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Links 23/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC6, Fedora Adopts Sqlninja, HP’s Linux-powered TouchPad Scheduled for April

Posted in News Roundup at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Localising GNU/Linux to Telugu.
  • The iPhone Verdict + Ubuntu 10.10

    The road test on the new Ubuntu continues and I will soon be venturing into the world of the netbook which will be exclusively Linux.

  • Judge guts suit against Sony for killing Linux in PS3

    A federal judge has dismissed all but one of the claims leveled against Sony for dropping Linux support from its PlayStation 3 game console, but gave the plaintiffs permission to refile an amended complaint that fixes the deficiencies.

    A complaint seeking class-action status on behalf of all PS3 owners was filed in April and claimed that the disabling of the so-called OtherOS violated a raft of civil laws, including those for breach of warranty, unfair competition and computer fraud. Sony had touted the feature, which allowed users to run Linux and other software on their consoles, in interviews and presentations, but later dropped it after a well-known hacker figured out how to exploit OtherOS to jailbreak the PS3.

  • Desktop

    • HeliOS Rocks at Rock A Charity

      And really, what we do at HeliOS is perfectly suited for such a presentation…there’s not a lot of fluff here. We simply do what we do.

      The evening progressed at a busy level. We rarely found ourselves alone and between Skip Guenter, Diane and me, we took turns giving the presentation.

    • Paving the Last PC with Debian GNU/Linux

      So, today, we are truly free of that other OS. Two PCs run Ubuntu GNU/Linux and three run Debian GNU/Linux.

    • Amazon.com Includes Linux Users in new Movie Streaming Service

      Linux users have long searched for a way to legally watch premium movies on their computers with little luck. Netflix, Cinemanow, (and the now bankrupt Blockbuster) strictly forbid anything other than Windows or Mac systems. Even local video rentals or delivery services require the use of software that isn’t legal in the US. Well, Amazon.com has come to the rescue by allowing the streaming of recent premium movies to Linux machines.

    • The OpenPC project: Ready-made GNU/Linux Machines

      The Open Desktop communities Open-PC project is now offering three different models of open computers with turn-key GNU/Linux and KDE installations based on OpenSUSE (or Ubuntu). These systems could provide real competition with pre-installed Windows or Mac computers, overcoming some of the most frequently-cited problems with GNU/Linux on the desktop. The systems are now available from vendors in Europe and the USA.

      It’s not that uncommon to come across brave plans for GNU/Linux-based computer systems, ranging from games to netbooks to desktops, but they often turn out to be vaporware that never makes it to market. One thing that’s exciting about the Open-PC project is that it actually has hardware in stock now — so if you think you’re actually in the market for a low-cost “nettop” computer with GNU/Linux/KDE branding and a totally-configured operating system pre-configured for newbies (maybe for a gift?), then do read on, this is the real deal.

  • Server

    • How to build your own Watson Jeopardy! supermachine

      Because Linux is the fastest operating system on IBM’s Power platforms (at least according to the SPEC family of benchmarks), Big Blue chose a variant of Linux to run on the Power 750 nodes.

    • Jeopardy computer only uses a bit of its memory

      If you’ve been following the human vs computer Jeopardy shows on TV in the US recently, you’ve met the IBM supercomputer that is winning games. To make the humans feel better, it might be nice to know that the computer’s responses are supported by 90 servers and a network-attacked storage cluster with 2.16B of data (I read this in CIO).

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Two Awesome Tray Icon Sets for GNOME

        I had never experimented with tray icons alone in my Ubuntu before and this was my first experience with different try icons for GNOME. There is a dark and light version of the tray icon theme for GNOME and both of them looks very neat(and a tad too small to my liking). Give them a try and find out for yourself.

  • Distributions

    • New Linux OS-based service delivery platform for Indian telecom industry

      Donjin Communication Technology (Donjin Tech), a provider of multimedia communication platform technology and Contarra Systems, a worldwide telecommunica­tions software company, have launched Cameleon XR 1.5, a service delivery platform based on Linux Operating System for the Indian telecommunications industry.

    • New Releases

      • RIPLinuX 11.4 Ready

        Recovery Is Possible (RIP) Linux 11.4 is a boot, rescue, backup, maintenance, as well as general purpose system on CD or USB.

      • First Zentyal 2.1 beta available for download!

        The Development Team of Zentyal, the Linux small business server previously know as eBox Platform, is glad to announce the availability of the first packages and installer CD images for Zentyal 2.1! The new installer is now available for download at the Zentyal Beta Downloads page. Furthermore, the 2.1 packages can also be installed on an existing Ubuntu Server 10.04 following the instructions of the Installation Guide.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora to include hacking tool Sqlninja after all

          As recorded in the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fedora board, the Fedora Project is to integrate hacking tool sqlninja into its Linux distribution. The minutes record that Tom ‘spot’ Callaway, member of the Fedora board and Fedora Engineering Manager, met with Red Hat’s legal team who said they considered there was no risk involved in including sqlninja. The Fedora board voted unanimously to lift the block on the application.

        • Test Day:2011-02-22 Nouveau
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • LoCo Directory 0.3.1

          A new version of the Ubuntu LoCo Teams Directory was released this morning. It now includes interactive Google maps showing the locations of upcoming events (major props to Ronnie for this!). Make sure that your team’s venues have longitude and latitude values so they will appear and be counted on these maps!

        • Easily Support the Sound Menu in Python

          An important part of integrating with the Ubuntu desktop is ensuring that your application is using all of the appropriate indicators. In this entry, I explain how I added support for the Ubuntu Sound Menu to the sample application “Simple Player.”

        • UDS Diversity – Accessibility/Disability Version Meeting TODAY
        • Document Foundation Welcomes Canonical
        • Indicators and Accessibility

          With all the major user interface changes that are coming in Ubuntu Natty, its easy to get lost in exactly what is changing, how, and why. Things like how you access your most frequently used applications, files, and devices, are all changing. If not in Natty, then in the very near future with Natty+1 and beyond. With all these changes, there is one change that hasn’t been heavily talked about, at least in the Ubuntu accessibility community, and the change that I am about to talk about has been around since Lucid, if not longer.

        • The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011

          A little less than a year ago, Jane Silber stepped into the CEO role at Canonical, the privately backed company behind the popular open source Ubuntu Linux distribution. She has to maintain the delicate symbiotic relationship between the corporation and the operating system’s community of open source developers. In an interview, she described the company and its ecosystem as being “like a living animal.” Thanks to Silber’s leadership, Ubuntu continues to grow both as an enterprise/server solution and a viable OS for the desktop with developments such as the Ubuntu One cloud syncing program, Unity interface for netbooks, Ubuntu Light for instant-on, dual-boot installations, and the introduction of multitouch capability in the OS.

        • The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011
        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia and Microsoft: Match Made in the Twilight Zone

          “Elop is either a Trojan horse or completely incompetent,” consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack opined. “If the last 30 years of computing history has taught us anything, it’s that partnerships with Microsoft tend to turn out really badly for the partner that’s not Microsoft.” Elop’s “bewildering” assertion that the telcos want a third market player, he added, is “just madness.”

        • Renee James, Senior Vice President, Intel speaks about MeeGo – MWC

          They discussed the MeeGo tablet experience and how Intel views it and what are the unique selling points, the Growing MeeGo ecosystem and also other companies that support MeeGo.

        • Peter Biddle Talks MeeGo and Intel AppUp

          Peter explained that Intel has big plans for MeeGo…

        • Where now for MeeGo?

          The industry will now wait and see whether Intel has the resource or the incentive to to continue to develop silicon for MeeGo in the face of the rising popularity of Android.

        • Another CSSU (community update) now available

          Seamless Software Update (SSU) is the term Nokia used to brand the over-the-air updates of Maemo.

        • First Alpha of Qt For Android Released

          An anonymous reader writes “In the wake of Nokia’s announcement that it will be cheerfully throwing its existing developer community under a bus by not offering Qt for Windows Phone, a project to implement Qt on Android has announced its initial alpha release. Necessitas project lead Bogdan Vatra writes, ‘I had a dream that one day, I’ll be able to deploy existing Qt software on any Android platform. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications will use system wide shared Qt libraries. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications once compiled and deployed to one android platform, will run on any other newer android platform and will last for years without any recompilation. I had a dream that one day, I’ll be able to create, manage, compile debug and deploy Qt apps using a first class citizen IDE. Now, those dreams become reality.’ The Necessitas wiki offers some documentation on Qt for Android. A demo video of Qt for Android in action is also available.”

        • SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 released

          Since last night, SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 should be available for those who have the extras-devel catalog.

      • Android

        • It’s Way Too Early to Pronounce the Tablet Wars Over

          What you have to remember is that Android itself provides the best example of how rapidly a competitor to the iPad could be taken very seriously. As recently as March of 2009, everyone was questioning why there weren’t more smartphones running Android, including us. And what happened before March of 2009? Mobile World Congress did. This is the conference where everyone decides what is going to succeed and fail each year on the mobile front, but in 2009, people who saw few Android phones and pronounced Android dead were dead wrong. Android is flourishing.

        • MWC 2011: Android Mania

          “Android is poised to absolutely dominate the entire smartphone market. It has reached the point of penetration where consumers may not even really want or be aware that they are buying an Android phone,” said Ben Cull, entrepreneur and founder of development company TBODA.

        • VLC-Shares Streams Any Video to Your Android, AirPlay-Style
        • Comic Book Reader Graphicly arrives on Android

          Graphicly Comics has titles from more than 150 publishers, including familiar names like Marvel and IDW. It has a store that can be browsed by publisher, title, or paid and free comics. Once a user has a collection, he or she can then view the digital copies formatted for the device. When testing on an EVO, Atomic Robo #1 loaded after a few seconds and I was able to turn pages by swiping left or right. Each page turn featured a delay of about 1 second or less, but pinch-zoom was fairly quick and allowed me to focus on certain panels.

          A strong web connection is ideal because Graphic.ly browses comic books that are stored in the cloud. However, users have the option of download a list of books if they want to read their collection offline or store it locally. The Android app also features an Activity Stream that shows comments and recommendations from friends or other Graphic.ly members (I can’t say much about it because my phone force closes every time I open the tab).

        • Android: The Open Mobile Choice

          In the future, MeeGo, like Android a Linux-based mobile may offer developers and users alike a similar array of choice.


          An iPhone or WP7? If you’re like me and you don’t like dealing with control freaks, just say no.

        • AirAttack HD is a great top down air combat shooter – and it’s free

          Fans of classic top down air combat shoot ‘em up games such as 1942 will likely love a new game in the Android market called AirAttack HD Lite. Despite the “lite” label, there is currently no full version of the game, but the free release has plenty of features.

          AirAttack HD has apparently generated more than one million downloads on iOS, and the Lite version for Android includes two missions, 16 types of enemies and two different planes. Overall, the game feels very professional and polished with slick 3D animations, lighting effects and lush orchestral music.

    • Tablets

      • HP TouchPad reportedly launching in April

        The TouchPad will ship with the newest dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor. It will also feature a 9.7-inch XGA (1024×768) display and will be 13.7mm thick, packing 1GB of RAM and will come in 16GB or 32GB models.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Your Community a Community?

    I’ve been a community leader in the open source world for the last eight years. Before that, I was a community member. You cannot be a community leader without being a community member. To understand what a community leader does, you have to understand what a community is.

    1. A community is self-governing. Community members are empowered to decide the direction of the community. If you’re telling people what to do and how to do it, you don’t have a community. You have a workforce.
    2. A community is social. I don’t mean it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Community members might use Facebook or Twitter, but they might use something old-school like mailing lists or IRC. What’s important is that people are talking to each other, getting to know each other, and making decisions together. Without social interaction, you just have a random group of contributors.
    3. A community has a common interest. Community members will have differences on many topics, but there has to be something that brings and keeps them together.

  • Towards a Permission-based Web. Wherefore Net Neutrality? Or: Maybe Open Source Wins After All

    Apple didn’t make the list in 04, but it would now. Tim seems surprisingly passive in his analysis. But I think Open Source and open standards and neutral networks are worth fighting for – because of the potential for transparent development. Learning and pedagogy: “view source”. We need to agitate for open. So much of what makes open source great are the social aspects of the technology. Lower barriers to participation.

  • Sometimes ‘Piracy’ And Freedom Look Remarkably Similar

    I’ve complained in the past about The Pirate Party’s name, which I think does the party a serious disservice. It may work in the short-term, but I have my doubts about its long-term efficacy. While the Pirate Party’s leaders continue to defend the name, I still think it gets people focused on the issue of copyright much more than basic freedoms — which really does seem to be the core of the Party’s agenda. Still, there are times when I can see the reasoning, because all too often “piracy” looks quite a lot like “freedom.” Take, for example, this nifty contrast highlighted by Casey Rae-Hunter, from the Future of Music Coalition (hardly a “piracy defender”), where he notes that two separate projects, the PirateBox and the FreedomBox appear remarkably similar.

  • Can Montreal Become an Open Source Startup Hub?

    Seth Godin, in his great book The Dip, points out that the only place that’s worth being, in business, is first place. When power laws and network effects are involved, the first place in line is the only place to be. You need to be “best in the world” at something, or you need to quit and start doing something else.

    Technology ecosystems – most business markets, actually — have network effects. And that means that the only rank to have, as an ecosystem, is first place. Best in the world.

    Who’s best in the world in Web startups? The San Francisco Bay Area. Who’s second? Probably New York City. Who’s third? Who cares? Third prize is you’re fired.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web browser Midori ditches menu bar by default

      The latest development release of Midori follows the recent trend of web browsers downsizing their menu cruft in favour of ‘Google Chrome’ style single-button menus.

    • Chrome

      • 15 Google Chrome Extensions to Help You Save Time and Become More Efficient

        Google Chrome extensions have always been a great way to extend the functionality of Google Chrome in tune with the needs of each and every individual. We have featured here before incredible collection of Google Chrome extensions for enhanced security and privacy while browsing and now here is another collection which are going to help a lot among you to manage time better and become more productive and efficient in the process.

      • Extending the Omnibox

        One of the most powerful aspects of Google Chrome is the omnibox, also known as the address bar. You can type URLs and searches into one unified place and it all just works. With the new omnibox API, extension developers can make the omnibox even more powerful.

    • Mozilla

      • Why Firefox Could Still Be the Browser Story of the Year

        As we’ve noted, Firefox is rapidly being tuned for mobile devices, and smartphones and tablets represent a huge market opportunity for the browser. We’ve also noted Mozilla’s charge that Internet Explorer’s latest revision is “two years too late.” But perhaps the biggest news on the Mozilla front is that the company has committed to a rapid development cycle, where it never had one before. Specifically, Mozilla plans to release a whopping four versions of Firefox by the end of this year. That is definitely an answer to the rapid-fire release schedule that Google Chrome has been on.

      • Firefox 4 improves appearance in Ubuntu

        The latest nightly build of Mozilla Firefox 4 is looking rather dapper in Ubuntu of late, reader Sjoerd mailed us to say.

      • Outreach to get people to join the Firefox 4 Launch team

        We’ll be creating a project group on Basecamp (a web-based service) and hosting two sessions this coming week (Thursday) to debrief on campaign ideas and plans, as well as gather feedback. If you’ve already signed up, I’ll be giving you access to Basecamp as soon as you sign up.

      • Update your add-on in time for Firefox 4

        Firefox 4 is gearing up for full launch! We’re really excited about Firefox 4, with a streamlined Add-ons Manager, and numerous other performance and UI improvements.

        Firefox 4 Beta is now API frozen, so if you haven’t already done so, please make sure your add-on is compatible. Firefox 4 is a significant upgrade that may require a little more work to be done to make sure your add-on works than in previous Firefox releases.

      • Mobile Testday, F1, ReMo and more…

        In this issue…

        * Mobile Firefox 4 beta testday on Feb 25th
        * Moving forward with F1
        * Finding … ReMo
        * The Next Million Mozillians
        * Tracking Firefox UI response time
        * Thunderbird at CeBIT 2011
        * Upcoming events
        * Community calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Update add-ons to enter Firefox 4 collection competition

        Firefox 4 is just around the corner and the updated version of the Firefox API has been frozen for some time now. The Add-ons blog is reminding add-on developers to Update your add-on for Firefox 4.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.0.4 supports Ubuntu 11.04 alpha guests
    • Google must continue to fight Oracle’s copyright claims

      Google had requested that it be allowed to move the copyright component of the Oracle vs. Google case to summary judgement. The judge has now denied it leave to file the motion, saying “good cause has not been shown”, until more evidence has been gathered.

      Google’s request noted that Oracle had “only identified twelve files” from the fifty one “Android API package specifications”; Google says that this was not a substantial part of the Oracle code. It also made the case that any copying it did would qualify as “fair use”, as there were so few things alledgedly copied and where this has happened, the use was to enable interoperability. On this basis, Google said it should be free to file a motion for summary judgement.

    • Oracle responds to Hudson/Jenkins split

      So remember how some of the Hudson community got fed up with hosting the continuous integration server on Java.net, decided to chuck the whole thing and move Hudson to GitHub, which sparked an internecine fight that ended up with those team members splitting off from the mainline Hudson project to form Jenkins?

  • CMS

    • How Movable Type Lost With Open Source

      I say this as a Movable Type user, which is why it pains me to say these things. I’d hate to think my loyalty was misplaced, because in the time I’ve used it I watched as one fellow user after another defected to competing products — mainly Automattic and WordPress.


      It was how they went about doing it.

  • Education

    • Advancing student achievement through labor-management collaboration

      About 150 school districts from 40 states sent teachers and administrators to the summit so that school labor and management could talk about student achievement and learn from the successes and challenges of others, rather than to rehash the nuts and bolts of labor contracts.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source, a healthy choice

      “In 2004, six months after suddenly losing my father, I became a single dad. I was forced to give up my travelling position as an application specialist for a large ERP software manufacturer.”

      Aaron Nursoo first became interested in open source software because it was free. He saw in it an opportunity to teach himself skills that would help him to restructure his life and allow him to support his family.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open/Closed Data

      • Quebec ‘chooses’ to charge for public information

        An article that ran as part of The Gazette’s recent Secret Society series -which explored the difficulties in obtaining information from publicly funded bodies in Quebec -noted that while the salaries of senior civil servants and heads of public corporations in Quebec do appear in a weekly publication of cabinet decrees called Gazette Officielle, a subscription costs $258 a year, or $223 for access to it online.

  • Programming

    • Amount of profanity in git commit messages per programming language

      Last weekend I really needed to write some code. Any code. I ended up ripping just under a million commit message from GitHub.

      The plan was to find out how much profanity I could find in commit messages, and then show the stats by language. These are my findings:

      Out of 929857 commit messages, I found 210 swear words (using George Carlin’s Seven dirty words).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why You Need Document Freedom

      It seems everything has a special day. Among all the various red letter days, you may not have run into Document Freedom Day, which this year is being celebrated on March 30th. Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of document freedom. It sounds dull – not just mundane, but the forgotten esoterica of the mundane – but it’s a crucial driver in the dominance of major software vendors. If the other elements of our Digital liberty are to be allowed to unfurl in their natural order, we need document freedom.

    • The semantic Web gets down to business

      Cobb credits much of these gains to his company’s deployment of Endeca Technologies Inc.’s online retail platform, which uses semantic technology to analyze shoppers’ keyword choices and clicks, and then winnows down results from categories to subcategories and microcategories. The end result? “Guiding the shopper to the perfect bag very quickly,” Cobb says.


  • Alibaba And The Curse Of Chinese Manufacturing

    A fairly unnoticed story percolated through the interwebs this weekend about Alibaba’s CEO and hundreds of employees being implicated in what amounts to a payola scandal. Alibaba is a site that allows you to buy the worst junk imaginable. They represent over 500,000 factories in China. It is a sourcing site full of fake laptops, poorly made clothing, and potentially life-threatening auto parts. And, best of all, it was acting as a middleman to actual criminals.

  • Judge Rules Against China; ‘Green Dam’ Suit Heads to Trial

    About a year after Cybersitter sued the Chinese government and several Asian OEMs for allegedly copying its code to create the “Green Dam” software, a U.S. federal judge has allowed the $2.3 billion suit to proceed.

    Judge Josephine Staton Tucker, a California district judge, entered a judgement of default against the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday, after PRC officials failed to respond to the ruling. Although the PRC’s embassy sent a letter to the U.S. State Department protesting Cybersitter’s suit, such a letter did not qualify as a formal response.

  • Mother Suspended From Work For Taking Deployed Son’s Call

    When loved ones are deployed, communication is precious—and sometimes few and far between. With her son only able to call once or twice a month, answering her cell phone when that rare call from Afghanistan came in was a no-brainer for one Tennessee-based mother. But by doing so, she nearly put her job in jeopardy.

    On Valentine’s Day, Teresa Danford, an employee of Crane Interiors in Woodbury, Tenn., was suspended for three days without pay for answering her son’s phone call. Danford told CBS-affiliate WTVF that her managers informed her that she would be fired if it happened again.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • Anonymous 101 for journalists
    • Empty suit: the chaotic way Anonymous makes decisions

      On February 16, the freewheeling hacker collective decided to take on the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, best known for its “God Hates Fags” protests. The Anonymous hivemind, the “Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People,” has had enough of this sort of free speech and has decided to fight the church’s “assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots” who issue “venomous statements of hatred.”

      The manifesto contains the trademark Anonymous prose style, one that might be summed up with the words “florid bombasticism.” (Case in point: “Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man…”)

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Crews of 2 Libyan warships mutiny

      The crews of two Libyan warships have mutinied and are refusing to obey Muammar Gaddafi’s orders to attack the eastern port city of Benghazi.


      Pundits say the Libyan regime’s heavy-handed clampdown on the people seems to have seriously backfired since the anti-government demonstrations have actually gained momentum across the country.

      At least 1,000 people were killed in Tripoli on Monday by airstrikes conducted by the Libyan military in a desperate move meant to quell the popular uprising, according to some reports.

    • Libya: Col Gaddafi vows to die a ‘martyr’

      Gaddafi, swathed in brown robes and turban, spoke from a podium set up in the entrance of a bombed out building that appeared to be his Tripoli residence hit by US airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance. The speech, which appeared to have been taped earlier, was aired on a screen to hundreds of supporters massed in Tripoli’s central Green Square.

      Shouting in the rambling speech, he declared himself “a warrior” and proclaimed, “Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world.”

    • Qaddafi’s Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows

      Vowing to track down and kill protesters “house by house,” Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya tightened his grip on the capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday, but the eastern half of the country was slipping beyond his control.

    • Operation “Libya White Fax”

      This document helps people in Libya learn how to connect to dial-up internet, and route around the government-ordered communication blocks. In a time like this, that can make all the difference in the world.

    • Mystery behind two Libyan fighter jets landing in Malta, revealed

      Two Libyan fighter jets and two civilian helicopters landed unexpectedly. The office of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said at the time it was not clear whether the two fighter pilots intended to ask for asylum—they later did. They initially had asked to refuel.

    • Latest Updates on Middle East Protests
    • Using Fax Machines to Route-Around Internet Censorship in Libya

      As we’ve reported, Libya is facing an Internet crack-down similar to the one faced in Egypt earlier this month. As the organization did for Egyptians, French Data Network is offering free dial-up Internet for Libyans. But, if the Internet is offline, how are Libyans supposed to learn how to connect to the Internet? It turns out landlines are still up, so one group is using faxes to pipe information into the country.

    • MI5 decided not to follow lead that would have identified 7/7 ringleader

      MI5 could have identified the ringleader of the 7 July attacks as a trained jihadist four months before the bombings, it has admitted, but for reasons that it refuses to disclose it decided not to investigate a crucial piece of intelligence.

    • Imran sees ‘change’ in Pakistan this year

      He said that the people, who are ruling Pakistan, are nothing but puppets in the hands of their American masters. America asks them to bomb their compatriots and they obey. They show the Americans that they had dropped so many bombs on their compatriots and ask to reward. The Americans tell them ‘this is not enough. Do more’. This is the lowest level of humiliation that so-called leaders kill their citizens, he lamented.

    • Yemen Students Attacked at Sanaa University by Men with Knives, Guns, and Pistols

      Tom Finn, stringer for The Guardian in Yemen, reports that students were attacked by men carrying pistols, knives and guns. One student was shot dead on the spot. Another was shot in the head and is

    • Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security

      For eight years, government officials turned to Dennis Montgomery, a California computer programmer, for eye-popping technology that he said could catch terrorists. Now, federal officials want nothing to do with him and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his dealings with Washington stay secret.

    • Anti-government protests around the world (big photo gallery)
    • Navy senior chief in hazing case to retire with full pay

      A Navy senior chief petty officer censured over hazing and other serious abuses that allegedly took place under his leadership at a military working-dog kennel in Bahrain will retire with an honorable discharge and without a reduction in pay grade, the Navy said Thursday.

      Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint, now based in Virginia Beach, will not be allowed to re-enlist in the Navy because he “did not meet the standards expected of senior enlisted leadership in our Navy,” according to a written statement by Juan Garcia, the Navy’s assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Release Draws Attention In Peru’s Presidential Election

      A series of United States diplomatic dispatches, released by WikiLeaks, are drawing heated attention during the current election campaign in Peru.

      The dispatches mainly date to the period around the 2006 general elections, but they are casting a light, not always flattering, on some of the main players running in April’s presidential elections.

    • Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media against Assange?

      Svenska dagbladet, a main Swedish newspaper, illustrated its 17 Feb 2011 article “Idyllic picture of Sweden is darkened” with a montage showing the notorious criminal Göran Lindberg — a world-reviled, convicted serial rapist (including the rape of a 14-year old child) – portrayed together with Julian Assange and his lawyer Mark Stephens. A conspicuous columnist of the newspaper Aftonbladet refers 13 Feb 2011 to Julian Assange as “a paranoid idiot who refuses come to Sweden to confront trial”.


      As an overview, the aim of the analysis was to test the notion “trial by the media” in the official case of Sweden against Assange. This is a serious complaint because it involves issues of human rights violations. In Sweden, this allegation of human rights violations has not been specially commented upon and is ignored by most of media. But it is widely discussed in the rest of the world. The Australian Ambassador has recently conveyed a letter to the Swedish government containing a plea on that Assange’s human rights should be respected in the case of an extradition to Sweden. This alleged public media trial together with top-government statements, as expressed by Assange lawyers, would have generated a nationwide, hostile situation for Julian Assange, who has not yet even charged, heard or prosecuted by any Swedish Court.


      Petro-Canada has signed a series of 30-year contracts with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), bringing its old agreements into line with Libya’s preferred EPSA-IV contract standard. The new deals stem from Libya’s ongoing efforts to secure tougher terms from foreign oil companies, and mark the growing importance of Libya to Petro-Canada. End Summary. DONE DEAL – AT LAST 2. (SBU) On June 19, representatives from Petro-Canada and the NOC signed a total of six contracts covering all of Petro-Canada’s acreage in Libya. The contracts were crafted under the NOC’s EPSA IV agreement template, which has become the preferred framework for all international oil companies (IOCs) working in Libya (reftel). An agreement signed by the NOC and Petro-Canada in December 2007 was recently ratified by the General People’s Congress, paving the way to sign the actual contracts. 3. (SBU) Under the new deals, Petro-Canada has committed to pay a $1 billion signing bonus and invest $3.5 billion in the redevelopment of several large producing fields, and $460 million in oil and gas exploration. Petro-Canada will pay 50% of all development costs and 100% of all exploration costs. The company had to accept a lower production share (a flat 12% for all six contracts, regardless of location), but hopes to double its current production levels to at least 200,000 barrels of oil per day over the next five to seven years. LIBYA OF GROWING IMPORTANCE TO PETRO-CANADA 4. (SBU) As the latest company to renegotiate its presence in Libya, thereby extending its presence to 2038 (its existing deals were set to expire in 2015), Petro-Canada has now opened up new opportunities in both exploration and redevelopment projects, with a predominant focus in the prolific Sirte basin region. According to local contacts with the company, the renegotiation of the contracts is consistent with Petro-Canada’s efforts to re-position itself globally. Petro-Canada had not previously regarded Libya as an area central to its operations, given the company’s exposure stemming from its Alberta operations and gas production in Syria. This new deal elevates Libya to a priority area of operations for the company, with prospects for substantial growth. 5. (SBU) Comment: Petro-Canada’s re-negotiation is the latest in an emerging trend of contract extensions/renegotiations (reftel). The NOC is waging a concerted campaign to re-negotiate or extend existing contracts under better terms, principally with respect to production share. For their part, international oil companies – mindful of the high price of oil and limited venues for new exploration and production – have so far swallowed hard and signed up.

    • ‘Assange Is a New Kind of Journalist’

      Alan Dershowitz has recently become part of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team. He spoke with SPIEGEL about what the First Amendment has to say about WikiLeaks and the legal implications of social media’s role in the Arab uprisings.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead

      Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a scientist’s video and slides that demonstrate the oil isn’t degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.

      At a science conference in Washington, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn’t.

  • Finance

    • Back to bank bonuses: crisis survivors

      America’s banks rake in bumper profits just six months after they were on the ropes, begging for government bailouts. Faisal Islam went to the US to find out what the legacy of the banking crisis is.


      But with four million Americans facing repossession and unemployment surging to almost 10 per cent, anger with the banks continued to grow.

    • Janitors in Helmsley Building Pay Higher Tax Rates Than Millionaire Residents

      Tax Analysts Martin A. Sullivan (Tax Analysts) has published At the Helmsley Building, the Little People Pay the Taxes, 130 Tax Notes 855 (Feb. 21, 2011)…

    • Egypt freezes Mubarak’s assets

      Egypt’s top prosecutor requested on Monday the freezing of the foreign assets of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his family, announced state TV.

      Security officials said that the prosecutor general asked the Foreign Ministry to contact countries around the world so they can freeze his assets abroad. The president’s domestic assets were frozen soon after he stepped down, they added.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tea Party Leader Urges “Agent Provocatuer” Plan to Disrupt and Discredit Protests

      In an email sent this week, the “Tea Party Nation” urged members to impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union and the protestors. Former Tea Party leader Mark Williams urged the plan, according to Think Progress.

    • CMD Denounces Latest Andrew Breitbart Smear Campaign against Groups Challenging the Kochs

      Online provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his allies are trying to manufacture a new scandal, this one aimed at good government groups that dare to challenge David and Charles Koch and their corporate/political empire. It is a scam, of course, but the Breitbart effort is a reminder of his relationship with the Kochs.

      The centerpiece of Breitbart’s attack is a video smear, directed at Common Cause and other good government groups that held an “Uncloak the Kochs” rally in Rancho Mirage, California, on January 30, 2011. The Kochs and about 200 other corporate executives, TV talking heads and elected officials were meeting to plot political strategies at a resort across from the rally.

    • Tea Partyers gone wild!

      Global warming is good!

      A legislator in Montana has introduced “an act stating Montana’s position on global warming; and providing an immediate effective date.” Under the bill, the Legislature would make an official finding not only that ” global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it” but also that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.” There is no elaboration in the bill on that final claim.

    • The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator

      For some “fair and balanced paranoia,” check out the Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator at About.com’s Political Humor page. When you know there has to be a progressive plot somewhere but you can’t figure out which one.

  • Privacy

    • Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Lecture on Privacy Law

      Spurred by revelations in mainstream media of surreptitious monitoring, much of it spurred by the ascent of behavioral advertising, there has been a resurgence of interest in online privacy among government agencies and the general public. Despite its acknowledged failure, in the United States, notice-and-consent, fortified in one way or another, remains the fallback mechanism for privacy protection. In this talk, I will outline an approach based in the theory of contextual integrity that calls for a different starting place. I argue that notice-and-consent can function only against the backdrop of context-based substantive norms constraining what websites may do; what information they can collect, with whom they can share, and under what conditions. As a first step, however, it is useful to understand the role commerce has played in setting the agenda and how this influence should be contained.

    • The privacy industry: Scare and sell

      At two privacy conferences—one in New York, the other right now in Victoria, B.C.—I’ve watched the growth of privacy’s regulatory/industrial complex and seen its strategy in action: scare, then sell.

    • What “Do Not Track” Is and Why It’s Important

      What “Do Not Track” Is and Why It’s ImportantWhat’s so bad about ad tracking on the web, a.k.a. behavioral targeting? Nothing, if you don’t mind being a living stereotype. No, seriously—that’s what much of the fuss over “Do Not Track” browser options and opt-out options is about. Ad companies watch what you do online, and they make bold assumptions about you. How you feel about that is up to you.

    • Google and Facebook: Protect Our Privacy!
  • Civil Rights

    • Facebook, Unfriend The Dictators!

      Facebook should be congratulated and condemned in one go: they’ve built a revolutionary platform that’s catalyzed the political change sweeping the Middle East and beyond, but Facebook has also become a treasure trove of information for dictators, allowing them to identify and track down those who oppose them. In fact, under the existing Facebook platform all our photos, details, and contacts are at risk from identity thieves and hackers. While Facebook is reevaluating its policies, please sign the petition to protect our privacy and others’ very security.

    • Maryland Corrections Agency Demanding All Social Media Passwords Of Potential Hires

      You may recall back in 2009 that we wrote about how the city of Bozeman, Montana was requiring people who applied for jobs with the city to cough up all of their social networking usernames and passwords, so that city employees could log in and look around. Beyond being positively ridiculous, this seemed like a huge invasion of privacy. After an awful lot of public ridicule, the city (wisely) decided to drop the requirement, and claim the whole idea had been a “mistake.”

    • TSA cheat sheet: know your rights!

      …along with leaked excerpts from the TSA standard operating procedure manual.

    • St. Rep. Cissna objects to airport search demand

      She says Cissna will now travel by ferry from Seattle to Juneau.

    • TSA Source: Armed Agent Slips Past DFW Body Scanner

      An undercover TSA agent was able to get through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun during testing of the enhanced-imaging body scanners, according to a high-ranking, inside source at the Transportation Security Administration.

      The source said the undercover agent carried a pistol in her undergarments when she put the body scanners to the test. The officer successfully made it through the airport’s body scanners every time she tried, the source said.

    • Wisconsin Draws the Line on Austerity Opportunism and Class War.

      As a Chicagoan, I’m often lead to believe that the Upper-Midwest is the only place of sanity in this country. So I’m proud to see Wisconsin be the place where people draw the line and call BS on the attack on public workers, state budgets, and austerity amidst a financial, foreclosure and economic crisis where the government’s response has had the protection of banks, bondholders, creditors, Wall Street and the top 1% at all costs as the driving tenant, a class war driven by the rich. Here are some other things I’m reading on the protests.

    • Scott “Hosni” Walker blocking access to pro-union Web site

      Another parallel to Egypt and one that’s not good for Gov. Walker. Sounds like in addition to food donations, the Wisconsin protesters could use some broadband cards or mifi hotspots to get around this latest dictatorial act. Or Walker could recognize that, while he wants to be a dictator, that wasn’t what he was elected to be.

    • Journalist Returning from Abroad Has Notes, Computer and Cameras Searched and Copied by US Authorities at Airport

      Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan recently returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools in the earthquake-devastated country. However, when he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained after deboarding the plane by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is “on a list.” Jourdan joins us in our studio. Catherine Crump, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that Jourdan is not the only one facing such treatment by the Obama administration. Crump says many journalists and lawyers who often work abroad have also experienced similar interrogations—and the ACLU believes the First and Fourth Amendments must be honored within U.S. airports.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • 10 myths from usage-based billing supporters

      The usage-based billing fracas has calmed down considerably over the past few weeks, but a few people continue to beat the drum in support of it despite the fact that it’s looking dead in the water. UBB is, if you’ve forgotten, essentially an increase in prices by big internet providers on a wholesale service they provide to smaller rivals. The increase means it’ll be a lot more expensive, if not impossible, for smaller ISPs to offer the large internet usage buckets they’ve been selling.

    • Telecom needs a dose of foreign money

      Canadian policy around telecommunications and culture is bordering on incoherence, with regulation being relaxed in some areas, but maintained or increased elsewhere. That makes the Federal Court of Canada’s scathing broadside, in overturning a Cabinet decision around the licence approval for the wireless operator Globalive, quite understandable; it said the federal government was “misdirected…in law…. It is for Parliament not the [cabinet] to rewrite the [Telecommunications] Act.”

    • AllVid Battle Lines: Google, Best Buy, Sony Ally Against Big Cable

      Can you think of any high-profile consumer product that is just dying for this new standardized gizmo to become a fact on the ground? That’s right: Google TV. The HDTV system integrates internet and pay TV content, but Google, Sony and the gang don’t want to spend years coaxing suspicious broadcasters, content providers and cable networks into content deals. They want a device standard in which internet and cable content are interchangeable now (or relatively close to now).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Art is Stupid
    • UK Independent Review of “IP” and Growth

      A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the UK’s ”Independent Review of Intellectual Property and Growth”, which is currently soliciting submissions from interested parties. The corresponding Web site is very helpful, providing background information and an entire section that seeks to explain what exactly the review is looking for.

      In particular, it offers two very useful sets of questions, one about patents, and the other about copyright. There’s also a page that deals with “enforcement” issues.

      As I noted in my previous blog on the subject, what’s striking is how frequently the word “evidence” is used in these. This really is about showing hard evidence about intellectual monopolies, not just stating opinions or beliefs.

    • Trademarks

      • Riding the Fences of the “Urban Homestead”: Trademark Complaints and Misinformation Lead to Improper Takedowns

        A leading candidate has emerged for the next EFF Takedown Hall of Shame induction: the Dervaes Institute, which is claiming broad ownership rights over the term “urban homesteading” — a term commonly used to describe a social movement dedicated to achieving more self-sufficient, sustainable living in cities. Last year, the Institute managed to register the term as a trademark (in connection with “educational services” such as blogging) and it is now sending takedown requests and warning letters targeting individuals and organizations that have been using the term for years.

      • EFF takes on trademarkers of term “Urban Homestead”

        The EFF has stepped in to represent the publisher and authors of the book Urban Homesteading, who have been harmed by the Dervaes’ accusations.

    • Copyrights

      • Music Publisher’s Takedown Strikes The Wrong Chord

        My weekly law and technology column (Toronto Star version, Tyee version, homepage version, BBC version) focuses on the recent battle over the IMSLP. In February 2006, a part-time Canadian music student established a modest, non-commercial website that used collaborative wiki tools, such as those used by Wikipedia, to create an online library of public domain musical scores. Within a matter of months, the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) featured over 1,000 musical scores for which the copyright had expired in Canada. Nineteen months later – without any funding, sponsorship or promotion – the site had become the largest public domain music score library on the Internet, generating a million hits per day, featuring over 15,000 scores by over 1,000 composers, and adding 2,000 new scores each month.

      • Free Trove of Music Scores on Web Hits Sensitive Copyright Note

        Humanity’s musical treasures — Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies and the like — come to life in performance. But they truly survive as black marks on a page, otherwise known as scores. Now a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of this repertory available, free.

      • The Changing Geography of Pop Music

        The top ranked city is Nashville, which is literally off the chart. LA is second, Montreal third, Toronto (where Grammy nominated artists Justin Bieber and Drake hail from) fourth, and Vancouver fifth (home to Michael Buble, winner of the award for traditional pop vocal album), followed by New York in sixth.

        Nashville has become a major force in the music business. Miranda Lambert was nominated for three Grammys this year and took one home for best female performance for her record “The House that Built Me.” Alison Krauss, who won the 2009 Grammy for her record “Raising Sand” with Robert Plant, has won 26 Grammys, the third most in history after George Solti and Quincy Jones. Taylor Swift, last year’s Grammy Queen, has a home in Nashville.

        Over the past several decades, Nashville transformed itself from a rather narrow country music outpost in the 1960s and 1970s into a major center for commercial music. By the mid-2000s, only New York and Los Angeles housed more musicians. Nashville’s rise is even more impressive when you look at its ratio of musicians to total population. In 1970, Nashville wasn’t even one of the top five regions by this measure. By 2004, it was the national leader, with nearly four times the U.S. average. Today, it is home to over 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs, and 80 record labels.

      • Chris Dodd Breaking Promise Not To Become A Lobbyist Just Weeks After Leaving Senate; Joining MPAA As Top Lobbyist

        One of the worst kept secrets in DC and Hollywood over the last month or so is the news that former Connecticut Senator and failed Presidential candidate Chris Dodd is set to become the MPAA’s new boss (salary: $1.2 million per year). This came after a failed attempt to get former Senator (and failed presidential candidate) Bob Kerrey to take the role last year.

        Assuming Dodd takes the role, he’s already proving himself to be perfect for a Hollywood job, because it makes him a blatant liar. Last summer, Dodd insisted that he would not become a lobbyist. He made this abundantly clear. When asked what he would do, he was explicit: “No lobbying, no lobbying.” Yeah, apparently a million dollar plus salary makes you a liar barely a month after leaving the job. Of course, technically, Dodd is also barred from becoming a lobbyist for two years after leaving the Senate, but there’s a kind of *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* trick that Dodd and others use to technically claim they’re not lobbyists while merely running one of the bigger and most high profile lobbying organizations around.

      • Lady Gaga Goes Gooey & QED re Canada’s Proposed UGC Exception in Bill C-32

        Wherein Lady Gaga goes all gooey and confirms the wisdom of C-32′s UGC exception and the notion that many types of unlicensed uses can seriously benefit copyright owners.

      • High quality music downloads coming to iTunes, but do we really want them?

        I do wonder if many of us simply don’t care that much about sound quality any more. When I bought Radiohead’s new album last week, I had the choice between a standard MP3 download for £6, or a high quality version for £9. Despite the tiny three pound price difference, I knew that I’d mainly be listening through tinny laptop speakers or a cheap headphones so I opted for the lowest price option.

      • Capitalism Under Attack – Bill C-32 And The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

        So why are the American companies that are members of the RIAA and MPAA complaining so much about Canadian copyright?

        A total lack of ethics appears to be a big part of the complaints. It’s not that Canadian laws don’t provide the tools that they need, it’s rather that they are trying to block competition. We’ve heard a series of complaints also aimed at the Creative Commons licenses. They don’t want artists to be able to choose the license that they use.

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Video Editing in Linux – Cinelerra Masks

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  13. European Patent Office is a Kakistocracy Illustrated

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    Wednesday proved that the EPO actively guards corruption and protects Team Battistelli from scrutiny; instead of standing for patent law the EPO under António Campinos stands for overt violations of the law; national delegates are fine with it as long as they’re personally rewarded for complicity

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  19. EPO is “Building a Team of C and D Players”

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