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08.30.11

Links 30/8/2011: Many New Linux Tablets, Thunderbird 7 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Xbox 360 reset glitch hack, Xbox 360 Linux on its way?

    This means it’s now possible to run homebrew & backups on all Xbox 360s, no matter which firmware is loaded, in the past this was only possible on Xbox 360s with a certain firmware-level. This also opens the possibility to run quite easily Linux on your Xbox 360!

  • As Linux Moves Into a New Decade, Companies Look for Linux Talent

    The Linux community has been united around the globe over the last few weeks in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Linux. As we head into a new decade, many of The Linux Foundation’s members are looking for Linux talent to help advance the OS for everything from cloud computing to virtualization and super computing to embedded development and mobile computing.

  • Desktop

    • The Linux Setup – Dusty Phillips, Developer

      Dusty Phillips certainly falls into the power user category and his answers reflect that status. Dusty runs a tight system that’s optimized for his workflow. And it’s fascinating that he does so much with just one machine.

  • Kernel Space

    • Six Months With OpenBenchmarking.org

      There’s a variety of features and other enhancements to OpenBenchmarking.org that are still forthcoming. I’ve been talking about several of them over the past six months that I look forward to implementing as soon as time allows.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Graphics Stack, Requirements For Ubuntu 11.10

        If you’re thinking about trying out the Ubuntu 11.10 Beta release later in the week or are beginning to wonder about what the graphics driver options for Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” when released in October, here’s a collection of information you’ll want to know about the graphics drivers to be found in Ubuntu 11.10.

        [...]

        The Linux 3.1 kernel isn’t making it out for a few more weeks and just before the final release, so Canonical is playing it safe and sticking to the Linux 3.0 kernel although the still-in-development release does provide some nice improvements to the DRM graphics drivers and other areas of the kernel. Users can manually upgrade to the Linux 3.1 kernel and it should be relatively safe.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Linux desktop progress: Innovation vs. power-user backlash

      Recently word spread like wildfire across the net that Linus Torvalds, Father of Linux himself, had proclaimed GNOME 3 an “Unholy Mess.” The hatred for all things GNOME 3 didn’t stop there. Pundits, grand-standers, tinkerers, and media-types alike went on and on about how GNOME 3 had become nothing more than a failure. At the same time, Ubuntu Unity had been given a similar title as a nearly worthless desktop.

      Let’s step back in time a year or so ago when KDE 4 came out of the starting gate. Yes it was hampered by a complete rewrite, but like it’s GNOME brethren, KDE was lambasted as too buggy to ever work correctly.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • New ‘Cool’ Developments

        “World must be crazy” say fellow hackers when realized that one day I left Samsung’s Linux Mobile Lab to work on Smart Refrigerators.

        But well, it’s still in the same company, the same city. Yet this does not mean I am stopping to dig in Linux stuff for living: we’re talking about Linux fridges.

        However, there is something even less expected: these are full four-doors Qt fridges. I dare to say, except for cars or airplanes with infotainment modules, for me these cooling monsters are one of the biggest ‘Qt devices’ available on the consumer market.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Important GNOME Shell, Mutter Updates

        Owen Taylor announced a new version of the GNOME Shell and Mutter releases this afternoon for what will be incorporated into the GNOME 3.2 desktop. While it’s late in the development cycle with the final GNOME 3.2 release coming next month and the beta release being set for Wednesday, the Mutter 3.1.90 carries two important changes along with prominent changes to the GNOME Shell.

  • Distributions

    • New Distribution: Dream Studio Introduced

      Lost in all the news of and attention paid to Mandriva 2011, a new distribution was added to the Distrowatch database. This Ubuntu-based distribution is designed to provide users the means to “create stunning graphics, captivating videos, inspiring music, and professional websites.” Version 11.04 was released the other day, so let’s take a peek.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo: GNOME Keyring And Subversion
      • Quick Look at Sabayon 6 Continued (KDE)

        This spin of Sabayon on the other hand, although the better one, feels average when compared to other KDE 4 distributions like Kubuntu, Kanotix, Debian and in particular when compared to SimplyMEPIS which is just unreal. SalixOS does KDE 4 faster with only 512 MB ram. Kongoni is snappier and also allows to compile updates and any additions via its ports system. So does Slackware with sbopkg. So choose your poison, if for whatever reason you like Sabayon more than any other distribution you’re going to use it anyway, regardless the resource usage and speed. (Slightly updated 30/08/11 15:03)

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Fair Use Face-Off, Canadian Edition

          As professors and librarians in the United States await a judge’s ruling on a copyright lawsuit by publishers against Georgia State University over its e-reserves practices, a similarly themed battle in Canada has seen a number of high-profile research universities walk out on licensing agreements with that country’s major copyright clearinghouse.

          More than a dozen Canadian universities — including heavyweights such as the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary and York University — have said they will not renew their agreements with Access Copyright, a government-created nonprofit that sells licenses to its library of copyright-cleared content.

        • Best Free Android News Aggregators
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Fujitsu’s Android tablet is ready for bathtub readers

        Fujitsu and Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo will next month release an Android tablet you could use in the bathtub, featuring a 10.1 inch touchscreen and dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4430 processor, according to the Datacider.com website. Meanwhile, Toshiba’s poised to release a slimmer followup to its chunky Thrive, according to a Notebook Italia report.

      • Amazon.com Tablet Could Ship 5 Million Units

        Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) could sell anywhere between 3 million and 5 million Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android tablets in the fourth quarter, making it far and away the most successful slate provider on the open-source platform, according to Forrester Research.

      • Fujitsu Prepping Rugged Honeycomb Tablet

        Fujitsu, known for making lower-end computers and other devices, is apparently ready to throw its hat into the Android tablet game, with the Fujitsu “Arrows Tab,” a rugged Honeycomb tablet. They’ve announced the 10.1-inch device, and it’s set to launch next month on NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese carrier. The tablet could have HSPA, UMTS, and LTE connectivity, as well as GSM and GPRS capabilities, for roaming and such. The Arrows Tab will also be packing a TI IMAP 4430 1GHz dual-core processor, so it won’t be slow by any means.

      • Toshiba Thrive Review

        One of the biggest obstacles Toshiba faces with the Thrive is that the company has no Android presence to help the company gain a foothold. They have no track record of Android phones or tablets to speak of and nothing reputable to bring to the table. At $429 the 16GB version is roughly $70 less than its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 counterpart. Is it worth paying the extra money for Samsung’s 10-inch tablet? That depends on what’s most important to you. Do you want a functional tablet with great hardware and function? Or do you need to look cool and hip with the slimmest, sexiest tablet on the market?

      • As PCs Wane, Companies Look to Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source for America Awards

    OSFA recently celebrated its second anniversary and would once again like to recognize some of the individuals, projects and deployments that support OSFA’s mission.

  • Web Browsers

    • Extreme tab browsing

      I have a pathological use of browser tabs: I use a lot of them. A lot is probably an understatement. We could say I use them as bookmarks of things I need to track. A couple weeks ago, I was saying I had around two hundred tabs opened. I now actually have much more.

      It affected startup until I discovered that setting the browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs pref to 0 was making things much better by only loading tabs when they are selected. This preference has/will become browser.sessionstore.restore_on_demand. However, since I only start my main browser once a day, while other applications start and while I begin to read email, I hadn’t noticed that this was still heavily affecting startup time: about:startup tells me reaching the sessionRestored state takes seven seconds, even on a warm startup.

    • Shiny new UI in Empathy 3.2

      *

      One of our main goals during this developement cycle was to continue improving Empathy’s user experience by re-designing different parts of the UI. To do so our Empathy team at Collabora worked closely with designers from the awesome GNOME Design Team.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Cable: US pressured EU to approve Oracle-Sun merger

      The US Government met with European competition officials to lobby on behalf of Oracle during its purchase of Sun Microsystems, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

      The cables, released this week by whistleblowing site Wikileaks, reveal that the Obama administration had monitored the European Union’s investigation into the competition issues that could arise from the merger and tried to convince them to let the deal go ahead.

      The EU had investigated the merger due to concerns for the future of Java and the open source MySQL database.

  • Healthcare

    • VA, DoD take next step to open source EHR

      The Veterans Affairs Department is set to make its open source agent operational Tuesday and make available the software code of various applications in the electronic health records of VA and the Defense Department.

      Users of the applications will also have a method to report back to the open source agent changes to the software.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD: not “just another BSD”

      This article continues series of reviews of non-Linux operating systems which you can find existing. Another big family of OSes is based on BSD core. PCBSD, BSDanywhere, FreeSBIE… you can read more about them. It’s time to start our today’s adventure.

      [...]

      Forum, Documentation and FAQ sections are pretty much empty on official site. I have not found any information about LiveUSB creation process for GhostBSD in the Internet either.
      Finally, I decided to look at DVD-RW option. This means the test could only be carried out on Toshiba L500 laptop. Expectedly, it would be a hard task for BSD since not every Linux distribution worked fine on that laptop so far. This laptop has Realtek 8191 WiFi card which is not the most popular among free open source software developers. But let’s talk about this later.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source is illegal?

      While the Slovak Republic is slowly moving forward on the issue of open licenses, Romania appears to have taken a step backwards. The Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs recently banned open source solutions from a public tender of almost 3 milion euro due to ‘internal and European interoperability requirements’. The tender specifically says “All versions of software that are part of the offer may not be published under a ‘free software license’ – GPL or similar”.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Syllable OS developer interview: Building a better operating system
  • Microsoft bashes VMware at VMworld, again

    In what has become an annual tradition, Microsoft celebrated the start of the VMworld show in Las Vegas this week with more satirical bashing of VMware. This year Microsoft launched a Web site called VMlimited in which it likens VMware to a guy who still thinks it’s circa 1977. However, Microsoft’s viewpoint doesn’t jive with the news of new partnerships and wares streaming out of the VMworld show this year.

  • Disney factory faces probe into sweatshop suicide claims

    Disney’s best-selling Cars toys are being made in a factory in China that uses child labour and forces staff to do three times the amount of overtime allowed by law, according to an investigation.

    One worker reportedly killed herself after being repeatedly shouted at by bosses. Others cited worries over poisonous chemicals. Disney has now launched its own investigation.

    It is claimed some of the 6,000 employees have to work an extra 120 hours every month to meet demand from western shops for the latest toys.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 83 Died in U.S.-Guatemala Syphilis Experiments: “We’re talking about intentional deception.”

      It made headlines when historian Susan M. Reverby of Wellesley College discovered a decades-old program run from by the U.S. Public Health Service’s studies in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948. That’s because the researchers deliberately inoculated subjects with syphilis in order to study sexually transmitted disease, and they did so without informed consent for the procedure.

    • Warrantless Surveillance Memos Stay Classified

      The Justice Department is refusing to release legal memos the George W. Bush administration used to justify his warrantless surveillance program, one of the most contentious civil liberties issues during the Republican president’s time in office.

      In responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the department is withholding two legal analyses by then-government lawyer John Yoo, and is revealing just eight sentences from a third Yoo memo dated Nov. 2, 2001. That memo is at least 21 pages long.

    • Another ‘Collateral Murder’ Incident Highlighted in the WikiLeaks Cables

      The communication logs show the admirable but futile efforts of UN Special Rapporteurs to gain answers and information on horrific incidents of torture and possible war crimes or crimes against humanity. The incidents Special Rapporteurs are seeking information about are not necessarily unknown, but what makes them significant is how the US has done little if not nothing to address and investigate the killings of journalists in the Iraq War.

    • Fears grow over Britain’s last inmate at Guantanamo Bay
  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks: Embassy’s “Privatization Update” Shows Shock Doctrine in Action in Haiti

      IGOH refers to Interim Government of Haiti, the unelected government installed after a US-backed coup ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.

    • Apple reportedly assembled anti-counterfeit team in 2008 to combat fakes

      CNN is reporting that recent Wikileaks cables have revealed that Apple assembled an anti-counterfeit team in 2008 to combat counterfeited iPhones and iPod touches. Apple’s early plans to attack Chinese counterfeits were to go after retailers and street vendors, work with police to raid manufacturing facilities, and to go after online retailers.

    • Timeline: Daniel Domscheit-Berg

      This is the story of Daniel Berg aka Daniel Schmitt aka Daniel Domscheit-Berg, one of the many collaborators with WikiLeaks in the ‘nascent period’ up to but not including the big releases of 2010.

      Daniel was an employee of the US storage giant EDS in Rüsselheim Germany when he heard about WikiLeaks. Daniel’s not a programmer – and certainly not a hacker – but seemed to ‘dabble’ in political topics such as ‘anarchy’ and transparency.

      But we’re getting ahead of our story. The following data was culled over the past few months when the opportunity (and the inclination) came to research Daniel’s bizarre life and relationship with WikiLeaks and the website’s founder Julian Assange. All items are referenced online save Domscheit’s own book.

    • WikiLeaks: Russian Foreign Ministry ‘Bastion’ of Sexism and Low Pay
  • Privacy

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • If ACTA Is Approved In The US, It May Open The Door For The President To Regularly Ignore Congress On International Agreements

          On of the sneakier parts of ACTA is that the White House has insisted from the beginning that the document is not a binding treaty. Instead, it insists that ACTA is merely an “executive agreement.” Of course, the only real difference is that an executive agreement doesn’t require the Senate to ratify it. Basically, the US is calling it an executive agreement so that the administration can sign on without any oversight or scrutiny on the treaty. The Europeans, in the meantime, never got the “ix-nay on the inding-bay eaty-tray” notice from the US folks, and have been happily declaring ACTA a binding treaty as it clearly is.

          However, many legal experts have noted that this raises serious constitutional questions, as the Constitution simply does not allow this kind of agreement to be signed without Senate approval. Amusingly, Senator Biden — back during the previous administration — was one of the leading voices in trying to prevent President Bush from signing an “executive agreement” with Russia, without getting Senate approval. One wonders if he’s magically changed his mind.

More Mainstream Backlash Against Software Patents and Patents in General

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More and more people want the patent system to stop

Hand on glass

Summary: An overview of articles and posts about the subject which affects GNU/Linux and Free software the most nowadays

THE MORE the corporate press complains about patents, the more involved the public will become and the better informed people will be. It is gratifying to see big publishers voicing scepticism of the current patent system and even lawyers’ site acknowledge that we may be approaching the end of software patents, even in the United States (watch patenting maximalists try to be objective). Quoting Law.com:

A closely watched appellate ruling invalidating broad software patents claims because they covered “unpatentable mental processes” isn’t as straightforward as it seems, Silicon Valley lawyers say.

The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ Aug. 16 ruling in CyberSource v. Retail Decisions, 2009-1358, leaves room for debate about what kinds of business methods can be patented, thanks to one word: practicality.

Business methods that could be performed by the human mind still could be patentable because, as a practical matter, they have to be done on a computer, the court said. Figuring out what processes meet that criteria could lead to heated court battles in the months ahead, lawyers predict.

This court ruling is important and it is likely to be brought up in the future. In the mean time we have bloggers hammering on the system quite hard. Andrew’s highly-cited post, which protests against the patent system, concludes with:

The question is, what do we do when we have to keep playing the game, given the endemic problem of the emergence of strategies that subvert the intent of the game.

Lodsys has been another driver of backlash against the patent system, not just in the US but also in countries where developers make software they sell in the States. Here is Groklaw‘s latest take on the subject:

In the latest filing by Lodsys [PDF] in response to the Apple motion to intervene in the Lodsys v. Combay case, Lodsys gives every indication it is in a panic to keep Apple from intervening. Much of the document is redacted, but despite that fact we can glean the sense that Apple’s entry into the lawsuit spoils Lodsys’s entire theory of the litigation, at least with respect to the Apple (and likely Google) developers.

Meanwhile there is risk that the same rogue system Lodsys is exploiting will spread to Europe, as the founder of the FSF warned last week. Here is a new article on the subject:

EU en route to US-style software patent nightmare

The EU could see the introduction of software patent wars seen in the US if it continues with plans for a ‘unitary patent’.

According to Richard Matthew Stallman, writing at the Guardian, there is a very real danger that software patents could be enforced across the whole of Europe (with the exceptions of Italy and Spain), should the unitary patent system go ahead.

The introduction of such patents would have the potential to be highly detrimental to the development of software, and the recent Hargreaves Report urged strongly against them.

However as Stallman says there are concerns that under EU plans the European Patent Office would be given the green light to issue software patents that would be valid automatically in many European states.

It is important to squash software patents in the USPTO before it spreads like an organism to other continents.

Microsoft in Embargo War Against Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old ship

Summary: Microsoft takes the Apple approach to pushing Java/Linux aside while Nokia gets more litigious as well

POOR Microsoft and poor Apple. They just do not know how to stop Linux anymore, so they join forces and attack en masse with help from patent trolls. Pay attention to what the Microsoft-led Nokia is doing right now. To quote: “Nokia (the Claimant) filed a claim with the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court (the Court) against Shanghai Huaqin Communication Technology Co., Ltd. (the Defendant) for RMB10 million in damages on the ground that the Defendant had infringed the Claimant’s rights of a patented product, which was a telecommunications device equipped with a camera.”

More patent aggression against phones. Not to mention Apple's appalling behaviour, which ended up in embargo after pathetic lawsuits. Apple ignored all prior art and tried to stifle the presence of competition (“Galaxy Tab delayed Down Under” says one news report).

Apple’s embargo culture is not paying off because the dispute that Apple has started results in Samsung not helping Apple in manufacturing anymore. It was reported last week that Apple already suffers shortages as a result. But guess who else has just embarked on the embargo ship? Yes, it’s Microsoft. The target is Google’s Android, making it the first time that Microsoft uses this level of sanctions against Linux, having tried it against hardware several years ago (mice from Asia). This embargo attempt was covered by Edward Qualtrough, among others. To quote:

Microsoft have joined the major technology corporation suing party and launched a suit to prevent the sale of Motorola mobiles in the US.

With each technology giant seemingly suing each other in a Royal Rumble-style lawsuit, Microsoft believe their latest action will ban a number of Google-owned Motorola phones in America, which Microsoft claim infringe upon seven patents. These include ways to synchronise calendars and contacts, as well as notifying applications of changes to signal strength.

Motorola phones are made overseas, despite Motorola being an American company, and the International Trade Commission could prevent the products reaching the States. This could pave the way for Microsoft to then argue their case in other markets.

This just shows how miserable Microsoft has become. We really need to get rid of those parent monopolies. The USPTO+ITC are out of control.

Confirmed: Ben Edelman Paid by Microsoft, Attacks Google

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Academia-flavoured AstroTurf

Ben Edelman

Summary: “I’ve worked with Microsoft on these kinds of matters,” writes Ben Edelman, whose poison pen has one main target: Google

IT IS NOT just a theory that Microsoft hires AstroTurf professionals to attack Google. It is a well-confirmed truth and while more evidence remains to be found about the Edelman-connected Consumer Watchdog, we already know about LawMedia Group and Burson-Marsteller [1, 2, 3]. It has been proven many times before that Microsoft pays for people to smear Google and give the company antitrust trouble. See the older post “Attempt to Involve Me in Anti-Google ‘Astroturf Lies’ PR Campaign”, it is not an isolated incident. So when Ben Edelman started attacking Google we wrote about it [EN | ES]; as we know from experience/history that companies or individuals attacking Microsoft rivals is often a sign that they are in Microsoft’s pocket.

Well, based on the finding of our editorial team (from last night), Ben Edelman has just admitted being on Microsoft’s payroll. He wrote:

Much of my work for Microsoft does indeed speak to advertising fraud. Microsoft must make sure Bing doesn’t show ads for scams, that fraudsters don’t use the Microsoft DRIVEpm ad network, that Windows Defender properly detects spyware/adware, etc. I’ve worked with Microsoft on these kinds of matters.

The headline he chose says “DOJ pharmacy investigation undermines Google credibility”; well, guess who else has just lost credibility? A self-potraying “academic” who works for Microsoft and attacks Google in the press. The best AstroTurf money can buy, eh? Over the years we have covered many examples where Microsoft hired acaemics to compose a bunch of spin, lies, and ammunition for lobbying. The Gates Foundation does the same thing.

IRC Proceedings: August 29th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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