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10.05.10

Links 5/10/2010: Marvell Gives OLPC $5.6 Million

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Some Statistics about My Linux Box

    So, in conclusion I must say I am very satisfied with my migration. It was much less painful than I expected and much more rewarding, too. Of course, there’s still a lot to learn, but I’m going one step at a time.

  • Warning Themes – Interesting Concept to Make “Being Root Scary” for Newbie Linux Users
  • Linux Gazette October 2010 (#179)

    # Mailbag
    # 2-Cent Tips
    # Talkback
    # News Bytes, by Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff
    # Henry’s Techno-Musings: User Interfaces, by Henry Grebler
    # Away Mission – PayPal Innovate, by Howard Dyckoff
    # A Nightmare on Tape Drive, by Henry Grebler
    # Making Your Network Transparent, by Ben Okopnik

    [...]

  • 5 Operating Systems Making Big Waves This Week

    Fedora 14 “Laughlin” beta was released last week, introducing Red Hat’s SPICE virtual desktop infrastructure, ipmiutil — which adds features including Serial-over-LAN and identity LED management, and a preview of systemd, a replacement for SysVinit that acts as a system and session manager and that will ultimately allow faster boot times.

  • LPI and My First International Proctoring “Job”

    One of the contributions that I have lent to LPI, and of which I am very proud, is the constant drum beat about making LPI multinational. From the very beginning I remember talking about the issues in various countries around the world in terms of language, costs of certification and ease of finding and taking the tests.

    As in other interactions with LPI, I acknowledge that others also spoke and were concerned about these issues, but for me they were the heart-blood. Either LPI was going to be an international organization with an international certification, or it would be ineffective for the needs of Linux and FOSS.

    [...]

    I had been to Brazil before 2002, and even before 1999. Two years after I had met Linus Torvalds and a few months after Red Hat Software’s Alpha Linux distribution was first distributed, I was flown to Sao Paulo in 1996 to speak at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), and saw my first Beowulf high-performance computing system running Linux at that university. USP had 160 PCs hooked together to do real-time computer graphics of “Toy Story” quality. While others were using Beowulf clusters to render animation frames over time, USP was doing it in real time. USP was also using their Beowulf to shorten the time needed to analyze a mammogram for cancer from close to a day to a few minutes. And finally they were using Linux to help manage remote Windows systems. “When the windows systems do not boot we tell the user to boot Linux, then we FTP a new copy of Windows onto their system. Is this a legitimate use of Linux?” asked the school’s president. I told him that every use of Linux was a legitimate use of Linux.

  • Desktop

Free Software/Open Source

  • Subsonic – OpenSource Web Based Media Streamer for Windows, Mac and Linux

    Subsonic is a free, opensource, web-based media streamer, providing ubiquitous access to your music. Listen to your favorite music where ever you are and you can even share your songs with friends and family usnig Subsonic online media streaming service.

  • ★ Rehost And Carry On

    The community around OpenESB is actually fairly active, and they (or, as it includes ForgeRock where I now work, perhaps I should say “we”) want OpenESB to stay around. But what do you do if the project is hosted somewhere under the control of a disinterested party? There’s no huge crime or disagreement to “justify” a fork, but on the other hand any new plans really will need the source and the community presence hosted in a way that allows the interested parties can change and improve things without having to wait for weeks to get replies to requests and risk having them declined if they are deemed inconvenient.

  • An open source of inspiration

    “The creative lot at agencies have a different lifestyle and attitude. They used to come into the office at 5 pm and start their work. I could not digest that but I learned quite a bit from that experience.” That was the time IBM was looking for talent from outside the IT framework. The Big Blue was scouting for personnel from varied backdrops. “I felt like giving it a shot and I did. I got selected and was made to undergo training for three months. I distinctly remember me wanting to drop out that training. Something inside me told me that this was not my scene. A lot of jargon was thrown at me and I felt I was not able to comprehend them. The I remembered my advertising days. Advertising has a few jargons and I could master them with time. So I decided to stay back and complete the training.”

    The training did wonders to him as a professional and he realised the importance of working in an organised, process oriented environment. “The 10 years at IBM were great. It taught me everything. I found the work place challenging my abilities everyday. It is at IBM that he developed the reputation of a business leader with demonstrated ability to tackle tough business and management challenges. People around Sandeep say that he has an innate ability to inspire people, and lead through vision and logic.

    At IBM, he transformed an ailing Unix business, while aiding the development of the Linux market across Asean markets, and led significant business transformation for IBM…

  • 10 great free desktop productivity tools that aren’t OpenOffice.org

    But apart from OpenOffice.org, what else is there? I dug into my own program folders and searched the far corners of the Web to come up with a cache of free and open source productivity applications for a range of desktop productivity tasks: word processing, page layout, graphics editing, illustration, task management, and more. Some of these tools are worthy substitutes for expensive commercial counterparts.

  • Simon Phipps unbound

    After 10 years at Sun, half of them as the company’s chief voice on open source, he was one of the first out the door when Oracle’s tentacles closed in. This has liberated him to say what he feels, rather than just what he is allowed to say. It has given him the fire of a good Baptist preacher.

  • Contributing to an open source project

    You don’t have to be a software developer to contribute to an open source project – there are all sorts of ways you can get involved, whether you are experienced or a newcomer, technically minded or otherwise inclined.

  • October Project of the Month: jEdit

    When it comes to open source text editors, it’s hard to find a programmer who hasn’t heard of jEdit. Under development for more than 10 years, it’s a perennial favorite of developers, writers, bloggers, and casual users alike. As Project Leader Björn “Vampire” Kautler succinctly puts it, “It is simply is the best text editor out there, that can be easily customized and extended to eternity and is cross-platform. It supports syntax highlighting of over 200 languages.”

  • Events

    • #possesa – day 2 – patching, translating, concentration

      So what did we do? I kicked off the day with explaining the galaxy that is Open Source and Free Software. the multitude of projects, the different governance models, how to find out about maturity and sustainability. I showed gource in action -. I love the visualization of open source projects over time that it generates.

      We then went to our first round of checkount – build – modify – commit using git, which was fun and rewarding. People could actually learn how stuff works with immediate results.

    • Web Browsers

      • Internet Explorer falls below 50 percent global marketshare, Chrome usage triples

        Internet Explorer falls below 50 percent global marketshare, Chrome usage triples
        Oh, IE, it pains us to do this to you. You who once so mightily won in the battle against Netscape Navigator now seem to be losing your war against a battalion of upstarts, relatively fresh faces like Firefox and Chrome. According to StatCounter, IE’s global usage stats have fallen to 49.87 percent, a fraction of a tick beneath half. Firefox makes up the lion share of the rest, at 31.5 percent, while Chrome usage tripled since last year, up to 11.54 percent. Two years ago IE had two thirds of the global market locked down, and even if Internet Explorer 9 is the best thing since ActiveX, well, we just don’t see the tide of this battle turning without MS calling in some serious reinforcements.

      • Internet Explorer Falls Below 50% Global Market Share. Chrome on the rise

        In Europe, IE market share has fallen to 40.26% in September this year from 46.44% in September last year. While in North America IE is still above 50% at 52.3% followed by Firefox at 27.21% and Chrome at 9.87%. The rise of Google Chrome in North America has also been impressive and in June it overtook Safari for the first time.

  • SaaS

    • ABC “Unofficially” Partners with Twitter-Alternative StatusNet

      ABC News Radio and StatusNet, the open-source microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, have “unofficially” partnered to unveil a newswire for the radio service.

      While the partnership may not be “official”, it is yet another vote of confidence in the Twitter-alternative and the open Web.

      According to Dan Patterson, the digital platform manager for ABC News Radio, the partnership is not yet official because the two companies haven’t done the “lawyerly dance”, among other things. In his explanation of why ABC chose to work with StatusNet, Patterson writes a mini-treatise for an open, distributed Internet.

  • Oracle/OOo/Java

    • Oracle ready to go solo with OpenOffice
    • The future of OpenOffice.org
    • Your Office is Saved — OpenOffice.org Forked!
    • OpenOffice is dead, long live LibreOffice

      So excuse the headline on this blog, but OpenOffice is not dead per se. It will continue to live out its existence breathing in the air on planet Oracle. The suite itself is mature, stable and works cross-platform, so there should be no major reason to worry about its future growth and well-being.

    • The OpenOffice fork is officially here

      It’s not that Oracle wishes ill of The Document Foundation and its take on OpenOffice, LibreOffice. Oracle just isn’t going to be having anything to do with it.

      When The Document Foundation released the beta of LibreOffice, the group wanted to speed up the rate of changes to the notoriously slow OpenOffice office suite software project and make significant improvements to OpenOffice, such as adding Microsoft OpenXML format compatibility to the program. This suggestion received support from all the major open-source and Linux powers: Red Hat, Novell, and Ubuntu. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, announced that they’d place LibreOffice in next spring’s update of Ubuntu.

    • Google asks court to dismiss Oracle’s Android lawsuit
    • Java: The Unipolar Moment
    • Mixed reactions from attendees about JavaOne

      JavaOne seemed to be near extinction last year, but Oracle’s acquisition of Sun revived it. We talked with some notable attendees to see how the conference went.

    • ☆ New ventures: OpenDJ, FossAlliance

      If it sounds familiar, it may be becuase it is based on the OpenDS project Sun used to work on. My old colleague Ludovic Poitou has joined ForgeRock to look after it for us, and I am keen to see a co-developer community grow around it in addition to the substantial deployer community that is now free to migrate from OpenDS to OpenDJ. There’s plenty more about it in the press release and FAQ.

    • ZFS gains data encryption

      Seven years after developers started working on ZFS, crypto functions have been added to the file system. The functions will probably be part of the forthcoming Solaris Express 2010. While no implementation details are available so far, a blog post talks about “support for encrypted ZFS datasets,” which points towards an encryption of the entire file system. The ZFS crypto project’s web site lists targets such as a per-dataset policy for enabling algorithms and key lengths as well as an encrypted swap area.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The black perl -Sabayon 5.4 is released! Screenshot Tour

      As can be seen in today’s announcement, today is my first day as full-time Executive Director at the Software Freedom Conservancy. For four years, I have worked part-time on nights, weekends, and lunch times to keep Conservancy running and to implement and administer the services that Conservancy provides to its member projects. It’s actual quite a relief to now have full-time attention available to carry out this important work.

    • GNU Telephony Statement on new Internet Surveillance Laws

      Good morning my relations. Today is not such a great day. In the United States the Obama administration is actively seeking a new law to legally mandate the forced introduction of insecure back doors and support for mass surveillance into all communication systems. Specifically targeted are Internet VoIP and messaging systems.

      Speaking on behalf of the GNU Telephony project, we do intend to openly defy such a law should it actually come to pass, so I want to be very clear on this statement. It is not simply that we will choose to publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but that we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption that is made available directly to anyone worldwide. Clearly such software is especially needed in those places, such as in the United States, where basic human freedoms and dignity seem most threatened.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Author Don Tapscott on the growing influence of public participation

      Watching television at his Boston home in January this year, Patrick Meier, a director of the crowdsourcing internet platform Ushahidi saw early reports that a devastating earthquake had caused massive damage to Haiti. Within 40 minutes, he was working with a colleague to set up a dedicated Haiti-focused website, and in less than an hour the site was gathering intelligence from people on the ground.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Despite Rumors, MIT OpenCourseWare Insists “No Paywall”

        With both private and public schools facing budget issues in tough economic times, it’s no surprise perhaps to hear a university employee say that the school is re-evaluating distance learning opportunities. But when an MIT employee made a statement to that effect at the OECD’s Institutional Management in Higher Education earlier last month, some media outlets erroneously reported it as an indication that MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) was considering implementing a paywall.

  • Programming

    • JQuery set to tackle mobile Web development

      Countless developers use jQuery software tools today to provide advanced Web sites and to ease the difficulties of spanning multiple browsers.

      Starting in about two weeks, though, they will start being able to extend their reach to the fast-growing world of the mobile Web as well. That’s when Mozilla plans to release the alpha version of jQuery Mobile, jQuery founder John Resig told attendees of the Future of Web Apps conference here Tuesday.

Leftovers

  • JPEGs with Alpha Channels?!?

    I wanted a reasonably sized photographic image with a 24-bit alpha channel. So I used a JPEG for what JPEGs are good for and a PNG for what PNGs are good for…

    I combined them using an HTML5 canvas element and then inserted into the DOM. The results look the same as using a normal 24-bit PNG but are one-half to one-sixth the size. In one case we got a 573KB 24-bit PNG down to a 49KB JPEG with a 4KB PNG alpha-mask!

  • The real cost of free

    Last week, my fellow Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall published a piece headlined The cost of free, in which she called it “ironic” that “advocates of free online content” (including me) “charge hefty fees to speak at events”.

    Lindvall says she spoke to someone who approached an agency I once worked with to hire me for a lecture and was quoted $10,000-$20,000 (£6,300-£12,700) to speak at a college and $25,000 to speak at a conference. Lindvall goes on to talk about the fees commanded by other speakers, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of a book called “Free” (which I reviewed here in July 2009), Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde and marketing expert Seth Godin. In Lindvall’s view, all of us are part of a united ideology that exhorts artists to give their work away for free, but we don’t practice what we preach because we charge so much for our time.

    It’s unfortunate that Lindvall didn’t bother to check her facts. I haven’t been represented by the agency she referenced for several years, and in any event, no one has ever paid me $25,000 to appear at any event. Indeed, the vast majority of lectures I give are free (see here for the past six months’ talks and their associated fees – out of approximately 95 talks I’ve given in the past six months, only 11 were paid, and the highest paid of those was £300). Furthermore, I don’t use an agency for the majority of my bookings (mostly I book myself – I’ve only had one agency booking in the past two years). I’m not sure who the unfortunate conference organiser Lindvall spoke to was – Lindvall has not identified her source – but I’m astonished that this person managed to dig up the old agency, since it’s not in the first 400 Google results for “Cory Doctorow”.

  • 911: Can you hear me now?
  • Cell Phone Service Coming to NYC Subway Stations by End of 2011

    Looks like NYC subway stations are getting cell phone service earlier than expected: Six stations—Along 14th St., and at 23rd St. and 8th Ave.—should be wired by the end of 2011. It will be both convenient and annoying.

  • Google Apps Now In A New York State Of Mind

    Google sees the adoption of Google Apps at schools and colleges as vital to the growth of the productivity suite; an outlook that Microsoft also seems to emulate as well. The strategy makes sense; not only do educational institutions represent a huge market for Google Apps and other productivity suites, but schools and colleges are where many people get trained, start relying on, and form brand allegiances to productivity apps. Today, New York is the fifth U.S. state to adopt “Google Apps,” joining Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Maryland.

  • Science

    • Medical Nobel goes to developer of IVF

      The 2010 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine goes to British researcher Robert Edwards for pioneering in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a process that has led to roughly 4 million births since it was first successfully done in 1978.

    • Air pollution appears to foster diabetes

      A pair of new studies — one in the United States, another in Germany — reports strong evidence that diabetes rates climb with increasing air pollution in the form of of tiny airborne particles.

      “Although previous studies had hinted at this possibility, the data were mostly from small studies or from animals exposed to high levels of particulate matter,” notes Aruni Bhatnagar, a cardiovascular researcher at the University of Louisville in Kentucky who did not take part in either study. He says the new data provide important and more rigorous evidence that real-world pollution may be tampering with blood sugar control in a large and growing number of people.

    • Breaking the noise barrier: Enter the phonon computer

      In 2001, Pat Gelsinger, then the chief technology officer of Intel, made a striking prediction about the future of microchips. If current design trends continue, he said, microchips will be running at 30 gigahertz by the end of the decade. However, he added, at this speed they will be generating more heat per cubic centimetre than a nuclear reactor.

      Sure enough, by 2003, Intel and other chip-makers had found that their plans for faster processors were running into trouble. For a chip to speed up, its transistors need to be shrunk, but smaller transistors must consume less power or they overheat. With chip-makers unable to keep to the reduced heat budget, the race for faster chips hit a wall (see diagram).

    • Meet RatCar, a Japanese Robot Car Controlled By a Rat’s Brain

      Robots are a major part of the cultural fabric of Japan; they’re performing weddings, buying groceries and keeping people company. A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo is taking this robotic cultural immersion a step further — they’re making animal-robot hybrids. Sort of.

      RatCar is a brain-machine interface that uses a rat’s brain signals to control a motorized robot. The rat hangs in the air, and the robot does what the rat’s limbs would do. It’s far from the only brain-robot locomotion contraption, but it’s arguably one of the strangest.

    • Nobel Honors Work on Ultra-Thin Carbon Film

      Two Russian-born scientists working in Britain won the prize for investigating the strange properties of graphene, a form of carbon one atom thick.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Hull man guilty of snooping on hundreds of medical records

      A Hull man has been given a suspended sentence for looking at hundreds of women’s medical records.

      Dale Trever, 22, was working for Hull Primary Care Trust as a “care data quality facilitator” when he accessed medical records of 413 female patients. The court was told he accessed records 597 times.

      He started his snooping when a female work colleague turned him down for a date, the East Riding Mail reports.

    • France arrests nine in anti-terror raids

      A French official told AFP that police had seized weapons “including a Kalashnikov (rifle) and a pump-action shotgun, as well as ammunition” in Tuesday’s raids.

    • Even Mahatma Gandhi was against ID cards

      About a century ago, Gandhiji started the world famous ‘Satyagraha’ in order to oppose the identification scheme of the government in South Africa. Hundred years later, India is repeating a similar programme under the pretext of unique ID numbers

      As the old saying goes, ‘Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’. It seems that both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and ultimately the Indian government have overlooked history and even the Mahatma’s views while going ahead with the ambitious and expensive unique identification number (UIDN) programme.

    • The perils of ‘Aadhaar’

      An elaborate charade has begun with the rolling out of the first Aadhaar unique identity (UID) numbers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a tribal district of Maharashtra. The 12-digit number for each citizen is supposed to achieve pilferage-free delivery of services to the underprivileged.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cuccinelli attempts to criminalize all of climate science — with Post Normal logic & fervor

      The Tea-Party crowd, the hardcore anti-science extremists, can’t stomach the scientific reality that mutiple independent studies back Mann’s core finding Hockey Stick: Recent global warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause. And so Cuccinelli goes after Mann and the University of Virginia once again. His new case is infinitely weaker but his fervor has reached OCD levels.

    • [stop climate change]

      It’s called the “10/10/10 Global Work Party.” The goal of the day is to send a message to our political leaders: If we can get to work, you can get to work too — on the legislation and the treaties that will protect this planet for our children and grandchildren.

    • One in five plant species face extinction

      One in five of the world’s plant species – the basis of all life on earth – are at risk of extinction, according to a landmark study published today.

      At first glance, the 20% figure looks far better than the previous official estimate of almost three-quarters, but the announcement is being greeted with deep concern.

    • Oil: Can Ecuador see past the black stuff?

      One of the most extraordinary people I have met in 10 days of travelling around Peru and Ecuador has been Alberto Acosta. He’s head of Ecuador’s leading research group now, but until 2007 was the second most powerful man in the country after the president, Rafael Correa. He was not only charged with masterminding the new constitution but was head of the assembly, or parliament, a founder of the ruling political party and minister of energy of the country that depends on oil.

      But Acosta will go down in my memory as the world’s only serving oil minister to have ever proposed leaving some of a country’s black stuff in the ground. That’s like Dracula renouncing blood, or a sports minister saying it’s better to play hide and seek than football. It just does not happen.

    • Greenpeace banned from intercepting oil-drilling ship

      Greenpeace has been banned from intercepting a deep sea oil-drilling ship after the protest group sent “wave after wave” of swimmers into the north Atlantic to stop the vessel from reaching its drilling site.

      The US oil giant Chevron was granted a wide-ranging interdict, or injunction, by judges in Edinburgh today, ordering Greenpeace to stop any further direct action preventing the Stena Carron from reaching its destination or impeding its “lawful business”.

    • Modern-day slavery: horrific conditions on board ships catching fish for Europe

      When environmental campaigners began tracking a hi-tech South Korean trawler off the coast of West Africa, they were looking for proof of illegal fishing of dwindling African stocks. What they uncovered was an altogether different kind of travesty: human degradation so extreme it echoed the slavery they thought had been abolished more than a century ago.

      “It was horrendous,” said Duncan Copeland, a senior campaigner at the Environmental Justice Foundation, who boarded the South Korean-flagged trawler at the end of 2008 with naval forces from Sierra Leone.

    • Prop 23 battle heats up in California as Schwarzenegger comes out fighting

      California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has come out fighting for his green legacy, going on the attack against the oil companies and rightwing groups bankrolling a campaign to suspend AB32, a landmark environmental law.

  • Finance

    • Fear and Favor

      I mean that literally. As Politico recently pointed out, every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News. Now, media moguls have often promoted the careers and campaigns of politicians they believe will serve their interests. But directly cutting checks to political favorites takes it to a whole new level of blatancy.

      Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.

      And these organizations have long provided havens for conservative political figures not currently in office. Thus when Senator Rick Santorum was defeated in 2006, he got a new job as head of the America’s Enemies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank that has received funding from the usual sources: the Koch brothers, the Coors family, and so on.

    • How Fake Money Saved Brazil

      This is a story about how an economist and his buddies tricked the people of Brazil into saving the country from rampant inflation. They had a crazy, unlikely plan, and it worked.

      Twenty years ago, Brazil’s inflation rate hit 80 percent per month. At that rate, if eggs cost $1 one day, they’ll cost $2 a month later. If it keeps up for a year, they’ll cost $1,000.

    • Do You Understand Taxation?

      California, if you didn’t know, has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. On top of federal rates that can reach 39% of each additional dollar, California takes up to 11% of each additional dollar. This means that top earners pay half of their marginal income (the part above a certain amount) in income taxes. At 50% of each additional dollar going to taxes, it is no wonder that people devote such tremendous effort to tax avoidance schemes. To do anything else wouldn’t be sensible.

    • Anglo Irish bank bailout to hit €30bn

      The full cost of the 2008 banking crisis in Ireland will be laid bare tomorrow when the republic’s government is expected to admit that bailing out Anglo Irish Bank will cost at least €30bn (£25.9bn) – equivalent to a fifth of the country’s national output.

    • Foreclosure funny business

      Virtually everyone has had the experience of being forced to pay a late fee or a bank penalty because of some fine-print provision that we overlooked. Sometimes, begging by good customers can win forbearance, but usually we are held to the written terms of the contract, no matter how buried or convoluted the clause in question may be.

      That is the way it works for the rest of us, but apparently this is not the way the banks do business, at least when those at the other end of the contract are ordinary homeowners. As a number of news reports have shown in recent weeks, banks have been carrying through foreclosures at a breakneck pace and freely ignoring the legal niceties required under the law, such as demonstrating clear ownership to the property being foreclosed.

    • Money transfers could face anti-terrorism scrutiny

      The proposal is a long-delayed response to the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which specified reforms to better organize the intelligence community and to avoid a repeat of the 20S01 attacks. The law required that the Treasury secretary issue regulations requiring financial institutions to report cross-border transfers if deemed necessary to combat terrorist financing.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM and us

      Many of these strategies are already being employed and Doctorow enumerates several: 40,000 people in the US sued by the record industry; mandatory DRM requirements for several digital distribution channels negotiated by Sony, Apple, Audible, and others; three strikes rule in effect in France that disconnects anyone (and their family) from the internet for “unsubstantiated accusations of infringement”; efforts by Viacom to prevent Google and other companies from allowing anyone to “upload content to the internet without reviewing its copyright status in advance.” This last one seems particularly intrusive and Big Brotherly to me because what Viacom wants is for a court “to order Google to make all user-uploaded content public so that Viacom can check it doesn’t infringe copyright – it thinks that its need to look at my videos is greater than my need to, say, flag a video of my two-year-old in the bath as private and visible only to me and her grandparents.” The incredible arrogance of Viacom is that it wants to court to validate the presumption that everything posted on YouTube and similar sites violates copyrights. So, for example, if this came to pass, would a video of someone watching an NFL game on a network be a copyright violation if it included in the video the actual broadcast in the background? What if you post a video of someone dancing to music? Would the presumption be that the music was pirated? Such a ruling, Doctorow says, “would shutter every message board, Twitter, social networking service, blog, and mailing list in a second.” If he’s correct, the impact on culture, society, daily life would be immeasurable.

    • ISPs begin fighting IP lookup requests in wake of data leak

      UK Internet providers have now banded together to challenge anti-P2P law firms who try to turn thousands of IP addresses into customer names—and a London court will hear their objections to the entire process.

      The ISPs were burned last month when a massive e-mail leak from the top anti-P2P firm in the UK, ACS Law, exposed their own spreadsheets of customer names matched to the pornographic films they allegedly downloaded. The revelation of this embarrassing (and unproven) behavior was compounded by the fact that several of the ISPs were taking no security precautions, instead e-mailing their Excel spreadsheets unencrypted and without passwords.

    • BSkyB to challenge requests for customer information from ACS:Law

      BSkyB, one of the UK’s largest broadband providers, has said it will no longer cooperate with the requests of controversial solicitors’ firm ACS:Law and that it will challenge them in court, after around 8,000 of its customers had their personal information leaked online.

    • Should ISPs cut off bot-infected users?

      Contractually, the ISP would be reasonably justified in cutting off a user from the internet, as bot infection would be contrary to the terms of the ISP’s acceptable-use policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • BT seeks moratorium on internet piracy cases

      BT is seeking a moratorium on legal applications to obtain details of its customers who are alleged to have illegally shared files online.

      The firm outlined its stance following a high-profile data breach at London law firm ACS:Law last week.

      The leak saw thousands of customers’ details from various ISPs – including BT-owned PlusNet – published online.

    • ISPs set to fight future IP data disclosure in the UK

      On the back of the ACS:Law debacle, there has been a lot of interest in the way in which firms like ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons obtained customer information from internet service providers linking IP addresses to broadband account holders. The information was obtained in English courts through what is known as a Norwich Pharmacal order (NPO, named after the case in which it was first established). This order allows a potential claimant to ask for a third party to disclose the identity of an unidentified defendant.

    • UK ISPs Successfully Resist File-Sharing Data Handover

      In the High Court today, UK ISPs BT and Plusnet refused to hand over subscriber data to lawyers acting for independent record label, Ministry of Sound. Their objections followed the catastrophic subscriber data leak from ACS:Law two weeks ago. The hearing was adjourned until January 2011.

    • Copyrights

      • Find and Reuse Images: Painless Attribution

        Finding CC licensed images and using them properly is something many people seem to struggle with: finding them can be straight-forward, but many sites don’t provide copy and paste reuse code that complies with the license. Xpert, a project of University of Nottingham, has launched an image search tool that helps with this. Xpert Attribution tool searches Wikimedia Commons and Flickr and provides an easy way to get the image with the attribution information overlaid, or (even better, in my opinion) with RDFa suitable for embedding. I’ve combined the two below (downloading the image with attribution, and adding the structured-data enriched embed code below it).

      • IMDb Relents And Allows BitTorrent Movie The Tunnel a Listing

        The creators of the BitTorrent-only movie The Tunnel are celebrating today. After being refused an IMDb listing on several occasions, the makers wrote an open letter to the Amazon-owned company which was featured in dozens of news articles. Today, the horror movie, which was funded by people buying individual frames of the production, has been accepted into the IMDb databases.

      • Well Covered

        When we rolled out Hudson for CC code last month, I already knew that I wanted to have test coverage reporting. There’s simply no reason not to: it provides a way to understand how complete your tests are, and when combined with branch testing, gives you an easy way to figure out what tests need to be written (or where to target your test writing efforts).

      • Join the Legion of CC Superheroes!

        A legion of Creative Commons (CC) Superheroes is already at work, using our amazing tools to save people from failed sharing all over the planet. GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical company, recently released its entire malarial data set using CC tools, speeding the urgent search for new medicines to tackle the devastating disease. Online communities at Flickr, SoundCloud, and Vimeo are making creative works available for anyone in the world to use freely and legally through license adoption. Publisher Pratham Books has begun to CC license more and more of the textbooks it provides to 14 million children in India, lifting them from a future of poverty and miseducation. When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, Google and Wired used CC tools to keep information widely available to relief workers, journalists, and governments worldwide.

      • Minecraft’s Developer Making $350,000 Per Day

        Now Jay sends in some news that continues to build on the legend of Minecraft, pointing to a story claiming that Persson is making $350,000 per day. With alpha software, and without going after “pirates” who are supposedly destroying the industry. Yeah. Apparently, he’s selling a copy every 3 seconds. And he’s done all this with no distribution. No retail deals. Just creating a really good game, getting people interested in it, not treating them like criminals, and giving them a reason to buy.

      • US Seeks Comments on Internet Access and Copyright

        The Internet Policy Task Force of the United States Commerce Department today issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment from any interested stakeholders – including rights holders, internet service providers, and consumers – on the “protection of copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the internet economy.”

      • Neeru Khosla

        Textbooks are like dinosaurs: clunky, archaic, and not readily available. That’s why Neeru Khosla founded CK12 Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the cost of educational materials and making them more freely accessible around the world. Khosla recruited teachers from all over America to help write CK12 textbooks and published all the material under Creative Commons licenses.

      • Open Source Animated Movie Shows What Can Be Done Today

        For years, one of the points we’ve raised in answering the movie industry’s $200 million challenge to us (i.e., “how do you keep making $200 million movies?”) is that, in part, it’s asking the wrong question. No one asks “how do we keep making $10,000 computers?” Instead, they look for ways to make them cheaper (and better, at the same time). But in the world of Hollywood accounting, there’s little incentive to make cheaper movies (sometimes the incentive goes the other way). And, we keep showing how the world is reaching a place where it’s cheaper and cheaper to make good movies. We’ve pointed out nice examples of people making high quality movies for next to nothing. The idea is not that movies should be made for nothing, but that the technology is making it so that movies can be made for less. In fact, with two of the examples of cheap movie making we’ve highlighted, the makers later went on to score deals to do higher end movies for more reasonable budgets.

        [...]

        The technology keeps getting better and the cost to do such high quality work keeps decreasing. This movie did cost $550,000 to make — involving a 14-person team. But, that’s a hell of a lot less than it would have cost not so long ago for anything of this level of quality.

      • ACTA

        • US, EU settle food fight in anti-counterfeit pact

          The United States and European Union have reached a compromise over the use of prestigious geographical food names like Champagne and Parma, clearing one of the last obstacles to an international pact to battle the growing trade in counterfeit goods.

        • Lawmakers call for halt to ACTA deal

          Reports that negotiations on the controversial agreement have ended alarmed MEPs, who have called on the Commission to explain the matter as soon as possible.

        • ACTA: Sorting Through The Spin

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has always been the exception to the general rule for international negotiations – closed participation rather than open, secretive rather than transparent – so it should come as no surprise that the negotiations have come to an end in an unusual manner. The only thing that is absolutely clear is that there will be no further rounds of negotiation as the latest round in Japan is being described as the final round of talks. Other than that, the conclusion seems open to considerable speculation and spin.

          From the U.S. perspective, the negotiations are done and ACTA is nearly a reality. USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk has been quoted as saying that there are solutions to even the toughest issues and that nearly all parties have agreed to them. Another U.S. official admitted that there were still as many as six issues without agreement, including two on border measures and another from the Internet chapter. The EU has been even less supportive, with an official quoted as saying “we’ve come a long way but we must still close the remaining gaps without which there will be no agreement.” Moreover, several European Parliament Members are already calling for a halt to the deal. Meanwhile, Japanese officials have acknowledged that there are issues that require further discussion back home and that “in that sense we haven’t gotten agreement.”

        • EU Parliamentarians move to block anti-counterfeiting pact

          Four members of the European Parliament on Tuesday called for the international anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) to be halted.

          The news comes after reports that the controversial accord had been “concluded” in Japan on Friday. The MEPs, Greek Socialist Stavros Lambrinidis, French Socialist Francoise Castex, Czech center-right Zuzana Roithova and German Socialist Alexander Alvaro, have long argued for the negotiations to be more transparent and were outraged that the U.S. prevented the E.U. from publishing the proposed agreement earlier this year.

Clip of the Day

Andy Wingo – “GNU in the Cloud”


Credit: TinyOgg

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