Links 28/6/2011: Android Activations Surpass Microsoft Windows, Millions of OLPC XOs Noted

Posted in News Roundup at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: BIOS bugs behind greater power use

      Since version 2.6.38, kernels have used more power because, in certain situations, they disable the power-saving ASPM feature. New stable and long-term kernels offer corrections; however, one of them is conspicuously lagging behind.

      In April, the Phoronix web site reported that some systems require more power with Linux 2.6.35 and 2.6.38 than they did with the previous versions. Phoronix says it has now found the reason for the increased power consumption in 2.6.38.

    • Linux Kernel Power Issue Workaround
    • The kernel column #102 with Jon Masters – celebrating 20 years of kernel history (and a look ahead to Linux 3.0)

      Jon Masters marks the 20th anniversary of the Linux kernel with a reflection on 20 years of Linux kernel history and a look ahead to Linux 3.0…

      Twenty years ago, in April of 1991, a young Finnish computer science student at the University of Helsinki began work on a piece of software that would fundamentally change the computer industry. Linus Torvalds had just recently acquired an Intel 80836 microprocessor-powered PC system and wanted to exploit its support for ‘Protected Mode’ paged virtual memory (the ability for the processor to isolate individual programs from one another and give each an entire memory address space of its own to work with), and in the process learn about how such features worked. At the time, contemporary consumer operating systems such as Microsoft’s Windows 3.0 had only very limited support for the advanced features of the new Intel processor, and commercial UNIX-based alternatives were extremely expensive propositions, while open source operating systems such as Minix used alternative (older) techniques like memory segmentation, which had been in older Intel CPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Nord: A Beautiful Glassy GNOME Shell Theme

        Nord is a new glassy GNOME Shell theme based on Zukitwo, created by WebUpd8 reader rAX.

        The theme is currently in beta and there are some known bugs but it already looks great, featuring some unique elements like the switches which look amazing (see the screenshots). If you use GNOME Shell, you must really give it a try!

      • making the jump to gnome 3

        Well the pros, well really the wants, finally won out over the cons and I upgraded my primary laptop that I use for work and just about everything else to Fedora 15 and gnome 3. What finally pushed me over the edge? Evolution 3 and Firefox 5.

      • Gnome 3, its got some issues…

        Since I switched to Gnome3 I’ve been finding some weird inconsistencies. The problem is, I can’t be sure its actually Gnome3 or something else?

  • Distributions

    • TLWIR 6: What City Is Your Distro?

      Which GNU/Linux distribution a person prefers is a very individual choice. Some people like distributions that give them total access: the freedom to do whatever they want. Others want a desktop OS that will hold their hand if they run into problems. There is no single distribution that provides all of the right answers; each GNU/Linux user has to find the operating system distribution that best meets their own needs. In this week’s TLWIR, I will look at some of the best GNU/Linux distributions with a unique twist: I will compare the distribution to the city that I think most embodies its fundamental spirit. This week’s stories are as follows:

    • DoudouLinux 1.0 Released, Now Available In 15 Languages [Linux For Children]

      DoudouLinux is a Linux distribution for children, designed to be both educational and fun. It can be used from a CD/DVD or an USB stick so you don’t have to install it. We’ve reviewed it a while back so check out that post for more info.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Open Framework Systems (OFS), a new strategic partner for Mandriva.

        Mandriva, Europe’s leading publisher of Linux solutions, announces the collaboration with the Norwegian company Open Framework Systems (OFS).

        Mandriva and OFS are working together to provide a secure collaborative solution to its customers. OFS Collab Collaboration Suite is designed to be a real time secure collaboration suite that can be accessed from different types of clients and editors. With simple mouse clicks, user will be able to secure parts of a document with read and edit access rights. The Collab Collaboration Suite is client server based. The server handles the security and stores the documents in a centralized document management storage.

      • PCLinuxOS KDE 2011.6 Released

        I will be installing this release on my other systems over the next day or two, and I will add the results of those installations to this post.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon Linux 6.0 released — without GNOME 3.0

        The Sabayon community released version 6.0 of its Gentoo-based Linux distribution, moving up to Linux, but opting for GNOME 2.32.2 and KDE 4.6.4 desktop environments instead of the controversial GNOME 3.0. Sabayon 6.0 adds support for the Btrfs filesystem, switches to LibreOffice 3.3.3, and updates to version 1.0 of its Entropy package manager.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • 500,000 Android device activations per day

          This number is, of course, great news for Google and the Android platform. With such a large number of activations per day, it really shows how popular the mobile operating system is around the globe, and how much demand there is for Android devices overall. Not only is this number high, but it’s also a more true representation of consumer activity as it directly relates to users purchasing (and activating) their devices, as opposed to numbers referring to shipments (to retailers), as companies often provide.

        • Android/Linux Activations Exceed “7″

          We were told that, once upon a time, “7″ was shipped on an average of 7 PCs per second. Growth of “7″ is about 1% per month. On 1400 million PCs, that’s about 14 million PCs shipping with “7″ per month, ~5.4/s per second. Android/Linux is activating 500K per day (500K/86400 = 5.8/s). Further, the growth rate of the growth is 4.4% per week…

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • 1 Million XOs Missing in Action, Lack of Measurements to Blame

        Wait, what did he say, 3 million XOs? Did I miss something? The map on OLPC’s Web site says “over 2,100,000 children and teachers have xo laptops” and the corresponding wiki page also mentions “2.1 million XOs in the field as of January, 2011″.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The decline of ‘open source’ as an identifying differentiator

    One of the things that I have observed in relation to open source-related business strategies in recent months is the decreased use of the term ‘open source’ as an identifying differentiator in some companies’ marketing material, either to describe the company or its software.

    The way in which a company identifies itself in the opening lines of a press release may not necessarily describe accurately what the company does, but it is a clear indicator of how the company wants to be perceived.

    It seemed to me that a significant number of high profile open source-related vendors had stopped using the term open source as an identifying differentiator.

  • A window to open source OS

    Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others,’ informs www.ubuntu.com. The word also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’, adds the site.

    “The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.”

    It was, therefore, a pleasant meeting that I recently had with Prakash Advani, Regional Manager – Asia Pacific, Canonical, Mumbai (http://bit.ly/F4TAdvaniP). “I have been using the latest Ubuntu 11.04 on a laptop that’s almost three years now and I don’t see any degradation of performance,” says Prakash. “It performs the same that it used to three years back when I installed Ubuntu 9.10. After that we released three more versions and they have all worked beautifully on the same hardware.” Our conversation continues over email.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox in the Enterprise

        Mozilla is committed to providing the best Web experience for people everywhere, for whom the Web has become such an important part of their daily lives. Providing updates to Firefox more frequently allows us to secure users against emerging threats and provide the platform for innovation that today’s rich and compelling Web experiences demand.

        The Mozilla Community has focused our efforts on the needs of the individual user, and prioritized the product roadmap and features accordingly. However, as is the case with many technologies, loyal Firefox users and their IT departments have sought to bring Firefox into their places of work.

  • SaaS

    • Future of cloud survey shows significance of open source

      The 451 Group was pleased to work with North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM and additional companies and players in the industry for the Future of Cloud Computing Survey 2011, which confirmed the early nature of the market, but also indicated customers and users have learned from previous trends, particularly open source software and virtualization. The Future of Cloud Computing Survey 2011 garnered 417 responses from both vendors and end users, focusing on current use, drivers, barriers and future plans regard‪ing cloud computing.


    • GCC 4.6.1 Compiler Released

      As expected when mentioning the GCC 4.6.1 release candidate one week ago, GCC 4.6.1 has been officially released this Monday morning.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK shakes dust off open source policy

      If it looked like UK open source policy, just recently exhumed, had already been swept back under the same carpet it has been kept under since it was first launched two and a half years ago, the announcement yesterday that Liam Maxwell had acquired responsibility for it with a Cabinet Office portfolio did surprisingly little to improve its mien.

      It is then just as well Cabinet Office is about to announce long-overdue progress in its cause of creating a level-playing field for open source software. Because the new appointment will need all the help he can get.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Afghans Build Open-Source Internet From Trash

        In light of events that occured in the Middle East earlier this year, many worry that in the future, rogue governments could cut off access to the internet as a way to control political “threats.”

        Douglas Rushkoff has championed the idea that the current corporate-controlled internet is far from the open commons we pretend it is.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • BIRT 3.7 Released

      Open Document Text (ODT), Open Document Presentation (ODP), and Open Document Spreadsheet (ODS) outputs are also available with the addition of three new emitters.

Clip of the Day

I’m A Climate Scientist (HUNGRY BEAST)

Credit: TinyOgg

On Techrights ‘Negativism’

Posted in TechBytes Video at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Allegations of “Negativism” in Techrights and in “Boycott Novell” are put in perspective.

THIS is not a proper episode of TechBytes Video. I have been testing a few things in order to improve future delivery (when Tim and I both find time) and in the mean time I do try to convey some messages in means that are not text-only. In this video I speak about my experiences facing the allegation that this site is too abrasive.

RSS 64x64We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

YouTube: On Techrights Negativism

Or as Ogg:


Ogg Theora

ES: Todas Tus Comunicaciones Pertenecen a Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 5:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Communication tower

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: A través de asociaciones y entrismo, Microsoft se convierte en un riesgo importante para la privacidad de las personas.

En las últimas conexiones diarias[http://techrights.org/2011/06/28/silver-lake-and-skype-theory/] que resume una investigación de Groklaw, básicamente muestra que Microsoft había sacado un truco barato para comprar Skype y robar a sus propietarios. Esto también fue mencionado ayer por la noche en el IRC[http://techrights.org/2011/06/28/irc-log-27062011/], después de algunos artículos clave que se están haciendo olas. Skype es otro ejemplo de una empresa (como Danger, TellMe, y muchos más), cuyos fundadores están huyendo de Microsoft después de una adquisición. Ellos no están contentos y, a veces se sienten traicionados hasta el extremo. Hemos dado un montón de ejemplos en los últimos años.

“Microsoft puede agregar espionaje a Skype”, dice[http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/06/27/1553216/Microsoft-May-Add-Eavesdropping-To-Skype] Slashdot (el artículo correspondiente[http://www.conceivablytech.com/8108/products/microsoft-may-add-eavesdropping-to-skype] pueden aumentar preocupaciones nacionales[http://digitizor.com/2011/06/28/us-congress-skype/]), señalando que “La Oficina de Patentes y Marcas de los EE.UU. publicó una solicitud de patente de Microsoft que se remonta a diciembre de 2009 y describe los agentes de la grabación “para interceptar legalmente las llamadas de teléfono de VoIP. La aplicación de la “Intercepción legal de patentes es uno de los documentos más elaborado y detallados de Microsoft de patentes, que es lo suficientemente amplio como para hacerte pensar dos veces sobre el uso de VoIP de audio y vídeo. El documento se presenta la idea de Microsoft sobre el conjunto de la naturaleza, posición y función de grabación de los agentes que en silencio registran la comunicación entre dos o más partes.”

Cuando Microsoft prácticamente se hizo cargo de Nokia[http://techrights.org/2011/04/15/swpats-and-hardware-patents-at-nokia/] un montón de gente clave renunció. ¿Quién puede culparlos? Su empresa fue robada por un agresor, cuyo nuevo director general (un topo de Microsoft que todavía está es el octavo mayor accionista de Microsoft!) “Habría dicho que el Nokia N9 será el último teléfono MeeGo, INCLUSO SI ES EXITOSO”, (las mayúsculas son nuestras), de acuerdo con IDG. Se titula “La reacción en contra del CEO de Nokia eclipso ‘Sea Ray”. Nokia se metió otra Belluzzo[http://techrights.org/2011/05/04/stephen-elop-and-richard-belluzzo/] y un lector de Finlandia nos escribió sólo para decir que “Nokia no será capaz de deshacer el daño causado, en nombre de Microsoft por Elop.” El artículo anterior “en realidad pone sobre la mesa lo que su movimiento se trata de ideología y no de negocios.”

Hay otro problema aquí, del que casi nadie habla. Con Nokia, Microsoft será capaz de rastrear a muchas personas, al igual Apple lo hizo con el iPhone[http://techrights.org/2011/04/22/eavesdropping-on-users/]. Esta invasión de la privacidad, además de la adquisición de Skype Elop se refieró hace aproximadamente hace un mes (probablemente coordinó con su compañía, Microsoft), es un escenario de pesadilla. Añadir el hecho de que Microsoft es dueña de parte de Facebook y tiene acceso especial a los datos de Facebook[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Facebook], ahora que el sitio recibe más tráfico que los sitios de Microsoft en el Reino Unido[http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/27/facebook_750_million_overtakes_microsoft_in_uk/]. Y hablando de lo que ven a ver este último escándalo:

* Facebook Prohíbe las Aplicaciones de KDE, Elimina Fotos de los Usuarios[http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/75598]

Los usuarios de KDE ha recibido una sorpresa bastante desagradable de Facebook: No sólo es el sitio bloquea aplicaciones de KDE como Gwenview para cargar fotos, el gigante de los medios de comunicación social, también ha bajado fotos subidas con los plugins de KDE. Sin embargo, otra razón por la que los usuarios podrían pensar dos veces antes de depender de Facebook para el almacenamiento de fotos.

Me tropecé con este medio, por supuesto, Facebook. Un amigo mío había publicado que el “KIPI” (KDE plug-ins) que se encarga de subir a Facebook había sido prohibido. Eso es molesto, pero no es un problema importante – pero el problema real es que el sitio tiene al parecer también se deshizo de fotos que ya habia cargado con las aplicaciones de KDE que dependen de la extensión. Me gustaría señalar que el error, pero al parecer bugs.kde.org no está acostumbrado a la cantidad de interés que el error está recibiendo. (Tal vez al momento de leer esto este funcionando de nuevo sin embargo.)

* Facebook Prohíbe Cargador KDE de fotos, Todo el Contenido Cargado Es Inaccesible[http://lizards.opensuse.org/2011/06/27/facebook-bans-kdes-photo-uploaded-all-uploaded-content-inaccessible/].

* Facebook Prohibe las Aplicaciones KDE, Elimina Subida de Fotos[http://techrights.org/2011/06/28/privacy-risk-at-microsoft/]

Facebook ha prohibido las aplicaciones de KDE para la carga de imágenes a los perfiles de los usuarios – sin ninguna razón clara de por qué.

Pero si usted piensa que es una #fall en sí mismo, el sitio de redes sociales ha eliminado todos las fotos y álbumes que se han cargado con estas aplicaciones, ahora prohibidos, y los plugins.

Con Skype, Nokia y Facebook (todos en parte, por completo, y por asociación controlados por Microsoft), la empresa se está convirtiendo en una amenaza real por nuevos motivos. Poco a poco, Microsoft utiliza los topos y las ofertas “especiales” para perjudicar a la sociedad a través de otras empresas, que van desde trolls de patentes como IV de Nathan Myhrvold a los invasores de privacidad, como Facebook. No confíe en estos sociópatas.

“El propósito de dar a conocer tempranamente estos anuncios es la congelación del mercado a nivel OEM e ISV. En este sentido, es igual que el original anuncio de Windows …”

“Uno podría pensar que esto va a ayudar a Sun ya que sólo tendremos vaporware, que la gente deje de comprar las máquinas 486, que habremos endorsado RISC pero no entregado … Por lo tanto, Scott, ¿usted realmente cree que puede luchar contra esa avalancha?” -Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

Traducción hecha por Eduardo Landaveri, Administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

ES: Las Patentes de Software Frente a Nuevos Retos la FTC notificada, el caso Bilski invocado, y Re-examinación Realizadas

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the cave

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Otra mirada a la queja en contra de MPEG-LA, el caso de Oracle contra el Android de Google, y el caso de Paul Allen contra el mundo.

La lucha contra la agresión con las patentes de software se encuentra con algún éxito temprano, pero es prematuro cantar victoria antes de las sentencias finales. Por otra parte, enfrentar el problema de patentes a patente sería ineficaz y poco práctico.

Las patentes están perjudicando a las normas y la FTC (Comisión Federal de Comercio) ha sido informada de eso[http://xiphmont.livejournal.com/56718.html] por la buena gente detrás de Ogg (EN[http://techrights.org/2011/06/20/xiph-vs-mpeg-cartel/] | ES[http://techrights.org/2011/06/23/xiph-vs-mpeg-cartel_es/]).

No fue hace tanto tiempo que hubo la intervención federal después de las malas prácticas de las patentes de Rambus, como hemos explicado en el momento [1[http://techrights.org/2008/05/25/making-and-writing-laws-for-fences/], 2[http://techrights.org/2008/04/24/ooxml-rambus-monopolisation/], 3[http://techrights.org/2008/04/22/ambush-reform-lobby/], 4[http://techrights.org/2008/03/27/sinking-me-slowly/], 5[http://techrights.org/2008/02/02/patent-abuse-royalties/], 6[http://techrights.org/2008/01/25/anti-competitive-software-patent-standard/], 7[http://techrights.org/2007/09/22/fear-trolling-abuse-threats-dismissal/], 8[http://techrights.org/2007/08/29/patent-abuse-news/], 9[http://techrights.org/2007/08/23/patent-abuse-stories/]]. Para el titular de la patente/s es bueno tener normas que prácticamente fuerzan a todos a pagar un impuesto, pero para todo el mundo es INJUSTO, IRRAZONABLE y DISCRIMINATORIO.

De acuerdo con Patently-O (blog a favor de las patentes), es posible que más resistencia a las patentes de software muy pronto tendrán que venir. Para citar a su conclusión[http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/06/supreme-court-to-revisit-patentable-subject-matter-eligibility.html]:

Esa decisión Circut Federal se basó en las máquinas o a prueba de transformación de la corte que fue desacreditada posteriormente por el Tribunal Supremo en Bilski v. Kappos (2010). A raíz de su decisión Bilski, la Corte Suprema dejó vacante la decisión del Tribunal Federal de Circuito de Prometeo y devuelto para un nuevo dictamen. En suspensión preventiva, el Circuito Federal afirmó de nuevo que las demandas de Prometeo son eligilble para la protección de patentes.

La prueba de Bilski o caso Bilski[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Bilski_Case] siguen llegando en ocasiones a veces se convierten en una base de éxito para invaliding patentes que llegan a la sala del tribunal[http://techrights.org/2009/07/11/in-re-bilski-vs-software-patent/]. Sin embargo, se necesita un paso más allá. Cualquier cosa por debajo de la eliminación de todas las patentes de software, simplemente dejaría al Software Libre en un estado dudoso, o un estado en el que se aprueba sólo una parte de él para su uso (pero no para su redistribución). En este momento, incluso Java, a pesar de ser software libre (se supone que no GPLv2, v3), está bajo un ataque de patentes de Oracle. Desde que Google está dispuesto a llegar muy lejos y el desafío de los alegatos, las patentes de Oracle [http://www.itworld.com/software/176653/oracles-patents-case-against-google-weakening](que se lo compró a Sun) son casi consideradas inaplicables (si es que dejan de ser válidas, lo que es cada vez más probable). Para citar a:

El caso de Oracle Java infracción contra Google no va excepcionalmente bien para el gigante de la base de datos en estos días, con un nuevo revés entregado por la Oficina de Patentes de los EE.UU. Oficina de Marcas (USPTO) en forma de un nuevo examen de patentes esta semana.

Históricamente, las cosas no han sido color de rosa para Oracle, ya que su demanda agosto 2010 se puso en marcha, acusando a Google de violar el software de Oracle Java.

Oracle adquirió la tecnología de Sun Microsystems Java, cuando compró la compañía en 2010. En lugar de licenciar Java de Oracle para su uso en Android, Google ha desarrollado una “sala limpia” versión de la máquina virtual de Java, Dalvik, para Android. Oracle dice que Dalvik deliberadamente viola Java de todos modos, a pesar de los esfuerzos para construir Dalvik desde cero.

Otro caso en contra de Google y otros, esta vez del co-fundador Microsoft, se está debilitando[http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110624160811958]. Groklaw revela que:

En un juicioso (nunca mejor dicho) movida, el tribunal ha considerado la petición de suspensión presentada por los acusados que buscan suspender el juicio hasta después de la USPTO complete la reexaminaciones de las patentes de Interval. Pese a la oposición de Interval a esta moción, el tribunal ha concedido la estancia [PDF], y el juicio ahora espera los resultados de las determinaciones de la USPTO.

Así que aquí tenemos otro caso en el momento de la presentación de una demanda, las patentes en cuestión se desafian y tal vez, sólo con suerte, podrían ser declarados nulas y la demanda que se giraba en torno a ellos se deseche.

En sus escapadas de extorsión de patentes, Microsoft (o Apple) por lo general gira alrededor de demandar a las empresas pequeñas o meros distribuidores que tienen pocos incentivos – a diferencia de Google – para seguir adelante e invalidar las patentes – un proceso tedioso y caro.

Traducción hecha por Eduardo Landaveri, Administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

The Difference Between Microsoft’s Racketeering Against Linux and Oracle’s Racketeering Against Linux

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tennis racket and ball

Summary: The General Dynamics Itronix patent deal deciphered; Oracle — unlike Microsoft — takes the outrageous Android complaint to Google, which has good reasons to put up a fight; it also names actual patents

THE LATEST Microsoft extortion deal has just been announced and the coverage about it controlled to an extent. Rather than pay attention to the success of Android/Linux (“500,000 Android device activations per day”), the Microsoft boosters try to associate Android with patent lawsuits, malware, etc. Among the Microsoft tax-tainted Android devices we previously had Samsung, LG, HTC, and thankfully not the Nook, which unlike the Kindle (Amazon, not Android) is being defended by B&N. Notice the pattern though, as those extorted are located where the US pushes disgraceful treaties to force-feed software patents.

Free Android is still available from Sony, Motorola, ASUS, Dell, Acer, Cisco, Archos, Toshiba, Sharp, and many more. Companies to avoid for their payments to Microsoft (for unknown patents, allegedly relating to Linux) are Novell/SUSE/Attachmate, Xandros, Turbolinux LG, Fuji Xerox, Brother, Melco, Samsung, Kyocera Mita, I-O Data, and HTC. Motorola and B&N fought back, so there is an ongoing battle in court and Google should try to help those companies that attend the courtrooms. They are under fire because Microsoft is desperate to make Linux more expensive and also its own cash cow. Microsoft’s boosters play along with this outrageous plot. For example, the now-spineless (maybe for the safety of her job at ZDNet) Mary Jo Foley does nothing to promote justice in her shallow coverage of the news from Microsoft’s PR department:

On June 27, Microsoft announced that General Dynamics Itronix signed a patent agreement with Microsoft for Itronix devices running Android. Microsoft characterized the agreement as providing “broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for General Dynamics Itronix devices running the Android platform.”

Some journalists asked me for comments about it. A press release broke the news (Microsoft probably pushed it to them early under embargo) with Microsoft boosters who were possibly briefed so as to cushion the extortion and play with talking points. For those who missed the news, Microsoft merely extorted another company which sells Linux. Microsoft uses software patents. As usual, out of the blue Florian had to jump right at my face (in Twitter), as though he was almost celebrating the extortion. He tends to sympathise with Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Here is the PR which the boosters are parroting. General Dynamics Itronix “devices running the Android platform” will be “covered”, says the PR, as if extortion has much to do with “coverage” (of one’s back maybe). The signing of a patent agreement is a case of putting a smile on something very hostile, as we explained before. Microsoft threatens to sue and then makes an escape route conditional upon “protection money” and pretense of the deal being amicable. To Microsoft is is important to say that “the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed” (more uncertainty) and “the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from General Dynamics Itronix under the agreement.” That’s extortion. Now watch what Microsoft’s lead extortionist says to promote further extortions: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with General Dynamics Itronix, which is an example of how industry leaders address intellectual property.” Translations: those who do not agree to cough up “protection money” are disrespectful of the law.

This deal demonstrates Microsoft’s continued bullying and persistent attempts to get around Google and tax its Linux-based operating system, usually by intimidating distributors of Android with lawsuit threats. Microsoft knows that for such companies to fight the case in court there would be less incentive than for Google, which currently battles against Oracle to defend Android from software patents. This deal is yet another example of the harms of software patents, which seem to provide a sort of welfare system to former monopolies or monopolies on the decline. People must ask themselves whether the patent system promotes innovation or promotes litigation which merely raises the price of everything we buy and reduces incentives for developers, whose jobs are dropped to give way to patent lawyers.

Glyn Moody wrote about the subject of software patents that fail against Android. That was just hours before the above announcement and it basically said that software patents are clearly failing:

I’ve noted before that we are witnessing a classic patent thicket in the realm of smartphones, with everyone and his or her dog suing everyone else (and their dog.) But without doubt one of the more cynical applications of intellectual monopolies is Oracle suit against Google. This smacked entirely of the lovely Larry Ellison spotting a chance to extra some money without needing to do much other than point his legal department in the right direction.


Even assuming that Google has wilfully infringed on all the patents that Oracle claims – and that has still to be proved – it’s hard to see how Oracle has really lost “opportunities” as a result. If anything, the huge success of Android, based as it is on Java, is likely to increase the demand for Java programmers, and generally make the entire Java ecosystem more valuable – greatly to Oracle’s benefit.

So, irrespective of any royalties that may or may not be due, Oracle has in any case already gained from Google’s action, and will continue to benefit from the rise of Android as the leading smartphone operating system. Moreover, as Android is used in other areas – tablets, set-top boxes, TVs etc. – Oracle will again benefit from the vastly increased size of the Java ecosystem over which it has substantial control.

Of course, I am totally unsurprised to find Oracle doing this. But to be fair to the Larry Ellison and his company, this isn’t just about Oracle, but is also to do with the inherent problems of software patents, which encourage this kind of behaviour (not least by rewarding it handsomely, sometimes.)

Oracle could sue distributors of Android other than Google and then extort them. But Oracle does not play as dirty as Microsoft. Only SCO, given funding from Microsoft, could possibly use such a strategy, although even SCO did not go as far as Microsoft.

To Microsoft, being able to milk other people’s work may be essential for survival because the company has debt (and it didn’t actually pay billions for Skype as it may have journalists believe, for reasons we’ve covered separately). Microsoft’s cash cows are dying and as my co-host Tim put it:

Like a parasite, Microsoft feeds off another, yet can you blame them? Windows Phone 7 isn’t the Iphone killer that Microsoft PR would have you believe and that’s just one “cog” in its product catalogue. Microsoft has battles all across the board, its firing in all directions and all the while its competitors are coming out with products that people want to buy.

To me it’s very telling that Microsoft doesn’t go after Google directly. I wonder why that is? Could it be like the schoolyard bully they pick on those smaller than themselves, knowing full well that their patent claims won’t be tested in court? Could it be that Microsoft knows exactly how much “worth” there is in their claims and knows Google would fight back.

And Microsoft wonders why its name is mud with many in the tech world? To me these actions show Microsoft as a parasite and coward. If you feel you can justify Microsoft’s actions then I’d love to hear from you. If you can’t, then maybe you are as disgusted as me how Microsoft is allowed to carry on like this.

“Nessuno” in USENET writes: “Convinced ‘em, all right.  “Nice little family you have there.  Be too bad if something happened to your little girl.”

“Of course they make more money from shaking down Linux than they make selling their own crap.”

Here is what a pro-Linux site had to say about the deal:

Last month, a Citi analyst said that Microsoft is receiving $5 per Android phone from HTC, and is aiming to squeeze $7.50 to $12.50 per device from other vendors. According to some observers, the $150 million per year sum from HTC is five times more income than Microsoft receives for its Windows Phone.

While many of the Linux device agreements appear to relate to patents Microsoft claims over the FAT filesystem, as was revealed in Microsoft’s successful lawsuit against TomTom, the Android claims could instead relate to UI techniques. At least this is what was revealed by Microsoft when Barnes & Noble refused to pay protection money to Microsoft over its Android-based Nook e-reader, and was sued by Redmond in March. Microsoft’s official statements in that case suggested that the cited UI techniques may be similar to those covered in the HTC case.

This settlement is good news for Microsoft Florian (he tried to push the abused into submission) and it is also validating the position of other lobbyists for software patents (and their own pockets), such as Steve Lundberg, who is still going at it.

Microsoft’s dream is a world where every device running just about any operating system will be a revenue source for Microsoft, due to software patents. That’s the vision they have — a vision where people write monopolies (patents), not code. Apple too is starting to lean that way now that Linux gives it a run for the money. Apple and Microsoft are part of the same problem and as we explained earlier, they try to impose US law (with USPTO monopolies) in Asian countries that actually make a lot of Linux-based devices. Apple Began pressuring Samsung with a patent lawsuit (they don’t go after Google) and “Apple’s long divorce from Samsung near final,” writes The Register. “The strained relationship between Apple and Samsung has moved a step closer to fracturing completely, with a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times refreshing rumours that TSMC will become Cupertino’s new best friend.”

“Even if Apple jumped in 2012, its business would only represent about 2 percent of TSMC’s business,” explains the author.

“The rest probably goes to Android,” remarks “Homer” in USENET.

“Well I must say I’m shocked and amazed this happened after Apple shafted Samsung with a bogus looky-feely lawsuit.

“Now it seems the shiny Samsung, er, I mean Apple iPhoney is set to become a considerably less shiny Korean iPhoney … made from only the finest plastic. The good news is it’ll also come with a free case made from dog fur, and a two feet tall antenna so you can actually get a signal.”

Without GNU/Linux or BSD as a Platform, There Can be No Freedom

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Mail, Microsoft at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Inca skull from Peru

Summary: Microsoft FUD in Peru (against GNU/Linux, as usual) and a move towards Free software on Windows hits an impasse

“Some FUD from some Peruvian MS minions” called it Eduardo Landaveri, a key member of this site, who shows that FUD is up to its older ‘mode’ again, which no good (we wrote about Peru before). We really ought to make a video roundup of the evolution of Microsoft FUD. “It’s an interview [with] Alejandro Raffaele,” explains the source, “director de marketing de Red Hat in that country. Of course he’s supporting his company’s views but you could see that some people especially on third world countries still believe old FUD, like GNU/Linux has higher TCO, less secure, and the like… It seems that the awareness is getting a foothold in those countries but still we have to engage in counter[ing] it and setting the facts straight.” Here is the Google translation of this article.

According to a pointer sent to us from India, Geneva too, having decide to put Free software only on top of Windows (a strategic mistake Bristol had made too), decided to withdraw from it:

The IT department of the city of Geneva in Switzerland is about to stop its four-year use of open source email clients and OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools, and revert to the previous, vendor dependent solutions, reports osor.eu.

Mathias Buschbeck, member of the the city council for the Greens, is submitting written questions to the mayor, arguing in favour of the current, vendor independent IT strategy and against the switch to proprietary solutions

To quote OSOR’s article about it, “Geneva [is] abandoning its open source email and office strategy” (on a proprietary platform). The yardsticks are already biased unless the software runs on its intended platform which Microsoft does not control and discriminate on, e.g. performance-wise.

I am currently working on IMAP patches (in C) that would add functionality public services may need. The problem is that they want to emulate what Microsoft is doing rather than adhere to standard Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), for example.

“Using .NET is Like Fred Flintstone Building a Database”

Posted in Microsoft at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Flintstones

Summary: The ripoff of Java is no match for Java and for LAMP stacks in general

Abandoning some .NET developers did not help Microsoft as they are driven away and leaving Windows unloved. A lot of complaints about .NET were mentioned in USENET recently, quoting all sorts of people who are angry. One that caught our eye, from BusinessWeek, quotes: “Using .NET is like Fred Flintstone building a database,” says David Siminoff, whose company owns the dating website JDate, which struggled with a similar platform issue. “The flexibility is minimal. It is hated by the developer community.”

All Your Communications Belong to Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Communication tower

Summary: Through partnerships and entryism, Microsoft becomes a major risk to people’s privacy

In the latest daily links we summarised some research from Groklaw, essentially showing that Microsoft had pulled a trick to buy Skype cheaply and rob its owners. This was also mentioned last night in IRC, following some key articles that are currently making waves. Skype is another example of a company (like Danger, TellMe,and many more) whose founders are fleeing Microsoft following a takeover. They are unhappy and sometimes betrayed to the extreme. We gave a lot of examples over the years.

“Microsoft May Add Eavesdropping To Skype,” says Slashdot (corresponding article can raise national concerns), noting that the “U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a Microsoft patent application that reaches back to December 2009 and describes ‘recording agents’ to legally intercept VoIP phone calls. The ‘Legal Intercept’ patent application is one of Microsoft’s more elaborate and detailed patent papers, which is comprehensive enough to make you think twice about the use of VoIP audio and video communications. The
document provides Microsoft’s idea about the nature, positioning and feature set of recording agents that silently record the communication between two or more parties.”

When Microsoft virtually took over Nokia a lot of key people left. Who can possibly blame them? Their company got stolen by an abuser, whose new CEO (a Microsoft mole who is still Microsoft’s eighth largest shareholder!) “reportedly said that the Nokia N9 will be the last MeeGo phone, EVEN IF IT’S SUCCESSFUL,” (emphases with all caps are ours), according to IDG. It is titled “Backlash Against Nokia CEO Overshadows ‘Sea Ray’ Excitement”. Nokia got itself another Belluzzo and a reader from Finland wrote to us just to say that “Nokia won’t be able to undo the damage caused on behalf of Microsoft by Elop.” The article above “really lays it on the table that his moved are about ideology and not about business.”

There is another problem here which almost nobody speaks about. With Nokia, Microsoft will be able to track many people, just as Apple did with iPhone. This privacy invasion, in addition to the Skype takeover Elop referred to about a month ago (he had probably coordinated it with his company, Microsoft), is a nightmare scenario. Add the fact that Microsoft owns part of Facebook and gets special access to Facebook data now that the site gets more traffic than Microsoft’s sites in the UK. And speaking of which, watch this latest scandal:

  • Facebook bans KDE application, deletes user photos

    KDE users have gotten a rather unpleasant surprise from Facebook: Not only is the site blocking KDE apps like Gwenview from uploading, the social media giant has also taken down photos uploaded with the KDE plugins. Yet another reason that users might think twice before depending on Facebook for photo storage.

    I stumbled on this via, of course, Facebook. A friend of mine had posted that the “kipi” (KDE Plug-Ins) that handles uploading to Facebook had been banned. That’s annoying, but not a major issue — but the real issue is that the site has also apparently zapped photos already uploaded using KDE applications that depend on the plugin. I would point you to the bug, but apparently bugs.kde.org is unaccustomed to the amount of interest that the bug is receiving. (Maybe it’s up by the time you read this, though.)

  • Facebook bans KDE’s photo uploader; all uploaded content inaccessible.
  • Facebook Bans KDE Apps, Deletes Pics Uploaded Using Them

    Facebook has banned KDE applications from uploading pictures to users profiles – with no clear reason as to why.

    But if you think that’s a #fail in itself, the social-networking site has reportedly removed all photos and albums that were uploaded using the now-banned applications and plugins.

With Skype, Nokia and Facebook (all partly, entirely, and by association controlled by Microsoft) the company is becoming a real menace for new reasons. Little by little Microsoft uses moles and ‘special’ deals to harm society through other companies, ranging from patent trolls like Nathan Myhrvold’s IV to privacy invaders like Facebook. Don’t trust sociopaths.

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level. In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement…

“One might worry that this will help Sun because we will just have vaporware, that people will stop buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but not delivered… So, Scott, do you really think you can fight that avalanche?”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

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