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12.23.09

Links 23/12/2009: Ubuntu LTS Plan, Pandora Hands-on Review

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Vienna: Windows and Linux to coexist

    Based on the results of a recently announcedPDF study it has been decided that the municipal authority of the City of Vienna will not at present be shifting entirely to open source for its software needs. Rather administrative staff will have the choice of running either Windows and Microsoft Office or Linux (in the form of Wienux, a Debian/Ubuntu-based custom distribution) and OpenOffice on their desktop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Finnish Culture…

      It’s not all that often that we encounter things from Finland here in Portland. So imagine my surprise when we’re on our way to our weekly date-night with Tove, and our baby-sitter is gushing about this adorable and wonderful Finnish YouTube video.. She apparently have been watching it three or four times a day for the last few days (weeks?), laughing hysterically.

    • Ksplice – Never reboot your Linux

      Ksplice seems like a very interesting project. The prospect of reboot-less usage is most appealing, considering the complexity and the dire need for availability in some environments, where bringing systems down is simply impossible.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: How we get there

      [W]e’re rolling out some new tools and techniques to track our development work, which were pioneered by the desktop team in Ubuntu 9.10. We believe this will help us to stay on course, and make adjustments earlier when needed. Taking some pages from the Agile software development playbook, we’ll be planning in smaller increments and tracking our progress using burn-down charts. As always, we aim to make Ubuntu development as transparent as possible, so all of this information is posted publicly so that everyone can see how we’re doing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Move supports Linux development on multicore processors

      CriticalBlue, which specialises in design software that makes efficient use of complex processor architectures, has joined MontaVista’s partner programme. As part of the move, it will make its Prism software available on MontaVista Linux 6 and Montavista Linux Carrier Grade Edition products. MontaVista is the first commercial Linux provider to be supported by Prism

    • Pandora gets a hands-on review

      The recent reports on Pandora’s case design and controls have been nothing short of glowing. It’s pretty satisfying information for the most part; there is no doubt that what we’re hearing from the team is genuine delight in what they’ve achieved.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The $75 Future Computer

        Behar says he hopes to shrink the frame around the XO-3′s display down to practically nothing, opting for a virtual keyboard instead of a physical one, and no buttons. The result, in his mock-ups, is a screen surrounded by only a thin green rubber gasket. “Nicholas [Negroponte] asked for something extremely simple and practically frameless,” he says. “The media or content on the computer will be the prime visual element.”

      • OLPC unveils slimline tablet PC

Free Software/Open Source

  • SugarCRM CEO Sets Aggressive 2010 Revenue and Channel Goals

    During a FastChat video interview, Augustin said two-thirds of SugarCRM’s business already comes from the channel. No surprise there, since SugarCRM was one of the top companies in the first annual Open Source 50 report, which tracks the most promising open source partner programs (the second-annual survey begins January 2010).

  • Project London: The Most Ambitious No-Budget Effects Movie Ever?

    Yet while the decision to use free software has obvious benefits to an independent production, it also poses its own risks. Although development body the Blender Foundation (blender.org) has completed several cinema-quality animated shorts using the software (see elephantsdream.org and bigbuckbunny.org), it remains largely unproven in live-action work, particularly on full-length movies.

  • Dreamwidth’s Diversity is its Strength

    Dreamwidth, the community-based open-source blog service, has been highlighted recently for the diversity of its developer community (specifically, the fact that, very unusually in the OSS world, it has a majority of women developers), and its newbie-friendly dev culture. I spoke to founders Mark Smith and Denise Paolucci about open source, creating community, and how the project has taken off.
    Open Source

    For community-based software, OSS has clear advantages. Denise and Mark both note how useful it is to have core developers be people who are passionate about your software, and the advantages when users can all contribute. You also get access to a large pool of volunteer developers, and a hugely diverse skillset – need a particular sort of expert? Put the word out on the grapevine, and see if someone will stop by to help out.

  • OOo has the holiday spirit all year round

    Everyone loves receiving presents, especially presents which are useful. Likewise, giving presents to others feels wonderful. An important part of the holidays is the spirit of giving. This is where OOo fits in: Not only is the OpenOffice.org office suite a great present to the world, but giving and receiving is also experienced in many more ways within the OpenOffice.org community. There are volunteers working in numerous project groups, from localizations to marketing, documentation to website maintenance, plus mailing lists.

  • CMS

  • Licensing

    • Could Apache keep Google’s regulators at bay?

      Rosenberg writes that because of Google’s open-source licensing, “others can use our software as a base for their own products if we fail to innovate adequately.” True. Google is clearly betting on its ability to innovate fast, which is incidentally also the very thing that makes the prospect of seeing its code forked so remote.

  • Open Knowledge/Data/Access

    • Modeling a Paradigm Shift: From Producer Innovation to User and Open Collaborative Innovation

      In this paper we assess the economic viability of innovation by producers relative to two increasingly important alternative models: innovations by single user individuals or firms, and open collaborative innovation projects. We analyze the design costs and architectures and communication costs associated with each model. We conclude that innovation by individual users and also open collaborative innovation increasingly compete with – and may displace – producer innovation in many parts of the economy. We argue that a transition from producer innovation to open single user and open collaborative innovation is desirable in terms of social welfare, and so worthy of support by policymakers.

    • The Shuttleworth Foundation on CC BY as default and commercial enterprises in education

      The conversation below is more or less transcribed and edited for clarity. It makes for great holiday or airplane reading, and if you’re pressed for time, you can skip to the topics or projects that interest you. This is CC Learn’s last Inside OER feature of 2009—so enjoy, and happy whatever-it-is-that-you-are-doing-in-your-part-of-the-world!

    • The landscape

      For textual information, Wikipedia has done a tremendous job of creating a vibrant public commons. The Creative Commons license prevents others from ripping off what Wikipedia has seeded. In the software world, the Free Software Foundation and others have had similar success in creating a public commons for source code through the use of the GPL and similar licenses. What is missing today though is a public commons for data.

    • The Definitive User’s Guide to OCWConsortium.org

      College is becoming more expensive, and some colleges this year have set records with their lowest admissions percentage rates in history. If you cannot afford college and your SAT scores are average, you can attend a larger college where the cost is lower and admission rates are higher. And, you can supplement your education with free courses offered through colleges that are associated with the OCW (Open Courseware) Consortium.

    • Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No. 13
    • Margot Wallström on transparency and openness

      Commissioner Wallström does not provide an amended Commission proposal for the Cashman report, although the Lisbon treaty makes the older Commission proposal for a EC/1049/2001 reform obsolete. She makes some encouraging points on the criticial reform aspects…

Leftovers

  • [Satire] Microsoft promises to play nice this time

    The new Microsoft Amazingly Open And Genuine Public License allows you complete freedom to use, modify and redistribute the software provided that every copy comes with a DVD of Windows Vista Ultimate, you acknowledge that Microsoft’s FAT patent protects a remarkable and valuable innovation in computer science and all accompanying documentation is in OOXML. Also, all your data belongs to Microsoft.

    The overwhelming dominance of Microsoft was assured, he said, pointing to their success in paying netbook manufacturers to use Windows XP and paying US retailers not to stock the Linux versions of the computers. “We’re also enforcing our patent on right-clicking. And on the number seven.”

  • Yahoo May Shut Down MyBlogLog Soon

    Original Article: Yahoo will reportedly shut down MyBlogLog in January. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb claims to have heard from “sources close to the project” that this is the case.

  • Special report: FoI requests show extent of Section 44 use

    Photographers in two-thirds of the country are subject to the rule of Section 44, despite Home Office instructions earlier in the year advising police forces against using the powers to prevent or curtail street photography, finds Olivier Laurent

  • Crowdsourced document analysis and MP expenses

    It’s a crowdsourcing application that asks the public to help us dig through and categorise the enormous stack of documents—around 30,000 pages of claim forms, scanned receipts and hand-written letters, all scanned and published as PDFs.

  • UK ID card project descends into muddle

    Further confusion has broken out over the UK government’s controversial ID scheme, after it emerged that the Home Office was announcing an extension to the scheme, days after Chancellor Alistair Darling questioned the future of the project.

  • Some learnings from the erosion of Parliamentary privilege

    In pre-digital times, it would have been possible to restore the sanctity and rule of Parliamentary privilege to the Parliamentary estate to protect MPs from unwarranted intrusion by the state, or officers acting on behalf of the state such as the police. After all, MPs often receive information in confidence from their constituents and others. They rightfully need to be able to preserve such confidentiality, as journalists are likewise able to ensure the confidentiality of their sources. Ensuring that the Parliamentary estate offers such protection would be relatively easy to enforce.

  • Lithuanian spy agency set up secret prisons for CIA

    Lithuania’s intelligence agency helped the CIA to set up secret prisons in the Baltic country, a parliamentary panel said today.

    However, the national security committee found no evidence that any suspects were interrogated in Lithuania.

  • Security

  • Environment

    • China’s climate stonewall

      THERE were 45,000 people at the Copenhagen summit and more than 100 world leaders, but in the end it came down to an extraordinary personal showdown between the leaders of the world’s two superpowers and biggest greenhouse gas emitting countries, China and the US.

      The deal itself was anything but historic. But the implications of how the Chinese handled this negotiation well might be.

    • Produced Water, GOSPs and Saudi Arabia

      To the uninitiated the thought of a gas or oil well is one where a pipe goes down into the ground, and out of it flows either a steady stream of oil or natural gas, that is fed straight into a pipeline and then delivered to them (often at what they consider to be an outrageous price) with no further treatment.

    • The People vs Polluters

      The hopes of the whole world fell when Copenhagen collapsed in a weak agreement this weekend. But one group was cracking open the champagne – the polluting industry lobbyists who have bent our politicians’ ears.

    • UEA CRU climate data is a free data issue too

      I’ve been researching the apparent hack of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), where a huge amount of email going back more than a decade, plus huge numbers of documents, have been released onto the internet – they’re indexed on various sites in searchable form and through Wikileaks, for example.

      What I find interesting is some of the discussion around it. There have been multiple freedom of information (FOI) requests to the CRU from people who want to examine the underlying data used to make the analysis about human-driven global warming.

    • How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room

      To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China’s representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. “Why can’t we even mention our own targets?” demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil’s representative too pointed out the illogicality of China’s position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord’s lack of ambition.

      China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak “as soon as possible”.

    • Ed Miliband: China tried to hijack Copenhagen climate deal

      The climate secretary, Ed Miliband, today accuses China, Sudan, Bolivia and other leftwing Latin American countries of trying to hijack the UN climate summit and “hold the world to ransom” to prevent a deal being reached.

  • Finance

    • Tiger Woods, Person of the Year

      AS we say farewell to a dreadful year and decade, this much we can agree upon: The person of the year is not Ben Bernanke, no matter how insistently Time magazine tries to hype him into its pantheon.

      [...]

      If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods.

    • FBI Probes Hack at Citibank

      The attack took aim at Citigroup’s Citibank subsidiary, which includes its North American retail bank and other businesses. It couldn’t be learned whether the thieves gained access to Citibank’s systems directly or through third parties.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Deteriorating USOC-IOC relations threaten both organizations

      The U.S. Olympic Committee nominated Chicago in the race for the 2016 Olympics determined to bring the Summer Games back to American soil for the first time since 1996 in Atlanta. Embarrassed four years ago when New York was eliminated in the second round of voting for the 2012 Games that were awarded to London, the USOC and Chicago bid leaders appeared to have left nothing to chance. They secured airtight funding, a sound infrastructure plan, the relentless enthusiasm of Mayor Richard M. Daley and — in what many viewed to be the clincher — an unprecedented final-hours lobbying appearance by a sitting president.

    • Keeping it secret

      Barack Obama’s promise to break with secrecy has been short-lived, says Melissa Goodman, in an exclusive article for Index on Censorship”s review of 2009

      For those looking forward to open, accountable government, Barack Obama began his presidency with a bang. On the campaign trail he had pledged to operate the most transparent administration in the history of the United States and on his first day in office he took decisive steps to make good on that promise.

  • Politics

    • All the President’s Mendacity

      President Barack Obama grimly warned America last week that if his health care plans fail, the nation will go “bankrupt.”

      Sure, adding another trillion-dollar entitlement program to our $12 trillion of debt may seem like a counterintuitive way to stave off economic ruin, but who are we to argue? The president’s got smarts.

    • 58%: Bush years ‘awful, not so good’

      A decisive 58 percent of respondents described the 2000-2009 years as “awful” or “not so good.” Twenty-nine percent called it “fair,” and a mere 12 percent said it was “good” or “great.”

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Italian Courts, latest score: Berlusconi 1; YouTube 0

      The Italian court today struck a significant blow in favour of Mediaset, the broadcaster controlled by Silvio Berlusconi, and against YouTube.

      [...]

      No doubt lawyers in other jurisdictions are already sharpening their writs in pursuit of YouTube – in the meantime, the Viacom v YouTube litigation continues to wend its way through the New York courts, with no sign of an imminent conclusion.

    • Why you will regret using Vimeo.

      The email read as follows:

      We see that you are using Vimeo for uploading commercial content.

      We’re sorry, but as stated in our Terms and Conditions of Use, on
      our Community Guidelines page, and on the upload page itself, Vimeo is for noncommercial use only, and we cannot host this content for you. Please take 24 hours to move your videos to another hosting service.

      My immediate reaction was disbelief. After all I had read their guidelines which state:

      You may not upload commercials, infomercials, or demos that actively sell or promote a product or service.

      I didn’t believe any of my videos fell into this category.

  • Broadcast

    • Verizon Wireless Phantom $1.99 Data Usage Fee

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been doing an excellent job this week highlighting a $1.99 “data usage fee” Verizon’s been imposing on wireless customers who, well, aren’t using any data.

    • Verizon Responds to Consumer Complaints

      A few weeks ago, I wrote about two particularly nasty Verizon Wireless practices. First, Verizon doubled the early-cancellation fee for smartphones, the price you pay for canceling before your two-year contract is up (it’s now $350).

    • Satellite TV to FCC: we’re special, don’t make us open up

      DirecTV says that the new FCC push to bust open video should only apply to cable; satellite is plenty competitive already. Also, a tale of woe from a Comcast subscriber illustrates just why some common video decryption standards are needed.

    • Ofcom sets 60GHz free

      UK regulator Ofcom has announced it will make 6.8GHz of spectrum – from 57GHz up – licence exempt for fixed-wireless links, unless you’re too near the MoD.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 10 (2004)


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

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