To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Original photo by Matthew Yohe, modified by Boycott Novell
Summary: Apple upsets some of the very same people who made the company what it is today, including some of the inspirers
Apple is likely to learn the hard way what Microsoft is still learning. Attacking developers is not a wise step to take. First of all, according to this bit of news from the EFF, “All Your Apps Belong to Apple” [if you develop for Apple platforms].
The entire family of devices built on the iPhone OS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) have been designed to run only software that is approved by Apple—a major shift from the norms of the personal computer market. Software developers who want Apple’s approval must first agree to the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement.
So today we’re posting the “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”—the contract that every developer who writes software for the iTunes App Store must “sign.” Though more than 100,000 app developers have clicked “I agree,” public copies of the agreement are scarce, perhaps thanks to the prohibition on making any “public statements regarding this Agreement, its terms and conditions, or the relationship of the parties without Apple’s express prior written approval.” But when we saw the NASA App for iPhone, we used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ask NASA for a copy, so that the general public could see what rules controlled the technology they could use with their phones. NASA responded with the Rev. 3-17-09 version of the agreement.
Here is another new post that’s titled “Why I don’t use Apple products”
1. Apple’s software is not open-source.
2. Apple is not open-anything.
3. They are even closed about other software you can install.
4. The final straw. Not only does Apple control exactly how you can use any Apple device, they now want to take away your choice to use any other device as well. This week they brought a lawsuit against HTC, the developer of the majority of Android phones, alleging 20 Apple patent violations. Many of these patents seem to be comprised of trivial ideas that should be non-patentable and/or ideas Apple itself stole from other companies. It is clear that Apple is scared of the consumer choice that competition brings and is scared of the innovation that is possible within the open Android framework. Patents were intended to promote independent innovation by protecting small inventors from being scooped by large established corporations. Apple is hijacking the patent system to protect the interests of their large corporation against any competition at all. This is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set that could stifle innovation for many years to come.
In the important realm of science, technology and ideas, I believe that the continual conversion of ideas and development effort into the private property of companies like Apple is a great threat to continued free innovation.
Apple is attacking Linux at this moment [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s using software patents. Earlier today (or yesterday) it turned out that Apple was also bullying Sun (patent extortion) over innovative software that Sun was offering to GNU/Linux users, so this aggression is nothing new. Here is some more information about that:
Former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has a nice insider take on the latest patent craze including how he sent Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates packing when they came looking for a fight.
In the case of Bill Gates, Schwartz said Gates tried to extract a licensing royalty for OpenOffice, a free productivity suite developed by Sun, because Gates said it copied Microsoft Office.
Schwartz responded by drawing comparisons between Microsoft’s .NET platform and Sun’s Java technology, which he believed was some of the inspiration for .NET. “We’ve looked at .NET, and you’re trampling all over a huge number of Java patents. So what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?” Schwartz asked. That brought the meeting to a hasty close, he said.
The president of the FFII also found the following news gem this morning:
Apple talks tough to handset makers
Citing “industry checks,” Reiner writes that:
“Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple’s way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors.
“Our checks also suggest that these warning shots are meaningfully disrupting the development roadmaps for would-be iPhone killers. Rival software and hardware teams are going back to the drawing board to look for work-arounds. Lawyers are redoubling efforts to gauge potential defensive and offensive responses. And strategy teams are working to chart OS strategies that are better hedged.”
Why pick on HTC? Reiner speculates that as the earliest and most aggressive user of Android, HTC was the perfect proxy for Apple’s real target: Google (GOOG). It helped that Apple and HTC didn’t have any supplier relationships that could be disrupted by a protracted legal battle.
Apple continues to show that it’s not cool and gentle. Au contraire — Apple is becoming quite a bully, maybe because of arrogance. It is indicated above that Apple’s behaviour has begun turning developers and potential customers away. █
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D.”
–Steve Jobs, Apple CEO
“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”
Summary: The latest embarrassments from the BBC, including discrimination against users of GNU/Linux
James Randi correctly pointed out that “some things are easily accepted because they are repeated so often” (watch what he says towards the end). Our disappointment with the BBC is no news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and the BBC is no news, either. Many reasons were given here before.
A regular reader wrote to us about “Ashley Highfield, Microsoft, and the BBC,” explaining again this incestuous relationship that we covered here before, sometimes concentrating on Ashley Highfield in particular [1, 2, 3]. “So he’s been ‘working with’ Microsoft since 2006,” writes our reader, “spends ages slowing down the adoption of iPlayer and then goes full time at Microsoft. Meanwhile, some time back we have legal challenges to iPlayer from Murdoch, who also happens to be in talks with Microsoft. No doubt Microsoft promised him he would make lots of money if he became their attack dog against Google. What a long term devious strategy by his Billness.”
“Meanwhile, some time back we have legal challenges to iPlayer from Murdoch, who also happens to be in talks with Microsoft.”
–AnonymousLast week we showed that after private debates between Murdoch and Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], Murdoch said that he was "ready to sue" Google. This is now corroborated by CNET. But anyway, this post is mostly about Highfield.
To quote this week’s news from The Guardian, ‘”This is a big moment – we are taking out our slingshots and taking on Goliath,” said the managing director and vice-president of consumer and online at Microsoft UK, Ashley Highfield, adding that he believed Bing met a real desire from both consumers and advertisers”…’
Our reader adds this much older reference from the BBC, which says: “Ashley Highfield, director of the BBC’s new media division, shared a platform with Microsoft boss Bill Gates at a technology conference in Las Vegas.”
It also says: “Mr Highfield demonstrated how a system like iMP could work on a computer running Microsoft’s updated Windows Vista operating system as part of a potential home entertainment solution…”
Wonderful. Today we found out (via Popey) that the BBC does even more to ensure that iPlayer is blocking/neglecting Free software users.
The events of the past two weeks (here, here, here and here) have clarified the BBC’s stance on allowing interoperability with open-source iPlayer clients. I have therefore decided to withdraw get_iplayer with immediate effect.
Ian Hunter’s post (Managing Editor, BBC Online) provided very clear guidance on the way the BBC feels about open-source applications accessing iPlayer streams. I have no desire act against the BBC’s wishes in this respect.
Via ThistleWeb we found “More BBC / MS incest” (his words), which can be found right here in The Times:
The system was launched by Ashley Highfield, Microsoft’s UK consumer and online managing director, who had been one of the key figures behind the development of the BBC’s iPlayer.
The iPlayer has been remarkably successful in Britain, regularly dealing with more than 40 million programme requests a month.
However, Mr Highfield insisted that Microsoft’s product, which has been in testing for the past six months, is superior to the iPlayer. “Not all video players are equal,” he said. “Our average viewer watches for 25 minutes, significantly higher than other online services. It shows we’re doing more than slapping on any programme for people to watch.”
The technology company has secured deals with a number of television studios and broadcasters such as Endemol, the maker of Big Brother; RDF Media, which created Location, Location, Location; and BBC Worldwide.
Who is this guy kidding? Does the BBC not realise that hiring people like Highfield has become a total embarrassment that leads to resentment from the British public? There are quite a few other BBC executives who were hired from Microsoft UK, including Highfield's successor. It’s almost as though they discovered a new host that also enjoys the ability to deliver (or deny) content and misinformation. Such relationships between national media and corporations are always dangerous. █
“[W]e should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”
Summary: Microsoft plants another flag in W3C, MonoDevelop pushes .NET at Novell or elsewhere, and Vista 7 continues to repel businesses
OUR LATEST post about the W3C has made the front page of Slashdot and almost immediately we found the familiar trolls attacking the messenger (a subject that we wrote about before [1, 2, 3, 4]). Jeremy Allison actually defended us by saying: “Jeff [Jaffe] was *definitely* one of the architects Novell/Microsoft deal, and had been part of the leadership for at least a year when it was finalized. I know. I was there.”
“Jeff [Jaffe] was *definitely* one of the architects Novell/Microsoft deal…”
–Jeremy AllisonAllison responded to the trolls and added: “don’t let facts get in the way of your post.” The funny thing is that some trolls are then attacking the messenger here too (the messenger who defends the messenger), which makes them — the trolls — hypocrites. The thread needs to be watched carefully in order for this claim to be understood. But anyway, based on this brand new page, Microsoft has already planted a flag in W3C and it rewrites history while it’s at it. Let’s not forget SVG, which Microsoft now pretends to have befriended [1, 2].
Over at Novell, it’s business as usual. Mono and Moonlight are key products and MonoDevelop is improved to encourage development with them. It’s all about empowering Microsoft Windows through its APIs.
It ought to be mentioned that Vista 7 continues to suffer difficulties because large businesses overwhelmingly reject it in RTM form, as expected all along [1, 2]. Pogson argues that “Things are not Rosy for “7″.”
They don’t want the public to hear any negatives about Vista-recycled. Now they have to worry that fewer will migrate from XP to “7″ or that migrations will be delayed. Poor babies. The longer XP hangs around, the more will migrate to GNU/Linux because it is an actual improvement and it’s faster. The patch rate of that other OS is the only thing fast about that other OS. Having to install a lot of patches on top of a retail licensed OS is not what they want a lot of consumers seeing, but it is happening.
There are many important releases of GNU/Linux just around the corner. We have seen and documented signs that many homes and businesses continue to migrate, at least into a dual-boot mode. █
“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: The same old myths that Microsoft spreads in the media contradict reality and fact; the GNU/Linux userbase resists hostile intervention
YESTERDAY we gave a new example of Microsoft TEs smearing GNU/Linux in the technology media. SJVN has politely responded to the same FUD without exposing the messenger, who is a former Microsoft employee whose job still appears to be boosting of Microsoft (we have gathered many examples to show this and got in touch with the actual person, who politely denied it).
Here are the rebuttals to particular technical points that were exaggerations, lies, and spin (for example, the typical suggestion that GNU/Linux needs to look and act like Windows in order to succeed).
I found it more than a little sad that someone in 2010 could still think that Linux is “still a non-starter on the desktop.” Please — wake up: We’re all Linux desktop users now.
No matter what you’re running on your desktop — Windows 7, Snow Leopard, XP, whatever — you use the Internet, right? And you use Google to search? You talk to your friends on Facebook, Twitter of some other social network, yes? Then congratulations — you’re a Linux user.
Thanks to the Web, desktop Linux is everywhere. The old desktop metaphor is dying. Every day that goes by the lines between what used to be a desktop, a server, and the network keep blurring. Don’t think so? Answer me this: How much work could you get done without access to the Internet?
For starters how do these places collect their statistics? What websites do they pull their data from? The content of a webpage very much determines the type of operating system that a person is likely to view it on. For instance these are the operating system statistics from the last month for my own (primarily Linux-focused) blog :
* Windows: 44.4%
* OSX: 8.03%
* Linux: 44.03%
* Other: 3.54%
Beyond just looking at the source of web statistics of operating systems, when it comes to the global market as a whole, you have to consider the countless systems that are offline or are rarely connected to the internet. Unlike OSX where you can count the systems by the amount of Apple hardware sold or Mircosoft’s Windows where they can count the number of activations, a single Linux ISO download can account for multiple (sometimes even hundreds) of offline (or online) installations.
Truth be told, will we ever truly know the precise market share of each operating system? No, we will not. From my four sources here (and others you can find around the internet) I’m inclined to believe that currently Windows floats somewhere around 88%, OSX around 8%, Linux somewhere close to 2%, and the rest can get lumped into that wonderful “other” category.
What do you think? Know of another credible source for market share statistics regarding operating systems that I didn’t mention? Let me know!
This is an issue that we explored several times before. Here at Boycott Novell we get similar percentages (similar to the above). In a way, Boycott Novell is a ‘vacuum’ of GNU/Linux traffic in the sense that it is one among many GNU/Linux sites that ‘deplete’ from the presence of GNU/Linux users in sites that give away their users’ privacy (for Microsoft- and Apple-sponsored firms like Net Applications).
Speaking of this Web site, there seems to be misunderstanding when it comes to the effect of Boycott Novell (especially when it comes to so-called divisiveness); The site actually addresses potential problems, it never strives to divide, but where a division does exist it’s often a case of people who cross over (for money) to a side that’s hostile towards GNU/Linux. Shane Shields has just explained why it’s OK if “the Linux community is fragmented” and here is part of his argument:
So while the Linux community may look fragmented to those outside looking in, in reality it has a stronger, larger bond than any proprietary company can ever hope to achieve. It is the individuality of it’s members which drive and motivate innovation as well as the shedding of unneeded cruft. What is good in Linux quickly propagates through the rest of the Linux community and what is not fades away.
This is, in my humble opinion, the reason why Linux is becoming so powerful and in a surprisingly short time has surpassed the capabilities of older, more established operating systems. This is why proprietary companies have made efforts to either embrace or destroy the Linux community. Those who have embraced Linux have not lost anything and those who tried to destroy it have, in some cases, lost everything.
Microsoft has tried to embrace Novell; to a great extent it succeeded, but Novell is rejected by many who are using GNU/Linux, so this ‘fragmentation’ can be seen as a defensive one, and thus not a detrimental one. █
Summary: HowSoftwareIsBuilt.com is paid by Microsoft, promotes Microsoft, but it runs on the very same platform Microsoft is ridiculing and extorting
Microsoft — or perhaps someone else whom Microsoft definitely pays — has created
howsoftwareisbuilt.com, where Microsoft apparently tries to promote itself and ‘embrace’ the FOSS world (here is the latest interview). In the homepage, the site also links to the company’s anti-GNU/Linux pages (“compare” site). How demeaning. Notice the footer which clearly states: “How Software is Built is sponsored by Microsoft Corp.”
Now, look at a server query’s results:
OS Web Server Last changed Linux Apache/2.2.13 Unix mod_ssl/2.2.13 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 mod_bwlimited/1.4 28-Nov-2009
It does not look like an Akamai-type response and the Web site uses WordPress, which is extremely hard to run on non-UNIX-compliant platforms. We are not entirely sure who’s behind the site, as only a hosting company is listed:
Registrant Contact: midPhase Services, Inc. midPhase Services, Inc. () Fax: 223 W. Jackson Blvd #1014 Chicago, 60606 US Administrative Contact: midPhase Services, Inc. midPhase Services, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org) +1.3123861630 Fax: 223 W. Jackson Blvd #1014 Chicago, 60606 US Technical Contact: midPhase Services, Inc. midPhase Services, Inc. (email@example.com) +1.3123861630 Fax: 223 W. Jackson Blvd #1014 Chicago, 60606 US
It is worth adding that other such Microsoft Web sites run GNU/Linux simply because it’s better [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. As we have shown before, Microsoft wants to present F/OSS as just a “development method” (we showed this a lot around 2008), not a licensing/sharing paradigm/model, so the site’s name, howsoftwareisbuilt.com, is a good fit. █
It’s spring time in Texas.
The Bluebonnets are fixin’ to get ready to bloom, today’s temperature is going to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a solid date for the second annual Linux Against Poverty is, with a fair amount of certainty… official.
Clean machines that I installed in these three months are coming back to me. Even my own machine that I use to connect to a GNU/Linux terminal server slowed down. That was the last straw. I cannot afford the time to keep fixing XP. Last night I had an opportunity to shut down that other OS on another PC.
A teacher who is doing a fine job managing some rowdy junior high school students has lately been working late on his PC. He told me recently that it had lost its connection to the Internet. I looked at it and indeed, it no longer knew about the Atheros chip. There was no sign of malware so I expect it was some automatic update clobbered the DLINK installation. There were .DLLs missing, too. I told him I would install GNU/Linux and it would hold its configuration. He said, “OK”. The guy is only recently a PC user so I doubt he understood the implications but his needs were simple. He said he had no files to back up.
That’s this machine, of course, with a Grub-to-console boot time of 23 seconds (including the time it takes to snap the framebuffer into place), a full-workload memory footprint of less than 18Mb and taking up around 1Gb of hard drive space. Jump in any time.
The Q110 is a marked improvement over the Q100 for movie playback and thin-client computing, especially in Ubuntu Remix for Netbooks.
Linux is cool, Linux users know that much. There are a lot of cool things Linux, and to kick off, here is one of them: A linux beer machine.
Only 12 days after the release of Linux 2.6.33, the merge window for version 2.6.34 of Linux has now been closed and Linus Torvalds has announced the first preview release of the upcoming 2.6.34 Linux kernel.
But wait it gets better, Torvalds noted that approximately 175,000 lines of code were deleted too. Over half of the changes were in drivers and approximately 850 developers contributed.
If you’ve been longing to wrap your baby, significant other, or even your coffee in Linux-y goodness, now you can — while supporting a valuable FOSS community resource at the same time. Linux.com launched a new store filled with all kinds of geeky t-shirts, baby onesies, mugs, and other fun paraphernalia.
The Linux Foundation, the non-profit that supports the growth of the Linux kernel, has launched a merchandise store where people can purchase a newly launched line of original T-shirts, hats, mugs and other items that reflect “geek culture.”
Besides the cool new features in version 0.5, Shotwell already had other nice options like: publish photos to Facebook and Flickr, import photos from any digital camera supported by gPhoto, automatically organize events containing photos taken at the same time, reduce red-eye and adjust the exposure, saturation, tint, and temperature of your photos and many more which you can check out @ Shotwell homepage.
In my tests, Listen 0.6.5 used around 30mb of RAM but I didn’t have too many music files on the computer on which I’ve tested it (only around 1000).
Ask any knowledgeable mobile user, and she will tell you that the best way to securely access the Internet in public places is through a VPN (virtual private network) connection. So if you enjoy sipping coffee at a local cafe while checking email and browsing the Web, a secure VPN connection is a good solution to protect the data traveling to and from your machine. Although you can go the DIY way and set up your own VPN server, using a dedicated VPN service provider would save you a lot of work and time. There are a few reputable VPN service providers out there, but for my money, StrongVPN is the best of the bunch. It offers reliable service and excellent support at competitive prices. I’m not affiliated with StrongVPN in any way, but I’ve been using their VPN solution for almost a year, and it has been a smooth ride so far.
Despite all the talk about the mythical Year of the Linux Desktop, somewhere in the last few years, free software passed a milestone without anyone noticing. At some point, after years of struggling to rival proprietary desktops, both GNOME and KDE have caught up in features and narrowed the gap in usability. We are now at a point where free software is often an innovator on the desktop.
The first Open-PC survey is now finished. Over 12,000 people participated in our survey with interesting results: 48% choose KDE as the Desktop. 42% choose GNOME and 9% choose Xfce. 52% chose Amarok as mediaplayer and 88% choose Firefox as default Browser.
In all tests, KDE 4.4.1 had both the highest minimal memory usage and highest average system memory usage, while LXDE 0.5 had the lowest.
4.) Easier Theme Installation
Another issue I had with KDE (even with the KDE3.x series) is that themes are so easy to install in GNOME, but a pain in KDE. While installing new themes is still easiest to do in GNOME (download, drag, and drop) KDE SC 4.4 has made strides in this area, finally. It can only get better from here.
So, there you have it. Those are features/changes I wished for during previous KDE releases that have all materialized into reality. With such progress, it’s clear that KDE is moving at the speed of light, and I predict KDE SC 4.5 will be the height of the KDE4 series. What am I hoping for in that release? Stay tuned next week to find out, and be ready to share your ideas so we can help make KDE the best it can be.
The wait is over! Tex and the Rippers announced PCLinuxOS 2010 on 6th March, 2010. Final iso is very close.
PCLinuxOS-2010.beta1 has gathered all the goodies: latest 126.96.36.199 kernel with BFS scheduler, full ext4 support, KDE 4.4.1 SC and the latest applications. Besides, users having more than 4Gig of RAM can pull in a PAE kernel from the repo.
PCLinuxOS Logo The PCLinuxOS developers have announced the release of the first beta for the 2010 edition of their Linux distribution. The distribution’s goal is to be “radically simple” and easy to use. The latest development release includes a number of changes and updates.
Once upon a time, PCLinuxOS was the biggest desktop distro. It came from nowhere straight to the top, beating Ubuntu and other big distros.
But as fast as it rose to the top, even faster was its decline.
The next release was no where near as popular as it’s predecessor. The distro seemed to have faded into the giant pool of small Linux distros.
Is PCLOS once again a serious contender for the desktop with the 2010 release?
One week later than scheduled, the Fedora Project has released the first and only alpha version of its Fedora 13 Linux distribution, aka Goddard, which is scheduled for release in mid May. With the feature freeze having come into effect a month ago, the first pre-release version of the distribution, which is being advertised under the release slogan “Rock it”, now contains all major features likely to find their way into Fedora 13.
I like Jaunty. I might decide to stick with it. Given that the truth is that it’ll still be perfectly fine, with only security updates and anything 3rd party repositories provide, I don’t really see much wrong with it. But if I have to change it, there’s only a few options.
I’ve gone off Debian and Ubuntu based systems. the DEB package format isn’t bad, but Debian and Ubuntu, along with most of their derivatives, seem to make things too easy.
As you have probably heard, the next release of Ubuntu, 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”) will occur during the final days of April 2010. My production systems (the ones on which I do my writing and photography) are running Ubuntu 8.04 and I have decided to upgrade them to the upcoming version. This is the first of five-part series that will document my transition to the new version.
In a past life, I ran the QA department of a software company and I often employ these skills to perform software testing on new Linux releases. This case will be no different. The first beta release of 10.04 is scheduled for March 18 so we will begin our work then. Testing is not just something I do for fun (it isn’t) but it’s important to look for problems that might interfere with the deployment. By checking for problems now, we have a better chance of getting them fixed before the final release.
The official derivative of the Ubuntu is Kubuntu. Instead of GNOME, Kubuntu uses KDE graphical environment, and shares its underlying system along with Ubuntu; Kubuntu is a project of Ubuntu.
Customizations in Kubuntu
Kubuntu can be totally customized according to the user’s requirement. Kubuntu’s intention is to make the transition easier for the users from different operating systems by giving the allowance to a desktop layout that is similar.
Architectures like AMD64 and Intel x86 are presently supported by the Kubuntu’s desktop version. As Kubuntu is derived from Ubuntu, any kind of software that is applicable for Ubuntu is available also for Kubuntu!
Wyse Technology, the prominent thin client company, is preparing a “completely new product in the consumer and enterprise space” that leverages Ubuntu Linux, The VAR Guy has learned. Our resident blogger is nearly sworn to secrecy… Still, here are some preliminary details about the emerging Wyse-Ubuntu effort. Plus, the implications for Canonical (Ubuntu’s chief promoter) and channel partners that focus on thin clients.
The Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD has ditched the boring ‘black on white text’ menu approach and instead delivers up a GUI menu. Whilst we’re still 2 months away from the final installer design, here’s a quick peek at it as it currently exists: -
So you’ve download and burnt your Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD, you pop it into your disc tray and whirr up.
Dave Walker, a Ubuntu community leader who was invited in Canonical’s offices in London to preview the style changes and give opinions on how the community will interpret the new branding, wrote about his ‘behind the scenes’ experience with the design team.
Now, almost two years later, Shuttleworth seems ready to put his money where his mouth is with the coming release of Lucid Lynx, the first Ubuntu to break out of its dark brown motif and orange “Human” theme since the distribution was introduced in 2004.
In a blog entry this month, Jono Bacon, Ubuntu community manager at Canonical, offered the public a glimpse of the new look that the popular Linux distribution will sport when it is launched in April.
“The new style of Ubuntu is driven by the theme ‘Light,’” Bacon writes. “We’ve developed a comprehensive set of visual guidelines and treatments that reflect that style, and are updating key assets like the logo accordingly. The new theme takes effect in 10.04 LTS and will define our look and feel for several years.”
Good interface design is crucial to making users comfortable with the tools in front of them. It makes it easy for them to find what they want and get the task at hand done. Whether they do this with a black background or a brown one or an orange one doesn’t really matter all that much.
Having been a long-time user of Ubuntu Linux I can say with certainty that there are far more pressing issues when it comes to interface design than the choice of colours. The menu system, almost entirely based on Gnome, is still incredibly unfriendly to users. I know much has been done over the years to improve this but there is some way to go.
The competitive dynamic between Linux/Android and OS X can be understood in the same way. OS X is playing a control game and Android a ubiquity one. We can expect the outcome to be the same: when the bazaar meets the walled garden, the walls will eventually come down, crushing the life out of the garden.
This is why Symbian is now open-source in spite of having no inheritance from Unix-land; its backers have figured out that a control strategy collects short-term gains over a ubiquity strategy but simply cannot compete in the longer term against open-source Android and open-source Maemo. Apple will learn this, to its cost, too. Because Steve Ballmer may be an evil maniac, but when he yelled “developers, developers, developers!”, he was right. In the war for market-share, allies are better for your long-term prospects than walls, and ubiquity will always eventually triumph over control.
My wife and I picked up new ‘phones’ last week. Penny wanted a phone with a slide out keyboard so she would be able to text more easily. I wanted a Droid.
The Droid is a 4 inch machine running a slim Linux Kernel called Android. The whole thing is orchestrated by Google. The machine comes with 16 gigs of flash memory, a 5 megapixel camera, audio player that plays several different formats of music including MP3s, GPS, 3.7 inch touch screen, slide out keyboard, WiFi, wireless broadband, a very sophisticated (free) software installation framework, and, oh yeah, a phone.
Teachers from the pilot also tell me that their instruction has changed since they started using cell phones in class.
In the end I think that Android will crush Google’s other operating system, ChromeOS because for the foreseeable future most people will still want to be able to take their applications, data, entertainment and games offline, or at least on a limited connection. That is something that Android is much better designed to do than Chrome.
Drewry says the Google Chrome OS has auto-updating and sandbox features to reduce malware exposure and will warn users when they come upon a website that is known to have malware. A developer mode can be turned on thanks to a switch under the battery, which would sacrifice the embedded security in favor of freedom to browse wherever one wishes. It’s meant to give developers the range to play with the open source code in order to come up with new ideas and apps.
There’s also a bigger story here: Parallels provides the base software foundation for many VARs and software developers that are deploying SaaS (software as a service) applications. Now, that SaaS ecosystem may be more inclined to give Google’s Chrome OS a look.
The Jetsons kitchen of the future is upon us with SnS Design’s Ikan kitchen appliance. Either that, or we’re looking at quite possibly the most expensive and glorified grocery app yet. With its 7-inch touch screen, WiFi integration, and voice input capability, the device builds a shopping list from items you scan or input before disposing of them. Oh, and it runs Android. Simply place this on the counter or mount it near the trash can and add +50 productivity point to your life!
The bot they recently finished building — Truckbot — is still relatively simple. It’s got an HTC G1 phone for a brain, riding on top of a chassis with some wheels and treads. All it can do is roll around on a tabletop, turn and head off in a specified direction. When I visit the workshop where they’re building it, Heath and Hickman show how it can use the phone’s compass to make itself point to the south. But the duo have much more ambitious plans in mind.
The two-day Game Developers Conference kicks off today in San Francisco and Google will be there promoting Android. In fact, members of the Android team will be presenting a handful of sessions including development in Java and/or C++.
Our full review of the Motorola Backflip should be up in a few days, but a few words of wisdom in the mean time: Don’t buy it. Between its crazy form-factor and the hidden trackpad tucked on the back of the display, everything we took as merits at face value have devolved into novelties.
Earlier this year at CES, Freescale revealed a $200 smartbook tablet reference design that they were shopping around to partners.
It was a beautiful tablet for the price, powered by a 1GHz i.MX515 ARM processo. Other specs included 512MB of DDR2 RAM, a 1,024 x 600 multitouch screen, between 4GB to 64GB of internal storage, a microSD expansion slot, optional 3G WWAN module, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, a USB 2.0 socket, audio in / out, 3 megapixel camera, inbuilt 3-axis accelerometer, an ambient light sensor and a 1,900mAh battery.
This is probably another development that Microsoft won’t be too happy about, but it’s not like they can stop you from tinkering with your phone, right? Now, after the HTC Touch HD has been hacked to run Android, we’ve got wind of a HTC Touch Pro2 running Ubuntu Linux 8.04. Of course, the OS is really meant for laptops and desktops, but again, nobody can stop you from having some fun, right?
Haiku OS, the nine year old project to develop an open-source BeOS-compatible operating system, is hoping it will receive a new OpenGL stack this year. The Haiku project, like X.Org, will be participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code project where the search engine giant pays many student developers to work on code for various open-source projects. There’s a long list of ideas for where Haiku OS could use some help, and one of them includes a hardware 3D acceleration stack.
Many years ago, Felipe Castro learned to type with the help of the proprietary Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing application. But though Castro is from Brazil, he had to use an English keyboard layout. That got him thinking. When Castro, an engineer by trade, decided to improve his programming skills, he decided to create a touch typing tutor, Klavaro, and make it keyboard- and language-independent.
This week I am very excited because we released Zenoss Core 2.5.2 with a cool new feature, Xen hypervisor monitoring.
Digium Asterisk, the open source IP PBX platform, just received a major vote of confidence from a key channel partner. Synnex Corp., a distributor that supplies more than 15,000 resellers in North America, has agreed to promote Digium’s Switchvox to channel partners. Here are the implications for the unified communications market and the emerging open source IT channel.
The biggest science story to hit the mainstream media in the last year was of course the big switch on at CERN. What made it such a great story for me was not just the sheer and audacious enormity of the enterprise or the humbling nobility of the colossal experiment but the story behind the story. That story was the absolutely central role of free software philosophy at the heart of everything CERN was (and is) doing. Despite the false start, CERN’s search for the Higgs Boson has got into its stride. The same cannot be said for the car crash that is climate science, which may have inflicted terminal damage on the reputation of science. I believe the rigorous application of free software methodology in conjunction with the Fourth Paradigm may save it.
StatusNet, the open-source microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, just announced the launch of the public beta of its StatusNet Cloud Service. Thanks to this, you can now easily host your own Twitter-like community for your blog, club or company.
Cord Blomquist did a good post over at TLF about the USTR/open source software issue. It set off a lively debate in the comments that, I think, reflected a common misconception about what free software is and why it’s valuable.
Before digging into that, I should be clear that I don’t generally think it’s a good idea for government software procurement decisions to be dictated from the top down. I’ve had first-hand experience with working at the bottom of large IT hierarchies, and so I know it’s incredibly annoying to have distant bureaucrats constrain the tools you’re allows to use. I wouldn’t endorse a proposal for the federal CTO to mandate that all federal agencies use free software.
The same point applies to software. The difference between Windows Server 2008 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux isn’t just that one was produced by humorless suits in Redmond and the other was produced by dirty hippies in Raleigh. It’s not even that one costs a lot of money and the other one is free. (Support costs will often dwarf licensing fees anyway).
The key difference is that proprietary software comes with a lot of restrictions about how it may be used—restrictions that don’t apply to free software. Probably the most important freedom free software gives provides is the freedom to switch vendors. If a government agency chooses a proprietary software package, the agency is likely to find itself with serious lock-in problems down the road. Switching vendors will mean switching software platforms, which will involve large conversion and training costs. In contrast, if an agency chooses a free software-based solution, the lock-in problems will be less severe. The agency can easily bring in a new firm to provide support for the existing software. Or it may not need to hire outside contractors at all—the internal IT staff may be capable of fully supporting the system internally.
Goodness spurs goodness, they found: A single act can influence dozens more.
In a game where selfishness made more sense than cooperation, acts of giving were “tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who are directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more,” wrote political scientist James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and medical sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University.
ACCORDING TO a recent study random acts of kindness have a very positive impact on humans and regularly spread this good feeling to others.
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.
SQL-based relational database management systems (RDBMS) are beginning to be challenged by a new movement of NoSQL databases. Among those NoSQL databases is the open source CouchDB, which provides an alternative to the relational datastores used by RDBMS vendors — and which is banking on cloud-based deployment options to sweeten its appeal to users.
On the theoretical side the answer starts with a reality most people want to ignore: the java ecosystem that’s grown up around mobile phones, cards, and other smart devices is only marginally related to the java ecosystem that’s grown up around enterprise applications – and there’s no threat to mobile java here at all.
So, what does this mean for Oracle? Well, obviously less than it would have meant for Sun. Whenever two large technology companies merge, you always expect some attrition… both voluntary and involuntary. That’s what makes M&A in this industry so difficult, especially when Open Source companies are involved. With an Open Source company, much or what you’re acquiring when you buy a company is the people. If those people start leaving in droves, much of the value of the company goes with it.
Today is my last day of employment at Sun (well, it became Oracle on March 1st in the UK but you know what I mean). I am a few months short of my 10th anniversary there (I joined at JavaOne in 2000) and my 5th anniversary as Chief Open Source Officer. I hope you’ll forgive a little reminiscence.
I am standing in the election for the OpenSolaris Governing Board one last time (this would be my third consecutive term if elected, so it has to be the last time). Each term has been quite different to the others, and I have no doubt this next year will be very different again for the OpenSolaris community.
It seems every day we hear about hideous cost overruns on public sector projects in the UK. What makes it even more frustrating is that open source, a real no-brainer for many applications, is rarely given the chance to prove itself here. Which means, of course, that there are no case studies to refer to, so no one gives open source a chance etc. etc.
Against that background, a new paper by Darrel Ince, Professor of Computing at the Open University, which rejoices in the deceptively-bland title of “The Re-development of a Problem System”, is pretty exciting stuff
A Green Party representative has accused the London government of failing to fully exploit open source software, but activists say the Greater London Authority (GLA) is doing well… at least compared to central government.
Despite a central government commitment to use open source, London’s local government has too many plans “in the pipeline” and not enough actually delivered, said Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the GLA: “It is clear that nothing is likely to happen without some major push towards progress”.
“If the Mayor wants efficiency savings to balance the budget and avoid frontline cuts, he should be doing more to promote open source solutions,” said Johnson. “Free and open source software could reduce long-term costs significantly, and promote a spirit of co-operation and collaboration within London government.”
Technology: The Brazil Portal is developed with Plone 3.1.7 and runs on Zope Application Server 2.10.6, programmed in Python 2.4.4. “The use of free platforms is the direction of the federal government. And the choice of the tools for the construction of the Portal would not be different. So, we chose Zope/Plone,” explained Silvia Sardinha, Director of the Internet and Events for Secom.
Slovenia’s court of Auditors and Slovenia’s anti-corruption authority have received an anonymous complaint regarding the government’s procuring of proprietary software licences for computer operating systems and office applications, Slovenian media reported last Month.
The complainant, using the pseudonym ‘Kranjski Tux’, is asking the government’s auditors and anti-corruption authority to investigate the ministry’s negotiations and licence agreement between the Ministry for Public Administration with Microsoft between 2002 and 2010. According to the complaint these deals are violating procurement rules, ignore basic economic principles and are hindering competition between software suppliers.
A new initiative seeks to give future data centers an open source twist by developing an open and free engineering framework for data center designers and builders. Such standardized approaches could “remove much mystery behind the work that happens in designing facilities,” according to Nokia’s Michael Manos, an adiviser on the project.
As Peter Suber puts it on his blog, Open Access News, “this is big.” Why? First of all, it’s MIT, and anything that its faculty senate adopts unanimously is likely to become a de facto standard. In this case, MIT’s faculty has agreed that research articles authored by members of the faculty will be made freely available on the web, without permission or payment barriers to the reader.
The 2009 Report, which also celebrates the first five years of FOI in Scotland, is being presented electronically for the first time through an interactive website. Additional features in the report include video commentary, interactive tables, user stories, and detailed chronologies charting the development of FOI in Scotland over its first five years. Hard copies of the report will be available by contacting the Commissioner’s office on 01334 464610.
Open source discourages laziness (because everyone can see the corners you’ve cut), it can get bugs fixed or at least identified much faster (many eyes), it promotes collaboration, and it’s a great training ground for skills development. I see no reason why open data shouldn’t bring the same opportunities to data projects.
Would you like some Libre content to go with those free and open source applications? One of the initial challenges that the open source community has had in supplanting proprietary solutions is not just the software itself, but the entire ecosystem that has built up around proprietary software. Case in point: While you can find top-notch free and open source tools to create artful documents, finding clip art and templates that are free is a much bigger challenge.
I love Wikipedia, and I am not alone (a Google search for “love Wikipedia” brings back 109,000,000 entries—almost 10x the number for hate). So if you love Wikipedia too (or even if you don’t), please share some of your ideas below.
Citing anti-competitive concerns, the Justice Department sued Election Systems & Software in order to force the company to divest itself of the voting machine assets it obtained from Premier Election Solutions last year.
Clark Hoyt, the NYT’s public editor, has a good post-mortem on l’affaire Zachary Kouwe, and asks whether “the culture of DealBook, the hyper-competitive news blog on which Kouwe worked” was partly to blame for his plagiarism.
It’s a good question, but also a dangerous one, because I fear it will help to keep blogs marginalized at the NYT and elsewhere: is there something inherent to the culture of blogging which breeds a degree of carelessness ill suited to a venerable newspaper?
The FDA has yet to approve stem cell therapies for general use in medicine, but that hasn’t stopped doctors in Colorado from providing them anyway. Chris Centeno and John Schultz have boldly formed Regenerative Sciences Inc. in Broomfield, Colorado. RSI provides its patients with the Regenexx procedure, an adult stem cell transplant that uses your own cells (autologous) to treat joint injuries and bone damage. There’s no surgery needed. A needle extracts bone marrow, RSI isolates the stem cells and cultures them in your own blood, and then these cells are injected into the area where they are needed.
“The current situation of indefinite retention of the DNA profiles of those arrested but not convicted is impossible to defend in light of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and unacceptable in principle,” the committee says in a report published on 8 March 2010.
Dnainspect Big Brother Watch has always been opposed to the retention of the DNA of innocent people on the National Database; click here to see the full list of blogposts we have written on the issue.
Mr. Schumer said employers would be able to buy a scanner to check the IDs for as much as $800. Small employers, he said, could take their applicants to a government office to like the Department of Motor Vehicles and have their hands scanned there.
The government is accelerating use of the scanners after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on approach to Detroit Dec. 25 by igniting explosives in his underpants.
The agency purchased 150 machines last year for $25 million from OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan unit of Hawthorne, California. They will be deployed to the 11 airports, starting today with Boston and within a week in Chicago. The devices already in place are made by New York-based L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.
Interestingly, he also said that technologies that intrude into privacy tend to be ineffective in preventing terrorism. Finally, Scheinin said this:
Full body scanners are ineffective in detecting a genuine terrorist threat if they do not reveal dangerous substances in body cavities, body folds or hand luggage. They may also give a false feeling of security and allow the real terrorists to adapt their tactics to the technology in use.
It may sound like a Monty Python sketch – but an ancient law allowing people on private land without a warrant if they are following a bee might still apply.
The law, aimed at protecting honey supplies, is one of 1,208 powers of entry in dozens of different Acts of Parliament unearthed by a Tory peer.
The initial rush to join the government’s ID card scheme appears to have eased, with applications from people in the Northwest running at an average of as little as 14.5 per working day.
Internal CIA documents reveal a meticulous protocol that was far more brutal than Dick Cheney’s “dunk in the water”
Under CSAS, a chief constable can give employees of local authorities or private companies limited powers such as the right to hand out on-the-spot fines for offences including disorder, truancy and littering; stopping vehicles for roadside tests and confiscating alcohol.
They have their own uniform and badge and can demand names and addresses as well as take photographs of offenders.
There are 1,667 so-called “accredited persons” in England and Wales with 109 organisations, including 31 private companies, involved across 26 forces.
A further 478 civilians have been given the power to stop vehicles to check for out-of-date tax discs.
EVERY dog owner in Britain will be forced to fork out up to £600 a year for insurance under new Labour plans to tackle so-called “devil dogs”.
US software company Cryptohippie have released a new piece of research (it is available to read by clicking here) addressing the extent to which states are electronically monitoring their citizens and ranking the results to produce a Premier League table of intrusive governments. The findings are typically depressing.
China is now the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet, as it powers a large industrial base primarily through the use of coal-fired power plants. However, many of those goods are immediately shipped overseas, often to the US and EU, which generate and use power far more efficiently. A new paper, which will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, now takes a look at the impact of outsourcing these carbon emissions by tracking CO2 based on a product’s point of use. For some Western European economies, the result is enormous: anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of their emissions come in the form of imported goods.
A piece in the latest issue of Science shows that there’s a considerable amount of methane (CH4) coming from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, where it had been trapped under the permafrost. There’s as much coming out from one small section of the Arctic ocean as from all the rest of the oceans combined. This is officially Not Good.
The autobiography of a former director of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) is likely to reignite fears about the safety of nuclear power, as Britain prepares for a new generation of reactors, by exposing the panic that rocked the industry two decades ago when a link was suggested between radiation and childhood leukaemia.
A recent report showed that, of the world’s 634 primate species, 48% are classified as threatened with extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “red list”.
Jeremy Bray received an e-mail message this morning with an unwelcome surprise: Amazon.com told him it had canceled its affiliate program, which provides small payments for referring customers, for everyone in the state of Colorado.
The reason? A state law, which Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter signed last week, slaps onerous new restrictions on large out-of-state sellers like Amazon, which said it has no choice but to end its marketing program in response.
European countries are blocking Wall Street banks from lucrative deals to sell government debt worth hundreds of billions of euros in retaliation for their role in the credit crunch.
Greek unions have called another national strike after PM George Papandreou unveiled yet more public-spending cuts in a bid to appease EU officials and international financiers.
After talks with visiting EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn, Mr Papandreou announced that public-sector salary bonuses at Christmas and Easter will be slashed by 30 per cent, while taxes on fuel, alcohol and cigarettes will be increased for the second time in two months. And he bumped VAT up from 19 to 21 per cent.
Today the Funny or Die crew took the fight for financial reform to a knew level, tapping the talents of reality TV star Heidi Montag who delivers the message that “with hidden fees and standard interest rate increases, that $11,000 jaw line can end up costing $50,000 dollars!” Montag is famous for her multiple plastic surgeries featured recently on the cover of People magazine.
Now saved, they are back to their old mischief with derivatives and swaps, including in sovereign debt. This may be one reason President Obama keeps Tim Geithner and the “Government Sachs” alums close to him (as in, keep your friends close and your enemies closer) — a reason beyond wanting to convey continuity or even keep Wall Street campaign contributions.
1. Why did Treasury and the Fed allow Lehman Bros. to collapse after they’d bailed out Fannie and Freddie and facilitated the sale of Bear Stearns?
Paulson does not say. The line at the time was that Treasury had no legal authority to intervene, but that was the extent of the information officials gave out. Paulson tells a long story (which has its own problems) about his efforts to coax different banks into buying Lehman, and then concludes with this: “Some in the group asked if we should revisit the idea of putting public money into Lehman, but Tim said there was no authority to do that.”
The International Brotherhood of Electric Workers fund filed the lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court, seeking to recover money for the company on behalf of other shareholders.
The International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, a shareholder in Goldman Sachs (GS), filed a lawsuit in Delaware which accuses the investment bank of overpaying its management and bankers. The union wants Goldman to give some of that money back to shareholders. The action also attempts to get Goldman’s management to make charitable contributions instead of them coming from the firm. Goldman views the giving as way to publicly defuse the outcry over its pay practices.
Charles Gasparino of the Fox Business Network believes that it’s Bess Levin, the snarky editor of Dealbreaker.com, who is portraying Goldman Sachs PR person Lucas Van Praag on Twitter.
Gasparino writes, “Bess Levin of the DealBreaker blog is one of several people posting tweets under the name Lucasvpraag, including one that takes aim at Matt Taibbi, the Rolling Stone writer who attacked Goldman businesses practices, and another in which Van Praag is alerting people that he is back on his low carb diet of ‘Filet of baby seal, asparagus.’
Charlie Gasparino, FOX Business News, recently talked about the Fake Lucas van Praag Twitter page. Lucas van Praag is Goldman Sachs (GS) Global Head of Corporate Communications who has not helped improve the GS image. Yet his “Fake” Twitter page has garnered a lot of attention. The comments are funny.
Goldman Sachs’ head of public relations, the sharp-tongued Lucas van Praag, has gone from deflecting negative publicity about his firm to taking barbs as the subject of a blistering Twitter parody, authored by a group of financial bloggers who are sharp-tongued snarks in their own right. The group includes Dealbreaker’s widely followed Bess Levin and Daily Intel’s Jessica Pressler.
It’s hard to distinguish their parody tweets from the utterances of the real van Praag, which is part of the fun.
For the bank to restore its public standing, the people running it must acknowledge there is something wrong with the way it does business
As always – we request the attention of Christine Varney, and the entire anti-trust arm of the US government, in claiming that Goldman Sachs has to be dismantled forcefully (as it will not happen voluntarily) before the societal implications of Goldman’s size become a destabilizing factor and potentially lead to war: civil or otherwise. In the meantime, Goldman’s warehousing of, and trading on, “asymmetric” information will continue, and be a persistent ridicule to wooden economists, who are still stuck with 18th century concepts of reality.
Senate negotiators are closing in on a deal to create a $50 billion trust fund from fees on large U.S. financial firms that likely will include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. and be used to wind down failing institutions, said a Senate aide and two people familiar with the talks.
Before you chug down another regular soda, or spoon sugar into your tea or coffee, consider this: There’s a heated debate going on over the health risks of consuming too much sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other caloric sweeteners.
On one side: Leading nutrition experts who believe that these sweeteners, including those used in soft drinks, tea, coffee and countless other foods and beverages, add empty calories to people’s diets and promote weight gain. And they say emerging scientific research indicates that consuming too much of these sweeteners may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
But HFCS manufacturers say their products don’t cause health problems or weight gain. To make their point, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is running a series of TV ads aimed at boosting the image of HFCS and convincing people that they are misled by marketing tactics that imply that products labeled “high-fructose corn syrup-free” are healthier than products with HFCS.
You know what’s even better than weird news? Weird news well-flavored with legal stupididy, that’s what. Our saga today starts with a shipping oddity; specifically the fact that Overclockers.com forum member Dreadrok ordered a Core i7 920 from Newegg and received a completely fake processor. It’s a good fake, too—if it weren’t for a few misspellings on the outside of the box, we’d believe it was completely legit, particularly if we didn’t take the time to scour the box looking for the telltales.
Of course, none of this would be getting as much attention if the company wasn’t trying to silence 800Notes and its users from saying why they felt the pitches were questionable.
Two IT employees at Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District have been put on administrative leave, and pictures taken from Webcams on school-issued computers have been turned over to the local police department, according to the attorney of one of the employees now on leave.
Two information-technology workers at a suburban Philadelphia school district that secretly activated webcams on students’ school-issued laptops are on paid leave amid an FBI wiretap investigation.
Lower Merion School District officials insist the move is not meant to suggest wrongdoing by the veteran employees. They have said the webcams were only activated to find missing laptops, and not for any rogue purpose.
In 2008, Toileta school in Plymouth was forced to remove CCTV from toilets after very significant protests from pupils and parents. In November last year, CCTV footage of children changing into sports kits in school changing rooms was seized by the police in Salford. Plainly, it was wrong to record such footage and you would think that such drastic action in these and other similar cases would be heeded by others. But, ironically given their educational mission, it seems that some schools just won’t learn.
I wasn’t shocked that it happened, because I have read so many stories recently about people in low level positions of authority who assume they have a ‘right to spy’ that trumps any else’s right to privacy. What shocked me was the headline itself. It didn’t say “Headmaster arrested for installing CCTV in children’s toilets”, or “Headmaster resigns after being caught installing CCTV in children’s toilets.” It didn’t even say “Headmaster apologises after installing CCTV in children’s toilets.” Instead the headline was a plain and unadorned “Chelmsley Wood school puts CCTV in pupil toilets.”
The number of motorists fined for parking offences in central London will rise from today as 100 CCTV “spy” cameras are switched on.
In Nicholas Carlson’s piece, he tells the “full story” of Facebook’s beginning. He starts with the initial conversations Harvard sophomore Zuckerberg had with the trio of seniors who wanted him to code for a new Web site they wanted to start, called HarvardConnection. Then, complete with instant messages and e-mails that have not been made public until now, he outlines how Zuckerberg appears to have decided to create his own site — thefacebook.com — but not to tell the HarvardConnection founders he wasn’t working on their project until his was almost finished.
The European Parliament has been asked to vote to approve or reject the Passenger Name Record agreement with the US.
The Civil Liberties Committee is likely to postpone its vote until a new template has been created, to detail what information is exchanged. The Committee also wants to lay down how the information should be stored and used.
Circumvention tools help Turks who want to see YouTube get around a government block. But they don’t help Americans, Chinese or Burmese see Irrawaddy if the site has been taken down by DDoS or hacking attacks. Publishers of controversial online content have begun to realize that they’re not just going to face censorship by national filtering systems – they’re going to face a variety of technical and legal attacks that seek to make their servers inaccessible.
There’s quite a bit publishers can do to increase the resilience of their sites to DDoS attack and to make their sites more difficult to filter. To avoid blockage in Turkey, YouTube could increase the number of IP addresses that lead to the webserver and use a technique called “fast-flux DNS” to give the Turkish government more IP addresses to block. They could maintain a mailing list to alert users to unblocked IP addresses where they could access YouTube, or create a custom application which disseminates unblocked IPs to YouTube users who download the ap. These are all techniques employed by content sites that are frequently blocked in closed societies.
I don’t think this is really a case about ISP liability at all. It is a case about the use of a person’s image, without their consent, that generates commercial value for someone else. That is the essence of the Italian law at issue in this case. It is also how the right of privacy was first established in the United States.
The video at the center of this case was very popular in Italy and drove lots of users to the Google Video site. This boosted advertising and support for other Google services. As a consequence, Google actually had an incentive not to respond to the many requests it received before it actually took down the video.
But the really scary thing is that Rall seems to think that basically destroying the freedom to communicate and to express yourself online makes sense, just because the tool might possibly be used to spread a false statement. Does he not recognize the unintended consequences of this? Does he not realize that his “suggestion” for fixing the internet is effectively how much of China’s internet censorship program works? Does he not think there might be more effective ways of dealing with such situations? For example, if Rall were to falsely accuse you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer, and it’s clearly bogus, then you have an opportunity to fight back, and point out that Rall is wrong, destroy his reputation, and make sure he never gets another job again. Why not let free speech combat free speech?
Instead, Rall seems terrified of free speech, and would prefer that it only come from the “professionals” like himself.
If the public wants online privacy it had better fight now for laws to protect it because businesses won’t and individuals don’t have the clout, security expert Bruce Schneier told RSA Conference.
The world revolves around Lindsay.
Lindsay Lohan is suing the financial company E-Trade, insisting that a boyfriend-stealing, “milkaholic” baby in its latest commercial — who happens to be named Lindsay — was modeled after her. And she wants $100 million for her pain and suffering, The Post has learned.
In the United States, the First Amendment in the US Constitution protects free speech, even if the information communicated can be used to, among other things, cause harm or to commit illegal acts. These laws, for example, allowed author William Powell to write and publish “The Anarchist Cookbook,” which gave instructions about how to make bombs and to commit other acts of mayhem in the early 1970s. Communicating how to hack OEMs devices and even how to steal services is thus protected under First Amendment laws, said Fred von Lohmann, staff attorney for the EFF.
“Under the DMCA [US Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and copyright law, users are entitled to reverse engineer and make interoperable products,” von Lohmann said. “And certainly the First Amendment applies if you’re talking about these subjects (even if you’re expressing yourself by writing and publishing software code), which is the point we made when squaring off against Apple on behalf of hobbyists who wanted to sync their iPods using software other than iTunes.”
However, service agreements can preclude communicating how to hack devices, especially if they involve rented products, such as cable modems, said Bennett.
“Most cable modem hardware is owned by network operators and leased to users. In the cases where users own their cable modems, they’re sold with a licence agreement that prohibits reverse engineering,” he said. “Reverse engineering is a predicate to distributing step-by-step hacking guides.”
Endorsing a policy that would encourage the blocking of websites by UK broadband providers or other Internet companies is a very serious step for the UK to take. There are myriad legal, technical and practical issues to reconcile before this can be considered a proportionate and necessary public policy option. In some cases, these may never be reconciled. These issues have not even been considered in this case.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the DMCA.
On the one hand, as an author, I like that it gives me a way to stop illegal copies of my work being distributed in the US, so ensuring that I can continue to make a living without having to get a proper job. On the other hand, as an occasional journalist, I hate that it can also be used by trigger-happy lawyers to prevent certain embarrassing documents entering the public domain.
TechCrunch’s own Devin Coldewey notes that the “persistent offenders” list won’t just affect domestic file-sharers. Internet cafes, hotels and anywhere else that offers public wi-fi access could find themselves taken offline if their customers are found to be swapping copyright files. If anything, these public access points are even more at risk as it doesn’t take many teenagers using your cafe to rack up 50 copyright violations: this despite there being no way for the establishments to police what their customers are doing online. As Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow put it, almost entirely without hyperbole, “UK Digital Economy Bill will wipe out indie WiFi hotspots in libraries, unis, cafes“
Imagine that, in the Summer of last year, you had been following the MP’s expenses scandal and heard that The Telegraph was publishing a rather less redacted version that MP’s were prepared to give us. Interested, you navigated your way to www.telegraph.co.uk only to find it was not responding. After some searching around and asking friends you discover that the website has been blocked by most major UK ISP’s. It seems a junior official in Parliament had asked them to block The Telegraph for copyright violation.
Ars Techica opened a can of worms last Friday when without notice they started blocking visitors who were using Adblock Plus. In this followup article, they asked visitors to whitelist their site. The comment thread is approaching 1,500 entries now, and it’s running about half-and-half between those who have either whitelisted the site or paid the $50/year subscription and those who refuse to do either.
I side with the latter group. I won’t subscribe because Ars Technica simply isn’t worth $50/year to me, or anything near that. I check the headlines every day or two and occasionally read an article. Ars is apparently paid per viewer rather than per click. Even if I were viewing their ads, I doubt they’d be making more than a buck a year from my visits and ad views, and probably nowhere near that much. So that’s my upper limit for what I’m willing to pay them for ad-free browsing. If Ars allowed readers to decide how much to pay for an annual subscription to an ad-free version of their site, I’d happily send them a buck via PayPal. But they don’t, so I won’t.
Every so often we hear about a random blog or website that freaks out and claims that ad blockers are “stealing” or somehow damaging websites. But it’s quite a surprise to see a similar argument from a site like Ars Technica — one of the top techie sites out there, which is now owned by Conde Nast. Over the weekend, Ars wrote an odd post claiming that ad blocking “is devastating to the sites you love.” Ars decided to run an experiment where it blocked access to its content to any user using an ad blocker (with no warning or explanation). Not surprisingly, this pissed off a bunch of readers, and Ars now admits that it was a mistake in how it was handled — but that it still believes ad blockers are harming sites.
DoGood has recently released their DoGooder plugin for Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. DoGood’s main goal is to raise money for donations to charitable organizations and they are doing this with a simple plugin.
The DoGooder plugin replaces generic ads on websites with “green” themed ads instead of those old generic ones. A lot of people ask whether or not the owner of the website will still get paid for the advertisement even though it’s replaced by DoGooder’s go green ads, and the answer according to DoGood is yes.
Well, maybe it creates a tension because intellectual monopolies are fundamentally antithetical to science and knowledge. Maybe the scientific community needs to realise this, and ought to refuse to compromise on its basic tenets of sharing knowledge for the greater good, not least because the shift from analogue to digital is magnifying their importance. Maybe the report should have been less pusillanimous in this respect.
The lack of public controversy surrounding the Regulations may, in part, be because they don’t affect very many of us in a big way – unless you happen to be a media studies student that is. Mostly they offer copyright exceptions when copying film and music for academic purposes. Students get a fair-dealing exception when using sound recordings, films and broadcasts in research. Schools and colleges can record clips of film and music, and transmit them and recorded broadcasts to distance learners. Libraries and museums can make copies of films, sound recordings and artistic works for preservation purposes. Here’s a summary.
European Union minsters have told EU governing bodies to revive plans to create a pan-EU law criminalising intellectual property infringement, and to make more use of a new body to cooperate on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
They have also asked the European Commission to create new laws if cooperation does not work.
We aim to create a world-class center for open product development, and popularize the open development method as a viable competitor to corporate research and development. In this presentation, we will introduce the GVCS, and its applications relevant to creating a free society. We will show initial results of economically-significant product development with the high-performance Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press as our first product release. We will discuss our goals of producing Open Source Business Models (OSBM) as a route towards distributive economics.
Though Suk may think it’s clear why the fashion world needs tighter restrictions, shoppers and even some designers in Boston aren’t all quick to agree.
A new study commissioned on behalf of Universal Music reports that if ISPs got involved in the digital music market, they could make millions in the years to come. But one can’t help wondering that this is less about the music biz helping ISPs to make more profit, but more about giving them an incentive to do something about piracy.
Both freedom of expression and privacy are fundamental human rights. But those rights are not both equally enforced, protected or policed. There are literally thousands of data protection bureaucrats in Europe whose job is to enforce European data protection regulations. As far as I can tell, there is not a single government official in all of Europe whose sole job is to do the same for freedom of expression. Curious, no?
In the first few months following the adoption of the three-strikes anti-piracy legislation in France, online piracy has increased significantly. Instead of stopping, file-sharers are seeking alternatives to bypass the new law. Perhaps even more striking is that new research reveals that disconnecting file-sharers will actually hurt the revenues of the music industry.
Consumer Focus, the Government-backed watchdog, sees the growth of the legal online music market as the best way to tackle online copyright infringement, but it claims that the music industry is failing to promote the many legal alternatives.
The Government’s Digital Economy Bill, not yet law, contains measures to disconnect persistent offenders through a process of graduated warnings.
The consumer body has also called for reform of UK’s copyright licensing system to make it easier for online music services to offer copyrighted works to consumers legally.
The Pirate Party believes the state and big business are in the process of protecting stale and inefficient models of business for their own monetary benefit by limiting our right to share information. The Pirate Party suggests that they are achieving this goal through the amendment of intellectual property legislation. In the dawn of the digital era, the Pirate Party advocates that governments and multinational corporations are using intellectual property to: crack down on file sharing which limits the ability to share knowledge and information; increase the terms and length of copyright to raise profits; and build code into music files which limits their ability to be shared (Pirate Party, 2009). There are a number of ‘copyright industries’ that are affected by these issues, none more so than the music industry. Its relationship with file sharing is topical and makes an excellent case study to address the impact big business has had on intellectual property and the need for the Pirate Party’s legislative input. The essay will then examine the central issues raised by illegal file sharing. In particular, the future for record companies in an environment that increasingly demands flexibility, and whether the Pirate Party’s proposal is a viable solution to the music industry’s problems.
Something must be in the water over at the RIAA. After first trying to link the Chinese hack of Google to Google’s position on copyright and then ridiculously claiming that file sharers were undermining humanitarian aid in Haiti (despite neither being even close to true), now it’s resorted to using simplistic fables to try to demonize file sharing. Perhaps it’s part of the RIAA’s propaganda campaign for school children, but in a recent blog post, RIAA VP Joshua Friedlander compared the file sharing situation to the children’s fable Nobody Stole the Pie by Sonia Levitin (by the way, you would think that the RIAA, so concerned about content creators getting paid would at least provide a link to information about that book so you could buy it if you wanted to — but we’ll fix that omission for the RIAA).
This was the same point that was made back last year by someone from Billboard in dismissing online viral sensations as being unimportant for “real” sales. But, as the band itself noted, the success of the video brought out huge crowds and made the band quite profitable to the label. This is the problem you run into when you only think about the music industry as if “album sales” are everything. Selling music directly is not a very good business model, and focusing on how many album sales there are totally misses the mark these days.
The written declaration 12/2010 regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is now open for signatures. It has to be signed within three months by more than half of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It is a great opportunity for the European Parliament to prove its commitment to protecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Every EU citizen concerned about ACTA and the preservation of an open Internet can participate1 by getting in touch with MEPs2 and urging them to sign the written declaration.
The European Parliament massively approved a common resolution1 opposing the current negotiation process regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This resolution2 is an important call for transparency and the respect of democratic processes. In the coming weeks, the Parliament will have the opportunity to go further by addressing the content of the negotiated text through the written declaration 12/20103.
The resolution, supported by the five major political groups of the European Parliament urges the Commission to establish transparency on the ACTA by releasing negotiation documents. It strongly asserts the role of the Parliament in the EU interinstitutional framework and makes a bold statement, saying that the Parliament will not hesitate to call on the European Court of Justice to defend its co-legislator powers.
A joint resolution on Transparency and State of Play of ACTA negotiations from virtually all party groups in the European Parliament was tabled earlier today. It will debated tonight and faces a vote on Wednesday. If approved, the resolution marks a major development in the fight over ACTA transparency. It calls for public access to negotiation texts and rules out further confidential negotiations. Moreover, the EP wants a ban on imposing a three-strikes model, assurances that ACTA will not result in personal searchers at the border, and an ACTA impact assessment on fundamental rights and data protection.
The European Parliament is fed up with the secrecy surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Today, representatives from all the major parliamentary coalitions introduced a resolution demanding that the European Commission release all negotiating texts, inform Parliament about the negotiating process, and absolutely refuse to countenance any sort of “three strikes” Internet disconnection penalty for online copyright infringement.
Summary: Motion pictures that demonstrate the positions of people who pose dangers to the freedom of software
If software patents are not legal in Europe, why would he be offered an award, let alone a patent?
Here is DeGucht echoing talking points that concentrate on imaginary problems but not the real impact of ACTA. We have seen it before. Is he playing devil’s advocate?
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