Press "Enter" to skip to content

FOSS Force

Kim Dotcom – ‘Dr. No’ Meets ‘Mars Attacks’

When the feds enlisted the help of New Zealand authorities to arrest Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, I figured there was evidence. I’d forgotten that this is the new USA, where the concept that proof is vital in criminal proceedings seems to have died long ago. This is a fact the New Zealand courts are now realizing, as they delve into the matter of their police’s involvement in the fiasco.

They’re also discovering that New Zealand law enforcement was acting on information that could come out of any cold war spy movie from the sixties. Our feds thought Dotcom had a suicide device, a way to instantly destroy the evidence and escape their justice. New Zealand Herald‘s David Fisher quotes testamony from Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, in charge of the New Zealand raid on Dotcom’s home:

LendInks, Mob Mentality and the DMCA

The streets of the Internet can be dangerous.

Every day, people are gunned down when they leave the relatively safe main streets of Reddit, Facebook or Twitter to wander into bad neighborhood forums where they’re not known. The usual weapons are words and the common advice is to grow thick skin for protection. Consequences are usually low; feelings are about all that ever get hurt.

Sometimes, however, mobs form. Posses meet up outside a hated website and hit the owners with barrages of venomous email. If a site has a forum or a Facebook page, they try to take over. If it’s supported by ad money, they might launch a campaign against the advertisers, as happened in 2010 with Cooks Source Magazine–a New England site brought down by web users for cavalierly stealing content.

SCO Never Can Say Goodbye

I’d almost forgotten that SCO was still around until PJ at Groklaw reported the company was in the process of switching from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. In bankruptcy talk that means the company’s stance has changed from we’re-going-to-come-out-of-this-alive to it’s-call-the-priest-for-last-rites-time. The trouble is, this is SCO, so you know it’s not going to be that simple. They’ll come up with some stupid request for the court that confounds logic, which they’ve done.

If I’m reading PJ right, SCO wants to both eat and have cake, which is pretty much what they’ve always wanted. This time they want to go bankrupt and leave their creditors without a dime but still stick around to continue litagation against IBM for alledgedly giving Linux all sorts of code. Here’s how PJ intreprets what SCO is telling the court:

Some Prominent Open Source Forks

Penguinistas used to worry about the dreaded fork, especially of Linux. “What if Linux forks and becomes like Unix?” was a question often being posed in the open source media. Linus Torvalds would do his best to put those fears to rest, explaining that under the GPL forks are usually to be welcomed.

He was of the opinion that if a fork improves a product and is liked by the users, those changes will almost certainly be rolled back into the originating application. If not, and the fork is indeed a marked improvement on the original, then the fork becomes the standard bearer at the expense of the original application.

Create a Bootable Live USB Thumb Drive or Rescue Drive Using UNetbootin

A few weeks ago when two ISO images I burned to CDs failed to produce a working live CD intended for a laptop, someone on a distro forum figured the problem was with the CDs. This was a good guess, as the MD5 checksum on the download had matched the source. He suggested I make a bootable USB drive using UNetbootin.

Unetbootin screen shot
Unetbootin screen shot
I’d never heard of UNetbootin before, but I immediately found it at Sourceforge and downloaded it to the Windows desktop I was using. After studying the simple GUI for a moment, I inserted a thumb drive into a USB port. A few clicks of the mouse later, UNetbootin was extracting and copying files to the thumb drive. A couple of minutes later, I removed the drive from the Windows box, made sure the laptop was set up to boot from USB, crossed my fingers and booted. Less than a minute later I was looking at the desktop for the distro I was testing. It was that simple.

Microsoft and Amdocs: The Linux Connection Is Just FUD

Trying to understand the recent patent licensing deal between Microsoft and Amdocs is like watching a poker tournament, where you never know whether players are bluffing or if they have pat hands. In this case, it appears that Microsoft is bluffing when it comes to Linux. An inspection of the facts, as they are known, indicates the “Linux licensing” element of the story is only more Microsoft FUD–with Amdocs being a willing participant.

This isn’t the story of an underdog being pressured by the Redmond giant into paying a bounty on some patents Microsoft claims are being infringed upon by Linux servers in Amdocs’s data centers. In fact, it appears as if Linux licensing isn’t really a part of this deal at all.

ZoneAlarm: Defining the Difference Between Freeware and Free Software

The other day, when my friend’s laptop spit-up a warning from ZoneAlarm that she was no longer protected, I stood over her shoulder and instructed her to update the firewall. The warning was basically a scare tactic, of course. Without the update she would still be protected, just as protected as she had been the day before. She just wouldn’t have any new whiz-bang features included in the update, nor would she be able to take advantage of any new security enhancements.

We ran the default install. This was Windows, so there had to be a reboot. After that, we opened the browser to find that the homepage had been reset to a ZoneAlarm themed Google search page. We had not opted-in to any such change; the ZoneAlarm folks had just taken it on themselves to hijack Firefox’s revenue, which I didn’t think cricket.

The ‘Walled Garden’ Approach Won’t Work For Microsoft

Welcome to MicroApple.

It’s beginning to look as if Microsoft intends to get traction for Surface and other tablets running Windows by building a walled garden, creating more of the vendor lock-in that’s made Redmond famous. In other words, don’t expect to see any Microsoft programs ported to Android or iOS any time soon. Although this exclusivity has worked to keep the company’s monopoly intact in the past, this time it’s headed for failure. Windows has finally run out of steam.

I’m talking about Microsoft’s revelation last week that it has no immediate plans to make the tablet version of MS Office available on any platform but Windows. According to CNET, Redmond’s spin is that this is being done with only the user in mind:

Is the End Of the Windows Era At Hand?

Sometime during the summer of 2006, the main computer at the shop where I worked suffered a motherboard meltdown. Since I’m not much of a hardware person, I took the box to my friends at Dragonware Computers. After diagnosing the problem, owner Michelle looked around the back room, came up with a used motherboard that would get the job done and installed it while I waited. Michelle always took care of me.

In those days the folks at Dragonware were very Windows centric folks. They hosted their own website on a white box running Windows, and they knew every trick in the book about configuring Microsoft products. It wasn’t surprising then that Michelle’s husband, Phillip, had a pre-release install of Windows Vista loaded on a box in the back room. It also was no surprise that he was in love with the soon to be released OS. Microsoft wrote the book on computing as far as he was concerned.

Breaking News: