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12.08.10

Links 8/12/2010: GNU/Linux Hits 5% Market Share in W3schools, Tour of Diaspora

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • W3schools: Linux hits 5% OS market share in November

    According to their visitor stats Linux now commands 5% of the Operating System market – the first time it has ever reached this milestone since w3schools records began seven years ago.

    This figure compounds the previous three months which saw Linux got from a market-share high of 4.9% in August only to fall back to 4.6% in September.

  • Linux and Windows Integration

    Some good advantages that I found in Virtual Box are the following:

    VirtualBox 3 is a desktop virtual machine application using a “Type 2″ hypervisor that requires a compatible host operating system (Linux, Windows, Macintosh, or OpenSolaris) and computer hardware based on x86 or AMD64/Intel64 to function
    The installation of Virtual Box is pretty straightforward, but there are a few issues that I will describe later.
    You can easily install many different Operating systems and the performance is pretty good. You can read a list of the supported Operating Systems at virtualbox.org/
    Creating a VM is fast and easy, thanks to a VM creation wizard that takes you step-by-step through creating your guest VM.

  • Userful Corporation: Introducing the $59 Linux Desktop Computer — Userful MultiSeat

    Userful Corporation, the global leader in Linux desktop virtualization, has released Userful MultiSeat 4.0, software which turns one Linux computer into 11 high performance independent computer stations using standard USB devices such as the HP t100, Wyse E01, MCT MWS 8820, and DisplayLink devices. Userful MultiSeat enables schools and businesses to deploy more than twice as many computers for the same cost, while enabling up to 11 users to use different applications at the same time from one host computer, each with their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. At just $59 per seat (education pricing), Userful MultiSeat is the lowest cost computing solution available with the features and performance of a full desktop computer.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

      On the Chrome team, we’re constantly amazed by the speed of innovation on the web. We designed Chrome to make the web shine, and we hope our upcoming efforts will help support this vibrant ecosystem even more. By making the web faster, helping people discover great apps, and making computers more fun to use, the next year of computing should be even more exciting than the last one.

    • A New Crankshaft for V8
    • Google unveils Cr-48, the first Chrome OS laptop

      We’ve had plenty of pre-knowledge on this, but surprisingly this is our first actual glimpse of Google’s new unbranded “Cr-48,” the very first Chrome OS laptop. Google will distribute the laptop through its Chrome OS Pilot Program, in a sort of public beta.

    • Hands on with Google’s Chrome Web Store

      Google launched the Chrome Web Store yesterday during a press briefing, during which the search giant also demonstrated its upcoming Chrome OS platform. The Web Store allows users to “install” Web applications, making them easily accessible from Chrome’s new tab page.

    • 10 Things We Want to See in Chrome OS

      If the target is netbooks, as Google execs have implied, then good luck to Google: The market unanimously rejected a non-market-leading OS when Linux netbooks were offered a couple years ago and quickly updated to run Windows XP. And Chrome OS is basically the Chrome browser running atop a Google-customized version of Linux. For those who simply want to browse the Web, watch online videos, and perhaps do a bit of work on documents, there’s no reason why a lightweight Web-centric OS shouldn’t be welcomed.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Announces Certifications to Linux Standard Base 4.0 and Public Beta 4.1

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that all the leading commercial Linux companies are certified to Linux Standard Base 4.0 (LSB 4.0), including Canonical, Kylin, Linpus, Mandriva, Neoshine, Novell, Oracle, Red Flag and Red Hat.

      The Linux Foundation has also released a beta of the LSB 4.1 and is soliciting feedback from the public. The official release of LSB 4.1 is expected in January. For more details, please visit: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/LSB_4.1_Beta.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 Brings A Basket Of Features

        Highlights of Amarok 2.4 include trans-coding support, a brand-new (completely rewritten) music collection scanner, support for writing back tags to music files (such as the album art covers, number of play counts, etc), a mass-tagging user-interface provided by Musicbrainz, Apple iPod Touch 3G support, compatibility with other newer media players / music devices, a new applet for guitar and bass tab information, and other new applets and improvements.

      • Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 “Closer” Released
      • A week in the life of a KDE e.V. board member

        Diplomacy. The board of KDE e.V. is one of the few groups of people in KDE, which is formally elected. Thanks to German association law, which is the governing law for our organization, this is a very solid, well-founded, democratic process. So the board is well legitimated to represent KDE. This comes with responsibility, as sometimes the board is asked for official decisions and guidance. Today we had to deal with one of these requests. These issues are not always easy to handle. While they certainly are one of the more challenging parts of the board work, I think they are also one of the more important parts. Having the board to handle these issues allows the community to get things moving, where it would be much harder without officially legitimated people.

      • digiKam Tricks 1.3 Released

        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge.

      • a rose by any other name

        I’m going to share my thoughts on Calligra in this blog entry, but I am not a member of the Calligra team. I do follow the mailing lists, and have spoken to several of the people involved over the last year about the various situations. This affords me a somewhat special viewpoint: I’m fairly aware of what’s been going on, but not directly involved.

      • Calligra, past, present, future, a few answers
      • calligra
      • K* == bad

        KDE must have grown so big and old that it became unpopular to be associated with it. At least I cannot help having this sentiment after observing a couple of sub-projects trying hard to not be tied to KDE too closely.

      • KDE — and proud of it!

        I think Harri somehow made a mistake in his recent blog on K* == Bad. The Calligra community isn’t moving away from KDE at all. We’re also not pre-empting the KDE move to git — we’re using the excellent KDE infrastructure for hosting git projects. Not only that, but KO GmbH, the company founded by some KOffice community members, actually sponsored the conversion of KOffice from subversion to git. And we’re sponsoring the conversion of the KDE kdelibs and kdebase module as well. And Marijn, the Calligra Tables maintainer, he is also maintaining the KDE kdelibs packages for MeeGo.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Getting Things GNOME – Useful Tool to Get Things Done!

        Getting Things Gnome(GTG) is a nice and simple tool to organize and manage your tasks and time efficiently. GTG uses a very handy text edition system for task creation and edition. The task editor can automatically recognize metadata such as tags and subtasks only by the use of a very simple syntax.

      • GNOME 3 T-shirt Contest

        Could you translate your love/excitement/anticipation for GNOME 3.0 into a kick-ass T-shirt design? Want to win money in the process?

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8.0 on Track for January Release

        Xfce, the little desktop that could, is steadily progressing toward its January release with several developmental builds. Xfce 4.6.2 was released last May and since the project has been working hard on its next release branch which will incorporate major changes to the core as well as several new features. The latest snapshot was recently released featuring a long list of improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Interview with Vilhelm von Ehrenheim

      Picked Gentoo to play for and won Robot Fight Night, so $400 US was donated to the Gentoo Foundation to pay for Gentoo Development and Services, etc.

    • Three middleweights

      Truth is, for every distro I find or that is suggested, I get two more suggestions for distros I wouldn’t put on a Pentium III, let alone on a lowly 120Mhz Pentium.

    • TurnKey Linux—High On Steroids

      What happens when your online team asks for a Drupal or WordPress server, or you require a file server for your branch office really quickly? The answer is that you rush to your Web browser, and start doing Google searches for how-tos, or juggle your ISO collection of distros, spins and remixes.

    • Red Hat Family

      • New Scientific Linux 6 Alpha Is Out

        Whatever the one I downloaded and installed dated 15th October 2010 was, apparently Alpha 1 was just released to the SL servers a few days ago on 03 December. Here’s a link to a short README for release notes. It also says that an improved SL 6 Alpha 2 is to be expected exactly a week later on Friday 10 December.

      • How Red Hat democratized our corporate citizenship program

        Community contribution has long been an important topic at Red Hat.

      • ‘Tis the Season to Celebrate the Open Source Way

        We’re in the holiday spirit at Red Hat and celebrating the best way we know how – the open source way! Open source is not only a superior model for software development which has helped Red Hat grow its business, it’s also a great way to leverage the power of collective philanthropy. Red Hat associates in the United States have put this power of collective philanthropy to work in selecting a charity for the company’s annual holiday donation.

      • Red Hat: more reliable than Microsoft, apparently…

        With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 now cutting its way into the enterprise-calibre open source operating systems space, there is much to talk about as the terms security and virtualisation are increasingly used to highlight its key new features.

        It has been almost eight years since the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat says it has experienced no major changes to the ABI (application binary interface) or API (application programming interface) that might otherwise affect application compatibility since the Release Candidate stage was announced a few months back.

      • Red Hat Enhances Active Decision Management with Launch of Next Generation Business Rules Management System
      • Red Hat: Morgan Stanley Says Buy On Improving Cash Flow

        Shares of Linux distributor Red Hat (RHT) are up 72 cents, or 1.5%, at $47.64 after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt this morning raised his rating on the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight following a meeting with the company’s CFO, Charlie Peters.

      • Street upgrade sends Red Hat to 52-week high

        Shares in Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) jumped to a 52-week high of $49 Tuesday after Wall Street analyst firm Morgan Stanley upgraded its stock.

        Red Hat closed Monday at $46.92 but opened Tuesday at $47.52.

      • And Then There Was One: Red Hat

        There are only days left until 2010 is done, and this year is one that anyone interested in open source should remember for a long time, because it was the year that every single U.S. public company focused on open source lost its independence, except one: Red Hat. With the news of Novell’s sale still fresh, and with Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems fading in the rear view mirror, it’s easy to forget that Novell and Sun were both once-mighty commercial open source-focused companies that are only shells of themselves now. Meanwhile, Red hat marches on to quarter after quarter of financial success with its own open source strategy. What has Red Hat done right?

      • Fedora

        • Goodbye Fedora 12

          The Fedora 12 (Constantine) operating system reached end of life on December 2nd, 2010. This means that, starting four days ago, users of Fedora 12 no longer receive security/critical fixes and software updates. Therefore, all Fedora 12 users are urged to upgrade to the most recent version, Fedora 14, as soon as possible.

    • Debian Family

      • State of the Debian-Ubuntu relationship

        In Lucas’s eyes, the success of Ubuntu creates new problems.

      • Inappropriate use of the Debian logo?

        The point here is the swirl is not trademark…

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Applications View Mockups
        • Official Ubuntu Advertising Team is Now Alive and Kicking, Needs Your Support!

          Official Ubuntu Advertising Team is now alive and kicking. The team is focused on advertising and sharing the love of Ubuntu with others through various mediums. The project strives to produce professional quality advertisements and promotions and deliver them to the general public. And the support of awesome Ubuntu user community is the inevitable part.

        • Unity Linux 2010.02 Includes an Updated Branching Tool

          Unity Linux 2010.02 has been released. It’s the second snapshot of the 2010 build and comes with a number of updated packages from the previous two releases as well as improvements to the “mklivecd” and “unity-installer” tools.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 review

            Verdict: 5/5
            All in all, Linux Mint 10 is a very likeable release. It doesn’t introduce any new features, but a slew of tiny yet important tweaks improve the overall usability of the system, making it the best alternative to Ubuntu. While Linux Mint 10 doesn’t introduce any new features, it sports a few refinements and improvements that make this distro a real pleasure to use.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Smart 3G router runs Linux

      Opengear has begun shipping a line of “smart” Linux-based cellular routers. The ACM5004-G routers support remote management via 3G, offering console server functionality and control of devices with serial, USB, Ethernet and digital I/O interfaces.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Big Buck Bunny Trailer Sighting on Google Nexus S Page!

          Big Buck Bunny is one among the three Blender Foundation produced open movies, others being Elephant’s Dream and Sintel[watch them all]. And the webpage for Google’s very own Android 2.3 powered Nexus S Phone shows the Big Buck Bunny trailer to illustrate the ‘Entertainment on the Go’ section!

Free Software/Open Source

  • McNealy to Ellison: How to duck death by open source

    Having sold Sun to billionaire yacht-racer Ellison, McNealy is now doing unpaid work. He advises startups for no salary or retainer, he sits on the board of Curriki [5] — a project he created to deliver free, open source educational materials for kids in the US up to college age — and he speaks at the odd event, such as last month’s PostgreSQL West 2010, where I caught up with him.

  • maddog the catalyst

    I am proud that a few words of mine helped to start an open source development center in Soweto, Africa (one year later I found out about this), and I am proud that a talk I gave in 1999 inspired Mark Spencer to make Asterisk a FOSS project (discovered this in 2001). I am proud that I helped get Linus an Alpha processor and encouraged him to make Linux a 64-bit operating system (three-year payback on this one), and I am proud of the many students and FOSS developers and advocates that I have helped along the way. I still receive letters from students I have not seen for thirty years, as well as newer students.

  • Web Browsers

    • If Web Browsers Were Celebrities..

      Now, here is something interesting for you all. The following infographic lists your favorite browsers with interesting ‘character’ description.

    • Mozilla

      • Open This Story in a New Tab

        Considering the virtual reams of data we generate for companies like Facebook every day, they give us awful little in return. While they sell the information to third parties or use it to display targeted advertisements, we’re left with a largely anecdotal understanding of Internet habits. We can install programs to track our personal Internet usage, but it’s difficult to place these individual habits in a broader context. I may spend two hours a day surfing around, but how does that compare to my peers? Enter Firefox, the open-source project that happens to be the world’s second-most-popular browser.*

      • Firefox 4 offers silent add-on updates

        Firefox 4 will automatically update the browser’s extensions, a Mozilla interface designer said Sunday.

  • Oracle

    • Apache loses Java showdown vote to Oracle

      The Reg has learned that with 75 per cent of qualifying Java Community Process (JCP) members having voted on whether to ratify Oracle’s proposed roadmap for Java 7 and 8, Oracle’s plan has been accepted.

  • CMS

    • Screenshot Tour of Diaspora, the Open-Source Social Network

      With all the bad press surrounding Facebook this past year, a lot of us are looking for a good alternative. That’s the need the new, open-source, user-controled social network Diaspora aims to fill. Here’s what it looks like so far.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • €189m European Commission sofware deal

      The European Commission’s (EC) largest ever software contract is in “direct contradiction” of EU guidelines, according to campaign group Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

      The EC signed the €189m SACHA II software framework deal last week, as revealed by Computerweekly.com.

      But the deal contravenes numerous EU rules and guidelines calling persistently to implement non-proprietary computer systems, said the FSFE

      FSFE president Karsten Gerloff said in a statement that by striking such deals “the Commission is digging itself deeper into the vendor lock-in hole,” when it should be seeking to be more independent of vendors and making great use of open software and open standards.

      The FSFE said SACHA II contradicted European competition rules by discriminating in favour of proprietary software vendors.

      The contract also ignored the EC’s Digital Agenda, which called in May for IT systems to be “open and interoperable”, said the FSFE.

  • Project Releases

    • Bye-Bye Test Profiles & Suites; Hi OpenBenchmarking.org

      For those not tracking the Phorogit code of the Phoronix Test Suite, all of the test profiles and test suites living within our open-source benchmarking software have been removed. All 130+ test profiles and ~50 test suites have been dropped, as they’re no longer living within the benchmarking package.

  • Government

    • [Richard Stallman to] Dear President Elect Rousseff and the Citizens of Brazil

      Then, after establishing a levy for the sake “compensation”, establish a second additional levy (equal or greater in amount) for supporting authors and artists. The wasteful, misdirected plan for “compensation” should not be a replacement for the useful, efficient plan. So implement the useful, efficient plan that supports artists directly, because that is good for society, and implement the “compensation” required by the WTO but only so long as the WTO retains the power to impose it.

    • Federal Government Adopting Open Source for Data Center Consolidation

      Open-source software is growing in popularity as government IT managers are selecting open-source stacks as part of their data center consolidation strategy.

Leftovers

  • Silicon Valley’s Talent War

    As soon as top employees exit the doors of their high profile company, you can bet that other Silicon Valley tech companies are already clamoring to snatch up these valued industry professionals. Here is how they are taking the talent from one another, who’s winning and who’s losing.

  • Is Facebook the new Apple?

    This brings me to the question, is Facebook the new Apple? With unrelenting press coverage and a desire by some bloggers to see everything get killed by Facebook, are we witnessing a new ‘cult of Facebook’ in the making?

  • Google eBooks 404 page tips spear to Twitter, would make Ahab proud
  • Oracle talks up Solaris 11 Unix release
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A victory for common sense

      The Commissioner this morning has issued a statement confirming that parents ought to be free to photograph their children in nativity plays without the fear of being told to desist by school staff worried about violating the Data Protection Act.

    • WikiLeaks’ Revelations that Bush and Obama Put Pressure on Germany and Spain Not to Investigate US Torture

      In the relatively small number of US diplomatic cables released to date by WikiLeaks, from its cache of 251,287 documents, the most disturbing revelations concerning the “War on Terror” deal with the pressure that the Bush administration exerted on Germany in 2007, regarding the planned prosecution of thirteen CIA agents involved in the rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen seized as a result of mistaken identity, and the pressure that the Obama administration exerted on the Spanish government in 2009, to derail a criminal investigation into the role played by six senior Bush administration lawyers in establishing the policies that governed the interrogation — and torture — of prisoners seized in the “War on Terror.”

      Neither of these developments had been reported prior to the release of the cables by WikiLeaks, and they are therefore extremely significant in establishing how long Bush administration officials were involved in fending off torture investigations overseas, and how eagerly Obama administration officials took up this role.

    • Targeted Killing: “A Unique and Extraordinary Case”

      “A unique and extraordinary case” is how a federal judge described our lawsuit, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, challenging the Obama administration’s targeted killing policy.

      We brought the case on behalf of Nasser Al-Aulaqi, whose U.S. citizen son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi, has been put on a secret hit list by the government. In a decision issued today, the judge emphasized that the case raises critically important questions, including whether “the Executive [can] order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization.” The court nevertheless dismissed the case on the basis of “standing” — ruling that our client does not have the right to represent the interests of his son — and on the grounds that the case raises “political questions” that are not subject to judicial review. He did not rule on the merits of the case.

      The ramifications of the court’s decision are breathtaking.

    • As The Feds Seize Domains, More Attention Paid To How Law Enforcement Regularly Abuses Asset Seizures

      Given our serious concerns over the legality of Homeland Security’s domain name seizures, one thing we keep hearing from supporters of the effort is that asset seizures are “nothing new” and happen all of the time. We’ve already discussed how that’s not exactly true — and how pre-trial seizures are supposed to be focused on situations where evidence might get destroyed. But it’s even worse than that. It appears that law enforcement has a long, and rather dubious, history of greatly abusing the ability to seize property for their own benefit.

    • Tony Blair summoned back to Iraq inquiry to be quizzed over new evidence

      Tony Blair is to be summoned back to the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion in light of damaging and conflicting evidence revealed since he appeared as a witness earlier this year.

      Blair will give evidence between 18 January and 4 February next year along with Admiral Lord Boyce, the former chief of the defence staff, and Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary. Three successive cabinet secretaries who operated at the heart of Whitehall will also be called.

    • How the Oligarchs Took Over America

      There is a war underway. I’m not talking about Washington’s bloody misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a war within our own borders. It’s a war fought on the airwaves, on television and radio and over the Internet, a war of words and images, of half-truth, innuendo, and raging lies. I’m talking about a political war, pitting liberals against conservatives, Democrats against Republicans. I’m talking about a spending war, fueled by stealthy front groups and deep-pocketed anonymous donors. It’s a war that’s poised to topple what’s left of American democracy.

    • Someone Should Tell The State Dept That The State Dept Is Hosting World Press Freedom Day

      Apparently all of the folks with an ounce of PR sense in the State Department were busy responding to Wikileaks issues. That’s about the only explanation I can come up with for why the State Department still decided to push forward with its announcement that it will be hosting UNESCO’s ‘World Press Freedom Day’ next May, right as it’s been attacking Wikileaks left and right for showing how a free press really works.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange has made us all safer

      Every one of us owes a debt to Julian Assange. Thanks to him, we now know that our governments are pursuing policies that place you and your family in considerably greater danger. It’s only because of his leaks that we know the US government has secretly launched war on yet another Muslim country, sanctioned torture, kidnapped innocent people from the streets of free countries and intimidated the police into hushing it up, and covered up the killing of 15,000 civilians – five times the number killed on 9/11. Each one of these acts has increased the number of jihadis. We can only change these policies if we know about them – and Assange has given us the black-and-white proof.

      Each of the wikileaks revelations has been carefully weighed to ensure there is a public interest in disclosing it. Of the more than 250,000 documents they hold, they have released fewer than 1000 – and each of those has had the names of informants, or any information that could place anyone at risk, removed. The information they have released covers areas where our governments are defying the will of their own citizens, and hiding the proof from them.

    • WikiLeaks cables: US ‘lobbied Russia on behalf of Visa and MasterCard’

      A state department cable released this afternoon by WikiLeaks reveals that US diplomats intervened to try to amend a draft law going through Russia’s Duma. Their explicit aim was to ensure the new law did not “disadvantage” the two US firms, the cable states.

      The revelation comes a day after Visa – apparently acting under intense pressure from Washington – announced it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website. Visa was following MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon, all of which have severed ties with the site and its founder Julian Assange in the last few days.

      The companies have justified their decision to stop donations on the grounds that WikiLeaks is acting “illegally”. Each has quickly become the target of sustained online revenge attacks by disgruntled hackers, with mastercard.com paralysed today.

    • Trans: My day with Internet War pt. 1/?

      More mirrors were being created, and in the evening we could count up to something like 84 of them in the mirror list, it was quite a lot to keep track of. To do this they, just as I would have, started a pad where you could help to list and sort all mirrors. It started in ietherpad but they only allow 16 people in a pad at the time, normally that’s a lot. In this case it was peanuts. It was moved over to Mozillas open pad, and from what I’ve read even they got a taste of the DDoS to kill Wikileaks. The list was moved over to Tumblr, and from what I’ve seen they have not had any problems with attacks yet.

    • Australia says U.S, not WikiLeaks founder, responsible for leaks

      “Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorized release of 250,000 documents from the U.S. diplomatic communications network,” Rudd told Reuters in an interview.

    • Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

      The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

      WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

    • How the U.S. can now extradite Assange

      Now that Julian Assange is in custody of British authorities on a warrant for alleged sex crimes in Sweden, Obama administration officials may well be working behind the scenes to secure his extradition to the United States, an international criminal law expert tells Salon.

      Assange has not been charged with a crime in the United States — though it’s possible that there is an arrest warrant or indictment under seal. The Obama Justice Department has repeatedly suggested that it is going after Assange, though officials have not said what law they believe Assange has broken (and experts say that making any case against him could prove difficult).

    • Wikileaks under attack: the definitive timeline

      On Sunday 28 November Wikileaks began releasing the first of its 250,000 leaked US embassy cables. Almost immediately, a hacking attack known as a “DDOS” – distributed denial of service – attack tried to knock it off the net. These are the attacks that have followed in the succeeding days.

    • Discernement

      In fact there’s two ways to understand what the Wikileaks cables’disclosure reveal. One is the factual disclosure of actions, affairs, skeletons in the closet, various projects and information that enlightens the perception of the US Government on worldwide topics. You can feed anti-Western sentiment or anti-american feelings with this material, but frankly it’s not like these two memes would be fading away anytime soon without the leaks. Another one is the notion that all of a sudden transparency will fix the state of the world, starting with America. Transparency helps, but some things have to remain buried for a long time, some things are not meant to be disclosed. And talking about transparency, we should not be anymore naive and demand that the same kind of information be disclosed from countries like Iran or North Korea: I’m sure it would highlight another well-known reality: that US or democratic countries are not just no worse, but are in fact much better than these countries (some people are ready to absolve them from their wrongdoings on various grounds).

    • Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths
    • Lieberman: New York Times may be investigated for espionage
    • Ellsberg: “EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”

      The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

      WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

    • War on Wikileaks: Narratives that distract from the truth

      The ongoing story related to the release of over a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables is a good example of the workings of the global media, an industry tasked with the formation of public opinion in the world.

      The picture emerging is consistent – an industry whose primary task is truth is instead dominated by bias, distortion, misinformation and propaganda. But Wikileaks is a movement that is difficult to suppress.

      The pattern of misinformation was, of course, put into perspective by the handful of media reporting accurately on the story. Newspapers like the Guardian in the UK and Der Spiegel in Germany are doing a tremendous job of laying out the facts, as is the community-based US broadcast network Democracy Now by providing historical and social context to the information contained in the leaks.

      Yet, these are not the media with the largest audiences.

      Those audiences are commanded by the TV networks, and it is there that the misinformation is at its greatest. Instead of informed debate, audiences are getting distracting narratives. The result is a public misinformed on the purpose and impact of Wikileaks and its efforts.

      The consolidation of global media, its ownership in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates, has been well documented. The dominance of government and corporate interests on the public agenda is not a surprise. The ongoing media coverage in the West on the release of US diplomatic cables offers a glimpse into media complicity in the unfettered advancement of the neoliberal agenda around the world and its impact on environmental degradation, human rights and social justice.

      From demonising Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange to linking Wikileaks with terrorism, networks such as CNN are doing a very good job of towing the US government line. By consistently attacking the credibility of Wikileaks, they attempt to marginalise and cast doubt on the facts of the story.

    • Why Wikileaks is Labeled a “Terrorist Organization,” and the Mainstream Press is Not

      Wikileaks is a threat. We’ve heard it incessantly, from Democrats and Republicans, the State Department and Paypal. Some have gone so far as to call the open-publishing project a “terrorist organization.”

      It’s true. Wikileaks is a threat. But it is not for any of the flimsy reasons we’ve been hearing.

      The true threat of Wikileaks, and the reason it is being labeled a terrorist organization by both politicians and, disturbingly, some journalists, is not the content of its documents but the premise of its work.

      Wikileaks is a “threat” because it challenges the secrecy, control and power upon which all mainstream media outlets and authoritarian regimes depend.

    • Exposed [IMG]
    • PayPal admits US pressure over WikiLeaks account freeze

      PayPal today admitted it suspended payments to WikiLeaks after an intervention from the US State Department.

      The site’s vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internet conference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks’s account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity.

      “State Dept told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward,” he told the LeWeb conference in Paris, adding: “We … comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand.”

    • News in respect to Wikileaks

      Since yesterday around 22:30 CET Visa and Mastercard payments are being rejected on our donation system. We have received a suspension notice stating that Visa Europe has ordered our payment processor to suspend payments and undertake due diligence investigation in order to pretect the Visa brand ensure neither the payment processor nor Visa Europe is running legal risks by facilitating payments for the funding of the Wikileaks website. For the same reasons the payment processor has suspended the payments of Mastercard.

      The suspension period will be one week with effect from 8 December 2010 Danish local time. The suspension period may be prolonged.

      DataCell ehf who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again. We can not believe Wikileaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa. The suspension of payments towards Wikileaks is a violation of the agreements with their customers. Visa users have explicitly expressed their will to send their donations to Wikileaks and Visa is not fulfilling this wish. It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards Wikileaks than to have them occur. Visa customers are contacting us in masses to confirm that they really donate and they are not happy about Visa rejecting them. It is obvious that Visa is under political pressure to close us down. We strongly believe a world class company such as Visa should not get involved by politics and just simply do their business where they are good at. Transferring money. They have no problem transferring money for other businesses such as gambling sites, pornography services and the like so why a donation to a Website which is holding up for human rights should be morally any worse than that is outside of my understanding.

    • The Reaction of Governments to Wikileaks Should Scare the Hell Out of You

      The contents of the leaks are not the main issue; in fact, they are at most an interesting bonus and occasionally a dangerous distraction. No less a personage than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, no admirer of Wikileaks, has stated that the practical impact of the leaks in terms of security and compromised diplomacy is negligible. He goes on to make the point that countries don’t do business with the US on the basis of ideals but rather as a result of self interest. Your mileage may vary, but I believe it’s safe to take his word as an intelligence veteran charged directly with national defense over the flatulent posturing of elected leaders whose need for a good target to harangue often takes precedence over the facts of the matter.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon

      Saudi Arabia proposed creating an Arab force backed by US and Nato air and sea power to intervene in Lebanon two years ago and destroy Iranian-backed Hezbollah, according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

    • No Bail

      I’m pleased to report that Tom Flanagan has been charged for calling for the assassination of Julian Assange on CBC. All manner of threats have been leveled at Julian Assange, including a threat to kidnap his son.

    • ‘Anonymous’ sets sights on WikiLeaks opponents

      Organizers of “Anonymous,” the group behind cyber attacks on Mastercard.com and other websites, vowed Wednesday to extend their campaign to anyone with an “anti-WikiLeaks agenda.”

      In an online chat with Agence France-Presse, organizers of “Anonymous” said thousands of volunteers were taking part in their defense of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, whom they described as a “free-speech martyr.”

    • Did Assange’s Accusers Want STD Testing?

      The two Swedish women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual misconduct were at first not seeking to bring charges against him. They just wanted to track him down and persuade him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to several people in contact with his entourage at the time.

      So, several unnamed people who were “in contact” with “Assange’s entourage” told Mark Hosenball that they knew the true motives of Julian Assange’s accusers. Who are these people and how do they claim to know what was going on in the minds of these women?

      But let’s assume that these women didn’t initially want to press charges. That doesn’t necessarily damage their credibility.

      According to the story, the two women only went to the police for help after they tried and failed to get Assange to submit to STI tests. The cops passed their stories along to a prosecutor, who decided that the women were describing sexual assaults and issued a warrant to arrest Assange on rape charges. The warrant was dropped the next day, but the case was later resurrected.

    • Second as Farce

      The furor over Wikileaks has become Theatre of the Absurd.

    • Rape claims, WikiLeaks and internet freedom
    • Is Twitter Censoring Wikileaks?
    • Exclusive: Sarah Palin Under Cyber-Attack from Wikileaks Supporters in ‘Operation Payback’

      The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

      Hackers in London apparently affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts.

    • STATEMENT: “We will not be gagged”

      “We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship. Today Visa joined Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, EveryDNS and others in cutting off their links.

      “Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times.

    • PayPal says it stopped Wikileaks payments on US letter

      PayPal has said that its decision to stop people from using its service to make donations to Wikileaks was made after a letter from the US government.

    • Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends
    • Wikileaks: Stop the crackdown
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mountain gorilla numbers soar

      The number of mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Massif in central Africa has soared by 26.3% since 2003, according to a new census. The increase in numbers from 380 to 480 individuals is thanks to “immense” efforts to reduce poaching and disease, scientists said – but should not be read as a sign that the fight to save the highly endangered species is over.

      The 450-square-kilometre Virunga Massif is composed of three national parks: the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda – made famous by the film about the conservationist Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist – the Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Parc National des Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the census, which was conducted in March and April this year, its gorilla population is growing at a rate of 3.7% a year.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Shell’s grip on Nigerian state revealed

      The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

      The company’s top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew “everything that was being done in those ministries”. She boasted that the Nigerian government had “forgotten” about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and were unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

      The cache of secret dispatches from Washington’s embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.

  • Finance

    • 10 reasons to shun stocks till banks crash

      Do not buy stocks. Not for retirement. Not in the coming decade. Don’t. Huge risks.

    • Goldman Sachs Lures Big New York Prosecutor In House

      The path from prosecutor to private sector is well-trodden.

      But David Markowitz, of the New York Attorney General’s office, is making the leap in rather spectacular fashion. The 40-year-old lawyer is leaving the NYAG’s team, where he presided over some of the most high-profile cases against financial firms, to work as an associate general counsel at Goldman Sachs, one of the most maligned on Wall Street in recent years.

      At Goldman he will be a senior member of the litigation and regulatory proceedings group, which works on a broad variety of matters, said a spokesman for Goldman. “We are pleased that Mr. Markowitz is joining the company,” he said.

    • Obama struggles to keep Dems from killing tax cuts

      Obama went on national TV to give a ringing defense of his compromise, declaring it the necessary price for heading off a tax increase that neither taxpayers nor the weak economy could stand and for gaining more months of unemployment payments for millions of jobless workers.

    • BofA unit agrees to pay $137M in muni bond case

      The SEC said the division paid “kickbacks” to bidding agents who collect proposals for government business. In exchange, the bank received information about what other firms were bidding.

    • Just How Stimulating Is the New Tax Cut-Jobless Benefit Deal?
    • Facing frustration from Democrats, Obama defends tax cuts deal

      A defensive President Obama cast himself Tuesday as the guardian of middle-class Americans and the unemployed, saying sharply that he had to strike a deal with Senate Republicans over the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy in order to protect the fragile economic recovery.

    • What the Tax Deal Means for You

      The political posturing may not be entirely over, but President Obama and Congress have reached a tentative agreement to temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest taxpayers.

      Besides extending the tax cuts, President Obama made several other concessions to the Republicans, including raising the estate tax exemption to $5 million. Republicans, meanwhile, agreed to extend jobless aid to the long-term unemployed.

    • What the Fed Is Still Owed by Wall Street

      The Federal Reserve has a story and is sticking to it: We didn’t lose taxpayer money, and we won’t.

      But several emergency programs and credit lines still exist, and the path to profitability on them remains uncertain.

      Hedge funds, pension funds and other investors have some $25 billion in outstanding loans from the Fed, some backed by subprime consumer debt. The central bank’s books are stocked with $66 billion of securities related to Bear Stearns and the American International Group, and the troubled insurer also owes $20 billion on a Fed credit line.

    • How the White House cut its deal and lost its base

      If you look at the numbers alone, the tax cut deal looks to have robbed Republicans blind. The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest.

    • A Hint of Good Job Market News

      Last Friday’s jobs report was disappointing, but a new data released today suggest that all hope is not lost.

      American job openings increased to 3.4 million in October from 3 million in September, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. That is the fastest increase in six months.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Apple, Google Asked to Pay Up for Network Upgrades as Data Clog Bandwidth

      Google Inc., Apple Inc., and Facebook Inc. need to pitch in to help pay for the billions of dollars of network investments needed for their bandwidth-hogging services, European phone operators say.

      As mobile and Web companies add videos, music and games, operators including France Telecom SA, Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Group Plc want a new deal that would require content providers like Apple and Google to pay fees linked to usage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Leaked State Department Cable Shows ‘Behind The Scenes’ US Embassy Involvement In Swedish Copyright Issues

        It’s long been common knowledge that US diplomats have had a heavy hand in other country’s copyright laws but, with the Wikileaks release of State Department cables, we’re finally seeing some actually confirmation of that. We’ve already covered the US’s involvement in Spain’s proposed copyright changes and now a Swedish television station claims to have a cable (not yet released by Wikileaks) that shows heavy “behind the scenes” involvement by the US Embassy in Swedish copyright law.

      • Why WikiLeaks Is Good for America

        A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike.

      • Associated Press Chairman Signs Up For Righthaven, Begins Suing Bloggers

        Well, well, well. Remember back when the Associated Press threatened bloggers for quoting snippets of AP articles? Is the organization considering dipping its toes in the Righthaven waters? The Las Vegas Sun reports that Righthaven has signed up Media News as a client and has sued a blogger on behalf of the Denver Post, after the blogger apparently reposted a Denver Post column by Mike Rosen (with a link and credit). This is interesting for a few different reasons. First, it was just a few weeks ago that the Denver Post published a cryptic “reminder” about copyright that had a bunch of people scratching their heads. I had thought about mentioning it at the time, but it seemed so utterly lacking in context, that there wasn’t much to say. I guess the Righthaven lawsuit provides context.

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