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11.27.10

Links 27/11/2010: GNU/Linux HPC at University of Warwick, Unigine Targets GNU/Linux, Wine 1.3.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Things for Which I’m Grateful

    Third, I’m grateful for all the Linux distribution developers that have not only provided an operating system that have kept my machines humming, but also allowed me to find my niche. Some of my favorites are MEPIS, Sabayon, PCLOS, Mint, Mandriva (who first released me from Windows), Debian (for my server), and openSUSE.

    Next, I’m grateful for all those application developers that help me get work done while running Linux. At the top of that list is Aaron Seigo and the gang at KDE. I’ve used KDE for over 10 years now and KDE had a big hand in freeing me from Windows. Others are Liferea, TVtime, Firefox, GIMP, OpenOffice.org, Drupal, Apache, GNU tools, and so many more.

  • Black Friday in the Linux Blogosphere

    So Turkey Day has come and gone for another year here in the good old U-S-of-A, but what comes next might be even better — at least from a geek’s perspective.

    That’s right, it’s Black Friday once again, and the tech shopping deals are ripe for the picking.

    Who has time to worry about Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL), Attachmate, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) or all those vulnerable newly acquired patents? And that next round of the ages-old “Year of Linux on the Desktop” debate will just have to wait. There’s shopping to be done!

    Linux Girl is considering an excursion into the netbook waters this year, and is now gathering her strength for the adventure down at the blogosphere’s Broken Windows Lounge.

    It might take more than a few Peppermint Penguins to make that happen, of course. In the meantime, she couldn’t resist asking her fellow geeks what their own shopping plans entailed.

  • Server

    • University of Warwick to spend £1.3m on Linux supercomputer

      The University of Warwick has awarded a contract for a new Linux-based High Performance Computing (HPC) facility to OFC.

      Under the £1.3 million contract, HPC solutions provider OFC will deliver the facility at the university’s Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC), where it will be mainly used for research in the field of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). MHD is the study of dynamics of electrically-conducting fluids such as plasma and metal liquids.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #5

      This edition includes comments on Xerox and Microsoft, wireless keyboards and mice on Linux, the importance of source code, Adobe Flash as a control mechanism and older software, 24 minutes in duration. I may have misspoke about the Xerox Alto, it came out in 1973.

    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 22

      In this episode: Attachmate Corporation pays $2.2 billion for Novell. A Linux kernel patch dramatically improves desktop performance, while Fedora considers a move to Wayland. We ask whether a lack of blockbuster games is holding Linux back, and hear us completely forget discovery of the fortnight.

  • Kernel Space

    • Introduction to inotify

      inotify is a Linux kernel subsystem that acts to extend filesystems to notice changes to the filesystem, and report those changes to applications. It replaces an earlier facility, dnotify, which had similar goals.

      The original developers of inotify were John McCutchan, Robert Love and Amy Griffis. It has been included in the mainline Linux kernel from release 2.6.13 (June 18, 2005), and could be compiled into 2.6.12 and possibly earlier releases by use of a patch.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Work Is Back Underway On Clover: Mesa’s OpenCL

        Some two years ago there was a branch of Mesa created by Zack Rusin named “Clover” with intentions of providing OpenCL over Mesa. While it looked hopeful at first, this code to support OpenCL over Mesa was never finished and after a while it didn’t receive any further work. It’s been months since there’s been much activity in this area of GPGPU support for Mesa/Gallium3D, but recently Zack has renewed his interest in getting Mesa Clover working.

      • Demo Of Wayland Display Server In Ubuntu

        Ubuntu is going through a lot of changes now. It will use Unity for the desktop instead of GNOME Shell in the next release i.e. Ubuntu 11.04. However one of the biggest changes is that X.org will be replaced by the Wayland Display Server. This is a huge change and will likely take a few years.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Variety On the Desktop

      Do you get kinda’ tired of the same ol’ offerings for your windows managers; be they KDE, Gnome, Xfce? I trolled Xfce-Look and snarfed up most of the good stuff there over the past couple years. Sometimes though, you just gotta’ do it yourself. Here’s how to customize already existing Xfce themes the easy way.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Look Part 5: KOffice 2

        Back when I first started using Linux I was using a very underpowered computer that I got donated as part of my research at school. So OpenOffice.org was a real pain in the butt to use. It took forever to load! KOffice, on the other hand, loaded up quickly. At that time, with KOffice 1, they had the presentation program, the spreadsheet, and the word processing program.

      • Bug Squashing: preparing the 4.6 release
      • KDE 4.6 Beta 1 – a first look

        This is a BIG DEAL. The KDEPIM suite of applications, including kmail, kaddressbook, korganiser and knotes has been ported to the akonadi framework. This change was originally scheduled for KDE SC 4.5, but was deemed too buggy to be included. 4.6 sees its introduction, and finally we can see how this technology works, and where the KDE developers may take this forward.

      • Amarok and my Stats Fail

        So, as I mentioned before, I wanted to try and make sure to get mostly unheard music on my random playlist so I could go through all my music. So I put in a bias to make sure that there was an 80% that the next song picked was unplayed.

      • The kde-www war: part 1

        In my initial post, I talked about the wall of text. I described some of the symptoms of the wall of text, and proclaimed that kde.org is terrible. I listed some of the basics of cleaning up text, and gathered some information about the “why” of kde.org.

        Unfortunately, KDE.org is representative of a very large and vibrant community, and although formatting and eyecandy insertions will come in good time, we have to first understand the site’s structure to make informed decisions before tidying up small details. KDE.org’s wall of text problem is not simply due to a few bad aesthetic choices, but instead a side-effect of a more fundamental problem in KDE-www’s structure.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Evolution, re-evolved

        Time for the second instalment of the Evolution redesign saga. My first run threw out some ideas and generated some really useful feedback (thanks for that, everyone). Since then, I’ve gone back and developed the designs into something a little more coherent and much more Evolution-y.

      • This Is Cool: An HTML5 Back-End For GTK3

        Version 3.0 of GTK+ that is set for introduction with GNOME 3.0 already boasts a bold feature set. GTK+ 3.0 is less dependent on X11 (meaning it can work with Wayland and better support on Mac OS X, etc), provides X Input 2 support, uses Cairo more for drawing, eliminates DirectFB support, and boasts cleaner rendering. A new feature though for GTK+3 is being worked on and its quite interesting: an HTML back-end that allows GTK applications to run natively within a HTML5 web-browser off a web server.

      • HTML 5 Canvas: the only plugin you need?

        The answer is no, of course. And Canvas is not a plugin. That said, here is an interesting proof of concept blog and video from Alexander Larsson: a GTK3 application running in Firefox without any plugin.

      • GAJ becomes Draggable

        With these last mods Gnome Activity Journal becames fully compatible with Drag ‘n Drop…..well, you can’t drop a file on GAJ and expect that it’s added to the current day’s list: you can’t because it doesn’t make sense. Except for that you can do everything else: you can drag ‘n drop an item in your Desktop and the item is copied, you can drag an item in a chat conversation and the item’s uri is copied and much more.
        Wise men say that a screencast is better than 1000 words…so here you are (in this screencast you can see also the other feature I’ve implemented: audio preview).

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • DoudouLinux: A Fun Linux Distro For Kids

        Linux is really a versatile piece of software. You can use it as your daily working OS, a server that runs most of the website in the world, as a multimedia center or even as a way to promote your religion. A more creative use of Linux is to turn it into an educational piece of software for kids. We have gone through several ways of configuring Linux for kids. DoudouLinux is yet another Linux distro that you will want to check out.

        [...]

        It is always interesting to see how Linux is used in various aspect of our life. DoudouLinux is definitely one of such interesting project that deserved to be commended. It is dead easy to use, so let your kids try it out and let us know if he/she likes it or not.

    • New Releases

      • BackTrack 4 R2 Has Support for USB 3.0

        Offensive Security, leaders in Online information security training, proudly announced a few days ago, on November 19th, the immediate availability for download of a new BackTrack 4 release, their extremely popular security oriented operating system.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • News about the [Mageia] association

        Here it is! The association has now been officially created as you can see on the “Journal Officiel”. (You can now send us postcards and gifts! :-) )

        The association base members:
        - President: Anne Nicolas
        - Secretary: Arnaud Patard
        - Treasurer: Damien Lallement

      • What’s Coming in Mandriva 2011

        After the wonderful news that Mandriva would be continuing as usual despite financial difficulties and an exodus of developers comes the technical specifications and other tidbits for Mandriva 2011. There are quite a few exciting changes ahead, many of which prove that Mandriva is still a cutting edge distribution.

        With 2011, Mandriva will be switching to RPM5. This news was announced by Per Øyvind Karlsen last week and is the first item in the list. RPM5 is actually a fork of RPM with the main goals of supporting XAR, an XML based archiving format, and featuring an integrated dependency resolver. This move has been in the works for quite some time but Mandriva 2011 will be the first release fully committed. Per Øyvind Karlsen said RPM5, “is the only sensible choice.” Relatedly, their software center is scheduled a face-lift for a “more modern and simple to use interface.”

        [...]

        A release candidate is scheduled for April 25 and final is planned for May 30.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • HP Deskjet 3050 j610 on Debian Squeeze

        HP Deskjet all-in-one printers are selling for silly prices at the moment. I recently saw a Deskjet 2050 j510 printer/scanner in PCWorld for £40 and was tempted. Then I saw the same printer in Asda for £35 and was even more tempted. Then I saw a HP Deskjet 3050 j610 wireless printer/scanner in PCWorld for £34 and almost couldn’t resist- I just thought I should check compatibility with Linux.

      • People behind Debian: Colin Watson, the tireless man-db maintainer and a debian-installer developer

        Colin Watson is not a high-profile Debian figure, you rarely see him on mailing lists but he cares a lot about Debian and you will see him on Debconf videos sharing many thoughtful comments. I have the pleasure to work with him on dpkg as he maintains the package in Ubuntu, but he does a lot of more interesting things. I also took the opportunity to ask some Ubuntu specific questions since he’s worked for Canonical since the start. Read on.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Certify this! The automated testing of Ubuntu SRUs

          Testing Stable Release Updates (SRU) for Ubuntu in the certification lab is a de-risking move that will enable the Ubuntu Platform team to release SRUs frequently (bi-weekly). This week was the first time that we did it! but there is still areas for improvements.

        • Is Ubuntu Unknowingly Introducing FUD?

          What I am reminded of is the Windows equivalent of what may happen, which used to be called DLL Hell. It would happen when all the earlier features of a DLL were not carried over into a new one, and a program would fail because it was looking for those features in an identically named DLL file. It worked both ways, with some programs failing because their newer DLL had been overwritten by an older installation program , and the replacement of the newer DLL with one of earlier timestamp and functionality.

          The fact however, that Ubuntu has the ability to act as a clearing house for all the code that works its way into the Ubuntu distribution should mean that these things will not happen. Still, there might be some hair pulling for the coordinators at Canonical along the way.

        • Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 Coming December 2

          Get ready to get your hands dirty. Alpha 1 of Natty Narwhal is coming December 2, 2010. Kate Stewart, on behalf of the Ubuntu release team, announced on the mailing list, “This first milestone is important for testing the new kernel on a variety of hardware, as well as the result of the autosyncs from Debian and first wave of merges and package updates.”

        • Three ways for Ubuntu to help developers

          Developers are a crucial part of any successful software platform. In the same way that an operating system is “just” a means for people to use applications, a platform is “just” a means for developers to create applications and make them available to people.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux may just be your favorite new lightweight distro

            Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution that supplants the usual desktop environment of GNOME, KDE or XFCE with something lighter – and better looking: the Enlightenment desktop.

            Bodhi is based on Ubuntu 10.04, uses the LXDM login manager and the Enlightenment desktop environment. It comes with a minimal selection of pre-installed applications and an even lower set of hardware requirements.

          • Ultimate Edition Gamers 2.8 Includes Linux Games for All Ages

            Announced by TheeMahn on November 25th, Ultimate Edition Gamers 2.8, a popular Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, brings to Linux users lots of pre-added games in a 4GB, downloadable DVD ISO image. Being built off Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) by hand, Ultimate Edition Gamers 2.8 is definitely one of the most awaited and fun Linux operating systems.

          • Linux Mint: Good for Low-Requirement and Paranoid Users

            Two days ago, I helped a friend (whose identity I will not reveal here) perform a Linux Mint installation on her computer. That computer had Microsoft Windows 7 on it which was becoming extremely slow and unreliable by her own count. Because of this, she was willing to try something new. She doesn’t really do much aside from web browsing and document creation; hence, I figured that something like Linux Mint would be perfect for her.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • This intelligent fridge runs Linux on an ARM chip

      Need proof that technology is all consuming and eventually will make it’s way into every crevice of our society? Then look no further than this Electrolux fridge. It runs Linux and has an ARM chip embedded.

    • First product of ProFUSION and Electrolux partnership

      These innovations were possible thanks to the use of opensource softwares like GNU/Linux and the EFL libraries. By uniting the strengths of Electrolux and ProFUSION, the platform was optimized to extract the most from the Freescale i.MX25 processor. All the modifications done in these opensource projects were sent to their respective communities and will also be available at Electrolux’s website.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The best netbook distro of 2010 – Linux User group test

        And the winner is… Jolicloud 1.0

        Jolicloud is hands down the most impressive Linux distribution designed for netbooks. Discarding the tried and tested desktop metaphor and building a new interface from scratch is a risky proposition, to say the least. But Jolicloud’s developers did a fantastic job of developing an interface that not only makes the most of the netbook’s limited screen estate, but is also intuitive enough even for non-technical users. But the look is only part of Jolicloud’s appeal.

        The distro boasts a few unique features that make it a truly cloud-oriented and social computing platform. The system makes it supremely easy to install conventional and cloud-based applications, and the ability to sync them between multiple machines is a real boon for netbook users. In addition to that, the distro sports its own social feature that lets you follow other Jolicloud users. All in all, we are deeply impressed with Jolicloud and can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a distro that has the potential to transform your humble netbook into a cloud computing platform with a pinch of social functionality.

      • Chrome OS device codenames revealed

        Bearing in mind Google’s focus on speed for Chrome OS, the name makes a lot of sense.

        The search giant is only looking to devices with solid state drives, which boot faster than traditional hard disk drives, because speed is very much the core tenet of the entire operating system.

        The first devices, which are likely to be netbooks rather than tablets, are expected to make an appearance early next year, with CES 2011 a likely venue.

      • For Google, the Browser Does It All

        Google says it will become clearer by the end of the year, when the company will introduce to the public a lightweight netbook computer that runs Chrome. Though Google declined to give details of the device, it is expected to be manufactured by another company and branded by Google, similar to the way Google released its Nexus phone, which runs on Android.

        Google has high hopes for Chrome, and as the company weathers criticism for relying too much on search advertising for revenue, its executives have been describing Chrome as one of Google’s new businesses with huge potential.

        With Chrome OS, Google is stepping once again into the territory of its archrivals, Microsoft and Apple, both of which make operating systems as well as widely used desktop software like Microsoft Office and Apple iPhoto and iTunes.

      • Jolicloud Jolibook review

        he Jolicloud Jolibook — oh, it’s a real product, and it’s an interesting one at that, but one we’re not entirely sure you need for £279 ($443).

        [...]

        And ultimately, that’s what it comes down to — if you’re looking for a netbook that’s all about Jolicloud, the Jolibook and its crazy lid will fit the bill, but if you’re not all about one Linux OS, giving up Windows, or having a cartoon all over your netbook you’re best just scooping up one of our preferred netbooks like the Toshiba Mini NB305 or HP Mini 5103, downloading Jolicloud 1.1, and making a Jolibook of your own.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

    OpenOffice.org has failed to provide effective user support via email. LibreOffice can and should avoid the same mistake.

  • Impressive 3d slide transations for OpenOffice presentations

    If you want to jazz up your open office presentation, you can install openoffice OpenGL transition library to get very cool 3D transition effects.

  • SOS Open Source Reports: Open Source Monitoring, Icinga vs Nagios

    Some background information on Nagios and Icinga. Nagios – whose name is a recursive acronym (”Nagios Ain’t Gonna Insist On Sainthood”) ironically refers to the original name NetSaint changed to avoid trademark troubles – is among the most popular open source network management tools and application. Nagios has been designed and developed by Ethan Galstad over the last 11 years. Recently Ethan started to empower other developers, a transition that is slowly happening. Icinga is a Nagios fork born over one year ago, which aim was and is to make it a community-led project, probably not devoid of business logic. Nagios and Icinga Sustainability.

  • Google Wave Gets a Second Life from Apache

    Rumors of the death of Google Wave are perhaps somewhat exaggerated. Google may have pulled the plug on the short-lived Google Wave, but the concept lives on in an open source project being embraced by the Apache Software Foundation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.3 Alpha 1

        The Mozilla Project developers have announced the release of the first alpha for version 3.3 of Thunderbird, code named “Miramar”. According to Mozilla Messaging Product Manager Rafael Ebron, Miramar Alpha 1 is aimed at “testers, extension developers, and other friends who are curious to follow the development of the next release of Thunderbird”.

      • Firefox 4 Beta 7 Boasts 3D, GPU, Java Enhancements

        On Wednesday, Mozilla released Firefox 4 Beta 7, with significant JavaScript improvements, more support for accelerated graphics, and even 3D support.

        Furthermore, Mozilla said, the plug-in API support is now considered stable so that developers can begin finalizing their plug-ins for the final version of Firefox 4, now due in 2011.

      • Ubuntu: Install Firefox 4 beta 7 with font rendering fixes
  • Business

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Nichi Vendola explains (but does he?) his Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft

      The day after signing a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft, Nichi Vendola, president of the Puglia Region, published an explanation on the website of its party. These are my comments to the main parts of that article.

      Vendola: “Who is the enemy for Puglia and for Italy? Is it Microsoft, or any other software giant?”

      Stop: The first enemy is lack of competence and interest in ICT by Public Administrators. Is this the case with Vendola? Maybe not, but frankly this explanation isn’t enough to be sure, even if there are some good parts in it.

    • Italian region asks for help to avoid software lock-in… to Microsoft

      Today, after the initial surprise caused by knowing that Left party leader and president of the italian region of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, has just signed a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft offering an explanation that, alas, doesn’t really explain much, we started to know something about the content of the deal (because the bigger, problem in this whole business, much more of the presence of Microsoft, is lack of transparency).

      The Region of Puglia published a press release titled, more or less, “Protocol of understanding between the Region of Puglia and Microsoft. Vendola says: (this is for) technological neutrality (a summary of the press release was also published by Italian newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • No Proprietary Recipes – Meet The First of Its Kind Open Source Restaurant!

      Instructables is the first of its kind Open Source restaurant in the world, perhaps the only one to exist on planet Earth. There are no secret recipes at Instructables restaurant, everything is Open Source. You can simply log on to instructables.com and download your favorite recipes at no extra cost.

    • Wikipedia as (Multilingual) Word-Hoard

      This facet is even more important for languages with a relatively small numbers of speakers, or perhaps threatened with outright extinction. Wikipedia acts as a natural focus for the creation of texts in these languages that might otherwise be missing – a repository of linguistic wisdom that can be shared and built on. In this way, it plays an important role not just in spreading knowledge about the world, but also about the languages that people use to talk about that world.

    • Action Sharing Competition – The Last Days
    • Open Data

      • Give Us All Open Data – But Not Yet

        As a I wrote a couple of days ago, the current flood of open data announcements, notably by the UK government, is something of a two-edged sword. It’s great to have, but it also imposes a correspondingly great responsibility to do something useful with it.

        Interestingly, this isn’t just my view, but also that of someone who has probably done more to make open data happen in the UK than anyone else: Tom Steinberg, who was the driving force behind key sites like WriteToThem and FixMyStreet.

      • In at the deep end: how to get started with COINS Linked Data

        A tweet today from … someone?! … alerted me to the fact that COINS data has just been published as Linked Data over on the TSO Open Up Labs website. The documentation is still in the works, and as yet there aren’t any example queries available showing how to get started with querying the dataset, so I thought it might be worth trying to pull a few simple queries together to at least providing a jumping off point for exploring the data via the SPARQL interface.

      • UK Government Licensing Framework

        The UK Government Licensing Framework (UKGLF) provides a policy and legal overview for licensing the re-use of public sector information, both in central government and the wider public sector.

        It sets out best practice, standardises the licensing principles for government information, and recommends the use of the Open Government Licence (OGL) for public sector information.

      • Linked Open Data cloud takes shape

        Linked Open Data Around-the-Clock (LATC) is a new project that aims to make it easier for government agencies and web developers across the globe to gain access to information from other organisations.

    • Open Hardware

      • Fiat brings open hardware and crowdsourcing to car manufacturing

        Starting with a very basic premise—’What will cars be like in the future?’—car manufacturer Fiat began the Fiat Mio project to capture the many different answers to that question. The project sought to conceptualise and ultimately manufacture a concept vehicle that was informed by the crowd.

Leftovers

  • 5 Technologies The Internet Is Transforming

    The creation of the Internet has created plenty of good in the world. People now have access to more information, tighter connections with more friends, and the ability to make a difference. But some things haven’t had an easy time making the adjustment.

    Here are just a handful of technologies that the Internet is transforming for better or for worse.

  • The diplomat, the bishop, the bomber, and the fruit bat

    What speech acts are permitted under the various restrictive laws current in the British Isles, and what penalties accrue to people who step outside the bounds laid down by the law? As I have often mentioned here before, the UK has no real constitutional guarantee of free speech, so a lot of things that any American would take to be unquestionably expressible turn out to bring down fines or imprisonment if you say them in the UK. But since all the cases have hidden complexities, and the issue strikes me as important, and I am currently the only Language Log correspondent in the British Isles, I thought I would give you an update. I will deal with four cases: the Ranting Diplomat, the Mad Bishop, the Robin Hood Airport Twitter Bomber, and (perhaps the strangest of them all, a story from Ireland): Fruit Bat Fellatiogate.

  • Government to seek experts’ views on public service reform

    The Government today invited experts, public service managers and providers of public services to submit their ideas for public service reform.

    Their views will help shape the Government’s Public Service Reform White Paper, announced in the Spending Review, which will be published next year.

    The Government wants to reform public services by shifting power away from central government to the local level – to citizens, communities, and independent providers, so that they can play a greater role in shaping services.

  • FedEx Finds Radioactive Shipment That Vanished Between N.D. and Tenn.

    FedEx says it has located a shipment of radioactive rods used in medical equipment that had vanished while being sent from North Dakota to Tennessee.

    The rods, which are used for quality control in CT scans, were found at the FedEx station in Knoxville, Tenn., FedEx spokeswoman Sandra Munoz told FoxNews.com Friday.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Biggest consumers of antibiotics in China: Livestock

      We all know that, thanks to worries about superbugs, taking antibiotics isn’t the best course of action when all you’ve got is a bit of a cold… but it seems like we may be throwing them in our bodies anyhow just through the food we eat. According to China Daily, almost half of the antibiotics – 97,000 out of the 210,000 produced in China – are being used on livestock.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Robert Fisk: Oceans of blood and profits for the mongers of war

      Since there are now three conflicts in the greater Middle East; Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/”Palestine” and maybe another Lebanese war in the offing, it might be a good idea to take a look at the cost of war.

    • student cuts protest – pics and account (part two)

      at around 3pm, i spotted a line of around 80 police standing in front of the national gallery at the top of trafalgar square.

      this was odd because in the square there were very few people and only half a dozen students with a banner.

    • TSA Turned Off Naked X-Ray Machines

      In order to block its real enemies, free Americans, TSA closed down its chertoscanners today so that people could not opt out. Gee, it turns out the expensive equipment was not necessary to fight terrorism after all, and was only designed to humiliate and dehumanize tax victims.

    • Obama says, “Don’t touch my junk”

      In this funky, funky remix, a fiery Barack Obama tells the TSA: “Don’t touch my junk.”

    • Student protests: Met chief warns of new era of unrest

      Britain’s most senior police officer warned today of a new era of civil unrest as the national campaign against university fee increases and education cuts gathered momentum.

      Sir Paul Stephenson, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said the two large-scale student demonstrations of the past fortnight had been marred by a previously unseen level of violence, adding: “The game has changed.”

      His comments were seized on by critics, who said the hard-line rhetoric risked escalating tensions with students organising the nationwide grassroots campaign against education cuts.

    • London police brutally kettle children marching for education

      Writing in the New Statesman, Laurie Penny documents the brutal, savage treatment dealt to the London demonstrators who marched against cuts to education and found themselves “kettled” (detained without arrest, toilet, shelter, or charge) for eight hours in freezing weather; many of those kettled were children and young teens, as well as pregnant women.

    • Napolitano Eyes Tighter Security for Trains, Ships, Mass Transit

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said this week that her department is considering beefing up security on trains, ships and mass transit amid a public backlash over the body scanners and “enhanced” pat-downs at airports across the country.

      When asked what terrorists will be thinking in the future, Napolitano said Monday on “Charlie Rose” that they will “continue to probe the system and try to find a way through.”

    • ‘They were staring me up and down’: Woman claimed TSA security staff singled her out for her breasts

      A woman has complained that the TSA’s new security measures saw her picked out for further screening because of her breasts.

      Eliana Sutherland had been flying from Orlando International Airport and said she felt objectified by security workers.

    • Toxic extinguisher fired at student protesters by police medic

      A police medic sprayed a fire extinguisher at point-blank range into a crowd of student campaigners, it was revealed on Thursday night.

    • Student protests in London: A street-level view of the day

      Fires, fights and parties break out as a new generation of young protesters take their anger over education cuts to the streets of Whitehall. WARNING: This video contains strong language

    • Wikileaks must stop “dangerous” leaks: military

      Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks is endangering the lives of U.S. forces and people who support the United States around the world, the top U.S. military officer said, ahead of the expected release of more classified U.S. documents.

    • US briefs allies on WikiLeaks dump
    • SIU clears officers in G20 probe

      Brendan Latimer was knocked down by a herd of fellow protesters during a G20 demonstration at Queen’s Park.

      Lying on the ground, police moved in and arrested the delivery worker. That’s when one of the officers allegedly struck him in the face, causing a fracture.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Another extreme drought hits the Amazon, raising climate change concerns

      What connection might these droughts have to rising concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere and what might we expect during the course of this century as GHG concentrations continue to rise?

      The connections between rising GHG concentrations on the El Niños is a matter of scientific interest and debate. El Niño-Southern Oscillation patterns in the tropical Pacific appear to be changing and some research suggests the changes may be related to climate change (see El Niño in a changing climate, Nature, 24 September 2010). However, the science is very much unsettled, so we cannot say anything definitive about the relationship between rising GHGs and the El Niños that preceeded the 2005 and 2010 droughts.

    • Michael McCarthy: The end of abundance

      If we ask ourselves what has been lost, that we really care about, in the last 50 years, what has gone from the natural world in Britain that was special and is now much missed, we might come up with many different answers.

      Some people would undoubtedly say the red squirrel, stunningly beautiful for a small mammal, in fact almost feminine in its beauty, and now driven to extinction south of the Lake District (apart from a few corners) by its grey cousin. Others might instance the cornflower, that heart-stopping bloom of the crop fields, which was of such an intense deep blue that it almost seemed to be radiating heat. Intensive farming did for that.

      Butterfly enthusiasts might mention the large tortoiseshell, handsome as a lion, which wasn’t common but still appeared to be flourishing in a few places after the war, and then was suddenly gone (nobody really knows why). And many bird lovers would doubtless bring up the red-backed shrike, the magnificent mini-predator that was still pretty visible half a century ago but then dwindled to nothing by 1990 (although the odd pair still breeds here).

      You could lament the disappearance of any of those, and if you put them together, you’re embarking on a true litany of loss. But although I regret them all as keenly as the next person, they’re not what I mourn most. I mourn the loss of abundance.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Glenn Beck believes in four insane things before breakfast

      According to host Glenn Beck’s own transcript, Beck’s very next utterance was to proclaim that the “mystery” jet contrail recently seen in California (explained weeks ago (even by Fox News online) as almost certainly an optical illusion created by still air and a jet contrail from a known UPS delivery flight) was in fact a secret two-stage missile launch by the Chinese government to assert their power over America, “sending a signal that the world has changed.”

      Beck then went on to state that the Chinese “control the world.”

      Did Sarah Palin, would-be leader of the United States, disagree with any of this? Nope.

      Palin’s verbatim response: “Well, that’s right.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Mobiles as reliable surrogate for people tracking

      Location breadcrumbs left by mobile phones, along with other communication traffic data, are kept as part of a mass surveillance operation. They are collected by the mobile networks, retained for a year, and handed over to the police and other bodies on request. This is such an accepted fact of life that lack of traffic data has become suspicious. As shown in Voluntary electronic tagging, not carrying a mobile phone was considered a ground for arrest in Germany in 2007 and in France in 2008.

    • Facebook defends NHS for sharing data

      Facebook has defended a move by the National Health Service (NHS) to share data about the pages social networkers look at, claiming its helps ‘educate’ web users on the latest health issues.

      The social network told PC Pro: “By deciding that I ‘like’ something, that will come up in news feeds and that will drive people to those pages that have a ‘Like’ button”.

    • Police to get major new powers to seize domains

      Police could soon have the power to seize any domain associated with criminal activity, under new proposals published today by UK domain registrar Nominet.

      At present, Nominet has no clear legal obligation to ensure that .uk domains are not used for criminal activities. That situation may soon change, if proposals from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) are accepted.

    • UK police want new censorship powers

      If proposals from the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) go through Britain, already deeply in thrall to the entertainment cartels in its role as corporate copyright cop, will step even closer to becoming a true police state.

    • Congress Passes Web Censorship Bill, Two Hip-Hop Sites Shut Down

      Congress finally hammered out a bill on last Thursday (November 18), called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which would empower the government to take action against websites offering unauthorized copyrighted or counterfeit content.

      Last week Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the bill, in which the Attorney General gains the right to shut down websites with a court order if copyright infringement is deemed “central to the activity” of the site.

    • US Government Seizes 77 Domains Including Torrent Meta-Search Engine

      It’s fairly simple these days for enforcement agencies to call a torrent site infringing. It’s been done many times. But in this case, Torrent-Finder does not host a tracker or any torrent files. It’s only function is search. All the search results from existing torrent sites are displayed in an iframe. This may be a subtle distinction lost on those not familiar with the technology. But in practice this is a huge difference from sites like The Pirate Bay. it brings up some interesting questions. For example, is just linking to a torrent site considered infringing behavior?

    • Is this the most ironic YouTube blocking ever?

      This is such a jewel that I felt like sharing. Click on this link with a video presentation from Larry Lessig entitled “What CC Was For?” When you try to go to the presentation, you are introduced to this screen…

    • Home Office: citizens not directly concerned by interception law

      ORG received a response to our complaint about the truncated, unpublicized RIPA consultation today, the day after we sent a joint civil society letter to Pauline Neville Jones.

      The consultation will create new powers to fine organisations who engage in illegal interception, and decide who will investigate. Currently, this may not include the police, and the fines may be laughably small – perhaps only £10,000.

    • Girl arrested for allegedly burning Qur’an

      A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English-language version of the Qur’an – and then posting video footage of the act on Facebook.

      The teenager, from Sandwell, in the Birmingham area, was filmed on her school premises burning the book. Police have confirmed the incident was reported to the school and the video has since been removed from the social networking site.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UBC Library launches license database

        With the agreement between Access Copyright and Canadian universities expiring at the end of the year, UBC Library is taking a lead on promoting responsible use of copyrighted and licensed material, including databases and journals. This includes the development of the License Information Database, which answers many questions that instructors may have about using the Library’s resources.

      • Don’t like digital locks? Then don’t buy the products: Minister

        Heritage Minister James Moore has some simple advice for consumers who don’t like his government’s proposal to make breaking digital locks on DVDs, e-Books and other content illegal: Follow his example and don’t buy them.

        The proposed copyright bill — the subject of a heated debate Thursday at a special parliamentary hearing considering amendments to the legislation — would make it a violation to circumvent a digital lock under any circumstance, including for personal use.

      • Heritage Minister hasn’t seen workable MP3 levy proposal

        Heritage Minister James Moore is not opposed to discussing a levy on MP3 players, but says no group has ever come forward with a detailed proposal on how it would work.

      • Liberals Preparing C-32 Amendments on Digital Locks & Fair Dealing

        The Wire Report reports that the Liberals are preparing amendments to Bill C-32 to address digital locks and fair dealing. The digital lock reforms will apparently address the consumer rights concerns, as Garneau notes in the article that “we believe that if somebody has legitimately bought a work and wants to transfer it to another device for personal use only, that should be allowed.” In order to ensure that consumers have those rights, it would be necessary to both remove the digital lock restrictions in the consumer provisions and amend the general anti-circumvention provision (to do one without the other would still leave consumers locked out).

      • Study Of Public Domain, Copyright At WIPO Offers Recommendations

        A better definition of the public domain is needed, but copyright and public domain are not antagonistic, said a study commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization presented this week. Also this week, a book on the role of copyright in access to knowledge in Africa was launched.

        The study was presented in a side event to the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), which monitors the implementation of the 45 recommendations of the WIPO Development Agenda and is meeting from 22 to 26 November. Among those recommendations, some are specifically targeted towards the preservation of the public domain.

      • Court Says UK Papers Can Command Levies From Pay-For News Monitor Customers

        In an important first-instance ruling, the UK High Court has upheld a stipulation that operators and customers of paid digital news monitor services should pay newspapers for crawling their stories.

        The case was lodged by UK news publishers’ Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) against PR monitor Meltwater, to gain endorsement for their stipulation that the services and their customers, who subscribe to receive alerts containing mentions of their company, must pay them for the privilege of “copying” news stories.

      • The Free Standard Gets Bigger And Bigger

        Yesterday’s issue was 88 pages. Today’s is a record-breaking 92 pages. Why? Because the adverts are rolling in. As editor Geordie Greig likes to joke, his paper isn’t so much free, it’s priceless.

        No wonder its main owners, Alexander Lebedev and his son, Evgeny, are said to be very happy with the way things are heading.

        Doubtless, the other (25%) shareholder, Associated Newspapers is pleased too (though also probably miffed at never taking the plunge itself when it had the chance).

      • U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More

        Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.

      • The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again

        The verdict against three people associated with The Pirate Bay just been announced. The Swedish Appeal Court found Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of “contributory copyright infringement” and handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months plus damages of more than $6.5 million in total.

      • Pirate Bay trio lose appeal against jail sentences

        Three of The Pirate Bay’s founders have lost an appeal against their prison sentences in a Swedish court.

        Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström appealed their one-year jail sentences, which were doled out last year after they were found guilty of helping to make copyright material available via the torrent site.

      • Copyright Law is a 404 Not Found

        It is a truism that slow-moving law cannot keep up with fleet-of-foot digital technology, so that makes the rare court decision dealing with the details of how people use the Web of particular importance. Here’s an interesting case that has just been handed down.

        Reading the entire judgment (I did so you don’t have to), I don’t think the judge did a bad job. The big problem is simply that copyright law just cannot cope with what is going on routinely a billion times a day.

        The case was about a company indexing content from a group of newspaper publishers.

      • Zimbabwean law will put legislation, parliamentary gazette, etc, under state copyright

        Joeblack69 says, “Our Justice Minister in Zimbabwe is currently steering a bill through Parliament that I believe requires scrutiny. The General Laws Amendment Bill, among other issues, seeks to amend the Copyright and Neighbouring Act by giving copyright protection to legislation, notices and other material in the Government Gazette, court judgments and certain public registers. Copyright in all these documents will vest in government. Government, as copyright holder.”

      • Creativity and the Law

        The first thing I noticed was that all of these legal scholars accepted an instrumental view of IP law: that the purpose of IP law (which includes patent, copyright, and trademark) is to foster maximum societal innovation, for the good of all. I didn’t hear a peep about a competing view that you might call the property view: that my ideas and creations are my personal property, and I have an inalienable right to own them, just like I own my house or my classic BMW motorcycle. That’s fine with me, because I also believe that IP law should be designed to foster the maximum creativity of all. My own studies of creativity demonstrate how each new creation is always a rather small advance on the large body of knowledge and expertise that has come before, so being overly possessive about your own ideas is always an error.

      • ACTA

        • European Parliament sells out to ACTA

          Yesterday the European Parliament adopted the resolution on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a trade agreement between various states and global economy players, proposing solutions for copyright violations and so-called piracy from a sole economic perspective and ignoring any social or sustainability impacts this may bring about. The resolution was adopted with a slim majority. The majority was slim mostly due to the concerns by several parliamentarians about the procedure and implications of the resolution. Not only is it doubtful whether it is possible to adopt ACTA within the current EU framework, but the whole basis of the document raised objections amongst the EP factions.

        • EU Parliament Rubber Stamps ACTA Approval
        • EU Parliament Resolution Signals Support For ACTA

          The European Parliament approved a resolution Wednesday signaling its willingness to support a controversial trade agreement aimed at boosting international cooperation in combating counterfeiting and piracy.

          The resolution calls on the commission, the European Union’s regulatory arm, to move forward with submitting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Council and parliament for a vote while stressing that the agreement “requires parliament’s consent and, possibly, ratification by the member states in order to come into force.”

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