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Links 18/8/2010: PC-BSD 8.1 Reviewed, Vim 7.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Mini-Education Summit LinuxCon Boston 2010

      I spent most of last week at LinuxCon helping Spot at the Fedora booth. However, the day before the main conference, Sebastian Dziallas organized a Education Mini-Summit to take place in conjunction with LinuxCon.

      I gave a talk on the Inkscape class Red Hat has done plus some other related initiatives, including one we are planning for next fall with the Free Software Foundation. The slides are available here.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8.1 review

      PC-BSD 8.1 was released on July 20, 2010, roughly five months after version 8.0 was released. Some of the suggestions made in the review of PC-BSD 8.0 have been carried out in this latest release. In fact, the changes were made within one month of that review being published. It is an encouraging example of how some distro developers respond to suggestions (or critical reviews).

      While I still think that PC-BSD is not yet ready for the masses, it is coming along very well. This review will offer another detailed look at some of the good and bad sides of this FreeBSD-based distribution, with the attendant recommendations and suggestions for improvement.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Truth-o-Meter, 2G: Andrew Lih wants to wikify fact-checking

      WikiFactCheck wants not only to crowdsource, but also to centralize, the fact-checking enterprise, aggregating other efforts and creating a framework so extensive that it can also attempt to be comprehensive. There’s a niche, Lih believes, for a fact-checking site that’s determinedly non-niche. Wikipedia, he points out, is ultimately “a great aggregator”; and much of WikiFactCheck’s value could similarly be, he says, to catalog the results of other fact-checking outfits “and just be a meta-site.” Think Rotten Tomatoes — simple, summative, unapologetically derivative — for truth-claims.


  • NY Times Tests A Paywall With A Regional Paper

    The idea is to hide certain local content behind the paywall — which will charge a whopping $14.95 per month to access. Now, looking around, it certainly does appear that the Telegram & Gazette is really the only major news source in Worcester (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t find anything else significant). However, with various local news operations springing up all over the place, it certainly seems like it could make sense for one of them to quickly target Worcester and get a nice jump in traffic.

  • Blizzard Wins $88 Million in Private Server Lawsuit

    Back in October, Blizzard Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Alyson Reeves and her company Scapegaming, for violating the end user license agreement of World of Warcraft by setting up a private server for her own profit. On Thursday, the California Central District Court ruled in favor of the game maker and ordered Scapegaming to pay back “$3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney’s fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages.”

    What, you ask, is a private server, how do you make a profit off of it, and why is it against the EULA? Allow me to explain.

  • Court Says California Mall Can’t Ban Customers From Talking To Each Other

    The Westfield Galleria in Roseville, California takes the comfort of its patrons seriously–so seriously, in fact, that it wants them to shut up and focus on shopping, or else ask for permission first if they want to talk about any topic that’s not mall related. Last week, the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal found that the rule violated the state’s constitution, so now mall shoppers can gab as much as they want to each other.

  • Health

    • Can you hear me now? More teens can’t

      The authors of the report in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. eliminated ear infections and exposure to loud noises in the environment as causes for the hearing loss, but could not identify a specific cause. A recent Australian study, however, found a 70% increased risk of hearing loss associated with the use of headphones to listen to portable music, and many experts suspect they are the primary cause of hearing loss in teens.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Infected Widget Compromises Parked Domains

      Researchers at Armorize Technologies reported that as many as 5 million parked domains belonging to customers of Network Solutions fell victim to an infected widget and were serving up a side order of malware.

    • Hackers: ‘ColdFusion bug more serious than Adobe says’

      A recently patched vulnerability in Adobe’s ColdFusion application server may be more serious than previously thought following the public release of exploit code and blog posts claiming it can be used to take full control of systems running the software.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Will this summer of extremes be a wake-up call?

      This summer has been one of weather-related extremes in Russia, Pakistan, China, Europe, the Arctic – you name it. But does this have anything to do with global warming, and are human emissions to blame?

    • Vedanta’s Indian mining project under threat

      In a strongly worded report, a four-member committee set up by India’s environment ministry accused Vedanta Alumina, a subsidiary of the London-listed firm, of violating forest conservation and environment protection regulations and displaying “total contempt for the law”. The report also noted “an appalling degree of collusion” by local government officials with Vedanta.

    • Protect nature for world economic security, warns UN biodiversity chief

      According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. Around 15% of mammal species and 11% of bird species are classified as threatened with extinction.

  • Finance

    • US Treasury is Running on Fumes

      With the US bankrupting itself in wars, America’s largest creditor, China, has taken issue with America’s credit rating. The head of China’s largest credit rating agency declared: “The US is insolvent and faces bankruptcy as a pure debtor nation.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Big Brother: Obama Demands Access to Internet Records, in Secret, and Without Court Review

      The Obama administration is seeking authority from Congress that would compel internet service providers (ISPs) to turn over records of an individual’s internet activity for use in secretive FBI probes.

      In another instance where Americans are urged to trust their political minders, The Washington Post reported last month that “the administration wants to add just four words–’electronic communication transactional records’–to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval.”

    • Chinese dissident Yu Jie tells of jail threat for criticising PM Wen Jiabao

      The political pressure on writers in China is growing, an outspoken critic of the government said today, as his highly sensitive book about the country’s premier went on sale in Hong Kong.

      Yu Jie said state security had warned him last month not to proceed with the release of his book, China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao.

    • Thailand blocking WikiLeaks — official

      Thai authorities have used their emergency powers to block domestic access to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website on security grounds, a government official said Wednesday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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