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Links 26/1/2012: Toorox 01.2012, Red Hat’s MRG Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 75 Open Source Apps That Could Improve Your Life

    ‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. But if you’re like many Americans you may have already fallen off the wagon. One study by psychologists at the University of Scranton found that 36 percent of the people who made New Year’s resolutions had already broken them by the end of January, and less than half (44 percent) were still going strong in July.

  • Events

    • LCA 2012 Bruce Perens on Status of Open Source and James Applebaum on Anonymity
    • LCA: Addressing the failure of open source

      Bruce Perens wore a suit and tie for his linux.conf.au 2012 keynote for a reason, he said: it reflects our community’s need to think more about how it appears to the rest of the world. Despite our many successes, he said, we have failed to achieve the goals that our community set for itself many years ago. We have failed to engage and educate our users, and are finding ourselves pulled into an increasingly constrained world. To get out of this mess, we will have to make some changes – and expand our scope beyond software and culture.
      The open source (he always used that term) movement’s goal, he said, was once to help a population that increasingly does everything – from entertainment to finances and voting – through computers. We wanted to enable people to do, not to be done to. But we find ourselves in a world where people are increasingly slaves to their tools. Yes, he said, tools like the iPhone empower their users, but they also constrain those users. They are designed not to allow their users to do things that might reduce the profits of their makers or of a number of related industries.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Solution Finds A Problem

        Google has expressed surprise that Chromebooks are popular with schools. I’m not surprised.

  • CMS

  • Funding

    • The Taxman Cometh for Kickstarter

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new business model, recently acquiring financial success, must be in want of taxation. So it appears to be for Kickstarter, as I discovered, now that the first business tax filing deadlines are approaching me.

      It turns out that the taxman is not very pleased with “exchanges that are a mix of commerce and patronage” — he’d really prefer these to be clearly distinct activities. Because gift income or patronage may generally be treated as non-taxable, while commerce is subject to taxes at multiple levels — both as income and as sales.

      Several questions are relatively difficult to determine: is the money you receive in a Kickstart to be interpreted as a payment for delivery of a product (i.e. the reward)? Or is the money a donation (gift) with the reward being a nominal acknowledgment.

  • Programming


  • Tiny server offers modular design
  • Finance

    • Merkel aims to solve Europe’s debt crisis as Davos leaders say Western capitalism has widened income gap

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed determination Wednesday to solve Europe’s debt crisis through greater political unity, but dashed hopes of a big injection of money for the region’s bailout fund.

      Urging the European Union to act more like a central government for the region, she acknowledged that the countries that share the euro don’t have the “political structures” to make the common currency work properly.

      She spoke at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where members of the global business and political elite are looking to Germany to prevent a breakup of the euro, which could hurt the economy worldwide. Many participants said they see increasing evidence that Merkel will do so.

  • Copyrights

    • Global failure: No Global e-book library

      While waiting in my doctor’s office with nothing to read, I picked up a copy of the Washington Lawyer, the journal of the DC bar. It had a long piece on the “March Toward a National Digital Library” by Sarah Kellogg that I think worth reading. And pondering. It is online here .

      A lot has been happening, but it remains slow going as the lawyers and the interest groups continue to try to find a workable deal on the remaining issues. Still the author is hopeful. But she also notes that we have had the technology to digitize print matter since 1971 when Project Gutenberg published it first e-book. Forty years. Think about that.

    • New Righthaven To Offer ‘Hosting With A Backbone’; Will Avoid Unnecessary Takedowns

      Last week, some folks here pointed out that the new Righthaven.com — bought during the asset auction of Righthaven’s domain for $3,300, as part of the effort to fulfill Righthaven’s obligation to pay legal fees for one of its (many) bogus lawsuits — had put up a page joining the anti-SOPA/PIPA protests. That certainly seemed encouraging, and suggested that (not all that surprisingly, really), the domain had been bought by someone who took a dim view on copyright maximalism.

    • State Of The Union Address Highlights The Dirty Trick Of Hiding More Draconian IP Rules In ‘Trade Agreements’

      As we’ve been discussing, it’s great that the anti-SOPA/PIPA protests have awakened many to the horrors of ACTA. It seems that this may also help people finally learn about the nefarious practice of industry trade groups and governments to sneak bad IP legislation through “international agreements.” With President Obama mentioning the importance of trade agreements and dealing with infringement in his State of the Union address, many people were wondering if it was a signal about SOPA/PIPA.

    • Once Again, If You’re Trying To Save The $200 Million Movie, Perhaps You’re Asking The Wrong Questions

      I’m a bit behind on this (the SOPA/PIPA stuff took up a lot of time), but filmmaker/actor/director/writer Ed Burns, who came to fame a couple decades ago with the massively successful indie film The Brothers McMullen, likely had every opportunity to follow the path of plenty of successful indie moviemakers: go mainstream. He could have hooked up with a big studio and been filming the latest of those $200 million bubble-gum flicks. And while Burns has appeared in a few big studio films (Saving Private Ryan), over the last few years, he’s really focused on staying close to his indie roots. In fact, he’s stayed so close to them, that you could argue his latest efforts are even more indie than his first film.

    • The Pirate Bay Launches Promo Platform For Artists

      Hollywood and the major music labels frequently describe The Pirate Bay as a piracy haven that ruins their businesses. On the other side, however, there are many independent artists who would like nothing more than to be featured prominently on the world’s largest torrent site. For the latter group The Pirate Bay team have just released a new platform where artists can have their content promoted on the site’s homepage, free of charge.

    • Why SOPA and PIPA are bad for open source

      The widespread internet blackout last week in protest at unbalanced legislation being rushed through the US Congress was dramatic and notable. I did have some questions though on why it was important to the open source community. The way the laws have been framed by their proponents makes them look as if they are all about file sharing and specifically music and video sharing. However, the problem with them is they create badly-bounded new powers that are likely to exploited in ways that fall outside the frame.

    • Discussing SOPA/PIPA Over At On The Media

      Been meaning to get to this for a few days now, but finally had the chance now. Last week the always excellent radio program On The Media from WNYC, I had a bit of a discussion on SOPA/PIPA (and the Megaupload shutdown). I was on the first segment discussing some of the problems with the bills. The actual interview happened Tuesday, before the big protest, before all the politicians dropped off, and before the Megaupload takedown occurred. Otherwise I might have had a few more comments about all of that. There’s probably not too much surprising in what I have to say if you’re a regular reader of my SOPA/PIPA coverage.

    • ACTA

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