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09.11.10

Links 11/9/2010: Counter-Debunking the 1% Market Share Myth, Google Adds AGPL as Option in Code Hosting

Posted in News Roundup at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Fanatical Linux Fanboys == Fake Linux Users?

    A comic strip from Mostly Harmful got me thinking, how many are you so-called Linux fanboys actually use GNU/Linux operating system? Do you own a Windows box? or even Apple Mac OS X? How many are you, Linux advocates use GNU/Linux in your daily lives? Claiming that Linux is great and hating every other operating systems, while still (in secret) using them by choice?

  • Windows vs Ubuntu Release Cycle

    Most people fall into one of the following for their operating system upgrades:

    * Upgrade to New Release Every 6 monthsish (Fedora isn’t always on time)
    * Upgrade to a new LTS every two years
    * Upgrade to a new Windows version… Well, whenever the next one comes out!
    * Upgrade Windows? Pff, XP is support till 2020!
    * Upgrade your operating system? I use a rolling release distro!

  • Desktop

    • Counter-Debunking the 1% Myth

      I can’t argue with that. It’s also a really impressive number; the number for total Linux desktop sales (that includes desktops, laptops, and netbooks) will obviously be higher — I don’t know by how much, but the total number is certainly at least 6%.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.4.37.10 + 2.4 EOL plans

      Some of you have noticed that the last update was released 7 months ago. This is long, but these days, very few of the issues reported on 2.6 also affect 2.4, so basically the number of bug reports on 2.4 fades out quite fast. Also, I generally prefer not to release a kernel just for a single non-critical patch, especially if we consider that 2.4 users generally wait a few weeks to a few months before upgrading. Since quite a bunch of fixes started to pile up, I thought it was time to release a new one.

    • Linux backlight control

      Right now, if there’s an ACPI backlight interface then that’s usually the only thing we’ll show you. We can do that because we can identify if there’s an ACPI backlight interface when we parse the ACPI tables at the start of booting, and that information can be registered before we start setting up any other backlights. The problem comes when we have no ACPI backlight interface. We don’t have any idea whether there’s a platform mechanism until a platform driver loads, which could be at any time. As a result, we’ve been reluctant to expose GPU-level backlight control because doing so would often give you two separate backlight controls and no indication as to which should be used. Userspace doesn’t really have a way to make that decision either, so everyone ends up unhappy.

    • Behind the open source turnaround at Broadcom

      Times have changed, and you’ll get many of the details at our newest blog product, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ Networking.

      Not only is Broadcom being forthcoming with its downstream suppliers, but it has released Linux drivers for its most popular WiFi chips. It’s a big Biden deal.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Did Hell Just Freeze Over? Here’s Evergreen On Gallium3D!

        With this Git commit is initial Evergreen support in the R600g Gallium3D driver. This 5,000+ line patch adds the necessary shader opcodes, assembler support (sans ARL), uses constant buffers, adds interp instructions in the fragment shader, supports all Evergreen hardware states, and has Evergreen PM4 support. With this patch, the R600g driver is now at the glxgears milestone with ATI Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards.

      • X.Org Server 1.10 Release Plans; Drivers May Still Go In

        With X.Org Server 1.10, as talked about before, the X stack may be de-modularized to the point that X drivers would be merged back into the X.Org Server. At least the protocol headers should be merged into a single package and the input drivers are likely to be moved into the X Server too, but moving back in the GPU drivers is a matter that’s still hotly debated and will certainly be talked about at the X Developers’ Summit. At this point Keith is asking, “Anyone want to volunteer to have “their” driver get merged into the server for 1.10?” Keith’s interest in moving the drivers back into the server is so that they can be re-factored so that mode-setting code can be dropped for hardware where there’s already kernel mode-setting support, etc.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • using configChanged() in your Plasma widgets
      • KDEPIM 4.4.6 Available

        Tarballs for kdepim-4.4.6 and kdepim-runtime-4.4.6 are now available from a mirror near you.

      • 5 Things I Miss From Linux When Using OSX

        I have been a Linux user for over 10 years. I have used it exclusively on my home systems since that time and although it was a struggle at the beginning, I haven’t had any desire to use any other operating system … until now. Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro. Principally because I like the hardware, and can put Linux on it. However, it has also given me the opportunity to use OSX. In fact I’ve been using OSX quite a lot – given I’ve paid for it, I want to really see how it works. However, in the course of using it, I’ve come across a number of features of Linux and the KDE desktop that I greatly miss.

    • GTK/GNOME Desktop

      • GTK+ 2.90.7 Released, Drops DirectFB Support

        While GNOME 3.0 has been delayed to next March, the development releases towards version 3.0 of the GTK+ tool-kit continues in a steadfast manner. After the last GTK+ 3.0 snapshot a few weeks back that ported most of the GTK+ drawing to use Cairo, GTK+ 2.90.7 has been released.

  • Distributions

    • 3 Visually-Pleasing Linux Distributions That Use Enlightenment

      Continuing the recent trend of highlighting lesser-known operating systems, this week we bring you three that should at least look good. As opposed to the usual GNOME or KDE window managers found on most Linux distributions, these have all chosen in favour of Enlightenment.

    • Damn Vulnerable Linux

      Damn Vulnerable Linux – The most vulnerable and exploitable operating system ever!

      Damn Vulnerable Linux is the most complete training environment for IT security with over 500.000 downloads. It includes all tools you need ready to go. Additionally tons of training material and exercises are included. Damn Vulnerable Linux works fine under Windows, Linux and Mac OSX using any virtual machine such as VMware, Qemu or KVM. You can let it run installed natively on a standard PC or even boot it from USB.

    • Reviews

      • Chakra Linux – Distro Review

        Even though Chakra is a very young distribution, it has quickly become my favorite non-Ubuntu based distro. I think we will see some great things from the Chakra team before a 1.0 release of the distribution. This is definitely one worth trying if you are looking for a new distro the play around with.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Which Mandriva is in trouble ?

        I think there are 2 scenarios there: the community is strong enough to reorganize itself, find new hosting for developing the distro, enough contributors to maintain packages, and continue to develop the real value add of Mandriva, the distro: urpmi, msec, auto-inst, draktools, KDE integration, PLF, … all what makes this distrubtion speial to its users. Is it really possible. Well I think I could give a bit more of my time to maintain some more packages and help at my level ontributing to improve it. It would also place it at a similar level to Debian, a pure open source distro, used and developed by its community. Why not, but again if ex-Mandriva firm employee do not have time to contribute anymore, big losses have to be expexted from their departure, and correct replacement will be long and hard to have. Also what about the innovation on the distro then.

        The other and sader scenario is that the new mandriva doesn’t help the community to reform (they host everything today), thus discouraging the good willness of current contributors, making them move to another distro of choice for their activities. I for one, clearly will look at latest fedora and debian version to see which one is the most appealing to me, and which community I may join (my past experience with these 2 doesn’t make that move a very happy one to me, feedbacks welcome here).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Former trade group lobbyist will don Red Hat title

        Bohannon also has served on numerous federal government delegations to bilateral negotiations and multilateral bodies such as The Hague, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the World Trade Organization.

      • Red Hat partners with the NCSU Entrepreneurship Initiative for idea center.

        N.C. State and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) will unveil “The Phase I Garage,” a center designed to help students become entrepreneurs, next week.

        Red Hat, which maintains its global headquarters at NCSU’s Centennial Campus, is partnering with the NCSU Entrepreneurship Initiative on the facilty.

      • Fedora

        • Linux Desktops, Servers and the Future

          I think what we can take away with this for Fedora is that we should be focusing on a number of areas:

          1. Try and to the above to increase people using Fedora on the desktop (push fixes of infrastructure, make it easier to make more desktop applications).
          2. Make sure Fedora gets known as a great testbed for the server side. Get more people who use RHEL testing and working on stuff in fedora to improve things down the road on the server side in RHEL.
          3. Even though it’s not ideal in my mind, we should still position Fedora so it’s suited for running web applications (basically a webos/terminal) and a development env for smart phones and web applications.
          4. Try and do the first three things while still allowing all the other various ‘niche’ users to use and enjoy Fedora.

          Anyhow, I thought I would mention this given that the Fedora Board has been discussing Vision and other longer term plans. I think we should try and do what it takes to keep the desktop moving in a direction where it’s likely to expand, while still keeping track of the server and niche users (who we often seem to forget about).

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint’s Debian Delight!

        The Linux Mint version of Debian also includes multimedia codecs, a backup tool, the excellent Mint menus, flash and a host of other things that aren’t in generic Debian. LMDE is essentially Debian on steroids; it provides a bunch of helpful usability enhancements.

        I tip my hat to the Linux Mint developers for this release; it’s a delightful addition to the world of desktop Linux.

      • Distro Hoppin`: Linux Mint Debian Edition

        I was expecting an Install only ISO, but the Mint team managed to offer us a Live environment, in which my computer happily booted. The experience was a smooth one, with no unpleasant surprises, so off I went to the “Install Linux Mint” icon. Here is where the differences start to show. After pressing next on the default English language, I had to select the timezone from this huge list. Goodbye auto-detection, goodbye pretty map… sigh. :D I kid, I kid, it’s not that bad, and I’m sure it will improve over time. The HDD-prepare step is also quite different and a bit less user-friendly than Ubuntu’s, but still doable even by a less-experienced user.

        [...]

        LMDE FTW?

        Certainly! Though a beginner might want to have a helping hand from a more experienced user during the installation process of the system itself and the proprietary drivers, once that’s out of the way, it’s pretty much the same smooth experience as it is with the main edition. That is if you’re luckier than I was with the sound server. The developers did warn that there are some rough edges to be expected and indeed they are. But, considering the fact that this is the first version of the Debian edition, the quality of this OS can only go up from this point, so, needless to say, I have high expectations for the future development of this experiment. If you like keeping your favorite applications up to date at all times, or if you simply hold a silly grudge against Ubuntu, go grab LMDE. Enjoy!

      • Linux Mint “Debian” Screenshots

        Linux Mint has made its name by adding visual polish and implementing Mint-specific tools on top of its Ubuntu base. Times and changing though as we now have something new from the Linux Mint team. This latest release from Linux Mint is the first to be based on Debian Linux. Another surprise is that Linux Mint 9 “Debian” is a rolling release. This means users won’t need to re-install to have the latest and greatest applications. Linux Mint 9 “Debian” features all of the tools that make regular Linux Mint great including the Mint Backup tool, Mint Menu and more. Visit the official release announcement for more info on this release or buy Linux Mint Debian on DVD in our shopping cart.

      • Mint 10 Preview: Menu Search Engines
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Fluendo DVD Player For Sale in Ubuntu 10.10

          Now that Fluendo’s DVD Player has become the first for-purchase item in the Software Center, will we see other Fluendo applications following suit? We can’t know for sure, but without getting into specifics, Fluendo representatives have stated that “we can imagine that other products, like the Fluendo codec pack which already is in the Ubuntu Software center, will join the list.”

        • The Ubuntu Tour Project Needs Your Help!

          Right now, they need contributers in the areas of Authors, Designers, Editors, Programmers, and (eventually) Translators, although Alex Lancey let me know that they’re primarily looking for Authors and PyGTK coders at the moment.

        • Magic Trackpad drivers land in Ubuntu Maverick and Upstream!

          If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll note that I’ve been spending some time adding Magic Trackpad functionality to the current Magic Mouse driver in the kernel. I’m pleased to report that the changes have landed both in Ubuntu and upstream in Jiri Kosina’s HID tree as it awaits merging into Linus’ tree. It will be available in Ubuntu 10.10 and hopefully in Linux 2.6.37.

        • Ubuntu Insurance?

          This idea popped up in a completely different conversation and I haven’t explored the full dynamics of the idea and how it would play out legally but:

          What if Ubuntu users paid into an insurance fund. The fund’s aim would be to record the primary software and hardware used by the customer and to employ programmers and QA people to ensure that this software and hardware works in the next release and with critical updates?

        • More Eyecandy On Its Way For Ubuntu 10.10 Installer Slideshow

          Ubuntu 10.10 Installer is going through massive changes. Canonical is leaving no stones unturned and now even the installer slideshow is getting fair amount of attention. Installer slideshow was introduced during the Ubuntu Lucid release and Canonical aims to bring more polish and simplicity to the slideshow feature.

        • DEB Packages Now Open With Ubuntu Software Center by Default in Ubuntu 10.10

          Canonical makes another small yet significant change in Ubuntu 10.10. Downloaded DEB packages will no longer open with GDebi package installer by default, instead it opens with Ubuntu Software Center!

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sony’s new eBook readers: first-look review
    • Qnap puts Intel’s dual core Atom chip into a NAS box

      Qnap made its name with highly configurable NAS setups that allowed users to install their own Linux distribution, essentially creating a small but capable server.

    • Tanner EDA Tools Now on Linux

      Linux is a mainstream OS used by IC designers worldwide so Tanner EDA has good timing in offering a full-flow Analog IC Design Suite on Linux. Tanner tools started out on Microsoft Windows and now you can choose to use Linux as well. This reminds me of the same OS transition that Viewlogic went through in the 90’s.

    • Hackable, Linux-based flying drone can be controlled by smartphone
    • 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.

        Nokia remains the global smartphone market share leader but has seen its share slip as its Symbian (News – Alert) platform struggles to deliver an experience on par with Apple and other competitors. It invested in an entirely new Linux-based platform, called Maemo, for its high-end devices, and it has now merged this platform withIntel’s ( News – Alert) Linux-based Moblin platform to produce MeeGo.

        HP’s acquisition of Palm gives it entry into the smartphone business as well, with Palm’s webOS seen as key to creating value around HP mobile devices through applications.

      • Dumb Trojan Trying To Attack Android Phones

        Unlike ‘secure by obscurity’ operating systems like Windows, this trojan needs your ‘permission’ to download and then install. A smartphone can only be infected if the user manually installs the application. Users of smartphones running Android are asked to download the pornplayer.apk application from an infected webpage in order to view adult content videos. The installation file is only 16.4 KB and during installation the Trojan seeks the user’s consent to send SMS messages – a requirement that a media player is very unlikely to need.

      • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The HP Mini 110 Netbook: Almost One Year Later

        Why write about a discontinued netbook now? Well, for one HP has a very similar model (the Mini 210) for sale. Second, there is always the used market. Finally, I’ve actually used the thing long enough to write in an informed way. It’s a pity HP no longer offers Linux preloaded. If they did I would recommend their netbooks to anyone.

    • Tablets

      • Google Hints at New Directions for Android Tablets

        While most of what we “know” about Android-for-tablets operating systems is shrouded in rumor, we are fairly certain that the fork will begin with Gingerbread, a.k.a. Android 3.0, which may be released as soon as this fall. And Honeycomb is thought to be the next iteration of the same fork.

      • Huge Dual-Screen Kno Tablet Launching This Year

        Kno runs on a special version of Linux, but the touchscreen interface looks very similar to those seen in iPhones and Android devices, just with far more screen real estate. The company wants to have an app store for the device and also focus on providing college textbooks through it. While the Kno tablet is larger than any text book, the added space will be perfect for writing notes and drawing diagrams.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Forking is a Feature

    While Linus Torvalds is best known as the creator of Linux, it’s one of his more geeky creations, and the social implications of its design, that may well end up being his greatest legacy. Because Linus has, in just a few short years, changed the social dynamic around forking, turning the idea of multiple versions of a work from a cultural weakness into a cultural strength. Perhaps the technologies that let us easily collaborate together online have finally matured enough to let our work reflect the reality that some problems are better solved with lots of different efforts instead of one committee-built compromise.

    [...]

    Moving forward, there are a lot more lessons we can learn if we build our social tools with the assumption that no one version of any document, app, or narrative needs to be the definitive one. We might even make our software, and our communities, more inclusive if we embrace the forking ourselves.

  • Meet the New Kingmakers: Same as the Old Kingmakers

    The gist of the session comes in the text on slide 3: “When it comes to Enterprise IT adoption, Open Source Has ‘Crossed the Chasm’.” In support of this conclusion, Hammond employs a dizzying array of quantitative metrics derived from three surveys; two from Forrester (Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q408/09 / Dr. Dobbs Developer Technographics Q309) and one from the Eclipse Foundation (2009/2010 Eclipse Community Survey). Besides the metrics, there are models (the software “iron triangle”) explaining mechanisms of OSS adoption, case studies of current users and best practices for would be users. While I might quibble with bits and pieces of the analysis, on balance it’s both thorough and excellent.

  • Does the Robotics Arena Need A Standards Body?

    The open source robotics arena has been steadily building steam for some time, and, recently, the Affero GPL 3.0 version of Urbi arrived. Urbi powers many robotic and pseudo-robotic devices, including the Segway RMP and Lego Mindstorm. Urbi is hardly the only open source robotics platform out there showing signs of promise, though, and we’ve covered a number of the others being developed all around the globe.

  • Liferay Portal 6 Enterprise Edition Raises the Bar for Enterprise Portals

    If Google Apps isn’t cutting it for your business needs but you don’t want to get in over your head trying to create a collaboration system on your own, let Liferay step in and do the heavy lifting, It’s an open source content management system and collaboration tool built for use in the enterprise environment. The company launched a new version this week of its portal framework this week and it’s definitely worth checking out to see why our own Jon Buys “can’t recommend [it] enough.”

  • Project Cauã: John “Maddog” Hall on creating a sustainable network of entrepreneurs from system administrators in Brazil

    I’ve been hearing John “Maddog” Hall talk about Project Cauã for a while now, and I’ve seen mention of it here and there. But his Ohio LinuxFest keynote, “Project Cauã: Creating Sustainable Computing Jobs in the Developing World,” was the first time I got to hear a full description of the plan. In case you haven’t had a chance to read about it either, here’s the plan he outlined.

  • Blender 2.5 Smoke Sim: Save some time when going HiRes
  • Adopting Open-Source Applications

    The use of OSS (open-source software) in the enterprise has come a long way since the days when Linux and other OSS applications were associated with long-haired “evangelists” and were far removed from the mainstream. Many OSS solutions have evolved into reliable, stable, and secure alternatives to commercial applications that can also offer significant reductions in licensing costs.

  • Contribute to the OSS Watch National Survey 2010

    Here at OSS Watch we have just started our National Software Survey for 2010 and we are in the data collecting phase. Everybody active in Higher or Further Education in the UK is invited to take part. This survey, commissioned by JISC for the fourth time, will assess the state of software policies and usage in Further and Higher Education.

  • Open Source Licensing made easy for Italian Public Administrations

    Open source licensing compliance will be at the center of the next conference of the “Focus Group Open Source” series, an initiative sponsored by IBM Italy to promote open source among Italian public administrations. (disclosure: IBM Italy is a client).

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Beautiful Firefox Ads You Would Love to Watch

        Brand new Firefox 4.0 is on its final descent. Be it the introduction of awesome TabCandy feature or the new super fast “JaegerMonkey” JavaScript engine, Firefox 4.0 is all over the news for all the right reasons. I think this is the best time to introduce some cool Firefox commercials/videos. Take a look.

      • Mozilla Asks, ‘Are We Fast Yet?’

        The green line is Google V8, the red line is Apple Nitro, and the orange and black lines are Mozilla’s two engines, JaegerMonkey and TraceMonkey, respectively. The purple lines reflect Mozilla’s new approach of running the engines concurrently. As you can see, it speeds things up.

  • Oracle

    • New Oracle Solaris Is Here

      Oracle Solaris is now developed, tested and supported as an integrated component of Oracle’s “applications-to-disk” technology stack, which includes continuous major platform testing, in addition to the Oracle Certification Environment, representing over 50,000 test use cases for every Oracle Solaris patch and platform released.

    • Oracle and Solaris: What’s the Future?

      As for OpenSolaris and the whole idea of having an open source, cutting-edge version of an enterprise OS — like Red Hat has with Fedora and Novell has with OpenSUSE — well, that might be the way Red Hat and Novell like to develop their enterprise Linux OSes, but it’s not the way Oracle is used to developing its proprietary and highly profitable software offerings. Never has been, and probably never will be.

    • Solaris alternative OpenIndiana to launch next week

      On next Tuesday 14th, the Illumos Foundation will reveal the details of OpenIndiana. OpenIndiana is to be a server or desktop operating system based on Illumos, the recently created fork of OpenSolaris. Project Lead, EveryCity’s Alisdair Lumsden said that, “this announcement will deliver the distribution the community has long sought after.”

    • OpenIndiana – Another OpenSolaris Fork – Coming Next Week
    • Licensing Change for Solaris 10 and Solaris Cluster

      Solaris 10, Oracle Solaris Cluster and the upcoming Oracle Solaris Express got a new license. The downloadable version is now licensed under the “Oracle Technology Network Developer License Terms
      Oracle Solaris, Oracle Solaris Cluster and Oracle Solaris Express” (Legalese: You have to read and interpret the license on your own before accepting it in the download process, my interpretation could be wrong and it’s just my personal interpretation. For an authoritative answer about licensing questions ask your Oracle Sales Rep).

  • CMS

    • EdWeb 2.0 released as open source

      EdWeb 2.0 is now an open source CMS for Education that helps school districts maintain a web presence. When combined with an existing school district web site, EdWeb 2.0 helps to provide a more comprehensive solution compared to a district level web site by itself.

  • Healthcare

    • Q&A: Gunnar Hellekson on open source adoption in government

      Open source software received a high-profile vote of confidence when WhiteHouse.gov chose to use Drupal as it’s web content management system. Agencies also warmed to open source solutions when the Defense Department released a 2009 memo dispelling some common misconceptions around open source software. And just a few months after being urged to embrace open source for its electronic health record system by an industry group, the Veterans Affairs Department says it’s investigating the possibility of using open source software for VistA.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Open Source Helping To Avoid The Digital Black Hole

      Beyond the personal sphere this could have a huge impact in areas like astronomy, quantum physics or climatology. Specialists in these fields rely on the quantitative analysis of large data sets over a large period of time. For example in measuring human influence on global warming. It would be a disaster for humanity to lose access to this data and the knowledge that can be gained from it.

      Now much of the drama that used to exist around moving data from magnetic tapes to saving it on disks and then in the computing cloud on huge servers is gone.

  • Licensing

    • License Evolution and Hosting Projects on Code.Google.Com

      The longer form of the reason why is that we never really liked turning away projects that were under real, compatible licenses like the zlib or other permissive licenses, nor did we really like turning away projects under licenses that serve a truly new function, like the AGPL. We also think that there were inconsistencies in how we handled multi-licensed projects (for instance: a project that is under an Apache license, but has a zlib component.)

      To rectify this, we decided to add an additional option to the license selector that would accommodate some flexibility around open source licenses. We hope you find it useful and look forward to seeing how you use the site!

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing peer review

      It is the greatest question in computer science. A negative answer would likely give a fundamentally deeper understanding of the nature of computation. And a positive answer would transform our world: Computers would acquire mind-boggling powers such as near-perfect translation, speech recognition and object identification; the hardest questions in mathematics would melt like butter under computation’s power; and current computer security methods would be as easy to crack as a TSA-approved suitcase lock.

    • Matt Cohler Leads Funding for Scientist Social Network

      The promise of ResearchGATE is that it’s a social network that could help real work get done well. Madisch estimates that nearly 80 percent of research is unpublished, so it’s not shared with the broader scientific community. If the scientific process could be more open and shared, researchers could collaborate with each other, reduce redundancy, and improve their work. The site today contains 500,000 scientist profiles, along with 2,600 collaborative groups and an aggregated index of 35 million scientific articles. It’s already making money through a jobs board. Madisch said he doesn’t aim to disrupt the traditional research journal model, but rather to help scientists out in the formulation phase before they publish a study. He added that down the line he’d love for ResearchGATE to publish its own “journal of negative results” (which could actually be pretty awesome).

    • What cars have the lowest cost of ownership?
    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • It’s Time to Get Behind the Semantic Web

      The fact is that the Web has become so enormous that the likelihood of adopting any other NextGen set of standards that can make it so dramatically more useful is, in my opinion, very, very low. If we don’t get behind the W3C’s Semantic Web vision now, it may be a very long time indeed before we get another chance to make the Web of the future better than the one we rely upon for more and more every day.

    • Microdata: HTML5’s Best-Kept Secret

      Given that HTML5 is still a draft at this point, why bother?

      Actually, despite its lack of publicity and HTML5’s still-incomplete status, microdata is already being used by Google, which has started adding information gleaned from microdata markup to its search result snippets.

Leftovers

  • What Was Alan Turing Really Like? (Post for SJ01)
  • Social Media Blackout

    Eric Darr recently had a moment that a lot of modern parents can relate to. He was watching his 16-year-old daughter click around frenetically on Facebook while juggling several conversations on her iPhone.

    “I was frankly amazed,” says Darr, the provost at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. “I thought, ‘How do you live like this?’ It struck me to think, ‘What if all this wasn’t there?’ ”

    So Darr conceived an experiment designed to parse how one lives with social media — precisely by examining how one lives without it. He decided to pull the plug on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and AOL Instant Messenger for one week. But rather than conduct the experiment within his own home, Darr decided to take advantage of his position as Harrisburg’s provost to tap a much larger sample: his institution’s entire student body, faculty, and staff.

  • Lawyer Files Defamation Suit Against Opposing Counsel in Teen Runaway Case

    A lawyer who represented the Muslim parents of a teenage runaway last year in a high-profile case that captured the attention of Christian fundamentalists is now suing his opposing counsel for defamation.

    Attorney Omar Tarazi contends in a federal lawsuit filed Friday in Columbus, Ohio, that attorney John Stemberger, who represented runaway Rifqa Bary in Florida, falsely said he was unqualified and claimed in a television interview last year that that he has terrorist ties, reports the Associated Press.

  • Intel to launch chipsets with built-in graphics
  • Fibre optic capacity ‘auto-tuned’ by novel device
  • Science

    • E. coli may not be all bad after all

      E. coli, long associated with illness brought on by food poisoning, may hold the key to the future of renewable energy.

      “If we can engineer biological organisms to produce biodiesel fuels, we’ll have a new way of storing and using energy,” says Desmond Lun, associate professor of computer science at Rutgers University–Camden.

      Lun is researching how to alter the genetic makeup of E. coli to produce biodiesel fuel derived from fatty acids.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Exclusive: WikiLeaks Collaborating With Media Outlets on Release of Iraq Documents

      A London-based journalism nonprofit is working with the WikiLeaks Web site and TV and print media in several countries on programs and stories based on what is described as massive cache of classified U.S. military field reports related to the Iraq War. Iain Overton, editor of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tells Declassified that his organization has teamed up with media organizations—including major television networks and one or more American media outlets—in an unspecified number of countries to produce a set of documentaries and stories based on the cache of Iraq War documents in the possession of WikiLeaks. As happened with a similar WikiLeaks collection of tens of thousands of U.S. military field reports on the Afghan war, the unidentified media organizations involved with the London group in the Iraq documents project will all be releasing their stories on the same day, which Overton says would be several weeks from now. He declined to identify any of the media organizations participating in the project.

    • Wikileaks and the politics of whistleblowing

      Ever since a U.S. army counterintelligence report identified WikiLeaks as a direct threat to the ‘force protection interests’ of the military – a euphemistic term for the United States’ ability to militarily dominate when, where and against whom they choose – the organization has been in the Pentagon’s crosshairs. For those of you who have been living under a rock, WikiLeaks runs a web portal dedicated to publishing government and corporate secrets online. It is, essentially, the new intermediary for potential whistleblowers and many of the 1.2+ million documents it has made public in its four year history have concerned various branches of the U.S. Government.

    • Massive Cache of Iraq War Docs to Be Published by WikiLeaks

      A massive cache of previously unpublished classified U.S. military documents from the Iraq War is being readied for publication by WikiLeaks, a new report has confirmed.

      The documents constitute the “biggest leak of military intelligence” that has ever occurred, according to Iain Overton, editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit British organization that is working with WikiLeaks on the documents.

    • X-Ray Pinup Girls Are Just Pixels (NSFW?)

      The X-Rays were in fact part of the EIZO Medical Pin-up Calendar, a clever marketing tool for a niche company whose product most people didn’t even know existed.

  • Finance

    • Does Economy Really Have To Run On Fraud?

      What is the difference between today’s economy and Lehman Brothers just before it collapsed in September 2008? Should Lehman, the economy, Wall Street – or none of the above – be bailed out of bad mortgage debt? How did the Fed and Treasury decide which Wall Street firms to save – and how do they decide whether or not to save U.S. companies, personal mortgage debtors, states and cities from bankruptcy and insolvency today? Why did it start by saving the richest financial institutions, leaving the “real” economy locked in debt deflation?

      Stated another way, why was Lehman the only Wall Street firm permitted to go under? How does the logic that Washington used in its case compare to how it is treating the economy at large? Why bail out Wall Street – whose managers are rich enough not to need to spend their gains – and not the quarter of U.S. homeowners unfortunate enough also to suffer “negative equity” but not qualify for the help that the officials they elect gave to Wall Street’s winners by enabling Bear Stearns, A.I.G., Countrywide Financial and other gamblers to pay their bad debts?

    • UK Government set to endorse the creation of EU financial supervisors; Il Sole 24 Ore: “London knows that it can only limit the damage”

      PA reports that UK Chancellor George Osborne is today set to endorse the proposals for the creation of a European Systemic Risk Board and three new EU supervisors to oversee financial markets in the EU at a meeting of EU finance ministers. A Government spokesman is quoted describing the proposals as “a good deal for us” and arguing: “We are happy with this. Once it has been agreed by finance ministers, the technical details will be sorted out by national officials later this week or next week. But day-to-day supervision [of British banks and financial institutions] remains at national level – that is what we have said all along”.

    • Revenue won’t apologise for underpaid tax blunder

      The country’s top tax official has refused to apologise to the 1.4 million people facing demands for extra money. Dave Hartnett, the HM Revenue and Customs permanent secretary for tax, insisted it was not an “extraordinary” situation.

      Hartnett denied there had been any errors and said he saw no need to apologise. HMRC was also justified in asking those who owed more than £2,000 to repay the money more quickly as they were likely to be the highest earners, he said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Big Tobacco hired public relations firm to lobby government

      IF YOUR bulldust detector is twitching over outraged retailers warning that plain packaging for cigarettes ”won’t work, so why do it”, you are right on the money.

      The tobacco industry is not only funding the campaign being run by the Alliance of Australian Retailers to stop plain packaging being introduced, it is employing the public relations firm to run the campaign, approving who will do media interviews and managing the strategy for lobbying government.

      As the tobacco industry prepares to pour another $3.97 million, on top of the $5.4 million already spent, into phase two of its campaign to coincide with the finals season of the NRL and AFL this weekend, the Herald can reveal the full extent of the role of Big Tobacco.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Vodafone Prohibits P2P Use for Broadband Customers

      At a time where content producers are increasingly using peer-to-peer technology to distribute data, there are still Internet providers that wont allow such traffic on their networks. This type of discrimination is not limited to mobile or cellular networks either. In Ireland, Vodafone users are not permitted to use peer-to-peer services on their broadband connection.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • John Mellencamp: Takes From Others, But Refuses To Give Back

      Now, obviously, he’s talking in a symbolic way, but the stark contrast shows a rather incredible sense of entitlement. Basically, everything is “his,” and nothing can be anyone else’s. He wants to take possession over anyone else’s work, but refuses to give back, and claims that others doing a similar process are somehow “destroying” his own work.

    • Copyrights

      • “Questionable” whether lawyers can sue 14,000 P2P users in 1 court

        Rosemary Collyer, one of the DC federal judges overseeing the US Copyright Group’s tens of thousands of file-sharing lawsuits, is open to one of the main arguments made by groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and by ISPs: the DC court doesn’t have jurisdiction over random individuals from all over the country.

        In a ruling today, Collyer pointed to several recent “motions to quash” the US Copyright Group subpoenas targeting ISPs. (The subpoenas ask ISPs to connect a specific IP address to a name and physical location.) The motions came from several different states.

      • Righthaven seeks domain name transfer – relief that is not called for under the Copyright Act

        News broke over the Labor Day weekend that Righthaven, that enterprise set up to file copyright lawsuits over alleged infringements of articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, sued Nevada senate candidate Sharron Angle. The complaint [PDF] contains two claims for copyright infringement over allegations that Angle posted two articles on her website without authorization.

        Let’s set aside for a moment any objections or snickering we might have about Righthaven’s approach, or any disdain we may feel about spamigation in general. There’s one paragraph in the Angle complaint which demonstrates a plaintiff mindset that is over the top on just about any reasonable scale.

      • Balanced Copyright For Canada Website (http://balancedcopyrightforcanada.ca) – Attack Of The Corporate Welfare Bums
      • How Social Mores Can Deal With ‘Unfair’ Copying, Even In Absence Of Copyright

        One of the complaints that we hear often from various publishers is the idea that, without copyright, other sites could simply copy all content. In fact, this is the big complaint we keep hearing from newspapers these days — the idea that they do all this expensive “reporting,” and then along comes some “blog” that just copies the work, with a bit of commentary and gets all the traffic. I tend to point out that this is a silly position to take. The thing is I say that even though I’ve experienced being on the “other” side of this discussion, and not with a smaller site, but a larger one. For quite some time a publication (that will remain nameless) that is larger and more well known than us had a habit of “rewriting” stories that were found on Techdirt, as well as a few other moderately popular blogs, without any credit. It became quite obvious that this was happening — especially on stories that I would sit on for a couple weeks for various reasons, only to post them and see a very similar story pop up six hours later on this other site. The timing was uncanny. I finally asked a writer at the site about one such story, and was told that the editor had sent him my story, but said that since he did additional reporting on it, they felt no need to credit me — and even claimed that this was the same stance that “real reporters” took, such as the AP and Reuters. Of course, that’s not quite true, and the AP just changed its credit policies, so that it will clearly credit any publication that publishes a story before they do.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA, “Ex Officio” Enforcement, and Parallel Imports

          In the latest ACTA leaked text, it’s disappointing to see that Canada is endorsing the following proposal on “ex officio” border enforcement, This refers to the giving of power to border officials to detain suspect goods on their own initiative on the basis of suspected IP infringement, without the need of a prior court order.

        • ACTA’s Enforcement Practices Chapter: Countries Reach Deal as U.S. Caves Again
        • Report: ACTA secrecy is all the United States’ fault

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) got a bit more transparent this year, as negotiators held a few meetings with civil society types and released one official draft text some months ago. But this wouldn’t be ACTA without secret meetings and unreleased draft texts, would it?

          This isn’t a serious problem for those who want to read the draft texts after each negotiating session; leaks have become routine, which made this week’s leak (PDF) of the most recent draft text so unsurprising. At this late stage in the negotiations, after so much criticism in the US and Europe, one might expect ACTA negotiators to operate as transparently as they have promised to do. Unfortunately, the US stands in the way.

        • The fishy mandate of ACTA
        • ACTA, “Ex Officio” Enforcement, and Parallel Imports

          In the latest ACTA leaked text, it’s disappointing to see that Canada is endorsing the following proposal on “ex officio” border enforcement, This refers to the giving of power to border officials to detain suspect goods on their own initiative on the basis of suspected IP infringement, without the need of a prior court order.

        • Watered-down ACTA Approaching Conclusion

          Controversial multi-country negotiations on an “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” are within striking distance of conclusion, according to a leaked draft text.

          The secrecy surrounding the talks took another hit this week when Knowledge Ecology International, a Washington-based non-governmental organisation, posted the draft on its website, along with a note stating that the United States was alone among participating governments in opposing the draft’s release.

        • Scrap the ACTA Internet chapter!

          Yesterday we had a debate in the European Parliament on the ongoing negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ACTA. The negotiating parties are trying to keep the agreement secret, but the latest draft has been leaked on the net. Transcripts and videos from the debate can be found here.

          Most or all of the Members of the European Parliament, from all the political groups, were critical of various aspects of the agreement, and the lack of transparency surrounding the process.

        • European Parliament Asks EU ACTA Negotiators to Protect Citizens’ Fundamental Rights

          WD 12 became the official position of the European Parliament on ACTA when it was signed by 377 Members of the European Parliament prior to today’s deadline — more than the required majority of MEPs (369). While the written declaration is not binding on the European Parliament, its adoption by a clear majority sends an important political signal to EU ACTA negotiators at a critical time — just before the next, and possibly final, round of ACTA negotiations taking place in Japan later this month. The European Parliament must give a “consent vote” for the EU to be bound by ACTA; WD 12 should be seen by EU negotiators as a clear statement about how the MEPs will approach that vote.

        • Europe says ‘No’ again to ACTA secrecy

          This morning from Brussels, the European Parliament issued a formal declaration – its second official legal statement of the season – calling upon participants in negotiations for the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to share the status of their proceedings with the public at large. At issue is whether governments can decree that Internet Service Providers (most of which are private businesses) keep track of IP addresses that copyright holders believe are involved in infringement and unauthorized distribution, without officially notifying their citizens they’re about to do so.

Clip of the Day

Police Abuse: Cops Caught Plotting To Frame Motorist on Dash Cam


Credit: TinyOgg

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