IRC Proceedings: May 29th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 29/5/2010: KDE SC 4.5 Beta 1, Zenwalk Linux 6.4, Thunderbird 3.1 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux System and Network Administration Bootcamp W/Free Laptop!

    Rapid growth of Linux into corporate and government IT environments is fueling the need for Linux certified professionals. CIOs and managers are eager to have Linux experts in their organizations. A training or certification provides a tangible mechanism for their hiring evaluation, as well as a means to market the prowess of organizations.

  • Linux Journal Insider – July 2010
  • QOTD: Should Sony be Sued for Removing Linux?

    Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Sony’s decision to remove Linux support from the PS3. Those inclined to sue over the removal of Other OS support say they purchased their PS3 because they could install Linux on it.

  • Desktop

    • Lindsay Lohan prohibited from installing Linux on court-ordered alcohol monitoring gadget

      A Los Angeles judge this week ordered Lindsay Lohan to wear an alcohol-detection ankle bracelet at all times, after the actress was convicted for driving under the influence. Last night, Ms. Lohan tweeted that she wished to bedazzle her Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM). The device isn’t pretty. Neither is alcoholism.

      Snip from the Los Angeles Times:

      “Can CHANEL please help me out by getting me some stickers to put on my scram bracelet so that I can at least wear a chic dress?! maybe!? x,” Lohan wrote.

      But the maker of the ankle bracelet warns that anything that affects the alcohol-monitoring device could be considered a violation and could trigger its tampering mechanism. So adorning the lightweight monitor with sequins or stickers could be fraught with problems for the fashionable actress.

      Guess that means you can’t install Ubuntu on it, either. Bummer.

    • What Happens When My Linux Breaks Down?

      This post is a summary of a conversation I had the other day with an acquaintance of mine. It started out with him asking me what I do for a living and ended up with me having to choke back tears of laughter. I hope you have the same reaction although I realize that it might be one of those, “You had to be there” moments.

    • My dad is a Linux user

      Yesterday, I installed Linux Mint on my dad’s laptop. With the exception of a couple of bits of poorly supported hardware, the installation went without a hitch. I think my dad was genuinely pleased with his new Linux installation and he commented that it was definitely faster than the old Windows XP installation, he added that he thought it looked fairly easy to use too.

    • More FUD about GNU/Linux Popularity

      These are just more trash statistics telling the world or at least anyone who wants to listen that GNU/Linux is not relevant. Real statistics with pedigree showed that GNU/Linux surpassed MacOS share back in 2003 and has not looked back.

    • Chickens Come Home to Roost

      This also indicates that those who tried GNU/Linux are happy enough to keep using it and they do not value the need for support from Novell highly and more continue to ask for GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux is simple, modular and reliable.

    • A Roomful of Meth-Addicted Monkeys

      During a quiet period my colleague and I happened to find ourselves comparing notes on our company-supplied laptops: Dell Latitude E6500s. My colleague, let’s call him Diglio, runs Windows 7 on his, and I am running Kubuntu 10.04. We were just sitting ourselves down in an empty conference room to take advantage of the CMU wireless to check our email.

      Diglio opened his laptop, which had been suspended, and nothing happened. Well, sort of. The fan came on, but not the screen. Nothing he could do would turn the screen on, he had to reboot.

      Watching that I said, “That happens to me sometimes too. I thought it was the Linux power management tools that were screwing up. Do you sometimes close the lid to suspend, stick the laptop back in your case only to find a very hot laptop a bit later when you realize that it didn’t suspend properly as well?”


  • HPC

    • Technical Computing

      89% of the top 500 high performance clusters run GNU/Linux and 1% run that other OS. That will not change any time soon.

    • SGI Introduces New Software Products to Enhance Manageability, Scale and Performance of SGI Hardware

      SGI ProPack 7 is the latest version of SGI’s suite of tools and libraries that enable industry-leading application performance on standard Linux(R) distributions. SGI software products are designed and built on open standards supporting Linux distributions from Red Hat(R) and Novell(R). SGI also integrates and certifies leading third-party software tools to provide best-in-class open software stacks for customers’ most demanding workloads.

  • Audiocasts

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.05.28

      Topics for this podcast:

      *Licensing buzzes with Google, OSI, virtualization and the cloud
      *Open source barometer Black Duck sees growth in mobile, healthcare, government
      *New life for LinuxCare shows renewed vigor for Linux in clouds
      *Apache Hadoop support old and new with IBM, Datameer

    • FLOSS Weekly 121: Freenode

      History of IRC, the Peer-Directed Project Center, freenode and more.

      Guest: Jonathan Simpson

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Hatchet Job

      The testing Phoronix does may have some use but it is not a reflection on Linux in general just the filesystems and hardware that Phoronix uses that are quite narrow. The code in question is just a tiny percentage of Linux.

    • Linux Foundation Releases LinuxCon 2010 Schedule

      * Wim Coekaerts (Senior Vice President, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, at Oracle): Coekaerts will take a technical look at Linux at Oracle.
      * Rob Chandhok (President of Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.): Chandok will discuss the challenges in open source and mobile today.
      * Markus Rex (Senior Vice President and General Manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell): Rex will speak about the changing nature of IT workloads on Linux.
      * Intel & Nokia: A joint keynote titled, “Freedom to Innovate: Can MeeGo’s Openness Change the Mobile Industry?”

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI Catalyst 10.5 Comes with Support for SLED/SLES 11 SP1

        The latest ATI graphics drivers are here to satisfy the needs of the Linux gamers out there. ATI Catalyst 10.5 comes with preliminary support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server 11 Service Pack 1. It also fixes quite a lot of Linux-specific issues and bugs. Other than that, it’s just a regular evolutionary update, nothing to write home about.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE SC 4.5 Beta 1 released

        The KDE Project developers have released a first beta for version 4.5 of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC), a development preview of the next major release for the popular Linux and Unix desktop. According to the developers, the beta is aimed at “testers and those that would like to have an early look at what’s coming to their desktops and netbooks this summer”. The final version of KDE 4.5 is scheduled to be released in August, 2010.

      • First beta of KDE 4.5 SC released

        Good news for fans of KDE, the first beta of KDE SC 4.5 is now available for download. KDE has a history of introducing some of the most innovative features in each release. In KDE 4.4 we got tabbing support at the window manager level, making it possible for people to combine any two arbitrary windows from different applications, into one tabbed window.

      • KDE SC 4.5 Beta 1 Released
      • First Beta of KDE SC 4.5 Arrives

        Highlights of KDE SC 4.5.0 Beta 1:

        · Revamped notification area;
        · Added KWin-Tiling effect, which automatically places windows next to each other;
        · WebKit web browser engine can now be used in Konqueror;
        · Improved overall stability of the software components in KDE SC 4.5;
        · Many other amazing, new features!

      • Lancelot and KMail in 4.5

        Every once in a while I write a post related to relations between lancelot and kmail or kopete.

      • Panel icon sizes in KDE SC 4.5

        There were a lot of complaints when we decided to limit the size of icons placed on panels in plasma to 32×32 pixels.

        The reasoning behind limiting the size were requests from users who use vertical panels – vertical panels are usually made wider then standard panels, and icons would grow to 300×300 pixels taking up most of the space on the panel.

      • New In KDE Partition Manager 1.1 (I): Mount Management

        One of the most requested features after KDE Partition Manager’s initial release has been that users asked for a way to modify mount points from within the application. This came as a bit of a surprise to me because I would not have seen this feature to be in the immediate scope of a partition managing application. But, the user is king after all, and thus this will indeed be possible in KDE Partition Manager 1.1.

      • Trinity and the Challenges of Continuing KDE 3

        This morning, while having my usual Cafe Latte (albeit this time in Berlin instead of at home sweet home in Nijmegen), I read about the Trinity project, which is an effort to revive KDE 3. I think this project nicely shows the advantages of Free Software. While the vast majority of KDE contributors agrees that KDE 3 is a dead end, technologically, these two guys (according to the somewhat sparse information on the website) are trying to continue to support and feature development on KDE3. Now I see a couple of real challenges for this project:

        * Maintainance – KDE 3 is a large codebase. You need a good amount of people with domain knowledge of many different areas to effectively maintain a project like KDE. I see some of the first roadmap tasks for Trinity are updating the build system to deal with all the updated developer tools (e.g. newer autotools versions).

  • Distributions

    • Measuring the popularity of distros – Part 3 Torrents

      Continuing on with the theme of measuring the popularity of Linux distros, today we’ll go for another method. Linux Tracker is a website that provides a bit torrent tracker for various Linux distros and related projects.

      Another way of measuring popularity is to look at the number of seeders and leechers a torrent has (the number of people uploading/downloading the torrent at that moment) and the number of downloads it has had.

      While the only takes a smaller fraction of the downloads, as most people prefer to use HTTP downloads. These will also cater to the slightly more technically aware, as downloading via bit torrent is not quite as simple as downloading via HTTP. Another issue is that it is possible (and encouraged) for one person to be seeding multiple torrents at once, so someone could be seeding every single Ubuntu torrent on the site, even though it is only 1 user. Conversely someone could have downloaded the disc straight and then not seeded it at all. Projects with lots of DVDs/CDs (such as Ubuntu and Debian) will have more seeders together than a project with only 1 or 2 CDs.

    • Zenwalk

      • Zenwalk Linux 6.4 Is Finally Here

        Jean-Philippe Guillemin proudly announced last evening, May 27th, the immediate availability of the Zenwalk Linux 6.4 operating system. The new release is powered by Linux kernel, with the BFS scheduler, and the new XFCE 4.6.2 desktop environment. Cutting-edge packages and overall performance improvements are also present in this new release of the lightweight Zenwalk Linux distribution.

      • Zenwalk 6.4 is ready !

        Zenwalk 6.4 provides many enhancements at system and application levels, while confirming the maturity and features stability of Zenwalk. The brand new kernel is featuring the new BFS scheduler, designed for the best desktop interactivity on multi-core CPUs while taking the most of lower spec machines. You’ll notice better responsiveness of graphical applications, better realtime performance of sound applications (very low latency), and efficiency of niced commands (compilation tasks can really be niced in a way they don’t disturb other applications). Like its predecessor, Zenwalk 6.4 features EXT4 as main filesystem, and latest versions of most applications and desktop environments.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • [Full Circle Magazine] Issue 37

        This month:

        * Command and Conquer.
        * How-To : Program in Python – Part 11, Adding Screenlets, and Streaming Media.
        * Review – Lubuntu.
        * MOTU Interview – Stefan Lesicnik.
        * Top 5 – Tiling Window Managers.
        * plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and all the usual goodness!

      • Variants

        • mintInstall 7.1.5: speed improvements

          A new version of the Software Manager is available in the repository. You can use the Update Manager to upgrade to it.

          The Software Manager was rewritten from scratch in Linux Mint 9. It’s a very complex application, and it can be improved in many ways. Today we tackled the time it takes for the application to start. Basically it needs to process some 30,000 packages, a growing number of comments (we’re receiving about 200 comments per day at the moment) and match all that in categories and do some other fancy processing… Because of all this, it’s far from being immediate.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-Based Pandora Ships with 600 MHz ARM

      Although Pandora is promoted as “the most powerful gaming handheld,” the specs lean more towards an ultra-portable, pocket-sized PC. This portable rig can surf the Internet thanks to a built-in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g wireless adapter, allow users to compose email using its 43-button QWERTY keyboard, and perhaps even export high-quality video to a TV thanks to its S-Video output jack. The Pandora sports a battery with a 10+ hour duration.

    • Nokia

      • Nokia refutes N900 poor sales claims

        According to an earlier Reuters report based on Gartner figures, Nokia only managed to sell less than 100,000 top-of-the-range N900 smartphones in its first five months on the market.

        However, Nokia has since told The INQUIRER that the original figure quoted by Reuters was incorrect, and that it actually sold more than 100,000 Nokia N900s in the first five weeks.

      • Intel and Nokia release MeeGo v1.0
      • Meego releases a netbook edition

        Meego is facing stiff competition from Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems, Canonical’s Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Microsoft’s Windows 7 Starter Edition. Like Canonical’s and Google’s products, Meego is based on the open source Linux kernel.

    • Android

      • IT Infrastructure: Android, Chrome Power Open-Source Google TV Platform

        More than 4 billion TV users exist in the world. Americans watch an average of five hours of TV per day.

      • Is Android the Closest Thing to a Linux Phone There is Ever Going to Be?

        Instead of Android being the best that Linux will ever get on a portable device, it’s actually the first step into having open systems on mobile platforms. As Android gets into the netbook and tablet market, it will only get better for Linux users. People will learn to trust these open platforms and find out that these work out just as well as other types of platforms. The flexibility felt with these will be superior to other platforms that are more closed and controlled where users can’t make personal choices.

      • What Makes Android Tick

        “The open operating system offered by Google doesn’t necessarily translate to openness for users,” Hazelton said. “In some cases when you lock down a smartphone, it’s almost like running around the Internet on AOL. It’s just like going back to the ‘walled garden’ on feature phones.”

        The idea of openness may have gotten away from Google with regard to Android, he said. Initially, the goal for Android was to create a mobile platform that would spotlight Google’s features — maps, search, cloud-based applications. The Nexus One is Google’s attempt to create just that phone, even though the versions of Android phones sold by other handset makers may not live up to the Googleplex’s ideal for a smartphone.

      • Motorola Droid 2 found in Verizon system, keyboard makes an online cameo? (update: specs)

        While we’ve got no way to confirm at the moment, here’s some proverbial food for thought. A friendly reader last night published in our comment thread for the two rumored Verizon-bound Motorola devices with the above picture (subtitles added by us), claiming the bottom image is the Droid 2′s upgraded QWERTY keyboard. The story goes that his friend had one but no other information is currently available — the font on the keys is identical, and the mic icon on the bottom left is distinctively Android. If it’s legit, we gotta say we’re hopeful; the keys look to have a more protruding center à la the CLIQ, which should make typing on the little guy much easier than before. And if it’s not the Droid successor, well, it’s still something we haven’t seen. Could this be the updated QWERTY-fied Android solution we’ve been waiting for? Time will tell.

      • Motorola is ‘all in’ on Android

        There is always the option of building your own brand of Linux but Android has most of the advantages of this and much more.

      • Motorola CEO plans to keep focus on smart phones
      • Motorola Android Tablet May Come This Year

        CEO Sanjay Jha tells investors Motorola is concentrating on the convergence of mobility and the home and ‘nearly all’ of his focus is on Android.

    • Tablets

      • One Laptop Per Child Set to Offer $100 Tablets, Android Likely to be on First Offerings

        While VIA is helping to produce a line of devices that come in at the $100-$150 range, Marvell’s teaming up with the organization to keep their tablets at a maximum price of $99.99 to help less-fortunate children and families get computing devices that will help them with their education and everyday life.

      • One Laptop Per Child Focuses on Sub-$100 Tablet PC for Education
      • Realease 10-inch tablet runs on Linux

        Realease (no, that is not a typo) has rolled out a new 10″ tablet device which runs on the Linux operating system, with a choice of Freescale i.MX37 (ARM11) and i.MX51 (ARM Cortex A8) processors within.

      • Shogo Tablet Lets You Get Your Open-Source Geek On

        The folks over at ARMDevices have posted an exclusive look (via YouTube video – see below) at the Realease Shogo tablet. Sporting a 10.1 inch capacitive touchscreen, the Shogo comes built with a Freescale i.MX37 (ARM11) or i.MX51 (ARM Cortex A8) processor inside and is completely open with Linux as the OS.

      • Android Successful in Becoming Tough Competition for iPad

        In the high-stakes competition to grasp Apple Inc.’s hit iPad, the Android operating system that Google Inc. made popular in cellphones is promising to be a front-runner.

        Tablet-style computers, a declining hardware category until the iPad began generating buzz previously this year, which are anticipated to be a huge topic at next week’s Computex trade show, which is a major topic of discussion for product announcements by creators of personal computers.

      • Lenovo tablets, smartbooks delayed for Android

        A pair of the most-anticipated mobile computers from this year’s CES show were Lenovo’s U1 Hybrid and Skylight smartbook. Both ran a custom widget-based Linux OS (sometimes also called Skylight), and were powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. But since then, both devices seem to have fallen off the map, and now we think we know why. Both systems are getting a software overhaul, jumping to the Android platform in search of better performance and more usability.

      • Lenovo Delays U1 Hybrid, Skylight for Android
      • Lenovo switching to Google Android for their Tablet PCs?

        Switching to Google Android would benefit Lenovo in the long run. They would not have to spend too many resources on developing the core OS for their products. Android would also provide a massive support for third party apps that are available from the official market operated by Google.

      • Lenovo kills off the U1, switches internal OS out for Android in future devices
      • Lenovo moves Skylight, U1 to Android as iPad has free rein

        Lenovo settled questions around its ultra-mobile PCs on Friday by planing a switch in OS for the Skylight smartbook and the IdeaPad U1 detachable tablet. The two will drop Lenovo’s in-house Linux OS for Android in what’s treated as a reaction to “market conditions and user feedback.” Future plans now involve creating an entire ecosystem of Android devices that would include devices like the LePhone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Makes a Difference

    New Pentaho sponsored report from Mark Madsen conducts price comparison of commercial open source and top five proprietary vendors

  • Open Source: Shift from Skepticism to Enthusiasm

    Two years ago many companies were skeptical of Open Source, but after living two years through tough times during a recession, many companies have a better handle on what Open Source is all about and are enthusiastically embracing its potential. And the new mind shift among customers is forcing many vendors to change. They’re changing the way that they sell. And they’re changing the way that they develop with and support their software purchases.

  • Google Vs. Apple: An Open And Closed Case

    In theory, open source should win hands down. The open environment allows a cooperative ecosystem to evolve, guaranteeing a rate of innovation simply not possible in closed system. But I think it depends on where we are in the maturity of the market. Open source allows for more innovation, but it’s also an open invitation for more things to go wrong. This can be deadly as you try to push along market adoption.

  • Mozilla

    • 10 years @ Mozilla

      Today marks 10 years of continuous full-time employment working on Mozilla.

      I still can’t believe I get to work with so many amazing people. It’s pretty much the best job ever.

      Thank you to all the Mozillians that have made this such a wonderful decade.

    • Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.1 RC1

      The Mozilla developers have issued a first release candidate for version 3.1 of their open source Thunderbird email and news client, code named “Lanikai”. According to the developers, the development preview is considered to be stable, addressing 57 bugs from the previous beta, and is “intended for developers and members of our testing community to use for early evaluation and feedback.”

    • Thunderbird ‘Lanikai’ almost ready for daylight

      The numerous bug-fixes include preventing specific, popular add-ons such as Gmail Conversation View from crashing the e-mail client, saving drafts when written in offline mode, and several critical stability fixes.

      According to Mozilla’s calendar, Lanikai remains on schedule for a June 1st release barring bugs discovered in the release candidate. The full change log for the release candidate can be read here.

    • Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1 RC 1 Released

      The email client release is considered stable by the developers but it still aims largely at developers and testers and not general users who are asked to wait until the final version of Thunderbird 3.1 is released before they migrate to the new client.

    • Thunderbird 3.1 RC1 available for download
    • Download Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1 Release Candidate 1
    • Thunderbird 3.1 Release Candidate 1 is Here
    • Firefox 64-bit builds coming for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
    • Firefox 3.6.4 release candidate available for download and testing
    • screw you, firefox tab complete!

      For some reason that is completely unfathomable to me, the URL that’s shown as hilighted in firefox’s URL window can get out of sync with options that show up in the drop down menu of possible alternatives, yet firefox gives preference to the drop down menu when you hit the TAB key to complete.

    • Opera pokes fun at Chrome speed-test video

      Opera, ever scrappy in its effort to promote its browser over larger rivals, is poking fun at Google’s recent video boasting about the speed of its Chrome browser.

      “The Opera browser is much faster than a potato,” concludes Opera’s low-budget video, which features herring-obsessed caricatured Scandinavians rolling the tubers into a pot of water at the same time Opera loads a Web page.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 Release Candidate 2 (build OOO320m18) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 Release Candidate 2 is not yet available from the usual download website but on many mirrors. So, just download from your favorite mirror next to you. Please note that currently a few Windows builds are not yet ready, these files need a bit more time to be available.

    • The GlassFish Project Heats Up

      Although Oracle will continue to support the GlassFish 2 customers through its commercial support, plans are for the team to focus on the Version 3 roadmap.

  • CMS

  • Education

  • Healthcare

    • Open-sourcing VistA could revolutionize healthcare records

      Given the collaborative roots of VistA and all the third-party development that’s been done on top of it, in use in hospitals all over the nation, it makes sense to make this a full-fledged open source project, engaging the best coders and developers out there to build the best system for our veterans. And with the federal government moving toward electronic record-keeping for all healthcare, this gold standard could be applied across the board.

  • Business

    • Analyst Report Shows How to Save up to 90% on Your Next BI Project

      How much does BI software and ongoing support actually cost? The report pulled real numbers from public sources and direct from the vendors revealing and comparing BI software and support costs for Pentaho, IBM (Cognos), MicroStrategy, Oracle and SAP (Business Objects).

    • Open Source Channel Alliance: Open to MSPs?

      The Open Source Channel Alliance will potentially reach roughly 15,000 Synnex resellers — many of whom are managed service providers targeting mid-market customers.

    • Gluster CEO talks open source clustered NAS storage

      Ben Golub is new to the storage industry, having served previously as CEO of Plaxo (now part of Comcast) and in the upper management of VeriSign (which recently sold a security division to Symantec Corp.) before taking over as CEO of Gluster earlier this month. Golub and other executives from the open source clustered NAS software vendor recently sat down with SearchStorage.com to discuss the state of the enterprise data storage industry, building an open source business model, and what’s coming in new releases of their product.

  • Project Releases

    • Terracotta Releases Ehcache 2.1

      Terracotta has upgraded the distributed caching open source code it acquired last year, Ehcache 2.1, for the fourth time in 10 months. The pace of upgrades reflects how making use of pooled server memories governed by a distributed cache has become a hot method for scaling up Web applications.

    • Editshare Announces Beta Programme

      A technology leader in cross-platform collaborative editing and shared media storage, has announced the Lightworks Open Source Beta Programme.

    • Open vSwitch releases 1.0.0 open source, multilayer virtual switch

      When we talk about server virtualization, we often mention the resources behind the technology, such as the memory, CPU, and disk. We do so because at least one of these resources will ultimately become the bottleneck somewhere down the road on our path to consolidation. But what about the network? Remember the network — that thing that everyone used to point the finger at and assign blame to when something went wrong in the data center?

  • Government/Licensing

    • Administrations in Spain and Portugal heckled over licence violations

      The Spanish Police, Spanish Mint and Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation have been heckled by developers of OpenSC, open source software for smart cards. The developers found that the public administrations use their software libraries, but have not made available this open source code, one of the terms of their licence.

      The Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernisation corrected the error last week, the open source developers report.

      According to one of them, Martin Paljak, the Portuguese agency had overlooked the emails sent by OpenSC at first. “A few weeks ago we tried again, and then they replied and began fixing the mistake.”

    • IT: Bolzano facing protests over licence deal forced by vendor lock-in

      The decision on Tuesday by the administration of the Bolzano region to renew the proprietary software licences for it’s servers, will be challenged by Associazione per il Software Libero (Assoli), an advocacy group on free and open source. The group says the region should have investigated alternatives and should have issued a call for tender.

      The Bolzano administration on 25 May decided to spend 2.2 million Euro to renew proprietary licences for the next three years. In its decision, the administration admits it is forced to renew the licence contract: “There are no alternatives for the development of the IT system. Changing these essential and central servers would be irresponsible. The administration fails the resources and expertise for such a change.”

  • Open Hardware

  • VP8

    • Mozilla and Opera call for Google open codec in HTML5 spec

      One week after Google open sourced its $124.6m VP8 video codec, Mozilla and Opera have called for its inclusion in the still-gestating HTML5 specification.

    • Google’s New Open Source Video Standard May Never Be Free

      Google has the resources to fight any industry consortium in court, and it might just get the chance, as the company has declared that it will make all of YouTube available in VP8. But, as John Paczkowski pointed out, unless it’s ready to indemnify everyone else who uses the standard against future licensing or legal fees, its claim that VP8 is not only open source but free to use may prove meaningless.


  • Judge convicts Ark. mom in Facebook flap with son

    An Arkansas woman who locked her son out of his Facebook account and posted her own items there was convicted Thursday of misdemeanor harassment and ordered not to have contact with the teenager.

    Clark County District Judge Randy Hill ordered Denise New, of Arkadelphia, to pay a $435 fine and complete anger-management and parenting classes. He said he would consider allowing her to see her 17-year-old son, Lane New, who lives with his grandmother, if Denise New takes the two courses.

  • Security/Aggression

    • I might sue over scrapped ID card, says Blunkett

      Former home secretary David Blunkett said today he was considering suing the Government for the £30 cost of his ID card, after it was announced that holders of the documents will not be compensated when they are abolished.

    • Man aged 33 is refused a bottle of wine in Tesco… because he had no ID

      In any other situation, Jason Wilde might have been flattered to be thought of as a decade younger.

    • Tate makes surveillance an art form

      A new show called Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera opens at Tate Modern this week. It features images made surreptitiously or without the explicit permission of the subject. It is the history of spying with a lens in just over 250 photographs.

    • Pentagon: Let Us Secure Your Network or Face the ‘Wild Wild West’ Internet Alone

      Companies that operate critical infrastructures and do not voluntarily allow the federal government to install monitoring software on their networks to detect possible cyberattacks would face the “wild” internet on their own and place us all at risk, a top Pentagon official seemed to say Wednesday.

      Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn III, speaking at the Strategic Command Cyber Symposium in Nebraska, said we need to think imaginatively about how to use the National Security Agency’s Einstein monitoring systems on critical private-sector networks — such as those in the financial, utility and communication industries — in order to protect us.

  • Finance

    • Disney employee arrested for insider trading

      After completing an elaborate sting operation, the FBI arrested a Disney employee and her boyfriend Wednesday for trying to sell corporate secrets to hedge fund managers and other Wall Street traders.

      The FBI and other federal regulators said the plot was dependent on the ability of Bonnie Hoxie to covertly exploit her position as an assistant to Zenia Mucha, Disney’s head of corporate communications.

    • House Backs Tax Increase for Venture Capital

      The House of Representatives passed a bill today that would raise the taxes that venture capitalists and other investment managers pay on carried interest — their share of the profits from a successful start-up investment.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Blizzard: DRM a ‘losing battle’

      Fighting PC game piracy with restrictive copy protection is “a losing battle”, Blizzard has said.

      In recent months some publishers have begun using digital rights management (DRM) that requires players have an active internet connection at all times.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DMCA Notice Wipes 35 Tetris Clones Off Android Market

      A cease and desist order sent to Google on behalf of The Tetris Company LLC has resulted in 35 Tetris clones being pulled from the Android Market. The developer behind FallingBlocks was among the first to feel the fallout as they took to Slashdot to air their complaint.

    • Tourism Australia campaign ‘ripping off artists’

      Artists are being ripped off by copyright rules applied by the federal government’s latest tourism campaign, arts groups claim.

      Tourism Australia has been sourcing images and photographs from the public free of charge for use in its latest Nothing Like Australia campaign.

      The government agency has previously sourced artwork from commissioned and library-stock photographs, generating income for the copyright holders.

    • Copyrights

      • Ofcom and it’s Code of Practice

        One thing though this news must be good news for FACT, because P2P tech threatens to take away the pirate DVD market stall if the new “code of practice” makes it “too hot” for P2P users then I would expect those not frightened to take the risk will be raking in profit as they sell the copied titles on the street. So for FACT the revitalised industry of pirate DVD sales will make the work flood in….happy times ahead Im sure.

        I get fed up with saying it, copyright infringement can be greatly reduced. This is not the way to do it. But who cares if it doesn’t work? You are paying for the experiment….theres always next year.

      • ABA Journal Highlights How The Music Industry Is Thriving And How Copyright Might Not Be That Important

        Michael Scott points us to one of the best summaries I’ve seen of the state of the music business today — published in the ABA Journal. It’s an incredibly balanced piece, that really does carefully present both sides of the story on a variety of issues, and presents actual evidence, which suggests the RIAA is blowing smoke on a lot of its claims. The piece kicks off by highlighting that the music industry appears to be thriving, and then noting that it’s not the same as the recording industry, which has been struggling.

      • ‘Hurt Locker’ producer files massive antipiracy lawsuit

        It’s official. “Hurt Locker” producer Voltage Pictures has declared war on 5,000 unidentified people who allegedly pirated the Oscar-winning film. The lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

      • Class action lawsuit launched on behalf of Canadian lawyers against Thomson Reuters

        A proposed class action was commenced yesterday, May 25, 2010, against Thomson Reuters Corporation and Thomson Reuters Canada Limited on behalf of a class of Canadian lawyers and law firms. The Statement of Claim (which has not been proven in Court) alleges that Thomson Reuters breaches copyright by making available original lawyer created legal documents for fee or subscription without permission from, or compensation to, the authors of the documents.

      • Supreme Court Rules Pirate Bay Must Stay Blocked

        More than 2 years ago the IFPI and other copyright groups brought action against Danish ISP Telenor demanding that it should block its subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay. Following a hearing which began a week ago, the Supreme Court in Denmark has just ruled that The Pirate Bay must continue to be blocked, upholding previous rulings by lower courts.

      • In Aussie Gyms, It’s the Same Old Song—but Who’s That Singing?

        One evening this week, fitness instructor Michael Montgomery tried to spur four dozen exercisers through a frenetic routine of lunges and jumping jacks by applying a tried-and-true prod—a Britney Spears tune.

        “Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more,” rang the lyrics of the 2007 song, which is called “Gimme More.”

        The words, however, weren’t sung by Ms. Spears, but by an almost-but-not-quite soundalike cover artist identified as Mandy Brewer.

      • Supreme Court Gets RIAA Copyright Case

        A case testing the meaning of the so-called “innocent infringer’s” defense to the Copyright Act’s minimum $750-per-music-track fine has landed at the U.S. Supreme Court.

        The case the justices were asked to review Wednesday concerns a federal appeals court’s February decision ordering a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750 ($750 a track) for file sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader. That decision reversed a Texas federal judge who had ordered defendant Whitney Harper to pay $7,400 ($200 per song).

      • Piracy… Again

        The internet was created to share and distribute data. It’s the whole reason the world wide web exists.

        Of course some of that data is going to be copyright-protected work. If it can be digitized, it can, and will, be shared.

        What continues to amaze me is how freaked-out authors are by this. The thought that someone is sharing their work–without paying for it–seems to evoke the same reaction as having someone hack your bank account and drain your life savings.


        And yet, I’m not worried. I’m currently selling 220 ebooks per day, and that rate shows no signs of slowing down.

        So everyone needs to take a big, collective breath, let it out slow, and stop worrying about illegal file sharing. Here are some reasons why.

        1. Copyright is unenforceable in a digital world. Period. Exclamation point. At no time in history has any individual, company, or industry been able to stop file sharing. No country or law has been able to stop it. No technology has been able to stop it. Which brings us to…

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – PSA – Microgravity (1/22/2004)

Another Abandonment of Microsoft: XBMC

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: XBMC finally hangs up on Microsoft’s Xbox, leaving the monopolistic company in more of an embarrassing state amid departure of chiefs

Not only Microsoft is abandoning Xbox, whose leadership is still leaving Microsoft in droves. XBMC too is dropping Xbox like a hot plate, whereas other platforms — Free/libre ones included — will still be supported.

The XBMC developers have announced that they are dropping support for XBOX consoles. Although the popular open source media centre started as a program for modified XBOX consoles, the developers say that the “XBOX has hard limits for what it can handle” and that “it is a popular misconception that official XBOX development is still taking place by the team”.


XBMC has been forked into a number of other programs, including, for example, Boxee and Plex. The latest release of XBMC is version 9.11 from the end of December, 2009. XBMC is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Here is the original message from XBMC:

XBMC (XBMP really) started as a program for modified XBOX consoles. In the following years, XBMC has grown into a multi-platform, multi-architecture media center that runs on most standard hardware. The hardware and legal limitations of the XBOX were always a concern and the Team has instead focused on running on the hardware that most people already have.

The last official release for the XBOX by the XBMC team was Atlantis, over 18 months ago. Since then, one brave soul (Arnova) has been merging code from the main codebase into the XBOX branch in our repository. Because there were many users out there that took advantage of these updates, we had no problem with this.

We might write some more about this at a later stage, after more investigation into the reasons and the consequences. What this basically shows is that at Microsoft, the hardware unit/products in general are dying. Here is some advice from IDG [via]. Quitting this entire hardware market is named as a possibility. Microsoft has been losing billions of dollars there. Apple and IBM are hardware companies; Microsoft — just a wannabe.

Pequot Capital, Microsoft, and SCO

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Summary: How Pequot Capital made money through a former Microsoft employee it hired (David Zilkha) and helped fund SCO litigation against Linux shortly later

IT IS hard to tell whether we stepped in a scandal or not, but putting the evidence out there is almost certainly worthwhile. Last night we wrote about Pequot's inside trading that involved Microsoft shares. This was not the first time that we wrote about the Pequot fiasco [1, 2, 3].

Having done some research, we found the claim that months after the SCO lawsuit had been filed ‘”Integral Capital Management” and “Pequot Ventures / Pequot Capital Management” have been buying huge chunks of SCO stock. There’s a pretty short version of those degrees-of-separation chains leading back to MSFT if you’re a conspiracy theorist.’

Could Microsoft be investing in unsubstantiated claims and bogus allegations not just through Baystar Capital? Could there be more parties involved? Right now we have an everlasting frivolous lawsuit and SCO never seems to run out of money, not even this week. It wants a new trial which it can fund with rather mysterious funding that we wrote about before.

I know some of you wondered if SCO had given up and faced reality and wasn’t going to file. Hah! Nevah happen. The full title of the document is “SCO’s Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial”.

Looking plainly at the surface, there is nothing which connected Pequot Capital to Microsoft back in 2003. Groklaw however points out “Pequot’s mention in the SCO saga” when showing the following list from SCO:

VSpring Capital (SCO)
Vector Capital (SCO)
IDG Ventures (Broadmark)
Group Atlantic Partners, LLC (Broadmark)
Paladin Capital Group (Broadmark)
Pequot Capital (Broadmark)
Technology Crossover Ventures (Broadmark)
Ram Capital Resources, LLC (Impact Capital)
Crestview Capital Fund (Impact Capital)

Here is a new report about how Pequot Capital profited from Microsoft (just as Acacia did earlier this month):

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in January resumed a probe into whether Samberg’s funds illegally profited in 2001 by trading on inside information about Microsoft Corp., people familiar with the matter said at the time. That was about a year after the agency told Samberg and Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer John Mack they wouldn’t be accused of wrongdoing related to insider trading.

Here is the most revealing new article so far. It turns out that there are Microsoft roots, misconduct, and other abnormalities inside Pequot Capital. The key person moved from Microsoft to Pequot Capital not so long before the SCO case, just as Microsoft staff moved from Microsoft to Acacia only weeks before Acacia sued Linux (Red Hat and Novell).

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz played key roles brokering a $28 million settlement that resolves a long-simmering allegation that Pequot Capital Management, the Westport-based hedge fund, committed insider trading in Microsoft securities in 2001, according to SEC officials.

The SEC filed suit against Pequot and its chairman, Arthur Samberg, today and announced at the same time that Pequot and Samberg agreed to pay $28 million combined in disgorged profits and penalties to settle the case. (They did not admit or deny guilt.) Federal investigators had been looking into the allegations since at least 2005 but closed early investigations after failing to find enough evidence to bring a case, according to our prior reporting. But then something happened that didn’t help Pequot: The employee at the center of the case got divorced, and e-mails implicating the employee, David Zilkha, in the insider trading scheme came to light in filings. Zilkha joined Pequot in 2001 after working for Microsoft, and he used his contacts at Microsoft to tip Pequot to the fact that Microsoft was about to release a better-than-expected earnings report in the spring of 2001. Pequot then made $14 million on trades of Microsoft securities, according to the SEC’s complaint.

Separately, in another context, Groklaw has stated: “Perhaps Microsoft could adopt a new slogan: Don’t Look Evil.” (“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good,” Bill Gates famously said.)

This statement from Groklaw was said in reference to this meeting. Groklaw also points out another new case of inside trading:

Feds Charge Two In Insider-Trading Plot Involving Disney

Wowza. Folks out at Disney’s HQ in Burbank, Calif., are probably doing a bit of glassy-eyed headshaking on Wednesday, in wake of a criminal complaint filed a few hours ago.

The complaint, filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, has alleged that a former administrative assistant to Disney’s head of communications and her boyfriend tried to sell advance access to the company’s second-quarter earnings reports. Click here for the WSJ story; here for the criminal complaint.

Wanna know who else got caught inside trading (but never charged)? Robbie Bach, the Microsoft president who has just fled the company.

“Like any dictatorship, when things start to get tough Microsoft is going to discover that it has lots of allies, but very few friends.”

Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury

Google to Make WebM GPL Compatible — Claim

Posted in Antitrust, FUD, Google, GPL, Patents at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU Google

Summary: Software patents FUD withstanding, the status of WebM as a Free/open source project is being actively addressed

A FEW days ago we wrote about the "Open Source" problems WebM/VP8 was having. We expected these problems to be resolved and indeed, the subject is being discussed right now. Savio Rodrigues from IBM (his writings are not tied to IBM) writes about this dispute over licences [1, 2] — an important subject that we did mention before when the 451 Group first brought it up. Chris DiBona is responding:

From: Chris DiBona <cdibona@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 09:42:16 -0700
Wed, 26 May 2010 09:42:16 -0700

Please hold off on submitting this while we determine certain compatibility issues internally at google. We’ll engage with osi in a couple of weeks, likely as not. I would also point out that we’re uncomfortable with make license proliferation worse and in the event we do submit it, we will want a couple of changes to how OSI does licenses.

1) We will likely want a label explicitly deterring the use of the license.
2) We will want the bod list archives open for any discussions of webm. We are not comfortable with OSI being closed.

This might sound strident, but I think that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space.


Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.
Google’s Open Source program can be found at http://code.google.com
Personal Weblog: http://dibona.com

This important issue that has Web video at stake is currently being discussed at Slashdot.

An anonymous reader adds: “It turns out that libvpx, Google’s VP8 library, isn’t compatible with the GPLv2. Google is apparently aware of the problem and working on a solution…”

At the end we expect Google to make the necessary tweaks and make everyone happy. Well, everyone except the patent trolls (MPEG-LA) which Apple and Microsoft harbour.

Times are especially interesting for MPEG-LA because of antitrust problems that are now being mentioned in Law.com:

But Nero, represented by Winston & Strawn, alleges that MPEG LA has abused its monopoly power. Nero claims that MPEG LA has not lived up to the commitments it made to the Department of Justice when it was previously investigated by antitrust enforcers. (The DOJ issued a letter to MPEG LA on June 26, 1997, stating that it was “not presently inclined to initiate antitrust enforcement action” over the licensing arrangement.)

Adding more fuel to the fire (although MPEG-LA is likely to be bluffing):

VC-1, used in HD DVD, was more different from H.264 than is VP8 and could not escape the problems of software patents.

In previous posts about the subject we emphasised that MPEG-LA is run by a patent troll called Larry Horn. They are no longer just in the codec business, as we showed last night. MPEG-LA is quite clearly some kind of a parasite that will fit well in this new conference which is filled with them (organised for patent trolls and hoarders, apparently).

Earlier this month, MDB Capital Group–an IP-focused investment bank that promises to help investors understand “the hidden value of intellectual property assets and future technological leadership”–held what it billed as its first annual “Bright Lights” intellectual property conference, bringing together IP-centric speakers from a variety of small and medium-size companies.

The Prior Art attended the opening panel, which included the heads of two of the largest, and most litigious, patent-holding companies—Erich Spangenberg and Paul Ryan, the CEO of Acacia Research Corp., the largest publicly traded patent-licensing company.

The panel also included representatives from consultancy ipCapital Group and RPX Corp., which buys litigated patents in order to strike deals between NPEs and operating companies, as well as IP guru Marshall Phelps. (Phelps is something of a legend for building IBM’s legendary $2 billion patent-licensing operation; most recently, he helped Microsoft build up a patent-licensing operation before leaving the company last year.)

The US patent system is a sordid mess and it’s getting worse by getting faster.

Under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), an applicant receiving a ruling from the Office of First Filing (OFF) that at least one claim in an application filed in the OFF is patentable may request that the Office of Second Filing (OSF) fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications filed in the OSF. PPH will leverage fast-track examination procedures already available in the OSF to allow applicants in the OSF to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.

“Great,” Groklaw remarks sarcastically, “More patents, issued faster. I think they are traveling in the wrong direction.” Patents are devalued when almost everything become patentable. The number of patents granted is not indicative of “success” or “innovation”; it’s indicative of revenue for the USPTO and for patent lawyers. We ought to learn from Wall Street’s bubbles.

Fedora 13 Replaces F-Spot (Mono) With Shotwell (Vala), MeeGo Still Mono Encumbered

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 7:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono with teeth

Summary: While some GNU/Linux projects are cleaning themselves up by removing Mono, Novell employees work on inserting Mono into other fine projects

Thanks to Groklaw for the headsup on this one. Fedora 13 was officially released several days ago and in the release notes one can find the following changes for desktop users:

4.1.7. Shotwell replaces Gthumb and F-Spot as default photo organizer
Shotwell is a free and open source photo organizer designed for the GNOME desktop environment and has replaced Gthumb and F-Spot by default in Fedora 13. It supports the following features:

* import photos from any digital camera supported by gPhoto
* automatically organize events containing photos taken at the same time
* use tags to organize your photo collection
* edit non-destructively when altering photos, without ruining originals or using disk space for each copy
* publish photos to Facebook, Flickr or Picasa
* one-click auto-enhancement
* rotate, mirror, and crop photos
* reduce red-eye and adjust the exposure, saturation, tint, and temperature of your photos
* edit any photo, even if it’s not imported to the Shotwell library

For more information about Shotwell, refer to http://yorba.org/shotwell/. Gthumb and F-Spot continue to be maintained and available in the Fedora repository. They are not installed by default anymore.

Canonical did the same thing in Ubuntu 10.10, possibly in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 as well.

At Groklaw this is summarised as “Shotwell Replaces Gthumb and F-Spot as Photo Organizer in Fedora 13″ and Pamela Jones adds that “Shotwell is written in Vala.

“And here’s one prominent reason developers do not want to rely on C#,” Jones adds, pointing to the FSF's epic statement from last year.

Groklaw also writes about MeeGo’s Mono problem which we covered in recent days [1, 2]. Jones cites this article from Brian Proffitt, adding that it’s “Mono, Mono, Mono.”

Audio playback is quick, too, and I thought the video playback was excellent, thanks to the Banshee application.

Banshee is very clearly outside the scope of the MCP. Therefore, it is an open invitation for one to be sued or at least extorted by Microsoft. Not that Novell employees would care. They get a paycheck.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Links 29/5/2010: KTorrent 4.0, GNOME 2.31.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ballnux

    • A Quick Q ‘n’ A Session with Greg Kroah-Hartman

      Swapnil: Which distribution do you use, and which desktop environment?

      Greg: I use openSUSE as my main distro, with Gentoo still on a few server or ‘tiny’ machines I use for infrastructure. I use SLED for testing new hardware out as part of my job.
      As for the desktop environment, my laptop is now running Moblin. Before that it was running Fluxbox. My main desktop is running GNOME, and I have a test box running KDE to ensure that the FACTORY branch of openSUSE is still working properly.


      Swapnil: Although binary-only drivers make life easy for the end user, in your opinion, how good are they?

      Greg: They do not make life easy for end users; they make life harder. My opinion, as well as those of a very large number of Linux kernel contributors, was published last year and can be seen at www.linuxfoundation.org/en/Kernel_Driver_Statement.

    • openSUSE 11.3 Pulls In New Kernel & More

      A new snapshot of openSUSE 11.3 is available, which now puts it at Milestone 7, and means that the first release candidate is near. However, while the release of openSUSE 11.3 is approaching in July, it continues to add in new packages and support.

  • Graphics Stack

    • Open ATI R600/700 Driver Gains Tiling Support

      For those of you not interested in today’s ATI Catalyst 10.5 for Linux driver, if you pull the very latest open-source ATI Radeon Linux graphics driver stack there is now tiling support for the R600/700 (Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series) graphics processors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KTorrent 4.0 is out

        KTorrent 4.0 is finally released. This release add some rather interesting features like magnet support and the µTP protocol (bittorrent over UDP).

    • GTK/GNOME Desktop

      • X Input 2 Support Goes Into GTK+ 3.0

        Beyond updates to Clutter, Mutter, GNOME Shell, and various other GNOME applications, there is one very other important change that happened to the GNOME desktop this week. After being around for years, X Input 2 support was finally merged into the GTK+ library for the 3.0 release.

      • GNOME 2.31.2 Released!

        I’m sure you had lost hope. Hope to finally see GNOME 2.31.2. It’s true that it’s one day late, which is unusual. I could say it’s because of an udpated toolchain here, or because some tarballs were missing files, were depending on unreleased version of libraries or didn’t build for another reason. Or because I started a bit late to work on this release. Or because Roland Garros has started. Okay, this last one could be a
        good reason. But no, the real reason is that someone casted a curse on the release team to make sure we’re late. Want a proof? Did you see the 2.31.1 release? See! I told you! We can’t let this happen! So let’s all rock and show the world that we’re much stronger than those little magic things!

  • Distributions

    • The Spring 2010 Linux Distro Scorecard (Part 2)

      Remember, there is no wrong choice. Whatever distro suits you best is the right one for you, so if you’re happy with a distro that didn’t get a high score (or isn’t listed here) that’s OK. It’s impossible to objectively say “this distribution is the best one, period.” The goal here is to set out a roadmap for new Linux users or experienced Linux users that may not be fully happy with their current distro.

    • New Releases

      • Announcing Billix 0.27 and… SuperBillix 0.27!

        Billix debuted in the August 2008 issue of Linux Journal, and it’s gone thru incremental updates since then. I’ve tried to keep it on the same track as Ubuntu updates, more-or-less, though I’ve had varying levels of success with that. However, Billix 0.27 released only a few days after Ubuntu 10.04LTS did. As usual, Billix fits easily on a 256MB USB key or higher, and is available from the usual spot (http://sourceforge.net/projects/billix).

        Billix 0.27 consists of:

        * Ubuntu 10.04LTS (Lucid Lynx) netinstall
        * Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) netinstall
        * Ubuntu 8.04LTS (Hardy Heron) netinstall
        * Damn Small Linux 4.2.5
        * Fedora 12 netinstall
        * Centos 5.4 netinstall
        * Centos 4.8 netinstall
        * Debian Squeeze netinstall
        * Debian Lenny netinstall
        * Memtest86+ Memory Tester
        * Windows Password Cracker
        * DBAN disk wiping tool

    • Red Hat Family

      • Spreading the dandelions: Open Your World recap

        Thank you to all who joined us for the first Open Your World forum yesterday, and a special thanks to our speakers. We hope you all learned something new to apply to your lives.

        If you weren’t able to join us, or if you’d like to see a session again, you can listen to any of the session recordings. We’ve also added the PDFs of the presentation slides below as attachments to this post. We’ll also be posting a few followup articles related to some of the presentations.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Rethinking the Ubuntu Developer Summit

        At around this point, UDS had become too big, and had too many constraints, to plan on the fly (unconference style). We resolved to plan more in advance, and agree on the scheduling constraints ahead of time. We divided the event into tracks, and placed each track in its own room. Most participants could stay in one place throughout the day, taking part in a series of related meetings except where they were specifically needed in an adjacent track. We created the schedule through a combination of manual and automatic methods, so that scheduling constraints could be checked quickly, but a human could decide how to resolve conflicts. There was time to review the schedule before the start of the event, to identify and fix problems. Revisions to the schedule during the event were fewer and less painful. We added keynote presentations, to provide opportunities to communicate important information to everyone, and ease back into meetings after lunch. Everyone was still exhausted and/or ill, and tiredness took its toll on the quality of discussion, particularly toward the end of the week.

      • New research reveals troubling security issues for iPhones

        Though Apple has added additional data security features to the iPhone with every iteration of the OS—including encrypting files on-device for the iPhone 3GS—vulnerabilities still exist. These issues are of particular concern to enterprise users, since sensitive corporate data may exist on any given employee’s mobile device. A new vulnerability revealed by security researcher Bernd Marienfeldt, however, shows that all someone needs to get at that data is the latest version of Ubuntu.

      • Linux Mint 9 Vs Ubuntu 10.04
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tablets

      • Android tablet army starts to form

        The Android tablets are coming and this time Apple won’t have a big head start. Will value tablets sell?

        Dell’s Streak (top right), a 5-inch tablet powered by Android, launched Tuesday in the U.K. and the device will come to the U.S. later in the summer. The Streak has integration with the Android market and a few other goodies that may attract buyers, according to Dell.

        Meanwhile, Pandigital has its Novel, another Android-powered device. The Novel (bottom right) is a 7-inch touchscreen device also powered by Android. Joel Evans calls the Novel a poor man’s iPad at $199.

      • Declarations of OS Independence

        Dell and HP have recently made very strong declarations of OS independence from Microsoft. Take HP first.


        At the sametime Dell has committed to the Android OS for both its Streak tablet and its lineup of new mobile phones. In sum, both vendors a)cant wait for Microsoft to get its mobile act together and b)the appeals of the customizing advantage of Android or self-owned webOS are too big to ignore.

    • One Tablet Per Child/OLPC

      • One Tablet Per Child?

        Judging from early mock-ups of the Moby—which will be available this fall, according to Marvell—the device will resemble a somewhat chunky iPad, right down to the single “home” button on the bezel. Marvell hasn’t announced the device’s full specs, but says the tablet will include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM, and GPS radios and will support “multiple software standards including full Adobe Flash, Android, Windows Mobile, and Ubuntu.” (Ubuntu is a variant of Linux.) Like the iPad, the Moby is expected to have a long battery life compared to a laptop, but unlike the iPad, it will have a built-in camera for photography and video conferencing. Marvell also says the device’s virtual keyboard will provide “touch feedback,” although it hasn’t specified how this will work.

      • OLPC and Marvell Team Up on $99 XO Tablet Project

        OLPC hopes to have this tablet run on only one watt of power (the current XO consumes 5W). It is unclear what kind of battery life this will allow, but it should be long, if not very long. As for how much it will cost, the target point is a fairly attractive $99.

      • Marvell and OLPC design $75 tablet

Free Software/Open Source

  • Colonyzer: automated quantification of micro-organism growth characteristics on solid agar

    Colonyzer was developed using the open source packages: Python, RPy and the Python Imaging Library and its source code and documentation are available on SourceForge under GNU General Public License. Colonyzer is adaptable to suit specific requirements: e.g.

    automatic detection of cultures at irregular locations on streaked plates for robotic picking, or decreasing analysis time by disabling components such as lighting correction or colour measures.

  • Antelink joins FOSSBazaar

    I’m very pleased to annouce that Antelink, the INRIA’spinoff I lead and cofound with Stépane Bagnier, joins FOSSBazaar community.

  • Databases

    • VoltDB launches Next-Generation Open-Source OLTP DBMS

      VoltDB is available immediately from www.voltdb.com. The open-source Community Edition is licensed under the GPL and is available for free. Pricing for annual subscriptions starts at $15,000 per year for a 4-server configuration. Visit this link for detailed VoltDB pricing.

  • Open Data


  • Federal Circuit Rules Patent Lawyers Filed Frivolous Claims

    A federal appeals court has ruled that former patent boutique lawyers now working at Philadelphia-based Woodcock Washburn crossed into frivolous territory in pursuing an inventor’s lawsuit. But whether the lower court’s sanctions against their old firm will stick remains uncertain.

  • Fla. Bankruptcy Trustee Quits With More Than $1 Million Missing, Sources Say

    Another South Florida receiver trusted by judges for years to oversee bankruptcies resigned from hundreds of cases after the U.S. Trustee’s Office determined more than $1 million was missing from accounts under her control, sources told the Daily Business Review.

  • Science

    • When science clashes with beliefs? Make science impotent

      It’s hardly a secret that large segments of the population choose not to accept scientific data because it conflicts with their predefined beliefs: economic, political, religious, or otherwise. But many studies have indicated that these same people aren’t happy with viewing themselves as anti-science, which can create a state of cognitive dissonance. That has left psychologists pondering the methods that these people use to rationalize the conflict.

      A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology takes a look at one of these methods, which the authors term “scientific impotence”—the decision that science can’t actually address the issue at hand properly. It finds evidence that not only supports the scientific impotence model, but suggests that it could be contagious. Once a subject has decided that a given topic is off limits to science, they tend to start applying the same logic to other issues.

      The paper is worth reading for the introduction alone, which sets up the problem of science acceptance within the context of persuasive arguments and belief systems. There’s a significant amount of literature that considers how people resist persuasion, and at least seven different strategies have been identified. But the author, Towson University’s Geoffrey Munro, attempts to carve out an exceptional place for scientific information. “Belief-contradicting scientific information may elicit different resistance processes than belief-contradicting information of a nonscientific nature,” he argues. “Source derogation, for example, might be less effective in response to scientific than nonscientific information.”

    • Wave-powered desalination pump permitted in Gulf

      The waters of the Gulf of Mexico will see a novel offshore platform later this year, one that will use wave power to desalinate water.

      Independent Natural Resources, which makes the Seadog water pump, on Wednesday said that it has received a permit for a wave power generation facility off the coast of Freeport, Texas. The company says it’s the first to receive a “section 10 permit” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate a wave generator in the U.S.

  • Environment

    • Report: “Junk shot” fails to plug leak in Gulf

      Videos and stills posted by Pas au-Delà appear to show spectacular events going on in the operation to cut off the flow of oily gunge in the gulf — possibly a ‘junk shot,’ where rubber and other materials are forced into the failed blowout preventer in an attempt to plug it.

  • Finance

    • Is The SEC Still Working For Wall Street?

      The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Mary Shapiro is trying to escape a difficult legacy – over the past two decades, the once proud agency was effectively captured by the very Wall Street firms it was supposed to regulate.

      The SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs may mark a return to a more effective role; certainly bringing a case against Goldman took some guts. But it is entirely possible that the Goldman matter is a one off that lacks broader implications. And in this context the SEC’s handling of concerns about “high frequency trading” (HFT) – following the May 6 “flash crash”, when the stock market essentially shut down or rebooted for 20 minutes – is most disconcerting. (See yesterday’s speech by Senator Ted Kaufman on this exact issue; short summary.)

      Regulatory capture begins when the regulator starts to see the world only through the eyes of the regulated. Rather than taking on board views that are critical of existing arrangements, tame regulators talk only to proponents of the status quo (or people who want even more deregulation). This seems to be what is happening with regard to HFT.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • EU seeks privacy enforcement rights in US courts through diplomatic agreement

      Yesterday, the Chairman of the European multi-national group of ministers overseeing online privacy policy enforcement, Jacob Kohnstamm of the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), sent letters to the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, urging them to alter their personal data retention policies in keeping with new EU standards. Kohnstamm wants their search engines to destroy personal data after six months’ retention rather than nine, as is Google’s current policy; and he simultaneously urged European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding for help getting that message across.

  • Copyrights

    • Words in Copyright Act vs Time

      I have run some numbers on how the size of the (Australian) Copyright Act has changed over the past century or so. With one exception, these numbers were generated automatically from electronic versions of the legislation. Before counting the words I stripped out the table of contents and everything from “The Schedule” on. This is because a bigger Act automatically means a larger table of contents and an older Act means more notes about when sections came into force, were repealed etc. The one exception is the Copyright Act of 1905, a word count for which was estimated by manually counting words on 3 pages, generating an average per page and multiplying by the number of pages. There are a couple of versions of the Act from between 1905 and the 1970s which are not plotted (as I don’t have access to a full copy of them) but everything I could find from 1970 on is there.

    • Solicitor General Kagan did a good job in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings case

      Those considering President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court should remember that she did an excellent job on the brief in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings, where she took positions directly contrary to those being taken by the Jenner & Block law firm, whose pro-MPAA pro-RIAA partners occupy very high positions in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.

    • ‘Hurt Locker’ downloaders, you’ve been sued

      Producers of Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker” have made good on a promise to file copyright lawsuits against people who have illegally downloaded the movie via file-sharing networks.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – BHFSTE – Healthy Bones (11/20/2003)

Novell’s Software Patents and Microsoft Copycats Turn Into Greater Threats to GNU/Linux

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Inventive people [at Novell] write more software patents per capita than anywhere else.”

Jeff Jaffe, Novell CTO at the time

Summary: Further analysis of what Novell’s likely sale means when it comes to its patents and what it is currently doing to MeeGo, to which it added a Mono stack

LinuxCon 2010 is almost upon us (Microsoft will be there too). The CEO of OIN will speak about patent trolls in a talk titled “Patents, Probes and Strength in Unity: Participate in Keeping Open Source Open”. From the introduction/abstract of this talk:

Recently significant capital has been invested in patent speculation and for the last eighteen months, Congress has been discussing patent reform. Hedge funds in need of generating quick returns in this challenging market are seeking investments in patent trolls.

Yes, OIN says that hedge funds are looking for patent-trolling opportunities because there are good returns. Novell is being pursued by hedge funds while Apple and Microsoft happen to be investing in the world's largest patent troll too — the same troll who collected the patents of Linux Torvalds’ old employer.

What would happen if Novell got snapped by a hedge fund and its patents then auctioned?

Matt Asay, a former employee of Novell, explains why “Novell auction could be patent troll bonanza”:

This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Novell has a treasure trove of patents, with at least 450 patents related to networking, office productivity applications, identity management, and more.

When I worked for Novell, we didn’t worry too much about a lawsuit from Microsoft. After all, Novell had (and, I presume, still has) patents that directly impact Microsoft’s Office business. I could see Microsoft lining up to buy out these patents from a private equity firm, but I could also see a non-practicing entity (aka “patent troll”) buying them to extort money from Microsoft.

Perhaps some would cheer, but they shouldn’t.

After all, Novell also has valuable Unix copyrights (sorry, SCO) which, in turn, affect Linux. Given Novell’s history in the networking market, it almost certainly owns patents that also could have a big impact on defending Linux.

Or attacking it. Depending on who gets those patents.

This same intellectual property motivated Microsoft to pay Novell a $536 million settlement back in 2004. How much would Novell’s intellectual property be worth to a patent troll?


Let’s hope so. Novell long ago faded from many people’s minds, but it has never been more relevant with its business and, by extension, its intellectual property, available for the highest bidder.

Novell keeps accumulating more and more software patents every month, as we last showed and warned about some days ago. The OIN is being pointless here. OIN loves to talk about “good” software patents, but a good software patent is like a “good” nuclear warhead. You just don’t want any of that stuff around and once you make it, it is hard to get rid of (although it can wind up changing hands and reaching fanatics like trolls).

The post from Asay has attracted some interesting comments (some inane ones too). Novell’s CMO left the following comment twice:


I understand your need to editorialize our earnings. To be accurate, our revenue (not earnings), driven by services decline you point out, was down 5.4%. As you have long criticized our Microsoft partnership, I’m sure you took note that our core Linux products – EXCLUDING Microsoft certificates, yielded an impressive 46% invoicing growth in Q2.

John Dragoon

In the latest episode of The Linux Link Tech Show [Ogg], the guys are discussing what would happen if Google bought Novell (it starts around 27min:50sec). Who would possibly want to buy Novell as a whole? The company is so diverse; it’s all over the place, so it happens to compete against almost any company that’s a potential buyer.

“Novell Revenues, Linux Business Slide,” says the headline of this new article, which concurs with our insinuation that Novell will need to sell.

It’s been a tough quarter quarter for Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) as questions about its future ownership remain on the table. Novell is also facing pricing pressure on its Linux business as renewals come up on Microsoft’s SUSE Linux Enterprise subscriptions.

Novell this week reported its second-quarter fiscal 2010 earnings, showing a decline in revenue, which came in at $204 million for the quarter, a drop from the $216 million it brought in a year earlier. On the positive side, net income hit $20 million or $0.06 per share, which is an improvement over the $16 million or $0.05 per share Novell reported for the second quarter of 2009.

But the slide in revenue continues for Novell, which provided third-quarter revenue guidance for revenues between $205 million and $210 million.

In the mean time — until Novell sells itself to someone else — Mono continues to spread, even in MeeGo. Novell employees put software which Microsoft clearly excluded from the MCP right inside MeeGo (that would be Banshee, which has a vision of connecting with Moonlight). Meeks puts Novell’s Evolution Express in:

Some ramblings about the creation of a new user interface for mail, calendaring etc. specifically for MeeGo; something I’ve been working on, amongst other things, for the last three months.


Initially for Moblin 2.1 we tried a more invasive re-working of the user-experience: called Anjal. That was not uniformly positive, missing many features (by design), and didn’t have enough time to mature. As such, it was decided by the MeeGo team that we should try a new approach. This would take Evolution, and adapt it’s UI for the netbook screen-size, tweaking all the relevant defaults. We would merge the best features from Anjal, and then build from there. The result is some great MeeGo, netbook goodness, despite being done at high speed over three months.

Meeks and his own software patents were covered here before. Well, at Novell, even British workers apply for US software patents that are not legitimate in Britain.

On the relatively positive side, more software is being created which can replace the Mono intrusion vector known as GNOME Do. Here is a new article which compares Launchy, GNOME Do, and Kupfer.

To many people, application launchers are not really worth much attention. After all, it’s just a box to type in a command, right? Perhaps that used to be it, but these days there are some tiny programs that can make a huge difference in productivity. Not only can you run a command, but you can search for files, search the web, check the weather, even run a mini calculator. Today we’ll compare three of the better known launchers for Linux – Launchy, GNOME Do, and Kupfer. While they all have roughly the same function, each has a different take on how it should be done, and the configuration capabilities vary greatly from one to the next. Here, you’ll see what makes each one unique and hopefully find the one that works best for you.

In summary, Novell is polluting GNU/Linux environments with Microsoft software patents which Microsoft has explicitly excluded from its so-called ‘promise’ (MCP). At the same time, Novell’s own software patents are at risk of being handed over to entities which would use them aggressively, even against UNIX/Linux.

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