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Links 02/12/2009: Diet Chromium Emerges

Posted in News Roundup at 10:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What to do with that old computer?

    Use it in front of the TV or in your kitchen. Install Linux on it. It will cost you nothing to try. You burn a Linux image onto a USB drive or a CD, put it in your old computer and install. You then have a working system. While it may not be fast, I bet it would still be good to look up recipes in the kitchen or movie actors in front of the tv. We have an old laptop that regularly overheats and has to be plugged in sitting on the coffee table in front of the TV just to answer random questions. (Or take a quick peak at email or Facebook.)

  • Linux Pranks

    Do you know what people think about us linuxers? No Clue!! Get some Popcorn coz I am going to tell you a great story. A long long time ago, back when linux was getting powerful, there was a boy who started using it. He liked it so much that he would spend all the day learning and exploring.

  • Linux and the sheer utter misery of viruses

    The only solution is to identify the infected desktops and take them off the network.. pronto.

    An infected Windows workstation of XP vintage often needs a clean image reinstalled to fix it. This means of course keeping a stock of up to date Windows workstation images. Next, all staff and students (if it is a school or college) need to have their usb sticks checked to save them trashing their often even more vulnerable home machines. Lots of work.

    Thanks to SAMBA and OpenLDAP companies have been able to take advantage of the cost savings and performance offered by Linux infrastructure and keep their Windows workstations. They wish to do the latter because sometimes they need to use Windows-only applications and sometimes they wish to avoid any retraining overheads for their users.

  • Desktop

    • bug one resolved, at least in one mall, thanks to Apple

      With Linux offerings from HP, Dell, and Lenovo, the big names are covered. Heck, it is not hard to find a eeePC running Linux if you really want one. How about Penguin Computing, Linux Certified, System 76, Zareason, and other countless Linux specialty or Linux friendly white box vendors? All of these companies would not be in business if there was no money to be made by competing with Microsoft. Once ChromeOS kicks in, it will be all over for Microsoft Windows.

    • Bells & Whistles

      Watching the carnival of publicity for both Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7, I can’t help but think that the world has forgotten just what an operating system is for. An operating system should not be a big feature of a computer. An operating system should instead be the platform that enables you to get on with using the computer in question, with the minimum of fuss and intrusion. Sure, it’s good to have useful tools and features in there, but surely the purpose of such features is as an add-on, so that the user can pick what they intuitively require. If it needs a press release and several big-money presentations to explain why someone needs a particular extra or gizmo, then there’s a compelling argument that they don’t need it in the first place.

    • Some Things Linux Can Do, That Windows Won’t.

      4) Automatically update all my software and the OS.

      With Windows, I notice that there are regular updates, patches, security, fixes, etc. to the OS. With Linux, my updates include the OS as well as all the applications! Needless to say, I’m happy that I can obtain the latest features, fixes, updates etc. in one update action on Linux, without having to manually update each application (which I have to do on my Windows box).

    • Dell Precision M6500 Workstation Taps Intel’s Core i7 Chips

      The Dell Precision M6500 offers Intel’s Core i7 processors, Nvidia Quadro FX or ATI FirePro graphics, as well as up to 16GB of memory and the option of four memory slots. There’s also a choice of Linux or Windows operating systems, and up to three hard drives.

    • Dell Unveils Precision M6500 Workstation

      The screen is 17-inches and an optional RGB LED unit is available with 100% color gamut. OS options include 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Red Hat Linux. Dell also offers the Quadro FX 3800M GPU as an option.

    • IGEL’s Linux Universal Desktop Now Supports Touch Screen Monitors

      IGEL Technology, the world’s third largest thin client vendor (2009 by revenue, IDC), today introduced its new Linux Universal Desktop firmware adding support for new hardware, additional user customization options, and enhanced multimedia and virtualization functionality to its wide range of Linux-based thin clients.

  • Server

    • PIKA Upgrades WARP PBX Appliance Platform

      Just about a year ago, Enterprise VoIPplanet spoke with the folks at PIKA Technologies about their then-new WARP appliance, the popular Asterisk development platform in a compact, telephony-equipped Linux system unit.

    • SYNAQ celebrates five good years – looks forward to many more

      SYNAQ, the Johannesburg-based Linux and open source managed services and software services company, has made a significant impact on the local IT scene since its establishment five years ago, by two (very) young entrepreneurs, Yossi Hasson and David Jacobson.

    • eCube Delivers Linux on System z Support for NXTera High Performance Middleware

      eCube Systems, a leader in legacy evolution and application modernization, today announced that it has achieved the IBM Ready for LINUX mark for its NXTera™ high performance middleware. This mark certifies NXTera has met compatibility and integration specifications established by IBM for LINUX on the System z mainframe, which run the daily computer transactions for many of the world’s top banks and multinational firms.

    • SunGard’s MarketMap Provides Tinbergen Asset Management with Real-Time Financial Information

      SunGard’s MarketMap provides Tinbergen with real-time market data flows that can help the company automate and streamline its processes for monitoring real-time market information, ranging from asset prices to executed orders. The solution’s Java-based feed offered easy integration with Tinbergen’s existing systems, using the firm’s Linux platform.

    • A Little Virtual Machine Recreation

      It’s time for a little VM recreation and you don’t even have to get sweaty in the process.

    • Linux Vs Windows Which One to Pick?

      The significant difference in Linux version does not speak about the software quality or the drivers` availability, but the support offered. Depending upon the Linux distribution package, the user may get a quick and 24/7 paid support, and this should well suit any corporate environment. Purchasing the operating system and hardware together ensures the support for installed hardware, else it may be required researching to ensure the motherboard, network adapter, chipset and others are supported by the Linux version. The other non Linux options include OpenSolaris and many variants of Berkley Software distribution.

  • Google

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Window Maker – your NeXT window manager

      Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.

    • KDE

      • Multitouch screencast overload

        Going a bit more deeply on how KDE SC 4.4 will support multitouch, here are 3 longer videos:

        The first one shows marble. Is now possible (with the usual disclaimer on devices and systems that support it, hoping it will become a more pervasive feature) to zoom the earth with a two fingers gesture, making a retty natural interacion

        OGG version

        The second one shows Plasma: it’s possible to move, resize and rotate the widgets with two fingers, making them a bit more “real objects”.

      • Kdenlive

        For the last screencasts I had to do, I needed some tool were it’s easy to cut little pieces of various short movie files and that could have let me to assemble them togeher, maybe with some simple not too heavy transition effects.


        Since it seems nowdays I can’t finish an entry without a screencast, here it is s quick and dirty “making of” of the Plasma multitouch video, well not actually that one, but shows how fast is possible to create a simple montage.

        OGG version

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo

      • Gentoo wins again with Python 3

        Despite being heavily involved in Ubuntu advocacy and promotion, being a member of the Ubuntu project, and using it on my personal systems, I’ve had to keep my servers and development machines running Gentoo.


        Python 3 is a great example of this; Gnome 3 will apparently use Python 3 for many applets, and Gnome 3′s release schedule sets it for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 (next Fall), but at present Python 3.1 is packaged but none of the 3rd party packages are available for it – even those which explicitly support Python 3 already.

      • Gentoo service announcement: keep clear of GNU patch-2.6
    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora 12 Review

        With the release of fedora 12 ,we decided to give it a try with a 64 bit live cd on a Toshiba machine.There is no good difference in appearance with the older editions of fedora ,just some changes in Nautilus icons.What to say,they offer a clear and clean appearance.

      • [Hippies]
    • Debian Family

      • Howto switch from Ubuntu to Debian – My Experience – Part I

        After long time I’m posting this. In this time, I got a fantastic experience of switching myself from ubuntu to debian.

      • AntiX-M8.5 beta release is available for testing

        Anti has announced the first public beta of antiX-M8.5. It is available at MEPIS mirrors in the released/antix directory as antiX-M8.5-pt1-beta.iso.

      • Ubuntu System Panel: Simple? Is it heck… [Opinion]
      • Forensic Cop Journal 2(1): Ubuntu Forensic

        Ubuntu Forensic is the use of Ubuntu for digital forensic purposes. As it provides a wide range of forensic tools as well as anti-forensic and cracking tools, so it is reliable to investigate a computer crime and analyse digital evidence on it. The significant difference on forensic applications between Ubuntu and Ms Windows is that Ubuntu applications are freeware, while the application running under Ms Windows are commercial. The results obtained between these applications are relatively the same. It means that digital forensic analyst should also be well understood on the use of Ubuntu forensic applications as well as Ms Windows’s applications. If they do it, so they will have many forensic tools which can be applied in the investigation/analysis. When a tool does not give satisfied results, they should be able to use other tools either under Ubuntu or Ms Windows to yield the best results.

      • Sim romance, Ubuntu manga and women in the know

        Second course this week is with the lovely Martin Owens. He’s a programmer and an advocate and educator for the open source community. He’s also working to create the English translation of the Ubunchu manga. A comic book about an open source sys admin after school club in Japan – who can fault that?

      • Linux Mint 8.0

        Mint 8 didn’t blow me away quite so much as their last release. It worked well as far as I could tell and there were some definite advantages to their package selections (lack of Evolution for one). The improvements to MintInstall continue to make it a pleasant and useful tool.

        I’m not going to immediately wipe my Ubuntu Karmic install on the laptop for this release of Mint. It might grow on me, but for now I’m happy with the parent distro. Maybe Mint 9 will have some must-have feature for me, or at least a couple of games. Hey, I can dream.

      • Review: Linux Mint 8

        In summary, Linux Mint is really a unique distro, catering to a wide audience. People who just came from windows would most like feel comfortable with
        Linux Mint and Linux Mint does really work great with older computers They just need to do something about Ubiquity. The MintInstall software manager is really great, making installing applications really a breeze. IMHO, Mintinstall is what we need to break those biased opinions that installing software is difficult for Linux

        The MintUpdate is also a Plus point. Many new users screw their systems up through updates. ( especially major ones) This surely would help a lot. I went in with the opinion that Linux Mint would be just like any other remastered distro, but came out changed! Its really a great distro.

        I personally would recommend it to any one who just came out of the windowed world or any one who is looking for a light and simple system. Linux Mint 8 is really on the right track on making Linux user friendly..

      • Ubuntu Lucid To Use Plymouth; Non-Intel Users To Lose Out?
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Archos 5 Internet Tablet

      Archos has created quite a stir when he was introducing a version of the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet runs on Android to be the owner of, based on Linux operating system announced. We examine here the Cyber-shot Archos 5 Internet Tablet with flash memory, 32 GB with about 230 prizes. Two models of thick disks are also available: a 160 GB version for about 250 and 500 GB for a 290 or thereabouts.

    • Phones

      • Qualcomm to win spot in next iPhone generation?

        Not content with the current crop of high profile smartphone launches – Motorola Droid and Nokia N900 leading the pack – the industry is full of talk of what new devices may appear after the new year. Of course, Apple leads the way, with sources claiming glimpses of the successor to the iPhone 3GS, as well as the latest variations on speculation about the ‘iTablet’. Then there is the reputed ‘Google phone’, but Nokia refuses to join in the fun, promising only one more device based on its Maemo Linux operating system in the coming year.

      • Nokia sees industry handset volumes rising 10% next year

        Nokia Corp. on Wednesday predicted that global mobile phone unit sales would recover to rise 10% next year, forecast an improvement in the operating margin at its main division and vowed to revamp its creaky user interface.

      • Zii Labs Unveils Trinity Phone Platform for Android

        Zii Labs has announced the Trinity smart/media phone platform for the Android and Plaszma operating system. The platform is a complete 3.5G/4G smartphone development platform supporting optimized Android and Linux-based Plaszma OS’.

      • Under the Hood of Native Web Apps for Android

        Web Development for Mobile Devices is the latest rage. But what if you want an “off-line” web application? No problem!

      • Access Linux appears in first phone, LiMO may be its best hope

        Emblaze, now renamed after its first smartphone, has often made a surprisingly loud noise at events like Mobile World Congress, showing some genuinely innovative thinking on user interfaces. It has collaborated with Access on a user experience called

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM COO wants netbooks to be more than just cheap notebooks

        Right now, however, ARM netbooks are really only able to run Linux distros tailored to their non-x86 processors. On top of that, there aren’t many to choose from at the moment.

        After attending the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Shane Fagan lamented “Where’s my ARM netbook?” noting that only three models were available (four if you count a board-only unit). With Intel’s Atom able to run Windows and just about every interesting Linux distro under the sun like Moblin and Jolicloud, ARM has their work cut out.

      • Dell releases unofficial Chrome OS Linux desktop

        But as Anson points out, “This image comes with absolutely no support of any kind and is to be considered highly experimental and completely unstable [but] with a network connection, ChromiumOS shines. The Chromium browser is extremely fast and makes for a great web-centric browsing experience. Boot time appears quick too — about 12 seconds from hitting the power button.” Sounds like good Linux techie fun to me!

      • Intel launches beta SDK for Intel Atom Developer Program

        Just to put my cards on the table, I think the Intel Atom Developer Program makes about as much sense as a netbook with a 17 inch screen. The whole point of netbooks is that they’re fully functional computers, unlike smartphones and other mobile devices that offer only a limited feature set. And that means that you can run virtually any program on a Windows or Linux netbook that you could run on a larger, more traditional computer.

      • Acer’s crippled GNU/Linux

        A free software supporter alerted us to a crippled version of GNU/Linux shipping on some of Acer’s netbooks.

        A few weeks ago, a free software supporter encountered an Acer netbook that came pre-loaded with a distribution of GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux has made real headway in the netbook market, so nothing unusual here, and you would think any free software supporter would be delighted to encounter GNU/Linux pre-installed on a mass market product.

Free Software/Open Source

  • NoSQL: Not Going Anywhere For a While?
  • 2009 Open Source Best Practices: Why CLM is Transforming the Commercial Open Source Industry

    CLM Converts are proclaiming their businesses can’t function without these tools. Others worry about privacy issues and upsetting customers, but most haven’t found that to be a problem. Converts recommend starting small. Start with marketing automation. It doesn’t take nearly as much time as most think. Once comfortable with that, move on to real time behavior monitoring and situational activity alerts. As a result, CLM users claim the financial rewards are high.

  • New approaches to going open highlighted in 2009

    Looking back through our 451 CAOS Links posts there are a number of examples of companies “going open” in 2009 – either embarking on an open source project for the first time or expanding their engagement with open source through new initiatives.

  • NCC Publishes White Paper on Open Source

    The Open Learning Centre and Open Forum Europe worked on behalf of The National Computing Centre to produce a white paper examining the significant advantages and the potential hurdles for business when considering Open Source Software.

  • Scammers get better tools for tapping social networks

    Paterva describes Maltego as an open source intelligence and forensics application that can import and correlate data from almost any publicly available online source, including social networks, search engines and PGP key databases. A community edition of the tool also can be downloaded.

    The application can be used to determine relationships and real-world connections between people, groups of people such as those in a social network, companies and Web sites. It can also be used to find links between domains, DNS names, IP addresses and even documents and files on the Internet.

  • Open Source enables customized applications

    We adopted open source mainly because we can build an application suiting our needs. Moreover, if we are locked in a proprietary set up, we will be forced to do frequent updates. Often we have found that most of updates do not give the level of business benefits that we look for. To put it simply, we do not want to be forced to do an upgrade just because a new version is available.

  • Exhibit Pavilion at Digium/Asterisk World 2010 Completely Sold Out

    Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC®) and Digium®, the Asterisk® Company, today announced that all exhibit space has sold out at their expanded Digium|Asterisk World, scheduled to take place January 20-22, 2010 as part of ITEXPO East in Miami, Florida.

  • Yashada, NIC develop open source software for libraries

    The Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada) along with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed a software called eGranthalaya for the automation of libraries.

  • The value of Open Source Software in enterprise IT

    If the vendor’s product strategy breaks the underlying contract of mutual benefit with companies and people that contribute code, many of the benefits of open source software beyond cost reduction are potentially eliminated.

    Moreover, such vendors might risk losing their differentiation from traditional closed sourced vendors long term. In such a case one might raise the question whether the ultimate goal is exploiting communities in order to be eventually acquired as opposed to promoting communities, the backbone for innovation, vendor independence and quality.

  • The New Economics of Open Source in the Enterprise

    Commercial software vendors, of course, are hoping this is all just a fad that will go away once the economy improves. In reality, the open source economy is the new enterprise software economy.

  • Nominations Now Open for Nation’s Top Honor in Public Interest Computing

    The Tides Foundation Pizzigati Prize will award $10,000 to an open source software developer whose work is helping nonprofits succeed

  • Capital markets finding joy with open source tech

    Financial services organisations are going beyond operating systems when it comes to the use of open source technology.

  • Opengear Joins OSSI’s Efforts to Expand Secure Open Source Network Communications Within Federal Computing Environments

    Opengear (www.opengear.com) today announced it has joined the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) and will work to contribute software that will expand the use of safe, secure computing protocols in Federal computing environments. As a part of Opengear’s commitment to open source, Opengear has extended the OpenSSL cryptographic module — for the first time making it FIPS 140-2 compliant for ARM-based processors.

  • 11 open source business models

    Telling people to pay you and go away worked for an amazingly long time. It sounds like it shouldn’t. It sounds a bit like theft. But software is a miracle, and for decades EULA Ware was the only model there was.

    Open source companies, on the other hand, they have to use their imagination.

  • Keep the cash: think open source

    Open source has come a long way since Linux, with the advent of software programs in many universities. There are open source and freeware programs available for everything from antivirus software to media players. Open source differs from freeware in that the code is freely available and can be modified under certain conditions, while freeware code is not.

    In theory, users could replace most of their purchased software with open source software. For example, you can use Songbird as a music player, OpenOffice.org in place of Microsoft Office, Gimp to replace Photoshop, and AVG as antivirus. But these substitutions are not yet commonplace.

  • CrunchPad

  • Mozilla

    • Critical bug fixed in Thunderbird

      I’ve been using the beta and release candidate builds and have found them to be as stable as Thunderbird 2, but with far less memory hogging.

    • Mozilla announce Extend Firefox winners

      In the Best Updated Add-On category, the enhanced find utility Smart Find, book price searcher Book Burro and the favourites extension Speed Dial took the three grand prizes. Best Game and Entertainment Add-on was awarded to Destroy The Web’s extension which turns the contents of any page into a shoot-em-up video game. Grocery List Generator took the prize for Best Shopping Add-on. The grand prize winners in these other catagories will recieve a 13″ Mac Book Pro and a package of software books and other items.

  • Databases

    • Who owns the customer in the cloud?

      The starting point for all of these solutions will be LAMP and open source applications. But each will focus initially on automation to simplify the effort, like RDS. Then they will deliver interoperability. Finally they will innovate in proprietary ways to deliver a better experience. And with each step they will further establish their ownership of the customer. This is why every major technology company, with the exception of Oracle, is assembling their own cloud solution, because they don’t want someone else owning their customers.

    • CIOs can avoid costly database price increases with open source

      A few weeks back I met with a senior architect of a large bank to discuss how open source might fit into the bank’s strategy, particularly in the area of database where they had recently had some pretty unpleasant price increases levied by two of their incumbent suppliers during renegotiation of their corporate site licenses.

  • CMS

    • Squiz Now Provide MySource Matrix Supported Open Source CMS as a SaaS (Software as a Service) Package

      Squiz UK today announced the availability of its enterprise-class Supported Open Source CMS, MySource Matrix, on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis. The new package enables start ups, brands and enterprises to deploy sophisticated Matrix sites with more security, flexibility, scalability and cost control.

    • Technology: University of Westminster Launches New Website on Squiz’s Open Source CMS Platform, MySource Matrix

      Squiz UK today announced the successful launch of the University of Westminster’s new website, based on MySource Matrix Open Source CMS. The site was co-developed and implemented in only eight weeks and hands complete control back to the university’s content and technical teams.

    • Kapow Technologies and Hippo Partner to Streamline Content Migration

      Hippo, the leading developer of Web-based, open source Enterprise CMS / Portal software, has partnered with Kapow Technologies, the leader in Web data services for business applications. Under the partnership Kapow’s Web Data Server helps companies streamline and automate the process of migrating their existing Web content to Hippo CMS. This allows businesses to perform migration of any Web based content in one tenth of the time and cost associated with traditional methods.

    • WordPress forum volunteers recognised

      The support forum moderators were the first people to get credit from Ms Wells. These include those going by the WordPress.org usernames Otto42, jeremyclark13, MichaelH, samboll and Chris_K, while Moshu, Podz and Kafkaesqui also received a mention.

    • Commerce weighs open-source content system for Web sites

      The White House recently adopted Drupal’s content management system for its site. The system has gained attention as a platform for social media and semantic Web applications.

    • Fully packaged Drupal distributions now deployed on drupal.org

      3281d Consulting is very pleased to announce that a new era on drupal.org has begun: Drupal distributions (also known as “installation profiles”) can now be automatically packaged with Drupal core and all of their required dependencies. When you download the distribution, you just unpack it into a web root directory, visit install.php, and you’re done. This should vastly lower the barriers to getting a new Drupal site up and running. Please read on if you’ve ever considered installing a Drupal distribution or if you maintain one on drupal.org.

    • Interview with Louis Landry – Joomla Development Lead

      I’m trying to rethink the architecture. Joomla as it exists now is based on the same principal concepts as Mambo in 2000, namely being centered around software designed to run on a $6 a month hosting account on some offshore server.

  • Releases

  • Government

  • Openness


      The other reasons that open source automobiles are interesting is that it overcomes the slowness of innovation we see in traditional traditional car manufacturing. The designs are open sourced. This means that designers from around the world are able to generate innovation either alone or in teams with others and deploy them as plans that have the potential to get built (including electric vehicles).

    • Open Source MLS

      Recently Jimmy Conrad wrote a piece at ESPN’s Soccernet about his vision for MLS. He likens it to Linux, but honestly, his ideas are not in the mold of Linux. Sure, he’s willing to respond and listen to feedback, but he is not necessarily advocating adopting an Open Source and/or Democratic model for MLS, just for his own “blog” at Soccernet.

  • Programming


  • Sequoia opens kimono with e-voting code handout

    Not that Epstein is fully satisfied with Sequoia’s disclosure. Reading the company’s license, it remains unclear if reviewers are permitted to compile the source code so they can run the resulting binaries in their own laboratories. Simply reading the source code makes it hard to know how the various pieces work together.

  • McKinnon team granted extra week to file extradition appeal

    Government solicitors have granted an extra week for solicitors acting for Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon, to lodge a judicial review on the Home Secretary’s recent decision to allow extradition proceedings against Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon to proceed.

  • UNIX turns 40
  • Finance

    • A Lesson From AIG: How to Fix the Fed

      Of all the villains responsible for the Great Economic Wipeout, the Federal Reserve is pretty far down the list. It’s certainly behind members of Congress who deregulated the banks in 1999, allowing once staid institutions to gamble recklessly. Then there are notorious CEOs like Martin Sullivan of AIG, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial, and Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers whose greed and hubris wrecked their companies. Crooked mortgage brokers, rapacious Wall Street traders, and millions of irresponsible homeowners were key supporting actors in the revolting drama, too.

    • SEC Steps Up Insider-Trading Probes

      At least some of the inquiries are focused on potential information leaks around health-care mergers of the past three years, these people said. Some retail-industry deals also are a subject of the SEC inquiries, these people said, including Sears Holdings Corp.’s aborted pursuit of home-furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware in 2007.

    • Goldman Sachs’s PR Has Been A Bigger Disaster Than The Exxon Valdez
    • Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public: Alice Schroeder

      “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

      I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that “as a preliminary matter” it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.

    • “Goldman Sachs Is Like The Mob”

      That’s what a money manager told Bethany McLean, the author of a big new Vanity Fair piece, about the empire that is Goldman Sachs. The claim is kind of funny given the news that just broke about Goldman execs stocking up on firearms.

    • Goldman Sachs Bankers Already Dangerous, Now Armed
    • Goldman Sachs loading up on guns
    • Goldman Sachs Bankers Ready to Open Fire on Mob
    • Goldman Sachs Arms Itself
    • Goldman Sachs (GS): Best of greed?

      In his Invest with an Edge, he says, “While the firm conjures up images of Gordon Gekko saying ‘Greed is good,’ that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you own the stock.” Here’s his review.

      “Formerly an investment bank, Goldman is now a commercial bank, a change that allowed it to take billions in taxpayer assistance during the financial calamity of 2008.

    • Goldman Sachs Vanity Fair Profile: Bank Can ‘Practically Mint Money’ And ‘Never Loses’

      The entire battery of charges against Goldman is, of course, lengthy. There is the assertion that the bank received a de facto bailout through its investments in AIG, which McLean says clearly helped Goldman and the entire financial system. Goldman, for its part, has always asserted that it would not have gone under had AIG collapsed. And McLean also addressed the benefits Goldman Sachs continues to receive by virtue of its transition to a bank-holding company, and its $21.6 billion in funds still guaranteed by the FDIC.

    • Chelsea Clinton Engaged To Goldman Sachs’s Marc Mezvinsky

      The former First Daughter and her investment banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky became engaged before Thanksgiving, ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Shareholders Seethe

      For fiscal hawks, we’re about to enter a lost decade, as Uncle Sam is now expected to rack up $9 trillion in public debt between 2010 and 2019. CNNMoney.com calculates much of that gaudy sum will be in the form of interest. “More than half. In fact, $4.8 trillion” will be nothing more than interest payments, CNNMoney.com bluntly writes.

    • Goldman Bans “Last Suppers”; Suspends 1st Amendment!

      Employees received the seasonally-festive, “no parties of 12 ” command via voicemail blast as part the CEO’s Weekly PR Blunder Address.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • A step forward for white space networking

      “White space” networking, which will use unused TV spectrum to deliver broadband services, has moved a step closer. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission said it would begin establishing databases that will warn white space devices when existing TV signals are present, according to a story on our sister site eWEEK.


      Both Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Google’s Larry Page are said to have personally lobbied the FCC in favor of the use of white spaces.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Spanish activists issue manifesto on the rights of Internet users

      Javier “Barrapunto” Candeira writes, “Last Monday the Spanish Government sent the parliament the latest draft for the Ley de Economia Sostenible (Sustainable Economy Act), which contained riders modifying the current laws on copyright and interactive services. These amendments give the Spanish Ministy of Culture the administrative power to take down websites (or order ISPs to block those hosted overseas), all without a court order and in the name of ‘safeguarding Intellectual Property Laws against Internet Piracy’.

    • My Hilarious Warner Bros. Royalty Statement

      I got something in the mail last week I’d been wanting for years: a Too Much Joy royalty statement from Warner Brothers that finally included our digital earnings. Though our catalog has been out of print physically since the late-1990s, the three albums we released on Giant/WB have been available digitally for about five years. Yet the royalty statements I received every six months kept insisting we had zero income, and our unrecouped balance ($395,277.18!)* stubbornly remained the same.

    • Author Sherman Alexie’s Rants On Colbert Against Ebooks, Piracy And ‘Open Source Culture’

      He starts out by insisting that he won’t put his book on the Kindle or any digital book format because he’s afraid of piracy — but that makes no sense at all. By not giving readers what they want, he’s actually encouraging more piracy. There are probably plenty of people actively willing to buy ebook versions of his book, and his response is that because of piracy, he won’t offer it to them.

    • Free Content Undermines Democracy?

      Of course, there are so many fallacies wrapped up in this argument, it’s difficult to even know where to start (though, one would have hoped that a journalism professor would have done the decent thing and checked into these things a bit more carefully before writing a silly opinion piece based on a variety of myths):

      * Newspapers need readers to pay to survive. Not true. Not even close to true. First, newspapers have almost never made money from subscription fees or newsstand purchases. Those fees rarely even covered the cost of the newsprint and delivery. Newspapers have always made their money on advertising and classifieds (a form of advertising).

    • Games Workshop Goes After Its Biggest Fans With Takedown Order

      Basically increasing the value of those games so that it’s easier to play them and easier to keep playing them. And, in response, Games Workshop sends out its lawyers? How does that possibly make any sense at all?

    • No Cost Too Great for Copyright

      Presumably courts are more willing to ping ISPs because they are perceived as having more capacity than a bus company to control the actions of their passengers, but this is an illusion. A bus company has much the same ability to control its passengers, as an ISP does its users. The difference however is that courts respect the rights of passengers, but don’t respect the rights of users. The bus company’s passengers have a right not to be subject to a demeaning search by the bus company and courts are happy to respect that right. However, courts do not afford the same respect to passengers when the fire up their internet browser. They ought to.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Tara Hunt wraps up the Valentines weekend CitizenSpace build-in (2009)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 2nd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Will Eclipse Lose a Microsoft Apologist or Will the Apologist Drive Others Out?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Solar eclipse
Never to be Eclipsed by Microsoft

Summary: Mike Milinkovich wants to see peers leaving Eclipse and the fracturing of this community is a subject Boycott Novell covered and warned about before

SOME people argue that to be outspoken (or honest) is to be a bad person. We addressed this fallacy in the past [1, 2]. So, just to give an example, if a person tells Microsoft “No”, that one person might then be portrayed as “poisonous”, “zealot”, or “hater” (that third one is one of Microsoft's favourite labels these days and Novell started using it too).

Given that Milinkovich offered “hearty congratulations” to Microsoft when it pushed XAML via Eclipse (an attack on Web standards), should one truly sympathise upon his complaints/departure? He seems to have been pivotal in Microsoft's arrival at the project and he later welcomed Microsoft. Now he is being pushed out and one of our readers comments as follows:

Dunno, is Matt [Asay] trying to help paint the bad guys as good and vice versa?

Eclipse, like Apache, has been under attack, and a textbook play from Microsoft has been to attack the messenger. Negative messages must obviously, according to their reasoning, be because the messenger is inherently negative, not, god forbid, because the Microsoft people have done anything worthy of criticism.

It’s also a textbook play from Microsoft to drive out the talented and dedicated workers. Look at the Norwegian standards committee, for an example. They all quit in protest. And like, with Apache or Eclipse, Microsoft was glad to have the extra seats.

Microsoft is still trying to invade Eclipse (for “developers developers developers developers,” many of whom are using GNU/Linux on their desktops). It is worth keeping an eye on who grabs the vacant seats (if any), teaches experience. Microsoft dabbles in its direct competition merely to divide, distract, and change the agenda. Java is a good example.

“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

Ben Slivka, Microsoft

Tim Berners-Lee: “Software Patents Are a Terrible Thing”

Posted in Boycott Novell, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tim Berners-Lee

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: While software patents threaten to invade Europe, Sir Tim Berners-Lee antagonises their existence

THE person credited with the invention of the World Wide Web never liked patents. In fact, the success of the Web (or the Internet at large) owes it to the fact that software patents were all along avoided as a matter of principle. It is worth adding that Mr. Berners-Lee was inspired by Richard Stallman and his GNU project before he even laid the foundations of the Web. That’s how the story goes anyway. Great minds think not about intellectual monopolies.

We spoke to the FFII’s president, who told us that there was a “conf[erence] with Tim Berners Lee bashing patents.”

“Swedish Presidency will put the centralisation of the patent system on the table tomorrow, software patents on the way to be validated in EU.”
      –FFII’s president
Sadly, for those who want to view the conference, some Microsoft software is required. What a shame. Yet again people who are not Microsoft customers are denied access to public information. That’s one of the ramifications of software patents.

Most importantly perhaps, Tim Berners-Lee told the FFII’s president that “software patents are a terrible thing.” Berners-Lee is based in the US, even though he is British. But it is not a national inclination. Don Knuth, for example, wants to “innovate in peace” and without software patents, based on a brief that he submitted in Europe this year. Knuth is based in California and he is probably the most renowned person in the field of algorithms.

FFII’s president later added that the “Swedish Presidency will put the centralisation of the patent system on the table tomorrow, software patents on the way to be validated in EU.” We warned about this yesterday.

Glyn Moody, upon hearing the story about the CrunchPad dying, argues that “intellectual monopolies turn everything they touch to dust…”

Also yesterday we warned about Microsoft's new patent attempts at Fog Computing. Microsoft’s spinner Gavin Clarke describes it as an “interop patent”, which is utter nonsense. People complain about Microsoft’s patent infiltration in this area.

A cloud interoperability hopeful has dismissed mighty Microsoft’s attempt to patent technology for customers to transfer data between different services.

Vordel has said Microsoft’s proposed patent targets a single vendors’ cloud and fails to tackle lock-in as identified by the European Network and Information Security Agency.

Microsoft has already a notorious past as a “patent mobster” — a company that uses extortion and intimidation using patents to milk competitors for money. It’s racketeering. And as Nokia too is weakening (just like Microsoft), its inner patent monster breaks loose, so another round of lawsuits has just come.

Nokia sues everyone

IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED a writ from the Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia in the last few days you must be about the only person on the planet.

Top mobile phone maker Nokia has filed lawsuits in Britain and the United States claiming that a number of leading technology firms are running cartels for mobile phone and monitor displays.

We have warned about Nokia’s stance on patents many times before (see below).

More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Interoperability at 3:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

General Electric

Summary: The second version of the EIF (European Interoperability Framework) receives MEP attention; Gyorgy’s (GE) attack on Free software rebutted and Gary Reiner should know better

THE abuse surrounding the EIF is a subject that we covered when previous complaints had arrived, namely:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up

Now comes another complaint, which was sent to a Green Party MEP in England. There was also a response to it and the subject is finally covered by Kristian Kissling at Linux Magazine:

Closed Is New Open: Software Industry Bends Standards

Dec 01, 2009 The European Interoperability Framework, EIF, regulates how public agencies, citizens and businesses communicate with other on a software level. Now an alliance of proprietary ventures has had an influence on the EIF draft.

An earlier EIF draft from the summer of 2008 had a lot of promise. At that time the IDABC (a EU commision with the unwieldy name Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens) invited the general public in the form of countless groups and individuals to participate in the framework. This participation provoked as many as 54 responses. The result was a draft that promulgated software openness and interoperability and seemed to concur with the principles of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

Another form of abuse against Free software in Europe came from General Electric (GE) and we covered this in:

  1. General Electric (GE) Attacks Free Software, Microsoft Style
  2. GE, Microsoft, Comcast and (Microsoft AstroTurf at) Twitter: Pact of Lies
  3. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up

There is more history of hostility towards software freedom at GE, but at the same time the company is perfectly fine with using Free software. Matt Asay shares some more examples that demonstrate contradiction in attitude:

Second, Gyorgy’s assertions are ironic given GE’s widespread use of JBoss, Linux (in GE Healthcare and elsewhere), Alfresco, MySQL, and other open-source projects, in Europe and globally. Contrary to Gyorgy’s assertion, these aren’t “internal playground type” applications. Some of them are mission critical by anyone’s standards.

I am personally familiar with several of these.

So is Gyorgy’s boss, GE’s global CIO Gary Reiner. Reiner not so long ago purchased an enterprise subscription for MySQL when he discovered that GE was running MySQL all over the place, and not solely for internal “playground” sort of applications.

Apparently, no one sent Gyorgy the memo that spells out areas in which GE is actually sponsoring open-source projects (like VTK), in addition to its broad adoption of open source. I suspect Gyorgy isn’t the only one to have missed the memo. After all, the CIO is the last one to know.

Additionally, as stated in the comments: “I’m familiar with GE’s products. Much of their medical equipment runs Linux (Fedora). MRIs for example. Pete Gyorgy is clueless.

GE Healthcare also uses OpenSUSE on desktops. The developers are pressured/forced to use it.

Eye on Microsoft: New Windows-only Software (Ransomware)

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 2:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A couple of noteworthy items from the news, regarding cybercrime caused with/by Windows PCs

Russian ransomware blocks net access

Miscreants have developed a ransomware package that blocks internet access in a bid to force infected users into paying up by sending a text message to a premium rate SMS number, lining the pocket of cybercrooks in the process.


The ploy is a variant on previous ransomware packages that encrypt and block access to document files. One strain of ransomware detected in January 2008 locks up Windows machines, seeking payment via SMS. That threat wasn’t specific to Russia and didn’t affect a net connection as such but is otherwise very similar to the latest attack.

Cameroon leapfrogs Hong Kong in malware hosting blocklist [also in BBC]

Cameroon (.cm) web domains supplanted those in Hong Kong as most likely to harbour malware, with more than one in three (36.7 per cent) of domains registered in the West African country hosting viruses or malicious code.

Links 02/12/2009: Fedora 13 Naming, Haystack 1.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop Signposts: Mobile Hot Technology for Blacks, Hispanics

    There has been a lot of debate on where the next desktop platform will actually reside. A lot of people in the Linux camp, myself among them, are pointing towards more of a mobile/smartphone-like device rather than the “traditional” PC platform.

    It comes as little surprise that when I and others make this argument, there is quite a bit of counter-argument that goes along the lines of: “you’re just changing the rules of the game because Linux can never win on the true desktop. This is just fancy rationalization.”

  • Server

    • Last.fm interview: Behind the music

      “This is something that worked really well for us during the launch of Last.fm for Xbox and it’s one of the reasons we were able to handle the launch without hiccups. The SSDs are made by Intel. We actually contacted a few guys and said, ‘Give us your craziest, most cutting-edge SSDs,’ and the Intel ones came out on top. Beyond that, our streamers are all running Linux and using MogileFS — which is an open-source distributed file system, which is a little bit like a software RAID system.”

    • Where Performance is King
    • Cisco Expands Linux-Powered SMB Push

      Cisco Systems is expanding its push in the small and midsized business segment of the networking marketplace. Today Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is unveiling a series of new product, partner and service initiatives as it continues its year-old $100 million effort to target the SMB market.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Phoronix Kernel Test Farm Is Alive

      The first step of that new endeavor is the Phoronix kernel test farm. As of this morning, the first system — of hopefully many to come — is online and operational. At least one more system should also go online this week in time for the Linux 2.6.33 merge window. These test systems are to automatically install the latest Linux kernel every morning (using the code from the Linus Git tree) and then they spend the day running benchmarks. With the set of tests currently being run, the testing process for each kernel every day runs for 13 to 14 hours! There are more than 50 tests being run through the Phoronix Test Suite and they include multiple disk, ray-tracing, computational biology, server, compression, audio/video encoding, physics, cryptography, and tests representing many other areas of interest. Results are then uploaded to Phoromatic automatically from this Linux test farm (temporarily being built out of my living room, actually).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 7.7 Is In Sight With Release Candidate

        Mesa 7.7 is planned for release by Christmas and now being less than a month out from this targeted release, Ian Romanick has announced the first release candidate in the 7.7 series.

      • X.Org Development Room @ FOSDEM 2010

        X@FOSDEM 2010 will just be on Sunday, the 7th of February, in Brussels, Belgium. A one day X conference will allow for seven talks that span the course of the day, but on the previous night there may be the usual X.Org dinner at a local restaurant. Available now is the X.Org FOSDEM 2010 Wiki along with Luc’s announcement.

  • Applications


    • dropline GNOME seeks devs.

      For all of you who don’t know the project, I can say that its a project whose aim is to bring to Slackware distribution the gnome desktop. Thats about it shortly.

    • GNOME SlackBuild 2.26.3 GNOME Desktop for Slackware and Slackware64 13.0
    • Issue 60

      This week… 1770 commits, in 169 projects, by 229 happy hackers (and 274 were translation commits).

    • GNOME’s Zeitgeist 0.3 Reworks The API, Engine

      Many GNOME development packages are being released this week in preparation for the next GNOME 2.30 development release (2.29.3). While GNOME 2.30 will not be released as GNOME 3.0 as was once planned — but instead has been pushed back to September 2010 — there are still plenty of exciting changes. Zeitgeist, the “activity journal” that will officially premiere with GNOME 3.0 to make it easy to find and browse files and events from your computer, has reached version 0.3 today.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to Webcast Results for Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2010
      • Options Spotlight: Red Hat Inc.

        Red Hat dominates the market for Linux, the open-source computer operating system (OS) that is the chief rival to Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, according to Hoover’s. In addition to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS, the company’s product line includes database, content, and collaboration management applications; server and embedded operating systems; and software development tools. Red Hat also provides consulting, custom software development, support, and training services. The company’s business model is a mix of providing free, open-source software paired with subscription-based support, training, and integration services.

      • OpenLogic offers CentOS Linux support for enterprises

        OpenLogic have announced that they are expanding their commercial support services for open source packages to include CentOS Linux. The company offers indemnification for a certified range of around 500 open source packages and a choice of either Developer Support with a four hour response time during business hours or Production Support with a one hour, round-the-clock response time. In what CEO Steve Grandchamp says is a “natural extension of our business”, the company has now added CentOS Linux to its support offering.

      • OpenLogic Expands Support Offerings for Linux by Announcing SLA Support for CentOS
      • What will Fedora 13 Linux be named?

        The way the naming works is there is a certain relationship between the names. According to Fedora:

        “[...] The link between Leonidas and Constantine was ‘both are townships in St. Joseph County, Michigan, USA.’ The link between Constantine and the new name must be different than that link, and different from any other previous link.”

    • Debian Family

      • Nouveau DRM Getting Pulled Into Lucid Soon

        A week ago we found out that Nouveau would be pulled into Ubuntu 10.04 as the default NVIDIA graphics driver replacing the current open-source NVIDIA driver mess that is known as xf86-video-nv. The Nouveau driver stack isn’t stable or officially released yet, but the 2D portion is in good standing and the 3D portion written to use Gallium3D is progressing (recent status update). The Nouveau driver has been used by default in two Fedora releases, but on the Ubuntu side it will be the default starting with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx”, including the DRM / kernel mode-setting bits.

      • The Perfect Desktop – Linux Mint 8 (Helena)

        This tutorial shows how you can set up a Linux Mint 8 (Helena) desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Linux Mint 8 is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 9.10 that has lots of packages in its repositories (like multimedia codecs, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Skype, Google Earth, etc.) that are relatively hard to install on other distributions; it therefore provides a user-friendly desktop experience even for Linux newbies.

      • Ubuntu’s B-Sides: Alternative Apps

        In his blog, Canonical coworker Jorge O. Castro announces his so-called “b-sides” of Ubuntu, software that didn’t make it into Ubuntu’s standard installation.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • 2009′s Top Android Smartphones

        From one handset in 2008, Google’s Android has become one of 2009′s fastest-growing smartphone platforms. HTC continued to support Android with some good new handsets, and Samsung made a good start, but we were particularly taken with offerings from the newer entrants, Motorola and Huawei.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Acer to launch Chrome OS netbook in 2H10

        Acer plans to launch a Google Chrome operating system-based netbook, which the company has been developing since mid-2009 in the second half of 2010, according to industry sources.

      • Acer to be ‘first’ with Chrome OS netbook

        Not that Acer itself has said so – the claim comes from an unnamed industry insider cited by DigiTimes, though the site notes Acer chairman JT Wang has said his firm will be first to launch a Chrome-based netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does open source undermine innovation?

    3) Open source can’t create products of equal quality to closed source, because nobody’s getting rich. I think that Firefox, Linux and MySQL users would disagree with this, as would I. It’s true that many open source project never achieve professional-quality polish, but that’s mostly an issue of poor project management and leadership. I think you only have to look at the work HappyKillmore did on the ArduPilot configuration utility, or how Mike Black improved our GCS to see this: I’d argue that both are better than any of the ground station and configuration utilities from the commercial players in our space (and some, including Flexipilot, don’t have groundstations at all). Note that these contributions were made not because someone was getting paid, but because the contributors had their own reasons to want better software. And because we set an open source standard, they chose to share their work so that others could build on it.

    So, to sum up: I understand why commercial developers dislike the entry of an open source project into their market and hope it will fail. But the trend lines are clear on this one: open source is here to stay and is spreading, mostly because it leads to more, cheaper products faster. ArduPilot, for example. went from concept to maturity (with the 2.5 code, now in the hands of beta testers) in a year, including a full suite of supporting tools. There is no commercial autopilot that has come close to that speed of development. And as the DIY Drones community grows and our tools of group development improve, we are extending that to a host of new products created by the members here. To hire this many engineers would be ruinous, but by creating a community of shared interest and a culture of collaboration, we can do so at almost no cost at all. It’s really quite magical.

  • Turn Your Blog Into a Book With BlogBooker

    Built with open source tools, Blogbooker culls all the posts from your WordPress, Blogger, or LiveJournal blog and generates a high-quality PDF that you can print or send to a Publish On Demand (POD) publisher like Lulu or Cafe Press. Alternatively, you can print your book with a laser or inkjet printer, design a cover, then have it bound for you at a local bookbinder.

  • FreeBSD Shines While Apple Fails

    Here’s how the sorry story unfolds. FreeBSD 8.0 was released last week, and the latest version of the UNIX-like OS was generally received with approval. FreeBSD enjoys a good reputation with its followers, and many OSes and products contain code based on or borrowed from the OS, including Juniper routers, and — ironically, as we shall see — Mac OS X.

    This latest release includes network stack virtualization using a new virtualization container, an improved USB stack, binary compatibility with Fedora 10 Linux, and an update to version 13 of the very wonderful ZFS. And, as they say, much, much more.

  • Twitter/Microblogging

    • We need: An open source Twitter shell

      In my explorations of a hypothetical decentralized Twitter, at first I thought the clients would be where decentralization would happen. But, lately I’ve come to realize that it probably won’t happen there because as the market has evolved they’ve become too dependent on Twitter Corp, and are unlikely to do anything that might threaten a friendly relationship with the company.

    • Open Source Tweeting

      Can we liberate tweeting from Twitter? It’s an open question.

  • EU

    • EU: E-procurement and e-invoice management tools published as open source

      Open e-PRIOR (electronic PRocurement, Invoicing and ORdering) has been published as open source by the Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT) of the European Commission. The software is made available at the OSOR Forge, the open source software development platform of the Commission.

    • ‘EU health care organisation should look at US open source system’

      European health care organisations should study the use of the US-built Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), says Thomas Karopka, head of eHealth department at the IT Science Center in the German city of Putbus.

      Karopka, chair of the European Federation for Medical Informatics Libre/Free Open Source Software Working Group, is one of the organisers of a workshop on free and open source software in health care ((FLOSS-HC) that will take place in Luxembourg next April. He hopes to make more colleagues aware of open source health care systems, including VistA.

  • Programming

    • Haystack 1.0 Final Released

      Haystack 1.0.0-final has been released (via the packages at PyPi or GitHub). You can also install it via “sudo pip install django-haystack“ or via git from GitHub.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Dumps Gears for HTML5

      It’s official: Google is ditching its homegrown Gears offline web app API in favor of backing HTML5 for the win.

      Now that the Chrome browser is becoming available for Mac, and the Snow Leopard OS doesn’t play nicely with Gears, a Google rep confirmed the company has decided to trash the whole works and wait for HTML5, even though the spec isn’t yet ready and isn’t supported by commercially available browsers. Oh, the humanity… or rather, the machinery.

    • CommonJS effort sets JavaScript on path for world domination

      CommonJS is a grassroots campaign to quickly produce standards and a standard library for JavaScript. Our man on the inside reports on JSConf Europe, where the effort to produce interoperable JavaScript embeddings was evident.


  • GooTube mulls fee-TV streams

    Google is in talks with TV execs to stream commercial-free TV shows on YouTube for a buck ninety-nine each on the day after they’re originally broadcast.

  • Man loses job after searching too hard for aliens

    This was not a case of uploading pictures of potential lady friends from Eastern Europe. No, this was a rather more imaginative downloading of software that searches for extra-terrestrial life.

    The Republic’s sleuths got their hands on documents that suggest Niesluchowski was encouraged to resign after he downloaded free University of California (the terribly forward-thinking Berkeley branch) software that uses idle computers to examine information collected by radio telescopes.

  • Stevenson High School: Students say district forced them to publish paper

    Less than a week after administrators at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire halted the release of the student newspaper because of stories dealing with drinking, smoking and teen pregnancy, staff members said they were told they had less than two hours to produce a paper without the controversial stories, or receive failing grades.

  • Google and paid content

    Google has strict policies against what’s known as cloaking: showing one web page to the crawler that indexes it but then a different page to a user. We do this so that users aren’t deceived into clicking through to a site that’s not what they were expecting. While the anti-cloaking policies are important for users, they do create some challenges for publishers who charge for content. Our crawlers can’t fill out a registration or payment form to see what’s behind a site’s paywall, but they need access to the information in order to index it.

  • Data/Transparency

    • Civil Liberties Groups Ask EU to Repeal Data Retention Directive (1 Dec 2009)

      Civil liberties groups European Digital Rights (EDRi) and the German Working Group on Data Retention (AK Vorrat) are calling on the European Union to repeal the 2006 directive on the data retention of electronic communications.[1] In the event that the directive is not repealed, they demand that it is amended to introduce an opt-out right allowing Member States to decide whether or not to require the retention of communications data.

    • More than Digital

      Digital content remains dependent on the physical world too, since data has to be stored somewhere, and some machine built of atoms is needed have to process it. The ‘digital world’ is really a hybrid world, one where analogue and digital co-exist, where the physical and the virtual come together in a mutually dependent relationship.

    • The mystery of Tony Blair’s finances

      The former prime minister Tony Blair has received millions of pounds through an unusual mixture of commercial, charitable and religious income streams. Since he stepped down from office in 2007, his financial affairs have been described by observers as “Byzantine” and “opaque”. The Guardian is now launching an online competition offering a prize to the person who can shine the brightest light on those financial structures.

      Blair has a commercial consultancy, called Tony Blair Associates, plus jobs advising a US bank and a Swiss insurer. He has a multimillion pound book deal. He also has a charity, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, and another called the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. But much of the income, which includes charitable donations from other sources, has been funnelled through a structure called Windrush Ventures No 3 Limited Partnership. Our contest asks: what is Windrush?

    • King to probe release of 9/11 pager messages

      One privacy lesson in the WikiLeaks disclosure is that high-tech communications gadgets create information that can surface years later, Spafford said. Nothing is private, he emphasized.

    • Making Government IT Better – and Open

      As I’ve noted many a time, the UK government has been one of the most backward when it comes to adopting open source solutions.

  • Oppression

    • Judges rule against government over secret evidence in terror cases

      High court judgment says suspects cannot be detained without being able to answer charges made against them

    • BBC photographer prevented from shooting St Paul’s because he might be “al Qaeda operative”

      A BBC photographer was stopped from taking a picture of the sun setting by St Paul’s Cathedral in London. A real police officer and a fake “community support officer” stopped the photog and said he couldn’t take any pictures because with his professional-style camera, he might be an “al Qaeda operative” on a “scouting mission.”

    • Schools to vet parents for christmas

      It is the ‘several phone calls’ which is the most unsettling. Put simply, it is a fundamental breach of privacy for parents to have their criminal records checked by school administrators. One wrong turn; a case of mistaken identity; or even a call to the wrong person (e.g. the parent’s employer) and an innocent person could be unfairly branded for life.

    • 8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight

      Disclaimer: The information presented here has been gathered and analyzed in my capacity as a graduate student at Indiana University. This data was gathered and analyzed on my own time, without using federal government resources. This data, and the analysis I draw from it will be a major component of my PhD dissertation, and as such, I am releasing it in order to receive constructive criticism on my theories from other experts in the field.

    • UK Man Jailed For Refusing To Decrypt His Files

      Two years ago, a US judge ruled that a guy with an encrypted hard drive did not have to hand over his encryption key to the police, as it would be a violation of the 5th Amendment (the right not to self-incriminate).

    • UK mulls extension of McKinnon judicial review period

      Alan Johnson said he may grant Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon extra time to apply for judicial review of his US extradition case, but the home secretary insisted he was powerless to stop the forced transfer.

  • Environment

    • UK energy smart meter roll-out is outlined

      Energy suppliers are to be responsible for installing smart meters in all households in the UK by 2020.

    • The Airline Industry’s Global Warming Denial

      Giovanni Bisignani, the director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is a worried man. As the head of the global civil aviation’s main lobby group, which represents companies such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, Bisignani (right) has been frantically working to ensure that IATA isn’t stripped of its its exemption from the Kyoto Protocol at the COP15 conference, which opens in Copenhagen next week.

    • Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row

      Leading British scientists at the University of East Anglia, who were accused of manipulating climate change data – dubbed Climategate – have agreed to publish their figures in full.

    • CRU Director Phil Jones To Step Down Pending Investigation Into Hacked Emails

      Phil Jones, the Director of the Climate Research Unit, announced today that he will step down from his position pending investigation into the matter of the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia servers.

    • Hacked climate Prof stands aside
    • Chrysler (Fiat) Breaks Pledge on Electric Cars

      Despite these investments and Chrysler’s prior promises, its new foreign owner, Fiat (which purchased the company’s assets and debt after Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection), has fired the company’s Envi brain trust, and now FIat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, says “I do not believe much in EVs and I think that electric cars would represent just one or two per cent of Chrysler`s sales by 2014″ (or roughly 60,000 cars), a far cry from the half a million originally pledged. But Fiat did decide to keep Chrysler VP Lou Rhodes on to oversee its meager “commitment” to EV, saving at least one American (executive’s) job.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Tells Employees Not To Have Christmas Parties In Their Homes

      Goldman Sachs employees received a voicemail announcement instructing them not to organize private Christmas parties for the firm’s employees even at their own homes, a person familiar with the matter said.

      The firm has canceled its annual holiday party, just as it did last year. It also instructed the smaller business units that they should not organize their own smaller parties, which had been a long tradition at the firm. The parties are banned even if no firm money goes to pay for them.

      But Goldman employees were surprised to hear that even parties within private homes fall under the ban. The firm apparently believes that it would be inappropriate for its employees to be seen partying while the economy is still so shaky and unemployment is so high.

    • Frank Capra: Great Movie Maker, Brilliant Financial Analyst

      The Center for Media and Democracy’s BanksterUSA campaign released a new video today, “It’s NOT Such a Wonderful Life,” saluting the classic film by Frank Capra. Our short video takes footage from the 1946 black and white film to make a point about today’s financial crisis and the need for Congress to step up efforts to regulate banks so that this type of catastrophic financial meltdown never happens again. You can view our video at our BanksterUSA website or on our new youtube channel. We hope you’ll share the video with your friends.

  • AstroTurf

    • Should an Independent Regulatory Agency Head Be Visiting the White House This Often?

      Move over, health care reform, climate change, and the economy. Judging by White House visits by various government agency heads, the Obama administration instead appears preoccupied with the re-regulation of communications, media, and the Internet. The Administration has just released logs of all visitors to the White House and Executive Office Buildings from Obama’s inauguration through August—including a staggering 47 visits by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski. By contrast, no other major agency head logged more than five visits. Chairman Genachowski obviously has an audience with those at the highest levels of power, including the President himself, but this raises questions about just how “independent” this particular regulator and his agency really are.

    • New EU health chief seizes control of pharma policy

      Healthcare lobbyists have scored a major victory in convincing European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to give responsibility for pharmaceuticals to the new health commissioner.

    • New Letter from Wendell Potter to the Senate on Aetna and Corporate Spin

      How are these companies able to keep after-tax net earnings so high while everyone else’s costs of premiums and doctor’s bills are going up, up, up? It’s by leaving people out, and it’s time Congress fixed this.

  • Internet Censorship

    • Two bloggers banned from criticising politician accused of embezzlement

      Two bloggers in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso, economist Adriana Vandoni and lawyer Enock Cavalcanti, were ordered by judge Pedro Sakamoto on 10 November to withdraw all comments from their blogs (www.prosaepolitica.com.br and paginadoenock.com.br) that were “offensive” to José Riva, the president of the Mato Grosso legislative assembly.

    • Why was I zinged for inappropriate content?

      I’m writing course notes for a sophomore (college) level survey, with tomorrow’s material on Henry David Thoreau. All of a sudden, I got a a notification “The published version of this item cannot be shared until a Google review finds that the content is appropriate.” The “share” link is disabled. This means I can’t upload to my Google website from this page. I suppose I could cut and paste to another brand new document… but that might get me kicked off Google entirely if it still scans for and sees something “inappropriate”!

  • Web Abuse/Rights

    • Liberty: disconnection is disproportionate and indiscriminate, bill “runs wholly counter to a human rights compliant approach”

      Liberty are condemning the Digital Economy Bill’s file sharing measures on human rights grounds, saying it “runs wholly counter to a human rights compliant approach”. While, like ORG, they believe copyright should be respected, they point out that the measures proposed cannot be applied easily without innocent people being affected, and point out that disconnection is intrusive and disproportionate.

    • In the thick of it: how the Digital Economy bill is trying to kill open Wi-Fi networks

      A lot of people have talked to me over the last week about Wi-Fi (open and closed, i.e. password-protected) and the Digital Economy bill. The more I try to find answers, the more ludicrous it becomes. For instance, last week it turned out that a pub owner was allegedly fined £8,000 because someone downloaded copyright material over their open Wi-Fi system. Would that get worse or better if the Digital Economy bill passes in its present form?

    • Fund Raising

      So it seems I have a new beast to fight in the form of Virgin Media and Detica wanting to deploy Deep Packet Inspection for the purpose of spying on their customers for the Music Industry.

      This particular fight is going to make Phorm seem like a walk in the park, because this time we are fighting Peter Mandelson’s Section 17 of the Digital Economy Bill which looks like it is going to possibly make legislative changes requiring this type of technology to fulfill Mandelson’s 3 Strikes mandate. Furthermore, Virgin Media are about to launch a music service and it would be folly not to believe that Universal have told Virgin Media they need to tackle copyright infringement on their network in order to keep their license for their music service.

    • Fraud alert: Tens of thousands of anti-piracy settlements potentially illegal

      Having forced tens of thousands of P2P users to pay up for costly pre-settlement notices, a number of European law offices and and anti-piracy companies suddenly find themselves on the other side of the gun: The German scene news site gulli.com asked local authorities to start criminal investigations against a well-known anti-piracy law office, and even mainstream news organizations like the Financial Times are starting to take notice. The issue at heart could not only derail current anti-piracy campaigns, but potentially even lead to disbarment of the lawyers involved with these cases.

    • Rogers Unveils The ISP Dream Model – In house video, caps and overage fees for using it…

      Canadian cable operator Rogers has constructed what’s essentially the dream business model for broadband executives. They’re launching a new broadband video portal that’s only available if you sign up for Rogers wireless, TV or broadband service — avoiding a stand-alone service in order to keep users from canceling regular cable. Rogers has also imposed low caps and high overages and the new service counts against your monthly cap — meaning Rogers is keeping content revenue in house while socking customers with per-gigabyte overages — up to $5.00 per gigabyte — for actually using an advertised service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Anti-Piracy Group Refuses Bait, DRM Breaker Goes To Police

      In order to force a change in the law, last month a man reported himself for breaching copyright more than a hundred times, hoping an anti-piracy group would take him to court. The group’s lawyer said they would respond by today – they haven’t – so the Danish copyfighter is now reporting himself to the police.

    • How Georgia Wonder Turned Lack Of Cash To Record Into An Opportunity

      Earlier this year, we wrote about the UK music act Georgia Wonder, who was thrilled to be listed as one of the “most pirated” musical acts out there — recognizing the power of good promotion. Since then, we’ve watched with interest how the group has continued to really interact with fans and use new tools and new marketing ideas to get heard and build a following. Rose M. Welch alerts us to the band’s latest smart move. As they wanted to record a new album, they realized (as plenty of others have) that it’s expensive to record an album — buying studio time, equipment and instruments. So they did something different. They teamed up with a local music equipment shop, called Nevada Music and worked out a deal:

      Both during store hours and after the store closes each night, they’ll be recording their next album dubbed “Made In Nevada” using all the gear the store has on sale.

    • U.S. Visa Restrictions Could Hurt Touring Acts

      According to Billboard, no new regulations have been enacted, but the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service has begun using a much more restrictive reading of current regulations in approving visas. Formerly, artists wishing to work and tour in the U.S. needed to apply for a work visa (type “O” for solo artists or “P” for groups). The visa would then cover the artist for a period of time; up to three years for a solo artist and up to one year for a group. Additionally, a U.S.-based sponsor such as a label, manager or tour promoter was needed to apply for the visa.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Elisabeth Norris, manager of CitizenSpace (2009)

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

Mozilla Firefox Cruises Past Internet Explorer in Germany

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Royal Air Force red arrows

Summary: Firefox gains market share particularly quickly in markets that the English-speaking press tends to ignore

OUR reader Goblin, who as an aside took offence in the words of Novell’s de Icaza, has published this post about the demise of Internet Explorer. Not even newer versions of the Web browser have managed to set it afloat and another reader of ours from Germany tells us about these amazing new numbers from Germany (Firefox surpassing Internet Explorer). The same reader once showed us that GNU/Linux is quite dominant in Germany.

A third reader wrote to us an hour ago, arguing that “Microsoft must be running out of money to pay the marketing companies. The marketing companies are skimping on their campaigns by copying old Firefox campaigns.

“Note that MSIE is not gone from Windows, since it cannot be removed. So a good portion of the downswing for MSIE means people are upgrading to Mac OSX, Linux, or even Haiku or Solaris.

“Here’s the poster to go with that “Friends don’t let friends run MSIE” slogan:


“And comments can be found going back for years:




“Microsoft can’t even copy well.”

“Microsoft allowed us to [remove Internet Explorer from Windows] but we don’t think we should have to ask permission every time we want to make some minor software modification. Windows is an operating system, not a religion.”

Gateway Computer Chairman Ted Waitt

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