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Links 8/9/2010: GNU/Linux Market Share Debate, ACTA Meets Barriers

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Debunking the 1% Myth

      Additional confirmation of the growth in Linux desktop market share last year came from an unlikely source: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Using a slide to visualize OS market share Ballmer had Linux desktop market share as a slightly larger slice of the pie than MacOS. Nobody considers Apple insignificant on the desktop and neither is Linux. Here is, in part, what Mr. Ballmer had to say about Linux on the desktop and the competition for Windows:

      Linux, you could see on the slide, and Apple has certainly increased its share somewhat.


      I think depending on how you look at it, Apple has probably increased its market share over the last year or so by a point or more. And a point of market share on a number that’s about 300 million is interesting. It’s an interesting amount of market share, while not necessarily being as dramatic as people would think, but we’re very focused in on both Apple as a competitor, and Linux as a competitor.”

      Does anyone believe that Microsoft would see Linux as a serious competitor is Linux had captured just 1% of the market? That doesn’t seem very likely, does it? All the figures I have quoted so far represent sales of systems preloaded with a given operating system: Windows, MacOS or Linux. They do not represent actual usage. If you go down to the local brick and mortar computer shop or big box retailer, buy a system with Windows, wipe the hard drive and install Linux that still counts as a Windows system, not a Linux system.

    • Multiple Desktops

      If you run Linux and the KDE desktop environment, you can run up to 20 desktops. Each desktop would be distinct and enable you to do a specific task.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Videos from LinuxCon and end to maintenance of 2.4 and 2.6.27 nears

      Videos and presentations from LinuxCon and the Embedded Linux Conference provide information about the development status of Btrfs and about problems between kernel hackers and the makers of Android. With the latest stable kernels, Linux 2.6.34 has reached the end of its life; furthermore, there are signs that maintenance of 2.4 and 2.6.27 will soon be discontinued or reduced.

    • Linux Foundation details 2010 End User Summit programme

      The Linux Foundation has announced that this year’s End User Summit will take place on the 12th and 13th of October at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City in New Jersey. According to the foundation, the “Summit is a unique opportunity for the most advanced enterprise users to collaborate with leaders from within the Linux community, including the highest-level maintainers and developers.”

    • Assessing the Tux Strength: Part 1 – Userspace Memory Protection
    • Assessing the Tux Strength: Part 2 – Into the Kernel
    • Android/Linux kernel fight continues

      You could argue that Google’s Android, so popular on smartphones now, is the most popular Linux of all right now. There’s only one little problem with that: Android has continued to be apart from the Linux mainstream.

      People became aware of the Android and Linux split when Ryan Paul reported that “Google engineer Patrick Brady stated unambiguously that Android is not Linux.”

      Brady over-stated the case. Android is Linux. To be exact, version, 2.2, Froyo, runs on top of the 2.6.32 Linux kernel. To quote from the Android developer page, Dalvik, Android’s Java-based interface and user-space, uses the “Linux kernel for underlying functionality such as threading and low-level memory management.” Let me make it simple for you, without Linux, there is no Android.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Puts Out A Major Beta Linux Driver Update

        It was just one week ago that NVIDIA released a stable Linux driver update, but today for those wishing to live on the bleeding edge of NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver development, the first beta release in the 260.xx series is now available for testing. The NVIDIA 260.19.04 Linux driver brings a lot to the table.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Zorin 3 – A great distro for newbies

      Zorin aims to be a simple, friendly operating system for Linux newbies. Then again, all distros do that. They all aim to be simple and friendly. When you think about distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint or PCLinuxOS, you have pretty much everything you need. With a small degree of variations here and there, they all offer a complete experience out of the box. So there must be something extra that makes Zorin special.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Old Generals Never Die – They just Wear a Red Hat

        The Red Hat board of directors announced a new chairman Monday, August 30, to replace outgoing Matthew Szulik. Henry Hugh Shelton, retired Special Forces general, has been serving on the board since 2003 after leaving the elite Army division.

        Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO, said, “General Shelton is an individual of the utmost integrity. He has excelled in the numerous roles and positions held throughout his career and as a dedicated member of Red Hat’s board of directors for more than seven years. General Shelton possesses the right combination of leadership, experience and industry knowledge to help guide Red Hat toward achieving its future goals.”

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition Offers Faster Updates with Rougher Edges

        Previous versions of Linux Mint were based on Ubuntu releases, and users had to wait until the improvements and changes in Ubuntu’s new versions trickled their way “upstream” to Linux Mint. In the “Debian Edition,” changes and updates to the system and apps will flow constantly, so that users never really need to re-install their system.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu separatists

          I don’t understand the Ubuntu fanboi mentality to place Ubuntu apart from the underlying ecosystem that makes it possible. I’m not sure if Canonical encourages this behavior by downplaying how much they borrow (roughly 99%) and up-playing how much they create (roughly 1%) in an Ubuntu distribution, or if it is a side effect of the over-hyped rah-rah “OMG EVERYTHING TO DO WITH UBUNTU IS SO FREAKING AWESOME” cheerleading that permeates Ubuntu-land?

          I’m not sure how you can set up Ubuntu as a good community member while at the same time demand that other people drink from a different water fountain, but I guess we are going to see it attempted.

        • Exciting things in the post!

          A couple of months back Marcus and I got a call from a magazine in Japan who wanted to produce stickers for Ubuntu. We’d _just_ signed off the new logo and word mark and so we collaborated back and forth and finally yesterday the finished article arrived!

        • How Ubuntu Plays Nicely With Others: The Sponsorship Process

          Ubuntu developers have been busy in recent days discussing improvements to the package sponsorship process. Though this might seem at first glance like an esoteric technical topic that matters only to geeks, it fits into the larger picture of Ubuntu in important ways. Here’s why you should care.

          If you’re not an Ubuntu developer or some other kind of geek, chances are good that you don’t even know what sponsorship means in the context of Linux development. As the Ubuntu wiki explains, however, sponsorship is the process by which Ubuntu developers work with other programmers to upload their applications into the Ubuntu repositories, and to make sure they’re maintained properly once they’re there.

        • ‘Software Sources’ Disabled From The Ubuntu 10.10 System Menu

          Why? I didn’t see any discussion over this, but it seems Ubuntu is slowly removing all the “advanced” tools to make everything more user friendly (or at least that seems to be the purpose) – because let’s not forget that aptitude was removed from the default Ubuntu 10.10 installation and Synaptic is going to be removed in Ubuntu 11.04 and replaced by Ubuntu Software Center.

        • Ubuntu One Blog: Ubuntu One Maverick beta update

          Our team has been hard at work resolving them so I thought I’d provide a brief summary of a few of the most recent fixes.

        • A newbie tries to install Ubuntu
        • Official Ubuntu 10.10 Countdown banners revealed
        • Measuring the Value of Canonical’s Launchpad

          Without a doubt, Launchpad’s value has yet to be fully exploited. And with Canonical busy working on a variety of other fronts, Launchpad’s evolution over the years has been slow, if steady. Nonetheless, the website stands at the core of Canonical’s initiatives, while also underwriting many of the features vital to Ubuntu users–whether they realize it or not.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 beta review

          When the Ubuntu 10.10 beta was released on September 2nd, I decided to take a look at it and (briefly) the Kubuntu 10.10 beta as well. To put it through its paces I installed it on an Intel Core Duo machine with 2GB of RAM, a Dell Studio laptop with a Core i7 and 8GB of RAM, and also within VMware Workstation 7.1 for Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android marches forward as iOS slips

          Google’s Android army is marching bravely forward, while Apple’s iOS continues to rapidly lose market share.

          According to Quantcast, Android has put in a “powerful” performance, as measured by the share of mobile web consumption attributable to devices running Google’s operating system.

          Indeed, Android captured share from every major player during the month of August, achieving its best month share gain since November 2009 by capturing 25% of the US mobile market.

        • Google to start TV service in US this autumn

          Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room.

          CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of programme makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers.

        • Caution: Stay away from making your Android app free for a short time
        • Ex-Googler Aims for China’s Mobile Users

          The first is called Tapas, a smartphone operating system based on Google’s Android with a number of features tailored for Chinese users, including software that detects what cities incoming calls are from, syncs contact lists with popular Chinese social networks, and a music player that detects what songs users are listening to and displays the lyrics, karaoke style. It also includes an e-book reader that can be optimized for subway-reading.

        • Kid-Friendly Browser Zoodles Now Available for Android
    • Tablets

      • Is it Time to Take Your (Android) Tablets?

        Aside from this growing flood of new tablets – not quite one a day, even if it sometimes seems like it – there’s one other noteworthy feature of this Android tablet spreadsheet: the fact that it was put together collaboratively. It’s really an obvious approach to take to gathering comparative product information for fast-moving markets with lots of players from different regions.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Selectricity Source

    After a semi-recent thread on debian-devel, I poked around and realized that I’d never actually gotten around to formally announcing the release of source code for Selectricity, a piece of web-based election software designed to allow for preferential decision-making and to provide “election machinery for the masses.” Selectricity is useful for a range of decisions but it targets all those quick little decisions that we might want to decide preferentially but where running a vote would be overkill.

    Things were delayed through a drawn out set of negotiations with the MIT Technology Licensing Office over how to release the code under a free software license of my choosing. I was swamped when things finally came through. Over time, I managed to forget that I never did a formal announcement, never setup a mailing list, and never did all those things that I have tried to teach other people in the Free Software Project Management HOWTO. Code just sort of appeared on my website under the GNU Affero General Public License. It was until the debian-devel thread that I remembered I’d never made a formal announcement. Sorry about that!

  • Open Source WYSIWYG HTML Editor Using jQuery UI

    elRTE is an open-source WYSIWYG HTML-editor written in JavaScript using jQuery UI. It features rich text editing, options for changing its appearance, style and many more. You can use it in any commercial or non-commercial projects. elRTE has been tested in Firefox 3.5+, Internet Explorer 7 & 8, Safari 4, Opera 10 and Chrome.

  • The 6 dimensions of Open Source


    Very close to the political dimension, we are now seeing philosophic interest in open source software. The 20th century saw the creation of a consumer class with a new divide between those who produce and those who consume. This dissociated usage of technology is a self-destroying model, and contributing models (or participative production models) are considered to be the solution to fix our societies for the future. Be a producer and a consumer at the same time and be associated with technology rather than alienated by it. Open source is an early and highly successful manifestation of that.

  • JavaScript framework YUI 3.2 interprets gestures

    Version 3.2.0 of Yahoo’s JavaScript framework, known simply as YUI (Yahoo! User Interface), now supports touch events and gesture controls. Events as touchstart and touchend handle touch controls. YUI recognises flick, whereas developers had to program more complicated gestures like wipes with such events as gesturemovestart, gesturemove and gesturemoveend from scratch. Finger movements on the screen will be recognised as gestures, as will mouse driven device movements.

  • Teaching Open Source Practices, Version 4.0

    This donation gave birth to the Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS), where every year about 100 undergraduates receive stipends to work on open source projects.

    RCOS also identified a need to provide formal education on the practices of Open Source software, and crafted an elective course which has been taught for the last three years during the fall semester. The course is offered to EE and CS majors in particular.

  • Schillix 0.7.1i released with Illumos underneath

    The OpenSolaris distribution Schillix has released a version of its operating system which is based on the OpenSolaris fork Illumos. The new version, 0.7.1i, has no differences between it and the recently released version 0.7.0 which used the open source OpenSolaris Nevada build 147.

  • This is Why You Do It: Open Source Software Saves Charity

    We hear stories every day about open source software deployments in government, school districts, and big business. Its usefulness in saving a non-profit foundation trying to do good works is a great reminder of why many people choose to get involved in the FOSS community in the first place — to make software accessible to those who need it most.

  • Events

    • ELC 2010 videos

      Videos from the Embedded Linux Conference in San Francisco, April 12-14, 2010.

      The 2010 edition of the Embedded Linux Conference was once again a very interesting event. For embedded Linux developers, the Embedded Linux Conference is a perfect place to learn about new technologies, profit from the experience of other developers, and to meet key software developers.

      For people who couldn’t attend this conference, and for single core people who didn’t manage to attend two or three talks at the same time, here are the videos that we managed to shoot. As usual, the videos are released with a Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike 3.0 license.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Welcome to Mozilla Labs Gaming

        We are excited to present to you the latest initiative from Mozilla Labs: Gaming. Mozilla Labs Gaming is all about games built, delivered and played on the Open Web and the browser. We want to explore the wider set of technologies which make immersive gaming on the Open Web possible. We invite the wider community to play with cool, new tech and aim to help establish the Open Web as the platform for gaming across all your Internet connected devices.

        Modern Open Web technologies introduced a complete stack of technologies such as Open Video, audio, WebGL, touch events, device orientation, geo location, and fast JavaScript engines which make it possible to build complex (and not so complex) games on the Web. With these technologies being delivered through modern browsers today, the time is ripe for pushing the platform. And what better way than through games? Traditionally games and game developers have been at the forefront of technology, often pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible

      • Firefox and SeaMonkey updates released
      • Firefox 4.0 Beta 5 Arrives

        Today’s a big release day over at Mozilla. First it was a new version of the email client Thunderbird that has still not been announced officially. As of this minute, the Mozilla servers are being filled with new Firefox 4.0 Beta 5 releases. The distribution has not been completed yet, and it is likely that it will take at least a few hours before the official announcement is being made over at the Mozilla website.

  • Databases

    • First alpha for PostgreSQL 9.1 appears

      The PostgreSQL developers have released a first alpha of the PostgreSQL 9.1 with several new major features added since version 9.0′s development. PostgreSQL 9.0 was recently made available as a release candidate and will be finalised soon.

      Among the changes, SQL statements will now allow references to other columns without listing them in the GROUP BY clause, as long as the GROUP BY clause at least refers to primary keys; this should simplify forming more complex SQL statements with many columns referred to. Also added is a “CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS” function, useful when writing scripts to bootstrap a database.

    • CouchOne is the new name for Couchio

      The commercial company behind the Apache CouchDB project, Couchio, are changing their name to CouchOne. CouchDB creator and CEO of the company Damian Katz told The H that “It turns out our current name is not what you call good. Nobody knows how to punctuate or pronounce it and the top-level domain is really bad for search engines”. The name change is another part of the company’s refocussing of CouchDB on mobile devices and offering a mobile development kit for CouchDB.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle vs. Google, not a private rant

      Somebody said this is just the first instalment of a massive and lethal attack on Free Software by Oracle, and accordingly I would be the Neville Chamberlain (or perhaps the Benito Mussolini) in the imminent Oracle vs. Free World War. Scary, but just a few think this can be the true story. Others have just pointed out that Oracle is a corporation, corporations make money, it just makes sense that if there is a revenue stream, the corporation just goes for it, regardless the collateral damages. I find this idea more compatible with the current scenario, but it would be equally scary. Also this could lead to a number of actions, perhaps fewer of them, but equally scary. I cannot entirely rule out that this is the case, absent a binding commitment by the company, and it would silly of me putting my neck on such a bet under the current circumstances.

    • FSF responds to Oracle v. Google and the threat of software patents

      Now Oracle’s lawsuit threatens to undo all the good will that has been built up in the years since. Programmers will justifiably steer clear of Java when they stand to be sued if they use it in some way that Oracle doesn’t like. One of the great benefits of free software is that it allows programs to be combined in ways that none of the original developers would’ve anticipated, to create something new and exciting. Oracle is signaling to the world that they intend to limit everyone’s ability to do this with Java, and that’s unjustifiable.

      Unfortunately, Google didn’t seem particularly concerned about this problem until after the suit was filed. The company still has not taken any clear position or action against software patents. And they could have avoided all this by building Android on top of IcedTea, a GPL-covered Java implementation based on Sun’s original code, instead of an independent implementation under the Apache License. The GPL is designed to protect everyone’s freedom—from each individual user up to the largest corporations—and it could’ve provided a strong defense against Oracle’s attacks. It’s sad to see that Google apparently shunned those protections in order to make proprietary software development easier on Android.

  • BSD

    • BSD and LINUX

      In order to download the magazine you need to sign up to our newsletter. After clicking the “Download” button, you will be asked to provide your email address. You need to verify your email address using the link from the activation email you will receive. If you already subscribed to our list, you will be asked to provide your email address each time you download the magazine. No activation email will be sent and you should see the link for download.

  • Project Releases

    • Remake – Version 0.2

      I am proud to announce new version of “Remake” – unified build system for animation projects. It’s purpose to automatically track changes in your project files and update rendered footage.

  • Government

    • Gov2.0 Presentation: An Open Government Scorecard

      I have to admit it was a real challenge to present an “Open Government Scorecard” in the 10 minutes I had allotted to me but as I prepared my remarks I found that the time constraint really made me focus. There were a number of disappointments that I have in the President’s record that I didn’t mention, such as his calling for — but not acting upon – a centralized database for earmarks, or his promises to push for lobbying reform that has never materialized — but I hit some of the major concerns that I and my colleagues at Sunlight have with the Open Government Directive, Recovery.gov, Data.gov, and USA Spending.gov. (Tomorrow I’ll talk more about our ongoing analysis of the data on that site.)

    • Look Who’s Blogging about Open Source Software…

      It’s clear we’re no longer in, er, Canterbury when a Vice-President of the European Commission not only has a blog, but uses it to write about this:

      I should have mentioned this yesterday, but was in Strasbourg for European Parliament debates and Jose Manuel Barrosso’s State of the Union address.

      We have great news: EU funded open source software can now be downloaded to preserve digital data for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

    • US government shouldn’t fear foreign participation in Forge.gov

      In a recent blog post, Red Hat public sector strategist Gunnar Hellekson described several of the challenges posed by Forge.mil and explained why it’s important for Forge.gov to be operated as a more inclusive environment. Various security considerations made it necessary for Forge.mil to be developed as a relatively closed ecosystem, one which is only accessible to DoD employees, contractors, and others who have a DoD Common Access Card. The isolation obviously precludes public participation and leads to military-only forks of mainstream public open source projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Open High School of Utah Releases Open Educational Curriculum Under CC BY

      The Open High School of Utah is a public online charter high school. As DeLaina Tonks, OHSU’s Director, told us in an interview a few weeks ago, “The objective behind creating open content is to create free and simple access to knowledge and information through collaboration and innovation. The OHSU mission dovetails nicely with that of open education because we are among the first, if not the first, secondary school to create our own OER curriculum and share it worldwide.”

    • Open Source Research

      why tax-funded research should be in the public domain

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content


  • Search: now faster than the speed of type

    Search as you type. It’s a simple and straightforward idea—people can get results as they type their queries. Imagining the future of search, the idea of being able to search for partial queries or provide some interactive feedback while searching has come up more than a few times. Along the way, we’ve even built quite a few demos (notably, Amit Patel in 1999 and Nikhil Bhatla in 2003). Our search-as-you-type demos were thought-provoking—fun, fast and interactive—but fundamentally flawed. Why? Because you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]). You really want search-before-you-type—that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.

  • Live From Google’s Search Event: The Importance Of Fast

    Over the last 24 hours there’s been a significant buildup to a special Google event that’s being held this morning at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. The search giant is clearly excited: Google featured a kinetic logo on its homepage yesterday, and they now have a logo that went live last night hints at live updating search. The event is about to kick off, and it’s sure to bring some big news. We’ll be live blogging it below and will also be writing individual posts calling out the biggest news. You can watch a live stream of the event here.

  • Piers Morgan to replace host Larry King on CNN network

    Former newspaper editor and Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan will replace TV presenter Larry King on the US network CNN, it has been announced.

    Morgan’s selection as King’s replacement had been widely expected for the past few months.

    CNN president Jon Klein said Morgan can “look at all aspects of the news with style and humour with an occasional good laugh in the process”.

  • Has Rupert Murdoch’s paywall gamble paid off?

    Faced with a collapse in traffic to thetimes.co.uk, some advertisers have simply abandoned the site. Rob Lynam, head of press trading at the media agency MEC, whose clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Orange, Morrisons and Chanel, says, “We are just not advertising on it. If there’s no traffic on there, there’s no point in advertising on there.” Lynam says he has been told by News International insiders that traffic to The Times site has fallen by 90 per cent since the introduction of charges. “That was the same forecast they were giving us prior to registration and the paywall going up, so whether it’s a reflection on reality or not, I don’t know.”

  • Rupert Murdoch’s Paywall Disaster: Readers, Advertisers, Journalists & Publicists All Hate It
  • Wikipedia, if it were run by academic experts, would look like this
  • Science

    • DARPA alters the speed of light

      Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have found a way to change the speed of light — very, very slightly.

      The boffins have developed a prototype photonic microchip that uses light instead of electrons to transmit data. The chip uses quantum effects to slow down or stop photons, allowing the device to operate at speeds and efficiencies similar to fiber optic links. Such developments could lead to smaller, faster computers, sensors and communications systems that can overcome the limitations of current electronics, according to scientists.

    • Asteroid buzzes Earth; another one coming

      A small asteroid passed within the moon’s distance from the Earth on Wednesday morning, and another will do likewise later in the day, space watchers say.

      The double encounter is an unusual event that shows the need for closer monitoring of near space for Earth-threatening encounters, according to NASA.

      The objects don’t pose a threat to Earth, and they will not be visible to the naked eye, said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Program, which tracks potentially hazardous asteroids and comets within 28 million miles of Earth.

    • Quantum computing – separating hope from hype
    • How and why telephones are going to get a whole lot better
  • Security/Aggression

    • Sussex police try new tactic to relieve snappers of pics

      The problem of police decision-making on who is permitted to take photographs of what is highlighted again in a disturbing incident at the weekend, where film was seized at an anti-fascist protest in Brighton.

    • China in Kashmir???

      This should elicit more attention than it’s been getting; Selig Harrison asserts that the Chinese have between 7,000 and 11,000 soldiers in Pakistan-held Kashmir. The Chinese have had military in and out of the area since they built the Karakorum Highway as far as Gilgit, but so many is abnormal.

    • Police seize protesters film

      A police evidence bag with film shot by local man Glenn Williams of an anti-fascist protest. The film cassette was seized by police on the street under Section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 on Monday 30 August 2010 Brighton, England.

    • Long Island Man Arrested For Defending Home With AK-47

      He was arrested for protecting his property and family.

      But it’s how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.

    • High-tech carts will tell on Cleveland residents who don’t recycle … and they face $100 fine

      It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.

      The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP spreads blame over oil spill

      In the 193-page internal report released on its website, BP said that decisions made by “multiple companies and work teams” contributed to the accident, which it said arose from “a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgements, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces”.

    • BP report spreads blame across Gulf spill actors

      BP’s investigation found that Halliburton used a “likely unstable” cement mix that was not fully tested before it was used. Mark Bly, BP’s head of safety and operations, said in a video accompanying the report that Halliburton “did not conduct comprehensive lab tests that could’ve identified potential problems with the cement.”

      But he added, “We believe that BP and Halliburton working together should have better identified and addressed the issues underlying the cement job.”

  • Finance

    • World Bank on Land Grabs: It’s All Good Unless You’re African, a Woman, Disempowered, or Poor

      The World Bank’s long-awaited report on land grabs is out. I’ve not had time to study it – I only found out an hour ago – but here are some first impressions.

      First, the Bank doesn’t call them land-grabs. Unable to come up with a suitably technical alternative to describe the process whereby the poor are kicked off the land when the rich buy up the ground beneath their feet, the Bank refers instead to ‘global interest in farm land’. It’s a neat euphemism. When you say, “thou shalt not be interested in your neighbour’s ox”, it doesn’t sound nearly as bad does it?

      The Bank report is entitled “Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?. The titular question is also a bit of a stretch. Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? Well, almost anything can have good if unintended benefits:book burning might encourage people to go to bookshops more and, while they’re looking for kindling, develop an interest in literature; bombing Iraq might propagate curiosity about Mesopotamian scholarship, and so on. It’s unlikely, but it might happen. A more telling question is Has Land Grabbing In Fact Yielded Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? To that question, the Bank provides answers. But you’d never know from reading the Bank’s own spin.

      If you look at the press release, you’ll see quotes from Klaus Deininger – the Bank’s resident free-market-in-land fundamentalist. He says things like “A consistent finding across regions is that better-defined land rights helped in many instances to improve efficiency and equity.” If, in other words, everyone knew what was going on when there were land grabs, there tended to be more equity. Goodness. Deininger also offers this rather cryptic quote: “Figure out a country’s niche and competitive advantage, then investors can help you achieve your goal. They know technology and other things, but you can often get a much better bargain – and investments will be sustainable only if everybody benefits.” I’m not really sure what he’s saying here, but it sounds informed and technical.

    • Q&A: Michael Lewis Talks About the Banks That Brought Down Greece

      Michael Lewis: [Laughs.] Yes, Greece is made for a Jonathan Franzen novel. There are no happy countries any more. Financially speaking, unhappy countries do seem to all be different in their own way. The thing that interests me (in what looks like is going to become a series) is that the raw event seems to be the same in each place: make credit available for people who would never have qualified for it before. How each of the cultures responds to this credit tells you so much about the society in general. Specifically, within the context of Europe, it communicates how different these cultures are that have been glued together by their monetary system. These differences are more riveting than you might have expected, given that global finance has this monocultural flavor to it, where everything seems to be sort of the same from place to place. Although the bankers in Greece kind of look like the bankers in Iceland, who kind of look like the bankers in the United States, in fact they’re not. They are still financially radically different. In a word, yes.

    • EU Probes Hidden Greek Deals as 400% Yield Gap Shows Doubt

      Four months after the 110 billion- euro ($140 billion) bailout for Greece, the nation still hasn’t disclosed the full details of secret financial transactions it used to conceal debt.

    • What does Goldman Sachs Do?

      According to public records of Goldman’s financial filings, only a tenth of its revenues came from investment banking last year and more than three-fourths from trading for its own account.

      In this video, the first in a two part series about unraveling the profit puzzle at Goldman, Economic Correspondent Paul Solman talks to industry insiders and former Goldman executives to find out the real scoop.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Virginia court: Police can use GPS to track suspect

      The same GPS technology that motorists use to get directions can be used by police without a warrant to track the movements of criminal suspects on public streets, the Virginia Court of Appeals said Tuesday.

      In a case that prompted warnings of Orwellian snooping by the government, the court unanimously ruled that Fairfax County Police did nothing wrong when they planted a GPS device on the bumper of a registered sex offender’s work van without obtaining a warrant.

    • ACLU Challenges Laptop Searches and Seizures at the Border

      Today, the ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s claimed authority to search, detain, and copy electronic devices — including laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc. — at the country’s international borders without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • INDECT – privacy ethics in a secret project

      The INDECT Project, funded with almost 11 million euros, aims to research on “Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment” but was qualified by The Telegraph last year as the “‘Orwellian’ artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for ‘abnormal behaviour’”.

      Following the article, a lot of public pressure was put from media, civil society and the European Parliament. MEPs addressed to the European Commission 10 questions in the past year related to the project and its privacy ethics.

    • EFF’s E-Book Buyer’s Guide to Privacy v2
    • Groups Urge Craigslist To Eliminate Foreign Adult Services Ads

      Four anti-sex trafficking groups Tuesday praised Craigslist.org for shutting down its adult services ads in the United States but urged the online classifieds ad provider to eliminate similar ads offered on its foreign websites.

      After coming under fire from the groups and 18 state attorneys general who claim the company’s adult ads help promote prostitution, Craigslist this weekend abruptly shut down its adult services ads section on its U.S. website and replaced it with the words “censored.”

    • Future of the Internet Symposium: Lessons in Designing for Privacy

      There is a solution that, though I hesitate to call it generative, would preserve the generativity of the social web: design for social signaling. An example helps illustrate the type of signaling I’m referring to. A social network with photo sharing could easily enable an option to “disallow other users from tagging me in photos” that would technically prevent a metatag with my name from being attached to a photo. This is effectively designing for privacy enforcement. Instead what I would love to see is an option to “notify other users of my preference not to be tagged in photos” that would cause a notification to appear when a friend tried to tag me in a photo, telling him that I prefer not to be tagged.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leggo My Likeness, Part Deux: Does Starcraft II Violate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Right of Publicity?

      As comedian Myq Kaplan says, “There’s a spectrum of dorkery from people who use words like dorkery and those who do not.” When Starcraft II was released on July 23, I was one of the millions of uberdorks around the world whose preorder instantly made it the fastest and best-selling computer game of 2010. As an additional testament to my dorkery, I soon thereafter identified a myriad of legal issues with the game.

      Number one, the game destroys graphics cards (especially in laptops) because Activision-Blizzard forgot to include a framerate cap. This small oversight caused thousands of graphics cards like mine to overheat and die during game play. Huge potential for a class-action lawsuit? Possibly, but not very interesting, academically.

    • Twitter Makes Another Run For “Tweet”, “Twitter” Trademarks

      Twitter co-founder Biz Stone promptly clarified the situation in a blog post, stating that it has “no intention of ‘going after’ the wonderful applications and services that use the word [tweet] in their name when associated with Twitter.”

    • Using Google Books To Remove Access To Public Domain Books
    • Public Domain Parasites #2
    • Copyrights

      • Sharron Angle hit with lawsuit

        In a lawsuit filed Friday, Las Vegas-based Righthaven LLC says the Nevada Republican Senate nominee has violated copyright laws by posting two newspapers stories in their entirety on her campaign website.

      • Australian Judge Rules There Is No Copyright In Headlines

        Australia’s federal court has ruled that there is no copyright in newspaper headlines.

        The decision has far-reaching implications for publishers who are seeking to seal off their editorial content from people who do not pay for access to their online material.

        The court dismissed a copyright claim by one of the country’s leading newspaper groups, Fairfax Media, over headlines in its title, the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

      • No ‘Glee’ over no royalties

        Sources tell us Sony CEO Ralph Schmidt-Holtz struck a big soundtrack deal with “Glee” executive producer Ryan Murphy, but the cast — who have sold more than a million albums — were somehow cut out.

        “The ‘Glee’ cast is furious because they feel they were misled by Sony,” a source said. “They have all complained to Ryan that they want a bigger share of the royalties.”

      • Law Firm Puts In Mysterious Offer To Buy Leading Torrent Sites

        The Winnipeg-based law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP has put in offers to acquire several of the largest BitTorrent sites behalf of an unnamed client, TorrentFreak has learned. Although the true source behind the offers has not been officially confirmed, all leads point to a familiar name.

      • P2P Gambling Site is Illegal Bookmaker–Betcha v. Washington

        Betcha is one of those too-clever-by-half dot com ideas that practically beg VCs to roll the dice. Rather than allow illegal gambling on its site, Betcha styles itself as a P2P betting platform. Effectively, it is a messaging service for people making bets with each other, where Betcha charges the parties to talk with each other. Betcha also escrows the wager, but it allows the losing bettor to renege. Exercising that right, however, has bad reputational consequences that I suspect are tantamount to on-site seppuku.

      • Die-Hard Fans Follow Iron Maiden Into the Digital Age

        As music sales plunge and record companies face the future with angst, so-called Maiden heads are still flocking to record stores. Like the band’s zombie mascot, Eddie the Head, Iron Maiden refuses to die, and its continued vitality may offer the troubled music industry some tips on survival.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Conspiracy Theory

          The latest round in the ACTA talks has finished and KEI (Knowledge Ecology International) has released the leaked version of the text, which seems somewhat toned down. Still, it isn’t over yet. Nor is this an official version.

          Obviously the USTR (United States Trade Representative) is aware that there have been many ACTA leaks. It is reasonable to assume that the people who have leaked the ACTA documents have been as concerned about ACTA’s attempt to make an end run around democracy as I am. Leaking the ACTA documents has been a very risky undertaking with serious consequences if caught. Yet there have been many such leaks.

        • ACTA Action
        • Treaty Negotiators Turn To “ACTA Lite” In Hopes Of Closure

          The most obvious change made headlines throughout internet publications: out of the text are liability exemptions and conditions to make internet service providers eligible for such exemptions. The respective paragraph has been cut from Chapter 2, Section Four: “special measures related to technological enforcement of intellectual property in the digital environment.”

          Remaining in the digital environment section that has shrunken from five to three pages is a general request to ACTA partners to provide for civil and criminal measures to allow action against IP infringers in the digital environment. Enforcement measures in the text would allow protection against infringements like “unlawful file sharing and unlawful streaming,” the new draft version reads. Also still in place are measures against anti-circumvention technology and manipulation of or tampering with electronic rights management information.

        • ACTA Declaration – You Did It!

          Many thanks to everyone who joined me calling MEPs this morning – we did it!

        • Why ACTA is Not a Victimless Treaty

          Now, think about what this is saying: that the FBI could help many more victims of these appalling crimes, but can’t, simply because they don’t have the resources to do so. Now, consider the effects of ACTA, which will add a whole new set of responsibilities that the FBI and others will be required to shoulder.

          To be sure, there may be some increase in funding, but the way these things usually work is that politicians grandstand about all the amazing laws/treaties they have pushed through, but omit to mention that they don’t fully fund them (because that would mean tax rises or cuts elsewhere).

          That leaves the FBI and others being stretched even more thinly, forced to pursue counterfeits of varying seriousness. But worst of all, if the current ACTA text is any indication, they will be forced to spend time trying to stop file sharing, an impossible and hence pointless task.

        • And, Of Course, ACTA Leaks: Some Good, Plenty Of Bad
        • European Parliament Vs. ACTA: Rejection is the only option

          The adoption by the European Parliament of Written Declaration 12 opposing the ACTA agreement sends a strong political signal. European Commission shows its will to quickly conclude the negotiations of this agreement that includes harmful provisions for fundamental rights. ACTA aims at circumventing democracy to impose now and later repressive legislation through secret negotiations. The European Parliament now has a unique occasion to firmly oppose it.

        • European Parliament All But Rejects ACTA
        • EU Parliament Rejects ACTA: Will It Matter?
        • European Parliament passes anti-ACTA declaration

          Today 377 members of the European Parliament adopted a written declaration on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in which they demand greater transparency, assert that ISPs should not up end being liable for data sent through their networks, and say that ACTA “should not force limitations upon judicial due process or weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy.”

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)

  2. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats

  3. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC

  4. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography

  5. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)

  6. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day

  7. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)

  8. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)

  9. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day

  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022

  11. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day

  12. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"

  13. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day

  14. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini

  15. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”

  16. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?

  17. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products

  18. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day

  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022

  20. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day

  21. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."

  22. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)

  23. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)

  24. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!

  25. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)

  26. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day

  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022

  28. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying

  29. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day

  30. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)

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