Links 4/1/2013: Linux 3.8 RC 6, Privacy Issues Big in the News

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • A Look Back at 2012: The Expansion of Learning on the Web

      2012 was a year of opening doors to learning on the web for more and more students each day. With the web, students and teachers are using new technology and devices to collaborate with each other in class, from home, and around the world. We want Google in Education to help open more doors and we’re pleased to announce there are now 2,000 schools using Chromebooks for Education–twice as many as 3 months ago. And with several Chrome devices available today, there is a device for any school, any student, anywhere.

    • Chromebooks in Schools

      It’s a good start for Chromebooks but with 400% per annum growth expect to see global impact in nearly every use of IT very soon. The key to success of Chromebooks is that Google manages the software so schools don’t need to do that and Google, unlike M$ is not out to enslave schools making them indoctrinate students. It’s all about escaping slavery of Wintel to freedom of FLOSS.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.8-rc6
    • Tux3 File-System Gains Initial FSCK Implementation

      The Tux3 file-system has been in development for years while back on 1 January, the file-system work was resurrected. There’s now an initial fsck implementation for Tux3.

      Back on New Year’s was when a status report came out that signaled the Tux3 file-system had advanced and was now more competitive with the EXT4 file-system. Less than one month later, there’s now word of the initial fsck implementation for being able to fix the file-system in case of errors/problems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Ladbrokes is gambling with fish extinction – and so is the government
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Meetup 2013 At DA-IICT, Gujarat; Registrations Are Open

        Largest KDE event after kde.conf.in of India, KDE Meetup 2013, is announced by the KDE community in collabration with Google Developer Group of DA-IICT. This is the first large scale open source event in Gujarat. It will be held on 23rd – 24th February at DA-IICT, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. This two day event aims to involve students from India in the KDE community and also to get them involved with Open source development.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3 on OpenBSD 5.2

        It is no secret that I am becoming quite fond of PC-BSD: it is stabilizing nicely and offers a feature-rich BSD at one end and an amazing selection of window managers at the other. One thing it’s missing however is Gnome 3. Love it or hate it, Gnome 3 is boldly exploring “modern” desktop territory with the Gnome Shell which aggressively provides both elegant eye candy and swift navigation. Surprisingly, the best place to experience Gnome 3 on BSD is perhaps where you would least expect it: OpenBSD

  • Distributions

    • Everyday Linux User Review of Linux Lite
    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2013.02 Released

        PCLinuxOS(often said as PCLOS), the distribution that “it’s so cool ice cubes are jealous” basically tries to make the best out of the other GNU/Linux distros and create an all-round good for everything distro, somewhat like Ubuntu and Mint and other Debian-based spin-offs. But PCLinuxOS feels more like Arch when it comes to updates, because it’s a semi-rolling distro, but it feels like a major distribution like Fedora or OpenSUSE.

        PCLinuxOS actually started as a bundle of RPM packages for Mandrake Linux in 2000, but in 2003 this little bundle became a fork of Mandrake Linux 9.2, eventually becoming a fully-fledged distribution.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • How I feel about GNOME 3.6 in the Fedora 18 final release

          I’m testing Fedora 18 again. Yes, the live image. I didn’t do an install, though I’m certainly thinking about it.

          In this release’s GNOME 3.6 desktop, at least a few applications — all from GNOME proper — like Nautilus are putting more functionality into the “global” menu that pops down from the app’s icon in the upper panel.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • StormFly Wants To Childproof Your Computer With Its Ubuntu-Booting USB Bracelet

            When I was but a wee lad, I hosed my share of family computers simply because I wanted to help out — once I tried to free up space on a 6GB hard drive by deleting anything larger than 1MB. You can imagine how well that played out.

            I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the founders of Barcelona-based Now Computing went through something similar, because they’ve just recently launched a Kickstarter project for a device that should ensure it never happens again.

          • New Sync Menu Landed in Ubuntu 13.04

            With yesterday’s updates, Canonical uploaded a new Indicator Sync, updating the old Ubuntu One indicator, which was used in previous releases of Ubuntu.

            The Ubuntu development team planned this new Sync Menu for a long time now, and it appears that it will finally become reality in the upcoming Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) operating system, due for release on April 25th, 2013.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 2.2.0 review

              To sum, Bodhi Linux is a good distribution, but it is not for everybody. If, like me, you like a distribution with almost everything you need installed by default, then this distribution is not for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind a distribution with very few applications installed, one that lets you choose and pick what you what to install right from the start, without compiling source code, then welcome to Bodhi Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • SCO Asks the Bankruptcy Court to Let It Destroy Its Business Records ~ pj

    SCO, now calling itself TSG, has just filed a motion [PDF] with the bankruptcy court in Delaware asking it to authorize “the abandonment, disposal, and/or destruction of certain surplus, obsolete, non-core or burdensome, property, including, without limitation, shelving, convention materials, telecommunications and computer equipment, accounting and sales documents, and business records.”

    Ah. “And business recrods.” Burdensome to whom? To whom would SCO’s business records be burdensome? Not me. I hereby volunteer to pay for storage for those records, in order to preserve them. Obsolete how? Does the bankruptcy court know that SCO has a petition [PDF] before the US District Court in Utah asking the court to reopen SCO’s litigation with IBM?

    The excuse is money. They are paying to store them, poor dears, as of January 31, I gather, since they ask the court to authorize payments nunc pro tunc back to that date. Either that, or there’s more to this story than you can find in the motion. They also ask the court to let it not inform all its creditors about this. Heh heh. Imagine how messy it could get if they all showed up asking for a computer or shelving.

  • Security

    • Apple: Would Steve Jobs Have Blocked Oracle Java?
    • Cyberwar, out of the shadows

      A PLANNED FIVEFOLD increase in the staff of the U.S. Cyber Command is indicative of how conflict is moving toward center stage for the military, a domain similar to land, sea, air and outer space. The anticipated growth, described in an article by Ellen Nakashima in The Post last week, is intended to protect the country and its private sector from attack, an urgent mission. But now that the United States is going beyond defense, expanding forces for offensive attack, there’s a crying need for more openness. So far, forces exist almost entirely in the shadows.

      The Post reported on plans for creation of three types of forces under the Cyber Command. Two are familiar: “combat mission forces” to serve in parallel with military units and “protection forces” to defend Pentagon networks. A third area is new: “national mission forces” that would seek to head off any threat to critical infrastructure in the United States, such as electrical grids, dams and other potential targets deemed vital to national security. These “national mission forces” are expected to operate outside the United States, perhaps launching preemptive strikes on adversaries preparing to take down an American bank or electric grid. However, senior defense officials told The Post that the forces might respond inside the United States if asked by an authorized agency such as the FBI.

    • Secret Rules to Let Obama Start Cyber Wars

      A secret legal review of the even more secret “rules” of the US cyberwarfare capabilities has concluded that President Obama has virtually limitless power to start cyber wars in the name of “pre-emption” of potential attacks coming out of another nation.

    • Broad Powers Seen for Obama in Cyberstrikes

      A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review.

    • €10,000 Bounty On Cracking Mega Encryption
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Wars That Aren’t Meant to Be Won

      In War Is A Lie I looked at pretended and real reasons for wars and found some of the real reasons to be quite irrational. It should not shock us then to discover that the primary goal in fighting a war is not always to win it. Some wars are fought without a desire to win, others without winning being the top priority, either for the top war makers or for the ordinary soldiers.

    • Former Guantanamo Prosecutor Speaks Out Against Torture

      Retired Colonel Morris Davis was the chief prosecutor for military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay from 2005 to 2007. He resigned in objection to evidence gained by torture and political interference.

    • Ex-Gitmo Prosecutor: Obama’s Drone Surge as Damaging as Bush Torture Program

      Retired Air Force Col. Morris “Moe” Davis, once the lead government prosecutor for terrorism suspects at the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, says that the US torture regime under Bush and now the drone assassination program run by the Obama administration have combined to make the world less safe and called both programs—whether they could be legally justified or not—”immoral.

    • Bin Laden’s death hasn’t stanched metastasizing of al Qaeda
    • Supervisor of Intelligence Estimate Hailed for Preventing War with Iran
    • Storm as the UK ‘justifies torture’ of the fighter who helped topple Gaddafi

      Libyan Abdel Hakim Belhadj ‘wrongly linked to Al Qaeda’

      He insists he is no terrorist and is bringing lawsuit against Britain

      Row comes days after Cameron visits Libya on ‘bridge-building’ mission

    • Mystery spook’s identity confirmed

      The identity of a United States spy who mysteriously landed in Wellington last year can be revealed as National Security Agency director General Keith Alexander.

    • CIA torture whistleblower honored after criminal sentencing

      Kiriakou and Radack also appeared on Democracy Now, where Kiriakou made clear that:

      This…was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture….I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture. My oath was to the Constitution….[a]nd to me, torture is unconstitutional.”

    • Obama Is Now America’s Hacker in Chief

      As the possibility of destructive cyberwarfare inches towards reality, the government is scrambling to figure out who holds the keys to America’s malware arsenal. Obviously, it’s President Obama.

      The New York Times just published the findings of an investigation into a secret legal review that set out to determine who actually had the power to order a cyberattack. Given his status as commander-in-chief, Obama seems to be the clear choice, but since cyberwarfare is such a new and unknown thing, the government hasn’t actually figured out the rules of engagement yet. In the past couple of decades, the power to use America’s cyberweapons has been shared between the Pentagon and the various intelligence agencies. With the exception of a series of strikes on the computer systems that run Iran’s nuclear enrichement facilities — an attack that Obama ordered himself — the U.S. hasn’t launched any major cyber attacks in recent memory, however.

    • Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Why It’s “Legal” When the U.S. Does It

      Credit the Arab Spring and what’s followed in the Greater Middle East to many things, but don’t overlook American “unilateralism.” After all, if you want to see destabilization at work, there’s nothing like having a heavily armed crew dreaming about eternal global empires stomp through your neighborhood, and it’s clear enough now that whatever was let loose early in the twenty-first century won’t end soon.

    • Press Conference: Faith-based, human rights and ex-military leaders speak out against John Brennan to head CIA
    • FBI intensifies war on whistleblowers
    • The Torture Apologists Ignore the 4,000 Americans They Killed

      A bit of a row has started between Jay Rosen and Will Saletan for the latter’s attempt to “see how [the torturers] saw what they did” in this post. Frankly, I think Rosen mischaracterizes the problem with Saletan’s post. It’s not so much that Saletan parrots the euphemisms of the torturers. It’s that he accepts what John Rizzo, Michael Hayden, Jose Rodriguez, and Marc Thiessen said – in a presentation with multiple internal contradictions even before you get to the outright demonstrable lies — as the truth.

    • Why One Known Historian Is Disgusted by Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick’s ‘Untold History’

      The introduction of Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s book, The Untold History of the United States, declares before any history is recounted “we don’t try to tell all US history. That would be an impossible task.” It acknowledges there are things the United States has done right, but, “There are libraries full of books dedicated to that purpose and school curricula that trumpet US achievements.” The two are “more concerned with focusing a spotlight on what the United States has done wrong—the ways in which we believe the country has betrayed its mission, with the faith that there is still time to correct those errors as we move forward into the twenty-first century.”

    • The CIA’s case for torture

      Do we really understand what the CIA did and why? Was the payoff worth the moral cost? And what can we learn from it?

    • When Can the U.S. Kill Americans? The White House Won’t Say.

      The administration refuses to say why it thinks it can kill American terrorists abroad—even to the lawmakers entitled to know.

    • Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose

      Last summer, as the fighting in Syria raged and questions about the United States’ inaction grew, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred privately with David H. Petraeus, the director of the C.I.A. The two officials were joining forces on a plan to arm the Syrian resistance.

    • Panetta: Any Spending Cuts Would Make US a ‘Second-Rate Power’

      In an interview published over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta blasted even the notion of allowing any military budget cuts going forward, insisting that following through on the sequestration cuts, mostly just cuts in the rate of growth rather than in real dollars, would turn the United States into a “second-rate power.”

    • Why Police Lie Under Oath

      THOUSANDS of people plead guilty to crimes every year in the United States because they know that the odds of a jury’s believing their word over a police officer’s are slim to none. As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? As one of my colleagues recently put it, “Everyone knows you have to be crazy to accuse the police of lying.”

    • Ayotte, Graham and McCain Will Participate In Hedges Oral Arguments

      Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain will have five minutes on Wednesday to explain why a lawsuit targeting the indefinite detention should be swatted down. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted their motion to participate in oral arguments in the Hedges v. Obama NDAA lawsuit on Thursday, setting up a court appearance for their lawyer on February 6.

    • An America cramped by defensiveness

      A week before I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, my wife and I volunteered for a few hours at our daughter’s elementary school. As we left, her teacher told the students that I was an officer in the Marine Corps about to leave on deployment. “A nation does not survive,” he said, “without men like that.”


      …only thing Americans agree on these days is gratitude bordering on reverence for our military.

    • CIA Whistleblower: “US is a Police State, Obama Consciously Allows Torture”
    • Barack Obama, Drone Ranger

      If you’ve seen the movie Zero Dark Thirty, you know why it has triggered a new debate over our government’s use of torture after 9/11.
      The movie’s up for an Oscar as best motion picture. We’ll know later this month if it wins. Some people leave the theater claiming the film endorses and even glorifies the use of torture to obtain information that finally led to finding and killing Osama bin Laden. Not true, say the filmmakers, but others argue the world is better off without bin Laden in it, no matter how we had to get him. What’s more, they say, there hasn’t been a major terrorist attack on American soil since 9/1 — if we have to use an otherwise immoral practice to defend ourselves against such atrocities, we’re okay with it. Or so the argument goes.

    • US Allies Aid Drone Strikes, But Hope to Ditch Legal Responsibility

      So far US officials have ditched responsibility purely on the president insisting whoever he kills must be legal, but as killings grow, various US allies the world over are finding themselves increasingly culpable by way of intelligence sharing, and fearing lawsuits.

      Noor Khan, a British citizen from Pakistan, has been trying to sue the British government over a US drone strike that killed his father, a tribal elder with no apparent militant ties.

    • Drone Strike Prompts Suit, Raising Fears for U.S. Allies
    • Waziristan tribesmen to move ICJ against drone hits

      The major tribes from Waziristan Agency have announced to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the US drone attacks in its rugged region bordering Afghanistan over massive collateral damage.

    • It’s govt’s duty to stop drone attacks: LHC CJ

      LAHORE: The chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday observed that it was the government’s duty to stop the drone attacks, adding that the court could not order a war against the US.

    • Pakistanis hate the drone war: The proof is in the data

      Writing for the Atlantic, three American academics posed a challenge in their article titled: “You Say Pakistanis All Hate the Drone War? Prove It.” I thought I did prove it a few weeks ago. But I welcome the opportunity to elaborate even further.

    • Inside the IDF: Drone wars
    • OUR OPINION: Africa drone base a first step for U.S.

      The drone base’s initial mission would be to track the movements of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and allied Islamic terrorist organizations. If the threat worsens, and it almost surely will, the drones could be armed, the base expanded and, if Niger agrees, U.S. special-operations troops based there.

    • Use of drone warfare by U.S. under attack

      This is a sort of armchair killing where drones are remotely piloted from bases in the United States. Using drones makes going into battle safer and cheaper for the attacker but not for the attacked. It’s Lethal Toy Story.

    • Pakistan army attack US drone strike retaliation
    • The Morality of Drone Strikes

      …Obama speaks the language of last resort, but his use of drones doesn’t really seem to follow that principle…

    • Amazon Users Pen Sarcastic Drone ‘Reviews’ For Children’s Unmanned Aircraft Toy

      The latest instance: a protest Amazon users are holding on the page of a children’s unmanned aircraft toy. It’s been inundated with users reviewing Obama administer’s use of military drones abroad, pointed out by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski.

      The toy shares the “Predator” name with an unmanned aerial vehicle that has become a favorite of the U.S. Air Force and CIA. The use of drones — particularly in countries where the U.S. is not at war such as Yemen or Pakistan — have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for causing child casualties, with studies showing drone strikes could potentially cause unprecedented blowback.

    • Va. House panel OKs 2-year moratorium on drone use

      A House panel has approved a bill that would put a two-year moratorium on drones in Virginia while lawmakers work to craft regulations for use of the unmanned aircraft.

    • Obama’s CIA pick takes heat for calling drone attacks ‘ethical and just’
  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks reveals Icelandic FBI shennanigans

      After shooting began in Reykjavik at the end of January (Iceland Review), the organisation has revealed – completely co-incidentally, of course – an incident in August 2011 in which FBI agents were apparently booted from the Nordic country for arriving without asking first.

    • Minister: Iceland refused to help FBI on WikiLeaks
    • Assange receives Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts
    • Julian Assange receives Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts

      On 3 February 2013 at a private dinner at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, attended by more than 150 guests, Julian Assange will receive the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts 2013 for his WikiLeaks work including, amongst other releases, Collateral Murder. This award is given to people who have displayed extraordinary courage and who through their artistry have changed the world.

    • New developments in the case against Jeremy Hammond.

      Recently, Sue Crabtree of the Jeremy Hammond Support Network presented me with some very interesting new information in regards to the controversy surrounding Judge Loretta Preska’s Conflict of Interest.

      The first being that Judge Preska’s husband, Thomas Kavaler gave a sworn statement to the court concerning his relationship and email correspondence with the intelligence firm Stratfor. Jeremy Hammond is currently accused of hacking the Stratfor website and releasing millions of files, including the email accounts and passwords of all those in correspondence with Stratfor. Judge Preska’s husband Thomas Kavaler was corresponding with Stratfor and his business email and password were among those exposed. Though it has not yet been confirmed that Mr. Kavaler’s email account contained private messages between he and his wife Judge Preska, it would seem to be a safe assumption.

  • Finance

    • Age reporters to appeal to highest Vic court

      Two Fairfax journalists are going to Victoria’s Court of Appeal after being ordered to give evidence about their sources for a banknote bribery story.

    • Goldman, gov ‘rolled AIG’

      In his new book, “The AIG Story” (co-written with Lawrence A. Cunningham and coming out this week), Greenberg says that in the summer of 2008, the company was in contentious talks with Goldman Sachs and other investment banks to settle trillions in claims on questionable derivatives linked to debt obligations that Wall Street banks were writing.

    • Looking for Mister Goodpain: The Hopeless Search for an Austerity Success Story

      Three years ago, a terrible thing happened to economic policy, both here and in Europe. Although the worst of the financial crisis was over, economies on both sides of the Atlantic remained deeply depressed, with very high unemployment. Yet the Western world’s policy elite somehow decided en masse that unemployment was no longer a crucial concern, and that reducing budget deficits should be the overriding priority.

    • Corporate power: exposing the global 1%

      In these infographics, the Transnational Institute offers a visual insight into who dominates our planet at a time of economic and ecological crisis.

    • Goldman Sachs to improve Russia’s image for $500,000

      In a new image campaign to spur investment, the Russian government has hired the investment bank Goldman Sachs to persuade investors and ratings agencies of the country’s appeal. Officials hope the move will improve Russia’s credit rating, as well as its position in other international rankings, both of which experts say are underestimated.

    • Anonymous posts over 4000 U.S. bank executive credentials
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bill Gates is naive, data is not objective

      In his recent essay in the Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates proposed to “fix the world’s biggest problems” through “good measurement and a commitment to follow the data.” Sounds great!
      Unfortunately it’s not so simple.
      Gates describes a positive feedback loop when good data is collected and acted on. It’s hard to argue against this: given perfect data-collection procedures with relevant data, specific models do tend to improve, according to their chosen metrics of success. In fact this is almost tautological.
      As I’ll explain, however, rather than focusing on how individual models improve with more data, we need to worry more about which models and which data have been chosen in the first place, why that process is successful when it is, and – most importantly – who gets to decide what data is collected and what models are trained.
      Take Gates’s example of Ethiopia’s commitment to health care for its people. Let’s face it, it’s not new information that we should ensure “each home has access to a bed net to protect the family from malaria, a pit toilet, first-aid training and other basic health and safety practices.” What’s new is the political decision to do something about it. In other words, where Gates credits the measurement and data-collection for this, I’d suggest we give credit to the political system that allowed both the data collection and the actual resources to make it happen.

    • Lies, damned lies, and newspaper reporting… (Op-Ed)

      Last week the Sam Adams Asso ci ates for Integ rity in Intel li gence presen ted this year’s award to Dr Tom Fin gar at a cere mony jointly hos ted by the pres ti gi ous Oxford Union Soci ety.

      Dr Fin gar, cur rently a vis it ing lec turer at Oxford, had in 2007 co-ordinated the pro duc tion of the US National Intel li­gence Estim ate — the com bined ana lysis of all 16 of America’s intel li gence agen cies — which assessed that the Ira­nian nuc lear weapon isa tion pro gramme had ceased in 2003. This con sidered and author it at ive Estim ate dir ectly thwarted the 2008 US drive towards war against Iran, and has been reaf firmed every year since then.

  • Censorship

    • The Verge Hires Writer Who Quit CNET in Protest

      Greg Sandoval, the CNET senior writer who resigned in protest when the site’s parent company, CBS, interfered with its editorial coverage last month, has been hired by The Verge, the Web site that first revealed the full extent of CBS’s involvement.

      Mr. Sandoval will be a senior reporter for The Verge when he starts in a couple of weeks. He said in a blog post that he had received a “written guarantee from management that nobody from the business side of the company will ever have any authority over my stories.” The post, which he published Sunday night, also said, “Long before I arrived, The Verge committed itself to editorial independence.”

    • Breaking: Wikileaks Takes on Oxford Union

      Julian Assange is back in the headlines after WikiLeaks accuses the Oxford Union of censorship.

    • WikiLeaks accuses Union of “censorship”

      WikiLeaks has accused the Oxford Union of “censor[ing]” footage of Julian Assange’s address to the debating society in January.

      It alleged on Twitter that the Union had replaced the backdrop of the video, which was personally selected by Assange, with a plain still of the Oxford Union logo.

      The footage that Assange selected came from a controversial video released by the whistleblowing organisation in 2010. Popularly known as ‘Collateral Murder’, it shows the gun crew of a US Apache helicopter firing on Reuters journalists and civilians in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007.

    • 4 House Members Slam College’s Anti-Israel Event

      A scholar and a political commentator are about to let fly to some very, very dangerous speech at a New York college next week. It’s so dangerous, in fact, that four Democratic members of Congress are getting involved.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • To Resist, To Join Together, Occasionally To Win

      It was three years ago that we lost Howard Zinn, teacher, historian, activist, optimist, speaker of truth to power. He is missed.

      “If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future, without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past, when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than its solid centuries of warfare.”

    • The Real News Network Whistleblower Special
    • Help Protect The Next Aaron Swartz

      On Jan 11, 2013, Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old internet pioneer and defender of online freedom, tragically took his own life. Aaron was facing 35 years in prison and relentless persecution for downloading too many articles, too fast from an online library of academic journals.

    • Aaron’s Law 2.0: Major Steps Forward, More Work to Be Done

      Representative Zoe Lofgren has posted on Reddit a modified draft of Aaron’s Law, a proposal to update the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and wire fraud law in honor of our friend Aaron Swartz and to make sure that the misguided prosecution that happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else. We’re very pleased with the proposal’s progress and we’re hopeful about the future of this important bill.

    • ‘Homeland,’ by Cory Doctorow

      Last month, a 26-year-old Internet activist named Aaron Swartz killed himself. He had worked on many widely used online tools that, among other things, enable Web sites to syndicate their content. He had also been politically active, helping to drive the campaign that blocked the Stop Online Piracy Act. At the time of his death, he was under threat of prosecution — and decades in jail — for downloading millions of academic journal articles via the MIT network in hopes of making them freely available. In a statement, his family said they thought that his death was “the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Former RIAA VP Named 2nd In Command Of Copyright Office

        We’ve talked in the past about how unfortunate it is that the US Copyright Office seems almost entirely beholden to the legacy copyright players, rather than to the stated purpose of copyright law. That is, instead of looking at how copyright can lead to the maximum benefit for the public (“promoting the progress of science”) it seems to focus on what will make the big legacy players — the RIAA and MPAA — happy. Part of this, of course, is the somewhat continuous revolving door between industry and the Copyright Office. Just a few months ago we wrote about how the Copyright Office’s General Counsel, David Carson, had jumped ship to go join the IFPI (the international version of the RIAA).

      • CBS and CNET Protest Looming BitTorrent Client Ban

        CBS and CNET have asked a Californian federal court not to grant a ban on the distribution of file-sharing software through Download.com. They responded to a request for a preliminary injunction from a coalition of artists and billionaire Alki David who claim that CBS induces piracy. According to the media conglomerate this is not the case, and CBS argues that there are many non-infringing uses for BitTorrent.

      • Valve Sued In Germany Over Right To Resell Games

        Valve’s Steam platform has certainly been one highlight on competing with piracy here at Techdirt. As something of the iTunes of PC gaming, it provides a wonderful example of how a great platform and added value can give those who could otherwise be pirates a real reason to part with their gaming dollar. This isn’t to say that the platform hasn’t been associated with some issues, but Valve seems to be among those folks that get it right more often than they get it wrong.

      • Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work

        A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual.


        It’s not nice to steal. Unless you are a poet, an artist, a musician, an architect, a writer, or you do anything that requires even a modest amount of creativity. Then it’s not IF you steal, but HOW you steal, that makes all the difference in the world.

      • Obama Administration Considers Joining Publishers In Fight To Stamp Out Fair Use At Universities

        In digging into this, we’ve heard from a few sources that it’s actually the US Copyright Office that has asked the DOJ to weigh in on the side of the publishers and against the interests of public univerisities and students. Yes, the same Copyright Office that just promoted a former RIAA VP to second in command. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

USPTO Approves Another ‘Slide to Unlock’ Sham

Posted in Law, Patents at 5:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: New lows for the USPTO as public opinion shifts against it and patent lawyers, the rising robber barons in technology, struggle to keep the status quo

The patent lawyers crowd finds that “Micron has just received its own patent covering a “system and method for controlling user access to an electronic device.” U.S. Patent No 8,352,745 issued in January 2013 but claims priority to an original application filed in February 2000 and lists Jim McKeeth as inventor.”

But Apple insists it has invented the concept.

Pamela Jones suggests: “This is why the solution to the software patent problem is to get rid of all software patents. We can’t just have the USPTO pick better ones to grant while denying the silly ones. Clearly, they have no clue which is which.”

The USPTO is under a lot of pressure these days and it does feel the heat based on its actions. Another lawyers’ site touches the subject by saying that “Fed. Circ. Aims For Clear Rules On Software Patents”. Mark Cuban’s views on the subject are quickly spreading to more outlets:

Outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban is not happy with the current state of the American patent system and he is speaking out against its current state.

In an interview with TechCrunch Cuban says the current patent system is full of “dumb*ss patents [that] are crushing small businesses.”

Mark Cuban feels so passionate about his patent fight that he has teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to “eliminate stupid patents” that leave company’s shelling out millions of dollars for the right to use basic technology advances.

According to Cuban he is simply trying to “get the message to politicians that patent trolls are costing taxpayers… and small businesses money that could otherwise be used for innovation and creating jobs.”

Cuban [1, 2, 3] gave money to the cause, which he deserves credit for. He did this out of self interest, but many share his pain, so his battle of self interest is the opposite of patent lawyers’.

Over in New Zealand, Matt Adams from pro-software patents firm AJ Park [1, 2, 3, 4] keeps promoting the other side’s ’cause’ (so-called “patent buff” is just a patent profiteer) because just some months ago when
Craig Foss stuck his nose in matters he does not seem to understand the lawyers thought they had gotten the upper hand. Let’s fight to ensure they never get their way.

Black Duck, Founded by Microsoft Marketing Guy and Seemingly Funded by Microsoft (in Part), is Openwashing Microsoft Again

Posted in FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft proxies openwash Microsoft and help suppress adoption of copyleft licences such as the GPL

The creation of Mr. Levin is appalling and it is becoming more blatant about it all. Black Duck, a PR front for many purposes and somewhat of a Microsoft proxy, is openwashing Microsoft and attacking the GPL, especially after entering an agreement with Microsoft (in public) around 2009. Watch this latest nonsense that Levin’s company paid to flood news wires with. Perhaps it pushed journalists too, generating puff pieces like “Microsoft, Yahoo Among Open Source ‘Rookies of the Year’”. It says:

Each year, Black Duck unveils what it calls the Rookie Open Source Projects of the Year. The Massachusetts company sells software for managing open source projects, and its annual list is a way of promoting both itself and the wider open source software community. But the list is also good reading.

This year, Microsoft made a surprise appearance, as did Yahoo, which fell down a bit in terms of developer relations last year, thanks to heavy layoffs and its widely panned patents policy.

Mac Asay wrote this:

It’s déjà vu all over again for Microsoft, as Black Duck Software has named Redmond’s TypeScript project among its 2012 Open Source Rookies of the Year – despite Microsoft spending nearly a decade trying to figure out this crazy communist software manifesto.

Back in 2001, Microsoft labeled open source a “cancer,” “un-American,” and a threat to rich software capitalists everywhere. By 2003, however, it was limping along the right track with the introduction of its Shared Source Initiative, and not long after started releasing open-source code of its own and creating its own open-source software lab.

So why is Microsoft still considered an open-source rookie in 2013, 10 years later?

Asay has had some connections and interactions with Levin et al. so it’s sensible to suspect they pushed him to it (e.g. by E-mail, just like Microsoft Florian). Using prophecies Black Duck has been trying to take companies off the GPL, just like other Microsoft moles (e.g. Walli). Asay helps those people, having himself publicly chastised the GPL (after he had promoted it but then got lobbied). Here we see another Microsoft proxy, OpenLogic, promoting a move out of GPL. And guess who Microsoft hired after many payouts? Apache leadership, which we wrote about before. Microsoft uses Apache againzt GNU GPL. Those who are familiar with history or chronology here will know that it’s evident, and Microsoft hopes to consume FOSS so that it doesn’t use GNU licenses and instead runs on Microsoft stacks, such as Office, SharePoint, SQL Server, etc.

Apple Keeps Losing Patent Cases, Now Pursues Trademarks on Designs!

Posted in Apple, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brands flood

Summary: The USPTO, a vassal to aggressive US brands, continues to enable abuse and bullying rather than open innovation

Groklaw does a great job covering Apple’s attacks on Android as Jones declares:

Apple just lost another round. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied Apple’s petition for en banc review of Judge Lucy Koh’s decision not to order a permanent injunction against Samsung. The court also denied Apple’s motion asking for permission to file a reply brief.

Apple’s war on Linux (using software patents) goes back to when Apple threatened Palm with lawyers — a period not covered by this interesting new infographic. Muktware says:

In one of the most dramatic and closely watched court-battle (after Oracle-Google), judge Lucy Koh has issued four rulings on post-trial briefs.

In a nutshell there won’t be a new trial, as Samsung wanted, because the judge thinks that the trial was fair despite allegations that the jury foreman could have been biased. She also ruled that there won’t be any more money for Apple as the iPhone maker failed to prove they were ‘undercompensated’ by the jury. The most important ruling was that she also found that ‘Samsung did not willfully’ infringe’.

Here is more and an update from Jones, who writes: “Apple and Samsung must be groaning. The trouble with Tribbles, of course, is that there’s no seeming end to them — “they are born pregnant” and threaten to consume all the onboard supplies, but Judge Grewal, like Spock, is immune to their effects, so he refuses most of the requests, saying over and over that the parties have failed to show in a particularized way how revealing the materials would be harmful.”

Here is what this one pro-Apple site says, as spotted by Jones:

OS X is degrading into a base for an entertainment platform.

How true. And notice what Apple does with trademarks now:

Apple has been granted a trademark on the design of its Apple Stores by the US Patent & Trademark Office.

The USPTO might be simpler to stop than Apple, which is very wealthy and has successfully brainwashed a lot of people. Monopolies on store design are a ridiculous concept. So much for free market…

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts