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Links 24/2/2011: Firefox 4 Days Away, Assange Loses Case, PayPal Cuts Service to Manning

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop training harder than you’d think

    Curiously, it may be Web 2.0 that gets around this problem. As web apps get more complex, you won’t need as many apps at the local OS level. You’ll just need a browser and whatever platform underneath. That’s the space Linux will ultimately live in, and training–at least at the OS level–may be a moot point.

    But will it be what we could call “desktop Linux”? That remains to be seen.

  • Fun with Linux: How to wipe out Windows to install Ubuntu, then decorate with a penguin

    If you’ve got some non-geek friends and relatives that need to be convinced to give Linux a try, here’s a how-to video to help. It will walk them through how to install Ubuntu to any Windows machine, to set up the fun stuff like the music store and using a dual-monitor setup — and even how to uninstall and go back to Windows (though, who would do that?). Once you’ve made them a convert, they can print out and enjoy this cute mascot penguin cut-out, too, courtesy of Aberdeen.

  • A Miniature Linux Office Solution (Mini ITX)

    In this case I chose Mandriva as it is my personal favorite and the end-user needs a relatively easy to use and configure Linux distribution.

  • Leaving Flickr Behind: Why You Should Host Your Own Photos and Why Linux Makes It so Damn Easy

    I’ve left Flickr. After many years as a loyal Flickr user, I decided not to extend my pro account and leave the popular photo sharing service altogether. Why? For starters, I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to a rather simple question: What would happen if Flickr fails? It may be difficult to imagine that Flickr would disappear, but remember that Flickr is just a business — and not a profitable one at that. And even if Yahoo! will continue supporting Flickr, what will happen if I wake up one morning and discover that my account has been deleted without any prior warning? Not that it has never happened to anyone before.

  • Desktop

    • Switching to Ubuntu 10.04 from Windows XP

      I’ve been a long-time Windows fan like the vast majority of computer users, having been introduced to the world of computers through the Microsoft marvel. But with the growing popularity of Linux flavors, aren’t open source operating systems worth giving a try?

      Ubuntu 10.04 is among the plethora of Linux distributions that you can choose from, touted to be very user-friendly and robust, especially the 32-bit version. It brings along a wave of benefits to those embarking on Operation Open Source. It’s fast and mostly reliable – it will help you out by suggesting commands to run if you’re missing an application. The installation is quick, and the boot up and shutdown are blazing fast. And importantly, like most Linux flavors, it provides a hostile environment for viruses to survive.

  • Server

    • Goodbye MS Exchange: Good Linux Email Servers

      Don’t pay top dollar for Microsoft lard when you can get the best mail servers for free. The Linux world is full of great servers, both free and with commercial support options.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Embedded Linux file system rev’d for performance

      Datalight released a new version of its Reliance Nitro file system aimed at embedded Linux devices. Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 offers improved read and write performance, fast boot times, solid reliability, and a wide assortment of validation and testing tools, says the company.

      The Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 is the latest in a number of Linux-compatible file system products from Datalight, including the Datalight Flash File System announced in early 2008. That product combined the Linux version of the Reliance file system with DataLight’s FlashFX Pro flash media manager and block device driver, an earlier version of the FlashFX Tera software mentioned farther below.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • digiKam Tricks 2.0 Released

        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. If you haven’t received your copy, please send me your order confirmation as proof of purchase to dmpop@linux.com and I’ll email you the latest version of the book.

      • How to Remotely Control KTorrent

        The KTorrent web interface is very basic but gets the job done. First, open your web browser, go to the IP address or hostname of the computer running KTorrent, and add the port number to the end. For example:

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 Almost Ready, or is It

        GNOME 3 Shell is nearing its projected released date and development snapshots have been coming from openSUSE and Fedora. GNOME Shell 2.91.6 was released today with lots of listed improvements. But not everyone is thrilled.

  • Distributions

    • Bayanihan 5 Kalumbata – A glimpse into the past

      Bayanihan is somewhere between Pardus and CentOS 5.X, when it comes to being easy to configure and use. It’s modern and archaic at the same time, a unique quality. Combined with some weird bugs and a strange choice of programs and features, Bayanihan manages to be neither the old, nostalgia-infused distro with all the functionality you need nor the ultra-modern, bleeding-edge vessel of technology adorned with retro looks and programs.

      As such, Bayanihan invalidates itself as an alternative to popular distributions you see in the top ten list on DistroWatch. Kalumbata is a weird mix of old and new that caters to no one really. I can appreciate the effort and the noble cause, but not the outcome.

      With regional-only repository, a legacy palette of programs, plus some technical voodoo difficulties with hardware and software, Bayanihan has all the relevancy of a typical 2007 distribution. Hardly a competition in the modern arena of Linux distributions.

      If you ask me, honestly, Bayanihan is a no go. It’s a thing of the past. Sweet and cuddly, KDE 3.5 is a nice touch, the programs might make you shed a tear of sorrowful joy, but overall, it’s outdated. There’s no critical incentive you should use it, for either technical or ideological reasons. Ubuntu, Mint, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, a bunch of others, they are all several years ahead.

      So it seems there is a good reason why you don’t see Bayanihan in the spotlight. It’s a dying star of a different era. And while it may serve you well and true, it’s time to you moved on to younger game.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Beyond FUDCon with Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Program Manager

          Robyn Bergeron: I’ve been a Linux user for a long time, though it hasn’t always been my primary OS. I remember running Slackware back in 1995, 1996, and was an on-again, off-again tinkerer through the early 2000s. My first real involvement with contributing to F/LOSS was a few years ago, when I volunteered to help out with editing papers and compiling the proceedings for the Ottawa Linux Symposium, which I did for two years before becoming involved with Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • A response to DistroWatch “Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0″

        I’m quite pleased that Mr. Smith took the time to give Debian 6.0 a real workout before writing his review. And I even understand his reservations about ” by being so general, so universal, I felt Squeeze didn’t excel at anything.”

        Maybe, Squeeze excels at being general and universal?

      • Ubuntu: there was never any love to start with

        It’s funny that seven years and a bit after Ubuntu came to life in October 2004, people still write about the project in a dreamy wide-eyed way, even mentioning the word “love” in doing so. Naive is the description that immediately springs to mind.

        Or is it that such people are willing to use any, and every, means to attack Shuttleworth simply because they don’t like him? Separating the personal from the professional has always been a major problem for those who claim to be part of the FOSS community. Especially when marketing droids are trying to pose as journalists.

        Shuttleworth is a shrewd businessman; Canonical is registered in a known tax haven, the Isle of Man. He made a few hundred million dollars by first nurturing, then building up, and finally selling a very successful business, Thawte.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • An Interview with Jane Silber

          I’m Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. I live in London and hold dual American/British citizenship. I spell like a Brit, speak like an American, and wave my hands about like an Italian. I grew up In Springfield, Illinois and have lived in Washington DC, Nashville, and Yokohama, Japan. I moved to the UK in 2002. My background includes jobs in start-ups and large companies, in domains ranging from health risk appraisal to artificial intelligence to military command and control. I hold degrees in Math/Computer Science from Haverford College, Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Oxford University. Outside of work I enjoy holiday travel, live performances, engrossing books, good food, witty people, and new experiences.

        • Loving Ubuntu Linux

          A short list would include Debian’s continued jealousy getting in the way of co-operation between the closely related Linux distributions; countless accusations that Canonical/Ubuntu is all about promoting Ubuntu and not Linux; and that Ubuntu doesn’t contribute its fair share to the Linux kernel and other up-stream open-source programs.

          But this, this is all old news. Ubuntu has long endured these criticisms. So have the other Linux distributions.

        • Over 50 Ubuntu Based Distributions – Wow!

          Ok so I wanted to know more about the distributions that were based on Ubuntu and the Wikipedia list is pretty long.

        • First look at Ubuntu “Natty” and the state of Unity

          Though buggy and incomplete, the implementation of Unity as it stands now looks interesting. It’s unlikely to appeal to GNOME 2.x stalwarts, but it’s unclear whether GNOME 3.0 will either. It’s an interface that may appeal to non-Linux users, if Canonical can find hardware partners to ship it pre-installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OSADL preps for real-time Linux conference, launches book series

      OSADL (Open Source Automation Development Lab) is calling for papers for its 13th RealTime Linux Workshop (RTLWS13) in Prague on Oct. 20-22. Also announced were an “OSADL Academic Works” book series — starting with Roland Kammerer’s “Linux in Safety-Critical Applications” — and two new academic partners, ZHAW’s InES lab in Winterthur, Switzerland, and the RealTime Systems Laboratory (RETIS) in Pisa, Italy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source with the Home Office and the British Computing Society

    The System Integrators are perfectly happy to work with Open Source. The customer just has to ask for it. All the SIs on the panel said this. They already provide Open Source solutions to other countries, they already use Open Source software where they are providing just a service (cuts their costs and gives them more control). They just pitch proprietary stuff at procurement contracts because that is what wins them here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome alone?

        One of the most interesting projects announced last year, for my money at least, was Google Chrome OS. This was, as you probably know, Google’s signal of intent that it was going head first into the operating system market, having found a niche in which it figured it could make an impact.

        Its thinking was smart, too. It targeted the then burgeoning netbook market, coming up with a fast, quick-booting operating system that stored everything you needed in the cloud. When it was first demonstrated, and Google showed a portable machine booting to a working desktop in under ten seconds, I wanted to get cracking with the OS right there and then.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 12 now expected Monday or Tuesday

        Developers continue to fire away on new and existing bugs before issuing the first Firefox 4 Release Candidate.

      • Update: Firefox update will patch CSRF bug, Mozilla says

        Mozilla said late Wednesday that it will ship security updates to Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6 next week that will include a patch for a bug that can be exploited using a malicious Adobe Flash file.

        (Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, published before Mozilla responded to a request for comment, said company meeting notes suggested that the Firefox security updates would not include the patch.)

        Firefox 3.5.17 and Firefox 3.6.14 will now appear Tuesday, March 1, Mozilla disclosed in meeting notes published today.

      • With Firefox 4 Days Away, Mozilla is Updating an Online Bug List Counter

        Mozilla has made a lot of changes to its procedures for shipping new versions of the uber-popular Firefox browser, including following a new, rapid release cycle, and now, the company has adopted an online bug list countdown to help mark how close the much-delayed new version of Firefox is to final form. Mozilla has targeted February for shipping Firefox 4, but a peek at the canweshipyet site shows, in real-time, that there are 13 bugs standing in the way of shipping the new version. The counter has bounced between about 22 bugs and 13 bugs for the past day or so, but the counter itself is a sign of how seriously Mozilla now takes Firefox development.

  • Databases

  • Programming

    • Cussing in Commits: Which Programming Language Inspires the Most Swearing?

      As any programmer can tell you, programming will make you swear. But did you know that writing C++ will make you swear considerably more than PHP or Python?

      Developer Andrew Vos was looking for a weekend project when he decided to grab some one million commit messages from GitHub and scan them for swear words. He limited the swearing to George Carlin’s seven dirty words and then broke down the results according to programming language. To make sure that the popularity of one language over another didn’t skew the results, Vos grabbed an equal number of commit messages per language.


  • Hardware

    • ARM Ships Billions of Chips but IDC Doesn’t Count Them

      With ARM shipping billions of units annually and approaching 100 million personal computing devices, I should think ARM will be having an impact on personal computing in 2011.

    • Samsung promises 20nm chips before 2012

      In an announcement from Samsung’s Ana Hunter, the company confirmed that it would be building 20nm chips by the second half of the year – and claimed that the process shrink will bring major improvements.

      A drop from the current 32nm and 28nm fabrication nodes used by the company will see the high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology, used to replace the traditional silicon dioxide gate dielectric in smaller nodes to reduce current leakage, introduced with the 32nm process size employed to allow the distance between components to shrink still further.

    • First Tegra 2-based Qseven module spins HD video on 5 Watts

      MSC Vertriebs announced an ARM-based Qseven module that appears to be the industry’s first such device using Cortex-A9 cores. The MSC Q7-NT2 is built around a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 290 processor, supports 1080p video, offers interfaces ranging from gigabit Ethernet to I2C, consumes only five Watts, and offers extended temperature support, says the company.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is co-existence possible for organic and GM food producers?

      In December 2010, organic farmer Steve Marsh from Kojonup, 250km south east of Perth in Western Australia, says he found canola plants on his property.

      Tests confirmed they were genetically modified canola.

      The discovery prompted his organic certifier, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia to suspend and subsequently remove organic accreditation from over 300 hectares of Mr Marsh’s property.

      Mr Marsh says as a result his livelihood has been ruined because he is no longer eligible for premium organic grain prices.

      He claims the plant material blew onto his property from a swathed GM canola crop grown by his neighbour, Michael Baxter. Mr Baxter has declined requests for interviews from the ABC, but it is understood that he has vowed to defend the allegation.

      Mr Marsh has engaged Perth lawyer Richard Huston to begin legal action against Mr Baxter.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya: “Full Range of Options”

      Let me suggest some options the USA, Canada and other countries could take:

      * Secure the borders of Libya to prevent mercenaries from entering Libya,
      * close the airspace over Libya to prevent everything but relief flights,
      * “bomb” hospitals in Libya with GPS-guided parachuted medical supplies,
      * secure beach-heads all along the Libyan coast to permit rapid influx of material and equipment for any eventuality,
      * secure airports in Libya or build landing strips as appropriate,
      * secure other critical infrastructure that might be destroyed by any “scorched earth” policy: communication, transportation, utilities and petroleum infrastructure,
      * supply communications equipment so that citizens can call directly for action in the face of violence and reporters can inform the world what is happening in Libya,
      * distribute food, water and medicines to citizens so they can remain close to home rather than going into danger,
      * resupply former units of Libya’s military to prevent the post-regime chaos seen in Iraq, and
      * dispatch forward elements to mark targets and pull the teeth of the tyrant: mercenaries, “loyal” military units, and propaganda machines.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation About Jim Flaherty and Goldman Sachs

      Maude Barlow, with the Council of Canadians, once said that Chantel Hebert was the only progressive voice on Canadian television. The last thing I ever heard Hebert say was that she felt that Jim Flaherty was the most underrated politician on Parliament Hill.

      I have never listened to another word from her and avoid her columns. If she told me the earth was round, I would have to rethink my position. But was her remark the result of lazy journalism, or was she, like most Canadians, simply brainwashed by the millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded advertising?

    • Jim Flaherty, Goldman Sachs and “The Swoop and Squat”

      At the height of the housing boom, Goldman Sachs was selling billions in bundled mortgage-backed securities, while also betting against those same securities. In other words they were going to have their cake and eat it too. Cashing in on one end and cashing out on the another, under a deregulation gold mine called the credit default swap.

    • Taibbi: Why Wall Street Isn’t In Jail – Video Interview

      The US government cannot effectively deal with the financial crisis and the required credible reforms because in fixing the problems they would necessarily expose the underlying fraud, and endanger the very powerful status quo that funds them and their political campaigns.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Biggest Issue for Canadian Digital Policy

      As public frustration with the state of telecommunications services such as Internet access and wireless competition mounts, a relatively obscure government consultation on spectrum deserves far more attention. Last November, Industry Canada released a Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the 700 MHz Band and Aspects Related to Commercial Mobile Spectrum. While the title alone is likely enough for most to look elsewhere, no issue will have a greater impact on the next 10 years of Canadian digital policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Wars: ChaCha, XOOM Taken to the Gauntlet

        It’s nothing new to hear about patent and trademark infringements in the Android market. Whether it be OEMs or developers, someone’s registered patent or trademark is always being infringed upon. Even Google “stole” Android at some point. That’s been settled with some ridiculous amount of money, of course.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Posted in Servers at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sneak a peek


Arnold Roosendaal * (translation by Eduardo Landaveri, maintainer of the Spanish portal of Techrights. The original in English is at ssrn.com)

Resumen: Numerosos sitios web han puesto en marcha el botón de Facebook “Me Gusta” -Like- pora que los miembros de Facebook compartan sus intereses, y con ello la promoción de otros sitios web o artículos de prensa. Es, por tanto, una herramienta de trabajo importante para los proveedores de contenido. Sin embargo, este artículo demuestra que la herramienta también es utilizada para colocar cookies (galletas) en el ordenador del usuario, sin importar si él usuario realmente utiliza el botón cuando visita un sitio web o no. Como modelo de negocio alternativo esto permite Facebook rastrear y localizar a los usuarios para procesar sus datos. Parece que los que no son miembros de Facebook también pueden ser rastreados a través del mencionado botón igualmente. Esto significa que los tentáculos de Facebook van mucho más allá de su propia plataforma y sus miembros. Debido a la extensa cobertura de la red con los botones “Me Gusta”, Facebook tiene una posible conección con todos los usuarios de la web. Toda actividad en la Web pueden ser vinculadas a cuentas individuales de usuarios de Facebook, o a un conjunto de datos por separado, para las personas que no son (todavía) miembros de Facebook. La recogida de datos ocultos en el comportamiento de navegación y la creación de conjuntos de datos individuales tiene implicaciones para la privacidad de los individuos. Este artículo aborda los problemas de privacidad derivados de la utilización de cookies por terceras partes, de la conectividad de la actividad en la Web y los dispositivos, mediante el proceso técnico detrás del botón “Me Gusta” Facebook como ejemplo.

Nota: Este documento es un trabajo en progreso. La versión final aparecerá más adelante.

1. Introducción

El uso de cookies y las cookies de terceros para reconocer y realizar un seguimiento y localización de los usuarios de la web no es un concepto nuevo. Por lo general, las cookies se colocan en el navegador web del usuario sin ningún tipo de visibilidad. Para permitir a terceros colocar sus cookies, ellos tienen que ser autorizados a colocar contenido en un sitio web. El contenido se solicita desde el servidor web del tercero y se entrega junto con una cookie. Cuando un sitio es visitado de nuevo, la cookie se envía junto a la solicitud de contenido. Esto permite a los proveedores de contenido “recordar” las preferencias de los usuarios de la web, tales como opciones de idioma o la historia de compras, y para proporcionar el contenido de la web de acuerdo con estas preferencias.

El seguimiento y ubicación de usuarios a través de la web es una herramienta valiosa para fines de perfilado. Sobre la base de intereses revelados por los usuarios de la web, ellos pueden ser objeto de publicidad personalizada. Las empresas que obtienen sus ingresos por publicidad dirigida tienen un interés enorme en el uso de estas técnicas. Por tanto, no es sorprendente la manera en que estas técnicas sean explotadas cada vez más y más sofisticadamente. La sofisticación también puede estar en la presentación. Por ejemplo, Facebook ofrece a los proveedores de contenido colocar un botón “Me Gusta” en su sitio web. Este mencionado botón es una herramienta que permite a los miembros de Facebook indicar que les gusta un sitio web determinado o un elemento en aquel sitio web. Al hacer clic en el botón, un enlace con el elemento se colocá en su página de perfil en Facebook. Además, el número de visitantes a los que “le gusta” algo está indicado junto al botón. Para los proveedores de contenido, el botón “Me Gusta”, puede por tanto, funcionar como una herramienta de trabajo importante. Los visitantes contribyen a atraer más visitantes a un determinado sitio web. Esto hace que sea una herramienta valiosa para los proveedores de contenido, que también es reflejado en el rápido aumento en la cobertura en la web del botón “Me Gusta”. Sin embargo, a pesar de presentarse como una opción interesante para los proveedores de contenido, el botón también se utiliza igualmente para colocar cookies, para rastrear y localizar a los usuarios de la web, independientemente de que realmente utilizen el botón o no. El comportamiento de navegación de las personas pueden conectarse a su cuenta de Facebook. Cuando un usuario no tiene cuenta de Facebook, un conjunto independiente de datos sobre su comportamiento de navegación individual puede ser creado. Cuando un usuario crea una cuenta más tarde, los datos se pueden conectar a su página de perfil recientemente creada.

En este artículo, en primer lugar daremos una breve introducción al botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook (sección 2). Luego, en la sección 3 cubriremos el proceso técnico de la colocación y sustitución de las cookies con la ayuda del mencionado botón será descrita, así como la forma como facilita la creación de perfiles. Posteriormente, se discutirá la forma en que esta práctica afecta la privacidad de los individuos (sección 4) y, por último, se elaborará una conclusión (sección 5).

2. El botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook

El botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook es una imagen que muestra un símbolo pulgar hacia arriba acompañado de la palabra “Me Gusta”. Según Facebook, el botón “Me Gusta” permite al usuario compartir su contenido con sus amigos en Facebook. Cuando el usuario hace clic en el botón “Me Gusta” en su sitio web, una historia aparece en los amigos del usuario Feeds de Noticias con un enlace a su sitio web.”1 Cualquier persona puede poner en práctica el botón en su página web, simplemente añadiendo el código que está disponible de forma gratuita. El botón puede, por tanto, ser utilizado por los proveedores de contenidos para hacer que los usuarios web promuevan contenidos, así como para crear enlaces en sus páginas de perfil en Facebook. Al hacer clic en el botón “Me Gusta”, un campo de autenticación se abre en una ventana emergente para iniciar sesión en Facebook. El inicio de una sesión resulta en la creación de un enlace en su página de perfil de Facebook. Cuando un usuario ya está conectado a Facebook la creación tiene lugar inmediatamente.

En abril de 2010, en su “f8” conferencia, Facebook anunció la Personalización Instantánea y Social Plug-ins, dos servicios que permiten a sus socios aprovechar el gráfico social – la información sobre sus relaciones en el sitio que el usuario pone a disposición del sistema – y proporcionar una canal para el intercambio de información entre Facebook y terceros. Por ejemplo, los sitios web podrían implementar un botón “Me Gusta” en sus propias páginas que permite a los usuarios compartir el contenido de ese sitio con las conexiones del usuario en Facebook.2 El valor de implementar el botón “Me Gusta” en un sitio web se hace evidente en las estadísticas. Los sitios que agregan “plug-ins sociales” de Facebook, de los cuales el botón “Me Gusta” es uno de ellos y el que se recomienda para empezar, informaron de aumentos en el tráfico de más del 200% e incluso más. Además, el tiempo empleado y el número de artículos leídos en los sitios web con los botones “Me Gusta” también se incrementó en más del 80% .3 El botón representa el 12,9% de la distribución de widgets de terceros.4 También parece que en unos meses el uso de social plug-ins ha llegado a millones de sitios.5 La tasa de penetración de el botón “Me Gusta” en los 10,000 sitios web cumbre ha alcanzado más del 4% en los primeros seis meses después de su introduction6, y es probable que su tasa de penetración seguirá creciendo de manera exponencial.

Mientras que el botón “Me Gusta” puede ayudar a los proveedores de contenido a generar tráfico para sus sitios web, también es una herramienta para los miembros de Facebook añadan información sobre sus intereses a su página de perfil personal. Por lo que esto, se ajusta perfectamente en la tendencia actual de los sitios de las redes sociales como Facebook compartan información personal. Obviamente, compartir artículos de la web es una herramienta muy útil, pues permite la conexión directa sin tener que copiar y pegar direcciones URL completa y el contenido se compone de una forma legible de forma automática.

3. Las cookies, el reconocimiento y la identificación

Como se ha indicado, hay numerosas terceras partes que entregan el contenido de sitios web y ponen cookies en esos lugares. Por lo general, la función de estos terceros es proporcionar a los proveedores de sitio web con información sobre el número de visitantes y que elementos de una página web atrajeron la mayor atención. Los terceros, por lo tanto, también ofrecen un servicio para el proveedor de la página web. Estos servicios son proporcionados directamente por los terceros lo que también implica que tienen que recibir la información de los visitantes directamente. Esto se facilita de forma automática, por que una parte del contenido se entrega desde los servidores de las terceras partes y que puede ser enviado junto con la cookie. Un usuario de la web usualmente no suele estar consciente de ello. Él escribe la dirección URL de la página web que quiere visitar y la página se carga. Esa carga de la página implica numerosas peticiones HTTP para el contenido de los servidores de los sitios web visitados y los servidores de los terceros, a menudo varias terceras partes es un proceso que se lleva a cabo entre bastidores. Más popularmente dicho: ¡es aquí donde sucede el truco!

Una cookie se coloca en la computadora de los usuarios del web a través de su navegador. Sólo el servidor desde donde se envió la cookie tiene acceso a la cookie, por lo que cada cookie se conecta a un servidor web único. No es el caso de que el proveedor de un sitio web tenga acceso a todas las cookies colocados por terceros a través de su página web. Una vez que una cookie está disponible en el ordenador del usuario, esta se enviará junto con la solicitud HTTP en cada solicitud posterior por contenido desde el servidor que instaló la cookie. La petición HTTP incluye también datos sobre el remitente, que es el sitio en el que su contenido será mostrado. Dado que los datos referentes son siempre incluido, los terceros pueden seguir exactamente los sitios que un usuario ha visitado y cuándo. El contenido es necesario cuando se carga la página, así que para ser seguido o localizado, es irrelevante si un usuario hace clic en realidad en un fragmento de contenido o no.

Ahora veamos el botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook. Esta es también una pieza de contenido de terceros. No es que el proveedor de la página web directamente coloca una imagen de este botón en su página web. De hecho, el botón es un pedazo de código HTML que incluye la solicitud al servidor de Facebook para poner la imagen cuando la página web se carga. Esto implica que el botón se puede utilizar para configurar las cookies de terceros o para reconocer también. Unos pocos escenarios diferentes se pueden distinguir. Los escenarios han sido probados en un experimento práctico en Techcrunch.com, CNN.com, y Gizmodo.com.

3.1 El usuario web que tiene una cuenta en Facebook

La primera opción es un escenario en el que el usuario de la web tiene una cuenta de Facebook. Cuando se crea la cuenta, Facebook emite una cookie que contiene un identificador de usuario único. Esta cookie facilita la visualización del nombre del usuario en el campo de entrada en visitas recurrentes. Al acceder a Facebook desde otro dispositivo, una cookie temporal se expide, que es sustituida por una cookie con el mismo ID después de acceder a la cuenta. De esta manera, los diferentes dispositivos se pueden conectar a una misma cuenta, y así a un usuario único, mediante el uso de un cookie de la misma identificacón. Cada vez que el usuario quiere visitar el sitio web de Facebook, la cookie es enviada junto con la solicitud HTTP a el sitio web de Facebook. Como resultado, Facebook ya sabe quién quiere iniciar una sesión antes de la entrada real haya tenido lugar.

Sin embargo, la cookie no sólo se envía a los servidores de Facebook cuando un miembro quiere iniciar la sesión, sino en cada ocasión donde el contenido, como el botón “Me Gusta” tenga que ser suministrado por los servidores de Facebook (fig. 1). Por lo tanto, cada vez que un sitio web que incluye el botón “Me Gusta” es visitado Facebook recibe la información sobre el usuario, incluyendo su identificación única, a través de la cookie Cuando el usuario hace click en el botón, tiene que proporcionar sus datos de inicio de sesión en Facebook y un mensaje sobre el “Me Gusta” es publicado en su página de perfil.

Puesto que los datos sobre el usuario son enviados a Facebook, independientemente de si el botón “Me Gusta” es hecho clic o no, los usuarios a menudo no son conscientes de este hecho. Sin embargo, la cookie contiene el identificador de usuario único y con ello facilita la información sobre su comportamiento de navegación sea conectado a su cuenta. A pesar de que el usuario no está involucrado, Facebook puede recoger muchos más datos individuales a continuación, que los datos disponibles en la página de perfil solamente.

GET /plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FGizmodo&layout=button_count&show_faces=false&width=200&action=like&colorscheme=light&height=21 HTTP/1.1 
Host: www.facebook.com 
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv: Gecko/20100914 Firefox/3.6.10 
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 
Accept-Language: en-gb,en;q=0.5 
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate 
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7 
Keep-Alive: 115 
Connection: keep-alive 
Referer: http://gizmodo.com/ 
Cookie: datr=yjPATCXPQuDBLU_J5ZfRsJpd; lu=TgbyaYN2Obo-F4fEBiQTGtwQ; locale=en_GB; x-referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhome.php%23%2Fhome.php; cur_max_lag=20; c_user=100001XXXXXXXXX; sct=1287731574; sid=0; xs=55dcbdfe4719c2693d477d0c0dd83ab6 
Cache-Control: max-age=0 

Fig. 1: La solicitud HTTP GET para el botón “Me Gusta” en Gizmodo.com, incluyendo la cookie con el ID de usuario (anónimizado por el autor con XXXXX)

En este escenario, existe un vínculo entre el usuario de Internet y Facebook, porque hay una cuenta. Ahora, vamos a considerar un escenario en el que no existe ninguna relación.

3.2. El usuario de la web que no tiene una cuenta de Facebook

Cuando un usuario no tiene una cuenta en Facebook, no existe una cookie y ID de usuario disponible. En este caso, una visita a Techcrunch.com incluye una solicitud HTTP GET para el botón “Me Gusta”. Sin embargo, cuando el botón es suministrado no existe cookie emitida. Por lo tanto, parece que el propio botón “Me Gusta” no se utiliza para emitir las cookies. Sin embargo, cuando un sitio es visitado, incluye Facebook Connect (por ejemplo Gizmodo.com) esta aplicación emite una cookie (fig. 2). A partir de ese momento, las visitas a otros sitios web que muestren el botón “Me Gusta” resulta en una petición del botón “Me Gusta” desde el servidor de Facebook incluyendo la cookie. Una parte importante del proceso depende de visitar un sitio que ha puesto en marcha Facebook Connect. La posibilidad de visitar un sitio de estos es considerable. A partir de un año de su lanzamiento en diciembre de 2008, Facebook Connect se ha utilizado en casi 1 millón de sitios web, y en marzo de 2009 más de 40 millones de visitantes únicos de Facebook Connect implementaciones se registraron.7 Aumenta el número de implementaciones de manera exponencial, lo que la probabilidad de pasar por un sitio web que lo implemente esta creciendo cada vez más grande y a un ritmo más rápido también.

Como se ha indicado, después de visitar un sitio Web en el que Facebook Connect se ha implementado, la solicitud del botón “Me Gusta” incluye una cookie. Esta cookie tiene una fecha de caducidad de dos años desde el momento en que se emitió. Sin embargo, al navegar a través de sitios web, cookies adicionales pueden ser colocadas en el ordenador del usuario y estas se pueden agregar más adelante en nuevas solicitudes. No todos las cookies se utilizan de esta manera. Por ejemplo, una cookie emitida a través de la entrada externa estado de plug-in no está incluido en solicitudes posteriores.

Sobre la base de la cookie, el total comportamiento web de un usuario individual puede ser seguido. Cada sitio que incluye algún tipo de contenido de Facebook iniciará una interacción con los servidores de Facebook, revelando con ello la información sobre los sitio web visitados, junto con las cookies.

1. Set-Cookie: datr = ckviTDm3989eNbvw6xMhAWle; expires = Wed, 15-Nov-2012 09:14:26 GMT; path = /; domain =. facebook.com

2. Set-Cookie: datr = ckviTC8tNJ-1ZKqCu_SrIga7; expires = Wed, 15-Nov-2012 09:14:26 GMT; path = /; domain =. facebook.com

Fig. 2. Una cookie emitida a través de estado de Facebook entrada externa (1) y uno a través de Facebook Connect (2) en Gizmodo.com.

3.3. El usuario de la web se convierte en un miembro de Facebook

Es posible que un usuario de la web ya tiene un conjunto personal de datos recogidos por Facebook, con base en el mecanismo descrito anteriormente. La pregunta es qué sucede cuando el usuario crea una cuenta de Facebook. En este caso, primero tiene que ir a la página principal de Facebook (la página de inicio de sesión). La cookie que el usuario tiene en su ordenador se envía a Facebook en la solicitud de la página web para ser cargada. El servidor responde y emite un cookies nuevas. Estas nuevas cookies son cookies temporales o cookies de sesión. Cuando la cuenta es creada, un número de identificación único es emitida y enviada en una cookie. La conexión entre esta cookie ID y la cookie vieja se hace entre bastidores por los servidores de Facebook. Esto significa que toda la información histórica de el usuario se puede conectar a la recién creada cuenta de Facebook. A partir de este momento, todas las solicitudes posteriores por contenido de Facebook van acompañadas de la cookie incluyendo el ID de usuario único.

Cuando todas las cookies se eliminan, el proceso comienza nuevamente desde el principio cuando Facebook Connect coloca una nueva cookie cuando un sitio que tenga Facebook Connect en su contenido es visitado. Sin embargo, desde el momento en que una persona accede a su cuenta de Facebook, o se conecta a esta cuenta haciendo clic en el botón “Me Gusta”, y proporcionando su nombre de usuario y su contraseña, esta cookie se sustituye por una cookie que contiene el identificador de usuario único que pertenece a esa cuenta.

Las cookies son utilizadas para el reconocimiento. Los usuarios de la Web pueden ser reconocido cada vez que visitan un sitio con un fragmento de contenido de Facebook. Los miembros de Facebook son identificados como los titulares de cuentas individuales, porque la cookie incluye su número de identificación único de usuario. Cuando se utilizan diferentes dispositivos para acceder a Facebook, como una computadora en casa, un ordenador portátil y un teléfono inteligente, todos estos dispositivos se reconocen como pertenecientes a la misma persona. Por lo tanto, toda la interacción web desde estos diferentes dispositivos se conectan también. Las personas que no tienen una cuenta de Facebook son reconocidos como tales. Su comportamiento de navegación, sin embargo, no es relacionado con una cuenta de Facebook. Además, este reconocimiento es automatizado y separado por cada dispositivo individual. Dado que no existe identificador de usuario único en la cookie como resultado de una sesión en Facebook, los diferentes dispositivos no pueden conectarse únicamente sobre la base de las cookies. Sin embargo, los dispositivos individuales pueden ser muy confiables, a pesar de que puedan ser utilizado por personas diferentes. Cada vez más dispositivos, como ordenadores portátiles y teléfonos inteligentes, se vuelven personales y son generalmente utilizados por un solo individuo. Esto implica que la información recopilada sobre la base de las cookies y los resultados de la navegación de el comportamiento de un perfil muy personal. Obviamente, Facebook puede usar esto para servir a sus miembros anuncios personalizados. Lo más probable, la información recogida sobre el comportamiento de navegación de los no miembros se puede utilizar para obtener una muestra más grande para el perfilado y fines de orientación.

El botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook no es el único botón que aparece con frecuencia en los sitios web para facilitar el intercambio o la promoción de contenidos. Otros ejemplos son el botón Tweet de Twitter, el botón de Digg, y el Buzz de Google. Hay, sin embargo, algunas diferencias. Como se describe anteriormente, Facebook Connect es el sistema que actualmente emite una cookie la primera vez. A partir de ese momento, la cookie es enviada junto con todas las peticiones de contenidos HTTP, así también cuando el botón “Me Gusta” tiene que ser cargado en una página. Por lo tanto, un sistema adicional se utiliza para iniciar el intercambio de cookies. Twitter, por ejemplo, no tiene ese sistema. El botón Tweet no siempre se envía una cookie cuando se solicita el botón de los servidores de Twitter. Esto sólo es el caso cuando alguien ha visitado la página principal de Twitter, a continuación, recibe una cookie que se utiliza en futuras interacciones con los servidores, de manera similar a la del botón “Me Gusta”. No es necesario iniciar una sesión o incluso tener una cuenta en Twitter. Una diferencia (pequeña pero importante) con el botón “Me Gusta” es que por lo menos puede haber algún tipo de vínculo a Twitter, ya que el usuario de la web ha visitado este sitio web. En Facebook, esto no es necesario en absoluto. Esto implica que las personas que eligen no participar en Facebook son todavía un objeto seguimiento y localización de parte de Facebook. Cuando alguien no se conecta a Facebook, Facebook hace la conexión.

Otra diferencia importante es que Facebook puede conectar el comportamiento de navegación con cuentas del usuario. Estas cuentas son, por lo general, bastante ricas en lo que se relaciona a la información divulgada, pero la explotación del botón “Me Gusta” por Facebook hace que mucha más información se recopile sobre miembros individuales. A continuación esa información es divulgada en su página de perfil personal. Así, las personas que tienen una cuenta, pero no quieren revelar mayor información acerca de sí mismos, todavía son perfilados de manera más amplia. El comportamiento de navegación de los usuarios revela mucha información sobre sus intereses personales, y esta información también puede ser recogida por Facebook y conectado a su cuenta individual. Al final, la conciencia en la divulgación de información, ya sea por no participar en Facebook o en caso de divulgación muy limitada de información personal, no es suficiente para escapar de los tentáculos de Facebook.

4. Implicaciones de perdida de privacidad

La forma en que Facebook utiliza el botón “Me Gusta” para recoger información sobre el comportamiento de navegación de las personas tiene claras implicaciones para la privacidad. Aunque es difícil dar una definición clara de privacidad, a pesar de que se han hecho varios intentos para describir el concepto8, algunos aspectos son ampliamente reconocidos como esenciales en este sentido. Los dos aspectos más destacados son la autodeterminación informativa y la integridad contextuales. 9 Estos se reflejan en las normas sobre protección de datos personales por medio de requisitos tales como la minimización de los datos, la especificación de propósitos, el consentimiento informado del interesado, y los derechos de los interesados en su acceso. El objetivo de estos requisitos es limitar el acceso a los datos personales lo menos posible y proporcionar a las personas con algunos instrumentos para controlar el acceso y uso de sus datos personales. En relación con la autodeterminación informativa, el individuo debe ser capaz de decidir qué datos se dan a conocer a quién y con qué propósito. El aspecto de la integridad contextual significa que los datos tienen que ser tratados de acuerdo con las normas aplicables al contexto en el que los datos fueron revelados. Además, los datos no deben ser transferidos a otro contexto sin el consentimiento previo de la persona.

Ahora, al considerar la situación del botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook, estos requisitos básicos son violados. En primer lugar, la recolección de datos se lleva a cabo sin que los usuarios de la web sean conscientes de ello. Como resultado, no puede haber consentimiento para la recolección de datos. Posiblemente, los miembros de Facebook estén de acuerdo con esto, al aceptar los términos y condiciones al registrarse en este sitio de red social. Los no miembros, sin embargo, no pueden estar de acuerdo con estos términos y condiciones, y están sometidos a la recolección de datos por su mera utilización del Internet. En segundo lugar, los efectos exactos de la recolección de datos no son claros y sus límites no están definidos también. Cabe esperar que Facebook utilize esos datos para los anuncios orientados en su sitio web. Los datos de las personas que no son miembros pueden ser utilizados para tener una muestra más grande. Sin embargo, estas personas no pueden ser objeto de los estos anuncios, ya que no están visitando el sitio web de Facebook. Por último, los interesados no pueden utilizar sus derechos de acceso para revisar los datos y pedir la corrección o eliminación de éstos.

En el argumento expuesto anteriormente, los datos fueron considerados como datos personales en el sentido de la legislación de protección de datos. Para los datos pertenecientes a los miembros de Facebook esto fácilmente se puede defender. El número de identificación único de usuario que pertenece al perfil personal de sus miembros se incluye en la cookie y se envía a los servidores de Facebook en la solicitud HTTP.10 Incluso cuando Facebook diga no conectar los datos con el perfil individual, los datos tienen que ser considerados datos personales, ya que para determinar si un partido es capaz de vincular los datos a un individuo identificable, todos los medios disponibles para esa parte tienen que ser tomados en cuenta. Facebook tiene claramente los datos de usuario y números de identificación, por los que se pueden vincular los datos a un individuo identificable.

Para los datos pertenecientes a usuarios de la web que no tienen una cuenta de Facebook, el argumento es un poco más difícil. Sin embargo, un extenso conjunto de datos puede contener una gran cantidad de información que claramente indican quién es el individuo, o al menos crear una imagen detallada de las preferencias e intereses individuales. Como resultado, los conjuntos de datos se vuelven cada vez más personales y facilitan la individualización. Además, hay que tener en cuenta que los dispositivos se vuelven más y más personales. Con el creciente uso de ordenadores portátiles y de los teléfonos inteligentes, estos no son tan compartidos por diferentes usuarios como fue el caso hace un par de años atrás, cuando el ordenador personal estaba sirviendo a familias enteras. Cuando un usuario de la web más adelante decide crear una cuenta de Facebook los datos están vinculados a dicha cuenta y son sin duda los datos personales.

Una preocupación más importante es el proceso detrás de el botón “Me Gusta” y la forma en que se presenta el botón. Si bien se ofrece como una herramienta para los propietarios de sitios web para implementar características sociales y con ello atraer a más visitantes, hay un gran interés en Facebook por implementar el botón en tantos sitios como sea posible. Si el botón se utiliza realmente por sus miembros es de menor importancia, para los primeros (propietarios de sitios web) porque los datos sobre el comportamiento de navegación se comunican a Facebook todos modos. Sin embargo, la preocupación más importante es que los usuarios de la web son de alguna manera inducidos al error. Debido a la forma en que el botón se presenta, los usuarios web, sólo esperan tener los datos transferidos al usar el botón. Que estos datos se transfieran incluso cuando no se haga clic sobre el botón es difícil de imaginar para el usuario ordinario de la web. Además, los usuarios web que no tienen ninguna conexión con Facebook, de nínguna manera esperan a que sus datos transferidos a este sitio de red social. Como resultado, las personas que eligen no participar en el sitio de red social aún está conectados a este sitio web.

5. Conclusión

En este artículo, el botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook se discutió como un ejemplo de una cookie de terceros que se aprovecha de una manera subrepticia. El botón se presenta, como una herramienta de trabajo valiosa para los titulares del sitio web y proveedores de contenido. Sin embargo, el botón es utilizado para recopilar datos detallados sobre el comportamiento de navegación de los internautas individuales, sin su conocimiento ni autorización. Estos datos se conectan a la página de perfil de Facebook o son recolectados como extra datos. Al utilizar cookies y los números de identificación únicos, Facebook tiene una posible relación con cada usuario de la web y hacer un seguimiento y rastrear su comportamiento individual. Esta práctica plantea problemas de privacidad y conflictos con la autodeterminación informativa de los internautas individuales. Facebook Rastrea y Localiza a Todo el Mundo: De Esta Manera.

* Candidate a Doctor e Investigador, Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

1 Los desarrolladores de Facebook, “El Botón “Me Gusta”” (2010), disponible en
http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like (consultado el 26 Nov 10).

2 D Boyd and E Hargittai, “Configuración de privacidad de Facebook: ¿A quién le importa?” (2010) 15 First Monday 8.

3 Facebook los medios de comunicación, “El Valor de un Liker” (2010) disponible en:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-media/value-of-a-liker/150630338305797 (consultado el 26 Nov 10).

4 Construido Con Facebook, ” Estadísticas del Uso del botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook” (2010), disponible en
http://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/Facebook-Like (consultado el 26 de noviembre 10).

5 J Constine, “Facebook dice” Likers “Haga clic en Enlaces a sitios web externos 5,4 veces más” (2010), disponible en
http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/09/29/facebook-stats-likers/ (consultado el 26 de noviembre 10).

6 Construido Con Facebook, ” Estadísticas del Uso del botón “Me Gusta” de Facebook” (2010), disponible en
http://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/Facebook-Like (consultado el 26 de noviembre 10).

7 K Burbary, “Las Cinco razones Como Las Empresas Deben Integrar los Medios Sociales de Comunicación con Facebook Connect” (2009), disponible en
http://www.kenburbary.com/2009/08/five-reasons-companies-should-be-integrating-social-media-with-facebook-connect/ (consultado el 26 de noviembre 10).

8 Por ejemplo D J Solove, “Conceptualización de Privacidad” (2002) 90 4 revisar la ley de California 1087; DJ Solove, “Una taxonomía de Privacidad” (2006) 154 de la Universidad de Pennsylvania revisión de la ley 3 y, WA padre, “La privacidad, la moral y la ley” (1983) 12 Filosofía y Asuntos Públicos de 4 269.

9 H Nissenbaum, “”La privacidad como la integridad del contexto” (2004) 79 Revista de Derecho de Washington 119.

10 En contraste con lo argumentado por una portavoz de Facebook, quien dijo que la identificación se basa en la dirección IP y el navegador del usuario de la web (FUERA DE LA LEY Noticias, “NHS criticado por compartir datos de su sitio web con Facebook” (2010), disponible en http: / / www.out-law.com/page-11576 (consultado el 26 de noviembre 10)). Sin embargo, como puede verse en la figura. 1, la identificación se incluye. Simplemente no es que la cookie original de usuario-ID es enviada en forma conjunta.

Novell: Pushing Proprietary and Paying Microsoft for Free

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BSoD for Novell

Summary: Novell is reducing people’s freedom and helps Microsoft impose a patent tax on software which is free/libre

NOVELL has always been a proprietary software vendor. It still is, but some of its proprietary offerings depend on Free software which is developed from the outside, without Novell’s investment. For instance, for those who want RHEL but also want to please Microsoft there is the ‘knockoff’ called SLES, which Microsoft takes/has commissions on. Novell is giving Microsoft’s ally, SAP, a Microsoft-friendly RHEL that pays Microsoft for alleged patent violations which were never proven. That’s Novell role and that’s why Microsoft has been sponsoring Novell for over 4 years (there are more reasons like OOXML and Moonlight). To quote:

Novell is enhancing its partnership with SAP with an expanded Linux offering for SAP applications.

Josh Dorfman, director of alliance marketing at Novell, told InternetNews.com that the new version of SLES for SAP Applications is based on SLES 11.

SAP’s portfolio is also RHEL-certified, but ever since Novell and Microsoft became allies, SAP has been enjoying a sort of relationships triangle.

If one looks at Novell news in general, it’s mostly about more proprietary software. Even BrainShare 2011, which Ron Hovsepian says will take place, is mostly about proprietary software. Rather often we just find that Novell uses SLES as a platform on which to sell its own proprietary software, so what good is Novell? There is of course the OpenSUSE project which still has some articles about it [1, 2], but that too is being neglected by Novell and abandoned by volunteers (they don’t want to carry water for AttachMSFT).

Over at YouTube, there are new videos of Novell promoting SUSE using Microsoft capabilities like Mono Extension (video with Windows Vista), proprietary software like ZENworks (it is also promoted for the Microsoft side of course) and the proprietary Novell PlateSpin (Forge) or even GroupWise. Here it is:

There are also videos about the proprietary IDM4, e.g. “IDM4: What is Novell Analyzer?” (Japanese). There are two more of these and also “The Lord of the Files” [1, 2, 3]. Here is part 1:

This basically promotes Novell Vibe, which also spreads proprietary problems. Why are some people still characterising Novell as an “open source” company? It’s not.

Only US Department of Justice and German Federal Cartel Office Can Really Stop AttachMSFT Deal

Posted in Deals, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin government district

Summary: Novell’s passing of patents to Microsoft et al. is likely to be the only barrier to Novell’s sale

A COUPLE of new posts, composed by Fabian Scherschel and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN), say a little more about Novell’s claim of getting stockholders’ approval. We wrote about this three days ago, emphasising that several barriers remain (although lawsuits can be resolved by settlement with compensation rather than total withdrawal from the deal). SJVN’s analysis of this is exceptionally comprehensive and relies a great deal on Groklaw:

Novell, which as Pamela Jones of Groklaw points out now describes itself as “the leader in intelligent workload management,” instead of the producers of “best engineered, most interoperable Linux platform.,” still faces anti-trust inquires from both the German Federal Cartel Office and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Neither of these agencies are concerned about Attachmate a formerly obscure software company buying Novell with Microsoft financing. No, the governments; concerns are about Novell’s patents landing in the hands of CPTN Holdings-a company made up of Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle.

For Attachmate to end up with Novell, the patent deal must go through. If Microsoft and friends don’t end up with the patents because of government intervention then the Attachmate deal is dead. Or, as Novell explains it: “The patent sale to CPTN remains subject to the satisfaction or waiver of closing conditions, including receipt of antitrust approval in the United States and Germany. As previously disclosed, Novell and CPTN received a request for additional information from the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice regarding the patent sale. The requests have the effect of extending the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 until 30 days after both parties have substantially complied with the requests, unless the waiting period is earlier terminated. Novell is in the process of gathering information to respond to this request and is continuing to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice in connection with its review. Novell continues to work toward completing the merger as quickly as possible and currently anticipates that the closing of the merger will occur following the completion of the waiting period and the satisfaction of other closing conditions.”

Microsoft MVP and Novell VP Miguel de Icaza is meanwhile expressing DRM tolerance:

I do not mind DRM that much. It sucks when it gets in the way, but all software gets in the way anyways. I like the benefits of it.

Sure he does. Would he not love it if Microsoft took even more control of Novell? It would make him stronger, richer, and more influential. Miguel works for Miguel (and Steve), not for Free software.

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Eye on Apple: Losing to Linux, Facing Unrest and Probes

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China's economy

Summary: Problems for Apple in China, trouble in a market increasingly dominated by Android, and antitrust actions

THESE TIMES are wonderful for Linux, but usually it’s not called “Linux”, it’s just called something like “Android” or “Red Hat” and even “Ubuntu”. Linux is everywhere and it commoditises the platform much to the regret of Apple and Microsoft. They have their own problems. Security-wise, Apple’s proprietary software still fails right now (this time it’s hypeToons) and the “iPhone [is] ‘becoming less popular’” based on other new reports.

Research from the uSwitch.com mobile tracker found that HTC handsets, which are made in Taiwan, were doing particularly well.

The firm compiled a ranking of the most prized smartphones, based on web searches and sales, and HTC were in each of the top three places with its Desire, Desire HD and Wildfire models.

Apple has already started suing HTC using software patents (a sign of Apple getting miserable) and it falls under antitrust scrutiny these days. Rik Myslewski says that “Apple ‘greed’ tax spreads beyond music, movies, magazines”:

Apple’s recently enacted “give us 30 per cent of your subscription revenue” dictum is metastasizing beyond online magazines, newspapers, music services, and video apps, ensnaring at least one software-as-a-service app as well.

Steve Jobs’ App Store police have rejected the iOS version of Readability – an online service that allows you to read online stories stripped of ads, Flash, and other distractions – saying the app’s developers provided no way for Apple to take its cut of subscription revenue.

The irony is that Apple uses Readability’s open source code to enhance its own Safari browser. And Readability creator Rich Ziade isn’t too happy about the turn of events.

Apple increasingly behaves like a thug and “‘Poisoned’ Chinese workers turn to Apple for help,” says the MSBBC this week. To quote: “Chinese workers injured while making touchscreens for mobile devices, including iPhones, have written to Apple asking it to do more to help them.

“Some 137 workers suffered adverse health effects following exposure to a chemical, known as n-hexane.”

Yes, just what Apple needs right now…

Microsoft Windows: Get Bricked or Get Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Brick
Picture offered by Or

Summary: Another Catch-22 for Microsoft customers as phones commit suicide because Microsoft pushes bad patches; other security problems affect only Windows

IT IS not a good week for Microsoft. Many of Samsung's clients suffer from bricking because they made the mistake of experimenting with Vista Phony 7. Microsoft was trying to ‘bolt in’ some security and instead it killed a lot of phones, as well as its reputation (what’s left of it). Microsoft boosters are all over this [1, 2, 3] and since Microsoft has no official spin (not yet anyway) they put it quite bluntly, e.g.:

Microsoft just can’t seem to get Windows Phone 7 right — this time it’s botched a minor update to Samsung phones that “brick” the devices so that they’re useless. Then it compounded the error by apparently not pulling the update after it said it had. This is no way to catch Android and the iPhone.

Oh, how true this cartoon turns out to be!

Techrights has been tracking Microsoft’s mobile business (the reality of it) for several years, so the above is not surprising at all. There was a period of time in the last decade when Microsoft had the potential to become dominant in mobile, but it blew it. Now it just blows a lot of money in vain (Windows Mobile 6.5, then SideKick and KIN, now Vista Phony 7).

“Microsoft Mobile Running Out of Chances” says the headline of this new short article which states:

More bad news for Microsoft, which can’t seem to get out of its own way when it comes to getting its mobile business untracked. Just yesterday came word that the first update for Windows Phone 7 ran into some major issues, going so far as locking up some phones. news for Microsoft, which can’t seem to get out of its own way when it comes to getting its mobile business untracked. Just yesterday came word that the first update for Windows Phone 7 ran into some major issues, going so far as locking up some phones.

Had users not accepted the patches, the phones would be vulnerable, so it’s a Catch-22 (you’ll never be secure). While it is true that Symbian/Android have their weaknesses too (mostly relying on the user who can install rogue software), nothing beats Windows when it comes to being vulnerable and this new report about Zeus (for some background about Zeus see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) says more. To quote:

AN EVOLVED VERSION of the Zeus trojan that targets mobile phones has been discovered.

Security firm F-Secure published an alert about the Zeus variant ‘Mitmo’, which targeted the ING bank in Poland. It attacks mobile phone based two-factor authentication by stealing mTANs, which are mobile authentication numbers sent via SMS by some banks to authorise an online transactions.

There is also this from the MSBBC, which characteristically avoids naming Microsoft or Windows in relation to the problem:

The proportion of websites secretly harbouring malware has reached one in 3,000 according to security firm Kaspersky.

It found a surge in the number of web-based attacks in 2010, with more than 580 million incidents detected.

What platform is it that the malware affects? Just don’t ask the MSBBC. It has too many former Microsoft UK employees in today’s management. When Microsoft’s OneCare deleted people’s inboxes Microsoft’s Arno Edelmann said: “Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing.”

Yes, Microsoft is a marketing (and increasingly lawsuits) company, which is why controlling the MSBBC is the type of thing that pays off. “Microsoft Is Not A Software Company” as Gordon titled his latest essay which says:

Microsoft don’t write much of their own. They buy, copy or just pilfer from others, and do the re-branding and Windows only lock-in changes to then present it as a Microsoft creation. They also seem pretty isolated in their views of the markets they’re in, to the extent that they seem oblivious to what the competition has done, and what the customers of that market expect as a bare minimum. How else could they release products that are years behind the competition?

Also years behind completion based on the bricking and the lack of basic features like tethering. Microsoft is somehow stuck now. The future is to a large degree all about mobility; Microsoft cannot succeed in mobility, but on the other hand it must try (or die trying).

OOXML is Running Out of Space, ODF Plugfest UK Opens

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sun rise

Summary: OOXML is shown to be broken just as the fifth ODF plugfest starts in Maidenhead town hall (UK)

SEVERAL years after Microsoft’s push for OOXML really began it still remains rather extinct. People make a mental note which says that .docx is a format people dislike and are often unable to open. Search engines too can provide some evidence of the scarcity of OOXML on the Web. Technical people know that OOXML such a bad, poorly-constructed specification, whereas computer users who are less technical usually view it as alien and unfamiliar (even if Microsoft assigns the same icons to OOXML). Rob Weir highlights the important findings about OOXML breaking apart and causing great trouble:

Microsoft’s controversial Office Open XML format, now officially called just Open XML*, has an embarrassing bug in its Office 2010 and/or Office 2007 implementation, as reported by Dennis O’Reilly on Cnet.

In a nutshell: if you save a document from Word 2010 using the default .docx format, and send it to a user with Word 2007 but who has a different default printer driver, then a few seemingly random spaces may get dropped from between words or sentences when it is opened on the other machine. When saved in Word 2007, the spaces remain missing if the document is re-opened in Word 2010.

Even CNET (CBS) has just covered it:

Some readers took exception when I stated in a post from last month on future-proofing your data archive that Microsoft’s proprietary Office file formats may not stand the test of time. Well, compatibility problems have already surfaced between the two most recent releases of MS Word.

Several people report spaces being dropped randomly from documents created in Word 2010 when the files are opened in Word 2007 on another machine. (A post on the Microsoft Answers forum explains the problem in more detail.)

So there we have another lesson regarding the failures of OOXML. Support for ODF, on the other hand, keeps expanding. Incidentally, the UK-based ODF plugfest starts today. It started 2 hours ago.

Links 24/2/2011: Mutter 2.91.90 Released Alongside GNOME Shell, Android 3.0 Surfaces

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Synapse: Anandamide

      Just a quick shout about new release of Synapse – 0.2.4! There aren’t too many user visible changes in this release, besides a few new plugins. Mostly polishing and more polishing.

    • Synapse (Launcher) 0.2.4 Released With New Plugins

      The new version also brings multiple fixes to the Zeitgeist searches, copy to clipboard action, UI fixes and speedups and other bug fixes.

    • Proprietary

      • Buying VMware Fusion

        So, to recap:

        1. I bought a product that I couldn’t use out-of-the-box;
        2. in order to use it, I was sent to a site I had never dealt with before;
        3. the site requires me to enter part of my credit card to use it;
        4. it then takes me to a totally broken page, which, thankfully, has a license key;
        5. that license key is rejected for some indeterminate amount of time by vmware.com;
        6. once it’s finally not rejected, vmware.com still merrily asks me to give it an email that it knows damn well it didn’t give me.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Managing Multiple Linux Servers with ClusterSSH

        If you’re a Linux system administrator, chances are you’ve got more than one machine that you’re responsible for on a daily basis. You may even have a bank of machines that you maintain that are similar — a farm of Web servers, for example. If you have a need to type the same command into several machines at once, you can login to each one with SSH and do it serially, or you can save yourself a lot of time and effort and use a tool like ClusterSSH.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Last Minute Changes To GNOME Shell, Mutter

        Version 2.91.90 of GNOME Shell and Mutter were released last night and they carry some last minute changes to these major components of the GNOME 3.0 desktop.

        With GNOME Shell 2.91.90, there are workspace handling changes, a PolicyKit authentication agent, visual refreshments, suspend support is now shown from the power-off menu while the power-off button is concealed by default (hold down Alt to see), message tray improvements, Shell Toolkit improvements, memory leak fixes, Telepathy support being ported to a telepathy-glib library, and other work. The visual refresh is improving the appearance and behavior of the overview dash, using larger icons in the application browser, improving the top panel and round corners of the screen, and improving the search entity in the overview. Read more in the release announcement.

      • Mutter 2.91.90 released
      • Window controls for GNOME 3
      • Application categories
      • GNOME t-shirt contest winners
  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Meet Debian at CeBIT 2011

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that it will again be represented at this year’s CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany from the 1st to the 5th of March. Debian will again be a present as “special guest” at the booth of Univention GmbH, whose motto this year is “Open source keeps the promises of the cloud” and which can be found in hall 2 stand D36.

        Members of the project will be available for questions and discussions and demonstrate new features of the recently released Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, including the new port to the kernel of the FreeBSD project. Visitors will also have the opportunity to bring USB thumb drives or blank CDs in order to get a free copy of Debian 6.0.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • ChromiumOS uses eCryptfs for Home Directories

          This is a very interesting read, about how the good folks at Google are using eCryptfs to secure user data on ChromiumOS devices. I found a few of the design points particularly interesting, such as the hashing of user names and integration with the TPM. I was also pleased to see that eCryptfs was chosen, in part, in accordance with their design needs for both performance and power consumption.

        • Unity Bitesize Bugs Update for 23 February

          Other Unity Tidbits

          * Lots of enhancements in the places speedup (with unfortunatly some crashes in some cases)
          * We can now define static quicklists in .desktop files. This is something we can just add to launchers for things like “Open a new window”, or “Create a new document”, even if the application doesn’t explicitly support quicklists. A proposal has been made on the xdg-list for an OnlyShowIn=unity property. Here’s an example with gnome-screenshot.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu 11.04 Gets Package Selection In Ubiquity (So You Can Chose What To Install)

            Edubuntu 11.04 is becoming an amazing Ubuntu flavor. For instance, it seems that Edubuntu will ship with both Unity 2D (according to the latest edubuntu-meta) and Ubuntu Classic desktop by default (but the regular Unity will still be available). Unity 2D will also be used as fall-back for those that try to use the regular Unity but don’t have a capable graphics card. Further more, LibreCAD (formerly CADuntu), a great 2D CAD drawing tool based on the community edition of QCad ported to Qt will also be included by default starting with Edubuntu 11.04.

          • Edubuntu Bug Day – 10 March

            Bugs may sound cute and harmless, but often even small software bugs can have a huge impact on the overall user experience.

            The current development version of Edubuntu, codenamed “Natty Narwhal” which will in time become Edubuntu 11.04 is shaping up quite well. However, quite often attention is focussed on the big issues and sometimes the smaller problems just don’t get the attention they also deserve, which results in feedback like “Hey! Why didn’t you fix this, it would’ve only taken you 15 minutes!”.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt implementation for Android introduced
        • Qt Implementation for Android Introduced
        • Nokia: Culture will out

          Executive summary: Despite the omnipresent burden of responsibility, and the inherent risk of failure, there’s an excitement and pleasure in working on one’s own behalf that was for the most part missing entirely from my Nokian experience. The word I keep coming back to, in my head, is “unbound,” and it’s an unbelievably lovely and liberating sensation.

          My experience with a project we’re working on, even at this very early stage, might serve as a small illustration of why the entrepreneurial life has already been so rewarding, and incidentally, why I wouldn’t look for innovation from large organizations. At any rate, it’s as good a way as any to comment, hopefully constructively, on Nokia’s recent and ongoing troubles.

        • Former Nokia Designer: Nokia Bosses Have No Taste

          Since Nokia announced it was going to leap off its “burning platform” and into the arms of Microsoft, there have been plenty of arguments about whether the link between the two companies is going to work or not. Even here on GigaOM there’s been some division: I argued that two wrongs don’t make a right, while we also heard that it could be good news for developers.

      • Android

        • How To Improve Your Privacy and Security By Installing Tor On Your Android Smartphone

          Mobile communications can easily be surveilled. One step you can take to prevent tracking is to install Tor on your phone.

          Orbot, developed by the Guardian Project, is an application that implements Tor on Android phones. It allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging, and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider. Learn more about Tor at https://torproject.org or visit our how-to guide for using Tor on your computer.

        • Things overheard on the WiFi from my Android smartphone

          What options do Android users have, today, to protect themselves against eavesdroppers? Android does support several VPN configurations which you could configure before you hit the road. That won’t stop the unnecessary transmission of your fine GPS coordinates, which, to my mind, neither SoundHound nor ShopSaavy have any business knowing. If that’s an issue for you, you could turn off your GPS altogether, but you’d have to turn it on again later when you want to use maps or whatever else. Ideally, I’d like the Market installer to give me the opportunity to revoke GPS privileges for apps like these.

        • Facebook Mobile: All our base are belong to them [OPINION]

          Android users have long been able to merge their Facebook and Google contacts, a genius way to quickly get phone numbers, emails, and photo ID’s when available. But that privilege has been stripped from the latest update to the Nexus S and future lead devices from Google.

          Facebook was previously granted an exception from Google’s requirement that developers use the Android contacts API, but Google has revoked that access in the name of “data portability.” Regardless of the reasons given, this is really about Google’s effort to gain more user data, and this play for power will do nothing to hurt Facebook. Why? Because Facebook is already teflon in the mobile arena.

        • Best Practices for Honeycomb and Tablets

          The first tablets running Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) will be hitting the streets on Thursday Feb. 24th, and we’ve just posted the full SDK release. We encourage you to test your applications on the new platform, using a tablet-size AVD.

          Developers who’ve followed the Android Framework’s guidelines and best practices will find their apps work well on Android 3.0. This purpose of this post is to provide reminders of and links to those best practices.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom has relockable bootloader, activation cost, and gold streak for celebs

        There’s a new tidbit about the Motorola Xoom every 20 minutes, so I decided to combine all of them into one post so you don’t get overloaded with Xoom news Here’s the latest information about the world’s first Honeycomb tablet – or at least the most recent stories that are sure to be old news when a million new things come out next hour.

      • Android 3.0 Platform Highlights

        The Android 3.0 platform introduces many new and exciting features for users and developers. This document provides a glimpse of some of the new features and technologies, as delivered in Android 3.0. For a more detailed look at new developer APIs, see the Android 3.0 Platform document.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trying To Lure Suckers, Company Resells Open Source Blender

    I love that they promise “Free Updates For Life. All From the Thriving Open Source Community, This Software is Forever Improving.”

  • Please do not care about non-FOSS (Specially M$)

    Ex – Proprietary Technology vendor are much fanatic then us
    * M$ never try to create any product for non-FOSS, we FOSS guys prepare platform-independent code
    * M$ do not recognise grub but we can fix windows and mount them
    * M$ do not recognise ISO standard (odt) and blindly follow its close standards
    * M$ create patent and promote a FOSS-incompatible environment.
    * This list is very long and prove that proprietary and close technology vendors are much fanatic for their technology and ideals.

  • Technology That’s Free Like Speech, Not Like Beer

    Free Technology advocates are used to being misunderstood. Between open source, creative commons, and the plain old law, it’s sometimes hard for the layman to figure out what free tech is for and what it’s against. That’s where the Free Technology Academy comes in.

    The FTA is like no university you’ve ever seen – even though they offer accredited classes – partly because you can’t see it. The project is a collaboration between the Free Knowledge institute and universities in The Netherlands, Spain, and Norway, but has no campus. The courses in the FTA program stretch from the theoretical (“The concepts of Free Software and Open Standards”) to the practical (“Software development”, “Web applications development”), but all are devoted to the propagation and increased use of free technology. Students who wish to enroll in classes taught by professors pay small tuition fee and interact with their teachers through the FTA’s web interface. But what’s so free about that?

    In the coursebook for the FTA “Concepts” class mentioned above, they use Richard Stallman’s (the movement’s grandfather) four-part defintion for what makes free software free

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Chemistry as a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache Chemistry has graduated from the Apache Incubator as a Top-Level Project (TLP). This signifies that the Apache Chemistry community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic, consensus-driven process and principles.

  • Support Free and Open Source Software Community as a candidate for the Prince of Asturias Awards 2011 in the International Cooperation category

    Prince of Asturias Foundation has invited CENATIC to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award. During the last weeks CENATIC Foundation has been evaluating potential candidates, intending to find the one with the biggest chances of winning the award, which would, at the same time, represent the interests of all the agents of the Free and Open Source Software sector in Spain.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet 2011

      LibrePlanet 2011 will be a one-day conference on Saturday, March 19th 2011 at Bunker Hill Community College, in Boston, MA. If you’re coming in for the weekend, we have plans for Friday and Sunday as well, although these are informal.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Amping Up Chrome’s Background Feature

        Many users rely on apps to provide timely notifications for things like calendar events and incoming chat messages, but find it cumbersome to always keep a Chrome window open. Extensions and packaged apps can already display notifications and maintain state without any visible windows, using background pages. This functionality is now available to hosted apps – the most common form of apps in the Chrome Web Store – via a new background window mechanism.

      • Enable Instant in Chrome’s Omnibox for Faster Searching and Browsing Experience

        I am not really sure if this is a new feature on Google Chrome. It might had been there for a long time now. But I only noticed it yesterday and I was totally taken aback. Instant-inside-omnibox is a very useful and very innovative feature in my opinion.

    • Mozilla

      • Help Test the Faster, More Stable Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo

        The latest Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is now available from the Android Market and on your Nokia Maemo device. This release was focused on continuing to improve stability and performance.

        Firefox 4 Beta is faster and easier to use. You’ll experience better responsiveness to panning and zooming, faster start up time and with enhanced JavaScript performance you’ll see faster page load times. We also worked to make major stability improvements in this release.

      • Symbian is here to stay, says Nokia

        According to Nokia, there are currently 200 million Symbian users around the world. The Finnish outfit said it expects to sell about 150 million Symbian devices going forward.

      • The Next Million Mozillians (redux)

        A little over two years ago, I did a bunch of posts about the idea of recruiting ‘the next million Mozillians’. My thinking at the time: we need to grow our community dramatically. We need to build even more creativity, reach and resilience into who we are. This is how we build a 100 year organization for the open web.

      • Wiki Wednesday: February 23, 2011
      • Thunderbird Messaging Menu integration ready for testing

        Mike Conley from Mozilla Messaging sends along that he’s ready to have people testing his work on integrating Thunderbird into the messaging menu.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • You are our rockstars!

      In just one week, thousands of donors from all over the world did the unbelievable: You all donated more than 40.000 € for setting up The Document Foundation as legal entity. Honestly, we never ever even dreamed of achieving that in such a short period of time – what happened is just amazing, awesome and beyond imagination. Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much! You all contributed to the dream of a Foundation, and with 10.000 € left until we have the required capital stock, we’re close to making it a reality.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 brings new colored icons

      LibreOffice 3.3.1 also brings new colorful icons based on The Document Foundation branding guidelines, and includes updates to several language versions.

  • Education

    • Students in Los Altos delight in using Inkscape drawing program

      One of the fun parts of blogging for PCWorld.com is getting reader response e-mails from all over the world. You never know who is going to read what you write. Sometimes they’ll spot the blog post on the PCWorld Web page, or as a link in a tweet or even as a Google search result several months after the blog post was published.

      I’ve blogged previously about Inkscape, the free vector drawing program for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows, so I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Sheena Vaidyanathan, who teaches Inkscape to elementary school students in Los Altos, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Here is how Sheena explained her teaching to me: “I started adding Inkscape as an art unit, then as an after school program and it was so popular, that the school district asked me to start a program called Digital Design for all 7 elementary schools. I teach 20 classes each week to 4th-6th graders, and each class is an average of 25 students. After one trimester, I get a new set of students, so in one year I teach all 4-6th graders, about 1500 students! It is a lot of work, but I love teaching and sharing my enthusiasm for art and technology with kids. I love using Inkscape and other free open source software (I also teach SketchUp, and Scratch) because the kids can actually install it at home and use it outside the classroom. I am not sure if there are any other public schools that have a program like this, but it is a fantastic way to get kids excited about technology, and learn to use computers to express their creativity.”

  • Business

    • How does open source affect company culture?

      An open source company is naturally a company that produces open source code for others to consume. But how does the notion of producing software code in the open affect company culture?

      I believe that an organization cannot produce open source code if it is not generally open itself. By this I mean having culture of transparency and of openly sharing information and ideas. The same basic environment that is often found in open source development–a sense of open community, where everyone is welcome to share their opinions and ideas–is often present in open source companies as well.

      But a company is different from an open source community in a key way: in every commercial entity, there is information that cannot or should not be shared with everyone. How does an organization hold a balance between being culturally open and maintaining the level of professional discretion required by its customers, its board of directors and others? How do employees know when to act open and when to keep closed?

    • ForgeRock Signs Consulting, Training and Reseller Partnership with First Point Global to deliver Open Source Identity and Access Management Software Solutions

    • Fellowship interview with Massimo Babieri

      Massimo Babieri is an IT manager at the Earth Science Department, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. As well as holding a Ph.D in Geology, Massimo leads the band The Radiostars, releasing their music under a Free license. As well as being a member of the LUG Scandiano, he has been very active in the ongoing success of the PDFreaders campaign in Italy.

    • Igalia reinforces its support for the Free Software community.

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit organization with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all Free Software users. Igalia deeply appreciates their hard work driving the Free Software movement since its beginning and goes a step further by providing financial support for this organization.

  • Licensing

    • The Problem With Bilateral Agreements
    • ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

      A German court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether or not a company can sell second-hand versions of downloaded business software in a case involving software company Oracle.

      Oracle took action against usedSoft, arguing that that its sale of used licences for software is illegal. Customers who buy second-hand licences from usedSoft then download software from Oracle for their own use.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • free culture

      As I find them, I will list resources, information and discussion about the mind bending free culture concept.
      A lot of people think the idea of “free culture” means that nobody gets paid. And in fact, no one is compelled to pay. The way that it really works, is that people pay what they can when they can, because we know supporting the artists/musicians/fimmakers/designers/developers/writers allows more of the creations we want to be created. This means consumers only pay for what they like.

    • World Book Night to open with huge public reading in London

      What organisers believe will be the biggest single literary event in history is to raise the curtain on next month’s World Book Night, itself billed as “the biggest book give-away ever”. On 4 March London’s Trafalgar Square will be given over to a “glittering celebration of the written word”, with 10,000 people expected to attend.

      The free event will feature appearances from numerous celebrated authors, ranging from Alan Bennett to Nick Cave, reading from their favourite books.

    • Open Data

      • A first look at the council spending data: £10bn, 1.5m payments, 60,000 companies

        Like buses, you wait ages for local councils to publish their spending data, then a whole load come at once… and consequently OpenlyLocal has been importing the data pretty much non-stop for the past month or so.

        We’ve now imported spending data for over 140 councils with more being added each day, and now have over a million and a half payments to suppliers, totalling over £10 billion. I think it’s worth repeating that figure: Ten Billion Pounds, as it’s a decent chunk of change, by anybody’s measure (although it’s still only a fraction of all spending by councils in the country).

      • Bill documents — Protection of Freedoms Bill 2010-11
  • Standards/Consortia

    • What’s Still Missing in the HTML5 Spec

      The multimedia holes in the HTML5 spec The primary aspect of multimedia capability to be resolved this spring is multitracking for audio and video, though the W3C isn’t committing to having this capability in the final HTML5 spec. Multitracking would, for example, enable a choice of spoken languages to accompany a video, allow the presentation of a video within another video, and permit applications like chat rooms to display simultaneous audio from multiple people.


  • In the beginning, there was a dream

    My friends have always entertained my unconventional musings. A favourite being my desire to live a life of “freedom” on a sailboat in some remote sea passages of the Canadian West Coast. This didn’t seem to compute in my favour as a 28yr old single female. Hence, meeting another outdoor enthusiast with a handy streak and possessing the same desire struck me as … trouble! Having a small prior stint in living aboard a sailboat, I was fully aware that it’s not as romantic as it sounds, nor does it allow for much more storage than a suitcase of clothing. I was skeptical my well-dressed, large-dog-owning loved one understood the gravity of this.

  • SFU DNA lab seeks to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance

    SFU health sciences student Justin Long of Vancouver has supplied the university with four letters, believed to have been hand-written and sealed by Earhart. The envelopes were opened at the end leaving the gummy seal – and hopefully Earhart’s saliva – intact. Long acquired the letters froma collection of 400 pieces of the aviator’s correspondence collected by his grandfather Elgin Long, a lifelong Earhart biographer.

  • Nowcasts: Predicting the Present

    Nowcasting is a term used by the folks at Google to represent an analysis of large volumes of data that can be used to “forecast” current events for which official analysis has not been released. For instance, using these techniques one can “nowcast” what the current unemployment rate is before the official unemployment rate is determined. Google also calls this “predicting the present.”

    Another example is the way Google was able to pinpoint the emergence of flu outbreaks by monitoring outbreaks of search terms for flu-related words, as a proxy for the flu itself. As they put it: “web searches may not only be useful as a reliable indicator of the health-seeking behavior when facing the influenza pandemic but also they may contain a useful information for predicting the present stance of economic activity some time ahead of the official release of relevant data.”

  • Amazon Kindle goes social with Public Notes, Twitter and Facebook integration

    A free firmware update for Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader adds several new features, including an element of social networking.

  • Google Calendar Users Suffering Missing Data [Updated]

    We’re getting reports of many Google Calendar users suffering missing data right now. It appears that the when users load their accounts, all calendars and entries are missing.

  • Harry Reid’s prostitution lecture bombs

    What prompted Reid to call for abolishing prostitution wasn’t clear. In the speech, he framed it as a matter of economic development — but also a matter of shame.

  • BookRenter Raises $40 Million To Take On Chegg In Textbook Rentals

    College textbook rental startup BookRenter has raised $40 million in funding from Adams Capital Management, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. This brings BookRenter’s total funding to $60 million.

  • Reports of marginalia’s demise have been exaggerated

    As with most things, it’s easier to lament a loss than come up with a solution. Joe Wikert took The New York Times article mourning the death of marginalia in digital books head-on, choosing the more difficult path of coming up with a solution.

  • Investing in news innovation in Europe

    Journalism is changing fast. And as news businesses experiment with new ways of creating and delivering journalism in the digital age, Google is keen to play its part on the technology side. Over the last year, we’ve been partnering with publishers around the world to develop technological solutions—including, most recently, One Pass—to find new and engaging ways of presenting stories online and to generate greater revenues.

    As well as our focus on technological experimentation, we’re also investing at the grassroots level. Last October we announced that we would be giving $5 million in grants to non-profit organisations working on developing new approaches to journalism. At that time, we allocated around 40% of the total fund to the Knight Foundation in the U.S.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign policies denounced by rebel diplomats

    Nicolas Sarkozy is facing an unprecedented revolt by French diplomats who warn that his foreign policy gaffes have left France pathetically diminished on the world stage.

    After weeks of embarrassing French slip-ups – including Paris blindly standing by the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships until the last minute – a group of diplomats have published a scathing attack on the president in Le Monde.

  • Science

    • Plastics can now conduct electricity

      The discovery of a new technique will make it possible to create a whole new collection of plastics with metallic and/or superconducting properties.

      According to the University of New South Wales, plastics normally conduct electricity very poorly and they are used to insulate electric cables but, by placing a thin sheet of metal onto a plastic film and mixing it into the polymer surface with an ion beam, Australian researchers have displayed that the system can be used to make inexpensive, durable, flexible and conductive plastics.

    • Rolls-Royce develops all-electric Phantom prototype

      Rolls-Royce cars have never been known for their fuel efficiency – after all, if you can afford to buy one, you’re probably not that concerned about the price of gas.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Verizon Asked to Probe ‘Alarming’ Dropped 911 Calls

      Reports indicate Verizon’s network failed to connect 10,000 calls to 911 numbers in Washington’s suburbs during the Jan. 26 storm, the Federal Communications Commission said in a letter to the carrier today that was released by e-mail.

    • Anonymous: the amorphous ungroup

      As the revolt started by Anonymous in Tunisia slowly spreads across North Africa, moving inexorably towards Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with all that implies for the oil-dependent world, the lamescream media and ‘intelligence’ agencies try to pin down the amorphous ungroup.

      Anonymous is now what must be the most powerful universal force for change the world has ever seen. And that terrifies the Powers That Used To Be as they watch the control they once exercised over the Great Unwashed, disintegrate.

      HBGary’s Aaron Barr came unstuck when he claimed to have penetrated Anonymous. And you can be sure he still thinks there’s some kind of Anonymous Central where all the Operation Paybacks and other anon activities are planned and plotted.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Power of Nonviolent Resistance

      And the stories of resistance in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, and Libya are also fundamentally local ones.

    • Ordered to Attack Own People, Libyan Pilots Crash Their Jets

      On Wednesday, the Gadhafi regime ordered two of its pilots to attack the opposition stronghold of Benghazi – part of the Libyan government’s ongoing attempt to bomb activists into submission. But rather than make that attack run, Abdessalam Attiyah al-Abdali and his co-pilot Ali Omar al-Kadhafi bailed. They parachuted out of their Russian-made Sukhoi 22, and let the jet crash about 100 miles west of Benghazi.

    • Security Council Press Statement on Libya

      The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil):

      The members of the Security Council were briefed on the situation in Libya by B. Lynn Pascoe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whose Mission had requested a meeting of the Security Council.

    • Libya: Stop the Crackdown
    • As U.S. Rebuilt Ties With Libya, Human Rights Concerns Took a Back Seat

      The brutality in Libya has prompted the State Department to issue several statements in recent days strongly condemning the Libyan government and calling the bloodshed “completely unacceptable”—though it stopped short of threatening sanctions.

      The country’s dictator, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, said on Tuesday that the protesters who have been killed “deserved to die,” and he vowed to fight “until the last drop of my blood.”

    • Caller Personally Confirmed: 1500 young men buried alive in an Underground room in Benghazi

      1500 young men, buried alive, buried alive.

    • Libyan forces turn on Gadaffhi, declare “Free Benghazi,” capture foreign mercenaries

      Soldiers and police in Beghazi, Libya’s second city, have thrown in with protesters on the ground and declared the city to be “Free Benghazi.” The Guardian is carrying eyewitness reports of more than 4,000 foreign mercenaries being brought to the country to fight for Gadaffhi, some of whom are in custody of the revolutionary army.

    • Berlusconi’s Cut

      A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy. Just at the moment that would be too much even for Berlusconi to survive.

    • Petraeus’s comments on coalition attack reportedly offend Karzai government

      To the shock of President Hamid Karzai’s aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.

      The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

    • Torture inquiry is legally flawed, say rights groups as NGOs ponder boycott

      An inquiry set up by David Cameron to examine Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11 is running into trouble even before it has begun hearing evidence, with human rights organisations warning that it will fail to meet the UK’s obligations under international and domestic law.

      Such is the level of concern that some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are considering whether they should boycott the inquiry due to be headed by Sir Peter Gibson, because they fear it will not be sufficiently independent, impartial or open to public scrutiny.

  • Cablegate

    • 09CARACAS1284,

      Venezuela played host to 28 heads of state and representatives from 33 other countries at the Second Africa-South America (ASA) Summit on September 26-27 on the island of Margarita. Portrayed by President Chavez before and afterwards as an historic display of unity between long-oppressed continents, the Summit appears to have instead highlighted differences among participants over both substance and style. Despite efforts by Venezuela and Libya, the Summit declaration itself contained few unexpected provisions. Following the Summit, President Chavez signed a series of bilateral energy and mining agreements, and joined six other South American Presidents in signing a “constituting agreement” for his proposed regional development bank, Banco del Sur. Some Summit participants reported that their most lasting memory may well be the preparatory and logistical mess that the delegates encountered.

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Tuesday, Day 87

      5:05 Academics debate whether students, or anyone, even reading WikiLeaks are breaking the Espionage Law. The absurdity burns. But a good read, from Philly Inquirer.

      3:05 The Bradley Manniing Advocacy Fund launched today, with this endorsement from Dan Ellsberg: “There has been a concerted effort to paint Bradley Manning as a terrorist and traitor. He is neither. He is a patriotic American who deserves better than to be tried in the media – as is happening day after day on the basis of misinformation – before he has had any opportunity to speak publicly for himself or to present his own case in court. I hope others will join me in supporting the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund to ensure a free-flow of information on PFC Manning and give him a fair shot at due process and humane treatment.”:

      2:05 More major fallout from WikiLeaks usually overlooked: Why do we currently have no U.S. ambassador in Libya? Because he (Gene Cretz) was recently recalled after uproar over his cables critiquing Gaddafi. “Certainly doesn’t help in current crisis. (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

      12:30 Lengthy new piece on Wikileaks finances, past and present, and call for “transparency.”

    • How to Write a Cable

      Contrary to what Julian Assange might tell you, most ambassadors do not worry that the wrong people will read their cables, but that the right people won’t. The U.S. State Department receives several million cables a year, and while most deal with mundane administrative matters, several hundred thousand report on political and economic developments. The secretary of state reads just a handful of these, and assistant secretaries read a small portion of the cables from their geographic regions. Even the desk officer might only have time to scan the post’s voluminous cable traffic.

    • Whom do The New York Times and The Guardian work for?

      Bill Keller, an editor with The New York Times, has recently published an article titled “Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets.” In the article, the author wrote how the newspaper was working with secret cables. From what the article says, it seems that Russia appears to be a real stronghold of freedom of speech.

      Keller wrote: “Because of the range of the material and the very nature of diplomacy, the embassy cables were bound to be more explosive than the War Logs. Dean Baquet, our Washington bureau chief, gave the White House an early warning on Nov. 19. The following Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, Baquet and two colleagues were invited to a windowless room at the State Department, where they encountered an unsmiling crowd. Representatives from the White House, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. and the Pentagon gathered around a conference table. Others, who never identified themselves, lined the walls. A solitary note-taker tapped away on a computer.”

      The next meetings would take place in the form of daily conference calls. “Before each discussion, our Washington bureau sent over a batch of specific cables that we intended to use in the coming days. They were circulated to regional specialists, who funneled their reactions to a small group at State, who came to our daily conversations with a list of priorities and arguments to back them up. We relayed the government’s concerns, and our own decisions regarding them, to the other news outlets.”

    • Assange set to lose extradition case, then appeal

      Julian Assange is expected to lose his battle against extradition to Sweden today.

      Legal sources in London believe that the magistrate, Howard Riddle, will grant the European arrest warrant forcing the WikiLeaks founder to face accusations of sex crimes in Stockholm.

      However, it could take nine months to a year before a verdict, as both sides have already signalled their intention to appeal against today’s decision should it go against them, taking the extradition request to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Says Spill Settlement Terms Are Too Generous

      In the eight months since Kenneth R. Feinberg took over the $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he has been attacked by many of those filing claims and by coastal state politicians who argue that the process is opaque, arbitrary and slow. Many of them have also argued that Mr. Feinberg’s recently published estimates of future damage to those in the gulf are too optimistic, and thus his offer of compensation in a final settlement is too low.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Politics of Mother’s Milk

      You may have heard the old adage that “money is the mother’s milk of politics,” but money also has a lot to do with the politics of mother’s milk.

      Last week Rep. Michele Bachmann, R., Minn., criticized Michelle Obama for announcing that she would work to encourage breastfeeding as part of her campaign against childhood obesity, accusing the First Lady of encouraging a “new definition” of a “nanny state.”

      What was missing from the stories that followed, however, was that the powerful infant formula industry has tremendous influence in Washington, with PACs, employees and their family members of the three biggest producers donating $1 million to federal candidates and party committees in the 2010 election cycle and the companies themselves disclosing lobbying spending of $9 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Privacy

    • Passenger data and the UK Government

      As simple background, the U.S. started the policy of requiring airlines to submit the detailed biographical and behavioural information on all travellers to the U.S. In fact, the U.S. first required that all data on all passengers’ travel (not limited to the U.S.) be transferred to the U.S. authorities for any use under the sun.

      After years of debate and deliberation between the EU and the U.S., the EU agreed to the transfer of the information to the U.S. (with some limitations), and the EU began to seek its own passenger surveillance scheme. The Bush Administration clearly has left its mark on EU policy. This is the practice of ‘policy laundering’ that for years we have worked on: one country adopting the surveillance policies of other countries.

  • Civil Rights

    • What Does the “Track” in “Do Not Track” Mean?

      There is a lot of discussion about Do Not Track at the moment. The FTC has announced support for the idea; Mozilla has added a Do Not Track header option into Firefox betas, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced a Do Not Track bill. Other proposed privacy legislation, such as Rep. Bobby Rush’s bill, could also achieve similar objectives. And yesterday, EFF submitted comments urging the Federal Trade Commission to defend online privacy by supporting the header-based Do Not Track feature.

      Do Not Track is important because it creates a policy mechanism to augment the privacy enhancing technologies that we currently have. There is an arms race between practical privacy tools and ubiquitous online tracking, and we fear that the trackers have powerful techniques that will almost always allow them to win the arms race against ordinary people.

    • Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators

      Ian’s, a pizzeria near the Wisconsin state capitol that is sympathetic to the demonstrators, has been facilitating the process of supporters around the world who want to send pizza to the protest. They’ve fielded an order from Egypt — now that’s solidarity.

    • Exodus: Dems trigger Statehouse showdown

      Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.

      A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

      The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

    • Discretion please, not rulebooks

      I’m writing this on a plane, having just passed through Security at Heathrow airport. An obviously nice young mother was distraught because she wasn’t allowed to take on board a tub of ointment for her little girl’s eczema. The security man was polite but firm. She wasn’t even permitted to spoon a reduced quantity into a smaller jar. I couldn’t quite grasp what was wrong with that helpful suggestion, but the rule book was implacable. All the official could do was offer to fetch his supervisor. The supervisor came and, equally polite but firm, she too was regretfully bound by the rulebook’s hoops of steel.


      How often does a dangerous criminal walk free, not because evidence has been examined but simply because of a ‘technicality’? Perhaps the arresting officer fluffed his lines when delivering the official ‘caution’. Decisions that will gravely affect a person’s whole life can turn on the powerlessness of a judge to exercise discretion and reach a simple conclusion which every single person in the court, including the lawyers on both ‘sides’, knows is just.

    • Fake “Koch brother” calls up Wisconsin governor

      Ian Murphy, editor of the Buffalo Beast, just did something wonderful. Murphy, pretending to be billionaire industrialist and secretive conservative political activist David Koch, called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, currently in the midst of attempting to crush the public employees’ unions. “Koch” got through to Walker (who hasn’t been taking calls from the Democratic state Senate minority leader). He taped the call and put it online.

      So Walker will happily take a call from a Koch brother. He says that he considered “planting some troublemakers” among the protesters. He is convinced that everyone is on his side. Like most people who only watch Fox, he has a skewed impression of the popularity of his union-crushing proposals. (His plan is, nationally, roundly unpopular. Except on Fox.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Kerry, Wyden, Cantwell, Franken Fight to Protect Network Neutrality

      Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) today fought to protect the network neutrality rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last December. In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senators opposed any efforts to use the appropriations process or the Congressional Review Act to keep the FCC from doing its job and implementing these network neutrality rules.

    • In flight broadband cheaper than bell


    • Ottawa to force change in Internet fee ruling, Clement says

      Industry Minister Tony Clement is determined to promote Canada’s digital economy, and if that means overturning the CRTC on Internet usage-based billing for small providers, so be it.

      “We asked (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review their decision, and if they come back with the same decision the cabinet would overrule it because it wouldn’t be consistent with government policy … promoting competition and choice,” he said Wednesday after a forum with University of Alberta students.

      “You can’t have competition and choice if you allow a major carrier to force its business model onto an independent service provider.”

    • Towards a Distributed Internet

      In preparation for the Contact conference that I am helping to organize this October in NYC, I’ve been in discussion with many different communities about the types of initiatives they would like to bring to the table. The purpose of the event is to ‘realize the true potential of social media,’ and determine what infrastructures need to be in place to enable peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and governance.

  • DRM

    • Rumor: Sony developing a “hack-proof” PS3

      Well, this is certainly an amusing rumor. Apparently, the folks at Sony are attempting to build a “hack-proof” PS3. Although definitely an admirable initiative from a corporate perspective, we all know that any system is (eventually) crackable.

    • Sony to remotely clamp down on Piracy? & Other OS – Class action status looks unlikely

      I’ve covered my views on this before, so I won’t go over old ground, but suffice to say in the face of a vibrant pre-owned market, coupled with services like Lovefilm, I do have to wonder how many sales are actually lost through sharing software, look at how many isp offer “unlimited usage” with one hand and then sucker punching you with “fair use” with the other. For me, my unlimited data seems to stretch as far as 25gig a month, then it appears it’s no longer unlimited and out rolls the “fair use”. Consider how much gaming could be downloaded with even 25gig, not much I’d wager and then adding a few streamed HD movies on Lovefilm and its quickly eaten away. As far as I can gather, fair use applies to most if not all UK ISP’s, so that’s a very large group of users who just don’t have the facility to go on a downloading free for all….infringing or not.

    • Donations Pour In for PS3 Hacker

      George Hotz is in the middle of what could be a long, punishing legal battle with Sony, and his money is running out. “Media, I need your help. This is the first time I have ever asked. Please, if you support this cause, help me out and spread the word,” he wrote on his newest blog entry. “I want, by the time this goes to trial, to have Sony facing some of the hardest-hitting lawyers in the business. Together, we can help fix the system.”

      Ars Technica contacted Hotz’s lawyer to make sure this plea for cash was legitimate, and attorney Stewart Kellar confirmed that yes, the money raised goes to Hotz’s legal fund to fight Sony. It also appears Hotz has friends with deep pockets: The first round of fundraising is already over, and more lawyers will be hired for Hotz’s defense.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Truck Maker Discovers Chinese Knockoff Company; Helps It Come Up With Its Own Design

      We’ve seen different companies respond in different and creative ways to companies making knockoffs in the past. One of my favorites was the South African clothing firm that created an entire (secret) knockoff line of clothes to “compete” with unauthorized knockoffs.

    • Copyrights

      • International Music Score Library Project: humanity’s musical treasures freely available

        The International Music Score Library Project, a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of musical treasures available for free. This public domain repertory of classical music includes Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies, and much more: by simply following the example of Google Books and Project Gutenberg it has grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere.

      • Why Is The MPAA’s Top Priority ‘Fighting Piracy’ Rather Than Helping The Film Industry Thrive?

        We’ve already written about the news that ex-Senator Chris Dodd has gone back on his promises and his principles to take the top lobbying job at the MPAA, but this recent article in Hillicon Valley, talking with interim MPAA boss Bob Pisano, is bizarre in that it shows how incredibly misguided the MPAA’s entire strategy is. We’ve seen that the MPAA has an entire “content protection” staff, but doesn’t appear to have a staff of folks dedicated to actually helping filmmakers to adapt and to succeed in the modern era. But it strikes me as ridiculously short-sighted that the MPAA admits that its number one priority is getting the government to “fight piracy.”

      • Incentive to Create II
      • Irish Govt pushing through ‘illegal downloads’ changes to copyright law

        In its final days, the Government is believed to be rushing through a statutory instrument that will amend the existing Copyright Act and which will give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

        The move is believed to stem from October’s court case between the music industry (Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI) and UPC in which the judge pointed to a key gap in Irish copyright laws.

        Siliconrepublic.com has learned that the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation and the Department of Communications have tabled the legislation which is currently in the hands of the parliamentary draftsman with a view to passing it by Friday.

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