Microsoft Collapse Increasingly Acknowledged by Mainstream Media While Microsoft Becomes Patent Troll

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft is not competitive enough for today’s generation of devices, so dirty tricks and lawsuits increasingly seem like the business plan

BY shutting down divisions and axing many products Microsoft sets itself for becoming a patent troll in many areas of operation. When it demands payments for other companies’ products (and strictly products that Microsoft does not have), then in this area it is considered a non-practising litigator and thus a troll. Prepare for Novell/Microsoft (almost the same thing now) to use patents as their business model, if many of the pundits are to be believed (we’ll give a sample later in the week).

Sharon Pian Chan, a Microsoft booster (from “Microsoft Pri0″), says that “Steve Ballmer sells $84 million of Microsoft stock” and she adds that Microsoft’s stock is “in rut, Microsoft investors not happy” (despite buyouts and increasing Microsoft debt).

What used to be a love fest for Microsoft has turned into the nitpicking of a long-married couple.

That’s coming from one of Microsoft’s pet publications, which even (mis)uses copyright law to tear down criticism of Steve Ballmer and constantly parrots/seeds Bill Gates’ many lies. Looking at some other papers we find that “[Steve Ballmer] said that mobile remains a dynamic market where winners and losers are still being decided.”

Well, then Microsoft is determined to become a “loser”. Its mobile presence or growth is nowhere to be seen. It only blows money through excessive marketing of prematurely-released products that are well behind the times. Microsoft’s real strategy in the mobile space is patent aggression and extortion of competitors, which is what some of the patents it got from Novell ought to help with.

“Maybe the explanation is it wants to dominate the mobile space,” adds Pamela Jones from Groklaw, “as it used to dominate the desktop, and it can’t get there without lawsuits, because their phones aren’t competitive enough to win on merit alone.”

The Microsoft booster Peter Bright got his reward from the company’s PR department in the form of an interview (that’s how they work) and in this interview Ballmer is quoted as saying: “At the end of the day, businesses, when a consu… when a user—let me not use the word “consumer”—when a user comes into work and asks for something over and over, IT’s going to have to give it to them. Now, do I expect the user to come in and say they really want their company to use SQL Server versus Oracle? No. But anything the consumer can use at home, they will develop a point of view on and ask for it at work. And eventually, IT will give it to them.”

“[Microsoft] used to dominate the desktop, and it can’t get there without lawsuits, because their phones aren’t competitive enough to win on merit alone.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Bill Gates put it similarly by saying: “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” That’s why he hijacks the schools system (using his profitable foundation) and then uses it to indoctrinate children at the expense of their parents rather than Microsoft’s own expense (although schools should forbid such indoctrination at all costs). Microsoft is still using him as a PR person. It’s the same guy who said “f*ck” many times and called for a "Jihad" against Linux. It’s appalling what PR can do to such appalling charlatans. Gates has a lot to do (even personally) with the world’s biggest patent troll as well, but how many people actually know that?

The bottom line though is that Microsoft cannot compete in today’s growth areas and cannot evolve for the Web, either. Even bribed Microsoft boosters admit that AZune Fog [sic] is something people will not want to use. No wonder Ozzie called it quits [1, 2]. He was supposed to be Gates’ successor and a visionary. His vision is that leaving Microsoft and blogging under GNU/Linux is the way forward.

Microsoft is the next SCO. As its power erodes and its inner animal bursts out, it will be Ballmerism all the way (unless of course he quits, in which case the devil whom we don’t know will take over).

“Pamela Jones [...] has told Infoworld that Microsoft will be the next SCO Group”


Black Duck (Proprietary) Gets More Microsoft Employees, Anti-FOSS Coalitions Forming

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scroll with BSoD
Having failed to compete with code, Microsoft pulls contracts

Summary: The consolidation of GNU/Linux foes as seen not just in the eyes of Groklaw

Black Duck was created by a former Microsoft employee and has since then done some dubious things which we covered quite extensively. It has gotten worse because the company does a great deal not just make people scared of Free software (Black Duck is a proprietary software company) while applying for software patents; Black Duck also gives lip service to Microsoft, helping it get more influence inside the “Open Source” circles. Whenever Black Duck celebrates improved sales, well… then it just means that more proprietary software gets ‘sold’ (licensed for use).

A company called SpikeSource vanished into obscurity a long while ago. We mentioned it in relation to Microsoft crashing OSBC 2009 and reminded readers that SpikeSource had resorted to participating in Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux strategy [1, 2]. SpikeSource was not a friend of software freedom but a facilitator of Windows adoption.

This brings us back to Black Duck, the proprietary software company which keeps taking some Microsoft boosters and former employees on board (the latest example being Ohloh). On the Microsoft front this is great news (entryism and what Microsoft privately calls infiltration), especially now that the Microsoft booster SpikeSource becomes part of Black Duck. It’s like a reunion which another Microsoft booster covers:

SpikeSource –a Silicon-Valley startup once blessed by big names and championed as the future of making money on open-source – has shut-up shop after seven years.

The assets of SpikeSource have been bought by Black Duck Software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dana Blankenhorn has mentioned this too. There’s no explanation there of what SpikeSource was doing in recent years — something which we consider to be selfish and harmful. They helped a patent bully and corrupt monopolist gain more power and squash freedom while pretending to support it. There is nothing more dangerous than a foe who pretends to be your friend.

Ziff Davis covered this SpikeSource story and Groklaw’s Pamela Jones is finally waking up to the trouble which is Black Duck by quoting: “Black Duck Software acquires the assets of SpikeSource and also hires Sara Ford, former program manager for Microsoft’s CodePlex open-source project hosting site.”

We wrote about Sara Ford several times before [1, 2, 3]. Her agenda and methods were not so different from SpikeSource’s but she worked directly for Microsoft, repeating the very same PR lies. Now she’ll just serve a satellite which in all likelihood will be further assimilated to Microsoft (from which the founder of Black Duck originally came). Jones quotes from the Ziff Davis (funded partly by Microsoft [1, 2, 3]) article:

In related news, Black Duck hired a former Microsoft program manager to help run Ohloh.net. Black Duck hired Sarah Ford, former program manager for Microsoft’s CodePlex site for hosting open-source projects, to be Black Duck’s senior product and community manager for Ohloh.net….

In a Nov. 15 post on the Ohloh blog, Ford said: “I spent the last 5 years promoting open source development on CodePlex.com, Microsoft’s open source project hosting site. During my tenure as the Program Manager for CodePlex.com, I watched 10,000 open source projects get created on a forge hosted by Microsoft. I believe a large part of this success comes from utilizing agile methodologies to respond to community feedback via site enhancements. In upcoming posts, I’ll talk about how agile is the most fundamental thing you can do to improve the user satisfaction of your site.”

“Ohloh.net was started by two ex-Microsoft employees,” Jones points out. “Then Geeknet bought it. Now it’s owned by Black Duck. Geeknet is a member of OIN. This list of OIN licensees indicates that Black Duck is not and Ohloh.net is not.”

Of course not. Groklaw wrote about Geeknet joining OIN at the time (around the same time that Ohloh left).

It is worth noting that even SugarCRM (which pretends to be open source for marketing purposes) is joining the OIN:

SugarCRM and Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced the signing of SugarCRM as an OIN licensee. OIN’s mission is to enable and protect Linux. By becoming a licensee, SugarCRM, a leading provider of open source CRM software, has joined the expanding list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Some time later in the week we will have more to say about the OIN, also in relation to Novell. Microsoft has several OIN-like entities out there but they are patent trolls, meaning that they are offensive and aggressive (Intellectual Ventures, the new shell where Novell’s patents go, and maybe Traul Allen’s Interval and Acacia). As a reader as ours put it the other day by quoting Groklaw, “I can’t help but wonder if Paul Allen no longer trusts in his Microsoft stock to support him”. Here is a broader part of Groklaw’s new article:

Do you remember when Google, Apple, Facebook, OfficeMax, Yahoo! and Netflix/OfficeDepot/Staples/eBay all filed motions to dismiss or sever Paul Allen’s Interval Licensing’s patent infringement complaint? They filed to dismiss for misjoinder and Google filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Google and the others want the cases separated into eleven instead of one humungous case, if the court doesn’t toss the complaint out.

Allen has answered with his opposition to both ideas. And the accused Gang of Eleven read the filings and their response could be described simply like this: What do we all have in common? How can it possibly work for any of us to have to go forward as a group? And Google writes, “Interval has not identified any products of any of the defendants that are allegedly infringing.” All it has said “without explanation” is that all the defendants infringe one of its patents with “similar” functionality, but there are no facts to support the claim. What functionality? What is the claim?

AOL is part of this lawsuit and it takes an active role as Groklaw shows: “AOL says if Interval had been specific, it would have just answered, and the case could have progressed. However, it files this reply in support of Google’s motion, joining it, because it has no clear picture of what Interval is complaining about.”

Why does that matter? Well, it sure seems like Microsoft is involuntarily building a sort of coalition containing many Microsoft veterans. They pretend to be for “open source” (Mono and Moonlight for instance). It collects software patents (even Black Duck does) and avoids OIN. At times it is also attacking those who are really supporting software freedom. They try to reform it for Microsoft’s convieniece.

When the BBC Talks About Computers It Means Microsoft Windows

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Person using a computer

Summary: The MSBBC (N00BBC?) carries on providing new examples where it is unable to name offending/guilty vendors/products, unless they are Microsoft rivals

ThistleWeb (Gordon) from TechBytes noticed that the BBC is at it again. It reports on Windows-only problems, yet does not mention “Windows” (or any Microsoft-related brand for that matter) in the articles about Windows-only problems. As ThistleWeb put it in Identi.ca today, “again the “quality” #BBC journos do a Windows only story without mentioning “Windows” or “Microsoft” http://bbc.in/eWKvgB #fail”

Glyn Moody soon responded with: “another pathetic #BBC piece failing to mention Windows”

Harish Pillay from Red Hat wrote: “Why does BBC not mention M$ windoze in this story? It is all about M$ windows’ solid security anyway!”

Later in the same day ThistleWeb noticed yet another example and wrote: “Just how many MS employees are on the #BBC payroll? 2 Windows stories in one day that don’t mention “Windows” http://bbc.in/fN8bzX

“2 Windows stories in one day that don’t mention “Windows””
As we have been showing for a few years, Microsoft UK staff is entering BBC management and the bias is therefore not entirely surprising. They give the illusion that choice does not exist and Windows is just part of the computer. What would it be like if cars where treated similarly?

In other news, ThistleWeb found this new post which he says demonstrates the “famous “ease of use” Microsoft keep bleating on about”. Read the post and be shocked…

“Age of Empires III is available for 10p”
Interesting. That’s probably worthwhile.
“On Games For Windows marketplace”
Ah well. Lets give it a go.

As it shows thereafter, the whole process is a sordid mess. Bear in mind this is the type of complicated platform the BBC promotes as “standard” (while occasionally bashing GNU/Linux by saying that it’s hard, if not altogether ignoring its existence). This is the service taxpayers are obliged to pay for?

Links 24/11/2010: Avatar Reveals Reliance on GNU/Linux, Acer Distributes More Android

Posted in News Roundup at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A Point That Deserves Illuminating: Linux Is Not “I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows!”

    The difference between consumer needs and producer needs appear to be clearly understood everywhere else. You don’t sell a forklift to a soccer mom, and you don’t force a warehouse worker to try to drag pallets of boxes around in an SUV. I could go on with more examples, right? Everybody grasps the concept that the needs of a consumer and a producer are different?

  • Desktop

    • Handing out Ubuntu CDs

      Better late than never, this Saturday Ubuntu Denmark finally got around to hand out Ubuntu 10.10 CDs in a mall in Aarhus.

      It’s been more than a year since we did it the last time, and the LoCo team had undergone some fundamentally changes in the meantime, and has been quite inactive. So the event was of great importance – not only to the spread of Ubuntu, but to the local community in general as well.

      The day was quite a success. We handed out about 120-130 CD’s which we’ve received from Canonical in the 6 hours we were there, and, just as importantly, showed the Ubuntu name and brand to thousands of people. I also think we “recruited” a lot of people to attend our bi-monthly Ubuntu meetups, where people can get technical help, listen to presentations and contributing to Ubuntu.

  • Server

    • Avatar: behind the scenes at Weta Digital

      In its work Weta uses several different software programs to create its special effects. The company uses PCs running Linux and most animation is done using Maya. To complement this, the company created its own software including Mari, which is used to “skin” characters and monsters using scans of rubber molds taken from actors. Mari lets animators use skin like a brush to coat each of their figures.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Free as in Freedom: Episode 0×03: i Don’t Store

      Karen and Bradley discuss the debates regarding Apple’s online store restrictions that make it impossible to distribute GPL’d software via Apple’s store. Then, they discuss question the usefulness of the term “Open Core”

  • Ballnux

    • 10 reasons I’m dumping my iPad for a Galaxy Tab

      Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch tablet that looks a lot like an overgrown Galaxy S phone, without the phone functionality. It debuted in the U.S. this month and will be available from all four major U.S. wireless carriers. (Note: Versions of the device sold outside the U.S. do have phone functionality; this is a limitation imposed by the U.S. carriers.) Reviews ranged from glowing (”It’s a Tablet. It’s Gorgeous. It’s Costly“) to scathing (”A Pocketable Train Wreck“).

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • VIA Graphics Still Lack Any Real Linux Progress

        While other hardware vendors are constantly improving their open-source support, this isn’t the case for all vendors. VIA’s open-source Linux support is still in very bad shape — two and a half years after they had envisioned themselves becoming open-source friendly.

      • Vandalizing Open-Source Drivers?

        While the RadeonHD driver is no longer actively developed, obviously this can come across as offensive to those who vigorously worked on this open-source Linux driver. More importantly though it puts into question the security of the FreeDesktop.org infrastructure. It took three weeks to spot as the Git notification email was not sent to the appropriate mailing list. Luc has already written to the mailing list.

      • Intel Windows vs. Linux GPU Performance Q4’2010

        The most demanding OpenGL test in this article is Nexuiz and here the Mesa 7.10-devel + Linux 2.6.37 kernel DRM struggled to compete with the proper Intel Windows 7 driver. On average, the Windows 7 driver was 56% faster than the open-source Mesa driver was and the gap widened at the higher resolutions.

        The latest Intel/Mesa driver code on Linux has resulted in some performance improvements and has made it more competitive with their Windows graphics driver, but still we are finding the Intel Linux performance to be at a loss in the more demanding test environments. The Intel Windows stack is also compatible with more games and OpenGL applications than the Mesa-based Linux solution. It will be interesting to see how the Intel Sandy Bridge performance compares between Microsoft Windows and Linux once released early next year.

      • If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Does Linux Drivers Too

        Last night when checking to see if VIA has made any open-source / Linux progress that went unnoticed (they haven’t), that also led me to see what S3 Graphics is up to these days. S3 Graphics doesn’t back any open-source driver strategy and they don’t have many GPUs on the market, but their binary Linux driver claims to support OpenGL 3, VDPAU, and even kernel mode-setting since last year.

      • Understanding the Necessity of Wayland

        Questioning the necessity for Wayland and the wiseness of the choice has become a phenomena, especially after Mark Shuttleworth annouced Ubuntu’s plans to eventually switch to Wayland. Following I will provide a concise reasoning why we want Wayland. At the end there are some more links for further reading.

      • Nvidia upgrades toolkit for GPU programming
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Enlightenment… Now Running On Refrigerators

      The Enlightenment Libraries haven’t even hit version 1.0 yet (though they’re getting close and in beta right now), but these libraries and other parts of Enlightenment are already in production use. Besides Samsung getting in bed with Enlightenment for their smart-phone Linux OS, this open-source software is now appearing in… refrigerators.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Question: Why Use a Blogging Client?

        Yeouch. Hell, I’ve done everything I could to get Firefox to save space, and yet… ouch ouch ouch. Blogilo wins this one, even before you remove the toolbox.

        The reasons are obvious. WordPress.com suffers all the weaknesses of trying to make an application out of a document-layouting language, while Blogilo benefits from the full power of modern-day desktop application toolkits: this is evidenced by the fact that, despite not having enough room for the Visual Editor tab’s toolbar, the toolkit knows how to properly manage that situation (hide some buttons at the end). Moreover, because you only ever open Blogilo to actually post something to your blog, that’s all it has to display: web interfaces also need tools and navigation for visiting your blog, managing comments, visiting other people’s blogs, managing your account, managing media etcetera, and that stuff scoffs space. The website looks, feels and works like… you guessed it – a website. On the other side of the fence, the desktop client looks, feels and works more like a document creator, which is good – since the focus is on the document and not the rest of the interface.

      • Calendar Systems in 4.6

        So what’s new in 4.6 for Calendar Systems? Well, not much visible really. I had hoped to have the astronomical calendars (Chinese, Islamic, etc) done for 4.6, but I’m still in requirements gathering for that so it’s bumped to 4.7. Instead I’ve done some stuff to make date localization easy. If you’re looking for bling, you may as well skip to the next post (I’m sure someone has some nice Lenovo eye-candy to show off :-), but if you’re an app coder tired of how awkward date localization can be then stick around.

      • multihead saga continues

        I received no testing feedback from my last blog entry about multihead improvements for Plasma Desktop, which underscores the challenges we face with multihead support very nicely.

        In any case, today I went through plasma-desktop and moved all the relevant code over to the new solution and committed all the changes to trunk. In theory this should improve plasma-desktop on multihead even further, with things like moving panels around with the mouse working as expected and what not.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gtk3 vs HTML5

        The code is not really clean enough for public consumption yet, and a bunch of features are missing. However, its now at the stage where it can be demoed and evaluated.

      • Gnome Shell Automatic Workspaces Mockup (Tiled View Follow-Up)

        A while back we’ve told you about an interesting Unity mockup for managing multiple workspaces that automatically creates the workspaces and always keeps an empty workspace so you don’t have to create the workspaces yourself (and you always have the number of workspaces that you actually need).

        Unfortunately, Mark Shuttleworth didn’t like the idea (at least the way it was described back then) so it seems like we won’t have this in Unity. But on the other hand, it looks like we’ll have it in Gnome Shell (not exactly the same, but the same concept is being used). Read on!

      • Lucidity theme for Linux adds pastel elegance to the desktop

        Lucidity theme. Chances are you’ve seen it in a screenshot at some point in your life.

        The official blurb states that Lucidity is ‘set of themes which are smooth and subtle, while also being fairly high in contrast, and in which interactive elements are noticeable and responsive in order to deliver a lucid experience.’

  • Distributions

    • Fav Distro (Nov ’10)
    • Reviews

      • Stage 2 of The Linux Experience: Bodhi

        A while ago I noted that I have been exploring Lilliput, trying out a few of the lightweight distros that have been proliferating lately. A brand new one named Bodhi is currently being developed, and Susan Linton gave an alpha version of it a brief review on her OStatic blog under the title Just Another Ubuntu-based Distro or Something More. I gave Bodhi a try (just from the LiveCD so far), and I must say I definitely see it as Something More, a significantly new approach to providing a kit for making The Distro You Always Wanted.


        My own impression is that Bodhi, by the time it reaches final release, could easily turn out to be a nearly ideal distro for someone who has come recently to Linux with no prior IT experience, but who has begun to show an interest in doing something more than simply using a ready-made OS.

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.3 released

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of version 3.3 of Tiny Core Linux. Based on the Linux kernel, Tiny Core Linux 3.3 features updates to the Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK), such as a new integrated file manager and a minimal editor under System tools.

      • SimplyMepis Celebrates 8th Anniversary with Release

        Warren Woodford, founder of MEPIS, has announced the release of SimplyMepis 11.0 Alpha 3 just in time to mark the eighth anniversary of MEPIS on November 21. SimplyMepis usually takes quite a while to cook and no final release date has been given.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Cowen Says Hold; A Buyout’s Unlikely

        A day after the second-biggest Linux vendor, Novell (NOVL), was offered $2.2 billion to merge, Cowen & Co.’s Gregg Moskowitz initiated coverage of the biggest, Red Hat (RHT), with a Neutral rating, writing that while Red Hat’s business is rebounding, its stock is rich and some of its opportunities are not as verdant as they once were.

        Red Hat has been very successful at turning users of the free Linux operating system into paying customers who receive support and upgrades on a subscription basis, creating a nice annuity revenue stream.

      • Fedora

        • I’m getting ever so close to pulling the trigger on a Fedora 13-to-14 upgrade

          I’m planning to make the move from Fedora 13 to 14. I’ve been running the Xfce spin for months now and have mostly enjoyed it. I still have Fedora 15′s release day plus one month of patches for Fedora 13 coming my way, but given that F14 isn’t a “landmark” release, I’m feeling more comfortable than usual in contemplating the upgrade.

        • I’m running preupgrade right now to move from Fedora 13 to 14

          I decided to start early today and attempt the Fedora 13-to-14 upgrade on my main “production” laptop.

        • Fedora 14 review

          Gareth Halfacree takes a look at the final release of Fedora 14, and sees if the Red Hat-based distro has what it takes to conquer the desktop market…


          There’s a lot to recommend Fedora 14, from its well thought out security features to the wide variety of development tools available. An excellent installer caters to both end-users and power-users, but there are some issues with outdated software and SELinux that prevent us recommending it as a day-to-day OS for less technical users.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Becoming A Rolling Release Distro?!?

          According to Ostatic, Mark Shuttleworth, said that Ubuntu will likely be moving from its current six-month release schedule to daily updates which would make Ubuntu a rolling-release Linux distribution.

        • Ubuntu to Become a Rolling Release

          Mark Shuttleworth recently told reporters that Ubuntu will likely be moving from its current six-month release schedule to daily updates. A step of this nature would help Ubuntu keep up with the rapidly changing and increasing complex software and hardware landscape. This is especially true as Ubuntu finds itself on more mobile and smartphone devices.

        • ‘Ubuntu Invaders’ wallpaper is retro win
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Quick Look: Pinguy OS 10.10

            Pinguy OS 10.10 falls somewhere between Linux Mint 10 and Ultimate Edition 2.8 in terms of features and software. While it’s not as well known as some of these other distros, it’s definitely worth a look if you crave more than generic Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Multiple Twitter reports of people saying Android 2.3 Gingerbread now available on the Google Nexus One

          Do a search for “Gingerbread” on Twitter and prepare to be jealous at the mass of people who are reporting that Google just pushed an update to their Nexus One with the latest version of the Android operating system. We’ve written about Gingerbread before, many times, but here’s pretty much all you need to know about why you should be excited:

          NFC (Near Field Communication) support is coming, meaning that you’ll soon be able to tap on payment terminals when picking up your daily cup of coffee and croissant from the café. You’ll also be able to tap objects and get more information about them, from anything to pulling up a line of text, to a website, to initiating playback of a video. The best feature, at least for all the social butterflies out there, will be tap to exchange contact information. No more business cards!

        • Android dethrones Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in Asia

          Last month we told you that Android became the No. 1 smartphone platform in the US, and now it’s time to take a look at how things are going in Asia.

          Well, Google’s OS has done the same thing: it’s now the most popular smartpohne OS in Asia, too – at least according to market research company GfK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Going for gold

        The One Laptop Per Child project begun in 2008 has turned out as badly as most said it would, including the many millions of baht spent on buying the toy-like portable computers involved; a study from Chiang Mai University’s engineering faculty confirmed that students issued the cute little machines failed to improve their school performances as OLPC advocates insisted would happen; on the other hand, their marks didn’t get worse, either, perhaps because most of the students had access to real computers at home; schools in the pilot project for free computers _ the OLPC machines are just like real computers only crippled _ live in Lampang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Rayong and Nakhon Si Thammarat; lecturer Anand Sripitakkiat, who introduced the study, said students needed a new type of classroom atmosphere more than a small, free notebook; he added that students in a regular school with old-fashioned teaching systems would likely not benefit no matter what computer access he had.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sky.com Open Source Software

    I turned on my TV this morning to check the news before going to work to be greeted by a message informing me that my sky satellite box had been updated overnight and was now using some opensource software with a reference to this website for further information and instructions on how to obtain the software either by download or cd-rom.

  • Open Source has won precisely because we no longer notice it

    Open source has won. Oh, how time flies. When I started writing in Database in May 2003, my first column was about how the ICT Ministry had got the budget PC programme all wrong. ICT Minister Surapong had announced his great success at negotiating the inclusion of Windows XP and Office XP at just 1,500 baht, a 90 percent discount. He saw it as success. I saw it as capitulation.

    Back then, Thailand had a chance to lead the world in breaking the Microsoft addiction. Instead, we capitulated. Would it be considered a success to negotiate a 90 percent discount on cocaine?

    In those days, Thailand was on the map in the open source movement. Mark Shuttleworth, head honcho of Ubuntu Linux and the world’s second space tourist, came here a number of times to talk about how Ubuntu on the desktop was ready and talk with the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) on a number of things that did not end well.

    Back then, we had Microsoft’s Ballmer liking Linux to Communism. We had the Evil Empire sowing doubts about anyone allowing any GPL code in an organisation, telling its clients that it would spread like a tumour and that every piece of intellectual property it came in touch with would suddenly be property of the great unwashed masses.

    No matter. Fast forward seven years and Linux has won. Open source is everywhere. The business model is well understood and no longer something for ultra-leftwing activists.

  • Three things to not forget to make LibreOffice (and ODF) succeed

    The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an international standard for office documents like texts, presentations and spreadsheets. ODF is already widely adopted worldwide. Using ODF for all your office documents is by far the easiest, safest and most realistic way today to really free yourself from the cocain-like nature of Microsoft Office file formats. The fact that using secret file formats instead of ODF is what actually maintains the Microsoft monopoly in desktop computing is proved even by a Microsoft job offer.

  • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 6 (build OOO330m16) available
  • OverView Zoomy presentations with OpenGL
  • Sky preaches benefits of open source

    Sky boxes across the country have surprised their owners with a message about the benefits of open source software – apparently in a bid to head off a legal tussle from free software fans.

    Sky+ HD boxes, used to receive the subscription-based satellite TV service, have tonight been flashing up a message when they are first switched on pointing their users at a page on Sky’s website about the values and benefits of open source software.

  • Open source feats to be proud of

    When Rob O’Callahan moved home to New Zealand five years ago, there was a feeling of pride in this country’s small open source community at his achievements.

    Like many of our top computer science students, O’Callahan had gone overseas to further his education.

  • Graphics

    • 10 Incredible Wallpapers Made Using GIMP

      GIMP needs no introduction. GIMP is the Open Source answer for Adobe Photoshop, well, almost. We had already featured brilliant wallpapers made using Inkscape and now things are taking a ‘GIMP’ turn. Here is a nice and simple collection of wallpapers made using GIMP.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Panorama: Tab Candy Evolved

        I am happy to announce that Tab Candy is coming to Firefox 4. Starting today, Tab Candy will be called Firefox Panorama and be available as a feature in Firefox betas. Head to the Firefox 4 feature list, or watch the video below, to learn how to organize your tabs into groups and reclaim your browsing experience from clutter and information overload.

  • SaaS

    • ownCloud 1.1 released

      I´m really happy with this release. Not only because we have a lot of new features and bugfixes but also because the ownCloud development team is growing and more and more people are contributing to ownCloud.
      I gave several presentation about ownCloud in the last few month and I´m trilled by the positive reactions I get. People really seams to like to idea behind ownCloud.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Doesn’t Get Open Source

      Kohsuke Kawaguchi, the creator of the Hudson Open Source project woke up Monday morning and discovered he was no longer able to access the Source Code Repository to make commits. Oracle had decided to shut it down, as they are shutting down many projects in java.net to try to move it to their own infrastructure. Not only that, but the mailing lists were shut down as well. They said not to worry, they will have it up in a week.

  • CMS

    • Diaspora private alpha just released

      For those who have been patiently waiting, the first round of Diaspora alpha invites has been distributed. They’re planning to first bring in those who contributed via Kickstarter way back when this all began. Next those on their mailing list will start receiving their invites.

      Their stated goal with this rollout method is to “quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.” That sounds a lot like the open source “release early, release often” methodology. But it also sounds a lot like the Google method of slowly bringing in new users through invites. And while that wasn’t so bad for GMail, it was a miserable failure for a Google project far more analogous to Diaspora–Wave. And we all know how well that’s gone.

    • Private Alpha Invites Going Out Today
    • Is it Too Late For an Open Source Challenge to Facebook?

      “Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the web,” Berners-Lee said in a Scientific American journal article. As Network World reports, Berners-Lee even singled out Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as examples of what he means.

      We have made the point many times that the problem with the large, popular social networks is that they are walled gardens. At the last OSCON conference, today’s popular social networking services were compared to the closed systems of the 1990s. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon to, say, need to be on MCI Mail or CompuServe to be able to send another person on one of those services a message. They were closed e-mail systems. People didn’t tolerate that, and the current argument is that they won’t tolerate walled gardens among social networking services either.

    • Open-source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live

      Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business today, at least for a handful of invited participants.

  • BSD

    • Released: FreeNAS 8 (Beta)

      Warner Losh, of iXsystems, announced last week the availability of FreeNAS 8. Since there were some issues with the initial beta, ensure you’re downloading the latest version (r5605).


    • Fellowship Interview with Brian Gough

      Brian Gough is one of the core developers of the GNU Scientific Library, which he has been contributing to for many years. He runs Network Theory Ltd., which publishes Freely licensed printed manuals and tutorials for Free Software projects, such as GCC, Perl, Python and PostgreSQL. He lives in Guildford in the United Kingdom, and regularly attends Free Software conferences and meetings.

  • Government

    • Open Data Good, Open Source Bad?

      Last Friday, I went along to what I thought would be a pretty routine press conference about open data – just the latest in a continuing drip-feed of announcements in this area from the UK government. I was soon disabused.

      One hint was the fact that I ended up sitting one chair away from Sir Tim Berners-Lee – and that the intervening chair was occupied by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General; another clue was provided by the short but personalised video that David Cameron knocked up for the occasion.

    • US government moves towards cloud computing
    • Massachusetts Posts Pharma Payments to Health Providers

      This week, Massachusetts became the first state to post an online database of payments from drug and medical device companies to the state’s health care providers. The searchable database covers reports from more than 280 companies and subsidiaries.

      The new database, detailed on Monday by the Boston Globe — one of our Dollars for Docs partners — is a result of a 2008 state law regulating industry conduct. The database lists nearly $36 million spent from July through December of 2009 for speaking, consulting, food, educational programs, marketing studies and charitable donations.

    • Open Data: If British Conservatives get it right, the French…

      This is a pretty stunning press release from Access Info Europe concerning the French government’s response to the open data movement. Statist government’s were always going to struggle with the internet and open data… but this shows just how bad things can get.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Stories of people & projects using Creative Commons in education, government, and data

      The significance of Creative Commons and its licenses is often overlooked, embedded as it is into the fabric of sharing culture on the web. The current superhero campaign attempts to bring CC’s role to the forefront, by highlighting people and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to this culture. But there are many more excellent stories of people and projects employing our CC licenses for educational, humanitarian, scientific, artistic, and just plain interesting uses. Some of these are currently reflected in our Case Studies on the wiki, but there’s a lot of work left to be done in making these more accessible and useful to the rest of the world.

    • Meet our board members: Molly Van Houweling

      When Molly Van Houweling ran Creative Commons back in 2001, she was the only staff member, working out of a small office on the third floor of the Stanford law school building. Her work there was mundane but critical: taking off from the pivotal meeting among the founders at the Harvard Berkman Center earlier that year, the once-advisee of Larry Lessig was doing paperwork and drafting the legal language that would become the foundation of Creative Commons.

    • Apply for the 2011 Google Policy Fellowship with Creative Commons
    • Open Data

      • The World Bank Launches a New, Open Access, Digital Collection

        A new online, open access, collection of all World Development Reports since 1978 was launched today by the World Bank. The Complete World Development Report Online, which allows users to easily access and search across these World Bank annual flagship publications, is free and open to the public and may be accessed at http://wdronline.worldbank.org


  • Quit Bothering Superman, Judge Tells LAPD
  • Indian Media Where Art Thou on Media Scandal

    A shadow has been cast over the Indian media — the bastion of the nation’s democracy. A telecom and political scandal rocking the country has now sucked in top journalists but the media coverage of this new twist is timid — a simple Google search shows that.

  • Indian journalists accused of secretly helping politicians, businesses

    India’s fiercely competitive and hungry free press has become the rising nation’s watchdog, unearthing a long list of banking scandals, real-estate scams and most recently, extensive government corruption during the international Commonwealth Games.

    But in recent days, Indian journalists have been accused of wrongdoing, including having inappropriate conversations with a corporate lobbyist and acting more like power brokers in recordings released as part of an investigation into an audacious multibillion swindle – considered the biggest scandal to hit the new India.

  • What’s An Internet Monopolist? A Reply to Professor Wu

    Wu’s claim is that the modern “information monopolies” will be socially harmful. Consider the first quote above. These firms do not earn and keep their share by satisfying consumer demand from active consumers with preferences; it is “surrendered” by forces beyond the consumers’ control. And with the second, why would we be concerned about time limits if these concentrated markets (again, let’s assume arguendo the market definitions Wu has in mind for now) were generating competitive results?

  • Coulson’s imminent departure is just the beginning

    Andy Coulson will resign as Downing Street communications director within the next few weeks. When the moment comes, his powerful but embarrassed friends will breathe a sigh of relief. They want it to be the end of the phone hacking scandal. It is just the beginning.

    For, as any investigative journalist will tell you, it’s always the cover up that sinks you. Senior executives have been clinging onto the line that “Clive Goodman was a rogue reporter” like it was a life belt on the Titanic. The unanswered questions are pouring in.

    There is a police investigation and at least three court cases. There are two Parliamentary enquiries on top of a damning report by the media select committee. There are whistleblowers. Insiders are breaking ranks, beginning to talk. Shareholders are asking questions. Coulson may be on his way, but the story won’t go away, despite hardly being reported in some of the best-selling newspapers.

  • Google donates $100,000 to Bletchley Park to save Turing Papers in Auction Google gives $100,000 to Bletchley Park

    A report on Twitter is saying that Google has donated $100,000 to Bletchley Park to help them in their campaign to buy mathematician Alan Turing’s papers which are to be auctioned at Christies today.

  • Sarkozy calls journalists paedophiles

    Nicolas Sarkozy is on a pre-election charm offensive to show how calm and polite he is and draw a line under past outbursts, such as when he told a visitor to the Paris agricultural show: “Sod off, prick.”

    But the jumpy French president is still finding it hard to keep a lid on his verbal assaults. During an off-the-record briefing at the Nato summit, Sarkozy lost his cool when asked about the “Karachigate” corruption scandal, which threatens to engulf him personally, calling the journalists questioning him “paedophiles”.

  • Time Flies
  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Domino’s Effect

      Cheap, mass-produced pies from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and Domino’s have infiltrated our planet, making these companies very rich and billions of people too poor to afford a single slice. Is your appetite part of the problem?

    • Conversation With Frederick Kaufman

      Fred Kaufman has written about American food culture and other subjects for Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, Gourmet, Gastronomica, and the New York Times Magazine among others. Periodically Fred sits down with Adventures to discuss his latest gastro work.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A Waste of Money and Time

      A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces — the level of magical thinking here is amazing — and they’re going to do something else.


      Of course not. Airport security is the last line of defense, and it’s not a very good one. What works is investigation and intelligence: security that works regardless of the terrorist tactic or target. Yes, the target matters too; all this airport security is only effective if the terrorists target airports. If they decide to bomb crowded shopping malls instead, we’ve wasted our money.


      Neither the full-body scanners or the enhanced pat-downs are making anyone safer. They’re more a result of politicians and government appointees capitulating to a public that demands that “something must be done,” even when nothing should be done; and a government bureaucracy that is more concerned about the security of their careers if they fail to secure against the last attack than what happens if they fail anticipate the next one.

    • TSA’s Nude Scanners, Former Homeland Security Head Chertoff, and How Our Government Works

      How our government works:
      1) Get a position in the government.
      2) Hype up some scare and advocate a solution to it
      3) Sell/convince the government on your proposed solution, leave your government position, and partner up with the company that provides that same solution.
      4) Sit back and enjoy your new money.

      Michael Chertoff, while he was the Head of Homeland Security under Bush, advocated and pushed for installation and implementation of these new full-body scanners at our airports. Once he was out of “public service”, Chertoff’s consulting company (Read: Lobbying Company) landed as a client (Surprise!), Rapsican, the company that makes the scanners

    • Of The #TSA and the 4th Amendment

      It seems amazing to me that people are not considering the big picture. We’ve got UAVs and satellites using infrared to track who sleeps in our homes at night. We’ve got TSA taking nude photos and giving hand jobs before we get onto airplanes. We’ve got insane “zero-tolerance” policies in our schools. Now think about what happens when some Congressmember convinces his/her peers that these resources should be deployed against people who wear thong underwear or who believe in a creator or who voted for Ronald Reagan.

    • Don’t TSA me, bro: Boing Boing open thread, and new rules for those who refuse patdown
    • Canadian airport, port workers soon may have to take it all off

      Canada’s border guards could soon get new powers to strip search employees in airport and ports across Canada in a bid to crack down on the smuggling of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine.

      CBSA officers also would be allowed to frisk employees and to use various types of scanners and detectors to examine goods in their possession.

      The proposed regulations, which do not have to be passed by Parliament, are in a CBSA posting in the Canada Gazette. Interested parties have 30 days to give feedback.

    • Adam Savage: TSA saw my junk, missed 12″ razor blades

      The TSA isn’t the most respected of governmental agencies right now, but at least it comes by the poor reputation honestly. The lack of standards, inconsistent application of searches and policies, and occasional rude agent all combine to make flying an unpleasant experience. It’s often derided as “security theater,” which describes the experience of Mythbuster Adam Savage before a recent flight.

      Savage was put through the full-body scanner, and while he joked that it made his penis feel small, no one seemed to notice the items he was carrying on his person. The video tells the rest of the story.

    • The Twitter Joke Trial carries on

      Paul Chambers has announced that he is seeking to go to the High Court to challenge his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

      He has instructed me to put the challenge together and I have, in turn, instructed Ben Emmerson QC, the leading human rights and criminal law barrister. The barristers who fought the Crown Court appeal — Stephen Ferguson and Sarah Przybylska — continue to be involved. There has been legal help from a number of other firms and individuals. This is a case which has attracted a great deal of support and offers of practical assistance.

      Why? After all, it was just a £350 fine (although now with prosecution costs, Paul is being asked to pay £2,600). And there has been no custodial sentence.

      But the case continues to cause concern about and widespread ridicule of the English criminal justice system. Writers as accomplished as Graham Linehan, Charlie Brooker, and Nick Cohen have brilliantly exposed the misconceived and illiberal nature of this prosecution and of the upheld conviction. And, although neither Paul nor I have encouraged the “#IAmSpartacus” movement (I personally prefer the use of the Betjeman line about dropping bombs on Slough), it is perhaps significant that Paul’s original tweet or variations of it seems now to have been tweeted over 18,000 times. However, it appears that only Paul will incur criminal liability for the words in question.

    • A Celebration of Street Photography, as Anti-Terror Backlash Fades

      It may seem absurd, but since 2005 that scenario or something like it was playing out with surprising regularity on public streets in Britain, where draconian anti-terror legislation declared photographers “suspicious” merely for carrying camera equipment.

      At its height, a tweed-wearing photographer was branded a terrorist by a London Tube worker, police deleted a young Austrian tourist’s photos “to prevent terrorism,” an Italian student was arrested for filming in London’s financial district, and an architectural historian was detained for photographing a building designed by his grandfather.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Kuwait DSLR Camera Ban Now in Effect

      The image you see could get it’s photographer in serious legal trouble in Kuwait after authorities there have banned the use of DSLRs in public places unless you’re part of the press. Which is just ridiculous.

    • Today’s Lesson: Make Facebook Angry, And They’ll Censor You Into Oblivion

      Facebook is well on its way to becoming the most popular way that people share links, photos, and other content with their friends. For many sites it’s becoming a powerful new driver of traffic — get people to ‘Like’ your stuff, and Facebook’s network effects will expose it to dozens of their friends.

      Just make sure not to do something that might make Facebook angry. Otherwise it might nuke every link to your site, choking off this river of traffic that you’ve worked so hard to build.

      That’s the message Facebook sent today with its censorship of links to Lamebook, a humor site that posts lewd conversations spotted on the social network. Facebook has confirmed that it is automatically blocking all links to Lamebook and that it has also removed the company’s ‘Fan’ page. Not because the content was offensive, mind you, but because Facebook doesn’t like Lamebook.

    • Analysis: US alien tort law – A sword of international law blunted

      Human rights activists may no longer be able to raise actions against companies in US courts
      The US court decision came as a bombshell. Corporate liability is not recognised under international law and therefore multinational corporations are no longer susceptible to human rights claims filed by victims living outside US borders.

    • Just one in 750 patients invited to take part sign up to Government’s online records programme

      A service set up to enable millions of patients to email their GPs and access their Summary Care Records online has proved to be unwanted by the vast majority of potential users, according to a major new study.

    • EFF Urges Supreme Court to Block Government Overreach in State Secret Contract Dispute

      EFF and the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit over a notorious case of illegal government spying urged the U.S. Supreme Court last week to reject a government attempt to have the Court address constitutional questions about the state secrets privilege in a contract dispute case involving the privilege.

      The state secrets privilege is a doctrine that allows the Executive to block evidence from being presented in a court on the grounds that national security requires the information to remain secret, and it’s been employed in both of EFF’s ongoing lawsuits over illegal domestic surveillance. Another lawsuit that’s had long-running battles over state secrets questions is Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, and we joined together with the Al Haramain plaintiffs in an amicus brief filed in this case: General Dynamics Corporation v. United States.

    • Google Street View Lovers Egg Blurred German Houses

      Privacy lovers in Germany have egg on their house faces, thanks to a crew of Google-loving vigilantes. Google launched Street View in Germany last month, but allowed those uncomfortable with the service to blur their homes. About 3% of Germans opted to do so.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The Witcher 2 devs threaten pirates with fines, legal action

      Independent developers are having a tough time when it comes to dealing with piracy and DRM. If you include DRM, people complain. If you don’t, people pirate your game. It happened to World of Goo and it happened to Machinarium. But CD Projekt, the developer behind the upcoming The Witcher 2, has an idea about how to fight back: legal action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A general public license for seeds?

      Background excerpted from a paper by Jack Kloppenburg:

      “The specific mechanism Michaels goes on to propose is a “General Public License for Plant Germplasm (GPLPG)” that is explicitly modeled on the GPL developed by the FOSS movement for software…”

    • IP in the comics
    • Copyrights

      • Judge to Righthaven: Show why lawsuit shouldn’t be dismissed

        A federal judge in Las Vegas is examining whether another Righthaven online copyright infringement lawsuit should be dismissed on fair use grounds.

        Righthaven LLC is the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner that since March has sued at least 172 website operators and bloggers throughout North America in federal court in Las Vegas, charging material from the Review-Journal was posted on their sites without authorization.

      • Judge Asks Righthaven To Explain Why Reposting Isn’t Fair Use… Even When Defendant Didn’t Claim Fair Use

        In yet another sign that things may not be looking so good for copyright lawsuit machine Righthaven, a judge has asked Righthaven to explain why a non-profit organization reposting an article isn’t fair use. There are two reasons why this is interesting. First, to date, most of the “fair use” claims in Righthaven cases have involved sites posting snippets of articles, rather than the full articles (Righthaven has recently said it will only sue for full articles going forward). However, this is a full article, and the judge is still considering whether or not it’s fair use. As we’ve noted in the past, there are certainly cases where using the entirety of a work still constitutes fair use, and this may be one of them.

      • What do we want copyright to do?

        A recurring question in discussions of digital copyright is how creators and their investors (that is, labels, movie studios, publishers, etc) will earn a living in the digital era.

        But though I’ve had that question posed to me thousands of times, no one has ever said which creators and which investors are to earn a living, and what constitutes “a living”.

        Copyright is in tremendous flux at the moment; governments all over the world are considering what their copyright systems should look like in the 21st century, and it’s probably a good idea to nail down what we want copyright to do. Otherwise the question “Is copyright working?” becomes as meaningless as “How long is a piece of string?”

      • Theft! A History of Music—Part 1: Plato and all that jazz

        Why did Plato argue that remixing should be banned by the state? What threats did jazz and rock ‘n roll pose? And what does all of that mean for the conflicts between artists and copyright today?

        Those are the questions Jennifer Jenkins, James Boyle, and Keith Aoki answer in layman-friendly language in Theft! A History of Music, a graphic novel expected next spring. The three have a previous comic book, Bound by Law, which (like Theft!) attempts to translate complex legal concepts to make them accessible to a wider audience through a friendlier format.

      • Some Common Sense at Bill C-32 Committee Hearings

        Sarah Schmidt is reporting that the C-32 Legislative Committee will meet only for four hours a week, not the 16 hours suggested by the Government members. This means that that the Bill cannot get through the House of Commons until well into next year.

      • Six Key Answers to Copyright Bill Questions

        1.Will Bill C-32 give education institutions the right to engage in massive uncompensated copying?

        No. The inclusion of education as a fair dealing category will not mean that any educational copying will be free. It will only mean that educational copying will be eligible for analysis under a six-part test developed by the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether the copying qualifies as fair dealing. The changes in Bill C-32 are more modest than often claimed as they merely fill some gaps in the existing list of fair dealing categories.

      • ACTA

        • Common resolution on ACTA in EP proposed by Socialist, Green and Liberal groups
        • ACTA: Will The EU Parliament Give Up its Power?

          After last week’s release of the final version of the ACTA text, the European Parliament is about to adopt a resolution preparing the upcoming ratification process, during a plenary session scheduled tomorrow. This vote must be an opportunity for European lawmakers to restate their opposition to this agreement, which is bound to spread internationally some of the most extremist provisions regarding the civil and criminal enforcement of copyright, trademarks and patents. Disturbingly, the conservative EPP group tabled an isolated resolution, which gives up on the Parliament’s prerogatives.

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