Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - MPAA joins W3C; bigger anti-DRM push needed ( 2

ciaran_o_riordan writes: The W3C has announced a new member: the MPAA. Oh. Which makes this a good time to see whatever happened to last Summer's campaign against DRM in HTML5. It's still there. W3C took a lot of criticism, but the plan hasn't changed. DRM ("Encrypted Media Extensions") was still there in the October 2013, and in the January 2014 drafts. Tim Berners-Lee is still defending DRM. For the technical details, there are many good pages. What's at stake? It'd be like Flash or Silverlight websites, but instead of being really hard to make free software viewers/browsers, it'll be almost impossible, not to mention possibly illegal in the many countries which prohibit "bypassing technical protection mechanisms". And our work to get governments to use open standards will end up used against us when free software can't tick all the boxes in a public tender that specifies a "W3C HTML5 based" DRM system. More pressure is needed. One very small act is to sign the no DRM in HTML5 petition. A good debate is: "What's more effective than a petition?" But please sign the petition first, then debate it. It's also worth considering giving to the annual appeal of FSF, the main organisation campaigning against this.

Submission + - Patent suit leads to 500,000 annoyed software users

ciaran_o_riordan writes: A rare glimpse at the human harm of a software patent lawsuit: company receives 500,000 calls complaining about video quality after a video call system was forced to change to avoid a patent. That's a lot of people having a bad day. We don't usually hear these details because the court documents get ordered sealed and the lawyers only say what the companys' communication strategists allow. However, for VirnetX v. Apple, Jeff Lease decided to go the hearings, take notes, and give them to a journalist. While most coverage is focussing on the fines involved, doubling or halving Apple's fine would have a much smaller impact on your day than the removal of a feature from some software you like. Instead of letting the software patents debate be reduced to calls for sympathy for big companies getting fined, what other evidence is out there, like this story, for harm caused directly to software users?

Submission + - FSF on how to chose a license (

ciaran_o_riordan writes: "FSF have put together their license recommendations, beyond just their own licenses, for software, documentation, and other works: 'People often ask us what license we recommend they use for their project. We've written about this publicly before, but the information has been scattered around between different essays, FAQ entries, and license commentaries. This article collects all that information into a single source, to make it easier for people to follow and refer back to. The recommendations below are focused on licensing a work that you create — whether that's a modification of an existing work, or a new original work.'"

Submission + - Careful What You Post, the FBI has More of These (

jamie writes: "A comment posted to a website got its author's *friend's* car an unwanted aftermarket addon. The Orion Guardian ST820, a GPS tracking device, was attached to the underside of the car by the FBI. No warrant required. The bugged friend, a college student studying marketing, was apparently under suspicion because he's half-Egyptian. As Bruce Schneier says, 'If they're doing this to someone so tangentially connected to a vaguely bothersome post on an obscure blog, just how many of us have tracking devices on our cars right now...' The ACLU is investigating."

Submission + - GNU/Linux is fastest growing OS at Big Companies. ( 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 + - Irish ISP wins court action against record labels

Terranex writes: Irish ISP UPC has won a high court case brought against it by record companies attempting to force it to block illegal downloading. The judge in the case agreed with the record companies' positions but stated Ireland does not have laws in place to allow for the "blocking, diverting or interrupting of internet communications intent on breaching copyright."

Competing ISP Eircom submitted to the record companies demands last year, blocking access to The Pirate Bay and initiating a 'three-strikes' system.
The Courts

Submission + - WikiLeaks founder 'free to leave Sweden'

An anonymous reader writes: AFP reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is free to leave Sweden, after prosecutors said there was no arrest warrant against him for an alleged case of rape. Assange said the charges against him were part of "a clear set-up," and that he had "two reliable intelligence sources that state that Swedish intelligence was approached last month by the United States and told that Sweden must not be a safe haven for WikiLeaks." The news comes just one day before the Swedish national election.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Celebrating Software Freedom (

An anonymous reader writes: This is the time of the year again where we all go out in the streets and celebrate Software Freedom. From tree planting ceremonies to singing contests, mixed together with the usual conferences explaining the virtues of Free and Open Source Software, workshops, demonstrations and discussions it is your duty to support one of our essential right. Events are spreading like hot cakes all over the word from New Zealand to India, Italy (in Italian — Google translation here), to Brazil (in Portuguese — Google translation here) just to name a few. So check out if there is an event nearby and have fun celebrating Software Freedom!

Submission + - We should take a stand on unjust etax software ( 1

engochick writes: It's really annoying that etax isn't available in Mac or Linux versions. Free software foundation guru richard stallman has taken the ATO to task for the software — it's unjust he says. We should be allowed to change the source code and run it as we wish.

He reckons we should create our own version of etax and all use it in protest.


Submission + - Oracle sues Google over Android with Java patents ( 1

FlorianMueller writes: Oracle announced a patent infringement suit against Google, claiming that Android infringes seven Java patents. Oracle also says there is copyright infringement (without specifying). This patent attack raises serious questions. Is Java now less open than C#? Did Oracle try to reach an agreement with Google on a license deal or is Oracle pursuing purely destructive objectives? What is the Open Invention Network good for if one licensee (Oracle) can sue another (Google) over patents in a Linux context? What do the open source advocates who supported Oracle's takeover of Sun say now?
The Internet

Submission + - Swedish Translator Busted for Cartoon Porn (

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki writes: A famous Swedish translator of Japanese manga has been fined 25000 crowns (3400 us dollars or 2500 euro) for possession of 51 fictional drawings which were deemed to be child pornographic. Many libertarian and liberal blogs have criticized this case (and the law) along with the pirate party which is now considering the possibility of making a press statement on the issue (mainly relating to how the police confiscated the translator's harddrives without returning them). Three of Sweden's largest newspapers (Aftonbladet, Expressen and Dagens Nyheter) have also criticized the case which also gets mentioned on the homepage of the Swedish non-profit comic book awareness organization Seriefrämjandet. To complicate matters a new law kicks in on the first of july not only raising the minimum age of participation in pornography to 18, but also criminalizes the act of viewing such material even if the images are not in your actual possession.

Submission + - Newspaper's New Revenue Plan: Copyright Suits (

SpicyBrownMustard writes: Wire magazine has coverage of the sudden numerous lawsuits filed by Righthaven, LLC regarding the content of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission. And he says he’s making money."
The owner of the LVRJ comments on the strategy and the Las Vegas Sun has extensive coverage of each suit filed. The owner of one site has apparently settled for more than the site has made in six years. Media Matters suspects many if most of the suits may be politically motivated, and violates federal election law.

Submission + - Pirate Party to Run Pirate Bay from Parliament ( 2

rdnetto writes: After their former hosting provider received an injunction telling it to stop providing bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, the worlds most resilient BitTorrent site switched to a new ISP. That host, the Swedish Pirate Party, made a stand on principle. Now they aim to take things further by running the site from inside the Swedish Parliament.

The party has announced today that they intend to use part of the Swedish Constitution to further these goals, specifically Parliamentary Immunity from prosecution or lawsuit for things done as part of their political mandate. They intend to push the non-commercial sharing part of their manifesto, by running The Pirate Bay from ‘inside’ the Parliament, by Members of Parliament.


Submission + - Canadian Minister Caught Lying About Canadian DMCA (

An anonymous reader writes: There has been a firestorm of discussion in Canada over a recent speech by Heritage Minister James Moore in which he labeled critics of the Canadian DMCA "radical extremists". The CBC reports that copyright is getting ugly and now it seems to be getting uglier, as Moore has been caught lying about whether he made the statements.

Submission + - EPO rejects own software patents review (

ciaran_o_riordan writes: For the past 19 months, the European Patent Office's highest board has been reviewing the legal validity of the software patents they grant. Many groups submitted amicus briefs in April 2009. The decision was announced today: we can't review that. The EPO's board ruled each of the four questions "inadmissible". They said they can only review the consistency of their granting, and they didn't find any significant inconsistencies. Their entire conclusion is "The referral of 22 October 2008 of points of law to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by the President of the EPO is inadmissible". Null and void, or spun another way, no change will result from this. Or, spun to another level, the EPO's astonishing press release: "EBoA confirms EPO approach to computer programs" — no mention of "inadmissible".

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