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Links 6/6/2011: Toshiba and Ricoh Sell Linux Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Produce a FLOSS Office Suite

      I suppose IBM feels that keeping its own product closed source/non-free is in the best interests of IBM but I think they are short-sighted. The reason Linux, ODF, Android, and so many other open technologies work so well is not because of the individual contributors but because the FLOSS community is the right way to produce software. Any non-free implementation is liable to be more limited, buggy and frail than the FLOSS equivalent.

      Attempting to put OpenOffice.org under ASL is nonsensical in the long run. Either or both of these things will be true:

      1. It will cost IBM more to develop.
      2. LibreOffice will eventually become a superior product.

    • IBM to Contribute to New, Proposed OpenOffice.org Project
    • What’s the future of OpenOffice.org?

      Get answers to top questions about the office suite’s future, now that Oracle has given the codebase to Apache

  • CMS/Freedom

    • Big media brands using open source Drupal to publish

      Rumour has it that several well known publishing brands have moved from their traditional print versions into online-only entities in recent times. For these reasons I ended up surfing for open source publishing topics this week.

      Maverick new players in this space might be interested in checking out http://theopensourcenewspaper.org/ and its ancillary references to Drupal, the free and open source software package for publishing, managing and organising a variety of content on a website.

    • The Freedom Box Alternative to Facebook

      “The human race has a susceptibility to harm, but Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record. He has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age. Because he harnessed ‘Friday Night,’ that is, ‘Everybody needs to get laid,’ and he turned it into a structure for degenerating the integrity of human personality. And he has to a remarkable extent succeeded with a very poor deal, namely ‘I will give you free Web hosting and some PHP doodads and you get spying for free all the time.’ ”

  • Business

    • Open for business: How some sales processes don’t work for OSS

      Due to the inherent freedoms in open source software, solutions built on them can cost less to implement and less to own–not solely due to the lack of license fees, but because they are simply better solutions. As I point out to prospective clients who are unsure about paying for pre-sales: While you may not be willing to explore open source, you can bet your competitors are, and they can use their savings to better serve their customers.


    • Brad Kuhn: a life devoted to Free Software

      Kuhn has been around in Free Software circles for a long time; he knows the movement well and has contributed an enormous amount to the progress it has made.

      It takes dedication, perseverance and idealism to work and keep working in this area. Kuhn has all three in spades and exemplifies the type of person who is needed more and more as commercialism makes inroads into, and often sullies, the ideals that gave birth to FOSS.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • More Standards for Europe and faster

      More Standards for Europe and faster: this is the main objective of a series of measures that the European Commission proposed on 1 June 2011. Standards are sets of voluntary technical and quality criteria for products, services and production processes. Nobody is obliged to use or apply them but they help businesses in working together which ultimately saves money for the consumer.

    • WebODF available in Android Market

      Android is an important operating system based on Linux. Many mobile devices come with Android. And now WebODF is available for these devices. You can see the entry in the Android market.


  • Walmart, Microsoft rulings waiting to drop

    The U.S. Supreme Court gets hot, like the weather, in June, when decisions in all the most controversial cases, like those involving Walmart and Microsoft, come cascading down as the justices join a frantic race to get out of Dodge for the summer recess.

    Many controversial cases are decided in June, the last full month of the term, regardless of when they were heard. The prevailing theory is that the issues in the cases are so weighty it takes time to get a clear majority. But another theory once popular in the Supreme Court press room says the justices want to rule on controversial cases at the last minute, just before they leave for parts unknown, because they don’t want to hear all the bitchin’.

  • Upgrade your browser, or we’ll kill your documents

    Google’s move is bad news for three groups: those who are tired of the upgrade treadmill, those who prefer alternative browsers (like Konqueror or Epiphany), and those (like me) who are trying to reuse older computers. I’m quite certain that there will be no Google-compatible browser that runs on a Pentium II with 192 MB of RAM.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Dr. Death’ Jack Kevorkian dies at age 83

      Jack Kevorkian, 83, the zealous, straight-talking pathologist known as “Dr. Death” for his crusade to legalize physician-assisted suicide, died June 3 at a hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

    • Cell phone use may cause cancer: WHO

      Mobile phone users may be at increased risk from brain cancer and should use texting and free-hands devices to reduce exposure, the World Health Organisation’s cancer experts said Tuesday.

      Radio-frequency electromagnetic fields generated by such devices are “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced at the end of an eight-day meeting in Lyon, France.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • China calls US culprit in global ‘Internet war’

      The Chinese military accused the U.S. on Friday of launching a global “Internet war” to bring down Arab and other governments, redirecting the spotlight away from allegations of major online attacks on Western targets originating in China.

      The accusations Friday by Chinese military academy scholars, and their urging of tougher policing of the Internet, followed allegations this week that computer hackers in China had compromised the personal Gmail accounts of several hundred people, including government officials, military personnel and political activists.

    • F.B.I. to Investigate Gmail Attacks Said to Come From China

      Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the F.B.I. would investigate allegations by Google that China was the origin of clandestine attacks on its Gmail service.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • U.S. pushed Goldman, others for legal loss estimate

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc and other banks disclosed estimates of potential losses from legal issues after pressure from Securities and Exchange Commission staff, according to documents released on Friday.

      In a letter to Goldman on February 22, Stephanie Hunsaker, the senior assistant chief accountant in the SEC’s division of corporate finance, questioned an assertion by Goldman management that the bank was unable to come up with solid loss estimates.

      Other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Citigroup Inc, and Morgan Stanley received similar requests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Revolution Will Not Be Monetized

      First thing you do, tear this article out of the magazine and carefully set it on fire. It’s about the jockeying for position and revenue among the big players in social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube. And the analysis isn’t bad for—whaddyacallit—history. But it wasn’t written in the past 12 minutes. So more likely than not it’s already hilariously out of date. (“Google?” you may be asking, perplexed. In case the brand has in the interim disappeared from the scene, like Webvan and John Tesh, listen up: “Google” was a search engine.)

  • Censorship

    • Finland: Blocking of domestic websites ruled illegal

      The Helsinki Administrative Court has ruled that domestic websites may not be placed on the secret blocking blacklist maintained by the police.

      This is the latest turn in a long legal fight by Finnish activist Matti Nikki, whose website lapsiporno.info (translates as “childporn.info”) was put on the secret blacklist in February 2008 and has remained on the list ever since.

    • Syria shuts down the Internet

      What is with Arab dictatorships and their thinking that cutting their people off from the Internet is a good idea? First, it was Egypt. Then, it was Bahrain, and finally Libya gave it a try How’s that working out for you guys? Egypt’s government was overthrown; Bahrain’s ruling family is hanging on thanks to outside support and mercenaries; and Libya’s in the middle of a bloody civil war. All-in-all, trying to cut the people’s communications’ life lines just angers the protesters even more and draws the world’s disapproving attention.

      The state-run Syria News site reported earlier today, June 3, 2011, that “The Syrian government has cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, Dial-up) all across the country (Arabic link), including government institutions.” Later the same site reported that the Internet is available across parts of Syria [but that the] “Internet was ‘broken’ in Damascus, Syria’s capital, and Aleppo, and the provinces.”

    • France bans ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ from TV, radio

      Radio and television news anchors may no longer say the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” on air, unless the terms are part of a news story. This prohibits French news organizations from urging their audience to “follow us on Twitter” or “check out or Facebook page,” or other such promotions.

      The ban actually stems from a decree issued by the French government on March 27, 1992, which forbids the promotion of commercial enterprises on news programs. To sticklers of objective journalism, this may seem a reasonable rule. But as expat blogger Matthew Fraser points out, this type of regulation is absurd, especially when Facebook and Twitter have become so widely established in everyday life.

  • Civil Rights

    • U.N. Special Rapporteur Calls Upon States to Protect Anonymous Speakers Online

      On June 3, EFF will begin live coverage of a critical discussion about online freedom of expression held by the 47 member states of the U.N Human Rights Council during its seventeenth session in Geneva. The meeting will include the introduction of a landmark report to the Council by United Nations Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue that advocates safeguards to protect free expression online including privacy and anonymity.

      La Rue has spent the past year meeting with local organizations, including EFF, in numerous cities around the world. He has traveled to Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Cairo, Johannesburg and Delhi to gather information about key trends that stifle free expression online. These actions include the blocking of content, monitoring and identifying activists and critics, criminalizing legitimate expression, and adopting restrictive legislation to justify such measures. In his report, La Rue recommends that United Nations member states recognize the legitimacy of anonymous expression (a core EFF value) and the critical protection it affords. La Rue argues in his report that “privacy is essential for individuals to express themselves freely.”

    • UN Report Says Internet Three Strikes Laws Violate International Law

      The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has released an important new report that examines freedom of expression on the Internet. The report is very critical of rules such as graduated response/three strikes, arguing that such laws may violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Canada became a member in 1976). Moreover, the report expresses concerns with notice-and-takedown systems, noting that it is subject to abuse by both governments and private actors.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

Reader’s Picks

  • Anti-Trust

    • M$ Can’t Handle Diversity

      M$’s plan to absorb the ARMed ecosystem is getting push-back. M$ wanted to talk with only a few “special” players and the gang said “no”. … [Microsoft wanted the five chip players to each choose only two of their downstream system partners to join] … the players in the ARMed ecosystem need their whole channel involved, nearly 100 parties, if products are to be delivered. The ecosystem is thriving with Android and they don’t need to be divided over “8″. M$ cannot win. If they get everyone on the same page, it will take time they don’t have.

    • Power Grab by M$

      [ARM] is just the beginning. M$ wants to tell the world how to make PCs. They even plan to make “activation” easier for end-users… To do that, no doubt they will try to insert some M$-only signature into the hardware. Fat chance

    • Nokia, in precipitous decline since Elop’s takeover, is in danger of collapse. [2]. No one mentions Nokia’s fine gnu/linux distribution.
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • DoJ wants to hunt Wikileaks without informing the public

      Thursday’s 20-page filing by the Justice Department was in response to an ACLU motion filed last month, which asks U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady to make public four additional court dockets that the ACLU believes are 2703(d) orders directed to additional internet companies. Without confirming that other records demands have been filed, prosecutor MacBride argued that there is no legal basis to make any information on other orders available, and that doing so could lead to companies being pressured to fight those demands.

      This shows they are afraid of the public and indirectly that public demands for justice are effective.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Anti-biotic resistant bacteria found in dairy cows and people, probably the result of indiscriminate anti-biotic use in dairy cows. How the bacteria got to the general population, despite pasturization of milk is unexplained.
    • BP oilspill taking the path predicted by those who said dispersant use was a coverup.

      BP used nearly 2 million gallons of Corexit on the almost 200 million-gallon oil spill, claiming it would break up the oil and allow bacteria to digest it. But the scientists challenge that claim, saying that Corexit does not in fact appear to speed up hydrocarbon breakdown. … According to preliminary findings presented at a conference last week by researchers from the University of West Florida, the dispersants may not have been effective — and could actually be more harmful to the ecosystem than the oil alone

      That 10x more dolphins than normal have died shows that the toxins have worked their way up the food chain and eating the seafood or spending time in the water is harmful.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Sharing passwords is now a Crime in the US State of Tennessee. There are as many confusions in the article as there are in the law and those who passed it.

      [under the expanded cable theft bill it is] a crime to use a friend’s login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. … services that believe they are getting ripped off can go to law enforcement authorities and press charges. … Stealing $500 or less of entertainment would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Theft with a higher price tag would be a felony, with heavier penalties.

      Copyright infringement is not theft. The values attributed to these non crimes are as ridiculous as the law itself. Using an otherwise unused service is no more copyright infringement than lending a book to someone. The concept of “blatant offenders” is foolish for many reasons and laws should be written with more precision.

    • UN report says network cut offs are a violation of UN charter.

      The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws.

    • Tornado devestated Cordova refuses to allow FEMA to deliver trailers to people who have lost their homes [2]. After local, national and international protest FEMA rubber stamped a hastily drafted recovery program that still forbids trailers.
    • The weapon supposedly wielded by innocent victim of mass drug raids, was on safety. It is more likely a dishonest police department would make that mistake than a veteran of two Iraq tours.
    • When the police kill your friend, you get charged with murder in Chicago.

      The teenagers allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint on the South Side of Chicago. When the officers told the teens to stop, Williams, who was holding the gun, allegedly turned in the officer’s direction. Fearing for her life, the officer shot the 15-year-old, killing him… Under state law, police can charge someone with murder when an accomplice is killed during the commission of a crime. Even though Ross didn’t pull the trigger, he was charged as an adult with murder and armed robbery.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Freedom Box progresses.

      if things keep moving forward we should have something that people can use that will have some basic privacy and security functionality within a year. Whether we’re going to have a full Facebook replacement in a year, I think we’re probably a little more than a year away from making that happen

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Patent extortionist steps on wrong radio station

      We were on the air with it two years before (Mission Abstract Data) even applied for their patent. … I find the granting of this patent insane. The research done to determine what was already out there in the field was abysmal

    • Another Microsoft proxy company suffers a setback, but PJ worries the smears will never end. From her News Picks:

      will the FUD cloud that just happens to surround all Microsoft competitors go away, or will another stupid lawsuit get filed, so articles like this can make ugly headlines? I don’t know why journalists love to write about litigation against large companies, siding with the “underdog”, as here, but it makes it easy for anyone wanting to smear a competitor, just by getting a small proxy to bring the litigation, a la SCO, powered by Microsoft money. Look how that turned out. Were all the articles that plastered our screens in the beginning of that litigation accurate, all about IBM being in trouble and Linux doomed? How about the mainframe FUD? IBM so far wins every battle, and that ought to tell journalists something the next time a proxy shows up claiming that big bad company X or Y is being mean to little competing business. Look for who the little business is being backed by, and then you’re more likely get the story right.

    • Trademarks

Clip of the Day

LEGO Sandcrawler MOC

Credit: TinyOgg

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