IRC Proceedings: August 5th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 5/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Benchmarks, Jared Smith (Fedora Leader) Interviewed, 200,000+ Linux Phones Per Day!

Posted in News Roundup at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What Linux Hardware Upgrades Make Sense?

    While Linux runs great on most any hardware, it runs even better on a machine with ample memory and a recent CPU. Upgrade options abound for even the most hardware hacking averse. In this monthly roundup we’ll take a look at options to get your Linux system running even better without breaking your budget.

  • Desktop

    • 5 ways to ease desktop PC-induced pain

      Fix #2: The Open-Source Desktop PC

      Linux on desktop PCs offers the same cost savings potential as it does on server platforms: no upfront licensing costs. Novell’s SUSE Linux, Red Hat and, most recently, Canonical’s Ubuntu all have operating system distributions available via GSA Advantage.

    • OS Difficulty Myths

      Linux: First, Linux is scalable to a point that is kind of stupid. Linux can run mainframes and super computers, as well cell phones, and even less powerful embedded devices. Clearly, that gives it a wide range of application that neither Macintosh nor Windows can really deal with. Secondly, Linux has proven itself far more stable than its commercial competitors. Still, Linux lacks good CAD software, and good arguments have been made against Linux for tax, accounting, and other business related software not being up to par with commercial applications available for Windows and MacOS X. The general security, scalability, stability, and responsiveness of Linux make it perhaps the most capable general purpose operating system. So long as you are not using it for CAD, gaming, or certain very specific business tasks.

      Verdict: Each OS has its purpose. Each OS is easy to use.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Kernel column #90 – the state of the kernel

      I gave the keynote speech at this year’s Linux Symposium. The talk was entitled the ‘State of the Kernel’, and summarised the past year of kernel development. Attempting to summarise an entire year in the space of an hour is a daunting challenge and required over 70 hours of preparation in order to review each of the many proposals and discussions that have taken place. With that work done, however, I’d like to share a few of the things I have learned with readers.

    • Running The Linux 2.6.35 Kernel With A Core i7 Notebook

      While we benchmark the latest Linux kernel code on a daily basis at kernel-tracker.phoromatic.com using our automated testing platform built on the Phoronix Test Suite, now that the Linux 2.6.35 kernel was released, we have run a formalized set of kernel benchmarks on a ThinkPad W510 notebook with an Intel Core i7 CPU to see how the Linux 64-bit kernel is running with this high-end notebook under the Linux 2.6.32, 2.6.33, 2.6.34, and 2.6.35 releases.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Sabayon 5.3 Xfce & Lxde – a few impressions

        Good installer, easy to use and full of choices without overwhelming the new user
        Virtualbox and mouse integration working from the start
        A very standard Xfce
        Good looking fonts
        Effortless localization
        Helpful links and pointers how to use the system everywhere
        Great package manager works well and fast, updates without hiccups, good package search
        Friendly update-notifier with links to package search and website
        Xfce and Lxde versions fit on a CD rather than the DVD-size download of bigger environments
        Gnome network manager applet used

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Interview with New Fedora Project Leader Jared Smith

          Earlier this year, former Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields announced he’d be stepping down from the post and that Fedora and Red Hat were searching for a new project leader. At the end of June, Frields announced that Jared Smith would be taking up the position. Since this is a pretty important job in our community, we thought it’d be a good idea to talk with Smith and learn more about him and his plans for Fedora.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Invasion Has Begun: 200K Droids Activated Daily

          Google Wave may be gone, but there are still reasons to rejoice in Googleville. One of them is the continuing good news about sales of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. While the shock of Searchzilla’s announcement that it was driving a stake into the heart of its experiment in collaboration, its boss revealed to a gathering of reporters at Techonomy in Lake Tahoe, California that Android smartphone activations have reached 200,000 a day.

          That’s an increase of more than 200 percent since over this year’s first quarter, when activations were around 65,000 a day. At 200,000 activations a day, one million Android phones would be sold every five days, six million every 30 days and from August 1 to the end of the year, 30 million new handsets would be in consumers’ hands.

        • Androids, iPhones Prepped for Battle in Army’s First-Ever App Contest

          Unleash the iPhones of war! The Army’s announced the winners of its first-ever mobile phone app development contest. And the general behind the program says some apps will be in the field “within a year.”

        • The Open Source Army of the Future

          Anyway, as part of my news-catch up today I read this announcement from the U.S. Army about Apps for the Army, an “application-development challenge… used to help the service more quickly acquire software applications.” Soldiers and Army civilians were eligible to team up and develop software applications based on the iPhone OS or Android. They had 90 days, and 140 people competed. Today the 5 winners and ten runners-up in all five categories were announced.

          The winners included a program that breaks down a new physical fitness manual of 400 pages into an multimedia presentation, one that helps potential recruits size themselves up, and the Telehealth Mood Tracker app, which “allows users to track their psychological health over a period of days, weeks and months using a visual analogue rating scale.” An honorable mention went to an App that would turn an iPhone essentially into a black box in case of “extreme shock events” — so, for instance, if an IED exploded nearby. It would take a series of pictures and report its location, the time, etc. to help with compiling a report later on.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle

    • odt2braille brings Braille to OpenOffice.org

      The release of odt2braille by the Belgian university Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, has brought the ability to work with Braille to OpenOffice.org. The extension adds a “Braille” menu to OpenOffice.org’s Writer which allows users to translate documents into Braille formats such as .brf or .pef or send the content to Braille printers for embossing. The development was supported by the EU funded AEGIS project. Previously AEGIS helped deliver odt2daisy which allows for the creation of DAISY3 format digital audiobooks from OpenOffice.

  • BSD

    • BSD as Operating System

      Introduction to MidnightBSD
      The FreeBSD Ubuntu challenge
      Network monitoring with Nagios and OpenBSD PART 1
      Replacing Microsoft Exchange Server
      Maintenance Systems over BSD
      Low Resource PCs with FreeBSD
      Making the Unknown Giant Visible and Known

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Citizen science: People power
    • We All Love The Bazaar Now

      While the world of Big Brands was initially too caught up in its sermons and fine words to notice the dwindling congregations, it has now woken up and joined the burgeoning world Bazaar. In fact, I suspect, many people, wish they had stayed in their pulpits where they were easy to avoid. But some brands are becoming very savvy and offering goodies including new soapboxes for people to use. Like the ‘Best Job In The World’ campaign run by the Queensland Tourist Board, that invited people to share their wares and talents in exchange for the type of adventure that sets the Bazaar buzzing.

    • Open Source Project Management with web2Project

      It’s easy to overlook open-source projects when exploring project management tools. But an open-source tool like web2Project can be the easiest way to choose a tool that will continue to grow with your needs.web2Project allows you to look to the future of what your organization needs, while still being able to get to work today.

    • U.S. Department of Education includes OER in notice of proposed priorities for grant programs

      The set of proposed priorities specifically mentions OER. Essentially, if the priorities are adopted, it could mean that grant seekers who include open educational resources as a component of an application for funding from the Department of Education could receive priority. OER is included in Proposed Priority 13–Improving Productivity:

    • Open Data

      • How The Guardian is pioneering data journalism with free tools

        Data Blog editor Simon Rogers gave me an action-packed interview in The Guardian’s London newsroom, starting with story walkthroughs and ending with a philosophical discussion about the changing role of data in journalism. It’s a must-watch if you’re wondering what the digitization of the world’s facts means for a newsroom.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Folklore
      • Why I want everything OA, right now

        I’ve started using Mendeley. I like it a lot, so far. Papers, but with a networking aspect. CiteULike, but with a quick PDF full-text search aspect. Free. Cross platform. Good stuff.


        The But isn’t Mendeley’s fault. It is a result of the evolution of our methods of scientific communication. I’m usually a fan of iteration, evolution. Not this time. I want instant, sweeping change.

        I want to share all the PDFs in my Mendeley library with everyone. Right now.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Gov 2.0 as means not end

    It’s often tempting to think that Gov 2.0 is common ground between those who always want smaller government and those who want government to help its citizens. To an extent, this is true: opening up services lets citizens and businesses do more for themselves, and means government doesn’t have to grow for more things to happen. In some cases, government can even get smaller.

    But government-as-platform doesn’t absolve us from asking what fundamental services should be provided by a government, as opposed to private industry. This is a big question. We didn’t come up with a single universally-agreed answer before Gov 2.0, and Gov 2.0 will neither answer it for us nor let us evade the question.

  • Getting Past The Hurdles Of Micropayments

    Much of the press coverage around Flattr, the “social payments” startup, focuses on the fact that it was founded by Peter Sunde, who is perhaps better known for being the (former) spokesperson for The Pirate Bay. I have no doubt that this is a big reason why the company got a lot of its initial attention, but I think what’s a lot more interesting is that this is one of the first “micropayment” platforms that actually tries to get around the historical problems of micropayments for content. There have been lots of micropayment companies out there, and almost all of them failed — and it wasn’t difficult to see why. First, they underestimated the “mental transaction costs” that micropayments entail. Just making the decision if something is worth paying for is a huge “cost” for users. Second, they heavily underestimated the “penny gap,” which is the effort that it takes to get someone to go from “free” to paying even a penny. Next, it’s an attempt to fight the basic economics of what supply and demand is pushing for the content be priced at. And, finally, required micropayments make it very hard to promote that content via word of mouth or sharing.

  • How Asimov’s Robot Laws Ended Up on Last.fm’s Server

    Like many websites, Last.fm’s web server contains a file called robots.txt, whose job it is to instruct the robotic web spiders employed by search engines like Google to ignore certain directories on the site.

  • Second Circuit Seeks More Input on Fleeting Nudity

    According to one of the parties in the case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has asked both sides for supplemental briefs in the NYPD Blue indecency case, wanting to know what effect a recent ruling by a three-judge panel of that same court has on the FCC’s fleeting nudity enforcement policy under challenge in the NYPD Blue case.

  • Conservative Digg Cabal Uncovered

    A blogger for liberal sites such as AlterNet and News Junkie Post has reported discovering a conservative group of online users who systematically work together to bury, or vote down, stories on liberal subjects and by posters they believe to be liberal, in order to keep those stories from becoming more widely known.

    “A group of nearly one hundred conservatives have banded together on a Yahoo Group called Digg Patriots (DP), and a companion site at coRanks to issue bury orders and discuss strategies to censor Digg and other social media websites,” reported the blogger, known as oleoleolson, who is the Senior News Editor and Chief New Media Strategist for News Junkie Post. “DP was founded on 21 May 2009. Since then, over 40,000 posts have been logged at a steady rate of around 3000-4000 per month. The “Patriots” Network on coRank is a tool to submit Diggs to a group list as opposed to sending an e-mail every time. It also has some tools that make submitting to the list as easy as clicking on a bookmark.”

  • Health

    • The Deadly Neurotoxin Nearly EVERYONE Uses Daily (VIDEO)

      According to statistics published by Forbes Magazine [i] based on Tate & Lyle estimates, aspartame had conquered 55 percent of the artificial sweetener market in 2003. One of the driving factors behind aspartame’s market success is the fact that since it is now off patent protection, it’s far less expensive than other artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda).

  • Security/Aggression

    • Naked Pictures!

      The government has assured us that the images made from “Digital Strip Search”” imaging technologies like millimeter wave and backscatter imaging wouldn’t be saved. They lied. It turns out the U.S. Marshals Service saved more than 35,000 “whole body” images of people who entered a U.S. courthouse in Orlando, Fla.

      And, if the U.S. Marshals Service can do this, why should we trust the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to keep their word about deleting these images? I can’t think of any good reason, can you?

    • It’s official: Saudi Arabia bans BlackBerrys

      The rumors are true: Saudi Arabia has become the second country inside of a week to block access to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices on grounds of national security.

    • For Kevin Mitnick, staying legal is job No. 1

      Kevin Mitnick was eager to participate in a social-engineering contest at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas last weekend and was told he would target Microsoft in the event.

      He figured it would be fun to show off his schmoozing skills, which he so easily used to trick employees at tech companies in the 1990s into handing over passwords and other sensitive information, ultimately landing him in jail.

  • Finance

    • Peak Capital – Our Ultimate Limit?

      So, the degradation of the world’ GPS system is not something unexpected, nor it is unrelated to such problems as peak oil or the depletion of mineral resources. It is just another kind of peak: “peak capital.” Maybe GAO has been too pessimistic; maybe we’ll decide that the GPS system is so important that we can’t let it decay. But, in any case, it is a sign of the times: the fifth problem.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Technology Lessons from the Wikileaks Saga

      The truth, or at least more of its constituent parts, will out. In the big picture, that’s a good thing. Those who have the most to fear from an open environment are ones with closed agendas, for whom public debate is a threat rather than an opportunity. Long-term strength lies in persuasion grounded in fact, rather than on carefully constructed artifice.

    • Latest Attempt To Create Federal Journalism Shield Law May Carve Wikileaks Out Of The Protections

      Apparently Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein are quickly drafting a special amendment that says the law wouldn’t apply to “websites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents.” That’s obviously targeted directly at Wikileaks, but it certainly could impact other sites that store documents as well, and that could create problems.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google, Verizon Try to Shape Net-Neutrality Law

      A Google spokeswoman declined to comment while a Verizon spokesman said in a statement that the companies have worked on an agreement for 10 months. “We are currently engaged in and committed to the negotiation process led by the FCC” that will allow both sides to “reach a consensus that can maintain an open Internet and the investment and innovation required to sustain it,” he said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • DMCA Exemption Process Highlights The Folly Of The DMCA

        Last week, of course, we paid a fair bit of attention to the latest round of DMCA exemptions, which come along every three years. It was surprising that the Copyright Office and the Library of Congress seem to keep moving the bar (slowly, slowly) towards a more consumer friendly approach, as compared to the early exemptions which never helped consumers at all. Still, the exemption requests that got rejected show how arbitrary the process appears at times.

      • The Corruption of Our ‘Public Domain’

        Did you know that the definition of ‘public domain’ as ‘the few published works not protected by copyright’ is very recent?

        All published works are supposed to be in the public domain. This was the original pretext behind copyright – to incentivise the delivery of novel and educational works into the public domain – for the public’s benefit (albeit at the cost of cultural liberty).

      • Internet Ban Proposed for Serial Copyright Infringers

        The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which allows for large fines and six month Internet suspensions, has already passed its first reading in the New Zealand Parliament. However, according to copyright advocates, it doesn’t go far enough. Instead of simply disconnecting repeat infringers, they are calling for a heavier punishment that would take people’s right to Internet access away.

      • The price of privacy

        Once-abundant privacy is now scarce. Once-scarce publicness is now abundant.

        It’s the second half of that that interests me most since I’m writing a book about that.

        So if we’ve seen Lessin’s Law on Privacy, then Jarvis’ Corollary on Publicness (which is my synonym for publicity because publicity as a word is so freighted with marketing meaning now) is this:

        Now publicness is free.

      • Can We Please Stop The False Dichotomy Of ‘Creators’ vs ‘Consumers’ When It Comes To Copyright?

        It’s a shame that the recording industry and its lawyers want to turn this into an us vs. them situation. It’s not. Plenty of people want to create a situation where there are wider opportunities for everyone acting as both creators and consumers, to really allow creativity to flourish. But you don’t do that by locking up creativity and pretending that many of those creators don’t appreciate art.

      • Estimating the Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders: Evidence from the Google Book Search Litigation

        Google Book Search (GBS) has captured the attention of many commentators and government officials, but even as they vigorously debate its legality, few of them have marshaled new facts to estimate its likely effects on publishing and other information markets. This Article challenges the conventional wisdom propounded by the U.S. and German governments, as well as Microsoft and other competitors of Google, concerning the likely economic impact of mass book-digitization projects. Originally advanced by publishing industry lobbying groups, the prevailing account of mass book-digitization projects is that they will devastate authors and publishers, just as Napster and its heirs have supposedly devastated musicians and music labels. Using the impact of GBS on the revenues and operating incomes of U.S. publishers believing themselves to be the most-affected by it, this Article finds no evidence of a negative impact upon them. To the contrary, it provides some evidence of a positive impact, and proposes further empirical research to identify the mechanisms of digitization’s economic impact.

      • FT Claims Paywalls Are Morally Necessary… And Then Shows How Immoral The FT Is

        Remember, this is the guy who was just saying that if a publications primary duty was to advertisers rather than readers, it was morally abhorrent. But, even here he admits that the subscriptions are driven by… advertisers. If this was really about getting the influence of advertisers away from newspapers, why is he playing up the increased ad revenue due to the paywall?

      • Beach Boys take on Katy Perry’s ‘Gurls’

        Reps for the Beach Boys are threatening to sue Katy Perry after she included their classic line “I wish they all could be California Girls,” in her song “California Gurls.”

        Rondor Music has fired off a letter to Perry’s label, Capitol Records, demanding Mike Love and Brian Wilson — who penned the 1965 classic “California Girls” — be given a writing credit on Perry’s hit summer song, as well as royalties.

Clip of the Day

FSCONS 2008 video cast.

Novell is Awarding hypePads

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple Newton

Summary: The company behind SUSE is spreading Apple’s merchandise which does the very opposite of enabling users to preserve their rights

SEVERAL years ago Novell decided to use hypePods as prizes to people who participated in a SUSE survey. Some people criticised/chastised Novell for it (they also did for Novell’s extensive use of Flash at the time).

Now, check this thing out. “Don’t buy the hype,” buy the hypePad, says Novell, which shows once again why it’s far from a proponent of Free/open source software.

To thank you for updating us on your plans, we’ll enter your name in a drawing for an Apple iPad as soon as you’ve completed the survey.


Colleen O’Keefe
Novell Senior Vice President and General Manager,
Collaboration Solutions and Global Services

Imagine Red Hat doing this…

It’s an actual advertisement for the product (hypePad), which they probably get for free just to mention it like that. It’s like an endorsement, so it’s not just the buying and giving of the unit which is problematic here. Novell could have selected different prizes like $10,000 to do some marketing for more SUSE appliances (so that Novell can brag about SUSE Linux numbers later on, as it already does).

“[W]e’ll enter your name in a drawing for an Apple iPad as soon as you’ve completed the survey.”
      –Colleen O’Keefe, Novell
In other Novell news, other than security problems in its proprietary software [1, 2] there is little or nothing about SUSE. In its PR blog, Novell has promoted Fog Computing over the past week [1, 2, 3].

Whether or not Novell will sell OpenSUSE we don’t know yet, but the rumour we got has not yet gotten any corroboration. Neither Novell nor Canonical denied this, so people take the rumour into serious consideration.

Links 5/8/2010: Jolicloud Still in the News

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Community Paves Way for Developers to Improve Internet Access for the Aging, Disabled

    Aiming to greatly ease the barriers that the aging or people with disabilities experience in participating in Internet activities, the OpenAjax Alliance (OAA) announced it has created new open source tooling technology to help software developers make it dramatically easier for them to access and use Web 2.0-enabled business, government and consumer web sites. The new tooling technology simplifies the way Web applications are tested for compliance with current accessibility standards and guidelines, helping to speed up delivery of new accessible Internet applications.

  • CMS

    • Web Company Using Joomla to Improve People’s Lives in Western China

      “Our company, Global Nomad, was started originally in 2005 as a non-profit with the aim of providing free web development training for unemployed locals here on the Tibetan Plateau in western China where we are located, and then hiring them to do the back-end development work for clients’ websites.

      In 2008 we made the switch from non-profit status to that of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, and since then are steadily growing as a web development company as our name spreads and our local employees’ skills expand. Because of the free (sometimes even paid) training that we have provided for our local employees, they now are implementing Joomla onto client websites, thereby earning an income and becoming financially independent… which is significant in light of the current situation in western China of high unemployment rates and “brain drain” to the bigger cities in the eastern half of the country.

      Most of our clients come from the West including the US, Europe, and Australia, and thanks to the high-speed internet available even way out here in remote western China and open-source software such as Joomla, locals who used to be jobless can now earn a decent living implementing Joomla and doing back-end coding work for our clients.

      When I saw your invitation to interview web development companies who are using Joomla to make a living and become independent, I thought “perfect”! That is precisely what is happening here within our company. Please visit our website for more information about us (www.itsglobalnomad.com) and I do look forward to hearing from you.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.1 release uses different open source philosophy

      FreeBSD may not receive the attention that Linux does, but its latest upgrade could provide some instruction to the makers of Ubuntu about how to do open source releases. The makers of Ubuntu and the popular Linux Mint usually add new features to every release of these Linux distributions, whether or not these are features that the average users will ever need.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • SFC wins default judgement against GPL violator

      The default judgement was made on the basis that the company had ceased to respond to discovery requests from the court or the SFC. The SFC was awarded $90,000 damages and $47,685 legal costs. Westinghouse Digital Electronics was also ordered to hand over equipment in its possession that contained GPL code and forbidden to distribute devices which contained the BusyBox software.


  • Security/Aggression

    • Open letter to the media about the misuse of the term “hacker”

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      in the past weeks, especially in connection with the story about FBI’s action against a cybercrime which lead to the arrest of a suspect in Slovenia, the word “hacker” has been used several times in the media in the wrong context and the wrong way. Since this term is differently understood by the experts then by the lay public, we feel it appropriate to warn about it in this open letter[1].

      “Hacker” comes from the verb “to hack”, which is an expression that originated in the 50′s of the previous century on the MIT[2] and means solving a technical problem in an unique way. In the computer jargon it is still used to label inventive and original modifications of a programme or system, based on a deep understanding and in a way that was originally not intended.

  • Finance

    • China fund raises finance to match Liverpool asking price

      The Chinese government fund represented by Kenny Huang has spent the past fortnight raising precisely the amount of cash required to finance a bid for Liverpool. Sources have confirmed to Digger that the China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund to the world’s most populous nation, is the organisation being fronted by Huang, who yesterday admitted interest in bidding for Liverpool.

    • They First Make Mad: Summertime Tales of National Bankruptcy

      Both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then New York Fed President Tim Geithner assured senators in April 2008 banking committee testimony that the assets assumed by the Fed in its bail-out of Bear Stearns were “investment grade.” In loading its own balance sheet with unprecedented credit risk, the Fed not only made the American people guarantors of toxic paper – and placed the value of the US dollar at greater risk – it materially misrepresented the quality of the securities involved. While credit quality and credit risk were at the heart of the unfolding banking crisis, the Fed itself was claiming that $30 billion in collateral it assumed consisted of only currently performing and investment grades assets. But the collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed bonds involved had already been downgraded at the time of the testimony.

    • UBS AG Hires Away Executives from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC)

      UBS AG announced on Sunday that it will hire executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) to build out its mortgage and lending business in the United States.

    • Goldman mulls private equity spinoff: report
    • Goldman Sachs Makes Plans To Spin Off Proprietary Trading: CNBC
    • Goldman Sachs Team to Reunite in Hedge Fund Merger

      Former top traders with Goldman Sachs will be working together again as two hedge fund firms merge.

      London-based Montrica Investment Management, with $1.1 billion in assets under management, is merging with TPG-Axon, an $8 billion New York-based firm, according to an investor letter.

    • Goldman Sachs holds its political tongue

      If you were running for office this year, would you want Goldman Sachs stumping for your election?

      Talk about radioactive. The firm epitomizes everything that Main Street hates about Wall Street these days — rescued by the feds from billions of dollars in losses in the collapse of 2008, it quickly rebounded to post billions of dollars in profits. In the meantime, a federal lawsuit showed how Goldman created at least one exotic mortgage-backed product that was designed to fail, soaking one set of clients for the benefit of another. Nice!

    • Political Ads Off Limits, Goldman Promises

      The move was an unexpected sign of restraint after a major Supreme Court ruling this year that gave corporations the power to devote unlimited amounts to electing or defeating candidates for federal office.

    • Goldman Sachs Was Just a Small Fish in the Big CDO Pond

      The Wall Street investment bank was hardly alone in creating CDOs designed to fall in value and was hardly alone in betting against the housing market. Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal article on Deutsche Bank makes that clear. The German bank wasn’t just creating and selling mortgage securities to some of its clients, it also was advising other clients to bet the other way, and sometimes doing so itself.

    • Goldman Sachs runs afoul of residents over retail outlets

      The media is certainly hot and heavy for Goldman Sachs (GS) scoops. We noted recently the New York Times reported Goldman had Battery Park residents angry over the loud ferries it had been using. Now comes news from the Daily Telegraph that the gilded bank has also offended some people living near its fancy 200 West Street global HQ.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Aussie opposition will scrap firewall

      Joe Hockey, shadow treasurer, has told Australian radio that the Liberal Party will oppose the Australian government’s planned compulsory net filter.

      Communications minister Stephen Conroy has staked his reputation on blocking content from the internet which would be censored if it were a film for cinema release. The government announced a review of the contentious plan last month.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Is Google About to Sell the Internet Down the River?

      Indeed, this last factor is a crucial element of Net neutrality – not some minor, optional element that can be discarded. Consider a hypothetical situation when the Web was invented. Suppose we had the kind of pseudo-Net neutrality Schmidt seems to be advocating. According to this, it would have been perfectly permissible to allow the then-leading services like Gopher or WAIS traffic (anyone remember them?), say, to be delivered more quickly than Web traffic. So existing Gopher and WAIS incumbents (such as they were) could have conspired to throttle the Web. That is, if Schmidt’s proposed “bridge”had been around then, there probably wouldn’t be the Web as we know it – and certainly no companies based on searching it…

      The situation is exactly the same today, with the difference that we don’t know what new services will be developed and run across the Internet. But we do know that we need an absolutely level playing field if they are to stand a chance of challenging current leaders and maybe replace them. Sadly, if Google’s “compromise” goes through, we may see the situation where large companies with vested interests can discriminate against new entrants, with the result that online innovation is crimped.

    • Google, Verizon Compromise On Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Collateral Damage: The Impact of ACTA and the Enforcement Agenda on the World’s Poorest People

          Its unlikely to be the impact which the IP Enforcement Agenda is having on the poorest people in the world. Its unlikely because its apparent from both the latest leaked text of ACTA and the preceding leaked text that no consideration is being given to threat posed to the poorest people in the world by ACTA. The likely impact of the threat on the poorest people in the world is already indicated by the instantiation of an expansive “enforcement” agenda. I’ve pointed to some of the obvious consequences in a working paper hosted by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at Washington College of Law.

Clip of the Day

windows 95 on android

British Windows Users Specifically Targeted by Botmasters

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Westminster palace
Time for the British government to leave Windows perhaps?

Summary: Web criminals like to prey on Windows PCs in the United Kingdom, at least based on the distribution of Zeus

THE UNITED KINGDOM is a target for many scams. Because of its characterisation as a country of generous givers, many requests for donation are also being sent specifically to residents of the UK. This is a well-known fact. It turns out that malicious people are also targeting British residents not just with requests for donations (genuine or fake, e.g. snail mail appeals or E-mail scams) but also with botnets, which of course exploit the many, many vulnerabilities in Windows. One in two Windows machines is believed to be a zombie, but not all of them are actively harvested and their users defrauded.

“Large Zeus botnet used for financial fraud,” says this new report, but mind the specifics: [via]

The botnet appears to be controlling more than 100,000 infected computers, 98% of which are UK Internet users. The criminals have been harvesting all manner of potentially lucrative and revenue-producing credentials – including online account IDs plus login information to banks, credit and debit card numbers, account types plus balances, bank statements, browser cookies, client side certificates, login information for email accounts and social networks and even FTP passwords.

Watch out, British Windows users. It’s more dangerous to be a Windows user in the UK than it is to be a Windows user in Nigeria, for example. There is actual targeting going on and last year's attack on Korea's Internet also originated from Windows botnets in the UK.

As Novell Looks for Buyers SUSE is Almost Silent

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell spooky

Summary: There has been no news about SUSE in a while and Novell’s financial report (finally facing the public) is just weeks away

SOME time towards the end of August Novell will release its latest financial results. The last time Novell did it turned out that it was looking for buyers (not just approached without invitation, since that happened days after the previous quarter’s results).

We have been reviewing Novell news again, but it’s still a total drought; it’s almost as though Novell dropped everything and is now just dedicating its time to finding buyers (possibly breaking down the company into constituent parts in the process because of the great diversity). We have not received verification (nor refutation) for the rumour about Canonical expressing interest in OpenSUSE. A good place to start today’s review is by looking at Novell’s SUSE business.


SUSE Gallery is still in the news this week, but that’s just news from last month. We really struggled to find any substantial news about SUSE, but all we found was Messaging Architects mentioning in its press release that it still uses SUSE.

“Messaging Architects’ M+Guardian SUSE-powered appliance, which we use internally at Novell, is a great example of how ISVs can easily customise an enterprise-class operating system to create a smaller footprint, improve performance and reduce security vulnerabilities,” said Joanna Rosenberg, ISV Marketing Manager for the SUSE Appliance Program.

IBM’s SUSE support was mentioned in The Register alongside support for Windows and Red Hat, so that hardly qualifies as SUSE news. Here is another item of news which actually refers to very old news, going as far as several weeks back:

Novell is also offering special incentives to Sun* Solaris customers to migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server…

Novell is trying to sell the story that Sun is dead, but then again, isn’t Novell dying too? If people leave Solaris, they are more likely to go for RHEL or its gratis clones.


Having struggled to find news about SUSE, we carried on reading through this week’s news, but all we found was news where former Novell staff got mentioned. Rob Mills was one example. He said:

I also had a brief stint at Novell, where i was the Manging Director for Australia/New Zealand. It was an interesting time and I got some value out of being there, but it wasn’t a long term thing.

Steve Adams is the new CEO of VirtuOz and he has history at Novell:

Prior to joining Sabrix in 2002, Adams was president and chief executive officer of Uniscape and a senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Novell.

Looking at the mid-west, Melain Terry from Novell is a finalist in Utah’s ‘women in technology’ race [1, 2] and another former Novell employee has started his own company:

Solera Networks just closed a third round of funding, recognition that the time is ripe for its “camera” that records activity on computer networks.


The company is still young, founded in 2005 by an engineer who worked at Novell.

It seems like Novell has lost a lot of talented people over the years. At one point Novell had more than 3 times the staff it now has; Red Hat is now worth about three times Novell's estimated worth.

Novell ‘Screwed’ by Its Former CEO (Updated)

Posted in Google, Mail, Novell at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eric Schmidt
By World Economic Forum

Summary: Google eliminates Groupwise contracts and also pulls the plug on Wave, which leaves Novell in an awkward position

GOOGLE’S CURRENT CEO happens to be the former CEO of Novell, who is currently taking business away from Novell. Here is another new article which mentions the LA migration (having slight delays, but nothing as bad as the media claims).

The LA migration is a case of Novell losing a huge Groupwise customer because of Google (there is a new whitepaper about migration away from Groupwise and over to Google and some more articles this week about Groupwise and Groupwise support from CompanionLink).

One of the biggest items of news at the moment is the death of Google Wave (which may be folded into another product/service). There is also impact on Novell, which already has Pulse in development [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Moreover, vendors such as Novell, Oracle, and Salesforce.com who have integrated portions Wave code with their product offerings will be able to continue using the technology. “We will work on developing tools for customers to easily ‘liberate’ their content from Wave,” a Google spokesperson told me via email.

That remains to be seen though. Did anybody use Wave? It’s a privacy risk.

Update: Novell insists that Pulse will live on.

Making Money for Increasing Microsoft Threat to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Václav Bělský

Summary: How Mono and Mono-based projects (e.g. Banshee) harm GNU/Linux by making its adversaries stronger

EARLIER in the week and last week we wrote about Novell’s latest promotion of Microsoft’s Visual Studio [1, 2, 3]. According to Novell’s press release, proprietary operating systems are being added to Novell’s Mono offerings and IDG has more to say.

Adds support for Mac OS X and Mono on Windows; Faster deployment and ease-of-use for millions of .NET developers

Novell is still popularising .NET, which is the wrong thing to do. “Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory,” says Microsoft [PDF] and “every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory…”
One of Novell’s projects that not only advances .NET but also falls outside the MCP for Mono (which makes it a patent threat) is Banshee. Now that GNOME is looking for funds it is making some money-grabbing moves (the dying LiMo is sidling with GNOME) and one of these latest moves is promotion of Amazon-Banshee. There are many problems with this, ranging from Amazon’s practices (notorious software patents, Fog Computing, Microsoft patent tax on GNU/Linux at Amazon), the support of RIAA-tainted ‘content’, support of Novell, dependence on Mono (Microsoft API), and MP3 format (MPEG-LA cartel).

But anyway, people are told about supporting GNOME by supporting Novell, Banshee, Mono, and all the above.

As a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program, the GNOME Foundation receives a commission for every purchase of music made through Banshee.

This is probably considered pragmatic, but the problem is that it makes stronger (financially) some of the biggest threats to GNU/Linux, not just GNOME. In pretty much the same way, Mono makes Microsoft stronger and helps sell Visual Studio. It makes Windows stronger [1, 2, 3].

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