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Comment Who's to Blame and Who Pays? (Score -1) 89

BP got the rewards but everyone else is stuck with the cost of their screw up. BP is paying pennies on the dollar to gulf coast residents for loss of business. They will pay nothing in long term health costs.

As a gulf coast resident and free software advocate who's worked for Fortune 100 companies, the role of Microsoft in Deepwater Horizon was not that surprising. I helped write this report about the problems BP had with Microsoft and other non free software and this follow up report when more details were revealed. I'll be looking closely at NOV. Their lack of cooperation is probably concealing more trouble with the system that's largely responsible for the disaster. Industry needs to dump Microsoft to avoid future calamities. BP technicians thought they were doing as much as they can to fix the problems but they were clearly taking risks they should not have been taking and their solution clearly would have lead to more of the same.

Comment apt-get install big_bill (Score -1) 414

No thanks to yet another way to drive up the cost of free software. How else can Microsoft make distribution on shiny disks competitive again? Patent extortions? That's a whole other issue that strangely has help from ATT in Texas.

Thank you, hairyfeet, for pointing out the obvious anti-competitive nature of pay by the minute internet service. You might want to mention that cable companies already have all the bandwith anyone could want but they use 99% for pay per view movies and other rip off services.

Now, let's look at some possible solutions. Municiple networks and Open Spectrum are winners that make entertainment and telcos very nervous.

Municiple wires work well in Tacoma, Washington which only has 250,000 people, so it should work just about anywhere and it should. Almost all US cable networks were built with monopoly protection and have that obligation to the public.

Open Specturm and free software are really the only way to insure free speech in the future. If you haven't figured it out yet, non free software and network control are two sides of the same coin. It's about the power to shove adverts in your face and control public opinion about issues, just like the good old days of broadcast and switched networks. Only free software gives you control of your computer and only free networks let you share news and opinions with your neighbors. The rest resembles the old USSR more than anything else, the publisher's paradise. We already own what we need to stay free, all we lack is the collective knowledge and will to take it.

Comment Freedom lacking in source document. (Score -1) 216

The authors of this work may believe that an open Internet will succeed on its merits alone. I don't. However we arrive at it, Network Neutrality is simply not negotiable.

Thank you for your partial quote of the document and your insightful commentary. If anything, "specialized services" are the things that might be granted an exception to rule by a liberal government. Neutral networks are what should be mandated but, as pointed out above, only a tiny fraction of available bandwith is given to customers as "open internet" if the likes of Comcast can be described that way. The rest of it is utilized as wasteful push services. Media companies simply won't give up their lucrative and powerful position as information gatekeepers unless forced by real competition in physical media (hint - giving a movie company ownership of a monopoly cable service is the opposite of a free market) or we are finally granted open spectrum. The FCC should keep itself busy busting spammers rather than upholding 110 year old spectrum laws that no longer make sense. Now, would someone be kind enough to paste the actual text of the article, "On Advancing the Open Internet by Distinguishing it from Specialized Services"? Scribd wants me to have a Facebook page to download the document and I can't read it through whatever nasty software they serve it with.

Comment no bandwith for download (Score -1) 215

Geocities may have proved online collaboration of a sort, the torrent proves the glaring inadequacy of US networks. Anyone could author a website and that many of those were worth reading. Wikipedia, Facebook and others follow naturally from Geocities and much better things are on the horizon. With tiny copper lines, nasty bandwith caps and even nastier download caps, the average user will take about 15 years to download the collection. That's assuming Time Warner's 5GB/month plan. At the average download speed of half a MB/s, you might see it in a month. The collection is very much worth archiving and indexing. Real knowledge and social history like this should be preserved for anyone who'd like to look. Let's hope libraries make archives and independent indexes to help people research.

Comment Virtual Fail Guy (Score 0, Interesting) 105

From the article:

To find malware-distribution sites, Google uses a huge number of virtual machines running completely unpatched versions of Windows and Internet Explorer that they point at potentially malicious URLs. The company then ties this in with the data that it gathers from its automated crawlers that are tasked with looking for malicious code on legitimate Web sites.

It would be nice if people would call this stuff Windows malware if it does not do anything to normal computers. Please Call out Windows, people.

Submission + - GNU/Linux is fastest growing OS at Big Companies. (linuxfoundation.org) 1

twitter writes: A survey of 1,900 people at companies with more than 500 employees shows that GNU/Linux is growing faster than other OS at the expense of Windows and Unix. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has some insightful commentary on it.

These businesses are moving to Linux far faster than they are to Windows or Unix. ... conventional wisdom is that Unix users are the most likely to switch to Linux. ... it turns out that, by a few percentage points, Windows users at 36.6% are more likely to be heading to Linux than Unix, 31.4% ... 36.4% of businesses reported some Linux desktop use in their company. ... while total cost of ownership (TCO) remains a strong number two, the first reason these days for people to switch to Linux is its perceived technical superiority and features. ... 58.6%, said the recession hadn't played a role.

One thing that SJVN missed is that, "and 66% of users surveyed say that their Linux deployments are brand new (“greenfield”) deployments. This greenfield market share grab is a good indicator of a platform’s future performance." Hurry up, already, I want my GNU!

Submission + - ACT Caught Subverting EU Pannels for M$ (javier-carrete.com) 2

twitter writes: Wikileaks has published a document that exposes Microsoft efforts to harm free software in the EU through front groups. RAND is promoted, free software advocacy is removed and other changes are made on Microsoft's behalf. Anti-trust regulators should be alarmed.

The file is a draft for an expert panel formed by the European Commission. This panel is divided into workgroup (IPR, Open Source, digital life, etc.). ACT and Comptia have been infiltrating every workgroup, even the one on Open Source (WG 7). They are doing the best they can to drown any initiative that would not only promote OSS in Europe but also that could help Europe create a sucessful European software sector. ... [the document has] original and modified text (in glorious colour, so it's really worth downloading it and taking a look), which means that we can see what exactly an organisation sympathetic to Microsoft –and partly funded by them– is worried about

it is important to have the public know how actual policy making is being influenced by lobbies that are precisely under the legal scrutiny of the European Commission. The urgency of the publication of this document is real in the sense that outside pressure would force the Commission to "clean the committees"

This is an issue that Boycott Novell, aka Techrights has been tracking for some time.

Comment You both replaced the wrong words. (Score -1) 338

Replacing the correct words in the original statement makes the idea probably false. Try:

"If free software is dependent on the OSS community, users are screwed."

The OSS community includes OpenBSD, for example.

More important than that, comments on the developer's page indicate the security minded developer is not familiar with Rails and that many of the attacks are handled by Rails itself. I am not familiar enough with Rails to judge the merits of these claims but can say that the developer in question is an ass.

Comment Freedom (Score -1) 702

Ubuntu and several other distributions are commercial successes, despite all of the FUD, hardware, retail and legal sabotage the once mighty Microsoft could muster. That's good, but it's not what free software is about.

Free software is about freedom and it has been successful for a long time. Today, as many people are pointing out below, you can get just about any hardware to work with nothing but free software. There are some lingering problems in ACPI bios land, where hardware makers can mess with you but those are going away as fast as Microsoft acquires debt. All of us are better off socially and economically because of this success.

Comment Kmail for Outlook stuff and Search. (Score 2, Informative) 385

Kmail has an excellent .pst converter that will pull out your old Outlook mail. Once you have it in Kmail, you can drag and drop it into any of the supported formats, mbox, mdir etc. If you have already established filters, you can let them sort things out. If not you can use a manual search for to, from, mail list, subject, etc. From there you can run your imap. I carry everything around on my laptop and use kmail instead of using imap. With full drive encryption and xscreensaver, I don't have any worry about losing private information and know that my ISPs have better collections of my email anyway, despite what they say about size limits. I could use Gmail's imap instead of my own but prefer to suck my gmail out with kmail's imap support. Until US networks get more reasonable, I want my mail with me instead of on my own server and I would not advise anyone to leave their mail on someone else's server without having a copy yourself. Because your question is all about search, I have to plug Kmail again. With proper organization of your mail into subfolders for friends, family, lists, companies and projects, mail searches are quick, even on modest hardware like my ancient PIII laptop. Searching everything takes a little longer, but it is not such a burden. Evolution may do as well but something about Gnome turns me off. The only downside is that the 3.5 branch does not seem to be able to search through encrypted mail but I imagine there's some gpg-agent fix for that I'm not aware of.

Comment oh please (Score -1) 6

We are supposed to believe this now, and so what? SCO had every opportunity to publish this years ago but made people sign NDAs to look at their supposed proof. The only people who bothered with the NDAs were Microsoft friendly press people like MoG who made sure everyone believed there was a REAL CASE. Of course there was not, it was all FUD and nonsense. Had there ever been any code in Linux that could not be distributed under the GPL it would have been rewritten. SCO lost this trial three times, please let it die.

Submission + - We're the governent, and we're here to secure you (wired.com)

rickb928 writes: So the Pentagon, with their shiny new CyberCom commander and all that, are trying to convince corporate CEOs and "companies that operate critical infrastructures" to let them install monitoring systems on their networks or, quote, "stay in the wild wild west of the unprotected internet".

From the article:

"Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn III, speaking at the Strategic Command Cyber Symposium in Nebraska, said we need to think imaginatively about how to use the National Security Agencyââs Einstein monitoring systems on critical private-sector networks ââ such as those in the financial, utility and communication industries ââ in order to protect us."

Sure sounds good to me. Let the Pentagon keep an eye on your critical network, and they will not only alert you to something going wrong, but they'll even respond to the threat. And if you operate 'critical infrastructure'. you owe it to our nation to opt-in, right? I mean. What could go wrong? It's the Pentagon, surely they know what they're doing, right?

Comment Laws. (Score -1, Troll) 776

Making people "responsible for the costs of their actions" is not always the best way to fix a problem. Sometimes society has to protect itself by outlawing otherwise profitable behaviors such as fraud or armed robbery.

Perhaps it would be better to simply ban or regulate things like high fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid and other garbage that soda makers find cheaper than real food. It can be argued that these ingredients are responsible for the obesity epidemic. Fat people get cancer more frequently than "normal" people and we now see even children with acquired diabetes. Real foods like sugar are not that much more expensive but without laws to protect food makers, economics forces them to all use crap. If you think food bans violate your liberty, remember that lead oxides were once as a cheap sweetener before people really understood heavy metal poisoning.

Finally, "sin taxes" make the state a partner in crime. Tobacco taxes, for example, have not come close to eliminating smoking or paying for the medical costs. I doubt it is possible to strip the hundreds of thousands of dollars cancer treatment alone costs from the average slob who smoke even if you assume the smoker survives forty years of their addiction. Prevention programs, the tobacco companies know, often backfire by normalizing smoking in a way that direct advertising has a hard time conveying. It would be a lot easier and cheaper to just ban the sale of tobacco. Taxing sodas is much the same. In the 20 year war between Iran and Iraq a causeway was literally built out of the bodies of dead soldiers. Do we want to pave our streets with the blood of smokers and soda drinkers, or do we want to outlaw profit from the sale of addictive, factory made poisons?

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