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01.25.11

Links 25/1/2011: Pardus 2011 and Quick Look at Dreamlinux 3.5 GNOME

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Open Ballot: have you converted anyone to Linux?

    Without multi-million pound/dollar/euro advertising campaigns, Linux’s popularity spreads primarily through word-of-mouth. Many people end up discovering the power of Linux by seeing it running on someone else’s machine, or having it recommended to them. In preparation for our upcoming podcast, we want to know: have you ever converted someone to Linux? Not like, you run Fedora and your wife checks her email on that machine once a day. We mean: you’ve shown someone Linux, helped them to install it, given them guidance and now they’re a full-time Linux user.

  • Uganda’s ban on refurbished computers sparks the law of unintended consequences

    The dirty downside of the ICT industry is that computers have to go somewhere when they die and because they are full of potentially toxic materials they cannot simply be dumped in landfills. Uganda’s Government has sought to tackle part of the problem by banning the import of secondhand computers and sparked the law of unintended consequences. Russell Southwood talked to Shakeel Padamsey of Camara and Kyle Spencer of the Uganda Linux Group about what’s happened.

    [...]

    In May 2008 a report called “e-Waste Assessment in Uganda – A situational analysis of e-waste management and generation with special emphasis on personal computers authored by the Uganda Cleaner Production Centre and EMPA from Switzerland (and sponsored by UNID0 and Microsoft draw attention to the issue. It concluded that:”… only around 10% of those computers (estimated 300,000 in 2007) reach the waste stream, whereas the rest is kept in storage without being used. The 10% in the waste stream gets collected by individuals, whereas material and parts are sold informally and the rest gets dumped informally…This (is) equal to about 2,000 tons of computer waste (desktop unit and CRT screen) in total, which contains e.g. 80 tons of printed circuit boards and 400 tons of plastic. These numbers are hypothetical but represent a realistic order of magnitude”. The report’s recommendation was that it be dealt with by a UNIDO/Microsoft refurbishment initiative.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • CMU Sphinx- An Open Source Toolkit For Speech Recognition | Linux
    • 8 of the Best Free Linux e-Learning Tools

      E-Learning consists of all types of electronically supported teaching and learning. It represents the computer and network-enabled transfer of knowledge, behaviors, and skills. E-learning includes Web-based learning, virtual classrooms, digital collaboration, and computer-based applications. The learning activity is often delivered over the internet and intranet/extranet, although optical media, and satellite TV are also alternatives.

      E-Learning has many benefits over traditional methods of learning. It enables individuals to study when it would otherwise not be practical. For example, a student may live in a remote location and be unable to relocate e.g. because of family commitments. It also allows the tuition to be self-paced or instructor-led, and is often more economical than traditional methods.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Starry – A New 3D Space Shooter in a Retro Style

        Much of the news that we receive here at Ubuntu Gamer consists of updates to existing games or reviews of games that you may well of heard of. Occasionally though, out of the blue, news of a game arrives that turns out to be a real undiscovered gem. Starry is one of those games.

  • Distributions

    • Eight Completely Free Linux Distros (And One More)

      All Linux distributions are supposed to be free, but some distributions are freer than others. Because some gaps remain in free software functionality, many distributions, including Ubuntu, include proprietary applications, such as Acrobat and Flash readers, and drivers for video and wireless cards. Many more include Linux kernels with proprietary firmware for device drivers.

      Among the hundreds of distributions, only eight are officially recognized by the Free Software Foundation as being completely free of proprietary material.

    • My Netbook running Pardus 2011

      So I installed Pardus 2011 as a third booting option in my netbook. I’m running Mandriva, Mepis, and now Pardus (Yes, no windows in my netbook) and I must say that it is working perfectly. I haven’t had any plasma crash and everything looks nice. I even used the new Firefox to find pictures (Pardus picks up the wi-fi without any problem) and the GIMP to modify them. The result was this simple wallpaper ;-)

    • Reviews

      • Quick Look: Dreamlinux 3.5 GNOME

        Overall, I think Dreamlinux has a lot of potential and I look forward to checking it out again at a later date. Since this version (3.5) has been out for a while now, I am hopeful that a new release will fix some of these problems and hopefully put it on par with LMDE. I’ll probably do a full review of it for DLR once the next release is out, so stay tuned.

        Dreamlinux is probably best suited to intermediate and advanced Linux users.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Linux suffers a security incident – compromise risk is minimal

          Long story short is that a Fedora contributor had his/her credentials stolen and then an attacker began to use those credentials to attempt to tamper with the Fedora infrastructure. Due to the limited privileges of the exploited account (and some good luck) it appears as though there has been no risk to Fedora’s build or infrastructure.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Bodhi Linux is a Lightweight Linux Distribution Based on ‘Enlightenment Desktop’ and Ubuntu

          Bodhi Linux is quite lightweight and requires modest system requirements of a 300 Mhz processor, 128 MB RAM and 1.5 GB hard disk space yet it is quite powerful and feature complete. With ever evolving Enlightenment desktop and a dedicated team of developers behind Bodhi Linux, it is surely one distribution you would like to watch for.

        • Expanding Ubuntu Recovery Mode

          Recovery Mode is a text-based interface to a few quick repair tools that is installed by default with most Ubuntu releases and derivatives. I wrote a few add-ons for it that increase its usefulness in remote repair and diagnostics situations. These were developed and tested on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx).

          Starting Ubuntu in Recovery Mode (aka. Friendly Recovery) is relatively easy. Just hold down the shift key after the BIOS POST to get Grub2 to show its menu, then just select the kernel with the “recovery” option. Also note the memtest86+ option which is useful for identifying bad RAM.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • $100 – $150 Smartphones Expected in 2011

        The world does want small cheap computers and ARM+GNU/Linux can do the job. Nothing prevents an OEM from building a larger netbook and calling it a notebook. The world can build smaller PCs with ARM + GNU/Linux.

    • Tablets

      • Toshiba’s Android 3.0 tablet has swappable battery

        Toshiba launched a preview website for its 10.1-inch, “Toshiba Tablet,” which runs Android 3.0 on an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and offers dual cameras and a swappable battery. Meanwhile, Motorola’s rival Xoom Android 3.0 tablet will go on sale at Best Buy on Feb. 17, and will be offered by Verizon Wireless for a pricey $799 without a contract, say reports.

      • Mobile developers shifting to tablets, says study

        A joint survey of 2,235 developers published by Appcelerator and IDC shows the emergence of tablet computers has caused developers to refocus their development strategies, with Android interest catching up with the iPad. Meanwhile, a Deloitte study says that businesses will account for 25 percent of tablets sold in 2011.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 15 open source projects you should know about as a web developer

    Building websites and web applications today is not only about being a great programmer, it’s even more important to be a smart programmer. This means to re-use existing code and applications when possible instead of re-inventing the wheel.

    Open source has been around for ages and much of the web is built using it. Every developer knows about Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP).

  • 50 Open Source Applications for Sci-Tech Education

    You don’t have to search very hard to find educators and policy makers worried about the current condition of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. There’s a STEM Education Coalition, a National Science Board STEM Education Commission, a Journal of STEM Education and even a STEMEd Caucus in Congress dedicated to passing legislation that increases funding for STEM education.

    Organizations like these frequently cite statistics which show that American students lag behind their international counterparts. For example, in the 2007 Trends in International Science and Math Study (TIMS), U.S. fourth graders placed eleventh in math and eighth in science, while U.S. eighth graders ranked ninth in math and eleventh in science. Falling behind in these areas could eventually lead to a decline in American innovation, with drastic effects on the economy. As a result, groups have recently taken a number of steps on local, regional, and national levels to improve interest and achievement in science and mathematics.

  • Events

    • Linux, embedded tech featured in conferences

      The ninth annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 8x) has posted a schedule for the conference it will hold on Feb. 25-27 in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the multi-platform Embedded World conference has published a schedule for its 2011 event, to be held Mar. 1-3 in Nuremberg, Germany.

  • TDF

    • The Document Foundation Unleashes First LibreOffice Release

      Today The Document Foundation enthusiatically announced LibreOffice 3.3, the first release of their community developed OpenOffice.org fork. They cite the growth in the number of volunteer developers as the key to releasing ahead of schedule. Contrary to earlier reports stating no new features, today’s press release reveals “a number of new and original features.”

    • The Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 3.3

      The Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 3.3, the first stable release of the free office suite developed by the community. In less than four months, the number of developers hacking LibreOffice has grown from less than twenty in late September 2010, to well over one hundred today.

    • First LibreOffice Release arrives

      LibreOffice 3.3 includes numerous new features when compared to its OpenOffice parent. To my mind, the most important of these for modern office workers is that it has much better import and export tools for Microsoft Office 2007 and above OpenXML formats. Love them or hate them–I hate them myself–more and more businesses are using these formats and being able to work with them is becoming a business-critical feature. In addition, LibreOffice can also now import Adobe PDF, Microsoft Works, and Lotus Word Pro documents and has better WordPerfect document import facilities.

    • Free Software Snubs Oracle

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 3.3, which comes only four months after the formation of the foundation by leading members of the OpenOffice.org community, demonstrating their commitment to a free and open office productivity suite.

  • Oracle

    • Can Oracle OpenOffice put a dent in Microsoft Office?

      It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Microsoft. Whether Steve Ballmer knows it or not, the big shoes left by 23-year-veteran Bob Muglia, who oversaw major successes by the company’s Server and Tools division, will be devilishly hard to fill. And just last week, Microsoft lost Windows consumer marketing boss Brad Brooks to Juniper; worldwide government general manager Matt Miszewski to Salesforce; and Johnny Chung Lee, one of the key researchers behind the Kinect motion control technology, to Google.

      On the heels of Ray Ozzie and Stephen Elop leaving Redmond, those recent departures may seem like a very bad sign. But the degree to which Microsoft is really in trouble depends largely on the viability of alternatives to its most popular products.

  • Project Releases

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The GOP’s Health Care Plan: Blame the Lawyers

      Do Republicans really have a plan for fixing the health care system? They’ve insisted, even as they’ve pushed to repeal last year’s health care reform law, that they have some new ideas for reducing health care costs and expanding access to the uninsured.

      So far, though, the Republicans’ new ideas look a lot like their old ones. On Thursday, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the new GOP chairman of the House judiciary committee, will hold a hearing entitled, “Medical Liability Reform—Cutting Costs, Spurring Investment, Creating Jobs.” Judging from Smith’s comments, and the subject of the hearing, one of the Republicans’ big ideas for fixing the health care system is simply to keep people from suing the doctors who injured them.

    • The Problem With Damage Caps

      Few things demonstrate the deliberate bad faith of conservative arguments for tort reform more than their support of damage caps in medical malpractice suits. Their claim is that caps reduce “frivolous lawsuits,” but of course they do nothing of the sort. Almost by definition, frivolous lawsuits are those filed for small dollar claims in hopes that insurance companies will figure it’s cheaper to settle than to fight. Big dollar lawsuits that exceed damage caps are the exclusive domain of serious injury — the precise opposite of frivolous.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Feds Go Fishing

      Back in September 2010, a series of FBI raids were conducted in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina. These raids were conducted under laws pertaining to US citizens providing “material aid to terrorists” and targeted members of antiwar, leftist, and solidarity organizations. Since the raids, various activists that were targeted have been subpoenaed to appear at a grand jury and have refused to do so. By refusing, those subpoenaed are risking arrest for contempt. However, as of this writing, none have been taken to jail yet. As I wrote in an article first published in CounterPunch on September 27, 2010: “These raids are a clear and vicious attempt to intimidate the antiwar movement.” and the grand jury “is a fishing expedition, as evidenced (for example) by the warrant asking for papers from no determined time.”

    • Tunisian army fires warning shots at protesters

      The Tunisian army fired warning shots in the capital today as demonstrators converged on the headquarters of the long-time ruling party.

      Protesters climbed over the RCD party offices in central Tunis and dismantled the sign bearing its name.

    • The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks

      It was on Christmas Day that Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan first noticed strange things going on in Tunisia. Reports started to trickle in that political-protest pages were being hacked. “We were getting anecdotal reports saying, ‘It looks like someone logged into my account and deleted it,’” Sullivan said.

    • Hundreds of political prisoners in Tunisia yet to be released
    • Egypt braced for ‘day of revolution’ protests

      Egypt’s authoritarian government is bracing itself for one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in recent years tomorrow, as thousands of protesters prepare to take to the streets demanding political reform.

    • Executing the Evidence

      Such a sham trial cannot produce a reliable verdict and will not restore the honor of the U.S. military and intelligence agents who tortured al-Nashiri, or the lawyers, doctors, and high-ranking government officials who permitted and encouraged it. And it will do nothing to free this country of the disastrous prison compound on Guantánamo or its legacy.

      Worst of all, because the United States government seeks the death penalty for Al-Nashiri, the trial will become another rallying cry for our enemies and a deep disappointment to our friends. Both will point to our hypocrisy as a supposed leader on human rights and our increasing isolation in the family of nations as we cling to the “peculiar institution” of capital punishment.

    • Torture and ‘unjustified homicide’ in US run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay?

      New documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union show “unjustified homicide” of detainees and concerns about the condition of confinement in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, according to the ACLU.

      Thousands of documents detailing the deaths of 190 U.S. detainees were released by the ACLU on Friday. The U.S. military gave the ACLU the documents earlier in the week as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the rights group.

    • Israeli soldiers fired at Gaza aid flotilla in self-defence, says inquiry

      Israel acted within international law and its soldiers opened fire in self-defence during a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships last May that prompted worldwide protests, a government-appointed commission concluded today.

      [...]

      Activists on board the vessels said the Israeli military initiated the violence and used disproportionate force in the ensuing battle.

    • Oasis of Peace Blossoms, To An Extent

      The “Oasis of Peace” (Neve Shalom-Waht es-Salaam in Hebrew and Arabic) is the only place in Israel where, 35 years ago, Jewish and Palestinian Israelis chose voluntarily to live side by side; the only place to raise Jewish and Palestinian children together.

    • The whistleblower

      A police officer and divorced mother of three, Kathyrn Bolkovac was looking for a fresh start when she signed up as a UN peacekeeper in Bosnia. But when she began to investigate the local trafficking of young girls into prostitution, all the evidence pointed to those she worked alongside

    • Theresa May set to announce new counter-terrorism package

      The coalition cabinet is to agree an “escalating series of measures” today to replace the controversial control orders imposed indefinitely on terror suspects who cannot be prosecuted.

      The delayed package of reformed counter-terrorism measures is to be announced by the home secretary, Theresa May, tomorrow and will include changes to stop and search powers and pre-charge detention as well as a replacement for the much-criticised control orders.

    • Tucson shooting survivor arrested after threatening Tea Party member

      James Fuller, who was shot in the knee and back by Jared Loughner, shouted: “You’re dead” at Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries before being detained and taken to hospital for a mental health evaluation.

    • Free speech behind protest at slain cop’s funeral

      But as the funeral procession for Sgt. Ryan Russell went by Tuesday there was a man holding up a sign that stated “Soldier’s Die, Electricians Die and People Die” on one side and “No Police State” on the other.

      This takes some serious gall. What the hell was he thinking?

      He’s either the most heartless person in Toronto. Or someone who is earnest about Canada’s rights and freedoms.

      But Eric Brazau says by making this point outside Tuesday’s massive police funeral at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, all he was doing was expressing his free speech.

    • Tony Blair’s promise to George Bush: count on us on Iraq war
    • Blair must face trial

      No-one should ever be amazed at the grotesque pretexts dreamed up by Tony Blair to justify the unjustifiable.

      Blair suggested to the Chilcot inquiry that he had disregarded attorney general Lord Goldsmith’s initial legal advice on the planned invasion of Iraq because it was “provisional.”

      However, the then prime minister didn’t simply ignore the advice given. He stood it on its head.

      Blair stood up in Parliament giving a position diametrically opposed to what Goldsmith had told him. He justifies that now by saying that he was convinced that the attorney general would come round to his view once he knew the full facts.

      Both Blair and Goldsmith are at fault for their refusal to take international law seriously.

    • Undercover police cleared ‘to have sex with activists’

      Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of “promiscuity” with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.

      The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.

      Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.

    • Activists plan Scotland Yard blockade to expose spies who used sexual tactics

      Women aim to identify undercover police who infiltrated environment groups and had sexual relations with protesters

      [...]

      As evidence continued to emerge of police officers having had sexual relations with people they were monitoring, the women said they wanted to know if they had been “abused” by police.

      Though senior police insisted that sleeping with activists during such operations was banned, a former agent claimed such “promiscuity” routinely had the blessing of commanders.

      The activists’ concerns follow the revelation that the undercover PC Mark Kennedy had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating environmental activists’ groups. Last week the Guardian identified more officers who had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on. One officer, Jim Boyling, married an activist and had two children with her.

    • Easter Islanders Seek U.N. Intervention in Dispute with Chile

      “We are a peaceful people. We don’t like war. We don’t want police and military on our land,” said Erity Teave, an indigenous activist from the Chilean-administered Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks points to US meddling in Haiti

      Confidential US diplomatic cables from 2005 and 2006 released this week by WikiLeaks reveal Washington’s well-known obsession to keep exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti and Haitian affairs. (On Thursday, Aristide issued a public letter in which he reiterated “my readiness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time” from South Africa for Haiti, because the Haitian people “have never stopped calling for my return” and “for medical reasons”, concerning his eyes.)

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans Target Energy Spending

      Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)’s Republican Study Committee on Thursday released a list of programs they’d like to see cut as part of the Spending Reduction Act of 2011. Clean energy, efficiency, rail, and climate programs were all atop the two-page list of cuts, reaffirming the fact that when Republicans say they want an “all of the above” energy plan, they really mean just coal, oil, gas, and sometimes nuclear.

    • How to Rack Up 557 Safety Violations and Not Get Shut Down

      Forty-eight coal miners died on the job in 2010, 29 of them in a single incident at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia—the worst mining accident in the US since 1970. This week, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) outlined the preliminary results of its investigation into the April 5, 2010, accident. The exact causes remain unknown, but safety investigators have made one thing clear: The explosion in the mine was preventable.

    • Ecuador: Chevron Trying To Block Testimony Of Diego Borja About Falsifying Evidence In Ecuador Trial, Plaintiffs Charge

      Chevron is attempting to block or delay the sworn deposition testimony of the company’s Ecuadorian “dirty tricks” operative Diego Borja, the spokesperson for the Ecuadorians suing Chevron for oil contamination in the Amazonian rainforest, charged today.

    • ExxonMobil warns carbon emissions will rise by 25% in 20 years

      ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, expects global carbon emissions to rise by nearly 25% in the next 20 years, in effect dismissing hopes that runaway climate change can be arrested and massive loss of life prevented.

    • Natural signs that show spring comes earlier

      Spring is sooner recognised by plants than by men, states the Chinese proverb – a point that has been backed by science. Researchers have found that the behaviour of plants and the animals that feed on them shows spring is arriving earlier every year. It also appears that this advance is accelerating, according to Dr Stephen Thackeray of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, in Lancaster.

  • Finance

    • SEC looks at Cahill, Goldman Sachs link

      The US Securities and Exchange Commission has delivered subpoenas to the state treasurer’s office in a wide-ranging request for documents concerning dealings between investment banking giant Goldman Sachs and former treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, onetime top staff members, and former campaign aides, according to an official briefed on the document request.

    • Wall Street firms earn high profits while still owing Uncle Sam

      Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street giants that played roles in the subprime mortgage debacle are reporting huge profits and awarding hefty bonuses again even as the government remains on the hook for tens of billions of dollars of their debt.

      Banking behemoths are among the scores of lenders and insurers that floated as much as $345.8 billion in federally guaranteed bonds under a program that is widely credited with helping to keep money flowing at the height of the financial crisis, when businesses had nowhere to turn for capital.

    • Fannie and Freddie spending lavishly on lawyers

      Taxpayer-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made a lot of money for a lot of lawyers since the government seized them 21/2 years ago.

      In that time, the companies have spent more than $160 million to defend themselves and their former executives in lawsuits and showered another $50 million on foreclosure lawyers who are now under investigation in Florida.

    • Financial Crisis Commission Finds Cause For Prosecution Of Wall Street

      The bipartisan panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis has concluded that several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law and has referred multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution, according to two sources directly involved in the deliberations.

    • State Bankruptcies? ‘Ludicrous,’ He Says

      California’s state treasurer, Bill Lockyer, denounced on Monday continuing efforts to establish a new framework for states to restructure their debts, saying no state wanted or needed to declare bankruptcy.

    • IMF loan policies ‘hampering aid efforts’

      A study has tested whether aid to tackle disease and improve healthcare actually translates into a better health system for the countries that receive it.

      The Oxford-led study found that aid that went to some of the poorest countries was not used to supplement existing spending on public health projects, but instead aid often displaced state spending. Countries that relied on loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were found to channel the least aid towards its intended purpose.

    • U.S. Gov-Funded Mission to Make Haiti Christian: Your Tax Dollars, Billy Graham’s Son, Monsanto and Sarah Palin

      In November, 2010, Lewis Lucke, a former U.S. ambassador to Swaziland and former USAID official in Haiti, filed suit against Haiti Recovery Group Ltd. for some $500,000 in unpaid fees for the tens of millions of dollars in contracts Lucke secured for the group in the days after the earthquake. After leaving his USAID position, Lucke immediately signed a $30,000 a month “consulting” contract with the Haiti Recovery Group, a conglomerate formed by several American contractors with the specific goal of securing U.S. funding. Lucke used the contacts developed while at USAID to score the conglomerate over $20 million in contracts. Then it canned him. Sucker.

    • Is GE’s Jeffrey Immelt Really an American?

      If President Barack Obama had announced this week that he was appointing Japan’s Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda, to head his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, one can imagine the shock wave that would go through the American body politic. A foreigner!–and one from one of America’s major competitors–to head a White House advisory panel on jobs and competitiveness?

    • Hu Jintao’s visit: the story the media missed

      If these reporters actually had to cover the news to get a paycheck, then this checklist of concerns would have been just the beginning of their job. It’s great for the Obama administration to come up with a wishlist that it would like from China’s leadership. But this is not Disney World. China doesn’t hand the United States everything on its wishlist.

      China is a superpower that doesn’t have to do whatever the United States wants. It makes concessions to the United States in exchange for items on its own wishlist.

      This means that the United States is not going to get everything on its list. In fact, President Obama must decide which items he will prioritise with China and put these items first, as opposed to other items which he will tell Hu are of less consequence. The real job of reporting in Washington last week should have been trying to find out the actual priority that President Obama was assigning to the various items on his list.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NBC Universal and Comcast’s merger is no joke

      The closest many will have come to expressing an interest in the merger between NBC Universal and Comcast is through watching a parody of the deal unfold in 30 Rock, NBC’s self-referential comedy.

    • Tell Meredith Corporation to STOP running ads from tobacco companies!

      Parents and Family Circle magazines routinely include advertisements from Lorillard Tobacco Company’s “Real Parents. Real Answers.” campaign. Tobacco companies use these so-called “youth prevention” ads to manipulate people into thinking they are trying to prevent youth smoking when in reality they are only trying to improve their image so that more people – specifically young people – trust them and buy more products. The ads in these magazines are in fact NOT reliable prevention materials and tobacco companies should not be promoted as a trusted source.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Rogers’ Scare Tactics and “Unsafe Public Wifi”

      As I tweeted yesterday, I had a surprising experience with Rogers customer service yesterday. I was calling to add a text plan to my wife’s cellphone account (the fact that her current plan – which includes hundreds of voice minutes, 1 GB of data, and an assortment of additional services – still charges 15 cents (soon 20 cents) per text is fodder for different post). After I agreed to pay a few more dollars each month to cover texts, the agent asked if used my laptop to access public wifi networks. When I said that I did, he asked if I knew the dangers of using public wifi, which I was told included the possibility of hackers accessing my data or inserting viruses onto my computer. Given the risks, the agent continued, might I be interested in the Rogers’ Rocket Stick?

    • A metered Internet is a regulatory failure

      But tell that to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the body supposedly responsible for regulating electronic media for our well-being. The CRTC has decided to allow Bell and other big telecom companies to change the way Canadians are billed for Internet access. Metering, or usage-based billing (UBB), will mean that service providers can charge per byte in addition to their basic access charges.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Bullet points for ACTA debate in the EU

          “Practice what we preach, not what we do”. ACTA is a legally binding treaty for the EU and EU member states but only a voluntary global benchmark for the US. While the EU considers it a legal obligation, the US considers ACTA a “voluntary agreement” that despite clearly contradicting a number of US laws will have no legal impact in the US. Therefore, ACTA will give a competitive advantage to US businesses who will enjoy a more flexible system, for example with the US “fair use” of copyrighted material, while European innovation, especially SMEs will be constrained by the binding obligations of ACTA and other new EU legislation that will increase costs and risks in Europe with regards to copyright enforcement. The US Supreme Court has recently ruled that a law very similiar to ACTA that established very high damages and penalties for IP violations was unsconstititional.

        • Commission’s lost answer to Schaake question arrived

          Here it is, the missing answer to Dutch MEP M. Schaake, which as the document shows was indeed published far too late although referenced in earlier statements to other parties. The Commission arrogant as ever simply disputes the substance. For the first time the Commission states that the provisions in ACTA such as civil and criminal sanctions relate to the “commercial aspects of IPR” legal base in Art 207 of the Treaties, a legal opinion that you would like to see get tested at the ECJ.

        • Certainly, the professors should know better

          Already on 24 or 25 November 2010, the Commission and Council Presidency initialled ACTA. This became clear at the Ad hoc meeting – Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a DG Trade meeting to inform and consult civil society about ACTA. Mr Pedro Velasco Martins, Deputy Head of Unit, Public Procurement and Intellectual Property Directorate-General for Trade, represented the Commission.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo – QT based UI running on AAVA’s Moblin 2.1 Smartphone


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 25/1/2011: Red Hat Expansion and LCA 2011 Coverage

Posted in News Roundup at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Skills Are Hot on Improving IT Hiring Front

    That’s according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which on Monday reported that employers announced plans to cut only 46,825 IT jobs during 2010–a full 73 percent fewer than the 174,629 technology job cuts in 2009.

  • Certifiable: Why Get a Vendor/Distribution Neutral Linux Certification?

    In this second in his series of online videos, Ross Brunson of LPICPrep describes the value of a vendor and distribution neutral Linux certification.

  • Desktop

    • IBM rolls out virtual desktop offering

      The VDI package will allow workers to access desktops from a variety of devices, including iPads and thin clients. They could access both Microsoft Windows and Linux-based operating system desktops. Users can even run the desktops without connectivity, by use of a USB drive.

    • Five seriously cool conky set-ups for the Linux desktop

      It’s seen by some as the stat setup of geeks, but once you move past the desktops filled with blocks of terminal-style output, Conky is capable of transforming your desktop into something pretty special.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Core i5 2500K Linux Performance

      Earlier this month Intel released their first “Sandy Bridge” processors to much excitement. However, for Linux users seeking to utilize the next-generation Intel HD graphics found on these new CPUs, it meant problems. Up to this point we have largely been looking at the graphics side of Sandy Bridge, and while we have yet to publish any results there due to some isolated issues, on the CPU side its Linux experience and performance has been nothing short of incredible. Here are the first Linux benchmarks of the Intel Core i5 2500K processor.

    • Natty to get kernel 2.6.38

      Just a short little update to let the OMG crowd be the first to hear. Andy Whitcroft reported in a bug report that Natty is about to get the 2.6.38 kernel.

    • AMD Offers OpenGL 4.1 Support On Linux

      The new functionality is made possible with the release of the latest professional and consumer graphics drivers, ATI FirePro and ATI FireGL unified driver 8.801, and AMD CatalystTM 10.12, available on the AMD website.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 270.18 Linux Beta Driver Is Here

        This morning I talked about a stable NVIDIA Linux driver update (v260.19.36) and that a 270.xx beta driver would be imminent. It turns out, however, that the NVIDIA 270.18 Beta driver is already publicly available. It can be tested for Linux x86/x86_64 with a couple of new features to this proprietary graphics driver.

      • Cairo 1.12 Is Being Prepped With New Capabilities

        Intel’s Chris Wilson has announced the Cairo 1.11.2 snapshot, which is the first development look at what’s to come with version 1.12 of the Cairo drawing library. Besides introducing support for creating Bezier surface gradients and working up the API in some areas, there’s many other improvements being introduced in Cairo 1.12.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Desktop Environment of the Year

      If you’re looking for Fluxbox, Window Maker, Enlightenment or similar options – they are in the Window Manager of the Year poll.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell Daily Build (January 24th, 2011) Video

        As requested by many of our readers, here is a video showing the latest GNOME Shell daily build (as of January 24th, 2011). There have been many changes to Gnome Shell since our last video, including the overview relayout (which is default for some time), notification changes, side-by-side tiling as well a functional notification area and many other changes.

  • Distributions

    • Because Your Distro Should Be Cool!

      Reason 4: Small crew: Foresight is formed by a bunch of very, very enthusiastic group that really enjoy developing and maintaining a cool system! That means that we’re small enough to have an almost family-like relationship and all help out in whatever task needs to be done. That also means that we’re most of the time shorthanded and have a lot of things being worked by one single person! Some people may find this to be a hindrance but I like to see it as a great chance to get involved with an open source project! Do you want to maintain a package? Want to impress the world with your artistic skills? Is documentation your thing? There are very few hoops to jump through and you will learn a whole lot about Linux and running a distribution! What can I say, we are a small team that just love what we do!

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat plans expansion for Brisbane office

        Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat plans to expand its Brisbane support operation, revealing that some US Red Hat customers time support calls according to when calls are likely to be answered by Australian staff.

      • Red Hat builds gutsy, green virtualization machine

        Three years in the making, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 is a gutsy, green upgrade that features native support for KVM, the Linux kernel-based virtual machine.

      • LCA 2011: Multiculturalism a major plus for Red Hat

        Multiculturalism may be something that is frowned upon in some parts of Australia but for Red Hat, the premier open source company, it has proved to be a blessing and nothing else.

      • Fedora

        • Consistent Network Device Naming coming to Fedora 15

          One of my long-standing pet projects – Consistent Network Device Naming, is finally coming to Fedora (emphasizing the 2 of the Fedora F’s: Features and First), and thereafter, all Linux distributions. What is this, you ask?

          Systems running Linux have long had ethernet network devices named ethX. Your desktop likely has one ethernet port, named eth0. This works fine if you have only one network port, but what if, like on Dell PowerEdge servers, you have four ethernet ports? They are named eth0, eth1, eth2, eth3, corresponding to the labels on the back of the chassis, 1, 2, 3, 4, respectively. Sometimes. Aside from the obvious confusion of names starting at 0 verses starting at 1, other race conditions can happen such that each port may not get the same name on every boot, and they may get named in an arbitrary order. If you add in a network card to a PCI slot, it gets even worse, as the ports on the motherboard and the ports on the add-in card may have their names intermixed.

        • Breaking a few eggs: Fedora 15 changes network device naming

          The Fedora Project is getting ready to break a lot of networking scripts that depend on the ethX naming convention — by being the first major distro to ship Consistent Network Device Naming.

          Matt Domsch, Fedora contributor and technology strategy in Dell’s office of the CTO, put out a call for testing the new naming scheme this Thursday with a description of the new system. Systems that have a single network device have no problems — one Ethernet port means you have one device name (eth0). But two or more network devices, and the naming is not assured on startup.

        • Fedora 14 on Lenovo Thinkpad X100e with Athlon Neo MV-40

          I recently read a perspective that buying a “Windows 7 computer” and replacing its OS with GNU/Linux actually hurts our cause. I disagree with the author of that statement for two reasons. One is that wiping out Windows 7 on this machine means that I’m getting out there with a machine that people think of as needing Windows to run, and showing them, at the coffee shop, at the playground, at the library, in the classroom, that GNU/Linux supports every piece of hardware on this brand new machine, even though most manufacturers don’t make it a selling point. Think of how important that is when there are still people saying that when you switch to Linux[sic] you should know that hardware support is virtually nonexistent. That’s bullsh*t, but people won’t know it’s bullsh*t if we all used machines cobbled together from spare parts.

        • Red Hat in Fringe
        • Fedora: from bleeding edge to bleeding contributors

          As many other problems, this is a design problem, and I am not talking here about graphic design or interaction design, I talk about a higher level design, one that is perhaps the Board’s competence: is the definition of the Fedora purpose and is implemented with policies, peer pressure, the power of example and so on. The problem is: Fedora used to be a distro aimed at advanced users, the ones that are likely, and we want, to contribute back and now is changing into a distro aimed at the Girl Scouts of America. A huge identity crisis, we are tying to become the second Ubuntu and this is not good.

        • We love stinkin’ badges.

          At FUDCon Tempe, though, we’ve added a little twist. Name badges this time around will feature a QR Code that includes a little bit of contact information for each attendee. This code can be scanned by certain smartphone apps, so if you meet someone and you’d like to keep in contact later, you can scan each other’s badges to make it easier to do so. The excellent suggestion for using a QR Code came from contributor Juan Rodriguez (nushio), and all-around superstar Ian Weller provided the script to create the badges.

    • Debian Family

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 91
      • Debian is eating its own dog food more than ever

        I completely share the underlying assumption. Eating its own dog food is very important if you want to build a Linux distribution and claim with some confidence that it’s of quality and usable.

      • Debian derivatives census

        The Debian Project would like to invite representatives of distributions derived from Debian to participate in a census of Debian derivatives. In addition we would like to invite representatives of distributions derived from Debian to join the Debian derivatives front desk. Debian encourages members of derivative distributions to contribute their ideas, patches, bug reports to Debian and to the upstream developers of software included in Debian.

        By participating in the census you will increase the visibility of your derivative within Debian, provide Debian contributors with a contact point and a set of information that will make it easier for them to interact with your distribution. Representatives of distributions derived from Ubuntu are encouraged to get their distribution added to the Ubuntu Derivative Team wiki page.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One In Your Living Room

          A few months ago, I acquired a PC that has served me well as in my living room. It has Boxee on it, which is a really neat little media center application. Having it as a resource has allowed us to get rid of cable TV entirely, so we’ve been quite happy with it.

          Earlier this week, I thought “I wish I could stream my Ubuntu One music onto this machine.” Enter the Ubuntu One Boxee App.

        • Discover Ubuntu (Ubuntu Commercial)
        • London’s Design Museum Recognizes Ubuntu Fonts

          The Ubuntu Project today announced the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Design Museum dedicated to the Ubuntu Font, in collaboration with international typeface designers Dalton Maag.

          Entitled “Shape My Language,” the exhibition will run from January 28 to February 28, 2011. The exhibition marks a significant milestone for the Ubuntu Project’s advance in design and aims to enhance the consumer experience of using open computing platforms, such as Ubuntu.

        • Some Useful Basics For Newcomers To Ubuntu

          Getting Ubuntu running on your PC is pretty straightforward, and most of its features are fairly obvious if you’ve been used to a graphical user interface like Windows or Mac OS X. Here’s a handful of tips to help you make the transition and find some useful features if you’ve started playing with Ubuntu.

        • Top 5 Bit Torrent Clients for Ubuntu

          Applications for Ubuntu/Linux are not at all in short supply. But picking the best from the rest is not an easy thing to do. There are a number of really good bit torrent clients for Ubuntu out there. Here we intend feature a collection of 5 really good bit torrent clients for Ubuntu which we think are among the best.

        • Ubuntu Embraces QT Toolkit: Blurring Linux Development?

          GTK vs QT. Now there’s a fast path to a geeky argument between passionate programmers of all walks of life. Despite this once widely debated divide, Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu is about to add QT libraries to the Ubuntu release known as Ubuntu version 11.10.

          According to Shuttleworth, the reasoning behind the inclusion of QT libraries in Ubuntu stems from their perceived “ease of use and integration advantages.” I’ll take his word for it until I can find glaring data to support a decent counter-argument, since I’m not a programmer myself.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Meego SDK update has Windows XP and Windows 7 support

          While many developers use machines running Linux to code, support for Windows XP and Windows 7 is vital to The Linux Foundation’s attempts to increase the number of developers working on software applications to run on the Linux-based Meego operating system.

      • Android

        • Excellent K-9 mail app for Android keeps your messages on a leash

          Google’s conventional e-mail client for Android has always felt like a second-class citizen compared to the company’s GMail application. It has a very limited user interface, lacks basic features like support for moving messages between folders, and isn’t particularly reliable. Google has been slow to address the program’s weaknesses and doesn’t seem to notice most of the complaints.

          Fortunately, there is a good third-party fork called K-9. It’s not particularly pretty, but it’s highly functional and well-maintained. K-9 is based on Google’s original Android mail client and is similarly distributed under the open source Apache license, but it’s got a whole pile of additional features.

        • Android update study finds HTC, Motorola have best track record

          Google’s Android mobile operating system is being adopted widely by handset makers and network operators, but not all of the vendors are committed to keeping their devices updated. Several Android handset brands have been tarnished by poor update practices and it’s becoming an issue that enthusiasts factor into their buying decisions.

          In a laudable effort to paint a clear picture of the update landscape, ComputerWorld assembled a straightforward statistical comparison of update performance across carriers and handset makers. The study looks solely at the percentage of handsets updated to Android 2.2—the previous version of the operating system—in 2010.

        • Mobile phone to blast into orbit

          The mobile will run on Google’s Android operating system but the exact model has not yet been disclosed.

        • Hands on: Dolphin HD browser for Android is swimmingly good

          One of the strengths of Google’s Android mobile operating system is its support for customization. Android enthusiasts can augment the capabilities of their Android device by replacing key components of the platform with superior third-party alternatives.

          There are a growing number of really great third-party home screen implementations and Web browsers that users can install directly from the Android Market. Some of the popular Web browsers include Opera, Skyfire, Firefox, and Dolphin HD. We plan to write up a full comparison at some point in the future, but decided to start by giving you a close look at our favorite: Dolphin HD.

        • Time for Google to take control of the Android update process

          Android is always a hot topic on the web since it’s grown so big. Unfortunately for Google, a lot of the conversation centers around the pitiful update process that has customers venting frustration at the delays (or lack) of updates for their Android phones. I understand that the update process is complicated and involves too many entities, but Google is ultimately the company that gets kicked in the shins as its brand gets dragged through the mud over the frustrating update situation. That’s reason enough for Google to step in and take control over the Android update process, no matter how many partner feathers get ruffled.

    • OLPC

    • Tablets

      • Nokia MeeGo Tablet Leaked by Mobile Review… As Usual

        After checking out Toshiba’s impressive tablet, the folks of Tablet News uncovered an image of a Nokia MeeGo tablet, that popped up on bugs.meego.com as developers were working on it trying to finalize the OS.

      • Motorola Xoom Android Tablet: Launch Date and Price

        The ancipated Android Tablet, Motorola Xoom is expected to arrive soon. Price and Launch date of Xoom has been revealed from Motorola. The Xoom Android tablet from Motorola sports a 10.1 inch touchscreen display with 1,280×800 high screen resolution.

      • Nokia MeeGo tablet leaks: Prototype or dev-device?

        What looks to be a prototype Nokia tablet running MeeGo has surfaced, though it’s unclear whether it’s an authentic slate, an oversized smartphone or merely a development device for the Intel/Nokia collaborative platform itself.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Another RockStar at ForgeRock

    It’s already stimulated a great deal of interest and we already have a number of customers for it. We realised it needs a great engineer to act as ForgeRock’s lead architect for OpenIDM. So I am delighted to say that, starting today, Andreas Egloff is joining ForgeRock as Chief Architect, OpenIDM.

  • Will it Blend? A Look at Blender’s New User Interface

    The 3D powerhouse Blender is arguably the most complicated piece of desktop software in the open source world. It handles every part of the workflow used to create a CGI film or a 3D game: creating objects, rigging them to move, animating them, controlling lighting, rendering scenes, and even editing the resulting video. Each release packs in more new features than most people can understand without consulting a textbook (or two). One of the down sides, though, is that over the years Blender has developed the reputation of being difficult to learn. Fortunately, the latest release takes on that challenge head-first, and makes some major improvements.

  • Open Source Isn’t Necessarily Free From Bit Rot

    One of the much-discussed advantages of open source software is that it should make it easier for future generations to access data. But in his keynote address at Linux.conf.au in Brisbane, “father of the Internet” Vint Cerf noted that even open source systems weren’t completely free from the challenge of data being created that might not be accessible to future software, a problem he refers to as “bit rot”.

  • Reduce ongoing costs, increase flexibility with open source software

    In an age where computers have become not a luxury or even a necessity, but an integral part of modern business, software has become the cornerstone of commerce. However, proprietary software can eat into organisations’ ICT budgets, with a hefty purchase price and often annual licensing fees that can further drain resources.

    In addition to this, because of the prevalence of technology within organisations, there are often many third party tools. Integrating these with proprietary software can cause issues to crop up within all of the tools, not to mention the costs associated with application integration.

  • Request your limited edition opensource.com anniversary t-shirt today
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • NetBeans 7.0 IDE due this spring

      Version 7. 0 of the NetBeans open source IDE is due in April, featuring capabilities for Java SE 7, as well as faster deployment to the WebLogic Server application server, according to the NetBeans Oracle-sponsored website.

      NetBeans has served as the chief rival to the Eclipse Foundation’s Eclipse IDE. In a beta release stage since mid-November, NetBeans 7.0 includes backing for Java Development Kit 7, which encompasses version 7 of the standard edition of Java. JDK 7 capabilities cited on the NetBeans 7 release notes include editor enhancements such as code completion and backing for Project Coin, which offers “small language” changes such as type inferencing.

    • Oracle continues protectionist stance on open source

      Oracle has been making what seem to some as drastic changes in the way it handles the open source projects it inherited from Sun Microsystems. The open source community has watched with anything from bemusement to outright shock at some of the actions Oracle has taken without apparent rhyme or reason. But if you look close enough, the reason will usually make itself clear soon enough.

      Last Thursday, Jaroslav Tulach, NetBeans Platform Architect for Oracle, posted a public message on the JUnit Yahoo! groups that asked the JUnit developers to consider switching from testing framework’s current Common Public License to something that would be more compatible with the rest of the NetBeans IDE.

  • CMS

    • Gospel Music Channel – watchgmctv.com

      Headquartered in Atlanta, the Gospel Music Channel (gmc) is a channel that features uplifting music and entertainment, including specials, movies and series that the whole family can enjoy. gmc is the only TV network with every program certified as family safe by the Parents Television Council. DIRECTV, Verizon FiOS, and local cable systems bring gmc into roughly 50 million homes across the country. The brand boasts such popular shows as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Highway to Heaven, Promised Land, Sister Sister, Early Edition and Amen. The website receives about 750,000 monthly page views from 250,000 unique visitors.

      The channel recently launched a full site redesign in conjunction with an upgrade from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6. The project team from Mediacurrent would like to share some of what they’ve learned from the design and build of the site with the Drupal community.

  • BSD

    • Popular Free *BSDs in Full Development

      Three well-known BSD clones are in their latest developmental cycles and have recently released test versions. FreeBSD is closing in on version 7.4 with a RC2, GhostBSD just released their 2.0 Beta 2, and PC-BSD 8.2 has seen its second release candidate as well.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Feds Get E for Effort with Open Source

      The majority of U.S. Cabinet-level offices in the federal government received a failing mark in their open source efforts, though a few others, such as the Department of Defense, excelled in a recent report card from an advocacy group.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • In Defense of Free Culture in Brazil

      We, the undersigned individuals and organizations from civil society, in this letter express expectations and tasks for the formulation of public policies for culture, giving a warm welcome to Minister Ana de Hollanda, the first woman to hold the position.

      We write in order to cooperate with your administration that is about to begin, as we have done over the past eight years with the Ministry of Culture, assured that President Dilma Rousseff wishes that the policies and guidance that have earned the Ministry relevance, prominence and broad support from civil society, be continued and expanded.

    • 2999 [creative commons: 'Music lovers, check out Peppermill Records' "2999" project for a fantastic selection CC-licensed tunes']
    • Open Access/Content

      • Publishers cut off doctors’ free access to medical journals in poor countries

        What a world of possibilities must have opened up for a hospital doctor or a medical student in Bangladesh or Kenya when the World Health Organisation concluded an agreement with publishers in 2001 to put the world’s most important, respected and groundbreaking medical journals online for free. Suddenly the boundaries were down. A doctor in downtown Nairobi might have a clinic with crumbling walls and precious little equipment, but he had access to the same cutting-edge knowledge as any medic in New York or London.

      • COL Blog

        It’s a great feeling to be startled by the seminal significance of an event that you expected to be routine! On 14 January I went to a reception at the residence of the US Ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, to celebrate the launch of the World Library of Science. Not having done my homework properly I assumed that this might simply be a donation of some books to UNESCO. Instead, I believe that I was witness to the most important event of the year for the future of education globally – and certainly the most important initiative to date in the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement.

      • EFF Urges California Court to Grant Public Access to Electronic Mapping Data

        Last week, EFF joined a coalition of public interest and media groups in filing an amicus brief (pdf) urging a California Court of Appeal to uphold the public’s right to access electronic files created and stored by local governments. The case, Sierra Club v. Superior Court, focuses on the public’s right to access geographic information system (GIS) basemaps created by local governments in California.

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code Announced at LCA

      Despite the recent devastating floods in Australia, the open source community is converging on Brisbane this week for the annual linux.conf.au (LCA). The LCA team “encourages everyone to still come to Brisbane and support local business and the community – we need your support.” Monday during the introductory session at LCA, Carol Smith, member of the Google Open Source Programs Office, proudly announced Google Summer of Code 2011.

Leftovers

  • Clarence Thomas Thinks Rules Are For Other People

    Supreme Court justices are appointed for life and are not subject to the whims of electoral politics. This is so they can make their decisions on the law and what is right, not on what would get them re-elected (as many politicians do). But that does not mean there are rules they must abide by just like all other public officials or government servants.

    [...]

    The government watchdog group Common Cause is reporting that Thomas’ wife earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. However, Thomas’ financial disclosure statements for those years shows that he checked the box saying “none” on the part of the form where a spouse’s income was to be reported. Common Cause also believes Mrs. Thomas received an undisclosed salary from Liberty Central in 2009, and Thomas again declared no income for her on his financial statement.

  • People’s Daily European version published in Frankfurt

    With the goal of serving overseas Chinese, Chinese agencies and consulates, the new version of 28 pages will spread information on China’s political progress, economical development and cultural prosperity to European countries through objective and comprehensive reports.

  • Bookshops reply to the ebook threat

    THE digital era is often seen as a threat to the existence of the traditional bookshop. But the launch yesterday of Readings’s ebook store, using new technology developed in Melbourne, could lead the way for independent bookshops to thrive in a brave new world.

    The technology, developed by Melbourne company Inventive Labs, allows readers to buy their digital editions and read them on any device that has a web browser. The Readings store is initially offering titles from smaller publishers but negotiations to stock editions from larger ones and multinationals are under way.

  • The Death of Book Design

    It’s no wonder. All the smiling sadists with their instruments of torture, their Kindles and iBooks, their Nooks and Tabs, had been unleashed on his body. Right in public, on busses and in coffee shops, they crushed and stretched his text, madly changing from Arial to Verdana to Baskerville and back again, viciously reflowing his insides over and over. It was just too much for his system to bear.

    When a little menu popped up offering to change an entire book to Cochin in one instant, friends of Book Design knew the end wasn’t far off.

    Book Design is survived by his stepsons, Digit Al Typography and E. Books.

    There are rumors occasionally that Book Design has been sighted here or there in an old barn in Derbyshire, or off the coast of San Francisco, but no conclusive proof has ever been offered. The trade in so-called relics, like the phony Folio of Fortunata, with its promise of perfect alignment and infinite registration, are nothing but hoaxes perpetrated on the weak-minded.

  • Alternative search engine Qwiki is now open to the public

    Qwiki, an innovative search product, is a service that from its very inception has been the target of praise. The company won the most recent TechCrunch Disrupt, putting them under a large spotlight.

  • Science

    • Why 3D doesn’t work and never will. Case closed.

      I received a letter that ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn’t work with our brains and it never will.

      The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.

    • Engineer designs his own heart implant

      Tal Golesworthy, a British engineer from Tewkesbury, suffered from Marfan syndrome, an inherited condition that threatened to split his aortic root. After being told that he urgently needed a mechanical valve implant, he designed one that was better than the one already in use, custom tailored to his heart (as displayed on his MRIs) and used a rapid prototyper to refine the design. He received his implant in 2004, and 23 more people have had them implanted since.

    • How words get the message across

      Longer words tend to carry more information, according to research by a team of cognitive scientists.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Smokers’ brains light up during smoking scenes in movies and on TV

      If your New Year’s resolutions include a plan to give up smoking, you might want to avoid the TV and steer clear of movies for a while, too.

      Scientists have found that simply watching movie stars take a drag on a cigarette is enough to spark a pattern of activity in smokers’ brains that mirrors the act of lighting up.

      This response to seeing smoking on screen is thought to make cravings more intense for those who are trying to quit a habit that kills 5 million people worldwide each year.

    • Fiji Water Flees Fiji

      The Fiji bottled water company is stomping out of Fiji in protest after the country’s government increased a tax it charges on the water from one-third of a Fiji cent to 15 cents per liter. Half of Fijians lack access to safe water while the Fiji Water company exports clean bottled water to the U.S., where Americans shell out 3,300 times what tap water costs to buy it.

      [...]

      Ironically, Fiji Water, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — beverage companies that also extract water from developing countries facing water scarcity — have been named finalists for the U.S. Secretary of State’s 2010 Award for Corporate Excellence.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • VLC Media Player 1.1.6 fixes critical vulnerabilities
    • Nigerian Scam Version 99.5 – Pretend To Be The FBI

      I love reading the more creative spam. Some of it’s absolutely hilarious. A long time ago, when UseNet was more active, I used to take part in a NewsGroup dedicated to making fun of spam, and spammers. We put together some truly funny stuff.

      My favorite wasn’t actually spam – a researcher who was doing a sociological study on love and sex made the mistake of posting a questionnaire to EVERY alt.sex NewsGroup, including ALT.SEX.CTHULHU. Several of us answered it, taking the roles of Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth (my contribution), and other entities who’s main interest in humans was as a dietary supplement. I wonder to this day what she thought when she saw those responses!

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • EU should appoint a mediator for Albania

      The violent clashes in Tirana, Albania, last Friday are unacceptable for a European country and for a State that aspires to become a member of the European Union. Three died and over 60 others are reported injured.

    • We are not loyal – to a government of racists! – report of the Jan.15 demonstration in Tel-Aviv

      `No, no, no – Fascism will not pass!` echoed the old familiar chant along King George Street – and was answered with a new and more ominous one: `People, wake up! – Fascism is already passing!`.

    • Wikileaks Cables on Israel’s Gaza Onslaught

      The cables give a notably one-sided account of the assault. Because they take their daily reporting primarily from the Israeli media, the cables keep a tally of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza and dramatically describe “burned dolls and destroyed children’s toys” at an unoccupied kindergarten in Beer Sheba hit by a rocket, but make virtually no mention of Israel’s intensive air and artillery bombardment of Gaza, including its civilian population. There are no reports of burned Palestinian babies or very few of destroyed property in Gaza. Even the western media provided more accurate coverage of Palestinian casualties than this.

    • Secret papers reveal slow death of Middle East peace process

      The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel’s annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

    • Enabling Crimes Against Palestinians – How Canada Subsidizes Illegal Israeli Settlements

      Canada`s tax system currently subsidizes Israeli settlements that Ottawa deems illegal, however, the Conservative government says there`s nothing that can be done about it.

    • Al Arakib Residents Expelled To Make Way for Trees

      On Sunday, January 16th, 2011, the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) accompanied by a heavy police presence destroyed the Bedouin village of Al Arakib for the 9th time since its total destruction in July 2010. During the village’s destruction the police forces used large amounts of violent force, including sponge bullets (a police method of crowd dispersal) which injured eleven of the residents, one of them in his eye.

    • Gulet Mohamed Headed Home?

      On Tuesday morning, the lawyer for Gulet Mohamed, an American teen who has been detained in Kuwait for a month, filed suit against the US government, claiming that by placing Mohamed on the no-fly list based only on suspicion, the government is denying him the most basic right of citizenship—the right to live in America. Just over an hour after the papers were filed, a federal district judge in Alexandria, Virginia ordered an emergency hearing. By mid-afternoon, Justice Department lawyers were in court, telling the judge that Mohamed would be on his way back to the States in short order.

    • Crisis escalates in Albania after death of 3 protesters

      A political crisis has escalated in Albania as the government and the opposition traded blame for the deaths of three protesters during a violent demonstration against an administration accused of deeply rooted corruption.

      Arrest warrants had been issued for six officers of the National Guard, army troops under Interior Ministry command who guard government institutions and senior officials, the Prosecutor General’s office said.

    • The Empire Strikes Back

      Rep. Lleana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), a long-time hawk on Cuba and leftist regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia, is the new chair of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the rightist Rep. Connie Mack (D-Fl) heads up the House subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs. Ros-Lethinen is already preparing hearings aimed at Venezuela and Bolivia, and Mack will try to put the former on the State Department’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

      Ros-Lehtinen plans to target Venezuela’s supposed ties to Middle East terrorist groups and Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and to push for economic sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and banks. “It will be good for congressional subcommittees to start talking about [President of Venezuela Hugo] Chavez, about [President of Bolivia Evo] Morales, about issues that have not been talked about,” she told the Miami Herald.

    • Woman Arrested For Recording Attempt To Report Police Officer Who Sexually Assaulted Her

      We’ve had a few stories about how police have been abusing wiretap laws to arrest people who video or audiotape the police, and here’s a whopper of a case. Apparently a woman named Tiawanda Moore has been arrested and faces 15 years in prison in a case that goes to trial shortly. Her “crime”? Apparently, after being sexually assaulted by a Chicago police officer, she went to the Chicago Police Department’s internal affairs group to report the officer.

    • Shame on the Kennedys

      In yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe, Bryan Bender reported on the Kennedy family’s tight-fisted and iron-willed efforts to keep the official papers of Robert F. Kennedy secret. Those papers, spanning Kennedy’s public career, are housed under close guard at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The papers of greatest interest to historians and researchers are those from Kennedy’s years of service as Attorney General in the Administration of his brother, John F. Kennedy. In particular, historians say the records presumably contain valuable archival resources — perhaps diaries, notes, messages and memos, phone logs and recordings, and other documents — that would reveal details, and answer questions, about Robert Kennedy’s role in the early 1960s as the coordinator of Operation Mongoose, a covert effort to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro or to destabilize his regime.

    • PA negotiators reject leaked report

      Palestinian Authority officials have come down hard on secret documents obtained by Al Jazeera showing that top negotiators offered major concessions to Israel in the division of holy sites and Jerusalem, the would-be capital city of a future Palestinian state.

      [...]

      “Al Jazeera tries to copy WikiLeaks,” Rabbo added.

      Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official in Gaza told Al Jazeera that the Palestinian authority officials should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Turkey let US use airbase for rendition flights

      Turkey’s involvement in the controversial programme was revealed in a cable dated 8 June 2006, written by the then US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson. The cable described Turkey as a crucial ally in the “global war on terror” and an important logistical base for the US-led war in Iraq.

    • WikiLeaks on South Africa

      An explosive WikiLeaks cable claims that spy boss and President Jacob Zuma confidante Mo Shaik threatened to expose the “political skeletons” of Zuma’s enemies.

    • The story behind the Palestine papers

      How 1,600 confidential Palestinian records of negotiations with Israel from 1999 to 2010 came to be leaked to al-Jazeera

    • 2 turned away trying to visit WikiLeaks GI

      David House and blogger Jane Hamsher say in a statement they had not had problems previously driving onto the Quantico base.

    • Submit a correction or amendment below.

      David House — a 23-year-old who just graduated from college — has been traveling from Boston to Quantico for five months to visit Bradley on his own. Everyone but David has stopped visiting Bradley; only once has a member of Bradley’s family seen him in Quantico.
      Just last month, David broke the news that Bradley’s physical and mental well-being were deteriorating in solitary confinement, and he was the first to challenge the Pentagon’s version of Bradley’s treatment. Because of his work for Bradley, David has been harassed by the FBI, and has had his computers and phones confiscated for several months without explanation. He recently returned from overseas, where he was raising funds for Bradley’s defense in the interim.

    • NBC: U.S. can’t link accused Army private to Assange

      U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

      The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

    • Wikileaks Scandal Hits paraguayan president Fernando Lugo

      Latin America – Paraguay president may need “a little help from ’upstairs’ to govern” says U.S

      Natalia Viana, 19 de dezembro de 2010, 15.00 GMT

      Paraguay president Fernando Lugo, a center-left politician who was elected to office in April 2008, was seen as a potential ally to the U.S. by the U.S. embassy in Asuncion, so long as he had “more than just a little help from ’upstairs’ to govern as president” which Lugo was apparently willing to accept.

      “(S)o far, his signals to the United States Embassy have been clear — he is grateful for our offers of assistance and wants a close relationship,” wrote U.S. ambassador James Cason to Washington on June 2, 2008, adding: “If you can’t believe a priest, who can you believe?” (See cable here)

      From 1954 to 1989, Paraguay was run by Alfredo Stroessner, a right-wing dictator whose regime is also blamed for torture, kidnappings and corruption. Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop, became president of the small land-locked country of 6.3 million people after promising to give land to the landless and end entrenched corruption, defeating the Colorado
      party which had ruled for six decades.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Ex-wife of police spy tells how she fell in love and had children with him

      Environmental campaigners had been invited to the meeting at the Cock Tavern pub in Euston in June 1999. They were members of Reclaim the Streets, a group that had days earlier brought the City of London to a standstill. By chance, two strangers sat next to each other: Jim Sutton, an articulate, if at times moody, 34-year-old fitness fanatic who relished his role as the group’s driver, a function that earned him the sobriquet “Jim the Van”; and Laura, 28, an idealistic activist. Laura (not her real name) did not know that this new acquaintance, a man she would go on to marry and have children with, was in fact Jim Boyling, a police officer living undercover among eco-activists.

    • Kochs Invade Canada

      After losing their fight for Proposition 23 in California, one might have hoped the world would be safe from oil-rich climate deniers Charles and David Koch for a little while.

      But unfortunately their misinformation campaign is drifting over the border into Ontario, Canada where renewable energy is once again under fire from the “forces of yesterday.”

      Tim Hudak, the leader of Ontario’s Conservative party, wants to gut the Ontario Green Energy Act — an initiative that Al Gore has said is “widely recognized now as the single best green energy program on the North American continent.” The Environmental Defence report Faces of Transformation analyzes the impact this legislation is having in Ontario.

    • Canada sees staggering mildness as planet’s high-pressure record is “obliterated”

      The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month.

    • Won’t Someone Think of the Trees?

      The concept of the commons derives from common land. This still lives on in England, in the form of commons – like Clapham Common – and as national forests that all can use. Against that background, I am naturally appalled that the coalition government proposes selling off our forests in order to raise a few pennies to throw into the bottomless pit of our National Debt.

  • Finance

    • WikiLeaks given Swiss bank account data

      Julius Baer has dismissed Elmer’s claims as baseless attempts to discredit the bank and its clients. It accuses him of both falsifying documents and sending death threats to its employees.

    • Another go at categorising money technologies

      Our current era, Money 4.0, can be dated in retrospect to 1971 when Richard Nixon finally ended the gold standard and Visa introduced the Base 1 network for authenticating card payments based on the magnetic stripe. Money 4.0 is bits about bits, but we still apply the wrong mental model, and imagine it to be bits about atoms.

    • Facebook To Make ‘Facebook Credits’ Mandatory For Game Developers (Confirmed)

      Facebook is about to ruffle some feathers. We’re hearing from one source that the social network is reaching out to game developers to inform them that it is making its own, official Facebook Credits currency mandatory. Our understanding is that it will be the exclusive currency as well.

    • Making Sense of your Credit Card Number

      You credit card number may look like a random string of 16 digits that’s unique in the world but those digits reveal a little more than you think.

      For instance, the first digit of the card represents the category of industry which issued your credit card. American Express is in the travel category and cards issued by them have 3 as the first digit. If you have VISA or MasterCard, your card’s first digit should be either 4 or 5 as they are from the banking and financial industry.

    • Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time

      ‘Plunder: The Crime of Our Time’ is a hard-hitting investigative film by Danny Schechter. The “News Dissector” explores how the financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity uncovering the connection between the collapse of the housing market and the economic catastrophe that followed.

  • Politics/PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Vindication (by Barack Obama) of Dick Cheney

      In the early months of Obama’s presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician: they accused him of being soft of defense (specifically “soft on Terror”) and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack. But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding — rather than reversing — the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism. As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise — and claiming vindication — based on Obama’s switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power).

    • Clearing Out the Regulatory Smog

      The Obama administration’s announcement today that it plans to “root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb” was, rather transparently, meant to appease business interests. It’s not really clear the degree to which the administration will follow through on that directive, or whether the move is a rhetorical flourish meant to stave off gripes that they’re ignoring the economy. But how dangerous is their repetition of talking points from the forces of deregulation—and with it the impression that federal agencies are sitting around making up rules just for the heck of it?

    • Chevron’s Crude Attacks

      Joe Berlinger’s back is against the wall. Last week the independent filmmaker, already facing crushing debt from legal bills, was dealt a major blow in his continuing fight against the third largest company in America, Chevron.

      It’s a battle that epitomizes the hardship individuals face trying to challenge corporate giants that punch back with a knockout force of high-powered lawyers and unlimited cash.

      What’s more, Joe’s struggle continues to raise serious First Amendment issues and — as we approach the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision — throws yet another spotlight on the increasingly pro-business stance of the nation’s legal system.

    • Phone hacking enquiry: questions to Colin Myler and Tom Crone

      Q1501 Mr Watson: Mr Crone, on the Taylor case, your advice was to settle in April 2008, I think you said?

      Mr Crone: I agreed with the outside advice that was given, yes.

      Q1502 Mr Watson: So you took it to the Board in June 2008?

      Mr Crone: No, I did not take it to the Board; I reported to Mr Myler as editor, and at one stage we both reported it upwards together.

      Q1503 Mr Watson: A £700,000 payment would be a decision taken at Board level. Is that right?

      Mr Crone: I am not aware of that.

      Q1504 Mr Watson: So the News International Board did not agree the payment in any way?

      Mr Myler: What do you mean by the “Board”?

      Q1505 Mr Watson: Your managing Board; the directors of the company.

    • Loyal Bushies Flagrantly Ignored The Law

      When we think of the Bush/Cheney White House we tend to think of policy failures, incompetence, comically flawed judgment, and systemic mismanagement.

  • Censorship

    • Google fights Spanish call to remove links

      GOOGLE will this week challenge a Spanish demand to remove links to articles in newspapers and official gazettes that the subjects of the articles have complained are potentially defamatory.

      Spain’s data protection authority has ordered Google to remove almost 100 online articles from its search listings, which Google says would have a ”profound, chilling effect” on freedom of expression.

      Google will challenge the orders in a Madrid court tomorrow, the outcome of which could set a controversial new precedent for internet publishing in Spain.

  • Privacy

    • Mozilla Leads the Way on Do Not Track

      Earlier today, Mozilla announced plans to incorporate a Do Not Track feature into their next browser release, Firefox 4.1. Google also announced a new privacy extension today, but we believe that Mozilla is now taking a clear lead and building a practical way forward for people who want privacy when they browse the web.

    • Do Corporations Have a Right to Privacy?

      This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether or not corporations have the same rights to “personal privacy” that individuals do.

      This is a good analysis of the case.

      I signed on to a “friend of the court” brief put together by EPIC, arguing that they do not.

  • Civil Rights

    • I’m Hugo Chávez’s prisoner, says jailed judge

      As a judge María Lourdes Afiuni thought courts had the ultimate power to jail people, but as a prisoner in a cramped cell she now believes Venezuela has a higher judicial authority: Hugo Chávez.

      The judge has spent a year among murderers and drug traffickers in Los Teques women’s jail, just outside the capital, Caracas, and if the Venezuelan president has his way she has another 29 to go.

    • Seattle man vs. TSA: ‘You do not have to show ID’ (ABQ Journal)

      A 30-something software developer, Mocek was on trial in Albuquerque after refusing to show ID to TSA officers at an airport checkpoint in that city in 2009. Officers accused him of creating a disturbance, during which he used his cell phone to record the scene. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, concealing his identity, refusing to obey a police officer, and criminal trespass.

    • Welcome to Police State Watch Canada
    • Police State Watch Canada

      I’d started putting this idea together months ago, but between not feeling all that well, things got delayed, so today, Monday January 24th, 2011, is the official opening date of Police State Watch.

    • The Never-ending Prisoners Votes Argument

      There is vast irony in this. The Convention on Human Rights was created to protect groups from being screwed over by their government on the basis of prejudice. And now prejudice is the only argument that is being deployed. This is illustrated by Philip Davies MP calling us, “vile creatures”. This is what this debate is reduced to. And in fairness, I hope no one now objects to my suggesting that Philip Davies is a joke of a legislator, a man who is tasked with helping guide the fate of a nation and yet whose public utterances on prisons – there are many – reveal that he is labouring under a burden of ignorance that is so profound that it must qualify him for help under the Disability Discrimination Act. On the prison landings we would dismiss him with the term “muppet”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Major Sites that a “tiered” Internet Would Have Killed

      From just the .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, and .us TLDs, there are over 127 Million registered domains. As of even 2002, it was estimated there were 3500-4000 ISPs in the United States. So, are these sites supposed to sign 4000 contracts each? A total of something like 508 Billion contracts in the US alone? This is positively insane.

      Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems that Wired.com has made this same argument. I, for one, will never use an ISP that cuts off access to part of what I’m paying for. Charge me for my bandwidth, just as Google’s ISP charges them for their bandwidth.

  • DRM

    • The Ongoing Erosion of Ownership

      Entertainment is being used as justification to erode ownership, or even cancel it outright. There is a very disturbing trend where you don’t own the things that you buy — the companies that sold them to you keeps claiming ownership even after the money has changed hands.

      Apple has been caught using nonstandard screws on the iPhone and MacBooks with the only purpose of preventing you from doing what you want with your own telephone and computer. Sony is suing people who are tinkering with their own consoles, bought for hard-earned money.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Chinese telecom manufacturer says Motorola sold trade secrets

      Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Motorola, accusing the technology giant of trying to transfer Huawei’s intellectual property to Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) without permission. The move is the latest in the two companies’ spat over trade secrets—a dispute that could potentially hold up the sale of Motorola’s wireless business.

      Huawei and Motorola maintained a healthy relationship for nearly a decade, as Huawei’s radio access and network technology was used in Motorola’s wireless business. According to Huawei, Motorola not only had access to Huawei’s intellectual property, the company also made use of Huawei’s team of 10,000 engineers in order to create and sell handsets directly to customers.

    • Pot Calls Kettle Black. Huawei Sues Motorola

      We never thought we’d see the day when a Chinese telecom company, which has in the past been accused of industrial espionage by U.S. companies, would sue a U.S. equipment maker. Well, that’s exactly what has happened.

      Huawei filed suit Monday to stop Motorola Solutions from selling its wireless network business to Nokia Siemens Networks, because the sale would transfer trade secrets and competitive intelligence from the Chinese equipment firm to its competitor. (By the way, Motorola had accused Huawei of industrial espionage in July 2010.) The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois, seeks to stop Motorola employees and information associated with Motorola’s UMTS and GSM equipment businesses from being transferred to Nokia Siemens Networks under the $1.2-billion deal.

    • Copyrights

      • The State of Music Monetization

        Who’s paying for what? We’ve been getting hit with a lot of subscriber updates here and there, including a few at MidemNet this weekend. So here’s the latest monetization intelligence, please share if we’ve missed something!

      • Fair Use Symposium Published in Journal of the Copyright Society
      • FAST: ISPs, Copyright Holders Should Become Business Partners

        John Lovelock, chief executive of the Federation Against Software Theft, has apparently given up on trying to force ISPs to protect its outdated business model, saying now that it “must be in the ISPs’ commercial interest to work with rights holders to develop mutual business models.”

        There’s the old adage that “if you can beat them, join them,” and the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) seems to be taking it to heart. For years it’s fought a war against the business model of ISPs and tried to force them into the fight against illegal file-sharing with little success, so now it wants to try a different tactic by intertwining the business models of the two.

      • Leading Chinese File-Sharing Site Disables Illicit Music and Movie Downloads

        One of China’s leading file-sharing sites permanently disabled access to many music and movie downloads this weekend. Citing copyright concerns and tightening legislation, the boss of VeryCD said that after 7 years hard work since the creation of his company, times are changing. In the face of a massively disappointed userbase, VeryCD will now concentrate on directing users to licensed content.

      • ACTA

        • IPRED Consultation Is Decisive For the Future of the Internet

          A few days ago, the European Commission launched a new consultation on its report regarding the “Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR) enforcement directive (IPRED). The Commission’s services who drafted this report (Internal Market Directorate General) exhibit a profound misunderstanding of current technologies, as they seek to apply an unadapted copyright regime to this new digital era. That’s why it is so important that all interested citizens and NGOs take the time to submit an answer to the consultation, to tell the Commission to turn away from dogmatic repression and instead embrace the promises of the online creative economy.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • *Exclusive* EC raised concerns on UK Digital Economy Act cost split of 25% to ISPs

          The European Commission raised several concerns to the UK government when legislation recently laid before parliament that forces ISPs to shoulder 25% of the costs of implementing anti-copyright infringement measures of the Digital Economy Act were sent to the EC for consultation.

          Verified documents passed to this blog show that the EC did not have access to sufficient “elements” to allow it to conclude that the costs that ISPs were expected to cover fell entirely into categories of adminstrative costs permitted under European law, namely Article 12 of the Authorisation Directive (2002/20/EC on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services).

Clip of the Day

Linux Tutorial: The Power of the Linux Find Command


Credit: TinyOgg

OEMs to Potentially be Forced to Unbundle Windows as Forced Vista 7 ‘Sales’ Lead to Class Action Lawsuit

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Carlo Piana

Summary: Carlo Piana et al. take Microsoft to court for removing choice in the OEM channel, including reasonable choices such as GNU/Linux, BSD, or simply no operating system at all

THE MICROSOFT WINDOWS chokehold is being eroded in the OEM channel. Vista 7 refunds are already becoming possible in Denmark, in Brazil, and in Portugal. Back in the days we also wrote about similar actions pressing for unbundling in France.

Some of the many reports about the new lawsuit in Italy stress that there is international relevance:

The Italian consumer watchdog is suing Microsoft over the “Windows Tax” – the near impossibility of an ordinary user getting a refund if they decide to delete Microsoft’s software from a new computer or laptop.

The class action case says Microsoft makes it too difficult for people who buy a computer with Microsoft software on it to remove that software and get their money back. Most users do not realise that starting the software means you have accepted the end user licence.

Carlo Piana, a lawyer who helps defend software freedom, is personally involved in it and there’s stressing that “it’s a class action, PPL can join (later)”

“OK,” writes Piana, “now it’s public. I’ve served a class action against MSFT for bundling & refusal to reimbourse Windows, for ADUC” (he links to an article in Italian) and there is also a “blog post on ADUC class action against Microsoft #MSFT,” starting with this introduction:

Aduc, an Italian Consumers association, has served on Microsoft Italia (the local branch of Microsoft Corp) a class action complaining that the company consistently refuses to reimburse users the price of ubiquitous windows licenses, bundled with OEM (Original Equipement Manufacturers) computers. I am part of a much larger legal team that has produced it and I can briefly illustrate what it is about.

Italy has adopted a regulation (Art. 140 bis of the Italian Consumers Code) that allows consumers individually (not consumers associations, which is strange) to file class actions, through ordinary proceedings, open to be joined at a later time. A class action is a case which is arguably identical to a class of users and which is likely to protect the interest of this class. Unfortunately, the Italian version has been adopted with very odd provisions that limit the effectiveness of it, as one can read in this document by Aduc (in Italian).

Here are some more links on this matter (some are from Microsoft blogs, thus they are biased):

The case, which was filed in Milan by the Associazione per i Diritti degli Utenti e Consumatori (ADUC), and picked up by The Register earlier today, points to Microsoft’s end user license agreement (EULA)–as outlined in various copies of Windows–noting that once users turn their computer on and begin to use it, they are no longer able to return the software for a refund.

Microsoft booster Peter Bright adds this: (special thanks to Girts for some of these pointers)

This is not the first time ADUC has taken to the courts over Windows preinstalls. In 2007, the group successfully sued HP after it failed to abide by the terms of the Microsoft End User License Agreement, which explicitly permits a user to refuse to accept the terms and receive a full refund.

Meanwhile we learn about some new actions in Portugal, where Microsoft wants government policies to help stifle Free software (in France, the lawmakers recently had created Apple/Android tax, which is based on copyright). Microsoft is going down, but not without a fight.

Microsoft is Trying to Embargo Linux-based TiVo, Using Patents (and Intellectual Ventures’ Role Recalled)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TiVo

Summary: In addition to anti-TiVo patent cases that are fueled by Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft attempts to ban TiVo imports

A READER has just recommended that we run this news story about Microsoft’s ITC referral which targets TiVo. To clarify by pointing to a previous post about the subject, the lawsuit is not about Linux, but it helps block a Linux-powered device:

Wannabe ARM BFF Microsoft Corp. has recently filed a complaint with the US ITC (International Trade Commission) through which it claims that TiVo’s products infringe four of its patents that relate to program schedules and selection, interface, and rating-based DVR restrictions.

This is also covered in:

There is not much interpretation to present here other than what we wrote about this case before. That said, Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures is also having TiVo sued indirectly, so maybe it’s a group effort to eliminate competition (same grouping seen in the anti-Android case).

Sockpuppets and Nymshifting

Posted in Site News at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roy Schestowitz, London

Summary: Response to libelous accusations against yours sincerely and the Techrights community in general

The rule of thumb is that in Techrights we ignore trolls, avoid naming them, and definitely abstain from linking to them. In 2009 we just spent too much time and space addressing their claims and this whole process fed them. Another implicit rule is that when lies are being repeated they must be rebutted and a correction posted somewhere visible. While many lies were addressed in Identica, it would be handy to have them posted in this blog too.

Mono boosters and other people whose interests are stifled by this Web site have been making accusations against myself and against this site, despite having no evidence whatsoever. The claims are of course false and they help show how dishonest our adversaries are. I have no ‘dirt’ that can be used against me (some people go all the way to the distant past and still can’t find any), so the trolls make some stuff up and repeat it ad infinitum, sometimes citing one another as ‘proof’. One of the more shameless claims is that I change names or have multiple accounts. These are lies. In order to promote and give credence to such libel someone appears to be creating sockpuppet accounts or agent/s provocateur who pretend to be me or pretend to represent this Web site. So to clarify again, official accounts of this site were listed last week. Anything else is fake and since I never comment in other Web sites (due to fakers), anyone who claims to be yours truly in some blog post is probably an imposter looking to cause trouble. One lie related to this is that I’m on Reddit when in fact I never was and never will be because it's filled with Novell employees, Microsoft boosters, and Mono lobbyists.

Techrights challenges many institutions and people, so it expects this sort of flak. It is not going to impede future efforts to shine a light on bad behaviour and malevolent individuals. There is another strand of attacks on this Web site right about now and we might cover it shortly.

Patent Lobbying in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Orbán and Bush

Summary: When public officials and alleged “campaigners” actually serve corporate interests

IT IS no secret that there is extensive lobbying in Europe, including some regarding software patents.

Some of the pro-software patents lobbying happens to come from Microsoft Florian, who is spreading Android FUD since some time in the second half of last year. He is spreading lies, but these lies are enough for Microsoft boosters to stick in their blogs or whatever, hoping that these lies will stick [1, 2].

“It’s like the SCO case all over again, this time with Dalvik/Android as the target rather than just Linux.”Fab from Linux Outlaw says that it seems “like @thurrott [Microsoft’s booster Paul Thurrott [1, 2]] is a few days behind on tech news these days: http://outl.ws/hsB6RE he should have read http://outl.ws/harXBr”

To clarify, Fab points out that Thurrott emits FUD like “Source: More Code Theft in Google’s Android” while “Florian Mueller Spreads Anti-Android FUD [which is simply untrue]“. So here we have Microsoft boosters citing other Microsoft boosters/apologists/lobbyists who accused (libellously) Google of “code theft”. It’s like the SCO case all over again, this time with Dalvik/Android as the target rather than just Linux. No wonder Court Justice Jackson called Microsoft executives “gang members” back in the days. That’s just the way the company operates. Following debunking of some of these still-propagated lies, The Inquirer says that “Mueller is forced to back off android copyright infringement claims”:

If that sentiment sounds somehow familiar, then cast your mind back to August 2010, when Microsoft claimed that Android wasn’t free for the smartphone makers that choose to install the operating system. The following month, Tivanka Ellawala, a financial officer at Microsoft, made what can now be seen as a precursor to Mueller’s comments, saying, “It does infringe on a bunch of patents, and there’s a cost associated with that.” That was merely Microsoft bluster, of course, because she didn’t identify any patents to support that threatening claim.

Mueller added, “I’m sure those companies didn’t intend to infringe Oracle’s rights. They probably relied on the presumed legality of the Android codebase.” But he wasn’t specific.

Wayne says that The Inquirer is right in this case. “The Inquirer says Florian Müller is ‘not competent’, world laughs, ADTI cringes,” he wrote shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, Andre from the FFII has been trying to get hold of official documents which our reader Satipera believes to be related to the subject of “patents” and “unitarypatent”. To requote an item we cited the other day:

The European Council has some difficulties to apply the TURCO judgement of the ECJ which clearly mandates a disclosure of legal advice unrelated to court proceedings. Legal advice concerning the enhanced cooperation on an unitary patent, they think they are permitted to keep it confidential. I strongly doubt so.

Something fishy is going in in Europe and the Commission too is playing a role in it. Satipera has discovered and shared with his followers some new lobbying figures from Microsoft; the monopolist is ranked number one for lobbying, but there is no telling who exactly they hire to do their bidding.

IRC Proceedings: January 24th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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