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Semiformalishmaybe

CEAC 2 June 2012

In the news:

  • Our courts ruled that APIs cannot be patented, in a ruling where Sun Microsystems sued Google over the Dalvik JVM used in Android (an operating system from a company Google acquired in 2005, used mainly in cellphones and tablets)
  • Hosni Mubarak, former dictator of Egypt, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in a trial over political curruption and deaths of protestors. One of his co-conspirators was also found guilty, a number of other regime members were acquitted.
  • Egypt's presidential race has narrowed to two candidates after the most recent elections; both candidates are difficult-to-stomach for some portion of the movement that removed Mubarak from power, as one is a former Mubarak crony and the other an Islamist. A Christian leader has provoked controversy by suggesting that christians should dress modestly like the Muslims.
  • In Mali, a longstanding rebel group made an alliance with al-Qaeda-linked militants to purge government forces from the north of the country, and after that was accomplished, withdrew from the alliance, finding imposition of their form of Sharia unacceptable.
  • After a recent release of economic information from the US government, Politifact published a scorecard for various aspects of the economy. Unsurprisingly, it's complicated.
  • The longstanding Israeli practice of labelling products made in not-formally-annexed territories as "Made in Israel" is coming under fire; activists typically have wished to boycott these products specifically because of frequent abuses by the settler movement in Israel, and the mislabelling is a shield against that. The Israeli government handling of settlers has long been a thorny issue, with Israeli society as divided over the issue as the rest of the world.
  • An upper-caste Indian landlord-with-a-militia, Brahmeshwar Singh, was recently slain, likely because of his frequent abuse of (and occasional organised deadly lynchings) of the untouchable caste in India. His death strikes me as positive.
  • Microsoft's doing its best to close the PC and PC-like platforms against alternative operating systems; the next versions of Windows on PCs will only run on firmware that can refuse to boot non-signed operating systems, and Windows on ARM will only run on firmware that *must* refuse to do so. Unfortunately, Redhat decided to buy into this, arranging with MS to have its kernels signed. Result: People will no longer be able to build custom kernels or load some kernel modules. I hope an antitrust investigation is opened on Microsoft over this.
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Comments

I think UEFI secure boot is a complete disaster, but I do believe the current requirement is that x86 UEFI systems must allow disabling secure boot.

Also, Redhat's arrangement is just that they are paying MS $99, though a program that's open to the public. So it's not _quite_ as bad as it sounds. The main risk I see is that MS may choose to close the program at a later date, thus causing a serious issue.
I would prefer to have no linux vendor sign on to it, and to have it be the basis of an antitrust investigation; having people sign on damages the possibility of that.

There's also the signing-custom-kernels or signing-modules requirement, which means we lose something even given Redhat's selling-out. :(
I agree with all your preferences. Just making sure you have correct data. :-)