TechBytes Episode 35: You Can’t Please Some People

Posted in TechBytes at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:55:10, 33.6 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (52.7 MB)

Summary: Tim and Roy talk about GNU/Linux for senior people, ASUS returning to Linux, and Microsoft’s struggle to evolve

THIS episode was probably the last one to be recorded over a mobile network and it is also the first one to have two music tracks in it. Here are the show notes.

RSS 64x64The show ends with “Zombie Baby” and “Endsequence”. We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011
Episode 26: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More 18/1/2011
Episode 27: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 27: Linux Phones, Pardus, Trusting One’s Government-funded Distribution, and Much More 22/1/2011
Episode 28: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 28: The Weekend After Microsoft’s Results and LCA 30/1/2011
Episode 29: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 29: KDE, Other Desktop Environments, and Programming 31/1/2011

February 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 30: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 30: Microsoft at FOSDEM, Debian Release, and Anonymous 7/2/2011
Episode 31: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 31: Nokiasoft and Computer Games 13/2/2011
Episode 32: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 32: Desktop Environments, Computer Games, Android and Ubuntu as the ‘New Linux’, Copyright Mentality 22/2/2011

March 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 33: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 33: Patent ‘Thieves’ and News That Deceives 6/3/2011
Episode 34: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 34: Done on a Dongle 13/3/2011

Microsoft-hired Lawyer Deletes Reference to Microsoft Employment and Goes GNU Hunting Amid New FUD Campaigns

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The smear campaign against software freedom and where it is coming from

ANOTHER week, another lump of slime from the Microsoft camp. Microsoft Florian and the gang have been having a lot of fun this week, fueled by fellow FUDmeisters to whom software freedom is a reconnaissance of fascism and the end of commerce (typical FUD which is actually the exact opposite of the truth). Even though the FUDmeisters are largely ignored and even ostracised by the Free software community, some in the mainstream press are easily fooled by it, maybe even by choice.

Bradley M. Kuhn explains that he “was hoping to avoid having to comment further on this problematic story [of GPL FUD]. I figured a comment as a brief identi.ca statement was enough when it was just a story on the Register. But, it’s now hit a major tech news outlet, and I feel that, given that I’m typically the first person everyone in the Free Software world comes to ask if something is a GPL violation…”

To quote the ‘meat’ of his counter-argument:

Anyway, most of what’s been written about this subject of the Linux headers in Bionic has been poorly drafted speculation. I suppose some will say this blog post is no better, since I am not answering any questions, but my primary goal here is to draw attention that absolutely no one, as near as I can tell, has done the incredibly time consuming work to figure out anything approaching a definitive answer! Furthermore, the original article that launched this debate (Naughton’s paper, The Bionic Library: Did Google Work Around the GPL?) is merely a position paper for a research project yet to be done.

Naughton’s full paper gives some examples that would make a good starting point for a complete analysis. It’s disturbing, however, that his paper is presented as if it’s a complete analysis. At best, his paper is a position statement of a hypothesis that then needs the actual experiment to figure things out. That rigorous research (as I keep reiterating) is still undone.

Some spectators who came to our main IRC channel thought this was part of a Microsoft PR offensive. Well, it’s not necessarily so far from it. We will avoid linking to the FUD directly (or to those who fueled it) and instead link to responses such as this one, which missed a crucial bit of information about the obscure firm from which the FUD originates. It is daemonising Google, Linux, and the GPL all at the same time. Quite the ace, eh? “Edward J. Naughton bio gets revised,” claims the text at Groklaw and Pamela Jones writes: “Edward J. Naughton, the attorney Huffington Post just published claiming Android may be in violation of the GPL has done work for Microsoft. Surprised much? His article states this at the end: “The views expressed are my own individual views and should not be attributed to any clients.” Nevertheless, at least one of them may be delighted.

“His bio has changed recently. The link above is to its current state, where you will not find any mention of Microsoft. It’s been changed to a “Fortune 50 software company”. Here’s what used to be on it, still in Google cache, a snapshot taken recently, on March 8…”

Further it says:

- Co-counsel defending Microsoft against a putative consumer class action alleging that it had violated wiretapping statutes and common law privacy rights by designing Windows to permit third parties to place cookies on computers. Obtained dismissal of complaint….
- Represented Microsoft in several dozen lawsuits against resellers and corporate end-users of counterfeit, infringing, and unlicensed software. – Brown Rudnick bio page for Naughton

Over at IDG, Brian P. (former Linux Today editor) says with his tongue in his cheek that “Helpful lawyers think Google stole Linux code”. To quote the opening: “By now you have likely heard the noise about Google possibly violating the GPL by using Linux header files to create a new BSD-licensed library that userspace applications can interface with the Android kernel.

“The allegation comes from Brown Rudnick partner Edward Naughton, who has done quite a bit of research into the matter and has come up with a 10-page report that highlights what he believes are serious concerns for Android’s implementation.”

Brian’s colleague, Zonker, makes the important point: “Lawyer behind Android infringement claim has Microsoft ties”

Edward J. Naughton, is out promoting the idea that Android violates the GPL over on Huffington Post. But Naughton seems to be hiding his ties to Microsoft.

Compare Naughton’s bio on Brown Rudnick’s site and then compare to the Google cached version.

Here’s the original, with my emphasis:

Co-counsel defending Microsoft against a putative consumer class action alleging that it had violated wiretapping statutes and common law privacy rights by designing Windows to permit third parties to place cookies on computers. Obtained dismissal of complaint.

Microsoft is now redacted to read “Fortune 50 software company” in two places on his bio. Now, if you read through the entire thing, most of Naughton’s experience is cited vaguely rather than naming specific clients. However, the Google snapshot is of the page on March 8. Naughton’s story on HuffPo is from March 16. I find it a bit odd that his bio changed sometime in the last eight days to specifically retract Microsoft. Maybe in the last eight days, completely independent of Naughton’s publishing a broadside against one of Microsoft’s largest competitors, someone at his law firm said “hey, this goes against our style guide — we better edit it.” Maybe Microsoft contacted his law firm and asked not to be named specifically — that happens, some companies don’t like being singled out for case studies or customer win stories.

This is not exactly the “most ethical” company in the world, eh?

“That is the guy that claimed Android is a trap,” gnufreex commented, “with “GPL virus” (not with th[ose] words, but that is what he meant) [...] And FMtroll [Microsoft Florian] linked it also.” He has been twisting some other old events to daemonise Red Hat last week and so did his online friend Maureen O’Gara, whom Microsoft has been using to “plant” Linux-hostile stories. “(maureen o’gara alert),” appended Susan Linton some days ago, which shows just what kind of notoriety these people have earned for themselves. Their role is to push agenda, not to report news. Speaking of which, Joseph Tartakoff who previously served as the Microsoft booster (full-time) at the Seattle P-I shows that his predecessor is leaving the Microsoft-sponsored TechFlash. Based on this report, it is not entirely clear if he will just promote Microsoft full-time from another source. “The new site,” it says, “will still revolve around Cook’s coverage of venture capital and tech startups, as well as Bishop’s reporting on Microsoft and major tech companies like Apple and Google, Cook said in a phone interview.”

Does that mean less emphasis on Microsoft? Let us hope so.

This month and last month Tartakoff reported on Microsoft’s continued destruction of Yahoo! (although the details about what Microsoft did are omitted like in every good case of revisionism). Microsoft is not a scapegoat, it is a very destructive company without any morals — a result of sociopathic management.

Microsoft Still Lobbies for Software Patents in Europe, Even by Pretending to be Small European Company/ies

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old world

Summary: A recent batch of activities providing a glimpse at Microsoft lobbying for the European patent and some other EPO lessons

THE European patent (or EU patent) was derailed, but one must not forget that Microsoft lobbied for it more aggressively than any other company we are aware of; and Microsoft is not even a European company. To address the uninitiated, Microsoft wants the European patent because of its impact on software patentability in Europe and using front groups Microsoft has been pressuring Europe to adopt the European patent. Notable among those front groups was ACT, which pretends to represent small businesses while the paychecks arrive from champion of “ethics” Microsoft Corporation. The president of the FFII writes:

Microsoft promoting software patents for SMEs

He points to this new page where Microsoft too lobbies ‘on behalf’ of small businesses for its very own interests as a monopolist. To quote the lie:

Small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs – will be the powerhouse of the Innovation Union that the EU must become if we are to enjoy sustainable prosperity in the face of ever stronger global competition.

With our Innovation Union proposals on 6 October, the European Commission is calling for a concerted drive at European, national and regional levels towards three broad objectives.

As if that’s not shameless enough, there is some political corruption in Europe, courtesy of Microsoft, as usual. “Microsoft Poland officially confirmed as a partner of Polish EU Presidency,” writes Microsoft Europe (conveniently pretending to be a European company) and over the past 2 years we have shown that Microsoft paid other EU-based presidencies which it then used to promote software patents in Europe. It’s a form of bribery and all they really give is a bunch of lock-in. To quote this latest PR:

Together with Microsoft Poland General Manger Jacek Murawski, Brad joined Minister Dowgielewicz in signing a Partnership Agreement and Declaration of Co-operation, on the basis of which Microsoft will support the Polish EU Presidency with time limited lending of software (400 Office 2010 and 400 Windows 7 licenses) as well as with joint communication and promotional activities. Ministry and Microsoft representatives had also a chance to discuss the priorities of Polish Presidency, particularly as they concern the IT industry.

Techrights never forgot what Microsoft did in Poland to buy votes. The European Commission said it would investigate it, but it never really did, allegedly due to complexity. Meanwhile, shows the president of the FFII, “EPO nominating software patent holder 3DHistech and other companies for European Inventor Award 2011″ (no surprise here). He also shares this piece of news about US patent law turning out to be a curse to the United States (so pay attention, Europe/EPO). To quote: “It’s really stunning how the Chamber of Commerce can be so short-sighted. Its lobbying pressure hands foreign governments perfectly “legal” protectionist tools that they can use against the US companies the CoC is supposedly paid to represent. If I were a Chamber of Commerce member, I’d want my money back.”

It’s all about lobbying, it’s about special interests, and it’s about those in power ensuring that they stay in power. Whatever Microsoft says is good for Europe is exactly the opposite. To Apple’s credit, it never really participates in this type of abominable activities, unlike Microsoft. Sometimes it seems like Microsoft is a continent as its behaviour is definitely unique.

Links 19/3/2011: KiWi PC Bring GNU/Linux to Seniors, ASUS Comes Back to Linux for Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Luciana Fujii Pontello: The GNU/Linux Girl Who Says Cheese!

    Daniel G Seigel, creator of Cheese, recently announced the new version of Cheese. He mentioned that the new version was driven by ‘three lovely ladies’. Out of these three Charlie’s Angels one was Luciana Fuji Pontello, who was responsible for the camerabin port and gobject introspection support. It couldn’t have been timed better as this week we celebrated the International Women Day. So, we reached out to Luciana Fuji Pontello to understand the role of women in the FOSS world.

  • Why the Linux Desktop is Still Not #Winning

    Mobile devices like tablet computers and smartphones have started to pull a lot of people away from using traditional PCs. But I think we shouldn’t blame the fate of the Linux desktop solely on these devices because personal computers are far from being irrelevant and is still preferred by many, including myself, for getting things done. So why do I think Linux is still not winning in the desktop space?

  • Waxing Nostalgic About Old-School Linux

    Back in the early days of Linux, distros were nice and small, admins knew what they were doing, and systems could run just fine with double-digit megabytes of RAM. That’s how some remember it, anyway. A recent post at TechRepublic from Jack Wallen has the FOSS community reminiscing fondly — and not so fondly — about Linux’s formative years.

  • Desktop

    • Finally A Sub $500 Ubuntu Linux Based Desktop PC for Senior Citizens!

      We just got word that KiWi PC has released a very interesting looking Linux based desktop computer for senior citizens. The KiWi PC is said to help the elderly remain connected with the world and up-to-date in the fast paced world of technology by offering a user-friendly desktop providing immediate access to customizable email, internet and software applications.

    • KiWi PC Aims its Ubuntu Desktop Computer At Seniors

      KiWi PC is offering the system for $499.99, which seems a bit steep for a desktop machine running a free, open source operating system, but the color-coded keyboard and some aspects of the desktop interface may appeal to some seniors.

    • Sick of Windows? Try Linux!

      If you’re tired of Windows, there are other operating systems that you might use.

      For instance, you might buy a Mac; of course this is an expensive solution, and one that can be avoided if you first try one of the many Linux operating systems.

  • Server

    • Survey Reveals Churn in Server OS Market

      The 90% figure for Linux usage is up from 84% in the previous year’s study.

    • New Linux landscape emerging

      Given we have described 2011 as the year of Linux in the clouds, we will be watching closely to see how the market, the use of Linux and the various distributions and their backers continue to evolve. This will also be the focus of a new special report from The 451 Group that is coming soon.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • IBM

    • 11 Years of Linux at IBM

      Last year, Dan Frye gave a keynote about how IBM got involved in Linux and how IBM changed and changed Linux. The process started in 1998 and by 2004/5 Linux was ready for anything. That was the time period my usage went from using GNU/Linux on random PCs in my classroom to using it on servers and whole laboratories. GNU/Linux was ready for anything in education.

  • Kernel Space

    • Gentoo-sources 2.6.38 released
    • Btrfs LZO Compression Performance

      While the performance of the Btrfs file-system with its default mount options didn’t change much with the just-released Linux 2.6.38 kernel as shown by our large HDD and SSD file-system comparison, this new kernel does bring LZO file-system compression support to Btrfs. This Oracle-sponsored file-system has supported Gzip compression for months as a means to boost performance and preserve disk space, but now there’s support for using LZO compression. In this article we are looking at the Btrfs performance with its default options and then when using the transparent Zlib and LZO compression.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland & The Network; Gallium3D Netpipe?

        In recent days on the Wayland development mailing list there’s been a discussion about a HPC (High Performance Compute) architecture for Wayland. A few interesting ideas have been brought up.

        Essentially this HPC idea comes down to a per-program VNC-like system where for example you could run the Blender animation program from a netbook or tablet computer and have that forwarded to a more powerful system, via Wayland. Though with the original proposal, this wouldn’t end up being solely the work of Wayland but other components would need to come into play too for all of this to work out. This discussion though has brought up some discussions regarding the serializing of application windows to suspend-and-resume them, etc.

      • Directing Lemmings

        Legally there’s nothing stopping anyone from licensing s3tc or floating point patents, forking Mesa3D and shipping closed source version of it with code handling both.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Some E17 tips and tricks

      I’ve been really impressed with the work being done on Bodhi Linux, so I’ve been giving both it and E17 a bit more love lately. To that end, I thought I would highlight a few cool tips and tricks. Some of these will make you slap your forehead they are so simple (and handy). Some of them you might not even use. Regardless, you can never have too many tips and tricks for the Enlightenment desktop.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KTorrent 4.1 adds super-seeding support

        Version 4.1 of the KTorrent BitTorrent client for the KDE desktop is now available to download, a major release that adds several new features. The user interface has been redesigned to make better use of KDE’s KParts technologies and support for super-seeding has been added.

      • Qt4 GUI Styles

        Qt4 is a cross-platform application and UI framework. It has a configuration manager in System>Preferences (or enter qtconfig-qt4) in a terminal.
        If Qt4 applications don’t look quite right on your desktop, try changing the GUI style.

      • Kraft: A No-Nonsense Office Assistant That Gets Straight to Work

        Small-business users with a fondness for open source apps could get a lot of mileage out of Kraft, an application for creating, customizing and managing correspondence and planning. It settles into its job easily, then presents you with an intuitive and familiar interface. Its adherence to XML and PDF is good, but it could stand to learn a few other types of formats as well.

      • openSUSE Community Manager Jos Poortvliet (Nvidia users should avoid KDE)

        Not so long ago I blogged about my brief experience with the then just released openSUSE 11.4, simply put I stated its disappointing and I will never try openSUSE in the foreseeable future.

      • KDE 4.6.1 Almost Perfect

        When KDE 4 was released, I hated it. It seemed a lot of my favorite customizations had changed, moved, or been removed. It was heavy and a resource hog. It didn’t seem to work real well, things were either slow and crashy or didn’t function properly. Subsequent updates did little to help. Until 4.6.1. I think KDE 4 is finally maturing into a stable and usable interface.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gtk+ 3.2 Will Let You Run Any Application In A Browser (Remotely Too)

        Gtk+ 3.2 will let you run any application in a browser thanks to the new HTML5 gdk backend. That means you’ll be able to run GIMP, Gedit, a video editor or whatever, remotely (or on the same computer), using a web browser.

      • Moving the needle in GNOME

        Software development is an immature branch of the discipline known as “change management”. The weapons are different, but the war is the same: Improvement generally requires change, but change involves investment and risk. So we invent convoluted schemes, tools and rituals to make change easy, but not dangerous.

      • SciTE – Lightweight GTK-based Programming Editor

        SciTE is a SCIntilla based Text Editor. Originally built to demonstrate Scintilla, it has grown to be a generally useful editor with facilities for building and running programs. It is best used for jobs with simple configurations – I use it for building test and demonstration programs as well as SciTE and Scintilla, themselves.

      • Short Review of GNOME Shell

        It feels a bit weird to be part of KDE land and be a bit of the conservative guy these days. We had our first Plasma Desktop release three years ago and the first fully user-targeted 4.2 release two years ago. Since then things improved on a steady but not revolutionary pace. Well, that’s not entirely true for our back-ends as I feel that eg. QML is a very revolutionary move for developers but the desktop experience from a user’s POV stayed largely the same.

      • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Shell

        So far, I’ve used GNOME-Shell for at least 10 minutes and Unity for at least 15. And it was six months ago. Just to tell you how much I’m competent on the subject. And I didn’t like them. Not at all. I’ve my own ideas about the desktop.

      • Vincent Untz: I Wonder Why We Have All Our Distributions Around

        The GNU/Linux landscape is changing dramatically. 2011 is a very important year for Gnome and GNU/Linux. Gnome is the default desktop environment used by some of the major distros and it is going through a major transition with version 3. At the same time openSuse community is driving many ambitious initiatives such as the AppStream project. We talked to Vincent Untz, an openSUSE Booster, and the GNOME release manager to understand what’s going on with these projects. He talks about Unity, Gnome 3, Mono and much more. Go ahead and read on…

      • Ubo Icons Theme – Not Glossy, Drawn With Ballpoint Pen, Colored in GIMP, Looks Sweet!

        When we featured this collection of top 10 most popular icon themes for Ubuntu GNOME some time ago, Ubo Icons was probably one among the most promising set of icons for GNOME in that list, though it was still a project yet to be completed back then. Well, the first alpha release of Ubu Icons is here and it looks quite stunning.

      • The GNOME Journal March 2011
  • Distributions

    • 7 Surprises From Turkey

      I made several reviews of Operation systems originating from Eastern Europe: SLAX, Agilia Linux, Alt Linux, Austrumi. This time I will aim little bit to the South, on the place where Europe meets Asia.
      How many countries do you know which are placed in Europe and Asia both? Russia? Anything else? Yes, that is Turkey. Not the most well known country in the world, although European culture would be different if this country would not exist. Byzantium, Constantinople… They are all parts of Turkish history.

    • Pinguy OS 11.04 Pre-Alpha

      I am happy to announce the release of Pinguy OS 11.04 Pre-Alpha. This version has the ability to do OEM installs. XBMC and Ultracopier added as default apps. TED has been removed because of peoples fears of legal use. mvPod has been replaced with Arista Transcoder as this can encode video for more devices then just the iPod.

      Things that still need to be added is Elementary-Nautilus, rapid-photo-downloader and Native ZFS File system. Also replace openjdk-6-jre with Oracle Java as openjdk-6-jre is not allowed with a few bank sites.

    • In Search of the King of the Linux Distros

      Here in the Linux community, debating the relative merits of various distributions is a common pastime. So when it was proclaimed in an article recently that “Debian is the most influential Linux distribution ever,” it was a rare geek who didn’t sit up and take notice.

      Sure enough, that’s just what Datamation’s Bruce Byfield asserted in a recent article, adding that “not everyone uses Debian, but, both alone and second hand through Ubuntu, it is the source of more derivative distributions than any other.”

    • Distro Testing

      I’ve been gradually experimenting with both FreeBSD and Gentoo. I have some extra partitions I use to test new setups, so I can take my time and always boot back into my primary partition when I’ve had enough. I highly recommend this approach, especially with distros like these.

    • Reviews

      • Puppy Linux sit! roll over, there now – good dog

        Puppy Linux born on June 2003, delivered by Barry Kauler. The community that has developed is completely open, without any formal agenda or structure – and the product is completely free.

        One word of balance, it sounds like this is a good dog doesn’t it? But Jollicloud appears to be more popular so I hope to look at that soon.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Moves Forward, Releases Alpha 2

        The Mageia project announced the release of Alpha 2 of their inaugural version 1, expected June 1. Developers have made a clear statement that this release is only for developers and bug hunters. It is not for daily use, any kind of production environment, or review. Tsk, tsk, they should know better than that. Reviews are inevitable.

      • Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.2 is out

        andriva Enterprise Server 5.2 – the simple, high-performance and accessible Linux server – is now available.

        MES 5.2 features a broader set of drivers to support more devices during the installation process and an updated Linux kernel (version 2.6.33). It highlights advanced virtualization on top of KVM or Xen, a user-friendly software setup and configuration wizard, an easy-to-use LDAP directory management – Mandriva Directory Server, powerful backup solutions and many other services in the fields of messaging, file and printer sharing, web hosting, network management and more.

      • Mandriva Releases 2011 Beta 1

        One new feature mentioned in the release announcement is a “plasma-applet-stackfolder application.” The announcement goes on to explains, “To see it in action, simple drag any folder from dolphin to KDE taskbar, and have fun.” Well, all it did for me was create a launcher. Was it supposed to do anything else? I have to say, that wasn’t much fun. Surely, I just didn’t hold my mouth just right while dragging and dropping.

      • Mandriva 2011 beta1 errata

        shortly after the release of 2011 beta1, we have discovered that the 32bit version was unable to boot in some cases (as it was pointed out at https://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=62792).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ok, I’m committed now

        Well, I’ve been working for Red Hat for two years, one month, and 14 days now. It’s actually amazing how time flies. I guess when you’re doing something you love, with amazing people you respect and enjoy working with, time has no real bearing on anything. When I first started working for Linux-Mandrake (now Mandriva) back in 2000, I got Tux inked on the back of one leg. Tux is fairly generic and represented the beginning of my journey with Linux (well, the beginning of my paid journey anyways!). Tux is also much cooler to tattoo than the (sorry, but it’s true) silly top hat and magic wand that was the logo for Linux-Mandrake back in the day.

      • Red Hat Near the 200 Day
      • Red Hat and the Kernel Kerfluffle
      • Red Hat Open Source Day: Rome, 14 June 2011
      • Open Source Revenue Models: Red Hat’s Tactics and Strategies

        Red Hat’s decision might be ‘debatable’ for some, while others are ok with that. The whole point to me seems to be a completely different question, though. Tactic decisions to prevent others from appropriating returns from the (Red Hat) commons are not a substitute to a (long-term) strategy focused on renewal rates, an area where Red Hat is using effective business strategies.

      • What if Hewlett-Packard Bought Red Hat?

        Still, the idea of a Red Hat acquisition by a major technology player remains interesting. After Sun Microsystems and Novell were both bought by technology giants last year, that left Red Hat as the only public, U.S. company focused on open source. Open source is increasingly contributing to the commercial efforts of countless companies, and large companies like Gap Inc. have successfully moved to Red Hat’s platform. One has to ask how long it will be before a major technology player sees the kind of value in Red Hat’s proven software-plus-support business that Oracle and Attachmate saw in Sun and Novell.

      • Fedora

        • It’s not about you

          The F15 Alpha experience so far has been great — the T30 just hums along with KDE 4.6.1 in a way that’s incredibly eerie. Alphas aren’t supposed to run this error-free, I say, knocking hard on wood. The desktop box with “desktop” also hums along as well, error-free like the laptop, but there’s something I can’t put my finger on regarding the GNOME 3 experience so far that is . . . .

        • Fedora 14

          Fedora does have a heavy focus on Open Source Software, as stated in their previously mentioned FAQ. Although I have not had any issues, for some users this may be not be congruent with their values regarding Open Source vs. Compatability with Closed Source Software and Non-Open Formats. Also, certain things (such as the package manager) may not appeal to users with less experience. I felt like the lack of an office suite makes this a less-than-optimal distribution for first time users. Advanced users may not like the fact that it comes with applications that some may consider unnessecary, but it does come with some nice tools to manage and improve the security (A Firewall and SELinux are two big things that you get with Fedora 14).

          The short lifespan of 13 months, and a new release every 6 months, means that it may not be the best option for those who want to be able to stick to one version for more than a year without losing support.

          In summary, I think that this distro best suits users with moderate to high levels of experience who aren’t looking for a minimalist distribution, want something that can easily be adapted to fit a wide spectrum of uses, but don’t need to stick to one version for an extended period of time. If this looks like the distro for you, you can get it here.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian CUT, a new rolling release?

        It looks like 2011 started well for Debian. The project won awards in two out of seven categories at the Linux New Media Awards 2011 (“Best Open Source Server Distribution” and “Outstanding Contribution to Open Source/Linux/Free Software”). Just recently Internet.com declared Debian the most influential distribution ever, stating that “~63% of all distributions now being developed come ultimately from Debian.”

        However, my intention for this article is not solely to praise Debian for its recent awards, but rather to focus on a new project, Debian CUT. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about CUT; it seems most Debian community hasn’t either. Then again, maybe it’s because it is only labelled as unofficial/development so far.

      • In praise of Debian 5

        But what you can make of it is a remote music player with a slideshow visualizer, and probably for less money than it would cost you to feed your belly.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • What’s wrong with Unity & how we can fix it

          Unity is Ubuntu’s innovative new user interface, designed to catapult Ubuntu into the revolution of contextual search, launchers and social integration. The unique design provides an enticing alternative to the likes of Windows and OS X.

        • Lessons Learned from Canonical, Banshee, and GNOME

          With the brouhaha begun by Canonical’s changing of the Banshee affiliate code dying down there are some important lessons to be learned by all sides involved. One of the most important is that protracted in-fighting causes long term harm in the area of good will and public appearances. While Canonical was painted the villain by the community at large, GNOME, who was already battling negativity from controversial moves in its new GNOME 3 Shell, didn’t come out of it unscathed. In essence, there were no winners here.

        • Add Realtime Earth Wallpaper to Ubuntu with xplanetFX


          Ubuntu Linux (currently at version 10.10) comes with some really nice desktop wallpapers. I particularly like the “Blue Marble” static image of Earth from space. But recently I discovered a much more interesting way to add a real-time, continually-updated satellite image of Earth to your desktop with an app called xplanetFX. You can configure the app to change the globe’s size, attributes, and view specific coordinates on Earth. It’s pretty cool. Here’s a screenshot of my xplanetFX desktop, also running the Cairo-Dock app with the Chrome Round icon theme.

        • Ubuntu: a complete guide

          The reasons to try out Ubuntu are manifold. From breathing new life into ageing PC hardware to running a safer alternative to Windows for the kids’ computer, or simply stretching yourself with something other than the Microsoft homogeny, Ubuntu has become the alternative OS of choice.

        • Multitouch in Ubuntu 11.04

          One of my key goals for Ubuntu 11.04 has been to introduce full multitouch support through X.org. In technical terms, this means adding touch support to the XInput protocol. You may see others refer to multitouch in X.org as simply XInput 2.1. We hatched our plan back at UDS-N to push hard on developing the XInput 2.1 protocol and implementing it as best as possible in 11.04. The idea was that Ubuntu would be a test bed for the protocol before it is adopted by X.org upstream.

          We’re now past feature freeze for Ubuntu 11.04 and nearing the beta release. How well has the plan worked? I believe we’ve been mostly successful. 11.04 includes a pre-release version of XInput 2.1, and we’ve even got support for multitouch through Qt! However, working around issues in the existing X protocol has provided many challenges that became visible only after the initial implementation was developed. In 11.04 we have support for the major pieces of XInput 2.1, but we have since encountered a few corner cases that require a bit more work to get right. I will be writing another post about these challenges to give a better overview of the issues we are facing.

        • A Year With Ubuntu

          This time last year I got a new work laptop, a Dell E6400, dual core 2.8GHz, 4GB, enough hard disk capacity that I’ve forgotten what it is. I dutifully installed the corporate Windows XP image and eventually after the ubiquituous reboots got to a nice clean desktop, looking forward to a nice jump in computing power, I hit the start button to get on with installing the rest of the software I’m going to need, and nothing happens. Of course that always seems to happen on XP, you have to wait seconds to minutes after the desktop displaying before things have settled down enough to get anything to happen.

          At that instant I gave up on Windows, my next action was to download a 64bit Ubuntu .iso, and burn it to DVD. I’d played with virtualization and dual booting before, but on the spur of the moment I decided I was just going to wipe the hard disk one more time and throw my lot in with Ubuntu, I’d figure out how to manage without the few Windows only applications I needed somehow, it’d be better than gritting my teeth at my unresponsive desktop every morning.

        • Thunderbird and Ubuntu One: First Thoughts, First Roadblock (or Prior Art and RDF’d)

          Hedera is a Thunderbird extension, and probably the most direct solution to the Thunderbird and Ubuntu One integration problem. With Hedera, all contacts in all address books are sent off to Ubuntu One, with metadata to keep the contacts in the right address books. Metadata is also included to keep contacts distinct from one Thunderbird profile to the next (if you’re one of the rare users of profiles).

          As of late, the extension has gotten a bit dusty – the author, James Tait, is currently working at Canonical, and hasn’t had much time to maintain it.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 LXDE Released

            If you are interested in a very solid Linux Distribution with a lightweight desktop (rather than the typical Gnome or KDE desktops), there was very good news for you yesterday. Linux Mint 10 (Julia) LXDE is now available. When I have previously looked at lightweight desktops it has been Xfce, but that seems to be getting slowly but steadily larger and more complex, and I have heard a lot of good things about LXDE recently, so I decided to give it a whirl.

          • Linux: lubuntu

            If you already have Ubuntu installed, trying lubuntu is really easy; just run “sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop”.

            In summary, it’s very pretty, super fast, and crazy small. In fact, its memory usage was almost laughable considering I was running it on a 4GB MacBook Pro. I think my total memory usage was something in the 200-300MB range.

          • Linux Mint: Getting Debian via the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) – and making it more Debian-like

            A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to have at least one copy of all the major branches of Linux distributions on this laptop, if only for troubleshooting and having a reference point. Debian or something derived from it has been missing from all my machines for a while now, so with the release of “Squeeze” it seemed like a good time to put a copy back on.

          • Xubuntu Natty default wallpaper
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedding Ubuntu

      There are hundreds of versions of Linux, including embedded-specific distributions like TimeSys, MontaVista and Wind River Linux, and well-known desktop/server distributions such as Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux and Novell’s SUSE.
      They are all derived from common core Linux components, such as the standard Linux kernel (freely available from www.kernel.org), several graphical application environments (GNOME, KDE, etc), various system utilities and tools, both free and proprietary device drivers, and thousands of application programs. Yet the Linux desktop/server market was disrupted by the arrival of Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com).

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Motorola Revs Up Devs at Android Conference

          Motorola VP Christy Wyatt addressed an audience at the Android Developers Conference 2011 Tuesday, telling them that the opportunity to monetize around Android will exceed that of any other platform. One area of opportunity for devs is the enterprise market, Wyatt said. “The reason I find this really exciting, and you should think it’s exciting, is this has been a captive market for some time,” she said.

        • Fixing the Fragmented Face of Android

          Android 3.0, aka “Honeycomb,” took center stage at Wednesday’s AnDevCon keynote address, and LinuxInsider joined about 200 Android developers in a small room at the Marriott Hotel in San Mateo, Calif., to listen in.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Asustek to launch US$200-250 netbook in June

        Asustek Computer is set to launch a new netbook priced at US$200-250 in June in cooperation with Intel, and hopes to achieve its goal of shipping six million netbooks in 2011, according to sources from upstream component makers.

    • OLPC

      • Welcoming two new Xo’s (and one is red! :-)

        This is the second version of the first activity in Etoys (with scripts) that I uploaded to the Squeakland Showcase. Through this activity we discuss and analyze more deeply the first story of the book (the story about the 35 camels).

        I was thinking of starting to include older kids (over 12) in the activities which will be present the programming skill. In my opinion, in this way, the little kids (that touched a computer and a mouse for the first time, since this project started) will have the support of the older ones, which are somehow a bit more accustomed to a computer. Through this integration, I think all kids can work to collaborate together on developing different skills as we move forward.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does FOSS Need a Charismatic Leader?

    Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has Steve Jobs; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has Bill Gates. The question on hand in the Linux community lately has been, does FOSS need someone similar?

    That, indeed, was the topic of a recent poll on TuxRadar, and it’s sparked quite a debate.

    “Does free software need a figurehead?” the TuxRadar crew began. “We all talk about the freedom and democracy that FLOSS brings — but does it also help to have a strong character at the top keeping us on the right path?”

  • What does Community really mean? (Part 2)

    The very first comment that somewhat counters’ Phipps’ s model is that it ignores the fundamentally dynamical nature of FOSS communities and the inherent sociological rejection of any real “stable” state of the social structure inside these communities. It means two things: That anyone from the end-user community may turn into a core developer provided he/she has the skills and provides relevant contributions in the relevant way (in my example, the end-user would have to contribute code patches in a regular fashion to become a core developer); second, that the members of these communities have no status that is carved in stone. You are not born a core developer, you become one, but you won’t remain one until you keep contributing. This in turn highlights two notions that are essential inside FOSS communities and that may be seen, as I wrote earlier, as an additional, yet necessary description of the way FOSS communities work through and beyond the typology enunciated by Simon.

  • How can open source survive in a post-PC World?

    The open source world has been fixated so long on the “Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop” that it runs the risk of failing to notice that the desktop is no longer the key platform. That’s been evident for some time in the developing world, where cost and power constraints mean that big, expensive PCs are simply impractical for most people. But with the rise of smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices, many people in western countries are also ditching their desk-bound systems in favour of powerful, more pocketable ones.

    Alongside this trend, there is the new passion for tabs, which many are proclaiming as the coup de grâce for traditional PCs. The idea is that for most users – that is, those who do not need to work with huge spreadsheets or massive databases, say – a lightweight touchscreen tablet will become the default way of computing, whether at work, at home, or on the move.


    Really, OpenSource is about choice. If someone has a view of doing this like so, and others do have another view, let’s fork it, change it, see if it works. Other projects or stakeholders or companies will take what they need, and leave the rest to the sharks.

  • Apache Harmony loses project manager

    Tim Ellison, Project Management Chair at Apache Harmony, the Java implementation at the Apache Software Foundation, has announced his resignation as chair of the open source project. The IBM employee says that after IBM stepped back from the project in autumn 2010 and after years of discussions with Sun and then with Oracle about licences for Java Test Compatibility Kits (TCK), the participation in Harmony has shrunk so much that there is no longer any properly working project management.

  • Open Source’s Kith and Kindred

    One of the things that interests me is the way that the ideas underlying open source are being applied in other fields. That’s something that I normally cover in my other blog, but sometimes things happen in those other domains that have ramifications back in the world of open source, and so may be of interest here.

  • The future of open source is on its way

    As an industry analyst, I am always looking toward the future — mostly based on conversations and experiences with open source vendors and, increasingly, customers and end users. Still, to get the most accurate prediction and picture of the future, it is essential to check these ideas, theories, trends and with a larger pool of open source software providers, consumers and pundits. Thus, we’re encouraging anyone who has an interest or stake in enterprise open source software to offer their input via the just-released, fifth annual Future of Open Source Survey. The 451 Group is pleased to have been more closely involved in the survey this year along with North Bridge Venture Partners and Computerworld.

  • 59 Open Source Tools That Can Replace Popular Security Software
  • Events

    • Open source pow-wow kicks off Linux’ 20th anniversary

      The Linux Foundation announced keynotes and programming for its Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, scheduled for April 6-8 in San Francisco. The event will also kick off the year’s Linux 20th anniversary celebrations, leading up to the official celebration in August.

  • Web Browsers

    • Major Browser Makers Agree: HTML 5 is the Future

      There is no doubt that that last point makes sense. Everyone benefits from a common standard. Meanwhile, Mozilla has been showcasing what Firefox 4 can do with HTML 5 on its Web o’ Wonder site, and the company has been quite vocal about the promise of HTML 5.

    • Chrome 10, Firefox 4.0, or IE9? The Browser Choice
    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome OS Director Joins Chorus of Praise for HTML5

        Shepherds of the web, from execs at Firefox to directors at Internet Explorer, have heralded HTML5 as the future of the Internet. Simply put, HTML5 is the latest revision to HTML, the core coding language of the web and the backbone of the Internet. It’s a modern standard designed to complete modern online tasks–audio, video, multimedia, etc.–and every browser maker has touted its capabilities when showing off the newest versions of their software.

      • Google claims to have sped up the web

        ADVERTISING BROKER Google claims to have speeded up the web thanks to improvements in the Javascript it uses to display adverts.

        Google has updated the show_ads.js Javascript that is used by millions of websites to display Google’s Adsense adverts. The new turn of speed comes from embedding the heavy lifting of the script in an iframe, resulting in the browser not stalling while the Javascript is working out what adverts to display.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla To Ship Firefox 4 Final On March 22

        Mozilla’s Damon Sicore today told developers that the company is aiming for a March 22 ship date for Firefox 4.

      • Mozilla Takes Aim At Internet Explorer, Which Faces More Challenges Than Ever
      • Firefox 4: New streamlined interface, ‘app tabs’
      • Firefox 4 Gets CEO Approval

        Mozilla has officially confirmed March 22 as the launch date of Firefox 4. A recently discovered Java bug will not be fixed for the final version.

      • 10 Things to Drool Over in Firefox 4

        Mozilla’s Firefox 4 is now officially expected to debut on Tuesday March 22, following hard on the heels of Google’s Chrome 10 and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9.

      • Mozilla outlines 16-week Firefox development cycle

        Although Mozilla is still readying Firefox 4 for its official release, the organization is already laying out its plans for subsequent versions of the open source Web browser. In a roadmap published earlier this year, Mozilla revealed plans to issue three more major releases during 2011–bringing the browser’s version number up to seven.

        As we discussed in our coverage of the roadmap, Mozilla’s plan is ambitious and will require a dramatic overhaul of the Firefox development process. Mozilla—which has historically had lengthy development cycles and protracted beta testing—will have to transition to a faster and less-conservative approach to release management. The organization has authored a document that describes how such a transition could potentially be achieved.

      • Firefox 5.0 to Launch 16 Weeks after 4.0, Firefox 6.0 Just 6 Weeks after 5.0

        I have already told you that Mozilla plans to release Firefox 5.0, Firefox 6.0 and Firefox 7.0 by the end of 2011, following the acceleration of its release schedule per the Google Chrome model.

      • Check out What’s Coming Soon in Firefox 4

        Mozilla Firefox 4 is almost here! We updated the Firefox 4 release candidate with some minor security fixes and updates to several localizations, including the addition of a Vietnamese localized version. Firefox will now ship in 80 languages. We’re excited to deliver the new features, look and speed of Firefox 4 to our more than 400 million users worldwide.

  • Databases

  • Drupal/CMS

  • Education

    • Schools take the open road

      TAKING advantage of free and open source software, a government program has been bringing computers and the skills to use them to public high schools nationwide in an effort to narrow the digital divide.

      “We’ve been advocates of free and open source software from the start,” says Antonette Torres, manager of the iSchools project, which has set up computer labs in 1,000 public high schools since 2007.

      Each recipient school gets 19 desktop computers, a server and a laptop, all running Edubuntu, a variant of Ubuntu Linux designed for classroom use. Fifteen of the desktop PCs go to a computer lab, two are allocated for faculty use, one goes to the library and another goes to the principal.

  • Healthcare

    • Open-Source Software Is Actually More Secure for Health Care IT, Study Suggests

      Globally the sale of health care information systems is a multibillion dollar industry. The vast costs, frequent failed systems, and inability of systems to talk to each other regularly attract media comment. However policy makers still shy away from a class of software, Open Source, that could address many of these problems, because of worries about the safety and security of Open Source systems. Now new research by the University of Warwick’s Institute for Digital Healthcare, and the Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education at UCL Medical School, finds that Open Source software may actually be more secure than its often more expensive alternatives.

  • Funding

    • DE: Company network to be funded to develop open source business software

      A group of companies will receive federal funding for the integration of business software to open source, it was announced in March 2011.

      The network of 16 software companies and a research institute have developed a ‘building block’ solution with an open source basis. The objective is to offer solutions that are compatible and flexible. The new software will be named Open Source Integration Initiative (OSII) and will be established with support from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (BMWi), in German). During the first year project period the network was awarded with the ‘National Innovation Programme for SMEs’ by the Ministry. MFG Baden-Württemberg, the public Innovation Agency for ICT and Media, is responsible for the management of the business network.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 2.0 is released

      Great news for this release of GhostBSD 2.0 will now be support auto mount of USB Devices! There could be some problems across a few system and if you find one please report it to one of the email address below.

    • m0n0wall 1.33 released

      m0n0wall 1.33 adds a new image type for generic PCs with a serial console, further improves IPv6 support, includes a driver for newer Realtek network chipsets and contains various small changes and bug fixes.

    • PC-BSD 9.0-current
    • The Wonders Of Blender

    • GnuCash 2.4.4 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.4.4, the fourth bug fix release in a series of stable of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software. With this new release series, GnuCash can use an SQL database using SQLite3, MySQL or PostgreSQL. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX.

    • Ten years of the Free Software Foundation Europe

      Founded in 2001, the Free Software Foundation Europe is the European sister organisation to the Free Software Foundation in the United States, and today, it celebrates its tenth anniversary. In 2000, physicist Georg Greve saw the need for a European organisation to help Europe’s open source and free software developers in struggling with EU specific policy and the consequences of EU law for free software. The organisation sees itself not as a smaller European partner for the Richard Stallman-founded FSF in the US, but as an autonomous organisation culturally rooted in Europe that takes into account the complexities and differences in the conditions of the continent.

    • How to install and and start GNU Smalltalk

      Hi everyone, This short video show you how to install and start GNU Smalltalk on Ubuntu.

    • Create Your Own Local Mirror of the Ubuntu Repositories
    • Introduction to tmux: A GNU Screen Alternative
  • Government

    • Local government ‘detached’ from open source benefits

      Whitehall is becoming one of the strongest supporters of open source, but local authorities across the UK are ‘stubbornly wedded’ into proprietary ICT, writes Graham Taylor, CEO of Openforum Europe

      Three new government initiatives in the field of open public sector computing in the past month show that at a national level at least, the UK is one of the strongest supporters of open standards and open source software in Europe.

      Unfortunately at grass roots level, local government around the UK remains stubbornly wedded to proprietary computer systems that lock them and their citizens’ data into closed computer systems.

    • Government takes action on open technology

      It’s been an interesting few weeks in regard to open source. From being what in the past I classified a ‘laggard’ (that was the polite form) in Europe, the UK government is now intent on matching its Action Plan on Open Source, Open Standards and Re-use with….well, action! And in doing so it has shamed some other European countries that have been content to limit deliverables to a paper strategy.

    • Governments could save millions by reducing their dependence on a single desktop PC software vendor
  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.3.6 closes five security holes

      The PHP developers have released PHP 5.3.6, a maintenance update to the PHP interpreter. Among over 60 bug fixes are a number of fixes for security related problems.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WebODF

      WebODF is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to add Open Document Format (ODF) support to your website and to your mobile or desktop application. It uses HTML and CSS to display ODF documents.

      WebODF is a Free Software project. All code is available under the AGPL. This means that you can use the code free of charge, investigate how it works, and share it with others.

    • Best Practices for Authoring Interoperable ODF Documents

      In the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC we have recently started work on a new document, a “Committee Note” which will be called, “Best Practices for Authoring Interoperable ODF Documents”.

      I will be the editor for this document.

      If you are not yet familiar with a “Committee Note”, it is a new category of document that has recently been added to the OASIS process. Think of it being analogous to an ISO Technical Report. A Committee Note (or CN) goes through the same level of review and approval with a Technical Committee, the same public review requirement, etc. But it does not get approved as a standard, so it does not define, for example, conformance requirements. It is intended for things like implementation guides, best practices, white papers, etc.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama’s new executive order on Guantanamo

      President Obama yesterday signed an Executive Order which, as The Washington Post described it, “will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay” and “all but cements Guantanamo Bay’s continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.”

    • Taking the “war” out of air war

      Admittedly, by then American air-power films had long been in decline. In Vietnam, the U.S. had used its air superiority to devastating effect, bombing the north and blasting the south, but go to American Vietnam films and, while that U.S. patrol walks endlessly into a South Vietnamese village with mayhem to come, the air is largely devoid of planes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Energy Revolution in Germany

      Triggered by the catastrophic developments in Japan Germany undergoes an energy revolution. Friedbert Pflüger (CDU) openly speaks of a “revolution” and describes the approach of his party to back nuclear technology as a mistake.

  • Finance

    • How The Wealthy Plan to Finance The American Aristocracy With Middle Class Dollars

      The quest for influence, power and control at all levels of government has long played out through large political contributions and the big bucks paid to lobbyists to accomplish special interest objectives. And while the game has often been ‘rigged’ to benefit the wealthy in our society, there was always a role to be played by the nation’s unions -thanks, in no small part, to their substantial treasuries filled by the dues paying membership.

  • Censorship

    • US military blocks social media sites

      Sites at least temporaly affected by their measure include:

      * Youtube.com
      * Googlevideo.com
      * Amazon.com
      * ESPN.go.com
      * eBay.com
      * Doubleclick.com
      * Eyewonder.com
      * Pandora.com
      * streamtheworld.com
      * Mtv.com
      * Ifilm.com
      * Myspace.com
      * Metacafe.com

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ethics of Intellectual Monopolies: the Video
    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • EU ACTA negotiators’ notes still secret

          Pedro Velasco Martins, EU ACTA negotiator, today answered FFII’s 30 December 2010 questions on the initialling of ACTA. ACTA was initialed on 25 November 2010, through an electronic procedure. The Commission chief-negotiator initialled all the pages of the text, including the criminal measures.

          The Commission added negotiators’ notes in the course of the negotiations. The EU has not decided yet whether it will publish its negotiators’ notes. Negotiators’ notes may influence the interpretation of ACTA. According to the Commission ACTA will fall under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The FFII believes the notes should be published.

        • FFII supports asking an ECJ opinion on ACTA

          The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) supports asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On Monday 21 March 2011 the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee may vote on a proposal for such a request. Unbalanced enforcement measures may heighten market entrance risks for innovators, according to the FFII. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Startup companies often do not have enough resources to litigate.

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