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01.13.10

Links 13/1/2010: SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15, Facebook Gives Apache $40,000

Posted in News Roundup at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Aruba Gets Into Wired Network Management

    Airwave 7 is available as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service offering as well as a Linux-based software appliance. Wargo noted that Aruba uses the Red Hat clone CentOS as its underlying operating system for the Airwave software appliance.

  • Desktop

    • Is this for real?

      Wow! Not only there are Ubuntu screenshots and big Wilber, no… The textbook explains what is Open Source, what are proprietary operating systems. You can even find words like FreeBSD, NetBSD, EXT2, EXT3, UFS :) They equally provide space for Microsoft Windows Vista, XP and Ubuntu Linux (no MacOSX). Granted, in the office section, they explain how to work with MS Office tools, but they acknowledge existence of OpenOffice.org, quoting ‘We were attracted by Microsoft Office 2007 and OpenOffice.org.’, providing links to OpenOffice.org (on each chapter about office tools) and manuals.

    • When will GIMP 2.8 be released?

      While the developers still work continuous on the next version of GIMP there comes, of course, the question of a release date. Will GIMP 2.8 yet reach us in 2010?

    • Editorial: Observations on Linux’s Future

      Note that three items I did not bring up are cost, stability or security. While Linux is obtainable for free, that has never been the feature that the FSF promotes (though many users and individuals will bring this up as an important point in their opinion). In fact, the GPL specifically provides for charging for distributing and copying Linux, and calls it out as a protected right under the GPL.

      [...]

      Linux is strong in so many markets. Yet, the market most visible to the average consumer, the desktop, has eluded a Linux presence, for the most part. Is it because Linux is complex? No, not really. Using Linux is much like using Windows. My kids’ friends have no problems using my PC. Administering Linux is quite a bit different, though. And that is what people are really saying when they talk about “using Linux is complex”. But being different or new does not make it more complex. Alas, that is likely a topic for a different time and place.

    • HP Pavillion dm1-1020ez – Oops, I did it again!

      When I went to install Linux, I found that HP and Microsoft have now found a way to use all four available diskpartitions – one for the Windows bootloader (don’t ask me why, I don’t understand), one for Windows 7, one for Recovery, and one for HP Tools. So the first thing I had to do was make a set of recovery DVDs, so I could delete the Recovery partition and create an Extended Partition to hold the Linux distributions. That took well over an hour, to create three DVDs. Once that was done, I was ready to install Linux…

  • Server

    • British ‘David’ pokes US ‘Goliath’ in the eye

      World Programming’s WPS software has been approved as ready for IBM’s Linux on its system z mainframes.

      World Programming (WP) is being sued because its software supports the American software giant SAS Institute’s Statistical Analysis System (SAS) programming language. The nod from IBM means that users’ programs written using the SAS language can be run under Linux on IBM system z mainframes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Using NVIDIA’s VDPAU On Mobile Platforms

      We know that NVIDIA’s Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) works very well for exposing PureVideo capabilities on Linux. We have benchmarked VDPAU and found it to perform very well in that under Linux it’s possible to play HD videos with a $20 CPU and $30 GPU thanks to this video acceleration method. VDPAU is the best video acceleration / decoding API on Linux and is widely adopted by various multimedia applications, which is all in contrast to AMD’s XvBA and their troubled implementation. But how does VDPAU work on mobile devices? With the ASUS Eee PC 1201N that is built on NVIDIA’s ION platform we ran a new set of VDPAU video playback tests.

  • Applications

    • The best VPN for Windows is Linux

      The problem with corporate networks is they not only stop the bad guys coming in but also your users who want to work remotely, whether at home, at a client site or on the road. Here is where a VPN product comes in, and the simplest to deploy on Windows is a Linux virtual appliance called OpenVPN.

      [...]

      However, Windows admins really ought to give OpenVPN a look. True enough it is a Linux product but this does not matter. In a stroke of masterful thinking, the product is available as a pre-packaged virtual appliance.

      This means that all the work in setting up a Linux server and installing and configuring the software has been done for you. You don’t have to make the product fit onto an existing server, risking corrupting some other vital piece of infrastructure.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Tremulous – An open source FPS and RTS game for Linux.

        Based on the Quake 3 engine, Tremulous is a multi-player, open source (GPL), first person shooter and real time strategy game that runs on Linux and other platforms. Humans have to battle aliens in this game, with each team constructing and guarding a base, the most important of which is the spawn.

      • Open source game console – build your own games

        Based on Linux, the GP2X Wiz (nice name!) is a completely open multi-functional handheld entertainment device. The makers, GamePark Holding from Korea, say it’s different than other shanzhai video game consoles in that it uses a completely “open source” approach. Supposed to be released in late 2008 with a retail price of USD 179.99, there have been massive delays and troubles with the company, but now, finally, it is apparently ready to go.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE vs. GNOME: Photo and Music Management

      Most comparisons of the KDE and GNOME desktops focus on usability and productivity apps. However, they often neglect what might be called the leisure apps — specifically, those used for image and music management.

      But in the modern online culture, these leisure apps are often as important to users as any other aspect of the desktop. For many, especially at home, they are probably more important than a word processor or spreadsheet.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 15 Fantastic Looking Dark GDM Themes

        One of the coolest things about being a Linux user can be showing off your slick custom interface to your friends. With the maturing of Grub 2 and kernel mode setting, we’ll soon all have a beautiful boot from start to finish. The step we’re covering today is customizing GDM, the login manager you likely use if you’re running Ubuntu or any other system with Gnome as your desktop. Well those of you who don’t like the Ubuntu brown can brighten up because there’s no shortage of slick GDM themes available for download. Today, we’ll cover where to get them and how to use them.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Hub City Media Achieves Highest Red Hat Partner Status

        Hub City Media, Inc. (HCM) today announced that it has been awarded Red Hat Premier Business Partner Status by Red Hat. The achievement makes HCM one of just two companies nationwide to be granted this elite status, adding to the company’s long list of advanced certifications related to open source and identity management technologies.

      • Red Hat names advanced partner in Algeria

        Open source solutions provider Red Hat has named its first advanced business partner in Algeria. IT services outfit Netsline – a company specialising in open source solutions – has picked up the advanced business partner status and will now look to promote its solutions even further across French-speaking North Africa.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 12 — A ‘Must Upgrade’ and ‘Strongly Consider’ Distro

          Fedora 12 is a great Linux distribution with an impeccable pedigree. While it might not be the best distribution to throw at a total newbie, it definitely provides one of the more technically solid and stable platforms around. It draws on the bigger Red Hat community for the latest improvements to the core operating system and support for key components like graphics cards and network hardware.

          Upgrading to Fedora 12 for users of previous versions is a no-brainer. There’s even a section in the installation guide to help you through the upgrade-in-place process. Fedora 12 should appeal to potential new users looking for a solid distribution with great community support and extensive hardware compatibility as well.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15 Update Release

        MEPIS LLC has released SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15, an update to the community edition of MEPIS 8.0. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.15-rel_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.15-rel_64.iso.

      • Decisions, Decisions

        The time finally came to upgrade my wife’s computer. She’s been running Xandros 4 Linux — based on Debian 3.1 “Sarge,” two releases out of date — and it’s been working just fine. But she now has a new HP printer, not supported by Xandros 4. And her old version of Firefox is starting to be rejected by some websites. Both Debian 3.1 and Xandros 4 are no longer supported — they still have functioning repositories, but no new or updated programs are being added to those repositories.

        [...]

        For the first cut, I settled on three candidates.

        Debian 5 “Lenny.” This is what I’m using on my desktop, and our full-size laptop. Its advantages are that it’s stable (new releases are infrequent), old releases are well supported, it has a huge software repository, it would make both our desktop PCs identical, and I’m familiar with it. Its chief disadvantage is that of all the distros I’ve tried, it’s the most difficult to configure — not a job for a new user.

      • Testing Chromium on Ubuntu

        I’ve read a lot about Google’s Chrome browser in the blogosphere, but have yet to see it being used in the wild. Given this observation, and my increasingly strained relationship with Firefox, I decided to give Chromium, the open-source browser on which Chrome is based, another try. Here’s what I found.

        [...]

        All in all, Chromium is a very solid web browser, and I will probably stick with it for the time being as long as I don’t experience any major bugs. I’m not going to say Ubuntu should ditch Firefox and install Chromium by default, but Google’s browser is definitely worth checking out for those who have grown tired of the Mozilla world.

      • A Quick Preview Of The Upcoming Ubuntu Manual

        In the next Ubuntu release, 10.04 Lucid Lynx, there will be a comprehensive manual included which will cover a number of guides, how-tos, and everything a new user needs to know after installing Ubuntu.

      • Mint – Linux Mint 8.0 review

        Everything worked, and worked well. For a home machine Mint has real credentials. It adapted to our test home network easily enough and found our NAS drives with no hassle. It’s also efficient, comes with a wisely-chosen collection of software and achieves an admirable balance between power and lack of hassle. The best Mint yet, as you’d hope, but also a real temptation for Windows users looking to move across to Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Not just open, but free: Brew MP mobile OS from Qualcomm

      GoMo News reported on the release of the new mobile operating system from Qualcomm last week. Brew Mobile Platform (MP) is based on the mobile application framework from Qualcomm, but takes a step forward into being a true operating system for smartphones. Part of the PR push was about the fact that it is “open” – but that doesn’t always equate to “cheap”. But there’s some good news from Qualcomm…

      …sometimes it does

    • Apps: They’re not just for your phone anymore

      The beta store will host apps for both Microsoft Windows and the open-source Moblin operating system, which target the popular netbook computer category powered by Intel’s Atom processor.

    • Tablets, e-book readers showstoppers at CES

      The Pixel Qi screen lets you view 1080p videos in direct sunlight with no difference in video quality and also has an e Book Reader built in. The tablet runs on Android and has whole host of apps built by Notion Ink on it. The company also plans to launch its own open source app store in the future. The full version of the prototype shown at CES will be unveiled later this year at the mobile conference GSM in Barcelona.

    • Phones

      • New Toys: Interesting Mobile Linux Devices at CES

        The first smartphones based on Intel’s Moorestown, the Mini 5 with Android and the Lenovo LePhone: the mobile Linux highlights from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

        After Intel announced that it would optimize Moblin 2.1 as the mobile phone operating system, it was only a matter of time that actual devices hit the market. The CES in Las Vegas revealed that at least two companies announced such a device: the GW990 from LG and a smartphone from the Finnish startup Aava Mobile.

      • Motorola Backflip Android phone

        As well as Google’s open source OS it also runs Motorola’s own Motoblur interface which provides quick and easy access to all your social network contacts.

      • Superphone smackdown: Nexus One vs. Nokia N900

        For those who use T-Mobile in the US, choosing a new, unlocked smartphone isn’t easy lately. The Nokia N900 and Nexus One both work on T-Mobile’s US 3G network and on 3G networks in Europe and Asia. Each runs a sparkly new OS and has high end specs. I personally have a T-Mobile account and with both phones in house, find it hard to pick a favorite. From emails I’ve received, I know I’m not alone, so I’ve compiled a comparison list that might help you decide between these two superphones.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • NorhTec Gecko Edubook + Puppy Linux: That’s more like it

        The NorhTec Gecko Edubook is one of the most innovative netbooks around when it comes to hardware design. It runs on rechargeable AA batteries, making it easy to find replacements pretty much anywhere in the world. The OS and all the data is stored on an SD card, making it easy to upgrade. And the CPU and RAM are on a single chip which you can pop out and replace just as easily as changing a stick of RAM in most notebooks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • January 23 – SANDCamp 2010

    SANDcamp is a free, community-powered gathering to share our experience and enthusiasm about Drupal, an open-source content management system that is powering more and more of the web every year.

  • Air Force Improves Software Testing

    Researchers at the Univ. of Nebraska in Lincoln have addressed the issue of faulty software by developing an algorithm and open source tool that is 300 times faster at generating tests and also reduces current software testing time.

  • Lakozy Toyota Automates Business Processes with Colosa’s ProcessMaker

    Lakozy Toyota has reportedly implemented ProcessMaker, an Open Source business process management software from Colosa.

  • 3D TV, cloud computing and USB 3.0 to lead way in 2010

    Meanwhile, open source software will be significant role in the industry. Major vendors such as IBM and Microsoft are going to convert to “commercial open source”, Manoo said, noting that nothing is “free of charge open source” today, because even though they open the source code, users have to pay for maintenance and a better level of security such as RedHat and Linux, and there will be a lot of applications and middleware coming out.

  • Tech Pirates Find Safe Port In Indonesia

    McGuire agrees that Indonesians can and should go completely legal, but does not think that simply forcing everyone to pay the manufacturers’ full price is a reasonable or effective strategy. He said he sees two good solutions: local pricing and open-source software.

    [...]

    Open-source software is legally free. There are open-source equivalents of just about every type, from operating systems such as Linux to office software like OpenOffice.

    Betti Alisjahbana, chairwoman of the Indonesian Association of Open Source, said that the migration to open-source software would save money, as compared to paying for proprietary products, such as Microsoft Windows.

  • Five useful extensions for Openoffice

    OpenOffice.org 3.x is the leading open-source open software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. You can adjust openoffice to your needs by adding more functionality with the help of extensions. In this article we chosed for you some useful extensions for openoffice with installation guide.

  • GroundWork Open Source Increases Customer-base by 105 Percent with 6.0 Release
  • xTuple Announces Unsurpassed 2009 Growth
  • Zimbra-VMware Combo: Five Things to Consider

    Yahoo will announce the sale of Zimbra to VMware on January 12, according to All Things D. Why should solutions providers and VARs care? Here are five key points to consider.

  • Bartell Launches RPGUI, an Open Source Web Enablement Framework for RPG

    RPG expert Aaron Bartell is spearheading a new open source development project called RPGUI that aims to radically simplify the development of Web interfaces for RPG programs and programmers. The project is only about a month old, and there is a lot of work to do. But Bartell is very optimistic about RPGUI’s prospects for eliminating the need for RPG programmers to become experts in Web languages such as JavaScript, and to provide a “no brainer” low-cost option for keeping RPG applications looking modern.

  • Mzinga Teams with Kaltura to Deliver Integrated Social Video
  • Apache

    • Facebook friends Apache with $40,000

      Web properties used to treat open source as a resource to be strip-mined. Increasingly, however, successful Web companies like Google and Facebook are giving back, helping to replenish the open-source ecosystem from which they derive so much value.

    • Open Source: Facebook Is Now an Apache Software Foundation Gold Sponsor

      Facebook just announced that it has become a Gold sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation. According to Facebook’s David Recordon, the company wants to give back to the open source community that allowed Facebook to develop and contribute to projects like the Thrift framework, Hive, memcached and Cassandra. Apache Gold members donate $40,000 per year to the project.

    • Apache mulls end of 1.3, 2.0 releases

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) may stop releasing new versions of the older 1.3 and 2.0 series of its flagship Web server product with most development now focused on the 2.2 series.

      The Apache HTTP server project is one of the most successful and popular (the most popular Web server on the Internet since 1996, say its makers) open source projects and has become an integral part of the technology stack for thousands of Web and SaaS applications.

  • Business Intelligence

    • Open Source Business Intelligence Makes a Beginning in India

      Globally, open source BI solutions are in huge demand, with interest picking up in a huge way during the recession. Open Source BI products from vendors such as Pentaho and Jaspersoft have evolved from being community-driven tools to being backed up by support from professional service vendors. In India, awareness levels are low and the market is at a nascent stage. However, the potential for adoption is huge—especially among SMEs—a market that is made of over 6 million Indian enterprises, contributing to 42 percent of India’s total exports.

    • Fast-growing Jaspersoft aims higher with paid BI

      Jaspersoft made a good move at its founding. It openly espouses an “open core” model in which it reserves specific features or modules — along with their underlying source code — only to paying users.

      For a long time, that went against the prevailing open-source vendor business model, in which even free users got access to all features and source code, and vendors relied wholly on support and maintenance fees.

    • Jaspersoft 3.7 reaches high into enterprise, and Oracle’s backyard
    • JasperSoft Extends Business Intelligence Reach
  • Multimedia

    • Songbird Media Player As An iTunes Rival

      Songbird (getsongbird.com), the open source, Mozilla-powered, supposedly iTunes-killing media player, has updated to 1.4.2, bringing a host of new features, including AAC metadata support, a new feather (skin), CD ripping and support for many mass storage devices.

    • Boxee Box victorious at Vegas’ Last Gadget Standing contest

      Tech lovers packed into a conference room at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday as day three of the Consumer Electronics Show got underway.

      It wasn’t a big announcement or celebrity appearance that attracted the crowd – it was the ninth-annual “Last Gadget Standing” contest.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Starts to Follow a New Drumbeat

      That’s all well and good, but it raises the question: what should Mozilla be doing *after* it conquers the browser world – that is, once it has 50% market share? Because once that happens – and it seems to be just a matter of time – the dynamics that kept Internet Explorer on top for so long, despite its manifest weaknesses, will kick in for Firefox (although let’s hope its coders don’t get as lazy as Microsoft’s). That means the central challenge will have gone, and that’s always a problem, especially for a volunteer organisations like Mozilla, where motivation is a key aspect.

  • CMS/ECM

    • Open Source Drupal for the New Open Government

      Today, Acquia, the enterprise guide to social publishing, announced a new ‘Social Publishing for Open Government’ program designed to give agencies a fast track to successfully meet the requirements of the new Open Government Directive (OGD). The Directive, sent by the Obama administration to the head of every US federal department and agency, instructs agencies to take specific actions to open their operations to the public, with the goal of fostering more transparency, participation, and collaboration between government bodies and citizens. Acquia’s new program is aimed at helping agencies implement Drupal to meet these objectives.

    • Afresco Enterprise 3.2 released

      Alfresco have also expanded the deployment options available for the enterprise edition by including support for creating cloud based Alfresco installations, from the simple single instance of the server in the cloud, up to a high availability, fault tolerant cluster.

  • Government

    • LCA 2010: Boost for open govt mini-conf

      The Australian national Linux conference has received a boost, with three current and former government officials from New Zealand, the UK and Australia to speak at one of the mini-conferences being organised on day two of the LCA.

    • Open Source Meets Cloud Computing

      Yet, the open source software stack, with the Linux OS as its foundation, is proving to be a popular way of creating cloud environments, and a growing number of open source projects and tools are intended for that purpose. Eucalyptus, which turns server clusters into compute clouds, is one example. Others include the Nimbus toolkit, Deltacloud API and portal, and Simple Cloud API.

    • Jordan: The Open Source Hub Of The Middle East

      Ingres and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Jordan (MOICT) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to achieve the widespread use of information technology and communication, particularly open source technology from Ingres, throughout the local software infrastructure in Jordan.

      As part of the MOU, Ingres will promote Jordan as a hub for the open source technology in the region; organize “boot camps” to address technical requirements for the community; offer free training to certify individuals from the IT industry; arrange executive calls to assist MOICT in understanding the world-wide open source market; provide software and support for a laboratory in one of Jordan’s leading universities; train a group of specialists to implement a specific government service project and support MOICT initiatives to promote open source through workshops, academic initiatives, and local partner support.

  • Openness

    • New Peer-Reviewed, Open Access Journal About Academic Librarianship Debuts

      The title of the new journal is: Codex: the Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL.

      Codex is a completely free, open-access peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on academic libraries and academic librarianship. Our inaugural issue features solicited articles that cover a variety of topics, from green renovations in special collections to the use of LibraryThing and Delicious in libraries to writing for publication, and more!

    • Jaron Lanier’s sloppy case against the forces of the internet

      Jaron Lanier is a very smart guy. He’s a respected computer scientist, composer and artist. Now he’s turned his attention to the state of the internet in what appears to be a merciless attack on some very elderly straw men.

      In an article in the Wall Street Journal to promote his book You Are Not A Gadget, Lanier attacks “Web 2.0″, “Open Culture”, “Free Software” and the “Long Tail”. These are, he says, “terms for a new kind of collectivism that has come to dominate the way many people participate in the online world”.

      Leaving aside the fact that it’s taken Lanier six years to muster an attack on Web 2.0, a concept that has almost reached pensionable age in web terms, his critique is a mess.

    • The future is wide open

      In fact, there are many opportunities for open source or open data to help improve economies at the citizen level. There is movement towards “open data” which is the release of public data in usable formats (e.g. postal code listings) without charge.

  • Programming

    • Java vs. C++: The Performance Showdown

      Since the early days of the Java programming language, some have argued that Java’s being an interpreted language has made it inferior to the likes of C and C++ in terms of performance. Of course, C++ devotees would never, ever even consider Java a “proper” language, while the Java crowd always throws “write once, run everywhere” in the faces of the C++ programmers.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Opera Using GStreamer, Pushing Ogg

      Wondering whether your browser supports the HTML5 audio and video tags? Check out the “Video for Everybody” test page, and the HTML5 <audio> and Audio() Support Tester page, linked off of Jägenstedt’s blog. The audio test page gives a full rundown of what audio encodings your browser supports, and provides tests. The video test page embeds a video using the video element from HTML5. If you’re using a modern browser, you should be able to see video there.

Leftovers

  • FTC offers mixed message on celebrity endorsements

    It’s no secret that celebrities get perks for being famous. Free clothes, cutting-edge technology, tickets to hot events.

    Question of the day: Should the FTC give celebrities more latitude than non-celebrities in disclosing these perks?

    Ever since the federal agency announced it would be cracking down on advertisers and endorsers who aren’t completely transparent in revealing in-kind payments, bloggers have been up-in-arms over the new guidelines.

  • Are IT Failures Costing $6.2 Trillion Per Year?

    While the debate rages on over how to properly count the “cost” of such failures, I’m beginning to wonder how useful such a number is. Isn’t a more useful discussion on how to prevent or minimize the impact of any such failures? The aggregate number may look good in being able to see some big number, but aggregate numbers can hide important details inside

  • Motorists hit with ghost tickets

    Motorists across the country are being hit with “ghost” parking tickets as an increasing number of councils are using CCTV to catch offenders.

  • (Out)Laws

    • Four due to face trial without jury

      The unprecedented trial of four alleged armed robbers without a jury has begun as a barrister for one of the men said: “We are breaking history.”

    • An end to stop and search

      So, today is a great day for freedom. Random stop and search powers were an abuse of our historic, hard-won liberties and it is tremendous that it has come to an end.

    • UK “terrorism” stop-and-searches are illegal

      Mike sez, “‘The use by police of terror laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion are illegal, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.’ The article goes on to refer to Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which is what has been used for random stop and searches such as this one.”

  • Security

    • The Berlin Fleshmob

      Protesting the imposition of full body scanners at airports (about which we’ve written before), a big bunch of our Germanic friends pitched up at Berlin airport in their undies. Video here.

    • TSA lied: naked-scanners can store and transmit images

      You know those airport scanners that can see through your clothes, offering an intimate look at your junk and your lovehandles and every other part of you that you keep between you, your spouse, your doctor and the bathroom mirror? You know how the TSA swore up and down that these machines didn’t store and couldn’t transmit the compromising photos of your buck-naked self?

      They lied.

    • Just Say No to Airport Paranoia

      Had the detonating dervish hugged the metal wall of the wide body jet, he might have punched a foot wide hole in it, and the resulting explosive decompression could have brought about another Lockerbie. In response, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has banned late-flight restroom access. But even if the device had gone off in a restroom, the resulting closed-door thunder box explosion—though guaranteed to make hash of the bomber and anyone or anything directly across the aisle—would have been unlikely to rupture the hull several meters away (the shattering effect of an expanding, and thus cooling, explosion is an inverse-radius-squared sort of thing).

      [...]

      The threat that merits constant vigilance is not an 80 gram explosive charge, but a jumbo jet that morphs into an 80 ton flying bomb. Why not deputize the top 10 percent of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) standby army as air marshals to help deter a repeat of the 9-11 hijackings, and send the remainder abroad as America’s Foreign Transportation Security Legion?

    • Firm to Release Database & Web Server 0days
    • Group behind Twitter hack takes down Baidu search engine

      The group that took down Twitter.com last month has apparently claimed another victim: China’s largest search engine Baidu.com.

    • A new approach to China

      Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

      First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

      Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

      [...]

      These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

    • Google May Shut Down Operations In China
    • Google ‘may end China operations over Gmail breaches’
    • Encryption software is set to soar

      JUNIPER RESEARCH reckons that with the value of enterprise information rocketing almost three quarters of handsets will soon need to have added encryption technology.

  • Finance

    • Andrew Cuomo Eyes Bonuses at Goldman Sachs and Other Wall Street Banks

      As Wall Street added the last zeros to its bonus checks, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent out letters to banks on Monday demanding descriptions of how the payouts were allocated.

      Cuomo, who is rumored to be a gubernatorial candidate, held a conference call Monday afternoon saying banks would not have been in the position they are today if not for the taxpayers of this country.

      “At the end of the day, I represent the people of New York and the tax payers paid a terrible price for this past economic recession,” Cuomo said.

    • Financial crisis commission to grill Wall St.

      The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission debuts Wednesday with the first round of public hearings into the causes of an economic crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.

    • Banks prepare to hand out big bonuses

      The five of the largest banks that received federal taxpayer bailouts — Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — reserved a total of about $90 billion for bonuses and other compensation during the first nine months of 2009, the newspaper said.

      “There are legitimate conflicts between the firm feeling like it is performing well and the public’s prevailing view that the Street was bailed out,” an unnamed JPMorgan executive told the Times.

    • A Dream That Wall Street and Washington Answer to Main Street

      In the era of Watergate, what AIG and the New York Federal Reserve did was called a cover-up. People went to jail. President Nixon was forced to resign. It would seem that the AIG story could be bigger than Watergate. The amount of money involved is much larger.

    • Banks ditching bonus schemes, report shows

      Bankers’ bonuses ran into billions of euro and dollars during the credit boom and the practice has been blamed for blinding executives to the risky strategies pursued by their organisations.

    • Bonus-Season Backlash

      Six of the country’s largest banks set aside $112 billion for compensation in the first nine months of the fiscal year, and that amount is set to rise when banks announce final earnings reports in coming weeks.

    • Former AIG chief takes shot at Goldman Sachs: report

      The former head of American International Group Inc is urging a closer look at the actions of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, claiming the investment bank contributed to the insurer’s near-collapse, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

    • Goldman Sachs sued over bonuses

      It also claimed the company was on track to pay employees $22bn in 2009, despite previously requiring a $10bn injection from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and receiving $13bn from insurer AIG after the government bailed it out.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Shareholders Object to Ginormous Banker Bonuses

      The suits, filed by the Illinois Central Laborers’ Pension Fund and by an Illinois shareholder named Ken Brown, basically restate the case against Goldman that outraged nonwealthy people have been making all year: Goldman has paid out exorbitant bonuses (totaling 260% of the firm’s net income last year) while betting against the housing bubble even as it sold bunk CDOs to suckers and forced AIG into the arms of a federal bailout so it could reap billions in taxpayer dollars and continue to finance those enormous bonuses.

    • Don McNay: A Dream that Main Street answer Wall Street and Washington

      Another scandal is breaking on Wall Street. When AIG was bailed out by the taxpayers, Timothy Geithner’s New York Federal Reserve allegedly told it to alter a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure.

    • Banks Prepare for Big Bonuses, and Public Wrath

      Many executives are bracing for more scrutiny of pay from Washington, as well as from officials like Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general of New York, who last year demanded that banks disclose details about their bonus payments. Some bankers worry that the United States, like Britain, might create an extra tax on bank bonuses, and Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, is proposing legislation to do so.

    • Editorial: Financial Crisis Theater Starring – Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)

      The play stars the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission in the lead role as protagonist with the four previously mentioned banks in supporting roles cast as the villain.

      The creation of the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission follows the reactionary tactics long utilized by the US government. Well after the crisis has passed, form a panel with limited power and authority, pretend to investigate, and issue a report that is so dense and filled with double-speak that it benefits no one. It will undoubtedly give panel commissioners, politicians from both parties, and the current administration the opportunity for grandstanding, soap box speeches, and publicly grilling unpopular banking CEOs.

    • Hank Greenberg Tells WSJ Goldman Sachs Is Responsible for AIG’s Collapse
    • Wall Street Triage: Was Lehman Sacrificed So That AIG Had To Be Bailed Out?

      To date, the American taxpayer has pumped $180 billion into AIG to spare it from becoming insolvent. A huge sum, especially in that many of these billions were used to pay down exotic derivatives to the likes of Goldman and a bevy of foreign banks.

    • Hey, Goldman Sachs bankers: Donate to News food drive so we can like you, not hate you

      If you big-bucks bankers at Goldman Sachs really want to show us how wrong we are to hate you, come to work Wednesday morning with some cans of food.

      I will be out front with a box at the old headquarters, and then the new one, collecting for the New York Daily News “Readers Care to Feed the Hungry” food drive.

    • The latest edicts from Goldman Sachs; after all it’s “Bonus Season!”

      Bonus season is upon us, and it’s Halloween for the taxpayer, so Goldman Sachs is trying to keep the minions in line. Especially, since the firm stole billions from the taxpayer at the behest and the help from our Treasury Secretary, Timoth Geithner.

    • Goldman Sachs Can’t Please All of the People Any of the Time

      Right. Because if this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that it’s time to get rid of the cursed “bonus.” And replace it with the more traditional “huge-ass salary.”

    • How the Teamsters Beat Goldman Sachs

      According to Michael Greenberger, the University of Maryland law professor who headed Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton Administration, this was a case of “Goldman (Sachs) et al seemingly forcing the country’s biggest truck company into bankruptcy in order to get pay-offs under CDS, with 50,000 jobs at stake.

    • Greenberg Raps Goldman’s Role in AIG Meltdown

      Unfortunately lawmakers are lining up the wrong target: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The White House has said that Geithner had nothing to do with the series of emails that hinted at hushing up the terms and the recipients of AIG’s counterparties in that federal bailout, and the Obama administration has again expressed confidence in Geithner. By contrast, the fingerprints of investment bank Goldman Sachs are all over the smoking gun.

    • Bank CEOs to answer for financial crisis

      The panel’s chairman, Philip Angelides, said he’s interested in hearing about the banks’ role in creating the crisis as well as finding out how they became “too big to fail.” The federal government stepped in to prop up the banks in fall 2008, creating the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help provide them with liquidity.

    • Goldman Sachs Bonuses: A Good Idea?

      But that’s not all according to The New York Times. There’s potentially some good news in all of this. Goldman Sachs is contemplating the enforcement of a policy mandating all employees to donate a certain portion of their bonuses to charity. Lovely, but first let’s get a few things out of the way. At best this is nothing more than a PR tactic, and at worst, it’s an attempt to assuage the more than justified taxpayer outrage. (Go on, let it rip again. We’re pissed too.)

    • Goldman Sachs Readies Bonus Bonanza, Braces for Backlash

      But who, exactly, are these over-the-top compensation beneficiaries?

    • Goldman Acknowledges Conflicts With Clients

      A senior Goldman Sachs executive sent an e-mail message to clients on Tuesday disclosing that the firm’s Fundamental Strategies Group might have shared investment ideas with the firm’s proprietary trading group or some clients before sharing them with others.

    • Executive Giving at Goldman Sachs

      This company (along with its competitors) has helped to create the culture of “stock market capitalism” that fed ultimately resulted in a global financial crisis of unprecedented proportions.

    • Financial reform looks doubtful

      It pretty well dooms any meaningful financial sector reform; although the Obama White House has been leaking hopeful sounding trial balloons this week, holding one’s breath is not to be recommended.

    • Treasury secretary could learn from Teamster Hoffa

      Memo to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: If you want to survive another year in Washington, start channeling your inner Jimmy Hoffa.

      Yes, Hoffa — James P. Hoffa, that is — the current Teamsters boss and the one man who has stared down Goldman Sachs and the big-money crowd on Wall Street and come out a winner. While our Treasury Secretary has been busy covering the friendly tracks he laid as NY Fed Chief, in recent weeks Hoffa has showed Lloyd Blankfein and Co. who’s boss — and did so without even breaking a sweat.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Leak-o-nomy: The Economy of Wikileaks

      We have lots of very significant upcoming releases, significant in terms of bandwidth, but even more significant in terms of amount of labour they will require to process and in terms of legal attacks we will get. So we need to be in a stronger position before we can publish the material.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Even Amazon can’t keep its EULA story straight

      It’s such a silly notion that even Amazon can’t keep its story straight. Take this press-release in which Amazon trumpets that its “customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books.” Purchased, not “licensed.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Record labels seek DMCA-style UK takedowns

      Record label trade association the BPI wants sweeping changes to UK online copyright practice in 11th hour amendments to the Digital Britain bill.

      The amendments would grant copyright holders injunctions against websites and service providers similar to the US DMCA act – but with no ‘safe harbour’ provision to verify whether the claim is merited, according to documents seen by The Register.

    • Marvel owners seek to invalidate Kirby heirs’ copyright claims

      Jack Kirby was a renowned artist instrumental in the creation and shaping of these characters, his family argues, and is thus entitled to profits like any other copyright-holder. Disney has maintained that Kirby’s work was considered for-hire and that his heirs are thus not owed any further profits.

      Like other heirs to 20th century comic book artists, Kirby’s progeny have become more aggressive in seeking to recoup their share of the profits.

    • Intellectual property at issue

      The proposed policy would include lesson plans, and states that any material written, created or developed with district support “shall be the sole property of the State College Area School District and is to be used only by students and staff of the district, unless otherwise reviewed and approved by the superintendent.”

    • Explaining The Copyright Bubble… And Why Big Corporations Want To Keep ACTA Secret

      But, still, they will try, and the way they try to do it is in backrooms and convincing governments that they must be right, and increased protectionism really is better for everyone — even though it’s really only better for a select group of middlemen.

    • Reading Between The Still Secret Lines Of The ACTA Negotiations

      Yesterday I attended a fascinating panel discussion about ACTA, hosted by Google at its Washington DC offices, as a lead-in to today’s World Fair Use Day event. The four participants each brought a different perspective to the panel, though only one, Steve Metalitz, a lawyer who represents a coalition of entertainment industry interests, was there to defend ACTA. Jamie Love of KEI was his main sparring partner, though Jonathan Band (a lawyer representing various tech and library organizations) made plenty of insightful points as well. The final participant was a legislative staffer from Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s office, Ryan Clough, who tiptoed the line of expressing some concern about ACTA, without fully coming out against it.

      [...]

      On top of that, Band pointed out, within TRIPS and WIPO there are numerous developing countries who are recognizing — correctly — that strict IP enforcement is designed solely to benefit a small group of companies in developed nations at the expense of the people in developing nations. Thus, they’re starting to push back on IP expansion. Combine all that, and you get ACTA — an entirely new forum to take on these issues, which (conveniently) only includes developed nations and leaves out the developing nations who had become so pesky. Metalitz pulled out the “but this won’t really change US law” gambit, to which Band pointed out that the real goal here was never to make huge changes to US law, but to eventually force all those developing nations to go along. Basically, you get the developed nations to agree to ACTA, written by the big copyright players, and then you start putting pressure on developing nations about how they need to conform to ACTA as well to join the club.

    • BREIN Shuts Down 393 Torrent Sites, No One Notices

      Working on behalf of the MPAA and their Hollywood studio partners, anti-piracy outfit BREIN achieved a notable victory last year when it partially shut down Mininova. This success, however, appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Did you know BREIN shut down 393 torrent sites in 2009? No? Neither did we.

    • Are Rights Holders Making a Fortune With P2P Lawsuits?

      A new study released by a German consumer advocacy group is estimating that entertainment and software companies sent roughly 450,000 cease-and-desist letters to local file sharers alone in 2009, yielding some $370 million in damages. That’s a steep jump from 2008, when the group tracked closer to 250,000 of such cases.

    • Copyright is a Complex Issue

      And are things as bad as you think? In 2009 theatre sales were at their highest ever, even in the United States, which was suffering a depression. And Hollywood has produced some damned good stuff. And delivered in in upgraded, more comfortable theatres, with better seating. So why the complaints? Your sales are better than ever, and you still whine? Really? Hell, I was planning on going to see Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton is one of my fav directors), just to get 2010 off to a good start for you (because of the nerve damage, and the pain, I don’t normally go to theatres. I’ll put up with it to see Alice.

    • AP Summarizes Other Journalists’ Article; Isn’t That What The AP Says Violates The Law?

      But what I find even more amusing is that if you look at the AP report, it’s basically just a quick blurb rewrite of the Albuquerque Journal story. It’s only 125 words, and just summarizes what the other paper wrote. Why is that amusing? Because that’s exactly what the Associated Press has been claiming bloggers unfairly do to it — insisting that others simply rewriting its stories in short blurbs are violating the “hot news” doctrine. Apparently, that doesn’t apply when the AP does it itself?

    • Where’s AP In Google News? Apparently In Limbo, As Contract Running Out

      It’s been noticed that new Associated Press stories — hosted by Google itself — are no longer appearing in Google News. It’s true. Since Dec. 24, Google has no longer added new AP content, something the company confirmed with me today. I received this statement:

      We have a licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. Some of that content is still available today. At the moment we’re not adding new hosted content from the AP.

Week of Monsanto: Video

Monsanto will own all seed

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