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02.02.11

Links 2/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC3, Greek Elementary Schools Embrace GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Penetration into Entertainment Accessories

    Today Linux is running most set-top boxes, media streamers, routers, synthesizers and keyboards. Linux is what runs the show at the London Stock Exchange as well as entertains travelers on innumerable airlines.

  • Desktop

    • Click a Link – We Get Money….Maybe.

      Most of the grants available to us are for equipment. I think what I find most ironic is the push to give us computer equipment for our office and logistic operations.

  • Server

    • Zarafa Shows Open Source Momentum at FOSDEM 2011
    • Dell Releases Ubuntu-powered Cloud Servers

      Dell is marketing the servers to organizations developing applications to run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Organizations could use the servers to test the applications locally before uploading them to Amazon’s paid service. The servers have a preconfigured testing and development environment. Eucalyptus duplicates the AWS APIs (application programming interfaces).

      Partnering with Canonical allowed Dell to deliver an infrastructure-as-a-service product in an integrated package and based on open standards, said Andy Rhodes, executive director of marketing for Dell’s data center solutions division, in a statement.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Free as in Freedom: Episode 0×08: Strictly Commercial

      Bradley and Karen discuss non-commercial-only commons licenses, particularly the CC-By-NC license, and how they compare to Free Culture and Free Software licenses, and why some authors pick NC licenses instead of Free Culture/Software ones.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel prepatch 2.6.38-rc3
    • The Linux 2.6.38-rc3 Kernel Arrives

      After Linus released an early Linux 2.6.38-rc2 kernel due to the 2011 Linux.Conf.Au, Linus has released the Linux 2.6.38-rc3 kernel while developers are returning from this Australian conference.

    • Kernel Log: Consistent names for network interfaces

      Future distributions will use a consistent, predictable scheme to name network interfaces, using names such as “em1″ and “pci2#1″ instead of “eth0″ and “eth1″ to provide more transparency for server administrators. As various new kernels have recently been introduced, the Kernel Log will provide an overview of the most important Stable and Longterm kernel series.

    • Video: Lessons Learned from 13 Years of LWN

      Jon Corbet gave a presentation about the lessons he has learned running Linux Weekly News for 13 years.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Tiling Is Being Worked On For The Open Evergreen Driver

        While the Radeon HD 6000 series is AMD’s latest generation of graphics processor, and has initial open-source support available as of earlier this month, the open-source Linux GPU driver support isn’t yet complete for the older Radeon HD 5000 “Evergreen” series and generations even older than that. One of the features that has been lacking for Evergreen is tiling support within the ATI Gallium3D “R600g” driver for the HD 5000 series while it is available for the R600 ASICs and earlier. Evergreen tiling support though is now being worked on, which should deliver a performance boost once fully implemented for this hardware.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • [KOffice] Views and a Conversion

        Back in July I blogged about the maturity of KWord. Or, more accurately, the lack of that. I attacked the problem head-on of why KWord is not really used for serious work. In this blog I want to revist the issue and show the progress made since then.

        First, a little look back. Since the KOffice2.0 release now 2 years ago we made various releases with the 2.3.1 release being the most recent. The amount of features added and bugs fixed in each release is nothing short of amazing. Yet, the most heard complaints are of simple issues. Things that stop even the least demanding users from using it daily. In my last blog I suggested user profiles in the form of personas as means to focus on a solution. And this has had some good effects!

      • More Details Emerge On The Bretzn Project
      • KDE SC 4.6.0 in Gentoo

        I’m pleased to announce the availability of KDE SC 4.6.0 to another distro.

      • KDE 4.6 Review | LAS | s1504
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Clutter 1.6 & GTK+ 2.24 Tool-Kits Released

        There’s good news in the land of GNOME tool-kits this week. In preparation for the release of GNOME 3.0, GTK+ 2.24 as well as Clutter 1.6.0 have been officially released.

        GTK+ 2.24 is the last stable GTK2 release in that series with all of the exciting work now going into GTK3, which will also be officially released soon. GTK+ 2.24 is the last stable update but it will continue to be maintained and receive bug-fixes. GTK+ 2.24 isn’t too exciting but is a step to help in porting applications to GTK3 while still being source and binary compatible with earlier GTK2 releases.

      • Glade learns some new tricks

        Today’s release of Glade 3.9.2 was brought to you in a large part by our hero Juan Pablo Ugarte the Magnificent (and the crowd goes wild !)

      • Attack Of The Clones Is A Very Interesting, Unique GTK/Metacity Theme

        Attack Of The Clones is yet another theme created by JurialMunkey (who is also behind Divergence IV: A New Hope) that features a unique Metacity theme and a very interesting combination of light and dark colors.

      • Gnome-Shell gets a Live CD

        GNOME-Shell is very nearly upon us – but it’s been an absolute age since I last played with it myself (been knee deep in Natty, folks!).

      • Easily Test Gnome Shell Using A Live CD!

        Testing Gnome Shell just got a whole lot easier! There are now live CD Gnome Shell (Gnome 3) ISO files available for both Fedora and openSUSE – you don’t have to install them, all you have to do is write the ISO files onto an USB stick or CD, boot and enjoy Gnome Shell.

      • GTK+ 3.0, GNOME Shell, Mutter Near Final

        In preparation for the GNOME 2.91.6 release tomorrow, many GNOME modules are being checked in, including new versions of the GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit, the GNOME Shell, and the Mutter window manager.

        While GTK+ 2.24 is now final, version 3.0 is still being worked on but is almost done. GTK+ 2.99.3 is the new release and it also comes with one last ABI break before going gold. GTK+ 3.0 is expected to be declared stable next week.

      • The Board 0.1.1

        I decided to use the classic odd-unstable/even-stable style of versioning.

  • Distributions

    • In Pursuit of a Minimal and Useful Unix

      Ubuntu is the most useful flavor of Unix available today. It has drivers for most hardware you’re likely to encounter, including wireless cards and camera memory sticks. Installation is a breeze, there are tons of ports, and tutorials for anything involving a terminal and an incantation of shell commands. There’s some bloat: Solitaire, instant messagers, OpenOffice, but most apps that ship with Ubuntu have their uses.

    • Gentoo – The Pros and Cons

      I’ve recently been getting back into Gentoo Linux, running it in a virtual machine and for some reason I actually understand it better this time around.

      I have used Gentoo before, without truly understanding what I was doing, but now, after using other distros Gentoo actually makes sense. However, it still is a rather unique distro, with its own way of doing things, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Allow me to outline a few.

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Improving Diversity At UDS

          The Ubuntu Developer Summit is our twice-yearly event in which the Ubuntu community gets together to discuss, design, and plan the work for the next release of Ubuntu. It is an important staple in the Ubuntu calendar, and we meet next in May in Budapest, Hungary.

        • Main frozen for Natty Alpha 2

          Two days out from the expected release of Natty Alpha 2, the milestone freeze is now in effect. Please take care that any packages that you upload to main between now and the Alpha 2 release will help us in the goal of a high quality and timely alpha, and hold any disruptive or unnecessary uploads until after the alpha is out.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Openmoko Community Update

        The Openmoko Community Update for February 1 has been released with news of new Openmoko hardware. “GTA04 is a project by the long time distributor and hw developer, German company Golden Delicious. The name is loaned from Openmoko project because of the spiritual continuation – GTA01 was the codename for Neo1973, GTA02 was the Neo FreeRunner, and GTA03 was the canceled successor product. Besides offering improved versions of Neo FreeRunner (better battery life, better audio output), they’ve a complete replacement board planned to fit an existing Neo FreeRunner case and use the existing display.”

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Sojourner – FOSDEM conference browser

          Sojourner by Will Thompson allows you to browse the schedule for FOSDEM 2011, one of the biggest free and open source software conferences in Europe. You can browse by time, by category or by room, and star interesting talks to help locate them later.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open-By-Rule Governance Benchmark

    What does authentic open source community governance look like? An open source community will involve many people gathering for their own independent reasons around a free software commons with source code licensed under an OSI-approved open source license. But there’s more to software freedom than just the license. The key question any potential co-developer will want to ask is “what is the governance” – on what terms are people participating?

  • Top ten reasons why I won’t use your open source project

    Here’s our top ten list of things you can do to promote your Open Source project, or ten reasons I don’t fork your project.

  • Why a Distro-Provided OpenSSH is Better than a Third-Party OpenSSH

    Recently one of our customers sent us marketing materials from one of our competitors. One thing that stuck out was the positioning that their version of a critical system component used in *NIX OpenSSH is better than the vendor-provided OpenSSH (from Red Hat, for example). As a former systems engineer responsible for many *NIX systems, this raises a red flag and here’s why.

  • What are the top ten open source projects? OpenLogic’s support view.

    According to OpenLogic the top ten projects by support are:

    * JBoss Application Server
    * Tomcat
    * Apache HTTP Server
    * Hibernate
    * Core Spring Framework
    * Struts
    * MySQL Community Server
    * Subversion
    * Ant
    * Log4j

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Little-known wonders in Chrome, IE & Firefox

      Firefox 4, the Beta version of which can be downloaded by anyone, by default gives screen shots of the eight most frequented sites you’ve visited.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • What’s up with SUMO – Jan. 29

        The big things this week:

        * Army of Awesome is now localizable. If you are interested in seeing Army of Awesome in your language, contact Kadir: atopa (at) mozilla (dot) com
        * Top 19 articles + templates will be ready for localization by Thursday.
        * Mobile ready SUMO coming soon. Here’s the demo site shown in the video.

      • Home Dash Faster in your Language with 3

        Following up on the initial release of Home Dash last week, Home Dash 3 adds initial localization support for Spanish, German and Chinese.

      • Last Day to Vote: Game On Community Choice Award

        Today is the last day to VOTE for the Game On Community Choice Award. Take a few minutes to rate the sheer awesomeness of these games. We will be announcing the winner of the Community Choice award on Thursday, February 3, along with all the other prize winners. We will also be randomly selecting three lucky voters and send you a special-edition Mozilla Labs Game On swag pack!

      • Mozilla Firefox L10N Evening – London

        Tuesday, February 08, 2011 from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM (GMT)

      • Python scoping: understanding LEGB
      • Contributor Engagement Asia town hall meeting planning

        As 2011 starts, I am happy to be working with a newly created team, Contributor Engagement, to help Mozilla communities in Asia contribute to Mozilla. Team-mates of mine, Mary Colvig and David Boswell and William Quiviger have all blogged recently about our new team and efforts.

        To that end, we are scheduling a ‘town hall meeting’ for Asian Mozilla community members next week, either Monday, February 7th, Tuesday, February 8th, or Wednesday, February 9th. This meeting would be a conference call and IRC chat to discuss contribution at Mozilla — what you enjoy about it, what could be improved, what tools you could use to make it easier to contribute to Mozilla, updates + happenings with Mozilla and so on. To start, we’d like to give an overview of the new team, share some very early 2011 plans and most importantly, get some feedback.

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo! commits to Apache Hadoop, drops Yahoo! Hadoop

      Yahoo! has announced that it is dropping its own distribution of Hadoop and plans to work more closely with the Apache Hadoop community. The Yahoo! distribution had been a vehicle for Yahoo! to experiment with and release its own work on the distributed computing and storage framework, but this appears to have been to the detriment of Apache’s Hadoop. “Unfortunately, Apache is no longer the obvious place to go for Hadoop releases” said Eric Baldeschwieler, Yahoo’s VP of Software Engineering, adding that Yahoo has always been committed to open sourcing its work. After reviewing the company’s options, Yahoo has decided to focus on working with the Apache Hadoop community and to be prepared to compromise on how it achieves its development goals.

    • What would make cloud computing truly free and open?

      The various trends known as cloud computing have spawned serious critiques about vendors’ reliability, security, privacy, and liability. This talk melds cloud computing with the principles of free and open source software to find solutions or mitigating factors for many of these concerns. Although other proposals have been aired for cloud standards, open clouds, open source licensing, loosening data, and others gestures toward customer control, this talk goes a step or two beyond them to suggest a more comprehensive architectural approach.

  • Oracle

    • Java Hangs When Converting 2.2250738585072012e-308

      This number is supposed to convert to 0x1p-1022, which is DBL_MIN; instead, Java gets stuck on 0×0.fffffffffffffp-1022, the largest subnormal double-precision floating-point number.

    • Oracle writes new OpenJDK rules

      Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle has announced on his blog that he, with the assistance of John Duimovich and Jason Gartner of IBM, Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Prof. Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, and Adam Messinger of Oracle, has been drafting a set of OpenJDK community rules, or bye-laws, by which the community will operate. He says the draft document will soon be published for public comment.

    • Open-source forkers declare Oracle independence
    • LibreOffice Debuts, Beating OpenOffice.org by a Whisker

      LibreOffice 3.3 is as polished as one might expect in a project that, for all its novelty, has many years of development work behind it.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • New Country Coordinators for Italy and the UK

      Giacomo Poderi and Sam Tuke are the new Country Coordinators for the Italian and British Country Teams respectively.

      Giacomo Poderi, team member since 2006 and former Deputy Coordinator, is the new Coordinator of the Italian Country Team. The priority goals for the Italian team, under Giacomo’s coordination, will be to create links between FSFE’s work at the European level with the work done by the many groups, associations and activists in Italy in favour of Free Software. To promote participation, increase visibility and networking with other Italian activists, the team will use collaborative projects promoted by FSFE such as the PDFreaders campaign and the forthcoming DFD ’11. At the same time, the team will provide its help to the projects promoted by the groups of the Italian Free Software movement.

    • reddit joins the Free Software Foundation! Help us design an ad for FSF.

      reddit, like many of you, supports the work of the Free Software Foundation to promote and protect computer user freedom, and fight against threats such as software patents and DRM. In order to show our support, we’ve joined the FSF as a corporate patron, joining the likes of Google, IBM and Hewlett Packard in our dedication to the cause.

      To celebrate this, we’ve teamed up with the FSF to help design a new logo for their associate membership program. Associate members make up the vast majority of funding for the FSF, and associate members are computer users who, like us, acknowledge and appreciate the importance of free software and the work being done by the FSF. When you join the FSF associate membership program, you join a society of ethical computer users, who value freedom and support efforts to stamp out DRM and software patents. In addition, associate members receive some cool benefits from the FSF:

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • PL: ‘Ninety percent op public administrations use open source’

      Ninety percent of the public administrations in Poland is using open source software in one way or another, according to the results of a survey carried out in 2010. However: “The uptake of open source is relatively low. It is not evenly spread over servers and desktops.”

    • European Commission consults on the modernisation of the European Public Procurement Market

      Public procurement accounts for roughly 17% of the EU’s GDP. In times of tight budgets and economic difficulties in many Member States, public procurement policy must ensure the most efficient use of public funds, with a view to supporting growth and job creation. This would require flexible and user-friendly tools that make transparent and competitive contract awards as easy as possible for European public authorities and their suppliers. With these objectives in mind, the European Commission has today launched a consultation. This open debate with interested parties will focus on the modernisation of the rules, tools and methods for public procurement to deliver better on these goals. The deadline for responses to the Green Paper is 18 April 2011.

    • GR: Open source and free Linux system for teachers and pupils at elementary schools

      Sxolinux, the Greek open and free Linux system for pupils constitutes an effort to create a computer laboratory at elementary schools.

      This kind of software allows the use of old and disused systems whose owners would easily give them for recycling. Therefore, with donations of material and with five days of volunteer work, a computer lab was set up. The creator of the distribution used for the Greek sxolinux is Dimitris Kalamaras.

    • Govt open-source group nears critical mass

      Proposed by the South Australian Government’s chief information officer back in 2009, the Open Technology Foundation (OTF) aims to educate and support an open and level playing field for the adoption of open technology in governments across Australia, spearheaded by Steve Schmid, the foundation’s strategic planner.

      [...]

      Schmid even wants to take the OTF to the world, with support already coming in from New Zealand governments.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Six ways to build a solid community

      There’s no guarantee that anyone can build and sustain a community. But there are certainly elements that most successful communities share, and that’s what we’ve tried to present here.

    • Committee announce new inquiry into peer review

      The Committee has today launched an inquiry into peer review. The committee invites evidence on the operation and effectiveness of the peer review process used to examine and validate scientific results and papers prior to publication.

    • Open Data

      • CC and data[bases]: huge in 2011, what you can do

        You may have heard that data is huge — changing the way science is done, enabling new kinds of consumer and business applications, furthering citizen involvement and government transparency, spawning a new class of software for processing big data and new interdisciplinary class of “data scientists” to help utilize all this data — not to mention metadata (data about data), linked data and the semantic web — there’s a whole lot of data, there’s more every day, and it’s potentially extremely valuable.

      • Art Open Data

        The following guest post is by Rob Myers, artist, hacker, writer, and member of the OKF Working Groups on Open Data in the Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

        Art Open Data is Open Data that concerns art institutions, art history, the art market, or artworks. Using this data, we can examine art history and contemporary art in powerful new ways.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

Leftovers

  • British firms face bribery blacklist, warns corruption watchdog

    British companies may face international blacklisting as a result of the government’s attempts to water down the Bribery Act, the chairman of an international anti-corruption watchdog warned.

    Prof Mark Pieth said that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was obviously “disappointed and concerned” at the prospect of further obstruction in implementing the act, passed by the last Labour government after long delays and that patience was “running out fast” among other industrialised nations.

  • Why work?

    Even though both eBay and Walmart sell huge volumes of retail products, eBay does it in a way that gives much more freedom to its sellers than Walmart sales clerks have. Is it more fun to be an eBay seller than a Walmart clerk? I suspect it often is. And I suspect that eBay sellers—on average—probably bring more energy, creativity, and dedication to their work than a typical Walmart clerk.

    Another way of thinking about how to make work fun is to look at some of the most fun activities around—games—and try to use the same features that make games fun to make work more fun. Almost 30 years ago, in my Ph.D. thesis, I used this strategy to suggest how to make education more fun by incorporating features of highly motivating video games. And, surprisingly, the framework I developed then still applies—with some adaptation—to making work fun today.

    The framework highlights three important features of highly motivating environments like video games: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity.

    Challenging environments are those where you are always confronting challenges that are on the edge of your capabilities—not too easy and not too difficult. It may seem strange to use this example, but I just saw the movie The Hurt Locker, and one of the main characters in the movie was essentially addicted to the life-threatening challenge of disarming dangerous bombs in Iraq. Was his job fun? Most people probably wouldn’t think so, but for him the challenge made his job almost like a game, and he brought huge amounts of dedication to doing his work.

  • Two /8s allocated to APNIC from IANA

    The information in this announcement is to enable the Internet community to update network configurations, such as routing filters, where required.

    APNIC received the following IPv4 address blocks from IANA in February 2011 and will be making allocations from these ranges in the near future:

    * 39/8
    * 106/8

    [...]

    APNIC reiterates that IPv6 is the only means available for the sustained ongoing growth of the Internet, and urges all Members of the Internet industry to move quickly towards its deployment.

  • Science

    • Antenna decision makes waves

      Procedural transparency is at issue as a US agency transfers a high-precision radio dish to an international partner.

    • Japan’s space agency teams up with fishing net maker to collect space debris

      The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Co aim to tackle the increasingly hazardous problem of debris damaging space shuttles and satellites.

      The new system involves launching a satellite attached to a thin metal net spanning several kilometers into space, before the net is detached and begins to capture space waste while orbiting earth.

    • Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code

      As a trained statistician with degrees from MIT and Stanford University, Srivastava was intrigued by the technical problem posed by the lottery ticket. In fact, it reminded him a lot of his day job, which involves consulting for mining and oil companies. A typical assignment for Srivastava goes like this: A mining company has multiple samples from a potential gold mine. Each sample gives a different estimate of the amount of mineral underground. “My job is to make sense of those results,” he says. “The numbers might seem random, as if the gold has just been scattered, but they’re actually not random at all. There are fundamental geologic forces that created those numbers. If I know the forces, I can decipher the samples. I can figure out how much gold is underground.”

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Anonymous takes down Berlusconi’s site

      Now Italy, run by the Silvio Berlusconi Mafia, has experienced the first tremors, heralded on January 23 when Anonymous gave warning of things to come.

    • Stop trying to balance liberty with security

      From the countless amendments and additions to the Counter Terrorism Act to the ever-expanding Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, there’s no doubting that British anti-terrorist legislation since 9/11 now constitutes a mightily oppressive edifice.

    • Report: Ryanair’s booking system is insecure

      Economy airline Ryanair’s online booking system allows for flight amendments and the addition of extra services for their associated fees. According to a report by Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel (German language link), it’s easy for an outsider to gain access to the system using just a reservation number or email address along with the flight date as well as the departure and destination airports.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt report from Human Rights Watch: “Impunity for Torture Fuels Days of Rage”

      A report released by Human Rights Watch documents how Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government effectively condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officers who are accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted. HRW describes torture as “an endemic problem in Egypt.” According to HRW, ending police abuse—and the cycle of impunity for those crimes—is a driving element behind the massive popular demonstrations in Egypt this past week.

    • What’s Happening in Egypt, the Action Movie Explainer: “Raiders of the Lost Mubarak”

      After she realized many people couldn’t wrap their heads around what was going on in Egypt, Furrygirl decided to turn to Hollywood staples and made this Raiders of the Lost Ark mashup version which explains things pretty clearly.

    • Egypt: “Your Weapons Are on Cairo’s Streets, America”
    • Egypt protesters vow to step up pressure

      Tens of thousands of people have gathered in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest.

      As pressure mounts on President Hosni Mubarak to step down, police have been ordered back to the streets to positions they abandoned on Friday.

    • Egypt protests reinvigorating opposition in Iran

      Protests in Egypt calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak have also reinvigorated Iran’s opposition, triggering calls to regroup.”

    • Egyptian Protests Inspire Opposition in Iran

      Egypt’s uprising has captivated the Arab world, but in Iran—fresh from its own outpouring of antigovernment unrest—backers of the regime and supporters of the beleaguered opposition are competing for credit for inspiring the demonstrations in Cairo.

    • Hidden Behind Egypt’s Uprising, Sudan Protests

      Once the success of the protests in Tunisia reminded the world that governments can be changed by a wide spectrum of people and not a political cadre or religious group or opposition politician but the people themselves, those people went to town prodding and testing for weakness.

      The people of Algeria, Libya, even Yemen were seen on the streets. But Sudan seems to be hidden behind the Egyptian flare up. Now, crisis mapping shows how deep and widespread the discontent is in that country.

    • Causes and contexts: Arab Twitter revolutions and the origins of the First World War

      Take the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia over the past few weeks. Communications technology and social networks have been present, both on the streets, among the protagonists.

      Did Facebook cause the revolution? Is it a Twitter revolution? These are partly silly questions, partly interesting ideas to follow through. Historians will soon enough, why shouldn’t we?

    • Incredible: Watch volunteers translate Egyptian phone messages in real-time

      To further this aim, a number of volunteers outside of Egypt (you know, where the Internet still works) have decided to collaborate online to get those voicemails – which are mainly in Arabic – translated into English.

    • Live From Egypt: The Rebellion Grows Stronger
    • Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues

      It is morning again in Cairo as I post this. The curfew ended at 8:00am and the people of Egypt enter the seventh day of their history making struggle. A famous poem by the early 20th century Tunisian poet Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi, “To the Tyrants of the World” [hear it on NPR] has become a rallying cry in both Tunisia and Egypt.

    • Some weekend work that will (hopefully) enable more Egyptians to be heard

      We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

    • Report: Torture in Egypt rampant amid impunity for security forces

      The words are those of one Egyptian speaking to Human Rights Watch – and alleging torture by Egypt’s security services against his fellow detainees.

      Another man, a 22-year-old taxi-driver, told HRW last year about his detention by Egyptian police: “They had whips and hit me on the legs, on the bottom of my feet, and on my back. When they took me down, they brought a black electric device and applied electro-shocks four or five times to my arms until it started smoking.”

    • Haroon Moghul on Why the Egyptian Revolution is not Islamist

      Egypt’s “secular” dictator, who didn’t meddle too far into his people’s religious life — he was no Shah, and no Ben Ali — hasn’t created a sharp cultural divide in his country (the economic one is something else altogether). So why would Egyptians need, want, or stress, an Islamic Revolution?

    • China quick to label Egypt uprising as “chaotic”

      We all know the line abut Tiananmen Square, that we can only thank God the CCP saved China from chaos by cracking down on the protesters by whatever means necessary. This argument was carried to another extreme in the case of Russia, where the rapid switch to democracy plunged the nation into chaos. Every schoolchild in China knows about that. And now Egypt. Seems like whenever a dictatorship is threatened, the CCP feels the need to desperately convince its citizens that change equals chaos.

    • The ‘Italian Job’ and Other Highlights From U.S.’s Rendition Program With Egypt

      Among the many aspects of the U.S.-Egypt relationship, few have been as controversial as the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, where the agency frequently handed over suspected terrorists to foreign governments with histories of torture and illegal detention.

    • The Egypt Crisis in a Global Context: A Special Report

      Let’s begin by considering the regime. In 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a military coup that displaced the Egyptian monarchy, civilian officers in the military, and British influence in Egypt. Nasser created a government based on military power as the major stabilizing and progressive force in Egypt. His revolution was secular and socialist. In short, it was a statist regime dominated by the military. On Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat replaced him. On Sadat’s assassination, Hosni Mubarak replaced him. Both of these men came from the military as Nasser did. However their foreign policy might have differed from Nasser’s, the regime remained intact.

    • Looters included undercover Egyptian police, hospitals tell Human Rights Watch

      Human Rights Watch confirmed several cases of undercover police loyal to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime committing acts of violence and looting in an attempt to stoke fear of instability as demonstrations grew stronger Tuesday against the autocratic leader.

      Peter Bouckaert, the emergency director at Human Rights Watch, said hospitals confirmed that they received several wounded looters shot by the army carrying police identification cards. They also found several cases of looters and vandals in Cairo and Alexandria with police identification cards. He added that it was “unexplainable” that thousands of prisoners escaped from prisons over the weekend.

    • Fight On

      The first new song here in a while. I don’t even know if this will still be relevant by the time you hear it but I had to release it anyway. Like the rest of us around the world I’ve been watching the events in Egypt on the news. The people are calling for the end of a dictatorship and the birth of a new age of democracy.

    • Watched Mubarak Making His Statement

      Actually he doesn’t get it at all. His speech would have made sense if it had been given thirty years ago. Now, well, he just sounds lost.

      The entire speech is about what he is going to do. The problem is that the Egyptian public wants only one thing, for him to leave.

    • Anderson Cooper ‘punched in the head’ 10 times by pro-Mubarak thugs

      CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Wednesday that he and his crew were violently attacked by pro-Mubarak forces as they tried to make their way through the streets of Cairo.

      “Anderson Cooper punched 10 times in the head as pro-Mubarak mob surrounds him and his crew at Cairo rally,” Maan News Agency’s George Hale tweeted.

      Cooper described his ordeal on CNN’s American Morning.

    • DNA collection from arrestees starts Tuesday in North Carolina

      Tuesday marks the first day of a new law that allows law enforcement to take DNA from arrestees, not just those convicted of a crime.

      The new state law begins February 1 and requires officers to take DNA samples from anyone charged with assault on handicapped persons, stalking, or any felony.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange awarded Sydney peace medal

      In the estimation of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands alongside the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

      As he outrages and embarrasses world leaders by leaking secret US diplomatic cables – and continues to face down allegations of sex offences – Mr Assange has been chosen by the foundation to receive a rare gold medal for peace with justice.

    • Open Letter To The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Re Julian Assange.

      It is pleasing that you would welcome him back to Australia but your statement that the government cannot do anything to assist him in that regard is not strictly correct and springs from a factual error in you saying “They are charges and they’ve got to be worked through proper process.” Prime Minister, in brief these are the relevant facts and applicable law:

      1) Mr Assange has not ever been charged by Sweden or anybody else.
      2) The Swedish authorities have initiated an extradition process which is contrary to the European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) system in that they want him back in Sweden for the purposes of investigation, not explicitly to charge him.
      3) The EAW is a fast track extradition process between EU member states brought into effect to allow decisions to be made between EU judicial systems, not between politicians.

    • Plea over WikiLeaks jail ‘Briton’

      The Government has been urged to intervene in the case of a soldier held in a US jail on suspicion of passing state secrets to WikiLeaks – on the grounds that he is part-British.

      Bradley Manning, a private in the US Army, went to school in Haverfordwest, Wales, where his mother still lives.

      He has been accused of passing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to the whistleblowing website.

    • Amnesty urges UK to intervene in Manning case

      Amnesty International called on British authorities to intervene Tuesday in the case of the Army private accused of leaking material to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks amid claims that he is an American-British dual national.

      Pfc. Bradley Manning has been held at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia since last summer under conditions which his supporters describe as punitive. Manning’s case has attracted sustained attention in Britain in part because his mother is Welsh, but some supporters now claim that the 23-year-old holds British citizenship.

    • Lionel Barber’s Hugh Cudlipp lecture: the full text

      Let me now turn to more current sources of controversy, notably the WikiLeaks phenomenon and the phone-hacking scandal. While each is very different and each raises important questions for public policy, there is a single common thread: the transformational power of technology which is rendering media laws and practice obsolete.

      First, a few words on the WikiLeaks affair. The two industrial scale data-dumps included vivid, if partial US military dispatches from the front-line in Afghanistan and Iraq followed by 250,000 classfied diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world. Set alongside each other, they look like the scoops of the century. But as both Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian and Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, have recounted: managing the story and Mr Assange was far from straightforward.

      Keller describes Assange as a character out of a Stieg Larsson novel who was “elusive, manipulative, volatile and ultimately openly hostile to the New York Times and Guardian.” That will not surprise too many journalists accustomed to dealing with tricky sources, but in this case, other equally challenging ethical, legal and practical problems presented themselves.

      These included how to deal with a US government committed to protecting classified information; how to conduct a cross-border investigation encompassing other media organisations; and how to disentangle the newsworthy and compelling from tens of thousands of computer-stored data. In this respect, the Daily Telegraph’s handling of its Westminster expenses scoop, while still a formidable logistical challenge, tends to pale by comparison.

    • Assange’s lawyer says FOI inspired WikiLeaks

      Poor regulation across many of the world’s freedom of information systems formed part of Julian Assange’s inspiration to establish WikiLeaks, the Australian’s lawyer says.

      The 39-year-old is currently under US criminal investigation over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret military reports and diplomatic cables released.

    • The Witch Hunt Against Assange Is Turning into an Extremely Dangerous Assault on Journalism Itself

      Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.

    • Army Leaks Hit Piece on Bradley Manning

      Last night’s DoD press conference on Bradley Manning was a bizarre affair. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell was snappish, hectoring and ill-prepared. They were clearly thrown when Jim Miklaszewski reported that the Quantico brig commander acted inappropriately in putting Manning on suicide watch, and the journalists present greeted Morrell’s excuses with extreme skepticism.

    • Egypt – Cable from Imprisoned Egyptian Opposition Leader: Defend Democracy “for the friendship of peoples live forever”

      Ayman Nour, one of the senior leaders of the Egyptian opposition who is currently organizing a coalition to create an interim government, wrote an eloquent letter from prison in 2006 to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, in which he implored the U.S. not to stand by and ignore his plight, according to a new cable released by Wikileaks.

    • Egypt – U.S. intelligence collaboration with Omar Suleiman “most successful”

      New cables released by Wikileaks reveal that the U.S. government has been quietly anticipating as well as cultivating Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian spy chief, as the top candidate to take over the country should anything happen to President Hosni Mubarak. On Saturday, this expectation was proved correct when Mubarak named Suleiman to the post of vice-president making him the first in line to assume power.

      An intelligence official who trained at the U.S. Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, Suleiman became head of the spy agency in 1993 which brought him into close contact with the Central Intelligence Agency. Recently he took up a more public role as chief Egyptian interlocuter with Israel to discuss the peace process with Hamas and Fatah, the rival Palestinian factions.

    • WikiLeaks files reveal ‘cold, callous and brutal’ behaviour of ministers

      A mother who lost her daughter in the Lockerbie attack has condemned the “cold, callous and brutal” behaviour of British ministers after WikiLeaks documents revealed how they secretly advised Libya on securing the successful early release of the bomber.

    • WikiLeaks: FBI hunts the 9/11 gang that got away

      Secret documents reveal that the three Qatari men conducted surveillance on the targets, provided “support” to the plotters and had tickets for a flight to Washington on the eve of the atrocities.

      The suspected terrorists flew from London to New York on a British Airways flight three weeks before the attacks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • SPCA investigates slaughter of 100 Whistler sled dogs

      The “execution-style” mass cull of 100 sled dogs owned by Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures has sparked an SPCA investigation into allegations of animal cruelty, outrage from animal welfare groups and suspension by Tourism Whistler of reservations for dog sledding excursions by the company.

    • Brazilian president’s promises crumble under weight of Belo Monte dam

      Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, has never been popular among environmentalists.

      Since the early days of predecessor Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidency, when she occupied the post of minister of mining and energy, many activists have seen her as a leader with an old-fashioned view of development. Something like “economic growth is priority number one, no matter if some hectares of Amazon rainforest has to be chopped down”.

      The animosity increased even more after Rousseff was promoted, in 2005, to the ministry of internal affairs – the post that paved her way to the presidency. With the second most important job in the republic, she was responsible for coordinating the government action plan, the Plano de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) – the “plan of growth acceleration”.

    • Vedanta fights back over Indian hill tribe’s sacred mountain

      FTSE 100 mining giant Vedanta is challenging a ban on mining the sacred mountain of India’s Dongria Kondh tribe. The Orissa High Court will hear the case on Wednesday 2 February.


      The Dongria Kondh, whose plight has been compared to the fictional Na’vi in Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, won an historic victory against Vedanta last year. India’s Environment Ministry blocked Vedanta’s multimillion-dollar bid to create an open-pit bauxite mine on the Dongria’s sacred mountain, stating that Vedanta had shown ‘blatant disregard for the rights of the tribal groups.’


    • Masters: Extremely dangerous Tropical Cyclone Yasi bears down on flooded Queensland, Australia

      Of course it remains An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact that we get more snow storms in warm years. See also Another terrific ABC News story — on the role global warming is playing in extreme winter weather.

    • Chimpanzee mother learns her infant has died (video)
    • Italian hunting in the dock after 35 people killed in four months

      It is not just birds, rabbits and wild boar who meet a sticky end in the Italian hunting season.

      According to statistics published today, 35 people have also been killed in the past four months, and another 74 injured. Italy’s anti-hunting league, the LAC, said all but one were hunters killed accidentally by their shooting companions.

  • Finance

    • AIB sues Oracle over ‘wasted expenditure’

      ALLIED IRISH Banks is suing two related international companies, claiming some €84 million spent by it on a new retail banking software system was “wasted expenditure”.

      The bank claims Oracle’s Flexcube product was “beset with serious technical problems” from the outset in 2007 and only some 3,000 customers out of an expected five million were switched over to it in a three-year period. In March 2010, work on implementing the Flexcube product ceased.

    • Manufacturing surges to record high

      Purchasing managers’ index data for January shows activity grew at the fastest rate in the survey’s 19-year history, and highlights strong inflation which could make an interest rate rise more likely

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Probably Not The Best Time To Introduce Legislation That Can Be Described As Having An ‘Internet Kill Switch’

      We’ve already discussed how, contrary to the claims of some, there really isn’t an attempt to create “an internet kill switch” in the US. There is a (admittedly bad) proposal concerning how the US would respond in the event of some sort of “cyber attack.” The proposal itself would allow the government to mandate how certain “critical infrastructure” pieces of the internet should respond in the event of such an attack.

    • Egypt’s Internet blackout gets even blacker

      On Friday we reported that almost all Egyptian Internet connectivity had been cut off. Routes to the company’s major ISPs had been dropped from global routing tables, leaving no way to send traffic to the country. At the time, one ISP, Noor Group, remained connected.

    • Ham Radio Not a Viable Option for Egypt

      The Egyptian government has ordered the shutdown of all ISPs (Internet service providers) as well as some cell phone services. The move appears aimed at disrupting protestors, who have been demonstrating across the country since last week. They are calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

  • Civil Rights

    • Egyptian Actions Highlight Dangers in U.S. Cybersecurity Proposals

      The Egyptian regime’s shutdown of the Internet in an attempt to preserve its political power highlights the dangers of any government having unchecked power over our Internet infrastructure, and puts a fine point on the risks to democracy posed by recent Congressional proposals to give the President a broad mandate to dictate how our internet service providers respond to cyber-emergencies.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Statement from the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

      Today, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, issued the following statement regarding usage-based billing:

      “On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, the CRTC announced its decision to allow wholesale and retail internet service providers to charge customers for exceeding the monthly usage of data transfer permitted with their broadband Internet package. This will mean, for the first time, that many smaller and regional internet service providers will be required to move to a system of usage-based billing for their customers.

    • Reverse internet billing decision, Liberals say

      A CRTC decision that will force small internet service providers to restrict the internet service plans available to their customers should be reversed by the federal government, the federal Liberal Party says.

    • Usage-Based Billing Hits Canada: Say Goodbye To Internet Innovation

      O, Canada, what have you done? The country’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the CRTC, has passed sweeping new regulations that will force Internet Service Providers to switch to so-called usage-based billing—metered pricing, in less flowery language. That means ISPs there will charge customers by the gigabyte for Internet access, and that’s on top of a flat service fee. There’s nothing particularly new about metered pricing, but the fact that it’s being implemented on a country-wide basis surely merits a quick discussion.

    • Canadians Angry About Usage Based Billing

      Why is this important? Well, these limits or caps that ISP’s have put into place will effect Canadian jobs, and businesses not just consumers wallets. As almost anyone who follows the business side of the tech industry knows, everything is moving towards cloud computing. Basically what cloud computing means, is that any digital product you buy, view, or back up will be done via Internet only. From streaming video like Netflix, to music stored in virtual music lockers, to companies throwing their backups on secure servers over the net. Cloud Computing will significantly impact on the amount of bandwidth Canadians use as hard drives slowly become obsolete.

    • Open letter to Minister Clement concerning CRTC

      On behalf of the 107,000 members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), I am writing to express our strong concern with a recent decision of the CRTC regarding usage based billing for internet services (CRTC2011-44). The effect of this decision, should cabinet not overturn it, would be significant for small businesses in Canada, particularly as they come out of the recent recession. The vast majority of smaller firms rely on reasonably priced internet services to help them run their operations.

  • DRM

    • ORG calls for DRM evidence

      We know that there has been plenty of under-the-radar harm caused to ordinary consumers by ‘Digital Rights Management’ (DRM) over the past years. And we wouldn’t want that left out of the Review’s evidence base. It might be seeing the service you bought content on disappear, making your purchased music or films useless. Perhaps you bought an iPod or other music player and discovered too late that the format of your legally purchased music collection wasn’t supported. It might be that you bought music or film on one platform and found that unnecessarily restricted your subsequent choices about where to watch it, listen to it, or read it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • My Submission to The Legislative Committee on Bill C-32 (CC32)

        Culture grows through sharing. It used to be Canadians bemoaned the lack of a Canadian “identity.” This cultural void was certainly tied in to the limited exposure Canadians had to our own culture since a few corporations controlled all of our culture.

        Today’s combination of hardware, software, media devices, and the Internet makes it possible for creators to create and distribute our work directly to our audience. The new technology has been an incredible boon to both creators and consumers.

        The independent Canadian music industry is ushering in an incredible golden age, in spite of the CD levy which penalizes independent creators. Canadians are leading the world with Independent music production and distribution. And nobody is looking for a “Canadian Identity” anymore since Canadian culture is thriving– through sharing– on the Internet. For the first time in more than half a century, Canadian musicians don’t have to sign away the rights to their music to get recorded and distributed.

      • Copyright is a Monopoly! (And isn’t like normal property)

        The equation of ‘intellectual property’ (IP) such as copyright with (traditional “real”) property is frequently made, especially by those advocating its extension. However, this equation is fundamentally erroneous and results in very serious misapprehension of the nature and effect of IP. In particular, patents and copyright confer monopolies in a way that ownership of real property does not.

      • Hadopi Wants To Kick People Offline For Watching Unauthorized Streams As Well

        There’s no indication given as to how Hadopi or anyone else would actually be able to find out who was watching streamed content, short of seizing log files. But, won’t it be great when you can lose your internet connection, because your friends pointed you to a video on YouTube that wasn’t properly licensed?

      • How shall the artists get paid?

        There will never be a shortage of culture. We have created since the day we learned to put red paint on the inside of cave walls. There is more culture available than ever, much thanks to the Internet.

        There are millions more people who want to live off creating culture than the demand will bear. Most create for different motivations than money. You will have no hard time finding a professional broker or accountant who picks up their guitar as they come home from work to relax a bit, but show me a professional rock guitarist who picks out the financial ledgers for some relaxation in their spare time? In financial terms, there is an oversupply of creators. Always has been.

        When the printing press and libraries arrived, the middlemen proclaimed the death of culture. History repeats itself. Let’s get rid of the middlemen, limit their monopolies, and let the artists and culture flourish.

      • U.S. Resume Controversial File-Sharing Domain Seizures (Updated)

        US authorities have seized the domain of the hugely popular sports streaming and P2P download site Rojadirecta. The site, which is one of the most visited sites on the Internet, lost its .org domain which now redirects to a notice from DOJ/ICE. Rojadirecta is an unusual target because two courts in Spain have ruled that the site operates legally, and other than the .org domain the site has no links to the US.

      • 670 Alleged File-Sharers Off The Hook As BitTorrent Case Dismissed

        Last year, an adult movie producer filed suit against 670 individuals who it claimed had infringed copyright on an obscure title. Now the entire case, which was presented by lawyer Evan Stone, has been dismissed. The plaintiffs were scathing about the court-appointed EFF attorneys, describing them as defenders of piracy. The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means that each of the John Doe defendants are completely off the hook.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK Government to reassess website blocking piracy measures

          The government has asked the UK’s media regulator Ofcom to review part of the anti-piracy law from the Digital Economy Act to assess if the measures put in place are actually workable and consider the practicality of blocking websites that infringe copyright.

          The government introduced new rulings as part of its crackdown on individuals accused of copyright infringement but after a campaign on the Your Freedom website, a site that allows users to nominate laws they would like to see the government get rid of, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said “the government will look at whether we have the right tools for the job in addressing the problem of online copyright infringement”.

        • Digital Economy Act Costs – an unlawful Prisoners Dilemma

          On 17 January 2010, the draft Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011 was laid before parliament. It is the first substantive item of secondary legislation made under the Digital Economy Act 2010 and concerns about the simplest thing possible: how much copyright owners and ISP’s will have to pay under the Initial Obligations Code (IOC). Despite its simplicity it has been misdrafted and it may also be unlawful.

        • DE Act: should Parliament pass flawed ISP costs order?

          The European Commission questions whether the DE Act cost-sharing is allowable under EU law. And Ofcom suggests that ISPs could give credit vouchers to the rights-holders if they send fewer warning notices than they forecast.

Clip of the Day

Egypt Protest Cairo – Sky News


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