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Links 12/5/2010: New KDE Menubars; GTK+ 3.0 Test; 2010 Fedora Scholarship

Posted in News Roundup at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • OMG! Indian Government to develop its own Operating System and anti virus products

    Government probably should be told that CDAC has developed OS (derived from Debian), called BOSS [i.e. Bharat Operating System Solutions].

  • Fragmentation is Good and Bad for Linux

    Linux already has a unified base: it’s called upstream components. An Embedded Linux OS, just like an enterprise Linux OS, is comprised of core upstream components like the Linux kernel. First, at the kernel level — where most hardware support happens including all driver support — the Linux ecosystem is extremely unified. Device makers or silicon suppliers that wish to support their hardware with Linux – whatever the variety – simply contribute code to the mainline Linux kernel project hosted at kernel.org. Use a mainline kernel and you are using the right base. Recently Google has been working with the kernel community to ensure their drivers are in the mainline kernel and great progress has been made to “unify” Android with the mainline kernel.

  • Desktop

    • Ultra-minimal Linux Desktops Roundup

      Of the three, fvwm looks most like a ‘normal’ window manager. It’s pretty basic, though. When you start it up for the first tine, there’s no desktop decoration at all. No menu bar, no docking bay; the only thing you can do is to click on the desktop, which fires up a basic menu.

    • Linux: King of the Hill

      Linux is overall the king of the hill and I do not care who says it is not. Linux may not be the most gross producing or the most wealthy Operating System out there but it is the most supported Operating System. All I hear out of most Windows users is the pain in the butt the system is. I know this because I used to be one of those Windows users. Now I have switched over to the Ubuntu distro and I have not regretted a minute of it. Have you heard of a Linux user complaining about Linux? I know I have not and if you have they are usually a new user.

      Overall the system is just more stable. It does not give you that amazing Blue Screen of Death Windows does. It does not all of a sudden freeze on you. The viruses are virtually non existent in the system. The system is backed with a root user that you have to have special permissions to be in. This system is made for being stable and a work environment. A majority of enterprise companies are now switching over to the Linux franchise. The reason why? Linux does not give you the problems that Windows does.

    • Who Says Desktop Linux Is Doomed?

      The fact is, Windows 7 and Linux serve different types of users and markets, and Dana Blankenhorn has a good inventory of reasons why Ubuntu can compete with Windows here. I have only been impressed with Canonical’s recent moves with Ubuntu, making it more graphical, easier to use, more compatible, and now massaging it into new, lightweight versions that have promise on netbooks.

      Meanwhile, let’s not forget that Google’s Android operating system is Linux-based, and its upcoming Chrome OS for netbooks is Linux-based and was created with the help of the Ubuntu team. Android is an enormous success story, and is spreading out beyond smartphones, and Chrome OS holds much promise too.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Detailed Look At The ATI Linux Power Management

      Last week we reported that the open-source ATI Linux driver had picked up improved power management in the form of dynamic power management and power management profiles that can be defined by the end-user. With the ATI Linux power management finally coming to fruition within the Linux kernel for its kernel mode-setting / DRM driver, we have decided to take a close look at how this power management support is working in the real world.

    • X.Org Server 1.8.1 Released To The Wild

      X.Org Server 1.8.1 boasts a variety of fixes and minor improvements while all major work is already focused on delivering X Server 1.9 that should make its debut in August.

  • Applications

    • Brasero Burns Data, Not Time – or Piles of Discs

      I often think of Brasero as a frustration-free computing tool. Burning files to a CD or DVD can be filled with angst and error. Writing failures ruin blank discs, quickly reducing the number of blanks left in the box.

      Brasero is my idiot-proof solution to creating CDs and DVDs in minimum time with maximum efficiency. It is one of the best burning tools I’ve used.

    • Top Antivirus For Linux

      Linux is easily one of the most secure operating system, added that it is least prone to virus and malware attacks. However, we cannot conclude that it is completely free from viruses.

      The number of malicious programs including viruses, malwares, trojans etc. written for Linux are very less when compared to other operating systems. Even though the numbers are very low, using an anti-virus would ensure you complete protection from viruses and malwares. There are a number of anti-virus programs available for Linux.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Humble update: open source extension (5/11/10)

        The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, in just over 7 days, 125,520 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,150,639. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.91% to charity: $355,716 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play Charity. I have made a page for the full breakdown including credit card fees in a JSON format here (json).

      • Lugaru goes open-source

        In the spirit of the Humble Indie Bundle, we have decided to release the source code to Lugaru! Our community has already made some great mods by editing the levels and graphics, but source code access will allow for much deeper modifications. The coding style is what you might expect from a self-taught high school student, so it could be a challenge to understand, but feel free to give it a shot!

      • Warp Speed – 2D Multiplayer Shooter

        Two indie companies Por Design and Double Dude decided to combine forces to work on a new game named Warp Speed which as I’ve confirmed will have a native GNU/Linux client !

      • Alien Arena 2010

        Alien Arena 2010 (v7.40), the next in the Alien Arena series, is a freeware online deathmatch game with fast and furious action for Windows and Linux!

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • 6 Useful Widgets For Amarok Music Player

        Like KDE’s Plasma desktop, Amarok has the ability to display widgets. It is divided into the three columns. The left column is the music browser, which displays the user’s local collection or the Internet music library of his or her choice. The right column shows the current playlist, and the center column can hold a number of widgets. Users must click the wrench icon at the bottom to add, remove, or reorder widgets.

      • Getting menubars out of application windows…

        This is quite handy for Netbooks. I have been using my laptop with this setup recently and I find it nice to work with. The cost of the extra-click to get to the menu items does not bother me for now.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Marketing Hackfest – Zaragoza

        We had a really productive and busy week, working on the marketing plans and actions for launching GNOME 3.0.

      • The First GTK+ 3.0 Test Release

        GTK+ 2.90.0 is this initial GTK+3 test release. GTK+ 3.0 can co-exist just fine with a GTK+ 2.x installation on the system for those interested in trying out this tool-kit library.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Grace Digital Audio Has A Slick, Pandora-Centric Linux Radio

      We’ve covered Pandora-centric, Linux-based Internet radios before, such as Livio’s, but the new one that I have my eye on is Grace Digital Audio’s Solo Wi-Fi radio and media streamer.

    • Bigfoot Networks Announces 3rd Gen Killer NIC: Killer 2100

      The Killer NIC marked a sort of return to the idea of a complex NIC, forgoing a simple controller/PHY combination in favor of a complex dedicated device capable of acting more independently. By endowing a NIC with a full-fledged microcomputer running Linux, not only could the card offload virtually every part of processing required for network operations, but it could even bypass Windows’ notorious networking stack and handle packets in a manner better suited for low-latency use (i.e. games)

    • Nokia

      • MeeGo Using Btrfs As Default File-System

        MeeGo, the mobile Linux operating system that came about when Intel and Nokia joined forces to marry Moblin and Maemo, will be using Btrfs as its default file-system.

    • Android

      • Practical Open Source

        Getting the Source · Before you can do anything with the source code, you have to go get it. This could be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with what a “case-sensitive filesystem” is, or how to use the git distributed version control system.

        Fortunately, over at source.android.com there are step-by-step instructions that’ll let you get by even if you’re only lightly acquainted with all that stuff.

        I’d advise you, if you’re doing anything substantial with Android, to go grab that source code. It takes less than 10G of disk space, and if you haven’t done this kind of thing before, you might find that it feels empowering.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • $100 netbook switches to Android

        Cherrypal announced its first two netbooks to run Android. The Cherrypal Asia is available in seven-inch ($99) and 10.1-inch ($148) models, both of which run Android 1.6 on an ARM9-based Via VT 8505 processor clocked at 533MHz, and offer 256MB of RAM, 2GB of flash storage, Ethernet, WiFi, and USB connectivity, says the company.

      • World’s first $99 laptop goes Android, Cherrypal drops Linux in favor of Android for sub-100-dollar laptops
      • Vodacom unveils low-cost Linux netbook

        Cellphone group Vodacom is making a play into the netbook market. On Tuesday, it unveiled a low-cost compact computer, the Linkbook, that it says is designed specifically to provide users, especially first-time computer buyers, with “simple and affordable Internet access”.


        The Linkbook supports Wi-Fi. It has 16GB of flash memory (no hard drive), an 8,9-inch TFT display and a Motorola-derivative processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

    • What’s Next for Me (But Not Yet!)

      I just announced internally that after 5 years at Mozilla, and a couple as the CEO, I’ve decided to leave later this year to join Greylock Partners as a venture partner.

    • Firefox 4 release plan: The need for speed

      Mozilla hopes to release Firefox 4 in October or November, a new version that has speed among its top goals.

      “Performance is a huge, huge, huge thing for us,” said Mike Beltzner, vice president of engineering for Firefox, in a Webcast on Tuesday about plans for the browser. “We created the performance story, and we’ve got to keep at it.”

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Joomla vs Drupal: business models and commercial ecosystem

      Why is this happening? First, the Joomla people that I talked to believed that there was more money to be made in the Drupal world, as Drupal tends to attract larger projects. Further, the lack of Drupal template clubs is perceived as an opportunity for Joomla developers already familiar with that business model. Third, since the long awaited Joomla 1.6 release is “only” an incremental release, some people are only marginally excited about it. Contrasted with Drupal 7 and WordPress 3.0, both of which are shaping up to be phenomenal, paradigm-shifting releases with tons of improvements and feature additions, many Joomla developers are expanding their horizons and portfolios.


  • Openness

    • Creative Commons Treasures

      The MakerBot contest has brought a lot of new members of the Thingiverse community, and I hope, inspired by your experiences so far with creating open source content for 3D printing, you’ll stick around and keep making Thingiverse amazing! I also hope you’ll be exploring the world of open source and creative commons wizardry that’s quietly transforming the world. To aid you in this, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite open source and creative commons gems and wonders:

      http://www.instructables.com Perhaps most importantly to Thingiverse users, hardware is now an open-source thing. Instructables is an excellent place to learn tricks for building things and making them real.

    • “Always collaborate”: Say hello to OpenFile, the local news site putting those new media maxims to the test
    • Open source hardware is making big bucks

      IT TURNS OUT that 13 companies are making millions from their open source hardware (OSHW) products.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The real political nerds

        Data matters. We use it to understand what has already happened in the world, and we use it to make decisions about what to do next. But in among the graphics and electoral cock-ups lies a terrible truth: a small army of amateur enthusiasts are doing a better job of collecting and disseminating basic political data than the state has managed.

        Chris Taggart blogs at CountCulture and was baffled to discover that there is no central or open record of the results from local elections in the UK. If you go to the Electoral Commission’s website, they pass the buck to the BBC, where you can find seat numbers for each area, but no record of how many votes were cast for each candidate. Plymouth University holds an unofficial database of these results, and they pay people to type every single one of them in, painstakingly and by hand. After all that they charge for access, which is perfectly understandable. So for democracy, open analysis, and public record, it might as well not exist.

      • Bill would require posting government docs, contracts online

        Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has introduced a bill that aims to put all government documents online—or at least the public ones, anyway. As part of the “Public Online Information Act,” the documents would be submitted to a free, searchable database, and an advisory committee would be established in order to oversee the process.

      • The Global Development Of Free Access To Legal Information

        Since the mid1990s the Internet’s Worldwide Web has provided the necessary technical platform to enable free access to computerised legal information. Prior to the web there were many online legal information systems and numerous legal information products distributed on CD-ROM, but there was no significant provision of free access to legal information anywhere in the world. Both government and private sector online legal publishers charged for access. The web provided the key element required for free public access – a low cost distribution mechanism. For publishers it was close to a ‘no cost’ distribution mechanism if they were not required to pay for outgoing bandwidth. The ease of use of graphical browsers from around 1994, and the web’s use of hypertext as its principal access mechanism (at that time) meant that, the web provided a simple and relatively consistent means by which legal information could be both provided and accessed. This was an attractive alternative to the proprietary, expensive and training intensive search engines on which commercial online services largely relied. The development of free access Internet law services was based on these factors.

      • Enlightenment 2.0: Unleashing the Open Science Revolution

        Now look at reality. Without massive coordinated effort we shall surely fail to achieve a Free and Open Science and Technology Paradigm. The vision sketched here needs to come about within the next decade if humanity is to make any progress against our interrelated great challenges—Energy, Climate, Health, Food Security, and Poverty. By 2020 there must be a distributed, global network of institutions participating in the governance of Science and Technology. I hope you share our excitement for this unique instant in history when it is finally possible for mankind, a species distinguished and defined by its capacity to use tools, to unleash the unlimited problem solving powers of the tool of tools, science.

      • Why I’m Going to Publish the Mediactive Book with Lulu

        My former publisher was fine with Creative Commons, as proved by the fact that we did the first book that way. But as David told me at the outset of the new search, I was likely to limit the potential field because I had one non-negotiable requirement: The book will be published under a Creative Commons license. In this case, as with We the Media, the kind of Creative Commons license would say, essentially, that anyone could make copies of the work for non-commercial use, and if they created derivative works, also only for non-commercial purposes, those works would have to be made available a) with credit to me and b) under the same license.

      • Over 20% of the world’s scholarly journals now open access! (Kudos to DOAJ)

        This is a conservative estimate. DOAJ is doing great work, but they are a small group, and kvetches from the open access community tend to center around the lag time it takes for new or converted journals to get through the DOAJ vetting process and be included in DOAJ.

  • Programming


  • Google Reader Adds HTML5 Support

    Google Reader has released a slew of new updates today, the most prominent being support for HTML5-powered videos and audio.

  • Science

    • One of Jupiter’s belts disappears

      Over the next few months, we can expect to see a white spot appear which will gradually get stretched out by the planet’s 350mph winds to form a new SEB.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Torture Supporter Peter Ricketts as National Security Adviser

      Even worse news. Cameron’s much vaunted National Security Council will be headed by the FCO’s pro-torture Peter Ricketts, who is personally up to his ears in the policy of complicity in torture, and in its continued cover-up – including being personally involved in the censorship of this vital FOI release last week.

    • British Sense of Humour? Not So Much

      In other words, our society has become so corrupted by the cynical abuse of the idea of “terror” that we have lost all sense of proportion, not to mention humour. Tragic – and dangerous, since it is bound to have a chilling effect on Twitter in this country.

    • The Race to Build a Secure Operating System

      Early in 2009 a Dutch university was awarded a grant for $3.3 million from the European Research Council to fund 5 more years of work on a Unix derivative version operating system called Minix. This research effort is designed to be more resilient and secure than either Linus or Windows. The most impressive feature in Minix is said to be its self healing feature. This is believed to be the first operating system with the capable of fixing itself when a bug is detected.

    • Software Insecurity is Our Biggest Weakness

      If the United States wants to remain competitive in the global economy and prevent widespread penetrations of its strategic, corporate and commercial networks, enterprises and government agencies should stop relying on commercial software and go back to writing more of their own custom code, a security expert said Tuesday.

  • Environment

    • Economics for the Story of Stuff

      Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff, the explosive online video (now also expanded into a book), provides an entertaining explanation of a glaring economic flaw. The Story of Stuff takes a look at the economy’s linear system that runs from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. As Annie says, “… you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.” You especially can’t grow the size of that linear system indefinitely. But that’s the misguided aim of current economic goals and policies. Misguided as it is, however, we know why politicians and economists push economic growth and consumer spending. As soon as we slow down our shopping and buy less stuff, the economy spirals into a recession. That’s when we start hearing about and experiencing real problems – problems like people losing their jobs, their homes, and even their ability to take care of basic needs.

    • Sharing: The New Recycling?

      Over at the wonderful Streetsblog, Shareable friend Chris Carlsson reminds us that curbside recycling was once considered a wacky, far-out idea. “We tend to take curbside recycling for granted,” writes Chris. “It seems like common sense, and these days the ubiquitous three bins are everywhere: black for landfill, blue for recyclables, and most recently green for compost. But only a few decades ago it was ‘crazy hippie activists’ who started the process of bringing our trash out of the dark and into the light of day.”

    • Mountains of rubbish

      The Qinghai-Tibet railway has brought an influx of non-biodegradable waste to the Himalayan plateau, posing serious environmental challenges. He Haining and Guo Haiyan report.

    • Mercury high in Japanese town that hunts dolphins

      Residents of the dolphin-hunting village depicted in Oscar documentary “The Cove” have dangerously high mercury levels, likely because of their fondness for dolphin and whale meat, a government lab said Sunday.


      Environmentalists have long protested Taiji’s dolphin slaughter and Japan’s whaling activities, and have adopted the mercury issue as part of their cause.

    • If You Think You Have a Sense of the Oil Spill’s Scale

      Try this utility from Paul Rademacher’s site, which overlays a scaled representation of the Deepwater Horizon spill onto a Google Earth view of any city you choose. (May require a Google Earth web plug-in, available at the site linked above. I’ve used that plugin for a long time with no ill effects.)

    • China’s coal bubble…and how it will deflate U.S. efforts to develop “clean coal”

      The conventional wisdom in energy-and-environment circles is that China’s economy, which is growing at a rate of eight percent or more per year, is mostly coal powered today and will continue to be so for decades to come. Coal is cheap and abundant, and China uses far more of it than any other nation. The country is trying to develop other energy sources fast—including nuclear, solar, and wind—but these won’t be sufficient to reduce its reliance on coal. That’s one of the reasons it is important for the U.S. to develop “clean coal” technology, which China can then begin to adopt so as to reduce the horrific climate impacts of its coal-heavy energy mix.

    • The Ecological Footprint of e-Books

      There has yet to be a conclusive study that compares the environmental cost of a single e-book in comparison to a single print book, so we’re left to draw conclusions from the rough comparisons made in the New York Times article and this well-considered Exact Editions blog post. Until then, it’s best to be aware of our consumption behaviors, no matter which we prefer, and push for further research comparing the respective ecological footprints of e-books and print books. And if we want to play it really safe, follow Siel’s advice and make better use of what may remain the greenest (and most shareable) distribution system: the public library.

    • Brookings Report: “Bright Flight” Transforming Cities and Suburbs

      The report merits much more careful analysis and closer reading. But one thing seems evident: “suburbs” and “cities” are no longer clearly defined categories with predictable attributes. The vast metropolitan landscape of America is far more fluid and dynamic than it has been in decades past. And old-school policy solutions are not going to be applicable to these new challenges.

  • Finance

    • The Decline Of The West

      Most analysts (at least the ones that are worth reading) contend that the sovereign default crisis (Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.) in the EU is about the collapse of a system that created monetary union without a political union. It isn’t. That’s actually a narrow, parochial view. Instead, the current sovereign debt crisis is about something much more interesting: it’s another battle in a war for dominance between “our” integrated, impersonal global economic system and traditional nation-states. At issue is whether a nation-state serves the interests of the governed or it serves the interests of a global economic system.

      Who’s winning? The global economic system, of course. The 2008 financial crisis, the first real battle of this war (as opposed to the early losses in skirmishes in Russia, Argentina, the Balkans, etc.), generated a very decisive outcome. It was a resounding defeat for nation-states.* The current crisis in the EU will almost certainly end with the same results.

    • 4 Big Banks Score Perfect 61-Day Run
    • Last week’s stock plunge largely caused by big Wall Street firms, SEC chief says

      Major Wall Street firms retreated from the market Thursday at the very moment when they were most needed to support normal trading, in what a senior federal regulator called the “most significant” factor behind the stock market’s dramatic volatility.

    • [Satire] The Case Against Goldman Sachs
    • The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

      These are the 61 “Senators” who sold out the American people and voted their allegiance to the Economic Elite. These “Senators” not only voted against the American people, they voted against the fundamental structure of a democratic society and free market.

    • Senate clears measure to audit Federal Reserve

      The amendment, which passed 96-0 with overwhelming bipartisan support, was the product of a deal brokered late last week by sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to make the provision acceptable to White House and Treasury officials, and appealing to Senate moderates.

    • In Greek Debt Crisis, Some See Parallels to U.S.

      It’s easy to look at the protesters and the politicians in Greece — and at the other European countries with huge debts — and wonder why they don’t get it. They have been enjoying more generous government benefits than they can afford. No mass rally and no bailout fund will change that. Only benefit cuts or tax increases can.

    • Liquidity

      First money is liquid. Money is any asset which can be used to buy anything or pay and debt right now. Other assets are more or less liquid depending on how quickly they can be converted into money and how much that operation costs. One definition of liquidity (the only one which I accept) is the cost of a round trip money to the asset to money divided by the price of the asset.


      The main point of this post is to object to the equation of round trip costs for medium size round trips and huge round trips. However, the abuse of language is much worse. A third meaning of liquidity is the money supply. This is the sense in which Central banks are said to inject and remove liquidity via open market operations. Here “liquidity” means “liquid assets.” I don’t think this abuse of English is dangerous. It is just very mildly irritating.

    • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications Decrease
    • Financial overhaul pits military against car dealers

      In the battle to overhaul the nation’s financial regulations, a lobbying effort by the world’s most powerful military force may have met its match in the local car dealer.

    • Our Eurozone Call In October 2008 And Banking Reform Today

      If you don’t fix the system now, you’ll have another major crisis – and then you likely won’t fix the system again.

    • A Polish Internet Revolution

      Poland is one of the few countries that is emerging from Europe’s financial crisis relatively unscathed. While many European Union members struggle to raise funds, Poland’s zloty remains stable and interest rates low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Adobe’s new Flash DRM comes with selective output control

      Adobe has rejiggered its DRM software for the Flash platform, combining a number of access control features under the rubric of Flash Access 2.0. The new platform can give content providers all sorts of ways to offer media content securely, including controlling what type of output devices can display the content—in effect, Adobe it enabling HDCP and broadcast control flags for Flash content.

    • No DMCA Protection For You

      I have previously written about the Viacom v. YouTube case here and here. Ben Sheffner has an update that points to the Washington Legal Foundation amicus brief in the case. This brief, unlike the other brief mentioned in the article, deals not with the facts in this case, but rather with whether sites like YouTube should be afforded DMCA Safe Harbor protection at all. The brief is incredibly misleading, even for a Washington-based company.


      What makes this so hypocritical is that Viacom isn’t even sure what videos it owns the copyright to and has issued bogus DMCA takedowns for innocent videos. Yet the Washington Legal Foundation thinks that YouTube should be liable when users upload infringing content? How could YouTube possibly be able to find all unwanted content when the content creators don’t even know what content is theirs?

    • The Telcos’ Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy

      NoMoreHelio writes “The political blog ThinkProgress lays out big telecom’s plan to attack net neutality. The blog obtained a secret PowerPoint presentation from a telecommunications industry front group (PPT) that outlines the industry strategy for defending against regulatory attempts by the FCC. The industry plans to partner with two conservative ‘astroturfing’ groups, best known for their work seeding the Tea Party movement. Today’s revelation from ThinkProgress comes as Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) joined various telecom-funded front groups to unveil an anti-net neutrality bill.”

    • NEC announces video checking technology
    • Big Content’s depraved indifference

      Something I think gets lost in the debate over DRM: Big Content doesn’t want DRM because they want to usher in an era of totalitarian control technologies; they don’t want copyright filters because they want to make the censor’s job easier; they don’t want increased intermediary liability because they want to extinguish easy personal expression and collective action.

    • CMAP #9: Ebooks

      There is no topic in the publishing industry this decade that is the source of as many misconceptions, superstitions, lies, plausible untruths, and idiocies as ebooks. Ebooks generate more email to my from my readers than just about any other topic. And the situation is only going to get worse over the next few years, so strap your safety helmet on tight …

      I am coming to this topic from two different angles. Firstly, I’m an author and some of my books are published through ebook channels. Secondly, I’ve got a computer science degree — having graduated in 1990, this makes me about as current as someone with an aeronatical engineering degree issued in 1937 — which qualification, along with several years earning my crust as a programmer and as a computer journalist, has fine-tuned my bullshit detector.


      Publishers inflict DRM on their ebooks.

      I shouldn’t need to explain why DRM is bad, stupid, and doomed to failure, so I’ll leave it to cryptography guru Bruce Schneier, who in 2001 pointed out that DRM is an attempt to repeal the laws of nature. When you get down to it, every DRM scheme relies on encrypting files, then giving them to someone else, along with the necessary decryption key for decrypting them, and trusting that the someone else is too stupid to reverse engineer the decryption algorithm and use the keys you helpfully provided.

    • Open vs. Closed: Google Takes on Amazon and Apple in e-Books

      According to Google product manager Chris Palma, who described the search giant’s plans at a recent publishing industry event in New York, it will start selling digital books in late June or July. And unlike books bought from either Apple or Amazon, which are locked by digital rights management software and can only be read on the proprietary devices sold by those companies, Palma said that e-books bought from Google Editions will be accessible from a range of non-Google websites and will be readable on any device that has a web browser (including presumably a Google tablet, if one ever materializes). It doesn’t get much more open than that.

    • Google Editions Could Boast Over 4 Million Titles at Launch, eBook Revolution to Follow

      The publishing industry has been backed into a corner as of late, as the digital age hasn’t played too nicely with old fashioned paper and ink. Companies that rely on the sale of books and printed media have turned to producing their own e-readers in an attempt to capitalize on digitized publications (see Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook), but stand-alone devices for reading e-publications have proven hard to justify for consumer’s who already own any combination of MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, and now tablet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Scheme Cited In Sex Shop Closure Row

      A sex shop company owned by one of Britain’s richest men has been revealed as a client of controversial anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law. Following an objection against a license renewal for one of its premises, the owning company complained that it was the target of a national campaign, and later withdrew its application and closed down the shop.

    • Big Music lawyer as US attorney general?

      Just when you thought things couldn’t become any more twisted in the Obushma administration, meet (ex-)Jenner & Block employee Don Verrilli (right).

      If his face seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before.

      In Excess Copyright, Canadian copyright lawyer Howard Knopf noted Verrilli “fought and won the Grokster case for the music industry in the US Supreme Court”.

    • Copyrights

      • Publishers were expert at selling copies – not intellectual work

        Publishers aren’t interested in developing business models that pay intellectual workers for their intellectual work, because they’ve never been interested in paying intellectual workers anything except as little as possible. Moreover, they know exactly how to pay intellectual workers. They’ve been doing it for centuries.

    • ACTA

      • EC’s ACTA Negotiator Devigne: Rejected U.S. “Blackmail”

        Luc Devigne, the European Commission’s lead ACTA negotiator, recently appeared before the International Trade Committee which brought together Members of the European Parliament and ACTA negotiators. Sources say Devigne revealed several key things:

        * the release of the draft ACTA text may be a one-time deal. There are no current plans to release the updated text following future rounds of talks.
        * Devigne reportedly told the MEPs that the EC successfully rejected U.S. “blackmail”, a reference to U.S. demands for changes on the scope of ACTA in return for greater transparency.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. What IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    Let's 'Streisand it'...

  2. Good News, Bad News (and Back to Normal)

    When many services are reliant on the integrity of a single, very tiny MicroSD card you're only moments away from 2 days of intensive labour (recovery, investigation, migration, and further coding); we've learned our lessons and took advantage of this incident to upgrade the operating system, double the storage space, even improve the code slightly (for compatibility with newer systems)

  3. Someone Is Very Desperate to Knock My Account Off Twitter

    Many reports against me — some successful — are putting my free speech (and factual statements) at risk

  4. Links 18/1/2022: Deepin 20.4 and Qubes OS 4.1.0 RC4

    Links for the day

  5. Links 18/1/2022: GNOME 42 Alpha and KStars 3.5.7

    Links for the day

  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 17, 2022

  7. Links 17/1/2022: More Microsoft-Connected FUD Against Linux as Its Share Continues to Fall

    Links for the day

  8. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge

  9. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day

  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022

  11. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day

  12. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)

  13. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos

  14. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings

  15. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day

  16. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities

  17. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens

  18. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day

  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022

  20. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day

  21. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious

  22. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day

  23. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose

  24. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day

  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022

  26. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule

  27. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies

  28. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day

  29. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)

  30. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day

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