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Links 15/2/2012: New Fedora Leader, Debian Lenny Support Ending

Posted in News Roundup at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Want a Third-Rate Server? Put That Other OS On It

      Netcraft has again published it’s hosting survey. It shows that other OS is still far less popular than GNU/Linux. Only 7 out of 43 reports uses that other OS while GNU/Linux counts 28. I dug deeper into the table to have an idea why.

  • Kernel Space

    • Why Linux Jobs Are Burning Up the Tech Market: Q&A with Dice.om’s Alice Hill

      The Linux Foundation, in partnership with Dice.com, today released the results of the first-ever Linux Jobs Report. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin breaks down the significance of those findings in his blog. In this special interview, we talk to Dice Managing Director Alice Hill for her perspective on what is most interesting about the 2012 Linux Jobs Report and the outlook for Linux professionals.

  • Applications

    • Stop Breaking My Software!

      My wife is a writer, and after Windows had crashed too many times, I switched her PC over to Linux. She continued using Microsoft Word 97 under CrossOver Office, but that combo was a bit unstable and crashed from time to time. So I finally convinced her to switch to OpenOffice, configured to produce the .doc files that she needs to send. This worked reasonably well, until recently.

      The last round of updates broke things. In particular, the spell checker is now useless. Attempting to spell-check a document crashes, typically after the second word, and I have to manually kill the OpenOffice program. This in turn leaves a “lock” file hiding somewhere, so that OO won’t run until I reboot the system. Not good.

    • Instructionals/Technical

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Open Advice–Project Inspiration

        Thinking of starting a free and open source project? Looking for inspiration on an existing project? Lydia Pintscher has pulled together useful wisdom from free and open community leaders in a new book—Open Advice.

        Lydia is a KDE e.V. Board member. She’s part of the KDE Community Working Group, the Google Summer of Code Coordinator for KDE and contributes to projects and people outside KDE as well. Lydia is highly qualified to help people discover key concepts that make free and open software projects effective.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 5th February 2012
      • Meet KDE’s Own HUD – AppMenu Runner

        Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, recently announced plans for HUD which allows users to search or open menu items without having to follow the tree of a menu. The proposal got mixed responses.

        There is no doubt that HUD is a great idea. It’s excellent not because it is a new idea, Apple Mac has a similar feature. It’s excellent because Mark is trying to find a way to implement it in Ubuntu. If executed properly HUD can be an additional tool for those who need it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Why Isn’t GNOME Listening?

        Ten months ago, GNOME 3 was released. Since then, there has been a steady murmur of complaints, mostly about a design that forces all users to work in the same way. And what have GNOME developers learned from the experience?

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” R20120207+
      • Webconverger 11.2
      • GParted 0.11.0-12
      • Current Release: AV Linux 5.0.3 “Tube”
      • Thinstation 5.0
      • Announcing NetBSD 5.1.2
      • SMS version 1.6.4 Released!

        This minor release brings security updates to 2.6.39 kernels for CVE-2012-0056 local root exploit, were a local user could gain root privileges by modifying
        process memory, and for various packages such as OpenSSL, Samba, httpd, php.
        This is the last release with GCC-4.5.3, as we will follow slackware-current with GCC-4.6.2 and 3.2.x kernels.
        3.2.5 kernels built with GCC-4.5.3 though, are available at SMS kernel repository


        if anyone wants an early upgrade.

      • Pear 4.0
      • Chakra 2012.02
      • Frugalware 1.6 (Fermus) released

        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.6, our sixteenth stable release.

      • IPCop 2.0.3
      • Finnix 104 released

        Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of Finnix 104, the twentieth release of Finnix. Since the first public release of Finnix 0.03 in March 2000, there have been twenty releases and 37 ISOs released to the public, totalling 4.5GB . (All releases have included x86 and PowerPC ISOs, with the exception of Finnix 0.03, 86.0, and 100.)

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • No further updates for Debian 5.0 Lenny

        The Debian developers have pointed out, in a announcement on the debian-announce mailing list, that – three years after it was released – Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (Lenny) has reached its “End of Life”. Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 was originally released in February 2009 and on 6 February 2012, the developers stopped providing security updates for that version of the distribution.

      • Debian ends support for Lenny
      • Code in next Debian release valued at $A17 billion

        If all the code in the upcoming release of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution were to be written today, it would cost $17 billion, according to an analysis by free and open source software consultant James Bromberger.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Reaches End of Life
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical aims for enterprise desktop with Ubuntu business remix
          • Ubuntu Global Jam looking for event organisers

            Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon has published a blog post, calling for Ubuntu community members to organise events around the globe for the next Ubuntu Global Jam, which is taking place from 2 to 4 March. Volunteers will need to have a location with a “decent internet connection, some computers and great people to share the work”.

          • The first FOSDEM Legal Issues DevRoom

            For FOSDEM 2012, held last weekend in Brussels, I had the privilege of co-organizing (with Tom Marble, Karen Sandler, and Bradley Kuhn) the first-ever DevRoom track devoted to discussion of legal issues relating to free/libre/open source software. With several thousand attendees and hundreds of sessions, FOSDEM is one of the largest FLOSS conferences in the world, and surely the largest in Europe. This makes it all the more remarkable that FOSDEM is a free-admission, non-commercial community event, organized and administered entirely by volunteers.

          • See all of your installed applications in Ubuntu Unity

            Sometimes, you want to see all of your installed applications in Unity, without having to “search”. Doing so will probably make you discover a small world of great software installed in your computer.

          • Ubuntu Means Business: Announces Business Desktop Remix

            Ubuntu is making inroads into the enterprise segments in various markets. Recently The Supreme Court of India ordered all courts across India to switch to Ubuntu. Prior to this move the courts across India were using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is mainly targeted at servers. More than 17,000 courts around India will now be switching over to Ubuntu from RHEL.

            However, Ubuntu did not have any business editon. The main Ubuntu desktop is targeted at enthusiasts with all the bells and whistles which may not be needed in an enterprise environment.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Canonical drops Kubuntu

              This doesn’t mean Kubuntu will vanish; merely that it will get no more development funding or marketing support from Canonical. That will probably turn Kubuntu into a “fringe” distribution like many other Ubuntu derivatives.

            • Canonical pulls funding for Kubuntu
            • Canonical Changes Treatment For Kubuntu! [Updated]

              Kubuntu users can now help the team in the new challenges that have emerged after this announcement. One such challenge as Jonathan points out is, …”we need people to step up and take the initiative in doing the tasks that are often poorly supported by the community process. ISO testing, for example, is a long, slow, thankless task, and it is hard to get volunteers for it. We can look at ways of reducing effort from what we do such as scrapping the alternate CD or automating KDE SC packaging.”

            • Linux Mint KDE 12 Review: Your Perfect Desktop

              Linux Mint team has done a commendable job with Cinnamon project where they are trying to help those users who are not comfortable with Unity. It’s great to see a project putting its users above everything else. Despite being a small team, Linux Mint successfully delivered Gnome+ Cinnamon and has now released a great KDE edition.

              With Linux Mint KDE you get the best of both worlds. What more can one ask for. Go ahead and give Linux Mint KDE a try, trust me you won’t go back.

            • Future of Kubuntu, Should You Be Worried?
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI announces new initiatives and seeks your input
  • UK.gov: We really are going to start buying open-source from SMEs

    Open source and open standards are the direction for UK government IT, the civil servant leading the government’s technology change agenda has said.

    Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said Tuesday in London that open source has grown up and it’s time to dispel lingering misconceptions about this technology and development process.

  • Isis unveiled: HP has opened the source code of the webOS Web browser

    HP has published the source code of Isis, the webOS Web browser. The company has also released the code of the browser’s underlying HTML rendering engine, which is based on QtWebKit. The code is available from GitHub and is distributed under the permissive Apache license.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Antarctica community site launched by coolest Firefox fans

        The popularity of the Firefox Web browser has grown tremendously in recent years, but there is one region where it is practically ubiquitous. Firefox has consistently held 80 percent market share in Antarctica.

        The Firefox enthusiasts at the bottom of the world are now launching their own community group in collaboration with Mozilla. A new Mozilla Antarctica website went live on Tuesday of this week, the 191st anniversary of the first documented landing on mainland Antarctica.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice should declare victory and rejoin OpenOffice

      While forks in the open source world can be a tremendous way of shaking things up, they can also be very damaging. In this case, I think it’s a waste of resources and energy to keep this going. Instead of competing with each other the LibreOffice and OpenOffice communities should get together to fight their common and real competitor.

      I know a certain level of competition can be healthy but I’m tired of seeing open source communities fight with each other to their own loss.

      I know the fork was painful and people still hold a lot of angst against one another but they need to get over that. They need to realize they would do themselves and everyone else a real service by putting all this behind them and uniting. LibreOffice should declare victory and join forces!

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.5: “the best free office suite ever”
  • Education

  • Healthcare


  • Public Services/Government

    • How to get your city to pass an open government policy

      Today, the Raleigh City Council passed an Open Source Government Resolution, unanimously, promoting the use of open source software and open data. The resolution includes language that puts open source software on the same playing field as proprietary software in the procurement process. It also establishes an open data catalog to house data available from the city.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open innovation is good for business

      Open innovation is an area only beginning to enter mainstream enterprises, despite years of success in open source communities. It allows people both inside and outside the company to get involved and collaborate on new products and processes that result in beneficial change.

    • Open Advice offers guidance for new open source contributors and the more experienced

      A new book sharing the perspectives of 42 open source contributors launched this month at FOSDEM. Open Advice, edited by Lydia Pintscher, shares what those successful people wish they’d known when they got started with open source software.

  • Programming

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: February 2012

      For years now, it has been self-evident to us at RedMonk that programming language usage and adoption has been fragmenting at an accelerating rate [coverage]. As traditional barriers to technology procurement have eroded [coverage], developers have been empowered to leverage the runtimes they chose rather than those that were chosen for them. This has led to a sea change in the programming language landscape, with traditional language choices increasingly competing for attention with newer, more dynamic competitors.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • SCO v. IBM Hearing Date Changed to April 23rd at 2:30 PM Before Judge Benson ~pj

    There’s been a slight change in the hearing date for the upcoming SCO v IBM hearing regarding SCO’s desire to partially reopen the case. The new date is April 23, 2012 at 2:30 Utah time in Room 246. It’s set to be heard by Judge Dee Benson, the new judge assigned, who, I gather, was unable to find a way to recuse himself.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Battle for Vermont’s Health — and Why It Matters for the Rest of the Country

      You can’t see them. They’re hidden from view and probably always will be. But the health insurance industry’s big guns are in place and pointed directly at the citizens of Vermont.

      Health insurers were not able to stop the state’s drive last year toward a single-payer health care system, which insurers have spent millions to scare Americans into believing would be the worst thing ever. Despite the ceaseless spin, Vermont lawmakers last May demonstrated they could not be bought nor intimidated when they became the first in the nation to pass a bill that will probably establish a single-payer beachhead in the U.S.

  • Security

    • With Love From M$

      M$ expresses its love for users by announcing critical (remote code execution…) vulnerabilities in every version of their OS from XP to “7″ and versions for servers. Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope you don’t get hacked before you manage to update…

    • Microsoft warns of dangerous IE browser vulnerabilities

      The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user simply views a specially crafted web page using Internet Explorer.

  • Finance

    • Why All the Robo-signing? Shedding Light on the Shadow Banking System

      The Wall Street Journal reported on January 19th that the Obama Administration was pushing heavily to get the 50 state attorneys general to agree to a settlement with five major banks in the “robo-signing” scandal. The scandal involves employees signing names not their own, under titles they did not really have, attesting to the veracity of documents they had not really reviewed. Investigation reveals that it did not just happen occasionally but was an industry-wide practice, dating back to the late 1990s; and that it may have clouded the titles of millions of homes. If the settlement is agreed to, it will let Wall Street bankers off the hook for crimes that would land the rest of us in jail – fraud, forgery, securities violations and tax evasion.

    • Goldman Sachs Seeks Exemption for Bank Stakes in ‘Credit Funds’

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which says it owns the world’s largest family of so-called mezzanine loan funds, is asking regulators to loosen proposed limits on bank investments in such pools.

      Four Goldman Sachs employees and three lawyers from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP met on Feb. 2 with Federal Reserve Board staff to discuss Volcker rule limits on banks’ fund investments, according to a summary published yesterday by the central bank. The Volcker rule limits depository institutions from supplying more than 3 percent of the capital in a hedge fund, private- equity fund or other “covered fund.”

    • Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

      Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

    • Gold Gets a Growth Scare

      An emotional, jubilant hooray! could be heard earlier this month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs numbers for January 2012, showing the addition of 243,000 net new jobs. That’s the kind of news both the financial markets and the political complex were yearning for, because it implies that growth is finally greater than the rate at which new workers enter the labor force due to US population growth alone.

      But the report was not without controversy. Significant revisions to BLS sampling were introduced in this report as a result of the recent integration of the 2010 census data. Recalibrated, this altered the size of the workforce, and thus changed the number of Americans either working, looking for work, or dropped out of the workforce altogether. And so the cries of Foul! began.

    • On ‘Bleak’ Street, Bosses in Cross Hairs

      Wall Street’s bleak bonus season just got bleaker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, where it is becoming clear that traders aren’t the only ones at risk of having their pay taken back. Their bosses are on the hook, too.

    • Why Wall Street Should Stop Whining

      Everybody on Wall Street is talking about the new piece by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, entitled “The End of Wall Street as They Knew It.”

      The article argues that Barack Obama killed everything that was joyful about the banking industry through his suffocating Dodd-Frank reform bill, which forced banks to strip themselves of “the pistons that powered their profits: leverage and proprietary trading.”

    • Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Buyout Tainted by Conflicts, Lawyer Says

      Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed $21.1 billion buyout of rival pipeline operator El Paso Corp. was tainted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s conflicting interests in the deal and should be barred, a lawyer for El Paso investors said.

      Goldman Sachs, which holds a 19 percent stake in Houston- based Kinder Morgan, improperly served as an adviser to El Paso on the acquisition offer, said Mark Lebovitch, a lawyer for pension funds from Louisiana, Florida and New York that sued over the deal.

      “If there was ever a conflict that can’t be neutralized, this is it,” Lebovitch told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine yesterday at an injunction hearing in Wilmington. “The word ‘conflict’ just doesn’t do it justice.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Syngenta PR’s Weed-Killer Spin Machine: Investigating the Press and Shaping the “News” about Atrazine
    • Atrazine: A “Molecular Bull in a China Shop”

      Atrazine is an herbicide primarily manufactured by the multinational conglomerate Syngenta and commonly used on commodity crops, forests, and golf courses. Its potential harmful effects on human health have been documented since the 1990s.

      As a consequence, atrazine has been “unauthorized” in the European Union since 2004 (and in some European countries since 1991). However, it is one of the most heavily used herbicides in the United States. Syngenta, atrazine’s primary manufacturer, has spent hundreds of millions combined on marketing, public relations (PR) campaigns, and lobbying to maintain its market and fight calls to phase the product out of use in the U.S.

    • Syngenta’s Paid Third Party Pundits Spin the “News” on Atrazine

      Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal that the global chemical company’s PR team had a multi-million dollar budget to pay surrogates and others who helped advance its messages about the weed-killer “atrazine.” This story is part two of a series about Syngenta’s PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer’s potential to act as an endocrine disruptor.

  • Civil Rights

    • In Defense of Anonymous Speech ~pj

      Think of the Federalist Papers, written anonymously to encourage ratification of the US Constitution. If anonymous speech is so toxic, how do you explain the Federalist Papers? A logical answer would have to be that anonymity may not be the actual cause of the problem. One of the authors, James Madison, later ended up president of the country, and it’s believed that others included Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, so they were not trolls. At the time they wrote anonymously because they wanted folks to focus on the ideas, not where they came from, and because they were talking on a matter then quite controversial. You could speak anonymously back then in print, not just in person. That’s a closer comparison to the Internet than standing up in a public place.

      Even in person, if you went to a public square and started to speak, people could see you, but they didn’t necessarily know who you were if you were in a city — they didn’t know your name, your phone, your home address, your place of employment, your family’s makeup and names, where your kids went to school, and they couldn’t track where you went day by day via GPS — all of which can be done today on the Internet with just a name to start with. Nor were there widespread governmental cameras taking your picture, or even smartphones equipped with cameras. Nor were there databases retained for months, even years at a time. And the government wasn’t tracking all that speech in such databases. Any policy regarding commenting on the Internet has to factor in that the world has changed to make anonymity very hard, and that once it’s gone, there is a treasure trove of information about you available to whoever is interested in doing the research.

      And then what might happen? Zhou argues that forcing identity to be revealed encourages accountability. Let’s talk about accountability.

    • No Disconnect: European Commission to develop Human Rights guidance for the ICT sector

      Great news today as the Commission starts the process of providing human rights guidance to the ICT sector – kicking off a process to make it easier for makers and users of ICT products and services to know the impact their technology has on Human Rights across the world.

      When you look at events like the Arab Spring, you see that sometimes technology plays a positive role in the democratisation process – allowing activists to coordinate peaceful protests. But sometimes, it is less benign – as when despotic governments use ICT as a tool for surveillance or repression.

      The ICT tools that are used in such non-democratic countries (for both purposes) are sometimes provided by western companies. Many activists are out there promoting its pro-democratic use, and I encourage that. But on the other side, public and private actors cannot ignore their responsibilities. If western technology is being used by repressive governments to identify innocent citizens and put their life or freedom in danger, then I think we – manufacturers, suppliers, citizens, and democratic governments—ought to know.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • This is an argument?

      It is unlikely that making it illegal to steal a UPS track to start a delivery service “stifles entrepreneurship” but of course it is an empirical question. In the case of patents the evidence is in: patents stifle innovation. Only evidence can refute evidence – theoretical arguments, feelings, and analogies are irrelevant.

    • Copyrights

      • How to kill movie piracy: charge $1 for movies, and 50c for episodes

        Movie piracy is the next big thing. The RIAA is quickly realising that their reputation is nearly beyond unrecoverable, after taking to court single mums, dead people, and children. In the meantime, in Australia they are having secret meetings to try and work out a way to prevent movie privacy. The solution is simple: to kill movie privacy, allow people to download movies, make it cheap, and make it easy. Yes it’s hard. But yes, it’s rewarding.

      • The Real Reason for Bill C-11/ACTA/SOPA/PIPA

        One of the major complaints from the Motion Picture Association of America has been how can you budget a high-priced thriller, if you can’t charge huge amounts of money for tickets? They keep asking this question, even though they know the answer. Make less expensive movies.

      • RIAA Totally Out Of Touch: Lashes Out At Google, Wikipedia And Everyone Who Protested SOPA/PIPA
      • NYTimes critiqued for running self-serving RIAA propaganda

        Here are two paragraphs from his piece: “The real issue here is that copyright is an archaic property form that it is no longer practical to enforce in the Internet Age. Serious policy people should be looking to develop alternative mechanisms for financing creative and artistic work. Unfortunately, the organizations that ostensibly represent creative workers are not very creative. It is impressive that the NYT allows a piece from the industry to appear with apparently no fact checking. Two days earlier it had a similar column complaining about the failure of SOPA. Given its dominance of the NYT’s opinion pages, it is understandable that the RIAA would be upset about the growth of independent voices on the Internet.”

      • ACTA

        • Will the New ACTA Rapporteur Stand For Citizens Freedoms?

          Paris, February 7th, 2012 – Member of the EU Parliament David Martin, from the Socialist & Democrats group, has been appointed new rapporteur for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the “International Trade” committee (INTA). Unfortunately, his record on protecting freedoms online is worryingly poor and should prompt EU citizens to act against ACTA and ensure that the EU Parliament will defend their rights by rejecting this dangerous agreement.

        • Join the Giant Distributed ACTA Protest All Over Europe!

          The co-founders of La Quadrature du Net1 and many of its contributors will join the giant distributed ACTA protest that is taking place in hundreds of locations all over Europe2.

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  29. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  30. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin


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