What defines an operating system isn’t a geeky label or a collection of ramblings from the mouths of its community members. Nor is it some empty and pointless certification offered up by an obscure group of malcontented purveyors of “standards.”
You might also ask, “With how much certainty can you guarantee that my applications will make that same transition?” Red Hat, Novell and Canonical can give the best answers, but their consultants will tell you that only in rare cases will your applications have trouble making the trip from your Unix environment to a Linux-hosted one. Rest assured that your issues aren’t so unique that their highly skilled Linux engineers can’t tackle them.
Unix has different “flavors” that generally refer to differences injected by their development teams to take advantage of proprietary hardware features or to capitalize on special software innovations, such as volume management or virtualization. Such flavors are Sun’s Solaris, IBM’s AIX, HP’s HP-UX, AT&T’s System Vr4, BSD Unix, DEC Unix, Mac OS X, and the beloved SCO Unix.
Meanwhile Zaphod has finished his work for now and decides to play a game to relax. He opens up his software manager (similar to Apple’s app store) and finds a game he likes. After selecting it and clicking on install he goes away for a drink of something that is almost but not quite like tea. When he comes back with the steaming mug in his hands, Zaphod is pleased to find that his new game has been installed and is ready to play. Putting the mug next to the keyboard Zaphod immerses himself into the game.
So anyone who states that installing programs under windows is easier than under Linux is obviously showing their lack of knowledge and inability to look at the true state of affairs.
Let’s first consider Ubuntu as a replacement for your Windows desktop or laptop operating system. Computer owners generally use an Internet browser, a word processing program, the occasional spreadsheet, an email application and almost nothing else. These computer owners may not realize that they’re paying $150 to $300 for the OS and another $300 or more for the office suite–most of which they’ll never use. Why add hundreds of dollars to a computer system that has a life expectancy of three to four years?
Still, I thought that Mark Shuttleworth, the software entrepreneur who founded the Ubuntu project, was onto a good thing. In a world of cloud-based apps, there are fewer and fewer substantive differences between Windows and the Mac OS—since I can easily shuttle my data and programs between different computers, I rarely find myself wishing for one OS when I’m on another. If Ubuntu’s designers could iron out some of its kinks, I thought, a free operating system could fit perfectly in this new, OS-agnostic world.
Well, I think they’ve done it. I made a second foray onto Ubuntu’s shores a week ago, and so far, I like it quite a bit. The OS has progressed a great deal since I last checked in (in 2008 I installed version 8.04; now I’m running version 10.04). I found Ubuntu quick to install, speedy to do pretty much everything, and, thankfully, very easy to figure out. There were some rough edges; for instance, Ubuntu’s designers ought to make some of its error messages more comprehensible to newbies. While installing Skype, I was informed that a “later version is available in a software channel. You are strongly advised to install the version from the software channel, since it is usually better supported.” I’m pretty sure that could have been translated to, “Click ‘Next’ to install a newer version of Skype.” For the most part, though, Ubuntu has broken free of technical mumbo jumbo, and if you’ve got a little bit of tech savvy, you’ll have no problem dealing with it.
Plenty of folks are confused about Dell’s commitment to Ubuntu, the Linux distribution promoted by Canonical. In recent days, old rumors about Dell abandoning Ubuntu have returned. But in reality, Dell indicates it is preparing to ship systems with Ubuntu 10.04 — the most recent Ubuntu release — within the next few weeks. Here’s the reality check.
The latest panic in desktop-Linux-land was that Dell would no longer be selling Ubuntu pre-installed on laptops and netbooks. Alas, for those who love drama, it wasn’t true. In fact, Dell is expanding its Ubuntu desktop offerings.
Gerry Carr the marketing manager for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, told me that the stories that Dell will no longer be offering Ubuntu pre-installed on its hardware were “NOT true.” Now, Anne Camden, a Dell PR manager, tells me that far from moving away from Ubuntu Linux, Dell is offering more Ubuntu choices than ever.
A change recently implemented in kernel 2.6.35 shows how developers from different companies collaborate on the kernel, what good support contracts with Linux distributors are, and how commercial interests influence the development of Linux and troubleshooting. The change was made by Red Hat’s DRM subsystem maintainer Dave Arlie to solve some stability problems and prevent crashes that reportedly occurred on a lot of systems with Intel’s 945GM, which was launched in 2006 and is mainly used in notebooks.
In your quest to find a good, native and free game for Linux you might have seen long lists of games mentioned on various sites and forums. These mentioned games range anywhere from simple 2D side-scrollers to impressive 3D shooters. The amount of Linux games is surprising and can be a tid bit overwhelming. So, how do you pick out the games that are actually worth your time? Well, I’ve compiled a small list of some of the most talked about games for Linux on the internet. Have a read and see if any of these catch your eye.
A long time developer with Kubuntu, Ubuntu’s KDE variant, Pearson describes himself as “an electrical engineer specializing in embedded systems and RF [Radio Frequency] by day, and an open source programmer by night.”
Pearson first discovered free and open source software in 2001 as an alternative to Windows, but at first used it only for servers, judging the desktop as not ready for general use. Later, though, he discovered Kubuntu and KDE 3.5, “and was blown away by the powerful but user friendly interface, as well as the fast Debian packaging system. Shortly thereafter I replaced all my Red hat and Windows XP installations with Kubuntu, never looking back.”
With such an attitude, Pearson was blindsided by the release of KDE 4.0 in January 2008.
“KDE 4 kind of snuck up on me,” he writes. “I had assumed that the new software coming from KDE was going to be along the same lines as KDE 3.5. I tried using KDE 4 for a few days and just could not stand the interface; my productivity plummeted and I seriously considered going back to Windows. The only thing that kept me from doing that was the sheer expense of deploying Windows Server across multiple environments.”
eBox Platform development team is glad to announce that the first installer CD for eBox Platform 1.5 is now available for download. Please note that eBox Platform 1.5 is a development version based on Ubuntu 10.04 and it will become eBox Platform 2.0 (next stable release of the Linux small business server) after a stabilization period. The development of eBox Platform 2.0 is now finished and from now on all the attention will be focused on testing, bugfixing and optimizing the software.
BeyondTrust Software Inc., the global leader in privilege delegation and authorization management for virtualization and cloud computing environments, today announced a formal partnership with Red Hat. BeyondTrust will join Red Hat’s ISV Partner Program and create joint solutions aimed at offering Red Hat users a tightly aligned package of the Privileged Identity Management (PIM) tools needed for mission-critical servers.
Back in March, we broke the news that Jolicloud had released their Pre-Final build. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Jolicloud is a customized version of Linux Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE). It’s designed to be an easy and trouble-free operating system for almost all netbooks. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally had time to install Jolicloud and try it out on my HP Mini netbook. I’ll give you some details and screenshots from my brief time exploring Jolicloud.
If you need a simple, fast, secure and visually pleasing OS on your netbook, this one will be hard to beat. The express install option is a big winner, making it one of the easiest Linux OS’s to install. For those with more Linux experience, you might want to stick with Ubuntu Netbook Edition. It’s much more flexible but definitely more difficult for newbies. I believe that Jolicloud will continue to bring good news to netbook users who may not want to be chained to Microsoft Windows.
Jolicloud 1.0 is a new edition of Linux aimed at nontechnical netbook users that’s described this way by its makers: “[It] is not a traditional OS. It was built for netbook users to leverage the cloud and make their life easier.” Think of it as a variant on the Google Chrome OS approach: This Internet operating system, as the company calls it, is little more than a Web browser plus a few other supporting technologies.
It’s summer. And frankly, that means no one’s all that excited about working. Oh goodness no.
In honor of the season of laziness, we’ve put together a list of some of the most fun open source downloads you can find. No, none of those office productivity tools here – just lots of games, hobbyists’ tools and other time wasters. Is it quitting time yet?
In case you’re feeling too lazy to read all the way through the article, the very “funnest” apps – the games – are at the beginning. The rest are categorized and in alphabetical order.
I should probably write some more about the list here, but – you know – it’s summer.
It seems Oracle is hellbent on destroying whatever good Sun had done to the Open Source Ecosystem. The latest product to get the axe seems to be none other than the Flagship Virtualization program xVM VirtualBox.
GnuTLS is a modern C library that implements the standard network security protocol Transport Layer Security (TLS), for use by network applications. GnuTLS is developed for GNU/Linux, but works on many Unix-like systems and comes with a binary installer for Windows.
If it goes through, the standard will then be presented to the interdisciplinary ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) to be ratified as the current version of the ISO 26300 standard. OASIS is in charge of maintaining this standard, and its stated aim is to promote the interoperability, that is the ability to exchange documents, between different office suites.
Miscreants behind the Zeus cybercrime toolkit and other strains of malware have begun taking advantage of an unpatched shortcut handling flaws in Windows. It was first used by a sophisticated worm to target SCADA-based industrial control and power plant systems.
Security researchers have found more malware exploiting an unpatched Windows vulnerability via .LNK shortcut files.
According to Sophos blog July 23, two other pieces of malware have been observed targeting the bug. One is a keylogging Trojan the company is calling Chymin-A that is “designed to steal information from infected computers.” The other is Dulkis-A, a “worm written in obfuscated Visual Basic” that contains several subcomponents.
Slovakian security firm Eset reports the appearance of two malware strains that exploit security vulnerabilities in the way Windows handles .lnk (shortcut) files, first used by Stuxnet to swipe information from Windows-based SCADA systems from Siemens.
We covered those SCADA incidents earlier today. This has a serious impact on the world’s energy, not to mention those BP BSODs which we’ve already covered in [1, 2, 3].
“A lot of those efforts are very unqualified and pedestrian,” said Parker, who is director of security consulting services at Washington, DC-based Securicon. “There’s really not any science behind the efforts that many people have been making recently that have resulted in stories like China is attacking us, Russia is attacking us, Korea is attacking us.”
It is really hard to know where DDOS attacks come from these days. People don’t control their Windows PCs, which can be hijacked and chained back to some botmasters whose interests are not known.
Georgia has an unfortunate DDOS story to tell about its national infrastructure; after years of investigation it is still not perfectly clear if the Russian government had something to do with it or not. One youngster claims responsibility, but can he be believed? It can be hard to verify. And if one youngster can paralyse an entire nation, what does that teach us about those Windows zombies he used? █
RedGhost was the first of a few of you to pass along Jalopnik’s detailed story of Toyota’s long patent battle with Paice and its founder Alex Severinsky, over patents on hybrid engine technology, which was just settled. We’ve actually covered the story before, last year when Paice — who had already won a court battle — aimed to get a second crack at the apple, by taking the case to the ITC, which potentially could bar the import of Toyota vehicles into the US if it found that Toyota infringed. Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation, and it did so for one reason: the potential liability from a possible injunction isn’t worth the uncertainty. So you pay to make it go away.
Rob Weir has just informed his peers and supporters of ODF that Microsoft is restricting choice (abolishing and harming ODF’s status) using language games.
Microsoft’s talking points go something like this:
If you adopt ODF instead of OOXML then you “restrict choice”. Why would you want to do that? You’re in favor of openness and competition, right? So naturally, you should favor choice.
You can see a hundreds of variations on this theme, in Microsoft press releases, whitepapers, in press articles and blogged by astroturfers by searching Google for “ODF restrict choice“.
This argument is quite effective, since it is plausible at first glance, and takes more than 15 seconds to refute. But the argument in the end fails by taking a very superficial view of “choice”, relying merely on the positive allure of its name, essentially using it as a talisman. But “choice” is more than just a pretty word. It means something. And if we dig a little deeper, at what the value of choice really is, the Microsoft argument falls apart.
So let’s make an attempt to show how can one be in favor of choice, but also be in favor of eliminating choice. Let’s resolve the paradox. Personally I think this argument is too long, but maybe it will prompt someone to formulate it in a briefer form.
“I’m having trouble searching for just ODF formats, Did Google remove the ability?” –AnonymousI asked Weir about it and he said that he “Can’t tell much from the screenshot. Not clear that it is a format. Maybe Punch is an app? Or internal test system?”
As a reminder, Google officially opposed OOXML when Microsoft was corrupting standards bodies all over the world, but Google never showed much active support for ODF, either. Google has been mostly passive and there are recent examples where Google exlcuded ODF support and was criticised for it (although not in a major way).
“In general I’m losing it for Google,” said this person to us, “they support OS [open source] only when it suits them. They [are] really not our friends.”
Google Docs is of course proprietary. █
_____ * When Microsoft says “openness” it never means “Open Source”. In cases where Microsoft is excluded or chooses to be excluded it advocates “choice” as means/route to depart from standards and embrace proprietary offerings instead.
This shows that GNU/Linux is not only for geeks. If you have some grown-ups in your organization who are reluctant to change, perhaps this example would inspire sufficient effort. The benefits outweigh the costs:
* relative freedom from malware
* relative freedom from anti-malware
* freedom from monopoly, and
* superior performance at lower cost.
“Dell has a problem,” said blogger Robert Pogson. “They want to be seen to be friendly to GNU/Linux so they have a few products, but they do not have a real campaign to sell GNU/Linux for fear it would offend M$ or their fans. I do not know at what point Dell will feel comfortable pushing GNU/Linux, but if they do not hurry others will pass them by.”
GNU libextractor is a library used to extract meta data from files of arbitrary type. It is designed to use helper-libraries to perform the actual extraction, and to be trivially extendable by linking against external extractors for additional file types. libextractor is a GNU package. Our official GNU website can be found at http://www.gnu.org/software/libextractor/. libextractor can be downloaded from this site or the GNU mirrors.
Mark Shuttleworth said, “Moving everything to the left opens up the space on the right nicely, and I would like to experiment in 10.10 with some innovative options there.” So if you guys are wondering what did he even meant by that, you have take a look at this.
All you have to do now is find the bits that sound good and use Audacity’s editing features (cut, paste, fade in, fade out, amplify) to separate them out from the bits that might not sound quite so good. I did mention that it was an open mic evening, didn’t I? Not everything done during an open mic evening is going to sound, well, wonderful. On the bright side, however, Santa Fe has an overflow supply of musicians, and many of them drop by Second Street on Wednesday to join the house band. It’s kind of relaxing for them to have a place where they can play in a non-gig venue and just have a bit of fun.
July 26th, 2010. Today, KDE delivers the third release candidate of the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.5. The KDE Software Compilation consists of the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, a large number of applications for all purposes and the KDE development platform the applications and workspaces are built upon. The final version will be available next week This last RC is intended for verifying no showstoppers will creep into the final release of 4.5.0. It will also interest those who want an early look at what is coming to their desktops and netbooks this summer.
So TechBase is a source of mostly technical information. This includes step-by-step howtos for all sorts of KDE development as well as the feature plans and schedules for KDE releases and so forth. It’s mainly static content. Think of a howto for a Plasma Widget or a howto for building KDE. The content usually is valid for a long time, mostly even for years. For those of you longer in the KDE project, TechBase is the same as our good old developer.kde.org page (and we’ve never put arbitrary content there). The only difference is, that it’s now maintained as wiki.
Well it’s taken me a little time to commit this work, but here it is. This is the fruits of my labour from the KDE Multimedia Sprint earlier this year.
This code is now in trunk (r1154776) so feel free to try it out and report other bugs etc. This GUI is also included in Mandriva Cooker (I did want to include it prior to 2010.1 release, but the timing didn’t work out – tho’ it probably would have been OK considering the delays that cropped up in the release process). I expect this functionality to be included in any updated/backported versions of KDE for 2010.1.
After many years being a Windows user, I took my first steps as a Linux user under Ubuntu. As I started to learn more about the GNOME desktop manager, one of the pleasing and welcome surprises was to find out how incredibly easy it was to transfer files from and to my mobile phone using Bluetooth. From that point on, I tend to use this feature more often, uploading MP3 files or wallpapers to my mobile, or downloading pictures I took from its on board camera. In Windows XP I had always avoided the matter, not willing to download a few hundred MB just to get Bluetooth file transfer to work, or simply too lazy to install Nokia’s own software and have to use their specific cable.
This solution is very simple, so much so that I was ashamed I had not found it earlier. The downside is that it always requires a new device scan before sending files, which can be a bit annoying, but at least I can send and download files to and from my mobile using KDE’s own KBluetooth. Hope this helps in case you were having similar problems.
Peter: It doesn’t make it easier, it makes it easy. It wasn’t easy before. As I said in the presentation, we developed the first run wizard with the KDE Usability team. We managed to come up with a nice wizard that gets people started right away.
PlainSight is a versatile computer forensics environment that allows inexperienced forensic practitioners perform common tasks using powerful open source tools such as RegRipper, Pasco, Mork, Foremost and many more.
Earlier this laptop has been filled with PCLinuxOS 2007, PCLinuxOS 2008, PCLinuxOS 2009.1, and the last was 2010.07. From the series 2007-2009.1 my bluetooth still does not work. My Bluetooth works in PCLinuxOS 2010.1 with kernel update to 2.6.33, and version 2010.07 PCLinuxOS has worked perfectly on my laptop.
Even a Linux fan might not have heard of CentOS Linux but, if you’re a Web or other edge-server administrator, I can guarantee you know about CentOS. That’s because, according to Web Technology Surveys, in July 2010, “For the first time, CentOS is now leading the Linux distribution statistics on web servers with almost 30% of all Linux servers.”
To make the event as simple and accessible as possible, we have picked five topic areas and we are encouraging you lovely people to organize an event with one or more of them:
* Bugs – finding, triaging and fixing bugs.
* Testing – testing the new release and reporting your feedback.
* Upgrade – upgrading to Maverick from Lucid and reporting your upgrade experience.
* Documentation – writing documentation about how to use Ubuntu and how to join the community.
* Translations – translating Ubuntu and helping to make it available in everyone’s local language.
* Packaging – packaging software for Ubuntu users to install with a clock.
* Other – other types of contribution such as marketing and advocacy etc.
Ubuntu Studio 2.0 (Puppy Edition) is based on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and provides a lightweight interface where you can run popular Ubuntu Studio applications like Jack, Ardour2, Hydrogen and many more. This audio production software is available along side all the tools of a normal Puppy Linux desktop. Make sure you check out the Multimedia — Multimedia section of the menu as it contains a very impressive collection of tools and useful apps and I missed it the first time through. I found more applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories which are accessible using the Quickpet package manager, icon on the desktop. You’ll find Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Cinerella, Dia, Inkscape, and many other applications plus Quickpet provides a drivers section where you can add Nvidia or ATI Radeon drivers. Overall, this looks like an excellent idea and I’ll definitely watch as it is developed.
Motorola’s co-CEO Sanjay Jha spoke out about the company’s relationship with Google and its Android OS at Fortune Brainstorm Tech over the weekend. Notably, he asserted his belief that Android would become the dominant mobile operating system seen on a vast majority of devices over the next five years. He likened the current battle between Android and the iPhone to the early years of personal computing, when Apple’s early lead was eventually overcome by a standard OS that was not linked to a specific manufacturer or device.
A photo of a T-Mobile-destined, Android-based HTC “G1 Blaze” phone has popped up on Engadget, and Droid Life has unveiled Motorola’s Droid 2, due for a Verizon launch next month. Meanwhile, Verizon’s Droid X delay has been extended, some minor screen and security problems have emerged, and the phone has been rooted but not fully conquered, according to reports.
Indian minister for HR Development HRD, Kapil Sibal announces $35 tablet project. It seems to be based on the Freescale i.MX233 system on chip, with a 7″ resistive 800×480 touch screen. Here’s my video with AllGo Embedded Systems, a R&D company based in Bangalore India, where they are showcasing their $35 tablet reference design at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando last month. This is likely to be the tablet that India’s HRD Minister is talking about:
The Bill Of Material is as following:
* ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
* Memory: $3
* WiFi B/G: $4
* Other discret components: $3
* Battery: $5
* 7″ 800×480 resistive touch screen: $15
* Total bill of material: $35
Depending on which particular business school text you pick up, you might have seen the organizational lifecycle stages described as some approximation of the following:
We must of course acknowledge the glaring impedance mismatch between mixed motive movements such as open source and profit-centric enterprises. Undoubtedly, open source will occasionally, even frequently, follow a different trajectory than will closed source alternatives.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are helping the U.S. military analyze and develop the advantages of open-source software — programs that make their source code open to others so it can be changed and improved.
Need to connect to a remote client securely and simply? One way to do that is to employ Hamachi, a zero-configuration VPN service. While zero configuration sounds pretty easy, you can make things easier still by using Quamachi, a Hamachi GUI for Linux.
Monopoly is not good for us. Monopoly is good for those who have the monopoly, in this case, two powerful corporations with fewer than a million people. We are thousands of millions. We can do more and better whatever the monopolists can do. Monopoly is not good for us because we pay too much for IT and are limited in what we can do with IT because we depend on what the two monopolists do. Then there are their partners. Need application X in 64bit? Nope. Need application Y to run on ARM? Nope. Need application Z to run on another OS? Nope. Need your network to be secure from intruders? Nope. Need an upgrade? Nope. Pay full price and you have to buy version 12.34 first, etc.
Hardware. We can buy ARM, AMD, even Apple. If you are locked into Intel because the stuff you run only runs on that other OS and it only runs on x86 you can change.
Invest in FLOSS. Free yourself from monopoly. You can start right away by migrating parts of your operation to GNU/Linux and identifying the parts that do not migrate readily and fix the causes of that non-portability. Fix it by finding a FLOSS project that does what you need done or creating one. There are lots of resources on the web. FLOSS is reusable so you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Just use the wheels others have developed and contribute to the world under a Free Software licence.
Originally scheduled for release late last week, Mozilla has confirmed that the second beta for version 4.0 of its open source Firefox web browser has been delayed by one week. Firefox 4 Beta 2 is now expected to arrive on Thursday, July 29th. The third beta is still on schedule for an August 6th release.
The Drupal trademark policy was launched officially about 11 months ago. As explained in my blog post on the Drupal trademark policy, the purpose of the policy is to create a level playing field for all. It allows everyone to use the trademark without administrative hassle, while at the same time keeping some control and oversight to avoid dilution and misuse. For example, we all know the scarcity of cool domain names, and how frustrating it can be for a local Drupal user group to find that their domain name has already been taken by a commercial entity. The trademark policy seeks to resolve this problem.
I hope everyone can see that the trademark policy is not a money printing machine for me. In fact, it’s the opposite. I have paid personally for the creation of the policy and the cost of responding to trademark usage requests. The balance between costs and income is quite skewed out of my favor, although the amount of payments seems to be increasing.
I’ll spare you their 57-page argument that corporations are Americans too (apparently) and spending is speech. But the result left President Obama, congressional leaders, and states a little shaken, grasping for any fix shy of amending the First Amendment (and Sen. Kerry signaled that option is on the table). Out of that scramble has come Sen. Schumer’s DISCLOSE Act.
The Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK, recently at the centre of the hacked emails controversy, is launching a pilot study into how best to make public three major temperature data sets and detailed records of how they are processed. They will include data repeatedly requested by climate sceptics under freedom of information legislation.
It’s always kind of amusing when you see a business owner make obviously false statements as they try to justify why everyone should be worse off, just so they don’t have to adapt their business model. It’s especially amusing in the movie theater business, where we keep seeing theater owners complain about shortening windows between theatrical release, and when a movie can be viewed at home. As we’ve noted over and over again, every time a movie theater executive makes such a complaint, they are effectively admitting that they’re too clueless on how to compete. Even though they have huge theaters with great sound systems and seating, they’re admitting that they either don’t want to or simply cannot compete. If that’s really the case, they don’t deserve to be in business.
We’ve already covered the bizarre story of Homeland Security effectively working for Disney in seizing some domains of sites that were used to file share movies (way, way, way outside of Homeland Security’s mandate), and covered the sneaky attempt to defend those moves by conflating copyright infringement online with counterfeit drugs being sold online. It’s also still not clear that Homeland Security even has the legal right to seize those domains as it did.
We’ve written a few times in the past about the attempt by Vision Media TV to use legal tricks to force down critiques of its business practice. The company, as has been covered in detail by the press, tends to focus on charities, suggesting that it will create a news report that may air on “public television” with “Hugh Downs.” But the reality is that they’re expecting the organization to pay, and there’s no evidence that the content ever gets on TV anywhere. And Hugh Downs only participates in very, very limited cases. The company — or one very much like it, based from the same basic place — has gotten into legal troubles in the past. Even though the NY Times and NPR have covered Vision Media’s method of doing business, Vision Media has not sued them, even though it has claimed such articles are defamatory.
Sören Preibusch and I have finalised our in-depth report on password practices in the wild, The password thicket: technical and market failures in human authentication on the web, presented in Boston last month for WEIS 2010. The motivation for our report was a lack of technical research into real password deployments. Passwords have been studied as an authentication mechanism quite intensively for the last 30 years, but we believe ours was the first large study into how Internet sites actually implement them. We studied 150 sites, including the most visited overall sites plus a random sample of mid-level sites. We signed up for free accounts with each site, and using a mixture of scripting and patience, captured all visible aspects of password deployment, from enrolment and login to reset and attacks.
Amazon, for example, didn’t block our brute force attempts, but there’s ample reason to believe they detect account takeover by other means. On the whole though, the level of security implemented is dramatically lower than security researchers might expect. There’s an interesting parallel here. At first the insecurity of passwords was blamed on users not behaving the way security engineers wanted them to: choosing weak passwords, forgetting them, writing them down, sharing them, and typing them in to the wrong domains. It’s now generally accepted that we should design password security around users, and that users may even be wise to ignore security advice.
Fast forward four years however and the formerly close and protective relationship between the US federal government and Sourcefire/Snort has soured to the point that the Department of Homeland Security is funding an alternative through the OISF foundation. The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and commercial partners are also contributing to the development of Suricata, OISF’s open source IPS.
As the Gulf of Mexico continues to battle the oil from the BP Deepwater drilling disaster, President Obama’s establishment of a national ocean policy is a significant step forward in the management of our oceans, our coasts, coastal economies and ocean health. This first ever national ocean policy is not a new idea – in fact, two blue ribbon commissions recommended establishing a national ocean policy more than five years ago. For the most part, those reports have sat on bookshelves in Washington DC, while legislative efforts to implement their recommendations were defeated by ocean industries.
The scientific community has always had difficulty policing conflicts of interest, since financial interests and other exterior motivations have a very real potential to influence if and how scientific data gets reported. This issue has historically reared its ugly head in the biomedical community, where many researchers also consult for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. But it appears that a number of different scientific fields are about to see these conflicts played out in a very public manner, as a report indicates that BP is now locking scientists into contracts that will prevent them from publishing their results at all.
One downside is that “shouting,” as for humans and other animals, requires more energy expenditure and probable strain, so we are making life more difficult for these already at risk marine mammals. Since communication is tied to mating, feeding and more, these critical aspects of whale life may also be impacted.
Globally NOAA just reported that June is the fourth month in a row of record global temperatures, and the first half of 2010 is on a record pace. This is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as a recent NASA paper noted.
Globally nine countries have smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records,” as meteorologist Jeff Masters has reported.
A telephone call between a financial adviser in Beverly Hills and a trader in New York was all it took to fleece taxpayers on a water-and-sewer financing deal in West Virginia. The secret conversation was part of a conspiracy stretching across the U.S. by Wall Street banks in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market.
Central bankers and regulators have reached an almost unanimous preliminary agreement on new standards to reinforce the stability of the global financial system, adding to investors’ confidence in the outlook for many banks.
Britain’s financial regulator has banned the former finance director of mortgage lender Northern Rock – the country’s first major casualty of the global credit crunch – and fined him 320,000 pounds ($500,000) for misreporting figures on loan arrears.
Americans might be counting on the day when home and retirement-fund values start to rise again, but anyone expecting to benefit from a future boom in prices should take note: Economic policymakers around the world are looking for ways to make sure that doesn’t happen, or at least not with such intensity that it risks the kind of bust that usually follows.
With powerful senators watching closely, federal investigators search high and low for evidence of insider trading in shares of Microsoft. One of Wall Street’s best-known hedge fund managers is targeted, but the feds can’t find proof. Years pass, and they close the case without filing charges.
You remember the big to-do about Goldman Sachs and how the United States Securities and Exchange Commission brought a so-called landmark fraud case against the mighty Wall Street firm? If you followed the legal soap opera, you were entertained with congressional hearings, thrilled by the lurid stories and dazzled by all the posturing and pandering. Then, at the eleventh hour, as the Gulf leak was capped, as FinReg was about to be signed, the Hollywood ending came into play as the case miraculously settled for something like half a billion dollars.
The S.E.C. wasn’t forced to grapple with the issue until 1990, when Congress greatly expanded its power to seek financial penalties from corporate violators. (Before then, companies could shrug off civil orders as a passing embarrassment.)
Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, has argued that it didn’t depend on the U.S. government’s $182.3 billion rescue of AIG because the investment bank had collateral and credit-default swaps to protect itself. Joshua Rosner, an analyst at research firm Graham Fisher & Co. in New York, said the list of counterparties indicates that Goldman Sachs may have had difficulty collecting on those swaps.
According to the report, “Who Gains and Who Loses from Credit Card Payments? Theory and Calibrations,” released Monday, the reward programs create “an implicit money transfer” to credit card users from noncard users (i.e. cash payers) because of the across-the-board price increases merchants put in place to cover the costs of accepting the cards.
Prankster activists The Yes Men are sick of having the videos depicting their shenanigans taken down through copyright complaints, so they’ve put the latest video, a full-length doc called The Yes Men Fix the World up as a torrent file through VODO, resistant to censorship and easy to get.
He outlined the FTC’s law enforcement actions against companies accountable for protecting consumer privacy. He said that the FTC has brought 28 actions charging businesses with failing to protect consumers’ personal information and 15 actions charging website operators with collecting information from children without parents’ consent.
We mentioned, when the recent FCC report on broadband came out, that it seemed notable that the first politician out of the gate complaining about it, Rep. Cliff Stearns just happened to have had massive financial support from the biggest broadband players around when it came to raising money for his political campaigns. Given that, it seemed worth looking into the sponsors of a new bill designed to prevent the FCC from implementing net neutrality rules. Now I’m still not convinced the FCC really has the authority to do what it’s trying to do, but I find it even more troubling when a group of Senators get together and call a new bill the “Freedom for Consumer Choice Act (FCC Act),” and it seems like they’re all funded by AT&T. Somehow, I don’t think that AT&T is supporting “freedom for consumer choice” when it comes to broadband. Over the years, they’ve done exactly the opposite, and worked hard to limit competition.
As various broadband providers drool over the idea of implementing broadband caps, they’ve mainly focused on the claim that they’re doing so to make “bandwidth hogs” pay “their fair share.” Sometimes they sprinkle this with claims of poverty over having to provide unlimited access to people who actually use it a lot. Of course, none of this is true. The various metered broadband plans almost always end up increasing everyone’s bills, and there’s little to no evidence that bandwidth hogs are a problem, either technologically or economically speaking.
Last year the Industry Ministry held a public Copyright Consultation, soliciting Canadian input on copyright reform. More than 8,000 Canadians made submissions in last year’s Copyright Consultation, and these submissions overwhelmingly said
A copyright infringement lawsuit filed by SAS Institute against a small British software company is being passed from a British court to a higher European judicial body following a Friday ruling that has both companies claiming victory.
British court precedent holds that it is not copyright infringement to study how a program functions and write a program to emulate the functionality.
That sounded wrong to our reader, who questioned how that could make sense, seeing as Mucha has been dead for over 71 years. Now, I’m certainly no expert on Czech copyright law, so anyone out there who is an expert, feel free to chime in. But I’m assuming that the situation is similar to one that we discussed a year ago. In the US, thanks to Bridgeman vs. Corel, it is mostly believed that a photograph of a copyrighted work does not receive a new copyright (technically, it only applies in the court where the ruling was made, but the ruling has been followed by other US courts as well). However, in Europe, I believe the question is more or less unsettled — so many claim that a photograph of a work can itself get a new copyright.
It claimed websites such as Ars Technica and ZDNet were ‘taken in’ by a report put out by the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL) and pushed by the ‘anti-piracy’ outfit AFACT, which said that only 0.3 per cent of files available on Bittorrent were legal.
In a blog post, Torrentfreak said that the report tried to answer four questions and got them all entirely wrong due to inaccurate data and a flawed methodology.
For instance, ICSL said that there were slightly more than a million torrent files from 17 Bittorrent trackers last Spring, but this was only a small sample of what they could have looked at. Also it was biased towards the most-seeded torrents such as TV and film, leaving others badly unrepresented.
Before the Digital Economy Act, it was possible for a copyright owner to gain an injunction against a service provider from the High Court. Under Sections 97A and 191JA of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003), the Court can grant an injunction if it is proved they have “actual knowledge” that someone is “using their service to infringe copyright” – s97A(1). In practice, this means the copyright owner must notify the service provider and then take them to court (where they would need to prove the infringement) before anything would have to be done. The powers potentially available under the Digital Economy Act take this much further.
Summary: Another new case of DMCA abuse (bogus takedown request as means of censorship) shows why the likes of ACTA are a threat — not a treat(y) — to people’s freedom and why DMCA should be weakened or repealed
THIS post does not deal with software, for a change. LiberalViewer spoke to YouTube/Google earlier this month about DMCA abuse and fair use (see video above and bear in mind that it’s only part 1). These are important issues which increasingly impede or facilitate our freedom of speech on the Web.
Last year we wrote quite a lot about Microsoft’s laptop bribes [1, 2, 3, 4], which are a way of earning positive reviews for Microsoft products, notably Vista 7. Fake reviews of Microsoft products are not uncommon and they are sometimes posted by former or existing employees of the company. Over the years we have given several examples and offered concrete proof.
It is with some delight that we found out a corrupt reviewer getting busted over a fake review. This reviewer then resorted to DMCA abuse rather than apology, retraction, or stepping down from what now seems like a corruptible ‘publication’, namely Benchmark Reviews, which typically just excerpts (copies) almost everything from Phoronix and perhaps other benchmark/review sites. Here is what TechDirtwrote about it:
Reviewer Caught Posting Marketing Material As A Review… Uses DMCA To Takedown Site Of Guy Who Exposed Him
Duncan writes in to alert us to what must the mother of all stories of a guy caught doing something questionable online, who then goes to amazingly great lengths — including publishing private info, blocking users, changing content surreptitiously and (finally) using a bogus DMCA takedown to takedown the entire site of the guy who caught him. It’s quite a story, so let’s start from the beginning.
Read on as it gets interesting and the takedown request is clearly a bogus one. So get ready for the likes of ACTA, which introduce yet more draconian terms that hinder sharing for purposes of criticism (fair use). The whole situation around DMCA is made worse by the fact that there is burden of proof on the accused. What a ridiculous law and how sad it must be that Google, based on the panel discussion regarding YouTube, prioritises the MAFIAA at the expense of YouTube users when it comes to balancing fair use. See the full series of videos and you will find out that Google is quite pretentious about it (or maybe it’s just that spokesman of theirs).
AFTER YEARS of taking a very conservative approach to the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), the US Library of Congress has issued a wave of rulings that all but turn the law on its head.
Every three years, the Library of Congress reviews its policy on the DMCA and releases its opinions about how it should be interpreted.
This time the Library allowed widespread circumvention of the CSS encryption on DVDs, under some conditions. And in an opinion that sails up the nose of Steve Jobs it has ruled that jailbreaking Iphones qualifies as “Fair Use”. It also will let punters crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.
EFF Wins New Legal Protections for Video Artists, Cell Phone Jailbreakers, and Unlockers
San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities.
Here is another new article titled “Why Fair Use is Not Just Acceptable, It’s Essential for the Future”
The Library of Congress added a number of ambitious new exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s prohibition of breaking copyright technologies today, most notably concerning iPhone jailbreaking and unlocking.
Too bad for Apple, eh? That company which Groklaw seems to be defending for reasons we cannot understand. █
Summary: Our server has been under some kind of attack for the past day and a half, but we promise/vow to increase our posting pace rather than slow down as a result
IT IS within our capacity to make more posts in this Web site and due to disruptors we will publish more.
By “disruptors” we refer to bots that hammer on our server constantly in big amounts, since 10AM (GMT) yesterday. If you were unable to reach the Web site at times, this is why. Earlier today we suffered a 3-hour downtime because of that nuisance and although it would not quite qualify as DDOS in the full sense*, it has exactly the same effect (even though we suffered some really heavy DDOS attacks last year, lasting days).
“If you were unable to reach the Web site at times, this is why.”We try not spend so much time discussing it as it only feeds agitators and encourages them. In fact, this will be the last post which mentions this subject. There are more worthy news to focus on. We have always gotten past technical difficulties at the end.
If anything, all this obnoxious ordeal we’ve had since yesterday morning will motivate rather than demoralise. We won’t be stopped by such trash. If someone is trying to impede this Web site’s operation/speech, it will only make things worse for that someone.
Trojan horses that were planted onto the victims’ computers would generate a fake error message and request that the victim re-enter the authorization code. This way, amounts up to €4,000 were transferred to money mules and thence to Eastern Europe. The worrying part is that many cases were never reported to the police, because the bank preferred to refund the money to the victim rather than risking its reputation. The extent of this type of fraud is unknown.
These people lose a lot more than access to their Web site. What is the true damage caused by Windows? Some say trillions of dollars [1, 2]. █
______ * The bots actually identify themselves as Microsoft bots for the most part (far fewer of Yahoo! and anything else, but mostly fake Microsoft bots with forged user-agent strings that don’t make sense). We do filter out what we can, but sometimes the load takes Apache out of commission.