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IRC Proceedings: November 22nd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 22/11/2011: Ubuntu 12.04 Plans, OpenPGP JavaScript implementation

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • No Quickflix movies for you, GNU/Linux user

    Movie fans are rejoicing over the opening of Quickflix in Australia and the possibility of streaming movies to their PCs without having to look over their shoulders.

  • Tool kills hidden Linux bugs, vulnerabilities
  • M$, Finally Admitting Installation Is Second-Rate, Promises Improvement

    That’s still not close to what I normally expect from GNU/Linux but, what the heck, they are newbies.

  • Desktop

    • How Committed Is Google To Chrome OS At This Stage?

      When Google announced Chrome OS in 2009, it got a tremendous amount of hype, primarily because it presented a new cloud-centric model for working with applications and unusual approaches to operating system security. Google has had problems, though, translating the hype into a realistic strategy for proliferating Chrome OS-based systems, dubbed Chromebooks. Although Samsung and Acer have steadily backed Chromebooks, they have not made a big splash, and now some analysts are questioning whether Google’s OS will ever become a dominant force.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Overclocking On Ubuntu Linux

      While in the weeks since the launch of the AMD FX “Bulldozer” processors we have looked at many areas of computing performance for the FX-8150 CPU, from the compiler tuning to multi-core scaling, one area that hasn’t yet been covered under Linux is the AMD FX-8150 overclocking. But this article changes that.

    • Journal: end of the line for syslog?

      Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers have developed a new Linux logging system with the aim of replacing syslog. The two Red Hat developers hope that their Journal daemon will resolve a number of perceived problems with syslog, the current industry standard for logging on Unix systems.

    • Kernel Log: real-time kernel goes Linux 3.0

      The patches for real-time support are now based on a much more recent kernel version. Torvalds has revoked a change merged into 3.2 which had come under widespread criticism from developers. AMD and Intel have released new graphics drivers.

      With the release of real-time (RT) kernel 3.0.9-rt25, Thomas Gleixner has declared that the Linux 3.0-based RT tree is now ready for use in live systems. He noted that this new version series represents a major leap forward and that development has run pretty smoothly, despite major revisions to many of the core techniques.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Releases 290.10 Linux Graphics Driver

        NVIDIA announced yesterday the 290.10 Linux graphics driver with numerous changes.

        Aaron Plattner announced the 290.10 Linux binary driver release with fixing numerous bugs, improving the performance of FBO bind operations under Xinerama (~30%), and support for pre-VBO DrawArrays command in the server-side GLX driver module. Bug/regression fixes make up a majority of the changes.

      • An X.Org Server 1.12 Snapshot Arrives

        Over the weekend there was the first X.Org Server 1.12 development snapshot released by Keith Packard. This isn’t an official alpha or beta development build yet, but rather just a snapshot to indicate the current development progress of this next major release. Going forward the plan is to tag such development releases at around the same time there are new stable point releases for the previous series.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • New Video of Multitouch Couch Table

          This time it runs Bodhi Linux 1.2.0

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Five Golden Rules for a Successful Ubuntu Desktop Migration

            So, you like the idea of deploying an Ubuntu desktop to all or some of your users. You like the way Ubuntu’s light-client model can give your older desktop machines a new lease of life. You like the fact that Ubuntu is secure, portable, and easy to manage. Best of all, you like that it costs nothing to license, and comes with a host of enterprise-grade apps that cost nothing to license either.

          • Building a Precise Pangolin: A summary of UDS success

            The Ubuntu Developer Summit – UDS – is a major event in the Canonical calendar. Taking place every six months, it is the Ubuntu event which defines the focus and plans for our up-coming version of Ubuntu. In the first week of November, over 800 people, from Canonical engineers and employees, Ubuntu community members, partners, ISVs, upstreams and many more gathered to discuss and plan for the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04, code-named Precise Pangolin.

            UDS covered 420 sessions, under nine tacks, from desktop to design, community to server and cloud. Attendees worked in the usual collaborative and open environment and spent the week pooling their experience and expertise and sharing best practise resulting, as always, in the very best ideas. Right now, those ideas are are represented in hundreds of blueprint documents and are being put into action by developers, community and Canonical, who are already driving forward for April’s launch. As a practical demonstration of that openness you can track our progress here (note, it’s early days!): http://status.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-precise/.

          • Canonical dropping CouchDB from Ubuntu One

            Canonical is discontinuing its use of CouchDB as part of its Ubuntu One data synchronisation service. The announcement was made by John Lenton, Senior Engineering Manager at Canonical. CouchDB has been used in Ubuntu One to provide a synchronisable way of storing and distributing arbitrary structured data which included contacts, notes and playlists.

          • Ubuntu Juju Delivers Cloud Server Magic

            Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed the Oneiric Ocelot this week, with a key focus on the cloud.

            Among the cloud-focused technology components that are set to debut in the new Linux distribution is something that Canonical is branding as Juju. With Juju, Ubuntu is aiming to deliver a cloud orchestration technology for server admins.

          • Will Ubuntu PCs in Retail Succeed Where Mail Order Failed?

            In recent weeks Canonical has announced major initiatives to sell Ubuntu PCs in Asia and Europe, just like it tried — and mostly failed — to do five years ago in the United States. But will things be different this time? Here are some thoughts.

            Five years ago, when Dell began shipping laptops and desktops in the United States with Ubuntu pre-installed, there were lots of reasons to believe Linux just might take off among the masses. Dell not only offered Ubuntu but actually promoted it for a while. The introduction of Windows Vista around the same time left many consumers eager to consider alternatives to the Microsoft universe.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and other shells

            Recently I ‘upgraded’ to Ubuntu 11.10 and was faced with being, as I thought, ‘forced’ to use Unity if I wanted to stay with Ubuntu in its latest version. Having stuck with Unity for a few weeks I can say that I still dislike it.

            I started to look for a solution and fairly quickly found that I had made the same mistake as many other commentators — even in Ubuntu 11.10, Unity is only the default UI. When Ubuntu 11.04 shipped it had the easy fall-back at logon of ‘Ubuntu classic’, which gave users a choice of selecting the GNOME 2 UI at startup. Mark Shuttleworth had said, in the run-up to 11.10, that in Oneiric Ocelot this choice would no longer be available.

          • Canonical Moves One Step Closer to Mobile, TV Computing

            It’s official: Canonical’s foray into the world of phones, tablets and even TVs has begun. Or at least, that’s what the introduction of formal development channels for these categories suggests. Here’s the latest, and what it says about Ubuntu’s future.

            It’s been pretty clear for a while that Canonical was steering Ubuntu in the direction of portable devices; hence, its focus on the uTouch library for improving touchscreen support on Linux beginning back in 2010 and the introduction of the Unity interface, which aims to cater to screens of all sizes and touchabilities.

          • Canonical Community Team 12.04 Plans
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu 11.10 Review: You Don’t Have To Quit Ubuntu

              I have been playing with couple of distros in the past week. I tried Linux Mint, Fedora 16 and openSUSE (Gnome as well as KDE). I found each distro to be the leader in its own class. For disclosure, I am a long time Ubuntu user and have been switching between Fedora 16 and openSUSE 12.1 ever since they are out. Apart from a few issues there is no major hurdle that keeps me away from any of these distros.

            • First Look at Linux Mint 12

              It’s a really good month for Linux distributions. First we got Fedora 16, then openSUSE 12.1, and now we have the preview release of Linux Mint 12. This release has the answer to the question: Just what is the Mint team going to do with the desktop?

              With GNOME moving from the 2.x series to 3.x, the big question was whether Linux Mint would find a way to stick with the old school GNOME or move to 3.x. The answer appears to be “yes.” Let me explain.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cotton Candy: The USB Sized ARM PC That Runs Ubuntu
    • It Doesn’t Get Much Smaller Than This, But It Could Be Cheaper

      We are getting close to “perfection” with thin clients and all-in-one computers but this gadget must be “it”. Using only USB power, the thing can run a modern distro like Ubuntu/Linux or Android/Linux and can be used with any PC that can boot a USB drive. It’s still pricey for the material in it. I expect eventually such gadgets will sell for a bit more than a USB drive costs. The HDMI port, card reader, electronics and ARM CPU do cost something but the price should be ~$100 to really hit the market hard. Still, this thing will sell and widely.

    • Intel embedded suite adds Yocto support

      Intel released an update to its Linux-based, Intel Atom-focused Intel Embedded Software Development Tool Suite, adding support for the Yocto 1.1 embedded tookit. Version 2.3 supports the latest Intel Atom models and optimizations, and updates components including the compiler, performance libraries, and analysis and debug tools, says the company.

    • Entire Computer Built Into USB Thumb Drive
    • Super Tiny Computer Puts Android on Your TV, Laptop
    • Phones

      • HP & Intel open Palm sale talks; webOS printers still in pipeline

        HP is still quietly shopping webOS around among with other Palm assets, according to sources, but insisting that potential buyers of the platform agree to license it back for use in future HP printers. Intel has just entered discussions with HP, a source close to the negotiations spilled to VentureBeat, while Qualcomm – despite sidestepping any suggestions of interest in webOS – is also said to be still in the running.

      • Android

        • The Facebook Phone: It’s Finally Real and Its Name Is Buffy

          After years of considering how to best get into the phone business, Facebook has tapped Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC to build a smartphone that has the social network integrated at the core of its being.

        • Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder, Gets His Galaxy Nexus

          Steve Wozniak is the genius, the mad engineer who created what we call today Personal Computers or PCs. He co-founded Apple with the other Steve whose skill were around creating business model around anything.

        • Facebook taps HTC to build Android-powered Facebook phone (rumor)
        • Android’s lead over iOS hits 2x mark on mobile ad network
        • Your Android Apps Can Run On a Computer, Too

          A couple of years ago, there was much debate about whether Android would inspire the kind of inspiration among app developers that developers have for Apple’s iOS. There were even those who said that no app ecosystem would come close to Apple’s App Store. Today, though, Android apps are flourishing, and you may very well run them already on a phone, a tablet or both. Did you know, though, that you can run them on a computer as well? While it only works on Windows at this point (it is coming soon in a Mac version), BlueStacks App Player lets you do so.

        • How To Run Android Apps on Your Windows PC
        • Free software runs Android apps via Windows XP
        • Android 4.0 keyboard now available for older versions

          The Galaxy Nexus is almost here, but even if you’re not in the market for a new phone you can sate your Ice Cream Sandwich appetite a little thanks to an XDA developers user, who extracted the keyboard application from Android 4.0 and made it available as a free download for Android 2.2 and 2.3. It’s not the full 4.0 experience — voice input isn’t working, and not all languages were ported over — but the keyboard’s improved autocorrection, new look and feel, and a few other features came over in the transfer. We installed the keyboard on a Droid X2 running Gingerbread, and it activated and worked seamlessly.

        • Where’s Android headed? Everywhere!

          Ask him where he sees Android headed, and he’s confident that the open source mobile operating system will be ubiquitous, powering digital devices across the board – from fridges and heaters to every kind of mobile device there is.

          “We’ll see it power everything … even cars, maybe,” says the 24-year-old Android developer from Portugal. In Bangalore to attend and deliver the keynote address at Droidcon India, the first-ever international Android conference in the country, Diogo Ferreira is convinced that Android has the potential to transform the digital world as we know it. For instance, he talks about a CISCO gadget presentation where he saw a smartphone with a tablet built into it (that’s made on Android), so when you’re going for a meeting you can simply pick up the tablet from the phone and proceed. Being open sourced, Android, he believes, has the potential to go places. “The exciting thing is that it’s so open that if someone wants to, they can simply take the code and take it in any direction.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenPGP JavaScript implementation allows webmail encryption

    Researchers from German security firm Recurity Labs have released a JavaScript implementation of the OpenPGP specification that allows users to encrypt and decrypt webmail messages.

  • OpenPGP implementation for webmail encryption
  • Open Source and the Open Road, Part 1

    Automotive electronics are becoming more sophisticated each year, and it’s reaching the point at which some cars may soon need built-in operating systems in order for people to use them properly. Not too far in the future, if you buy a new car, you may find that Android or a Linux-based OS is riding shotgun.

  • Web Server NGINX Partners With CDN Firm Jet-Stream
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Faster JavaScript apps with Google Chrome

        Google is working on an alternative technique aimed at tangibly speeding up response times for interactive JavaScript applications in Chrome. Although Google’s V8 JavaScript Engine has made steady progress in the way it processes the scripting language in the past, interactive applications such as Google Maps, games like Angry Birds and WebGL experiments place additional demands on the engine. A new incremental garbage collector is aimed at improving “interactive performance”.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 8 update fixes crashing bugs

        Mozilla has released the first maintenance update to version 8 of its open source Firefox web browser. According to the release notes, Firefox 8.0.1 is a minor release that addresses two crashing bugs though there are 13 bugs listed as known issues that are “to be fixed in future versions”.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Interview with Björn Michaelsen about the Hackfest

      Please, tell us something about you and your activities? And how you became involved with Open Source Software and LibreOffice?

      I started to get involved with Open Source when I was still a student. I got involved quite a bit with Gentoo (the Linux distribution) in its early days, somewhere around Gentoo 1.2. I even wrote some tools for it, only to scratch my personal itch, but it seems that for example ‘etc-proposals’ is still quite popular. I kept being involved in Open Source, although my first job after graduating from the university was not Open Source related. In 2008 I joined Sun’s OpenOffice Writer team, motivated by the opportunity to work on one of the biggest – and most important – Open Source projects in the world. I learned quite a lot about the codebase and the product there and in turn could bring in some experience from the sometimes chaotic, but always dynamic ways of Open Source projects. As of February 2011 I am employed by Canonical and take care of LibreOffice releases on Ubuntu. Since that date I am contributing code changes directly to LibreOffice. Later I also joined the Engineering Steering Committee of LibreOffice.

    • Oracle v. Google – Update on the Reexaminations

      As was noted in Google’s filing last Friday with respect to the proposed trial plan [PDF; Text] the reexaminations of the six asserted Oracle patents are currently running largely in Google’s favor. [Note: a seventh patent, the '447 patent which remains in reexamination is no longer being asserted by Oracle.] Google argues that this should sway the court in favor of staying at least the patent infringement action until final determinations on each of these reexaminations by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

      The most recent action by the USPTO has been the issuance of an Action Closing Prosecution on the ’720 patent. ACP Dated 11-18-2011 [PDF]. In that action the USPTO maintains its rejection of all of the contested claims of the ’720 patent, including the six claims asserted in the litigation. Oracle has 30 days in which to respond to the ACP and attempt to convince the examiner that the decision is misplaced.

  • CMS

    • XOOPS Project releases XOOPS 2.5.4

      XOOPS is one of the most successful Open Source CMS solutions, constantly winning top places in various competitions, and receiving various awards.

  • Education

    • Flinders replaces WebCT with open source system

      Flinders University is in the final stages of a multi-year effort to replace its 13-year-old WebCT learning management system (LMS) next year.

      The project began in mid-2009, as Blackboard phased out support for WebCT Vista – on which Flinders Learning Online (FLO) was based – after acquiring WebCT in 2005.

      Staff saw Blackboard Version 9, launched that year, as a “new product anyway”, so the university decided to consider other LMS vendors.

  • Funding

    • Google Co-Founder Donated Half A Million Dollars To Wikipedia

      The co-founder of Google Sergey Brin has donated $500,000 to Wikipedia Foundation. Sergey made the donation via his The Brin Wojcicki Foundation. The foundation was started by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki.

  • BSD


    • Apple and jail made cool

      What Stallman wrote was “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died … we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing. / Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.”

      In a follow-up, Stallman expanded his argument: “The important thing about Jobs is what he directed Apple to do to those who are still living: to make general-purpose computers with digital handcuffs more controlling and unjust than ever before … Jobs saw how to make these computers stylish and smooth. That would normally be positive, but not in this case, since it has the paradoxical effect of making their controlling nature seem acceptable.”

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Embracing the Big open-source Society

      In this age of austerity, public sector IT leaders are constantly looking for alternative solutions to deliver more with less.

      In this context, it is perhaps surprising that the government’s overall approach to open-source solutions has been lukewarm to say the least, especially by comparison with other European countries including the Netherlands and France, which have embraced open source to deliver greater value through collaboration and efficiency to the taxpayer.

    • OpenVPN Modified for Dutch Government Use

      Fox-IT was contracted by the Netherlands National Communications Security Agency to make security modifications to OpenVPN, a leading open-source VPN product, which make the software suitable for government employee use. This development ensures that Dutch government employees can securely access work files outside their office.

  • Licensing

    • How scary are GPL violations?

      Since the source code is usually available, software under a free or open open source license can be re-used within another software project rather easily. That is, after all, the whole point of FLOSS. But the potential for FLOSS license violations within software projects is, like any other license, always there.

      Critics of FLOSS licenses are usually quick to point out that the very openness of FLOSS source code actually promotes more license violations. Protect yourself, these critics urge, and avoid FLOSS altogether–or at the very least purchase commercial compliance services and products.

  • Open Hardware

    • Q&A: Future of robotics is open source; raises ethical questions

      During my interview with Cousins at the Compass Summit he speculated that an open-source software base could provide a boost to the robotics industry, similar to how Apple’s App Store creates more utility for iPhones and how video game attachments support particular games.

  • Programming

    • jQuip: “90% of jQuery, 13% of the size”

      A new open source JavaScript library claims to offer 90 per cent of the popular jQuery library’s functionality at only 13 per cent of the size. jQuip – JQuery-in-parts – is small enough that it can be included as source to avoid external references in web pages, according to the developers. It offers the $() selector syntax and methods including each, attr, bind, unbind, append, prepend, before, after and many more. It also supports a wide range of events and static methods. Plugins allow jQuip to expand its capability to detect documentReady and perform CSS manipulation and Ajax calls. Any call not implemented currently throws a “not implemented” exception. The animation methods hide, show, fadeIn and fadeOut work, but do not animate.

    • PyPy 1.7 widens the performance “sweet spot”

      The PyPy development team has released version 1.7 of its “very compliant” Python interpreter with integrated tracing just-in-time (JIT) compiler. The developers say that the focus of the new update was widening the range of code that PyPy can speed up, which the developers refer to as the “sweet spot”. In their benchmarks, PyPy 1.7 performs approximately 30 per cent faster than 1.6 and “up to 20 times faster on some benchmarks”.

    • What I’m thankful for as a developer

      Open source tools

      Developer tools have benefited more from the free and open source software revolution than any other category of software. When I was learning C programming in the early 1990s, Borland’s offer of an integrated MS-DOS C compiler, editor, debugger, and linker for $150 came as a revelation. Developer tools for commercial Unix systems cost thousands.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • How technology can help the elderly – and how you can be part of the action!

    One of the things I’m most passionate about in my current role is the social benefits of the Digital Agenda. Because new technology isn’t just about boosting our growth and productivity: it also offers significant opportunities to protect and include everyone in our society.

    In particular, technology can help the elderly: because by innovating we can address the challenges of ageing. In an initiative led by the EU, we’ve just agreed some very clear actions so we can do this. Actions with a positive impact for older people, and those who live with and care for them.

    For example, did you know that falls are the leading cause of injuries among the elderly? By preventing falls through early diagnosis and screening, technology can lead to an amazing decrease in the number of elderly people who need to be treated after an accident. This means more elderly people can keep their independence longer – and also reduces the burden on our stretched health and social care systems. Most of all, it could have a lasting impact on how we value and interact with the older generation.

    New technologies can promise these kinds of changes – and many others besides. But it takes a whole range of people to deliver them. After all, innovation in this area could come from anywhere – doctors, carers, governments, the ICT industry, entrepreneurs, or the elderly themselves. To make progress, and to deliver the kind of changes that really help those in the care frontline, we need cooperation and mutual understanding between all those groups.

  • Security

    • Google Open Saucer wades into Android security FUD

      Google’s open source supremo Chris DiBona has lashed out at companies flogging antivirus software for Google’s Android operating system, calling them “charlatans and scammers”.

      He apparently became incadescant with rage after he saw a press report about “inherent” insecurity of open source software, which is used not just in Android but also Apple’s iOS, he said.

      DiBona said that Android, iOS, and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS don’t need antivirus software.

    • Google Open-Source Programs Manager Calls Out Anti-Virus Software Companies
    • Mobile Malware Crisis? Not So Fast

      “Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM, and iOS,” DiBona charged. “They are charlatans and scammers. If you work for a company selling virus protection for Android, RIM, or iOS you should be ashamed of yourself.”

  • Finance

  • Civil Rights

    • Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation

      The Internet Blacklist Legislation – known as PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – is a threatening sequel to last year’s COICA Internet censorship bill. Like its predecessor, this legislation invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Culture According to Sarkozy: Digital Obscurantism and Contempt for Rights

      Paris, 18th of November 2011 – Nicolas Sarkozy is attempting a sleight of hand at today’s G8/G20 Forum d’Avignon on culture, economy and the media: posing as the defender of digital culture and the Internet. La Quadrature du Net reminds of his disastrous record, and calls on citizens to judge by themselves with the upcoming votes in the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, in particular on the anti-counterfeiting ACTA agreement.

    • The CRTC’s Declaration of Independent ISP Independence

      Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released its much-anticipated usage based billing decision. While the ruling only focused on the use of data caps (or UBB) as between Internet providers, the issue garnered national attention with over 500,000 Canadians signing a petition against Internet data caps and the government providing clear signals that it would overrule the Commission if it maintained its support for the practice.

      My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the resulting decision seemed to cause considerable confusion as some headlines trumpeted a “Canadian compromise,” while others insisted that the CRTC had renewed support for UBB. Those headlines were wrong. The decision does not support UBB at the wholesale level (the retail market is another story) and the CRTC did not strike a compromise. Rather, it sided with the independent Internet providers by developing the framework the independents had long claimed was absent – one based on the freedom to compete.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Koha creators asking for help in trademark dispute

        Koha is a free library management system created by the Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand. This software has been the subject of an ongoing fight with a US company called LibLime, which seems to want to take the software proprietary; LWN reported on this dispute in 2010.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright isn’t working, says European Commission

        People have come to see copyright as a tool of punishment, Europe’s technology chief has said in her strongest-yet attack on the current copyright system.

        Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Saturday that the creative industries had to embrace rather than resist new technological ways of distributing artistic works. She added that the existing copyright system was not rewarding the vast majority of artists.

        “Is the current copyright system the right and only tool to achieve our objectives? Not really,” Kroes said in a speech to the Forum D’Avignon thinktank. “Citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it.”

      • EU Commissioner calls the term copyright a hated word

        The EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, has criticised the current system for the protection of intellectual property rights. In her traditional speech at a cultural and media forum in Avignon on Saturday, the Dutch politician said that the millions of dollars invested trying to enforce copyright have not stemmed piracy. Speaking with unusual frankness, Kroes said that citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it. “Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward [creative work]“, she added.

      • Is copyright working?

        What do you think of, when you think of copyright? A tool to recognise and reward artists? Or a tool to punish and withhold material?

        For me the answer should clearly be the first. But all too often, in the digital age, it is seen as the second.

        Our current copyright system is not succeeding in its objectives. I agree we should fight against piracy. But it’s becoming increasingly hard to legally enforce copyright rules, a battle that costs millions of dollars with little signs of victory.

      • ‘We had no evidence for anti-piracy law’, UK government admits

        The UK government had ‘no evidence’ to support the Digital Economy Act, the UK’s anti-piracy and censorship law, it has emerged in a parliamentary select committee.

Links 22/11/2011: Chromebooks Get Cheaper, $60 Android Tablets, Woz Gets Android

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 things you must teach new Linux users

    During TechRepublic’s Live Event, I said that I could hand a Linux machine to new users and give them the information necessary to make sure their transition to Linux was successful–and they wouldn’t be hounding me constantly on how X is done or asking, “What is Y?”

    I could tell by the faces of the audience members that some of them wanted to know how I could make such a bold statement. With that in mind, here are 10 pieces of information to pass on to new Linux users that will ensure a successful transition.

  • Over time, Linux package dependencies show predator/prey relationship

    You’ll frequently hear references to a “software ecosystem” on various platforms, but it’s relatively rare to see someone take that sort of terminology seriously. A group of evolutionary biologists, however, has now used the tools of ecosystem analysis to look at the evolution of Debian releases, examining things like package dependencies and software incompatibility.

  • Thoughts of Thankfulness From Linux Land

    The run-up to the holidays got many in the Linux blogosphere thinking about some of the things their thankful for, and a community of technology lovers sharing free and open software was near the top of many lists. “In the end, it’s the people you end up interacting with who are more important than the actual technology,” blogger Barbara Hudson told LinuxInsider.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks drop to $299, gain Chrome OS update

      Google announced that the Wi-Fi only version of the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks, including a newly announced black version of the Samsung Chromebook, will drop $50 in price to $300. Google also released updated firmware for the Chromebooks’ Chrome operating system, featuring a new login page and a revamped New Tab page that offers new shortcuts.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Who cares about your dang Desktop Environment?!

      If you are into such things, and you place your faith on those distro popularity numbers over on DistroWatch, you’ll see that Ubuntu has dropped from its number one position, a position now held by Linux Mint. Heavens, no! Surely the universe is about to implode! And isn’t even 2012 yet!

      Sorry about that. The reason for Ubuntu’s decline from that venerated number one position has been speculated on by tea leaf readers everywhere (i.e. my fellow tech journalists). Much has been made about the Canonical’s embrace of Unity over traditional GNOME and I am among the guilty when it comes to that. I happen to dislike Unity but I do like GNOME 3. This, oddly enough, puts me at odds with the majority of people who runs GNOME in one way or another though more people seem to hate Unity than GNOME 3 — I could be wrong. The question, however, is this . . .

      Has Canonical shot itself in the foot, giving up its number one position, by adopting and sticking by Unity? Does the choice of desktop environment matter that much? Are Linux users, who traditionally just install and run whatever they want, regardless of what it presented to them, really that irked about Unity that they are abandoning Ubuntu? Okay, that’s at least three questions.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • A good GNOME 3 Experience

        I’ve been using GNOME 3 full time for over 9 months, and I find it quite usable. I’ve had to learn some new usage patterns, but I don’t see that as a negative. It’s a new piece of software, so I’m doing my best to use it the way it’s designed to be used.

        Sure, it’s different than GNOME 2. It’s vastly different. But it is a new UI paradigm. The GNOME 2 experience was over 9 years old, and largely based on the experience inherited from the old Windows 95 muxed with a bit of CDE. There were so many things that the GNOME hackers wanted to do — and lots of things all the UI studies said needed changing — that the old pattern simply couldn’t support.

  • Distributions

    • A first look at ZevenOS 2.0 “Neptune”

      Aside from the window decorations I don’t see any connection between this project and BeOS. One could get the same effect by taking a distro like SimplyMEPIS and changing the desktop theme. It’s tempting to write off ZevenOS as just another Debian derivative with a different collection of artwork, but I’m not sure that’s a fair evaluation. ZevenOS 2.0 “Neptune” doesn’t just have nice artwork, but a good collection of programs and easy-to-access documentation. It does a good job of being user-friendly while staying out of the way — desktop effects, for example, were not in evidence. ZevenOS may not be in the same class as some other Debian-based distros, such as Linux Mint “Debian” edition or SimplyMEPIS, but it’s not doing badly for such a young project. Hopefully the developers will expand on the installer and add a dedicated update utility for future releases. If you’re already happily using a Debian-based distro I don’t think there is anything here to win over hearts and minds. On the other hand, new users, especially those seeking a distribution with a German-focused forum, may find what they’re looking for in ZevenOS.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva’s Powerpack 2011 propels it back into the forefront of Linux distros

        Back in the nineties, one of the top Linux distributions was, without a doubt, Mandrake Linux. Well, that eventually turned into Mandriva which wound up caught in the midst of an identity crisis. It was becoming clear which distributions were for the new users and which distributions where for the hard-core, well-versed users. All other distributions did nothing but struggle to remain afloat. Some went away and some simply continued to fluctuate.

        Mandriva was one of the latter. Unsure of which route to take, Mandriva at any given moment was a distribution that wanted to make new users happy, while at the same time, make experienced users proud to proclaim they were among the legions of Mandriva users.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Verne with Gnome 3 – Absolute disappointment

          First, the good stuff. Fedora 16 did not have a single application crash or a SELinux alert, which is a great thing. There was the Samba problem, but it was not a crash per se. And thus endeth the good stuff. Now, the bad stuff. Where should I begin?

          Wireless takes ages to switch access points, Samba sharing is buggy, network gets slow, you must click three times just to get to your applications, and only then start sorting out what you might want or need. The interface is jerky and not very responsive. You can’t tell if you have open applications in any way, you get big, ugly prompts interfering with your work, the whole layout is annoying and counter-productive. Few of these elements should be blamed on Fedora, but Fedora’s developers chose it and they must bear the price of that decision. As a product, Verne suffers from bad integration and zero excitement.

          I have just decided I will not be testing another Gnome 3 release for at least one year, or maybe ever. In the upcoming SUSE review, it’s going to be KDE only. Well, maybe Linux Mint. I was never a great Fedora fan, but some of the releases actually made sense. You always had beta quality, little to no support, no fun software, and things changed rapidly, but the operating system could be made usable, it was fast and it was elegant in its own special way. What we have here is a Panda bear tripping a claymore wire.

        • Unknown Horizons 2011.3 for Fedora and EL6
        • Kororaa 14 Is No Longer Supported
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

            Shuttleworth, don’t be stupid. Admit that diversity is a good thing and live with it or you will soon be obsolete like that other OS.

          • Rhythmbox Is the Default Player for Ubuntu 12.04

            Jason Warner, Ubuntu Desktop Manager at Canonical, decided to make Rhythmbox the default music player in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 12′s Three Desktops

              The popular Linux distribution, Mint, will be giving its users three different distinct flavors of the GNOME for their desktop in its next release, Linux Mint 12, Lisa.

              Like any Linux you can, of course, switch it to your own choice of desktop. Many, indeed, offer users a choice of desktops. Mint, for example, while primarily a GNOME-based distribution, also offers its users a version that uses the LXDE desktop for its interface.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based GameGadget wants to become the iPod of classic portable gaming

      Anyone who wants to game on the go has a number of choices. There’s the Nintendo DS and 3DS, the PSP or the upcoming PS Vita, and then the growing competition from App Store and Android Market games running on smartphones or media players. Is there room for yet another platform? GameGadget hopes there is.

    • Phones

      • Is Amazon prepping a Kindle Phone?

        Amazon is preparing a Kindle Phone for 4Q 2012, expected to sell for as low as $150 to $170, says Citigroup. Meanwhile, Foxconn, which is rumored to be building the smartphone, will help build an upcoming 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire, says a report, and Piper Jaffray has upgraded its Kindle Fire 4Q sales estimates from 2.5 million to four million units.

      • Android

        • Google guru blasts Android virus doomsayers as ‘charlatans’

          Google’s open-source program manager has launched an entertaining rant against firms offering mobile security software, accusing them of selling worthless software and of being “charlatans and scammers”.

          Chris DiBona, Google’s open-source programs manager, argues that neither smartphones based on Google’s Android nor Apple’s iOS need anti-virus protection. Anyone telling you different is a snake-oil salesman, he said.

        • Asus Padfone specs leaked by GLBenchmark

          The Padfone is a smartphone-tablet hybrid. It includes a fully functional Android smartphone, along with a tablet docking station. Just slap the phone into the docking station and you can use a higher resolution 10 inch display instead of a 4 inch phone screen. The dock also has its own battery.


          Right now it also appears to have a top clock speed of 918 MHz, but that could change by release.

        • Apple co-founder gets Google Android phone

          Wozniak, who has previously expressed his admiration for the Google Android operating system, was given a Samsung Galaxy Nexus device when he visited the search giant’s campus. He had previously said on Twitter that he was thinking about getting one, which is the first phone to run Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

          Wozniak was, however, also first in line the for the Apple iPhone 4S when it was released earlier this year. He has previously said that he bought Google’s first phone, the Nexus One, on the day it was released and that he tries to keep up with all the latest mobile developments.

        • HTC to focus on quad-core tablet PCs and smartphones in 2012

          HTC will focus on the production of quad-core tablet PCs and smartphones in the first half of 2012 competing with comparable devices to be released by rivals including Asustek Computer, Acer, Samsung Electronics and Lenovo, according to industry sources.

        • Top Free Android Comic Book Viewers
        • Apple co-founder gets Google Android phone

          Wozniak, who has previously expressed his admiration for the Google Android operating system, was given a Samsung Galaxy Nexus device when he visited the search giant’s campus. He had previously said on Twitter that he was thinking about getting one, which is the first phone to run Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • $60 tablet aims to bring internet to developing world

        They say the beauty of UbiSlate, an Android-based tablet, is that users will be able to obtain quality internet access using existing low-speed cellphone networks.

      • Don’t call it a tablet: the Kindle Fire reviewed

        Before it was announced, the Kindle Fire was rumored to be Amazon’s entry into the Android tablet market. To get a serious tablet, even a small one, at the Kindle Fire’s price of $199 would have been a holiday miracle.

        But in our time with the Kindle Fire, it fell far short of what tablets should be able to accomplish. As a vector for Amazon’s video and music stores and huge e-book selection, it’s great. As an e-reader, it’s merely OK. As an Internet and app portal, it falls short of Amazon’s promises.

      • Kindle hackers give Nook a thorough rooting

        The Android-based device, only unveiled by Barnes & Nobles in the US last week, was pwned by the same group of developers who previously rooted the Amazon Kindle Fire. In both cases rooting the devices gives users the ability to install apps themselves, rather than been restricted to those offered by the manufacturer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache moves Geronimo to OSGi base

    In an attempt to help developers create more modular enterprise Java programs, the Apache Software Foundation has reconfigured its Geronimo application server to a set of standards established by the OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative) Alliance.

    An application server based on the OSGi standard “is a lot more dynamic and provides a lot more structure to the developers,” said Kevan Miller, chairman of the Geronimo Project management committee.

  • Open source biometrics technology for mobile devices, PCs and servers

    DigitalPersona has open sourced its new MINEX-certified FingerJetFX fingerprint feature extraction technology.

    FingerJetFX, Open Source Edition (OSE), is free, portable software that device manufacturers and application developers can use to convert bulky fingerprint images into small, mathematical representations called fingerprint “templates” for efficient storage or comparison.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – The Pretrial Issues

      Now that almost all of the motions have been disposed of (the remaining motion open being Oracle’s motion to exclude portions of the damage reports from Drs. Leonard and Cox on behalf of Google), the focus turns to how to conduct the trial, and once again we see the sides at odds. This is not really surprising. How issues are dealt with at trial and the instructions given to the jury will be huge factors in the outcome of this dispute, especially on the copyright side of the ledger.


  • Chief rabbi: Steve Jobs’ Apple lust spreads misery, despair

    Steve Jobs has created a consumer society that makes many of us sad because we don’t have the latest iPhone, said the UK’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Speaking at an interfaith gathering attended by the Queen, Sacks compared the iPad to the tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from the mountains.

    “The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTunes, i, I, I,” he said.

    “When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about ‘I’, you don’t do terribly well.”

  • Dennis Ritchie: The geek Prometheus
  • Security

  • Finance

    • Weekly Financial Biz Recap: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs Employees Bail, Warren Buffett Antes Up

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) announces an unusually high number of partner retirements internally in recent weeks. Kevin Kennedy and Jeff Resnick are among the top well-known Wall Street names leaving. Kennedy was running Latin American operations, and Resnick was head of commodity trading.


      Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM)have sold CDS protection on more than $5T of debt around the globe. However, don’t expect to get detail on which it was that sold. The banks have hedged themselves perfectly, and are not likely to divulge how they did so, unless they suffer a run similar to what has occurred to Jefferies (NYSE:JEF).

    • Thomas Cook plunges on £1bn debt fears

      Shares in Thomas Cook Group fell by more than 70 per cent after a further deterioration in trading forced the troubled tour operator to renegotiate the terms of its £1bn net debt burden for the second time in a month.


      Paul Hollingworth, finance director, said: “We are confident that we will get the full support of our lenders. The rational and right thing for them to do is to support Thomas Cook over this period until we can trade robustly in the peak season.”

      The announcement prompted Thomas Cook to delay the release of its full-year results, which were originally scheduled for November 24.

    • Views on the OCCUPY Amendment

      As the struggle in the streets intensifies, and Occupy Wall Street refuses to remain silent, it’s good to know there are champions in Congress who have stepped up to the challenge of amending the US Constitution. It’s called OCCUPIED: Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy, here.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New Book Discusses the Media’s Role in Perpetuating Racism

      An epic new book examines the crucial role press and media have played over time in perpetuating racist views in American culture. “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the U.S. Media,” by Juan Gonzalez and Joe Torres, examines Americans’ chronic discontent with the media. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media has historically distorted the news and gives numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters have actually encouraged violence towards minorities and ethnic groups through their coverage.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Interview with a Pirate

        In 2009, Amelia Andersdotter, a member of the Swedish Pirate Party (Piratpartiet), won a seat at the European Parliament in Brussels, but her official appointment was delayed until this year. Despite the delay in taking her seat, Andersdotter will still be the youngest member to hold a seat in the current parliament.

        The Pirate Party and open source software are intertwined. Back in December 2009, the group released a Tor server for anonymous communication and an Etherpad service, PiratePad, for real-time collaboration on texts.

IRC Proceedings: November 21st, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links – baton and pepper spray review, patent medicine and non free software costs

Posted in Site News at 12:43 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Occupy Sustainability

    A page in the Appropriate Technology Wiki for sharing various off grid technologies like bicycle generators, solar cells, sewerage and water that might be useful to OWS crowds.

  • WebP progress.

    I don’t share the articles pessimism about adoption or see any kind of drama when both PNG and WebP are both free software.

  • Science

    • Learning From Beethoven: Speeding Up The Exchange Of Scientific Knowledge

      We will start building Beethoven’s open repository by taking 10,000 of these (especially review articles)[100,000 CC research articles], convert them into a common format, interlink them like topics are linked on Wikipedia, and update them with fresh information as new research findings become available. This will turn the original 10,000 articles into Evolving Review Articles – in other contexts called Living Reviews – available under that same Creative Commons license.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Nasty video of police pepper spraying a small group of protesters to clear a sidewalk in the UC Davis quad.

      At least one person sprayed was hospitalized from the burns. A faculty member, who only makes half as much as the policeman who pepper sprayed the students, called for the resignation of the Chancellor over the event and the faculty association has now made the same demand. We can only hope such common sense demands will come for Berkeley, Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, New York and other places where peaceful protesters have been violated instead of protected by police. In the long run, the US should dismantle the police state established under the Bush administration.

    • Nathan Brown calls for UC Davis chancellor’s resignation.

      Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked. … Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

    • The turning point: The moral example of UC Davis students, and Occupy Wall Street

      This event is powerfully symbolic. It is about contempt from those in power and the wanton use of force against the powerless. … We have seen it in banks lobbying for public handouts and then denying relief to millions of exploited homeowners. We have seen it in tax breaks and bonuses for the rich while millions of Americans are out of work. … We are seeing the beginning of a worldwide movement to fight for dignity and intelligent, collective governance. It is remarkable, the parallels between what we see in Tunisia, in Cairo, in Rome, in Zucotti Park, in Oakland, California, and now at UC Davis. …

      I am very proud of the students at UC Davis, both the ones who remained seated, heads down, and the ones in the crowd surrounding them. They vastly outnumbered the police officers. They could have torn them apart. I have no doubt that many of them wanted to. I wanted to. … nonviolent resistance is extraordinarily powerful. It shows who holds the moral high ground. It reveals the thugs and bullies in high places for who they are. It creates sympathy and evokes principled action.


      “I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses. I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest.” … Yudof added that he would take “immediate” action to convene all UC chancellors in order to “ensure proportional law enforcement response to non-violent protest,”

    • An open letter begging US University chancellors for rights every US citizen should already enjoy.
  • Anti-Trust

    • Facebook paid PR firm to smear Google

      Leaked emails reveal Burson-Marsteller attempted to get USA Today and other titles to write about Google’s privacy policies … The explosive revelation … came to light in leaked emails late on Wednesday. Facebook later confirmed to the Daily Beast that it had hired Burson-Marsteller.

    • Microsoft ‘Anti-Piracy’ Campaign Explains Why It’s Bad For Businesses To Pay For Microsoft Software

      … the overall takeaway from this appears to be that paying for Microsoft software is bad for business, puts you at a competitive disadvantage and is going to cost you millions. … couldn’t this also be interpreted as a massive promotional campaign for free and open source software?

      The tyranny of non free software costs us all billions of dollars and jobs that could be used for things that people actually want. Microsoft is dumb enough to point out that money not spent on software licenses goes towards hiring people to deliver goods and services, “Indian manufacturers experience $505 million per year in competitive harm. Their pirating competitors could use this money to hire more than 215,000 new employees.” People should not use propaganda terms like “piracy” and will remain confused as long as they do.

    • Censorship

      • How SOPA would censor the internet

        An aide to the House Judiciary committee — chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), SOPA’s principal sponsor — did not dispute that IP address blocking and deep packet inspection could be required. It would be up to a judge to determine the nature of the court order that would be needed to block the site, the aide told CNET this afternoon.

        This would mandate the worst ISP practices of deep packet inspection and the expensive equipment associated with but then give control to a government blacklist created by big publishers. In the US, there would be no circumventing such a system.

      • Microsoft helped create SOPA but now tries to hide from the backlash.

        See also Techrights write up about this.

      • Why Is Microsoft Missing From Good Causes?

        Do, you still use Microsoft technologies? Should you?

        Muktware is not surprised by Microsoft’s backing of SOPA because of the company’s many other unforgivable abuses, especially those in China.

      • US Register of Copyrights: without SOPA, copyright “will ultimately fail”

        Things that can’t survive without stripping people of their rights should be allowed to fail. She says, “I always start with the enforcement issues online because if there isn’t effective enforcement possibility, then there is no meaningful exclusive right and then copyright doesn’t work.” There has never been an effective enforcement possibility for copyright because it violates people’s natural right to free speech for created rights that made sense in the paper publishing world. Suppression of natural rights is always impossible. SOPA won’t stop copyright infringement, it will just turn official US networks into a blackhole like the one US companies built in China.

    • Civil Rights

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • The roll of patents in income and wealth disparity.

        The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, for instance, found that the number of patents per capita was the most important factor for determining redistribution of wealth towards the top. To put how big these effects can be, consider, as Baker puts it, that “as a result of patent protection, we pay almost $300 billion a year for prescription drugs that would sell for about $30 billion a year in a free market. The difference of $270 billion is more than 5 times as large as the amount at stake with the Bush tax cuts.”

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