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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

5 hours 26 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Survey: What are the Best Open Source Cloud Projects?

    Linux.com is teaming up with The New Stack to do a survey about what you think are the most popular open source cloud projects.

    The next-generation of the enterprise is being built now with open cloud technologies. Your choices will help identify and recognize the most popular open source projects that are defining the new way to build and manage applications and systems.

  • EFF releases Privacy Badger add-on for Firefox and Chrome
  • ‘Privacy Badger’ Browser Add-On Protects You from Online Tracking
  • Privacy Badger beta released. Install it on Firefox and Chrome

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the release of Privacy Badger beta. This comes roughly three months after the alpha version was released.

    Privacy Badger is a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome that’s designed to stop “advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web.” And it’s designed to require zero configuration to use. Just install and forget it!

  • EFF announces open wireless router firmware to share network

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an organization fighting against illegal surveillance programs in the courts. It also contributes to a open and secure internet by funding the development of software like HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger.

  • EFF Aims To Launch An Open Wireless Router

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is today announcing a new Open Wireless Router initiative today at the HOPE X conference.

  • The value of open source is the open development process

    Scott Wilson agrees that open source matters because of open code, but just as important is the process in which the code is made. Open development of code is in the social nature of many programmers, hackers, documentors, and project managers. So, what is it about open development?

  • Solderdoodle USB rechargeable soldering iron brings open-source portability

    The active talk of Open Source Technologies took root in Uganda during the mid 90s when a few enthusiasts started experimenting with the use of software like Linux which was in its infancy back then.

  • Excellent Free Distraction-Free Tools for Writers

    Fans of the typewriter remain a vehement group. They view the typewriter as something really special, a tool which makes the connection between languages. One of the attractions of a typewriter is that it offers a distraction-free alternative of modern day methods for producing a document. They challenge the writer to concentrate on what really matters – the content. They force the writer to think.

  • Are We Comfortable With Commercial Open Source Now?

    But open source has of course progressed and been adopted widely albeit in more ‘back office’ circles. It is hard to talk about the growth of big data analytics applications without mentioning Hadoop, while the rise of NoSQL databases has flourished such that even Facebook recently announced its own Paxos algorithm-based project called Apollo.

  • Uganda’s Open Source friendly Policies and Sleeping FOSS Community

    It was such a challenge for the initial Open Source promoters to break through onto the corporate scene and later the Government. The rampant piracy of software that existed then (and still exists) made most software consumers disregard the issues that were being raised by the Open Source Software community against the blind adoption of proprietary systems.

  • Events
    • OSCON 2014 – Crash Course in Open Source Cloud Computing

      I’ll be presenting an updated version of my Crash Course on Open Source Cloud Computing presentation at OSCON 2014. I have some new material on Docker and SDN along with the latest updates on cloud software. Here’s the official excerpt:

    • Webcast and Easier Tools Aim to Demystify Hadoop

      Hadoop is steadily making its way into many enterprises, thanks to its ability to surface unique insights from very large data sets. It power and success as an open source platform are a direct result of the fact that it can perform analytics that go beyond what traditional analytics platforms are capable of. All of this came to the fore at the Hadoop Summit held recently in San Jose, California.

  • Web Browsers
    • Best Linux Browsers

      Choosing the best Linux browser for your needs requires just a bit of homework: Web browsers for the Linux desktop have evolved over the years, just as they have for other popular desktop platforms. With this evolution, both good and bad revelations have been discovered. Revelations from new functionality, to broken extensions, and so forth. In this article, I’ll serve as your guide through these murky waters to help you discover the best in Linux browsers.

    • Chrome
      • Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

        If you’ve been wondering why the battery life on your Windows laptop or tablet seems so lousy, your Chrome web browser might be to blame – and it may have been sapping your system’s juice for years.

        A documented bug in the source code for the Chromium open source project seems to account for the mysterious power drain that some users of Google’s web browser have been experiencing.

      • Chrome Brings Text into Focus After Lagging Other Browsers

        If you’re a regular user of the Google Chrome browser, you probably know that the nightly builds and beta channel versions often incorporate cutting-edge features that you can’t get in the stable release. These features also often foreshadow what will soon arrive in the stable release.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Thunderbird 31.0 Has Been Released!
      • Mozilla Thunderbird 31.0 Officially Released with Lots of Fixes and Important Changes

        Mozilla has officially released Thunderbird 31.0, an email and RSS client, for all the available platforms, and the developers have actually made a number of improvements to the application.

        The first version has been released in the Thunderbird 31.x branch, but unlike some of the previous updates, this one actually brings something interesting. It’s been a while since Thunderbird received any real improvements, but that’s not exactly Mozilla’s fault.

      • Mozilla Unleashes Firefox 31 Web Browser

        The Firefox 31 web-browser is out this morning with new features.

        New to Firefox 31 is improved download security by trying to block known malware (based upon Google’s functionality in Chrome), a search box has been added to the new tab page, a new certificate verification library, HTML5 WebVTT support for video playback with subtitles, and various developer-focused improvements.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Introducing Tyler Livingston, a summer Licensing Team intern

      Hello. I am a rising Third Year law student at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, TX. I am working hard to master the technical aspects of law, electronics, and software. My current interests involve protecting individuals and investigating new technology, particularly in the communications field by utilizing licenses for authorship, art, and inventions. Prior to law school, I attained a bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    • GNU Parallel 20140722 (‘MH17′) released

      This release contains a major change in central parts of the code and should be considered beta quality. As always it passes the testsuite, so most functionality clearly works.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Over 170 Primary Schools In Geneva Switched To Ubuntu For Classroom Teaching

      Over 170 primary schools and secondary schools in Geneva are switching to Ubuntu for PCs used by teachers and students, which were earlier using a proprietary software. The move has been successfully completed for all the primary schools. For the rest 20 secondary schools, the migration is expected to be completed by the next academic year.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Is PHP 6 or PHP 7 Next?

      Debate is currently raging in the open-source PHP community over what the number will be for the version of PHP that will succeed the current PHP 5.x series.

    • [cfe-dev] [3.5 Release] Tentative Schedule
    • PHP5′s Successor Might Be PHP7
    • An alternative to devilspie/devilspie2

      Recently I was updating my dotfiles, because I wanted to ensure that media-players were “always on top”, when launched, as this suits the way I work.

    • GCC 5.0 Is Expected Next Year

      GNU Compiler Collection developers are beginning to come to a consensus that GCC 5.0 will be released in 2015.

      While GCC 4.10 is the current release under development since the GCC 4.9 debut this spring, GCC 4.10 will likely be relabeled as GCC 5.0. There’s a fresh thread on the GCC mailing list that talks about GCC version bikeshedding.

    • Cisco relaunches Developer Network
    • Looking at the Zooniverse code

      Recently I’ve been looking over the Zooniverse citizen science project and its source code on github, partly because it’s interesting as a user and partly because I thought writing an Android app for Galaxy Zoo would be a good learning exercise and something useful to open source.

Leftovers

Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:53:31 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • EFF releases experimental open wireless router firmware

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced the release of the alpha version of an Open Wireless Router firmware. It was officially announced at the HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City.

  • Standardized open source products are the key to unlocking the lock-in trap

    Mårten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, argues that when companies lock in to their own design and customizations, it’s as harmful as when they lock in to a vendor. Mickos explains why he thinks using standardized open source products is the best way to avoid both types of lock-in.

  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • Geneva class-rooms switching to free software

      All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open Hardware
      • Makeblock Starter Robot Kit Review

        The Makeblock kit is all about assembling building blocks in three major parts: putting together the Arduino caddy, constructing a chassis for it and finally programming it via Arduino IDE.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs

      Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from “illegal internet pharmacies.” Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that’s a whole different discussion), but it’s insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don’t want shipping companies to be liable for what’s in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • ‘Mysterious’ Plane Crash – Who benefits?
    • Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down

      It will likely take some time to determine who downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people onboard. Initial speculation is that someone with a missile battery mistook the plane as a military aircraft, but the precise motive may be even harder to discern.

    • Airline Horror Spurs New Rush to Judgment

      President Obama and the State Department’s “anti-diplomats” are fanning flames of anger against Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. But some U.S. intelligence analysts doubt the popular “blame-the-Russians” scenario, reports Robert Parry.

    • Three Lessons We Need to Heed from the Soviet Downing of KAL 007
    • MH17 makes the situation in Ukraine an American crisis and an EU catastrophe
    • Rebels, extremists have easy access to advanced missiles
    • Russia: US implicating rebels

      On Saturday, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US administration sought to pin the blame on separatists and Russia without waiting for the results of an investigation. “The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington’s perception of what is going on in Ukraine,” he told Russian news agencies. “At least, that is how the relevant statements can be interpreted,” he said. “Despite an obvious and indisputable nature of the arguments provided by rebels and Moscow, the US administration is pushing its own agenda,” he said. Meanwhile, a rebel leader appealed to Russia for help with worsening conditions at the crash site of a Malaysian airliner, accusing the Ukrainian government of preventing experts from arriving and allowing bodies to rot.

    • MH17 joins long list of commercial planes shot down

      Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was blown out of the sky while flying across eastern Ukraine, was not a sole casualty of warfare.

    • Missiles are now so easy to get that it’s a miracle more planes haven’t been shot down

      Stinger man-portable missiles may also threaten the U.S. Army crews of Apache helicopter gunships recently dispatched to Baghdad to secure the airport and defend the U.S. embassy. Intelligence reports say that the Islamic State organization, also known as ISIS, has likely captured U.S.-made Stingers. In seizing major cities such as Mosul and Tikrit, and overrunning four Iraqi army divisions, Islamic State fighters have reportedly taken control of two major weapons depots, where Stingers were likely stored along with other sophisticated U.S.-manufactured armaments.

    • Russia’s Missiles Stung the World Long Before MH17

      On May 1, 1960, a U-2 spy plane operated by the CIA took off from an airbase in Peshawar, Pakistan. The existence of the U-2 was a secret. It had an unusual appearance created by its long, slender wings. These wings gave it the ability to fly at heights beyond 70,000 feet to the edge of the stratosphere, way above any other airplanes.

    • All hands stained with blood

      Ricardo and Lugo flew back to Trinidad and checked in at the then Holiday Inn in Port of Spain. There, that said evening, that local police under Randolph Burroughs arrested them and found incriminating evidence that linked them to anti-Castro CIA operative Luis Carriles.

      It turned out that the CIA, and possibly higher officials in Washington, were aware of the plot to blow up the Cubana plane. Even worse, Washington helped Carriles escape and evade prosecution in Venezuela and/or Cuba (Ricardo and Lugo were jailed in Caracas).

    • Ex-Shin Bet Chief: Israeli Illusions Fueled Blowup

      Yuval Diskin, who served as director of Israel’s Shin Bet security service from 2005 to 2011, posted some rather blunt observations on his Facebook page this morning regarding the tit-for-tat murders of teenagers, the Palestinian rioting in East Jerusalem and the Triangle (the Arab population center south of Haifa) and what he fears is coming down the pike.

      It strikes me that he’s probably saying a lot of what IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz was thinking at this week’s security cabinet meeting, when Gantz’s far more restrained comments led to a tongue-lashing from Naftali Bennett. In other words, this is how the current meltdown looks to much of the top Israeli military and intelligence brass. It’s what they’ve been saying privately while in uniform and publicly after retiring (and occasionally even while still in uniform). I’ve taken the liberty of translating Diskin’s Hebrew into English.

    • Hacker Group Anonymous launches #OpSaveGaza, an intensive online offensive against Israel

      In an online offensive against Israel, the global hacker group took down hundreds of Israeli websites including that of Tel Aviv Police Department, which is still not available, at the time of writing this report

    • Israel Vows to Escalate Gaza Offensive: 341 Killed
    • Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

      The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

    • Israeli envoy to US lands in hot water

      Dubai- Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer landed himself in hot water Thursday when Palestine activists posted a barrage of sarcastic questions to his Twitter Q&A #AskDermer thread. The Q&A was held amid escalating violence between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza. The hashtag, which was used more than 20,000 times, included questions that were harshly critical of Israel’s strategy in Gaza. Many tweets by activists were snarky, and others were angry. Eli Clifton wrote: IDF says houses, hospitals, schools and mosques are weapons depots. What were the “human shields” shielding on the beach? #AskDermer US Dept of Drone War wrote: A Palestinian walks into a bar. Do you A) Blow up the bar, B) Blow up the person’s home, or C) Kill 4 random kids on a beach? #AskDermer

    • Israel-Gaza conflict: Baby killed by tank as IDF begins ground offensive
    • Hamas raid kills two Israeli soldiers

      In their most audacious attack Saturday, Hamas fighters dressed in Israeli army uniforms slipped from central Gaza into Israel through a tunnel and attacked an Israeli army patrol, killing two soldiers and injuring two others. The army returned fire, killing one militant and forcing the rest back through the tunnel into the Palestinian territory.

    • Despite Israeli Push in Gaza, Hamas Fighters Slip Through Tunnels

      Eight Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel some 300 yards inside Israel on Saturday morning, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Israeli military uniforms, the Israeli military said. The gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two Israeli military jeeps on patrol, starting a battle that killed two Israeli officers and one of the militants, according to the military. The rest then retreated underground, back to Gaza.

    • Hamas Fighters Infiltrate Israel Through Tunnel and Kill Two Soldiers

      As Israel continued its deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, Hamas militants sneaked into the country on Saturday and killed two soldiers, delivering the worst blow to the Israeli military on its side of the Gaza border in years.

    • Pakistan condemns US drone strike in NWA
    • US drone stike on Pakistan compound kills 11

      Pakistan has condemned the US drone strike in North Waziristan in which 15 suspected militants were reportedly killed early Saturday, saying these strikes would have a negative impact on its efforts to bring peace and stability in the country and the region.

    • Death toll rises to 11 in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan
    • New York officer in fatal arrest placed on desk duty
    • Complaints About Chokeholds Are Focus of Study
    • Outrage Mounts Over Death of Staten Island Man Placed in NYPD Chokehold [Updated]

      When LIRR workers and the MTA reached an agreement to avoid the strike that would have begun on Sunday, it seemed that Mayor de Blasio and his family would be able to leave for their ten-day Italian vacation on Friday, as scheduled. But on Friday evening, De Blasio’s office announced that the mayor would remain in New York until Saturday “to attend to City business.” According to the New York Times, the mayor wanted to “spend more time making calls to elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy, and talking to the police” about Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man who went into cardiac arrest and died after NYPD officers put him in a chokehold on Thursday. Anyone who has seen the cell phone video of five cops piling onto an unarmed Garner can probably understand why De Blasio felt the need to at least briefly postpone his trip.

    • Israel begins heaviest bombardment yet in Gaza, sending residents fleeing
    • Opinion: Self-righteousness is the siren song of war

      Even the educated are not immune to these feelings. Consider, for instance, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a well-paid speaker and author, respected by many as an expert in international affairs. Yet, in an interview with Charlie Rose on May 29, 2003, Friedman justified his support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on the grounds that if we killed enough Iraqis, Arab terrorists would give up believing they can attack us without repercussions. He concluded by saying that “they” needed to see “American boys and girls going from house to house from Basra to Baghdad” and telling people to “suck on this!”

    • Of Planes and Proxies

      In the nineteen-eighties, the C.I.A. handed out Stinger surface-to-air missiles to the mujahideen

    • Clinton papers on Iraq, Haiti released

      President Bill Clinton’s advisers carefully considered how to explain the president’s military action against Iraq in 1998 as the House was debating his impeachment, according to records from the Clinton White House that were released Friday. The documents also touched upon al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, consideration of military action in Haiti in 1994 and preparations for Supreme Court nomination hearings.

    • Top 6 takeaways from the Clinton document dump
    • Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1988 Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1998

      The latest batch shows Mr Clinton asked his national security aides whether the CIA overstated bin Laden’s role in the August 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

    • Markus R. case highlights spy game between Washington, Moscow and Berlin
    • Can the US accept allies as equals?

      By expelling the CIA station chief in Berlin recently, Germany hoped to jolt the United States into paying attention. Germans are outraged by reports that American spies may have been working inside their security services. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that hostile operations like this “contradict everything that I understand to be a trusting cooperation between friendly partners.”

    • Loss of trust

      A specialist on German foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations has described the US as a “weak superpower” whose spying methods and surveillance on other countries is solely driven by a feeling of insecurity.

  • Finance
    • US states with higher minimum wages gain more jobs

      The 13 U.S. states that raised their minimum wages at the beginning of this year are adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not, providing some counter-intuitive fuel to the debate over what impact a higher minimum has on hiring trends.

    • Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It’s Falling.

      The finding comes from a recent investigation by Christoph Lakner, a consultant at the World Bank, and Branko Milanovic, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center. And while such a framing may sound startling at first, it should be intuitive upon reflection. The economic surges of China, India and some other nations have been among the most egalitarian developments in history.

    • When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid’

      Whether I was working as a barista or a paralegal, the story was the same: My employers wanted me to keep my mouth shut about money.

    • What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People

      When the water trucks arrived near Arlyssa Heard’s home on the west side of Detroit at the end of June, the 42-year-old single mother of two said it felt like the entire neighborhood was being taken over. “There were water trucks literally circling up and down blocks. I’d never seen so many in my life,” she says. “It’s like they were the police hunting down a criminal.”

  • Censorship
    • ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ Aims To Stop Porn Access In Public Hotspots

      The UK government has launched the ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ licensing scheme – an effort to make harmful and pornographic content inaccessible through public Wi-Fi networks.

    • ‘Pirate’ Site ISP Blockades Reversed By Court

      As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds.

    • Dotcom’s MEGA Blocked in Italy Over Piracy Concerns

      The Court of Rome has issued a nation-wide block of two dozen sites that facilitated the distribution of pirated movies. Among the blocked domains is Kim Dotcom’s cloud hosting service Mega, Firedrive (formerly known as Putlocker), and even Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • That Comcast Customer Service Rep Wasn’t Going Rogue

      During her time at Comcast, Bruce attended an all-day training session, on a Sunday, four times a year. At the training session, 40 people would be lectured by a trainer who would give “pep talks” about the importance of retaining customers and making sales. In addition to managing calls, Bruce also worked at the counter, where she was instructed to try to convince customers to keep their service, even as they were returning cable gear following a processed cancellation.

    • Verizon made an enemy tonight

      This Netflix video streams at 375 kbps (or 0.375 mbps – 0.5% of the speed I pay for) at the fastest. I was shocked. Then I decided to try connecting to a VPN service to compare.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • RIAA Now Bullying Fully Licensed, Zero Revenue Music Site

        Earlier this week it was reported how the RIAA had decided to turn the licensing thumbscrews on a site offering decades-old radio archives for download. Now another archival site, one that pays thousands of dollars in license fees to BMI, ASCAP and SoundExchange yet makes not a cent, is now in the RIAA spotlight.

      • [Old] Dotcom’s Mega Plans $179m Public Listing Via Reverse Takeover

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has announced its intention to go public with a backdoor listing on the New Zealand stock exchange. The deal, worth a cool NZ$210m ($179m), will be actioned via a reverse takeover of a local investment shell company.

      • Chrome Blocks uTorrent as Malicious and Harmful Software

        Google’s Chrome browser has started to block downloads of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent. Those who attempt to download the software are told that it’s malicious and harmful, hinting that the website might have been hacked.

Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

Sunday 20th of July 2014 10:08:03 AM

Summary: Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin

The most notoriously foul-mouthed Mono booster is joining Xamarin, which is funded by Microsoft-linked sources and enjoying an alliance with Microsoft, trying to spread Microsoft to everything.

As put by Mr. Shields himself, he got “a job offer 3 months ago from my long-time friend in Open Source, Miguel de Icaza. Monday morning, I fly out to Xamarin’s main office in Boston, for just over a week of induction and face time with my new co workers, as I take on the title of Release Engineer.”

Enjoy a job funded by Microsoft veterans, to promote Microsoft software, and be managed by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza. Now it’s “pay day” for your years of harassing Mono sceptics.

Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:44:27 AM

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software

THE improperly-named AllSeen Alliance recently let Microsoft in, immediately discrediting itself. But it’s not just FOSS foes, proprietary software giants, patent trolls and software patent lobbyists that are among the AllSeen Alliance’s members. It’s even a company that sued Chrome using software patents. It seems like growth for the sake of quantity — not quality — is what the AllSeen Alliance is after. Since the AllSeen Alliance is tied to the Linux Foundation, this bodes poorly for Linux as a whole. Here is the AllSeen Alliance’s latest mistake: “Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.”

Did the AllSeen Alliance bother to check Red Bend’s history? Maybe, but probably not. Having said that, since the AllSeen Alliance even opened the door to Microsoft, it does not seem to bother at all with quality control. Its name seems to insinuate in-house (universal) surveillance and judging by its members, that is the route it is quite likely to take.

Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:31:06 AM

Matt Levy works for CCIA (occasionally a Microsoft proxy) now

Summary: Matthew (‘Matt’) Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)

WE ARE excited to see that after the USPTO had begun rejecting software patents and CAFC had ruled against 'abstract' software patents (owing to SCOTUS) there was impact by extrapolation. As TechDirt puts it, “Latest CAFC Ruling Suggests A Whole Lot Of Software Patents Are Likely Invalid”. Another patents expert (especially expert in patent trolls) puts it like this: “The most litigious “patent troll” in the US has lost a major case after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found its patent was too abstract.”

We continue to be disappointed by the site Patent Progress (notice which controversial entities its writers are affiliated with). The name is misleading and it’s a dot-org too, despite corporate connections. We wrote about this in the past, before we knew that Matt Levy, its main writer, “joined the CCIA in 2013″ (see our Wiki page about CCIA).

Levy continues to favour the IBM-style OIN-esque aggregation of patents. From his latest post: “A coalition of tech companies (Google, Canon, SAP, Newegg, Dropbox and Asana) recently announced a new private initiative to disarm patent trolls: the License on Transfer Network (LOT). This is essentially an extension of Google’s Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (OPN) that I wrote about in my very first Patent Progress post last year.”

We recently saw several links (e.g. in Twitter) pointing at our older (and sceptical) analysis of Patent Progress. It seems that not only us have noticed the change of agenda, or lack of coherent agenda. Not a word has been said in Patent Progress about the above news, which is massive! Is Patent Progress becoming as credible as ‘Consumer’ Watchdog’? To ‘Consumer’ Watchdog’, only Google is a problem (it seems like an extension of Microsoft’s “Scroogled” PR) and to Patent Progress, the only problem is patent trolls, not patent scope.

Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:06:51 AM

Summary: The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples

SEVERAL days ago several people told us about this article from Matt Asay. Ignoring the issues with proprietary software (EULAs, back doors, etc.) the article makes the bizarre claim that “we’re living in a post-open source world”, as if Free/libre software does not matter anymore. One reader told us that Asay had been “trolling for Black Duck“. Well, looking at the licensing strategy of Asay’s current employer, this position is easy to explain.

Unfortunately, however, the problem is this case is what Red Hat staff called “Asayroll” (troll) and we often call Mac Asay (he does not use FOSS himself). He used to be a fan of the GPL but then turned against it. Black Duck is just one among several data points he uses to bash the GPL now. Other data points (at least two) were partly Microsoft-funded as well; they’re good at hiding it. It’s information war, striving to change perception and kill the GPL with words.

It is not a surprise that Asay attacks the GPL and this is actually IDG’s second article in just about a week which attacks the GPL, citing Microsoft-connected entities. They must be terribly afraid of copyleft, or maybe their clients (like Microsoft) are doing lip service.

In other FUD, Dan Goodin with his provocative images continues to attack FOSS security, focusing all his attention on bugs in FOSS rather than back doors in proprietary software. “Researcher uncovers “catastrophic failure” in random number generation,” he says. Well, actually, in LibreSSL there is much better randomness than in Intel’s hardware-’accelerated’ RNGs (which are likely facilitating back doors by keeping entropy low) and proprietary software, which uses weak (by design) encryption. “Dan is the Security Editor at Ars Technica,” says the site, which really says a lot about where Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica) stands on security. It only trash-talks FOSS and GNU/Linux. This is systematic bias, usually by omission.

In more relevant news, watch the article “Embedded Windows XP systems targeted by new Chinese malware”. It says:

“It is exceedingly hard to protect against malware when it ships pre-installed from the factory. The average business, even a large enterprise, simply isn’t set up to perform this kind of due diligence on incoming hardware with embedded systems, whether it’s Windows, Linux or another platform. If an organisation wants to ensure privacy for itself and its customers, it must bear the cost of security somewhere in the supply chain, whether that’s in increased cost of a higher assurance supplier, or in post-purchase testing,” he explained.

Why is Linux dismissed as an option? Windows has back doors, so it can never be suited/deemed suitable for financial transactions. Why insinuate that this kind of issue is inherent (to the task)?

They should call out Windows and Microsoft’s connections with the NSA. which in is in turn connected to US banks. No country other than the US can ever trust Windows for use in ATMs. That’s a fact.

We are disappointed to see incomplete, biased, vengeful ‘reporting’ with agenda tied to companies/friends/employers of the writers/publishers. This is not journalism. It’s trash talk disguised as “news”.

Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

Saturday 19th of July 2014 09:54:09 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Google Released LiquidFun 1.1, Open-source 2D Physics Engine

    Google announced 1.1 release of LiquidFun, an open-source 2D physics engine including fluid simulation. The engine opens new possibilities to both game developers and UI designers, says Google. LiquidFun now officially supports iOS in addition to Android, Linux, and OS X.

  • Open Source Vs. Open Enough

    So what does this mean for the networking world? Open Daylight (run by the Linux Foundation) enables organizations to download an “open source networking platform” to run their networks. This is the Hydrogen release, which comes in basic, virtualization, and service provider editions. I’m sure there have been a lot of downloads to test the software and to play with it in an IT sandbox, but I have not heard of anyone using it in production (but would be happy to talk to anyone who is).

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • As the Web Grows, Do Browser Makers Wield Too Much Power?

      Do you ever take a step back and look at how central the web is to your life? For some people, it’s an always connected, ever present adjunct to their actual consciousness. Futurists like Ray Kurzweil even predict that we will eventually effectively merge with the web and other technology tools, giving us almost superhuman abilities to instantly access information.

    • Chrome
      • Chromecast Now Lets Users Move Android Content to Their TVs

        Android smartphones and tablets are great devices for many tasks, but sometimes you just wish you had a bigger screen to see the videos and other content that you are viewing. Now you can do just that, using Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle, which has just been upgraded to push Android content from your small devices to your television screen.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Reveals Far Reaching Global Push for Firefox OS

        Firefox OS has “unlocked the mobile ecosystem” and is quickly expanding across a broad range of devices and product categories in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, according to a new post from Mozilla. There are those who have questioned whether Firefox OS is finding an enthusiastic audience, but many people questioned Android when it first arrived, too.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Musing: Microsoft to offer its software on Linux – A theoretical consideration.

      BREAKING NEWS: MICROSOFT RELEASES ITS OFFICE SUITE FOR LINUX

      Take a few seconds to consider how you would feel, then maybe be kind enough to hear my view.

      So it’s great? Microsoft’s flagship product now available to those who in the past had only LO, Abiword etc to chose from. Now you can run natively on your Linux box that which Windows users have been for years.

      Bad idea? Yes completely, here’s why. Let me just add before someone mentions it, yes I know Microsoft produces code for the Kernel. Have I an issue? No, because in that respect it is as part of a team of developers who all have various quality checks and testing – kernel devs don’t mindlessly accept all code and say “cheers mate” as they paste it in with a text editor. The process I’d suggest is more complex and even if Microsoft wanted to (which I’m sure it wouldn’t) there’s little chance of anything “naughty” going on there. So for me, Microsoft contributions are welcomed, if with a little surprise at myself saying that.

  • Funding
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • coreutils-8.23 released [stable]
    • GCC Code Gets Updated For Go 1.3 Language

      Released the middle of last month was Google’s Go 1.3 programming language. Updated Go 1.3 code is now landing within the GNU Compiler Collection.

      Go 1.3 offers many changes and improvements throughout, Godoc static analysis support, GC supports Native Client execution sandbox on 32-bit/64-bit x86 architectures, and experimental support for new operating systems. Those unfamiliar with last month’s release of Go 1.3 can read more via the release notes. There’s also other commentary about the Go 1.3 language update via the Go Blog.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Kerala Legislature moves to open source software; LibreOffice

      The Kerala Legislative Assembly (Niyamsabha) has shifted to free and open software, following the expiry of support period to Windows XP.

      It has also started producing all its documentation, both digital and printed materials, using the free and open source office suite LibreOffice from yesterday (July 17, 2014).

  • Licensing
    • FOSS & the IRS: Now We’re Talking

      We’ve been watching with great interest this week as the travails of FOSS organizations with the US Internal Revenue Service have become a hot topic. When our client, Jim Nelson of Yorba, discussed blogging about the IRS rejection of Yorba’s application for 501c3 status with us, we hoped but did not expect that the situation, to which we had discreetly called community and company attention for years, would finally receive some. We’re very glad that’s now happening. Unfortunately, it’s really too late. Because of the long delays in determination imposed by the IRS in its increasingly anti-FOSS positioning, neither the full consequences of the IRS’s present position nor the state of our legal technology in response can be seen from the materials currently under discussion.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • WFMU Building Open Source “Audience Engine” Web CMS For Radio Stations

      New Jersey’s WFMU.FM is a legendary freeform non-commercial radio station that embodies community from its supportive listeners to its wide-ranging programming. WFMU recently embarked on a new community adventure with their decision to develop an open source version of their currently proprietary CMS (content management system). The new CMS is called Audience Engine and its designed not only to manage content and build community, but to support fundraising.

    • Open Data
  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers

Microsoft’s Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia’s Android Phones Axed by Microsoft’s Elop

Friday 18th of July 2014 08:49:15 PM

Microsoft’s layoffs are not about Nokia but about Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft’s rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia’s last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)

NOKIA is dead because Microsoft killed it under the guise of “acquisition” (after a so-called “partnership”). Nokia committed the ‘sin’ of exploring about 4 Linux-based platforms over the years. This could not be tolerated by Microsoft, especially considering Nokia’s size (Nokia’s had the lion’s share of the mobile market). Microsoft had to put a stop to it. When Microsoft took over Nokia (with a mole and a bribe) Nokia had just become one of the top contributors to Linux (the kernel) and was actively developing one of the most promising platforms for mobile devices. It is still being adopted by Jolla (former Nokia staff) as Sailfish OS and to a lesser degree explored by Samsung (Tizen). Let this remind us how anticompetitive Microsoft remains. It’s a force of destruction, not creation. Microsoft has done this for decades.

Some days ago we wrote about news that Microsoft would announce massive layoffs. This turns out to have been true, but the earliest coverage was Microsoft ‘damage control’ (or PR). A longtime critic of Microsoft (after the company stabbed him in the back), a man widely known as Jean-Louis Gassée, says that “Satya Nadella’s latest message to the troops – and to the world – is disquieting. It lacks focus, specifics, and, if not soon sharpened, his words will worry employees, developers, customers, and even shareholders.”

The company is in bad shape because the cash cows are in rapid decline and money is derived from aggressively milking those who are still locked in (we covered this before). The company also uses crimes like bribery in an attempt to keep people locked in. Microsoft is not a real company but more of a corrupt political movement, so if you work for a criminal, by choice, then expect to be treated like one. Here is the Microsoft mouthpiece covering (up?) the layoffs and anonymous staff saying: “that concerns me because now you have a level of stress and anxiety at Microsoft. First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively – er, excuse me, productively (?) – implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.”

Only about 6% of those laid off are based in Finland. Don’t let Microsoft pretend that it is all about Nokia.

One headline says the layoffs will be complete next year and Microsoft has meanwhile axed the Android phones from Nokia. This expected decision seems to have Elop the mole at the centre of it (he works for Microsoft again, not just as a mole). In Microsoft-tied networks we again witness Sam Dean playing soft. “You have to hand it to incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’” he said. “He is not afraid to stir the pot, and seems well aware that it needs stirring. In a company-wide email, Nadella announced that it will cut its employee base by up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent in the next year, and one of the big reasons is to accommodate the acquisition of Nokia.”

No, it is not about Nokia, that is part of the coverup. Dean is still sucking up to Nadella and helping Microsoft’s PR campaign. Here is a better article about how Microsoft killed everything in Nokia which deals with Linux, but there is a lot more to it. “Only 1100 culled from Finland,” tells me a reader, so the lie that Microsoft merely cuts down Nokia is just diversion and deception. About 17,000 are fired outside of Finland and claims that Microsoft goes back to Windows wrongly assume that Windows (mobile) has something going for it. It has been a massive failure. Perhaps it is all about pulling the plug on people who have no blind faith in the Windows ‘religion’:

MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that Nokia’s Android-powered X handset lineup is no more, with the firm instead planning to deliver the devices with its own Windows Phone mobile operating system.

The layoffs are not effective immediately, so any staff that challenges the status quo should beware.

A reader wrote to us: “What to you want to bet that the severance packages contain non-disparagement/non-compete clauses of some kind? They will spread like a cloud of toxins to new employers. And how many temps/permatemps are going, too?”

The reader showed us this new article which he labeled “voice of a ‘softer” (Microsoft staff). The headline is “Sipilä: Government should hire ex-Microsoft staff to build IT systems” and it suggests that the Finnish government should put an army of Microsoft moles in charge of government IT. What a horrible idea.

These layoffs are not what the early puff pieces claimed them to be. These puff pieces came also from CNET, which has helped openwash Microsoft (the chief editor systematically does this) and is now deleting articles that Microsoft does not like. Yes, CNET has removed (censored we assume) a classic article about a company that ditched Microsoft. Follow the links here (last year) or here. “CNET has taken down the article,” our reader told us, “Link was active in 2013 as it was used then by Pogson” as he indeed demonstrated.

Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on ‘Abstract’ Patents

Friday 18th of July 2014 08:03:39 PM

There are software patents even on progress bars

Summary: The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just “invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract,” says a patents expert

Some days ago we noted that the USPTO had begun rejecting software patents owing to a SCOTUS decision. Thankfully, the subject of software patents is back in the headlines (not “trolls”), with articles like “Kickstarting an Old Patent System for the New Software Era”. More fantastic news from the US (regarding software patents) seemed to suggest that the tide is changing, as CAFC — not just the USPTO — destroys software patents (both CAFC and USPTO the are software patents maximalists). Here is some new coverage of it:

On Friday we got our first taste of the practical consequences of last month’s landmark decision from the Supreme Court restricting patents on software. The Federal Circuit Appeals Court, which hears appeals in all patent cases, invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract. And the reasoning of the decision could lead to a lot of other software patents going down in flames, too.

This is exciting news. Some of the most pro-software patents entities are now forced to obey the guidance from SCOTUS. This is a real change and one that the corporate media has not been covering. After the Bilski ruling we saw something similar.

OpenSUSE ‘Community’ is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE’s Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

Friday 18th of July 2014 07:46:28 PM

Summary: Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell

Last week we were asked about Attachmate, which we no longer keep track of because Novell is pretty much dead and SUSE is not doing well. They are going extinct. The Xandros Web site is no longer even accessible and when it comes to SUSE, the community in particular, it is going down the same route. Well, judging by the declining volume of activity in OpenSUSE News, Greg K-H’s move to the Linux Foundation, the fact that community manager left (he works for ownCloud now) and now the departure of the chairman of the OpenSUSE board (more on that here), we think it is safe to treat SUSE as irrelevant, or not relevant enough for us to track. Here is the latest:

The openSUSE Board announced this morning that Vincent Untz has stepped down as the openSUSE Board Chairman.

Several days ago I spent some time looking at years’ worth of Novell news, Attachmate news, and SUSE news (I am still subscribed to dozens of feeds related to all those). This was done after a discussion in IRC. I am reluctant to bother with any of them because 1) there is not much news at all and 2) the news hardly relates to FOSS. Novell will go down the same route as Corel and SUSE will end up like Xandros. As for Xamarin, which was created after Novell/Attachmate had abandoned Mono, it is mostly an extension of Microsoft now (a bit like SUSE, which shows up in Microsoft sites because their goal is to tax GNU/Linux servers).

SUSE and Novell pretty much became what we foresaw and feared. Novell’s patents are in Microsoft’s hands now, SUSE serves no purpose other than taxing GNU/Linux for Microsoft, and Novell was not allowed to truly complete with Microsoft. AttachMSFT ensures that much of Novell’s proprietary portfolio is a dying breed. Mono became more closely tied and entangled with Microsoft.

Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

Friday 18th of July 2014 01:21:06 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source Storage Bolsters Its Boards With Oracle Alumnus

    Open Source Storage has a bit of a struggle on its hands. Despite having existed (kind of) for well over 10 years, the storage company is relatively unknown compared to incumbent players (NetApp and EMC for example) and newer storage industry disruptors (Inktank and StorSimple for example) alike. The company has had something of an on-again, off-again life as the GFC caused its early investors to back out and the company waited until this year to relaunch.

  • Adobe, Google Develop Open-Source Font for Asian Languages

    Adobe and Google have teamed up to develop a new open source font that supports seven different languages.

  • Open-Source Blu-Ray Now Works For BD-J / Menu Rendering

    For users of libbluray for limited open-source Blu-Ray disc support, there’s some updates worth fetching.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • WebKit’s FTL JavaScript Engine Shows Off Potential For LLVM

      Earlier this year we wrote about Apple working on an LLVM-based JIT compiler for WebKit. This new JIT engine, called “Fourth Tier LLVM” (FTL), is enabled within the latest open-source code for this browser rendering engine and is faster than WebKit’s earlier JavaScript implementations.

    • Breach Browser: an open-source and hackable browser for geeks

      While you are reading this, the chances are you are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer (IE). That is because these tend to be the only choices on offer. Although each of the big browsers will try to convince you that you have a choice. The simple truth is you do not. You are confined to using these five main choices which generally-speaking are increasingly converging and becoming more alike with each update. That is until now!

    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • The Rust Language Is Improving, But Not Yet Ready For 1.0

        Rust, the programming language born at Mozilla for developing a “safe, concurrent, practical language” continues to evolve and experience greater adoption. Rust certainly seems to have a good future ahead of it as shared by the latest status update on the project, but a few more release cycles are needed at least before the Rust developers look toward version 1.0.

      • State of Rust 0.11.0

        Over the past 6 months since the last one of these updates was written, Rust has evolved significantly: the standard library was refactored to make Rust more convenient to use in embedded or bare-metal platforms, the language has been greatly simplified (moving most pointer types into libraries) and the package ecosystem has been thriving under a new package manager.

      • Firefox OS Ecosystem Shows Strong Momentum and Expands Across New Devices, Markets and Categories

        Firefox OS has unlocked the mobile ecosystem and is quickly expanding across a broad range of devices and product categories in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Just one year after the first devices were launched, Firefox OS is now available on seven smartphones offered by five major operators in 15 countries, showing strong signs of ecosystem momentum and widespread industry adoption.

      • Firefox OS lands in Germany – with France, Asia, and more to come

        Mozilla’s Firefox OS continues its slow march across the globe, with carriers set to begin shipping devices running the open source, browser-based smartphone platform in additional developed markets this week.

        Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica has previously sold Firefox OS phones in Spain, but the bulk of its efforts have been focused on its subsidiaries in Spanish-speaking emerging markets, including Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.2 released to the channel

      LibreOffice from Collabora is the enterprise-ready build of the widely used Open Source office suite. The newly announced LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.2 provides an enterprise-hardened build which can be maintained by patch updates for many years.

  • CMS
  • Funding
    • Open Source Madness

      The Yorba Foundation, a non-profit group that produces open source Linux desktop software, reported last week that it was denied tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the IRS. The group had waited nearly five years for a decision. The IRS stated that, because the software Yorba develops can be used commercially, the organization has a substantial non-exempt purpose and is disqualified from tax-exempt status. We think the IRS’ decision rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of open source software.

    • PredictionIO’s $2.5M money bag suggests open-source is right for machine learning

      PredictionIO, a startup that has crafted an open-source program to let developers add machine-learning smarts to their applications, might just be setting the tone for the next wave in data technology.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 4.9.1 Released, Adds OpenMP 4.0 To Fortran

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat announced this morning the GCC 4.9.1 release that has many bug-fixes and other minor improvements to GNU Compiler Collection 4.9 that was released in April with many improvements and features. More than 88 regressions and serious bugs were fixed in GCC 4.9.1 while a new feature now supported is OpenMP 4.0 support for Fortran, to complement the GCC 4.9.0 OMP 4.0 support for the C and C++ languages.

    • First steps with Liberty-Eiffel

      The first thing I notice is a different terminology. An executable is called system and a set of classes is refereed as universe. The classes can be grouped in clusters into the universe. And the routines (operations) of a class, and its attributes, are called features. The routines are divided in functions or queries (which return a value) and procedures (which do not return a value). As opposed to C language, where we need a function named main, on Eiffel we can designate any procedure to start the execution.

    • Denemo – Release 1.1.8 is imminent
  • Public Services/Government
    • OFE: ‘Continued discrimination in IT procurement’

      Public administrations across Europe continue to discriminate in their IT calls for tender by asking for specific brands and products, concludes OpenForum Europe, and organisation advocating for an open, competitive ICT market. “Thousands of small IT firms are excluded from competing in the public procurement process by restrictions such as the naming of trademarks in calls for tender”, said Graham Taylor, OFE’s CEO, in a press statement.

    • A juggernaut like the NHS won’t find it easy to drop Windows for open source – but it should

      Microsoft is a commercial venture so it is reasonable for them to sell their products, which they do via licensing per unit. The NHS has about 100,000 computers, so it pays a considerable amount and also has a lot of work to do each time there’s a required update for any of their server technologies or desktop computers. While it needs some technical tweaking, Windows is sold as something that comes out of the box and should work. Designed to work with a wide range of different types of systems, the one size that fits (almost) all computers is a bonus for many technical managers.

      But it hasn’t been problem-free. Most hospitals still have thousands of PCs running Windows XP which stopped being supported earlier this year.

    • Kerala Legislature announces smooth transition to free software

      The Kerala Legislative Assembly has made a significant transition to the free software platform for recording its voluminous business.

      The Speaker’s announcement to this effect a couple of days ago represented a milestone not just for the IT Department of the Niyama Sabha, but also for the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (Icfoss) based here, the larger free software community, and free software enterprises in Kerala.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
  • Standards/Consortia
    • AllSeen IoT Group Adds 8 New Members

      The AllSeen Alliance, which is one of several open-source consortiums working to develop standards for the Internet of things, is adding eight new members to a lineup that includes such tech heavyweights as Microsoft, Qualcomm, Cisco Systems and Symantec.

    • Community Blog Series: Red Bend Software

      Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.

    • New wireless mesh standard hatches from Google’s Nest
Leftovers

Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

Thursday 17th of July 2014 12:52:27 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Can the FOSS community save 197 endangered languages?

    In India, the situation is not different. I searched the Language Atlas of UNESCO and found out that 197 Indian languages are endangered. One of these endangered languages is from the region from where I originally belong: Bihar, a state of India. I work in the free and open source software (FOSS) field, focused on localization. The language I do my work in is Hindi. I’ve also worked in Maithili, an Indian language, mentoring the community and help develop several applications in it, including Fedora, GNOME, KDE , and Firefox.

  • Adobe Partners With Google To Release Open-Source Font For Chinese, Japanese And Korean Languages
  • Portland company unveils new tool as open source community converges on Rose City

    Local startup GraphAlchemist is hoping to tap into some of that excitement. The data visualization company has tools for corporate customers to visualize data sets and map connections, and now it is releasing a version called Alchemy.js that will allow people to get a taste of the product.

  • How open source can solve Silicon Valley’s engineering crisis

    Silicon Valley may think itself the center of the universe, but when it comes to open source, it can only muster a third-place finish. According to an analysis of top GitHub contributors, both Europe and the rest of the United States develop more open-source software than Silicon Valley. While this may not be surprising given Europe’s long-standing affection for open source, it is a reminder that much of the best development talent doesn’t live along Highway 101 and probably never will.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Big Data
  • CMS
    • Cloud, open source power TransLink’s Web presence

      It was an aging bespoke application that drove TransLink to seek a new content management system, but it was the strength of the community surrounding the open source project that helped the Queensland public transport agency choose Drupal.

      Prior to the switch to Drupal, which began last year, the former TransLink site was partly based on static files and partly on a “home-grown CMS that managed a lot of our custom content such as service disruption and events, so that we could do a little bit of distributed authoring within the organisation,” said Natalie Gorring, manager, online products and services, at TransLink.

  • Business
  • Funding
    • Crowdfunding for open source software

      Nowadays when people say “crowdfunding,” most people know exactly it is, but just a few short years ago, the term was not commonly used. Bountysource is easy to explain now: it is a crowdfunding site aimed at open source software developers, but a decade ago, people just were not sure what it was or how it worked. Even the founders said the project died quickly because people were unsure of its intentions.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 9.3-RELEASE Announcement

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 9.3-RELEASE. This is the fourth release of the stable/9 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 9.2-RELEASE and introduces some new features.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 4.9.1 Released

      GCC 4.9.1 release supports OpenMP 4.0 also in Fortran, rather than just in C and C++.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open-Source Will Make Real-Time Measurements Affordable

      From my earliest days in measurement, the term “real-time” has been special. Its meaning has evolved over these years as a figure of merit without any actual figures being presented. But the use has continually increased as a way of denoting the presence of data as it occurs.

    • Open source biology

      At O’Reilly, we’ve long been supporters of the open source movement — perhaps not with the religious fervor of some, but with a deep appreciation for how open source has transformed the computing industry over the last three decades.

    • Open Hardware
      • Apeiros Arduino Based Open Source Robot (video)

        Students, makers and developers that are in the market for an open source robot might be interested in a new Arduino-based robot called Apeiros.

      • Social Circle: Improving social interaction at social events

        The prototype we created of the designed solution, is composed of an Arduino controlling six player boards with voting buttons and LEDs which it reads. The Arduino is connected to a virtual interface showed on a 19″ screen in the middle of the table. Players receive harmless question such as “Which player would be the best superhero?” and everyone then place a vote on each other using the player boards. Votes are then revealed and points are given to the agreeing majority. If players votes indicate disagreement, a discussion round is started where players have to persuade each other to vote differently.

Leftovers

Microsoft’s Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 04:23:13 PM

Summary: Microsoft boosters are preparing ‘damage control’ pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft

Murdoch’s press took note of Microsoft’s shrinkage amid death of products. There are more layoffs coming which mostly affect Nokia staff. CNET/CBS, which has been openwashing Microsoft (at the very highest level), spreads misinformation about it. As a reads of ours explained: “It was not $7.2 billion USD as mentioned in this article. That sum is misleading as it includes patent licensing and not just the sale.”

Here is the misinformation which says:

Microsoft is planning its largest round of layoffs in five years as the software giant looks to integrate Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people with knowledge of the company’s plans.

The job cuts, expected to be announced as soon as this week, will likely affect positions in the Nokia unit that serve the same function in other parts of Microsoft, as well as in marketing and engineering, Bloomberg reported. Microsoft added roughly 25,000 employees when it completed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division in April.

Sources told the news agency that the round of job cuts could be the largest in Microsoft’s history, exceeding the 5,800 positions it eliminated in 2009.

The original was a puff piece from Bloomberg, written by Microsoft's friend Dina Bass to cushion the blow ahead the announcement. She is Nadella-washing the company (the ‘new’ Microsoft) and trying to make it sound like everything is just fine. It is PR and damage control, as one can see here. To quote:

The reductions — which may be unveiled as soon as this week — will probably be in areas such as Nokia and divisions of Microsoft that overlap with that business, as well as marketing and engineering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The restructuring may end up being the biggest in Microsoft history, topping the 5,800 jobs cut in 2009, two of the people said. Some details are still being worked out, two of the people said.

[...]

The company had 127,104 employees as of June 5, after adding about 30,000 in its acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit.

Nothing is said about Microsoft’s thuggish entyryism and Elop the mole, as well as prior layoffs at Nokia (by now, one oughtn’t expect yet more layoffs, alas Microsoft totally destroyed the company). There is an attempt to shift blame here.

The bottom line is, Microsoft continues to fail very badly in mobile and not even subversive tactics are helping. Microsoft destroyed Nokia, passed its patents to patent trolls, and took its extensive user data trove to the US, where this data can be more easily mined by the Five Eyes.

Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 04:15:11 PM

Summary: Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests

Several nations have already moved away from Microsoft or expressed intent to do so within months if not years. It is not just China anymore but also Russia and amid a spying scandal in Germany it makes sense for Germany to do the same along with much of Europe, for reasons we explained some days ago. Nobody can trust a backstabbing ‘ally’ and companies which facilitate surveillance at its behalf (Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle and so on).

Vista 8 is a banned by the Chinese government and this new article reminds us that “The German government has always been militant in matters of data protection. In 2013, it warned consumers against using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system due to perceived security risks, suggesting that it provided a back door for the US National Security Agency (NSA).”

Microsoft’s very special relationship with the NSA has cost a lot and layoff are coming to Microsoft (more on that in our next post). Now that the British government tries to get away from Microsoft there is lobbying going on and the government tries to hide it. “in March,” wrote Glyn Moody, “I asked about industry lobbying against ODF in UK. I’ve heard nothing, now asked for formal review FOI”.

Moody’s request to Cabinet Office was covered here before (Moody must have learned from experience) and the latest can be found here:

Dear Cabinet Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request formally an internal review of Cabinet
Office’s handling of my FOI request ‘Open document formats’.

The response to my request is long overdue; by law, under all
circumstances, the authority should have responded by now. No
official explanation has been offered for this delay.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o…

Thank you for your help.

Yours faithfully,

Glyn Moody

Why do UK authorities cover up Microsoft lobbying against standards? I warned their staff about such lobbying months ago.

As Moody later pointed out, “my FOI request is nearly 4 months old now…”

How obscene is that? He even wrote a whole new article about it, stating:

So GCHQ is able to to search through the UK’s entire Internet stream to find all the vaguely bad things there, but the Cabinet Office is unable to locate a few specific emails on its own servers.

Moody also says “they send PDFs that are *scans* of documents – I had to re-type the excerpts in my post…”

The CIA famously uses this tactic to discourage publication and other forms of dissemination. They’re embarrassed, they have something to hide.

Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 04:00:49 PM

Small change

Summary: Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers’ words

There is a curious new piece from zealous patent lawyers who promote software patents and equate sales with need for patents, adding foolish statements like the conclusion below (from WatchTroll’s co-writer): “The Alice decision will no doubt take some time to shake out in the lower courts and perhaps some certainty (i.e., one or more tests for each step in the Mayo framework) will develop. In the meantime, I note that according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the U.S. software and IT services industry had revenue totaling US$606B in 2011, with overall research and development spending of US$126.3B, and a U.S. workforce of nearly two million people. Further, a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report pegs the cumulative value of technology-related M&A activity for 2013 at US$99.8B, with software representing 25% of this total value and 35% of the total deal volume. This is a substantial amount of U.S. commerce that deserves stable and predictable patent law protection! Until then, code (and patent) on!”

This is a completely bogus argument, whose premise can be used to say the very opposite about software patents. Just because he ends with an exclamation point doesn’t mean he is right. Quite the contrary. These patent lawyers only care about themselves. The status quo of software patents is mostly beneficial to patent trolls, as pointed out by this new article that says: “Surveys dating back to 1996 and statements by leading visionaries in the area of software programming such as Richard Stallman show that most people in the industry are not in support of software patents. These show that reform is required in this area and most are of the belief that software development is impeded by the fact there may be patents and/or copyrights. These patents and/or copyrights may prevent them from releasing their product on to the market and may also cause monetary damage to them in terms of legal fees and lost sales arising out of potential litigation.”

Meanwhile, looking at the latest from Microsoft’s propaganda and FOSS mole blog, the company makes money out of taxing GNU/Linux, due to SUSE’s appalling complicity. This is what patents on software lead to.

While SUSE does continue to exist (although with diminished presence) people around the world should just boycott it. Microsoft wants software patents not to encourage innovation but to assure extortion; likewise, patent lawyers fight hard to re-frame the SCOTUS ruling because it limits their parasitic overreach which taxes software everywhere.

Going back to the previous article, let us remember who else benefits from software patents. This is a correlation that we noted numerous times before, especially when arguing that patent scope — not trolls — is the core issue and the way to tackle this issue. To quote just the conclusion: “The fourth chart depicts that unto 93% of patent litigations in the software area are being initiated by NPEs (Non-practicing entities) aka patent trolls; whereas for other technology areas, the percentage of patent litigations being initiated by NPEs are in a minority. The fifth chart depicts the percentage of patents with at least one invalid claim (as decided by the courts during the course of litigation), wherein the invalidity may be based on novelty and/or non-obviousness. 38% and 53% of the patents in the software and business method area respectively have at least one invalid claim; whereas only 27% of patents in the other technological areas have at least one invalid claim. Further, this chart also shows that 59% of patents assigned to trolls have at least one invalid claim. The sixth chart depicts the rising number of patent litigations in the courts, with chart #7 depicting that the ratio of litigations related to patents from the software/business method have been rising at an average of 2000 per annum. The ninth chart depicts the costs of patent litigation and the ever increasing trend of the costs.”

Gene Quinn, the WatchTroll himself, is a patent lawyer who is actively lobbying for software patents. Based on this important article from him (important for what he reports, not his commetary), things rapidly improve in the US as software becomes hard too patent and hence also hard to enforce through the courts. To quote the software patents booster himself: “A friend who handles large numbers of software patent applications for some of the most elite technology companies sent me an e-mail late last week about what he has already started seeing coming from patent examiners. He says he has seen the below form paragraph twice within a week. Most alarming, in one case the form paragraph came in the form of a supplemental office action, but the outstanding original office action didn’t have any patent eligibility rejections under 35 U.S.C. 101.”

Well, he is very much upset by this. He accuses the messenger. He says: “The claims are abstract because the claims do not recite limitations significantly more than an abstract idea. Truthfully, this rather ridiculous logical construct can’t be blamed on patent examiners when the Supreme Court refuses to provide a definition for what is an abstract idea.”

All software patents are abstract (not code), so they should all be seen as invalid. We explained this several times in the past month. This is something that lawyers struggle to grasp, either because they don’t want to grasp it (cognitive dissonance) or because they cannot.

Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 04:24:29 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Microsoft to push cheaper Windows PCs to compete with Chromebooks

      There is an interesting trend going on in the PC market. Android powered smartphones have overtaken the total PC shipment. Which means Microsoft’s operating system is no more the dominating player in the market. We all understand that the post-PC era belongs to mobile devices as average users can do much more on their smartphones they they used to do on their Windows powered PC, sans mobility. But that’s not the only trend Microsoft is worried about, the real threat is somewhere else. Interestingly as Windows powered PC market is declining, sales of Google’s Chromebooks is picking up. Chromebooks are the #1 best sellers on Amazon.com.

    • Microsoft eyes Chromebooks, low-end PC market: All about the platform
    • It’s Been A Long Time Coming But Competition Returns To The Market For PCs

      Do the maths. Millions are buying small cheap computers that do for them what bulky PCs used to do: compute and communicate. Those small cheap computers even do it better, being small and cheap (bonus for no extra charge). If M$ does give away its OS for small cheap computers or pay people to use its OS, everyone will know that the value of M$’s OS on desktop PCs and servers is about $0, too. The endgame is that M$ cannot just compete on price for consumers’ gadgets. M$ will have to compete everywhere and actually work for a living from now on. That will lower their margins considerably. That will cut into their bottom line. That may not maintain their market share anywhere near where it is now.

    • Chromebooks, Chromeboxes may become even cheaper, thanks to new chips

      To the regular consumer, Chromebook may not be a very cheap device but mind you, if you know the right places to shop, you can actually get a Chromebook that’s as cheap as $200. Now news doing rounds suggest that they could get cheaper than that. MediaTek has reportedly added a new experimental entry-level ARM Cortex A7 board to the open source Chromium OS repository. This will be used in place of the Cortex A15/A7 hybrid that is used by Samsung- not to forget the Intel Celeron chips that are used in other Chrome devices. In theory, this will make Chromebooks and Chromeboxes cost even less than $200, but will be offering sluggish speed.

    • Best Linux Desktop: Top 10 Candidates

      When it comes to selecting the best Linux desktop experience, there are a number of different factors to consider. In this article, I’ll explore 10 Linux distributions that I personally believe are the best all around desktop options.

      I’ll segment each off for newbies or advanced users, customization vs. pre-configured, along with how each performs on standard PC hardware commonly used in most homes.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 3.16-rc5
    • Linux 3.16-rc5 Kernel Released
    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 3.16 RC5
    • E2fsprogs 1.42.11 Filesystem Tool Officially Released

      E2fsprogs, a tool that provides the filesystem utilities for use with the ext2 filesystem and that also supports the ext3 and ext4 filesystems, is now at version 1.42.9.

      The development of E2fsprogs is progressing slowly and each new version managed to be quite impressive, especially if we take into account that it’s made by only one man. The new version of E2fsprogs, 1.42.11, comes with more new features, changes, and fixes than the previous release.

      According to the changelog, support has been added so that mke2fs can now create hugefiles that are aligned relative to the beginning of the disk, a bug that was causing e2fsck to abort a journal replay on a file system with bigalloc enabled has been fixed, sanity checks have been implemented so that mke2fs will now refuse insanely large flex_bg counts specified by the -G option, the ke2fs program is now able to provide a better metadata layout for moderately large flex_bg counts, and the mke2fs program will now check the kernel version number to determine whether the lazy_itable_init option is supported.

      Also, a description of ext4′s mount options has been added to the ext4 section 5 man page, the chattr man page has been improved, resize2fs will not try to calculate the minimum size of a file system, and a file descriptor leak in debugfs has been corrected.

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • New Plugins for kdeconnect
      • KWallet for Plasma 5 now automatically migrates KDE4 wallets!

        Next time you’ll start your updated Plasma 5 session’s KDE Wallet system, it’ll eventually start migrating your wallets. The precondition is that you’re doing that on a system that also has KDE4 and that you previously used that installation’s KDE Wallet system. If your system doesn’t have a KDE4 wallet daemon, then nothing will happen.

      • Notes from Calligra Sprint in Deventer. Part 1: Translation-friendly code

        Last weekend we had a really nice sprint Deventer, which was hosted by Irina and Boudewijn (thank you very much!). We spent two days on discussions, planning, coding and profiling our software, which had many fruitful results.

      • The Road Ahead

        Plasma 5.0 is wrapping up and we have all learned a LOT in the first few months of the Visual Design Group’s existence. One thing is clear though. If any of us had any doubts about whether an open approach to visual design can produce great results, most of those doubts have been assuaged. I’m super-proud to be part of this community and the quality of the results we have produced. It is really exciting to see the participation and the optimism by everyone involved!

      • New Plasma brings a cleaner interface on top of a new graphics stack

        July 15, 2014. KDE proudly announces the immediate availability of Plasma 5.0, providing a visually updated core desktop experience that is easy to use and familiar to the user. Plasma 5.0 introduces a new major version of KDE’s workspace offering. The new Breeze artwork concept introduces cleaner visuals and improved readability. Central work-flows have been streamlined, while well-known overarching interaction patterns are left intact. Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and ships a converged shell, able to switch between user experiences for different target devices. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. Plasma is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

      • KDE Plasma 5 Officially Released
      • KDE Plasma 5 Final Version Is Out and It Looks Great – Screenshot Tour
      • Nixnote goes Qt

        I was fixing a friend’s computer this weekend and she asked me to install her evernote client to keep things in sync, sigh… it’s a java application and I really didn’t wanna install that but well, she needed, so I went to the developer website and WHOA, It went to Qt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • halting problem :: codes of conduct

        you would think that, in 2014, implementing a code of conduct for conferences or conventions would not be a controversial topic. sadly, you’d also be mistaken. there are various contrarian positions about implementing anti-harassment policies; most, if not all of those positions are wrong.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
    • Screenshots
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat CEO Whitehurst on VMware, OpenStack and CentOS

        “Open source gives us brand permission to enter a ton of categories,” said Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst.

      • Red Hat to be a Key Contributor to and Benefactor of the Kubernetes Project

        A few weeks ago, I covered the news that Google had released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is software to manage computing workloads across thousands of computer servers and leverage docker containers. We’ve also covered Google’s announcement that some vey big contributors have joined the Kubernetes project, including IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere, and SaltStack. They are working in tandem on open source tools and container technologies that can run on multiple computers and networks.

      • Inception team launches DevOps at Red Hat
      • CentOS 7 Comes on the Heels of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

        The CentOS 7 Linux operating system became generally available July 7, providing users with a freely available desktop, server and cloud operating system platform. CentOS, an acronym for Community Enterprise Operating System, is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 enterprise OS, released June 10. Unlike RHEL 7, which is a commercially supported enterprise Linux release that requires users to have a paid subscription, CentOS is free. That said, CentOS lacks the support, services and certifications that Red Hat provides its RHEL subscribers. CentOS does, however, provide the same basic technologies as RHEL 7, but for those who don’t need or want the additional enterprise-grade commercial services, CentOS is a free alternative. Red Hat is now an official support and partner of the CentOS community, as well, ever since a surprise announcement in January. CentOS inherits the same XFS file system used in RHEL 7, which provides a file system that can scale up to 500 terabytes. Docker container virtualization support is also part of the CentOS 7 platform. In this slide show, eWEEK examines the CentOS 7 Linux operating system.

      • Fermilab Releases Scientific Linux 7.0 Alpha 2

        The second Alpha version of Scientific Linux 7.0, a recompiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux put together by various labs and universities around the world, is now available for download and testing.

        The developers of Scientific Linux 7.0 have moved very fast and, just a week after the first Release Candidate, a new development release has been made available. Given the short development period since the first Alpha, it’s actually surprising that the devs managed to get all those changes and improvements in.

        “Fermilab’s intention is to continue the development and support of Scientific Linux and refine its focus as an operating system for scientific computing. Today we are announcing an alpha release of Scientific Linux 7. We continue to develop a stable process for generating and distributing Scientific Linux, with the intent that Scientific Linux remains the same high quality operating system the community has come to expect.”

    • Debian Family
      • Debian 7.6 released
      • Debian 7.6 Release Takes Care Of Security Problems
      • Updated Debian 7: 7.6 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the sixth update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename “wheezy”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “wheezy” CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated.

      • Debian 7.6 “Wheezy” Officially Released
      • Derivatives
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Partition Logic 0.74

    Partition Logic is free software, available under the terms of the GNU General Public License. It is based on the Visopsys operating system. It boots from a CD or floppy disk and runs as a standalone system, independent of your regular operating system.

  • When “Free” Can Suck.

    When I first started The HeliOS Project, I was using Librenet on my personal computer. Libranet had a per-user licensing agreement in order to make the effort pay and a single user license was for 69.00 If I remember correctly. Jon Danzig and I worked out a multiple licensing agreement that we could both live with. The fact is, Jon almost gave those licenses away because he believed in what we were doing. Jon’s untimely death in 2005 eventually resulted in the Libranet venture striking their tents and moving on.

  • Open source MindRDR app to lets you control Google Glass with your thoughts
  • Is making your product free and open source crazy talk?

    Making money from open source. To many in the corporate world, that seems like a contradiction in terms. How are you supposed to make money from something that you give away? they ask. It can be done. A number of companies, large and small, have done quite well in the open source space over the years.

    Just ask Patrick McFadin. He’s the chief evangelist for Apache Cassandra at DataStax, a company that’s embraced the open source way. He’s also interviewed leaders at a number of successful open source companies to gain insights into what makes a successful open source business.

  • Though “barely an operating system,” DOS still matters (to some people)

    Earlier this month, I spent a day working in the throwback world of DOS. More specifically, it was FreeDOS version 1.1, the open source version of the long-defunct Microsoft MS-DOS operating system. It’s a platform that in the minds of many should’ve died a long time ago. But after 20 years, a few dozen core developers and a broader, much larger contributor community continue furthering the FreeDOS project by gradually adding utilities, accessories, compilers, and open-source applications.

  • Best Linux Desktop, FreeDOS Still Matters, and Darksiders
  • Announcing Project Zero

    Security is a top priority for Google. We’ve invested a lot in making our products secure, including strong SSL encryption by default for Search, Gmail and Drive, as well as encrypting data moving between our data centers. Beyond securing our own products, interested Googlers also spend some of their time on research that makes the Internet safer, leading to the discovery of bugs like Heartbleed.

  • Google Announces “Project Zero” To Improve Web Security
  • OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Brings Native IPv6 Support, New Init System

    The first release candidate to OpenWRT “Barrier Breaker” 14.07 is now available with a large number of changes to this popular embedded Linux distribution primarily for routers and other network devices.

  • A call to arms for open source!

    My personal journey with open source began 18 years ago, and for my friend Robin Muilwijk, more than a decade ago. We sat down in an empty piazza in the heart of Amsterdam’s financial district late one night with my remote podcasting recorded this “call to arms” for open source. If you rely on open source and free software, if you take it for granted, or if you would like to understand how you, like me, can do more to make sure our journey, and that of those that follow in our footsteps, can be accepted by people across the IT divide, then give this podcast a listen.

  • Open source to make caring for your health feel wonderful

    Juhan Sonin wants to influence the world from protein, to policy, to pixel. And, he believes the only way to do that is with open source principles guiding the way.

    Juhan is the Creative Director at Involution Studios, a design firm educating and empowering people to feel wonderful by creating, developing, and licensing their work for the public.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • “To whom much has been given, much is expected in return” – Free Software economics

      When it comes to Free Software projects, there’s a profound, deep misunderstanding about who does what and how it’s being done. Using the now overused quote, developers write a code “because they have an itch to scratch”, means that there can be twenty different motivations to contribute to Free Software. No one needs to explain or justify his or her contribution. In the real world, one of the most common motivation is money, be it in the form of a salary, a fee, or a transaction involving the developers to fix whatever bug or develop a new feature. Most of the FOSS projects I know -excluding Firefox- do not pay developers directly for fixing bugs except in very specific circumstances and by definition not on a regular basis. The LibreOffice project is no different. The Document Foundation serves the LibreOffice project by financing its infrastructure, protecting its assets and improving LibreOffice in almost every way except paying for development on a regular basis. What this means, in other terms, is that the Document Foundation does not provide support; nor does it provide service to customers. In this sense, it is not a software vendor like Microsoft or Adobe. This is also one of the reasons why there is no “LTS” version of LibreOffice; because the Document Foundation will not provide a more or less mythical “bug-free version” of LibreOffice without ensuring the developers get paid for this. The healthiest way to do this is to grow an ecosystem of developers and service providers who are certified by the Document Foundation and are able to provide professionals with support, development, training and assistance.

  • Business
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Why Python Makes A Great First Programming Language

      Invented 23 years ago, Python’s discovery as a great tool for first-timers has been more recent. The beginner-oriented Raspberry Pi has certainly influenced Python’s new role as a teaching tool, but also its increasing adoption at organizations like Google, Yahoo and NASA that make it valuable to know even after a programmer is no longer a beginner. In modern times, it has routinely been ranked as one of the eight most popular programming languages since 2008.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Next-Gen OpenGL To Be Announced Next Month

      The Khronos Group has shared details about their BoF sessions to be hosted next month during SIGGRAPH and it includes detailing the next-generation OpenGL / OpenGL ES specifications.

Leftovers
  • Argentina riot police clash with fans after World Cup loss (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

    Disturbances have taken place in Buenos Aires after Argentina’s national team lost the World Cup final 1-0 to Germany. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse angry fans.

    [...]

    Despite the late Sunday clashes, the majority of Argentinians have accepted the loss with dignity. Earlier in the evening, thousands of fans came to the Obelisk monument, waving the national flag determined to party in celebrate reaching the World Cup final.

  • Scots Self-Hating Myths

    But the generations of denigration of Scotland’s history, its reshaping to suit a Unionist agenda where the backwards and benighted Scots were brought in to the political and economic glories of the Union and British Empire, underlies so many of the attitudes to Scottish Independence today. Every culture has a right to reference its roots and history without ridicule – and the denial of the authenticity of genuine popular cultural heritage is a particularly pernicious form of ridicule, especially when it is built on lies drummed home in schoolrooms over centuries.

  • Science
    • As Honeybees Die Off, First Inventory of Wild Bees Is Under Way

      On Saturdays, the head of the landmark Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program at the U.S. Geological Survey leaves his straw-bale house, where bees burrow in the walls, and goes to his office—for pleasure. From his desk, a recycled segment of a lane from a bowling alley, he pores over bee specimens with a microscope.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Hamas boasts of drone capabilities after Israel claims to have destroyed one

      There are still more questions than answers regarding a drone Israel claims to have shot down.

      According to the Israeli Defence Forces Twitter account, “An aerial drone from Gaza infiltrated Israel a short time ago. IDF forces shot it down with a Patriot missile above Ashdod.”

    • Sderot Cinema: Israelis Watch Gaza Bombing For Just Good Fun

      Ever-enterprising Israelis dragged plastic chairs and sofas up to a Sderot hill to eat popcorn, smoke hookahs and cheer when explosions lit up the night sky over Gaza in a photo posted by Danish reporter Allan Sørensen with the caption, “Clapping when blasts are heard.” A follow-up story in Kristeligt Dagblad said over 50 Israelis had transformed the hill, dubbed the Hill of Shame in an earlier war, into “something that most closely resembles the front row of a reality war theater.” The photo has caused outrage online, where commenters have blasted “the morality of a people so skewed that murder is a public spectacle.” Spectators say they were there to “look at Israel creating peace” and “see Israel destroy Hamas.” They inexplicably fail to mention the part about burning children. Oh Israel, what have you wrought?

    • Cokie Roberts: More People Should Fear the United States

      Roberts is repeating Israel’s claims that rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel were smuggled into the occupied territory by Syria and Iran–assertions whose validity is often accepted by US media without much scrutiny (FAIR Blog, 3/11/14).

      Nonetheless, her point is that the threat of US military force would stop allowing people to “get away with anything they want to get away with.”

    • Note to David Gregory: The US Is Not the World

      Iran has consistently told the world that it has no interest in developing a nuclear weapon. As of right now, there is no evidence that they are.

    • Camp X: A WWII training camp turned secret-agent school in Whitby, Ontario

      A documentary that looks to shed light on a little-known Canadian factoid, Camp X: Secret Agent School, offers an in-depth look at a top-secret Second World War training camp near Whitby, Ont., that became North America’s first secret-agent school.

    • LETTER: Iraq policy is a betrayal

      I’m not speaking of the CIA, but they have been involved in Syria since before the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. It was shortly after that attack that a U.S. news report surfaced claiming that the CIA was funneling Libyan arms to the rebels in Syria, and it turns our that even before President Obama recently publicly authorized the CIA to train and equip select rebel groups, they had already been training them in Jordan.

    • The Ex-CIA Asset Trying to Conquer Libya

      Gen. Hiftar was betrayed by Gaddafi, was approached by the CIA, moved to the USA, and now says he’ll purge Libya of jihadists. Really?

    • Former deputy CIA head suggests US needs Kurdistan
    • CIA expanding facilities in Kurdistan?

      It’s no secret that the Kurds see the civil war in Iraq as their opportunity for independence, but until now the US has publicly insisted on keeping Iraq a unitary state, even to the point that the Kurds began complaining that the US was the main obstacle to their national aspirations. Privately, however, it appears that the CIA has begun investing in infrastructure in Irbil as part of their effort to gather intel on ISIS.

    • Expansion of ‘secret’ facility in Iraq suggests closer U.S.-Kurd ties
    • New book ‘War Against All Puerto Ricans’ tells unknown tale of U.S.-Puerto Rico conflict

      Author Nelson Denis inked a deal with Nation Books to tell the story of the 1950 incident when two island towns were bombed by the U.S. Army.

    • Grandma repeatedly protested drones at base, now faces a year in jail
    • Rebel chief who deployed CIA-trained fighters to Syria is assassinated in Jordan

      Security sources said a leading Western-backed rebel was shot dead in the Jordanian capital of Amman. They identified the dead man as Maher Rahel, a commander in the Free Syrian Army, said to responsible for the deployment of rebels trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the Hashemite kingdom.
      “The killer fired one shot and fled,” a source said.
      The assassination of the FSA commander was said to have taken place on
      late July 11 near a traffic circle in western Amman. The sources said Rahel,
      27, commanded the Liwa Al Mujahideen Brigade, linked to FSA and deployed in
      southern Syria.

    • Jordan ‘cool to Syria rebel training plan’

      Jordan, where the US Central Intelligence Agency has been covertly training Syrian rebels for more than a year, is reluctant to host an expanded rebel instruction programme, US officials say.

    • Americans are fine with drone strikes. Everyone else in the world? Not so much.
    • Global opposition to U.S. drone strikes grows
    • Pakistan: U.S. Engagement Necessary as Drone Strikes Resume

      The June drone strikes killed nearly 19 militants, including a high-level Haqqani network commander, Haji Gul, and two senior Afghan Taliban leaders. Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemned the strikes, calling them a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, other media reports said that Pakistani government officials privately coordinated with U.S. authorities on the attacks. The Washington Post reported in October that Pakistani government officials have for years secretly endorsed the drone program and received regular classified briefings on drone strikes from their U.S. counterparts.

    • New Zealand government violates SIS act over drones

      After decades of lively public debate, New Zealand abolished the death penalty for murder in 1961. It is not widely known that the death penalty for treason remained on the statute books until it was also abolished in 1989.

    • Lawmaker Wants Drones Out of CIA’s Hands
    • Ted Yoho Looks to Get Drones Out of CIA Hands
    • Column: U.S. Is Losing the Message War in the Mideast

      What, exactly, does the United States stand for in the Middle East? More important, what would the average Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian or Yemeni say that it stands for? The suggestion that the United States is retrenching might seem absurd, given that Yemenis can hear the buzz of drones overhead. The notion that the United States is in the business of supporting democratic pluralism might clash with their reading of our Egypt strategy or our will-they-or-won’t-they waffling over whether to actively support Syrian opposition fighters. Day by day, with chaos blossoming, it becomes clearer that if we do have a strategic narrative for the Middle East, we certainly have not articulated it effectively. In marketing terms, we are not making the sale.

    • Israelis ‘Admit’ Palestinian Teen’s Murder
    • Three charged over killing
    • Three held over Palestinian killing

      Israel has ordered three Jews suspected in the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager held until Friday as they made their first court appearance.

    • Israeli commandos raid Gaza beach as deadly air assault continues

      Israeli naval commandos have launched an early morning raid on a beach in the north of Gaza City, as the coastal enclave suffered the bloodiest day yet of the six-day Israeli assault, with 54 Palestinians reported killed.

      The raid came amid continuing speculation that Israel would launch a ground offensive in Gaza, a move likely to sharply increase the number of civilian casualties. So far, 166 people have been killed including 30 children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

    • The Imbalanced Slaughter in Gaza

      Much of the world is horrified at Israel’s latest slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip but the continued power of the Israeli Lobby over Official Washington has silenced any protests against the imbalanced infliction of death, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

    • Single Israeli strike kills 18, stirs debate over targets

      However, the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs said Sunday that civilians made up the majority of Palestinian casualties over the past six days – 133 of 168 killed and nearly half of more than 1,100 wounded. And a human-rights researcher said some of Israel’s strikes appear to have violated rules of war.

    • Israel shoots down Gaza drone – live updates
    • Israel says it’s downed drone along southern coast

      Israel’s military said it downed a drone along its southern coastline on Monday, the first time it encountered such a weapon since its campaign against the Gaza Strip militants began last week.

      The drone came from Gaza and was shot down near the southern city of Ashdod, the military said. It did not say what the drone was carrying and there was no immediate confirmation from Gaza on the use of unmanned aircraft.

    • The IDF doesn’t only aim at Hamas targets

      On Saturday evening, Hamas issued a warning, saying it was going to bomb Tel Aviv at 9 p.m. It did, and luckily the rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. Sunday morning the IDF issued a similar warning to all residents of “the northern Gaza Strip,” saying it will attack the entire area at noon. Can anyone see the difference? Does saying you’re going to attack a civilian area exempt you from responsibility for the civilians you target? I don’t think so.

    • Letter: Remote-controlled killing violates values

      As a Friend (Quaker) who believes there is “that of God” in everyone and therefore every life is sacred, I am deeply concerned about the proliferation of lethal unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

      The United States is leading the way in this new form of warfare where pilots on U.S. bases kill people by remote control, thousands of miles away. Drones have become the preferred weapons to conduct war due to the lack of direct risk to the lives of U.S. soldiers, but these drone strikes have led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in many countries.

    • Brief Lull in Gaza Ends as Israel Resumes Strikes After Rockets Fly
    • Hamas’ armed wing rejects truce offer

      A proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas from the Egyptian government late yesterday was flatly rejected early today by the armed wing of the Palestinian militant group. The notice was posted on the group’s website.

    • There’s something very ugly in this rage against Israel

      Why are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.)

    • Israeli Filmmakers Sign Petition, Urging Israeli Government To Hold Ceasefire On Attacks On Gaza Strip

      A group of Israeli filmmakers have added their voices to those pleading for a ceasefire to the attacks by their Government on the Gaza Strip.

    • Israel-Gaza conflict: EU pushes for ceasefire but ordinary Israelis back Benjamin Netanyahu and want bombardment to continue
    • Our endless “War on Terror”: The truth behind an incoherent foreign policy

      U.S. officials say Israel should not have to accept rocket fire aimed at civilians. But what about other nations?

    • Pentagon and CIA Want to Keep ISIS Tweeting: Exploiting Social Media to Keep the Endless War on Terror Alive

      The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies exploit social media to keep the endless war on terror alive.

    • CIA behind the rise of ISIS in Iraq, alleges Canadian think tank

      Last month, Islamic insurgent took control of two main Iraqi cities, Mosul and Tikrit, and openly challenged the pro-West Government in Baghdad.

      ISIS is portrayed as a Sunni-extremist group that split from Al-Qaeda. However, recent details leaking out suggests that the rise of ISIS is being ‘shaped and controlled’ out of Langley, Virginia and other CIA facilities in the States with the objective to spread chaos in world’s second largest oil state Iraq.

    • Hamas rejects Egypt’s proposal for ceasefire with Israel: senior official
    • Pressure for ceasefire grows in Gaza conflict

      Palestinian militants resumed rocket attacks on Tel Aviv on Monday after a 24-hour lull in strikes on the Israeli commercial capital, and Israel kept up its air and naval bombardments of the Gaza Strip despite growing pressure for a ceasefire.

    • Norwegian Physician Treating Wounded Civilians: Stop the Bombing, End Israeli Impunity in Gaza
    • Hamas Drone Intercepted By Israeli Military As Gaza Fighting Intensifies
    • Gaza death toll exceeds 2012 conflict

      The Arab League yesterday called for world powers to end Israel’s devastating bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

      Egypt also proposed a truce to start early today to be followed by talks on easing the flow of goods into Gaza.

    • Hamas says it’s developed drones that can carry weapons
    • Hamas boasts new level of sophistication, releasing video showing one of its drones for first time

      The Israeli military said it downed a drone launched by militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new Israeli airstrikes pushed the death toll from a weeklong Israeli offensive to at least 175.

      Israel began its campaign against militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the densely populated territory. The military says it has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes since then, while Palestinian militants have launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel.

    • Israel Says It Shot Down a Hamas Drone

      The Israel Defense Forces tweeted the following Sunday: “An aerial drone from Gaza infiltrated Israel a short time ago. IDF forces shot it down with a Patriot missile above Ashdod.”

    • The Israeli App Red Alert Saves Lives—but It Just Might Drive You Nuts

      Red Alert, which alerts users every time a rocket is fired into Israel, has already been downloaded 780,000 times. It could give you peace of mind. Or it could make you hysterical.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Swedish court to consider WiiLeaks Julian Assange arrest

      A SWEDISH court is set to consider whether an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be repealed.

    • 2008 Obama Would Have Slammed 2014 Obama for This Government Secrecy Case

      In 2008, Obama griped that the Bush administration invoked the state secrets privilege “more than any other previous administration” and used it to get entire lawsuits thrown out of court. Critics noted that deploying the state secrets privilege allowed the Bush administration to shut down cases that might have revealed government misconduct or caused embarrassment, including those regarding constitutionally dubious warrantless wiretapping and the CIA’s kidnapping and torture of Khaled el-Masri, a German car salesman the government had mistaken for an alleged Al Qaeda leader with the same name. After Obama took office, his attorney general, Eric Holder, promised to significantly limit the use of this controversial legal doctrine. Holder vowed never to use it to “conceal violations of the law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency of the United States Government.”

    • The Obama Administration’s ‘Transparency’ Is Meaningless

      In light of a year’s worth of historic revelations about government subterfuge and mass surveillance, President Barack Obama’s early promise to oversee the most transparent administration ever now seems spectacularly ill-fated.

    • False: White House press secretary says Obama is the most transparent president ever

      Let’s go over that again. The federal government claimed the power to kill its own citizens, denying them the rights to due process and trial by jury, and tried to keep that memo from ever seeing the light of day. Hey, but at least you’ll know who has been visiting the White House.

    • Whistleblowers help to keep democracy alive

      Over 30 years ago, I was in Mexico City when an electrifying story suddenly dominated all the papers. It claimed that the CIA had made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro. I was shocked. Then I reminded myself that I was in a Third World country, and this might be political propaganda. When the American press ignored it, I dismissed it. Twenty years later, we learned it was true.

    • WikiLeaks reports the FBI to Danish police

      The FBI’s meetings with a WikiLeaks defector in Denmark were illegal and the Danish authorities knew about it, the whistleblowing organization claims in a criminal complaint filed with the East Jutland Police.

    • C.I.A Release Emails on WikiLeaks Crisis Management

      Recently released e-mails shine further light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (C.I.A) late 2010 high-level meetings with New York Times and government officials centering on WikiLeaks and Chelsea (Bradley) Manning. The emails convey the difficulties that the C.I.A and numerous government agencies had in grappling with WikiLeaks’ seismic release of Collateral Murder, Afghan War Diary, Iraq War Logs, and Cablegate documents. The released C.I.A emails, published by NYT eXaminer, reveal the ways in which almost a dozen Obama administration functionaries colluded to disparage WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as engaging in conspiracy to commit espionage with Manning. A number of the officials involved in these meetings with the New York Times later went on to launch campaigns to discredit other whistleblowers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • [Rachel Marsden] Disguise for profiteering

      Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.

    • It’s hard to put the scale of London’s property boom into words, so here are some charts

      You can buy a lot with £76,000 ($130,000). That’s how much the average London home has appreciated over the past year.

    • CIA hit with Michigan tax liens
    • CIA hit with Michigan tax liens

      U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for failure to pay more than $20,000 in withholding tax…

    • Bitcoin the comic debuts at CoinSummit

      Bitcoin Comic1At the recently concluded CoinSummit in London, a preview of a comic was unveiled that’s sure to intrigue Bitcoin enthusiasts and common people alike.

    • The Myths of Big Corporate Capitalism

      Large corporate capitalism is a breed apart from smaller scale capitalism. The former can often avoid marketplace verdicts through corporate welfare, strip owner-shareholders of power over the top company bosses and offload the cost of their pollution, tax escapes and other “externalities” onto the backs of innocent people.

      Always evolving to evade the theoretically touted disciplines of market competition, efficiency and productivity, corporate capitalism has been an innovative machine for oppression.

      Take productive use of capital and its corollary that government wastes money. Apple Inc. is spending $130 billion of its retained profits on a capital return program, $90 billion of which it will use to repurchase its own stock through 2015. Apple executives do this to avoid paying dividends to shareholders and instead strive to prop up the stock price and the value of the bosses’ lucrative stock options. The problem is that the surveys about the impact of stock buybacks show they often do nothing or very little to increase shareholder value over the long run. But they do take money away from research and development. And consumer prices rarely, if ever, drop because of stock buybacks.

    • Costly copper: Dangerous scrap metal thefts on the rise

      Metal thefts, which have caused blackouts and traffic accidents, are on the rise in states across the country. A new Ohio state law aims to tackle this problem by regulating scrap yards.

    • How capital captured politics

      In May, an international trade agreement was signed that effectively serves as a kind of legal backbone for the restructuring of world markets. While the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa) negotiations were not censored outright, they were barely mentioned in our media. This marginalisation and secrecy was in stark contrast to the global historical importance of what was agreed upon.

    • Argentina’s Default Debacle: Sign of the Slow Unraveling of the Global Financial System?

      Kirchner’s problems are the most pressing. On June 16, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a decision of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordering Argentina to pay in full the claims of a group of creditors, who hold roughly $1 billion in Argentine bonds, about 1 percent of the country’s outstanding debt. The investors, led by New York billionaire Paul Singer and politically well-connected in Washington, acquired the tag of ‘vultures’ by buying up the bonds at steep discounts and refusing to accept an agreement signed by around 92 percent of bondholders. U.S. courts have also ruled that banks operating in New York must disclose information about non-U.S. assets of the Argentine government.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Public trust has been damaged [GOP rant]
    • Wikiwashing: how paid professionals are using Wikipedia as a PR tool

      How I long to have a Wikipedia entry to call my own! It would be a sign I’d arrived, that I’d made it. It would surely help my career no end. And even though I know myself better than anyone, it is unlikely I could write my own as I’d find it impossible to adhere to the site’s strict rules on neutrality. I’d want my entry to be a gleaming eulogy to all my wonderful achievements. Until yesterday, I might have sneakily paid someone to professionally write or edit a page for me. But thanks to a recent change in Wikipedia’s terms of use, I can’t do that any more, unless my ghost writer declares an interest. I’ll just have to labour on in non-Wikipedia obscurity.

    • Senate Tackles Citizens United As 2014 Spending Hits Record Highs

      Sixteen states, more than 500 communities, two million Americans, and now the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, are on-the-record in support of amending the constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Citizens United v. FEC and related cases and to restore the power of people in elections.

  • Censorship
    • US Reporter Ronan Farrow Calls On Internet Companies To Censor Speech Of People He Doesn’t Like

      Well this is fascinating. Ronan Farrow, the well-known MSNBC reporter who is also an attorney and former State Department official (and, at times, a subject of much parental speculation), apparently has come out in favor of blatant censorship. Following in the dangerous footsteps of Joe Lieberman, Farrow is apparently angry that internet companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter aren’t taking down accounts that he believes are used by terrorists.

    • Murdoch calls for ISPs to be liable for users’ activities

      News Corporation Australia has used an inquiry by the nation’s Senate into a proposed Australia/South Korea free trade agreement to suggest internet service providers become copyright enforcers.

    • Hysteria versus Impunity

      It is a mystery why the Observer failed to name Lord Greville Janner as the paedophile abusing boys from care homes. The facts of this particular boy’s continued molestation, and the existence of the letters to him from Janner, have been public knowledge for decades. I can only presume that Britain’s appalling libel laws, which function solely to protect the very rich from exposure of their misdeeds, are the reason for the Observer’s reticence. My own view is that the gross suppression of freedom of speech in the UK has been insufficiently considered as a major reason for the impunity which the wealthy and the powerful have enjoyed for so long.

    • Techdirt Sued For $10 Million In A Frivolous Lawsuit For Posting An Earlier Frivolous Lawsuit

      Roughly a month ago, I wrote about Kenneth Eng’s doomed copyright lawsuit against author L’Poni Baldwin for allegedly stealing his techno-dragon ideas. As was pointed out by the judge in the lawsuit’s dismissal, copyright doesn’t apply to ideas — only to the expression of ideas. And Eng’s ideas (and expression thereof) weren’t sufficiently distinctive from a host of other technology-meets-mythology creations. The judge did, however, allow Eng to re-file his complaint, both to refine his copyright claims and to actually make some sort of actionable claim.

    • Guaranteeing freedom of the press is the real issue

      In May, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a subpoena issued to New York Times reporter James Risen. Federal prosecutors have demanded that Risen reveal the name of a CIA agent who was a source for his book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • If Cage has broken the law, let it be prosecuted; this reeks of the police state

      Cage has also worked with the victims of mistreatment and abuse to expose what it sees as British government participation in the secret world of rendition and torture. It also spoken out against the UK’s anti-terrorism laws, saying they are draconian and target Muslims. But it insists it has always conducted its activities legally and clearly states it is opposed to the killing of innocent civilians.

    • On the Nature of Our Regime

      I’m afraid I don’t have an obvious alternative to “libertarian” that would encompass this third pillar of our present order, and distill the entire structure’s complexity to a single word or phrase. But the third pillar’s heft and importance is too substantial to ignore, and there are all kinds of elements of our age — from “too big to fail” to the Department of Homeland Security, from the design of Obamacare to the nature of our coalition politics, from the political forays of Mark Zuckerberg to the fate of Brendan Eich — that don’t make sense if you can’t sense its shadow, or recognize how big a role it’s likely to play, going forward, in keeping the whole edifice standing up.

    • Target security officer fired after reporting shoplifting

      Dallas Northington spent nearly eight years working for Target in loss prevention, roaming the stores and scanning the surveillance cameras. In an episode at the Leesburg Target store in May that he said was typical, a man was allegedly captured twice on video shoplifting, and Northington responded as he said he always did: He called the Leesburg police, made a report and provided them the videos of the two incidents.

    • Khadr loses bid to have war-crimes convictions tossed out

      Canada’s Omar Khadr has lost his bid to have his war-crimes convictions tossed after the U.S. government argued a previously secret memo that raised questions about the legal underpinnings of his prosecution was irrelevant to his case.

    • The Drone Memo Makes It Clear: Khadr’s Conviction Lacks Legal Foundation

      As readers of this blog will know, after the Second Circuit released a redacted copy of the OLC’s “drone memo,” those of us who represent Omar Khadr filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review (“CMCR”) arguing that it undermined the validity of his convictions. In due course, the government filed its opposition to the motion, which somewhat predictably argues that the OLC’s analysis is not relevant to the case. As we were about to file a reply, the CMCR denied the motion to vacate, albeit “without prejudice.” Thus, the issue is not going away any time soon.

    • Letter: Omar Khadr’s rights

      Since 2008, the Harper government has been guided by unthinking support for Guantanamo and the military commissions, a blind eye to the violation of Khadr’s legal and human rights, willful ignorance of the law and disregard for decisions by the Supreme Court.

    • Provincial jail term for Khadr serves justice

      Khadr’s case is one where wrong has been piled onto wrong over the years, both in Canada and the United States, during the long war on terror. Khadr’s father’s close al-Qaida connections rightly angered Canadians, who felt betrayed. But under international convention, child soldiers in these circumstances are to be rehabilitated, not sent to jail. When all is said and done, this will go down as a dark chapter in our federal government’s willingness to ignore long-held principles of juvenile justice, as well as its obligations to international conventions on children and the rule of law.

    • Roman Seleznev kidnapped by US agents, whisked away by CIA rendition flight

      The father of Roman Seleznev has offered a $50,000 reward for information regarding the arrest of his son in the Maldives, including any video or other evidence supporting the reports and witness statements that it was American agents that arrested, questioned and then transported his son to Guam. The case is another example of the United States and the CIA flaunting international laws and forcing countries to allow them free reign.

    • Woman, step daughter ‘tortured to death’

      The dead bodies of a young married woman and her stepdaughter were found from their house here in village Jurian village.

    • Emails show UK Government is keeping renditions evidence from Parliament

      UK Foreign Office documents concerning the use of British territory by CIA ‘rendition’ flights show that ministers have been keeping key evidence in their posession from MPs, it has emerged.

    • UK police have details of CIA torture flights despite past denials of logs – report

      Crucial logs that confirm the British overseas territory Diego Garcia was involved in the CIA’s black site rendition program as a secret prison have been passed to the UK police for further investigation, despite earlier claims that there were no logs.

    • Spy Novel Derailed CIA Career, Agent Claims

      CIA agent claims the agency derailed his career because he wrote a novel that cast The Company in a negative light…

    • Pope Francis: ‘About 2%’ of Catholic clergy paedophiles

      Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that “about 2%” of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles.

    • Ex-solicitor general urges Butler-Sloss to stand down from child abuse inquiry
    • Tory child abuse whistleblower: ‘I supplied underage rent boys for Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ministers’

      Whistleblower and former Conservative party activist Anthony Gilberthorpe says he provided child prostitutes for a sex and drugs party with top politicians

    • Gang Turned Muslim Denied Right to Fly
    • Where’s the Outrage Over Spying on Muslim Civil Rights Leaders?

      Michael Ratner: NSA and FBI spying on the lawful political activity of Muslim Americans, as revealed by The Intercept, is no different than the surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and other black civil rights leaders

    • The Illusion of Democracy in America. Rebellion Across the US against “Phony Democracy”

      Have we reached that point? Many think so. A recent poll found 74% of Americans agree the broken political system needs to be fixed first. The poll found that “corruption of government by big money and frustration with the abuses of the political ruling class: incumbent politicians, lobbyists, the elite media, big business, big banks, big unions, and big special interests unites Americans.” And, “the battle lines of the new political order are emerging. When presented with the proposition that ‘the real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but mainstream America and the ruling political elites,’ over 66% of voters agree.”

    • All They Will Call You Will Be Detainees

      One of corporate journalism’s bad habits is framing international stories on the premise that news is what happens to the US. There is no better recent example of this than the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America for refuge in other countries, including, but not limited to, the US. With some exceptions, this story is covered as the US’s “border crisis,” and the latest installment in our supposed immigration debate, with the children little more than nameless symbols of a troubled policy.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Internet Titans Defend Net Neutrality in an FCC Missive

      In recent weeks, there have been several notable developments related to the future of Internet freedom and access. Now, The Internet Association, a consortium that includes Facebook, Google, Twitter and Netflix, has a comment filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission demanding better enforceable net neutrality rules for boh wired and mobile networks.

    • Help us protect an open Internet
    • Kickstarter, Etsy And Dwolla All Speak Out On Net Neutrality And Why The FCC’s Plan Is Dangerous To Innovation

      During this open comment period for the FCC’s proposed rulemaking on net neutrality, it’s been great to see hundreds of thousands of comments go in to the FCC on the matter. It’s also been fantastic to see that a number of innovative startups have decided to speak out on how important an open and free internet is for being able to build their businesses, to innovate and to compete on the modern internet. They also point out that the current plan from Commissioner Tom Wheeler would put that all at risk. Here are three interesting ones worth mentioning.

    • Comments on net neutrality top half a million as FCC deadline looms

      THE UNITED STATES Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received over half a million comments about its proposals for the future of net neutrality in that country.

      Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline, a total of 647,000 comments have been sent to the commission expressing views on the future of the internet.

    • Tell the FCC: Net Neutrality is crucial to free software

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to be convinced that Net Neutrality is worth saving.

      The agency has asked members of the public, along with industry leaders and entrepreneurs, to tell it why Internet Service Providers should be banned from traffic discrimination. This comment window is one of the best opportunities we’ve had to make an impact. Comments are due July 15, 2014. Submit your statement in support of Net Neutrality right away using the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s free software commenting tool.

      Net neutrality, the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, should be a basic right for Internet users. It’s also crucial for free software’s continued growth and success.

    • CNBC’s Net Neutrality Conflict Of Interest Hidden On Closing Bell

      On the July 14 edition of CNBC’s Closing Bell, host Kelly Evans interviewed Harold Ford, Jr. and John Sununu about the FCC’s latest proposed regulations, introducing them as “Broadband for America honorary co-chairs,” without explaining what Broadband for America was. Both Ford and Sununu insisted that the Internet should not be treated as a public utility and claimed that new regulations would slow Internet speeds and innovation.

    • Internet giants press for net neutrality in FCC filing

      An association of more than two dozen technology companies including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix urged the Federal Communications Commission on Monday to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules for wired and mobile networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Bolivia Shows How To Dismantle Corporate Sovereignty Provisions In Treaties Without Losing Foreign Investment

      As Techdirt has reported, corporate sovereignty chapters in TAFTA/TTIP and TPP have emerged as some of the most controversial elements in those agreements. Meanwhile, countries that already have bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are looking for ways to get rid of them in order to avoid the loss of sovereignty they imply. One nation that already has considerable experience in this area is Bolivia. A new report provides fascinating background information on exactly how it has gone about this (pdf), with valuable lessons for others looking to do the same.

    • Democrats Push to Delay Trans-Pacific Partnership Until After Elections

      Democrats in Congress are pumping the brakes on negotiations of a multinational trade pact, worried that a significant bloc of their base would leave the party should the agreement be approved before the November elections.

    • Copyrights
      • Dotcom prepares to drop ‘political bomb’

        Kim Dotcom says he will drop a political bomb just days out from the election and prove Prime Minister John Key misled the public.

        Mr Key has always maintained the first he knew about Dotcom was a day before the raid on his mansion. But Dotcom says that is not true and he has hired the Auckland Town Hall.

        Dotcom says he will drop a political bomb, which goes right to the core of Mr Key’s credibility, five days out from the September 20 election.

      • The Internet’s Own Boy: A movie everyone online should see

        The Internet’s Own Boy is a documentary about computer prodigy, Internet pioneer, and activist hacker Aaron Swartz, but even if you’ve never heard of Aaron Swartz you should see this movie. The story has implications beyond the short life of one man. Through the passion, drama, and tragedy of Aaron Swartz’s life The Internet’s Own Boy describes issues that impact everyone online: censorship, government surveillance, free speech, transparency, and net neutrality.

      • Neil Young becomes PonoMusic CEO after the Kickstarter gold rush

        Musician steps up to run digital music company that he founded, ahead of launch for gadget and high-def downloads store

      • Dotcom’s Baboom “Overwhelmed” By Indie Music Support

        Kim Dotcom’s emerging music service Baboom is inviting would-be investors to grab a piece of what should be an intriguing startup. Speaking with TorrentFreak the senior advisor handling the offer says that not only is it tracking “exceptionally well” but the company is being “overwhelmed” with support from the global indie music industry.

      • Suing File-Sharers Doesn’t Work, Lawyers Warn

        The American Bar Association has released a detailed white paper advising the Government on how to tackle online piracy. The lawyers recommend several SOPA-like anti-piracy measures including injunctions against companies hosting pirate sites. At the same time, however, they advise against suing file-sharers as that would be ineffective or even counterproductive.

      • News Corp Wants to Hold ISPs Responsible For Piracy

        With its significant entertainment business interests, media giant News Corp has been making its feelings known in the ongoing piracy debate. After targeting Google last month the company says it wants the government to tighten up the law in order to hold Australian ISPs responsible for the actions of their pirating subscribers.

Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 07:47:15 AM

Summary: Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux

About nine months ago my wife and I decided that we had what it takes to keep Tux Machines going and growing. The site had been my favourite source of news for over half a decade (the editorial picks were simply better than the competition’s) and I was saddened to see it slowing down, due to positive developments in its founder’s life (a wedding).

News sites about GNU/Linux seems to be growing fewer, with some widening scope beyond GNU/Linux and FOSS and some not keeping up a regular stream of news. No need to name them, as that might only offend them (Phoronix actually does a great job keeping up the flow of news). Paradoxically, interest in Free software seems to be growing, especially now that large nations adopt it. They probably favour news in Mandarin, Russian, Korean and so on, but still, one would expect them to read some news in English too.

Tux Machines recently reached high levels of traffic that resemble the traffic of this site (stressing and sometimes overstressing even four cores with Varnish and CMS cache). This tells us that interest in Free software is not necessarily declining, even if the amount of coverage definitely declined in recent years.

White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

Monday 14th of July 2014 10:36:24 AM



Obama’s top contributors in 2012 election. Source: opensecrets.org

Summary: Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations

THE USPTO, like much of the US government, is effectively run by corporations that fund it (campaign ‘contributions’, patent applications, and so on). We previously showed how Apple had been receiving special treatment from the USPTO and other pseudo-Federal branches of government. It’s all protectionism. Money calls the shots.

The other day The Mukt covered “Apple fil[ing] Auto-Unlock Patent although already available on Android” and since the USPTO has been approving almost all applications (92% of them) irrespective of prior art and quality, this too might pass. It’s just Apple’s arrogance, pretending that it invented everything under the Sun when it in fact imitates a lot of companies, as Steve Jobs himself once admitted to the camera.“Early Apple Employees Said They Would Never Work With Steve Jobs Again” is a new article that should be read by Apple fans, reminding them or even teaching them that Jobs is more of a con artist than an artist.

Now, given the inherent corruption in the USPTO (serving corporations, not public interests) we were not too shocked to see Philip Johnson almost becoming its new head. It’s the outcry from some corporations — not from the public — that must have stopped his appointment. It’s corporations that still call all the shots and some hypothesise that resistance to him came from the technology/high-tech sector as opposed to pharmaceutical giants. They vote with their money in the White House (e.g. withdrawing funds or bribing politicians under the guise of campaign ‘contributions’). Previously, a man from IBM, David Kappos, ran the USPTO and unsurprisingly promoted software patents (IBM lobbies for them even in Europe and New Zealand).

Kamdar from the EFF says why Philip Johnson oughtn’t have been nominated for USPTO Director:

Philip Johnson is Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He is also a representative member of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, the leading trade group opposing patent reform this past year.

And now he’s rumored to be next in line to be the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

[...]

What we need is someone who understands the problems with patent law, especially when it comes to software patents. Some are pointing to the fact that David Kappos, the previous director of the Patent Office, was from the tech industry, so the next one has to come from pharma or biotech. This push does a great job of highlighting the fact that one single patent system shouldn’t apply to technologies as different as pharmaceuticals and software. In any event, the nominee to head the Patent Office shouldn’t be the face of opposition to patent reform that was championed by the White House, passed by a majority of the House, and supported by a considerable proportion of Senators.

Thankfully, as Ars Technica put it, “The White House has reportedly put its chosen nomination for head of the US Patent and Trademark Office on ice.”

The Mukt called Philip Johnson “patent extremist” and added: “The Obama administration was about to repeat the mistake it made by picking Tom Wheeler as the head of FCC. The administration was planning to hand over USPTO to Phil Johnson, a Johnson & Johnson executive who is a strong opponent of any patent reform in the country. Johnson actually played a pivotal role in the death of the patent reform bill this May.”

We still don’t know who will fill the seat formerly occupied by the software patents booster. Just because one patent extremist is not approved by the White House does not mean that a different patent extremist can’t take this place. We need to keep watching and praising/criticising, as appropriate, the decisions made by the White House. Corporations that sank billions of dollars in campaign ‘contributions’ (bribes) have a much louder voice than ours (collectively). They also get privileged access into private meetings in the White House, offering their ‘consultation’ (lobbying).

Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

Monday 14th of July 2014 10:01:54 AM

Summary: The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other

Vox has published a new article titled “The case against software patents, in 9 charts”. It was authored by James Bessen, a professor widely known for his well-researched publications which show that software patents are bad (for the economy, for science, and just about everything except patent lawyers and monopolies or trolls). Recently, the decision from SCOTUS led patent lawyers to deep denial, trying to pretend that nothing has changed and that software patents are as valid as before. These so-called ‘law’ firms have their own agenda. The Webb Law Firm wrote: “Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International [PDF] is the last of several patent law cases decided by the US Supreme Court in its October 2013 term. While the decision has generated considerable speculation questioning the future of “software patents,” conclusions on the scope of patent-eligible subject matter will have to wait.”

Wait for who? Lawyers?

Moritt Hock & Hamroff, another so-called ‘law’ (technology monetisation by bureaucracy) firm wrote: “Patent eligibility, up until a few years ago, was even easier. Basically, anything new under the sun made by man (or woman) was patentable. That has now changed. Eligibility excludes from patent protection some obvious exceptions such as laws of nature and mathematical ideas. For example, you can’t get a patent on Maxwell’s equations. How would you enforce such a patent? But you can get a patent on a new application of Maxwell’s equations. A less-developed exception to patent eligibility is the concept of an “abstract idea.” Such abstract ideas are not patentable. Here’s the problem, what is “abstract”? What test do we use to determine whether an invention is an abstract idea? And what level of abstraction do we look at?”

This seems like a more rational analysis than the previous one. Here is an analysis from lawyers who alluded to the European law. To quote a fraction:

It is not possible to obtain a patent in Europe for a program for a computer “to the extent that a patent or application for a patent relates to that thing as such”. In the United States, however, that has not been the case and this has proven a fruitful source of dispute in the Courts. This may be about to change.

The danger is that patent trolls from the United States (and especially from Texas where Daniel Nazer says they like to hang out in for patents [1] if not other ludicrous causes [2,3]) will one day land in Europe, due to a sort of unification of patent laws. Right now we can only hope that the US will work to eliminate software patents for good, pushing back against a European trend of gradually legitimising such patents.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why Do Patent Trolls Go to Texas? It’s Not for the BBQ

    There is a lot in our current patent system that is in need of reform. The Patent Office is too lax in granting patents. Federal Circuit case law has consistently favored patentees. Another part of this problem is the forum shopping by patentees that leads to a disproportionate number of cases being filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

    Back in 2011, This American Life did a one-hour feature called “When Patents Attack!” The story included a tour of ghostly offices in Marshall, Texas, where shell companies have fake headquarters with no real employees. For many people, it was their first introduction to the phenomenon that is the Eastern District of Texas, a largely rural federal court district that has somehow attracted a huge volume of high-tech patent litigation.

  2. Tor Embroiled in $1M Revenge-Porn Lawsuit

    A Texas lawyer intent on shutting down Pink Meth, a site known for facilitating revenge-porn, has named the Tor Project in a lawsuit claiming at least $1 million in damages. The inclusion of Tor apparently was based on a statement on Pink Meth’s site that thanks the project for enabling users’ anonymity. “Once we verify that they’re not helping Pink Meth, we will dismiss them,” the lawyer said.

  3. Anonymity Network Tor Sued For Allegedly Protecting A Revenge Porn Business

    Tor, which offers encrypted software and an open network of protected communications, has been sued in the state of Texas over a revenge porn website that used its free service.

Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

Monday 14th of July 2014 09:42:14 AM

Summary: M-Cam’s assessment of Microsoft’s bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul “abstract” software patents

China, reacting rationally to the threat of proprietary software from another sovereign nation, has done much to punish and marginalise Microsoft (e.g. banning Windows and Office in the public sector) due to Microsoft’s strong ties with the NSA. When it comes to patents, China also did what it could to stop Microsoft's extortion racket, causing real damage to Microsoft's "divide-and-conquer" approach. This is working out quite well because M-Cam, which we mentioned here before (it analyses patents) says that many of these patents are quite likely invalid, with or without the latest ruling from SCOTUS (prior art — not just triviality — can invalidate them). As SJVN put it: “China revealed exactly what patents Microsoft has in its Android patent portfolio. After examining these patents, M-Cam doubts the validity of many of Microsoft’s Android claims.”

Meanwhile, however, Microsoft’s proxies are trying to put more patents inside Android and other Linux-based platforms. It’s not just Xamarin which is doing this anymore. Remember that Mono has Microsoft copyrights in it, not just Microsoft software licences and patents. Now that there is something called MonoTizen (mentioned here back in May) we should really watch out. Based on this new post, a company called Kitsilano Software is behind it, run by Bob Summerwill who has been working with Unity3D (a poster child for Xamarin/Mono). Something happened some days ago:

Kitsilano Software released MonoTizen-1.0.0 today, 10th July 2014, to coincide with Tizen Developer Summit Russia 2014

Anything that brings these Microsoft patents close to Linux should be treated as a threat, especially now that Microsoft is struggling to make patent claims and derive fees from Linux. Microsoft does not always attack directly; as Nokia and others have taught us, Microsoft likes to shift patents to trolls, such as MOSAID. “70% of troll suits use patents from real companies,” says this new article, “Will “license-on-transfer” fix things?””

While Microsoft is trying hard to portray itself as "in peace" with FOSS (this is fiction, but one that Microsoft fights hard to push into the media), the truth of the matter is that it feeds patent trolls who attack FOSS. Giving them ammunition by putting Microsoft code (with patents on it) inside Linux is a dire error. Stuff like MonoTizen enables Microsoft to expand the bundle of extortion which is sends over to companies under NDA.