Links 13/7/2010: OpenSolaris Unrest

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Organic Linux at the Farmers Market

    Among the strawberries, nectarines, kettle corn and other fresh fruits and vegetables — and since when is kettle corn NOT a fresh vegetable? — the Felton Linux Users Group has set up a table offering Organic Software each Tuesday afternoon at the Felton Farmers Market; Linux, GNU/Linux and other Free/Open Source Software programs and information about FOSS, all with no artificial colors or preservatives, and software that’s healthy for the well-being of your computer.

  • Living with Linux.

    Yes, a properly looked after and protected windows computer is safe. As is a misconfigured Linux computer unsafe. What are the chances of coming across the former compared to the latter? What are the chances of being stung by a windows machine compared to a Linux one? You tell me in the comments. I already know what I think :)

  • Linux Distributions – Why Choice Is A Good Thing

    One of the most common criticisms of Linux is that there are “too many versions”, and that makes it confusing. Here are a few thoughts and examples related to that.

    - “Too many versions”? Yes, probably so, in the same way that there are too many different kinds of breakfast cereal, or laundry soap, or wrist watches. Here’s an example straight out of current markets. From what I have seen and heard, Toyota has been having some problems with quite a lot of their cars. How many of us would like to be in the position of having Toyota be the ONLY car? Continuing on this speculation… what if Toyota were now to fix the problem (or problems, if there turned out to be more than one), but once that fix was complete and they were producing cars that worked properly again, they announced that they were not going to give owners of their existing defective cars any consideration at all in the purchase of one of the new “fixed” models. Vehicle owners would not be happy, but there would be nothing they could do about it because Toyota was the only supplier! Not a situation that I think anyone would want with their car, so why should we want it with our computers?

  • Server

    • Indianapolis gov’t IT shop aims for easy ERP plan

      The new ERP system, which will run on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5-based HP ProLiant blade server, will use a common data repository to manage financial accounting, procurement, HR and payroll applications.

  • Audiocasts

  • Google

    • Is Chrome OS a Threat to Ubuntu or Windows?

      Since late 2009, talk of how Google’s Chrome OS is being positioned to “take on” Microsoft Windows has been promoted by individuals who I believe have no idea what they’re talking about.

      By Google’s own admission, Chrome OS is being designed for near exclusive use on netbook computers, due to its minimalist nature. And as we know, netbooks make up a small piece of the collective PC market. This clearly leaves out of desktops and laptops, which will remain dominated by the Windows OS (near term, at least).

  • Kernel Space

    • The kernel column #89

      Last month saw the opening and subsequent closing of the 2.6.35 kernel’s merge window, the period of time during which all of the exciting new features that have been waiting in the wings (and in linux-next nightly kernels provided by Stephen Rothwell) are considered for merging into the official ‘mainline’ kernel source tree by Linus Torvalds. Recent releases have often added a new file system (or perhaps two), but 2.6.35 does not add any new file systems. It does add many other new features, including support for profiling virtual machines from the host machine using ‘kvm perf’, the KDB in-kernel debugger that has augmented the existing KGDB support for remote debugging, the memory compaction patches, and memory hotplug support in the SLAB memory allocator.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

    • Xfce

      • Smitten with Xfce 4

        If you’ve read me long enough, you know I am a desktop junkie. Much to Jaqui’s chagrin, I do love my desktops. So much so I could have a different desktop every day and still not be completely happy. During my trials and tribulations with the Linux desktop I have, surprisingly, missed the whole Xfce train. Why? I have no idea. I’ve known of it, I’ve used it briefly, and never really thought much more about it. That is, until recently.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Parted Magic 5.0 released

        Just one week after the first release candidate arrived, the Parted Magic developers have released version 5.0 of their open source, multi-platform partitioning tool. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with as little as 64MB of RAM. File systems supported include NTFS, FAT, ReiserFS, Reiser4 and HFS+. LVM and RAID are also supported.

      • SystemRescueCd 1.5.6

        SystemRescueCD is a free, Linux-based CDROM image for system recovery that boots into a minimal graphical interface and provides a host of useful tools culled from many sources.


        Although SystemRescueCD offers a desktop, it can be complicated to use and requires a some basic computer knowledge. However, it doesn’t require much Linux specific knowledge to operate most of the tools, so I would be happy to recommend it to a Windows guru. Besides, people who don’t understand the basics shouldn’t be operating partition managers and file recovery utilities anyway.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux avoids bankruptcy; we test the new version

        Linux vendor Mandriva has announced the availability of its Spring 2010 release, an updated version of its desktop Linux distribution. Mandriva originally planned to ship the software at the beginning of June, but had put the launch on hold due to serious financial difficulties that jeopardized the company’s future. The Spring 2010 version was finally released last week after some new investors bailed out the company and made it possible for development efforts to continue.


        After spending some time with the latest version of Mandriva, I can see why it remains appealing to so many KDE users. It has a sense of simplicity, consistency, and conservatism that are unusual in the KDE world. Subjectively, it feels much better than Kubuntu but doesn’t quite rival openSUSE’s power and sophistication.

      • Review – Mandriva 2010 Spring Gnome – With Screenshots

        I am sure you know, but in case you didn’t – one of the most exciting and long lived desktop Linux distros has rolled out a new release.

        Yes, Mandriva 2010 Spring is out – and I love it.

      • Mandriva and Derivative Release Latest

        After a long and anxious month of delays, Mandriva finally released their 2010.1 Spring update with lots of goodies for all. In related news, PCLinuxos, a derivative of Mandriva, released what they’ve dubbed their Quarterly ISO updates in several flavors.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to explore telecom, govt sectors for gaining market share

        The world’s largest open source software maker, Red Hat Inc., expects to make further inroads into the Indian market through the government and telecom sectors.

        “For Red Hat, India has been growing much faster than other geographies,” chief executive Jim Whitehurst said in an interview. “Increasingly, most of the large government IT (information technology) programmes, including e-governance-related ones, are being built on open source platforms.”

      • Red Hat Ignores Desktops – Consumer or Enterprise Whatsoever

        We had been running CentOS 5.2 on dozens of our office-desktops. They were boringly stable though little obsolete. Finally I wanted to upgrade my system to the latest v.5.5 so as to use some of the updated packages including Firefox 3.5 and OpenOffice 3. Skipping as much as 2 versions to CentOS 5.5 was smooth as a trademark of the enterprise desktop. There were some minor glitches pertaining to drivers which is documented earlier (CentOS 5.5 Left Me Clueless and CentOS 5.5 USB Device Mounting Annoyance) plus a far critical (purely on the basis of desktop experience) bug that’s some way associated with nash and mkinitrd packages.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – July 12th, 2010
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • How An Old Pentium 4 System Runs With Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10

          Last October I wrote about running Ubuntu 9.10 with older PC hardware, but over this past weekend I restored an even older Phoronix test system to see how it runs with the most recent Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release and the very latest Ubuntu 10.10 development snapshot in relation to the older Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS. This antiquated system has an Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB IDE hard drive, and an ATI Radeon 9200PRO AGP graphics card.

        • Ubuntu tweaks I can’t live without

          I recently did a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 on my Dell netbook (because the upgrade process didn’t work smoothly) and in doing so I re did some of my Ubuntu tweaks I am used to. For my own sake (meaning so I don’t have to remember these again) and yours (in case you’re not familiar with these) here they are.

        • Ubuntu: a computer operating system built around community

          Ross, who often blogs about Ubuntu at http://randall.executiv.es/, says Ubuntu represents a completely new approach to computing. “No longer does a person need to sit back and wait (or complain) that their computer isn’t doing what they want. With Ubuntu, they have direct and easy ways to get involved and improve the experience for themselves and everyone.” Says Ross, “Ubuntu includes one profoundly important component that no other operating system has: Community. The Ubuntu community is diverse, lively, and fun to be around. The Ubuntu community is real and local.”

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 2 Software Center VS Linux Mint 9 Software Manager

          With the new release Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 2 the new software center comes with a new shape, as well the new release of software manager of Linux Mint 9 Isadora.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 201

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 201 for the week July 4th – July 10th, 2010.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • GamePark

      • GamePark’s GP2X Caanoo handheld hits this August, picks up where the Wiz left off (video)

        While we’re not sure just how we missed it, it seems GamePark was at E3 2010 in force, with a brand-new Linux gaming portable called the Caanoo. Though it’s got the same 533MHz ARM9 processor as its wizardly predecessor, GamePark’s doubled the memory to 128MB, and added a dedicated 3D GPU to power the larger 3.5-inch touchscreen.

      • Linux game console adds GPU, accelerometers

        GamePark Holdings (GPH) is readying a new version of its GP2X handheld game console running open source Linux games. The “GP2X Caanoo” is equipped with a 533MHz ARM9 CPU and 3D-ready GPU, a 3.5-inch display, Wi-Fi, and an accelerometer with a vibration motor.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Feature: MeeGo keynote address at Akademy 2010

        To say you are “redefining the Linux desktop landscape” is a bold claim to make. It is even bolder when presenting a non-KDE project at the annual conference of KDE, one of the leading providers of desktop Linux software. However, that was exactly how Valtteri Halla, Director of Nokia MeeGo Software chose to title his keynote address.

    • Android

      • Why Android’s Victory is Inevitable

        Arguably the most important development in the world of open source in the last year or two has been the rise and rise of Google’s Linux-based Android operating system. It’s true that the mobiles out there employing it are not 100% free, but they are considerably more free than the main alternatives. More importantly, they are turning Linux into a global, mass-market platform in a way never before seen.

      • App Inventor for Android

        You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor. Often people begin by building games like WhackAMole or games that let you draw funny pictures on your friend’s faces. You can even make use of the phone’s sensors to move a ball through a maze based on tilting the phone.

      • Google debuts DIY code tools for Android phones

        Google has released tools that “make it easy for anyone to create programs for Android phones”.

        Much like Lego, App Inventor lets people drag “blocks” of code around to create applications.

      • MediaTek Joins Open Handset Alliance to Bring its Processors to Low-Cost Android Phones

        We have known of MediaTek’s intentions to get their low-cost CPUs into more and more Android handsets for a while now, but today’s announcement that they have officially joined the Google-led Open Handset Alliance signals that they are committed more than ever to the idea. In the past, patent issues with Qualcomm prevented MediaTek from doing much business outside of mainland China, a but a cross-licensing agreement signed last November and their new involvement in the OHA could see the inclusion of their system-on-a-chip processors in low-cost Android phones around the world.

      • Google demos codeless Android development tool for students

        Google has announced a new browser-based visual development tool called App Inventor that allows users to create Android applications without having to write any code. It appears to be aimed primarily at students.

      • Chrome to Phone- Take your browsing experience with you on your Android Phone

        The aim of this project is to help you bridge the gap between when you are on your desktop and your phone. With it, you can send links directly from your Chrome browser to your phone, place calls directly from your phone by highlighting a phone number on your desktop and populating the Android clipboard by highlighting text on your desktop.

    • Tablets

      • Will you be taking an e-reader or tablet to school this fall?

        Be that as it may, companies like Jumpbooks are making it possible for the old college bookstore to offer eTextbooks to students. While most students will look to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for their digital textbooks, Jumpbooks will make it possible for schools to inexpensively offer school specific textbooks (e.g., for a professor’s required readings).

        Other companies, like CourseSmart, are already selling eTextbooks directly to students. And, perhaps the best news of all for students and their parents tired of the financial weight of textbooks, most eTextbooks are available at half the price of a new hardbound textbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Choosing Whether To Go Open Source

    Open source has always been a favorite among scientists and universities where budgets are limited but where there is plenty of expertise around to fiddle with the code and customize it for a specific project or department. It never behaved like the costlier, commercially available products from big-name vendors, and it required lots of patience for dealing with quirks and knowledge of some arcane coding tricks.

    That explains why using open source for production in mission-critical environments, particularly where security is essential, has been relatively rare. But that’s beginning to change. Since the Internet’s widespread adoption, open source has become a global effort, and over the past several years that collaboration has yielded significant advancements. Applications are more readily available, security has been beefed up and the underlying Linux operating system has been worked on extensively.

  • Killing the Founder

    In general I’m much less bothered about people who think I’m crazy than they usually think I should be because I know a lot about the life cycle of reform movements. I studied this topic rather carefully in early 1998, just after Netscape announced its intention to release the Mozilla sources, when I noticed that a burgeoning reform movement seemed to need me to lead it. I was particularly influenced in my thinking by the history of John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community.


    I don’t know if we’ve actually reached that point yet, but if and when we do it won’t bother me. I did not do what I did for anyone’s approval; I did it because it was right. And then I let go.

  • Time for Free Software to Square up to Foursquare

    That’s very similar to the Foursquare location layers that give you information relevant to your position. But the great thing about Google’s Open Spot is that I don’t need to check in to anything: Google Android tells the system where I am. Isn’t that the obvious way for it to work?

    Indeed, why do we need to download a separate Android app? Perhaps Mozilla needs to accelerate its work in this area. If it doesn’t, then the danger is that we’ll get another Facebook: a client and company so dominant in its field that it will be hard for open source contenders to fight against it. The time for free software to square up to Foursquare is now, not a few years down the road….

  • Do you aspire to build a brand community or a community brand?

    In my day job at New Kind, I spend quite a bit of my time working on brand-related assignments, particularly for organizations interested in community-based approaches to building their brands.

    When marrying the art of community building to the art of brand building, it’s hard not to talk about building “brand communities.” It’s a convenient term, and brand experts love to trot out examples like Harley Davidson and Apple as examples of thriving communities built around brands.

  • Open Innovation Awards 2010: The Demo Cup

    The Open Innovation Demo Cup – a contest open to all open source projects and solutions getting ready for commercial launch or already on the market – will be held at the next Open World Forum on the 1st of October.

  • What FOSS communities can look like from the outside

    It’s hard to remember how hard things can be, especially when you’re surrounded by a community of people who are the ones who self-selected and made it past that hardness. By definition, if you’ve gotten into FOSS, the current participation mechanisms worked for you… so why fix them?

  • OSS: Europe vs. The United States

    Reading this prompted me to wonder if the United States had an equivalently highly-placed official with sufficient power to influence the US Government’s decision process regarding OSS solutions. The closest I could find was Howard A. Schmidt, our current US DHS “Cybersecurity Czar”. It didn’t take much digging to begin to understand where Schmidt’s priorities are likely to fall regarding OSS. From WhoRunsGov.com, we discover that Schmidt went to work for Microsoft in 1997 as their chief security officer. He remained in that position for 5 years, and in 1999 he donated $250 to the Microsoft Political Action Committee.

  • Events

  • Databases

    • Less Dangerous Databases for Schools

      Databases can be dangerous, though, because of unintended consequences. Because of their power and size, one needs to be more careful with matters of security, backup, entry and retrieval of data. Fortunately in a small school like mine, the consequences of mistakes are not as large as happen in the outside world. I can limit the damage by keeping databases off the web and simple password authentication takes care of most of my issues of security.


      The tools I use all come from Debian GNU/Linux(except for Gallery image database). It takes only a few minutes to install MySQL database, PHP and Apache web server on a basic installation.

  • Oracle

    • Openoffice.org

      Five Nice extensions for Openoffice.org

    • Testing/Translation the Features and Enhancements

      Last week Marcus Lange announced the branch of the new code-line OOO330 for the next release of OpenOffice.org. It is based on developer snapshot DEV300m84. For such milestone I finalized the list of features/enhancements. I announced this list some weeks ago on the relevant OOo-mailing lists for QA and L10N and since then only some more entries came in. This list isn’t a ‘what’s new’-guide. It more technical orientated and is for L10N testing and for checking the new features by the QA and the L10N teams. If you are interested what is in the next release, please take a look.

    • OpenSolaris governing board threatens dissolution

      In an act of desperation, the OpenSolaris governing board (OGB) has issued an ultimatum to Oracle. The company must nominate a contact person able to take decisions regarding OpenSolaris by the 16th of August or the board will dissolve and relinquish control of OpenSolaris to Oracle.

  • Business

    • Open Source Business Models Become More Attractive

      The news that Kenneth Bosung had joined OpenGeo as senior VP might have seemed like little more than a glorified press release to some. But there was an interesting twist there – Bosung had spent his entire career thus far with proprietary software companies.

  • Government

    • Kroes on open source in public administrations: “Attitudes are changing”

      Public administrations are improving their opinion on open source, finds Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes. In a video speech addressing an open source software conference taking place later this month, she says: “We do not yet have a true level playing field, but thankfully attitudes are changing.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Context

      The following guest blog is from Open Context’s Project Lead Eric Kansa and Editor Sarah Whitcher Kansa, who are both members of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Data in Archaeology.

    • Millennials Will Make Online Sharing in Networks a Lifelong Habit

      The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has released Millennials Will Make Online Sharing in Networks a Lifelong Habit.

      Here’s an excerpt:

      In a survey about the future impact of the internet, a solid majority of technology experts and stakeholders said the Millennial generation will lead society into a new world of personal disclosure and information-sharing using new media. These experts said the communications patterns “digital natives” have already embraced through their use of social networking technology and other social technology tools will carry forward even as Millennials age, form families, and move up the economic ladder.

    • Closing the Digital Frontier

      As Chris Anderson pointed out in a moment of non-hyperbole in his book Free, the phrase Information wants to be free was never meant to be the rallying cry it turned into.

    • MIT OpenCourseWare Reaches 2,000 Course Milestone

      Already one of the richest collections of openly shared educational materials in the world, the MIT OpenCourseWare site has reached a significant milestone: With the publication of 10 new courses in the last two weeks, the site now shares core academic materials—including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams—from more than 2,000 MIT courses.

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Access to Information

        “Access to Information” a message from the Access to Information Unit, Jamacia

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF 1.2 Begins Final 60-day Public Review

      A major milestone was reached for the OASIS ODF TC last week. The latest Committee Draft of ODF 1.2 (CD 05) was sent out for a 60-day public review.

      As you may recall, ODF 1.2 is a single standard in three parts:

      * Part 1 specifies the core schema, and was send out for public review in January.
      * Part 2 is OpenFormula (spreadsheet formulas)
      * Part 3 defines the packaging model of ODF, and went out for public review back in November

    • Now available in English: AEIOU mnemonic for Open Standards

      * applicable (without restrictions): free from legal or technical clauses that limit its utilisation by any party or in any business model,
      * existing (implementations): available in multiple complete implementations by competing vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to all parties.
      * independent (of a single vendor): managed and further developed independently of any single vendor in a process open to the equal participation of competitors and third parties
      * open (specification): subject to full public assessment and use without constraints in a manner equally available to all parties
      * untainted (with dependencies to closed standards): without any components or extensions that have dependencies on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an Open Standard themselves


  • Cooperative success: Understanding the co-op business model

    Even Pittsburgh’s United Steel Workers Union is getting in on the (cooperative) action. The union is partnering with Mondragon to explore the possibility of steel worker cooperatives. With over 40,000 manufacturing facilities closed throughout the United States during the economic recession, exploring new business models probably isn’t a bad idea.

  • A Swing of the Pendulum: The Shift Towards Specialized Hardware and Software

    But what about Apache? Surely the venerable web server remains the most popular platform for deploying web applications? Well, yes, it is. Here are Netcraft’s numbers for overall web server share.

  • Reports of blogging’s death have been greatly exaggerated

    A report last month in the Economist tells us that “blogging is dying” as more and more bloggers abandon the form for its cousins: the tweet, the Facebook Wall, the Digg.

  • £20,000,000! For what?

    That’s some houseguest. The Pope invited himself to visit England, and asked the British government to pay for it — that takes some gall right there — and is now revealing that the bill for his visit will be at least £20 million.

  • Package bomb goes off at Houston oil executive’s home

    A seemingly anonymous gift left on the front porch of a Houston home owned by an oil company executive has the city’s affluent population of oil profiteers on edge this weekend, after that package exploded and seriously injured a 62-year-old woman.

  • Fring’s mis-use of Skype software was damaging to our brand and reputation

    An hour or so ago, Fring reported on their blog that we had blocked their access to Skype. I want to make one thing absolutely clear: this is untrue.

  • BDSM – The perfect operating system

    There you go, the perfect operating system that should turn you into a hacker within days. Nothing like the fear of pain to make you perform at your best. That or hysteria. You may feel slight physical and mental discomfort at first, but it will definitely be worth it.

  • Science

    • NASA offers $5M prizes for cool robots, satellites and solar spacecraft

      NASA today significantly expanded its Centennial Challenges program to include $5 million worth of new competitions to develop robots, small satellites, and solar powered spacecraft.

    • Secrecy in Astronomy and the Open Science Ratchet

      Probably because of the visibility of the GalaxyZoo project, I think several of my colleagues and I have been under the impression that astronomy is a somewhat more open field than chemistry or molecular biology. It was easy to rationalize such a position because patents are not an issue, as they clearly are in fields which rely more on invention than discovery. However, after reading “The Case for Pluto” by Alan Boyle, I am left with a much different impression.

    • Sintering the Moon

      We just finished reading a paper describing the viability of using microwaves to fuse lunar soil (regoilith) into solid shapes, in the hopes of creating an effective way of building lunar structures for future astronauts and their bases.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Hillier appeals to transgender community to save ID cards

      New Labour never give up. Even out of government, they are still looking for groups of individuals who, they believe, are just salivating at the prospect of the chance to carry a shiny new ID card.

    • Internet Kill Switch

      Last month, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., introduced a bill that might — we’re not really sure — give the president the authority to shut down all or portions of the Internet in the event of an emergency. It’s not a new idea. Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, proposed the same thing last year, and some argue that the president can already do something like this. If this or a similar bill ever passes, the details will change considerably and repeatedly. So let’s talk about the idea of an Internet kill switch in general.

      It’s a bad one.

    • Placed under surveillance by order of Brussels

      As reported in the Daily Telegraph this morning, the Government only has until the end of the month to decide whether to opt-in to the new European Investigation Order (EIO).

    • Arrested for blowing bubbles at the G20 in Toronto?

      This video shows a police officer at the G20 protests in Toronto threatening to arrest a protestor for blowing soap bubbles (“If one of those bubbles touches me, it’s assault”) and then leading the protestor away, presumably for the aforementioned “offense.”

    • South Korea deploys robot capable of killing intruders along border with North

      Two robots with surveillance, tracking, firing and voice recognition systems were integrated into a single unit, a defence ministry spokesman said.

      The 400 million won (£220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

  • Environment

    • Climategate scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming

      The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm over leaked emails were yesterday cleared of accusations that they fudged their results and silenced critics, but a review found they had failed to be open enough about their work.

      Sir Muir Russell, the senior civil servant who led a six-month inquiry into the affair, said the “rigour and honesty” of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were not in doubt. His investigation concluded they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism and that key data was freely available and could be used by any “competent” researcher.

    • ‘Climategate’ shows the need for openness by scientists

      “Like it or not, this [demand for openness] indicates a transformation in the way science has to be conducted in this century.” That, say many, will be the lasting legacy of the independent review published last week into the controversial emails between climate scientists that were stolen from the University of East Anglia and posted online.

      Scientists were cleared, as expected, of any fiddling of the figures to exaggerate the case for global warming. But the review heavily criticised them and the university for consistently blocking access to data and failing to recognise the risk such secrecy posed to the “credibility of UK climate science”.

    • The Chinese Coal Monster

      China set to consume 50% of global coal production this year

    • Fix the Food Chain
    • Global Crude Oil Supply Update

      Global crude oil supply fell in April, after a surprising revision upwards to the March totals, of approximately 200 kbpd. Volatility in the data is currently coming out of the North Sea. This will continue as Norway is expected to see production falls when the next few months of data is reported. Globally, oil production stood at 73.552 mbpd in April. On an annual basis, through the first 4 months of 2010, global crude oil production is averaging 73.458 mbpd. The current peak year for global crude oil production remains 2005, at 73.719 mbpd.

    • ‘Oil slick’ protest against BP at the British Museum

      An oil-like substance has been poured around one of the British Museum’s statues by activists urging it to end its sponsorship deal with BP.

      The targeted relic, Hoa Hakananai’a, is a giant carving of a human head and torso and is about 1,000 years old.

  • Finance

    • On the edge with Max Keiser-Max Keiser talking to Damon Vrabel
    • Staite Sees Goldman Profit Hurt by Lower Trading Revenue: Video
    • Gore Denies that Ken Lay, Goldman Sachs CEOs Helped Develop C02 Trading ‘Scheme’
    • Goldman Sachs Sued by Liberty on Fannie Mae Offering

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was accused in a lawsuit by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. of misleading investors in 2007 when it sold Fannie Mae preferred shares while betting against the U.S. mortgage market.

      Goldman Sachs misrepresented Fannie Mae’s health when it underwrote the offerings, in which the insurer invested $62.5 million, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Boston. The investment bank misstated the purpose of the sale by saying the offering was to raise surplus capital when it was actually needed to help Fannie Mae sustain its business, said Liberty Mutual, which accused Goldman Sachs of securities fraud.

    • Grow Green Jobs
    • FT: Corporate Cash

      Corporate cash in the US is sitting at a record high of $1,700bn. James Mackintosh, investment editor, explains how both bulls and bears are taking this as a signal for the stock market’s next move.

    • How Changes in State & Local Tax Burdens Affect Growth in Per Capita Income

      I’ve had a number of posts recently looking at the effect of reductions in the tax burden during Presidential administrations or during (or just following) recessions and how those affected subsequent growth. In each case, cutting the tax burden did not lead to faster growth. In fact, the data shows that, contrary to theory, real economic growth tends to be slower following cuts in the tax burden than following hikes in the tax burden.

    • What Have We Learned?

      Sometimes it’s useful to step back slightly from the current fray and ask what we’ve really learned about macroeconomics over, say, the past year and a half. Here’s how I see it: in early 2009 there was a broad divide between two policy factions. One, of which I was part, declared that we were in a liquidity trap, which meant that some of the usual rules no longer applied: the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet wouldn’t be inflationary — in fact the danger was a slide toward deflation; the government’s borrowing would not lead to a spike in interest rates. The other side declared that we were in imminent danger of runaway inflation, and that federal borrowing would lead to very high interest rates.

    • Democratic governors point finger at D.C.

      Democratic governors facing grim budget choices, lingering unemployment and angry voters are pointing a finger at their colleagues in Democratic-controlled Washington to explain this year’s toxic political climate.

      Few will directly fault President Barack Obama for their party’s plight heading into the fall midterm elections, but the state chief executives gathered here for the National Governors Association meeting believe Congress and the White House have made an already difficult year worse.

    • Paul Volcker on FinReg, Subprime & Deregulation

      “There is a certain circularity in all this business. You have a crisis, followed by some kind of reform, for better or worse, and things go well for a while, and then you have another crisis . . . People are nervous about the long-term outlook, and they should be.”

    • Volcker Pushes for Reform, Regretting Past Silence
    • Trending Toward Deflation

      Inflation has been falling, but how close are we to deflation? I found myself wondering that after observing John Makin’s combusting coiffure, his prediction that we might see deflation this year.

    • Bank Bailout Is Potent Issue for Fall Elections
    • Senate Democrats yet to lock down votes for financial regulations bill

      As he shepherded a far-reaching and ever-expanding bill to remake financial regulations through the Senate during the past year, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd uttered the same warning again and again: Nothing’s finished until everything is finished.

    • Democrats Corral Votes on Bank Bill

      Final passage of sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation’s financial regulatory system is now a question of when — not if — according to Senate Democrats. Yet, there still seem to be a lot of questions about when.

    • More Americans’ credit scores sink to new lows

      The credit scores of millions more Americans are sinking to new lows.

      Figures provided by FICO Inc. show that 25.5 percent of consumers – nearly 43.4 million people – now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. It’s unlikely they will be able to get credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use.

    • Crisis Awaits World’s Banks as Trillions Come Due

      The sovereign debt crisis would seem to create worry enough for European banks, but there is another gathering threat that has not garnered as much notice: the trillions of dollars in short-term borrowing that institutions around the world must repay or roll over in the next two years.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • World History Before Our Eyes

      One is 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. (formerly SPC) Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked a secret video and classified military information to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, was arrested by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010 and is currently held in US military detention in Kuwait facing numerous charges.

    • China must halt harassment and censorship of HIV/AIDS activists

      Chinese security forces last night cancelled a documentary screening by an HIV/AIDS education group, which Amnesty International is strongly criticising as part of the ongoing harassment of peaceful public health educators.

      “Harassing and curtailing HIV/AIDS activism in China poses a real threat to effective HIV/AIDS prevention, with dire consequences for the right to health,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director.

    • ‘A real free press for the first time in history’: Wikileaks editor speaks out in London

      Julian Assange, editor of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, has criticised mainstream media for not making proper use of “primary resources” and claimed that the site has created “a real free press (…) for the first time in history”.

    • Wikileaks founder reflects on Apache helicopter video

      The mainstream media ignored important additional research related to the video of a U.S. Apache helicopter shooting civilians in Iraq that was leaked to the Wikileaks Web site, according to its founder and editor, Julian Assange.

      Assange spoke on Friday at the Center for Investigative Journalism at City University in London, marking one of his few public appearances since Wikileaks published the video, in which up to a dozen civilians were killed, including two Reuters news service employees. Assange said he is avoiding travel to the U.S. due to concerns that he could potentially be subject to a subpoena.

    • Wau Holland Foundation sheds light on Wikileaks donations

      Germany’s Wau Holland Foundation has told newspaper Der Freitag Wikileaks receives no money for personnel costs, only for hardware, travelling and bandwidth. Hendrik Fulda, the foundation’s second chairman, says around 30.000 euros have been handed out after receiving signed receipts. According to Fulda, most of the money has been mainly used to restore Wikileaks and keep the site up and running. The website had to be taken down last year as donations did not cover costs.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Fair Use

      Fair use is the concept that copyright has limits on time and other restrictions. That is, for personal education, copies are allowed. For backup copies are allowed. When the copyright expires in time, the work is in the public domain and may be copied.


      One of the ideas is that DRM prevents legal copying even after the copyright expires so it is unfair. That could apply to things like WGdisA, too. To the extent that DRM frustrates the provisions of copyright laws it is unfair.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Libraries Worried About Potential Supreme Court Ruling Concerning Legality Of Selling Imported Omega Watches

      Earlier this year we discussed an important upcoming Supreme Court case between Omega (the watch company) and Costco over whether or not it can be considered copyright infringement to resell legally purchased watches that were bought overseas. The concept sounds crazy, right? What does reselling foreign watches have to do with copyright? Well, the details are a bit complicated, but basically lots of companies hate the concept of first sale rights (the ability to resell something you’ve legally bought) and have tried all sorts of tricks to try and block those rights. In this case, Omega inscribed a tiny globe on the back of its watches (where no one will ever see it) solely for the purpose of copyrighting that design and using it to try to stop resale. Of course, once again, the first sale doctrine does allow for resale, but here’s where Omega got sneaky. It pointed out that the first sale doctrine technically only applies to copies that are “lawfully made under this title.” Omega’s argument is that because the copyrighted globe design was made outside of the US, the copy was not made under US law… and thus (voila!) there are no first sale rights on any copyrighted product made outside of the US.

    • French Supreme Court rules for Google in trademark cases

      The French Supreme Court this afternoon ruled in Google’s favour in a series of groundbreaking trademark cases.

    • Copyrights

      • Music Industry Threatens OpenBitTorrent’s New Hosting Provider

        OpenBitTorrent is a non-commercial BitTorrent tracker that doesn’t host or link to torrent files. Despite this seemingly neutral setup, both Hollywood and the music industry have declared war against what they see as an illegal service. After Hollywood won its case against the former provider of OpenBitTorrent, IFPI is now going after its new host in Spain.

      • Copyright Madness

        “When I asked to use a single line by songwriter Joe Henry, for example, his record label’s parent company demanded $150 for every 7,500 copies of my book. Assuming I sell enough books to earn back my modest advance, this amounts to roughly 1.5% of my earnings, all for quoting eight words from one of Mr. Henry’s songs. I love Joe Henry, but the price was too high. I replaced him with Shakespeare, whose work (depending on which edition you use) is in the public domain. Mr. Henry’s record label may differ, but it’s not clear that his interests — or theirs — are being served here. Were they concerned that readers might have their thirst for Mr. Henry’s music sated by that single lyric? Isn’t it more likely that his lyric would have enticed customers who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of him?”

      • RIAA Accounting: Why Even Major Label Musicians Rarely Make Money From Album Sales

        And that explains why huge megastars like Lyle Lovett have pointed out that he sold 4.6 million records and never made a dime from album sales. It’s why the band 30 Seconds to Mars went platinum and sold 2 million records and never made a dime from album sales. You hear these stories quite often.

      • Ha ha ha ha ha. RIAA paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 in 2008 to recover only $391,000!!!

        The RIAA’s “business plan” is even worse than I’d guessed it was.

        The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its “copyright infringement” claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000. [ps there were many other law firms feeding at the trough too; these were just the ones listed among the top 5 independent contractors.]


      • New Bebo CEO: We’ll Staff Up, Innovate, Then Maybe Sell

        You might usually expect a turnaround specialist to cut costs and lay off staff. But, in Bebo’s case, the cutting had already been done by AOL (NYSE: AOL)—the site now has only 25 to 30 staff, and now Criterion will need to re-invest, particularly on engineers, Levin tells paidContent:UK.

      • File-sharing, copyright and the digital consumer

        Planned sessions will examine the options for change to UK copyright legislation to meet the rapidly changing and evolving digital era; how consumers could be better informed about exactly what they can and cannot do with their music, movies and photographs; and whether technical measures, such as throttling, may be used as an alternative to disconnection to deter file-sharers.

      • Yet More Lawyers Jump on Turn Piracy Into Profit Bandwagon

        As the U.S. struggles with the prospect that thousands of file-sharers will receive threatening letters in the now-famous Hurt Locker lawsuit case, over the pond in the UK there is a continuing escalation of the ‘turn piracy into profit’ bandwagon. A new firm of lawyers has entered the market and while their business model appears identical, they are attempting to sugar-coat their actions.

      • Panel: Copyright Needed In Music, But Should Benefit Musicians

        Copyright is critical to the survival of the music industry and its creators, but lack of respect for copyright is not why artists are struggling to make ends meet, argued a recent panel of media lawyers and music industry experts. The blame for that lies squarely on the corporate-focus of the music industry, and how it has bent copyright law to serve companies rather than composers, said a panel at the University of Westminster.

      • Looking More Closely At Judge Gertner’s Constitutional Analysis Of Copyright Awards In Tenenbaum Case

        Last Friday, we quickly covered the news that Judge Nancy Gertner had declared the original jury award of $675,000 against Joel Tenenbaum for downloading and sharing some songs unconstitutionally excessive. Over the weekend, however, I had some more time to read the full ruling (posted by Eric Goldman) and get a sense of what Gertner’s full argument meant. You can read the ruling here, and I highly recommend taking the time to read the whole thing…

      • “Evacuate the dance floor” says ACS Law? – The Scorpion and the Frog?

        It’s currently being reported by users that ACS:Law is sending out copyright infringement letters again. Now I would say that ACS:Law have not seen the publicity they received in the same light as TBI (in respect of alleged copyright infringement) , but then looking at the ACS: Law website, it appears that they do little else. (and please, someone correct me if I’m wrong)

      • Panel: Copyright Needed In Music, But Should Benefit Musicians

        Copyright is critical to the survival of the music industry and its creators, but lack of respect for copyright is not why artists are struggling to make ends meet, argued a recent panel of media lawyers and music industry experts. The blame for that lies squarely on the corporate-focus of the music industry, and how it has bent copyright law to serve companies rather than composers, said a panel at the University of Westminster.

      • CopyWrong!

        Last month I briefly blogged about my love affair with old automated musical instruments such as the player piano, player reed organ, nickelodeon, wind-up phonographs and my long association with the Automatic Musical Instrument Collector’s Association (AMICA).

      • The Real ‘Copyright Radical Extremist’ – Hello James Moore, This Is Your Life

        The perceived political center of Canadian Society, was determined during the Canadian Copyright Consultation. The consensus was that ‘Digital Locks’ weren’t wanted or needed. This consultation was considered one of the most successful of all time. Curiously certain people didn’t like the results. Barry Sookman, who Michael Geist claims is working for the CRIA (I have asked Barry several times to indicate his allegiance – he has so far refused to do so to me, so I don’t know if Michael is right or not) didn’t like the results. Nor did James Gannon, nor did Richard Owens. Lawyers, and members of the Recording Industry Association of America, members of the Motion Picture Association of America, and a couple of other American industries. Lawyers, and American companies.

      • Vimeo gets Creative Commons, global settings

        Video host Vimeo on Tuesday is rolling out a new feature that will users apply Creative Commons (CC) licenses to their uploaded videos.

      • ASCAP’s attack on Creative Commons

        The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has launched a campaign to raise money from its members to hire lobbyists to protect them against the dangers of “Copyleft.” Groups such as Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are “mobilizing,” ASCAP describes in a letter to its members, “to promote ‘Copyleft’ in order to undermine our ‘Copyright.’” “[O]ur opponents are influencing Congress against the interests of music creators,” ASCAP warns. Indeed, as the letter ominously predicts, this is ASCAP’s “biggest challenge ever.” (Historians of BMI might be a bit surprised about that claim in particular.)

      • ACTA

        • International anti-counterfeiting talks hit snags says EU

          The European Union “will not swallow” U.S. hypocrisy when negotiating an anti-counterfeiting agreement, said the senior E.U. representative involved in the talks.

          European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, made the statement during a presentation to the European Parliament on Tuesday. He was updating members of the parliament (MEPs) on the state of play of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). But despite his tough talking and apparent hardline stance, many MEPs were unconvinced that the revised ACTA agreement will safeguard civil rights.

        • EU gets wires crossed over ACTA transparency

          A renewed call from Green MEPs for ACTA transparency crosses with a reply from the Commission that maintains its old, discredited line that ACTA will remain within the EU acquis.

          Last week, the Green group in the European Parliament issued a call for the European Commission to suspend all negotiation on the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) until there is a proper agreement in place for full transparency. By ‘transparency’ the Greens mean that the negotiating documents can be made public.

          The Greens stress their concerns that ACTA will infringe citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms and that it will impose some form of graduated response measures.

          But is the Commission listening? Also last week, a written answer from the Trade Commissioner Karel de Grucht, crossed with the transparency call. The Commission’s answer arguably dodged

        • ACTA negotiators inform the Parliament in secret

          The ACTA negotiators from the Commission came to the European Parliament today, to inform the Parliament about what happened in the last round of negotiations in Luzern.

          However, the meeting where the information was to be given was declared ”in camera”, i.e.: closed to the public.

        • Even US Intellectual Property Organization Concerned About ACTA Being Too Broad & Changing US Laws

          While those involved in the ACTA negotiations have mocked the concerns raised about the ACTA draft, and said that those who are complaining are merely repeating “wild internet rumors.” Of course, we’ve seen that’s not the case at all. A recent filing about ACTA, put together by a bunch of industry groups, highlighted many of the very real problems with ACTA. Of course, ACTA defenders still dismissed this, because they claimed that the report came from those industries who benefited from weakened IP laws.

          I wonder how they’ll try to belittle this one. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) recently sent its own letter to the US government complaining about the scope and specifics of ACTA (pdf). The Intellectual Property Owners Association is not exactly the sort of organization you can accuse of wanting weaker intellectual property. It’s also not an organization that I agree with very often (as you might imagine). But, in this letter, the group points out that ACTA appears to be way too broad and that, contrary to claims from ACTA negotiators, it seems clear that it would require changes to US law.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk – 11 Sep 2007 – Linux Name to Identifier Resolution (2007)

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