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08.11.11

Links 11/8/2011: Wineskin 2.4, QEMU 0.15

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Sesame With Your Source

    The trend toward open source software has many benefits when creating applications. JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for example retains the benefits of enterprise application level components such as security and web services without the prohibitive license costs.

  • Open source solutions gaining acceptance in enterprise projects

    A new survey says open source solutions are being considered for the majority of enterprise IT projects. The survey, by FuseSource Corp., an open source integration firm, outlines deciding factors leading organizations to chose and open source solution.

  • 10 things people get wrong about open source (images)
  • Twitter to open source Storm in September

    Twitter has announced that it will be open sourcing Storm, its stream processing framework, in September, at the Strange Loop conference. Storm was developed by BackType, a company that Twitter acquired in July. At the time, Nathan Marz, BackType’s lead engineer, said that the company’s plans to open source the technology had not changed. Now Twitter has put a date on those plans in a blog posting.

  • Mozilla

    • HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension goes 1.0

      The Firefox extension HTTPS Everywhere, designed to automatically navigate users to HTTPS-secured versions of sites by rewriting requests, has reached version 1.0. The project was started in June 2010 with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and The Tor Project collaborating on creating the extension which has been refined and tuned over the past year with an improved UI and better performance.

    • The “App Model” and the Web

      Mozilla’s mission is to bring openness, interoperability and user sovereignty to Internet life. We should do this in the apps world. We should embrace some aspects of the current app model as a complement to the browser model. We should also provide an alternative to aspects of the current app model that aren’t so open to interoperability and user sovereignty.

  • SaaS

    • Ensemble meets Hadoop on the cloud

      So you wanted to play with hadoop to crunch on some big-data problems, except that, well getting a hadoop cluster up and running in not exactly a one minute thing! Let me show you how to make it “a one minute thing” using Ensemble! Since Ensemble now has formulas for creating hadoop master and slave nodes, thanks to the great work of Juan Negron. Spinning up a hadoop cluster could not be easier! Check this video out

    • Hadoop cluster with Ubuntu server and Ensemble
    • Hadoop, Big Data and Small Businesses

      Distributed infrastructures for enterprise search and indexing are becoming the norm, but what can small businesses do?

      Hadoop, HDFS and the MapReduce algorithm are becoming as popular as searching for celebrity gossip, and this surge in interest says a lot about the changing nature of enterprise infrastructure and data and application requirements.

      We all know that search engines and databases have completely different requirements. With most databases, you have a single persistent copy of the data that is backed up and can be restored. With search engines – Google’s MapReduce technology is the basis of Hadoop – much of the data is often transient and can be re-collected.

  • Databases

    • Percona announces MySQL conference

      Percona, a MySQL consulting and support company, has announced that it will run a MySQL conference in the traditional location, Santa Clara, and at the traditional time, 10-12 April 2012. There had been a lack of clarity, according to Percona, as to whether anyone was planning a MySQL conference, so, after several months of planning, it has announced the “Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo”.

  • BSD

    • BSDanywhere: time machine

      I have already written about BSD-based systems several times. I reviewed FreeSBIE and PCBSD.

      They were system based on XFCE and KDE. These are more or less modern looking operating systems. Could I imaging myself back into 1990s when I was downloading another BSD-based system?

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cough up the hairball and make NHS technology open

      The NHS technology environment could be described as a giant hairball – a Gordian knot of past policies, established practices, new initiatives and government objectives and an ever changing landscape of opportunity from new technology.* Openness, in all its many forms, offers a way to escape from the hairball.

      Openness comes in many forms: open source, open standards, open data, open publishing – the list goes on. Openness is growing. Open source and open standards are in the ICT strategy documents of the Cabinet Office, the Welsh Government and in some form in the NHS IT Strategy too.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Cancer Data: It Just Got Personal

        Coincidentally, a few days before my dad’s diagnosis, I published a study which found that cancer datasets are less likely to be widely available for further research than similar datasets outside cancer.

  • Programming

    • Testing JavaScript Code with Jasmine

      Server-side developers have long experienced the benefits of automated testing solutions, taking advantage of testing frameworks such as RSpec for Ruby, PHPUnit for PHP, and JUnit for Java. If you fall into this crowd but are starting to spend more time with JavaScript, chances are you’re fretting over how to apply similar techniques on the client (or or server!) side. Not to worry, as several interesting JavaScript testing frameworks exist, perhaps chief among them Jasmine, a popular open source behavior-driven development framework.

    • Using Images in the GUI
  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 Seems To Be Gaining Momentum

      With Google, Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Vudu, and even Microsoft embracing HTML5, these are exciting times for vendors, developers and consumers

Leftovers

  • Apple named in e-book price-fixing lawsuit

    Apple and a group of book publishers were accused in a lawsuit today of illegally fixing e-book prices to “boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”

    The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed today in U.S. District Court in Northern California, alleges Apple, HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster “colluded to increase prices” on popular books. (Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS. CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)

  • Wallpapers from… heaven?
  • Science

    • Portable, super-high-resolution 3-D imaging

      By combining a clever physical interface with computer-vision algorithms, researchers in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have created a simple, portable imaging system that can achieve resolutions previously possible only with large and expensive lab equipment. The device could provide manufacturers with a way to inspect products too large to fit under a microscope and could also have applications in medicine, forensics and biometrics.

      The heart of the system, dubbed GelSight, is a slab of transparent, synthetic rubber, one of whose sides is coated with a paint containing tiny flecks of metal. When pressed against the surface of an object, the paint-coated side of the slab deforms. Cameras mounted on the other side of the slab photograph the results, and computer-vision algorithms analyze the images.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Dear Wikipedia: The Death of Mark Duggan is Notable

      I hate broken links, so I try to avoid linking to The Globe and Mail, for instance, because they started locking older articles behind a paywall. That deliberately breaks links that work when I post the article [unless the reader pays ransom].

      I am quite certain that I’ve linked to Wikipedia more than any other website, and so I worry because deleted Wikipedia articles will result in broken links.

      Broken links are bad for blogs, and while online news outlets often don’t understand this, Wikipedia ought to. As a blogger, when I link to something, I expect it to stay there. As an Internet user, it is annoying to follow a link to get more information, only to discover that the original article has been removed. The only time any Wikipedia entry should be deleted is if it is fraudulent.

      The Wikipedia page Death of Mark Duggan is flagged for deletion. There is a huge argument raging about whether or not Mark Duggan’s death is notable.

  • Cablegate

  • Censorship

    • EFF tells Cisco to help curb abuses in China

      The group is reacting to the networking firm’s earlier announcement that it would help the Chinese government build up an extensive camera surveillance network in Chongqing. This, as well as its assistance in building the Great Firewall of China, should give it enough leverage to convince its new friend to stop abusing its citizens’ human rights.

      “This is the same company that sold equipment to China to build the Great Firewall, which prevents Chinese Internet users from accessing much of the Internet, including online references to the Tiananmen Square protests, information on China’s human rights abuses, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter,” wrote the EFF’s Jillian York in a blog post.

  • Privacy

    • Indian MPs To Give Critical Data To Apple, America?

      One of the two houses of the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha, has decided go for the paperless office. The house is adopting tablet PCs instead of papers. The members will be using either the iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, according to reports.

      Should Indian parliament even consider Apple’s iPad? No. Apple is an American company and the iPad uses proprietary technologies to which Indians will not have any access. The ministers will have to use Apple’s iTunes software to transfer data to the iPad – which means Apple will have access to all the ministerial and governmental data, without informing the Indian government.

      Chances are that these ministers may also use the iCloud, and as we know since Apple is an American company, all the data on the cloud will be accessible by the US authorities. Apple will hand over that data if the US government demands so.

  • DRM

    • The Danger of E-books: Richard Stallman

      In an age where business dominates our governments and writes our laws, every technological advance offers business an opportunity to impose new restrictions on the public. Technologies that could have empowered us are used to chain us instead.

Growing Opposition to Microsoft-Led Cartels and Patent Trolls

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harming the United States and even the entire world with monopolistic practices

World puzzle

Summary: The OIN grows further, providing somewhat of a defence against Microsoft’s patent cartels but not against its patent trolls, notably Intellectual Ventures (IV)

AS THE patent storm looms over more and more companies, the OIN grows bigger, pooling together an arsenal of Linux proponents that do not oppose software patents (some are actually proponents of software patents).

The latest additions are the former home of Patent Troll Tracker and also Twitter, which routinely complains about software patents. To quote SJVN:

In case you’ve been under a rock for the last decade, you might not know that today’s technology wars aren’t over who has the best prices, the most features, or the greatest quality. No, in 2011, instead of working on innovating, tech. giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle, are now wasting their resources on intellectual property (IP) lawsuits. So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that networking powerhouse Cisco and social networking force Twitter, is joining the Linux patent protection group, the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The problem with OIN is that it is not effective against trolls as it cannot strike back against them to deter or to eliminate/defuse an attack.

There is this good new article about patent trolls “in all shapes and sizes”. It also covers the cartel of Microsoft’s patent troll, IV. To quote: “In recent months, especially following a widely praised piece from This American Life on Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures, many outside the tech sector are becoming aware of the nightmare the software patent system in America has created for start-ups, inventors and even major corporations—an unfortunate development in a faltering economy where new jobs are scarce and much-needed.”

Yesterday we saw Mr. Cuban calling for the end of software patents and a software patent holder calls it a “troll”, unsurprisingly. Those who are in favour of software patents are there to defend their own monopoly/ies on algorithms.

Those who benefit from software patents are lawyers, their clients, and the patent trolls. “But many of the investors and founders Betabeat spoke with said patent litigation was a costly expense,” alleges Betabeat, “one that forced tech companies to spend money on lawyers instead of hiring even more employees. “We need to face the facts: patent law is killing job creation,” wrote billionaire tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban over the weekend. “If the current administration wants to improve job creation, change patent law and watch jobs among small technology companies develop instantly.”

“And it’s not just small start-ups that are feeling the pinch. Big firms like Microsoft and I.B.M. have built up massive war chests of patents and now have as much interest in protecting the dysfunctional system as reforming it, even if Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said that “if people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.””

Well, ironically he bankrolled the world’s biggest patent troll, IV. It sometimes seems like the proprietary software cartel plans to collude against Free software not just using patent pools but also patent trolls.

Let’s not forget that Apple is now using embargo too (Apple ban attempts were covered here twice before):

Now AFAICS the main point of Apples complaint centers around the uniqueness of its design, which they registered in the US, europe and a few other places too (and trust me, if they could they would do it for the whole galaxy and all possible parallel universes).

Well, Apple’s tablet is not so different from CrunchPad/JooJoo which predates the iPad (there are even examples from the 1970s). There is a lot more prior art. Here is Apple’s itch and aggressive action, which we wrote about twice before, emphasising that Apple has become a shameless embargo company. Apple cultists are already criticising Techrights for ‘daring’ to criticise Apple for these actions.

The solution is probably to redesign the legal system associated with patents. In Yahoo! News there is currently this article calling for the end of all patents, not just software patents. Quoting the opening parts:

Apple just got an Android tablet called the Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in Australia and Europe, thanks to its supposed infringements of Apple patents. Apple’s also trying to get all Android smartphones and tablets made by HTC banned, and it’s taking potshots at the Motorola Xoom as well. All three companies are firing back with their own countersuits, giving the whole proceedings the feel of global nuclear armageddon.

How did this happen? Aren’t patents supposed to encourage innovation? I grew up being taught that inventors like Thomas Edison raced to discovery, so that they could file a patent on it. I never imagined a world where patents would be used as weapons of war, but that’s what it’s come to these days.

Here’s why the patent system as we know it is broken, and why we need to get rid of it now:

Maybe it’s only a matter of time before the US patent system revises its workings or simply collapses. If this is how business is done now, then the US will lose its ability to compete with the rest of the world. The problem is that these American multinationals also lobby to export their laws to other continents and countries, using lobbying and other forms of bribery (see what happens in New Zealand for example). There was no reason to embargo Galaxy products without hearing the other side of the story (e.g. about prior art) and this is clearly not a case of counterfeiting; no Android-based product bears an Apple logo, except maybe in rogue, unofficial markets.

Linux is winning, so Microsoft and Apple fight hard.

The Microsoft Patent Deal is With SUSE Now, So Boycott SUSE

Posted in OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE is a patent trap

Palm Springs

Summary: Reflections on the patent deal’s transition from Novell to SUSE and what we should do in order to prevent Microsoft from taxing GNU/Linux

THERE are serious problems in SUSE not just because it fell deeper into Microsoft’s arms (see our SUSE-Microsoft deal coverage) but also because it fails technically for some. As we showed the other day, a lot of the talented developers and managers left, putting the project/company in the hands of Microsoft-friendly people. Outside the circles of SUSE, there does not seem to be much progress as there are hardly any new releases, just security releases addressing security problems [1, 2, 3, 4].

Although there is a conference coming, it will not be the same as in prior years. Some of the key staff is no longer with Novell.

Novell’s PR team was almost entirely decimated based on the activity (or lack thereof) in the respective blogs and the scarcity of new promotional videos. There is this newly-uploaded one with Geeko in it, perhaps symbolising the company’s shift to Microsoft-taxed distro as a business model.

“Over 200 of the openSUSE Members voted, with 90% in favor of the current strategy document,” says the OpenSUSE new site, but did the OpenSUSE community get to vote regarding that recent deal with Microsoft? Or as Groklaw recently put it, did the community get involved in the press releases and blog posts from Novell’s PR blog when it speaks on behalf of SUSE? Of course not. The control by a ‘community’ is merely an illusion. Now that the deal with Microsoft binds SUSE rather than Novell, we do call for a boycott of SUSE. Novell is no more. We’ll close with this new autotuned video of Novell because it is quite neat and merely a remnant of a now-defunct company.

Links 11/8/2011: Desktop Summit, More Linux Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • .exe file on Linux
  • Computer: How far is it to the next good interface?
  • Does Linux Certification cut the mustard?

    For those pursuing a Linux career, is Linux certification a must have or an indication that you lack the real world experience that employers demand?

    In the ever fast-paced and dynamic context of information technology, IT professionals need to be on their toes, constantly staying abreast of changes in the technology platforms on which they work. Operating systems are refined and improved in newer versions of technology, mandating systems administrators to constantly be on a learning curve to keep up with the changes.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Linux on mainframe, alive, kicking and doing rather well

      CA Technologies has responded to what the company says is a growing market for Linux-based mainframe applications with the release of a new mainframe Linux management portfolio named CA VM: Manager Suite.

      Naysayers who belittle the importance of mainframe technologies in 2011 should perhaps remember that since the start of the decade, IBM, Unisys, BMC, Centrify and CA itself have all made significant augmentations to their mainframe technology propositions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom, Dell, Linux 3.0

      I get it Broadcom, you hate Linux Users, and I’ve always been able to hate you by installing akmod-wl, while giving you the middle-finger, but apparently even that doesn’t seem to work on 2.6.40, which means I have to hate you loudly now.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Linux Training Scholarship Recipients

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the recipients of its 2011 Linux Training Scholarship Program.

      This is the first year of the program, which awards five scholarships to computer science students and Linux developers who show incredible promise for helping to shape the future of Linux but do not otherwise have the ability to attend Linux Foundation training courses.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME & KDE Developers Meet Over Beer In Berlin

      The 2011 Desktop Summit is coming to a close at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. This was the second time that GNOME and KDE developers joined to host a Linux desktop summit of around 1,000 participants.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Desktop Summit Thoughts

        I’ve been to the Desktop Summit in Berlin for the past few days, we’re now around the middle of the event, after the conference, before the workshop and BoF sessions, so I thought I might share some thoughts I’ve gathered in idle moments in the past few days.

      • Toasters and Pants at Day Three of Desktop Summit 2011

        The third and final ‘traditional’ conference day began with Mirko Boehm, Claudia Rauch, Stormy Peters, Karen Sandler and Cornelius Schumacher meeting with members of the Berlin City authorities. The city officials wanted to get acquainted with the free and open source leaders involved in the Desktop Summit, because open technology is important to the local government (more below).

      • Using a single database for KDE programs
  • Distributions

    • The 2011 Top 7 Best Linux Distributions for You

      As Linux continues to re-define its role in the mobile and cloud sectors, there is still demand for using the operating system on “traditional” platforms like the personal desktop, the enterprise server, and even laptop devices. With so many Linux distributions available, which one is the best for each of these varied platforms?

      Because of these platform differences, there never can be one best Linux distribution for everyone. Also, the needs of each user are unique. Telling someone who’s looking for a good introductory distribution to try Gentoo, for instance, would be a mistake because for all its positive qualities, Gentoo is decidedly not a beginner’s distro.

    • Red Hat Family

      • 09 Aug 2011: Red Hat’s Most Serious Flaw Types for 2010
      • Red Hat Warns Government About Cloud Lock-In

        In an open letter of sorts, Red Hat is warning U.S. policy makers and government leaders about so-called cloud lock-in — the use of proprietary APIs (application programming interfaces) and other techniques to keep customers from switching cloud providers. The open letter, in the form of a blog entry from Red Hat VP Mark Bohannon, contains thinly veiled criticism of Microsoft and other companies that are launching their own public clouds.

      • Red Hat is First to Deliver Java EE 6 via Platform-as-a-Service with OpenShift

        OpenShift is a free PaaS for developers who leverage open source. Developers looking for a faster on-ramp to the cloud with built-in management and auto-scaling capabilities can use OpenShift so they can focus on coding mobile, social and enterprise applications while leaving stack setup, maintenance and operational concerns to a trusted hosted service. First announced at the Red Hat Summit in May 2011, OpenShift redefined the PaaS space by offering a broad choice of supported languages, frameworks, databases and clouds, including Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Java EE, Spring, MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, MemBase and Memcache, all open source, helping developers avoid getting locked into any particular technology or platform.

      • Red Hat Brings Java EE 6 to OpenShift Cloud

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) sees opportunity in providing an integrated platform as a service (PaaS) offering for the cloud that enables Java developers. To that end, Red Hat today announced that its JBoss Application Server 7 is now integrated with the OpenShift PaaS, providing an easy on-ramp to the cloud for Java.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint Debian – Perils of Rolling Distributions

          I am a big fan of the Linux Mint Debian distributions, both the “original” Gnome version and the newer Xfce version. I have had LMDE loaded on several of my laptops and netbooks since it was first released at the end of last year, and it has been the distribution that I use most often for six months or so now. But there is another key factor about it, and my use of it – I have kept it updated since I first installed it. I have recently wanted to install or re-install it on a couple of other netbooks, and the experience has been disappointing.

          The advantage of “rolling distributions” is that they send out updates frequently, both major and minor updates to the operating system itself and to the packages installed on it. That means no waiting around for the next periodic distribution cycle to get a new version of the Linux kernel, or Firefox, or whatever. The disadvantage is that these updates accumulate pretty rapidly, so before long you end up in a situation where doing a fresh installation actually requires a lot of updates. Add to that the fact that rolling distributions often don’t update their base all that often, and the total number of updates required after doing a fresh installation can be quite large.

        • Revisited: CrunchBang (“#!”) Linux 10 “Statler” Xfce r20110207

          When I’ve reviewed #! before, I’ve always stuck with the Openbox edition, because when #! started, it only had an Openbox edition. It wasn’t until version 10 “Statler” that it gained an Xfce edition as well, but I always wanted to review just “the original” #! anyway. Fast forward to the last few days, and I haven’t really been able to think of much to write. Then, I realized I had never checked out the Xfce edition, so I did so.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Inclusive membership

            We have a strong preference for inclusivity in the way we structure the Ubuntu community. We recognise a very diverse range of contributions, and we go to some lengths to recognise leaders in many areas so that we can delegate the evaluation process to those who know best.

            For example, we have governance structures for different social forums (IRC, the Forums) and for various technical fields (development, translation). We quite pointedly see development and packaging as one facet of a multi-faceted project, and I think Ubuntu is much stronger for that approach.

          • Canonical Store Adds Ubuntu-Branded Laptop Sleeve
          • [Oneiric Updates] New LightDM Login Theme Finally Made Default

            Few days back we reported that a new login theme for Ubuntu 11.10 has landed in repositories. The Unity Greeter theme for LightDM has been finally made default. It looks almost same as in the video below but sound menu has been removed.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Joli OS 1.2 Linux by Jolicloud

              With the launch of the Chromebook, a new breed of cut-price laptop running Google’s Chrome OS software, the interest in so-called ‘cloud computing’ has never been higher. It’s easy to forget, however, that before Google came along, there were other companies offering remarkably similar software packages that can be installed – for free, even – on existing hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android e-reader tablets sell for under $180

          Pandigital began selling a $170, seven-inch Android tablet called the Nova Digital Reader, a lighter spinoff of its previous Novel color e-reader. This follows a similar, $180 “Planet” device the company launched two weeks ago, with both tablets featuring seven-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreens, 802.11n, and front- and rear-facing cameras.

        • Android-based wearable device platform targets 1.4-inch screen

          WIMM Labs announced an Android-based wearable device reference platform and open SDK designed for applications including sports and health monitoring wristwatches. The tiny WIMM One Module features a 1.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, up to 32GB memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and motion tracking capability, and will be made available with a WIMM One Developer Preview Kit in the third quarter.

        • Five-inch Android 2.3 tablet pumps out 1080p via HDMI

          Latte has begun shipping a five-inch, Android 2.3 portable media player (PMP) tablet for $190. The Latte Ice Smart uses a Telechips 8903 ARM11 processor to deliver 1080p video to an HDTV via a mini-HDMI port, and offers Wi-Fi and a USB On-the-Go (OTG) port, says the company.

        • Sprint tips $100 4G phone from Samsung
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Pierre Cardin ships designer Android tablet

        Pierre Cardin is shipping a seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet billed as “the … first designer tablet.” The Pierre Cardin Tablet PC offers a 1GHz Samsung “Hummingbird” processor, a front-facing webcam, Wi-Fi, and a tailored carrying case, and sells for 275 U.K. Pounds ($449).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source develops the future of downtown Raleigh

    Can you revitalize a city and attract businesses using open source principles? David Diaz, president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance thinks so. In fact, I got a chance to sit down with David to discuss how economic development organizations are interacting with their local and state government, citizens, businesses, and landlords. Diaz and his organization apply the principles of transparency, participation, and sharing to their economic development programs.

  • Four Steps Toward a Successful Open Source Project

    There’s a lot to like about open source software. It can help your business by cutting costs and producing better software. It’s open, auditable, and customizable, and free of the restrictive, invasive licenses and EULAs that infest proprietary software. You can build a community around an open source project, one that incorporates contributions from both staff and outside developers. If you’re wondering how to start up and manage a genuine open source project, here are four fundamental tasks to get you started: start small, build trust and social capital, start smart, and build for the future.

  • Events

    • But wait, there’s more

      Ohio Linux Fest: There’s some big to-do up in Vancouver next week, something about twenty years of a widely used operating system that puts Windows to shame, a guy named Linus who doesn’t like GNOME 3 and other luminaries in the Linux constellation of stars, blah blah blah. But for those who can’t make that, you might want to head to Columbus, Ohio, to discover the Ohio Linux Fest next month. The event runs from Sept. 9-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus. The keynoters are Cathy Malmrose, of ZaReason fame, and Bradley Kuhn, of Software Freedom Conservancy fame. As this is the last big event of the year now that Utah Open Source Conference is in mothballs this year until next spring, it might be a good chance to get in a show before the year’s out.

  • Web Browsers

    • On WebKit and WebKit2

      Ever heard of WebKit2 and wondering what it means from a Qt perspective? Here’s an attempt to explain QtWebKit and QtWebKit2 in simple terms. I make no attempt to be completely technically correct, it’s meant to be able to explain terminology to the WebKit uninitiated.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla shrinks Firefox’s memory appetite by 20%-30%

        Mozilla’s Firefox 7, slated to ship in late September, will be significantly faster because of work done plugging the browser’s memory leaks, a company developer says.

        Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote credited the “MemShrink” project for closing memory bugs in the browser and producing a faster Firefox.

  • SaaS

    • Freedom in the “cloud”?

      It’s come to the point that I was asked to explain what I consider necessary prerequisites for an open, free, sustainable approach towards what is often called “The Cloud” or also “Software as a Service” (SaaS).

      To be honest, it took some time for me to make up my mind on the matter, and I considered many of the inputs that I’ve seen so far, in particular the Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services to be good enough for some time.

      Clearly I’m sympathetic to the fundamental ideas behind Diaspora, ownCloud and so on. In fact, I myself am currently dedicating my life to the creation of a solution that should empower users to take control over some of their most central data – email, calendar, address books, tasks, see “The Kolab Story” – and thus to provide one puzzle piece to this picture.

  • Databases

    • [Firebird] Past and Present

      As you may know, in July 2000, Borland Software Corp. (formerly known as Inprise) released the beta version of InterBase 6.0 as open source. The community of waiting developers and users preferred to establish itself as an independent, self-regulating team rather than submit to the risks, conditions and restrictions that the company proposed for community participation in open source development. A core of developers quickly formed a project and installed its own source tree on SourceForge. They liked the Phoenix logo which was to have been ISC’s brandmark and adopted the name “Firebird” for the project.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss proprietary companies block government open source release

      Reports from Switzerland say that proprietary software companies are complaining about government plans to release open source solutions it has developed on the grounds of cross subsidy. A report from OSOR.EU says the issue emerged early in July as the IT department of the Swiss federal court was planning to release OpenJustitia.

      In 2007, the Swiss federal court began development of its own internal document management system, OpenJustitia, designed to make it more efficient to search through court decisions. In 2009, the court’s IT department announced it would release the system as open source under the GPLv3. This summer, it was expected that OpenJustitia would be released to allow other courts to make use of it.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Everything is a Compiler

      With multiple new Perl books in progress as well as some fiction and other books, I’ve spent a lot of time lately working on our publishing process. Part of that is building better tools to build better books, but part of that process is improving the formatting based on what those books want and need to do.

      It’s a good thing I know how compilers work.

Leftovers

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Ending domestic violence, NNEDV, and Tor

      I was invited to speak at the annual technical conference of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, http://nnedv.org/. Over the past few years, I’ve been personally involved with helping victims and survivors of abuse. In many cases, it has been education and helping them understand what’s possible on the Internet, methods to protect their privacy, and methods to control what data trails they leave behind. I’ve been deeply disturbed after meeting survivors of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and child abuse. The realities of life for these people while they were being abused, and the systematic failures of the systems set up to protect and help them, is shocking. The law enforcement officers and those offering services and direct support to these victims often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Everyone involved with the results of abuse seems to need help all around.

  • DRM

    • Let Barnes & Noble know that the Nook is defective by design

      American book retailer Barnes & Noble have launched the third model of their Nook ebook reader. We’ve previously written about the Nook, but until recently the Nook did not get much attention due to the limited options available.

      Things have changed and now the Nook represents a real threat to users because of its invasive DRM, close relationship with DRM champions Adobe, and because of its use of the Android operating system — which might lead many to think the Nook is not defective by design.

IRC Proceedings: August 10th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

The UK Shares Romania’s Pain as Free Software Excluded From Public Services

Posted in Europe at 1:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RomaniaSummary: Britain’s open source voice, Glyn Moody, interprets the situation in Romania while Mark Ballard, a watchdog journalist in the UK, shows lack of cooperation with the public at the Bristol City Council after it gave to Microsoft and its allies taxpayers’ money which had been allocated to Free/libre software

We recently confronted and wrote about Romanian procurement which excluded GPL-licensed software. We complained about policy being amiss after someone from Romania had informed us of the situation, instigating further backlash from British journalist Glyn Moody, who writes:

But the larger issue, at least for this blog, is why anyone would impose such a restriction. The system seems self-contained, so there would be no issue with the GPL being extended to other code. Moreover, since the program would presumably only be used by the Romanian criminal justice system, the code would not be “distributed”, and thus there would be no requirement to share it – anyone got any views/experience on this aspect of procurement?

So in effect there would be no difference from using proprietary code in this case, other than the ability to draw on GPL code, which would allow the people writing this app to draw on existing software, potentially simplifying their task.

On the other hand, distributing the code anyway would produce a number of benefits. For example, others could look at the code and help improve it (not least by finding security issues.) It might be used for other projects, both in Romania, and elsewhere, and would in any case strengthen the open source community in the former by adding to the country’s national software commons. Incidentally, these arguments also apply to other countries’ procurement policies: it would be great to see the UK government commissioning and releasing GPL’d code, for example.
So, Romania, what’s the problem?

A while ago we also wrote about Bristol, which abandoned plans to use Free software in the public sector after Computacenter had gotten involved/invoked. Mark Ballard is stepping in another scandal as he explains that “Computacenter gags Bristol City Council over anti-open source ‘bias’”, further elaborating as follows:

Computacenter has prevented Bristol City Council from publishing details of a consulting project that has been overshadowed by allegations of anti-open source bias.

Bristol refused to release advice received from Computacenter concerning the choice of infrastructure to support the council’s 7,000 PCs and the allocation of more than £8m of public money.

Computer Weekly requested details about the pilot project under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act after MPs investigating the relationship between government and IT suppliers were told by a key expert witness that Computacenter had skewed its parameters to favour Microsoft, thereby undermining Bristol’s seven-year campaign to replace proprietary computing platforms with open source software.

But Stephen McNamara, head of legal services at Bristol City Council, said Computacenter had refused the authority permission to release the information.

Public authorities are required to reveal why particular choices that affect taxpayers were made. Yesterday we reminded readers of the poor ethics of Microsoft, including subversion of processes affecting national policies. It is stories like the above that further fuel more suspicion.

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