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02.17.11

Links 17/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC5, SplashTop Makes MeeGo-based Platform

Posted in News Roundup at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Nigeria Uses GNU/Linux to Manage Elections

    120K PCs in a huge network manage the database.

  • Linux Based Cameleon XR1.5 For Indian Telecom Industry

    Donjin Communication Technology, a player in global multimedia communication platform technology and Contarra Systems, a worldwide telecommunica­tions software company specialized in multi-purpose communications solutions, have introduced Cameleon XR 1.5 a service delivery platform based on Linux Operating System for the Indian telecommunications industry.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung aims for iPod touch with WiFi-only Galaxy S variants

      At Mobile World Congress taking place this week in Barcelona, Samsung was showing off two new WiFi-only Android devices based on the popular Galaxy S smartphone. Coming in both 4″ and 5″ display sizes, the models would serve as non-phone companions to Samsung’s Galaxy S line, similar in many respects to the iPod touch.

      Both new devices feature 1GHz Hummingbird processors, front-facing VGA video cameras, microSD slots, Bluetooth, and WiFi, and they run Android 2.2 (Froyo). A smaller device which looks almost identical to current Galaxy S smartphones features a 4″ LCD touchscreen, a 3.2MP rear camera, and a 1200mAh battery. The larger version has an 800×480 pixel 5″ touchscreen, a 5MP rear camera with flash, and a 2500mAh battery. Both devices are compatible with 32GB microSD cards, but it’s not clear how much, if any, flash storage is built in.

    • LG Optimus 3D video hands-on

      The recently announced LG Optimus 3D (read specs) provides glasses-free 3D vision by sending separate signals to the right and left eyes. The technique creates an image that tricks the eyes into seeing the foreground of videos, games, and the user interface at a closer angle. My only problem with this that angles must be tight. When moving the phone a small degree to the left or right, the desired effect is gone and a distorted image appears in its place. While it’s a neat trick to be able to view 3D video without having to wear glasses, the experience is rather limited.

    • LG Optimus 3D is the new king of the hill when it comes to hardware performance thanks to its TI OMAP 4 chip
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Organizing conf.kde.in Conference In India

        The Indian KDE team is organising conf.kde.in, a conference for the KDE community and users. The conference is creating a platform for Qt and KDE contributors and enthusiasts to meet up, share their knowledge, contribute, learn and play.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3: Getting better by the day

        It’s easy to focus on the big new features, but there has been a huge amount of polishing work going on also. Marina has been refining the behaviour of the messaging tray, Owen has been making sure that icons are clearly rendered, and lots of bug fixing has been happening.

        This isn’t everything that’s been happening to GNOME 3 in recent weeks (system settings have been getting a lot of attention, as have many of our applications) but I hope the update’s useful.

      • Gnome Shell is Almost Ready to Rock Your Desktop

        When Gnome Shell was first becoming available over a year ago, we took a look at it to see what the foundation was like, and to see what direction the Gnome desktop was likely to go. At the time, we liked it, though it was clearly a “rough draft” of what it could eventually become. Since then, time has gone by, and while Ubuntu may have decided to go with Unity instead, others have taken Gnome Shell up to the next level. Fedora, among others, will be putting it front and center in future releases. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the most recent builds available to see what this slick desktop environment has got to offer.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Blog Now Included on the Censored Planet

          My blog is now included on Fedora’s “Planet Edited” – mind you various people won’t like me for calling it censored. Originally, I thought the censored version of planet was going to filter out the ‘I had this-and-that for breakfast’ type of blog posts, which, usually anyway, have nothing to do with Fedora at all. However, after some clarification from Andrea Veri, it seems a relation between the posts content and Fedora isn’t sufficient – the blog post must be specifically about Fedora.

        • Stop blaming Italians for Berlusconi

          The Italian media do not allow public opinion to be formed in an objective and impartial way. We could blame Italians for their leader only if the delicate mechanisms that govern Italian democracy were not distorted by a biased, irresponsible media. Rather, we should blame its “mediocracy”; that is, the dangerous entanglement of power and media that has been afflicting the country for decades.

          The mammoth media power that Berlusconi has built his empire on is unimaginable in any other western democracy. If we overlook his immense and unchallenged power over public opinion, his articulate propaganda machine, we won’t be able to explain why Italians have fallen asleep instead of reacting to the regime.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 Linux finally released

        In a recent article Brockmeier argued that Debian was still crucially important to the Linux world for two key reasons.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The top 5 desktops from our Facebook competition

          We got over 500 submissions throughout the week, and it was certainly a tough decision to pick only 5 winners out of so many.

        • A Long Overdue Introduction: ecryptfs-migrate-home

          One of my most popular (by number hits) posts on eCryptfs is the one on Migrating to An Encrypted Home Directory. This post contains a lengthy set of instructions when, if followed correctly, allows you to migrate to an encrypted home directory.

        • Live Ubuntu Video Q+A: Every Wednesday
        • Bug search no longer does substring matching of source package names
        • Canonical Re-licenses Ubuntu Wiki to CC BY-SA

          Elizabeth Krumbach on behalf of the Ubuntu Community Council announced in an email to various mailing lists, and posted on the Ubuntu Fridge that the licensing for the Ubuntu wiki will be CC-BY-SA and barring a “substantial number of objections” this change should take place in approximately one month.

        • Thunderbird in the Usability Lab!

          This time, I had the pleasure of working with Andreas Nilsson, who came to London to observe the sessions. It was very useful to get his feedback and to work collaboratively with him on the analysis and implications of the findings. In addition to these benefits of our work together, there is an added one: since he observed participants struggling with certain aspects of the interface, he will no doubt be a very effective user experience advocate with his team.

        • Ubuntu Unity 2D

          Some random musing about Ubuntu ARM Netbook Edition.

          Last month Canonical held its Ubuntu Platform Team rally in Dallas TX. During this rally the Unity 2D launcher was added to the public archive for use with the Ubuntu ARM Netbook edition. We had hoped it would be fairly simply to replace the existing EFL (Enlightenment Foundations Library) launcher with the QT based Unity launcher.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Noki-Soft Windfall – who wins most when Micro-Kia hand away lucrative smartphone empire bigger than Blackberry, bigger than iPhone

          Even more than being an 11x bestselling author of mobile telecoms and a consultant and ex-Nokia executive, I am more than anything else, an industry analyst for the mobile industry and one of its leading statisticians and forecasters. I am known for deep and insightful statistical analysis articles of the industry and its market such as this final review of all the stats and major players in the year 2010 in smartphones. So I have done a thorough analysis of all rivals who stand to gain from the loss of market share, that Nokia’s sudden Microsoft partnership announcement will create.

        • Analyst: Nokia-MS alliance bodes ill for phone giant

          “With the Microsoft deal unlikely to yield any products for nearly one year, Nokia will have no choice except to remain awkwardly reliant on the Symbian and MeeGo platforms in 2011. This will have a further negative impact on the Nokia’s already eroding position in smart phones,” it said.

        • SplashTop Releases Its MeeGo-based OS

          While Nokia has effectively abandoned the MeeGo Linux operating system, Intel is still supporting MeeGo along with AMD and other vendors, including SplashTop. SplashTop has today announced the release of their MeeGo-based operating system.

        • Fujitsu starts selling the first MeeGo netbook

          Fujitsu has just put MeeGo on their existing LifeBook MH330 netbook (originally launched with Windows onboard) making it the first MeeGo netbook shipping commercially. The MH330 (launched in mid 2010) has an Intel Atom N455 @ 1.66 GHz, 1 GB RAM, a 250 GB hard disk and 10.1″ 1024×600 display. The netbook is available now on Asian markets for about € 300.

        • Meego and Qt after Microsoft & Nokia: a summary of “facts”

          # MEEGO@NOKIA: #info Elop: Nokia would continue to develop the MeeGo operating system in collaboration with Intel
          So, definetly this work will continue.

          [...]

          So Meego will live on, both inside and outside Nokia. Qt will live on, both inside and outside Nokia. Symbian will die. Qt will not be ported to QP7. KDE will survive.

        • Collabortage

          I coined the term during an IRC conversation after a friend expressed dark suspicions that the MeeGo alliance between Intel and Nokia might have been a ploy by Intel to screw up Nokia’s ARM-centered product strategy in order to favor Intel’s Atom processors. I do not endorse this theory, but it started me thinking of various historical examples, such as Microsoft’s browser-technology collaboration with Spyglass, for which there is in fact strong reason to suspect deliberate collabortage.

        • Doomed By The Desire For Control?

          By attempting to seize control, Nokia and Microsoft are actually likely to lose influence.

        • Nokia shareholders and unions fight back against Microkia

          First, will be a battle with the Finnish trade union Pro which is demanding €100,000 (in addition to severance payments) for every Nokia employee that loses their job under Elop’s new strategy — money the unions says will be used for reeducation.

        • Otellini: Nokia News Made Me Swear Like Yahoo’s CEO

          When Intel CEO Paul Otellini received a call from Nokia chief Stephen Elop about Nokia’s move to Microsoft, he used a word that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz “has often used.”

        • Nokiasoft: Who are the Open Source Winners and Losers?

          The clearest loser in the deal is Symbian: it is as dead as the proverbial Monty Python parrot.

          [...]

          Surprisingly, perhaps, I don’t think Qt will be joining Symbian and MeeGo as a Dead Parrot; indeed, continuing the Monty Python theme, I’d say it’s more a question of “I’m not dead yet.” For Qt is, of course, a key element of KDE, which is doing very nicely thank you, and certainly doesn’t depend on the commitment or otherwise of Nokia (luckily). People will continue to hack on Qt because by doing so they can make KDE better – which is what they are passionate about.

          Indeed, you could argue that Qt might benefit from Nokia leaving it alone: it will allow Qt development to concentrate on improving those things that matter to KDE, rather than Nokia’s corporate priorities. And if the eventual owner of Qt (whoever that might be, assuming Nokia eventually sells it, as I think likely) starts messing about – hello Oracle – then there’s always the option of a fork, which in the wake of LibreOffice has become a much more respectable option.

        • Hands on with Intel’s MeeGo tablet UI: good ideas, rough edges

          Although Nokia is gutting its commitment to MeeGo, the platform still has support from a number of other prominent hardware vendors. Intel, which originally cofounded MeeGo with Nokia last year, has released an experimental “pre-alpha” build of its MeeGo tablet environment.

          The software was unveiled at Mobile World Congress this week and is being demonstrated on the Atom-based ExpoPC tablet. It is built with Nokia’s Qt development toolkit and uses the powerful Qt Quick framework for much of the user interface. It appears to be at a relatively early stage of development and is still lacking a lot of basic capabilities, but many of the underlying concepts are promising.

        • Intel Shows Off MeeGo Tablet UI Experience[Screenshots and Video]

          MeeGo is in the news again, this time for all the right reasons. Few days ago, Nokia announced that they are going to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone 7 as its primary OS instead of MeeGo. Intel on the other hand is all set to go ahead with MeeGo platform without Nokia. Intel has reiterated its commitment towards MeeGo open source mobile OS project by showing off MeeGo’s latest UI experience at Mobile World Congress currently being held at Barcelona, Spain.

        • Community SSU features to look forward to

          Most of these patches try to improve the user experience and look and feel of the Maemo 5 UI, but tastes differ, so you can choose which one to enable:

          * Blurless desaturation: With this feature enabled, the background of dialogs, menus, the launcher and the switcher won’t get all blurry – instead, they keep their sharpness, but are darkened and desaturated. (thread with screenshots)
          * Bigger task switcher: I think this is one of my earliest patches, now cleaned up to be configurable with different settings. You can choose between the Maemo 5 default layout, the single-column “big” task switcher and the two-column task switcher. I’ve left the horizontal task switcher out of this, as it wasn’t working that well in some situations. (thread with screenshots)
          * Rotation around the Z axis: This one makes the screen rotation look much more natural, just like on the MeeGo Handset UX. Instead of rotating around the X and Y axis, this makes the transitions from/to portrait mode rotate around the Z axis. (demo video)
          * Forced auto-rotation for all apps: By default, hildon-desktop obeys the preferences of application windows and whether or not they support portrait mode. With this option enabled, hildon-desktop ignores those preferences and instead assumes every application can be auto-rotated. There’s no support for the home screen, launcher or switcher, as these things are more complicated to support in portrait mode. (demo video)

        • Intel Giving Away Lots of Cash, Trip to Antarctica, Jet Flight & More for MeeGo Developers

          Intel is currently offering several incentives for developers to create MeeGo apps. The prizes look very interesting. How does a trip to South Pole sound? How about flying former military jets at supersonic speeds? If you’re not into that, you can opt for cash. The first 100 submitted quality apps also get $500 and the best 10 of those apps get $1000.

      • Android

        • Google: Android activations up to 350,000 a day
        • VMware put an Android in your Android, so you can VM while you VM

          So apparently VMware heard you like virtualization (or at least, that corporations do), so it made an Android virtual machine that can run inside Android’s own Dalvik VM.

        • ZTE taking the high road with new Android devices

          One of the more interesting announcements at this year’s MWC has come from ZTE, a Chinese telcom which has held a solid portion of the Chinese market by offering a number of low-end Android phones. Last year, ZTE shipped 2 million Android phones, and this year is looking to increase that number to 10 million, but also aim a little higher with these. ZTE has announced a number of devices ranging from 1 GHz smartphones to 1.2 GHz dual-core devices. The standouts from ZTE’s announcement were the ZTE Skate, the Light 2, the Light 10, and a mysterious “Internet box”.

        • Social discovery app “Tagged” comes to Android this week

          Just about every one loves a little social networking in their lives, right? Well, if you are tired of Facebook and Twitter and hopefully have also moved on from MySpace, then maybe the network Tagged is what you are looking for. Tagged is self-dubbed “the world’s leader in social discovery” and because of that are brought their popular iPhone app to Android this week.

        • Android increases lead over iOS in ad impressions. Let’s break down the numbers.

          As of October and November of last year, Millennial Media reported that Android and iOS were tied in ad impression share at about 38% each. By December, Android had pulled ahead with 46% to iOS’s 32%. Now, Millennial Media is reporting that in Januray iOS had an ad impression share of 28%, compared to Android’s 54%.

        • Huawei announces low-end IDEOS X3 smartphone and X7 tablet

          Huawei is certainly not going for the big money crowd like many of the other Android manufacturers seem to be doing. Huawei has just announced an entry-level phone, the IDEOS X3, and what looks to be an entry level tablet as well, the IDEOS X7.

        • CyanogenMod 7 release candidates now available for a number of devices

          Version 7 of the Android world’s most popular custom ROM, CyanogenMod, has now received its first proper release candidates. This means that a final release of CM7 should be pretty close now. The new builds are feature-complete and have been pretty thoroughly tested, although they might have to do some further tweaking. Nonetheless, these release candidates of CyanogenMod 7 should definitely be stable enough for everyday use.

        • The System & The System: Overlaying GNU on Android on the Beagle Board

          And so it is with Contraption, my project to overlay a GNU environment on top of the otherwise very un-GNU-like Android on the Beagle Board. Like the citizens of Beszel and Ul Qoma, the GNU and Android environments co-exist in close proximity, within the same geographic file system and random access memory, yet kept separate through the auspices of the Breach-like Linux kernel. You can interact with Android from one one screen while running GNU-based software from a bash shell inside an ssh session from another. For the most part the two systems simply unsee one another by virtue of using different PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH environmental variables and by being dynamically linked to different shared objects. The Linux kernel and the dynamic loader keep it all separate.

        • MapQuest Launches Android App with OpenStreetMap and Turn-By-Turn Navigation

          One of the superior apps on the Android phone has long been Google Maps, with its turn-by-turn and voice-guided navigation missing from the iPhone version. So on the surface, MapQuest has a difficult sell to Android users with the launch of its free app today.

          The MapQuest app also offers the turn-by-turn capabilities and takes advantage of Android’s speech capabilities to offer a voice guide as well. The benefits of MapQuest over Google Maps comes from the former’s use of OpenStreetMap (OSM), making the mapping app usable outside the U.S. and adding to it some user-submitted data.

        • Android pwns Mobile World Congress with unique display [Video]

          Android is taking over according to all the stat reports and user surveys released these days. But what happens when the green robot commands a large space of one of the major mobile phone events in the world?

          In Hall 8 of Mobile World Congress, Google has an Android zone that takes up a big chunk of space. There are product demos of Google and third-party apps, massive statues, giveaways, and even a smoothie bar serving up treats with an Android theme (Cupcake, Donut, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb). It’s one of the most popular and crowded destinations at MWC.

        • Google Unveils Android Subscriptions

          Google on Wednesday debuted an Android subscription model, which lets publishers “set their own prices and terms for their digital content.” As Fast Company notes, “It’s a fast counter blow aimed squarely at Apple’s new subscription system.” Indeed, “Google’s been careful to frame its system as a direct competitor to Apple’s App Store subscription service–one that’s far friendlier to publishers–without really mentioning Apple at all.”

        • Android Market on pace to outgrow iTunes 3-1

          According to a recent report by Lookout’s App Genome Project, the number of Android Marketplace apps increased by over 125% since August, putting it on pace to outgrow iTunes apps three to one. Apple still commands a sizeable lead in the total number of apps it offers through iTunes versus AM, the gap is narrowing quickly.

        • Android Ice Cream 2.4 = Gingerbread + Honeycomb

          Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed to an audience at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the upcoming version 2.4 of its Android operating system will combine both Gingerbread 2.3 and the tablet-centric Honeycomb 3.0.

        • TeamViewer6 Stable For Android, Released [Remote Desktop Application]
        • IcedRobot Will Take Android Beyond Smartphones: Exclusive Interview

          A group of developers has announced a project called IcedRobot which will make it possible to run Android apps on non-Android platforms. Something similar to what Alien Dalvik is trying to do. However, there is a significant difference between the two projects, what is it? How is IcedRobot going to affect the Oracle-Google court battle? How is it going to make life easier for developers? How is it going to make life easier for users? We got in touch with one of the founders of the IcedRobot to understand more about the project. Here is an exclusive interview with one of the founding members of the IcedRobot project, Mario Torre.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4, Socorro at AOL, PyCon 2011, Join Mozilla and more…

        * Firefox 4 playing well on major websites
        * Laura Thomson talks Socorro at AOL
        * Mozillians Take PyCon 2011
        * Now serving weekly updates on Join Mozilla
        * Meet the Developer Engagement Team
        * Thoughts on community from metrics guru
        * Mozilla and IPv6 day
        * Can IE9 be considered a modern browser?
        * Improvements to Firefox 4′s spell checker
        * More on MozMill at FOSDEM
        * What will Add-on updates look like in the future?
        * Software updates
        * Upcoming events
        * Developer calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/02/15
  • SaaS

    • Is the open source cloud computing dream evaporating?

      It’s hard to avoid cloud computing these days, with vendors lining up to support this latest incarnation of an idea that goes all the way back to terminals hanging off a mainframe. In many ways, that’s unfortunate, since the idea of computing ‘in the cloud’ poses particular problems for free software.

  • Databases

    • Database Technology for Large Scale Data

      It is similar to the MapReduce programming model, which has been frequently used as of late. Both Greenplum and Aster Data provide a feature of combining SQL and MapReduce. The following is a description of the SQL used by Greenplum and the manner in which it is processed.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux 6 available

      With a simple email to an in-house mailing list, last Friday Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Linux 6. There is, as yet, no press release on the release, which is unusual as the company and its CEO usually tend to aim for maximum publicity.

      The new generation Oracle Linux is largely a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL), which was released last November. New features listed in the release email and release notes are, therefore, already familiar from the original, for instance the use of Ext4 as the default file system, the support of XFS and the ftrace and perf tracing tools. One section in the release notes lists all the packages Oracle has modified to adjust the distribution’s “look and feel” and remove Red Hat trademarks.

    • [tdf-announce] LibreOffice Community starts 50,000 Euro challenge for setting-up its foundation

      LibreOffice Community starts 50,000 Euro challenge for setting-up its foundation

    • Webcast recap: General Hugh Shelton
    • Now Hudson moves to GitHub

      The dispute between Oracle and the Hudson community over the continuous integration software Hudson, which led to the creation of Jenkins, a renamed version, has taken an ironic turn.The arguments started over where Hudson’s code and other developer resources would be hosted.

      Oracle had insisted, having ownership of the Hudson trademark, on the code being on its project Kenai-based Java.net service. But after problems with a mishandled migration of the project, much of the community backed a plan that would have moved it to the GitHub repository. Oracle objected to this and the community’s response to Oracle was a vote to rename Hudson as Jenkins to avoid the trademark issue and taking control of Jenkins hosting.

    • Google Files Motion for Leave to File Motion for Summary Judgment on Oracle’s Copyright Claim

      Google has sent a letter [PDF] to Judge William Alsup, asking leave to file a motion for summary judgment on Count VIII of Oracle’s Amended Complaint in Oracle v. Google.

      Count VIII is the one about copyright infringement. So regardless of how the judge rules, we get to see Google’s position, which if I translate into non-legalese would be: “What we did isn’t actionable, being covered by fair use or the files are so few their use is de minimis or they are not copyrightable.” I have done the letter as text for you.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m100) available

      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev DEV300m100 is available for download.

      DEV300 is the development codeline for upcoming OOo 3.x releases.

    • LibreOffice Starts 50,000 Euro Challenge Foundation Set-Up

      Oracle’s Sun buyout has taught a very important lesson to the Free and Open Source Community: its better and safer to be independent than be controlled by a corporate entity. There are many projects driven by corporates with good intentions, but the risk of buyout remains.

      OpenOffice fork, LibreOffice is one of the role models of community-governed project. To meet the financial requirements without compromising on what the community or users want, the LibreOffice community is calling for monetary contributions.

    • LibreOffice Colorful Icons Land In The US @ SCALE

      LibreOffice is the free office productivity suite developed by the TDF developer community, and is going to be included as the default choice in all Linux desktop distributions announced from March 2011 onwards. The software features a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation manager (Impress), a charting and graphics program (Draw), and a database front end (Base). The suite supports the ISO standard Open Document Format (ODF) for personal documents, and is compatible with most of the legacy proprietary formats – including several flavors of Microsoft Office, WordPerfect and Microsoft Works – and with the OOXML ISO standard (in the current non-standard Microsoft implementation).

  • Healthcare

    • Parliament Approves European Directive Against Falsified Medicines

      The European Parliament today approved a new law aimed at preventing falsified medicines from entering the legal supply chain, according to a Parliament press release. The law needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers.

      The new law will cover internet sales and introduces new safety and traceability measures. According to the release, a “huge growth” in falsified medicines has been witnessed since 2005, with an estimated one percent of products sold in to the European public through the legal supply chain being falsified, according to the release. The law is expected to be posted soon to a link provided in the press release.

  • Funding

    • AdBlock Plus: Open source for fun (not funds)

      It is this last thing that strikes me as offering the most vital reason for the significant contributions to VLC, and it also comes through in Palant’s decision to invest so much time in Adblock Plus. He told me: “I have the feeling that this work is important. I can help many people and in the long term the web might actually become a better place.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Stress test FSFE’s new donation options!

      FSFE’s work depends on your donations. Without we would not be able to work on software freedom, follow the policy process in European countries, the European Union, and the United Nations, nor would we be able to run campaigns like pdfreaders.org or Document Freedom Day.

    • Decentralizing the Internet So Big Brother Can’t Find You

      On Tuesday afternoon, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Washington about the Internet and human liberty, a Columbia law professor in Manhattan, Eben Moglen, was putting together a shopping list to rebuild the Internet — this time, without governments and big companies able to watch every twitch of our fingers.

    • The FreedomBox Foundation
    • Debian and the FreedomBox
  • Project Releases

    • GNU Guile 2.0.0 released

      We are pleased to announce GNU Guile release 2.0.0, the first of a new stable series and the result of almost 3 years of work. It provides many new noteworthy features, most notably the addition of a compiler and virtual machine.

  • Government

    • EE: Ministry saves millions by using open source office

      Using the open source costed the ministry no more than 64.000 Euro over the past ten years, being simply the annual budget for training users. Had it continued to use a proprietary office suite, the costs for purchasing or renting proprietary software licences and user training would have ranged between 1.4 and 2.8 million Euro, Merilo showed in a presentation at the Latvian Open Technology Association (LATA), a trade organisation, on 18 January in Latvia’s capital Riga.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • User-led innovation can’t create breakthroughs. Really?

      2) Getting user feedback ≠ taking user feedback.

      Jens and Rasmus jump to a conclusion that I probably wouldn’t reach myself. They argue that it is actually harmful to listen to users and that innovative brands don’t care about what their users want. They make four key points 1) Users insights can’t predict future demand 2) User-centered processes stifle creativity 3) User focus makes companies miss out on disruptive innovations 4) User-led design leads to sameness.

    • The Lebanese Creative Commons community gains momentum

      In the past three years, the Lebanese CC Community has started to structurally gain momentum and actively co-create together on local, regional and multi-national levels. The community that we have is vibrant and diverse consisting of visual artists, photographers, musicians, NGOs, and publishers—each with his own story and journey with CC.

    • Open Data

      • The State of Open Data in Canada: The Year of the License

        Open Data now an established fact in a growing list of Canadian cities. Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa have established portals, Montreal, Calgary, Hamilton and some other cities are looking into launching their own and a few provinces are rumored to be exploring open data portals as well.

        This is great news and a significant accomplishment. While at the national level Canadian is falling further behind leaders such as England, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, at the local and potentially provincial/state level, Canada could position itself as an international leader.

      • How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life

        Major city governments across North America are looking for ways to share civic data — which normally resides behind secure firewalls — with private developers who can leverage it to serve city residents via web and mobile apps. Cities can spend on average between $20,000 and $50,000 — even as much as $100,000 — to cover the costs of opening data, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how much is needed to develop a custom application that might not be nearly as useful.

    • Open Hardware

      • Texas Instruments OMAP 5 may offer the best quad-core chip [Processor fights]

        All cores are not created equal. That was the key message that I took away from a recent meeting with the folks from Texas Instruments. While the trend among mobile phones and tablets is to trumpet how many cores one chipset has, and how many gigahertz can be crammed into a tiny piece of hardware, that doesn’t tell the whole story of how a device will perform.

        Texas Instruments recently announced that its TI OMAP 5 would be a quad-core processor that greatly advances the computing power of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. OMAP 5 features twin ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can each reach 2 GHz of power, and two ARM Cortex-M4 cores that are used to deliver optimal battery with less power requirements. So while NVIDIA trumpets its four Cortex A9 cores, TI plans to counter with what it claims will be a stronger and smarter quartet.

  • Programming

    • Is Eclipse Open-By-Rule?
    • Open Source COBOL-IT Tools to be Distributed by Speedware

      IBM i shops that develop in COBOL may be interested in learning about COBOL-IT, a compiler and collection of modernization tools that is developed in France under an open source license. Last week, the Canadian application modernization company Speedware announced that it’s now distributing COBOL-IT to North American customers.

      According to the Paris-based company, the COBOL-IT Compiler Suite is an ANS85-compliant version of the popular procedural language. The compiler installs on Windows, Unix, and Linux machines, including Linux for z/OS, thereby providing organizations with hosting options besides the IBM mainframe, where a lot of legacy COBOL resides.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C: HTML5 will be finished in 2014

      Those curious about the final release date for the hotly debated HTML5 need wonder no more: The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) plans to finalize the standard by July 2014, the organization announced Monday.

      “This is the first time we’ve been able to answer people’s questions of when it will be done,” said Ian Jacobs, head of W3C marketing and communications. “More and more people from more and more industries are asking when it will be done. They require stability in the standard and very high levels of interoperability.”

    • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Authorized Translations Now in Six Languages
    • ODF Mime Type Icons Redesign

      Overall, this design decision enables us to make ODF file distinction to be supported via luminance and form/contour contrasts. Which is a significant improvement compared to the current ODF icons, without violating any ODF marketing constraints.

    • ODFDOM 0.8.7 – The new Release of the OpenDocument Java Library

      The new version of ODFDOM – our Apache 2 licensed ODF library in Java has been released!

    • Scramble to set mobile pay standard

      In the business world, the pursuit of profits sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. And in the race to be first in the local mobile payment market, credit card firms, telecommunications companies and mobile phone makers are forging unlikely alliances.

      With the country’s “cashless” payment culture and the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones creating a whole new way to pay for goods and services – via mobile devices – companies in some industries are looking to set the standards for the new business and get in on the first train.

    • Drumming Up More Addresses on the Internet

      They debated the question for more than a year. Finally, with a deadline looming, Mr. Cerf decided on a number — 4.3 billion separate network addresses, each one representing a connected device — that seemed to provide more room to grow than his experiment would ever require, far more, in fact, than he could ever imagine needing. And so he was comfortable rejecting the even larger number of addresses that some on his team had argued for.

Leftovers

  • [Old] Hunton & Williams Sued for $150 Million in Contract-Interference Case

    Hunton & Williams has been hit with a $150 million lawsuit in Wisconsin claiming that the law firm maliciously squeezed a broker out of a contract and should pay up for the company’s losses.

    The lawsuit alleges that Hunton & Williams and client Insight Equity Holdings LLC ousted plaintiff Minerals Development & Supply Co. from a supply chain agreement in which Minerals Development was the middleman. Filed in Monroe County, Wis., Circuit Court, on July 30, the lawsuit seeks punitive damages for what Minerals Development asserts was the law firm’s intentional and malicious conduct.

  • Why You Should Use Emoticons In Your Emails

    Language is a means of communication, buts its only as effective as the person using it. Without inflection and emotion, language loses a lot, making text communication one of the poorest forms. While emoticons can be informal, they may actually be the best way of bringing additional meaning to your emails.

  • Guilting parents out of child care

    In the crass world of Canadian right-wing politics, there is a surefire way to diffuse voters’ earnest desire for affordable, high quality child care and early learning options: play the guilt card.

    Human Resources Minister Diane Finley did it just last week in response to a federal Liberal promise to revive the national child-care program Paul Martin said he would implement before losing grip of his fledgling minority government five years ago.

  • No courting in public, Hindu group warns Delhi

    “We won’t allow our culture to be hijacked by foreign multinationals who have introduced concepts like Valentine’s Day just to sell cards,” said its spokesman, Sunil Tyagi. The group plans to equip its members with cameras to film couples in action. “When we upload such footage on YouTube, the couples will learn their mistake.”

  • Police issue arrest warrant for rabbi that supported book which justifies killing non-Jews
  • Stop the global land grab

    “NGOs don’t mobilise people, desperation mobilises people,” said a Cambodian land activist as he related the experience of Boeung Kak villagers who were driven off their land by their own government to make way for corporate profiteering.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • ARM Marches Onward

      Obviously ARM is doing very well in embedded stuff and smart thingies but nVidia’s newest Tegra chip is mind-blowing. They tout it for mobile but demonstrate it doing video and games on huge monitors. Does that not spell desktop/notebook/gaming console? Yep! There’s a rumour that this will power the next iPad.

    • 3TB Drives are Here
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Aims to Own Our Food, While Profiteering Off of Toxins and Pesticides

      In its latest of many articles on the increasing threat of Monsanto to world agricultural production, Truthout once again points out that the multinational corporation is in the process of privatizing much of our food supply through the patenting and aggressive marketing of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops.

    • Doctors Sue Federal Government for Deceptive Language on Meat, Dairy in New Dietary Guidelines

      A nonprofit physicians organization is suing the federal government over the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, accusing officials of using deliberately obscure language regarding foods consumers should avoid. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) cites the government’s conflicts of interest and arbitrary and capricious behavior in developing nutrition advice that was supposed to help Americans fight record obesity levels.

      In a lawsuit filed this week against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, PCRM says the Dietary Guidelines are clear about what to eat more of—vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, for example—but deliberately hide the foods Americans should eat less of. The Guidelines use biochemical terms, such as “saturated fat” and “cholesterol” instead of specific food terms “meat” and “cheese.” This deliberate omission can be traced to the USDA’s close ties to the meat and dairy industries, including fast-food companies such as McDonald’s.

  • Security

    • Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack
    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Legal Defenses For Anonymous In The Excited States – IANAL

      This is actually a multi-layered defense. The FBI appears (from some statements) to be trying to claim that having a copy of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon is illegal. The Low Orbit Ion Cannon is a network testing application. Network testing applications aren’t illegal, however they possibly could be used for illegal uses. I can see a defense lawyer claiming that the LOIC application is the cyber equivalent of a rifle, and possession is covered under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      The use of Distributed Denial of Service Attacks against Mastercard, Paypal, Visa, etc. is being regarded by the FBI as illegal. However the use of a gun in self defense isn’t illegal in many places. Expect to see arguments that use of the LOIC software is equivalent to using a gun for self defense.

      Also expect to see arguments that the social engineering attack on Rootkit.com was also self defense, assuming that the FBI can locate whoever actually did it. This would also cover any of the actions by anyone against HBGary Federal.

    • Anonymous victim HBGary goes to ground

      The computer security company hacked by members of activist group Anonymous has gone to ground as further revelations about its activites leak online.

      HBGary has cancelled its appearances at public events, saying that members of staff had been threatened.

      It follows the release of internal documents which appear to show the firm offered to smear Wikileaks’ supporters.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • [Old] Police arrest four at Toronto homes

      Toronto police are arresting many of the key organizers behind anti-G20 protests, several of them during pre-dawn raids on houses across Toronto that resulted in four people being charged with conspiracy to commit mischief.

    • CBS News’ Logan recovering after ‘brutal’ attack
    • Yemen protests turn violent

      Yemen protests started in mid January with a self immolation and the arrest and release of Yemeni activist Tawakel Karman, and they have not really stopped since. A Day of Rage was organized for February 3 but tens of thousands were in the streets on January 27 as well as many smaller protests, throughout the time period. The last five days have seen a huge increase in the numbers in the streets, as well as the violence directed at them. According to Human Rights Watch, president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s security forces have attacked demonstrators, activists, lawyers, and journalists in Yemen capital city Sanaa without justification. An estimated 3000 people protested from Sana’a University, clashing with police and pro-Saleh demonstators using batons, rocks, and occasionally knives. Today in Taiz, over 2500 people are refusing to leave and are forming committees and buying tents to continue occupying their protests grounds.

    • ‘Best lead’ before 7/7 not followed

      Police failed to chase up their “best lead” after a suspected armed robbery, which may have led them to one of the July 7 bombers weeks before the atrocity, an inquest has heard.

      Inquiries were “left outstanding” after Jermaine Lindsay was linked to an alleged gun crime in May 2005. Though police were able to identify the 19-year-old as the owner of a red Fiat Brava spotted leaving the scene, this information was never fully followed up.

      Officers launched an investigation named Operation Bugle after a man dialled 999 to say there was a gunman in his flat on May 27, 2005 – five weeks before the terror attacks on London.

      Three women and a child were later seen fleeing from the property “in fear” while three men – wearing balaclavas and gloves – were spotted getting into the Fiat Brava.

      When armed officers arrived later that evening, neither the owner of the Luton flat nor the gunman were there. Attempts to identify the gang of men – two black and one Asian – or the group of women seen leaving the area in a taxi were unsuccessful.

    • Somali pirate gets more than 33 years in prison

      A Somali pirate who kidnapped and brutalized the captain of a U.S.-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Africa in 2009 was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison Wednesday by an emotional judge who told him he deserved a stiff punishment for leading a crew of armed bandits bent on committing “depraved acts.”

      U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska choked up as she read at length from letters written by Capt. Richard Phillips and traumatized sailors who were aboard the cargo vessel commandeered by Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse.

    • Vaughan Smith’s new film ‘Blood and Dust’ broadcasting on Al Jazeera

      Above is a preview of Vaughan Smith’s dramatic new film BLOOD AND DUST recording life and death with an American helicopter medevac unit in Southern Afghanistan.

      ‘These Medivac teams, US military air ambulances, are amoungst the only soldiers that go to war to save lives and they are very good at it.’

    • Two TSA agents arrested at JFK Airport for stealing $39K from passenger’s bag

      Under questioning, the pair also admitted swiping up to $160,000 from other unsuspecting passengers.

      Rogue agents Davon Webb, 30, and Persad Coumar, 36, were busted after a sharp-eyed colleague blew the whistle.

    • Libya cracks down on protesters after violent clashes in Benghazi

      Hundreds of anti-government protesters clashed with police and government supporters in Libya’s second city yesterday as unrest spread across the Arab world.

    • Mubarak ordered Tiananmen-style massacre of demonstrators, Army refused

      Buried in this Robert Fisk report for The Independent is a startling account of the Egyptian army refusing to move with tanks against the Tahrir Square protesters on January 30. If this is true, it must be the defining moment in the history of the movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign.

      [...]

      Last night [Feb 10], a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier’s growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks. But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

      Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

    • Baghdad wants U.S. to pay $1 billion for damage to city

      Iraq’s capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

    • Iraqi lied about weapons of mass destruction

      An Iraqi defector has admitted for the first time he fabricated claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

      In an interview with the newspaper, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi said he made up a story told to German intelligence officials throughout 2000 about mobile biological weapons and clandestine factories. His motive was to overthrow the Iraqi government, he said.

    • Bahrain: 2011-2-16

      In the last hour police raided the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. The protestors were camped when teargas, buckshot and rubber bullets were fired into the square from the bridge overlooking the circle. When the crowd stampeded away from the bridge another barrage from the opposite direction scattered them. The circle has been locked down with no one allowed in or out. Many were wounded and some deaths have occurred. Men, women and children were injured. This attack came after the king promised to investigate the previous deaths from buckshot.

    • Bahrain: 2011-2-17

      It looks like the regime will not roll over as in Tunisia and Egypt. I expect tomorrow will be a very interesting day in Bahrain. Friday is the holy day when many passionate speeches will be made in the mosques.

    • Bahrain Police Refuse Ambulances Access To Wounded Protesters
    • Domino Theory 50 Years Later
    • Tsunami in Egypt

      UNTIL THE very last moment, the Israeli leadership tried to keep Hosni Mubarak in power.

    • Tea Party declares war on military spending

      In his speech to the conference on Friday, Paul the elder was the only speaker to address the current crisis in Egypt and criticised successive US administrations for “propping up a puppet dictator”, citing 30 years of uncritical support for Hosni Mubarak. Traditionally, Ron Paul’s supporters (and the libertarian philosophy they espouse) have been dismissed as merely boisterous gadflies fluttering around the real heavyweight horsetrading for political power within the Republican party. The issues they champion range from the practical (passing a balanced budget amendment), to the fanciful (abolishing the Federal Reserve and reintroducing the gold standard); thus they have never been taken seriously by the Republican establishment.

  • Cablegate

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG For Tuesday, Day 80

      Six in 10 say WikiLeaks played role in Tunisia revolt, which sparked so much else, and other demos. “More than 60 percent believe that Wikileaks will change the way governments behave. 55 percent of Arabs revealed in the poll that they believe little to nothing of what their governments tell them.”

    • WikiLeaks, free speech and Twitter come together in Va. court case

      In the courtroom, John Keker, a lawyer representing one of the Twitter clients, said the users’ data would give the government a map of people tied to WikiLeaks and essentially halt free speech online.

    • Notes From a Father of the Open Internet, 15 Years On

      As a revolution that was in many ways organized on Facebook continued in Egypt, John Perry Barlow said Wednesday that the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace that he wrote 15 years ago Tuesday is still as relevant now as it was when he penned it.

    • The Australian’s double standard on Julian Assange

      The Australian’s love-hate relationship with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks — possibly a little more co-dependent on The Oz’s side — continues apace. Like much of News Limited, its right-wing columnists turned their guns on him early, before The Oz began a desperate attempt to acquire some of the “cablegate” cables after Philip Dorling began publishing reports of them in Fairfax (which disgraced itself as the only news partner unwilling to actually publish the cables in question).

      [...]

      The implicit accusation is absurd and simply wrong.

    • EFF Argues for Privacy in Hearing Over Twitter Records

      These secret government requests for information only came to light because Twitter took steps to ensure their customers were notified and had the opportunity to respond. In fact, EFF was only able to speak publicly about the hearing and the motions we filed on behalf of our client, Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, after petitioning the court to lift the seal on the legal proceedings. We also asked the court Tuesday to go further with its unsealing, and make more documents public. The issues at hand — WikiLeaks, privacy, free speech, and social networking — are all important matters of public interest, and the orders and motions before the judge should be available to inform public debate.

    • Obama Admin Touts Internet Freedom While Targeting Twitter, WikiLeaks

      The Obama administration has unveiled a new policy it says will help protesters worldwide evade curbs to internet freedom. Drawing on the key role of online organizing in the recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will help bloggers and activists evade state censorship.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks The Talk On Internet Freedom; Will The Administration Walk The Walk?

      A year ago, Hillary Clinton gave a speech about the importance of “internet freedom” that many of us later pointed out appeared to be in stark contrast with the federal government’s (including Secretary of State Clinton’s) reaction to the publishing of various State Department cables. So a lot of folks were interested in what Clinton had planned for her followup speech on internet freedoms, which she gave yesterday. I’ve embedded the full speech below, but you can also read a summary of the speech at Wired.

    • Friend of Suspected WikiLeaks Source Alleges Torture

      A friend of the alleged whistleblower, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, says the U.S. government’s treatment of Manning amounts to torture.

    • WikiLeaks: Egypt’s new man at the top ‘was against reform’

      The military leader charged with transforming Egypt opposed political reform because he believed that it “eroded central government power”, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

    • Hillary Clinton champions Internet freedom, but cautions on WikiLeaks

      The 50-minute speech was also an opportunity for the US to weigh in on a event that has been a thorn in the discussion over freedom of speech since it began, namely the WikiLeaks document release, says Depauw University communications professor Kevin Howley.

      He noted the “surprisingly small” amount of mainstream attention given to the fact that WikiLeaks was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize two weeks ago.

    • Clinton: We Love Net Freedom, Unless It Involves WikiLeaks
    • Government challenged on Twitter records access

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, is the most high-profile of the three defendants.

    • Interview of Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning [MP3]
    • 06YEREVAN1019, A PROSTITUTE’S STORY: SEX AND TRAFFICKING IN

      Poverty and desperation are the largest factors contributing to trafficking in persons in Armenia, according to prostitutes, police and NGOs in Vanadzor, Armenia’s third-largest city. We met them during a July 14 trip to the city, where prostitutes gather after dusk in the traffic circle outside a central church to begin the day’s work. To each we posed the question, “What can be done to eradicate trafficking in persons in Armenia?” No one had an answer, but all agreed that lack of jobs drove women to sell themselves both in Armenia and overseas, where the money was better, but where they often didn’t actually get paid. They told us that girls as young as 11 and 12 have started walking the streets. A police officer told us that parents send their daughters to Turkey fully understanding the cost at which remittances will be sent home. We visited a decrepit shanty town, where prostitutes work for bread and rice, to see first-hand the conditions in which many of them live. We left Vanadzor convinced that, while stricter laws and harsher sentencing are needed in Armenia, prostitutes work in large part because they have to put food on the table, and they go to Turkey and the UAE because they believe the money is better there.

    • Lawmaker reintroduces WikiLeaks prosecution bill

      New legislation in the U.S. Congress targets WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage prosecution.

      Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, introduced the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination, or SHIELD, Act on Tuesday. The bill would clarify U.S. law by saying that it is an act of espionage to publish the protected names of American intelligence sources who collaborate with the U.S military or intelligence community.

      King introduced similar legislation in 2010. Senators John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican, introduced similar legislation in the Senate last week.

    • Julian Assange Has NEVER Done ANYTHING That Would Give The U.S. Jurisdiction! Alan Dershowitz
    • Cables illuminate U.S. relations with Bahrain, potential for unrest

      The United States and Bahrain are close allies. In fact, according to an April 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable, one of several released by WikiLeaks this week, the two countries have “about as good a bilateral relationship as anywhere.” The cables recount a number of interesting details, particularly in light of ongoing unrest there this week, about the government’s leadership, U.S. interests in Bahrain and the region, and about the backstory of sectarian tensions between a ruling Sunni government and a large underclass Shiite majority.

      U.S. interests in Bahrain, according to the cables, center around two issue: Iran and Iraq. And the two are related. The April 2008 cables notes that Bahrain’s “number-one security concern is Iran. They support [the U.S.] tough stand toward Tehran.” The cables claim that Bahrain worked with the U.S. government to monitor financial transactions from Iran. And perhaps even more importantly, Manama expressed interest in creating a broader alliance of countries in the Gulf and the region to resist Iran, the cables claim. And here’s where Iraq comes in, according to a 2008 cable: “Our point that reintegrating Iraq into the Arab fold is critical to limiting Iranian influence has had real resonance with the Bahraini leadership.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sterility in frogs caused by environmental pharmaceutical progestogens

      Frogs appear to be very sensitive to progestogens, a kind of pharmaceutical that is released into the environment. Female tadpoles that swim in water containing a specific progestogen, levonorgestrel, are subject to abnormal ovarian and oviduct development, resulting in adult sterility. This is shown by a new study conducted at Uppsala University and published today in the scientific journal Aquatic Toxicology.

    • The True Cost Of Coal – Up To A Half Trillion Dollars Per Year

      Dr. Paul Epstein from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard’s Medical School has written an article set for publication this month in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences quantifying the true costs of coal in terms of economic, health and environmental impacts.

      Dr. Epstein’s study details how each stage of coal’s life cycle (extraction, transportation, processing, and combustion) has enormous costs, all of which are directly borne by the public. Notably, the report estimates some $74.6 billion a year in public health costs for Appalachian communities, mainly from increasing healthcare burdens, injury and death.

    • Video: Carnivorous Bladderworts Catch Meals With Vacuum Power
    • Amazon pollution: Chevron hits back in row with Ecuador

      US oil giant Chevron says it will appeal against an $8.6bn (£5.3bn) fine imposed by Ecuador judges, carrying on a long-running row over pollution.

      Chevron’s Kent Robertson told the BBC the case was an “extortion scheme”, and accused Ecuador’s state-run firm of polluting the country’s Amazon region.

    • Mining giants bury Canadian critics with lawsuits

      Canadian academics and free speech advocates are up in arms over two mining multinationals’ use of libel law to bury their critics in lawsuits. Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher published a book called Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique that detailed well-sourced human rights abuses by the multinational resource companies Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation.

  • Finance

    • NYSE traders say yes to Germany, no to lederhosen

      A German takeover of the New York Stock Exchange, the citadel of American capitalism, would have shocked its floor traders in years gone by. But not now.

    • Is the Great Stagnation a great opportunity?

      As Tyler points out in this book, and catalogued at length in his other excellent book, Create Your Own Economy, recent increases in happiness come from growth in internal economies. That is, internal to humans. In the past, increased well-being came from not having a toilet and then having one, or the invention of cheap air travel. Today they come from blogging, watching Lost on Netflix, listening to a symphony from iTunes, tweeting with your friends, seeing their pictures on Facebook or Path, and learning and collaborating on Wikipedia. As a result, once one secures a certain income to cover basic needs, greater happiness and well-being can be had for virtually nothing.

    • We All Work at Enron Now

      Remember Enron? That paragon of turn-of-the-century new-economy triumphalism, gushed over by pundits, lauded by investors, celebrated by the cognoscenti — until it turned out to be a roadside bomb in disguise? The cause of its demise, ultimately: overstating benefits and understating costs. The result, of course, was a spectacular flameout, today the stuff of legend.

      So here’s a question. Is the global economy going Enron? Just like Enron, does it systematically and chronically overstate real benefits (consider just how vanishingly little “profit” reflects trust, happiness, joy, delight, inspiration, passion, wisdom, or a sense of meaning) and understate real costs (like damage to nature, the future, communities, society, or human achievement itself)? And is that, perhaps, the prime mover of what both Tyler Cowen and I have termed a Great Stagnation?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Egypt’s Lobbyists Worked To Block Pro-Human Rights, Democracy Resolution

      New disclosures filed in the past few weeks by Egypt’s lobbying team in Washington shine a light on the activity the country took last summer and fall to block the discussion and passage of a resolution calling on the United States to support human rights in Egypt and demand an end to the emergency law, two key demands of the protesters who, last week, toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

    • Beck warns against searching his conspiracy theories on Google

      Okay, Glenn Beck has completely lost it. Now he’s warning his audience against looking up his conspiracy theories on Google…

    • UPDATED: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All

      According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

  • Censorship

    • Algeria tried to block internet and Facebook as protest mounted

      The Algerian government was blamed by protesters for preventing access to internet providers across much of the capital, Algiers, and other cities including Annaba for much of Saturday morning and afternoon in an attempt to prevent planned demonstrations gathering pace.

      Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

    • Salinger’s Ghost Censors From The Grave

      Jay McInerney in the NY Times reminds us why there will never be a biographical account of J.D. Salinger that is as accurate and insightful as it could be, all thanks to a bit of stifling censorship from the current copyright regime…

  • Privacy

    • Using Real Names has Real Consequences

      I post under my own name, but I do it with a consciousness of the risk.

      I’ve been on the net (it was the ARPANET then) since 1977. At that time, we actually had user profiles with a place to supply your social security number, and people often complied because there was no reason to suppose it was dangerous. Those were certainly different times. People today are often horrified as they look back at the practices of those days, but everyone’s sensibilities were different then. At some point we noticed that there was danger in having such information out in the open, so the data was erased and the ability to attach it was removed. But initially we were more trusting.

    • Council survey causes privacy concern

      A survey issued by Wiltshire Council has stirred up a privacy debate in the local community, as it asks questions about resident’s sexuality, debt levels and qualifications.

      According to the Salisbury Journal, the document has been sent out to 26,500 households across the county “to help the council develop its housing and planning policy” to provide affordable housing in the area.

    • Obama assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight

      The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.

      That assertion was revealed — perhaps inadvertently — by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo.

      Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006.

    • Congressmen Urge State Department to Investigate Internet Spying Company

      To recap, Narus is a Sunnyvale, California, Internet surveillance and filtering company begun by Israeli security experts, and subsequently bought by Boeing. The company has nefarious links to the NSA, and to AT&T efforts to monitor phone communications domestically.

      Among Narus’ many cyber-sleuthing products is one called “Hone,” which can filter through billions of packets of online data to target individuals on social networks and then link that information to their “VOIP conversations, biometrically identify someone’s voice or photograph and then associate it with different phone numbers.” Those using cell phones or Wi-Fi connections can then be located geographically.

  • Civil Rights

    • WATCH: Our new ad opposing the PATRIOT Act
    • Free Press Congratulates Electronic Frontier Foundation on 21 Years of Service

      Free Press wishes to offer our congratulations and thanks to EFF for their work on behalf of the American public.

      Long before most people had heard of the Internet, EFF was on the job to ensure that it remained an open space for the free exchange of ideas. Little could anyone have imagined then the global impact it would have 21 years later, and in many ways, we have EFF to thank.

    • Happy 21st Birthday EFF
    • EFF Appoints Jonathan Zittrain to the Board of Directors

      EFF is extremely pleased to announce a new addition to our Board of Directors: Harvard Law and Computer Science Professor Jonathan Zittrain.

      For many of you, Jonathan does not need an introduction, as he is one of the true luminaries of Internet scholarship. His work encompasses the critical issues at the heart of EFF’s work, including privacy, speech, digital property, and the role played by private intermediaries in Internet architecture.

    • Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin

      Thousands of teachers, prison guards and students descended on the Wisconsin Capitol for a second day Wednesday to fight a move to take union rights away from government workers in the state that first granted them more than a half-century ago.

      The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours. The noise level in the Rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district had to cancel classes.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Does Secretary Clinton Have a Double Standard on Internet Freedom?

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday highlighted new U.S. Internet freedom policy that is designed to help democracy movements gain access to open networks and speak out against authoritarian regimes.

      According to Clinton, the program will provide $25 million in new grants to support “technologists and activists working at the cutting edge of the fight against Internet repression.”

    • French Parliament to Consider Net Neutrality Law

      Net Neutrality in France is the subject simultaneously of government attacks and parliamentary efforts to protect it. After French Minister for Digital Economy Éric Besson’s direct attack, the French Parliament will on Thursday discuss a bill which strongly supports the principles of Net Neutrality. La Quadrature du Net calls on its supporters to contact French MPs and ask them to support this proposal in order to protect a free Internet.

    • We’re helping to make a safer internet – but it’s a shared responsibility!

      Anyone can be affected by security issues on the internet. It sounds like a boring cliché, but it is true. I recently I found out about someone attempting to impersonate me and my work at the Commission – using fake webmail and other tactics. My advice is to check how your name is being used online! Not only that – be sure you know who you are communicating with. Most of us like to share personal information online, but we rarely think about how embarrassing – or worse! – it could be if that information was forwarded or simply available to the wrong people. That is the thinking behind the theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day: “it’s more than a game – it’s your life.” (see the video above from the recent Data Protection Day which highlights this exact point)

    • The Internet Strikes Back: Tell Congress to Stand Up for Net Neutrality

      Make no mistake: this will be a decisive vote. This is the only time that Congress will vote “yes or no” on Net Neutrality, so it’s crucial that they vote the right way. Help us send a clear message to Congress: a vote for the repeal act is a vote against internet users.

  • DRM

    • PS3 Sparks Debate

      This device has caused a great deal of controversy Ranging a possible band in Norway due to unfair ToS’s that protect the consumer to Hackers entering into the system and breaching it Which has lead to a Lawsuit with an infamous hacker “gehot”
      to a Lawsuit that is pending Known as the “Other OS” Lawsuit that states SCEA wrongfully had removed the “Other OS” function in which was deemed as a security threat , The lawsuit also states that the “Other OS” was taken from a group of consoles that a Consumer had purchased.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Flip side of IPR protection

      Champions of intellectual property rights (IPR) say it is the driving force of economic growth and technological innovation. China has made its legislators perfect IPR laws ever since it decided to embrace market economy, and asked its law-enforcement agencies to ensure that they are properly implemented and protected. The country’s increasing foreign trade has further strengthened this demand, and the government and judicial authorities have made great efforts to perfect the IPR system.

      China has enacted and implemented a series of laws and regulations on IPR protection and issued the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy in 2008. Its judicial authorities at various levels continue to crack down on people and companies violating IPR. On the whole, the country has made considerable progress both in legislation and enforcement of IPR laws.

      But the purpose of an IPR system is not only to protect intellectual property, but also to encourage innovation, maintain social justice and thus promote comprehensive economic and social progress.

      The present tendency to lay undue emphasis on intellectual property both at home and abroad may go against the original intention of an IPR system. Some practices and disputes in the United States and other Western countries have taught a lesson to China, rather than being experiences worthy of emulation.

      The fundamental driving force of innovation is competition, while IPR protection in substance is a kind of monopoly. Monopoly can provide incentives for innovation, but it can also prompt former innovators to gain high return by relying on the products they have already innovated, rather than pushing them toward further innovation. Such a situation will ultimately weaken the power of technological innovation.

    • International Civil Society Demands End To Secrecy In TPPA talks

      Negotiators in Santiago, Chile for the fifth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks were delivered a forceful message today by prominent civil society groups, demanding an end to the secrecy that shields their negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the general public.

      Jane Kelsey, who is at the meeting, said that open letters addressed to government leaders in Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States of America, signed by trade unions, environmentalists, faith and social justice organisations that speak for hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, were handed to each delegation.

      The letters object that the proposed agreement is deeply undemocratic in its process and its effect.

    • Copyrights

      • KEI comments on USTR 2011 Special 301 Review

        KEI’s comments on the USTR 2011 Special 301 Review are available here.

      • Movie theatres generating record results in Canada

        Cineplex Inc, (CGX) the largest motion picture exhibitor in Canada has recently released its 2010 year end totals, and its net revenue is up 17.8 percent from 2009.

        The entertainment company has interest in over 132 theatres across Canada with 1,366 screens, and it’s currently serving approximately 70 million guests annually. The latest financial report shows that they’re making record gains aside from attendance which is down .09% from last year.

      • Premium VOD Is Doomed If This Piracy Study Is Correct

        A new PricewaterhouseCoopers study casts serious doubt on consumer willingness to pay for movies on digital platforms. Warning: Film-industy executives interested in reading further may want to first increase dosage of any anti-depressants they might be taking.

        If, as recent comments made on media-conglomerate earnings calls would suggest, studios are gearing up to charge consumers $20-25 to watch movies in their homes two months or so after theatrical release, the new revenue stream known as premium VOD is headed for quite a bumpy ride.

      • Would Shakespeare Have Survived Today’s Copyright Laws?
      • UK Law Enforcement Also Looking To Be Able To Seize Domains

        And with both the US and the UK looking for such rights, won’t more and more countries now start to follow? It certainly makes you wonder about the impact of the overall internet, when various countries can just seek to shut down various domains without any trial determination.

      • An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee

        Today, 87 prominent Internet engineers sent a joint letter the US Senate Judiciary Committee, declaring their opposition to the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). The text of the letter is below.

      • Don’t Mess With Texas: Another Texas Judge Scrutinizes Mass Copyright Litigation

        Looks like the Texas courts are no place to file suit if you want to bypass due process. A few weeks ago, we reported that Mick Haig Productions had dismissed its copyright infringement lawsuit against 670 “John Does,” complaining that the court’s appointment of attorneys from EFF and Public Citizen had impeded its ability to prosecute its case. In a brief filed on behalf of the Does, EFF and Public Citizen had argued that Mick Haig should not be allowed to send subpoenas for the Does’ identifying information, because it had sued hundreds of people in one case, in the wrong jurisdiction and without meeting the constitutional standard for obtaining identifying information. We have also raised questions about the plaintiff’s conduct, as it appears it sent out subpoenas without the court’s permission.

      • 6,374 DISMISSED John Doe Defendants cheer as the LFP Internet Group lawsuits go down in flames.

        I would like to personally congratulate the 6,374+ John Doe Defendants (3,120 + 635 + 2,619) who have been dismissed from the LFP Internet Group, LLC (Larry Flynt Productions) cases. This is a huge victory for our clients and internet users in general. What makes this case significant is not the daunting number of defendants, but that this case provides great case law for future cases.

      • the “specter of e-book piracy” is a crock

        Used to be copyright was justified as an encouragement to creators to create more. The thing is the terms have become downright silly… extending copyright terms from fifty to seventy years after the death of the author is not going to encourage the author to create more. Once you’re dead that’s it. The current trend in ridiculous copyright laws don’t benefit the creators, but rather the corporations, who have never been particularly beneficial to creators. Corporations do NOT have the same objectives as creators.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

        • Concerns over the DEA Costs Sharing Order

          First is an acknowledgement that the Act will have implications on affordability of broadband. The Government “has acknowledged that there may be an effect on broadband take-up should ISPs pass on the full cost of the process. This is regrettable, but needs to be balanced against the wider benefit to the UK’s digital economy.”

Clip of the Day

Tim Berners-Lee: The next Web of open, linked data


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