Archive for the ‘National Operating System’ Category

Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti writes in Futurezone about alleged fears that the UN would take over the internet. With the UN she means ITU, the cartel-like UN organisation for international telecommunication companies, which still breathes the spirit of the times when telecommunication was a public utility service. She refers to an op-ed by Robert M McDowell in the Wallstreet Journal:

On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet.

Just consider the recent attempt with the SOPA laws to annex the Internet as a property of the United States. The position of McDowell is good old cyber-libertarianism:

A top-down, centralized, international regulatory overlay is antithetical to the architecture of the Net, which is a global network of networks without borders. No government, let alone an intergovernmental body, can make engineering and economic decisions in lightning-fast Internet time.

Still for certain functions you rely on neutral govermental players. Privacy and libel, contract law, protection of property, law enforcement etc. Non-intervention is a deliberate choice as is intervention.

Pro-regulation forces are, thus far, much more energized and organized than those who favor the multi-stakeholder approach.

I don’t know why anyone would still favour multi-stakeholderism. In Brussels multi-stakeholderism makes citizens feel alienated and public servants appear disloyal to their people.


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Parliamentary questions 4 March 2011 E-002007/2011
Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117
Jens Rohde (ALDE)

On 8 February 2011 a review of the free software program ‘Ubuntu’ was broadcast on ‘Gratis og helt Ubuntu’ in the programme ‘so ein Ding’ on the Danish TV channel DR2*.

According to the review, the software program Ubuntu was quite satisfactory and considered to be comparable to Windows and Mac OS. But when users buy a computer in the EU, Microsoft is preinstalled. Users therefore have to remove the preinstalled Windows in order to install Ubuntu. This means that they are not free to choose which software program they want to install and use on their computer.

Tying two separate products may have an anti-competitive exclusionary effect on the tied market, because it can reduce the number of potential buyers in the market for the tied product (see TFEU Art. 102(2)(d)). In a related case — T-201/04 of 27 September 2007 — the Commission found that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position in PC operating systems by tying Windows to Windows Media Player.

This leads me to ask the Commission if it believes that, or will consider whether, the sale of computers with preinstalled Windows hinders competition as regards software programs? If so, will the Commission then consider putting an end to the preinstallation of Microsoft Windows on computers?

E-002007/2011 Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission (7.4.2011)

Microsoft’s behaviour could infringe EU competition rules if Microsoft were to implement anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market(s).

It should be noted that Microsoft is not present on the PC hardware market. It is primarily the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), who act as intermediaries on behalf of end users, and provide them with an “out-of-the-box” product, by combining PC hardware, client PC operating system and applications for which there is demand.

The Commission is aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. At the moment, the Commission is however not in possession of evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules as laid down in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Commission will continue to monitor the developments in this field so as to ensure that competition and a level playing field are preserved amongst all market players.

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Das Innenministerium teilt mir auf Anfrage mit:

Die Funktion der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Informationstechnik wird ins Englische wie folgt übersetzt: “Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology”

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The platform wikileaks published committee draft documents from an industry working group on a European Software Strategy, a blogger Javier Carrete puts the document and internal comments in a certain lobby context. I am a very sceptical about the wikileaks platform. Documents are put out of context and get politicized. The document is part of larger stakeholder contribution process for the European Software Strategy initiative of Vivianne Reding.

Here is the official final report and here you find the whole process to get the larger picture. I could add more.

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The Mandriva developer community founds a new project “Mageia”, a fork of the popular distribution.


As you may have heard, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution is unclear. Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project. Many things have happened in the past 12 years. Some were very nice: the Mandriva Linux community is quite large, motivated and experienced, the distribution remains one of the most popular and an award-winning product, easy to use and innovative. Some other events did have some really bad consequences that made people not so confident in the viability of their favourite distribution. People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.

Apparently they want development be governed by a non-profit organisation or developer cooperative. A main concern of them seems to be the past business decisions of the Mandriva management. The business model looks unclear.

Consider that Mandriva currently competes with a Russian consortium on a Russian National Operating system contract.

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March 19, 2010
9 AM – 5 PM
This one day summit will feature key note speakers, including David Ferriero, Archivist of the U.S, panel discussions and a reception addressing “hot-button” issues in the “open government” dialogue including:
– The meaning of “open government” in the digital age
– Operationalizing digital openness
– Meeting citizen expectations for access
– What the future holds for openness
– Best practices
– Sunshine Law and archival implications of digital records

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For those who just knew Omnibus and Omnicleaner, a message from Referat IT 7 of BMI (German Federal Ministry of Interiour), relates to an annual conference about electronic ID:

Omnicard 2010

Jährlicher Branchentreff zum Informationsaustausch rund um das Thema elektronische Identität vom
19.-21.01.2010 in Berlin

What makes me curious, I just received a “Führungszeugnis” (certificate of good conduct) sent to me from BMJ, a letter which confirms to me that I am no criminal or otherwise dangerous or as they say “No entry”. It was much faster delivered than they announced me in the citizen’s service office. It took much longer 15 years ago and you had to wait for 40 minutes to file your application. These kind of public services tend to improve over time. I am sure we will one day pass the stage where you simply order them via a webform and they don’t charge you for that knickknack, it would be in your box the next day. Of course electronic recording of such data with an electronic ID card sounds more convenient. I guess data protection and security would be an issue here. Now, if the information that I am harmless is beyond the scope of an ID card, what to do with other critical data such as Health records?

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Bis zum Schliessen einer höchst kritischen Sicherheitslücke warnt das Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) vor der Nutzung des Webbrowsers Internet Explorer.

Das Ausführen des Internet Explorer im „geschützen Modus“ sowie das Abschalten von Acitve Scripting erschwert zwar die Angriffe, kann sie jedoch nicht vollständig verhindern. Deshalb empfiehlt das BSI, bis zum Vorliegen eine Patches von Microsoft auf einen alternativen Browser umzusteigen.

Das dürfte für viele Bürger und Unternehmen sehr unangenehm sein. Als Alternativen bieten sich u.a. an:

Vor einigen Jahren gab es zwischenzeitlich keine echten Alternativen zum Internet Explorer, das hat sich nun geändert. Doch gibt es immer noch Webdienste, die einzig mit dem IE benutzbar sind. Die BSI Warnung zeigt wie wichtig es für unsere Sicherheit ist, diese Abhängigkeiten zu reduzieren.

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A list of European Parliament Intergroups, that is non-partisan groups of MEPs, like an official committee.

  • SMEs
  • Ways of Saint James/Camino de Santiago
  • Family, the right of the child and bioethics
  • Sky and space
  • Youth issues
  • Urban
  • Mountainous, island and sparsely populated regions and very remote regions
  • Social economy
  • Sustainable hunting, biodiversity, countryside activities and forests
  • Extreme poverty and human rights, Fourth World European Committee
  • Disability
  • Tibet
  • Climate change and biodiversity and sustainable development
  • Water
  • Baltic Europe
  • Media
  • Ageing and intergenerational solidarity
  • Seas and coastal affairs
  • Welfare and conservation of animals
  • Trade union coordination group
  • New media, free software, open information Society
  • Traditional national minorities, constitutional regions and regional languages
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights
  • Public services
  • Western Sahara
  • Anti-racism and diversity (Roma included)
  • Wine, fruits and vegetables, tradition and quality food

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Now that is fun! When you look at the KDE4 trunk statistics the Germanic minority language Low Saxon is more complete than the German translation/localisation of KDE. Back in 2004 I attended the Linux Information Days in my home town Wilhelmshaven as a speaker, where Heiko Evermann presented his project to translate KDE into low saxon. I thought it was a great idea but they would never catch up. Low Saxon reads as follows:

“Updating boot sector for NTFS file system on partition %1.”
msgstr “”
“Bootsektor för NTFS-Dateisysteem op Partitschoon %1 “”warrt opfrischt.”

The teams have to translate at present 163711 strings. Lox Saxon (5) is at 92%, German (11) at 87%. There is a reason why Lower Saxony won’t make KDE4 in Low Saxon its National Desktop Environment for the public sector. Hardly anyone speaks it in the capital Hanover where according to certain legends the reference dialect of German (Standard German) is spoken, a city which ironically had been under English rule for quite some time.

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