IRC Proceedings: April 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 10/4/2010: RIM Buys QNX, Palm Pre Runs Almost Everything

Posted in News Roundup at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Things Linux Does Better Than Windows

    In the computer hardware world, certain segments are saturated with choice, while others are not. Take graphics cards for example. For the most part, it’s AMD (ATI) vs. NVIDIA. For CPU’s, AMD vs. Intel. For CPU coolers… ugh, where to begin. We’d need at least a billion “vs.” for that one! Then there are operating systems, where like GPU’s and CPU’s, the choices of major vendor are slim.

  • Chris Atkins: ‘Sometimes I want to punch people who make technology’

    What’s your favourite piece of technology, and how has it improved your life?

    Without question, my favourite piece of technology is my Nokia n900 phone. It is super amazing and pisses all over the iPhone. The ingenious bit about it is that it’s open source, so you can program it to do whatever you want. I used to do some work with Linux when I ran a post-production house, so we’ve worked out how to make it do all sorts of funky things. Some boffins who we do some work with have connected it up to a Rollodex, so as you spin through your contacts, a motor spins through the rollodex. And they canibalised an old Speak & Spell, so you can send texts that sound like ET. It’s the best thing ever.

  • Why I use what I use (software)

    As you can see, my setup is driven by conservative needs, which is why you’ll never see me overclock, pour liquid Nitrogen onto the CPU, flash my BIOS (sounds naughty), or run the latest bleeding edge alpha releases.

  • Desktop

    • 15 Cool and Unique Linux Desktop Workspaces (Workstations)

      15 Cool and Unique Linux Desktop Workspaces (Workstations): I’ve seen plenty of excellent computer workspace or workstation setup lists on the web but I have never seen a collection of workspaces that is exclusively related to Linux. Because of this, I decided to gather several photos of some of the coolest and unique Linux desktop workstations so that I can share them to all of you. In addition to that, I will also be showing you my very own (simple) workstation, which you will see later on.

    • Linux and the Dialup Modem

      One of the interesting things I’ve been working with of late in the Linux world is trying to get a computer to connect to the internet with a dialup modem. I myself haven’t had to dialup to the internet for the better part of 8 years, what with having DSL myself. However, about 35% of the US has to use dialup in one form or another. And in other countries it can be as high as 95%.

      And yes, there are efforts to send dialup to a cold, dark grave in the next five years. However, I don’t think it ever will die. Yes, it’ll be greatly reduced, and may fall to as little as 5% of the population who are using it, but it will remain a staple of daily internet access for at least some slice of the population for years to come. Therefore, I ask this interesting question. Why doesn’t Linux do a better job of supporting dialup modems?

    • How Compiz Fusion and Chaos Built a Linux Hardware Company

      This love-of-Ubuntu turned into a search for Ubuntu-only hardware which turned into me founding a Linux-only hardware company in early 2007. Through ZaReason I have had the delightful opportunity to customize keyboards with Ubuntu or Tux on the Start key and subsequently ask other companies, “Um, does your Ubuntu laptop have a Windows logo on the Start key? How odd…” I have had the rush of enthusiasm when a customer in our first year sent us an extensive (and I mean extensive) price list of how our computers compared to other vendors, showing us where we were doing well and where we needed to improve. I have a wall of love letters showing my builders, my brilliant, wildly intelligent builders that they are on the right path, doing great work for real people, not just order numbers.

  • BlackBerry

    • RIM Buys QNX to Tie Phones to Cars

      Research in Motion said Friday that it had signed a deal with Harman International to acquire its QNX Software Systems unit to help tie its BlackBerry smartphones to car navigation systems.

      Terms of the deal were not announced. It is expected to close within 30 to 45 days if it passes regulatory approvals.

    • The BlackBerry Learns New Tricks

      The deal gives RIM access to a Linux-based software platform that controls information and entertainment data flows in places like network switches, medical systems, and smart-home energy management applications — but the crown jewel of QNX is its in-car infotainment system.

    • RIM buys QNX unit from Harman
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux: Properly Creating And Testing Patches

      “If you’re wondering why I’m taking a long time to respond to your patches,”, began Theodore Ts’o on the linux-ext4 mailing list, in a thread that offered much insight into how and why to properly submit and test patches.

    • Catch the Collaboration Summit from the Comfort of Home

      Next week’s Collaboration Summit, put on by the Linux Foundation, will gather together “the brightest minds in Linux” to mull over all the great problems that plague our beloved operating system. If you can’t make it to San Francisco to collaborate in person, fear not, the Summit will come to you.

    • Free video streaming offered for Linux summit

      The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced it is now accepting registrations for a free, live video streaming program of its Collaboration Summit keynote sessions in San Francisco next Wednesday, April 14. Meanwhile, the non-profit Linux advocacy group has announced several new members, including Ricoh, Parallels, and Cubrid.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Using KDE software labels, An interview with the developer of Brewtarget

      In early March Stuart Jarvis wrote an article published here on the Dot which announced the winners of the poll results for suitable KDE software labels. Since then work has begun on coming up with suitable logos for these labels. This work is still underway and in need of volunteers if you have time and artistic skills.

    • Website for Akademy 2010 is Online, Time to Register!

      Starting July 3rd 2010, hundreds of KDE community members, employees of companies working with us and many other Free Software enthusiasts will gather at Tampere, Finland. There, at the University of Tampere, the annual Akademy summit 2010 will take place. For a full week, Tampere will be the place where stunning new technology is demonstrated, hundreds of prominent Free Software contributors walk the corridors and new plans for the future of the Free Desktop emerge.

  • Distributions

    • What being a Gentoo developer is about

      Besides writing ebuilds itself being a Gentoo developer is about quite a few other things: it’s never just configure-make-make-install. It’s actually true not only for Gentoo but for other distros, too. Read on.

    • Crunchbang and Archbang

      Since I stepped up to a slightly more modern computer, I have shifted the majority of my distro-hopping expeditions to virtual machines. Having two cores means I can usually still meddle in other matters while watching an ISO boot in Qemu. And it saves a few steps in burning a CD, rebooting, tinkering with the live environment, then returning to an installed system.

      But let’s face it: Emulated systems just aren’t anywhere near as fun as the real thing. Distro-hopping in a virtual machine is like drinking sugar-free cola … where’s the fun in that? And it tastes strange too.

    • New Releases

      • Salix Live 13.0 (32-bit) is ready

        After a few months of development we are pleased to release the final version of Salix Live 13.0 (32-bit).

        It faithfully replicates Salix 13.0.2 from which it adopts its full choice of application (Xfce, Firefox, the full Openoffice suite, Gimp, Exaile, etc.). Salix Live offers you a complete working desktop which can be used in a completely nomadic but customizable environment. The “Persistence Wizard” will enable you to easily preserve any of your work and modifications. Alternatively Salix Live can be used as a full fledged demo of Salix OS that can easily be installed with the help of our brand new graphical installer.

      • Calculate Linux 10.4 released

        Calculate Linux is a family of distribution, based on Gentoo GNU/Linux and completely compatible with it. Calculate Linux family has three members: Calculate Linux Desktop (CLD, CLDG, CLDX), Calculate Directory Server (CDS) and Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS).

      • The DragonFly 2.6 release is here!

        Three release options are now available for 32-bit: Our bare-bones CD ISO, a bare-bones bootable USB disk-key image (minimum 1G USB stick needed), and a GUI bootable USB disk-key image with a full X environment. The GUI USB image replaces the DVD ISO image we had in the previous release, to work around issues with DVDs simply being too slow to boot an X environment from.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Tinyme Linux- A tiny OS for old computers

        TinyMe is a lightweight PCLinuxOS-based operating system, replacing KDE with the smaller and faster Openbox window manager. TinyMe is aimed at making the computing experience as bloat- and lag-free as possible. It is well-suited to older computers, enthusiasts devoted to small/fast systems, or users who just want a minimal environment. TinyMe is comparable to other mini Linux distributions like Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Feather Linux.

    • Debian Family

      • First Debian Mini Conference to be held in Germany
      • Ubuntu

        • Canonical’s services play: Revenue windfall or trap?

          It’s tough to compete in an industry where your customers expect your product to be free. Such is the case with software, where giveaways have seemingly become the norm. (Try selling a Web browser or an audio player in 2010.) Some developers have turned to advertising to underwrite their efforts. More recently, a few software vendors have begun offering Internet services as a way to add value to their products and raise revenue. But the latter model is not without its pitfalls.

          Take Canonical, for example. The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution now offers cloud-based data synchronization services under the Ubuntu One brand. You can get 2GB of storage for free; $10 per month gets you 50GB. Soon Canonical will be expanding its offering to include contact synchronization for smartphones — also for a fee — and an Ubuntu One Music Store as a Linux-based competitor to iTunes.

        • Ubuntu 10.04: Coming Soon [VIDEO]

          With the Paolo Sammicheli help (that cared about the audio and the communication side) we made a “coming soon” video for Ubuntu 10.04 in order to improve and help the work of any Ubuntu LoCo Team.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 10 (or so) of the Best Mobile Linux Apps

      Of course, some mobile Linux devices will be written from the ground up for mobile devices. Here are five cool ones, picked somewhat at random from all the many. Literally thousands more can be found at mobile Linux app listing directories like the Zaurus Software Index or the Maemo Garage.


      So there you have it, my list of top mobile Linux apps. And I didn’t even get to applications with web service tie-ins, like the super-nifty JayCut video editor or get to what’s coming from the Intel AppUp Center or Nokia’s Ovi Store. Perhaps I’d better ask for help on this one! If you have a favorite mobile Linux app, please post it below, using the story comments feature!

    • Linux tools support Cortex-A8-based 802.11n module

      Timesys announced a partnership with Digi International, making the company the preferred commercial Linux solutions provider for Digi’s ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 wireless module. Timesys’ LinuxLink embedded development framework now supports the Wi-i.MX51 module, based on Freescale’s Cortex-A8-based i.MX51 system-on-chip, and also supports Digi’s Wi-i.MX51 “JumpStart” reference kit, says Timesys.

    • Linux multimedia dream machine, cool!

      This is the Dreambox, a Linux powered price winning digital television receiver. While it may not look like much at first, wait till you hear what special features it supports (some unofficially) .


      The feature I believe this system is most popular for, is not officially supported it even breaks your warranty and is not promoted by Dream multimedia. Unofficial third-party conditional access software modules (CAMs or emulators) are widely circulated on the Internet that emulate the CA systems developed by VideoGuard, Irdeto Access, Conax, Nagravision, Viaccess and other proprietary vendors. Many Dreambox owners use these softcams together with special software for card sharing. Card sharing is when you buy one card for pay-tv and share de decryption codes generated by the card over the network. This allows for watching the pay-tv channels on other systems not equipped with a card. While this practice may be illegal in some jurisdictions, it’s obviously very popular.

    • COM Express module maximizes PCIe expansion

      Axiomtek is readying a Linux-ready COM Express Type-II module that supports up to 19 lanes of PCI-Express, plus up to four PCI slots. The CEM831 includes an Intel Atom N270, up to 4GB of DDR2 memory, gigabit Ethernet, and dual channel LVDS, says the company.

    • Pogoplug serves up tunes from repurposed iPod

      Lehrbaum launched his PogoPod project by prepping an 80GB iPod Classic for use as an A/V fileserver, restoring its firmware and configuration to Apple’s default factory settings, and configuring the device to be accessible as a USB drive. Then, he copied over 37GB of music to the device from an Ubuntu Linux-based PC.

    • Palm

    • Android

      • Android OS Now Used To Drive Real Robots

        For those wondering about the propriety of the name “Android” as a mobile device operating system, wonder no more because its real purpose has finally been revealed. It’s really an operating system for robots.

      • Best Android Mobile Phones In The UK

        Read our detailed overview of what Android is and why it’s the best thing for mobile phones since sliced bread, then check out our list of the best Android Handsets available in the UK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • $100 netbook has ten-inch screen

        Shenzen-based Science and Technology Co. Ltd. has released a $100 netbook that runs Android, Linux, or Windows CE 6.0 on a Via-manufactured ARM SoC (system on chip). The 1.87-pound device includes a 10-inch screen with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, from 1GB to 4GB of flash storage, and two hours of battery life, according to the Shanzhaiben.com website.

    • Tablets

      • ICD, HP tablets take shape as Nokia tablet rumors re-emerge

        Innovative Converged Devices (ICD) is prepping an 11.2-inch, Android-based “Gemini” tablet that blows away the iPad on specs, says Engadget. Meanwhile, HP has tipped more details on its Slate tablet, which may run Android, and Nokia is rumored to be readying a tablet that runs the Linux-based MeeGo.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FLOSS Weekly 116: eLua

    James Snyder stops by to talk about eLua, a fully featured programing language for embedded applications.

  • Health IT’s Brewsters Millions

    There is a real possibility and a likely political calculus that these public goods type organizations such as RECs and training programs are structurally set to fail or claim a type of illusory ‘success’. Proprietary EHR companies will be all too happy to point to such failures as proof that they can get the job done.

    With proprietary EHR software, it can all be boiled down to one question: How can allowing taxpayer funding of more opacity (proprietary licensed EHR’s) and not directly funding more transparency (open source licensed EHR’s) in a health care system be a good thing?

  • Open Source BI Efficiency

    Over 300 organizations currently using BI took part in the study, which examined how they prioritize their use of BI resources. Of those, 71 indicated they are actively using open source software as one (or more) of the primary components of their BI implementation. Thirteen of those 71 were using open source products exclusively to provide BI to their business community. The remainder used some combination of open source and traditionally licensed software or subscription based software (software as a service).

  • WebKit2 May Bring Browser Changes

    WebKit, an open source browser layout engine used in Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome, will be releasing a new API layer for the engine called WebKit2, which will allow web content and the application to run in separate processes.

  • Catching up with Leslie Hawthorn

    Few people in the open source community have touched as many projects as Leslie Hawthorn, the now-former open source program manager for Google. As one of less than ten employees in Google’s open source programs office, Hawthorn was at the center of the Google Summer of Code — a project that has worked with hundreds of projects and thousands of college students since its inception in 2005.

  • Mozilla

    • Why Mozilla Needs To Go Into Survival Mode
    • WebKit 2 and Firefox Lorentz Going ‘Out of Process’

      Browser vendors are always trying to improve the stability of their platforms. One key approach being adopted by multiple browser vendors is to take plugins out of the regular browser process and isolate them. The benefit of out-of-process plugins is that if a plugin, say Adobe’s Flash for example, crashes, the entire browser won’t crash.

      Backers of the open source WebKit rendering engine, which is used by Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and RIM’s upcoming new browser for Blackberry, are now testing out new out-of-process capabilities in WebKit2. Mozilla is out this week with Firefox Lorentz Beta which includes out-of-process plug-ins as well.

    • Google trying anew for a 3D Web

      Two related projects from Mozilla and Google, each with the similar goal of bringing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the Web, appear to be joining forces after a change in Google tactics.

  • Oracle

    • MySQL users urge Oracle to improve commitment to open source

      MySQL users are cautiously optimistic about life under Oracle, but say Larry Ellison’s team needs to offer a more detailed road map for development of the open source database.

      Under Sun Microsystems, MySQL development “was a little stagnant,” says Rocky Appiah, vice president of technology at Epic Advertising in New York City, a heavy user of MySQL. But when asked if MySQL will improve under Oracle, Epic Advertising CIO Rick Okin says, “Ask us that after they’ve actually owned it for a while.”


    • FSF Advocates Free Software for U.S. IPEC Joint Strategic Plan

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has responded to the United States executive “Intellectual Property” Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Joint Strategic Plan.

      The FSF argues that the government should use free software to provide more freedom and transparency to its constituents and reduce the need to engage in costly copyright enforcement activities on behalf of proprietary software companies. The FSF states that “the most egregious harms to the public interest in the areas of copyright and patents come not from a lack of enforcement, but from extraordinarily excessive enforcement.”

    • GNU Generation 2.0

      After many successful months of GNU Generation, GNU Generation 2.0 was officially announced at LibrePlanet 2010. This builds upon the original GNU Generation by lowering the entry barrier to free software contribution, and making the program more extensible.

    • Incoming distros

      This is a list of new projects for free distros. They have not been evaluated for freedom yet, so they are not in the gnu.org distros list. Most of them are beta software, and this list might also contain projects not yet released or started.

  • Open Access/Content

    • EU KLEMS Growth and Productivity Accounts

      The November 2009 release is an update of the March 2008 release. It provides data up to 2007, but for a limited set of variables and industries (32 instead of 72 industries).

    • Talkin’ about a revolution

      There is news for subscribers of the open-source school who have been waiting for the day when tax-funded research will be freely accessible by all — mountain is about to come to Mohammed a la MIT open courseware. And the ministry of human resources development (MHRD) has chosen design education to test the waters.

    • Volunteers create new digital maps

      “A lot of people thought ‘garbage in; garbage out’ — if you only had the ordinary Joe on the street contributing data, you’d get bad data,” said Steve Coast, who founded OpenStreetMap as a university student in Britain in 2004 when he couldn’t find any open-source digital map data, and decided to go out and map Regent’s Park in London himself. “And in fact, it’s much better data.”

  • Programming

    • The Tyranny of Memory Part IV (Immutable Strings)

      Recent performance improvements in Parrot to avoid aggressive buffer copying and to avoid unnecessary buffer reallocations demonstrate how bugs, mistakes, and design infelicities at the lowest levels of your program stack can have dramatic negative effects on the whole program.

    • Making Programming Easier For Kids With PyJunior

      The interface is simple. There is an area where you can type in code in at the top (which is syntax highlighted to make it easier to understand), and below it is where the output of the program is displayed. At the top is a toolbar that I have deliberately made nice and big and easy to click for kids who are new to using a mouse. When they want to run the code they have typed in, they click the Run button. This will automatically save the file, run it and display the output in the black area at the bottom.


  • Law

    • Spam a Judge, Go to Jail?

      A litigant in a civil lawsuit asked an appeals court Wednesday to overturn his 30-day contempt sentence for urging people to send e-mail to a federal judge.

      Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 30 days in jail on a contempt charge for urging his followers to e-mail a judge.

      Lots of e-mail.

    • Regulatory failure? Blame the D.C. Circuit.

      There’s a lot of talk these days about how Washington has become dysfunctional. While most of the focus has been on Congress, the inability to perform even basic functions also extends to the agencies that are charged with protecting workers, consumers and investors. Unfortunately, it often takes a global financial crisis or a deadly coal mine explosion to remind us of the serious consequences of regulatory failure.

    • Pearlstein: Beware the courts on government regulation

      I can’t find the quote, but Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that justices first decide how they want a case to come out and then pick the arguments to reach that end. With that in mind, it is much easier for us commoners to understand how judges reach their judgments and that being human, they are not averse to expanding their own powers.

    • The Shirky Principle

      “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” — Clay Shirky

      I think this observation is brilliant. It reminds me of the clarity of the Peter Principle, which says that a person in an organization will be promoted to the level of their incompetence. At which point their past achievements will prevent them from being fired, but their incompetence at this new level will prevent them from being promoted again, so they stagnate in their incompetence.

  • Science

    • South African fossils could be new hominid species

      The Malapa fossils were unearthed in the famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which has yielded many fine fossils down the years.

    • Rogue Brown Dwarf Lurks in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

      Brown dwarf-hunting astronomers have reported the discovery of a “failed star” located within 10 light-years from Earth. This makes it the nearest brown dwarf and one of ten nearest stellar objects to our solar system. Although its location isn’t entirely unexpected (it is thought that the galaxy is stuffed full of these objects), the chemical composition of its atmosphere is a bit of a conundrum.

  • Security/Aggression

    • making Rumsfeld look like a techie by comparison

      If there’s one flavor of reporting I find more irritating than innumerate science “journalism”, it’s got to be the cybersecurity beat. This morning NPR was the offender.

      I should admit up front that I automatically assume that anyone employing the prefix “cyber” is an idiot, and this unfortunately means that I’m inclined toward skepticism even when listening to actual experts in the field. But this NPR piece is symptomatic of a undeniably idiotic tendency to lump together every governmental system that takes electricity, then assume that summarizing the first twenty minutes of Transformers and asking “WHAT IF?!” qualifies you as some sort of digital Cassandra.

    • NSF funding creation of secure new OS

      The researchers have now been awarded a $1.15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build the Ethos OS in an attempt to foil botnets and other security threats. Ethos has been in the works for a few years, with the idea emerging from a 2006 panel on botnets.

  • Finance

    • Report: Banks Understated Debt Levels

      According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, eighteen banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, lowered debt levels just prior to reporting earnings during the past five quarters. The revised data made balance sheets appear to be lest risky.

    • The next Greek tragedy: default or bail-out?

      Greece is in danger of defaulting on its national debt as its bond market comes under increasing pressure, unless its European neighbors intervene.

      Analysts believe that the shape of Greece’s fiscal future – default or bail-out – could be decided in the coming days.

      “We think an intervention over the weekend is a distinct possibility,” wrote Stephane Deo, a UBS analyst based in London, in a note to investors.

      He said that the falling price of Greek bonds “means that an external intervention may be unavoidable and could happen very soon as the situation is untenable.”

    • Labaton to Goldman Sachs

      A New York Times reporter who covered the financial crisis, Stephen Labaton, has been hired by Goldman Sachs as “as a full-time consultant on regulatory and legal issues,” the Washington Examiner notices Politico noticing.

    • A call I somehow doubt I’ll be getting — Goldman hires NYT finance writer

      Good thing Goldman is “mov[ing] to navigate Washington regulation,” because, you know, the firm doesn’t really have any Washington connections.

    • Goldman’s Nicholas Said to Leave Environmental Commodities Unit

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s head of environmental commodities including carbon emissions, Gerrit Nicholas, has left the firm, according to a bank official briefed on the decision.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • On Net Neutrality

      This issue will of course be going to the Supreme Court. The Federal Government cannot let this go. Despite the ruling of the Appeals court, the FCC is responsible for a wide variety of communication issues, and many believe that the FCC does have the authority to regulate traffic on the Internet (at least domestically).

      A bigger question though is this. What if the Supreme Court says that the FCC does not have this authority? What happens then? Will it come down to who can buy the largest number of votes on Capitol Hill? And what does that bode for the future of the Internet, and the services many of us have come to rely on?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Misguided Outrage At NY Times’ Ethicist Over Ethics Of Downloading A Book

        First of all, the situation he was discussing was one where the ebooks were not even available — so it wasn’t even a question of the author losing any money.

      • Juliet vs. Juliet: Did Someone Forget To Tell Hollywood You Can’t Copyright An Idea?

        That’s the only explanation I can come up with for the ongoing lawsuit between two movie studios over who can make and/or release a movie about people seeking advice in love by leaving letters at the supposed gravestone of Juliet Capulet (of “Romeo &” fame). Apparently, two separate studios made movies on the topic, and one is suing to stop the other from releasing the movie.

      • More about the Encouragement of Learning

        And for each book printed, “nine copies upon the best paper,” were to be reserved for “the Royal Library, the Libraries of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Libraries of the Four Universities in Scotland, the Library of Sion College in London, and the Library commonly called the Library belonging to the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh.” If delivery of books did not take place within ten days after receiving a demand from a library, the offender was fined five pounds (per book).

      • More Movies Trying Out Tiered CwF+RtB Support Models

        The first, pointed out by rosspruden is about a Spanish film called The Cosmonaut which has a few unique features surrounding it. Ross listed them out:

        1. the filmmakers are releasing their work under a CC license to let others mix and reuse their film.
        2. the film is fully funded from fan donations (so the film never needs to turn a profit)
        3. profits are generated from sales of scarce goods
        4. fans are allowed to invest in the project for real financial profit (not virtual profit), which isn’t allowed according to SEC regulations (yet)

      • First Amendment Based Copyright Misuse

        We are at a crossroads with respect to the under-developed equitable defense of copyright misuse. The defense may go the way of its sibling, antitrust-based patent misuse, which seems to be in a state of inevitable decline. Or – if judges accept the proposal of this Article – courts could reinvigorate the copyright misuse defense to better protect First Amendment speech that is guaranteed by statute, but that is often chilled by copyright holders misusing their copyrights to control other’s speech.

    • Newspapers

      • Another Paywall Experiment Ends Badly

        I could have taken my last post and just changed the words “Johnston Press” to “Freedom Communications,” but that would be too cheeky. Instead I’ll just link over to Paid Content, who reports that another large media publisher has decided to end its paywall experiment. This time it’s Freedom Communications, who tested a full paywall at the Valley Morning Star, a small town newspaper in Texas. Today, there is a banner on the site that says “We Moved Back to a Completely Free Site.”

      • No linking to Japanese newspaper without permission

        We’ve definitely entered an era of experiment when it comes to online content, as a number of publications with a tradition in the print world are testing out approaches like building paywalls, mixing free and paid content, and limiting the amount of content that’s indexed by search engines.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • My letter to the Musicians Union About the Digital Economy Bill

        I opposed it, I still oppose it and I will continue to oppose any legislation about the internet written by people who don’t understand the internet or, in this case, the music industries and the role that music plays in our culture.

        I’m particularly ashamed that the Musicians Union – a Union of which I am a member, was a proud member, and have supported by paying double what I should’ve been paying for the last two years – supported this insane bill, to the detriment of musicians everywhere.

Clip of the Day

Shared Library Issues In Linux

Patents Roundup: Fordham Conference for Software Patents in Europe, NZOSS Responds to Pro-Software Patents Lobbyists, and TurboHercules’ Ties With Microsoft Explained

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Lawyers’ event pushes for UPLS; New Zealand faces lawyers’ wrath (greed); TurboHercules has presence in Seattle, Washington

“UPLS and EU patent, or the 3rd attempt to legalise software patents in Europe, [are] on the program of the Fordham conference [PDF],” warns the president of the FFII. It seems like a lawyers-led conference seeking to maximise their own wealth at the expense of people who actually create things. UPLS is a disaster. We append the programme in text form at the bottom because we are likely to return to it later when we name culprits, such as lobbyists for software patents in Europe.

There is also heavy lobbying in New Zealand, attempting to reverse exclusion of software patents. Here is what NZOSS has to say:

Law firms that supported continued software patents have published critiques of the arguments put forward by those who opposed software patents and asked for an exclusion to be added to the Patent Bill. In this article Peter Harrison, vice President of the NZOSS responds.

It’s not over in New Zealand. Luckily, there are good people there who stand up for developers.

Some readers have confused our criticism of IBM with denial that TurboHercules is servicing Microsoft. This is rather surprising because we at Techrights were among the first to point out that TurboHercules was acting as a Microsoft shell. We wrote this about a month ago and discreetly received information that may validate it. In 5 more updates, Groklaw provides additional evidence that TurboHercules is connected to Microsoft, including the following article from last year:

TurboHercules is co-headquartered in Paris, France, where Bowler moved after he left the United Kingdom, and in Seattle, Washington, in close proximity to the one big software company that has in the past taken a shining to anything that gave Big Blue some grief, particularly with mainframes. (Yes, we mean Microsoft).

Our reader “Chips” shows us another article that says: “TurboHercules, a privately-held company set up in 2009, is a member of a non-profit trade group called the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which counts Microsoft and Oracle Corp as members, but not IBM.” IDG says that “TurboHercules’ move follows similar antitrust complaints with the European Commission from two other small IBM competitors, PSI and T3 Technologies. Microsoft, an arch-rival had a stake in PSI but the firm was subsequently bought out by IBM. Meanwhile, T3 ranks Microsoft among its shareholders. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an antitrust probe into IBM’s dominance of the mainframe market. That probe was sparked by a complaint from the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade group that ranks Microsoft among its members.”

We have already written several times about Microsoft’s connections with the Communications Industry Association [1, 2], in reference to T3 (which is partly owned by Microsoft).

“[N]otice that Turbohercules does really not say that they are not a pawn of Microsoft, they sort of dance around the issue.”
Just to clarify again, we never defended TurboHercules’ side. Its case is not related to the point that, regardless of context, IBM is using software patents to achieve a goal. We have said that TurboHercules is a malign party for a very long time, so none of us ever claimed otherwise. One could argue that TurboHercules tripped up or pulled a trick on IBM (the Microsoft boosters — including Microsoft’s MVP Miguel de Icaza who has just blocked his tweets from the public — then took the opportunity to bash IBM). Here is the “story thus far,” based on Linux Magazine. We do not necessarily agree with this analysis, but it is new. Roberto Galoppini, who is influential among Free/open source voices in Europe, also has a position on the subject.

“Chips” quotes TurboHercules’ head as saying: “IBM also accuses TurboHercules of cooperating with Microsoft. Bearing in mind that Hercules works very well indeed on both Linux and Windows, not to mention the Macintosh, we are indeed quite happy to cooperate with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Dell, Intel, AMD or anyone else who wants to work with us.”

He then argues: “notice that Turbohercules does really not say that they are not a pawn of Microsoft, they sort of dance around the issue.” For those who did not read our previous posts on the TurboHercules case, they are listed below in chronological order.

  1. Microsoft Proxy Attack on GNU/Linux Continues With TurboHercules
  2. Eye on Security: Windows Malware, Emergency Patches, and BeyondTrust’s CEO from Microsoft
  3. IBM Uses Software Patents Aggressively
  4. IBM’s Day of Shame
  5. IBM Will Never be the Same After Taking Software Patents Out of Its Holster
  6. Thumbs up to Ubuntu for Removing a Part of Microsoft; TurboHercules Likely a Psystar-Type Microsoft Shell
  7. Why IBM Does Deserve Scrutiny (Updated)

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Latest examples — as illustrated by news items — of Microsoft’s strategy with Open Source/Free software

THE latest batch of daily links contains some references to posts which bemoan “open core”. Microsoft sometimes refers to it as “hybrid” and advocates it as the way forward; Microsoft simply envisions a future where Free software is made connected to proprietary services like SQL Server, .NET, and Windows. Pseudo-source software is a serious problem that’s being dealt with (but not thoroughly addressed) in this new post which states in the headline: “‘Open source’ doesn’t mean what it used to”

Customers using or considering a product that falls into the open-core licensing category, take note: The enterprise commercial product you purchase probably won’t offer the same freedoms as the open source community edition that the developers likely used and became advocates for.

Over in Europe, we already find that Microsoft is lobbying to ‘dilute’ open standards and Open Source so as to make Microsoft qualify as an open standard and Open Source. We gave elaborate explanations of this point before. It is a conscious strategy from Microsoft, whose executive are spitting at the very roots of the “Open Source” movement (back when it was more commonly known as “Free Software”). Richard Stallman once said to a student outside Stanford’s Bill Gates Building: “Hey, is it the tradition here to give Bill the finger when you go through these doors?”

“Hey, is it the tradition here to give Bill the finger when you go through these doors?”
      –Richard Stallman
As readers are probably aware, Microsoft’s executives work behind the scenes to enable all sorts of dangerous schemes, including — potentially — the fingerprinting of people (after lobbying from Bill Gates in India).

Anyway, getting back to the original point, the “coup” Microsoft had going against the European Commission (David Hammerstein called it a “coup”, based on inside sources) has clearly paid off because Europe’s digital policy, as defined by the EIF at least, is still subverted although it did not get worse than the previous iteration. Glyn Moody reports on the differences between the two latest revisions/versions (which were leaked).

That’s clearly an improvement on the previous version. For example, the whole ridiculous notion of an “openness continuum” has gone. And weak phrases like “Interoperability involves the sharing of information and knowledge between organisations, hence implies a certain degree of openness. There are varying degrees of openness.” have become the stronger “Interoperability involves the sharing of information and knowledge between interacting organisations, hence implies openness.”

On the down side, this remains worryingly vague and woolly. What exactly is this “openness”? It sets a far lower bar than the original EIF document, which was highly specific…


To summarise, the latest draft is certainly better than the previous one, which was a travesty in many respects. As such, it is to be welcomed. But we should be making absolute advances with interoperability at this stage, not relative ones. The current draft is certainly one step forward from the previous one, but that was two steps back from the original, so the net effect remains negative. Frankly, that’s not acceptable, and is evidence that the European Commission is backtracking in this important area. That doesn’t augur well for the imminent Digital Agenda.

More information and background about EIFv2 can be found in:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission

Basically, what Microsoft is trying to do here is fit the law to its own requirements rather than adjust its behaviour to fit the law. Microsoft wants Europe to be heavily dependent on Windows and in order to ‘consume’ Free software too, Microsoft has created CoApp [1, 2, 3], which receives some press coverage, still.

CoApp is about more than just a single software app, it is really about creating a entire Windows based ecosystem for package management.

Another interesting new find is the funding of the Grameen Foundation, which is run by Microsoft people [1, 2, 3] and uses “Open Source” propositions to promote Microsoft.

In short, Microsoft is trying to wrap itself up with everything “Open Source” in order to deceive the public, which would no longer be able to tell apart the Microsoft option and the Microsoft-free option. A reader has just sent us a couple [1, 2] of new examples of “Microsoft advertising on Linux site”. Here are the images he sent us.

Linux Planet ad

Linux top banner

Linux Planet and Microsoft

hypePad and .NET Promoted by Novell at the Same Time

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer with Ximian hat

Summary: A look at how Novell promotes proprietary software, among users and developers alike

SETTING ASIDE the fake hype surrounding Apple’s hypePad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], we do find that Apple loses some developers, such as this guy who has just abandoned hypePhone (and hypePad) development because of Apple’s draconian attitude.

I’m Abandoning iPhone Development. Mobile Orchard To Stop Publication.


That’s wrong. It’s been wrong. And, with the extension of this approach to the iPad, it’s becoming ever more wrong. And this week’s news that “Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript” — making verboten Corona, iPhone Wax, and Unity 3D, destroying one of the most innovative areas in iPhone dev — is more wrong still.

For quite some time now we have shown that Novell is promoting Microsoft's APIs inside Apple's proprietary software/hardware products. The hypePad is no exception based on the news from Novell, namely:

1. Novell Releases MonoTouch 2.0; Enables Development of Apple iPad Applications Using Microsoft .NET Languages

Novell today announced support for Apple iPad application development with the availability of MonoTouch 2.0.

2. Mono Touch 2.0 released by Novell

The company said that the new version now supports development of applications for Apple’s new iPad tablet computer in addition to its support for the iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing developers to take advantage of the iPad’s larger touch screen and the new features of the device.

This is proprietary software from Novell — and software that would not even run on GNU/Linux. Here is what The H wrote:

Novell has announced the availability version 2.0 of MonoTouch, based on the open source Mono .NET development framework. Using MonoTouch, developers can write applications for Apple’s iPhone OS platform using Mono and C#.

To repeat what we wrote many times before, MonoTouch is about making Microsoft and Apple stronger. What does that give to GNU/Linux? Zero, zilch, nada. The reason for repeating these statements so many times is that a lot of people still can’t see it (or conveniently refuse to see it and then accept it).

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