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01.20.11

Links 20/1/2011: China and GNU/Linux, Linux 2.6.38 RC1, gnome3.org Debut

Posted in News Roundup at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Tron: An open source legacy

    When I first started using Linux, one of the first open source games I played was GLTron, a faithful recreation of the movie’s light-cycle scenes. Maybe it was the simple, fast-paced gameplay or the fact that the graphics were identical to that of the film in almost every way, but that game still sticks out in my mind as one of my first open source gaming experiences. Suffice to say, open source and Tron are married in my mind forever thanks to that program (not to mention that both are tantamount to my geek cred).

    [...]

    It’s not the first time that Disney has advocated open source, dating back to their switch to Linux and monetary support of Crossover Office to help get Photoshop running in Linux. Disney was quick to announce that this saved Disney, Pixar, and other animation studios thousands of dollars a year in license costs alone. It was a huge deal at a time when most corporations were far from considering deploying Linux on anything other than scientific workstations. Still, it’s one thing to use open source as a cost-cutting business move. But to make it the underlying premise of an entire feature film–well that’s pretty cool to say the least.

  • China, The Most Linux-friendly Country on Earth

    As a barometer of growth of GNU/Linux in emerging markets, China is a leading indicator. They consume the vast quantities of IT that they produce. GNU/Linux is popular globally but only India, Indonesia and Europe come anywhere close to the popularity of GNU/Linux in China.

  • Steve Ballmer Wants China to Switch to GNU/Linux

    President Obama:“So we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China. And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels — intellectual property and high-value added products and services.”
    see US-China Press Conference at the Whitehouse

    That’s an interesting statistic. 90% of users have obtained a copy without a licence/permission. They could have used GNU/Linux for little cost but their suppliers gave them that other OS. Presumably those same suppliers provided other software such as Office or PhotoShop or games to make the package attractive. If China cracks down further on this illegal supply-chain, will licensing fees result or will Free Software with a legal supply of usable software? Probably some of both. Given a choice of a higher-priced product with that other OS or the same old price with Free Software, there will be competition on price/performance and some will go either way.

  • Events

  • Desktop

    • £98 PCs target UK digital divide

      Distributor Remploy hopes to sell 8,000 machines in the next 12 months.

    • Refurbishment

      One business along these lines has been announced in UK but they are aiming low, 8000 units a year. That’s peanuts compared to the size of the opportunity. They seek to supply low-end consumers. There’s a large opportunity for mainstream consumers of PCs. What other business can look at cost of materials being so low compared to the value of the end-product?

    • How to convert people to Linux

      Converting people to Linux is not different from converting people to anything, be it a new religion, new lifestyle, new diet, new language, whatever. It’s a painful and frustrating process for both parties, often compounded by overzealous and sometimes good-natured intentions on behalf of the converters. The only way to make the transition more pleasant is by using humor, bribes and incentives.

      Unfortunately, too many people take their digital thingies too seriously. It’s almost frightening to read some of the articles out there, which lay out the dominion plain in such simple terms, as if switching to Linux is going to cure cancer or expose new fossil fuel resources. Relax. It’s only software.

  • Server

    • Rackspace’s CEO on Open Source and OpenStack

      As well as dedicated machines, it offers what it calls “Cloud Servers” – virtual machines running either GNU/Linux or Windows. Interestingly, the majority of virtual machines are running the former. Companies often use these cloud offerings to add extra resources to their computing capabilities at peak times. For example, the main e-commerce system might be hosted in-house, but cloud computing resources added to provide flexible and scalable Web hosting.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.38-rc1

      It’s been two weeks, and the merge window for 2.6.38 is thus closed. And an interesting merge window it has been.

    • Linux 2.6.38-rc1 Is Here With Two Features Linus Loves

      After keeping the Linux 2.6.38 kernel merge window open for two weeks, Linus Torvalds has this evening announced the release of the Linux 2.6.38-rc1 kernel. This kernel has a lot to love about it, including Linus’ two favorite features of the group scheduling improvements and the RCU-based path name lookup support. Performance improvements!

    • Main development phase of Linux kernel 2.6.38 completed

      Exactly 14 days after Linux version 2.6.37 was released, Linus Torvalds has published the first beta version of kernel 2.6.38, which is expected to be completed at the end of March or beginning of April. With this release, the merge window for the development cycle has come to an end and Torvalds has now integrated most of the changes for this version into the main development branch’s source code management system.

    • Linux 2.6.38 eliminates last main global lock, improving performance

      The first release candidate for the upcoming Linux 2.6.38 kernel is now out and it could further improve Linux performance.

      With 2.6.37, the Big Kernel Lock (BKL) was removed, but apparently there is at least one more big global lock that needed to come out. In 2.6.38 there is a new RCU (Read/Copy/Update)-based path name lookup.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Desktops for 2011

      It’s been a long while since I wrote an article sharing some of my current desktops. I thought the beginning of 2011 was a good time to show how some of my Linux desktops look like today.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Changes in KDE Git infrastructure

        As some of you may be aware, sysadmin is currently preparing to launch a big change to git.kde.org: New hooks. These new hooks will be launched tomorrow, so the repositories may be in maintenance mode for a period of time.

        The biggest improvement to these hooks is commit mails, which have improved significantly. Particular highlights of this is the format of the mails, and the extra information about what changes took place being included.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 19th December 2010
    • GNOME Desktop

      • gnome3.org is live!

        In case you haven’t heard: the GNOME 3 website is now live! Check it out, if you haven’t already. And spread the word: we want as many people to hear about this as possible.

        The launch of gnome3.org is an exciting development, since it’s the GNOME project’s first major opportunity to tell the world about all the cool stuff that’s going to be in the upcoming release. The site will evolve over the coming days and weeks to include additional information, new, rich content (such as Jason‘s awesome videos), and ways to try the new release: so look out for updates. If you would like to help with the site, please get in touch via the marketing mailing list or #marketing on irc.gnome.org.

      • GNOME 3 website now live, tries a bit too hard to be cool, looks like Unity

        New, clean-and-simple HTML5 websites are obviously in this week: GNOME, one of the most popular desktop environments for Linux, has just released a new website to celebrate the features of version 3, which will be released in April.

      • Some thoughts on GNOME 3

        I stumbled across a website talking about GNOME 3 today, with a few screenshots. It’s not really my first exposure to gnome-shell and friends, but it’s the first time I sat down and really looked at it, and imagined myself trying to work with it.

    • Xfce

      • Forget GNOME and KDE, Xfce 4.8 Runs Simpler and Faster

        A few times each month, I tire of the complexities of GNOME and KDE. Then I turn to a simpler, faster desktop for a couple of days or a week — and that desktop, more often than not, is Xfce. No other desktop I’m aware of balances convenience and speed half so well.

        The only drawback has been that, until this week, the current version of Xfce has been a couple of years old and looking blocky and a little limited in what it can do. Consequently, the release of Xfce 4.8 is both welcome and overdue. The new release gives Xfce a facelift and some new enhancements to general functionality, settings, and — most of all — the panel, while not compromising previous releases’ functionality and lightweight.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Release Update: timings, status and awesomeness

        Status
        ======
        From the usertags page[1]: you can see a total of:
        Blockers for Squeeze bugs (4 bugs)
        Planned for removal bugs (22 bugs)
        Ignored for Squeeze bugs (109 bugs)

      • Debian 6 Expected by February 6

        After nearly two years the light at the end of the Debian 6.0 tunnel may finally be in sight. Delay after delay has pushed the release of Debian 6 nearly a year passed its original estimated release date. Many observers had put the elusive release in the same category as Duke Nukem Forever. But those Doubting Thomases are eating their words now as Neil McGovern posted that 6.0 is definitely on its way – well, barring “something really critical” like “a needed machine crashes, RC2 exploding in a giant ball of fire etc.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Inclusion of Qt in Ubuntu 11.10 is a win for developers

          In an announcement published today on his personal blog, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth revealed that Nokia’s Qt toolkit will be included as a standard component in future versions of Ubuntu. The move will pave the way for applications built with Qt to become a part of the popular Linux distribution.

          Qt’s numerous technical advantages, excellent cross-platform compatibility, and strong positioning in the mobile space are making it an attractive choice for third-party developers and commercial ISVs. Supporting Qt out-of-the-box on Ubuntu could help bring more software to the platform and will help to accelerate third-party application development. The move could be viewed as controversial, however—as a GNOME-based distribution, Ubuntu has historically been aligned with the competing Gtk+ toolkit.

        • The last 12 months in Ubuntu (and a brief look ahead)

          One of the features that is most exciting is uTouch, which is multi-touch and gesture support. This is some significant work that Ubuntu has been undertaking since Maverick; with compatible hardware, it will change the human-computer interaction mechanism for the better. Gestures vary from one- to four-finger interaction and this system is rather groundbreaking when compared with multi-touch on other operating systems. One of the interesting projects to watch is GEIS, which is ‘Gesture Engine Interface and Support’, along with Grail (Gesture Recognition And Instantiation Library). While these are not significant to the end user, together it is these that will shape what the future of multi-touch. The current development version has around nine blueprints that are targeted towards uTouch, which makes the next release of Ubuntu very exciting.

        • Natty’s new Ubuntu One Control Panel takes shape

          Long time readers or those with good memories may remember that a new – and very elegant – Ubuntu One control panel was targeted for Ubuntu 11.04.

          As we surmised back in July, the aim of the redesigned-application is to’ improve the user experience of using the Ubuntu One service by allowing users to join, sign in and manage their accounts directly from the Ubuntu desktop.’

        • Siding With Canonical on Unity for Ubuntu

          Perhaps this will mark me as an Ubuntu fanboy in the eyes of some, but in the Unity vs. Gnome debate, I’m with Canonical. That isn’t to say that I believe the Unity shell is superior to the GNOME shell. I have no idea, having not tried out Unity. So why do I support it? I don’t. I support Canonical’s decision to go part ways with the Gnome community.

          [...]

          Fourth, if Canonical is right that this will make Ubuntu more attractive to more “common users,” more power to them.

        • Oops! Updates are a Part of Life

          I noticed as I was installing Ubuntu it brought back a frequent complaint I see towards Sabayon. A fresh install has many updates to be performed. I installed Ubuntu 10.10 x86 and during the actual install it was doing updates from the internet and upon completion of install and reboot, many more updates needed to be performed. I also didn’t have my nvidia-drivers and had to install them and setup my xorg for dual display. So this update thing is just not a Sabayon ordeal. My install of Ubuntu took longer as I had to wait for it to download packages during the install. Sure I could of said no, but they would of needed to get there eventually. I hope to not see any more complaints about updates. It’s part of computing, get use to it. A windows install will even take longer. Do the install and than get through windows updates is hours unless you have the service packs and even than there is more updates after them. I think Sabayon is balanced well with updates and releases. We always have a fresh spin to grab also.

        • Canonical’s Qt decision may also be mobile power play

          When Mark Shuttleworth informed the world yesterday the Qt libraries would be included in the next Ubuntu release alongside the Gtk+ libraries, my very first thought was “Huh. Qt on GNOME. Sounds like MeeGo.”

          Then it was my second thought. And my third. Because all that stuff Shuttleworth wrote about building a vibrant ecosystem is all very well and good, and certainly true–but it isn’t really a reason for a business decision, is it?

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ozone: New Lubuntu 11.04 Proposed Theme

            A new theme called O³ (Ozone) has been proposed for being default in Lubuntu 11.04 (an LXDE unofficial Ubuntu spin). The theme looks a lot like the new Xubuntu theme (introduced in Xubuntu 10.10) and in fact it’s based on the same theme: Zuki Blues by Lassekongo.

          • Pinguy OS – An Ubuntu Based Linux Distribution on Steroids

            Ubuntu has helped spawn umpteen Linux distributions. Pinguy OS is yet another Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (version 10.10 to be exact).

            Pinguy OS is targeted at lay persons – people who are going to use Linux for the first time, or those who want an out-of-box working OS.

            It is currently available to download as a DVD ISO (~1.3 GB size) for the 32 and 64 bit architecture PCs.

          • Review: Trisquel 4.0.1 LTS “Taranis”

            Well, that’s all I have to say about Trisquel. I appreciate goals of the distribution and the time and effort put into all parts of the presentation of this distribution. That said, the Gnash issues and lack of Skype mean that I won’t be using this on a regular basis anytime soon. This distribution is probably good for someone who has somewhat more limited needs (i.e. doesn’t need Skype, doesn’t watch YouTube so much, and in any case, MiniTube is available and works without Adobe Flash) or someone who truly cares about not using proprietary software.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Thin Client Usage in Largo, FL

      I don’t know what Largo pays for 48 processor servers choked with RAM but HP sells similar products from $30K and up. That’s in the neighbourhood of $100 per user, a bit more than I usually pay ($25 fully loaded and $50 lightly loaded custom-built). It’s clear Dave Richards spends a lot of time customizing his servers/services. Amen.

    • Phones

      • Android vs. iPhone: The GPL Question

        Well, now we know. You can’t sell software using the General Public License (GPL) on the Apple App Store& because it conflicts with its Terms of Service (ToS) . The popular VLC media player, was the first major GPLed software to be pulled from Apple’s App Store, it won’t be the last. But, what about Google’s Android Market? I asked the experts and they tell me that, in general, GPL developers can offer their wares on Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • trx

          TxPad is a code editor i created for the Maemo OS.

      • Android

        • Notion Ink’s Adam Android Tablet Said To Ship This Week

          junaidslife86 writes with news that the Notion Ink Android tablet has gotten the regulatory go-ahead from US authorities, and should soon be shipping.

        • Notion Ink Adam clears FCC, begins shipping ‘around Wednesday’
        • Android Virtualization: It’s Time

          James Kendrick, our new Mobile News columnist has a serious beef with the mobile carriers and the device manufacturers. It’s taking them way too long to get updates out for all of the Android handsets out on the market.

          The Android platform is extremely successful and it’s only becoming more so. By this time next year, it will almost certainly eclipse the BlackBerry as the leading smartphone platform in overall market share.

          That’s great news for Android, but there’s a downside to this rapid expansion. There’s a vast array of handsets currently on the market, not to mention all of the devices that were released in the last year or so, all of which have unique “Value Add” in their modification of the Android OS, a.k.a platform fragmentation.

        • Betting on Android! Shanda Announced RMB20Millions Funds for Android Development

          We reported that The9′s $100million fund, NetDragon’s $50million fund together with IDGVC, we also have the angel investor Lei Jun’s Xiaomi mobile application team with valuation at $200million and of course you would not forget Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works. The competition on China mobile market in 2011 will be tough, but with so much investment money stimulating the market, It is going to be a really good thing.

    • Tablets

      • Compal aims to ship 3.8 million tablet PCs in 2011

        Compal Electronics expects to ship 3.8 million tablet PCs in 2011, the largest volume among ODM makers, according to company president and CEO Ray Chen.

        Demand for tablet PCs will grow quarterly at the expense of conventional notebooks through 2011, Chen said, adding global tablet PC sales in 2011 will reach 60 million units, 70-75% of which will be iPads. Of the Compal-produced tablet PCs in 2011, 90% will be ARM-based, Chen noted.

      • Tablets in 2011

        iPads start at about $500 and Android phones start at about $100. I cannot see iPad taking 75% of the market with those price differences and manufacturers could easily double their shipments of Android in 2011.

      • Businesses Will Buy 10 Million Tablets in 2011: Deloitte

        Deloitte said healthcare and retail sectors alone could purchase some 5 million tablets this year.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Software downloads for Iran

    During the protests that erupted in Iran following the disputed Presidential election in June 2009, the central government in Tehran deported all foreign journalists, shut down traditional media outlets, closed off print journalism and disrupted cell phone lines. The government also infiltrated networks, posing as activists and using false identities to round up dissidents. In spite of this, the sharing of information using the Internet prevailed. YouTube and Twitter were cited by journalists, activists and bloggers as the best source for firsthand accounts and on-the-scene footage of the protests and violence across the country. At the time, though, U.S. export controls and sanctions programs prohibited software downloads to Iran.

  • Open Source in GSM Could Breed Mobile Mayhem

    The open source code for GSM base station programming could allow malicious hackers to set up rogue base stations and grab control of peoples’ cellphones, according to security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann. He’s raised particular concern about such activities near places like airports and embassies, but other researchers have questioned the seriousness of the threat.

  • Study charts global open source trends

    The 150-page report, published by the National Open Source Software Observatory of the CENATIC Foundation, charts globally the popularity and deployment of OSS. Primarily aimed at – by its own admission – boosting competitiveness of the Spanish business sector by identifying international projects that can be relevant to Spain, the report analyses, rather comprehensively, trends in both public and private sector adoption of OSS, and the role and participation of technology communities in many advanced IS.

  • FFmpeg turmoil

    A group of FFmpeg developers has announced that the project has a new set of maintainers – news which came as a surprise to existing maintainer Michael Niedermayer. Developer Diego Biurrun has posted an explanation of how the coup came to be, but it’s clear that not everybody is satisfied.

  • [ANNOUNCE] New FFmpeg maintainership
  • Re: [ANNOUNCE] New FFmpeg maintainership
  • How Unemployed Developers Use Open Source to Get Hired

    Solve a problem, provide a solution and watch your name circulate among all the right people. Sounds like a fantasy, yet if you play your cards right, you might just be surprised at how easily this can happen. The key however, is finding that ideal “pain-point” that will make the enterprise user want to try your new open source project in the first place. Perhaps the best approach is to find a problem that the enterprise market is either not addressing or – an even better opportunity – costs a fortune with its current proprietary software options.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browser Security User Interfaces: Hard to Get Right and Increasingly Inconsistent

      A great deal of online commerce, speech, and socializing supposedly happens over encrypted protocols. When using these protocols, users supposedly know what remote web site they are communicating with, and they know that nobody else can listen in. In the past, this blog has detailed how the technical protocols and legal framework are lacking. Today I’d like to talk about how secure communications are represented in the browser user interface (UI), and what users should be expected to believe based on those indicators.

    • Mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/01/18

        Summary

        * These posts written every 2 weeks explain the current state of add-on reviews and other information relevant to add-on developers.
        * Last week a new version of the Developer Tools was pushed live at AMO. They include a new review process among a ton of other changes. More information here.
        * Most nominations are being reviewed within 10 days.
        * Most updates are being reviewed within 5 days.
        * Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 5 days.

      • Zooming and rotating for video in HTML5 and CSS3

        The source of the code examples in this post is available on GitHub and you can see the demo in action.

        There are dozens of video players that allow you to do all the normal things with videos: play, pause, jump to a certain time and so on. More advanced ones also allow you to fast forward and reverse the video and support subtitles.

      • Firefox and the open web in the Philippines

        I don’t have much to say because Chin says it better than I can.

  • Databases

    • HBase: Shops swap MySQL for open source Google mimic

      Facebook isn’t the only one swapping MySQL for HBase, the open source distributed database platform based on Google’s BigTable. The Hadoopian HBase is now in play at several of the web’s most recognizable names – including Adobe, Yahoo!, Mozilla, and StumbleUpon – as well as smaller operations looking to climb their way to such online prominence.

    • Manage MySQL with Consummate Ease Using SQL Buddy

      phpMyAdmin is probably the most popular Web-based tool for managing MySQL databases, but it is definitely not the only fish in the sea. In fact, if phpMyAdmin’s interface is not your cup of tea and the tool itself is overkill for your needs, then you’d be better off using something like SQL Buddy. This lightweight tool sports a slick user-friendly interface that puts all essential management features at your fingertips. Better yet, SQL Buddy is ridiculously easy to install. Grab the latest version of the application, unzip the downloaded archive, move it to your server, and SQL Buddy is ready to go.

  • Oracle

    • A Year After: The Open Source Projects

      Below is a summary of the status of the main Open Source projects that had been sponsored by Sun, as of a year after Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun. Like A Year After: The People, all information here is public.

      The projects covered are: DarkStar, DTrace, Drizzle, Fuji, GlassFish, GridEngine, Hudson, JXTA, Lustre, MySQL, NetBeans, ODFtoolkit, OpenDS, OpenESB, OpenJDK, OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, OpenSSO, Pymonkey, VirtualBox, Wonderland, WebSpace Server, ZFS.

    • Impressive LibreOffice UI Mockups You Need to See

      LibreOffice is already my default office suite in Ubuntu though there is not much of a difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice for now. But things are moving fast and LibreOffice is going to have its first official release soon. Meanwhile, you might want to remove all traces of OpenOffice and install LibreOffice in Ubuntu for a change. Trust me, it feels good.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.0 RC3, Finally Uploaded To The LibreOffice PPA

      A quick update: LibreOffice 3.3.0 RC3 which was released last week has finally been uploaded to the LibreOffice PPA. Unfortunately the Ubuntu Lucid packages were not updated so only Ubuntu Maverick and Natty users will receive this update.

    • Starting 2011 : a progress report on LibreOffice

      * The Document Foundation has joined the OpenDoc Society. The OpenDoc Society is an international community (based in the Netherlands) that promotes the use of open standards such as ODF and helps various initiatives related to open standards. I think it illustrates our unwaving commitment to ODF -despite what you might have read around the Internet these past weeks- and you should expect more news to come about our commitment to ODF in the coming months.

      * LibreOffice RC3 has been released; will we be releasing the final version soon? Suspense! In any case, give it a shot, and bring us your feedback!

    • First LibreOffice Stable Release Nears: What Now?

      LibreOffice 3.3 is almost here. The third release candidate came out on Thursday, January 13 and looks to be very near complete. It’s not a major upgrade over OpenOffice.org 3.2, but should put the project on solid footing going forward.

      The list of show stoppers for 3.3 is just about cleared out. If 3.3 doesn’t turn up new blockers, it looks like we’ll have a final release that looks very much like the RC3.

  • Business

    • Who is profiting from open source?

      It’s good to see Mark Hinkle has a new open source-related blog (The Fountainhead) although I was somewhat amused by his first post, Open source status report reveals good health and profits.

      It wasn’t so much the relative health of open source, which is supported by his list of open source-related statistics, but the reference to profits. The only other mention of profit in the post is in the description of the “non-profit Mozilla Foundation”.

      The relative profitability of open source-related software vendors has been on my mind recently. Having updated the database of open source-related vendors we use for our business strategy research I was left pondering how many of the 323 vendors listed are profitable.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD development in 2011

      Continuing with the “2011″ series, let’s have a look today at the development planned for GhostBSD. Earlier posts can be found here: PC-BSD, pfSense, HeX Live, MaheshaBSD.

      GhostBSD is relatively new. This project started in 2010 and is being worked on by Eric Turgeon and Nahuel Sanchez. GhostBSD is a live CD for general use and is based on FreeBSD 8.1 featuring the Gnome window manager. This operating system can also be installed on your hard drive by using PC-BSD’s pc-sysinstall (link – video).

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 1 year FSFE Fellow – 1 year deepening of Free Software in Greece

      Tommorow, January 19th, I will renew my membership at Free Software Foundation Europe. Its been exactly a year since I joined FSFE and the Fellowship. This year (2010) many actions took place for the deepening of Free Software by public institutions and people in Greece:

  • Project Releases

    • Funambol v9 Simplifies Over-the-air Syncing of iPhone Pictures and Android Calendars via the Cloud

      Funambol, the open source mobile cloud company, today introduced Funambol v9 to allow users to wirelessly sync iPhone pictures and Android calendars via the cloud. Funambol v9 simplifies over-the-air sharing of iPhone pictures with Flickr, Picasa, Facebook and PCs. It wirelessly syncs calendars on Android phones, tablets and devices with other cloud services and computers. The software provides on-device mobile signup with an easy three step setup process while on-the-go, without requiring a PC, and supports localization of the Funambol Portal into multiple languages. The release removes the 90 day limit on the myFUNAMBOL Portal to let users easily and freely sync and share contacts, calendars, pictures and more via the cloud.

  • Government

    • The World’s Top 10 Gov 2.0 Initiatives

      The Gov 2.0 movement continues to gain momentum around the world with a number of inspiring people, projects & ideas rising to prominence over the last year or so. Sometimes the most important innovations emerge from the periphery where creative citizens take a “do it first, ask for permission later” approach that can generate a wealth of benefits for the entire global community. So here’s my pick of the world’s best Gov 2.0 initiatives. What are your favourites?

  • Licensing

    • Hoist by my own petard: How to reduce your impact with restrictive licences

      Across the audience people didn’t tweet, and indeed in a couple of cases deleted photographs that they had taken. Again the respect for the request people thought I was making was solid. Even in an audience full of radicals and open geeks no-one questioned the request. I’m slightly gobsmacked in fact that no-one shouted at me to ask what the hell I thought I was doing. Some thought I was being ironic, which I have to say would have been too clever by half. But again it shows, if you ask, people do for the most part respect that request.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Viewpoints: what the world thinks of Wikipedia

      Love it or hate it, Wikipedia is now the fifth most visited site in the world and shows no signs of going away any time soon. As such, the collaborative encyclopaedia rouses a wide range of opinions. In the hater corner lie accusations of unreliability, systemic bias and cliquishness. In the lover corner you will find admiration of its sheer scale, the generosity of people with their time and expertise, and its mission to spread information for free to the world. Wired has garnered viewpoints from a range of experts including one of Wikipedia’s founders, a former editor-in-chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica and some of the site’s editors.

      Larry Sanger, philospher and co-founder of Wikipedia
      I started Wikipedia in the first place because I believed, and still believe, that there is an enormous opportunity: getting all the smart people in the world together to create content that is free to everyone. There are three sorts of freedom inherent in the idea of Wikipedia: freedom to create it, freedom to use it, and freedom to redistribute it. With publishers and their slow-moving mechanisms out of the way, I was convinced that volunteers could quickly create a large free encyclopedia.

    • Single point of failure.

      Monopoly isn’t a goal for Wikipedia, it’s something that just happened.

      There’s basically no way at this stage for someone to be a better Wikipedia than Wikipedia. Anyone else wanting to do a wiki of educational information has to either (a) vary from Wikipedia in coverage (e.g., be strongly specialised — a good Wikia does this superlatively) (b) vary from Wikipedia in rules (e.g., not neutral, or allow original research) and/or (c) have a small bunch of people who want to do a general neutral encyclopedia that isn’t Wikipedia and who will happily persist because they want to (e.g., Knowino, Citizendium).

    • Yochai Benkler on Wikipedia’s 10th Anniversary

      Ten years ago, when Jimmy Wales put a few hundred stubs on a web platform to which anyone could write, and which anyone could edit, but no one was paid to do either of these, it was doomed to failure. Or so then-conventional wisdom would have said. Anyone who would have proposed that within five years Nature would claim that Wikipedia’s science articles are not fundamentally worse than those of Britannica; or that by the end of a decade it would become the standard reference online would have been laughed out of the room. Wikipedia was impossible. So, by the way, were free or open source software, Yelp, or Tripadvisor. They were all impossible because the dominant model of human behavior said that we were all fundamentally self-interested, and that without systems to reward good behavior and punish or constrain bad behavior, human enterprise cannot flourish. Without law or markets, we would simply devolved to mutual shirking and abuse.

    • Open Data

      • JFK Library opens largest online digitized presidential archive

        Marking the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, the JFK Library Foundation today unveiled the nation’s largest online digitized presidential archive, providing access to papers, records, photographs and recordings of the 35th president’s thousand days in office.

      • How London Leads the Way in Techno Wizardry

        Boris Johnson sparked the revolution a year ago when he launched the London Data Store website as a repository of London government data, provided for free. Last week, the Government launched the Public Data Corporation, and it is essential that it also commits to providing that data for free, or else it will have limited impact.

        We now provide hundreds of different streams of information, covering everything from air quality and Tube timetables to voting patterns and hospital performance, from fires to road accidents. More than 1,000 firms have accessed the data so far.

      • The Next International Open Data Hack Day – initial thoughts

        It also has two nice benefits:

        * it gets us away from an exclusive focus on government and might get people in the headspace of creating applications with tangible uses – something almost everyone can relate to
        * many people have mom’s! so getting into the shoes of a mom and imagining what might be interesting, engaging and/or helpful shouldn’t be impossible
        * it might engage new people in the open data movement and in the local events

      • Parliament, data and eDemocracy: A big step forward

        From an eDemocracy perspective, one of the most exciting individual proposals is to open up the procedure relating to amendments to legislation.

    • Open Access/Content

      • World’s largest medical student organization joins Right to Research Coalition

        In a move that demonstrates the building global momentum for student commitment to Open Access, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) today announced its membership in the Right to Research Coalition, an international alliance of undergraduate and graduate student organizations that promotes a more open scholarly publishing system through advocacy and education.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • No double standards: supporting Google’s push for WebM

      We’ve signed up as a supporter of the WebM Project, and we encourage other foundations and organizations to join us—write to webmaster@webmproject.org to learn how. Today, we’re also urging Web site operators to distribute videos in the WebM format, and abandon H.264

      Last week, Google announced that it plans to remove support for the H.264 video codec from its browsers, in favor of the WebM codec that they recently made free. Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion about how this change will affect the Web going forward, as HTML5 standards like the video tag mature.

      We applaud Google for this change; it’s a positive step for free software, its users, and everyone who uses the Web. For a while now, watching video on the Web has been fraught with peril. Most of it is delivered with Flash, which is proprietary, nonstandard software. Free software alternatives like GNU Gnash are available, but the user experience isn’t always as seamless as it ought to be.

    • On WebM again: freedom, quality, patents

      So, after all this text, I think that there may be some more complexity behind Google’s decision to drop H264 than “we want to kill Apple”, as some commenters seem to think – and the final line is: software patents are adding a degree of complexity to the ICT world that is becoming, in my humble opinion, damaging in too many ways – not only in terms of uncertainty, but adding a great friction in the capability of companies and researchers to bring innovation to the market. Something that, curiously, patent promoters describe as their first motivation.

    • The Truth Behind HTML5′s New Logo Fiasco

      So what’s the problem? Well, it’s not particularly because of the way it looks (it doesn’t appear particularly offensive), or what it’s replacing (it is new). This time, people are angry simply because it exists.

Leftovers

  • The Return of Winklevoss Vs. Zuckerberg

    A long-running legal quarrel returns to a courtroom in San Francisco on Tuesday: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg versus his collegiate business partners Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

  • [License Agreements] Cartoon for Jan 14, 2011
  • The Rise And Fall Of Yahoo: The Infographic

    It’s no secret that Yahoo is in a troubled place. And has been for awhile. We just learned of the news that Yahoo is looking to sell bookmarking service Delicious and “sunsetting” a number of other web services. Preceding this debacle was a massive round of layoffs that affected over 500 employees. Many have tried to pinpoint where Yahoo went wrong (i.e. product strategy, leadership etc.), but this infographic, titled “The Rise And Fall Of Yahoo,” gives you a play by play of the company’s history, acquisitions, highs, lows and more.

  • Vatican letter on sex abuse from ’97 revealed

    A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure with the potential to fuel more lawsuits worldwide against the Vatican, which has long denied any involvement in coverups.

    The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of an Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests.

  • Vatican officials told Irish not to report child abuse

    A Vatican department advised Ireland’s Catholic bishops in 1997 not to report priests suspected of child abuse to the police, a newly revealed letter shows.

  • Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse
  • Youth more radically opposed to present government than tea parties, poll finds

    Predictions of a youth uprising sweeping the United States in 2011 appear to be turning increasingly true, according to a recent poll.

    Figures supporting that hypothesis, produced by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) for a liberal blog, were cited by partisan news figures as proof of a growing violent radical element in the tea parties.

  • Is 25 Old?

    20:

    * Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook
    * Ian Murdock founds the Debian Project

    21:

    * Steve Jobs co-founds Apple Computer
    * Rob Malda starts Slashdot (then Chips & Dips)

    22:

    * Linus Torvalds releases Linux 0.01
    * Darren Kitchen launches Hak.5
    * Mark Shuttleworth founds Thawte
    * Dries Buytaert releases the first version of Drupal

  • Max Mosley Says Newspapers Must Alert Famous People Before Writing Stories About Them

    Ima Fish alerts us to the bizarre idea of Max Mosley, the former head of the international motorsports organization FIA, to create a special rule for the rich and famous that would require the media to alert them to any stories mentioning them before publication.

  • Chinese parenting

    There are nearly 7,000 comments to Amy Chua’s now infamous article in the Wall Street Journal titled, modestly, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. I read the piece, as I’m guessing most of you did, with grim fascination. Its main contention is that Chinese parents raise kids who are more successful than their Western counterparts because these parents deprive their kids of fun, slave-drive them to study constantly, prohibit them from acting in school plays and sleeping over at friends’ houses, and insisting that they never get a grade below A. Chua’s description of how she terrorized her daughter to force her to master a piano piece is not something you’ll soon forget.

  • Science

    • What the humble fruit fly is teaching the powerful computer

      A new study reveals that the fly arranges the hair-like structures of its nervous system to feel and hear. That method now serves as a model for refining wireless sensor networks, among other computer applications.

    • Excellent Little Apps: PDF-Shuffler

      Rummaging through my blogposts related to Ubuntu, too many of them are grumbling or complaining posts. We forget about the awesome stuff in Ubuntu because it Just Works; it’s the stuff that’s broken or that we dislike that consumes our attention.

    • Abandoned Knol

      Knol’s homepage says a lot about the current state of the project. There’s a big empty section called “what’s new”, a single featured knol that has 1,000 views, while the “most discussed” section doesn’t include any knol and the search feature no longer works properly.

      Knol has been last updated in December 2009 and it’s obvious that the service has been abandoned. Somebody needs to close Knol before it’s too late.

    • RightNow acquires natural language search firm Q-Go

      CRM vendor RightNow has agreed to buy Q-go.com, a vendor of natural language-based search software, for US$34 million in cash, the companies announced Tuesday.

    • About Face: Hu at the White House

      The Chinese president had not even taken off his overcoat off before Obama, on the White House lawn, said, “Societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful, and the world is more just when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.” So began a state visit that nudged debate over China’s political values back into the spotlight, after two years in which the Obama White House tried, and abandoned, an effort to reframe the relationship around other issues. This tack is likely to defuse some of the criticism of the Administration for soft-pedalling human rights. But these tougher words came in an elegant package, and, like all Chinese gift-exchanges, that was at least as important as the contents.

    • Silicon quantum computer a possibility

      By achieving entanglement in silicon, researchers have brought quantum computing a step closer.

    • New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight

      Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pols: Spare drug-addled former mayoral worker

      Ex-Senate president Robert Travaglini and City Councilor Sal LaMattina are among dozens of compassionate supporters asking a federal judge to spare the rod on an erstwhile rising star in Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s camp, whose addiction to painkillers poisoned his political career.

    • Can you be both obese and healthy?

      Countless epidemiological studies have shown that as you move from a normal body weight towards obesity the risk of many chronic diseases increases exponentially. However, more and more research suggests that the relationship between body weight and health is much more nuanced than previously thought.

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Tarsnap critical security bug

      Tarsnap versions 1.0.22 through 1.0.27 have a critical security bug. It may be possible for me, Amazon, or US government agencies with access to Amazon’s datacenters to decrypt data stored with those versions of Tarsnap. This is an absolutely unacceptable compromise of Tarsnap’s security principles, and I sincerely apologize to everyone affected.

    • An Example of Malware in GNU/Linux

      MacOS has a much lower share than 16%. Why are they hit so often? It’s because GNU/Linux is hardly hit at all. Java applications shouldn’t care what OS someone is using to operate. Why would the malware authours not go after GNU/Linux machines using Java?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • In Wake of Tucson Shootings, a ‘Distracted’ Time For Judges

      Even though Arizona Chief U.S. District Judge John M. Roll was not the intended target of Jared Lee Loughner’s assualt Saturday morning, the Tucson massacre has raised legitimate questions about judicial protection and security. On Sunday, I asked another federal trial judge, who, like Judge Roll, has faced his share of threats over the years, to share with me a few of his thoughts about what happened.

    • Lithuania drops CIA torture site inquiry amid claims of official cover-up

      Reprieve challenges bizarre excuses for refusal to investigate horse-riding school believed to have imprisoned ‘high-value detainee’ Abu Zubaydah.

      Lithuania’s Prosecutor General has blamed a ‘lack of NGO transparency’ for his sudden decision not to investigate CIA torture sites operating in Lithuania between 2004 and 2006.

      Prosecutor Darius Valys unexpectedly announced last Friday that he was terminating his official inquiry into allegations that Lithuania’s secret services teamed up with the CIA to host one or more ‘black sites’, including one in a disused horse-riding academy.

    • Thousands of federal officials under lifelong gag order, records show

      More than 12,000 current and former federal intelligence officials must take the secrets of their most sensitive work to the grave, newly obtained records show.

      The number of people “permanently bound to secrecy” is more than double the figure expected in 2003 when the government began putting the provisions in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • Canadian TSA’s Non-Apology Apology To 82-Year-Old Woman

      We just had a story about how the Canadian version of the TSA, the CATSA, had treated an 82-year-old woman to ridiculous security procedures — berating her for not originally telling them about the gel in her prosthetic breast (there due to her mastectomy because of breast cancer) and then arguing with her because she physically could not lift her arms in the new naked scanners. Reader Joe points out that the CATSA eventually did offer an apology… of sorts. It’s not a real apology, in that they don’t say they’re sorry for what they did.

    • French photographer ‘murdered’ in Tunisia

      Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, working for the European Press Photo Agency (EPA), has died in Tunis’ Rabta hospital from head injuries sustained on January 14 when police are said to have “deliberately fired a tear gas grenade at him” during the Tunisia protests, says Reporters Without Borders.

      “I think it was a crime, a real murder”, it has EPA spokesman Horacio Villalobos declaring.

      Dolega, 32, the first French photographer to die in the line of duty since 1985, was also the first foreign journalist to be killed in Tunisia, says the story.

    • Arrr! Pirates Take Up to $12 Billion Worth of Booty

      Don’t let the dilapidated fishing boats or the rusting AK-47s fool you. Pirates mean serious business. A maritime industry group crunched the numbers and found that the measures companies and governments take to avoid and combat the piracy threat cost between $7 billion and $12 billion every year.

  • Cablegate

    • So you think death threats are against the law?

      Well, apparently they’re not. Just so long as the threats are contained in a registered domain name linked to a website with no content. Just so long as they’re directed against Julian Assange. Vivantleakers is keeping a list of death-to-assange websites springing up around the net, with whois searches including registrars and admin contacts.

    • vivantleakers.org

      Tracking cyber-bullies who promote illegal murder or harm to Assange and his associates.

    • Russian WikiLeaks site blocked

      It was blocked today because it showed pix of what’s said to be Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin’s palace, built at a cost of some $1 billion.

      That’s it on the right, according to BritInRussia in a pic uploaded to travel.webshots.com in 2006.

      President Putin’s Palace, it says. “This is where the G8 Summit is going to take place.”

      Visitors started experiencing problems on Tuesday after ruleaks.net “posted photos of an Italian-style palace on the Black Sea coast that according to The Washington Post belongs to Putin”, says RIA Novosti.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Wales’ carrier bag charge becomes law

      The law, which will come into force from 1 October next year, will see Welsh shoppers paying 5p per single use carrier bag.

      Wales is the first country in the UK to introduce a charge as part of its efforts to dramatically reduce the volume of carrier bags given out to shoppers.

    • 10 Most Alien like Insects on Earth

      A common mistake when searching for alien life forms is to look up into the sky for something big. But alien life is right here, at our feet, in our backyards. Millions of tiny but frightening aliens, many just a few millimetres long. We’ve convinced the most cheerful of the lot to give us a tour…

    • The last of a species, caught on film

      As a kid, I was fascinated by the photos of the extinct quagga that were bolted to the sides of the zebra pen at the Topeka Zoo. I knew about extinction, of course. Dinosaurs were extinct. And I knew that buffalo had been shot by the 1000s a long time ago and might have become extinct, if they hadn’t been protected.

  • Finance

    • Goldman to exclude U.S. from Facebook placement

      Goldman Sachs will limit its private placement of shares of social networking site Facebook to investors outside the United States, citing “intense media coverage,” the investment bank said.

      Goldman expects to raise $1.5 billion for Facebook, the wildly popular site used as a message board and for online social networking. The chance to buy a slice of Facebook ahead of any future public listing attracted widespread commentary and news coverage, which potentially could bring it under regulatory scrutiny.

      “In light of this intense media coverage, Goldman Sachs has decided to proceed only with the offer to investors outside the U.S.,” the company said in a statement provided to Reuters.

      Goldman began notifying clients of its decision on Sunday.

    • How accurate are property records?

      A Utah court case in which the owner of a Draper townhouse got clear title to the property, even though he still owed $132,000 on it, raises new legal and financial questions about a property-records database created by mortgage bankers.

    • Bankers are paid too much admits RBS chief

      The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland has conceded that bankers get paid too much, mostly because of what he calls a “gangmaster” culture in investment banking.

    • Obama, entourage showered with Saudi gifts: report

      The Federal Register reported Tuesday that King Abdullah gave some 34,500 dollars worth of presents to Obama, some 146,200 dollars worth to First Lady Michelle Obama and 7,275 dollars worth to their children Malia and Sasha.

    • Switzerland freezes assets of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Laurent Gbagbo

      Switzerland’s federal council today agreed to freeze any assets of Tunisia’s ousted president and the incumbent leader of Ivory Coast.

      The Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey, told reporters the measures would take effect immediately and target Tunisia’s former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and the Ivorian incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

    • Bank Overcharged Military Families On Mortgages

      The banking giant JPMorgan Chase is admitting it made some very big mistakes. As first reported by NBC News, the firm says it overcharged more than 4,000 active-duty military personnel on their home loans and foreclosed in error on 14 of them.

      Julia Rowles and her husband, Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles, have been fighting with Chase ever since Rowles was commissioned as an officer in 2006.

    • Goldman Sachs bankers to receive $15.3bn in pay and bonuses

      Goldman Sachs has set aside $15.3bn (£9.5bn) to pay its staff in 2010 – an average of $430,000 each – in a move that re-ignites the controversy over City pay and bonuses at a time when youth unemployment is hitting record highs in the UK.

      The best known of all the Wall Street firms did not attempt to show the restraint of last year when it reduced the amount being paid into its bonus pool in the fourth quarter of 2009 to make a $500m public donation to a charitable foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hunt’s Local TV Plan Re-Invents The Wheel As A Square

      Nicholas Shott’s review for Hunt made clear there is little chance of such an enterprise making money. Yet Hunt has conceived a model which, first and foremost, invites commercial tenders, funded by national advertising. Far better might have been an effort that puts the citizen first – a grassroots one, run on a cost-neutral basis, whose product would likely have been more direct-access information and interpretation than TV talking heads. Why not involve community groups from that same Big Society which the UK government is trying to create, rather than just commercial broadcasters?

    • Key House Committee Hires Three More Former Lobbyists

      The House Energy & Commerce Committee has hired three more lobbyists after naming a top Washington lobbyist as Staff Director in December, 2010. The lobbyists have represented a range of companies and industries that all have business before the committee.

      Michael Bloomquist will join the committee as the deputy general counsel from his position at the lobbying firm Wiley Rein. Bloomquist was most recently registered as a lobbyist for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a coalition of independent natural gas exploration and production companies, and Nucor Corp., a giant steel company. Bloomquist previously worked for Energy & Commerce Committee, the Science & Technology Committee, and the Department of Interior before becoming a lobbyist.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • censorship and children

      But as a parent, there were things I knew would disturb him. Being in tune with my child, I was uniquely positioned to have a good idea what protection was necessary. For instance, in the early years, good guys could never die. As he grew and learned acquired the ability to protect himself, the terms of censorship changed. Before he was 18 he had acquired enough maturity that external parental censorship was no longer necessary.

      Of course I never did show him Old Yeller, a film that traumatized me as a child. Just seeing a commercial for it makes me burst into tears to this day.
      rewriting history is a bad idea

      Although there is a time to protect children, I thoroughly disagree with the practice of rewriting literature to “protect” children.

    • Berlusconi’s lackeys want to ban our books. They started from Venice. Let’s fight back!

      The Assessor for Culture of the province of Venice, a guy called Speranzon – a former activist of the MSI [the old neo-fascist party, active from 1946 to 1994] and now a member of Berlusconi’s party – approved a proposal from a party colleague and will order Venetian libraries to:
      1) Remove from shelves all the books written by any author who signed a 2004 petition asking for Cesare Battisti’s release from jail;
      2) Abstain from organizing events featuring such writers (they must be declared “undesirable persons”, he says).
      Any librarian who will not accept this diktat “will be held responsible” of his behavior. Is this a hint about fund freezing, withdrawal of patronage, mobbing, hostile media campaigning?
      The proposal was lauded by the COISP, a policemen union. The poor librarian will think twice, before opposing local authorities and the police.

    • DoD Blocking Access To Techdirt Because It’s About ‘Computers And Internet’?

      Sent in by an anonymous person in the Defense Department is the notice that they were unable to read our recent story about customs and border patrol harassing Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum as he flew into Seattle from a vacation in Iceland. What struck me, however, was the hilarious wording explaining the block:

      This Page Cannot Be Displayed

      ——————————————————————————–

      Based on DOD access policies, access to this web site ( http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110112/16054412641/customs-hamfisted-attempts-to-intimidate-wikileaks-volunteers.shtml ) has been blocked because the web category “Computers and Internet” is not allowed, your IP address and username have been recorded and forwarded to your IA staff for review.

    • he Companies Who Support Censoring The Internet

      Anyway, here’s the full list of companies that support censoring the internet, because they’re too lazy to compete in the marketplace or innovate when that market changes:

      * Nike – Beaverton, OR
      * Achushnet – Fairhaven, MA
      * Curb Music Publishing – Nashville, TN
      * NBC Universal – New York, NY
      * Viacom – New York, NY
      * Callaway – Carlsbad, CA
      * Cleveland Golf – Huntington Beach, CA
      * Rosetta Stone – Arlington, VA
      * Activision – Santa Monica, CA
      * Adidas Group – Portland, OR
      * Xerox – Norwalk, CT
      * Hastings Entertainment, Inc. – Amarillo, TX
      * Fortune Brands – Deerfield, IL
      * Coty Inc. – New York, NY
      * EDGE Entertainment Distribution – Streetsboro, OH
      * Oakley, Inc. – Foothill Ranch, CA
      * PING – Phoenix, AZ
      * Louis Vuitton – New York, NY
      * D’Addario and Company – Farmingdale, NY
      * Monster Cable Products, Inc. – Brisbane, CA
      * Tiffany and Co. – New York, NY
      * Farouk Systems, Inc. – Houston, TX
      * Beam Global – Deerfield, IL
      * Chanel USA – New York, NY
      * True Religion Apparel, Inc. – Vernon, CA
      * Concord Music Group – Beverly Hills, CA
      * Village Roadshow Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
      * National Basketball Association – New York, NY
      * National Football League – New York, NY
      * The Collegiate Licensing Company/IMG College – Atlanta, GA
      * Anderson Merchandisers – Amarillo, TX
      * Trans World Entertainment Corporation – Albany, NY
      * Timberland – Stratham, NH
      * Major League Baseball – New York, NY
      * Lightening Entertainment/Mainline Releasing – Santa Monica, CA
      * Sierra Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
      * Voltage Pictures LLC – Los Angeles, CA
      * Worldwide Film Entertainment LLC – Westchester, CA
      * Nu Image, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
      * Burberry Limited – New York, NY
      * Big Machine Records – Nashville, TN
      * The Little Film Company – Studio City, CA
      * Columbia Sportswear Company – Portland, OR

    • Dire Straits tune banned — after 25 years!

      Result? Just one — one — complaint, “but the self-regulating Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has upheld it, and no outlet in the nation can now play Money for Nothing the way Dire Straits intended it to be heard”.

    • Customs Boss Defends Internet Censorship; Says More Is On The Way

      Here he’s just being disingenuous. The law does not protect criminals. There are existing laws that allow the government or private parties to file a lawsuit against anyone accused of breaking the law, and allowing (as per our normal due process system) an adversarial hearing to be had in court so that both sides get their say. What Morton and his team did ignores all of that. It ignored due process. It seized sites that had substantial non-infringing content, it used serious technical and legal errors to get a judge to rubber stamp seizures of domain names that were widely used by the music industry to promote their own works. And he addresses none of that.

    • Fingerprints Go the Distance

      The device, called AIRprint, is being developed by Advanced Optical Systems (AOS). It detects fingerprints by shining polarized light onto a person’s hand and analyzing the reflection using two cameras configured to detect different polarizations.

    • Police DNA test plan to put off prostitutes’ punters

      West Yorkshire Police have sought to clarify a senior officer’s remarks after she called for a database of all men who use prostitutes, irrespective of whether or not a crime has been committed.

      Chief Superintendent Alison Rose from Bradford South said in a report by the BBC that she wanted to set up a DNA database of men who employ the services of sex workers.

    • Your Employer Can Read Your Work Emails, Even to Your Lawyer

      There are many, many reasons not to use your work email address for anything remotely personal. Here’s one more: a California appellate court has ruled that even attorney-client confidentiality doesn’t apply when the email is on company servers.

    • AT&T Case Asks High Court to Assign Privacy Rights to Companies

      A business privacy case that comes before the U.S. Supreme Court today may rekindle a debate among the justices over whether corporations are like people, even to the point of suffering embarrassment.

      The case, set to be argued in Washington, pits the Obama administration against AT&T Inc. over the release of documents stemming from a government investigation of the company. The question is whether corporations can invoke a Freedom of Information Act provision that protects against invasions of “personal privacy.”

    • Fuzzy Boundaries: The Potential Impact of Vague Secondary Liability Doctrines on Technology Innovation

      If a technology company induces its customers to use its product for infringing purposes, for instance, both the users and the company should be liable for such infringement—the users for direct infringement and the company for contributory infringement, which is a species of secondary liability.

      The doctrine is appealing as a practical solution to widespread infringement because it targets the entities that enable illegal behavior—e.g., the Napsters and Groksters of the world—and thus eradicates the distribution mechanism that enables infringement in the first place. Judge Kozinski and Mr Goldfoot (I’ll generally refer to them as “the authors” from here on), like the movie and music industries, certainly believe that the doctrine of secondary liability should be readily used as a handy and effective tool for weeding out copyright infringement. According to the authors, people “who provide powerful tools that can be used for good or evil have some responsibility to make sure that those tools are used responsibly.” Put more bluntly, however, if you outlaw the tool, you needn’t chase after the users, so in practice it’s less a question of ethics and more a question of convenience and efficiency.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Senator Al Franken: No joke, Comcast trying to whack Netflix

      Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has had it with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who has just created “essentially two Internets” with weak net neutrality rules and who this week signed off on the mega-merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. A common thread unites the two decisions: both highlight the “growing threat of corporate control” over information.

      Franken’s remarks came yesterday during a speech to a Netroots Nation gathering in Minnesota. The former comedian and NBC employee (during his Saturday Night Live days) has made media consolidation and network neutrality two of his signature issues, and he hammered on both of them during his talk.

    • Sweden: miles ahead of Canada on the internet

      I was flipping through the latest issue of Wired the other day and I came across an article on Spotify, a music-streaming service based in Stockholm. I’d heard a little about the service before but, because it’s not available in North America, I hadn’t paid much attention to it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Conservative tech policy goal: ramp up IP enforcement

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who has already introduced a bill to gut the FCC’s net neutrality rules, this morning issued a tech policy call to arms for her fellow conservatives. Atop her agenda: ramping up intellectual property rights and passing “Rogue Websites” legislation to “go after organized online criminals who steal from American creators and rights holders.”

      A keynote speaker at today’s “State of the Net” conference in Washington, DC, Blackburn laid out a conservative approach to Internet regulation that largely boiled down to the idea that we shouldn’t have any.

    • Zynga Becoming A Trademark Bully: Threatens Blingville For Daring To Use ‘ville’

      What I really don’t understand is why Zynga is acting this way. It has no reason to be a trademark bully, and doing so only makes the company look petty.

    • Copyrights

      • Las Vegas’s copyright crapshoot could maim social media

        “We are absolutely continuing to develop the law of copyright in the area in respect to fair use,” says Gibson. “There is very substantial guidance in the courts already that make it clear that the kinds of reproduction that Righthaven is addressing is not fair use. One hundred percent takings are seldom fair use, whether by a for-profit or a non-profit institute. The notion of fair use has been very stretched by advocates of reproductions.”

      • Oppose ISP copyright liability in free-trade agreement – NZ professor

        The University of Auckland’s Professor Jane Kelsey, a noted commentator on free trade, is apprehensive that US negotiators at the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement (TPP) talks, backed by powerful entertainment-industry lobbies, will want to return to the question of internet service provider liability for customers’ copyright breaches through downloading or uploading.

        Such liability was knocked back at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks last year.

      • Jailed Pirate Party member becomes Tunisian government minister

        From imprisoned Pirate Party member to government leader, it’s been an eventful week for Tunisian blogger and software developer Slim Amamou. Arrested by security forces a week ago, Amamou emerged from jail a few days later only to watch as president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country and the new “unity” government asked Amamou to join.

      • Hotfile, 1000 Users and PayPal Named In Piracy Lawsuit

        Liberty Media, the company involved in achieving the largest headline settlement against a BitTorrent user last month, has widened its net to include cyberlocker-based infringement. The movie studio has now filed suit against file-hosting site Hotfile and 1000 of its users. PayPal is also named in the suit alongside calls for it to freeze Hotfile’s account. The court is asked to seize Hotfile’s domain name.

      • Exposed: file-sharing lawyers collect fines using ‘dormant’ company

        Controversial legal firm ACS Law is discreetly using another company to collect payments from alleged file-sharers.

        ACS Law has long acted on behalf of copyright holders, demanding hundreds of pounds from people accused of file-sharing or threatening them with the prospect of court action.

        The law firm is currently being investigated by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, following accusations by consumer watchdog Which? that it had “bullied” people into making payments for infringements that they didn’t commit.

        ACS Law was in court earlier this week, attempting to have 27 cases of alleged file-sharing dropped.

        However, the judge refused to drop all but one of the cases, giving the legal teams of the defendants the chance to fight for punitive damages from rights holder MediaCAT – which has accused the defendants of illegally downloading pornographic films.

      • US Official Speaks Untruths About Torrent-Finder Domain Seizure

        Two months ago the United States Government seized more than 80 domains that were allegedly involved in copyright related offenses. Among these sites was the relatively unknown BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder. From the start there has been a lot of critique, but the director of ICE has now come out to defend their actions. Unfortunately, his ignorance and hugely misleading comments add yet more black marks to the track record of his office.

      • Italian regulator asks for copyright reform after Google settlement

        Italy’s competition regulator has asked the Italian parliament to reform copyright law after accepting Google’s settlement of a dispute with newspapers. It does not have the power to solve the problem of the exploitation of newspaper content, it said.

        The Italian Federation of Newspaper Editors had complained in 2009 that if newspapers refused to have their content appear in Google News it would also disappear from Google’s search engine, which could affect the amount of web traffic they received.

      • Adventures in copyright

        We had time, then, to look through what they planned on turning in. “Where did you get this information?” “Was this picture CC licensed?” If they didn’t know, hadn’t written it down, or the images were copyrighted, one of our class mantras came into play: don’t be lazy. There are no more thoughts of, “Oh well, just dock my grade.” We’re at the point where grades aren’t on anyone’s mind. We’re about the process. “Fire up a laptop and let’s find some CC pictures!” We have 3 computers in my room, but with so many students using them for the same reason–finding images–they were working 3 or 4 to a computer.

        While talking about CC images, one of my students just could not wrap her head around why someone would not want other people to be able to use their images. Most of the other students agreed with her. I’m right there, too. I guess I can see someone whose job it is to take pictures not wanting other people make money off their work, but that’s what the CC 3.0 license is for. I don’t know. I’m sure there are cases I’m just not seeing.

      • RIAA to ICANN: Music TLDs Better be Piracy Free

        Music coalition warns that it better change new requirement that an objector to a proposed gTLD must show “likelihood of material detriment” to the “broader Internet community”or else it will “escalate” the confrontation. Is worried that a person could “hijack a music themed gTLD to enable widescale copyright infringement” of its works.

        The music industry has never met a new form of technology it likes, and ICANN is the latest to feel its wrath over a new top-level domains program.

      • ACTA/Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

        • Will the EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee tomorrow ask the legal service whether ACTA complies with the Treaties?

          Member of Parliament Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens) wants to ask the “legal service of the Parliament if the final Version of ACTA and its foreseen legislative procedure is in line with the Treaties of the European Union and which legal possibilities there are for the European Parliament to challenge this in front of the European Court of Justice”.

        • “Release the Text” Campaign Demands End to Secrecy in Trade Talks

          The sign on letter echoes broader demands from the peak union bodies in almost all the TPPA countries that all working texts are published after each round of negotiations, along with government position papers, on a neutral electronic forum that allows for a frank exchange of information and views.

          “Three decades of free markets and free trade deals show that while big business tends to be the winner, workers and poor communities, who have no say in the process, pay the price. These secret deals have to stop.”

          “We call on the government to secure agreement to basic rules for transparency during the next TPPA talks in Chile in mid-February,” said Campbell.

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