Links 28/2/2011: LiMo 4 Arriving, 4 HTC Devices Will Get Gingerbread

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Five ideas for escaping the Blu-Ray blues

    Some of us want to be able to release high-definition video (possibly even 3D) without evil copy protection schemes. I’ve been avoiding Blu-Ray as a consumer since it came out, mostly because Richard Stallman said it has an evil and oppressive DRM scheme. After my first serious investigation, I can confirm his opinion, and frankly, it’s a pretty bleak situation. What can we do about it? Here’s five ideas for how we might release high definition video.

  • Desktop

    • reason i love my wife

      Then one day. Danny (my wife) says to me.

      “Ahh I hate windows. I have to do too much crap just to do something. Install ubuntu.”


      And now that ubuntu is up and running. My wife feels at home. And it is running way better then our last computer. I am in heaven ^_^

  • Server

    • Who Owns Your Datacenter?

      It is surprising how fast some proprietary software vendors can turn hostile towards their customers. Anyone who’s been in the IT field for the past decade or so should be familiar with the term “licensing audit”, and how it runs shivers up and down the spine of the entire organization. Those vendors can perform the audit on your company because they own your datacenter, and they know it. They can come in anytime they want and, probably, demand more money for the continued use of their product.

    • London Stock Exchange in crisis meeting with market data vendors
  • Google

    • Google’s CR-48: An adventure in brickdom

      Scanning for something easier, I located this little guide. Easy way to install Ubuntu? Sold.

      The instructions are ridiculously easy to follow and straightforward. Bear in mind it’s a rather large download (52 100MB files), so give it some time, especially if you’re rocking a slow connection. I did test to see if the script will pick up where it left off by battery pulling the unit mid-download and it absolutely does, so don’t worry about it being flakey in that regard.

  • Ballnux

    • Why all Symbian developers should become Bada Developers

      You might be aware about the news that Nokia will no longer using Symbian as their smartphone OS. They are going to use Windows Mobile and Meego. All the loyal Symbian Developers are now under the pressure to choose another platform. Few days ago, I asked prominent voices in Bada universe why these developers should choose bada as their next developing platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Upstream projects vs. Distributions

      You can globally split open source projects into two broad categories. Upstream projects develop and publish source code for various applications and features. Downstream projects are consumers of this source code. The most common type of downstream projects are distributions, which release ready-to-use binary packages of these upstream applications, make sure they integrate well with the rest of the system, and release security and bugfix updates according to their maintenance policies.

    • Have You Ever Wondered How Your Operating System Got Its Name?

      Have you ever wondered what “XP” stands for or where “Ubuntu” comes from? Some operating systems get their names from obvious places, but others need some explaining. Read on to find out where your favorite OS got its name.

    • Reviews

      • A look at Wolfer Linux 2

        If you have already settled into the Linux scene and have gained some comfort with the operating system, Wolfer probably won’t give you anything new. But if you’re standing outside the Linux community and considering which distro to try, Wolfer is one option that will make the transition easier.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Making the most of the planet.

          With a title like that, I could go two ways with this blog post, right? One way would be to encourage people to do stuff that’s good for the Earth, like recycling and so forth. There are probably lots of people who could do that better than me. Instead, this post is going to be about making the most of the Fedora Planet, which carries information about contributors and their work to each other and to audiences outside the Fedora Project.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Unity keyboard shortcuts have a distinct Windows 7 flavor
        • Legally open, socially closed

          Much has been said lately about the revenue sharing decision made by Canonical in regards to the Banshee music store sales, starting with the announcement on Jono Bacon’s blog. This was soon followed by posts questioning how the decision and announcements were handled. Sense Hofstede followed up with an excellent post discussing the value of Ubuntu as a distribution channel complimenting the value of Banshee as a product.

          What I haven’t seen discussed, and what I would like to bring up, is this often cited but never quite defined notion of the moral or ethical restrictions on the use of FLOSS.

        • Best Ubuntu 10.10 Feature

          Doing an install of Natty alpha in VirtualBox, I remembered what I love most about 10.10: The installation. Whoever decided to add the Download updates checkbox, brilliant.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Datalight Releases First Full-featured File System for Embedded Linux

      Datalight announced today that it has released Reliance Nitro 2.0, the first full-featured file system for embedded Linux. The new file system combines strong read and write performance with fast and consistent mount time, rock-solid reliability, a comprehensive tool set, and support by a dedicated team of in-house engineers.

    • Phones

      • LiMo hits version 4, reminds us why consumers don’t care

        Once considered a possible Android competitor, the LiMo Foundation has since dug in its heels as a carrier- and manufacturer-facing group rather than a consumer-facing one. To put that in more direct, un-politically correct terms: if you’re an end user, you probably don’t care that LiMo version 4 was just announced (though it’s possible that your carrier might). In fact, the announcement actually happened a few days back during MWC in Barcelona, but it was a quiet affair — the Foundation has yet to finalize device specs, the code won’t be available to the public until July, and commercial hardware isn’t expected until the second half.

      • Android

        • 4 HTC Devices to Get Gingerbread in Q2

          Good ol’ HTC has confirmed that the Desire Z, Desire HD, Desire, and the newly announced Incredible S will all be getting some Gingerbread love soon enough. While they didn’t give an exact date, they’re promising a Q2 release. This is one reason I always buy HTC: they’re reliable. They don’t promise an update and then delay or cancel it 2 months after the deadline. Of course, we can’t really say that until after Q2. But when it’s all said and done, I have no doubt that the 4 devices mentioned above will have some 2.3 goodness.

        • 40 best free Android apps
        • HTC tips Android global roaming phone

          HTC announced it will launch an Android-based “world phone,” including both CDMA and GSM. Due this spring, the HTC Merge features Android 2.2, a 3.8-inch display, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a five-megapixel camera, and appears likely to be heading for Verizon Wireless.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu gives new, speedier life to Netbooks

        For one, opening, closing and arranging windows and folders will throw off new users at first because they can’t be moved with total freedom. For example, the Ubuntu 10.10 operating system won’t let you drag and drop files on the desktop — you have to put them in a folder titled desktop. Another thing that sets Ubuntu apart from Windows and Mac is that the program and folder list is docked on the left side of the screen. But these are minor and inconsequential differences.

        Ubuntu boasts plenty of perks, mainly its software center that instantly connects you to thousands of free applications, including art and photo editing programs, word processors, games, video players and more. It’s like the app marketplace on most smartphones. And, like Ubuntu itself, it’s pretty much all free.

    • Tablets

      • Emergence of the Tablets

        Android phones are everywhere. Even on prepaid packages. Everyone can have them. This is where the open OS shines.

      • Odd One Out: My 5 Minutes With the Motorola Xoom

        Concluding, I didn’t hate the Xoom. Motorola did a great job (for the most part) of making a killer device to compete with the iPad. Google made a pretty awesome version of Android to run on said device. While both have their faults, they go well together. Does this mean I would buy a Xoom if I had the money? No, it doesn’t. Does that mean it’s a terrible device? No, it doesn’t. The Xoom just felt like it was released before it was finished. Whether this is Google’s fault, or Moto’s fault is irrelevant. The Xoom just isn’t ready for primetime yet. So, with all of this being said, bring on the agreeing or disagreeing (more likely the latter of the two) comments!

      • Freescale spins Cortex-A8 SoCs, tablet design, and $149 dev board

        Freescale Semiconductor announced two new members of its i.MX53 family of Cortex-A8 system-on-chips: an industrial-focused, 800MHz i.MX37 and the consumer-oriented, 1GHz i.MX538. Also unveiled were a $149 “Quick Start” development board for the original i.MX535 SoC, as well as a 10.1-inch, $1,499 “SABRE” tablet reference design, both compatible with Android, Linux, and Windows Embedded Compact 7.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ning Galaxy deployment management system open sourced

    Ning, provider of the social web site platform of the same name, has released its internal deployment management system, Galaxy, as open source. For the past four years Ning has used Galaxy to manage the various services its engineering produces.

  • Events

    • SCALE 9x: Day 2

      We’ve had a pretty successful day at SCALE. We’re all out of LiveDVDs. The fifty-disc spindle was gone by the end of the day, as was nearly half of the 100-disc spindle of minimal LiveCDs.

    • Day one at SCALE9x

      As I mentioned in my previous post, I am at the Southern California Linux Expo in Los Angeles this weekend. What I failed to mention in my previous post was massive showing from the openSUSE community at the exposition.

    • SCALE 9x lifts off on Saturday; Leigh Honeywell kicks off Day 2 as attendance numbers rise

      The 9th annual Southern California Linux Expo started its second day on Saturday with a keynote by Leigh Honeywell as the attendance numbers showed a significant increase over last year. Honeywell, who spoke on the topic “Hackerspaces and Free Software,” headlined a wide variety of sessions that included a standing-room only crowd for Owen De Long’s “IPv6 Basics for Linux Adminstrators” and various education-related talks in the Open Source Software in Education (OSSIE) track.

    • FOSDEM: Icing the robot

      Anybody who looks at an Android system knows that, while Android is certainly based on the Linux kernel, it is not a traditional Linux system by any stretch. But Android is free software; might it be possible to create a more “normal” Android while preserving the aspects that make Android interesting? Developers Mario Torre and David Fu think so; they also plan to soon have the code to back it up. Their well-attended FOSDEM talk covered why they would want to do such a thing and how they plan to get there.

  • SaaS

    • The Man Behind Swiss Federal Mapping Discusses What’s in His Cloud Stack

      Recently, we at OStatic launched our “What’s in Your Cloud Stack?” series, where we discuss components and processes that power some of the most sophisticated cloud computing deployments with people who know a whole lot about the cloud. The series began with our conversation with PHP Fog founder Lucas Carlson, where he provided many insights into a smart cloud stack.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL, OpenSSL, and the GPL

      The OpenSSL license, which is BSD-style with an advertising clause, has been a source of problems in the past because it is rather unclear whether projects using it can also include GPL-licensed code. Most distributions seem to be comfortable that OpenSSL can be considered a “system library”, so that linking to it does not require OpenSSL to have a GPL-compatible license, but the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and, unsurprisingly, Debian are not on board with that interpretation. This licensing issue recently reared its head again in a thread on the pgsql-hackers (PostgreSQL development) mailing list.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice software is here to stay

      If there was any doubt as to long-term ability of LibreOffice to sprint ahead of Oracle-backed OpenOffice.org, those concerns pretty much just flew out the window. In a wildly successful fundraising effort, the Document Foundation has succeeded in collecting $68,800 (50,000 euros) in just eight days, effectively ensuring a future for the open-source productivity software suite.

      Some 2000 donors from all over the world contributed the funds, which will serve as the capital stock necessary to set up the Document Foundation as a legal entity in Germany.

    • Made by the people, for the people

      Perhaps even more incredibly, we were not just busy at raising funds all this time. Not only did we release LibreOffice 3.3.1 and its brand new icons, we are also busy deploying our community processes. For instance we are almost done completing our trademark policy as well as offering a general, third party purpose logo with practical guidelines. We are also in the process of deploying a full set of automated testing tools for our QA teams, as to make it possible to everyone to help improve the quality of our software. Yes, you read well, everyone. Because LibreOffice is a software that is made by the people, for the people, an old principle that is coming back in force quickly these days and a principle the Document Foundation has been based on from day one.

    • LibreOffice gives OpenOffice a run for its Money

      OpenOffice and its curiously similarly named counterpart LibreOffice are officially neck-in-neck. Despite Oracle’s backing of OpenOffice, LibreOffice is still kicking, and recently received over $68,000 in funding — in just eight days.

      The fundraising effort from LibreOffice maker Ubuntu was short, sweet, and everything they need for now. Their over 2,000 donors raised enough money to serve as capitol for setting up the Document Foundation, a goal to become a legal entity in Germany.

    • Sudbury

      However the result of studies made was to migrate everyone to Office 2007 and “lowering costs”. It turns out that OpenOffice.org did work reasonably well that folks were using it instead of Office to do their document conversions… However, to get stuff/information in and out of the ERP system, Office was chosen as it was well integrated.

  • Healthcare

    • VA, DOD will decide on common EHR method in March

      At the same time, VA must proceed in revamping its VistA system. To that end, VA has been considering open source software with a request for information to gauge industry approaches.

      “No matter what happens in the joint session with the DOD, we have to increase the pace of modernizing VistA,” he said. “That’s why we’re exploring the open source avenue.”

      DOD has also been considering industry ideas for modernizing its AHLTA electronic health record with a Web-based system.

      As it examines the open source model, VA will be influenced by both the work it’s doing with the DOD for a joint electronic health record and also by substantial industry input in order to most easily integrate private sector technologies into the next version of VistA. Even in its updated form, VistA will still rely on its aging MUMPS code.

    • VA plans for an open source VistA
  • Business

    • Openbravo Emphasizes Modularity In New Release Of Open-Source ERP Suite

      Open-source ERP application vendor Openbravo unveiled a new release of its flagship software this week, offering a more modular system the company said is easier to implement than traditional ERP systems and is more adaptable to changing business conditions.

    • More than half of businesses have adopted ‘some’ open source
    • 3 Reasons Why Open Source Brings Better ROI for Businesses

      Quite often businesses view alternatives if products or services offer better Return on Investment. Open Source is one such option that is often debated in terms of better returns, lower operational costs and of course minimum breakeven time depending on the size of your organization etc. However, delving a little deeper into open source capabilities reveals great returns far beyond the initial investment in terms of time, investments etc and migrating to greener Open Source makes great practical sense. Some of these returns are subtle, some paradigm shifts from propriety sources but all effective and productive to every business. Here is a look at some of the top returns.

  • BSD

    • The Coding Studio OS Screenshots: PCBSD 8.2 Screenshots

      “PC-BSD has as its goals to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD. To accomplish this, it currently has a graphical installation, which will enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get it running. It will also come with KDE pre-built, so that the desktop can be used immediately. Currently in development is a graphical software installation program, which will make installing pre-built software as easy as other popular operating systems.” – read more at Distrowatch

    • PC-BSD 9-current
    • FreeBSD 8.2 Expands ZFS Support — Without Oracle

      When one door closes, sometimes another one opens.

      The open source FreeBSD operating systems is out this week with a new release expanding support for the ZFS filesystem and improving disk encryption performance.

      The FreeBSD 8.2 release is the first FreeBSD release in 2011 and follows the 8.1 release, which debuted in July of 2010. Alongside the 8.2 release, FreeBSD 7.4 is also being released, marking the final release in the FreeBSD 7.x branch.


    • When You Are Born To Be Great!

      By now, you may wonder, what makes me talk about this book and the hero, in a blog post, which is supposed to be dedicated for free and open source movement! Well, I don’t know why but I think, (Boray Qaplan) and Richard Stallman are so much alike.

  • Government

    • Satish Babu to head ICFOSS

      Trivandrum, Kerala, India, February 28, 2011 – The President of InApp, Mr. Satish Babu, has been appointed as the Director of the International Centre for Free and Open Source software (ICFOSS) by the Government of Kerala.

    • Procurement environment ‘discourages open source technology’

      According to Computer Weekly, chief engineer at Atos Origin UK Darren Austin said standard government contracts and enterprise software licences have proved a barrier to the desire for greater use of open source in the public sector.

    • RO: ‘Romanian government not against, nor in favour of open source’

      The government of Romania is not opposed to but also not in favour of using open source software in public administration IT systems, ICT minister, Valerian Vreme, recently remarked in public. However, advocates of free and open source software in the country fear this means the public administration will continue to rely on the usual proprietary IT vendors.

    • Cabinet Office pushes suppliers on open source

      The government’s deputy chief information officer has told suppliers that it wants to open source technology to feature in its ICT strategy.

    • Whitehall open source plan heralds a behaviour change for suppliers

      This time, says the Cabinet Office, it’s going to be different. This time, open government means open standards and open source. But will it?

    • Interoperability And Open Standards Would Drive Government ICT Procurment – Deputy CIO Tells Suppliers

      The Government wants large IT suppliers to provide open source and inter operable standards, the Deputy Government CIO Bill McCluggage told assembled system operators in a meeting last week.

      While there has been similar announcements in the past, this time the push for open source is being driven from the very top – No. 10 and No. 11 Downing Street. The government has even appointed an open source team within the cabinet office led by a Director and has laid out a clear strategy to implement the vision.

    • New federal deputy CTO chosen

      Vein worked on San Francisco’s open source and government 2.0 initiatives.

    • Land Registry deploys open source data management

      The UK Land Registry, the government agency that maintains land property records, has recently deployed an open source data management from Talend to support its business intelligence.

    • SI: Slovenian public administrations moving to open source desktops

      Public administrations in Slovenia are to increase their use of free and open source software on their desktop computers. Around 2015, 80 percent of the government’s offices should be using this type of desktop software, according to a plan published by the Ministry of Public Administration in January.

      The open source software stack to be implemented includes open source office suites, open source web browser and open source operating systems. The ministry is setting-up a task force for the migration project, including representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • DOTKLOK Is A Hackable, Open-Source, Arduino Clock. Also Neat Looking

        Sick of telling time the old way? Spice up your time-telling time with the open-source, hackable and Arduino-based DOTKLOK. Basically, you can get a bunch of different ways to tell time. Different customizable animations will make you proud to show off your hard work the next time someone asks for the time. Speaking of time, it passes in a unique way with numbers and abstract/geometric patterns. It also has classic video games like Pong, Tetris and Pacman, that pretty much makes it sweet in our book.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Webstock: Facebook leads the way with HTML5

      Recordon was in New Zealand for the recent Webstock conference in Wellington, where he spoke about the use of HTML5 at Facebook and later spoke exclusively to Computerworld.

      Two video codecs, H.264 and WebM, have been advanced as candidates for inclusion in HTML5. Each has its pros and cons, says Recordon and the debate has become somewhat heated, “about freedom and what does freedom mean, in terms of can I implement it in open source and is it royalty free, or is it an industry standard and can we collaborate freely on developing it?”

    • China hopes to take lead in int’l hi-tech standards

      China has announced its ambition at the National Standardization Conference held on Feb.24 to take the lead in high-tech international standards. China’s Standardization Administration (SAC) will launch the promotion and applications of some national technologies standards within key countries and regions.


  • Former president of MADD arrested on DUI charge

    A former president of the defunct local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was arrested recently by the Gainesville Police Department on a DUI charge.

  • Consumers Buy Less Tech Stuff, Keep It Longer
  • How to: Uyghur Homestay in Xinjiang

    One of the most asked questions I receive from travelers who will be heading to Xinjiang this next travel season has to do with homestays. Is it possible to do a Uyghur homestay in Xinjiang?

    The answer, thankfully, is YES! There are many places where homestays are offered, including Tuyoq (near Turpan) as well as outside Kashgar. Don’t mistake this with an overnight stay at a Kyrgyz yurt, which is also an incredible experience but not quite the same.

  • Google whacks link farms

    Free whitepaper – The benefits of choosing a Hosted Security Solution

    Google has made a major change to its search algorithms in order to try to scrub more link farm results from appearing near the top of search results.

    The search and advertising giant tweaks results all the time, but said these changes would hit 11.8 per cent of results, and so it wanted people to know what is going on.

  • Dear US gov: Stay the hell out of Silicon Valley

    It will come as no surprise to the largely libertarian technology industry that big government has done little to advance the interests of Silicon Valley. But you might raise your eyebrows at the degree to which the US government is hurting the very people it tries to help.

    As a general rule, Silicon Valley has been happiest when the bureaucrats in Washington, DC stay far away from tech and mostly uninvolved. Ever since the US Justice Department inserted itself into Microsoft’s business practices, however, the tech world has been forced to invest in lobbying federal lawmakers. Just last year, Google increased such spending by 29 percent over 2009.

  • Craigslist A ‘Cesspool Of Crime’? Or Are Bad Reporters A Cesspool Of Repeating Dubious Research?

    Slashdot points us to an article at the “International Business Times,” that reports on a study from the AIM Group which claims that Craigslist is ‘a cesspool of crime.’ Interesting claim. What seems to be totally missing from the IBTimes report is the fact that AIM Group works for Craigslist competitors and, in this case, the “research” was funded by Craigslist wannabe-Oodle. That’s not mentioned in the IBTimes report at all. In fact, the only mention of Oodle in the article is a quote by the CEO of Oodle mocking Craigslis and playing up Oodle… but never mentioning that he paid for the research in question.

  • Security

    • HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr Steps Down

      Embattled CEO Aaron Barr says he is stepping down from his post at HBGary Federal to allow the company to move on after an embarassing data breach.

      The announcement comes three weeks after Barr became the target of a coordinated attack by members of the online mischief making group Anonymous, which hacked into HBGary Federal’s computer network and published tens of thousands of company e-mail messages on the Internet. HBGary did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comments on Barr’s resignation.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Sometimes The Twitter Stream Makes A Funny
    • Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids

      Munyaradzi Gwisai, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s law school, was showing internet videos about the tumult sweeping across North Africa to students and activists last Saturday, when state security agents burst into his office.

    • Castro Pot Bust Goes Awry and a Law Professor Threatens to Sue

      When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for “proceeds” from an illegal marijuana grow.

    • Possible Actions in Libya

      Al Jazeera reports that “conservatives” in USA are recommending “military intervention”. The concern seems to be that this could be a repeat of Iraq.

      There are some similarities but also a lot of differences between Iraq and Libya. In Iraq popular uprisings were dealt harsh blows and were no threat to the Baathist regime. In Libya, opponents to Gaddafi have control of most of the country and are cooperating and it would not be necessary to occupy the country in order to bring down Gaddafi’s regime.

    • US neo-cons urge Libya intervention

      In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to “immediately” prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

    • The Coast Road Past Sirte in Libya

      A blogger reports that anti-Gaddafi forces in Benghazi are heading to Tripoli by avoiding the stronghold of Sirte which guards the coast road along the Mediterranean Sea by travelling hundreds of kilometres to the south. This might be the easiest strategy for forward observers or emergency relief supplies but for a lengthy campaign it would be much wiser to follow the coast road and detour around Sirte much closer to the town.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Data Diving and the Federal Reserve: The Politics of Food and Energy Inflation

      The Federal Reserve has come under strong attack recently for the outbreak in global food and energy price inflation. The ensuing discussion has drawn commentary from Paul Krugman, who favors climate-change and crop failure to explain recent food commodity prices, to various commentary such as today’s WSJ Op-Ed, The Federal Reserve Is Causing Turmoil Abroad. Krugman is a consistent defender of FED policy, and remains sanguine on inflation. The financial community more generally, despite its enthusiasm for the effects of reflationary policy on the stock market, suffers from normalcy bias with regard to commodity prices and is more persuaded by monetary policy’s role in prices.

    • What we need to do to stop the pointless waste of discarded fish

      Discards are disgusting. No-one with any sense can support the catching, killing, and throwing away of fish. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight – which Greenpeace has supported from the outset – has at long last made the waste of perfectly good fish a national outrage. It is a pointless waste of life, and potential resources. It’s abhorrent whether you eat fish or don’t.

  • Wisconsin and Finance

    • Wisconsin Protests, Friday, February 25, 2011
    • Cheeseheads Have Never Been So Chic

      In Washington D.C.: Protesters warn, “What’s happening in Wisconsin will hurt us all.”

    • “We Shall Not Be Moved”

      A large, multi-union coalition gathered near the “Fighting” Bob LaFollette bust on the first floor of the East Gallery in the Wisconsin State Capitol this afternoon. Wearing grey T-shirts with the words “Wisconsin United for Worker’s Rights,” printed in red across an outline of the state sat down and started to sing, “We shall not be moved,” just after the official building shut-down at 4 p.m.

      “We know we have a right to peaceful protest,” said Candice Owley, a Milwaukee nurse with the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. “We don’t believe they should be removing us from the State Capitol.”

      Owley said those in her group planned to follow directions outlined by a grass-root group inside the capitol that this week has been preparing those for today. The goal: to keep the protest peaceful, and allow those who wish to continue to keep vigil in protest of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill to remain in the building.

    • Wisconsin Protests, Saturday, February 26, 2011

      In addition to drumming and dancing, civil disobedience training continued Saturday night as people prepare to be asked to leave the building at 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

    • Prank Koch Call Prompts More Legal Questions

      The section of the tape that has come under the most scrutiny involved Walker’s comments that he considered planting “troublemakers” into the crowd. People on the ground here in Madison were quite aware that the first five days of protests were packed with children. The Madison school district and many surrounding districts were closed. Thousands of elementary school children and their parents marched at the capitol in support of local teachers. On the first day and second days, thousands of high school students walked out on their classes and headed to the capitol. The atmosphere was festive and fun, popcorn stands on the corner and thousands of homemade signs.

      When fake Koch says “We’ll back you any way we can. But what we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.” Walker says: “We thought about that,” but he rejected the idea in case it backfired, but not in the way one might think. He didn’t want to create a ruckus that would “scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has to settle to avoid all these problems.”

    • Boaters baffled by new federal rules, fee

      Many canoeists and kayakers are confused and worried about new federal regulations that re-classify their boats as commercial vessels.

      The Transport Canada regulations, brought in last fall, will require everyone from professional outfitters to people leading recreational boat trips to fill out five separate forms, measure their boat and pay a $50 fee.

      Federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl’s office told CBC News in an email that the department is reviewing the policy, and that “common sense would prevail.” But boaters are still concerned it could affect their summer paddling plans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Today’s News, Brought to You by Your Friends at the CIA

      Now that the revolution is over, Egypt’s newly free press will make a fascinating read—if you happen to know Arabic. How the Libyan crisis plays in the newspapers of oil-rich Azerbaijan might be intriguing, too—if your Azeri is up to snuff.

      If it isn’t—and if your Urdu is as rusty as your Mandarin—you might check out the biggest news service in the U.S. that almost nobody has ever heard of. It’s called World News Connection.

  • Civil Rights

    • Inspiring manifesto from China’s Jasmine revolution

      As Bruce Sterling notes, this manifesto of the Chinese Jasmine revolution (translated by Human Rights in China), “sounds almost identical to the gripes that the impoverished American populace might make to their own leaders. There’s nothing specifically Chinese about these demands.”

    • DOJ gets reporter’s phone, credit card records in leak probe

      A court filing in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets about Iran’s nuclear program provides new details about the extraordinary measures Justice Department prosecutors are using to identify government leakers.

      The former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed “national defense information” to New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • US citizen recalls ‘humiliating’ post-9/11 arrest

      Handcuffed and marched through Washington’s Dulles International Airport in his Muslim clothing, the man with the long, dark beard could only imagine what people were thinking.

      That scene unfolded in March 2003, a year and a half after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One of the four planes hijacked in 2001 took off from Dulles. “I could only assume that they thought I was a terrorist,” Abdullah al-Kidd recalled in an interview with The Associated Press.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Julian Assange applies for a trademark on his own name

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has applied to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office for a trademark on his own name.

        The application, submitted by Assange’s London law firm two weeks ago, covers use of his name in the fields of “Public speaking services; news reporter services; journalism; publication of texts other than publicity texts; education services; entertainment services.”

        It’s not uncommon for those in the public eye to protect their image with such a trademark to help ensure their financial stake in any commercial use of their name or likeness. Given Assange’s high profile in recent months, both as the frontman for WikiLeaks and for the drama surrounding his personal life, this seems like a smart move.

      • Hulk Hogan Sues Car Dealership for Stealing His Catchphrases

        Hogan is suing Southland Imports and Suntrup Automotive Group over a commercial that warns unwary car buyers of getting “body slammed” over bad deals and that invites customers “tired of wrestling for a good deal.” The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Florida District Court alleges that the defendant violated Hogan’s likeness and implied an endorsement by imitating his voice and using his catch phrases.

    • Copyrights

      • Three Pirate Rule

        There are only three exceptions to the Three Pirate Rule:

        1. Don’t do anything illegal.
        2. You can’t allocate party funds (although you can ask for them).
        3. You can’t do anything in Northern Ireland, due to current law. If you’re interested in doing stuff in Northern Ireland, please contact the NEC for more info.

        The NEC receives a lot of requests from members to grant some sort of Official Stamp of Officialness to various initiatives. Hopefully, adopting this rule will make it unnecessary for people to make this sort of request.

      • Court Drops FileSoup BitTorrent Case, Administrators Walk Free

        Two administrators of FileSoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – had their case dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today. The prosecution relied solely on one-sided evidence provided by the anti-piracy group FACT and was not able to build a case. Following the trial of OiNK BitTorrent tracker operator Alan Ellis, the FileSoup case marks the second where UK-based BitTorrent site operators have walked free.

      • 40,000 P2P lawsuits dismissed – bad week for copyright trolls
      • Hollywood Studios Kill ‘Family-Friendly’ DVD Service (Exclusive)

        A coalition of Hollywood studios has scored a victory against a company that has been marketing and distributing films stripped of objectionable content.

      • Roundup: Developments in Righthaven copyright suits

        Has Righthaven been so busy filing and settling lawsuits that it forgot to renew its state business license?

        Its status with the Nevada Secretary of State as of Monday was listed as “default” after the license expired Jan. 31. Net Sortie Systems LLC, Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson’s company that co-owns Righthaven, is also listed as in default.

      • Consumer group wants to tax Netflix to pay for rural broadband

        Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), says Netflix should have to pay into the Universal Service Fund.

        “The Internet is not an infant industry anymore. It can certainly bear the burden of making sure that wires and the communications mediums are there,” Cooper said.

Clip of the Day

Electing a US President in Plain English

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 28/2/2011: Android Tablets Get a Lot Cheaper

Posted in News Roundup at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 193 – Comments Are Off

      This week on Linux Outlaws: Canonical wants Banshee’s donations to Gnome, German Defense Minister steals his PhD together, FSF says Debian not free enough, Nokia has no taste, Alan Cox releases a graphics driver, Microsoft hates copyleft, more about our netbook competition and a lot of other stuff…

  • Ballnux

    • Galaxy Tab slashed to $300 on Xoom’s heels

      A funny thing happens when there’s a bigger and better Android tablet on the market – the one that previously had a stranglehold on the entire industry gets dropped radically in price.

      The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which originally launched at $600 after a mobile service contract subsidy, is now only $300 at Verizon. The timing comes immediately after Motorola’s Xoom tablet came out at nearly the same price as the Galaxy Tab’s initial cost.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.38 EXT4, Btrfs File-System Benchmarks

      Along with finally delivering Intel Gallium3D driver benchmarks comparing this unofficial, proof-of-concept i915/945 Gallium3D driver to Intel’s official classic Mesa driver, there’s also our benchmarks of the EXT4 and Btrfs file-systems from the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. These exclusive tests are coming this weekend as part of OpenBenchmarking.org being publicly available for the first day.

    • Go Benchmark, OpenBenchmarking.org Is Here

      In case you didn’t figure it out from two exclusive benchmarks appearing on a Saturday morning — Intel Gallium3D benchmarks and EXT4/Btrfs on the Linux 2.6.38 kernel — this is to celebrate the availability of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland and OpenBenchmarking.org

    • The OpenBenchmarking.org SCALE Video
    • Making More Informed Linux Hardware Choices

      Matthew Tippett and I talked this weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo on the matter of making more informed Linux hardware choices. While Linux hardware support has come along way, it is not perfect and there are still shortcomings. However, with Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org, which were released in Los Angeles, we believe there are now the capabilities to dramatically enhance the Linux hardware and software experience. These freely available tools are not only a game-changer for Linux, but have the capabilities to impact how projects and organizations handle their Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, and Solaris testing as well.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Overview of Xrandr
      • AMD Opens Up XvBA! Their Catalyst Linux Video API

        Back in 2008 we were the first to thoroughly talk about AMD’s X-Video Bitstream Acceleration (XvBA) API found in their Catalyst Linux driver to expose their UVD2 video engine now under non-Windows operating systems. However, when the XvBA library was made available, it was next to useless since they hadn’t published the documentation or any header files describing this video playback acceleration interface. A year later, in November of 2009, AMD and Splitted Desktop Systems released a VA-API front-end to XvBA so that VA-API multi-media applications could seamlessly use XvBA with the Catalyst driver.

      • Mesa Can Now Be Smaller, Build Faster

        As something of value to more users than Mesa receiving EXT_texture_compression_RGTC support is that the shared DRI core patch has been merged. This results in a significantly smaller package size for Mesa (circa 30MB savings) and results in Mesa building about 13% faster.

      • Intel Gallium3D Graphics Driver Performance

        While Intel remains to be the only major graphics vendor standing strong behind their classic Mesa driver on Linux for open-source support rather than drawing up plans to move to the Gallium3D driver architecture, there is actually available a Gallium3D driver available for Intel hardware. This Intel Gallium3D driver has been around since close to Gallium3D’s inception, but it targets the older generations of Intel IGPs and was developed by VMware as a proof of concept. The driver is incomplete, but our testing shows that for those with Intel 945 netbooks and other hardware, the “i915g” driver is usable. In this article are benchmarks showing how this Intel Gallium3D driver compares to Intel’s officially supported classic Mesa DRI driver.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Slax Community Remix Renamed to Porteus Portable Linux

      Last December I reviewed the Slax Community Remix for Distrowatch. At the time of writing the latest release of this dedicated community of Slax enthusiasts was v09. This now seems to have become the stepping stone on the way to the first official release 1.0 of the new Porteus Project and an updated v09 was released on 13th January. A website has been launched with documentation, FAQ’s and download section as well as a forum. A module library similar to the one Slax is offering is apparently planned to go live in about two weeks from now. Thus the split from Slax, which is dormant at the moment and has not had an official release or update since August 2009, is complete.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Preparing for Fedora’s SXSW Debut

          Fedora is going to have a booth at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interface conference expo in Austin, TX in just a little over a couple of weeks now.

          Why are we going? Well, our plan is on the Fedora wiki, but my main goal in attending is to promote free software to all of the designers (and developers, too!) that will be attending for the interactive conference, and hopefully even drum up in them some interest in getting involved themselves and help them get started.

        • Firefox in a sandbox with Fedora

          There is a really cool utility from the selinux folks called sandbox. It’s lets you run an application inside a sandbox which has limited permissions on the system. The idea being that you could run an untrusted process which shouldn’t be able to cause any real damage. I dare say these days the most untrusted process is a web browser. I know Chrome uses a technology similar to this where each tab gets its own sandbox, but I don’t run Chrome, so my goal is to make Firefox as safe as possible. Plus I’m a paranoid nut, so this sort of thing I find really interesting.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Software Center validating packages quality

          Today I have found bug 712377, it seems that Software Center is going to check packages quality and refuse to install them.

        • The latest Ubuntu Unity: Good or bad?

          It’s almost here. Ubuntu 11.04 will be arriving in less than two months and when it does, there will be reactions. Big reactions. Some of those reactions will not be so great. I took the time to install the latest Ubuntu Unity and thought I should give my reaction to how this new desktop is going to effect the crowds. My overall reaction really surprised even me.

        • G’MIC For GIMP Ubuntu PPA

          G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic Image Converter) is a tool that comes with a lot (more than 190) of pre-defined image filters and effects for GIMP and is available for Window, Linux and Mac OSX.

          The G’MIC Sourceforge page offers .deb files for download, but because new G’MIC versions are released very frequently, it’s a good idea to use a PPA to stay up to date with the latest versions in Ubuntu. Roberto @ LFFL has created such a PPA so you can easily stay up to date with the latest G’MIC for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IcedRobot or Cool Android/Linux

      Either way you slice it, all kinds of Linux-based systems will be running on PCs of all kinds.

    • Navisurfer II brings Ubuntu to your car

      As in-car entertainment systems get increasingly complex, the line between an entertainment and navigation system and a fully-fledged PC blur – and the Navisurfer II UBU-3G destroys the line utterly.

      The latest product from Vic Ltd., the Navisurfer II is a double-DIN (so it takes up two car audio head units) in-car entertainment system that packs an entire PC into the dashboard, powered by the popular open-source Ubuntu Linux distribution.

    • Overthinking Embedded Systems

      I wonder sometimes if we are making things too complex. This is especially important in embedded systems where code size and execution size still matter. The trend has always been to get further away from the hardware, of course. People lamented the introduction of C and then C++ into embedded systems. I myself have railed against using Java as a one-size-fits-all solution. Yet even with these, its often not the tool itself, but bad use of the tool that is the real problem.

      But it does seem to be getting worse. Linux and Unix have long been bastions of combining simple things into beautiful and possibly complex forms. But the community is moving away from that. I use a KDE desktop every day. But the idea that adding metadata tags to my files requires two separate database servers an indexing engine that seems to gobble memory with no constraint and software to manage the ontologies seems a bit much. Worse, its all poorly documented and just kind of “black magic.” To me that was always an advantage of Linux and Unix over more mainstream operating systems was the transparency of what they do, but this isn’t a good example of that being true.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Meego: Can it survive?

          The future for Meego now looks distinctly uncertain, even though Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini insists that nothing has changed. “I don’t see that Nokia changing its strategy changes the industry strategy,” said Otellini during the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

          Otellini said that he fully expects to see Meego in tablet PCs later this year and in other automotive and mobile devices soon after that. He may well believe that a Meego tablet is viable this year but who will provide the hardware? Nokia is now in partnership with Microsoft, HP is forging ahead with its new WebOS strategy, HTC and Samsung have both just introduced Android-based tablet PCs.

          Perhaps Asus or Acer will be the ones to ship Meego devices? Both have previously expressed interest in Meego, but that was in mid-2010 and n

        • How the Nokia-Microsoft Deal Could Boost Linux

          The LiMo Foundation on Monday released LiMo 4, a new release of the platform that offers a number of enhancements.

          Included in LiMo 4 are a flexible and powerful user interface, extended widget libraries, 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, social networking and location-based service frameworks, sensor frameworks, multitasking and multitouch capabilities. With support for scalable screen resolution and consistent APIs, meanwhile, the platform can deliver a consistent user experience across a broad range of device types and form factors, LiMo says.

      • Android

        • Xoom/Honeycomb launch impressions (spoilers: it’s not all goodness and light)

          Like many tech geeks out there who has yet to climb the ranks of tech journalism enough to get to go fancy places, I walked over to my local Verizon store on Xoom launch day to check out the Xoom tablet. It was my first experience with the tablet, and my first experience with Honeycomb.

        • Android Market Listed in the Android Market, Paradox Ensues

          Take a minute to mosey on over to the Androidify page at the Android Market website. Peak under at the “More from Developer” heading. Notice anything strange? A link to an Android Market page for the Android Market. Alas, clicking that link brings us to a “Not Found” page. We won’t be downloading the Android Market from the Android Market anytime soon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Linux Workshop Scheduled At OU-Z

      ZANESVILLE — Linux is a free operating system developed by volunteers across the world who think users should be able to view and modify the source code of their software, as well as share improvements with one another.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome alone?

        One of the most interesting projects announced last year, for my money at least, was Google Chrome OS. This was, as you probably know, Google’s signal of intent that it was going head first into the operating system market, having found a niche in which it figured it could make an impact.

        Its thinking was smart, too. It targeted the then burgeoning netbook market, coming up with a fast, quick-booting operating system that stored everything you needed in the cloud. When it was first demonstrated, and Google showed a portable machine booting to a working desktop in under ten seconds, I wanted to get cracking with the OS right there and then.

    • Mozilla


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikimedia presents its five-year strategic plan

      I am very pleased to present the summary report of the Wikimedia Foundation’s five-year strategic plan: our first-ever such plan, developed through a transparent collaborative process involving more than a thousand participants during 2009 and 2010.

    • Open Data

      • Open information

        Although «open data» and iRail are often mentioned in the same sentence, they are no synonyms. In fact, we don’t even want to provide open data! It’s not a goal of the non profit organisation (NPO) to provide datadumps or sublicense data that might be copyrighted. We are also not going to redistribute already available datasets. Let’s get this misconception out of the way…

      • Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?

        In 1964, Richard Muller, a 20-year-old graduate student with neat-cropped hair, walked into Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, and joined a mass protest of unprecedented scale. The activists, a few thousand strong, demanded that the university lift a ban on free speech and ease restrictions on academic freedom, while outside on the steps a young folk-singer called Joan Baez led supporters in a chorus of We Shall Overcome. The sit-in ended two days later when police stormed the building in the early hours and arrested hundreds of students. Muller was thrown into Oakland jail. The heavy-handedness sparked further unrest and, a month later, the university administration backed down. The protest was a pivotal moment for the civil liberties movement and marked Berkeley as a haven of free thinking and fierce independence.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No.16 Sept-Dec 2010

        Welcome to the sixteenth Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter! For a plain text version for email please see Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No. 16 – on our main okfn-announce list.

      • 80 Open Education Resource (OER) Tools for Publishing and Development Initiatives

        Many Open Education Resources (OER) that have been introduced by governments, universities, and individuals within the past few years. OERs provide teaching and learning materials that are freely available and offered online for anyone to use. Whether you’re an instructor, student, or self-learner, you have access to full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, assignments, quizzes, activities, games, simulations, and tools to create these components.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • World Blind Union withdraws participation

    The feeling at the WBU seems to be that they get talked to death by the diplomates…

  • WBU suspends participation in WIPO & EU Stakeholder discussions, pending agreement at WIPO on legal framework

    On February 26, 2011, the World Blind Union issued a statement announcing it would “suspend participation in the WIPO Stakeholder Platform and EU Stakeholder Dialogue projects, pending agreement at WIPO on a proper binding legal framework.” [See full statement below]. The WBU statement is expected to dramatically change the environment for considering a new WIPO treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

    KEI welcomes the WBU suspension of its participation in the WIPO and EU Stakeholder projects. In our opinion, the publishers have used the private stakeholder discussions to undermine work on a treaty, and to shrink the rights of persons with disabilities. Now scarce time, attention, resources and ambitions can be focused on the more important historic effort to obtain a treaty to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

  • Publishers Slowly Warm to Library E-lending

    Can libraries continue their role as lenders when books are in digital form? While library executives are set on the idea, at least some book publishers seem to still be wary of having libraries circulate electronic copies of their books to multiple parties, even with controls in place.

    As sales figures of electronic books and periodicals start to approach those of their print counterparts, the question arises: should libraries lend electronic books out for the Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook? Digital books are overwhelmingly easy to purchase — the reader need not leave the comfort of an armchair to do so. So does the world still need libraries?

  • Missouri Legislator Wants to Increase Child Labor

    Missouri state senator Jane Cunningham is making an unusual plea for parents’ rights in the face of a supposed nanny state: she says the state’s “so over the top” child labor laws are preventing parents from teaching their kids a decent work ethic of the type that helped her sons work and buy cars as teens.

  • A Fifteenth Century Technopanic About The Horrors Of The Printing Press

    Honestly, it sounds like a near perfect 15th century version of Nick Carr. Carr loves books, but frets about what the internet is doing to our appreciation of books. But, of course, this all seems to come back to Douglas Adams’ famous saying, which I’ll paraphrase: everything that exists before you were born is just normal, the way things should be. Everything that is invented from your birth until you’re about thirty is cool and neat and innovative. And everything invented after you’re thirty is “against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.”

  • Cloud Wars Baffle Simmering Cyber Lawyers

    Like their celestial counterparts, cyber clouds are unpredictable and ever-changing. The Motorola Xoom tablet arrived on Tuesday. The Apple iPad II arrives next week. Just as Verizon finally boasts its own iPhone, AT&T turns the tables with the Motorola Atrix running on the even faster growing Google Android platform. Meanwhile, Nokia declares its once-mighty Symbian platform ablaze and abandons ship for a new mobile partnership with Microsoft.

  • Court Ruling Opens Up Terrorism to International Prosecution

    The UN tribunal investigating the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has ruled that acts of terrorism can be prosecuted under international law. The decision will have far-reaching legal implications, but could also increase political turmoil in Lebanon and cause the Hariri case to collapse.

    Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can already be prosecuted in an international court. Now terrorism is set to be added to the list of crimes which can be prosecuted under international law, thanks to a groundbreaking new court ruling.

  • The facebook problem

    Facebook has obtained more than $500M from investors to grow facebook.com to the size it is today, and has not taken a single penny from any of its users. In order to pay back the investors for their extraordinary risky investment, the investors must be looking for something like 10x cash back. That’s more than $5 billion! Of course it’s currently valued at over $50B. Just hold that thought for a second.

    Now a second thought: billions of people can use email and not have to be part of one, single, organisation. How can that be?

    Email is essentially a protocol. It’s called SMTP and is described by various RFCs. Any server that supports the SMTP protocol can advertise its MX record via DNS and receive email for that domain. Any client that ‘talks’ SMTP can send email to any SMTP server (it can reach). In fact, the SMTP client (or email client) can talk to its local SMTP server which will then forward on the email to its final destination.

    This is, of course, a distributed system. Due to an open protocol anybody can set up an email server and play in the big email ecosystem. Of course, the original inventors of the SMTP protocol didn’t envisage SPAM as we know it, and thus it was designed for a naive, friendly, co-operative world, where email users wouldn’t spam each other. i.e. academia.

  • Science

    • Darpa’s Cheetah-Bot Designed to Chase Human Prey

      Perhaps you thought the four-legged BigDog robot wasn’t eerily lifelike enough. That’ll change soon. BigDog’s makers are working on a new quadruped that moves faster than any human and is agile enough to “chase and evade.”

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • What the Libyans Want

      UK flew in a military transport to pick up oil-workers without formal authorization. More countries need to demonstrate that kind of initiative. If you are going to fly in a transport, ship in some supplies while you’re at it. Properly supplied, the Libyans can deal with Gaddafi.

    • Protesters say Egypt military used force to disperse them

      Egyptian soldiers fired in the air and used batons in the early hours of Saturday to disperse activists demanding the cabinet appointed by Hosni Mubarak be purged by the country’s new military leaders, protesters said.

      Thousands had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate two weeks since Mubarak’s removal and remind the country’s new rulers, who have promised to guard against “counter revolution” of the people’s power.

    • Bangladeshi MP ‘tortured’ by British-trained paramilitary unit

      A Bangladeshi MP who has been been behind bars for more than two months after allegedly being detained and tortured by a paramilitary unit trained by the British government has given a harrowing account of his mistreatment in a letter from prison.

    • As Libya uprising reaches Tripoli Gaddafi vows to ‘open up the arsenals’

      Libyan exiles said that a reported rebellion by military personnel at Tripoli’s Mitiga air base was linked to calls by air force officers in the liberated eastern city of Benghazi to come out against the regime. Analysts believe defections from the military are likely to prove more decisive than actual fighting as the nine-day uprising enters what may be its final phase.

    • 46 arrested in Zimbabwe for ‘planning uprising’

      Lawyers for 46 people facing treason charges for allegedly plotting an Egyptian-style uprising said yesterday that some of the group’s members were tortured by police.

      Alec Muchadehama, a defence lawyer, told a Harare court that 12 suspects said they were beaten with broomsticks.

      Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered the suspects be given medical examinations before a hearing on Monday.

    • Most charges dropped against G20 accused in jail since last June

      A computer security expert arrested on G20-related charges has had all but two of the charges against him dropped.

      Byron Sonne, who appeared in court at Old City Hall on Feb. 22, has been in jail since last June.

    • G20: The Untold Stories

      They were the most unlikely of troublemakers. There were thousands of ordinary citizens on the streets at Toronto G20 Summit marching peacefully until the police closed in and shut them down. Many had gone downtown simply to see what was going on, only to find themselves forcibly dragged away by police and locked up for hours in a makeshift detention center without timely access to lawyers or medical treatment.

    • Majority of G20 charges against security consultant Byron Sonne dropped

      The majority of the charges against security consultant Byron Sonne, whose arrest garnered national attention in the days before last summer’s G20 summit, have been dropped.

      After eight days of a preliminary hearing that ended this week, the presiding judge saw fit to proceed with just one of the six initial charges against Mr. Sonne, along with one additional charge recommended by the Crown.

    • Same old story — eight months later

      Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told the CBC’s the fifth estate Friday his officers were not given orders during the G20 to change the original stand down approach to become more aggressive after their police cars were set ablaze.

      “Not that I’m aware of, and certainly not that I gave,” Blair told reporter Gillian Findlay, adding, though, “I think there certainly was a change in the police response.”

      We still don’t know who gave them?

    • Spain to probe Guantanamo torture claims

      A Spanish court Friday agreed to investigate a complaint by a Moroccan who said he was tortured while in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, judicial sources said.

      The National Court said it was competent to take the case as the complainant, Lahcen Ikassrien, has been living in Spain for 13 years.

    • Major Yemen tribes join protesters

      Pressure on Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, to resign has increased after the leaders of two of the country’s most important tribes abandoned the president and joined the anti-government movement.

      Tribal leaders, including those of the Hashid and Baqil, pledged on Saturday to join protests against Saleh at a gathering north of Sanaa, the capital.

      “I have announced my resignation from the General People’s Congress in protest at the repression of peaceful demonstrators in Sanaa, Taez and Aden,” said Hashid tribal chief Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, in reference to the ruling party.

    • Lawmaker condemns question about shooting Obama

      A Georgia Republican said Friday he didn’t immediately condemn a constituent who asked about assassinating President Barack Obama because he was stunned by the question and didn’t want to dignify it with a response.

      Rep. Paul Broun, a conservative who has harshly criticized the president, confirmed that at a town hall event in Oglethorpe County, Ga., on Tuesday a man asked, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

    • Freedom protests spread to North Korea

      Popular protests launched by Anonynmous in Tunisia and which have since spread across North Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula have now reach North Korea.

    • No Protesters, but Beijing Police Sweep Streets of Bystanders, Journalists

      While effective, the Chinese government didn’t leave crowd control solely in the hands of the Department of Public Works. I was there for an hour and I haven’t seen that many police in one place since the Olympics in 2008.

      Most of the cops seemed alternately bored and annoyed, and with little else to do they started clashing with the other group well-represented this afternoon: the foreign press corps.

    • Fake Western Media Coverage Of Jasmine Revolution In China

      The website anti-CNN came into being because of the western media reporting about the Lhasa riots. Here is a post from the anti-CNN BBS about some western media coverage of the so-called Jasmine Revolution in China. It is actually not difficult to find these fake photos. You being with a suspicious-looking photo (e.g. people marching down on a major thoroughfare when it is known that the Jasmine Revolution demonstrations were sparsely attended gatherings in front of McDonald’s or Starbucks), you use a photo-identification site such as TinEye and you’ve scored again!

    • China’s jasmine revolution: police but no protesters line streets of Beijing

      Police in Beijing and other cities mounted a major show of force following an anonymous call for protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings.

      A US journalist was punched and kicked in the face and more than a dozen other journalists manhandled, detained or delayed as they covered the events which revealed official anxiety over similar protests against authoritarian rule in China.

    • Tyler Durden and the Anonymous uprisings

      I’ve been quoting him lately in respect to the Anonymous-inspired uprisings which are shaking the world, particularly in the Middle East.

      There’s a great post in Digital Trends which relates how an Anonymous V for Vendetta mask was mysteriously superimposed over Stephen Colbert’s face during a Colbert Report.

    • Guest Report: Return of the Saudi King!

      In Saudi, the most troublesome case has been Bahrain, because of its geographical proximity and close family ties and above all because most of the protesters are Shiites whereas the Power Regime in Bahrain is Sunni. The Shiites are an important part of the population in the Eastern Region of Saudi (on the Arabian/Persian Gulf facing Iran) and the Saudis (dominated by the Sunni branch of Islam) have much sensitivity about Iranian influences through Shiism translating itself into anti-Sunni unrest. Bahrain seemed to have the potential to quickly tip off a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi in the region, in the same way that Shiite/Sunni contests have vexed the development of a new government infrastructure in Iraq. Most Saudis I know point to Iran as the source of the problems in Bahrain: apparently Iranian sympathizers (who are also Shiites) have been the main instigators for the demonstrations.

    • BREAKING: Wisconsin Police Have Joined Protest Inside State Capitol

      From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey reports:

      “Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”

      Ryan reported on his Facebook page earlier today:

      “Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal.”

    • Wisconsin cops for the win

      Yesterday afternoon, hundreds of cops marched into the Wisconsin Capitol Building, where Wisconsinites have spent more than a week protesting their governor’s plan to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees.

    • Libya unravels — and the Brits suddenly discover an evil dictator

      It has been a busy month for Britons, with Foreign Secretary William Hague’s whirlwind three-day tour of Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, UAE and Bahrain (Feb. 8 to 10, with Mubarak not gone yet) and Prime Minister David Cameron’s just-concluded tour of Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. The ramifications of thinking behind these self-conscious diplomatic exercises in a region vital to their interests seem strange indeed, to the uninitiated.

    • Truth hard to find in US-Pakistan war of words over Raymond Davis

      A storm of media speculation has enveloped the case of Raymond Davis, the CIA official charged with murder in Pakistan, as officials from both countries seek to shape public opinion in an increasingly fraught diplomatic and legal standoff.

      Since it emerged this week that Davis, who shot two people on a busy street last month, was a working spy, Pakistan’s media has been gripped by lurid stories portraying him as a dangerous provocateur.

    • Why Is TeleSur a Flop? Look No Farther than Its Libya Coverage

      As a student of rebellion and resistance, when people rise up I pay attention, study and try to learn as much as possible. Humans are at our most creative when we rebel and the moments when many do it all at once are the great engines of innovation, invention and evolution. Any man, woman or child of any age who participates in a grand and successful revolt is forever changed and liberated by the experience. He and she are no longer so easily enslaved or cowered by fear. Rebellions against injustice and tyranny are the single best catalyst through which people become our better selves and fulfill our most human of destinies. For eighteen days in January and February 2011 the Egyptian people, especially its youths, treated the world to a lesson in civics. Their successful toppling of the thirty year dictator Hosni Mubarak was the very best kind of rebellion because it was disciplined, it was strategically and tactically executed, and the population understood that the justice and freedom it craved would not be found in bloody retribution against the sectors (most demonstrably in Egypt, the Armed Forces) that had propped up the regime, but in peeling those sectors’ support away from it.

    • Arab uprisings mark a turning point for the taking

      In the late 1940s, Simone de Beauvoir was already bemoaning our tendency to “think that we are not the master of our destiny; we no longer hope to help make history, we are resigned to submitting to it”. By the late 70s such regret, repackaged as celebration, had become the stuff of a growing consensus. By the late 80s, we were told that history itself had come to an end. The sort of history that ordinary people might make was to fade away within a “new world order”, a world in which a narrow set of elites would control all the main levers of power.

    • This is an Arab 1848. But US hegemony is only dented

      The refusal of the people to kiss or ignore the rod that has chastised them for so many decades has opened a new chapter in the history of the Arab nation. The absurd, if much vaunted, neocon notion that Arabs or Muslims were hostile to democracy has disappeared like parchment in fire.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange plea after extradition defeat: ‘Make this case bigger than me’

      In an impassioned denunciation of a mechanism that “drags people off to an uncertain destiny” on the basis of no more than “a two-page form filled out by a member of the bureaucracy”, Assange appealed to his supporters to challenge the system of European arrest warrants (EAWs), by which extradition requests are fast-tracked between EU member states.

    • Assange Extradition Reveals Total Hypocrisy & Political Bias Of British Justice
    • Wikileaks Peru: US feared Indigenous power

      Wikileaks releases from Peru once again reveal the pro-copper mining and anti-Indigenous sentiment of the US Embassy in Lima.

      Former US Ambassador Curtis Struble in Peru expresses fear that Indigenous may once again govern Peru. Struble is again on the look-out for Venezuela’s “meddling,” and again is tracking Indigenous activists.
      This time, on the US watch list, is Aymara activist Felipe Quispe of Bolivia, leader of Pachakuti Indigenous Movement, according to the June 19, 2007 cable.
      In one of six cables released Friday, Feb. 25, from Lima, Ambassador Struble writes of the regions of Peru. He said the southern highland province of Puno has an “affinity for far-left radicalism.” Struble fears Venezuela is involved here and fears the movement of Bolivarism.

    • Openleaks: Timid in the face of power?

      WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange’s leadership and character in a series of allegations.

      Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.

      Domscheit-Berg told AFP that Assange would “boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world” and that Assange’s “main criterion for a woman was simple. She had to be young. Preferably younger than 22.” He also accuses Assange as being power-obsessed.

    • The Julian Assange Conspiracy – Networks, power and activism

      The object of Wikileaks is to dismantle the conspiracies that, according to its founder, rule the world. But what is a conspiracy and are you part of one? According to Assange, it’s possible to be a member of conspiracy without even knowing that you are. This week, we look at Julian Assange’s political philosophy and his view of the world as a network of conspiracies.

    • Glenn Greenwald on the Assange Extradition Ruling, the Jailing of Bradley Manning, and the Campaign to Target WikiLeaks Supporters

      A British judge ruled today that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual crimes. Assange plans to appeal within 10 days. His defense team had argued against the extradition, in part by citing the potential he could wind up being extradited to the United States and prosecuted for publishing classified government documents, a crime that could result in the death penalty.

    • WikiLeaks: Cat’s Cradle in Colombia

      To get a sense of just how inter­con­nected the for­mal and illicit dimen­sions of inter­na­tional polit­i­cal econ­omy are, take a peek at this brief cable from the US embassy in Bogota pub­lished by Wik­iLeaks Sunday.

      The cable details then-Ambassador William Woods’ hunt for two miss­ing heli­copters that had orig­i­nally been sold to the Israeli mil­i­tary by the United States gov­ern­ment, but had some­how ended up in the hands of mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Enilse Lopez, a busi­ness­woman that was sus­pected of close ties to Colom­bian paramilitaries.

      The curi­ous his­tory of the heli­copters is in itself instruc­tive. The two Hughes 500 mil­i­tary grade chop­pers were sold to the Israeli gov­ern­ment in the early 1980s, but grounded about fif­teen years later when they were con­verted for civil­ian use. The heli­copters were then sold in 2002 to the Cana­dian multi­na­tional media firm CANWEST, which strangely never had the air­craft moved out­side Israeli ter­ri­tory. The next year, the cor­po­ra­tion sold the heli­copters to a Mex­i­can aero­nau­ti­cal com­pany, that shipped the pair to Miami under phony export and air­wor­thi­ness doc­u­men­ta­tion sup­pos­edly issued by the Israeli government.

    • No transparency over nukes, China tells US

      China will not accept limits put on its defence capabilities and has rejected United States overtures to become more transparent about its nuclear arsenal, Wikileaks data reveals.

      Fairfax newspapers say data in secret defence consultations between the US and China shows high ranking officials in the Asian nation have said there can be no limit to Beijing’s nuclear arsenal.

      In June 2008 the deputy chief of China’s People’s Liberation Army General Staff, Ma Xiaotian, told the US: “It is impossible for (China) to change its decades-old way of doing business to become transparent using the US model.

    • The WikiLeaks Threat
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • It’s time to end Canada’s billion-dollar handout to big oil and coal

      After two years of stimulus spending and years of tax cuts, Canada’s debt has ballooned to $56 billion. Now the Harper government is sharpening the axe. Who will feel the cut? Given the Conservative’s position on social spending, they will likely focus on provincial transfers that support healthcare and social welfare.

      Meanwhile, the federal government subsidizes oil companies to the tune of $1.4 billion every year, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It’s more if you factor in other fossil fuels such as coal. If the government is looking for ways to pay down the debt, ending fossil fuel subsidies in the 2011-12 budget is a good place to start.

    • Chimpanzee meat discovered in British restaurants and market stalls as officials uncover illegal bushmeat

      Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain, it has emerged.

      Trading standards officials uncovered the illegal bushmeat from the endangered species whilst testing samples believed to be seized from vendors in the Midlands.

    • Maybe no one cares about climate change because we’re wired for extinction

      In my unending (and thus far, I have to confess, largely fruitless) attempts to figure out why Americans aren’t more alarmed about climate change, one of the more intriguing ideas I’ve heard recently was put to me by a psychologist named Andrew Shatté.

      Shatté, a professor at the University of Arizona, is best known for his work on resilience — the ability of humans to deal with adversity. His thesis on climate change, in a nutshell, is that we are hardwired for extinction. He compares us to the Irish elk, which went extinct about 11,000 years ago. The male of that species evolved to grow big antlers — I mean really gargantuan antlers, racks up to 12 feet wide, designed for the usual reasons of aggression, defense, and sexual display. Over time, the antlers got so big that the elk couldn’t consume enough calories to sustain their growth, so instead the antlers began to feed in auto-parasitic fashion on the calcium in the animals’ bones. If galloping osteoporosis didn’t kill them, they got their antlers impossibly tangled up in the overhead branches and starved to death.

    • Obama’s $36 Billion Nuke Giveaway

      Barack Obama’s 2012 budget marks a major escalation in the nuclear war against a green-powered future, whose advocates are already fighting back.

      Amidst massive budget cuts for social and environmental programs, Obama wants $36 billion in loan guarantees for a reactor industry that cannot secure sufficient private “marketplace” financing for new construction.

    • Climate change halves Peru glacier: official

      A glacier on Peru’s Huaytapallana Moutain shed half its surface ice in just 23 years, officials said Wednesday, reinforcing concerns of climate change’s growing threat to fresh water resources.

      “Recent scientific studies indicate that between June 1983 and August 2006, the glacier has lost 50 percent of its surface ice,” Erasmo Meza, manager of natural resources and the environment in the central Andean region of Junin, told the official Andina news agency.

    • ‘Zero-carbon’ homes can still emit CO2

      Newly built houses will be allowed to emit tons of CO2 every year and still be called “zero carbon” under new rules being considered by ministers.

      In five years time, all new homes built in the UK were expected to be carbon neutral, using technology such as wind turbines, solar panels and ground-source heat pumps. But guidance drawn up for the Housing minister, Grant Shapps, now suggests that some developments will only have to achieve 50 per cent carbon reductions from present rules to qualify.

    • Australia unveils plans for a fixed carbon price

      Australia’s government launched a third attempt on Thursday to make carbon polluters pay for their emissions, unveiling plans for a fixed-price scheme from 2012 and vowing not to surrender this time in the face of fierce opposition.

      Prime minister Julia Gillard, whose predecessor, Kevin Rudd, stood down last year after two failed attempts to address climate change, said polluters would pay a yet-to-be-determined fixed price from July 2012, then move to a market-based system within five years.

    • Must-Read NY Times Story On Gas Fracking Reveals Radioactive Wastewater Threat

      An incredible piece just broke in the New York Times showing that hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale is drawing huge amounts of radioactivity up from the earth with the fracking fluids, often going straight through a municipal waste water treatment plant and then dumped into rivers — above public drinking water intake locations. The piece proves that EPA knows this is going on, and that it is likely illegal.

    • “Growth can’t go on”

      To have any hope of protecting Earth’s resources, we must first abandon our obsession with economic expansion, argues Viki Johnson.

    • Top medical groups warn Americans of health risks posed by climate change

      The following top health and medical experts came together Thursday to alert us of the serious health threats posed by carbon pollution and to remind us of the necessity of the EPA in protecting our air, water, and health, on a briefing call hosted by the American Public Health Association (APHA)

  • Finance

    • Why are America’s largest corporations paying no tax?

      Inspired by the UK Uncut movement, Americans are taking to the street, asking why they’re being asked to tighten their belts when the largest corporations in the country are paying no tax at all…

    • How Timidity in Washington Wrecked the Economy

      We now have even more evidence that inept policies from Washington are causing enormous suffering across the country. It is not quite the line that the right-wingers are pushing. The new evidence is that the stimulus worked and was in fact more effective than had been predicted.

      The new evidence comes in the form of a study by two Dartmouth professors, James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote. Past estimates of the impact of the stimulus on jobs and the economy relied on simply plugging the tax breaks and spending into standard macro models and reporting the predicted effect. In this sense, the impact of the stimulus was actually built into the model. However this new study directly measures the impact of stimulus spending on employment across states, comparing the number of jobs created to the amount of spending.

    • The NO2AV campaign lies about AV and is a front for the Conservative Party and big business

      There is not one true claim about AV on the NO2AV website – see below for their four biggest lies about AV and to find out how AV works. While we know 95% of the ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ campaign funding comes from the Electoral Reform Society and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, the NO2AV campaign refuse to say who funds them.

      There are some pretty obvious clues though. The head of the NO2AV campaign Matthew Elliot, doubled as founder of the ‘Taxpayers’ Alliance (which he’ll probably return to after the AV referendum is over). The Taxpayers’ Alliance is funded by the same wealthy business-people who fund the Conservative party and has a director who doesn’t pay any tax in the UK.

    • Enlisting Prison Labor to Close Budget Gaps

      There are, of course, concerns about public safety and competition with government or private workers. Professor Horn estimates that only 20 percent of inmates present a low enough security threat to work in public. And in some places, even financially struggling governments are not willing to take the risk of employing prisoners.

    • UK Uncut inspires US groups to attack cuts and tax avoidance

      Hundreds of activists in the US are planning to take part in a day of direct action in a move inspired by Britain’s fast growing protest group.

      US Uncut groups have sprung up from New York to Hawaii in the last three weeks and activists will demonstrate against government cuts and corporate tax avoidance in more than 50 cities on Saturday.

    • Cost of living crisis pushes ‘squeezed middle’ off the housing ladder

      People on low to middle incomes are facing a “perfect economic storm”, which is cutting their living standards and dramatically reducing their ability to buy their own homes, new research will show this week.

      The independent Resolution Foundation is to launch a major inquiry into living standards among the so-called “squeezed middle”, having identified economic trends – in existence since the 1970s – that have led wages for this income group to grow at a slower rate than the economy.

      The foundation, which aims to improve the lot of 11.1 million people, will reveal evidence that home ownership is slipping out of the reach of those living in households with below-median earnings.

    • Tell Democratic Leadership: Don’t cave to Republican extremists on the budget.

      It’s breathtaking to think that the Republicans would risk a government shutdown because Democrats won’t unilaterally capitulate to their demands for concessions in some of the most intractable ideological wars of our time.

      But last week the House passed and sent to the Senate for consideration an extremist’s wish list under the guise of the “Continuing Resolution.” The Continuing Resolution (CR) is a must-pass bill that is necessary to maintain funding for the federal government while Congress debates the 2011 budget.

    • Pay Down the Deficit with Inheritance Taxes

      The solution to America’s budget deficit is obvious; make the dead pay. Afterall, the dead are dead and they don’t care.

      Think about it. Who caused the budget deficit? Who voted for these outrageous entitlements? Who milked social security and Medicare while they were alive? The dead, of course.

      The current inheritance tax is outside down. It exempts the first $5 million of a dead person’s estate and then taxes the excess. Instead, the government should be recovering the dead person’s share of the budget deficit first.

    • BP claim threatens to reignite corporate tax row

      The oil company wants repayment of £300m stamp duty tax it paid when it took over Atlantic Richfield in 1999

    • Disgraced MP Eric Illsley ‘coping’ in jail, says wife

      The wife of former Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley has said her husband is “coping” in prison after being jailed for a year for expenses fraud.

      Illsley was sentenced earlier this month after admitting falsely claiming £14,000 for his second home.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sarah Palin Has Secret ‘Lou Sarah’ Facebook Account To Praise Other Sarah Palin Facebook Account

      Sarah Palin has apparently created a second Facebook account with her Gmail address so that this fake “Lou Sarah” person can praise the other Sarah Palin on Facebook. The Gmail address is available for anyone to see in this leaked manuscript about Sarah Palin, and the Facebook page for “Lou Sarah” — Sarah Palin’s middle name is “Louise” — is just a bunch of praise and “Likes” for the things Sarah Palin likes and writes on her other Sarah Palin Facebook page. “Lou Sarah” even says “amen” to Facebook posts by Sarah Sarah. UPDATE (2/23): The “Lou Sarah” account has been taken down.

    • Tobacco firms accused of funding campaign to keep cigarettes on display

      A shopkeepers’ trade body that has helped to persuade scores of MPs to oppose a ban on cigarette displays has been accused by its members of being a puppet of the tobacco industry.

      The National Federation of Retail Newsagents, which represents 16,500 shopkeepers, has emerged as an important player in the debate over whether “power walls” – behind-the-counter displays of cigarettes – should be banned.

  • Censorship

    • New Mortal Kombat banned in Australia

      Australia’s content classification regulator has banned the highly anticipate remake of the classic Mortal Kombat video game series from being sold in Australia, deeming the game’s violence outside the boundaries of the highest MA15+ rating which video games can fall under.

    • How The Indian Government Plans To Regulate Online Content & Blogs

      As a part of the rules being finalized to supplement India’s Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, rules are being included that will indirectly allow the Indian government to control content being published on the Internet. This is hardly surprising: last week, at the CII Content Summit, three government functionaries – Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Ambika Soni, TRAI Chief JS Sarma and I&B Secretary Raghu Menon, had all mentioned concerns about content on the Internet, even as they tried to downplay content regulation:

      - Sarma said that “How do you control the Internet? That is baffling and challenging, and it is fraught with issues of freedom and security. Security in terms of physical security and others. This will have to be studied over the course of next few months or the next year or so.”

    • WikiLeaks: Mario Montoya and Colombian False Positives

      When Major Gen­eral Mario Mon­toya Uribe was appointed com­man­der of the Colom­bian army in March of 2006, the US embassy in Bogota was largely unaware of his back­ground and bona fides. The Amer­i­can ambas­sador to Colom­bia at the time, William Wood, reported in a cable Wik­iLeaked on Fri­day, that rel­a­tively lit­tle was known about Mon­toya aside from his many dec­o­ra­tions as a career mil­i­tary man, his close per­sonal rela­tion­ship with then-president Alvaro Uribe, and per­sis­tent but as yet unsub­stan­ti­ated rumors that the com­man­der was cor­rupt and tied to con­ser­v­a­tive para­mil­i­tary forces through­out the country.

      Lit­tle was Wood aware that Montoya’s cor­rup­tion and para­mil­i­tary ties would prove to be the least of his offenses. By the time he was relieved of his com­mand eigh­teen months later, Mon­toya was widely per­ceived to be a dri­ving force behind the breath­tak­ingly hor­rific deal­ings of mil­i­tary per­son­nel in the fight against drug– and guerilla-related inter­nal disturbances.

  • Privacy

    • Swiss Officials Order Citizens to Wear Masks in Public – Ban Tourists Posting Photos on Web

      In a bold move to demonstrate that the Swiss government is as serious about privacy for its citizens as it has historically been regarding the protection of illicit foreign assets in Swiss bank accounts, the head of the newly created Switzerland Federal Department of Facial Anonymity, Nicolas J. Biellmann, today issued a preliminary order requiring that all Swiss citizens wear “full head coverage” masks at all times when outside their homes or places of business within the borders of Switzerland.

      This groundbreaking move, being enthusiastically supported by radical pro-privacy groups in Switzerland and around the world, comes on the heels of previous Swiss orders that search giant Google must obscure every single human face — even if this must be done manually — that appears in their “Street View” images, or else potentially terminate Street View services for Switzerland.

    • Google-Unique Names

      My name is not. According to the database How Many of Me, which calculates the likely incidence of first/last name combinations, 1,000 other guys in the US have my name, Kevin Kelly. I think that is a major undercount because I personally have met dozens of others with my name, surely only a fraction of those born with it. A website set up as a clearing house for all the Kevin Kellys on the web lists nearly one hundred people with my name, which can’t possibly be one tenth of those named.

  • Civil Rights

    • Iran’s Green Movement Died

      When we look at the first backlashes to the Charter of Green Movement we simply realize that Iran’s Green Movement has died . In fact, a new movement was born after Feb 14th. We could call this new movement “Real Change Movement” or “Civil Revolutionary Movement” or simply “Iranian Movement”. The outside world should stop using of ‘Green Movement’ term for referring to ‘Iranian Movement’. What Mousavi and his team have said in the Charter of Green Movement was totally unacceptable for many Iranians and showed the end and death of the Green Movement.

    • Iran used Tear Gas or Poison Gas?

      According to the three individuals, when they returned home after exposure to the tear gas, they suffered symptoms such as severe nausea, vomiting blood, and loss of voice and their symptoms have not yet subsided … I know of three people who are suffering from pains which were unprecedented as compared to the previous occasions. One of them had severe nausea and vomited blood, to the point where he was seen by a doctor and has had to take tests. One of them continues to have no voice through today and cannot be heard even 10 centimeters away. All three are suffering from severe muscular pains and cramps.

    • The Media and Iranian Protests

      Today many Iranians say: ‘We are so abandoned and isolated. The world has ignored us.’ Compared to the Egyptian protests, the media, especially Western mass media, have took different approach to the Iranian protests. Some of them deliberately ignored the Iranian protests, some of them had not access to the Iranian news, and some of them wanted to obey the regime’s orders. As Wall Street Journal approved, the regime’s Ministry of Information has sent a letter to foreign media offices in Tehran warning that their bureaus would be shut down and their reporters deported if they wrote ‘negative articles’ surrounding the opposition protests.

    • HamedNour-Mohammadi, a student of Shiraz University, slain in popular uprising in Shiraz by the mullahs’ regime

      NCRI – HamedNour-Mohammadi, aBiology student in Shiraz University, was murdered by the criminal agents of the Iranian regime on Sunday, February 20 during the valiant uprising of people of Shiraz only because of his protest against the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. The mullahs’ murderers threw down this young student from the pedestrian bridge causing his death due to being hit by a car.

    • Habeas hell: How the Great Writ was gutted at Guantánamo

      Andy Worthington analyzes how the Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions have been rendered meaningless by judges and the Obama administration.

    • On Wisconsin and America

      Right now, the flashpoint in this controversy is Wisconsin, where tens of thousands of people are demonstrating every day in an effort to block Governor Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining rights for public employees.

    • Koch Brothers “Prank” No Laughing Matter

      As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, the Koch PAC not only spent $43,000 directly on Walker’s race, but Koch personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association which spent $5 million in the state. Besides the Governor, the Koch brothers have other “vested interests” in the state.

    • Reporter’s phone, bank and travel records seized as hunt for whistleblowers is stepped up

      As the fallout from the Wikileaks revelations rumble on, new details have emerged of the extraordinary lengths prosecutors will go to identify leakers.

      Court papers in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets show that prosecutors got hold of a reporter’s phone, credit and bank records, his credit report from three different agencies and records of his airline travel.

      Ex-CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed ‘national defense information’ to New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • Humans Are The Routers

      On January 7, 2010 I was ushered into a small private dinner with Secretary Hillary Clinton at the State Department along with the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and a few others. We were there to talk about technology and 21st Century Diplomacy. As we mingled I noticed next to me the small table that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence. I was inspired by the history around us as we discussed the unfolding history before us. I was sitting in front of Secretary Clinton and when she asked me a question I said, “Secretary Clinton, the last bastion of dictatorship is the router.” That night seeded some of the ideas that were core to Secretary Clinton’s important Internet Freedoms Speech on January 21, 2010.

  • DRM

    • HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts

      LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

    • German PS3 Hacker Lashes Out at Sony Over €1 Million Lawsuit

      Alexander Egorenkov, better known as by his Graf_chokolo handle, is under fire once again by Sony and its legal team. Egorenkov, whose home was raided under court order, is now being sued for what he did in retaliation to Sony’s seizure. He released all his tools for hacking the PS3 known collectively as the Hypervisor Bible, and the proverbial shitstorm commenced as Sony slapped him with a large lawsuit.

    • Sony hires anti-piracy team

      Places job ads seeking staff to “develop and implement an anti-piracy program”

      Sony is hiring new members for an anti-piracy team following a spate of PS3 hacking and security breaches.

      SCEA placed job listings on its recruitment page – which have now been removed – reports IGN. These were for a senior corporate counsel and senior paralegal to “develop and implement an anti-piracy and brand protection program”.

    • Sony’s Neverending War Against The Freedom To Tinker And Innovate
    • Publishing Industry Forces OverDrive and Other Library eBook Vendors to Take a Giant Step Back

      The first bit – ownership of ebooks will now expire after a certain number of check outs to patrons.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hanafin has no plan for copyright legislation

        MINISTER FOR Enterprise Mary Hanafin yesterday quashed rumours that she was planning to rush through a statutory instrument relating to copyright issues before leaving office.

        Earlier, former minister for communication Eamon Ryan said he believed a “new law on internet downloads” was awaiting Ms Hanafin’s signature.

      • The Debate Over Copyright Gets Loud At Digital Music Forum

        I attended that excellent Digital Music Forum: East conference yesterday in Manhattan, where I appeared on stage to interview Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association and the author of the (really excellent) new book The Comeback. It’s really worth reading, and I think a ton of Techdirt readers would enjoy it, as it hits on a ton of points we regularly discuss, concerning innovation, policy and intellectual property. That discussion was fun, and Gary made some great points about trying to look towards the future, and avoiding mistakes like the recording industry suing its own customers.

      • Random defendant outlawyers P2P attorney, gets lawsuit tossed

        You know it’s tough out there for a P2P lawyer when even some random, anonymous, non-lawyer defendant is the more convincing party. That strange scenario unfolded yesterday in Illinois, where divorce-attorney-turned-porn-copyright-lawyer John Steele had his entire case against 300 defendants thrown out completely.

        The case involved CP Productions, “a leading producer of adult entertainment content within the amateur Latina niche.” The company ran a site called “Chica’s Place” from which a bit of material referred to as “Cowgirl Creampie” was allegedly downloaded illegally by 300 people. Though based in Arizona, CP Productions signed up with Steele, a Chicago lawyer, to bring the case.

      • Evil Pirates: Movie Industry Tops $30 Billion Box Office Record

        The MPAA has made it very clear that hundreds of thousands of jobs are under threat and the economy is losing billions due to piracy. Illegal downloads, they say, are slowly killing their creative industry.


        Does the MPAA chief truly believe that a shaky camcorded version of a movie is somehow depriving movie theaters of visitors? Are there millions of people who prefer watching a low quality camcorded version of a movie over a theater visit simply because they can save a few bucks?

      • Hosting Company: Anti-Pirates Stole $138,000 In Kit & Hijacked Our Email

        After seizing back equipment wrongfully seized by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, the owner of the servers which previously housed a huge warez topsite has spoken out. With claims that BREIN ruined his business, the man from Costa Rica says that the anti-piracy group stole $138,000 of his equipment and hijacked his email accounts. He will now pursue the matter with the police.

        In January, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN targeted one of the Internet’s largest warez piracy topsites. The site, known as Swan, was taken down by hosting provider WorldStream and in a cosy arrangement the company handed over the servers to the anti-piracy group with no legal oversight.

      • Should Piracy Punishments Scale To The Quality Of The Copy?

        In a case involving the administrator of a BitTorrent tracker this week, a judge felt that punishments should reduce if low quality movies were being shared. On the other hand the plaintiffs argued that since their product was being devalued with poor quality reproduction, compensation should actually increase. In a separate case in Argentina, seven pirates just walked because their copies were poor, and the public knew it.

      • Startup Claims It Can Sell Your Used MP3s Legally

        While not quite a truism, it’s pretty widely accepted that a music startup is a bad idea. The record industry is at best unsupportive and at worst litigious when it comes to digital music sales and sharing and when it comes to welcoming (or crushing or suing) new companies and technologies.

      • Swedish MFA Cracking Down On Net

Clip of the Day

Compiling with GCC

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: February 27th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: February 26th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now


Linux is the Future of Mobile, Already a #1 Player

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PDA phone

Summary: Apple and Microsoft are unable to catch up with Linux/Android while RIM is excluded by most predictions and Symbian is put to rest by a Micromole, Elop

THE sales of hypePhone are reportedly falling (depends on which data points can be trusted) and the Linux-based Android is already a #1 player in some markets. Apple is starting to sue companies for selling Android (using software patents, which are the lowest form of competition) and breaking some rules too on the face of it. “For years,” says Murdoch’s press, “Apple relished its reputation as a scrappy outsider, fighting to stay alive in a world dominated by Microsoft Corp.’s Windows monopoly. But a quiet recent hire by the Cupertino company suggests it realizes how much that picture has changed.”

“The BBC Hard At Work” is the latest essay from TechBytes’ Gordon, who addresses the problem with the MSBBC’s hype offensives (at taxpayers’ expense):

I totally understand that proper journalism needs money, and that small local news organisations simply can’t afford to employ an army of journalists. They rely on news wire sources upstream like Press Association for their content. I have no issue with that, the BBC screw a LOT of money from every household with a TV license partly on the promise of well funded unbiased journalism. They have no excuses.

Regarding the latest news about the MSBBC (“Ipad 2 will be launched at the BBC”), The Inquirer takes an excellent and hilarious approach. To quote one joke:

So that’s a no, then. We think that there is a greater chance of Steve Jobs embracing open source, or fragmentation as he likes to call it, after all the stories we’ve written about the fruit-themed cappuccino company.

Needless to say, Microsoft’s futile efforts at mobile presence are a complete joke, especially after the bricking of phones [1, 2, 3], which was a fiasco that still gets a lot of attention.

The above headline should never need to be written. A company should never “brick” or render any product that a customer paid for useless. The company should replace the product if this happens accidentally and pay a fine for seriously inconveniencing the customer.

And exactly what mechanism is in the phone that “bricks” it and renders it useless anyway?

Microsoft’s spin is very weak, blaming connectivity. A robust update mechanism is more resilient than this, so the excuse doesn’t pass muster. It may not be valid, either. The platform has a very small number of users, so it’s hard for Microsoft to justify satisfactory QA. Based on the status quo, nothing but patents can stop mobile Linux now.

Patents Roundup: Europe’s Mistake With the EU Patent, SCOTUS, Patent Trolls, and Collusion

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World map

Summary: Bits of patent news (international scope) which software freedom supporters should keep abreast of

PATENTS ARE, in our humble assessment, the most important subject when it comes to Free software*, especially since the Microsoft-Novell deal, which only months after its signing resulted in Microsoft’s extortion of Linux vendors and users. Software patents in Europe continue to be a subject of discussion because the European Parliament is doing foolish things, embellishing them and casting them as “cooperation”:

The European Parliament gave its consent on Tuesday for a common EU patent system to be created using the enhanced cooperation procedure. In December 2010, twelve Member States made a request to launch such a procedure, after it was concluded that not all the Member States could agree on an EU-wide patent system.

Patents are not about cooperation, they are about exclusion, separation, and hostility.

Looking over at the United States, professor Eben Moglen and Microsoft are also mentioned by SCOTUS Blog (via Against Monopoly), which says that the court will “consider standard for secondary patent liability”. To quote: “Other noteworthy filings include one by Tom Hungar at Gibson, Dunn (on behalf of Comcast, Microsoft and several other large IT companies). Hungar’s brief provides an excellent summary of the cases that were codified in Section 271(b), designed to show that the Federal Circuit’s reading of the statute is inconsistent with Congressional intent. Given the importance of the early cases to the Court’s decision in Bilski, this brief is likely to be important to at least some of the Justices. And finally, there is a filing with typical verve from Eben Moglen on behalf of the Software Freedom Law Center, pointing out the risk to independent software developers of a standard that exposes them to liability for patents of which they have no reason to be aware.”

The Microsoft-tied Traul Allen and Intellectual Ventures (IV) are allegedly or reportedly extorting Linux already (HTC and Samsung). John Cook from the Microsoft-boosting TechFlash spoke about the perpetrator of IV and mentioned the strong connection to Microsoft. The title speaks about “penguin poo” and there’s this part too:

On why he sometimes gets labeled a patent troll: “It is threatening to the old order.”

“People say that because they believe it to be true,” Groklaw remarks. It is delusional. To justify greed, the greedy always find some ridiculous justifications, then mass-market the delusion using PR campaigns. There are famous lines that they recycle and use.

Patents are generally a hindrance, not a facilitator of progress. A new case of collusion in patent monopolies helps show what patents can bring us sometimes:

Genentech Inc allegedly colluded with Celltech R&D Ltd to fraudulently extend the life of a disputed patent and reaped more than a $1 billion in royalties, according to a lawsuit by rival drugmaker Human Genome Sciences Inc.

The lawsuit takes aim at what is known as the Cabilly patent that protects a technology that uses recombinant DNA which is critical to the manufacture of many biotech drugs.

“Genentech has engaged in a massive, years-long conspiracy to monopolize and restrain trade in the market and commit fraud,” said the complaint.

If that’s what patents lead to, who needs them if not those who exploit or abuse the system? Many academic (and independent) studies have repeatedly shown that software patents — and sometimes patents as a whole — are economically unsound.
* Free software Web sites which do not cover the subject possibly do not understand it.

Groklaw’s Message to Microsoft: Spend More on Products and Less on FUD/PR

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Search at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ben Edelman

Summary: Groklaw accuses Dr. Ben Edelman of being a front for Microsoft as Google carries on stealing Microsoft’s thunder

BEN Edelman — like Richard Edelman — is accused of engaging in Microsoft PR. The former, however, has nothing to do with Edelman the firm, which supports the most vocal anti-Google attack dog (called “Consumer Watchdog”). “I encourage you to go to Bing and search for “maps”. Bing maps is first, then Yahoo, then Google,” Groklaw writes regarding this new article. “The selective attacks on Google are just plain silly at best. Given Edelman’s resume, I think one must consider agendas, just as one would on reading the “independent” studies that say just what Microsoft desires. So I’d redo the headline to read: My Message to Microsoft: Spend More on Products and Less on FUD/PR.”

Groklaw refers to the new article which says:

In mid February, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expressed pride in Google employee Wael Ghonim’s brave struggle against the autocratic Mubarak regime to establish political transparency in Egypt. “We are very, very proud of what Wael and that group was able to do in Egypt,” Schmidt said in Barcelona. But what Schmidt needs to do now is apply Ghonim’s views about political transparency to Google’s own search business.


Last November, when the European Commission launched its investigation, the Harvard Business School professor, Benjamin Edelman, published a research paper entitled “Hard-Coding Bias in Google Algorithmic Search Results” which proves that Google has “hard-coded its own links to appear at the top of algorithmic search results.”


Google’s bias isn’t just limited to finance and health. In a January 2011 paper, “Measuring Bias in Organic Web Search,” written with Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Benjamin Lockwood, Edelman found that Google listed its own map service as the first result when a user queries “maps.” It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that Edelman and Lockwood discovered that 86% of map searches conducted on Google end up with the user clicking on Google Maps.

For those who are too lazy to read Edelman’s CV, it says: “Microsoft adCenter (Harvard Business School Case 908-049) (2008) with Peter Coles”

At Nokia, the anti-Ogg person had also worked for Microsoft before he uttered negative things about Ogg. As for Edelman, his top “Programming Experience” is “Microsoft Visual Basic (14+ years experience)”. Readers can decide what to make of it. Watch what he writes in his blog this month (context and more background information regarding the said incident [1, 2]).

Microsoft is afraid of Google not just because Google advances Linux; Google also goes for the jugular of Microsoft’s #1 cash cow, with news like this in recent days:

Google Pushes Cloud Connect as Office Alternative

Cloud Connect first became available in a test version last November. It’s based on technology the company acquired as part of its purchase of DocVerse, a startup created by two former Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) product managers. Cloud Connect is designed to help users of Word, PowerPoint and Excel move to Google Docs by giving them the same Office interface with the added collaborative features that Docs offers.

Joe Wilcox chose the headline “Google launches its next assault on ‘cumbersome, legacy’ Microsoft Office”

In the race to offer Microsoft Office functionality in the cloud, Google has beaten its rival getting a product out of development beta and into production release. Today Google announced global availability of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which went into beta late last year. The technology builds off Google acquisition of DocVerse.

Microsoft has many reasons to be terrified of Google, whose market value nearly exceeds that of Microsoft right now (Apple’s is already way ahead). We also know, based on articles from 2011, that Microsoft pays academics for propaganda.

Microsoft Forced to Reveal More Layoffs, Offshoring; Sues Escapees

Posted in Microsoft at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Turmoil inside Microsoft becomes more visible after rumours spread and a court’s judgment arrives

Our occasional co-author, G. Forbes, has just shown us evidence of more layoffs at Microsoft, which increasingly moves staff to China (and elsewhere), as we showed a few days ago. Rumours forced Microsoft to confess:

Amid rumors that staff cuts were set to happen at Rare, today, Microsoft has confirmed that a “small number of employees” at UK studio have been notified that their jobs are to be part of a reorganization process.

Microsoft’s more skilled people are fleeing (the major departures are most impossible to ignore) and Microsoft has gone as far as suing those who leave, as we noted in recent weeks [1, 2, 3]. There was a famous example some years ago when someone left for Google and this time it’s about Miszewski, whom Microsoft prevents from getting a job after he quit Microsoft.

Microsoft will never be the same. Alastair Otter, a south African journalist, goes further by comparing Microsoft to a graveyard and explaining why Linux is winning.

Microsoft’s demise has been predicted far too many times but this time the company is facing a challenge it may not be able to overcome

It’s certainly not the first time this has been asked, and there’s a good chance it won’t be the last time: Could 2011 mark the beginning of the end for Microsoft?

For as long as I have been a journalist someone has predicted the demise of Microsoft at the start of every year. I’ve even been tempted on more than one occasion but have generally resisted – but this time, I think, it is different.

For a long time the demise of Microsoft was always tied to the rise of Linux. Could Linux kill off Microsoft’s market dominance? Could Linux become the desktop of the future? Only the most optimistic Linux fan could truly believe that Linux could out-do Windows.


It’s not all about mobile, you say. Of course it isn’t. Microsoft still dominates on the desktop, that much is true. But for how much longer?

Simply being good at desktop software is not good enough anymore. A rapidly increasing number of users are now accessing the web, doing their banking and playing games on their mobile phones, netbooks and tablet PCs, and not on their desktop PC. How many of those new smartphones and tablet PCs run Windows? Barely any of them. Most are running Android.

All that Microsoft has left now is a pile of patents, which is cannot inflate quickly enough as it runs out of easy targets (Motorola fights back).

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