2007-10-12 08:33:04

Microsoft releases its patent dogs towards Linux

A NPE (non-producing entity, see also patent troll) named IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corp. has filed a plaintif against Red Hat and Novell, both Linux distributors, for infringement of US patent 5'072'412. This patent covers the use of multiple desktops to hold one's windows in a structured way.

Not surprisingly, this plaintiff comes right after Steve Ballmer's announcement that Linux selling corporations will fall victim to patent claims in the future. According to an article on Yahoo, IP Innovation LLC is indeed a Microsoft Spinoff – it is lead by a former member of the Microsoft Digital Restrictions Management team.

We have already seen this strategy of spinning off companies through former employees during the Software Patent campaign, where these companies were used to simulate grassroot lobbying – a strategy commonly known as Astroturfing.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, politics

2007-10-10 07:14:48

Schaeuble blows presentation of new book of Peter Schaar

The german minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble, ruined the presentation of the new book of the german responsible of data protection measures, Peter Schaar, according to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Schaar wrote a book about the galloping loss of data protection, which Schäuble was supposed to introduce. Instead, Schäuble asked the highest instance for data protection in Germany weird questions, such as «Are you also against license plates for cars?»

If people caring about data protection as their profession also have to face oppressive measures in their private lifes, we have already attained a state of affairs which is not desirable. Even though one might argue that this action of Schäuble has probably risen the sales figures of the book significantly, making it even more interesting, it is just not acceptable that the private life of a man (or woman) is being invaded in such a way.

This type of oppression is untolerable and a really bad sign for the state of affairs in Germany.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, politics

2007-10-01 02:30:09

NetBSD current lifts off with sysbench

Hubert Feyrer has run some benchmarks on NetBSD-current which show that the SMP porting efforts by Andrew Doran are paying off very well. In his blog, there is a list of benchmark results and an analysis.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: programming, general

2007-09-30 19:43:43

Bad luck with election advertisement

Some parties appear to have chosen their election advertisement rather badly. Those are namely the UDC, and the UDC.

The first bill they published is about some person they styled to look remotely like John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The bill has the title «The one with the Kennedy effect». People started questioning themselves whether this means that he attracts Marilyn Monroe or whether he has a bullet in the head.

Similarly well goes the incognito campaign «liste33.tv» of UDC. A black bill which only reads liste33.tv and «The average receipient of social welfare is in his early 30s, undereducated and a foreigner.» The bill then goes on to ask «Do you want this?»

Let's assume for a second that the above premise is true. In this case, the question whether or not one wants it is purely irrelevant. We are not talking about a vision in this case, but about a fact, so the question can be reduced to «Do you want to accept reality?»

However, there is also a problem with the validity of the premise. It can never be true. In Switzerland, foreigners are not eligible to receive social welfare. Thus, the conditions outlined can never be fulfilled.

As such it might seem pretty obvious why the UDC has launched this as an incognito campaign...


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, politics

2007-09-30 19:23:56

The search engines express their opinions on Censorship

Questioned about privacy laws and censorship, search engine providers can indeed give out weird messages. This became clear after an inquiry to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo about their search politics relating to China. All of these search engine providers have separate search engines for display and use in China which respect the local legal framework. However, this framework demands both censorship and reports on who searched what. People searching for keywords such as «democracy» are to be turned in by the search engine provider.

Google

Inquired about China, Google hands out a lenghty document typed up personally which explains that business pressure demands Google to operate in China. However, Google would not be allowed in China unless they implement the legal framework. The situation is called unsatisfactory, and a solution is said to be seeked but has to take place on an international, political level.

Also, Google says that the request to turn in people searching for certain keywords is not binding, and thus Google does not implement it.

Yahoo

Yahoo chose not to respond at all to inquiries related to China.

Microsoft

Questioned about China, Microsoft returned a prepared letter endorsing censorship as a perfect tool to keeping undesirable content away from the users. According to Microsoft, one should also look at the positive side of censorship. However, just like Google, Microsoft does not turn in users based on search requests.

Summary

It appears that Google is the only company which really has some kind of sense of corporate responsibility on the subject of censorship. It is however a fact that Google still plays with the dragons in this game, and hopefully Google will participate in any effort to clear up this issue in the future. The most unacceptable answer was probably that of Microsoft. Censorship is not acceptable under any circumstances, especially since it is not appropriate for any enterprise to decide on what a customer is willing to look at or not, for whatever reasons.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, politics