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02.08.11

Links 8/2/2011: Linux 2.6.35.11, Food for the Hungry Uses GNU/Linux, Mint 10 KDE is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Tragedy of ‘Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome’

    MTBS doesn’t affect only Microsoft users, consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack asserted. “The saying used to be that ‘no one ever got fired for buying IBM,’” he noted. “People have a tendency to stick with what they consider safe, and it takes something large to force a change.”

  • Events

    • There’s Less Than Three Weeks Left To SCALE
    • Register now: General Hugh Shelton webcast, February 16

      Join us Feb. 16 when we host General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now Chairman of the Board of Directors of Red Hat, in the next Open Your World Forum webcast.

    • OSCON 2011 Call for Participation

      Speaking the language of open, O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention wants to foster conversations about the technology work that you do. Open Source, FOSS, free like beer, free like a puppy or free like a bird–share what engages you. Submit original session and tutorial ideas that share your excitement.

    • Camp KDE 2011 & Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

      The KDE developers have announced Camp KDE 2011 which will be held at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, California, on 4 and 5 April. The Camp will be immediately followed by the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit which takes place on 6 and 7 April at the same location.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.35.11 longterm has been released
    • Linux 2.6.35.11 longterm kernel release
    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R300g / R600g Unify Their Vertex Buffer Manager

        Hitting the Mesa tree this weekend were messages of “r600g: use the new vertex buffer manager” and “r300g: use the new vertex buffer manager.”

        However, before getting too excited, this is not a radically new vertex buffer manager for these two ATI Gallium3D drivers that support the spectrum of Radeon GPUs. R300g is responsible for ATI R300 ASICs up through the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) GPUs. R600g currently covers the R600 (Radeon HD 2000 series) through the latest Radeon HD 6000 (Northern Islands) and Fusion (Ontario) chipsets.

      • X.Org Server 1.9.4 Released; 1.9.5 Expected

        Before ending out last week, Jeremy Huddleston released X.Org Server 1.9.4. At least one more release, X.Org Server 1.9.5, is also expected before this branch is retired in favor of X Server 1.10, which will be released in the coming weeks.

        X.Org Server 1.9.4 isn’t too exciting as it just pulls in about two dozen bug-fixes. There’s a couple fixes to EXA, DRI2, EDID, and RandR, but nothing too noteworthy. A bulk of the fixes are by Jeremy himself for XQuartz.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Drawing up a roadmap

        When we drew up the roadmap for the GIMP for versions 2.0 and 2.2 in 2003, we committed some of these mistakes. By observing some projects like Inkscape (which has a history of excellent roadmapping) and learning from our mistakes, I came up with a different method which we applied to the WengoPhone from OpenWengo in 2006, and which served us well (until the project became QuteCom, at least). Here are some of the techniques I learned, which I hope will be useful to others.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Is PCLinuxOS on the Ropes?

        PCLinuxOS has suffered from its share of issues over the years. With difficulties ranging from personnel shake-ups to hosting problems, it seems developing and managing a Linux distribution can be challenging work. Perhaps sometimes it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

        PCLinuxOS is a popular distribution, at one time wildly so and rivaled Ubuntu for the top spot on Distrowatch.com’s Page Hit Ranking. It has fiercely loyal users that stand ready to defend it all across the Linux landscape. And even though it has suffered major issues over the years, it still remains popular and firmly entrenched in the top 10 of Distrowatch PHR.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Management Is Creating Value

        Warren Buffett’s partner, Charlie Munger, once said, “I think I’ve been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power of incentives, and all my life I’ve underestimated it. And never a year passes but I get some surprise that pushes my limit a little farther.”

        When corporate boards use bad incentives for management’s pay, disaster often ensues. (Think Lehman Brothers.) Incentives based on singular metrics such as revenue growth, EBITDA, ROE, or earning per share are easily manipulated and gamed. Fortunately, there is a better way: EVA momentum.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 is out, Wheezy kicks off

        The best part of the release for us — the developers — is that wheezy is now open for development and we can work on new features for the next release. ;-)

      • Debian Linux was important: Will it continue to be?

        Not everyone, to no surprise, agrees with me. My buddy Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier wrote, “Debian has never been a user-friendly distribution, or one that was really targeted at a mainstream audience. Debian 6.0 continues a long tradition of shipping a brand-new stable release that is already outdated, with little to appeal to new users.”

        Really? That’s not how I see it. Debian has always tried to stay true to its Social Contract, but it community of developers have also strived to make it a popular distribution as well. To quote from Debian 6.0’s news release, “Debian once again stays true to its goal of being the universal operating system. It sounds to me like they want both old and new users.

      • Debian Squeeze Wallpapers
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • do you think bug search should match target names?

          We have a small quandry on the Launchpad development team at the moment. As bug 268508 discusses, when one searches for a bug on Launchpad we do a substring search on the names of bug targets.

        • Canonical And Cisco Welcome OpenStack’s Bexar Releases

          Canonical and Cisco join the open-source OpenStack federated cloud initiative as new releases arrive

          OpenStack has announced the release of updates, codenamed Bexar, to its Compute and Object Storage cloud implementations. The OpenStack open-source cloud project has also recruited four new members, including Cisco and Canonical.

          The addition of influential members like Cisco and Canonical alongside Extreme Networks and Grid Dynamics has added breadth to the OpenStack community, founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA. The membership now numbers 50, including AMD, Citrix, Dell and Intel.

        • Why Food for the Hungry runs Ubuntu

          John: Tell me a little about Food for the Hungry and what you do there.

          Rick: Food for the Hungry is a Christian relief and development organization. We go in to relief situations — maybe there has been a natural disaster or war — and provide life-sustaining needs: food, shelter, whatever the need may be. For example, the recent earthquake in Haiti. But the other part of what we do is the sustained, long-term development on the community level. The idea is to work with leaders and churches to better take care of themselves rather than relying on outside organizations for support.

        • Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition & The Official Ubuntu Book, 5th Edition
        • A diversity statement for Ubuntu

          The Ubuntu website states that “we aim to make Ubuntu a wonderful place to participate”. We developed the Ubuntu Code of Conduct to set a standard for participants to accept each other in the spirit of cooperation, and have improved it over time to state these principles more clearly.

          It is implicit in our philosophy that these and other Ubuntu values should hold equally true for everyone. I would like to propose that we upgrade this to an explicit statement on behalf of the project.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Mint 10 KDE approved for RC release

            Both 32-bit and 64-bit ISO images were approved. The Linux Mint 10 KDE Edition, featuring KDE 4.6, will be publicly available this week as an RC release.

          • Ikey Doherty full-time on Linux Mint

            I’m happy to announce that Ikey Doherty is joining the paid-staff and will be working full time on Linux Mint, starting from today.

            Ikey started getting involved with the project as an IRC operator. He later joined the development team and participated in many sub-projects, bringing improvements to some of the tools developed for Linux Mint, fixing bugs and designing new features for Linux Mint 10. He played a major role in the design and the implementation of the Backup Manager and the Debian Live Installer and his full presence within Linux Mint will have a significant impact on its development.

          • Ubuntu based Penetration Testing Distribution – Blackbuntu

            Blackbuntu is distribution for penetration testing which was specially designed for security training students and practitioners of information security.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • TwimGo

          TwimGo is a Twitter client for Maemo, Symbian and MeeGo devices. It containes all the basic functionality like home, mentions, favourites etc. timelines, search, lists, trends. You can also easily open links and search mentioned hashtags. TwitPic and yFrog photo preview is shown in tweet details.

      • Android

        • Google opens Android web store

          USERS of phones running Google’s Android operating system are getting more ways to browse and buy apps for playing games, reading the news and other tasks.

          The internet search leader has announced its Android Market Web store open for business.

          The store lets users choose apps through a Web browser and have them installed remotely to their smart phones and tablets.

        • Motorola’s Android Tablet Locks Wi-Fi until 3G Service Purchased

          But, really: You have to activate Verizon Wireless service, even if you then cancel it, to unlock Wi-Fi? Big misstep. It’s along the lines of that common scene in a car dealership when you’re about to sign the papers, and the sales regretfully informs you that his manager won’t sell the car without the underbody rust inhibitor treatment.

        • Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Superbowl video, for a 13 February launch

          MOBILE PHONE MAKER Sony Ericsson splashed an advert during yesterday’s Superbowl game in the US to show off its Xperia Play, that is, the Playstation smartphone.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your open source management approach: Red Team or Blue Team?

    When I hear people in the technology industry talk about the benefits of open source software, one of things they mention often is their belief that open source software “gets better faster” than traditional software (David Wheeler has done a nice job collecting many of the proof points around the benefits of open source software here). While the speed of innovation in open source is in part due to the power of Linus’s Law (“Given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow”), I believe it also has a lot to do with the way open source projects are managed.

  • Open source app store

    Apps are the big thing in technology right now. Any company that has an operating system but doesn’t have a dedicated app store is doing it wrong.

    Traditionally app stores were limited to mobile devices such as the iPod and Android platform but now it looks likely that Linux vendors will also jump on the app store train to spur greater adoption of desktop Linux.

    Historically, installing applications on Linux was viewed as cumbersome, compounded by the fact that many Linux distributions used their own formats for packaging applications.

  • Open source as an alternative “study abroad” experience?

    Multiple benefits accrue to those who spend significant time in open source, and a significant proportion of students see the experience as an important part of their college years. You’re likely to have fun. But if you’re also thinking about open source as a way to gain a critical career advantage, read on. You’ll find that all contribution experiences are not created equal in the minds of employers.

    Employers are looking for graduates who can communicate well with others, both in person and in writing. They know the importance of cross-cultural understanding and an appreciation for different points of view. They gravitate toward students who demonstrate maturity, initiative, and creativity. All of these assets can be demonstrated through participation in open source communities, but it’s going to be much harder to set yourself apart if you’ve taken the easy route.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chromium and Firefox: a comparision

      Firefox:
      - It is very stable. I have not seen it crash for over a year now.
      - With AdBlock Plus by Wladimir Palant, I can easily get rid of ads as well as unwanted iframes, images etc.
      - With Ghostery, I can easily get rid of tracking sited too.

    • Mozilla

      • Community Town Hall Asia meeting – Feb. 8th

        We have participants from: Sri Lanka, India, S. Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

        We do NOT have participants from Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore at this time.

      • First Transmediale Open Web Award

        Mozilla is moving is beyond software, looking for ways to bring open technologies and culture into new areas like art, media and education. We recently sponsored the Open Web Award as part of the Transmediale art festival in Berlin, Germany, combining digital art and the open web. With our new Mozilla Drumbeat initiative, we are engaging creators globally to shape the future of the web.

      • Home Dash: Try The New Mozilla Labs Experimental Addon For Firefox 4

        Home Dash is an experimental Firefox 4.0 extension that remove the conventional Firefox user interface items (location bar, search bar, the tabs) and provides a dashboard with search functionality which you can use to find your top sites, tabs, history or do a web search. It’s like using Firefox in full-screen, but without the actual full-screen (weird, I know, but you’ll understand exactly what I mean after watching the video).

      • Game On Spotlight: Bar Fight

        Well, we’re Steve and Oliver Baker – a father and son team from the UK, now living and working in Texas. We’re long-time 3D graphics enthusiasts and amateur games writers. Linux folk may remember Tux the Penguin – A Quest for Herring which we created back in 1997 when Oliver was just 7 years old – it was the first ever 3D game for Linux. Back then graphics cards could draw just a few hundred triangles and the artistic demands were minimal at best. TuxKart was a much better game – that came along in 1999 and was to be found on most Linux distro’s for years afterwards. Fast-forward to August 2010; we’d been watching the progress of WebGL and decided to try to write some online games using it. Because we intend to fund the web site using advertising revenue alone, we can’t afford a massive server farm to host the games. So we needed to come up with games with low server demands. Turn-based games fit the bill quite well because the server code can sleep while players are deciding what to do. Thus was born “TuBaGames.net” (TUrn BAsed GAMES for the NET). Our vision – though constantly subject to redirection – is that we will have a large library of games, in which players can compete in, and are ranked. The BarFight serves as a lobby in which people can hang out and let off some steam. We have some interesting ways of publicizing matches and making high-ranked games the “must see attraction”; so stick around and see how far TuBaGames will go.

      • Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership Announced

        We are excited to announce the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, a Mozilla Drumbeat project supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Journalism Program.

      • Firefox 4 beta 11 slated for release tomorrow

        The 11th beta of Firefox 4 is expected to be released tomorrow, Feb. 8, one lead developer announced.

        In an update posted this evening, chief developer Christian Legnitto said the time has come for the next-to-last beta of Firefox4.

      • Mozilla embracing Chrome’s fast-rev ethos

        Mozilla has a new plan for Firefox in 2011: Turn the crank faster.

        The organization is set to deliver Firefox 4 in coming weeks. And according to a draft Firefox roadmap, Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s director of Firefox, proposed releasing versions 5, 6, and 7 in 2011, too. This fast-release ethos, pioneered in the browser world by Google’s Chrome, means smaller changes arrive more frequently.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • [LibreOffice] Release Party in Munich

      …Release-Party on Friday, February 11th, in Munich.

    • Review: Hands on LibreOffice 3.3

      The Document Foundation released the first new version of its LibreOffice suite on January 25th, and it was far too tempting not to grab a copy and run it through its paces. And while there are a few new features of note, this is still pretty much OpenOffice.org, with all the attendant advantages and foibles.

    • Oracle offers file management package for cloud

      Hoping to service the growing market for cloud computing systems, Oracle has packaged two file management software programs into a single integrated offering, called the Oracle Cloud File System, the company announced Monday.

    • ‘Mark-of-the-Beast’ bug topples Java apps

      A bug in Oracle’s Java programming framework causes computers to freeze when they encounter certain numerical values with large numbers of decimal places, a flaw that makes websites susceptible to highly efficient denial-of-service attacks.

      The vulnerability in the latest version of Java is similar to a flaw discovered last month that plagued the PHP language. It is trigged when applications attempt to process values such as 2.2250738585072011e-308. Systems running both Windows- and Linux-based apps that try to assign the value to a “double” variable succumb to an infinite loop that consumes 100 percent of their CPU’s resources.

    • Fix for JDK Double.parseDouble infinite loop
    • Oracle v. Google: Food Fight in Discovery Already – Hearing Feb. 9 – Updated 2Xs

      Believe it or not, there is already a discovery dispute in Oracle v. Google. And I’m really glad, because that’s the only way we can find out what has been going in discovery. What we find out now is that both parties have served the other with interrogatories, and neither is happy with the other’s answers, so both are writing letters to the judge, calling them motions to compel. We get to see Google’s answers to Oracle’s interrogatories, and that really fleshes out Google’s position for me.

      Oracle, though, feels that there’s not enough flesh on the bones, not enough for them to prepare for depositions, so Oracle filed a motion to compel [PDF] in the form of a letter to Judge William Alsup, the presiding judge, on February 1, seeking to force Google to supplement its responses to interrogatories. But Google feels that it can’t do any better until Oracle provides more specificity, so it then sent a couple of letters to the judge also, one responding [PDF] to the issues raised by Oracle’s motion to compel and a second a motion to compel [PDF], telling the judge that Oracle has failed to fulfill its obligations in discovery and that “the parties have reached an impasse regarding the adequacy of Oracle’s Patent Local Rule 3-1 disclosures, and we request the Court’s assistance in resolving the issues about which the parties disagree.”

  • Government

    • European Parliament starts free software user group

      One member of the European Parliament and a handful of their advisors and assistants started a free software group last Saturday, aiming to increase the use of free and open source software in the European Parliament’s IT infrastructure. The user group is open to all who works in the European Parliament, including staff and assistants working in political groups.

      The European Parliament Free Software User Group (Epfsug) is an initiative from MEP Indrek Tarand (The Greens) from Estonia. “We will assist all MEPs and their staff who are interested in using free software in the European Parliament,” explains Erik Josefsson, who advises the European Greens on Internet policies. In the long run, the group wants to increase the amount of free and open source software used in the IT infrastructure of the EP.

    • US Intelligence Agency: Linux Help Wanted

      In a just released “report card” on the use of open source technology at the federal level, the Defense Department received the highest rating — 82 percent — from Open Source for America. “The Department is looking to adopt transparent policies and procedures in line with President Obama’s Open Government Directive,” said Daniel Risacher, associate director of enterprise services and integration at DoD.

    • European Commission extends Windows contract, Linux activists are angry

      As recent reports show, the European Commission has decided to extend its software contract with Microsoft. The $66.8 million deal has generated large controversies and has been extended with Fujitsu as a reseller on the 8th of December instead of February. The Directorate of Informatics of the European Commission, also known as Digit, decided to renew the contract the very day after the FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) began a campaign directed against any deal based on closed-source software.

    • Administrative Court in Lille Finds for Open Source

      My French partner, Sandrine Rambaud, brought to my attention a decision dated December 29, 2010, that leveled the playing field for open source vendors: the Administrative Court of Lille, France cancelled a public procurement procedure because the procedure excluded the possibility of proposing open source software in bid responses. Instead, the municipalities that put out the bid expressly required bidders to propose an Oracle database and Business Objects environments for the generation of reports.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff

      This is an open letter to President Dilma Rousseff signed by international organizations, academics and activists in support of the work of the Brazilian society and government for the cultural commons

    • Get Your Limited Edition “Share” Shirt!

      We are thrilled to announce a limited edition shirt designed by the creative folks at Imaginary Foundation. The shirt speaks to the power of shared knowledge and creativity, and can be yours for $30 in the CC Store.

      This is a great way to show your support for CC’s mission to realize the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research, education, full participation in culture, and driving a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

    • How can we promote the public domain?

      A few weeks back we ran a small workshop in Berlin for Public Domain Day 2011. It was attended by a mix of artists, scholars, legal experts, technologists, and passers by.

    • Open Access/Content/Attribution

      • give credit where credit is due.

        The problem: Creative Commons licensed content is awesome, but attributing it properly can be difficult and confusing. The first rule for re-using openly licensed content is that you have to properly attribute the creator. There are specific requirements for what needs to go into that attribution, but those requirements can be confusing and hard to find.

        [...]

        Open Attribute is a Mozilla Drumbeat project born at the “Learning, Freedom and the Web” Festival in Barcelona. A team of volunteers from all over the world has been collaborating to design, build and now distribute Open Attribute. Special Thanks to those who have worked so hard to make this a reality!

      • Open Attribute, a simple way to attribute CC-licensed works on the web

        Open Attribute, “a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work,” launched today with browser add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The add-ons “query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.”

    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware can yield dividends

        His experiments have yielded unexpected dividends – soon, under the label Freetronics, several products built using the Arduino as a base, will start appearing on the shelves of Jaycar Electronics, a popular store in Australia.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches Web and TV Interest Group

      At the occasion of the Web and TV Workshop in Berlin, W3C announces the creation of a new Web and TV Interest Group. The new group’s mission is to provide a forum for Web and TV technical discussions, to review existing work, as well as the relationship between services on the Web and TV services, and to identify requirements and potential solutions to ensure that the Web will function well with TV. See the group’s charter for more information. Learn more about Web and TV at W3C.

Leftovers

  • Multiculturalism has failed in Britain, PM says

    State multiculturalism has failed and left young Muslims vulnerable to radicalisation, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday, arguing for a more active policy to heal divisions and promote Western values.

    Cameron, in a speech to a security conference in Munich, argued that Britain and other European nations need to “wake up to what is happening in our countries” as well as tackling terrorism through military operations overseas.

  • Elizabeth May’s office destroyed after truck crashes through wall

    Green party Leader Elizabeth May’s office in Saanich, B.C., has been destroyed after a truck crashed into the building.

  • Councillor Geoff Lilley arrested over comment claims

    A COUNCILLOR arrested by police after complaints about comments posted on an internet forum says he is looking forward to his day in court.

    Geoff Lilley, an independent Hartlepool borough councillor, spent eight hours in custody before he was released on bail.

    It is understood the former bus driver made remarks about fellow councillor Marjorie James, who represents Labour in the Owton ward.

    The grandfather, who represents the Greatham ward, said he had been to a routine council planning committee meeting on Friday morning when his wife left him a message on his phone saying police wanted to speak to him.

  • Consumers in emerging markets using multi SIM cards for cheaper calls

    In the Western world where mobile phone contracts are relatively inexpensive, mobile phone users are accustomed to using just one SIM card to power all their mobile communications; however, in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, mobile users are snapping up phones with multiple SIM facilities so they can make cheaper calls.

    “We are already seeing triple SIM card devices being launched and this multi SIM behavior looks set to grow as a phenomenon, especially amongst the newer and more emerging markets,” commented GfK Global Telco marketing director, Aaron Rattue in a study released on February 3.

  • DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead
  • Science

    • Astrology is a science: Bombay HC

      Astrology has been debunked by most world scientists including India’s renowned physicist Prof. Yash Pal. However, it is “science” in India.

      The Bombay High Court reaffirmed this on Thursday when it dismissed a PIL that had challenged astrology as science.

    • Print Previews and the Future of Slicing

      Simon Kirkby has created this marvelous script for previewing GCode that uses Blender 2.5′s scripting system to create a duplicate of the object within Blender as paths. I think my favorite thing is that he leveraged the animation system so that you can slide the bar at the bottom of the screen (which changes which frame of the animation you’re viewing) to allow the user to see the object at different times during the build. Awesome.

    • Tiny device could transform mobile communications, says its creator

      Mobile phone base stations no bigger than a golf ball could help to bridge the digital divide and bring mobile broadband to distant areas both in the developing and developed world, the networking company Alcatel-Lucent has claimed.

      The company said on Monday that its new technology, which shrinks many of the functions of a standard base station down to a few chips which fit in a cube it calls “lightRadio”, would mean that mobile networks could run their systems with lower power demands and half the cost overall, while broadening deployment.

    • Humble water flea packs giant genetic punch

      The humble water flea might be diminutive in size but it packs a big genetic punch.

      Just a few millimetres across, Daphnia pulex is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced. With 30,907 genes, it has more than any other species sequenced so far, including nearly 5000 more than humans.

  • Security

    • Third of EU is crap at web security
    • Monday’s security advisories
    • USB Autorun Attacks Against Linux
    • USB autorun attacks against Linux

      Many people think that Linux is immune to the type of Autorun attacks that have plagued Windows systems with malware over the years. However, there have been many advances in the usability of Linux as a desktop OS – including the addition of features that can allow Autorun attacks.

    • Anon pwns HBGary Federal UPDATED w/PRESS RELEASE

      Yesterday, I posted a press release noting that the Financial Times article that appeared yesterday and which drew on input from HBGary Federal employee Aaron Barr was laughably inaccurate. An hour ago, Anon seized control of the internet security firm’s website, defaced its pages, acquired 60,000 company e-mails, deleted backup files, seized Barr’s Twitter account, and took down the founder’s website rootkit.com. Anonymous also acquired this document, which HBGary was set to provide to the FBI at a scheduled meeting tomorrow.

    • Anonymous v. Computer Insecurity Expert Aaron Barr – Updated

      Everyone has heard of Anonymous. A lot of people think that Anonymous is a bunch of dangerous anarchistic radicals. They are right. Anonymous is a bunch of dangerous anarchistic radicals. They believe in the most perverted concept ever invented. Ethics.

      Let’s take the most recent attack. Aaron Barr of HBGary Federal had claimed that he had infiltrated Anonymous. And that he had learned who the leaders were.

      Now Anonymous is rumored to have gotten it’s start in /b on 4chan. Like a lot of writers interested in the phenomenon, I’ve spent a fair bit of time in /b, trying to understand the culture. One thing I learned immediately. Anonymous doesn’t have leaders.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • South Sudan votes for independence by a landslide

      South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to declare independence in final results of a referendum announced on Monday, opening the door to Africa’s newest state and a fresh period of uncertainty for the fractured region.

      [...]

      The referendum is the climax of a 2005 north-south peace accord that set out to end Africa’s longest civil war and instil democracy in a country that straddles the continent’s Arab-sub Saharan divide.

    • The Revolution Will Not Be Televised — It Will Be Remixed!
    • Bush, Rumsfeld and Iraq: Is the Real Reason for the Invasion Finally Emerging?
    • John McCain on Egypt

      At the Munich Security Conference, Arizona senator John McCain delivered remarks on the protests in Egypt. “I believe the events in Egypt and elsewhere call for a new look at our approach to undemocratic governments everywhere, especially in the broader Middle East,” McCain said, clearly suggesting that the Obama administration should reconsider its policies. “Make no mistake, what is happening in Egypt is nothing short of a revolution, and it should put other undemocratic governments on notice that their presumed stability is a false stability.”

    • U.S. has secret tools to force internet on dictators

      When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt’s internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind.

      But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes.

  • Cablegate

    • In break with U.S., Ottawa backs gradual handover in Egypt

      The Harper government has endorsed the go-slow transition plan set out by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, signalling that Mideast stability and peace with Israel are its paramount concerns while other Western nations push for faster change.

    • Australia and US sign secret satellite spy deal

      AUSTRALIA and the United States have begun a partnership to share top-secret intelligence from spy satellites as Australia moves to acquire its own satellite to boost surveillance of Asia and the Pacific.

    • The WikiLeaks Roundtable
    • Canadian: Pirates have links to Somali government, terrorist organizations

      Two months after Somali pirates made their debut in the international spotlight by hijacking the MV Faina, a ship filled to the brim with Ukranian tanks and weapons, the U.S. government sent a cable from London with alleged details about the piracy circuit, recounted during a debriefing with a Canadian captain who had recently escorted an aid ship ashore: “there is clear evidence of collusion between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and pirates in Somali waters and links between pirates and terrorist networks,” a November 2008 cable claims.

    • WikiLeaks Finds New Source Of Funding: T-Shirts And Tote Bags

      Running the world’s most controversial website on charity alone isn’t easy. So WikiLeaks is trying out a new source of funding: good, old-fashioned capitalism.

    • The age of the WikiLeaks-style vigilante geek is over

      Now that the dust over the US embassy cables is beginning to settle, WikiLeaks finds itself at a crossroads. To effectively continue its war on government secrecy, it will need to make fundamental adjustments to how it operates – with no guarantees that the new, more mainstream WikiLeaks will be in much demand.

      Its other option is to sidestep its transparency work, delegate it to more nimble and decentralised WikiLeaks-clones, and focus on solving a problem that is likely to be a determining factor in the success of this nascent global transparency movement. It’s only by making the publishing of leaked materials insusceptible to the whims of corporate intermediaries such as Amazon or PayPal as well as by increasing its resilience against cyber attacks and other forms of political and legal pressure that this movement can succeed. In other words, Julian Assange’s other option is to dedicate himself to campaigning on freedom of expression issues, with the explicit goal of creating technical infrastructure that would allow the next generation of WikiLeaks-clones to remain uncensorable.

    • Air Force legal office: All of our members’ families can be prosecuted for reading WikiLeaks

      Almost anyone in the United States, and especially soldiers or the families of US Air Force members, could be under the threat of prosecution by the military, according to a recent “guidance” document issued by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) public affairs office.

      The advisory took on new significance Monday as Julian Assange, founder of the secrets peddling website, was in a British court to argue against his extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning in relation to allegations of sexual assault and impropriety.

    • UK Guardian journalist ‘expelled from Russia’

      A British journalist who reported on Wikileaks cables containing criticism of Russia’s leadership says he has been expelled from the country.

      The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding had reported on US cables describing Russia under Vladimir Putin as a “virtual mafia state”.

      He said he was stopped from re-entering Russia at the weekend and sent back to the UK. Russia has not yet commented.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • China Moves to Strengthen Grip Over Supply of Rare-Earth Metals

      China is building strategic reserves in rare-earth metals, an effort that could give Beijing increased power to influence global prices and supplies in a sector it already dominates.

    • Scientists Successfully Use Sedation to Help Disentangle North Atlantic Right Whale

      Scientists from NOAA Fisheries Service and its state and nonprofit partners successfully used at-sea chemical sedation to help cut the remaining ropes from a young North Atlantic right whale on January 15 off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. The sedative given to the whale allowed the disentanglement team to safely approach the animal and remove 50 feet of rope which was wrapped through its mouth and around its flippers.

      This is only the second time a free-swimming whale has been successfully sedated to enable disentanglement efforts. The first time a whale was successfully sedated and disentangled was in March 2009 off the coast of Florida.

    • Arctic fish catch vastly underreported (by hundreds of thousands of metric tons) for 5 decades

      From 1950 to 2006 the United Nation Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) estimated that 12,700 metric tons of fish were caught in the Arctic, giving the impression that the Arctic was a still-pristine ecosystem, remaining underexploited by the world’s fisheries. However, a recent study by the University of British Colombia Fisheries Center and Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences throws cold water on this widespread belief. According to the study, published in Polar Biology, the total Arctic catch from 1950 to 2006 is likely to have been nearly a million metric tons, almost 75 times the FAO’s official record.

  • Finance

    • Scientology founder’s tenets drive Pinellas title company, under fire for rapid document processing

      In 2009, a low-profile Pinellas County company drew unwelcome attention in a growing national controversy over home foreclosures.

      Employees of Nationwide Title Clearing, a leading processor of mortgage-related documents for banks, loan servicers and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., were under fire for signing paperwork as “vice president” of various banks although they actually worked for NTC.

      The assembly-line process in which workers scrawled their names or initials on hundreds of documents at a time — typically without reading them — helped prompt the term “robo-signing.” Critics said robo-signing raised questions about the accuracy of documents and the legality of thousands of foreclosure cases.

  • Privacy

    • Did the Internet Kill Privacy?

      The pictures were exactly what you’d expect from a European summer vacation: Cafes in Italy and Spain, the Guinness brewery in Ireland. So 24-year-old Ashley Payne, a public high school English teacher in Georgia, was not prepared for what happened when her principal asked to see her in August 2009.

      “He just asked me, ‘Do you have a Facebook page?’” Payne said. “And you know, I’m confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?’”

      In fact, the picture that concerned the principal – showing Payne holding a glass of wine and a mug of beer – was on her Facebook page. There was also a reference to a local trivia contest with a profanity in its title.

  • Civil Rights

    • Caught: Is This Man A Shill For CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala?

      Chinese netizens recently discovered what they suspect to be a shill or plant (identified above) in the audience of the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala (aka Spring Festival Gala) television program broadcast on the eve of Chinese New Year. How?

      They’ve spotted him on camera in the audience at every show since 2001!

      This discovery, including screen captures and timestamps of each time he appears) seems to have been first posted on the popular Chinese internet discussion forum Tianya. It soon spread to other popular forums and portal websites such as Mop and NetEase, all receiving pages and pages of netizen comments.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Cartoon about UBB
    • UBB is Bad

      It’s not over yet.

      Regulating Canada into the last century will not help our digital economy survive in this one.
      We need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts.

    • Explaining confusion around Usage Based Billing

      Reading people’s tweets about this subject, I felt the need to clarify the situation around Usage Based Billing (UBB). There are people on the sidelines, who are saying things like “what’s so bad about UBB”. The same people also argue that companies such as Bell and Rogers have invested large amounts of dollars therefore they need to recoup their costs by implementing UBB. They appear to fear that if we don’t pay up our networks will get “clogged up” and will therefore end up with slow internet service. This is simply propaganda in my opinion.

    • Verizon to start bandwidth throttling top 5 percent bandwidth users

      IF YOU’RE A HEAVY bandwidth users with Verizon you might want to re-think your choice of network, as the company has issued some changes to its data usage policies as of today that allows them to throttle the top five percent of its users. On top this, the cellular network operator has decided that streaming media uses up too much of its bandwidth and will from now on transcode all streaming video passing through its network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Piracy/Counterfeit Bait and Switch

      As I’ve noted before, one of the tricks used in the current ACTA negotiations is to blur the lines between counterfeiting and piracy, and to switch between the two whenever it suits the argument. So it’s no surprise that a conference bringing together many intellectual monopoly maximalists, the grandly-titled “Global Congress Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy”, used the same trick.

      [...]

      Significantly, as the speaker seeks to address “civil society concerns with ACTA”, he does not mention the fact that ISPs will be forced to become agents of intellectual monopolists, or the knock-on loss of privacy that will result, or the chilling effect this will have on free speech. That’s because he has no answer to these very serious criticisms of ACTA, which has been pushed through largely by exploiting the deliberate confusion between counterfeiting, with its undoubted analogue risks, and digital piracy, which has none.

    • Copyright as a Fundamentalist Religion

      An advantage of doing a lot of original research on copyright, and the history of copyright in particular, is that you start seeing very strong parallels to previous power struggles in society. I frequently say in my keynotes that there is nothing new under the sun.

      What is happening now with the copyright industry vs. the people is practically identical to what happened when the printing press was introduced and the Catholic Church declared war on the self-educated people. In both cases, it is not really about religion or law, but about the very simple principle that people are people and that powerful people will use their power to keep their power.

    • Copyrights

      • David Guetta: ‘Music should be free’

        “I have never been very nervous about online pir­acy,” the Daily Star quotes him as saying.

        “Sometimes you have to give away content, even if it isn’t bringing you money. It doesn’t have to be music, it can be videos, images and so on.”

      • Arrr! The Music Pirates Are Still Here

        A new study that surfaced last week came to the incomprehensible conclusion that two thirds of all BitTorrent traffic is likely to be related to copyright infringement. Even more shocking, it seemed to suggest that music piracy on public BitTorrent trackers is a thing of the past. But is this really the case? We’re afraid we have to disappoint the music industry once more.

        A few days ago the piracy research firm Envisional published an elaborate study into (unlawful) file-sharing traffic on the Internet. Commissioned by NBC Universal the researchers combined older Internet traffic estimates with their own research on the use of various file-sharing platforms.

      • RIP: Not a ‘Remix’ Manifesto, a Moratorium

        So lets get into it. The first flag in the video is the very definition of ‘remix’ – “to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new.” The filmmaker claims that the word “rose to prominence late last century during the hey day of hip-hop” which he says was the first popular form to incorporate samples from existing recordings. While there is some truth in this, it is extremely misleading and wrong in its implications. His definition is not one of a remix, but rather a definition of collage. Perhaps if he replaced the word remix with the word collage throughout the piece it would have held more weight (maybe not), but because he didn’t it leaves the whole piece open for harsh criticism.

      • ACTA

        • EU Academics Opinion on ACTA Criticized by European Trade Negotiator at EC Stakeholders Meeting – Deadline for Signing Is Today

          An opinion on ACTA drafted by European academics identifies the most critical aspects of ACTA and shows how it clashes both with EU law and with the enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. FFII reports that EU trade negotiator Pedro Velasco Martins has lashed out at the letter, saying that “ACTA does not require the introduction of any modification of EU legislation and will not require any legislative implementation in Europe,” and that the professors should know better.

        • De Gucht responds to MEP Françoise Castex. Says ACTA is binding agreement, consistent with EU ‘acquis’

          Commissioner Karl De Gucht of DG-Trade has responded to a November 3, 2010 MEP question by Françoise Castex, regarding the binding nature of ACTA (See below for copy of the Castex question). De Gucht says the ACTA is “a binding international agreement on all its parties, as defined and subject to the rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.” De Gucht does not say, one way or the other, that ACTA is consistent with US law, and he acknowledges that ACTA will likely require changes in criminal statutes for some EU member countries, but says these provisions were negotiated by the Member States themselves, and are not subject to EU jurisdiction.

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