15th September 2006 |
WAKE UP! IT'S YER COMEDY PRODUCT...
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| It's Zime Up North | Flood
Of Investors | War On Terrier | Party
& Protest | Soc It To Em | ...and
SchNEWS GETS ROUND TO WIPING THE WINDOWS...
try to own knowledge, to try to control whether people are allowed
to use it, or to try to stop other people from sharing it, is sabotage."
- Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Movement.
EDO Mass March
Saturday 16th Sept march against EDO's complicity in War Crimes
in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. Meet at 12 noon
at The Level
For more see www.smashedo.org.uk
Saturday is International Software
Freedom Day, so SchNEWS is donning cyberpunk mirror shades
and jacking into the world of pony-tailed sandal-wearing geek warriors
battling to keep information free from the grip of ruthless corporate
monopolies, and creating an alternative world of free software based
are living in an age where fewer corporations own larger and larger
chunks of the media - from Rupert Murdoch owning vast swathes of
print, film and TV media, to others like Clear Channel, the Bush-funder
whose stake in the US media includes a large slice of radio stations,
concert venues, 39 TV stations, half a million billboards and more
- and they'd like to do the same in the UK (See SchNEWS
541). Fortunately the internet has become a good outlet for
independent media, albeit without the mega publicity budgets.
world of computers is dominated by one belligerent monster - Microsoft
(M$) - who have steamrollered their way on to 93% of the world's
PCs, and are worth an amount equal to the gross domestic product
of Spain. They have built their empire using a combination of stamping
on, or buying-out, competitors and making sure their patented technologies
become defacto standards, pocketing billions from worldwide license
fees. And they didn't get where they are today without political
persuasion - in the form of big donations to both major US parties,
as well as creating front lobby groups to influence policy - even
setting up bogus grassroots groups and paying off newspaper columnists.
in case you think Bill Gates, M$ CEO, might be giving some of it
back with his $26 billion Foundation - consider this: while he's
tossing $100m into health initiatives in Africa over the next ten
years, in the past three years M$ has spent $421m trying to eradicate
its emerging rival, Linux. $200,000 was used to set up the 'Grand
Challenges in Global Health' initiative in Africa - its agenda
exposed by the presence on the panel of Dr Florence Wambugu, a bio-tech
expert from Monsanto. Being pro-GM, Gates spent $25m on a research
programme into bio-tech for African agriculture. During his 2002
trip to India, Gates dropped a generous $100m for AIDS research
- yet spent $400m on training people in government and education
in using M$ products, and putting M$ Windows into Indian schools...
M$ don't always get their way and in April last year they lost a
European Commission anti-trust ruling which said they had abused
their dominance for commercial gain. It ordered them to release
technical information so that third-party software could work properly
on Windows servers, and hit them with $586m in fines. More recently
the new version of Windows - Vista - is delayed because the EU Competition
Commission are saying it can't be sold in the EU as it breaks more
despite or because of all that, a software revolution has begun
to bypass the monopolies. A whole new way of creating and distributing
intellectual property and media, and protecting it from commerical
exploitation, has emerged. The concept which underpins this is 'copyleft'.
Put simply, if your work is copyleft, you still own it, but others
can use it, distribute it, modify and improve it, and whatever results
stays copyleft - kept in the public domain. Copyleft was first created
as the legal back-bone of the Free Software Movement by founder
Richard Stallman in 1984, who showed that it's better to let others
use a program for free and allow them to contribute to it, and then
make the improved version available to all as a commonly shared
participatory, anarchic and decentralised copyleft way of working
has already given rise to several important success stories outside
its initial use - such as the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
It now has four million entries, all written and edited by readers
who make changes which appear instantly on the site. A recent study
found that Wikipedia is at least as accurate as any commercial encyclopaedia,
while also much larger (and still rapidly expanding). Another example
is Indymedia, the global independent news network which is also
built on the postings of text, photos and video from readers using
a system called 'open publishing'.
how do they stop it all turning into a clearing house for nutty
ranters? Wikipedia safeguards its content from sabotage by keeping
all previous versions of an article, which can be restored, and
has panels of experts monitoring and adjudicating in conflicts of
opinion. Indymedia sites use editorial collectives to monitor postings
and promote 'feature' articles. The free/open-source software movement
also uses this way of working - smaller groups feeding into larger
projects, which are refined by a myriad of extra contributors -
to build up the operating system and key programs it needs to take
on the mega software companies.
March Of The Penguins
NO circumstances lose against Linux" said the 2003 email circulated
to M$ senior execs by the head of worldwide sales, who also talked
of a special fund to offer bribe-like discounts or even free software
to government bodies thinking about switching to Linux.
despite M$'s intimidation tactics and sweeteners, many organisations
and individuals worldwide are switching over. Being free helps,
but it's not just a matter of cost - it's also about security. Not
only are Linux and Mac un-plagued by the viruses of the Windows
world, but like Coca-Cola, M$ keeps its software recipe secret and
away from scrutiny. So it's no accident that countries like Brazil,
Russia, India and China are now going Linux when the US company
holds the keys to unknown hidden back doors into Windows with which
they can do who knows what.
M$ putting $750 million into promoting itself in China, that country
is clearly moving towards Linux. In India, it is to become the standard
in universities, as well as in several states including Madhya Pradesh,
and schools across India, Chile, Brazil, China and the EU are changing
over as well. As it stands M$ is running a virtual extortion racket,
taking money for nothing from every school, hospital and organisation
across the world to pay for licenses to run the computers they depend
on - but with a free alternative why should they? In Brazil, President
Lula has publicly shunned M$, with plans to switch the nation's
IT infrastructure away from it - meaning $120m a year less going
into Gates's coffers. Linux could soon be on a third of Brazil's
computers, with other Latin American countries set to follow.
and Let Linux
is Linux then? It is an 'operating system' - like Windows or
Mac - which comes with its own set of key applications, eg web browser,
word processor etc. Many of these 'open source' programs are also
available for Windows or Mac, and in fact are considered as good
as, if not better than, M$ products - eg Firefox
and Open Office,
which replace Internet Explorer and Office respectively. If you
mostly use a computer for web surfing, writing, watching films and
burning CDs, then you could safely turn your computer over to Linux.
of the best things about Linux, apart from sticking two fingers
up to another nasty corporation, and being virus and spyware free,
is that you're downloading the software you want but don't have
to muck around with cracks because it's all totally legal for a
change. However as the programs are often being written by small
teams with limited resources, some of the software is not as slick
as the corporate products: Glitches can appear - but the whole process
relies on people using these progs and reporting bugs and suggestions
back to the development teams, so they can make it all more luddite-proof.
So while Linux is not yet ready to compete as a high end multimedia
platform - though it is improving rapidly - proof of its reliability
is that over 70% of the internet is run using the 'open source'
file server programme called 'Apache', mostly on Linux.
you want to see Linux in action but don't want to delete Windows
quite yet, it comes free for download and burning to CD, which when
booted runs a working version of Linux and it's major applications.
Or, you can make your PC 'dual boot' - that is both Windows and
Linux are installed, giving you the choice at start-up. Even if
you're stuck with Windows or Mac you could ditch M$ Office and Internet
Explorer and use Open Office and Firefox.
SchNEWS's moves our raggle-taggle bunch of skip-bin PCs away from
the 'dark side', this edition is being done using free open-source
software running on Linux. The articles were written in Open
Office, the issue layout done in Scribus,
and website updated with NVU.
Linux is a bit like Soya milk - it tastes funny at first but you
soon prefer it and you know it's good for you.
Which Linux? Because anyone can legally make and release
their own 'distro' of Linux, many do: ranging from hacker
communities to slick corporate versions (for more see http://distrowatch.com).
SchNEWS recommends Ubuntu
- free to download at www.ubuntu.com,
which you burn to make a 'live CD', or if you don't have broadband
we will post Ubuntu CDs free to the first 20 people who email in
For an introduction to Linux, and how to change over to it,
September 16th is International
Software Freedom Day with events in over 100 countries. In
London there will be a march from Regents Park at 12pm to Westminster
University where there will be a range of talks, information sharing
and free Ubuntu CDs to distribute. For more info see http://gllug.org.uk
Kubuntu help - http://kubuntuforums.com
Richard Stallman - The Free Software Movement's guru www.stallman.org
General Linux info www.linux.org
Linux Forums - www.linuxforums.org
ZIM UP NORTH
In August, the government
ruled that asylum seekers from Zimbabwe would definitely not face
any kind of persecution from that nice man Mr Mugabe, and therefore
they can step up their forcible deportations of those that 'fail'
their criteria. A coalition of protest groups has come together
to call a mass demonstration in Leeds city centre on Saturday 16th.
Assemble outside Leeds art gallery on the Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD
To join the weekly London
vigil and for more about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe,
Just when we thought
the story had gone cold, things are heating up in Turkey again.
It's the return of the Ilisu Dam
project, thought to have been defeated back in 2001, when
UK company Balfour Beatty were forced to pull out and the consortium
funding the folly collapsed (See SchNEWS 331,
Well, a new bunch of
capitalists have decided that where Anglos fear to tread, they would
be only too happy to seek the profits to be had from a project that
would flood 300 sq km of Kurdish land, dislocate some 78,000 villagers,
and impact upon people over the borders in Syria and Iraq (who,
for some reason other, have a little too much on their hands right
now to make too big a fuss about it). These sharp suited ad-venture
heroes are VA Tech (from Austria), Alstom (Switzerland) and Züblin
(Germany) and have applied for export credit guarantees from their
respective governments. And even while all the decisions are yet
to made, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,
signalled his intent of August 5th by laying a foundation stone
for the dam, which as a bonus would flood large areas of unique
sites of historical interest going right back to the beginnings
of human history.
For details of the revived
campaign, see www.ilisu.org.uk
5 days of evidence at Hastings Magistrates Court, 7 hunt
sabs had their aggravated trespass case dismissed after a police
attempt to 'fix' the case was exposed. A CPS civilian employee gave
testimony to at least three "mistakes" or "oversights" in the evidence-disclosure
process – where the prosecution has, by law, to hand over
all relevant evidence - rules introduced after the exposure of stitch-ups
with the Birmingham 6 and Bridgewater 3. There is no doubt in the
minds of the defendants that these “oversights” were
part of a concerted attempt by cops to coach witnesses and withhold
evidence in order to gain a conviction at any cost.
charges related to an incident on 21st Feb when 30 sabs attended
the East Sussex and Romney Marsh foxhunt (who boast of their intentions
to break the hunt ban). After the hunt was found hunting illegally
there were confrontations and one of the hunt was injured. The police
smashed windows on a vehicle and nicked the 7 occupants, later
charging them with violent disorder and GBH with intent. All were
later released minus clothes, possessions and Landrover.
Charges were later dropped to aggravated trespass (disrupting a
lawful activity on private land!) A 10-day trial with 36 prosecution
witnesses started on 4th September. Despite attempts to put the
defence off the scent with false leads, facts were unearthed by
legal beagle Tim Walker showing the hunt had been illegally digging
foxes out. Indeed the injured man, Tim Skinner, had a recently-killed
fox on the front of his quad bike.
The CPS failed to supply
evidence that would put the sabs in the clear, new evidence only
being passed to the defence at the last moment after repeated requests.
In the end, access to video interviews with key witnesses was only
grudgingly acceded to. The cops' refusal to co-operate culminated
in an 'abuse of process' hearing, where the Crown chose to offer
no more evidence on the basis that it was impossible to be sure
that the defendants would face a fair trial. The Judge threw the
case out. Sabs are now rubbing their hands at the prospect of dragging
the cops to court.
* To get involved see www.huntsabs.org.uk
SEPT 21st - Time To Go Demonstration - Troops Out of Iraq,
No Attack on Iran, No Trident Replacement, Get Blair Out, End Israeli
Terror... Central Manchester - assemble 1pm Albert Square.
* Brighton coach £10 return, call 07917 300419. * London coach
from Shepherds Bush Road £15 waged, £6 unwaged, £3
u18s. Call 07984 405307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas has been busy recently, successfully pissing off the
upholders-of-the-law at Charing Cross police station by inundating
them with paperwork the government deemed absolutely necessary
for state security. Inspired by the Serious Organised Crime and
Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) prohibiting 'unauthorised' protest around
parliament (see SchNEWS 483) Thomas has
urged people to partake in 'mass lone' demos, two of which have
already successfully taken place. Each person applies in advance
for permission to hold a singe-person protest, just on the same
day as everybody else. A range of causes has been protested from
the obvious SOCPA, Iraq, Palestine etc to more imaginative ones
like 'Ban crap laws' and 'Exile Robbie Williams'.
Next Friday the 22nd
the third demo is taking place and Mark and the crew have thought
up a way to double the dose of absurdity by holding two consecutive
demos that day. It should've proved a real paperwork ball-ache for
the boys'n'girls in blue working today on the deadline for handing
in protest applications. If you've missed out, don't worry as there'll
be more demos to come. And if you still fancy a trip to express
some dissent next week, why not grab yourself a blank sheet of paper
and join the protesters as two creative souls did at the last one.
* Brian Haw has
been in court this week for breaching conditions imposed following
his 5-year demonstration outside Parliament After the embarrassing
realisation that the SOCPA law written specifically to remove him
did not legally include him, the court of appeal judged in May that
Brian is not exempt after all. Conditions included limiting his
demo to an area of 3 sq meters in total and reducing the number
of people allowed to be present. Just to make sure Brian did as
he was told, cops decided to forcibly remove most of his placards
on the night of 23rd May (see SchNEWS 545).
Brian and his lawyers had their day in court and on Tues 12th
won their request for an adjournment in order to seek
a judicial review of the ruling. The fight for the right to protest
goes on! See www.parliament-square.org.uk
worlds collided last month as World of Warcraft(TM) went head-to-head
with War on Terror(TM). In one 'reality' the forces of good rally
to thwart a Dark Lord dwelling in the Mountains of the East; in
the other a bunch of geeks pretend to be druids in an Internet game.
Beware, would-be warlocks: it's not yer magic sword you need to
hang on to, its yer i-pod. Last month, one virtual Gandalf from
Chicago (flying to meet a girl he'd met online, natch) downloaded
more than his bowels into a plane toilet. Spotting a blockage
cabin crew raised the alarm. Despite geekboy's explanation that
it was a crap-smeared i-pod, not a bomb the plane made an emergency
landing in Ottawa and passengers got the full 'terror procedures'
monty from the bomb squad and secret service.
on his quest, our hero explained that, far from being an ordinary
passenger, he was in fact Valakar the Mighty (or something), leader
of a Warrior Guild- getting him a full interrogation from some real
spooks. When asked if he knew how to make a bomb, he proudly answered,
Spock-like, "I have a degree in physics, and I'm not an idiot."
Whoops. Several hours in a dungeon and a search of his computer
hard-drive later, he finally got his i-poo back and the passengers
orcs beware. Those who have spent too long immersed in a wierd virtual
environment - like War on Terror World - exhibit detachment from
reality, are quick to anger, not all that subtle and it's best not
to approach them. OK?.
advises all readers - open sauce is tasty all over yer chips. Honest.
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