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02.01.11

Links 1/2/2011: Android Leaps to #1 Spot; Git 1.7.4, Bangarang 2.0 Released; Fudcon 2011 Reports

Posted in News Roundup at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Open source group preps Linux computer for Lunar X-Prize glory

    A group of Australian and New Zealander open source space enthusiasts collectively called Lunar Numbat is contributing Linux-based technology to the White Label Space team and its attempt to win Google’s $20 million Lunar X-Prize.

  • A monospace font beauty pageant

    I got a note the other day from Sam Block about the Tamsyn font, which is a beautiful little arrangement in a nice array of small point sizes.

    [...]

    But I think I’ll stick with Terminus for now. If Tamsyn picks up line-drawing characters I might jump ship, but for now this is the best for me.

  • Desktop

    • Why We Insist on Linux on the Desktop

      The title to this article could just as easily have been, “Why We Don’t Use Windows.”

      Besides being inflammatory,…well, that’s reason enough.

      Far be it from me to ever publish anything controversial.

      The fact remains, we do insist on installing Linux with every computer we give away.

  • Server

    • Three Excellent Linux Router Distros + 1 BSD

      Special purpose appliance distributions are one of the things that Linux does extremely well. You can find any number of task-specific appliances from either Turnkey Linux or on the VMware Virtual Appliance marketplace. Another option is to roll your own with a service like Novell’s SUSE Studio. In this article we’ll take a look at four different specialized distributions targeted at the job of an Internet firewall or traffic router. Our list of candidates for this job includes Clear OS, m0n0wall, Untangle and Vyatta. We’ll give you a quick introduction to each along with some context to help steer you in the direction that makes the most sense for your application. Each one has its own set of features and distinctive, and we’ll try to highlight those for you.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • 2 Million Galaxy Tabs Sold? Not Quite, Consumer Purchases Much Lower

      Samsung has been known to fudge the reality of their sales figures a bit, quoting units shipped to retailers as units “sold.” This is nothing new or all that suspicious; the implication is that if retailers are buying up items like the Samsung Galaxy Tab at a rate of 2 million units in the first four months after launch the Android tablet must be moving quite well from shelves. Not so, it turns out.

  • Kernel Space

    • Git 1.7.4
    • An Update On Reiser4 For The Mainline Linux Kernel

      In November of 2009 we reported that the Reiser4 file-system may go into the mainline Linux kernel in late 2010. We’re now into 2011 with the merge window having closed earlier this month for the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and there’s no sign of this open-source file-system designed to succeed the popular ReiserFS. So what gives? Well, we have another update from its lead developer.

    • Kernel Switcher Arrives | GDM/KDM/LXDM Support

      This is beta yet and if you have any ideas to implement, feel free to drop us a line. This is going to make our rolling release better. We will keep you posted of future changes of course.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Review: KDE 4.6

        A couple days ago, KDE 4.6 was released for the world to enjoy.

        [...]

        Overall, I’m quite disappointed with KDE 4.6; more precisely, I’m disappointed with how it treated me today.

      • User Revolts

        That, I suspect, is why some users continue to be unreconciled with current KDE development. Technically, the innovations in KDE in the fourth release series are brilliant; they include easily changed multiple icon sets, enhanced searching and improvements to virtual desktops.

        But the only trouble is, a sizable chunk of users didn’t care about these improvements. For one thing, such improvements take time to learn, and may require the changing of old habits.

        Even more, importantly, though, the discontented users saw no need for these extra features and the slightly different ways of working and thinking that the extras imply. They were content with what they had, and many probably didn’t use many of the features that they already had.

      • Finding the unloved, 2011, part I

        So this is your chance to get involved and get maaany kudos for helping out in one of those areas. If you think your skills could fit or if you are just interested what those tasks would involve just take the necessary step and use the contact details.
        Do us a favour and let’s reduce this list to zero!

      • Bangarang 2.0 Released

        I’m happy to announce the release of Bangarang 2.0.

      • KDE 4.6 to be included in Linux Mint 10 KDE

        I know many people have been waiting for the KDE edition of Linux Mint 10 for a while now. This edition includes KDE 4.5.5 and both its 32-bit and 64-bit ISO were successfully tested about a week ago. After a discussion with Boo, we decided to upgrade KDE to the recently released 4.6 version. Because of the importance of this upgrade, the current ISOs are being rejected and the release will have to go through another cycle of testing again.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 live CD / USB test image

        to help as many people as possible to test the (not yet released) GNOME-Shell (and GNOME 3), I’ve been working on a test image, which can be easily burned on any CD or dump on USB sticks, without the hassle of compiling the entire GNOME 3 stack with (the excellent) jhbuild.

  • Distributions

    • Linux and the Great App Store Agenda

      Are Linux’s current package managers really just overly complex clunkers, especially in a the age of App Stores and quick, no-brainer software installations? OpenDesktop.org’s Frank Karlitschek has called for a nice, cross-distro application installer system for Linux, and his supporters say it’s about time. Critics, however, point to many unified standards in the Linux world that have tried and failed in the past.

    • New Releases

      • Computer Lab International Announces New Linux Operating System

        Computer Lab International (CLI), a leading provider of thin client technology, today announced a new Ubuntu based thin client optimized operating system, adding to CLI’s specialized product portfolio. The goal was to develop a highly efficient Linux offering that is simple and flexible, while still providing strong performance.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2011 Delayed Due to Major Changes

        The Mandriva 2011 Technology Preview showcases some of the planned features of Mandriva 2011 currently available in Cooker and the upcoming Alpha. This includes native systemd, Networkmanager support, KDE 4.6.0, Linux 2.6.37, Firefox 4 beta 10, X.org X Server 1.9, Clementine 0.6 and lots of software updates. Most significantly, today’s preview introduces the new ISO image version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open source policy pleases Red Hat, Linux Australia

        Open source organisations Red Hat and Linux Australia have both welcomed the Federal Government’s revised approach to dealing with open source software, which will see a more active approach taken to the technology than that used in the past.

        Withdrawing from its 2005 declared position of “informed neutrality” on open source, late last week the Federal Government announced government agencies would have to consider open source software equally alongside proprietary software when buying products worth more than $80,000.

      • LCA Talk on Video

        I won’t spare you the video of my talk about systemd at linux.conf.au 2011 in Brisbane, Australia last week…

      • Red Hat Training Garners Top Results in IDC Analysis

        Red Hat training and certifications are highly respected across the industry as enterprises, governments and other organizations continue turning to open source to meet mission-critical IT needs. With the growth of open source, it’s becoming increasingly important for organizations to have a workforce that is trained and savvy in open source solutions.

      • Red Hat debuts deal registration

        Open-source software vendor Red Hat has launched a deal registration initiative for its Advanced and Premier partners in the UK.

        The rebate scheme will see partners rewarded with a financial incentive for each Red Hat product they sell to customers registered in the programme.

      • Fedora

        • GNOME 3 Test Day #1: Come try the new hotness

          Of course, GNOME 3 is one of the big new features of Fedora 15 – and the free software desktop in general. Fedora will be running three Test Days to aid in the final polishing and stabilization of the GNOME 3 release, and make sure Fedora 15 provides a good desktop experience. This is a great opportunity to help both GNOME and Fedora development and help make sure you can work effectively in GNOME 3 when it lands on your desktop. Even though these are Fedora events, you don’t have to run Fedora to join in, and since GNOME 3 will land in all the distributions soon, the testing will be just as valuable to your distribution: all the feedback will go to the GNOME developers for the benefit of all distributions. The first Test Day is this Thursday, 2011-02-03. You can participate just by visiting the wiki page, and following through the instructions you find there – it’s really easy! There will be other testers, Fedora QA team members and GNOME developers in the IRC channel – #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC – all day long to help out and discuss issues with. If you don’t know how to use IRC, no problem – you can use WebIRC. If you click that link it will open the IRC channel (which is like a chat room) in a web page in any good browser.

        • FUDcon Tempe Day 1
        • Fudcon 2011: Day 2
        • FUDcon Tempe Day 2
        • An anthropologist’s view of an open source community

          In the first session of FUDCon talks this past weekend, Diana Harrelson reported on her anthropological study of the Fedora community, which she used to find ways to sustain and grow an open source development community. She studied the group from the Fedora 12 launch through the Fedora 13 development cycle while she was a master’s candidate at the University of North Texas. (She now has that degree and is working towards a PhD in human computer interaction.) Here’s are a few of her findings, much of which certainly apply across open source communities, not just to Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • Oldest bug closed ever

        A few days ago, I closed two bugs in the #17xxx range and I found that pretty cool already. But a few hours ago, I closed #6734, which is the oldest bug I ever closed! It took more than 14 years for somebody to reply, oops…

      • Debian Project News – January 31st, 2011

        Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” to be released this weekend

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Developer Day!

          A long awaited blog post about the Ubuntu Developer Day. Jorge has been saying ‘PICS OR IT DIDNT HAPPEN!’ for a while now. Anyway, I got all the pictures today morning finally. I don’t remember how I first heard of Ubuntu Developer Day, but I remember registering within minutes of it being announced. I got a text the previous night reminding me that the registrations would start at 8:15 am and the sessions would start at 9 am.

        • AskUbuntu reaches 7000 questions – 15000 answers – 9800 users – 70000 votes

          Less than 4 months after the successful launch as permanent Q&A site in our new Ubuntu design, we have reached the 7000 question threshold. Those 7000 questions have been asked and answered to 90% more than 15000 answers by 9800 users. 70000 votes have been cast for the questions and answers.

        • Unity Places Files/Applications Is Back, Changes To Ubuntu Classic Desktop [Natty Updates]

          For now they are quite buggy and don’t always populate with apps/files, their icons are missing and so on, but this is the initial Unity-Places-Files and Unity-Places-Applications in Ubuntu 11.04 so they should receive a lot of updates until Ubuntu 11.04 is out.

        • Create Your Own Ubuntu Packages with GiftWrap

          Most applications that you want on your Linux desktop are available as ready-made binaries. Distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora have become popular enough that most package developers have started shipping their packages as rpms and debs. However, there’s always that one package that you want to install on your computer that is only available as a source release. For advanced users, installing a source release of an application is not a big problem. But, for novices it can be quite a daunting task. Also if you need to install the app in question on several computers it is easier to use a deb or rpm release.

        • File and Application places land in Ubuntu 11.04

          A new release of Ubuntu 11.04′s Unity Application places and File places has landed in the Natty repository today.

        • Ubuntu Aims to Make Open-Source Development ‘Personal’

          The ongoing Ubuntu Manual project is one facet of the broader campaign to promote Ubuntu development, while Canonical’s recent creation of a position for a “Developer Relations Advocate” represents a concrete commitment on the part of the company to engaging more independent contributions to the operating system. The portal at http://developer.ubuntu.com, which remains under construction, also caters to Ubuntu contributors.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10, Ubuntu 10.10, and Kubuntu 10.10

            Linux Mint has this nice new feature (to me at least) that has it start the installation while the user enters installation options such as user details, location, etc. The menus and graphics (including icons and window decorators) are stunning. Setting up dual-head in Ubuntu without proprietary drivers was easy, in Kubuntu it’s still not as easy (getting twinview). Overall, since both share the very same base (even same packages for the most part, except those which are preinstalled), comparison in this case ought to rely on what’s above the hood, mostly user experience.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Turn your old laptop into a photo frame

      Erik Pettersson has taken a 14-inch ThinkPad T42 running Ubuntu, switched on remote control software VNC, taken out all the unnecessary bits and pieces, and mounted it within an Ikea frame.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • First look: Honeycomb APIs power tablet-friendly Android apps

          Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, introduces a completely new user interface suitable for tablet devices. Google has also extended the platform’s APIs so that third-party developers can make their applications work better on large form factors.

          The Android 3.0 SDK preview, which was released last week, offers an early look at some of the new features available to developers. We’ve been scouring the documentation and looking at the source code examples to see how all the pieces fit together. In this article, we will give you a concise overview of several key new features.

          [...]

          We would normally provide links to the code examples described above. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t published the Android 3.0 documentation or code samples on the official Android reference website yet, but they can be obtained by downloading the SDK.

        • Canalys: Android overtakes Symbian as world’s best-selling smartphone platform in Q4 2010

          One day somebody will write a book called “The rise and rise of Android” and this moment will be highlighted in bold. Canalys’ latest smartphone sales figures show that Android phone makers managed to shift a cool 33.3 million handsets in the last quarter — more than any other smartphone platform out there, including the previous leader, Symbian, which sold 31 million units.

        • Google’s Android becomes the world’s leading smart phone platform

          In Q4 2010, volumes of Google OS-based smart phones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.

        • STATS: Android is now “the world’s leading smartphone platform”

          It’s time for Google’s Android team to crack open a bottle of organic carbonated California apple juice, as the latest stats from market research outfit Canalys have Android as the number one smartphone platform around the world.

        • Brainchild Shows Off Kineo: Android Tablet with a Focus on Education

          Today at the Florida Educational Technology Conference Brainchild unveiled their new Android tablet, the Kineo. The Kineo features a 7-inch 800×480 touchscreen, 800MHz CPU, and 2GB of storage. Wi-Fi and HDMI out round out a tablet that would otherwise be forgettable if it wasn’t for a special focus on primary and middle school education. The Kineo is designed to be distributed in the classroom, and in addition to educational applications sports some pretty solid security features to prevent students from accessing unapproved content.

        • Android captures 22 per cent of the tablet market

          THE OPEN SOURCE Android operating system from Google was loaded onto 22 per cent of tablet devices sold in the last quarter of 2010.

          Figures from research outfit Strategy Analytics showed that 9.7 million tablets were sold in the final three months of 2010 and that Android was loaded on 2.1 million of those devices. The figures also showed what everyone already knew, that Apple’s Ipad still commands a healthy lead in the tablet market, taking over 75 per cent of sales in the last quarter of 2010. However things are not looking all that great for Apple, according to the market research firm.

        • Prediction: In Two Years, Apple Will Have Less Than 50 Percent of the Tablet Market

          With tablets running the Google mobile OS beginning to proliferate now, those days of Apple’s easy dominace of the market are winding down. Shipments of Android devices in the quarter, for example, leapt to 2.1 million units from about 100,000. “Apple’s volumes will continue to go up, but market share will inevitably go down,” Strategy Analytics’ director Neil Mawston told Bloomberg . “Even at $500 retail, based on some of the research we’ve done, that’s probably two or three times more than what most mass market consumers are expecting to pay….If you were to ask me in two years time will Apple have less than 50 percent of the global tablet market, I think that’s a certainty.”

        • Android Tablet Sales Narrow The iPad’s Lead (UPDATE)

          Android’s gains on the iPad may not have been as significant as Strategy Analytics initially reported in Business Week. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung shipped two million Samsung Galaxy Tabs, rather than having sold two million devices. The WSJ transcript includes an exchange with a Samsung exec, who when pressed on an earnings call, said that actual sales were “quite small.”

        • Researchers enable mesh WiFi networking for Android smartphones

          An Australian research group from Flinders University has found a way to apply WiFi mesh networking onto the Android operating system, allowing phones to act as access points over radio waves to transmit voice calls as data. While the system currently only works between phones relatively close together, the researchers hope the use of transmitters will extend the service to remote areas for emergency use.

        • Tablets: Apple Loses 20 Percent Market Share To Android In Just One Quarter

          Someone at Samsung must have been a little red-faced today, when the mobile giant got called on how it reported its figures for the Galaxy Tab. What was originally portrayed as two million units sold turned out to actually be only two million devices shipped—a big difference in terms of how many of those devices were actually getting into the hands of consumers. Yet some would argue that the number of shipped devices can be an adequate enough gauge of market demand. If so, Android has made some incredible headway into this still-new market—with volumes growing 2,000 percent sequentially—even if Apple’s iPad is still on top with a 75 percent market share.

        • Netgear CEO says ‘closed’ Apple is doomed

          Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ insistence on a closed iOS platform is dragging his company down, dooming it to be overtaken by Google Android, according to the chairman and CEO of… Netgear.

          “Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform,” Netgear co-founder Patrick Lo told a Sydney, Australia, gathering on Monday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

          “Ultimately a closed system just can’t go that far …” he said. “If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Definitions: media, freedom, web.

    The kind of freedom I am talking about: The openendedness of digital things. Bulding things we can build on.

    Loosely, I’m talking about software freedom here. In 1986, Richard Stallman declared that software should have four freedoms. Paraphrased they are: the freedom to use, study, remix and share. While many people don’t buy into the four freedoms per se, the basic ideas are widely accepted. Some rough approximation of use / study / remix / share is what most people mean when they say ‘free’ or ‘open’ in relation to technology.

    Freedom in this sense is useful conceptual frame that not only helps us understand the web but may also give us tools to reinvent the media of the past. It’s use / study / remix / share that make the web openended. The same frame offers a useful set of design tools as we start to reinvent media more widely.

  • 12 open source books

    Open source is very dedicated to sharing information, comparing and learning, then in this article i will recommend some readings of open books that you can download, read and if you want print freely.

  • Open-source software on the menu for FOSS Fair

    Students interested in learning more about free and open-source software can sign up for the Feb. 12 FOSS Fair.

    Red Hat is sponsoring the Free and Open Source Software Fair. Students on campus utilize open software on a daily basis at computer labs that allow them to use certain programs to complete assignments. The FOSS Fair is an initiative to educate others about the open source community through discussion.

    Jack Neely, a Linux specialist with the Office of Information Technology and this year’s FOSS Fair Organizer, said the event is supposed to be a fun, informal affair for attendees.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MDN doc sprint was a huge success

        More than 30 contributors from at least a dozen countries, touching approximately 300 documentation pages.

        Those are the results from the documentation sprint that started Friday, January 28 at 14:00 UTC. While the sprint was scheduled to end at midnight UTC on Saturday, some participants were still making updates on Sunday.

      • Mozilla slips ‘Do Not Track’ header into Firefox nightlies

        Mozilla has uploaded a working prototype of its “Do Not Track” http header into the Firefox nightly builds.

        Anyone interested in testing the header can do so by downloading a pre-beta version of Firefox, but it won’t have any real effect until websites and advertisers chose to recognize the thing.

      • Why Firefox 4 Will Never Pass The Acid3 Test

        Mozilla has responded to complaints that Firefox 4 is not scoring 100/100 points in Ian Hickson’s Acid 3 web standard compliance test. Firefox 4 stands at 97/100 and is unlikely to improve its score.

  • Oracle

    • Looking Ahead to Java SE 7 and 8: A Discussion with Oracle’s Java Language Architect, Brian Goetz

      We caught up with Oracle’s Java Language Architect, Brian Goetz, to get his thoughts on concurrency, Java SE 7 and 8, developments in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and more.

    • Re-booting OpenJDK governance

      After IBM and then Apple joined the OpenJDK Community it became clear that it was time to revive the effort to create a written set of rules by which the Community will operate.

      I’m happy to report that, since last November, I’ve been doing just that: Drafting a set of Community Bylaws in collaboration with John Duimovich and Jason Gartner of IBM, Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Prof. Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, and Adam Messinger of Oracle.

  • Project Releases

    • Version 5.50 of the Nmap network scanner released

      After more than a year of development, the Insecure.org developers have released version 5.50 of Nmap, their popular open source network scanner and mapper. According to the developers, the primary focus of this second stable update since Nmap 5.00 is the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE); this “has allowed Nmap to expand up the protocol stack and take network discovery to the next level”.

    • Teiid 7.3 Final Released

      We are pleased to announce Teiid 7.3 is now available.

  • Government

    • EC prefers open source for new IT systems deployed by contractors

      The European Commission prefers to use open source software for the development of new information systems if it plans to deploy these outside of its own datacenters and premises. That is one of the new commitments in the EC’s policy on open source, that was published on 15 December.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • The road to individual voter registration will be paved with data sharing

        An electoral services officer there told me how officers used to loudly proclaim how registering to vote wouldn’t lead to the data being shared with tax, immigration or any other parts of government. Now that’s all gone, the officer said, and in the small print on the back of the form you are told that it is (quite legally) shared across local and central government, as well as with credit agencies, of course.

      • Open Public Data: Then What? – Part 2

        One may believe that one of the three scenarios for the future of Open Public Data that I discussed in my previous post is more likely than the other. The problem is, why? What actions, decisions, or conditions, are more likely to get us going along one road rather than the other? Can we go wrong on one count, and right on another? I believe we have hardly begun to figure that out.

Leftovers

  • Free Metro Can’t Stop Making Money

    But it would not surprise me in the least if it made the best part of £30m in its last financial year and, quite possibly, even more.

    An executive at one of its publishing partners told me yesterday that she thought it might “north of that”, adding: “It’s had one helluva year.”

    Though Metro’s managing director, Steve Auckland, is tight-lipped about the figures, he is more than welcome to talk about the rising fortunes of the free paper that is ranked third in terms of national daily circulation (after The Sun and the Daily Mail) with an ABC-audited distribution of 1.38m copies a day.

  • Science

    • Making quantum memory from an almost-classical system

      It’s an understatement to say that quantum computing is a hot topic in physics right now, and we’ve seen many demonstrations of qubits and toy computers—or, rather, registers—performing example computations. If you were slightly cynical, you might note that quantum implementations of algorithms, which are supposed to run faster than in classical computing, are all very, very slow. But that’s how research goes.

    • Google Docs and LaTeX

      Google Docs is a great way to collaborate on documents and for a lot of people can probably replace large, expensive office suites with a free, online solution. When I first started using the service, the features were pretty basic. I noticed today that there was a link to a list of new features. A couple of these were particularly interesting. Since some of these features have been around for a while without me noticing, I thought it might be worth a blog post.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: The Epic Fail of the New York Times’ Op-Ed Page

      Remarkably, the New York Times still (as of Jan. 30) has not run a single regular column or guest column focused on Egypt since the protests against the Mubarak dictatorship arose over the past week. This epic negligence and evasiveness speaks volumes about the poverty of public discourse in America. As the free will of editors and columnists from our national paper coincides with Mubarak’s censorship, we are witnessing further confirmation of what Chris Hedges has called “the death of the liberal class.”

      The Obama administration appears to have been caught totally flat-footed by Tunisia and Egypt. It has struggled to articulate a coherent position: first remarking that the Egyptian government is stable and that Mubarak is not a dictator; then urging restraint on all sides before finally advocating democracy and free and fair elections — though refusing to point out that this cannot be achieved until Mubarak and hand-picked successors leave the scene.

    • G20 Defendant Alex Hundert Released from Prison, Actions of Crown Widely Condemned

      After having spent three consecutive months in jail without trial, G20 defendant Alex Hundert was released from the Toronto West Detention Centre on January 24th.

      His release came after he signed a plea bargain with the Crown that he was guilty of being in breach of his “no protest condition” for being present during one portion of the panel at Ryerson University. The plea found him not guilty of breach for speaking on a panel at Laurier University, nor did the plea establish that speaking on a panel was equivalent to a public demonstration.

    • Exclusive: Tunisia Internet Chief Gives Inside Look at Cyber Uprising

      When Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorship began unraveling here last month amid violent street protests, Tunisia’s internet administrators saw a massive spike in the number of sites placed on government block lists. But, in contrast to the embattled Egyptian government, the Ben Ali regime never ordered internet and cellphone communications shut off or slowed down, the head of the Tunisian Internet Agency says.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Global fish consumption at record high: UN

      Global fish consumption has hit a record high, an increase largely attributable to a booming fish-farm industry, a UN report says.

      In a report released Monday, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said the global per capita consumption of fish reached a “new all-time high” in 2008.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A News Corp. Digital History Lesson For The Daily

      My enduring image from that time is of Murdoch himself, his hand bandaged and in a sling following a sailing accident on Larry Ellison’s boat. The iGuide team was gathered in a standing circle at our trendy downtown Manhattan offices as Murdoch rallied the troops in his gruff Australian accent. Everything was going great, he assured us, and Ellison was coming on board to help foot the bill for our extravagant operation. But, in the end Ellison, wasn’t in—and maybe six weeks later we were all out.

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

      EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 – 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau’s intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.

    • Republican Congressman Proposes Tracking Freedom of Information Act Requests

      Representative Darrell Issa calls it a way to promote transparency: a request for the names of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, business executives, journalists and others who have requested copies of federal government documents in recent years.

    • Know Your Rights: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI

      YOUR RIGHTS
      - You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
      - You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
      - If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
      - You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
      - Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

    • 2010 — the Uyghur Human Rights Year in Review

      At the conclusion of 2009, the outlook for Uyghur human rights looked very bleak indeed. In December of that year, 20 Uyghur asylum seekers were deported from Cambodia under intense Chinese pressure. The deportation capped off a year of human rights reversals in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) that stemmed from an outbreak of unrest in the regional capital of Urumchi on July 5. In the following months mass detentions, reports of torture, enforced disappearances, trials that fell short of international standards and swift executions marked a period of extreme difficulty for the Uyghur people. Although 2010 brought the reestablishment of Internet and international communications, as well as the removal of the unpopular Party Secretary Wang Lequan, there were few indications that the economic and social issues underlying the 2009 unrest were being addressed.

    • Supreme Court to revisit DNA retention

      The UK is still to put an end to the breach identified by the ECtHR, the obligation of cessation. Back in 2008, in Don’t delay: Delete your DNA today, I suggested that no legislative change was necessary to comply with this obligation, a simple amendment to the Association of Chief of Police Officers (ACPO) regulations would have sufficed. The police took no such action and still retain, for an indefinite period, DNA of as many individuals – innocent and guilty alike – as they can collect.

    • Brazilian Communications Agency Moves Towards Surveillance Superpowers

      January is the month when the Brazilian version of the popular TV show Big Brother returns to the air. For three months, a bunch of people are locked inside a house and their lives are broadcast 24/7. A TV show premised on nonstop surveillance might sound like fun to some people, but it is disturbing when governments engage in similar practices. The Brazilian national communications agency (aka Anatel) announced a few days ago a plan to implement 24/7 surveillance over the more than 203 million cell phones in the country.

    • EU Commission Pushes For Private “Cooperation” Against Our Freedoms

      Since 2009, the EU Commission has been convening regular meetings at the Internal Market Directorate General. This working group supervised by Margot Froehlinger involves Internet Service Providers and the copyright industries. The goal is clear: to require ISPs to police their networks and online services so as to “decentralize” the war on sharing through so-called self-regulation.

      Last September, PCINpact leaked internal documents showing that network-based filtering methods had been considered as a way to prevent people from sharing cultural goods on peer-to-peer networks. Other items of discussion includes the unauthorized collection and processing personal data on file-sharers as a way to identify and, eventually, punish them. Such “cooperation” could therefore result in access restrictions being imposed on alleged infringers as “HADOPI-style”, extra-judicial sanctions.

    • 3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet

      In Cory Doctorow’s young adult novel Little Brother, the protagonist starts a wireless ad-hoc network, called X-Net, in response to a government crack-down on civil liberties. The characters use gaming systems with mesh networking equipment built-in to share files, exchange message and make plans.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Canadians Just Became World’s Biggest Internet Losers

      YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, iPad. . . and whatever else is about to take the world by storm, making all of those digital breakthroughs seem old news. Surely it’s obvious by now that Canadians are going to be better off if we foster digital media creativity, rather than leaving it to people in other countries.

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

    • My UBB complaint to Canada’s Competition Bureau.

      Instead of lodging a general complaint about usage-based billing I thought I’d make mine a bit more personal. Read on to see what I mean…

    • Cash, please! A Nordic change of heart on net neutrality

      Telenor, one of the largest Internet providers in Norway, used to love net neutrality; back in 2009, it voluntarily signed on to a net neutrality code of conduct. So imagine Norwegian surprise this week when Telenor bosses went public with their hope to charge sites like YouTube and state broadcaster NRK.

      In an interview with the business daily Dagens Næringsliv, a Telenor exec made the usual case: YouTube uses too much traffic and it needs to compensate ISPs for it.

  • DRM

    • Wal-Mart DRM reminder: The nightmare returns

      This afternoon, an e-mail popped into my inbox that–at first glance–looked ripe for immediate deletion.

      [...]

      Of course, I suppose it’s nice that Wal-Mart has the courtesy to remind its customers how they can still listen to that music (and continues to provide support). Still, the e-mail serves as a brutal slap in the face as to how far off the music industry was just a few short years ago.

    • The PS3 Hack Injunction Shows The Problems Of Judges Who Don’t Understand Technology

      Furthermore, the judge has ordered Hotz to “retrieve the code” that has been distributed. Yes, think about that for a second. Retrieve the code. As if it were a dog that went out for a saunter. You don’t “retrieve” code once it’s out there on the internet. It doesn’t go away. You would think that anyone alive during the whole AACS debacle would recognize the pointlessness of trying to suppress released code that is already of great public interest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • P2P Site Operator Appears in French File-Sharing “Show Trial”

        The owner of a file-sharing site active more than 5 years ago went on trial today in the French capital, Paris. Vincent Valade is accused by entertainment companies of profiting heavily from the unauthorized distribution of more than 7,000 movies. If convicted he faces up to 3 years in jail, 300,000 euros in fines and compensation settlements running to millions of euros.

      • Copyright is a Limitation of Property Rights

        Copyright is not a property right. It is a limitation of property rights. Copyright is a government-sanctioned private monopoly that limits what people may do with things they have legitimately bought.

        When I buy a chair, I hand over money and I get the chair and a receipt. This chair has been mass-produced from master data at some sort of plant. After money has changed hands, this particular chair is mine. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. I have bought one of many identical copies. The receipt proves it.

      • Ironic That Xerox Wants Laws To Break The Copying Machine On The Internet

        We’ve already discussed the list of companies that have come out in favor of censoring the internet via domain name seizures and laws like COICA which extend the ability to censor the web through breaking the basic DNS system.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Rights Holders Alliance To Defend Digital Economy Act

          A coalition of rights holders including the Premier League and trade bodies representing the music, film and TV industries is lining up to intervene against internet service providers in the judicial review of legislation to tackle illegal downloading.

          The Premier League and eight other organisations, including the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact), the Motion Picture Association and music industry body the BPI, have been given permission by the high court to defend the Digital Economy Act’s provisions for policing internet piracy.

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