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Comment Re:I want my OS with as much stuff bundled in it (Score 3, Insightful) 63

And you can do it if you wanted. You can do the same thing in N. America. With a car, you have any choice you like. You can build it from scratch (and pay for it) or buy one ready to go.
With software, due to laws, that choice can be taken from you, and Microsoft and likes used that option extensively.
Red Hat Software

Submission + - Fedora 11 is now available

rexx mainframe writes: Fedora 11 is now avilable on bittorrent. Fedora 11 offers ext4, a 20 second startup, and the latest GNOME, KDE and XFCE releases. Firefox 3.5 and Thunderbird 3 latest pre-releases are available as well. Fedora 11 features Presto, a yum plugin that reduces bandwidth consumption drastically by downloading only binary differences between updates. It also features Openchange for interoperability with Microsoft Exchange. There are new security enhancements, improved and upgraded development tools, and cutting edge features in areas such as virtualization.

UK Moves to Outlaw 'Hacker Tools' 308

twitter writes "New guidance rules for the UK's controversial Computer Misuse Act do not allay fears of impracticality, or of the banning of legitimate IT software: 'The government has come through with guidelines that address some, but not all, of these concerns about dual-use tools. The guidelines establish that to successfully prosecute the author of a tool it needs to be shown that they intended it to be used to commit computer crime. But the Home Office, despite lobbying, refused to withdraw the distribution offense. This leaves the door open to prosecute people who distribute a tool, such as nmap, that's subsequently abused by hackers.'" Somewhat similar legislation recently became law in Germany.
The Media

Submission + - Congress Creates Copyright Cops (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000 for infringing upon a $0.99 song, Congress is proposing new copyright cops in the "PRO IP" Act of 2007, specifically the creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws. MPAA boss Dan Glickman praised the bill saying that, "films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year," though Ars points out that it allegedly costs the studios only $6 billion. However, even with the support of most of the top members of the House Judiciary Committee, the bill may require more work before it passes: USIPER needs a cooler acronym that doesn't sound like a combination of usurper and Lucifer."

House Bill Won't Criminalize Free Wi-Fi Operators 540

Velcroman98 sends word of a bill that passed the US House of Representatives by a lopsided vote of 409 to 2. It would require everyone who runs an open Wi-Fi connection to report illegal images, including "obscene" cartoons and drawings, or be fined up to $300,000. The Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act was rushed through the House without any hearings or committee votes, and the version that passed on a voice vote reportedly differs substantially from the last publicly available version. CNET reports that sentiment in favor of such a bill is strong in the Senate as well. Update: 12/07 06:22 GMT by Z : As clarified in an Ars writeup, this summary is a bit off-base. The bill doesn't require WiFi owners to police anything, merely 'stiffening the penalties' for those who make no effort to report obvious child pornography.
The Courts

FSF Reaches Out to RIAA Victims 329

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In what has been termed the ''RIAA's worst nightmare', the Free Software Foundation has announced that it is coming to the aid of the victims of RIAA lawsuits, by establishing an Expert Witness Defense Fund to assist defendants in RIAA cases. The purpose of the fund is 'to help provide computer expert witnesses to combat RIAA's ongoing lawsuits, and to defend against the RIAA's attempt to redefine copyright law.' The funds will be used to pay fees and/or expenses of technical expert witnesses, forensic examiners, and other technical consultants assisting individuals named as defendants in non-commercial, peer-to-peer file sharing cases brought by the RIAA, EMI, SONY BMG, Vivendi Universal, and Warner Bros. Records, and their affiliated companies, such as Interscope, Arista, UMG, Fonovisa, Motown, Atlantic, Priority, and others."

Submission + - Verizon unilaterally cutting of VoIP services

poffenvis writes: One of my customers has turned me onto a new policy change by Verizon on their Broadband service, that allows Verizon to unilaterally terminate your Broadband service for the sin of changing your telephone service to either a Wireless or Internet Telephone Service Provider (VoIP service).

They have given themselves the option to either 1) continue with your current service without allowing you access to the broadband telephone service or 2) they can terminate your agreement AND charge you an early termination fee!

The new agreement can be found on this page:

The relevant section is 8.3:

"8.3 Changes to your local voice telephony service. If you change your local telephone company, or move your local telephone service to a wireless or Internet telephony service provider, we may in our discretion either terminate your Service or continue to provide Broadband without local service at the then-current rates, terms and conditions applicable to your new Service arrangement. You agree to pay any higher monthly fee that may apply to your new Service arrangement. Please see Section 12.2 for additional terms relating to price changes. If we elect to terminate your Service under this Section 8.3, then we reserve the right to charge any early termination fees that may apply, and you will be required to return any Equipment you received at no charge from Verizon or an Equipment fee will apply"

Verizon is pulling a play from the Microsoft strategy book ("cut off their oxygen") on VoIP and VoIP providers.

I have no idea if this is legal (IANAL), I'm guessing it will be challenged in court one of these days. But if this spreads, are all service providers going to be 'cutting off the oxygen' of VoIP by simply not allowing that service to run on their systems?

I sense 'evil empire' in this move...

Submission + - Canadian VCRs/PVRs illegal, Bill direction unclear

Anonymous Coward writes: "Few Canadians probably realize that using a VCR to record/time shift Television programming is illegal. That's one of the reasons that Tivo has been reluctant to introduce the device in Canada until this year and even so, it's availability if very limited. Canada's laws in fact, are more restrictive than the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand when it comes to Home/Private use of Copyrighted materials. According to an article in the Toronto Star, , Michael Geist writes that the upcoming Copyright Bill being proposed needs to include 3 provisions.. First, "Time-Shifting" should be clarified to remove any ambiguity and Grant ability to record Television programs. Second, allow 'Media Shifting' — transfer of content to different devices and finally, expand the current backup provision, that applies to Computer Programs on media to include other copyrighted material such as music and video. He asks in the end if the Lobbyists will win or the consumer...."

The Pirate Bay Won't Be Censored 226

Naycon writes "In the end it looks like the Swedish police dropped the Pirate Bay from the list of sites filtered for containing child porn. The update of the filter, which is scheduled for later this week, won't contain the Swedish file-sharing giant. The police say that the reason for this change is that the torrent containing the porn has been removed. But the Pirate Bay states that no files have been removed. Was this just a cheap trick by the Swedish police to battle file-sharing? The link contains a statement from the Pirate Bay; several Swedish newspaper are also running the story." In a related story, reader paulraps writes "Sweden's Justice Department is backing a new proposal that would enable copyright holders to find out the identities of people illegally sharing their material on the Internet."

Submission + - Microsoft Submits First Patent For Public Review

JohnTeddy writes: "As Groklaw reports microsoft's first patent to be publicly reviewed via Peer to Patent Project website is "application (#20070136608) is for an invention that will allow copyright owners and media sellers to profit from the off-line transfer of media between buyers and sellers." There are 5 claims with this patent, with claims 2-5 all relying on claim 1. You can find all the claims here: Claim1, Claim2, Claim3, Claim4 and Claim5. From wikipedia's patent page "Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable." So if you can find any prior art or demostrate why it's obvious(not "inventive") please feel free to comment here and on the url for comments for this particular patent."

Submission + - Music industry convenes, finds some sanity. (

Lord of Hyphens writes: "The Register reports on the global conference by the music industry... and apparently some consensus emerged on the following:

  • Prosecuting end users is silly — when you can monetise them
  • Since "piracy" today means "get free music", the future has to offer something that "feels like free"
  • Vastly wealthier industries than the music business today profit from the demand for recorded music — without giving anything back. That isn't fair, and it's got to change
  • Digital music services of the future need a better deal than the begrudging and piecemeal licenses offered so far by rights holders: but these have to be so attractive only the suicidal would want to turn it down.
"The era of levies is over," said one participant. "Government isn't going to step in and hand us a business."
It's about time they realized they were "shooting themselves in the foot", to borrow El Reg's phrasing."


Submission + - Google threatens to end Gmail service in Germany

An anonymous reader writes: According to the English edition of the "Der Spiegel" weekly, Google has threatened that it would rather shut down its Gmail service in Germany than comply with a controversial German surveillance law that would require telecommunications companies to store logs of their users's phone and internet activities for six months, including Internet details, phone call information, and text messages. While Germany's parliament has not held a vote over the proposed law yet or set a date for the vote, Google's Global Privacy councel Peter Fleischer calls the proposal a "heavy blow against the private sphere." The article continues to quote him as follows: "Many users around the globe make use of this anonymity to defend themselves from spam, or government repression of free speech," [...] ""If the Web community won't trust us with handling their data with great care, we'll go down in no time." As an emergency measure, he said — rather than change the product — "we would shut off Google Mail in Germany."
The Courts

Submission + - Man Uploads Episodes of '24′, Faces 3 Ye (

An anonymous reader writes: A man who uploaded four episodes of the hit series '24 to a YouTube-style video hosting site has been tracked down by the FBI and is now being threatened with 3 years in a federal prison.

Submission + - Russian Users on LiveJournal Being Censored (

Sidepocket_Pro writes: "LiveJournal user fragiletender posted in the LiveJournal Community dark_christian:

"The Russian LJ-ers are currently complaining in LJ News that they are being censored (they fear by the KGB or similar government areas). As I understand it, they can't post the letters d-p-n-i without dashes. The censorship of Russian LJ-ers is interesting enough and something that should obviously be addressed if true but what really interests me is that this may not be confined to the 'Russian area' of LJ but may be across the whole of LJ. I just tried a little test. I attempted to post the letters d-p-n-i in my journal. It failed twice, I got an LJ StreamError_1_54 message. I immediately tried with the word 'test', which posted instantly. I also attempted to post the disputed letters in LJ News without the dashes and it wouldn't post there either. I had to close my window, cut and paste and add the dashes in to be able to post my comment.""

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