Today’s General News: Extraordinary Power and Extraordinary Surveillance

Posted in News Roundup at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



  • North Africa: Maghreb Jihadists Killed in Mali Airstrike

    France recently acquired the two American-made drones. They are based in Niamey, Niger.

  • The bleak comedy of Barack Obama: Mallick

    When politicians perform, as Obama did with comedian Zach Galifianakis this week, the joke’s on us.


    Jeremy Scahill has reported that Obama holds what are known as “Terror Tuesdays,” in which he says yes or no to “nominated” targets on a drone kill list. Few Americans know that because they didn’t buy Scahill’s book, Dirty Wars, or see his subsequent documentary. But many Americans will indeed see Obama sitting down with a comic actor and joking with him about drone killing, not comprehending Obama’s sheer gall.

  • National Security: Going “Up” or “Down?”

    Of course, both of these documents pre-date the latest explosion of new knowledge about aggressive NSA spying. They don’t reflect new information about the NSA’s forthcoming code-breaking supercomputer that can breach every “secure” https ever created.(2) The two documents I’ve cited above also preceded the current level of critique, both at home and abroad, of U.S. war-proxy drone attacks. New information is now available about not-so-reliable, way too general, and far too remote NSA drone targeting info that does kill the innocent. (3)

  • Students asked to help build drone sculpture

    Construction will begin March 16 on a life-size replica of a military drone, an art project on campus that aims to display lives lost in attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles.



  • ​World Bank to lend Ukraine $3bn

    The World Bank is ready to grant almost bankrupt Ukraine a loan of up to $3 billion this year to support reforms and infrastructure projects.

    The Washington-based organization already has several projects in Ukraine aimed at reducing poverty.

  • Ukraine: How to Hide a Nazi Army

    Still, the impression the Daily Beast would like to get across to readers is that the concept of Neo-Nazis leading the so-called “revolution” in Kiev, is absurd. In fact, the truth that Kiev’s Independence Square was full of Nazis, was right under the nose of the entire world – with a handful of Western journalists even admitting as much.


  • What is Going on in Venezuela?

    The majority of the media in today’s Venezuela are private. Many of the private TV stations were actively involved in 2002 coup attempt. Today, the majority of Venezuelans still watch TV stations owned by private corporations. The majority of these stations and most of the main newspapers, although a little bit more diverse politically than in 2002, are anti-government and anti-Chavista. They have not been taken off the air, prevented from printing and the social media has not been shut down. Social media like Facebook and Twitter have been particularly active and inaccurate in portraying Venezuela as a repressive police state with total suppression of the media.

    The mainstream U.S. media (e.g., CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, etc.) have a very strong anti-Chávez bias and a continued hostility to the building of 21st century socialism in Venezuela. For example, pictures that supposedly showed violent police brutality and repression in Venezuela were actually old photos from police repression in Bulgaria, Egypt and Chile. The New York Times, while generally hostile to the Venezuelan revolution with very biased reporting, has been slightly more balanced recently, even admitting that in the poorer areas of Caracas, there are no signs of protest,


  • Lockerbie

    The UK authorities have known for over 20 years that Megrahi was innocent. The key witness, a Maltese shopkeeper named Tony Gauci, was paid a total of US $7 million for his evidence by the CIA, and was able to adopt a life of luxury that continues to this day. The initial $2 million payment has become public knowledge but that was only the first instalment. This was not an over-eagerness to convict the man the CIA believed responsible; this was a deliberate perversion of justice to move the spotlight from Iran and Syria to clear the way diplomatically for war in Iraq.


Ubuntu News: Wallpapers, Beta, Phones, Chromium…

Posted in News Roundup at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some of the past week’s news about Ubuntu, the most hyped up distribution of GNU/Linux


  • Linux Bugs, Cheese Quesadilla, and Ubuntu Looks
  • Ubuntu 14.04 default and community wallpapers revealed

    Continuing the new trend of adding community wallpapers to the default Ubuntu installation, Ubuntu devs released today 11 community contributed wallpapers to be included in the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 14.04 LTS. These 11 wallpapers were chosen from a community wallpaper contest which ended on 5th March. Shortly after releasing the community wallpapers, the default wallpaper was also released.

  • Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

    Version 14.04, nicknamed Trusty Tahr, will be an important one because it culminates in a Long Term Support (LTS) version, the first in two years.

  • What to expect in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

    Every two years a Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu is made available to the public. Every LTS is supported for 5 years by Canonical. This year is the year of LTS release and its just 1 month away. Canonical will be keen to keep up the stability of LTS release like it has done in the past. Lets have a quick look at what can we expect from this year’s LTS release.

  • Ubuntu 14.04 beta 1 offers a sneak peek at ‘Trusty Tahr’

    Not long ago we learned that Ubuntu will be ditching Unity’s global menu and returning to in-app menus instead. I’m hoping we’ll see that later this month when the next beta release arrives, since the main, Unity-based Ubuntu version will be participating in that one. Stay tuned for more updates when that happens.

  • Local Menus are making a comeback in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – albeit, with one small twist!
  • Early Look at How Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Is Shaping Up

    The next Ubuntu Long-Term Release, codenamed Trusty Tahr, will be released on April 17th, 2014 and will ship with several notable features, while mainly focusing on stable main components rather than bleeding-edge software, a very good decision which fits perfectly such a big release. Trusty will be supported for five years on both the desktop and the server. I must say, this is a long awaited release, and probably not only by Ubuntu users, but also the ones of Mint and other distributions based upon Ubuntu, since the upcoming Mint 17 will be based on Trusty. I’m really expecting a solid experience here, which could last for years as a main desktop and development machine.


  • CeBIT: Ubuntu smartphones to cost between $200 and $400

    Smartphones on Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system will cost between $200 and $400, according to the firm’s chief executive Mark Shuttleworth.

    Speaking at CeBIT, he said: “Ours will come out in the mid-higher edge, so $200 to $400. We’re going with the higher end because we want people who are looking for a very sharp, beautiful experience and because our ambition is to be selling the future PC, the future personal computing engine.”

    The Ubuntu project aims to produce hardware that can act as a smartphone and also work as a PC when plugged into a monitor, something Shuttleworth said many audiences found attractive.

    Canonical teamed up with phone makers Meizu and BQ earlier this year to produce the devices, following what Shuttleworth called the “spectacular failure” of the firm’s efforts to raise $32m for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. But he also called it a “spectacular success” because of the amount of attention it drew and the influence it could have on the industry.

  • Mark Shuttleworth Talks Up The Phone’s Bottom Edge On Ubuntu
  • Canonical Has Stopped Promoting Ubuntu Touch Images Yet Again, Due To Some Unity 8 Regressions And QMLScene Crashes
  • How to get a side launcher like Ubuntu on your Android device

    Ubuntu users get to take advantage of a sidebar giving them access to shortcuts for many programs. Thanks to the Glovebox, this app allows you to get this Ubuntu feature on your Android smartphone.

  • Android woes could be an opportunity for Ubuntu smartphones

    Canonical announced in February that it plans to release smartphones based on its widely used Ubuntu distribution of the Linux platform are back on, with the first devices expected later this year.

    This triggered eager anticipation among some members of the V3 team, including yours truly, as Canonical’s original vision for an Ubuntu phone sounded like a compelling prospect, as well as a novel one for those of us who have seen smartphones become ever-more generic over recent years as vendors try to copy Apple’s formula for success.

    First disclosed early last year, Canonical proposed a version of Ubuntu with a touch-optimised user interface that could run on high-end smartphone hardware. While some mobile platforms, notably Android, are already underpinned by the Linux kernel, Ubuntu for phones was going to be the real deal; it would be able to run full Linux applications as well as HTML5 web apps optimised for mobile devices.



  • Is Ubuntu Animosity Misplaced?

    As for the feelings of the Linux community in general, the consensus is that it felt like GNOME was somehow being slighted or ignored. Remember early on, Ubuntu was a GNOME-centric experience. While today, Ubuntu is most definitely Unity-centric instead. Obviously alternative desktop environments are a mere “apt-get install” away, but most people will use Ubuntu because they’re fans of the entire experience – end to end.

IBM Turns Into More of a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs, Gradual Demise of Real Products

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: IBM turns out to be using software patents in order to make money at the expense of much smaller companies; the threat of software patents resurfaces in India

IBM, the company which promotes software patents in Europe. is reportedly going after relatively small companies (not Sun) with patent demands. Citing this report, an expert in this area (Mullin) says: “Twitter’s first annual financial results were revealed on Thursday. Buried deep in the document is the price it paid IBM after it was confronted with a patent infringement threat by Big Blue: $36 million. Bloomberg was first to highlight the price tag.

“IBM sent a letter to Twitter in November saying it was infringing at least three IBM patents. That resulted in a negotiation that ended up with Twitter getting a license to IBM’s patents, acquiring about 900 of them for itself, and (we now know) paying $36 million.”

Shame on IBM.

Just as the US begins thinking about getting rid of software patents the #1 patent holder in the US (whose former staff headed the USPTO until recently) takes us back in time, demonstrating that IBM (with OIN) is not much different from those patent trolls we keep hearing about (OIN is powerless against trolls as well). Here is a new report about a troll: “Personal Audio LLC has recently become one of the more well-known “patent trolls” due to its broad claims to owning basic podcasting technology. The company has filed lawsuits in East Texas, claiming that its patents on “episodic content” technology, which stem from founder Jim Logan’s failed “Magazines on Tape” business, entitle it to royalties from podcasters large and small.”

How is that so different from what IBM is doing? iophk says: “Burning through the EFF’s scant resources playing whack-a-mole with patent trolls. That won’t do anything to solve the underlying problem which is that of patenting software. Get rid of software patents and the trolls will be gone.”

There is actually a correlation between software patents and trolls, as demonstrated by Mullin some years ago. Many boosters of software patents are also trolls (Microsoft, IBM and Nokia for example) and many trolls are using software patents in litigation (about 70% of the time).

IBM recently laid off many employees in India (we covered this thoroughly) as it’s moving into more of a surveillance business [1,2] (IBM is already a surveillance giant) and considers offloading more of its hardware business [3]. Meanwhile, suggests this new post. the threat of software patents in India is back. Spicy IP says: “The reason why I am limiting the issue only to the term software per se is because of the recent discussions draft guidelines issued by our Patent Office on the topic, and the subsequent discussions on the same.”

The term “software per se” is similar to the phrase “as such” in Europe or even New Zealand. It is a trick. To quote further: “As we know that the term per se did not come into the act directly. It came in on the recommendation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (“JPC”). The JPC inserted the term to address the patentability of inventions relating to computer programs that may include certain other things that were ‘ancillary thereto’ or ‘developed thereon’. Accordingly, if computer programs per se are not patentable, something that is ancillary thereto or developed thereon is patentable.”

This is bad and it deserves more media attention. Much of the anti-software patents lobby, however, is quiet or defunct now, in part because corporations hijacked the debate and shifted focus to small trolls (not large ones like Microsoft, Nokia, and IBM).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM ‘as a service’ cloud pieces fall into place

    IBM has acquired a bevy of cloud companies and built a Big Blue cloud stack. Here’s a look at the moving parts and how they fit together as IBM moves from hardware to the cloud.

  2. IBM in the Cloud: More Method Than Meets the Eye?
  3. IBM reportedly considering sale of chip manufacturing operations

    IBM is considering a sale of its chip manufacturing operations, the Wall Street Journal reported last night. The company would not stop designing its own chips, however. Just as AMD outsources manufacturing of the chips it designs, IBM “is looking for a buyer for its manufacturing operations, but plans to retain its chip-design capability,” according to the Journal’s source.

Censorship Watch: Default Filtering in the UK, Censorship Using Copyrights, Links as Crime

Posted in Law at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest flavours of censorship around the world, including the Western world where even links to sites are now treated like offenses


Arab World

  • Saudi Arabia Threatens to Lay Siege to Qatar: Cooperation or Confrontation?

    Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade its neighbouring Gulf State Qatar by land and sea unless it cuts ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, closes Al Jazeera, and expels local branches of two prestigious U.S. think tanks, the Brookings Doha Center and the Rand Qatar Policy Institute.

  • Google battles legal fallout of copyright ruling on anti-Islamic film (copyright linked to censorship)

    The video had flimsy production values and was just 14 minutes long, but internet service providers fear they will pay a lasting price for Innocence of Muslims. A court order to remove the anti-Islamic film from YouTube has paved the way for attempts to menace other creative visual works under cover of copyright, some legal experts have warned.

  • Turkey may ban Facebook and YouTube if Erdoğan wins elections

    The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Facebook and YouTube could be banned following local elections in March after leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son went viral, prompting calls for his resignation.

    Erdoğan claims social media sites have been abused by his political enemies, in particular his former ally US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who, he says, is behind a stream of “fabricated” audio recordings posted on the internet purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.

Link Censorship

  • EFF Statement on Dismissal of 11 Charges Against Barrett Brown

    The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas today filed a motion to dismiss 11 charges against Barrett Brown in a criminal prosecution that would have had massive implications for journalism and the right of ordinary people to share links. EFF has written extensively about the case and had planned to file an amicus brief on Monday on behalf of several reporters groups arguing for the dismissal of the indictment.

  • Barrett Brown: The Criminalization of Web Links

    This– A LINK– could have sent me to jail. Another link came very, very close to sending Barrett Brown to jail.
    First, a quick recap of how the internet works. People from all over the world put stuff on the web (“posts”). In many cases you the viewer do not know who posted something, when they did it, where they live or where they obtained the information they posted. It is just there on your screen. If the info is of interest, you can link to it, sending instructions via chat, email, HTML, Facebook or whatever to someone else, telling them where to find the information.

    The act of linking is analogous to saying “Hey, did you see that article in the Times on page 4? Check it out.” It is kind of what the internet is about. Here’s how the government seeks to criminalize linking from one article on the web to another.

Copyright News: EU Copyright Consultation Not Serious, Google ‘Gets’ It on Copyrights

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Realisation that data can and will be copied, and the building of copyright law to accommodate this new reality

THE EU copyright consultation [1] seems to have become somewhat of a charade [2] or an act of publicity and not much more [3] as “it appears that this is exactly the approach that the Commission is intent to pursue: promoting the interests of one particular tree (content producers) even if this comes at the cost of killing or damaging the rest of the forest.” Reaching out to the public helps promote the perception of serving the public while doing exactly the opposite at the end. Real copyright reformists in Europe are meanwhile being treated worse than murderers and rapists [4]. While some entities, including Getty Images [5], try to reform in preparation for a new age of abundance, others continue to fight the reality of the Net [6,7,8,9,10], seeking to just criminalise everything rather than legalise and adequately embrace. One European activism site says that “EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation” [11], paving the way to a much-needed copyright reform [12] in the age of copyright trolling [13] and censorship using copyright law (more on that in the next post). “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states. [14] Well done for saying it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Last Chance to Submit to EU Copyright Consultation
  2. Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet Is A ‘Value Tree’ That Requires A ‘Transmission Belt Of Euros’?

    Optimists might see the extra time as a sign that the Commission is genuinely interested in gathering as wide a range of public views on this subject as possible. But a post from Paul Keller raises the possibility that this is just window-dressing, and that it has already made up its mind about what it will do on copyright regardless of what the public thinks

  3. No the Internet is not a ‘value tree’

    In recent weeks officials at the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General (which is in charge of copyright policy) have been passing around this diagram of what they call the ‘Internet Ecosystem value tree’…


    We need a departure from the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional copyright towards a system that is more flexible and better adapted to the needs of all stakeholders. This includes professional content creators and distributors who need adequate levels of protection for their works, educators and cultural heritage institutions who need more freedoms to do their work in the digital realm, and also end users and researchers who should not have to fear that making use of the Internet will turn them into copyright infringers.

    A first step towards ensuring that copyright positively enables all of these outcomes would be to increase the scope of user rights (through updating the existing list of copyright exceptions) and to make copyright more flexible (through the introduction of a fair-use type exception). In the long run this will mean simplifying the way copyright works, and ensuring that copyright protection is only granted where it is necessary (or wanted by the creators).

    Looking after the interests of all trees in the Internet Ecosystem is also in the interest of the particular value tree that the Commission seems to care so much about. If the copyright rules continue to hinder those online activities that are not primarily motivated by a transmissions belt of €s, copyright will lose legitimacy and be detrimental primarily to those who rely on the protections offered by copyright law.

  4. Pirate Bay Founder’s Detention Extended Based on “New Evidence”

    Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm’s custody has been extended for four more weeks after the court reviewed new evidence. The prosecution presented an encrypted container found on Svartholm’s computer which links him to the CSC hack, but according to his lawyer this doesn’t rule out that someone else carried out the hacks remotely.

  5. Getty Images opens treasure trove to bloggers, tweeters

    Looking for free, high-quality images for your blog or other noncommercial uses? Getty Images has begun using social media and personal sites as a way of drawing attention to its licensable images.

  6. NBC Crows About Thwarting 45,000 ‘Illegal’ Olympic Videos, Ignores The Fact That It Drove Users To Them
  7. Police Raid “Movie Cammer” and Family Twice – Then Drop All Charges
  8. VPN Users ‘Pirating’ Netflix Scare TV Networks

    TV networks in Australia are expressing fresh concern that local viewers are ‘pirating’ Netflix with help from VPN services. Officially unavailable Down Under, Netflix reportedly has up to 200,000 Aussie subscribers who evade geo-blocking mechanisms to happily pay for the service.


    Naturally there are no official figures on how many people watch Netflix this way but estimates range from 20,000 up to 200,000 subscribers. Highlighting how the TV networks view these people, an article this morning in News Corp-owned The Australian went as far as labeling subscribers as “pirates”, even though they are paying for the service.

  9. ‘Domains by Proxy’ Hands Over Personal Details of “Pirate” Site Owner

    To shield their identities from the public, many site owners use domain privacy services. Domains by Proxy is one of the most used services in this niche, but the operator of a linking site found out that it’s far from secure. Responding to an inquiry from the Motion Picture Association, the company shared his personal details.

  10. International Music Organizations Claim Aereo Must Be Illegal Because Of International Trade Agreements

    For many years, we’ve highlighted how copyright maximalists have abused the international trade process to expand copyright monopolies around the globe. If you’re interested in the history there, I highly recommend the book Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?, which details much of the history. Defenders of this policy love to pretend that international trade agreements can’t bind US law, but reality is quite different. Time and time again, we’ve seen maximalists use international agreements to get their way either in ratcheting up copyright law even further, or pressuring courts into certain positions. This is one of the reasons (one of many) that we’re so concerned about new agreements like the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA. Even if the USTR claims (incorrectly) that nothing in them goes beyond US law today, they can not only limit the changes Congress can make to copyright and patent law, but these issues can show up in court cases, potentially hindering innovation.

  11. Copyright Reform: EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation

    Paris, 7 March 2014 — The European Commission’s Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules closed on 5 March 2014 (LQDN’s answer). It is now essential for the Commission to publish as soon as possible all responses to ensure a transparent policy-making process.

  12. Outdated copyright laws must adapt to the new digital age

    The ways that we create and consume culture has fundamentally changed with the digital revolution and the rise of the internet, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the producers of content on one side and consumers on the other – says Maël Brunet

  13. News Editor Copyright Trolls Pirating Political Party – and Gets Paid

    To draw attention to “broken” copyright law, the editor of a popular news site turned the tables on a leading German political party. Finding the government’s Social Democratic Party using a Creative Commons work without permission, he sent them a troll-style settlement demand – and got paid.

  14. Google: Piracy is An Availability and Pricing Problem

    In a recommendation to the Australian Government, Google warns that draconian anti-piracy measures could prove counterproductive. Instead, the Government should promote new business models. “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states.

News Roundup: Public Services in Europe Rush to Free Software

Posted in Europe at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent reports from around Europe, providing evidence of Free software adoption by governments


  • European Parliament websites are run by Jahia, an open source content management system

    More and more, governments are adopting open source software for for their web and office needs. We recently learned that the EU Parliament (EP) has actually employed the use of the Jahia open source enterprise management system for both its intranet and internet websites. So confident is the EP in Jahia’s abilities that their most popular sites are run by it; a testament to the huge recognition that open source software is receiving from not only enthusiasts, but also from organisations as huge as the EP.

  • Open source at half EU Point of Single Contact

    Of the 31 Points of Single Contacts (PSCs) run by the member states of the European Union, at least 17 use open source solutions such as web server Apache and operating system Linux, a quick site check of the web sites shows.

  • Sweden’s Point of Single Contact runs open source

    Verksamt, the Swedish government’s information hub for new businesses (Point of Single Contact, PSC) is based on open source solutions, shows a report by the open source ICT solutions provider Red Hat. Europe’s PSCs are intended to provide businesses with centralised online administrative services. Verksamt is one of the government agencies using Red Hat Linux, Java application server Jboss and web server Apache, Red Hat writes in its study, published on 14 February.

  • Open source runs web sites European Parliament

    The European Parliament is relying on the open source enterprise content management system Jahia for the majority of websites on its Intranet and some on the Internet. The CMS is used for the EP’s most-used websites, including those for the EP Intranet, EP Committees and the EP internal news.

  • Half of EU has legislation on ICT re-use

    The study indicates that public administration’s open source projects are shifting towards shared services. This is the model chosen by the municipal co-operation project Friprogforeningen in Norway, offering several open source-based solutions for course management, helpdesk and bug-tracking. “Most of Friprogforeningen users now prefer the online version, distributed by cloud services”, reports Clémentine Valayer, management consultant and author of the study.

  • MEP: ‘EC procurement practice blocks European firms’

    The European Commission’s ICT procurement practices are blocking “a very large number of European entrepreneurs”, says MEP Amalia Andersdotter. On Sunday, she published her correspondence with EC Secretary-General Catherine Day about the EC’s procurement practice for desktop operating systems and office productivity solutions. Andersdotter: “It is disappointing that the EU has such a bad strategy for digital services and IT systems.”

  • MEP: ‘EC procurement practice blocks European firms’
  • The Canaries continue to save with open source

    By switching to free and open source, the government of the Canary Islands in Spain continues to reduce its ICT costs. The government has already lowered the costs for server and workstation operating systems and other software solutions by 25.4 per cent, reports Roberto Moreno, director of the archipelago’s Department for Telecom and New Technologies, and further cost reductions are expected. “The costs went down from 1,006,500 euro per year down to 750,000 euro per year.”

  • Munich chooses open source groupware solution

    The German city of Munich will implement Kolab, an open source mail server, calendaring and groupware solution. The consortium of IT service providers that won the city’s public tender on Tuesday announced that Munich will implement Kolab across its 15,000 desktops, including about 1000 still using a proprietary operating system.

  • Munich opts for open source groupware from Kolab
  • Linux-friendly Munich: Ja, we’ll take open source collab cloud

    The Linux-friendly burghers of Munich are rolling out their own open-source groupware cloud, bucking the trend for going public.

    The German city has selected Kolab Desktop Client and Kolab web Client for more than 14,000 Linux PCs, surviving Windows PCs and a generation of mobile devices under a four-year project called MigMak, which has the option to be extended to eight years.


  • IT Acquisition Reform Bill Passes House with Open Source Provisions

    The House has passed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act not long after the botched launch of the HealthCare.gov website, and attempting to better control how some $80 billion is spent on IT procurement each year. Sponsored by the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa, R-Ca., and committee member Gerry Connolly, D-Va., the bill establishes guidance on fully considering open source software as a procurement option without bias regarding how technology is developed, licensed and distributed. The bill, HR-1232, also requires federal computer standards to include guidelines necessary to enable effective adoption of open source software, and directs OMB to issue guidance for the use and collaborative development of open source software within the federal government. The bill further calls on OMB to develop a plan for conducting a government-wide inventory of IT assets and getting agencies to eliminate or consolidate any duplicate or overlapping websites, and permits CIOs to establish cloud service working capital funds.

  • Why Linux Works for Government

    I suppose the reality is this: You and I don’t need to be convinced of the viability of Open Source and Linux in government at this point. Nobody does. The track record is proven. The question now is… how fast can the remaining government organizations of the world, that have not yet made the move to Open Source, jump on the bandwagon and start reaping the benefits?

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