Quick Mention: Microsoft Sued by MasterObjects for Patent Violations

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Details about a new lawsuits are starting to surface

1. MasterObjects Sues Microsoft Over Instant Search Patent Infringement

Software firm MasterObjects has sued Microsoft for allegedly infringing on one of its patents related to the instant search feature.

The lawsuit, which also names Amazon and Google as defendants, claims that the accused use one of its patented technologies that displays completed research terms as users type in the search bar.

2. Master Objects sues Microsoft over instant search

SOFTWARE COMPANY Master Objects has sued Microsoft for allegedly infringing its patent relating to instant search.

Master Objects alleges that its founder, Mark Smit solved the problem of the so-called “request-response loop”, which was the traditional approach used by search engines. This required a search query to be sent to a database server, with a response sent back to the web server, and then an HTML page had to be constructed for the results before finally sending that to a user’s browser.

Europe’s Peanut Gallery Wants Software Patents

Posted in Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vincent Van Quickenborne

Summary: A fresher look at who is pushing for software patents in Europe and who is antagonising them this week

EUROPE’S policy is under attack. Companies from across the Atlantic want to increase their foothold and all they need is a bunch of corruptible politicians, who will happily carry water for foreign interests that directly harm science and technology everywhere in the world. One of the latest dunces for bad patent policies is Vincent Van Quickenborne [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. He still fuels the EPO’s propaganda for more patents (business) and litigation too. To quote:

Vincent van Quickenborne says unitary patent wil provide cheaper, easier and full protection for European inventors

European software developers — myself included — should be very concerned about this. A plague that causes great harm to American developers is being exported to Europe with foresight that probably encompasses the rest of Asia, too. The monopolies never rest and they can never get enough laws that legitimise their infinite sense of entitlement, like some sort of a corporate welfare plan. There is ongoing discussion in FFII mailing lists (the relevant list seems to be private, so we won’t quote anything from it here) and it sure seems like many European developers worry about recent developments, primarily a report from the UK and the unitary patent lobby. The FFII’s president notes: “Swpats in the UK, more burden for software developers: http://ur1.ca/47lsk” (an article titled “UK report calls for reforms to intellectual property law” is providing some context/background). He links to this government report, noting:

Super High priority for the UK IPreview: unified EU patent court and EU patent system to validate swpats: http://ur1.ca/47y85

There is also this from the UK-IPO, on which he remarks by writing: “IPreview uses the term “non-technical computer programs”, but what is non-technical? http://ur1.ca/47y7m”

“European Commission tries to put patent law outside of Europe,” he concludes. We wrote about this before. Europe gives away its sovereignty and lets mega-corporations get their way at the public’s expense. Very discouraging indeed. Similarly he writes regarding this article that the Commission non-paper for hacking the ECJ decision, goal is to validate EU software patents with a central court” (see the FFII Web site for reference).

Dr. Glyn Moody, a British mathematician-turned journalist, is meanwhile criticising the “World Copyright Summit”, which oddly enough excluded the most important stakeholder:

The organisers really seem to have included everyone, just as they say: “All stakeholders involved in creative industries – creation, licensing, usage, collective management, legislation and dissemination of intellectual property and creative content.”

Well, everyone except one: The Public.

The public is the elephant in the room at this conference – or, rather, the seven billion elephants in the room.

Not only is the public not participating here, it is not even mentioned, as if the very word were some kind of defilement in these hallowed halls celebrating the great intellectual monopoly of copyright, and ways of extracting the maximum “value” from it.

It is the same when it comes to patents. Quoting The Register (from a notorious author who hates freedom), it sure seems like software patents are not there yet, at least not in Europe.

For software patents, the report is skeptical about the benefits, and highlights confusion in interpretation under the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Worth paying attention to is Google’s stance there. Google has been suffering a lot from software patents. In Europe it need not change/fix any laws, it merely needs to preserve an exclusion of software patents. Despite the apparent exceptions (such as Microsoft's FAT patent and Siemens [1, 2]), German courts are able to return to their senses and bread crumbs navigation is deemed not patentable by the German Federal Court:

In a judgment of 24 February 2011, the reasons for which only became available recently, the German Federal Court (BGH) upheld a decision of the Federal Patent Court which invalidated Siemens’ German patent DE 101 15 895 C1, which I take the liberty of referring to as the “bread crumbs patent”.

Another loss for software patents.

“Siemens is most probably a patent applicant world “leader”,” claimed Marcio B. Jr. a few days ago [1, 2]. Siemens also advocates/lobbies for software patents. Might we see affirmation that software patents in Europe are disregarded by the legal system?

The claim about Siemens is being contested by the president of the FFII, who says that Philips — not Siemens — is the worse among the European companies.

Philips pushing for a central patent court in the EU, number one pusher for software patents http://ur1.ca/47wn8

Another pusher for it appears to be Bill Gates and his sidekick (as noted earlier today), not just Microsoft and its lobbyists.

This is a subject of international scope. Not only Europeans should keep an eye on it; if Europe ever surrenders to the peanut gallery, the rest of the world will possibly follow.

SUSE’s Future Explained: Less Mono, Hopefully More Rebuttals to SCO (Whose Employees End up in Microsoft)

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: SUSE is no longer investing in Mono, AttachMSFT might invest in the SCO trial, and SCO’s Sandy Gupta works for Microsoft, harming Red Hat and selling Microsoft’s proprietary software/malware for Linux

ATTACHMSFT has not been saying much about its plans. It drops some clues every now and then, but none of this amounts to contractual commitment. SUSE’s managers mentioned they would support Mono, but the following article contradicts it somewhat. “New Suse director swears off Mono,” is how our reader describes it, quoting:

Brauckmann confirms that SUSE is no longer investing in the project, but quickly added that SUSE would be supporting any commercial customers using Mono that have support contracts. “The rest of the SUSE roadmap stays intact,” Brauckmann says. “No other products will be changed.”

Groklaw is more active than ever, especially in the News Picks section where Pamela Jones is very omnipresent (and who can blame her? It is hard to let SCO and Microsoft just carry on their attacks without immediate rebuttals). She quotes from this article, concluding: “This is the first positive sign I’ve seen, in that Ralf Flaxa provided a declaration in support of IBM against SCO back in 2006.”

She seems to believe that the SCO case will carry on and quoting this Desert News article, she notes that “David Bradford, if you recall, testified for Novell against SCO at the most recent jury trial.” To quote:

Still, he said he has “high hopes” for the future of Novell in the wake of its acquisition by The Attachmate Group.

Techrights begs to differ. SUSE under AttachMSFT is basically in bad hands and users are sensing it:

The dust is settling in Attachmate’s purchase of Novell, with Attachmate officially announcing the leadership and organization of its new SUSE business unit on May 18. But despite management assurances, SUSE users remain concerned about the future care and feeding of their Linux distribution of choice.

Nils Brauckmann, the unit’s new president and general manager, pledged “to build a dedicated and focused SUSE business unit, strengthen the SUSE brand with the SUSE logo and get the SUSE message to customers, alliances and the media, and align resources.”

Novell’s account uploads in YouTube are still for proprietary software [1, 2, 3], so this is probably where AttachMSFT is heading. SCO was the same after the Caldera days.

Speaking of the SCO case, Groklaw says that bankruptcy hearings are still being delayed, which probably serves SCO pretty well because Novell is in a state of turmoil/disarray at the moment , just like SCO. Is somebody buying time?

The bankruptcy court has cancelled the hearing scheduled for next Monday, May 23rd, and rescheduled any open matters from that hearing for June 17 at 2:30 p.m. The bankruptcy court has also issued a new Omnibus Hearing Order setting the dates for future hearings. In addition to the June 17th session, hearings are now scheduled for July 18, 2011 at 2:30 p.m., August 15, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., and September 12, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.

SCO and Microsoft would love to tax such things. They also try to tax CentOS using proprietary software addons, as we explained earlier in the week. The other day we showed a post from Microsoft about the subject, but what we did not notice was its author (link rel=”nofollow”ed). “Sandy Gupta of SCO infamy, who tried to persuade the court that ELF is copyrighted by SCO and no one can use it without infringing SCO’s rights, now invites people to run CentOS under Microsoft HypeV control. What a bad idea,” put it our reader, who basically paraphrased Groklaw. The original wording from Jones: “OMG. Look who posted this. It’s Sandy Gupta of SCO fame or infamy, depending on your point of view. Remember his code collage trying to persuade the court that ELF is copyrighted by SCO and no one can use it without infringing SCO’s rights, and how Dr. Brian Kernighan called Gupta’s copyright analysis “indefensible”? When he first went to Microsoft, Gupta was Director, Technical Competitive Strategy of the Server & Tools Division. Gupta’s now General Manager of Marketing, Open Solutions Group, Microsoft. Frankly, that makes me start wondering if anything will ever really come of this CentOS announcement, or whether it’s so much marketing.” Gupta now received big paychecks from Microsoft ('pulling an O'Kelly', the usual way).

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO

Bill Gates Started the World’s Biggest Pyramid Scheme With Patents

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates pyramid

Summary: How Bill Gates is taxing — via patent derivatives — every aspect of our lives, not just personal computers (which he forces us to buy/receive with Windows)

WE HAVE not stopped watching the mischiefs of the world’s most ruthless monopolist, Bill Gates, who only some years ago created a massive pyramid scheme. The posts are piling up, but it takes a lot of time to process them. We will catch up with it at a later stage in order to keep readers up to date, maybe later this year, at least in brief.

Using an organisation that advertises itself as a good doer, Gates makes profitable investments that are harming society immensely (while doing a lot of PR and whitewashing). He is making a lot more money for himself and his close friends, including the world’s biggest patent troll, to whom he provided a lot of the initial capital. For those who do not know yet, Bill Gates’ mate Nathan Myhrvold is behind many of today’s patent-trolling as well as patent policies that help trolls persist (he hires lobbyists to shape patent policy). The president of the FFII notes:

List of investors in Intellectual Ventures, a monster troll lurking to Europe, revealed by PatentlyO: http://ur1.ca/47xre

We will write about the effects on Europe in a later post. It recently turned out that Gates is perhaps seeking to corrupt Europe with software patents legislation, which would essentially margonalise if not illegalise Free/open source software. “Bill Gates Says We’re All Doomed,” says a new article headline, leading Groklaw to responding with: “So he’s giving kids Windows PCs and pushing nuclear energy after investing in a nuclear company? Is that really charity?”

The patents he has been pushing through government would essentially make himself and Nathan Myhrvold richer. They lobby for their own pocket and put everyone else at great risk. The money they hope to hoard will come from taxpayers, via government that Gates is lobbying. We explained this last year and provided references. Regarding the list of companies that the Gates-bred patent extortion operation gave money to, here is what Patently-O wrote:

XILINX is a billion dollar company that manufactures programmable memory chips. In February 2011, XILINX filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Intellectual Ventures and its subsidiary corporations – asking the Northern District of California court to rule that it could not be liable for infringing a set of fifteen (15) intellectual ventures patents. The case will be interesting to watch, although it will most likely end with a confidential license well prior to a judgment on the merits.

This comes from patent lawyers’ blog, so do not expect much balance. Here is the PDF. “These are mostly Microsoft vassal companies like Cisco, Nokia and Yahoo,” explains a contributor of ours, “but there are also some retirement funds and Universities. Anyone who’s had their money invested in the world’s biggest patent troll should object on moral grounds and self interest. The company is committing fraud and will inevitability collapse when US patent laws are fixed.”

One has to remember who set up this pyramid scheme and point a finger at Bill Gates, whose envy of Skype’s wide usage turns out to have led to the company’s acquisition (with patents too, threatening any competition). “Bill Gates told Microsoft to buy Skype,” explains a reader of ours. “Regulators, please take note,” he adds, quoting:

“I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done,” … “The idea of video conferencing is going to get so much better than it is today. Skype actually does get a fair bit of revenue,” said Mr Gates. … the decision to buy Skype was strategic.

So Gates is still involved in Microsoft and monopolisation. Some angel, eh? It seems like world domination is still his goal (including schools for example). This man is doing even more damage to society while bribing the press and killing truth, too. He subjects the press and pressures it to shower himself with compliments. And here we are several years down the lines (after Gates was grilled for his crimes), having come to the point where breaking the law is seen as commendable and crooks receive awards. When fame is bought, not earned, we do realise that our society is ethically ill.

“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson

It’s Not a Virus If the User Needs to Actually Install It

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Rebuttal to security FUD from the Microsoft crowd amid attack on the US Energy Research Lab, which got cracked because of Windows

GOOGLE abandons Windows due to security reasons. It’s really quite simple. But if enough Microsoft people (e.g. former staff) manage to enter news sites, then “news” becomes just agenda-filled propaganda. That’s what happened in the BBC, which we call the MSBBC. Not too surprisingly, Microsoft's Bought Bot and MSBBC, which loves to post FUD about Android every time someone is able to do something to break it (we covered just one such example recently even though there are more), are at it again. In order to fight the perception that Windows is insecure by design (which it is, even by Microsoft’s own admission) they try to paint other platforms as “inseucre”, by improperly naming malware “virus” or something along those lines. This usually requires that the user should be actually be installing it (not drive-by), in which case the software is granted permission to do exactly what it was designed to do.

SJVN writes a rebuttal to the Bought Bot by noting that “One in fourteen Internet downloads is Windows malware” (not the same as viruses):

Yes. It’s true. For the first time, Mac users have a significant malware problem. But, hey, it could be worse. You could be running Windows. After all, Microsoft, not some third-party anti-virus company trying to drum up business, has just admitted that based on analysis gained from IE 9 use, “1 out of every 14 programs downloaded is later confirmed as malware.”

If I may quote from Matthew 7:5, the King James Bible, “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Window PCs has far, far more malware trouble than Macs, and I can’t resist mentioning that after in twenty-years of Linux, we’ve not seen a real-world example of Linux malware–not counting the Android malware mess. Ironically, these latest appalling Windows malware numbers are shared in a Microsoft blog about how well SmartScreen Application Reputation is working in IE9.

There is another new pattern of FUD at the moment, where a weakness that affects virtually all phone platforms is ascribed only to Android. Linux is winning, so it is becoming a prime target for FUD. One of our reader supplies this recent link on “Wild Android Growth”. It says that “100 million Android devices have been sold, more than Apple… 36 OEMs, 215 carriers, and 450K developers push Android/Linux, 310 different devices sold in 110 countries, 400K activations daily, 4.6 per second, 200K available applications exist, and 4.5 billion installations of applications have been done, an average of 45 per device.”

Suffice to say, there is also patent as well as copyright FUD against Android and it comes from someone whom Microsoft Florian has been repeatedly interacting with recently. He used to work for Microsoft. “I think it’s more likely not about press for himself for himself as for press on the issue,” writes Pamela Jones, “preparatory to more hijinks filing of bogo-complaints against a Microsoft competitor.” It’s like mercenaries galore.

In other news, “U.S. Energy Research Lab Still Recovering From Internet Explorer Exploit,” says this report:

The Department of Energy’s largest science and research lab in Tennessee is still recovering from a sophisticated attack from hackers intent on stealing information from the lab in early April.

The attack left the lab in a communications limbo for two days as technicians dealt with its aftermath.

“Most of the staff are back up, and the business functions are performing as usual,” said Barbara Penland, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s director of communications. “But as you can imagine, when we were trying to get everything back up in a hurry, there were some shortcuts taken, and now the IT folks are rebuilding things in the background, and building some things that will make us more secure.”

“US nuclear materials lab, Oak Ridge, and RSA done in by Windows and IE attack in April,” explains a contributor of ours. “The only common “Advanced Persistent Threat” shared by the two is Windows,” he adds, quoting:

To deal with the attack, Oak Ridge lab’s technicians had shut down access to its e-mail systems and some of its servers for more than 48 hours. They found that it was an attack that relied on a combination of social engineering and an unknown security hole in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. … the attack is noteworthy because it was clearly an attempt to steal information from a facility that is at the heart of America’s materials, national security and energy research. …

The characteristics of the this latest attack also appear similar to those used in the widely-publicized SecurID phishing attack, which compromised the computer security company RSA’s widely-used product. In the RSA attack, a malicious Flash object in a scam Excel file was used to infect recipients’ computers with malicious computer code.

Incidentally, he add that “NSA tells people to buy Vista/Windows 7 or OSX instead of moving to free software. They probably justified the omission based on perceived OS prevalence but most of the measures recommended are useless and real security is easier to find in freedom than in jail.”

We wrote about the NSA issue quite recently [1, 2]. To the FBI, for example, malware is not a bad thing, it's just business as usual. To them, insecurity at the user level is an advantage. Security means “securing those in power from the population” when it comes to secret agencies.

Links 20/5/2011: Linux Kernel 2.6.39, MeeGo 1.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Screwing the end user and seeing how far you get

    Linux today is a far more appealing solution than Microsoft Windows [...]

    Apparently Microsoft was ” protecting” me from having my movie watched on two screens at the same time, but frankly it should have allowed me to switch to the one large LCD. Instead, even running just the one large screen showed a black box where my movie should have been.

    I was later told this was part of the new protections enabled in the operating system to ensure DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was addressed.

  • Linux job portal launched: LinuxCareer.com

    As a demand for Linux-related jobs has jumped unexpectedly high in the last couple of years, LinuxCareer.com as a new Linux related job portal attempts to compensate for this sudden surge in demand for Linux skilled professionals and will surely accommodate both employers and job seekers. LinuxCareer.com is not affiliated with any local or international company, nor is it a recruitment or employment agency and it is specialising only in Linux based careers and closely related Information Technology fields.

    LinuxCareer.com offers tools such as application tracking, job alerts, login and syncing resumes with facebook.com and linkedin.com accounts as well as screening questionnaires for employers and resume uploads for job seekers.

  • Desktop

    • HP Pavillion dm1-3105ez

      The final problem, and in general the biggest problem, is the one I wrote about two weeks ago, when I was preparing this system for my class. This is the Windows 7 installation which insists on scribbling on the MBR when I have GRUB installed. I never did figure out how or why it is doing that, or how to stop it. In the end I had to take the advice offered by Moley and a couple of others, and set the system up to multi-boot with the Windows bootloader. Ugh. What a nasty, ugly bunch of garbage. Gosh, I know, this is only 2011 and it is asking a lot for Microsoft to have something that is a bit more appealing than what they developed over 15 years ago for Windows NT, but honestly… a text-only, white font on a black background… oh, please. Anyway, setting that up to multi-boot Win7 or openSuSE, and then using my normal Legacy GRUB configuration to further multi-boot the various other Linux distributions I have installed at least works, and it has stopped the system from self-corrupting. I can’t even tell you how many times I reinstalled Windows and various Linux distributions while trying to get something else – anything else – to work. Bleah.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 2.6.39 Officially Released

      We are proud to announce today, May 19th, the immediate release of the highly anticipated Linux kernel 2.6.39.

      Among the new features included in Linux kernel 2.6.39 we can mention new drivers for high-end AMD graphics cards, ipsets to simplify firewall maintenance and implementation, improved EXT4 file system, new drivers for better hardware support, and lots of bug fixes.

      “So it’s delayed a few days, and I really was struggling with the decision of whether I wanted to cut a final release at all: it could easily have made more sense to just do an -rc8.”

    • Linux 2.6.39 Debuts with Improved Performance

      The rapid release cycle of the Linux kernel shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

      Linux founder Linus Torvalds this week released the new Linux 2.6.39 kernel, barely three months after the 2.6.38 kernel came out. The 2.6.39 kernel is the third major kernel release so far in 2011.

      The 2.6.38 kernel release cycle included seven release candidates and Torvalds noted in a mailing list posting that he had debated whether or not to issue another candidate to provide more testing time.

      “I really was struggling with the decision of whether I wanted to cut a final release at all: it could easily have made more sense to just do an -rc8,” Torvalds wrote.

    • Linux 2.6.39 assists firewalls, speeds up Ext4
    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source AMD Fusion Driver Stabilizes

        With the very latest open-source Linux driver code for the AMD Fusion E-350, the support is finally stable and comparable to that of other recent Radeon HD graphics processors with the open-source driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma Components

        I’m here to talk about my GSoC project (\m/), the plasma components. As you may know, QML is a declarative language to build rich interfaces introduced in Qt 4.7 by providing simple primitives. As it is a powerful way to develop interfaces and it’s the future of UI development for Qt was necessary to make the plasma support it.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 15 May 2011
      • How to Install Plasmoids In Kubuntu (KDE)

        I have just started using Kubuntu a week ago. Being a new user of the KDE desktop, I admit that I am have difficulty getting used to its terms. One of the thing I am always confuse is the difference between plasmoids and widgets. The two terms are used interchangeably and it took some googling to discover that plasmoids are actually widgets.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME change proposal: much smoke, no fire

        erhaps it’s the fact that GNOME has undertaken meaningless change in the past, justifying it through the use of buzzwords, and ended up with a morass that really does not find favour with too many users.

        Perhaps it’s the fact that the GNOME developers still have the attitude that they are building things for themselves and the rest of the world can use it as it is or else take a walk.

        Whatever it is, when there is talk of change in GNOME, people sit up and get agitated. But this time, someone has bitten off a lot more than they can chew, suffered from indigestion and then passed a lot of misinformation around.

        Let’s get specific. The OMG!Ubuntu site, a site for Ubuntu fanbois, published a little article a few days ago, titled “GNOME to drop support for BSD, Solaris, Unix?”

        This was based on a post to Reddit. The OMG Ubuntu employee who wrote the post for the site, Joey Sneddon, did not bother to read the email that began the discussion that led to this amazing claim.

      • Unity 2D to enter GNOME:Ayatana soon…

        In the past days I’ve been packaging and fixing some issues on Unity 2D for inclusion on the GNOME:Ayatana repository in the openSUSE Build Service.

        This gave me an excellent opportunity to test a few components share by both, Unity and Unity 2D, which is the case of ‘unity-place-applications’ and ‘unity-place-files’, both using Zeitgeist which is already in Factory for the upcoming openSUSE 12.1. We thank the integration of this packages to Federico Quintero. Thanks Fred.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat intros PaaS for open source developers

        RALEIGH, USA: Red Hat, Inc., open source solution provider has recently announced the availability of OpenShift, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for developers who build on open source.

      • The rise and fall of CentOS

        If it weren’t for RedHat Linux, I might not have ever found PostgreSQL. In early 2001, I was running the tech side of a company with an ISP component to it. After starting with RedHat 4.2 in 1997, we’d standardized all the servers by then on RedHat 7.0, refusing to upgrade from its 2.2 kernel even when new versions with 2.4 appeared. (We needed VPN Masquerade and it didn’t work on those crazy bleeding edge 2.4 kernels) Into the business came a new product that needed a database embedded into it. As a former Progress DBA of some reknown (seriously!), I got the job of figuring out which to use. After poking around at the open-source database options that were a simple rpm install away, I found PostgreSQL 7.0. It seemed completely sensible for a small but important database. BerkleyDB was too simple for the queries I wanted to write, MySQL 3.23 was frighteningly loose with its data to me, and I was still pissed at Oracle for killing off my previous database career–even if I had wanted to budget for it. I got a copy of Bruce’s PostgreSQL book, hot off the presses, built an app with RedHat 7.0 plus PostgreSQL 7.0 plus Perl-DBI, and the database part of it worked great.


        I’m writing this as my first Scientific Linux install executes, and I have my first SL6 work for a customer also fed up with waiting on CentOS6 to start on when it’s finished. CentOS isn’t the first group to run an open-source development project without what I’d consider a really open development community, they’re just the latest to show how dangerous that is.

      • Put on your new Red Hat Linux

        RHEL 6.1 features optimized KVM virtualization, new hardware support, improved operational efficiency, and high availability (HA) improvements. It also includes improved development and monitoring tools such as an updated Eclipse development environment includes enhanced breakpoint and code generation for C/C++ and Java.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Screenshots
      • Open Virtualization Alliance Aims to Spread the KVM Gospel

        BMC Software, Eucalyptus, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat and SUSE have partnered to create the Open Virtualization Alliance to promote the adoption of open virtualization technologies such as KVM. What does it mean for you, the VAR? Simply put: exposure.

        VARs working with any of the open virtualization standards no doubt have run up against customers who are either wary about open source technology, or just simply don’t know about the potential. Promoting awareness about technology is a good way to spread it, and that’s what the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) plans on doing.

      • Open Virtualization Alliance launched
      • Fedora

        • Design team imageboard test server and WE NEED Fedora 16 theme artists!

          Yesterday with some help from smooge and nb, I set up a Danbooru-style image board to test out, and I am hoping that Fedora artists and designers might play with it and see if it’d be a useful resource. It’s an application called Shimmie.

          What is an imageboard? It’s a bulletin board or forum type of website that focuses much more heavily on images rather than text. You can read more about them in Wikipedia’s article. Traditionally they are used for ‘found’ images, and I don’t know if they are used much by folks who are generating original artwork, but it seems as if they would be a useful tool for collaborative image production, as they would keep discussion focused on visuals.


          Some folks understandably believe art and design are stuffs enshrouded in a mysterious haze of incense smoke without much logic or reason involved. I get it. I’ve been there too, and I think it’s easy to feel that way – discussions about art works sometimes get a bad reputation for being anywhere from fussy, to bizarre, to completely pointless.

        • Fedora project switching to new contributor agreement

          Fedora is in the process of retiring our old “Individual Contributor
          License Agreement”…

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Revisited: SimplyMEPIS 11.0

          After I installed SimplyMEPIS 11.0 and restarted the virtual machine, I was greeted by a session almost identical to the live session, which is only to be expected. The big thing that I wanted to make sure here was whether installing packages would work given that it didn’t in the live session due to weird settings, and thankfully, it did work. And that’s where my time with SimplyMEPIS 11.0 ended.


          I don’t think SimplyMEPIS is a good distribution for users who are new to Linux, though that is its target audience.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Looking at 11.04 Natty/Unity – Good or bad?

            This review has been written over the period of a few days and one of the successes of Unity for me was that my wife immediately felt comfortable with it. My initial reservations have melted away with the realization that a different way of working can, until accustomed to, be a frightening place. Now that I’ve settled with Unity over the last few days, I will be keeping 11.04 on my main rig, I had intended to return to Sabayon, but now that I’ve got accustomed to Unity, there really is no reason for me to switch back at the present time.


            This review has been written over the period of a few days and one of the successes of Unity for me was that my wife immediately felt comfortable with it. My initial reservations have melted away with the realization that a different way of working can, until accustomed to, be a frightening place. Now that I’ve settled with Unity over the last few days, I will be keeping 11.04 on my main rig, I had intended to return to Sabayon, but now that I’ve got accustomed to Unity, there really is no reason for me to switch back at the present time.

          • Building The Kitchen Sink

            If you look at Unity, some of it’s customization potential is exposed in the Unity user interface itself, but much of it is hidden (so as to provide a sleek and uncluttered experience for end-users), but you can still access this functionality under the covers. Tools such as Simple CCSM, and more recently Gunity and Confity are providing tools to access these lower-level configuration options. Of course, this is exactly the kind of awesome that power users love! Trouble is…there is one problem…

          • Top 6 Ubuntu 11.04 Themes to Make Natty Narwhal Look a Lot More Attractive

            We have already featured a series of articles dealing with various aspects of the brand new Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal starting with the thorough review of Ubuntu 11.04. Now its time for some extensive customization of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal’s look and feel through a bunch of cool looking themes. Following is a collection of some of my favorite GTK themes for Ubuntu 11.04/GNOME 2.0 based desktops. Take a look.

          • The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu Studio 11.04
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI set to expand open source mission

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), defender of the open-source faith, will soon expand its reach, embracing representatives from other open-source groups and the world of business.

  • ✈ Speaking at OSBC

    If you’re at the Open Source Business Conference, OSBC, in San Francisco today and tomorrow, you have three opportunities to hear me speak (or three sessions to scrupulously avoid, depending on your taste). They are:

    * Why You Need an Open Cloud Platform to Build a SaaS, Monday 11:40-12:30
    On this large panel, I’ll be commenting on the fact that there’s no way you can guarantee that you’ll not be locked in with a cloud solution today. Just as with other software solutions where your software freedoms are threatened, that doesn’t mean avoid them blindly, but it’s important to look for suppliers who actively protect the four freedoms in addition to promoting data freedom. This is also a context where community sentinels may be useful.

  • Events

    • Things I wrote down during OSBC 2011
    • Third day at Solutions Linux 2011

      Solutions Linux 2011 is now over ! The last day was again full of various meetings, including a very interesting one with Charles Schulz (The Document Foundation) where I learnt a lot around LibreOffice future that I can not disclose ;-) or maybe later on. And I lead the System Administration track, which was extremely successfull this year with more than 130 people in the room !! I’m glad to see that the new model of free conferences is allowig the event to have more attendees.

    • Open Collaboration Services Next Sprint

      Over the weekend of May 14th and 15th, the Open Collaboration Services Next sprint took place at the Physics Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Seven experienced developers participated in this event–some of them coming directly from Linux Tag–in order to meet face to face, create new bonds, and discuss current and future issues around Open Collaboration Services.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle make JRockit Java VM free of charge

      Following Oracle’s announcement that it plans to unify the two Java Virtual Machines it owns, Hotspot and JRockit, into a single virtual machine, Oracle has now made the JRockit virtual machine available for no charge for “development and internal production use”. The blog announcement by Henrik Ståhl, the JRockit product manager, notes that the developers are currently taking ideas and features from JRockit and porting them over to OpenJDK, but now Oracle wants to converge the licensing of the two virtual machines ahead of the actual converged virtual machine. While the current JRockit implementation will remain proprietary, the move is designed to to simplify the progress to a single JVM by getting more feedback on any regressions between the future converged JVM and the current JRockit.

  • Business

    • Openbravo Offers Point-of-Sale (POS) Module for Open Source ERP

      The new POS Retail Module extends Openbravo ERP by integrating POS and store management capabilities.

      Openbravo has announced a new commercial offering that extends its web-based open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. The new POS Retail Module, based on Openbravo’s popular POS open source project, delivers integrated Point-of-Sale and store management capabilities to the Openbravo ERP solution.


    • 2010 Free Software Awards announced

      This year, it was given to Rob Savoye. Savoye is a long-time free software hacker, who has worked on GNU and other free software for over 20 years. He has contributed to dozens of projects including GCC, GDB, DejaGnu, Newlib, Libgloss, Cygwin, eCos, Expect, multiple major GNU/Linux distributions, and One Laptop Per Child. Savoye has led the effort to produce a free software Flash player, Gnash. This work has enabled free software users to avoid dependency on a pervasive piece of proprietary software. Rob is also CTO and founder of Open Media Now, a nonprofit dedicated to producing a freely licensed media infrastructure.

    • Work on a free software GPRS/EDGE stack!

      GPRS is a technology used by mobile phones to transmit data. If you have internet access on your cellphone, it’s likely that you are using GPRS.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Clarification on Android, its (Lack of) Copyleft-ness, and GPL Enforcement

      I’m grateful to Brian Proffitt for clarifying some of these confusions about Android licensing. In particular, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has cleared up the confusions that Edward J. Naughton keeps spreading regarding the GPL.

      I noted that Naughton even commented on Proffitt’s article; the comments spreads even more confusion about the GPL. In particular, Naughton claims that most BusyBox GPL violations are on unmodified versions of BusyBox. That’s just absolutely false, if for no other reason that a binary is a modified version of the source code in the first place, and nearly all BusyBox GPL violations involve a binary-only version distributed without any source (nor an offer therefor).


      Of course, Naughton hasn’t contacted me because he isn’t really interested in software freedom. He’s interested in getting press for himself, and writing vague reports about Android copyrights and licensing is a way to get lots of press. I put out now a public call to anyone who believes they haven’t received source code that they were required to get under GPL or LGPL to get in touch with me and I’ll try to help, or at the very least put you in touch with a copyright holder who can help do some enforcement with you. I don’t, however, expect to see a message in my inbox from Naughton any time soon, nor do I expect him to actually write about the wide-spread GPL violations related to Android/Linux that Matthew Garrett has been finding. Garrett’s findings are the real story about Android/Linux compliance, but it’s presumably not headline-getting enough for Naughton to even care.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Socrata unveils the new data.gov, opening vault on government data

        At the Technology Alliance annual luncheon in Seattle earlier this month, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra explained how the open government movement was “collapsing a lot of the complexity” that had previously made federal, state and local collaboration difficult. In particular, Chopra called out the efforts of Seattle startup Socrata, which is helping bring transparency to government information through data.gov. And now Socrata has introduced a new data.gov Web site designed to help government agencies publish and distribute data in new ways, including interactive charts, maps and lists.

        Socrata wants to make access to government data as easy to filter, sort and analyze as a pair of loafers on Zappos.com.

        “It is now as easy to analyze data as it is to buy a pair of shoes or a TV online,” according to an introductory video describing the new data.gov service.

  • Programming


  • Alternative DNS services: pro and contra
  • Winklevoss twins taking Facebook case to Supreme Court

    Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with partner Divya Narendra, have one last card to play in their legal battle with Facebook.

    The twins’ attorneys announced yesterday that they intend to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to hear their case against Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

    The petition stems from a settlement the Winklevosses and Narendra signed with the world’s largest social network in 2008 after claiming Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social-networking site they called ConnectU. At that time, they were awarded $65 million from Facebook and Zuckerberg in exchange for dropping all further litigation against the site.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Got Health Insurance? Pray You Won’t Get Purged

      Along with “rescinding” (cancelling) the policies of individuals who become seriously ill, purging small businesses that employ workers who get sick is a tried-and-true way of meeting Wall Street’s expectations.
      All it takes is one illness or accident among employees at a small business to prompt an insurance company to hike the next year’s premiums so high that the employer has to cut benefits … purging of less-profitable accounts through intentionally unrealistic rate increases helps explain why the number of small businesses offering coverage to their employees has been declining for several years and why the number of Americans without coverage reached a record high of nearly 51 million last year.

    • Journalist arrested at IT security conference

      A FAIRFAX journalist was arrested by Queensland Police yesterday after an article he wrote about vulnerabilities in Facebook’s privacy controls was published on smh.com.au.

      He was later released without charge but police retained custody of his iPad.

      Ben Grubb, the deputy technology editor of the Herald website, was attending an IT security conference at a resort on the Gold Coast where a security expert, Christian Heinrich, demonstrated how he had gained access to the privacy-protected Facebook photos of the wife of the HackLabs director, Chris Gatford.

    • New laws to widen ASIO spy powers

      ASIO will be able to engage in industrial and economic espionage as well as spy on groups such as WikiLeaks on behalf of Australia’s two foreign spy outfits, under one of the most significant widening of its powers in a decade.

      According to the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, the changes are being made to allow ASIO to work better with Australia’s two overseas spy agencies, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Defence Signals Directorate.

      But legal experts and the Greens have expressed concerns that the changes are not needed and fundamentally change the way Australia’s main domestic spy outfit operates.

  • Cablegate

    • 2011-05-19 WikiLeaks: Bulgarian Nationalist under US Diplomatic Fire

      Diplomatic cables of the US embassy in Sofia have been revealed on WikiLeaks and provided to the project for investigative journalism www.bivol.bg, bringing out new details about the way Bulgaria’s far-right, nationalist Ataka party and its leader, Volen Siderov, are viewed by American diplomats.

      The text in English has also been published at the Balkanleaks site, an analogue of the notorious whistle-blowing WikiLeaks.

    • Dawn Presents WikiLeaks’ Pakistan Papers
    • Putting together The Pakistan Papers

      It was the beginning of the last week of April when I received a call from the Editor Dawn asking me to come in for a meeting. “There`s a project I think you might be interested in working on but we can`t discuss it over the phone.” Intrigued, I went in for the meeting the next day and learnt what I and the project team would willingly give up our waking hours and days off for the next month or so.

    • Russia sabotaged Iran nuclear programme: report

      Then Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the sabotage of Iran’s nuclear programme in 2006, according to WikiLeaks documents published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on Thursday.

      The leaked documents, which were not immediately available on either the Yediot or Wikileaks websites, purportedly detail talks between the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and then-US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Poisoned in the Gulf

      The series looked at the reports of health problems among cleanup workers and coastal residents, and it examined how the current regulatory system failed to prevent harmful exposures. … the energy industry’s impact on community health in the Gulf, the political power wielded by oil companies and other industry interests to thwart regulatory reform, and how the emerging health crisis has turned ordinary citizens into grassroots activists.

    • President Obama used his weekly radio address this past Saturday to to promote a persistent myth about expanded offshore drilling: that it would bring down prices at the gas pump.
    • The US EPA has a disturbing tendency to raise exposure limits after disasters. They did this after Deepwater Horizon so they could declare the seafood safe to eat.
    • The facts of Big Oil’s tax loopholes and windfall profits
    • Republicans want to move oil drilling lawsuits to a court full of judges with close ties to oil companies.

      When it is not busy ordering high school cheerleaders to pay $45,000 because they sued the school district that required them to cheer for their alleged rapist, the Fifth Circuit’s judges have cozied up tightly with the oil industry.

    • Koch Industries’ Toxic Gifts to Wisconsin

      [in three years], Koch Industries’ facilities emitted over 5.4 million pounds of toxic discharges into Wisconsin’s air and water. Of these discharges, nearly 100,000 pounds were of substances known or suspected to cause cancer. Michael Ash, an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and coauthor of the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters,” says the numbers indicate that Koch Industries is a “major polluter” in Wisconsin.

    • Housing in North America: Peak Oil’s Primary Victim

      Of the many asset classes to be victimized by the end of cheap energy, residential real estate is perhaps the most vulnerable. A call option on future wage growth, and, leveraged to our liquid-fuel based transport system, housing in North America is currently making its way back to the stable, but barely appreciating asset it once was. However, having started this journey only recently there is still a long way to go. A long way in price that is, for housing to fall.

      The housing crash is currently in the midst of its next leg down. In similar fashion to those who missed the initial crash, the past year has seen a number of observers calling for a bottom. One of my favorite calls came last year from Karl Case in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In A Dream House for All, Mr Case made the following argument: because house prices had fallen so much already, housing was now more affordable. But of course that wasn’t true at all. Not then, and not now.

  • Finance

    • To Eat and Survive in LA: On Track for a Million Food Stamp Users

      Los Angeles County food stamp users are now on track to reach the 1,000,000 mark by later this year. After the California housing market cracked in 2006, and leading into the financial crisis of 2007-2008, LA County food stamp recipients were registering at the 625,000 level in the Spring of 2008. March 2011 shows that 967,301 persons are now in the program in LA County.

    • Conflicts of Interest in LBOs — a Case Study

      Adding to the intrigue, in an earlier round of bidding, Vestar Capital Partners, a PE firm with loads of experience in the canned food business, made the highest offer. In the second round, Barclays paired Vestar with KKR, in violation of the “no teaming” provisions of earlier agreements the firms had entered into with Del Monte, and had them submit a joint bid. Problem was, Barclays didn’t let the Del Monte board know it had taken this step, leading the board to believe that Vestar had dropped out. Vice Chancellor Laster found that this shady business alone “materially reduced the prospect of price competition for Del Monte”.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Google Looking for Dislike Button on Facebook

      Facebook’s recent admission that it hired a public relations firm to spread the word about privacy issues at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has left both companies looking foolish.

      A Facebook spokesman confirmed that Facebook hired public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller to “encourage” media outlets to write anti-Google stories, specifically urging them to look in to claims that Google is invading people’s privacy.

      Facebook gave two reasons for why it decided to play the Richard Nixon role in this modern version of Watergate: The Musical. First, Facebook believes that Google is engaging in some social networking practices that are violating the privacy of its users. Second, Facebook dislikes (to say it mildly) that Google is trying to use Facebook’s data in its own, competing social-networking service.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Wall Street Journal notices that Facebook tracks you, like it or not.

      [the "Like" and "tweet" buttons notify] Facebook and Twitter that a person visited those sites even when users don’t click on the buttons, according to a study done for The Wall Street Journal. – Wall St. Journal

    • Google takes on deep packet inspecting ISPs Perhaps they were alarmed when Mediacom inserted their own ads onto Google and others. This won’t protect users from malicious features in Windows. Via Google

      With Google search over SSL, you can have an end-to-end encrypted search solution between your computer and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party. This provides you with a more secure and private search experience.

    • Facebook executive takes heat in hearing on privacy

      A leading senator, angry that Facebook Inc. failed to stop millions of preteens from using its social networking site, accused co-founder Mark Zuckerberg of lacking “social values” and being more concerned with building the company than with children’s privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • Simon Phipps open washes fog computing. He considers avoidance of non free software “extreme” but a single malicious feature on your computer is complete compromise of privacy and security. His outlook on fog computing has a similar mistake. The only way to be able to rehost your service with all changes is to host it yourself.

      Ultimately, your best protection is to be able to rehost your service elsewhere. This is where traditional views of software freedom become important. If the whole solution is open source, if there are no dependencies on meta-control points outside your control and if the existing data can be exported live and whole, you have the ultimate protection for your freedoms.

    • Bill Would Require Court Order For Cops To Read Emails

      There are some issues that advocacy groups and big companies have come to agree on, and one is the main federal wiretapping law is in serious need of an update. Now it looks like the update may actually be coming. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill today that would update the law known as the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act, or ECPA.

      The main problem with the ECPA is that it’s been interpreted by courts to allow cops to snoop on email without a warrant. That development has been disturbing to public interest groups, but has also begun to bother large corporations that the government has begun to treat as an easy source for evidence, even without a court order.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Publishers delude themselves and insult the public at World Copyright Conference.

        The organisers really seem to have included everyone, just as they say: “All stakeholders involved in creative industries – creation, licensing, usage, collective management, legislation and dissemination of intellectual property and creative content.” Well, everyone except one: The Public….This huge and insulting asymmetry is perhaps the perfect symbol of all that is wrong with industries based around copyright today: they sincerely believe that the “respect” involved is all one-way… This conference, then, is the perfect expression of an industry talking to itself, reinforcing its own prejudices and delusions, and unwilling to accept that the world has changed utterly

      • RIAA wants to make it easier to harass competitors.

        the recording industry is pushing California’s lawmakers to approve legislation that would allow warrantless searches of companies that press copies of compact discs and DVDs. The Recording Industry Assn. of America, in effect, wants to give law enforcement officials the power to enter manufacturing plants without notice or court orders to check that discs are legitimate and carry legally required identification marks.

      • Copyright troll, Righthaven, slapped with class action counter claim.
      • Yale opens up image library, starts with 250,000 free images

        Yale is making high-resolution images from its cultural collections available on a free, open access basis. They’ve started by uploading 250,000 images, with lots more to follow. The collection includes “a small limestone stela with hieroglyphic inscription from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, a Mozart sonata in the composer’s own hand from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a 15th-century Javanese gold kris handle from the Indo-Pacific collection of Yale University Art Gallery and a watercolor by William Blake.”

      • Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free
      • Announcing the Public Knowledge “Copyright School” Video Challenge!

        In an attempt to educate its users about copyright law, YouTube has debuted “Copyright School,” a video that explains why videos are removed from YouTube. While “Copyright School” does a great job of telling you what you can’t do with copyrighted content, it does a very poor job of telling you what you can do with copyrighted content–namely, remix, reuse and repurpose it without permission from the rightsholder as allowed under the doctirine of fair use.

      • Righthaven hit with class-action counterclaim

        One of the website operators accused of copyright infringement by Righthaven LLC has retaliated, hitting the Las Vegas company with a class-action counterclaim seeking to represent defendants in all 57 Righthaven cases in Colorado.

        While the counterclaim mentions all 275 Righthaven lawsuits, it covers only those filed in Colorado.

        It charges defendants in all the Righthaven lawsuits “are victims of extortion litigation by Righthaven, which has made such extortion litigation a part of its, if not its entire, business model.”

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Amputee Patrick demonstrates his new worlds first bionic hand – BBC

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