08.17.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 17/8/2010: Android Tablets, Eben Moglen Warns About SaaS Again

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Diggs, Damn Diggs and Censorship: R.I.P. Linux?

    Substantiated with numerous account names, links and transcripts, Olson’s evidence is nothing if not damning, and more than 500 comments arose in short order as a testament to that fact.

    FreakOutNation, meanwhile, added fuel to the fire by publishing a list of hundreds of Digg users who were found to be among Digg Patriots’ primary targets.

    The blaze gained entry to FOSS County when Computerworld’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols picked up Olson’s torch and used it to examine the fate of Linux-related stories on Digg.

    “In early 2009, new popular Linux stories would pop up every day or two on Digg,” Vaughan-Nichols wrote. “By mid-2010, Linux stories on Digg became popular only once every week or so.”

    Indeed, Linux Girl can’t help but note that she has noticed this too!

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Eye Candy

      I chose the “Inverted” Gnome widget theme
      I chose the “Inverted” Window border
      I chose the “Faenza-Dark” Icon set, it can be found here
      I chose the “comfortaa” font that Fedora is using, it can be found here there is a Fedora rpm available for this as well, just search for comfortaa. The Droid fonts also look quite nice.

    • It’s Friday, I’m in love

      Ah, love! The Cure’s song that carries today’s blog title bounces gently off the walls of the office while I think about the things I love about GNU/Linux (or Linux, if you’re so inclined).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME vs KDE: which is right for you?

      For your convenience the article has been broken down into a number of sub-sections which weighs up the various pros and cons for GNOME and KDE in various situation for both users and developers.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma: now comes in tablets

        When designing Plasma Mobile, it was immediately clear that wouldn’t have been possible to do a “one design fits all” application: mobile devices vould have come in pretty diffrent forms:

        * Different resolution
        * Different phisical size
        * That implies, different DPI
        * Different use cases: an internet tablet and a phone put the emphasis on very different primary functions

      • KDE Desktop Activities explained

        This seemed like a redundancy in Linux, what with the existence of the pager and all. But as KDE grew a bit older and wiser, the usage of this feature become more and more clear. Now, in this Ghacks article I am going to help you to understand exactly why this feature is something you will certainly want to use to keep your desktop as organized as possible.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Happy 17th Birthday Debian (And some interesting history)

        You can show your appreciation for Debian by thanking a developer or the community – Debian Appreciation Day (Thanks to a Slashdot commentator for this)

      • Why prefer Debian GNU/Linux over another distribution

        Quite some time ago I wrote a blog post explaining why I preferred Mandriva over other distributions. But I have now switched to Debian GNU/Linux, so it is time for an update. I will mostly compare with Mandriva because that is where I come from and what I know the best, although most points are rather universal.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS review

            Here’s something I haven’t done in far too long..an OS review of course. So, my latest offering is called Peppermint OS. Yes, the name is why I chose to review it (she says defensively) This particular Linux OS has two versions..One and Ice. I am reviewing Peppermint OS One. The Ice version is all cloud based. The operating system is a fork of Lubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment, a lightweight desktop.

          • Linux Mint 9: Installation Review – A Not-So-Happy Story

            Fed up with my buggy PCLinuxOS, I decided to install the new Linux Mint 9. After burning the installation DVD image (which is just over 700MB), I decided to install it on my Lenovo Thinkpad Z60m.

            The loading process of the Live DVD was relatively smooth, though it felt a little slow to load the live image. (PCinux is still faster in the Live CD department)

            I then decided to install, and it asked for the customary questions like location, keyboard etc.

          • Thoughts on Linux Mint 9

            If I were to recommend a Linux distro for a desktop user with no background in Linux, it would be Linux Mint. Actually, Linux Mint is a great release for anyone who wants a easy to install, work out-of-the-box desktop environment. Great job guys.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Reviewed: Pandora Console

      If you’re familiar with the original GP2X and GP2X Wiz, the Linux-based handhelds produced by Korean techno-alchemists Game Park Holdings, you’ll be acutely aware of just how close they came to greatness; both consoles suffered from compromises that prevented them from truly fulfilling their potential. Interestingly, some of the guys in charge of distributing these two machines internationally felt the same way and back in 2008 they set about creating their own dream machine that would avoid the pitfalls that afflicted those two consoles. Read on to discover whether it was worth the effort.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Intel, Nokia tout MeeGo as inclusive alternative to Android

          During the annual LinuxCon conference last week in Boston, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin moderated a discussion panel about the Linux-based MeeGo platform with Nokia’s MeeGo Ecosystem Development head Thomas Miller and Intel open source technologist Derek Speed. During the panel, Miller and Speed discussed some of the technical and logistical characteristics that differentiate MeeGo from other mobile platforms.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola DROID Pro, World Edition and Tablet all found in Verizon Wireless systems

        The Motorola DROID Pro, the handset with a 4″ display, 1.3GHz CPU, and global roaming capability gets the model number A957, and is set for a November launch. Motorola is also apparently working on a more business-focused version of the DROID 2 with a World Edition global roaming feature, and it looks like that device will launch relatively soon with the model number A956. If that’s not enough, it also appears that the phone will come in two color choices, black and white.

      • WeTab Set for September German Release, Other Countries to Follow

        Our friends in Germany are proud to release the new WeTab (formerly known as the WePad) next month to retail stores (or pre-order online now.)

      • The $35 tablet isn’t hogwash

        Given India’s chequered history of non-deliverable low-cost devices, it’s easy to believe the sceptics of India’s $35 tablet.

        But this device might just turn the tables.

        While the media disses and dismisses the ultra low-cost tablet, Microsoft and Google are apparently fighting a pitched battle to place their operating systems on the device aimed at school children of the world. Microsoft has come forth and offered its Windows CE OS to run on the device which currently runs Google’s open source Android OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Decompiler Dilemma

    The whole advantage to free software is that you can take it apart and look at it, right? That is what most free software advocates would have you believe. So what would happen if the GNU Project released a Perfect Decompiler, a decompiler that could perfectly decode any binary into source code understandable by humans? (For the theoretical purposes of this discussion, let us also assume the impossible case that the binary is decompiled into a verbatim copy of the original source code.) Would this help or hurt the Free Software Movement?

    The only barriers ensuring that proprietary software remains proprietary would be those of law. In a pure state of anarchy, a perfect decompiler would be indistinguishable from having all software released as free software. It would essentially render the Free Software Movement perfectly successful in anarchist states. Complete access to the source code of any application could be obtained with little effort, and modification would be limited only by the quality of the newfound code. In the world as it exists today, however, this would not be the case. Proprietary software licenses across the board prohibit disassembling in the first place, and copyright laws prohibit the possibility of doing anything interesting with the decompiled code. It would seem that, besides abandonware and oddly-permissive proprietary licenses, a perfect decompiler would be meaningless to the Free Software Movement due to the artificially imposed limits of the government. Is that necessarily so?

  • An Organic Open Source Movement?

    Where open source has the open source definition, the organic food business has a community which has created a number of now internationally recognised definitions of what makes food organic and now has organisations that certify the organic compliance of companies that claim to make organic products.

  • Web Browsers

    • Five lesser-known browsers

      We’ve all heard of Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari. But have you heard of IceCat, Maxathon or NetSurf? There are literally hundreds of different web browsers available to users. We look at some of the lesser-known browsers available.

  • SaaS

    • Eben Moglen Calls To Free the Cloud

      At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on (‘for lack of a better term’) freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers.

  • Healthcare

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 15 HTML5 Demos Showcasing Prowess of HTML5 Over Adobe Flash

      HTML is basically a standard for structuring and presenting content in the internet and HTML5 is the newest incarnation of HTML. HTML5 is supposed to have features like video playback which currently depends upon third-party(and proprietary) browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash. And please do keep in mind that, HTML5 itself is still a work in progress and hence these 15 demos are far from perfect. But they are all you need to get inspired and start learning more about HTML5(I hope).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Sun’s ‘quiet period’ explained

      Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity.

      The most recent so-called “solar minimum” occurred in December 2008.

      Its drawn-out nature extended the total length of the last solar cycle – the repeating cycle of the Sun’s activity – to 12.6 years, making it the longest in almost 200 years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • More than 500,000 (or 5,000,000 according to Yahoo) Network Solutions parked domains actively serving malware
    • Michael Howard backs calls for inquest into death of David Kelly

      The former Conservative leader Michael Howard today backed calls for a a full inquest into the death of the government weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

      His call came after a group of prominent experts described the official explanation for the scientist’s death in 2003 as “extremely unlikely”.

      Howard, who is now a Tory peer, said their intervention confirmed his belief that there should now be a proper inquest.

      “In view of the growing number of relevant questions that have arisen and cast doubt on the conclusions reached by Lord Hutton, I believe it would now be appropriate for a full inquest to be held,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

    • Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That

      On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a gathering in London that the secret-spilling website is moving ahead with plans to publish the remaining 15,000 records from the Afghan war logs, despite a demand from the Pentagon that WikiLeaks “return” its entire cache of published and unpublished classified U.S. documents.

    • Elderly widow threatened with £2,500 fine for dropping cigarette ash

      Mrs Martin, from Oldbury, West Mids, was hit with the original fine by the Sandwell Council warden while at the bus stop on May 25.

      She said: “I still can’t believe what happened.

      “I was just sat at a bus stop quietly enjoying my cigarette and from nowhere a warden appeared and accused me of littering.

    • The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret, and Dangerous

      Illustrating this More-Surveillance-is-Always-Better mindset is what happened after The New York Times revealed in December, 2005 that the Bush administration had ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without the warrants required by law and without any external oversight at all. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old FISA law made every such act of warrantless eavesdropping a felony, “punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both,” and despite the fact that all three federal judges who ruled on the program’s legality concluded that it was illegal, there was no accountability of any kind. The opposite is true: the telecom corporations which enabled and participated in this lawbreaking were immunized by a 2008 law supported by Barack Obama and enacted by the Democratic Congress. And that same Congress twice legalized the bulk of the warrantless eavesdropping powers which The New York Times had exposed: first with the 2007 Protect America Act, and then with the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which, for good measure, even added new warrantless surveillance authorities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Ascent of Middle East Food and Energy Demand

      At the EIA’s International Energy Outlook (IEO) presentation this May the issue of future oil exports from OPEC nations came up, and in an interesting way. Readers may be familiar with the phenomenon of declining net exports, from major oil producing nations, as a result of internal demand from growing, domestic populations. The phenomenon was modelled last decade by Jeffrey Brown and Samuel Foucher. Their Export-Land Model showed that the rate of decline from oil exporters can become quite accelerated. While that may seem obvious, it was a point worth making last decade when it was widely presumed that gross production from large oil producing nations was largely available for export. The tipping, of both the UK and Indonesia, from net oil exporters to net oil importers should have put an end to such a presumption. More importantly, the rise of domestic oil consumption in Saudi Arabia was also a warning. Saudi oil exports have declined now for five years.

    • The Dirtiest Sport

      Since its inception, NASCAR has not received adequate scrutiny for the environmental impact it causes. There seem to be more positive references to NASCAR (conservative romanticizing of NASCAR dads) than there are serious investigations into the problems associated with the sport. What is most striking is that NASCAR stock cars are unregulated by Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA mandates certain levels of of cleanliness from everyday passenger cars, but the machines of NASCAR have been granted a loophole and can spew toxins in the air without using mufflers, catalytic converters or any sort of emissions control device.

    • BP to Pay Record Fine for Refinery

      BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6 million fine to the federal government for safety violations found by regulators last year at its troubled refinery in Texas City, Tex., where 15 workers died in a 2005 explosion.

    • The Federal Reserve Enters Decline

      The Federal Reserve came into existence during the fattest part of the abundance curve, made possible by the extraction of energy-dense fossil fuels. The early part of the last century was the moment when the world started to transition from Coal to Oil, with the fullness of oil’s resource spread out before the industrial economy like a broad forest.

  • Finance

    • US unemployment: Don’t let the elite pass the buck

      Growth is slowing and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care – that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is becoming the norm. And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural”, a permanent part of the economic landscape – and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.

    • Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’

      “How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lawmakers Worry Meritless Lawsuits Threaten Free Speech

      When Dallas developer H. Walker Royall found out about an impending book digging into one of his projects, he went on a lawsuit bender.

      He sued the author, Carla Main, and her publisher, Encounter Books. He sued Richard Epstein — the prominent libertarian academic — for a blurb he wrote praising the book. He sued Mark Lardas, who reviewed the book, and the Galveston County Daily News for publishing the review. His suit against Main and her publisher — the lower court dropped Epstein as a defendant on jurisdictional grounds, and Lardas and his newspaper settled with Royall out of court — has since become a poster child for so-called SLAPPs: strategic lawsuits against public participation.

    • EFF to Verizon: Etisalat Certificate Authority Threatens Web Security
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Geek Squad owners send cease-and-desist letter to God Squad

      Virus infected your computer? Call the Geek Squad.

      Temptation infected your soul? Ring up the God Squad – just don’t expect Father Luke Strand to show up in the same clever little car he’s been driving since his days in the seminary.

      The young priest’s attempt to add a little fun to his ministry has apparently run afoul of some corporate lawyers who care more about strictly enforcing trademarks than eternal salvation.

      Best Buy, the Minnesota-based electronics retailing giant, recently sent Strand a cease-and-desist letter concerning his car. The black Volkswagen Beetle has oval door stickers that read “God Squad” in a logo very similar to the black, white and orange logos on black-and-white Geek Squad Beetles driven by the computer and electronics trouble-shooters.

      The car has been around for at least two years, when it was featured in a photo of Strand and his then-colleagues at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. The car has a white square on the hood, to mimic a priest’s collar, and the license plate reads, GODLVYA.

    • Wisconsin ‘God Squad’ gets cease-and-desist letter
    • 4th Circuit: Post-Purchase Confused Restroom Users

      GP licenses the ENMOTION towel dispenser to distributors who license it to restroom operators. The restroom operators are contractually obligated to use only ENMOTION brand toweling. Von Drehle created compatible (and allegedly inferior) paper for the ENMOTION dispenser.

    • Copyrights

      • Comically Absurd IP

        Certain arguments come up over and over again in copyright debates. Mike recently wrote about copyright monopolists calling Free Culture “neo Marxist.”

      • More And More People Seeing How Collection Societies Have Distorted Copyright

        Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend around the world for various collection societies to become increasingly more aggressive. More aggressive in trying to increase the statutorily-defined rates. More aggressive in expanding what it is they cover. More aggressive in finding small businesses to pay up. And, more recently, more aggressive in lashing out at any organization that seeks to help musicians embrace alternatives. There are a few reasons for this. Obviously, the recorded music side of the music business has seen revenue decrease, so collection societies have tried to pick up the slack. But, more generally speaking, it’s an indication that the process of collection societies is broken. From their very design, they’re set up to allow certain industry interests to take charge and influence them, and then to aggressively seek to expand their own rights, influence and ability to collect.

Clip of the Day

“SPARC: The Power of Ideas”


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