12.28.12

Mark Cuban Gives Big Boost to Software Patents Abolition Movement

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mark Cuban

Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Summary: Markus Persson and the better known billionaire provide cash infusions for the EFF to destroy software patents

MR. Cuban previously protested against software patents. Now he puts his money where his mouth is, as explained by the EFF:

America’s broken patent system needs major reform to protect innovators and the public. Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is announcing a major new boost to its patent work: a half-million dollars in funding from entrepreneur Mark Cuban and game developer Markus “Notch” Persson.

“The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful,” said Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. “Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That’s bad for consumers and bad for business. It’s time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help. So that’s why part of my donation funds a new title for EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels: ‘The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents’.”

The EFF’s patent busting scheme never got this much support. It is slow and expensive to kill one patent at a time as Samsung is still doing:

A key Apple patent used against Samsung in court is under close scrutiny by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after a re-examination.

This is one of several. Apple patents are repeatedly shown to be junk, but it takes time to prove this.

Speaking of Apple, there is this update regarding its biggest case against Android:

Judge Koh has denied Apple’s motion for an injunction, ruling that Apple has not proven irreparable harm. She has also denied Samsung’s motion for a hearing or a new trial based on its claim of jury misconduct, essentially accepting Apple’s theory that Samsung could have discovered the Seagate litigation if it had acted more promptly in ordering the jury foreman’s bankruptcy file, hence waiving its claim. I’m sure that will be appealed. For that matter, Apple is likely to appeal as well. I think they’ll have to, in that her order rejects essentially their entire design patents theory. I asked our reporter at the hearing on all this what he thought her inclinations were, and he said he thought she was sick of both of the parties and wanted to kick them out and upstairs to the appeals court. And on these two motions, that is what she has done.

Nokia is pressuring Android and suing by proxy, having just signed with RIM a deal similar to what it signed with Apple. One report says:

Nokia Corp. said Friday it has reached a new patent license agreement with Canada’s Research In Motion Ltd. that will end all the patent litigation between the two handset makers.

As part of the deal, Nokia said it would receive an undisclosed one-time payment, as well as continuing license payments, from RIM. RIM didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The attacks on Android are already happening and Google filed formal complaints against Nokia’s (Microsoft’s) troll proxies. Nokia’s doomed strategy is imposed from above by Microsoft. And to put things in perspective:

And do you really want to cry? Nokia’ second best-selling smartphone in mid December online sales in China was.. the N9 running MeeGo.

Why again did Nokia not stay with Linux and instead chose to attack with patents, the antithesis of Linux? Microsoft entryism, or former Microsoft staff infiltrating rivals.

Craig Mundie to Leave Microsoft as More Products Die, Future Uncertain

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 3:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Craig Mundie
Photo by timedebugger

Summary: The Bill Gates successor (not Ozzie) announces his plan of leaving amid serious issues inside the company

After Microsoft had announced losses and saw its common carrier failing [1, 2] the arguably #2 man at Microsoft called it quits (many others already left). Mundie is a key lobbyist for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. Our reader iophk shared this report with us:

Craig Mundie, who inherited some of Bill Gates’ duties when Gates left his full-time position at Microsoft, will take on the role of “senior adviser to CEO.”

Major news. And as iophk added, another Microsoft product dies, adding itself to a long list we hardly update anymore (it’s hard to keep track because Microsoft hides it):

Microsoft has announced that the Expression suite of design tools is no more. It has been removed from sale immediately and it has been placed on a maintenance only status until it reaches its end of life.

Microsoft is in deep mud. I tried Vista 8 this month and it’s a joke even on very high-end hardware. It’s the return of Microsoft Bob and it confuses even some Vista apologists like this good FFII member who writes:

I am confused. I don’t get the branding. Windows RT, or Windows Surface RT, the Operating System or Microsoft’s own tablet device (where Microsoft competes with OEMs)? We do know “Windows NT”, the server and enterprise operating environment from Microsoft, where I guess NT stood for the next/new technology kernel of the operating system. But what does RT mean? Dennis E. Hamilton says RT stands for “Retweet”, the legacy method of relaying twitter messages. I was aware of that of course, but… Wikipedia says there is no official explanaition! RT means RT.

OEMs are complaining too and big press covered it, not just individuals with their anecdotes. To give some examples:

  • Summary of the Proprietary Stunt

    Then, I spent a few days on Windows 8. That experience was traumatizing.

  • NYT: Windows 8 Is A Flop So Far

    Microsoft’s attempt to regain relevance and defend its core franchise with Windows 8 is off to a “shaky,” “tepid” start, says the New York Times.

    Emmanuel Fromont, president of the America’s division of Acer, the number four PC maker, tells Nick Wingfield at the Times sales of Windows 8 PCs are coming in worse than expected. “It’s a slow start, there’s no question,” says Fromont.

Watch this picture, accompanied by an explanation:

It wouldn’t have been half as bad if Windows had included a ‘Shut Down and Restart’ button. But no, the only way to install these ‘compulsory’ updates is to hit ‘Restart and Update’. Tell me, who would ever hit restart to wait for Windows to update it self (read: wait till the end of the world) instead of getting some work done.

The platform lacks polish and it is not secure. It shows.

Google Dodges Microsoft Patents as the Anti-Google Lobby Grows

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ActiveSync logo joke

Summary: Google gets around Microsoft’s patent attacks against Android by removing ActiveSync support (as a whole!) while Microsoft grows its anti-Google lobbying team

MICROSOFT has been trying to use software patents to make its main rival less appealing an option for hardware companies. Despite having no software patents in Europe, at least in principle, Microsoft used them there to extort companies like TomTom. In general, despite having no legitimacy in the patent sense in the EU, FAT and ActiveSync patents have been used by Microsoft extensively in order to tax Linux and Android, respectively. ActiveSync is Microsoft patent tax for Google, as we noted years ago. Now it looks like Google responds by removal:

Google has officially announced that it’s removing support for Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol (Google Sync) as of January 30, 2013. Those currently using Google Sync to connect their mobile devices to their Gmail will remain unaffected, but new users will not be given the option to use Google Sync.

Microsoft is very worried about Google and it shows. Based on this report from the middle of the month, Microsoft has been hiring more lobbyists to fight Google’s cash cow:

Mark Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing enemies of the Clintons. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.

Since Mr. Penn was put in charge of “strategic and special projects” at Microsoft in August, much of his job has involved efforts to trip up Google, which Microsoft has failed to dislodge from its perch atop the lucrative Internet search market.

Drawing on his background in polling, data crunching and campaigning, Mr. Penn created a holiday commercial that has been running during Monday Night Football and other shows, in which Microsoft criticizes Google for polluting the quality of its shopping search results with advertisements. “Don’t get scroogled,” it warns. His other projects include a blind taste test, Coke-versus-Pepsi style, of search results from Google and Microsoft’s Bing.

We wrote about this before.

Links 28/12/2012: Enlightenment 0.17, Qt 5.0

Posted in News Roundup at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Migration Stories, Part 2

    Some Windows users that I know (not power users in any sense) state that they do not migrate to Linux because, as they say, “the OS is different”. Of course, they never consider that they had to adapt from XP to Vista and then to 7…(One wonders what they will say after buying a computer with Windows 8).

  • Migration stories 3: Good Bye, Mandriva 2010.2!

    While my wife’s migration was very successful, mine was not a smooth process. But I know that is bound to happen when you change OSs.

  • Language Distortion and Other Problems

    The term “naked PC” is used by Microsoft Corporation to refer to a personal computer that is sold without any operating system preinstalled on the hard disk. The term was coined for its dramatic value and as a means for creating the impression that it is evil to sell computers without operating systems because they might be used for so-called software piracy (i.e., copying or using software in violation of its license).

  • Open Ballot: The rumour mill (Win free Linux stuff!)

    “Canonical is kicking off the New Year with a bang, and launching a brand new Ubuntu product. We’ll be holding an exclusive event hosted by Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project, to give full details of what we believe is the next generation of cross platform operating system.”

    Usually press releases get redirected to /dev/null, but a guy dropping off a brown envelope full of non-sequential £20 notes little bird told us that this is going to be interesting. However, we don’t know any more than this.

  • The 5 Most Important Linux Projects of 2012

    Mandrake Linux was my best early experience with Linux, way back in the last millennium, back when literal floppy disks roamed the Earth and 4 megabytes of RAM was riches. Back then you could buy boxed sets of Red Hat Linux in stores, and Red Hat was popular as a desktop Linux. Red Hat had good printed manuals, but it had one difficulty: it did not support as much hardware as Mandrake, and I had a lot of trouble getting 3D acceleration on my video card. Red Hat didn’t support my fancy Promise 66 IDE controller, so I had to connect my hard drive directly to the poky old 33Mhz controller on the motherboard. It didn’t like my sound card either.

  • 7 Top Linux Trends of 2012
  • Top Linux Stories Roundup 2012

    And we are on the verge to cross yet another year and blog posts regarding the year-in-review have already started to pour in on the web. The blog post, one of that kind, round-up top Linux (and open source) stories of 2012.

  • Netgear NeoTV NTV300 screenshot tour
  • Netgear NTV300 streaming media player
  • 2012′s Top five Linux stories with one big conclusion

    2012 was a very quiet, but very successful year for Linux. How successful? The most popular end-user operating system is now Linux.

  • Voting for the 2012 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards is now open
  • Raising the Bar for Linux Trainers

    You can write shell scripts in mere seconds, hack the kernel in your sleep and perform other feats of Linux wizardry—but can you teach?

  • Kbuild: the Linux Kernel Build System

    One amazing thing about Linux is that the same code base is used for a different range of computing systems, from supercomputers to very tiny embedded devices. If you stop for a second and think about it, Linux is probably the only OS that has a unified code base. For example, Microsoft and Apple use different kernels for their desktop and mobile OS versions (Windows NT/Windows CE and OS X/iOS). Two of the reasons this is possible on Linux are that the kernel has many abstraction layers and levels of indirection and because its build system allows for creating highly customized kernel binary images.

  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds on Linux and the future of computing

      In the first part of our three-part interview, Linux pioneer Linus Torvalds talked about how he got into computing, Raspberry Pi and the “free software” movement.

    • Linux Developers Promise Better Touch Support

      Support for touch-enabled devices traditionally hasn’t been high on the list of Linux kernel developers, who tend to focus their energies on more traditional computing platforms. But if all goes according to plan, future versions of the open source operating system may come with significant touch support built in, according to developers. And if that happens, it could have major implications throughout the channel.

      Linux, of course, already powers a lot of touch-enabled devices, from Android phones to the Ubuntu Nexus 7 tablet. But the software that makes touch work for those platforms was generally developed on a case-by-case basis, since the Linux kernel itself lacks integrated support for touch-ready hardware.

    • The best of Linux – made on a Mac

      The Linux Foundation has released a video of what it sees as the 2012 highlights for Linux – but the presence of decent video-creation and editing software running on Linux does not seem to be one of them.

    • F2fs flash-friendly filesystem integrated into Linux

      Linus Torvalds has integrated code to support the F2fs filesystem into the Linux kernel’s main development branch; this branch is currently used to prepare Linux 3.8 (1, 2, 3). Introduced in October, F2fs is a filesystem that was mainly developed by Samsung employees and is specially tailored for storage media that use flash memory chips and a rather simple Flash Translation Layer (FTL) – for example USB flash drives, memory cards (eMMC, SD cards, …) and the storage media that are included in cameras, tablets and smartphones.

    • Weekend Project: Become a Linux Contributor
    • EXT4 In Linux 3.8 Brings Inline Data, Seek Hole/Data

      The two new features for Linux 3.8 with EXT4 are Inline Data and SEEK_HOLE/SEEK_DATA support. Ted Ts’o mentions that the inline data feature allows small files or directories to be stored within the in-inode extended attribute area. This inline data assumes that the file-system uses inodes that are 256 bytes or larger.

    • Linux, the 386, and Days of Auld Lang Syne
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE vs. Gnome system management

      A few weeks back, we talked about KDE and Gnome in daily life, and how they fared from the applications perspective, when you pit programs developed for one environment against those created for the other. We learned a valuable lesson that technology and practicality do not necessarily go hand in hand, nor that you can easily draw a clear line between the two. Finally, we discovered the joy of freedom, in that you can mix software, regardless of whichever desktop you choose, and get the best of all worlds. Now, the big question is, does the same set of conclusions apply when you try to administer your box? Well, to answer that, we will check how easy and intuitive it is to manage Linux when you choose KDE or Gnome as your platform.

    • Linux desktop environment showdown

      Normally, at the end of the year, I do my usual Linux distro showdown. But I have never really done a proper desktop environment comparison, regardless of which operating systems run them, even though in the Linux world, quite often, it is hard to separate the two. Well, it seems to me, this is a great opportunity to give you a comprehensive head-to-head clash between the leading desktop environments that bless our distros.

    • Enlightenment 0.17

      Enlightenment 0.17 (a.k.a E17) is the next generation of graphical desktop shell from the Enlightenment project. When you first run it and get past the initial setup wizard, you should end up with a desktop not unlike the above. It is a very traditional UNIX/X11 style desktop, because that is what E primarily is and attempts to be, BUT with a bunch of bells, whistles and modernities that were never there, as well as a different core design philosophy. There seems to be some obsession with Window Manager vs. Desktop Environment debates. It doesn’t much matter what you call it. It manages windows. It does compositing. It manages files. It launches applications. It handles UI and system settings.

    • After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 2012 GNOME User Survey Results
      • Changing the world, one task at a time
      • GNOME 3 and login performance

        Our current login performance is pretty bad. We do way too much I/O and processing. If you write an application or service that automatically starts at login, please take a long hard look at how much extra work you’re doing on a cold start. It might seem small, but it all adds up very quickly with the rest of the applications competing for resources, as you can see in the bootcharts I made for that bug report:

      • Gnome3: User-Friendly Is Not Equal To User-Insult

        Like everybody in the Linux community, I have at last been dragged kicking and screaming onto Gnome 3. We had no choice; everything on our Linux desktops has been slowly failing from being so badly aged. My old Fedora release experience has so far been rescued by the graces of “fallback mode” on the laptop, while the desktops were still running old Ubuntus. So I had dodged being affected by Gnome3 so far.

        At the same time, Gnome now has the entire Linux desktop world at gunpoint: The majority of software that runs on Linux requires Gnome and GTK. I’ve tried running everything on alternatives – Gnome has a desktop lock-in going on right now that is worse than anything imagined by Apple or Microsoft in their kinkiest dreams. Do without Gnome, and your printers will break, your Bluetooth will refuse to connect, none of the weather applets will talk to your desktop, your videos will freeze, and taxi cabs will suddenly pass you by in the snow without stopping for you.

      • Pre-release version of GNOME 3.8 includes Shell extensions

        The core applications in GNOME version 3.7.3, which has now been released, now include gnome-shell-extensions. These have long been under development under the GNOME project umbrella and enable GNOME 3′s control centre to be modified so that it behaves more like a traditional desktop environment. ‘Alternate Tab’, for example, makes the alt+tab key combination switch between windows, rather than between applications, , whilst ‘Apps Menu’ adds a menu reminiscent of the old Gnome 2 menu. Extensions such as these mean that GNOME 3.8 will also have an built-in mode, selectable when logging in, to replace fallback mode. The fallback mode currently offers a “classic” interface, but will be dropped in version 3.8.

      • Settings news
      • Give a detail this Christmas

        When I last posted about Every Detail Matters, 27 detail bugs had been fixed by 9 contributors. About two and a half months later, 43 bugs have been fixed by a total of 12 contributors. We’ve made impressive progress, and the results are already making themselves felt. Testing the latest and greatest GNOME Shell, things definitely feel more polished and better executed.

      • GTK+ 3.7.4 Has Performance Improvements

        GTK+, a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces that provide a complete set of widgets, suitable for projects ranging from small one-off tools to complete application suites, is now at version 3.7.4.

  • Distributions

    • Chakra Linux: What I learned from Claire

      One of the plans I had during my vacation time was to try Chakra Linux. This latest release was named “Claire” to honor the memory of Claire Lotion, a KDE developer whose untimely passing away made the KDE community grieve.

      I finally had the opportunity today. I really liked it. I also learned certain things, too.

      Let’s see what happens when one boots the Chakra Live DVD. A screen asking you to select your language greets you. I had seen it before. Back then, I thought that the language selection was rather scarce.

    • First look at Cinnarch 2012.11.22

      The Cinnarch distribution is an interesting mix of technology. It combines the Arch Linux distribution, which features a rolling release approach to package management, with the Cinnamon desktop environment. Cinnarch is a fairly young project, still in its beta stage of development, so it should be approached with a degree of caution. The distribution is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds and can be downloaded in two flavours: a full live CD (670 MB) with the Cinnamon desktop or a minimalist CD (190 MB). Whichever edition we select the installer will perform a net-install, downloading packages from an updated repository rather than from the CD. While this means we will be up to date right from the start, it also means a successful install depends on having a reliable Internet connection and any re-install will likely take longer than if we were installing from local media.

    • 10 Linux Live Disks Worth Exploring

      Free and open source software didn’t invent Live Disks (external CDs, DVDs, or flash drives from which you can boot a computer). That honor, according to Wikipedia, goes to FM Towns OS in 1989.

      However, no other segment of IT has made Live Disks so much a part of their culture as the open source community.

      Most major Linux distributions use Live Disks for installation because they are a quick way to test-drive an operating system without changing a computer’s setup or endangering its contents. When using a Live Disk, at worst, you may need to reset the BIOS temporarily to boot from an external device, and users have to set about deliberately to alter files on the hard drive.

    • The ‘Linux Diversity’ collection: One kit, 10 Linux distros

      With all the wide variety of free and open source software out there, it can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge to download and try each and every one that interests you.

    • ArchBang Linux 2012.12 Review – Lightweight Arch

      The lightweight Arch-based distro uses Openbox to help make it blazing fast without losing too much functionality

    • And the best distro of 2012 is …

      First place: Linux Mint 13 Maya

    • This Week in Linux: ROSA, Magiea, Mint, Gentoo
    • Battle of the Linux Mac OS X Clones: Elementary OS 0.2 Vs Pear OS 6 Vs LuninuX 12.10

      Mac OS X always deserves a special mention in the operating system world, for being the most attractive (arguably) distro around. It is kind of an aspiring product for almost everyone I know – they want to own a Mac at the end of the day! However, exorbitant price and seeking value for money at times limit our aspiration to own a Mac. But, don’t worry! Linux can help you create our own Mac! And those who don’t know how to customize Linux, there are three distros to help you out.

    • The Great Thing About Dream Studio

      If you’ve heard of Open Source software, and you’re thinking about giving it a try, you may be wondering why Dream Studio claims to be the best creative system available, when there are so many other options.

    • Slackware Current Toolchains Upgraded
    • CRUX 2.8 Review – The Inspiration behind Arch Linux

      This one is well overdue, but the time has finally come. In my defence, I installed CRUX 2.7.1 as far back as summer, but a hard drive failure wiped it all, and since then 2.8 was released. Just as well, so we’ll be testing the latest version 2.8. CRUX is a DIY distribution that is perhaps less known than others, but it is the inspiration behind the mighty Arch Linux as the distribution Judd Vinet was originally using. I would point to this dated interview if you want to know more about the origins of Arch.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • A problem with iBus in Mageia 2 and Mandriva 2011

        I just found an interesting problem in the way Mageia 2 handles typing Asian languages with iBus, the Input Method Editor (IME) that is configured easily during the installation of the distro.

        For work reasons, I need my computers to be able to handle Japanese (and for fun, Korean and Thai). You can do this with iBus (a more modern IME) or SCIM. I chose iBus because you can install it during the installation process of Mageia.

        I had not seen this situation before because I have installed iBus only to computers that have an English keyboard. However, since my main desktop computer has a Spanish keyboard, when I opened LibreOffice, I discovered that iBus was preventing the keyboard to display the accents (“tildes”) of Spanish and those of French.

      • Innovation & Strategy at Mandriva corp.

        This video has been shot at the OW2 Conference and shows Michel Catan (Innovation Cluster Manager at Mandriva) and Gaurav Parakh (Partners manager at Mandriva) discuss Mandriva’s general strategy and its research & development activities.

      • Mageia 3, what’s on tap?
    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Beats Revenue Estimates, Acquires ManageIQ

        Bloomberg’s Dina Bass reported, “Red Hat Inc. (RHT), the largest seller of Linux operating system software, rose in late trading after reporting third-quarter sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates and saying it plans to buy cloud software company ManageIQ Inc. Red Hat rose 3.8 percent after the company yesterday reported sales of $343.6 million in the period that ended Nov. 30. Analysts had on average projected sales of $338.1 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Excluding certain items, profit was 29 cents a share, meeting the average projection compiled by Bloomberg.”

      • How Linux reads your fingerprints, helps national security

        Gunnar Hellekson has many awesome-sounding job titles.

        He’s the chief technology strategist for Red Hat’s US Public Sector group, where he works with government departments to show them how open source can meet their needs, and with systems integrators to show them what they can do to provide the government with what it needs.

    • Debian Family

      • The Linux Setup – Paul Tagliamonte, Software Engineer/Debian Developer

        Paul’s got a great Debian setup across a lot of interesting hardware. I appreciated this interview, though, because Paul makes the argument that although software should be free (as in freedom), there are often technical limitations/complications with that free software that create a barrier-to-entry for less sophisticated users. Unfortunately, with Linux, the price of freedom is often technical ease. It’s nice to hear a Debian developer contemplating the issue. It’s not an easy fix, but it is a fixable problem. Especially with developers like Paul on the case.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Advocacy Kit – Controlled Advocacy?

            I’ll start off by making a few things clear. Firstly my family PC runs Ubuntu 12.04LTS its great. Ive had no problems whatsoever with the distro and from my young lad playing Tree Fu Tom on the CBBC’s website, to handling of all the tasks I put to it there are no complaints. None at all.

            I’ve spoken to Jono Bacon (Canonical Community Manager) on a number of occasions, he’s open, friendly and above all makes time for people (he certainly made time for myself and Dr Schestowitz when he was a guest on the TechBytes show). I supported the integration of Amazon into the Ubuntu search, I personally had no privacy concerns, citing that myself and my wife are regular customers of Amazon and saw it as a feature that would be useful to us.

            [...]

            If you start dictating (or sorry, advising) people on how to advocate your product, then its not really advocacy any more is it?

          • Stallman and Ubuntu: Sticks and Stones and a Blogosphere Brawl

            Spying was probably “not the idea behind the Unity tool,” said Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. “I think they are struggling to become a nice ‘normal user’ OS, with some helping, commercial tools.” Nevertheless, “it’s mandatory for a GNU/Linux distribution to warn the user, and easily allow them to switch on/off such a tool. I hope Canonical rethinks that tool.”

          • The Best New Features of Ubuntu 12.10

            Ubuntu, the most popular Linux distro for desktop users, moves to the cloud with the new Ubuntu 12.10, codenamed Quantal Quetzal.

          • Privacy is hard. Lets go shopping!
          • She sells sea shells

            Unity isn’t the only desktop environment that Ubuntu has. There are many and as they said, Unity is a shell for Gnome but it is not Gnome-Shell. I have been using Unity for a few years now and figured I would have a bit of a play with Gnome Shell for a bit. It is very easy to install, on Ubuntu clicking here: gnome-shell will with a bit of luck set it up for you. At the lightdm login screen you can then select gnome shell from the list of desktops and you are done.

          • Ubuntu in 2013

            There will always be things that we differ on between ourselves, and those who want to define themselves by their differences to us on particular points. We can’t help them every time, or convince them of our integrity when it doesn’t suit their world view. What we can do is step back and look at that backdrop: the biggest community in free software, totally global, diverse in their needs and interests, but united in a desire to make it possible for anybody to get a high quality computing experience that is first class in every sense. Wow. Thank you. That’s why I’ll devote most of my time and energy to bringing that vision to fruition. Here’s to a great 2013.

          • Rumors Running Wild About Ubuntu’s Top-Secret New Product

            “Save the date: Jan 2 — Ubuntu set to disrupt a new ecosystem,” read the urgent message. “Ubuntu will announce a brand-new product.” All lips were maddeningly sealed at the Ubuntuplex, of course, but the same couldn’t be said of the blogger crowds camped outside in the hopes of learning more detail.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Three new features coming in Linux Mint 15

              It’s been just a few weeks since the launch of Linux Mint 14 “Nadia,” but already the project behind the popular distribution has been making plans for its next release.

            • Linux Mint Cinnamon 14

              Linux Mint 14 was recently released. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and offers the Cinnamon or MATE desktop environments. This review covers the Cinnamon version, I will try to get a separate review up for the MATE version soon.

            • LMDE Update Pack 6
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source burrowed deeper into the enterprise in 2012

    Ten years ago, if you were working on an open-source project, you probably hosted it yourself. At the most, your team may have used SourceForge for storing your project code. But today, there is only one name in open-source software project repositories: GitHub.

    Throughout 2012, GitHub consistently played host to the biggest, most complex and most useful open-source projects. Relative newcomers to the open-source scene, such as Twitter’s Bootstrap, Raphael and Phusion Passenger, are all gaining popularity with both users and developers adding to these projects. But what is it about GitHub that makes it different from SourceForge?

  • Inside outsourcing interview: Banks moving to open source software and need control
  • 12 Days of Christmas: What open source has given us

    It’s been a good year for Linux and open source. As we wind it all down, I wanted to take a moment to have a little bit of fun with traditional holiday song — “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It’s a lighthearted way to wrap up some of the things open source (OS) has given us this year.

    So, forget the partridges and lords leaping, here we go!

  • Author Gabriella Coleman Expands on Role of Linux in Hacker Culture

    Gabriella Coleman is the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. She recently released a new book titled “Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking” after having spent three years working and living with hackers in the San Francisco Bay area. The community she chose to study was the Debian Linux community. In this interview with Linux.com, Coleman shares her perspective on the role of Linux in hacker culture and what it really means today to be a hacker.

  • Dear Open Source Project Leader: Quit Being A Jerk

    I do my best to support the people that use my open source projects. I don’t always do things right, I don’t always respond in a timely manner. Sometimes I just have to walk away from an issue or request and let it die from lack of attention. But I do my best, and I take the time to provide meaningful answers whenever I can. I get a lot of “thank you!” notes from people because of this, and every now and then I get a comment like “best open source project leader, ever” or “you do so much more to help, than any other oss project leader i’ve dealt with.”

    The first few times this happened, I was genuinely shocked. The next few times, I began to think “wow, I’m doing something great, here.” But then the last few times it happened, I started moving back in to “shocked”. I started wondering why people were reacting this way. Am I really doing something special? Am I going above & beyond? I don’t think I am… but maybe I am?

  • Global Economy 0 – Open Source 1

    The global economic slowdown has of course been mostly bad news for most people, business verticals and individual companies.

    But it’s important to remember that recessions can also be good as they flush out the old dead wood and help us to re-position for leaner and more economically efficient times ahead.

    Can we take this reality forward then and apply it to open source?

  • Opinion: What if Linux became closed source?

    Bryan Lunduke wrote a piece for Networkworld… or something like that. I’m NOT going to link to it because I don’t want to encourage more page hits for such lunacy. I heard the article when I listened to the latest Everyday Linux podcast. I strongly recommend that so check it out if you haven’t already. One of Montana guys is one of the hosts. They don’t always get it right, but they do make me think.

  • Best Free and Open Source Forum Software

    If you run a website, or have build a software application, you’ll need to have a certain amount of interaction with your users. One of the best ways to facilitate that is through forums. Forums not only allow seamless communication between users and developers, they also let companies provide support for their users. On the Internet, you’ll find millions of forums dedicated to various issues. From teenage problems to geriatric care, forums bring people with similar tastes or issues together and let them communicate effortlessly.

  • Open Source Software: The Mega List
  • Events

    • A peek at the geek heading LCA 2013

      Organising Australia’s national Linux conference is hard work. At times, given the vagaries of the climate Down Under, the best laid plans of men go awry and there is double work – as there was in Brisbane 2011, when the floods hit and the event had to be be shifted from one venue to another.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Cloud providers ready to strike with nuclear option

      It used to take a warrant, a sheriff’s deputy, and an axe to chop down your door and stop your business dead. But the cloud makes it so much easier.

      Today, if you rely heavily on a public cloud service provider, your entire business infrastructure could be taken offline without judicial review, useful explanation, or workable recourse, simply because a customer, a politician, or even a competitor claims there are issues with your — or your customers’ — activities.

  • Databases

    • Wikipedia moving from MySQL to MariaDB

      For years, MySQL has been the dominant open-source database management system (DBMS). Recently, MariaDB, the MySQL fork created by MySQL’s founder, has been making in-roads and Wikipedia, the world’s sixth most popular Web site, is shifting over from MySQL to MariaDB.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • The Path to Commerce Kickstart 2.0

      With more than 2650 reported active sites just since the August beta release, you’d be in good company giving Drupal Commerce Kickstart a try. And, now that the world isn’t going to end, what better time is there to launch that online store you’ve always wanted?

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 9.1 released ahead of FreeBSD 9.1

      The developers of PC-BSD have released version 9.1 of their FreeBSD-based Unix distribution for desktop PCs. Version 9.1 of FreeBSD has yet to be officially released, but it appears that the ISO images for the FreeBSD release are queued up on the official server and may just be waiting for an announcement to be made.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU automake 1.12.6 released
    • GNU gettext 0.18.2 released
    • GNU Xnee 3.15 (‘Shankar’) released
    • Maintainer of two GNU software projects quits

      Paolo Bonzini said in a message, in which he also announced the release of a new version of GNU sed, that he had decided to sever his links with the two software initiatives due to technical and administrative decisions with the Free Software Foundation and its head, Richard M. Stallman.

    • GNU sed maintainer resigns with 4.2.2 release

      Paolo Bonzini, the maintainer of GNU sed and GNUgrep, has announced the release of version 4.2.2 of the GNU sed and used the moment as an opportunity resign from his position on both projects. His decision to lay down the responsibility. after eight years of holding the post of GNU sed maintainer, and three on GNU grep, comes in the wake of a controversy over the control of the name and code base of the GnuTLS library, another member of the GNU Project.

    • GNU Grep and Sed Maintainer Quits: RMS and FSF Harming GNU Project
    • December 2012 GNU Toolchain Update
    • Rampaging gnu crashes Microsoft Store, hands out literature

      Activists representing the Free Software Foundation disrupted an event at the Microsoft retail store in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, urging passers-by to shun the software giant’s Windows 8 operating system in favor of free software alternatives.

      The demonstrators, wearing Santa Claus and elf hats in the spirit of the holiday season, arrived at Boston’s Prudential Center shops during a planned “TechTots” children’s event at the Microsoft Store, accompanied by a man dressed as a gnu, the FSF’s horned mascot.

    • Gnu comes bearing gifts, draws shoppers from Microsoft store

      Thursday, December 20th, 2012 — Today, FSF activists visited a local Microsoft store during its “Tech for Tots” session to wish passersby happy holidays with copies of the Trisquel GNU/Linux operating system, a free software replacement for Windows 8. The activists were accompanied by a gnu (free software’s buffalo-like mascot) and sported Santa hats in the spirit of the season. Their action drew smiles from mall-goers who had expected to see costumed people giving gifts, but not quite like this.

    • GNU strikes again: FSF surprises Boston Microsoft store
    • Misunderstanding the Free Software Philosophy

      The problem I am seeing, and it is a serious problem in my opinion, is the constant use of the term “free software” when “open source” should be used. This is obviously not a recent problem, and I really cannot recall when was the first time I noticed this happening. But maybe because I am much more involved with (real) free software movements now, I have the strong impression that this “confusion” is starting to grow out of control. So here I am, trying to convince some people to be a little more coherent.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Defence of the GPL realm

      The H talks with Bradley Kuhn, noted GPL compliance enforcer, about whether there should be more people patrolling the GPL perimeter and what tools and techniques a potential protector should take into battle.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Perl is Free Software’s COBOL, and That’s Ok!

      In 1991, I’d just gotten my first real programming job for two reasons: nepotism, and a willingness to write code for $12/hour. I was working as a contractor to a blood testing laboratory, where the main development job was writing custom software to handle, process, and do statistical calculations on blood testing results, primarily for paternity testing.

    • Survey on Forge Platform Requirements

      The PROSE team are developing a detailed specifications for an online software system that can support EC ICT teams to carry out open software development work. Better known as a software forge we here in PROSE want to understand teams’ intentions for using forge platforms and the types of new features that you think should be available via a forge.

    • GitHub growth points to open source’s enterprise acceptance

      Every day 10,000 new users sign up for GitHub, an online repository for open source projects that already has 2.8 million members.

      Those users create 25,000 new repositories each day, adding to the 4.6 million already on the site.

    • Symbolic Math with Python
  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Don’t Use Instagram

    For those who haven’t heard, Instagram is an online photo-sharing service, like Flickr. Some months ago Instagram was purchased by Facebook, and several days ago they announced that they would begin selling users’ photos to advertisers (with no compensation to the users). As many of their users are professional photographers, this caused a storm of outrage.

  • Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos
  • How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account
  • Five good Instagram replacements
  • Instagram reverts to old privacy policy wording after uproar
  • Instagram’s Exit Plan

    Instagram now says it was all a huge mistake, that users own their pictures and there’s no way Facebook is going to sell them to anyone… but the company hasn’t yet revealed alternate legal language, which they should have been able to cobble up in an hour or two. The underlying problem of mean-spirited, self-serving, over-reaching terms of service is still with us at Instagram and almost everywhere else. Their revised terms of service were stupid and couldn’t stand. Let’s hope in their next attempt to grab rights (because that’s what this whole thing was about and probably still is) Instagram and Facebook treat their users fairly. Until they do, most of what’s below still stands.

  • Instagram Reversal Doesn’t Appease Everyone
  • Do You Even Care?

    Dear businesses that post us marketing material through email,

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bet the Farm: Spinning Wheat into Gold

      The details of that scandal are laid bare in a recent book by Frederick Kaufman, Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food. As it turns out, we are already acquainted with this story’s villain: Wall Street. There, bankers and investors are investing unprecedented amounts in commodities such as wheat. And when wheat speculation on Wall Street drives up the price of real wheat everywhere, people around the world can no longer afford to eat. Kaufman details exactly how this has happened in a story of traders, long-standing commodities markets meant to stabilize the price of food, and corruption.

    • Genetically Monetized Food

      If the food movement really wants to improve the food supply, it needs to follow the money instead of wasting its time on labels.

    • TSA Wants to Know if Airport Body Scanners Are Nuking You

      The Transportation Security Administration is deciding to determine, once and for all, whether the so-called “nude” body scanners being deployed at airports nationwide are nuking passengers at unacceptable radiation levels.

  • Security

    • Hackers Use Backdoor to Break System
    • DDOS Bots Are People! (Or Manned By Some, At Least)

      The targets were on relatively modest connections (think SOHO grade), so their pipes were flooded by the traffic and the people who were relying on that connectivity were not getting much network-related done. The sites weren’t totally offline, but just about anything would time out without completing and life would be miserable. I’ve made a graph of the traffic available here, in a weekly view of that approximate period that nicely illustrates normal vs abnormal levels for those networks, generated by nfsen from pflow(4) data.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Now You Can Donate to WikiLeaks Once Again: Do It Today!

      This is the first time that citizens can offer their financial support to WikiLeaks, since donation processing for the organization was shut down by extra-judicial government pressure on Bank of America, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, and Amazon.

    • Crowd Funding the Right to Know

      In December 2010, WikiLeaks started publishing a selection of leaked U.S. State Department cables through the New York Times, the Guardian, and other traditional media, opening a deep crack in the thickening wall of secrecy that has been forming worldwide around the internal processes of democracy since 9/11. They helped catalyze the “Arab Spring.” They struck a blow for the right of citizens everywhere to know what is being done in our names. And they thoroughly freaked out the U.S. Government, sending it into a security spasm of Cold War proportions.

    • The Torture of Bradley Manning
    • EFF Helps Freedom of the Press Foundation

      Of course Exhibit A in the case against payment censorship has been the shameful economic blockade of Wikileaks, where the intermediaries that were assisting people in giving money to Wikileaks refused to do business with them, based in part on not-so-veiled threats from members of Congress.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Tale of Two Forecasts

      This announcement has since led to the magical thinking that we can somehow take ownership of this future “extra oil” not 8 years from now, but rather…. today. In other words, the additional 3 mbpd (million barrels per day) of crude oil and the 1 mbpd of NGL (natural gas liquids) that the IEA forecasts for 2020 have suddenly been booked into the “readily-available” column and are already being factored into U.S. growth projections. That is premature, to say the very least.

  • Finance

    • The Future of Jobs in the Digital Economy
    • Cisco hires Barclays to offload Linksys

      NETWORK EQUIPMENT VENDOR Cisco reportedly has hired Barclays to find a buyer for its Linksys business.

      Cisco bought Linksys back in 2003 to get into the consumer networking business and the firm has put out some good products, most notably the WRT54G wireless router that was a favourite with technology savvy punters. Now Cisco is looking to offload Linksys as it continues to pull back from the consumer networking market.

    • New York Stock Exchange sold to derivatives company in $8bn takeover

      The New York Stock Exchange called time on two centuries of independence on Thursday, agreeing to an $8.2bn takeover that will hand control of the icon of American capitalism to an Atlanta-based energy trader.

    • America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff

      But history is written by the victors, and the past generation has seen the banks and financial sector emerge victorious. Holding the bottom 99% in debt, the top 1% are now in the process of subsidizing a deceptive economic theory to persuade voters to pursue policies that benefit the financial sector at the expense of labor, industry, and democratic government as we know it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rep. Tim Scott, an ALEC Alum, Nominated to U.S. Senate

      Representative Tim Scott (R-SC), who was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as a state legislator and was voted into Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010, has been nominated to replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate.

    • To Turn the Tide Against the NRA, Leadership Needed at the Top

      You know you are not going to be seeing the brightest bulbs on TV defending America’s loose gun laws the weekend after the mass slaughter of children. Even the NRA had gone dark, taking down its Facebook and Twitter accounts and refusing to respond to reporters.

  • Censorship

    • “Porn filters” fail parents and children

      On Friday (14 December), UK government announced that it will not force internet providers to block online pornography. Despite high-profile campaigns by Claire Perry MP and the Daily Mail newspaper to engineer a moral panic, sense has prevailed.

      Index opposed the proposals on the basis they would have led to the filtering legal material by default; ergo censorship. Index also had serious concerns that child safety would be used as a criteria to filter a range of content beyond pornographic material. Under the Daily Mail’s proposal, only consumers over the age of 18 who had completed a “strict age verification check” would be able to remove such a block.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • New CPS prosecution guidelines for offences committed on social media

      The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has published interim guidelines on when it is appropriate to prosecute people for communications they send on social media. If the objective was a return to common sense policing, issuing twenty-five pages of guidance has risked complicating the situation even more.

    • Congress, at Last Minute, Drops Requirement to Obtain Warrant to Monitor Email

      The federal government will continue to access Americans’ emails without a warrant, after the U.S. Senate dropped a key amendment to legislation now headed to the White House for approval.

    • CDA 230 Success Cases: WordPress.com

      This is the second part in a series of posts about the importance of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230). CDA 230 limits the liability of a number of Internet services that host user-generated content.

    • Government Attorneys Agree With EFF: New ‘Counterterrorism’ Database Rules Threaten Privacy of Every American

      Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on how a little-known government agency—the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—got the keys to government databases full of detailed, personal information of millions of innocent Americans. Using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with officials, the Journal obtained emails and other information detailing how the massive new spying program, which the Attorney General signed off on in March, was approved by the White House in secret—over strenuous objections from government privacy lawyers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Disappearing Web: How we’re losing the battle to preserve the Internet

      The Web may be less permanent than we once thought. According to archivists, after two years, 27 percent of social media, pictures, video, and blog posts vanish. For many who regret oversharing, this may be welcome news. But for historians eager to document the tweets that inspired the Arab Spring or who want a snapshot of how the Web looked on September 9, 2001, the impermanence of the Internet presents a challenge.

  • DRM

    • Good-bye books, hello e-books

      The number of people who are reading printed books is declining. But reading isn’t. According to the Pew Research Center, we’re buying Kindles and Nooks and reading more e-books at a rapidly growing rate.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Celebrates Chinese Patent Explosion, Pretends That It’s Innovation

      We’ve talked in the past about patent system supporters’ somewhat blatant cluelessness to China’s clear recognition that its own growing patent system is the perfect tool for backdooring protectionism and trade barriers, without making it look like protectionism and trade barriers. I sometimes can’t tell if this is just because those system supporters are so focused on the narrow “more patents must be good” argument that they’re missing the big picture, or if they truly don’t understand what’s happening. Either way, we’ve got the latest example, as the folks at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a part of the UN, are celebrating the fact that China’s patent system has received more applications than any other patent system this year.

    • Intellectual property crime unit to be set up by City police

      Raft of measures announced by business secretary Vince Cable to tackle copyright infringement

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Chief Patents “Pay Up or Disconnect” Scheme

        One of the top executives of the US-based anti-piracy outfit Digital Rights Corp has submitted a patent application that promises to turn piracy into profit. The patent describes a system where Internet users caught downloading will receive a notice from their Internet provider along with a request to pay a small fee to the affected copyright holder. Pirates who refuse to pay risk the ultimate punishment of being disconnected from the Internet.

        There are many ways copyright holders approach the “online piracy” problem. Some copyright holders prefer to do it through innovation, others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming for lots of small cash settlements.

      • U.S. Congress may not have stomach for another SOPA/PIPA fight

        As a new session of the U.S. Congress convenes in early 2013, don’t expect lawmakers to rush out a new version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

      • Gangnam Style passes 1bn views on YouTube

12.16.12

IRC Proceedings: December 9th-December 15th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: December 9th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 10th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 11th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 12th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 13th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 14th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 15th, 2012

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 16/12/2012: Wrapping Up 2012, Many Leftover Links

Posted in News Roundup at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[I will be away until after Xmas]

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Pillar Of The Indian FOSS Community, Raj Mathur, Passes Away

    Raj Mathur (aka OldMonk), one of the leading figures of the Indian FOSS (free and open source software) community, passed away on 12.12.12. The cause of his death was a massive heart attack. This is the second major loss for the Indian FOSS world another notable figure, Kenneth Gonsalves passed away in August this year.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla in 2012

        2012 was an incredible year for Mozilla. We mobilized. We did a better job than I have ever seen us do identifying the places where we needed to have impact, and then we focused and delivered. There’s a lot for us all to be proud of in 2012; I’ve gathered up a few of my favourites.

  • Project Releases

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • China and US hold the key to a new global climate deal
    • Shale gas: a burning carbon issue
    • Texas Energy Institute Head Quits Amid Fracking Study Conflicts

      The head of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin resigned following an investigation that found conflicts of interest in a study on the risks of natural gas drilling.

      Raymond Orbach, 78, resigned as director of the institute last month, the university said in a statement released today. The study’s lead investigator, Charles Groat, 72, also retired from his faculty position, according to the statement.

    • Illegal wildlife trade ‘threatening national security’, says WWF

      Group says organised crime syndicates are ‘outgunning’ governments, leading to sharp rise in elephant and rhino deaths

    • Mother Nature belongs at bargaining table

      Throwing the nation over the climate cliff will make our current fiscal challenges look like a minor bump in the road.

      As the highly scripted stagecraft of the presidential campaign fades from the headlines, there’s a new show in Washington. ”Fiscal Cliff” stars President Barack Obama, who urges Republicans and Democrats to agree on a ”grand bargain” that would soften the economic shock of the impending across-the-board tax and spending cuts. But that bipartisan handshake would be nothing to celebrate.

    • Fracking for shale gas gets green light in UK

      The government has lifted restrictions on the controversial practice of fracking, a method of extracting gas from shale rock, giving a green light to drilling that could produce billions of pounds worth of gas.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Saudi-Led Oil Lobby Group Financed Dark Money Attack Ads

      The “American” in American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil lobby group, is a misnomer. As I reported for The Investigative Fund and The Nation in August, the group has changed over the years, and is now led by men like Tofiq Al-Gabsani, a Saudi Arabian national who heads a Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) subsidiary, the state-run oil company that also helps finance the American Petroleum Institute. Al-Gabsani is also a registered foreign agent for the Saudi government.

  • Censorship

    • India awakes

      This TV program is a breakthrough. CNN IBN, a leading English-language channel, started a campaign for the freedom of Sanal Edamaruku. “Does a rationalist deserve to be jailed for questioning a religious miracle?”, asked firebrand moderator Sargarika Ghose on 4th December in CNN IBN’s flagship program Face the Nation, calling upon the public to take a stand. The response was impressive: people from all walks of life expressed unequivocal support for Sanal, on camera, on twitter and on facebook. The wave keeps running… And 87% of the viewers who participated in a public internet ballot answered the question “Are blasphemy laws out of place in a secular democracy?” with a clear Yes! The blasphemy law should go.

    • Israel must explain targeting of journalists in Gaza

      The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.

    • Possible censorship of Putin and Medvedev’s names on Russian television

      Here’s a somewhat curious story: The Russian TV channel NTV showed a performance by the rock band “Leningrad”, which is famous for incorporating many Russian expletives in its lyrics. The expletives were censored by beeping, which is the usual and expected practice, comparable to beeping on words like “fuck” in American TV. The surprise in this performance, however, was that the names of president Putin and prime minister Medvedev, who were mentioned in the song, were censored the same way. The name of the the Church of Christ the Savior, which recently became famous as the stage of Pussy Riot’s notorious performance, was partly censored as well, although the name “Pussy Riot” itself was not censored.

    • Peers vote to remove law banning insulting language
    • ANC tries to muzzle media coverage of leadership conference

      Security will be rigid at the African National Congress’s (ANC) elective conference in Mangaung. Most sessions are closed to the media and the party has said it will use phone-jamming technology to prevent interruptions. Journalists who stray where they shouldn’t will be given short shrift.

    • Son of Anna Politkovskaya criticises murder trial deal for policeman
  • Privacy

    • Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits

      A recent swell of digital-medical data collected on devices outside of a doctor’s office is raising some thorny questions: Who owns the rights to a patient’s digital footprint and who should control that information? WSJ’s Linda Blake reports.

      The small box inside Amanda Hubbard’s chest beams all kinds of data about her faulty heart to the company that makes her defibrillator implant.

    • Private By Default

      Depending which browser you’re using, you should see a little lock or some such in the address bar. On the right are readouts from (top down) Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. You can click on that readout to get some information on the privacy/security settings.

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • Sony’s New German Ebookstore Features Thousands Of DRM-Free Books

      DRM is becoming less and less prevalent these days as more companies are realizing that the backlash from crippling the purchases of paying customers far outweighs any perceived prevention of infringement. It’s not a wholesale conversion, but new DRM-free converts are appearing more frequently, including some surprising holdouts.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Are The Old Enablers Becoming The New Gatekeepers?

      We’ve argued, for a long time, that just railing against “middlemen” misses the point. There are always middlemen. But not all middlemen are created equal. The distinction, that we’ve discussed multiple times, is the difference between enablers and gatekeepers. That is, historically, many middlemen came to power because they were gatekeepers. If you wanted to do something — be a musician, write a book, sell a new product — you effectively had to get “approval” and support from a gatekeeper who had access to those markets. Being a gatekeeper gave them enormous power, such that the gatekeepers often became central to the market, rather than the people/companies they were working with and it also allowed them to craft ridiculous deals that were incredibly favorable to themselves, at the expense of those they were working with. That, of course, is why there tends to be so much inherent antipathy towards traditional gatekeepers.

    • Copyrights

      • French Hadopi Scheme Gutted; Other Bad Ideas To Be Introduced Instead

        France’s Hadopi graduated response approach, also known as “three strikes”, occupies a special place in the annals of copyright enforcement. It pioneered the idea of punishing users accused of sharing unauthorized copies of files, largely thanks to pressure from the previous French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who seems to have hated most aspects of this new-fangled Internet thing. Sadly, other countries took up the idea, including the UK with its awful Digital Economy Act, New Zealand, Spain and, more recently, the US.

        Hadopi hasn’t been going too well. Despite putting out some dodgy statistics, the Hadopi agency hasn’t really been able to show that the three-strike approach is doing anything to reduce the number of unauthorized downloads. In the two years that Hadopi has been running, only one person has been brought to court — and he was innocent, but fined anyway.

      • How Copyright Criminalization Threatens Online Innovation

        I’m excited that my friend Jerry Brito has pulled together an edited collection of copyright reform essays by libertarians (and one from a pair of libertarian-leaning conservatives) called Copyright Unbalanced. Several recent developments have suggested growing sympathy for copyright reform on the political right. Jerry’s book promises to be a handbook for free-market copyright reformers, pointing to some of the most serious problems with the present system and explaining how Republicans could capitalize on public dissatisfaction with the status quo.

      • It’s Not “Getting” Or “Downloading” A Copy. It’s “Making” Or “Manufacturing” One.

        In the political fight for civil liberties and sharing culture, language is everything – which can be observed by the copyright industry’s consistent attempts at name-calling, hoping the bad names will stick legally. Therefore, all our using precise language is paramount for our own future liberties.

Patent Trolls Face More Opposition as Their Share of Lawsuits Increases

Posted in America, Apple, Law, Patents at 6:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TrollSummary: Action against patent trolling seems imminent, but the behaviour of companies like Apple is largely overlooked for now

Parasitical elements in a government-backed scheme are being tackled by the government, which is still investigating the matter. Apple has been suing Android, which it views as a top rival. The aim is to tax (make more expensive) or castrate Android. As one report put it last week:

At the end of August, Apple Inc seemed on top of the world. Fresh off a resounding $1.05 billion U.S. legal victory over arch-foe Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the company was gearing up to launch the fifth iteration of its iconic iPhone. Just a week prior, its market value had surpassed Microsoft Corp’s and it became the most valuable technology company in history.

Things have gotten worse for Apple since then. Samsung phones easily outsells Apple ones and Apple’s public identity, that of somewhat of a troll, did its reputation a lot of damage. Trial misconduct [1, 2] does not help, either. As Groklaw put it:

Yet in a later media event at Gizmodo where anyone could ask him questions, Hogan was asked a question about whether he had considered if the patents should have issues, which he answered by contradicting the above instructions:

Demon-Xanth: Did you have the opportunity to ask “Is this something that should be patentable?” during the trial?

Velvin Hogan: @Demon-Xanth No, however it was not the function of this jury to ask that. We were bound to use the law as it is today. The patents were issued the judge instructed us not to second guess the current patent system.

Samsung said he was “deliberately dishonest”.

The Federal Trade Commission, which we wrote about in [1, 2], misses the point; it should know by now that the problem is not trolls, it’s the system. But addressing the problem by debating it would be a good start:

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice will hold a joint public workshop on Dec. 10, 2012, to explore the impact of patent assertion entity (PAE) activities on innovation and competition and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy.

“Professor Chien relates (at around 33:55) that in 2012, 61% of all new patent litigation was brought by trolls, that is by entities that don’t make anything,” remarks Pamela Jones. Here is a new article about the cost of patent trolls:

Patent trolls drain businesses of billions of dollars a year. And if you have a website–any website–you are a potential target. Here’s what you need to know if they come after your business.

Here is another article:

For the first time, individuals and companies that do not themselves make anything – commonly known as “patent trolls” – are bringing the majority of U.S. patent lawsuits, according to a study by a California law professor.

The Federal Circuit is said to have another chance to change course and do the right thing:

Federal Circuit Declines Chance to Eliminate Split Involving Standard of Review, Prompting Blistering Dissent

[...]

“Not surprisingly,” Judge Moore explained, “given the clear direction from the Supreme Court, the regional circuits are unanimous that the issue of objective reasonableness under Rule 11 is to be reviewed deferentially by the appellate courts.”

The software patents booster calls it a troll turning point:

On Friday, December 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in Raylon v. Complus Data that gives hope to defendants everywhere who face objectively baseless patent infringement claims.

It seems like the FTC and some high courts still have an opportunity to change course. Let’s wait and see. The problem is, there are patent lawyers everywhere, at all levels. They try to guard the status quo and make things worse by assimilation, e.g. in Europe and New Zealand.

The Aftermath of ‘Unitary’ Patent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

Estimated Point of Obsolescence

Summary: A roundup of coverage about loophole for software patents and trolls being created in the EU

Internet giants seemingly oppose software patents in The Valley, based on what Google and Facebook are doing as covered in technology news sites. But don’t expect this to prevent misguided or malicious EU politicians such as Barnier (recently seen here). They repeatedly use “Silicon Valley” as a talking point in their propaganda for the Unitary Patent. The topic and those talking points can be found in a lot of lawyers’ sites, which are spinning EU approval for Unitary Patent as good news, not a disaster like ACTA. Here is some coverage:

In the above reports too much attention is paid to cost of filing and languages while too little attention is paid to the real impact of patents on development. Here is better coverage:

Here is another timely reminder of patent scope going awry. Joe Mullin, a patents sceptic, wrote about the latest development. Unitary Patent passed [1, 2] and Pamela Jones wrote: “Here’s one problem that leaps off the page. If there is a unitary patent, if I am a patent troll in a country that doesn’t allow software patents, I file in a country that is less restrictive, and now it’s EU-wide legit. No? What am I missing?”

She linked to Open Forum Europe, a lobby with backers like IBM, which said “Unitary Patent – the EU should take more time to get it right

To quote further: “After decades of impasse it now appears that lawmakers are trying to rush through a poor compromise in the last minute that may make matters worse, not better, for innovators in Europe, especially for those in the technology industry.”

Here is the official babble from the press room. They don’t address the issues we raised. Many of those involved are lawyers, so we are hardly surprised real stakeholders get ignored.

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