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05.06.15

Links 6/5/2015: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 Enters Beta, Ubuntu Summit News

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Valve’s Mods Blunder Prompts Reddit Community to Create Open Source Steam Replacement

    Valve has recently gone through a major PR debacle after the company announced that it’s implementing paid mods for games and Skyrim in particular. Their decision was short-lived, and it was retracted, but they have managed to incur the rage of the community. Independent developers are now working on a new game launcher that will make Steam obsolete.

  • Biicode goes open source early after outpouring of community support

    After the announcement, our community growth skyrocketed. Our investors were so impressed by the welcoming of our open source announcement that they let us go ahead with open sourcing biicode early. We worked hard to release most of it in biicode 3.0.

  • Singapore’s prime minister releases source code for his hand-coded Sudoku-solver

    Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has decided to reveal the source code of the Sudoku-solving app he personally coded.

    The PM revealed he likes to program in his spare time last month and mentioned the Sudoku-solver. He’s since taken to Facebook to announce the source code dump.

    “The program is pretty basic,’ the PM writes, “it runs at the command prompt, in a DOS window. Type in the data line by line (e.g. 1-3-8—6), then the solver will print out the solution (or all the solutions if there are several), the number of steps the program took searching for the solution, plus some search statistics.”

  • New tutorials, developments in open digital humanities

    Welcome to the third installment of my monthly column, where I explore how open source software and the open source way are used in the digital humanities. Every month I take a look at open source tools you can use in your digital humanities researc, as well as, a few humanities research projects that are using open source tools today. I will also cover news about how transparency and open exchange, and principles of the open source way, being applied to the humanities.

  • EMC open-sources ViPR Controller
  • EMC ScaleIO free for dev/test users
  • EMC makes software-defined ViPR open source
  • EMC releases ViPR Controller into the open source wild with Project CoprHD
  • EMC Announces Open Source Version of ViPR Controller
  • EMC hopes to extend ViPR Controller’s reach with open-source release
  • EMC to Distribute Free, Open-Source Software for the First Time
  • EMC to open-source ViPR – and lots of other stuff apparently

    ViPR is software storage controller tech that separates the control and data planes of operation, enabling different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products – such as EMC’s own arrays, Vblocks, selected third-party arrays, JBODs and cloud storage. The data services are typically ways of accessing data, such as file services,

    The open source software will be called Project CoprHD* and be made available on GitHub for community development. It will include all the storage automation and control functionality and be supplied under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL 2.0). Public supporting partners for CoprHD are Intel, Verizon and SAP.

  • IT Innovators: Creating an Open Source Solution to Help IT Professionals Secure their Data in the Cloud

    When Kurt Rohloff was working as a senior scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies, he quickly realized the value of encryption when storing data in the cloud. However, he viewed the fact that the data couldn’t be computed on after encryption as a major obstacle in what he needed to accomplish.

  • Netflix (NFLX) Announces Release of Open Source FIDO for Security Incidents
  • Netflix open-sources security incident management tool
  • Netflix looses FIDO hack attack dog as open source

    Netflix has released source code for its automated incident response tool to help organisations cut through the noise of security alerts.

    Project lead and security boffin Rob Fry together with Brooks Evans, and Jason Chan announced the unleashing of the Fully Integrated Defense Operation (FIDO) saying it has chewed the time to respond to incidents from weeks to hours.

  • Myth-Busting the Open-Source Cloud Part 2
  • Enabling Open Source SDN and NFV in the Enterprise

    I recently attended the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shenzhen, China, to promote Intel’s software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) software solutions. During this year’s IDF, Intel has made several announcements and our CEO Brian Krzanich showcased Intel’s innovation leadership across a wide range of technologies with our local partners in China. On the heel of Krzanich’s announcements, Intel Software & Services Group Senior VP Doug Fisher extended Krzanich’s message to stress the importance of open source collaboration to drive industry innovation and transformation, citing OpenStack and Hadoop as prime examples.

  • How Open-Source Software Will Speed Up Rebuilding Nepal’s Historic Sites

    A recent article by Gizmodo’s Alissa Walker gives a great overview of how these massive projects have benefitted from recent advances in technology. One of the bigger innovations of the last 10 years has been the open-source software Arches. Developed by The World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the software provides collaborative tools to document and analyze the “before” data for a damaged site. A group, whether of historians, architects, or a whole city, can contribute information they have from the site, like aerial photos or video, among other documentation.

  • Events

    • How – and Why – to Speak at Linux Foundation Events

      The open source community lives and grows through collaboration. That collaboration is driven online but we’ve witnessed first hand how much can be done and quickened by face-to-face meetings. This is due, in part, to the session speakers at events like LinuxCon, CloudOpen, Embedded Linux Conference and more. Speakers at our events represent the leaders and subject matter experts across a diverse range of technology areas and lend so much more to the event experience than just speaking. They help grow the community through their contribution; they make the experience for attendees so much more rich; and they represent the passion and genius that Linux and open source are known for.

    • The unofficial guide to OpenStack Summit Vancouver
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Could Make New Firefox Features Cater to HTTPS Only

        We’ve been writing about the benefits of HTTPS (HTTP Secure) connections, as opposed to basic HTTP connections, for years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation even endorses a browser extension called HTTPS Everywhere that uses it to encrypt communications on the web.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.3 RC2 Is Out, Stable Version Should Arrive Very Soon

      The Document Foundation has just announced that the second RC (Release Candidate) for the LibreOffice 4.4.3 branch has been released and is now available for download and testing.

    • new area fill toolbar dropdown

      The GSOC 2014 Color Selector is in LibreOffice 4.4, but it’s not used for the “area fill” dropdown in impress or draw. So I spent a little time today for LibreOffice 5.0 to hack things up so that instead of using the old color drop down list for that we now have the new color selector in the toolbar instead. Gives access to custom colors, multiple palettes, and recently used colors all in one place.

  • CMS

    • What’s New for You This May in Open Source CMS

      WordPress issued an emergency update last week to patch a fresh zero-day vulnerability that could have enabled commenters to compromise a site. The previously unknown and unpatched weakness affected current versions of WordPress, according to Finnish company Klikki Oy.

      On April 26 — just three days after WordPress released it’s latest version, 4.2 — Klikki Oy released a video and proof of concept code for an exploit of the flaw, which allows a hacker to store malicious JavaScript code on WordPress site comments. The script is triggered when the comment is viewed.

    • IBIS: A powerful, Drupal-based info gathering tool

      I’m very excited about Joshua Lee’s talk on the Drupal-powered International Biosecurity Intelligence System (IBIS) at DrupalCon 2015. Though I’m no biosecurity expert, the aggregation methods and process workflow for gathering biosecurity information is relevant to many industries. In his talk, the technology for creating this data aggregation system will be covered, as well as how the Drupal community can both benefit and contribute to this project.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE Newsletter – May 2015

      The European Commission has published a new version of its strategy for the internal use of Free Software. The FSFE provided input to the Commission during the update phase and while the strategy is broadly similar to the previous version, there are some improvements.

      Unlike previous versions, this time the strategy is accompanied by an action plan aimed at putting it into practice. However, the action plan is not public, so it is not possible to assess the Commission’s progress towards its own goals. We would welcome it, if the Commission would soon publish its action plan.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Helsinki to prefer open source IT solutions

      The city administration of Helsinki (Finland) will prefer open source software solutions for new IT solutions. The city council on 13 April adopted a new IT strategy, emphasising a preference for open source, especially when developing or commissioning the development of software solutions.

    • Open source increase in Swiss public administration

      Switzerland’s public administrations are increasingly turning to using open source, according to the country’s IT trade group SwissICT and the open source advocacy group /ch/open. Like in 2012, the two groups have surveyed public administrations and companies in the country. They notice a “high increase in the use of open source software.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Turkey wants to re-engage in OGP

      The Turkish government will restart the process of participating in the Open Government Partnership, after having been found “acting contrary to the OGP process for two consecutive Action Plan cycles”.

    • 5 ways to promote an inclusive environment where good ideas can emerge

      People in tech companies and particularly in open source communities believe in and value meritocracy—letting the best ideas win. One thing that’s become increasingly clear to me over the past few years is this: meritocracy is a great driver of innovation, but if we want to get to the best ideas, we need diversity of thought and an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome to participate and offer different perspectives. Indeed, to live up to our ideal of meritocracy, we must consistently question and seek to improve it.

    • Open Data

      • New gold standard established for open and reproducible research

        A group of Cambridge computer scientists have set a new gold standard for openness and reproducibility in research by sharing the more than 200GB of data and 20,000 lines of code behind their latest results – an unprecedented degree of openness in a peer-reviewed publication. The researchers hope that this new gold standard will be adopted by other fields, increasing the reliability of research results, especially for work which is publicly funded.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • 3D Printed Open Source Adaptable Wheelchair Design Released for Handicapped Dogs

        Now the design the engineering team came up with is available as an open source device for anyone who wants to help a handicapped animal. The construction plan, the print data, and parts lists can all be downloaded from the Multec website or this Instructable the company published.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: A Low Cost, Open Source MRI

        This low cost magnetic resonance imager isn’t [Peter]’s first attempt at medical imaging, and it isn’t his first project for the Hackaday Prize, either. He’s already built a CT scanner using a barium check source and a CCD marketed as a high-energy particle detector. His Hackaday Prize entry last year, an Open Source Science Tricorder with enough sensors to make [Spock] jealous, ended up winning fourth place.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Britain and Nato launch biggest war games on Russia’s doorstep as tensions grow

      Britain and Nato have launched their biggest war games on Russia’s doorstep amid growing tensions over Vladimir Putin’s military aggression.

      The largest ever Nato anti-submarine exercise, including the Royal Navy, is under way off the coast of Norway just weeks after reports of Russian submarines encroaching in to foreign waters.

  • Finance

    • UK Supreme Court rules on money laundering arrangements

      The UK Supreme Court recently ruled on the law relating to prosecutions for entering into, or becoming concerned in, an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property for, or on behalf of, another person – contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

    • Calling TPP Foes ‘Simplistic,’ USA Today Simply Gets the Numbers Wrong

      It’s USA Today, not the unions, who are being simplistic here. The data they are relying on refers to gross output. This would include the full value of a car assembled in the United States, even if the engine, transmission and the other major components are imported.

      It also doesn’t adjust for inflation. If USA Today used the correct table, it would find that real value added in manufacturing hasn’t “nearly doubled”–it’s risen by a bit less than 41.0 percent since 1997, compared to growth of 45.8 percent for the economy as a whole.

      The story here is a one of very basic macroeconomics. The $500 billion annual trade deficit ($600 billion at an annual rate in March) implies a loss of demand of almost 3.0 percent of GDP. In the context of an economy that is below full employment, this has the same impact on the economy as if consumers took $500 billion every year and stuffed it under their mattress instead of spending it. USA Today might try working on its numbers and economics a bit before calling people names.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • 2 Gunmen Killed Outside Community Center Hosting ‘Draw the Prophet’ Show

      Two people were fatally shot Sunday outside a Garland, Texas, community center that was hosting an event displaying cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, local officials said.

      Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said that two men drove up to the community center and “opened fire on the security officers” hired to protect the event before being shot themselves.

  • Privacy

    • France set to join the spy game

      French MPs are due to approve a bill reforming French intelligence law to counter terrorist threats. But critics warn that the draft law is a license to spy on citizens’ private lives. Erin Conroy reports from Paris.

    • French National Assembly Approves Mass Surveillance of French Citizens!

      The Intelligence Bill, which was presented on the fast track on 19 March by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, rallied a very large, argued and vigorous opposition, from a number of civil rights associations, collectives, lawyers’ and magistrates’ unions, but also administrative authorities such as the CNIL (French Data Protection authority) and the CNCDH (French National Consultative Committee for Human Rights).

    • House Refuses To Consider USA Freedom Amendment Stopping NSA’s Backdoor Searches… Even As Everyone Supports It

      As we’ve noted, there’s a new USA Freedom Act in town, and it’s on the fast track through Congress. It has some good stuff in there, and is generally a step forward on surveillance reform and ending certain forms of bulk collection — though there are some concerns about how it can be abused. But one thing that plenty of people agree on, is that even if it’s a step, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Last Thursday, there was a markup in the House Judiciary Committee, to help move the bill to the floor, and some amendments were proposed to improve the bill — all of which got rejected.

      What was especially frustrating, was that for at least one key amendment, everyone agreed that it was important and supported it, and yet they still refused to support it. The reasoning, basically, was that the existing bill was the work of many, many months of back and forth and compromises, and the administration and the House leadership had made it clear that it would not approve a single deviation, even if it was really important. The amendment in question was basically a replica of an appropriations amendment from Reps. Ted Poe, Zoe Lofgren and Thomas Massie that we wrote about last year, which surprised many by passing overwhelmingly in the House, only to be stripped out by the Senate.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Presidential Election Is So Corrupt Even The Person In Charge Says She Has No Power To Stop Abuse

      If you were holding onto the faint hope that federal election campaigns were ever going to be anything but “buy your way into office” spending sprees, you may as well kiss it goodbye. The Federal Election Committee’s head has just admitted her agency is completely powerless to do the one thing it’s supposed to be doing.

    • New York state police handcuff and shackle ‘combative’ five-year-old

      The idea that police officers should use handcuffs and leg shackles to control an unruly individual is hardly unusual in the US, where fondness for the use of metal restraints runs through the criminal justice system.

      What is unusual is when the individual in question is five years old, and the arrest takes place in an elementary school.

      New York state police were called last week to the primary school in Philadelphia, New York, close to the Canadian border, after staff reported that a pupil, Connor Ruiz, was disruptive and uncontrollable. When officers arrived at the premises, they placed the five-year-old boy in handcuffs, carried him out to a patrol car and put his feet into shackles before taking him to a medical center for evaluation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s free Internet for the poor leaves out high-bandwidth sites

      Facebook’s Internet.org, which aims to give impoverished people around the world free mobile access to a selection of Internet services, is opening the platform to developers after facing criticism that the program’s restrictions violate net neutrality principles.

    • Facebook Opens Up Free Internet Platform Amid Net Neutrality Debate

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is opening up his Internet.org platform to developers to help bring new types of content to the more than four billion people who lack Internet access.

      The move comes weeks after several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information, one of the principles of net neutrality.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • 1000-Year-Old Village Told To Stop Using Name Because Of Trademark Claim From Hotel Chain Founded There

        Techdirt has covered its fair share of idiotic legal threats over trademarks, but the following example is spectacular even for a field that has many superb examples of corporate bullying. It concerns the village of Copthorne (population 5,000), in the English county of West Sussex. It’s rather well established: it’s been around for a thousand years, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, which was compiled in 1086. Recently, though, its village association was threatened with legal action for using the name ‘Copthorne’ on its Web site, as the Plymouth Herald newspaper reports…

    • Copyrights

      • Microsoft Logs IP Addresses to Catch Windows 7 Pirates

        A presumed pirate with an unusually large appetite for activating Windows 7 has incurred the wrath of Microsoft. In a lawsuit filed at a Washington court, the Seattle-based company said that it logged hundreds of suspicious product activations from a Verizon IP address and is now seeking damages.

      • European Court To Explore If Linking To Infringing Material Is Infringing

        A couple of years ago in the Svensson case, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) made it clear (finally) that merely linking to content is not infringement. That was a case involving a news aggregator linking to official sources. However, in a new case that has been referred to the CJEU, the court will examine if links to unauthorized versions of content is infringing as well. The excellent IPKat has the details of the case which involves a blog that linked to some pre-publication Playboy photos in the Netherlands. A lower court had said that it wasn’t copyright infringement, but still broke the law, by facilitating access. On appeal, the court found that the free speech concerns outweighed the copyright concerns. From the description by the lawyer representing the blogger (“Geen Stijl news”):

      • Forget, Mayweather v. Pacquaio: The Big Fight Was Apparently Hollywood v. Periscope Streaming

        Remember, just last week, when HBO and Showtime were flipping out about a couple of streaming sites promising to broadcast live streams of the big Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight? Apparently, they had the wrong target.

      • NZ court unfreezes some assets so Kim Dotcom can cover $100K+ in monthly costs

        As Kim Dotcom remains stuck in legal limbo, his once-extravagant life keeps moving on and costing plenty of money. Auckland Now reports that Dotcom will theoretically be able to keep the balancing act up for a while longer, as this week a New Zealand court released some of Dotcom’s frozen financial assets to specifically allow the Mega mogul to pay for his continual monthly expenses.

      • Hollywood Urged Cameron to Keep DVD Ripping Illegal

        A few months ago the UK Government legalized copying of MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use, as that would be in the best interest of consumers. A common sense decision for many, but leaked emails now show that Hollywood fiercely protested the changes behind the scenes.

05.04.15

Links 4/5/2015: Many New Releases, Ubuntu Drone

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Updated OSs of April 2015: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and Ubuntu

    Gnome 3.16 user interface packages are being rolled out to Linux in the month of April. Usually, it takes at least three weeks for the packages to reach everyone, but it is expected to be much quicker this time. The maintenance releases are out already and they fix a wide range of bugs found in the Linux platform. Compared to Windows or Mac, Linux is always stable and is a reliable solution for users. It is being upgraded in terms of visuals so as to make it more user friendly. Gnome also supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system.

  • Accessibility in Linux is good (but could be much better)

    Gnu/Linux distributions provide great advantages over proprietary alternatives for people with disabilities. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the advantages, as well as areas that need improvement. Because I use Fedora, my article is written based on my experience with that Linux distribution.

  • Desktop

    • ​Linux is an operating system for all ages

      Consider James Anderson. He’s an 84 year-old volunteer at Free Geek, a Portland, Oregon non-profit organization, which rebuilds old computers for users who need them. As shown in a Linux Foundation video, he works there every Friday to rebuild laptops using Linux that can be sent to Africa.

      Anderson has been playing with electrical equipment since he blew out his grandmother’s fuses and has been using computers since the “luggables” of the 80s. He’s never worked in IT, though, until he came to Free Geek. He had spend 13-weeks in Zimbabwe and saw how students there needed computers.

    • Linux vs Windows: What do people want from their next computer?

      The Gnome desktop version can also be made to look stunning too, so users shouldn’t think that choosing Linux will make things ugly or clunky, as this is not the case.

      In conclusion, Windows adding a Start button, which the company axed two years ago, and multiple desktops (a long established Linux feature) will not make the transition and subsequent day-to-day usage much less frustrating than the Windows 8 experience.

      However, one of the main downsides about the Linux operating system is that by being free, this means that there is no huge marketing budget to get the message out.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.1-rc2

      So the -rc2′s have lately been pretty small – looking more like late -rc’s than early ones. It *used* to be that I couldn’t even post the shortlog, because it was just too big. That’s not been the case for the last few releases.

    • Linux 4.1-RC2 Kernel Released
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • The Return of Korora MATE

          The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the final release of the MATE edition of version 21 (codename “Darla”) is now available for download in both 32- and 64bit, (we strongly recommend using BitTorrent).

        • Mono 4 Is Planned For Fedora 23

          Aside from the other features proposed thus far for Fedora 23, the update of the popular Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution due out in late 2015, you can add Mono 4.0 to the list.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: first week in Stretch

        Debian Jessie has been released on April 25th, 2015. This has opened the Stretch development cycle. Reactions to the idea of making Debian build reproducibly have been pretty enthusiastic. As the pace is now likely to be even faster, let’s see if we can keep everyone up-to-date on the developments.

      • @Zigo: Why I don’t package Hadoop myself

        I filed a few bugs, and I even uploaded my fixes to Github. Some of that went unnoticed, because Sean Owen of Cloudera decided to remove all Debian packaging from Spark. But in the end, even with these fixes, the resulting packages do not live up to Debian quality standards (not to say, they would outright violate policy).

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu laptops available for pre-order with Ebuyer.com

            Electronic Commerce Retailer Ebuyer has launched a series of AMD-based HP laptops preloaded with Ubuntu. These devices are perfect for business and home users and are now available for pre-order on Ebuyer.com; fully available at the end of May 2015.

          • Ubuntu 15.10′s “W” Codename Being Revealed Soon

            Mark Shuttleworth is hosting his virtual keynote today for Ubuntu 15.10 with the Ubuntu Online Summit happening this week.

            Shuttleworth posted to his blog that he’s holding off on revealing the “W” codename for Ubuntu 15.10 until this keynote. The keynote is taking place at 14.00 UTC.

          • The loudest lesson from Ubuntu Vivid Vervet: If it’s not broken …

            Those who are partial to Ubuntu know that every six months the good people at Canonical, the people behind Ubuntu, release a new version to its popular Operating System. Well if you somehow missed the big event, the latest iteration of Ubuntu and all its cousins like Kubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome, were released on the 24th of April.

            As usual, you get to decide which flavor you prefer depending on your hardware some of the flavors like Lubuntu are to be recommended over the default Unity based installation especially if your hardware is dated.

          • World’s first Ubuntu powered Drone launched

            It seems world is slowly and steadily moving towards Linux powered devices. After Linux was used to power destroyers for US Navy, now Erle Robotics has used Ubuntu to power a drone.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Five more operating systems for the Raspberry Pi 2

      The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B launched earlier this year, offering a more powerful machine capable of running a wider variety of software.

      The new $35 Linux board has double the memory of first generation Pis, a quad-core 900MHz processor and the ARMv7 architecture used by many mid-range smartphones.

      In the months since the Pi 2 launched developers have ported an increasing number of operating systems to the board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 Release Rumored

          This week the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update has finally arrived for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, and even a few lucky Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners are getting the absolute latest version of Android with loads of bug fixes from Google. However, the Nexus 9 hasn’t seen an update since November, and is the only device still on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop.

        • Android Wear vs. Apple Watch: Which one will “wow” your wrist?

          Wearable tech is fast becoming the next big thing. We’ve seen fitness trackers gain popularity, smart jewellery take off, and even luxury brands start to sit up and take notice. However, it’s smartwatches which are one of the most popular choices amongst early adopters of wearable tech. The affordable Pebble works regardless of what phone you use, while big names such as Samsung, Motorola, Sony, and LG all have Android-based products on sale. Now, Apple is taking them all on with the Apple Watch.

        • Videostream for Android Streams Movies from Your PC to Your Chromecast

          Videostream for Chrome already makes it easy to play any video on your computer or network through your Chromecast, but the new Videostream app for Android gives you a remote control to stream movies on your PC, monitor downloads, and control playback without installing a special media server.

        • Meerkat’s Android app is live on Google Play

          Good news for Android users who want to get involved in the livestreaming craze that’s sweeping Twitter: Meerkat has officially made it to the Google Play Store with a beta app. Its main rival, the Twitter-owned Periscope, remains iOS-only for the time being.

        • HTC One (M8) Android 5.1 Lollipop Update: How to Install CyanogenMod [Official] CM12.1 Custom ROM

          Earlier in the week, HTC announced that their 2014 flagship smartphone One (M8) would get the new Android 5.1 Lollipop firmware in August, which means device owners would have to wait for more than two months to savour the new update.

        • Android 5.1 rollout to Moto X devices starting next week

          Motorola has announced that the Moto X 2014 will receive the long awaited Android 5.1 update next week, as reported in this article at Load the Game. The software update will first be made available to users in Brazil, and a United States rollout is expected in the week thereafter. An exact release date for European users has yet to be announced but is expected to be released around the middle of May.

        • 7 best Android apps for screen recording and other ways too!

          One of our more frequent requests from readers is to tell them how to record your screen on Android. The functionality has been around for quite some time but usually requires some tinkering and adjustment to get it. In Android Lollipop, they have a screen recording method building into the OS and that’s how most people do it these days. Let’s take a look at a few Android apps and some other methods to get you screen recording.

        • Fanboy Fight: How One Apple/Android Argument Ended In A Stabbing

          Every one of us has already had this fight at some point: Apple or Android? The two dominant players in the mobile space carry with them very loyal fanbases who, for some reason, like to spar off with one another over whose tech-daddy could beat up the other. The companies compete with the same level of petty at times, which doesn’t help. Apple screws around with text messages from Android users, Android pokes back at Apple over the controlling hand it has in its app store, and the two companies spend a great deal of time in legal battles because of course they do. C’mon, guys, can’t we all just spend our time pointing and laughing at Windows Mobile?

          [..]

          Yeah, no kidding. I have my brand loyalty, too, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t feel so offended at a roommate’s opinion of my phone that I felt I had to avenge the inanimate object by getting all stabby. Both men ended up getting arrested and were sent to the hospital to have their wounds treated. In a perfect world, they would be laid up next to each other, Instagram-selfying from their beds with comments about how awesome the pictures from their respective phones looked.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome passes 25% market share, IE and Firefox slip

        In April 2015, we saw the naming of Microsoft Edge, the release of Chrome 42, and the first full month of Firefox 37 availability. Now we’re learning that Google’s browser has finally passed the 25 percent market share mark.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • The current state of Drupal security

      Greg Knaddison has worked for big consulting firms, boutique software firms, startups, professional service firms, and former Drupal Security Team leader. He is currently the director of Engineering at CARD.com and a Drupal Association advisory board member.

    • Get ready for Wagtail, the best Django CMS yet

      Now that the Wagtail CMS is gearing up for its 1.0 release, I wanted to take some time to introduce you to the all around best and most flexible Django CMS currently available. Wagtail has been around for a while, but doesn’t seem to get the attention I believe it deserves.

      At Revolution Systems, we’ve used Wagtail recently on a number of projects, and the overall experience has been great. It strikes the right balance of making the easy things easy, and the hard things not only possible, but relatively easy as well.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 5.7 “Source Fish” Officially Released

      OpenBSD a free, multi-platform BSD-based UNIX-like operating system that aims to have a few important features such as portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security, and integrated cryptograph has been upgraded to version 5.7 and is now available for download.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Announcing the Birth of Hurd

      After a 25 year gestation, Hurd has finally been born. It was a difficult birth and it’s now being kept in an incubator under the care of Debian.

      For many years GNU’s always almost ready to be born operating system microkernel, Hurd, has been the butt of many jokes and Facebook memes, so it came as something of a surprise to read in Larry Cafiero’s Friday column that it’s now ready enough for Debian, which is offering a somewhat experimental and unstable release of Debian/GNU Hurd. An earlier attempt at a Hurd based distro, by Arch, seems to have died on the vine back in 2011, although a 2013 posting promises that development is still underway, with no news since.

    • Debian GNU/Hurd 2015 released!

      It is with huge pleasure that the Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2015.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.1

Leftovers

  • Graffiti artists’ move to national parks shocks nature community

    Andre Saraiva is an internationally known graffiti artist. He owns nightclubs in Paris and New York, works as a top editor of the men’s fashion magazine L’Officiel Hommes and has appeared in countless glossy magazines as a tastemaker and bon vivant.

  • Nationalist Terror

    The Mainstream Media are anxious to invoke the “violent nationalists” meme at every opportunity. Today Jim Murphy and Eddie Izzard ran away in Glasgow because evil nationalists shouted back when he was haranguing them. That’s what they did – shouted back. Nobody punched anyone. Nobody shoved anyone. Nobody threw anything. But people had the gall not to listen in hushed silence to Murphy.

  • Voted SNP in Edinburgh South

    …likely the deciding vote for approval of government business will be from the SNP.

  • The Fox News Candidates Enter The Presidential Race

    Mike Huckabee And Ben Carson Used Fox News As A Political Springboard

  • Security

    • CBI Gets Specialised Lab to Decrypt Apple, Android Devices

      CBI on Friday got a new specialised forensic lab to access and recover data from Apple and Android devices seized from suspects during investigation of cases.

      The new lab, inaugurated at the CBI academy in Ghaziabad, will be fully equipped with latest workstations and software to decrypt the data stored in Apple and Android devices, CBI sources said.

  • Finance

    • I secretly lived in my office for 500 days

      Earlier that week, I had moved into my office. Secretly. I rented out my Venice Beach apartment for the month, packed a few duffels with my clothes and prized belongings, and started taking up residence behind my desk, carefully using each square inch of out-of-sight real estate to store my stuff. Not everyone aspires to have their co-workers catching them at their desk in their tighty-whities—at 6 in the morning. Believing the absolute best-case-scenario reaction to my being there would be supreme awkwardness, I kept the whole thing to myself. Every morning I’d neatly pack away my personal belongings, turning the lights back on and lowering the air conditioning to its too-chilly-for-me 72 degrees—the way they always left it overnight. I’d leave for a morning workout and shower, simultaneously keeping clean and in shape while ensuring I wasn’t always the first to arrive. Occasionally I’d even make myself late to work, blaming the awful L.A. traffic. Just to fit in.

    • They turned college into McDonald’s: Adjunct professors, fast-food wages and how colleges screw more than just students

      The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 has already had an enormous impact on American politics. It hasn’t been reflected in national legislation, of course. With Congress in the hands of flat-earthers, the federal minimum wage is still stuck at less than half that—$7.25, the level it reached in 2009, as a result of legislation passed in 2007.

      But what first registered as a surprising anomaly—a one-day strike in New York City involving just over 100 workers on Black Friday, Nov. 29, 2012—has come to serve as a focal point for articulating demands for a dignified living wage, not just for fast-food workers, but for everyone who works for a living. What began as a movement of those holding “McJobs” is now brimming over with new participants making the point that virtually all jobs nowadays are, or at least can be, McJobs—even the latest to join in with demonstrations held on April 15: adjunct college professors.

    • The IRS seized $107,000 from this business owner for making too many small cash deposits

      If you deposit more than $10,000 in cash, your bank is required to file a form with the authorities reporting the transaction. But the law also makes it illegal to “structure” deposits — depositing cash in amounts under $10,000 to avoid triggering the reporting requirement.

      But aggressive enforcement of these laws can ensnare small business owners whose only crime is dealing in cash. This video tells the story of Lyndon McLellan, a convenience store owner in rural North Carolina who had $107,702 seized by the IRS. The agency hasn’t charged McLellan with any crime, but under controversial civil asset forfeiture rules the burden of proof is on him to prove he didn’t violate the “structuring” laws. The video was made by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm that is representing McLellan.

  • Privacy

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Green around the gills? Political party seeks to roll copyright back by three centuries

        …the Green Party appears to be almost alone in its desire to alter the current framework for copyright protection (though the Pirate Party would reduce the term still further, to 10 years). It will be interesting to see whether the views expressed by authors and writers have any bearing on the Green Party’s position on reforming copyright in the UK.

      • Anti-Piracy Measures Putting Internet Users at Risk

        While entertainment companies and authorities believe they are necessary to stem the tide of online infringement, many current anti-piracy strategies are putting Internet users at risk. Domain suspensions, seizures, plus search engine down-rankings are all playing a part in creating a less-safe online environment.

      • MPAA Funds Pro-Copyright Scholars to Influence Politics

        This week the MPAA opened applications for a new round of research grants, hoping the result will be “pro-copyright” academic papers. In an email leaked in the Sony hack the movie industry group further says it’s looking for pro-copyright scholars who they can cultivate for further public advocacy.

      • Fair Use At Risk When Private Companies Get To Make The Decision For Us

        We talk a lot about how fair use is under attack these days, and I’ve discussed in the past my concerns about freedom of expression when we always have a company (or a few companies) standing in the middle of our decisions on whether or not we can speak. NiemanLabs has a great example of where this becomes problematic in a story about how SoundCloud will not even consider fair use in making decisions about whether or not to take down content, and how that’s harming journalism…

      • Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands

        Every day thousand of Internet subscribers receive a piracy warning from their Internet provider. Increasingly, these notifications also include a settlement request ranging from $20 to hundreds of dollars. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISPs should protect their customers from these invasive tactics.

Misplaced Focus on Patent Trolls and Patent Lawyers’ Defence of Trolls

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Observations about media coverage and reactions to the focus on patent trolls, which distracts from desperately-needed reform around patent scope

OUR latest article about patent reform, which we published yesterday (late at night), talks about politicians in the US using a bill called the PATENT Act to tackle large corporations’ nuisance. This is receiving some attention right now and some bloggers took note of what we wrote about the other day, as well as over the past few years. The issue is not patent trolls but patent scope. It has been obvious for a long time, but corporate media will rarely (if ever) say this.

“Patent Trolls Aren’t The Problem – Broad, Vague Patents Are” — that’s the headline in last night’s article which alludes to Timothy B. Lee’s article, concurring with what we have pointed out for a very long time. To quote the summary: “Timothy B. Lee writes at Vox that the PATENT Act is focused on dealing with patent trolls: fly-by-night companies that get rich by exploiting flaws in the way the courts handle patent lawsuits. If trolls are the primary problem with the patent system, then the PATENT Act will go a long way toward fixing it. But according to Lee patent trolls aren’t the primary problem with the patent system. They’re just the problem Congress is willing to fix. The primary problem is the patent system makes it too easy to get broad, vague patents, and the litigation process is tilted too far toward plaintiffs. But because so many big companies make so much money off of this system, few in Congress are willing to consider broader reforms.”

As we pointed out before, the media, including John Oliver, diverts virtually all the attention to patent trolls as though they are the sole issue. A seemingly respectable (and large) lawyers’ site attacks the messenger, saying that “John Oliver is witty, dry, and often downright silly” when attacking his message, essentially defending trolls. The HBO-hosted shows has generally come under fire from many patent lawyers, including vocal proponents of software patents. Note the byline: “Michael Gulliford is the Founder & Managing Principal of Soryn IP Group, a patent advisory company that provides a host of patent-centric services” (i.e. patent lawyers). Watch the pattern here. They are all pretty much defending trolls and dismissing John Oliver, without necessarily coming across as too rude. Here is how one lawyers’ site put it: “In the wake of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leaving their respective shows on Comedy Central for newer pastures, John Oliver has emerged as a new beacon of political humor and satire. If you haven’t watched his show, and especially if you considered the former two as having an obvious political slant, you should check out Last Week Tonight on HBO. His shots get fired everywhere.

“On this week’s, John Oliver took a shot at the patent system, particularly patent trolls…”

There was a lot of press coverage about that show [1, 2, 3, 4], but most of it — if not all of it — was supportive, except when it comes to patent lawyers’ Web sites. All the criticism that we could find of him was composed by patent lawyers and their media.

Incidentally, there was press release titled “Cal Poly Professor Emeritus to Offer Advice on Thwarting Patent Trolls at Upcoming RT Imaging Summit”. It appeared a couple of weeks back in many sites [1, 2, 3]. This too promotes the narrative wherein only trolls are the problem. We need to shift back attention to the broader issue. If software patents became unpatentable, the lion’s share of trolls would instantaneous disappear.

05.03.15

PATENT Act a ‘Reform’ for Big Corporations, Hence Does Not Address the Core Issues, Including Patent Scope and Massive Patent Aggressors

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 7:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chuck Grassley
Chuck Grassley’s 1979 congressional photo

Summary: Big corporations, including some of the biggest patent aggressors out there, successfully lobbied for what has essentially become a bipartisan bill to eliminate the thorn in their side

“TROLLS” has become the dominant term in today’s news about patents. It has been like this for at least a couple of years. It’s all about trolls, trolls, trolls. The EFF, which sometimes speaks about software patents (especially this year), is still obsessing over “patent trolls”. In one of its recent articles it said: “Suppose you get sued by a patent troll. You then learn that the troll has been sitting on its patent for years without giving you any warning. If you’d known about the risk, you might have been able to design your product differently to avoid infringement. Even worse, when you try to prove that the patent covers an obvious invention, all of the best evidence (such as websites or code repositories) has disappeared because of the passage of time. Instead of winning the case, you must pay years worth of damages to the troll.”

To rephrase the above text, suppose you get sued by a large corporation. You then learn that the corporation has been sitting on its patent for years without giving you any warning. If you’d known about the risk, you might have been able to design your product differently to avoid infringement. Even worse, when you try to prove that the patent covers an obvious invention, all of the best evidence (such as websites or code repositories) has disappeared because of the passage of time. Instead of winning the case, you must pay years worth of damages to the corporation.

“Busting one patent at a time is not a practical approach to solving the overall issue.”The point here is simple; it makes no difference if the plaintiff is some corporation or a troll, but large corporations want to only eliminate the trolls, not themselves. Watch the ongoing AP obsession with trolls, this time too courtesy of Anne Flaherty. The Associated Press has almost literally flooded news houses and newspapers with articles that only focus on trolls, as we showed last week (dozens if not hundreds of large papers reposted/reprinted AP). This looks like propaganda. It’s a form of lobbying through media. AP’s obsession with trolls is exceptional mostly in the sense of impact, it’s not necessarily unique. AP is embedded or put in hundreds of Web sites around the world, shifting all focus to one misdirected ‘reform’ effort [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The headlines vary a little, but the storyline is always the same.

Here is a better article from the EFF, focusing on a patent it squashed quite recently. The site says “EFF recently won our challenge to invalidate claims of the “podcasting patent” using a procedure at the Patent Office called inter partes review. This procedure allowed us to challenge a patent that was being used to demand licenses from individual podcasters, even though EFF itself had never been threatened by the patent owner. EFF’s ability to file this petition was important because many of those targeted by the patent owner—small podcasters—would be unable to afford the $22,000 filing fees to challenge the patent, let alone the attorneys’ fees that would come along with it. Also, if an individual podcaster had filed an inter partes review it would have faced a risk of retaliation in the form of a district court lawsuit from Personal Audio. Instead, EFF was able to defend the public interest on behalf of the community as a whole.”

The word “troll” is not even mentioned. Compare that to related coverage from “IP Troll Tracker”, which wrote: “Let’s just come right out with my point…the “podcasting patent” is no more. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it because I never really saw Personal Audio as a troll (as evidenced here and here). Why? Well, chiefly because the company’s owner actually patented something himself rather than buying a patent on the open market for the sole purposes of extorting payments from (alleged) infringers, or, worse, purporting to be “inventor friendly” and convincing people to “innovate” for him and then monetizing whatever crap he can manage to patent out of the process. You know, like Intellectual Ventures does. Further, Mr. Logan spent his own money trying to commercialize the idea, something a troll would never do because the idea isn’t to add value of any kind, it’s to add volume to their wallets.”

Busting one patent at a time is not a practical approach to solving the overall issue. It is impractical and expensive to do this a million times. The only proper solution is to eliminate software patents, which obviously would invalidate this “podcasting patent” (along with hundreds of thousands — if not over a million — other US patents).

So, now there’s this relatively new talk about some ‘reform’ with a new name. It’s not really reform for the people but reform for the nation’s largest corporations (to better suit large corporations’ interests). The New York Times used a misleading headline: “With Patent Litigation Surging, Creators Turn to Washington for Help” (by “Creators” they don’t mean individuals). We quickly found a lot more coverage of this (usually following trend-setting media) and it kept mentioning this thing called “PATENT Act”, which is fairly new. Lawyers’ sites covered it [1, 2, 3] and so did a lot of corporate news sites [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. Mike Masnick wrote about this thing called “PATENT Act” a few days ago, highlighting early signs that this is just another “act” with gimmicks and branding rather than substance, just like “Freedom” Act and “Patriot” Act. He said that the “Patent Reform Bill [is] A Good Step, But Still Falls Way Short Of Fixing A Broken System”, explaining that: “As was widely expected, earlier this week, a bunch of high-profile Senators introduced a big patent reform bill, known as the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act. It’s backed by Senators Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn, and has a decent chance of becoming law. From a quick look at the bill itself, it looks an awful lot like what we expected to show up last year, right before Senator Harry Reid stepped in and killed the bill. With the Republicans taking over in Congress, however, Reid no longer has the power to do that. Meanwhile, Schumer, who has long been supportive of patent reform and is basically taking over Reid’s leadership position as Reid prepares to retire, has declared that this time the bill is getting done.”

It looks like it will really become law (based on dozens of articles we saw), but what will this achieve? “2015 could be the year Congress takes action on patent trolls,” wrote Timothy B. Lee, noting that it’s all about trolls.

“There’s a growing problem with patent trolls,” he wrote, “the companies that create no products of their own but earn money threatening other companies with patent lawsuits. The problem has become so widespread that even low-tech companies like restaurants and grocery stores have begun lobbying Congress to do something about it.

“It’s not really reform for the people but reform for corporations (to better suit large corporations’ interests).”“Now Congress could be on the verge of taking action. On Friday, a Senate aide close to the negotiations told me that a bipartisan group of senators is “very close” to introducing legislation with broad support in the Senate.

“Supporters of the legislation have good reason to be optimistic, as the coalition supporting the legislation is broader and more unified than in the past. But given Congress’s penchant for gridlock, it’s far from a sure thing.”

We wrote about Grassley before (in relation to Microsoft) and mentioned some of the other supporters of this bill. They are not necessarily corrupt, they are probably just misled by the lobbying. Our conjecture is that to make the bill passable they don’t really want a proper and complete reform, they just amend it based on input from corporations (lobbying). A slightly later (and very good compared to the rest) article from Timothy B. Lee explains “how big companies are stopping Congress from fixing the patent system”. He hits the nail on the head when he says that “the problem of large companies exploiting the patent system hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s gotten worse as the courts made it easier to get broad, vague patents in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“A modern example is Microsoft, which has more than 40,000 patents and reportedly earns billions of dollars per year in patent licensing revenues from companies selling Android phones. That’s not because Google was caught copying Microsoft’s Windows Phone software (which has never been very popular with consumers). Rather, it’s because low standards for patents — especially in software — have allowed Microsoft to amass a huge number of patents on routine characteristics of mobile operating systems. Microsoft’s patent arsenal has become so huge that it’s effectively impossible to create a mobile operating system without infringing some of them. And so Microsoft can demand that smaller, more innovative companies pay them off.

“The proliferation of software patents has triggered an arms race. Google, for example, spent $12.5 billion for Motorola, largely for access to its large patent portfolio. A consortium of technology companies including Microsoft and Apple spent another $4.5 billion on patents from the defunct technology company Nortel. Their vast patent libraries help protect them from each other — but they could also help them crush potential future competitors.”

Grassley, we venture to guess, is not trying to tackle abuse by large corporations, he is just listening to some abusive large corporations (and the corporate media). As The Hill put it not so long ago: “Bipartisan senators on the Judiciary Committee are close to unveiling legislation to fight so-called patent trolls.

“Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters at the National Press Club that negotiators are “close to getting a final agreement,” with his office later saying it could come as soon as this week. Another aide familiar with the talks said senators are close to a bill.

“The proposal is not expected to look like the House’s Innovation Act but will include some of the same provisions. It will have provisions on discovery and pleading requirements that are less strict than the House version, according to Grassley.”

Call it “PATENT Act” or “Innovation Act”, these are just labels. What it’s really about is tackling trolls, but not promoting innovation or even improving patents. The bill targets the plaintiff type, not the patent type. These are just an opportunist’s methods for promoting oneself without really serving the public. Recall the patent 'reform' from the GOP and watch this latest publicity stunt for Rick Santorum (disgraced GOP candidate who never gained traction).

As with many giant corporations that support Linux (IBM or Google), there's no chance of them tackling software patents as a whole. They are not Free software communities. Their problems are different. “Google collects patents while lobbying against them,” wrote one vocal proponent of software patents. It is a correct observation actually, exploited by proponents of overly broad patents in this case. Here are the British lawyers from IP Kat taunting Google as well in their article “Google says ‘We want your patent. Maybe.’”

Never expect large corporations to do the right thing unless their interests somehow coincide with the interests of people (which is rare). Patent reform will require popular action and pressure from the public, not from the likes of IBM and Google, not even Red Hat. This is why the effort to stop software patents must regain some momentum (lost several years ago).

Openwashing of Binary Blobs That Microsoft Uses to Attack Free Software and GNU/Linux From the Inside

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Gifts’ from Microsoft

Trojan

Summary: Media which is either willfully ignorant or complicit has successfully, based on volume of coverage, framed Microsoft’s proprietary software as openness and nicety

THERE is a truly disturbing thing going on in the media right now. News that Microsoft announced last year resurfaces again and it only serves to mislead the public.

The Microsoft BUILD event would be better off named BLOB. There’s no build process (for the public at least) when the end product is only binary, like Visual Studio Code or blobs for open/free/modular/hacker-friendly computer boards (Arduino and Raspberry Pi). The latest moves which Microsoft tries to paint as “open” are actually Microsoft injecting proprietary software into open platforms that aren’t Microsoft’s. It’s a form of abduction and ‘bastardisation’. Linux is replaced by Windows. Some “openness”, eh? Why does the media cover it so poorly and what’s with all the promotional language? The ‘newsflash’ here is that Microsoft gives a proprietary code editor to developers. Why would they need that? Because there aren’t any good code editors that are FOSS? There are plenty of them, including versatile ones like Eclipse, which also function as complete IDEs and support many hardware architectures.

According to this article from Phoronix (which has been helping Microsoft’s PR efforts a little too much as of late), “Ubuntu Make Adds Support For Visual Studio Code”. The original and the links to it (Softpedia covered this too) remind tell that “Ubuntu Make 0.7 is available via a PPA for users of Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10, and 15.04.”

So what’s the big deal? Do they really want us to download this? It’s proprietary software. It’s serves Microsoft, just like Skype, a malicious surveillance program. It is understandable that people like Adrian Bridgwater cover it because of their history of Microsoft apologetics (also see this new article from him), but why do FOSS- or GNU/Linux-leaning sites give Microsoft a platform/space? Here is Linux Veda treating as ‘news’ (from last year) proprietary software for several platforms (to help promote Microsoft APIs). This proprietary software story is receiving more publicity than Free software equivalents, even in GNU/Linux-focused sites. Why is that? Are they just parroting what they see on corporate media, which is actively being manipulated by Microsoft PR agencies? This is not important news and it’s not FOSS news.

Softpedia went further by reviewing this proprietary software in the GNU/Linux section. The author wrote: “After extracting the ZIP package, you’ll see a new folder that has the same name as the archive. To start Visual Studio Code on your Linux box, open the extracted folder and double-click the “Code” executable file.”

Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET is distributed as a binary blob and given Microsoft’s track record on back doors, surveillance, DRM and so forth it’s not a good idea to encourage others to run such programs. Here is OMG! Ubuntu doing the same thing, telling people how to install this blob in Ubuntu.

What was probably must frustrating would have to be this post from the body representing Linux. The Linux Foundation should know that Microsoft releasing a proprietary software binary (blob) is not “Microsoft Opens Up” (as the headline puts it, referring to just two links about proprietary software from Microsoft).

Our article about this was mentioned in Soylent News the other day, countering Microsoft’s self-serving (and misleading) narrative. This is what openwashing looks like: calling Microsoft “open source” because it released a binary blob. See the headline “Say goodbye to Micro$oft – the new Microsoft is all about openness”. Yes, blobs are “all about openness”. White is the new black.

Microsoft is also trying to make FOSS compilers more Windows-oriented, i.e. tied to proprietary platforms, based on Phoronix and Linux Veda [1, 2]. If this is “opening up”, then proprietary software is the new “Open Source” and ultimately, it’s all about Windows.

Phoronix, incidentally, also published this article about Mono, Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET promotion and dependency on Microsoft’s software patents. Why focus on such bits of software? They are part of the proprietary software stack which is actively attacking GNU/Linux in all sorts of ways, e.g. ‘secure’ boot (preventing people from using kernels of their choice or modifying and then executing them). This is an attack on Free software. Why help Microsoft’s agenda? Stockholm syndrome?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes that “Windows embracing Android and iOS is a bad idea”. Well, if it’s an "embrace, extend, extinguish" approach, then it’s not such a bad idea. It’s evil and potentially effective (Microsoft destroyed competition this way many times before). Vaughan-Nichols asks: “How can there be a future for Windows on smartphones and tablets when Microsoft is encouraging developers to bring its apps from Apple and Google’s ecosystem?”

The basic idea is, take away all the applications and make them Windows applications while at the same time replacing applications from Apple or Google with Microsoft applications. Microsoft's booster Tim Anderson explained how it’s supposed to work and several other sites covered it [1, 2] as though it’s a nice gesture rather than an aggressive coup. Microsoft must be salivating at the sight of many who actually believe Microsoft wants peace.

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

Microsoft Kills Netscape Again, This Time Removing It From the History Books

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Book burning time

Book burning

Summary: Microsoft’s embarrassing crimes against Netscape — the ones that put Bill Gates on trial and nearly split Microsoft — virtually forgotten as Netscape itself is made to ‘disappear’

THE grooming of Microsoft has gotten pretty bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as gross distortion of facts. The ToryGraph, an oftentimes pro-Microsoft paper, does some professional revisionism in the “Microsoft” section today, disguised quite shrewdly as “a brief history” of “Web browsers”. It’s really just a Microsoft ad, as one can instantaneously see.

“If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once.”“Somehow they manage to leave out Netscape,” iophk wrote to us. Watch the comments and especially those commenters who allude to Netscape. One comment says: “Bloody rubbish. Internet Explorer was based on Mosiac and where is Netscape in the list?!”

This is disgusting. Microsoft propaganda that distorts history like this is something we have become accustomed to and have seen in the British media before. Having committed crimes against Netscape (see this petition text), Microsoft is yet again deleting it from history, like the Microsoft-connected BBC did for Microsoft half a decade ago in a TV programme. If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once. We have shown more examples of this over the years. It’s not accidental. It’s extremely likely to be deliberate and conscious because only a fool or a self-deceiving journalist can make gross omissions like that.

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

Microsoft India’s Unofficial ‘Branch’ Infosys is Torturing the Meaning of Open Source Software

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Disinformation system of Microsoft

Book

Summary: Infosys, which is best known for its promotion of Microsoft in India, is distorting the meaning of ‘Open Source’ and joins a non-profit that is supposed to promote programming, not binary blobs

Open Source software, which is basically another label for Free/libre software (but with a different agenda), is essential for distinguishing not between brands but between development and distribution philosophies. Attacking the meaning of “Open Source” is means for confusing and impeding rational judgment. It is quickly becoming essential for proprietary software players in India. The government is increasingly stubborn on issues like software freedom and this government sometimes makes it imperative to share code.

Infosys is generally loathed here for all the dirty work it did for Microsoft in India over the years. It’s like Accenture in the UK. They may both seem like independent and local companies, but they are de facto salespeople or distributors of Microsoft. They are like channel partners. They are middlemen.

Yesterday we saw that “Infosys partners with Microsoft to offer Finacle on Azure”. Well, Infosys does not need to “partner with Microsoft”, it is already an integral part of Microsoft in many ways (Microsoft even outsources some of its jobs to Infosys). Finacle is therefore a horrible trap that not only makes people dependent on proprietary software but also spies on the users all across in India (Microsoft works with the NSA, so it is foreign surveillance via Microsoft/PRISM). In the midst of many articles about it — basically a load of promotional rubbish with minimal variation in wording [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — we found ourselves distracted by a non-Indian news site going with the headline “Infosys turns to open source to drive data innovation”. So many buzzwords must mean it’s more like promotional rubbish and it most likely is. To quote the opening: “Infosys has released details of its Infosys Information Platform (IIP), which includes new pre-packaged solutions from Infosys Finacle and Infosys BPO.”

“Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.”Why does the headline say “open source”? It’s nothing of that kind. There is nothing at all that is Open Source about it. Infosys is doing something disgusting by even trying to exploit that angle. Claiming to make an “Open Source” platform when in fact using proprietary software with spying is beyond shameless, it is not just false marketing. Alas, being a Microsoft proxy in India, Infosys’ openwashing of proprietary software is only to be expected, especially because of new government policies in India (favouring Free/Open Source software, as we noted here before and above).

Watch another appalling move from Infosys, mimicking the likes of Facebook. Yet another Microsoft pusher, Infosys (also see what its Web site runs), makes code.org (Computer Science education push) a proprietary software plot. Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.

In order for Microsoft to fail in India it is probably very important that activists take action against Infosys. It’s a parasite and a leech. It harms India’s interests, not just the interests of Free/Open Source communities.

Microsoft Windows is Dying, British Government Should Spend No More Money on It

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Vista 8, Windows at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kicking a dead horse no more

Horse

Summary: Time for the Establishment in the UK to abandon the out-of-support Windows XP (from 2001) and join the next generation of computing, which increasingly revolves around GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, supported by truly British companies

“Windows 8 market share grows just 2.5 percent in year since Windows XP’s demise,” says this new report from the British media, which bases its claim on Microsoft-friendly or Windows-centric sites (these are the sites that relinquish their logs and betray visitors’ privacy). Windows “XP use takes the biggest dip to 15.93, down just over one percent,” it says, showing that Vista 8 is not being adopted despite being the latest version of Windows.

“Pirate Party UK (PPUK) is probably the only political party that would actively promote GNU/Linux if it got elected or at least earned some seats.”Microsoft is clearly in a state of crisis as governments refuse to adopt Vista 8. Some parts of the British government are still clinging on to Windows XP (as foolish and irresponsible as that is); we recently wrote about the Met and about the NHS. Now it turns out that “Windows XP support deal [is] not renewed by [the British] government, which is an important step. They should migrate to GNU/Linux because currently they waste about ~$10,000 per Windows desktop per year, according to some estimates. Surely GNU/Linux can be both cheaper and more secure than that, but the cited article spins that in an alarmist fashion to make it sound as though the British government has no choice but to pay Microsoft some more. “The government has not renewed its £5.5m Windows XP support deal with Microsoft,” it says, “despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber attacks.”

“No. Use of Windows itself leaves PCs open to attack,” iophk remarked about it. Right now they should move to GNU/Linux, which is becoming a standard not just in the server room but also in devices such as phones and tablets. Large OEMs in the UK now distribute laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled and supported.

Ignore the Microsoft propaganda which seeks to make the only choice a choice between versions of Windows. See this kind of propaganda from Mark Hachman again (one of the most recent Microsoft boosters in IDG), who probably played along with some kind of a PR campaign, based on our humble assessment. We see the same kind of marketing spam (disguised as ‘articles’) in other corporate media sites, grooming Microsoft and promoting Windows as though it’s still loved, despite Vista 8 marking the end of Windows monoculture (people are gradually moving elsewhere — other form factors and operating systems).

There is an election coming very soon and a new government will take form/shape, maybe a coalition government. Taxpayers’ money will hopefully not be wasted supporting a criminal company like Microsoft anymore; it’s time to end this heist, which depended on back room deals, lobbying, and various abuses that we have shown here before. Technically speaking, Windows in the government makes no sense at all. From a financial point of view, it’s more like suicide. Pirate Party UK (PPUK) is probably the only political party that would actively promote GNU/Linux if it got elected or at least earned some seats.

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