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12.30.10

Links 30/12/2010: PlayStation 3 Cracked for Linux, 2011 Looks Great for Android

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How You Know When It’s Time to Switch to Linux

    It’s no longer fun waiting to see when Microsoft will fix bugs, or what new features it will come out with. You’re ready to start driving changes like that yourself.

  • The Real Future of Linux and FOSS (Is Not Shiny Toys)

    I do not like this word consumer. I prefer customer. The definition of customer is much more interesting than consumer: “1. a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron. 2. Informal. a person one has to deal with: a tough customer; a cool customer.”

    A customer is courted, a consumer is herded. A customer must be won over, a consumer is told what to do. A customer negotiates and bargains, a consumer accepts whatever is dumped on them.

    What does this have to do with Linux

    What does this have to do with Linux and FOSS? Everything. FOSS users have strong rights. We can do whatever we want with FOSS code for personal use. Actually that is true of everything, since trying to place limits on personal use of anything requires unwarranted invasions into our private business. But that is exactly what is happening.

    We can open up FOSS code, tear it apart, mix and match, and install it all over the place. You know, just like normal possessions. In my life I have repaired and customized vehicles, modified furniture, modified my homes, messed with appliance guts, made lawnmowers into go-karts, made super-powered electric razors that buzzed really loud and went really fast until they fried out, and done strange and wondrous things to bicycle parts (art!). That is normal.

  • PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

    The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective on the version of firmware the games console was running.

  • Linuxy Hopes, Dreams and Resolutions for 2011

    Continuing to advocate “for all things Open Source or built with Open Source” is on Slashdot blogger yagu’s 2011 to-do list — “and I resolve to call out any and all reaping the benefits of Open Source who don’t give back.” Also, “I resolve to be respectful and humble in regards to everything Microsoft,” he asserted sincerely before adding, “I always like to pick at least one resolution I can break early.”

  • My 2011 Linux Resolutions
  • Desktop

    • The Tax

      Shame on Dell for making a simple purchase complex. Give the customers what they want. Give them choice. Don’t promise choice but make them struggle to get it.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • IBM

    • Mostly obvious predictions for open source in 2011, or are they?

      Here’s a list of these types of questions and my guesses at answers:

      * Will ChromeOS from Google be an interesting player, will it merge with Android, and will it replace Windows on hundreds of millions of desktops? Yes / maybe / no.
      * Will Android devices surpass those from Apple? Perhaps, but only in aggregate volume.
      * Will one emerge that will clobber the iPad in market share? No way.
      * Will some flavor of Windows be more significant than Android on tablets? No.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.37 (Part 5) – Drivers

      Support for fast USB 3.0 storage devices with USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), an audio loopback driver plus extensions to support Apple’s Magic Trackpad are only some of the advances that improve the hardware support of the forthcoming Linux kernel version 2.6.37; final release is expected in January.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Interesting Tale Of AMD’s FirePro Drivers

        Earlier this week we published our annual look at AMD’s Catalyst driver releases from the past year. Not only did the Catalyst Linux driver this year picked up a couple new features, its driver performance had improved slightly over the past twelve months. In building up some initial test data for OpenBenchmarking.org we decided not only to do these tests on the latest consumer-grade graphics card this year, but expand it to cover the workstation performance too and to go back nearly two years in time. These results for an AMD FirePro V8700 graphics card with the monthly driver updates going back to Catalyst 9.2 are quite interesting. AMD announced twice this year optimizations to their FirePro driver software, but in reality these “optimizations” were largely unsustainable and not optimizations as much as they were attempting to address driver regressions from the past.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • More Enlightenment FAQ

      While the Enlightenment desktop is fantastic, there is no doubting that in all it’s grace and glory it is a bit different from other desktop environments. While I know there are some people (such as myself) that like to just muck their way through things on their own, I also know that others like a bit of a guide to follow along with. A couple of months ago I made a post detailing the answers to some common questions those new to the Enlightenment desktop have. Today I would like to address a few more such questions and give a few tips I have picked up over the years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Improving Gnome…

        I’ve mentioned in previous posts (The non-operating system operating system and My Personal Gnome) that I’m not too worried about the underlying operating system (although I do prefer it to be a Debian derivative – currently I’m using Mint 8.0) but I do like the tools that I’m used to that come with the Gnome desktop.

        Here, I’d like to take a look at what I don’t like or, more specifically,

      • Kick off for GNOME:Ayatana Project

        This has been one of the guidelines in my life for quite some time… It started as a curiosity a long time ago with Notify OSD and evolved to full project in openSUSE. It is important to acknowledge at this point the motivation provided by the openSUSE GNOME Team from which I’ve been getting plenty of guidance and help, namely from Vincent Untz (vuntz) and Dominique Leuenberger (Dimstar). Thanks to them, we have now a GNOME:Ayatana Project on OBS (openSUSE Build Service), currently being populated with the support libraries for Ayatana’s Unity and Indicators.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: VectorLinux 6.0

      Development is slower than many other distributions, but that means a long life span. This can be either good or bad depending upon your point of view. The latest stable release is the various 6.0 editions, but 7.0 is on its way. Don’t wait for it though. Developers are cautious and 7.0 is unlikely to go gold much before fall of 2011. Finally, don’t let all the versions confuse you. You can go and grab any of them really and then install about anything you need from repositories.

    • Gentoo: A critical look at the QA process

      The QA team has said that there is some sort of “policy” on masking packages that break reverse dependencies. I’ll subscribe that that policy for the sake of not breaking users machines on purpose, however, let’s take a look at the current case study: poppler-0.16

    • Dependency-confessions from a Slacker

      Because of the large proportion of my AntiX-install and the inconsistency of packages that grew over time I decided that it was necessary to start a fresh install. This time I chose PClinuxOS (the LXDE-version). In reviews it was considered absolutely userfriendly. Within twenty minutes the install was completed. What a dissappointment. Everything worked out of the box. My printer, my scanner, it all functioned allmost immediately. Nothing to do for me. No puzzles to solve, nothing to tinker. What a turnoff. But a comfort to my wife and children though, because here they had an OS that their daddy would leave well enough alone.

    • Salix OS 13.1.2 “LXDE” introduces tool to easily install from source

      A few days ago I mentioned Salix OS, a Slackware-based distribution, as one of my top five distributions of 2010. Even at the end of the year they are still keeping up the momentum and have released the last remaining version of 13.1.2, this time with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). Salix now has images for four different desktops: the standard XFCE, LXDE, KDE4 and since recently Fluxbox. Like the other, the LXDE release is now available for x86_64 as well. Seperate live images are currently available for all but the Fluxbox version.

    • 6 Alternative Ubuntu Desktops Worth Trying

      You may have also heard that the next Ubuntu version–Natty Narwhal, version 11.04–will use the 3D-enabled Unity desktop by default instead, along with the Wayland graphics system.

      Unity is still based on GNOME, so it won’t affect the use of any GNOME-based applications, Canonical says. It will also still be possible to reinstall GNOME, if you really want it.

    • Reviews

      • In-Depth Chakra “Ashoc” 0.3.0 Review and Impressions

        This is guest blogger Prashanth Venkataram, and I write and manage the blog Das U-Blog by Prashanth, where I post reviews of Linux distributions and software as well as my thoughts about the current state of science, technology, and people’s freedoms (especially with regard to technology).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 “LoveLock” To Get MySQL 5.5 & PostGreSQL 9

          Fedora has always kept it’s promise of bringing cutting-edge computer technology to it’s users. It has now been confirmed that Fedora 15, codenamed LoveLock will ship two database packages: MySQL 5.5 and PostGreSQL 9. Fedora 15 Lovelock will have a couple of other advanced features too like Wayland & Systemd about which we have already told you earlier.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu and the Apple point of view

        There was a presentation by Gaurav Paliwal on Debian vs Ubuntu and why you should pick Debian over Ubuntu. I’ve been associated with Ubuntu for a very long time now. I started using Ubuntu when it was a nascent project (in 2006) and I was a passionate (severe and extremist would also do here) evangelist of the system. Ubuntu was doing something that no distribution had ever done before. It was bringing Linux to the masses. I was a part of those “masses” too. I supported them and I was proud to be a tiny part of the movement.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • A slightly less open Ubuntu recovery mode

          Ubuntu recovery mode is a basic boot configuration for repairing a broken system. In this mode it skips most configuration files and daemons in order to achieve a functioning root prompt. For the security-conscious administrator this itself is a problem.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1

            The download is simple enough, from the Pinguy OS page on Sourceforge. With all of the extras that they have added to Ubuntu, this is strictly a LiveDVD distribution, they haven’t attempted to shoehorn it into a CD image. But, how to turn that LiveDVD image into a LiveUSB stick?

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition review

            Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE, is the edition of Linux Mint based on Debian Testing. The latest release was made available for download on December 24, 2010. LMDE was announced as an alternate edition of Linux Mint in first week of September 2010. A review of that release was focused on the installation program. This article presents a more detailed review of this distribution.

          • Ubuntu Remixes: 4 Of The Best Alternatives to Ubuntu

            Our recent article entitled Ubuntu As Intended drew in a fair amount of discussion about the base software and configuration in the default Ubuntu install. Some readers pointed out a few alternatives that aim to take the standard Ubuntu desktop and give it more polish than the original. Some of these projects just include a few extra packages, some replace the standard software suite, and others are complete makeovers. Today we aim to sift through a few of the more popular Ubuntu variants to find the best ones of the bunch, and see what they can offer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Can Ubuntu revive the netbook segment?

        Netbooks still matter in education, especially K12. They’re cheap (almost to the point of being disposable) and fit well into small hands. They can often last through a school day and generally give students lots of what they need with few of the bells and whistles they don’t. With all the talk of tablets, netbooks remain the easiest, cheapest way to get kids connected to the Internet and taking advantage of ubiquitous computer access at home and at school.

        That being said, netbooks aren’t sexy or inspiring. Give the average teacher a choice between netbooks for his or her students and iPads all around and, chances are, the iPads are going to win out, even if the teacher can’t describe the relative merits of either platform. It’s not that the iPads are a bad idea for students, by the way. It’s simply that there are times when netbooks (or full-sized laptops, for that matter) will lend themselves better to classroom use than iPads. Like when a student needs to type. Or use a Flash application.

    • Tablets

      • The Kno Textbook Tablet Preview

        Furthermore, the operating system of the Kno is Ubuntu Linux with a Webkit-based interface. This means that all apps for the Kno are written in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Reality Check: Open Source Milestones in 2010
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Open Source, The Cloud and Channel Partners: A Reality Check

      During a mid-2010 meeting I had with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, he predicted open source combined with cloud computing would allow Red Hat to thrive within small businesses. Whitehurst certainly didn’t go out on a limb. Plenty of open source companies — everyone from Canonical to Zmanda — are making cloud computing moves. But will those moves pay dividends to VARs, managed services providers (MSPs) and other types of channel partners?

  • Oracle

    • Oracle wins the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize

      The year 2010 has seen a number of enemies of open source software making waves. After thinking about it long and hard — about five minutes or so — I have determined the proper winner of the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize, though some other contenders deserve a Dishonorable Mention.

  • BSD

    • Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1

      After reading PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 Available for Testing last week I decided to give the latest version of PC-BSD a try on my ESXi server. I failed earlier to get the installation to succeed using PC-BSD 8.1, but I had no real issues with the new BETA1 based on FreeBSD 8.2 PRERELEASE. (PC-BSD will publish their final 8.2 version when the main FreeBSD project publishes 8.2 RELEASE.)

    • Linux Out, FreeBSD In

      Update 12/23: It turns out Linux programmers aren’t the only ones who find the RealTek 8139 chips frustrating. While perusing the FreeBSD code for the 8139 driver, I found a comment at the top of a source file to the effect that the 8139 “brings new meaning to the term ‘low-end.’” Ouch.

    • PC-BSD 8.2 Beta1 is released! Screenshots Tour

      The first beta release of PC-BSD 8.2 is released, a user-friendly desktop operating system based on FreeBSD. The Version 8.2 contains a number of enhancements and improvements.

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • If you are building an API for your product how much time should you spend researching existing open standards ?

      So how much time should you spend looking at existing standards? What would it be worth to you if there was a free specification that solved your problem, but was already designed, tested, was cleared of known patent clams, and which made your product more interoperable with other products? On the other hand, if you don’t look at existing standards, then what position does it put you in compared to a competitor who does implement an open standard?

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Republican betrayal of 9/11 responders

      Recently, though, perhaps the most unconscionable act was the blatant obstructionism Republican Senators engaged in recently: they threatened to deny healthcare to 9/11 first responders who are now suffering illnesses resulting from toxic exposures at Ground Zero. Reflecting the party’s flawed moral character, every single Senate Republican followed through on their threat to block the bill until Democrats agreed to extend Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firms’ lobbying push comes amid rancor on TSA use of airport full-body scanners

      The companies that build futuristic airport scanners take a more old-fashioned approach when it comes to pushing their business interests in Washington: hiring dozens of former lawmakers, congressional aides and federal employees as their lobbyists.

    • Morgan Tsvangirai faces possible Zimbabwe treason charge

      Zimbabwe is to investigate bringing treason charges against the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and other individuals over confidential talks with US diplomats revealed by WikiLeaks.

      Johannes Tomana, the attorney general, said he would appoint a commission of five lawyers to examine whether recent disclosures in leaked US embassy cables amount to a breach of the constitution. A cable dated 24 December 2009 suggested Tsvangirai privately insisted sanctions “must be kept in place”.

    • Iranian government stirs up antisemitism with invented massacre
    • The TSA’s state-mandated molestation

      As an American – that is, someone considered lucky to get seven consecutive days off work – the only way I could possibly travel such distance is to fly. But flying includes the legal obligation I submit to having my genitalia groped by some TSA thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers’ underwear. There’s only two ways an American flyer can reliably avoid this: be rich enough to buy your own plane, or a high-ranking congressman or other VIP exempt from the indignities they inflict upon ordinary citizens.

    • Briton goes on trial in Iraq charged with killing two colleagues

      Danny Fitzsimons, 29, from Middleton, Manchester, is charged with shooting dead another Briton, Paul McGuigan, and an Australian, Darren Hoare, in August 2009 and wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing.

    • Tunisian president vows to punish rioters after worst unrest in a decade

      Tunisia’s leader, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, has threatened a crackdown against violent protests over graduate unemployment following some of the country’s worst unrest in a decade.

    • Detained journalist questions right to freedom of speech for Palestinians

      An independent West Bank journalist detained for five days by Palestinian security forces after broadcasting a news item relating to frictions within the ruling Fatah party has questioned the extent to which freedom of speech is permitted by the Palestinian Authority.

    • Beatings and intimidation in the West Bank

      On Friday, I was detained by Border Police officers in Nabi Saleh along with another Israeli. We were handcuffed behind our backs, thrown to the ground and beaten. The other Israeli was beaten much worse than I. His head was smashed against the ground and he was kicked repeatedly in the stomach. All of this happened in front ofa Palestinian Btselem photographer who captured the whole thing on video. After the beating, we were then detained and held in a Jerusalem prison for thirty hours. This story is only unique because it happened to Jews.

    • Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer
    • Billions Down the Drain in Useless US Afghan Aid
  • Cablegate

    • Assange vows to release all files in case of death or incarceration

      In the interview, Assange reportedly said that 2,000 websites are prepared to flood the Internet with information if it is deemed necessary. Right now, that information is under strong password protection.

      Assange noted that the safeguard showed his group was acting responsibly.

  • Finance

    • Totally Busted: The Truth About Goldman’s Bailout by the Fed

      Thanks to these spectacularly large taxpayer-funded bailouts, Goldman was able to continue “doing God’s Work” – as CEO Lloyd Blankfein infamously remarked – like the work of producing billion-dollar trading profits without ever suffering a single day of losses.

      Thanks to the Fed’s massive, undisclosed assistance, Goldman Sachs managed to project an image of financial well-being, even while accessing tens of billions of dollars of direct assistance from the Federal Reserve.

      By repaying its TARP loan, for example, Goldman wriggled out from under the nettlesome compensation limits imposed by TARP, while also conveying an image of financial strength. But this “strength” was illusory. Goldman repaid the TARP loans with funds it procured days earlier from the Federal Reserve. Then, over the ensuing months, Goldman recapitalized its balance sheet by selling tens of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to the Fed.

      And the public never knew anything about these activities until two weeks ago, when the Fed was forced to reveal them….

      Secret bailouts do not merely benefit recipients; they also deceive investors into mistaking fantasy for fact. Such deceptions often punish honest investors, like the honest investors who sold short the shares of insolvent financial institutions early in 2009.

    • Goldman Sachs is a Bank: “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One”

      If Goldman Sachs was insolvent in 2008 (and we know that they were borrowing massively from the Fed which suggests insolvency), then it should have been shut down rather than bailed out by the taxpayer. Goldman Sachs is right now pretending that recovery has occurred but the rules were gimmicked to the banks’ advantage so that mainly finance has recovered. In spite of the mortgage crisis, not a single arrest, indictment or conviction has been made!

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Dying for data: the Indian activist killed for asking too many questions

      Shashidhar Mishra was always a curious man. Neighbours in the scruffy industrial town of Baroni, in the northern Indian state of Bihar, called him “kabri lal” or “the news man” because he was always so well informed.

      Late every evening, the 35-year-old street hawker would sit down with his files and scribble notes. In February, the father of four was killed outside his home after a day’s work selling pens, sweets and snacks in Baroni’s bazaar.

      The killing was swift and professional. The street lights went out, two men on motorbikes drew up and there were muffled shots. Mishra, an enthusiastic RTI activist, as those who systematically use India’s right to information law to uncover wrongdoing and official incompetence are known, became the latest in the country’s growing list of RTI martyrs.

    • Israeli activist imprisoned for protest against Gaza blockade

      Human rights activists condemned the prison term, saying it was an unusually harsh punishment for a charge that usually results in a non-custodial sentence.

      Pollak, 28, is one of the founders of a leftwing Israeli group called Anarchists against the Wall, which demonstrates with Palestinian activists in the occupied territories.

    • Iran arrests family of Kurdish activist due to be executed

      Iran has arrested the family of a Kurdish student whose execution, scheduled to take place on Boxing Day, was delayed because of protests outside the prison in which he has been held for three years.

    • US suspects top officials behind activist’s murder

      State Department cables revealed to the Herald by WikiLeaks, show that senior police briefed the embassy about the investigation into Munir’s murder, which has dogged the country’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudiyono.

    • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Russia’s political prisoner

      Vladimir Putin said, earlier this month, that a thief must be in jail. After his president, Dmitry Medvedev, said no official had the right to comment before a verdict had been reached, Putin said he was referring to the first conviction of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, not the second, which took place yesterday. Even if we discount the flagrant breach of due process that Putin’s comment constituted – it is only one of a lengthy list – his words rang hollow. As everyone who lives there knows, thieves in Russia don’t exclusively belong in a jail. They belong in government. They are in and around the Kremlin. Every official, high and low, steals. Whether you end up in jail, in government or owning a chunk of Cyprus, London or Nice, stems ultimately from a political calculation. Get the politics right and you stay a very wealthy man, whether you have stolen assets or not.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Beyond Wikileaks: How to get legal access to ACTA documents

          You can request legal access to ACTA related documents from the Council. Either documents are available through the register or for the confidential ones just fill out a form with your address and mention the requested document numbers. The Council will either enable public access to the documents and sent you a pdf or deny your request and state reasons for that or they sent you a crippled, a redacted version. If your request is refused you can file a confirmatory application and when that is denied again, you can go to court or complain at the EU ombudsman. In the case of ACTA the confidentiality at the Council was so rigid. Many first applications were rejected which is quite unusual.

        • Did the EU Commission secretly initial ACTA?

          According to European Parliament sources, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has already been initialed. That would be amazing: normally the initialling of a trade agreement is a PR moment. Take for instance the EU – Korea free trade agreement: “EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon have today initialled a free trade agreement (…) Speaking following the initialling in Brussels, Commissioner Ashton said (…)”. The initialling of a trade agreement signifies the closing of negotiations with a stable legal text. Negotiators sign with their initials.

Clip of the Day

Console Hacking 2010


Credit: TinyOgg

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    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  28. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  29. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  30. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government


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