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Links 5/9/2011: Android 3.2 Tablets, Cablegate Everywhere

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Limpag: Why you (likely) don’t need to pay for PC software

      This provides an opportunity for Linux, a free and open source operating system that anyone can download and use, to be more widely adopted in the desktop. Linux is dominant in the mobile space with Android. Apart from the wrong impressions that it is difficult to use, Linux failed to gain much traction in the desktop because people were tied to specific software that worked only on Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • About git rebase and more
    • Texas Instruments Has New Open-Source Driver

      Update: David Airlie has replied to say he would rather not merge the plug-in portion of the driver unless there is an open-source module to take avantage of the plug-in API. Rob Clark has responded that he expects an open user within a month or so. This may put the OMAP driver out of reach for merging in the Linux 3.2 kernel, but would then become a target for integration in the Linux 3.3 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • the on-screen keyboard

        We have an on-screen (or, if you prefer, virtual or software) keyboard for Plasma. It can run independently of the shell by way of the plasma-keyboardcontainer application (which we use in Plasma Active) or the Keyboard Plasmoid that comes as part of the kdeplasma-addons repository.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • BackBox Linux 2 released!

        The BackBox team is proud to announce the release of BackBox Linux 2.

        BackBox 2 features the following upstream components: Ubuntu 11.04, Linux Kernel 2.6.38 and Xfce 4.8.0

        The images (32bit & 64bit) can be downloaded from the following location:

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Open Source: Mandriva 2011 vs Mageia 1

        As of today I find myself in the position of deciding whether or not to stick with my previously preferred distribution, Mandriva Linux.

      • Open Source: Live Migration of Mandriva to Mageia

        I took the plunge to migrate my personal / business desktop PC from Mandriva 2010.2 to Mageia 1 today (Sunday, 4 September 2011). I used the instructions from this page: Migrate from Mandriva Linux. Specifically the section titled, “b) Upgrading inline, using urpmi (CLI)”. The migration is roughly three quarters done as I type this. I decided to try to use the PC while I ran the migration from console 1 (Ctrl Alt F1). In preparation for this I closed programs I suspected would be most affected. Such as:

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux: A Closer Look

              After reviewing Bodhi Linux I had some time to really play around with the system. Preferring a minimal environment, I decided to check out what the minimal installation theme had to offer. One thing is for sure, when Bodhi thinks you want minimal it takes you seriously. I found myself looking at a clock. That was the only gadget on the desktop… there wasn’t even a task bar. Now if this sounds like I’m complaining let me set you straight: I asked for minimal and I expected no less, so seeing this was quite a pleasant surprise. It means that if needed I can build my desktop from the ground up.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Medion hides Android 3.2 tablet behind closed doors

        IFA 2011 Medion joined the throng of vendors touting an Android 3.2-based tablet at IFA, though it kept its offering, the LifeTab P9514 behind closed doors.

      • Why the Desktop Mode is necessary on Linux-based tablets?

        Many have predicted, that tablets will replace netbooks completely. While I cannot agree with this absolute statement, I admit that tablets serve a set of use-cases better than netbooks. The touch-interface and low power-consumption of tablets make content consumption more comfortable (e.g. no heating, no fan-noise, longer battery runtime, less weight to lug around…etc).

        That said, there are areas where tablets just cannot give enough. For example, any kind of work which requires more serious input while being mobile. The problem of efficient input can be solved with accessories like a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. Usually, when you prepare your tablet for extra-home journeys, you buy a case which also hosts the keyboard.

Free Software/Open Source


    • August 2011 GNU Toolchain Update

      RMS is working on a press release which will grant a special exception to the GPL to anyone who is using one of the affected tarballs. In the meantime new tarballs have been uploaded to the FSF FTP repository with the missing sources added. The new tarballs have an ‘a’ suffix to their name, but otherwise behave in exactly the same way as the tarballs they replace. So for example the latest 2.21 binutils release tarball is now:

    • GNU Health at Savannah

      Health (GNU Health) is now an official GNU Project software. We’re the new kid in town at Savannah, but the project has been around since 2008.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Democracy and cyberspace

      ou have often argued that the implementation of the White Paper ‘Open Source Vision – Nurturing the Proliferation of Open Source Software’, authored by the Malta Information Technology Agency, could be as important for the future of Malta and its role in the increasingly globalised world as independence or joining the EU. But you have almost always insisted on the economic significance of the proposal, while the best-known international advocates of the Open Source Movement lay just as much emphasis on its political significance from the point of view of democratic development. What weight do you give to this political aspect in the Maltese context in relation to the rapidly and radically changing Mediterranean setting?


  • Tech musings – Because I can.

    I think the future of the desktop OS is going to be rather irrelevant though. Like it or not, we march on to the cloud and the volume of web-based apps that people are raving about will ensure that it won’t matter which platform you are running. The cloud has many people worried. I’m not one of them.

    TechBytes is reaching its first year, the collaboration project that started with Roy Schestowitz making a one line request in Identi.ca has been the focus of much of my efforts this last year, in 2008 when I first started writing Linux articles online I remember the focus of those articles was showing people why Linux was far better than a Windows experience. I see myself having to spend less time doing that since even the tech uninterested are seeming to understand there can be a better (and happier) existence outside of Microsoft products.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Obama Administration Delays Life-Saving Smog Standards

      Today the Obama Administration made a decision that will endanger the health of tens of thousands of Americans. Its choice to delay stronger standards for smog lets polluters off the hook and leaves Americans with sicker family members and higher medical costs.

      Smog standards exist because smog is dangerous to human health. It causes respiratory illness, cardiac disease, and premature death. Though we have made progress in reducing this harmful pollution in American skies, we haven’t licked the problem yet.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama: (Still) Killing Terrorists the Bush Way

      On an upcoming edition of PBS’ Frontline, former CIA lawyer John Rizzo argues that the CIA under President Obama is straight-up Bushian. “With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations,” Rizzo says. (Watch a clip of the Rizzo interview here.) Glenn Greenwald points out that this shouldn’t be news to anyone who’s been paying attention.

      The real news: Frontline also reports that, during the 2008 campaign, Obama promised the CIA that it he had every intention of staying the course set by the Bush administration. That information, if it had come out at the time, might have damaged Obama’s end-the-war, stop-the-torture campaign mojo.

    • Firms Aided Libyan Spies

      The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”

  • Cablegate

    • In Defense Of WikiLeaks: Looking At Cables On Pharmaceutical Drugs And Trade Pressures

      Like many others, I have spent the past several days combing through countless US Department of State cables. I am primarily looking at the cables that describe our government’s efforts to drive up the price of medicine in developing countries. This is an act of state-sponsored violence that is rarely reported by the New York Times, the Guardian or other newspapers that had received early copies of the cables.

      I am also looking at the news of and the reaction to WikiLeaks’ failure to withhold access to cables that include the names of sources of intelligence, putting at risk the lives of the persons so named.

    • WikiLeaks: The five funniest cables about the ‘war on drugs’
    • Wikileaks Discloses The Reason(s) Behind China’s Shadow Gold Buying Spree

      Wondering why gold at $1850 is cheap, or why gold at double that price will also be cheap, or frankly at any price? Because, as the following leaked cable explains, gold is, to China at least, nothing but the opportunity cost of destroying the dollar’s reserve status. Putting that into dollar terms is, therefore, impractical at best, and illogical at worst. We have a suspicion that the following cable from the US embassy in China is about to go not viral but very much global, and prompt all those mutual fund managers who are on the golden sidelines to dip a toe in the 24 karat pool.

    • This week in WikiLeaks press: 25-31 August, 2011
    • Mugabe to die by 2013 – WikiLeaks

      obert Mugabe told a former US ambassador that the ageing president had prostate cancer that would kill him by 2013, leaked US embassy cables show.

      Central bank chief Gideon Gono made the claims in remarks to James McGee in June 2008 – when Zimbabwe was mired in election violence following Mugabe’s loss to then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of polls in March.

    • NIF Officer: Demise of Jewish State ‘No Tragedy’ – Wikileaks

      A senior New Israel Fund officer told a U.S. official in 2010 that the disappearance of the Jewish state would not be a tragedy, according to a document that was leaked by Wikileaks.

      The officer is Hedva Radovanitz, who was at the time (February 2010) NIF Associate Director in Israel, according to the document.

      The document relates to the attempts to pass a law that would demand transparency of political NGOs operating in Israel that are funded by foreign countries.

    • Julian Assange: The 60 Minutes Interview

      Naturally, “60 Minutes” wanted to hear from Assange himself. But for producers Tanya Simon and Howard Rosenberg and correspondent Steve Kroft just getting this interview was a story in and of itself.

    • Drug war cables: ‘Burn poppies, burn’
    • The Cult Of Julian Assange Worshippers

      It all began so innocently. I started hanging out with a bad crowd on the intertubes, digging into secret filez about energy wars and government corruption. The Afghan War Logs. The Iraq War Logs. Suddenly I was being called a “WikiLeaks groupie”.

      And it was true! Yes, I was revelling in this subversive counter-culture! I was spending hours and hours on my computer, chatting with other “groupies”, posting my findings on Twitter, writing up stories the media was ignoring and governments didn’t want people to know. I began writing for WikiLeaks Central and even got re-tweeted by Mr. @wikileaks himself – an intoxicating high for a crazy, deluded cyber-hippy like myself.

      It was just a fashionable thing, obviously. It would have passed soon enough, I’m sure. But then along came CableGate, with over 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables just begging to be investigated. How could I walk away now? Ignoring my wife’s futile pleas, I launched myself into the adventure like an alcoholic diving into a beer-filled swimming pool. Alas!

    • Nadra outsourcing plans in disarray after WikiLeaks

      The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) is bound to come under pressure to scrap its decision of outsourcing its work in the UK to a private security company after the WikiLeaks revealed that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had offered the US all the records of the Nadra.

    • WikiLeaks Cable Shows US Embassy Believed Jakarta Election Was ‘Rigged’

      A leaked confidential US diplomatic cable reveals that the US Embassy in Jakarta believed the 2007 gubernatorial election won by Fauzi Bowo had been “rigged” by the capital’s elites.

      The cable, dated April 25, 2007, ahead of the election, was among the unredacted cables released by WikiLeaks over the past week. It is believed to have been written by the then-deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, John Heffern.

    • Wikileaks – Raw Notes On Ghana

      1. Embassy was approached by two advisors to National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Atta-Mills, Edward Nunoo and Sylvanos Tamakloe, who told Political Office that Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was being pressured by the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) to announce false results that would be supplied by the NPP. The EC Chairman told Ambassador that the allegations were “utter nonsense.” #WIKILEAKS

    • Full-Disclosure, Unredacted WikiLeaks, Security and The Guardian

      The Guardian doesn’t “get” openness when it suits their purpose

    • Wikileaks ‘exposes’ fierce fight in gov’t for control of Ghana oil

      The latest release of leaked diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks has revealed some persons around the Presidency have tried to use their influence to manipulate control of the country’s oil resources for their personal gain.

    • LapdogCable Reveals Extent Of Lapdoggery From Swedish Govt On Copyright Monopoly
    • Look Hu’s Coming to Dinner: How to Prepare for a Visit by a Chinese Leader
    • Wikileaks throws new light on Nepal king’s surrender

      When Nepal’s controversial king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah handed over power to a resurrected parliament on April 24, 2006 and faced the abolition of his throne, it might not have been entirely the thought of his subjects’ wellbeing that prompted the move.

    • Wikileaks: ICE / IFPI Infiltrate Pirate Topsites

      A diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks reveals that entertainment industry groups and law enforcement combined their efforts to infiltrate Warez Scene topsites. One of the strategies they discuss during a 2009 meeting is to have an informant leak music before the official release date, to gain trust of the site’s operator and gain access to the highly secured Scene servers.

    • Australia: no plans to prosecute Assange over cables

      Attorney general says authorities have no plans to prosecute WikiLeaks founder, despite claims that unredacted embassy cables reveal identity of Australian intelligence officer

    • China and its propaganda — A glimpse
    • Wikileaks: India’s Mayawati ‘sent jet to collect shoes’

      The chief minister of India’s Uttar Pradesh state sent an empty private jet to get a pair of sandals from Mumbai, leaked US diplomatic cables say.

    • WikiLeaks’ Asian field day

      In Indonesia, the national police are discovered to be using a hard-line Islamic group as its hidden “attack dog.” In Indonesia, octogenarian Singaporean founder Lee Kuan Yew calls Islam a “venomous religion”. In Malaysia, UMNO leaders are “willing to blacken Malaysia’s reputation to ensure the end to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s political challenge.”

    • Wikileaks: airBaltic cancelled planned flights to Iran after U.S. pressure

      Latvian national airline airBaltic cancelled its plans to begin flights between Riga and the Iranian capital Tehran in 2010 after pressure from the United States, according to confidential cables by U.S. diplomats released by “WikiLeaks”.

    • Helium Diplomacy and the Jamaican Menace

      When policymakers are asked to name the terrorist breeding grounds that keep them up at night, they’re likely to mention Pakistan’s tribal areas, southern Afghanistan, or Yemen. Sunny Jamaica doesn’t usually make the list. But one 2010 cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Kingston warned that the country “potentially presents fertile ground for those who might commit acts of violence in the name of Islamist extremism.”

    • Vatican pressured CBCP to back off Arroyo resign call: WikiLeaks

      MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican pressured the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) not to support protests calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005, a US embassy cable released by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks revealed.

    • Feared clan outgunned Philippine military: WikiLeaks

      The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines’ worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police, leaked US embassy cables showed.

    • WikiLeaks’ obvious truth

      People must seek to protect not only WikiLeaks, but also the mechanism by which the information enters into our purview.

    • Ex-Blackwater guards kept working in Iraq: US cable

      A leaked US diplomatic cable says that “hundreds” of former employees of Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, later worked with other firms guarding US diplomats here.

      Iraq announced in January 2009 that it would not renew Blackwater’s operating licence due to a September 16, 2007 incident in which guards protecting a US diplomatic convoy opened fire in Baghdad’s busy Nisur Square, killing at least 14 civilians.

    • 2011-09-02 Polish CIA prison: US and Poland had been trying to “put story to rest” #wlfind [Update 2]
    • Smog readings had China hot and bothered

      This capital city’s skies were clogged with pollution, as is often the case, and China’s government was concerned. So it summoned officials of the US embassy to a meeting.

      But the session had nothing to do with hazy skies. Rather, Chinese officials were peeved that the Americans were monitoring pollution themselves, and posting their more precise findings, which usually judged the smog far worse than official Chinese readings, on Twitter for anyone to read.

    • Curtain closing on Gillard experiment

      As gut-wrenching as it will be for Labor MPs to dispatch their second prime minister in a row, and to suffer all the bad jokes and gibes – including mine of Australia becoming the Italy of the Pacific, with four prime ministers in four years (Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Rudd?) – they have little choice. Gillard has shown she is not up to the job. Wayne Swan, who will also have to go when Gillard does, has described her as tough as nails. He’s right. One problem. Tough does not equal smart. She has made too many mistakes and shown a worrying inability to learn from any of them. Under her, Labor has fallen to its lowest levels ever.

    • WikiLeaks – Rawlings uses drugs

      WikiLeaks has published a US Embassy cable that says former President Jerry John Rawlings uses drugs and his finance minister at that time was alarmingly incompetent.

  • Finance

    • FHFA Sues 17 Banks Over Massive Mortgage Losses At Fannie and Freddie

      The ripple effects of the financial crisis continue to take their toll on banks, as reckless lending during the bonanza years catches up to them. Friday after the closing bell, and ahead of a Labor Day weekend, the Federal Housing Finance Agency confirmed it was suing 17 different financial institutions for misrepresenting the quality of mortgage backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    • Ex-Goldman Exec Started SEC Job After Earning $57 Million

      Weeks after Eileen P. Rominger left Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), she took the helm of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investment management division as one of the wealthiest people to ever join the agency.

      Rominger reported $57.5 million in income from New York- based Goldman Sachs in a financial disclosure form covering 2010 and 2011. She also reported making $2.3 million to $13.2 million in investment income since the start of 2010.

  • Censorship

    • The DOJ’s escalating criminalization of speech

      Over the past several years, the Justice Department has increasingly attempted to criminalize what is clearly protected political speech by prosecuting numerous individuals (Muslims, needless to say) for disseminating political views the government dislikes or considers threatening. The latest episode emerged on Friday, when the FBI announced the arrest and indictment of Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, charged with “providing material support” to a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)).

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