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Links 2/3/2012: BackTrack 5 R2, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Beta 1, PHP 5.4

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Spring Hadoop makes Java/Hadoop interaction easier

    SpringSource, the VMware division that is the home of the Spring framework for Java, has announced Spring Hadoop; this brings support for Spring, Spring Batch and Spring Integration to Apache Hadoop applications. This will allow Spring application developers to make use of data and computing capabilities of Hadoop compute clusters as an analytical tool. The project has been developed over the last few months, according to developer Costin Leau, who introduced this first release.

  • Hadoop: How open source can whittle Big Data down to size
  • VMware Hatches Spring Hadoop Cross-Breed for Big Data
  • Weekend Project: Take a Tour of Open Source Eye-Tracking Software

    Right this very second, you are looking at a Web browser. At least, those are the odds. But while that’s mildly interesting to me, detailed data on where users look (and for how long) is mission-critical. Web designers want to know if visitors are distracted from the contents of the page. Application developers want to know if users have trouble finding the important tools and functions on screen. Plus, for the accessibility community, being able to track eye motion lets you provide text input and cursor control to people who can’t operate standard IO devices. Let’s take a look at what open source software is out there to track eyes and turn it into useful data.

  • DreamHost Planning Software Spinout

    Los Angeles-based hosting provider DreamHost, the provider of web hosting and managed hosting services, is planning a new, open source software spinout, the firm revealed this week, as it looks to leverage its work on the Ceph open source project for distributed storage.

  • Security in obscurity is a wrong thing to follow: Harish Pillay

    As the global community and technology architect, Harish Pillay is a part of the community architecture group, which comprises a core group of Red Hatters who interface between Red Hat and the Open Source community. Harish joined Red Hat from Maringo Tree Technologies, an open source consultancy, training and services company, he co-founded in 2002. He was also the Founder/CTO of Inquisitive Mind – an e-learning services company – founded in 1999. Excerpts from an interview:

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Front Ends and Connectors for Working with Hadoop are Arriving

      At one point, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–was an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are looking into tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more. Cloudera and Hortonworks are leading the pack among these Hadoop-focused companies.

      Front ends for working with Hadoop, which make it easier to sift large data sets, are also appearing. Talend, which offers a number of open source middleware solutions, is out with a new one, and Microsoft is making it easier to work with Hadoop from the Excel spreadsheet.

  • Databases

    • How to Choose An Open Source Database

      If you are an application developer or a database administrator, you already know the importance of Relational Database Management Systems. RDMSs store data in a reliable and flexible manner and facilitate its easy retrieval – and of course, they can be manipulated using Structured Query Language (SQL).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The bright future of LibreOffice

      Formed out of Oracle’s neglect of the OpenOffice.org project by a community uprising in 2010, LibreOffice quickly gathered a critical mass of developers to work on it, drawn from a diverse set of backgrounds and motivations. They hunkered down on the tasks that had been hard to address while the project was in the hands of Sun Microsystems (where I was once employed), such as removing unused code from the project’s two-decade legacy or making it possible for a beginner to get involved through Easy Hacks. A year and a half later, there’s much to show for their efforts, yet so much more to do.

  • Funding


  • Project Releases

    • GlassFish 3.1.2 released

      Version 3.1.2 of GlassFish, the Java application and web server, has been released by Oracle, one year after the release of GlassFish 3.1 and seven months since the release of the Java 7 compatible GlassFish 3.1.1. The updated server is described as the successor to the earlier 3.0 releases and is recommended as an update for all current GlassFish users.

    • FreeNAS 8.0.4 updates Firefly, Transmission and Samba

      The FreeNAS Project has announced the availability of a new stable release, version 8.0.4, of its open source FreeBSD-based network-attached-storage operating system. The maintenance update to the 8.0.x branch of FreeNAS includes a new version of the Firefly media server (1696_6), which adds compatibility for iTunes 10.5.2 or later, and updates the Transmission BitTorrent client to version 2.42. Samba has been upgraded to version 3.6.3, fixing several bugs and addressing a security vulnerability that could be exploited by an attacker to cause a denial-of-service (DoS).

    • NGINX 1.1.16 development version arrives

      Igor Sysoev, the developer of NGINX has released version 1.1.16 of his web server software. The project aims to provide a stable, high performance alternative to more traditional competitors such as Apache HTTP Server or Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services).

    • PHP 5.4 Release Brings Many Changes

      PHP 5.4.0 was officially released today as a major advancement over the PHP 5.3 code-base.

      Among the many improvements to PHP 5.4 is support for language traits, a shortened array syntax, a built-in web-server, compatibility changes, and many other improvements.

    • PHP 5.4.0 brings new features
    • PHP 5.4 Will Make the Web Faster
  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Innovate or Legislate

    The Internet’s enemies have proven vocal, organized, and effective, while the vast majority of consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs it has enriched have proven anything but, and the fight over SOPA must be understood in this larger context.

  • Kicking the Tires on Pinwheel and Talking to Founder Caterina Fake

    On February 16, Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake announced private beta testing for Pinwheel, an online “Flickr for Places” type of service. Fake sent me an invitation to try out Pinwheel and answered a few questions about her new project, which is built and powered by Linux and open source solutions.

    First, I should clear up some potential confusion about the Pinwheel name. Another photo-sharing service, Pinweel, also launched in February, and the nearly identical names are bound to cause confusion with users. Pinwheel’s service focuses on sharing photos, location, and notes, whereas Pinweel specializes in group photo sharing.

  • Antitrust: Commission opens proceedings against MathWorks

    Brussels, 1 March 2012 – The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products. The Commission will investigate whether by allegedly refusing to provide a competitor with end-user licences and interoperability information, the company has breached EU antitrust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant position. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

  • Interoperability, Standards and Market Power

    At the heart of the matter is the power that a dominant player can wield once it becomes the center of an environment of products and services that grow up around its technology. Regulators recognize that the evolution of such ecosystems can have favorable market effects, such as the rapid proliferation of clone computers and tools developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) that occurred once the “WinTel” PC operating system/processor platform became ubiquitous.
    On the other hand, US and EU regulators, as well as Microsoft competitors, took Microsoft to task for over-exploiting the dominance it achieved through its control of the MS-DOS, and then Windows operating systems. One way in which Microsoft was alleged to have exploited its position was by dragging its feet in sharing interoperability information with Lotus and Apple when it introduced new versions of application software, such as its Excel spreadsheet application.

    More recently, Apple swept the marketplace almost clean of competition in the portable music device space, while allowing a host of third party docking stations and other products to be produced in connection with iPods. While the iPhone no longer enjoys comparable dominance in the smart phone category, its early success gave rise to a similar explosion of synergistic third party goods and services.

    In each case, while many other vendors enjoyed success in selling products and services for use in connection with these new Apple products, some ISVs complained that Apple’s App store rules and processes were overly restrictive and not always consistently applied. For their part, some customers chaffed at the control that Apple has tried to assert over what software can be used on its devices, voiding the warranties of customers that insisted on “jailbreaking” their iPhones to run whatever software they wished on the devices they had bought and paid for.

  • Security

    • Phishing via NFC

      At the RSA Conference 2012, McAfee’s Chief Technology Officer, Stuart McClure, and several of his colleagues, have demonstrated a whole range of different attacks on mobile devices. For example, they demonstrated an attack on an NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled smartphone: the attacker simply attaches a modified NFC tag to a legitimate surface such as an advertising poster. For their live demo, the researchers used a Red Cross donations appeal such as those seen at bus stops in various cities across Europe.

  • Finance

    • JPMorgan Chase CEO: Newspaper Industry Pay ‘Just Damned Outrageous’

      The chief executive of the biggest bank in the United States says journalists are ridiculously overpaid.

      At the company’s annual investor day, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called the percentage of newspaper company revenue paid out to employees “just damned outrageous,” according to Bloomberg News. “Worse than that, you [the media] don’t even make any money!”

    • The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse

      Doc Zone has traveled the world – from Wall Street to Dubai to China – to investigate The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse. Meltdown is the story of the bankers who crashed the world, the leaders who struggled to save it and the ordinary families who got crushed.

      September 2008 launched an extraordinary chain of events: General Motors, the world’s largest company, went bust. Washington Mutual became the world’s largest bank failure. Lehman Brothers became the world’s largest bankruptcy ever – The damage quickly spread around the world, shattering global confidence in the fundamental structures of the international economy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CMD Receives an “Izzy Award” for ALEC Exposed

      The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College has selected the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) for its annual “Izzy Award,” which recognizes outstanding achievement in independent media. CMD was recognized for its ALEC Exposed project, and shares this year’s award with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who was recognized for his exceptional reporting from Tahir Square. The award is named for the legendary I.F. Stone, the maverick investigative journalist who challenged Joe McCarthy’s scare campaign and was the first to question the Gulf of Tonkin hoax.

    • Sewage Sludge Rash? Texas Musical Fest-Goers Blame “Dillo Dirt”

      Nine months before tens of thousands flocked to a popular music festival in Austin, Texas, the concert park grounds were spread with sewage sludge. It was autumn of 2009, and sewage sludge was used as a “fertilizer” to make the grass — parched from prior dry seasons — green. But it rained the weekend of the festival, turning the grounds into a huge mud pit, with a stench that one concert-goer described as the smell of “pig manure,” with the consistency of pudding.

  • Censorship

    • Does Guernsey Really Want To Become Famous — And Ostracized — For Introducing Image Rights?

      That last paragraph underlines one of the key problems with image rights. Like the UK’s infamous libel laws, such rights might enable the world’s rich and powerful to censor stories that presented them in an unflattering light, by invoking their “image rights”.

      The same article quoted above talks about how the “legislation will define the rights of an individual to protect their own image and balance those against the freedom of news reporting and the public interest.” But a new law — especially in completely uncharted areas as here — is likely to require a number of detailed court cases to establish its contours. That’s going to be expensive, and not something that news organizations can lightly undertake, to say nothing of lone bloggers, which gives those with deep pockets a powerful weapon against the media.

    • Sherlock confirms that ‘Irish SOPA’ has been signed into law

      JUNIOR MINISTER SEÁN Sherlock has this afternoon confirmed that the controversial statutory instrument that reinforces online copyright laws in Ireland has been signed into law.

    • LEAKED: the video Olympics Authorities want banned

      Creating parodies goes to the heart of comedy and is one of the most effective ways to highlight social issues.

      But parodies of films and music aren’t allowed under UK copyright law, unless you have explicit permission of the copyright owner. I didn’t know this either until this week.

      Below is a satirical video leaked to Liberal Conspiracy that parodies the London 2012 Olympics using 3D animation. It is a political video that may have infringed copyright.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • GOP Senators To Unveil Rival Cybersecurity Proposals

      Two weeks ago at a hearing on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which is being championed by Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., aired a laundry list of concerns about that bill.

      “If the legislation before us today were enacted into law, unelected bureaucrats at the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) could promulgate prescriptive regulations on American businesses – which own roughly 90 percent of critical cyber infrastructure,” McCain said of Lieberman’s bill. “The fundamental difference in our alternative approach is that we aim to enter into a cooperative relationship with the entire private sector through information sharing, rather than an adversarial one with prescriptive regulations.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Devises Entirely New Wireless Troll Toll

      In 2005 then-AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre told Business Week that because people use Google, Google should help pay for AT&T’s network deployment (or as Ed put it, Google “ain’t usin’ his pipes for free”). ISP executives have long tried to offload upgrade expenses on to others, adding a new content toll despite the fact both content companies and consumers already pay a considerable sum for bandwidth. Whitacre’s comment triggered years of ugly network neutrality debate, and now AT&T is back with another idea.

    • Does the UN take over the Internet?
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How The US Trade Rep Is Trying To Wipe Out Used Goods Sales With Secretive TPP Agreement

      For a while now, we’ve been covering the gradual legal assault on the First Sale doctrine and beyond. The First Sale doctrine, of course, is what lets you resell a legally purchased book without having to first obtain permission from the copyright holder. Of course, copyright holders generally hate the First Sale doctrine, because it often means that their products have to compete against “used” versions of their own products as well. Of course, this view is very shortsighted and economically ignorant. A healthy used or resale market has been shown to increase the amount people will pay for new items — because they recognize that there’s a secondary market and they can recoup some of what they paid for the original. Thus a healthy secondary market, contrary to what some believe, can often improve the health of the primary market.

    • Copyrights

      • Funny How Sensitive Hollywood Gets When You Threaten To Mess With Its ‘Fundamental’ Structure

        One of the key points in the SOPA/PIPA debate involved Hollywood — and the MPAA’s Chris Dodd and Michael O’Leary in particular — dismissing the worries of folks in the tech industry about the rather fundamental changes that these laws would make to both the technological and legal frameworks of the internet. Anytime such a thing was brought up, it was dismissed out of hand. This was most noticeable during the original SOPA hearings in November, where a number of experts were pointing out their concerns with how SOPA would undermine basic internet security principles… and O’Leary dismissed them with a simple statement about how he just didn’t believe those concerns to be true.

      • Has The Megaupload Shutdown Been Good For The Entertainment Industry?

        One of our most vocal (yet anonymous) critics posted an off-topic comment on a totally unrelated story mocking us for not having covered the story of how Hollywood has been saved (saved!) thanks to the shutdown of Megaupload. Of course, the reason we hadn’t covered the story was because we didn’t know about it. He referenced a couple of French news reports, which I hadn’t seen until I had some time just now to catch up on some old comments. He could have submitted the stories, but he insisted that it would be a total waste of time because we ignore any story that we disagree with. That’s pretty funny, considering many, many of the stories here are ones that challenge our views. And, I’m especially interested in reports of actual data, even if it conflicts with other data we’ve seen in the past. In fact, I’m especially interested in such stories, because my focus is figuring out what’s really happening and understanding what’s actually best for culture and society. So data that actually challenges my assumptions is some of the most useful data around.

      • If Major Labels Are All About Helping Artists, Why Do We Keep Seeing Artists Calling Out Their Labels For Screwing Them?
      • ACTA

        • Rottification of ACTA

          Today the ACTA workshop turned out to be a catastrophy for ACTA proponents. Not because issues raised by MEP or participants were very tough, they weren’t. A toxic mix of clear cut academics speakers Geist/Geiger and then Sander and the Maastricht study butchering the agreement. We witness a slow “rottification” of ACTA.

        • ‘We, The Web Kids’: Manifesto For An Anti-ACTA Generation

          One of the striking features of the demonstrations against ACTA that took place across Europe over the last few weeks was the youth of the participants. That’s not to say that only young people are concerned about ACTA, but it’s an indication that they take its assault on the Internet very personally — unlike, perhaps, older and more dispassionate critics.

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