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Links 31/5/2013: Vivaldi Tablet is Coming, GNU/Linux Growing In China全民彩票网址

Posted in News Roundup at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • GNU/Linux enthusiast Sebastian Satke has taken GNU/Linux to new heights — literally. He summited Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, with a GNU/Linux flag in tow.

  • 16.84 million of 55.01 million PCs shipped with an OS in 2011 bore GNU/Linux. That’s 30.6%. Only a million or so shipped without an OS but I would bet a good share of them had GNU/Linux as well. Good show, China全民彩票网址. I doubt “8″ would have helped M$’s numbers in 2012.

  • If a national government of a substantial nation can run on GNU/Linux, FLOSS and open standards, anyone can.

  • Desktop

    • Earlier this year, Google did something almost ground-breaking when it introduced the Chromebook Pixel. Sure, the Chromebook line as a whole has existed for a few years, but the entire premise of such a range of notebooks revolved around only a couple of design goals. One of those was accessibility, and almost by default, the other was affordability. The original Chromebooks were priced at $500 or less — in some cases, far less. The reason seemed obvious: Chrome OS was a great operating system for those who did little more than browse the Web and connect to cloud-based services such as Evernote, but it served less of a purpose in the productivity-minded “real world.”

    • It’s no secret that I find Chromebooks to be extremely useful laptops. I have come to that conclusion from actually using them, and most of them on the market at that. All of that hands-on usage led to my hitting the One-Click button on Amazon to buy the Samsung Chromebook for $249.

      It’s the end of the month and that means packing up test laptops to send back to the companies that sent them for review. This month the returns include the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook, the Chromebook Pixel, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T432s.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • In this episode: Mint 15 is here! There’s a new Fedora-based respin for the Raspberry Pi. The city of Munich and the country全民彩票网址 of Australia make great progress in moving towards open source and there’s a new Humble Bundle. Hear our discoveries and your own Open Ballot opinions, plus, we welcome a new member to the team.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel’s Open Source Technology Center has released an open source tool to monitor and control temperature in tablets, ultrabooks and laptops. The Linux Thermal Daemon can use the latest thermal drivers in the Linux kernel, not just the standard cpufreq subsystem, to provide CPU temperature control.

      Due to constrained system size, small form factor devices reach their maximum temperature with relatively less load than desktops and servers. And as they get smaller and thinner, traditional cooling methods such as heat sinks and fans are being designed out of the devices. Developers can’t rely only on hardware and BIOS to regulate temperature without negatively impacting performance.

    • Graphics Stack

      • To join the GeForce GTX TITAN and GTX 780 as the newest high-performance NVIDIA GPUs, rolled out this morning was the GeForce GTX 770. NVIDIA has introduced the GTX 770 as a new high-performance graphics card that’s priced at $399 USD.

      • For seeing where the current OpenGL driver performance stands for Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver on Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, the very latest Linux kernel and Mesa development code were tested across four different processors to stress the HD 2000, HD 2500, HD 3000, and HD 4000 graphics capabilities atop Ubuntu.

      • The accepted Google Summer of Code 2013 projects concerning X.Org, Nouveau, and Mesa / Gallium3D is now known. There’s some exciting stuff!

        Martin Peres on the behalf of the X.Org Foundation has shared the X.Org GSoC 2013 projects on the X.Org mailing list. The projects to be attempted this summer include:

      • While the Linux 3.10 kernel is only mid-way through its development cycle, the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has already begun piling up many changes they would like merged for their DRM graphics driver into Linux 3.11.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam now carries all the versions of the game: PC, Mac and Linux

      • Introversion Software have let loose Prison Architect Alpha 10. Included for your prison designing pleasure is the ability to play the game on Linux, share your prisons through the Steam Workshop, and cause absolute mayhem with prison riots that you can then quell with legions of baton-wielding riot police.

      • Welcome全民彩票网址 to the The Funding Crowd. If last week we haven’t a single new bundle and many of them had finished, this time around it’s quite the opposite: except for the Get Loaded 72-hour and IndieGameStand’s Zigfrak deals, no last week’s bundles or massive sales have finished yet.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Today we release the Qt Creator 2.8 beta. Thanks to the 60 individual contributors to this version, it comes with a large amount of new “stuff” and lots and lots of bug fixes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.10 is expected in September and some of its newest features are beginning to appear in the 3.9 development branch. Version 3.9.2 is expected this week and Matthias Clasen takes us on a little tour.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • wattOS-R7 has been released – . The 64bit and 32bit versions are available for download immediately. Spread the words to friends and have fun with the latest version. Help is always welcome in the forums.

      • The Chakra Project team is very happy to announce the third release of Chakra Benz. “Benz” is the name of a series of Chakra releases that follow the KDE Software Compilation 4.10 series.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • But if you want to look at an alternative for any reason (perhaps you just don’t like Ubuntu/Canonical/Shuttleworth, you don’t like Cinnamon or MATE, you prefer a smaller, more “personal” distribution, one where you might be able to get involved and really make a contribution, or you are just curious), I would strongly encourage anyone to give Mageia 3 a try, it is very likely to impress you, as it did me.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat (RHT) makes lofty claims about its IaaS and Open Hybrid Cloud strategy. Is this a response to VMware (VMW) vCloud Hybrid 全民彩票网址? Absolutely yes. Here’s why.

      • Red Hat logoTheStreet restated their buy rating on shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) in a report released on Tuesday, Analyst Ratings Network.com reports.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical wants to put Ubuntu onto our TVs, tablets and smartphones, as well as our PCs. Barry Collins weighs up its chances of success.

          • Recently my Olivetti Olibook S1300 – a gift of Salvo Mizzi, of the Working Capital fame – died. I decided it was great time to face the experience of making my Acer Aspire one printing. While below you’ll find a detailed report about my journey to make possible to print via Linux with a Canon LBP 810, first I wish to share my thoughts about what all this means.

            Plug&Play maybe a frustrating experience if something goes wrong for some reason, since most of the times you have little chances to fix an issue if that arise. On the contrary with Linux you’re given the unique opportunity to be in full control of your destiny, and you can litterally build your own future (no pun intended).

            As you can easily figure out yourself – or if you don’t have the time just go on and read my painful experience to make it print – freedom really come at a price here. Note that the problem is not that by bad luck my old Canon printer for some weird reason doesn’t come with Linux drivers. To be honest the LBP810 doesn’t even come with Mac drivers.

          • Canonical wants to put Ubuntu onto our TVs, tablets and smartphones, as well as our PCs. Barry Collins weighs up its chances of success.

          • The votes have been counted and most of you want Ubuntu on your smartphones, according to our unscientific poll. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since an earlier poll showed a preference for Ubuntu on tablets as well. Not bad for an OS that’s not really available yet on those hardware platforms.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint is a comprehensive and beginner-friendly Linux distribution. To that extent it’s a rival to Ubuntu – and in fact it’s derived from the Ubuntu codebase, which means all the same software and drivers can be used. Releases run to a similar six-monthly schedule, with periodic long-term support releases following Ubuntu’s. This newest release is Linux Mint 15, known to its friends as Olivia.

            • The Linux Mint project has released the latest version of its Ubuntu-based Linux distribution and its developers are setting their sights on making the distribution the go-to choice for all Linux users on the desktop. With Ubuntu and Canonical apparently being focused on the mobile and entertainment spaces, Linux Mint 15 has a shot at accomplishing this goal. The H investigates whether “the most ambitious release since the start of the project” delivers on it.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Enea? (NASDAQ OMX Nordic:ENEA), is today announcing Enea Linux v3.0 – a comprehensive cross-development tool chain and runtime environment with guaranteed performance and quality of service (QoS), flexible support offerings, worldwide support and maintenance, and expert professional services.

    • Avnet Electronics Marketing has begun shipping an improved, production-grade version of its community-supported, Linux-ready Xilinx Zynq-7020-based development kit. The $395 ZedBoard includes a Zynq-7020 SoC with dual 667MHz Cortex-A9 cores and FPGA programmable logic, and offers gigabit Ethernet, USB OTG, HDMI, A/V ports, and more.

    • Enea announced a new version of its embedded Linux distribution compatible with Yocto Project 1.4 code, and available with extensive service and customization options. The Enea Linux 3.0 cross-development tool chain and runtime environment also features varying levels of real-time Linux support for guaranteed performance and quality of service (QoS).

    • 全民彩票网址Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Google has eventually succeeded in bringing the pure Google or Nexus experience to the flagship phones by companies like Samsung, Sony and HTC. HTC has announced that its ‘hottest’ device HTC One will come get a Google Nexus edition, which means users will be experiencing the ‘pure’ Android experience instead of HTC Sense skin.

        • The new facility for the Galaxy S maker is apparently set to open in Espoo, Finland, on June 13, and will focus on “advanced technologies.”

      • Android

        • Samsung has officially confirmed the Galaxy S4 mini, a smaller version of the flagship smartphone Galaxy S4. The android phone manufacturer will target the mid range market with this moderate version of its flagship phone.

        • DARPA announced a sensor reference system device based on a new Android-based sensor processing core called the Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT). The initial ADAPT reference device, called UGS (unattended ground sensor), is designed as the basis for a series of lower-cost, more upgradable sensor devices for military applications.

        • A growing number of manufacturers are integrating smartphone operating systems into 全民彩票官网下载 phone handsets. But is this software actually appropriate for use as part of a landline setup in the domestic environment? Here is an overview of the ins and outs of this trend.

        • According to the noted psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, it takes three positive emotions to balance out a single negative. As Fast 全民彩票官网登录 reports, Fredrickson’s findings are at the heart of Google’s Android design philosophy. When considering any user interface decision, designers working on Android have to work out how to inform users of an issue — such as reaching the final 全民彩票官网下载screen — without making them feel like they’ve done something wrong, meaning pop-ups and other invasive techniques are a no-go. For the 全民彩票官网下载screen problem, Google settled on the now-familiar glimmering animation, which subtly shows that a user has no more 全民彩票官网下载screens to swipe across to, while rewarding them with an artistic flourish.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • A KDE Plasma Active powered tablet has been in works for quite some time. Aaron Seigo, the lead behind the project has given a quick update on the Plasma Active powered tablet hardware.

      • Per Aaron Seigo, the once-hotly anticipated –and still hotly-anticipated-by-me — Vivaldi tablet is in the very final stages of design. Many of the necessary components are in place and the new design belongs almost entirely to the Plasma Active team. Many of you might remember that we’ve covered Plasma Active and the Vivaldi tablet quite a bit when it was a hot topic. We even went so far as to purchase the reference hardware that most closely resembled the Vivaldi tablet. Aaron will have you think that was only months ago, and he’s not lying, but those months are now dangerously close to turning into years.

      • It’s been more than a year since KDE developer Aaron Seigo announced plans to build a tablet designed to run open Mer Linux and the KDE Plasma Active environment. The Vivaldi tablet project’s hit a few speed bumps since then, but this week the team has a mostly working prototype.

      • The KDE Vivaldi Tablet, which has been a project led by Aaron Seigo for having a Linux-friendly tablet powered by Plasma Active and Mer Core, is finally getting closer to hopefully seeing the light of day.

        This project has been going on for more than a year and originally was conceived as the KDE Spark Tablet, but then renamed to Vivaldi. In September of last year as the tablet project was struggling, they switched to a new design.

      • Lately I’ve noticed a number of new themes popping up for Plasma Desktop, which is quite cool.

      • Apple shipped half of all tablets in the first quarter, but the popularity of low-cost Android tablets in China全民彩票网址 is boosting that OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenRelativity, the game engine designed by the MIT Game Lab for its educational game A Slower Speed of Light, is being released as an open-source toolset.

    The engine was designed to model Einstein’s special relativity in a game environment, to communicate its principles in an exploratory format. “Education can be assisted through the use of games and other interactive media,” says MIT Game Lab’s Rik Eberhardt. “Especially for topics that frequently are hard to understand and visualize.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Several users of the latest build of Chromium, the open source core of the Chrome browser from Google, have taken note of the fact that Google is adding in-app payment functionality to Chrome. As noted on The Next Web: “The addition was first spotted by developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist Fran?ois Beaufort. He points to a Chromium code review titled ‘Make sure the Google wallet in-app payment support app is always installed.”

    • Mozilla

      • One of the most common software vulnerabilities found across all modern browsers is use-after-free code vulnerabilities. With a use-after-free vulnerability an attacker can potentially leverage allocated memory to launch an attack.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • It’s a rare enterprise cloud manager today who isn’t already familiar with OpenStack, the open source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing project for building public, private and hybrid clouds. Included in OpenStack are several key components dedicated to virtual machine provisioning and management, storage, virtual disk management and more, but recently a new service made its debut.

  • Databases

    • Principal creator of MySQL Monty Widenius is concerned about the consequences of certain corporate attitudes towards open-source software.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Through out the last couple of years we have seem quite a few suggestions to a new and more modern look and feel for LibreOffice. Some of these initiatives has already found its way into the product, and you can e.g., see a much more light weight ruler in Writer and the whole sphere around using and handling templates has been reworked with a new design. Each of these examples are small steps ahead towards a more modern layout. But when will we see something more like a jump into the future?

  • CMS

    • The Drupal.org security team says it has discovered unauthorised access to Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org account information which has exposed user names, country全民彩票网址, and email addresses along with hashed passwords. No credit card information was stored on the servers, but the investigation is ongoing and the team says it “may learn about other types of information compromised”.According to Drupal.org, there are over 967,000 registered users on the Drupal.org.

    • Semantria announces a new innovative Open Source Plug-in for WordPress that will assist bloggers, writers, and authors in streamlining their publication processes. As a leader in cloud based text and sentiment analysis, Semantria is excited about the application of its services to a major blogging and publishing platform.

  • Education

    • MIT Game Lab has released the source code for an engine it hopes will inspire developers to create educational games exploring special relativity.

  • BSD

  • Public 全民彩票网址/Government

    • Universities and companies are being given the opportunity to use the open source RF hardware platform, MyriadRF and configurable transceiver technology developed by Lime Microsystems as a result of a tie-up with Europractice, a government-funded project of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council.

      Europractice will promote Lime’s LMS6002D field programmable RF transceiver and associated boards for use in research and teaching of wireless technology to its member establishments throughout Europe.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Champions of open access to publicly funded academic research had something to celebrate last week. Creative Commons is reporting (with just a touch of cautious optimism) the progress of California’s Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609, for short), which has successfully moved through the State’s Assembly Appropriations Committee and is ready for a vote. If passed, the bill—which requires the final copy of any peer-reviewed research funded by California tax dollars to be made publicly accessible within 12 months of publication—will become a matter for the California State Senate (see the Public Library of Science blog and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for more detail).

    • Open Hardware

      • A few weeks back, Arduino announced its first-ever robotics kit. We’re glad to say you can finally buy your very own open source machination online through the Maker Shed for $275.


  • Insane legal actions over relatively mild pranks are coming fast and furious these days. We just recently discussed the 17 years old high 全民彩票官网登录 girl staring down felony charges over a childish year book prank. There have also been several cases of those that fall victim to pranks turning to intellectual property law as a way to hide their gullibility. There’s something — embarrassment perhaps — that spurs victims into unreasonable legal action once the trap has been sprung.

  • Science

    • What’s the best predictor of success? IQ, talent, socioeconomic status, luck?

      Nope. It’s ‘grit,’ more than anything else.

      Through her research at the University of Pennsylvania — and firsthand experience teaching in New York City’s public 全民彩票官网登录s —psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that the ability to withstand stress and move past failures to achieve a goal is the best indicator of future success.

    • Meteorite impacts thousands of years ago may have helped to inspire ancient religion.

    • If a dangerous asteroid appears to be on a collision course for Earth, one option is to send a spacecraft to destroy it with a nuclear warhead. Such a mission, which would cost about $1 billion, could be developed from work NASA is already funding, a prominent asteroid defense expert says.

    • Exclusive: The first pictures of blood from a 10,000 year old Siberian woolly mammoth
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Protesters from at least 268 cities in 40 countries participated in the May 25 international outcry against that company.

    • Hackers from the Anonymous collective claimed to have infiltrated the website for the biotech giant Monsanto, which has been the subject of recent international protests.

    • When it’s suggested that our food system be comprised of millions of small, organic gardens, there’s almost always someone who says that it isn’t realistic. And they’ll quip something along the lines of, “There’s no way you could feed the world’s growing population with just gardens, let alone organically.” Really? Has anybody told Russia this?

  • Security

    • For professional security researchers, participating in bug bounty programs is one means of earning money on the side. It is also the easiest means of building up street-cred. And many companies take advantage of their skills, recognizing that its either they find and fix bugs in their products first or the bad guys do and exploit them. For Black Hats, the underground market for exploit code is a very lucrative one.

    • On Wednesday night, payment processor PayPal closed the security hole in its portal that had been publicly known for five days. The company had been aware of the vulnerability for about two weeks. The hole was a critical one: it allowed attackers to inject arbitrary JavaScript code into the PayPal site, potentially enabling them to harvest users’ access credentials.

    • After having first decided against forcing a suspect to decrypt a number of hard drives that were believed to be his and to contain child pornography, a U.S. judge has changed his mind and has now ordered the suspect to provide law enforcement agents heading the investigation with a decrypted version of the contents of his encrypted data storage system, or the passwords needed to decrypt forensic copies of those storage devices.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A polio vaccination campaign worker was shot to death in Pakistan on Tuesday, which The New York Times wasted no time in reporting. What the Times article neglected to mention was that the killing followed a CIA operation in which agents orchestrated a fake vaccination program in order to gain entry to Osama Bin Laden’s 全民彩票官网下载.


      Like some kind of Billy Mays infomercial—‘But wait, there’s more!’—the Times’ shameful coverage doesn’t end there. They go on to say that, “Also [in addition to the Taliban], religious extremists claim that the real aim of vaccination campaigns is to sterilize Pakistan’s Muslim population.” The implication is again that Pakistan is populated with menacing religious zealots whose fundamentalism stands in the way of scientific progress. Characterizations such as these conform very nicely to the view that clashes between the West (i.e. NATO) and the Middle East are not rooted in any sort of real economic or political grievances (e.g., the U.S.’ installation of dictators like the Shah in Iran; or the U.S.’ theft of oil resources), but rather “a clash of civilizations”, as Foreign Affairs once put it. The view that there are irrevocable religious differences between the West and the Middle East is very useful to Western leaders seeking to justify acts of aggression, like the invasion of Iraq.

    • While efforts at gun control are still being fought, children’s advocates are urging parents and communities to take their own steps to protect kids.

    • The number of gun deaths in the U.S. since the Newtown elementary 全民彩票官网登录 massacre has exceeded the total number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war.

      According to a tally of gun deaths from Slate, the number of people killed since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is now 4,499. The number of U.S. armed forces killed during the Iraq war was 4,409, according to the Defense Department.

    • While serving as deputy executive director of the CIA under the Bush administration, President Obama’s nominee for CIA chief and current counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan “had detailed, contemporaneous knowledge” of the use of torture on detainees in US prisons, Reuters reports.

    • The UK Government faced fresh questions last night over what it knew about CIA-linked flights which landed in the north and north-east at the height of the US “extraordinary rendition” programme.

    • Researchers looking at the use of CIA-linked planes for prisoner transfers in the “war on terror” have highlighted “conclusive” evidence of landings at Scottish airports.

    • Thus, in the mid-1970s the Church and Pike Committees revealed abuses by the CIA, FBI and NSA, including “domestic spying on Americans, harassment and disruption of targeted individuals and groups, assassination plots targeting foreign leaders, infiltration and manipulation of media and business.” As a result, Congress created in 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which greatly limited the surveillance of U.S. citizens.

    • The purpose of the stepped-up military activity and basing arrangements are surrounded in secrecy, misinformation and outright lies—including the claim by Defence Minister Stephen Smith that “there are no US bases in Australia.” In fact, the new facilities being opened up represent an expansion of the US military’s longstanding use of Australia, facilitated by successive Labor and Liberal-led governments since World War II, for some of its most critical bases in the world.

      Chief among them is what is known as Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, which was established in central Australia near the town of Alice Springs in 1970. Pine Gap is one of three major satellite tracking stations operated by US intelligence agencies and military. The others are located in Colorado and Britain.

    • Through his lawyer全民彩票网址, the former agent who spoke out against torture, details federal prison experience

    • Extraordinary renditions include arbitrary abductions and extrajudicial transfers from one country全民彩票网址 to another. Targeted individuals are called terrorists.

      Corroborating evidence isn’t needed. What Washington says goes. Rogue hegemons operate that way.

      International, constitutional, and US statute laws don’t matter. They’re spurned. Victims are guilty by accusation. It’s official US policy.

    • The CIA recently had another embarrassing reminder that it remains a spy agency without many competent spies. This incident occurred in Russia where a CIA agent was expelled from the country全民彩票网址 on May 14th after getting caught while trying to carry out an embarrassingly amateur operation. The man (operating as a junior State Department employee at the U.S. embassy) had been arrested earlier while trying to recruit a senior Russian security official. That offer failed and the CIA man did not detect a trap. Russia later revealed that this also happened back in January but was kept quiet so as to maintain good relations with the U.S. But now the Russians saw an opportunity to use these sloppy CIA operations for domestic propaganda, to remind Russians that in one area at least they are better than the Americans. To add insult to injury the Russians also showed their displeasure by revealing the name of the senior CIA official (the “resident” in spy-speak) in Russia. This fellow will also have to leave now, which is what the Russians apparently want. They hold the CIA resident responsible for this sloppy and embarrassing use of spy craft. By mutual consent, Russia and the U.S. usually keep the names of their own and the other nation’s residents secret. That rule is only breached when you want to send an important message to the other side.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange and his lawyer全民彩票网址 Michael Ratner joined Al Jazeera’s The Stream today, to field questions from journalist pundits and members of the media organization’s online social community. The white-haired punk rock persona of open information has spent nearly a year living at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he Skyped in from, with Ratner present in the studio.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the foreign minister’s “ignorance is only eclipsed by his arrogance”.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy last year to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault and rape allegations. He fears that Sweden will agree to extradite him to the United States. On Tuesday, Ecuador’s foreign minister accused the British government of trampling on Assange’s rights by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador, which granted him political asylum almost a year ago. Joining us from the embassy, Assange addresses what he calls “attacks on all fronts against WikiLeaks,” from a monetary embargo involving some of the world’s largest financial firms to a new Hollywood documentary on WikiLeaks, “We Steal Secrets.”

    • More than three years after his arrest, Army Private First Class Bradley Manning faces court martial on Monday, a military proceeding that has been widely criticized for its secretive nature.

    • Questions have already arisen as to whether that statement constituted perjury given that Holder personally approved a warrant that listed a reporter James Rosen as a co-conspirator. And now the House Judiciary Committee is investigating Holder’s statements.

      But there may be another more clear cut case of Holder “hearing of” a potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material – Wikileaks.

    • Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is slick and dangerous in the same way Zero Dark Thirty is. People walk away finding it “balanced”, and thinking that certain conduct (whistleblowing and torture, respectively) is “bad” or “good”. We live in such a perverse moment in society that a film is portrayed as “balanced” when it paints whistleblowing as deviant behavior.

    • David House had filed a lawsuit accusing authorities of violating his constitutional rights when he was stopped at a Chicago airport in 2010 while returning from abroad.

      House is a founding member of The Bradley Manning Support Network, which raised money for Manning’s legal defense.

      “The seizure of David House’s computer is a chilling example of the government’s overbroad ability to conduct a search at the border that intrudes into a person’s political beliefs and associations,” said John Reinstein, an ACLU attorney.

    • The US government’s intimidation of anyone even remotely connected to Wikileaks is somewhat insane. The difficulty that former Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum has every time he crosses the border is well documented. Two years ago, we noted that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had seized David House’s laptop as he re-entered the country全民彩票网址 from a vacation. House has been a friend and supporter of Bradley Manning, and the feds kept his laptop for 49 days, and only returned it after the ACLU sent a sternly worded letter. House then sued the government. The government’s defense was basically “we’re the US fucking government and we can do what we want with your laptops at the border” (slight paraphrase). The court, however, didn’t quite see it that way, and noted that politically motivated searches and seizures may be unconstitutional, under the First Amendment. This is important, because courts have let DHS/ICE ignore the 4th Amendment at the border, but here the court said that intimidating House and others could violate their 1st Amendment rights to freedom of association.

    • The federal government has agreed to destroy all data obtained from a computer and other electronic devices seized from an outspoken advocate of an Army private accused of sending more than 700,000 classified U.S. documents to Wikileaks, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

    • Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he would travel to London to meet with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, living at Ecuador’s embassy for nearly a year to avoid extradition.

    • EnviroLeaks. PirateLeaks. BrusselsLeaks. RuLeaks. QuebecLeaks. BaltiLeaks. And that’s just a few of them.

    • The establishment of a centralised database of Indian citizens such as the Unique Identification (UID) project will result in the loss of freedoms on a “societal scale,” according to Jacob Appelbaum, a staunch supporter of the WikiLeaks project.

    • In this 40-minute web exclusive interview, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks discusses his more than 300 days in the Ecuadorean embassy, the U.S. Justice Department spying on journalists, the future of WikiLeaks and Visa’s financial blockade on WikiLeaks.

    • An American spy aircraft fired a missiles in Pakistan North Waziristan tribal region early Wednesday and killed seven people, security officials said.

      Two missiles were fired at a house in Chashma village of Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, killing seven people. Four people died at the scene and three people died in hospital and wounds.

    • Obama used the first part of his much-hyped counterterrorism speech last week to outline what he said was a new, restrictive policy on drone strikes. But as Fred Kaplan explained, in reality the policy itself was neither new nor restrictive. News of today’s strike is all the more sensitive because in the lead-up to the president’s policy speech the focus was on whether and how to change the practice of using drones to kill terrorist suspects in countries outside formal war zones, namely, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.

  • Finance

    • The US government through aggressive – and in my view illegal – pressure on banks and financial services providers managed to cut off Wikileaks from almost all avenues of sources of international donation funding by individuals. You cannot trust governments to have the power to control all funds transfers. Governments will abuse that power.

    • Nasdaq has settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for $10 million (£6.6m) over “poor systems and decision-making” during the Facebook initial public offering (IPO).

    • The top ten tax deductions, credits and exclusions will keep $12 trillion out of federal government coffers over the next decade, and several of them mainly benefit the wealthiest Americans, a new study from the Congressional Budget Office shows.

    • Canadian bankers were among some of the highest-paid banking executives in North America last year, with three in the Top 10, according to a new list compiled by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

    • Eileen Stokes and her family live a basic life, one of 16 Irish Traveller families settled on an established halting site at the edge of Knocknaheeny, a run-down northern suburb of Cork.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker got a boost last week from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in its annual Rich States, Poor States report. Despite Bureau of Labor Statistics data putting Wisconsin in 44th place for private-sector job creation, ALEC placed the state as 15th in the country全民彩票网址 in its ranking of economic outlook, giving Walker — a former ALEC member — a boost as he lays the groundwork for a re-election campaign and a possible Presidential bid.

    • A Wisconsin appellate court has overturned one decision by a lower court finding the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional, but the legislation remains blocked, with a separate challenge to the law pending before a different appellate court. Despite upholding the voter ID law, the judge deciding today’s case appeared to imply that there could be a different outcome for a challenge that provides more evidence of the law’s burdens on the right to vote.

  • Censorship

    • A tech-savvy China全民彩票网址-based Redditor has spotted a hassle-free way of ensuring he or she is always able to bypass the Great Firewall, even when out and about, using the Raspberry Pi to connect to a virtual private network (VPN).

      VPNs are a necessity for foreigners living in the People’s Republic who want to access sites prohibited by the country全民彩票网址’s ubiquitous internet censorship apparatus – business users and consumers alike have come to rely on them to connect to a banned site.

    • Currently ranked 149th globally in terms of press freedom, alongside Iraq and Myanmar, the Singapore government has chosen to further tighten its grip on the media instead of letting up.

    • Websites that regularly report on Singapore including Yahoo News will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television news outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling Internet news.

    • Most actors are good at deception. But Matthew Rhys – a Welshman playing a Russian pretending to be American – takes things to extremes in ITV’s new US spy thriller, The Americans. He talks to Craig McLean.

  • Privacy

    • All-flash array upstart Pure Storage has received the blessing of the CIA after the spooks’ venture capital arm In-Q-Tel made an investment in the firm.

    • [example of CBS government propaganda]

      While no computer networks are impenetrable, federal agencies like the FBI, DOD and NSA devote significant resources to guard their computer networks, and also have in place rules to protect sensitive data.

    • It is not clear how often the government has obtained communications records of reporters. While Fox News was informed nearly three years ago about the subpoena for call logs for five lines related to Rosen – apparently after the phone company had already provided them – it did not publicly disclose the action. Instead, it emerged only this month when court papers were unsealed that also showed that the government had separately obtained a warrant for the contents of Rosen’s private email account. A lawyer全民彩票网址 and spokesmen for Fox did not respond to requests for comment.

    • Many people fear that the government will use the Boston Marathon bombings as an excuse to push more surveillance on us. However, the National Security Agency has spied on American citizens since at least 2001, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • This week has seen an extraordinary deluge of comment on the Snooper’s Charter, seemingly co-ordinated by the 全民彩票官网下载 Office. A succession of hardline 全民彩票官网下载 Office sympathisers have sought to link the events at Woolwich with a need to spy on every citizen: despite the fact that the perpetrator was known to the police.

      Even MI5 agents have declared that the Snooper’s Charter could not have prevented Woolwich, and that calls for its revival are a “cheap argument”

    • New details have emerged about a secretive unit inside the National Security Agency called Tailored Access Operations that hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage. According to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article titled “How the U.S. Government Hacks the World,” the Pentagon hackers harvest nearly 2.1 million gigabytes every hour.

    • The key role NSA hackers play in intelligence gathering makes it difficult for Washington to pressure other nations—China全民彩票网址 in particular—to stop hacking U.S. companies to mine their databanks for product details and trade secrets. In recent months the Obama administration has tried to shame China全民彩票网址 by publicly calling attention to its cyber-espionage program, which has targeted numerous companies, including Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), and Intel (INTC), to steal source code and other secrets. This spring, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Beijing to press Chinese officials about the hacking. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon is scheduled to visit China全民彩票网址 on May 26.

    • The whole purpose of an organization like the National Security Agency (NSA) is to know things far enough ahead of time that its human nodes are never surprised. Certainly that’s a big part of the reason the agency has been building a heavily fortified, $2 billion data center on the thinly populated, dry mountain plain just south of Salt Lake City.

    • Dreamt up by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson in 1991, Enemy Of The State follows the exploits of naughty NSA director Thomas Reynolds (played by professional scene chewer Jon Voight), who, angry that he can’t blackmail a congressman into supporting a law giving the NSA greater snooping powers, decides to kill him instead and make it look like a heart attack.

    • Much of the details of NSA’s work must be kept secret, but processes are in place to let leaders like John talk about the agency, which means when he speaks it can be a great opportunity to learn about an important agency.

    • Almost needless to say, Republicans sensing an Obama weakness are going along for the ride — even many who thought Bush attorney general Alberto Gonzales’ threat to prosecute New York Times reporters for revealing the existence of a massive NSA eavesdropping operation was a terrific idea.

    • The FBI wants a new law that will make it easier to wiretap the Internet. Although its claim is that the new law will only maintain the status quo, it’s really much worse than that. This law will result in less-secure Internet products and create a foreign industry in more-secure alternatives. It will impose costly burdens on affected companies. It will assist totalitarian governments in spying on their own citizens. And it won’t do much to hinder actual criminals and terrorists.

    • Media outlets have awakened to the serious threats posed to journalism, but show little sign of doing anything about it

    • Economic cyber-espionage is particularly thorny point of discussion because the US, unlike China全民彩票网址, distinguishes between attacks on private industry and more bread and butter political and military espionage. The US would like to limit Chinese theft of intellectual property from American companies, but is not particularly interested in negotiating any constraints over US intelligence gathering. As Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, put it: “You spy, we spy, but you just steal the wrong stuff.’ That’s a hard conversation.”

    • AP and others are reporting that President Obama plans to nominate, for FBI Director, Republican James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General under then AG John Ashcroft, during some of the darkest days of the George W. Bush Administration.

      The news offer a moment to revisit what a real White House scandal looked like — back when Republicans had no interest in them and back when there were real investigative Congressional hearings and no need to create pretend “whistleblowers” in order to gin up political “outrage” and “scandal”!

    • In a major admission, the Attorney-General’s Department has revealed Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are seeking the legal power to break into internet routing encryption services such as Tor, after admitting the centerpiece of its proposed national security reforms, data retention, will be “trivially easy” to defeat.

      The admission by officials to Senate Estimates last night will give rise to further concerns that the department, which has systematically and aggressively expanded the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies at the expense of civil liberties and privacy, wants far stronger powers to regulate the internet and break into encrypted systems in order to keep an eye on what Australians are doing online.

    • Comey resigned from Bridgewater in February and is currently serving at Columbia University as senior researcher and lecturer. Comey is a registered Republican and has served as Deputy Attorney General under the Bush administration. During that time, Comey received high praise for his vicious opposition of Bush’s no holds barred surveillance program. Reports say that he had threatened to quit if the NSA implemented the intrusive program. He was also against the interrogation tactics practiced under the Bush regime.

    • Indeed, the stigma associated with offensive cyber activity is breaking down, now that cyber attacks have exploded in frequency and scale. The banks are now asking the Feds to join the fight, so DHS, FBI and NSA are trying to figure out how to collaborate, without going to jail themselves for hacking or disclosing classified data.

    • Big Brother has become more emboldened than ever with the recent revelation that the Justice Department had obtained from telephone companies the records of Associated Press and other reporters to investigate an alleged national security leak, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

    • The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.

    • In October 2008, a 39-year-old former U.S. navy linguist who worked at a National Security Agency (NSA) centre in Georgia went on ABC News and blew the whistle on himself and his fellow NSA operators for listening in on the private conversations of hundreds of American aid workers and soldiers calling 全民彩票官网下载 to the United States from Iraq.

      “Hey, check this out,” David Murfee Faulk says he would be told. “There’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.”

    • Well, put out is not quite the right phrase, because the super-secret NSA won’t tell you anything about what they are doing with your tax money unless forced to.

  • Civil Rights

    • The father of a Chechen immigrant killed in Florida while being interrogated by the FBI about his ties to a Boston Marathon bombings suspect said Thursday that the U.S. agents killed his son ‘‘execution-style.’’

      At news conference in Moscow, Abdul-Baki Todashev showed journalists 16 photographs that he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue. He said his son had six gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head and the pictures were taken by his son’s friend, Khusen Taramov.

    • ORGCon2013 is a great place to find about new threats to our online rights – and ways to combat them. One of these issues is the Digital Arms Trade, a new area for ORG, but one that is increasingly gaining attention and action. We’re delighted that Eric King of Privacy International, Hauke Gierow, Reporters without Borders and Simone Halink, Bits of Freedom will be sharing their expertise at the conference.

      The Internet is a tool for communication that has been shown over and over again to be a source of empowerment. It connects the LGBT teenager who is being bullied to find support and a network of friends online, it connects the activists suffering under oppressive regimes to one another, and allows groups on the ground to communicate human rights abuses to the world.

      But the trade in surveillance technology undermines this potential and treats this technology as a tool for governments to surveil citizens and control their communications.

    • …governmental action against leaks and the constitutional right of the press to inform the public.

    • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is currently on his nationwide “I’m probably running for president” tour. He’s made the requisite stops in the early election states of Iowa and New Hampshire, courting the GOP faithful and bringing the figurative freezers full of red meat to throw their way. Demonstrating impressive political savvy, he’s also making a habit of making bold statements that set him apart from potential Establishment competitors from both sides of the aisle.

    • Obama’s speech included a full-throated defense of drone strikes. Disturbingly, the speech all but wrote off the hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians who died from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other nations. Obama claimed that as president, he “must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies [civilian causalities from drone strikes] against the alternatives.” He followed this assertion with the equally bizarre justification, “Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians.” This is the Barack Doctrine: To save the civilians who would die in terrorist attacks, we need to kill them before the terrorists do.

      Although the U.S. media already clamors over the very minor changes to the president’s drone program – the Los Angeles Times called it “throttling back on drones” – these changes will do little to nothing in reducing civilian casualties. The president calls for tougher standards when deciding to launch drone strikes. This requires “a near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” according to White House staff.

    • This leads me to more salient matters. While my local press corps was babbling about some ancient history-Michael Jackson-related minutia bullshit, another media storm was brewing. Apparently the Associated Press and Fox News recently found themselves on the business end of the Obama Administration’s hostility toward journalists. The AP learned the Justice Department searched troves of their phone records. Meantime, Fox News’ James Rosen had his personal email account scoured by the DOJ and he’s being called an “aider and abettor” and “co-conspirator” in a criminal case regarding classified document leaks.

    • A Catholic seminary in Germany says it is investigating claims that trainee priests made anti-Semitic jokes, played far-right music and gave Nazi salutes.

    • In one level, Blazkowicz discovers some Nazi plans. He looks over some documents. They’re written in Hebrew. He’s able to translate.

      The hints are there that B.J. Blazkowicz, video game killer of Nazis since his debut in 1992′s Wolfenstein 3D, is Jewish.

    • From Jeremy Hammond to Bradley Manning and the AP, Obama’s ‘assault on journalism’ is a threat to our democracy

    • In 1996, the newspaper and its fledgling website published a jaw-dropping series called “Dark Alliance,” in which Webb drew a connection between the Central Intelligence Agency and the crack cocaine epidemic plaguing U.S. inner cities.

      The series was not well received by the nation’s top newspapers. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the L.A. Times all attacked Webb’s reporting, and his career sharply declined. He committed suicide in 2004.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 全民彩票官网下载s

      • Back in February we reported on a worrying attempt by the European Commission to reframe the discussion about modernizing copyright in Europe purely in terms of licensing, reflected in the name of the initiative, “Licences for Europe”. Although originally a series of discussions were promised to “explore the potential and limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions in making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age,” in practice moderators shut down discussions of things like exceptions or even Creative Commons licensing. As far as the Commission was concerned, it seemed the answer to updating copyright for the modern age was just old-style licensing and nothing else.

      • The new measures will move Taiwan closer to China全民彩票网址’s Great Firewall in terms of censorship, and will therefore probably be well-received on the mainland as a result. But there are surely better ways of improving relations between the two countries than instituting these kind of measures that won’t stop people sharing unauthorized copies online, but will damage the Internet, and not just in Taiwan.

      • The FBI and authorities in New Zealand have suffered a blow in their pursuit of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload, after a New Zealand court ordered them to return all personal data from the service that was seized during raids last year. Furthermore, they must specify exactly what information is at the core of their case against the file-sharing service.

        High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled (once again) that the raid on Dotcom’s mansion in January 2012 was illegal due to incorrect warrants. Today, the Justice ordered the national police to return to Megaupload any digital data they possess that is not relevant to the case, as Stuff NZ reports.

      • As part of a criminal investigation by Italian authorities, 27 file-sharing related sites had their domains blocked by local ISPs last month. Rapidgator, one of the largest cyberlockers on the Internet, was among the targeted sites and chose to appeal the verdict. This week Rome’s Court of Appeal ruled that the Rapidgator blockade should be lifted as the site’s operators are not responsible for alleged copyright infringements carried out by their users.

      • The guys over at Humble Bundle are offering another set of great games to users, for which they can pay as much or as little they want and as always the money raised is used to support good causes.

        This package, the Humble Indie Bundle 8, includes five games for those who pay below the average (which stands at $5.69 at the time of writing) and seven for those who pay above the average.

        The five games that are unlocked, through Steam, to those who pay between $1 and the average are Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone and Dear Esther, with the two extra unlockable games that come with a payment larger than the average being Hotline Miami and Proteus.

      • Aereo then did exactly what it should: it sued first, seeking a declaratory judgment that its service was legal and that it could launch in other markets without fear of expensive lawsuits from CBS. This is what the whole declaratory judgment setup is for. Exactly cases like this where one party threatens another in an effort to scare them off by the threat of expensive court battles.

      • In April we wrote about how Italian law enforcement had blocked over two dozen websites after the industry claimed they were responsible for copyright infringement. There was no trial, no adversarial hearing where the sites were able to defend themselves. Just: entertainment industry complains, law enforcement buys the complaints, tells a judge and boom, site gone. One of the cyberlockers blocked in this effort, Rapidgator, challenged this blockade, and it has quickly won a reversal. Rapidgator’s lawyer全民彩票网址, Fulvio Sarzana, was kind enough to send us the details, and it appears the court understood why the initial blockade was hugely problematic.

      • As Mike discussed in a previous post, the IP Commission’s report on “theft of American IP” points a finger almost exclusively at China全民彩票网址. And, as was pointed out in another post, the report is also loaded with some genuinely terrible ideas (protect IP with malware, anyone?). Here’s another one: starting a trade war with China全民彩票网址 over intellectual property. This recommendation, taken from the final pages of the document, is both a broadside against China全民彩票网址 and a genuinely terrible idea.

        Generally speaking, instigating a trade war is a bad idea, even when you have the upper hand. Instigating a trade war over something as poorly defined (especially in this report) as “IP theft” is a worse idea. Instigating a trade war with a country全民彩票网址 that already has you staring down the barrel of a steep trade deficit is just asking for trouble. The US has tried this sort of thing before (to protect the American steel industry) and found itself facing retaliatory tariffs from European nations as well as having its tariffs declared illegal by the World Trade Organization.

      • We’ve discussed in the past a favorite talking point of the RIAA, claiming a 40% decline in employment for musicians over the past decade or so, which simply isn’t supported by the numbers. We’ve been seeing a lot of people claiming this again lately, so we decided to take a look at what the numbers actually showed, and can’t seem to figure out where that decline is coming from, because the numbers show a very different story — one that suggests things are actually much better for independent musicians than in the past, just as we would expect. In fact, there’s been an astounding 510% increase in independent musicians making their full time living from music in just the past decade.

      • Earlier this week, we wrote about John Steele’s attempt at the character assassination of Alan Cooper, his former 全民彩票官网下载 caretaker who accused Steele of forging his name on various documents concerning shell companies associated with Prenda, the law firm Steele worked for. As part of that filing, Steele tried to suggest that Cooper was a willing participant, and that Steele was merely helping his “friend” get introduced into the porn copyright trolling business. As we noted, Steele’s story directly contradicts Cooper’s story, which certainly suggests that one of them is not telling the truth in court. That’s generally a bad idea. As more people look into Steele’s claims, they don’t seem to hold up under scrutiny, suggesting that if one of the two has a credibility problem, it’s probably Steele.

      • In the end, though, the crux of the RIAA’s argument entirely misses the point of Carrier’s piece. It basically says “look, there are lots of services today, what are you complaining about?” But the point was never that killing Napster stopped innovation, but rather that it hindered the pace and nature of that innovation. And the RIAA doesn’t address it at all. There’s a difference between the direction of change and the rate of change, and the key point is the rate of change, but all the RIAA wants to discuss is the direction, which is meaningless. Innovation can’t be denied forever, so of course the direction will move forward. What Carrier’s piece discussed, quite clearly, was the pace — and the RIAA wants to avoid that, and pretend that everything that happened between 15 years ago and now didn’t happen to get here. If we were at the point we’re at today in 2003, they might have a point. The fact that it’s taken us this long and we’re still just reinventing radio… well, we’ve got a long way to go and should have been much further along.


Mono Can Now be Treated Like a Microsoft Project

Posted in Microsoft, Mono at 8:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: With Microsoft copyrights, patents, and licences in Mono, as well as a CEO who worked for Microsoft and financial backing from Microsoft veterans, it is naive to treat Mono as anything other than an extension of Microsoft

, Microsoft is now more directly involved. To quote his column: “Microsoft gave a certain level of encouragement to Mono in the knowledge that the project helped to spread the word and bring developers into the Microsoft fold. It is also true that many individuals within Microsoft had a genuine interest in promoting the idea of ‘open source’, usually with strings attached, and Mono gave credibility to Microsoft’s claim that its technologies were multi-platform, accessible to free software developers and a ‘part of the open web’.

“…Mono gave credibility to Microsoft’s claim that its technologies were multi-platform, accessible to free software developers and a ‘part of the open web’.”
      –Richard Hillesley
“But Microsoft always held back on a full commitment to patent neutrality and the possibility was always open that some aspect of Mono might be patent encumbered. Some elements of Mono were covered by ECMA. Some were not. Even where de Icaza did manage to forge an agreement with Microsoft such as its ‘Covenant to End-Users of Moonlight’, the language was ambivalent and open to reinterpretation.

“As Tom ‘spot’ Callaway, Fedora’s engineering manager noted, the ‘covenant’ was “specifically worded to apply only to end-users, and makes the following noteworthy distinction: ‘an entity or individual cannot qualify both as an End User and a Distributor for use of the same copy of a Moonlight Implementation.’ It grants no patent rights to Distributors, aside from those already granted to Novell in the previous covenant. What it practically means is that once you distribute, you stop being considered an ‘End User’ by Microsoft, and are no longer protected by this ‘covenant’ (unless you’re Novell or Microsoft).” The covenant reserved the right for Microsoft to discontinue the agreement at any time, and didn’t allow the use of “GPLv3 or a similar licence”.

“Most computer users don’t care about the origins of the software they use, but this has never been the case with Linux users and developers. Richard Stallman expressed the opinion of many when he wrote: “I have always supported the development of free platforms for C#, just as I’ve supported the development of free platforms for any language that users use. I also wouldn’t argue that people should not use C# with a free platform for secondary applications… However, making GNOME depend on Mono is running a grave risk, and [is] a grave mistake.””

Recently, FOSS Force asked,

Well, at 38%, Microsoft is a clear leader (123 votes), outpacing Apple and Oracle by a considerable gap. Microsoft is quite unique with its attacks on FOSS and people still recognise this.

Linux/Android is Crushing Apple

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 8:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crushing tablets

Summary: Apple is running out of ideas in the long fight against Android — a fight which it is now trying to wage using patent monopolies

and tax evasion. Slashdot put it like this: “Apple traditionally has big product announcements in the early spring, so around February both the mainstream press and the tech blogs began to circulate their favorite rumors (the iWatch, iTV). They also announced the date of the next Apple event, which this year was in March — except it didn’t happen. ‘Reliable sources’ then confirmed it would be in April, then May and then — nothing. In withdrawal and with a notoriously secretive Apple offering no relief the tech journalists started to get cranky. The end result is a rash of petulant stories that insist Apple is desperate for new products, in trouble (with $150 billion dollars in the bank, I should be in such trouble) and in decline. The only ones
desperate seem to be editors addicted to traffic-generating Apple announcements. Good news is on the horizon, though, as the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts June 10th.”

“This is a great example of how patents ruin the market and impede competition.” in a desperate attempt to block Android phones which by far outsell i全民彩票网址Phone. This is a great example of how patents ruin the market and impede competition.

Don’t expect lawyer全民彩票网址s’ sites to point this out though. Instead, they to career clowns like David Kappos — people who sell the idea that protectionism is a good thing.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Gets the ‘Wikileaks Treatment’ From MasterCard

Posted in Cablegate, FSF, Microsoft, SCO at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Harassment by proxy seems like a possibility now that funds to the FSF are being discouraged

), at least based on . Donations to the FSF are made more difficult now. Microsoft did this type of thing last year [1, 2]. Here is how the latest story goes:

Master Card called me about my FSF Subscription That’s very strange because I’ve been making monthly payments for about a decade. Someone is doing something nasty to the FSF.

At 8AM, I got a call from the fraud prevention department of my credit card asking me to “verify some recent activity”. I saw it in my email when I woke up about an hour after they called.

My Mastercard was robbed once before, so I checked online and called the customer service number printed on my bill. There was nothing suspicious in the online report or the last bill. I was not about to call the number left on my answering machine, which simply identified itself as “TOLL FREE CALL” It took some time to escape the menu, which was uninformative and dangerous because it wanted to change things. The key phrase “human being” did the trick and I was promptly routed to an operator at the fraud department.

The representative told me that my monthly FSF subscription charge had triggered the call and that means hundreds of false charges had been made in the FSF’s name. When she told me the FSF charge was responsible for the call, I said that was strange because I had been making regular automated payments since 2004. She told me that the trigger was probably false charges to other accounts. I asked her how many false charges it would take to make such a trigger. She said that it changes daily but that it would probably take hundreds.

I can think of four explanations for this:

1. The FSF made a mistake in billing. Unlikely.

2. Mastercard wanted to harass the FSF. Unlikely but they have a history of cutting off funds to Wikileaks and can not really be trusted.

3. Someone made fraudulent payments to Mastercard on many accounts. That could be done maliciously or as a misguided help, the result would be the same and no one should do that.

4. Someone wanted to harass the FSF by setting up fake accounts to play games.

Whatever the actual reason, damage is being done to the FSF’s reputation and it should never have happened to me. An algorithm that overlooks my long history of monthly payments is broken. Operators should be given the exact reason that a company has been labeled suspicious. The call was inconvenient and damaging. Further speculation added to that damage. Hopefully, Mastercard itself is not responsible for this and will get to the bottom of it.

I started a FSF Forum thread about this hoping to call the right kind of attention to the problem.

Discouragement through discomfort is an effective strategy. Proving this to be intentional is hard, almost impossible even.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols a decade of fighting back against , namely Oracle (a friend of a friend, Apple). The latest is this: “Google has now responded to Oracle’s appeal in the Oracle v. Google API copyright case. Plus it adds its own cross appeal.”

全民彩票官网下载s were also used by SCO. In all cases, and wherever FOSS takes over, the intend is to tax GNU/Linux or impose a sort of blockade.

Corporate Press Grooms Bill Gates While He Profits From Education Privatisation

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marketing (CBS)

Charlie Rose
Credit: Photo by David Shankbone

Summary: A look at some recent articles about the Gates Brand and how it makes billions while pretending to be “charity”

. No, seriously. Gates is trying to portray himself as part of the solution,

“Gates started bribing bloggers for PR several years ago, so he sure is trying to gag critics, still.”Some recent PR with Charlie Rose in , ‘Gates 1.0: “Technology is an awesome tool for stealing your money.”‘

Whereas, , ‘Gates 2.0: “Still stealing your money, but now I can pay media to paint me as a saint.”‘

In IRC, Toby adds that “it’s impossible to criticise him in public places any more” (although this is changing gradually).

Gates started bribing bloggers for PR several years ago, so he sure is trying to gag critics, still. Another strategy is to outnumber criticisms by spending massively on PR and media placements. It’s a fight he can’t win. It’s something Monsanto had to learn the hard way.

Meanwhile, Gates’ feminine alter-ego lobbies for his education takeover. There was a widely-covered (with PR) lobbying keynote by Melinda at a Duke graduation ceremony, as noted make headlines, along with ).

It is gratifying to see one branch of the corporate press having the guts to publish . It starts as follows: “As the Common Core continues to insinuate its way into public education, its price tag and problems keep mounting. Reasoned opposition among conservatives and liberals, parents, teachers, policymakers, and citizens is also growing.

“Is Gates profiting already? He sure made a lot of money in recent years.”“And with good reason.

“Concocted by the same expert cadre that’s brought us every post-1970 education boondoggle, and resting on the same gross unfamiliarity with actual classrooms and students, the arbitrary, biased, technology-laden, assessment-obsessed Common Core is the creature of the Gates Foundation, with entities like the Pearson conglomerate sitting at Mr. Gates’s right hand. Pearson is the largest textbook and education software publisher in the world, as well as the world’s dominant education assessment contractor. Mr. Gates’s connection to the computer and software business is also a matter of public record.”

Over at a Seattle blog that we like, . It says the following: “The Community Center for Education Results (CCER) was responsible for creating the proposal to collect an extensive amount of student data on our children. This pertains to Bill Gates’ desire to collect student information for each child in this country全民彩票网址 that can be accessed by those producing and profiting from products to be sold to 全民彩票官网登录 districts.”

Guess who benefits from it? As put , the surveillance by private companies (privatising the education system for profit) was “started with a hundred million dollar investment from the Gates Foundation” (it’s one among several).

Investment, eh? Is Gates profiting already? He sure made a lot of money in recent years.

Fake ‘Studies’ for Vista 8 Grooming and Yet More IDC/IDG Pay-to-Say/Publication Collusion (Yes, Again)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 9:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Biased data, wrong conclusions, erroneous business model

Arguing with IDG

Summary: A look at some spin-doctoring which favours Microsoft, arriving, as always, from Microsoft partners

, essentially referring to itself as a third person by stating: “After the steep losses in the disastrous first quarter, IDC now predicts PC shipments to drop a whopping 7.8 percent in 2013—nearly twice the rate of 2012′s 4 percent decline, which already had the industry in a tizzy. Dell’s on the block, Lenovo’s pushing into smartphones despite its computing wins, and HP’s first quarter PC revenues dropped a whopping 20 percent.”

But why?

“PC industry bleeding to explode into full-blown hemorrhaging in 2013, says IDC”
      –IDG (parent company of IDC)
They didn’t state the obvious. It’s probably self-censorship. Microsoft is a prominent business partner and client. As says: “Notebook vendors will wait till July before ramping up their orders in preparation for the back-to-全民彩票官网登录 demand, a delay of about 60 days as compared to the usual practice in previous years, probably because the vendors are conservative about market demand or are waiting for sufficient supply of touch panels, according to sources with the Taiwan-based supply chain.” []

Here is and (ZDNet) coverage about the IDC output, which is basically more of the usual spin. Speaking of spin, Fernando Cassia sarcastically says that “Microsoft does no wrong!”

“IDC now predicts PC shipments to drop…”
      –IDG (parent company of IDC)
He Microsoft talking points regarding some company called Soluto manufacturing some ‘surveys’ to . Typical booster, ), calls me “sack of shit”, showing he is no exception to Microsoft’s foul-mouthed culture. They are basically all trying to use .

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Mark Shuttleworth is , trying to defend Vista 8. Is this why he put a Microsoft interface guy in charge of Ubuntu? Does he not see the obvious backlash against Vista 8? I have been hearing from journalists who say they no longer cover Ubuntu because of the direction it has taken.

SFLC Refutes OSI President’s Claim, Says WebM Licence is Still Fine (Updatedx3)

Posted in Google, GPL, Videos at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: VP8 is freedom-respecting even after the deal with a patent troll, according to a leading authority in this area

the licence (draft) of VP8 following the MPEG-LA deal, refuting what Simon Phipps had said [1, 2].

“Mr. Phipps is not hostile towards Free software. He even uses this term despite being the head of the “open source” camp.”The announcement says: “SFLC, like its client the Free Software Foundation, believes that software standing alone should not be patentable subject matter. We join skeptics of the VP8 license and the broader FOSS community in rejecting software patents in all forms, and we will continue to oppose them. But until software patents no longer threaten FOSS, we will look for every opportunity to preserve community development from their destructive effects. The VP8 cross-license provides such an opportunity, in an area of particularly active patenting. It’s not perfect, but no other modern web video format provides nearly the same degree of protection for FOSS implementations.”

Pamela Jones : “This is important news, because there have been several articles claiming the opposite, and it’s good to be precise and careful. It’s why I waited until the Software Freedom Law Center could tell us whether Google’s VP8 patent cross-license is or is not compatible with FOSS licensing.”

Mr. Phipps is not hostile towards Free software. He even uses this term despite being the head of the “open source” camp. A response from him might therefore be imminent, maybe a ““.

Update: Mr. Phipps has by stating: “I just had a long talk with Aaron and we actually agree. I said that if it were part of a license it would render the license non-free. He agrees, but points out that it’s not part of a license and further that the clauses of GPLv3 that deal with patent license have a loophole that makes Google’s patent license technically OK.

“I still maintain that the Google license needs a great big sign over it saying “we don’t think you actually need this, it’s just to stop OEMs and pro-patent lowlife saying there’s a problem”.

Update #2: from The H takes Phipps’ reaction into account. Privately, or rather publicly (available for viewing in Twitter/Identi.ca [, , ]) in a few exchanges with Phipps, I was told a couple of times that Microsoft Florian was behind some of the smears against him.

Update #3: Phipps has just published “” over at IDG.

Proof That Microsoft — Not Google — is Top Privacy Infringer

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: How Microsoft and the partly Microsoft-owned Facebook are harming everyone’s privacy far more than Google ever did

, which is partly owned by Microsoft and ties into spyware such as “ambiguous claim from Phil Harrison that the Xbox One would have to ‘check in’ to Microsoft’s servers every 24 hours.”

“Microsoft just needs a whipping boy, and it is desperate to stop Google one way of another (Google is crushing Microsoft’s two biggest cash cows).”Other consoles , but this is hardly the main privacy concern here.

. Pamela Jones called these “Three things I detest all in one noxious bundle: having my privacy invaded, method patents, and Microsoft. Here’s the patent application, and it includes this creepy sentence: “The computing system 102 may be configured to track the viewing behaviors of one or more viewers. The computing system 102 may then compile one or more user-specific reports of the viewing behaviors, and send the user-specific reports to a remote device to determine whether the user-viewing goal has been met. If the viewing goal has been met, an award may be granted to the viewer.” And Microsoft complains to regulatory bodies about Google privacy issues? This is 1984 on steroids. A device in your house that watches you watching it and judges your conduct.”

Here is some more news of interest about Facebook and Microsoft:

It is stuff like that which helps remind us Google is not worst when it comes to privacy. Fog Computing is privacy-infringing. Google is big in Fog Computing. But it doesn’t mean that Google alone is privacy-infringing. The company behind anti-Google complaints (with help from Facebook) is far ahead of Google when it comes to spying. Even its desktop software is spying on users.

Microsoft members of staff (working as media moles, e.g. ), but they are doing after small violations of privacy, distracting from Microsoft’s own limitless surveillance. Microsoft just needs a , and it is desperate to stop Google one way of another (Google is crushing Microsoft’s two biggest cash cows).

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