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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

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    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  8. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  9. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  10. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  12. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  13. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  14. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  15. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  16. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  17. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  18. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  19. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  20. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  21. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  22. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  23. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  24. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  25. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  27. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  28. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  29. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  30. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day


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