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Links 23/2/2012: No More Adobe Trash on GNU/Linux, New Mageia Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Ford’s open source OpenXC platform as gateway to future high tech car gizmos

    Ford (and other automakers) envision future cars with high tech infotainment systems galore where car dashboards could have downloadable app’s just like todays smart phones and tablets. With the OpenXC platform Ford is creating a channel for open collaboration with 3rd party application developers, allowing them to use cars like the Ford Focus to prototype their gizmos.

  • US Veterans’ Administrations Looking at Alternative Office Suites

    I have been using OpenOffice.org and lately LibreOffice for years with no ill effects and plenty of benefits like working well with PDF and using proper open standard file-formats. The only problem the VA will have if it switches over is what to do with the bulk of archived documents in M$’s various formats. My recommendation is to convert as many of them as possible to PDFs and leave them as archives. They rarely have to modify old documents. They should be able to do that using their present software and some “print” function. The cost of the migration would largely be the cost of processing those archives. That cost should be chalked up as a mistake of the past because it will not be an on-going cost.

  • Open source model creates new cybercrime frontier [Ed: FUD]

    Inspired by the success of the open source development model, criminals are creating similar community models and, in doing so, opening up a new avenue for malicious software and malware incubation, industry insiders warn.

  • Events

    • COSCUP 2012

      COSCUP is the largest Free software event in Taiwan and based on my experience from attending last year I can certainly say that it is one of the most well organized and vibrant F/OSS events in the world. It’s in the same category level as FISL in Brazil or Linux Conf Australia in my mind.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Eight Business-changing Ways to Use Big Data

      Enterprises are finding business-changing ways to put the power of Hadoop, an open source Apache project for storing and processing large amounts of data, to good use. They are using Hadoop and Big Data to reduce risks, better serve customers and even change the Internet.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Joomla: The Hidden Giant of Web Development

      Joomla is one of the most widely used open source content management systems available today. Though it’s not as popular as the MIGHTY WordPress, we are yet to discover the hidden treasures that lurk beneath. I am going to discuss the Pros and Cons of using Joomla in this article, so the next time you’re planning to invest on your online presence, you should have an idea where to spend and why!

  • Healthcare

    • GNU Health Decision Support on Prescription Writing

      In this entry I will briefly talk about how GNU Health can help the professional in making the best decision, and how to minimize mistakes.

      I will focus in prescription writing and how we’re incorporating DS (Decision Support) to GNU Health.

      GNU Health uses the WHO (World Health Organization) essential list of medicines by default, so you already have a very nice and updated set for your daily practice.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Help us Open Source NASA.gov
    • NASA calls for vendors to “open source” NASA.gov

      NASA has released an RFI (Request For Information) asking for help reimplementing the nasa.gov web site using open source software and open standards. With 600,000 unique visitors and over 1.29 TB of traffic a day, 140 different web sites and applications and over 700,000 web pages, the task is large. As the first stage of an acquisition process, NASA has therefore published the RFI looking for companies that, according to Nick Skytland, Open Government Program Manager at Johnson Space Center, are “visionary, that get open source, cloud computing, and citizen engagement using the latest online technology”.

    • Is the VA Embracing Open Source?

      Obviously security, supportability, and interoperability are among the factors the VA must take into consideration, so the department is only soliciting white papers right now. “The white papers should merely be focused on the per seat cost for services/tools provided, current state of the technology in terms of Office productivity suite benefits, supportability, security, ease of use, and interoperability with Microsoft based products,” the announcement says.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Ten Things You Need to Know about Open Source Geospatial Software

      How confident are you in your knowledge of open source geospatial software? How about a quick introduction or refresher? Executive Editor Adena Schutzberg offers 10 points that are important to understand about open source software.

    • Open innovation–the passion behind the Civic Commons community

      From the beginning, Civic Commons has been a dynamic community initiative. What began in January 2010 as a simple wiki of open government policies and practices (originally called “OpenMuni”, domains for which were simultaneously and independently obtained by Code for America and OpenPlans), grew into a partnership between the two organizations to support the growing open government technology movement, and is now an open community of civic hackers, government technologists, entrepreneurs and many others.

    • Cash Music Needs Our Help To Build Free Open Source Tools For Musicians

      Regular Hypebot readers know how excited I get about Cash Music. It’s hard to imagine anything closer to what this blog is about than a non-profit group building free tools that help musicians to market and sell music online. That’s exactly what Cash Music is; and for one of the first time’s ever, they’re asking for help via a Kickstarter campaign.

  • Programming


  • Funny stuff what I encountered
  • Microsoft’s Google Cloud FUD Could Come Back to Bite It

    You have to hand it to Microsoft. Their latest attacks on Google Apps are at least an attempt at comedy, but when you peel back the humor, what you have is just good old-fashioned Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), YouTube style.

    I won’t discuss the irony of Microsoft going off on Google services using Google’s own YouTube channel. That’s fairly rich in itself, but as we shall see, Google has opened itself up to these attacks with its own behavior.

  • How The Guy Who Didn’t Invent Email Got Memorialized In The Press & The Smithsonian As The Inventor Of Email

    Late last week, the Washington Post reported that The Smithsonian had acquired “tapes, documentation, copyrights, and over 50,000 lines of code from V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who both the Smithsonian and the Washington Post insisted was the “inventor of e-mail.” There’s just one problem with this: It’s not actually true. Lots of internet old-timers quickly started to speak out against this, especially on Dave Farber’s Interesting People email list, where they highlighted how it’s just not true. As is nicely summarized on Wikipedia’s talk page about Ayyadurai, he was responsible for “merely inventing an email management system that he named EMAIL,” which came long after email itself.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Spinning Suspect Ingredients in Baby Formula

      Isabel Salas reported to the non-profit Cornucopia Institute (Cornucopia) the difficulties she faced when her infant daughter reacted badly to a set of additives present in most baby formulas: DHA and ARA oils. Containers of formula containing these additives say things like, “Our formula is proven in clinical studies to enhance mental development” and “as close as ever to breast milk.”

  • Finance

    • How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street

      CDS are a form of derivative taken out by investors as insurance against default. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, nearly 95 percent of the banking industry’s total exposure to derivatives contracts is held by the nation’s five largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs. The CDS market is unregulated, and there is no requirement that the “insurer” actually have the funds to pay up. CDS are more like bets, and a massive loss at the casino could bring the house down.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin GOP Attempts to Ram Through Special Interest Mining Bill

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald are pushing for radical changes in Wisconsin’s current mining law to benefit a single out-of-state company.

      Gogebic Taconite, based out of Florida, has proposed a massive twenty-one mile long iron-ore strip mine in some of the most beautiful and pristine land in the northern part of the state. Walker and the GOP are promoting the mining bill as the most important “jobs bill” of the session. Since Governor Walker’s austerity budget kicked in on July 1, Wisconsin has lost jobs for six straight months, the worst record in the country.

  • Censorship

    • Techdirt Deemed Harmful To Minors In Germany

      Hanno alerts us to the news that Techdirt has apparently been deemed harmful to minors in Germany. The German Media Control Authority has apparently been pushing internet “youth filters” to protect kids from dangerous things online. So far, it has officially approved two internet filters. Hanno got his hands on one and discovered that Techdirt was one of many blocked sites (Google translation from the original German) — as the filter declares that Techdirt has pornographic images and depictions of violence. We do?

    • La La La La La: The Internet Routes Around Copyright Censorship To Restore Daria

      One of the things I’ve never liked about copyright is its potential to be the functional equivalent of censorship. Sometimes this censorship comes about because an author didn’t get permission to create his work in the first place (see: Richard Prince, JD California). While this unfortunately turns judges into cultural gatekeepers, it’s been deemed a necessary balance between copyright law and the First Amendment, and harm to the public is arguably lessened by the fact that we don’t know what we’re missing; because the censored work is never able to reach and impact us, we’ve only lost the potential of its cultural contribution.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How the CRTC Helped Stifle Internet Throttling

      Hockey may be Canada’s national pastime, but criticizing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) surely ranks as a close second. From the substitution of Canadian commercials during the Super Bowl broadcast to Canada’s middling performance on broadband Internet services, the CRTC is seemingly always viewed as the target for blame.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Megaupload Boss Kim Dotcom Granted Bail After US Fails To Prove He’s Got Cash Stashed Away To Make An Escape
      • Entertainment Industry Embraces New Business Model: Suing Google For Third-Party Android Apps That ‘Promote Piracy’
      • ACTA

        • How the European Internet Rose Up Against ACTA

          Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland sent a letter to his fellow leaders in the EU Friday urging them to reject ACTA, reversing Poland’s course with the controversial intellectual-property treaty, and possibly taking Europe with them.

          “I was wrong,” Tusk explained to a news conference, confessing his government had acted recklessly with a legal regime that wasn’t right for the 21st century. The reversal came after Tusk’s own strong statements in support of ACTA and condemnation of Anonymous attacks on Polish government sites, and weeks of street protest in Poland and across Europe.

        • ECJ Referral: No Legal Debate Will Make ACTA Legitimate

          The European Commission just announced its intent to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion on the conformity of ACTA with fundamental freedoms. Beyond the obvious intent to defuse the heated debate currently taking place, this move aims to make the ACTA discussion a mere legal issue, when the main concerns are political by nature.

        • European Commission Suggests ACTA’s Opponents Don’t Have ‘Democratic Intentions’

          So the European Commission thinks that tens of thousands of people on the streets somehow don’t reflect the wider community — presumably unlike the small band of negotiators and lobbyists behind closed doors that drew up ACTA in secrecy for years, who do represent the European Union’s 500 million people.

          And the Commissioners are just shocked that the opponents of ACTA, who have been denied any meaningful transparency about what was being agreed to in their name during those now-concluded negotiations, are desperately trying to make their voices heard by the only institutions left that can listen: the EU nations that haven’t signed ACTA, and the European Parliament that must still ratify it.

        • ACTA Approval On Hold While EU Commission Asks EU Court Of Justice To Weigh In

          Of course, other parts of De Gucht’s statement are pretty questionable. He talks about how the EU Council “adopted ACTA unanimously” leaving out that they did so by hiding it in an agriculture and fisheries meeting. He talks about how ACTA “will not change anything in the European Union” but is merely about “getting other countries to adopt” stricter laws. However, some EU countries have already noted that they would have to change their laws to comply with ACTA.

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