12.06.10

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Links 6/12/2010: Xfce 4.8 is Coming, Google Chrome 8.0 for GNU/Linux Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • 19 Percent of Linux Kernel Development by Independent Contributors aka Passionate People!

      In the third annual report about Linux kernel authorship by Linux Foundation, a number of interesting statistics popped up. Among the most important statistics is the one showing the level of contributions from different entities that include big corporates and individuals.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.9.3 May Come Next Week

        Apple’s Jeremy Huddleston has announced the second release candidate for the forthcoming X.Org Server 1.9.3 point release. This point release in the stable 1.9 series delivers on more bug-fixes, with a handful of them for Apple’s XQuartz, which is important especially as it looks the 1.9 series will be used by Mac OS X 10.7.

      • RandR 1.4 Brings Per-CRTC Pixmaps; NVIDIA Support?

        Intel’s Keith Packard wrote a few emails to the X.Org developers over the night commenting on his per-CRTC pixmap implementation for RandR 1.4 in xorg-server 1.10. For those unfamiliar, this support basically provies, “multiple scan-out buffers which applications can create and assign to arbitrary collections of CRTCs. These pixmaps can be associated with a window for use with OpenGL or drawn to directly.” This feature really becomes useful when dealing with display setups where the screen layout exceeds the maximum size of the rendering/scan-out engines, provides the abilities for integrating compositing and project transformation into one step, and eliminating visual artifacts during screen rotation.

      • Questions Arise Over NVIDIA’s Fence Sync Support

        Red Hat’s Owen Taylor started out by asking about a broad overview on NVIDIA’s Fence Sync, seeing as he is the maintainer of Mutter, the GNOME 3.0 compositing window manager that uses Clutter. “There’s already a lot of magic voodoo dances around both Damage and Texture-From-Pixmap, what extra incantations does this add to the picture?” Owen further noted, “I can understand each individual step of the magic voodoo dance, but when I go away from the individual problems and come back 6 months later, I have to work it all out again. And there’s a strong sense that only particular code paths that actually are in use are tested and anything else probably doesn’t work, at least on some drivers.”

      • NVIDIA’s Working On A New Driver Architecture?

        We have sent over an email to NVIDIA to try to get more information on this new driver architecture. Seeing as NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver shares a common code-base with their Windows driver and also their FreeBSD/Solaris support, it does lead us to believe that such a new architecture would continue to be shared across all platforms.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • On misleading media

          The recent article about Fedora moving to Unity is a good example. The author very well understands the title to be nowhere near accurate and yet persists on it even though all the comments so far have pointed out this problem. Calling it a blog does not excuse one for a professional stand point to write crap.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • How to give away computers with Ubuntu and Edubuntu

          Just in time for the holidays; your guide to giving away computers with Ubuntu and Edubuntu or your favorite *buntu. In the past few weeks I’ve been contacted by several organisations who are giving away computers pre-loaded with different versions of Ubuntu. Their stories need to be shared as they are doing some amazing work built upon all your great work in Ubuntu. So here’s a quick guide to how you can help spread Ubuntu and really make a difference in people’s lives all over the world.

        • Linaro boosts Linux on mobile

          Linaro is important because it is not simply a software project but also a hardware one. With major players such as ARM on-board Linaro is also looking at creating hardware platforms optimised for a Linux operating system. ARM is a key player in the mobile computing space, to date being most active in the mobile phone sector but rapidly moving into the larger-form factor tablet and netbook market.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Impressions from the 12th Realtime Linux Workshop in Nairobi

      A rather small crowd of researchers, kernel developers and industry experts found their way to the 12th Real-Time Linux WorkShop (RTLWS) hosted at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. The small showing was not a big surprise, but it also did not make the workshop any less interesting.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • SCALE 9x: Is your paper submitted?

      Less than two weeks left for SCALE Call for Papers; Sponsors start lining up for event. As everyone’s sights are set on the December holidays, the Southern California Linux Expo reminds those who plan to submit papers for SCALE 9X to get them in before the deadline, which is a little over a week away. The deadline for the SCALE 9x Call for Papers is Dec. 13, with notification of acceptance being sent to speakers by Dec. 27.

  • Web Browsers

    • Google Chrome 8.0 Stable for Linux Released

      Just in time for the holidays, the Google Chrome developers at Google proudly announced last evening (December 2nd) the stable release and immediate availability for download of the Google Chrome 8.0.552.215 web browser for Linux, Windows and Macintosh platforms.

    • Google releases Chrome 8.0 stable

      Previously only available in the Beta channel, Google has released version 8 of the Chrome web browser into the stable channel. This major update is the first version capable of using the upcoming web store and includes a built-in PDF viewer that’s sandboxed to help prevent attackers from exploiting security vulnerabilities in the plug-in. A sandboxed Adobe Flash Player plug-in has been integrated into the Development (Dev) channel version of the browser, so that too should appear in the stable release in due time.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 3-D Fun with GNU Octave

      I HAD worries that GNU Octave would not support some of the advanced graphing functionality of MATLAB, but with the help of tools like gnuplot, Octave stays on par in this game (bar some OpenGL enhancements). Much to my surprise, the 3-D charting and graphing software in GNU Octave. Here are some visualisations of cardiac images I work with.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF TC Creates Advanced Document Collaboration Subcommittee

      The OASIS ODF Technical Committee voted a couple of weeks ago to create a new subcommittee, on “Advanced Document Collaboration”. Robin LaFontaine, from DeltaXML will chair the subcommittee.

      Since the entire ODF TC is quite large now (almost 20 active members attend each meeting) it is impossible to do a technical “deep dive” on every topic in our meetings. So when a particular specification domain requires sustained attention for a period of time, we can create a subcommittee, to allow interested TC members to study and draft specification enhancements. We’ve done this several times before. For example, the Accessibility SC developed the accessibility enhancements for ODF 1.1. And the Formula and Metadata subcommittees drafted those key parts of ODF 1.2. I hope that this new SC will be equally successful in their work.

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Pirate Parties Supply Wikileaks With Much Needed Servers

      While most traditional political parties are wary of supporting the actions of whistleblower site Wikileaks, Pirate Parties around the world have made it very clear whose side they are on. Just before the weekend Wikileaks moved to a Pirate Party owned domain, and today a conglomerate of Pirate Parties have just announced that they are now providing the site with several much needed mirror servers.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Barack Obama is a bigger danger
    • Supporting Wikileaks

      TODAY I decided to step up with my support of Wikileaks, which I perceive as a test case for free speech and Internet freedom regardless or irrespective of the impact of what they are doing.

    • Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends

      I’m (was?) a Twitter user. This past week I found it utterly weird that none of the words #wikileaks, #cablegate, #cables, #Assange were actually “trending”. I even tweeted about this 5 days ago. Today, my fears of secret censorship are coming true. It appears that Twitter is censoring all these words, so they don’t appear in the (much-used) Twitter “trends” list.

      It has done so for a whole week, and continues to do so. The only related trend today that currently trends in a few countries is the much less popular #imwikileaks, which shows us that Twitter’s filter engine simply hasn’t added that keyword too in their filter, YET!

    • On WikiLeaks

      To those looking for a response in advance of this, I will simply reiterate the two points of our core values that are particularly germane to the matter: first, we support open government, which is certainly an end furthered by WikiLeaks’ actions, but we also believe in the importance of protecting individual privacy, which has been compromised by a number of releases to date. Reconciling these two positions, already somewhat at odds, with the question of WikiLeaks will be the task of our membership in the days to come.

      Finally, allow me to apologize for the lack of promptness in this regard. Democracy, as you are no doubt aware, is a horrendously inefficient system of governance, but it is the only one that can achieve worthwhile results.

    • State Department To Columbia University Students: DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter
    • Would you be a WikiLeaks paypal?
    • WikiLeaks founder: U of C professor Flanagan’s comments criminal

      Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman says Tom Flanagan’s remarks that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be assassinated are “simply not acceptable,” even if they weren’t serious.

      Dimitri Soudas commented Friday after Assange said the prime minister’s former adviser and others “should be charged with incitement to commit murder.”

    • Julian Assange under investigation by police in Australia

      Julian Assange is being investigated by Australian police to establish whether he has broken any of the country’s laws and is liable to prosecution there, foreign minister Kevin Rudd said today.

    • NSW Supreme Court solicitor Peter Kemp: Letter to Australian Prime Minister

      …Julian Assange has almost certainly committed no crime under Australian law in relation to his involvement in Wikileaks.

    • NGOs Issue Joint Appeal on Behalf of Refugees Held Hostage in Sinai Desert

      Agenzia Habeshia, EveryOne Group, Human Rights Concern Eritrea and Christian Solidarity Worldwide today sent a joint appeal to the UN, the EU, the British, the Italian and the Egyptian governments for urgent intervention in the plight of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia who are currently held hostage in the Sinai Desert by Bedouin people traffickers.

      Hundreds of refugees from the Horn of Africa have been held for months on the outskirts of a town in Sinai in purpose-built containers, where people traffickers are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person for their release, though the hostages had already paid US$2,000 for passage to Israel.

    • Twitter Joke Trial: the journey to the High Court begins

      On Thursday 2 December 2010 the papers were filed at Court for an application for an appeal of my client Paul Chambers to the High Court. In a perhaps ironic twist, the receiving court – Doncaster Crown Court – was closed because of snow.

      The appeal is formally called an “Appeal by Case Stated”. These are appeals to the High Court on points of law. The Court will now have 21 days to consider the application: the decision should be just before Christmas. If granted, then there will be a High Court hearing early in the new year. However, if the application is not successful, then Paul has the option of a judicial review of that refusal, where the High Court can order that permision be granted.

    • Like It or Not, WikiLeaks is a Media Entity

      The past week has seen plenty of ink spilled — virtual and otherwise — about WikiLeaks and its mercurial front-man, Julian Assange, and the pressure they have come under from the U.S. government and companies such as Amazon and PayPal, both of which have blocked WikiLeaks from using their services. Why should we care about any of this? Because more than anything else, WikiLeaks is a publisher — a new kind of publisher, but a publisher nonetheless — and that makes this a freedom of the press issue. Like it or not, WikiLeaks is fundamentally a journalistic entity, and as such it deserves our protection.

    • The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

      Julian Assange and Pfc Bradley Manning have done a huge public service by making hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents available on Wikileaks — and, predictably, no one is grateful. Manning, a former army intelligence analyst in Iraq, faces up to 52 years in prison. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at a military base in Quantico, Virginia, where he is not allowed to see his parents or other outside visitors.

    • The Blueprint

      You see, this is the first time anything like Wikileaks has been attempted. Yes, there have been leaks prior to this, but never before have hyperdistribution and cryptoanarchism come to the service of the whistleblower. This is a new thing, and as well thought out as Wikileaks might be, it isn’t perfect. How could it be? It’s untried, and untested. Or was. Now that contact with the enemy has been made – the state with all its powers – it has become clear where Wikileaks has been found wanting. Wikileaks needs a distributed network of servers that are too broad and too diffuse to be attacked. Wikileaks needs an alternative to the Domain Name Service. And Wikileaks needs a funding mechanism which can not be choked off by the actions of any other actor.

      We’ve been here before. This is 1999, the company is Napster, and the angry party is the recording industry. It took them a while to strangle the beast, but they did finally manage to choke all the life out of it – for all the good it did them. Within days after the death of Napster, Gnutella came around, and righted all the wrongs of Napster: decentralized where Napster was centralized; pervasive and increasingly invisible. Gnutella created the ‘darknet’ for filesharing which has permanently crippled the recording and film industries. The failure of Napster was the blueprint for Gnutella.

    • No sympathy for evil companies, Amazon and PayPal. Go back to the bookstore and pay cash.
    • How PayPal screws open source projects

      Some of our users might know that we have been accepting donations to support us in developing TortoiseSVN for a few years now. We used PayPal to achieve this, as do many other open source projects and even some closed source but free-of-cost projects.

      Even the biggest hoster of open source projects, sourceforge.net, has a special feature built into their project pages where every project can activate such “donate” buttons, and that too is handled by PayPal.

      Now imagine my surprise when I got an email from PayPal last Wednesday with the subject “PayPal appeal denied”. Because I never had to appeal anything with my PayPal account. Reading through that email I discovered that my account was blocked because they’ve decided that I’m not allowed to receive donations.

    • WikiLeaks reveals how far the US has fallen in its principles

      The German man in question, Khaled El-Masri, was an innocent who had a misfortune to have the same name as a terrorist suspect. He was illegally kidnapped, imprisoned in Afghanistan, interrogated and tortured.

      For over a year. His family had no idea what had happened to him. He had no chance to defend himself, to seek legal representation, every human right he had was taken from him. He had to go on a hunger strike for 27 days before he was able to force a meeting with a prison official and a CIA official. And this was taking place after they’d already found out that his passport was genuine and that he was innocent.

    • #iamwikileaks Mirror #wikileaks, but do it a litte more safely…
    • WikiLeaks: Internet backlash follows US pressure against whistleblowing site

      American pressure to dissuade companies in the US from supporting the WikiLeaks website has led to an online backlash in which individuals are redirecting parts of their own sites to its Swedish internet host.

      Since early on Friday morning, it has been impossible to reach WikiLeaks by typing wikileaks.org into a web browser because everyDNS, which would redirect queries for the string “wikileaks.org” to that machine address, removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack.

    • Digital McCarthyism

      The campaign against WikiLeaks is a clear move to censor political material on the Internet and, potentially, on other media. The first moves made by lawmakers such as Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, have no legal foundation and yet have succeeded with Amazon and PayPal. What has followed is shockingly repressive and obscurantist. The Library of Congress blocked access to WikiLeaks across its computer systems, including reading rooms, and Columbia University students aspiring for diplomatic careers have been advised not to comment on, or link to, the whistleblower website’s revelations. It is doubly tragic that such concerted attacks are securing support from countries with a progressive legacy such as France. The intolerant response to WikiLeaks is a potential threat to all media and must be fought. Senator Lieberman and other lawmakers have introduced legislation that proposes to make the publication of an intelligence source a federal crime. Already, U.S. law allows the shutting down of some Internet domains managed in that country on grounds of infringement of copyright. The threat to the publication of inconvenient material, even with responsible redactions, is all too real.

    • Prove my aide is Russian spy, says MP Mike Hancock

      A British MP whose parliamentary aide was arrested over claims she is a Russian spy has challenged the security services to “prove their point now”.

      Lib Dem Mike Hancock said Katia Zatuliveter, 25, had nothing to hide, he backed her 100%, and would appeal.

    • [Elizabeth May (Green Party Leader in Canada) on Wikileaks]

      It is a witch-hunt against Wikileaks, while largely ignoring the content of what was exposed.

    • TMI, WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks is a website started by freedom-of-information activist and former hacker Julian Assange. On November 28, WikiLeaks sent a massive cache of government documents to five news organizations. You can’t see the leaks on its own site at the moment, as it’s currently suffering from a massive denial of service attack that has the site closed for business at the moment, although there is a mirror site in Switzerland where you can see the “Cablegate” documents. These documents are diplomatic cables that Private First Class Bradley Manning downloaded at an army base in Iraq between November 2009 and April 2010. Manning then passed them on to Assange.

    • New WikiLeaks website now available in UAE

      As of late afternoon, wikileaks.ch was freely accessible to UAE consumers using etisalat lines. Earlier in the day, users reported browser inconsistencies, with the site available to those using Firefox but not to those using Internet Explorer.

    • Complaint filed over call to assassinate WikiLeaks founder

      A B.C. lawyer has filed a complaint with the Vancouver police, urging them to investigate whether Tom Flanagan, a former campaign manager for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, broke the law when he said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be assassinated.

      Gail Davidson, a co-founder of the group Lawyers Against the War, wrote in the complaint that, on Nov. 30, Flanagan “counselled and/or incited the assassination of Julian Assange contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada,” while commenting on the CBC program Power & Politics.

    • Twitter is censoring the discussion of #Wikileaks

      Twitter, the very popular 140 character social networking site, has a feature called “Trends” and is supposed to capture what the most popular topics of discussion are, at any given time. When people “Tweet” about a given topic, they can insert what is called a hash tag into their Tweet. For example, if I wanted to Tweet about Richard Feynman, and I wanted other people interested in Richard Feynman to be able to find it, I could put something like “#Feynman” within my post. Twitter would then automatically categorize this post under “Feynman” and voila, people can search for it on Twitter. This is how “Trends” are calculated. If say, within a given time span of perhaps 10 minutes, a million people put the tag #Christmas into their tweets, and this would be a very popular Twitter topic and should make it into the “Trends” list. Simple enough.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • FTC Is In Talks With Adobe About The ‘Flash Problem’

      So-called Flash cookies—chunks of data embedded in the Adobe Flash Player on internet users’ browsers that can’t be eliminated with standard privacy controls—have been on the radar of privacy advocates since last year. But the FTC made it clear today that it’s now starting to take a more active role in addressing what it referred to as the “Flash problem.”

    • Wayne Crookes vs Jon Newton

      Tomorrow I’ll travel by land, sea and air the length of Canada to sit in a room full of strangers.

      One of them, a man named Wayne Crookes, wants me to pay him what will be, if he gets his way, an inordinate amount of money for something I haven’t done.

      Others of them, a panel of legal experts chosen for their wisdom and knowledge of Canada’s archaic defamation laws, will decide if that’s going to happen.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • curiouser and curiouser: more on the metaphysics of copyright

        Those who wish to justify copyright as something more or other than an intrusion into the rights of owners of things must then advance an account of the objects of copyright, and in doing so explain how such an account can make sense in one or more of the accounts of ideas and things so far advanced. To date they have failed to do so.

      • Viacom’s Dangerous Appeal Brief in Viacom v. YouTube

        Viacom would like the court to carve out an exception to the DMCA, essentially reinterpreting the law so that YouTube no longer qualifies for the DMCA’s safe harbor immunity. It’s, to me, a really dangerous document, in that it suggest in effect a system whereby fair use is technically impossible or so difficult and expensive to make use of that no average guy will do so. It argues that YouTube’s refusal to implement a technology-based filtering system Viacom likes, Audible Magic, to prescreen uploaded video places YouTube outside the protection of the DMCA. It also argues that you can be guilty of direct infringement if you benefit financially from infringement, even if you don’t specifically know it’s happening.

      • Joi Ito: The web needs copyright tools

        Joi Ito, 44, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with a particular interest in the world wide web, was an early investor in Twitter, Technorati, Flickr and Last.fm. He grew up in Japan and the US; he once owned a nightclub in Tokyo and worked as a DJ in Chicago. Time magazine hailed him as a member of the “cyber-elite” in 1997 and two years ago Businessweek named him “one of the 25 most influential people on the web”. Ito has a special interest in issues of copyright in the digital sphere and is CEO of the organisation Creative Commons. He is now based in Dubai.

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2 Comments

  1. satipera said,

    December 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Re Twitter being censored on wikileaks hash tag (not trending). I remember we have had a similar controversy before. I can’t remember the exact hash tag but this happened with the hash tag used for the aid convoy to Gaza story. Twitter did give a good explanation at the time as to why this was happening. There probably is not a conspiracy here but these people need watching like hawks. PS I left Twitter some while ago when they introduced featured tweets or something.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’d say, just use Identi.ca. However, the captain of the site wants to be distanced from Wikileaks. http://identi.ca/notice/59817911

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