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Links 14/12/2010: OpenBSD IPSEC Claimed Backdoored, Puglia (Italy) Makes Free/Open Source Software and Standards Mandatory

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Twenty-ten: The picks of the litter

    That curiosity is bent toward very low-end computers though, and it’s not enough to me to just show a pretty desktop at 150Mhz if the overall experience feels like your head is being pressed through a bowl of mashed potatoes.

  • AT&T Blocks Linux Configuration

    In the past 45 days, I’ve done a ton of installs. Of that bunch, 17 of our clients in that 45 days had chosen AT&T DSL for their provider.

    For good reason I think…

    They offer a two year contract at 14.95 a month for Internet service.

    Pretty good deal, huh?

    Not if you are a Linux User.

  • Server

    • No, M$, We Will not Pay You $6K to use Our Servers

      SBS has been released with prices for the standard version including $72 CALs and a higher price and $96 CALs for the chocolate-icing version. We are not locked into M$ where I work so we can save a ton of money running Debian GNU/Linux on our ancient servers. Why would any organization pay a voluntary tax to M$ for the privilege of using the organization’s hardware? It beats me…

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernels 2.6.35 and 2.6.36: Storage Updates

      Recently, I have spent some time reviewing Linux kernels from a storage perspective; starting with 2.6.30 (actually going back into the 2.6.2x series) and ending with the 2.6.34 kernel. That article was published on June 8 of this year – just a short time ago. In the meantime, the pace of kernel development has continued and as of the writing of this article the merge window for the 2.6.37 kernel has just closed signaling the beginning of the great bug hunt before the release of the 2.6.37 kernel. So now seems like a good time to go over the 2.6.35 and 2.6.36 kernels to review what changes have happened that affect the Linux storage world.

    • Last week in Amarok

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) announced that their 2010 training partner program is up 10 percent from this time last year.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Say Hello To The Catalyst Linux Driver Christmas Edition

        AMD’s Toronto developers working on the ATI Catalyst Linux driver have just released their last public update of the year. The Catalyst 10.12 Linux driver (along with the Windows version) is now available for those interested in this high-performance, but proprietary, driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • [rant] Desktop application complexity (part 2)
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Last week in Amarok

        Since we were quite busy in the last weeks, here comes a report about the last month in Amarok. The main reason for this delay is the following:

        We released Amarok 2.4 beta !

      • The magic that we do :)
      • Oxygen + Gtk

        The primary goal of this port is to improve significantly the integration of Gtk/Gnome applications in KDE. However, we also aim to provide Oxygen as a modern, professional and polished theme for other desktop environments, that works seamlessly without having KDE even installed.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Is Zorin OS Really Easier than Ubuntu?

      Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution, which its developers say is, “designed specifically for Linux beginners who want to have easy and smooth access to open source software.” Well, isn’t that similar to what Ubuntu says? Why would anyone need anything easier than Ubuntu? Is it even possible to have anything easier than Ubuntu? Well, Zorin folks think so, but let’s see.


      In summary, Linux is Linux is Linux. Sticking an XP-like menu in there doesn’t change that. I’m not sure we should try.

    • Extreme Configurability with Gentoo Linux

      Gentoo is one of the most talked and noted Linux distributions that have been in active development stage for last 6-7 years. Although there are only a limited number of followers for Gentoo when compared with some other distributions such as Ubuntu, Gentoo has been delivering a best Linux distribution suited for power users. Let’s have a look at the nature of Gentoo first.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Plymouth on Statler

        P.S. I took a look at the new Debian Squeeze Plymouth theme whilst I was playing around, it is the mutt’s nuts! Squeeze is shaping up very nicely.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu-isms suck

          Do you wanna know why Ubuntu-isms suck? Because they make software non-portable. I have just spend a few hours to try to get Synapse, an alternative to the stagnant and buggy Gnome-Do, into my Gentoo Overlay.

          I knew that I had to package Zeitgeist and a few other packages but I was ready for it, I thought: “How bad could it be?”. It could be bad.

          With many devs only developing on Canonical’s GNOME fork every other distribution that might be running on a more vanilla GNOME is fucked. You want a launcher to start programs? Be ready to pull in Canonical’s weird indicator-library that is a systray, but just not a systray. Then there’s this helper library, and that helper toolkit, all hosted on Launchpad, no information on how to build it apart from (get it from our PPA or the current Ubuntu version) and all heavily depending on each other.

        • Goodbye Ubuntu Netbook Edition Maverick, hello Jolicloud 1.1 !

          Ubuntu’s Maverick Desktop edition was, to me, a great success. It’s fast, secure, and slick. Linux-Mint Julia, the Ubuntu-based Linux distribution was, however, a total success. Julia surpassed Maverick in ease of installation and use.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 10.10 review

            Pros: Plasma interface offers plenty of eye-candy, simple installation process, and an excellent selection of pre-installed applications
            Cons: Unfamiliar default browser, old-fashioned software installation GUI, and several areas such as Activities are still poorly documented

            Canonical’s Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions around, but it’s easy to forget that there is a wealth of alternatives built on the same user-friendly base – including, most famously, the KDE-based Kubuntu. While the back end of the OS is identical in both cases, the interface couldn’t be more different.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google revives ‘network computer’ with dual-OS assault on MS

        One of the great ironies of this year is that Google and Oracle – now owner of Sun and Java – are locked in legal combat. The irony stems from the fact that, even as they bicker, the concept they did more than anyone else to create is back in the limelight. This is what we used to call the thin client, which then morphed into the netbook and now the cloudbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

    Thanks to Glyn Moody, a UK-based technology journalist, I’ve just learned that Netflix is not only using, but also contributing, to numerous open-source projects. They’re in good company.

    As Kevin McEntee, Netflix’s VP of Systems & ECommerce Engineering explained on a recent blog posting, Why we use and contribute to open source software, “Our budget, measured in dollars, time, people, and energy, is limited and we must therefore focus our technology development efforts on that streaming video software that clearly differentiates Netflix and creates delight for our customers. These limits require that we stand on the shoulders of giants who have solved technology challenges shared in common by all companies that operate at Internet scale. I’m really just articulating the classical build vs. buy trade off that everyone deals with when developing software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why Mozilla doesn’t back Free Flash players

        Despite Apple’s best efforts to make it go away, the Web is still littered with Flash-based sites and content. The lack of an open source alternative to Adobe’s Flash player is still a major pain point for Linux users and vendors, and the proprietary player is a big source of bug reports for Mozilla. Which brings the question: Why hasn’t Mozilla backed one of the projects to create an open source player?

        A bit ago I was having a conversation over email with Nathan Willis about some of the open source alternatives like GNU Gnash and Lightspark, and the question came up – why doesn’t Mozilla back these?

      • Flock Refresh Trumps RockMelt

        RockMelt was released in beta in November with the claim that it would bring social networking into the browser. But Flock has been a social networking oriented browser for years now and a new version shows where Flock has several advantages over RockMelt.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • Released: FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 and 7.4-BETA1

      The first of the test builds for the FreeBSD 8.2/7.4 Release Cycle is now available for amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, and sparc64 architectures. Files suitable for creating installation media or doing FTP based installs through the network should be on most of the FreeBSD mirror sites.

    • OpenBSD IPSEC backdoored?

      I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. Around 2000-2001.


  • Government

    • IT: Puglia region makes open source and standards mandatory

      The Italian region Puglia will make the use of open source software and open standards mandatory for its public administrations. A law, adopted on 2 December by the regional administration, instructs regional and local public administrations to use open formats for the electronic disseminations of documents, and wherever possible use free and open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sintel DVDs have shipped with film, commentaries, and Blender tutorials

      My DVD set for the Blender Foundation’s latest open movie, “Sintel,” arrived this month. Considering the size, expense, and duration of the production, it’s a truly amazing short film. There’s much more emotional weight here than in “Elephants Dream” or “Big Buck Bunny.” More of interest here, though, is the huge amount of supplementary material included in the set. This is more than just the sources for the movie. There’s also a lot of tutorial information for Blender users and of course, an array of personal commentaries on the production process.


  • Google morphs Gmail into Microsoft backup service

    Known as Google Message Continuity, the service replicates all your Microsoft Exchange data on Google’s servers. If your Exchange servers crash or you take them down for maintenance, your employees can open up a browser and switch to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts. The service is based on technology from Postini, the business email outfit Google purchase in 2007.

  • Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings

    There’s a rather incredible story over in the Baltimore Sun about the extent Abbott Laboratories’ execs went to in their effort to sell more of their heart stents. This is not a unique story, but every time I see a similar story, it serves as a reminder of the problems of putting “healthcare” in the hands of companies who have every incentive to sell you snake oil — especially when that snake oil is patented and they can charge ridiculous monopoly rents for it.

    The story involves a heart stent sold by Abbott. Apparently, Abbott cultivated a few doctors and plied them with all sorts of… well… most people would probably refer to them as bribes… to implant more stents. The article focuses on one Dr. Mark Midei, who “set a record” by implanting 30 stents in one day. That would be great if those stents saved lives. Problem is… a study earlier this year showed that stents were no better than drugs for many patients. Now, in some cases, they can certainly be helpful, but there was little indication that Midei made much of an effort to see if the over 2,000 stents he was implanting per year were really necessary.

  • ‘The New Kingmakers’: Tech giants pay for the love of coders
  • News of The World hacking case gets dropped

    RUPERT MURDOCH’S The News of the World will not be charged for hacking into the phones of high profile people after a prosecutor said that there was not enough evidence.

    The News of the Screws was treated to a dose of dirt flying in its direction when it was accused of hacking into the mobile phone accounts of a number of people, including some royals and an MP. That was corroborated by an ex-employee in an interview with the New York Times and was discussed at length – with some apparent evidence mentioned- in the Guardian newspaper.

  • Science

    • NASA Ejects Nanosatellite From Microsatellite in Space

      NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.

    • Dinosaur bones prompt federal lawsuit in Montana

      Bones from two dinosaur specimens have prompted a federal lawsuit in a dispute between two organizations that preserve fossils.

      The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported a South Dakota research company is suing a Montana nonprofit dedicated to the study of fossils over castings of bones from two tyrannosaurus-rex specimens discovered in South Dakota.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • FBI ‘Thwarts’ Another Of Its Own Bomb Plots

      visual77 alerts us to the news of a guy arrested in Baltimore for a bomb plot. As you dig into the details, though, it looks quite similar to the case in Portland, where it appears that the entire “plot” was created with the help of the FBI.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange’s accusers are jealous liars, says lawyer Bjorn Hurtig

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange’s lawyer said he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistle-blower is innocent of sex assault claims made against him by two women.

      Lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, representing Mr Assange in Sweden where the charges were laid, said the papers reveal both women had “hidden agendas” and lied about being coerced into having sex.

    • Icelandic IT firm to sue Visa & Mastercard over WikiLeaks cut-off

      Icelandic IT company Datacell today said it will take legal action against Visa Europe and Mastercard in light of both companies decisions to cease processing payments associated with the WikiLeaks website.

      Datacell said they will use legal mechanisms to try to force the card companies to resume accepting WikiLeaks payments immediately.

      Datacell’s CEO Andreas Fink said that Visa should ‘just simply do their business where they are good at – transferring money’.

    • Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed

      Again, I’m struck by the simple split many have here: it really is an argument between those who believe in distributed and open vs. centralized and closed — and I’m still not sure if the folks supporting centralized and closed even realize this. Their response, to date, has been to act as if they’re fighting a centralized system. They focus on things like Wikileaks’ domain and its founder — as if that’s the issue. They target the centralized pieces. And even if you make the argument that Wikileaks needs Julian Assange to stay together, if it were to shut down, it wouldn’t take long for a ton of other, similar offerings to spring up in its place. And, they would probably be even more effective (and potentially more damaging).

      While I don’t necessarily like “war” analogies, what we’re seeing is very much a battle between the way people want to see information flow, and one side seems to be still fighting the last war.

    • Pentagon Not Properly Protecting Whistleblowers, Says DOJ

      Insufficient resources, lack of training for investigators and a variety of other problems have plagued the Defense Department system intended to investigate allegations of retaliation against military whistleblowers, according to a recently disclosed government report. At the same time, the number of military whistleblower retaliation allegations has “more than doubled” from fewer than 300 in 1997 to nearly 600 in 2007, according to the report.

    • Dutch Arrest Teen for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack on Visa and MasterCard Websites

      Dutch police announced Thursday they have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly participating in the online attacks against Visa and MasterCard as part of a vigilante campaign to support WikiLeaks.

      The secret-spilling site has raised the ire of the U.S. government and others around the world for its ongoing release of secret diplomatic cables allegedly provided to the site by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Though only a small portion of the 250,000 cables WikiLeaks possesses have been released so far, the cables include revelations about how countries in the Middle East urged attacks on Iran, what the U.S. diplomatic corps thinks of world leaders such as Russian President Vladmir Putin, and the details of behind-the-scenes negotiations on repatriating Gitmo prisoners, among other topics.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyers ‘preparing for possible US charges’
    • Ron Paul’s Sensible Thoughts On Wikileaks
    • Congressional Research Service Notes That There Are Serious Challenges To Charging Assange

      While a lot of the rhetoric from the US government — concerning Wikileaks and Julian Assange and whether or not any law was violated — has been overwrought and full of hyperbole, it appears that the Congressional Research Service (which tends to do a damn good job most of the time) has put out a nice simple report detailing the specific legal issues and laws that might apply here (pdf), and more or less summarizes that the US government would be breaking new ground in charging Assange, and may have difficulties in succeeding.

  • Finance

    • Fed critic Ron Paul wins oversight gavel

      Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, on Thursday approved Paul’s bid to lead the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cypress Hill Singer’s $250M Lawsuit Claims ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Stolen From His Story

      A model named Michael “Shagg” Washington is suing Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software for a cool $250 million for allegedly basing the lead character in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his troubled youth.

    • Superpowers as Personal Property

      The superpowers of many comic book heroes and villains are often in a state of flux. Powers can be gained, lost, used up, given away, abandoned, shared, and stolen, which sounds a lot like the attributes of property. Comic book characters even speak of powers as though they were possessions. Here we consider whether superpowers should be treated as personal property and the legal consequences of that view.

    • Parchment, Pixels & Personhood: User Rights and the IP (Identity Politics) of IP (Intellectual Property)

      This Article challenges copyright’s prevailing narrative on personhood, which has typically focused on the identity interests that authors enjoy in their creative output.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian court could kill hyperlinks

        Canada’s Supreme Court is hearing a defamation case in which the point of law under contention is whether a link counts as publication. The case involves Wayne Crookes, owner of a legal registrations firm, and Jon Newton, who runs a news site specializing in the peer-to-peer filesharing world.

        Crookes sued Newton for defamation: not for what he wrote, but for links to other articles that contain defamatory material.

      • Supreme Court Ruling: You May Not Be Able To Legally Sell A Product First Made Outside The US
      • Movie Exec Says Studios Should Stop Sending Out DVD Screeners For The Oscars

        Of course, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Summit Entertainment thinks this way. The company has built up quite a reputation for being an intellectual property bully. In the past 15 months or so, we’ve had multiple different stories of Summit’s overly aggressive attempts at IP enforcement, often threatening or suing people doing completely reasonable things, such as creating a fanzine or filming a documentary about the town where Twilight is supposed to take place. And that’s not even getting into questions about The Hurt Locker and its lawsuit campaign against thousands of file sharers — because that was really done by the movie’s producers, Voltage, rather than Summit. Of course, all these actions are doing is reminding me to avoid any pictures associated with Summit.

      • Drudge Report owner sued by Righthaven

        As in most of its recent lawsuits, Righthaven seeks in Wednesday’s lawsuit damages of $150,000 as well as forfeiture to Righthaven of the drudgereport.com and drudgereportarchives.com website domain names.

      • Torrent-Finder Determined to Fight U.S. Domain Seizure

        The owner of BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder, one of the sites that had its domain seized recently, is determined to put up a fight against the actions of the U.S. authorities. The Egyptian founder of the site has hired an attorney to assist him in regaining control over the website he maintained trouble-free for more than half a decade.

      • ACS: Law takes P2P users to court, fails miserably
      • Copyright Troll Righthaven’s Number One Supporter Caught Putting Infringing Material On His Own Blog

        Former Las Vegas Journal Review publisher and Stephens Media CEO Sherman Frederick was the main champion behind Righthaven. Early on he was the one who explained (in bizarre, nonsensical terms) why the LVRJ was funding and supporting Righthaven, and mocked those who pointed out the ridiculousness of his position. Part of his reasoning was that putting copyright infringing content on your website or blog is absolutely no different than stealing the Corvette out of his driveway. Even if we ignore how this is completely wrong (someone copying content doesn’t remove that content from his site, and he still has the content, etc.) and grant him that premise, it seems rather odd that Frederick himself has now been caught posting infringing material to his own blog.

      • Movie Studios Blocking Special Features On Rental DVDs

        In an apparent effort to give customers a reason to buy DVDs instead of renting them, movie studios have begun disabling certain features of new releases on discs rented out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

      • Turkey Looks To Copyright Its National Anthem After German Collection Society Tries To Collect Royalties For It

        So, I’m not too surprised to hear reports that the Turkish government is now scrambling to try to copyright its own national anthem after hearing that GEMA tried to collect royalties on it. The story is a bit confusing but it appears that GEMA, in standard collection society fashion, demanded that a Turkish school in Germany pay up for performing music. The school responded that the only music that was performed was the Turkish national anthem. This is where some of the dispute comes in. It appears that GEMA believes other covered music was also performed, and its asking for royalties from that and saying it never meant to collect for the Turkish national anthem. However, the school insists that was the only song performed — so it went to the Turkish Culture Minister to ask for help. At that point, the Turkish government realized that there simply was no copyright on the song.

      • Oh Look, Digital Downloads Aren’t Saving The Music Industry

        Earlier this year, we warned that the growth rate was slowing, and now as we hit the end of the year, it’s confirmed that while there’s still some growth, it’s slowed down dramatically. Betting on digital sales as the key business model for music is, and is going to remain, a mistake. There are lots of other opportunities to make money, but you have to think beyond just selling music.

      • P2P first seeders: pirates or “masked philanthropists”?

        Do some P2P file sharers see themselves as the Robin Hoods of the digital age—taking from the greedy content companies and giving to the global have-nots? Amidst all the angst over illegal Internet file sharing and what to do about it, there’s a related debate raging over two questions—why do people share files and what do they think about the ethics of the practice?

      • Musician Releases Album And Explains Why File Sharing Isn’t That Big A Deal

        The one thing that surprises me, though, is that while he’s using Bandcamp to handle sales of the CD, he’s not offering downloads via Bandcamp, where he could do things like offer flexible pricing. Instead, you have to buy it from iTunes. Kind of strange.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat Compiz-Fusion

Credit: TinyOgg

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