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10.13.09

Links 13/10/2009: Ubuntu 9.10 for Servers, ASUS Back to GNU/Linux?

Posted in News Roundup at 10:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Arium Introduces Debugging Technology Supporting Linux OS

    Tustin, Calif.-based Arium, a provider of hardware-assisted development tools, recently announced the release of debugging technology supporting Linux OSs.

  • E-Banking on a Locked Down (Non-Microsoft) PC

    In past Live Online chats and blog posts, I’ve mentioned any easy way to temporarily convert a Windows PC into a Linux-based computer in order to ensure that your online banking credentials positively can’t be swiped by password-stealing malicious software. What follows is a brief tutorial on how to do that with Ubuntu, one of the more popular bootable Linux installations.

    Also known as “Live CDs,” these are generally free, Linux-based operating systems that one can download and burn to a CD-Rom or DVD. The beauty of Live CDs is that they can be used to turn a Windows based PC into a provisional Linux computer, as Live CDs allow the user to boot into a Linux operating system without installing anything to the hard drive. Programs on a LiveCD are loaded into system memory, and any changes – such as browsing history or other activity — are completely wiped away after the machine is shut down. To return to Windows, simply remove the CD from the drive and reboot.

  • Kernel Space

    • The realtime preemption mini-summit

      Prior to the Eleventh Real Time Linux Workshop in Dresden, Germany, a small group met to discuss the further development of the realtime preemption work for the Linux kernel. This “mini-summit” covered a wide range of topics, but was driven by a straightforward set of goals: the continuing improvement of realtime capabilities in Linux and the merging of the realtime preemption patches into the mainline.

    • Deadline scheduling for Linux

      Much of the realtime scheduling work in Linux has been based around getting the best behavior out of the POSIX realtime scheduling classes. Techniques like priority inheritance, for example, exist to ensure that the highest-priority task really can run within a bounded period of time. In much of the rest of the world, though, priorities and POSIX realtime are no longer seen as the best way to solve the problem. Instead, the realtime community likes to talk about “deadlines” and deadline-oriented scheduling. In this article, we’ll look at a deadline scheduler has recently been posted for review and related discussion at the recent Real Time Linux Workshop in Dresden.

    • Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 “Bardu” Alpha 4

      This is also the release that carries OpenCL benchmarking support on Linux via the addition of the opencl-ati and pyopencl test profiles. Additionally, the Nexuiz test profile has been updated along with others, including the parsing change that has caused updates to nearly every test profile.

    • Is Linux bloated? Hardly

      As the recognized “embedded Linux guy” by many of my peers, my e-mail Inbox was flooded with references to and comments about Linus Torvald’s recent statement concerning the “bloated-ness” of Linux. In his opinion, as recorded in an interview at LinuxCon 2009, the Linux kernel has become “huge and scary.” I will agree that Linux is a large body of work, but I think Torvald’s use of the term “bloated” is both unfair and completely inaccurate.

    • AMD Releases OpenCL ATI GPU Support For Linux

      AMD has released the fourth beta of the ATI Stream SDK 2.0, which provides a complete OpenCL development platform with OpenCL ATI GPU support for the ATI Radeon HD 4000/5000 series. Besides running OpenCL on the GPU, this ATI SDK also supports running OpenCL on SSE3-capable, multi-core CPUs from both AMD and Intel too. The ATI Stream SDK is available for x86 and x86_64 Linux, with OpenSuSE 11.0 and Ubuntu 9.04 being officially supported.

    • AMD Radeon HD 5750/5770

      When it comes to the Linux support for the Radeon HD 5700 series, it is there with Catalyst 9.10. However, Eyefinity is not yet supported on Linux and OverDrive is not yet working, but both items will be addressed. Likewise, UVD2 will be coming very soon as well. The ATI Radeon HD 5750 and 5770 are impressive mid-range graphics cards from AMD that will be sure to shake-up the market. There is also open-source support for these graphics cards just out on the horizon.

  • Applications

    • Performous: A Challenging and Fun Karaoke Software for Linux

      I found another cool and fun karaoke software for Linux that I would like to share to everyone. It is called Performous and it’s so far one of the best karaoke program that I’ve tried.

      [...]

      The singing octave is not important, because as long as you get the right note in any octave, you will get full points. Singing near the correct note likewise gives some points, but the amount of points per second decreases as you get farther from the right tone. Singing within the right semitone consistently gives full points, so you may actually be off by a quartertone and still get the points.

    • 10 Sweet GIMP Photo Editing Tricks to Wean You Off Photoshop

      You could buy a used car — albeit not a very good one — for the same scratch it takes to pick up a copy of Adobe Photoshop, the de facto standard in high-end photo editing software. Or a pair of GTX 285 graphics cards for that killer SLI setup you’ve always wanted. We could go on, but at $700 for a piece of software, Photoshop’s MSRP hardly needs put into perspective. In short, it’s expensive.

    • 0 A.D. Promises Real Gaming for Ubuntu

      And now a brief break from business-oriented coverage on WorksWithU. As a history Ph.D. student by day and free-software geek by night, I find that my poles of interest rarely converge. That’s why I was so excited when the real-time historical strategy game 0 A.D. was switched to an open-source license in July. I’ve been meaning since then to give it a try, and finally found the time and hardware necessary to do that. Here are the results.

    • Chrome OS Peeks Out Its Head A Bit Further. And What Is The Touchpad?

      Pretty much every morning and every night I download the newest build of Chromium for Mac (the open source builds that will eventually turn into Chrome for Mac). While we made an auto-updater to do it for you, you can also manually find the latest builds here. This morning, I visited this site and noticed something new: A Chrome OS folder.

  • KDE

    • OpenDesktop Community Choose Winners of Desktop Contest

      About-information from developer profiles, desktop searches in online forums, an interface library and update notification of web page content bring the concept of a social desktop a step closer to reality.

      [...]

      This helps in presenting Free Software apps as more “human”, because it shows (through their profiles) that there’s real people working on the program.” His prize is a Inspiron 10v notebook from Dell with Ubuntu. The extended AboutDialog is already included in Amarok 2.2.

    • Hidden Linux : Learning to love KDE 4 (part II)

      The main difference between KDE 3 and KDE 4 is that the former is fixed and static while the latter is dynamic and interactive. For a trivial example of that go to System Settings / Desktop / All Effects and activate Snow. Now hitting the Meta+Ctrl+F12 keys (or Win+Ctrl+F12) will fill your desktop with falling snowflakes.

      [...]

      In short, Plasma and KDE 4 allow you to build your own interactive desktop. If that seems a little daunting, check out what others have done …

    • KDE Social Desktop Contest: Freeing the Web

      With this goal, Karlitschek announced the contest on June 17. Prizes were a netbook from Dell for the winner and a one terabyte hard drive for the runner up, and $50 and $30 Amazon gift certificates for third and fourth place. Judging was done by Seigo and Karlitschek, and — partly to emphasize that the idea was not confined to KDE — Luis Villa of the GNOME project and Alexander Colorado of OpenOffice.org.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • RPM New Features

        A few RPM developers from Red Hat and Novell met at the openSUSE Conference 2009 in September. The results of the meeting are now online.

      • Red Hat And IBM Support Banco Pastor In HR/Emailing

        Banco Pastor, the Spanish banking group with 650 branch offices in Spain and a presence in the US and the cities in Europe and Latin America, has migrated its critical human resources and corporate emailing systems running SAP NetWeaver and SAP ERP and IBM Lotus Notes for Collaboration software to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Linux adds private cloud backing

        Canonical is touting private cloud capabilities in an upgrade to its Ubuntu Linux OS being announced on Tuesday.

        Available for free download on October 29, Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition introduces UEC (Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud), an open source cloud computing environment based on the same APIs as Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). Businesses can take advantage of private clouds, Canonical said.

      • Canonical Set to Release Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition

        “Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition puts Ubuntu users at a unique advantage in being able to quickly and simply deploy and manage cloud environments. We strongly believe that businesses which are already embracing virtualized environments, will take the next logical step to these self-service, super-efficient architectures and that Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud will be at the heart of that effort,” Canonical’s Director of Corporate Services, Steve George said in a statement.

      • Canonical pushes out Ubuntu 9.10 server

        If you are getting ready to build your own internal cloud-style virtual infrastructure, Canonical – the commercial entity behind the Ubuntu distro of Linux – really wants you to think outside of the box and consider the forthcoming “Karmic Koala” Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition.

      • REVIEW: Ubuntu 9.10 Beta Promises to Strengthen Distro’s Position as Desktop Favorite

        The beta of Ubuntu 9.10–or Karmic Koala as it’s also known–offers the core open-source updates you would expect. But it also provides important enhancements in the areas of disk encryption, tightened system permissions and cloud service integration–all of which combine to make Ubuntu even more attractive as the Linux distro of choice on the desktop.

      • Congratulations Elizabeth on your election to the Ubuntu Community Council

        I was thrilled when I saw that Mark Shuttleworth announced the election of Elizabeth Krumbach to the Ubuntu Community Council. Here is my “open memo” of congratulations to Elizabeth:

        Elizabeth, you earned this honor to serve through your competent and tireless efforts to positively contribute to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) communities like Ubuntu and its upstream, Debian. Collectively, it is the work done in the FOSS communities that has built a “game changing” software infrastructure which already delivers business results to illions of organizations around the world … day in and day out. Thank you for all that you do by contributing to these vitally important communities!

      • Ubuntu Linux Server Simplifies the Cloud

        New Linux server hands VARs and resellers an out-of-the-box way to sell private cloud computing behind the firewall.

        With new Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (EUC) capabilities and tools now fully integrated into its upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition operating system, Linux vendor Ubuntu is getting ready to spread the benefits and promise of cloud computing to corporate users, VARs and resellers.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River to be software company inside Intel, says Ken Klein

      This is apparent from the company’s approach to the Linux market, which it sees as strategically important for the future.

      Wind River has commercial versions of Android and LiMo, as well as Moblin, Intel’s own Linux-based operating system.

    • Moblin 2.1 preview image

      The Moblin v2.1 release for netbooks and nettops includes many community and customer requested enhancements; for example, support for additional nettop screen resolutions, myzone improvements, IM improvements, better language support, updated kernel, Moblin Garage, Moblin Application Installer, 3G data support, and Bluetooth.

    • A review of the Dell Mini 10v, Ubuntu Moblin Remix edition

      Intel’s Moblin Linux platform has finally arrived on netbooks. Ars takes a hands-on look at Dell’s new Mini 10v with the Ubuntu Moblin Remix.

    • Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition reviewed
    • New WikiReader Device Puts Wikipedia in Your Pocket

      Openmoko announced today the availability of WikiReader, a palm-sized electronic encyclopedia containing the more than three million English language articles of Wikipedia that can be accessed immediately anytime, anywhere without requiring an Internet connection. WikiReader is available for $99 at
      http://thewikireader.com and Amazon.com starting today.

    • Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO of failed startup OpenMoko, launches WikiReader; AAA-battery powered encyclopedia

      In short: the WikiReader has no cellular radio, or any radios at all actually, inside. It’s just an offline scratch resistant tempered glass capacitive touch screen device with 3 buttons, and 3 million Wikipedia articles stored on a built in, removable, and upgradable, microSD card. It runs on 2x AAA batteries and lasts for 1 year if used for 15 minutes per day, so that is a little over 90 hours of use. Thomas Meyerhoffer designed it, and it will cost only $99. You’ll be able to purchase it from here “soon” according to the website.

    • LG’s Solar-Powered E-Reader and 5 Other Gadgets

      The Gyy, from iUnika, solves the problem with minimal specs: an 8-inch screen, 128 MB of RAM and a 64 GB solid state drive, running Linux…

    • Phones

      • Palm Pre UK demand outstrips 2007 Iphone takeup

        INITIAL DEMAND for the Palm Pre is expected to beat the Iphone at its launch, according to the latest poll.

        The Pre is the UK’s most anticipated phone, with 26 per cent of mobile users expressing an interest in buying one. This is almost double the 16 per cent who said they would buy the iPhone before its launch in 2007.

      • Next-gen Nokia Linux devices will get multitouch and Qt UI

        At the Maemo Summit in Amsterdam, Nokia unveiled the roadmap for the next generation of its Linux-based Maemo platform. The company plans to introduce support for multitouch and a number of other compelling features.

      • CTIA: Nokia Demoes N900 Tablet With Maemo and Linux
      • Android Application Development

        That said, warts and all I found this to be a helpful way to get my feet wet with Android. I really look forward to future versions as I think just a little more time and work will move this from my ‘good’ list to my ‘great’ list. Making things a little tighter and cleaning up the few typos and errors would certainly make this an 8 instead of an 7, which is really substantial in my mind. I’m no super developer and I need stuff like this, that can take things a little more slowly and make it all clear. I think this guide is great for those of us in that category as long as the reader is o.k. with hopping to external sources for the information they’ll need to get the newer tool set working.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Asus Eee PC 1008HA Linux source code now available

        But this weekend Asus did something interesting. The company posted Linux source code for the Asus Eee PC 1008HA. In fact, there are 5 different downloads, ranging in size 299Mb to 488MB. I have no idea what the difference is between one and the other, and I’m not entirely sure what’s contained in the files yet. But if I had to guess, I’d say that Asus is preparing to launch a version of the Eee PC 1008HA that runs Moblin Linux.

      • Whither Goest Thou, ASUS?

        Now, we find they list GNU/Linux as an OS for the new eeePC 1008HA Clamshell. They also have a download for the source code.

        What are you doing ASUS? Has the deal with M$ expired? Is GNU/Linux from the competition eating your lunch? Could this be hard bargaining before “7″?

      • Impact’s Linux netbook cuts cord to mobile data contracts

        The UbiSurfer, a Linux device with a seven-inch screen, a built-in SIM card and a 1GB flash drive, retails for $299.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Adventures in micro-business

    Q. I’ve heard that certain business software is available for free – where can I find out more?

    A. You may be referring to open source software, which is often available as a free download. One well-known example is the Mozilla Firefox web browser, but there are many others with business applications, such as word processing or archiving and even full office suites.

  • Aberdeen-based Suretec launches Telecom division

    ’Asterisk and related open source telecom technologies have revolutionised the telecoms industry in recent years and provide highly cost-effective telephone systems around the world. Many also include free calls through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP also offers the advantage of running both voice and data communications over a single network, which can represent a significant saving in a company’s infrastructure costs.’

  • Man of many roles see endless work ahead

    Kongkiat began the development of information-system software for hospital management by using open-source technology. He named it “Hospital OS”. The aim was to convert the information systems of small- and medium-sized government hospitals, with fewer than 100 beds, to electronic format.

    With five programmers working on a volunteer basis, the first version of Hospital OS was installed in 14 small- and medium-sized hospitals around the country in 2001. Kongkiat’s team was operating under research and development funding of Bt1.9 million from the Thailand Research Fund (TFR). It had undertaken to equip just 10 hospitals with the new system, and was buoyed by its ability to implement the system in 14, despite the fact that the number represented only a tiny fraction of Thailand’s 700 small- and medium-sized government hospitals.

  • Open Source POS software Imonggo offers best branch management and fastest branch set-up

    …Linux environment, making it both scalable and powerful. It also provides the lowest cost possible for retailers with multiple branch operations.

  • Open ERP Now Available with Odoo Offer

    Open ERP, an Open Source management software solution, is reportedly offering a new service offer – Odoo, the On demand ERP solution.

  • Report: U.S. CMS Market to Explode, Open Source is the Catalyst

    The researchers are saying the content management market is set to explode in the next several years, and open source CMS vendors are contributing to this growth, as well as to how customers are changing their CMS selection processes. Let’s take a look at details — some of them you may find quite amusing.

  • Global market mashup for open source

    There was not a whole lot of fanfare over the recent merger of the West Coast-based Open Solutions Alliance and the European-based OW2, but the move may also reflect a greater, global market crossover among different geographies and vendors using open source software.

  • Lessons Learned: A Services-Based Open Source Business Model

    Margins on support business are very good. Look at RedHat’s margin (over 80%) as an example of this. If you look at proprietary vendors like Oracle, their business is built around making money from their support and maintenance offerings.

  • Funambol Introduces First Open Source 4G Mobile Cloud Platform for Device Management and Synchronization

    The wireless industry is rapidly advancing from 2G and 3G networks to 4G. A major benefit of 4G is that it provides greater wireless broadband capacity for more users than prior technologies. Mobile operators around the globe are racing to be first to market with WiMax and LTE networks.

  • MuleSoft Announces General Availability of Tcat Server, Enterprise Tomcat Made Simple
  • Mckoi Announces MckoiDDB 1.0, an Open Source Distributed Database System

    -Mckoi Software announced today that Version 1.0 of MckoiDDB, a distributed database system, is available for download at http://www.mckoi.com/ under the open source GPLv3 license. MckoiDDB is a database management application that provides software developers an engine for organizing large and complex data-sets over clusters of servers, and an API that supports transactions and low latency queries.

  • Praxis and AdaCore Launch SPARK GPL

    The release of SPARK GPL completes the strategic shift that sees the once proprietary SPARK technology now a part of the Freely Licensed Open Source Software (FLOSS) ecosystem.

  • Business Models of The Internet of Things – An Analysis of Pachube’s Open Source Platform

    Yesterday we analyzed some of the applications being built with Pachube, an open source platform enabling developers to connect sensor data to the Web. We at ReadWriteWeb think that Pachube is an excellent example of one of our Top 5 Trends of 2009: Internet of Things. So we’re exploring Pachube in-depth in a 3-part series.

  • Misunderstanding open source #4: not knowing your own alignment

    Many people are confused about the free software vs open source debate because they don’t know (or they hide) their own alignment.

  • Vyatta Enhances Open Networking Software With New Features and Service Offerings
  • What’s behind Web browser choices

    For the last year, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has held around 70% of the market, while Mozilla’s Firefox has held 20%, according to Janco Associates. The rest of the market is held by smaller players: Google Chrome with 4%, Opera with 1%, Apple Safari with less than 1% and the remainder to older versions of Mozilla and Netscape browsers.

  • Zenoss Kicks Off Q4 with Innovation Award and Presentation at Dow Jones Conference
  • Compiere ERP Selected by Pharmaceutical Distributor to Optimize Distribution Operations
  • Liferay and Vaadin Announce New Partnership
  • Sun

  • Funding

    • GroundWork Open Source Closes $5 Million in Series D Financing Led By Canaan Partners

      GroundWork Open Source, Inc. (GWOS, www.gwos.com), the leader in commercial open source systems and network management software, today announced it has secured $5 million in its fourth round of venture capital financing.

    • How the U.S. funds open source abroad

      The U.S. continues to buy plenty of proprietary software, but it’s encouraging that when it comes to international development, the federal government recognizes that open source pays better long-term dividends than subsidies for the export of proprietary software. Even more encouraging, this practice appears to be neither Democratic nor Republican in origin.

  • Government

    • Hackers wanted: Mashup events target Govt data

      Lindsay Tanner’s Gov 2.0 Taskforce has spawned three hacker events in support of its Mashup Australia competition – including two hosted by Google Australia – as it seeks creative ways to use dormant public sector data.

  • Openness

    • Factual Sees Open Data As Its Future

      Earlier this month, much to the chagrin of some of our readers, I equated the Hadoop-focused startup, Cloudera, to Red Hat. My argument was that in the late 1990s, open-source operating systems and web software proved to be major disruptors and helped Internet services grow exponentially. About a dozen years later, the future of Internet services revolves around data and data analytics.

  • Programming

    • Google Announces Dates for Next I/O Developer Conference

      Keep May 19 – 20, 2010 open if you plan to attend the next Google I/O Developer Conference. It’s slated to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA and registration opens in January. The event brings thousands of developers together for a two-day sprint through session about some of Google’s most popular products and tools, including App Engine, Google Web Toolkit, Android, and Chrome.

Leftovers

  • Six-year-old sent to reform school for bringing a “weapon” (Cub Scout camping cutlery) to school

    Zachary Christie is a six-year old student in Newark, Delaware who is facing 45 days in reform school because he brought his new Cub Scout eating utensil to school for lunch.

  • Rentokil deploys Google Apps to 35,000

    Rentokil Initial has become one of the largest user of Google Apps, rolling out the cloud-based office suite to 35,000 users globally.

    Rentokill plans to use Google to consolidate 40 email systems including open source products and Microsoft Exchange, into a single email system. The complex setup prevented staff from sending email across the group.

  • Bailout for Bonuses

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Wikileaks plans to make the Web a leakier place

      Wikileaks.org, the online clearinghouse for leaked documents, is working on a plan to make the Web leakier by enabling newspapers, human rights organizations, criminal investigators and others to embed an “upload a disclosure to me via Wikileaks” form onto their Web sites.

      The upload system will give potential whistleblowers around the world the ability to leak sensitive documents to an organization or journalist they trust over a secure connection, while giving the receiver legal protection they might not otherwise enjoy.

    • Freedom Of The Press? UK’s The Guardian Barred From Reporting On Parliament

      Update: After this story got spread all over the internet (especially on Twitter), it looks like Carter-Ruck backed down. Of course… the end result? Much worse than if they had never tried to gag the newspapers. A lot more people are aware of the story. Why do lawyers still think banning such things will work?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New wave of pirates has psoriasis, frat boy hair; no peglegs

      According to a new report (PDF) from the Business Software Alliance, “roughly 41 percent of all software installed on personal computers is obtained illegally.” And, although the US government is reluctant to bring prosecutions against noncommercial P2P users or against downloaders, the Department of Justice is increasingly willing to prosecute criminal copyright infringement cases brought to its attention by groups like the BSA. But who are these criminal masterminds, exactly?

    • 100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words

      For the last hundred years, rightsholders have fretted about everything from the player piano to the VCR to digital TV to Napster. Here are those objections, in Big Content’s own words.

    • Copyright vs. folk music

      Doron sez, “Folk musician Steven Arntson wanted to write a song that riffed on a Woody Guthrie’s ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’. Guthrie’s song was based on the Carter Family’s ‘This World Is Not My Home’ which was in turn based on an old spirtual… Unfortunately Arnston is finding out that current copyright law does not allow for the creative give and take that was once a vital and basic part of music composition.”

    • Extortion Is Profitable Too, Doesn’t Mean That It’s A Fair Way To Profit Off Piracy

      TorrentFreak has some numbers from a music industry presentation discussing how these extortion-like enterprises can pay quite handsomely. Basically, this one group, DRS, sends out emails demanding €450 ($650) per offense, with the company getting to keep 80% of any proceeds.

    • No, The Music Industry Outlook Isn’t Grim… Just For Selling Recorded Music

      Claiming that the outlook for the music industry is grim is like claiming that the outlook for the transportation industry is grim in 1910 because the market for horse carriages is declining.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 17 (2007)


Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Microsoft Continues to Snub ODF (and Why Microsoft is Losing This Battle)

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Standard, SUN at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Warriors of chess

Summary: Office 2010 Starter Edition said not to support ODF but it helps OpenOffice.org adoption; Microsoft ecosystem raises issues with ODF

THERE is a lot of good news for ODF this week but also developments that merit caution. This is a highly compressed post with links to these.

Rob Weir from IBM writes about an ODF spreadsheet for Android, which is called Androffice. It seems to be new at the scene and the word about this gets spread by Bob Sutor, Lynne Pope, Simon Phipps, Jomar Silva and a few others.

People are still being reminded that Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 does not support ODF properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Weir has a whole new post on the subject (this was pushed by his colleague at IBM, Bob Sutor).

[N]o amount of disclosure from Microsoft on how they interpret the ODF standard will help. We see that today, with Office 2007 SP2, where it strips out ODF spreadsheet formulas. Having official documentation of this fact from Microsoft, in the form of “Implementation Notes” is useless. Why? Because when I create an ODF document, I do not know who the reader will be. It may be a Microsoft Office user. But maybe it won’t. It very well could be read by many users, using many different programs. I cannot adapt my document to the quirks of various ODF implementations.

When you deal with formats, interoperability is achieved by converging on a common interpretation of the format. Having well-documented, but divergent interpretations does not improve interoperability. Disclosure or quirks is insufficient. Interoperability only comes when all implementors converge in their interpretation of the format.

According to this message which links to an article from Maximum PC, Office 2010 Starter Edition will not support ODF. And regarding this ZDNet UK article about Office 2010 Starter Edition, Glyn Moody argues that Microsoft is “getting worried about OpenOffice, perhaps.”

More here:

MS Office Starter Sports Ads, OpenOffice People Ecstatic

[...]

Works usually included more programs than just a word processor and a spreadsheet and usually did not include advertising. Giving users a glimpse of the Office 2010 experience may prompt them to buy the paid version for fuller functionality and no ads. But if I had to choose between a program that cost $150 or more and one that did less and flashed ads at me, I would look for a third option. One exists, of course: OpenOffice.

Very little was said by mainstream press sources about the fact that Microsoft essentially killed Works.

Going back to OpenDocument, the technical committee is organising today to discuss matters while the ODF Workshop’s Jomar Silva uploads CONSEGI 2009 videos. The ODF Plugfest is coming up (old details in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9 10, 11]) and Bart Hanssens speaks about the schedule while IBM folks watch from a distance.

“To counter the threat, the Microsoft ecosystem has been trying to injure ODF from the inside.”IBM may be very prominent in the ODF arena, but IBM, unlike Microsoft, does not attack Free software. It’s also far from the only player in the ODF arena, unlike Microsoft with OOXML.

To counter the threat, the Microsoft ecosystem has been trying to injure ODF from the inside [1, 2]. The insidious behaviour continues as hAl, for example, adds hostility to the ODF entry at Wikipedia. As usual, he is making the article about ODF disparage ODF.

Other Microsoft cronies are getting close to ODF just to talk about problems with it. They are using the same Microsoft-esque party line of “they are equally evil” or “all platforms are not secure” to defend their hidden (but previously well documented) agenda. Weir needs to be nice to them because of threats.

Jesper Lund Stocholm, for example, is linking to old news and we find the the same talking point coming from Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. They were getting a chair inside ODF by pretending to be agnostic after they had done their services for Microsoft (they hope people will forget this).

To end with some more positive news, Officeshots turns out to support only ODF. Given that no office suite supports OOXML, why even bother with anything other than the international standard, ODF?

Stereotype of Copying the Competition

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Mono rides the tail of Git, not just Microsoft, and the impact on its overall image is not positive

DOES MONO offer anything innovative? Probably not. It it too busy copying other people’s implementations. Mono proponents love to claim that Gnote merely copies Tomboy, but it turns out to be a case of total hypocrisy. Mono developers not only copy Sqlite; they also give Git the same type of treatment. Novell’s de Icaza proudly announces the release of Git# (that’s Microsoft C sharp atop Torvalds’ second baby).

“Mono is a statement saying that Microsoft is the Holy Grail of programming, which GNU/Linux is just desperately trying to copy.”It all leads to wondering, is the Mono ecosystem just ‘reinventing’ Microsoft and copying other good ideas like Git and Sqlite?

“Mono” means monkey (in Spanish), which implies that it imitates rather than thinks. In fact, one of our readers showed us this new article only to point out inaccuracies. The article gives the illusion that only 2 options exist out there (like Democrats and Republicans) while failing the see the heaps of ideas that got grafted (‘stolen’) from Free software.

What kind of reputation does Mono give GNU/Linux? And what about .NET? Mono is a statement saying that Microsoft is the Holy Grail of programming, which GNU/Linux is just desperately trying to copy. Any way it’s looked at, this is beneficial to Microsoft and harmful to the image of Free software, which is then perceived as a freeloader rather than a leader.

What Microsoft has
What Microsoft has

What Microsoft wants
What Microsoft wants

Vista 7 Gets Royal (Patch) Treatment, Windows XP in Court for “Spyware” Behaviour

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows XP wallpaper style

Summary: Many security issues in Vista 7, Windows XP has Microsoft sued for behaving like malicious software

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about Vista 7 being left insecure. Given all that has happened in the past year (c.f. links at the bottom), this should not be surprising and SJVN has just written a short article claiming that Vista 7 suffers from “unimproved security”.

When it comes to security and Windows 7, it’s just more of the same old, same old.

This point really came home to me when I was looking over all the patches that Microsoft will delivering tomorrow in what may be the largest Patch Tuesday ever. Microsoft “will ship a total of 13 updates next week, eight of them pegged “critical,” the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system, beating the previous record of 12 updates shipped in February 2007 and again in October 2008.”Of these 13, five are for Windows 7.

That’s Tuesday, that’s today.

Microsoft claims 5 patches for Vista 7, but as experience suggests, Microsoft lies about these numbers. It is not obliged to adhere to the same reporting standards as Free software.

Many people will continue using Windows XP when 7 comes out, but XP is permanently insecure since Microsoft refuses to patch it. And to make matters worse, based on this report, Microsoft is still stuck in court having been sued for XP being spyware, which it is (for more than one reason).

The plaintiffs allege that Microsoft improperly distributed the Windows Genuine Advantage tool, without proper consent from users, in a manner normally reserved for “high priority” security updates. WGA, as it’s known, tests to see if a copy of Windows is valid and delivers warnings if it doesn’t pass. Microsoft’s Automatic Update system lets users opt in to receive fixes and patches for the operating system.

That’s a lie or an embellishment at the very least. Microsoft overrides those settings. Even if the user requests that updates shall not be pushed through, Windows settings are totally ignored. Users have shown this for years.

On Vista 7 security problems:

Did Microsoft Kill Danger?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hopeless

Summary: Sidekick gets taken off the shelves after Microsoft’s major disaster that exterminated many people’s personal data

THE PRESS currently covers rather extensively Microsoft's disaster with Danger/T-Mobile. It is the latest case of Microsoft failing to sell appliances (hardware), piled on top of disasters like the Xbox 360, whose imminent death is earning some cartoons.

Xbox will never recover those billions of dollars in losses and Sidekick too — as we noted on Sunday — has been stained to the point where not many carriers/shops would wish to stock it. In another blow to Microsoft, T-Mobile stops selling the Sidekick; instead, it is offering high-priced vouchers to victims. This only ever happens when there is a huge public relations disaster and fear (when a class action lawsuit seems inevitable).

US carrier T-Mobile has halted sales of the Sidekick cellphone after a server caused customers to lose personal data.

Microsoft subsidiary Danger, which designed Sidekick’s software and service, confirmed the disruption.

The only good thing (for Microsoft) is that people blame “the cloud”, which may prove harmful also to Microsoft’s competitors, principally Google. How did Microsoft allow such a failure,” asks Masnick. Well, look no further than the London Stock Exchange, which crashed repeatedly [1, 2, 3, 4] before dumping Windows for GNU/Linux.

Links 13/10/2009: GNOME Summit Coming, KDE Would Have Cost $175 Million to Make

Posted in News Roundup at 9:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Foundation woos with lifetime linux.com handle

    Individual members can now also get up to 40 per cent off Lenovo devices and standard employee purchase pricing discounts from Dell and HP, according to Zemlin.

  • Linux Foundation Rolls Out New Member Benefits

    The Linux Foundation rolls out some new member benefits this week, along with a membership classification just for students. Though there were already a ton of cool membership perks to begin wtih, new access to employee purchase pricing on products from HP, Dell, and Lenovo is a really terrific addition to the list.

  • Want a cheap Linux computer? Join the Linux Foundation
  • Everything is Unix

    Recently there has been some chatter on various programming blogs about how we should be using classic Unix features to build more scalable infrastructure. This all started when Ryan Tomayko wrote I like Unicorn because it’s Unix.

  • Linux 2009; Red Hat Linux; Unix programming

    Linux is predominantly known for its use in servers, although can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from embedded devices , mobile phones and even some watches to supercomputers. Linux distributions, installed on both desktop and laptop computers, have become increasingly commonplace in recent years, partly owing to the popular Ubuntu distribution and the emergence of netbooks.

  • Green Computing is More Than Sleep Mode

    The simplest thing you can do is to make sure that your desktop or laptop goes into sleep or standby mode when it’s not in use. First up, make sure that you’re not using a screensaver, or there will be little or no energy consumption difference between idle and in use. Next, KDE and Gnome both have menu items where you can set power preferences; or you can of course set things manually with various XF86 options, hdparm, and so on.

  • Linux lets TV news crews rove more freely

    Nomad Innovations has used Moblin Linux technology to build a camera-mounted 3g and/or WiMAX transceiver aimed at mobile TV news teams. The $50K LiveEdge device is touted as a cost-saving, more flexible alternative to the $500K microwave trucks commonly used today.

  • Bringing Linux to Small Business

    We are all impressed and excited by the success of commercial Linux vendors. Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, Mandriva, Oracle, and a host of other Linux companies are making great strides in delivering performance and value to the enterprise marketplace.

  • Desktop

    • Clonezilla Welcome, Symantec Ghost goodbye

      Clonezilla is a partition or disk clone tool similar to Norton Ghost®. It saves and restores only used blocks in hard drive.. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live : It is suitable for single machine backup and restore.

    • Breaking the Silence

      Given that the silence is finally being broken on this, surely it’s time that banks themselves came clean: for the security of their customers – and themselves – they should really start warning people off Windows, as the Australian police have done. If they don’t, they are being grossly negligent, and showing at best indifference and at worst contempt for the digital well-being of their customers. Who among them will be the first to break this particular silence?

  • Server

    • Windows Does Not Scale

      Certainly not GNU/Linux: the latest Top500 supercomputer rankings show that the GNU/Linux family has 88.60%. Windows? Glad you asked: 1%.

      So, forget about whether there will ever be a Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop: the future is about massive data-crunchers, and there GNU/Linux already reigns supreme, and has done for years. It’s Windows that’s got problems….

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gnome Summit (@MIT)

      For this year’s gnome summit I decided to attend. I wanted to see what was going on and keep in touch with various people in the FOSS community. While I’m not a gnome hacker myself, I have made gnome apps, plugins and know some of the people working on new things.

    • KDE/Qt

      • Code Statistics: KDE Costs 175 Million Dollars

        The official KDE Project currently consists of 4.2 million lines of code. Cornelius Schumacher has applied the lines to individual projects and published the stats.

        The current source code of the KDE core module contains 4,273,291 lines exactly, reports Schumacher in his blog. Almost half the lines are taken by the three largest projects, kdebase, kdelibs and kdepim. The KDE-Edu team takes fourth place in the code stakes followed by kdebinding and network modules.

      • Free N900

        At the Maemo Summit Conference in Amsterdam, Nokia gave out over 300 N900 phones running Maemo 5. The N900 is the successor to the N810, over a hundred of which were handed out at Akademy a year ago. Read on for some opinions about the N900 and the results of 3 days of hacking.

      • KDE Community Forums Celebrate Their First Birthday

        Exactly one year ago, on October 12th, the KDE Community Forums were founded. It was about time to give users a place for discussion and support beside the mailing lists, which were mainly used by developers and other contributors. A lot of time has passed since then, and the forums have grown into a healthy community, contributing to the KDE landscape as a whole. Here people can ask KDE-related questions, help other users, find useful information, or just discuss whatever comes to mind.

      • Get Things Done Faster With Kupfer

        Kupfer is a launcher inspired by quicksilver. It allows you to use keystrokes to rapidly perform tasks such as launching applications, manipulating files and data and running scripts. Kupfer’s philosophy is simplicity, speed and usability. It is written in Python and has a flexible plugin architecture.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Debian powers robotic sub to victory

        The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition is sponsored by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Office of Naval Research. It was held at a large acoustic testing pool operated by the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Centre.

        [...]

        Nova runs a custom software stack atop a single board computer which runs GNU/Linux and relies heavily on Debian.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 makes a serious charge toward the enterprise level

        At the end of this month (October 29th, 2009 to be exact), Ubuntu will be releasing its newest take on the Linux operating system. This time around, it should be obvious (even to the biggest of skeptics) that Ubuntu is making some serious inroads to the business and enterprise scene.

      • Review: Ubuntu 9.10 Brings Good Karma To Linux

        Ubuntu 9.10 has a variety of system management tools. Computer Janitor is a utility that helps you find and remove software packages that you might not need anymore and suggests configuration changes that might aid in boosting system performance. System Testing is a utility that tests several components of a system to ensure they are working properly, such as audio, fingerprint readers, peripherals and more.

        Significant changes from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10 beta aren’t strictly cosmetic ones. Want to add software to Ubuntu 9.10? This release replaces the Add/Remove feature in the Applications menu with the more contemporary Ubuntu Software Center. Ubuntu 9.10 also replaces the Pidgin IM client with the feature-rich Empathy client. This is part of the updated GNOME 2.28 desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android or WebOS? Try before you buy!

      Since VirtualBox automatically configures a working Internet connection, feel free to stop by the Linux Journal Website using your shiny new Android Virtual Appliance!

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARMing desktop Linux

        For a brief time in 2008, Linux actually owned a segment of the desktop industry: netbooks. When netbooks first showed up, they ran Linux and nothing but Linux. Microsoft panicked and brought XP back from the dead, offering it for next to nothing to netbook vendors and thus successfully fighting off the Linux challenge.

        That was then; this is now. Today, Linux netbooks are still popular, though not as much as they once were. ARM-based netbooks, however, are on their way and, since these systems can’t run Windows, Linux has the potential market all to itself. The real question is, will PC vendors choose to offer low-cost, less than $200 netbooks?

        [...]

        I quote Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer: “Our license tells you what a netbook is. Our license says it’s got to have a super-small screen, which means it probably has a super-small keyboard, and it has to have a certain processor and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

        That’s so Microsoft. Once the company feels like it’s on top, it immediately start dictating to the market how things are going to be from now on. With Linux still around, though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

        I think though there is a market for full-powered netbooks at a $200 price point, and that means Linux. Ubuntu already runs on ARM, and I expect Google’s Chrome operating system to run on ARM-powered systems.

      • OLPC Afghanistan’s Pedal Powered Progress

        By taking the Freeplay hand crank and connecting it to the feet which can more easily provide power it should make it much easier to deploy the laptop to countryside / rural areas. As the laptop charges as you use it no additional battery is needed. Photos / full specs will be published on the OLPC Afghanistan website. We are hoping to make this sustainably for XO / other power purposes in Afghanistan employing more Afghan staff. This should work fine with XO 1.5 as well!

      • Asus Eee PC 1008HA Linux source code now available

        The Asus Eee PC 1008HA is a thin and light netbook that weighs just 2.4 pounds and measures just an inc thick. It was the first Asus netbook to be feature the new “Seashell” style design. And it’s currently only available with Windows XP, even though Asus was a pioneer in putting Linux on netbooks.

        But this weekend Asus did something interesting. The company posted Linux source code for the Asus Eee PC 1008HA. In fact, there are 5 different downloads, ranging in size 299Mb to 488MB. I have no idea what the difference is between one and the other, and I’m not entirely sure what’s contained in the files yet. But if I had to guess, I’d say that Asus is preparing to launch a version of the Eee PC 1008HA that runs Moblin Linux.

Free Software/Open Source

  • fOSSa Conference 2009 (Free/Open Source Software Academia Conference)

    The history of FOSS can be traced back to academic origins: distributing source code under a permissive license was the de facto rule in academia in the 70′s. Since then, FOSS became a wide spread paradigm throughout the software industry, and its alignment with academic goals tended to be forgotten.

  • Why Public Education Must Use Public Software

    But the current state of the American public education system is no longer innovative. By now, many have realized that America no longer holds a monopoly on the math and sciences, and some question if we ever did. Other nations have been making such quick progress that a second Sputnik doesn’t seem far-fetched in the near future.

    We can’t risk falling behind on the math and sciences. According to Jefferson, “science is important to the preservation of our republican government, and . . . also essential to its protection against foreign power.” Thankfully, our current President claims to be aware of our education system’s troubles, but is awareness enough?

    [...]

    Public education is supposed to provide a model for its students. Freely available software for the public that anyone can use, learn from, modify, and send back to the system for improvement is certainly an ideal and practical model. Here is software that endorses cooperation and functions on peer review — software that promotes creativity and independent thought. Why subjugate the student to the black boxes of proprietary software when they can learn freely with free software?

  • Open Innovation Awards: Kaltura

    Kaltura is also promoting a global ‘open video’ movement, called the Open Video Alliance, showing a deep understanding of the importance to work hard on fostering ecosystems. The license of choice is, as it must be, the AGPL.

    Kaltura’s vision is to be for video what Firefox is to browsers, or WordPress is to publishing, but my guess is that they are probably going to be what Twitter is to texting.

  • Cerner product invites users to ‘play active role’ in improvements

    Cerner said in a release that uDevelop is based on the concept of open-source software development, in which users collaborate on products that are freely available for download. Some of the most popular examples are the Internet browser Mozilla Firefox and the GNU/Linux operating system.

  • Five Super-Useful WordPress Plugins

    If you use WordPress then you know what a great blogging platform it is right out of the box. It does everything a blogger could want and more, but hundreds of industrious users have come up with plugins to make it even better. Here are just five of the over 6,800 different plugins the WordPress community has dreamed up.

  • 12 Tools and Collections for Greater Graphical Clout

    For Splashy Web Sites. Along the same lines, if you’re looking for good graphical templates for web pages, two good places to start are Open Source Web Designs and Open Designs. These sites house thousands of graphical templates, most of them XHTML/CSS-based, that you can use for free. On the design front, also don’t ignore creative use of fonts. Check out Lisa’s post on several open source font resources that can make a difference on your web pages, and with your graphics.

  • Top 5 open source Firewall

    Open source firewall not only offers better customization options, but also reduces the cost of ownership. After an comprehensive search we assorted the top 5 open source firewall.

  • Why Freedomware?

    In light of questions pertaining to the difference between freedomware and free and open source software, I have put together a slide show using OpenOffice.org. The assumption here is that certain pieces of knowledge, such as the four freedoms (FSF) and how open source originated are already known by anyone wanting to use the slide show to do a presentation.

  • Mozilla/Firefox

  • Sun

    • Sun releases Solaris 10 10/09

      Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of the 10/09 update for its Solaris 10 operating system (OS). The latest release includes a number of bug fixes, feature updates and expanded support for new processors.

      In addition to several efficiency and performance improvements, Solaris 10 10/09 includes new updates for Solaris ZFS which integrates the ability to use solid-state drive (SSD) technology for data caching and high volume transactional applications. Administrators can now set usage limits, such as by individual file system, user or group.

    • Oracle’s and Sun’s Top Guns Reassure the Sun Faithful

      Some of the best news on the open source front appears to be that Oracle will nurture MySQL. We’ve said before that MySQL could become an open source on-ramp for Oracle’s proprietary databases. MySQL founder Monty Widenius has speculated that Oracle could possibly kill MySQL. As Oracle OpenWorld starts, though, there are good reasons to believe that Oracle will increase its invesment in MySQL. After many bumps in the road for Oracle’s proposed acquisition, that would be good to see.

    • There’s a Friggin’ Sun in the Room

      What is in question is what the backing of a giant like Oracle will do for Solaris, Java, MySQL and SPARC. Also, how is Oracle itself going to change? Oracle will now be offering three different RDBMSs (innoDB, Oracle, MySQL), on three different platforms (Linux, Solaris, Windows), and three different hardware platforms (SPARC, x86, AMD64). Oracle is now poised to take on IBM directly, as well as potentially taking on Microsoft’s dominance in the business world. Solaris is a ready replacement for many different types of software installations. It works well on servers and desktops, has a commercial office suite that is very comparable to MS Office, it’s got Java, and it has database solutions galore. It is now possible that we are now adding Oracle to that platform. I hope so much that Oracle can make it all happen. They have the pockets, do they have the brains?

    • Marten Mickos: Trust the Mighty MySQL Nation

      If MySQL were any old database, putting it in the same camp as the market leader would certainly give pause for thought. But MySQL is not any old database: it’s a free software one, released under the GNU GPL. This changes the dynamics considerably, as this fascinating letter from Mickos to the European Commissioner Neelie Kroes eloquently explains.

  • Openness

    • European Commission’s Expert Group recommends OA for FP-funded research

      In early 2008, the European Commission assembled an Expert Group of 13 academics to rethink how the EU funds research and, in particular, “to undertake an evidence-based, ex-post evaluation of FP6.” As group chairman, it appointed Ernst Th. Rietschel, President of the Leibniz Association and Professor Emeritus at the University of Lübeck.

    • A chat with Stephen Downes on OER

      A prominent member of the open education community, Stephen Downes is a researcher, blogger, and big thinker in open education and access related issues. He frequently debates with other open education advocates via the medium of the Internet, once in a while meeting up in person at conferences to hash out more of the same. I thought I might capture his slice of insight into the future of open educational resources and how he views them evolving in an ideal world.

Leftovers

  • The Web’s Inventor Regrets One Small Thing

    Mr. Berners-Lee smiled and admitted he might make one change — a small one. He would get rid of the double slash “//” after the “http:” in Web addresses.

  • Spies Protest After Intel-Sharing Tools Shut Down

    In the finger-pointing-fest after 9/11, the U.S. intelligence community was scorched for not sharing information, and putting parochial interests ahead of good analysis. Which makes it particularly depressing to see that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is shutting down two of its more important collaboration tools, called uGov and BRIDGE.

  • LG’s Solar-Powered E-Book Reader

    There will always be paper books for die-hard romantics like my friend Jimmy, who actually smells a volume before he reads it and then, when done, can sit for hours in almost-darkness, stroking his calloused poet’s fingers across the smooth wood-pulp and dreaming of the good-old days of cotton paper and cow-skin covers.

  • Twitter Suspends Researcher Over Security Warning

    Twitter suspended the account of a security researcher after he posted a message to his followers warning them about a threat, according to ZDnet.

  • Former Wall Street financiers face criminal action

    They are scribblings that may come back to haunt Matthew Tannin. The former high-flying Bear Stearns hedge fund manager – who goes on trial for fraud in a New York court this week – had a habit of recording his inner-most thoughts in emails sent to himself on a private Google Mail account.

  • Shark fin ban ends cruel slaughter

    Shark finning was banned by the EU in 2003 but loopholes in the legislation have allowed fishing boats in UK waters to continue finning. It is estimated that hundreds of tonnes of shark fin have been landed since the European “ban” was introduced.

  • Have Banks No Shame?

    A few months ago, I asked Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, now a prominent critic of the banking industry, what he thought the banks owed the country after all the government bailouts.

    “They can’t pay what they owe!” he began angrily. Then he paused, collected his thoughts and started over: “Tim Geithner saved them on terms extremely favorable to the banks. They should support all of his proposed reforms.”

    Mr. Johnson continued, “What gets me is that the banks have continued to oppose consumer protection. How can they be opposed to consumer protection as defined by a man who is the most favorable Treasury secretary they have had in a generation? If he has decided that this is what they need, what moral right do they have to oppose it? It is unconscionable.”

  • Minton report: Trafigura toxic dumping along the Ivory Coast broke EU regulations, 14 Sep 2006

    (update Oct 12, GMT) Following press reportage about dumping off the coast of Africa, Waterson & Hicks, a UK law firm acting for Trafigura, a large London based oil and commodity trader, ordered and received this confidential report (the so-called “Minton report”) into toxic dumping practices by its client along and on the Ivory Coast. The report reveals a number of toxic dumping incidents and appears to be the report behind the extraordinary secret October 11, 2009 gagging of the Guardian newspaper.

  • AstroTurf

    • A changing climate around nuclear energy

      A new, bipartisan consensus is building around the environmental benefits of nuclear energy in America.

      Just a few weeks ago, in a meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado joined Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in concluding that nuclear energy “has to be part of the solution” as the country seeks to reduce its carbon footprint and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      The debate about nuclear energy in Oregon, and across much of America, has been a highly emotional, often partisan affair. This new alliance is a breath of fresh air, representing a fundamental shift in political alignment. Fifty-nine percent of Americans polled by Gallup earlier this year said they support nuclear energy as one way to meet the nation’s electricity needs.

    • The Insurance Industry’s Deceptive Report

      But if the PWC’s report doesn’t offer much in the way of trustworthy policy analysis, it is an interesting looking at the changing politics of the issue. In short, the insurance industry is getting scared. After many months of quiet constructiveness, they’re launching a broadside on the week of the Senate Finance Committee’s vote. The White House, which had a pleasant meeting with the industry’s leadership last week, was shocked by the report, and so too was the Senate Finance Committee. The era of cooperation seems to be over, and they weren’t given much advance warning. But the report might have another impact, too: The evident anger and fear of the insurance industry might do a bit to reassure liberals that this plan is worth supporting, after all.

    • Patients Before Profits

      When an insurance company says an 11 percent increase in its rates — during a recession — is too small, it is clear that the health care system has lost its way. Health care must be about patients and medical treatment, not corporate profits. Until the country and especially Congress, which is currently writing and debating health care overhaul legislation, returns to this notion any reform will be more akin to window dressing than the fundamental change that is needed.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Telephone Company Is Arm of Government, Feds Admit in Spy Suit

      The Department of Justice has finally admitted it in court papers: The nation’s telecom companies are an arm of the government — at least when it comes to secret spying.

    • PSP Go launch has become a nightmare for gamers, Sony

      Sony’s DRM hurts the free-game program given to European PSP Go buyers, and a Sony exec explains why the UMD exchange program has been scrapped. The company is still insisting that it plans to take care of its loyal customers, but the PSP Go’s early days have been nothing short of a disaster.

    • Guardian gagged from reporting parliament

      The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

      Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

    • Guardian Gagged from Reporting Parliament

      According to the Guardian, despite the 1688 Bill of Rights, it has been gagged from reporting a question to be asked in parliament later this week. The gag was obtained by Carter-Ruck.

    • Guardian Hiring Bloggers For Local News Network

      There’s now no doubt that Guardian News & Media is planning a local online news project. Despite parent company Guardian Media Group laying off almost 250 staff in its regional division this year, GNM is hiring for metropolitan “beatbloggers” in Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh for local news services set for launch early next year.

    • Will EU lawyers white-out Amendment 138?

      EU lawyers say that Amendment 138 has to go because of a legal technical problem. And they insist on a poor replacement that will do nothing to stop the imposition of copyright enforcement measures. Given that we know the political agenda for both copyright and Internet restrictions, shouldn’t they do better?

    • How I got an apology from the Met for my unlawful arrest

      On 28th July 2005, I was unlawfully arrested at Southwark tube station when attempting to take the tube after work to meet my wife. Chief Superintendent Wayne Chance, Metropolitan Police Service Borough Commander for Southwark, has eventually apologised to my wife and I for their actions and the trauma it caused us.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pirate Bay co-founders deny ownership of site

      Lawyers representing The Pirate Bay co-founders, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Warg, denied in a Dutch civil court yesterday that the Swedish men currently own the notorious BitTorrent tracker site.

    • Big Entertainment’s century-long technophobic binge

      Nice work from Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson on the ways that entertainment companies have spent the past century decrying new technology, claiming that it would destroy copyright, from the record player to the xerox machine to the VCR to DTV to Napster.

    • BCCLA Files Lawsuit Against City For Violation of Charter Rights, VO Blogger Chris Shaw Key Plaintiff

      Two citizens stood up today against the Vancouver Olympics Committee and the City of Vancouver to oppose a bylaw they say will infringe on free speech and erode Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    • ASCAP and BMI – Another Royalty Battle for Broadcasters?

      While we have written much about the battle over the broadcast performance royalty (or the “performance tax” as broadcasters call is) – whether broadcasters will have to pay artists and record labels for the right to play their music on the air – we have not written much about another looming issue with the royalties that broadcasters must pay to play music on their stations. While broadcasters are very familiar with the ASCAP and BMI royalties, they may not be fully aware that there is a looming dispute over the amount that broadcasters will pay to these organizations in the near future. At a panel that I moderated at the NAB Radio Show, Bill Valez, the head of the Radio Music Licensing Committee, talked about the current negotiations for the renewal of the royalty agreements between radio stations and these two Performing Rights Organizations (“PROs”).

    • Anti-Pirates Scare Kids with Propagandistic Comic Book

      The Motion Picture Association has sent one of its big shot lobbyists to New Zealand to advocate tougher anti-piracy legislation, and to promote a propagandistic comic book set be handed out to thousands of local kids. Interestingly, the comic doesn’t touch the subject of copyright. Instead it uses false threats to scare children and parents about the dangers of file-sharing.

    • Judge Refuses to Punish Lawyer for Anti-RIAA Blogging

      An attorney defending against a music-piracy lawsuit didn’t cross ethical bounds by filing motions broadly attacking the recording industry and posting them on his blog, a magistrate judge has ruled, rejecting demands from the RIAA for monetary sanctions.

    • Guilty Pirates, Line Up Over Here

      The site is “reaching out” to the pragmatists and seekers, as these are the ones who can apparently be “rehabilitated” and with the site’s help, they can take their first step toward legitimacy and restful, sleep-filled nights. And the site just makes a little money helps by “coax[ing] them toward the light.” What’s the harm in that, right?

      In case you can’t tell, I think this is a really silly idea. I have trouble believing anyone (yes, anyone) would do it. The article notes that “interest from the public has not been especially high.” Well, that I understand.

      If you’re downloading and feel that what you are doing is illegal, the first step is to stop it. Then, find a way to help the artist or creator yourself, not through a site that takes 12% of your payment for itself. The slice off the top makes me wonder if this site is any better than the downloaders; it itself benefits monetarily from allegedly illegal downloads. You could argue that it encourages people to download by helping them feel “better” after they’ve done it. The more “unauthorized” downloaders there are, the more there are who might pay through this site, bringing (perhaps some) profit to the site.

    • The AP and News Corp DEMAND To Be Paid For Their Content

      Really? The AP’s response to people linking to and discussing AP articles is to go after sites for money? I am waiting to see which news organization will be the first to go after Twitter for payment for news tweets. Instead of focusing on how to demand payment for the distribution of an infinite good, news organizations should recognize the new opportunities afforded by the free distribution of their content and focus on how to build a business off their scarce goods.

    • Jimmy Leach: Murdoch will pay for the end of free news

      Rupert Murdoch has thrown down the gauntlet to search engines with his threat to charge the likes of Google for presenting his newspapers’ content in search results.

    • ‘The Economist’ switches to online subscription mode

      It tends to be difficult to generate income both from free and subscription-based content. The reason for that is the abundance of information online. So it is likely that other free media services will even further expand their importance as information sources and marginalise traditional journalistic content providers. It is a fatal process of structural change where we still don’t know if the traditional media online would be a sustainable model.

    • Reuters using Drupal

      Anyone who reads the news knows that Reuters is a major news agency; in fact, it is the world’s largest international multimedia news agency.

    • http://thomashawk.com/2009/10/an-update-on-the-international-olympic-committees-threatening-letter-to-flickr-user-richard-giles.html

      Among other things, the IOC noted that “any reproduction and distribution of images of the Olympic Games and IOC identifications by any means, including over the World Wide Web, without the consent of the IOC is unauthorized.” They further claimed ownership over the Olympic rings and actually over the word “Olympics,” itself. Perhaps most offensive to me personally, the IOC had written in their heavy handed letter to Giles that any images of the Olympic Games actually “belonged” to the IOC.

    • NBC Hit With Font Infringement Suit (Of All Things)

      The Boston-based Font Bureau is asking for “no less than $2 million” in damages, according to Cityfile, which broke news of the suit here. And here’s a link to the suit, which was filed in Brooklyn earlier this week.

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Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 16 (2007)


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