IRC Proceedings: May 20th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Patents Roundup: Novell’s and Apple’s Latest Software Patents, Ruling in Germany, and Harms to Software Freedom

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Novell, Patents at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Troll picks cows

Summary: News about software patents and other unjust monopolies

Patent applications by Utahns [Novell still loves software patents]

System and method for creating and presenting modal dialog boxes in server-side component Web applications, patent No. 7,721,225, invented by Daniel Montroy of Sandy, Micah Gorrell of Spanish Fork, and Matthew Sorensen of Lehi, assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.

New iPhone Patents Extend Apple’s Control Over Apps, Potentially Squeezing Out Many Developers [Apple uses patents against GNU/Linux]

Apple Looking Into Location-Temporary Apps

German court ruling, upholding Siemens patent, as text [see yesterday's analysis about Siemens]

German Supreme Court on Patents on Computer-Implemented Inventions

Today the German Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) has published the full reasons of the decision in re Xa ZB 20/08 dated April 22, 2010. The decision is related to German patent application DE10232674 filed by Siemens AG on July 18, 2002.

Hugin and patents [some Free software projects have already been hurt by software patents and then vanished, e.g. [1, 2]]

Source code as such (certainly in the case of compiled languages) does not implement an invention — it merely describes an algorithm. As such, I believe that the source code of a Free Software implementation of some patented algorithm (as if it makes sense to patent an idea, but hey, some patent offices hand these things out) cannot infringe the patent even if you accept the validity of algorithmic patents because it’s just describing something that has already been published — the patent text itself! On the other hand, compiled forms of the same do implement the algorithm in a machine and might be covered. I’m not sure if anyone has really dug into the implications of the division between source and object code in this area.

In cases like this, the Open Invention Network might be of use. It’s a patent pool organization for Linux. Since Hugin isn’t part of Linux (as in, the kernel bits) it’s unlikely to be helped out directly. The OIN folks are some of the most pragmatic and sensible people I’ve talked to about the effect (negative) software patents have on us all.


While looking for the SIFT patent, I did find US patent numbers 7,639,897 and 7,711,262 which both cover guiding a user of a digital camera in making a panorama photo. They seem awfully similar to me, although obviously there’s a giant difference (sarcasm doesn’t work in writing unless Penny Arcade does it) between sweeping a scene and then re-photographing it and indicating already-photographed areas as the scene is swept. I guess there’s no patent yet on not helping at all.

Fighting patent aggression the open source way [see Acacia for details]

For the open source community, it’s worth noting with pride that a substantial portion of the prior art used in the case was identified by community members. Groklaw helped rally support, and drew many prior art contributions. The Open Invention Network’s Linux Defenders program posted the patents on its Post-Issue Peer to Patent page, and drew numerous useful contributions as well. In fact, all of the prior art used as prime examples at trial (Apple Switcher, Commodore Amiga 1000, and Chan Room Model), were identified on both Groklaw and Linux Defenders. Many thanks to all who contributed and showed how open source can help invalidate patents that should never have been granted.

Explaining prior art to a jury is itself an art, and our invalidity expert, Dave Wilson, did a great job. He was smart and engaging, and managed to make some challenging material really interesting. For those interested in the technical details on invalidity, I’m posting his entire testimony, but here are a couples of excerpts that will give some idea of what he did.

Chien: Recent History Suggests that Supreme Court will Rule Bilski’s Claim Unpatentable [see background/index to Bilski]

Professor Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) has written an interesting new article on the importance of amicus briefs in patent cases. Her article is titled Patent Amicus Briefs: What the Courts’ Friends Can Teach Us About the Patent System and is available online at SSRN.


The abstract:

Over the last two decades, more than 1500 amici, representing thousands of organizations, companies, and individuals, have signed onto amicus briefs in over a hundred patent cases, many of them representing landmark decisions. This paper turns the spotlight on these “behind-the-scenes” actors in the patent system. It combines theoretical insights with an empirical study of amicus briefs filed in patent cases over the last 20 years in an examination of who is interested in the patent system, the positions they have advocated, and the effectiveness of their advocacy. Amicus filers have been instrumental in shaping the courts’ agenda; the Supreme Court was seven times more likely to grant cert, and the Federal Circuit eight times likely grant a petition for en banc rehearing, if urged to by an amicus. However, while certain briefs have been important, overall the balance of briefs on the merits have not had a measurable impact on the courts’ rulings. One exception has been the briefs of the US Government, which have been exceptionally prescient. Over the 20 years studied, every single amicus brief authored by the US Government in a Supreme Court patent case except one predicted the case outcome. That is to say, in almost all cases, the Court affirmed or rejected the lower court holding when the Government told it to, and in one case, dismissed cert as improvidently granted when the Government recommended doing so. In terms of who files briefs and their agenda, the results are somewhat surprising. Although debates about the patent system are usually cast as a fight between the pharmaceutical and hi-tech industries, patent lawyers comprise a powerful interest group, filing the most briefs of any single group. In addition, among companies, what seems largely to determine how they advocate is their business model – non-practicing entities, for example, nearly always weighed in for the patentee and public companies, often against the patentee. These and other results have implications for those seeking to understand the patent system and those seeking to influence it.

The Suicide Belt [Monsanto strikes again]

He is one of nearly 200,000 Indian farmers, many of them cotton growers, to commit suicide since 1997. In fact, suicide among farmers in India has become so prevalent that officials in New Delhi keep a tally. Hanging and consumption of poison are the common methods of death, and most farmer suicides have occurred in India’s cotton belt, which extends from Hyderabad north to Nagpur, at the geographical center of India, and east to the state of Gujarat.


Cotton seed has historically been among farmers’ lowest expenses. During the harvest, cotton growers would cultivate crop seeds and save them for the following season. As a general practice, they also would swap seeds with neighboring farmers, ensuring through natural selection that subsequent generations of cotton seed would be best suited for the region. Although local cotton did not provide the same potential yields as cotton seed from the Americas, it had adapted to India’s unique climate — an intense monsoon season followed by months of drought.

Monsanto helped to abolish this practice. At the turn of the century, the company introduced a genetically modified cotton plant that produces bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a commonly used pesticide against bollworm. When Bt cotton seed first came to market nationwide in 2002 under the trademark Bollgard, a box recommended for one acre of farmland was 1,400 rupees, about $35, a substantial amount for a farmer who in a good year will earn a few hundred dollars to support his family. Although government-regulated prices have been halved to 750 rupees per box — a predatory pricing lawsuit filed by the state of Andhra Pradesh forced Monsanto and the federal government to lower the prices — the input costs of Bt cotton are still more than the average farmer can afford to spend out of pocket.

Developing Countries Blast WHO Report On IP, Demand “Credible” Approach [intellectual monopolies always suppress the poor, by design]

A critical report on financing research and development of medicines for the world’s poorest was created without transparency, failed to live up to its mandate, and did not address the potential threat that intellectual property rights can pose to access to drugs, developing countries said today at the World Health Assembly. But a proposal by a group of Latin American countries for a new intergovernmental working group was not accepted by developed countries and others and quick informal consultations began to work out differences before the end of the assembly this week.


Even the United States – generally supportive of the group’s work – said it was “regrettable” that information on process and manner of work was not included in the report itself when published, and that member states did not hear about it until last week’s informal meeting (IPW, WHO, 14 May 2010).

Techrights Welcomes Google’s WebM/VP8 Push

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Victory under water

Summary: Google does the right thing when it comes to codecs; it already converts vast amounts of video and it is going to defend free codecs from software patents, which in turn would possibly eradicate Flash and Silver Lie (if all goes according to plan)

YESTERDAY we alluded to the exciting news from Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and presented the FFII's response, which was mostly enthusiastic.

Google’s VP8 is not perfect (no codec can be perfect), but it works decently and it shall be Free software to be supported by the major Web browsers, apparently even Microsoft’s (“Don’t forget that Microsoft basically does not have an option,” Oiaohm remarks about the news). Here is the “first in-depth technical analysis of VP8″ (it is the author’s claim that it’s the first). In conclusion it says:

VP8, as a spec, should be a bit better than H.264 Baseline Profile and VC-1. It’s not even close to competitive with H.264 Main or High Profile. If Google is willing to revise the spec, this can probably be improved.

VP8, as an encoder, is somewhere between Xvid and Microsoft’s VC-1 in terms of visual quality. This can definitely be improved a lot, but not via conventional means.

VP8, as a decoder, decodes even slower than ffmpeg’s H.264. This probably can’t be improved that much.

Patents are the issue many Web sites are discussing right now. These are of course software patents, mostly mathematical (compression, matrices, etc.) and Google might be addressing the issue by buying Global IP Solutions and eying the VoIP market (watch out, Skype).

According to this Web site, “Zencoder Excited About Open Source VP8″ and Theora’s founder thinks that it’s “wonderful”.

“This is great news,” said Christopher “Monty” Montgomery, founder of the Xiph.org Foundation, when I reached him by phone right after the announcement. Montgomery is spearheading the development of Ogg Theora and is a Theora developer himself, but he called VP8 going open source “absolutely wonderful” and sounded honestly stoked about the initiative. Montgomery did mention that Google didn’t make too much of an effort to reach out to open source developers ahead of the official announcement. He was notified of the development, but many others weren’t. “We have to see how it’s going to play out in the open source community,” he told me, adding that it will be a while until VP8 will really have an impact.

Guess who is still standing in the way? Flash’s co-creator.

However, Gay is skeptical that Google’s plans to open-source its VP8 video codec will be able to fundamentally change this situation, cautioning that it may be impossible to build open-source codecs that don’t infringe on someone’s patents.

Here we go. The “P” word again. Microsoft, Nokia, and Apple love bringing that one up, as we mentioned in:

Flash’s co-creator (or Adobe) is worried about VP8 because it complements HTML5 and may ultimately send Flash back to the dark ages. Silver Lie too is already suffering. TechCrunch‘s new headline states that “Netflix Is The Latest To Talk The HTML5 Talk”

As we all know, the battle between Flash and HTML5 for the future of online video is raging. But what about that other plugin some sites use for video? You know, the one made by Microsoft — Silverlight? A new posting tonight may call that platform’s future in video into question as well. Because arguably their most important client is looking to jump on the HTML5 video bandwagon: Netflix.

That’s excellent news. Will they use Ogg Theora? VP8? Hopefully not H.264, which would potentially put a form of tax on GNU/Linux [1, 2].

Google’s Tim Bray wrote about video publishing just days before Google’s anticipated announcement (people already knew that it was coming) and the press characterises Google’s move as a “gift” [1, 2] (even if it’s a self-serving one).

It is probably safe to say that the winners here are Google and the public, whereas the losers are companies like Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft. It’s a sad day for software patents maximalists and a wonderful day for the rest.

Google’s new codec could become the lingua franca of video on the web. From there it could influence all manner of gadgets connected to the web and render the polyglot of codecs antiquated. I would not be surprised if it became popular on CDs as well. What conserves bandwidth on the web can also save space on hard drives and CDs.

Electronista says that “WebM’s royalty-free HTML5 video raises patent issues” and Florian Müller argues that “The risk concerning WebM isn’t a matter of Google’s own patents. What about third-party patents?”

Red Hat’s Wildeboer responds to this pessimism by saying: “we should adopt webM and adopt it everywhere. Don’t be afraid of patent threats.”

“Google backs open codec against patent trolls,” heralds The Register.

Google is “very confident” that the newly open-sourced VP8 video codec will stand up to the sort of patent attack Steve Jobs warned of when he defended Apple’s decision to shun VP8′s predecessor, the open-source Ogg Theora.


In a private email, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs even went so far as to say that unnamed forces were putting together a patent pool to “go after” Ogg Theora. Today, when The Reg asked if VP8 was vulnerable to patent attack, Google product manager Mike Jazayeri indicated this isn’t a big concern for the company.

“We have done a pretty through analysis of VP8 and On2 Technologies prior to the acquisition and since then, and we are very confident with the technology and that’s why we’re open sourcing,” he said.

But wait. It gets better. A week or two ago, ARM complained that Flash was standing in the way of delivering sub-notebooks with GNU/Linux to the market. Watch this new report from the EE Times:

Chip makers back Google’s open source codec

A handful of mobile chip makers–including ARM, MIPS, Nvidia and Texas Instruments–said they will support Google’s move to establish V8, a video codec it acquired with On2 Technologies in August.

Google announced at its annual Google I/O event in San Francisco it will make the V8 codec available as open source code with a royalty free license as part of a new WebM project. Google said it will pair V8 with the Vorbis open source audio codec and support the two in its Chrome browser and YouTube service. Browser makers Mozilla and Opera also said they will support the codecs.

This would obviously help Google sell tablets, sub-notebooks, and other form factors with ARM/MIPS chips and Android/Chrome OS on them. So again, Google is acting to advance its own interests, but GNU and Linux may benefit as well.

As we pointed out in the latest news summary, Mozilla has reasons to be happy and to be sad about Google. On the one hand, Google threatens Firefox in more ways than it helps Firefox (competition), but on the other hand, Google is a vital source of income to Mozilla and it now removes a patents barrier that recently led to this Firefox fork which we wrote about in [1, 2]. If many parties commit to VP8, then Mozilla will no longer need to worry about codecs. Neither will GNU/Linux distributors.

“If you want to accomplish something in the world, idealism is not enough–you need to choose a method that works to achieve the goal. In other words, you need to be “pragmatic.””

Richard Stallman

Microsoft Propaganda in Africa Curses the Whole Population

Posted in Africa, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Once GNU is written, everyone will be able to obtain good system software free, just like air.”

Richard Stallman


Summary: This old obsession with daemonising the most enslaved and exploited continent in the world is once again seen thanks to Microsoft’s latest charade with the BSA

IN our Wiki we have a fairly new page about Microsoft and counterfeiting. The gist of it is that Microsoft admits benefiting from counterfeiting. Microsoft calls it “piracy” in order to label/portray the victims as a bunch of thuggish criminals and the addicter as a miserable victim.

Two years ago we explained and showed that Microsoft was characterising GNU/Linux use in Kenya as “piracy” and it is a theme we keep seeing and pointing out (it’s accusation by subtle insinuation). Last week we explained how Microsoft used its front group, the BSA, to spread some more of that same propaganda [1, 2, 3] and we presented several refutations, which are pretty much the same every year (the propaganda from the BSA and IDC is an annually-recurring event as they are never deterred by facts contradicting their work).

“Two years ago we explained and showed that Microsoft was characterising “GNU/Linux” use in Kenya as “piracy”…”Google News points to over 100 articles this week which mostly focus on Africa in their propaganda against “piracy” (here is just one example). And no, they do not refer to piracy in Somalia; not even once. The word “piracy” is being hijacked by them to pretend that software is a scarcity and Africa is robbing the West of its precious resources (never mind if the physical resources flow in the very oppose direction while the African population is left to die from West-induced pollution). This post is not intended to be a rant about imperialism, so we digress.

Rather than link to the many (seemingly infinite) propaganda pieces that we see in this week’s news we wish to draw attention to several weak responses such as:

i. Rampant piracy affects open source in Africa

When people can access cheap pirated software, they do not invest in customization of open-source software, and this “affects the growth of open-source-based businesses and services,” said Evans Ikua, chairman of the Linux Professional Association in Kenya.

ii. Reactions to the problem of software pirates

For example, you would pay anywhere in the region of Dh300 to Dh500 for Microsoft Office while there are perfectly good open source systems available for free on the internet.

To state the obvious using an analogy, one might think of a world where fresh water is abundant but where a large company sells intoxicated sweetened water, makes the population highly dependent on this new liquid, and then criminalises the population and pollutes the local water supply. This parable would not be so effective if it were not a real one, too. People in Africa and south America (among other regions) can probably relate and equate Microsoft to those very same companies. The oil wars in Nigeria famously reverse the role of the victim and the exploiter, but again, this goes well beyond our stated scope.

Earlier this year we wrote about the daemonisation campaign that IIPA led against Free software in developing nations [1, 2]. Now is a good time to review this new article where a proprietary software company is belittling the challenge of software freedom but at the same time recognises that it can be harmonious and beneficial to everyone.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recently released the 2010 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection & Enforcement which claims that open source is responsible for a “tidal wave of losses in U.S. jobs and competitiveness.” Indonesia was recently added to the “Special 301 watchlist” because its government encouraged its agencies to use open source software. Many in the open source and technology community have found this indictment ridiculous, yet it illustrates a very real fear that some groups still feel about the open source movement. Years ago, internal emails from Microsoft were accidentally released that exemplified this fear, stating, “OSS poses a direct, short-term revenue and platform threat to Microsoft, particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long-term developer mindshare threat.”


Journyx has benefited from the OSS movement. Though we are not an open source company, our software was built on open source tools like Linux, Python, Apache, and PostgreSQL. These tools allow us to ship a free product, called Timesheet.

Ironically, it is proprietary software which poses a great threat to society and culture at large; and yet, proprietary software companies turn heads into tails (and vice versa) and characterise exploiters as victims.

What Microsoft’s BSA ‘study’ shows us is that Africa is the place most vulnerable to submission in the face of “drug addict” tactics. It makes Africa the biggest victim of Microsoft, as opposed to Microsoft being the biggest victim in Africa.

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

Bill Gates

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

La Quadrature du Net and the FFII (EU) Respond to the European Commission’s Digital Agenda

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Standard at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neelie Kroes
Credit: World Economic Forum
(Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence)

Summary: European freedom and rights groups are concerned about the deal Neelie Kroes is getting after lobbyists got involved

EARLIER this month we pointed out that the Commission's agenda got derailed by lobbyists of proprietary software companies, notably Microsoft and SAP. We had named some of the culprits in posts such as:

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?

Clearly there is pressure on the Commission to abandon the notion that open standards are a desirable thing (Free software aside, but that’s important too) and La Quadrature du Net suspects that our freedoms are at stake. Their latest statement is summarised as follows:

On Tuesday May 18th, the Commission’s Digital Agenda will be released. This important document will define the European Union’s future policies on the Internet and other communications technologies. A leaked draft showed that major policy orientations remained to be arbitrated in advance of the release. Although much of the document puts forward very sensible and positive proposals, potential mentions of dogmatic copyright enforcement and Internet filtering could be sneaked in the final document at the last minute. Will the rights and freedoms of EU citizens be protected?

Groklaw too has responded to the Digital Agenda (Groklaw‘s editorship is US-oriented) and Microsoft is named:

That last part means that Microsoft could implement an open international standard like ODF if it wanted to, despite being a proprietary software business. So far, it doesn’t do so in a way that really works, and the only obstacle I know of, as reflected in their remarks about Google Docs, is a lack of a desire to actually do so.

The FFII‘s press release can be found below. That statement too makes it clear that Europeans are dissatisfied and wish to know which lobbyists are responsible for subverting a document which was intended to defend their freedoms, not the freedom of action for multinational corporations whose lobbyists (whom we named) took over the process.

Europe requires open standards and software freedom. Unless these are prescribed, neither requirement will be obeyed and there will be chaos like this new example:

A year ago, i wrote about how New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) requires the use of Internet Explorer to apply online (and it even appears to require IE just to download the PDF of the application!)

In this particular case we witness how a governmental programme becomes inaccessible to those who adhere to standards and are using Free software (as opposed to non-Free software from one particular company which was found guilty of crimes several times). The European Commission will hopefully not permit repetition of mistakes that are seen across the pond. Recommendation of Free software and open standards which everyone can master is a basic right; to do anything else is to use the sovereign nations to empower private entities of choice at the expense of everybody else.

Neelie Kroes’ Digital Agenda is ‘carrot without stick’

Brussels, 20 May 2010 — Yesterday EU-Commissioner Neelie Kroes disclosed her long-expected Digital Agenda for Europe. The Digital Agenda spans a 10-year period of upcoming European Commission policies in the digital sphere including ambitious regulatory initiatives. The FFII points out that her strategy document falls short on good governance and open standards.

“I would like Kroes to name the corporations that were lobbying behind closed doors for a removal of open standards.”
      –Benjamin Henrion
A “Digital Agenda Assembly”, an annual lobby-parliament to govern the agenda implementation, would be composed of delegates from the European Parliament and industry. The Assembly would bring them together to ‘assess progress and emerging challenges’ and receive input from a ‘High Level Group’ and ‘stakeholders’.

“Neelie Kroes feeds her ambitious Digital Agenda as raw meat to lobby groups. It is a carrot without stick”, warns René Mages from the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). Mages continues, “The Commissioner undermines the dignity of the European elected representatives by setting them on equal footing with private interest representatives.” The FFII fears her governance principles would aggravate the trend to keep the backbone of the European ICT sector, small and medium-sized companies, from having significant influence in Brussels.

“Take open standards for example”, comments FFII president Benjamin Henrion. “Earlier drafts of the Commission’s Digital Agenda featured ‘open standards’ but interest groups managed to eliminate the phrase during inter-service consultations. I would like Kroes to name the corporations that were lobbying behind closed doors for a removal of open standards. Brussels should be transparent and be willing to reveal the elephant in the room.”


EU Commission Digital Agenda website: The Commission intends to “work closely with national governments, concerned organisations and companies.”

EU Digital Agenda:

Permanent link to this press release:


Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org

FFII Berlin
office at ffii.org

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in many European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

Links 20/5/2010: Robin Hood Powered By Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Russel Crowe’s Robin Hood Is Powered By Linux

    Colorist Stephen Nakamura of Santa Monica-based Company 3 used DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci 2K high-end Linux systems for all the color grading work on Universal Pictures’ epic action-adventure “Robin Hood,” starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, directed by Ridley Scott and produced by Oscar winner Brian Grazer.

  • Linux: The Final Frontier?

    Linux hasn’t overcome every challenge, but it’s succeeded over a majority of problems, and like any other mature product has begun to be more selective about the paths of innovation. One good example of this is the excitement generated by cloud computing and virtualization. Vendors see it as a way to make new money, and developers see it as the next new territory to explore and dominate. Cloud computing, until something new comes along, is the quantum physics of the Linux and open source community.

  • Five things you can learn at Linux Day 2010

    Our specialists are keen on getting out into the community to show how to get the most out of Linux in the enterprise. That’s the purpose of the Linux Day 2010 Tour. We’re bringing them to a city near you, to provide live demos, share best practices, and arm you with real-world strategies you can apply today.

  • OpenSolaris and its killer features. Coming to a GNU/Linux near you?

    When we think of free operating systems we tend to think overwhelmingly of the big hitters (all GNU/Linux) like Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva and then of those niche distros that have been designed for low end systems or for specialist purposes like security and forensics. But Oranges are not the only fruit. There is a hinterland out there called Unixland, populated by other less well known systems whose roots are firmly Unix too. BSD for example, famed for its rock-like security. OpenSolaris is another one, perhaps less well known, but it has features that are well worth a punt. This article will look at those kernels and if porting them to mainstream distros is technically possible and permissible in terms of the perrenially thorny issue of licencing.

  • Write Your Next Program on Linux

    We won’t be using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), at least, initially. We will just do it the simple way: write code using a text editor, save it, and compile/interpret it using an appropriate compiler/interpreter. In the Linux world, you have a plethora of text editors to choose from. One of the editors, such as gedit or kwrite, will definitely be installedwhen you install Linux—you can use either. If you install a distribution like Ubuntu, which has the GNOME desktop environment, then you will have gedit already installed. It’s just like Notepad, only more useful and feature-rich.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • IBM freshens up System x servers

      The System x3620 M3 is certified to run Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2; Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3 and 11 (including the integrated Xen hypervisor); Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4; and VMware ESX Server 4.0 and ESXi 4.0 Update 1. The server will start shipping on June 8.

  • Kernel Space

    • Thoughts on 2.6.34

      So, as most people will have heard, the 2.6.34 kernel was released on May 16. Back in February, I was predicting a mid-May release, so I hit it almost exactly. That says nothing about my prediction skills, though (which are horrible) and a lot about how the kernel development process is going. It has become a very predictable, nearly boring affair.

    • The First DRM Pull Request For Linux 2.6.35 Kernel

      The Linux 2.6.34 kernel was released only three days ago, but David Airlie has emailed Linus Torvalds and the Linux Kernel Mailing List with the first DRM pull request for the Linux 2.6.35 kernel.

    • SUSE Linux Is Hooking Up With Btrfs Too

      Fedora was the first tier-one Linux distribution shipping with support for optionally installing to a Btrfs file-system for the past year, but in recent weeks the adoption rate of Btrfs looks like it will be quickly rising. Fedora 13 is extending the Btrfs support to offer system rollback support by where a file-system snapshot is created via Btrfs each time a yum transaction takes place. Red Hat recently released the first public beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 and it includes Ananconda installation support for RHEL6 onto Btrfs, MeeGo will be using Btrfs by default in this distribution that marries Maemo and Moblin, and Ubuntu is making Btrfs plans where Btrfs may become the default file-system in Ubuntu 10.10. Novell / openSUSE is also getting in bed with Btrfs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • One of these things is not like the others

      Having a faster machine in the house means I have the luxury of trying out some of the bigger, heavier distros without feeling like I’m having my brain pressed through a bowl of mashed potatoes. I consider it homework, making sure I keep up-to-date on what the bulkier versions of Linux can do, and at what cost.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Plasma Netbook 4.5

        Some of those changes are quite visible at a UI level, some other are more under the hood, but contribute to give to it a more “finished” look and feel to it.

      • Going where no gearheads have gone before…

        Thomas Jensch from the FSFE initiated our presence at the event and is networking with church representatives, something I could not do, since I know way too little about internal church organization (and probably don’t want to know either). I guess he will report more about that. What we (that is the KDE folks) talk about with people coming to our booth is free software in general and KDE in particular, depending on the interest of our visitors and their knowledge level. People here come with very varying backgrounds, we get the occasional Linux power user, but mostly it’s down to the basics. There is often an understanding why open standards are important and from there on we can talk about the freedoms (of free software) or drift off to how great KDE is. Sometimes it was interesting to see people running away when we ask them if they knew about free software. Typically they would mumble something about not knowing much about computers. But those are only very few people, most visitors are very interested. Sometimes on the other hand, people don’t want the philosophical talk and are happy instead to just play with our shiny KDE demo machine. This event we have different apps running, Palapeli worked quite well as eye-catcher, running on a big monitor. Of course we are happy to show more apps and give some introductions to how KDE works. Some teenagers enjoyed the puzzle and completely ignored our lecturing about philosophy behind it :) We gave away quite some Linux dvds and FSFE handouts to the people that are actually interested. For the next time I hope we’ll have a one page “what is KDE” handout. That would be nice…

      • Rekonq: A Quick Glance At Kubuntu Next Default Browser

        The talk of the town is that the next version of Kubuntu (10.10, codenamed Maverick Meerkat) will have a new default browser, replacing Konqueror, the longtime KDE favorite. The replacement browser may very well be Rekonq, a browser that could be viewed as a next-generation approach to Konqueror.

      • Yet Another GSoC update : libface gets Face Recognition

        To those who do not know: As part of my GSoC work, I’m committing to libface , an open-source face recognition library made by me and my mentor Alex Jironkin. libface shall be used for the upcoming Face Detection and Recognition support in digiKam.


        And tagging. I’ve just checked out a fresh copy of Adrian Bustany’s nepomuk-peopletag project, which has been abandoned since about two years or so. I’ll be modifying it – actually it involves removal of code, not much actual coding. I’ll be removing the nepomuk-specific code from it (no offense to the Nepomuk people), as digiKam shall talk to Nepomuk through it’s own interfacing.

  • Distributions

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Business as usual for Mandriva?

        The response that was given on the posting entitled About Mandriva’s current situation, basically presented the current situation as business as usual. Stating that it is nothing new and that Mandriva has always been involved in investment and acquisition activities.

      • Best Mandriva Wallpaper Collections from Madriva-Art

        I look around the Mandriva-Art website to find some good Mandriva wallpapers. And I already compiled them into this post, so its easier to you to download the best Mandriva Wallpaper from Mandriva-Art.

      • Make your PClos Gnome 2010 look like PClos KDE 2010

        Just For fun, if you bored about pclinuxos 2010 gnome standar layout. This is how to make your pclinuxos gnome 2010 look like a pclinuxos kde 2010.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Paving the Way to Success: Red Hat Services Pathways

        Reducing the sprawl common in many of today’s heterogeneous data centers is often top of mind for CIOs and IT departments. From identifying a process to increase hardware homogeneity and meeting application and environment migration targets to utilizing cost-effective virtualization technologies, Red Hat is primed and ready to help companies pave the way to success with Red Hat Services Pathways.

      • CentOS 5.5 USB Device Mounting Annoyance
      • Another Educational Institute Opens Its Gates to Open Source

        Built on the CentOS distribution and with features like Qmail MTA, MailScanner, SpamAssassin, ClamAV anti-virus, Squirrel Mail, Group Office (a Web-based collaboration suite), MySQL, Joomla CMS, and a customised administration panel using a PHP and Ajax interface, TechnoMail was a perfect fit for Bharati Vidyapeeth.

      • Fedora

        • [Fedora] Elections are open.

          If you aren’t familiar with how the system works, check out the Fedora Elections Guide. I also encourage Fedora community members to review the logs from our Town Hall meetings, where the candidates talked openly about their goals and viewpoints. Get informed, and then vote appropriately.

        • Ubuntu vs. Fedora: The Latest Versions Square Off

          Ubuntu regularly claims to be the most popular Linux distribution. But, if so, Fedora is a competitive second. Both have thriving communities and are a major source of free and open source software innovation.

          Regularly, you can read on mailing lists of users having grown discontented with one and deciding to migrate to the other. In many users’ minds, each is an alternative to the other.


          Both Fedora and Ubuntu are GNOME-centered distributions, with KDE, Xfce, and other desktops as alternatives. Fedora has included fresh art for each new release for several years now, so its wallpaper compares favorably with Ubuntu’s much-discussed new color-coded scheme.

    • Debian Family

      • Stefano Zacchiroli (Debian Leader): Local communities are important

        Stefano Zacchiroli, a new Debian Project Leader, in an interview with Polish Debian Portal speaks about this year’s campaign, realase policy of the project, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port and other non-linux ports, and the role of local Debian communities.

      • Debian Project News – May 18th, 2010

        Deadlines are looming for DebConf10 – some have already passed. For example, the last day to submit a BoF (Birds of a Feather) talk has come and gone. There is still lots you can do for DebConf10 however including volunteering time, lending equipment, and even donating money. Sponsors and donors are needed to help defray the costs of holding DebConf10 as Raphael Geissert wrote on his blog.

      • Pieces of the roaming laptop puzzle in Debian

        Today, the last piece of the puzzle for roaming laptops in Debian Edu finally entered the Debian archive. Today, the new libpam-mklocaluser package was accepted. Two days ago, two other pieces was accepted into unstable. The pam-python package needed by libpam-mklocaluser, and the sssd package passed NEW on Monday. In addition, the libpam-ccreds package we need is in experimental (version 10-4) since Saturday, and hopefully will be moved to unstable soon.

      • Ubuntu

        • 10 things you’ll love about Ubuntu 10.4

          It’s here: A shiny new release of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. But why should you care? You may not use Ubuntu — or maybe you don’t really know much about Linux at all. Well, here are 10 new or improved features that make Ubuntu 10.4 worth caring about.

        • Life with Linux: Notes on installing Ubuntu 10.4 LTS

          This was on my personal home desktop, a rather powerful machine I built earlier this year (6Gb memory, quad core, 2Tb disk) specifically for 3D apps and personal software development. It’s a dual boot machine, so when I did the upgrade on the Ubuntu half I wanted to make sure the other side remained intact.


          All in all this is a solid release, as far as I can tell so far.

          Update: I’ve switched to the new default Ambiance theme to get the full effect of the changes in the user interface. I’ve changed the background image (my favs are from InterfaceLIFT) but otherwise I should be living La Vida Lucid.

        • New Windicators (Window Indicators) Mockups [Ubuntu 10.10]

          Note: these are not official mockups, but they are still pretty close to what window indicators want to be.

        • Is Arch Linux Really Faster Than Ubuntu?

          Our testing was carried out on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR2-667MHz system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 7200RPM SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M 512MB graphics processor. Tests we ran included 7-Zip compression, LAME MP3 encoding, FFmpeg, x264, World of Padman, OpenSSL, GraphicsMagick, Bullet Physics Engine, John The Ripper, SQLite, Apache, C-Ray, Unpack-Linux, PostMark, dcraw, Parallel BZIP2 compression, and MAFFT. Testing was done by the Phoronix Test Suite.

        • Variants

          • Lubuntu Netbook Remix: A Look

            All in all, there’s not much else to say about how LNR actually works. It’s a simple, straightforward product; what you see is what you get. When I was using it, the only criticism I had was that there are no keyboard shortcuts for navigating between the different categories of the netbook interface.

          • Puppy Linux slims Ubuntu down

            Puppy Linux’s latest release may be based on Ubuntu but it is still as small as ever

            Puppy Linux, a long-time maker of ultra-compact versions of Linux, has released Lupu, its first release based on Ubuntu Linux.

            Over the years Puppy Linux has typically released slimmed-down versions of Linux that clock in at around 100MB in size. Being that small Puppy Linux is both small to download as well as being compact enough to run entirely from RAM.

            Now the project has released a new branch of its operating system, basing it this time on Ubuntu Linux. The final download size is a little bit bigger than the usual Puppy releases at 128MB, but it is still significantly smaller than the 600MB+ downloads for the original Ubuntu Linux.

          • Mint

            • Linux Mint 9: A First Look

              From what I can see, Mint 9 looks to be a worthy successor to the Mint line. They’ve largely left intact what works, and have worked hard to improve that which needs improving. As a full-featured desktop OS with modern hardware, this really looks great, but older hardware really struggles with some basic tasks. Firefox is sluggish, and, as mentioned previously, Software Manager brings my computer to its knees. In a few weeks I’ll see how it performs on slightly newer equipment. For now, though, I’ll have to bide my time until the LXDE or Fluxbox editions come out before I can consider using it regularly on my existing hardware.

            • Linux Mint 9 (Isadora)

              The menu has been improved. If you turn on 3D effects, you can view a partly transparent menu. You can also now right-click on an item in the menu to edit it. You also have the option of changing the menu’s default behavior from showing what you looked at last to defaulting to your favorites. You can even right-click items to add them to your desktop and panel. I love the right-clicking features in the menu, it makes it very fast to change items or put them on your panel or desktop.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Thanks, Yahoo, You Did the Right Thing

    It looks like Yahoo has reinstated the Linux/Open Source link on their Tech News page. Perhaps it was just a fat-fingered mistake or an accident of some sort that the link was removed from the main link bar but it certainly raised my hackles. And, frankly, my hackles don’t need raising over something like this. But, they’ve put it back in a different location (not a big deal) but at least they’ve put it back. And, for those of you who either believe that it never left or that my eyesight is somehow to blame, I have screen shots for you.

  • Brazil: commercial adoption of free software continues to grow

    An annual survey conducted by CETIC (Center for Study of Information Technology & Communications) found that the use of free software in mid-sized and enterprise companies continued to grow through 2009. The survey, TIC Empresas 2009, has been surveying commercial trends in Brazil’s growing technology markets for five years now.

  • Open Source Web-Mapping App in Douglas County, Nev., Offers Aerial View of Local Data

    In Douglas County, home to some 50,000 residents, officials decided to use open source software to cut costs, especially in budget-crunching times. The bulk of the expenses, Schmidt said, went to development consulting and Web hosting.

  • Open Source: A license, a community or more?

    To Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, a “non-free program” – i.e., proprietary software – represents an attack on your freedom. See this interview he granted Jolie O’Dell:

    Stallman believes that even a patent violates this freedom. (He’s not the only one in the open source community to feel this way.)

  • Use value and free software

    Why business is good

    Let us see how we have needed companies that exploit our free software commons. Let us see how they have actually added not only capital for themselves, but actual use value for all of us.

    In the late 1980s, before the Internet or the Linux project existed, a few guys realized that the GNU C compiler, the GDB debugger and Emacs made a pretty damn good set of developer tools, and decided to sell them to developers and support them. They listened to customers and fixed bugs, added features, and customized the tools for individual companies and users. The GNU project was not interested in doing any of this, so the users were better off paying Cygnus to do it for them. Cygnus was adding real use value to the GNU tools. Soon the company noticed that the GNU project was really slow in integrating their improvements to the official compiler tree, so they were left with no choice other than forking it. Eventually, the FSF realized that Cygnus’ version was far superior to them, and adopted it as official. Cygnus pretty much became the maintainers of the GNU C compiler.

    The GNOME project was created in 1997 to create a free desktop for GNU-based systems. It succeeded because Red Hat hired developers to work on it. Red Hat got a nice desktop for themselves, and the GNU project got a free desktop. Red Hat made sure the potential use value was created.

    In 2010, we are complaining when Canonical, Red Hat and Novell are leading the evolution of desktop systems, and IBM, Oracle, and others are in charge of the kernel. Why do we complain? What we are witnessing is the reconciliation of use value and exchange value. Everybody wins when commercial free software succeeds.

  • The Psychology of Open Source Explained

    The video makes a powerful argument that a society set up for contribution to the common good may suit us better than one that assumes we are rational self-maximizers. The video is based on Pink’s new book, Drive.

  • Marketcetera and Lakeview team on open source trading platform

    Marketcetera, a developer of innovative open source software solutions for algorithmic electronic trading today announced that it has partnered with Lakeview Capital Market Service GmbH, an investment, technology and consulting provider based in Starnberg, Germany, to enhance and broaden the reach of Marketcetera, the industry’s leading open source electronic trading and risk system.

  • 50 Open Source Tools To Replace Popular Security Software

    For this list, we’ve compiled a set of open source security tools and their commercial counterparts. We’re not suggesting that the open source apps have all the same features and use the same methods as the commercial products they can replace.

  • Consider open source deduplication

    Some vendors (e.g., NetApp, EMC) give away data reduction (aka capacity optimization) technology, while other solutions for compression and data deduplication can get pretty expensive pretty quick. There’s another alternative: open source deduplication.

  • Open source Vaadin bridges Java to Ajax

    With rich Internet applications all the rage an open source Web framework dubbed Vaadin promises rapid Ajax development while keeping Java code on the server.

  • Events

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla and leadership: Rethinking the CEO

      Why change the title? My interest is that the title communicate the message of Mozilla mission and its method. CEO’s are usually (although, admittedly not exclusively) associated with traditional companies, and to a lesser degree, hierarchical decision making structures. Indeed, if asked what words I were to associate with the CEO I think “authority,” “command” and “hierarchy” would be among the top to jump into my mind.

    • Should *Mozilla* Fork Firefox?

      What Ross’s complaint comes down to is that Firefox is suffering the inevitable side-effects of its own success. It’s no longer put together by a small, agile team that can turn on a sixpence, but has developed a complex, global group of skilled and generous people collaborating in different ways and at different levels. The need to achieve a certain consensus implies that things move much more slowly than in the early days; breaking things in any serious way for the sake of progress is hardly an option, which makes change incremental.

    • Is Firefox Headed Towards A Massive Decline? Its Co-Founder Thinks So
    • A hungrier, more aggressive Mozilla

      In its search for a new CEO, Mozilla should be looking for someone more like Marc Benioff and less like Gandhi. Much of its former competitive advantage–community, open source–is increasingly shared by Google, a competitor with its entire business at stake.

  • SaaS

    • Cloud computing’s secret sauce

      Along the way I suspect we’ll see open-source companies like Puppet Labs and Opscode, as well as open-source savvy companies like RightScale, really thrive. It’s one of the first times open source has taken the lead in simplifying IT, rather than feeding its complexity.

    • Servoy Simplifies SaaS with Open Source Servoy 5.2 and PostgreSQL

      Servoy today announced the first open source version of its award-winning SaaS application development platform, Servoy 5.2 using PostgreSQL. This change means that Servoy users have enormous flexibility in deployment to cloud hosting or desktop systems. It also enables open source developers looking for RAD tools, rapid prototyping and data application development to utilize a mature, easy-to-use environment.

    • The Challenge to Open Up the Cloud

      The question is whether this is enough. As we’ve seen in the past, it is very difficult to foster open source communities in environments dominated by a few top players. And with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and, increasingly, RackSpace calling the shots, it would take quite a counter-push on the part of the open source community to make any real headway. With the cloud is still in its infancy, says ZDnet’s Paula Rooney, that effort will have to come soon before the playing field is laid out by the big guys.

    • IBM punts commercial Hadoop distro

      Not everyone is a Google, where the MapReduce distributed data cruncher and its related file system was created, or even a Yahoo, where Hadoop was nurtured to do what Google does – but in an open source, community-driven fashion. Hadoop is used at Yahoo! and Facebook and Twitter, and it helps drive a portion of Microsoft’s Bing search engine. But it is not widely understood in the corporations where IBM does its business.

    • IBM chooses Hadoop to analyze big data
  • Databases

    • Jailer frees developers who test database apps

      Four years ago, the company that German software engineer Ralf Wisser worked for needed a tool to remove outdated data from its production databases. “We couldn’t find an appropriate tool,” Wisser recalls, “so I created Jailer.”

    • NTT and EnterpriseDB Contribute Code to Support Postgres Ecosystem and Encourage Further Development of Extensible Cluster Technology

      Based upon the open source Postgres code and utilizing the same application programming interface, Postgres-XC is a write-scalable synchronous multi-master Postgres cluster with both read and write-scalability. Designed to greatly increase Postgres’ scalability and reliability, Postgres-XC is being contributed to the open source community for further development in order to leverage the rapidly growing Postgres ecosystem of developers, partners and end-users. Postgres-XC, which is still in its early development stage, already includes significant feature functionality including Global Transaction Management and proven scalability.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Releases MySQL Enterprise Upgrade

      Database and enterprise application giant Oracle on May 17 released a new version of MySQL Enterprise, the first major upgrade of the open-source relational database since Oracle acquired MySQL with the buyout of Sun Microsystems. The major new component of this release is MySQL Enterprise Monitor 2.2, which provides new query performance monitoring tools.

    • Sun’s stars: Where are they now? And why did they leave?

      Key departures have included Java founder James Gosling, XML co-inventor Tim Bray, and Simon Phipps, Sun’s chief open source officer.

    • OpenOffice.org

      • Organizations Switching from Microsoft Office Choose OpenOffice Over Google Docs: New Survey by Info-Tech Research Group

        Microsoft’s decision to discontinue support for Office 2003 or older means that organizations using these suites will soon have to bite the bullet and decide whether to upgrade to Office 2010 or find an alternative solution. Google has been pushing hard for organizations to make the switch to Google Docs, but Info-Tech Research Group suggests that most organizations should not make the switch. However, when a full or limited migration is validated, OpenOffice is the way to go.

        “Our research shows that no other alternative suite stands up to the features, reliability and familiar feel of OpenOffice making it the best option for organizations making a full switch or planning a limited deployment of an alternative suite,” said Tim Hickernell, Lead Research Analyst for Info-Tech Research Group. “Google Docs does have the collaboration aspect going for them, but when it comes to spreadsheets, presentations and word processing, OpenOffice is far superior to other alternatives.”

      • OpenOffice.org Conference 2010: Call for Papers

        This year’s OpenOffice.org Conference will take place from the 31st of August to the 2rd of September in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. The 10th anniversary event for the free open source office suite is open to users, developers and contributors and will focus on a number of topics, such as the OpenDocument Format (ODF), development and interoperability.

  • Content Management

  • Google

    • Google Wave: Now open to the public
    • Google Fonts Directory, Open Source Fonts For The Websites

      Google has released an exciting tool for website owners: Google Fonts Directory. All the fonts in this directory are available for use on any website under an open source license and served by Google servers. To use Google Fonts on websites, the site owners need to put a one line code in the head section of webpage. Here is an example page, created by me, which uses the Lobster font available in the Google Fonts gallery.

  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • Business

    • Software Freedom Means Business Success

      The free software definition does indeed read like a revolutionary manifesto, partly because it is. The people behind it often eschew the pragmatism of the term ‘open source’ and focus on liberty alone. It’s worth looking behind their philosophy though. I paraphrase the free software definition as guaranteeing the liberty to use, study, modify and distribute software without interference. Those four liberties create value for business:

      * The freedom to use the software for any purpose, without first having to seek special permission (for example by paying licensing fees). This is what drives the trend to adoption-led deployment, where iterative prototyping leads to rapid solutions.
      * The availability of skills and suppliers because they have had no barriers to studying the source code and experimenting with it. The market in open source tools and consultants is getting richer and more vibrant by the day because of this freedom.
      * The assurance that vendors can’t withhold the software from you because anyone has the freedom to modify and re-use the source code. If a vendor decides to end support for open source software, another company can step in and carry on where they left off – as I intend to prove.
      * The freedom to pass the software on to anyone that needs it, even including your own enhancements – including your staff, suppliers, customers and (in the case of governments) citizens.

    • Why Businesses Need To Work More Together On Open Source

      It’s instructive to look at an initiative going on in Thailand. As discussed here, a consortium of Thai businesses called the Business for Open Source Society (Boss) is pooling contributions from open source specialists and local software companies and launching training programs for open source developers.

    • WANdisco Gives Back to the Subversion Community
    • Oki Launches “Mission-critical Systems Migration Support Services”

      Oki has also proactively promoted open source in response to the needs of cost-conscious companies. In particular, for JBoss Enterprise Middleware(*9), an open-source-based middleware product line, OKI was the first Japanese company to conclude a JBoss Premier Business Partner contract with provider Red Hat in May 2009, positioning it as the ideal partner in Japan.

    • Magento Development Company is Providing Cost Effective Magento Development Services

      Magento is a highly popular among the open source ecommerce development community. Magento Development Company specifically provides topnotch Magento development services and solutions at competitive prices.

  • Appointments

  • BI

  • ECM

  • ESB

    • MuleSoft Ships Management Console for Open Source ESB

      MuleSoft is bringing a new level of management to integration architects using the Mule open source ESB. The just-released Mule ESB Management Console offers web-based UI console for centralized views of multiple ESB server instances, message flow debugger, and intelligent alerting against SLA violations.

    • FAA uses open source ESB to handle flight data

      Last year the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected an open source enterprise service bus (ESB) to provide integration support for a system that uses Web-based services to handle flight and weather data for airlines. Earlier this year, a SWIM Prototype became operational at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • SalesLogix Cloud Prompts Open Source Release of Popular Apps
    • CKAN v1.0 Released

      We are pleased to announce the availability of version 1.0 of the CKAN software, our open source registry system for datasets (and other resources). After 3 years of development, twelve point releases and a several successful production deployments around the world CKAN has come of age!

    • Official Twitter App to be open-sourced

      It seems Google is trying to develop a set of templates for developers to base their app UIs on, or at least in part, which might help standardize the entire user experience within Android and its growing list of apps and developers.

  • Government

    • FOSS vendors lick chops over ConLib IT plans

      Of course both the Tories and the LibDems currenty face an overwhelming problem with a multi-billion pound deficit. So is the pledge to support open source software procurement – that might just help drive down some costs – a happy coincidence for the Camelegg jamboree?

      “With the current coalition exploring a rather unchartered territory [sic] of power sharing and common interests, it will be interesting to see what change the new Cabinet will bring to the UK public IT policy,” Ingres global ops veep Steve Shine told The Register following the coalition’s formation.

    • UK dominates European ICT services market

      The report also covered the open-source market, noting that Europe is the world’s “main contributor” to the open-source software community. In 2008, open source accounted for €4bn (£3.4bn) of the total €229bn value of the European software market. However, the report’s authors predicted that the open-source software market will reach a value of €12bn in 2012 — a growth rate of 30-40 percent per year.

  • Transparency

  • Openness

    • Culture

      • FutureEverything gathers technology’s avant garde

        Artists, musicians, engineers and hackers from around the world recently descended on Manchester for a three day celebration of digital culture.


        The whole project is open source said team member Evan Roth – and the most technical component is a hacked webcam from a PlayStation 3.

      • Open sound series: Part 2 – OpenChord.org

        OpenChord.org develops open source controllers allowing you to play Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Frets on Fire using a real guitar. Right now, we’re offering a kit to let people build their own guitars, but hope to sell assembled guitars and devices soon.

    • Open Hardware

      • Startup’s Kits Help You Hack Your Home

        SuRF is powered by the company’s Open Source Home Area Network operating system. OSHAN is based on TinyOS, a platform for wireless sensors that currently has about 10,000 developers. Moss hopes OSHAN-powered devices could replace the networks we have at home — Personal Access Networks, with a range of about 30 to 40 feet — with something he calls Home Access Networks, with a range of 100-200 feet.

      • Touring New York Startups: Meet Bug Labs

        To upend the delays and financial dangers of the normal hardware process, New York-based Bug Labs offers an open-source hardware alternative.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • If Mark Zuckerberg invented the Web

      The Web knows how pages are connected. Social networking sites know how people are connected. Both are obviously crucial. But, Facebook, for all its success, is not living up to the potential for social networking sites, not by a long shot. The social networking site that will do for the connections among people what the Web has done for the connections among sites is awaiting its own Tim Berners-Lee — a person or group that understands that control constrains, but gifts liberate.


  • Panera Bread Testing The ‘Pay What You Want’ Model

    Popular restaurant chain Panera Bread has long been interested in experimenting with smart new business models. It was one of the first restaurants out there to push free WiFi in all its locations — at a time when many thought fee-based WiFi was the future — noting how much it helped bring in more business for the food. A bunch of folks are now submitting the news that Panera is testing out a pay what you want model in one of its new restaurants. There are “recommended” prices — but you can pay more or less than those numbers.

  • UK’s Sunday Times Preparing To Lose 90 Percent Of Traffic Behind Paywall?

    Did The Sunday Times’ editor, in the UK, just admit his website’s about to lose nine tenths of its readers once charges are introduced?

  • Implementing the “Publication as Aggregation”
  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • UK internet users becoming more security conscious

      Most UK internet users are becoming more knowledgeable about security issues and less willing to provide personal information online, according to new Ofcom research.

    • Student DNA scans in California prove controversial

      New students at the University of California, Berkeley, will get the results of one test before they attend a single class this year. Rather than a pass or fail, the results will be measured in the As, Ts, Cs and Gs that make up the genetic code.

      As part of their orientation, Berkeley’s incoming freshman class will be asked to “return a cotton swab covered in cells collected from their inner cheeks”, reports Inside Higher Education.

  • Environment

    • Mining garbage for tomorrow’s metals

      [T]he world is facing looming shortages of ruthenium, and other metals few people have ever heard of – indium, tellurium, selenium, gallium, neodymium and more.

      These metals are essential for the technologies that run the modern world – there are some in your cellphone – and they are crucial for many of the high-tech gadgets being touted to save us from our own polluting excesses, including semiconductors, solar cells, efficient lighting, wind turbine magnets, hybrid vehicle batteries, LEDs, fuel cells and catalysts. Demand for indium alone is projected to double by 2020.

    • One Million Chernobyl Fatalities?

      The book, “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” is by Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow and Vassily and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety in Minsk.

      Global assessments made ten years after the accident and reported at an IAEA conference in 1996 estimated that in the long run, the toll from Chernobyl in terms of premature or “excess” deaths would come to about 8,650. But because the number of “background” cancer deaths in the population most severely affected–the 600,000-800,000 involved in clean-up operations–would come to 825,000, most of the excess cancer deaths would be “hard to detect epidemiologically,” said Elizabeth Cardis, probably the world’s leading expert on the subject.

    • Demand for ivory soars in Asia, leads to death of African elephants

      Carefully, the Chinese ivory dealer pulled out an elephant tusk cloaked in bubble wrap and hidden in a bag of flour. Its price: $17,000.

    • I share their despair, but I’m not quite ready to climb the Dark Mountain

      Anyone who has watched the emerging horror in the Gulf of Mexico in the past few days has cause to doubt this. The world’s richest country decided not to impose the rules that might have prevented the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, arguing that these would impede the pursuit of greater wealth. Economic growth, and the demand for oil that it propelled, drove companies to drill in difficult and risky places.

    • Our mission is to help the gulf coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.
    • Balloon Mapping the Oil Spill Proves Responsive, Open Source
    • Jeremy Jackson talks about How We Wrecked the Ocean

      We have been hearing a lot about what the oil spill is doing to the ocean. But something else which is also concerning is the condition the ocean was in, even prior to the spill. We live in a finite world. Our continued mistreatment of the ocean, the reduced fish population, and the disappearance of large fish in the last 50 years are all serious concerns.

    • Whistleblower Sues to Stop Another BP Rig From Operating

      A whistleblower filed a lawsuit today to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could “dwarf” the company’s Deepwater Horizon spill.

  • Finance

    • Labour hid ‘scorched earth’ debts worth billions

      THE government last night accused Labour of pursuing a “scorched earth policy” before the general election, leaving behind billions of pounds of previously hidden spending commitments.

      The newly discovered Whitehall “black holes” could force even more severe public spending cuts, or higher tax rises, ministers fear.

    • Nations Over Banks (Who Serve Only Themselves)

      No nation can survive when it the rule of law becomes subordinate to a handful of rich and powerful people who simply steal anything they want with impunity. The economy of such a nation ultimately is bled dry by that corruption and theft, with the people over time refusing to innovate and provide their effort when it will simply be robbed away from them.

      There’s a lesson in here for Washington and President Obama, but the time available for both to act is limited; should the “let ‘em rob ‘em all” mentality persist the market will solve this problem in a most-unpleasant fashion.

    • Web of Debt
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bank lobbyists make very direct quid pro quo argument

      Bank lobbyists are really laying it out there. The New York Times reported over the weekend that lobbyists presented their case against an amendment that could reduce debit card fees, the existence of which increase the price of pretty much everything you and I purchase, by threatening to withhold campaign contributions.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • 48 Hour Magazine gets cease and desist letter from CBS

      48 Hour Magazine, the project I took part in earlier this month in which a team of Bay Area journalists and designers created a print magazine in two days, received a cease-and-desist letter from CBS, owner of the 48 Hours TV series:

      On May 11, Lauren Marcello, the assistant general counsel at CBS sent a cease and desist letter, noting that “CBS is the owner of the rights in the award-winning news magazine televison series, ’48 Hours,’ and its companion series, including ’48 Hours Mystery,’” adding later in the letter, “your use is unlawful and constitutes trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition …” along with a lot of other complicated, vaguely threatening legalese.

    • China Goes After “Illegal” Online Maps

      Xinhua, the Chinese news outlet, is reporting this morning that the Chinese government will be implementing new standards that are aimed at preventing “state secrets being disclosed and uncertified maps published online.”

    • Lhasa to require real name registration for printing and photcopying
    • Guest Post: Simon Singh on the BCA and Dishonesty

      Last week the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) hosted one of the world’s biggest gatherings of spinal manipulators, namely the European Chiropractors’ Union Convention in London.

      During the coffee breaks, there was probably lots of discussion about the BCA’s decision to sue me for libel over an article I published in the Guardian back in April 2008.

      The contentious part of the article questioned whether chiropractors should be treating childhood conditions such as ear infections, asthma and colic.

      Last month, after two years of legal wrangling, the BCA backed down and withdrew its libel action. It now has to foot its own legal bill and my legal costs, which I estimate will come to £300,000 in total.

      I am sure that the members of the BCA are annoyed that their subscriptions have been wasted on a horrendously expensive libel suit, but at least they can be reassured by some of the comments made in a press statement issued by the BCA last month.

      The BCA pointed out that the motivation for its legal action was that it believed that my article alleged that the BCA was a dishonest organisation.


      Is it possible that the BCA threw in the interpretation of dishonesty merely as a tactical trick?

      Or, is it possible that the BCA was right (albeit late) in arguing that my article contained an accusation of dishonesty?

      Do the words “happily promote bogus treatments” imply dishonesty?

      It depends on the context, and for me the context clearly points towards an organisation that is naïve and reckless in promoting treatments that I believe are ineffective.

      For example, earlier in my original Guardian article I had written about chiropractors who have “quite wacky ideas”, which implies eccentricity or stupidity rather than dishonesty.

    • Collateral Murder, Collateral Damage

      That’s right, it was taken down on the basis of alleged copyright infringement, not because somebody thought it too shocking to be displayed. The idea that such an action would be taken because of an alleged infringement on somebody’s monopoly, while the underlying cold-blooded massacre of Iraqi civilians is swept under the carpet, is of course, repulsive. But it’s just another effect of the outdated law that is copyright – collateral damage, so to speak.

    • Samaranch, Kissinger and the Coca Cola company: a relentless fascist’s curious date with democracy

      Henry Kissinger, smaller and baggier than in his heyday, but still exuding an aura of power-celebrity, spoke of his ‘enormous confidence’ in Samaranch’s ‘meticulous adherence to the letter and the spirit of reform’. At the end of the day, Hill & Knowlton’s Gary Hymel strolled over to Upton’s counsel, Jan Faiks, and gloated, ‘that was just a great hearing.’ Faiks growled back: ‘You won one on me Gary and I am never going to forget it.’

      When Samaranch’s testimony was over he stood and turned to Kissinger who gripped him by the arm and pulled him close. It was an unsettling moment, the Jew who had escaped the Nazi holocaust embracing the fascist whose regime had kept Hitler’s Wehrmacht in supplies and smart grey uniforms, two old men united in the service of the ‘Movement’, McDonalds and the Coca Cola company.

    • Stop UCC from abusing its harassment policy to limit academic freedom

      It was also covered extensively in the international press. Dr Evans had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. He showed the article to the colleague in the presence of a third person, and to many other colleagues on the same day, none of whom took offense. Nevertheless the colleague to whom Dr Evans showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting.

      HR launched a formal investigation. Despite the fact that external investigators concluded that Dr Evans was not guilty of harassment, Professor Murphy has imposed a two year period of intensive monitoring and counselling on him, which may result in his application for tenure being denied.

    • Mucky private chat could be illegal soon

      First up is the case that got the green light yesterday. As already reported by The Register, Kent Police are in the process of using the Obscene Publications Act as a means to prosecute an individual, Gavin Smith, of Swanscombe for publishing obscenity in respect of a log of a private online chat he had with another individual.

      Due to reporting restrictions, we are unable to give any further details of the alleged content of the conversation at this point in time.

      What is beyond dispute is that this case marks an extension of the OPA into an area that its originators could never have envisaged – to wit, text chat or, as most internet users would regard it, person-to-person conversation.

    • Pakistan blocks access to YouTube

      Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its “growing sacrilegious content”.

      Access to the social network Facebook has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting un-Islamic content.

    • Personal data privacy: What are your rights?

      Should you have the right to your own data? Privacy people think we should, and I think we should in many instances, but governments and some providers are no so positive about this.

    • DtO: Everybody Panic!
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • British Library to scan 40m newspaper pages

      The library holds 52,000 national and international titles covering 300 years. Currently researchers, 30,000 a year, have to go to Colindale in north London to scan through microfilm or hard copies.

    • Digital Agenda: Caution required for the future EU Net policie

      Today, with the release of Neelie Kroes’ Digital Agenda, the European Commission is unveiling major policy orientations regarding Internet-related policies. Several leaked drafts of the document revealed heavy pressures from various special interest groups. While the general outcome of the final document is encouraging, the crucial question of interoperability and open standards was eventually arbitrated in favour of US software vendors’ positions. On IPR enforcement and cybercrime, the worst has been avoided but some very ambiguous wording remains.

  • Copyrights

    • Shazam shares big numbers: 75 million users, over 1 billion songs identified

      Mobile music recognition and discovery startup Shazam this afternoon revealed that it has grown its user base from 50 million to 75 million members in the last six months.

    • The Pirate Party Becomes The Pirate Bay’s New Host

      After its previous bandwidth provider had to take the site offline due to concerns over an aggressive Hollywood injunction, today The Pirate Bay is fully back in operation with a surprising new supplier. From a few hours ago, in a move intended to “stand up for freedom of expression”, the Swedish Pirate Party became the site’s new host.

    • Four things you wouldn’t expect to be affected by piracy

      In some cases, the company behind the content being shared is another multi-billion dollar corporation while in other instances, it’s the work of an individual or small business. Either way, the content costs something to create, and sometimes Internet users aren’t even aware that what they’re sharing may be copyrighted.

    • Hurt Locker Producer Says That Criticizing His Plan To Sue Fans Means You’re A Moron And A Thief

      [T]he producers of the Oscar-winning movie Hurt Locker were supposedly gearing up to sue tens of thousands of fans for unauthorized file trading of the movie. Even if you’re against infringing on copyrights, it’s not hard to see why this is a strategy doomed to backfire massively. A Boing Boing reader found the email for Hurt Locker producer, Nicolas Chartier, who already has something of a reputation for… well… aggressive emailing, and received quite a response.

    • ACTA

      • Written Declaration 12 on ACTA: halfway there, participation still needed!

        185 signatures already, 184 left for an absolute majority! The Written Declaration 12 (WD12) on the ACTA agreement is still open for signatures from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs); it is now halfway completed. By setting red lines to the EU negotiators, it addresses key issues of the right to a fair trial and liability of Internet service providers. This week is a plenary week in Strasbourg, where MEPs will have an occasion to sign it. Who are the signatories so far? Who should be contacted in order to get to 369 signatories?

    • Digital Economy Bill

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect: Planetary Landers (2/11/2002)

Disable Aero in Vista 7

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Resource-hungry visual effects become a security threat to Windows

YET another security problem is found in Vista 7, which begs for the question, “how on Earth does the GUI/presentation layer pose a risk to the entire operating system?”

Microsoft on Tuesday warned users of a vulnerability in 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that could expose users to malware attacks.


Bryant said a patch would be forthcoming, but didn’t say when. In the meantime, users can prevent attacks by disabling the Windows Aero Theme. To turn it off, choose Start > Control Panel and click on Appearance and Personalization. Then click on Change the Theme. Then select one of the Basic and High Contrast Themes.

Vista 7 — like its predecessors — is not secure. Also see:

Did anyone really think that Vista 7 would improve security? Some say that Vista 7 is less secure than Vista. What’s even more perplexing:

People who paid for Vista do not feel they should pay again for “7″. Folks who sell defective cars should expect no more custom. Consumers may find “7″ acceptable but business wants to be free of the burden of that other OS. Some businesses and organizations will go with “7″ as the line of least resistance but GNU/Linux really looks good to users and administrators who have kept XP going for years. My users are asking for something fast that runs on our hardware. “7″ is not happening. We even were given some brand new machines with 3gB RAM, and, to my surprise, find they shipped with XP… That says something about this notion that customers are demanding “7″. Why would an OEM ship us XP if that were the case?

Best of Windows is not the best operating system.

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