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Links 10/8/2011: More Linux Tablets in Asia, Lies With Statistics

Posted in News Roundup at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Vendor-led community projects? Don’t forget your hat

    Brian Proffitt asked an interesting question last week with regards to the OpenStack project: ‘can a commercial vendor lead a project as openly as a foundation?’

    It’s an interesting question, and one that is particularly prescient given the observed re-balancing of control and community.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Android testing platform mimics human UI interaction

        Wind River announced the Wind River UX Test Development Kit, an Eclipse-based Android software testing platform that aims to reproduce human interaction with user interfaces. Wind River also updated the related Wind River Framework for Automated Software Testing (FAST) for Android to version 1.6, adding a benchmarking index, and new configuration, monitoring, and testing tools.

      • Preview And Images: The Next Firefox UI
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • The Hurd

      GNU’s Hurd kernel is shaping up. It may never have much of a role on the desktop because Linux has such a lead and wide acceptance but, on servers, there is little to keep Hurd out. Virtual machines usually offer only a few virtual devices after all so Hurd does not need a lot of drivers to run in one. Many servers are virtual these days so Hurd might fly there. Real NICs are cheap and plentiful, too. A real server could just change NICs if need be. Hurd has glue-code to allow use of drivers from Linux. Depending on how well that works, Hurd may run nicely. If Debian is interested in it Hurd must be at least stomping its hooves.

    • GNU Xnee 3.10 (‘Heron’) released

      We are pleased to announce the availability of GNU Xnee 3.10

    • Caribou Week Who Is Paying Attention Anyway – We Need a New Maintainer

      After making a non-binding resolution to report my Caribou progress on a weekly basis, I flaked. Of course. But luckily Nohemi has picked up the slack and have kept you all up to date about the libcaribou powered GNOME Shell keyboard in her more binding GSoC reports. So no more architecture diagrams are needed, you all get the idea. But if you didn’t, let me make it clear: The goal of Caribou is to make it easy to implement new on screen keyboards where you would only need to provide the view, and libcaribou will be your model and controller.

    • [GNU Psychosynth] Master’s thesis and new release!

      As previous posts announce, latest developments were driven by my Master’s Thesis held in the University of Granada. Last week I defended it and now I am, officially, a software engineer :-) The document is written in English; it is the best description available of all the new core refactoring and an interesting read if you want to contribute to the project.

  • Project Releases

    • [Midor] Cleanup, Adblock speed-ups and crash dialog love

      Time for a major release. The leading motto is cleanup and as we jump to Midori 0.4.0 we increase minimum requirements to WebKitGTK+ 1.1.17 and Vala 0.10 (Vala used to be optional). This allows us to say goodbye to several portions of backwards-comaptibility code. Anybody who has some familiarity with the code knows Midori used to try very hard to run on older systems, some may say too hard. Midori 0.3.6 will remain available for anyone who can’t upgrade yet. This benefits users insofar as more time is available for new features instead of looking at old code.

    • PLplot Release 5.9.8

      This is a development release of PLplot. It represents the ongoing efforts of the community to improve the PLplot plotting package. Development releases in the 5.9.x series will be available every few months. The next full release will be 5.10.0.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A Gentle Introduction to OpenCL

      Writing and running your first app with code executing on the CPU and the GPU

      OpenCL provides many benefits in the field of high-performance computing, and one of the most important is portability. OpenCL-coded routines, called kernels, can execute on GPUs and CPUs from such popular manufacturers as Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and IBM. New OpenCL-capable devices appear regularly, and efforts are underway to port OpenCL to embedded devices, digital signal processors, and field-programmable gate arrays.


  • Chomsky: Public Education Under Massive Corporate Assault — What’s Next?

    Right after that I happened to go to California, maybe the richest place in the world. I was giving talks at the universities there. In California, the main universities — Berkeley and UCLA — they’re essentially Ivy League private universities — colossal tuition, tens of thousands of dollars, huge endowment. General assumption is they are pretty soon going to be privatized, and the rest of the system will be, which was a very good system — best public system in the world — that’s probably going to be reduced to technical training or something like that. The privatization, of course, means privatization for the rich [and a] lower level of mostly technical training for the rest. And that is happening across the country. Next year, for the first time ever, the California system, which was a really great system, best anywhere, is getting more funding from tuition than from the state of California. And that is happening across the country. In most states, tuition covers more than half of the college budget. It’s also most of the public research universities. Pretty soon only the community colleges — you know, the lowest level of the system — will be state-financed in any serious sense. And even they’re under attack. And analysts generally agree, I’m quoting, “The era of affordable four-year public universities heavily subsidized by the state may be over.”

  • Science

    • Interview: Gaël Varoquaux

      I was fortunate enough to get Gaël Varoquaux to accept a written interview. He is a very, very busy man. He was recently heavily involved in SciPy 2011 where he gave a presentation entitled Python for Brain Mining: (Neuro)science with State of the Art Machine Learning and Data Visualization. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

  • Security

    • Three out of four rootkit infections are on Windows XP

      FREEMIUM antivirus vendor Avast warns that unpatched Windows XP machines continue to pose a serious threat to the internet ecosystem by harbouring three quarters of all rootkit infections.

      The company has an unique insight into the threat landscape thanks to over 130 million active Avast! antivirus installations worldwide that send it malware telemetry. According to a recent analysis performed by the firm’s researchers, 74 per cent of 630,000 rootkit samples found in the wild originated from Windows XP machines.

    • Lies and Statistics

      I prefer more openness in IT. That’s why I use Debian GNU/Linux, a cooperative product of the world working for us and not against us. Debian publishes all its known bugs and reports for the world to see so you can know the bugs that are out there before you install the software. A search using Google for “remote code execution” on bugs.debian.org reveals 157 hits for all open bugs, not just this year’s and for all the thousands of packages available. Using Debian’s index one can travel back in time to bug #50004 from 1999.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • detention: source

      Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose disappearance in April caused an international outcry, endured intense psychological pressure during 81 days in secretive detention and still faces the threat of prison for alleged subversion, a source familiar with the events told Reuters.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obsolete Expertise and the US Economy’s Energy Problem

      If you came of age in the twenty years leading up to the millennium, it’s likely you will treat energy as a non-limiting input to the US economy. As a journalist, policy maker, or economist, you are far more likely to produce political explanations when faced with economic dilemmas. The Great Recession has offered the perfect occasion to witness the phenomenon, a financial crisis which specifically kicked off amidst 150 dollar oil in 2008. Instead of advising the President that the country faced debt-deflation, with a nasty overlay of high commodity costs, the White House economic team has drawn from the post-war playbook which holds that if you stimulate the economy generally then the system will magically reorganize itself. Well, that hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen.

  • Finance

    • Revolving Door at S.E.C. Is Hurdle to Crisis Cleanup

      A senior lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission recently took center stage in a major case involving a controversial mortgage security sold by Goldman Sachs.

      There was just one slight twist in the legal proceedings. The S.E.C. lawyer was not the prosecutor taking the deposition. He was the witness.

    • Insight: Debt relief replaced with recession fear

      In a matter of days, investor relief that the United States avoided default has been replaced by fears Europe’s debt crisis is deepening and the world’s biggest economy may be slipping back into recession.

    • Goldman Sachs Model at Risk as Dodd-Frank Pares Trading in Dark
    • Goldman Sachs As Part of the “Predator State”
    • U.S. Subsidies to Systemically Dangerous Institutions Violate WTO Principles

      This article makes the policy case that U.S. subsidies to its systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) violate World Trade Organization (WTO) principles. The WTO describes its central mission as creating “a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition.” There is a broad consensus among economists that the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) receive large governmental subsidies that make “open, fair, and undistorted competition” impossible. To date, WTO is infamous for its hostility to efforts by nation states to regulate banks effectively. At best, the result is a classic example of the catastrophic damage cause by the “intended consequences” of the SDIs’ unholy war against regulation.

    • BOMBSHELL REPORT: Goldman Sachs Got Billions From Taxpayers Thru AIG For Its OWN Account, Crisis Panel Finds; Contradicting SWORN Testimony From Execs
    • Confessions Of A Wall St. Nihilist: Forget About Goldman Sachs, Our Entire Economy Is Built On Fraud

      There was a strange moment last week during President Obama’s speech at Cooper Union. There he was, groveling before a cast of Wall Street villains including Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein, begging them to “Look into your heart!” like John Turturro’s character in Miller’s Crossing…when out of the blue, the POTUS dropped this bombshell: “The only people who ought to fear the kind of oversight and transparency that we’re proposing are those whose conduct will fail this scrutiny.”

      The Big Secret, of course, is that every living creature within a 100-mile radius of Cooper Union would fail “this scrutiny”—or that scrutiny, or any scrutiny, period. Not just in a 100-mile radius, but wherever there are still signs of economic life beating in these 50 United States, the mere whiff of scrutiny would work like nerve gas on what’s left of the economy. Because in the 21st century, fraud is as American as baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet Volts—fraud’s all we got left, Doc. Scare off the fraud with Obama’s “scrutiny,” and the entire pyramid scheme collapses in a heap of smoldering savings accounts.

    • Why are the big banks getting off scot-free?

      For most citizens, one of the mysteries of life after the crisis is why such a massive act of looting has gone unpunished. We’ve had hearings, investigations, and numerous journalistic and academic post mortems. We’ve also had promises to put people in jail by prosecutors like Iowa’s attorney general Tom Miller walked back virtually as soon as they were made.

      Yet there is undeniable evidence of institutionalized fraud, such as widespread document fabrication in foreclosures (mentioned in the motion filed by New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman opposing the $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement with investors) and the embedding of impermissible charges (known as junk fees and pyramiding fees) in servicing software, so that someone who misses a mortgage payment or two is almost certain to see it escalate into a foreclosure. And these come on top of a long list of runup-to-the-crisis abuses, including mortgage bonds having more dodgy loans in them than they were supposed to, banks selling synthetic or largely synthetic collateralized debt obligations as being just the same as ones made of real bonds when the synthetics were created for the purpose of making bets against the subprime market and selling BBB risk at largely AAA prices, and of course, phony accounting at the banks themselves.

    • Total Employment in the US Falls Again

      Total employment in the United States fell in July by 38,000 people, from 139.334 to 139.296 million. This was a much smaller loss than the previous month. However, once again the average number of total employed for the current year is in decline. My forecast is that by next year, after revisions and the complete data, 2011′s average—currently at 139.55 million–will fall below 2010′s average of 139.07 million. | see: United States Total Employment in Millions (seasonally adjusted) 2001-2011.

  • Civil Rights

    • Private companies own your DNA – again

      Many scientists cheered last year when a federal judge ruled that human genes couldn’t be patented. The case involved Myriad Genetics, which holds the patent rights on two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are associated with increased risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Thanks to these patents, you can’t look these genes in your own body without paying a fee to Myriad. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that was the state of gene patents until last May, when judge Robert Sweet ruled that the Myriad’s patents were invalid.

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