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Links 31/1/2011: London Stock Exchange Report Cyberattack, Fudcon 2011 Starts

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Don’t Let ‘Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome’ Happen to You

    Windows users have many, many reasons to consider switching to Linux, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions already. For many, however, there’s one big, fat obstacle standing in the way: “Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome.”

    That’s right: It’s the simple fact that most of us “grew up” on Microsoft products and so have trouble imagining any other way of doing things.

  • Welcome to Linux city

    Which is why I would like to welcome you to Linux city. This city is not a new one it has been and still is being built up. The best thing about this city is that it’s supporting structure is so simple, yet so strong that the largest computer cities ever built, ie. the worlds fastest supercomputers, use Linux.

  • Desktop

    • PirateBox: an “artistic provocation” in lunchbox form

      Inside the PirateBox sits a Free Agent Dockstar, an Asus WL330GE wireless router, and a SanDisk 16GB flash drive. The software, including Debian Linux and the DD-WRT open-source router firmware, is all free. The total build cost is under $100, not counting the lunchbox enclosure and the optional battery pack (the PirateBox can alternately run on AC power).

  • Server

    • Network attacks (allegedly) ravage London Stock Exchange

      The London Stock Exchange and one of its counterparts in the US are investigating attacks that hit their networks last year and were intended to disrupt their operations, The Times reported on Monday.

      Officials for the LSE are investigating a possible breach of the open-source trading system last year that may have led to the wild Flash Crash last summer. On August 24, the share prices of five companies collapsed, prompting the exchange to shut down trading early. BT alone lost £968 million in market value in the SNAFU. Up to now, officials have blamed the crash on incorrect prices entered on a large number of stock orders.

    • London Stock Exchange under attack during Linux switch

      The London Stock Exchange’s new open source trading system may have been hacked last year, according to a report.

      The alleged attack came as the LSE began the switch over to the Linux-based systems, according to the dates referred to in the Times newspaper.

      The continued threat of cyber attack has resulted in the LSE keeping a close dialogue with British security services, which this year branded cyber attacks as one of the biggest threats to the country.

    • London Stock Exchange ‘under major cyberattack’ during Linux switch
  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel C Extras in a Linux Driver

      Enthused by how Pugs impressed their professor in the last class, Shweta wanted to do so too. And there was already an opportunity: finding out where the output of printk had gone. So, as soon as she entered the lab, she grabbed the best system, logged in, and began work. Knowing her professor well, she knew that he would have given a hint in the class itself. Recalling what had been taught, she remembered the error output demonstration from “insmod vfat.ko” — running dmesg | tail. She immediately tried that, and found the printk output there.

    • Linus Torvalds Never Imagined the Current Linux Ecosystem

      In open source, the idea that the endgame for a project won’t necessarily closely resemble the origin is a given, not a surprise. It’s part of the point of open source. If you look at what’s going on the Linux scene now, you see this concept being played out all around.

  • Applications

    • WordNet+Artha: A great Linux thesaurus combo

      I am a writer. I write loads of technical documentation as well as novels (check out my fiction on Smashwords and Autumnal Press). Because of my trade I am always seeking out tools to aid in my own process. And although the web has made everything so much easier, it is still good to have a few dedicated tools around to make everything easier.WordNet+Artha: A great Linux thesaurus combo

    • A Linux Compiler Deathmatch: GCC, LLVM, DragonEgg, Open64, Etc…

      Started by one of our readers more than a week ago was a compiler deathmatch for comparing the performance of GCC, LLVM Clang, PCC (the Portable C Compiler), TCC (Tiny C Compiler), and Intel’s C Compiler under Arch Linux. This user did not stop there with compiling these different x86_64 code compilers, but he also went on to look at the compiler performance with different compiler flags, among other options. The results are definitely worth looking at and here are some more.


      Overall these results are not too surprising compared to our previous Linux compiler benchmarks. Though with the addition of the Open64 compiler we see that in a number of benchmarks its able to produce incredibly fast binaries that are dramatically faster than those produced by GCC. We’ll be monitoring Open64 more closely, but for now be sure to also see the original compiler deathmatch thread with those separate test results, including of compiler tuning options.

    • Preview of Simplicity an Upcoming XBMC Skin from the Creators of Shade!

      Shade is my absolute preferred skin for XBMC Media Center (and is to be featured in my upcoming XBMC Install, Setup and Configuration Guide for Linux Mint and Ubuntu). It combines the best features and views as popular skins (as well as some found nowhere else!) like Alaska, Confluence, and Aeon (and their mods and variants) while having a higher level of polish and professional aesthetic over the lot. (This conclusion has been researched and reached first hand over many hours of trying and configuring the various skins as well as demonstrating for others and getting their opinions on the aesthetics and appeals of the various skins.)

    • Proprietary

      • Linux Remote Support Software – Bomgar

        Do you use both windows and Linux? Wish you could remote into Windows from Linux and to other Linux distributions? Well, you can. Just like when using a Remote Desktop Connection between Microsoft platforms (or remoting between Linux machines), you can bring up the desktop of the other platform. You can click around the desktop and run applications just as if you were sitting in front of the computer.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux Games Icon Pack

        A reader has put together an icon pack for various popular Linux games (thanks SeanW!):


      • The Legend of Edgar 0.76

        The Legend of Edgar has been updated to 0.76:

        * Fixed a crash when killing a centurion
        * Corrected the makefile version number
        * The fish in the Left Tower no longer become stuck if the player falls in the water
        * Fixed a bug when the player becomes frozen in ice
        * Fixed a bug where the player could not turn into a Slime if standing on the ground
        * Added Spanish translation

      • 35 Great Open Web Games

        Game On 2010 is Mozilla Labs‘ first international gaming competition. Game On is all about games built, delivered and played on the open Web and the browser.

      • Entanglement – Browser based HTML5 fun!

        Ive always maintained that there is a market for those simple, addictive games on any platform. You might be waiting for a download to finish, an email to come through or a message to pop up in IRC. Whatever it is though there are always a few minutes of void to fill and this is where the traditional “little game” comes into its own. On the Linux desktop I think users are sick to death of solitaire or mine sweeper and Entanglement fills that slot nicely.

  • Desktop Environments

    • How to save your Linux screen space

      You probably already know that a tiling window manager is one of the alternatives often provided by distributions alongside the standard Gnome or KDE desktops.

      Instead of floating windows, with their ability to move anywhere, and stacked applications that overlap one another, a tiling window manager locks applications to the display, splitting as necessary to run applications side by side. When you run enough applications together, your desktop can start to look like a tiled bathroom, which is presumably why they’re called tiling window managers.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Sabayon 5.5 KDE

        Sabayon uses KDE 4.5.5, though it is possible to start using KDE 4.6 (which was released a few days ago and which I hope to review relatively soon) through updates. No part of KDE ever crashed, which is great news. I think it’s safe to say that the issues I had with Sabayon 5.4 KDE were due to VirtualBox, not due to either Sabayon or KDE.

      • Reviews: First impressions of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1

        Having tried Chakra I find myself in a bit of a reviewer’s dilemma. The reason I tried Chakra was I had people telling me it was stable, despite the alpha branding, and that it was a wonderful fast, reliable, usable system. My experience was quite the opposite. Chakra failed to remain stable enough to launch applications, or sometimes even to finish booting, on my desktop machine. The installer either refused to complete or would crash, the Bundle application didn’t work and the project lacked documentation in a key area. I was further put off by emoticons on the website and in my status messages. I realize these are hobbyists and Chakra isn’t a professional distro, but I’m wary about handing my hard drive over to a product that writes messages akin to those found in the average Twitter feed. On the other hand, any criticism I can aim at Chakra can be swept aside with the project’s “alpha” designation. The project plainly warns it’s still in the early development stages and one should be prepared for bugs, crashes and hasmtericide. It’s probably best to wait until Chakra is pronounced stable before giving it a try.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fudcon 2011 day 1

          Today started way too early (after going to sleep late). Breakfast was in the hotel food area. I had a nice chat with Dave Malcolm about python and packages and so forth, then off to the main event.

          Lots of folks in the main opening talk. Lots and lots of barcamp pitches. Max wearing not one, but _two_ silly hats. A nice “state of Fedora” from Jared. Then over to the barcamp area where I had a nice chat with jlaska about AutoQA. I wish we had a better way to get people involved there, but it’s hard. I suggested a few new tests and suggested it might be easier to get folks interested once some of the tests are actually active.

        • Fedora FUDcon Tempe: Meet the Anaconda Team

          David Cantrell and Chris Lumens started the session by going around the room and introducing everyone on the team. They talked a bit about their storage testing framework (Chris did a separate session on this), and how Anaconda is pretty hard to get started with as a contributor, but the testing framework is an easy way to get involved – submit test. This can be even more helpful than submitting code patches and the test system is easy to contribute to. I didn’t catch how exactly / where to submit tests though; I didn’t catch Chris’ session on that.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0: Stability and Power to the People

        Debian official releases are more rare than releases of other distributions, but tend to matter less to users. Judging by the second release candidate, Debian 6.0 will be no exception. In other words, the new release should deliver the usual ultra-reliability, and serve as a solid basis not only for Debian itself, but also the countless other distros that will depend upon it, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint.


        With this support, the installer can offer an impressive set of choices for those who want them. Packages can be selected according to the intended function of the installation — for instance, desktop environment, or file server or laptop. While dropping ReiserFS, partitioning includes both a choice of ext2, ext3, ext4, btrfs, JFS and XFS filesystems (sensibly defaulting to ext 3 as the best combination of mature features and stability), and multiple partitions (either placing /home on a separate partition, or sub-dividing a drive into root, /home /usr, /var, and /temp partitions.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • 11 Killer Features That Make Ubuntu 11.04 Worth the Wait

          Ubuntu 11.04 dubbed Natty Narwhal will bring some major changes to the traditional Ubuntu desktop. As the conventional desktop gets a major overhaul, the spanking new Unity interface is busy preparing itself to replace the time-honored Gnome interface. Furthermore, some well-known default applications are getting replaced by newer and more feature-laden ones. While many users have welcomed these changes with open arms, a few disapproving nods have raised doubts over their success. Nevertheless, Ubuntu 11.04, which releases on 28th April 2011, promises to bring a burst of freshness to the Linux desktop along with a slew of new users.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Thinkpad T410 and Kubuntu

            Laptop refresh time is here, thanks Canonical. Faced with the prospect of finding a computer to spend a grand on I took the bus trip to Fry’s in Dallas. Fry’s is a large computer supermarket, I don’t recommend it for the cafeteria but they do have a large selection of laptops to browse. The staff are annoyingly keen to help you, until you start asking about the finer details of processor ranges and mention Ubuntu. All their laptops have glossy screens, a phenomenon I do not understand.


            Pleasingly Linux just works. Wifi is fine. Compositing great (Intel i915). Suspend is all good. External video works. Volume buttons works. Only wee issue is that mute button turns off hardware and software mute, but if software is already mute then it turns it mute off and hardware mute on.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Why Apple Fears Honeycomb

          Unless you miraculously found a way to live under a rock on the moon for the past 25 years, you’ve had a pretty good chance of seeing the Apple Macintosh 1984 commercial [below], the one directed by Ridley Scott, the one with the woman running through hallways of automatons ultimately to toss a hammer through a screen, smashing an image of Big Brother. This commercial was made to announce the release of the Macintosh personal computer. Today we’ve been treated to an ad spot made by Motorola to promote their upcoming tablet computer XOOM, featuring the new Google Android mobile operating system Android 3.0 Honeycomb, made specifically for tablets – this commercial directly targets the 1984 commercial for Apple Macintosh. Yesterday a massive article by creative director Steve Hayden detailed his work on and knowledge of the 1984 commercial, celebrating its excellence.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2011: The Year of Women in FOSS

    Is it the be-all and end-all to ending sexism in FOSS? No. Is there a significant way to go in gaining gender equality, both in attitude and practice? Yes. Do you hate it as much as I do when people answer their own questions? I hope so.

  • The True Spirit of Open Source

    When people talk about the merits of Open Source software vs closed source/proprietary software, one of the most common advantages listed for open source is “you have the source, you can modify it, you can change it”. This is my worst favorite argument, and I even catch our own sales guys saying it now and then when they’re prepping for a presentation they’re giving. This is a great argument in some instances. But I hear it being used in a lot of situations where it doesn’t apply. For example, without a lot of coding experience and time, a network administrator can’t modify or change something like Snort. So why market Snort to them that way? It doesn’t apply. I’ve got a different opinion of what being “open source” does for the network admin (or security admin, if the company in question makes that distinction), and I recently got a chance to experience exactly this in real life.

  • Patrons vexed by glitches in new library software

    The King County Library System’s switch to nonproprietary software put the system at the forefront of a national movement to free libraries from the poor service and high costs some feel they are getting from commercial vendors.

  • Events

    • Pesce sorry for raunchy pics at Linux.conf.au

      Sydney-based writer and futurist Mark Pesce has apologised for using sexy images during his keynote address at the annual Linux.conf.au (LCA) open source conference in Brisbane last week.

    • ABLEconf CfP extended two weeks for FUDcon

      While ABLEconf has already recieved many great proposals, it overlooked FUDcon: Tempe 2011 taking place the week after the close of ABLEconf’s Call for Presentations. For this reason, ABLEconf is extending the Call for Presentations two weeks: until Saturday, February 6th, 2011.

    • Linux Professional Institute Hosts Exam Labs at SCALE and Indiana Linux Fest

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced promotional exam labs for their Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) at SCALE 9x (Los Angeles, California: February 27, 2011) and Indiana Linux Fest (Indianapolis, Indiana: March 27, 2011).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google pushes ahead with Chrome 10

        Google is clearly going to continue its headlong dash into the browser market in 2011, having just released version 10 of its Chrome browser. Just last month users were getting used to the stable release of Chrome 8 and already version 10 is popping up in the development channel.

    • Mozilla

      • 12 Thunderbird Addons You Shouldn’t Be Without

        I have seen many people and companies shy away from Microsoft products recently. Whether they are moving to a Mac or just want to save costs initially. There are a host of freeware products out there to fit your needs.

      • Mozilla pays out US$40,000 for web bugs

        Mozilla, developers of the popular Firefox web browser, has paid out US$40,000 in the past month for bugs on its websites and in its apps.

        Last month, the open-source developer said it would extend its bug bounty program beyond its Firefox browser to include other web tools.

      • Mozilla sprints to improve developer documentation

        For the last six plus months, Mozilla developers have been focused on building Firefox 4. That’s not the only effort that Mozilla is now sprinting to complete, developer documentation at the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is now also being completed.

        Instead of a ‘code sprint’, MDN is having a doc sprint – starting Jan 28th and running for 34 hours until Jan 29th.


    • GNUPlot—Plotting is fun

      While strings and pages of data seem cryptic, a plot reveals the entire data flow at a glance. Interpretation suddenly seems much easier. Understanding that maze of numbers is just a glance away. Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, statisticians etc. rely heavily on plots. While OriginLab, an expensive commercial plotting software, is heavily used among university researchers or those blessed with bulging purses, GNUPlot doesn’t lag behind, and is much used by scientists at the IITs, IIScs and universities. In fact, knowledge and skill in GNUPlot is one of the requirements for some of the posts for Senior Research Fellow at the IITs!

  • Government

    • Open source access unchanged under revised Oz law

      Enterprises or individuals that purchase software which uses open source components are entitled to demand access to the relevant source code despite recent changes to the law, according to Australian technology laywer Brendan Scott.

      In mid-2010, Scott completed an analysis of the now-superseded Trade Practices Act for Linux Australia, and concluded that consumers were entitled to demand access to source code used in any hardware or software products under that act.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Al Jazeera Offers Up Egypt Coverage To Anyone Who Wants To Use It Under Creative Commons License

      If you’ve been following the goings on in Egypt over the past week, it’s likely that you at least saw some of Al Jazeera’s rather comprehensive coverage. The Egyptian government was so annoyed by the coverage that it “shut down” Al Jazeera’s Egyptian offices (and Egyptian politicians are calling for trying Al Jazeera correspondents as “traitors”). Of course, it’s worth pointing out that most of us in the US have no options for watching Al Jazeera via a regular TV channel either, since almost no US TV companies are willing to carry the channel.


  • Processor Architecture, Linux, and the Future

    Twice in the past week I have gotten into discussions with friends about the topic of processor architecture. One of these discussions was about the cell processor. The cell processor is a Power-PC based, micro-processor that was designed to bridge the gap between traditional 64bit processors and GPUs. The second discussion was about another type of processor architecture most of us use everyday – the ARM processor (as of 2007 an approximated 98% of mobile phones use an ARM chip).

    The topics of the discussions were fairly similar – why is it with all these other architectures have to offer x86/64bit processors still dominate our desktop computers? Cell processors are incredibly powerful and ARM chips use an extremely low amount of energy for the processing power they provide.

  • Clarence Thomas should be INDICTED

    Violations are punishable by a fine and 5 to 8 years in prison. Thomas could be charged with separate counts for each year he falsely stated that his wife had no “Non Investment Income”

    The Department of Justice publishes a handbook to provide guidance to prosecutors.

  • Science

    • Biometric Recognition Systems Not as Infallible as Many Believe

      Popular movies and TV shows often portray advanced fingerprint, voice, or retina recognition systems as a foolproof means of identification. In fact, governments increasingly are looking to biometric technologies as a better way to track terrorists at borders. And some companies have started using biometrics to control access to buildings or information. What does the scientific evidence say about the effectiveness of these systems for security or surveillance?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dutch parliament to be lobbied to legalise all ‘recreational’ drugs

      The petition is being promoted by the Netherlands Drugs Policy Foundation, and has high-profile support from former EU commissioner Fritz Bolkestein and former deputy prime minister and scientist Dr Els Borst-Eilers.

      It is a sign of the economic times in the Netherlands that the argument in favour of legalising drugs has moved from one of principled opposition to prohibition to one which highlights potential savings to the state of about €20 billion a year.

    • Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

      The insurgency against the DSM-5 (the APA has decided to shed the Roman numerals) has now spread far beyond just Allen Frances. Psychiatrists at the top of their specialties, clinicians at prominent hospitals, and even some contributors to the new edition have expressed deep reservations about it.

    • Opinion: depleted uranium, child cancer and denial

      It was recently reported that doctors had advised women in Fallujah not to give birth. There are many medical reasons for infertility which might shatter the dreams of a young woman. It is not difficult to imagine how heartbreaking it must be for a woman who is advised that she can never bear children.

  • Security

    • Anonymous: a net gain for liberty

      This Thursday, as thousands of Anonymous activists continued their two-week campaign of assistance to the successful revolution in Tunisia and the nascent pro-democracy uprisings in Egypt and Algeria, the governments of the US and UK scored a victory of their own, with the arrest of three teenagers and two young adults who are accused of participating in distributed denial of service attacks, or DDoS, against the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Sri Lankan army is selling vegetables

      The Sri Lankan military is getting a makeover. Now that the war with the Tamil Tigers is over it is time to wash off the stains and spruce up. Military personnel may be spotted painting public buildings or engaged in projects to beautify Colombo, with defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa personally overseeing the transformation and development of the city.

    • Cabinet should have been told of attorney general’s doubts, Iraq inquiry hears

      Civil service head Gus O’Donnell suggests Tony Blair breached ministerial code by not providing full text of legal advice

    • Chinese dissident Wu Yuren faces ‘fake’ charge of assaulting police

      A dissident artist accused of assaulting police told a court in Beijing that the case was “all fake”, his wife said today.

      Wu Yuren denies obstructing public service with violence and says it was officers who assaulted him when he went to a police station to report stolen property last May. His companion that day has said he heard Wu screaming in pain after police dragged him away.

    • It’s time for parents to stand with their children at the student protests

      Major student protests are planned tomorrow in Manchester and London and already police are warning that they plan to increase the severity of their tactics. I was at two of the protests at the end of last year, and the change in tactics was striking. Whereas on the 10 November demonstration no one was hurt, on 9 December there were large numbers of protester casualties – and a smaller but still significant number of less severe police injuries. The casualties seemed to be a direct result of the change in police tactics. If these now become even more extreme, there will no doubt be more violence and more people hurt. On the 9 December protest my son, Alfie Meadows, received life-threatening injuries in an incident that is now the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.

    • Civil Society Demands End to State of Emergency

      The lifting of the state of emergency that has been in force in Algeria for nearly 20 years has emerged as a rallying point for groups united for democratic change.

    • The New Islamic Republic of Iraq

      Last week, the Iraqi government shut down social clubs that serve alcohol in Baghdad, enraging the educated class who demonstrated against the extreme Islamic-inspired order. Today, Iraqis woke up to hear a far worse order; the Iraqi Ministry of Education has banned theater and music classes in Baghdad’s Fine Arts Institute, and ordered the removal of statues showcased at the entrance of the institute without explaining the move.

    • Facebook Owned 42% of Egyptian Web Traffic Before Blackout

      How important a role did Facebook play in the popular revolution that swept Egypt last week? According to data from security firm zScaler: it was very important. Fully 42% of the country’s Web surfing on January 27, the day before Egypt’s main ISPs abruptly severed ties to the Internet.

      Activity on Egyptian Web servers monitored by zScaler surged by 68% on January 26th as the popular protests against the government of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak gained steam, as Egyptians looked for news coverage of the protests and leveraged Facebook and other platforms to spread the word about civil actions. Data from zScaler shows that traffic to social networking sites account for around 39% of all Web surfing on January 27th, while traffic to news sites accounted for another 27% of overall Web surfing activity.

    • Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable

      In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation. Americans should not confuse that talk with reality. Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth. The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history.

    • Lebanon’s return to Syria-backed rule is likely to keep Hezbollah in check

      The toppling of the pro-western March 14 alliance in Lebanon by its pro-Syrian adversaries – including Hezbollah – has led to a worldwide media scare. Many western news organisations portrayed it as some sort of Islamist takeover.

      Even the BBC reported that the “Hezbollah nominee”, Najib Mikati, won the most votes to succeed Saad Hariri as prime minister. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News went further in that direction, reporting: “Hezbollah gain control of Lebanese government”.

      The fact is that they are all missing the point. Syria, and not Hezbollah, won control of Lebanon’s government. In the past year, many articles have shown Syria recovering its political weight, and the latest developments in Lebanon are testimony to this.

    • We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail

      And Arabs from the Mashreq to the Maghreb are watching, egging on those protesters to topple Hosni Mubarak who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, because they know if he goes, all the other old men will follow, those who have smothered their countries with one hand and robbed them blind with the other. Mubarak is the Berlin Wall. “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak,” resonates through the whole region.

    • The Aljazeera Scandal

      Recently, the Turkish flotilla scandal centered around the question: was it a good idea for commandos to slide down ropes onto the ship, or should another form of attack have been adopted? Almost nobody asked: should Gaza have been blockaded in the first place? Wasn’t it smarter to start talking with Hamas? Was it a good idea to attack a Turkish ship on the high sees?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • No, clean energy is not a substitute for climate change

      I was going to let this go after my last post, but it keeps coming up in email and on Twitter: “Obama talked about clean energy. Isn’t that the same as talking about climate change?” Add to that the characteristically smug posts from Innoventioneers congratulating themselves on winning the future, and it looks like I need to take one more run at this.

    • Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

      The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency—and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full “life cycle” of gas production—is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.

  • Finance

    • Face of Mideast unrest: young and hungry for jobs

      Just days before fleeing Tunisia, the embattled leader went on national television to promise 300,000 new jobs over two years.

      Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak did much the same Saturday as riots gripped Cairo and other cities: offering more economic opportunities in a country where half the people live on less than $2 a day.

    • A Bank Crisis Whodunit, With Laughs and Tears

      TRULY startling revelations were few in the voluminous report, published last Thursday by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on the origins of the financial panic. This is hardly a shock, given the flood-the-zone coverage and analysis of the crisis since it erupted four years ago.

    • Goldman Sachs Gives Blankfein a Big Raise

      Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, had a rough 2010. But at least he got a raise: his bonus increased by $3.6 million, according to a regulatory filing.

      The company’s board granted restricted stock valued at $12.6 million to Mr. Blankfein and other senior executives, including Gary D. Cohn, the president. The board also approved a new annual base salary of $2 million for its chief executive, up from $600,000. Mr. Cohn and others will see their base salaries increase to $1.85 million, according to the filing on Friday.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Josh Birnbaum

      Josh Birnbaum’s “Prepared Remarks of Ex-Goldman Sachs Executive Joshua Birnbaum” for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (April 27, 2010) can be found on Dealbook here.

    • Cutting the Corporate Income Tax

      I listened to the State of the Union speech. What I heard, though, was not President Obama’s string of irritating platitudes, but the sound of a nation bent on self-destruction.

      I don’t say this lightly. Intellectuals have been talking about the fall of the new Rome for decades, and mostly it has been hyperbolic nonsense. This time feels different. It even makes the darkest days of the Bush-Cheney administration seem like some distant, bygone utopia.

      The reason for this change is the emergence of two extremely powerful groups that have not the slightest interest in any notion of the public good and are willing to put all of it in jeopardy to satisfy the shortest of short-term interests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NYT Promotes Destructive Myths About Aristide

      Ginger Thompson wrote in the New York Times on January 19 that former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “rose to power as a champion of Haiti’s poor but became notorious for his violent crackdowns of political dissent.” [1]
      The “political dissent” that Thompson refers to is a campaign that included murderous raids into Haiti by rebels comprised of former soldiers and death squad leaders. The rebels were given a safe haven and a base for operations in the Dominican Republic. They were audacious enough to mount an assault on Haiti’s National Palace in December of 2001. After a gun battle, they were chased back into the Dominican Republic. The rebels were led by Guy Philippe and Jodel Chamblain, a man responsible for the deaths and torture of thousands of people during Haiti’s military rule of 1991-1994 (after the first US backed coup ousted Aristide in 1991). [2]

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • Save Hungary’s Archive

      A proposed law may lead to the destruction of Hungarian secret police documents preserved by the Historical Archives of Hungarian State Security

      In what serves as a very disturbing development for anyone with an interest in Hungary’s Cold War history, the Hungarian government is preparing to enact a new law which may lead to the blatant, politically-motivated sanitization of the country’s communist past. Allegedly out of a concern for privacy rights, citizens who were spied upon or observed by the previous regime’s state security officers may now not only ask to view their files at the Archives of Hungarian State Security in Budapest, but may also remove these preserved archival documents from the reading room, take them home and have them destroyed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • NewsBytes: Google, Bittorrent, ACS:Law and Sony’s Android app.

        There has been numerous reports on the attempts by ACS:Law to drop its 26 outstanding cases whilst they are still under scrutiny by Judge Birss. Andrew Crossley appears to have more than a few issues to deal with after perusing what many call “speculative invoicing” in respect of alleged unlawful file sharing. Firstly he has to contend with a reported group action of harassment in respect of the letters he sent out to those alleged to be sharing copyrighted material, secondly he has Judge Birss scrutinizing the cases he is trying to drop, making some rather damning comments on how both Andrew Crossley and Media-cat have conducted these cases. Next he has the information commissioner looking at the ACS:Law email leak, that whilst Mr Crossley claims was as a result of hacking, its reported that whilst a Ddos attack brought his site down, it was incompetence of an admin that exposed the ACS:law emails to the world. All this and Mr Crossley has to yet again answer to the SRA at a later date as a result of numerous complaints he has received. Let’s not also forget any other cases that may be brought against him by disgruntled recipients of his letter campaign.

Clip of the Day

Linus Torvalds, Linux and GNU/Linux

Credit: TinyOgg

TechBytes Episode 29: KDE, Other Desktop Environments, and Programming

Posted in TechBytes at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:39:34 30.8 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (45.6 MB)

Summary: Tim and Roy catch up with some news about GNU/Linux and enter discussions regarding these areas

TONIGHT’S unplanned show covered mostly GNU/Linux-related issues. Corresponding articles will be linked very shortly in OpenBytes‘ show notes. (Update: the notes have just been published)

RSS 64x64The show ends with our default track. We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011
Episode 26: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More 18/1/2011
Episode 27: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 27: Linux Phones, Pardus, Trusting One’s Government-funded Distribution, and Much More 22/1/2011
Episode 28: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 28: The Weekend After Microsoft’s Results and LCA 30/1/2011

Links 31/1/2011: A Look at Mandriva 2010.2, Sabayon Linux 5.5 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The hidden places where Linux dominates

    While the fight for desktop dominance is still raging somewhere in the distance, Linux has quietly succeeded in the places no one thinks to look.

    It’s being used in mobile phones, set-top boxes, media streamers and routers. It’s being used to fuel the London Stock Exchange and to provide in-flight entertainment for thousands of travellers.

  • Desktop

    • When Is It Time To Switch Operating Systems?

      Is Linux really harder? Well, for a Windows user trying to switch a friend or relative…my goodness, yes. If I blasted back to early 2003 and tried to switch people over to Linux with the understanding I had back then, it would have been a mess. But like being the “support guy” for any family or group of friends, it can work and most DEFINITELY has its place. The key is to be the support guy who knows how to use it in the first place. You know, much like Windows or OS X.

  • Server

    • Microsoft Asks Intel to Make 16-Core Atom Chip

      ARM is reported to be developing chip design for switches and servers. Microsoft recently stated that it is porting Windows to Arm processors to be used in mobile devices but servers are different because it is expected to run various existing software. Arm on the other hand reiterated that most servers need only to run a few software such as Linux, Apache, MySQL database, and PHP.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 188 – Minix Lint

      This week on Linux Outlaws: Eric Schmidt replaced as Google CEO, OSI and FSF join forces to protect software freedom, Florian Mueller spreads anti-Android FUD, a review of Linux Mint 10 Debian Edition and much more…

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Version 1.0 Of Enlightenment Foundation Libraries

      If you missed it this Friday night, version 1.0 of the core Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) have been released.


      After Enlightenment E16 1.0 was released in 2009, other milestones since then have been an E17 snapshot, Samsung sponsoring Enlightenment’s development, and Enlightenment is now even running on refrigerators.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • It’s like someone rewrote Plasma from scratch

        Ever since I switched to KDE4 I kept having the weirdest issues with Plasma. The problems ranged from small design glitches to freakishly strange behavior which rendered Plasma unusable every now and then. Today I’ve solved (almost) all of those issues, which, as it turned out, could all be fixed within a minute. But let’s not jump to the cause & workaround just yet.


        Finally: I can’t tell you how great and polished KDE 4.6 suddenly feels. It’s been a while I’ve been that proud of it. And all because of two extra digits in a little text config file.

      • How To Install Oxygen-Transparent Style In Ubuntu [KDE]

        KDE 4.6 was supposed to ship with a transparent Oxygen style but in the end it didn’t make it “due to serious issues (notably with embedded widgets, such as videos) which cannot be fixed at the style level”. But that doesn’t mean you can’t install Oxygen-Transparent. Read on!

    • Xfce

      • XFCE 4.8 Ubuntu 10.04 And 10.10 PPAs

        XFCE 4.8 was released about two weeks ago, bringing GVFS support for Thunar (so it can now browse remote shares using FTP, Windows Shares, WebDav and SSH), XFCE panel improvements and more.

  • Distributions

    • Maverick boots in 8 seconds on SSD!

      There you go. Enjoy the under-10-second boot! As promised, it finally arrived. But then, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint what makes one laptop boot faster and another slower. You have ancient laptops that boot as quickly as brand new high-end notebooks. It’s a tricky combination of hardware and software, almost a magic, if you will.

      Still, eight seconds – or rather, almost nine seconds, is an extremely reasonable number, more so when you compare to other operating systems. I did test with Fedora, openSUSE and several more distros, none gave boot times as good as Ubuntu. Furthermore, taking Windows as the main antagonist in this race, Maverick wins hands down. There’s the humble and unexpected battery life bonus, too.

      I hope you liked this article. If you got any crazy ideas about other benchmarks, feel free to send me your ideas and your hardware. I’ll be more than glad to abuse them.

    • Linux Vendors Putting Up an App Store

      Linux is joining the app store bandwagon. Major Linux distributions announced that they will team up to make an app store for Linux users. With a Linux app store in place, users will have a place to look for apps no matter what distribution they use.

      An Application Store will bring more users to the Linux platform. Third party developers will also be lured to the platform. The normal users can find and install applications that will be added to the current package management.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2010.2 makes Linux easy

        Mandriva Linux’s latest release is testament to the work done by developers to make it one of the easiest to use Linux releases ever.

        Despite ongoing financial woes, Mandriva Linux developers have delivered the latest version of this popular desktop Linux operating system. Mandriva Linux 2010.2 is the latest in a long line of Mandriva releases from the company that used to be known as Mandrake Linux, and it every bit as user-friendly as promised.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Torrents

        No fear, “torrent site:debian.org” finds 4700 hits. Perhaps the censorship is more targeted or being phased in.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • [Full Circle] issue 45

          * Command and Conquer.
          * How-To : Program in Python – Part 19, Virtualization : Debian Xen Part 2 and Installing Ubuntu with m23.
          * Linux Lab – Creating a Multiboot USB stick.
          * Review – KDE 4.5.
          * Top 5 – Music Annotation Apps.
          plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and much much more!

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux Release Candidate

            Today the Bodhi team and I are happy to announce our release candidate (0.1.5) is now available to the general public. This disc includes a number of package updates, most notably Firefox beta 10 and EFL 1.0 stable release. For a full change log see here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Google Android Honeycomb ported to the NOOKcolor: Doesn’t really work yet

        The good news is that the first version of Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb has been ported to an existing Android tablet. Xda-developers forum member deeper-blue combined data from the preview SDK Google released this week with a kernel for the NOOKcolor eBook reader to get the software up and running on the tablet.

        The bad news is that the port is mostly a proof of concept at this point. There’s no hardware acceleration yet, and while deeper-blue did manage to get touch input to start working, he says the tablet is very slow while running Android 3.0. Hardware graphics acceleration might improve things, and he hopes to work on that this weekend.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why I’m not an open source person any more

    I still use open source software extensively (I’m writing this in WordPress, using Mozilla on Gnome on Ubuntu), but then, so does everyone, whether they know it or not. Sometime around the early 2000s, Linux and other open source software stopped being a fringe, weirdo thing and started just being a sensible choice for most Internet projects. And since almost everything’s on the Internet these days, well, open source is just something that is.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • New Class Suit Hits LexisNexis for Unfair Fees

      Days from announcing a commitment from Ubuntu, The Document Foundations debuts its first full, stable (and free) release of the next generation of OpenOffice – LibreOffice 3.3. Steven J. Vaughan has details on the new release and following is a gallery of some of the most important new features.

    • Jenkins!

      So what does this mean now? Well, it means Jenkins lives. We’ve registered jenkins-ci.org, though it’s empty at the moment. In the coming days, we will be renaming the existing Google Groups to jenkins-*@googlegroups.com, renaming the Twitter account from @hudsonci to @jenkinsci, and renaming our organization at Github from hudson to jenkinsci. I wanted to make sure everyone had notice ahead of time that this was happening, so that no one gets surprised by changes to their incoming mail, etc. As said before, the initial, interim governance board will consist of me, Kohsuke and, if he and Oracle are willing, Winston. If Winston is unwilling or unable to continue in that role with Jenkins, we will select a replacement interim member. The interim board will work on the details of a more permanent governance process going forward. Discussions on the infrastructure changes (including things like the Maven groupId/artifactIds, etc) will be in public, on these lists. We’re working to get the JIRA and wiki contents migrated over to the Jenkins site, and hope to work with Oracle to get that done in the next couple days.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • As Egypt Erupts, Al Jazeera Offers Its News for Free to Other Networks

      Qatar-based cable news network Al Jazeera is not available on United States cable systems — except in local markets in Vermont, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

      But that hasn’t stopped the major American news outlets from relying on the international news network for critical reportage on the growing unrest in Egypt.

    • [Old] How to Train Death Squads and Quash Revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq

      Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as “what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places”. Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.

    • Open Data

      • Open Public Data: Then What? – Part 1

        The following guest post is by Daniel Kaplan, Director of Fing (the Next-Generation Internet Foundation, France). Today he explores three possible futures for Open Public Data, and on Monday he will suggest ways to ensure that we are moving in the best direction.

        We tend to assume that the opening up of public data will only produce positive outcomes for individuals, for society and the economy. But the opposite may be true. We should start thinking further ahead on the possible consequences of releasing public data, and how we can make sure they are mostly positive.

    • Open Access/Content

      • All Icelandic literature to go online?

        Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson, formerly of the National Library of Iceland had a big idea: digitize all Icelandic literature all the way to the current day and make it available to everyone interested in reading it. The Internet Archive was eager to be a part of this bold vision.

  • Programming

    • Ruby Dropped in Netbeans 7

      Ruby/RoR in NetBeans made headlines three years ago, but after Sun was acquired by Oracle there where fears that support for dynamic languages would suffer, as this IDE would be downsized. This has become a reality, since as of version 7, NetBeans will no longer support Ruby.

    • Which Programming Language Should I Learn Next?

      What Makes a Language Usable or Worth Learning?

      This is a common question I see people discuss: most often I’ve seen it in “Common Lisp vs. Scheme” discussions common in Lisp forums. The question there seems directed at why Common Lisp has been so much more popular than Scheme. That’s a dubious premise, seeing that many people learn Scheme in college CS classes, at least that’s my impression (as I said, I’ve never taken such a class). The real premise of the question is “Why does Common Lisp have so many libraries, whereas Scheme makes you recreate format?” Paul Graham’s creation of Arc was driven by this contention: people say “If you want to actually get work done, use Common Lisp,” but Scheme is so cool, right? I have come to a different question which is “How does this language fit into my workflow?” This was also a critical part of choosing a Scheme implementation. There are tons of them, but they are all designed for slightly different purposes, or they are someone’s proof-of-concept compiler. Guile is a great example of the reasons I would put time into learning to use a particular language.


  • New Class Suit Hits LexisNexis for Unfair Fees

    LexisNexis has been charging litigants “unconscionable” rates to file online documents in some Texas state courts, creating a poll tax-like situation that creates an unconstitutional barrier to open courts, a class action claims in Bexar County Court. The company, and its Netherlands-based parent, Reed Elsevier, faces similar lawsuits in Georgia and Texas federal court.

  • A Simple African Wishlist to Larry Page of Google

    My personal life has been enriched enormously by the massive array of splendid products that you give out for free- of course in the hope of making some ad money. Since you now are at the helm of affairs, I’d like to put to you this simple wish-list of mine with regards to my continent Africa.

  • Senator Jim Alesi’s broken leg lawsuit

    An area lawmaker is suing a Perinton couple who are also his constituents.

    Senator Jim Alesi is also suing the builder of the couple’s home. The lawsuit claims he was injured when he decided to look inside their house which was under construction at the time.

  • Nanny State: More Politicians Against Pedestrians Listening To Headphones Or Texting
  • Voting reform bill: peers threaten ‘mass revolt’ over guillotine attempt

    She said that any attempt to introduce a guillotine – which David Cameron has threatened to do early this week following agonisingly slow progress on the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill – would provoke uproar and would almost certainly be defeated.

  • HP’s New Plan: No More Worthless Hype

    Broken promises are part of technology’s natural cycle, but Leo Apotheker, HP’s new boss, says that’s not going to happen anymore at his company.

    From now on, HP will only announce tech products that are a few weeks away from shipping, Apotheker said in an interview with the BBC. “”HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn’t have,” he said. “… That’s a simple management decision, I don’t need to re-engineer the tanker to do that.”

  • How fast are the Amish growing?

    Some Amish may average from 5-6, while others register birth rates as high as 9 children per family (such as the Swiss Amish churches of Adams County, Indiana). Typically the average number of children is cited as 6 or 7 per family. Compared to a non-Amish average of slightly more than 2, the Amish family size is indeed quite large.

  • Model predicts ‘religiosity gene’ will dominate society

    In the past 20 years, the Amish population in the US has doubled, increasing from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010. The huge growth stems almost entirely from the religious culture’s high fertility rate, which is about 6 children per woman, on average. At this rate, the Amish population will reach 7 million by 2100 and 44 million by 2150. On the other hand, the growth may not continue if future generations of Amish choose to defect from the religion and if secular influences reduce the birth rate. In a new study, Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University, has looked at the broader picture underlying this particular example: how will the high fertility rates of religious people throughout the world affect the future of human genetic evolution, and therefore the biological makeup of society?

  • Shakespeare’s Globe takes issue with the Queen over Bible reading royalties

    Thirteen years after the Queen fulfilled the dream of the late film director Sam Wanamaker and officially opened his reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe, she has become inadvertently involved in an unseemly squabble over money with its managers.

  • All of Pearl River Delta to be amalgamated into a 42-million-person megacity

    The Chinese government has announced plans to amalgamate the nine major cities in the Pearl River Delta (home to a manufacturing-driven economic boom) into a single city with a population of 42 million people (more than Argentina, the world’s 32nd largest country), occupying an area twice the size of Wales.

  • Science

    • Does Google do “research”?

      I’ve been asked a lot by folks recently about whether the work I’m doing now at Google is “research” and whether one can really have a “research career” at Google. This has also led to a lot of interesting discussions about what the role of research is in an industrial setting.

    • Science Students Stand Tall at State of the Union

      President Obama made his commitment to science and technology very clear in the first minutes of his presidency, when he promised in his Inaugural Address that his Administration would “restore science to its rightful place.”

      Tonight that rightful place will be the First Lady’s Box in the U.S. Capitol, where four remarkable science students from across the country will join Michelle Obama and other guests during the President’s State of the Union Address.

    • FBI serves 40 search warrants in Anonymous crackdown
    • ‘Radical Redesign’ Urged for Future Computers

      A study suggests the emergence of multicore processors will support an overhaul of computing architecture and much faster operations.

  • Security

    • Accused Scareware Operators Settle with FTC for $8.2 Million
    • Sourceforge Attack: Full Report

      The general course of the attack was pretty standard. There was a root privilege escalation on one of our platforms which permitted exposure of credentials that were then used to access machines with externally-facing SSH. Our network partitioning prevented escalation to other zones of our network.

      This is the point where we found the attack, locked down servers, and began work on analysis and response.

  • Politics/Defence/Police/Aggression

    • News finds way around Egyptian blockage

      While the popular satellite channel Al Jazeera has been broadcasting live footage of mass protests in Egypt, a nearly countrywide clampdown on the internet means there have been little information from people on the ground via blogs and Twitter.

      Despite this, and a mobile service shutdown, Egyptians have been finding ways around the internet blockage, using old-fashioned landlines, faxes and even ham radio. Telecomix News Agency said in a post on Twitter on Friday that it has been providing dial-up modem service and that activists are receiving Morse code messages over ham radio out of Egypt.

    • Is Qaddafi Next?

      And with Libya’s immediate neighbors convulsed by public protests over the brutality and kleptocracy of their ruling familes, a newly leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in Libya suggests that strongman Muammar Qaddafi has created a decadent, money-hungry family dynasty that could find itself the target of the next Arab revolution in the streets.

    • Undercover police officer warns against giving Met control of spy unit

      The first undercover police officer to infiltrate the environmental movement has warned against allowing the Metropolitan police to take over the unit responsible for monitoring “domestic extremists”.

      Peter Black, who was undercover for four years, said it would be a “terrific mistake” if Scotland Yard were given control of the secretive unit, which has been running spies in protest groups.

    • Côte d’Ivoire: Violence Campaign by Security Forces, Militias

      Security forces under the control of Laurent Gbagbo and militias that support him have, since late November 2010, committed extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, and rape, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Tunisian foreign minister Kamel Morjane resigns

      Tunisia’s foreign minister, Kamel Morjane, has announced his resignation, state media reported, as authorities sought to appease protesters who want to oust other peers of the deposed former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

    • Iraq war inquiry: Top admiral told ‘regime change not the goal’ by Blair

      Britain’s most senior military officer at the time of the invasion of Iraq told the Chilcot inquiry he repeatedly asked Tony Blair for an assurance that the war would be lawful and was emphatically assured the aim was never “regime change”.

      In striking contrast to previous evidence about the former prime minister’s war aims, Admiral Lord Boyce said : “Our policy absolutely and specifically was not regime change”.

    • Kagame’s authoritarian turn risks Rwanda’s future

      When President Paul Kagame of Rwanda won re-election in August, he could look back with pride on his accomplishments. Rwanda has emerged from the devastation of genocide and become more secure and prosperous than anyone had a right to expect. The central task of his second seven-year term, which by law must be his last, is to add broader democracy to this security and prosperity.

    • British terror suspects banned from returning to UK

      Eight people suspected of terrorist links have been banned from returning to Britain under deprivation of citizenship orders, described bya lawyer for some of them as “far more draconian” than control orders.

      A freedom of information request by the Guardian revealed that, since 2007, eight people have been issued with these orders and had their passports cancelled while out of the UK, the same number as currently are subject to control orders. Often they were visiting family members abroad in school holidays when the notices were served, followed within a day or two by a signed order and an exclusion order preventing them from returning to the UK.

    • Airport officials declare tiny toy gun a safety threat
    • Airport security officials brand three inch toy gun “firearm”
    • Police officer guilty of assault

      An Edmonton police officer was found guilty Friday of assaulting a man he had taken into custody.

      Const. Haoyin Zheng was found guilty of assault in relation to the arrrest of two suspects in a west Edmonton alley on Dec. 15, 2008.

      Zheng faced three charges but was found not guilty of assault with a weapon and a second assault charge.

    • G20 accused decries detention conditions

      Joe “Grim” Thomson has spent about eight years in jail. His rap sheet has 31 convictions, from theft to assault to break and enter. He was “jumped in” to a Toronto gang at the age of 10.

      He’s been on the inside of the Don Jail and Metro West and experienced a prison riot at maximum-security Millhaven. But none of those compare to the makeshift G20 detention centre that housed more than 1,000 people arrested during the summit weekend.

    • Egyptian army storms museum to protect from looters

      The Egyptian army has secured a famed antiquities museum from looters after dozens tried to steal priceless artifacts.

    • Mubarak’s planning exile to Tel Aviv

      According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.

    • Juju’s message to Mubarak
    • Stand with the People of Egypt

      Something incredible is happening in Egypt. Protests are spreading across the country, threatening a 30-year dictatorship.

    • Regime Change In Egypt And Undercover Police Actions

      We may have seen it in Canada, where the trashing of a police cruiser may have been a setup. The cruiser was supposedly stripped of it’s valuable computer, and abandoned, and the protestors who trashed it were wearing the same combat boots that uniformed police were wearing.

    • Pres. Mubarak’s Steals 40 Billion

      Jan. 28, 2011 President Mubarak’s Steals 40 Billion. President Mubarak’s stash is worth 40 billion dollars as his personal worth or what he stole from the Egyptian people has risen to epic proportions.

      Mubarak’s name can be added to the names of wealthy dictators throughout the world that most likely received the aide from the United States in their attempt to affect influence in foreign country politics.

    • It’s Not Twitter or Facebook, It’s the Power of the Network

      Just as it was during the recent uprisings in Tunisia, the role of social media in the recent upheaval in Egypt has been the subject of much debate since the unrest began on Thursday. Daily Show host Jon Stewart on Friday poked fun at the idea that Twitter might have played a key part in the demonstrations, and there are many observers who share his skepticism. The real trigger for the uprisings, they argue, is simply the frustration of the oppressed Egyptian people — which is undoubtedly true. But it also seems clear that social media has played a key role in getting the word out, and in helping organizers plan their protests. In the end, it’s not about Twitter or Facebook: it’s about the power of real-time networked communication.

    • Women of Egypt

      I found this collection of pictures of women in Egypt protesting against the regime on Facebook collected by Leil-Zahra Mortada.

    • Could Egypt Happen Here? Obama’s Internet “Kill Switch”

      First it was Facebook. Then it was Twitter. Now, in the face of massive protests in the streets of Cairo and throughout the country, Egypt has pulled the plug on the entire Internet for its citizens. As this chart from Arbor networks shows, Internet traffic mounted steadily in Egypt steadily over several days, then suddenly and precipitously dropped to nil at 5:20 PM EST yesterday.

    • Why US Foreign Policy Is Flummoxed by Egypt’s Uprising

      As the United States struggles to respond to rapidly changing conditions in Egypt, it is informative to look at the arc of US foreign policy over the past half century or so. Foggy Bottom is stuck in a fog precisely because the approach to foreign policy has not evolved sufficiently since the demise of the Cold War. US foreign policy today is just as dependent on supporting individual despotic leaders today as it was in the 1950′s and 1960′s.

    • An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

      As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.

      For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.

    • RCMP Chief Supt. Alphonse McNeil

      The concept of awarding any officer an award, for any involvement in the G8/G20 fiasco is beyond the pale.

  • Cablegate

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog — Special Weekend Edition!

      1:30 Just got email from Chris McGreal, Guardian correspondent in Washington, D.C., responding to my item earlier today about Bradley Manning as (possible) British citizen. Here, with his permission, from the email: “I think you are almost certainly right about him being a British citizen at birth through his mother who still lives in Wales. It maybe that he even obtained a British passport because, as the Daily Mail reports today, he went to Tasker Milward secondary school in Haverfordwest for a number of years before returning to his father. Which means he either entered the UK with a British passport or would have had to have obtained some kind of visa in his US passport that recognised his right to be in the UK through citizenship. Either way, there must have been some form of official British recognition of his UK citizenship for him to have gone to school in Wales.” If he is a citizen, British authorities would normally take an interest in the case, visit him in prison, etc.

    • U.S., British Govts Keep Pressure on WikiLeaks

      U.S. and British government officials have begun a global crackdown against pro-WikiLeaks “hacktivists” who briefly shut down Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon.com December 9. The loose group of hacktivists began a global cyber-attack called “Operation Payback” against the companies that earlier had caved-in to what was likely a U.S. federal government pressure campaign and similar electronic attack against the WikiLeaks website earlier in the year.

      Five British citizens were arrested on January 27 in the anti-WikiLeaks government probe, and the U.S. government issued 40 search warrants the same day in a related move. The British arrests all involved young men aged 15 to 26. ABC News reported that many of the U.S. searches were “conducted in the San Francisco Bay area and the Boston area as part of an ongoing investigation that involved 26 FBI field offices executing search warrants.”

    • Bangladesh ‘death squad’ trained by UK police resumes extrajudicial killing

      David Cameron set to raise issue with visiting Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina after UK connection revealed by WikiLeaks

    • Bill Keller and Wikileaks

      Bill Keller, the New York Times’ executive editor, published an enormous article on the 26th of January about the New York Times’ dealings with Wikileaks. The article develops further the running story of Wikileaks’ relationship with its media partners, the subject of a Vanity Fair piece earlier in the month.

      Much has been made of the negative light in which Julian Assange appears in the article. Wired’s Kim Zetter published a digest piece, in which the more absurd claims of the piece are given particular attention but little critical treatment. The more colourful parts of the article were, predictably, grist to the celebrity gossip mill.

    • Join a New Video Project in Defense of WikiLeaks

      The following is a brief description of this project with instructions on how to participate and submit your video clips. Julian Assange’s extradition hearing date is set to occur on either Feb 7th or 8th, 2011. Our goal is to release this video is the day of his hearing. With your help it will be a very powerful message that will be heard by many people around the world. Due to our very tight deadline we ask that you submit video clips back to us by February 1st.



    • Julian Assange: ‘How do you attack an organisation? You attack its leadership’

      Julian Assange awakes to talk, from the nap he has stolen in an armchair at the Norfolk country house where he is staying. He has been up all night disseminating, on his WikiLeaks site, US State Department cables and documents relevant to the momentous events unfolding in Egypt, and they make remarkable reading.

    • The Age of Wikileaks
    • Updates as they trickle in

      11:45 – The Daily Express (UK tabloid) has reported that the military are protecting the Valley of the Kings but that there has been no move by the UK government to evacuate Luxor.

      CNN has reported on two tours and their experiences in Cairo. One tour, which started in Cairo, arrived safely in Luxor where they saw tanks but apparently no signs of trouble. They were transferred to their cruise ship which has sailed south, but the atmoshpere on board is described as “somber”.

      Reuters has suggested that the protests may have only a short term impact on tourism in Egypt, but I guess that that will depend on the political outcome of the protests.

    • How we know Bradley Manning is a UK citizen – FOR SURE

      This is an important blog post. Please distribute it widely.

      My legal information is sourced from the UK Border Agency, specifically their caseworking instructions for all issues arising under The British Nationality Act of 1981. This piece of legislation has formed the basis of British nationality law since coming into force on 1 January 1983 and the caseworking instructions derived from it are the guidelines Border Agency employees refer to on a day-to-day basis when deciding who is entitled to British citizenship. This is an absolutely authoritative source.

      Bradley Manning is a UK citizen by virtue of his mother’s nationality. He holds both US and UK citizenship.

      Bradley Manning was born in the United States on 17 December 1987, the son of Brian and Susan Manning. As the son of an American father, born on US soil, Bradley Manning has held US citizenship since birth.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate change: Barack Obama less interested than Bush, analysis reveals

      Barack Obama has paid less attention to climate change in his State of the Union addresses than any other president in the past 20 years, an analysis by a British researcher has found.

    • Greenland ice sheet is safer than scientists previously thought

      The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.

    • If water vapour is the key greenhouse gas, why are man-made emissions important?

      It’s true that water vapour is the biggest overall contributor to the greenhouse effect and that humans are not responsible for directly emitting this gas in quantities sufficient to change its concentration in the atmosphere. However, the scientific evidence suggests that the warming caused by man-made emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is increasing the amount of water vapour in the air by boosting the rate of evaporation.

    • The cultural life of whales

      Whales are not only the largest animals that have ever lived – they are also among the most intelligent, and yet we still know very little about them. New research, however, suggests that sperm whales at least use sophisticated communication techniques to develop distinct and separate cultures. Here to discuss the latest in cetacean research to mark next month’s Peninsula Arts Whale Festival, are Philip Hoare, a self-confessed “whalehead” and author of Leviathan or, The Whale, winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, and Dr Hal Whitehead from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a world expert on sperm whales.

    • Pushing policies that would destroy a livable climate, Chamber of Commerce lectures on “energy reality”

      In actual “energy and economic reality,” the oil and coal industries are killing Americans, weakening our economy, and destabilizing our planet. Pollution from burning coal and oil kills at least 20,000 Americans a year. Oil company profits are soaring — ConocoPhillips up 46 percent to $1.9 billion, Chevron up 72 percent to $5.3 billion — on rising prices that are sucking the lifeblood out of the economic recovery. Even Dr. John Felmy, American Petroleum Institute’s top economist, admits that raising taxes on oil companies could create two million American jobs.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Contributed Vastly to The Financial Meltdown

      The headline of the excerpt below says it all: Goldman Sachs is very much responsible for the size and length of the financial disaster that came to a head in 2008. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report is a very large book-length document but one that is not difficult to read. In Chapter 8 entitled “The CDO Machine” a small section is devoted to Goldman Sachs beginning on page 142. It is worth reading but really doesn’t tell us any more than what we have already been reading and writing about.

    • Philip Maddocks: Goldman Sachs deal lets wealthiest clients invest in themselves

      The banking giant Goldman Sachs has created a “special purpose vehicle” for its high-net-worth clients that it says would further set them apart from the rest of the world by allowing the elite group an exclusive opportunity to invest in themselves.

      “We just want to do our part for our business’ economy and make sure all of us are living the life we deserve,” said a Goldman Sachs spokesman. “We are capable of doing great things for this company, and if that happens to help out the country, too, then all the better. But we’re not worried about that right now and neither are our clients.”

      In having its most prized customers invest billions in themselves through Goldman, the New York bank has established itself as the leading candidate to win the lucrative and prestigious assignment of its clients’ initial public offering, whenever that offering comes. It also puts Goldman in the position to reap millions of dollars in banking fees.

      Goldman says it has already begun the process of wooing its wealthy clients to invest in themselves, forming an investment vehicle that seeks to raise as much $100 billion through the cabal of the super wealthy.

    • Why corporate tax reform will be hard, in one graph

      Binyamin Appelbaum, as an addendum to this sobering look at the realities of corporate tax reform, points to the work of NYU’s Aswath Damodaran, who has compiled a rough estimate of the effective tax rates in various industries. You might already anticipate that the rates vary.

    • Obama’s fundraisers are rebuilding bridges to big donors for 2012 campaign

      In an attempt to patch up the relationship between the president and the nation’s top donors, Jim Messina, the 2012 reelection campaign manager and former Obama deputy chief of staff, will headline a Democratic Party event next week at the Park Avenue apartment of Jane Hartley and Ralph Schlosstein, the Obama fundraising flagship in New York. The conciliatory mission, along with the selection of Julianna Smoot, the outgoing White House social secretary as Messina’s campaign deputy, signals an intention to rebuild the big-donor establishment that President Obama obliterated.

    • Poll: Americans increasingly view global economy as a negative for U.S.

      A growing number of Americans consider the accelerating trend toward globalization a bad thing for the United States. At the same time, a majority now sees being the world’s No. 1 economic power as an important national goal.

    • Bill Gross sees dangers in the debt-limit debate

      The world’s largest bond investor says the fight over raising the country’s borrowing limit threatens to throw the debt market into a tailspin.

      “It’s the wrong way to do it,” says Bill Gross, manager of the $241 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the largest mutual fund. “Obviously, I’m all for a move to a balanced budget over time. But this is like imposing the death penalty for shoplifting.”

    • Crisis Panel’s Report Parsed Far and Wide

      Behind closed doors, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, called it “the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression.”

    • At Davos, Geithner notes confidence about economy

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that his country has more confidence now that there is a sustainable expansion – but added that it is not a boom.

      “There’s much more confidence now that we’ve got a sustainable expansion,” he said at the World Economic Forum, but added, “It’s not a boom.”

    • Senator Kent Conrad Advocates Default on the National Debt

      This would have been an appropriate headline for an AP article which included a quote from North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad implying that it would be reasonable to default on the government bonds held by the Social Security trust fund:

      “I’ve received the lash from those who say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t have to cut Social Security because there are trillions of dollars of assets.’ It is true there are trillions of dollars of assets. It is true that they’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is also true that the only way those bonds get redeemed is out of the current income of the United States.”

    • Crisis May Seem Criminal, but Try Making a Case

      The findings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have pretty much wiped away the already dwindling chances that federal prosecutors will try to hold a prominent Wall Street executive criminally responsible for the crisis. Both the majority and dissenting reports describe a wide range of serious problems in the financial system that led to the downfall of firms like Lehman Brothers and the American International Group, setting off a deep recession when the credit markets seized up in 2008.

    • Workers saw 2 percent rise in wages and benefits

      Workers saw their wages and benefits rise slightly faster in 2010 than 2009, but the gain was still the second-lowest increase in nearly three decades.

    • More robust spending helps economy gain steam

      A more active consumer was the main reason the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the final three months of 2010, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was up from 2.6 percent the previous quarter and the best since the start of last year.

    • Citigroup bailout to make US taxpayers $12.3bn profit

      US taxpayers are likely to make a $12.3bn (£7.75bn) total profit on their bailout of financial group Citigroup, according to government officials.

      The US treasury expects to net $312.2m on Monday when it sells the rest of its stake in Citigroup. The government holds 465.1m warrants in Citi that entitle it to purchase common shares in the banking group.

    • Jealous Davos Mistresses

      The point about Davos is that it makes everyone feel wildly insecure. Billionaires and heads of state alike are all convinced that they have been given the worst hotel rooms, put on the least interesting panels and excluded from the most important events/most interesting private dinners. The genius of World Economic Founder Klaus Schwab is that he has been able to persuade hundreds of accomplished businessmen to pay thousands of dollars to attend an event which is largely based on mass humiliation and paranoia.

      Wives feel sympathetic to their husbands and share their pain. But we have our own problems to cope with. After all, we are the on the bottom rung of the Davos ladder.

  • Political PR/Deception

    • Scalia meets with tea party House members

      Justice Antonin Scalia spoke Monday afternoon at a closed-door meeting organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and the House Tea Party caucus. In 2009, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas organized a tea-party group called Liberty Central, which urged conservatives to fight for the repeal of “Obamacare.”

    • Sarah Palin Calls Obama’s Sputnik Mention A ‘WTF Moment’

      Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin made her first media appearance since discussing the Tucson shooting with Sean Hannity, this time speaking to Greta Van Susteren about her thoughts on this year’s State of the Union address.

      Palin was, of course, disappointed in Barack Obama’s speech, calling his decision to refer to America’s “Sputnik moment” as a “WTF moment.”

    • Why the BBC’s old guard called time on the Wibbly Wobbly Web

      So the BBC is slimming down, in response to government pressure. The World Service is to lose five of its foreign-language services, and a quarter of its staff. And BBC Online’s budget will be cut by a quarter to £103m and the unit will lose 360 staff, at the same time as it embarks upon a radical “redesign” of the website and its navigation. Introducing these developments, the corporation’s director general explained that the hatchet-work was part of a broader strategy to do “fewer things better”. The changes to BBC Online would, he maintained, make the corporation’s web services “more focused and more valuable”.

    • A lot of Americans can’t even find their own country on a map. So I’m not surprised Fox News has no idea about Egypt!
    • Wiping Iraq off the map

      It’s a sobering thought that despite all the turmoil in Yemen there are people who look to it as a haven of safety.

      Almost a quarter of a million Somalis have fled their homes since May 7 to escape fighting in Mogadishu and up to 12,000 of them have gathered in the northern town of Bossasso, hoping to be smuggled into Yemen.

      So far, 30,000 have made the dangerous sea crossing to Yemen but more than 300 have died or gone missing in the process, AP reports via al-Jazeera and the Washington Post.

      “These people are obviously reaching the end of their rope,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news conference. “They see no future in Somalia and many of them are so desperate that they’re willing to risk their lives and the lives of their families to escape.”

      In Yemen itself, four policemen were killed and one injured – apparently by separatists – at al-Ayn (Abyan province). A local official said 10 gunmen attacked at 2am while four of the police were asleep and the fifth was on guard.

    • The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape

      Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

    • Rupert Murdoch – A Portrait Of Satan

      Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like the BBC

      And sometimes the BBC doesn’t seem to like Rupert Murdoch either.

      Following the principle that you should know your enemy, the BBC has assiduously recorded the relentless rise of Rupert Murdoch and his assault on the old “decadent” elites of Britain.

      And I thought it would be interesting to put up some of the high points.

      It is also a good way to examine how far his populist rhetoric is genuine, and how far its is a smokescreen to disguise the interests of another elite.

      As a balanced member of the BBC – I leave it to you to decide.

      Murdoch first appears in the BBC archive in a short fragment without commentary shot in 1968. It shows him ambling into the City of London on his way to see Sir Humphrey Mynors who was head of the City Takeover Panel

  • Censorship/Neutrality

    • Regulating Google’s Results? Law Prof Calls ‘Search Neutrality’ Incoherent

      “Neutrality” — if it’s good enough for the core of the internet, isn’t it good enough for the edge? The biggest internet providers say it is, and they would love to have the government slap a few neutrality rules on Google, just to see how the advertising giant likes the taste of the regulatory bridle.

      In 2010, while the FCC was debating net neutrality rules, ISPs like Time Warner Cable settled on a “they’re gatekeepers, too!” strategy.

    • 3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet

      The OLPC’s XO has meshnetworking capabilities. And some gaming systems, such as the Nintendo DS, have mesh networking built in. But we want to look at projects that are specifically aimed at replacing or augmenting the public Internet.

    • The Tweets Must Flow

      Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don’t always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content.

      The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief. On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day. From an ethical perspective, almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right. Many countries also agree that freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities and has limits.


      Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely and preserve their ability to contest having their private information revealed. While we may need to release information as required by law, we try to notify Twitter users before handing over their information whenever we can so they have a fair chance to fight the request if they so choose.

    • Blocking child porn sites “exacerbates policing problem”

      Handing the responsibility of shutting down child porn sites to web firms and watchdogs removes any incentive for police to investigate the crimes, according to a European digital rights group.

      In a report, The slide from “self-regulation” to corporate censorship, European Digital Rights (EDRI) criticised the trend of passing extra-judicial powers to an ever-widening pool of web monitors, including ISPs, bodies such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and European watchdogs.

    • OPENMESH Is Seeking Alternatives To Egypt-Style Internet Blackouts

      Galvanized by the unprecedented Internet shutdown in Egypt, angel investor Shervin Pishevar has launched OPENMESH a forum for people who want to discuss ways of preventing governments from blocking communications networks. The site (which is admittedly sparse at the moment) was up within hours of Pishevar tweeting out his ideas, designed and built by followers @Laksman and @garyjaybrooks.

    • No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
    • After Egypt, Will U.S. Get ‘Internet Kill Switch’?

      With reports of Egypt’s government completing shutting down the Internet in the country, talk about an “Internet kill switch” bill in the U.S. has reemerged. Could it happen here?

      The bill in question is the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, a cyber-security measure introduced in June by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. It was an over-arching cyber-security measure that, among other things, would create an office of cyberspace policy within the White House and a new cyber-security center within the Homeland Security Department.

    • Egypt not trending in China

      Beijing blocks searches for “Egypt” from microblogging site following protests there.

    • Recent events in Egypt

      The current state of affairs in Egypt looks quite bleak for people using Vodafone, Orange, TE Data, and other well-known service providers. It is reported that each of those companies was ordered by the Egyptian government to turn down their internet services. The nature of the order and its legality is of course very unclear at this time. What is known is that nearly in perfect unison many Egyptian ISPs turned down their BGP route announcements to countries outside of Egypt and from what we’ve been able to gather they’re also not peering with each other. The cables connecting (FLAG and SEABONE) Egypt to the world are still physically intact.

      The impact of de-peering is significant; even if someone is able to get packets directly to the edge routers of TE Data or another ISP, no response will be forthcoming. Renesys, RIPE, and BGPmon have fantastic technical details for those without access to an active BGP router.

    • Sublime or Shameless: Facebook Censors Nude Paintings

      Maybe Facebook is not the place to display our work as figurative painters. But in this difficult economy, and truly at any time, it’s hard to accept a limitation on your potential success based solely on a handful of people who don’t understand what you’re doing. It’s hard not to be angry when someone seems to blindly attack the thing that you hold so close to your heart… labeling it vulgar and obscene, when you see it as a thing of beauty and human dignity. You see it as a gift to them, and they see it as a threat. The issue with Facebook seems to be the same as the issue with the work itself: each of us has different definitions of what it is and what is should be… and for now at least, we’ll all have to agree to disagree.

  • Privacy

    • UK ISPs Moot Anonymous Internet Solution to Circumvent New Data and Piracy Laws

      A Swedish ISP that is also responsible for hosting WikiLeaks, Bahnhof, has this week triggered a fresh debate into internet privacy by announcing its intention to avoid the new European Data Retention Directive and stick all of its customers behind an effectively anonymous Virtual Private Network (VPN).

      Most VPN’s act as private networks that piggyback the public internet and are traditionally used to help employees stay connected with their work while away from the office. They can also have many other uses, such as allowing virtual Local Area Network (LAN) connections between users.

    • Opera Study: Americans Most Fearful About Online Government Monitoring

      The study finds that more Americans worry about their online privacy being violated (25 percent) than going bankrupt (23 percent) or losing their job (22 percent).

  • Civil Rights

    • TN Fusion Center Calls ACLU Terrorist Group

      A DHS fusion center in Tennessee — an agency designed to aid cooperation between state, local and federal officials in anti-terrorism investigations — has put the ACLU of Tennessee on a map of terrorist organizations because it sent a letter to schools warning them about Christmas celebrations and the First Amendment.

    • US lawyers start to mine private Facebook zones

      AN OUTCRY is erupting in the US over how judges are giving lawyers rights to plunder private emails and posts in social notworking websites.

    • EFF: FBI may have committed more than 40K intelligence violations since 9/11

      A new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation analyzes more than 2,500 pages’ worth of FBI documents extracted using Freedom of Information Act litigation and finds disturbing, system-wide violations of civil liberties on a scale that is far beyond anything reported to date…

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Senators bash “telecom oligarchs,” propose strict net neutrality bill

      In the month since the FCC adopted its open Internet rules, most of the DC debate over net neutrality has focused on FCC overreach. Verizon sued the agency. MetroPCS sued the agency. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a bill to strip the FCC of any authority to regulate Internet access.

      But Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) have another point of view: the FCC didn’t go far enough. The pair yesterday introduced the “Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011″ (PDF) to extend net neutrality to all forms of Internet access (including wireless).

    • The US Commerce Dept position paper for the ICANN Board negotiations

      IGP has obtained a copy of the US Commerce Department’s position paper for its February 28 negotiations with the ICANN Board over the new top level domain program. The “USG Submission to the GAC Scorecard” shows that the U.S. Commerce Department’s ICANN crew has gone off the rails. It supports direct governmental veto power over domains and demands that ICANN completely rewrite most of the consensus policies developed over 4 years.

  • DRM

    • Sony sends out DMCA Takedown Notices!

      Soon after Sony won in SF with a TRO against Mr. Hotz regarding the ‘metldr keys’, their MIB Team started the next step and have issued DMCA Takedown Notices to a number of various ‘scene’ developers that had code either mirrored or stored on their GITHUB’s or websites!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France court convicts former Vivendi bosses of misleading investors, insider trading

        A Paris criminal court on Friday convicted former Vivendi SA [corporate website] chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier of misleading investors during his tenure at the helm of the French entertainment giant. Canadian Edgar Bronfman Jr., former vice-chairman of Vivendi and current Warner Music Group chairman and CEO, was convicted of insider trading and fined five million euros.

      • MPAA, BREIN take down more torrent sites; Internet barely notices

        At least 51 torrent sites have been taken down this month thanks to joint efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its dutch counterpart BREIN—12 in the US and 39 in the Netherlands. The two groups say they were able to work with the sites’ hosting providers to take them offline, though the names of the affected sites have not been released.

      • Wyden pledges to delay Internet anti-piracy bill

        “Under current law, Hollywood already has powerful tools to police online infringement, such as the DMCA takedown process, that were the result of years of negotiation and include protections against abuse.”

      • Online community is under siege, says Pirate Party UK

        THE ONLINE COMMUNITY believes it us under siege after the arrests of five Anonymous suspects, according to Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye.

        While stressing its opposition to illegal activity, Kaye’s party says it understands why, in the face of government and corporate attacks against Wikileaks, individuals around the world want to fight back.

      • Mass P2P filesharing lawsuits, chapter and verse

        Once in a very long while something comes along when the overused superlative ‘awesome’ can be applied appropriately. Something that’s truly extraordinary.

        This “may be of interest to your readers, and perhaps might be worthy of a short posting”, says an email from someone who prefers to remain anonymous.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Fedora Site Hacked? Sourceforge Hacked?? Unified Package Installer! KDE 4.6 Released!

Credit: TinyOgg

How to Suggest Stories for Techrights

Posted in Site News at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Ways for people to get involved and give tips or articles

SOME readers have claimed that it’s not simple to propose topics for Techrights to cover. This claim is rather baffling because we accept suggestions made by E-mail, IRC, Wiki, Identi.ca, and blog comments, to name just some of the main routes. If there is another avenue or means of communicating of relevance, please feel free to bring that up. The goal is to be responsive.

April/End Software Patents/FFII Ask European Parliament to Postpone Enhanced Cooperation on Unitary Patent After CJEU Opinion

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reposted statement from April/End Software Patents/FFII (released moments ago)s

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

We, as nonprofit organizations acting in the field of patent policy, are concerned about the fast-tracking of the proposal for enhanced cooperation on the unitary patent (NLE/2010/0384), which was voted in
JURI commission on January 27th. Given that the Court of Justice (CJEU) will soon publish its opinion on the legality of a proposed jurisdiction governing the settlement of litigation related to the unitary patent and given that this proposal involves transferring legislative power from the EP to the European Patent Office (EPO) [1], we believe it would be sensible to wait for the CJEU’s opinion so that there can be an informed debate before deciding this important issue.

The current proposal for a unitary patent [2] requires a unified jurisdiction with a central court. According to the Commission, the current proposal is similar to the European and EU Patent Court (EEUPC) proposal. The CJEU is reviewing the EEUPC proposal but has not yet released its opinion regarding compliance with the EU Treaties. This opinion is far from a formality: the Advocates General of the CJEU were highly critical of the project and deemed it incompatible with the EU Treaties [3], because the new patent court rulings would have a direct impact on EU law without any control from EU institutions.

Further, the current proposal involves delegating the entire pre-granting procedure for the unitary patent to the EPO, whose patent-granting excesses have been denounced repeatedly. Existing outside of the EU, the EPO already has very little oversight. The main democratic control that exists is that the EP still has the competence to legislate. The EPO’s own Enlarged Board of Appeal acknowledged the need for a real legislative body in the patent system in an opinion published in May 2010 on the topic of software patents, saying that “When judiciary-driven legal development meets its limits, it is time for the legislator to take over” [4]. When the CJEU’s opinion is published, it may contain useful suggestions for how to add the necessary oversight for such a system.

We respectfully request that the European Parliament postpone the vote regarding enhanced cooperation until publication of the CJEU’s opinion.


Tangui Morlier, April (President)
+33 1 78 76 92 82, prez@april.org
Ciaran O’Riordan, End Software Patents (Executive Director)
+32 487 64 17 54, ciaran@member.fsf.org
Benjamin Henrion, FFII (President)
+32 484 56 61 09, president@ffii.org


[1] See for instance the open letter to MEPs sent by the Staff Union of the European Patent Office on

[2] This enhanced cooperation will be implemented by a regulation on a unitary patent, which will cover all participating Member States, asopposed to the current European Patent, governed by the European Patent Office (EPO) which is actually a bunch of various designated national patents.

[3] More information can be found on

[4] This decision can be found on

About April

Founded in 1996, April is the main French advocacy association devoted to promote and protect Free/Libre Software. With its 5476 members (5004 individuals, 472 businesses, associations and organizations), April is a pioneer of Free Software in France. Since 1996, it is a major player in the democratization and the spread of free software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. It also acts as a watchdog on digital freedoms, warning the public about the dangers of private interests keeping an exclusive stranglehold on information and knowledge.
April is a registered interest representative (ID: 30399252478-91) in the EU.

About End Software Patents

Since 2008, End Software Patents (ESP) works to eliminate patents which prevent the development or distribution of software. ESP participates in government consultations and court cases, and provides
information resources to enable local citizens to participate effectively in these processes. For more information on participating in the project, or to access its knowledge base, please visit its
website at:

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.

The Patent Reform Act of 2011

Posted in America, Patents at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Capitol

Summary: Senators Patrick Leahy, Orrin Hatch, and Chuck Grassley are said to be trying to change the way patent law is working in the United States

According to Patent Baristas (good site we have not cited in a while), patent reform is still on the agenda:

Senators Patrick Leahy, Orrin Hatch, and Chuck Grassley introduced The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which has been placed on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda for their first executive business meeting. The provisions and language of the bill look a lot like items in the long-pending legislation that were part of a compromise that was announced last Congress.

Sen. Leahy said that the new legislation is intended to accomplish three primary goals: (1) transition to a first-to-file system; (2) improve patent quality; and (3) provide more certainty in litigation.

There are much-needed changes as recently acknowledged even by political sites that got TechDirt‘s attention. Some days ago an idea related to software was patented again and covered by SDTimes, symbolising an ill system that refuses to heal itself:

TestPlant has received a United States patent for its testing software, eggPlant, which can test from one computer to another utilizing virtual networking and visual recognition, according to the company. The patent was granted on Monday.

CEO George Mackintosh said the U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice have been using eggPlant since 2003, when the software was created.

It is important to point out that those so-called ‘patent reforms’ are usually intended to limit the actions of patent trolls but never really to abolish software patents. That is why a lot more is needed.

The Era of Windows is Ending

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Derelict building

Summary: New figures from Microsoft (not based on Web statistics that are also biased) confirm a decline in business around Windows

WITH legal action in Italy and Vista 7 refunds in more and more nations [1, 2, 3], it is clear that Windows won’t be the only option available from OEMs some time in the near future. Android and Ubuntu became easier to find out there, so no wonder sales of Windows are down sharply (and “Microsoft shares down on lower fiscal Q2 profit”), as briefly mentioned last night in TechBytes.

Meanwhile, the GNU/Linux preinstalls rate seems to have surged in China (unless more boxes are just shipped without any operating system):

Consumers can buy whatever they want in China. They have retail choice. Further, to get mention in the 10-Q, the effect must be large and it is a trend. The share of PCs shipping with that other OS is dropping in China. That is the result of OEMs and retailers not being locked into M$’s game. They can ship more PCs with a higher margin using other operating systems like GNU/Linux. That this merits mentioning in spite of the low prices M$ charges in China means the share has dramatically reduced.

In the face of trouble, as usual, Microsoft resorts to vapourware about Vista 8. It’s too little, too late. Even Microsoft boosters are now taking stock of the mass departure of Microsoft executives:

Microsoft sheds executives like a snake sheds its skin.

As a former Microsoft executive recruiter says, the standard cycle for outside hires is two or three years before rotating out for a better job.

But Microsoft has also lost a lot of veterans who got sick of the pressure, found better opportunities, or were quietly “managed out” for poor performance.

Some of Microsoft’s executives ended up as patent trolls and entryism subjects. It is important to keep an eye on those.

Marketing Spin and Fake News: All That Novell Has Left

Posted in Deception, Mail, Marketing, Novell at 3:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coverage about Novell rooted in Novell


Summary: Poor material from Google News and Novell’s role in generating it

Lies about Red Hat and others were spread recently by the Novell-funded Lighthouse Research. Even though this was mentioned and perhaps debunked before, some sites carry on publishing the press release [1, 2]. How much is Novell paying for this? One item that was also mentioned before is this press release about Asian games (this press release is masquerading as an ‘article’, so compare to the original press release). How pathetic of Novell and the so-called ‘press’…

Here is a new article (not redressed press release which says: “We first saw this with Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) several years ago. When Windows came along, developers stopped writing for Novell.”

Novell does not quite know what to do now. It works in many different areas but masters none of those.

Dipto Chakravarty, VP of Engineering at Novell, talks about “Log Management in the Cloud” which is just a Fog Computing buzzwords-filled term for monitoring. Novell is also trying IDM, but apart from this recent partnership with Verizon, there is no evidence that Novell has made a dent. To quote: “It seems Verizon is one of the leaders in thinking about ID management as a differentiator, already partnering with Novell, for instance, to offer Novell’s identity management and application access controls for use as an on-demand service supplied from the Verizon cloud.”

Novell’s IDM is advertised here in an article that says:

Cooley’s identity and e-mail infrastructure, based on Novell GroupWise and supported by Novell’s eDirectory service, had worked well for internally-hosted services, supporting 3,500 students and 500 faculty and staff, said Greg Colegrove, director of IT operations at the law school. The problem, he explained, was that “we just could not respond quickly enough to the things we were asked for” in areas such as smartphone integration and other items touching on collaboration and mobility.


The solution was Novell Identity Manager, an IDM (identity-management) tool formerly known as DirXML.

The whole article seems more like an advertisement, not a case of reporting. IDC, which is paid by Novell, has its “analyst” Brett Waldman write for Novell PR. How improper. Other PR people advertise Pulse/Vibe, which they put out there with a press release that’s conveniently parroted by shoddy Web sites that don’t do investigative work, they just repeat Novell’s own claims:

Novell cited that more than 9,500 customers have purchased or renewed its lean and cost effective collaboration solutions in 2010, thereby generating increased return on investment.

There is a lot of very shallow repetition of the press release without any doubts expressed or an investigation taking place [1, 2, 3]. This is the type of ‘journalism’ people are exposed to these days. A word-to-word comparison helps reveal that the news is written by the companies covered (or their PR agents).

Here is a bunch of coverage about GroupWise. Almost all of it is just press releases, sometimes with slight tweaks on those, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. CompanionLink is still flooding the news feeds with such press releases that mention GroupWise, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is the rewritten press release from tmcnet.com, which is a site mostly composed from such press releases that it pretends to be news articles. If Internet news has real reporting outnumbered by press releases (by a factor of about 1:3), what does it say about new/digital media? Here is an example of a real article which mentions GroupWise by stating: “Students and faculty at the school automatically have an email address made for them through Novell’s GroupWise system upon registration.”

ZenWorks was covered by IDG [1, 2], but it was hardly covered at all this January. Microsoft/SCO booster Rob Enderle says that Novell will “broken up and sold in part.” Well, this time for a change he got something right. Novell is extremely vulnerable right not and it’s not just due to vulnerabilities in its products. All Novell has got left is marketing spin.

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