TechBytes Episode 76: Amazon in Ubuntu and Other Interesting Items

Posted in TechBytes at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (01:08:59, 15.0 MB)

Summary: The 76th episode, the first of this season, kicks off with Tim and Roy

Today’s show deals with Amazon in Ubuntu, Vista 8, Apple vs. Samsung, search engines, games including Valve, and a variety of other topics. At the end we added the track “Misery Loves Company” by The Lovemakers.

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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Apple Hides Apology

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple apology

Summary: Apple continues to cheat and to dodge admission of guilt

Following apparent trial misconduct Apple is pulled back into the courtroom by Samsung. As Pamela Jones puts it:

If you imagined for one minute that the Apple v. Samsung litigation was over, think again.

Samsung is fighting hard, in what I’d describe as a D-Day, Normandy invasion, take-the-beach-at-all-costs style, fighting to the max over every inch. Perhaps that’s because the new lawyer added to the Samsung team from Quinn Emanuel, John Pierce, tasked with overseeing all the post-verdict motions, is an ex-Army officer. It definitely has that military feel.

I have a lot of documents to show you since our last look at developments, and the most important is a motion to compel [PDF] Apple to reveal when it first learned that the jury foreman “failed to disclose truthfully during voir dire that he had sued and been sued by his former employer, Seagate, despite the Court’s express question asking him whether he had ever been a party to any litigation”.

Apple recently lost its case against Samsung here in the UK and it got reprimanded for issuing an “inaccurate” apology. This is what former Microsoft staff fails to see, for the bias is usually obvious. The apology was all along faulty [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and it is no accident but very much deliberate. As people in Reddit point out:

Here’s the code that is on the UK version of the site;
var HeroResize=AC.Class({initialize:function(b){this._height=null;this._hero=$(b);
if(typeof window.ontouchstart===”undefined”){this.resizeHero();Event.observe(window,”resize”,this.__boundResizeHero)
}},setHeight:function(b){this._height=(b<0)?0:b;return this._height},resizeHero:function(){this.setHeight(parseInt(window.innerHeight||(window.document.documentElement.clientHeight||window.document.body.clientHeight),10)-310); this.hero().style.height=this.height()+"px"}});Event.onDOMReady(function(){var b=new HeroResize("billboard") }); It is there specifically to get the bottom 310px of the website out of view. Independent of screen resolution. This is blatantly just to get the statement out of view from most people.

As another commenter points out:

This needs to be at top. Apple automatically resizes the image of ipad on UK-site depending on the browser-size so that visitors will have to scroll to see the apology.

“Doesn’t the UK have contempt charges for a case like this?”

That is another angry response, from one person among many who are utterly pissed off at Apple. Recent statistics for smartphones are referenced as saying that Apple has less than 15% of the market now, whereas Android has 75%.

To quote a more strongly worded response: “I think it’s childish and indicates that apple are a bunch of assholes. I never had a problem with the company before, but their manipulation of the legal system and now this is too much to ignore. It’s like the thrashings of someone drowning, trying to pull themselves up, but instead forcing others down with them.”

Well, this is like the Streisand effect, where Apple’s attempts to hide a notice that’s embarrassing from some British customers has in fact gone global. Now everyone across the world knows that Apple libelled Android and that Apple is too arrogant to let the public know this, in fact defying court orders in the process.

Will from Techrights writes:

They got slapped around about evading the court order as Groklaw points out in her 4x updated story.. First they issued an incorrect statement that said a German court had ruled on the same patent which was both wrong and insulting to the judge who ordered them to change things in 24 hours. The UK site now has a notice that you have to scroll down to see, which will probably earn the company some big fines.


Many notable blogs and news sites are covering this right now, along with news about Apple’s brand eroding (covered here the other day). Apple’s sheer arrogance is costing it.

Patent Reform Widely Promoted in the News

Posted in America, Patents at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Changes to the US patent system are recommended by a growing number of writers

THERE has been considerable amount of energy devoted to patent reform in the US. A Red Hat site has this suggestion:

Patent reform: Can preissuance submissions help?

While almost no one thinks that the America Invents Act (AIA) will completely solve America’s patent problems, there are a few provisions in the AIA that may be useful tools in limiting and/or preventing bad patents. One of these tools is the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure, which went into effect on September 16, 2012. This procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by providing prior art, which can then be used by a patent examiner to determine whether a patent application lacks novelty or is otherwise obvious. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now seized upon the new procedure to organize a project to identify pending applications related to 3D printing and then seek out relevant prior art for submission.

An article by Glyn Moody suggests an alternative approach for biotech too:

Forget Patents: Why Open Source Licensing Concepts May Lead To Biotech Innovation

One of the main forces driving the move to open access is the idea that if the /public has already paid for research through taxation or philanthropy, then it’s not reasonable to ask people to pay again in order to read the papers that are published as a result. The strength of this argument is probably why, in part, open access continues to gain wider acceptance around the world.

But the same logic could be applied to the commercialization of publicly-funded research. Why should people be asked to pay often elevated market prices demanded by companies for these products — which naturally try to maximize profitability — when it was the public that funded the initial work that made those products possible in the first place?

Over at Forbes, which has been criticising the US patent system as of late, Stallman’s idea for reform [1, 2] is discussed by Tim Worstall, who gives respect to the messenger, not just his message:

For those who don’t know who Richard Stallman is, well, he’s one of the great gurus. Replace blogging with programming in this XKCD cartoon, Stallman for Doctorow and you’ve about got it. This does not mean that Stallman is always correct but it does mean that he’s always interesting. And he thinks he’s got a solution to the problem of software patents.

In a funny sort of way, even the abusers whine sometimes. “Apple is the latest company to feel the patent infringement pinch from a firm called Intercarrier Communications,” writes a Microsoft booster at CNET, neglecting perhaps to say how Apple is a major pincher itself. As for the effect of Nokia on Android, “The Finnish handset giant says it dropped its patent application for multiuser account functionality, and Google hasn’t contacted it to license technology for Android,” writes Shara Tibken of CNET. Like we showed before, the elephant in the room is MOSAID and other patent trolls which Nokia and Microsoft have been feeding.

Let us hope that critical coverage of the patent system continues to come, educating the population and countering parasitical elements like patent trolls and lawyers.

FRAND Trials in the US Kept Secret

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wall of secrecy between corporations and the public


Summary: Patent deals are kept out of the public eye, allowing software patents to tax everything

Apple pretends to be a victim of Android-affiliated patents. But this unbelievable reversal of victim-worthiness is not working:

The judge handling another F/RAND royalty case, Apple v. Motorola, in Wisconsin, the Hon. Barbara B. Crabb, has noticed [PDF] that Apple’s request for the court to set a royalty rate for Motorola’s standards-essential patents appears to be conditional — or maybe a better word would be illusory — since Apple revealed in a filing and then at the final pretrial conference that it won’t be bound by the court’s rate if it doesn’t agree that it’s low enough. As a result, the trial may not happen. There will be a hearing on the matter on Monday, the day the trial is supposed to begin.

Motorola is not the problem here. It did not initiate lawsuits, either. The reckless Feds got deceived by an astroturf campaign and secrecy is not helping:

It looks like everything that really matters in the Microsoft v. Motorola trial, now scheduled to begin on November 13, will be kept secret from the public. Not only are the parties asking the judge to keep their secrets, a substantial list of non-parties are asking that their license agreements with the parties be kept a secret as well. One of them, RIM, even asks the court not only to keep the public from the details but to keep Microsoft from seeing the details of its agreement with Motorola. So any time a license is discussed in detail, the public could be ushered out of the courtroom. That’s what they are asking for. IBM specifies that it wants its materials kept out of the public record, meaning sealed forever.

Secret trials are exactly what the US legal system was set up to try to avoid, and for a good reason — so the public can keep an eye on the courts. This case seems particularly inappropriate for heavy-handed secrecy, in that Microsoft refused to negotiate with Motorola privately to arrive at a royalty figure, opting for a public trial instead of following the typical RAND process.

There is a great deal of back-room dealings here. One thing that Microsoft has been trying to hide is its method for extorting Linux and Android. The above secrecy shows a sort of systemic corruption spreading to the courts. Collusion and blackmail are now harboured — not antagonised — by judges. That is just revolting.

Microsoft Veterans Attack Android/Linux From Juniper

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Former Microsoft executives issue an Android-hostile report

For several years we showed how Juniper got stuffed with Microsoft people [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and now we face some consequences, as summarised in a long and detailed new post which does not neglect to say:

Juniper Networks conducted the 18 month study. The CEO of Juniper Networks, Kevin Johnson, is a former Microsoft executive (Juniper Networks Press Release, 2008). When Johnson decided to leave Microsoft to become Juniper’s CEO, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer praised Johnson: “Kevin has built a supremely talented organization and laid the foundation for the future success of Windows and our Online Services Business.” (Fried, 2008) This paints an entirely different picture of Juniper’s possible motivations for conducting the study. Microsoft is trying to enter a mobile market where Android is dominant. A study from a company filled with former Microsoft executives (see below) paints a very bad picture of the prime competitor. Wouldn’t this have all been very nice to know while reading the “study”?

The ‘Microsoft press’ named “12 Microsoft Execs Who Made the March to Juniper Networks”. To quote: “Since former Microsoft senior executive Kevin Johnson became CEO in 2008, 12 execs from Redmond have followed him to VP roles at the networking company.” So they hire former colleagues.

Without pointing to the FUD they released against Android, let’s just remember who really runs Juniper.

Garrett a Microsoft Apologist

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some people just can’t get along…


Summary: Response to smears of Matthew Garrett against people who stand up for software freedom, free speech, etc.

A few years ago one of our members, Ryan, anonymously but publicly accused Foxconn of screwing with Linux through defective BIOS-level design. This became a massive thing in the news and Foxconn scrambled to rectify the issue. Mr. Garrett, who openly spoke against Ryan later on, defended Microsoft’s side rather than acknowledge that a problem did in fact exist. He also flamed the FSF at times. This was utterly disappointing.

Much to our regret, Garrett has recently been an apologist for Microsoft’s anti-competitive UEFI scheme, motivating articles like this one:

Linux Security icon Red Hat and Fedora developer Matthew Garrett has detailed the “range of subtle changes” that have taken place since he began working on Secure Boot support. In a blog posting, Garrett gives an overview of the current implementation. He explains that the current approach, a shim bootloader, “cunningly called ‘Shim’”, contains a public key under their own control and is signed by Microsoft. The shim will only boot binaries signed with the public key and allows the developers to build and sign all other binaries themselves without going back to Microsoft to get bootloaders or other components signed.

Now, it’s bad enough that Garrett helps UEFI (Red Hat should have filed a formal complaint), but more recently we saw him using the “sexism” card against a notable Linux developer, former Linux Foundation CTO, and close colleague of Linus Torvalds. This reminds us of an ACCESS troll who used similar tactics against Stallman, also disclosing private E-mails in the process, as shown here.

Garrett had become a Microsoft apologist before he started personal insults against Free software proponents and notable Linux developers. He helps the embrace and extend endeavours at Microsoft (see some truths in this post about TypeScript), portraying opposition to it as the problem. Shame really.

It is worth noting, at least as a side note, that Phoronix too has exaggerated severity of bugs in Mr. Ts’o ‘baby’, ext4′s code and the ext4 file system’s reputation, twice even (see our daily links for details). Michael Larabel got accused of irresponsible journalism for that. We could probably go down the path of addressing file system and rape apologism allegations, but that would not be in the spirit of this Web site. One requires profound knowledge about file systems, whereas the other opens a large jar of worms.

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