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05.25.11

Links 25/5/2011: MeeGo TV Platform, Trisquel 4.5.1, Wary Puppy 5.1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open is a Loose Term in the Mobile Market

    I guess in the end “open” is a loose term when it comes to the mobile market. Yes, Android is more open than a good deal of other mobile operating system alternatives – but it is far from the freedom we see in desktop computing. Our mobiles won’t be truly “open” until hardware manufactures stop riddling FOS operating systems with closed source hardware and software components.

  • 55 Open Source Replacements for Information/Project Management Tools

    Experts say that interest in IT project management has grown substantially in recent years. A December 2010 report from Dice.com put project managers fourth on its list of the most in-demand IT jobs for 2011. And a Forrester report found that for 2011, CIO priorities are shifting from cost reduction to improving execution. As a result, they’re looking to the disciplines of project management and project portfolio management to help them “allocate resources effectively while killing off bad ideas quickly.”

    Project managers have a huge list of software tools that can help them do their jobs, ranging from simple spreadsheets to groupware with collaboration features to full project management solutions. These tools can be very expensive, but a growing number of open source projects offer similar functionality without the high price tag.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Why TDF should be the place for one united Community

      We all have similar goals: a free office suite, available to everyone. So let’s not discuss about the past, about what has happened and about the reasons that led to this, but rather focus on the future.

  • Business

    • If you tolerate this… the commercial open source window of opportunity

      One of the ‘things I wrote down during OSBC’ was this statement from Benchmark EIR, Rob Bearden:

      “Misalignment between a business model and the community’s tolerance point will never be accepted. This will manifest itself in multiple distributions.”

      At first glance the statement may seem obvious to anyone who has studied open source-related business strategies or communities, but I believe provides the context for further understanding the complexities of balancing the needs of a business for control and the needs of a community for openness.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • SE: Framework agreement increases use of open source

      Sweden’s public administrations, municipalities and health care are increasingly turning to free and open source software solutions, following legal clarifications made to a public procurement framework contract. From April 2011, a new framework agreement makes providers of services based on this type of software legally responsible for issues pertaining to copyright, licences and distribution. This has made public administrations less hesitant about using open source, says Daniel Melin, one of the software procurement specialists at Kammarkollegiet, a government agency.

    • How can the state simultaneously cut budgets, provide better services, and promote growth? “By adopting an Open Government mindset”.

      All truth passes through three stages, said the philosopher Schopenhauer. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Just over a week ago the Financial Times paraphrased the formula I have been promoting for a decade in business, and in Politics for the last five years:

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Digital Foosball Offers Open Source Awesomeness

        Foosball tables, that ever-present staple of dot-com startups, YMCA rec rooms and your parents’ basement, have long been in need of a digital upgrade. Now, a German interactive firm has devised a way for you to spruce up the play behind those miniature plastic soccer players.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, the actual detailed instructions on how to complete all the steps haven’t yet been posted, but SinnerSchrader claims they have a proof-of-concept prototype that works, and that the blueprint and software will be available for download soon.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security

    • DenyHosts: Keep on Knocking but You Can’t Come In
    • PSC Accelerates Machine-Learning Algorithm with CUDA
    • LinkedIn slashes cookie lifespan after research exposes security flaws
    • A whole new era for cookies begins this week
    • PlayStation Network breach will cost Sony $171m

      The cost of a criminal intrusion that exposed sensitive data for more than 100 million Sony customers and resulted in a 23-day closure of the PlayStation Network will cost the company at least $171 million, executives said.

      The estimated cost doesn’t included expenses related to any lawsuits that may be filed in response to the security breach, which was discovered on April 19. The estimate includes expenses of an identity theft prevention program and promotional packages to win back customers, among other things.

    • Microsoft Support Scam (again)

      We have mentioned the “Microsoft Support” scams a few times over the last 6 months or so (http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=10135), but a recent change in their operations grabbed my interest. A colleague of mine mentioned that other day that he had been the recipient of the mystical “Microsoft Support” call to inform him that they had received an alert from his computer. It was the usual scenario, with a twist.

      In previous iterations of this scam the person on the phone would get you to click through to the event viewer to “find something red”. Strangely enough there is usually something red in most people’s event log log. However, do not despair if you don’t have anything red, yellow is just as bad. Once the problem (well any problem) was identified your support would have expired and they redirect you to a web site where you can part with your money and download some version of malware.

      The new iteration of the scam goes one step further. Rather than get the victim to look, they get you to install teamviewer (although no doubt other similar tools are likely used). They take control of your machine and start moving the files across. Manually infecting, sorry fixing, your machine. In this particular instance they noticed they were in a VM and promptly started removing the files they had moved, before the link was dropped and the phone call terminated.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • UK and US “special relationship” taken to a new level amid anti-war protests

      All eyes remain on London for the second day of the US president’s state visit, which will see talks on violence in the Arab world. These talks come amid calls for Obama and British PM, David Cameron, to overcome their addiction to war games.

      Obama’s visit comes as NATO escalates its involvement in the war in Libya. France has said it will deploy helicopters, bringing combat operations closer to the ground. The global war machine rumbles on, with the alliance of London and Washington in the engine room – and this new agreement to pool information and resources may only add fuel to the fire.

      Warm greetings and a royal banquet on the opulent premises of Buckingham palace – Britain has well and truly rolled out the red carpet for Barack Obama, designed to affirm the so-called “special relationship” between the two nations.

    • NATO ups strikes in Tripoli, sees no Iraq parallel

      NATO warplanes pounded Tripoli for a second day, raising military pressure on Muammar Gaddafi while diplomatic efforts mounted to force his departure.

      Six loud explosions rocked Tripoli late on Tuesday within 10 minutes, following powerful strikes 24 hours earlier, including one on Gaddafi’s compound, that Libyan officials said killed 19 people and state television blamed on “colonialist crusaders.”

    • CMD Opposes Effort to Gut Whistleblower Protections

      The Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, the AFL-CIO, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen and other organizations have signed onto a letter to members of Congress opposing a draft bill by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) that would weaken whistleblower protection and award programs at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC). Grimm’s bill seeks to strip newly-enacted protections for whistleblowers who face retaliation for contacting enforcement agencies. It would also remove incentives for corporate insiders to inform regulators about wrongdoing, hamstring enforcement at the SEC and CTFC and give lawbreaking financial firms a way to escape accountability for their actions.

  • Cablegate

    • Iraq War Logs wins Amnesty Award

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism picked up the Digital Media prize for it’s dedicated website www.iraqwarlogs.com at the 2011 Amnesty Media Awards on Tuesday.

    • Anti-Americanism rife in Pakistan army institution – Wikileaks

      Officers received training biased against the United States at a prestigious Pakistan army institution, according to Wikileaks, underscoring concern that anti-Americanism in the country’s powerful military is growing amid strains with Washington.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Get Green, with Brown!

      The folks at Recompute have taken the notion of “Going Green” to a whole new level. They’ve made computer cases out of recyclable cardboard. We had the pleasure of speaking with Recompute’s Brenden Macaluso and took one of their computers for a test drive.

  • Finance

    • How an Inquiry of Goldman Sachs Might Play Out

      Goldman Sachs has already received subpoenas from unnamed regulators investigating its mortgage securities operations. Now, federal prosecutors appear to be interested in those operations as well, and subpoenas could follow.

      If so, this would signal a new and potentially more threatening inquiry into its conduct during the financial crisis.

      Goldman paid $550 million last year to settle civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its structuring of a collateralized debt obligation known as Abacus that regulators said was designed to fail. But the size of that settlement may pale in comparison if federal prosecutors find sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

    • Growing Pressure Facing Blankfein at Goldman

      CUNY Professor Fred Kaufman and FBN’s Charlie Gasparino debate the growing pressure for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein to step down.

    • A Once-Tight Flock at Goldman, Now Scattered

      When Goldman Sachs went public 12 years ago this month, an elite group of 221 executives controlled the strategy and shares of the investment bank.

      While the clubby culture remains, the tight-knit group has lost its viselike grip on the company, as the wishes of the insular partnership have given way to the demands of the outside shareholders. The roughly 480 partners currently own less than 10 percent of the company, down from approximately 60 percent at the initial public offering in 1999.

      Their power base may soon erode further. Senior Goldman executives are considering whether to cull partner-heavy divisions like investment banking, according to people with knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to speak on the record.

    • Commodities Gone Wild

      Over the last few weeks prices on oil, food and gold have all hit all-time highs, and then suffered pricipitous drops. And there seems to be little agreement as to why.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Insurers Blame Americans; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Ducks Questions

      The reaction of health insurers to the Obama administration’s requirement that they start justifying rate increases of 10 percent or more was quick and predictable: “Not fair!”

      The PR and lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) absolved the industry of any responsibility for constantly rising premiums and pointed the finger of blame at just about everyone else. The real culprits, AHIP president Karen Ignagni insisted, are greedy doctors and hospitals, state legislators who make insurers provide coverage for an overly broad range of illnesses, and, of course, irresponsible American citizens, especially healthy young people who decide not to buy insurance.

  • Privacy

    • Wikipedia founder opens new front in privacy battle

      Lawyers and celebrities seeking to prevent the world knowing their indiscretions have another hurdle in their path – Wikipedia – after its founder, Jimmy Wales, pledged to resist pressure to censor entries.

      Referring to the case of the “family footballer” who has injuncted the media from revealing that he had an affair with the Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas – whose Wikipedia page now records this fact – Mr Wales said: “This only became a story because the footballer is pursuing legal action against Twitter. It started to become a big political and social issue. Once that happens it is a valid issue for Wikipedia. As an encyclopaedia, we try to document facts taken from reputable sources. We should not be stopped from recording facts.

    • Do-not-track off to a slow start, Mozilla adds support for Android

      Whenever an average consumer is confronted with the idea of “opting in,” typically they don’t bother. They are not aware they have a choice, it’s too complicated to follow through or they simply don’t understand the importance.

      A great example of this is Facebook’s introduction of HTTPS via opt-in back in January. In a post on the Facebook developer blog, Naitik Shah points out that 9.6 million Facebook users are now using HTTPS on the service.

    • BT cheerfully admits snooping on customer LANs

      BT reserves, and makes use of, the right to remotely detect all devices connected to LANs owned by its broadband customers – for their own good, of course.

      BT Broadband customers can expect to have their network checked any time the operator feels it needs to take a peek to help it provide the service, or when the safety of the customer is in doubt – the latter being the motivation behind the only instance where we know the capability has been used.

      That happened last week, when some BT Broadband customers received letters about the kit they had plugged into their networks.

      The kit in question were powerline networking (PLT) boxes originally supplied by BT. Some of the units supplied suffered a manufacturing flaw that could, potentially, expose live wires. So BT shipped out replacements back in October last year. But customers who eschewed the operator’s advice (having examined the devices and satisfied themselves that they were safe) have now received letters telling them that BT’s “remote diagnostic test” shows the devices are still connected and warning the customers of the ongoing danger.

      PLT devices don’t have IP addresses; they operate like switches, so they shouldn’t be detectable from the internet. We assume that BT is getting round this issue by running a scan of MAC addresses from the supplied router, but the company hasn’t confirmed that.

    • BT spies on the networks of their customers
    • CCTV camera looks straight into our homes, say residents

      FURIOUS residents have taken action against a CCTV camera they say is spying on their homes.

      They have branded the device on Elm Drive, Mold, as Big Brother having ‘gone mad’ after discovering it was pointing at a row of houses instead of a trouble hotspot opposite.

    • Privacy, the Press and Twitter: some uncomfortable truths

      I wrote last Friday’s blog before the weekend’s Twittering events and it is quite clear that the injunction protecting the footballer’s privacy is unsustainable. Clearly barring all of the press from mentioning a name simply is a non-starter (especially as the footballer’s name was chanted by fans at yesterday’s Premier League games).

      However, several facts are being missed in the current reporting furore. First is that the Court granted the footballer an injunction because the newspaper concerned was the beneficiary of an unsuccessful blackmail attempt. Then the newspaper concerned arranged photographers to be present at meetings between the woman and footballer as pretence so that it could claim that it stumbled on their relationship by accident.

    • Your guide to the EU Privacy Directive

      As of May 25, new European privacy laws come into play, which will determine how web users can be tracked online.

      The changes will require technology companies, retailers and other suppliers that track information online (usually via cookies) to seek consent from web users in order to do so.

  • Civil Rights

    • Identity scheme echoes ID cards, say campaigners

      The identity assurance scheme, announced by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude last week, will create services that will verify a person’s identity when they access public services online. The scheme will, according to Maude, allow people to access various government services online without having to remember multiple log-in details.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Netherlands To Enact Law That Ensures Net Neutrality

      The Netherlands might be a tiny country, but when it comes to broadband, it is one that likes to make big moves. It had been quick to embrace fiber broadband. It was early to the idea of gigabit per second connectivity. And now it is enacting a law that guarantees “net neutrality” for its citizens.

      The country’s telecom law was amended yesterday, to ensure free access, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. In addition to the wired Internet, the new amendment will ensure network neutrality is extended to the mobile network and services such as Skype are allowed to work without interference.

    • France attempts to “civilize” the Internet; Internet fights back

      For some time, French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy has talked about his dream of a “civilized” Internet, but this dream has long been a nightmare for those who worry that “civilization” is really a code for “regulations favorable to big business and the national security state.” To make his vision a reality, Sarkozy helped to create this week’s e-G8 meeting currently underway in the Tuileries Gardens next door to the Louvre—and the critics are fuming.

      “I was invited to the e-G8 and declined,” said author and activist Cory Doctorow recently. “I believe it’s a whitewash, an attempt to get people who care about the Internet to lend credibility to regimes that are in all-out war with the free, open ‘Net. On the other hand, I now have a dandy handwriting sample from Sarkozy should I ever need to establish a graphological baseline for narcissistic sociopathy.”

    • Big day for better EU telecom services approaching

      Do you know what happens on Wednesday this week? In late 2009, the European Parliament and all 27 EU Member States agreed that the new telecom rules must be implemented into national laws by 25th May 2011. I know Member States are working hard to meet the deadline – and there are only two days left. But let me be clear, if these rights are not made available in practice, I will take the necessary measures to fix the situation.

      Both citizens and businesses across Europe will benefit from the new EU telecom rules. From higher levels of consumer protection and more choice, to improved online privacy and safety and more consistent regulation across the EU, I hope customers will take full advantage of the opportunities these new rules will give them.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyfight: EFF co-founder enters e-G8 “lion’s den,” rips into lions

      “I may be one of very few people in this room who actually makes his living personally by creating what these gentlemen are pleased to call ‘intellectual property.’ I don’t regard my expression as a form of property. Property is something that can be taken from me. If I don’t have it, somebody else does.

    • Copyrights

      • Major Vulnerability Found in Leaked Anti-Piracy Software

        As detailed in our earlier reports, anti-piracy company Trident Media Guard (TMG) recently failed to secure some of their systems. Blogger and security researcher Olivier Laurelli, aka Bluetouff, originally reported the breach which included a wide open virtual ‘test’ machine containing various tools. These, of course, spilled into the wild.

Clip of the Day

Jeremy Zimmermann


Credit: TinyOgg

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