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10.07.10

Links 7/10/2010: Linux 2.6.36 RC7, More Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 2:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • SMB2

    I have better options, however. My shop is mostly GNU/Linux so I can use NFS or SMB as I need and SSHfs, too. I really do not need the printing capabilities of SMB. I have CUPS. I do not need a particular driver for every printer in my place because they mostly use PostScript or something for which I have a translator. I did use SMB for sharing reports last semester when some teachers had XP but this year all the teachers in high school use GNU/Linux so it is no longer necessary for interoperability.

  • Fujitsu brings fast-boot Linux to the infotainment domain

    Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe has announced the implementation of a new Linux fast-boot technology in Fujitsu’s MB86R0x-SoC devices, known as the ‘Jade’ family. Based on Fujitsu’s proprietary 90nm CMOS process technology, ‘Jade’ devices are, according to the vendor, optimized for applications requiring high CPU performance combined with sophisticated 2D/3D graphics. They feature the ARM926EJ-S, a fully synthesizable processor with a Jazelle technology (Java Acceleration) enhanced 32-bit RISC CPU, 16kB instruction cache, 16kB data cache, 16kB ITCM, 16kB DTCM and a memory management unit (MMU).

  • Desktop

    • 10 misconceptions that are holding Linux back

      I hear it all the time: “Linux can’t do this or Linux can’t do that”… or: “You have to jump through a million hoops to get something simple to work in Linux.” The litany of FUD and myth is as deep as Bill Gates’ pockets. But it’s not the cornucopia of un-truths that concerns me, it’s the certainty of the people who spout them. So I figured I would take a moment to dispel these issues before anyone else can spread their vicious tone further. Not all of these issues are known as deal-breakers. But as a whole, they could easily combine to keep anyone from jumping on the Linux bandwagon.

    • The Network Computer is Alive and Well, Phil

      As I write I have 8 students in the lab all logged into the terminal server and the system rocks. No one feels they are getting second-rate service. It beats anything they have seen in a thick client. Keeping the thick client may do two things better than thin clients: prop up the monopoly and show video. Some of us use televisions/projectors for that and some of us do other work than writing reviews of movies at work.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Development 3rd Ed
    • Linux 2.6.36-rc7

      So I decided to break my a-week-is-eight-days rut, and actually release -rc7 after a proper seven-day week instead. Wo-oo!

      And yes, that’s probably as exciting as it gets, which is just fine by me. This should be the last -rc, I’m not seeing any reason to keep delaying a real release. There was still more changes to drivers/gpu/drm than I really would have hoped for, but they all look harmless and good. Famous last words.

    • The Linux 2.6.36-rc7 Kernel Does Make It Out

      As was anticipated seven days ago when releasing the Linux 2.6.36-rc6 kernel, there is a Linux 2.6.36-rc7 kernel to come and it’s just been released. The good news is that Linus Torvalds believes this will be the last release candidate before the Linux 2.6.36 kernel is officially released.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Divergence Theme Pack is sure to put the awe in anyone’s jaw

        Imagine logging into your Ubuntu desktop and being greeted by the slick tones of the themes below.

        Well, it’s easy to achieve thanks to designer ~jurialmunkey who has packaged them up into one ‘mega-pack’ for easy download and installation.

      • Stormy’s Update: October 4, 2010

        Had a GNOME advisory board meeting where we updated them on all the things going on and asked them for feedback. We had discussions about hackfests and events (including plans for the Desktop Summit 2011), the Outreach Program for Women, 2011 budget planning and GNOME a11y. The advisory board meets once a month; let me know if you have suggestions for meeting topics.

  • Distributions

    • October Linux fest

      October traditionally kicks off the year-end release festival for Linux users. Almost all of the major distributions have a new version in its final stages of development and ready to be launched into public. Among these are Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuse.

    • Reviews

      • Slax 6.1.2 [Review]

        Slax is a popular Slackware-based Linux distro which excels as as Live OS to carry around on a pendrive or bootable disc. It rightly calls itself a “Pocket Operating System”.

        Slax has an extremely modular design which makes it incredibly easy to install applications, even before the OS is installed! The Slax website offers an online interface for customizing your distro before downloading it and burning it to a disc / putting it on a pendrive. Through the online interface you can customize your distro adding and removing software packages to get exactly the combination you want. Once you are done customizing, your custom build can be downloaded as a tar file or an iso file.

    • Debian Family

      • Who is using Debian?
      • A Gaming Mouse Vendor That Has Linux Drivers

        Today I have read a post from Raphael Hertzog, taking about the possibility of a new Debian branch to be created. Debian already has three branches for those not familiar with it, O.K. maybe four branches. More here

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One update gives you more bang for your buck

          Speaking on the Ubuntu One Blog Canonicals’ Matt Griffin outlined the numerous changes, which see a ‘modular’ approach to account upgrading, with users able to add 20GB blocks of space for only $2.99 a month.

        • 6 Awesome User Contributed Videos From Ubuntu Artwork “Maverick Movies” Website

          A month ago, Mark Shuttleworth announced a dedicated page for user contributed videos covering various aspects of the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”. And similar to the user contributed Ubuntu Artwork wallpaper pool at Flickr, the movie section is also getting a lot of attention from the users. Here is a nice collection of videos from the original submissions.

        • Screenshot Tour: Our Favorite New Features in Ubuntu 10.10

          Shotwell is better at importing and organizing photos than its predecessor, F-Spot, but only by a little. It’s much easier on the eyes, and better at recognizing cameras and storage devices, but if you’re particular about how you organize your photos, you’ll likely bump heads with Shotwell’s designers. Our recommendation, and that of many commenters? Install gThumb instead.

        • Ubuntu and the Challenge of Design

          It’s October, and that means it’s time for a new Ubuntu release. This year, it’s the big 10.10, the Maverick Meerkat, and on the surface, it’s a beautiful piece of work. The new default theme is sublime, muted, a pleasure on the eyes, and the new Canonical designed font, also named “Ubuntu” is likewise beautiful. In most respects, it seems that Ubuntu is making good on the promise of Mark Shuttleworth to raise the bar for desktop Linux from simply stable and usable to art.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • HP won’t license WebOS, says exec

        HP will not license WebOS to rival smartphone and tablet vendors, the head of the company’s PCs and gadgets division has said.

        Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference yesterday, Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s Personal Systems Group, emphatically said the company will not make the operating system, acquired when HP bought Palm, available to anyone else.

        We’re not surprised. Palm’s decision in the 1990s to spin off its operating system operation as PalmSource – it became PalmOne – muddied the then-strong Palm brand and arguably hindered both companies’ development.

      • Android

        • £180 7in Android tablet launched

          Another day, another 7in Android tablet. This one’s from Disgo and follows the usual pattern.

          So we have a 7in, 480 x 800 touchscreen; Android 2.1; 1GHz ARM CPU – an iMap X200 – 256MB of memory; 2GB of storage which can be augmented with Micro SD cards; 802.11n Wi-Fi; a pair of mini USB ports; 3.5mm headphone socket; and a mini HDMI port.

        • Next fashions budget 10in Android tablet

          The £180 gadget packs in 8GB of Flash storage, a 1GHz ARM processor, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity, one or two USB ports depending on which spec list you read, a Micro SD card slot, and a headphone socket.

        • Verizon’s new Mot Android line-up includes biz-ready Droid Pro

          Motorola announced two Android phones for Verizon Wireless: the business-oriented, QWERTY-enabled Droid Pro, featuring Android 2.2 running on a 1GHz processor, plus a more modest three-inch “Citrus” phone. Meanwhile, Motorola announced a three-inch QWERTY slider with Android 2.1 called the Spice, and says that plans are going forward to split the company in 1Q 2011.

        • Google close to accepting PayPal for Android Market purchases

          PayPal the popular online money exchange website that’s used in many online retailers and eBay, may soon be coming to the Android Market. Word is that come October 26 at PayPal’s developer conference in San Francisco, we may hear an announcement of such a deal being implemented.

        • LG holds back Android tablet for Gingerbread

          LG has delayed the release of its anticipated Android-based tablet having decided that the current version of the Google OS isn’t up to snuff when it comes to such devices.

          “We plan to introduce a tablet that runs on the most reliable Android version,” a company spokesman told the Reuters newsagency today. “We are in talks with Google to decide on the most suitable version for our tablet and that is not Froyo 2.2.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibreOffice intense coding activity

    Now a week after the announce of The Documentation Foundation and LibreOffice, I found some time to show you that amazing activity we had during that first week. I created a small script to merge all the logs of the LibreOffice git repositories. Then I gave this log to gource in order to produce a nice video. I really hope this activity will continue and boost the project!

  • Another Win for Open Source Software

    Out of 279 machines, 147 have had OpenOffice.org installed on them.

  • 50 Open Source Tools to Make Your Life Easier

    The open source community is vibrant, continually growing, and just loves to create applications and tools to make lives easier. Here are 50 of our favorite open source apps that help us do everything from managing pictures on our computer to learning about Jupiter and Mars.

  • Evaluating Open Source Participation by Email Traffic

    Dalibor Topic was the one to give me this idea, though I’m not sure if he’d remember the tweet. He was, however, the one who pointed me at MarkMail‘s archive of open source list traffic, which I’d seen before, using a by domain constraint, which I hadn’t. The idea is simple: MarkMail maintains a searchable index of the mailing lists for a number of open source projects (these, specifically). As a means of demonstrating the value of its MarkLogic Server, it parses the individual messages into XML and renders them queryable according to specific dimensions.

  • Has open source come of age?

    With the ongoing public sector push for increased use of open source and the unexpected (in some quarters) detailed roadmap for open source mobile platform Java ME by proprietor Oracle recently, it could be argued that open source software has finally come of age.

    And as Matt Aslett of open source analyst firm The 451 Group said: “It looks as though scepticism about open source, at government level in particular, has finally been overcome. This is because people are starting to get their head around the licensing models.”

    The open source license models differ from tradition paid for proprietary licenses in that although they are free they may contain general restrictions of use. There are around 70 different types of license in total. Approved open source licenses are those approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Most open source vendors or foundations will provide guidance on licenses where it is required.

  • Events

    • Sendmail author to keynote at LCA 2011

      The original author of the mail transport agent Sendmail, Eric Allman, has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at the Australian national Linux conference in 2011.

    • FOSS.in CFP closing soon
    • NZ Open Source Awards Finalists Announced

      The New Zealand Open Source Awards has announced its finalist list. The judges were impressed by the high calibre of candidates and how far many of the companies and projects had come in the past two years. Entries for the ‘Open Source Use in Business’ Award were particularly strong.

      This year there are 31 finalists across eight categories.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

  • Funding

    • Warning to Open Source Projects: Know Your Rights with PayPal

      People who work on open source projects are clearly not motivated solely by money. However, with every project there are associated operating costs, which is just a fact of life. Many open source projects use PayPal to accept donations from grateful users who could not contribute otherwise, such as in the form of development or testing. That being said, it has come to our attention that one of our projects here, TortoiseSVN, is no longer allowed to use PayPal to accept donations for their project.

  • Government

    • A $Billion Here, A $Billion There

      I expect, if carried out, this report would really increase use of GNU/Linux and thin clients in government. Use the latest tech in the server rooms to minimize maintenance and energy consumption and the most economical fanless thin clients on desktops to take a big chunk out of captital cost, maintenance and energy consumption in offices.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: multidisciplinary hymn to diversity, openness and creativity

      Science writer Steven Johnson’s latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation is, in some ways, a classic Johnson book: drawing from diverse sources across many disciplines, Johnson recounts historical scientific breakthroughs and draws from them parallels to modern technology, particularly networked computers and the way that they shape the societies around them.

    • Open source journalism vs. crowdsourcing

      Where is crowdsourcing at in 2010? How is crowdsourcing different from open source journalism, and which is appropriate for what types of stories? This is listing of links to try and illustrate the differences and similarities between crowdsourcing and open source journalism. How you structure a project with many participants will have a significant impact on the end results.

    • Open Data

      • Re-Using FOI – the Conservatives claim FOI for business

        It seems that our new Government has little patience with these concerns. They are proposing to amend the FOI Act “to ensure that all data released through FOI must be in a reusable and machine readable format, available to everyone and able to be exploited for social and commercial purposes”. Fair enough, but let’s hope they consider any reasonable concerns from public authorities and address them in their new amendments.

      • Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Unlocking the full value of scientific data Formal presentation of the report “Riding the Wave: How Europe can gain from the raising tide of scientific data Brussels, 6th October 2010

        As your say in your report, we are all experiencing the “rising tide of information” today. This growth of scientific data gives us an ever-growing power to understand our world and address key societal challenges. It provides for a radically new perspective on the way science is conducted.

        Science has always been based on exchange of information and intense interactions between researchers. Today, thanks to the availability of global communication networks, we profit from truly global and massive scientific collaborations.

        Your presentation was not limited to the aspects of access, storage and preservation of the exponentially increasing volume of scientific data. While these are difficult challenges in their own right, I am glad that your vision goes beyond that. You say we should make scientific data available as an open infrastructure of a new kind on which science, entrepreneurship, civic initiative and government can thrive.

      • Facebook Launches Download Your Information

        What does it do? It “zips up your information, emails you when the files are ready, and then [allows] you [to] download them.” Facebook will actually move all of your data into a single file, making the download very, very simple.

      • [2b2k] Smithsonian Commons

        The Smithsonian Commons would make publicly available digital content and information drawn from the magnificent Smithsonian collections, allowing visitors to interact with it, repost it, add to it, and mash it up. It begins with being able to find everything about, say Theodore Roosevelt, that is currently dispersed across multiple connections and museums: photos, books, the original Teddy bear, recordings of the TR campaign song, a commemorative medal, a car named after him, contemporary paintings of his exploits, the chaps he wore on his ranch…But Michael is actually most enthusiastic about the “network effects” that can accrue to knowledge when you let lots of people add what they know, either on the Commons site itself or out across the whole linked Internet.

      • Government data will be machine readable, Maude pledges

        Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that the Freedom of Information Act will be amended so that all data released through FoI must be in a reusable and machine readable format.

        The change in the law will mean that FoI data is “available to everyone and able to be exploited for social and commercial purposes”, he said on 3 October 2010.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • IEEE wants to reduce Ethernet energy use

    THE IEEE has ratified the energy-aware P802.3az standard, which promises to cut down on energy waste when running networked devices.

  • Larry Ellison comes out fighting against HP Apotheker ‘madness’

    Oracle boss Larry Ellison was uncharacteristically lost for words, after Hewlett-Packard hired ex SAP CEO Leo Apotheker as its new chief late last week. But the silence didn’t last long.

  • Larry Ellison ‘Speechless’ Over New CEO of H-P
  • Texas Memory puts out a 10TB 10GB/sec storage server

    This is probably not the news you want to read if you have just splashed out the cash on a solid state drive. Texas Memory Solutions, a firm that flogs gear to multinational companies and the military, has upgraded its 10TB flashed based storage area network (SAN), dubbed the Ramsan 630.

  • Western Digital will ship 3TB drives
  • Western Digital gearing up to sell 3TB drives
  • Publishers’ crazy e-book prices

    When America’s book publishers wrested control of e-book prices from Amazon earlier this year, I expected two results. First, prices would go up. Second, I’d buy fewer new Kindle books. I got that part right.

    What I didn’t expect, however, was that publishers would be so incredibly foolish as to start raising e-book prices to the point that they were close to, and in a few cases above, the hardcover prices. Here’s a non-literary term for this policy: nuts.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Man vindicated for videotaping his own traffic stop

      Motorcyclist Anthony Graber was charged with illegal wiretapping for recording plainclothes state trooper J.D. Uhler jumping from his unmarked sedan and drawing his gun — and waiting a good five seconds before identifying himself as a police officer. The tape was shot with a conspicuous, helmet-mounted camera that captured the video and audio of the confrontation.

    • Pentagon out to ‘destroy’ Wikileaks, founder says

      “I need to express the seriousness of the attack against this media organization,” he said according to the AFP. “The Pentagon has demanded… that we destroy, totally destroy, our previous publications, including that Afghan publication. The Pentagon is trying to get up an espionage case and destroy our organization.”

    • Wikileaks’ Assange to reenter the fray

      The Pentagon has warned that Assange may release an additional 15,000 documents that are even more explosive than the first batch. The status of those plans is unclear.

    • RIM can’t meet government demands

      IN PERHAPS the longest delay to an asked question ever, a co-CEO at Research in Motion (RIM) has finally told nosey governments everywhere that it can’t give them its encryption keys.

      The Indian government wants them, as do the UAE and the US, and the UK doesn’t care, since it can probably demand them with its RIP Act anyway, but apparently, the keys aren’t RIM’s to give.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • RBS swings axe at another 500

      State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is cutting another 500 jobs from its investment banking division.

      The bank was unable to say if IT jobs would be hit.

      The bank is already looking for 1,000 to leave its technology services division. Negotiations with staff and unions are still ongoing but insiders have told The Register that voluntary redundancies alone are unlikely to cover the losses.

    • 27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like A Rock

      If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty. The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering. Household incomes are down from coast to coast. Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month. Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around. Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket. Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street. The U.S. economy is not getting better. After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace.

    • Bank Fraud FINALLY In the Limelight

      I have not been the first to report on this as I have been busy reading all of the other reports on this topic. PANDORA’S BOX HAS FINALLY BEEN OPENED.

      This “robo- signer” fraud is only the tip of the iceberg that ICE Legal (no pun intended) in Royal Palm Beach, Florida (Palm Beach County) discovered during “discovery”. His deposition caused GMAC (ALLY Bank) to halt foreclosures in 23 states. This action was then followed by JP Morgan Chase and as of this past Friday, Bank of America. I am sure we will see many other of our major banks follow suit as this practice of submitting fraudulent documents to the courts is wide-spread.

      While this news is finally showing how banks are committing fraud in our courts by submitting fraudulent Affidavits attesting to personal knowledge of each foreclosure case and mortgage account, I believe, is only the beginning.

    • Rogue Trader at Société Générale Gets 3 Years

      When a French judge on Tuesday sentenced Jérôme Kerviel, the former Société Générale trader, to three years in prison and ordered him to repay €4.9 billion in restitution to the bank, the collective gasp from the courtroom clearly signaled that the question of who bears responsibility for banks’ aggressive risk-taking in the build-up to the global financial crisis is far from resolved.

    • Amid backlash and budget deficits, government workers’ pensions are targets

      Public employees are facing a backlash that has intensified with the nation’s economic woes, union leaders say, because of their good job security, generous health-care and pension benefits, and right to retire long before most private-sector workers.

    • Foreclosure Furor Rises; Many Call for a Freeze

      The uproar over bad conduct by mortgage lenders intensified Tuesday, as lawmakers in Washington requested a federal investigation and the attorney general in Texas joined a chorus of state law enforcement figures calling for freezes on all foreclosures.

    • Calif. lawmakers want foreclosure investigation

      More than 30 House members from California are calling on federal regulators to investigate whether mortgage companies broke the law by using paperwork that may have contained errors.

    • Bank bailout supporters struggling for re-electio

      The government’s giant bank bailout may well have averted a second Great Depression, economists say, but a lot of voters aren’t buying it. Support for the program is turning into a kiss of death for many in Congress.

      Longtime Republican lawmakers – tarred by their votes for the emergency aid to banks, insurance and auto companies – have been sent packing in primaries. Fresh political attack ads are lambasting candidates from both parties for supporting the $700 billion package that Republican President George W. Bush pushed through Congress at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.

    • Treasury cuts bailout price tag to $50 billion

      The $700 billion financial bailout will cost about $50 billion, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

    • What the Justice Department’s Credit Card Suit Means for You

      If you’re a little confused about how or if your life will change thanks to the Justice Department’s payment card announcement on Monday, you’re not alone. So let’s review what we know and engage in some mild speculation.

      The government simultaneously filed suit against — and revealed a settlement with — Visa and MasterCard. As a result, merchants are now free to offer consumers incentives to use certain Visas or MasterCards that cost the merchants less to accept than other Visas and MasterCards.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Google’s CEO: ‘The Laws Are Written by Lobbyists’

      “The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists” to protect incumbent interests, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Atlantic editor James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum. “It’s shocking how the system actually works.”

      In a wide-ranging interview that spanned human nature, the future of machines, and how Google could have helped the stimulus, Schmidt said technology could “completely change the way government works.”

      “Washington is an incumbent protection machine,” Schmidt said. “Technology is fundamentally disruptive.” Mobile phones and personal technology, for example, could be used to record the bills that members of Congress actually read and then determine what stimulus funds were successfully spent.

    • [Satire] American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress

      Citing a desire to gain influence in Washington, the American people confirmed Friday that they have hired high-powered D.C. lobbyist Jack Weldon of the firm Patton Boggs to help advance their agenda in Congress.

      Known among Beltway insiders for his ability to sway public policy on behalf of massive corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, and AT&T, Weldon, 53, is expected to use his vast network of political connections to give his new client a voice in the legislative process.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Who’s your smartphone been talking to?

      More and more people are carrying computers enabled with geo-location technology, says Christopher Parsons in his Technology, Thoughts, and Trinkets

      They are?

      They are.

      And they’re calling home without you knowing.

    • Facebook Moves Closer to EFF Bill of Privacy Rights

      Today Facebook announced three new features that help move the social networking giant closer to satisfying EFF’s Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Networking. While EFF continues to have outstanding issues with Facebook, we greatly appreciate these important steps toward giving Facebook users more transparency and control when it comes to how the information they post to Facebook is shared, and more power to take their Facebook data with them if they ever choose to leave the service. While Facebook has taken some good steps here, and we recognize that this is just the first iteration of the new features, we do have several additional recommendations, noted below. We will continue to dialogue with Facebook on these issues.

    • The government wants to sniff the hell out of your…

      The government wants to sniff the hell out of your electronic presence. Phone companies wants to sue you to hell over texting and media sharing. Brave new world huh. So why bother with all this tech and web business? Might as well surrender it to the politicians so they can shove it into their skeleton closets to keep it safe. Sad really to see how a beautiful invention as the web elicits so much fear in people. They feel the need to control it.

    • Quebec Court Enforces Facebook’s Billion Dollar Spam Award

      A Quebec court has enforced a billion dollar award that Facebook obtained against Adam Guerbuez, a Montreal-based spammer. Facebook was awarded US$843 million by a court in California in 2008 and the social network proceeded to ask the Quebec court to enforce the judgment. The court granted the request, ordering Guerbuez to pay Facebook C$1,068.928,721.46. It also ordered Guerbuez to stop all Facebook related activity, including creating, maintaining or using a Facebook account or profile.

    • COICA amended, still threatens Internet security

      Responding to a cacophony of opposing voices, citing free expression and global governance concerns, the proposed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has been slowed down for now. COICA is now scheduled to be taken up during the lame duck session following the November elections, which makes this “intergalacticly bad idea” still very dangerous. For those legislators who won’t be returning there is nothing to lose, they might as well placate the well-funded and powerful intellectual property lobby behind it.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • BT takes the nation’s broadband pulse

      BT claims that this will identify “hot spots” where the demand for fibre is high. BT will have brought fibre broadband within reach of four million premises by the end of 2010, but it wants to connect to 12 million more households.

    • House Democrats Shelve Net Neutrality Proposal

      House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who shelved the proposal late on Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition, said, ‘If Congress can’t act, the FCC must,’ and called this development ‘a loss for consumers.’

    • US net neutrality bill blocked
    • Why the ease of circumventing locks doesn’t matter.

      In the case of “digital locks” discussed in the context of copyright, this is understood by the most prominent proponents. They state that they need legal protection for these digital locks precisely because they recognise how easy it is for them to be circumvented.

      I believe that these digital locks are more controversial than analog locks because some people, not understanding digital technology, want to treat digital locks entirely different than they would treat physical locks they can see and understand.

      Take that lock on your home. Politicians aren’t saying it should be illegal for you to unlock your own home, or illegal to change the locks on your own home. Whether it is illegal to circumvent the lock is directly tied to who owns the thing that is locked. We don’t have laws that protect the lock separate from the reason for circumventing the lock: we have laws against trespass, against property damage, and against theft.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACS:Law gets a threatening letter in the post

        BULLYING LAW FIRM ACS:Law could be receiving a few threatening letters of its own after its security breach at the hands of Internet vigilante group 4Chan.

        The fallout from the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against ACS:Law’s website has gone far beyond just punting the firm’s website offline. After the attack, the website came back online with a 350MB file containing emails and a list of over 5,000 Sky Broadband customers that the firm has claimed illegally downloaded pornography.

        It is this file that looks to have placed ACS:Law in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The regulatory body primarily deals with the Data Protection Act, though it also concerns itself with various other privacy and information laws, and earlier this year was given the power to investigate and issue fines of up to £500,000 for such a breach of the Data Protection Act.

      • ACS:Law’s mocking of 4chan could cost it £500k

        Off-the-cuff bravado aimed at internet pranksters has led to what must already rank as one of the worst ever data leaks, by the anti-filesharing solicitors ACS:Law.

        The personal details of thousands of ISP customers accused of unlawfully sharing pornography, as well as video games, are now freely available online. The sensitivity of such data makes the leak a particularly serious matter under the Data Protection Act.

      • A law firm tries to replace ACS:Law

        Gallant Macmillan works in much the same way as ACS:Law, sending out threatening letters to those who it believes are the owners of IP addresses it alleges to have been involved in copyright infringement.

        Simon Gallant told the BBC that while his firm’s process is “contentious”, it is “aware of all the concerns people have raised”. After seeing what happened to ACS:Law, it’s probably Mr Gallant who should be concerned.

      • Another law firm gets DDoSed off the Internet

        Gallant Macmillan had vowed to continue the controversial methods, instigated by Davenport Lyons and then ACS:Law, of mass mailing threatening letters to alleged copyright infringers. It is due to appear at the High Court today and demand that Plusnet hand over hundreds of customer records in order for Gallant Macmillan to send them a load of junk mail asking for money. Given the current state of its website, we presume that Gallant Macmillan won’t be asking to receive the records by email.

      • Anti-piracy lawyers caught pirating each other’s work

        Andrew Crossly from ACS:Law claims that the firm contacted him for help, which he provided, but instead of just using his templates as a guide, Tilly, Bailey and Irvine began to use them as their own without consent.

      • Ministry of Sound floored by Anonymous
      • HP’s firewalling saves students from ACS:Law

        IFFY LAW FIRMS that send out junk mail to those it accuses of alleged copyright infringement have more than just 4Chan to worry about, as HP announced its latest network security software.

        The firm produces Tipping Point, a suite of security applications for its enterprise customers and claims that its Application Digital Vaccine (AppDV) has helped Leeds University students avoid getting letters from law firms alleging copyright infringement. AppDV is essentially firewalling and content filtering software that comes with a bunch of pre-configured filters from HP.

      • http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1735972/sky-acs-law

        AFTER TURNING OVER shedloads of its customers’ personal data to the so-called ‘anti-piracy’ law firm ACS:Law, ISP Sky has pulled the plug on co-operating with the outfit.

      • UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data
      • KISS frontman on P2P: “Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars.”

        The bassist and businessman behind the legendary rock band KISS was on hand at the MIPCOM convention in Cannes, France on Tuesday. And Gene Simmons had a message for aspiring entertainers everywhere: sue first, think later.

        “Make sure your brand is protected,” Simmons warned during a panel discussion. “Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.”

      • How The MPAA Is Using The Law To Protect Its Business Model

        In what appears to be another shocking attempt to constrain and limit the functioning of the internet, US lawmakers are currently pushing an MPAA-backed bill that threatens to block American internet users from accessing sites that are deemed to be ‘dedicated to piracy’.

        What bill S. 3804 aims to do is twofold: first, for a site based in the US, it would force any US-based registrar (i.e. the people who hand out domain names) to shut a site down if it appears to be dedicated to piracy. And secondly, for sites not in America, it would insist that ISP’s block the domain from their traffic.

      • Nollywood: is better distribution the remedy for piracy?

        Filmmakers know they’re going to need to recover costs by selling the first 50,000 copies. As a result, some are releasing their films in two, three or four parts, hoping to sell an initial 50,000 copies of each. A few days after the film has been released, the film is likely to start appearing either as a pirated copy, or as part of a compilation. Compilations, one of our participants told us, are generally produced in China and can include up to 100 low-quality films on a DVD.

        For whatever underlying reasons, the Yoruba-language film world – where the average film sells 50-100,000 copies – seems to have better distribution systems. Original films are produced in larger runs and often meet market demand before unauthorized copies enter the market. This may be a function of the fact that the Yoruba-language film industry preceded the English/pidgin market and has had more time to work through financing and distribution issues.

      • US Intelligence Agencies Angry At France Over Three Strikes; Worried It Will Drive Encryption Usage

        You may recall that, in the fight over the Digital Economy Act in the UK, those who were against the three strikes proposal had an unexpected ally: law enforcement. They were specifically worried that a three strikes plan would lead to more people using encryption, which would make it harder to spy on everyone.

        It looks like the same thing happened in France. With Hadopi now underway and sending out its first warning letters, the news is leaking out that US intelligence agencies, like the NSA, “yelled” at the French government over the plan, for the same reason. They know that a three strikes law will only increase encryption usage, making it more difficult to spy on people.

      • Copyright killing culture. Old news.

        We’ve got loads and loads of music and movies stored away, and the people who have those recordings typically have no incentive to go to the efforts necessary to preserve them because they don’t own the copyright and often can’t even determine who does. But it’s even worse than the fact the people (libraries, individuals, corporations, etc.) don’t have the promise of being able to sell the recordings. They even fear that copying the recordings so that they are stored on media that aren’t deteriorating can alone get them in trouble. As Dubber points out in quoting a recent San Francisco Chronicle story:

        Did you ever imagine you could be held liable for copyright infringement for storing your music collection on your hard drive, downloading photos from the Internet or forwarding news articles to your friends?

        If you did not get the copyright owner’s permission for these actions, you could be violating the law. It sounds absurd, but copyright owners have the right to control reproductions of their works and claim statutory damages even when a use does not harm the market for their works.

      • Falling off the edge of a flat world?

        Information (citations and quotes from emails and past publications) listed in the blogs is presented out of context and outrageous interpretations, twisted arguments and a catalogue of wholly untrue statements are made regarding myself (lack of capabilities and honesty in research process), my work (lack of research history in areas I consult on), and my relations with my contractors and academic colleagues/co-authors (dubious hiring process and the suggestion that we are somewhat ‘activists’).

      • ACTA

        • Near-Final ACTA Text is a Counterfeit of Democracy

          The ACTA negotiators have just released a near-final version of this anti-counterfeiting agreement. It is still very dangerous. The release of this text should not give the illusion of transparency by hiding the fact that the whole negotiation process was carried on out of public scrutiny. Moreover, ACTA could profoundly alter the Internet ecosystem by turning technical intermediaries into a copyright police of the Net.

        • ACTA text shows US caved in on Internet provisions

          Talk about a cave-in. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been three years in the making, and at one point included language advocating “three strikes” regimes, ordering ISPs to develop anti-piracy plans, promoting tough DRM anticircumvention language, setting up a “takedown” notification system, and “secondary liability” for device makers. Europeans were demanding protection for their geographic marks (Champagne, etc). Other countries wanted patents in the mix.

          That’s all gone in today’s release of the “near-final” ACTA text (PDF). US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, whose office negotiated the US side of the deal, issued a statement this morning about the “tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” but the real story here is the tremendous climbdown by US negotiators, who have largely failed in their attempts to push the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) onto the rest of the world.

        • ACTA Analysis: You Can’t Craft A Reasonable Agreement When You Leave Out Stakeholders

          *

          So… what’s in the actual document? We’ll go through a few different reviews that highlight some of the differences in the document, and where many of the problem areas are. Michael Geist points out that the anti-circumvention stuff that sought to effectively export the US’s draconian DMCA anti-circumvention clause has been greatly watered down and provides much more flexibility in how countries set their anti-circumvention plans. It’s still ridiculous that anti-circumvention is in this thing, but at least it’s not as bad as it was, and it leaves open the possibility of setting up anti-circumvention rules that recognize fair use (unlike the DMCA currently). This seems like a clear case where the US caved to other parties.

        • Public Knowledge Statement on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

          Earlier today, the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was released. You can read it here.

          The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

          “The final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) should be seen as a qualified victory for those who want to protect the digital rights of consumers around the world. Some of the most egregious provisions from earlier drafts have been removed on topics ranging from digital protection measures to the liability of intermediaries like Internet Service Providers and search engines. The agreement would give more flexibility to the signatories than did previous versions.

          “We can attribute these changes in part to the willingness of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to open the ACTA discussions to public-interest groups in a way that had not been done before. We appreciate the inclusiveness USTR has shown in the negotiations.

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