11.03.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 03/11/2009: KDE 4.3.3, Mandriva 2010 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What’s New in the Newest Linux in a Nutshell?

    I’m amazed at all the technical people living here in Lawrence, Kansas, so I’ve decided to do a series of interviews to highlight what our small college town has to offer the international tech community. Recently I sat down with local author Stephen Figgins at a coffee shop to talk about what’s new in the latest release of the popular Linux in a Nutshell book.

  • Browser and Operating System Report – October 2009

    1. Linux 2,524 43%
    2. Mac OS X 1,174 20%
    3. Windows XP 1,101 19%
    4. Unknown 415 7%
    5. Windows Vista 371 6%
    6. Windows 7 168 3%
    7. iPhone OSX 38 <1%

  • Applications

    • PlayOnLinux 3.7 has been released

      PlayOnLinux 3.7, the latest version of PlayOnLinux is now available.

    • Wine Cedega Crossover and PlayonLinux

      WINE is the reimplementation of the windows API for Linux/Unix operating systems. WINE allows you to run some applications on Linux that does not have Linux support or installers ie: Office 2007, World of Warcraft and many others. This is not a how-to but more a idea of what is going around and what its all about. WINE is the underlying technology for all the above applications. But lets face it, this was made so we could run the nice Microsoft games on our Linux distros. I for one love to game and I really would like to have more games written for Microsoft and Linux. I can’t figure out what the big deal is as most games are written in C++ and could be compiled for any OS type.

    • Free and Open Source Bioinformatics Software for Linux

      Bioinformatics, as defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (BCBI), is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology merge into a single discipline.

      Bioinformatics is being used largely in the field of human genome research by the Human Genome Project, which has been determining the sequence of the entire human genome (about 3 billion base pairs) and is essential in using genomic information to understand diseases. It is also used largely for the identification of new molecular targets for drug discovery.

    • One FatELF Binary To Run Them All

      Even Linux’s advocates are unthrilled at one of its sticking points: binaries built for one breed of Linux don’t always run on another. And since unifying Linux into a common distribution is about as likely as herding a circus ring full of cats into a clown car, people who want to distribute prebuilt binaries for Linux have few choices. Here’s a new choice: FatELF, or universal binaries for Linux.

  • KDE

    • KDE 4.3.3 released

      The KDE developers have announced the availability of the third update to KDE 4.3. The maintenance release for the free open source K Desktop Environment (KDE) includes several bug fixes and translation updates. In addition to several fixes, the release features a number of improvements, such as smoother KWin window effects, improved stability in the JuK audio player and changes to KDE PIM .

    • New Features For KDE 4.4 Desktop

      KDE 4.4 is scheduled to be released in early February of 2010 as the six-month feature update to KDE4 and now its feature plan has surfaced. KDE 4.4 is poised to pickup a number of exciting new features along with various bug-fixes and other updates. Below is a list of some of the KDE 4.4 features that caught our attention.

    • KDE Plasma Netbook GUI: Admitting Limitations

      Plasma Netbook’s chief virtue is its simplicity. Although a so-called intuitive interface does not exist, Plasma Netbook should be straightforward enough that anyone who uses computers regularly should be able to navigate its desktop with only a few minor stumbles.

    • NLUUG Conference on Open Web

      On October 29th the NLUUG held their second conference this year (the first, held in the spring, focused on file systems). With over 200 visitors and talks by 19 speakers, all prominent in their respective fields, this conference was of particularly high quality. This is surely emphasized by the location and surroundings and the excellent organization. Read on for a short impression on the conference, which was attended by several KDE community members.

      [...]

      After the last talk there was time to put some of the above recommendations into practice and have a few beers together. There was also handing out of prizes and some fun. At the end, attendees agreed the topics were interesting and, as cloud computing is an area where the FOSS world lags behind a bit, the discussions about ownership of data, privacy and security will hopefully result in more awareness on the issues with the current ‘Walled Gardens’.

    • KRunner from the top?

      Yesterday I was hit by the idea of putting KRunner at the top of the screen and making it ‘slide in’ when called up. The “floating dialog” just wasn’t doing it for me anymore and so I went ahead and implemented this to see what it would feel like. After working out various kinks, I have to say that I really like it. So I decided to do a quick screencast showing KRunner in action at the top of the screen for you to watch and then, hopefully, offer some feedback on it. It’s even better if you can try it out yourself by building from SVN trunk, of course, but I know not everyone can or will do that. If the reactions are generally positive, this will be the default for 4.4.

    • Easier Plasma themes creation

      One pretty long task of plasma themes is to manually rename all the SVG sub elements with the proper names. Let’s say we want to theme a button, we will need a SVG file with the following elements: normal-top, normal-topleft, normal-left, normal-bottomleft, normal-bottom, normal-bottomright, normal-right, normal-topright and normal-center.

    • Moving to digiKam

      For ages, I’ve been using Google Picasa to manage and tweak photos I took with my point-and-shoot cameras. Its editing tools are pretty limited, and the Linux version is just a not-so-pretty port that runs in Wine. When I moved to a DSLR camera these and other limitations became even more apparent. So when Google released Picasa 3.5 for Windows, leaving Linux users behind with the older 3.0 release, I decided that it was time to move on. After testing different photo editing and management applications for Linux, I settled for digiKam.

    • Amarok joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

      The Amarok project has joined the Software Freedom Conservancy. This move allows donors to give tax-deductible donations, and it increases the transparency in the spending of Amarok’s funds. This greatly helps us to be more efficient, and focus on what we really do best: Creating kick-ass software. At the same time, we stay fully committed to the KDE project! Amarok is, and will always stay, a fully committed project under the KDE umbrella. We have coordinated this move with the KDE e.V. board, who approves of our endeavors.

  • Distributions

    • Computer Aided Investigative Environment 1.0 released

      Developer Nanni Bassetti has announced the release of version 1.0 of the Computer Aided INvestigative Environment (CAINE) Linux live distribution. CAINE and NetBookCAINE (NBCAINE) provide a complete digital forensic environment that’s organised to integrate existing software tools as software modules and to provide a simple graphical user interface (GUI).

    • Review: Vector Linux 6 Standard

      It’s been over two years since Vector Linux 5.8 was released, and a lot can happen in that time. But what specifically is that? And has all that extra time allowed Vector to improve and grow and become a distribution to be reckoned with? Let’s find out.

      [...]

      Overall I like Vector Linux 6. It’s fast, reasonably easy to setup and administer, and system speed is good overall. Would I recommend Vector? Yes, I would, absolutely. It’s a good system, especially for those who like to go lean and mean with their setup, and for those who prefer speed over features.

    • GoblinX – An Alternative OS With 4 Different Flavors

      Other than those previously mentioned, very few if any other problems emerged while using GoblinX so far. In addition, KDE 4 on GoblinX performs rather well, even on a system with only 512 megabytes of RAM. Whereas GoblinX may not be “install and go” to some standards, it gives the user the choice to use proprietary code other distros may take away. GoblinX is simply a nice distribution derived from a solid code base that offers the user even something better than choice – something different. And these days, anything different is good.

    • Crazy weekend

      But there’s some good things that are going to come out of it – I am going to fork the Gentoo GRUB package, which needs quite a bit of love. It’s time to get GPT partitioning documented properly and grub-1.97 supported offiicially as it is in Ubuntu. So expect to see some things related to that soon.

    • New Releases

      • Mandriva 2010.0 is out!!

        I’m very pleased to say that Mandriva 2010 is now out! Checkout What’s New! Also see the Release Notes and Errata.

        Myself and the rest of the Mandriva Developers and Contributors have put in a lot of work this time round. I’m pretty happy with the PulseAudio->Phonon integration work I did for KDE which builds on our previous approaches which were not quite as functional (although did at least hide potential configuration problems from users unlike on some distros! (for which the usual “solution” was a urpme/yum remove/apt-remove pulseaudio rather than actually finding the real cause!)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Review: Red Hat’s Fedora 12 Beta Operating System

        eWEEK Labs’ tests show that Fedora 12 will provide the latest and greatest versions of popular open-source applications, as well as features that strengthen not only Fedora but also Linux distributions in general

      • Installing CentOS 5.4

        CentOS has not received much attention here on Ghacks, so I thought I would remedy that by introducing this outstanding flavor of Linux not by way of a Live CD (CentOS does have a Live CD, but you can not install from that CD), but by way of traditional means. Because of this you will have tutorial. But first, a little history (which might divulge reason for you to use CentOS).

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu 9.10 test drive

        Ubuntu has improved since I last tried it. It is steadily becoming more polished and user friendly for non-technical users, though this comes at a price for those who are already familiar with Linux.

        Its installation process is emblematic of this. Although it’s quick and very easy, the install sequence doesn’t include some steps and options that enable a knowledgeable user to configure a Linux distribution right from the start. These include some disk partitioning options, setting up networking interfaces, marking services active or inactive, specifying boot loader configuration options and setting up security controls and monitoring. Adding some optional installation steps to let experienced users make such configuration adjustments would be an improvement, I believe.

        Overall, although Ubuntu appears well polished on the surface, it doesn’t have the solid feel, depth of integration and finesse that one can discern in some other Linux distributions such as Mandriva, with which I’m more familiar. Perhaps my opinion might change after I get more used to working with Ubuntu, but for now I still like Mandriva better.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter: Or How To Achieve Organization Out Of Chaos
      • Install GNOME-Shell on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”
      • Previewing Gnome Shell in Ubuntu

        If all goes according to plan, Ubuntu 10.10 will sport Gnome 3, which represents a radical overhaul of Ubuntu’s default graphical user interface in the form of Gnome Shell, when it debuts a year from now. In order to get a taste of what this desktop of the future will look like, I’ve spent the last few days using the development version. Here’s what I’ve found.

        Gnome has been around now for a decade, and its approach to the desktop hasn’t changed remarkably in that time. Gnome 1.x doesn’t differ in any fundamental way from the 2.2x versions available in the latest Ubuntu releases. Traditional Gnome also behaves similarly to the interfaces of most proprietary operating systems.

      • Ubuntu 9.10: How To Upgrade
      • Lucid open for development

        We expect this more conservative policy for package syncing will enable us to prepare a more stable long-term support release. The cost of this approach is that not only regressions will be delayed from reaching Lucid – bugfixes uploaded to Debian unstable will be delayed too (packages uploaded to Debian unstable normally don’t reach Debian testing for at least 10 days).

      • Kubuntu “Project Timelord” Announced

        A large chunk of Timelord will land in Kubuntu 10.04 LTS. The more dramatic changes will be targeted at Kubuntu 10.10.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 in the clouds

        To sum up, Ubuntu 9.10 is a head turning, impressive Linux distribution that is built on the great progress that has been made by all of the contributors to Ubuntu, Debian (on which Ubuntu is based) and all of the upstream projects that make up Ubuntu over the last few years. The new design is superb, Ubuntu One shows a lot of promise and the new remix options offer exciting new computing experiences. There has never been a better time to try out Ubuntu, or to give it another go if you had a less than wonderful experience in the past.

      • Get Xubuntu’s Boot Splash Animation In Ubuntu Karmic!
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Review: 3 free Linux alternatives for your netbook

      I’ve listed the three OSes in the order of their evolutionary development: First came Ubuntu Netbook Remix (released June 2008), followed by the current version of Moblin (released October 2009) and lastly, the currently-in-alpha Jolicloud.

    • Eee-Control for Ubuntu 9.10 released: Control your netbook clock speed

      The program has been tested on an Eee PC 901, but there’s a good chance it should work with other Intel Atom powered netbooks running Ubuntu 9.10. Have you tried it on other Asus Eee PC models or other netbooks yet? Share your experiences in the comments.

    • PC are becoming netbooks

      PCS ARE MORPHING into netbooks, according to the Associated Press after consulting the season’s computer trends.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ZFS gets inline dedupe

    Sun’s Zettabyte File System (ZFS) now has built-in deduplication, making it probably the most space-efficient file system there is.

  • Bob Sutor On Advice For Open Source Startups

    IBM’s Bob Sutor has a good post up discussing advice for those who want to start an open source business. There are more and more open source startups arriving, but Sutor says “I’ve been very surprised as I’ve looked around the web that there don’t seem to be very many good guides about the nuts and bolts of starting an open source business.” He lists seven pieces of advice for those who have an open source business in the works, and here are some of our posts that can help you follow the advice.

  • Contest To Hack Brazilian Voting Machines

    “Brazilian elections went electronic many years ago, with very fast results but a few complaints from losers, of course. Next month, 10 teams that accepted the challenge will have access to hardware and software (Google translation; original in Portuguese) for the amount of time they requested (from one hour to four days). Some will try to break the vote’s secrecy and some will try to throw in malicious code to change the entered votes without leaving traces.”

  • Interview: Qi Hardware

    OB: Was Qi Hardware conceptualised from the beginning as an Open Source project, and could you describe what openness means specifically in the case of hardware?

    SM: Yes Qi Hardware was conceptualized from the start as an Open Source project. The founders of Qi have spent the last 2 years working together at Openmoko on the open phone project so the benefits and challenges of open source are well know to us. On the hardware side we are going to create a new kind of hardware, CopyLeft hardware. Today you can join as a Qi developer and get access to the hardware design files as well as participate in creating the roadmap.

  • 3 recent OpenOffice.org extensions

    Although I do most of my professional writing in Bluefish, I usually use OpenOffice.org at least once a day. Consequently, I keep a close eye on the OpenOffice.org Extensions page.

  • Of cabbages and kings and Linux and things.

    When it comes to Linux, or more generally FOSS (Free and Open Source Software), there are two major factions. There is the Free Software faction and the Open Source faction. The Free faction has a different ultimate goal from the Open Source faction even though they, to the outside viewer, may seem the same. Not everybody subscribes to the mandates of one faction or the other. In fact some of us can emphatically disagree with the methods and mandates of the leaders.

    Yet even though we disagree, even though we may find their actions and methods detrimental to the FOSS movement, we still choose to participate in FOSS. Why is that? Personally, for me, it is because it gives me control over my computer. I have the freedom to decide how my computer should run and I have the freedom to express my individuality with it (yes even Borgs are people too :). I also do not agree to having to use my computer under conditions dictated by those who’s only goal is to make money and control my computer through forced upgrades and invasive audits.

  • Web

    • Yahoo! open sources uber web server

      Yahoo! has open sourced the back-end software platform that underpins the company’s webmail client and countless other applications offered up across its sweeping web portal.

      Known as Traffic Server, the platform handles general edge caching, edge processing, and load balancing at Yahoo!, but it’s also used to manage traffic on the company’s internal storage and server-virtualization services.

    • Yahoo! Announces Open Source Distribution of Traffic Server
    • Yahoo Open Sources Traffic Server
    • Is Cloud Computing Safe for Business? Yes and No…

      It’s not only “homogeneous”, it’s based almost entirely on open source software (as far as we can tell), with all that this implies for robustness. So, to that extent, it’s probably true that for many companies, the server side of cloud computing is indeed relatively safe. But if they’re still using Windows with all its vulnerabilities to access those servers, much of that security is squandered. Perhaps that’s why Google is coming out with its Linux-based Chrome operating system…

    • Mozilla

      • Internet Explorer Losing Market Share in Europe

        Mozilla continued to rise going from 27.8% in March to 28.4% in September, while Opera remained stable at about 2.2%.

      • DE: Rate of government adoption of their software surprises Mozilla

        Representatives of the open source Mozilla project where pleasantly surprised this week, discovering that the city of Munich is making far more use of their software.

      • Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 doesn’t know about:me, but it’s fast

        The first official Mozilla Firefox 3.6 Beta release is now available, bringing with it a whole bunch of improvements to the open source web browser. It’s also (to my naked eye) missing a few features that I had initially expected to see in Firefox 3.6.

      • Firefox 3.6 Tweaks Are Mostly Under the Hood

        “One of the defining characteristics of the Chrome experience is speed,” O’Grady explained, and “the Mozilla folks have done a good job of responding to that, both in Firefox 3.5 and 3.6,” he said. “Both versions are noticeably quicker.”

        Indeed, even Firefox 3.5 is more than twice as fast as Firefox 3, Mozilla says, and 10 times as fast as Firefox 2.

        Mozilla has also been continuing to build out user enhancements, O’Grady added, “ranging from the aesthetic — such as personas, where you can reskin the user interface — to the more subtle, but potentially more significant.”

        As an example of the latter, O’Grady cites the Ubiquity plug-in, which is integrated in the new release and makes the browser “more programmatically accessible,” he explained.

      • Hands on: Firefox 3.6 beta supports Personas, fullscreen video

        Mozilla has announced the availability of the first Firefox 3.6 beta release. Ars tests the new version, which introduces support for fullscreen video and lightweight theming.

    • Chrome

      • Why is Linux Chrome so fast?

        My three laptops have relatively comparable hardware and run Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux respectively. The Linux version of Chrome feels ridiculously faster than Windows and Mac. Do we understand why this is? Can we make Windows and Mac feel that fast too?

        General observations:

        1) Scroll performance is extremely good. Even on Gmail, I can only get the mouse to lead the scroll bar by a dozen pixels. On Slashdot, it doesn’t even look like I can do that.

        2) Tab creation is very fast. Maybe the zygote is helping here? Can we pre-render the NTP on other platforms?

        3) Startup time is faster than calculator.

      • Chrome 4.0 gets beta release

        More people will get a chance to try out bookmark synchronization with Monday’s release of a beta version of Google Chrome for Windows.

      • Chrome Gains Speed, “Borrowed” Features

        I know that the JavaScript engine of Opera is being overhauled; something there was not time to do before the release of version 10. When that is added, it will be interesting to see how Opera fares, as when looking now between Opera and Chrome, the major delta of performance seems firmly rooted in Java Script.

      • Is Firefox 4 copying the Google Chrome looks?

        Firefox 4 is not due for release for more than a year but Mozilla has released a mockup of what it will look like.

  • FSF/GNU

    • mattl on FSF

      Great new !fsf homepage! http://www.fsf.org/ thanks to @cure & @mattl !gnu !linux !ubuntu !gentoo !freesoftware

  • Releases

    • SOGo 1.1.0 Final released

      The Inverse Team [External] is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SOGo 1.1.0. This is a major release of SOGo which focuses on new features, improved stability and which includes many bug fixes ad several small enhancements over previous versions.

  • Openness

    • A Defense of the Public Domain: A Scholarly Essay

      Much has been written for librarians about copyright law. Despite the importance of the public domain, it has attracted much less scholarly attention than has copyright law generally, and yet a healthy and robust public domain is crucial to our society. It provides the building blocks for authors, composers, artists and movie makers who can borrow from public domain works without seeking permission of copyright owners. Unfortunately, the public domain is under attack from expanding the term of copyright, to making it more difficult for works to enter the public domain in the United States. Some librarians have asked if vigorous application of fair use cannot substitute for the shrinking public domain. It cannot. Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement and is very fact determinate. A court’s finding of fair use applies only to the two parties to the litigation while the public domain is available to everyone from individual users of works, to artists and authors and to publishers and producers. It is crucial that the public domain be energetically defended. Today, it is not clear whether an author can even place his or her work in the public domain since copyright attaches automatically. A statutory method must be developed for authors to place their works in the public domain.

    • U.S. House Science committee considering OA — in secret

      The Association of American Universities yesterday posted a series of documents relating to a previously-unpublicized effort by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology.

    • The Open Knowledge Foundation is seeking an Editor for Open Text Book!
    • COAR establishes a global knowledge infrastructure

      The international Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) was launched in Ghent on 21 October, during Open Access Week 2009. The aim of the organisation is the networking of over 1000 global scientific repositories comprising peer reviewed publications under the principle of Open Access. This will be achieved by means of common data standards and the co-ordination of scientific research policy development. Coinciding with the sixth anniversary of the Berlin Declaration to provide free and unrestricted access to sciences and human knowledge representation worldwide, COAR takes responsibility for the execution of this vision in bringing together scientific repositories in a wider organisational infrastructure to link confederations across continents and around the globe in support of new models of scholarly communication.

    • 100 Incredible Open Courses for the Ultimate Tech Geek

      While colleges can be a great place to build up your knowledge of technologies of all kinds, real world experience and free learning resources on the web can do a pretty good job of showing you the ropes as well. Here are 100 free resources to help you hone your techie skills and learn more about the ever-changing world of technology.

    • Digitization and the (Vanishing) Arts of the Book

      Some of the most beautiful artistic treasures created during the millennium we refer to in the Western world as the Dark Ages are books — usually of a religious nature, they were transcribed by hand in sumptuously precise calligraphy, illuminated with wonderfully colorful and imaginative borders, and graced with elegant inset illustrations that were themselves jewels of inspiration, meticulously set down with pen, brush and burnisher in inks, tempera and gold leaf on laboriously stretched and scraped sheets of parchment. When complete, these beautiful pages were bound in volumes large and small, from enormous folios that were easily read in the pulpits of candlelit cathedrals, to breviaries that nestled comfortably in the pocket of a monk’s cassock. Lovingly preserved through many centuries, they are as wonderful to observe today as they were when they were fresh from the standing desks of the monks who gave them birth.

    • Knowledge as a public good
    • RepRap, the replicating machine: The Free and Open Source Factory on the Desktop?

      RepRap (replicating Rapid-prototyper) is a 3D printer and it is impeccably free and open source under both the GPL and the Creative Commons Licence. It’s early days but the implications and the promise are potentially enormous in their own right — but the fact that it is resolutely not proprietary is what caught my attention.

  • Programming

    • The future of software forges

      I’m still not going to talk about my attack on the forge infrastructure problems quite yet; the software is coming along nicely, but I intend to announce only after it handles its fourth forge type (yes, that was a tease). But I will say this: I now think I know what the future of forges looks like. It’s called Roundup, and it is astonishingly elegant and potentially more powerful than anything out there. Anything, not excluding the clever decentralized systems like Fossil or Bugs Everywhere.

  • Ogg

    • bringing theora to youtube (the hard way)

      I wrote a greasemonkey script called Theoratube that connects to the Firefogg extension. It’s based very heavily on the really great Youtube without Flash Auto user script that lets you embed videos as a plug-in. But in my case I decided to use native Theora and HTML5 video because it’s more reliable, has controls and doesn’t require any additional software to start working.

      How does it work? It pulls down the video, uses Firefogg to transcode it, and then stuffs it back into the browser via a private URL. It’s slow because it has to pull + encode the entire video, but it works surprisingly well for something that is as hacky as it is.

Leftovers

  • IT snake oil: Six tech cure-alls that went bunk

    In the land of IT, the one thing you can count on is a slick vendor presentation and a whole lot of hype. Eras shift, technologies change, but the sales pitch always sounds eerily familiar.

    In virtually every decade there’s at least one transformational technology that promises to revolutionize the enterprise, slash operational costs, reduce capital expenditures, align your IT initiatives with your core business practices, boost employee productivity, and leave your breath clean and minty fresh.

  • Marriages of convenience: Medical groups join with food companies

    Soda-pop makers courting medical groups. Potato-chip producers curling up with dietitians. Beer companies linking arms with traffic-safety advocates.

    These marriages of convenience have become an increasingly common part of corporate America. That leaves consumers and government regulators wondering if we can trust all the advice coming from organizations that buddy up with industry.

  • Obama administration seeks to block wiretap suit

    The Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege Friday to try to stop a lawsuit over Bush-era wiretapping – the first time the Obama administration has done so under its new policy on such cases.

    Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision in a California lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    Under the state secrets privilege, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security.

  • Obama signs law blocking release of torture photos

    President Barack Obama received a great deal of media attention on Wednesday for signing a historic hate-crimes bill into law. But, on the same day, the US president also signed a Homeland Security spending bill that received far less attention, even though it effectively blocks efforts by activists to reveal photos of detainee abuse in US custody.

  • Innocent suspects’ profiles still reaching DNA database

    More than 90,000 innocent people have been added to the national DNA database since a landmark human rights ruling that keeping indefinitely the profiles of unconvicted suspects was illegal, according to new figures.

  • Why slaughterhouses should be open to the public

    USDA and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture have suspended operations at the Bushway Packing plant in Grand Isle, VT, a facility that processes veal calves, pending a continuing investigation based on abuses uncovered by the Humane Society.

  • Finance

    • An interview with Stoneleigh – the case for deflation

      At the ASPO conference in Denver, October 2009, I had the good fortune to meet Stoneleigh, former editor of The Oil Drum Canada, who left the The Oil Drum crew with colleague Ilargi to set up The Automatic Earth where they publish stories, news and analysis of the unfolding financial crisis. I spent a couple of days chatting with Stoneleigh where she recounted her rather gloomy prospects for the immediate future of the global economy.

    • For Wall Street and Goldman Sachs the Party Continues

      Time magazine’s cover story this week titled “What’s Still Wrong with Wall Street,” by Allan Sloan, is a remarkable indicator of where the public stands on the recent obliteration of the economy by a gang crooked financiers and speculators. It shows that even the corporate media is now making the connection that millions of Americans have already made, namely, that a criminal gang of rich white guys in New York did some extremely reckless things with the nation’s collective wealth and the middle class got clobbered.

    • Fraud at Goldman Sachs?

      McClatchy is out with an incredibly important series on Goldman Sachs, the first two parts of which have gone up already, that raises questions about whether Goldman committed securities fraud at a massive level. I am guessing the next three parts of this series are going to be really explosive as well.

    • Timothy Geithner: The Goldman Sachs fink in the White House

      If there’s one guy in the Obama administration that I really can’t stomach, it has to be Timothy Geithner. What qualifies him to be Secretary of Treasury anyway? Is it because he has spent his life coddling up to the most powerful men on Wall Street?

    • A Pillar of Jello: Geithner Handed Billions to Goldman Sachs

      Well then…perhaps Geithner and the Fed were so irresponsible with taxpayer money that they should not be trusted to negotiate for their constituents. If the best defense of Geithner anyone can offer is *he got stared down by Goldman and gave them billions of dollars for nothing* do we really want this guy as Secretary of the Treasury?

    • Goldman takes on new role: taking away people’s homes

      When California wildfires ruined their jewelry business, Tony Becker and his wife fell months behind on their mortgage payments and experienced firsthand the perils of subprime mortgages.

      The couple wound up in a desperate, six-year fight to keep their modest, 1,500-square-foot San Jose home, a struggle that pushed them into bankruptcy.

      The lender with whom they sparred, however, wasn’t the one that had written their loans. It was an obscure subsidiary of Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs Group.

      Goldman spent years buying hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages, many of them from some of the more unsavory lenders in the business, and packaging them into high-yield bonds. Now that the bottom has fallen out of that market, Goldman finds itself in a different role: as the big banker that takes homes away from folks such as the Beckers.

      [...]

      Theirs is an infrequent happy ending among the hundreds of cases in which subsidiaries of Goldman, better known for sending top officers such as Paulson to serve in top Washington posts, have sought to contain bondholder losses by foreclosing on properties and evicting delinquent borrowers.

    • Goldman Sachs Seizing Homes Subprime Mortgages Bought
    • Goldman Sachs: Reasonable Doubt

      Was the risk that Goldman hedged with AIG as bad as Goldman Sachs Alternative Mortgage Products’ GSAMP Trust 2006-S3? Any risk manager worth their salt would have reasonable doubt about this deal and conduct a fraud audit. A fraud audit doesn’t mean you are accusing anyone of fraud, only that the audit will be thorough, because there are indications of grave problems. If there is fraud, however, the audit should be rigorous enough to uncover it.

    • McClatchy Digs Into Goldman Sachs’ Dealings In Subprime Mortgages

      The firm tells McClatchy reporters it had no duty to tell those investors about what it thought was going to happen to the housing market. Check out the report and see if you agree.

    • This Is A Scam From Goldman Sachs(GS) You Would Really Hate

      In 2006 and 2007, the upper echelons at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) realized that a fall in housing prices is imminent. Did they tell their investors not to buy securities backed by home mortgages? No; CEO Lloyd Blankfein does not think they have a duty to be honest, and tell people “how they manage risk.” So they peddled over $40 billion worth of securities backed by over 200,000 risky home mortgages.

    • Citigroup Was a Winner of Paulson Aid to Banks, Researchers Say

      Citigroup and the three other firms that either merged into or became commercial banks — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch — showed signs that “a bank run was indeed taking place” on Oct. 10, 2008, days before the Paulson plan was announced, Veronesi and Zingales wrote.

    • Amid the housing crisis, Goldman Sachs gives, takes away

      A California couple close to losing their home found that Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs was the company behind their subprime mortgage and was trying to take away their home.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Stolen Umbrellas

      As CIT goes bankrupt and Treasury Secretary Geithner warns today that the “damage caused by this crisis” will “take some time” to repair, a key Wall Street player has managed to weather the storm at the expense of an unwary, drenched public.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, after raking in more than $23 billion of taxpayer money (most of it funneled from the AIG bailout), Goldman is repaying the $10 billion it received directly to escape federal limits on $20 billion in bonuses it wants to pay executives from more than $50 billion in expected revenue this year.

      In these rainy days for the American economy, there is one place on Wall Street where everybody is staying very dry.

    • Alistair Darling to unveil plans to break up Lloyds and RBS

      Three new high-street banking chains are expected to be created by the government by splitting up Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, it emerged last night.

    • Paul Collins, President of Sheetmetal Workers Local 137.
  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • China looks to export censorship

      A few days before the start of this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival its executive director received an “audacious” telephone call.

      An official from China’s consulate in the city called him to “urge” the festival to withdraw a film about the Chinese activist Rebiya Kadeer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Pirated software

      If you think I’m going to talk about the moral, legal, financial, and political implications of using software not according to various license agreements set by money-loving companies, you’re wrong. This article is not about the subtle use of the word piracy, which is all about plunder, robbery and violence, with the somewhat foggy misuse of software in the free world of Internet. This article is not about big corporations and their draconian use of capital to squash competition and choke technological advancements. This article has nothing to do with digital piracy.

    • Columnist Quits After Newsday Starts Charging for Its Web Site

      There aren’t many journalists walking away from paying jobs these days. With news organizations struggling and newsroom jobs disappearing, each week brings new calls from writers and editors who believe their flagging employers should save themselves by charging for Internet access.

      So count Saul Friedman a contrarian twice over.

      Mr. Friedman, who had written a column for Newsday since 1996, quit last week over the paper’s decision to require some readers to pay for access to its Web site.

    • Emap Will Raise The Paywall In Next Few Weeks

      CEO David Gilbertson told us in an interview that all websites in the Inform division (19 business magazines including Construction News, Retail Week and Drapers) will stop giving away free news and instead start bundling web access in with subscription packages. There’s no exact timeframe, though the process has been one year in the making. Retail Week will start on November 13.

    • German Chancellor Proposes Special ‘Save Newspapers’ Copyright Law

      On the whole, this sounds like someone decided they wanted to “help out” the major media companies, but without anyone putting much thought into the actual details or inevitable consequences of such a law. A more cynical person might suggest that this proposal is really designed to gain the current ruling party a bit of support from the mainstream press in Germany…

    • 60 Minutes Puts Forth Laughable, Factually Incorrect MPAA Propaganda On Movie Piracy

      CBS’s 60 Minutes has made itself out to be more of a laughingstock than usual when it comes to “investigative reporting,” putting on an episode about “video piracy” that is basically 100% MPAA propaganda, without any fact checking or any attempt to challenge the (all MPAA connected) speakers, or to include anyone (anyone!) who would present a counterpoint. The episode is funny in that it contradicts itself at times (with no one noticing it) and gets important (and easily checked) facts wrong. And, of course, it basically mimics that old episode that history has shown to have been totally (laughably) false.

    • Illegal downloaders ‘spend the most on music’, says poll

      People who illegally download music from the internet also spend more money on music than anyone else, according to a new study. The survey, published today, found that those who admit illegally downloading music spent an average of £77 a year on music – £33 more than those who claim that they never download music dishonestly.

    • A fistful of (internet) dollars

      As Mandelson shows his sheriff’s badge to the net’s bad guys, who’s making money from the web and whose well has run dry?

    • Illicit Filesharing – Ben Bradshaw

      Q28 Mr Watson: Has the music industry estimated how much it will cost industry to police the system with the suspension system?

    • Don’t let Mandelson disconnect your internet
    • The golden age of infinite music

      Not long ago, if you wanted music, you had to save up your pocket money, take a trip to the local record shop and lovingly leaf through its racks.

      Now, it’s almost all free, instant and infinite. And our relationship with music has changed forever.

      [...]

      I use the free version of the music streaming application Spotify almost every day – and I now understand that it represents a genuine revolution in music consumption (and makes iTunes look pathetically old-fashioned).

    • Why Plaintiffs Should Have to Prove Irreparable Harm in Copyright Preliminary Injunction Cases

      It has become lamentably common for courts to issue preliminary injunctions in copyright cases once rights holders have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits without going on to require them to prove that they will suffer irreparable harm unless the injunction issues. Harm is too often presumed to be irreparable if plaintiffs have made out a prima facie case of infringement. This presumption cannot be squared with traditional principles of equity, as interpreted in numerous Supreme Court decisions, particularly eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange LLC, 547 U.S. 388 (2006).

    • Pirate Bay closure sparked file-sharing boom

      The temporary closure of the Pirate Bay had the unforeseen side effect of forcing torrent sharers underground and causing a 300% increase in sites providing access to copyright files, according to McAfee.

    • The Crazed Approach to the Internet: what’s driving it?

      Mandelson in the UK. “3 Strikes” in France. Fascist Censorship in Australia. Phorm. Net Neutrality. The Pirate Bay attacks. The RIAA. The DMCA. There’s a recurring and accelerating theme of attacks, which have accelerated over the past ten years, to attempt to control what can and cannot be done with the Internet, that is beginning to blur with Science Fiction predictions from well-renowed authors. The question is: why? What’s the driving force, and what motivates these attacks, when, mathematically and statistically, they are simply impossible, leaving an alienated populace feeling threatened by and distrusting their Governments, just like in China, Iran and other “Regimes” which we believe that we are “better than”?

      I’m sorry to have to remind you that the answer is very simple and straightfoward: the answer is “Global Capitalism”. The Global effects of Capitalism – the enshrinement of “maximisation of profits” as a right, on a Global scale, concentrates ungodly amounts of money – and power – into the hands of Directors who are required, by law, to enact the “maximisation of profits” mantra, to the exclusion of all other considerations. An uncontrollable positive feedback cycle results, that has eerie similarities to Cancer, “consuming” all natural resources.

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