Steve, Steve, and Steven

Posted in Apple, Microsoft at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

St. Stephen
St. Stephen

Summary: Steve Jobs is anti-competitive, Steve Ballmer is being blamed for Microsoft’s demise, and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says it’s “RIP [Windows] PC”

Steve Jobs: “We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops” [via]

The iPad App Store is going pretty well, with 8000 apps already accepted and developers quite happy with the sales results. But what about an application that’s been approved and then pulled from the App Store for some strange reason? That’s what happened to My Frame, and that’s why the developers decided to email Steve Jobs and ask.

It turns out that Apple, as usual, retains ultimate control on the kind of software that can be approved or not, but in a way that is not very clear to developers and people who’d like to develop applications. My Frame is (was) a photo frame app with some additional features, like music controls, weather info, twitter feeds and birthday reminders in the shape of “overlays” to the photos you have to manually pick.

We know that Apple doesn’t approve widget-like applications, but could you call My Frame a widget app? I guess that if it was approved in the first place, this is the kind of app that sits in between, and that’s exactly the place where Apple retains ultimate control. In between.

Microsoft’s real problem is Ballmer

Bach got the boot because Microsoft is taking it in the assets in the mobile space, and the Redmond Behemoth has (belatedly) realized that’s where its future lies.

Yes, the Windows Mobile OS sucks harder than an asthmatic at an oxygen bar, but I’m not entirely convinced that’s Bach’s fault. An interface that’s barely tolerable from 18 inches away with a full keyboard and mouse is completely useless on a 2- or 3-inch screen and a teensy keypad. And yet for years Microsoft has insisted on bringing the
Windows to Windows Mobile.

Whose vision was that? It wasn’t Bach’s. Windows on every device? Windows to control your phones and your TVs and the lights in your house? Windows in your car? That belongs to our favorite semi-retired billionaire, the churros-munching, hurricane-battlin’ Billy Gates.

So with Bach gone, Steve Ballmer is taking over Microsoft’s mobile operations. That’s a little like saying, “Son, you crashed the car, so I’m going to hand the car keys to this gorilla and let him drive for a while.”


Where did all of these products come from? You guessed it — Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division. Boy, what a bunch of screw-ups.

Pop quiz: What’s the biggest Microsoft disaster of all time? Sorry, time’s up. The correct answer is Windows Vista. Seven years in the making, and a complete and utter cluster-zune.

Yet Windows and Office are still the cash cows…They’re not the future, though. The future lives in mobile devices and the cloud. That’s now in the hands of Ballmer.

InfoWorld’s Ted Samson says this is Microsoft’s way of telling the world it’s serious about mobile. I think this is their way of telling shareholders it’s time to sell.


So Microsoft axing one of its captains may look like it’s taking its troubles seriously, but it isn’t going to solve the problem. Microsoft’s biggest problem is the big, bald sweaty guy at the top. You want to see real change in Redmond, that’s where it has to happen.

Steve Ballmer Is Driving Microsoft Off a Cliff

Even for non-techies, it’s easy to understand just how far Microsoft has fallen since Steve Ballmer was put in charge.

Ballmer — the sweatinest, spittinest CEO this side of the Mississippi — was handed the reins in January of 2000. And while his tenure has always been a little rocky, it’s never seemed as tumultuous as it has in the past week.

One Big Problem With Steve Ballmer Running Microsoft: He’s Not A Product Guy (MSFT)

• Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: “RIP PC”

Microsoft responds and Paul Thurrott at Microsoft’s spin zone cites Microsoft Enderle in the face of terrible news. Here is a good new headline to end this links roundup with:

Microsoft may be in no mood to celebrate

Microsoft Corp. is marking the one-year anniversary of the release of its revamped Internet search engine known as Bing this week, though the software giant may be in no mood to party.

Novell Makes Its Relationship With MeeGo More Formal (and Filled With the Mono Patent Trap), Tuxera Spreads exFAT Patent Trap

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Two post-Memorial Day announcements signify the eternal attempts to spread Microsoft’s patent tax to Linux through allies

NOVELL’S days may be numbered, but this company is causing enormous damage, as we have already shown twice just today [1, 2]. Concerns remain that Novell’s continued pursuit of more and more software patents will actually end up being used against GNU/Linux:

Once again, the buzz has grown surrounding rumors that Novell may soon be snapped up in a buyout. As many as 20 companies may have registered bids for the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Matt Asay notes that an auction of the company could become a patent troll bonanza, and I have to agree. Let’s remember that Novell is no spring chicken. It owns lots of patents and lots of legacy applications. Overall, it would not be good to see Novell bought out, partly because it’s one of the few U.S.-based public companies focused primarily on open source.

It’s not just Novell’s software patents that are an imminent threat; Novell is also spreading Microsoft’s DNA all over the GNU/Linux world, probably consciously (by selection of strategy/employees). Here is a new article which mentions MeeGo adding Novell to its ranks. Big mistake.

Since the 1.0 release, MeeGo has added Novell, Telefónica, UI design company Movial, netbook software provider DeviceVM and Chinese companies CS2C and Red Flag Software to its list of support partners.

Last week we began showing that Novell had been contaminating MeeGo using Mono [1, 2, 3]. Maybe they are trying to ‘take over’ the project, just like they did with Moblin at one stage (the earlier days). What does Nokia have this say about it? This could also lead to the suspicion that maybe — just maybe — Nokia or Intel will attempt buy Novell. “Novell’s sales down as it prepares to sell up,” says the headline of this new article (more reports suggest a buyout).

Quarterly revenues fell 6% for troubled systems vendor, reported to be in talks with potential acquirers

Sales at systems and software vendor Novell fell 6% to $204 million in the second quarter of its fiscal year, despite managing to increase its profits for the second quarter running.

We now learn from Novell that its approach towards MeeGo is not a casual relationship. Here is the press release [1, 2] which is titled “Novell Announces Support for MeeGo” and here is some early coverage:

Keen observers might have noticed that Novell’s comments were curiously absent. Did I forget them? No, they told me that they had something in the works, and I needed to stand by. Today, the question of Novell’s continued support of MeeGo was answered with an announcement from Computex in Taiwan that they will release SUSE MeeGo “as a fully supported operating system for netbooks.”

It’s funny that they hardly mention Mono, which is controversial for good reasons. Here is another article:

Novell wants Meego to ship pre-installed on a variety of devices from OEMs within a year. SUSE Meego is based on the Meego specification defined by Intel and Nokia and is designed for next-generation netbooks and other mobile devices. It builds on the work done on the Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo mobile operating systems.

How is the inclusion of Mono being arranged? MeeGo contains Banshee, which Microsoft explicitly excluded from the MCP. Novell is being used by Microsoft to hurt GNU/Linux projects, tainting them with Microsoft patent tax. Another familiar example would be Tuxera. Microsoft uses them (maybe like it uses Likewise) to inject problems and act as a barrier to entry through software patents, universally. Here is Tuxera’s new press release:

Tuxera exFAT Now Available for Android and Linux

Tuxera, the leading designer of Windows-compatible file systems for Linux, Mac, and other platforms, today announced the release of Tuxera exFAT for Android and other Linux systems. Developed using technical documentation provided by Microsoft Corp., Tuxera exFAT provides outstanding performance and stability, and meets the latest SDXC memory card standards.

exFAT is a toxic patent trap (poison as a standard) that they hope to put inside Google’s Android and inside GNU/Linux. And meanwhile, Microsoft is pushing hard using its market share on the desktop to spread exFAT everywhere.

IDG Approaches Microsoft-Funded and Microsoft-Hired ‘Analysts’ (Without Disclosure) to Defend Windows Security

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG, IDC and Microsoft

Summary: A new example of familiar routines from IDG and IDC, which happen to be setting trends using false information

Gregg Keizer from ComputerWorld usually calls out Windows and reports rather accurately about Microsoft’s security problems. One issue the author overlooks is that Microsoft has an information lock-down on what it does with its proprietary code and it abuses this privacy to deceive everyone, even by producing bogus reports that are unfairly (if not fraudulently) demeaning to the competition. Microsoft admits lying about security, as we pointed out a few days ago.

“One issue the author overlooks is that Microsoft has an information lock-down on what it does with its proprietary code and it abuses this privacy to deceive everyone, even by producing bogus reports to are unfairly demeaning to the competition. ”Thanks to Satipera we became aware of Gregg Keizer’s new article which quotes several Microsoft sympathisers who are paid by Microsoft. One of them is Gartner and another one is Gartenberg, who is quoted all over the place despite having come from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] only to attack Microsoft’s competition without any disclosure. These talking points are being summoned in response to Google's move which is a huge blow to the reputation of Windows. The financial Web sites struggled with the news, deciding somehow that Red Hat actually owns “Linux” and “Chrome O/S” is an entirely separate operating system (it is based on Ubuntu GNU/Linux). SJVN’s report is much better, but the Microsoft convention/gallery Keizer brought to IDG is a bit of an embarrassment. To quote some potions from Microsoft’s paid allies (don’t expect disclosures at IDG):

“There must be other motives besides security for such a move,” said John Pescatore, an analyst at Gartner who specializes in security issues. “As an academic exercise, yes, the ‘security-by-obscurity’ model works,” he said, referring to the concept that users are safer running Mac OS X and Linux because they have much smaller market shares than Windows, and so offer hackers a less attractive target.


“The idea that security is behind this is a little bogus,” added Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. “Windows seems pretty good for Fortune 500 companies.”

Like Pescatore, Gartenberg sees Google’s move, if true, driven by other factors than security. “It’s an interesting excuse, but to me, it underscores the tension between Google and Microsoft,” Gartenberg said.

Michael Gartenberg says that “the idea that security is behind this is a little bogus,” but we say that Gartenberg’s credentials and reliability are bogus because he used to work for Steve Ballmer (and also for IDG, which means there is a conflict here) and Microsoft produces bogus reports about security, by its very own admission. Shame on IDG for approaching Michael Gartenberg about this subject.

IDG and IDC are pretty much the same entity and here are some new bogus numbers from IDC, coming just a month after more bogus numbers that it produced with the BSA/Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. They are not real analysts, they are propagandists in suits. They are analysts for hire to ‘prove’ the required fallacy and spread it as “truth” in as many publications as possible, the latest example being this one: [hat tip: Glyn Moody]

Piracy ravages Spain

The study, carried out by IDC Research Iberia, the Spanish arm of U.S. consultancy IDC, covered the piracy of music, movies, vidgames and books.

They are trying to pass new laws, especially in Spain where they recently had some difficulties stifling sharing of legal content (along with some illegal). Those who follow copyright news probably paid attention to those stories from Spain, starting with a key verdict and then carrying on with Spanish politicians trying to change the law to accommodate Hollywood. Here we see IDC manufacturing some bogus, unfounded ammunition for the clients to lobby with (we previously explained the obvious falsehoods). So again, shame on IDG/IDC — the best propaganda money can acquire. Several days ago, someone told us in the IRC channel: “My 2 cents re: IDC/BSA .. i worked with IDC for many years ,.. and what they say about GUT FEEL is [just] that … guess work .. kids jacking out spreadsheets with *imaginative* numbers …”

In other news, SJVN also write about botnets [1, 2], delivering some shocking numbers and not always naming the culprit which is Windows (where one in two computers is said to have been hijacked).

Think you’ve got good security? Well, maybe you do. But can you say the same for your colleagues and friends? Probably not. According to RSA, EMC’s Security Division, even at Fortune 500 companies 88% of them had systems that had been accessed by infected machines and 60 percent of them had experienced stolen email account information.

In summary, what we deal with here is what Microsoft best described with the statement below.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Related posts:

What a Difference Patentability of Software Makes: Microsoft #3 in USPTO, #33 in EPO

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft magnitude

Summary: The sharp contrast between Microsoft’s ability to earn a monopoly in the United States and in Europe (still hinged on software patentability)

“Old, but news to me: Domino’s Pizza Tracker has a patent pending notice,” heralds one person today. How utterly pathetic has the US patent system become?

Fortunately, the absurdity of the US patent system is being investigated and more sites are writing this week about the imminent Bilski verdict [1, 2]. Lawyers like Patent WatchTroll are hoping that everything under the sun will become patented. More business to the lawyers, right? It’s lawyers who drive science forward and programmers are just their vassals. Shame on scientists who try to get those patent lawyers out of their way. Shame, shame, shame. [sarcasm hopefully noted here]

Anyway, here are some IPO numbers about patentors:

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released its 27th annual list of the top 300 organizations receiving U.S. patents. Patent Docs Readers may recall that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office stopped releasing its annual list of top patent recipients in 2006 in order to “discourag[e] any perception that we believe more is better.”

Watch Microsoft’s honourable position. 85% of its patent applications are said to be software patents and IBM’s lust shines through as well (although IBM does more hardware). Microsoft climbed over the years not because it becomes more innovative but because it becomes more aggressive. Microsoft is like the nation that overruns its budgets due to excessive armament (think USSR) while those who stay outside the arms race actually make steps forward, hoping that “lunatic states” won’t hit them.

Anyway, Microsoft is not ranked highly in Europe, where software patents are hard to pass through (but practically not impossible). A European lawyers’ blog shares the EPO’s chart, which is probably indicative of Microsoft’s inclination/bias towards software patents.

The EPO last week published its statistics on patents applied for and granted in 2009.


The chart shows a clear decline in granted patents from all major applicant countries, namely Germany, Japan and the US (the chart colours of Germany and the UK are almost undistinguishable, but a look in the corresponding table shows that Germany is the top line. Sorry, UK readers). All together, applicants from Germany, the U.S. and Japan received 61% of the patents granted in 2009. South Korea is the only one of the major filing nations that seems to (almost) hold its number of applications.

Microsoft is in #33 amongst applicants.

in response to those gene patents we have heard an awful lot about recently, here is what a Stanford blog has to say.

The piece, which was originally published in the Financial Times, follows earlier criticism from Nobel laureate John Sulston, PhD, that such patents could be “extremely damaging.”

Genes, business methods, and software methods should not be patentable. This system is verging the insane if just about anything becomes someone’s monopoly. It breeds litigation, not investigation. It makes no economic sense, let alone scientific sense.

Mozilla’s CEO: “Right Now We Think That It’s Totally Fine to Ship [VP8/WebM], or We Wouldn’t Ship It”

Posted in Antitrust, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Lilly of Mozilla
Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: Mozilla is not afraid of MPEG-LA and it will calmly support Google’s new codec; perhaps so should everyone else

MPEG-LA is a patent troll, or at least headed by one [1, 2, 3, 4]. Currently, MPEG-LA is set to face antitrust chanrges due to Nero’s complaint. The only GNU/Linux company which ended up indirectly complying with MPEG-LA is Canonical [1, 2]. Mozilla has managed to avoid that parasite, even in the face of threats against Ogg support, which Firefox has had for well over a year. VP8 seems to be in the process of becoming equally free.

According to this new report, Mozilla is very confident about using VP8 while disregarding the parasites.

“Right now we think that it’s totally fine to ship, or we wouldn’t ship it,” said Mozilla Chief Executive John Lilly. “We’re really confident in our ability to ship this free of encumbrances.” The VP8 patent situation is no different from the patent challenges that face any computing innovation, from search to social networking to user interfaces to browsers, he added.

MPEG-LA wants people to believe that anything that encodes/decodes video and audio will always be its own properly (intellectual ‘ownership’) somehow, due to software patents. MPEG-LA is just a bully, so it’s better off reported or ignored. There are hopefully provisions that can shut down MPEG-LA because it not only trades in the area of codecs; MPEG-LA has become a risk to people's lives because of its business in gene patents. How inhumane.

MPEG LA logo

Microsoft Has Just 1% in Top500 (HPC), Novell Would Like to Help Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 12:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell continues to serve as Microsoft’s ramp into the GNU/Linux world, this time with HPC and PlateSpin

AS FAR as supercomputing is concerned, Microsoft is almost nowhere to be seen, especially at the higher tier. It’s not because Microsoft is new in this area. It was several years ago that Bill Gates expressed his ambitions to take over supercomputing. Now he’s mostly gone along with those ambitions.

This post will have to begin with another rant about CSIRO, which decided to turn from somewhat of a national pride into an agitator and more of a patent bully [1, 2]. CSIRO is still up to no good, looking to extort using patents. CSIRO has been widely criticised for that and one must wonder if the Australian population endorses this strategy.

CSIRO to reap ‘lazy billion’ from world’s biggest tech companies

Australia’s peak science body stands to reap more than $1 billion from its lucrative Wi-Fi patent after already netting about $250 million from the world’s biggest technology companies, an intellectual property lawyer says.

It may not surprise to discover that CSIRO — just like almost any science institute around the globe — chooses GNU/Linux for its supercomputing needs. From the news:

Australia’s fastest Linux computer makes CSIRO a leader

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Top500 supercomputer announcement comes a reminder that Australia is a significant player in the field with the only NVidia CUDA research centre in the southern hemisphere.

CSIRO scores in the HPC department, but need anyone remind CSIRO that GNU/Linux exists and thrives thanks to lack of patent aggression (until recent years when Apple and Microsoft decided to attack)? CSIRO would make the world a more advanced place by putting its weapons (lawyers) down and collaborating with the international community. You know, kind of like GNU/Linux and Free software in general.

Regarding the subject of HPC, we have already shared many articles so far this week (in the daily links). Our reader Wayne Borean expands on it and so does Glyn Moody who puts things in context.

As everyone knows, GNU/Linux grew up as a project to create a completely free alternative to Unix. Key parts were written by Richard Stallman while living the archetypal hacker’s life at and around MIT, and by Linus Torvalds – in his bedroom. Against that background, it’s no wonder that one of Microsoft’s approaches to attacking GNU/Linux has been to dismiss it on technical grounds: after all, such a rag-bag of code written by long-haired hippies and near-teenagers could hardly be compared with the product of decades of serious, top-down planning by some of best coding professionals money can buy, could it?

And thus was born the “Linux does not scale” meme – the idea that, yes, this stuff is free, but you get what you pay for: code that no enterprise could take seriously. Unfortunately for that narrative, GNU/Linux is not only able to scale rather well, but able to do it in perhaps the most demanding of environments – that of supercomputing.

Ten years ago, GNU/Linux had 10% of that market, according to the Top500 Supercomputers site, with Unix holding a pretty solid 85%. Five years ago, those numbers had nearly switched, with GNU/Linux holding 63%, and Unix 31%, and Windows running in splendid isolation on just one machine. A year ago, Windows had managed to crank that up by a massive 400% – to five machines; meanwhile, GNU/Linux was on 88% and Unix down to 4%.

HPC is probably the one area where GNU/Linux extracts the most success stories and pride from. Well, guess who spoils the broth?

Earlier this morning we found out that Novell had formally re-announced its ambitions of bringing Windows to HPC (the information goes back a couple of years). It was only earlier today that wrote about how Novell is just being used by Microsoft to a certain extent. So there we have a good new example (MeeGo poisoning with .NET and Android poisoning with .NET is another type of example we’ll come to in later posts).

Here is Novell’s announcement: (it’s a joint press release, indicating that the two companies sometimes “work as one”, as Novell’s new slogan suggests)

High-performance computing (HPC) continues to gain in popularity as businesses face increasing pressure to process data faster and with greater precision. Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc., working in concert with third parties, are now making it easier for IT executives to take advantage of the benefits of supercomputing with a technology initiative developed in their joint Interoperability Lab based in Cambridge, Mass. The initiative brings value to the HPC market by helping customers realize greater IT infrastructure efficiency and subsequent cost savings. Today, Microsoft and Novell reported strong demand for their high-performance computing interoperability solution with 33 shared customers now deploying sophisticated server workload management across SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server and Windows HPC Server.

SoftPedia wrote about this Trojan-type plan back in 2008 (more than 2 years ago) and it continues to materialise. It’s almost as though Novell participates in HPC (at Red Hat’s expense) only to rent some space to Microsoft. Here is new coverage that we found so far:

This was also covered by Microsoft Nick and other Microsoft boosters. They must be so excited. Novell helps Microsoft’s façade of “we come in peace” and also helps Microsoft gain market share. Isn’t that just wonderful? And until Novell just permanently goes out of business it will still help Microsoft gain in other areas, such as computer/programming languages.

Microsoft’s boosters put it like this: “Windows and Linux Hybrid Offering for Supercomputers in High Demand – Microsoft and Novell interoperability for high-performance computing”

That’s the same “hybrid” as in the following Novell announcement of Windows support for a Windows product from Novell, namely PlateSpin. Here is the press release [1, 2, 3] and some initial coverage that we found [1, 2, 3, 4]. At least it’s no longer Windows only.

In addition, PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect now offer the industry’s only consolidated disaster recovery solution for both Windows and Linux, including SUSE® Linux Enterprise from Novell.

This latter announcement is less damaging than the former, which is another fine new example of how Novell increases Microsoft market share in several areas.

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Links 2/6/2010: KDE SC 4.4.4; Firefox 4 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 11:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Evolution of GNU, Linux System – Must Read For Newbies

    I would like to introduce you to a chronology of events that occurred in the early 80’s and 90’s.

    For Richard Stallman things began to look bad with the collapse of the free community in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT in the ’80s, with modern systems of operating time, none of them free software came with an agreement confidentiality, he said, is not allowed to share or modify the software and if you want something changed, ask us to do it for you.

    This sounded anti-social to software-sharing community that had existed for many years at MIT, which he enjoyed and agreed to share their programs with universities and businesses. And to see or to change the source code of an unknown program to create a new was fairly common.

  • Ode to Summer, Fixer-Uppers and $10 for Courage
  • Sloganeering in Linux/Unix – what does it say, what does it mean?
  • Desktop

    • Measuring the popularity of distros – Part 4 Conclusion

      A fairly clear conclusion that can be drawn is that Ubuntu is the more popular distro. Most of the statistics point to this. Less clear is the 2nd most popular. Distrowatch says Linux Mint. Google Trends says Debian. Linux Tracker says Debian for one and Fedora for the second. Overall then, I’d go for Debian being the second most popular. If you consider that Ubuntu is based upon Debian, this would actually make Debian the most popular distro by far as you could count all the Ubuntu installations, all the Ubuntu installations, all the Ubuntu-based distros installations and all the Debian-based installations. Fedora would then be my choice third most popular.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Plethora Of Cloud Computing Benchmarks

      One of the companies that we have been collaborating with on some of the features for the Phoronix Test Suite has been CloudHarmony, which is a company that seeks to provide an assortment of information on different cloud computing platforms and offerings from the various firms. Using the Phoronix Test Suite they have been benchmarking a plethora of different cloud computing platforms and today they have published a huge batch of results — benchmarks from over 150 different cloud server configurations from 20 different providers!

    • Kernel Log: Linux 2.6.35 taking shape

      Linux 2.6.35 will deliver better network throughput, support the Turbo Core functionality offered by the latest AMD processors and de-fragment memory as required. On LKML, a discussion on merging several patches developed by Google for Android is generating large volumes of email.

      Two weeks on from the release of Linux 2.6.34, on Sunday night Linus Torvalds released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.35 to concluding the merge of the major changes for the next kernel version, expected to be released in about ten weeks. The merge window has once again stretched to around 14 days, after its abbreviation in Linux 2.6.34 caused confusion among some subsystem maintainers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • If Or When Will X12 Actually Materialize?

        The first version of the X protocol for the X Window System emerged in 1984 and just three years later we were at version 11. However, for the past 23 years, we have been stuck with X11 with no signs of the twelfth revision being in sight, even though there is a whole list of X12 plans and hopes on the FreeDesktop.org Wiki. Julien Danjou, an XCB developer, has written a lengthy blog post looking at the situation and the prospects for the X protocol.

      • Thermal Monitoring Comes To Newer Radeon DRM
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • E17 review

      Enlightenment has been quite interesting to me. It has not even got a beta release so far yet I like to use it. That is because, it does things differently. It is very efficient, keeps the CPU far more cooler than any other desktop environment, has nice effects already built-in, and is far snappier than most mainstream desktop environments [I am not interested in comparisions here; so I won't point to any other desktop environment in particular.].


      Overall, E17 is nice. It is nice to note that E17 keeps with latest development in software. For now, it is bleeding edge; however I suggest give it a shot before believing anything about it. Its a nice experience.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.4 Out
      • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.4 Release Announcement

        June 1st, 2010. Today, KDE has released a new version of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC). This month’s edition of KDE SC is a bugfix and translation update to KDE SC 4.4. KDE SC 4.4.4 is a recommended update for everyone running KDE SC 4.4.3 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. Users around the world will appreciate that KDE SC 4.4.4 multi-language support is more complete. KDE SC 4 is already translated into more than 50 languages, with more to come.

      • KDE 4.4.5 is scheduled
      • Amarok 2.3.1 adds new applets

        The Amarok Project has released version 2.3.1 of its popular open source music player for the KDE desktop, code named “Clear Light”. The first point update to the 2.3.x branch of Amarok is a maintenance release that addresses several bugs in the previous release and includes a number of new features.

      • New In KDE Partition Manager 1.1 (V): Options Galore

        Another new feature in KDE Partition Manager 1.1 is the ability to “shred” partitions when deleting them. Unlike when just deleting a partition (which basically means its entry in the partition table is deleted but the data remains on disk for the time being, until it is eventually overwritten with something else) this will actually overwrite the data before the partition is removed from the partition table.

  • Distributions

    • Three floppy-based distros

      This might sound strange, but I generally don’t endorse the floppy distros that are still available here and there on the Internet, and as a general rule, still work fine. I don’t hold any prejudice toward them, but I find that they’re out of date, intended for specific hardware arrangements, or just a bit too … personalized.


      Probably the one floppy distro that I would consider keeping around is blueflops, and it’s for that same reason — hardware support. Another two-floppy adventure, this one lists quite a few network cards as options, particularly for desktops. And since blueflops has the 2.6.18-ck1 kernel, I would almost consider using that as a jumping-off point for upgrading to a current kernel. Almost.

      blueflops says it will run on an i386 with 8Mb and swap, and I’ve tried it on machines with only 16Mb and gotten fair results. The software list isn’t as long as some of the others, but it will probably get you online and from there, you can decide on your direction.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Basefarm to Standardize Internet Platform Infrastructure on Red Hat Solutions

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Basefarm, one of Northern Europe’s leading suppliers of Internet-based operations and services, is migrating its CentOS-based systems to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. With its migration, Basefarm gains the value of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, including reliable support, a robust certified ecosystem and access to the latest tested and quality-controlled Red Hat Enterprise Linux technology.

      • CentOS 5.5 Left Me Clueless
      • Fedora

        • First look: Fedora 13 from Red Hat

          The installation was quick and painless, and the subsequent reboot was extremely fast and clean — from POST screen to login screen within 10 seconds.

        • Fedora 13

          In short, Fedora 13 leaves once again a good impression. For professionals, has better performance than other popular distributions and for home users Ubuntu or Linux Mint which are perhaps more intuitive to begin working with Linux. Only regret, too long and unworthy startup time of a modern Linux distribution. But in the world of Linux, personal taste matters more.

        • In orbit over Fedora 13

          But having said this, there are a couple of caveats that require mentioning — personal ones that really don’t take anything away from Fedora 13′s shine. Pet peeve number one: No GIMP on the install. Easily installable upon completion of the installation, I know, but still.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 vs Fedora 13

          This article originally appeared in issue 87 of Linux User & Developer magazine.
          Linux User & Developer, one of the nation’s favourite Linux and Open Source publications, is now part of the award winning Imagine Publishing family. Readers can subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

    • Debian Family

      • why Debian for scientific computing: a case study

        Yesterday I’ve been invited to visit EDF R&D center at Clamart, near Paris. They wanted to discuss their Debian usage and present some of the cool stuff they’re doing. The most interesting component is an in-house Debian-based distribution called “calibre”, which has been presented at RMLL 2008.


        EDF is generally keen of contributing back to Debian (even though the team behind calibre is still small), and I’ve been happy to walk them through how they can contribute.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu To Pull In New Versions Of Firefox

          Ubuntu’s longstanding policy of not pulling in new major versions of packages into their stable repositories is facing a slight change. Canonical along with the Ubuntu development community have been making it easier to deploy Mozilla Firefox web-browser updates into existing Ubuntu releases.

        • Summary of development plans for Ubuntu 10.10
        • Mandriva-style control centre for Ubuntu
        • Canonical – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS review

          With each and every release, Ubuntu Linux seems to get that little bit easier and friendlier to use. To put it through its paces, we downloaded the CD image of the latest iteration, Ubuntu 10.04, burned it to a disc and booted directly from it.

          In the past, many Linux distros booted up as a live CD from that point, and once you’d arrived at the desktop screen, there sat the icon to install the operating system to your hard disk. Ubuntu 10.04 instead offers you a welcome half-way house, in that mid-boot you can choose whether to try a live CD without writing files to your system, or go for the full install. We opted for the latter.

        • Why does Ubuntu keep shipping with Evolution?

          The Evolution mail client has been the default such application in Ubuntu since I got to know of Linux. Sure it is the default GNOME mail/calendar application, but I really am of the view that Ubuntu needs to drop it in favor of say Mozilla’s very brilliant Thunderbird.

          For one thing running Evolution on my machine makes me wonder if it is IE in disguise. It is, for starters, very heavy on my system resources. My hdd light keeps blinking to hell when I click on that application at any time. It also seems to take an eternity to respond to my mouse clicks.

        • Variants

          • Kid-friendly Qimo Linux 2.0 makes a splash

            Founded by Michelle and Michael Hall, Qimo is designed for users three years and older and is pre-installed with free and open source games that are meant to be both educational and entertaining.

          • Linux Mint 9: Fast, Stable, and Beautiful

            It’s been a long time since I last looked at Mint, and a lot has changed since. After Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was released, I thought I would take a look at Linux Mint 9 “Isadora” to see what they are doing with the latest Ubuntu base, which was already wonderful as it is. After playing with the latest Mint for just a short period of time, I’ve already fallen in love with it.


            Overall: 5/5 (Great!)

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Qualcomm creates dual-core Snapdragons

      Qualcomm says its Snapdragon chipsets are being used in more than 140 different devices including Acer’s Liquid and Neotouch smartphones, Dell’s Streak 5 Android tablet, HP’s Compaq Airlife 100 smartbook and HTC’s Droid Incredible and Nexus One smartphones.

    • Nokia

      • MeeGo has a coming out party on the Quanta Redvale, Winstron W1 and CZC P10T tablets

        For those not familiar with MeeGo you better study up on it because it has officially arrived. MeeGo is the joining of two open source Linux operating systems — Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo — which was announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. It offers online and computing capability focused around multitasking, multimedia playback and strong graphics processing for a range of devices — not just netbooks or mobile phones. Up until now we haven’t heard that much MeeGo talk, mostly just rumored rumblings, but my have the MeeGo gates opened.

    • Android

      • Android Chief Andy Rubin: Updates Will Eventually Come Once A Year
      • On Android Compatibility

        At Google I/O 2010, we announced that there are over 60 Android models now, selling 100,000 units a day. When I wear my open-source hat, this is exciting: every day the equivalent of the entire population of my old home city starts using open-source software, possibly for the first time. When I put on my hat for Android Compatibility, this is humbling: that’s a whole lotta phones that can all share the same apps.

      • Acer’s Android Stream comes online

        Acer’s been hinting at entry into the Android smartphone market for some time now and now it is official. The Stream is the company’s first Android device.

      • 15 Beautiful Android Wallpapers For Desktop

        So here we are continuing our addiction with free and opensource wallpapers. Android operating system is spreading like wildfire. Smartphone manufacturers are scrambling to produce their version of Android phone and all this has just started. Let’s celebrate this stellar success of a free and open source software called Android with some stunning android wallpapers. Top 15 Android Wallpapers from around the web.

    • Tablets

      • Asus Challenges Apple’s iPad with Eee Pad

        When chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the Asus Eee Pad on stage at Computex today, the crowd of journalists almost rushed the stage with excitement.

        Unlike the similarly-named Asus Eee Tablet, which is designed to compete with e-Readers like the Nook and the Kindle, the Eee Pad is designed to go head-to-head with the Apple iPad.

        The Eee Pad is a Windows 7-based device that uses an Intel CULV Core 2 Duo processor and a touch-sensitive capacitive screen. It can be used as a multimedia player, e-reader, Web-browser, or, with the help of a keyboard docking station, full-featured PC. Asus will be releasing two versions of the Eee Pad. The EP101TC will come with a 10-inch screen and the EP121 will ship with a 12-inch screen. Asus claims both systems will deliver at least 10 hours of battery life.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web sites, Conferences and Coding

    Check out the new look, updated Samba.org web site – complete with new logo ! We really like it as it meant we had an excuse to get new Samba Team t-shirts, and stickers for our laptops. Thanks to SerNet for taking care of our new 21st Century look.

  • Governance

  • Africa

    • Computer Aid Namibia to set up FOSS institute

      Computer Aid Namibia has unveiled plans to establish a free and open source software institute in Omaruru. The new institute will be known as the Namibia Open Source Software Institute (NOSSI) and will promote the use of free and open source software in the country.

    • SA’s newest open source geek mag launches

      South African (and global) geeks now have a new magazine to keep themselves entertained with. The first issue of The SA Geek magazine was launched today.

  • Mozilla

  • GIMP

    • Flying aircraft carrier – Why not indeed?

      Like the last time, I’d like to begin by showing you what the model looks like when GIMP-ed against some real background. Just a single image for now. Later, we’ll have a full gallery of images and fancy effects. Here you, my flying aircraft carrier in low, slow flight above a harbor in a Vietnam-like setting, firing its twin belly cannon in support of ground forces. Air cavalry futuristic style.


    • Death to “Piracy”: Should All Music Sharing Be Free? [VIDEO]

      Free software activist Richard Stallman certainly wouldn’t say so. Stallman started the Free Software Foundation based on four principles.

      1. Information, such as computer software, should be freely accessible.
      2. The information should be free to modify.
      3. The information should be free to share with others.
      4. The information should be free to change and redistribute copies of the changed software.

      While not all of these principles apply to music, he says, some of them should apply. And a lot of music fans and musicians tend to agree with him. In many ways, the corporate side of the music industry’s attitude toward musical content mimics Microsoft’s or Adobe’s or Apple’s attitude toward software. This attitude often does nothing to help those who create or those who enjoy the content in question; it does everything to make money for the corporations who oversee licensing and purchase fees.

  • Openness

    • Open web definition for drumbeat.org

      A common Drumbeat questions is ‘what do you mean by open web?‘ Having a solid answer is especially critical as reach out to teachers, lawyers, filmmakers and other people new to Mozilla.

    • Rookie Liberal gets cold shoulder for coming clean on expenses

      There were some smirks and sniffs as rookie Liberal MP Michelle Simson told caucus colleagues this week that sometimes it’s easier to do the right thing. It was not a message her colleagues enjoyed hearing.

      Ms. Simson is the first MP to take the bold step of publicly revealing her MP expenses. Last year, with little fanfare, she posted the information on her website, fulfilling an election campaign promise to her constituents that she would show them how she spent their money.

    • PM’s podcast on transparency
    • Devoted to Openness? Creative Commons Offers Seed Funding

      Creative Commons is a non-profit corporation that provides free licenses that give content producers a number of methods, in accordance with international copyright laws, to share their works with others. If your particular endeavor is one that may “positively impact Creative Commons’ mission of fostering creativity [...] and work of communities that use or benefit from CC licenses, tools, and technologies” then it may be elligible for a grant ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

    • Open Data

      • Open Data Commons Attribution License

        NB: The Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) is not yet final and is still being reviewed.

      • Open Data, Open Cities

        While the Open Data movement has yet to demonstrate its killer app, it shows much promise. It will take commitment from both innovators and the city governments to sustain the momentum over the year, but these early successes suggest that open API’s and killer coders may be able to revolutionize the way cities operate and interact with their citizens.

      • Activist envisions free giant database for legal papers

        If you want Internet access to federal court records in the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, you have to pay 8 cents a page. The fee applies to any federal-trial court documents through a government-run system of electronic records known as Pacer.

        Carl Malamud thinks it’s outrageous that court documents are fenced off. The open-government activist, who crusaded to make the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database publicly available, has turned his attention to the legal system — and not just court records.

      • Incunabula Cataloguing Project

        In October 2009 Cambridge University Library launched a cataloguing project which will make records for its collection of 4,650 incunables available and searchable online for the first time. The incunabula collection, part of which goes back to the late 15th century, is internationally renowned and includes some 134 unique items. The scope of the project is to create specialist records for all the incunables in the Library’s online catalogue, Newton, with special emphasis on copy-specific information such as anomalies, rubrication, decoration and illumination, annotations, binding, marks of ownership, and provenance, enhancing and bringing up to date the short-title catalogue published by J.C.T. Oates in 1954, and including the 256 items acquired by the Library since.

      • Crowd Science Reaches New Heights

        Alexander S. Szalay is a well-regarded astronomer, but he hasn’t peered through a telescope in nearly a decade. Instead, the professor of physics and astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University learned how to write software code, build computer servers, and stitch millions of digital telescope images into a sweeping panorama of the universe.

        Along the way, thanks to a friendship with a prominent computer scientist, he helped reinvent the way astronomy is studied, guiding it from a largely solo pursuit to a discipline in which sharing is the norm.


        A case in point is a project to create a genetic road map using the same wiki platform that supports Wikipedia.

        It started under the name of GenMAPP, or Gene Map Annotator and Pathway Profiler. Participation rates were low at first because researchers had little incentive to format their findings and add them to the project. Tenure decisions are made by the number of articles published, not the amount of helpful material placed online. “The academic system is not set up to reward the sharing of the most usable aspects of the data,” said Alexander Pico, bioinformatics group leader and software engineer at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.

      • Momentum building for open government data in Norway

        The following guest post is from Olav Anders Øvrebø, Assistant Professor at the University of Bergen, and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on EU Open Data. This text was first published as a European Public Sector Information Platform Topic Report on ePSIplatform.eu.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Conflagration coming

        Anecdotes are not data, one dead swallow doesn’t mean the end of summer, and so on… but I just heard yesterday about a second small independent toll-access journal whose sponsors may be discussing winding it down.

      • Your views on open access publishing are needed!

        The SOAP Project (*), funded by the European Commission, would like to announce the release of an online survey to assess researchers’ experiences with open access publishing.

    • Open Hardware

      • Mark’s new book: Made by Hand

        My new book is out! Made by Hand is about the fun and fulfillment I got from making my own stuff. I wrote about my not-always-successful attempts to do things like raise chickens, keep bees, grow and preserve food and make my own musical instruments.

  • Programming

    • Coding? One size doesn’t fit all …

      To summarize one has to think of the scope, lifetime, funding / cash inflow, time to market for the project before starting to write or design code. Thus saming coding style methodology does not suit all projects. Most often Agile methodology suits most projects and developers.

    • Ogmtools, tools for manipulating ogg multimedia streams and Openjpeg-tools command-line tools using the JPEG 2000 library.

      The OpenJPEG library is an open-source JPEG 2000 codec written in C language. It has been developed in order to promote the use of JPEG 2000, the new still-image compression standard from the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG). In addition to the basic codec, various other features are under development, among them the JP2 and MJ2 (Motion JPEG 2000) file formats, an indexing tool useful for the JPIP protocol, JPWL-tools for error-resilience, a Java-viewer for j2k-images, …

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Should Open Web Advocates Stay Independent?

      When it was revealed Wednesday that developer and noted open web champion Tantek Celik was joining the Mozilla Foundation, a wave of congratulations swept across Twitter and the blogosphere. But not everyone was happy to learn that Celik — the former chief technologist at Technorati and before that an open standards advocate at both Microsoft and Apple — was joining the company behind the Firefox browser. Ben Metcalfe, a programmer and startup adviser, said on Twitter that while he was happy for Celik, his hiring meant that “none of the open web usuals remain independent.”


  • Science

    • Drug defeats deadly Ebola virus infection

      An RNA-based drug has treated an infection of the deadly Ebola virus – the first drug to have been shown to do so in all recipients.

      Ebola Zaire virus kills 90 per cent of the people it infects. There are experimental vaccines that protect people given it before they are exposed to the virus, but there has been no drug to help those who are already infected.

    • Approaching space object ‘artificial, not asteroid’ says NASA

      NASA boffins report that an unknown object approaching the Earth from deep space is almost certainly artificial in origin rather than being an asteroid.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it

      Shell, which works in partnership with the Nigerian government in the delta, says that 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants and only a minimal amount by deteriorating infrastructure. “We had 132 spills last year, as against 175 on average. Safety valves were vandalised; one pipe had 300 illegal taps. We found five explosive devices on one. Sometimes communities do not give us access to clean up the pollution because they can make more money from compensation,” said a spokesman.

    • US has launched criminal probe into BP spill
    • BP Seeks to Divert Oil Flow Until Relief Well Is Done
    • The BP Oil Spill Response “Plan”
    • Barack Obama ‘heartbroken’ as BP top kill fails to plug Gulf oil spill
    • BP’s OTHER Spill this Week

      With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still is.

      On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP operators, say state inspectors. “Procedures weren’t properly implemented” is, it seems, BP’s company motto.

      Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.

    • I fear for Brand Britain-something of genuine national interest

      BP’s failure to stem the leak in the Gulf is an environmental tragedy, with the associated sight of American citizens standing on British flags. If we have a special relationship with the US, we as a country should be using the innovative talent, all innovative talent at our disposal to find a way to stop this. And fast. The long term damage to the US coastline and marine systems is heart-breaking to see.

    • BP CEO Tony Hayward: “I’d like my life back.”

      The millionaire CEO of foreign oil giant British Petroleum, Tony Hayward, is upset at the inconvenience caused to him by his company’s devastation of the Gulf of Mexico. In this TP excerpt, Brad Johnson has the stunning video of the tone-deaf ‘apology’ from the leader of the company whose recklessness and hubris has already claimed 11 lives and spewed 20 to 100 million gallons of toxic oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    • A Mystery: When Did Gov’t Exempt Gulf Drilling from Detailed Enviro Reviews?

      As you may have heard, before the big BP disaster the government’s chief oil drilling regulator let most drilling go forward in the Gulf of Mexico with very little environmental review. Somehow, the Minerals Management Service decided that there was little chance of disaster and thus gave the entire central and western Gulf an exclusion from a requirement for comprehensive environmental reviews.

    • Obama suspends Arctic oil drilling plans

      The Obama administration is suspending proposed exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

      The US interior secretary, Ken Salazar, will say in a report to the White House today that he will not consider applications for permits to drill in the Arctic until 2011. Shell Oil was poised to begin exploratory drilling this summer on leases as far as 140 miles offshore.

    • Support for offshore oil drilling, dirty energy production gets dispersed by BP oil disaster

      In the wake of the largest oil disaster in U.S. history, two just released polls by USA Today/Gallup show that Americans are increasingly skeptical of increased offshore drilling — and increasingly support environmental protection. In the one month since the April 20th explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig, support for more offshore drilling has dropped by nearly 20 percent – a big change in a short period of time.

    • A constructive suggestion for retribution against BP

      This is basically criminal misconduct. But hey, what’s the point of getting upset over 11 deaths and a mere environmental catastrophe? We need the oil. Let’s just help the oil companies get beyond this.

    • What if Carbon Dioxide Were as Black as Oil?

      Christopher Reddy, an associate scientist and director of the Coastal Ocean Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, asks “What if carbon dioxide were as black as oil?” in a great new article on CNN.com. This is a very thought provoking question and well considered by Reddy.

    • Paris Unveils Four-Year Cycling Plan With Aim to Reinforce Velib’ Bike Share

      If Velib’ has changed the face of Paris by providing it the largest bike sharing system in the world with 1,800 stations and more than 20,000 bikes, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the French capital. After nine years of slow but steady improvements originating from an environmentally minded city hall, Paris is about to hit the accelerator pedal.

    • Hundreds die in Indian heatwave

      Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Spies A Way Out Of Fraud Claims

      Goldman Sachs may have found a way to compromise with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow both sides to declare victory.

      The clock is ticking on the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs. Sometime in the next few weeks, Goldman will either go to federal court with a substantive denial of the SEC’s allegations or agree to a settlement.

    • Central Banking vs. The Republic and the World

      A couple of days ago in Japan, Ben Bernanke said that the benefits of low interest rate policies that politicians want “are not sustainable and will soon evaporate, leaving behind inflationary pressures that worsen the economy’s long-term prospects……thus political interference in monetary policy can generate undesirable boom-bust cycles that ultimately lead to both a less stable economy and higher inflation.”

    • American investors: Predictably stupid losers

      Get it? Reading books on behavioral economics not only didn’t help, it probably gave you a false sense of security that made you even more vulnerable to Wall Street’s deceptive con game … and given their current $400 million lobbying efforts to kill reforms, you can bet another meltdown is destined to happen again, soon.

    • Consumer agency that won’t die

      When the lobbyists for the big banks announced last summer that they would kill the consumer financial protection agency, anyone versed in the ways of Washington would have believed them.

      After all, the big banks had all the lobbying muscle, money and connections. Time and again, the big banks’ lobbyists and their allies declared the agency dead.

    • Crunch time for auto dealer lobbying

      Auto dealers are facing the toughest fight yet in their effort to win an exemption from new financial regulations.

      The dealerships waged a high-stakes battle in the House and won an exemption in December from a new consumer financial protection regulator that is part of much broader financial legislation targeting Wall Street. Auto dealers last week won non-binding support in the Senate for the same carve-out. Republican and Democratic lawmakers have given their backing.

    • Bonfire of the Loopholes

      Indeed, if any structural changes to Wall Street follow from this law, it is likely to be that the biggest banks get even more powerful than they already are, despite the size limits being placed on them.

    • Dollar hits fresh 4-year high against the euro

      The dollar surged to a fresh four-year high against the euro Tuesday as worries that European banks could still face large loan losses next year added to concerns about the continent’s economic outlook.

    • Treasury announces First Financial warrant auction

      The government announced plans to auction 465,117 warrants it received from Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp as part of its effort to recoup the costs of the $700 billion financial bailout.

      The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the auction of the First Financial warrants will take place on Wednesday. It set a minimum bid price of $4 per warrant. A warrant gives the purchaser the right to buy common stock at a fixed price.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • UK coalition to mimic EU lobby register

      The Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in the UK is planning to introduce a register of lobbyists similar to that being discussed by the EU institutions, in an attempt to restore trust in politics following an expenses scandal that hit parliament last year.

    • The Old Enemies

      Look, for example, at the campaign contributions of commercial banks — traditionally Republican-leaning, but only mildly so. So far this year, according to The Washington Post, 63 percent of spending by banks’ corporate PACs has gone to Republicans, up from 53 percent last year. Securities and investment firms, traditionally Democratic-leaning, are now giving more money to Republicans. And oil and gas companies, always Republican-leaning, have gone all out, bestowing 76 percent of their largess on the G.O.P.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Plaintext over Tor is still plaintext

      Recently, a few articles have been published regarding Tor, Wikileaks, and snooping data coming out of the Tor network. I write to remind our users, and people in search of privacy enhancing technology, that good software is just one part of the solution. Education is just as important.


      For reference, these articles are unclear and blur concepts about Tor and Wikileaks. An article about Julian Assange of Wikileaks in The New Yorker is the source of the confusion. Ryan Sholin deliberates on one paragraph from the New Yorker story. Ethan Zuckerman responded to Ryan’s thoughts about Tor here. We thanked EthanZ for the accurate response in an Identi.ca dent. It seems Slashdot and Wired Threat Level have picked up on just that one statement in the article by the New Yorker.

      We hear from the Wikileaks folks that the premise behind these news articles is actually false — they didn’t bootstrap Wikileaks by monitoring the Tor network. But that’s not the point. The point is that users who want to be safe need to be encrypting their traffic, whether they’re using Tor or not.

    • Surveillance in Lhasa Hotels

      Hotels in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, are being forced to install electronic surveillance equipment amid an ongoing security clampdown in the city, industry sources said.

    • Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund

      David Blunkett this morning claimed he may sue the government for a refund on his £30 ID card, which new laws will render worthless by the end of summer.

    • Google has mapped every WiFi network in Britain

      Google has mapped every wireless network in Britain in order to use the information for commercial purposes, it has emerged.

    • Corporations and Emotions

      Angry at Google · I was a little surprised at this, which opens with “Google mouthpiece Tim Bray…” A couple of clicks reminded me that I was reading someone who hides behind the (albeit stylish) alias Kontra and who has previously hated on me with considerable glee.

      While everyone knows that there’s a lot of perfectly-reasonable worry about Google’s pervasiveness and reach, the company itself seems too inchoate and chaotic to hold any particular single feeling about for any length of time. But Kontra genuinely loathes Google right down to the ground. (I can testify with some force that at Google there is a notable lack of conspiratorial intent to Do Bad Things With All That Data, but then you might choose to discount that testimony because of the logo on my paycheck.)

      Having said all that, I think Kontra is something of an anomaly. I wish he’d decloak though; anonymous polemics leave a very sour taste.

    • UK student fined for popular flirting site – The Zuckerberg story this is not

      It looks like Mark Zuckerberg would not have got Facebook going if he’d started it at a British University. The founder of a UK site integrated with Facebook and Twitter allowing students to flirt has been fined £300 for bringing his university into disrepute. FitFinder only started last month but rapidly expanded to universities across the country.

    • Is Zuckerberg Over His Head as CEO?

      Zuckerberg doesn’t seem prepared for a job of this immensity. Like Page and Brin (and Jobs), maybe it’s time he stepped back, and put his company in the hands of a real business person because right now, Facebook is doing a great job of alienating its users. (It’s worth noting that Apple faltered under the leadership of John Sculley, but returned to prominence after Jobs came back in the late 90s.)

    • Border guard used passports to hit on women on Facebook

      A B.C. border guard e-mailed himself the passport details of attractive women who came through his inspection line so he could hit on them later on Facebook, according to an internal government investigation obtained by the Vancouver Sun.

    • Google in yet more privacy controversy
    • 30,000 quit Facebook in protest
    • Exposed: Voyeurism and surveillance

      Surveillance is everywhere today, and thanks to Facebook and Google, we are all now voyeurs, monitoring each other electronically. Perfect timing, you would think, for the new exhibition at Tate Modern Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera which sets out to explore our relationship with the camera and its use to capture the unaware, the unashamed and the downright unpleasant.

    • NoDPI meets the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

      On Friday 21st May, three representatives from NoDPI met David Hendon, Director Information Economy at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. With David was Rupert Marsh, Head of User Impact Policy.

      David explained the new ministerial structure for DBIS. Ed Vaizey is now Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in both BIS and DCMS. Overall, however, the new Coalition Government had not yet communicated detailed policies for his area. We observed that the Phorm controversy had rarely reached ministerial level, and that the Civil Service was likely to continue to take the lead on deep packet inspection and associated issues. This underlined the importance of our meeting.

    • No Secrets

      WikiLeaks receives about thirty submissions a day, and typically posts the ones it deems credible in their raw, unedited state, with commentary alongside. Assange told me, “I want to set up a new standard: ‘scientific journalism.’ If you publish a paper on DNA, you are required, by all the good biological journals, to submit the data that has informed your research—the idea being that people will replicate it, check it, verify it. So this is something that needs to be done for journalism as well. There is an immediate power imbalance, in that readers are unable to verify what they are being told, and that leads to abuse.” Because Assange publishes his source material, he believes that WikiLeaks is free to offer its analysis, no matter how speculative.

    • French journalists detained in Papua

      Two French television journalists were detained Tuesday in Papua after filming a human rights rally by some 100 students, an immigration official said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Murdoch Trashes His Prime Brands With ‘Paywall’: Matthew Lynn

      This month, he will make his most ambitious gamble yet: He will try to redesign the way the Internet and the media work by putting up a “paywall” around the Times of London and the Sunday Times, two of his British newspapers.

      And this time he is doomed to fail.

      It’s too late to start charging for newspapers online now. The content isn’t good enough, and newspapers themselves are a product of technologies that simply don’t work in a digital economy. All Murdoch is going to achieve with this move is to kill off one of the most famous media brands in the world.

    • Gallo report: La Quadrature’s voting recommendations
    • Urgent: Contact MEPs on the EU’s Unbalanced Copyright Report

      You would have thought that what with local initiatives like the Digital Economy Act and global ones like ACTA, the copyright maximalists would be satisfied with the range and number of attacks on the Internet and people’s free use of it; but apparently not. For here comes the Gallo Report, an attempt to commit the European Union to criminalisation of copyright infringement and a generally more repressive approach to online activities.

    • Gallo report: Copyright dogmatism wins a battle, not the war

      The vote, in JURI committee of the European Parliament on the Gallo report “Enforcement of intellectual property”, including the rapporteur’s repressive amendments, reflects the asphyxiating influence of corporate lobbies on EU policy-making. The ALDE group, which had stood for fundamental freedoms on several occasions, this time sided with the entertainment industries. This vote should make EU citizens react and convince MEPs about the stakes of our evolving digital societies. Beyond the vote of the Gallo report in plenary session, there are other upcoming legislative battles where the public interest of creativity and access to knowledge can be upheld against an obsolete vision of copyright.

    • A few notes from the WIPO SCCR open ended consultation on the treaty for the blind

      I plan to write up a more detailed analysis of the WIPO open ended consultation on the treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities. I did want to make a few quick notes, however.

      Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico proposed a schedule of work on the treaty, which would end with a diplomatic conference in early 2012. The details of the proposal had been widely shared verbally for several weeks, and did not come as surprise. Their written submission was given the World Blind Union and other NGOs on Wed.


      Brazil read a fairly detailed critique after lunch, and a number of blindness groups, NGOs and countries offered critical comments on certain aspects of the proposal, which had not been vetted before by the World Blind Union or other NGOs working on access to knowledge issues.

    • Innovation Study: Tell Us How Much You Share!

      Sharing is a means to build community, to distribute (and then re-distribute) the resources we need more efficiently, and to tread more lightly on our environment. Sharing is also a flourishing industry that’s accomplished an incredible amount, but is really just getting started.

    • Copyrights

      • Digital Economy Act: ISPs told to start collecting filesharers’ data next year

        The UK’s largest internet service providers will start collecting the details of customers who unlawfully download films, music and TV programmes early next year, in order to send them warning letters under a code of practice proposed today by the media regulator Ofcom.


        The code of practice applies to ISPs with over 400,000 customers, meaning that it will initially apply to BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange, O2 and the Post Office, who together control 96% of the market. Ofcom, however, will review unlawful filesharing activity on a quarterly basis and can extend the code to cover smaller ISPs and the mobile phone companies if it spreads.

      • The Record Business Blues

        Recession or no, the music industry has been hitting a high note lately. Reports indicate that, on average, revenues are on the rise for musical artists. Income from concerts and ancillary merchandise (such as souvenir T-shirts) has become a key revenue source for most performers. New vehicles for delivering music in innovative and exciting ways are being introduced regularly. And consumers are getting more music at lower prices.


        Many in the recording industry say the villain in this opera is file-sharing, which allows computer files to move back and forth freely among networks of users on the Internet. The recording industry sees no coincidence in the fact that file-sharing has exploded during the same period that the market for CDs has withered.

      • Big Media Has Trouble Collecting Pirate Bay Fines

        Due to several verdicts against them, The Pirate Bay team were ordered to pay the entertainment industries $6 million in fines. As predicted, actually getting hold of the money is not going to be an easy job for them. Thus far, the debt collecting agency has only seized $30,000 of the total sum.

      • Rock and Poll: Is Harper courting voters or does he just want to rock?

        Does Stephen Harper have a secret agenda — when it comes to rocking out?

      • Bryan Adams Get Private PM Audience To Jam and Lobby on Copyright

        The Toronto Star and National Post reports that Bryan Adams was quietly invited to a private meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, offering the chance for a jam session and some lobbying on copyright.

      • India Seeking Allies To Oppose ACTA

        With the next round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations scheduled for later this month in Lucerne, Switzerland (governments have been painfully slow this round in confirming dates, location, and agenda), the global politics behind the agreement escalated over the weekend with Indian officials acknowledging that they plan to establish a coalition of government opposed to the agreement. Reports indicate that a major concern involves the possible seizure of goods in transit, which raises access to medicines fears with the potential detention of generic pharmaceuticals.

      • Why the Digital Economy Act simply won’t work

        With the passage into law of the dread Digital Economy Act comes Ofcom’s guidelines that are the first step toward rules for when and how rightsholders will be able to disconnect entire families from the internet because someone on or near their premises is accused of copyright infringement.

        Consumer rights groups and privacy groups – such as the Open Rights Group, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Which, and Consumer Focus – participated in the process, making the Ofcom rules as good as possible (an exercise that, unfortunately, is a little like making the guillotine as comfortable as possible).

Clip of the Day

Contributing back to society: eejot.org

Why Novell Has Gone Rogue (and is Better off Eliminated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE, Patents, SCO, Servers, SLES/SLED, VBA at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell newspaper

Summary: A look back at 3.5 years of Microsoft-influenced Novell

“Would it be possible to have some retrospectives to show the harm Novell is doing and how their behavior is worse now?”

That’s a request just sent by a reader who added, “In the SCO v Novell fight, neither side are the good guys.”

Here in a nutshell is how Novell has been hurting software freedom in recent years. It’s a concise explanation with all references omitted for the sake of simplicity.

Novell is a proprietary software company (the vast majority of its business) and a software patents proponent which takes pride in its number of software patents. Novell did not oppose software patents in Europe and when it signed a patent deal with Microsoft it essentially ignited a flurry of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), directed squarely not necessarily at end users who were outraged but was instead targetting companies like TomTom, HTC, and Amazon — companies that happen to have Linux inside their products/services. This new wave of patent claims was the SCO equivalent which relied on patent law rather than copyright law. In neither case was any evidence presented. To make matters worse, Novell used Microsoft’s patent offensives (patent lawsuits and other attacks) to market its own products, notably the “SUSE Linux Enterprise” product line.

As Novell’s relationship with Microsoft tightened (Microsoft paid Novell money even after the initial deal had been signed), Novell continued to advocate to businesses that they should pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux, then embrace Microsoft software/paradigms like .NET, VBA, SharePoint, OOXML, Silverlight, and so on.

“Too few people have paid attention to the fact that over the years, Novell’s board and management absorbed former Microsoft staff, which evidently blurred the gap between Novell’s interests and Microsoft’s interest.”Novell also advanced Microsoft patches for Linux that not only enable Microsoft to marginise GNU/Linux (putting it as a secondary virtual machine under Windows) but it also helped Microsoft’s pretend that it made peace with “open source” (never mind the patent attacks and preferential treatment of proprietary dependencies). Novell advanced the notion of “interoperability”, often at the expense of patents-free open standards and as part of this charade, Novell put Microsoft APIs inside GNU/Linux (notably Mono and Moonlight).

In its defence, Novell loved pointing at the SCO case, describing as “goodwill” its own struggle to merely secure a valuable asset, UNIX. Novell did contribute to GNU/Linux development through the OpenSUSE project, but layoffs in that department showed that Novell was not dedicated to the cause and its contributions to GNU/Linux fell quite sharply over the years. Instead, Novell emphasised its unique products that only Novell customers can use safely and securely, due to a patent deal that appeased Microsoft.

In summary, Novell saw SUSE as a potential turnaround and a chance to reinvent itself, but in its frantic opportunistic fashion Novell relied on partners such as Microsoft to change the rules of the game and harm companies such as Red Hat (turning them into competitors rather than co-developers). Novell continued to derail projects such as OpenOffice.org, essentially by seizing control of them and making them more beneficial to Microsoft’s cause (putting the Windows version ahead of GNU/Linux for example, sometimes emphasising OOXML at ODF’s expense and spreading Mono/VBA rather than Java).

Too few people have paid attention to the fact that over the years, Novell’s board and management absorbed former Microsoft staff, which evidently blurred the gap between Novell’s interests and Microsoft’s interest.

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