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Links 6/11/2010: New Mandriva Cooker Manager, X.Org vs Ubuntu 11.04 Debate

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Weekly Enterprise Linux Recap

    Fedora 14 was formally released this week. Of note for enterprise users is the availability of Fedora 14 on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. According to Katherine Noyes at ComputerWorld, “Systems administrators can now try out the leading-edge features of Fedora 14 in the cloud, providing a sneak preview at what may come to downstream distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in the future.” More from Noyes’ write up here. Jack Wallen of Linux.com gave us his two cents on Fedora 14 in a preview in late September.

    The 6th Annual ZendCon/PHP Conference took place this week in Santa Clara, Ca. At the event, Zend announced a new platform aimed at increasing enterprise PHP adoption in the cloud. Sean Michael Kerner, who has been covering Zend for some time and knows the company well, has a detailed writeup on the news.

  • What Microsoft Linux Would Mean

    They say that power corrupts, but who cares? The corrupt have power and don’t seem to mind. Because we will now be the powerful and nobody will dare to question us. It is only the peons that worry about trivialities like corruption. Once you have power you are above the fray. You can pay off politicians. You can change laws. You can force your will on lesser individuals.

  • Desktop

    • Really Old PCs

      With XP on these machines multiply all times by a factor of two or so. Using GNU/Linux extends the life of a decent PC by that kind of factor. It’s a no-brainer. We save $100 or more on licences per PC and need half or fewer PCs in a decade to get the job done, that’s like $200 per PC in use over a decade, or $20 per year per PC, about the size of my whole IT budget… The Register has an article on this topic. The authour touts saving by staying modern. I say put modern software on the old PC and it becomes like new.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 173 – GPL Black Ops

      This week on the show: Banshee becomes Ubuntu’s default music player, more Unity discussions, is Microsoft dropping Silverlight?, a VLC developer being censored by peers as he tries to defend the GPL and much more…

  • Google

    • Should you adopt Google’s open source project to speed Web applications?

      A Google-led open source project and a related commercial content delivery network (CDN) offering from Cotendo are trying to simplify the task of improving Web application performance.

    • Google Soups Up Apache With New Speed Module

      Apache HTTP Server users can make use of Google’s latest tool, mod_pagespeed, to automatically optimize their websites’ speed. The module automates optimizations that are usually somewhat troublesome to do manually, like making changes to pages built by CMS, recompressing images when its HTML context changes, and extending cache lifetime.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Google Code-in – KDE is in!

        KDE has been chosen as one of 20 organisations to mentor students for Google Code-in this year. Wohoooooo. We’re looking forward to working with a bunch of 13 to 18 year olds :) Let’s see how they’ll rock our world. And the most awesome thing: It’s not just about code this time but also documentation, outreach, quality assurance, research, training, translation and user interface.

        We’ve been collecting task ideas in the wiki. These tasks need to be transfered into Melange (the webapp that is used for GSoC and Code-In) now. So if you proposed a task there I’ll email you shortly with instructions. If you do have an idea that so far is not in the wiki and you’re willing to mentor it then please email kde-soc-mentor-owner at kde.org with the details.

      • Introduction to digiKam

        digiKam is an open source application that combines photo editing and management features. digiKam may not be as polished as commercial tools like Lightroom or Aperture, but behind its unassuming appearance hides an impressive collection of genuinely useful tools. The application offers photographers functionality that covers the entire photographic workflow: from importing and organizing photos to batch processing and sharing them. Being an open source application, digiKam has a vibrant community of users and developers which produce a steady stream of digiKam releases that sport bug fixes and new features.

      • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 2, KDE Plasma Netbook

        It is important to note first that with KDE, you don’t have to decide in advance whether you want a “standard” desktop or a “notebook” desktop, because the KDE distribution includes both. You can switch between them with about four mouse-clicks at any time. In fact, you don’t even have to choose a particular distribution to get the Plasma Netbook desktop, because it will be available in any distribution that has a current version of KDE. I am using PCLinuxOS 2010 on my Samsung N150 Plus for the screen shots that follow here, but I could just as easily have used Fedora 14, Kubuntu 10.10 or the latest Milestone of openSuSE. The main reason that I am using PCLinuxOS here is that it already has KDE 4.5.3 included (and I have a bit of a personal preference for it anyway).

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Meet the GNOME Outreach Program for Women interns!

        Today, the GNOME project announced eight participants of the Outreach Program for Women internships! The internships will take place between December 15, 2010 and March 15, 2011. In the next few weeks, we’ll add the participants’ blogs to Planet GNOME, so that they can introduce themselves as well as write weekly updates about their work. Say “hi” to them on their blogs or when you see them on IRC. Also, if you are at the Boston Summit this weekend, say “hi” to Tiffany and Eugenia who will be attending it too.

      • Mockup for Integrated Music Playback in Nautilus

        Just browsing through DeviantART, I found this mockup by vincentpsp2 that integrates music control and playback in Nautilus itself.

  • Distributions

    • Why I Prefer Debian to RHEL: Top 5 Reasons

      Needless to say, Debian revolves circles around RHEL when it comes to boot speed and system responsiveness, with a lesser memory footprint.

    • Reviews

      • Review: SalixOS 13.1.2 KDE

        Ever heard of SalixOS? Well, it’s only the best (hands-down?) Slackware based Operating System! There are other competitors; Zenwalk, Vector Linux, and my own nFluxOS Slackware -current build. However; only SalixOS is 100% compatible with Slackware 13.1, all the other’s differ in many respects, as both Vector and Zenwalk have drifted a bit to their own identities, which is why SalixOS was created in the first place. Quoted from Wikipedia SalixOS article, “Salix OS was originally initiated by some ex-members/contributors/developer of Zenwalk project who wanted to come back to a closer compatibility with Slackware as well as to the FOSS truly cooperative & open philosophy.”

      • Pardus 2011 on the way with new goodies

        Pardus Linux, a popular independent distribution funded and developed by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey, will be releasing version 2011 in the coming weeks and with it lots of nice updates and improvements.


        Keep your eyes open for the final release announcement, which is estimated to be toward the end of November.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • New Mandriva’s cooker manager

        Mandriva’s cooker has a new manager : Eugeni Dodonov. Eugeni is well known in the community, a very active Mandriva’s contributor, an activist of free software in Brasil, and also a doctor in computer science. So he has all qualities to be the new manager of cooker. He will soon expose his own views on cooker to the community.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 – A very smooth release!

          As an experiment I am using Fedora 14 exclusively on my Samsung R510 laptop and I am pleased to say the battery life puts Ubuntu to shame.

        • Fedora 14 – A Take On Its New Features

          Proprietary drivers from AMD and NVIDIA are omitted from the default Fedora package.

        • Casting My Vote for Fedora 14

          The release of Fedora 14 is more than just a collection of bits and bytes on a DVD – it shows that the “open source way” is alive and well. Fedora is a large and thriving community, and I’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the individuals that put time and effort into making Fedora what it is today. Fedora is not just programmers — Fedora literally has an army of developers, packagers, designers, marketers, ambassadors, translators, testers and writers from all walks of life that come together to build a new release approximately every six months. Red Hat’s proud to help sponsor the work that goes into Fedora, in part because open source projects like Fedora form the foundation of Red Hat’s commercial offerings. Fedora’s work allows Red Hat to bring its products to market more rapidly, and to get early feedback on emerging technologies. At the same time, Fedora is yet another way for Red Hat to give back to the open source community, by providing a platform for transparent collaboration and innovation that anyone can join.

        • Fusion Linux 14 – Distro Review

          This version comes in a hefty 1.6gigabyte download, a bit large compared to the 700megabyte CD sized distros such as Linux Mint, but not too much larger than Pinguy and Zorin. The first thing you will notice when booting up Fusion (and I did a double take when I first saw it) is that their icon is a hotdog with legs…

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making Our World More Respectful

          I am getting a little tired of the bickering in Open Source. Don’t get me wrong, I love full, frank and colorful discourse and debate, and I believe that innovation thrives on the exchange of ideas and different perspectives. Unfortunately, it seems that respectful debate and discussion has been increasingly replaced with rudeness, abrupt perspectives that are ill-researched, and the kind of behavior that people may exhibit online but would never exhibit if the same conversation happened in real life. To be clear: this is not about people who disagree with me or the projects I am associated with, there are many people who offer disagreements and alternative perspectives politely, constructively and are willing to engage in a discussion — this concern instead reflects those who are more interested in angry rhetoric rather that constructive, informed debate.


          I believe that the Open Source and Free Software community is the greatest community in the world, and it is populated by the greatest people in the world. Over the years I have seen incredible levels of generosity shared in our community, and a real feeling of family and looking after each other. Some of the people I would most vehemently disagree with, I consider some of my greatest friends, and many others are the same. I believe this openness to ideas and sharing perspectives is valuable, but I do think we need to confront some of the disrespectful discourse that is happening.

          Any ideas on how we can do this?

        • LoCo Lint Feature — File an issue for the LoCo Council ( Quickly! )
        • Linux beyond X: Shuttleworth contemplates Wayland

          Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote a blog post this week contemplating the possibility of making Ubuntu’s new Unity shell work on the Wayland display system, with the aim of eventually shipping Wayland as Ubuntu’s standard display manager. A transition of such enormous scope isn’t going to happen in the near future, but it certainly can’t hurt to start thinking about it now.

        • Ubuntu’s risky leap: Unity on Wayland

          Today Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced on his blog that the Ubuntu distribution will move away from the traditional X.org display environment to Wayland a more modern alternative.

        • The X.Org Plans In Ubuntu 11.04, Again

          While we may see Canonical use Wayland beginning with Ubuntu 11.10, there’s still the Ubuntu 11.04 release coming out before that we have to look forward to with the new Unity desktop interface. Here’s some of the key X.Org details for Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. the Natty Narwhal.

          Last month we already provided a peek into the Ubuntu 11.04 X.Org stack that covered nearly all of the same details (along with the other Ubuntu 11.04 X discussions) we are about to share, the information has been finally communicated officially by Canonical’s Bryce Harrington.

        • Ubuntu Linux moving to Wayland from X is a Natty move

          Instead, Shuttleworth wants to move to the Wayland system — which in my mind is an interesting move. Wayland is new (not a bad thing) and lacks the stability and maturity of X. That said it also lacks the decades-old baggage that comes with X.

        • After Gnome Shell, Ubuntu Ditches X Server

          One of the reasons for Mark to choose Wayland seems to be Canonical’s ongoing crusade to polish Ubuntu at the level of perfection. Wayland’s started goal is ‘every frame is perfect, by which I mean that applications will be able to control the rendering enough that we’ll never see tearing, lag, redrawing or flicker’.

        • Is Canonical’s Unity Move Divisive?

          Last week, Mark Shuttleworth announced that the default desktop for Ubuntu 11.04 would be the Canonical-developed Unity desktop. It’s not a fork, but it does raise a number of issues about Canonical’s direction and the future of GNOME.

          The issue in a nutshell? GNOME 3.0 is on the horizon and with it comes a new interface called GNOME Shell. Canonical have been on the fence with GNOME Shell, and have been developing a UI called Unity for their netbook remix. At the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) last week, they formally announced what quite a few people suspected — that they’d not be taking up GNOME Shell and would instead use Unity.

        • Ubuntu To Ditch X For Wayland

          Well the surprises just keeps mounting. After shocking everyone with the announcement that Ubuntu 11.04 will have Unity on the desktop instead of GNOME Shell, Mark Shuttleworth announced another possibly bigger change – Unity is going to use Wayland display server instead of X.

        • Seeing the light

          To be clear – I think this is great. Wayland’s a neat technology and it’s good to see someone push ahead with seeing if it can be used on a practical scale; it’s great to see Canonical being the ones doing it. I just find it funny in the context of all those posts I read every day about how Fedora is silly for banging on about software freedom all the time and not shipping proprietary graphics drivers, and how Ubuntu gets it right by shipping proprietary drivers (and not caring about those silly open source drivers that don’t work right).

        • Is Shuttleworth Crazy, Brave, or Smart?

          Up until yesterday MeeGo was the only future user because Wayland is still quite limited in terms of compatible hardware and software as well as the lack of 3D acceleration demanded by Unity. Fortunately, the move to Wayland isn’t slated for 11.04 and may not even be ready for 11.10. In fact, it may have to be pushed back even further. It will have to be until this major conflict is resolved.

        • Thinking About X

          X11 is unmaintainable. It’s also quite large. Aside from both of those problems, it’s not quite as advanced as Quartz or Windows’ GUI layer. What this amounts to is a constantly growing size. People want to have the features and visuals of the two leading competitors, but they want to use Linux/UNIX. This means an increase in the number of modules, or dirty hacks to existing modules. While X has become modular over time, it hasn’t really trimmed down at all. If you want a good looking interface to ship with your distribution or hardware product, you have quite a bit of overhead. More and more each year, people are talking about X11 alternatives. Several have been started. None have really come to fruition.

        • Huge Ubuntu Changes to Come (Unity review)

          Ubuntu 11.04 is quickly positioning itself as the most ambitious release to date, incorporating changes that can very much redefine the way we understand the formerly brown Linux distro. I am sure it won’t be an easy ride at first, but even if Natty Narwhal is not an example of reliability, it may be the first step towards an even brighter future.

        • Why Ubuntu Linux Is a Good Business Choice

          One of those choices is Ubuntu Linux, a greatly enhanced Debian-based Linux distribution that installs easily, has the familiar Windows look and feel, and operates well on older hardware (expensive upgrade not required). Linux fans tout the positive attributes, often at high decibel levels, of Ubuntu Linux, which is perhaps the world’s most popular Linux distribution. But, is it business worthy?

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nokia Z500 MeeGo tablet leaked on Ovi Store?

          A Nokia tablet running MeeGo has been churning through the rumor mills since early summer. Speculation, however, began as soon as Nokia and Intel joined forces on the open source OS back in February.

        • Initial Findings: MeeGo 1.1 Netbook vs. Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook

          Intel and Nokia last week rolled out MeeGo 1.1, which is now officially available for Intel Atom netbooks, the N900 handset, and in-vehicle “infotainment” systems. The netbook spin of MeeGo 1.1 is out there to compete with the likes of Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, which was released just shy of a month ago. While nothing radically has changed with MeeGo 1.1 compared to the initial MeeGo 1.0 release from earlier this year, the software stack is updated so for the past few days we have begun conducting a performance comparison between MeeGo 1.1 and Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook. Here are some of our initial findings.

      • Android

        • T-Mobile Comet review

          It runs stock Android 2.2. A regional variation of the Huawei Ideos, it was designed with help from Google. Oh, and yeah, it’s one of the first T-Mobile devices to feature WiFi hotspot support. Is your interest sufficiently piqued? Read on.

        • Four Android Apps to Use for Daily Reading

          I do a lot of reading. In fact, I can spend around two hours a day reading a mixture of text and audiobooks. In addition to books, I also like to read various news and blog sites. In this article, I will feature the apps I use to accomplish my daily reading on my Android device, an HTC Evo.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Awesome Army is Awesome

        Using the new Army of Awesome page is fun (and awesome)! This is a quick run-through of how easy it is to use.

      • Hands-on: latest Firefox Mobile beta is svelte and smooth

        Mozilla is planning to continue its focus on performance improvements in future versions. The developers want to add hardware accelerated rendering and make scrolling even smoother. Another goal is to add support for the HTML5 video element.

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo! invites world of boffins into 4,000-node Hadoop cluster

      The company’s M45 cluster — a Hadoop setup spanning 4,000 processors and 1.5-petabyte of disk space inside a data center at Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale headquarters —– was originally launched in 2007, and is now available for Big Data research at eight universities across the country. Other participants include founding member Carnegie Mellon, plus the The University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    • Cloud Computing 101
  • Oracle

    • The Forking OpenOffice Community Bodes Well For Users

      As PCMag.com notes, the productivity suite application arena, which it dubs “Office clones” is getting more complicated by the minute. The other day, Susan noted that the latest version of the OpenOffice suite, version 3.3, is upon us but she wondered if it might be the last. After all, OpenOffice.org developers are handing in their resignations (just look at some of them here), and many people are unhappy that Oracle now functions as steward of the project. We noted the discord back in August, and expressed concerns about Oracle’s intentions all the way back in April. But is PCMag correct that the current situation is just a complicated mess? Perhaps there is a silver lining of the type that one only sees in the world of open source.

  • Education

    • Introducing students to the world of open source: Day 1

      From Blake Ross to Linus Torvalds, students are credited with major achievements in the open source community. But that’s not the picture Yuvi Masory painted as he sat across the table from me at an OpenHatch meetup in Philadelphia.

      “My lab is hiring,” he explained. “We need students with programming experience and who can find answers to questions. But the students at Penn have never even heard of IRC. They’ve never contributed to open source.”

  • Business

    • The Business Value of Open Source Software

      I’ve been organising events for Open Source in Ireland for a while now, and I’ve always wanted to see more government organisations get behind them and also come along. I started talking to Dave Scanlon about this and he has gotten on board and gotten Enterprise Ireland to organise an event for Irish business to learn more about Open Source, it’s benefits, uses and how they can use, compete and excel using it.

    • 10 Reasons Open Source Is Good for Business

      With the many business and government organizations that now use open source software such as Linux, it’s becoming increasingly clear that price is not the only advantage such software holds. If it were, companies that adopted it during the Great Recession would surely have switched back to the expensive proprietary stuff as soon as conditions began to ease, and that’s clearly not the case.

  • Funding

    • Devil’s dollars drive open source

      The vast majority of software isn’t written by “open-source companies.” It’s written by proprietary software companies or by non-software companies, like financial services firms, who write software to satisfy internal needs.

    • Open Source: Money versus Mindshare

      This morning I read with interest the musings of He Who Will Forever Blog (aka Matt Asay) on the topic of how proprietary software and the money that comes with it will always be forever entwined with open source (and, by extension, free) software.

      I’ve got to say, I don’t see where he’s wrong about this.

      Granted, Asay’s being a bit provocative, and certainly the so-pithy-you-will-bleed headline writers at The Register help that provocation along. In the article, Asay calls it how he sees it: that the “vast majority of software isn’t written by ‘open-source companies.’ It’s written by proprietary software companies or by non-software companies, like financial services firms, who write software to satisfy internal needs.”


      I think, no matter how you try to hold up the open source model as a unique way of doing business, companies that use open source are still working in a market driven by other factors and dominated by proprietary vendors who can use better funding to achieve what successful open source companies can do with better mindshare.


    • Gnash Supporters Offer Cash for Open-Source Flash Player

      For VAR’s, this should serve as a reminder not to discount the importance of ordinary individuals in the open-source world. Commercial investment may be crucial to the momentum of larger projects, such as Firefox, OpenOffice or the major Linux distributions. But the Gnash contest shows that some users are willing to pay substantial amounts of actual cash to support smaller open-source endeavors as well. And it’s in these tiny projects, which remain off the map of the mainstream software world, where some of the greatest value may lie.

    • GCC 4.5 unmasking and etc.

      I was hoping to get GCC 4.5 unmasked much sooner than this, but I somehow got wrangled into running the field end of a big survey project at work and as a result I’ve been pretty much living out of a motel since mid-August. The good news is that thanks to the efforts of many very helpful people who aren’t me, the last major packages that needed fixing are taken care of and we’re finally ready to drop 4.5.1 into ~arch this weekend.

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.55 Released

      The Blender Foundation has just released Blender 2.55, a bug fix release with over 340 fixes!

    • Blender 2.5 Beta 3 released

      After more than 7 weeks of development, the Blender developers have announced the arrival of the latest beta for what will become version 2.6 of their open source 3D content creation suite. Blender 2.55 Beta, the third beta of the 2.5 series, includes several changes and addresses more than 340 bugs found in the previous development release.

  • Licensing

    • Weekend Project: Get to Know Your Source Code with FOSSology

      FOSSology was originally built as an internal tool at HP, to help engineers follow the large company’s IT governance policies when working with open source software written elsewhere. Even if your company or project isn’t as big as HP, any time you blend code from different authors or want to borrow a routine from another open source project, it can get tricky to maintain all the rules. Certain licenses are compatible to combine in one executable, while others need to be separate processes. If you customize an open source application for internal use, you may also need to keep track of authorship — even more so if you send patches upstream.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Colleges Experimenting With Bulk-Buying E-Textbooks… And Forcing Students To Pay Up

    We’ve pointed out in the past how the college textbook market is ripe for disruption. You have a market where books are ridiculously overpriced by publishers, knowing that students are often compelled to purchase the product. As book prices have continued to rise, apparently some universities are experimenting with bulk buying licenses to ebook textbooks and simply charging the students a fee.

  • Application Inflation

    He doubts that any university could deliver an experience that matches the story it tells the world beyond its gates. “People like to promote a vision of what makes them unique, but it’s just wishful thinking,” he says. “It was a great education—I’m glad I went there. But I don’t think it ever lived up to its ideal. And maybe that’s the value of an education. It helps you realize the limits of an ideal.”

  • One on One: Vivek Kundra, U.S. Chief Information Officer

    Vivek Kundra is the chief information officer of the United States. His job is to help shape the use of technology in government and build tools to help the public navigate the incredible amount of data and information available.

  • Science

    • Electric current to the brain ‘boosts maths ability’

      Applying a tiny electrical current to the brain could make you better at learning maths, according to Oxford University scientists.

      They found that targeting a part of the brain called the parietal lobe improved the ability of volunteers to solve numerical problems.

      They hope the discovery could help people with dyscalculia, who may struggle with numbers.

    • Superhero-Style Spacesuits Could Provide Vital Compression For Astronauts

      This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Toronto cops who removed their name-tags during the G20 to avoid identification will be docked a day’s pay

      About 90 cops will be docked a day’s pay for illegally removing their nametags during the G20 crackdown in Toronto. Toronto police chief Bill Blair said that the officers removed their badges so that they couldn’t be identified. This is part of a general pattern of illegal behavior during the Toronto G20, including arrests for violating a nonexitent law, extended detention in cuffs without adequate heating or toilet facilities, misleading press statements about seized weapons, and arresting a protestor who was blowing soap-bubbles.

    • Why newspapers make you stupid

      The maze of documents and media observations on the recent release of 400,000 classified Iraq war documents on Wikileaks ignites so many questions. But one can’t help but notice the many subtle and not-so-subtle diverging perspectives within the media agencies reporting the story.

    • Iraqi torture known to Danish Ministry

      According to reports released by WikiLeaks last week, Danish officials continued to hand over detainees to Iraqi authorities until 2005, despite reports of torture in the country’s prisons dating back to 2003.

    • Blood on Our Hands

      In early March 2006, Donald Rumsfeld called a Pentagon news conference to declare Iraq peaceful — and to say that U.S. reporters in Baghdad were liars for reporting otherwise.

      Contrary to the jumble of “exaggerated” reporting from Baghdad, the then-secretary of defense said at the Washington press briefing, Iraq was experiencing no such thing as the explosion of sectarian violence that myself and many of my fellow journalists in Baghdad were covering in the aftermath of a fateful February 2006 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

    • WikiLeaks: U.S. must probe alleged abuse
    • Shockingly Unshocking: More Wikileaks Competitors Pop Up

      Just recently, we noted that the attempts by Wikileaks critics to try to “shut down” the site (or physically harm its leaders) were misguided, because it wouldn’t take long for other sites to step up and offer the same functionality.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Jim Prentice Resigns His Post As Environment Minister

      As most of you know, I used to work in the environmental industry. There are a lot of machines out there which have catalytic converter cores that I helped to design. I know a lot about the science involved, including what vehicle emissions do to people.


      And then today Jim Prentice resigned his post as Environment Minister.

  • Finance

    • Additional Lists About Goldman Sachs
    • Sealed Courtroom Sought in High-Speed–Trading Code-Theft Case

      Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have asked a judge to seal the courtroom in an upcoming corporate-espionage trial to protect the secret of Goldman Sachs’ controversial high-speed trading software.

      Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York asked the judge last week to close the courtroom (.pdf) for portions of testimony involving the company’s proprietary software, and to seal exhibits and transcripts pertaining to the company’s trade secrets.


      Prosecutors wrote that if information about the investment bank’s software were made public “the very purpose of this trade-secret prosecution would be defeated and other victims of trade-secret thefts would be discouraged from reporting those crimes.” The Wall Street Journal reported first about the motion to seal.

      In their motion, prosecutors also asked that evidence and arguments about the nation’s financial crisis not relevant to the case be excluded from the trial.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • People have “right to be forgotten” online, says EU

      The European Commission wants to strengthen data protection rules to give more power to consumers – including the right to be forgotten online.

      In a seemingly contradictory statement, the commission set out its strategy for strengthening data protection while at the same time making data more freely available.

      “The protection of personal data is a fundamental right,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

    • EFF Welcomes New Activist Rainey Reitman

      EFF is pleased to announce our newest staff activist: Rainey Reitman. Rainey will be working with the rest of our activism team to fight for privacy, free speech, and innovation on the Internet and other technologies.

    • Lawsuit Settled After Cop Revealed Anonymous Blogger To His Church, Then Destroyed Records To ‘Protect Civil Rights’

      Gabriel Tane alerts us to an interesting story about online anonymity coming out of Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently, a member of the First Baptist Church there had been writing a blog that was critical of the church leadership. A local sheriff’s detective, Robert Hinson, who was (in addition to being a sheriff’s detective) a member of the same church, a provider of security to the church, a deacon at the church and a member of the church’s “disciplinary committee,” used his position in the sheriff’s office to open an official investigation into the blog, and was able to get Stephen Siegel, an assistant state attorney to issue a subpoena to reveal the blogger.

    • Should the Law that Protects Against Upskirt Filming Protect Against TSA Body Scanners?

      The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is pushing on with its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the TSA’s whole-body imaging scanners. The privacy group filed the suit in July asking for an emergency stay of the controversial program. The federal appeals court denied the request for a stay, but did allow the lawsuit to proceed. EPIC filed its opening brief this week, alleging that the machines’ ability to take nakey scans of us violates the Fourth Amendment, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, among others.

    • Facing Up to the Generational Privacy Divide

      Last week hundreds of privacy regulators, corporate officers, and activists gathered in Jerusalem, Israel for the annual Data Protection and Privacy Commissioner Conference. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the conference theme focused on the perception of a growing privacy divide between generations, with older and younger demographics seemingly adopting sharply different views on the importance of privacy.

      Many acknowledged that longstanding privacy norms are being increasingly challenged by the massive popularity of social networks that encourage users to share information that in a previous generation would have never been made publicly available for all the world to see. Moreover, rapid technological change and the continuous evolution of online sites and services create enormous difficulty for regulators unaccustomed to moving at Internet speed.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • ‘Net pioneers: Open Internet should be separate

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should allow for an open Internet separate from specialized services that may prioritize IP traffic, a group of Internet and technology pioneers recommended.

      The document, filed in response to an FCC request for public comments on proposed network neutrality rules, steers clear of recommending what rules should apply to the open Internet. But the distinctions between the open Internet and specialized Internet Protocol services, if allowed, need to be “defined clearly,” the group of 32 Internet experts said in comments to the FCC.

    • Sorry, Net Neutrality Simply Was Not An Important Issue In This Year’s Election

      This one is just amusing. Scott Cleland, who works for the big broadband companies as a professional propagandist, and has a long history of making absolutely ridiculous claims in order to support their positions, apparently got a bit of traction from the non-thinking press, after he started pushing the message that all of the Democrats who signed a “pledge” to support network neutrality from the group the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) lost in the recent election. So, suddenly, it sounds like a referendum on net neutrality with the people saying they’re against it. Verizon was so excited about this that it even Tweeted about it and various folks in the press parroted the claim without really looking into the details. Even CNN wrote an article about it, suggesting this was the “final nail in the coffin for net neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Now That Apple Has A Trademark On ‘There’s An App For That,’ Will It Sue Sesame Street?

      You may recall that, last year, Apple got quite upset at Verizon Wireless for running commercials that parodied Apple’s “there’s an app for that” tagline, with “there’s a map for that,” which tried to highlight the better coverage found on Verizon Wireless’ network. Well, last month, Apple was officially awarded the trademark for “there’s an app for that,” so now we can wait to see who Steve Jobs decides to sue.

    • 70 MEPs Call On EU To Support “Right To Read” Treaty At WIPO

      A cross-party coalition of 70 MEPs have called upon the European Commission and EU member states to support a legally binding international Treaty for the Visually impaired. They challenge the present EU position that only proposes a voluntary “joint recommendation” that is weak, very complex and lacking any legal force.

      This Friday an EU Council “working group” meets to discuss this question and to establish a common EU position before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that meets next week in Geneva. Presently, most of the world’s visually impaired and print-disabled people only have access to less than 1% of the books being published. This situation is considered by many as a “book famine”.

    • Is There Anything Lamer Than Facebook Threatening Lamebook With Trademark Infringement?

      We’ve noted lately that Facebook has become excessively aggressive when it comes to trademark law and challenging websites that use either “face” or “book” in ways that are somewhat similar. Apparently, one recent target of a cease-and-desist threat was Lamebook.com, one of the more popular of a few websites that post images of silly and ridiculous posts, comments and photos on Facebook.

    • Copyrights

      • UK copyright laws to be reviewed, announces Cameron

        Britain’s intellectual property laws are to be reviewed to “make them fit for the internet age,” Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.


        ‘Fair use’

        He said: “The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States.

        “Over there, they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services.

        “So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”

      • UK Plans To Review Copyright Laws (Yet Again), With Eye Towards Fair Use

        This all sounds good, but let’s see what comes out in practice — especially after the lobbyists get done trashing the concept of fair use as being somehow anti-innovation.

      • New Zealand proposes “guilty until proven innocent” copyright law to punish accused infringers

        New Zealand’s three-strikes Internet law is back. Under this proposed copyright law, people who are accused without proof of multiple copyright infringements can eventually face disconnection from the Internet, along with their families. A substantively similar law was passed and then rescinded in 2009, after enormous public outcry. The parliamentary committee responsible for the legislation describes it as being based on the presumption of guilt (not innocence, as is customary in democratic societies).

      • Lessig Calls For WIPO To Lead Overhaul Of Copyright System

        Influential copyright scholar Larry Lessig yesterday issued a call for the World Intellectual Property Organization to lead an overhaul of the copyright system which he says does not and never will make sense in the digital environment.

        A functioning copyright system must provide the incentives needed for creative professionals, but must also protect the freedoms necessary for scientific research and amateur creativity flourish.

        In the digital environment, copyright has failed at both, said Lessig.

      • Lessig Asks WIPO To Overhaul Copyright; Not Designed For When Every Use Is A Copy
      • 20 Open Source Movies You Can Edit and Redistribute for Free

        Open Source Movies, also called Open Content Movies or simply Open Movies are, as the name suggests, movies that enable the end user to view and edit the production materials. Philosophically speaking, Open Movies share the same notion that lies at the heart of open source softwares. However, they are not as popular as open source softwares. As a matter of fact, they are so rare that after a decade of their presence, there are roughly dozens of them available. Apparently, Free/Libre/Open source community, a community that is so proud of itself for producing quality alternatives to proprietary products has failed to realize the importance of open movie movement.

      • Magazine Editor Steals Article, Tells Writer ‘You Should Compensate Me!’

        Writer Monica Gaudio was surprised to see an old article of hers appear in Cooks Source, a “publication for food lovers in Western New England.” So she wrote the magazine’s editor to ask how they got it. The reply: insanity.

      • Cooks Source magazine gets Facebook backlash for copying material without permission
      • How Cooks Source Magazine Learned That Reputation Is A Scarce Good… As Reddit Applies The Social Mores Of Justice

        One of the key points we’ve made over the years is that reputation is a scarce good, and doing something bad can be quite costly. In fact, in showing how social mores can often be much more effective than copyright laws in dealing with actions where someone is “wronged” by having their work copied in ways that appear to be unfair, we’ve suggested that social costs are a much more effective means of punishing those who do wrong.

      • Cooks Source Editor Finally Responds… Makes Things Worse [Updated]
      • Cook’s Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain
      • Ministry Of Sound Ditches File Sharing Lawsuits After It Finds Out That BT Actually Protects User Privacy

        Music label Ministry of Sound, who had recently joined the self-destructive mass “pay up or we’ll sue you for infringement” shakedown business, has apparently abandoned those plans. Why? Because BT actually followed through with protecting its users’ privacy in accordance with data retention rules, and destroyed its log files after 90 days. Ministry of Sound is apparently “very disappointed” that BT actually protects the privacy of its customers.

      • Jury Finds Terra Firma Just Made A Bad Deal In Buying EMI

        On top of that, the company backed down on its threats to leave the IFPI and the RIAA… and instead became one of the more aggressive record labels in suing innovative start-ups and directly suing their execs in attempts to bankrupt them. It wasn’t much of a surprise that the two tech superstars EMI hired both left pretty quickly, as it became apparent they were marginalized within the company.

      • RIAA Wins Big Against File-Sharer, $1.5M for 24 Songs

        Jammie Thomas-Rasset has lost her re-retrial against the RIAA and is now ordered to pay $1.5 million for 24 songs she shared via Kazaa. The jury found her guilty of infringing the rights of Capitol Records and found a $62,500 fine per shared song to be an appropriate punishment. If recouped, the money will be invested in new anti-piracy campaigns.

      • Why The Jammie Thomas Verdicts Return Such Huge Amounts Per Song Shared: It’s All About The Framing

        There’s nothing specifically wrong with the jury instructions. They’re exactly what the law basically says the judge should say. But, if you’re the average person in the jury box, these instructions effectively say “pick a number higher than $30,000 and less than $150,000.” That’s basically it. The numbers are framed right there, and the jury just has to pick. So, the last two juries picked $80,000 and now $62,500. If you’re on the jury, you’re not really thinking about what this actually means, or if the punishment fits the actions. You’re told, by law, you should pick a ridiculously high number, and then you just sorta pick one within that frame, which has already been set for you. If you’re told that they can be fined $150,000 per song shared, and you assume that the law must make sense (because who would pass a nonsensical law?), then at no point do you ever consider the reasonableness of such an award. That seems like a pretty bad judicial system, because it encourages frivolous results that very few people can respect.

      • What is a fair penalty for illegal file-sharing or piracy?

        This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song.

      • Copyright reform must expand fair dealing, limit protections for digital locks

        Students are calling on the federal government and opposition parties to fix C-32 and finally adopt copyright legislation for the digital age.

        “In C-32 the government finally gave us something to work with,” said Dave Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Expanding the definition of fair dealing to include education will ensure that students and educators have access to copyrighted materials and that writers continue to be compensated fairly for the use of their work.”

      • Second Reading – the day after

        Bill C-32 had its second reading yesterday; Michael Geist gives the details. The campaign of misinformation concerning the inclusion of “education” to fair dealing is leaving its mark. This is disappointing, but not surprising given the deficit position fair dealing sat in before Bill C-32 was unveiled. Despite the viability of fair dealing as a measured response to the perennial calls for balance in copyright, and the lessons that can be drawn from the lengthy history of American experiences with fair use (see my chapter in From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”, free download available), the mere mention of education as fair dealing brings out the worst fears of Canadian writers.

      • [Canada] The U.S. Influence on Bill C-32 Hits House of Commons Debate

        One of the most notable aspects of the House of Commons debate on Bill C-32 thus far (debate continues today) has been the recognition by opposition MPs of the influence of the U.S. on the bill’s digital lock rules.

      • ACTA

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Multitouch Gesture injection in non-mt-aware apps : Evince

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day

  2. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day

  3. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day

  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021

  5. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day

  6. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year

  7. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be

  8. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them

  9. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing

  10. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021

  12. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day

  13. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day

  14. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue

  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021

  16. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”

  17. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same

  18. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day

  19. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below

  20. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation

  21. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains

  22. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day

  23. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day

  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021

  25. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day

  26. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves

  27. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."

  28. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline

  29. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day

  30. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers

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