Links 20/4/2010: London Stock Exchange Gets GNU/Linux, The Planet Joins Linux Foundation, PCLinuxOS 2010

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Bank, the Linux User and the 9-Month Call for Help

    Garrett Heaton has been struggling for months to get his bank to open up its deposit@home feature to Linux and Unix. As he and a few other savvy users have figured out, there’s no real technical barrier. All Linux users have to do is pretend to be a Mac. For nine months, the bank has been declining Heaton’s persistent, polite and helpful requests — and, amazingly, he is still a very loyal customer.


    The bank does not currently support Linux for its Deposit@Home service, company spokesperson Lisa Carr confirmed, though she added that “we’re always considering ways to expand the services we offer to additional platforms.”

  • LinuxFest Northwest offers free open source event

    Robots and beer-brewing computer programs are just two of the things to check out at LinuxFest Northwest this weekend.

    This is the 11th year for the tech event, which will feature a variety of demonstrations and speakers. Sessions are geared toward computer novices and pros interested in open source software and Linux, a free computer operating system that is an alternative to for-profit operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Vista.

  • Desktop

    • Future on Ubuntu and Desktop Linux!

      I honestly asked myself the other day, “do I really need to use Windows?”

      And then that’s when hit me, Ubuntu linux was now pretty up to par with Windows counterparts, there’s so much support and improvements happening, there was not many reasons I would need to continue using Windows.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange readies Turquoise for big-bang Linux migration

      Turquoise, the London Stock Exchange’s large volume ‘dark pool’ trading platform, will go live on a new Linux-based platform in August or September.

      The move will be an ambitious “big bang” approach instead of a soft migration, according to a technical note the LSE sent to customers yesterday.The quick changeover is a response to “participant feedback”, the LSE said. Services across the Integrated and Dark Midpoint order books will commence trading on the same day.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Planet Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced The Planet as its newest member. The Planet is a global leader in IT hosting and will participate in community initiatives and projects that support enterprise Linux.

      The emergence of cloud computing and virtualized environments in the Web hosting industry has opened the door the Linux community to gain important competitive advantages. The Planet leverages Linux platforms to provide these services across its global customer base.

    • Ceph: The Distributed File System Creature from the Object Lagoon

      The last two years have seen a large number of file systems added to the kernel with many of them maturing to the point where they are useful, reliable, and in production in some cases. In the run up to the 2.6.34 kernel, Linus recently added the Ceph client. What is unique about Ceph is that it is a distributed parallel file system promising scalability and performance, something that NFS lacks.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Gallium3D Driver That Few Know About

        Last night it was reported on VirtualBox not being convinced about Gallium3D and what it could provide its virtualization stack not only in terms of better OpenGL acceleration for the guest virtual machines, but also for accelerating other APIs like OpenVG and OpenCL. This is coming a year after VMware rolled out its own Gallium3D driver (called “SVGA”) that allowed Gallium3D to work on its virtualization platform. But there’s also another virtualized Gallium3D driver out there.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • An Introduction to KDE Games

      For a long time KDE has come with an assortment of games. Collectively, this suite of games is simply called “KDE Games“. With the advent of KDE 4, all of the KDE games were given face lifts and a standard set of features that make moving from game to game a seamless exercise.

      The games are two dimensional and do not run inside of a separate layer like SDL. Instead they run inside a normal KDE window, utilizing the standard QT interface. Nevertheless, the rendering of of the graphics is amazingly impressive because of the use of SVG vector graphics. With SVG, the animations are smooth and the images are scalable. You can play in a small window or maximize it without losing any of its quality.

    • New kid on the block: Plasma Water Animation

      I’m glad to make available a fresh new Plasma animation: WaterAnimation. This animations uses the ripple effect to produce a liquefied behavior on the target widget. An example of the animation behavior can be seen below, enjoy! :-)

    • KDE time travel

      In my “quest” to update KDE-related Wikipedia articles, I had to do more research than I expected and I needed to fix things I didn’t expect. But that research was fun, too. It brought me back in time when I was still a teen who tried to get some ancient Linux distribution working and fiddled around with KDE 1.

    • Grantlee Version 0.1.0 Out

      Grantlee version 0.1.0 has been released by the Grantlee team. For those not in the know, Django is a high-level Python Web framework. It can be used to develop websites, and offers numerous features to make such a task easier.

    • Gluon Decides on New Structure in Preparation for First Release

      The freedom of gamers as it is now is limited by the game industry’s old fashioned insistence on limiting the distribution of games. Gluon aims at breaking this by providing both the makers of games and the players of games with a new platform for sharing the experience of playing games, and for providing feedback to each other – both in the form of comments and ratings, but also through a donation based payment system. So: There’s a revolution coming where the freedom of gaming is at the center.

  • Distributions

    • 8 of the best tiny Linux distros

      The winner: Slitaz 9/10

      We hope you’ve seen that the world of light distros is more exciting than you may have imagined. Choosing the right one depends on the hardware you want to run it on and what you want to use it for.

      The Ubuntu-based distros are interesting, particularly the nascent Lubuntu, mainly because they have a tiny footprint but offer the promise of installing anything from the vast Ubuntu multiverse. However, we were looking for a a distro to work painlessly in a cramped hardware environment.

      Honourable mentions must go to DSL and Tiny Core at this point, which have clambered into the territory of the minuscule. It’s amazing how usable a system can be that takes up less space on your drive than your holiday pictures. Puppy Linux and Unity were both easy to use, although the latter was a bit more polished (and bigger).

    • Peppermint

      • Peppermint: A New Linux Flavor for the Cloud

        A new cloud-focused Linux flavor launched recently; known as Peppermint, the operating system has entered a small, private beta and will open up to more testers over the next two to four weeks.

      • Peppermint: A New Linux OS for the Cloud

        The Peppermint distro is being developed by Kendall Weaver, the maintainer for the Linux Mint Fluxbox and LXDE Editions, and Shane Remington, who works alongside Weaver as a developer at their day job at Astral IX Media in Asheville, N.C.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 Edition is now available for download.
      • PCLinuxOS 2010 (KDE)

        PCLinuxOS should definitely be at the top of anybody’s desktop distro list. There’s a version of it for pretty much everybody, from desktop eye-candy addicts to extreme minimalists that want total control over what applications go on their system. It provides a great alternative to Ubuntu, Fedora and some of the other prominent desktop distros.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Always have an exit strategy when looking at cloud

        GH: Red Hat has been supporting the federal government in cloud computing in a number of ways.

        First, on a basic technology level, much of the innovation that’s going on in cloud computing and virtualization has been happening in the open source world, specifically, in the open source Linux project.

        Red Hat is best known as a vendor of Linux services and support and our engineers have been working for many years on virtualization technology, and doing what it is that we’ve always done with the open source community, which is creating an enabling layer that sits between your hardware and your applciations and actually gives your applications access to some of the really interesting innovations that are going on down in the hardware. So, in the role as a hypervisor — in the role as a software that hosts virtual guests in a cloud computing environment, we’ve been working in that space for some time.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora* taps Zarafa open source groupware for 13

          Fedora’s selection of Zarafa as an open source groupware component in Fedora 13 is very interesting.

          The beta of Fedora 13, code named “Goddard,” was made available on April 13. The final version is expected in mid May.

        • Fedora 13 Beta: The Seen and (Troubling) Unseen

          The Fedora 13 beta contains more enhancements that many users will ever know. That is not necessarily undesirable, because users will still benefit and many do not care to know.

    • Debian Family

      • Freshly Squeezed Debian: Installing from Live DVD

        My impression is that Debian values stability and functionality over looks and release schedules. You can look at this alpha version as a preview of Debian’s next stable release, or you could simply run Debian Testing as a constantly-updated “rolling release.” Despite the “testing” moniker, it’s a pretty good balance between the stablity of Debian Stable and the more up-to-date applications in Debian Unstable. It’s also got a huge repository of over 25,000 available packages and an excellent package management system going for it.

      • Ubuntu

        • Canonical to update production-ready server Ubuntu

          Linux distribution vendor Canonical will soon release an updated version of its production-ready server operating system, the company announced Monday.

          Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support (LTS) Server Edition will be ready for downloading, for no charge, beginning on April 29, along with the desktop edition of 10.04.

        • Tell me what the future is

          This blog post is about the recent work done in aptdaemon – the backend used by Ubuntu’s software-center to install/remove packages.

        • Little things that matter: The Ubuntu print test page

          Print test pages, for those that don’t know, is essentially a lot of coloured blocks in a row that allow users to check if a printer is printing graphics and colours correctly.

        • Click & Buy no longer accepted in the UbuntuOne Music Store

          The UbuntuOne Music store no longer accepts Click&Buy as a payment method because Ubuntu/Canonical, who, given the Store is in Beta, are still experimenting with functionality “including the offered payment methods” according to a 7Digital spokesmen.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged Linux powered video serving robot remote controlled over internet

      It’s a rugged robot based on the surveyor open source robot. It can be remote controlled over the internet or programmed for autonomous missions.

    • ARM-based processor touted for 1080p encoding at 30fps
    • Encoder system supports 1080p H.264 HD

      Z3 is shipping a Linux-based multi-format video encoder that’s said to support 1080p H.264 HD encoding with latency as low as 70 milliseconds. The Z3-MVE-01 Multi-format Video Encoder is based on a separately available, Linux-ready DM368-RPS design kit, which includes a DM368-MOD module that incorporates Texas Instruments’ new DM368 DaVinci system-on-chip.

    • Linux development service supports new TI SoC

      Timesys announced that its LinuxLink development framework for custom embedded Linux devices now supports the recently announced Texas Instruments (TI) TMS320DM368 DaVinci video processor. The LinuxLink for DM368 service offers Linux development tools and a pre-integrated build environment for the ARM-based chip, the company says.

    • Tiny DIY PC gets smaller, more powerful

      Via announced a tiny PC for do-it-yourselfers, available in a barebones configuration with room for a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. The Linux-ready Artigo A1100 has a 1.3GHz Via Nano processor, accepts 2GB of RAM, sports HDMI and VGA video outputs, and has five USB ports, the company says.

    • Android

      • Snapdragon-based Android phone offers HDMI port, T-DMB

        Pantech’s Sky cellphone division announced a 1GHz Snapdragon-based Android smartphone in Korea. The Sirius IM-A600S is equipped with an 8GB flash card, WiFi, T-DMB mobile TV, an HDMI port, and a 3.7 inch, 800×480 AMOLED display, says the Korea-based Sky.

      • Will HTC Incredible Live Up to Its Name?

        The steady rain of leaks about HTC’s Incredible smartphone has turned into a downpour, and the buzz has become a steady drone. If the Incredible is Verizon’s next launch, the company is making a smart move, said 451 Group analyst Chris Hazelton. It will give consumers their first opportunity to actually handle a phone that is expected to be strikingly similar to the much-ballyhooed Nexus One.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • System76 Starling EduBook: Classmate PC with Ubuntu Linux

        Linux computer builders System76 have added a new netbook to their lineup. The System76 Starling EduBook is basically a rebadged Intel Classmate PC with a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor.

        But while most Classmate PC models are sold with Windows XP or Windows 7, the Starling EduBook will ship with Ubuntu 10.04 Education Edition Netbook Remix.

    • Tablets

      • The SmartQ V7 is here

        In contrast to Android, the wireless works right out of the box, using good old NetworkManager. I couldn’t get Bluetooth tethering to fly, though; they use a rather odd setup for this. They have Blueman for controlling Bluetooth, and you’re supposed to use Blueman to set up a DUN link with the phone and then run gnome-ppp which somehow transforms it into an actual connection. I got this to work once in ten tries, for about five minutes. So I’ve given up and am just using my phone’s wifi router functionality, which eats battery life but works simply. Hopefully a future version of the Linux implementation (they do release updates fairly frequently) will come with the newer gnome-bluetooth and NetworkManager builds that allow much smoother Bluetooth tethering.

      • Are there really open source iPad alternatives? A follow-up.

        I want to create. And because of that, for me, the list of negatives greatly outweighs the list of positives. Of course, if this device is truly doing what you want and need, that’s great. That’s what’s important. But I’m willing to wait for something better. Something meant for sharing. Something more open.

      • Whatever the iPad is, it is NOT a Computer

        Don’t act, just absorb.

        Pretty different from giving the same kid a laptop or a netbook, isn’t it? With one of those, a kid can respond, can experiment, can act in the very way the human species most efficiently assimilates new skills and information: learn by doing. By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, the netbook costs less. Even the laptop often does.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Can’t Make DrupalCon? Catch Free Live Video Streams

      The live feed for this week’s keynote sessions will be broadcast via Brightcove’s blog post, the DrupalVolCon site, the Drupal UK site, the official Drupalcon San Francisco site, and any other site that uses the embed code available through the player.

  • Databases

    • The H speed guide to NoSQL

      The rise of the NoSQL movement has brought debate back to the database space as the traditional relational model’s applicability to all problems has been questioned, not just in theory, but in practical code. At the heart of NoSQL is not a rejection of SQL itself; some have said NoSQL, rather than standing in opposition to SQL as “No SQL”, really stands for “Not Only SQL”. It more represents a deeper desire to explore database models which have, in the past and for various reasons, been left to languish in obscurity.

  • CMS

    • Drupal upgrade to be slower but more scalable

      Drupal, the popular open source Web content management system, will sacrifice speed for scalability in the upcoming Drupal 7 upgrade, the founder of the project said on Monday afternoon.

      The upgrade to Drupal, meanwhile, could be available perhaps in the June timeframe or as late as September, said Drupal project founder Dries Buytaert in a presentation at the Drupalcon SF conference in San Francisco. Ideally, version 7 would be available this month, he said.

  • Business

    • Talend Gets Another $8 Million in Funding

      Talend, which offers open source data management software and solutions, announced this morning that it has secured $8 million in Series D financing. Previous investors Balderton Capital, AGF Private Equity and Galileo Partners, all participated in the round. With the new $8 million investment, Talend has now raised a cumulative $28 million.

    • Open Source EU Funded Projects: SQO-OSS

      Among open source related projects funded under the sixth Framework Program, at least four of them – namely FLOSSMetrics, QualiPSo, QUALOSS and SQO-OSS – have been found overlapping around open source software development and quality.

      SQO-OSS – Source Quality Observatory for Open Source Software – similarly to FLOSSMetrics was aimed at massive collection of data from thousands of projects, though with different goals.

  • Releases

    • Bugzilla 3.6 Brings Extensions and Addresses Usability

      Bugzilla deserves props for enabling so many free software projects, but the ubiquitous bug tracking system has not been without its flaws. Namely, Bugzilla is known for being difficult to navigate and use, particularly for new contributors who have little experience working with bug ticketing systems. The 3.6 release sands off some of the rough edges following a usability study from Carnegie Mellon University. The list of bugs stemming from the research are not all closed, but the project has made significant progress.

  • Programming

    • Python support in GNOME gets a boost from hackfest

      Some GNOME developers have gathered in Boston for for a Python GNOME hackfest that is hosted by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The primary goals behind the hackfest include establishing a strategy for delivering Python 3.0 compatibility for the GNOME platform and advancing the Python GObject introspection project.

      The Gtk+ toolkit, which provides the underlying widget system of the GNOME desktop environment, is an important part of the desktop Linux ecosystem. Although the toolkit itself is built with C, it can also be used with other programming languages—including Python, Ruby, JavaScript, C#, Java, and Scheme. Python is widely used by Gtk+ application developers and is important to the GNOME community. OLPC, the host of the hackfest, uses Python in conjunction with Gtk+ for its Sugar environment—the core user experience and activity collection that is shipped on its XO laptops.

    • Will Wall Street require Python?

      On 7 April 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency charged “… to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”, proposed new rules covering “Asset-Backed Securities” [warning: 667-page PDF]. Administratively, this is a reaction to the trillion-dollar financial atrocities of the last few years, as well as a natural manifestation of the Obama administration’s commitment to enhance procedural transparency. Shockingly, “… Python, a commonly used open source interpretive programming language …” shows up on page 1 of the description. What is that about?

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Horse Race For Video in HTML5 Continues

      Another chapter in the “what will HTML5 support” soap opera opened last week with rumors that Google will open source the VP8 video codec. Many outlets were reporting that VP8 is the video codec that runs YouTube. But that is not true. VP8 is actually the code behind On2 Technologies, another web video play which Google acquired just a few months ago. The story goes that Google will support VP8 in You Tube as soon as the open source announcement is made. This would make it an instant standard.

      First of all, it seems that everyone has already concluded that HTML5 will indeed be the savior of web video. I am not sure web video needs a savior. Steve Job is perhaps looking for a savior from Flash and the millions of iPhone users and now hundreds of thousands of iPad users sure would like to view the web with video. I don’t think Adobe thinks that video support in HTML5 is that important.


  • StarCraft Rigging Scandal Hits e-Sports Industry
  • Towing co. wants $750K from WMU student

    A Kalamazoo towing company that has received multiple complaints to the Better Business Bureau is suing the Western Michigan University student who started a Facebook page against the company.

    The four-page lawsuit filed by T&J Towing against Justin Kurtz claims defamation of character and libel. It asks for $750,000 from Kurtz, who received the papers Friday.

  • Judge rules wax seal belongs to Maker’s Mark

    A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing a rival liquor company from using a dripping wax seal on its tequilas sold in the United States, ending a seven year legal battle over the bottle topper.

    The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II comes in a long-running lawsuit between Maker’s Mark and competitors Diageo and Casa Cuervo over the Fortune Brands trademark on the wax seal. Fortune owns Maker’s Mark.

  • Pew Poll: Trust In Government Hits Near-Historic Low

    Americans’ trust in government and its institutions has plummeted to a near-historic low, according to a sobering new survey by the Pew Research Center.

    Only 22 percent of Americans surveyed by Pew say they can trust government in Washington “almost always or most of the time” — among the lowest measures in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.

  • Death-notice price gouging: Why?

    Sure, newspapers are hard up, but exploiting bereaved families with exorbitantly priced death notices seems to be a distasteful and strategically inept way to try to make ends meet.

    I stumbled across the problem this week when I tried to buy a death notice in my local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, which proposed charging $450 for the one-day run of a crappy-looking, 182-word death notice.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Rivals call for clarity over Lib Dem passport plans

      In the Blaydon constituency, home to the biometric passport makers, Labour’s candidate Dave Anderson, pictured, has asked his LibDem opponent Neil Bradbury to clarify his position on his party leader’s plans.

      It was last June that De La Rue Systems announced they could take on an extra 80 employees after winning a 10-year £400m contract to produce the UK biometric passport from the Government.

      Dave Anderson, who lobbied hard for the contract to come to Blaydon in the first place, said: “Scrapping these passports is part of the price Clegg demands to fund his gimmick giveaway of raising tax thresholds, which would disproportionately benefit well-off people.

    • Police power could be given to nightclub bouncers and security guards

      Tens of thousands of nightclub bouncers and private security guards could be given sweeping police-style powers.

      Senior police officers have ordered a dramatic expansion of a controversial scheme that allows authorised civilians to issue fines for littering and other minor offences.

    • Controversial medical records database suspended

      Although records will continue to be uploaded in some early adopter areas, Government plans to roll out the scheme across the country have been effectively halted.

      The Department of Health said that uploading of data would begin again only when public awareness had been raised.

      Information about more than 1.25 million patients have already gone on to the database, which eventually could hold up to 50 million records.

    • Drink-drive ban for father who took toy Barbie car for a spin

      As a means of transportation it left something to be desired in terms of comfort and street cred.

      And when police asked the driver to pull over, the Barbie car, with its top speed of 4mph, was hopeless as a getaway vehicle.

      Paul Hutton, 40, is regretting his impromptu roadtrip after he was arrested for drink-driving when he tried to take the battery- operated child’s toy to a friend’s house.

    • The Latest ‘Intelligence Gap’

      Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. The Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency has halted domestic collection of some type of communications metadata—the details are predictably fuzzy, though I’ve got a guess—in order to allay the concerns of the secret FISA Court that the NSA’s activity might not be technically permissible under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    • School secretly snapped 1000s of students at home

      A suburban Philadelphia school district secretly captured thousands of images of students in their homes, sometimes as they slept or were partially undressed, according to documents filed in federal court.

      Using a system to track lost or stolen laptops, officials from the Lower Merion School District also covertly surveilled students as they used their school-issued Macs, logging online chats and taking screenshots of websites they visited, according to the documents.

    • Math tutor uses numbers to fight red light camera ticket

      A woman was caught on camera running a red in Collier County. But after her husband fought the ticket, it was thrown out. Now officials say there may be other drivers who were wrongly ticketed as well.

  • Finance

    • April 19 2010: Did the SEC plant a Goldman bomb?

      There’s some curious things about that SEC case, like who’s actually charged with what. There’s no Jonathan Egol, Fabrice Tourre’s partner at Goldman, no hedge funder John Paulson, no Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Instead, the only person the SEC names -far as I’ve seen- is Fabrice Tourre, who, at the time the Abacus deal involved played, was all of 28 years old.

      That age thing keeps on itching me. It somehow points to the degree of involvement of the likes of Blankfein, Goldman president Gary Cohn and CFO David Viniar. These guys don’t let a mere kid play with billions of their capital without keeping a close watch. They were all down there on the trade floor for extended periods of time, figuring out what exactly transpired, as can be proven.

      Moreover, the then (2006-7) 28-year old Tourre was claiming something that was the 180 degree opposite of what other traders at Goldman had a lot of the firms’ money invested in, namely the continued upward growth of the housing market. Tourre’s contrary claims were nothing short of revolutionary, certainly in the eyes of the older, and more bullish, traders. So it should not come as a surprise that the highest echelons of the firm spent a lot of time with Tourre and other traders. They would have been mad not to. That also means, however, that claiming they didn’t know what was going on is not believable.

    • Democrats’ Banking Bill Struggles to Get G.O.P. Support

      Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner appealed on Monday to the centrist Republican senators from Maine for their support of legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system but came up empty-handed, leaving Democrats and Republicans on an apparent collision course.

    • How Iceland’s banking flaws brought down the country’s economy

      Behind Iceland’s superficially booming financial markets in the mid noughties lay a financial system shot through with corruption and regulatory negligence that led inexorably to a dramatic economic meltdown 18 months ago, according to a damning truth commission report.

      The 2,300-page forensic investigation, presented to Iceland’s parliament yesterday, reserves its deepest criticisms for the island’s three largest banks – Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki – which failed in quick succession in October 2008. The long-delayed report, produced after interviews with about 300 key players, found these banks had effectively been captured by some of their powerful majority shareholders and that the true extent of their financial vulnerability had been deliberately masked.

    • Goldman Accused of Cutting the Brakes

      One of the most salient analogies of the financial meltdown was offered by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chair Phil Angelides when he grilled Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, over the firm’s unsavory proprietary trading. Angelides was questioning Goldman’s practice of minting toxic, mortgage-backed securities and badgering credit-rating companies for the highest rating for those securities, while betting in the market that those securities would later fail.

      Angelides likened this business practice to “selling someone a car with faulty brakes and then taking out an insurance policy on the driver.” With Friday’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing of civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, we learned more about those faulty vehicles. We learned that Goldman had cut the brakes.

    • Goldman Sachs taps ex-White House counsel

      Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

    • Fuld says was in dark about accounting device

      Richard Fuld, whose October 2008 appearance before lawmakers was marked by protesters with signs reading “shame” and “cap greed”, returns to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to answer questions about the accounting gimmicks alleged by a court-appointed examiner.

    • More Must be Done to Stop Foreclosures

      Foreclosure filings were at historic highs in March — 367,056 — an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month, and the highest monthly total since 2005, according to RealtyTrac. Almost two years after the onset of the financial crisis with unemployment at historic highs, nothing is being done to put a stop to this on-going tragedy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Chamber Publicizes Bogus Poll

      On its Web site, Ayres McHenry is open about its Republican leanings. It identifies itself as a Republican-affiliated firm. Its founder, Whit Ayres, belongs to the National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals, and the Web site says that Whit Ayres is a member of the Association’s Board of Directors.

      Media outlets broadcasting information about the Chamber’s polls and their conclusions would do well to research Ayres McHenry and its reputation, and inform readers know about the firm’s — and the Chamber’s — recent history of bias and poor poll quality.

    • Will the Real Tea Party Movement Please Stand Up?

      The PR proposal obtained by Politico was written by Joe Wierzbicki, a principal at Russo Marsh & Rogers. In it, Wierzbicki suggests essentially taking over the Tea Party movement by rushing in with campaign-style event planning and advance work. He suggests obtaining a “proper luxury coach wrapped in ‘tea party’-themed graphical design,” and sending it out to “cross the nation, stopping in cities to conduct ‘tea parties.’ ” Wierzbicki suggests inviting local Tea Party leaders, talk radio hosts and fiscally-conservative political candidates to speak at each stop. Wierzbicki says a major fundraising effort would be needed “to ‘do this ‘right’ (have an awesome looking tour bus, getting the word out, having slick/persuasive/compelling advertising, paying for permits/insurance hotels, food, etc… ). He suggests that, to raise the money, “the bus tour rallies focus not on asking for funds to support the tour, but on the ” ‘Defeat Harry Reid’ or ‘Defeat Chris Dodd’ or ‘Defeat Arlen Specter’ political components to this effort.” In other words, Wierzbicki suggests exploiting the real Tea Partiers’ emotions to raise money, and take the focus off the PR project itself. He also suggests renting email lists from conservative news outlets like Newsmax, Human Events, WorldNetDaily, etc. to begin direct fundraising — again, not a cheap endeavor.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Supreme Court rejects animal cruelty law, upholds free speech

      The US Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a federal law that criminalized photographs and other depictions of animal cruelty, saying the law violated free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

    • Is YouTube’s Safety Mode Safe? Not Very.

      Unfortunately, for me, the filter didn’t work. But because no two people share the same standard, here’s a short exercise so you can judge for yourself. You need a computer, a browser and a live Internet connection.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Filesharers to have internet cut

      An important High Court decision today allowing Eircom proceed with cutting off internet access to illegal music downloaders, mainly peer-to-peer music sharing groups, has major implications for all other internet service providers.

      Legal sources predict the judgment by Mr Justice Peter Charleton may compel other internet service providers to cut off services to illegal downloaders who fail to heed warnings to desist what the judge described as “theft”.

    • Bush’s Illegal Wiretapping Tab: $612,000

      The two American lawyers who were illegally wiretapped by the Bush administration asked a federal judge Friday to order the government to pay $612,000 in damages, plus legal fees for their attorneys.

      The demand (.pdf) comes two weeks after U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the former administration wiretapped the lawyers’ telephone conversations (.pdf) without a warrant, in violation of federal law.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is Piracy Really Killing The Music Industry? No!

      For more than a decade the music industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues. However, looking at the sales data of the music industry itself shows that the disappointing income might be better explained by a third factor that is systematically ignored.

    • RIAA, MPAA Outline Plans for Draconian Copyright Laws

      Submit brief to govt “anti-piracy czar” Victoria A. Espinel bemoaning industry losses, and outlining a plan to crackdown on online copyright infringement. Among the proposals are website filtering, search engine keyword blocking, a crackdown on domain name registrars and proxy services, monitoring of social networks for promotion of infringing websites, bandwidth throttling, and “consumer tools” installed on home PCs that detect and delete illegally obtained copyrighted material.

    • Copyrights

      • Keane ‘horrified’ by Tories’ use of hit single

        Rock band Keane have said that the Conservative Party did not seek their permission to use one of their hits at their election manifesto launch.

      • OK Go Chats With Planet Money About The Music Business

        That said, OK Go left EMI amicably, and Kulash is quite appreciative of the music labels. He calls them “risk aggregators” and commends them for funding the initial monetary investment necessary to get his band off the ground. However, with the costs of music production plummeting in recent years, the days of needing huge advances just to cut an album are numbered.

    • ACTA

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 1: Episode 7 (2004)

IRC Proceedings: April 20th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Yahoo! is Virtually Run by Microsoft Now

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yahoo the spook

Summary: Microsoft’s Blake Irving becomes the chief technology officer of Yahoo! (latest among several Microsoft proponents who run the ‘new’ Yahoo!)

WHENEVER people depart from Microsoft they may actually become more of a problem than when they were inside Microsoft. The Microsoft influence grows wings and moves on to other companies, sometimes competitors.

It’s a good thing that Canonical abandoned Yahoo! right before the release of Ubuntu 10.04. As we have shown in recent weeks, Yahoo! is fast becoming just a department of Microsoft [1, 2, 3], having been hijacked through proxy agents like Carl Icahn.

The latest news is that Microsoft’s Blake Irving, whom we named as a rumoured candidate for a top position at Yahoo!, is now confirmed to be in. He will become Yahoo’s chief technology officer.

As it promised, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) has moved very quickly to replace CTO and EVP of products Ari Balogh, who said earlier this month that he was leaving for “personal reasons.” The company says Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) veteran Blake Irving will be its new chief product officer. Irving had been a long-time executive at Microsoft, who—among other roles—led the back-end of its Windows Live platform, but “retired” three years ago, shortly before a major reorganization of Microsoft’s online operations. He’s worked since as a professor at Pepperdine’s business school.

One reader of ours cites this article and says that “Yahoo will finally stop pretending to be an independent company and take up its new role as the search arm of Microsoft. Not being totally merged so as to escape the monopolies commission…”

Canonical is Already Aware of the Problem With Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matt Zimmerman
Photo by Simon Law

Summary: Canonical’s chief technology officer talks about the problem with Microsoft controlling Mono

IN a new interview with Canonical’s CTO, Matt Zimmerman, he says “Free software” rather than “Open Source”, which is a good sign [1, 2]. For example:

UT: What are the targets and the plans of Ubuntu project in five years?

MZ: [Matt Zimmerman] Ubuntu is a vehicle for the expression of free software in people’s lives, so to some extent, the goals of Ubuntu are the goals of free software.

I think that free software must synthesize people’s experience of the web and the desktop. The divide between these two technological realms is limiting free software innovation by fragmenting the ecosystem. Along the way, we will need to resolve questions of freedom and autonomy on the web, and enable the community to embrace the web in ways which have not been possible yet.

The interview as a whole is very good, including the part where he talks about Mono and explains why it is further down in the list of priorities. The Source has already summarised the key points raised by Zimmerman:

There are risks in choosing the .NET platform to develop free software. And I am pleased that Mr. Zimmerman realizes that is exactly what Mono is: the .NET platform (albeit a gimped and tail-lights chasing stepchild implementation).

I also greatly appreciate Mr. Zimmerman’s points:

* Microsoft is in “ultimate control” (despite Team Apologista’s desperate protestations)
* Microsoft has multiple ways to wield .NET offensively
* It would be logical for them to do so
* they have acted similarly in the past
* they have said they would act similarly the future.

As the FSF has already stated quite formally, Mono or C# should not be treated as frameworks of choice. It’s nothing to do with “hate”; it’s simply a logical consideration.

“[...] we know that Microsoft is getting patents on some features of C#. So I think it’s dangerous to use C#, and it may be dangerous to use Mono.”

Richard Stallman, 2006

Links 20/4/2010: Linux Foundation Video Winners, NetWalker Becomes Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 75 Open Source Tools to Replace Apps You Use Every Day

    Can open source tools replace all closed source software? That is, are open source tools – freely downloadable software – really just as good as software you have to pay for?

    In a lot of cases, the answer is yes. In fact, in some cases, open source tools offers features or performance benefits that surpass their commercial counterparts.

  • Where’s the Summer of Documentation?

    Google has been running its Summer of Code program since 2005. It has reached out to hundreds of open source programs and distributed millions of dollars to try to encourage more people to get involved with open source. That’s great, but it doesn’t address the pressing need that many projects have to develop more docs to go with the software they already have. Now Fedora is ramping up a “Summer of Coding for 2010, and yet again — it’s all about code doesn’t address any other forms of contribution.

  • On projects and their goals

    More generally, every project has to have some idea of the problem it is trying to solve. In some ways, that’s a far more important part of a project than any specific body of code or any specific developer. One of the best things about free software is that it’s alive; it will evolve and, with any luck, be better tomorrow. A project’s goals say a lot about how it can be expected to evolve. In your editor’s opinion, both Subversion and Ubuntu have set worthwhile goals, and both seem to be trying to work toward those goals. These are good things; our community is richer for the existence of both.

  • Cisco completes Tandberg takeover and offers to open source telepresence code

    Cisco has announced it has completed its £2.17bn acquisition of Norwegian video systems maker Tandberg and is launching a compulsory bid for the outstanding 8.9% shares it does not yet own.

    Marthin De Beer , Cisco’s senior vice-president for its emerging technologies group, said the company “strongly believed” that telepresence, would allow everyone, everywhere, to be more productive through the pervasive use of video and face-to-face collaboration. The full Tandberg product line is now part of the Cisco TelePresence portfolio, he said.

  • Events

    • Open Source Think Tank: The Way Forward

      I have just finished attending the Fifth Annual Open Source Think Tank, hosted by Andrew Aitken and I at Meritage in Napa Valley. Andrew and his team did a great job of organizing the event.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox add-on said to blunt Google’s data collection tactics

      A computer security researcher has launched a project designed to provide people greater privacy when using Google, as the company expands the scope of data its collects about its users.

    • Firefox Speed Test

      OK happily there has been a large speed up in 3.7.a4 as regards to the filtering.

      The filter operation in 3.7.a4 takes 6 times less than it did in 3.6. :-)

      It does not look as if the reload time has seen any improvement.

      The improvements in 3.7.a4 are very encouraging but it makes you wonder what Google is doing to get such incredible sub 10sec times.

      Luckily as it is open source someone can go have a look :-)

  • Education

    • Open Source: Modernizing India’s education system

      Over the last few years, open source adoption has been growing within India’s education system. Five years ago, the South Indian state of Kerala, pioneered open source in schools with its famous IT@Schools project, that now covers three million students from the 5th-10 standards, involves 200,000 teachers across 4071 schools. Since then, other Indian states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Assam, West Bengal and others have made open source a key part of their school education initiatives.

  • Government

    • NL: Open source desktops manage shared office space ministries

      Twenty desktop PCs running the Ubuntu Linux distribution are used to manage the services at a shared office building in the Hague for all Dutch ministries, since the beginning of this month.

      The shared office building, called Rijkskantoor Beatrixpark, facilitates ministries working together on temporary projects, and offers the ministries extra office space when needed.

    • Citizens ask e-government project to use open source and standards

      Two hundred Romanians have signed a petition urging Gabriel Sandu, the Minister for Communications and Information Society, to support open source software on e-government projects. They also ask him to use open standards and to make government data public electronically.

      The petition was organised by APTI, a Romanian Association for Technology and Internet. It was organised on-line regarding the eRomânia project, a 500 million euro project proposal to make government services and information available electronically. The project has been discussed for the past few years, and minister Sandu is one of its supporters.

    • PT: Government procurement agency approves use of open source

      The Portuguese government agency for public procurement has published a list of open source applications it deems suitable for use by public administrations.

      The selected open source applications are now part of the official software catalogue published by Portugal’s procurement authority, the Agência Nacional de Compras Públicas, ANCP. Included on ANCP’s list are the database management system MySQL, content management system Alfresco, email server Scalix and server and desktop operating systems Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu Linux.

  • Licensing

    • New binary analysis tool finds FOSS in device firmware

      The most popular copyleft license, the GNU General Public License (GPL), has become a powerful enabler of collaboration, but a growing number of companies fall afoul of its requirements. Bradley Kuhn, the technical director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) revealed last year that he finds an average of one new GPL violator every day. A GPL violation constitutes copyright infringement and puts the violator in a position where they risk having their license to use the software terminated. The SFLC and a handful of other organizations such as gpl-violations.org, attempt to educate companies about GPL compliance and help them conform with the requirements of the license.

  • Programming

    • Groovy++ goes fully open source

      Groovy++, the static typing compiler extension for Groovy, is to be released as open source under the Apache Public Licence 2.0. The Groovy++ project started last year and at the time Alex Tkachman, project founder said Groovy++’s compiler “uses several pieces of technology, which our company uses and plans to use in our commercial products. It was not critical when [the] project started as [an] experiment, but now we need to extract these parts and replace/rewrite [them] with proper open-source alternatives”. Since Tkachman has now announced that the source will be released under the APL 2.0 this process appears to be complete.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Final Notes from the ODF Plugfest in Granada

      A representative of the Spanish Ministry of Presidency, Miguel Angel Amutio Gomez, started the day explaining the crucial points of the Spanish law 11/2007: the right for everybody to use whatever digital technology they like best and the obligation for all Public Administrations to avoid discrimination of citizens based on their technological choices. In order to make this possible, the law stresses the importance of open standards, setting the goal that all e-government services and documents become available at least through such standards. In this context, Amutio said, the Spanish National Interoperability Framework (NIF) that A. Barrionuevo presented in the first day becomes an essential legal test for all Spanish organizations.


  • 7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls

    A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

    The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • RIAA Wants Gov. to Delete Your Illegal Downloads

      Big Brother is watching you. Actually, it’s the RIAA and the MPAA, especially if you’re parked on a BitTorrent client. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that both organizations–along with a few others–want to take the file-monitoring process a huge step further by infiltrating consumer PCs and deleting the infringing content off their hard drives. How? Through “anti-infringement” spyware developed and enforced by the government.

      This is no joke.

    • Secret Anti-Piracy Treaty Details Going Public

      Countries negotiating a major cross-border agreement to crack down on intellectual property crimes have agreed to release previously secret draft language of the controversial accord this week.

      The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has confirmed plans to publish the draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) this Wednesday, following a series of successful negotiations in the eighth round of talks on the agreement last week in New Zealand.

      USTR spokeswoman Nefterius McPherson said that the negotiating countries are very close to a final deal, though differences remain over the language concerning enforcement mechanisms for dealing with trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

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