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04.25.11

Links 25/4/2011: GNOME 3 Live Image 1.1.0 Released, US Army Chooses Android

Posted in News Roundup at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Sony should pay €100 to man for OtherOS removal, consumer board says

    Finnish consumer board balks at Sony’s killing of OtherOS functionality, and thinks the consumer electronics giant should pay up.
    A Finnish man purchased a PlayStation 3 (PS3) console last year for €268.90. At the time of purchase, the product was being presented with capabilities to install an alternative operating system, such as a Linux distribution.

  • I’m considering not to renew your contract, Windows

    Furthermore, there is a powerful antagonist that wants XP out. It’s Microsoft, which has decided not to cover XP against certain diseases and marginalized him regarding the new browser they released. This company wants XP’s reputation to taint as much as possible so that they can ask me to replace him with the brother of that Vista punk that came looking for a job four years ago. So, do I need an employee that is even betrayed by the firm he represents?

  • Linux is Spoiling Me!!

    After reading an article about how tests have shown that antivirus solutions, in spite of their struggle to keep Windows systems protected, have fallen behind malware threats (MS Security Essentials among these)–and one company has actually fallen prey of hackers itself–, I realized that Linux is spoiling me.

    [...]

    Still, I’ve been able to get rid of 22 infections I got in one second after I plugged my USB key into an infected XP computer. It took me only 2 seconds and a single click to clean it. Yes, no AV required!

  • The Linux Security Circus: On GUI isolation

    There certainly is one thing that most Linux users don’t realize about their Linux systems… this is the lack of GUI-level isolation, and how it essentially nullifies all the desktop security. I wrote about it a few times, I spoke about it a few times, yet I still come across people who don’t realize it all the time.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Mobile Users Beware: Linux Has Major Power Regression
    • Kernel comment: Perseverance pays off

      Today, there are open source Linux drivers for all major Wi-Fi chips, which was unimaginable five years ago. The constant pressure for open source drivers has thus paid off, and this may also work in other areas in the long term.

      “Buy a Centrino notebook, and then the Wi-Fi chipset will work with Linux.” Five years ago, such simplifications were more common because a lot of the Wi-Fi components either did not run on Linux or took a lot of tweaking, say, with Ndiswrapper and Driverloader to get the NDIS drivers intended for use with Windows to run on Linux. Internet forums contained thousands of comments on these issues, and people repeatedly said that the Linux kernel needed a stable API for external drivers; otherwise, manufacturers would never offer proper Linux drivers for Wi-Fi hardware.

    • Mobile Users Beware: Linux Has Major Power Regression
    • The Linux Power Problem Is Widespread, Hits Desktops Too

      The major Linux power regression situation seems to only be getting worse at this point. Following the Mobile Users Beware: Linux Has Major Power Regression and The Tests Showing Ubuntu 11.04 On A Power Consumption Binge, a variety of feedback has come in. There’s the usual FUD that it’s “Moronix” benchmarks and the like, but the fact of the matter is it’s a very real problem and it’s about to bite Ubuntu 11.04 and other Linux distributions planning to ship with 2.6.38 kernel or later.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Window Maker – The (Almost) Forgotten Window Manager

      With the big two desktop environments changing massively over the last few years and getting quite a bit heavier at the same time I thought I’ld look again at another alternative that’s been a staple in the area of window managers since release in 1997 – Window Maker. Initially it was WindowMaker by the way, but due to a naming conflict this had to be changed. It is designed to emulate the look and feel of the NeXTstep GUI, an object-oriented, multitasking operating system developed by NeXT Computer to run on its range of proprietary workstation computers.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDM In KDE SC 4.7 To Play With GRUB2

        The KDM code for KDE SC 4.7 has just gained one small but noteworthy feature: GRUB2 support. While the KDE Display Manager gaining support for the GRUB2 boot-loader may seem nonchalant, it’s actually quite useful. Now from the KDE Display Manager, users are able to select another GRUB boot entry without affecting the default choice or having to wait for the boot-loader to appear when rebooting.

      • KDE: Strength in Abstraction

        I have not yet tried out Gnome Shell or Ubuntu Unity, but the biggest complaint most people level against them is that our desktops are being tablet-ified. Sure, there need to be new, innovative interfaces for tablets and phones, but that’s no reason to abandon the desktop. Sure, perhaps the average Joe (or Jane) will be using tablets more and more, but some of us have real work to get done. We need to do photo editing, programming, video editing, 3D modeling, and other tasks that require something more than a glorified smart phone. This is where KDE excels.

      • Marble, Virtual Interactive Globe

        Marble has been designed to be a virtual interactive globe and world atlas that you can use to look-up information. The cross-platform application has recently been updated to version 1.1, reason enough to take a closer look at the software.

        The main interface that you see after installation displays a globe and several controls on screen. you can use the mouse to rotate or zoom in and out of the globe which works on first glance similar to Google Earth or comparable programs.

      • QApt sexiness…
      • KDE Commit Digest for 17 April 2011
      • Blessed by Trinity…

        I am long established fan of KDE3 (Trinity). There might be 2 reasons:
        1) My first ever Linux was SLAX which is based on KDE3.
        2) I prefer old-school menu style with one column in main part with branches for each of them. When I see several columns in main menu I quickly get lost in navigation. It’s like Win95 style compared to Win7 style. Of KDE3 compared to Mint Menu or KDE4 in some Linuxes.
        That’s why every Tux which is blessed by Trinity is interesting for me. That’s why I am very thankful to Sirius Lee who gave me [...]

        Yes, today my guinea pig is Trinity Kubuntu.

      • 19 things we’d change about KDE
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome 3 Look & Feel

        But after looking at all the ways in wich people like to work, and set up things, I don’t think that one way of doing something should be the end-all be-all of an Open Desktop Enviroment.

      • GNOME 3 Live image version 1.1.0 released

        This new image (1.1.0) is now based on GNOME:STABLE:3.0 repository and contains all security and bugfix updates for openSUSE 11.4.

      • On desktop re-invention

        My opinion is that GNOME 3 made a fundamental mistake in breaking with tradition. Innovation on that scale should target new less well established platforms, such as netbooks, tablets, and the like. Places where there’s still opportunity to define the Next Big Thing. Innovate with the new, don’t break with decades of established user experience on the old.

      • Yet another GNOME 3 user review

        I really enjoy using GNOME Shell, the overall experience is a lot better than GNOME 2 and the fonts seem more clear to me. Although I prefer the original workspace switch concept, the changes made by developers right before the release turned the multiple workspace feature into an interesting automatic workspace creator.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Gnome 3: Not Ready for Prime Time in Fedora 15

          I’ve been intrigued by the Gnome 3 desktop and the design decisions that the Gnome project has decided to test. Hearing some members of the Gnome community explain the design decisions in person was very interesting, and helpful when transitioning to the Gnome shell. And I’m proud that the Fedora Project is continuing to lead by incorporating new technologies and designs First.

        • Fedora and GNOME branding drama: Missing the big picture

          Some of the folks on the Fedora marketing list are in a tizzy over the amount of Fedora branding present, or not, in the upcoming Fedora 15 release.

          While I applaud the Fedora folks for being concerned about marketing, I think that they’re losing sight of the big picture — the actual impact of GNOME or Fedora “branding,” in the Fedora desktop is minimal at best.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project mourns the loss of Adrian von Bidder

        The Debian Project has lost an active member of its community. Adrian von Bidder (cmot) died on April 17th.

        [...]

        Adrian founded the “NTP Pool” (crowd-sourced time synchronisation), which our project has since fully adopted.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Natty Narwhal About to Surface

          However, the Linux versus Microsoft story line is an old one in the tech industry, with little sign of the battle lines being redrawn.

        • Canonical: The Tablet Will Never Surpass The PC

          Canonical today announced its latest Ubuntu Linux release, version 11.04 Natty Narwhal. It follows the trend toward smaller screens with a streamlined interface, but developer Canonical says it will not follow the tablet frenzy – at least not yet.

          Ubuntu 11.04 will be available for download on April 28 and arrive with significant changes in its interface. It will include Unity, which first appeared in Ubuntu 10.10 for netbooks back in October 2010. Unity features an app launcher on the left of the screen. There is also additional touch screen support that now includes gestures for tasks such as scrolling as well as expanding and contracting screens.

        • Canonical shut down Sounder?

          It seems a story is making its way around the various Linux news organizations that is blatantly misrepresented. THIS STORY is the one making its rounds. It claims that Canonical takes another step against the Community. This is totally wrong in every sense of the word wrong. Let me break it down for those of you who actually believe this on the shut-down of the Sounder Mailing List.

        • Canonical shut down Sounder?

          The blogger Anthony Papillion has penned an article about how Canonical has taken another step against the community. It’s all about how Canonical have shut down the sounder mailing list and irc channels because they’re off topic and wildly out of control.

          I have many concerns relating to Canonical and it’s conduct, but this isn’t one of them.

          The first point Anthony raises is easy to debunk. The Community Council was the body to shutter the group, not Canonical. This was a community decision to help make sure the community is healthy. You can check what people were involved and if they work for Canonical or not.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Tiptoes Into OpenStack

          Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed the Natty Narwhal, will be a major release for the Linux distribution’s cloud aspirations. Ubuntu 11.04 will be the first release that includes the OpenStack open source cloud platform, as well as the Eucalpytus platform, providing a new set of cloud deployment platform options for Linux developers.

          “We want people to think of Ubunutu as a Linux platform that is cloud native,” Steve George vice president, business development of Canonical told InternetNews.com.

        • Ubuntu shuns tablets in its fight with Microsoft

          As Canonical, maintainer of popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, readies its latest release which sports a dramatic new graphical user interface supporting touch-based input, it quashed the idea that is it preparing to enter the tablet market.

          The outfit has confirmed it will be releasing Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ on 28 April 2011. With Ubuntu 11.04 comes the Unity desktop in place of the familiar GNOME, marking one of the biggest user-facing changes in the distribution’s history.

        • The Tests Showing Ubuntu 11.04 On A Power Consumption Binge

          This is the prequel to Mobile Users Beware: Linux Has Major Power Regression and Uff Da! The Linux Power Bug Even More Mysterious. It was written in advance of tracking down the issue to a matter in the upstream Linux kernel. Though as the Phoronix Test Suite stack is presently bisecting and analyzing the kernel during the period in question (Linux 2.6.37 to 2.6.38), this article is being published now and hopefully on Easter Sunday or Monday the actual offending commit will be known along with much more information. This bug has also now been confirmed independent of Phoronix by at least six separate parties that I’m aware of, with reports of Natty either consuming excessive power or a very significant increase in heat output compared to Ubuntu 10.10. These independent reports have occurred on a range of hardware — including desktops. There is also at least one bug report on the matter for Ubuntu 11.04.

        • My thoughts on Unity

          Today is a good day to comment on Ubuntu Unity. I had refrained from doing so in the past largely because it seemed unfair to do so while it was in it’s formative process and not yet clear where they were trying to go. However, with the release of Ubuntu 11.04 imminent, and now with a much clearer idea of what the intent and design really is, it seemed an appropriate time to do so.

          Perhaps I am not choosing to be as critical of Unity as some are, for there is good ideas in it, and I know some good intentions intended. However I do feel it fails to deliver an effective user experience as a result of it’s design rather than in incompleteness, and I think this is because the people involved did not choose to go far enough in what they were trying to do.

        • Interview with Jessica Ledbetter

          Jessica Ledbetter: Hello everyone, I’m Jessica Ledbetter (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/jledbetter). I’ve been a web developer for a Department of Energy lab in Virginia for about 10 years, and I code primarily in Java and ColdFusion, plus freelance in PHP. I was the first in my family to go to college, and, so far, the only one to finish. I worked while getting my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and later a Master’s degree in Information Technology.

        • Full Circle Magazine #48

          This month:
          * Command and Conquer.
          * How-To : Program in Python – Part 22, LibreOffice – Part 3, Finding eBooks and Using an Arduino in Ubuntu.
          * Linux Lab – Swappiness Part One.
          * Review – Remastersys.
          * Top 5 – Project Management Tools.
          plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Story, and much much more!

        • A tour of Software Center 3.1| Natty’s new Software Manager | New User series #2
        • Ubuntu Unity 2D tweaking tool lets you adjust the Launcher, Dash & enable compositing
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint Two Wallpaper Challenge

            Hello to all from Peppermint Headquarters in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. As many of you know we are poised to release the much anticipated Peppermint Two operating system. We are in the final stages of development and now is the time where we need to seek talented artists to apply the finishing touches – We need a Default Wallpaper that is creative and eye-catching !!

          • Moving from Ubuntu 10.10 to Linux Mint 10

            With a long Easter weekend available to me and with thoughts of forthcoming changes in the world of Ubuntu, I got to wondering about the merits of moving my main home PC to Linux Mint instead. Though there is a rolling variant based on Debian, I went for the more usual one based on Ubuntu that uses GNOME. For the record, Linux Mint isn’t just about the GNOME desktop but you also can have it with Xfce, LXDE and KDE desktops as well. While I have been known to use Lubuntu and like its LXDE implementation, I stuck with the option of which I have most experience.

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition Xfce review

            Out of the box, it is a lot more usable than Sabayon 5.5 Xfce.

          • An unlikely hero: Xubuntu
          • Bodhi Linux Road Map

            It’s been about a month since our Bodhi Linux 1.0.0 (stable) release and I would like to say thank you to everyone that has helped make it a success! We have climbed to rank #50 on distrowatch and have seen about 16,000 downloads in this last month. If there was ever any doubt that we are filling a needed spot in the Linux world, then I am fairly certain it is gone now.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Insider’s look at Nokia’s exit from MeeGo

          In MeeGo now, upstream MeeGo is completely 100% open both the code and the processes, though this is a bit of a work in progress, of course because the stake holders in the companies that are involved quite often kind of keep their corporate culture without realizing that they should discuss things in the public.

      • Android

        • The Toshiba Regza AT300

          For those of you who keep up with tech news, you’ll remember Toshiba saying something about a new tablet they had in the works way back in January some time. Well, they’ve now announced a price, a release date, technical specifications, and a name: They’ve christened their tablet the Toshiba Regza AT300.

        • US Army picks Android to power its first smartphone

          The Army wants every soldier to carry a smartphone to stay networked. It doesn’t yet have a program for that, having spent the last year working through the implications of what it might mean to have such a system—like, for instance, what operating system would power it. An initial answer: Google’s Android.

          A prototype device running Android called the Joint Battle Command-Platform, developed by tech nonprofit MITRE, is undergoing tests. The development kit behind it, called the Mobile/Handheld Computing Environment, will be released to app creators in July, the Army says.

          But until then, the envisioned apps for the Joint Battle Command-Platform will run a gambit of Army tasks. There will be a mapping function like the kinds the defense industry is developing for soldier smartphones and tablets. A Blue Force Tracker program will keep tabs on where friendly forces are. “Critical messaging” will exchange crucial data like medevac requests and on the ground reporting.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source gaming – or things I do when I should be working

    “What I was proud of was that I used very few parts to build a computer that could actually speak words on a screen and type words on a keyboard and run a programming language that could play games. And I did all this myself” – Steve Wozniak

  • FOSS marketing is stupid

    I have been reluctant to get into one of this potentially flamey posts again, as they seem to result in the most vague comments and little outcome. Yet this issue is important and therefore I’ll take my time today to get it out. As Dion points out very valuable and thoughtful points about the presentation of KDE, also others both in KDE and on the outside use the term “marketing” self-evidently when they talk about presentational, distributional or promotional issues. Though using this buzz-term seems to attract some people to join the related groups and efforts it makes you look pretty dumb to outside people who know what marketing is. Instead of seeming more professional and mature projects, it shows how little FOSS people still understand about what they do economically. They know a lot about the details and many FOSS-enthusiasts seek for ways to transfer the FOSS-attitude of openness and collaboration to the “old” economy, yet the terminology is still caught in the “old” ways.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • MySQL, State of the Ecosystem 2011

      It was a radical thought at the time. In part because when I expressed it, I did it not only outwardly to the world, but inwardly to the company as well. Many at the time thought that the ecosystem danced at the whim of the MySQL AB entity. When Peter Zaitsev left to form Percona I remember very clearly a management meeting where there was a hubris that his business would amount to nothing, and that he was missing his opportunity to be a part of something greater. History is of course writing a very different story.

      So how is the ecosystem?

      It turns out it is pretty healthy.

      I wasn’t sure if that was the case up until a couple of weeks ago. I was having lunch with Moshe Shadmon of ScaleDB and I asked him “Do you think the market is collapsing?”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Will Oracle alienate Java community next?
    • Google’s showdown with Oracle over Android will go to trial before November

      Oracle sued Google last year claiming that Google had infringed Java patents in the Android operating system. Initially Oracle said that Google had infringed its Java patents but then filed an amended complaint to allege Google “directly copied” its Java code. However with Judge Alsup’s comments, it doesn’t look like he’s of a mind to let this lawsuit drag out for very long.

    • Oracle Advances NetBeans for Java 7

      Not everyone in the open source community has had a positive experience with Oracle. The NetBeans community however is thriving under Oracle, with multiple releases and nearly a million active users.

      This week Oracle continued its support for NetBeans with its third release since the Sun acquisition. NetBeans 7 provides new support for the upcoming Java 7 language release, in a move that is all about fostering Java adoption.

    • Oracle Patches 73 Vulnerabilities in April Update
    • LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 2 Released

      Just one week since beta 1 hit the Internet, LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 2 was released today. These developmental releases fulfill the plans to release weekly betas until final. The original 3.4 release date has slipped a bit from the earlier May 2 estimate, but is on track for May 31.

  • Education

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • SproutCore 1.5 Released

        We’re excited to announce the final release of SproutCore 1.5. It’s been almost four months since 1.4.5 shipped, and we have lots of exciting new stuff for you.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Fellowship interview with Michiel de Jong

      Michiel de Jong: There are several ways you could explain it; my favourite angle is the software freedom angle. Software freedom used to mean the right to control (use, share, study and improve) the source code / the program that the application executes – the definition that FSFE use. Back in the day, that was enough. It was taken for granted that you already had control the data that the application handled; of course you do, it’s on your computer, or on a server where you have full access to at least the data that your applications are using.

      For installed software, both desktop and server, that view used to be accurate: if you controlled the source code you had software freedom. But then, slowly, installed software was pushed further away from the user by hosted software (stuff like Google Docs, Facebook and Twitter). Hosted websites like these aren’t primarily a source of information; they are interactive applications, and in this context software freedom doesn’t exist.

      It’s absurd that hosted software makes you surrender your data to the author of the application in question, but it’s what happens. It happened slowly, because informational websites became dynamic websites, and those dynamic websites then started accepting user input and slowly became interactive software. Now fully hosted software is widely used, and people use it to replace locally installed desktop applications.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Acer Web Surf Station packs simple browser/media into Full HD monitor

        Acer‘s latest may look like a regular monitor, but the Acer Web Surf Station is actually the latest all-in-one internet terminal for people who really don’t want to invite a PC into their lives. Based around a 24-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 LCD display, the Web Surf Station has an integrated web browser together with a media player – using Acer’s Clear.fi branded DLNA – that can stream content across a network (or indeed play it back from USB media).

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Former engineer who sued Cisco now faces criminal charges

    A onetime Cisco engineer who had sued his former employer, alleging it monopolized the business of servicing and maintaining Cisco equipment, has been charged by U.S. authorities with hacking.

    Peter Alfred-Adekeye, who left Cisco in 2005 to form two networking support companies, has been charged with 97 counts of intentionally accessing a protected computer system without authorization for the purposes of commercial advantage, according to an arrest warrant. He faces 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine if convicted on the charges.

  • The Lawsuit’s in the Past, But Taco Bell is Still on the Offensive

    As we told you on Tuesday, the law firm Beasley Allen recently dropped its high-profile lawsuit against Taco Bell which claimed that the meat used in Taco Bell’s food was something other than advertised.

    Now, most large corporate clients would use the voluntary dropping of a lawsuit as an opportunity to do, well, nothing. To quietly let the matter drop and move on with other matters at hand.

  • 10 more classic mistakes in sci-fi movies

    That’s it, another supreme list compiled. After overrated movies and the first part, this comes as the new crown jewel of poetic justice, wielded in the hands of Dedoimedo. Science fiction is a lovely genre, but some things are just not meant to be. I’m especially proud of the fecal weapons in the last point raised. That was a stroke of brilliance. But all other mistakes are valid annoyances that movie producers try to slip under the radar, unnoticed. Unfortunately for them, I’ve got the eye of the tiger and nothing gets past. The laws of physics must be obeyed.

    I hope you liked this. There might yet be a third part, but it depends on YOU. Send me your ideas, the things that bother you from the scientific and technological perspective, and they might feature in the next article. That would be all. Have fun science-fictioning.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs, the Tallest Midget in the Room

      What passes for top-notch financial journalism these days is an in depth report in the New York Times about why Goldman Sachs, the most successful of all Wall Street firms, is so modest. Amid billions of dollars in profits, a rising share price, the big Wall Street firm doesn’t like to take full credit for its success.

      The Times seems to think the Goldman brass, led by CEO Lloyd Blankfein, is being too modest mainly because the firm is afraid to flaunt its brilliance at making money during a time of economic hardship. The writer implores Blankfein & Co. to remember that making money is good for shareholders and taxpayers, and thus they should “take a bow. Don’t hide behind the curtain” and starting telling the world how great they really are.

    • Banks 1, nation states nil

      The battle between the banks and nation states is shaping up as something that lies between a phony war and a rout.

      The bald facts are that three years after the crisis in which banking almost brought down the global economy, the biggest banks are bigger, more global and more entrenched in their positions courtesy of a now all-but-explicit government guarantee.

    • Best Way to Raise Campaign Money? Investigate Banks

      A hilarious report has come out courtesy of the National Institute of Money in State Politics, showing that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller – who is coordinating the investigation into the banks’ improper mortgage dealings – increased his campaign contributions from the finance sector this year by a factor of 88! He has raised $261,445 from finance, insurance and real estate contributors since he announced that he was going to be coordinating the investigation into improper foreclosure practices. That is 88 times as much as they gave him not over last year, but over the previous decade.

      This is about as perfect an example of how American politics works as you’ll ever see. This foreclosure issue is a monstrous story that is somehow escaping national headlines; essentially, all of the largest banks in the country have been engaged in an ongoing fraud and tax evasion scheme that among other things has resulted in many hundreds of billions in investor losses, and hundreds of thousands of improper foreclosures. Last week, the 14 largest mortgage lenders a group that includes bailout all-stars like Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, managed to negotiate a settlement with the federal government that will mandate some financial relief to homeowners who have been victims of improper foreclosure practices. It’s unclear yet exactly what damages and fines will be involved in the federal settlement, or how many homeowners will be affected. But certainly there are some who believe the federal settlement was a political end-run around the states’ efforts to extract their own deal from the banks.

    • My Comment Turned Post – Criminal Activity Never To Be Prosecuted
    • Spitzer on Institutional Corruption on Wall Street
    • Senate Investigations Subcommittee Releases Levin-Coburn Report On the Financial Crisis

      #
      # Investment Banks and Structured Finance. Investment banks reviewed by the Subcommittee assembled and sold billions of dollars in mortgage-related investments that flooded financial markets with high-risk assets. They charged $1 to $8 million in fees to construct, underwrite, and market a mortgage-backed security, and $5 to $10 million per CDO. New documents detail how Deutsche Bank helped assembled a $1.1 billion CDO known as Gemstone 7, stood by as it was filled it with low-quality assets that its top CDO trader referred to as “crap” and “pigs,” and rushed to sell it “before the market falls off a cliff.” Deutsche Bank lost $4.5 billion when the mortgage market collapsed, but would have lost even more if it had not cut its losses by selling CDOs like Gemstone. When Goldman Sachs realized the mortgage market was in decline, it took actions to profit from that decline at the expense of its clients. New documents detail how, in 2007, Goldman’s Structured Products Group twice amassed and profited from large net short positions in mortgage related securities. At the same time the firm was betting against the mortgage market as a whole, Goldman assembled and aggressively marketed to its clients poor quality CDOs that it actively bet against by taking large short positions in those transactions. New documents and information detail how Goldman recommended four CDOs, Hudson, Anderson, Timberwolf, and Abacus, to its clients without fully disclosing key information about those products, Goldman’s own market views, or its adverse economic interests. For example, in Hudson, Goldman told investors that its interests were “aligned” with theirs when, in fact, Goldman held 100% of the short side of the CDO and had adverse interests to the investors, and described Hudson’s assets were “sourced from the Street,” when in fact, Goldman had selected and priced the assets without any third party involvement. New documents also reveal that, at one point in May 2007, Goldman Sachs unsuccessfully tried to execute a “short squeeze” in the mortgage market so that Goldman could scoop up short positions at artificially depressed prices and profit as the mortgage market declined.

  • Privacy

    • Transparency and Privacy

      One of the keys to a successful open source community is the equality of every participant. An community that is open-by-rule will have strong values around transparency as well as respecting its participants privacy and independence. Such a community will also be unlikely to have a copyright assignment benefiting a commercial party. Here’s why.

    • Android data tied to users? Some say yes

      Like iOS devices, Android phones do collect location information in a local file. But they seem to erase it relatively quickly instead of saving it forever.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • More Wayne Gray. No! Again? Still?! Yes. He Wants to Reopen Discovery in the USPTO Dispute

        Even I finally got my bellyful of SCO. But there is yet one guy left who still can’t get enough. And so it transpires that there are new developments in the never-ending trademark dispute that was initiated by X/Open in 2001 when Wayne Gray tried to trademark the mark INUX. If you recall, the dispute was put on ice back in the summer of 2010, pending resolution of Gray’s civil litigation.

        He lost. Big time. Now he’s back at the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, filing a motion to reopen discovery there. Yes. He claims he has discovered “dispositive new evidence” from the SCO v. Novell trial, and he wants five more months of discovery to flesh it out.

    • Copyrights

      • Righthaven Defies Court, Ignores Domain Name Ruling

        Last Friday, the Chief Judge of the federal court in Nevada, which is overseeing more than 200 Righthaven copyright cases, dismissed Righthaven’s meritless claim to seize its victim’s domain names. In each case so far, Righthaven contended that the mere hosting of any infringing material means that the entire domain name was forfeit to the copyright troll. Chief Judge Hunt rejected that claim, explaining that the “Court finds that Righthaven’s request for such relief fails as a matter of law and is dismissed.”

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9 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    April 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Gravatar

    Ick, you linked to the Invisible Things FUD machine. These are the people who propagated the “evil maid” story touting the security of Vista over gnu/linux. Now I see they do it again with FUD for X11 without demonstrating actual exploit but suggesting that Vista/Window 7 are immune to the problem mentioned. While the point is interesting, I’m always amazed at how Microsoft promoters can ignore the performance history of the platforms they talk about.

    I left them this comment and wonder if they will answer it:

    You have not looked into Wayland and other actual answers to this supposed problem because you are interested only in “real research” but you tout Vista as an answer? How do you do “real research” on an OS where you can’t inspect or modify the source? Do you have any examples of exploits of this, or is the goal of your research simply FUD for free software?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I quite value her opinion actually, but you must also check what they are trying to sell. The research bit is sales pitch a lot of the time (selling solutions to perceived problems).

    twitter Reply:

    If they are selling Microsoft Windows and “solutions” for that, what they say makes a sort of economic sense. Both of the articles I’ve mentioned contain FUD for gnu/linux and praise for Microsoft that are technically off base.

    Windows is not and will never be something users should trust and it will always be exploited. As RMS put it in his talk on April 11th, “Software freedom is the only known solution to malicious features.” Malicious features designed into Windows for the sake of Microsoft and advertisers undo all of Microsoft’s fake security measures. Microsoft’s crypto is intentionally weak and backdoored, which makes bitlocker useless even if the the OS itself did not establish encrypted communications back to Microsoft that the user can’t turn off. “Browser help objects”, “remote procedure calls” and a host of other bad design choices in Windows have been used to create real exploits that make theoretical X11 problems look rather tame. Software owners only care that people keep buying their software. Microsoft’s answer to real security problems is perception management.

    As of now, my comment at the Invisible things blog is unpublished and unanswered. I take that as an admission that they have no actual exploits to tell me about.

    twitter Reply:

    After a little more thought, what I’m feeling is shades of the Linux Haters. In comments she talks about the “big, buggy, bloated Linux kernel” and “the bloated X protocol” which she told us in the article was written by “happy hippies” that “the Linux community has blindly adopted.” It’s like the Linux haters has a new voice of someone deeply familiar with gnu/linux and deeply concerned that naive users not fall into the pitfalls of that hobby OS made by smelly hippies.

    I want something concrete, what I see is FUD presented emotionally and mystically. It’s irritating.

    Adrian Malacoda Reply:

    I read over Ms. Rutkowska’s post and it doesn’t seem like she considers Windows a “solution” in the least (she says Vista has some sort of countermeasure but it’s too weak). The “solution” is implemented in Qubes (free OS based on GNU/Linux)

    Adrian Malacoda Reply:

    (It should be noted, of course, that the best solution to any problem concerning “malicious programs” is to use free software, which by its nature is not malicious :) )

    twitter Reply:

    I was more careful in my reading than she was in her writing. What she demonstrates is not that there is some sort of “Linux Security Circus” or that “the lack of GUI-level isolation … nullifies all the desktop security.” Those are big claims, even if the article is “just a Saturday morning blog post.” What she wrote invites unreasonable fear of free software and unreasonable trust in Microsoft by eliciting a false sense of betrayal and denial by sloppy free software coders. The FUD masters will be using her blog soon enough.

    She demonstrated that an authorized X user can sniff X input. That is, if you have read write access to the keyboard, you can see what gets typed on the keyboard. Shocking. People have been FUDing about this for decades but have little harm to show when asked.

    One of the mitigating factors, which she also demonstrates without comment, is that most gnu/linux distributions don’t come with sniffing software. She says you have to get that as root. A keylogger in a browser or other application would be a malicious feature and one that’s hard to sneak into a free software distribution.

    There are plenty of places she didn’t go that might be of more concern. More thought has to be put into things like X11 forwarding and VNC sessions in a real multiuser environment. She talks about how Qubes runs a whole new X server for each application but neglects the solutions that others have put into this problem for decades. If she was really interested in “saving a few lost souls” she might have talked about some real threats instead of inviting naive users to imagine something terrifying. I asked her for this in comments and got zilch.

    Yes, it’s true that she says Vista sucks but why mention it positively as if Microsoft were doing something nice? When she says “Windows is the only one mainstream OS I’m aware of, that actually attempts to implement some form of GUI-level isolation, starting from Windows Vista,” we might imagine that Microsoft’s “mainstream” solution is almost ready. The loving professionals at Microsoft “at least attempt to prevent this at the architecture level.” Vista might not have been what Steve Ballmer said it was but it was good enough for the Security Expert to use as her primary OS. Again the reader’s imagination is spun in the wrong direction. Why?

    In other words, I see what she did there. It’s nice that she’s working on a combination of free software that has some application isolation. That does not give her the right to dismiss the developers of X11 as “happy hippies”, the implementers of X11 on gnu/linux as even sloppier and gnu/linux desktop security as a sham. Her rude comment is all the more irritating when it is not applied to Microsoft’s inadequate digital restrictions management system which in Vista which is a real betrayal of user interest as well as a real security farce. The combination leads people in the wrong direction away from more fundamental issues of user rights and Microsoft’s intentions which lead people to healthy technical choices.

    She thought people would be angry at her and they should be. Lots of good people have been working on the problem of how to give users hardware access that should ordinarily be restricted to the superuser. She should be ashamed of dismissing their professionalism and intentions while elevating those of a group that’s clearly parasitic and evil.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    She promotes her product. But anyway, traditionally it was claimed that Windows lacked GUI/kernel separation, which also led to stability issues (e.g. BSoD due to GPU malfunction), whereas Linux and GNU were modular.

    twitter Reply:

    GNU/Linux has excellent GUI modularity. I can restart X11 and my desktop manager (KDM or GDM) without reboot and I can restart my window manager (E16) without restarting X11.

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