Links 27/1/2010: KDE 4.4 RC3, GNOME Foundation Adds Bradley Kuhn

Posted in News Roundup at 9:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft and Linux Will Never Be “Best Buddies”

    I just read an article called: Life after Windows: What happens to tech if Microsoft dies?” The article made me think of what it really would be like without Microsoft. I didn’t like it. We need Microsoft over there competing with us. No matter what happens to the economy, to the PC hardware format or to the demographic of the common computer user; Microsoft and Linux will never be “best buddies.” And I know that “Linux” includes the major commercial Linux players: Novell, Red Hat and Canonical. I know that Novell and Red Hat have both crossed enemy lines with agreements but to think that the two camps will ever kiss, makeup and live happily ever after is pure fantasy. Frankly, I like it that way.

  • LB – Episode 49 – Netbooks and Drupal Notes by Linux Basement
  • Dear Netflix

    Dear Netflix,
    I have learned that the Netflix Watch Instantly service is not available on Linux operating systems. So, I have canceled my Netflix account and will return as a paying customer when Netflix can offer its Watch Instantly service on Linux computers.

  • Desktop

    • Open source nettop designed from survey requests

      The Open-PC project, which developed an open source Linux PC based on community survey requests, says its KDE-flavored nettop will ship next month. The Open-PC is equipped with a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom N330 with 3GB RAM, but the nettop’s high $500 price has stirred some controversy.

    • Why Linux Remains to Be the Choice For Many Web Users Today

      Linux has definitely gained its popularity among the world-wide web-users recently mainly because of its high stability. Linux is probably one of the most stable operating systems in the world which had been highly sought. A huge numbers of web users have turned to Linux solution to take advantage of its great benefits which are worthy and crucial for the survival and expansion of their online business.

    • Virtualizing Your Desktop: Unavoidable.

      Along the way, a Unix mime was built called Linux, then added to a soup of utilities (GNU) and UIs (KDE, Gnome, among others).

      Now there are operating environments like Google’s ChromeOS and Android…. not to mention Symbian, Palm, and a half dozen others. Virtualization breaks the rule that existed from RT-11 to just a few years ago in the microcomputer world: one operating system per machine. That idea that became a rule was a boon for hardware makers and operating systems licensors alike. Now that rule is broken by the advancement of hypervisors and desktop hypervisors.

      There are few individuals in IT today that can escape knowing at least three major operating trees, starting with Unix, Windows, and to a lesser extent, MacOS. There are dozens of variants. More than a dozen sit on the machine I’m using to write this– like ducks in a row. Just click and in a few seconds, I’m in OpenSUSE or Windows Server 2008 R2, or in Android. It’s that easy.

  • Server

    • Enter the (Big) Dragon

      It won’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that China’s new supercomputer will be running Linux – over 80% of the world’s big machines do. What’s fascinating is that this is being built out of that home-grown Loongson chip – the one that Windows doesn’t run on. As the same article explains:

  • Kernel Space

    • Why There is no Kernel Hacker Sell-Out

      One of the talks that I saw came from Jon Corbet, who gave a run-down on recent changes to the Linux kernel. A statistic that he mentioned along the way has garnered much comment: the fact that “75% of the code comes from people paid to do it.” In particular, some have leapt on this figure as proof that kernel coders have “sold out”, and that the famed altruistic impulse behind free software is dead. I think this is nonsense.

      In my view, this 75% figure indicates two things. First, that *most* of the top kernel hackers are being paid to code. That’s really great news, because it means that people can earn money doing what they love, and aren’t obliged to starve in garrets. Secondly, it means that very large computer companies regard the kernel as so important that they are prepared to pay these people good salaries to work on it.

    • Linux Market Needs More Talent

      The Linux Foundation today announced a free Linux training Webinar series and an expanded set of courses and course locations for its existing training program. There is no coincidence that this shortly follows the Foundation’s recent jobs board announcement.

      Linux is experiencing significant growth in every category of computing. The new products and systems based on Linux you see announced every day will be deployed for a very long time. A shortage of qualified people to support this ecosystem could potentially slow Linux growth.

      In order to keep Linux growing at its current record pace, the Linux Foundation and its members have made a strategic decision to address this increase in demand for Linux professionals with programs such as the jobs board, the new training offerings and, as always, its fellowship program.

    • Linux Foundation to World: Get a Job!

      Jobs have been the collective focus of much of the US population over the past two years. Whether it’s keeping the job they have, or finding a new position in a very tight job market, US workers are looking for all the help they can get with employment. It’s much the same in the rest of the world, too.

  • Applications

    • 10 old-school Linux tools I refuse to let go of

      1: Command line

      This one is a no brainer. Even though there is a GUI front end for nearly every command-line tool available, I often feel the command line is simply the best tool. And what better way to remotely administer a system than with good old secure shell? I won’t go into the specifics of what commands I can’t let go of (there are so many of them). Suffice it to say, the command line is one of my most-used tools.

    • Screenlets: Eye Candy for Linux Users

      A Linux desktop screen need not look drab. Whereas proprietary OSes like OS X and Windows have their widgets, Linux distro users can get just as much function-rich eye candy through Screenlets. Screenlets are miniature applications that reside on the desktop and provide constant information — everything from system performance readouts to news feeds to photo galleries.


      If your system runs the Compiz video enhancement feature, you will have extra-special eye candy. These additional options make using Screenlets even better. For instance, you can toggle Screenlets on and off. To do this, though, you need the latest widget plug-in for Compiz-Fusion installed.

    • Personal Finances on Linux with KMyMoney

      Linux has several excellent personal finance applications. Today we’re going to look at KMyMoney. Though specifically developed with the KDE desktop in mind, KMyMoney works with any Linux desktop.

      How useful KMyMoney will be to you and how easy it will be to use depends on two factors: One, whether or not your bank uses a supported online banking protocol, like OFX or HBCI, which applies when using any type of money management program. Two, if you can get a set of plugins working, which includes check printing support.

    • Enna – A New and Exciting Linux Media Center

      These days, buying a decent plasma is often a lot more expensive than building your own media center. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, a media center is basically a PC that’s focused solely on media playback. Check out our PDF guide on how to set up your own media center, written by Stefan Neagu.

    • SOUNDS

      We compare some popular Linux media players, including Banshee, Rhythmbox, Amarok, and Songbird.

    • Free Project Management Software KPlato for Linux from KOffice

      KPlato is a free tool for project management and it looks similar to the project management tool of Microsoft Office. You can allocate resources, define task and then let KPlato schedule the task according to the availability of resources. You can reschedule the project at any point of time. Here are the features of KPlato.

    • Want to chat on Linux? Better have Empathy

      Empathy is an outstanding chat client that can be used for multiple and various services. Give it a try and you’ll find yourself never going back to your old client.

    • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.4 Kreeps Kloser to Komplete

        This release also includes a whole slew of new widgets for KDE. This includes a “Webslice” plasmoid to display a part of a Webpage, a spellcheck widget, an on-screen keyboard, and a blackboard widget that allows users to paint with the mouse or even multitouch devices “on platforms that support them.” KDE inherited multitouch support from Qt4.6, and could make KDE a contender on mobile devices and tablets.

      • KDE Developers to Release RC3 for 4.4

        Toma Albers, one of the KDE Developers sent out a note today that there will be an RC3 release for KDE 4.4, prior to the final release scheduled February 9th.

      • What We Did Last Summer (And the Rest of 2009) – A Look Back Onto the Nepomuk Development Year With an Obscenely Long Title

        Querying data in Nepomuk pre-KDE-4.4 could be done in one of two ways: 1. Use the very limited capabilities of the ResourceManager to list resources with certain properties or of a certain type; or 2. Write your own SPARQL query using ugly QString::arg replacements.

        With the introduction of Virtuoso and its awesome power we can now do pretty much everything in one query. This allowed me to finally create a query API for KDE: Nepomuk::Query::Query and friends. I won’t go into much detail here since I did that before.

    • XFCE

      • Goodbye KDE, Hello XFCE

        About a year before the release of Vista I became so disgusted with Windows that I made the decision to switch completely to Linux and have never regretted the decision. My wife and son had no problem making the transition from Windows to Linux thanks in no small part to KDE. With KDE 3.5, I was in Desktop heaven. I had power and flexibility that Windows users cannot even imagine.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What should the GNOME Foundation accomplish in 2010?
      • Checking in on the GNOME Foundation

        In that first run-up we basically had a couple of the usual chuckleheads waging war against a flimsly constructed straw man in hopes of discrediting RMS/FSF/Free Software with a secondary effect of promoting “Open Source” as the preferred term (and a tertiary effect of embarassing themselves). The usual tactics from the usual suspects.

        Today, I saw that Bradley M. Kuhn is now a member of the GNOME Foundation. GNOME is in desperate need of people who understand and respect the Free Software ethos, so this is welcome news indeed.

      • Gnome 3 Usability Hackfest

        As the GNOME 3.0 approaches, the GNOME Community is going to hold a Usability Hackfest in London from feb 22-26. Those who are not aware about the usability project, it aims to make GNOME appearance more efficient and pleasant to the users. In this hackfest, they are planning to work and improve the design and usability of some new GNOME 3.0 components.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro hunting

      Basically the bases I need covered are,

      * Low profile, able to run in small amount of RAM
      * Fast booting
      * Python
      * Firefox 3.x, Opera 10.x or Chromium browser
      * Mplayer or similar for video playback

    • Too Many Linux Distributions?

      NOT. No thanks. I want to live in a world where I have a choice. Where Jake can come along and tell me about a Linux distribution that I have never heard of before, but which is so right for his needs that he gets all excited in writing about it. A world where one of the major Linux distributions can stumble, and either make a major mistake, or just take a couple of years to get out the next version, and all the others just keep moving ahead, so I can use whichever one works best for me at the time.

    • Review: Arch Linux

      I’ve been wanting to try Arch Linux for quite some time now. They seem to have a similar aesthetic to Gentoo in that the main mission of Arch is to build your operating system from the ground up. You only add the things you need. So you don’t have any cruft on your system based on what some other people think you should have. So let’s pop this CD in and see what happens! (I’m also following the directions on http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Official_Arch_Linux_Install_Guide) The disc is the 2009.08 snapshot. I booted into the LiveCD.

    • New Releases

      • 2010-01-18: CRUX PPC 2.6 released!

        CRUX PPC 2.6 is now available. It works on Apple 32bit “NewWorld” G3/G4 and Apple 64bit G5, Genesi PegasosII and Efika, Acube Sam440ep, IBM RS/6000 CHRP (604e), YDL Powerstation, IBM Intellistation POWER, and IBM pSeries RS64/POWERn.
        CRUX PPC 2.6 is, as usual, released via two different installation ISO: 32bit and 64bit. The 32bit version is based on a single lib toolchain instead the 64bit one comes with a multilib toolchain. These two versions share the same ports tree.
        See the download page!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Memo to Oracle: Don’t Mess Up Java

        Still, the bigger area of competitive interest may involve Sun’s Java. Just last week, Ingres CEO Roger Burkhardt said potential issues around Java — rather than MySQL — are more strategic to the industry.

        And today, Red Hat Middleware VP Craig Muzilla said Red Hat has…

        “…high hopes that Oracle will not only serve as a faithful steward of this important technology, but will also be a positive force in driving the future of Java in collaboration with the members of the JCP [the Java Community Process].”

      • Red Hat to Oracle – Open up the Java Community Process

        Red Hat has asked Oracle to help keep Java as one of the “most important technologies developed during the past twenty years” by creating an open and independent Java Community Process. The call from Craig Muzilla, Red Hat vice president for middleware, comes in a posting on the company’s web site. It points out that Red Hat have become much more involved in Java, with its acquisition and growth of it’s JBoss middleware and has been leading specifications such as JSR299 (Contexts and Dependency Injection) and JSR303 (Bean Validation) through the Java Community Process.

      • Red Hat thinks things are great in open source land

        THE PRESIDENT AND CEO of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst used the occasion of the US President’s State of the Union address to tell Red Hat’s customers and partners how well everything is going for the company.

      • State of the Union at Red Hat

        I’m kicking off my third year at Red Hat this month and would like to take a step back as we move into 2010 to reflect on the past year. In keeping with the U.S. presidential tradition of delivering a “State of the Union” address each January, I’d like to maintain a similar tradition at Red Hat and highlight some of our milestones from 2009.

      • The vampires vs. Rimini Street

        This is all somewhat rich, coming from a company which not too many years ago claimed it could offer “unbreakable Linux” support that is better than what Red Hat Software can provide. It’s also an interesting follow-up lawsuit to the one launched against SAP subsidiary and support services firm TomorrowNow, which Rimini CEO Seth Ravin also co-founded. That case also claimed illegal downloads of support-related information.

    • Debian Family

      • Grow Your Own Cloud Servers With Ubuntu

        Have you been wanting to fly to the cloud, to experiment with cloud computing? Now is your chance. With this article, we will step through the process of setting up a private cloud system using Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), which is powered by the Eucalyptus platform.

      • Does Ubuntu Need Server Hardware Partners?

        But where are the corporate UEC deployments? It’s still early in the UEC game. I’m hearing from more and more colleges and universities that are testing UEC. In particular, I’m trying to catch up with a few key sources at Auburn University.

      • Test Ubuntu for fun and profit

        Live in London? Looking for something to do this Friday? Canonical are looking for volunteers to perform usability testing of the Ubuntu Empathy instant messaging client. A paid incentive awaits!

      • Linux Mint 8 Helena – Superb execution

        Linux Mint 8 Helena is a wonderful creation. It works. It simply works. There can be no higher praise than that. You don’t need to tweak it. It’s a product. As simple as that. Someone is given a machine with Linux Mint Helena and they start using it, without going for the surgery knife. Just as you don’t hack your TV, you don’t need to hack Helena, because it delivers a complete, beautiful usage package.

        Linux Mint 8 Helena is a great distribution. This is the Linux you want to showcase to your skeptical Windows friends and soon would-be converts. This is the distribution that has the look and feel and behavior of something Windows users can easily relate to.

        It has the menu where Windows users want it, it has codecs and gadgets, it’s fast, stable, robust, beautiful. And best of all, if you’re a Linux user already, you can enjoy Helena as much as your fellow Windows friends!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Gentoo on the Misa Digital Guitar

      Gentoo has turned up in lots of interesting places before, but Michael from Misa Digital has put Gentoo to work in something entirely different: a unique instrument he invented, a MIDI guitar that uses a touchpad and digital keys instead of strings!

    • Phones

      • Nokia N900 – Pros and Cons

        In one of my earlier posts I had mentioned some of the things I was enjoying doing with my Nokia N900. Now that I have had the device to play with for a solid month I would like to highlight what I feel are the pros and cons of the device.

      • Android

        • First beta of Firefox for Android coming in February 2010 ?

          The German Mozilla Community Website camp-firefox.de reported that a first beta version of Firefox for Android (Fennec) would be coming out in February 2010. Apparently most of the work has been done and the application was started sucessfully on an Android phone, even though surfing was not possible yet.

        • Best Smartphone for IT: Blackberry vs. iPhone vs. Android

          However, Symbian hasn’t made inroads into the U.S., and the iPhone and Android platforms are already eroding its market share abroad.

        • Rogers Canada forces Android update that takes away root access

          Rogers, Canada’s only carrier with Android handsets, has cut off data to customers until they run a mandatory firmware update. Nominally, this fixes a 911 bug: but it also prevents you from jailbreaking your phone and activating features and applications Rogers doesn’t like (even if you paid full price for your phone).

        • PLEN Robot Controlled by Android [VIDEO]

          Those of you with piles of cash might be interested in picking up a PLEN hobby robot for your desk. The roughly 9″ tall “droid” can be controlled via Bluetooth, either by your cell phone or PC keyboard. You know where I’m going with this… Check out the video below of a PLEN robot (android) controlled by an app on Android.

        • Archos 7-Inch Tablet Leaked, Features Webcam

          We didn’t anticipate running a tablet story on the site today being everyone we know will be watching the Apple event later today. Nonetheless, we have a new Android-based tablet to start following. Following on the heels of their 5-inch tablet, Archos has a 7-inch model with a front-facing webcam on the way.

          Rumored to go on sale in March for £149.99 ($242 US), it will offer the same 8GB onboard memory found in the previous model. The 7-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, putting it (obviously) 2 inches larger than their first device. The software appears to be getting a slight tweak as well, with support for song yrics

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Thin clients and the cloud: how ARM beat x86 to the punch

        On the first day of CES, I dropped by the Qualcomm booth looking for ARM-based smartbooks to try out. As I poked and prodded the Lenovo Skylight, I pulled out my Nexus One and dropped it on top of the unit for a size reference so that we could snap picture of it.

      • Netbook OS

        Slackware is one of the longest-running versions of Linux. And Slax is a version of Slackware that is meant to be run as a live CD but can also be used comfortably on a netbook. The base download of Slax is just 200MB in size. Slax’ most unique feature, however, is that the system can be customised before downloading. On the Slax site you can pick and choose features you want to include in your system and then download an image with this included.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 65 Open Source Downloads That Could Change Your Life

    In fact, we found open source apps for most of the most popular resolutions: apps to help you eat better and exercise more, apps to help you stop smoking or break other bad habits, lots of apps to help you get organized and make better use of your time.

  • Bacula Surpasses One Million Downloads

    Bacula Systems SA today celebrated a year of impressive growth as its Open Source enterprise backup solution passed the one million download milestone, driven by a maturing portfolio of Bacula backup products and growing enterprise adoption of open source software. This event marks a highly successful year in which Bacula Systems has made significant gains in its customer base and built excellent partner momentum globally.

  • Farewell To Solaris Express Community Edition

    Back in August we shared that Sun would be discontinuing SXCE, or formally known as Solaris Express Community Edition. Solaris Express Community Edition for the past five years has served as Sun’s delivery mechanism for the latest and greatest Solaris code that will eventually make it into the next Solaris stable release, but earlier this month Sun Microsystems put out their last bi-weekly build of SXCE and as of the end of this week all downloads will cease.

  • Mr. Obama, Please Tear Down This Wall!

    Only three days after posting my blog regarding the plight of Google’s Chinese customers and how their data is now at the whims of a US-based company and its conflict with the Chinese government, I read about the issues of SourceForge.net and the U.S. State Department’s Export lists and how the data stored in a US-based company, sometimes created by non-U.S. based citizens, is now being controlled by U.S. State Department rules.


    Is the argument being made that the populace of those countries will throw off their governments because it is hard for them to get access to Free Software? I suggest that it will simply be a matter of time before some entity will re-create a “SourceForge” in a more Free-Minded country, and yet another agency of Free Thought will be carried and championed outside of the United States.

  • Free PR2 Robots Offered to Open Source Robotics Researchers

    10 lucky research organizations will stand to benefit from Willow Garage’s PR2 Beta Program, under which they will each be granted free use of one PR2 robot and earn the privilege to participate in the advancement of open source robotics development.

  • Keep your journal in a RedNotebook

    Writing in a journal or diary, where you may pour your heart out for no one’s eyes but your own, can be an intensely personal experience. Writing longhand in a paper notebook used to be standard practice for journal writing, but most people nowadays type faster than they write, and digital text is easier to search. But finding a journal application that suits your sense of style is just as personal a decision as finding the right notebook in which to write. When Jendrik Seipp couldn’t find what he was looking for in a journal app, he began coding his own, and that became RedNotebook.

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • The Fight to Save MySQL: Interview with Monty Widenius

      Similarly, Widenius denies being motivated by an attempt to receive more money for his former interest in MySQL or to make Monty Program AB profitable by placing himself in the spotlight. He has invested much of the 16.6 million Euros he received from Sun’s purchase of MySQL in Monty Program AB, and frankly admits that the company has next to no chance of making a profit. Nor is he interested in selling Monty Program unless he can find a buyer with open source’s interests at heart.

      Instead, he claims to be opposing Oracle’s acquisition out of a sense of personal responsibility: to his employees, to his customers, and to the larger open source community.

  • CMS

    • NVidia using Drupal

      NVidia recently launched their new Tegra developer community on Drupal.

    • Drupal Goes Hosted With Private Beta Launch of “Gardens” (Invites)

      Open source content management system Drupal is increasingly being used by organizations, corporations and governments to power their websites and communities.

      To name but a few entities who rely on Drupal for their websites: The White House, AT&T, Intel, BBC Magazines, Forbes, Stanford University, Reuters and Procter & Gamble (and plenty more where that came from).

    • Drupal Gardens launches in private beta

      I have a pretty big update for you: we just launched Drupal Gardens into private beta. Since the first public Drupal Gardens demo at DrupalCon Paris, a lot of progress has been made. Today, we sent private beta invites to the first people that signed up to be beta testers, and if things go well, we’ll send out a couple thousand more invitations over the next few weeks.

  • Releases

    • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache SpamAssassin Version 3.3.0

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced the release of Apache SpamAssassin 3.3.0, the first major code release from the Apache SpamAssassin Project since May 2007. Apache SpamAssassin v3.3.0 marks the Project’s 4th major (and 24th overall release) since the SpamAssassin Project joined the ASF in December 2003.

  • Hardware

    • In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits

      The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.

    • The Replicator, No Longer a Star Trek Dream

      Open-sourcing is also helping further the development of the RepRap project. Bowyer explained that he wanted a powerful technology like the RepRap to be available to everyone, so he made it free. A list of materials needed for a RepRap and the instructions on how to put it together are all available on the RepRap website.

  • Openness

    • Maybe Information Really Doesn’t Want to Be Free

      The long-anticipated Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) tablet, expected to debut tomorrow, carries a similar promise. In media circles, the Apple tablet has been heralded by many as a ray of hope for an ailing newspaper industry, marrying the slick software and design for which Apple is famous with its iTunes payment platform.

    • Why I am disappointed with Nature Communications

      At the centre of my problem is the use of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial licence for the “Open Access” option. This doesn’t qualify under the BBB declarations on Open Access publication and it doesn’t qualify for the SPARC seal for Open Access. But does this really matter or is it just a side issue for a bunch of hard core zealots? After all if people can see it that’s a good start isn’t it? Well yes, it is a good start but non-commercial terms raise serious problems. Putting aside the fact that there is an argument that universities are commercial entities and therefore can’t legitimately use content with non-commercial licences the problem is that NC terms limit the ability of people to create new business models that re-use content and are capable of scaling.

    • How should councils cope with Freedom of Information requests

      An interesting piece on ConservativeHome’s Local Government Blog on ‘How should council’s cope with Freedom of Information requests?’

    • Science czar calls for openness on climate questions

      The government’s chief scientific adviser John Beddington has called for openness and honesty in the debate over man-made climate change.

    • Valkaama Released

      Finally done… We are proud to release the final version of Valkaama with Michael Georgi’s music score. You can download your copy here.

      It was a long and stony road to get this movie done and still we are giving it away for free: Valkaama becomes one of the few full-length movies which are licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses.

  • Programming

    • Developers: Is Programming a Lucrative Profession?

      “A pamphlet distributed by blogger Cameron Laird’s local high school proclaimed that ‘Computer Science BS graduates can expect an annual salary from $54,000-$74,000. Starting salaries for MS and PhD graduates can be to up to $100,000′ and ‘employment of computer scientists is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2018.’ The pamphlet lists The US Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as a reference, so how wrong can it be? ‘This is so wrong, I don’t know where to start,’ says Laird…”

  • Applications

    • Midgard2 9.09.2 “Mjolnir” released

      The Midgard Project has released maintenance release of Midgard2 9.09 “Mjolnir” – second release of the new generation of the Midgard content repository.


  • Mobile Operators, Price Gouging, Innovation, and Txteagle — A Critique by Steve Song

    Steve Song has done it again. A fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, he critiques Nathan Eagle’s new txteagle venture to tap into the ‘cognitive resources’ of millions of mobile-phone users in developing countries. Nathan recently gave a talk at eTech, presenting texteagle. Here is the video of Nathan’s presentation.

  • Corporate developers abandon “underwater” property — why not individuals?

    Tishman Speyer Properties and its co-investors just walked away from the largest real-estate deal in US history, simply defaulting on the properties and the loans that bought them and leaving their creditors in the lurch. The properties, Manhattan’s 56-building, 11,232-unit Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, were “under water” (worth less than the debt hanging over them), so the corporate developers elected to simply jettison them.

  • Science

    • Horizontal and vertical: The evolution of evolution

      JUST suppose that Darwin’s ideas were only a part of the story of evolution. Suppose that a process he never wrote about, and never even imagined, has been controlling the evolution of life throughout most of the Earth’s history. It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what microbiologist Carl Woese and physicist Nigel Goldenfeld, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believe. Darwin’s explanation of evolution, they argue, even in its sophisticated modern form, applies only to a recent phase of life on Earth.

  • Security

    • No food without fingerprints – in one London school

      Giving a new meaning to the concept of a “finger buffet”, St. John’s Secondary School, in Epping, is introducing a new “biometric cashless catering system” which involves taking fingerprints of all its pupils.

    • Lioness gives Chilcot inquiry teeth

      The Iraq inquiry burst into life yesterday, thanks to a quiet, thoughtful yet furious woman who ripped into the government like a genteel but very hungry lioness. Elizabeth Wilmshurst was the first witness to get a round of applause from the public.

    • UK Terror Threat Level raised again to “Severe” – just in time for “Climate of Fear” propaganda before the General Election

      Why is there no mention of the increased threat from “domestic” terrorism, in Northern Ireland, and from crazed racist or animal rights fanatics etc. ?

      Will there now be the usual Whitehall and Police “anonymous briefings”, as there were in the run up to the last General Election ?

    • 70-year gag on Kelly death evidence

      A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported.

    • Hutton inquiry closed David Kelly medical reports for 70 years
    • We don’t live in a police state, but we are going to be watched by aerial drones

      Critics of Labour’s record on civil rights are sometimes accused of hysteria when they talk of Britain becoming a ‘police state’. This time last year, the day before the Convention on Modern Liberty, Jack Straw felt it necessary to write an op-ed for the Guardian entitled “Our record isn’t perfect. But talk of a police state is daft”.

    • Britain ‘complicit in mistreatment and possible torture’ says UN

      United Nations human rights investigators have concluded that the British government has been complicit in the mistreatment and possible torture of several of its own citizens during the “war on terror”.

    • Revealed: Retired CIA agent ‘made up’ waterboarding details

      The CIA has since destroyed all videotapes of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogations. He was allegedly subjected to waterboarding at least 83 times.

    • Compulsory perv scanners upset everyone

      The debate over use of scanners in UK airports is rapidly turning into knock-about farce, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) takes a firm stand on some people’s right to privacy – whilst government disrespects everyone’s rights and prepares to hand over loads more dosh when it eventually loses the argument at the European Court.

    • Hackers hit Chinese human rights websites

      Five websites run by Chinese human rights activists were attacked by hackers over the weekend, as a separate row continued between Google and China over political cyberattacks.

    • RFID Tag breaks one dollar price barrier

      RFID tags for under $1!! This has been made possible by International Coding Technologies which has released rugged identification tags for steel, concrete, pallets and other assets breaking all price barriers. Here RFID, bar code and tag in human readable format have been clubbed together onto a single RFID inlay. It has been sealed in a tough, watertight and dust proof plastic unit which can be affixed to products and perform in cruel environment.

    • Defects in e-passports allow real-time tracking

      Computer scientists in Britain have uncovered weaknesses in electronic passports issued by the US, UK, and some 50 other countries that allow attackers to trace the movements of individuals as they enter or exit buildings.

    • MoD staff leak military secrets on Facebook and Twitter

      The Ministry of Defence has admitted that staff leaked secret information 16 times on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter over an 18-month period.

  • Finance

    • Oregon Passes Tax Boost on Wealthy, Corporations

      Oregon voters approved two special tax measures Tuesday designed to close a $733 million state budget gap. With 91% of the vote counted, Measure 66 garnered 54% of ballots and Measure 67 received 53%, the Associated Press reported.

      Elections here are by mailed ballot only. Tuesday was the last day ballots could be cast.

      Measure 66 increases Oregon’s personal-income-tax rate by two percentage points for households earning over $250,000 a year. Measure 67 calls for an increase in the state’s minimum corporate income tax, currently $10 a year, and imposes a tax on gross revenues for corporations that don’t report a profit.

    • Growth is good … isn’t it?

      The banking crisis taught us that when things look good on paper, if the underlying accounting system is faulty, it can conceal high risk and imminent disaster – as Jared Diamond put it in Collapse, his book about societies throughout history that fell by wrongly estimating the resilience of their environmental life-support systems. What looks like wealth might just be a one-off fire sale of irreplaceable natural capital. Ecologically speaking, he writes, “an impressive-looking bank account may conceal a negative cashflow”.

    • Time is Running Out for Big Ben

      Opposition has been mounting to the reconfirmation of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. In recent days, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) announced that they would vote no. Today, Senator Tom Harkin told the DesMoines Register he would be a no vote. If Bernanke does not get a vote this week, before the formal end of his first term, it would send shock waves through Wall Street.


      “Under the watch of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve permitted grossly irresponsible financial activities that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Under Chairman Bernanke’s watch predatory mortgage lending flourished, and ‘too big to fail’ financial giants were permitted to engage in activities that put our nation’s economy at risk. And as it responds to the crisis it helped to usher in, the Federal Reserve under Chairman Bernanke’s leadership continues to resist appropriate efforts to review that response, how taxpayers’ money was being used, and whether it acted appropriately,” said Feingold in a statement.

    • Millions to Lose Unemployment Insurance

      While President Obama is in Washington talking about putting a freeze on government spending, soon millions of American families will be out in the cold. In one month, one million Americans are slated to lose their unemployment insurance. Millions more will follow. According to Judy Conti, Federal Advocacy Coordinator at the National Employment Law Project, the expiration of this vital lifeline “would be a catastrophe for these families and their communities.”

      Why is unemployment insurance ending, and what can you do about it?

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Outlook Rosy for Nuclear Industry, Despite Unsolved Problems of Waste and Safety

      The Obama administration is considering granting as much as $18.5 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry to build new reactors, and Congress is considering adding billions more to expand nuclear power in the U.S., even though the problems of safety and what to do with nuclear waste remain unsolved.


      A Decade of Astroturfing Pays Off

      The nuclear lobby’s activities are a case study on how industries influence Washington: In addition to the usual spending of vast sums on lobbying and campaign contributions, they have created a network of allies who give speeches, quote one another approvingly and showcase each other on Web sites, effectively creating a media echo chamber that creates the impression of widespread support for nuclear power. Compared to the big oil and big coal lobbies, though, the nuclear lobby has stayed in the background and used increasingly common astroturfing techniques, like making their case through surrogates, and paying a public relations firm to create a pro-nuclear “grassroots” group — the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition — which employs high-profile spokespersons like Patrick Moore and Christine Todd Whitman. The industry has also been busy lobbying all possible constituencies, as well as both sides of the political spectrum. The Nuclear Energy Institute has given presentations to the Congressional Black Caucus, and has taken a pro-union stance for the construction of new nuclear reactors, helping win it support from labor unions. In turn, unions have lobbied and obtained the support for nukes from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who is now championing efforts to fund the industry. The nuke industry has managed to do all this while also keeping its traditional base among Senate Republicans. The industry magnified its appeal to politicians by selling the construction of nuclear power plants as a sort of jobs-creation program, at a time when jobs are sorely needed in the U.S. Combine this with steadily increasing energy prices and concern for global warming, and all the stars are lining up for the nuclear energy industry right now.

    • Breaking News–New Media “Visionary” Arrested in Plot to Bug U.S. Senator

      History repeats itself today as the FBI arrests four people attempting to bug the district office of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). David Hammer of The Times-Picayune is reporting that the the right-wing “gotcha” man, James O’Keefe, who orchestrated the effort to discredit ACORN via spliced video footage last year, is one of those who were arrested in the plot against a sitting U.S. Senator who is up for election later this year.

    • GOP sends letter appearing to be census form

      The Republican Party is seeking input and money from GOP voters – seemingly under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau.

      “Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country,” GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • SourceForge no longer serving open source to US sanctioned countries

      The company says it deeply regrets “that these sanctions may impact individuals who have no malicious intent, along with those whom the rules are designed to exclude” but says that until either the countries are removed from the sanctions list, or the US administration changes policy, the blocking must remain in place.

    • John Gaunt’s case is an important test for freedom of speech

      I regret the chilling effect that will be felt in publishing and broadcasting even if Gaunt wins his case – and the prospect of him losing is an appalling prospect for those who cherish free speech in this country. So we here at Big Brother Watch are rooting for John today.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Buying You: The Government’s Use of Fourth-Parties to Launder Data about ‘The People’

      Your information is for sale, and the government is buying it at alarming rates. The CIA, FBI, Justice Department, Defense Department, and other government agencies are at this very moment turning to a group of companies to provide them information that these companies can gather without the restrictions that bind government intelligence agencies. The information is gathered from sources that few would believe the government could gain unfettered access to, but which, under current Fourth Amendment doctrine and statutory protections, are completely accessible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • IFPI Loses “Deep-Linking” Case Against Baidu

      In 2008, Baidu was sued for around $9 million by Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music for providing so-called “deep-links” to copyright music tracks. A court has now ruled that providing search results does not breach copyright law, clearing China’s biggest search engine of wrong-doing.

    • Piracy letter campaign ‘nets innocents’

      More than 150 people have approached consumer publication Which? Computing claiming to have been wrongly targeted in crackdowns on illegal file-sharing.

    • Copyright, companies, individuals and news: the rules of the road

      This is just a partial list, and it may strike you as radical. But before you dismiss it, consider this: most copyright systems are supposed to work this way in theory. But between corporate bullies who like to assert that “all rights reserved” means that no one is allowed to do anything without permission, and personal theories of what copyright means based on half-remembered lectures from the company lawyer, we treat copyright as absolute. And when we do, we turn a system with a real purpose (providing a framework for participants in creative businesses) into a caricature of itself, one that no one can respect.

    • United Against the Digital Economy Bill

      As readers of this blog will be well aware, the UK’s Digital Economy Bill is currently grinding its way through Parliament.

      At the moment, it’s the Lords that are trying to knock some sense into its senseless provisions; later it will go to the Commons, where there’s probably less chance of things being improved, given the current distribution of the parties there.

      Meanwhile, various groups are coming together in an attempt to rouse the British public from its slumbers on this hugely-important issue.

    • Digital Economy Bill: will users have to divulge logs?

      Is the House of Lords serious? Could users be asked to divulge their computer logs in order to prove themselves innocent of copyright infringement?

    • Mandelson in new move to protect music industry secrets

      UK Digital Economy Bill: The infamous Henry VIII clause which will permit the Secretary of State to re-write UK copyright law without oversight from Parliament, will also permit the copyright industries to keep their trade secrets, under a proposed new amendment from Lord Mandelson.

    • ACTA Attacks Internet! Let’s Attack ACTA!

      Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)1 will take place from January 26th to January 29th in Mexico. ACTA aims at controlling the Internet, while conveniently circumventing democratic processes. Unelected negotiators – carrying out the orders of the entertainment industries – are attacking the very essence of the Internet. Let’s attack ACTA! Let’s expose its negotiators to make them face their responsibilities!

    • ACTA and three strikes

      Luc Devigne for instance advocates for the French “three strikes” rule concerning ISPs. Such measures are not yet part of the acquis communautaire, in fact in the course of the Telecom package such measures were generally rejected, though the European Parliament could not overrule the French national decision to implement such measures (“Hadopi”). Sarkozy’s Hadopi rules are in troublesome constitutional waters, we will see.

    • Early Day Motion Calling for ACTA Transparency

      Yesterday I was asking you to write to your MPs about the Digital Economy Bill. If you haven’t already done that, perhaps you could tack on a request for them to support this Early Day Motion…

    • ACTA Guide, Part Three: Transparency and ACTA Secrecy

      Part Three of the ACTA Guide (Part One on the agreement itself, Part Two on the official and leaked documents) focuses on the issue that has dogged the proposed agreement since it was first announced – the lack of transparency associated with the text and the talks. As yesterday’s public letter from NDP MP Charlie Angus and the UK cross-party motion highlight, elected officials around the world have latched onto the transparency issue and demanded that their governments open ACTA to public scrutiny. Reviewing the ACTA transparency issue involves several elements: the public concern with ACTA secrecy, the source of the secrecy, and the analysis of whether ACTA secrecy is common when compared to other intellectual property agreements.


      That this House is deeply concerned by the secrecy surrounding international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); notes that any agreement reached could affect the measures to protect copyright online currently being debated in the Digital Economy Bill; believes that if the companies affected by the agreement are party to the discussions and able to influence decisions, parliamentarians who represent the public and are responsible for legislation in these areas should also be kept up-to-date with developments and be able to contribute to the debate; seeks assurances from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that the provisions of the Digital Economy Bill will not be superseded by ACTA; and urges the Government to work to achieve release of details of the negotiations to hon. Members as soon as possible.

    • Economics and social research strategy 2009-10 published

      By ensuring that our policies are clear, transparent, targeted and evidence-based we can create the right conditions for business success; promote innovation, enterprise and science; and give everyone the skills and opportunities they need to succeed.

    • South Butt David versus North Face Goliath

      The North Face filed the lawsuit, claiming that The South Butt is confusingly similar to The North Face, in violation of North Face’s trademark rights.

    • Vancouver Olympics ‘Brand Protection Guidelines’ Almost Entirely Arbitrary
    • EU to assess piracy detection software

      Virgin Media countered that the software posed no risk to privacy.

      Privacy International has concerns about the software, designed by monitoring firm Detica.

    • Does Virgin Media police itself first?

      Hanff quotes the interview verbatim, and we reproduce it here: “Ex-Employee: ‘Telewest Broadband had an Intranet system called oneline – accessible at http://oneline.telewest.co.uk – the default homepage. Under this site employees could visit Broadtalk – Broadtalk Forum, where they could engage in discussion about the company across departments, across sites. Under this forum various topics of discussion revolved around downloading of copyrighted material – for example, employees would talk about downloading movies, music etc, along with how to transfer files to DVD media. Employees were posting links to BitTorrent sites with infringing material’.”

    • The Legacy of Baker Street

      The law gives an author and the author’s descendants more than adequate control over creative work — a minimum of the author’s life plus 70 years. The public is better served if copyrights have a reasonable limit. Sherlock Holmes should belong to us all right now.

    • Brian Eno Explains How The Recording Industry Is Like Whale Blubber

      Then I go back to my computer, and see an anonymous submission of a wonderfully brilliant interview with music legend Brian Eno… and right there at the end, he has a beautiful description of what’s happening to the recording industry — comparing it to whale blubber:

      “I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time. I always knew it would run out sooner or later. It couldn’t last, and now it’s running out. I don’t particularly care that it is and like the way things are going. The record age was just a blip. It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you’d be stuck with your whale blubber. Sorry mate — history’s moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it.”

    • BitTorrent Spammers Chosen to Spy On French Pirates

      The French anti-piracy outfit Trident Media Guard has been chosen by the entertainment industry to track and report illegal downloaders in France. The company, known globally for its pollution of BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks with fake data, will assist in the recently passed Hadopi three-strikes law.

    • Spanish hairdressers say No! to SGAE

      Hundreds of hairdressers and beauty centres in Barcelona, Sabadell and Lleida, Spain, are displaying a poster featuring a girl with a vinyl record and the words ‘Catalan hairdressers are ordered to pay royalties for playing the radio in their shops”.

Clip of the Day

How to Monopolize Food – Monsanto Style part 2 of 2

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 27th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Microsoft to Spy on Indians, Bank Accounts, Health Records (and Conduct Profiling of Customers)

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Windows at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

Bruce Schneier

Summary: Microsoft is gaining access to systems it must not be allowed into due to misuse of power and a criminal background

Microsoft loves to accuse Google of privacy issues and other perceived issues (Bill Gates is apparently doing a special media tour about it) while praying that people will not realise that Microsoft is far, far worse. Microsoft even tracks people on their own desktops and it gets worse and worse in every new version of Windows (soon to be in Ubuntu too, unless they walk away from that tactless Yahoo! deal which has new GNU/Linux installations ‘phone home’ to Microsoft). We explained the dangers of this last month.

Last year we shed light on how Microsoft was trying to take control of Indian people through corruptible bodies such as NASSCOM [1, 2, 3, 4]. Will they let a convicted monopolist from abroad manage the population? Well, they just have.

India to roll out Microsoft ID system in August

The Indian government is set to roll out the first phase of its ambitious ID scheme as early as this year, it has emerged. And it will be helped by Microsoft.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project will see more involvement from private IT giants. Ex-Infosys boss, Nandan Nilekani, is heading this huge project of providing unique identification to more than a billion people. Microsoft Research will take an active part in executing the project.

Ah! Infosys again. Microsoft’s biggest shill in India [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15].

This is a disastrous decision that comes amid other current attempts by Microsoft to derail India’s policy in order to illegalise/marginalise Free software [1, 2, 3]. The many aggressive moves from Microsoft in India (especially recently) indicate that India has a bright future, but Microsoft is trying to control this future and thus make it grimmer. Microsoft is just trying to possess the nation’s ICT for lock-in — not technical merit — that secures some future revenue. Red Hat should vigourously protest against this decision and explain to the government how lock-in works (Red Hat is probably in the best position to do so). It sometimes pays off to dump or to even bribe to acquire lock-in and that might be Microsoft’s strategy here. Microsoft has ‘pulled an EDGI’ several times in India.

Microsoft also wants to control people’s medical profiles, which are very private and sensitive. Microsoft is now creating events that resemble AstroTurf (as opposes to grassroots) to advance this agenda. From a new press release:

Steve Aylward, GM of Microsoft Health and Life Sciences, Announced as ShareFEST Keynote Speaker

ShareFEST announced today that Steve Aylward, general manager, U.S. Health & Life Sciences, Microsoft Corporation will be the keynote speaker at ShareFEST 2010, the conference focused exclusively on the use of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server in the life sciences industry.

Steve Ballmer is already going on a tour to promote this agenda as well. From the news:

Nashville health leaders to meet with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week


Ballmer’s trip — part of a multi-city tour — comes as Microsoft tries to focus more on crafting tech solutions for specific industries such as health care, financial services and retail, said Katherine R. Egbert, a Jefferies & Co. stock analyst in San Francisco.

Yes, it says “financial services and retail”. The investment vehicle called “Gates Foundation” is also investing in massive chains of retailers (JJB is just one example). It’s all about profit and control.

“More control means more leverage.”The British health services at the NHS are already a victim of Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], but patient data from the NHS is not stored on Microsoft’s own servers. Microsoft would love to change that. More control means more leverage.

We previously wrote about bankers and Microsoft’s relationship with them (examples from recent months can be found in [1, 2, 3, 4]). We also wrote about Microsoft and Citigroup, later to mention them again in a separate context. Microsoft is still collaborating with big banks (including those responsible for robbing the US and global economy) and a new bundle is coming from Citigroup and Microsoft. But what’s more curious is this new dangerous step where Microsoft is trying to store records of people’s bank accounts too (and having access to people’s bank details). It’s getting together with its competition.

Sometime-rivals Intuit and Microsoft are now partners in an effort to encourage software developers to use technology from the two companies to create Web-based applications for small businesses that run QuickBooks.

Web-based QuickBooks would means that financial data is stored on the server. Hello, Microsoft? We already know that Microsoft engages in McCarthyism.

The scariest part through is not mere access that Microsoft is gaining to all sorts of personal details; Microsoft and Intel are now joining forces and profiling users. This is a privacy hazard:

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) have created technology that will allow signs in stores to detect a customer’s gender and which products a shopper looks at.

It gets worse. They are learning people’s habits and together with ID information, bank accounts, and even health records, what can’t Microsoft do? This abuse of power is done with the company that helped Microsoft fight against OLPC (because it used GNU/Linux and AMD chips).

“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”

Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland

Microsoft Hijacks More of Education Sector in Carolina, Michigan, and Georgia

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Red Hat, Windows at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Carolina, Michigan, and Georgia are the latest victims of a programme that Microsoft euphemistically calls “Elevate America” (this programme only retards education and subjugates the people)

THE PREVIOUS post was a depressing one to write because Microsoft may be poisoning its competitors with former employees, who in turn ensure that more Internet users are getting Microsoft’s ‘search’ results that are programmed to say negative things about Microsoft’s competition, notably GNU/Linux. Is there anything that Microsoft doesn’t poison? The company operates like some kind of a dangerous computing cult and the least we can do in Boycott Novell is raise awareness of the issues.

The Grameen Foundation is one of those former Microsofers-run, Microsoft-serving shells [1, 2] that is disguising itself as “open source” while promoting Microsoft’s agenda. From the news we gather:

Grameen Foundation announced the latest release of MIFOS, an open source software platform for microfinance.

That’s hilarious, especially given that the Grameen Foundation is some kind of an EDGI assistance. It is part of Microsoft's coalition of NGOs, all of which serve the queen.

Then there is the programme which we call “American EDGI” [1, 2]. It is a programme whereby Microsoft is attacking the adoption of Free software in the United States and then uses PR to characterise this attack on competition as “charity” or “donation”. Microsoft claims to “Elevate America”, which is the euphemistic banner it chose for this programme (outside the US it is called “Unlimited Potential”, although the *Spark programmes are increasingly marketed too).

In this post we’ll begin by showing some of the latest “American EDGI”, which can easily be identified by its characterisation with euphemisms.

Here is Nash Community College becoming a participant in indoctrination of the young [1, 2, 3, 4], which will become Microsoft engineers/clientèle in the future. We also wrote about Bill Gates working to control more education systems through lobbying and gentle bribes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

Jan. 9–Nash Community College is participating in Elevate America — North Carolina.

But wait. It’s more than one college. Another new report from Carolina says that more than 40 community colleges are involved in this. They become agents of Microsoft rather than places of education.

More than 40 North Carolina community colleges are distributing thousands of vouchers for free Microsoft certification exams and advanced online courses over the next six weeks, thanks to a nationwide Microsoft initiative called “Elevate America.”

It is all happening near Red Hat's headquarters. Microsoft has no boundaries.

In Michigan too, Microsoft helps indoctrination of the nation:

Microsoft and the state of Michigan are teaming up to give free technology training.

“Training” means “Windows and Office training”. It is shocking that the state of Michigan participates in helping one of the most criminal corporations in the country.

What has Microsoft actually done for Michigan, other than mess up its airport's Web site with Windows viruses (that was 3 months ago)?

The “Elevate America” euphemism comes also to Georgia. Watch the press release that’s chock full of spin and lies.

Microsoft is using the economic meltdown to take advantage of people and the Governor’s Office is participating in it, essentially collaborating with a convicted monopolist that continues to be found guilty.

Microsoft will partner with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to distribute at least 25,900 vouchers during the next 90 days. They can be used for courses including basic technology literacy, intermediate and advanced level technology skills training and Microsoft certification exams.

More here and here. Microsoft is making money out of chaos (economic meltdown).

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced a partnership between the state and Microsoft that will provide free technology training for Georgians.

The company will work with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to distribute at least 25,900 vouchers for various classes and Microsoft Certification exams.

Shame on Sonny Perdue. Why associated oneself with that Redmond bunch?

Here is another new one (“Elevate America”): “Microsoft and state team up on free vouchers for tech training”

The application for the vouchers, part of Microsoft’s Elevate America program, can be obtained online at www.gaworkready.org. The vouchers will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Microsoft has almost captured a dozen US states in this way. Someone needs to step in and stop this, knowing what Microsoft is really scheming here and how it affects competition.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

What “skills” is Microsoft giving these people anyway? They are just being trained for use of tools from the very same company that would benefit from it. These are not even specialised skills (similar even to MCSE, which is rapidly declining in value based on surveys). They devalue it by stating with pride that even kids under 10 are turning into MCSEs. From this month’s news:

Meet Marko, the 9-year-old systems engineer


At age 6, he got his first systems administrator credential from Microsoft and, last month, he became perhaps the youngest Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

They use children to repair their broken software and a girl of the same age received the same certification about 2 years ago. This is comical at best. But sadly enough (in an insulting way), they treat adults in the same way and offer them the same type of certifications.

Why Ubuntu GNU/Linux Should Not Make Microsoft Even Stronger

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Former Microsoft employee announces that Canonical will send Ubuntu users to Microsoft’s datacentres and herein we explain why it’s a big mistake that will alienate users

MANY readers have heard the news by now. It’s even in the front page of Slashdot. The short story is that Ubuntu will channel users towards Microsoft’s datacentre, via Yahoo! (bar EU approval for the search deal). “15 days of lost time,” calls it a reader of ours citing this comment. “Not that more than a single digit percent will change any default settings,” he adds, but the numbers cited there are US-only search numbers (thus incorrect) and Fedora claims 20 million installations.

My first reaction to this news goes almost a day back when Alan Pope (Popey from Ubuntu) announced the news:

Those of you testing out the development version of Ubuntu Lucid should notice a change in Firefox very soon. The default search provider for new installations of Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) and upgrades will be Yahoo! and not Google. Canonical have struck a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! which generates income for the company. This revenue should help pay the wages of Ubuntu Developers employed by Canonical, and support the infrastructure required to develop and build the distribution.

It is worth noting that announcing this on behalf of Canonical was Rick Spencer, who came to Canonical from Microsoft. We warned about him before because the suggestion to remove GIMP from Ubuntu (under the excuse that a Mono program would replace it) came from him too. It was a grave mistake [1, 2, 3, 4] — a decision that most Ubuntu users are opposed to, based on a big poll at Ubuntu Forums.

I told Popey: ‘But Yahoo! is going to redirect to the convicted monopoly that called Ubuntu “cancer”‘

Popey then told me: ‘Deep irony if their dollars pay Ubuntu developers.’

“What Ubuntu has done is cut off funding to Mozilla to go into there own pockets, so damaging the upstream.”
If Microsoft is funding Ubuntu developers, then they are becoming what Microsoft called “pawns in the battle” (in the battle against Google in this case).

“Yahoo is Bingo in disguise,” said our Hungarian reader MinceR. Our reader Kecskebak (also from Hungary) was more blunt. He wrote: “Well, seeing as Yahoo! has done a deal with Bing it’s Bing by proxy. Shuttlecock – say Bing!”

Mozilla makes money when it is Google in the search bar, so the old way (Firefox defaults) supported both Mozilla and Google, not Ubuntu and Microsoft.

Our reader Oiaohm wrote: “Ubuntu is getting more criminal. What Ubuntu has done is cut off funding to Mozilla to go into there own pockets, so damaging the upstream. Really it shows how much respect Ubuntu has for the open source world. None. Really it would not matter who they changed the search company to. I hope Mozilla hits Ubuntu for trademark infringement. Altering the search provider cutting of money normally pisses Mozilla off.”

Yahoo! search is becoming just a surrogate identity to Microsoft, just like Mono is a surrogate to Microsoft, developed by its ally Novell (same with Moonlight).

It is Ubuntu's crisis of democracy as Novell’s Banshee is still being promoted for Ubuntu by some people, despite the obvious problem with Microsoft's community promise (Banshee uses excluded components [1, 2, 3, 4]).

Another thing that Ubuntu is doing right now (which is quite benign in comparison) is development of Ubuntu One for Windows. That’s fine, it’s a very separate project constructed for other reasons, but a lot of people missed the news.

“Could Ubuntu maybe retract or withdraw this deal?”All the above was discussed in great length in our IRC channel since yesterday (starting here). We are still talking about it today. We think it is not worth making a huge scene out of it because it was discussed in IRC for hours (with Jono Bacon included) and clarified to the extent possible. It was never clearly insinuated that malicious intent led to such a deal, but Ubuntu is supporting Microsoft without saying so. Linspire signed such a search deal with Microsoft as part of the 2007 patent deal, sending their customers to essentially enrich Microsoft and share data with the company that’s almost alone in viciously attacking those very same users (or at least their operating system of choice). Could Ubuntu maybe retract or withdraw this deal? We sure hope so.

What do users think of the possibility that many (if not most) GNU/Linux users are to be redirected for Microsoft to spy on their search habits (and gather statistics/intelligence on the competition), not to mention that it would give them GNU/Linux-hostile search results (Bong [sic] is doctored for built-in bias, including thin and mostly negative results on the subject of GNU/Linux).

Verizon’s recent search deal with Microsoft shows that not giving users what they want simply makes them angry. This would not be smart for Ubuntu to do, either. Many people come to Ubuntu in order to escape Microsoft and even Firefox for Windows uses Google by default. This is a bizarre reversal of role.

“Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Chief Microsoft Lobbyist Bill Gates Goes on Anti-Google Tour in the Press

Posted in Bill Gates, FUD, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates on tape
Bill Gates Deposition Transcript

Summary: The mainstream press/media shows its cowardice by permitting a felon to call is rival all sorts of things

BILL GATES is pretending to have left Microsoft, but he is a super lobbyist [1, 2, 3, 4] with a criminal past and a fake ‘charity’ that he uses to make even more money by harming society with cartels (oil, pharmaceutical, genetics, etc.) while using his wealth to control communication about the subject [1, 2, 3] and indoctrinate the young [1, 2, 3, 4].

As we showed yesterday, Bill Gates had begun some kind of a media blitz starting with the New York Times and the Huffington Post [1, 2, 3]. Bill Gates is attacking Google while pretending to congratulate them. He also uses some shrewd talking points in order to use Google to whitewash his own crimes in all sorts of publications. Here is what he did in Good Morning America: (direct link to the interview)

TAKING A BREAK from global philanthropy, Bill Gates has chipped in his tuppence worth on China’s Internet policy by stating that the Internet needs to thrive as an engine of free speech.

In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Gates said he felt that official Internet censorship policies are very limited. When questioned about Steve Ballmer’s remark on China’s ‘Google problem’, Gates replied without referring to Google.

The same nonsense from Bill Gates has reached Reuters and other Web sites. They just print everything he says as if his wealth indicates that he knows better than anyone else, even in fields like economics. Robber barons are the ones to inquire about rogue economies, not economics.

Regarding the New York Times piece, our reader quotes Gates as follows:

“I wouldn’t call anyone a monopolist,”…

‘He went on to say that historically companies that become “hyper-successful” invite government antitrust scrutiny…’

“If governments don’t care, that’s a bad sign,” Mr. Gates said.

“There are several positive feedback loops in this business, and they are particularly powerful” [regarding Google]

‘Microsoft is investing heavily in search — “the last big investor” other than Google’

[ haaaa ? what the **** is he on about ? Remember Microsoft was in 'search' way before Google, yea ?? ]

“They’ve done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it,”

“Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I’d give them credit.”

Pay attention to these talking points which he is repeating in his latest “anti-Google tour”.

Over at Ghabuntu (Ghana Ubuntu), memories of what Bill Gates did to Gary Kildall and his business have just been resurrected.

Gary Kildall was an computer instructor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate school in Monterey, California. In 1974 he saw an ad for an Intel processor and called the company to offer his services. He was hired to write programming tools for the new Intel 4004 microprocessor. When Intel introduced the 8008 and 8080 models he wrote a high-level language for them that made the processor infinitely more useful. You could give English-like commands to the chip instead of talking in 0s and 1s.

When Intel developed the world’s first floppy disk system, the company decided not to sell it to the public. Kildall asked if he could sell a version. He invented the first DOS (disk operating system) and called it CP/M or control program for microprocessors. It could keep track of peripherals like a monitor or a disk drive.

His friends said he wrote it by himself, effortlessly, which showed his tremendous aptitude for writing computer code. They also wondered why anybody would possibly want an operating system for a single user. Kildall wasn’t in it for the money, but for the joy of being able to do it.


He sold his company DRI to Novell for $120 million in 1991. He hosted a television show for PBS about computers and wrote a 250 page tell all book that was never published. He acknowledged that the book would probably be construed as sour grapes. His son is afraid to have the book published to this day for fear of being sued by Bill Gates.

Shortly before midnight July 8, 1994, Kildall walked into a bar wearing his Harley-Davidson vest. The bar was filled with a group of rough looking bikers. No one is sure what happened, but somehow he hit his head on something while falling backwards. Was he in a fight? Drunk? Not even Kildall could remember.

He walked out of the bar on his own. In two separate visits to the hospital that weekend no one found the bloodclot between his skull and brain. Three days later he was dead at age 52.

This version from Ghabuntu says that “Gary Kildall was not happy when he found out about the Microsoft-IBM deal. He considered it theft when he learned how similar MS-DOS was to CP/M. He was too easy going to sue and even if he did, copyright laws would have made it hard for him to win. A copyright only protects you from an outright copy, not an imitation.” Sadly, Ubuntu is now helping Microsoft against Google, but that’s the subject of the next post.

“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”

Gary Kildall

Related posts:

  1. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  2. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  3. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”

Microsoft, Intel, and White-collar Crime

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC, SCO, UNIX at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tying necktie

Summary: More information about the two abusive monopolies and how GNU/Linux fits their puzzle

GROKLAW has begun publishing more Comes vs Microsoft exhibits, including some that we shared here before (some of these posts of ours made the front page of Slashdot, Digg, and even the mainstream press). This series from Groklaw began some weeks ago and we think it’s wonderful that Groklaw brings the material to a broader audience, using some of the transcripts which we worked on in the past (there is reuse going on). It’s a truly wonderful case of community collaboration for the sake of justice.

Some days ago, Groklaw published its own interpretation of the Intel exhibits, adding to them Groklaw’s expertise on SCO matters:

This exhibit, for example, is from early 2002, and if you recall Darl McBride joined Caldera, now calling itself SCO, in the summer of 2002, and at the end of the year, it was gearing up to attack Linux. That is the context. Microsoft by 2002, after losing to Linux in 1999, was still not able to persuade Intel developers to come back to Windows.

As you read the exhibit, then, please imagine you are Microsoft when Darl McBride comes calling with a plan to litigate Linux into the ground, force Linux to remove code SCOfolk thought Linux couldn’t function without in the enterprise, or place a SCO tax on every Linux server, all of which would make it easier for Microsoft to compete against an operating system that was preferred already at Intel. Imagine you are not the type to stay awake nights, worrying about business ethics or fine points like that.

Microsoft asked Intel what it should do. Some suggestions from Intel: improve interoperability between Windows and Linux/UNIX, improve “stability of environment, OS, shell environment, scripts, etc.”, find “a unique value prop that will convince EDA ISVs about the advantage of supporting Windows & .NET.” Intel reportedly offered to help Microsoft with developing that, “since they’re familiar with the terrain.” In short, if Microsoft could improve in interoperability, it would enable Intel to switch from Linux to Windows and .NET.

So all you folks helping Microsoft become more interoperable, are you working with a “new” Microsoft that has now seen the light? Or, are you enabling Microsoft to replace Linux, after you help them write the code and share with them the way to fix their stupid software? What are you thinking? You are doing their coding for them with a goal on their part you won’t enjoy. In short, the conclusion I reach after reading this exhibit is that if Microsoft can’t interoperate well with Linux, it will decline faster.

We have covered this before. See the following:

More Intel exhibits are to be covered in the future (we haven’t the time to do that yet). We also have some alarming exhibits that show Microsoft giving hints of the SCO lawsuit (or similar). See for example:

Here is a good comment from Groklaw:

These applications touch the heart of corporate innovation – the core designs and concepts that will drive a company forward for a decade or more. They’re more than just marketing numbers and advertising strategies that might affect their bottom line for a few quarters or two years at most. They’re important.
Given that Windows-only users are just the sort who take their work home on their laptops to connect directly to their home Internet connection without so much as a NAT router to protect them – and then click on any old flash game or link they find on Facebook – and then bring the same laptop back to connect to the intranet, is any consideration at all given to security? Do corporations just accept that their most precious intellectual property is flying out the door at an aggregate 1000Gbps? Or do they consider these issues and decide that the value add of Windows environments is worth more than keeping their secrets? If so, how? How do you sit at the table where supposedly savvy and responsible people decide such things and advocate that without being walked directly to the door by security staff?

We hope that more people will help Groklaw assemble what we have from Comes. It’s a fountain of knowledge and a peephole into Microsoft’s corporate crime. In Groklaw’s latest exhibit, Bill Gates is shown referring to his completion as “Jihad”; he has done that more than once (on other occasions), so it’s not just a slip of the tongue.

Earlier this month Microsoft and Intel entered a collaboration around the spying on users and profiling of their habits, having previously attacked OLPC more or less jointly. We will hopefully have time to cover this later today.

Patents Roundup: A Week’s Worth, Links and Snippets Only

Posted in IBM, Law, Patents at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A quick assemblage of patent news of interest (patents being the #1 barrier to Free software)

Save the Whales! Abolish Patents! The Case of Green Technology

Abolishing so-called intellectual “property” (IP) won’t solve all social ills — yet perhaps it will save the whales. In a series of posts based on research with my co-author Michele Boldrin, we are tackling one issue at a time. Our first post looked at health care. Here we examine green technology, specifically technologies designed to mitigate global warming.

There are many solutions to the problem of global warming — ignoring it is popular with the extreme right, and moving back to the stone age is of equal interest to the extreme left. For the rest of us improving technology seems like a good place to start. Even if dumping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere turns out not to lead to global warming, the ill-health effects of pollution aren’t controversial.

Note: old pattern of articles warning against patents that prevent fixing of the environment. We’ll see a lot more of these.

Update On Bilski

Editor: Clearly this case has drawn significant interest, with nearly 70 amicus briefs having been filed. How big are the stakes here?

Bauer: The stakes are very high. Depending on what the court does, this could be a transforming event. Over the last 30 to 40 years, the patent system has evolved essentially to allow nearly anything to be patented. This case has brought the issue of business method patents into question, specifically a process that could make energy costs more predictable. Based on the justices’ comments during oral arguments, the Supreme Court appears poised to scale back what should be considered patentable – the question is how far they’ll go.

Groklaw News Picks about Gene Quinn from IP Watchdog:

[PJ: Nice to know this patent attorney doesn't respect even the Supreme Court, and expressed that he and other patent attorneys intend to overrule the Supreme Court's decision if they don't agree with it. And I know Mr. Quinn knows that the objections to software patents are not based on a desire to copy, because he and I have had conversations. I think there is no point in answering him in his comments section, therefore. Once folks start saying things like this, it's probably time to exit the scene, because it's no longer a rational conversation.]

Note: IP Watchdog sometimes seems like IP Watchtroll. Gene Quinn is a troll; “Troll” in the Internet sense anyway, as he’s seemingly provoking for the sake of it, not just for his pocket.

IBM leads list of US patents granted in 2009

Obama’s Man at the USPTO Seeks to Rehab the Agency

ID: Interesting. We need to talk about first-to-file. But before we get to that, to what extent is your lengthy tenure at IBM influencing you at the USPTO? Are you running it more like a Fortune 500 company?

David Kappos: That’s another great question and I would answer it with yes and no. Yes in the sense that I am trying to bring business discipline. I have a lot of experience in managing and leading in running businesses and running P and Ls – profits and losses, right – in management processes, in setting cadence, in developing and running a pipeline. These are all disciplines that you learn when you spend your career in the business world.


I spent a lot of time with Richard. I’m here to make the Richards of the world successful. I’m here to make the pharmaceutical industry successful. I’m here to make specialty chemicals successful. I’m here to make medium-sized businesses in California successful.

Talking tough on censorship (from the comments)

Actually, if you look at the world of software patents, the entire system is corrupt and a ghastly, horrible mess. There are entire industries of software patent squatters, who never – for a moment – desire to make hardware or software, they just go through the motions filing as many conceivable patents as they can, and when a company goes and makes a product they sue them looking for money. The system was intended so people who performed original and innovative research did not have their plans stolen and reproduced. That desire is not happening.

Patents are not the same as copyright rights, though they are related. Of course, this is not to defend Chinese state hacking or piracy, but don’t cry about the Patent system too much – it is indefensible.

Libertarian Patent Lawyer Defends Patent Law

I see here a libertarian patent lawyer who is taking it for granted that patents are legitimate property rights–presumably because he believes the law should grant a monopoly license to provide “the exclusivity needed to encourage investment in new technology.” Patents are not legitimate property rights. They are mercantalist, monopolistic abominations. Libertarians, including libertarian patent attorneys, should oppose the patent system.

Patent Lawyer Mostly Agrees With Me

For years I have been wondering what the EPO, JPO, and KIPO are doing right that the USPTO is not and why can’t the USPTO look and see what the EPO, JPO, and KIPO are doing to figure it out and then adopt it. It reminds me of the time that Bush’s first crony appointment to head the PTO came to our PIPLA meeting and told us “We’ve got the best patent office in the world.” In reality, we wouldn’t even get the bronze metal. Our typical American chauvinism prevents us from looking elsewhere for improvement.

Motorola seeks ban on US BlackBerries (embargo attempt, mentioned before)

ArcelorMittal, IPCom, Bimbo: Intellectual Property (Update1)

An affiliate of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, sued some of its biggest rivals alleging infringement of a U.S. patent for hot- and cold-rolled metal sheeting used for car bodies.

ArcelorMittal France contends AK Steel Corp. of West Chester, Ohio; Severstal Dearborn Inc. of Dearborn, Michigan; and Wheeling-Nisshin Inc. of Follansbee, West Virginia, should pay damages and stop using the invention for aluminum-coated boron steel products and a thermal treatment process used to strengthen auto parts.

Is IP another bubble about to burst? A view from another civilization.

As a child growing up in India, one of the first things I learned is a hymn to Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, which says that:

Wonderful is your gift of knowledge
the more we share, the more it grows
the more we hoard it, the more it diminishes

As a grown-up living in a globalized world, I am constantly bombarded by the the term, “intellectual property.” Policy makers keep saying that India should create more IP. Countless seminars extol the virtues of IP even as patents are granted for “Method for swinging on a swing,” “Method for Concealing Partial Baldness.” In the computer industry, patents are routinely granted for things that are obvious and have been known for years. Things have come to such a pass that even an industry veteran like Andy Grove was forced to say that, “The true value of an invention is its usefulness to the public. Patents themselves have become products. They’re instruments of investment traded on a separate market, often by speculators motivated by the highest financial return on their investment….


When we look back on our times, we may find that the term, “Intellectual Property” has taken its place along side another archaic term, “Horseless Carriage.” Both were attempts to impose metaphors of the past on the future. And the folly of our times is that we treat inexhaustible resources like knowledge as finite resource and treat finite resources like oil and forests as infinite resources. The sooner we turn these attitudes around, the better it will be for the future of mankind.

Software patents petition pushed

A PETITION opposing software patents has been launched in Europe with the hope of preventing costly legal battles and restrictive policies.

It has long been thought that patenting software was counter-productive to innovation in the industry, and the adoption of software patents in the UK and Europe has long been debated. This latest online petition looks to be gathering broad support in light of some recent disputes.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts