How many zero-day bugs does it take? Here is the solution to these problems: links where you can download a different browser. Try one. Heck, try them all, it’s quick and easy to download and install any or all of them. If you have been a “loyal” Microsoft / Internet Explorer user until now, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at how nice, easy, fast and secure every one of these are. Best of all, these are only the most obvious options, just a tiny bit of looking around will reveal several more which are probably just as good.

Well, the Microsoft stunts are not exactly working. Despite the spin which the BBC kindly hosted for Microsoft, Australia has joined the call to flee away from Microsoft’s Web browser.

AUSTRALIAN, French and German internet users have been told by their respective governments to stop using the Internet Explorer (IE) program because of a security threat.

According to a report on news.com.au, Australian web users were advised to install security patches or switch browsers. In France and Germany, however, warnings have been issued against all versions of Microsoft’s browser.

New Zealand too:

The governments of France and Australia have joined those who are warning that Internet Explorer is unsafe in its unpatched state. So has New Zealand. But the UK, reportedly, has decided not to do so. But some of the recommended alternatives might cause some users frustration.

This is a hugely important turning point. Some years ago, governments typically insisted that citizens use Internet Explorer (which requires Windows) merely to access and use government Web sites where there is no choice. Those same governments are now implying that it’s one’s duty to spend time migrating away from Internet Explorer, which in turn makes the migration to other platforms (not Windows) trivial. In Austria, for example, a migration to GNU/Linux was reportedly stifled by IE-only Web sites.

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