Links 28/9/2010: Pinguy OS Reviews, GNU/Linux Used by Children in Brazil and Asia

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Migrating to GNU/Linux

      I am fortunate. My IT is straight forward. I set up GNU/Linux servers and GNU/Linux desktops and everyone (almost) is happy. It works reliably and I don’t need to fix much. Others have a more challenging task. Leaving the servers GNU/Linux and migrating the desktops to the next version of that other OS did not work for them. Perhaps eventually they will be able to make the desktops GNU/Linux and life will be easier. If you read the comments, you will find others did.

    • Children in Brazil and Asia get computers for first time with low-cost Linux software

      A Linux-based software that lets you use one computer to control ten separate ones has been in “overwhelming demand” from schools in Asia and South America according the makers Userful.

      The computer system called Userful Multiseat Linux lets anyone provide desktop computers at a fraction of traditional costs, which opens up computers to places with less money to spend.

    • M$ v World

      UPDATE At the end of an article linked from the one mentioned above, ARS Technica reported in July 2010 that only 63% of their visitors used that other OS and 6% used GNU/Linux. Clearly, they have different visitors than NetApplications counts. ARS shows 26% use MacOS although Apple says they produce only about 3% of PCs.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Measured in geologic time…
    • Clonezilla: Recovery for many file systems

      Clonezilla, a disaster recovery, disk cloning, disk imaging and deployment solution, features major enhancements and updates in its latest release. The new version 1.2.6-24 comes with Linux kernel 2.6.32-23 and is based on the Debian Sid repository. Support for the Btrfs file system has been added, and the release was successfully tested with Ubuntu Maverick beta and OpenSuse 11.3 restoration. However, author Steven Shiau cautions that the Btrfs file system is still in beta and therefore unsupported.

    • Pinguy OS

      • Pinguy OS released and Review included

        Pinguy OS should run reasonably well on a computer with the following minimum hardware specification. However, features such as visual effects may not run smoothly.

        * 700 MHz x86 processor
        * 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
        * 8 GB of disk space


      • Pinguy OS

        Summary: Pinguy OS provides a complete desktop distro solution that newbies and experienced users alike can enjoy.

        Rating: 4/5

    • Red Hat Family

      • 3 Stocks That Blew the Market Away

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is another welcome overachiever in enterprise software. The company building cost-effective subscriptions on top of open-source Linux software generated a profit of $0.19 a share in its latest quarter. Wall Street was settling for net income to clock in at $0.18 a share.

      • 2 Tech Firms Toast Feats

        Allis said his goal is to create a homegrown, publicly traded success story, like Raleigh-based Red Hat, a software company known for its worker-friendly culture of ice cream socials and fine art on the walls.

      • Notable Stock Earnings Surprises

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) shares surged 11.24% to $40.83 following a fall of 4.40% in the regular hours. The company late Wednesday reported its fiscal second-quarter results, that easily beat the analysts’ consensus.

      • Red Hat Priced Like It’s 1999: Expect a Hangover Like 2001 – cbl
      • Why is Red Hat promoting Flash video content?

        One thing I find annoying is that all of the videos from the KVM Forum 2010 event have been posted to Vimeo… and seem only available in streaming Flash format.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 on System Z alive and kicking!

          The Fedora s390x team[1] is happy to announce the first installable Fedora on IBM System Z (aka s390x) since Fedora 6!

          It’s been a long time in the making, but after several Fedora releases since we started getting everything up into shape again we’ve finally reached a point where we can provide an installable version of Fedora on IBM System Z again.

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 14 Beta!!
        • Get the next Fedora, right now.
        • Fedora 14 Beta Emerges with Latest in Open Source Software

          Emergence is the process by which simple interactions give rise to more complex and ordered patterns and systems, such as the intricacies we see in snowflakes. The Beta release of Fedora 14 “Laughlin” similarly provides a preview of some of the best free and open source technology currently under development, integrated into an ordered distribution that anyone can freely download, use, modify, and redistribute.

        • Fedora presents…Graphics Test Week this week

          It’s been creeping up, and now it’s time: the world-famous Graphics Test Week begins tomorrow, with the Fedora 14 Nouveau Test Day! That is 2010-09-28. As always, the event runs all day in #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC (you can connect with WebIRC). To complete Graphics Test Week, the Radeon Test Day takes place the following day, Wednesday 2010-09-29, and Intel Test Day takes place Thursday 2010-09-30.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian != Ubuntu! — “Please download the voice plugin to make a call”

        No, this isn’t Debian’s fault. This is Google’s fault. Google didn’t clue in that Debian and Ubuntu aren’t the same distribution. Sure, they both use dpkg, but saying that makes them compatible is like saying Slackware and Linux-From-Scratch are the same because they both use tarballs for packages, or like saying RedHat and OpenSuSE are the same because they both use rpm.

      • Review: aptosid 2010-02 “Keres” KDE

        As aptosid is based off of Debian (and is tied even more closely to Debian than Ubuntu is), I am rather shocked that for all the odd networking tools included, Synaptic Package Manager is not included; there are 0 GUI tools for installing packages. Given how good Synaptic Package Manager is and given that aptosid is closely tied to Debian, even if this is a distribution meant for more advanced Linux users, I think this omission is inexcusable.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 212

          In This Issue

          * Ubuntu 9.04 reaches end of life
          * Announcing the Ubuntu Application Review Process
          * Taking a Step Back With Fresh Eyes
          * Behind the Circle: Gerfried Fuchs (Rhonda)
          * Ubuntu Stats
          * LoCo News
          * Launchpad News
          * Growing List of Schools Using Ubuntu
          * The Growing Linux Multi-touch Community
          * Edubuntu Makeover
          * Test your might!
          * Debian-Ubuntu Community Conference
          * My experience upgrading UNE 10.04 to Maverick (and yours!)
          * What I do
          * Know of a cool app that deserves more attention? Nominate it for the next Ubuntu post-install guide!
          * Artwork Team – What are we doing here?
          * Ubuntu Artwork Crisis
          * In The Press
          * In The Blogosphere
          * Canonical Showcases at IDF San Francisco
          * Ubuntu, Canonical Wallow in Muddy Waters with Contributors’ Agreements
          * Can Ubuntu Attract More Hardware Partners?
          * Making a Difference; Selling a Difference
          * UCLALUG Fall 2010 Installfest
          * Do you dent or tweet ?
          * Join the openSUSE Conference 2010!
          * OLPC San Francisco Community Summit 2010
          * Full Circle Magazine – Issue #41
          * Featured Podcasts
          * Weekly Ubuntu Development Team Meetings
          * Upcoming Meetings and Events
          * Updates and Security
          * UWN Sneak Peek
          * And much much more!

        • The Ubuntu Font Family Is Now Available In Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat (Officially)

          If you’re not using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, you can download the Ubuntu Font Family as an archive or deb from HERE although the recommended way of getting the font is through the official PPA (still private, hopefully it will be made public soon) so you can get updates!

        • New Ubuntu font lands in Maverick for all users

          The new Ubuntu font that Canonical commissioned typeface designers Dalton Maag to develop for the Ubuntu operating system has landed in Ubuntu 10.10 for all users.

        • Hiding In Plain Sight: On Being More Transparent

          Thus, we had a discussion at UDS and broke the problem into two areas: the technical implementation which I openly vetoed myself having any view on as I believe I lack the technical expertize, and the governance process part, which I volunteered to craft a process for. Before the UDS session I produced a rough draft on the Ubuntu Wiki and presented it to the room in the session.

        • Interesting uses for Ubuntu One

          Ubuntu One is a great program/service with many uses, some obvious some not so obvious. Here are a few creative uses for Ubuntu One that some people have come up with.

        • Canonical cutting the edge of interface design

          For those of you who deny that any Linux distribution innovates, I give you Parallax. Parallax is an interface, written for the Ubuntu environment, that allows the operating system to be aware of its physical context. That is, where the user is in relation to cameras. For example: The user is watching a video and the user moves farther away from the screen. When the system picks this up (via cameras) the image on the screen then pans out.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready SoCs sip half a Watt

      Freescale Semiconductor announced a Linux-ready, ARM9-based i.MX28x SoC and a Coldfire-based MCF5441x MCU, both targeting fanless industrial applications as well as automotive systems. The i.MX28x and MCF5441x each consume less than half a Watt, support extended temperatures, offer clock synchronized Ethernet, and with some models, include a Layer 2 switch for low-cost daisy-chaining of devices.

      The i.MX28x and MCF5441x are aimed at low-power applications, including appliances, portable and diagnostic medical devices, energy distribution equipment, meters, human machine interfaces (HMIs), motor control, and industrial controllers, says Freescale. The MCF5441x provides customer benefits tailored for motor control, while the i.MX28x is oriented more at display applications, says the company.

    • Rugged, fanless PCs report for duty
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sony Ericsson Drops Symbian OS for Android OS

          Google’s Android OS gets a boost as Sony Ericsson announces it is dropping Symbian for the open-source Android OS.

        • Rumor: An Amazon Android Tablet May Follow The Amazon Android App Store

          Okay, we know now that Amazon is on the verge of releasing an Android-based app store. But last week, before we knew that, we got an interesting tip that such a move was coming soon — this week, actually. And that tip came with a bonus attached — the tipster also heard that Amazon was going to be releasing an iPad competitor alongside the store.

        • Why Nokia now needs to embrace Android

          Nokia’s open source adventure has come to a grinding halt as Sony Ericsson drops the Symbian platform in favour of Android.

          Given the choice between Symbian and Android, Symbian Foundation members such as Sony Ericsson and Samsung are going for Android.

          Maybe Nokia needs to do the same.

        • Sony Ericsson LiveView acts as a 1.3-inch remote control for your smartphone, requires Android 2.0

          You’ve been asking for someone, anyone, to please kick out a tiny remote control display that can save you from having to whip your smartphone out for every little thing and Sony Ericsson, it seems, has listened. The 1.3-inch OLED screen above is a new Bluetooth accessory for Android 2.x phones that’s said to function very much like a desktop widget.

        • HTC to ship 7-8 million smartphones in 3Q, and 9-10 million in 4Q10, say Taiwan makers

          Taiwan-based vendor HTC will ship an estimated 7-8 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2010 and 9-10 million units in the fourth quarter, and its second-half 2010 smartphone shipment volume will rank fourth behind Nokia, RIM (Research in Motion) and Apple, according to Taiwan-based makers of handset components.

        • T-Mobile G2 preview

          * Software: The G2 runs Android 2.2, and at first glance it really does appear to be running an untarnished, stock build. Unlike the Desire Z, there’s no Sense skin, but, of course, there are some tweaks. We’re assuming these have been made on T-Mobile’s end, but there’s an added pane shortcut, which like Moto’s new skin, lets you jump to different screens without having to swipe through. The app drawer interface has also be beautified with a 3D-like shelf. Still, the experience feels a lot closer to stock Android than anything we’ve seen in a long time, and it feels pretty darn good.

        • T-Mobile G2 Will Not Support Tethering At Launch
        • Android: Open Source or Just an Open Mess?

          I believe, from Archos to Samsung, we should have the ability to use or purchase plain Android at the current version to any device we want. If/when this happens, Google will have achieved its original goal of taking costs out of handsets and allowing anybody to run Android on “any” device. Currently Android is being watered down and neutered by Motorola and Samsung UI’s and carrier chatzki. We are at the carrier’s and manufacturer’s mercy and we will continue to be the loser until Google inserts their power. And it may be too late in light of the recent failure of the Nexus One which was at a least back-handed effort to poke a sharp stick in the eyes of the carriers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The (r)evolution of operating systems.

    During the proprietary operating systems evolution, a revolution in operating systems started. This open source (which is a special sauce all of it’s own) operating system revolution started out simply enough and was also quite basic. It did have a recipe to follow although the ingredients were all home grown.

    Like the proprietary operating systems these revolutionary operating systems evolved as well. However they were not and would never be a homogenised franchise chain, more like fine restaurants, independently run, offering different, customisable delights yet still following the same basic model. Contrary to the real world, these fine operating system restaurants are free in all respects whereas the proprietary franchises are not.

    This revolution in open source operating systems started out quite a bit later than the proprietary operating systems did. The horse had already left the gate so to speak. This means that the proprietary operating systems had taken just about all of the cake to themselves are were happily munching away.

  • Open Source and Sustainability

    So, people ask me, how does this reduce carbon emissions? There are obviously small energy savings (related to DVD production, packaging, transportation, etc) when an individual downloads software instead of buying it off the shelf. However the big emissions savings occur when large companies that maintain vast amounts of data switch to Open Source. Recently the Bank of New Zealand reduced their energy costs and carbon emissions by converting their front end systems to Open Source.

  • Is Adobe’s open source strategy a commercial consulting trap?

    Adobe Altruism?

    So is Abobe using these open source code dissemination techniques to genuinely “give back” to the community, or it simply “seeding” its software development methodologies more deeply and laying a child-snatching trap for programmers as a result?

  • Events

    • Report from PyCon India 2010

      So I am back from PyCon India 2010. I missed last year, so was waiting for this year’s event. Met many faces after very long time and to be in a place with so many other python lovers is always a nice experience. The total attendance was around 700 but the venue was too big for that number , so except the lunch time, corridors had lesser number of people discussing. The selection of the talks were also matching the environment as they came from different directions. We saw talks with hardware accessibility to web development to GUI application toolkits, network programming, scientific computing, terminal based works etc.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • And now, page 2

      After 20 incredible years at Sun/Oracle, I have decided to try something new.

      This was a very hard decision, and not one made lightly. I have always enjoyed my work, and still do — everything from MTS-2 to Sun Fellow to Oracle VP. I love the people I work with and the technology we’ve created together, which is why I’ve been doing it for so long. But I have always wanted to try doing a startup, and recently identified an opportunity that I just can’t resist. (We are in stealth mode, so that’s all I can say for now.)

    • OpenOffice goes its own way

      After Firefox, OpenOffice may be open-source software’s greatest desktop success story. For years though OpenOffice has stagnated. While under Sun’s management, OpenOffice got off to a great start, the program hasn’t been doing much of anywhere lately. That may be about to change under an independent non-profit group called The Document Foundation.

    • LibreOffice is Born! – Updated

      LibreOffice is being welcomed by Red Hat, Canonical, Google, and Novell, among others, and by both FSF and OSI. Canonical has already committed to shipping LibreOffice. And others are welcome to join the party, including Oracle. If Oracle does jump in, then the name may revert, but in either case, I think it’s a wonderfully refreshing development. I can’t wait to use it. You can download a beta version here already.

    • Larry wants triple money back from Micron
  • Document Foundation/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice.org community members launch the Document Foundation
    • LibreOffice – a community fork for OpenOffice.org
    • LibreOffice – A fresh page for OpenOffice

      While development of the new fork will focus around the developers inherited from Novell, Red Hat and Debian, the project has the support of the great majority of the community surrounding OpenOffice.org; Among those who have expressed support for LibreOffice and the Document Foundation are the Free Software Foundation, the OSI, OASIS, Canonical, credativ and Collabora and the GNOME Foundation.

      The Document Foundation has been presented not so much as a fork as a chance to refresh the development of OpenOffice.org around a broad-based ecosystem that is no longer reliant on the commercial interests of a single company. LibreOffice is not the first fork of OpenOffice.org that has taken place, but previous forks or branches such as Go-OO have only enjoyed limited community support.

    • LibreOffice: OpenOffice.org Liberated

      The idea of creating an OpenOffice.org fork and creating an independent foundation is not new and it has been discussed several times by the OpenOffice.org community and developers outside Sun Microsystems, the previous steward of the OpenOffice.org project. Sun has been often criticized for the way it managed the project. But apparently the hassle of forking OpenOffice.org outweighed the benefits of such move. The acquisition of Sun by Oracle changed the situation.

    • OpenOffice.org Discovers the Joy of Forking

      Rather cheekily, the Document Foundation writes:

      Q: And why are you calling the software “LibreOffice” instead of “OpenOffice.org”?

      A: The OpenOffice.org trademark is owned by Oracle Corporation. Our hope is that Oracle will donate this to to the Foundation, along with the other assets it holds in trust for the Community, in due course, once legal etc issues are resolved. However, we need to continue work in the meantime – hence “LibreOffice” (“free office”).

      Yeah, good luck with that one, people: I can really see Larry handing those “assets” over; not.

      Still, such naïve optimism aside, this is incredibly good news for free software. For some years, I have been worried about the dependence of OpenOffice.org on a commercial sponsor – first Sun, now Oracle. I have long thought that a foundation would be far better for users and coders. Interestingly, the new foundation will not be asking for an assignment of copyright:

    • Hello LibreOffice. One question: Have you played into Ellison’s hand?

      Losing the legal protection afforded to StarOffice/OpenOffice by SUN-Microsoft patent agreement is a worry. But lets put it in perspective. It is at least a year or so away. Microsoft knows that the first thing LibreOffice will do if Microsoft makes any move in this direction is to run to the European Commission and file an antitrust suit on Office (again), draining resources it could use to fight the more important battleground of so-called ‘Cloud’-based services.

      How about the business dimension? Oracle, under Larry Ellison, is know to be ‘predatory’ towards Open Source. They do contributes to open source, in particular, the Linux Kernel. Other than that, the best I can describe their behaviour is a business’ vulture. Don’t believe me, see the Unbreakable Linux campaign or Ellison’s proclamation that “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.” What Oracle is doing is above board, but they leave a bad taste in the mouth. So I guess Oracle philosophy is the same as mine: Do as little as possible.


      Finally, note that I do not share Alex Brown’s optimism for OOXML adoption in LibreOffice. They are staffed by the same people who rejected it in the first place.

    • Welcome The Document Foundation and LibreOffice
    • Give up spoon-feeding: Use a fork instead.

      Now let’s dwell a bit deeper on what we announced. So why did we announce the birth of The Document Foundation? Why not? A foundation for OpenOffice.org had always been planned. But after ten years, this promise was never fulfilled, and it would seem that the new owner of Sun Microsystems, Oracle, is not keen on engaging too much with the community about this. So we decided to move on by ourselves, and move this project forward. Let’s be frank: Every FLOSS project has its own set of issues. Inside OpenOffice.org we have many issues, even though it’s one of the friendliest and most welcoming community you’ll ever find. But 10 million lines of code that are not easily hackable, a certain heaviness in our process and governance structure made us feel like we had to change something. In fact, I would go as far as claiming that the Document Foundation is the ultimate victory of the old “StarDivision” and I do feel this is their moment of glory, even more so if they choose to join us. We feel that what we’re doing is fundamentally right and is a real opportunity to deliver the promise of Free, Libre and Open Source Software.

    • LibreOffice: The newest member of the ODF family

      So I am very pleased to read in their press release that the Document Foundation is firmly committed to the ODF standard. I encourage them to turn those words into actions and to join the OASIS ODF TC and to participate in the ODF Plugfests. As OASIS ODF TC Chair, I extend to them a warm welcome.

    • OpenOffice.org developers move to break ties with Oracle

      Some developers of the OpenOffice.org desktop productivity suite announced a break from Oracle on Tuesday, introducing a new name for the project and establishing a new foundation to guide its future.

      They will distribute a version of the open-source office productivity suite under the name “LibreOffice,” under the purview of an independent organization called The Document Foundation.

    • LibreOffice – Google, Novell sponsored OpenOffice fork launched

      The OpenOffice development community have today announced the launch of a new foundation – The Document Foundation – that will oversee, guide and develop a new fork of OpenOffice named ‘LibreOffice’.

      The ‘fork’ seeks to build upon the last 10 years of work that OpenOffice.org and the OpenOffice.org Community have built with the hope that the hand of an independent foundation will guide the software to an even brighter future.

      In contrary to OpenOffice.org it is expected that LibreOffice will no longer recommend the installation of non-open-source extensions.

    • The Launch of the Document Foundation and the Oxymoron of Corporate Controlled “Community” Projects

      …Sun maintained too much control. This reality has played out over and over during the past 30 years – when one or a few companies maintain too much control, others stay away, because they can’t be sure that the project will be managed for everyone’s benefit.

      Knowing that an organization is “safe” to join, and will be managed for the benefit of the many and not of the privileged few, is one of the key attributes and assurances of “openness.”

    • Create an independent OpenOffice.org-Foundation
    • OpenOffice files Oracle divorce papers

      Until there’s a decision from Oracle the OpenOffice.org suite will be retain the LibreOffice name. Based on Oracle’s history of responding to community ultimatums, we suggest you get used to LibreOffice.

    • OpenOffice.org Declares Independence From Oracle, Becomes LibreOffice
    • The Document Foundation on Facebook
    • The Document Foundation (LinkedIn)

      The Document Foundation continues to build on the Foundation of ten years’ dedicated work by the OpenOffice.org community, and was created in the belief that an independent Foundation is the best fit to the Community’s core values of openness, transparency, and valuing people for their contribution. It is open to any individual who agrees with our core values and contributes to our activities, and welcomes corporate participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals to work as equals alongside other contributors in the community.

    • LibreOffice

      OpenOffice.org has been the killer app for GNU/Linux in schools. The savings on licences for Office alone can justify migrating to GNU/Linux. As Oracle seem not particularly friendly/responsive to FLOSS, this fork may have been inevitable or just a good thing on its own. This action may briefly distrub development but I see a bright future for the software in GNU/Linux.

    • OpenOffice.org Community announces The Document Foundation
  • Education

    • Educational Tools for my School

      Today I finally got Moodle up and running. It is functioning which is the good news. I still need to add the classes and students to our Moodle instance but within a week, teachers will be able to use it with their class. Moodle is an open source learning management system popular around the world. I am a Sakai guy myself but it is actually more difficult to install and maintain than Moodle.

  • Funding

    • Snort rival launches threat-detection start-up

      The company’s founder, Matt Jonkman, is also president of OISF, which has been receiving funding from the Deptartment of Homeland Security. Jonkman says Emerging Threats Pro depends on private and undisclosed funding not related to OISF.

  • Project Releases

    • GNU Libtasn1 2.8 released

      GNU Libtasn1 is a standalone library written in C for manipulating ASN.1 objects including DER/BER encoding/decoding. GNU Libtasn1 is used by GnuTLS to handle X.509 structures and by GNU Shishi to handle Kerberos V5 structures.

  • Government

    • The Estonian Interoperability Framework adopts the European Licence

      Compiled in 2010 by the Department of State Information Systems (RISO) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, the Information Society Yearbook reports that software developments done for the government or produced by the government in Estonia will be distributed under the EUPL licence.

  • Licensing

    • Scanning tunneling microscope under GPL3

      ChemHacker has posted schematics and code for a scanning tunneling microscope. [Sacha De'Angeli] finalized the proof-of-concept design for version 0.1 and released all of the information under the Gnu general public license version 3. You’ll need to build a sensor from a combination of a needle, a piezo, and a ring of magnets. There’s an analog circuit that gathers data from the probe, which is then formatted by and Arduino and sent to your computer.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Feedback is a gift

      In the open source software world, the people who give feedback by pointing out bugs in the software are the heroes. In the world of human resources or legal affairs, when I get feedback, it is often not exactly what I am hoping for, but I have found that if I stay open to the possibility that the feedback I am receiving will help the end product, it can be a great source for improvement.


      At Red Hat, we have an internal mailing list called memo-list that, since the early days of the company, has been a way for any employee to provide feedback and suggestions. When I first joined the company, I found the open forum, with frequent criticisms and suggestions, to be a “problem.” But over the years, I have observed that some of the ideas shared on memo-list have been true gifts, giving the company feedback that has changed the company for the better. Some feedback on memo-list is simple criticism, without accompanying source code providing a fix, but I would rather know that the concern is there than for people to keep their concerns to themselves. While I find the former ultimately more constructive and helpful, I have come to learn that both forms of feedback are gifts. The real problem would be if we weren’t receiving any gifts of feedback at all.

    • Transparency

      With the Internet having established itself as cheap and omnipresent way of transmitting information, of reaching many many people (given you reach the right multiplicators) we’ve also seen many organizations and groups of people step up to the task and fight for transparency: The EFF, the CCC or projects like the now famous Wikileaks (among others).

      They fight governments and cooperations who hide the “truth” from the public, who make deals against the public interest or funnel away public money into their own pockets and we all should be thankful for those organizations and their work. The world needs whistleblowers and people who dig in the darkness till they find what’s what.

    • Open Data

      • data.open.ac.uk

        data.open.ac.uk is the home of open linked data from The Open University. It is a platform currently developed as part of the LUCERO JISC Project to extract, interlink and expose data available in various institutional repositories of the University and make it available openly for reuse.

  • Programming

    • First service release of Eclipse Helios

      The Eclipse development team has released version 3.6.1 of the open source development environment. This is a first service release of the IDE, which was released in the summer as part of Helios and consists of around 40 Eclipse projects. The new version is primarily a bug fix version and does not contain any new functionality. The release notes provide detailed information on what’s new in Eclipse 3.6.1. The Helios release is made available in more than ten packages which contain pre-configured components for different areas of use, including IDEs for Java, C/C++, RCP/RAP and mobile developers.


  • Taking on Too Much – From Burnout out to Balance one moment at a time!

    I’ve been traveling and speaking more at events, I’ve been helping plan more events and writing blog posts and articles for Linux Pro and Ubuntu User Magazine. As well as staying involved in the Ubuntu Community with my LoCo team, Ubuntu News, and the various Ubuntu Weeks. Needless to say – I love it. But like the saying goes – Too much of a good thing isn’t.

  • Cross-platform bookmark sync service XMarks shutting down

    The plug will be pulled on cross-browser bookmark sync service XMarks in 3 months time, Xmarks CTO Todd Agulnick has announced today, forcing its 2 million users to go elsewhere.

  • AOL reportedly in talks to buy influential tech blog TechCrunch
  • Obama highlights IPv6 issue

    IPv6 is the biggest upgrade in the history of the Internet, but the Obama Administration has only just begun to give IPv6 its attention

  • Interview with Vinton Cerf at Internet Governance Forum 2010

    Here is a transcript and video of the interview I had with Vinton Cerf, widely known as the Father of the Internet and Vice President, Chief Evangelist, Google at the Internet Governance Forum 2010. It followed the session on Managing the Network at the Internet Governance Forum, where a wide range of issues were brought up on the net neutrality debate. I wanted to get his view on how he thought developing countries can ensure that they have access, promote net neutrality as well as use the internet to realise their development goals. He gave a very open, interesting and insightful response and I think that internet stakeholders in developing countries need to look at these issues more closely to ensure that they are connected in a way which is appropriate to the local context, as he points out. Read the transcript and summaries and look at the videos of the interview below.

  • Blue Shield faces class action for physican rating program

    The California Medical Association filed a class action Friday that alleges Blue Shield of California has launched an inaccurate physician rating program that potentially harms doctors and their patients by spreading misinformation and failing to accurately assess patient care.

    Filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the lawsuit alleges Blue Shield went public with the program in June even though the company was aware it was flawed. The complaint seeks a court order to halt the program and inform the public of its deficiencies. It also demands monetary relief and damages.

  • Science

    • Digital Agenda: European Commission announces €780 million boost for strategic ICT research

      Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: “Increasing overall investment into ICT research is crucial for our future. The EU’s support to our world-class researchers announced today must be accompanied by substantial additional investments by the beneficiaries themselves. This research will help Europe’s industry to strengthen its competitiveness.”

    • Digital Agenda: Major ICT companies join European Commission initiative to reduce electricity consumption
    • NASA v. The Scientists

      Just weeks before the Supreme Court is due to hear a case that has dominated his life for the past three years—and may affect the lives of thousands of fellow government contractors—Robert Nelson’s thoughts are a billion miles away. “Right now I’m sitting at my desk looking at a spectral image of the surface of Titan,” he says by phone from his office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he’s a planetary astronomer.

      Nelson’s role in NASA’s Cassini mission is to pore over data coming back from the probe, which is now in orbit around Saturn. He and his colleagues are investigating evidence that the planet’s largest moon is volcanically active. One of their theories is that ice volcanoes spew a slurry of frozen water and liquid methane onto Titan’s frigid surface.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Just because GM is gaining popularity doesn’t make it right

      To approve or not to approve? The transgenic question is back in the form of the super salmon or the Frankenfish (which sobriquet you pick depends on how GM-tolerant you are). Take a growth gene from another type of salmon, mix with a bit of DNA from the eel-like ocean pout, as US biotech firm, AquaBounty has done, and you get a creature with all the appearance of an Atlantic salmon that is actually produced in a giant, inland tank. AquaBounty has spent 15 years trying to get US regulators to approve the advanced hybrid fish for supermarket shelves and now appears to be very close.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Comcast Hackers Get 18-Month Prison Sentences
    • WTF worm makes Twitterers declare goat lust

      Another malicious worm hit Twitter over the weekend, days after the micro-blogging site reached near-meltdown from a technically similar attack.

      This time around the danger came from clicking links contained in micro-blogging messages beginning “WTF [URL]“. Last week’s more serious onMouseOver problem struck when users moved their mouse cursor over an infected tweet. These messages contained hidden JavaScript code that exploited a cross-site scripting problem – in the case of the WTF worm a CSRF (cross-site request forgery) technique is in play.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • ✈ Travel Security – A Modest Proposal

      In future, all passengers aboard planes must:

      * Wear secured headphones for safety education and approved entertainment throughout flights, so that passengers cannot communicate with each other for co-ordinated attacks. It’s possible Apple or Sony might sponsor these, reducing costs. This measure will also reduce incidents of unlicensed use of music, especially as people cross market boundaries, so maybe the RIAA will support this.
      * Travel blindfolded. This prevents any awareness of location or time and ensures no targetted use of devices. This additionally defeats attempts to benefit from unlicensed movies, so MPAA sponsorship for the blindfolds is possible.
      * Travel naked. This reduces opportunities for concealment of devices, although security staff will still need to use powerful scanners pre-boarding.
      * Undergo sensory disorientation pre-travel, so that passengers do not know where they are seated or what the time is. This could be combined with the blindfolds and headsets.

    • ICO lets police maintain ANPR location secrecy

      The Information Commissioner’s Office has decided against forcing police to disclose the locations of vehicle tracking cameras.

      The ICO said that Devon and Cornwall Police was correct in refusing to provide the locations of automatic numberplate recognition cameras (ANPR) that it ran in its area following a Freedom of Information request by Kable.

    • More Stories Of People Arrested For Making Joke Threats On Social Networks

      Earlier this year. we wrote about a guy in the UK, Paul Chambers, who was arrested after he tweeted a message about blowing up his local airport if it didn’t reopen in time for the flight he had to take the following week. The message was clearly a joke. Now, as I mentioned at the time, I have no problem with the police doing a quick check to make sure it’s really a joke, but that’s as far as it should go. Instead, the police ended up arresting him under the Terrorist Act and eventually charged him with a crime. They did not charge him with making a fake bomb threat (which is a crime) because they knew that such a charge wouldn’t stand up in court. Instead, they charged him with using the internet to send a “message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.” Chambers is back in the news, as he’s now appealing his ridiculous conviction.

    • U.S. Uses Domain Names As New Way to Regulate the Net

      Governments have long sought ways to regulate Internet activity, whether for the purposes of taxation, content regulation, or the application of national laws. Effective regulatory measures have often proven elusive, however, since, unlike the Internet, national laws typically end at the border. Earlier this month, the United States began to move aggressively toward a new way of confronting the Internet’s jurisdictional limitations – the domain name system.

      Domain names are widely used to ensure that email is delivered to the right inbox or to allow users to access a particular website. The system includes a large database that matches the domain name (e.g. michaelgeist.ca) to a specific IP address (i.e. the location of the computer server). The system is used billions of times every day to route Internet traffic to its intended destination.

    • Stop the Internet Blacklist!
    • Cocaine detectors for parents are a terrible idea

      Nearly being arrested for drug smuggling provided me with an excellent introduction to the problem of false positives

    • Afghan stringers are the bedrock of our reporting

      Stringers in Afghanistan, where I am the correspondent for al-Jazeera, are the eyes and ears of the world’s media. Without them, getting a picture of what is going on outside Kabul is almost impossible for a western journalist. Most correspondents don’t often stray from the capital and those embedded with security forces struggle to witness anything not cleared by military censors.

    • Bill Would Give Justice Department Power to Shutter Piracy Sites Worldwide
    • Council workmen blast residents for sweeping up leaves ‘because it’s against the rules’

      Community-minded residents have had a ticking off for sweeping up leaves from outside their homes – because it is against council rules.

      With the first autumn leaves falling onto their street, families in Blakenall, West Midlands, have dutifully been sweeping them up and putting them into their garden recycling bins.

    • Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer’s memoir

      The Department of Defense recently purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of an Army Reserve officer’s memoir in an effort to safeguard state secrets, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

      “DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said.

    • Misbehaving Federal Prosecutors

      Last week, USA Today published the results of a six-month investigation into misconduct by America’s federal prosecutors. The investigation turned up what Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman called a pattern of “serious, glaring misconduct.” Reporters Brad Heath and Kevin McCoy documented 201 cases in which federal prosecutors were chastised by federal judges for serious ethical breaches, ranging from withholding important exculpatory evidence to lying in court to making incriminating but improper remarks in front of juries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • We can’t use it – so why the heck are we prospecting for new oil?

      Forget, for a moment, the fragility of the Arctic environment and the likely consequences of a spill there. Forget the dangers of deepwater drilling in a strait plagued by storms and icebergs, and the difficulties – greater than in the Gulf of Mexico – of capping a leaking well there. There’s an even bigger question raised by a British company’s discovery of oil off the coast of Greenland. It’s the same question that is invoked by the decision the British government is expected to make tomorrow: to allow exploration wells to be drilled in deep waters to the west of Shetland. Why the heck are we prospecting for new oil anyway?

    • “Sea Snot” Explosion Caused by Gulf Oil Spill?

      In the weeks after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, scientists surveying the surface near the drill site spotted relatively huge particles—several centimeters across—of sea snot.

      These particularly slimy flakes of “marine snow” are made up of tiny dead and living organic matter, according to Uta Passow, a biological oceanographer at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    • How global warming is aiding – and frustrating – archaeologists

      Archaeologists have gained an unexpected benefit from global warming. They have discovered melting ice sheets and glaciers are exposing ancient artefacts that had been covered with thick layers of ice for millennia.

      The discoveries are providing new insights into the behaviour of our ancestors – but they come at a price. So rapid is the rise in global temperatures, and so great is the rate of disintegration of the world’s glaciers, that archaeologists risk losing precious relics freed from the icy tombs. Wood rots in a few years once freed from ice while rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather, crumble to dust in days unless stored in a freezer. As a result, archaeologists are racing against time to find and save these newly exposed wonders.

    • Giant, Mucus-Like Sea Blobs on the Rise, Pose Danger

      As sea temperatures have risen in recent decades, enormous sheets of a mucus-like material have begun forming more often, oozing into new regions, and lasting longer, a new Mediterranean Sea study says (sea “mucus” blob pictures).

      And the blobs may be more than just unpleasant.

      Up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) long, the mucilages appear naturally, usually near Mediterranean coasts in summer. The season’s warm weather makes seawater more stable, which facilitates the bonding of the organic matter that makes up the blobs (Mediterranean map).

    • An alternative to the new wave of ecofascism

      By liberating humanity from the compulsion to consume, climate catastrophe can be averted without recourse to authoritarianism

  • Finance

    • Senators Slam Goldman, Schiff Slams Senators: “They Have Some Nerve”
    • The Angry Rich

      Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

      No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

      These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.

      Yet if you want to find real political rage – the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason – you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.

    • New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

      New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It’s so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being “rich”, or what tax rate is “too much.” But I’ve done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.

    • HMRC letters target taxpayers with Swiss bank accounts

      Hundreds of wealthy UK taxpayers have been sent letters by HM Revenue & Customs over possible large-scale tax evasion, the BBC has learned.

    • Resale Fees That Only Developers Could Love

      But four months later, when a local television reporter was doing a story on housing taxes in their subdivision, the Dupaixs discovered that their sales contract included a “resale fee” that allows the developer to collect 1 percent of the sales price from the seller every time the property changes hands — for the next 99 years.

      Mrs. Dupaix, 34, says she and her husband had no clue about the fee when they closed on the house. “Of course we were upset,” she says. “We didn’t know about it, and our closer at the title company didn’t know about it.”

    • Lies in the Name of the Free Market

      A powerful advocacy organization has made a big impact on this midterm election cycle in states across the country. Americans for Job Security (AJS) has spent millions of dollars on attack ads targeting candidates they view as anti-free market. While this group believes in the free exchange of capital, they are vehemently opposed to the free exchange of information, at least when it comes to their sponsors. AJS has routinely denied requests for a list of donors. As a 501(c)(6), they do not have to reveal this information. But the IRS has stated that any 501(c)(6) group whose “primary purpose” is political activity, must name their donors. The Washington Post reports that AJS spends the vast majority of its budget on television and radio ads before elections. Groups such as Public Citizen have complained to the IRS about AJS’ abuse of its tax-exempt status. But the ambiguous nature of the IRS’ “primary purpose” standard has allowed AJS to continue spewing attack ads every election cycle.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pesticide Industry to Use Tax Dollars to Attack Critics

      The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $180,000 in federal funds to finance an agribusiness-chemical industry plan to combat its critics – Environmental Working Group and other health, consumer and organic farming advocates who have campaigned against overuse of pesticides on food crops.

      The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), a Watsonville, California, trade association representing more than 50 large produce growers and marketers and pesticide and fertilizer suppliers, is slated for a slice of California’s $17.5 million share of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Block Grant program, which Congress set up in 2004 to improve “efficiency, productivity and profitability” in farming of vegetables, fruits, nuts and flowers. The 2008 farm bill expanded the specialty crops program, mandating that USDA distribute $55 million in state block grants in 2010, and the same for 2011 and 2012, to advance “buy local” campaigns and other efforts to make produce, nuts and flower crops more competitive.

    • Honda secures naming rights for Rose Parade

      The three-year deal marks the first time the iconic parade will have a corporate sponsor and the first name change in the parade’s 121-year history.

    • Pastors plan to ‘bait’ IRS with pulpit politics

      On Sunday, a group of 100 preachers nationwide will step into the pulpit and say the only words they’re forbidden by law from speaking in a church.

      They plan to use the pulpit as a platform for political endorsements, flouting a federal law that threatens churches with the loss of their nonprofit status if they stray too far into partisan politics.

      While other church and nonprofit leaders cringe at the deliberate mix of the secular and the religious, participants in the annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday protest hope this act of deliberate lawbreaking will lead to a change in the law.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Buckyballs magnet magnates bully scrappy Zen Magnets: video response

      Basically, this video’s got everything: consumer advocacy, magnets, science, copyright abuse. It’s about the classiest response I can imagine to a legal threat. Let’s hope Zen sells a lot of magnets off the back of it.

    • Copyrights

      • ACS:Law: When bad things happen to bad people

        For some time now English law firm ACS:Law has been in the middle of controversy for its use of dubious tactics against copyright infringers. ACS:Law’s cause célèbre is that they became famous when they teamed-up with porn producers and then they started sending cease-and-desist letters to people claiming that they had been sharing adult content, including some German gay porn (why is Germany the home of gay porn by the way? Inquiring minds demand to know). The business model seemed to be to ask for off-court settlement, or the allegations would be taken to court. Most people paid off to have the accusations go away, possibly to avoid embarrassment. However, many of the targets got together and complained to consumer-rights magazine Which? who in turn filed a complaint to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA). The complaint was serious enough that it got referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), who are currently investigating ACS:Law for unethical practices.

      • Political Forum Fights Back Against Righthaven Copyright Troll Suit

        The online political discussion forum Democratic Underground is fighting back against a lawsuit filed by copyright troll Righthaven LLC, arguing in court documents filed Monday that the short excerpt of a news article at issue in the suit is a clear case of fair use.

        Democratic Underground — represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Winston & Strawn LLP, and attorney Chad Bowers — was sued by Righthaven on August 10 for a five-sentence excerpt of a Las Vegas Review-Journal news story that a user posted on the forum, with a link back to the Review-Journal website. Righthaven has brought over 130 lawsuits in Nevada federal court claiming copyright infringement, even though they do not create, produce or distribute any content. Instead, they create lawsuits by scouring the Internet for content from Review-Journal stories posted on blogs and online forums, acquiring the copyright to that particular story from Stephens Media LLC (the Review-Journal’s publisher), and then suing the poster for infringement.

      • Pandora and Canadian Copyright Royalties

        And therein lies the crux of this story: Pandora and Re:Sound, one of the copyright collectives from which Pandora needs to obtain a license to stream music in Canada, are still in the midst of negotiations about the royalties which Pandora would be obliged to pay.

      • US ISP Suddenlink Claims The DMCA Requires They Disconnect Users

        The DMCA has no requirement that ISPs disconnect people after three accusations (not convictions) — and it especially doesn’t say that ISPs don’t need to offer a refund when they do this. For all the fighting by the record labels trying to get a three strikes policy into law and complaining about the DMCA, perhaps it makes them happy to know that some ISPs are simply pretending the DMCA is a three strikes policy.

      • Multinational copyright companies will require French ISPs turn over 150,000 subscriber names and addresses per day

        France’s “3-strikes” rule comes into effect this week, and multinational corporations are already flooding French ISPs with more than 10,000 requests a day for the personal information of accused infringers; they estimate that this number will go up to 150,000 users/day shortly. Once a user has received three unsubstantiated accusations of infringement, the entire household is cut off from the Internet for a year, and it becomes a crime for any other ISP to connect that family or household. The only opportunity to defend yourself from the charge is a brief “traffic-court”-like streamlined judiciary.

      • Pirate Bay filesharing appeal opens in Sweden

        Four founders and financiers of filesharing site The Pirate Bay, who last year were sentenced to a year in prison, opened their appeal bid to get the verdict overturned in Stockholm on Tuesday.

      • ACS:Law gets a threatening letter in the post

        The fallout from the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against ACS:Law’s website has gone far beyond just punting the firm’s website offline. After the attack, the website came back online with a 350MB file containing emails and a list of over 5,000 Sky Broadband customers that the firm has claimed illegally downloaded pornography.

        It is this file that looks to have placed ACS:Law in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The regulatory body primarily deals with the Data Protection Act, though it also concerns itself with various other privacy and information laws, and earlier this year was given the power to investigate and issue fines of up to £500,000 for such a breach of the Data Protection Act.

      • Porn studios borrowing from RIAA playbook with P2P lawsuits

        The porn industry, long plagued by piracy, has apparently had enough and is beginning to band together to target infringers. Like a move straight out of the RIAA playbook, some companies are beginning to file lawsuits en masse against anonymous P2P users, and have also begun to formulate ways to target sites like YouPorn and PornTube, where users often upload copyrighted clips of their favorite porn movies.

      • ACTA

        • Notes on ACTA Meeting Emerge

          Last Friday September 27, ACTA host Japan sponsored a lunch mixer with NGOs and almost no one came. By one account, there may have been as few at three NGOs there. Requests to the Japan and US delegations to release a list of who attended the meeting have gone unanswered. But a few details have begun to emerge. There is little to counter the widespread perception that the meeting was designed to thwart rather than engage the expression of civil society views on the negotiation.

          The meeting was an informal lunch with negotiators scattered at tables rather than structured in a means for dialogue. This is similar to the D.C. “mixer” and in contrast to Lucerne. In Lucerne the delegates requested written questions in advance and answered them in a structured dialogue around a conference table. Everything was on the record, which led to many news stories based on meeting notes released from those present. In DC and now Tokyo the engagement was more informal with no opportunities for formal question and answers of the group.

        • ACLU Settles Student-Cell-Phone-Search Lawsuit With Northeast Pennsylvania School District
        • MPs have not examined ACTA, says IPO

          The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has confirmed that no text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been shared with MPs or the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.1 Parliament has not been involved in the negotiating process either.

          No democratic institution in the UK has seen the ACTA draft. There has been no democratic scrutiny of the text, Parliament has been shut out of this process. This draft agreement lacks legitimacy before it is even agreed.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • The ACS Law leak shows that the Digital Economy Act carries huge privacy risks

          Unwarranted private surveillance, plus incompetence, have led to a huge leak of sensitive personal data from ACS:Law.

          Information about individual alleged infringers appears to have been contained within the emails leaked at the weekend.

          While reports have concentrated on the “attack” by 4Chan users that brought their webserver down, the more important questions are:

          (a) Why did ACS:Law host email files and sensitive information in a place that could easily be exposed to the public?

          (b) Is it legal and permissible to collect and process such information from torrents without permission or knowledge? As we have reported, the EU Data protection authorities think the answer is probably ‘no’. Now the world can see why.

Clip of the Day

Ludovic Courtès – “Libchop – a library for distributed storage and data backup”

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft Expresses Disdain/Hate for Open Source, Then Speaks on Behalf of Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tea Party in DC
Tea Party in DC

Summary: Microsoft pretends to be the voice of Open Source while fighting against the interests of Open Source with the aid of external/occasional employees like Rob Enderle

THE remarks from Microsoft’s Hernán Rincón refuse to die. He was openly bashing “Open Source” [1, 2, 3, 4] and he is a senior executive in the company, which bodes not so well at all for Microsoft’s pretenders.

What’s the big deal? Rincón simply stated the company’s policy. Unlike the rest of the company and his colleagues in America, this man was not lying about Microsoft’s stance, he was only lying about what “Open Source” can and cannot achieve or why it exists.

“Rob Enderle has written an article built on his imagining that Larry Ellison “out-of-breath” and hence in Enderle’s mind perhaps having health problems.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
It is by no means surprising that IDG lets Microsoft employees steer its "open source" blog. Microsoft is a large source of revenue to IDG and it needs to pretend to be an Open Source authority. The person in question, Walli, also participated in some other public platforms, such as a Red Hat-run blog, opensource.com. Watch the first comment from this Microsoft employee bashing Google in a way (along with other companies, excepting his employer, Microsoft). Just how far does this Microsoft promotion go?

Microsoft need not rely on its own employees to bash Open Source and to bash companies like Google. Microsoft also pays people like Rob Enderle to go around bashing the competition. A week ago, Groklaw’s Pamela Jones wrote about Oracle OpenWorld 2010: “Rob Enderle has written an article built on his imagining that Larry Ellison “out-of-breath” and hence in Enderle’s mind perhaps having health problems. However, if you view the video in full, you’ll notice what Enderle did not, that Ellison is out-of-breath at the very beginning only/ Probably, if I may imagine to match Mr. Enderle’s efforts, because he ran to get to the stage. I’d be out of breath too, and I’m in perfect health. Ellison sounds fine to me. Enderle? Diagnosis unknown.”

ECT still lets him publish nonsense like “Microsoft’s Secret Plan to Take Over the World”. Does ECT not know about the controversy and about his conflict of interest? He gets paid by the companies he writes about. His smearing of Oracle is by no means a surprise; it’s akin to what was done to Apple (Jobs health rumours).

Groklaw also wrote about the “Open Indiana” page on Wikipedia, noting that “There was a dustup about a request — almost as soon as this page began — to remove it as not notable, which it obviously is. However, the decision was eventually made to keep it. The person suggesting deletion claimed to know Ellison ( and that she was in the 90s”…a member of Sun’s HR Business Advisory Council. I also worked closely with Larry Ellison and designed a comprehensive image/branding package.”), but the same individual made other claims that seem contradictory.”

To be clear, Oracle is not worth defending (because it harms free/open source software), but to see Microsoft using Oracle to belittle free/open source software is just worth pointing out. Neither company can honestly speak for Open Source because they are both staunch supporters of the proprietary model. To work against one’s own interests makes no sense, unless it’s part of a stunt.

Mono Liars

Posted in Mono, Site News at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Following the Microsoft model

Sheep says mono

Summary: Quick clarifications regarding a smear campaign that’s waged against Techrights by Mono proponents

IF TECHRIGHTS does not cover Mono as much as it used to, it’s because Mono is not much of a burning issue. It’s not that it’s any safer or more reasonable to use, it’s just that nobody cares about it anymore and it gradually gets abandoned (the only Mono program we have been hearing about lately is SparkleShare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). The Mono project was very active in 2007-2008 and in 2009 the FSF poured cold water on it.

The Mono program which infects more GNU/Linux distributions than anything else is Tomboy. An article has just been published about a “Tomboy To Zim Wiki Conversion Script” and it is also possible to migrate Tomboy data to Gnote. It’s not so hard to avoid Mono anymore. Even Ubuntu is reducing its dependence on Mono, over time.

Many factors have contributed to the demise of Mono, which is the first thing people uninstall when they set up a GNU/Linux-powered machine. The Mono hopefuls are still trying to label Mono problems “myths” and as the comments in Linux Today ought to show, GNU/Linux users just aren’t buying it.

It sure seems like outside the echo chamber of “I admire everything Microsoft” land there is no trust in Mono. Why should there be? Microsoft has been suing and extorting companies for using Microsoft APIs. Why should Mono be treated differently? Besides, Mono only helps .NET become a de facto standard. How is that helpful to GNU/Linux?

“Many factors have contributed to the demise of Mono, which is the first thing people uninstall when they set up a GNU/Linux-powered machine.”As we pointed out before, Mono boosters and Microsoft apologists organise themselves as they attack all sceptics and critics of Mono [1, 2], even polite sites like Groklaw. Sometimes the tactics used are particularly distasteful and they include intimidation, cursing, even libel. Anonymous Novell employees got involved in it too, by commenting in this Web site. The person behind “Mono mythbusting”, a self-appointed spokesman for Mono, has been one of the worst in that regard. Last year he wrote an article where he referred to anonymous comments from Techrights, making them appear like the site’s actual position/article content. Why? So that the site can be described as “radical” (cherry-picking radical comments, not editrials). The same Mono bully is now collecting lines of text from anonymous IRC participants as though they represent the positions of this Web site. That is a deliberate distortion which is intended to daemonise based on misattribution.

Don’t trust what Mono apologists are saying. Many of them are shameless, foul-mouthed liars and stalkers. They also spend a fair amount of time bullying those who link to Techrights and spreading false characterisations. What motivates them and Novell staff to do all of this if not the necessity of gagging opposition and silencing opposing views? The worship of Mono sometimes looks worse than adherence to Apple or Scientology.

Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Servers rack - amateur

Summary: Latest security issues and systematic deception, mostly from Microsoft and its various boosters across the Web (giving credit to Microsoft after Microsoft messed up)

Gratis as in Lock-in

A FEW days ago we wrote about Microsoft's attempt at disconnecting the air supply from third-party AV vendors, at least in small businesses. This would only decrease security due to monoculture, decreased competition, and lack of incentive to improve. The funny thing here is that Microsoft sells a vulnerable operating system and then claims to be distributing “free of charge” (only to some people) what ought to have been a characteristic of the operating system, not an add-on. The spinners from Seattle call it a “free” anti-virus software and what’s meant by free is not freedom. It’s free as in gratis, with lock-in. It decreases one’s personal freedom and also impedes freedom of choice. A better headline than “Free Anti-Virus Protection Spurs More Robust Options” would be “Free-of-charge Anti-Virus Pseudo-protection Depresses More Robust Options”.

Watch the Indian press turning the whole thing into Vista 7 promotion: “IT major Microsoft has launched a campaign to help computer users identify threats to their systems and how their networks can be made secure using Original Windows 7 that now comes with the advantage of Microsoft Security Essentials.”

So Microsoft wants to dump Security Essentials on the market (as expected by many people all along) and already we learn that “Scareware Apes Microsoft Security Essentials”. Microsoft has always performed very poorly among the security products already available and well established. “Anti-virus systems get tested” says The Inquirer which gives the following details:

A NUMBER of the most common anti-virus security systems have had a beady eye passed over their effectiveness and fitness for purpose in an assessment.

The study, which was carried out by the Austrian AV Comparatives group, looked at twenty products from the main providers that volunteered to take part.

We do not know who if anyone refused, but AV Comparatives said that it had limited test subjects to no more than twenty and required that participants adhered to its undisclosed criteria.

“Over half of all apps have security holes,” claims Veracode (which we mentioned in [1, 2]).

More than half of all software applications failed to meet an acceptable level of security, according to a study based on real-world code audits by application security firm Veracode.

Around 57 per cent of applications failed to pass muster when first submitted to Veracode’s cloud-based testing service. A similar 56 per cent of finance-related applications failed first testing by Veracode’s security audit. The quality of the code used in many business-critical banking and insurance operations was simply not up to snuff.

ASP.NET Under Attack, Spin

In security news, the other major issue last week was the Microsoft ASP.NET vulnerability, which we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4].

“Is this really praise-worthy, especially when someone responds to flaws which the same someone is responsible for?”The ASP.NET problem alarmed Microsoft a great deal and the PR spin strives to make Microsoft be seen as responsive. An advisory was quickly issued [1, 2, 3] because of bad publicity and because it was already being exploited (a demo existed). There is only a temporary fix, not a permanent one. There are third-party fixes.

So, once again Microsoft pays attention to flaws a tad too late and then scrambles to limit damage it could probably prevent. Is this really praise-worthy, especially when someone responds to flaws which the same someone is responsible for?

Just like in the case of Russian spin [1, 2], Microsoft is trying to make itself look like the saviour rather than the problem. Lee Pender of the Microsoft boosters is trying to make Microsoft look good by painting it as responsive and responsible. To quote: “Well, late last week, we got an update from a Microsoft spokesperson who wanted to tell us that Microsoft hasn’t just buried its head in the sand on Stuxnet.”

We wrote about Stuxnet in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].


Over in Australia, Microsoft is involving the police right now (funded by taxpayers) [1, 2, 3, 5]. It’s about a computer scam that affects Microsoft.

Twitter and Fog Computing

The other day we wrote about the major problem Twitter.com was having. Half a million Twitter users are said to be affected by a Twitter worm and Slashdot discusses the matter before and after the patching. Here are “the names and faces behind the ‘onMouseOver’ Twitter worm attack”. It’s one of those risks of Fog Computing. Even a teenager turns out to have been smart enough to do it.

But later, some mischievous users of the site started using the exploit to make people “retweet” infected messages (when they hovered over a tweet with the code inserted) that they had not authorised.

The guy is Australian, so will the police get involved? Or does the Australian police get involved only to help Microsoft?

Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue

Posted in America, Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coburn and Obama discuss S. 2590

Summary: As wiretapping gets an upper hand in the United States and Iran’s computing facilities (about 30,000 machines with Windows) come under attack, questions are asked about GNU/Linux as a true need

“Chinese Internet espionage against human rights activists and journalists” reveals this new article on which Glyn Moody commented by saying: “Windows-based, it seems” (it may seem related to the latest incidents reported in Russia [1, 2]).

As the world becomes increasingly connected and increasingly digital, the choice of technology matters a lot to politics, including foreign affairs. Last week we wrote about Stuxnet [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which some people suspect was targeting Iran specifically [1, 2, 3] and was designed for this purpose. Security guru Bruce Schneier does not believe that this is the case. Some days ago he wrote: “The article speculates that the target is Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, but there’s not much in the way of actual evidence to support that.”

“Had it only affected Solaris or GNU/Linux, then surely the press would point this out, so it’s just not fair that Microsoft gets a free pass.”Whether Iran was targeted or not, it sure was among those affected. Glyn Moody says in relation to this article about Iran, “30K Windows PCs: might be time to look at GNU/Linux, eh?”

The cyber-attack on Iranian facilities is also covered in the British press [1, 2] and in Slashdot. The MSBBC doesn’t mention Windows at all, even though it’s exclusively a Windows issue. Had it only affected Solaris or GNU/Linux, then surely the press would point this out, so it’s just not fair that Microsoft gets a free pass.

IT Pro (UK) wonders if Stuxnet is “[t]he most serious threat yet”

Stuxnet is something unique, however. It has been causing something of a stir in the security community since it was first spotted by a small company from Belarus named VirusBlokAda.

When Microsoft put out an alert over the virus in July, Stuxnet quickly moved from being a relative unknown to something serious.

Then earlier this month, Stuxnet was observed doing something unprecedented: exploiting four zero-day vulnerabilities at once. It is this advanced capability that has caused such a commotion.

Now that full wiretapping is a hot subject in the United States (read the new article “Surveillance does not make us safe”), one has to wonder if new legislation is needed. When everyone can access almost everyone else’s (Windows) computer, surveillance down the wire is no longer a strict requirement. The Hill says that the “NSA chief envisions ‘secure zone’ on Internet to guard against attacks”.

The Pentagon official in charge of the military’s cyber unit on Thursday said the government should create a “secure zone” for federal agencies and critical private sector industries to protect them from potential attacks.

General Keith Alexander, who heads the U.S. Cyber Command, told reporters a network sectioned off from the rest of the Internet is probably inevitable for systems crucial to national security.

How about just taking Richard A. Clarke's advice and moving off Windows?

Microsoft DRM Makes More Windows Botnets, Adds No Security

Posted in DRM, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Access control

Summary: New exploit takes advantage of Microsoft DRM (remotely-exploitable vulnerabilities), Engadget reviles DRM

Exploit-db.com has this new entry titled “Microsoft DRM Technology (msnetobj.dll) ActiveX Multiple Remote Vulnerabilities”

“Sort of what the FSF was saying back in the day MS released Vista with its flood of DRM embedded in it,” remarked Chips B. Malroy on it. Here is what boingboing.net had to say about it:

Microsoft’s DRM makes your computer vulnerable to attack

The msnetobj.dll library is an ActiveX control used by Microsoft’s DRM; it is intended to prevent the owner of a computer from saving or viewing certain files except under limited circumstances, and to prevent the computer’s owner from disabling it or interfering with it.

“DRM Library From Microsoft Opens Your Computer to Attacks,” said IDG a few days later, citing boingboing.net.

“The msnetobj.dll library, an ActiveX Network Object, is no exception: according to BoingBoing, msnetobj.dll “is intended to prevent the owner of a computer from saving or viewing certain files except under limited circumstances, and to prevent the computer’s owner from disabling” the library.

“Aside from mandating what sort of files you can and can’t open on your computer, msnetobj.dll is susceptible to three different types of attacks: denial of service, buffer overflow, and integer overflow. Exploit Database notes that “this issue is triggered when an attacker convinces a victim user to visit a malicious website” and that a hacker could then exploit these holes to run malicious code on your system.”

An Engadget editor goes against DRM (very publicly in fact) some time during the weekend. Who can possibly blame him?

It’s been said so many times, but I just got stung hard by the DRM bug, and since there’s a “Senior Associate Editor” next to my name somewhere I get to complain about it. Now, if you’re a regular consumer with a modicum of common sense, nothing I’m going to say here will come as a surprise or revelation. You’re welcome to come along for the ride, but I’m pointing my quivering pen today at the media execs and their willing technologist accomplices that have the nerve in 2010 to enforce HDCP and other completely inane DRM and copy protection schemes to “protect” their content from theft…

The genesis of DRM and its conception was partly rooted in Bill Gates about a decade ago. It wasn’t until Vista that they made it part of Windows (Vista 7 has that too).

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann

Novell News Roundup: GroupLink, Bahrain’s MOSD, Messaging Architects, SAP, and Training in India

Posted in Asia, Novell, Virtualisation at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Beaver brook

Summary: An overview on Novell activity, intended to spare overemphasis on unimportant matters


GroupLink Announces the Novell ZENworks 10 Integrated Service Desk

GroupLink Corporation, the leader in help desk, service desk, incident management and CRM solutions for Novell environments, announces the only Novell ZENworks 10 integrated service desk, everything HelpDesk. The ZENworks 10 integration adds to the current integration points of GroupWise or Exchange, eDirectory or Active Directory (LDAP), and Linux (OES2/SLES10) or Windows.

GroupLink unveils new integrated service desk

GroupLink, a provider of help desk, service desk, incident management and CRM offerings for Novell environments, has unveiled Novell ZENworks 10 integrated service desk, an everything HelpDesk.


Small shops try virtualization for disaster recovery recovery

Gregory Rosenberg, the CEO of Red Hat value-added reseller RICIS Inc., says his smaller clients use Novell’s open source tool SUSE Studio, a kit for preconfiguring and packaging virtual machines.

Novell PlateSpin Orchestrate Graph Rendering Component Vulnerability

Bahrain Ministry of Social Development adopts Novell technology, reduces IT support workload by up to 60 per cent (also here)

Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) has recently implemented the Novell Open Enterprise solution, which has resulted in a more stable, secure, flexible and cost-efficient IT infrastructure, while helping reduce up to 60 per cent of the Ministry’s IT support workload. Novell, the leader in Intelligent Workload Management (IWM), has likewise helped MOSD successfully streamline and automate user and desktop management within its offices, keeping skilled technicians free to focus on more important tasks.

Messaging Architects

Messaging Architects: The Future of Novell – Better Informed Speculation

Messaging Architects: “Messaging Architects webinar to feature former Novell Canada chief Don Chapman” (page removed)


The Future of Novell — Better Informed Speculation: Don Chapman, Former President of Novell Canada Speaks at a Live Webinar

Mr. Chapman will discuss the decisions that led up to the current situation and what elements can be considered as almost inevitable in the short term. He will present his views on what this will probably mean for Novell clients and partners, and the options they should be considering. Time will be provided for questions.

Don Chapman served as President of Novell Canada for 11 years and is currently Advisor to Institutional Investors that track Novell.


• Novell and SAP Collaborate to Optimize Customers’ SUSE Linux-Based SAP® Application Deployments – press release (also here)

Novell and SAP team up to make SLES for SAP

Excerpt: “Novell and SAP have released a specialised version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SLES for SAP Applications. Designed to ease deployment issues and reduce installation time and costs, SLES for SAP offers – an unattended installation framework to seamlessly load SAP applications onto the operating system, clustering support and a stack validated by SAP and Novell. SAP says it is committed to delivering support for its proprietary software on open source based platforms.”

Novell, SAP Buddy Up On SUSE Linux-based SAP Apps

Novell and SAP in Linux application alliance

Partnership extends SAP data management to Novell users

Novell Launches SUSE Linux for SAP

Novell Releases SUSE Linux Optimised For SAP

Novell Debuts Linux OS for SAP Apps

Well, this whole relationship is generally not new.


2 Universities Deploy High-Density Rack Servers for Research Computing

Excerpt: “The PowerEdge C6100 is a high-density rack server with low energy requirements. It runs Intel Xeon 5600 processors running Novell or Red Hat Linux and can accommodate up to 96 GB of memory. Each node in the unit can be serviced separately from the others.

HP tunes blades for Oracle apps

Excerpt: “Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has not been certified on this Matrix for PeopleSoft setup because, as Crowsen puts it, no one has asked for it yet.”

Novell: Why we don’t need a third Linux distro (relates to two SUSE items we covered before [1, 2], now we have other critiques)

Training (Novell India)

This is not belated news as we suspected last week, but it’s about India and it comes via India PRwire/Novell India.

Novell announces new SUSE Linux Certification Programs in association with Leading Institutes and Training Partners

Excerpt: “Novell India announced their new SUSE Linux Certification Programme in conjunction with leading academic institutes and training partners.”

A Novell-certified blind woman makes the Canadian news [1, 2].


New website aims to link LDS businesspeople

Excerpt: “A self-described social-networking junkie has launched a new website designed to help Mormons and others with similar business interests meet online.

“David Bradford, chairman and former chief executive of Fusion-io and a former Novell executive, is creator of LDS.biz, which formally debuted Tuesday but has been quietly attracting followers for several weeks.”

LDS.Biz Launches Social Networking Site

The site was started by David Bradford, who was the former CEO of solid state disk drive firm Fusion-io, and also has been an executive at Novell.


Pay me now or Pay me later (John Dragoon speaks favourably about the marketing needs)

The bottom line is that, while Hurd was able to achieve some short-term goals by cutting the R&D budget at HP, the company now has to make up the loss by essentially buying innovation and they are paying top dollar. Alternative innovation investment strategies are also an interesting commentary on make versus buy and how critical innovation is as a core competence of technology companies.

Being a marketeer, I brought this back to marketing. Many organizations think that they can save money by draconian cuts to the marketing budget and, frankly, in the short term they can save money in this way. But at what cost?

Running The Data Center

Excerpt: “Benjamin Grubin, director of solutions at Novell (www.novell.com), says containerization, virtualization, and cloud computing are three related technologies. Containerization, or the use of densely packed, highly standardized computing resources in modular containers, can potentially accelerate the shift to standardized pools of resources, Grubin says. These pools can be divided among various shifting computing duties.”

Excom unsecured creditors owed $2.14m

Among the listed creditors are Excom in Australia, Google, Microsoft in Singapore, Novell and VMware International. The liquidators report notes these creditors may not have filed a claim in the liquidation.

Fog Computing Focus at Novell

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Novell, Servers at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue city

Summary: Novell drifts further away from Free software and deeper into the foggy realms of ‘cloud’ computing, which may suit an acquisition by a virtualisation company rather well

Novell has been redefining its focus recently. It positions itself as a Fog Computing (‘cloud’) company and it truly shows. This may also suit a buyer like VM_Bware, which is all about virtualisation at its core. “A Key to Unlocking the Cloud” is a new article which is an interview with Novell about Fog Computing. From the introduction: “Arthur Cole spoke with John Stetic, vice president of product management, Novell. Cloud lock-in is such a concern among enterprises that whenever a company like Novell releases a system said to traverse multiple platforms, we take notice. Stetic explains how the new Cloud Manager crosses the barriers between virtual and cloud platforms and helps tighten resource allocation in the bargain.”

“New Product News” is another fresh item which contains the following: “Novell Inc. announced the release of Novell Cloud Manager, a new solution that enables users to create and manage cloud computing options. Novell Cloud Manager automatically creates and deploys workloads into the virtual environment based on pre-defined workload templates, as well as allows users to create and manage private clouds on all leading hypervisors, operating systems and operating platforms.”

Oddly enough, Novell also spreads some fear of Fog Computing, as means of selling products for it:

Cloud is a delight for hackers, says Novell


An identity-infused enterprise, which would see a user’s profile monitored by every IT system they interface with in real time, is one way of tackling cloud security problems, according to Brian Singer, senior solutions marketing manager for security management at Novell.

says that “Novell releases cloud manager” and LNLP is covering this timely product (about 5 minutes from the start: “Novell punts cloud control tool, Fact or Fiction?”).

There is also this new video to accompany the product:

Over at Novell’s PR blog, looking at the past 2 weeks’ items, we find just proprietary software in all cases pretty much (nearly everything), sometimes with Fog Computing spin and selective promotion
for the CEO. There is also one press release for proprietary software. Those who still call Novell an “open source” company are simply not paying attention to its recent activities and announcements.

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