IRC Proceedings: May 11th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 11/5/2010: Linux 2.6.34 RC7; Wine 1.2 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Migrating from Windows to GNU/Linux

    David H. Wheeler has argued in detail why you should at least consider GNU/Linux. However, as explained to Robin Miller in an interview for Linux.com in 2004, “in the end, the only way to be really sure that you have unbiased results is to do the comparison yourself — which you have to do anyway, because some measures like total cost of ownership (TCO) and performance are incredibly sensitive to specific environments.”

  • What can Linux learn from Toyota?
  • Desktop

    • ‘Linux is Not User Friendly’ – No Way!

      In our previous post, we discussed how mainstream media is adopting linux(‘Stop using Windows, Use Ubuntu instead’). And a lot of people started complaining how not-user-friendly Linux really is. Before saying such far fetched statements, one thing they all need to consider is this, Linux!=Windows!

    • GNU/Linux: Flexibility is the name of the game

      I always keep a LiveCD with me just in case things like this happen (on other people’s computer, normally). I fire it up and the computer responds normally… so I’m able to work on it… even if I don’t have all the information about the project. I check and see that the D partition (where the data is) is usable… at least I get to see many files I’m working with and md5sum them.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.34 Kernel Is Likely On Its Last RC

      Assuming there are no major last minute issues, the Linux 2.6.34 kernel will likely be released in the very near future. Last night Linus put out the Linux 2.6.34-rc7 release, which he hopes will be the last release candidate.

    • The cpuidle subsystem
    • Graphics Stack

      • Ubuntu Working Towards A Rootless X Server

        One of the benefits of kernel mode-setting on Linux besides providing a flicker-free boot experience, faster and better VT switching, and a cleaner architecture is that it removes a requirement against the X.Org Server from needing to be run as root. With Ubuntu 10.04 LTS now utilizing kernel mode-setting across Intel / ATI and AMD / NVIDIA graphics hardware, they are looking to make the X Server run as a normal user in upcoming releases.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Touch support in Qt 4.7

        Almost two months after the technical preview was released, the development of version 4.7 of the cross-platform Qt C++ framework for GUI applications is beginning to take shape, as Nokia has now presented a beta version. A beta of the Qt Creator 2.0 development environment, which is part of the framework, has also been released. The developers highlight the integration of Qt Quick (Qt UI Creation Kit) as the prominent feature of the next version of Qt. Qt Quick is a tool collection for creating animated, touch-enabled Qt interfaces and applications for mobile and embedded devices.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Eat Burgers on the Short Bus
      • I had an epiphany (about Epiphany)

        While I think the even-tighter integration of GNOME apps in the Ubuntu panel is theoretically a step in the right direction, I find that things are broken enough that the benefits of that integration aren’t terrible available at present (but I hope they will be in future).

  • Distributions

    • Tiny Core Linux: My first impression: innovative and amazing

      But there’s a lot to be said for a system with just a Web browser. I haven’t heard anybody say this, but the way I have Tiny Core running at this particular moment, I can’t imagine the Google Chrome OS being much different. And if you want to boot super-quickly into a working desktop like Google Chrome OS promises, but you want to do it now with old, crappy hardware like mine, Tiny Core is ready to do it today.

    • Today’s Featured Distribution – Ark Linux

      I ran Ark as an experimental on my system a couple times in the past few years. I was always impressed with it. It’s simple. It’s not bloated or overloaded with fluff. It’s a working man’s (or woman’s) Linux. For those of you concerned about these things, Ark is a 100% FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) distribution.


      You’ll find Ark familiar and easy to use. It comes with KDE as the default desktop environment. It uses the familiar RPM and Apt as package managers. Most of your favorite Linux apps and tools will run fine on Ark. Their repos have the standard fare found in most distro’s repos.

    • Slackware 13.1 Beta announced.

      We have some pretty big changes today, with an update to the latest KDE SC 4.4.3, and the addition of support for ConsoleKit and PolicyKit which have been enhanced to use shadow authentication.

    • XtreemOS Summer School 2010

      XtreemOS is a Linux-based operating systems that includes Grid functionalities. It is characterised by properties such as transparency, hiding the complexity of in the underlying distributed infrastructure; scalability, supporting hundreds of thousands of nodes and millions of users; and dependability, providing reliability, highly availability and security.
      The XtreemOS Summer School will include lectures on modern distributed paradigms such as Grid computing, Cloud computing, and network-centric operating systems. The Summer School will combine lectures from research leaders shaping the future of distributed systems and world leaders in deploying and exploiting distributed infrastructures. Hands-on laboratory exercises and practical sessions using XtreemOS will give participants experience on using modern distributed systems.

    • New Releases

      • MythTV 0.23 Available

        * After six months of our new accelerated development schedule, MythTV 0.23 is now available. MythTV 0.23 brings a new event system, brand new python bindings, the beta MythNetvision internet video plugin, new audio code and surround sound upmixer, several new themes (Arclight and Childish), newly resynced ffmpeg libraries, and fixes for analog scanning, among many others.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Confirmed: Mandriva in Acquisition Talks

        Reports from the community site Mandriva Linux Online (MLO) this weekend indicated that Mandriva appears to be the flower around which two bees were buzzing: namely, UK-based software-as-a-service provider lightapp, and the French open source software firm LINAGORA.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 OpenBox Edition now available

        Kernel kernel for maximum desktop performance.
        Openbox Desktop with Tint2 panel
        Nvidia and ATI fglrx driver support.
        Multimedia playback support for many popular formats.
        Wireless support for many network devices.
        Printer support for many local and networked printer devices.
        Addlocale allows you to convert PCLinuxOS into over 60 languages.
        GetOpenOffice can install Open Office supporting over 100 languages.
        MyLiveCD allows you to take a snapshot of your installation and burn it to a LiveCD/DVD.

      • May 2010 Issue of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 6 – your sensible but lovable friend

        Another big change in the RHEL 6 beta is the wide selection of disk formatting options, including ext4. You know a Linux feature has arrived when it makes its way to the conservative enterprise releases like RHEL and such is the case with ext4 file system, which is now the default filesystem format in RHEL 6. In addition to ext4, the XFS filesystem is now supported.

      • Fedora

        • The name game, no. 14.

          The Fedora 14 name has been announced, and it’s Laughlin.

        • Making 3D Free for Innovation: Fedora 13 Graphics Drivers

          This is the third post in our blog series highlighting cool features slated for Fedora 13. Our first spotlight looked at the enhancements in NetworkManager, and the second covered the innovations planned for Python developers. With this blog, we’re focusing on a feature that affects everyone, from the newest users exploring the rich environment of open source, to the most diehard developers of the Linux kernel: video drivers.

        • Fedora Dropping Official PowerPC Support

          Fedora 13 will bring a lot of interesting new features when it’s released in late May, but also interesting is what’s going to be missing. For example, official support for PowerPC. So what happens now, and what’s the right thing to do for users on niche platforms?

    • Debian Family

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 72
      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Developer Summit: Unity, Ubuntu Light and More

          In the Ubuntu Developers Summit today, Mark Shuttleworth announced some very interesting new features and ideas regarding the future Ubuntu releases.

        • Short Review: Ubuntu 10.04

          All in all, this has so far been a very pleasant experience. I even took the time to upgrade my wife’s 9.10 installation to the latest. The upgrade, while taking 1.5 hours, went smoothly. No problems seen. Great job Canonical!

        • Lucid dream: Ars reviews Ubuntu 10.04
        • Ubuntu 10.04 is good, not perfect
        • Ubuntu Names Their Desktop After Us?

          I was quite surprised this morning whilst reading my RSS feeds to discover that Ubuntu has named their most recent ‘lite desktop‘ Unity. Surprised because we have our project, Unity Linux. Strange that both our ‘lightweight distribution and desktop’ and Ubuntu’s ‘lite desktop’ should share a name together.

        • Cold Start to On-line in Under 10s

          Ubuntu is shipping to OEMs a release for netbooks that is usable in under 10s. This was a design goal not quite achieved for the desktop version yet but the netbook release is there. This greatly adds to the convenience of the portable PC and saves some battery life.

        • First Impressions of the New Unity Netbook Interface

          Ubuntu will be following the normal market trend of releasing custom-built images for OEM hardware, working with the manufacturers to get the boot time as low as possible. Shuttleworth is claiming that Unity will have a 7 second boot time using SSD.

          What does Unity look like on my netbook? Take a look.

        • Taking Ubuntu Unity Interface For A Test Drive [Screenshots and Video]
        • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Is Getting There

          Canonical’s Ubuntu Server hasn’t yet caught up to the progress that’s been made in Linux desktops, but it offers a serviceable alternative to server offerings from other Linux vendors and from Microsoft.

          Canonical and the Ubuntu Project have done great things to help bring Linux to the mainstream desktop. But what about the server edition? If Ubuntu can bring the same level of polish to its server offerings, it should be a formidable competitor to Microsoft and other Linux vendors. Looking at Ubuntu Server 10.04, aka “Lucid Lynx,” there’s a lot to like and also some disappointments.

        • Review: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud

          If you’re building an internal or private cloud, Canonical wants you to use Ubuntu Linux 10.04 as your operating system of choice. To that end, the newest version of Ubuntu includes a feature set called Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.

        • UDS-M: Me Menu getting improvements for Maverick

          The Me Menu in Ubuntu 10.04 is getting much needed improvements for Ubuntu 10.10 based on user feedback and research conducted recently.

        • Sound menu Changes coming In Ubuntu Maverick
      • Variants

        • Peppermint Linux Mixes Ubuntu, LXDE and Prism

          A new Linux distro is officially hitting its 1.0 release today, but you’ll have to forgive me for not being too excited. Peppermint OS is now out, with the aim of being a fast, cloud focused Linux operating system.

          A quick look under the hood reveals that it’s mostly a mashup of technologies that are available (and I’m already running), with an Ubuntu base (by way of the Linux Mint Ubuntu derivative) and leveraging the lightweight LXDE desktop. Ubuntu by default uses GNOME which is bulkier and consumes a larger resource footprint than LXDE.

        • Linux Mint 9 ETA

          Looking at the remaining bugs and considering the amount of testing needed I would say we’re about 1 week away from releasing Linux Mint 9. I know most operating systems and distributions stick to release dates and announce them well in advance but I see no reason not to release something once it’s ready and many reasons not to do so until it is. The release could be out a little earlier or a little bit later than expected.

        • Xubuntu Linux 10.04

          Last week I did a review of Kubuntu 10.04, one of Canonical’s officially supported Ubuntu derivatives. Today’s review is about Xubuntu 10.04, an officially recognized but not supported Ubuntu derivative. According to the Xubuntu downloads page, it is based on the “feature-rich core of Ubuntu” Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux Guitar, a rocking toy

      If you are looking for a Linux toy that really rocks, your search ends here. This is a stringless digital guitar and it’s powered by Linux

    • Linux Ice maker and vending machine, Cool!

      I love ice, and now I love it even more. Linux can make you coffee, wash your clothes, heat your meal and it can also serve you a delicious fresh made Ice Cream.

    • Pandora-ready Internet tuner costs $105

      Grace Digital Audio is shipping a Linux-based Internet tuner that offers Pandora access and costs only $105. The Solo Wi-Fi Receiver provides over 50,000 radio stations, podcasts, and on-demand programs over its 802.11b/g WiFi receiver, runs on two Watts of power, and according to one early DigitalGuru review, is “heartily” recommended as “a great little device at a very affordable price.”

    • Android

      • Google Android outsells Apple iPhone, ranked No. 2 in U.S. smartphone sales by NPD

        The data places Android, with 28 percent of the smartphone market, in second place behind RIM’s Blackberry smartphone market share of 36 percent. Apple now sits in third place with 21 percent.

      • Archos 7 Home Tablet hands-on

        But did I mention it’s $199? For the price of an iPod Touch, you get a 7-inch, antireflective screen with an 800×480-pixel resolution, multimedia playback, Web, e-mail, photos, and a ton of Android app goodness.

      • Is This Android 2.2? Sure Seems Like It
      • Android Rising

        The news comes to us today that in 1Q 2010 Android phones outsold Apple’s iPhone by a significant 7%. As it said on the gunslinger’s gravestone, “I was expecting this, but not so soon.”

        Business Week and the Wall Street Journal are on the story, but the most interesting version is from the story they’re apparently deriving from at All Things Digital, because it includes a graph showing recent market share trends that conveys a lot more information than the present-time numbers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Tyler on Ubuntu: Why Netbooks are bringing the future

        Lastly, lets hear the (constructive) feedback. If you ask me, Ubuntu has become the best desktop experience available, and the only thing that Ubuntu lacks compared to Mac and PC is professional use applications and some usability. This Netbook stuff is the foundation for pure perfect beautiful usability on the Ubuntu desktop, and you, the user, needs to speak up about the things you want. Theres plenty of stuff that I spend my time criticizing, but its by analyzing what is good and what is bad that leads to improvement. Lets speak up, and make 10.10 the best operating system it can be.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Organizations Learning to Contribute to FOSS “The Right Way”

    A keynote which really stood out and succinctly discussed all of this was Dan Frye’s talk, “10+ Years of Linux at IBM” (video). The first half of the keynote discusses the progress of Linux within IBM, but then he moves into discussing contributing itself. Some of their take-aways were that they needed to get involved directly with small contributions and do away with closed-door meetings and canned corporate responses, IBM employees were empowered to become community members. They needed to learn to collaborate with the community to develop higher quality solutions than they could have in-house, and to start these discussions with the community early in the brainstorming process. Related to collaboration, he also discusses control, and how a company does not have it within a community and needs to learn to deal with that, instead what a company should strive for is influence within a project to help guide direction and priorities. He also suggests never creating a project. Instead he encourages companies to join a project that’s close to what they need and work with them to take it in a direction that can benefit everyone and reach their goals and scratch their itches.

  • An early look at Glide

    Sponsored by the Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software, Glide is a GNOME presentation program in its earliest stages.

  • Open source’s integration jams — and how to fix them

    “It’s a step-by-step process,” Wang says. “First we put in an application server, an Apache Web server. Then, over time, we put in all the Linux operating systems and migrated away from Sun hardware. Then we switched the BEA application server out to JBoss,” he adds, naming just a few of the changes eHealth made. Nine years later, his company’s production environment consists of open-source applications completely, except for an Oracle database. “It’s all [open-source software], from operating systems, middleware, application server, Web server and more,” Wang says.

  • “Do not sell anything to your community”
  • Lightcrest Joins Lucid Imagination Global Partner Program for Open Source Search
  • Top Ten Free Wi-Fi Security Test Tools

    So here we list our favorite free (open source or beggar-ware) wireless security test tools.

  • The Cloud : at least an environment that favor open-source !

    Moreover, open-source companies that develop open-source software already have a business model that is compatible with the Cloud : their software is already freely downloadable and can be run on any computer. When the old license-based model is used then some adaptation on the business sides of things, for instance usage based vs instance based. When a service-model is used, then no change is needed.

  • Events

    • 21st VistA Community Meeting

      If you have been wondering: What’s all the fuss about VistA? Where can I learn more about VistA? Who is the VistA Community? Can I use VistA in my hospital, clinic etc? How can I contribute to the improvement of VistA? Then plan on attending the 21st VistA Community Meeting, June 8 to 11, 2010 at George Mason University, Fairfax Virgina.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla firms up Firefox 4 plans

      Mozilla has given a breakdown of its plans for Firefox 4, including a pledge to make it “super-duper fast”.

      Perhaps the most striking change to Firefox 4 is the user interface, which takes a great deal of inspiration from Google Chrome. Though Mozilla was keen to note that the mockups shown in the presentation were subject to change, it’s clear Firefox 4 will benefit from the design choices made by Google’s pared-back browser.

    • [SLIDES] Firefox 4- What to expect

      This is a preview of Firefox 4 from Mike Beltzner of the Mozilla Foundation

    • Mozilla spills plan for, yes, Firefox 4

      Mozilla has confirmed that the next major upgrade to its open source browser will be known as Firefox 4.0.

    • Fedora, Mozilla, and trademarks

      Trademarks and free software can make a volatile mix. It is understandable that a project would want to ensure that code shipping under its name is “the real McCoy”, but modifying the source and distributing the result is a hallmark of free software. Trademark policy can place limits on what changes—for bugs, features, or even policy compliance—downstream projects can make and still use the trademarked names. The tension between the two has led some, like Debian, to re-brand Mozilla projects, so that they can ship the changes they want; some Fedora developers would like to see that distribution follow suit.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle hardware support plan stings Sun VARs

      The Oracle hardware support changes mean significantly higher prices and less flexible terms than customers received before Oracle acquired Sun.

    • Former Sun Execs Land at ForgeRock

      Three former Sun Microsystems executives have set up shop at an open-source enterprise application software provider called ForgeRock.

      Former Sun executives Simon Phipps, Lasse Andresen and Hermann Svoren have joined Oslo-based ForgeRock in prominent positions. ForgeRock is the official steward of the ForgeRock I3 Open Platform project.

    • Sun open source reborn in ForgeRock

      When Oracle bought Sun, there were many unanswered questions about Sun’s open-source portfolio of programs. Over a year later, we still don’t know if OpenSolaris is going to have Oracle’s support. But we do know that OpenSSO, an open-source access management and federation server platform, will live on as a product under the new open-source company ForgeRock.

  • Government

    • Notes from the Politics of Open Source conference

      Small conferences are often the best, especially when there’s a high concentration of really well-educated and personally committed people sharing a room for two days. That’s what I found at the Politics of Open Source conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday. (I could attend only the second day.)

  • Licensing

  • Openness

    • 13 Open Source Hardware Companies Making $1 Million or More (video)

      Selling products whose design anyone can access, edit, or use on their own is pretty crazy. It’s also good business. At the annual hacker conference Foo Camp East this year, Phillip Torrone and Limor Fried from Adafruit Industries gave a rapid fire five minute presentation on thirteen companies with million dollar revenues from open source hardware (OSHW). Companies providing OSHW allow all designs of the products to be shared through an open license, meaning that everyone is free to download, modify, and share all the schematics and associated software.

    • The Lost Tribes of RadioShack: Tinkerers Search for New Spiritual Home
    • Open Access/Content

      • Paolo Mangiafico, on Open Access at Duke University

        Duke’s strategic plan says that one of our key goals is to apply knowledge in the service of society. Currently, much of the knowledge produced by Duke faculty is published in venues with limited distribution and often very high subscription rates that preclude access by many who would benefit from reading it. Making the research freely available to anyone with Internet access helps to increase the potential number of readers, and opens up possibilities for more people to make use of and build on the research being done here.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • US prosecution of McKinnon ‘spiteful’, says ex-top cop

      The senior former policeman in charge of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit squad which first arrested Gary McKinnon has described the ongoing US prosecution of the Pentagon hacker as “spiteful”.

    • Gates Takes Aim at Pentagon Spending

      Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates challenged some sacrosanct Pentagon spending practices in a speech on Saturday, directing both military and civilian officials to find cuts in their overhead and operating costs and then transfer the savings to the fighting force.

    • Pressure mounts on NHS IT scheme

      Although Britain’s political system has been in stasis for the past five weeks (and looks likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future) a number of recent stories and columns have highlighted a growing resentment in the mainstream media towards the National Programme for IT (otherwise known as the Government’s new-fangled NHS IT scheme).

    • More on Email Privacy

      I’ve been writing about email privacy with City of Ontario v. Quon and Stengart v. Loving Care, how about an encore from New York: People v. Klapper. Factually, People v. Klapper is pretty straightforward. The defendant, Andrew Klapper, was a dentist who installed keystroke logger on his office computers. As a result, when one of Mr. Klapper’s employees accessed a personal email account from a work computer, Mr. Klapper learned the employee’s email password, which Mr. Klapper later used to access the employee’s personal email himself. As a result, Mr. Klapper was charged with Unauthorized use of a Computer, which appears to be a New York state law analog of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

    • Doncaster man guilty of Twitter airport threat

      A man who posted a message on Twitter threatening to blow an airport “sky high” has been found guilty of sending a menacing electronic communication.

      Paul Chambers, 26, claimed he sent the Tweet in a moment of frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow in January.

    • Judge: FBI can review Lower Merion webcam photos

      Federal agents can examine webcam photos and other information secretly collected from students’ laptops and stored in the Lower Merion School District’s computer network, a judge has ruled.

      Acting on a request from federal prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois agreed to broaden an earlier order that limited the release of the photos to the students or their parents and lawyers. His order was signed Friday and made public Monday.

    • Village school banned from flying its own flag because it is ‘advertising’

      St Mary’s Primary School in Beetley, near Dereham, Norfolk was told by Breckland District Council that the flag required planning consent.

    • Jolly Rancher lands Brazos ISD third-grader in detention for a week

      A third-grader at Brazos Elementary was given a week’s detention for possessing a Jolly Rancher.

      School officials in Brazos County are defending the seemingly harsh sentence. The school’s principal and superintendent said they were simply complying with a state law that limits junk food in schools.

    • Four found guilty of dropping litter

      Four Northampton residents were fined after being found guilty of litter offences at Northampton Magistrates’ Court.


      He received a £100 fine and must pay £100 costs and a £15 Victim Surcharge.

    • Alderney CCTV ‘depends on public’

      Alderney residents are being asked if they think CCTV cameras should be installed in the island.

    • Mum felt ‘violated’ after spotting CCTV in Pembrokeshire County Council toilets, Saundersfoot

      A mother-of-three has raised concerns over privacy in some public toilets in Pembrokeshire after spotting a security camera visible from a cubicle.

    • Man saves fish – is fined £1000

      Once again Ladies and Gentlemen, common sense has officially left the building.

      The Environment Agency say it is illegal to remove fish from their habitat without permission; but surely even the EA can see that if the fish are about to snuff it, their transportation becomes imperative?!

    • Meeting Stupidity with Stupidity

      Last week, a 17-year-old knucklehead exposed his idiocy to the world by venturing onto the field at a Philadelphia Phillies game and running around waving a towel. When a pursuing policeman got weary of the chase, he pulled out his Taser and shot the kid.

      For that, the officer won praise from players, sportscasters, and city police commissioner Charles Ramsey, who said the cop “acted appropriately. I support him 100 percent.” The cop was in line with department policy, Ramsey said, because “he was attempting to make an arrest and the male was attempting to flee.”

      Really? Hitting a delinquent with a potentially fatal 50,000-volt burst of electricity even though he poses no physical danger to anyone and has zero chance of escaping? Maybe the commissioner should read the directions from the Taser manufacturer, which say the devices are meant to “incapacitate dangerous, combative or high-risk subjects.”

    • DARPA’s homeland security sister working on device that ‘detects’ intent

      Since its inception, the Department of Homeland Security has promoted modern technology as a way to save the nation from terrorism, and it’s done so in part by emulating the Pentagon’s preoccupation with science and experimentation. Some of the country’s most significant achievements, in fact, were conceived by pioneering researchers the government hired to help give warfighters an advantage over their enemies.

  • Environment

    • Nuke that slick

      As BP prepares to lower a four-story, 70-ton dome over the oil gusher under the Gulf of Mexico, the Russians — the world’s biggest oil producers — have some advice for their American counterparts: nuke it.

    • Gulf Spill: Did Pesky Hydrates Trigger the Blowout?

      Methane-trapping ice of the kind that has frustrated the first attempt to contain oil gushing offshore of Louisiana may have been a root cause of the blowout that started the spill in the first place, according to University of California, Berkeley, professor Robert Bea, who has extensive access to BP p.l.c. documents on the incident. If methane hydrates are eventually implicated, the U.S. oil and gas industry would have to tread even more lightly as it pushes farther and farther offshore in search of energy.

    • Lawmakers find oil spill making politics slippery

      The oil now lapping barrier islands near Louisiana threatens wildlife, wetlands and businesses all along the Gulf Coast, but its reach also extends hundreds of miles to the nation’s capital, where it is causing political discomfort — and downright embarrassment — for some lawmakers and administration officials.

    • Regulator Deferred to Oil Industry on Rig Safety

      Federal regulators warned offshore rig operators more than a decade ago that they needed to install backup systems to control the giant undersea valves known as blowout preventers, used to cut off the flow of oil from a well in an emergency.

    • What If BP Was a Human Being?

      In a century of doing business, BP has been implicated in bribery of public officials, grand theft, fomenting unjust wars, of murder, torture, fraud, stock swindling, plunder, environmental destruction, and money laundering in and between scores of countries on every continent except Antarctica. If BP were a person it would be a career criminal, a pathological liar and an international serial killer with a rap sheet several times the size of the Chicago Yellow Pages.

    • New recycling bins with tracking chips coming to Alexandria

      Alexandria residents soon will have to pay for larger home recycling bins featuring built-in monitoring devices.

      The City Council added a mandatory $9 charge to its residents’ annual waste collection fee.

      That cash — roughly $180,000 collected from 19,000 residents– will pay for new larger recycling carts equipped with computer microchips, which will allow the city to keep tabs on its bins and track resident participation in the city’s recycling program.

  • Finance

    • We Are Out of Money

      American conservatives, particularly the fiscal variety, tend to hold up the European Union as a model of irresponsible, big-spending economic policy. But consider this: According to E.U. rules, member countries cannot maintain budget deficits above 3 percent of gross domestic product; nor can their total debt rise above 60 percent of GDP. As Veronique de Rugy points out in this issue, the U.S. budget deficit in 2009 was three times the E.U.’s limit, and total debt will zoom past the 60 percent threshold sometime this year. Washington makes Paris look frugal.

    • Fed Audit Under Fire

      It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that the measure to audit the Federal Reserve is coming under continuous fire from the central bank and its cronies. For the first time since the Federal Reserve was created nearly a century ago, they have hired an actual lobbyist to pound the pavement on Capitol Hill. This is a desperate effort to hang on to the privilege of secrecy and lack of accountability they have enjoyed for so long. Last week showed they are getting their money’s worth in the Senate.

    • Ex-Integrity Bank Execs Charged With Fraud

      Two former executives of Integrity Bank and a hotel developer were charged with conspiracy, bribery, bank fraud and securities fraud related to $80 million in loans that helped bring down the bank, U.S. prosecutors said.

      Hotel developer Guy Mitchell, 50, of Coral Gables, Florida, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment today in U.S. District Court in Atlanta before Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn Bell. The timing of appearances by Douglas Ballard, 40, and Joseph Todd Foster, 42, both former Integrity Bank executives from Atlanta, has not been announced.

    • “Faith Based” Bank Fraud

      In August, 2008, state regulators closed the bank in resulting in a draw of $235 million from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s insurance fund. According to the indictment, Integrity customer Guy Mitchell, a hotel developer from Coral Gables, Florida, used false pretenses to obtain more than $80 million in loans from the bank.

    • Bust Up the Banks

      What follows is a glimpse of the possible future of finance—if policymakers and politicians recognize that confronting crises requires radical reform.

    • Small Business hiring “Bleak”
    • Minn. lawmakers vote to raise taxes, cut spending

      The Democratic-controlled Legislature on Monday sent a bill raising income taxes for the highest-paid Minnesotans to a tax-averse Gov. Tim Pawlenty as part of their plan to wipe away a $2.9 billion deficit.

      The proposal, which also makes spending cuts, barely cleared the Senate on a 34-33 vote before passing the House 71-63. Pawlenty, a potential Republican presidential candidate, eliminated any suspense by promising to veto it. Neither chamber’s votes in favor were anywhere near what it would take for a veto override.

    • After S.E.C. Suit Warning, Traders Flee Moody’s Shares

      Shares of Moody’s fell sharply on Monday after it disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission had warned that it might sue the firm for making “false and misleading” statements as part of its application as a ratings organization.

    • No rest for Making Home Affordable head as foreclosure-prevention effort evolves

      Although 650,000 homeowners had enrolled, most had been waiting for months to learn whether they would be able to keep the federal aid that slashed their mortgage payments.

    • Watchdog: Treasury lax with records in bank talks

      The Treasury Department is lax about keeping records of its negotiations with bailed-out banks, including undocumented conversations in which billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, a new watchdog report says.

    • For Administration, an Ill-Timed Request for Aid

      The government has already transfused $137.5 billion into Fannie Mae and its cousin, Freddie Mac, since seizing the two mortgage financing giants in August 2008. The money covers losses on mortgages that the companies bought or guaranteed during the housing boom, allowing them to continue buying new loans.

    • Regulators Vow to Find Way to Stop Rapid Dives

      In addition, if the Dow falls by 20 percent before 1 p.m., trading is halted for two hours, or one hour if the 20 percent decline occurs between 1 and 2 p.m. After 2 p.m., a 20 percent decline closes the market for the rest of the day. And if the Dow falls by 30 percent, all trading is halted for the remainder of the day. Trading normally ends at 4 p.m.

    • A Trillion for Europe, With Doubts Attached

      Stung by criticism that it was slow and weak, the European Union surpassed expectations in arranging a nearly $1 trillion financial commitment for its ailing members over the weekend and paved the way for the European Central Bank to begin purchases of European debt on Monday.

    • Fed’s Kocherlakota: Financial Reform Bill Can’t End Bailouts Or ‘Too Big To Fail’

      Despite declarations from President Obama, his top aides and Democratic leadership that the pending financial reform bill in the Senate will forever end taxpayer bailouts of large banks, a top Federal Reserve official argues the bill will do no such thing, calling bailouts “inevitable.”

    • Customer-Centric Capitalism

      The central premise in The Age of Customer Capitalism is that: “For three decades, executives have made maximizing shareholder value their top priority. But evidence suggests that shareholders actually do better when firms put the customer first.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • SourceWatch Preserves History Unwritten by the Family Research Council

      Recently, SourceWatch helped preserve history when the Family Research Council (FRC) deleted one of its co-founders from its website after he was caught in an embarrassing scandal. The FRC was co-founded by James Dobson and George Rekers, and the organization attempts to inject what it considers to be evangelical Christian values into the public debate. Most recently, as noted in SourceWatch, the FRC held a “prayercast” against health insurance reform in which Dobson publicly prayed that his savior would “frustrate the plans of the Evil One and revive us again with conviction and forgiveness,” referring to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Big Content’s depraved indifference

      Something I think gets lost in the debate over DRM: Big Content doesn’t want DRM because they want to usher in an era of totalitarian control technologies; they don’t want copyright filters because they want to make the censor’s job easier; they don’t want increased intermediary liability because they want to extinguish easy personal expression and collective action.

      They want these things because they want to make more money.

      But they are indifferent to the point of depravity to the totalitarian, censorious and restrictive consequences of DRM, filters and liability.

    • Digital Music Nearing Critical Mass at Warner

      Significantly, Warner Music said that digital sales of recorded music now account for 46.8 percent of the company’s domestic music sales.

    • FCC Gives Hollywood The Right To Break Your TV/DVR… Just ‘Cause

      For a couple years now, the MPAA has been asking the FCC to break your TV/DVR, and let them effectively put a type of DRM (by enabling “Selectable Output Control” or SOC) on video content, such that you will not be able to access the content via third party devices, such as your DVR or your Slingbox. Effectively, they want to break the ability of your equipment to work. You wouldn’t be able to legally record the movie that was playing on your TV. The MPAA’s argument here makes absolutely no sense at all — and when they’re called on it, the doubletalk comes out.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Curse.com sued by Games Workshop over Warhammer Alliance’s name

      A look at the official complaint revealed a litany of allegations including cybersquatting, unfair competition, dilution (of the IP), and more. Part of Games Workshop’s problem with all of this, according to the complaint is that Curse’s use of the Warhammer name and trademarks “literally states and implies that Defendant and their business are in an “alliance” with Plaintiff and its products and services offered under the WARHAMMER Marks,” and that this “conduct as aforesaid has caused great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, and unless such conduct is enjoined, it will continue and Plaintiff will continue to suffer great and irreparable injury.”

    • Copyrights

      • Why Hollywood should be very nervous about Elena Kagan

        Hollywood may have some reason to be nervous about President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.

        Not a whole lot is known about Kagan’s judicial philosophy, which in some ways, makes her the perfect pick to win confirmation by the Senate. Her record on issues the industry cares about, though, isn’t entirely opaque.

      • An Insider’s View of the Spin about Elena Kagan, President Obama’s Supreme Court Choice
      • Sports Streaming / Torrent Links Site Victorious in Court

        The hugely popular sports streaming and download site Rojadirecta has been declared legal by a Spanish court. The appeal of sports rights holder Audiovisual Sport has been dismissed, putting an end to a legal battle that started three years ago. The site continues to operate without having to face the threat of being shut down.

      • Music Industry Lawyer Complains Both That Musicians Don’t Get Paid… And When They Do

        But, no, apparently not. The only acceptable way for a musician to get paid is via copyright, I guess. He recently put up a a rant about the evils of musicians getting money from corporations in the form of sponsorship or advertising.

        Why is it bad? Well, something about the purity of music the old way. You know, where instead of taking money from corporations to make commercial music they… took money from corporations (record labels) to make commercial music. Oh wait…

      • Lyrics Sites at Center of Fight Over Royalties

        That’s what Milun Tesovic wanted to know back in 2000 as he searched online for the lyrics of his favorite tunes. But often, he got results that seemed dubious or could not find the song at all. So a year later, at age 16, he started his own site.

    • ACTA

      • Moving ACTA to WIPO

        The request of the European Parliament is no good idea at all but it certainly expresses it concerns about the planned ACTA governance model.

      • EU-INDIA policy laundry or: ACTA as it was meant to be

        When the interested public and Parliament fails to spot undesirable measures in ACTA (cast light on it) we’ll get it anyway, sneaked through a bilateral route, because Commission trade specialists want it so. Domestic effects of institutional activism and forum shopping. The process demonstrates us how trade policy severely undermines parliamentarian democracy when trade administration steps into merely regulatory matters, legislation not trade. I hate to admit that but maybe the globalisation critics were right with their fierce criticism of the EU- “Global Europe” strategy spirit.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – SF – NASA Aviation Safety Program (1/9/2001)


Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Green Windows

Summary: Along the lines of “greenwashing”, Microsoft resorts to rebranding products with the number “7″, falsely/wishfully thinking that this alone would rescue dying products

THE reality behind Vista 7 is not so positive and Vista 7 hardly makes the news anymore (Microsoft still boasts fake numbers, which are fake for reasons we explained before). Microsoft has given away many free or heavily-discounted copies of the operating system in order to secure further erosion/loss of rights (change is coming with SP1 like any subsequent release of Windows which gets more restrictive).

Watch how Microsoft uses marketing students as free labour with which to market Vista 7.

DID reality-TV inspire a marketing campaign for Microsoft? The software giant is using a tactic seen in The Apprentice to help develop a campaign for its new office software — along the way tapping into the minds of hundreds of university marketing students.

Last year, competitors on the Australian version of The Apprentice were asked to put together a marketing plan for the launch of Windows 7 as part of the company’s sponsorship of the Nine Network show.

Microsoft used 777 bloggers in Korea to do something similar for Vista 7. It gave them food in exchange for blog posts that glorify Vista 7. This might not qualify as AstroTurfing, but the net effect is the same.

Here is Microsoft offering lunch (reminiscent of those luncheons [1, 2]) to people who help Microsoft in an event about optimising IT, HR, sales, and marketing.

New PR pieces from Ina Fried promote more of Vista 7 and there are also bus tours. Here is Microsoft booster Marius Oiaga doing the same thing. It’s like a band of PR agents, nonchalantly acting as though they report the news, but all they do is act like salespeople. Perhaps it’s the only way to get so-called ‘news sites’ funded these days.

Sometimes it’s lonely in IT. Your organization used to upgrade all the time–well, at least at regular intervals–but now it’s a rare occurrence. Technology has moved on, but you’re stuck in the 2000s, running Windows XP and maybe even Microsoft Office 2003. Redmond feels your pain, and it’s taking a road trip to ignite change, upgrade the nation’s Windows desktops and servers, and maybe sell some software in the process.

Fried is also promoting that rotting corpse that keeps changing brand names. It is Microsoft’s embedded platform which does so badly in the market that Microsoft keeps changing its name endlessly, hoping that a new identity alone would sell old rubbish.

“…Microsoft keeps changing its name endlessly, hoping that a new identity alone would sell old rubbish.”So, Microsoft is renaming again as a key strategy, thinking that adding the number “7″ to dying products (like it did with Windows Mobile) will magically save them somehow. Quite a few sites gave coverage to this irrelevant news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] of a renamed platform and Intel gave it lip service [1, 2, 3], probably because the embedded space is dominated by other architectures like ARM’s (with Linux or other well-established RTOSs). The Register was the most shameful among the bunch with its promotional headline that reads, “Microsoft: ‘Prepare for 15 billion more clients’” (The Register doesn’t challenge them for ridiculous claims)

15 billion more Windows clients? They wish. The matter of fact is that desktops don’t amount to much of computing in general — a fact that Microsoft prefers people to forget.

The platform that’s growing in embedded devices is actually Linux. Microsoft will try to harm Linux in this area using software patents, simply because it cannot produce better platforms than Linux and then compete fairly.

The Microsoft boosters characterise Microsoft aims rather than reality, as if just repeating Microsoft’s fantasies will help them be fulfilled.

Microsoft realizes that now, so with Windows Embedded 7 — which released to manufacturing Tuesday — it’s aiming to put the operating system and the media player in the TV where it now says they belong.

No, smart televisions these days run Linux a lot of the time. They just don’t advertise this fact. Windows is irrelevant to television manufacturers; in fact, some years ago they said that they avoided Windows because of security/technical issues, not price. Linux is just better than Windows, technically speaking.

“Forget about improving any products then. Microsoft is just concerned with branding now.”Along the lines of “greenwashing”, we are calling Microsoft’s strategy here (as well as in Windows Mobile) the “seven-washing” of products. To quote Wikipedia, “Greenwashing (green whitewash) is the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.”

Similarly, to rephrase the above, seven-washing (seven whitewash) is the practice of Microsoft disingenuously spinning its products and policies as Seven-oriented, such as by presenting bloat cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of Seven PR or Seven marketing.

Lo and behold — in other news: “Microsoft’s marketing reorg emphasizes holistic branding”

Forget about improving any products then. Microsoft is just concerned with branding now. Remember “Bing” aka “Kumo” aka “Live” aka “MSN”.

Later on we will show how Microsoft is washing bad products with the word “cloud”, which is supposed to be soothing. There is also the “R&D” (or “research”) hype, which is supposed to make something or someone seem more sophisticated, like the “white coat” cloak for fake/placebo medicine or even celebrity endorsements. It’s all PR.

From ZDNet we learn about more Microsoft PR:

San Francisco is being infiltrated this week with marketing gurus, web developers, and social media manufacturers at Web 2.0 Expo. And prizes are to be won.

Microsoft loves gifting people with prizes. It even gave such incentives to people who wrote positive things about Vista 7 in Twitter. Some things never change.

“Asked how small software companies could compete on products that Microsoft wants to fold into Windows, [Microsoft COO Bob] Herbold told Bloomberg News they could either fight a losing battle, sell out to Microsoft or a larger company or ‘not go into business to begin with.’”

Newsweek, March 1998

Microsoft’s Biggest Cash Cow Meets Vegan Society

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash cow

Summary: Why Microsoft Office is having an ongoing crisis where people’s tools of choice undergo transition

MICROSOFT’S biggest cash cow (by far the biggest) is Microsoft Office, but Office figures were down in the last financial report [1, 2, 3] (Microsoft used Vista 7 as a red herring to distract from that).

The matter of fact is that there is something going for stripped-down, simple, Web-oriented (portable), highly interactive, and/or ODF-complaint tools that achieve the same goals as Office, usually without clutter and notorious “Ribbon” interfaces. They are also less expensive and can be more uniform across platforms and parts of the world.

Microsoft Office is essentially a carriage in an age when more people start discovering automobiles. According to this report, Microsoft’s plan of offering a cost-free (gratis) version of Office is becoming true, as expected.

When Microsoft launches its latest business and personal software suite Office 2010 on Wednesday in New York, it will introduce a free version, Office Web Apps, to compete with Google.

Google is not Microsoft’s only competition, so this is misguided. Both options are proprietary by the way (we can recommend neither), but only Google supports ODF. OpenOffice.org is best known as the Free/libre solution and Microsoft is trying to derail it too.

The important point to make here is that Microsoft is cannibalising its own products in the whole process, all because of fierce competition. The Office business is down and, barring events-driven fluctuations, Windows revenue declines too (Microsoft is dumping and lowering prices to fight against and stave off GNU/Linux).

According to Mercury News, Microsoft Word is becoming increasingly passé too.

The reason: Orbit Baby needs someone who is confident, outgoing and, perhaps most important, technology-savvy. Hei says a traditional Microsoft Word document wouldn’t necessarily show him the skills he’s looking for. The person hired will have to be comfortable leading demonstrations in groups and using video communication programs like Skype to talk with clients.

What about PowerPoint? How about the following from the news:

It is a paradigm issue. GNU/Linux does not necessarily encourage use of office suites because historically it’s a platform for many scientists. Many users just use LaTeX (maybe with a front ends like LyX or Kile) to actually compose letters and write documents that mean something and convey meaningful information. As for mail, programs like Outlook are being replaced by Web-based mail (an increasingly richer experience with decent filtering and portability), aided further by ECMs, CMSs, and microblogging/IM.

Despite Security Lies and Security Failures, Microsoft Instructs Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protect your money
Billions or trillions of dollars are lost or saved based on one’s security

Summary: Microsoft is telling lies about the number of flaws in its software, it admits failing to secure its software (statistics indicate exacerbation), and yet, Scott ‘Windows zombie tax’ Charney gets to tell participants of the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit what to do next

IN OUR most recent post about Windows insecurity news we showed that nothing is improving at Microsoft when it comes to security. It’s only the messages (engagements with the public) that seemingly change. Last week we wrote about Microsoft pretending that it supports standards, which is an utter lie only PR can buy. Here is part of the PR where Microsoft joins Apple [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] in its attack on Flash, not just its attack on Theora, which we covered in:

Microsoft — like Apple — is being denounced for the hypocrite that it is:

MS criticises Adobe over security and performance. Physician, heal thyself!

Let’s not forget that Microsoft does exactly the same thing as Adobe (only with limited platform support) whenever it markets Silver Lie. Microsoft went further than that when .NET toys got secretly injected into Firefox without permission, thus creating security and performance issues without users’ consent.

Microsoft is also being somewhat hypocritical when it makes some statements as covered in the article “Adapt or die, Microsoft warns business”.

Microsoft has failed to adapt to a connected world and a world of computing mobility. Now it has debt to repay.

Addressing the subject of security, Microsoft spreads lies with its secret patches, which probably mean that there are fake figures in this latest ‘security’ report where Microsoft is conveniently blaming “ISVs” for security problems in Windows. The ‘Microsoft press’ plays along with this talking point and other publications are trying to make it an excuse for expensive Microsoft “upgrades”, which Microsoft urges/advocates using withdrawal of support. How ruthless and deceiving. Here is an example of Microsoft’s tactics:

The bottom line comes down to this: if your company plans to stay with XP well into 2011 and you’re still using IE6, you’ve got to upgrade that browser. Knowing that IE9 won’t support XP, you can safely move to IE8 knowing it’s the end of the line for IE on XP. Or, you can move to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera — but a company that’s still stuck on IE6 isn’t likely to be that adventurous. The web developers of the world will be happy with anything that gets you off IE6.

It is a “bait and switch” manoeuvre in a sense. Microsoft did the same thing to Windows 2000 users some years ago, for no practical reasons except the profit motive.

Going back to the hidden patches scam, can anyone believe that Microsoft is patching with just two “critical” bulletins? For several years Microsoft has been hiding its flaws and patching them silently for vanity purposes.

Microsoft on Tuesday will issue two critical bulletins that will fix vulnerabilities in Windows and Office, which if exploited successfully, could allow a remote attacker to take control of the computer, the company said Thursday.

There were also some broken patches which needed to be re-released.

Let’s consider this news in light of last week’s reports, such as:

The allegations are so serious that Microsoft could not afford to keep quiet without a carefully-crafted piece of spin. Here are the latest excuses from Microsoft (it’s the psychology of lying without technically lying):

Note that a policy such as this implies that Microsoft will not patch known, internally-discovered vulnerabilities if an externally-sourced vulnerability of the same or lesser severity is not available for the silent patch to piggyback on. They’ll sit on it, and we won’t know for how long because they don’t document it.

Utter spin. Groklaw has just found this new article which nicely explains Microsoft’s lies in this case:

#3 Tell the truth, misleadingly. The hardest lies to catch are those which aren’t actually lies. You’re telling the truth, but in a way that leaves a false impression. Technically, it’s only a prevarication – about half a sin. A 1990 study of pathological liars in New York City found that those who could avoid follow-up questions were significantly more successful at their deceptions.

Microsoft has also added a formal statement to The Register’s article on the subject (silent patching) because it received a lot of attention. Apologists of Microsoft also left comments trying to defend what Microsoft did there. It means it’s extremely damaging.

“Microsoft’s security record continues to be poor simply because Microsoft does not handle security issues properly, having for example ignored known flaws for 5 months until a disaster came.”In other insecurity news, SharePoint 2007 has a 0-day vulnerability (meaning that it’s already under attack). Microsoft has confirmed this [1, 2] and only issued a “workaround” rather than a solution [1, 2, 3]. As this one blogger puts it, there is “no SharePoint fix” and it says nothing about Microsoft’s hiding of patches and flaws (clustering them is possible if one wants to crunch the numbers). How many flaws does Microsoft patch in SharePoint silently? In this case, Microsoft had no choice but to publicise it (someone beat Microsoft to it).

Microsoft’s security record continues to be poor simply because Microsoft does not handle security issues properly, having for example ignored known flaws for 5 months until a disaster came [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. That’s just negligence [1, 2, 3].

As a result of such negligence, IDG reports that “Conficker found on 25% of enterprise Windows PCs,” according to Microsoft.

Conficker was far and away the most prevalent threat found on Windows machines in the second half of 2009 in the enterprise, Microsoft says. The company’s security tools cleaned the Conficker worm from one quarter of enterprise Windows machines.

“25% of enterprise Windows PCs” is a lot of computers. But then again, for several years now we have known that hundreds of millions of Windows zombies were out there waiting to be commandeered. Google says that fake antivirus software is 15 percent of all malware. That’s what happens when Windows refuses to implement repositories like GNU/Linux does. GNU/Linux has had that for ages and it keeps it more bulletproof.

Going back to Microsoft’s own figures, even Microsoft admits that it’s getting worse for Windows in practical terms:

Microsoft Sees Infected PC Numbers Climbing


The numbers of PCs cleaned by Microsoft’s anti-malware software worldwide during the second half of 2009 continued to trend upward, suggesting that more PCs are getting infected in total, according to the company’s latest Security Intelligence Report (SIR).

More here.

It’s interesting that even Microsoft admits that it’s failing to tackle the problem it created (or helped create).

Microsoft’s Charney, the former government (ish) person who wants charge Mac and GNU/Linux users for Microsoft to clean up its own mess [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is now intervening in international affairs, based on this AP report:

“Lots of times, there’s confusion in these treaty negotiations because of lack of clarity about which problems they’re trying to solve,” said Scott Charney, vice president of Microsoft Corp.’s Trustworthy Computing Group, before a speech at the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit.


Charney, of Microsoft, believes cyber threats should be better differentiated. He proposes four categories: conventional computer crimes, military espionage, economic espionage and cyberwarfare. That approach, he argues, would make it easier to craft defenses and to discuss international solutions to each problem.

What is Microsoft doing in a Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit? And why does it tell the world how to address these issues that it itself helped create? Microsoft cannot even issue disclosures of its own flaws (because it lies pathologically), so why should anyone believe Charney and maybe implement his outrageous idea of taxing all computer/Internet users for damage caused by Windows botnets? Microsoft should be held liable for knowingly refusing to patch known flaws.

Microsoft is Against Net Neutrality

Posted in Microsoft at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Summary: Another new sign that Microsoft is a threat to the Internet and the citizens’ interests

Microsoft’s stance on net neutrality is a subject we have not covered for over 2 years. 4 years ago it turned out that Microsoft had withdrawn from ItsOurNet.org. The last time we brought up the subject we argued that Microsoft was secretly against net neutrality (since some years ago), along with its ally Comcast.

Here is a new report from The Inquirer:

Microsoft backs down on net neutrality

SOFTWARE MONOPOLIST Microsoft seems to be backing away from its long running support for network neutrality.

Speaking to an FCC hearing on the issue, the software giant admitted it has a vested interest in ensuring that its numerous web applications and services are delivered to consumers without interference from an ISP.

However it warned against “the adoption of unnecessary or insufficiently tailored regulations, such as a prohibition on all types of discrimination.”

The Washington Post covered this too and so did this author whom we included in the daily links a few days ago.

Hollywood: Your Software Freedom Stops Here

Posted in Apple, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hollywood sign

Summary: Richard Stallman recommends reduced exposure to Hollywood’s so-called ‘premium content’, which increasingly excludes or punishes users of Free software like GNU/Linux

WE HAVE already written to explain how the copyright cartel controls the current government (as it did predecessors) and gone through the trouble of explaining why Hollywood is close to Apple and to Microsoft. Hollywood uses them to police so-called ‘consumers’ of so-called ‘content’. This is part of the reason that we cover copyright issues on a daily basis, not just software; those subjects are inseparable because of the parallels and the correlations between software and information.

BoingBoing argues that the “FCC hands Hollywood the keys to your PC, home theater and future”:

The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the “Selective Output Control” technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you’re watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, “Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood’s victory today at the FCC — they’ll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV — the intro to the show takes on modern relevance.”

The FCC says that they’re doing this because they believe that if they do so, the MPAA will start releasing first-run movies (the ones that are still in theaters) for TV. They say that Hollywood won’t make these movies available unless they get Selectable Output Control because SOC will stop piracy.

This is ridiculous.

“Holywood [sic] attacks your freedom,” wrote Richard Stallman about it and explained:

Dan Gillmor: FCC hands Hollywood the keys to your PC, home theater and future.

The Free World will increasingly need to reject computers designed to be controlled by Hollywood, and use computers which were not designed to restrict their users. But these are unusual computers, and that is a problem for people who want to install a free operating system on a machine that was not chosen with freedom in mind. They find that the devices in the machine won’t run without proprietary software. Often this is because Hollywood has demanded it.

This problem contributes to the popularity of nonfree GNU/Linux distros that include the nonfree drivers and firmware for those machines, distros that weaken our community by corrupting many of its members.

The Hollywood movie companies base their arguments on a false premise: that they deserve to be able to profit. Since they have attacked our freedom, what they deserve is to lose everything and cease to exist.

Think of this, next time someone suggests you pay to watch a Hollywood movie. It’s feeding your enemies. If your children are going to watch, it is bad for them too.

This is an interesting insight which encourages the use of alternative sources such as the Web Archive, Wikipedia, and news blogs. Those who want greater control typically abuse publications and alter the tools used to access information so as to disempower the audience. Apple’s hypePad takes it to new extremes.

Detailed Dissection of Symantec’s Anti-GNU/Linux Lies

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Mail, Security at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Symantec exploits journalists’ ignorance, but there is at least one news site (PC World) that claims Symantec is lying

Symantec hasn’t much of a business in GNU/Linux, which continues to increase in terms of market share. This may explain the latest FUD, which was tactlessly published by some news sites which cannot interpret Symantec‘s words for what they are: propaganda based on false premises.

What was Symantec thinking? Once again they need to boost their sales of some software for GNU/Linux, so FUD needed to be emitted somewhere.

The only sober article we have found is titled “Symantec Study Mischaracterizes Linux Spam” and it says:

So–the true source of the spam messages is still most likely a compromised Windows PC–probably part of a massive botnet. However, misconfigured, or poorly configured Linux systems are being leveraged as relays which hides the originating system, and skews the results so that it appears that Linux is responsible for spam that is more likely just passing through.

It seems reasonable to add Symantec to the basket of “vendors to avoid” (alongside Trend Micro).

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