EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


IRC Proceedings: July 31st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 31/7/2010: Google’s GNU/Linux Strategy, YAFFS2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google

    • Google Apps for Government: Inextricably Tied to Chrome OS

      While Google Apps for Government, a version of Google Apps certified for use by the U.S. government, is much in the news, not everyone is perceiving how closely tied the move is with Google’s much-ballyhooed upcoming Chrome OS. Google’s operating system, due in a matter of weeks, with numerous high-profile hardware partners committed to making netbooks based on it, is at the center of many initiatives from the company. In the case of Google Apps for Government, Google hopes to lend credibility to its cloud-based applications because Chrome OS is, through and through, a cloud-centric OS.

  • Kernel Space

    • YAFFS2: Yet Another Flash File System

      As flash sizes increased and Linux moved into more embedded niches, the need for read-write flash file systems was answered by JFFS2 which for a long time was de-facto standard Linux flash file system. As flash sizes grew even more and devices such as cellular phones that store large amounts of information (pictures, mp3 files) started using Linux, JFFS2 reached its scalability limits. As a result, new file systems specifically designed for large NAND flash devices were developed — UBIFS, LogFS, and YAFFS. For a long time only UBIFS was part of the mainline kernel and both YAFFS2 and LogFS where available as a patches. At some point in time it looked like LogFS developed was stagnated, with the latest patch available for kernel version 2.6.24. However, LogFS suddenly resurfaced and rather surprisingly was quickly merged into kernel 2.6.34 indicating that its developers kept working on this project, albeit with little publicity. YAFFS2, which contrary to LogFS was widely used, undergoes a similar process with respect to inclusion into mainlaine Linux kernel. It looks like even though in the past YAFFS2 developers did not make any significant effort to put it into the mainline kernel, it is going to change now.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600g Gains Mip-Map, Face Culling Support
      • NVIDIA Puts Out Two Drivers, Including For OpenGL 4.1

        While there’s very few people that NVIDIA’s dead open-source driver update helps out, NVIDIA has released two new binary Linux driver updates. The NVIDIA 256.44 pre-release driver adds in support for some new GeForce and Quadro GPUs along with introduces some “Fermi” (GeForce GTX 400 series) stability fixes while the NVIDIA 256.38.02 Linux driver introduces initial OpenGL 4.1 support.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

      • Collaborate and manage projects with Todoyu

        You’ll need a machine running the Apache/PHP/MySQL stack, or the XAMPP package.
        You’ll also need the latest release of Todoyu.

      • Free Resources For Getting Your GIMP Graphics Game On

        If you’ve spent any time at all working with graphics–whether you favor open source software or not–you’re probably familiar with the power of GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications. Of course, if you know your way around GIMP, you’re probably also familiar with the many effects you can execute with it. Scott Photographics has an excellent exploration of how to create see-through text effects posted, and you can learn to do so with GIMP in about five minutes. While you’re at it, check out this post’s collection of useful, free resources for GIMP.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Opinion: Re: Canonical release cycle for Ubuntu Server

          Even though my goto operating system for servers is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, lately I have been working with Canonical’s Ubuntu Server 10.04 and I will admit that it has so far been a great experience. Just like what is expected of a server operating system, it is not intended for the general user base and focused more toward an experience Linux user; especially when by default there exists no GUI. That is one of the best parts in my personal opinions. Another great thing about the OS relates to its simplified installation process and how everything is automatically installed and to an extent configured should you choose to configure the server as a LAMP, DNS, etc. A couple of years ago, I had reviewed an older 8.10 release here and here and wasn’t impressed. Now, I can see things have changed for the better. Unfortunately I will not be discussing this. But before I get any deeper into this article, I wish to share my experiences with 10.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Hacking the Nokia N900 Phone

          Do you remember the Frankencamera? The API used for the Frankencamera has been released for the Nokia n900 Phone, making the phones camera programmable. For those with programming skills this could be a very interesting Journey. FCam API provides you with full low level control of your camera, enabling you to hack your Nokia N900 and program it however you wish.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Tab Candy is the first step to sweeter browsing

        Tabbed browsing has arguably had a significant impact on the way that people use the Web, but the feature hasn’t really scaled to accommodate the increasing complexity of the average surfing session. The existing tab management and overflow handling mechanisms that are present in modern browsers are dated and suffer from some fundamental limitations that significantly detract from user productivity.

  • Oracle

    • The AEGIS Conference website is open for business

      As announced recently, the first International AEGIS Conference – “Access for All in the desktop, web and mobile field: an end-user and developer perspective” – will take place in lovely Seville, Spain on October 6-9, 2010. Now the conference website is open for business. You can browse the conference programme, learn about the venue, review the recommended hotels, and most importantly, register for the conference! Also, potential exhibitors are invited to review the exhibitor package.


    • GCC 4.5.1 Released; GCC 4.5.2 Is Up Next

      Just as expected, GCC 4.5.1 was released today thereby meeting their target of releasing this point update to the GNU Compiler Collection prior to August. GCC 4.5.1 targets regressions and other bugs since the release of GCC 4.5.0 in mid-April.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Mapping Startup CloudMade Raises $12.3M

        Steve Coast, a cofounder of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company founded the OpenStreetMap community mapping project in 2004, and CloudMade draws its data from OpenStreetMap. Through application programming interfaces and other tools, CloudMade helps developers take advantage of OpenStreetMap’s geographical data to power their own location apps, then takes a share from the apps’ advertising revenue.


  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge to RIAA: No LimeWire asset freeze

        In March, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Group, parent company of Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton are liable for copyright infringement by enabling and “inducing” users of the file-sharing software LimeWire to pirate songs from the four major record companies.

Clip of the Day

OLPC Sugar Port of the MeeGo Multilingual Virtual Keyboard

Novell for Sale: Portfolio of Proprietary Software and Fog Computing

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Novell, SLES/SLED at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For sale signs

Summary: A look at the items that Novell is marketing nowadays, including a critical look into its characterisation as a “Linux company”

NOVELL is still waiting for a buyer and based on the lack of Novell news, it is likely that it negotiates with potential buyers (about 20 of them were reported) behind the scenes. Such negotiations would keep the company busy and distracted, as well as unwilling to launch new products or make acquisitions. It is at times like these that the Microsoft-sympathetic press points out:

Speaking of Linux, you may have noticed that SUSE Linux vendor Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) put itself on the sales block.

Novell’s main business is not SUSE though (just days ago Novell staff got quoted for a print issue of Processor magazine, but as usual they never mention GNU/Linux or SUSE). Novell is stuck in the middle of nowhere because legacy that sustained it to some degree is fading away as time goes by. Novell certification therefore loses its value and IDG made public some Novell exams this week [1, 2].

One might say that Novell left its legacy business behind and is now betting on GNU/Linux and “Open Source”. That was probably true some years ago, but as we showed repeatedly in recent months (and analysts agreed), Novell changed its course and it is back to promoting proprietary software along with Fog Computing. Novell is mentioned in a couple of new articles about Google’s Fog Computing [1, 2], which competes against some of Novell’s proprietary software, namely GroupWise in this case:

The letter noted that a working group to test the pilot program convened to discuss its findings. Many users were disappointed at the lack of features similar to the ones in the city’s old Novell GroupWise system. Users also said they experienced less than acceptable speeds in certain areas of the city.

Another proprietary software product which Novell markets heavily these days handles identity management. Here are examples from the past couple of days alone [1, 2]:

“There are vertical industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing, where we would partner with third-party service providers,” Gardiner says, adding specific announcements around CA’s cloud strategy will be forthcoming later this summer.CA’s moves could put it on a similar path as Novell, which during the past year has made an aggressive push to adapt some of its fundamental technologies in identity management to work in cloud-based environments.

And also:

There are other vendors attempting this sort integration, such as Oracle and Novell, who focus on linking GRC to identity access. But Tero says Oracle and Novell lack the breadth and depth that the SAP and CA partnership will offer. “They’re going to be pushing a lot of information — security and compliance — up to SAP GRC Manager, which goes beyond just an identity attribute,” she said.

The first article says that Novell “during the past year has made an aggressive push to adapt some of its fundamental technologies in identity management to work in cloud-based environments.”

That means proprietary software and Fog Computing. That’s what Novell is about.

Well, as we pointed out a short while ago (and the press continues to cover this [1, 2], even IDG), Novell also helps sell Microsoft Visual Studio.

The Price of Personal Data

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Story about blackmail using personal data which goes out of hand; a timely reminder of the general associated risks (new Facebook examples)

A READER sent us the following message this morning:

A Warning About Non Free Software and the Microsoft Ecosystem

A Dell technician helping a woman named Tara recover pictures of her boyfiend helped himself to racy pictures and took her on a year long blackmail and con job with love letters, credit card fraud and her nude pictures posted on a “bitchtara” website.


“She gave the technician permission to access her computer remotely and watched as he found the pictures and downloaded them. ‘I trusted him because he was a Dell technician … I’ve been violated. My life’s been violated’.”

This woman’s story is sad but worse things are probably happening all the time. Non free software can not be inspected for malicious features and Windows is completely insecure, so Microsoft, OEM technicians and botnet owners have full access to people’s private documents if they want it. Newer versions of Windows like Vista/Windows 7 actually make things worse by indexing everything the user does and establishing encrypted communications to Microsoft by default. Apple users should not imagine themselves above these kinds of problems.

The moral is that people should only run community administered, free software like Debian GNU/Linux, and should only have them serviced by trusted, local technicians. Nothing can protect people from violations of trust but free software greatly reduces the odds. The Windows EULA gives Microsoft the right to inspect and delete your files at their their discretion. Free software has excellent remote access capability but the user is always in control. Windows is owned by Microsoft and will always serve Microsoft at the user’s expense. Non free software users have even less privacy than the hapless Winston of 1984 who could hide in a corner and write a private diary.

As a case study, let’s use this month’s news about Facebook because Facebook gives Microsoft its data. A lot of users are unaware of this.

Based on a survey published this month, Facebook scores low in user satisfaction and Facebook has also just been sued by Germany [1, 2, 3]. It faces a fine for privacy violations.

Facebook faces a fine from a German privacy regulator for failing to obtain the consent of the people whose contact details it stores.

In other news, Facebook is expected to start sharing people’s personal data with Amazon, which cannot be trusted, either (we gave many reasons before).

Such a partnership could also lay the groundwork for Facebook to get key pieces of data, so it can start to quantitatively value how social recommendations translate into sales. (The company says it’s not getting purchase history on specific individuals.)

Facebook finally admits giving data to advertisers, but what happens when this sort of data gets ‘leaked’?

PRIVACY SHREDDER Facebook is going into overdrive to convince its users that advertisers are their friends.

“Marketers are downloading data on 100 million Facebook users,” says this headline. This data was harvested, which shows how data ends up going out of control, regardless of laws (like Wikileaks shows).

Facebook’s privacy woes continue. This week a man harvested and published the profile details of 100 million Facebook users. If that weren’t bad enough, he then made the file available for free download. You’d think that a lot of companies would be interested in acquiring such data. And you’d be right.

The harvester speaks out and the MSBBC gives him a platform.

The man who harvested and published the personal details of 100m Facebook users has spoken out about his motives.

The MSBBC is actually in the midst of some British controversy this month because Facebook users were called “saddos” on the main Web site [1, 2], which puts the MSBBC down alongside The Inquirer which says: “BBC insults ‘Facebook Saddos’”

THE BBC appears to have forgotten to take its anti-INQUIRER pills and managed to insult the millions of members of the social notworking service Facebook.

“Facebook decides to protect kids after refusing,” says The Inquirer in another article and ITWire says that “Facebook bans fake nipples”.

Facebook is an easy target because of its scale, but the privacy policy still teaches a lesson and the connections with Microsoft offer room for discomfort (the previous post showed Apple’s serious privacy breach). Microsoft tried to buy Facebook.

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

Bruce Schneier

Apple Spies on Users, Sued for Alleged Defect in hypePad, Even Tries to Break Existing Laws

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ShoesSummary: Some of Apple’s latest unethical and freedom-violating moves, as covered in the news very recently

According to the Australian press, Apple keeps data about people’s deleted items and also spreads data around.

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since 2007 but few users know how much information they collect. The keyboard logging cache means an expert can retrieve anything typed on it for up to 12 months. Its internal mapping and ”geotags” attached to photos indicate where a user has been.

An iPhone has up to 32 gigabytes of data that can be ”imaged” or decoded with the right equipment, Mr Coulthart said, even if it has been deleted.

This is good because it helps us understand malicious features advocated by proprietary software companies.

“Class action lawsuit filed over ‘overheating’ iPads,” says this other new report.

Three iPad users claim that because the iPad will shut itself off after remaining in direct sunlight for long enough, it fails to meet the promises Apple made about using the iPad as an e-book reader. The group has filed a federal class-action lawsuit in the Northern California district to “redress and end this pattern of unlawful conduct.”

When the iPad’s operating temperature reaches a critical level, it will force itself to shut down and display a message warning the user to let the device cool down before trying use it again. This warning is the same that iPhones and iPod touches give before shutting down when they overheat, often after being left in direct sunlight.

One debate that we covered before revolves around Apple’s threat to laws that protect people’s right to do as they wish with devices they bought. Apple lost and here is its response.

Apple is likely angered over federal regulators’ ruling that iPhone owners can legally “jailbreak” their smartphones, but one analyst suggests there’s little the company can do to directly affect the ruling. Apple says jailbreaking an iPhone will void its warranty.

Google — unlike Apple — does not do this. Motorola is the exception. To say more on the same subject:

I dashed off a piece for CNET today on the Copyright Office’s cell phone “jailbreaking” rulemaking earlier this week. Though there has already been extensive coverage (including solid pieces in The Washington Post, a New York Times editorial, CNET, and Techdirt), there were a few interesting aspects to the decision I thought were worth highlighting.


A third interesting aspect to the Copyright Office’s rulemaking has to do with the highly-confused question of software ownership. For largely technical reasons, software has moved from intangible programs that must of necessity be copied to physical media (tapes, disks, cartridges) in order to be distributed to intangible programs distributed electronically (software as a service, cloud computing, etc.). That technical evolution has made the tricky problem of ownership has gotten even trickier.

Under copyright law, the owner of a “copy” of a work has certain rights, including the right to resell their copy. The so-called “first sale doctrine” makes legal the secondary market for copies, including used book and record stores, and much of what gets interesting on Antiques Roadshow.

Apple’s arrogance (not allowing customers to do as they wish with equipment they bought) could backfire because the Linux-based Android provides a more user-respecting substitute. As Ghabuntu put it, Apple is “getting all the buzz” as Apple’s massive marketing budgets still interfere with fair and balanced assessment.

The Evo 4g, the DroidX, and a host of other very powerful phones running Android have been making headlines for sometime now. That is a good thing. However, something that bogs my mind is why Apple is allowed to almost always steal the buzz with its not so open gizmos?

The site also says that Apple may have lost an opportunity.

A Vodafon Ghana commercial on TV triggered a comparison in my mind between the now defunct Ghana Telecom (the predecessor of Vodafon Ghana) and MTN. Back in the early part of this decade, Ghana Telecom had a chance to dominate the mobile phone market here.


Fast forward to ending of June 2010, and MTN has more than 50% of Ghana’s over 16 million mobile phone users, followed by Tigo with less than 4.5 million AND then Vodafon (formerly Onetouch) with about 3 million or so. Substitute Onetouch/Vodafon with the iPhone and MTN with Android and you have a similar scenario unfolding in the fiercely competitive smartphone market in the US!

Judging by existing trends, Linux will continue to gain faster than Apple, if not directly at Apple’s expense. Many people publicly dump hypePhone and move to Android; moves in the opposite direction seem rare as we can’t think of any.

Nathan Myhrvold (Intellectual Ventures) Gives Patents for Another Company to Sue With

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: The patent pyramid scheme known as “Intellectual Ventures” is yet again caught passing legal weapons to be used in the courtroom

GLYN MOODY states that Nathan Myhrvold, the world’s largest patent troll which we wrote about some days ago [1, 2], “sells patents to litigants”. This is not the first time that we see this, but it’s yet another case which shows that Myhrvold deceives or lies when he says he doesn’t sue. He’s just suing or threatening using proxy companies (see previous example); the press reported that his firm had amassed over 1,000 satellite firms, usually just a bunch of patents and some lawyer/troll gardening them. From the latest example we learn that:

Former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold’s firm Intellectual Ventures, which has amassed a huge pile of more than 30,000 patents, says it doesn’t intend to sue companies over patent infringement. But Intellectual Ventures has lately shown a willingness to put its patent arsenal at the disposal of companies involved in litigation. In a deal announced today, Intellectual Ventures sold a “significant” number of patents to Vlingo, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that makes voice-to-text software. Vlingo is involved in a legal dispute with a rival company, Nuance Communications, and said it intends to use the Intellectual Ventures patents to bolster its defense.

Microsoft too tried to do this and got caught [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Who knows how many times Microsoft did this without getting caught. At the moment, Microsoft lacks a legal response to i4i in their case which never dies (i4i has rights to brag [1, 2]. Lora Bentley points out that “[t]he patent company’s landmark battle against Microsoft began more than three years ago.” Microsoft could challenge this in the US Supreme Court, but it would not be so inclined to do such a risky thing as it would also jeopardise software patents in the United States.

Let’s remember that Microsoft has been funding Nathan Myhrvold’s racketeering operation and so has Apple, which is becoming another patent aggressor that threatens and sometimes sues GNU/Linux.

Links 31/7/2010: Western PA Linux User Group, Android, and OLPC Goodwill

Posted in News Roundup at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part One

    The time was ripe for Linux and free software in the late 1990′s. Netscape formed mozilla.org in February 1998 to fight the Microsoft in the browse war. Oracle, the proprietary database, supported Linux as a platform in October 1998. Sun Microsystems released Star Office in November 1998, the previous name of the Microsoft-crushing Oracle Open Office suite. Red Hat went public in August 1999 and quickly acquired Cygnus, the makers of the Cygwin – a bash shell with GNU tools for Windows. Meanwhile Apache gained and maintained at least 50% market share in the web server market, an achievement which Microsoft has never been able to do.

  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part Two
  • Desktop

    • Why Windows still has good sales figures

      16:29:53 Agent Makrand_Karante
      is there any thing else that I may assist you with today?
      16:30:07 Customer Alan
      well not really. I just wanted a laptop running Ubuntu.
      16:30:19 Customer Alan
      Do you have any without an operating system at all?
      16:30:28 Agent Makrand_Karante
      I am afraid no
      16:30:36 Customer Alan
      16:31:23 Customer Alan
      so if I want a laptop from Dell I have to buy windows

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The State of the Android Ecosystem

          The G1 was almost completely un-branded as an HTC phone. Instead, HTC gave over control of the UI to Google to ship a completely “stock” version of Android OS 1.0 (later given an over-the-air update to 1.6), and carried by T-Mobile. But Google had been clear from the inception of the Android OS: Its intended goal was to have multiple hardware configurations, running multiple versions of the OS, supported by multiple carriers simultaneously.

        • Android’s UK phone sales quadruple

          Sales of Android-based phones more than quadrupled in the UK during the most-recent quarter.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology for $35 Tablet

        The nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child wants to join forces to help develop the Indian government’s planned US$35 tablet.

        In a congratulatory note to the government, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the world needs the $35 tablet, and he offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SAP Warms to Open Source

    In 2005, Shai Agassi, then the SAP executive in charge of the company’s product group, expressed ambivalence over using open-source software. In the years since, however, the company has warmed to the idea. Certainly, SAP’s chief rival Oracle, for instance, is an active, if controversial, supporter and sponsor of many open-source software projects.

  • Healthcare

    • Wrap-up of the health care IT track at O’Reilly’s Open Source convention

      The first health care track to be included in an O’Reilly conference covered all three days of sessions at last week’s Open Source convention and brought us 22 talks from programmers, doctors, researchers, corporate heads, and health care advocates. We grappled throughout these three days–which included two popular and highly vocal Birds of a Feather gatherings–with the task of opening up health care.

    • VistA scenarios, and other controversies at the Open Source health care track

      Yesterday, as I described in my previous blog, we heard an overview of trends in health care and its open source side in particular. Two open source free software projects offering electronic health records were presented, Tolven and openEMR. Today was VistA day, and those who stayed all the way through were entertained by accolades of increasing fervor from the heads of vxVistA, Medsphere, and ClearHealth. (Anyone who claims that VistA is cumbersome and obsolete will have to explain why it seems to back up so many successful companies.) In general, a nice theme to see today was so many open source companies making a go of it in the health care field.


  • American Psychological Association claims to pay for peer review. Should we send them a bill?

    The reality: publishers do not pay for peer review; this is provided on a voluntary basis by the academic community itself.

    This is an argument that keeps coming up over and over again, and I am wondering how to get the point across that it is foolish to claim to pay for valuable services that you are getting for free?

  • Bloomsbury to e-publish one-million page Churchill archive

    Bloomsbury is to make its first move into archive publishing, digitising and publishing in electronic form the one-million page personal archive of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

  • Publisher argues free access to research violates administration’s transparency initiative

    Free online access to federally funded research articles defies the White House’s open government directive, a journal publisher told House members at a hearing on Thursday.

    A December 2009 presidential memo on transparency in government instructed federal agencies to abide by the precepts of public disclosure, civic engagement in policymaking and collaboration with the private sector, but not at the expense of national security, privacy or “other genuinely compelling interests.”

  • Security/Aggression

    • Nuclear News: Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets’ Exposure to Depleted Uranium

      ‘For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans. But a little-known 1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance. Shinseki’s memo, under the subject line, “Review of Draft to Congress – Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium in the U.S. Army — Action Memorandum,” makes some small revisions to the details of these three orders from the DoD: 1. Provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with DU contaminated equipment. 2. Complete medical testing of all personnel exposed to DU in the Persian Gulf War. 3. Develop a plan for DU contaminated equipment recovery during future operations. The VA, however, never conducted the medical tests, which may have deprived hundreds of thousands of veterans from receiving medical care to treat cancer and other diseases that result from exposure to DU.’

    • FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

      FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

      Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

    • Italy will fine people who disagree with Berlusconi

      THE GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT of the Piccolo Duce Silvio Berlusconi wants to fine bloggers and Facebook users for writing things that disagree with government lines.

      Berlusconi took time away from his busy casting couch for European MPs to push through a law that will fine bloggers up to €25,000 for publishing “incorrect facts”.

  • Environment/Wildlife/Nature

    • Whale fossil stuck in Egypt customs wrangle

      For years archaeologists have been unearthing a remarkable collection of whale fossils, all the more surprising because the area is now inland desert in upper Egypt.

      It is believed that about 40 million years ago the area was submerged in water, part of the Tethys Sea. As the sea retreated north to the Mediterranean it left a series of unique rock formations and also a cornucopia of fossils.

    • Will notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas come clean?

      The short answer: not likely.

      In fact, not only will they not be likely to come ‘clean’, but today we are releasing fresh evidence that Sinar Mas’s notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

    • Al Gore cleared of assault allegations made by masseuse

      Rees also said the masseuse and her attorneys were uncooperative, witnesses could not remember anything unusual, and that the masseuse failed a polygraph examination and would not say whether she was paid by a tabloid newspaper for her story.

    • Curbing Emissions with BRT, Leading with Clean Energy, and Bringing Information and Communication Tools to Remote Areas

      Looking back one, two and five years ago today on Worldchanging…

    • Metroradruhr: Germany’s Ruhr Valley Inter-City Bike Sharing

      This summer brings a new regional bike-sharing system, Metroradruhr, to ten industrial Ruhr valley cities. Started on June 18th in Dortmund, Germany the system has now reached five of the cities. Bikes are now, or soon will be, available in Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen. This is not just a series of suburban satellite additions to a larger city system, but a single system connecting nearby cities together.

    • Subsidising oil spills

      When oil started leaking from Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, did you know that you were paying BP and Halliburton to contribute to the disaster?

    • Oil disaster impacts reach far and wide

      Today we visited one of the Bird Rehabilitation Centers in Louisiana. We saw dozens of birds, from different species, cleaned of oil with detergent, water and toothbrushes and tagged. They are monitored and then released to the wild. The center has treated and release more then 500 birds so far, a small number if you take into account that more then 550 miles (885Km) of shoreline has been impacted by the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

    • A funeral and a celebration: grim clouds over Dalian

      I arrived in Dalian on the day of the funeral for firefighter Zhang Liang, who drowned beneath the thick crude when his crew jumped into the ocean – without safety gear – to attempt, in vain, to fix an underwater pipe. Our lead photographer, Jiang He, who by now has reached legendary status globally for capturing the final seconds of Zhang’s life, continued to cover the very emotional moments of this oil spill disaster.

    • Oil spill in China worsens

      We continue to keep a close watch on the development of the oil spill in Dalian, China, which has already cost the life of a firemen and continues to grow, posing an increasingly severe threat to the area’s coastal ecosystem.

    • Floods wash 3,000 chemical barrels into China river
    • Oily action
  • Finance

    • Ponzi Schemer’s Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Florida GOP for Donations Payback

      Bankruptcy attorneys for the Scott Rothstein estate have filed suit against The Republican Party of Florida, seeking the repayment of $237,000 in campaign contributions from the jailed former attorney.

      In a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Lauderdale, Berger Singerman, the law firm for trustee Herbert Stettin, alleges that the Republican Party has refused to return more than 10 different donations made by Rothstein over a four-year period.

      “The Trustee has made repeated efforts over a period of several months to resolve this claim without resort to litigation,” said Paul Singerman of Berger Singerman in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • How WikiLeaks Could Change the Way Reporters Deal With Secrets

      For the past several decades, there has been an informal understanding between the reporters who uncovered newsworthy secrets and the government intelligence agencies, which tried to keep them from public view.

      We would tell senior officials what we’d learned. And they would point out any unforeseen consequences that might arise from publication, such as the death of an American informant. Ultimately, the call on what appeared rested with editors. But it was a decision informed by more than our own guesswork.

    • Sherrod Says She Will Sue Blogger

      Ms. Sherrod also said she intended to sue Andrew Breitbart, the blogger, who runs BigGovernment.com and who posted the edited video of her making what appeared to be antiwhite remarks in a speech that was really about racial conciliation.

      “He hasn’t apologized, and I don’t want it at this point,” she said of Mr. Breitbart, adding that she intended to sue him. “He will definitely hear from me.”

    • New partnerships

      There are several marvellous things to note about this latest bombardment from cyberspace. One, when new media challenges old media, it is still possible for the latter to outshine the former.

      Get on to the Afghan War Diary web pages on Wikileaks and you will be suitably fazed. How to get something useful out of these bald listings without investing inordinate time?

    • Military transfers Manning to Quantico, VA
    • US will press criminal charges against Manning, alleged Wikileaks source

      The U.S. military has announced that it will press criminal charges against 22 year old Pfc. Bradley E. Manning for allegedly transferring classified military information to his personal computer, “wrongfully adding unauthorized software to a Secret Internet Protocol Router network computer,” obtaining “more than 150,000 classified U.S. State Department cables,” and transmitting data to unauthorized persons.

    • WikiLeaks: We don’t know source of leaked data

      WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief claims his organization doesn’t know who sent it some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghan war, telling journalists the website was set up to hide the source of its data from those who receive it.

    • US Army: alleged Wikileaks source Manning faces 52 years
    • A tide turns

      Technology used to help spies. Now it hinders them

    • Russia blocks Youtube

      VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has been blocked by a Russian Internet service provider (ISP) after a court deemed that the service carries extremist videos.

    • Russian city blocks YouTube
  • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Role of Free Knowledge and Free Software in Education and Research

Links 31/7/2010: Dell’s Many Mysteries and Wine Development Release 1.3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Simmtronics Rolls Out Slim Desktop PCs

      Simmtronics SDC 2711S comes preloaded with Ubuntu.

    • Where are Dell’s Ubuntu PCs?

      Back in February, I covered Gripe Line reader Cal’s complaint that Dell seemed to have stopped carrying Ubuntu machines. At the time, I spoke to Anne Camden at Dell, who assured me that the company would be refreshing its Ubuntu line “in several weeks.” Thus, I was surprised to hear from Gripe Line reader Ken recently, who has been watching the Dell/Ubuntu situation closely because he is in the market for a Ubuntu desktop.

      “I just want you to know,” Ken writes, “that Dell still isn’t offering any new Ubuntu machines.” Instead, the company is carrying only one laptop and a netbook.

    • Dell release OpenManage Server Administrator for Ubuntu

      Dell has announced the release of its proprietary OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) 6.3 for Ubuntu 9.10 or later. OMSA is a web browser or command line driven system administration tool for servers. The .deb packaged and community supported release was completed with a “generous donation” of several weeks of engineering time by Canonical, which allowed the Dell Linux team to become better acquainted with .deb packaging.

    • Dell Adds Linux Desktop PCs, But Stops Web Sales of Linux Laptops

      In a reversal of its long-time approach to Linux, Dell has now added a desktop PC pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux to its Web site, while halting online sales of Linux-based netbooks and notebook PCs.

      Dell started selling the Studio XPS 7100 with Ubuntu on its Web site earlier this week at pricing of $459.99 without monitor. The price includes a one-year basic service plan.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

    • Wine

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 1.3.0 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Beginnings of a user interface for the builtin Internet Explorer.
        – Support for cross-process OLE drag & drop.
        – New builtin wscript.exe (Windows Script Host) program.
        – Open/save dialogs remember the last used directory.
        – Translation updates.
        – Various bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Open games with closed content

        Some Linux users have at least a general familiarity familiar with RMS’s four freedoms and the GPL. Some of the games mentioned in this column, in the past as well as in the future, are licensed such that the game itself is under the GPL or a similarly free license, but the content is not. That is, you are free to do whatever you want with the game engine itself, but don’t mess with the content.

        For example, let us consider the game Sauerbraten. Now, the Cube2 engine that is the heart and soul of Sauerbraten is totally copylefted. You can distribute it, modify it, and even rub it in your belly, if you so desire. However, the data files that are associated with Sauerbraten is not free. While you can run Sauerbraten with the associated data files that compose the actual content of Sauerbraten, you are not permitted to include the data files along with any changes you make to the Cube2 engine itself. If you want to modify the game engine and release your own modified version of the game called Schnitzel, for example, then you need to create your own maps, textures, skins, and music to go with Schnitzel.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Census report now available as free download

        I was delighted to see that the GNOME Census presentation I gave yesterday at GUADEC has gotten a lot of attention. And I’m pleased to announce a change of plan from what I presented yesterday: The report is now available under a Creative Commons license.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New controller chip sets stage for color e-readers

      Monochrome electrophorescent (EPD) displays sourced from E Ink Corporation have been used in the majority of e-readers to date. Examples include Amazon’s market-leading, Linux-based Kindle — updated today to become smaller and lighter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lockheed Goes Open Source. Blankenhorn Hates It.

    Wait, what? Open source advocates have, for years, been trying to encourage more code to come out from behind corporate skirts. Where companies can build business models around governing and supporting open source projects, we want them to take the plunge. If more code is open, that makes everyone smarter. And that, my friends, is exactly what Lockheed Martin did today. Someone who probably never contributed code in their lives just gave the community a project they’ve been working on for months, or even years. I think that’s amazing. In return, this brave developer gets painted as a nefarious secret agent out to steal our thoughts and bug our laptops. Or whatever.


    • Presentations at Debconf in NYC

      The first is “FSF’s Campaigns for Freedom” on Sunday, August 1st, from 14:00 to 15:00 in 414 Schapiro. I’ll give an overview of some of the current FSF campaigns, like the GNU Project, Working Together for Free Software, Defective by Design, PlayOgg, Windows 7 Sins, and the High Priority Projects List; and resources like the Licensing & Compliance Lab, Free Software Jobs page, Hardware Directory, and the Free Software Directory. But I’m going to save plenty of time to talk with the room about things the FSF should or could be doing.

    • Pictures from the GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague (July 2010)

      The European GNU Hackers meeting took place this weekend in the Hague. Two days of talks about GNU projects, nearly 50 hackers, prodigiuous amounts of coffee, and exotic food. All followed by two days of coding for those who stayed on Monday and Tuesday.


  • Science

    • Mars site may hold ‘buried life’

      Researchers have identified rocks that they say could contain the fossilised remains of life on early Mars.

      The team made their discovery in the ancient rocks of Nili Fossae.

      Their work has revealed that this trench on Mars is a “dead ringer” for a region in Australia where some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth has been buried and preserved in mineral form.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Saudia Arabia and Russia

      As I have discussed previously, without Russia the world of Non-OPEC supply would have fallen down into a hole shortly after 2003. Indeed, without Russia Non-OPEC production (Non-OPEC ex-Russia) would have fallen every year from 2004 through the present day. What’s been a surprise is that Russia has been able to sustain its current ~9.5 mbpd for over four years now.

  • Finance

    • High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

      Last year Gomberg and a fellow programmer quit their jobs and cut a deal with HTG Capital Partners of Chicago, whose programmers typically trade on regulated futures exchanges. HTG supplies office space, technology and access to exchanges. Gomberg keeps 40% to 80% of net profits, with the percentage rising as his profits do. More importantly, says Gomberg, the programmers retain ownership of the code they write.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google Search Engine Is Blocked in China

      Google said that the search engine was functioning normally in China. “It’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage. That seems to be what happened last night, when there was a relatively small blockage,” said Jill Hazelbaker, a Google spokeswoman.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google adds ‘phone home’ DRM to Android Market

      Google has added a licensing server to the Android Marketplace which will allow an app to verify whether the user has purchased it or not before opening.

    • Internet ‘Key Holders’ Are Insurance Against Cyber Attack

      In a move that seems inspired by “The Lord of the Rings,” seven “keys” have been handed out to a trusted circle of people who might get called upon to “save” the Internet in the aftermath of a cyber attack.
      But contrary to other news reports, the seven key holders have not been vested with the power to resurrect the entire Internet should it be sabotaged by hackers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Copyright vs Community 2009

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts