Patent Cronyism

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: False representation of European and international interests by Microsoft and a US ambassador

IT IS bad enough that patent lawyers hijacked the patent system which was intended to serve scientists; many politicians have a professional background in law and they too are not helping as the interests they serve are tied to their mates whom they possibly went to college with. In the near future we’ll try to gather the evidence we already have and present examples.

In the mean time, FFII complains that “Barroso harms the dignity of his office” because Microsoft is hosting the Government Leadership Forum:

As the President of Microsoft International I had the honour of hosting the Government Leadership Forum (GLF) in London.

An event that unites government leaders from across Europe as well as from the EU institutions. GLF always provides a dynamic, and at times challenging debate, and this year was no exception.

Is Microsoft managing Europe now? Techrights must have missed the memo. This screws up European policies and documents like EIFv2, as we’ll cover in the next post. The FFII adds: “Are they afraid of the end for Irish tax dumping?” For those who don’t, Microsoft has arranged it such that Ireland will serve as its tax haven in Europe. That’s another example of laws being written by corporations, for corporations. How absurd and outrageous it must be now that Ireland’s economy is collapsing. A lot of this nonsense actually comes from across the Atlantic and “US Ambassador To The UN” claims that “Protecting Patents & Copyrights More Important Than Development”, suggests TechDirt. Here is the analogous article about the US ambassador. It says:

Despite the gains in patenting in capitals, “this group in Geneva seems hell-bent on shortening these patents and creating more exceptions.” She suggested these countries may be motivated by an attempt to boost the market for their domestic generic drug industries.

International intellectual property laws come with built-in exceptions and limitations to the monopolies and exclusivity the rights grant. But King said that “if you create too many exceptions to a rule, you may as well not have the rule.”

Europe is besieged by US partisanship which subverts copyright and patent laws in Europe (Wikileaks/Cablegate has fortunately just derailed the subversion of Spain’s copyright law). We mean not to offend US citizens but rather to help them see the rogue element which they ought to get rid of, also for their own sake. Watch this disturbing news from TechDirt, which opines that gene patents too can be legitimised in the US following this thing:

Yet, as we worried, last year the appeals court (CAFC), as it has done so often, sided with the patent holders. This summer, when the Supreme Court decided Bilski, one thing it asked CAFC to do was reconsider the Prometheus case. It’s now done so, and nothing much has changed. Once again, CAFC has said that basic diagnostic tests may be patentable. Many also think (probably correctly) that this is a good indication that CAFC will also reverse a lower court ruling in the Myriad Genetics case, concerning whether or not genes are patentable. If diagnostic tests are patentable, why not genes? Of course, all this really means is that sooner or later the Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in again, and hopefully it won’t punt the issue like it did in Bilski.

This is cheered by patent lawyers, but what about all those who are not just taxing the entire system? The patent system was not originally designed to just provide jobs to more lawyers. Something is terribly distorted here.

Peter and Emil Add Microsoft Slant to Ars Technica (and Note on Imposters in General)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 8:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clowning around

Summary: When reporting becomes cheerleading and coverage about Microsoft merely promotion of one’s own business interests

AS we pointed out dozens of times before, despite Ars Technica being an excellent site in general, two authors who are dedicated to covering Microsoft over there are doing a poor job and one can argue that there is no reason to have an area/section designated just to Microsoft in any such news site. Is the site about technology or about brands? That’s a key question which Digg.com had to face some years ago when it added a “Microsoft” section/category and annoyed many users by doing so.

A few days ago we explained that Microsoft had planted patent traps inside Firefox (Spanish translation), but watch how the Microsoft spinners of Ars Technica (Peter in this case) spin it: Microsoft is “being too nice to competition in effort for interoperability”

“They have vested interests that they try to hide, albeit poorly.”Oh, really?

Now that’s one heck of a quote to demonstrate delusion. It’s also an attempt to spin something negative (patent-shoving) as a positive (cooperation). That’s the same line of reasoning used by Microsoft Florian to confuse people.

As always, be very careful of Microsoft spinners. They have vested interests that they try to hide, albeit poorly. One example of this is Alex Brown, whose business profits from the Microsoft relationship. We mentioned him some days ago for his threats against me (after I had leaked OOXML) and he occasionally tries to hide his bias using posts like this one about search neutrality. He is trying to show he’s not in Microsoft’s pocket by pointing out the obvious — a bias which people showed repeatedly as Microsoft has been doing this for years.

Curious now, I enter into “free office download” into Google and again get the OpenOffice.org Site. Performing this with Bing I’m given a page for Microsoft® Office™ downloads and add-ins.

One must not be fooled. Brown is a big promoter of Microsoft® Office™ and he made a career for himself selling this crack to British public institutions.

ARM Noise Amplified While Channel Stuffing Allows Microsoft to Give Fake Phone Numbers to the Press

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 7:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rabbit with Easter egg

Summary: Microsoft moves to ARM-flavoured hype and potentially distracts from the terrible news about its epic failure in the mobile space

Seven seven seven seven. Branding is all that's left at Microsoft and the same old tactics are being used on ARM chips, which are the latest thing to be excessively hyped up in the corporate press. The matter of fact is, Vista 7 is no success story, it’s possibly a marketing success story.

Even Microsoft boosters like Preston Gralla are discouraged enough to admit that ARM won’t save Windows. This whole strategy is doomed to fail because not much is compiled for ARM in the form of .EXE files. Third-party applications are the major selling point of Windows, so what good will ARM be in such a proprietary (strictly precompiled and thus binary-only) universe? The situation is abysmal for Microsoft and accompanying products like Vista Phony 7 [sic] merely continue a tradition of Microsoft failures in mobile. It sure seems like Microsoft tries to bury this bit of news.

Based on this announcement from Microsoft, despite it being Christmas shopping season with a lot of marketing (half a billion dollars allocated to Vista Phony 7 [sic] advertising), only pathetic quantities/unit numbers of phones were shipped to stores (not customers). Be careful of the numbers’ meaning; As Microsoft spinner Bott reluctantly admits, when Microsoft says 1.5 million phones it does not talk about real sales. Pogson puts it like this in reference to the Microsoft boosters from ZDNet:

UPDATE Mary-Jo and Ed Bott report that M$ claims 1.5million WP7 phones have been sold. It may be that the channel partners have swallowed the bait… No word on activations by consumers.

One reader of ours mailed us what he called “Latest Windows Phone 7 news” and it’s this bunch of statistics showing that Vista Phony 7 [sic] is nowhere to be seen and not gaining, either.

Over the past three weeks, for every one Windows Phone 7 impression we see, there are 110 Android impressions and 172 iPhone impressions. That number is remaining relatively stable, with very little significant market share growth in WP7.

ZIff Davis gives “10 Reasons Why … Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Shipments Fail to Impress”, summarising it as follows:

Microsoft mobile device partners shipped 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 units to carriers during the first six weeks of its availability, according to Microsoft officials.

Microsoft is not sharing these numbers out of pride. It just needed to say something before the end of the year. The employees had loose lips, so people already knew that sale numbers sucked. Well, they realised they couldn’t hide it forever, just hype it. Now we have something concrete to play with, but all we know is the number of phones collecting dust on shop shelves or warehouses. It’s not easy to estimate just how many people actually bought Windows phones. All we know is that Microsoft fails in the mobile market and it will try using patents instead, as means of extracting money from phones that are winning, notably those with Linux as their underlying platform.

Novell’s Last Moments of Public Humiliation

Posted in Site News at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell coupons

Original image from Wikimedia

Summary: Novell’s inexcusable servitude to Microsoft is going public and resentment ensues

NOVELL is a dead company and maybe it’s something to write an entire book about (more on that in IRC logs). Basically, a lot of people begin to realise that Novell never cared so much about software freedom (the more gullible folks fell for PR). Rui Seabra, for example, writes that “Microsoft paid Novell to fake support for OOXML, *as*well*as* to promote it (not neutral, as claimed)” (Rui links to Groklaw’s latest on the subject [1, 2]). Robert Pogson, a GNU/Linux advocate, titles the whole thing “Novell’s Shame” and claims:

Novell agreed to work for M$ to appear to be making OpenOffice.org work better with OOXML when in reality they were making it work better with a subset of Office 2010. They did things like “skip over” unrecognized content. How’s that for improving interoperability? It’s a sweet deal to allow M$ to claim they were interoperable while they were not.

The words of Hawn are not enough to keep people optimistic about OpenSUSE and Jason from The Source writes in response:

My favorite bit: the “intention to establish a SUSE business unit on par with the existing Attachmate and NetIQ business units”. And since we all know how the existing Attachmate and NetIQ business units have lit the Linux world on fire with innovation and contribution, this can only be a fantastic development.

There is not much activity in the OpenSUSE universe these days, but there are exceptions [1, 2]. What will be left of Novell inside AttachMSFT [sic] is probably proprietary software, only a subset of which will stay maintained. Novell serves as a cautionary tale to anyone who considers partnering with Microsoft.

Microsoft Genuine Crack

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poppy heads

Summary: “Genuine Advantage” getting the kick explained by bloggers

The title is ambiguous as it may refer either to cracking one’s registration process or the spreading of crack, the banned drug. Actually, the title can be either one of these things. As we explained earlier, Microsoft’s “Genuine Advantage” withdrawal is sign that dead products from the giant take their toll and expand to basic territories. Some products that are close to Office are among the casualties. Matt Hartley explains why stepping away from “Genuine Advantage” makes sense for Microsoft:

It was fun while it lasted. According to at least one report, Microsoft has shut down Office Genuine Advantage (OGA). And I hate to say it, but no one is going to be missing this any time soon. I’m sorry, but there was absolutely NO advantage with Genuine Advantage. It was a horrid thing to subject paying customers to and it is long overdue for a toilet based funeral in my opinion. Glad to see Microsoft stepped up to put it out of our misery.

OpenBytes goes further by tackling this conundrum with a memorable quote:

As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.

Source: Bill Gates

There have been numerous articles around the net that Microsoft has killed off OGA (or in Microsoft’s words “retired”).

Microsoft “retiring” OGA should, for once, be a good news story from Redmond.

Or should it?

There is no doubt to me in the obvious surge of popularity for FOSS or even proprietary alternatives to Microsoft products. Its been said that the two main cash-cows Microsoft has remaining (in lieu of its patent portfolio and a predicted more aggressive patent attack) are Office and Windows. We see products like OpenOffice taking users away from that cash cow, LibreOffice, AbiWord, Google Docs are but a few that are taking a bite out of Microsoft’s cash pie.

Could the OGA retirement be an attempt to achieve that which Bill Gates envisioned those years ago, where it appears Microsoft was quite happy for people to pirate their products in order for this “addiction” to take place? Afterall, why should the majority of users spend money on Microsoft Office, when there are free alternatives?

The challenge now is ensuring that Bill Gates is pushed away from school children (which he is taking over using the Gates Foundation) so that they don’t get “addicted” (Gates’ word) to Microsoft Office and other forms of lock-in.

The Open Invention Network Upsets Microsoft, Grows Bigger

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: KDE joins OIN (Open Invention Network), the defensive patent pool which seems to be a concerning development to foes of GNU/Linux

THE OIN is on a roll. Some days ago the ‘umbrella’ organisation of LibreOffice joined the OIN following several others who sought defence from the patents Novell tactlessly gave to Microsoft et al [1, 2]. The H is yet another publication which covered it following Glyn Moody’s claims that the OIN is “in the spotlight” amidst interesting new developments. We could not be happier seeing that Microsoft Florian loathes the OIN because it means that OIN is indeed harming Microsoft’s agenda. OIN is mostly the creation of IBM (Rosenthal roots) and whilst IBM is not against software patents, they would have prevailed in the US even without IBM’s involvement, so IBM’s engagement in defence of Free software using patents is a nice addition to its high-profile sponsorship of the FSF, which praises OIN on occasions (Microsoft Florian mocks the FSF, just as he mocks anything that’s a threat to Microsoft because it cannot embrace and extend it).

The latest addition to OIN is KDE, which had the news announced here, discussed in some places like this LWN discussion thread, and then covered here:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended its community with the signing of KDE as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, KDE has joined the growing list of organizations that recognize the importance of leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

The ‘smell test’ for institutions that claim to be supporting software freedom often ought to be Microsoft’s reaction, applied in reverse. Later on we’ll show that EIFv2 is bad news, based on Microsoft’s reactionary statement.

Links 22/12/2010: Red Hat Net Income Up 59 Percent, Linux 2.6.37 RC 7, Nautilus 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Report on the International Status of Open Source Software 2010

    The CENATIC Foundation, in keeping with its objective of raising awareness about open source technologies, regularly releases research reports that study the different aspects of open source software.

  • 2010: The Year in Free and Open Source Software

    Peter Brown, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, suggested to me that Oracle has still to develop a coherent free software policy, but the decisions made by individual corporate units have caused shockwaves throughout FOSS in the last year — everything from a campaign to prevent Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL by Monty Widenius to the forking of LibreOffice from OpenOffice.org (see below). Such reactions leave little doubt that the community lacks confidence in Oracle as a steward for its FOSS acquisitions.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla to unload Firefox 4 spit and polish beta

        Firefox is due to release an eighth Firefox 4 beta. Not to be confused with a fourth Firefox 8 beta.

        The latest test version of Firefox 4 – due for an official debut next year – was scheduled to go live on Tuesday. Mozilla hasn’t added any new tools, but according to the release notes, the open sourcers have polished a few things, including the browser’s Sync service, which synchronizes bookmarks, history, and other setting across multiple devices; its WebGL 3D rendering tech; and its add-ons manager.

      • ‘Do Not Track’ Coming to Firefox 4

        Hard on the heels of Microsoft’s decision to offer “do not track” functionality in its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser comes word that Mozilla is planning a similar move for its Firefox 4.

      • Revised Mozilla Public License — Beta 1

        In March of this year we kicked up a process to update the Mozilla Public License. We recently released the first beta of the MPL 2.0 and we believe that this beta is now feature complete, meaning that it addresses all major known issues. Of course if there are policy changes that come up and need to be made we will address them. We’ve kept both OSI and the FSF appraised of our efforts. We’ll be submitting the final versions for approval, and we believe that the MPL 2.0 meets all requirements for approval of these organizations.

  • Google

    • Google open sources ‘$5m’ in Java Eclipse tools

      Google will open source two of the Java Eclipse coding tools it acquired with its purchase of Java-obsessed outfit Instantiations.

      Less than five months after paying an undisclosed sum for Instantiations, Mountain View has announced that it will donate the source code and IP for Instantiations’ WindowBuilder and CodePro Profiler tools to the open source community via the Eclipse Foundation. According to Google, the code and IP is worth more than $5m.

    • Google launches open source YouTube channel

      Google has launched an official YouTube channel for its Open Source Programs Office (OSPO). According to Google Open Source Team member Ellen Ko, the new channel is aimed at organizing videos related to Google and other open source projects in a single place.

  • Databases

    • Facebook: Why our ‘next-gen’ comms ditched MySQL

      The winner was HBase, the open source distributed database modeled after Google’s proprietary BigTable platform. Facebook was already using MySQL for message storage, the open source Cassandra platform for inbox search, and the proprietary Haystack platform for storing photos. But in the company’s mind, HBase was better equipped to handle a new-age messaging system that would seek to seamlessly juggle email, chat, and SMS as well as traditional on-site Facebook messages.

    • Draft MariaDB trademark policy

      For the curious: the MariaDB project has posted a draft trademark policy. They try hard to cover all the bases.

    • Proposal for MariaDB trademark policy

      We wanted to make something that should work well, both for open source and commercial usage (and yes, I know that in some cases these are one and the same), which is not very common with many other trademark policies. My belief is that by having a very liberal trademark policy we will create a bigger ecosystem around MariaDB which will help all of us.

  • Oracle

    • gbuild: Meet the new boss (Same as the old boss)

      Checking that nothing (or almost nothing) needs to be rebuild is faster. On a sample system (Notebook with Core2Duo, 2 GHz) on Windows XP (anti virus software installed), rechecking that nothing needs to be done for module sw takes 7 sec with a warm cache. On the same machine build.pl/dmake took 210 sec with the same “full” header dependencies.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7 to be released on January 5th (with one ginormous party)

      Drupal 7 has been a multi-year effort on behalf of over 1,000 contributors. Since February 2008, we’ve manged to make enormous improvements; it is a true metamorphosis for designers, developers, and administrators.

      The last months we’ve seen Drupal 7 getting steadily closer to its release and critical issues dealt with one by one. Release management is not always easy, and I’ve always based my decisions part on data, and part on my “gut”. Both are indicating that it is time to release Drupal 7. It is important to all of us in the Drupal community.

    • Drupal 7, the cocoon and the butterfly

      I feel the same way about Drupal 7. Seeing Drupal 7 getting steadily closer to its release, is like watching a cocoon grow into a butterfly: the inevitable results are going to be spectacular. Release management and fixing bugs is hard work, the work of a determined caterpillar. However, I think Drupal 7 will be quite a metamorphosis relative to Drupal 6. Not only will it look different, it will function differently — making users and developers feel like Drupal spouted wings.

  • BSD

    • Allegations of OpenBSD Backdoors May be True, Updated

      In further developments, de Raadt said yesterday that Angelos had worked on the cypto stack in question for four years when accepting a contract at NETSEC. Angelos “wrote the crypto layer that permits our ipsec stack to hand-off requests to the drivers that Jason worked on. That crypto layer ontained the half-assed insecure idea of half-IV that the US govt was pushing at that time. Soon after his contract was over this was ripped out.”

      de Raadt further said, “I believe that NETSEC was probably contracted to write backdoors as alleged.

      If those were written, I don’t believe they made it into our tree. They might have been deployed as their own product.

      If such NETSEC projects exists, I don’t know if Jason, Angelos or others knew or participated in such NETSEC projects.”


      Audits and overall basic cleanup of code continues.


    • Free Software, Free Society

      It feels like every day this past year, we woke to news of an assault on our freedoms engineered through software: companies pilfering from our free software commons, device manufacturers remotely deleting ebooks behind readers’ backs, Big Media hatching new schemes for digital restrictions and spying, and governments around the world conspiring to expand and coordinate their digital subjugation of citizens.

      The word “community” gets bandied about, but in these times, it really is important that we build professional and social solidarity around a core set of ideals. It’s critical that we hang together, both to advance our positive ideas for a better world and to stop those trying to turn software against its users.

      From its beginnings, free software has been about community.

  • Project Releases

    • OpenDJ 2.4.0 Release Notes

      OpenDJ is a new LDAPv3 compliant directory service, developed for the Java platform, providing a high performance, highly available and secure store for the identities managed by enterprises. Its easy installation process, combined with the power of the Java platform makes of OpenDJ the simplest and fastest directory server to deploy and manage.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Welcoming Cathy Casserly as the new CEO of Creative Commons

      As we come to the end of this year’s fundraising campaign, I asked the organizers to let me write you to tell you about an extraordinary birthday present that Creative Commons received on its 8th birthday last Thursday.

      You probably know that for the past two years, Creative Commons has been incredibly fortunate to have the pro bono leadership of our CEO, Joi Ito. Joi is a successful internet investor. He has been at the birth of companies such as Moveable Type, Technorati and Twitter. For the past 7 years, he’s also been a key leader on our board. But by far his most important contribution began two years ago when my own commitments made it necessary for me to step down as CEO. With the organization in a pinch, he volunteered to take the lead, again, as a volunteer.

      Everyone recognized at the time that this sort of sacrifice could only be temporary. Yet from the time he stepped up, my biggest fear was that when he could no longer make this sacrifice, we would have no one comparable to tap. Last Thursday, I was proven wrong.

    • An open plea to video content providers

      So what does that have to do with video delivery? For starters, we’re seeing a similar reluctance to give consumers easy access to shows. What’s worse is that the video industry is even more ripe for monetization than the record industry of 1999. Media convergence devices and software such as Boxee (Linux-based), GoogleTV (also Linux-based), and others are attempting to bring together all video content on the web in one device.


  • Christmas Carols From The London Sewers
  • India thinks Western software technology is ‘bugged’

    INDIA IS STILL PLANNING to develop its own proprietary operating system (OS) rather than use “bugged” Western systems.


    “Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged.”

  • Now Yahoo Says Delicious Will Live On…Somewhere Else

    Yahoo! just posted a statement on the official blog of Delicious, the popular social bookmarking service it was reported yesterday to be in the process of closing down. The blog is hard to reach due to traffic, so we’ve posted the full text below.

  • Bloomberg Plans a Data Service on the Business of Government
  • Bloomberg Government as D.C.’s Daily Racing Form

    Bloomberg’s operation, Bloomberg Government, which will have 150 journalists and analysts on staff by the end of 2011 and a complete staff of 300, will charge $5,700 per user. The Bloomberg Government unit joins a Bloomberg News bureau of 175 journalists. Politico Pro intends to charge on a sliding scale, the New York Times reports—”$1,495 to $2,500 a year for the first topic and $1,000 for each subsequent topic.” The Times was silent on whether the Politico Pro subscription would include a sluice box, pan, and dry washer. Meanwhile, one of the granddaddies of high-price policy journalism, Atlantic Media’s National Journal, has used buyouts to dismantle and rebuild itself into a Web and print harvester of free and premium Beltway news across its brands—NationalJournal.com, National Journal Daily, National Journal, National Journal Hotline, and more. Meanwhile, CQ Roll Call, owned by the Economist people, keeps on keeping on with its own lucrative Chinese menu of data services and publications for observers of official Washington.

  • Science

    • Spintronic memory gets a breakthrough

      An international group of researchers has figured out how to encode information within the spin of an electron, a technique that may one day lead to smaller, faster memory for computers.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • Keeping an email address secret won’t hide it from spambots

      But I’ve had a published email address for more than a decade. It’s pretty much the only email address I use (more on this later), and yes, I get a lot of spam there. But I’m not convinced that keeping an email address secret is anything but a fool’s errand.

      The main reason to keep one’s email address secret is to hide from the spambots – those nefarious snafflers of unguarded email addresses that act as input for all the unsolicited email that unscrupulous huxters and scammers firehose over our inboxes.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Police officer charged with Adam Nobody assault

      A Toronto police constable accused of assaulting G20 protester Adam Nobody has become the first and only officer charged in connection with allegations of excessive force at the June summit.

    • Officer charged by SIU in Adam Nobody G20 case

      The Special Investigations Unit has issued an announcement that “Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani has this morning been charged with assault with a weapon” in connection with the arrest of protester Adam Nobody during the G20.

    • SIU charges Toronto police officer with assault during G20

      The G20 protester whose violent arrest was caught on video and caused controversy when no officers were initially held responsible said he’s glad a police officer has been charged.

      But protester Adam Nobody and his lawyers called on Toronto’s police chief on Tuesday to help identify other officers who were involved in the case.

      Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was charged Tuesday with assault with a weapon in the takedown of Nobody at the Ontario legislature during the June summit.

    • Police officer charged in G20 beating
    • US Pressured Italy to Influence Judiciary

      The CIA rendition of cleric Abu Omar in 2003 turned into a headache for Washington when a Milan court indicted the agents involved. Secret dispatches now show how the US threatened the Italian government in an attempt to influence the case. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was apparently happy to help.

    • Recording the Police

      This is all important. Being able to record the police is one of the best ways to ensure that the police are held accountable for their actions. Privacy has to be viewed in the context of relative power. For example, the government has a lot more power than the people. So privacy for the government increases their power and increases the power imbalance between government and the people; it decreases liberty. Forced openness in government — open government laws, Freedom of Information Act filings, the recording of police officers and other government officials, WikiLeaks — reduces the power imbalance between government and the people, and increases liberty.

    • Feds want reporting for high-powered rifle sales

      Moving to crack down on gun smugglers, the federal agency that monitors weapons sales is asking the White House for emergency authority to require that dealers near the Mexican border report multiple purchases of high powered rifles.

    • Passport is not acceptable ID?
    • The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page
  • Cablegate

    • Lessons from WikiLeaks: decentralize, decentralize, decentralize

      Whether or not Wikileaks turns out to be a watershed in politics, there’s another question of more immediate interest to the open source world: can the latter learn a key lesson from the measures taken against the Wikileaks operation?

    • Sweden’s case against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      In an interview with CNET, attorney Claes Borgström said, “I’m getting e-mails where people ask me how much the U.S. administration pays me to pursue this case.”

      He denies any connection, emphasizing that his clients are two ordinary Swedish women who have no motive to interfere with WikiLeaks document-sharing activities, which have increasingly irked the U.S. government. “In fact, both my clients are supporters of WikiLeaks,” he said.

    • Julian Assange sees himself as “A martyr without dying”

      Speaking from the mansion in south east England that he is forced to stay at under the terms of his bail (or “Hi-tech house arrest”, as he described it in the interview), Assange discussed what WikiLeaks had achieved and how he sees himself. It appears he views himself as a martyr and is still perfectly happy with himself and the actions he’s taken following his recent jail time.

    • Speak Out Against the Inhumane Imprisonment of Bradley Manning!

      Please take action TODAY to speak out against the intolerable conditions of Brad’s imprisonment. A press release we sent out today detailing some of those conditions and pointing to other reporting on the topic follows.

    • Daniel Domscheit-Berg Denies Rumor of Assange-Israeli Deals
    • WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS for Tuesday, the Day 24 Blog

      2:25 Hypocrisy Alert: Sarah Palin in new op-ed for USA Today hits Iran by citing cables leaked by man she has attacked strongly — Julian Assange. Goes on and on about it in key opening paragraph. Two weeks ago she wrote on Facebook that he should be hunted down like Osame bin Laden, adding: “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.” Today: Hey, Julian, baby, thanks for the cables on Iran!

    • Flanagan again

      Am I the only one angry that the current administration of the University of Calgary doesn’t think Tom Flanagan has done anything wrong?

      In case you missed it, Tom Flanagan, formerly a mentor/adviser to our sitting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, currently a Political Science professor at the University of Calgary, broke the law while on the CBC news program “Power and Politics with Evan Solomon” when he “counsel[ed] other persons to commit offences.” The indictable offence he advocated was the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


      Tom Flanagan was a chief of staff and policy adviser for the Prime Minister of Canada.

    • WikiLeaks critic Sarah Palin now citing leaked cables

      The Nation’s Greg Mitchell, who’s been blogging obsessively on WikiLeaks, points out that Sarah Palin is now citing revelations from the leaked cache of State Dept. cables just weeks after condemning Julian Assange.

    • Assange: “Already… we have changed governance” [Updated]

      Later, in response to a question of whether he sees himself as a “messianic” figure, Assange replies with what’s sure to become a widely quoted line: “Everyone would like to be a messianic figure without dying.”

    • Wikileaks ACTA cables and US secrecy demands

      The Guardian has posted two Wikileaks cables that focus on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The first is from Italy in November 2008. It provides a useful reminder that the U.S. at one time hoped to conclude the ACTA negotiations by the end of 2008 (and the George Bush term).

    • Doug Casey on Wikileaks

      Doug: The whole idea of Wikileaks is terrific. They’ve become one of the most important watchdog organizations on the planet, helping to expose a lot of government action for what it really is.

    • WikiLeaks continues to fund itself via tech startup Flattr
    • Article 13 and PFC Bradley Manning

      Military courts have consistently asserted Article 13 protection broadly to protect servicemembers awaiting trial. Illegal pretrial punishment can take many forms. The most common examples are unreasonable or harassing restraint that creates an appearance that the servicemember is guilty and onerous pretrial confinement conditions. Article 13 provides that pretrial confinement should not be “more rigorous than the circumstances require to insure” the servicemember’s presence at court. “Conditions that are sufficiently egregious may give rise to a permissive inference that an accused is being punished. . . .” United States v. King, 61 M.J. 225, 227-28 (C.A.A.F. 2005); see also United States v. Crawford, 62 M.J. 411 (C.A.A.F. 2006). Arbitrary or purposeless conditions also can be considered to raise an inference of punishment. King, 61 M.J. at 227-28 (citing United States v. James, 28 M.J. 214, 216 (C.M.A. 1989)).

      A defense motion for Article 13 credit is generally made before pleas are entered. As such, the first time this issue can be raised is once the case is referred to a court-martial. The issue of whether there is a violation of Article 13 is litigated in a pretrial motion hearing. At this hearing, the defense may call witness and the accused may testify concerning the nature of the pretrial confinement conditions. The defense carries the burden by a preponderance of the evidence to show a violation of Article 13.

    • Assange’s rape charges (grabbing the third rail)

      On Twitter I see random messages making broad statements about men re the rape charges against Julian Assange. I think we’re going into dangerous territory, and there’s a good chance we’re being manipulated, and before it goes too far, I want to try to moderate it, and talk about what we know and what we don’t know. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      1. As far as I know there aren’t any charges against Julian Assange, in Sweden or elsewhere. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      2. What I’ve read in the Guardian about the charges sound to me like he might not be a very nice person. But where I come from, that is not a crime — nor is it in Sweden, which seems like a fair country. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      3. Rape is awful. But I think it’s almost as awful to falsely accuse someone of rape, because that’s going to radically change an innocent person’s life, for the worse. And it’s so easy to do, it’s one person’s word against another’s. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

    • Wikileaks: All 250,000 cables reported leaked in Norway

      According to a report today in Norway’s top business publication, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has managed to get a hold of the entire “Cablegate” database of some 250,000 diplomatic cables—Wikileaks has not granted any news organization this access, and has instead been providing access to relatively small batches, one at a time (what the Herald Sun calls “drip-feeding”). How did Aftonbladet get access? They won’t say, and Wikileaks won’t either, but one guess could involve the database being stored on a server within Norway.

    • We Open Governments: WikiLeaks for Beginners (Part 1 of 3)

      Love him or hate him, Julian Assange has become the (rather handsome, if a bit pasty) face of the global movement for government and corporate transparency. Through WikiLeaks, Assange has, arguably, helped release more classified information than the rest of the entire world press combined. Assange says this reveals the “perilous state of the rest of the media” and rightly asks how a team as small as his could accomplish such a feat in just four years of existence. WikiLeaks has hit all the bases – the media, governments, and corporations are all scrambling to address the consequences of the leaks. Beyond the damage control and the dirty tricks, a radical and fundamental shift in the balance of power is underway. Let’s just say that folks aren’t calling Assange an anarchist for nothing. But what is the rationale behind WikiLeaks, its methods, its goals? Don’t expect an answer from the media. The reasons behind the project have long been overlooked by the mainstream press, captivated as it is with its own sensationalistic ‘hit pieces’ on Assange month after month and its alarmist or just plain misguided attempts to explain how and why WikiLeaks presumes to “open governments” as only it can.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • That snow outside is what global warming looks like

      The weather we get in UK winters, for example, is strongly linked to the contrasting pressure between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. When there’s a big pressure difference the winds come in from the south-west, bringing mild damp weather from the Atlantic. When there’s a smaller gradient, air is often able to flow down from the Arctic. High pressure in the icy north last winter, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, blocked the usual pattern and “allowed cold air from the Arctic to penetrate all the way into Europe, eastern China, and Washington DC”. Nasa reports that the same thing is happening this winter.

  • Finance

    • This Bonus Season on Wall Street, Many See Zeros

      Bonus season is fast approaching on Wall Street, but this year the talk does not center just on multimillion-dollar paydays. It’s about a new club that no one wants to join: the Zeros.

    • Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch Accused Under RICO

      Perrenial warrior against naked short selling and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has amended a previously filed lawsuit against Goldma Sachs and Merrill Lynch to include charges under New Jersey RICO laws.

      The original lawsuit, filed in the California superior court in San Francisco, alleged that Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit engaged in a “massive, illegal stock market manipulation scheme” that involved so-called naked short-selling.

    • Why Is CNBC Trying So Hard to Defend Insider Trading?

      I have an opinion about CNBC. I believe this network comes to the aid of Goldman Sachs, other major Wall Street firms, and the insider trading syndicate. I believe that this company has an interest in luring retail investors into the investment trap that is the stock market. This is purely my opinion, but there are some tell tale signs that my opinion may be true. No one is accusing CNBC of taking money from Goldman Sachs. No one is accusing Jim Cramer, or CNBC editor John Carney (formerly of Clusterstock), or Erin Burnett of taking money from the TBTF banksters or anyone else directly.

  • PR/Murdoch

    • EC OKs News Corp’s Sky Bid, Saying People Don’t Want Bundled Media Anyway

      The European Commission’s antitrust investigators say competition would not be weakened if News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) buys the 60.9 percent of UK satcaster and telco BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) it doesn’t already own (case notes).

    • What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB
    • Vince Cable to stay on as Business Secretary

      Business Secretary Vince Cable will stay in cabinet despite “declaring war” on Rupert Murdoch, says Downing Street.

      But he will be stripped of his powers to rule on Mr Murdoch’s bid to take control of BSkyB, which will be handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

      Downing Street said David Cameron believed Mr Cable’s comments about Mr Murdoch were “totally unacceptable and inappropriate”.

    • Fox News Chyron Identifies Elie Wiesel As “Holocaust Winner”
    • Venezuela: Who Dominates the Media?

      As can be seen from the table, as of September 2010, Venezuelan state TV channels had just a 5.4 percent audience share. Of the other 94.6 percent of the audience, 61.4 percent were watching privately owned television channels, and 33.1 percent were watching paid TV.

    • Vince Cable: I have declared war on Rupert Murdoch

      Vince Cable’s career was hanging in the balance today after it was revealed that the business secretary told two undercover reporters he had “declared war” on Rupert Murdoch and said: “I think we are going to win.”

      His Labour shadow, John Denham, said the business secretary’s comments, which referred to his intervention on public interest grounds in News Corporation’s bid for full control of BSkyB, should raise “grave doubts” for the prime minister, David Cameron, over Cable’s integrity and judgment.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Queen set to outlaw ID cards today

      The bill abolishing the National Identity Scheme is expected to gain royal assent later today.

      The Home Office said that it expected the identity documents bill would be passed into law on 21 December. As a result, existing ID cards will be invalid for use in a month’s time.

      Home office minister Damian Green said the bill’s passing will also allow work to begin on the secure destruction of the National Identity Register. “Photographs, fingerprints and personal information that were submitted as part of the application process for an ID card will be destroyed within two months,” he wrote in an article for Guardian.co.uk.

    • Japanese woman sues Google for displaying images of underwear

      A Japanese woman is suing Google for displaying images of underwear hanging on her washing line on its Street View function.

    • Bite-Size Privacy and Anonymity

      # Privacy is the lifecycle of secrets once you have chosen to share them. Anonymity is where an act is publicly known but the actor is not.
      # Privacy is the duty to respect the data that has been disclosed to you. Anonymity is the right not to disclose the data in the first place.

    • The smartphone that spies, and other surprises

      The use of mobile management tools can help, as they can disable cameras and so forth on several popular devices. The catch is that the devices have to be actually managed — a person who brings in a personal device and never accesses the corporate network won’t ever get managed by IT’s mobile management tool. Plus, even for managed devices, the tools today aren’t sophisticated enough to, say, disallow use of the camera within the employer facilities but allow it elsewhere, to prevent only problematic photo-taking.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Location Privacy

      Looks like we hit the nail on the head with this one. As we recounted just last month in the post “Location, Location, Location”, location privacy was a huge issue this year both in the courts and in Congress. It’s also been a big focus of our work here at EFF, where we brought home two major court victories that strengthened your rights against location tracking by the government, whether through your cell phone or a GPS device attached to your car.

    • European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary

      On January 1st, Hungary will take over the Presidency of the EU Council. On the same day, a controversial new law will come into force that even the OSCE’s media freedom representative has openly criticised – arguing in a recent report that “regulating online media is not only technologically impossible but it exerts a chilling, self-censoring effect on free expression.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Why is international data roaming so expensive?

      How high are international data roaming rates? I have direct evidence from two providers: an Italian provider TIM charges about $10 per megabyte; a U.S. provider T-mobile charges $15 per megabyte. The typical business user uses receives about 15 megabytes per day of email. My smartphone uses about four times this. By way of contrast, you can buy a SIM from Vodafone UK with 30 megabytes of data for about $30. Wifi at the airport or a hotel runs about $10-$60 per day. Over-the-air prices charged to local customers is much lower: TIM charges $25 per month for 5 gigabytes of data, of which probably about 2 gigs is actually used, so the effective rate is about $0.0125 per megabyte. T-mobile in the US charges a similar amount for similar service.,

    • Estonian shops started selling e-books
    • Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality — Tuesday Betrayal Assured

      Late Monday, a majority of the FCC’s commissioners indicated that they’re going to vote with Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule.

      According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow’s FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet.

    • Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free

      I have always loved humor and laughter. As a young engineer I got an impulse to start a Dial-a-Joke in the San Jose/San Francisco area. I was aware of such humor services in other countries, such as Australia. This idea came from my belief in laughter. I could scarcely believe that I was the first person to create such a simple service in my region. Why was I the first? This was 1972 and it was illegal in the U.S. to use your own telephone. It was illegal in the U.S. to use your own answering machine. Hence it also virtually impossible to buy or own such devices. We had a monopoly phone system in our country then.

    • FCC: We didn’t impose stricter net neutrality regulations on wireless because Android is open

      Now, we obviously love Android, and there’s no doubt that Google’s OS has been part of some wonderfully furious competition in the mobile space recently. But we’re not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality — it doesn’t matter how open your OS is when you’re stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it’s a pretty huge stretch to think Android’s openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself.

    • Today will define the Internet

      THE IRONICALLY TITLED LAND OF THE FREE today will decide if people and companies with money should have better and faster access to the worldwide web.

      Giant Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon want to offer better access to corporations that can afford to pay for it. Standing in their way is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has the power to issue regulations to protect net neutrality.

      Like we mentioned yesterday, unfortunately for the US the FCC has been keen to listen attentively to corporate interests, and draft regulations written by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski suggest that the telecoms and ISPs will win almost all they wanted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rise of the fashion trolls

      A funny thing happens as a Congressional session comes to a close. Priorities, whether political or policy, rocket to the surface. It becomes a war of attrition, of who can keep things ‘out of sight, out of mind’ before people get tired and want to go home.

      But, there are always numerous pieces of legislation that don’t get much love either way. The problem is, although they technically “go away” for now, the ideas behind them aren’t dead.

      One we could easily miss is this year’s “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Act.” Its focus? Bringing copyrights to fashion design. This legislation (S.3728) has been around in some form or another since 2006.

      Now, I never thought I would be writing about fashion and government on opensource.com, or anywhere else, but here we are. Planet Money brought this whole issue to my attention in a short, but worthwhile piece.

      Clearly, clothing and accessories, however utilitarian or avant garde, aren’t software. But, their design is still a creative endeavor, and likewise one that borrows heavily from previous works.

    • Govt asks businesses for views on intellectual property

      The Government has asked businesses how it can help them to make more use of intellectual property (IP) assets. It has also published details of the review it will hold into IP growth.

      It said that it wanted to focus particularly on the use of IP by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and what it could do to help them to derive greater benefit from creative or inventive work.

      The Intellectual Property Office, part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has published the call for evidence to support its review into IP growth.

Clip of the Day

My Blackberry Is Not Working! – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 22/12/2010: Kno is Out, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 is Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Kno Starts Shipping Tomorrow

    The monster 14.1″ screens set it apart from every other tablet on the market, and the customized Ubuntu OS makes it potentially more versatile as well.

  • Server

    • ARM makes its attack on the server market official

      ARM Holdings has officially acknowledged its plans to take on Intel in the server market. However, CEO Warren East is quoted as adding that ARM licensees won’t begin to erode Intel’s market share until 2014.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Oh Hey, X.Org 7.6 Is Finally Released For Christmas!

        The past few days I’ve been wondering whether or not X.Org 7.6 would make it out in 2010 or not. After all, this X.Org katamari update was supposed to be here in August after X.Org 7.5 was released in October of 2009 and the 7.6 release was delayed to November. The release of X.Org 7.6 didn’t come in November, but there was one release candidate but not much information since. This afternoon, however, Alan Coopersmith has announced the final release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Introducing K16 and the Future of KDE

        Where will KDE be in five years? To answer this question, we plan to bring together visionaries, strategists, planners, out-of-the-box-thinkers, realists, dreamers, doers, creators, leaders, coders from the KDE community and everybody else who is interested in discussing the future of KDE and picturing what it will be.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ailurus – the Gnome pimp

        Tweaking your desktop into a semblance of beauty and style has always been the ultimate goal of any self-proclaimed geek, be they Windows users or Linuxoids. However, in general, Windows people had it easier; they just downloaded this or that tweaking program and had their desktop transition from a beast into a beauty within seconds. Linux users always had it much harder, especially Gnome people. KDE shows pretty much any setting there is, but Gnome hides them. Either you’re handy with gconf on the command line or you use gconf-editor, which feels somewhat like a registry editor, but it was never really trivial. Well, now you have Ailurus.


        Ailurus is definitely a welcome addition in the arsenal of average users who do not fancy taming their system via the command line. It offers convenience and ease of use, with a relatively high degree of safety. However, as always, you need to be careful when changing the behavior of programs and system utilities, lest they bite your hiny, and hard.

        If you’re looking for improving your Gnome desktop in a simple, quick way, without too much fuss, if you’re looking for extra comfort and new programs, then Ailurus seems like the program you want. That would be all, ladies and gentlefolks!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.4 arrives

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has released version 3.4 of Tiny Core Linux. Based on the Linux kernel, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 features a variety of updates, including additional options in the mount tool (mnttool).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Myopia Continues Among Users

          Notice a pattern yet? For some reason that seems to escape most people, Ubuntu “owns” the Linux headlines with very few exceptions. Obviously Chrome OS and Android are in the top news headlines as well, however generally it’s Ubuntu that shows up as most popular in open source news these days.

        • Review: ZaReason Strata Pro 15 Laptop

          So, will I buy one (well, the 13″ version) for myself? My daily computing life is spent between my super powerful desktop and my little netbook. My desktop is used for work, virtualized installs, major image manipulation with inkscape and photo editing with the gimp. My netbook works well as a “sit on the couch and IRC + internet + email + minimal hacking” machine, which is much of what I do in my off-work hours. That said, I do have a hole in my computing world which influenced borrowing this laptop in the first place – nothing to really show off Ubuntu on for customers or at Ubuntu events, nothing to burn CDs on at events, and I have to admit that it would be nice to have a second machine with virtualized hardware so my development machines were more portable. We’ll see where my needs and budget lead me.

        • Unity Bitesize Progress Report for 20 December
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud: Cloud enabled and not just for netbooks

        There’s a Linux distribution for every occasion and the main purpose of Jolicloud is to present a web enabled GUI for netbooks and similar devices. I’m going to take a look at a preview release of the forthcoming 1.1 version. Under the hood, it’s based on the Ubuntu long term service release (10.04), and the front end is handled by a combination of the Chromium web browser and a full screen user interface that eschews overlapping windows.

        Netbooks are the obvious target of this distribution, and by default, it’s setup as a browser for website and cloud based applications. However, it’s easy to expand, and I think this could be a distribution with a lot of uses. It’s possible to add applications, and it can also be installed on any hardware that standard Ubuntu can including desktop PCs. Even better, as well as focussing on convenience, it’s easy to use, meaning that it might be a good platform for people who aren’t very good at using computers.

      • Cloud Livin’ – A JoliCloud Chrome Experiment

        A review off the cuff? It feels more distraction free than normal. Since the browser is the heart of the OS, I’m only focused on my tabs and nothing else. No dock, no start button, no nagging updates, no clutter on the screen. It’s actually refreshing.

Free Software/Open Source

  • AirPlay running on XBMC Linux box

    AirPlay. It’s not just for Apple products anymore. The video you see on the next page shows an XBMC install on a Ubuntu Linux box running an AirPlay client service. As with the AirPlayer solution I wrote for the Mac, the XBMC application advertises on Bonjour and can be played to directly from the built-in iOS video menus.

  • Events

    • Linux shows name dates, ask for papers

      O’Reilly has opened up a call for participation for its Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2011, to be held on July 25-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation’s Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) announced that its Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) will be held April 11-13 in San Francisco.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Backs Up the “Do Not Track” Feature

        Day by day, concern about internet related privacy is growing. We’re all aware of it, which is why; a lot of companies are moving around to let people bear a better experience in the online world. In this context, Mozilla has made promises to let people cloak their internet activities on the basis of their new feature: Do Not Track.

      • Mozilla CEO: ‘Do Not Track’ Option Will Be In Firefox 4

        When Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz called for better online privacy protection earlier this month, he acknowledged that browser companies have an important role to play, especially in order to implement a “Do Not Track” browser setting. “We’ll give them some time,” said Leibowitz. “But we’d like to see them work a lot faster.”

  • SaaS

    • Stallman’s Cloudburst: Prudence or Paranoia?

      On the other hand: “It is not easy to tell if RMS is putting on a show or if he really believes his own words,” suggested amicus_curious. “The Google cloud and Chrome OS have little to fear from Stallman’s disdain.”

      Then again: “He’s absolutely right,” wrote blossiekins among more than 100 comments on The Guardian. “‘Cloud’ computing … encourages people to be lazy and uninformed about their data and what happens to it.

      “Google isn’t a big cuddly bunny that wants to look after all your data for you cos it’s nice; it wants to look after your data for you because it gives them more metrics,” blossiekins added. “And as the piece spells out, the risks of that are quite chilling.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 Released

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team has released FreeBSD 8.2 Beta 1 and 7.4 Beta 1of its popular free UNIX derivative. The first betas will be followed by two release candidates. The final versions of FreeBSD 7.4 and FreeBSD 8.2 are scheduled for the 24th of January.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Last minute open giving ideas

      Whether or not you’re among the throngs hurriedly trying to get everything wrapped before the end of the week, it’s a good time to consider some end-of-the-year giving. So why not send some money towards open projects?

  • Programming

    • The Importance of Being Tested

      When I began work on Upstart, one of the earliest decisions I made was to make sure the code was very-well covered by a comprehensive test suite. I’d been working with Robert Collins a lot in the previous couple of years and he is very much an advocate of practices such as Extreme Programming (XP) and Agile Development; especially the discipline of Test Driven Development.


  • 5 Biggest Tech Winners for 2010

    By name, they are ARM Holdings (130.58% growth), Salesforce (127.47%), VMware (113.98%), Informatica (86.9%) and Red Hat (71.95%).

  • Stephen Harper treats Canadians like imbeciles

    What Canadians are now demanding is a leader that inspires hope and optimism. Who challenges us to bridge divides. Who believes that leadership at home and abroad can appeal to our aspirations, not stokes our fears. Who brings us together to accomplish great things. Who will strive to achieve the true promise and potential we know in our hearts is Canada’s destiny.

  • Do-Not-Call List Undermined By Loopholes in the Law
  • CRTC announces that Bell Canada has paid a $1.3 million penalty for violating the National Do Not Call List Rules
  • Science

    • Team prototypes instant genome test

      Scientists from Imperial College London have prototyped a tool that they say could ultimately sequence a person’s genome in minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current techniques.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Student fees protests: who started the violence?

      Protesters and student groups, on the other hand, insisted the policing had been heavy-handed and disproportionate, arguing that the kettling for hours of thousands of people within a freezing Parliament Square was certain to cause frustration that would boil into anger.

    • New Orleans police officers convicted over Katrina killing

      A former New Orleans police officer has been convicted of fatally shooting a man in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and another officer was convicted of burning the man’s body in a case that exposed one of the ugliest chapters in the police department’s troubled history.

    • Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state

      Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking “concrete measures” and exacting “consequences” over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law.

    • 50 municipal rabbis: Don’t rent flats to Arabs

      The statement quotes a variety of halachic passages referring to the issue and notes that in some cases persons renting apartments to non-Jews could be ostracized.

    • Rummy’s Ruminations

      The Unknown
      As we know,
      There are known knowns.
      There are things we know we know.
      We also know
      There are known unknowns.
      That is to say
      We know there are some things
      We do not know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns,
      The ones we don’t know
      We don’t know.

      —Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

  • Cablegate

    • Watch How WikiLeaks’ Mirrors Spread Around the World [Google Earth]

      When WikiLeaks began its release of more than 250,00 classified diplomatic cables late last month, its domain name – wikileaks.org – was the first thing to go. In the week that followed, however, a slew of mirror sites popped up, and Harvard-based developer Laurence Muller gave us a look at the global effort to keep WikiLeaks standing. Muller took the list of WikiLeaks mirrors, determined their locations, and plotted the points on Google Earth.

    • Apple attacks WikiLeaks, yanks iPhone app from app store

      Only a few days after its release, the unofficial WikiLeaks iPhone application has been removed from Apple’s App Store.

      For $1.99, the app offered access to documents on the WikiLeaks website and the @wikileaks twitter feed.

      When clicking on the app’s link, the app store returns with the message, “Your request could not be completed. The item you requested is not available in the US store.”

      Details for the WikiLeaks app can still be seen in Google’s cache.

      Tech Crunch noted that while the secrets website and founder Julian Assange are controversial, the app didn’t seem to violate Apple’s terms of service (TOS).

      Developer Igor Barinov confirmed that the app had been removed from the store.

    • WikiLeaks cables: China ‘fed up’ with Burma’s footdragging on reforms
    • WikiLeaks cables: You ask, we search

      French presidential hopeful, Ségolène Royal, told US diplomats French arrogance was partly to blame for Paris’s lost bid to host the 2012 Olympic games. The games were awarded to London after a closely contested vote that saw both Tony Blair then French president Jacques Chirac fly to Singapore in July 2005 to make their case to delegates.

      A confidential cable dated 17 February 2006 from the US ambassador to Paris concerning a recent meeting with Royal said she had suggested, he wrote, a need “to find France’s place in the world” with the French government showing less arrogance in how it speaks to the world. The latter factor, she suggested, had played a role in the defeat of France’s 2012 Olympics candidacy, he wrote.

    • The Implications of Charging Assange for Conspiracy to Leak [Updated]

      I’m not so sure this path avoids awkward questions. Charging Assange as a conspirator to Manning’s leak might distinguish the Times in the wikileaks case. But it would not distinguish the Times and scores of other media outlets in the many cases in which reporters successfully solicit and arrange to receive classified information and documents directly from government officials. Prosecution of Assange on this theory would therefore raise awkward questions about why DOJ does not bring charges against the American media for soliciting classified information on a regular basis. It would be a fateful step for traditional press freedoms in the United States. Indeed, unless I am missing something, it seems that a successful prosecution of Assange for conspiracy to leak would have broader and more corrosive implications for press freedoms than a successful prosecution under the ambiguity-riddled Espionage Act. In any event, I do not see how going the “conspiracy to leak” route is a press-protecting move.

    • House Judiciary chairman: WikiLeaks did not commit a crime

      There was an interesting development in the WikiLeaks saga on Thursday. You probably didn’t hear about it over the weekend because the fawning corporate media was too busy comparing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

      The chairman of the House judiciary committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stuck up for WikiLeaks on Thursday according to The Raw Story. Conyers made the argument that the controversial and unpopular actions of the whistleblower website are protected under free speech.

    • Reporter, Greg Palast describes BP abuses in Azerbaijan

      What I didn’t know was that WikiLeaks was about to release a State Department memo which referred to a small piece of this BP game. Rather than go to Azerbaijan to check the facts, the Wiki newspapers called BP in London for comment.

    • Czech version of Wikileaks will turn to The Pirate Bay for help

      It appears that the Czech Pirate Party’s attempt to set up its own Wikileaks site isn’t going as smoothly as the group hoped. The CPP (Ceska piratska strana) announced the inauguration of its “PirateLeaks” information service earlier this month, to be officially launched on Tuesday. But now the organization says that there will be some delays due to security issues.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion

      The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • North Bergen Internet shock jock Hal Turner sentenced to 33 months in prison

      At his trials the government confirmed that Turner did work for and with federal agencies, but that he went too far with his hate-filled remarks.

    • Anti-porn plan threatens sites like WikiLeaks

      Supporters of the open internet have reacted angrily to Government plans to block pornography on the web, claiming it is the first step towards online censorship. Taken to its extreme, they warn that it could lead to sites like WikiLeaks being blocked for political reasons.

    • Hungarian parliament passes controversial law to oversee media

      Lawmakers in Hungary have given a controversial new body powers to oversee public news production and levy high fines on private media that break rules on political reporting.

      The Hungarian parliament passed the law establishing the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) on Monday evening, according to the Hungarian national news agency MTI.

    • Viviane Reding takes on US over data privacy rights in anti-terror campaign

      The EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has confronted Washington over data protection rights in the fight against terror, accusing the US of being interested only in accessing European citizens’ bank records and flight schedules but not in protecting their rights while doing so.

    • Venezuela tightens Internet regulation

      Venezuela’s parliament approved tighter regulation of the Internet on Monday in the latest of a package of laws to entrench President Hugo Chavez’s socialist “revolution” before a new Assembly is sworn-in next month.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Vint Cerf, US Congresswoman Oppose Net Regulation
    • Net Neutrality as Diplomacy

      Citizens and their digital packets deserve much the same treatment as they traverse the global Internet. Just as states expect to conduct their official business on foreign soil without interference, so citizens should be able to lead digitally mediated—and increasingly distributed—lives without fear that their links to their online selves can be arbitrarily abridged or surveilled by their Internet Service Providers or any other party. Just as the sanctity of the embassy and la valise diplomatique is vital to the practice of international diplomacy, the ability of our personal bits to travel about the net unhindered is central to the lives we increasingly live online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US Ambassador To The UN: Protecting Patents & Copyrights More Important Than Development

      The US’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Betty E. King, recently gave a press conference in Geneva to talk about a variety of issues. What caught our attention, not surprisingly, was the discussion on intellectual property issues, which seemed to raise a lot more questions than it answered. Towards the end of her talk, she basically complained about WIPO, and how various developing countries are hijacking WIPO to focus on “development,” at the expense of things like patents and copyright. She says that she, and the US government, are pro development, but not if it comes at the expense of patents and copyrights.

    • Copyrights

      • Sorting Through The Spin: The Liberals and the iTax

        The issue of Liberal support for an “iTax” hit a fever pitch this week with competing releases – the Liberals stating they are against it and the Conservatives releasing a radio ad that says the Liberals support such reforms. That led some to ask for evidence to sort out the competing claims. This post is an attempt to do that.

      • “Anything you can do, we can do better?” Ireland joins the copyright review queue

        It’s not just the Brits who have decided to reassess their IP rules in the not-quite-so-new-any-more internet age: the Irish are doing it too. In “Firms hampered by failure to keep law up to date with internet age”, eminent scholar and lawyer TJ McIntyre argues in the Irish Times that much of the Irish law governing the internet is archaic, restrictive and hampers growth, which explains why the Taoiseach (Irish for ‘prime minister’ or, the Kat understands, an old Erse term for ‘man who graciously accepts the credit when things work out but gets first choice at blaming someone else when things don’t’) has announced his support for a review of European and Irish copyright law, stating [and does this sound familiar, anyone?] “it is time to review our copyright legislation, and examine the balance between the rights holder and the consumer, to ensure that our innovative companies operating in the digital environment are not disadvantaged against competitors”.

      • Ok Go Explains There Are Lots Of Ways To Make Money If You Can Get Fans

        Over the last few years, we’ve covered many of the moves by the band Ok Go — to build up a fanbase often with the help of amazingly viral videos, ditch their major record label (EMI), and explore new business model opportunities. In the last few days, two different members of Ok Go explained a bit more of the band’s thinking in two separate places, and both are worth reading.

      • Cultural Heritage rights in the age of digital copyright

        On December, 10th the COMMUNIA WG3 gathered in Istanbul for the final workshop, with the aim of producing a set of recommendations about cultural heritage and the public domain.

        I am not a lawyer, so I took a chance to learn about the marked differences between access rights and property rights. More than that, it became soon clear that Cultural Heritage rights (CHR) only exist in certain EU member states (e.g. Italy, Greece) while in others there are no such rights.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Pandora – One vid per day 27: GINGE – Playing WIZ and gp2x Games

Credit: TinyOgg

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