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Gizmodo Glorifies Patent Trolls, Oracle Nods to Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Gizmodo sells out to Microsoft’s patent troll; Oracle pays NetApp for alleged software patents relating to the Open Source (ish) ZFS

JUST OVER A WEEK ago, someone in our IRC channels mentioned Gizmodo selling out to Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll which is groomed by Bill Gates, Microsoft, and Apple (all are founding and/or funding sources). We were going to post a rebuttal to Gizmodo, but decided it would be better to just never give attention to that puff piece. TechDirt has just caught up with this embarrassment at Gizmodo and responded by blaming “PR”.

A bunch of folks have been sending over this somewhat ridiculous love letter to Intellectual Ventures written up at Gizmodo (a site that usually is a lot more on the ball than what this post shows), which basically takes all of IV and Nathan Myhrvold’s favorite talking points (many of which make little sense) and simply parrots them back, acting as if the company is some sort of Willy Wonka chocolate factory of invention — but leaving out the hundreds of millions of dollars companies pay up as a sort of “don’t sue us tax,” and the incredibly sketchy nature of the over 1,000 shell companies set up by the firm and the entirely secret nature of many of its business dealings. Instead, the guy at Gizmodo is wowed by the fact that the company has computer hackers trying to cure cancer.


Why would that be mistaken? The article doesn’t say. Instead, the writer just seems wowed by the fact that IV has lots of old scientific equipment. What a shame. It would be nice if someone actually asked Myhrvold and his crew some actual tough questions, rather than fawning over the fact he once dug up dinosaur bones.

Nathan Myhrvold’s foolish patents are currently being promoted by Gates, for profit. It’s a mostly untold story, but one which we covered several times before. The above is yet another story of success in exploiting the media — convincing it to tell fairy tales, thanks to an army of PR agencies just like Gates’. Gizmodo should hang its head in shame for playing along with it. Just over a month ago Groklaw alleged that Gizmodo was getting close to Microsoft because it was riling people up against Apple and praised Microsoft projects at the same time.

Intellectual Ventures not only has a lot of PR with which to deceive the press; it also spends a lot of money lobbying governments, pushing for the obvious policies (allowing patent trolls, software patents, and so forth). Recently we showed how New Zealand’s patent law got subverted by foreign lobbyists, only for changes to eventually be reversed in some sense, as also explained in this new legal analysis.

Moving on to something a little different, Phandroid has this new article which characterises Palm as a gold mine of software patents, which is probably true.

After we figured HP was just about done with Android after their acquisition of Palm (which gave them full access to webOS and tons of neat software patents), rumors began swirling that those earlier suspicions were a tad bit preemptive and that HP still had plans to bring out an Android tablet.

It wasn’t long ago that Android came under a lawsuit from Oracle, not just from Apple (whose CEO is a close friend of Oracle’s CEO). Apple itself threatened Palm using patents and it is said to have withdrawn from ZFS because as we explained last year, patents killed ZFS to an extent. NetApp's aggression was a major factor and not much has changed because NetApp is now harassing Coraid for its use of ZFS. Watch how Oracle sells ZFS down the river, unlike Sun (paying ZFS so very submissively). That’s just another new example of software patents endorsement at Oracle:

IDG says: “Storage vendor NetApp said Thursday it has reached an agreement with Oracle to dismiss patent litigation stemming from a 2007 suit NetApp filed against Sun Microsystems, which.Oracle acquired earlier this year. Terms were not disclosed.” NetApp’s founder speaks at Oracle OpenWorld 2010, so it seems like an amicable resolution.

“[N]ot much to celebrate in this settlement,” said to us FurnaceBoy, a Solaris/ZFS expert. Legitimising software patents is possibly what Oracle does here, so the FSF’s denouncement of Oracle for its unnecessary patent aggression [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] comes at a fairly good time.

IRC Proceedings: September 9th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

As Windows XP Officially Dies, Linux Will Rise

Posted in GNU/Linux, Vista 7, Windows at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

HP Slate - Steve Balmer holds GNU/Linux

Original photo here, fair use for humour purposes

Summary: The worst nightmare of GNU/Linux on the desktop starts walking the plank (6 weeks to go)

Windows XP has been Microsoft’s weapon against GNU/Linux adoption. We have given many examples of ways in which Microsoft dumped XP on the markets where GNU/Linux gained significant traction. The thing about Vista 7 is, just like Vista it won’t run on older hardware, so this expiry of XP’s life — with caveats — really is a blessing to free platforms such as GNU/Linux. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes about the dates today:

Now, Microsoft is getting ready to pull the plug on Windows XP sales. No! Really! They mean it this time. Would they lie to you?

Just because Microsoft has extended XP sales over and over again doesn’t mean that they’ll keep selling XP forever. Well, yes, they are supporting XP for years more to come, but this time — cross their hearts and hope to die — Microsoft really is killing XP sales on Oct. 22, 2010. Some companies, noticeably Dell, are pulling the plug on XP even sooner.

Trying to keep it alive for some form factors only makes Windows look bad compared to GNU/Linux and Vista 7 has been rejected for use on many devices, e.g. Slate, which are better off with Linux (MeeGo, Android, WebOS, and also Ubuntu sometimes).

Windows Presentation Foundation is Dying/Dead, Silverlight Might be Too, So Microsoft Tries to Bastardise HTML5

Posted in Microsoft, Standard at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Internet address

Summary: Microsoft’s attempt to override the Web with its proprietary software has failed, but now it is trying to hijack HTML5 and make it proprietary

WITHOUT going into the details about Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which we wrote about dozens of times before, let it be known that it’s more or less dead now, so it can quite safely be added to the large pile of dead Microsoft products.

Despite the smears we got for forecasting Silverlight’s death, we were quite right apparently, as Silverlight struggles against HTML5 even within Microsoft [1, 2]. As Microsoft's friend put it today:

Microsoft to embrace and extend HTML 5?

Microsoft watchers are poring over a series of Twitter posts from former Silverlight Product Manager Scott Barnes, now a user experience specialist at Australian development consultants Readify.

According to Barnes, just back from a week of briefings at Microsoft, there is intense internal debate about the future of HTML 5, newly implemented in the forthcoming Internet Explorer 9, and the Silverlight plug-in. He tweeted:

“Right now there’s a faction war inside Microsoft over HTML5 vs Silverlight. oh and WPF is dead.. i mean..it kind of was..but now.. funeral.”

WPF is Windows Presentation Foundation, the rich user interface framework that was originally intended to become the primary GUI API for Windows Vista, but was sidelined when Vista development was “reset” in 2004, and does not feature strongly in Windows 7. “There’s no-one working on it beyond minor touch-ups,” says Barnes.


“HTML5 is the replacement for WPF.. IE team want to fork the HTML5 spec by bolting on custom windows APi’s via JS/HTML5”

This would be a classic “embrace and extend” strategy, encouraging developers to create Windows-specific HTML 5 applications, though Microsoft risks losing the goodwill IE9 is generating for its support of web standards among people like Opera’s Molly Holzschlag, who said in March that Microsoft’s new browser “will kick butt”.

Microsoft is already pretending to have embraced SVG [1, 2] while actually harming it. Let us watch carefully what Microsoft does inside the W3C [1, 2].

Links 9/9/2010: Debian-based Linux Mint in Review, Android Passes 80,000 Apps

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The Key to a Successful Linux Conversion

      People are resistant to change. This is a fact and it is not going to change any time soon. Because of this they will not want their entire computer to change on them all at once. An important fact that a lot Linux Advocates miss is that the conversion to Linux starts on Windows or OSX.

  • Server

    • HPC meets cloud computing with Dell’s new server

      The company announced the PowerEdge C6105 rack-mount server, which can accommodate up to 48 processor cores in a 2U box. The server can create large clusters to run scientific or math applications, and can also scale performance in densely packed cloud-computing environments, company officials said.

    • PCI DSS Standards 2.0 Means Good News For Linux Xen VPS

      Of the 12 new changes to the standards, the best part of the new PCI DSS rules is a change to rule 2.2.1, which specifically allows for virtualization. Such as using a VPS running Linux with Xen. Instead of having just 1 function per server, they now specify you can have multiple virtual servers on one physical server, each performing separate functions. Prior to this the Payment Card Industry, didn’t specifically allow or disallow the use of VPS, and their rule on it, was open to interpretation, and your security team would need to make a judgement call if they thought you will still be in compliance by using Xen, or any other VPS. You will still need at least 2 physical servers, as your database server must be behind a hardware firewall, but you can have web on 1 VPS, email on another, DNS on a third, etc.

      Some people argue that using a VPS is less secure, because you risk having the main server hacked, and then in turn all the VPSs running on it are compromised. However SSH is probably the only port you would have open on the main server, plus that should have an ACL denying all traffic except from one or a couple IPs, it would really be very very rare if were to happen, and it seems like the PCI DSS Council realized that too.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • How to Oxidize KDE 3.5

        As far as putting current software on old computers, this is something to look out for, and (if I say so myself) the theming of KDE 3.5 to look like KDE 4 looks pretty convincing to the untrained eye and makes the desktop (in terms of speed, stability, and appearance) look thoroughly modern.

      • KDE 4.5 Desktop Activities Bring New Meaning to Organization

        KDE 4.5 brings to the table plenty of useful, functional, innovative features. One of those very features is the Desktop Activity. Although many scoffed at the idea (even tried to get the feature pulled), those same naysayers are (hopefully) glad their requests were not followed. Why? The KDE Desktop Activities feature is a great new desktop metaphor that takes the Linux desktop to new levels of organization.

        Prior to Desktop Activities a user could have multiple desktops (thanks to the ever-present KDE pager). You could use one desktop for productivity, one for networking, one for graphics, one for fun, or whatever categories you needed. This was a great way to keep yourself organized. The KDE team saw something that no one else seemed to see — that the Pager idea could be greatly improved.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Chakra Jaz (0.2.1)

        Chakra Linux is a new distribution based on Arch Linux. Chakra Linux comes from the people behind the KDEmod(Modularized KDE). Arch Linux is one of my favorite distribution as it offered a fast, stable distribution with the latest packages(rolling release). I used KDEmod with Arch as the customizations and modularization was better than the vanilla KDE provided by Arch.


        The developers of Chakra have done a great job with their custom scripts. Chakra Linux is still in early stages of development, and it needs some improvements especially in the following areas.

        * Package Management (GUI, packages and dependencies)
        * Installer(Partitioning)

        If you are looking for an easy way to setup a Arch based distribution, then Chakra would be an ideal way. If you have a fair amount of experience with Arch, then I would highly recommend Chakra. If you are a basic user then you may need to wait for a little longer for a perfect Chakra experience.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • HeliOS Store opens to fund the HeliOS Project

        We recently received a huge donation from Dell. It wasn’t computers or monitors but boxes and boxes of stuff we probably will never use. But that’s not to say that it isn’t valuable to someone else. With that in mind, The HeliOS Project has established a presence on Amazon and Ebay. Since Ebay and Paypal are joined at the hip, our preferred way of doing business is through Amazon.

      • yes we can

        There is no way to have an official Debian Facebook page and pretend that we are not, de facto, endorsing Facebook. That’s why I believe having official Debian presence on Facebook, or on any other non Free Software platform, will just weaken our cause. It will send out the message that Free Software it’s something which is good for others to use, but not necessarily for Debian as a project.

      • Can Debian achieve world domination without being on Facebook?

        Facebook is not very popular among free software hackers. When I announced my Facebook page on identi.ca (see here) I got a few replies suggesting it was odd for me to use Facebook.

      • Freedom Box Project
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Charactersets
        • UbuntuOne gets better

          Cloud storage services offers Ubuntu users an ever increasing range of features

          Most users have heard of Dropbox, the online storage application which makes it easy to save files in the “cloud”. As far as consumer-facing cloud storage solutions Dropbox is about the best there is.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint (Debian)

            Summary: An excellent alternative version of Linux Mint for those who prefer a rolling distro to the usual Ubuntu based versions of Linux Mint.

            Rating: 4/5

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition – 1st Impression

            So without further delay, let’s talk about Mint…

            1 – Boot Time – Nothing new, fast as hell…
            2 – Kernel – 2.6.32 – Same as Ubuntu 10.04
            3 – Speed – same as 1
            4 – Update Manager – ok, not very intrusive with all the updates and the wonderful Mint level for update, very nice for beginners
            5 – My samba share appeared on Nautilus and network
            6 – Software: F-spot, Gimp, Thunderbird, Pidgin!!!!!, VLC!!!!!!, MintNanny (it would come very useful for me soon), Giver (file share), root terminal, Openoffice….. Yes, they are better than Ubuntu at choosing packages
            7 – Well, everything else, just like regular Mint, very very nice……

          • Linux Mint Based On Debian Released – And It’s A Rolling Distribution!

            Rolling release means you won’t have to upgrade / do a clean install each time a new Linux Mint Debian version is released to be able to use the latest software versions. As an example: Ubuntu 10.04 shipped with VLC 1.0.x and you cannot and will not be able to install VLC 1.1.x in Ubuntu 10.04 from the official repositories. The only way to install VLC 1.1.x in Ubuntu 10.04 is to use a PPA or upgrade to Ubuntu 10.10. That will not be the case with Linux Mint Debian – you will get updates for all your applications without having to install the latest Linux Mint Debian version.

          • Review: Kubuntu 10.04 Trinity “Lucid Lynx” (Idea by Candid of Linux Today)

            I think Trinity will be able to find a home on many old computers as a viable alternative to LXDE and Xfce; it’s fast, and it’s customizable enough to be quite a looker (as I don’t particularly care for the default look). I wish the developers the best of luck regarding the project’s progress; more choice is always better. I would certainly recommend this to anyone who wants some way to stick with KDE 3.5 or some way to bring KDE onto an older computer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River board partners spin Intel-based embedded kits

      Wind River announced a series of Wind River Linux-ready development kits developed in partnership with eight different embedded board vendors. Embedded Development Kits are now available from Emerson Network Power, Eurotech, and Kontron, with more kits due in the fourth quarter from Advantech, Adlink, Curtiss-Wright, GE Intelligent Platforms, and RadiSys, says Wind River.

    • Phones

      • Do Users Care Much About Mobile Operating Systems?

        Google’s Android initiative likewise is part of Google’s awareness that the mobile market is strategic and crucial for its future relevance.

      • Android

        • Android Now at 80,000 Market Apps

          In case you didn’t catch it late last night in T-Mobile’s press release for their G2, Andy Rubin had some words to say for the successor to the first phone to carry his beloved operating system, Android, and had a quick fact to throw out to us: we’re nowsitting at 80,000 apps. It’s an increase of only 10,000 from the last time we caught word of any official number. In May, it was announced that the market was housing 50,000 apps. At this rate, it’s sounding like we’re approaching the roughly 10,000 apps per month AppBrain had predicted a while back (even if their numbers were unofficial and somehow inflated).

        • Android Market Growing Exponentially – Now with more than 80,000 apps
        • This Little App Went to Market, Part 1

          Reality indicates that most developers don’t make back their investment by publishing an application to the App Store or Android Market.

        • Google Faces Tough Fight Against iTunes
        • More Android tablets break cover

          Navigation device manufacturer Rydeen Mobile Electronics announced a seven-inch, Android-based tablet called the “gPad GCOM701″ at last weekend’s IFA show in Berlin. Also at the show, Foryoudigital demonstrated its five-inch, Android-powered MX10, and Enspert announced that it built the “Identity Tab” Android tablet recently released by Korean carrier KT.

        • Learn your history, the Android way
    • Sub-notebooks

      • UNR – Ubuntu Netbook Revisited

        I’ve spent the last couple of days distro hopping on my netbook and ended up with a pretty impressive UNR (Ubuntu Netbook Remix) 10.04. It had been happily running Linux Mint 8 XFCE with full Compiz effects before that.

        A couple of weeks ago I installed BackTrack as a live USB distro, but got a bit of an awakening when I found I was lost in KDE3.5. It was hunting around the interface for things, as if I’d never seen Linux before, despite KDE3.5 being the first full time Linux DE I used. It was time to branch out a little if only to brush up my skills and not feel so lost when sitting down at another Linux PC. I have a P3 and P4 desktop, neither of which are capable of running anything beyond XFCE, so the netbook was the obvious target.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Inequality, Choices, and Hitting a Wall

    Have you read the Evil HR Lady’s article called Illegal Gender Discrimination in Tech? Hardly.? Suzanne Lucas, a.k.a. Evil HR Lady, says, “Everyone wrings their hands and frets, ‘what can we do about the inequality in X?’ Well, first stop and see if people are making different choices.”

    Ok, so far I can follow what Lucas is saying. I’ve reevaluated my own choices over the years and plugged holes where I found them. I’ve learned the art of salary negotiation, am improving my self-promotion prowess, and am known to be aggressively assertive. But then she loses me… and annoys me.

    Lucas writes, “I know, I know, there is a presumption of discrimination because women are so down-trodden that that they think they wouldn’t be able to succeed because all those men who control the money wouldn’t let them anyway, so why try?”

    Where exactly is this presumption of discrimination? Did she say ‘down trodden’? Really, Lucas does a fabulous job of illustrating what so many of us think keeps women out of tech careers – they don’t feel welcome.

  • SetiQuest Project Could Bring The Goodness of Open Source to Our Search for Alien Life

    SETI or Search for Extra Terrestrial Life is a project that started some 50 years ago. SETI is one of those science projects that had caught the public’s imagination like no other. But with the escalating costs and dwindling manpower, SETI needs a new vision. And if things happened during SETIcon, a weekend conference organized by the SETI Institute to honor SETI’s 50th anniversary, are any indication, the new vision could just be ‘Open Source’.

  • Events

    • OrangeHRM clamors to join million-dollar club

      Open source human resource management software vendor sees quality of service and mobile technology as two key areas to exploit to become a US$1 million company by 2011, reveals CEO.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Set to Improve Security

        The race to accelerate browser features continues as Mozilla developers race towards the finish line to get the finished version of the Firefox 4 Web browser out the door.

        The first Firefox 4 beta was released in early July of this year and the final release is due by the end of the year. Along the way to its final generally available release, Mozilla developers have been issuing milestone releases with new features and bug fixes. Firefox 4 development is occurring at a time when rival browser vendor Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is updating it Chrome browser to version 6 and Microsoft is working on Internet Explorer 9.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • My introduction to open source

      Co-production first became a solid term when used by a team of scholars at Indiana University in the early 1970s. They were looking at the provision of public safety by examining the structure and operations of police departments. Key here was their precursor idea demonstrated well before that study: a distinction between the provision of a public good (or outcome) and the production of a service.

      Government may be responsible for the provision, or be in charge of it, but it doesn’t have to be the sole producer (the one involved in physically bringing the good into existence). In the case of this public safety study, police performance didn’t vary in expected ways when it came to prime suspects like funding levels. The team suggested the local community was responsible for a lot of producer-like qualities, that in the end, had an effect on the provision of public safety.

      It was a new concept, to scholars, at least. They termed it [and this is a later definition] “co-production”—“a process through which inputs used to produce a good or service are contributed by individuals who are not ‘in’ the same organization.”

  • Business

    • Open Source Microstock Agency: How Stock Photo Agency YayMicro.com was Created Using Only Open Source Technology
    • Open Source Microstock Agency

      The enterprise-class linux distribution was chosen because it has proven to be one of the most reliable and stable distributions. It’s one of the most popular server distributions, meaning it is easy to find solutions and support online. YayMicro is currently running CentOS release 5.5 (Final) that was released in May this year.

      CentOS was an easy choice for Yay, since the developers had experience from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The community around CentOS provides the support needed, and the functionality is just as good as RHEL. In fact, CentOS can be regarded as the free edition of the same software that makes Red Hat an enterprise solution. It is incredibly stable, efficient, and secure. It provides the same level of security as other enterprise Linux versions. All updates also coincides with a release of RH, ensuring consistent compatibility.

  • Project Releases

    • NetRecon 1.78

      Taking inspiration from the dnet utility netrecon has undergone a lot of redesign. The dnet utility a rather cool test program that can be found with libdnet. Yes a shameless plug on my part. Nevertheless, the way the dnet code plugs in each smaller test program proved to be the best way to change netrecon. All of the programs in netrecon have been merged into a singular front end. As such the syntax has changed drastically. However, the speed is the same and duplication of code, mainly between elements that use libpcap has been commoned up. There is likely still some deduplication of effort to be done. Lastly, for some odd reason, it seems to execute a lot faster too. I can’t really account for that but I am not complaining.

    • GRASS GIS 6.4.0 released 3 September 2010

      We are pleased to announce the release of GRASS GIS 6.4.0, the first in the new line of 6.4 stable releases. As a stable release 6.4 will enjoy long-term support. The next release (6.4.1) will introduce a few new features which are still undergoing final testing, but after that all further 6.4 releases will be bugfix-only. Due to our highly conservative stabilization policy this is the first official version of GRASS to introduce new features since October 2006 and supersedes the previous stable line of GRASS 6.2. As such the floodgates are open and there are many new features to explore and many new structural improvements to be found in the software.

    • Uniform Server is available for CUBRID 3.0

      Once in our previous video trainings we have already introduced the Uniform Server for CUBRID, which included CUBRID 2.2, Apache 2.2.9, and PHP 5.2.12. Today we have updated the CUBRID Database Server to 3.0. So, now you can download the Uniform Server for CUBRID…

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Free thinking

      Why expensive consultancy firms are giving away more research

    • Do Open Educational Resources Increase Efficiency?

      One of the questions people often ask about Open Educational Resources is “do they really increase efficiency?” Creative Commons has worked with many OER innovators, and their stories indicate that it does. We thought it would be useful to gather pointers to some of these examples. Please read on, and leave a comment with other great examples of how CC-enabled OER can increase efficiency for teachers, students and self-learners. Note of course that increasing efficiency is only one benefit of OER.

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code 2010 is over

      Google Summer of Code is over now, and we have mixed results. Unfortunately we lost two students at midterm evaluation in July, and another student at final evaluation in August. On the other hand, we have two very successful projects.

      The first project, by Krzysztof Kosiński, was about porting the whole rendering to Cairo, which resulted in a considerable performance boost itself. But Krzysztof also implemented support for multiple cores/processors to use multiple threads for rendering SVG filters. He is also planning to implement SVG filters in OpenCL, so that rendering could be delegated to GPU where available. The second project, by Abhishek Sharma, was about C++ification of SPLayer and privatization of XML nodes which is also going to help parallel processing.

    • Trivial Lists
    • Subversion vs. Git: Choosing the Right Open Source Version Control System

      As with everything in the open source world, version control systems (VCSs) come in several flavors. The grandfather of open source VCSs is CVS, a tool that was the de facto standard in the industry for several years until the likes of Subversion came along and made it almost obsolete.


  • Bullying Busybody for Senate

    Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal may never have served in Vietnam (despite his recollections to the contrary), but he is a hero in the war on prostitution. Armed with nothing but sternly worded letters, indignant press releases, and a seemingly inexhaustible store of self-righteousness, Blumenthal played a key role in pressuring Craigslist to shut down its “adult services” section, which he called a “blatant Internet brothel.”

    On Friday night, the online classified ad service replaced the hyperlink to the controversial section with a black rectangle labeled “censored.” If Blumenthal has anything to say about it (and you know he will), no one will ever pay for sex again.

  • Apple relents on Flash-derived iPhone, iPad apps

    Four and a half months after an Apple license change led Adobe Systems to scrap a project to bring Flash-derived applications to the iPhone, Apple has reversed the ban.

  • Crookes vs p2pnet fund raiser

    Should Wayne Crookes, owner of Vancouver company West Coast Title Search, be allowed to inspire a new law which would effectively kill online freedom of speech in Canada, ultimately echoing around the world?

  • System for appointing judges ‘undermining international courts’

    A “toxic” system for appointing the world’s most senior judges is fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of international courts, a new study claims.

    Unqualified judges, in some cases with no expertise on international law and in one case no legal qualifications, have been appointed to key positions because of highly politicised voting systems and a lack of transparency, the Guardian has learned.

    Critics say that the practices threaten the future of the international criminal court, which deals with cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the international court of justice, the UN court which deals with disputes between nation states’ courts.

  • Science

    • Matt Cohler Leads Funding for Scientist Social Network

      ResearchGATE, a social network for scientists aimed to facilitate their collaboration on research, has raised an unspecified amount of money in its first institutional round of funding. The round is notable in part because it was led by Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital, the early Facebook and LinkedIn executive who’s only made a few venture capital investments so far. Berlin-based ResearchGATE was founded by a group of German scientists including Dr. Ijad Madisch, a medical doctor who is currently conducting research in radiology at Harvard. The site has amassed 500,000 members in the last two years, with strong contingents from biology and medicine, followed by computer science.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Pregnant Traveler: TSA Screeners Bullied Me Into Full-Body Scan

      Pregnant Consumerist reader Mary was recently going through the security checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. When she realized that she would be going through a full-body scanner, she told the screeners she wanted to exercise her right to a pat-down — even if it meant experiencing the TSA’s new, icky “enhanced” pat-down. But instead of the screeners doing as she requested, Mary claims they proceeded to bully her into the scanner.

    • £114 fine for getting off train two stops early

      A COUPLE told yesterday how they were fined £114 by a ticket collector – for getting off a train EARLY.

      Emma Clark and her fiance Davyd Winter-Bates had bought discounted single tickets for £6 each on a website.

    • New research suggests general public support CCTV
    • WALTHAM FOREST: Borough’s CCTV “obsolete”

      MOST CCTV systems in Waltham Forest are defunct due to a lack of investment, it has emerged.

      A cabinet report says the equipment used by police and the authority is “significantly past recommended life expectancy”.

      The method of camera control and image recording is described as obsolete and soon to be beyond repair.

      The report, which will be considered by cabinet next Tuesday (September 14) seeks approval for the “urgent” replacement of CCTV systems at a cost of £312,000.

    • School uses thumbprints to register all children as part of hi-tech overhaul

      A SCANNER system that reads thumbprints has been installed at a Plymouth “school of the future” during a multi-million-pound facelift.

      The 1,280 pupils at Estover Community College saw the amazing technology in action as they started a new academic year this week and they said the school has got the “wow factor” with its new buildings, technology and equipment.

    • Sri Lanka’s parliament boosts presidential powers

      Sri Lanka’s parliament voted today to allow the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to seek an unlimited number of terms in office and to tighten his hold on power by giving him total control over the judiciary, police and the civil service.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch-funded oil rally calls global warming a “hoax,” dismisses oil spill, and attacks Democrats

      What was billed as an organic grassroots jobs rally quickly descended into attacks on three things the Kochs most oppose: global warming science, oil safety regulations, and Democrats. One of the speakers, Sgt. Dennis Bartow, called global warming a “hoax.” He was joined by Karen Wright, CEO of the gas company Ariel Corporation, who ridiculed climate change as “questionable science” and referred to pollutants as “so-called carbon dioxide emissions.” Wright went on to rail against “so-called green jobs” that were “dubious” and “phony.”

    • ENVIRONMENT: Astroturfing a regional greenhouse gas program

      A conservative action group is coming after a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program organized by northeastern states.

      The group is Americans for Prosperity, and the program in questions is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI – “reggie,” as it’s often called – sets a power-sector carbon cap for the participating states. (New York is one of them.) Then the allowable emissions are publicly auctioned off. At the next auction, scheduled for Wednesday, Americans for Prosperity will protest. It claims that the auctions are secretive, which they aren’t, and that the program will result in drastically higher energy bills. A state environmental group counters those claims here.

    • Koch-Funded “Americans for Prosperity” Astroturfs Regional Greenhouse Gas Program

      AFP also calls the program a “stealth energy tax” and claims that the program will lead to drastically higher energy bills. The cap will actually account for between 0.4 and 1 percent of energy bills. RGGI calims that investments in energy efficiency will eventually lead to reductions in energy bills of 20 to 30 percent, and the program will create new jobs in renewable energy. AFP tries to keep the appearance of being a grassroots organization, but a recent article in the New Yorker magazine revealed the group is bankrolled by billionaire oil company owner David Koch, who has a history of campaigning against climate change legislation and funding climate change deniers. Koch Industries is also one of the nation’s top ten polluters, and fossil fuels are the company’s mainstay.

    • Bees stung by ‘climate change-linked’ early pollination

      Climate change could be affecting pollination by disrupting the synchronised timing of flower opening and bee emergence from hibernation, suggests new US-based research.

      Declining numbers of bees and other pollinators have been causing growing concern in recent years, as scientists fear that decreased pollination could have major impacts on world food supplies.

      Previous studies have focused on pollinators and have linked falling populations to the use of pesticides, habitat loss and disease.

      However, a 17-year analysis of the wild lily in Colorado by scientists from the University of Toronto, suggests other factors may be at play. The study revealed a long-term decline in pollination, which was particularly pronounced earlier in the season.

  • Finance

    • Declare a Jobs Emergency on September 15!

      Job cuts have a way of sneaking up on you — a few teachers here, a police officer there and another fire department that is not open when you need them. In some areas it is a slow bleed, but as every Emergency Medical Technician knows, a thousand small cuts can still kill the patient.

      One group is pushing back against the drip, drip, drip of disappearing jobs and relentless cutbacks in public services. Jobs with Justice (JwJ), the broad-based coalition of faith groups, labor unions, students and grassroots organizations located in 47 communities across the nation, says it simply will not accept a jobless recovery.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Target’s Falling Buzz Score

      The Internet-based market research agency YouGov compiles a weekly report called the Brandweek BrandIndex, that measures “buzz,” or consumer perceptions of the most talked-about brands. A big loser in the agency’s September 3, 2010 report is Target, which drew fire after the retailer donated $150,000 to the Republican-leaning political action group, Minnesota Forward.

    • Dove World Outreach Center: Where Does the Money Go?

      Terry Jones, the controversial pastor behind the recent call to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, runs a church that spends most of its money on administrative expenses and operates a furniture business out his church in Gainesville, FL.

      According to the 2006 tax return—the most recent tax return available on Guidestar.org—filed by Jones’ church, the Dove World Outreach Center, “program services” accounted for 30.5 percent of the church’s expenses, while “Administrative costs” accounted for 69.5 percent.

    • Faux California pol dupes Washington Post journalist

      Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart had a bone to pick with Jack Kimble, a Republican congressman representing California’s 54th district.

    • The Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” Decision Threatens the 1964 Civil Rights Act

      Libertarian conservatives are motivated to overturn the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision may give them the tools to do so. The Act must be maintained in the face of the threat posed by the Citizens United precedent.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Judge tosses out privacy claim against Michael Moore over ‘Sicko’ segment

      A federal magistrate judge in Tacoma has thrown out key claims in a lawsuit filed against controversial filmmaker Michael Moore and his Academy Award-nominated documentary “Sicko,” the first use of a state law that bars lawsuits targeting conduct associated with free speech and the First Amendment.

      Judge Karen Strombom last week granted Moore’s motion to dismiss claims of invasion of privacy and “misappropriation of likeness” filed by Hoquiam resident Ken Aronson, ruling that Moore’s use of 71 seconds of video belonging to Aronson was based on Moore’s exploration of an issue of significant public concern — health care — and that its use was protected by the First Amendment.

    • ACLU sues DHS over border laptop searches

      Privacy advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union are mounting a legal challenge against the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of searching travelers’ laptops at the border without reasonable suspicion.

      The ACLU announced Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit along with the New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), alleging the policy violates Americans’ First Amendment rights to privacy and free speech.

    • Rackspace Pulls The Plug On ‘Burn A Koran Day’ Church’s Web Site

      Surely by now you’ve heard of the Dove World Outreach Center, the Florida church that plans to hold a “Koran burning day” on September 11, the nine year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Pretty much nobody think it’s a good idea, from Palin to Obama, from Gen. Petraeus to the FBI. Now involved: Rackspace. Yes, the popular Web host has pulled the plug on the church’s Web site, citing a violation in its service’s “hate-speech provision of [its] acceptable-use policy.”

    • Internet cafe lets police browse your web history

      The latest submission to our Guerrilla Sticker Campaign gallery is taken from outside an internet cafe in East London.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Prying Loose the Grip of Broadband Giants

      Recent data on Internet use in Canada suggests that most people reading this subscribe to broadband services and that virtually all those subscribers are with a major telecommunications or cable company. Indeed, the 2010 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission report on communications in Canada found that the incumbent telecommunications and cable companies control 95 per cent of the residential broadband market, a figure that has remained virtually unchanged for the past five years.

      Injecting greater competition into that market lies at the heart of last week’s CRTC decision to require incumbent telecom companies — such as Bell, Bell Aliant, and Telus — to provide independent ISPs with speed-matched open access to their networks (speed matching enables competitors to offer Internet services to their retail customers at speeds that match the speeds provided by the incumbents to their own retail customers).

    • Net neutrality: UK taking first shots at the open Internet

      They were opposed by groups like La Quadrature du Net, ORG and BEUC, alongside Internet companies like Yahoo, Skype and Google. After all, both Google and Skype already understand what can result from closed networks: Skype believe they have suffered from network discrimination on fixed ISPs, and have applications blocked on closed mobile networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U2 – Stick to the Music!

        Back in January 2010, we criticised U2 front man Bono for warning all creative types to beware of the evils of the Internet and especially us greedy ISP types when it came to illegal file sharing. We recommended Bono should stick to singing.

      • Righthaven: saving the newspaper industry, one lawsuit at a time

        The Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Southern Nevada is a nonprofit that sends trained volunteers to the site of severe accidents, suicides, fires, and violent theft. The volunteers comfort family members, witnesses, and bystanders—traumatized people who can’t be helped by anything found in an ambulance.

        TIP might seem an unlikely target for a federal copyright lawsuit, but it found itself hauled into court last week for posting 14 local newspaper articles about TIP and its volunteers to the group’s website. In most of the articles, TIP volunteers are the main sources for the reporters, providing plenty of quotes and (sometimes jarring) anecdotes about their work.

      • Jimmy Page’s autobiography: £445 is a whole lotta money to pay

        There are only three things necessary to be a Jimmy Page superfan: access to the internet, a sturdy coffee table – and £445 in spare cash. Put the three together and you too could be the proud owner of the leather-bound, silk-wrapped and autographed 512-page collector’s edition of Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page, the long-awaited autobiography by the famously secretive guitarist of Led Zeppelin – one of the most popular and influential bands in the history of rock music.

      • ACTA

        • MEP demand fundamental rights for citizens in ACTA deal

          MEPs yesterday passed a motion strongly criticising the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and urging the European Commission to ensure it respects fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and privacy.

          This is an outstanding success for MEPs and a great victory for European citizens and ORG supporters who joined the lobbying. The ACTA process badly needs strong opposition because of these threats to fundamental rights of citizens.

          Only about a third of British MEPs signed Written Declaration 12/2010 that also called for an immediate publication of all documents related to the negotiating process.

          In a debate in Parliament today MEPs hailed the success of the Declaration and repeatedly criticised the lack of transparency in the ACTA process and demanded to see the final text of the agreement before it is signed.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 9/9/2010: PlayStation 3 Shuts Again

Posted in News Roundup at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Airbus Joins Open Source Think Tank Paris

    Olliance Group and DLA Piper are proud to announce that Airbus, a European consortium producing the Airbus family of passenger aircraft will present a business case with the support of the Eclipse Foundation at the Think Tank Sept 28 & 29. Among the topics to be addressed are; long-term community support models, shared innovation between industry, vendors and the community, and open source in supply chain management. With more than five years of strategic use of open source, Airbus will present sophisticated questions for the Think Tank audience to deliberate.

  • Events

    • A Tentative Schedule For XDS 2010

      For those interested in the X Developers’ Summit (XDS) that is taking place next week at a tobacco factory in France, a tentative schedule has now been published by Matthieu Herrb for the 50 or so people that will be participating in the summit.

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • Drupal featured on TV quiz

      According to Jo Wouters, Drupal was just featured on “De Canvascrack”, a quiz on Belgian television. I know it is a quiz, but I don’t think Drupal has ever been featured on television in such a mainstream way. Cool!


  • Government

    • UK.gov finally pulls plug on National Programme for IT

      The ailing National Programme for IT has been cancelled, although most of its multi-billion pound spending will go ahead.

      A statement from the Department of Health said a shift to more local procurement would work better, “whilst continuing with national applications already procured”.

    • Barroso’s State of the Union

      The Europe Union institutions copy more elements from the United States than I believe suit the dignity of the European Union. Even the “e pluribus unum“, you may also find that on the US seal, though the current US motto is “In God we trust”, ironically the EU started a competition to come up with a translation of the Latin phrase in its 27 member languages, and even reverse-translated it to Latin, in an odd fashion “In varietate concordia”.

  • Licensing

    • Linux Foundation Simplifies FOSS License Management

      The Linux Foundation used this year’s LinuxCon in Boston to launch its new Open Compliance Program, aimed at making it easier for companies that are new to using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to ensure that their products comply with open source licensing.


  • Ikea to sell second-hand furniture online
  • Science

    • Mars organics get new lease on life

      Martian soil could contain the building blocks of carbon-based life after all, a new study suggests, despite the negative results of an analysis performed by the Viking missions 34 years ago.

      When the Viking landers touched down on Mars in 1976 and scooped up soil samples, scientists were surprised that the two craft failed to unearth evidence that the Red Planet contained any organic compounds. The apparent lack of organic molecules — a basic requirement for carbon-based organisms — helped to cement the notion of Mars as an entity that would not easily support life.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate: New study slashes estimate of icecap loss

      Estimates of the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica, one of the most worrying questions in the global warming debate, should be halved, according to Dutch and US scientists.

    • Land of Gas

      At issue now, however, are the steep decline rates observed from shale natural gas wells. Don’t these decline curves imply, axiomatically, that the new miracle of shale natural gas production is doomed?

  • Finance

    • Italian school lunches go organic, low-cost, local

      Rome school district with its 150,000 children, and a cafeteria budget of 140 million euros (or $180.5 million), has already pushed the boundary of healthy food to even greater heights.

      If there is one city that has done the most to shape the Ministry’s guidelines, it is Rome. The city served its first organic menu in late 2007.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Breaking News on EFF Location Privacy Win: Courts May Require Search Warrants for Cell Phone Location Records

      This morning, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia issued its highly anticipated ruling in a hotly contested cell phone location privacy case. EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief and participated at oral argument in the case, arguing that federal electronic privacy law gives judges the discretion to deny government requests for cell phone location data when the government fails to show probable cause that a crime has been committed.

    • Online Ads, Privacy Remain in FTC Crosshairs

      A senior official at the Federal Trade Commission hinted on Wednesday that the agency is planning to prod online advertisers and Web companies to adopt new education tools and data-collection restrictions in an effort to protect consumer privacy.

      “Right now the consumers really don’t understand what’s going on. So I think that is the real issue that needs to be addressed,” Loretta Garrison, a senior attorney at the FTC, said here at the O’Reilly Media Gov 2.0 Summit. “We think they sort of know they’re being tracked, but they don’t really understand the wealth of information that’s being collected and the many different parties that are involved and the various ways in which [information] is being used.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Film industry hires cyber hitmen to take down internet pirates

        The film industry is using pirate tactics to beat the pirates – by employing “cyber hitmen” to launch attacks that take out websites hosting illegal movies.

      • How an Anti-Piracy Firm Became Banned In Its Own Country

        A notorious Switzerland-based anti-piracy tracking company has to stop harvesting the IP addresses of citizens using P2P networks. The Swiss High Court ruled that IP addresses constitute personal information and when Logistep collected them without the owner’s knowledge, that amounted to a breach of privacy laws. From its eDonkey Razorback beginnings, via France through to yesterday’s conclusion, here is the full story.

Clip of the Day

The First Official Interactive Unboxing Of The Nokia N8 — Call Quality

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 9/9/2010: GNU/Linux Market Share Debated, EXT4 and Btrfs Tested in Linux 2.6.36

Posted in News Roundup at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • There’s more to open source than Linux

    In fact, realise the opposite. What open source actually is, is a guarantee. It ensures that one software business never profits from the destruction of an open source software, lawsuit or no lawsuit. Crony capitalism is a myth; Oracle wouldn’t take on Google, just because Steve Jobs was the official wedding photographer at his buddy Larry Ellison’s wedding. It’s all in the percentages.

  • 30 Linux-related Twitter accounts

    Today I want to offer some interesting profiles that I follow on Twitter, I found many useful information following their twittering.

  • Why we are here.

    I want people not to just use Linux, I want them to want to use Linux. I want them to wait anxiously for the next release of Ubuntu or Firefox or whatever.

  • Eight Bogus Beliefs of the Linux Community

    Comparing ourselves to corporations. Every sentence that begins “If Linux wants to win the desktop, it has to…” Linux actually doesn’t want anything – not even a sandwich. That’s because Linux is not a corporation. It does not have a CEO, stockholders, board of directors, a mission statement, or even a headquarters. An easy shot is to go “If Linux were a company, it’d be in the red ink.” Yes, if the avant-garde art movement were a company, it’d be in trouble too. What’s your point?

  • Linux ‘top command’ used in Tron trailer…
  • Desktop

    • The 1% Solution

      The mythology about GNU/Linux share of the desktop continues to be an issue. I have commented frequently that I think the share is much closer to 10% than to 1%. Caitlyn Martin has a similar analysis that comes to 8%. Short of definitive pronouncements from big ISPs or Google, there is not likely to be a good source of web stats and surveys continue to be too expensive.

    • Is Linux market share is 8x larger than most people think?

      If you combine embedded and mobile devices such as Android, Linux server installations and dual-boot installs (where Windows is counted as the default operating system), it’s quite obvious that Linux’s market share in the world of computers isn’t small at all – in fact it’s rather large and steadily growing.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Program for 2010 End User Summit

      The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the speaker lineup and details for The Linux Foundation End User Summit. 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.

    • EXT4 & Btrfs Regressions In Linux 2.6.36

      With the Threaded I/O Tester when doing eight threads of 32MB random writes, the EXT4 file-system performance was maintained between Linux 2.6.34 and 2.6.36. Btrfs meanwhile dropped by 14% between Linux 2.6.34 and 2.6.35 and then between 2.6.35 and 2.6.36-rc3 it has dropped by an additional 11%.

      These results are certainly a shock and not what we were expecting to see when testing the premiere Linux file-systems atop the latest kernel code that will be released as stable in just a month or two. The good news though is that these Linux file-system regressions do not appear across the board, but for example with our Intel Atom system with an HDD that is benchmarking the very latest kernel code on a daily basis at kernel-tracker.phoromatic.com don’t suffer from these massive performance blows. Our investigation shall continue.

    • Graphics Stack

      • nvidia, opengl, compositing: play nice!

        I have a Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9500 @ 2.60GHz laptop with an nVidia Quadro FX 1600M, 1920×1200 screen and a second 1920×1200 LCD. I’ve loaded the new 256.53 nvidia module. Here are the results…

      • 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.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Launching the Revolution: Kickoff’s redesign ideas

      Later, along came Linux and graphical environments for it. Some of them have kept the basic idea of a start menu, like the one on Windows 95. KDE did it, Gnome did it and many others, even the high end ones like Enlightenment, did it. It should be admitted though that this is a very clever idea to work with. It is fast, simple, and very visually engaging. However, this launching model by todays standards seems outdated. At least, this is something that frustrates me every now and then because it is so common. It is time for a revolution, a change.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Iron Man using KDE?!

        According to Invincible Iron Man issue #11, Iron man runs KDE 3.5 inside his suit. Why is he still running KDE 3.5? Apparently he just hasn’t run all his updates on his old suits, as he had to use an older suit in the issue.

      • A Look at KDE Desktop Effects

        KDE’s visual effects for windows and menus technically dates back to KDE 3. Experimental programs like kompmgr provided drop shadows and transparency for windows, and the KDE desktop itself had built-in support for basic menu transparency, shadows, and other effects.

        With the coming of KDE 4, the number of effects has multiplied, and KWin (KDE’s window manager) is now on par with Compiz (a window manager with numerous desktop effects). Moreover, KWin’s primary advantage over Compiz is that it is part of KDE and integrates perfectly with the rest of the desktop. While support for Compiz has been added, there are still some outstanding glitches when run on top of KDE.

      • 10 reasons to make KDE 4.5 your desktop of choice

        From the early releases to the current 4.5 release, KDE has made serious strides toward becoming of the most well designed, user-friendly desktops available. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these reasons why KDE 4.5 should be your desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Various Linux Distro Stickers

      Contains powered by stickers for following Linux distro ..

      – Arch Linux
      – Ubuntu
      – Debian
      – openSuSe
      – Linux Mint
      – CentOS
      – Mandriva
      – Kubuntu
      – Fedora
      – Gentoo
      – Puppy Linux
      – XUbuntu

    • 4 Linux and BSD Firewall/Router Projects

      SmoothWall Express is Linux-based, and installable onto standard PCs with a bootable CD. It was first released in 2000, making it the oldest firewall project of the four discussed here. It is designed with home and small business users in mind. More advanced firewall solutions are available from SmoothWall Ltd.

      SmoothWall Express runs on any Pentium class CPU and above. It has a recommended minimum of 128MB RAM. An IDE or SCSI hard disk with at least 2 GBs of space is also required.

      Like the others, SmoothWall Express provides a stateful inspection firewall and provides NAT. Weekly and monthly traffic stats are provided for each interface and IP. It supports port forwarding, outbound filtering, and timed access. It features Quality-of-Service (QoS) functionality. A network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) is provided by Snort integration.

    • Reviews

      • Spotlight on Linux: Zenwalk Linux 6.4 “Live”

        Advantages of using Zenwalk are good performance, small but welcoming community, and an up-to-date system. It’s easy to use, yet it’s not run of the mill. It’s different without being disconcerting. Hardware support is excellent for Linux supported devices and the desktop is attractive yet unobtrusive.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian review

        Linux Mint Debian is the latest addition to Mint’s suite of Linux desktops. Mint has long promoted itself as a distribution based on Ubuntu and Debian, a claim that I have long discounted as misleading. This release, while still experimental, is one, as the name implies, that is truly based on Debian.

      • Debian Project News – September 8th, 2010
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Stepping back in time: The evolution of OMG! Ubuntu!

          We’ve had many different looks over the life of this site, so I figured it would be pretty cool to see how the website has evolved over the past year, especially for those who have just started following. For those who have been following the site since it started, prepare to shed a little tear as you remember Keith, the lovable Koala from Karmic!

        • How Ubuntu Plays Nicely With Others: The Sponsorship Process

          The sponsorship process makes it easier for programmers to expose their work to users of the world’s most popular Linux distribution, making their applications more popular. It also helps ensure that those users have the best experience possible with the software they use, while at the same time generating bug reports to help upstream developers improve their code.

        • How Ubuntu is Made

          One way that Zimmerman keeps the project on track is ensuring close communication among members of his team, a disparate organization that mirrors how the Ubuntu community itself builds and develops its Linux distribution. For one thing, While Canonical has offices in multiple countries, most of Zimmerman’s engineers aren’t located in those offices.

          “My team is about 120 people and I think we have less five people who are in offices,” Zimmerman told InternetNews.com.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • A Quick Look at Lubuntu 10.04

            Since there tends to be a problem with the creation of menu entries during package installation, I installed Eye of Gnome and Gwenview (a KDE4 package). For the first time, Eye of Gnome did not appear in any of the menus. However, Gwenview did appear under the Graphics menu. Even better, Gwenview worked without a single hitch. If I started Eye of Gnome from the command-line it worked, but generated a lot of GLib errors. It just not have a menu entry. One of the advantages of starting an application from the command-line is that error message appear that otherwise would be lost in the bit bucket.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Eucalyptus Systems Appoints Said Ziouani Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales

      Eucalyptus Systems, Inc., creators of the leading open source private cloud platform, today announced that Said Ziouani has joined the company’s management team as senior vice president of worldwide sales. Ziouani has primary responsibility for growing and managing sales of the Eucalyptus Enterprise Edition software, an enterprise-grade private cloud computing platform built on the popular Eucalyptus open source software. He reports to Eucalyptus Systems CEO Marten Mickos and will be based in the company’s headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif.


    • Software is Culture?

      In her short article, Ms Paley makes two major points:

      * In sponsoring a film, Patent Absurdity, that uses a -ND (no derivatives) clause, the FSF fails to uphold the Fourth Freedom (“freedom to improve and release improvements”)
      * Software is culture, and so the distinction between “utility” (Software) and “aesthetics” (Culture) is false.

      These are compelling points, although I recognize rms has addressed the need for certain restrictions on factual works to prevent misrepresentation. I’m not sure that the trade-off of attempting to maintain context is worth the sacrifice of preventing modification, so I tend to lean more toward Ms Paley’s position on this matter.

      The second point is another issue where I tend to agree with Ms Paley: I don’t see a clear distinction between works of utility and works of aesthetics, because I think most works have elements of both.

      I can also understand the argument that the FSF focuses on advocating software issues and not cultural matters in general, but that seems an unattractive distinction to make – especially considering how clearly “Free Culture” is modeled after “Free Software”.

    • Red: Software Freedom Day

      There is an alternative to Windows and Mac operating systems and it’s called Linux and it’s free. Red spoke with Donna Benjamin about Linux and Software Freedom Day at the State Library, Saturday 18th of September.

  • Project Releases

    • bzr 2.2.0 released!
    • GNU Debugger adds D language support

      The GNU Project Debugger release team has published the second point update to version 7.0 of its standard debugger for the GNU software system. The GDB debugger supports a wide variety of programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, FreePascal and Fortran, and, in the new release, adds support for the D programming language.

  • Government

    • Welcome to the Civic Commons

      One of the core reasons why sharing works is that it spreads the effort, and avoids the constant re-invention of the wheel. One area that seems made for this kind of sharing is government IT: after all, the problems faced are essentially the same, so a piece of software built for one entity might well be usable – or adaptable – for another.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly

      There’s no doubt that the livestock system has gone horribly wrong. Fairlie describes the feedlot beef industry (in which animals are kept in pens) in the US as “one of the biggest ecological cock-ups in modern history”. It pumps grain and forage from irrigated pastures into the farm animal species least able to process them efficiently, to produce beef fatty enough for hamburger production. Cattle are excellent converters of grass but terrible converters of concentrated feed. The feed would have been much better used to make pork.

    • Who dares question the industrial food system over GM salmon?

      Last Friday, though, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a potentially dangerous step. The agency ruled that salmon whose genes have been altered so that they grow more rapidly than their wild counterparts are safe for human consumption. In so doing, the FDA opened the door for salmon to become just another unhealthful cog in the industrial-food machine. And it may have foisted upon the public yet another cancer risk.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Amnesty urges rethink on counter-terrorism measures

      Control orders imposed on suspects, secret proceedings leading to deportations and the “virtually unlimited discretion” given to the police to stop and search must be abandoned in the government’s continuing review of counter-terrorism powers, Amnesty International says today.

      Control orders are incompatible with Britain’s human rights obligations under international law, it says, given that they limit individuals’ movements and activities based on secret information not disclosed to the individual concerned nor their lawyers, Amnesty argues in a submission to the government.

    • First Big Brother, now Little Brother, and both are deadly

      Little Brother has got his fingers in your inbox. He gets your emails, reads your texts. No, not yours, of course: but those of anyone remotely well-known or in the public eye or connected to people who are. You may say, so what? If you can’t stand the heat … But it is a kind of oppression, a haunting, which at least deserves to be discussed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Unjust sentence for Japanese anti-whaling activists

      Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, known as the Tokyo Two, exposed widespread corruption in Japan’s whaling programme – in return, they have been handed a one year suspended prison sentence. However, despite the harsh punishment the two anti-whaling activists stood in court as heroes today, having successfully put whaling on trial, both in court, and in Japan’s national media.


      Greenpeace is appealing this totally unjust, politically motivated sentence. Junichi and Toru have taken great personal risks to investigate and expose embezzlement at the heart of Japan’s tax-funded whaling industry. They intercepted one of numerous boxes of whale meat embezzled from the whaling programme as evidence. These boxes were taken for private use by the crew of the Nisshin Maru in violation of the whaling programme’s regulations, and this amounts to a misuse of public funds.

    • BP spill: White House says oil has gone, but Gulf’s fishermen are not so sure

      No one, it seems, believes the assurances from the White House or government scientists that the oil is largely gone. And no one really believes BP when oil company executives say they will stay in Louisiana for the long haul.

      They have seen one exodus already, just before Tropical Storm Bonnie blew through, about a week after the well was capped in mid-July. BP evacuated work crews and boats; many have not returned.

    • Oil industry regulation: scepticism over new sheriff in the wild wild west

      Oil industry executives in the US call the Gulf of Mexico the “wild wild west”, a place where regulations are rarely enforced and offshore operators can do what they want. Barack Obama has promised to tighten regulations to prevent a repeat of the Gulf disaster but many within the industry are sceptical that much will really change.

    • World’s smallest seahorse faces extinction after BP oil spill

      The minute creatures, barely 2cm tall, were elusive even before the spill, found only among the seagrass in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Now conservationists from the Zoological Society of London’s Project Seahorse team are warning populations could fall precipitously because so much of their habitat could have been lost to the spill.

    • New deep sea drilling is not only irrational, our lawyers say it’s illegal too

      Today our lawyers sent a letter to the UK government threatening legal action over their decision to continue giving licenses for deep sea oil drilling even before we know for certain the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

  • Finance

    • Fed Report Finds Signs That Growth Is Slowing

      The latest regional survey by the 12 district Federal banks, known as the beige book, described an economy in which many sectors, from consumer spending to manufacturing, continued to expand. But there were also “widespread signs of a deceleration,” the report said.

    • Goldman Sachs faces massive fine in UK-FT

      Goldman Sachs (GS.N) is facing a massive fine from the UK’s City watchdog following an investigation into the U.S. investment bank’s international business, the Financial Times said on its website on Wednesday.

    • Goldman seen paying $30 million British fine

      Goldman Sachs & Co. is expected to be fined around $30 million by British authorities following an investigation of the big Wall Street bank’s activities in London, according to news reports Wednesday.

    • Judge slams Credit Suisse’s ‘greedy antics’

      He also said that federal authorities were investigating his ex-wife and others on fraud allegations stemming from events surrounding the bankruptcy. She denied the accusation.

    • Financial crisis panel tells NV leaders to be bold

      Nevada, which leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates, had unrealistic growth expectations before the nation’s financial meltdown battered its tourism industry and erased billions of dollars in real estate equity, an economist told representatives of the 10-member commission.

    • Study Shows Drop in Credit Card Use

      According to the results of a November 2009 Javelin survey, 56 percent of consumers said they used a credit card in the last month, down from 87 percent in the same period in 2007. The 56 percent figure is the lowest since Javelin started conducting the annual surveys about six years ago, and Javelin said it expected the figure to drop to 45 percent in this year’s survey.

    • What Can the Long-Term Unemployed Tell Us About Raising The Social Security Retirement Age?

      What can we say? Those approaching the retirement age have been devastated in this current epic recession. Their numbers are high among the worst indicators, including the length of unemployment. Older workers are the slowest to be reintegrated from unemployment to employment and are unemployed the longest, with the human capital depreciation that goes along with that isolation from the workforce, extra vulnerable to swings in the economy. (Question: is there good data on salary drops for unemployed going to employed by age groups?)

    • Financial literacy campaign could save money for citizens, government

      The federal government hopes to help by creating a national financial literacy campaign. At any other time, such an action could be seen as just more busywork for our public officials. But this is a serious matter. What people don’t know about personal finance is costing them and the government a lot of money.

    • Financial crisis panel tells NV leaders to be bold

      Nevada, which leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates, had unrealistic growth expectations before the nation’s financial meltdown battered its tourism industry and erased billions of dollars in real estate equity, an economist told representatives of the 10-member commission.

    • SEC defends $75 million deal with Citigroup

      The bank has nearly $2 trillion in assets.

      Other factors taken into account were the need to deter the alleged violation, remedial steps taken by Citigroup, and the bank’s cooperation with the SEC investigation, the agency said.

    • Obama firm, won’t yield on tax hike for wealthiest

      Politically weakened but refusing to bend, President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that Bush-era tax cuts be cut off for the wealthiest Americans, joining battle with Republicans – and some fellow Democrats – just two months before bruising midterm elections.

    • Michael Lewis: “Goldman Sachs Has A Moral Justification For Bad Behavior”

      Michael Lewis recently offered another interesting explanation for a statement made a few months ago, “Goldman Sachs is doomed.”

      The reason the company is doomed is their status as a public corporation, he told Vanity Fair, because it allows them to justify barely legal activity that stops at nothing to profit.

    • Goldman Sachs, BP Met With Derivative Regulators on Dodd-Frank

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., BP Plc and Vitol Group number among dozens of companies that have met with the top U.S. commodity regulator in the last six weeks as the agency moves to implement the sweeping overhaul of the $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

    • France: Protests over pensions bring over a million onto boulevards

      Huge numbers of people – 1.1 million according to the government, 2.7 million according to the leading CGT union – turned out throughout France to demonstrate against plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. There was significant disruption caused to trains, planes and public services as a result of the strike. In the capital alone, the CGT union estimated the number of protesters at 270,000.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Beyond “Censored”: What Craigslist’s “Adult Services” Decision Means for Free Speech

      Through this now years-long struggle, Craigslist’s legal position has been and remains absolutely, unequivocally correct: the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (or CDA) grants providers of “interactive computer services” an absolute shield against state criminal law liability stemming from material posted by third parties. Put simply, the law ensures that the virtual soapbox is not liable for what the speaker says: merely creating a forum in which users post ads that may violate state law plainly does not lead to liability for a web site operator.

    • MetGate: A Guide to the Current Issues

      First, there is the issue of what happened within the News of the World newsroom: what the reporters did, what private investigators were contracted to do, what the editor and executives knew about and signed-off, and just how widespread was the use of unauthorised interceptions in producing stories for the newspaper.


      The emerging picture really does not look promising for Mr Coulson, who appears to have either known about this activity or should have known. He may even be forced to resign.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

Clip of the Day

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Credit: TinyOgg

Eben Moglen LinuxCon Keynote: Current Legal Issues in Defending FOSS

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Law, Patents, Videos at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Video version of the talk covered last month is finally online

Direct link

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