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Links 26/8/2010: Debian Debates, Rails 3.0 Release Candidate 2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: New X Server, 3D drivers for Radeon 5000 and new stable kernels

      While the new kernel versions mainly correct minor bugs, X.org’s next generation X Server offers a range of improvements. Various code segments released by AMD developers allow the X.org open source drivers for Radeon GPUs to utilise the 2D and 3D acceleration features available with Radeon series 5000 graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Mint 9 Xfce Screenshots

        Most people that come into contact with Linux Mint tend to agree that it’s an excellent distributuion for beginners. In my opinion this is accomplished by the visual appeal and mint-specific tools you won’t find anywhere else.

      • Trying out the Chakra Project

        The Chakra Project looks very promising, albeit very unpolished at the moment. If they can manage to fix up the rest of the distribution, getting it just as polished feeling as the installer, this will definitely be one to look out for. I look forward to trying it out again once it hits a stable release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat plays Switzerland in balkanized cloud world

        Bryan Che, manager of cloud computing products at Red Hat, said that the DMTF was chosen among many different possible standards bodies because Red Hat has a history with the organization. “We do not want Deltacloud to be under the control of any one vendor, including Red Hat,” Che explained, which is why the project was moved to Apache and the API specs are being handed to DMTF. (Red Hat, by the way, is a member of the DMTF Cloud Management Work Group.)

    • Debian Family

      • The Debian apocalipsys

        All my started projects about contributing to Debian gets stopped, until I see Debian as Debian. It’s a pity, but I have to migrate too many systems and that is a lot of work for the next days, only at home… and then I need a solution at work too. This is not for vicious, I’m going to loose skills learned about my OS of choice to jump to others where I will be a newbie. And Debian still has very very nice things.

      • Making Debian Rule, Again (Margarita Manterola)

        She conducted a survey (about 40 respondents) to ask what Debian’s problems are, and grouped them into categories like “motivation” and “communication” (tied for the #1 spot), “visibility” (#3, meaning public awareness and perception of Debian) and so on. She went on to make some suggestions about how to address these problems.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Multi-Touch Videos: Evince And Inkscape

          Keep in mind that the multi-touch feature is still very early in development. Even so, it already looks impressive as both Evince and Inkscape can’t handle multi-touch by default yet it works great as you can see in the videos above.

        • Allison Randal appointed Technical Architect of Ubuntu

          Allison Randal has been appointed Technical Architect of Ubuntu at Canonical by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. Randal is known for her work as an architect of the Parrot virtual machine and chairman of the Parrot Foundation and is a board member of the Perl and Python Foundations.

        • 5 Short Yet Beautiful Ubuntu Ads For Your Inspiration

          Ubuntu is already the most popular Linux distribution and probably the first ever Linux distro to overshoot popularity of Linux itself. Now, what Ubuntu needs is a lot of promotional activism from the community. Here is a few Ubuntu adverts from YouTube that I hope will inspire designers among you to get up and start working.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Use Puppy Linux 5.0 for secure on-the-go browsing

            This version especially seems to be stable, fast, and capable. I have taken to running it from a bootable USB drive and the performance has been very nice. Being able to drop these onto untrusted systems and use them as a browser, VPN client, and productivity tool has been handy. Using HoneyPoint Personal Edition, the nmap plugins and some other Puppy installs of security tools gives me a great platform for working incidents, gaining visibility and catching rogue scans, probes and malware that are in circulation when I pull in to help a client. Over and over again, the distro has proven itself to be a very powerful tool for me.

            I suggest you take a look at the distro, LiveCD or USB and see how it can help you. I think you’ll find it fun, easy to use, and quite addicting. The pictures of the puppies dont hurt either.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Ubuntu Fans, This Theme Is For You: Download Ubuntu Theme For ADW Launcher

          Ryan launched the theme 4 days ago and so far it’s been well received scoring a 4.28/5 average with more than 5000 downloads.

        • New, inexpensive color e-readers have Android under the hood

          Although Google’s Android mobile operating system is principally designed for phones, it is also increasingly showing up on low-cost tablets and other kinds of mobile devices. The platform is rapidly emerging as a major contender in the e-book reader market, where it is attracting a growing number of hardware vendors.

          Barnes and Noble’s popular Nook is arguably the most prominent Android-based e-book reader, but there are also a number of intriguing offerings from other vendors. Some are differentiating their readers by eschewing battery-friendly e-ink in favor of color LCD screens. These products take a more tablet-like approach and give users the advantage of a multifunction Internet-enabled device at nearly the same price point as regular e-book readers.

        • WordPress for Android adds new comment feature

          The WordPress developers have announced the release of version 1.3.4 of their WordPress for Android app. Using the mobile application, users can easily post to and edit their WordPress blogs from an Android mobile device.

        • Dell Answers Critics Demanding Streak’s Source Code

          The problem, according to a small but vocal group of developers and enthusiasts online, is that the Streak uses code licensed under the GNU General Public License, which allows third parties to both use and modify the code, provided that the company or person publishes the object code, either as part of a shipping device, on a physical medium, or publicly available via a server.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud, an Ubuntu netbook OS

        Krim had already used Ubuntu servers for Netvibes and had been using Linux for 18 years so the OS choice for Jolicloud was a no brainer. Despite having scant experience with desktop Linux for a while, Krim’s team went full steam ahead with his next project. From initial conception to release, it took them just over a year to get Jolicloud rolled out.

        “We built Jolicloud on top of Ubuntu because I met Mark Shuttleworth at a Google event and I used Ubuntu servers for Netvibes. This Debian based Linux had a good reputation and good drivers. We could have picked Fedora. To be honest we didn’t spend too much time thinking about it.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blender Gets Mixamo Motions

    Mixamo has announced new support for Blender users looking to create high-quality character animations for their 3D projects.

  • Bossies Awards 2010: The best open source software of the year

    • Free All Software

      “Software should always be free because all users of software deserve freedom,” says Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project, and a longtime activist.

    • Hacking for change

      In Bangalore, Linux was used exclusively and extensively by academia. Early adopters of Linux, the scientific community in the Indian Institute of Science and research organisations deeply benefitted from free, collaborative and open nature of the GNU movement. So, the earliest informal Linux Users Groups were perhaps born in these academic circles.

  • Project Releases

    • Rails 3.0: Release candidate 2

      The release candidate process is progressing as planned. This second candidate has very few changes over the first, which means that unless any blockers are discovered with this release, we’re targeting the final release of Rails 3.0 for this week(!!!).

  • Licensing

    • The future of open source licensing

      Glyn argues that this “is worse than the GNU GPL with copyright assignment”, where a single copyright holder is able to provide a closed-source version. Is it really worse to have a situation in which everyone has an equal opportunity to go closed-source than one in which the control and power lies with a single vendor?

      Either way, Glyn also notes that the ability of the copyright holder to act as a monopolist is “hardly what Richard Stallman had in mind when he drew up the GPL”. This is probably true, but it should be noted that Stallman has defended selling license exceptions (also known as dual licensing), which is the practice that enables vendor-controlled open core strategies (which Stallman opposes).

      In fact, it is worth considering that the issues that seem to cause the most controversy around open source-related business strategies – vendor-controlled open source projects, open core licensing, copyright assignment, and dual licensing – are all perpetuated by copyleft and the GNU GPL.

      It doesn’t have to be the case that the GNU GPL leads to a dominant open source vendor, of course. Glyn explains how assigning copyright to a non-commercial entity, such as the Free Software Foundation, avoid this problem. Another approach (although one that has problems of its own), is to ensure that individual contributors own the copyright to their own contributions.


  • USB 3.0: Everything You Need to Know

    After a lengthy gestation period, the third generation of the Universal Serial Bus is making its way to the market. But is it already obsolete?

    Consumer electronics and computer vendors used the Consumer Electronics Show this past January to launch USB 3.0, an update to the popular standard external data transfer interface. The new speed of USB 3.0 generated a lot of interest.344

  • Insider’s View: How Grandstanding State Attorneys General Make Life Miserable For Law Abiding Tech Companies

    For years, we’ve pointed out how various state attorneys general seem to focus much more on grandstanding against certain companies, rather than actually helping in certain situations. What was really amazing was the incredibly clear pattern every time it happened. It would involve an attorney general who was running for higher office, going to the press and threatening some company, even if there was no legal basis whatsoever for the threat. It’s as if every AG running for higher office has taken a page out of the playbook of Eliot Spitzer who used this strategy for years to get him headlines that took him right into the NY governor’s mansion (which, of course, he then left due to a different sort of headline a few years later…).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What’s New for Dinner

      Recent estimates blame agriculture for as much as 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and nitrogen fertilizers account for more miasma than all those methane-belching cows and sheep combined. But even as the power of the American food movement waxes, organic farms still make up less than 1 percent of this country’s cropland. The unignorable presence of that other 99 percent has forced many environmentalists to a singularly pragmatic conclusion: If there is going to be a significant attempt to slash the use of water, fossil fuels, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides — the resource-sucking carbon and chemical footprint that has come to define the modern agro-industrial complex — the bulk of that effort will have to emerge from the operations of large-scale, conventional farms. The assault on business as usual will come from the everyday operations of Frank Muller’s farm.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Who is Andrew Wilke?

      A former Duntroon cadet, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and worked for US defence giant Raytheon.

      He continued his defence career as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessment.

      He caused a huge storm in 2003 when he resigned and spoke out against the Howard government on the Iraq war, saying there was no intelligence to indicate Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

      Dr Peter Bowden from Whistleblowers Australia says Andrew Wilkie is a hero.

    • Secret US military computers ‘cyber attacked’ in 2008

      A 2008 cyber attack launched from an infected flash drive in the Middle East penetrated secret US military computers, a Pentagon official says.

      The attack by a foreign spy service was the “most significant breach” ever of US military networks, Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn said.

      Writing in Foreign Affairs magazine, Mr Lynn described it as a “digital beachhead” to steal military secrets.


      Mr Lynn, a former defence lobbyist and military budget official under former President Bill Clinton, warned the Pentagon had to speed up the process by which it develops and acquires cyber defence kit.

    • Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested Over Anonymous Source

      About four months ago, Ed Felten blogged about a research paper in which Hari Prasad, Rop Gonggrijp, and I detailed serious security flaws in India’s electronic voting machines. Indian election authorities have repeatedly claimed that the machines are “tamperproof,” but we demonstrated important vulnerabilities by studying a machine provided by an anonymous source.

      The story took a disturbing turn a little over 24 hours ago, when my coauthor Hari Prasad was arrested by Indian authorities demanding to know the identity of that source.

    • Hotel raider caught red-handed after burglary escapes due to ‘lack of evidence’

      But they were forced to drop their haul when staff spotted the pair on CCTV and raised the alarm.

      The security video then captured the duo running through the hotel and jumping 15ft from a roof into the car park to escape.

      At that moment police arrived and arrested one of the offenders on suspicion of attempted burglary at the Hotel Rembrandt in Weymouth, Dorset.

      But hotel staff were shocked when they received a call from the police three days later to say they were dropping the case because of insufficient forensic evidence.

    • Look what I found at the bus stop

      …a CD containing the scans of 112 patient records taken from the Intensive Care Unit of New Cross Hospital’s Heart and Lung Unit in Wolverhampton.

    • Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans
    • Fixed Penalty Notices

      Prior to this I discussed FPNs on Radio 4, when I made it clear that FPNs are a way of disposing of a case without any admission of fault on the part of the person who takes them and no criminal record of any kind. Nevertheless, anecdotally I gather that they have wrongly been treated as such in our criminal courts when it comes to good character directions in trials and so forth.

  • Finance

    • Will Perpetrators of Financial Crimes Ever Face Justice?

      A review of the settlements shows an array of fraudulent and illegal actions.

      * Predatory, deceptive and abusive lending related to mortgages
      * Securities fraud, including creating investment vehicles designed to fail
      * Accounting fraud
      * Brokerage fraud
      * Bribery of government officials
      * Undisclosed conflict of interest in financial analysis and advice
      * Lying to shareholders and investors
      * Robbing consumers with abusive overdraft fees
      * Robbing homeowners by overcharging them by hundreds or thousands of dollars, when they were already in bankruptcy and foreclosure

      A review of cases reveals a pattern: no admission of wrongdoing, earnest promises to do a better job and a fine representing a fraction of the infraction. Because the fine is paid by shareholders, no one is held accountable and the whole incident is swept under the rug.

    • Lessons from the Bell, California Fiasco

      High government salaries means soaring pension costs that taxpayers cannot afford.

    • Leaked Documents Provide Glimpse Behind Baseball’s Financial Curtain

      From that, we know that the New York Yankees’ valuation sits at a cool $1.6 billion, with the average club worth just under $500 million.


      Maury Brown of the excellent Biz of Baseball blog has done a tremendous job of breaking down all the nitty gritty in the Deadspin exclusive. Here are some of the juicier tidbits:

      • Of the five teams who had their info leaked, only the Mariners didn’t make a profit in a given year, losing $4.5 million in 2008.

      • Thanks to the league’s generous revenue-sharing program, the Pirates received some $69 million from MLB over the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

      • As it relates to revenues received from concessions – which are typically run by outside entities, which then cut the team in on some percentage of the profits – the Marlins made $1.64 per fan in attendance last season.

      • The Pirates franchise, for all of its on-field ineptitude, invested some $44 million in player development over the ‘07 and ‘08 seasons.

      Don’t think MLB will sit idly back as this story develops.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Rise of Branded Journalism

      Once upon a time, the writers and analysts who covered Kaspersky Lab as it slogged towards victory against the likes of McAfee and Symantec included Dennis Fisher at eWeek, Paul Roberts at The451 Group, and Ryan Naraine of ZDNet. These men were among the top editors and analysts covering the anti-virus space of the day (2004–present).

      Now, each and every one of these highly credentialed gentlemen produce superb content for Kaspersky Lab — as employees. They are contributing to the Company’s well-regarded global IT Security news site, Threatpost. With talent like Fisher, Roberts and Naraine working the levers, Threatpost is, well, a legitimate threat to the ZDNet’s, CNet’s, and SC Magazine’s of the world…

    • Public Campaign, CMD & Media Matters Issue Joint Letter After News Corp.’s $1 Million Donation to Republican Governors Assoc.

      We are writing today to ask that the White House Correspondents Association reconsider its decision to allow Fox News Channel a front-row seat in the White House briefing room in light of reports that Fox News’ parent company, News Corp., has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association — a massive ethical lapse that demonstrates Fox News’ inability to function as an objective media institution.

      Media outlets are supposed to cover elections and issues to inform voters, not help to elect candidates who espouse certain positions. With so much News Corp. money invested in the election of Republican gubernatorial candidates, can Fox News be expected to disinterestedly cover those races or Republican politics in general?

    • Bill O’Reilly and the Fox-Comcast Crushing Machine

      Some felt the choice of O’Reilly was improper given his reputation for inflammatory rhetoric and bullying of people who disagree with him. One person who took exception to the award was Barry Nolan, host of another cable show produced by Comcast called “Backstage with Barry Nolan.” One month before the awards ceremony, Nolan emailed the Academy’s governing board and asked them to reconsider giving the award to O’Reilly. Nolan also made public his opposition to the award.

    • Bombastic TV Host Glenn Beck And Religious Right ‘Professor’ David Barton Team Up To Rewrite American History

      David Barton, a Texas-based Religious Right activist and self-styled historian, recently cited the Muhlenberg tale as evidence that Christian pastors were involved in “every aspect” of the founding.

      Unfortunately for Barton and his allies, the story is almost certainly untrue. No contemporary accounts of it exist. The tale first appeared in 1849 – long after Muhlenberg’s death – during a time when an influx of immigrants from Germany was eager to prove its loyalty by holding up a hero with genuine revolutionary credibility.

      Most likely, the tale is a “pious legend” designed to inflate the importance of a historical figure by underscoring his essential goodness. It’s akin to stories of the young George Washington refusing to tell a lie about that cherry tree.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • New Law to Stop Companies from Checking Facebook Pages in Germany

      Good news for jobseekers who like to brag about their drinking exploits on Facebook: A new law in Germany will stop bosses from checking out potential hires on social networking sites. They will, however, still be allowed to google applicants.

      Lying about qualifications. Alcohol and drug use. Racist comments. These are just some of the reasons why potential bosses reject job applicants after looking at their Facebook profiles.

      According to a 2009 survey commissioned by the website CareerBuilder, some 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. And some 35 percent of those employers had rejected candidates based on what they found there, such as inappropriate photos, insulting comments about previous employers or boasts about their drug use.

    • Julian Assange Gets The Bog Standard Smear Technique

      The Russians call it Kompromat – the use by the state of sexual accusations to destroy a public figure. When I was attacked in this way by the government I worked for, Uzbek dissidents smiled at me, shook their heads and said “Kompromat”. They were used to it from the Soviet and Uzbek governments. They found it rather amusing to find that Western governments did it too.

      Well, Julian Assange has been getting the bog standard Kompromat. I had imagined he would get something rather more spectacular, like being framed for murder and found hanging with an orange in his mouth. He deserves a better class of kompromat. If I am a whistleblower, then Julian is a veritable mighty pipe organ. Yet we just have the normal sex stuff, and very weak.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Madonna Slapped with Material Girl Lawsuit

      Talk about a fashion don’t! Madonna is being sued over the rights to use the “Material Girl” name for the trendy juniors clothing line that she designed with daughter Lourdes. Apparel manufacturer LA Triumph slapped the superstar with a lawsuit Thursday, claiming that it had been marketing clothes under the “Material Girl” brand since 1997.

    • Copyrights

      • Publishing Raymond Carver’s ‘Original’ Stories as ‘Fair Use’

        This is a paper on copyright law as it relates to the controversy of publishing Raymond Carver’s stories in their unedited form.

        The controversy arose when Raymond Carver’s widow, Tess Gallagher, expressed her desire to publish these stories because Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, had dramatically changed their character and style. Indeed, she claimed that these unedited stories represented the “real” Caver, whom she wished to reveal to the world. However, Carver’s estate no longer owns the copyrights to these stories.

        The issue is particularly interesting because the “original” versions of the stories are considerably different from the published versions as edited by Lish. Thus, there is some ambiguity as to whether they are covered by the copyright of the published stories; in essence, they are the building blocks of the published versions, and thus it is unclear whether they would be considered derivative works.

        These questions aside, this papers explores the role of an editor and various ways that editors receive recognition for their efforts. It then explores joint authorship under American law, and how the Carver situation would be different in a jurisdiction where moral rights are recognized. Finally, “fair use” is applied to to the particular facts to permit the revelation of Carver’s unedited oeuvre.

      • Pirates Not Liable For Violating Publicity Rights

        Jordan, whose real name is Ashley Gasper, claimed that the defendants wrongfully misappropriated his name and likeness by selling counterfeit DVDs featuring his “dramatic performances” and by using his name and likeness on the covers. The jury agreed with Jordan and awarded him approximately $2.85 million, including $2.5 million in punitive damages.

      • Samsung Blu-ray players won’t play Warner, Universal movies after firmware update, require a rollback

        As annoying as continuous Blu-ray player updates are, usually having the latest one is the best way to play more movies. Unfortunately the opposite was the case for Samsung (again) with the v2.09 update posted recently for its 2009 BD-Px600 line of players. Forum posters on CNET and AVSForum report the upgrade blocked them from playing Universal and Warner Bros. movies, which conveniently lock up after displaying the title image.

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