EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.22.10

Links 22/1/2010: Sun to be ‘Merged’, Linux 2.6.33 Reaches RC5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • No Country for Linux Newbies?

    How does one make it through the fire from Linux newbie to a full-fledged user? The process is no harder than any other system — just different, argues Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson. Switching to Linux is no harder than switching to OS X, for example — “just without the black turtlenecks and the cool ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ commercials,” she said.

  • LCA 2010

    • Linux.conf.au – Day Four

      Day four of the conference opened with a keynote entitiled “Hackers at the End of the World” by Glyn Moody. Glyn explored the history of sharing in science and art as inspired by the open source movement, and contrasted this with the anti-sharing ‘my gain is your loss’ culture of the global financial community. Glyn postulated that the sharing and indeed sharing of sharing that characterises the FOSS community held a tantalising glimpse of a solution to the global financial and environmental crisis.

    • LCA 2010 Friday keynote/lightning talks
  • Desktop

    • ‘Microsoft-free’ virtual desktop startup gets $4m funding

      A start-up teaming up with IBM to build “Microsoft-free” virtual desktops and deliver them through a cloud computing model has secured $4 million in first-round venture financing.

      Virtual Bridges, founded in 2006, is part of IBM’s attempt to undercut Microsoft’s Windows 7 with a set of cloud – and Linux-based desktop packages.

    • How much is that software in the Windows?

      I have been a Linux user for years now, and mostly I don’t think about the cost of software anymore. Just about everything I want to do has a free software app that does it. I only run one piece of paid proprietary software: TwonkyMedia UPNP server, which cost me $29 about four years ago. Considering how much I do with computers all day long, that is a trivial amount of paid software. Contrast that with a Windows box, where you can wind up paying over $1000 just to have an operating system and an office suite.

      [...]

      Most expert Windows users are irritated by the condescending attitude Linux users have toward them, but this is one of the big reasons why that attitude exists. The majority of web and mail servers use free software. I don’t see a compelling reason to buy software for these uses when I can do everything for free. Ditto with my desktop machines; all the things I need to do, I can do with free software. So I probably do come across a little condescending to people who are still in the paid-software paradigm. They’re not used to having people regard them the same way they regard AOL users: people who are paying to have someone bring them something they could get for free.

    • But Linux has so many little things wrong with it!

      As purists are fond of saying, Linux is just the kernel running the operating system. The rest of what the average person calls a Linux distribution are the hundreds of other packages bundled up with the Linux kernel. This combination of packages is what is most commonly seen as and called Linux. Now every Linux distribution is different. They have a different, although similar, package mix and those programs are of differing versions.

      [...]

      For those who claim that windows just works far better or easier than Linux just google “windows problems” and then “Linux problems”. You will find that there are about the same number of results. I retrieved 151,000,000 for windows and 141,000,000 for Linux. Try the same with individual Linux distribution names or versions of windows, ie. “ubuntu problems” or “xp problems”. What did you get?

  • Server

    • Grid Computing and the Future of Cloud Computing

      In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the idea of grid computing, a type of distributed computing that harnesses the power of many computers to handle large computational tasks, was all the rage, at least among organizations with high-performance computing (HPC) needs. One of the most notable projects to make use of grid computing was SETI@home, which utilized thousands of Internet-connected computers to search for extraterrestrial intelligence (and still does).

  • Audiocasts

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.33-rc5

      Hmm. I don’t think there is anything earth-shaking here, although the i915 KMS changes might be noticeable. Notably if you have eDP (“embedded DisplayPort” – I think mainly a feature you’d find on a new imac), in which case it now hopefully works, but more commonly if you saw the flickering on your laptop panel due to LVDS downclocking (which saves power, but is now disabled by default until that thing is resolved).

    • Linux deduping is in store next

      Plagued by duplicate files that clog up your system? Quantum, a company once known mainly for hard drives, yesterday unveiled a new version of its StorNext File System that it says optimizes storage efficiency by implementing automatic data deduplication. It’s part of StorNext 4.0, Quantum’s high-performance sharing and data management platform, which now can also automate data tiering and retrieve partial files based on timecode, for the video editor in you.

    • Kernel Log: Long-term maintenance for 2.6.32, util-linux-ng extended

      Linux 2.6.32 is to be maintained for 2 to 3 years within the stable series – the maintenance of 2.6.27, however, will probably soon be discontinued or at least downscaled considerably. The util-linux-ng tool collection now contains three additional programs; fdisk provides optimised partitioning. The configuration of X Server has become more flexible and now HAL is no longer needed.

    • qemu-kvm-0.12.2 Released

      Today kvm maintainers released qemu-kvm-0.12.2 based on upstream qemu 0.12.2. qemu-kvm provides the userspace component qemu with kvm specific enhancements. This means you can use this either with your default kernel kvm module or with the most recent kvm-kmod kvm kernel module.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVClock’s Thunderbird To Launch New Project

        Roderick Colenbrander, or better known by his Internet name of Thunderbird (not to be confused with the Mozilla mail client), will soon be announcing a new software project that is supposed to be rather interesting, according to him. Roderick is known for starting the NVClock project years prior to the existence of CoolBits support for Linux to enable NVIDIA graphics card overclocking (and other tweaking) with Linux.

      • Initial Open ATI Evergreen Support By FOSDEM?

        Hopefully the Evergreen support with mode-setting and ShadowFB support will be here by FOSDEM on the 6th of February, but it will still be longer before there is real 2D acceleration (EXA) or any 3D acceleration within the open-source stack.

      • NVIDIA To Enhance Its X Render Support?

        This afternoon two patches hit the xorg-devel list that were written by Robert Morell and reviewed by Aaron Plattner. Both Morell and Plattner are NVIDIA employees. One of the patches is to cleanup of use of improper types in size calculation with the RENDER extension. The second RENDER patch is more important and it adds PanoramiX wrappers for gradients and solid fills with Xinerama.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KOffice – Portability in Action

        I have on several occasions been asked “why do you work on KOffice when OpenOffice.org already exists and does everything people need?”. Well, there are several reasons why OpenOffice.org (OOo) is not the end-all of free office suites. This blog is the first in a series that will outline why KOffice is necessary and why it may in fact be the real future of the free office suites.

        [...]

        So, the combination of these two makes KOffice uniquely suited for non-standard platforms. Non-standard by desktop standards, that is. Most people today agree that mobile is the future. And maybe so is KOffice…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Revamps and Renews Outreach Program for Women

        The approach? Think Google Summer of Code — complete with internships, mentors, and sponsors — with an emphasis on team contributions rather than stand-alone projects.

        GNOME ran a similar outreach program in 2006, and received one hundred applications within two weeks. Because funds are (always) limited, great projects (and talent) had to be turned away — but Google was so was impressed by the proposals, it funded three additional projects. The 2006 Women’s Outreach Program had six participants, but organizers are tentatively planning on five participants this season.

      • GNOME Activity Journal Released w/ Zeitgeist Update

        Back in December Zeitgeist 0.3 was released with many changes and its engine was even largely reworked. Since then there have been a few point releases as GNOME Zeitgeist is in the process of being stabilized for a Zeitgeist 0.4 release in time for GNOME 2.30. Yesterday afternoon Zeitgeist 0.3.2 was released to deliver on more stabilization work along with better support for GNOME’s Activity Journal. The release announcement can be read on the mailing list.

  • Distributions

    • More about Linux

      Well Puppy Linux is a winner.
      I decided to give the newer version a go.
      This one is 431 which has support for my wireless internet.
      I have a side bar like vista and all my browsing is done using firefox just as it was on windows.
      So far I am loving it.

    • The Rules For The Best Home Distro: (Read Rules Here)

      Linux distributions ranked by the best combinations of reliability, simplicity, features, and speed.

    • Gentoo

      • Gentoo Series Part I : Past and Present

        This was the first step I took to getting 3D on Gentoo. And to be frank, it was the easiest part.

      • Pardus 2009.01

        Pardus is a distro developed by (I quote) “The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey”. It is a KDE based distro with lots of tools designed so that it becomes a lot easier to use. Since its a government run project I’m guessing the idea is to stop Turkish money flowing out of the country and into Microsoft’s coffers, and well as gaining control over software running on the countries critical systems.

        [...]

        All in all, I like Pardus. It is a system you could recommend to a beginner, and is very user friendly.

    • Slackware

      • Ode to Slackware

        I have a place reserved in my heart that only Slackware Linux fills. Strange as it might be, Slackware was the first Linux distribution that seemed to understand me and, I it.
        I recently read an article which brought to mind, the time that I started my venture into the Linux community as a new user.

        [...]

        Slackware remains true to being the most similar to Unix of any Linux flavor available. Patrick Volkerding cleaned up a version of SLS for a professor at MSU to use in teaching LISP. This was the start of a beautiful thing. For many years, Patrick was the sole maintainer of Slackware Linux. This is still largely true to this day and has it’s advantages. Nothing goes into Slackware unless it’s ready. Packages must require little or no tweaking for maximum performance. Even Gnome was dropped because it required too much configuration.

      • How to Install and Run Slackware 13

        Torrent downloads for Slackware 13 can be found here. I’ll be using the full DVD ISO for this article as it includes all the packages necessary for a typical install.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Wallpapers – The Ubuntu Artwork Pool

        A large chunk of the wallpapers to be packaged up with Ubuntu Lucid Lynx will be drawn from the public “Ubuntu Artwork” group on photo sharing site Flickr.

        I’ve been hesitant to plunder the talented depths of this Ubuntu Artwork pool on Flickr; pullling out some of the more ‘spiffing’ examples and presenting them here as I’m not too fond of pointless lists that come hand in hand with a meaningless adjective – “10 cool wallpapers”, “10 awesome wallpapers”, etc. Are those 10 wallpapers really “awesome” or are they 10 you found in a hurry and thought “Hmmph. They’ll do.”?

      • Introducing Ubuntu Electronics Remix 9.10

        We are proud to present today a new Ubuntu-based (or Remix) Linux distribution, this time for electronics. Called Ubuntu Electronics Remix, or UER for short, it is based on the popular Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system and comes as a Live DVD ISO image with lots of free electronics software. Except for the electronics software, everything else is exactly the same as in the original Ubuntu 9.10 distribution.

      • New Low-Latency Ubuntu Server Build Proposed

        Canonical’s Tim Gardner is seeking comments regarding a new build of Ubuntu Server that he is proposing. Canonical is considering another build of Ubuntu Server (there is already Ubuntu Server 32-bit and 64-bit along with specialized builds for cloud computing with Amazon EC2 and UEC), but this one would be specialized for just 64-bit platforms that have low-latency requirements and on power consumptive systems.

      • Linux Mint 8 RC1 KDE Edition Arrives

        Clement Lefebvre and the Linux Mint community are proud to present today (January 21st) the first release candidate of the upcoming Linux Mint 8 KDE Community Edition operating system. Powered by Linux kernel 2.6.31 and built on top of the KDE Software Compilation 4.3.4, Linux Mint 8 KDE RC1 comes with many improvements in various areas of interest. It is now based on the Kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Linux distribution.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Grumpy Editor’s Tomato review

      Your editor has just completed an important transition: moving his Internet connectivity from one evil branch of the local telecom duopoly to the other, equally evil branch. This change required the acquisition of a new router; that, in turn, provided the opportunity to play with Linux-based router software, and Tomato in particular. Read on for your editor’s impressions of this impressive bit of (mostly) free software.

    • Chumby and the Internet of Things

      Having everything connected is a bliss. I bought a Chumby last week. It is an alarm clock. With a touchscreen and wi-fi connectivity. Built on open source (you can easily get root access in the Linux box), with a thriving community of developers building widgets for it. Therefore, it doubles as an Internet radio, an online picture frame, a weather station, it plays your Google Voice messages and a lot more.

    • Adeneo Embedded announces Linux Embedded training in Paris using Freescale i.MX-ARM Embedded MPUs

      Adeneo Embedded announced today a Linux Embedded training course in Paris, France, from March 15th to March 19th 2010. This event is a unique opportunity for software system designers to develop an application based on Linux Embedded, using Freescale’s i.MX25 applications processor solution. Freescale’s i.MX family, based on ARM® core technology, is engineered to offer Smart Speed, low-power consumption with MHz performance to spare and a high degree of integration to reduce your design time signify cantly.

    • Android

      • Android for your PC finally available

        A clever bunch of boffins have managed to port Android to an x86 platform, allowing people to run Google’s OS on Asus’ Eee PC netbooks as well as several other already tried and tested 32-bit (x86) platforms.

      • iPhone And Android Now Account For 81 Percent Of Smartphone Web Ads In the U.S.

        When it comes to the mobile Web, increasingly there are only two mobile platforms that matter: Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. According to market share data put out today by AdMob (which is being acquired by Google), the iPhone and Android combined captured 81 percent of U.S. mobile ad impressions on smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from a combined 55 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Most of that growth comes from Android, which nearly doubled its market share from the third quarter to 27 percent. The iPhone OS made up the other 54 percent. (Worldwide, the iPhone had 51 percent share and Android had 16 percent, for a combined total of 67 percent).

      • Android Grew 350% in 2009

        While we recently reported that Google’s Nexus One had a slow start coming out of the gate, the Android operating system, which is spread across a number of devices, is not having the same issues. A report by Myxer, a mobile entertainment company with over 30 million members, says that visits to its mobile site by Android users grew 350% in 2009, strongly outpacing the iPhone, which grew 170% during the same period.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Always Innovating Touchbook to Support Android and Ubuntu and More.

        To refresh your memory, the Touchbook is a ARM based device that has been released that has Linux installed on it. It was their own version of Linux called AI OS. However, today I noticed the Always Innovating site has been updated.

      • $100 Laptop Project Recruiting Haiti Volunteers

        The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, which has developed a low-cost notebook computer to help children in developing countries improve computer and learning skills, has announced that it is looking for volunteers and interns to help out with projects in countries including Afghanistan and Haiti.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Doing the right thing with Open Source

    The good news for Microsoft users who need DOS compatibility brought to you by Open Source, not Microsoft. If this is you, check out DOSBox, FreeDOS, and VirtualBox.

  • Pivot has become an Apache Top-Level Project

    Tendered to the Apache Software Foundation last year, the Pivot platform for developing Java-based Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) has become an Apache Top-Level Project (TLP). Although the foundation has only recently published a press release, this information has apparently been up on the project page for quite some time.

  • ReactOS

    • ReactOS Hits a Fork In The Road

      So what ReactOS will now start to do, is to leverage the work that the WINE project has been doing on the win32 system. It’s an idea that makes a whole lot of sense, seeing as WINE has been working at replicating win32 for years (with some success, just look at CodeWeaver’s CrossOver apps) while ReactOS has been focused on win32 as part of a larger open source windows implementation.

    • Try 10 OSes You’ve Never Heard Of

      ReactOS

      Goal: Run Windows apps on an open-source OS

      Out of all the operating systems we looked at, ReactOS is the one most likely to have Steve Ballmer tossing chairs. Originally named FreeWin95, the developers’ original goal was to create a completely open-source clone of, you guessed it, Windows 95. As time went on, however, there was little serious code to show and it was clear that the NT code base was the future for Microsoft.

      In 1998, ReactOS rose out of the ashes of FreeWin95. Early progress was slow, but in 2004 version 0.2.0 arrived with a usable desktop and respectable, albeit very limited, Windows compatibility. Today, ReactOS is based around a home-grown kernel, but the project makes heavy use of the WINE libraries that are popular for running Windows applications on Linux.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • New Print UI now integrated

      Barely one and a half years after the initial plan, a new print UI has now found its way into OpenOffice.org with the integration of CWS printerpullpages into the latest developer milestone DEV300m70. This took a while longer than intended, but I think the result is worth the effort. Many thanks to all the many people who made this possible (in no particular order): Mathias Bauer (Sfx), Andre Fischer (Impress), Thomas Lange (Writer), Christian Lippka (Impress), Niklas Nebel (Calc), Christoph Noack (User Experience), Regina Henschel, Hasan Ilter (QA), Jörg Skottke (QA), Thorsten Bosbach (QA), Oliver Craemer (QA), Eric Savary (QA). (I hope I didn’t forget anyone).

    • Every good thing has an end

      I look forward working with “another you”, inside the broader Oracle Corporation, and I am sure that it will be exciting. So farewell, Sun. Hopefully your employees will not forget who you were, what you stood for: excellency in technology, freedom, genius, and inspiration.

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • Oracle President Admits Affair After Billboards Appear

      Over the course of several days this week, a series of mysterious billboards popped up in New York and other cities showing romantic photographs of the co-president of Oracle with a woman.

      On one of the billboards that appeared in New York on Times Square, the words “Charles & YaVaughnie” were posted along with “You are my soulmate forever!” The note was signed “cep,” referring apparently to Charles E. Phillips Jr., the Oracle co-president.

  • GNU

  • Releases

    • Version 5.20 of the Nmap network scanner arrives

      The Insecure.org developers have announced the release of version 5.20 of Nmap, their popular network scanner and mapper. According to the developers, this first stable update since Nmap 5.00, released last July, includes more than 150 “significant improvements”.

  • Government

    • Why Open Source is the New Software Policy in San Francisco

      Moving forward, there is an opportunity to save millions of dollars in software costs by using open source software. We are only scratching the surface. We can and must do more in the face of historic budget deficits. Our new open source policy requires the City to choose new technology wisely.

      This is just the beginning of the Open Gov movement in San Francisco, but our early efforts are paying off.

      Since the launch of DataSF last summer, the City’s clearinghouse of government datasets, we have seen our tech community create new services and products never dreamed of within the walls of government. And now we are giving people access to technology systems like our 311 call center through open source, so they can decide how and when they interact with government.

  • CMS

    • About Kaltura’s Plans for Open Source World Domination

      Kaltura’s vision is sound and solid, and enabling more and more open source platforms is definitely an important part of their strategy, allowing a drammatically growing number of third parties to take advantage of Kaltura’s video platform.

    • Kaltura Releases Open Source Video Extension for Moodle
    • The WordPress Foundation Is Live!

      WordPress founder and Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg has just announced that his nonprofit, charitable foundation is officially an open shop. The WordPress Foundation is an organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the very mission of WordPress itself. Simply put, as on the Foundation website: “to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software.” Everybody dance!

    • Getting off the ground
    • Data.gov.uk using Drupal

      Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt unveiled Data.gov.uk today. The new website offers public sector data, ranging from traffic statistics to crime figures, for private or commercial use. It is designed to be similar to the Obama administration’s data.gov project, run by Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer in the US.

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Essential Skills for Perl 5 Programmers

      Every time I explain something in the Modern Perl book under development, I have to change the way I think. I’ve spent a decade writing Perl 5, testing Perl 5, writing about Perl 5, editing writings about Perl 5, and thinking about how to do all of those. I still learn new things, but I haven’t been a novice for a very long time.

      Mature projects need the perspective of determined and intelligent novices to help find gaps in tutorials and documentation. It’s too easy to assume that the mental model experienced users have is obvious for novices. After all, the design is clearly an effective design for the problems it has to solve.

    • Flex & Bison book review

      An introduction to Flex and Bison gives an overview of how and why they are used to create compilers and interpreters, and demonstrates some simple applications including a calculator built in Flex and Bison – a good start to this volume, always useful for people who know nothing. Using Flex follows along with Bison. Parsing SQL is an invaluable part of the book.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Try our new HTML5 player!

      We’re rolling out a new beta test today: the HTML5 player!

      What’s the HTML5 player, you ask? Simply put, it’s an alternative to our current Flash player that looks and works almost exactly the same way. What are the benefits?

      * The player loads right away — no more spinning butterfly thingy
      * You can jump anywhere in the video, without having to wait for it to buffer
      * Smoother, less jumpy playback (we hope)

Leftovers

  • Commission wants fewer Anglophone spokespersons

    An internal document seen by EurActiv shows that 11 out of the 26 spokespersons that have already been designated to the incoming European Commission are Anglo-Saxon. Of these, seven are English and four are Irish (EurActiv 21/01/10).

  • France’s Le Fig And L’Express Planning Paywalls, Too

    Most revealing – in the case of L’Express, the paywall is being delayed not by questions over whether readers would pay, but whether the paywall can come in at a reasonable cost. In the case of L’Express, online director Corinne Denis says that the model they are currently looking at would cost more to implement than subscriptions could bring in.

  • Betraying Confucius: Academic fraud in China

    It is one of the great ironies of China’s rise on the international stage: a nation that reveres Confucius and the devotion to truth and learning symbolized by the great sage has become one of the world’s leading perpetrators of academic fraud. Cheating among Chinese scholars has reached such epidemic proportions that at least one leading academic journal will no longer consider their submissions.

    This month, a prominent British medical journal, The Lancet, urged the Chinese government to take action against rampant cheating in scientific research. But that call is likely to go unheeded in a university system that has taken the maxim “publish or perish” to the extreme. For a Chinese lecturer aspiring

  • China’s Promise

    Just as countless Chinese people young and old study, live and travel internationally, so do people from countries throughout the world go to study, live and travel in China. They have been lured by the economic boom and employment opportunities, by educational opportunities, or just by the desire to see what is happening in a place that has been the talk of the world. Many I have encountered have found employment in big cities, or in teaching, or in entertainment, or in a host of other professions.

  • Security

    • DNSSEC Compromised Again?

      DNS Security Extensions is supposed to be the technology that helps to secure the Domain Name System, or DNS , against attack. Yet DNSSEC servers aren’t always infallible, as a pair of vulnerabilities proved this week.

    • Naked airport scanner catches cellphone, misses bomb components

      Check out this German TV clip highlighting the failure of the new, privacy-violating full-nude scanners going in at an airport near you. As Bruce Schneier notes, “The scanner caught a subject’s cell phone and Swiss Army knife — and the microphone he was wearing — but missed all the components to make a bomb that he hid on his body… Full-body scanners: they’re not just a dumb idea, they don’t actually work.”

    • The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

      Nearly 200 men remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. In June 2009, six months after Barack Obama took office, one of them, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni named Muhammed Abdallah Salih, was found dead in his cell. The exact circumstances of his death, like those of the deaths of the three men from Alpha Block, remain uncertain. Those charged with accounting for what happened—the prison command, the civilian and military investigative agencies, the Justice Department, and ultimately the attorney general himself—all face a choice between the rule of law and the expedience of political silence. Thus far, their choice has been unanimous.

    • Manchester ID staff suffer isolation as new dawn fades

      The people of Manchester have either lost all interest in travelling abroad and drinking, or couldn’t give a monkey’s about the government’s lame duck ID card scheme, if a commons answer is anything to go by.

    • Video of dog-attack bust shows cops pounding handcuffed man

      A Bronx pit bull attack that prompted the friendly-fire shooting of two undercover cops took a tables-turning twist Thursday when a gotcha video surfaced showing blatant police brutality.

  • Environment

    • NASA: 2009 tied for 2nd-warmest year, 00s hottest decade too
    • Flora and Fauna

      • Blessed are the orangutan peacemakers

        Researchers said this was the first time peacemaking behavior has been observed in orangutans, which are, in the wild, loners. Basically, it looks as though this group of captive orangutans—forced to live together—have learned a behavior that’s previously only been known among more social apes, such as chimpanzees and gorillas.

      • Dolphins as Persons?

        Focusing on dolphins: the last decade of studies into dolphin behavior has highlighted how complex their communications actually are; so much so that it is difficult not to draw parallels to the complexities of human communication. Empirically, their brains have many key features associated with high intelligence. It would seem that we have long underestimated their capacity, and while their intelligence is different in form, it is difficult to dismiss that it exists.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Drugs: towards a global tolerance regime

      Why is this move so significant? Because to date the public sector has enjoyed a near monopoly on the employment of the professionals who have expertise on drugs. Nearly all of the senior medics, civil servants, policy advisers, social workers, academic researchers, customs officials, judges, lawyers, and police, prison and army officers who should be contributing to the policy debate are either employed directly by government or depend on it for funding. The Nutt affair seemed to confirm the long-established principle that they put their careers at risk by speaking openly against the absurdities of prohibition. Politicians, fearful of a media drubbing and punishment at the polls, were always poised to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Lundy plays good cop to Conroy’s bad cop

      Last week at the annual Australian national Linux conference in New Zealand, Waugh, a former self-styled open source advocate, was using loads of tired bizspeak to promote the so-called open government policy – but she avoided saying anything about the filter. When someone dd try to engage her on the subject, she did a deft sidestep.

      Meanwhile, yesterday, at the closing ceremony of the same conference, the other half of the family, Jeff, was urging people to black out their avatars on their social networking sites to protest against the policy.

    • Internet Freedom

      The prepared text of U.S. of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech, delivered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

      [...]

      But it’s also the smart thing to do. By advancing this agenda, we align our principles, our economic goals, and our strategic priorities. We need to create a world in which access to networks and information brings people closer together, and expands our definition of community.

      Given the magnitude of the challenges we’re facing, we need people around the world to pool their knowledge and creativity to help rebuild the global economy, protect our environment, defeat violent extremism, and build a future in which every human being can realize their God-given potential.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Judge lowers Jammie Thomas’ piracy penalty

      Last June, a federal jury in Minnesota found Jammie Thomas-Rasset liable for willful copyright infringement and ordered her to pay nearly $2 million. Michael Davis, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, chopped the amount to $54,000, or $2,250 per song.

    • Digital Economy Bill: Rightsholders Will Shoulder Most Three-Strikes Costs

      The original bill had proposed ISPs and rightsholders split policing costs 50-50. But Timms, in a speech at the Oxford Media Convention on Thursday, said the government is issuing a “draft statutory instrument” that requires the likes of labels and studios to pay more. They will be the “primary beneficiaries” of the proposed graduated-response scheme, Timms said: “The benefits of what we are doing will go to the rightsholders. So I have not been convinced by the arguments of rights holders that the Internet companies should bear much of the costs.”

    • Music biz: piracy our ‘climate change,’ governments must act!

      The global music industry trade group IFPI has released its Digital Music Report 2010, a 30-page document that makes a single argument: copyright infringement is a form of “climate change” for creative industries, and “we look to governments for action.”

      According to this view of the world, the music business has now tried its hand at being “innovative” and “customer focused.” It disaggregated albums, it allowed music to go up on everything from Amazon to iTunes to Spotify to Last.fm. It sued users, it launched education campaigns. Nothing worked. It’s now time for governments to step up.

    • Pirate Bay’s Ipredator VPN Opens To The Public

      After months of waiting, the Ipredator anonymity service from the founders of The Pirate Bay has finally opened its doors to the public. For 5 euros a month users can now hide all their Internet traffic, including torrent downloads, from third party outfits who might want to spy on their downloading habits.

    • Promise of a post-illegal copy world. Part I: History of Intellectual Property

      Along with the discussions, a lot of inaccuracies and lacks in the image of reality presented to humanity by RIAA, MPAA, MAFIAA and other corporate lobbyists appeared. Because I hate lies and injustice, I decided not to tolerate the false propaganda and to write this article which is a finial of few years of thinking, mentioned discussions and arguments used by both sides of the barricade.

    • Submissions on Canada-EU Trade Deal: Canadian Publishers’ Council Seek Term Extension, Database Rt

      Concluding the review of submissions to DFAIT regarding the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, the submission of the Canadian Publishers’ Council is important because it highlights the hopes of those lobbying for extensive new copyright reforms. The submission makes clear that those groups hope that CETA could force Canada into reforms such as copyright term extension and the creation of new database protection:

Clip of the Day

The Genetic Conspiracy (2/3) – about Monsanto

Bruce Perens on Open Source Versus Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, OSI, Videos at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Bruce Perens defends Free Software and Richard Stallman


Direct link

Also see part 2 and part 3.

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3

Bruce Perens at the launch event of GPLv3

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 22nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

How Patent Trolls Harm Free Software and How the European Parliament Plans to Make the Trolls Even Stronger

Posted in Australia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Patents, Videos at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Europe not only accommodates patent trolls (even in Belgium) but it also intends to make them more potent thanks to legislation that the Parliament in Brussels in discussing

LCA 2010 has already had people complain about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] for its bad effects when it comes to patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. We wrote about this last night.

In another new article from LCA 2010, the patent trolls problem is named as an ever-increasing risk to Free software, for obvious reasons:

Free software is likely to come under increasing attack from patent holders in the years ahead and therefore developers themselves need to understand the basics of patents, free software luminary Andrew Tridgell said today.

Delivering a talk titled “Patent defense for FOSS developers” at the 11th Australian national Linux conference in Wellington, Tridgell, who is best known for creating Samba and rsync, provided a walkthrough of some basics which needed to be learnt by all developers.

The president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion, has just brought attention to “Ballad of the Patent Troll”:

General Patent Corporation may be a dull-sounding name, but from the company’s Wealth of Ideas newsletter comes something worth watching and highly thought-provoking — “The Ballad of the Patent Troll” (for which, click here).

Benjamin has finally put a lot of ACTA videos online (extracted from the European parliament’s STOA event). Here is one part of interest (more here).

Benjamin also shares some information about a Belgian patent troll called AllIsBlue. To quote:

AllIsBlue attacks Belgacom and Rossel

The Belgian company AllIsBlue is threatening to file complaint against the managing directors of Belgacom (Didier Bellens), Proximus (Michel Georgis) and Rossel (Bernard Marchant). AllIsBlue claims these companies are using mobile services on which AllIsBlue has a patent.

From two years ago there’s this gem:

What is the business model of AllIsBlue?

Now, looking at AllIsBlue, what is their business model? On which basis are they trying to generate revenues and income for their shareholders?

Looking at this from the side (we are not an insider*), it seems very much that the mission and purpose of AllIsBlue is to attack and threaten companies (potential clients, competitors, …) on the basis of a patent written back in 2000. And to make a lot of noise about this.

So, Europe too has patent trolls. In the video above (around 4:00), one person openly complains about them and explains that the proposed changes (what Community patent can bring about) would only help patent trolls. At around 5:30, the lady almost denies the existence of European patent trolls, even though ones are nearby. A lot of the rest contains propaganda and fabricated numbers, which may have arrived through corporations and their lobbyists.

Microsoft Security Negligence Confirmed: Critical Internet Explorer Flaw Known and Ignored for 4 Months

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The newest facts show that Microsoft knowingly refused to fix flaws that led to tremendous damage; lies from Microsoft (about its competition) are refuted as well

IN MANY RECENT posts about Internet Explorer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], we have pointed out Microsoft’s pattern of negligence [1, 2, 3], which always passes costs (damages) to the public. Microsoft should probably be sued for it, rather than make money from it. Microsoft — like Goldman Sachs — is making a lot of money out of a crisis caused by its own risk-taking.

Here are some self-explanatory news headlines:

Microsoft lies to your face about browser security

Microsoft’s Head of Security and Privacy in the UK has told TechRadar that people who jump ship from Internet Explorer after the recent spate of bad headlines risk ending up on a less secure browser. With France and Germany both advising a move away from Internet Explorer, things are far from rosy for Microsoft’s browser [...yet] Microsoft’s UK security chief Cliff Evans insists that a non-Microsoft browser is the worse option. “The net effect of switching [from IE] is that you will end up on less secure browser,” insisted Evans. “The risk [over this specific] exploit is minimal compared to Firefox or other competing browsers… you will be opening yourself up to security issues.

Let’s fight FUD with facts…

Vulnerability Report: Mozilla Firefox 3.5.x
Unpatched: 0

Vulnerability Report: Google Chrome 3.x
Unpatched: 0

Vulnerability Report: Opera 10.x
Unpatched: 0

Vulnerability Report: Apple Safari 4.x
Unpatched: 0

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x
Unpatched: 24
Most Critical Unpatched: Extremely critical

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x
Unpatched: 11
Most Critical Unpatched: Extremely critical

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.x
Unpatched: 4
Most Critical Unpatched: Extremely critical

My recommendation if you use Windows: make sure the version of IE that’s installed (because you can’t uninstall it!) is the latest/least vulnerable (IE8) and then install at least one of the non-IE browsers listed (personally I always recommend Firefox :) and then use THAT. Of course, you could always switch to a Mac or Linux…

Microsoft patches IE, admits it knew of bug last August

As Microsoft patched the Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerability that was used to break into Google’s network, it also acknowledged that it had known of the bug since August 2009, when an Israeli security company reported the flaw.

MS knew of Aurora exploit four months before Google attacks

Microsoft first knew of the bug used in the infamous Operation Aurora IE exploits as long ago as August, four months before the vulnerability was used in exploits against Google and other hi-tech firms in December, it has emerged.

Redmond’s security gnomes finally got around to patching the exploit on Thursday. the hack attacks against Google et al targeted IE 6, a browser first released in 2001. Exploits involved tricking users of vulnerable browsers into visiting booby-trapped websites. These sites downloaded the Hydraq backdoor Trojan and other malicious components onto compromised PCs.

[...]

A quick search of Secunia’s database, via its PSI patching tool, reveals a problem with an unpatched ActiveX control that looks just as bad, for example.

Emergency IE patch goes live as exploits proliferate

Microsoft released an emergency security update for all versions of Internet Explorer on Thursday as attacks exploiting a critical vulnerability in the widely used browser spread to hundreds of websites.

[...]

While some of the sites hosting the attacks were free services that had been co-opted, others appeared to be domains of legitimate companies that had been compromised.

[...]

In an admission that’s sure to spark criticism, Microsoft said it learned of the critical bug more than three months ago.

[...]

The unscheduled bulletin fixes a memory corruption flaw in most versions of the widely used browser that allows attackers to execute malicious code simply by luring victims to a booby-trapped website. It fixes seven other privately reported vulnerabilities, some of which also made remote code execution possible, that Microsoft had been planning to issue next month during its next regularly scheduled patch release.

[...]

Systems compromised by the sites reported by Symantec were infected with a backdoor that collected registry settings and other system information and sent it to an email address that was under the control of attackers. That email address has since been disabled, Talbot said.

Widespread Attacks Exploit Newly Patched IE Bug

The first widespread attack to leverage a recently patched flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has surfaced.

Starting late Wednesday, researchers at antivirus vendor Symantec’s Security Response group began spotting dozens of Web sites that contain the Internet Explorer attack, which works reliably on the IE 6 browser, running on Windows XP. The attack installs a Trojan horse program that is able to bypass some security products and then give hackers access to the system, said Joshua Talbot, a security intelligence manager with Symantec.

Once it has infected a PC, the Trojan sends a notification e-mail to the attackers, using a U.S.-based, free e-mail service that Symantec declined to name.

Make the right browser update: Firefox 3.6

Neolithic Windows security hole alive and well in Windows 7

One of the reasons I’ve never liked Windows is that it was never made to deal with the security problems of working in a networked, multi-user world. As a direct result, Windows has been fundamentally insecure for more than a decade. Even so, I was surprised to find that there’s a 17-year old security hole that’s been in Windows since NT and it’s still present today in Windows 7.

Wow. Even I’m shocked by this latest example of just how rotten Windows security is. It just reminds me again though that while Microsoft keeps adding features and attempting to patch its way out of security problems to Windows, Windows’ foundation is built on sand and not on the stone of good, solid design.

[...]

Be that as it may, the code’s still in there. An attacker can trigger the vulnerability through a variety of means. The end-result is, surprise, another Windows machine that’s totally owned by the attacker. Once in charge, they can vacuum down your files, install malware, and all the other usual tricks.

Vista 7 was never secure to begin with. See the examples below.

  1. Cybercrime Rises and Vista 7 is Already Open to Hijackers
  2. Vista 7: Broken Apart Before Arrival
  3. Department of Homeland Security ‘Poisoned’ by Microsoft; Vista 7 is Open to Hijackers Again
  4. Vista 7 Security “Cannot be Fixed. It’s a Design Problem.”
  5. Why Vista 7 Could be the Least Secure Operating System Ever
  6. Journalists Suggest Banning Windows, Maybe Suing Microsoft Over DDoS Attacks
  7. Vista 7 Vulnerable to Latest “Critical” Flaws
  8. Vista 7 Seemingly Affected by Several More “Critical” Flaws This Month
  9. Reason #1 to Avoid Vista 7: Insecurity
  10. Vista 7 Left Hijackable Again (Almost a Monthly Recurrence)

British Universities Under Siege Because of Microsoft Windows, One Goes Offline

Posted in Mail, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Windows at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite the propaganda from Microsoft liars such as Rob Enderle, Windows Vista is proving to be a serious menace to massive operations which were foolish enough to permit its use

JIM Allchin, Gartner, Enderle and other familiar mouthpieces of Microsoft have all lied about Windows Vista being the most secure operating system ever.

Last year we learned that many British hospitals (e.g. [1, 2]) became victims of Conficker. It affected all versions of Windows. British academic institutions too are victims of Microsoft’s shoddy products. Several hours ago everyone in the campus of Manchester University received the following E-mail:

Windows Vista – Virus Outbreak

Please be aware of a major virus outbreak effecting computers with the Windows Vista operating system. The virus can infect all computers that do not have the KB975517 patch installed. In order to ensure that you are not infected with this virus you will need check that you have operating system updates turned on, for information on how to do this please visit the Hornet official website;

[...]

Please can you make sure you follow the Hornet Security and Safe computing security steps

Security and Safe computing

We would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of making sure your computer is protected. It is important to ensure that you have followed the following security steps:

1. Keep your firewall turned on. Learn about firewalls.

2. Keep all your software and your operating system up-to-date. Learn about operating system updates.

3. Keep your antivirus software up to date. Learn about antivirus software.

4. Keep your antispyware technology up to date. Learn about antispyware technology.

According to The Register, Exeter University has just gone offline due to Windows malware:

The University of Exeter took the unusual step of temporarily taking its network down this week in response to a virulent virus outbreak.

Computers at the south west England university were taken offline on Monday for a clean-up in response to an unidentified malware outbreak, which has since been contained.

By Thursday the vast majority of the network was back up and running, according to the Uni’s lastest status update. Exeter is the seat of learning for 15,000 students with three campuses, two in Exeter and a smaller facility in Cornwall.

David Allen, registrar and deputy chief executive of the university, told students and lecturers that taking the campus network offline was a necessary step in fighting the infection, which came in through “PCs running Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2″.

“Ah well,” says Richard Rasker, “a complete university with 15,000 students on three campuses taken down for half a week … Windows sure is great.”

When approximately one in two Windows PCs is a zombie PC, the above is to be expected. E-mail too is suffering a great deal from Windows zombies and according to this new report from the UK, about 95% of E-mail gets spewed from Windows botnets.

ACCORDING TO ENISA, the European cyber security agency, only about 5 per cent of all emails are actually delivered to inboxes.

Regarding the above, one reader told us by E-mail: “Windows botnets are costing over a third of Europe’s ISP each over a million dollars cleaning up after Bill’s spam.”

Thoughts on Canonical’s Approach to Non-Free (Non-Libre) Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 3:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Insights into the ongoing debate about Canonical (or Ubuntu) and the proprietary software it considers offering

Bradley Kuhn from the SFLC shares an update to his post about Debian, saying that “Canonical is now encouraging Ubuntu users to use proprietary software from IBM.” Kuhn is probably referring to announcements like this one (there is more than one from the Lotus event). It is a tricky subject we have only alluded to in the daily links and it seems rather benign because as Kuhn puts it, “Red Hat history repeats itself.”

Either way, this is a factor to be aware of. Chris Smart entertains a debate about this over at Linux Magazine:

Proprietary Software and Linux: Good, Bad or Somewhere in Between?

Canonical is looking into selling proprietary software like Adobe’s Photoshop and Apple’s iTunes within its distribution, Ubuntu. This would undoubtedly be helpful for certain end users wanting to switch to Linux, but is it good for free software in the long run?

From the Var Guy:

Ubuntu: More Apps, Lower Support Costs?

[...]

Meanwhile, the Ubuntu community has launched a survey to determine which additional applications users would like to see easily installed on Ubuntu.

To Canonical’s credit, they do consult the community. From Ubuntu Forums for example:

We are trying to gather preferences for the apps that users would like to see in upcoming version of Ubuntu. While we all believe in the power of open source applications we are also very keen that users should get to choose the software they want to use. There are some great apps that aren’t yet available to Ubuntu users and Canonical would like to know the priority that users would like to see them. This list is indicative not definitive and we would love to also read your suggestions in the free text box.

Whatever people’s opinion on the subject might be, let’s remember that freedom — not market share — ought to be the goal.

“FSF did some anti-Apple campaigns too. Personally I worry more about Apple because they have user loyalty; Microsoft doesn’t.”

Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

Microsoft Continues to Sabotage GNU/Linux Installations Using ‘Updates’

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft kindly reminds the public that there is no “new Microsoft” as it keeps removing people’s choices and denying them access to their GNU/Linux partition/s

THIS is a subject that we already wrote about (and provided antitrust exhibits to support) in the following posts:

The technical details and the legal details were shown and discussed in the posts above, so they are not worth repeating. According to this new post, “Windows Update [Still] Does Not Like GRUB”:

I recently received a set of Win7 upgrade disks for the HP Pavillion, and decided to install them before passing that machine on. The compatibility check and preparation procedure from the first disk ran just fine, then it rebooted and told me to insert the Win7 disk. When I did that, it started running “setup copying files”… and then announced that it had run into an unexpected error, and couldn’t continue. Grrrr. It’s not possible that even Microsoft is this stupid, that a Win7 upgrade on an essentially untouched Windows installation doesn’t work. So what could be the problem? I finally realized that the only thing that had changed was the bootloader. So I restored that, ran the Win7 upgrade again, and this time it worked! That reminded me of the previous SP2 problem, so I went to the N10J, restored the Windows bootloader, ran Windows Update, and it installed SP2 successfully this time!

So, a warning. If you are multi-booting Windows and Linux, and using GRUB, don’t be surprised if Windows Update starts failing on you. The simple solution is to keep a copy of the MBR, both the Windows and Linux version, which you can put in place as needed.

More here:

How can people blame on GRUB if Windows doesn’t like another bootloader?

[...]

In my opinion, it’s something as simple as old Microsoft’s motto in action: “It’s the Microsoft way or the highway”. The update process is taking a look at the MBR and notices that’s it’s not Windows’ bootloader. “Who in their right mind would dare install something on the MBR that’s not made by Microsoft?” I bet they think there at Redmond. End of the game, let’s stop the update process… _and_ (specially) not tell the user what’s going on. It wouldn’t be as insulting if at least they would suggest the user to replace the MBR with Microsoft’s tools. You know, it can be replaced with GRUB a couple of minutes later after shutting Windows down after the upgrade process is done… but what do we expect from a OS that was made to resemble black magic, anyway?

As I have already said before:
Windows equals esotericism
GNU/Linux equals determinism

Microsoft is essentially sabotaging people’s computers and knowingly breaking things (removing non-Windows choices). Some people stop using GNU/Linux after it becomes inaccessible from the boot menu and they blame GNU/Linux, not Microsoft. This is the type of thing that should have Microsoft sued. Microsoft has had enough time to play nice with GRUB, but it either ignores the problem or makes up excuses (which it did before). This suits Microsoft very well.

“b) put a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows. [...] the most sensible thing from a development standpoint is to continue to build dependencies on msdos into windows.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts