Archive for September, 2009

Vista Poisoning my Clock??? Pt 4

Vista Poisoning my Clock??? Pt 4

This is now getting weird [28 Sept].  The last two times I have rebooted, the Linux clock has been correctly set.  I hadn’t gotten around to adding ntp to the boot files…

Heaven knows what has changed, but the time seems to be consistently right again.

[5 Oct] Arrrgh!!! Now it’s fast (by ~20 mins).  Updated to daylight savings yesterday.  Reboot today, and its fast (all the other times its been slow)

Vista Poisoning My Clock?? (Pt 3)

Vista Poisoning My Clock?? (Pt 3)

The Story so far.

I think it may not be Vista’s fault – or if it is, it may be some way that Linux interacts with the MB BIOS.  At 23:30 I rebooted from Vista.  During POST I entered the BIOS config to check the hardware clock – 23:30.  I left the BIOS and it proceeded to boot to Linux – once boot finished, time was 23:09.  Something is happening during the Linux boot sequence to throw off both system time and hardware clock time (hwclock –show matches system time).   I believe that in Linux the system time is read from the hardware clock on boot, then written on shut down.  If that’s correct then something is changnig the hardware clock before Linux loads it for System time.

Microsoft/Linux: Don’t Cross License with Us?

Microsoft/Linux: Don’t Cross License with Us?

Last week saw the purchase, by OIN, of a portfolio of patents which ultimately originated from MicrosoftOIN has alleged that Microsoft had described this portfolio as relating to Linux.   Red Hat has speculated that Microsoft auctioned these patents off in the hope of them being picked up by a patent troll and used ‘offensively’ against Linux (which I take to mean ultimately by way of litigation).

Without being a potential bidder I can’t say whether or not any of this speculation is true, but what if it is?

First, if this speculation is true, it means that Microsoft believed that the patents would be of value in litigation against Linux.  By selling the patents it therefore consciously decided not to litigate over them itself.

Second, what is the impact of this sale on manufacturers of Linux based devices who are entering cross-licensing arrangements with Microsoft?  What is the value of a cross licensing deal intended to protect against Linux related patents if the very patents you want to license are, will be, or have been, sold off to third parties?

Is Microsoft undermining its patent cross licensing push?

Vista Poisoning My Clock??? – Pt 2

Vista Poisoning My Clock??? – Pt 2

Click here for the story so far.

So, today I turned on my computer at 11:44, booted into Vista, simply to check the time (correct) then rebooted into Linux -> the time shown was 11:36 – a loss of 8 minutes during the reboot.  The time on the hardware clock /sbin/hwclock –show was also 11:36.  So, presumably somehow in the reboot process from vista-> linux something is resetting the hardware clock – but more weird, the change is not consistent across reboots (different reboots result in a different change in time).


Vista Poisoning my Clock???

Vista Poisoning my Clock???

Started dual booting a little while ago (now that’s a story in itself!).  I’ve noticed my clock in Linux is now off all the time.  I switched from UTC to local time, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference (and the time offsets are not consistent – this morning, for example, Linux was off by 3 hours and 9 minutes). Vista’s time seems to remain consistent between reboots (Linux-> Vista or Vista-> Vista) but when I boot up Linux the time is off (by some offset, but I don’t think its a consistent offset).  As a for-example, I turned the machine off around 10:20 this morning, and turned on at 12:09pm.  In that time the clock lagged by 24 minutes.  I doubt it’s the battery as the time was right when I booted Vista first thing this morning.

I can’t find anything similar on the web…

Any thoughts?

OIN buys MS Linux Patents

OIN buys MS Linux Patents

The Open Invention Network has bought a number of patents from Microsoft at auction.  Their press release is here.  It is testament to the sorry state of the patent system that a vehicle must be set up specifically to buy patents and then not use them.

Dell Ubuntu Oops

Chris Smart reports on the availability of a 10″ Linux netbook from Dell in Australia.  I went to check it out and noticed some oopses on the Dell site – the operating system icon, and the availability of Norton Security (is there an Ubuntu version?  I don’t know).  It is somewhat scary that the generic icon they use for “operating system” is a specific logo for a vendor’s product (scary for competition, but also scary for that vendor as such usage can undermine trademark rights).

If you know someone at Dell, ask them to fix…

Also, the Linux version does not come with a customisation option for an office suite (while the windows config has the option of adding office).

Screen grabs :

Wrong OS Icon (3)

Wrong OS Icon (3)

Is norton available on Ubuntu?

Is norton available on Ubuntu?

CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report

CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report

Russel Coker has published an article referencing some copyright related posts.  In passing he noted that the Copyright Agency Limited apparently doesn’t pay you distributions if your entitlement is below a certain threshhold.  His article prompted me to finish a blog post I had been meaning to do for some time – an analysis of one of CAL’s annual reports.   Every year CAL produces an annual report on their activities through the year (unfortunately CAL appears to have removed their 06-07 report from their website, so you’ll need to get a hard copy if you want to cross check these figures).  I thought it might be an idea to have a look at one of these reports to extract some information from it.


CAL’s revenue for 06-07: $116.4 million (@13)

CAL’s net income: $98.2 million (@13)

CAL’s expenditure is $18.1 million (@19 – a more precise figure for expenditure can be calculated from the tables in the  back of the report)

cal blog - diagrams incomevexpenditure

Distributions (ie amounts paid by CAL to members etc)

Amounts distributed by CAL to members in 06-07: $134.3 million (@11).  The report states this is unusually high because of some one-off accelerated payments (@39)

Category                            Paid     %
Authors:                           $10.9m    8.12%
Publishers:                        $95.3m   70.96%
Collecting Societies (Australian):  $1.5m    1.12%
Collecting Societies (Foreign):    $26.6m   19.81%


1. Almost 20% of the amount distributed was sent to foreign collecting societies.

2. Despite comprising only 36% of members (see below), publishers have received about 71% of the total distribution.

3. Given that Australian collecting societies comprise only 1.12% of the distribution it is probably not appropriate to give them too much weight.   CAL in its report makes reference to the fact that, including indirect members, CAL represents  28,000 rights holders.  Presumably the excess over the roughly 10,000 direct members are accounted for in this 1.12% figure.

4. A minority of the distributions were paid to authors (whether Australian or foreign – even assuming all of the money sent overseas went directly to authors and not 70% to publishers as in Australia).

As a graph:

Where the Money Goes

Where the Money Goes

Comparing CAL’s Admin costs to the Amounts it Pays to Australian Author Members

From above, we know that distributions to Australian Author members was $10.9 million, and that CAL’s expenses – ie the costs it incurs in operating/administering the scheme – were $18.1 million.  As a graph:

Admin Costs exceed Payments to Australian Author Members

Admin Costs exceed Payments to Australian Author Members

Overseas Collecting Societies

As per above, $26.6 million was sent to overseas collecting societies.  In return, CAL received $1.2 million from overseas collecting societies destined for Australian authors.

As a graph:

At least twice as much money is given to overseas authors than to Australian Authors

CAL pays foreign collecting societies more than Australian authors

Receipts from Overseas v Payments to Overseas

CAL paid $26.6 million to overseas collecting societies and received $1.2 million in return (@46).

CAL Pays much more to Foreign Collecting Societies than it Receives from Them

CAL Pays much more to Foreign Collecting Societies than it Receives from Them

Average Distribution Per Publisher, Author Members

Total distributions to Publishers: $95.3 million distributed among 3698 publisher members = $25,770

Total distributions to authors: $10.9 million distributed among 6574* non-publisher members=$1,658

* Note: the report does not expressly disclose the number of author members, but it is no more than the total number of members less the number of publishers.

Distributions per Author as Percentage of Average Adult Male Earnings

Average adult male weekly earnings in May 2007: $1,221 => per year: $63,528.40

Average distribution to authors = $1,658, or about  3% of average adult male earnings.

Average distribution to publishers = $25,770 or about 41% of average adult male earnings

As a graph:

cal blog - diagrams makingalivingoffcopyright

Making a Living off Copyright:

Based on these numbers, for an author member to receive average adult male earnings from CAL distributions roughly 33 other CAL author members would need to receive nothing.

How is Membership Broken Down (@23):

Publishers 36% (ie about 3698 members)
Journalists: 26%
Academics: 11%
Visual Artists: 7%
Other Authors: 17%
Surveyors: 3%

It is not clear how other collecting societies are categorised here.

As a graph:

How CAL Membership is Broken Down

How CAL Membership is Broken Down

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