08.30.10

Links 30/8/2010: Militant Red Hat Board, Rails 3.0, OLPC Healing, OpenOffice.org Conference in Budapest

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Bootability

    My advice? Don’t dual-boot. If you need to run that other OS, do so in a virtual machine so that it can clobber its virtual boot-loader and not yours. VirtualBox makes this very easy and you get the added benefit that you can run both OS simultaneously without having to re-re-reboot.

  • Are these actually PC problems?

    Those in the list are not PC-bound issues, but OS problems. The press should start reporting them as what they really are: the intrinsic flaws of Windows, not of PCs. My Mandriva desktop has none of those. Nor does my Mandriva netbook. As far as I have heard, the other members of the Linux family (Mepis , Pardus, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Sabayon, Arch, and the rest) that run on PCs stand solid against viruses.

    However, before you migrate to Linux, you must know that, as in any change of OS, a successful migration depends on intelligent choices and understanding of the situation.

  • There IS a Linux for you.

    You can be assured that no matter how many people around you are using Linux, your computer is a reflection of yourself and not of some faceless marketing mogul. This is because Linux is open source and open source is all about freedom. Freedom is choice and anything which tries to limit our choice is trying to reduce our freedom.

  • Kernel Space

    • Benchmarks Of ZFS-FUSE On Linux Against EXT4, Btrfs

      For those not familiar with the GPL-licensed Linux FUSE module, it is a Linux kernel module that has been living within the mainline kernel since the Linux 2.6.14 release and it allows non-privileged users to create their own file-systems in user-space with the FUSE module then providing a bridge to interface with the Linux kernel. FUSE is also available for BSD, OpenSolaris, and Mac OS X operating systems too. With FUSE file-systems living in user-space, they do not need to comply with the GNU GPL since only the FUSE module is loaded against the Linux kernel, but there is an overhead associated with this approach. Besides ZFS-FUSE, there are dozens of other FUSE file-systems including ClamFS, httpFS, ChunkFS, vmware-mount, and GnomeVFS2 FUSE. The most recent release of ZFS-FUSE is version 0.6.9 and is based upon Zpool version 23 (much better than Zpool 18 being used by LLNL/KQ Infotech at this time, with post-18 revisions adding features like de-duplication support) and supports NFS sharing, PowerPC architecture, a multi-threaded ioctl handler, and other improvements. ZFS 0.7.0 is the release presently under development and is expected for release in early October. For our testing of ZFS-FUSE, we used both the latest stable 0.6.9 release and a 0.7.0 Git snapshot as of their latest official code in their Git repository as of 2010-08-28.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • I am part of the game!

        There are several ways of being part of the KDE game: you can develop, translate, be an artist, help users, take care of our infrastructure, organize developer sprints. A lot of ways right? But some people just lack the time to join the game in any of the areas that I just listed but still want to contribute in some way to the project.

        [...]

        And you? What are you waiting for? Help KDE and be part of it: Join the Game!

      • KDE and NVidia

        The above combination was never a painless experience, still at some point in past it seemed to be better to have a NVidia card on Linux then anything else, so I continued to buy them whenever my system was upgraded. Lately although it started to make me rather bad.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Under these rocks and stones

        Of the three distributions mentioned here, I don’t think any of them are likely to become mainstream in the Linux community. Puppy is well established in its niche and seems happy there. The Me-OS project, I feel, has some potential if the developer can keep up with the work which goes into maintaining a distro. Like Puppy, Me-OS is taking a slightly different path and it’ll be interesting to see where they end up. ImagineOS felt like the odd one out of these three. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, I didn’t find anything in its approach to be eye-catching. It sits on a strong Slackware base, but I think the project needs to add something if it wants to attract new members.

      • A bit about Parted Magic 5.3 and UnetBootin

        Today I want to talk about a specialist Linux distro which has saved me from pretty nasty situations more than once, Parted Magic 5.3. I believe that the best introduction to this fabulous distro is its feature list (extracted from the Parted Magic Official SITE).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making a Statement without Saying Anything

          Creating the default wall paper for Ubuntu is not an easy task. No matter the outcome there will be some who like it and others who won’t.

          So why does it matter? Throw something together and call it good.

          The answer is the default wall paper in many cases is the first expression of quality. To illustrate; if I am viewing a high quality automobile but hate the color or some other design detail what impression do I walk away with?

        • The joke that is Maverick’s default wallpaper

          As many of you know, I tend to be the first to criticize anything in this community of people who are often afraid to voice their opinion about something. This time, however, I’m not going to do the talking, I’m just going to share some comments.

        • [Full Circle Magazine] Issue 40

          This month we begin using the new Ubuntu font and a new FCM logo created by Thorsten Wilms!

          * Command and Conquer.
          * How-To : Program in Python – Part 14, Virtualize Part 3 – OpenSolaris, and ADSL Modem As A Switch.
          * Review – SOFA Statistics.
          * Top 5 – Favourite Apps.
          * plus: MOTU Interview, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and now with all new LoCo and Translation Team interviews!

        • Incredible Stories Of Free Software and Open Source

          A story I share at every Ubuntu Developer Summit is that when I started working as the Ubuntu Community Manager I got a lovely email from a kid in Africa who would walk two hours to his local town where he would spend his own money to buy Internet time in an Internet cafe to contribute to Ubuntu and then walk two hours back home. This story was powerful to me. It told me that my job is to help that guy get the most out of his hour, to justify his investment of energy and expense to just get involved in the first place. His story was inspiring, encouraging, and an impressive example of commitment. I always share this story at UDS as an inspiration for us to get the most out of each one-hour session.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Kindle hardware vs Kindle app: What’s the better reading experience?
    • Phones

      • Android

        • My Droid Incredible Video Review on Steroids

          Incredibly, I got the incredible** chance to review the Droid Incredible and see if it lives up to its reputation of incredibility of putting out incredible video, picture quality, sound and more. I was incredulous, so you will see how the Incredible fared by after my incredible amount of video scrutiny. Incredible!

    • Sub-notebooks

      • XO Laptop Helps Healing

        Haiti Partners participated in a pilot with Waveplace and OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) of 200 xo laptops in April and May of this year. Last week I (John Engle) visited with about 20 students from our various partner schools to see how they’re progressing. Respecting one of OLPC’s principles, all students in our partner schools keep the laptops so that they can continue learning.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Three Open Source Ticketing Systems

    If open source folks know anything, and they do, it’s how to build tools that enable collaborative development. Case in point: ticketing and issue tracking systems. If your shop needs a reliable, flexible, and scalable ticketing system take a look at Bugzilla, Request Tracker (RT), or Trac to find the best tool to keep your projects on track.

  • Michael Tiemann Opens Up

    Michael Tiemann is the brain behind Cygnus, the first company to offer support to Linux and other assorted Free Software programs. He is now involved in open source ‘affairs’ at the OSI. Swapnil Bhartiya discusses the past, present and the future with Tiemann in this exclusive interview.

  • Oracle OOo

    • ♥ Thinking of OOoCon

      My best wishes to all my friends attending the OpenOffice.org conference in Budapest this week.

    • OpenOffice saves a company budget

      The installation is painless…now the true test will be time. If the end-users can get used to a different office suite to handle their templates. But ultimately what this little experience taught me was that as much as people like to claim how cheap the TCO of MS products are to business, there is always a situation that begs to smack that assumption upside the face. This was one of those. Not many business have 10,000 dollars to drop on a software update – especially one that will only serve to solve a printing issue. Yes the printing was a critical aspect of the users’ jobs, but not enough to force the hand to upgrading to Office 2007 on terminal server.

  • CMS

    • Diaspora Clarifies: Open Source On September 15, Consumer Alpha In October

      A few days ago, we noted that Diaspora was three weeks away from unveiling their open-source Facebook alternative. But a small update today clarifies one important point. On September 15, Diaspora will release the open source code for the project. But it won’t be until October that the first consumer-facing alpha is available.

    • Drupal on the rise in government with ALRC website win

      The Drupal community has notched up another win with the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) joining the ranks of organisations implementing the open source content management system (CMS) for its web presence.

  • Project Releases

    • Rails 3.0: It’s ready!

      Rails 3.0 has been underway for a good two years, so it’s with immense pleasure that we can declare it’s finally here. We’ve brought the work of more than 1,600 contributors together to make everything better, faster, cleaner, and more beautiful.

    • [Durian] Nearly finished!
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Meet Apertus, The Open Source HD Cinema Camera

        A while back I listed 10 of the most promising real world Open Source projects on this blog, and today I want to add one more contender to that list: Apertus, an Open Source cinema camera project.

        Led by Oscar Spierenburg and a team of international developers, the project aims to produce “an affordable community driven free software and open hardware cinematic HD camera for a professional production environment”. Let’s take a quick tour of the hardware and software components that constitute Apertus, before moving on to address some concerns about the overall viability of the project.

  • Programming

    • Managing Developers 101

      Of course, as Luke Welling, Web Team Lead at Message Systems, a digital messaging management company and co-author of the “Bible” of commercial PHP/MySQL programming, PHP and MySQL Web Development, pointed out at an OSCON seminar in Portland, OR, that’s true of many corporate programming projects.

      So what can you, as IT management, do about this? Well, for starters, Welling suggested that managers fight the attitude that sloppy programming is acceptable because IT can always “throw more and faster processors” at any performance problem. Sometimes, you can’t fix performance problems with hardware. You need to convince developers and their team leaders that writing to the minimum hardware requirements, rather than the maximum, is the smart thing to do.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • On HTML5 killing Flash

      The other issue to keep in mind are the “Hollywood” interests. They saw what an open format like MP3 did to their music buddies and are not interested in that kind of disruption. People who own movies and TV are going to want as much DRM as possible, and new video formats that don’t satisfy those requirements are going to be tough to spread. Sure, there’s piracy, but once Hollywood gets it’s act together and figures out a Netflix/Hulu model, I think most people will pay. Most people already pay $80+ a month for cable which a bunch of crap no one wants to watch, so there’s a tolerance for a subscription budget, esp. if it’s for shows you actually want to watch.

    • Lightspark Flash Player Continues Marching Forward

      It was just earlier this month that we were talking about Lightspark now rendering faster and supporting H263/MP3 video when the first Lightspark 0.4.3 release candidate was made available. This open-source project that only reached beta in May aims to provide a completely free software implementation of Adobe’s Flash/SWF specification, continues to advance rapidly. Lightspark 0.4.3 was already released and this morning the 0.4.4 release has even made it out the door.

Leftovers

  • Weird Science votes all the useful people off the island

    You’ve been extremely helpful, so bugger off: What started out as a routine study of group behavior ended up turning a bit surreal. According to the authors of a new paper, they started out trying to find out how long a group would tolerate members that abused the common good. In the process, they found that members who put the most into the common good were quickly expelled from the group. Not entirely believing it, they replicated the findings—twice. Some of the hate comes from the overly officious group members, who viewed those who gave more than they needed to as breaking the rules. But some of it also comes from people who think that altruistic behavior like this simply raises expectations unnecessarily.

  • Paul Weiss and Lowenstein Ordered to Pay $1.96 Million for Filing Frivolous Suit Against Ron Perelman’s In-Laws

    Bergen County, N.J., Superior Court Judge Ellen Koblitz doesn’t seem too worried about sparing the reputations of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Lowenstein Sandler. In June, you’ll recall, she found that the two firms had filed a frivolous suit on behalf of billionaire Ronald Perelman in a family dispute over hundreds of millions of dollars. On Friday she issued a final opinion (pdf), rejecting the firms’ arguments for mercy and ordering them to pay $1.96 million in legal fees to the defendants, Perelman’s former father-in-law and brother-in-law.

  • Traditional Offshore Outsourcing on the Skids

    U.S. H-1B, L-1 visa reform under a new border security appropriations act also discriminates against offshore outsourcing providers, critics and advocates alike say, as it penalizes Indian IT service providers while ignoring US IT service providers who are also heavy users of H-1Bs like IBM, Accenture and UST Global.

  • Conrad Black Case Targets Net Defamation Jurisdiction Standard

    Conrad Black’s ongoing legal fight in the United States has attracted considerable attention in Canada, yet my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) there is a side courtroom battle at home over alleged defamatory content on the Internet that merits closer attention. The case, named Black v. Breeden, involves postings such as press releases and reports on the Hollinger International, Inc. website that Black claims were defamatory. Several Ontario media organizations published the allegations contained in those releases.

  • Gov’t loses case for citing Wikipedia

    For going to court with an argument referenced from Wikipedia, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) lost an appeal to reverse a decision nullifying a couple’s 19-year marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity.

    “The Republic, with all the resources and manpower at its disposal, has all the means with which to counter the expert testimony offered by [the ex-wife]. Most certainly, the Republic has access to government institutions, i.e., National Center for Mental Health, which has qualified psychiatric experts whose opinion it could have sought to evaluate [the woman] and her spouse,” the Court of Appeals special 15th division said in a 13-page decision.

  • Blockbuster Bankruptcy, Yet Again, Highlights How It’s Not Easy To Just Copy The Disruptive Innovation

    Late last week, there were a ton of press reports about how Blockbuster was preparing to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. It’s not shutting down, but just trying to restructure its debt, get out from under a bunch of store leases and try, try again. That said, this is yet another example of the fallacy of the claim of many that if you have a good idea some big company will just come along, copy it, and be successful. It also demonstrates the huge difference between idea and execution.

  • Why Online Won’t Kill the Radio Star

    Vivian Schiller, president and chief executive of NPR, came to the public-radio organization in 2009 after 25 years in media, including stints at NYTimes.com and CNN. She talked with Kara Swisher about the rise of Internet radio, getting programs on Apple Inc.’s iPad and forming partnerships with other nonprofit news organizations. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation.

  • Will Cisco Swoop in to Buy Skype Pre-IPO?

    This wouldn’t be the first brush with big cap tech interest, as Skype had been operating under eBay’s (EBAY) ownership from 2005 to 2009. eBay bought Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion and sold most of the company at an estimated valuation of $2.75 billion to a group of private equity investors in 2009. Ebay, to this date, maintains a 35% ownership interest.

  • How the Washington Shakespeare Company came to offer Shakespeare in Klingon

    Don’t you love that remarkable moment when roSenQatlh and ghIlDenSten exit the stage and Khamlet is left alone to deliver the immortal words: “baQa’, Qovpatlh, toy’wl”a’ qal je jIH”?

    No? Well, it always kills on Kronos. That’s the home planet of the Klingons, the hostile race that antagonizes the Federation heroes of “Star Trek.” We learned back in ’91 in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” that the Klingons love them some Shakespeare. Or as he’s known to his ridged-foreheaded devotees in the space-alien community: Wil’yam Shex’pir.

  • Science

    • Use of rare earth metals outstripping supply

      Those of you who have spent time staring at a periodic table are undoubtedly aware of the large insertions that are typically stuck below the chart, since they’d make the table unreasonably wide otherwise. The top of these two rows is typically called the Lanthanide series, and it contains the rare earth metals, like dysprosium, holmium, and praseodymium. Although these exotic-sounding metals find their way into displays and lasers, they’re primarily notable for their use in powerful magnets that appear in everything from electric motors to disk drives. And, according to a new Congressional analysis posted by the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog, the world is using them up faster than it can produce them.

      The report itself doesn’t really have much information that couldn’t be obtained elsewhere, but it puts it all together in a very readable package. Right now, we’re using about 134,000 tons of rare earth metals a year, but mining only 124,000 tons; the difference is made up using ore stocks that have been mined but not yet processed.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NIH Orders Immediate Shutdown of Intramural Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

      Responding to a court order issued a week ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this morning ordered intramural researchers studying human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to shut down their experiments.

      NIH’s action—probably unprecedented in its history—is a response to a preliminary injunction on 23 August from U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. The judge ruled that the Obama policy allowing NIH funding to be used to study hESC lines violates a law prohibiting the use of federal funds to destroy embryos.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Indian E-Voting Researcher Freed After Seven Days in Police Custody

      FLASH: 4:47 a.m. EDT August 28 — Indian e-voting researcher Hari Prasad was released on bail an hour ago, after seven days in police custody. Magistrate D. H. Sharma reportedly praised Hari and made strong comments against the police, saying Hari has done service to his country. Full post later today.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Coffee threatened by beetles in a warming world

      The highlands of southwestern Ethiopia should be ideal for growing coffee. After all, this is the region where coffee first originated hundreds of years ago. But although coffee remains Ethiopia’s number one export, the nation’s coffee farmers have been struggling.

  • Finance

    • KPMG Accounting Malpractice Verdict Affirmed but $38 Million Damage Award Vacated

      In a half-empty/half-full ruling for KPMG, a New Jersey appeals court on Thursday found sufficient evidence that the accounting giant was negligent in its audits of the books of a ceramic collectibles company but inadequate proof to support a $38 million damages award to another company that acquired it.

    • Bernanke Tries to Manage Expectations of Fed Role

      “Central bankers alone cannot solve the world’s economic problems,” Mr. Bernanke said in what became a theme of the annual Fed policy symposium here, organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    • Bankers Told Recovery May Be Slow

      The gathering, at a historic lodge in Grand Teton National Park, brought together about 110 central bankers and economists, including most of the Federal Reserve’s top officials. In 2008, the symposium occurred weeks before the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy nearly shut down the financial markets. At the symposium last year, officials congratulated themselves on weathering the worst of the crisis.

    • It’s Not Over Until It’s in the Rules

      The question is this: Will regulators give Wall Street’s big dealers what they want in a second bite of the apple?

    • Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow

      THE American economy is once again tilting toward danger. Despite an aggressive regimen of treatments from the conventional to the exotic — more than $800 billion in federal spending, and trillions of dollars worth of credit from the Federal Reserve — fears of a second recession are growing, along with worries that the country may face several more years of lean prospects.

    • Tax Reform, Yes! VAT, No!

      The federal budget is in worse shape than Roger Clemens’s reputation.

      It ran a deficit of $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009 and is on track to nearly match this red ink in 2010. Going forward, there is no relief in sight.

    • Vacation Travel Recovers, but Frugality Is Focus

      With couples like the Kordasiewiczs taking advantage of incentives like free breakfast, restaurants and shopkeepers selling items like T-shirts, taffy and jewelry say travelers seem to be thinking twice before opening their wallets, if they do at all.

      “They are coming in the door more,” said Belinda Schmitt, the manager of Guertin Brothers Jewelers on Main Street in Hyannis on Cape Cod. “But I am finding that tourists are not interested in buying jewelry as much. We have started carrying jewelry that can maybe more meet the needs of people on a tighter budget.”

    • Beware That New Credit-Card Offer

      Amid all the junk mail pouring into your house in recent months, you might have noticed a solicitation or two for a “professional card,” otherwise known as a small-business or corporate credit card.

      If so, watch out. While Capital One Financial Corp.’s World MasterCard, Citigroup Inc.’s Citibank CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Mastercard and the others might look like typical plastic, they are anything but.

    • Wall Street’s Big Win

      Cue the credits: the era of financial thuggery is officially over. Three hellish years of panic, all done and gone – the mass bankruptcies, midnight bailouts, shotgun mergers of dying megabanks, high-stakes SEC investigations, all capped by a legislative orgy in which industry lobbyists hurled more than $600 million at Congress.

    • Obama’s Old Deal

      The president proudly called the new law “the toughest financial reform since the one we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression.” What Obama left unsaid was that his administration had argued against many of the toughest amendments in the bill. And Wall Street, in the end, didn’t complain about it all that much.

    • Ben Bernanke calls for help to revive the stuttering US economy

      What did the chairman of the Federal Reserve say in Jackson Hole? According to much of the reaction, Ben Bernanke said the “Fed stands by to boost US growth” (FT), or that the “Fed is ready to prop up economy” (NYT) or even that the “Fed stands ready to support recovery” (WSJ).

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Comcast Gets Static on Net TV

      The Justice Department is focusing in on how Comcast Corp.’s bid to purchase control of General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal television and movie unit could affect the emerging Internet video market, people familiar with the matter say.

    • Hulu Explains Why Hulu Plus Shows Ads, Has Limited Content

      If customers don’t find Hulu Plus is worthwhile at $10 a month, especially with Netflix offering considerably more streaming content at $9, maybe Hulu Plus needs more commercials to drive the price lower.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Yet Another Study Says Counterfeit Products Aren’t Really A Problem

      It looks like we’ve got yet another study highlighting exactly the same thing — and this one coming from a guy who is an advisor to the UK government. Gautam John points us to this new bit of research by Professor David Wall which was funded by the EU, which found that counterfeiting isn’t really that big of a problem. The findings were quite similar to the study we reported on last year. It says that there’s a consumer benefit to buying knockoff designer goods, and that the “losses” claimed by companies are way out of line with reality. Furthermore, perhaps most surprisingly, the report says that law enforcement should not waste their time trying to stop the bootleggers. The report also debunks the popular claim from the industry that counterfeit goods fund terrorism and organized crime.

    • In Defense of Links, Part One: Nick Carr, hypertext and delinkification

      There is, I think, nothing unusual about this today. So I was flummoxed earlier this year when Nicholas Carr started a campaign against the humble link, and found at least partial support from some other estimable writers (among them Laura Miller, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Jason Fry and Ryan Chittum). Carr’s “delinkification” critique is part of a larger argument contained in his book The Shallows. I read the book this summer and plan to write about it more. But for now let’s zero in on Carr’s case against links, on pages 126-129 of his book as well as in his “delinkification” post.

    • Copyrights

      • The Beautiful And Talented Janis Ian – The Internet Debacle:An Alternative View

        Janis had posted a long article on copyright titled ‘The Internet Debacle: An Alternative View‘. In this article, and it’s follow up, ‘Fallout: A Follow Up To The Internet Debacle‘, Janis covered many of the same arguments I and others had been making since the copyright debate in Canada started to heat up (note that I am not claiming to be the first to have made these arguments – in fact I came late to the game).

      • The Beautiful And Talented Janis Ian – Fallout: A Follow Up To The Internet Debacle
      • Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0006 – The RIAA Member Companies

        The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scale copyright infringement, or in other ways have been ripping off artists.

      • Supreme Court told P2P users can be “innocent infringers”

        wo prominent lawyers in the fight against RIAA P2P lawsuits have taken their battle to the Supreme Court. Today, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson and “Recording Industry vs. the People” blogger/lawyer Ray Beckerman joined with a few other law professors to ask the Supreme Court not to gut copyright law’s “innocent infringer” defense.

      • Free That Tenor Sax

        The most significant issue for art like the jazz recordings is that they are considered “orphan works,” still under copyright but for which the artist can no longer be located. In 2008, the Senate passed a bill that would limit the copyrights on such orphaned material. Under the bill, if a good-faith but unsuccessful effort is made to locate the owner, someone else can publish the work. An artist who later steps forward is entitled to reasonable compensation but not the heavy damages now in the law.

      • Judge questions Righthaven over R-J copyright suit costs

        A federal judge on Thursday questioned Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC about the litigation costs it’s expecting defendants to pay.

        Righthaven since March has retroactively sued at least 103 website owners around North America after determining copyrights to Las Vegas Review-Journal stories were infringed on, and then obtaining the copyrights to those stories from the Review-Journal’s owner Stephens Media LLC.

      • Google Wins Dismissal of German Suit As YouTube Battles Over Music Videos

        A court declined to issue an emergency order forcing Google Inc. to block German access to some music videos on its YouTube website in a dispute over monitoring files on the Internet.

        Still, the Hamburg Regional Court said it might ultimately rule in favor of a group of music-collecting societies, including the German agency GEMA, if a new suit was filed under standard court procedures.

        The case is part of a dispute over who is responsible for detecting illegal files on YouTube. Google, the owner of the world’s most popular search engine, in June won dismissal of a $1 billion suit brought by Viacom Inc. in a U.S. court for unauthorized use of content from programs on YouTube.

      • Another ISP bucks ‘Hurt Locker’ subpoenas

        In federal court on Monday, Midcontinent Communications filed a motion to quash a subpoena received from Voltage Pictures, the film’s producers, who allege some of the ISP’s customers used peer-to-peer services to pilfer unauthorized copies of its movie. Voltage seeks to require Midcontinent to identify those customers as well as turn over their home addresses, phone numbers, and other data.

        Midcontinent’s lawyers told the court that the subpoena was improperly issued and doesn’t offer to compensate the ISP for gathering the information. In addition, Midcontinent, which has 250,000 customers in North and South Dakota and parts of Minnesota, is skeptical that a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., where the subpoena was issued, has jurisdiction over it. Midcontinent told the court that its own policy prevents it from providing “customer information to third parties without a valid court order.”

      • Form letter from Heritage Minister James Moore.

        On August 5′th I received an email that was “From: min.moore@pch.gc.ca”. It had no content, but two file attachments – one HTML and one GIF. Thunderbird warned that it was most likely a scam, given this is a common technique used by spammers to avoid SPAM detection software.

        I extracted the file attachments, and I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that it was a form letter originating from the Heritage Minister’s office. This isn’t the most technologically literate Minister or department in Canada, and it was unlikely that ensuring emails wouldn’t be confused as SPAM or scams would be something they would know much about.

      • Mark Waid Defends Pirates, Gets It On With Sergio Aragonés – Oh And Harvey Awards Results Announced

        Mark Waid’s keynote speech at the Harvey Awards at Baltimore Comics Con last night started by pointing out that copyright was all about putting work into the public domain, rather than preserving it for company ownership, and the concept of public domain should be embraced again. That illegal downloading is inevitable leading to a new culture of sharing. Lines such as “culture is more important than copyright” and “there are more ideas in one week at your comic shop than three years in Hollywood.”

      • College Starts With a Fresh Textbook Torrent Site

        Nicely timed at the start of the new college year, a new BitTorrent site dedicated to sharing knowledge in the form of textbooks has surfaced. Torrent My Book – a project run by two college students – aims to become the world’s largest BitTorrent index of textbooks, following in the footsteps of the late TextBookTorrents.

Clip of the Day

YouTube SUCKS…again, and such


Paul Allen’s Patent Troll Obviously Did Not Sue Microsoft, But Why Did Amazon Get a Free Pass?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bezos gives lecture

Summary: An analysis of what makes Amazon unique in the eyes of Microsoft and its patent trolls; why the Interval Licensing case is unlikely to be settled, just like i4i’s

SOFTWARE patentor Amazon was not sued by Microsoft co-founder, who used his patent troll to sue just about every large Internet company [1, 2, 3]. How come? Well, Amazon and Microsoft are neighbours and Amazon has been getting occupied by former Microsoft employees at the highest levels (no wonder Amazon is now paying Microsoft for GNU/Linux, even for Red Hat servers). Writers are mystified by the fact that Interval did not take on Amazon. At Groklaw, for instance, Pamela Jones’ initial reaction was: “He isn’t suing Microsoft or Amazon. He is suing in addition Facebook, AOL, eBay, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube. Because a billion or more is never enough.”

It is similar to what several other people have said, including this blogger:

Allen is one of the world’s richest people, with a fortune that Forbes magazine estimates as over $13 billion.

“This is yet another example of the cynical use of the American legal system to extort money out of successful companies — in the name of protecting innovation and innovators. Shame on Paul Allen for being part of it,” wrote a blogger at the Web site of Forbes Magazine about this almost classic act of patent trolling. It should not be surprising that Microsoft Florian decided to “redefine open standards, redefine troll, redefine democracy,” according to the FFII, which responds to Florian’s latest posts which defends the indefinsible. “Why Paul Allen doesn’t want to be a troll” is the title of that post.

David Kappos recently said that the patent office he runs actually creates jobs. Jones, a paralegal by trade, begged to differ at the time and now she says: “Don’t anyone ever again tell me that patents stimulate the economy and create jobs. They line the pockets of a few, while killing off creative endeavors by everyone else. What jobs are these patents creating? What jobs do any patent trolls’ patents create? Jobs for lawyers, but really, who else?”

Here is another article Jones found about Amazon being excluded from the massive lawsuit (it covers Facebook, which is partly owned by Microsoft):

Patent lawsuit du jour: Paul Allen versus the world (but not Microsoft or Amazon)

[...]

Fortunately, those companies also can afford the legal bills. That may not be the case for many smaller Web sites. So at what point will the chief executives of America take a break from complaining about the “uncertainty” of Washington economic policy to notice the massive uncertainty created by an out-of-control patent system?

A settlement is said not to be likely.

Final point: The vast majority of patent cases settle. Here, however, all of the parties have large amounts of cash-on-hand. In addition, some of the defendants are repeat patent infringement defendants. Those factors tend to make settlement less likely.

i4i is not willing to settle, either. Its people want to bar Microsoft. But Microsoft won’t leave them alone until they run out of money, apparently. Might it reach SCOTUS?

Microsoft has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a $290 million patent ruling in a long-running dispute with i4i Inc. of Toronto over the use of technology known as custom XML in Microsoft Word.

i4i is not a patent troll. Fortunately for us, despite its pro-software patents policy it is causing a lot of damage to Microsoft Office and to OOXML. Microsoft should be sued like this a lot more frequently; maybe then it will decide that software patents are no longer its friend.

Microsoft’s Boosters Continue to Attack Linux/Android and Say Microsoft Loves Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Windows at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Civil war raid

Summary: The smears and the deception continue to focus on just one weak phone or flawed line of reasoning, all intended to just make Windows look like an ideal host to all software developers

WE CAN’T get a break from FUD, thanks in part to IDG, whose “open source” writers are sometimes people who are fighting against Open Source (as defined by the OSI). We gave a new example yesterday (Microsoft writing for IDG about “FOSS”) and last year we showed fake coverage of open source from an Apple and Microsoft shareholder, Bill Snyder. He is still there writing for IDG and his attacks on FOSS and on Linux carry on as usual. He is now finding a weak Android device (there are almost 100 types) and then extrapolating to the whole of Android (Linux) to say it has “flaws” (there is a more reasonable take for Aero critics). Gartenberg, a former Microsoft AstroTurfer (on the company’s payroll) who occasionally writes for IDG, associated Android with Nazism some weeks ago (he tried to find ‘dirty’ apps, which have nothing to do with Google). Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke associated Android with “porn and pirates” (in the headline even) just a few days ago (here is another new example of Clarke’s disdain for Microsoft’s rivals, saying in his headline that “OpenSolaris board commits ritual suicide”).

Stephen Withers, a longtime Microsoft booster at ITWire (Withers keeps posting advertisements like this one), gets around to promoting/advancing Microsoft’s “open source” spin, which is still circulating after it got seeded by Jon Brodkin at IDG (then spun further by IDG [1, 2] by Bort and Shimel). Withers plays along with similar lines to help an “embrace and extend” strategy which marginalises Freedom and GNU/Linux, making “open source” just another class of third-party applications for Windows. To quote part of his spin piece:

Microsoft has released more than 300 projects as open source. Its contribution to existing projects includes 20,000 lines of code submitted to the Linux kernel in the form of device drivers for use with hypervisors.

This was released due to Microsoft's GPL violation, it is just 14,100 lines of code, it is almost tossed out because they have poor stewardship, and it is only used to sell more of Windows and Hyper-V, which is proprietary software. It’s also used for Microsoft’s PR purposes. As for those “300 projects”, they are for Microsoft’s stack. The whole “Microsoft loves open source” nonsense is also ridiculed by Groklaw. Pamela Jones writes: “Oh. ‘Love’ as in marriage of convenience.”

She also links to the “Microsoft Open Source Strategy is Upside Down” article which we cited last week, remarking that “[t]his is the clearest explanation of Microsoft’s hateful Open Source position that I’ve read yet. And I have to inquire: Why is Apache helping them do this?”

Microsoft’s PR moves around ‘open’ take another step with a charm offensive in Slashdot (headlines say “Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle under Creative Commons License”). Harish Pillay says: “so what? Needs AgLight. FAIL!”

Gates Foundation Slammed by the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, Accused of Harming African Farmers, Population

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Finance at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

African takeout

Summary: Bill Gates turns out to be hurting the African population in yet another way (while pretending to help), this time by advancing multinationals’ food monopolies over there

The Community Alliance for Global Justice has just complained about the Gates Foundation and its Monsanto investments which we covered last week.

GATES FOUNDATION INVESTS IN MONSANTO

Both will profit at expense of small-scale African farmers

Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto. Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010 (see the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission). This marks a substantial increase from its previous holdings, valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form).

“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”

Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels and hundreds of farmers were devastated. According to Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg, some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure. While Monsanto compensated the large-scale farmers to whom it directly sold the faulty product, it gave nothing to the small-scale farmers to whom it had handed out free sachets of seeds. “When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising,” said Mayet. Monsanto’s aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue—and bankrupt—farmers for “patent infringement.”

[...]

As we noted last week, the Gates Foundation is harming Africans not just with Monsanto but also with banking institutions it works with (to increase debt like Elliott Associates does). “Gates Foundation [...] added the Goldman Sachs Group and Monsanto to its portfolio,” says IP Watch, repeating what we covered a week ago and adding:

According to civil society organisations, the addition of Monsanto into the Gates Foundation’s portfolio also brings concern about Monsanto’s patenting practices and monopoly over seeds. Civil society is worried that Gates’ interest in Monsanto will worsen the conditions of small farmers in developing countries, and might represent a conflict of interest, according to the Community Alliance for Global Justice.

The Gates Foundation is used to conflicts of interest. In many other areas of operation (e.g. polio [1, 2] and smoking/tobacco [1, 2]) there are conflicts of interest where Gates invests in the very same things he pretends to battle against. Now is a good opportunity to watch the following interview which explains this rather well.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation- Truth Revealed

Part II

Blogger Accuses Bill Gates of Bribery

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates pyramid

Summary: The man whom the Huff’n’Puff Post labeled “the most dangerous man in America” is building a pyramid of servitude around him, which leads to strong accusations from the American public

A

BLOG post which was published last month went under the “news” radar (Google News syndicates mostly mainstream sources), but a reader brought it to our attention yesterday. “Marketing as charity” is what he called the Gates Foundation. Is this foundation rogue when it comes to education? Ravitch, a respected author, sure seems to think so [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“If you don’t already have this one, it’s worth noting,” wrote a reader to us, quoting this very recent blog post titled, “Is The Gates Foundation Involved In Bribery?”

“If he loses money buying control or sabotaging the established market, then it’s just charity rather than anti-competitive or predatory business.”
      –Anonymous
It says that “Gates has opened the door to an manifestly corrupt approach to government where a handful of well funded groups and individuals override the democratic legislative process by the prospect of funding or the threat of losing it. If you can’t go to jail now for doing this, there should be laws that make it clear that you do from here on out.”

That is a very concise summary of what has been happening.

“It’s actually more corrupt than that,” explained our reader, “because as a “charity” he can also evade the oversight and scrutiny a company would. If he loses money buying control or sabotaging the established market, then it’s just charity rather than anti-competitive or predatory business.”

To name some previous posts on the subject of education (in chronological order):

These fairly recent posts (from the past year) contain many links to a lot of articles where people do complain about the Gates Foundation and its intervention in education. But with a massive legion or PR people, it’s almost untouchable to critics. It built a moral shield.

As FurnaceBoy shrewdly put it, “how can the law pierce the Foundation veil? You’d have to hate starving Africans”

As a general remark, pedagogues tend to believe that children and adolescents are there in the school system to be indoctrinated, or be prepared to get “skilled” for the “real world” (as in carrying out a particular task in a business). They are often teaching them that ultra-rich people is what they should strive to become, but education is supposed to shape one’s personality to become a good member of society, too. Here is a good new article on the subject:

The Big Lie (Thoughts on Why School Is Not Only About Workforce Development)

[...]

Teaching kids that hard work in school will mean more money is a shortcut and an example of the shoddy logic that doesn’t ring true to many kids. Teaching kids that hard work in school will help them develop skills that will help them be a more fully realized citizen and person is a harder argument to make, but it stands a much better chance of being true.

For people like Gates — those wanting to see their own agenda implemented at the expense of taxpayers — there are barriers such as people with a clue. More people should rise and protest against this threat to democracy, known as “Gates Foundation”. It does far more than advertised.

Bill Gates is a school occupier, not an army occupier like the other Gates who knows him and honours Microsoft (that would be Secretary Robert Gates). It means that the burden of casualties is very different in nature. Gates is also subverting employment policy along with Intel and criminally-charged lobbyists like Abramoff. How much damage need Gates cause to the United States before citizens realise he is “the most dangerous man in America,” to quote a recent headline from the Huff’n’Puff Post? He is not just the richest among them and his professional history does reveal misconduct and megalomania. Aren’t these warning signs sufficient to those who haven’t yet researched the subject?

“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

Honor de Balzac

Apple Corruption and Meltdown in Asia

Posted in Apple, Asia, Fraud, Hardware at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chairman Jobs
Apple’s main business in China is still child labour

Summary: Singapore corruption case has an Apple manager arrested, China rejects Apple, and another hypePod meltdown is reported in Japan

APPLE may be doing just fine in the West, but in the far east it’s another matter altogether. Last week we wrote about serious problems that Apple was having and a fortnight ago we summarised bad Apple publicity from last month, culminating in fraud. More details have begun to surface in this case, which Singapore’s anti-corruption bureau says nothing about for the time being:

Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) declined to say whether it has opened an investigation following allegations of an elaborate kickback scheme that involved an Apple employee and at least six Apple suppliers, including three Singaporean companies.

Apple is trying to distance itself from this man (how convenient a policy to adopt after the act) and this arrested Apple manager pleads not guilty (who wouldn’t?).

Monday, a former Apple manager pleaded not guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. Paul Shim Devine was arrested last week after officials discovered he received more than $1 million in kickbacks from certain Apple suppliers in Asia in exchange for information that enabled them to beat their competition and win Apple contracts.

[...]

In addition to the federal charges, Devine also faces a civil racketeering lawsuit filed by Apple. Although there’s no indication how Apple was alerted to the scheme, the story says the company began investigating in April when it found e-mails and other communications between Devine and the suppliers on his company-issued laptop.

Here is some more coverage about it [1, 2]. It’s newer than the links we gave before.

On we move from Singapore to China, which Apple has a lot in common with, especially the censorship as we showed a week ago (Apple continues to throw third-party software out of the App Store). It turns out that Apple can only ever succeed in its niche, which is rich people in rich countries. hypePhone “tanks in China,” based on this report.

THE HOPE that Apple could flog its products in the massive Chinese market at the same high prices that it gets away with in western countries has proven fruitless.

It’s not surprising. These gadgets which are made by Chinese people are overpriced. It’s because the California-based company likes to triple or quadruple the originally spent cost in order to elevate margins. Some rich people don’t care about price tags. They choose by brands and labels.

Censorship of application is not the only problem at Apple though; the company is said to be suffocating an entire product right now [1, 2, 3]. “Apple has decided to shut down the Quattro Wireless mobile ad network that it bought in January for $275 million,” says one report. hypeAd (sounds like hypePad) is Apple’s way to go and some Quattro clients are likely to suffer from it:

Apple sent a letter to current Quattro clients this week announcing that the mobile advertising network will be shut down effective September 30. From that point forward, Apple will focus its mobile advertising efforts exclusively on the iAd platform.

Can advertisers trust Apple, which cannot even manage transactions on hypeTunes [1, 2]. One of those two news headlines says: “Apple Can’t Stop Ongoing ITunes Charge Scam”

Why should people trust Apple with advertising-related transactions then?

As one last example of Apple’s dishonesty and “damage control”, after a long time of denying the problem with hypePods exploding there are new requirements in Japan that Apple should issues warnings. The thing about these warnings though, they don’t actually solve the problem, they only predict it. “iPod meltdown strands Tokyo commuters,” says this article from 2 weeks ago (that’s right after Apple was forced to post warnings).

Apple’s iPod flame-out woes continue. The latest victims: Tokyo commuters.

On Friday, Reuters reports, smoke from what turned out to be a self-immolating iPod caused passengers to alert transit officials on a commuter-train line, who quickly shut down the system.

“When a member of staff went to investigate inside the train,” a rail spokesman told Reuters, “a passenger came over showing him that the iPod she was listening to had burst apart.” There were no reports of injuries, and after an eight-minute delay, the system was restarted.

Who would have thought that just posting warnings about Apple’s products being defective would not resolve the issue? All that Apple sells is a ticket into a club of hype and elitism. If the Chinese can ignore Apple’s products, so can everyone else.

Apple as a replacement for Microsoft is not progress; Free software is progress, it’s a paradigm shift.

“We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.”

Steve Jobs

Microsoft is Faking ‘Leaks’, This Time for Halo and for Internet Explorer

Posted in Apple, Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pinocchio

Summary: For purposes of publicity and hype Microsoft is up to the usual tricks, calling its own action a “leak” and pretending it was all just an accident

SO FAR this year we have given many examples of fake ‘leaks’ from Microsoft (Apple's fake hype and other fakes are a another related thing). Microsoft does not seem to mind when the ‘leaks’ are exposed as just Microsoft marketing stunts. To the Microsoft Pinocchio, lying is a lifestyle and bogus hype is means to an end.

Last week’s news uttered something about a “Halo Reach” breach and leak [1, 2]. Poor Microsoft, eh? Well, not so fast! Microsoft is said to be enabling people to take it:

Who Leaked Halo: Reach Early? Microsoft Did

[...]

How did it happen? How does this sort of thing always happen. But in this case there’s a twist: It seems the powers that be–not some felonious bottom-rung employee–placed it in lockdown on a public file server, then handed out keys.

[...]

Should GameTuts have been fiddling around (shamefully and illegally) in Microsoft’s business? Of course not. But should Microsoft have made Halo: Reach–however bristling with security measures–available via what amounts to a public file server? Live and learn, and since keeping pirate copies off the market prior to launch day is considered commercially critical, I doubt we’ll see Microsoft make this particular mistake ever again.

Microsoft keeps faking ‘leaks’ for the known allure of taboo or exclusivity. Microsoft is also doing this with Internet Explorer right now [1, 2]. The headlines say “Microsoft Russia leaks IE9 beta” and “Microsoft leaks Internet Explorer 9 screenshot” (implying that Microsoft itself is doing the ‘leak’, which means that it is not a leak at all). It is designed like marketing material, not an arbitrary ‘leak’/screenshot and Mary Jo Microsoft is seeding it, along with other boosters of the monopoly. IDG’s Microsoft boosters (like Robert Mullins) have used that as an excuse, trying to generate buzz like a marketing company and pretending this is “news”, not Microsoft a “puff story”.

“After sixteen months spent seeding the trade press, it was time to think of the end users. For this, Waggener Edstrom leaked exclusive Windows 95 puff stories to all of the important newspapers and publications. The PR firm fed the New York Times a story with a marketing twist, the Wall Street Journal received a more technical angle, and People magazine got an exclusive revealing that NBC’s Friends sitcom stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry would be doing a twenty-five-minute video, educating people on the wonders of Windows 95.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s Pam Edstrom

Microsoft Uses “Half-naked” Women (‘Meter Maids’) to Promote Its Products

Posted in Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft employees — not Free software proponents– are the sexist ones

Statue

Summary: Microsoft marketing goes awry and the company is pressured to issue an apology; a look at the Edstrom (PR) and Gates family affairs

Microsoft boosters or Free software opponents love to pretend that Free software proponents are sexist, but often it just turns out to be the very opposite. A few months ago we saw Microsoft’s “boob” incident (large advertising campaign it later "apologised" for) and earlier this year we learned about Microsoft allegedly offering female prostitutes/orgies to business partners [1, 2]. Those sex-related incidents are not a rarity, especially in advertising. Going further back we could give many more examples.

The latest Microsoft “apology” (everyone seems to put it in quotes, even Microsoft boosters) has just arrived. The Register says:

Microsoft gets Speedos in a twist over half-naked ‘Meter Maids’

[...]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Microsoft had hired the women to appear at its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast.

Keep it classy, sweaty Steve. Here is more coverage of this incident (and photos):

How could they be so tactless and not foresee the backlash? It’s probably one of those cases where in a very large organisation the left hand did not communicate with the right hand. To Microsoft, this is a serious PR problem. All those years promoting the image that it’s respectful to women (we gave examples of this PR line last week) sometimes go down the drain, but Microsoft keeps choosing female faces to represent the company while giving that whole “equal opportunity” and “cultural diversity” feel-good sensation. Steve Ballmer is even married to one such PR person. She worked for Waggener Edstrom. Speaking of which, Pam and Jennifer Edstrom came up again because this PR-related blog post linked to Techrights some days ago.

It was also the video that saw Microsoft tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. In minutes, the hard work on building Bill Gates’ reputation put in by Pam Edstrom (first as Microsoft’s director of PR and then as a senior executive at Waggener Edstrom) was eviscerated. This was when the fear stopped.

This links to an old article from the New York Times and it’s about Waggener Edstrom. It turns out that this AstroTurf/marketing firm of Microsoft was by no means pleased by the work of Jennifer Edstrom.

In the acknowledgments of her new book, ”Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From the Inside,” the author, Jennifer Edstrom, thanks her mother for encouraging her to write, ”even though this isn’t particularly what she had in mind.”

Since 1982, Ms. Edstrom’s mother, Pam, has helped shape the public image of the Microsoft Corporation’s chairman, first as a Microsoft employee and then as an executive of the public relations firm that represents him. When she learned about preparations for her daughter’s book, a behind-the-scenes account co-written with a former Microsoft software developer, Marlin Eller, she tried, the daughter said, to dissuade her from writing it.

”My mother had commented in Fortune in January that it put her in an awkward position,” Jennifer Edstrom said from her home in Portland, Ore. ”She made it completely clear she wanted no part of it.”

Parental disapproval did not carry the day. ”It’s hard enough to control Gates,” the elder Ms. Edstrom said, ”much less your daughter.” She responded with a terse ”no comment” when asked about the book.

Waggener Edstrom currently works on Gates’ lies and image-shaping (not just Microsoft’s). It’s a lesson in why such agencies do not deserve a place in society. Waggener Edstrom bribes bloggers with laptops, for example. What we found interesting is that Pam Edstrom disregards the truth and follows the money whereas her daughter has some dignity for a change. She chose not to seek spin but to seek some truth, instead. Maybe lack of ethics is not hereditary after all. Maybe Bill Gates’ children (now enrolled in the Khan Academy) will not end up being parasites of society, unlike their father. It is too early to determine this (the children are all too young), but Bill appeared with his son at the Hanford site recently. It is a “mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government,” according to Wikipedia. As a reminder, Gates and fellow patent trolls have nuclear patents which he is marketing in public events and in the US government (lobbying).

“By May of 1994, Gates’s patience was growing so thin that not even a public relations pro like Pam Edstrom could muzzle him.”

Jennifer Edstrom

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