TechBytes Episode 65: End of the Season

Posted in TechBytes at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:14:35, 16.6 MB) | High-quality MP3 (26.6 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (8.5 MB)

Summary: The last episode of season one of TechBytes and an eclectic catchup with news

Identi.ca, Disapora, and Facebook were discussed in the context of the Web. We then spoke about Mark Shuttleworth on tablets, Unity in Ubuntu, KDE, Trinity, and Apple/Microsoft aggression against Linux, including the outrageous patent deals. “Barcelona” by Giulia y los Tellarini was played around the middle. We ended by discussing what to do in season two.

We 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.

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Mono Bug Persists in Ubuntu GNU/Linux

Posted in Mono, Ubuntu at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft is drilling a legal loophole into Ubuntu GNU/Linux and apathy still serves Microsoft’s plan

ONE important bug that Canonical no longer tries to squash is the Mono bug. It adds a liability which everyone is well aware of, including the company's outgoing CTO (Canonical reorganised following some important departures at the top)..

The host of TechBytes, Tim, is usually very moderate, but he too is still concerned about Mono inside Ubuntu. The other day he wrote in Diaspora: “I’ve much love for Ubuntu and whilst it’s not my desktop choice now, it’s certainly the one I will recommend to others. The community is great, the distro is great.

“It does though always sadden me when we see Canonical’s insistence to stick with Banshee and ergo Mono. Why?

“Of course removing Mono is not the problem, I just merely wish they would get over this particular dependency that I cannot see has any benefits (even if you don’t buy into a patent trap scenario)”

One of our contributors has already added a wiki page about removing Mono from the latest Ubuntu and Phoronix writes about Mono and Banshee in a new article which Tim called “a rather interesting read.”

Later he wrote: “I commented on TechBytes some time ago about its sluggishness and it’s interesting to see that its still being commented on now. Patent trap or not, we have already seen how aggressively Microsoft is hitting Android with “licenses” and I’d say it would be wise to minimize as much risk as possible and remove Mono completely, for me and what I’ve seen of it, it offers no advantages that even come close to risking another avenue of attack for Microsoft on non-MS products.”

Exactly. And Phoronix ignores the main problem people are having with Mono and Banshee which Microsoft says it reserves the right to sue over. It’s not just about performance and technical merit (or lack thereof). We increasingly hear about Mono in the context of Wine, too. Here is the article in question. It says:

Concerns over this Mono and GTK#-using application were raised since Banshee has had some problems on ARM (the application freezing with a white screen) and Mono issues on ARM in general.

But why not mention the other issues? We have a wiki page dedicated to these.

New Flaws in Windows Kernel and the Borderline Impossibility of Post Mortems

Posted in Kernel, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coal mine

Summary: A couple of new posts/articles about Microsoft Windows and what they teach us about this platform’s viability

THE PLATFORM which made “computer viruses” analogous and often synonymous with Windows viruses just keeps delivering and disappointing every time. According to this, the Windows kernel has unpatched flaws with exploits out there. To quote:

The Duqu malware used to steal sensitive data from manufacturers of industrial systems exploits at least one previously unknown vulnerability in the kernel of Microsoft Windows, Hungarian researchers said.

It is without great shock that we also learn why Windows can never be used reliably on a server, which — if compromised — makes is hard to diagnose the cause. To quote a new post:

Imagine if there were 50 PCs, 100, or more. I would be scared to look and see what other errors are occurring on other Windows 7 PCs in the company. Administrators have better things to do, than comb through useless log files. Way to go Microsoft, a quality operating system here with Windows 7. It’s no wonder Windows isn’t used for mission critical appliances, and GNU/Linux is instead. I’m not saying that GNU/Linux logs are the best, but they are pretty good and usually have information that I can use, to help pinpoint the error a little bit. GNU/Linux does not, and I repeat, does not have this amount of useless garbage in its logs like Windows does.

How long before Microsoft Jack appears at the scene to produce some promotional Microsoft comments in ZDNet UK? Usually it does not take long for Microsoft zealots like Jack to do this in that site.

A reader sent us some more links, one about the decline of Microsoft’s Web browser and another titled “Microsoft unlikely to patch Duqu kernel bug next week” (evidently).

“Time [for the] world to choose Linux,” concluded our reader.

Links 2/11/2011: Linux Everywhere, Doom 3 Source Code, OpenBSD 5.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • 4G – A Brief Discussion Of Its Usefulness

    The first question that comes to mind for a person with a completely nontechnical background is ‘what is 4G?’ There have been several levels of up-gradation you have seen in the mobile phones available in the market since it was launched. The variations have been available not only in the designs and looks of the phones but also in the engineering and technology with which they are made. This has initiated various changes in their features and functionalities.

  • Apple: It’s time to leave Neverland

    Post-Jobs, Apple must exist in a world of constantly improving commodity technology being created by its competitors and enterprises seeking next generation, integrated mobile and desktop solutions that the company is not currently offering: Products which are arguably more open and can more easily attract the partners needed to create solutions.

    And it should go without saying that Apple cannot compete by continuing to use the intimidation tactics of its departed founder, no matter how many tens of billions it has in its expansive larders.

  • People Cannot Buy Large Expensive Computers Even if They Wanted Them
  • iPhone 4S Battery Woes: Where is the Outrage?
  • Column: The iPhone 4S battery problem
  • iPhone 4S battery issue reminiscent of ‘antennagate’
  • Apple a digital vampire, says The Who star

    The Who guitarist Pete Townshend has launched a bitter attack on Apple, claiming that the iTunes Music Store is a ‘digital vampire.’

    The ageing mod-rocker likened Apple’s download platform to the failed Northern Rock building society and says the store is ‘bleeding dry’ and failing to support up-and-coming musicians.

  • Finance

    • Did Corzine’s risk taking cripple MF Global?

      In early April, Jon Corzine was in a tough spot. MF Global, the company he had run for the previous year, was about to post a fourth-quarter loss, marking its fourth successive fiscal year of red ink.

      For the former Goldman Sachs chief, it was a setback to his efforts to turn MF Global around. He had just announced a plan for the bank to boost trading risk by holding more assets on its books, both to help customers and to bet on markets.

    • Free Speech For People goes to Occupy Wall Street
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Anti-Spam Law in Limbo as Lobby Groups Seek New Exceptions

      Last December, the government celebrated passing eight bills into law, including the long-delayed anti-spam bill. Years after a national task force recommended enacting anti-spam legislation, the Canadian bill finally established strict rules for electronic marketing and safeguards against the installation of unwanted software programs on personal computers, all backed by tough multi-million dollar penalties.

  • ACTA

    • European Parliament releases “nonexistent” coordinators’ minutes on ACTA

      The European Parliament’s register released the International Trade (INTA) committee’s coordinators’ minutes on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). Prior to the release, the Parliament’s services denied the existence of these minutes four times. Only after the FFII provided proof that the documents do exist, the Parliament released them. The minutes document illegal decisions.

      On 21 June 2011, the coordinators of the INTA committee decided to ask the Parliament’s legal service an opinion on ACTA. (pdf) This decision was illegal for two reasons. First, the ACTA text had already been published, the discussion should have taken place in public. Second, coordinators can prepare decisions, not take them.

Sign the New White House Petition Against Software Patents

Posted in Action, Antitrust, Patents, Petitions at 3:19 am by Guest Editorial Team

The Obama administration issued a feeble response to a previous petition against software patents signed by more than 14,000 people. Please sign the new one which requires more than 20,000 signatures to merit a response.

Pursue Software Patent Abolition.
We hold the belief that software patents, in nature and practice, hinder true innovation and grant unjust monopolies.

The Obama Administration’s response to a previous petition shamefully attempted to absolve the President of responsibility and placate us with the toothless America Invents Act. We summarily reject his response and demand immediate action.

Rapid growth in the software industry during economic malaise demonstrates the importance and power of this market. The President must use his full power and influence to fight harmful forces from entrenched incumbents and non-producing entities.

There are no possible reforms to be made to the USPTO that will enable it to keep pace with innovation in the software industry. Those who truly understand software are creating it.

Links – E-Tyranny Acts

Posted in Site News at 12:02 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Hardware

    • Whats good for the Goose should be good for the Gander

      Just as many of you would be upset if you where told that desktop (or laptop) you bought had to keep it’s default operating system I am more than a little annoyed that a good deal of the ARM hardware out there comes with this stipulation attached.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why the Food Movement Should Occupy Wall Street.

      Rampant Wall Street speculation on commodities is driving up food costs, small farmers are being driven off their land, and agribusiness holds monopoly control of our seeds and stores. In this climate, the struggle against massive wealth disparities, unregulated financial institutions, and excessive corporate power is our struggle as well.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Is the EPA Selling Out Your Water?

      Nancy Stoner, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) acting assistant administrator for water, is an advocate for water privatization … “I think there’s big money in to be made in how to address the water resources needs for our country, particularly when we are going to have population growth, development, the decay of existing infrastructure and climate change”


    • A new study shows Japanese government underestimated Fukushima release by about half.
      “They really took a global view and used all the data available,” says De Geer. … The differences between the two studies may seem large, notes Yukio Hayakawa, a volcanologist at Gunma University who has also modelled the accident, but uncertainties in the models mean that the estimates are actually quite similar.

      Previous estimates showed releases on the order of or more than Chernobyl, this one has it considerably more.

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Police spy tricked lover with activist ‘cover story’

      Another undercover police officer, Peter Black, said sex was a widely used “tool” to gain the trust of activists when he was deployed in the 1990s. … In most cases, the police officers developed long-term relationships and their subsequent disappearance left women feeling traumatised and angry. … police spies are known to have been having relationships with activists as recently as last year, as part of a secret police operation to monitor political activists that has been in place since the late 1960s.

      The rich and powerful view the rest of us as tools to be exploited and abused without limit. That such behavior would be demanded by police supervisors is just as exploitative as the behavior itself.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • India wants to wiretap all Blackberries.

      It’s not free software, so you should assume that it’s already wire tapped.

    • An insurance company tried and Failed to get a Facebook user’s password.

      The court noted that State Farm’s requests are more than a fishing expedition. The interrogatory that sought the name, address and telephone number of each of plaintiff’s friends was “so far outside the realm of discoverable information” that the court concludes it was intended to “intimidate and harass plaintiff.” Parties have gotten out-of-control in seeking social networking profile information.

      We can imagine that Facebook already sold the insurance company the information, because insurance companies have used Facebook information to terminate benefits, but they were unable to produce the perceived dirt in a court without this password request charade. Don’t use Facebook.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • RMS on Steve Jobs, 27 October 2011 (Steve Jobs)

      Washington’s statement was harsher than mine. He criticized Mayor Daley as a person; I criticized Jobs’ public activity. … The important thing about Jobs is what he directed Apple to do to those who are still living: to make general-purpose computers with digital handcuffs more controlling and unjust than ever before. He designed them to refuse even to let users install their own choice of applications — and installing free (freedom-respecting) applications is entirely forbidden. He even tried to make it illegal to install software not approved by Apple. …Jobs also made it a personal crusade to attack Android with software patents. … Jobs’ final legacy may be the patent disaster we have warned about for 20 years.

      As usual, Mr. Stallman’s writing are worth reading in their entirety.

    • Oppose the E-Tyranny Act

      Various intellectual monopolies are used to justify censorship and business method monopolies, as we should expect from the confused or malicious people who use the term “IP”

    • The White House has insultingly ignored the petition against software patents by claiming nothing can be done.

      the USPTO can err on the side of rejecting software patents—indeed it has been doing just that to a limited extent. Over time, such rejections, if upheld by the courts, could shift the law in a less software-patent-friendly direction. … If the White House became convinced that software patents were detrimental to the American economy, it could begin filing briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to reinstate its original original ban on software patents.

    • Trademarks

      • On Blogging, Threats, and Silence

        They want you to shrink down very small inside a box where you think they can’t find you.’ And it works. I see it happening all the time; blogs go dark, or disappear entirely, or stop covering certain subjects. … And when it happens to people for the first time, they think they are alone, because they don’t realise how widespread and insidious it is. …

    • Copyrights

      • Meet the Real Parasites: Congress Declares Nuclear War on the Global Internet

        While Congress can’t seem to act in a bipartisan manner to do anything to help the 99% that really need it, the two parties are managing to join hands to help crush freedom on the Net — yes, they are equally culpable in this Orwellian thrust. … The fact that Congress in a bipartisan manner is willing to even consider such abominations is a travesty that we must not, can not ignore or forget.

      • E-PARASITE Bill: ‘The End Of The Internet As We Know It’

        Now I understand why Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s first reaction to this bill was to say that “this would mean the end of the Internet as we know it.” She’s right. The more you look at the details, the more you realize how this bill is an astounding wishlist of everything that the legacy entertainment gatekeepers have wanted in the law for decades and were unable to get.

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