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06.05.11

Links 5/6/2011: More GNU/Linux Preinstalls, New Stable Linux Kernel

Posted in News Roundup at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does Free Software Restore Dignity?

    About 20 minutes later we had Linux Mint installed on his laptop, and he was surfing the Web wirelessly using Firefox. Although he faced a punishing charge from Sony, he found a helping hand at his local public library. But I wonder: Do other public libraries help community members install Linux on computers? Do other public libraries hand out Linux CDs and/or CDs with OpenOffice? Perhaps a few public libraries do. For the most part, though, community members in other towns have few options when Sony requires a fee of $139 for a restore DVD.

    Hmmmm. I wonder if that $139 includes the shipping and handling fee? If I were Sony, I’d charge $39 for shipping and handling. Might as well gouge people when they are at their most vulnerable, right? Might as well humiliate that high-school student in front of his parents. Serves him right for misplacing his restore DVD.

  • Commercial & Movies built in Blender!
  • The Revolution OS – An Open Source epic docu-drama
  • 30 Free Web Tools and Open Source Software for Students

    Commercial software purchases can quickly eat away at the budget you have. The good news is that there are many free Web tools and open source software for students that will help you stay on task and organize your busy student life.

    If you are a student you’re probably wondering how to manage the cost of tuition, books and living expenses – and still pay for the software you need for your student laptop or desktop computer for research and assignments.

  • Google Releases Voice and Video Chat Technology As Open Source
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Delivers New Beta of Thunderbird Email Client

        As we’ve recently covered, Mozilla has moved to an agressive rapid release cycle for its Firefox browser, with the latest version 4 quickly emerging as the most popular version of Firefox. At the same time, though, Mozilla is pursuing rapid release cycle for other projects, including its Thunderbird email engine. Thunderbird is now out in a new beta version 5.01, featuring a number of upgrades.

        Thunderbird is now based on the same Gecko rendering engine that Firefox is based on. Among enhancements in the new beta version of Thunderbird, there are these:

  • SaaS

    • VMware invites Scala onto open source dev cloud

      Download a free trial of VeriSign’s SSL certificates

      VMware has invited Scala programmers onto Cloud Foundry, its open source “platform cloud,” an online service for building and readily scaling applications.

      When it first launched in April, the service let you build with Java, Ruby on Rails, the Ruby framework Sinatra, and Node.js, the current It Platform of the Silicon Valley development world. Now, VMware had added support for Scala, the Java Virtual Machine–based programming language that drives such big web names as Twitter, Foursquare, and LinkedIn.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice is Flying Like Ravens, not Seagulls
    • Apache OpenOffice: How to Get Involved

      A follow-up to my previous post on the Apache Incubation proposal to move OpenOffice.org over to Apache and continue the project there. In that post, I described how Apache projects are run via a meritocracy, that members gain additional rights and responsibilities based on the approval of their peers, etc. But I have received a variety of questions related to this, and I’ve done my best to track down some answers. So here are what I found out, in my words, paraphrasing the questions and giving answers, possibly with my mistakes, but I’ll correct them as they are identified.

    • OpenOffice.org Finds Home at the Apache Foundation

      OpenOffice.org derivatives. The large ecosystem of OpenOffice.org derivatives can benefit from the continued development under the Apache umbrella, the success of the incubation process would help them all given the permissiveness of the license.

      OpenOffice.org moving to Apache seems a good news for all stakeholders to me. Of course as usual code is the only things that matter, and all you need to do is just to wait and see, or if you like you can join and participate.

    • CLA Redux – The Donation of OpenOffice to the Apache Foundation

      Just last week we were talking about the role of contributor licensing agreements (CLA’s) and why some organizations/projects preferred to have the copyright in contributed code assigned rather than licensed, i.e., so the organization/project would be in a better position to enforce the copyright. A prime example of this centralized copyright ownership has been in a number of projects owned or managed by Sun Microsystems, includin OpenOffice. Of course, Sun is no longer Sun, and we have all been waiting to see what Oracle’s intent would be with the various open source projects they acquired. Well, we are now getting our first insight with the proposed donation of OpenOffice to the Apache Foundation.

      While the jury is still out on what exactly this assignment means for OpenOffice, I think it’s safe to say that the Oracle announcement has elicited a range of reactions, a number of which have been less than enthusiastic. The biggest issue is the license change. The Apache Foundation requires all code donated to them to be under the Apache License. Since OpenOffice.org was not under that license, it means that the project changes from a true copyleft license to a more permissive license that allows companies to take the code proprietary. What kind of reaction will this draw from those who have been contributing freely to OpenOffice. Are they as likely to continue to contribute? Will Oracle be willing to continue to fund developers on the project? Will Attachmate, the new owner of Novell, allow their developers to continue to contribute to LibreOffice, the fork from OpenOffice? What realistic expectations should the Apache Foundation have?

  • Public Services/Government

    • CityCamp Pairs Open-Source Tech, Gov’t Transparency

      [Editor's note: The Raleigh Public Record is a sponsor of CityCamp Raleigh]

      More than 100 people are planning to converge downtown Raleigh this weekend for a three-day brainstorming session on how to use technology to increase the transparency of local government.

      CityCamp Raleigh is looking to attract everyone from programmers to city officials to the “unconference,” which will be split between speaking events, work sessions and presentations all aimed at using the Web to connect citizens with government data. The event, which kicks off Friday at Vintage 21 on West Street, will mimic others by the same name held around the world from Chicago to Brighton, U.K.

    • UK: Survey of Higher Education and FLOSS

      So, in spite of all the naysayers here, FLOSS is alive and well on the desktop and making significant gains over the last few years. FLOSS is used on the desktop in more than twice as many institutions since 2008. There are obstacles to adoption but performance is not one of them. When people get around to thinking objectively about FLOSS they will choose it. The largest reason for not choosing FLOSS? “It’s not what users want.” As if IT is a democracy in education or anywhere else. Institutions should choose software that fits the current and future needs of the institution. Budgets and performance should be far more important than what the users want. Users are largely not knowledgeable about choices and only know what they have used previously, not a basis of rational thought.

  • Licensing

    • The issue of bringing harmony to copyright assignment

      This month openSUSE community manager, Jos Poortvliet, discusses copyright assignment and the buzz surrounding ‘Project Harmony’. As always, don’t forget to leave your comments and feedback – your opinion could feature in a future issue of Linux User magazine…

      Identi.ca has been buzzing with ‘project Harmony’ discussions lately. Harmony aims to be the ‘Creative Commons’ of Copyright Assignment Agreements (CAAs). A CAA is basically a contract you sign where you give away ownership of your code, and some free software projects already allow or even demand this for contributions. The Free Software Foundation itself, for example, requires a CAA.

    • Why does the Government need to own the copyright in software it has developed?

      Tech contract negotiations frequently involve a lot of argument about who gets to own the copyright generated. They essentially boil down to points of principle, rather than reasoned argument. Like many other complex issues, it’s worth going back to first principles. What does “owning the copyright” mean?

      It means:

      1. You can use the copyright yourself;

      2. You can stop other people from using the copyright

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Build Or Buy? Five Sub-$500 Store-Bought Systems Compared

    Have you ever claimed you could build a faster machine than top-tier vendors, but needed proof? We dig into five off-the-shelf sub-$500 configurations to figure out what they can and cannot do. The results probably won’t surprise Tom’s Hardware regulars.

  • Now You Tube 3D arrive on WebM

    You Tube continues to prove that it is the future of where the internet is going to be in the next few years by introducing the ultimate in internet media viewership. Meeting the demand from a growing number of 3D enthusiasts, You Tube introduced the 3D channel and today has close to a thousand and more 3D videos. Augmenting its

  • Security

    • Deciphering the Sony PSN Attack
    • Sony admits LulzSec attack, calls in the Feds

      Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued a statement blaming “a group of criminal hackers known as ‘LulzSec’” for attacking its web sites.

      In the statement signed by chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and co-chairman Amy Pascal, Sony said the “cybercrime wave that has affected Sony companies and a number of government agencies, businesses and individuals in recent months has hit Sony Pictures as well.”

      LulzSec previously claimed it had penetrated databases attached to sonypictures.com, sonybmg.be and sonybmg.nl.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Man Ordered At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone For Recording Cops

      “Miami Beach police did their best to destroy a citizen video that shows them shooting a man to death in a hail of bullets on Memorial Day. First, police pointed their guns at the man who shot the video, according to a Miami Herald interview with the videographer

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Secret History” of U.S. Bullying in Haiti at Oil Companies’ Behest

      The Nation magazine, in partnership with the Haitian weekly newspaper, Haïti Liberté, has launched a series of reports based on more than 19,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Called “The PetroCaribe Files,” the series begins with an exposé of how the United States—with pressure from Exxon and Chevron—tried to interfere with an oil agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that would save Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, $100 million per year.

    • Dublin Wikileaks Cables Reveal Irish Govt. Groveling to the US

      Ireland’s foreign-affairs minister assured the US ambassador in Dublin in 2006 that the Irish government was prepared to change the law that had allowed the acquittal of five anti-war activists for damaging a US Navy plane.

      The revelation that a senior Irish official discussed possible amendments to domestic criminal law with the US ambassador is contained in a Wikileaks cable (see below) that has not been published or reported upon elsewhere, but which has been seen by Counterpunch.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Subpoena Doesn’t Mean Much…Yet

      Wall Street’s most notorious bank was subpoenaed by the Manhattan district attorney. The DA wants more information about Goldman’s business activity leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

    • Harte Doesn’t Expect Criminal Charges on Goldman Sachs
    • Goldman Sachs subpoenaed

      A prosecutor in New York has subpoenaed Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs for information related to the financial crisis, a person familiar with the development said Thursday.

      The broad request from the Manhattan district attorney, issued last month, stems from an April report by Senate investigators that accused Goldman Sachs of abusive behavior, according to the source.

    • Coffee Says Subpoena of Goldman Sachs Was Unexpected
    • Financials Dropping On Goldman Sachs Subpoena, Moody’s Watch

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) shares are dropping on news that a Manhattan Prosecutor is subpoenaing the company.

      In addition to this bad news, Moody’s has put the debt of Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) on credit watch.

    • NY Subpoena Is New Issue As Goldman Prepares For Ex-Partners

      A new inquiry into Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s (GS) activities during the financial crisis, prompted this time by Manhattan’s district attorney, has Goldman scrambling once again to control its image.

      The disclosure Thursday of a subpoena of the firm by the district attorney comes just weeks before Goldman is scheduled to meet with one of its most important constituencies: retired partners who have moved on to found prominent hedge funds, perform government service, or dabble in a range of endeavors. Goldman calls them home twice a year to hear from top management about the state of the firm.

    • Fitch Affirms Goldman Sachs Financial Square Prime Obligations Fund At ‘AAAmmf’
    • Goldman Sachs worried about beheading?
    • Goldman Sachs Said to Be Poised to Sell Litton Mortgage Business to Ocwen

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is closing in on the sale of Litton Loan Servicing LP to Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN), two months after writing down the value of the mortgage- servicing business by about $200 million, according to a person briefed on the negotiations.

      The sale of the unit to Ocwen, a mortgage servicer based in West Palm Beach, Florida, may be announced within days, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

    • Goldman Said to Get Subpoena Over Its Role in Crisis

      The Wall Street investment bank has received a subpoena from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, which is investigating Goldman’s role in the financial crisis, said one person familiar with the subpoena.

      It comes amid increased enforcement scrutiny of the company, which has faced blistering criticism that it shorted — or bet against — the mortgage market before it collapsed and that it knowingly sold bundles of bad mortgages to its clients. Goldman denies these accusations.

    • Goldman: Too Big for Jail

      .. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) won’t face criminal prosecution related to sales of mortgage-linked securities because such a move could threaten the U.S. financial system, according to Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. …

    • Goldman Sachs: a timeline of trouble
    • NY Prosecutors Probe Goldman

      New York prosecutors have delivered a subpoena to Goldman Sachs seeking information on the investment bank’s mortgage and derivatives business, a person familiar with the matter said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Free for All: National Academies Press Puts All 4,000 Books Online at No Charge

        Today the National Academies Press announced it would offer its entire PDF catalog of books for free, as files that can be downloaded by anyone. The press is the publishing arm of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, and publishes books and reports that scientists, educators, and policy makers rely on.

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