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Proprietary Software and DRM/Monopoly

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  • FOSS Patents: Fortnite users continue to make in-app purchases on iOS that bypass Apple's payment system: court filing says "Epic is stealing money from Apple"

    In yesterday's filing, Apple says it has the right to sue Epic not only for breach of contract but also for tort, given that Epic would face tort liability "if [t]c had never executed the contracts with Apple and had instead found another way to smuggle Fortnite and its 'hotfix' payment mechanism into the App Store." Apple argues that a company protecting itself against such behavior through contracts must not be in a weaker legal position than one that doesn't. What Apple does clarify is that it won't seek "multiplicative recovery" if the same conduct on Epic's part constituted both a breach of an agreement and fraud. In other words, Apple would then content itself with only the greater of the two alternative amounts.

    It appears that the "hotfix" was just a simple data point on Epic's servers--not program code, but merely a trigger. When the iOS version of Fortnite checked on that data point, it offered an alternative payment mechanism to end users in circumvention of Apple's in-app payment rules.

    After the "hotfix" that Apple says became Epic's hot mess, Fortnite was removed from the App Store. That means it cannot be downloaded to iOS devices right now, and Epic has already failed twice (with a motion for a temporary restraining order as well as a motion for a preliminary injunction) to get a court to force Apple to tolerate an iOS version of Fortnite that bypasses Apple's in-app payment system.

  • Why Apple’s App Store Is Under Siege

    Fueling the fire was a report issued last week by House Democrats summing up an antitrust probe into four Big Tech companies — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — and urging Congress to enact new laws to curb the companies’ power. The 449-page report called on Congress to enact new laws to curb the companies’ power, including prohibiting companies like Apple from operating “adjacent lines of business” (in other words, preventing it from offering its own apps in the App Store that compete with those from third parties).

    “Apple’s monopoly power over app distribution on iPhones permits the App Store to generate supra-normal profits,” the House Judiciary Committee report said.

  • Microsoft Says Long-Time Deals Executive Brown Leaving Company

    Microsoft Corp. said mergers and acquisitions chief Marc Brown is leaving the company after a more than two-decade stint working on deals ranging from LinkedIn to Nokia Oyj’s handset unit.

    Brown, vice president of corporate development, reported to Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw on Friday confirmed Brown’s departure and declined to comment on a replacement. The company is still conducting a search for a senior business development executive to replace Peggy Johnson, who left in July to become chief executive officer at Magic Leap Inc.

  • Your brand new Oculus Quest 2 can’t play Oculus Go games, John Carmack confirms [Ed: Digital Restrictions (DRM) in action]

    If you bought a new Oculus Quest 2 with the hopes of experiencing games from the now-discontinued Oculus Go, I have bad news: the company has decided not to include support for Go titles on the Quest 2, Oculus’ consulting CTO John Carmack confirms on Twitter.

    When the Oculus Quest 2 launched three days ago, some people noticed there was no feature on the UI that allowed users to access Go apps and games, something the original Quest headset featured. Carmack did not go into much detail on why support was not added other than “[he] totally lost the internal debate over backwards compatibility.”

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  • Three npm packages found opening shells on Linux, Windows systems [Ed: The writers at ZDNet are apt at blaming “LINUX” for security threats that have nothing to do with Linux. Now that Microsoft is serving malware ZDNet… blames “NPM” (ssshhhhh… don’t mention Microsoft)]
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More in Tux Machines

'This was bigger than GNOME and bigger than just this case.' GNOME Foundation exec director talks patent trolls and much, much more

Patent assertion entities: do not pick a fight with open source. It won't end well for you. This is the message from GNOME Foundation executive director Neil McGovern, who will speak on the subject at the Open Source Summit Europe next week. McGovern talked to The Register ahead of the event on patents, Microsoft, and more. The open-source outfit develops the default desktop environment on major Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Red Hat. In late August 2019, Rothschild Patent Imaging filed a lawsuit against the GNOME foundation claiming that GNOME Shotwell, a photo manager, infringed one of its patents. “We didn't receive a letter before the court documents were filed or any sort of warning, it was just filed and then within a week there was a settlement request for $75,000,” McGovern told us. Read more

Debian Janitor: Hosters used by Debian packages

The Debian Janitor is an automated system that commits fixes for (minor) issues in Debian packages that can be fixed by software. It gradually started proposing merges in early December. The first set of changes sent out ran lintian-brush on sid packages maintained in Git. This post is part of a series about the progress of the Janitor. The Janitor knows how to talk to different hosting platforms. For each hosting platform, it needs to support the platform- specific API for creating and managing merge proposals. For each hoster it also needs to have credentials. At the moment, it supports the GitHub API, Launchpad API and GitLab API. Both GitHub and Launchpad have only a single instance; the GitLab instances it supports are gitlab.com and salsa.debian.org. This provides coverage for the vast majority of Debian packages that can be accessed using Git. More than 75% of all packages are available on salsa - although in some cases, the Vcs-Git header has not yet been updated. Of the other 25%, the majority either does not declare where it is hosted using a Vcs-* header (10.5%), or have not yet migrated from alioth to another hosting platform (9.7%). A further 2.3% are hosted somewhere on GitHub (2%), Launchpad (0.18%) or GitLab.com (0.15%), in many cases in the same repository as the upstream code. Read more Also: Multiple git configurations depending on the repository path

Benchmarks and Graphics Leftovers: x86, Zink, and Navi

  • Intel Core i7 1165G7 Tiger Lake vs. AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U Linux Performance

    For the Intel Tiger Lake Linux benchmarking thus far with the Core i7 1165G7 on the Dell XPS 13 9310 it's primarily been compared against the Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U on the AMD side since those are the only Renoir units within my possession. But a Phoronix reader recently provided me with remote access to his Lenovo ThinkPad X13 with Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U (8 cores / 16 threads) for seeing how the Tiger Lake performance compares against that higher-end SKU. Phoronix reader Tomas kindly provided SSH access to his ThinkPad X13 with Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U and 16GB of RAM. The Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U is quite close to the Ryzen 7 4800U with 8 cores / 16 threads but graphics capabilities in line with the 4700U. He's been quite happy with the ThinkPad X13 as a replacement to the Dell XPS 13 for business usage and has been running it with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the Linux 5.8 kernel.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Catching Up

    A rare Saturday post because I spent so much time this week intending to blog and then somehow not getting around to it. Let’s get to the status updates, and then I’m going to dive into the more interesting of the things I worked on over the past few days. Zink has just hit another big milestone that I’ve just invented: as of now, my branch is passing 97% of piglit tests up through GL 4.6 and ES 3.2, and it’s a huge improvement from earlier in the week when I was only at around 92%. That’s just over 1000 failure cases remaining out of ~41,000 tests. For perspective, a table.

  • AMD 'Big Navi' 3DMark Firestrike results shared by HW testing firm

    The Linux specialists over at Phoronix have noticed that the AMD Linux driver has been tweaked to add support for a new graphics card dubbed the "navi10 blockchain SKU". It comments that the only visible difference in support for this card vs existing Navi 1X support, from the driver perspective, is that the patches disable the Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) support - basically creating a 'headless' Navi 1X graphics card. Cryprocurrency is showing signs of a resurgence in popularity and values, and some are worried that the latest and greatest GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD will be plucked from retailers even faster if they are viable mining platforms. It has been reported that AMD is trying to make sure retailers follow certain distribution practices with its upcoming Radeon RX 6000 series products, to make sure they are distributed to gamers and enthusiasts rather than scalpers and such like. An initiative like creating appealing crypto-specific Navi 1X products might help everyday consumers get their hands on a new Navi 2X graphics card too.

Does the Snap Store Use Too Much Memory?

This week I noticed that the Snap Store app on my Ubuntu 20.10 laptop uses a tonne of memory, even when it’s not running — we’re talking more memory than the main GNOME Shell process uses, and that is always running! Naturally I assumed something in my config was to blame. I do make heavy use of Snap apps — don’t worry I use plenty of Flatpak and PPAs too. I’m pretty polyamorous when it comes to packaging formats and I did install using an Ubuntu 20.10 daily build. Therein lay bugs. I know the caveats. All good. Don’t mind. Whatever. Read more