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11.25.10

IRC Proceedings: November 25th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted in Site News at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techrights cake

Summary: A quick message and site forecast for Techrights readers

AS THE US holiday comes knocking and many of our readers are American we decided to slow down a bit and in the coming days the plan is to dedicate a special moment to Novell/AttachMSFT coverage. We also have many posts about software patents in the pipeline, but we’ll wait with those. In the mean time, please enjoy our daily summaries of links (nothing to get riled up about) and enjoy the holiday if you celebrate it.

Thank you for supporting Techrights.

Thanking Microsoft for Another Product Cut

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers, Windows at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Autumn wildlife

Summary: Windows Home Server keeps having features stripped off and its very existence — let alone poor performance — becomes suppressed or marginalised (GNU/Linux reigns this segment)

TECHRIGHTS no longer tracks Microsoft as closely as it used to. With around 60 dead products (probably more by now), it is clear that Microsoft’s days as a technology company are coming to an end; as a patent agitator Microsoft would not win, either.

It only seemed reasonable to post a quick update about a Microsoft candidate for deletion (bad market performer [1, 2]). That would be Windows Home Server, whose “major feature” predictably “Fails even before launch”:

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has managed to do a good job of all but destroying Windows Home Server (WHS) by removing one of its main features.

The Vole announced its impending removal of the drive extender feature from the upcoming version of WHS, codenamed Vail. This has led to widespread condemnation from current users, as drive extender was one of those rare things from Microsoft, a feature that was not really a bug.

Drive extender allows users to plug in additional hard drives with WHS automatically expanding a logical disk volume to make use of the new drive. This in itself isn’t exactly cutting edge technology but it worked well and for many users it offered an easy way to expand storage capacity. Well not any longer, thanks to Microsoft’s bewildering and ultimately incorrect analysis of customer feedback.

Here is the corresponding message from Microsoft. It’s worth remembering that it’s not the first “major feature” of Windows Home Server that gets axed. It might not take long before the whole product meets the cliff because Linux competition is more reliable, affordable, and often boasts more features. Microsoft should have never entered this area. It no longer spends much money marketing Windows Home Server. Like a cornered animal it just clings onto attacking its rivals (or trying to buy their means of attack).

Microsoft Cannot Thank Vista Phony 7 for Returns

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Note: decreased posting pace due to Thanksgiving]

Wild turkey

Summary: Windows Phone 7 is apparently doing badly enough to make it worth dumping

ANYONE who remembers the “KIN trajectory” already knows that dumping them at half price or at nearly no cost is what Microsoft did just weeks after the official launch because very few people bought the product. Vista Phony 7 [sic] is already expensive to mainstream because of Silver Lie, which is one of many dead products that Microsoft just happens to maintain because it has no other choice. OpenBytes has just noticed that Microsoft is ‘pulling a KIN’ on Vista Phony 7 [sic]; it is said to be given away for free (after Microsoft spent around half a billion dollars marketing this hilarious dud).

Is Windows Phone 7 already going the way of the Kin? Is this the only way they can think of to generate interest in WP7? But more importantly who knows anyone waiting for the right time to purchase a Windows Phone 7? Last time I looked people wanted to buy Android phones or Apples iPhone.

This “deal” also raises an important question, will the “two for one” deals count as two sales so that Microsoft can boost their figures? I’ll let you decide.

Another reader of ours sent this link earlier in the afternoon. It sheds light on market distribution but does not estimate absolute numbers:

At the time most would have thought HTC’s dominance in the Windows Mobile segment would not see this repeated in the Windows Phone 7 segment, but a poll run yesterday on WMPoweruser.com for current Windows Phone 7 owners, which collected over 1500 votes, revealed that Samsung already owns 51% of the Windows phone 7 market, well ahead of HTC’s 37%.

The rear is brought up by LG with 9%, and Dell with 3%.

Microsoft still refuses to give away numbers and it also declines to comment on numbers that unintentionally got out. This almost certainty means that Microsoft fails here very badly, so Novell/Microsoft patents — along with other software patents in Microsoft’s possession — are probably the only ‘product’ to survive for Microsoft in this space. As we wrote yesterday (quoting Groklaw for example), Microsoft hopes to monetise the mobile space only by taxing more of it, using software patents. Ideally and originally, Microsoft wanted to make real products, but it’s coming to grips with the fact that it arrived too late. Becoming a patent troll is symptom of a company’s unstoppable decline. Vista Phony 7 [sic] was Microsoft’s final stab at this market and it’s said to possibly lead to Steve Ballmer’s ejection.

Links 25/11/2010: LPC, Happypenguin.org Back Online

Posted in News Roundup at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Boxee Box Review

      The Boxee has been built with a simple goal in mind. Its creators say that “a lot of your favorite shows and movies are already available on the Internet. Boxee is a device that finds them and puts them on your TV. It’s easy to use and even better, there’s no monthly fee”. That’s the phrase that can be found on Boxee’s homepage. Boxee has been an early player that has generated a lot of buzz in the “Media Center” circle. The project has started as a software platform that can be installed on a PC, Mac or Linux computer. The main downside of that is that this becomes a fairly expensive proposition. The Boxee Box was brought to market to provide a hardware platform capable of running the Boxee software – for $199. Try to beat that by building your own computer. Now the question is: how does it perform, and how can it help you today? Let’s take a look.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • LPC: Life after X

        Keith Packard has probably done more work to put the X Window System onto our desks than just about anybody else. With some 25 years of history, X has had a good run, but nothing is forever. Is that run coming to an end, and what might come after? In his Linux Plumbers Conference talk, Keith claimed to have no control over how things might go, but he did have some ideas. Those ideas add up to an interesting vision of our graphical future.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Trinity Like Whoa

        Packages are offered for Ubuntu, and as such I decided to grab the Ubuntu Minimal ISO. Booting the CD, I chose to go with a command line installation. The installer finished without fuss. Rebooting into my minimalistic environment, I went ahead and grabbed my favorite editor (ne – the nice editor; apt-get install ne). You need to add the Trinity Ubuntu repositories to your sources.list, which isn’t difficult at all.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 24th October 2010

        Migrating the WYSIWYG Editor to WebKit in Blogilo. Twitter Lists support in Choqok. More work on KAccessible. KTorrent gains support for the Magnet protocol. Work in KRFB to allow more than one RFB server run at once. Better Valgrind 3.6.0 compatibility in KCacheGrind. Important progress on the Perl KDE bindings.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Being US-centric does not serve GNOME Foundation well

        The GNOME Foundation has been forced to change the rules for a design contest it is holding after one of its members objected to the exclusion of certain countries.

        The contest, to design a new T-shirt, initially excluded people living in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and Myanmar (Burma).

        Those living in areas which are restricted by US export controls and sanctions were also not allowed to participate.

        Developer Baptiste Mille-Mathias pointed out the hypocrisy of these rules, stating, “GNOME being based on people and openness, I wonder how a Free Software & Non-profit organisation would comply with such US embargo related laws.

      • 7like GNoMenu theme: Ambiance meets windows

        Whilst I’m not traditionally a GnoMenu fan even I can’t help but drool over ~Blitz-Bomb‘s 7Like theme for it.

        Fusing elements of Ambiance with well-worn aspects of Windows 7′s start menu the theme has a whole lot to like in it.

      • Faenza Icon Theme Undergoes Major Upgrade, Tons of New Icons Included

        Beloved Faenza icon theme undergoes a major upgrade. Lots of new icons are included and improved Firefox and Google Chrome icons are absolutely beautiful IMO.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Watch for Shares of Red Hat (RHT) to Approach Resistance at $43.87

        SmarTrend has detected shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) have bullishly opened above the pivot of $42.50 today and have reached the first resistance level of $43.05.

      • Fedora

        • Fuduntu 14.5 – Subtle improvements

          A lot of refinements have been put into place behind the scenes including adding the BFS scheduler, and making the deadline IO scheduler default. I have also added a recent tweak that should improve availability and response time of a Fuduntu computer while users are compiling software, or doing other CPU intensive tasks in terminals.

        • Xen Dom0 Support May Come Back To Fedora

          Besides the kernel side of things, there’s also work to be done in ensuring Fedora’s virtualization utilities (libvirt, virt-manager, etc) are still in good shape for Xen and that there’s an easy way to enable the Xen kernel support from GRUB without manually editing the boot-loader’s configuration file.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • My current “What to do after installing Ubuntu?” script

          This script is obviously a work in progress. I already have some ideas to enhance it, but since it has already saved me significant hassle (and typing!) when installing new Ubuntu instances, I thought I’d share it.

        • Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu makes like Space Shuttle

          It looks like astronaut and tech magnate Mark Shuttleworth’s investment in the Ubuntu commercial Linux distribution is about to pay off. Ubuntu is taking off like a rocket, and the sale of Novell to Attachmate plus the higher prices Red Hat is charging for its Enterprise Linux 6 are probably going to fuel Ubuntu’s adoption even more in the data centers of the world.

          The third Long Term Support release, Ubuntu 10.04, came out in April and seems to have been a turning point for the Ubuntu distribution. With that release, Canonical demonstrated that it could tame the Debian variant of Linux and put together a polished desktop and server operating system with commercial-grade support options like those available through Red Hat and Novell. On the server front, the server variant of the 10.04 LTS release had all of the new or impending x64 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices baked into it as well as a fully integrated variant of the Eucalyptus cloud framework for creating cloudy infrastructure for applications to romp around.

        • Ubuntu One — good or bad?

          But ok, I installed all required packages and it connected. Synced Tomboy notes from desktop and Conboy ones from my Nokia N900 so now I have them in sync (without a way to select which one I want where but that’s limit of apps). Then I decided to make use from synchronization of contacts. And here the fun begins… My phone is not supported by Funambol (syncml backend used by Ubuntu One) so sorry — all I can use is one bug on LaunchPad.

        • Ubuntu sticking to six-month development cycle

          While Google has successfully (so far) moved to a rapid release cycle for its Chrome browser, it’s hard to see this working very well for an entire Linux distribution. It might work for some packages that sit on top of the distro (like Firefox) but it just won’t work for the whole OS. This is especially true in the enterprise market where Canonical is trying to get a foothold. A rolling release cycle would not go over well on the server side. It wouldn’t work too well for OEMs, either. A rolling cycle for development is one thing, but as Canonical tries to capture bigger deals it’s a non-starter for any of the OEMs and ISVs that Canonical works with.

        • Canonical welcomes new partners following latest Ubuntu 10.10 release

          Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, announced today the signing of several significant partnerships following the release last month of Ubuntu 10.10.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • New Linux Mint 10 – Will you be lured into trying it?

            Battling to be classified as the most reliable open source operating system is the Linux Mint team, which apparently has put its plans to action by leveraging its existing and most popular product the Linux Mint and in turn has brought out a new and updated version of the same – Linux Mint 10 a.k.a. “Julia”. Considered the 2nd runner-up in the open source OS industry, Linux Mint 10 follows the lead of Ubuntu and Fedora who have dominated the open source market with products like Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora Project.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny module includes 1.2GHz CPU, Wi-Fi

      Anders Electronics announced a diminutive COM (computer on module) featuring Marvell’s 1.2GHz Armada 510 CPU. The Linux-ready CM-A510 offers functionality including 1GB of DDR3 memory, up to 512MB of flash storage, a camera interface, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and onboard Wi-Fi, the company says.

    • Tablets

      • Seven- and 10-inch tablets run Android 2.1 on 1GHz chips

        Internet Connectivity and Networking (ICAN) has launched both a seven-inch and a 10-inch tablet running Android 2.1 on a 1GHz processor. The $400 ICAN! 7 and $500 ICAN! 10 ship with 16GB of internal storage, plus SD expansion, Wi-Fi, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, dual USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI ports, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome Toolbox Places Useful Features At Your Fingertips

      Have you ever encountered the situation where you have plenty of tabs open in your browser and one of them is blasting out loud advertisement video? Yes, I know, it is very irritating, especially when you don’t know which tab contains the annoying video and you have to flick through all the tabs to locate (and stop) the ad. With Chrome Toolbox, you can now easily mute all the tabs with a single click.

  • SaaS

    • To the Clouds with Linux — But Who Controls It?

      According to my research, Google Docs is considered proprietary software even though saved items are kept on Linux-based storage. This demonstrates that Google is all too happy to utilize Linux for storage, yet it’s also not against using proprietary software when it meets its needs.

      The odd part to this is that Google happens to be a huge supporter of various open source projects, often with no direct benefit for itself. The reasoning can go either way. One possibility is that Google wants to legitimately give back to the open source ecosystem that enabled it to succeed in the first place. The other possibility is that Google simply loves the great PR of being seen as the good guys.

    • 50 Open Source Apps You Can Use in the Cloud

      The cloud computing boom has brought a surge of opportunity to the open source world. Open source developers and users are taking advantage of these opportunities in three key ways.

      First, many open source applications are now available on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. For open source project owners, hosting apps in the cloud offers a new revenue stream. And for users, it means access to excellent programs and support without the need to maintain their own hardware or hire additional support personnel.

  • Databases

    • French social security now run on PostgreSQL and Red Hat Linux

      According to a report from the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations (OSOR), France’s social security system, the Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF), is now using the open source PostgreSQL database management system (DBMS). The IT firm Bull is assisting CNAF and says that the PostgreSQL system is currently running nearly one billion SQL queries each day on Red Hat Linux servers.

  • CMS

    • The 6 Best Social Media Plugins for WordPress

      Social media: love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it. During the past few years, social media — along with Facebook and Twitter — have grown by leaps and bounds in popularity. If you have a personal or professional blog, you are already part of the social media universe. A great way to increase the popularity of your blog is by using other forms of social media to promote it. WordPress has many plugins to help you with this endeavor.

  • Business

  • Government

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Doctors’ Orders

      The government’s war on medical “price fixing” squelches speech without helping consumers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • View from America: We do not consent

      In new efforts to protect citisens against domestic and international terrorism, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented body scanners at airports nationwide. In addition to metal detectors, these machines capture 3-D images of potential passengers and transmit the photos to agents responsible for analytics. Originally, the TSA claimed the “scanned images cannot be stored or recorded” but this claim has since been debunked.

    • Strip search with a difference: passenger arrested after stripping to avoid pat down

      Amid the furore over airport security, Sam Wolanyk had a plan to avoid his second intrusive pat down in a week … he stripped off.

      But Mr Wolanyk, who had previously campaigned for the right to openly carry guns, was arrested.

      He stripped to his underwear at San Diego International Airport but refused a body scan and pat-down search because “it was obvious that my underwear left nothing to the imagination.”.

    • Busybodies down the ages
    • Your risks and rights with TSA’s ‘enhanced’ screening (FAQ)
    • Traveller re-enters USA without passing through a pornoscanner or having his genitals touched

      Matt returned from Paris to Cincinnati, where he was given the choice of a pornoscanner or a bit of the old nutsack-fondling from the TSA. Instead, Matt insisted that it was his right as an American with a passport who was n ot suspected of any wrongdoing to enter his country. The TSA told him the airport cops would arrest him if he didn’t comply. The airport cops told him it was up to the TSA and clearly didn’t appreciate being made to do someone else’s dirty work. In the end, he was escorted out of the airport without having to submit to either procedure. He recorded much of the encounter on with his iPhone’s audio recorder, too.

    • TSA Chief Apologizes to Airline Passenger Soaked in Urine After Pat-Down

      An airline passenger outfitted with a urine bag for medical reasons had to sit through his flight soaked in urine after a TSA agent dislodged his bag during an aggressive security pat-down. Nearly a month later, he finally received an apology from TSA chief John Pistole.

    • Newspapers Say: Shut Up And Get Scanned And Groped

      Matt Welch has a nice post over at Reason, highlighting numerous editorials from some big time newspapers mocking people who are concerned about the TSA’s naked scans and/or groping procedures, beginning with the LA Times’ perfectly obnoxious shut up and be scanned. Most of the editorials take on the typical apologists’ line that “this is what we need to do to be secure.” This can be summarized by the claim in the Spokesman-Review, entitled “Discomfort a small price for security on airplanes.”

    • Audit Faults TSA’s Training of Airport Screeners as Rushed, Poorly Supervised

      Flying for Thanksgiving? Whether you plan to submit patriotically to a naked body scan, or opt instead for the full security grope, you can at least rest assured that the 43,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) handling airport screening have benefited from the most rigorous and up-to-date training the U.S. government can provide.

    • What John Pistole means when he talks about “enhanced” TSA checkpoints

      In this video, YouTube user SpinRemover adds subtitles to TSA boss John Pistole’s now-infamous Anderson Cooper interview, translating bureaucratese into plain English.

    • Viral ‘pornoscan’ protest challenges TSA
    • Protect Your Data During U.S. Border Searches
    • Are Air Travelers Criminal Suspects?

      The growing revolt against invasive TSA practices is encouraging to Americans who are fed up with federal government encroachment in their lives. In the case of air travelers, this encroachment is quite literally physical. But a deep-seated libertarian impulse still exists within the American people, and opposition to the new TSA full body scanner and groping searches is gathering momentum.

      I introduced legislation last week that is based on a very simple principle: federal agents should be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. If you would face criminal prosecution or a lawsuit for groping someone, exposing them to unwelcome radiation, causing them emotional distress, or violating indecency laws, then TSA agents should similarly face sanctions for their actions.

    • Does the TSA Ever Catch Terrorists?

      It’s hard to say. The TSA was unable to provide any comprehensive data covering all nine years of its existence on short notice, but it does publicize incidents on a weekly basis: From Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, for example, agents found six “artfully concealed prohibited items” and 11 firearms at checkpoints, and they arrested six passengers after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents. (Those figures are close to the weekly average.) It’s not clear, however, whether any of these incidents represent attempted acts of terrorism or whether they were honest accidents. (Whoops, forgot I had that meat cleaver on me! Or, I had no idea flares weren’t allowed!)

    • Pilot Sues TSA Over Intrusive Searches
    • Pilot Sues TSA Over Intrusive Searches

      We already discussed Pistole’s testimony and why he’s actually lying. Contrary to what Pistole claims (and Altman bought without checking), the vast majority of people getting on planes in US airports are going through neither full body scans or “an uncomfortably thorough pat-down.” Most people are still just going through traditional metal detectors. Even in the airports that have the backscatter naked image scanners, most passengers still just go through traditional metal detectors. Claiming that all passengers now go through either the backscatter scans or get a thorough pat-down is a lie.

      [...]

      Altman may be right that people are overreacting but he didn’t help by simply repeating the claims of Pistole and a weak poll, when both have already been proven to be misleading at best and downright false at worst. Perhaps instead of rushing to mock “the internet” and its mythical “ephemeral obsessions,” Altman could have taken some time to actually research the issue and to inform people of the details rather than just repeating the misleading claims from the TSA. That’s the kind of thing that would actually build up trust in the press, rather than disdain for the press.

    • TSA confiscates heavily-armed soldiers’ nail-clippers
    • Revolt: Orlando airport to drop TSA as security screeners

      The bad news: It’s not Orlando International but the much smaller Orlando Sanford International, which serves such popular destinations as Allentown, Pennsylvania, Youngstown, Ohio, and of course Iceland. So if you’re thinking about taking your next vacation in Reykjavik, rest easy — hopefully there’ll be no junk-touching for you.

    • California official warns against inappropriate pat-downs

      This comes on the heels of word – as shared in Alan Levin’s story in USA TODAY – that TSA Administrator John Pistole has told a Senate committee in Washington that more invasive pat-downs are necessary. The developments come in the wake of public outcry over the search techniques.

    • TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View
    • ‘It only cost $4,200 and was run by less than six brothers’: Al Qaeda’s gloats at ‘bargain’ printer bomb plane plot

      ‘This branch of Al Qaeda is very lethal and I believe them — in terms of what they say they’re trying to do (to attack the United States),’ Mullen told CNN television’s State of the Union programme.

      The United States already stepped up airline passenger security after a Nigerian man tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit last December. AQAP had also claimed responsibility for that.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Police to get greater web censorship powers

      Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry.

      Following lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Nominet wants to change the terms and conditions under which domain names are owned so that it can revoke them more easily in response to requests from law enforcement agencies.

    • Why Voting For COICA Is A Vote For Censorship

      While I have no illusion that most of those who made such comments will ever come back and read this, it is important to make this point clearly, for those who are interested. There are many, many serious problems with the way COICA is written, but this post will highlight why it is a bill for censorship, and how it opens the door to wider censorship of speech online.

    • Why Didn’t Google Or Comcast Protect The Identity Of Anonymous Church Blogger Who Was Outed?

      Paul Levy wanted to know the answer to another question: why did both Google and Comcast cough up this guy’s identifying information without even giving him a chance to quash the subpoenas. He asked both companies and the answer he got is, basically, that they immediately cough up info if it’s a criminal subpoena rather than a civil one…

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC boss: net neutrality “will happen”… someday… really

      “I have heard a lot of ‘chatter’ from the communications bar, Wall Street analysts and reporters, just in the past 72 hours,” noted Federal Communications Commissioner Robert M. McDowell during a talk before the Federalist Society on Monday. “This morning, speculation abounds.”

      McDowell was referring to the ample quantity of buzz out in Capitol Hill-land over whether the FCC is actually going to issue net neutrality rules in the near future.

      “Let me say at the outset that, as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by two presidents and unanimously confirmed by the Senate each time,” he added. “I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen… or when… or even if.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • SAP ordered to pay Oracle $1.3bn
    • London Underground Told To Cut Back Legal Expenses… So It’s Suing A Restaurant Called The Underground

      Via Annie Mole (actually via IanVisits), we find this fun juxtaposition of two recent stories about the London Underground. Apparently, the organization that runs the famed London subway system has massively increased its legal spending — tripling it in the last five years.

    • Copycat logos are pitting high schools and colleges in a trademark turf war

      During the 2008 presidential campaign, CNN anchorman Lou Dobbs hosted his evening broadcast from the gymnasium of Freedom-South Riding High in Loudoun County. Painted on the wall was the school’s official logo – a black and gold eagle with wings spread open and flashing its talons.

    • Gibson Sues Everyone Over Paper Jamz Paper Guitars, Specifically Goes After eBay

      Eric Goldman points us to the news that the (notoriously litigious) Gibson guitar company is suing a whole bunch of companies for selling the new “Paper Jamz” paper multi-touch guitars. If you haven’t seen these things, they’re basically a “paper” (really plastic) guitar with a capacitive multi-touch surface that plays music in response to your touch. Here’s a video demonstrating the thing in action:

    • The Well-Pilfered Clavier

      This punkish intellectual property scofflaw was Johann Sebastian Bach, master of the baroque style, spiritual father of modern Western music, literal father of a family of musicians, and inspiration to working creators everywhere. He was also —maybe not coincidentally—a serial user of other people’s work. According to one legend, as a child Bach would jailbreak and copy music his family had locked away. Later, he came into his own as a composer in part by taking a large body of work by Antonio Vivaldi and transposing it for the keyboard.

    • Wyden Threatens To Block Online IP Bill

      Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Thursday threatened to block legislation aimed at curbing piracy and counterfeiting on foreign Web sites, saying the bill is a heavy-handed solution to the problem.

      “It seems to me the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act as written today, is the wrong medicine,” Wyden, the chairman of the Finance International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee, said during a hearing on international trade and the digital economy. “Deploying this statute to combat online copyright and infringement seems almost like a bunker buster cluster bomb when really what you need is a precision-guided missile.”

      Wyden said that unless changes are made to the bill, introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to ensure it “no longer makes the global online marketplace more hazardous to consumers and American Internet companies, I’m going to do everything I can to take the necessary steps to stop it from passing the U.S. Senate.”

    • United Brands sues Anheuser-Busch for too-similar can design

      United Brands Co., maker of Joose flavored malt beverage and beer products, has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition and related claims, against Anheuser-Busch Inc. and its competing flavored malt beverage called Tilt. United Brands has sold Joose since 2006 and is seeking to protect the brand integrity of Dragon Joose, one of its popular versions of Joose.

    • US Risks Not Getting FIFA World Cup… Because It Won’t Give FIFA Special Copyright Powers

      The US bid committee hasn’t secured a commitment from the US government that it will give FIFA the right to act as its own copyright cops and takeover the legal system so it can do things like criminalize wearing orange clothes. As the full FIFA report (PDF) puts it: “However, as the required guarantees, undertakings and confirmations are not given as part of Government Guarantee No. 6 (Protection and Exploitation of Commercial Rights) and mere reference is made to existing general intellectual property laws in the USA, FIFA’s rights protection programme cannot be ensured.”

    • Copyrights

      • EMI Seeks to Bar EFF From Cloud-Music Case

        Billion-dollar record label EMI has asked a New York City federal judge to bar a non-profit legal rights group from filing a friend-of-the-court brief in a closely watched internet copyright case that could have broad implications for the future of cloud computing.

        EMI says the brief filed last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups supporting MP3tunes’s argument that it’s not responsible for what music its users store on its servers should be barred because it is “a pure advocacy piece, not a ‘friend of the court.’” Amicus curiae briefs are often filed by interest groups and the government in cases that could set major precedents, in order to illustrate the broader ramifications of the case.

      • “Copyright owners better off in a regime that allows downloading from illegal sources”

        This striking headline comes from a note received from Vivien Rörsch (De Brauw), on two recent and equally striking Dutch decisions handed down last week by the Court of Appeal of The Hague: in the two separate cases the court ruled that, since downloading from illegal sources for private use was permitted under Dutch law, this was to the copyright owner’s advantage.

      • Broadcasters take live streaming sites to court

        Major broadcast networks are taking two online video streaming services to court in order to keep them from streaming free over-the-air broadcasts to customers. Both companies, FilmOn and Ivi, contend they should have the right to stream the content under a compulsory license attached to some forms of content in the US Copyright Act. The networks contend that the companies are “unjustly profiting” off of networks’ programming.

        ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC filed separate suits against FilmOn and Ivi in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York. A judge is considering a temporary restraining order against FilmOn while a similar hearing for a restraining order against Ivi is expected in the next few weeks.

      • Solicitors face tribunal over internet copyright claims

        Two lawyers who chased people over illegally copied porn films and computer games are to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for trying to use their positions of trust to take “unfair advantage of other persons”.

        Davenport Lyons partners David Gore (who has represented Sting and Jonathan Dimbleby) and Brian Millar (who has since left the London firm), allegedly sent more than 6,000 letters to web users threatening legal action in what critics called a “bounty hunter” operation. But the data used by Davenport Lyons showed only who paid the internet bills, not who downloaded the content. On an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, that could be anyone.

      • Threatened by a copyright lawyer?

        So far the US Copyright Group (USCG) has sued more than 16,000 people this year for sharing movies online. It has sued them anonymously based on their IP addresses, but has not managed to get most of their names and addresses yet.

        However as Ars Technica points out, it has yet to take anyone to court.

        Apparently when an ISP looks up the subscriber name associated with an IP address, USCG doesn’t immediately add their name to a lawsuit. Instead, like other law firms trying the same trick, it sends out a settlement letter, asking the person to pay a few thousand dollars in order not to be sued.

      • eMusic’s Rift With Indie Labels

        As eMusic prepares to add 250,000 songs from Universal Music Group’s catalogue to its sizeable online music store—and make a major overhaul to its subscription pricing scheme—it appears to be having a falling-out with a large group of independent record labels. Those failed negotiations suggest that the digital-music service may not be able to strike licensing deals that satisfy both large and small music labels.

      • Lawyer wants “Goliath verdict” against RIAA in abuse trial

        While the RIAA has stopped its mass litigation campaign against file-swappers, cases in progress persist. Tanya Andersen’s is one of the oddest and most intriguing, and it’s set to proceed to trial against the RIAA next year on charges of “abuse of the judicial process.”

      • Judge In Porn Piracy Case Is Keeping a Big Secret

        Earlier this month, adult entertainment studio West Coast Prods sued 9,729 anonymous individuals for allegedly pirating the porn film Teen Anal Nightmare 2—setting an unofficial record for lumping numerous copyright defendants into a single case.

        In the past year, targeting John Does en masse has become a popular technique in the war against piracy, and we’ll have more insight on the porn industry’s adoption of these mass lawsuits in an upcoming print issue of THR. But the West Coast Prods case is noteworthy for a reason other than its sheer size — those who want to see the legal documents are out of luck.

      • MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims

        Lovely misleading way to open the piece. In fact, many of the sites the MPAA has declared as “rogue” are nothing more than online forums. Some of them, yes, do involve people pointing each other to where they might obtain unauthorized copies of movies, but it’s overly dramatic (though, hardly Oscar-worthy) to claim that the only purpose they serve is to profit from “the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others.”

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat – What’s New?


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 25/11/2010: Jolicloud (GNU/Linux) in the UK, KDE 4.6 Previews Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Professional Institute Announces New Affiliate in Greece

    “LPI seeks out and recruits organizations worldwide to become our Master Affiliates who have significant knowledge of the IT industry and the regional Linux and Open Source ecosystem where they operate. In this regard, GREEKLUG is an ideal partner for us as they have one of the oldest Linux computer labs in Greece and the necessary academic partnerships and human resources to promote the growth of LPI Certification,” said Jim Lacey, president and CEO of the Linux Professional Institute.

  • Desktop

    • The desktop market share

      It is due to the web analytic market share counters that the myth of “Linux is 1% of the market share” persists. We present three reasons below.
      1. Totally off-the grid systems do not get counted.

      * 1,494,500 deployed by One Laptop Per Child.
      * Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktops, SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop, or Ubuntu desktops on corporate or government networks behind a firewall.
      * Appliance deployments like cash registers.

      2. Nor do research institutions and Universities get properly counted.

      For example, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science uses Fedora on the desktop but it does not show up in Fedora’s update statistics. Why? The version of Fedora is so heavily customized to the environment that it needs its own update mechanism. None the less, with 26,307,719 unique ip addresses getting Fedora updates, Fedora alone must have have greater than 1% desktop market share.
      3. I agree with Caitlyn Martin, with all of the netbook sales, something is not adding up.

      A commenter asked for a 2009 and a 2010 market share report for netbooks. Here is one from November 2009 reporting 1/3 Linux market share. Regretfully, I have nothing for 2010 since the scoop is that netbooks are losing market share overall to iPad tablets. Never fear Linux Fans, The Android Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ tablet has only been out for a month and has been selling nicely. By the way, Microsoft still lacks a significant market share in tablets.

      We won’t stand for the lies behind the 1% myth any more.

      We as non-Microsoft users need to stand up and say what we are using. If you use GNU/Linux, I urge you to participate in the Dudalibre “We > 1%” campaign. It takes one minute to say which distro you use.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • ZFS For Linux Is Now Available To The Public!

      For those with some extra time this holiday week in the United States, perhaps you want to try out the ZFS file-system on Linux? As was said this week when publishing ZFS benchmarks on Linux using the native kernel module developed by LLNL/KQ Infotech, the public release of this kernel module wasn’t going to happen until the first week of January. Fortunately, we have been successful in overwhelming KQ Infotech with lots of interested users, so they have decided to go ahead and make the current beta ZFS Linux module available to the general public.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A replacement for X finally!

        The good old X Server is finally getting a replacement. Wayland will provide a replacement but can co-exists along side X Server for compatibility and features. It will also reduce the complexity today where for 3D effect, we are running Compiz.

        The X architecture has been around for a decades now. It has gone through many iterations and improvements, however it still suffers from complexities and performance issues. These become bigger challenges when you are working on smaller devices such as phones, where X becomes an over head.

      • Karsk: Make Finding Software/Driver Optimizations Easier

        When publishing ATI Gallium3D benchmarks this week that compared the performance of the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards with this next-generation driver architecture to the classic open-source Mesa driver and AMD’s high-performance proprietary Catalyst driver, the results were what one would mostly expect.

  • Applications

    • 3 FOSS PIM Apps, 3 Personality Quirks

      Even when dealing in FOSS, choosing a personal information manager is sometimes a matter of deciding which app’s personality issues you find least bothersome. KOrganizer is a complete organizer, but its menus and user interface often comes off as crowded. Getting Things Gnome has powerful features, but task windows are size-limited. And Chandler Note to Self’s intriguing offering is limited by its difficulty to install.

    • Foobnix 0.2.2 Comes With Lots Of Changes, Ubuntu PPA

      Foobnix, a very interesting music player we’ve wrote about a while back (check out that post for a complete review) has been updated to version 0.2.2 and also it finally got an Ubuntu PPA.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Black Friday Sale !

        For those of you outside the United States (like myself), Black Friday is the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday that marks the first official shopping day of Christmas. It is the day when retailers offer all kinds of incredible sales opportunities that they hope will put them in the black for the year (enabling them to finish the year with a profit).

      • LGP Is Partially Back Online; More Unforeseen Issues

        It’s been seven weeks since LGP’s server disaster where their single server with a single disk with lackluster backup capabilities suffered a massive failure. The disk suffered from firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, among other problems, and located on this drive were LGP’s web-sites, their online store, and their entire Digital Rights Management implementation for the games they ported to Linux. Fortunately, their services are starting to come back online.

      • Open Ballot: does a lack of games hold Linux back?

        After getting sucked into Osmos last night when he should have been doing something far more useful, Andrew got to thinking about games on Linux. Osmos is beautiful, intelligent and original, but our neighbours on PC Format would likely scoff at anything less than the latest Assassin’s Creed or Counterstrike iteration.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Experts Needed for EU Research Project

        The EU research project, ALERT, is looking for KDE experts to assist research on free and open source software collaboration processes. The goal of the ALERT project is to develop methods and tools that improve FLOSS coordination by maintaining awareness of community activities through real-time, personalized, context-aware notification. KDE provides one use case for applying and evaluating these methods and tools.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • State of the Debian-Ubuntu relationship

        The Debian-Ubuntu relationships used to be a hot topic, but that’s no longer the case thanks to regular efforts made on both sides. Conflicts between individuals still happen, but there are multiple places where they can be reported and discussed (#debian-ubuntu channel, Derivatives Front Desk at derivatives@debian.org on the Debian side or debian@ubuntu.com on the Ubuntu side). Documentation and infrastructure are in place to make it easier for volunteers to do the right thing.

        Despite all those process improvements, the best results still come out when people build personal relationships by discussing what they are doing. It often leads to tight cooperation, up to commit rights to the source repositories. Regular contacts help build a real sense of cooperation that no automated process can ever hope to achieve.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu is ‘not changing to a rolling release’

          So there we have it: Ubuntu is not about to roll into instability but keeping up with the software Joneses may yet become that little bit easier.

        • Launchpad edge site deprecated

          I previously posted about our continuous deployment efforts in Launchpad. Since then the project has come a long way. We can deploy to nearly all our services without downtime. The remaining services are a bit trickier – but we are working on them.

        • Script To Automatically Apply the “200 Lines Kernel Patch” Alternative In Ubuntu

          The script was initially in Spanish, but I’ve translated it into English and I’ve also corrected 3 small errors which caused the script not to work.

        • Unity Place People – Day 3

          Sorry that I took a couple of days off to deal with other obligations, however I am back and hacking.

          If you missed the last 2 days of Unity Place People adventure please take a look at:

          1. Unity Place People – Day 1
          2. Unity Place People – Day 2

          What’s new:

          1. Get Folks and Zeitgeist to play along allowing sorting results using Zeitgeist (Favorite/Most/Recent)
          2. Find a nice grouping for the all section

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Asus announces eReader-notepad hybrid

      The Eee Note will run the Linux operating system and will include a headphone jack, voice recording and a built-in camera.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Meet MeeGo

          Android might get all the headlines, but MeeGo, the little Linux that could, may yet become an important Linux for your phones, netbooks, tablets, and cars.

      • Android

        • Documentation of the W3C Cheat Sheet on Android
        • Rovio’s Angry Birds won’t fly on slow Android devices

          Rovio recently brought Angry Birds to the Android platform, but the popular (and oddly addictive) physics game is suffering performance problems on certain handsets with slow processors. In a blog entry published on Thursday, the company announced plans for a new “lightweight” version that will work better on legacy hardware.

        • What Android Is

          What happened was, for our recent South American tour I wanted an Android architecture overview graphic. I ran across, among the Android SDK documentation, a page entitled What is Android?, and it’s perfectly OK. Except for, I really disliked the picture — on purely aesthetic grounds, just not my kind of lettering and gradients and layouts — so I decided to make another one.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu-ready netbook moves to dual-core Atom

        System76 is shipping a new version of its Ubuntu Linux-ready Starling Netbook equipped with a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, starting at $384. Meanwhile the company has begun shipping to the U.K, and is contemplating developing a tablet PC.

      • Jolicloud beats Chrome OS

        The next big thing in consumer computing is the cloud-based operating system. The most anticipated of these is Google’s Chrome OS, a Linux-based OS meant to be ideal for netbooks and tablet-like devices.

        While Google makes promises about a release date for Chrome OS, others are already moving into this space.

        One of the first is Jolicloud, which has already released a version 1.0 edition, is readying version 1.1 and has already announced a Jolicloud-based netbook in the UK. The so-called “Jolibook” will run version 1.1 of the cloud software.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Wave to become Apache project

    Community interest in continuing the development of Google’s Wave communication platform has led to a proposal to migrate portions of the code base to the Apache Software Foundation (OSM). The proposal was posted to the Apache Incubator wiki by Google and Novell employees, as well as several independent developers. The Apache Incubator is the place where potential future Apache projects can be submitted to the open source organisation for consideration.

  • Copyright assignment – a little commercial perspective

    Gather the pitchforks and light the torches. Hordes of marketing men are gathering, intent on invading the free and open source software village armed with copyright assignment policies and turning everyone into mindless corporate contributors. As Michael Meeks (via LWN.net) has warned there is “‘a sustained marketing drive coming’ to push the copyright-assignment agenda” As you read this very post, faceless marketing drones are calling your bosses, spreading pernicious lies about the necessity of copyright assignment policies.

  • Technology Innovation categories

    In this new category we’re looking for examples of technology that is open source. This could be a publishing platform, a hardware toolset, a peer-to-peer communications service or software development tools. Well known examples of this could include Firefox or WordPress – but which developers are creating the next generation of open source tools which will transform the way we interact with the web?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • FR: Open source database new engine of France’s social security

      The open source database management system (DBMS) Postgresql is the new engine for France’s Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF). The organisation, responsible in 2009 for some 69 billion Euro in benefits distributed to 11 million claimants, earlier this year replaced its proprietary DBMS with the open source alternativ

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • WordPress Global Translator Plugin

      Global Translator is a free and open source WordPress Plugin which is able to automatically translate your blog in 48 different languages:
      Italian, Korean, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Portuguese, English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Catalan, Filipino, Hebrew, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Albanian, Estonian, Galician, Maltese, Thai, Turkish, Hungarian, Belarus,Irish, Icelandic, Macedonian, Malay, Persian.

    • Open-source social network Diaspora goes live

      Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business today, at least for a handful of invited participants.

      “Every week, we’ll invite more people,” stated the developers behind the project, in a blog item posted Tuesday announcing the alpha release of the service. “By taking these baby steps, we’ll be able to quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.”

    • Is Diaspora too late
  • Education

    • Cooperative principles can be applied in school settings

      Most schools today involve rows of students seated at desks, looking toward a teacher. That teacher, who is the focus of all the students, holds the power in the classroom, but has little power to make structural changes within the school system. The educational system in the United States right now is set up to teach kids how to follow directions—and it’s not doing that very well, either. Our students learn how to break the rules and not get caught. Our schools teach kids ways to negotiate power so that they are able to achieve some sort of reward or avoid punishment, but never to be in power. Conformity and submission to authority are clear strategies for success in the public school system. Students see clear examples of “power over” and “power under,” but rarely “power with.” Our schools are educating for empire.

      By not teaching children how to think critically, and not allowing students or teachers meaningful control over school environments or curriculum, our schools train workers who do not question authority in jobs or on battlefields. If students are unable to operate successfully in this system, they are often funneled into the prison industrial system. This connection between prisons and schools is becoming more and more transparent. Just last February a seventh grade girl in New York was arrested and taken directly to jail for writing on her desk in marker. The means by which schools operate are authoritarian and oppressive. Youth in schools do not experience a right of due process and are one of the only populations within the U.S. who to not have access to this right. There is no innocent-until-proven-guilty option in the principle’s office. This system invites little to no feedback from and does not empower those upon which it acts, whether students or teachers.

  • Business

    • Control Points and Steering Mechanisms in Open Source Software Projects

      Most commercial software today depends on open source software. The commercial software might be using an underlying open source platform, or it might be incorporating open source components, or it might be provided as a commercial open source product itself. Whichever the case, the software firm behind the commercial software needs to ensure that its interests are met by the open source software projects it depends on. This article shows how commercial software firms manage or steer open source software projects to meet their business needs.

  • Project Releases

    • Libre Office Beta 3 released

      The third beta of the OpenOffice.org fork ‘LibreOffice’ saw release this week.

    • Moodle 2.0 is now available!

      Well, after about two and a half years of work by hundreds of people, I’m proud to say that we have a Moodle 2.0 ready for you to download.

      All the functional QA tests have passed, all the 3873 unit tests are passing, and enough people think it’s finished, so it must be finished. smile The last step was to take the (now traditional) Moodle version photo of my kids for this news post, which I did today.

  • Government

    • Italian Parliament Migration Plan goes on

      The Italian chamber of deputies on the 22th of September 2010 approved unanimously a motion to move on with the adoption of open standards in order to make office suite migrations a reality.

    • PL: Poznań city’s e-Government platform built on open source components

      The administration of the Polish city of Poznań is using many open source tools, allowing it to offer a variety of e-government services to its citizens, civil workers and politicians. “Free and open source software, open access and open standards allow us to create open government services.”

      Examples include the streaming audio of city council sessions, using the Ogg Vorbis open standard. The city also offers websites that combine city maps with city planning and providing public Internet access points. Using open source furthermore allows Poznan’s citizens to submit information to the Municipal police, in combination with digital maps.

    • Italian Left Leader signs Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft

      Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English).

      Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !.

      On its own website, SEL says “we believe that for a modern party speaking of copyleft, Free Software and Net Neutrality is as necessary as speaking of jobs, environment, economy and civil rights”. Among the more than 100 political candidates supporting Free Software at the latest regional elections in Italy there were several SEL representatives. The Florence section of SEL even presented a motion to promote Free Software in Florence http://www.sinistraeliberta.eu/articoli/sel-per-il-software-libero-al-comune-di-firenze] in January 2010.

  • Licensing

    • Viewsonic and the GPL

      Somebody linked me to this reddit story about the fact that Viewsonic appear to be engaging in the currently fashionable trend of shipping Android devices without providing any source. This one’s more interesting though, in that Viewsonic appear to be entirely happy to publicly state that they have no intention of following their license obligations. I’ve pulled the kernel image for the device and confirmed that it contains code that’s not present in the generic Android Tegra tree, so I don’t think they have a leg to stand on here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Machine of Death,” goes Creative Commons

      In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.

    • Open Data

      • Foreign Transparency Policies the US Government Could Learn From

        There is always progress to be made and the presumption to make data public and online (with teeth!) is an important cultural shift we hope to see soon. Just last week the United Kingdom took an unprecedented step to publicize all government spending over 25,0000 pounds. As governments around the world tighten their belts we think making the books fully transparent will allow citizens to be better informed about where their tax dollars go and how to move forward. Here in the US there is the Data.gov site (which could be greatly improved) and we are encouraged that the culture is shifting as we see folks like the United Nations, the World Bank, Russia, Spain, Finland, Australia and many others hopping on board.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Harvard Divinity School Faculty Votes for Open Access Policy

        The faculty of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) voted, in a meeting on November 15, to allow Harvard University to make electronic versions of their current scholarly articles available to the public. With the vote for open access, the Divinity School faculty joined five other Harvard schools in a commitment to disseminate faculty research and scholarship as widely as possible.

        “While open access has grown more quickly in the sciences, the movement is of vital importance in all fields of scholarly inquiry,” said Laura Wood, librarian of Andover-Harvard Theological Library at HDS. “The HDS faculty has taken an important step—both practically and philosophically—toward broader dissemination of their scholarship.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF usergroup started

      An excellent example of governments working together on open standards like ODF: the Dutch government program ‘The Netherlands Open In Connection’ started a Dutch ODF usergroup while Fedict, the Belgian Federal Public Service ICT, publishes an ODF news letter in Dutch and French.

Leftovers

  • Search Insurgents Pair Up Against Spam … and Google

    On the one side, there’s Blekko, which debuted Nov. 1 after spending three years in development, using nearly $25 million in venture capital from some of Silicon Valley’s top investors to build a full-scale search infrastructure. Less than a month after the public launch, Blekko is attracting a million queries a day to its slashtag search system. Its algorithm searches only pre-approved sites in seven areas, including health, personal finance, cars and travel.

  • Armed lawmaker stopped by police in Highland Park

    A state representative said it was a misunderstanding when he parked his car in the Planned Parenthood lot in Highland Park and was later stopped by St. Paul police because of the revolver he was carrying near his waistband.

    Thomas Hackbarth, 58, was stopped in his car on Nov. 16 after a security guard saw him with a gun in the parking lot about 5 p.m., an hour after the clinic closed. Police ordered him out of his car at gunpoint and handcuffed and questioned him before taking his gun and letting him go.

  • Catching Up

    This post rolls a few things into one in a kinda catchup way, since I’ve been a little lax in blogging and releasing screencasts recently. First thing to mention is that I appeared on the TechBytes audiocast with Roy and Tim as a guest speaking about Linux Mint and enjoyed it so much that I am now a regular co-host on the show. So far I’ve appeared on 5 shows.

  • Intel Is Dead on the Desktop, Says ARM Co-Founder

    Intel is doomed, Hermann Hauser has claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal . If you don’t know who Hauser is, he happens to be one of the co-founders of ARM–possibly Intel’s most dangerous foe in the semiconductor marketplace, when also-rans like AMD and VIA are removed from the equation.

  • Alan Turing’s papers fail to sell

    SCIENTIFIC PAPERS written over 50 years ago by the brilliant British mathematician, cryptologist and computer scientist Alan Turing failed to meet their reserve at auction.

    The papers were set to be at the heart of a bidding war when they were auctioned at Christie’s yesterday, however they failed to meet their apparently lofty reserve. This means that the campaign to keep the papers at Bletchley Park has a second chance at success.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tom the Dancing Bug: A Security Issue at the Office
    • TSA Gestapo Empire

      It doesn’t take a bureaucrat long to create an empire. John Pistole, the FBI agent who took over the Transportation Security Administration on July 1 told USA Today 16 days later that protecting trains and subways from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority for him as air travel.

      It is difficult to imagine New Yorkers being porno-screened and sexually groped on crowed subway platforms or showing up an hour or two in advance for clearance for a 15 minute subway ride, but once bureaucrats get the bit in their teeth they take absurdity to its logical conclusion. Buses will be next, although it is even more difficult to imagine open air bus stops turned into security zones with screeners and gropers inspecting passengers before they board.

    • Happy Opt-Out Thanksgiving

      There has been a call for people who are flying to be with family for Thanksgiving tomorrow to opt out of the BS Scanner process in protest. We’ll have to see what happens but there are a couple of comments I read on boingboing that bear repeating, so I wanted to include them here. And because boingboing (unlike, say, CBC) publishes under a Creative Commons License I can happily and legally reprint the words of others.

    • Pornoscanner CEO flew with Obama to India
    • Several Readers Ask The Same Question:

      And reader Benjamin Wang emails:

      A disgusting thought, but I’ve never seen a TSA screener change gloves. It would be interesting to send in a HAZMAT team to test several sets of gloves and see what’s on them. And publicize the results.

      Remember: The gloves are for their protection. Not yours.

    • Before the Junk Jokes: Airport Security Cartoons
    • Human Rights and the TSA

      At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.

      Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    • Presenting… Sing Along With Airport Security!
    • TSA outrage critical mass: Angry White Guy Syndrome

      Since 9/11, disenfranchised groups have been trying to get traction about our eroding civil rights while traveling, without much luck. That’s why I was delighted to see angry white guys finally reach the tipping point. They are even more potent a force in creating a media frenzy than Missing White Woman Syndrome. Now that white guys are being objectified, scrutinized, touched, and considered guilty until proven innocent, they are finally getting a taste of what an encounter with authority can be like for other groups on a daily basis, and not just when traveling. Welcome to our world, dudes!

    • Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater

      The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so.

      There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the kind of light we really need?

      Consider, for instance, the all-too-common response that we need to
      accept the indignity and invasiveness of the body scanners and pat-down searches in order to be safer. That response assumes that body scanners actually make us safer — a dubious assumption that we explore below.

    • Hartsfield TSA worker allegedly abducts, assaults woman

      A TSA employee based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport tried to kill himself after allegedly abducting a woman, sexually assaulting her then giving her a suicide note to deliver.

    • Students stage day of protests over tuition fee rises

      Police have dispersed the final student demonstrators in central London after a day of protests against higher tuition fees and university cuts.

      Police said 17 people were injured, including two officers as protesters were contained on Whitehall.

      There have also been occupations in at least 12 universities, including Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

    • Insanity! Teacher Bans Students From Bringing Pencils To School

      This is yet another example of zero tolerance policy taken to an absurd level. Who knew that pencils were “materials to build weapons?” Are the school officials going to remove every last stone, rock and pebble from the school grounds, because they are materials to start a war?

    • Student demos in Twitter age: no leaders, only chatter

      After two chaotic student protests in the space of a fortnight, the question police will be asking is: who are the new rebel leaders? The unfortunate answer for them is that there are none.

      Unlike student movements of the 1960s and 1970s, actions developed organically, with social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, providing an ideal platform for grassroots organisation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • The Microfinance Fallacy

      The impending collapse of the microcredit sector in India, in the context of lender and farmer suicides, makes it imperative to review the critiques of the model.

    • A Description of the Inequality that Goldman Sachs Helps Perpetuate

      I especially like the quote below from Tasini’s book (emphasis mine):

      If you want to wring your hands about the bigger government deficit, don’t go pointing the finger at the president or Congress. Instead, you can thank Goldman Sachs, Angelo Mozilo, Robert Rubin and the rest of the smart boys who built a financial system that was a mix of a floating casino, Ponzi scheme and Fool’s Gold paradise—all patched together by lies, deceit and a healthy dose of massive public indoctrination of the wonders of the “free market”.

    • Goldman Sachs Investor Buffett Thanks “Uncle Sam” for Bailout

      The peoples’ oligarch Warren Buffett just wrote a thank you letter to “Uncle Sam” published in the New York Times. It is the height of cynicism. (Image)

      Buffett has a carefully crafted public image as a brilliant but people-friendly master of investments. We hear about his regular table at an Omaha diner where he conducts business (just plain Warren) and we see his occasional public stands for reasonable policies like the inheritance tax.

    • NY SECURITIES CLASS ACTION: DODONA v. GOLDMAN SACHS
    • If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You can cause a Subprime-Mortgage-backed Securities Meltdown that demolished financial markets worldwide, and took down countries, like Iceland directly and Greece indirectly, but since you work at Goldman you get a bonus.

      * Goldman Sachs was AIG’s biggest customer. Meaning, Goldman Sachs double-dipped on the bailout money. Goldman Sachs playing in Subprime fueled AIG’s demise.

      If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You may be CEO when the Subprime Mess is brewing in the pot, but you can always move over to the US Treasury to mop up when the pot boils over the counter and onto the floor. Goldman Sachs, as the #1 recipient of the Wall Street $700 billion bailout, saw fit to thank the American Taxpayers by giving out more bonus money than the year before.

    • What Good Is Wall Street?

      A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout. Even today the U.S. taxpayer is Citigroup’s largest shareholder.

    • Chinese inflation and European defaults

      Its official – Spain and Portugal will need to be bailed out soon. How do I know? In one of my favorite TV shows, Yes Minister, the all-knowing civil servant Sir Humphrey explains to cabinet minister Jim Hacker that you can never be certain that something will happen until the government denies it.

    • Why the Euro Will Survive the Crisis

      Europe is gripped by a sense of alarm, now that Ireland has become the second euro-zone country to ask for a bailout. Pessimists claim that the crisis means the euro is finished. But that scenario is unrealistic — in reality, there is little to suggest that the common currency is about to disintegrate.

      The mood in Europe is currently one of alarm — yet again. First, the EU’s member states had to pull Greece back from the precipice of bankruptcy. And now they are having to save Ireland from financial ruin.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Al Franken Asks Justice Dept. To Investigate Comcast

      Minnesota senator Al Franken is doing what he can to throw a wrench into the merger between cable giant Comcast and NBC, the network he once called home during his years on Saturday Night Live. Yesterday, he asked the Justice Department to investigate whether or not Comcast violated anti-trust laws when it announced who would fill the top positions in the acquired company, even though the deal has yet to get DOJ approval.

    • Palin: ‘Obviously, We’ve Got To Stand With Our North Korean Allies’

      In recent days, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has hinted in her clearest language yet that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. Many observers have argued that Palin could never win because of her embarrassing lack of expertise, knowledge, or interest in foreign policy. Her appearance on Fox News host Glenn Beck’s radio show today, captured by Oliver Willis, suggests they may be right:

      CO-HOST: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea? [...]

      PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –

      CO-HOST: South Korean.

      PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Digital Weapons Help Dissidents Punch Holes in China’s Great Firewall

      It was Huang’s first experience with prison, but not with Communist Party repression. When he was an electrical engineering student at Shanghai’s Fudan University in the 1980s, Huang marched in the pro-democracy protests that roiled China. But the heady days in the streets came to a bloody end when the government sent tanks into Tiananmen Square. Huang wasn’t arrested, but some of his acquaintances disappeared. And he was shocked by the way the government’s ensuing propaganda barrage convinced many Chinese that the protesting students were themselves to blame for the bloodshed. Disillusioned, Huang left China, got his graduate degree at the University of Toronto, and moved to Silicon Valley in 1992. He spent most of the 1990s quietly living the immigrant-American dream, starting a family and building a career. Along the way, he also became one of the Bay Area’s hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners, leading study sessions and group exercises. So when Beijing launched its crackdown on the sect, it felt to Huang like 1989 all over again: The government was brutalizing a peaceful movement while painting its adherents as dangerous criminals. This time, he was determined to fight back. His aborted trip to China and frightening weeks in jail only left him more resolute. “My experience told me that the persecution was more severe than what we can imagine,” Huang says in accented English. “I felt I needed to do something.”

    • First Data Protection Act fines issued by commissioner

      A county council that faxed details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public is to be fined £100,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act.

      Hertfordshire County Council is one of two bodies fined by the Information Commissioner – both have apologised.

    • MP calls for pornography ‘opt-in’ to protect children

      Internet providers should create an “opt-in” system to prevent children gaining access to pornography, a Conservative MP has said.

      Claire Perry wants age-checks to be attached to all such material to reduce exposure to it.

    • First Monetary Penalties issued by ICO for serious Data Breaches

      Today saw the ICO announce the first use of its new powers granted in April 2010 – the new monetary penalty (essentially a fine to you and I) for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act). For many years data protection lawyers have waited for this moment to happen, as no longer is business going to be hit by adverse publicity it can potentially be hit very firmly on the bottom line. Whilst the fines are no where near are severe as that which can be handed down under the Competition Law regime (up to 10% of a businesses annual turn over), any loss of income in the current climate (as well as any competitive edge that your business did have pre breach) is a worry and concern.

    • EFF’s Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border

      Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it’s been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here’s EFF’s guide for protecting your devices and sensitive data at the United States border.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The False Link Between Locks and Levies

      The Bill C-32 legislative committee meets for the first time tomorrow with hearings likely to begin later this week. The digital lock provisions will undoubtedly be a major focus of discussion with all three opposition parties calling for changes to the current approach. Industry lobby groups will continue their effort to keep the C-32 lock provisions, one of the world’s most restrictive implementations of anti-circumvention legislation, unchanged.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mallick: Corporate crimes and digital misdemeanors

        When copyright Bill C-32 passes, I will automatically become a criminal.

        I suspect the bill will pass in its current form because it was written in a state of hysteria about people downloading things without paying for them, which is like total stealing, and American corporations are leaning on foreign governments to put a stop to it. If there was ever a Canadian prime minister more attentive to the corporate needs of the United (failing) States, it’s Stephen Harper.

      • Dutch Artist Unions Call Government to Legalize File-Sharing

        A strong coalition of two Dutch artists unions and the local consumer watchdog have submitted a proposal to permanently legalize file-sharing of music and movies. In exchange, the parties call for a levy on MP3-players and other devices that can play and record movies and music. In the future, this has to be changed to a general levy on Internet subscriptions.

      • Hurt Locker Makers Sue Lawyer Who Helped ‘BitTorrent’ Defendants

        Graham Syfert, the lawyer who offered self-help to alleged BitTorrent downloaders of films such as Far Cry and The Hurt Locker, has been sued by the makers of the latter movie. On behalf of Voltage Pictures, the US Copyright Group (USCG) is seeking sanctions against Syfert and demand $5000 for the ‘work’ the self-help forms have caused them. in reponse, Syfert has requested sanctions against the plaintiffs because their filing is “completely insane.”

      • Big Music attacks PC Mag, ignores RIAA, MPAA

        How’s this for supreme irony?

        The RIAA and MPAA recently published chapter-and-verse outlines of exactly where to find alleged ‘piracy’ purveyors not only online, but also off.

        p2pnet ran both items in full, singly and together.

        Shortly after the Big 4 record labels, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music used the US court system to shut down Limewire, PC Magazine posted an article suggesting six alternative P2P services and torrent trackers, saying “all of these services should be used for legal downloads, of course”.

        According to Billboard, totally ignoring the detailed RIAA and MPAA contributions, a coterie of Big Music acolytes claimed, “The harm done to the creative community when people are encouraged to steal our music is immeasurable. Disclaimer or no, when you offer a list of alternative P2P sites to LimeWire – and include more of the serial offenders — PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music … ”

      • Pirate Parties Use Influence To Halt Anonymous’ Operation Payback

        In a letter to those coordinating Operation Payback, the series of DDoS attacks carried out against pro-copyright outfits since September, the UK and US Pirate Party are calling for an end to hostilities. They reason that the continuation of the operation plays into the hands of organizations that wish to “pervert” copyright law for personal gain and hampers the progress of those seeking copyright reform through legitimate means.

      • Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party

        A 25-year-old Winnipeg businessman is the first Pirate Party of Canada candidate to run for federal election.

        Jeff Coleman, a former ESL teacher who owns a design and 3-D company, is running in the upcoming federal by-election on November 29 in Winnipeg North.

        His plan: to take to the streets of his home riding to engage voters in issues that surround the digital age.

      • ACTA

        • EU Parliament approves once-secret ACTA copyright treaty

          After 11 rounds of international negotiations, the final text of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has overcome its biggest hurdle yet when it was welcomed as a step in the right direction by the European Parliament, which voted 331-294, with 11 members abstaining, to approve the measure.

          Although the Parliament has called for some reassurances from the European Commission, the vote means that in principle the final legal text can now be agreed to by the Commission at a meeting in Sydney from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Under the Lisbon Treaty, Members of the European Parliament were required to give their consent to the measure and there were fears right up until the vote that they might halt the deal altogether.

        • ACTA – injunction powers going beyond those provided for in the EU acquis

          Given that, by laying down the thresholds for injunctions, the EU acquis has struck a delicate balance between enforcement and fundamental rights safeguards, how will the Commission ensure that these safeguards under the current EU acquis are maintained?

        • European Parliament fails citizens over ACTA

          At 331 to 294 it was close, but the EPP and ECR (UK Conservatives) between them have backed the rights-holder industries and failed citizens.

          Within the past hour, in a very tense vote, the European Parliament has adopted a weak and industry-favourable resolution, which supports the cover-ups that we have seen over ACTA and fails to address the issue within it. This has happened despite the efforts and hard work of many MEPs who oppose ACTA to obtain a stronger resolution.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Government meddling is a danger to the Internet

          As reported by V3, a survey commissioned by the Internet Society found that 39 per cent of web users polled reckoned that meddling governments pose the greatest danger to the Internet.

          While no specifics were listed, rushed through legislation like Mandelson’s Digital Economy Act and attempts to turn ISPs into Internet police have created a culture of fear. That can’t help in a world where governments are acting as pawns of the big media companies and genuinely fear the open nature of the Internet.

        • Matthew Norman: Bring back Westminster’s Barbra Streisand

Clip of the Day

Enable Wacom Tablet In GIMP – Fedora 13


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: November 24th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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