IRC Proceedings: June 3rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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More Security Lies From Microsoft, Whose ‘Security Essentials’ Brick Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monoblock paving

Summary: Microsoft Security Essentials essentially rendering Windows dead while the company makes false claims about security advantages

YESTERDAY we showed IDG's presentation of Microsoft talking points that also helped disguise some important news about Microsoft's secret patching, which means that Microsoft cheats and lies in its security reports.

Today we turn our attention to Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc, who has a history of lying about GNU/Linux in sub-notebooks (he is the source of the patently false claims) and basically spinning as a representative [1, 2]. Here he is adding to Microsoft’s disinformation by shooting himself in the foot and saying that Microsoft has always been in bed with hackers. As Ghabuntu explains:

“When it comes to security, even hackers admit we’re doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else. Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft.

I find the above quote both interesting and serious at the same time. The blog post linked to above is a Microsoft rebuttal of claims that Google is shifting from MS Windows to Mac and Linux given the insecurity of the Redmond cash cow.


The entire blog post raises just three questions in my mind:

1. So is Microsoft implicitly conceding that in the past hackers used to have a field day?
2. Why has it taken them so long to now be taking security related risks “seriously?”
3. Who are the “anyone else” Brandon refers to? Perhaps Apple or the Penguin?

The thing about this Penguin is, it cannot hide vulnerabilities because changes are visible to everyone. Microsoft has admitted silently patching flaws (i.e. without ever reporting them). This voids Microsoft’s claims and contributes to the perception of Microsoft as a fraudulent company. On the face of it, based on other current news, automatic updates in Windows are still a mess which can render PCs “bricks”. Just found:

Warning: Microsoft Security Essentials installer zaps Automatic Updates setting


Microsoft frequently draws the ire of hapless users when it incapacitates unsuspecting customers’ PCs with bad security updates. Just a few months ago, for example, security bulletin MS10-015 offered a patch that automatically turned some Windows XP PCs into big blue-screen bricks — no user intervention required. Microsoft also has a nasty habit of pushing all sorts of patches down the Automatic Updates chute, even when the update could hardly be termed “critical.”

No wonder a lot of Windows users refuse to patch their PC/s.

The FBI has quite a history with Windows malware [1, 2] and here it is helping the cleanup of mess facilitated by Windows’ weaknesses around the same time that malware hits another bank:

Federal prosecutors have filed charges against five people accused of trying to swipe more than $450,000 from a California city using stolen login credentials associated with its bank account.

The reality behind Vista 7 suggests that Microsoft has failed to improve security and it turns out that businesses still avoid Vista 7 unless they have no other choice (which us fairly uncommon).

Why the Free Software/Open Source Community Does Not Love Apple and is Already Ahead of Apple

Posted in Africa, Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

Summary: In terms of market share, Free software beats Apple (especially thanks to poorer regions where Microsoft too is struggling to win)

“Why does the Open Source Community love Apple?” That is the new headline from Stephen Spector, a Microsoft apologist. In an attempt to give Microsoft a break, he seemingly tries to paint its critics as hypocrites or overly obsessed while the reality, as one person put it, is:

They don’t [re: Open Source Community love Apple]. They actually are beginning to hate them more than Microsoft.

In the front page of Techrights we even have Apple listed before Microsoft and Novell. But anyway, Spector once again begins with a false premise, which makes the rest somewhat irrelevant. Does anyone really love Apple at all? Some people honestly do, but they are mostly people in the West — people who are concerned about Microsoft, which has attacked GNU/Linux more than Apple has (so far anyway). There are interesting comments on Spector’s opinion piece, which is simply not accurate.

We are reminded again by Africa that it is GNU/Linux which keeps growing outside the rich countries, not Apple. The hypeP* products (hypePad, HypePod, etc.) hardly even exist in more than several countries, or as Ghabuntu put it a couple of days ago:

And mind you, there are 6 continents that make up this world. So if the iHype is making some “pretty impressive” sales in North America and some parts of Europe, the rest of us still want to read news other than how much is being added to the Apple bottom line.

Here are some more stories of Apple censorship [1, 2], which ought to remind people of Apple’s dark side. We gave another example yesterday.

Speaking of rich countries, that’s where most of Microsoft’s income arrives from. Apple is hurting Microsoft’s bottom line (Microsoft’s numbers decline), so Microsoft is turning to places like China in hope of getting some money. Counterfeiting is what keeps Microsoft relevant in the developing world, so if the following is true, then it’s great news to GNU/Linux adoption in the East.

Microsoft willing to avoid China due to piracy

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted his company is looking to expand outside of China due to the country’s disappointing stance on software piracy that runs rampant within its borders.

Shifting focus from China to other Asian nations is a risky gamble for PC hardware and software makers, as China has more than 1 billion people — and a growing number of tech savvy consumers — but just 1 percent of Microsoft’s current revenue come from the country.

That’s right. One percent, assuming that Microsoft is not lying (which is common). Microsoft is not sure how to actually make much money over there because if it starts charging money, then GNU/Linux will take over the place even faster. It’s the world’s largest Internet population.

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Links 3/6/2010: New GNU/Linux Alliance

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Guest Lecture: Jon ‘maddog’ Hall

      Jon “maddog” Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International, a non-profit organization of computer vendors who wish to support and promote Linux-based operating systems. The nickname “maddog” was given to him by his students at Hartford State Technical College, where he was the Department Head of Computer Science. He now prefers to be called by this name. According to Hall, his nickname “came from a time when I had less control over my temper”.

    • Python cloud computing on Cape user group agenda
  • Mozilla

    • Goodbye Mozilla Weave. Hello Firefox Sync 1.3

      Mozilla Weave is no more — at least in name.

      Firefox Sync 1.3 is now available, marking the official shift in name from Mozilla Weave, which had been the name of the application since it was created in 2007.

      Weave started out as a Mozilla add-on for Firefox that was intended to provide a Mozilla services backend. The initial target of that services backend was data synchronization and now with the 1.3 release, synchronization or Sync is the name of the app as well.

  • GIMP

    • Single Window Mode

      Jim sent me a screenshot of GIMP 2.7 in single window mode. Looks good and I am going to try it soon. Click on the image for a 100% view.

  • Project Releases

    • Refresh for open source Campsite publishing platform

      Developed by Sourcefabric, previously known as Campware, the latest Campsite release is the first release under the new Sourcefabric name.

      Version 3.3.6 is not a major upgrade over previous releases but does add a number of security fixes and improvements. The next major release will be version 3.4 at the end of June.


      Version 3.3.6 is not a major upgrade over previous releases but does add a number of security fixes and improvements. The next major release will be version 3.4 at the end of June.

    • Google opens up Chrome’s RLZ library

      Google, in an attempt to be more open about its tracking mechanisms, has announced that it has open sourced the RLZ library that is built-in to the Chrome browser. RLZ, a previously closed component of the open source based browser, is responsible for generating promotional tokens which are non-unique and not personally identifiable. The tokens are used by Google as a parameter in URLs to, for example, track search queries to Google made from Chrome. The Apache 2.0 licensed RLZ library now has its own Google Code project, where the details of the RLZ parameter are also explained.

  • Licensing

    • Google should add license information to its Market

      Many of you surely know the Android operating system developed by Google. Maybe not everybody know it’s not fully free software.

      This is why activists from LibrePlanet Italia and Software Freedom Law Center created a fully free software Android alternative called Replicant.

  • Open Hardware

    • The Courage to Screw Up: Why DIY Is Good for You

      The DIY movement is growing every year, with no signs of slowing down. In May, Make held its fifth annual Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, where 95,000 people came to celebrate the unique rewards of DIY. This year, Maker Faire is also coming to Detroit and New York. I hope you can come and participate in the transformative power of DIY.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 vs. Flash: The case for Flash

      The real battle is in the hearts and eyes of the artists who are paid to create incredibly beautiful objects in the span of just a few hours. The designers will make the final determination. As long as Flash and its cousins Flex and Shockwave remain the simplest tools for producing drop-dead gorgeous Websites, they’ll keep their place on the Internet.

    • VLC 1.1.0 Release Candidate supports WebM / VP8

      The VideoLAN Project developers have announced the availability of a release candidate for version 1.1, the next major release, of their popular VLC Media Player. According to the developers, the latest 1.1 branch of VLC is much faster and more stable, thanks in part to a substantial amount of “important code clean-up” and rewrites. VLC is a free open source cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats.

    • Google asks for delay in WebM license consideration

      Google has asked the Open Source Initiative to delay its consideration of the WebM license (requested by Bruce Perens) for a couple of weeks; the company has also requested some changes in how the OSI does business.


  • Woman Sues Google After She Follows Google Maps Directions And Gets Hit By A Car
  • Lawyer Explains Reasoning For Suing Google Over Walking Directions: It Was Dark
  • Security/Aggression

    • Elderly woman given litter fine for feeding birds

      A woman was fined £80 for littering after wardens caught her throwing bread crumbs – to the birds.

    • 24-7 Shropshire CCTV scheme plan

      The county’s surveillance operation will increase dramatically with major new schemes being introduced to Whitchurch and Ludlow.

      A new state-of-the-art headquarters will be launched in Shrewsbury which cameras across the county will be linked to – giving officers the ability to monitor people from a central location.

    • Data loss forces council to shape up

      West Berkshire Council has taken remedial action after a USB memory stick was lost that contained sensitive information on children and young people.

      The memory stick, which was neither encrypted or password protected, contained information relating to the ethnicity and physical or mental health of the children.

    • One in six GPs snub care record

      Among practices specifically invited to join the rollout, one in six has refused to do so, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 91 PCTs.

      In 36 areas which have begun the rollout and provided complete figures, 1,732 practices have been invited to participate – with 286 so far declining to take part.

    • RCMP, Manitoba ombudsman probe town council over alleged spying

      The RCMP and Manitoba’s ombudsman are investigating allegations of corruption, secret surveillance and harassment at a rural municipal council. The former top administrator of La Broquerie, southeast of Winnipeg, says town politicians installed hidden surveillance cameras in nearly every room in the town hall to spy on rival councillors, staff and the public, and hired a security company to sweep offices for bugs possibly planted by opponents.

    • That bogus social networking profile can send you to jail

      The California Court of Appeal has held that a man who set up a bogus MySpace profile of his former church pastor can stand trial for criminal “personation.”

    • DHS Alarmed by Sticker of Suicide Bomber; Really a Graffiti Artist’s Logo

      A sticker found on a trash can at a Washington, D.C., airport last week depicting what appeared to be a suicide bomber is actually the logo of a popular graffiti artist. His fans have plastered his stickers around the world since around 2005.

    • US space dirty-tricks spysat spying sat is go for July

      Then, there’s the matter of America’s own spy, communications and navigation satellites. Most of these could be taken out by a sufficiently advanced enemy, perhaps with serious consequences. If this was done by using another fully-orbital spacecraft along ASAT lines (as opposed to a suborbital rocket launch directly aimed to get in the way of a spacecraft) it might be difficult or impossible for the USA to know who had done it – or even if anything had actually been done.

    • ‘Clickjacking’ worm hits hundreds of thousands on Facebook
  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Credit-Rating Firms Face Single Regulator Under EU Proposals

      The European Union yesterday called for a single supervisor of credit-rating companies as politicians in the 27-nation bloc demanded a new regional agency to increase competition in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis.

      The European Commission proposed giving the power to investigate, issue fines and revoke licenses to a new EU authority. The Brussels-based commission also proposed reining in risk-taking behavior and compensation at financial companies to prevent a repeat of the credit crunch.

    • FSA hands J.P. Morgan Securities record £33.32m

      The FSA has levied its largest ever fine of £33.32m on J.P. Morgan Securities for client money breaches over a seven-year period.

      The regulator says J.P. Morgan Securities was guilty of an error in which it failed to protect client money by segregating it appropriately.

      Between 1 November 2002 and 8 July 2009, the company failed to segregate the client money held by its futures and options business (F&O) with JPMorgan Chase Bank.

  • Reporting/Civil Rights

    • Undisclosed Interests

      In a 1996 law review article, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan warned that campaign finance laws “easily can serve as incumbent-protection devices, insulating current officeholders from challenge and criticism.” The DISCLOSE Act, a speech-squelching bill supported by the man who nominated Kagan, is a good example.

      President Obama and congressional Democrats say the DISCLOSE Act, which is expected to come up for a vote soon, is aimed at ensuring transparency and preventing corruption in the wake of Citizens United v. FEC, the January decision in which the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on political speech by corporations and unions. But the bill’s onerous, lopsided requirements suggest its supporters are more interested in silencing their critics.

    • Only moral journalists need apply

      Nobody, including the press, is very happy with the press these days. So state Sen. Bruce Patterson, a man of luxuriant mustaches and florid expressions, came up with an idea: Regulate’ em.

      Set up a board to check reporters’ credentials, license them as if they were manicurists or lawyers, and charge them a registration fee. Then issue those who pass muster and pay the state the designation of “Michigan Registered Reporter.”

    • French Senator Proposes Outlawing Anonymous Blogging
    • Dear FTC: Should 24 Disclose Writing Its Show Around Products?

      Dear FTC. Instead of worrying about whether bloggers are disclosing all they should when writing about products, perhaps a little more attention should be focused on TV programs and product placement? This season’s 24 took things to a new level, where plot points were constructed around featuring a product. Is a tiny mention in credits at the end really disclosure enough?

    • FTC protects journalism’s past

      The Federal Trade Commission has been nosing around how to save journalism and in its just-posted “staff discussion draft” on “potential policy recommendations to support the reinvention of journalism,” it makes its bias clear: The FTC defines journalism as what newspapers do and aligns itself with protecting the old power structure of media.

    • MediaWatch: Journalists Won’t Report News Unless It Can Drive Page Views
    • Writer Splits From Murdoch’s Times Of London To Avoid Being Hidden Behind The Paywall

      With Rupert Murdoch’s The Times of London going behind a paywall, we’re already seeing some of their writers bailing out. A bunch of folks sent over the news that the writer of the Times’ legal blog, Tim Kevan, has set up shop on his own blog, outside of the paywall.

    • How The Mainstream Media Stole Our News Story Without Credit

      On Friday, I broke a tasty story about a woman suing Google, claiming bad directions caused her to get hit by a vehicle. Today, I discover our story is everywhere, often with no attribution. Come along and watch how the mainstream media, which often claims bloggers rip it off, does a little stealing of its own.

      Woman Follows Google Maps “Walking” Directions, Gets Hit, Sues was the story I posted on Friday afternoon, Pacific Time. I was tipped to the lawsuit by Gary Price of ResourceShelf. Gary hadn’t written about it himself but thought Search Engine Land would be interested in it. He came across it through the regular monitoring of search-related news that he does across a variety of resources (Gary watches many, many things — he’s a research guru extraordinaire). Gary downloaded a copy of the suit via the PACER Service and sent it to me.

    • AP Sues Others For Copying Its Reporting, But Has No Problem Copying Bloggers Without Citation
    • Planet Money Crew Merges T-Shirts And Journalism
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Copyrights

    • “YouTube Is UsTube”: Creators Step in to Defend YouTube

      Plenty of folks, from copyright lawyers to Internet entrepreneurs to investment bankers, have been watching the long-running legal battle between Viacom and Google/YouTube carefully, well aware that a decision in the case could have a profound effect on the future of the Internet. But most YouTube users probably haven’t given it the same attention. They should, and in an amicus brief filed in support of YouTube last week, a group of YouTube video creators explains why.

    • Future Tense: A Pirate’s Life For Whom?

      This is the same mistake that the RIAA and the SMPTP are making today. They think they’re in the business of selling discs. They’re not. They’re in the business of delivering entertainment. And they’ve forgotten that. At least, their lawyers seem to have forgotten it.

      This isn’t the first time the entertainment industry has made this mistake. Almost forty years ago, Sony started selling Betamax videotape recorders for home use. Universal and Disney promptly sued, claiming that home video recording would create the opportunity for copyright infringement and they would lose billions of dollars. The Supreme Court ruled against them. Under the fair use provisions of the copyright law, it’s legal to record media at home for personal use. Even if some people might use videotape machines for illegal purposes, that was not sufficient justification for denying fair use to everyone else.

      After losing that lawsuit, Disney and Universal (and all the other studios as well) began selling their movies on Betamax and VHS tapes, and later on DVD. Videotape sales became an enormous market for the studios and eventually DVD sales accounted for at least half, often more, of a film’s total gross income.

    • Chipping Away At Fair Use: Judge Suggests AP Would Win Obama Hope Poster Case

      While we’re still not convinced you can trust the Associated Press’s reporting on its own lawsuit with Shepard Fairey, the AP is now reporting that the judge in the case has indicated that the AP will almost certainly win, and that Fairey should give in and settle.

    • ‘Hurt Locker’ sharers: Expect docs like this (photos)

      Voltage has hired the U.S. Copyright Group to oversee the litigation and go after alleged file sharers. The group has sued alleged movie pirates on behalf of the makers of such films as “Far Cry” and “Call of the Wild 3D.” Some of the people accused of pirating those movies, including Jon Harrison from Irving, Texas, have already been notified and are well along in the process.

      Harrison showed CNET the documents he received from Verizon–his Internet service provider–and the U.S. Copyright Group. To be sure, without seeing the actual notices that will be sent as part of the “Hurt Locker” suit, we don’t how they’ll differ. But there are likely to be many similarities.

    • When 1000% just isn’t enough

      The film, which cost only $15 million to produce, has so far grossed $150 million worldwide. Nevertheless, the firm maintains that this mere 1000% return represents “a direct decline” in the film and entertainment industries.

      Nicolas Chartier, one of the film’s producers and co-founder of Voltage Pictures, went on to prove how out of touch he is with the real world by claiming that anyone that disagrees with him is a “moron”. Thus, by extension, he believes that Radiohead, Trent Reznor, Stephen Fry, Michael Moore, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, Larry Lassig and the entire Creative Commons movement, the Open Rights Group, the Pirate Parties worldwide, scores of his film’s fans, and countless others are all morons.

    • Steal This Ebook

      Let’s run an experiment and see if piracy is harmful to sales.

    • Why is Ashton Kutcher pirating his own movie?

      Sure, it’s not really piracy. The free preview is a transparent marketing stunt by Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, which has decided to hide the movie from critics and instead put the first few minutes in front of its target audience during the run-up to its release. To that end, they’ve enlisted the movie’s co-star, a genuine Internet phenomenon, to help promote that effort.

    • Four Years In, How Successful Has Hollywood’s Attack On The Pirate Bay Been?

      It really does make you wonder why the MPAA and the RIAA have bothered with all of this. It hasn’t even remotely slowed file sharing down. In fact, their actions have helped advertise The Pirate Bay worldwide and made those running it into celebrities. And, even if they eventually do shut down the site, a dozen others will quickly step up to take its place. At some point, you have to wonder when they will realize it’s time to figure out ways to focus on building a better business model rather than trying to do the impossible and deny what technology allows.

    • The Pirate Bay: Four Years After The Raid

      Today, exactly four years have passed since The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. While the entertainment industries hoped that this would be the end of their troubles, in hindsight they’ve created a a multi-headed hydra that is impossible to kill. The events that unfolded could easily be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster.

    • Canada

      • Bill C-32 – The New Canadian Copyright Act

        Barry Sookman appears to be missing in action – only two tweets, and no posts since May 27, 2010.

        Michael Geist has posted The Canadian Copyright Bill: Flawed But Fixable – since I haven’t read the entire bill yet I don’t know if I can agree, but I’ve disagreed with him a lot in the past. Quite frankly Michael’s too damned moderate for my tastes.

        Ars Technica has an article – “Canadian DMCA” defends DRM, legalizes DVRs – which points out that Digital Locks over ride consumer rights. What they don’t consider is that Digital Locks also over ride artist rights.

        Mike Masnick over at TechDirt is also covering this – Canadian DMCA Introduced; Digital Lock Provision Trumps Any And All User Rights – Mike’s a bit weird at time, but I think his title hits the mark.

      • Canada to “modernize” copyright law

        For those of you who have been counting, this is the third effort, in the past five years, by Canada to amend the Copyright Act. The previous two each died on their order papers – victims of Parliamentary instability. That is unlikely to happen this time. It appears the government will endeavor to fast-track the bill into law.

      • The Canadian Copyright Bill: Flawed But Fixable

        Yet all the attempts at balance come with a giant caveat that has huge implications for millions of Canadians. The foundational principle of the new bill remains that anytime a digital lock is used – whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices – the lock trumps virtually all other rights. In other words, in the battle between two sets of property rights – those of the intellectual property rights holder and those of the consumer who has purchased the tangible or intangible property – the IP rights holder always wins.

    • ACTA

      • India Gearing Up To Fight ACTA; Seeking Other, Like-Minded, Countries

        But, of course, according to various folks at the USTR and the Copyright Office, now that ACTA’s been released, it’s proven that all the “fears” from online sources were misguided. Right?

      • EU Legal Review Says ACTA Negotiators Broke The Law In Not Revealing Text To EU Parliament

        While ACTA has now been released, the review still happened. Hephaestus points us to the news that the analysis found that negotiators were not allowed to keep the document secret (pdf) from Parliament, and that if it had continued to the Parliament could have taken legal action. The key points:

        * Confidentiality cannot be used as a justification for not complying with the obligation to keep Parliament fully informed. Where a degree of confidentiality is justified to ensure the proper conduct of negotiations, the Council and Commission may request that agreed measure on the confidentiality of the documents be applied.
        * The obligation to inform Parliament cannot be modified or limited by any agreement among the institutions or by an arrangement with third parties which does not involve Parliament. Where documents originate from a third party, the Union negotiator may be justified in agreeing not to disclose such information without the consent of the third party concerned. In such circumstances, Parliament should nonetheless be provided with sufficient information.
        * In the case of a persistent refusal to provide it with sufficient information, Parliament could initiate proceedings for illegal failure to act.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – ATE – Globe Program (5/20/2004)

Links 3/6/2010: GNU/Linux on 94.6% of Top500, Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 99

    · Announced Distro: Slackware 13.1
    · Announced Distro: Fedora 13
    · Announced Distro: StressLinux 0.5.113
    · Announced Distro: openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 7
    · Announced Distro: SME Server 7.5
    · Announced Distro: Zenwalk Linux 6.4

  • Desktop

    • Can Google lead CIOs to the Linux desktop?

      So don’t look to Google to drive Linux (or Mac) “desktop’ adoption. Google likely can’t change calcified opinions of “what a desktop OS should look like” (i.e., Windows), but it is actively defining the future of that desktop with two open-source initiatives:Google Android for mobile and Google Chrome for Web browsing.

    • Technologies and 2011 as the year of Linux – The underpinnings of success

      In the previous article this blog discussed the value of PC gaming in bringing Linux to the mainstream home user, and in particular the importance of stable drivers as an enabler of this revolution, but what about the other technologies that will underpin a truly first-class linux user experience? In many cases the mainstream user won’t be aware of the technologies that provide this user experience, and even if they did they really wouldn’t care, because the limit of their interest is that the computer and it software environment work seamlessly to meet their user needs. This does mean however that those technologies, and their progress towards maturity, are not of interest to those with a nerdier bent.


      Other technologies of note include:

      1. Btrfs, a new filesystem under development that is designed (among other goals) to be able to leverage the capabilities of solid state drives which are now entering the consumer market for computer hardware. Its first use is likely to be on MeeGo driven nokia smartphones as well as the Ubuntu 10:10, but its adoption will spread rapidly in 2011 as its development matures.

      2. Multi Pointer X which along with X Input 2 will allow truly multi-touch friendly GUI’s capable of working with many unmodified X windows applications. This much delayed feature will hopefully come of age now that there are a myriad of touch-screen devices and computers demanding the attention of consumers.

      3. Packagekit is a front end for various package management systems being adopted by many linux distributions as it provides a consistent and reliable application installation/management/removal experience regardless of the desktop environment used.

    • Usability Comparison: Five PC Operating Systems Compared

      There you have it. The rankings are as follows:

      Ubuntu 21 points

      PCLOS 20 points

      Linux Mint 20 points

      Kubuntu 12 points

      Windows 7 6 points

    • Lesson of the Day

      So, now, I will back up this as an image and wipe the hard drive to Debian GNU/Linux Squeeze to make it useful. Six hours of work were needed just to bring that other OS into a very basic form from which my successor may want to start. With no budget, I wish him well (it’s a long story…).

  • Server

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Linux 2.6.35 taking shape

      Linux 2.6.35 will deliver better network throughput, support the Turbo Core functionality offered by the latest AMD processors and de-fragment memory as required. On LKML, a discussion on merging several patches developed by Google for Android is generating large volumes of email.

      Two weeks on from the release of Linux 2.6.34, on Sunday night Linus Torvalds released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.35 to concluding the merge of the major changes for the next kernel version, expected to be released in about ten weeks. The merge window has once again stretched to around 14 days, after its abbreviation in Linux 2.6.34 caused confusion among some subsystem maintainers.

    • New Linux.com Updates May 2010
  • Instructionals

  • Games

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Preview: Pardus 2009.2 Release Candidate

        The release of Linux Pardus 2009.2 is near so I wanted to give the Beta a run and see what’s new before I actually get my hands on the final release a few days/weeks from now. Unfortunately, the link to the beta from DISTROWATCH was broken. In all fairness, that link is broken on the Pardus official WEBSITE as well. I kept looking and was lucky enough to find a link to the Release Candidate, which actually makes more sense for a fair preview article. In fact, this RC is so complete that this almost feels like a review!


        Some time ago I compared Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows 7. Back then I stated that Windows 7 made things very simple at the expense of diversity and choice. In other words, everything was intuitive because options were very limited and mostly predefined by developers. I was essentially justifying that Ubuntu’s arguably more complicated interface was the result of its great flexibility and freedom. PCLinuxOS 2010, Linux Mint 9 and specially Pardus 2009.2 have demonstrated that a much better job can be done in making the Linux desktop accessible to anyone without compromising its power.

      • Spotlight on Linux: Slackware Linux 13.1

        People sometimes ask which distribution to try if they want to learn how Linux works. Common answers are Gentoo, Arch, or Debian. However, I disagree. Each of these distros teach users their particular brand of Linux. There’s only one truly pure Linux, and that is Slackware.

        Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution. In its early years, Patrick Volkerdin rolled up a kernel, init, libraries, desktop, and applications to make Linux easier for users. And that’s still what he is doing today. He doesn’t change anything, he doesn’t customize anything. Every component is exactly how the original developers intended. For example, users get a vanilla kernel and default desktop configuration.


        So, all in all, besides the partitioning requirement and the lack of multimedia support, Slackware is just as up-to-date and easy-to-use as any Linux distribution. Like a split personality, today’s Slackware is steeped in tradition yet surprisingly modern.

    • New Releases

      • SystemRescueCd 1.5.5 Comes with New USB Drive Installers

        SystemRescueCd 1.5.5 is the latest update to the Gentoo-based system rescue Linux distro. It comes with updated kernels and several other changes. The biggest new additions are new tools to make USB installs easier on both Windows and Linux host machines.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring RC2

        As announced previously, here comes the last development release for Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring. This is essentially a bug fix release.

      • June 2010 Issue of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2010 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine.

        In the June 2010 issue:

        How Can YOU Contribute To PCLinuxOS?
        Creating A Local PCLinuxOS Repository
        Xfce 4.6.1: An Overview
        Xfce 4.6.1: Xfce Settings Manager – Part 1
        Xfce 4.6.1: Customize Your Xfce Menu
        OpenOffice: An Overview
        Ms_meme’s nook: If My Friends Could See Me Now
        Computer Languages A to Z: Lisp
        Command Line Interface Intro: Part 9
        Zip-Player Plays Music Archives: Part 2
        Screenshot Showcase
        Alternate OS: ReactOS
        Game Zone: Warzone 2100
        Configuring USB Speakers on KDE 4
        and much, much more!

      • Review: PCLinuxOS 2010 KDE – With Screenshots
    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat converts Basefarm to Enterprise Linux

        A Norwegian company that claims to be among the top providers of Internet-based services in northern Europe will begin using platform infrastructure developed by Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the Raleigh-based software maker announced Tuesday.

      • The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Kernel: What Is It?

        Sitting at the heart of every Linux OS distribution is a Linux kernel. When it comes to the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 release, the issue of which kernel is being used is not a cut and dried answer, however.

        RHEL 6 is currently in its first beta release, with a feature freeze now in place. Currently, the mainline Linux kernel is nearing its 2.6.34 release, while the most recent stable release is the 2.6.33 release, which came out in February. But instead of either sticking with the 2.6.33 Linux kernel or holding out for 2.6.34, Red Hat is taking a different approach.

      • Red Hat’s CEO: Clouds Can Become the Mother of All Lock-ins

        Cloud architecture has to be defined in a way that allows applications to move around, or clouds can become the mother of all lock-ins, warned Red Hat’s CEO James Whitehurst.

      • Fedora

        • Riding the Rocket: A CEO’s Look at Fedora 13 “Goddard”

          I also like the more polished desktop look and feel. Menus are simpler and more consistent thanks to the work of the Fedora Desktop team. The Fedora Design team has also been hard at work in making the icons in the default installation match a single look and feel. I’m looking forward to trying out other desktop features in Fedora 13 including its solutions for scanning, microblogging and photo management. (Heading on vacation soon, and plan to take a lot of pics!) I’m able to rely on Fedora to just work out of the box more than ever before.

        • Fedora 13 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Benchmarks

          The tests carried out included OpenArena, Warsow, World of Padman, PostgreSQL, Unpack-Linux, Bullet, C-Ray, x264, NAS Parallel Benchmarks, John The Ripper, and TTSIOD 3D Renderer. This testing was done by the Phoronix Test Suite.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu to push latest Firefox to Hardy, Jaunty and Karmic

        According to a posting on the Ubuntu developers mailing list, Ubuntu developers are planning to push the next release of Firefox, 3.6.4, to the current Ubuntu release, Lucid Lynx 10.04, and to older versions such as Hardy (8.04LTS), Jaunty (9.04) and Karmic Koala (9.10). These older versions currently have Firefox 3.0 and xulrunner 1.9 both of which are no longer supported by Mozilla.

      • Distro Hoppin`: Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5

        Though lacking any so-called killer features, Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5 is a solid release and can be used on both home and production machines. There are some weird sound-related issues and the video driver installation process can frighten some more inexperienced users, but other than that, there aren’t really any reasons to not take a look or two at this distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux to dominate Australia through T-Box and Android

      In only a couple of years, millions of Australians will directly be using the open source Linux operating system in their everyday personal and professional lives.


      “But wait!” I hear you cry out. “Linux’s desktop market share is not growing, and even the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution is failing to gain traction amongst the mainstream. How can you possibly claim that Linux will become extremely popular in Australia?”

      The answer is easy. By and large, the millions of Australians who will shortly rely on Linux will not even know it is there.

      I have written previously about the rapid encroachment of the Linux-based Android operating system into the Australian mobile phone market, a phenomenon which, I anticipate, will eventually see dozens of Android handsets flood into Australian hands and pose a strong challenge to other mobile phone vendors such as Apple, Research in Motion and others.

    • Blackmagic Showcase DaVinci Resolve

      At each event, attendees will be given demonstrations of the Resolve on Linux…

    • Hands-on with the Kno tablet

      The Kno, with its dual 14-inch screens and touch-based Linux operating system, is aimed at students and is slated to hit the market at the end of the year. Kno isn’t talking price just yet, but the company’s goal is for it to be well under $1,000.

    • ADB i-CAN Easy HD 2851T receiver review

      The Linux OS-powered iPlayer interface is good looking, easy to read and incredibly simple, but it’s not as fast as, say, the similar service on Virgin Media. We used a 10Mbps broadband connection, though it should work on a 2Mbps service – any slower and you’ll have to use “normal” as opposed to “high quality” settings.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • MeeGo user interface coming to Acer, Asus, other Linux devices

        Just a few months after the MeeGo Linux project was formed by the merger of the Maemo and Moblin projects, it looks like MeeGo is making some pretty serious progress in the marketplace.

        The other day we reported that it looked like Asus was going to launch devices running MeeGo in 2011, and a press release issued today pretty much confirms it. Acer officials say the company palns to beat Asus to market with a MeeGo-based netbook before the end of this year.

      • Is it time to MeeGo?

        What is MeeGo in the first place? As defined on its website, “MeeGo is an open source, Linux project which brings together the Moblin project, headed by Intel, and Maemo, by Nokia, into a single open source activity.” The aim is to provide a Linux-based OS for netbooks, handheld devices, televisions and set-top boxes, as well as in-vehicle computers.

        I downloaded the OS image from the site and immediately ran it on VMWare Fusion 3.1 on my Macbook Pro. Giving it 1GB of RAM and a single core to work with, the image booted up but that was it — did not display anything on the screen. I tried this three times with different configurations and nothing.

      • MeeGo Brings The Magic

        I did install it without any problems on an Asus EeePC 1000HE, however there are a great number of existing netbooks out there and it might not work as seamlessly on other makes and models.

      • Expanding to Next-Generation Devices, DeviceVM Introduces Splashtop MeeGo Remix
      • Movial Launches End-to-End MeeGo Services and Apps for Next Generation Devices
      • MeeGo tablets on parade at Computex

        The Linux-based MeeGo operating system gained traction at Computex, with prototype tablets shown by Wistron, Compal, Quanta, CZC, and others, and Acer announcing it will offer MeeGo on both netbooks and tablets. Meanwhile, Phoronix benchmarked MeeGo for Netbooks and found it to be faster than Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Fedora, and Moblin.

    • Android

      • Mercury News interview: Andy Rubin, vice president, mobile platforms, Google

        What does openness mean? Is a platform that is open to outside programmers open? Is a platform that has an open content store open? Is a platform that’s open source open? All those definitions are still in flux, I think.

      • Google’s Android favored for phones, tablets

        Victoria Fodale, an analyst at ABI Research, said Tuesday in a research note that the Scottsdale, Arizona-based marketing research firm anticipates that Linux-enabled smartphones, led by the success of Google’s Android, will comprise 33 percent of the worldwide smartphone market by 2015.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google’s Chrome OS to arrive on hardware “later this fall”

        Google vice president of product management Sundar Pichai announced that the company’s browser-centric operating system will be released this fall. Chrome OS is built on top of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, but uses a completely custom user interface based on Google’s Chrome Web browser.

      • Google to launch Chrome OS this autumn

        Google has confirmed that its upcoming lightweight, browser-centric Chrome OS operating system will launch in the late autumn. Speaking to the press at this year’s Computex PC trade show in Taiwan, Google vice president of product management Sundar Pichai said, “We will be selective on how we come to market because we want to deliver a great user experience,” adding that, “We’re thinking on both the hardware and software levels.”

      • Pixel Qi show off latest displays outdoors with touchscreen

        With Ubuntu she says that the screen shows up the fonts much better than other solutions due to the font rendering technology Canonical chose to use. From what we’ve seen it looks very crisp on-screen.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Smartphone platforms and law enforcement


    Android is the newcomer to the smartphone market. Android began as a mobile variant of the aforementioned open-source Linux OS, and was then acquired by Google. The Android OS is now available as an open-source platform again, and its users rave about it. Android presently (mid-2010) holds about 10 percent of the smartphone market, but is predicted to dominate the market with Symbian by 2012. Android phones are presently available from T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

  • Sourceforge eats its open-source dogfood

    You might not recognize the name Geeknet, but you probably know its popular tech sites such as Sourceforge, Slashdot, Ohloh, Think Geek, Freshmeat, and the recently acquired Geek.com.

    When Geeknet opened a new data center in Chicago two years ago, the network operations team wanted to centralize management of hundreds of systems serving the Geeknet Web network.

  • Africa

    • SA corporates embracing open source, SaaS
    • Software Institute for Omaruru

      CAN, a Usakos-based organisation, says its objective of establishing what would be called the Namibia Open Source Software Institute (NOSSI) in Omaruru, Erongo Region, during the course of this year, is to promote the use of free and open source software, which it strongly feels would benefit the country.

    • Can open source liberate Africa?

      Because open source gives you equal rights with other software developers, it can be used effectively to localize software in small language groups, such as those found across Africa. And the applications can be deployed using technology that is already in place, so the results are truly independent.

  • Mail

  • Events

    • Vendor Commitment to Open Source Remains Strong

      Schedules at upcoming industry conferences are revealing indicators. Consider the speaker line-up at LinuxCon in mid-August:

      * Ravi Simhambhatla, Chief Information Officer at Virgin America
      * Chris Wright, Red Hat
      * Bdale Garbee, Hewlett-Packard
      * Tim Bird, Sony Corporation
      * Wim Coekaerts, Senior Vice President, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Oracle Corporation
      * David Rientjes, Google

  • Mozilla

    • 5 Firefox Based Browsers You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

      Firefox 3.5 is already the most widely used browser in the world. A lot of openness in the web that we enjoy today and that we take for granted is because of the open source browser, Firefox. Light the world with Firefox video is a nice depiction of Firefox through the years. But how many of you actually knew that there are a number of Firefox based browsers which are as good or oven better than Firefox? Here is a list of 5 Firefox based browsers you should know.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • IBM Picks Hadoop To Analyze Large Data Volumes

      With Big Blue behind Hadoop, companies with Big Data problems may find the open source technology is available in more manageable forms.

    • An Open Source Approach to Managing Documents

      It remains to be seen just how much momentum Apache CouchDB can garner because most of the people using it discovered it as a result of using Linux on the desktop. While not officially supported on Windows just yet, the Apache CouchDB is POSIX compliant, so it runs on most Windows systems. Given those issues, making the rest of the world aware of Apache CouchDB will take some effort.

  • Open Data

    • OpenStreetMap: Crowd-sourcing the world, a street at a time

      Wikipedia’s “crowdsourced knowledge” model has created a spectacular resource, but everyone knows the big caveat: if the data’s important, don’t trust the online encyclopedia without verifying it first. So how well would a similar crowdsourcing model work for a detailed street-level map of the world?

    • OBIS Selects OpenGeo for Web-based Geospatial Mapping

      The product is a fully-integrated, open source geospatial platform for manipulating maps and data that provides enhanced capabilities like the ability to edit vector data through a web interface, imagery delivery and customized web application development. OpenGeo will provide unlimited support and bug fixes for PostGIS, GeoServer, OpenLayers and the rest of the open source platform to help OBIS extract intelligent data more easily from its 27 million record database and improve the ease of use for its global audience.

  • Open Hardware

    • Bumblebee Lab™ Launch the Hexaboard OSPG

      Hexaboard’s architecture is Open Source under “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0″ license.

    • Qbo – The Tiny Open Source Robot Wants to Invigorate Human-Machine Interaction

      Francisco Paz (aka TheCorpora) has released new information about his open source robot Qbo. The diminutive wheeled bot stands only 456mm (18 inches) tall but is packed with sensors, including two high definition web cameras in its eyes. TheCorpora plans on using Qbo’s stereoscopic vision to let it react to people and objects in a realistic manner with face tracking, depth perception, and gesture detection. The robot will also be capable of speech recognition and synthesis. If all goes according to plan, the Qbo could serve as a versatile open source platform, allowing programmers to explore and perfect the ways in which humans and robots interact.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Web Will Unify Fragmented Mobile OS World, Says Opera

      Opera is also a big fan of Google’s open source video codec VP8, and has already implemented it on its desktop browser.

      “When Google chooses to buy a company for a significant amount of money and then make the codec available freely, a lot of companies have jumped,” said von Tetzchner.


  • Scanning Dead Salmon in fMRI Machine Highlights Risk of Red Herrings

    Neuroscientist Craig Bennett purchased a whole Atlantic salmon, took it to a lab at Dartmouth, and put it into an fMRI machine used to study the brain. The beautiful fish was to be the lab’s test object as they worked out some new methods.

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Did Goldman Lie To Calpers When Seeking Consulting Mandate?

      Remember long ago in late April when people actually discussed Goldman Sachs and its criminal charges of CDO fraud? Not really? Now may be a good time to remember what some said was the biggest fraud investigation in history, because according to new developments not only is Goldman still in very hot water (Fox Business disclosed earlier that the SEC added veteran litigator David Gottesman to its group of attorney trying the Goldman case), but according to a new report by Reuters’ Matt Goldstein, the firm lied to Calpers in March, when it was seeking a consulting mandate from the pension giant, claiming it was not “the target of a formal investigation.” Calpers apparently is not too happy about this: “Calpers spokesman Brad Pacheco told Reuters the pension fund’s investment staff “will be reaching out to Goldman for an explanation on their response.” The investment staff is finalizing contracts for Calpers’ consultant pool, which will be effective July 1.” Needless to say, Goldman’s chances of taking a slice out of Leon Black’s pie are looking bad to quite bad.

    • Another View: Punting Financial Reform

      Congressional proponents of a necessary reregulation of our financial services industries received a break as the European credit crisis sent the markets on another retreat from risk; the zeitgeist is taking a break from the V-shaped recovery crowd as well. Accordingly, the Senate was able to pass an omnibus bill that was significantly more far-reaching than anything that could have emerged from the dysfunctional legislature only a few months before.

    • German Cabinet approves trading curbs bill

      Germany pressed ahead with its drive for tougher market regulation as the Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would cement in law curbs on speculative trading practices – a move the finance minister said was aimed at speeding agreement on stronger European rules.

    • As Governments Borrow, Many People Save

      By definition, the government runs a deficit when its spending exceeds its revenue. It typically finances the difference by borrowing. Of course, future governments are burdened with paying the principal and interest on the government debt created today, which is why many critics of deficit spending conclude that such deficits leave us worse off in the future.

    • Obama: End dependence on fossil fuels

      Seizing on a disastrous oil spill to advance a cause, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil and pass a clean-energy bill that he says would help the nation end its dependence on fossil fuels.

    • Eugene Fama: “Too Big To Fail” Perverts Activities and Incentives

      In our continuing financial debate, one of the central myths – put about by big banks and also not seriously disputed by the administration – is that reigning in “too big to fail” banks is in some sense an “anti-market” approach.

    • Buffett hits back at critics who blame ratings agencies for housing crisis

      Ratings agencies came under more fire Wednesday for their role in the financial crisis as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission questioned former and current executives at the ratings firm Moody’s and Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, which is Moody’s biggest shareholder. The hearing focused on how agencies, such as Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, wound up assigning high ratings to complex financial products packed with risky mortgages that went bad when the housing market collapsed in 2007.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Academic resigns from UK food watchdog over ‘GM propaganda’

      A £500,000 public dialogue over GM food could be abandoned after a second member of the steering group overseeing it resigned, the government’s independent food watchdog said today.

      The Food Standards Agency, which had been commissioned by the Labour government to gauge the public mood on growing and eating the controversial foods, said that it would ask the coalition government if it should continue with the dialogue.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Confessions of a Spy Car Driver

      To give you an example of what we see, here is a screenshot from a popular open source wireless sniffer, kismet. (We use a slightly modified version.)

      Google was trying to do the same thing that my wireless research group was doing — again, no ethical problems there. However, they claim to have “inadvertently” also listened to the content of communications. (This is called “payload” data.) Here’s the problem with the story we’re getting from Google: the word “inadvertently.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google blocks Tetris clones from Android market

      The classic block game Tetris has frequently been the subject of legal disputes. The rights to the trademark are currently held by The Tetris Company, a corporation located in Hawaii that licenses the name to other parties. The Tetris Company, which routinely threatens legal action against clones of the popular game, has sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, prompting the search giant to remove 35 Tetris-like games from the Android market.

    • The RIAA? Amateurs. Here’s how you sue 14,000+ P2P users

      The big music labels and movie studios have stepped back from the lawsuit business. The MPAA’s abortive campaign against individual file-swappers ended years ago, while the RIAA’s more widely publicized (and criticized) years-long campaign against P2P swappers ended over a year ago.

    • India vows to sabotage ACTA

      Fed up with the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), India hopes to whip up an anti-ACTA chutney so spicy that negotiators have no choice but to purge every trace of the loathed agreement from their systems.

      Though countries like Morocco are involved, rich countries have driven the ACTA process. The World Trade Organization—ignored. The World Intellectual Property Organization—bypassed. Instead of using the very fora that they played such a role in establishing, countries like the US, EU, Canada, Japan, and Australia formed a coalition of the willing. ACTA has been negotiated in secret, though the recently released negotiating draft text envisions a permanent secretariat that will receive new members.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – The Venus Transit (3/18/2004)

IRC Proceedings: June 2nd, 2010

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