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03.09.10

Links 9/3/2010: Yellow Dog Linux for CUDA, OpenArena 0.8.5

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Windows: Choice But No Choice

    In the area of window managers Linux users are completely and totally spoiled rotten. We constantly debate the merits of one desktop environment/window manager over another. We argue over what programs are better than others, what versions of those programs we like over another and getting in world class pissing contests all the while crying about what we wish they would do better or differently. I wish Windows users had this problem, but they don’t. Why? Because they have no choice.

    [...]

    We have gotten fat on the bounty of choices and drunk with the power of functionality they provide us. Go use a generic NT, 2000 or XP setup for a week and then try and tell me that KDE, GNOME, Xfce, Enlightenment etc. are really that much better or worse than each other. Because compared to the Microsoft window manager in any version of Windows, any Linux window manager blows it away.

  • TSO Explained……

    As I was going through some basic features supported by TCP, I came across the TSO feature which look very simple and has a very elgent design and implemnetation in Linux.

  • Server

    • Yellow Dog Linux for CUDA released

      Fixstars announced this week that it has released Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux for CUDA, a version of Linux that the company claims is optimized for computing with NVIDIA’s GPUs.

    • Fujitsu Unveils Fastest Supercomputer in Japan

      Fujitsu, today, announced that it has completed joint development of a new supercomputing system in association with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency [JAEA]. The new machine, after going operational today, is now the fastest system in Japan.

  • Google

    • Google sheds light on Chrome OS Netbook security

      Google’s Chrome OS Netbook will feature a host of built-in security technologies designed to protect users from malware and other threats, a Google engineer said at the RSA Conference Thursday.

      Will Drewry, a Google software security engineer, said the fact that the company’s Chrome OS is an open source project allows for constant feedback from developers regarding security design. This, he said, should reassure those acquiring a Google Netbook about the product’s security.

      Google plans to release a consumer version later this year and a business version featuring more management muscle in 2011, Drewry said.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Mobile View: Linux Kernel 2.6.33

      Last week brought the arrival of a new Linux kernel, version 2.6.33. With it, came quite a few changes likely to interest device developers. So, here is a breakdown of the most significant mobile/embedded updates to come in the latest kernel.

    • Linux 2.6.34-rc1 Kernel Is Out w/ New Features

      Of a lot of interest to us (and likely you too) are all of the GPU DRM updates in the Linux 2.6.34 kernel that includes GPU hybrid switching, initial ATI Radeon HD 5000 series KMS support (a.k.a. “Evergreen”), controversial Nouveau changes, ATI Radeon KMS power management support, Intel Sandy Bridge support, and much more.

      Outside of the graphics fun in this kernel to be officially released next quarter is a new filesystem (Logfs), a hardware driver for Apple’s Magic Mouse, virtualization improvements, and other updates particularly to the Linux drivers and architectures.

    • 2.6.33 is Out! Say Good Bye to the Anticipatory Scheduler

      As mentioned in a previous article a great place to start learning about new features of the latest kernels is Kernel Newbie site. Kernel newbies has a nice review of the latest kernel, 2.6.33. There are a few things around storage that I want to point out.

      The biggest thing is that the anticipatory IO scheduler. In a article I did a quick glance at the IO schedulers in the kernel. One of them is called the Anticipartory Scheduler that anticipates subsequent block requests and caches them for use. Putting on your storage expert hat one can see that the anticipatory scheduler works really well for certain workloads. For example it has been observed that the Apache web server may achieve up to 71% more throughput using the anticipatory IO scheduler. On the other hand, it has been observed that the anticipatory scheduler has caused up to a 15% slowdown on a database run.

    • James Bottomley speaks

      James Bottomley, and I’m a distinguished engineer at Novell.

      My primary role for the Linux kernel is to be SCSI subsystem maintainer, which means I have to run a Git tree for Linux and manage a mailing-list-based community (SCSI is also a fairly enterprise-oriented community, so if there’s tension between desktop needs and enterprise needs, it tends to be the flash point). I’m also one of the maintainers of PA-RISC (HP’s old RISC system) in the kernel, and I’ve written and maintained a few SCSI drivers.

    • X.Org SoC: Gallium3D H.264, OpenGL 3.2, GNU/Hurd

      There’s a few months left until it’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, but Google is already preparing for their annual Summer of Code (SoC) project as are their projects involved. X.Org will once again be part of the Summer of Code program where Google pays various student developers to work on different free software projects. While nothing is yet officially determined for the X.Org SoC work, there are some ideas expressed by the X.Org developers for any interested students.

    • Video: Interview with Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation

      During CeBIT Open Source 2010 Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, found the time for an interview with Linux Pro Magazine.

    • Graphics Stack

      • GPU Switching Goes For The Gold: Mainline Inclusion

        At the start of the month we talked about GPU switching coming to Linux in a crude form that allowed notebooks with dual GPUs (one being a low-power, low-performance integrated chip and the other being the more performance-oriented GPU that’s power hungry) to be switched from without the need for a reboot in Linux. This initial work was just a collection of hacks by David Airlie and it required VT switching after killing the X Server, etc. It also didn’t power down the unused GPU. However, as the days passed, this code did more and delayed GPU switching came too.

      • R600 Gallium3D Shader Compiler Milestone Hit

        Beyond working on a R600/700 winsys as well as a command submission checker for these ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphics processors, Jerome Glisse of Red Hat has also been busy at work on a shader compiler for the R600/700 ASICs with the still-in-early-development Gallium3D driver. Over the weekend Jerome hit one of his first milestones with this code.

      • xf86-video-nv Driver Updated, First In Months

        Most Linux distributions this year will be switching over to the community-created Nouveau graphics driver stack now that there’s mainline DRM support in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel and later releases that provides kernel mode-setting support and more. However, for those that have not yet made move to the Nouveau driver (or are running a *BSD or OpenSolaris where there is not yet the ported DRM) and are sticking it out with NVIDIA’s rudimentary, feature-limited open-source driver, there is a new update out today. NVIDIA’s Aaron Plattner has just declared the xf86-video-nv 2.1.17 driver release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • 10 things you might want to do in KDE SC 4.4

        With the release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4, many may feel tempted to give KDE Plasma Desktop (previously known as just “KDE”, see Repositioning the KDE Brand) a try. Plasma Desktop introduced in KDE SC 4 behaves quite differently from other popular desktop workspaces, and without doubt many new users will feel slightly lost and confused the first time.

        I’ve gathered some tips for new users to get a more familiar desktop, based on frequently asked questions I’ve seen in various places. This is in no way a “10 things you should do” list – it’s up to you to decide which way you like better.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS-2010-beta1.iso release information

      PCLinuxOS-2010.beta1 features 2.6.32.8 kernel utilizing the BFS scheduler for maximum desktop performance on i686 and up computers. This kernel supports up to 4 gigs of memory. A PAE kernel is available from the Synaptic Package Manager providing up to 64 gig of memory suppport. In addition ext4 support is also available.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Elive

      • Ubuntu

        • Screenshot App Shutter adds ‘redo last capture’, makes bloggers’ lives everywhere easier
        • Announcing The 10.10 Ubuntu Developer Summit

          For every UDS, Canonical sponsors a number of community members to attend the event. We are looking for those who want to bring some real insight and expertise in their area of Ubuntu, be it development or community governance. If you feel you could offer this but can’t afford to cover your expenses of attending, you should apply for sponsorship.

        • The Grand App Writing Challenge Submissions!

          As many of you will be aware, this week Ubuntu Opportunistic Developer Week took part, and the week has been wonderful so far. There has been so much excitement and interest, and I have been tickled pink at just how many people have been telling me that the week has re-invigorated their interest or given them a new passion for writing fun and useful apps. Ubuntu is an awesome platform for making these apps, and it has been a real pleasure to see people getting so fired up about using it. :-)

          Before the week kicked off, I offered a fun little challenge called The Grand App Writing Challenge. With a week of rocking content ahead designed to help build a fun and thriving community who like to write apps that scratch their itches, I put forward the challenge for you good people to write some apps and see how far you get this week, and I will blog your progress at the end of the week. Well, while we still have a few sessions yet to go, it is Friday and I was keen to show off some progress!

        • International Women’s Day

          As part of International Women’s Day, the Ubuntu Women team have been running a competition to gather a collection of stories that share how women discovered Ubuntu and their experiences of joining our community. I thought this was a wonderful initiative: it really speaks to strong experiences of how Ubuntu can enable women to join a collaborative community, and how technology can be a true enabler.

        • Ubuntu, The Ultimate Linux Distribution

          From its Debian roots to its commercially available support to its overwhelming popularity, Ubuntu is the ultimate Linux distribution. For me, Ubuntu became a significant force within the Linux community with its 2006 releases: 6.04 and 6.10. From April 2006, I’ve installed and used every new version and anticipate each new one the way a child anticipates toys on Christmas morning. But, have you ever wondered why is Ubuntu the ultimate Linux distribution? Why is it so popular? Why did Canonical choose Debian as its distribution template? And, why did Mark Shuttleworth believe in Linux so much that he chose to create Canonical to support it?

        • Ubuntu: reverse type is cool. And unreadable

          When one types an address into the Firefox address bar, the remembered URLs come up – and while the names of the sites are in reverse and readable, the actual URLs are a bright shade of blue. Bright blue type on a dark background. Readability at its best.

        • Interview with Emma Jane Hogbin

          Amber Graner: Today we talk to Emma Jane Hogbin, Technical Author, HiCKTech creator, Drupal Guru, Ubuntu Member and the list goes on. Before I want to say thank you for taking the time to tell us about your journey into the Ubuntu Project. Emma can you tell us a little about when and how you got involved in FOSS? Also, How and when did you get involved with the Ubuntu Project?

          Emma Jane Hogbin: When I first graduated from university I chatted with various companies to find out what kind of work I wanted to do. (My degree is in Environmental Science, but I took a job as a project manager for a Web design company that specialized in web sites for environmental groups.) One of the companies that I met with had an entire shelf of Adobe software boxes. I made a comment about warez sites, and the owner of the company responded by saying that carpenters don’t steal their hammers. My father is a wood worker, so this hit home in exactly the right way for me. From that point on I started looking into free and open source tools.

        • Roasted Laptop

          Some time ago I bought a Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 laptop. At the time it was the fastest thing I could buy. It was also the heaviest! With a 17″ 1920×1200 screen and all the toys, it’s a bit of a dead weight. It was always intended to be a desktop replacement, so it mostly sat on my desk all of its life so the weight wasn’t an issue. Having nice big screen was lovely for desktop use and playing the odd game.

          [...]

          30 minutes later the card was cool enough for me to put it back in the machine. I carefully put it all back together and booted it up. It worked! The video corruption had gone. Well, almost. I was left with one vertical purple line about 3 pixels in from the left, which I can totally live with. In the drive was an old Crunchbang CD which booted up just fine.

        • Redesigning Ubuntu – behind the scenes on 10.04

          Dave (@Daviey) is a Ubuntu community leader, consultant specialising in business IT, server and telephony systems.

          The next version of Ubuntu – codename Lucid Lynx – will be the 10.04 release, and is scheduled to be released and declared stable in April. As a long-term support version, coupled with increasing popularity, this is undoubtedly the most important Ubuntu release to date.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Atom-based SBCs offer multimedia and PoE+ daughter-cards

      ADI Engineering announced a line of 3.46 x 4.33-inch single board computers (SBCs) with PoE+, multimedia, and DVI/VGA video expansion daughtercards. The Cinnamon Bay SBCs are built around Intel’s Z5xxP- and -PT Atom processors and offer Arium’s microSD-bootable AE Linux distro.

    • Cortex-A8 dev kit runs Linux

      Digi International says it is shipping a development kit targeting development of wireless multimedia applications using Freescale’s i.MX515 SoC (system on chip). The ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 Digi JumpStart Kit includes an ARM Cortex-A8-based module, a baseboard, a seven-inch touchscreen, and a BSP (board support package), the company says.

    • ARM9 SoC gains lower-cost sibling

      Fujitsu announced an ARM9-based SoC (system on chip) including the company’s “Coral PA” 2D/3D graphics controller. The MB86R03 “Jade L” is clocked at 320MHz, supports dual displays with resolutions up to 1024 x 768 pixels, and costs less than existing Jade SoCs, the company says.

    • OK Palm, We’re Ready for the Foleo Now

      Ok, back to the imagining: Your mobile computer is great, but sadly the keyboard and screen aren’t that great for long form typing. Sure, you can tweet your tweets, book your face, and SMS your SMSers — but even a moderate length email starts to get annoying. If only there were a way to get your pocket sized computer onto a docking station. A docking station with a battery. And a screen. And a real keyboard. Just like the Palm Foleo almost was!

      I’m not suggesting the Foleo should exist in its original form. I’m suggesting Palm (or Nokia?) design a sheath for their mobile computers that could replace a netbook. Really, do you ever have a netbook somewhere you don’t have your cellphone? Of course not. Just think about the advantages a Foleo-like device could offer the mobile geek:

      * A huge battery to charge the phone while “docked.”
      * A big screen. Even if a similar resolution, bigger pixels.
      * A keyboard as opposed to a thumbboard.

    • Phones

      • MeeGo code coming in March, will run on Atom boards and N900

        In an announcement published last week, Nokia’s Valtteri Halla revealed that Intel and Nokia are planning to launch the public MeeGo source code repository by the end of the month.

        The MeeGo project began to take shape last month when Intel and Nokia announced plans to merge their respective Linux-based mobile computing platforms into a single open source software project. The unified software platform, which consists of technology from Maemo and Moblin, will be designed for use on a wide range of device form factors and will support both ARM and x86 architectures.

      • The Linux Box in My Pocket

        We each found cool stuff to show each other over the next 8 hours. ‘TV time’ that night became ‘install-try-uninstall time’. We tried out every free Droid app we could get out hands on.

        My current app list includes:

        * a dictionary

        * an app with information on every country

        * another with info on each of the United States

        * an app with just about every math and physics formula you can imagine

        * a copy of the Constitution

        [...]

      • Android

        • Cortex-A8 SoC integrates e-reader controller

          Freescale Semiconductor announced an ARM Cortex-A8 system-on-chip aimed at e-readers, along with a Linux- and Android-compatible reference design. The i.MX508 integrates an 800MHz Cortex-A8 core with a display controller from E Ink, improving performance, screen resolution, and battery life, while halving cost compared to earlier i.MX-based e-reader designs, says the company.

        • Dual-display e-reader offers Android telephony

          1Crosstech demonstrated a dual-display Android MID and e-reader device at last week’s CeBit show, says ARMDevices.net. The MIDHybrid offers a 6-inch E Ink monochrome display on one side and a 3.2-inch HVGA display on the other, and provides 3G telephony, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a VGA webcam, according to the story.

        • CeBIT 2010: ARCHOS announces two Android-based Home Tablets

          At this year’s CeBIT IT trade fair in Hannover, ARCHOS, the French multimedia tablet manufacturer, has announced two new touch-screen tablets that run Google’s open source Android operating system. According to ARCHOS, the ARCHOS 7 and ARCHOS 8 Home Tablets are aimed at home users, bridging the gap between smartphones and desktop PCs and providing always-on access to the internet and multimedia content.

        • Android app brings in $13K a month

          One Android developer is earning more than $400 a day from his find-your-car application, proving it’s not just Apple fans who’ll pay for basic apps.

        • Unleash your inner food critic on Yelp for Android

          We’re big fans of most Android apps that can help us get the skinny on nearby restaurants and bars, Yelp included. We weren’t overly impressed with Yelp’s initial attempt for Android, however, but the last two updates have brought it closer in line with Yelp’s other mobile apps.

        • Android on MIPS platform gains virtual emulator

          MIPS Technologies announced the availability of new debug and development tools for its Android on MIPS development platform. MIPS is now offering the open source QEMU emulator, as well as Viosoft’s Arriba development tools for QEMU, and has added a compiler and development GUI to its Android Native Development Kit (NDK).

        • Application development for Android using MIPS tools

          Embedded processor manufacturer MIPS Technologies has released free tools for developing and testing Android applications. These take the form of a distribution of open source processor emulator QEMU aimed at speeding up Android application design on MIPS processor architecture, and the Arriba Java development tool for QEMU, which has been produced as a result of a partnership with Viosoft, the company behind Arriba.

        • Report: China Unicom to sell Android phones

          China’s second largest mobile phone company will be selling Google Android phones after all, according to a report from Reuters.

          China Unicom’s chairman Chang Xiaobing told Reuters Wednesday, on the sidelines of a conference in Beijing, that the carrier “recognizes that Android is a mainstream system.” And he told the news service that the company “will definitely use Google’s Android in our mobile handsets.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Easy Peasy 1.6

        I installed easy peasy 1.6 to my 16 gig thumbdrive, on my HP mini. The HP Mini has a 16 gig SSD as its maid drive, and I have Mandriva 2010 installed there. The Mandriva works flawlessly, and so far, everything works. The easy peasy install was un-eventful, but it did not ask me where to install the boot loader. I have installed Moblin, and Chromeos to this same thumb drive and it did not do anything to my Mandriva install. After installation, I started running it through some tests.

      • One Laptop Per Child Works – With Teachers

        One of the major innovations of OLPC consists in the idea that a computer given to a single child (also called 1:1 computing) is the best way to enhance the pupil’s ability to learn effectively. It’s called ONE-laptop-per-child after all.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Project CouchDB Taking to the Cloud

    CouchDB is an open source project run by the Apache Software Foundation but with some commercial backing from startup Cloudant, which provides cloud services for CouchDB. With the additional cloud deployment options, Cloudant is aiming to help accelerate CouchDB adoption and make the database even more scalable.

  • A fork is not a bad thing
  • Oracle: Open Source’s Friend or Foe?

    Jeremy Allison of the Samba fame wrote an interesting blog post about Sun’s approach to open source participatory development, followed by Bradley Kuhn’s bad opinion of Oracle’s attitude towards open source.

  • ZigBee: attack of the killer bees

    Developer Joshua Wright intends to release KillerBee, an open source collectionPDF of Linux tools intended for testing the security of ZigBee networks. According to Wright, many ZigBee implementations are a mess – he hopes that his tool, which is coded in Python, will ultimately lead to more secure products.

    [...]

    ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4) is far more popular than Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or DECT for these kind of scenarios, as it is simpler to implement – the complete stack requires only 120 KB of space – and because the wireless technology uses significantly less energy. Wright, however, concludes that “When both simplicity and low cost are goals, security suffers.”

  • Events

    • Open Source Business Conference: 5 Trends Worth Watching

      When the Open Source Business Conference starts March 17 in San Francisco, The VAR Guy will be watching and listening closely for signs of corporate open source momentum from upstarts like Canonical and giants like Microsoft, Oracle and even SAP. Yes, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Here are five trends to anticipate at the OSBC conference.

    • CeBIT Open Source 2010 in Pictures

      From March 2-6 CeBIT Open Source 2010 called open source projects, enterprises, and organizations to Hannover, Germany. Here’s our photo gallery from the talks in the Open Source forum, the project lounge, and the Linux New Media awards.

  • Browsers

    • Tools for Putting Web Apps to the Cross-Browser Test

      Cross-browser testing for both security and functionality issues is a crucial step for any serious Web application. There are several automated tools out there for assisting the task, including some from open source projects like Selenium. However, several problems remain in cross-platform testing procedures, even with proven tools.

  • Databases

    • The history of MySQL AB

      MySQL, the open source database product that puts the “M” in LAMP, was created by MySQL AB, a company founded in 1995 in Sweden. In 2008, MySQL AB announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Sun Microsystems for approximately $1 billion.

    • Five Indispensable MySQL Tools

      Designing a new database is simple using the diagram creation feature, as shown in Figure 3. Just create the tables and columns, and then use the palette to formalize the table relations. This particular diagram indicates two one-to-many relationships formalized between the account table and the state and country tables.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • FSFE to users: Seize your freedom of choice!

      FSFE welcomes the arrival of greater competition in the web browser market. From today, Microsoft has to offer Windows users in Europe the possibility to choose among different browsers. This step puts into practice the company’s settlement with the European Commission from December 2009. The Free Software Foundation Europe was an active participant in the Commission’s investigation.

  • Government

    • US government makes move toward software freedom

      Remember the governmental regulations that SourceForge ran afoul of, requiring us to keep users from certain countries from downloading certain software? Today the US government made a move toward software freedom when it issued amendments to its regulations to allow individuals in some of the affected countries more privileges.

    • Saving Becta: a great new open source venture

      This post follows swiftly on from last week’s blog in which I touted BECTA’s demise. Things in edu-world after this weekend are looking much worse if you believe Ed Balls the Labour Secretary of State for Education and Michael Gove the Shadow Secretary.

      Mr Balls is looking for £300 million in school cuts, he has identified £100 million so far and £40 million will come directly out of BECTA (but not abolished, note). Mr Gove has announced a root and branch review of both the National Curriculum and the Examination Boards. Simply put he favours a return to a simpler more ‘traditional’ curriculum…circa 1980′s by the look of it (pre-Microsoft?).

      [...]

      I love my Sony E-reader, I covet the latest Kindle but I hate buying books on-line.

      Three things really annoy me.

      1) The on-line buying experience is miserable. So much ‘security’ with OS specific (Microsoft wouldn’t you know?) client software to keep control of the DRM stuff that so obsesses publishers.

      2) The cost. You can often get much the same book for much the same price from your local store. Duh, where are the printing and distribution costs? You can’t kid me that producing digital books is ‘hard’, it’s not.

  • Licensing

    • Mozilla Public License to get overhaul in 2010

      The 10-year-old Mozilla Public License will be updated by the end of 2010.

      At the open source organization’s weekly meeting Monday, Mozilla Corp president Mitchell Baker announced that the MPL needs to be refreshed. It’s not clear if there will be any major league changes to the hybrid license. It appears that the higher ups want the language updated, the terms simplified and the license modernized.

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code 2010 in Starting Blocks

      Search engine maker Google is again providing scholarships in 2010 for student open source works. Information is now first hand this week in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe.

    • Cinecutie on Launchpad and sourceforge

      The reason of this choise is that the project now is a real fork and I need to use all free platforms I can. I’m not a Bazaar lover and so Sourceforge is used only as git repository, launchpad is used for bug tracking, features requests and, soon, as repository.

    • Free GSM stack in development

      Harald Welte, kernel hacker and operator of gpl-violations.org, has released the first code from the OsmocomBB project which is developing a complete, free and open source software GSM stack.

Leftovers

  • Browse the Web as it Looked in 1993

    Github user Alan Dipert has posted the source code for NCSA Mosaic 2.7 on the code-hosting website.

    You can download it and run it on any modern Linux installation. It seems to run on Ubuntu just fine, though PNG support is a little wonky. The good news is that the folks on Github are actively submitting patches.

  • Finance

    • U.S. Chamber of Commerce grows into a political force

      Reporting from Washington – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is building a large-scale grass-roots political operation that has begun to rival those of the major political parties, funded by record-setting amounts of money raised from corporations and wealthy individuals.

      The chamber has signed up some 6 million individuals who are not chamber members and has begun asking them to help with lobbying and, soon, with get-out-the-vote efforts in upcoming congressional campaigns.

    • Corn Madness

      For me, as for you, this is the second collapse. You had left USSR before it happened, while I was there to observe it as a child. I saw what happened when people were finally told that they were being had for seventy-odd years, and were offered a candy bar as consolation. Now, after all this, Russian society is finished. It grieves me to see the faces of Americans, who still believe something and wave their Constitution about, and to know that the same thing is about to happen to them. I think that the model which you have proposed will allow us to confront and to survive this collapse with dignity.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Groups Ramp Up Health Care Lobbying, Except AARP

      As President Obama moves ahead with health care reform, interest groups on both sides of the issue are again ramping up their lobbying efforts. Robert Zirkelbach of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry’s top lobbying group, said his industry is making “a big effort” to counteract attacks from Obama and other Democrats, who have pointed to hefty premium increases to show why health care reform is needed.

    • Expecting final push on health-care reform, interest groups rally for big finish

      Washington interest groups have burst back into action in hopes of bolstering or defeating a new Democratic push on health-care reform legislation, sparking another wave of rallies, lobbying efforts and costly advertising campaigns.

      The fresh round offers a clear signal that the industries and advocacy groups most likely to be affected view the coming weeks as the final battle in determining whether Democratic proposals become law.

    • Philip Morris Pushing Smoking Hard in Foreign Countries

      In the 1950s, more than half the U.S. population smoked. Now that number is down to just 21 percent of adults. As the domestic cigarette market shrinks, tobacco companies are taking their business to the developing world, where they don’t have to deal with pesky things like advocacy groups that oppose industry activity, smoking bans, and a populace that is aware of the health hazards of smoking.

      Now Philip Morris (PM) is playing hardball in lesser-developed countries to try and preserve their ability to market cigarettes however they want. On February 19, PM filed a lawsuit against Uruguay to try and force that country to withdraw a new law requiring 80 percent of each side of cigarette packs show graphic images depicting the health effects of smoking.

    • POLITICS: Fiction of Marja as City Was U.S. Information War

      For weeks, the U.S. public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan War against what it was told was a “city of 80,000 people” as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marja was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centres in Helmand.

    • Fooled You! The Military’s Afghanistan PR Fib

      ABC News perpetuated the myth the next day, in a story that referred to the “city of Marja” and claiming that the city and its surrounding area were “more heavily populated, urban and dense than other places the Marines so far have been able to clear and hold.” The rest of the news media fell in line, giving fake descriptions of a densely populated, urban Marja, often using the terms “city” and “town” interchangeably, without fact-checking the descriptions. On February 22, the Washington Post reported that the decision to launch the big offensive against Marja was intended largely to impress U.S. public opinion with the military’s effectiveness in Afghanistan by showing that it could achieve a “large and loud victory.” The false idea that Marja was a significantly large city center was an essential part of that message.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • US eases Cuba, Iran, Sudan sanctions to allow freer web

      The US treasury department has eased sanctions on Iran, Cuba and Sudan to help further the use of web services and support opposition groups.

      US technology firms will now be allowed to export online services such as instant messaging and social networks.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nakata Maho, founder of the OpenOffice.org Language project 04 (2004)


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  5. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  6. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  7. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  8. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  9. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  10. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  11. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  12. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  14. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  15. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  16. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  17. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  18. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  19. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  20. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  21. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  22. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  23. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  24. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  25. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  26. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  27. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  28. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  29. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    Links for the day



  30. Climate and Ecology Watch: News About a World Being Destroyed

    Links for the day


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