Archive for May, 2011

Software AG Acquires Mobile App Platform Developer Metismo

May 31st, 2011

Software AG has acquired Metismo, the U.K. creator of a mobile development platform that allows applications to be deployed natively on multiple smartphone operating systems, it said on Tuesday at its ProcessWorld event in Berlin.

The German company didn’t provide any financial details on the transaction.

Metismo’s Bedrock platform allows developers to write applications using Java. The company’s CrossCompiler then converts the source code into native applications than can run directly on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and smartphones based on Android, BlackBerryOS, Windows Phone and webOS.

The growing popularity of mobile Internet access and smartphones is rapidly transforming enterprise computing, and is something companies have to react to, according to Wolfram Jost, CTO at Software AG.

Metismo’s technology helps solve the complex issue of cross-platform mobile access to the enterprise, according to Software AG.

Using Bedrock, companies can focus on application development instead of “spending time and money on handset idiosyncrasies”, Metismo said.

Metismo is far from the only company offering cross-platform development tools for smartphones. It competes with the likes of RhoMobile and Appcelerator.

Mobile apps often access or manipulate data stored in the cloud. Last week Software AG bought a software developer at the other end of that connection, Terracotta, which will allow it to develop more advanced cloud services and increase the performance of its business software management tools using Terracotta’s in-memory technology.


Bad software analysis causes release of 450 dangerous Calif. inmates

May 31st, 2011

For once there has been a major security breach not directly attributable to weak network security or nonexistent data-loss protection – the kind of IT-related security breach that won’t necessarily get some digital-security geek fired.

The bad news is that it might get some programmers or project-managers fired, or get other people killed.

Due to an error in the way it analyzes prisoner records, a program used by the California Bureau of Prisons made recommendations that led to the release of 450 felons whose records indicate a “high risk of violence.”

Another 1,000 prisoners listed highly likely to commit drug crimes, property crimes or other offenses were also released as part of a court-ordered program to reduce the 143,335-prisoner population of California’s overcrowded prisons by about 33,000.

The program, running since January, 2010, relied on a program that examined arrest records of prisoners, but not previous convictions or in-prison disciplinary actions, which prosecutors told the Los Angeles Times paint a far clearer picture of an inmate’s proclivity for violence.

The application evaluates information in a database of 16.4 million arrests statewide, but had no access to data that would have given better indications of a prisoner’s risk of committing further violence.

Its access to California juvenile-criminal records was spotty, the Inspector General’s (IG) report concluded,(PDF) so only a prisoner’s adult record was often considered.

It also lacked access to in-prison disciplinary records – which often identify gang affiliations and the likelihood a prisoner will become violent without being arrested.

Worst, the application had to use as its primary data source California’s Automated Criminal History System (ACHS), which contains data on more than 16.4 million arrests, but is missing data on convictions for half those records, making it difficult to weight each incident accurately as an indicator for future violence, the IG’s office concluded.

“Despite these significant shortcomings in the ACHS database, [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] had no choice but to use that database, however inadequate, as the best available source of data,” the IG’s report concluded.

Even estimates of the number of potentially violent felons released are imprecise.

The Bureau of Prisons discovered the errors only after former prosecutor-turned-legislator State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), asked for a review of the program.

Using humans rather than software to review a sample of 200 files from the pile of 10,134 released, prison officials found 31 who should not have been considered for release – an error rate of 15 percent.

Procedures require records to be reviewed by prison officials, but the state inspector general’s report didn’t say whether any potentially violent felons were refused release due to that review.

It also didn’t say why the records-analysis application was unable to access conviction data.

By changing the application’s criteria, the bureau was able to get the error rate down to 8 percent, but is not able to re-arrest those already released.

The program gave prisoners non-revocable, unsupervised parole – meaning they’re free to do as they please without reporting to a parole officer or undergoing any other supervision. They can be sent back to prison for violating parole only if they’re arrested for other reasons.

Even those legitimately listed as low risks for violence may not live up to expectations based on a profile.

In July, 2010 a former prisoner named Javier Joseph Rueda, whose record shows he did fit criteria for release, was shot to death after firing on two Los Angeles police officers, wounding one in the arm.


India lost $866 mn in taxes to software piracy in FY’09: Study

May 31st, 2011

Indian government may have lost as much as $866 mn in taxes to software piracy in 2009, a study said today.

With software piracy rate at 65 per cent (more than six out of 10 computer software installed were not paid for) in 2009, the exchequer tax receipts loss was about $ 866 mn in net taxes, both indirect and direct, a joint study by BSA- IDC said.

“Software piracy is a unique crime as most of illegal and unlicensed usage of software occurs in otherwise legal and legitimate businesses, depriving government of legitimate taxes from software sales and distribution,” IDC Asia/Pacific Research Manager (AP Consulting) Harish Taori told reporters here.

Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a software industry body working in 80 countries to expand software markets. Its members include Adobe, Apple, HP India, Microsoft and Symantec among others. IDC is a global IT research firm.

According to the study, indirect tax receipts from software sales would have contributed $ 553 mn, while services-related business transactions and direct tax receipts would be around $ 313 mn in 2009.

The study found that in 2010, IT companies paid nearly $ 3.04 bn to state exchequer in tax. By 2014, the tax receipt is expected to grow to $ 5.7 bn with IT spending expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 per cent until 2014.

According to IDC estimates, losses of over $ 2.27 bn was caused in 2009 on account of unlicensed software sold in India in 2009 (with piracy of packaged software at 65 per cent).

The total impact in 2009 would then come to about $ 3.13 bn for 2009, BSA India Committee Chair Keshav S Dhakad said.

“High rates of piracy in India results in a lot of value erosion, which in turn affects the entire value chain from distributors to traders to resellers and hampers job creation in the areas of sales, marketing, distribution, maintenance, development etc,” Dhakad said.

He added that there was an urgent need to facilitate the creation of a strong intellectual property compliance and accounting governance model in companies to account for usage of genuine and licensed software as part of their internal and external audits.

The study said that if PC software piracy is curtailed by five per cent in 2011, the incremental potential industry revenues or the GDP contributions could be $ 790 mn, tax revenue could be $ 95 mn and 26,108 new high-skilled jobs could be created.


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