Microsoft licensing corruption scandal in Romania has ended on October 3rd

sandu-cocos-dumitru-stefan

This scandal covers buying Microsoft licensees for Romanian administration from 2004 to 2012 for total 228 millions USD.

During the investigation was found that more than 100 people, former ministers, mayor of Bucuresti and businessman are involved in this corruption scandal and more than 20 millions euro are paid as bribes.
The Romanian court ruled in March 2016 with sentences for 8 years of prison and 9 millions euro of asset forfeiture for the 4 persons on the picture.
These sentences were appealed and October 3rd the High Court of Cassation and Justice (HCCJ) confirmed the guilt and increased the sentences to 14 years in prison and 17 millions of euro of asset forfeiture for these same persons.

I have nothing to add but my admiration for the working Romanian Judiciary.

Bulgaria and Romania joined EU back in 2007 together and while Romanian people has will to change their future, the things in Bulgaria has very little improvements. In Romania there are near hundred of corrupted politics and public administrators in prison, in Bulgaria there are none. Supreme court in Bulgaria is overwhelmed with files, as everyone appeal his case for every small disputes up to the highest level. They have files which they have no capacity to review for next few years. So effectively there is no working Judiciary in Bulgaria. Тo judge someone here is just waste of money and time.

Bulgarian government spent almost 60 million of euro for Microsoft licensees from 2007 to 2011 and the “tender” winner is always one and same company.  I already posted about my wondering why such amount is spent for something with free alternative. Another question is why administration spends money for platform with 99% of all viruses existing and which is tool for US agencies to spy all around the world?

The information about Romanian corruption scandal was taken from here . I used Google translator so some numbers may be inaccurate 🙂

How to correctly power off OLinuXino running Android

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OLinuXino boards now are used at many different places and environments. Few days ago we got call from customer who is using A13-OLinuXino-WIFI in industrial applications and have installations all around the world including China 🙂 His industrial controller is running on Android and his problem is that randomly from time to time the Android NAND image gets corrupted. We also have noticed on our forum posts that some boards have NAND flash corrupted and need to be re-flashed. Usually we blame for the NAND corruption the cheap power supplies used, but this customer assured me that he is using very good, industrial power supply with all noise protections etc.

With our engineers we decided to do some extensively tests on this subject and here are the results:

1. It’s very important the power supply to stay ON uninterrupted while Android boots, for freshly programmed image this may take SEVERAL minutes as obviously when run for very first time Android creates lot of files and buffers.

After the first boot the Android usually starts faster for less than minute after you apply power supply (and it is not put in mode for start with POWER key).

What we found is that if the power supply is interrupted while Android boots it almost 100% sure that NAND will be corrupted. In 9 of 10 times when we power off board while boots NAND gets corrupted.

This is usually critical part for non-patient and non-experienced users I guess, they plug TV and power supply and wait few seconds – nothing happen on the TV and they power off the board – now already NAND is corrupted!

2. After Android boot is complete and power is switched off, there is rare but still chance to kill your NAND content. We try and out of 1 of 50 switch ON/OFF NAND will be corrupted, what we guess is that Android even after boot from time to time write files to NAND file system and if you hit such time slot to power off your board your NAND will be corrupted.

OK we start thinking how to avoid this, first we though it would be clever to add brown-out protection circuit which to disable NAND write (Write Protect) when glitch on power supply is detected.

Unfortunately (and logically) this made things even worse, now even when you plug USB device or when you enable/disable LCD backlight small glitch on the power supply disables the NAND write, but the processor is working and what happens when processor is running and try to write file while NAND is disabled – MESS!

Reading our forum we saw suggestion how correctly to power off Android device, using this command sequence:

$ sync
$ reboot -p

and cut power after these commands execution finish, we didn’t manage to corrupt the NAND flash even after hundreds of power on/off cycles this way.

The conclusion, the one and only correct way to power OFF OLinuxino running Android/Linux is by executing above commands and after them to cut power off, otherwise there is always chance processor to start write to file system and if power is cut at this point NAND Flash will be corrupted.

Experiments with SD cards show that they are much more reliable to such power interruptions. Probably because they have their own internal Flash write controller.