07.29.10

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Links 29/7/2010: OSCON Coverage, Gnash Needs Donations

Posted in News Roundup at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Dell to Continue to Sell Ubuntu Systems, Just Not on Its UK Website

      But, while ‘Dell no longer sells Ubuntu laptops’ makes for a great headline, it’s not exactly true. In fact, Dell is expanding its offering with the first desktop system available for quite a while and has started shipping systems with Ubuntu 10.04. However, it has stopped selling Ubuntu machines in its UK online shop.

  • Google

    • What is the Chromium Project?

      Most people know what Google Chrome is and some have already started using the web browser. Yet, few are aware of the fact that the Google team is working on an operational system (OS) that will be part of the open-source project.

      The Chromium Project is the open-source project behind the OS and the browser.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.0 release delayed by six months

        The GNOME project has been under pressure to come out with a snazzy, new look after, KDE, the other commonly used DE for Linux, underwent a massive transformation a few years ago.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • System76 Continues Linnux Netbook Line With Second-Gen Starling

          A little gem from the System76 has just been released as the second generation Starling netbook. As far as specs go, System76 keeps on with the norm. They have the Atom, the 10″ screen size and the almost typical memory and storage size. However, they do have something that sets them apart. They offer their products — netbooks, laptops, desktops, et al — with appropriate versions of Ubuntu Linux pre-installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open source installer offered for Plug Computer

      Marvell announced the availability of an open source installer, simplifying software deployment on its Linux-based Plug Computer reference design. The Easy Plug Computer Installer (EPI) is the first wizard-based installation tool for Marvell’s Plug Computer, which is being supported by more than 20,000 developers worldwide, says Marvell.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Lumigon to Launch Android Handset In Time For Halloween

          Danish company Lumigon has announced that they’ll be launching their first Android handset this October. The handset, known as the T1, will be launching on October 20th, with pre-orders beginning on September 20th. The T1 will sport a 480 x 320 resolution 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, a Freescale 1Ghz i.MX51 processor, a 5MP camera with flash and some 720p video output goodness thrown in. WiFi, A-GPS, accelerometer, and Bluetooth are also included.

        • 10 years on: free software wins, but you have nowhere to install it

          I am typing this as I am finally connected in shell to my Android phone. The prompt reminds me that it’s based on the Linux kernel (it’s free), the Dalvik virtual machine (it’s free), and free libraries. Millions of Android devices are shipped every day, each one is a Linux system. Today, it’s phone. Soon, it will be tablets: Android 3.0 (coming out at the end of the year) will finally be very suitable for tablets. Apple alone will have to face fierce competition on pretty much every front. Microsoft… who? They are more irrelevant every day. I should be happy, right? Well, sort of. Looking back at how long it took me to get this shell prompt makes me worried. Very worried. We are heading towards a world where we no longer own the hardware we buy — and there is no point in having free software if you can’t own your hardware.

        • How To Be An Android Power User

          Android hardware offers some of the most powerful smartphones we’ve ever seen. The Android Market app store is growing strong, and the Android user base is growing just as fast. Android phones are flying off the shelves faster than they can be created, so we think it’s about time we put together a guide for the Android power user. On the following pages, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about Google’s mobile OS and how to make the most out of it.

    • Tablets

      • 35 Dollar Indian Pad? Go Indians, Go!

        By now you probably have heard about the “pad” computer designed in India that is being touted as costing thirty-five U.S. Dollars to manufacture. While there is very little in the way of technical details about it, some information has been published that says it consists of:

        * An ARM9 Architecture Processor from Freescale (I.MX233): 5 USD

        * Memory: 3 USD

        * WiFi b/g: 4 USD

        * Other “discrete” components: 3 USD

        * Battery: 5 USD

        * 7” 800×480 resistive touch screen: 15 USD

        for a total bill of materials: 35 USD, and rumors that in the future this will drop to 20 USD and even 10 USD. The system is “Linux based”, but does not say if it is based on Android, ChromeOS or some other Linux-based distribution. There is also no mention of persistent storage other than the fact it has a USB connection that could be used for flash.

        As other reporters and blogs have pointed out, there is no mention of the PCB for the motherboard (assuming it has one), nor the assembly, packaging, transportation, testing, returns, etc. The reports run hot and cold about how much this system will really cost, whether it will have enough power in the system to be useful, whether it will ever really be produced, whether it is “rugged enough”. There was no mention of the operating temperatures of the unit. There are a lot of very hot places in India, and of course the system has no fan. There were also lots of comparisons with the OLPC, which I feel are unfair since the OLPC was solving slightly different problems, and was a leader in the effort.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Shift to Open Source Could Save Trillions, Govt Claims

    A government campaign to migrate to open source software instead of paying for proprietary products could save the state as much as Rp 3.6 trillion ($400 million), the State Ministry for Research and Technology said on Wednesday.

    The campaign, introduced in 2004, called “Indonesia, Go Open Source,” was fueled in part by the obligatory use of legal software, as defined in the 2002 Law on Intellectual Property Rights.

  • Your World Of Text Goes Open Source

    Popular “write-what-you-want-because-our-whole-site-is-a-canvas” website Your World of Text yesterday announced that it was doing what many copy-cats would hope it would: release the source code.

  • Will Open Source Boost SAP?

    I reported in “The SAP Foundation” that open source software could chew into some SAP licensing and services revenue. I knew that Linux Journal had reported in June 2010 that SAP “has invested in many of the top open source companies, through its SAP Ventures arm. Well-known names it has backed include Alfresco, GroundWork, Intalio, JasperSoft and Zend; earlier investments include MySQL and even Red Hat.” Several years ago, a client alerted me to SAP’s strong interest in Eclipse. Since that conversation, SAP has become more active in the Eclipse Foundation as a Strategic Developer.

  • OSCON/Events

    • OSCON returns to Portland, seeks civic contributions from developers

      This week, Portland is once again at the center of open source technology.

      More than 3,000 software developers from around the globe have descended on the Oregon Convention Center for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention — OSCON — one of the largest gatherings of its kind. It’s also among Portland’s biggest national conferences.

    • New Languages, and Why We Need Them

      Creators of two dozen new programming languages–some designed to enable powerful new Web applications and mobile devices–presented their work last week in Portland, OR. The reason for the gathering was the first Emerging Languages Camp at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention.

  • Education

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Don’t Be Too Quick to Dismiss Open Core

        I have some concerns about how these companies will handle open source contributions to the free “core” software if the contribution gets too close to the functionality offered in the commercial add-ons. Under open source, traditionally all contributions should be accepted (or not) based on technical merit or the scope of the software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Funding Plea

      So the Gnash team is broke, and has been for most of a year. This has forced many, but not all of the Gnash developers to find paying work, and mostly stop working on Gnash. The few of us left focused on Gnash like to eat and pay bills.

  • Project Releases

    • Sporadic NAEV Newsletter Vol. 1

      As the changelog indicates, we’ve been working on two of the major features of 0.5.0. Namely, the all-famous big systems and electronic warfare. Currently development is being done off of master to keep that “playable” while we develop separately. There are two branches you can check out:

      bigsys (Has big systems – Last updated in May.)
      ewarfare (Has big systems and electronic warfare – Cutting edge.)

  • Licensing

    • Urbi SDK 2.1 Is Now Completely Open Source

      Gostai, a company that specializes in robotics software has announced that it is opening up its Urbi operating system. Urbi is a robotics operating system used by a number of very well-known, commercial robots. The company already shared the component architecture and the libraries under an open-source license and will now do the same for the Urbi kernel. Urbi is being released under an Affero GNU GPL v3 license.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A Novel Approach: Free Books For Donations

      The Kindle, the iPad and e-books are all part of a revolution that’s shaking up the publishing business. The big question is how to ensure the book industry can remain profitable?

      There’s at least one publisher, however, that doesn’t care about profits. For the past two years, the Concord Free Press, has been publishing books and giving them away for free.

      Writer Stona Fitch, the founder of the press, shows a reporter around the headquarters in Concord, Mass., just west of Boston. The tour takes less than a minute: It consists of two tables in an office.

    • Open Data

      • Politician Profiles: Senator Kate Lundy

        Senator Kate Lundy has become known in the technology community as a fierce advocate of government engagement and Gov 2.0, pushing for support of many of the recommendations made last year by the Government 2.0 Taskforce, and pre-empting the declaration of open government by Finance minister, Lindsay Tanner. Lundy has also been involved in many of the government’s committees into technology, including the recent Senate select committee on the National Broadband Network.

  • Programming

    • GitHub Hits One Million Hosted Projects

      GitHub, the source code hosting and collaboration service, has hit a major milestone tonight: the site is now hosting one million projects, confirmed Scott Chacon, VP of Research and Development at GitHub. Approximately 60 percent of these projects are full repositories – that is, shared folders with code spread across multiple files – while the remaining 40 percent are “gists”, or short code snippets contained in a single file, like this one, for example.

    • Sourceforge invites corporations to the new forge

      Sourceforge has been rewritten, from the ground up, with improvements across-the-board from the Wiki to issue tracking, from code management to discussion.

      But that’s not all. Sourceforge is making a renewed play for the corporate market, and has its first big win in Adobe, which has moved its open source development to Open@Adobe.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Web has never been as exciting!

      In my opinion, combining CSS3, new APIs (including WebGL) and HTML5 is enabling the Web as a development platform to make a huge leap forward. I have worked with the amazing Paul Rouget in order to have a video of his demos in order to share my excitement.

Leftovers

  • Guest Post: Here’s Why Google’s Paywall Will Work (And The Times’ Will Fail)

    The search giant will apparently launch “an integrated payment system” allowing users to buy news content with just “one click”. Newspass would allow publishers to use a single infrastructure for Web, mobile and tablet computers to monetise their content.

  • Re-inventing Publishing for the Digital Age

    Which means that once I – or anyone – has bought a copy of the PDF, it can be freely shared, subject to those conditions. Which means that it *will* be available online, sooner or later (assuming it’s worth reading, and hence sharing), and that all the search engines will find it. So why slow down that process of discoverability by forcing someone to buy one copy? Is it really worth losing all that free marketing and visibility in the intervening days or weeks for the sake of £4.95?

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • Russian subs dive deep for new energy sources

      Russia has some of the largest energy reserves in the world, but it keeps searching for new sources – even if it means going underwater.

      Two Russian deep-water submersibles have once again taken a dive in Lake Baikal, to study recently found fields of gas hydrates, a possible fuel of the future.

    • Study: Solar power is cheaper than nuclear

      The Holy Grail of the solar industry — reaching grid parity — may no longer be a distant dream. Solar may have already reached that point, at least when compared to nuclear power, according to a new study by two researchers at Duke University.

  • Finance

    • Two Goldman Lawsuits on Abacus Placed on Hold

      A New York judge put two shareholder lawsuits against executives and directors of Goldman Sachs Group Inc on hold until progress is made on 16 other lawsuits related to a controversial debt transaction involving the Wall Street bank.

      The lawsuits, brought in state Supreme Court by Robert Rosinek and Morton Spiegel, accuse Goldman officials, including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, of breaching their fiduciary duties by letting the bank enter transactions involving risky collateralized debt obligations tied to subprime mortgages.

    • Goldman Sachs Creates Derivatives Clearing Unit

      Derivatives are private bets between two parties on how the value of assets like crops or measures like interest rates will change in the future. The market is dominated by about 20 large banks worldwide.

    • Goldman Sachs still under a microscope

      A federal commission investigating the causes of the financial crisis has been among the most visible challengers, suggesting it could hire outside accountants to audit the data Goldman keeps on its derivatives businesses.

    • Sorkin: Some Backup for Goldman on A.I.G.

      New documents released show the bank living up to its reputation as the smart set, eliminating much of its its exposure to the giant insurer through a combination of collateral calls and hedges made through other institutions.

    • Banks Charge States Millions in Debt Binge to Fix Subprime Bust

      Bank of America Corp., owner of the most-active subprime lender, Countrywide Financial Corp., earned $2.9 million in interest and fees for a line of credit Arizona used through June to balance a budget undermined by the housing- market collapse.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wetlands Front Group Funded By Big Oil Wants To Ensure Taxpayers Foot The Bill For BP’s Gulf Destruction

      A group of oil companies including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Citgo, Chevron and other polluters are using a front group called “America’s WETLAND Foundation” and a Louisiana women’s group called Women of the Storm to spread the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to Gulf Coast wetlands, and that the reckless offshore oil industry should continue drilling for the “wholesale sustainability” of the region.

      Using the age-old PR trick of featuring celebrity messengers to attract public attention, America’s Wetland Foundation is spreading a petition accompanied by a video starring Sandra Bullock, Dave Matthews, Lenny Kravitz, Emeril Lagassi, John Goodman, Harry Shearer, Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees and others.

    • ID card astroturf – No2ID beats the truth out of IPS

      A cackling Phil Booth, No2ID National Coordinator, writes to tell us that six months after he first pestered the Identity & Passport Service about its quotes from ID card-toting happy campers in its publicity material, it has confessed – um yes, all but one of those quoted worked for the government.

      “We can confirm that eight of the nine people quoted on the website at the time either worked for the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), the Home Office or another government department or agency”, said IPS in an FOIA response (pdf) yesterday, just a week after Phil requested an IPS internal review of its failure to provide a substantive response to his request dated 3 March.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Four Journalists Kidnapped in Mexico

      Four reporters, including two from Televisa, Mexico’s most powerful television network, have apparently been held since Monday by drug traffickers unhappy with coverage of last week’s arrest of a prison director who allegedly armed prisoners, provided them with cars and then allowed them to leave the penitentiary to commit mass murders.

    • FTC Leaning Toward Do-Not-Track List for Online Ads

      As it prepares a major report with guidelines for protecting consumer privacy online, the Federal Trade Commission is mulling a simple mechanism that would allow users to opt out of behavioral tracking across the Web, the head of the agency told a Senate panel on Tuesday.

    • WikiLeaks and a failure of transparency

      In some cases, such opacity is by mistake. But in WikiLeaks’ case, it is by design. Just two weeks before Afghan War Diary was released, Wired published an enterprising story on WikiLeaks’ finances. The reporter, Kim Zetter, tracked down a vice president of the Berlin-based Wau Holland Foundation, which apparently handles most contributions to WikiLeaks’ contributions. The story provided some idea as to the scale of the WikiLeaks budget — the group needs about $200,000 a year for basic operations — but the vice president offered only a promise of more disclosure next month. And from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? No comment.

      I understand the need to protect whistleblowers and other sources. But when it comes to the group’s finances, can’t they cut out all the James Bond stuff? I don’t need names and addresses of donors, but can’t we have a little more transparency and accountability?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Just two Chinese ISPs serve 20% of world broadband users

      If you need a reminder of just how big China is—and just how important the Internet has become there—consider this stat: between them, two Chinese ISPs serve 20 percent of all broadband subscribers in the entire world.

      Telegeography has updated its world Internet service provider database and finds that the sheer scale of China dwarfs just about everyone else. China Telecom is the largest ISP in the world, with 55 million subscibers. Second is China Unicom, with just over 40 million.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US: Copyright of Sound Recordings of World War I Music

        There is good and bad news. The good news is that since WWI occurred before 1923, sheet music from that period would be in the public domain in the U.S.

        The bad news is that no sound recording made before 1972 has federal copyright protection. They are instead protected by state common law copyrights, and will not enter the public domain until in most cases 1 January 2049, regardless of when they were recorded. (I have a section on sound recording copyrights in the chart at http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm ). Note that state protection is afforded even to European recordings, most of which enter the public domain in their home country after 50 years.

      • ACTA

        • Jailbreaking Decision Is Temporary Relief

          Second, global trade. US legal norms for technology businesses for patents and copyrights may still be forming (for patents they are still “only” the result of case law), but that hasn’t stopped the US Trade Representative (USTR) and US trade missions globally from treating them as if they were handed down on stone tablets. They have been using conformance with “US norms” as a trading card in their rough games of political poker with various world governments. You know the sort of thing. “Nice export industry you have there for your agricultural produce. It would be a shame if anything happened to it. You can make sure it doesn’t if you legislate to prevent your citizens harming our noble media industries.” Kipling wrote about it eloquently, but people are still paying the USTR-geld.

          Which is probably the intent of the copyright- and patent-dependent companies sponsoring the action anonymously through their trade associations. If they can get foreign governments to make hard rules where they can only persuade their own governments to make soft rules, the battle is all but won for them. They can use “international harmonisation” as the justification to get the draconian rules reinstated. That seems to be the reason ACTA has been given so much endorsement by the USA, as well as why they have been so keen on veiling its proceedings in secrecy. It’s not just USTR either – the equivalent functions in the European Commission seem to be working just as hard against their citizens’ interests.

        • Civil Society Groups Warn EU On ACTA

          An international set of civil society groups today sent a letter to the European Union trade commissioner outlining concerns that the latest, leaked, version of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement under negotiation will introduce “new and unbalanced intellectual property rules” which “would condone overzealous and erroneous enforcement of intellectual property for medicines and thereby pose a danger to public health, while doing little to protect consumers from unsafe products.” O

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Android 2.2 (Froyo) on the HTC HD2


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