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De-escalating the Android Patent War 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-bilk-the-USPTO-together dept.
In 2011, a consortium formed from Microsoft, Apple, Sony, BlackBerry, and others spent $4.5 billion acquiring Nortel's patent portfolio, which contained a great deal of ammunition that could be used against Android. That threat has now been reduced. Today, 4,000 of the patents were purchased by a corporation called RPX, which has licensing agreements from Google, Cisco, and dozens more companies. [RPX is] a company that collects a bunch of patents with the goal of using those patents for member companies for defensive purposes. Even though RPX has generally been "good," the business model basically lives because of patent trolling. Its very existence is because of all the patent trolling and abuse out there. In this case, though, it's making sure that basically anyone can license these patents under FRAND (fair and reasonable, non-discriminatory) rates. The price being paid is approximately $900 million. While that article points out that this is considerably less than the $4.5 billion Microsoft and Apple paid originally, again, this is only 4,000 of the 6,000 patents, and you have to assume the 2,000 the other companies kept were the really valuable patents. In short, this is basically Google and Cisco (with some help from a few others) licensing these patents to stop the majority of the lawsuits -- while also making sure that others can pay in as well should they feel threatened. Of course, Microsoft, Apple and the others still have control over the really good patents they kept for themselves, rather than give to Rockstar. And the whole thing does nothing for innovation other than shift around some money.

Comment: Smarthost out via SMTP.Comcast.net on 465 or 587 (Score 2) 405

by Hobart (#48382497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

You're being blocked because any mail leaving Comcast's IP spaces is expected to come from Comcast's mailservers only.

Configure your mailserver with a "smarthost" option, have it deliver using Authenticated SMTP (with your Comcast account's username and password hardcoded, yes) over SSL on 465, or if you can't do SSL, use 587.

Source: Am currently running Postfix on Comcast successfully delivering to Yahoo Mail with no spamfolder problem via this method. (Am using SPF, no DomainKeys yet.)

More from Comcast on this: http://corporate.comcast.com/c...

Comment: Google & ISC have MeasurementLab.NET (Score 2) 294

by Hobart (#48105041) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

The Network Diagnostic Test was able to see performance problems on my cablemodem connection that Ookla's speedtests did not.


Unfortunately, the number of ridiculous hoops you need to go through to let an unsigned Java applet run an arbitrary network I/O makes it much less useful.

Comment: Re:Graphics appear to be closed/proprietary. (Score 2) 106

From the Matchstick SDK download agreement: (abridged)

4. Restrictions. You agree not to exploit ... content provided to you as a Registered Matchstick Developer, in any unauthorized way ... other than for authorized purposes. Copyright and other intellectual property laws protect ... content provided to you, and you agree to abide by and maintain all notices, license information, and restrictions contained therein. You may not decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of any software or software components of the Matchstick software including the Matchstick SDK software.

"Open Source Hardware" ?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. — Inigo Montoya

Comment: Graphics appear to be closed/proprietary. (Score 5, Informative) 106

The Rockchip 3066 appears to use ARM's proprietary Mali T-series graphics. No, thanks.

Quote from the dev lead on the Mali graphics:

"I really do understand your frustration and I'm sorry that this makes life harder for you and similar developers. We are genuinely not against Open Source, as I hope I've tried to explain. I myself spent a long time working on the Linux kernel in the past and I wish I could give you a simple answer. Unfortunately, it is a genuinely complex problem, with a lot of trade-offs and judgements to be made as well as economic and legal issues. Ultimately I cannot easily reduce this to an answer here, and probably not to one that will satisfy you. Rest assured that you are not being ignored. However, as a relatively small company with a business model that is Partner driven, the resources that we have, need to be applied to projects in ways that meet Partner requirements."
(2014-09) ARM Still Not Doing Open Drivers

Comment: Proprietary firmware blob? (Score 5, Informative) 106

From the Kickstarter page, the computer they are trying to fund is going to be based around a Rockchip 3066 SoC.

Will this have the same proprietary blob required to function / use video like the various Broadcom (Videocore in Raspberry Pi) / Marvell chips are stuck with?

If so, it's not actually Free/Open hardware, because that mystery embedded RTOS can do anything to my system at any time. If Mozilla and/or Matchstick are working with Rockchip (or whomever Rockchip licenses their cores from) to fully document the toolchain, I'd be delighted. (I'm not holding my breath.)

I don't just want a Free and open-source graphics device driver, I want the full documented toolchain for everything on the chip.

+ - Aaron Swartz commits suicide->

Submitted by maijc
maijc (1365289) writes "Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf; Swartz, 26, was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them. He is best know for co-authoring the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14 and was one of the three co-owners of the site Reddit."
Link to Original Source
Your Rights Online

+ - Co-Founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz commits suicide -> 1

Submitted by
quantr writes ""Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them. He subsequently moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he then worked for Avaaz Foundation, a nonprofit “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” Swartz appeared in court on Sept. 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty.

The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, was one of the three co-owners of the popular social news site Reddit, and completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. In 2010, he founded DemandProgress.org, a “campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA.”""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Stallman bitches, film at eleven (Score 2) 597

by Hobart (#42219437) Attached to: RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu

GNU was an interesting philosophy when it was started, but it's not as if it was the only open source ideology or that other open source movements wouldn't have taken hold.

I really don't think it would have.

I think without both GPL, and GNU (especially Readline and GCC), programmers would still be trading pirate copies of compilers from Borland, Microsoft, and Watcom the way people pirate Photoshop today.

MySQL is only GPL because Monty wanted to use Readline initially.

Objective C compilers were only GPL because RMS refused a request from Jobs to let NeXT make a proprietary fork.

To see what people were doing with "open source ideology", look at how well the BSD / MIT licenses served X11, in the pre-Linux era. Every vendor shipped horribly incompatible versions of things.

Look at how people treat OpenSSH. How many people accept money for shipping it, vs. how many people sending money upstream, or patches.

Yes, he sure as hell could use a spin doctor to phrase his statements in a more palatable way. But his position is key, and without it, we'd still be in the "bad old days".

Comment: Linus' follow up... (Score 4, Informative) 1223

by Hobart (#41471847) Attached to: Torvalds Uses Profanity To Lambaste Romney Remarks


Linus Torvalds - 3:19 PM - Public

Ok, since I publicly called the guy a f*cking moron, I guess I should also publicly follow up: it does seem Romney was joking.


...Move along. Can we get back to hating on proprietary blobs now?

Comment: The KDE4 breakage (Score 1) 818

by Hobart (#40286873) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

When I switched to KDE, it was a breath of fresh air.

ALL of the keyboard shortcuts in my apps Just Worked, and they worked /right/. And Konsole had support for the bitmap CP437 font I like, and working "fullscreen" mode. It seemed great. ...Then KDE4 happened, and they made the decision to:

  1. Not put "beta" in front of the .0 release which had /huge/ amounts of features dropped out
  2. Effectively stop all forward progress on 3.x

...at that point, toughing my way out through the GNOME stack and getting the "less nice but good enough" running was what I did.

Comment: Re:The usual (Score 1) 297

by Hobart (#39569257) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Test Storage Media?

1. smartctl -AH
Get an initial baseline report.

2. mke2fs -c -c
Perform a read/write test on the drive.

3. smartctl -AH
Get a final report to compare to the initial report.

"mke2fs -c -c" is running badblocks -s -w for you.

If you want more to stare at, you can also add -v , or specify your own test patterns with (multiple) -t options. ( -t 0xCAFEBABE -t 0xDEADBEEF or whatever)

Badblocks does fill a full disk with the pattern, then read it all back confirming no changes.
This does miss flaky devices that, for example are writing over other parts of themselves. (Fake USB flash drives that misreport their size have been known to do this.)

Not sure what a good test would be... first thing that comes to mind is:

  1. openssl enc -rc4 -nosalt -K 0 -iv 0 < /dev/zero > /dev/sdXX
  2. openssl enc -d -rc4 -nosalt -K 0 -iv 0 < /dev/sdXX | tr -d '\0' | wc -c (should return '0' w/o errors)

If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.