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Links 13/5/2012: Xfce 4.10, KDE 4.8.3, GNOME 3.5.1, GIMP 2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Nagios Vs. Icinga: the real story of one of the most heated forks in free software

    In March 14, 1999 Ethan Galstad released the first version of Nagios. Then, nearly exactly 10 years later (May 2009), Icinga (a fork of Nagios) was born. What happened there? Why a fork? In this article, I will shed some light about what made the Icinga developers decide to fork (although they still send patches to Nagios). In this article, I will talk to both Ethan Galstad himself, and Michael Lübben (one of the founding Icinga team members and Nagios addon developer). I will quote Michael and Ethan in the article. You get to read their points of view here.

  • Guidelines for Starting Your Very Own Open Source Project
  • Forrester: Hire software developers who take part in open source projects

    Analyst firm Forrester has encouraged businesses to recruit software developers who take part in open source projects, as it shows they are keeping their skills current.

  • Open source has become mainstream but still drives innovation

    At that time, most open source vendors were trying to replicate what proprietary vendors were doing, or what they had failed to do. The value proposition was simple: vendors would say they were like X, but more open, more extensible, and less expensive. Take a few of the successes of the late 2000s and who they were compared to: MySQL (Oracle), JBoss (WebSphere), Jaspersoft (BusinessObjects), Talend (Informatica), SugarCRM (Siebel).

    By and large, these vendors were successful. The first “billion dollar baby” of open source was MySQL, when Sun bought the company for $1 billion. At that time, Techcrunch headline was: “Sun Picks Up MySQL For $1 Billion; Open Source Is A Legitimate Business Model.” And indeed, 2008 marked a turning point for open source: more and more enterprise deployments; acquisitions, like in the “real” corporate world; more and more funding. The 451 Group tracks the history of VC funding in open source – the graph in this post shows that investment in 2008 was at an all-time high, which would only be matched again in 2011.

  • Inktank launches to change the face of open-source storage

    The lead developers behind open-source storage system Ceph have launched a company, called Inktank, to commercialize the software. The company describes Ceph as a “fully open source, distributed object store, network block device, and POSIX-compatible distributed file system designed for reliability, performance, and scalability.” It’s uniqueness comes in part because Ceph does all these things within a unified platform.

  • Open source enables high-volume searches

    Twitter, Facebook, the Library of Congress — all of these institutions have mind-numbing amounts of structured and unstructured data that must be indexed and searched quickly. In Twitter’s case, that’s about 300 million new pieces of information to index every day.

  • Open Source: Homeschool Computing

    Many parents in recent years have chosen to homeschool their children. The reasons for this vary, but most include some measure of the understanding that to truly pass on one’s values to one’s children one needs to be the primary source of information for that child. To place one’s child in a school, public or private, is to give up at least part of one’s responsibility to and for that child. There is usually also a desire to have more control over what that immature mind is experiencing as it grows. Some life events should be shielded from a growing mind until that mind is mature enough to handle such events in the context of the desired values imparted by the parents.

  • GNU Octave for the Life Scientist: An Interview with biochemist and author Heino Prinz

    I have studied Physics in Bonn, did my PhD in Biochemistry at a Max-Planck Institute in Göttingen and got my habilitation (In Germany and Austria you need such a licence to teach) at Innsbruck University in the Pharmacology department. I worked most of the time at the Max-Planck-Institute for molecular physiology in Dortmund. It always was somewhat strange, being a physicist working in biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacology. For a physicist, an equation or a reaction scheme is easy, because it is logical and precise. For a chemist, reaction schemes often seem to be incomprehensible and equations may lead to immediate paralysis when used in lectures. In contrast, chemists can perform complex chemical reactions which are admired (not really conceived) by physicists. I have spent most of my scientific life trying to help life scientists to bridge that gap.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Why Big Sites Run Drupal

      For the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), the decision to dump its aging content management system (CMS) was easy. Running 65 state government websites on two different versions of proprietary software — Vignette 6 and 7, one of which is no longer supported — had become cumbersome and costly. And moving all sites to Vignette 8 was too much of a “force fit,” said state CTO Steve Nichols.

    • WordPress is suddenly big business

      All Things Digital reported last week week that the company behind WordPress could generate almost $50 million in revenue this year.

      If you blog at all, you know WordPress is a big deal, but fewer people are aware that there is a company behind the platform called Automattic. The public face of Automattic and WordPress is Matt Mullenweg.

      Recently we published a story that WordPress was the platform of choice on 48 of the world’s top 100 blogs. According to Mullenweg’s “about” page on the Automattic site, it accounts for 15 percent of the world’s websites.

  • Business

    • Open Source Ceph Storage Filesystem Goes Commercial

      When open source software gets used in production grade environments, commercial support businesses tend to show up. That’s exactly what is now happening with the open source Ceph distributed storage filesystem.

      Ceph is now backed by Inktank, a commercial venture led by Sage Weil, founder of Ceph. The company had originally incorporated under the name Ceph Inc, but it decided to take a different route to help preserve the integrity of the open source project.

    • Open Source Business: How to Support A Family of 5 By Running An Open Source Project

      Lately, I’ve been recording music in my spare time. Since I try to use as much Free and Open Source software as possible, I found the free digital audio workstation Ardour. When I went to download the software, I was asked for a donation before I could download it. Intriguing!

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Survey data: nginx poised to become number 2 web server

        If current trends hold, then sometime late this summer, Microsoft’s Internet Information Services will fall to the number three web server position in global domains, behind two open source web server platforms: Apache and nginx.

      • Pentaho 4.5 Visualizes Big Data Analytics
      • Oh Certified Asterisk, Where Do You Come From?

        A couple of days ago, Malcolm Davenport posted here about Certified Asterisk, a new series of Open Source Asterisk releases being produced by Digium. Since that post went out, there’s been some discussion (almost confusion) in the Asterisk community about exactly where the Certified Asterisk releases are coming from, and what they contain. In order to try to help describe how this whole process works, I’ve created this page on the Asterisk Wiki which includes a diagram showing how all the current development and releases branches relate to each other, where tags (and releases) are made, and most importantly, how the Certified Asterisk branches are produced.

      • IBM ditches Siebel for SugarCRM

        Technology giant IBM is replacing CRM vendor Siebel and replacing its CRM systems with cloud-based SaaS provider SugarCRM.

        According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, SugarCRM is set to snap up the contract to manage sales, marketing and customer relationships for Big Blue. The contract sees Oracle-owned 67,000 Siebel seats swapped out for the open-source vendor.

  • Funding

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • MIT and Harvard Team Up on Open Source-Driven Online Education

      The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University have teamed up to deliver online learning to millions of people around the world, through their new edX initiative. “Through this partnership, the institutions aim to extend their collective reach to build a global community of online learners and to improve education for everyone,” the edX site reports. (If you’re familiar with MITx, it is now a part of edX.)

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Support for ODF from the Hungarian government

      The Hungarian government has committed to invest just over a million pounds (370 million HUF) in the development of applications that use the open document format (ODF), according to a report on the European Union’s Joinup web site. Two organisations will benefit from the funding: the Department of Software Engineering at the University of Szeged and the open source development company, Multiráció. In December of last year, the Hungarian government announced that from April 2012 all official documents would need to be prepared in internationally recognised open-standards-based formats.

    • The conflict between video on the web and open standards

      Few web video standards are truly open or free, and the major players have no interest in pushing them, says Richard Hillesley…


  • Health/Nutrition

    • America’s Mad Cow Crisis

      Americans might remember that when the first mad cow was confirmed in the United States in December, 2003, it was major news. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been petitioned for years by lawyers from farm and consumer groups I worked with to stop the cannibal feeding practices that transmit this horrible, always fatal, human and animal dementia. When the first cow was found in Washington state, the government said it would stop such feeding, and the media went away. But once the cameras were off and the reporters were gone nothing substantial changed.

    • Syngenta Celebrates Earth Day by Ladling on the Pesticides

      Herbicide manufacturer Syngenta had an interesting way of celebrating Earth Day this year, touting the joys of pesticides.

    • Syngenta Hired Guns Attack New Documentary

      As a new film highlights water contamination throughout the U.S. Midwest from Syngenta’s flagship herbicide atrazine, the world’s largest pesticide company has mounted a PR counter-attack downplaying the human and environmental health risks of a chemical linked to birth defects, low birth weight and certain cancers. Atrazine was banned in the EU in 2003, leaving the U.S. market as one of Syngenta’s most profitable and vigorously guarded markets.

  • Security

    • Buyer’s Guide to Full Disk Encryption

      When a corporate laptop goes missing, do you worry about the risk of a data breach? There is good reason for concern: According to recent research by Symantec, 34 percent of data breaches are the result of lost or stolen devices such as laptops.

      The good news is that this is a preventable issue. A Full Disk Encryption (FDE) solution can ensure that sensitive information isn’t exposed in the event that one of your organization’s laptops is lost or stolen.

    • PHP patch quick but inadequate

      The updates to PHP versions 5.3.12 and 5.4.2 released on Thursday do not fully resolve the vulnerability that was accidentally disclosed on Reddit, according to the discoverer of the flaw. The bug in the way CGI and PHP interact with each other leads to a situation where attackers can execute code on affected servers. The issue remained undiscovered for eight years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘Cornucopians in Space’ Deliver a Dangerously Misguided Message

      In some sense, TED is the techno-innovators’ version of the faith expressed by neo-liberal economics, in which the market solves nearly all of its own problems. The enduring posture at TED, therefore, is one that acknowledges serious world problems, ranging from war to famine, water and food availability, but which nearly always concludes that amazing and ingenious people – geniuses – are working to solve the problem. The Great Man theory of history would find each TED conference a comfortable place to be.

  • Finance

    • The Inflation’s In The Poverty
    • American Houses and the Oil Denominator
    • The Washington Post Continues Its Love Affair With NAFTA and Disdain for Facts

      The Washington Post was a strong supporter of NAFTA at the time the deal was approved. It continues to be a strong defender of the pact nearly two decades later. It has repeatedly shown itself willing to make up facts or just ignore them to push its pro-NAFTA line.

    • Weaker US 1st Q GDP

      To avoid social discontent and, in addition to stimulate the economy, China has embarked on a (serious?) policy of building cheap housing for the urban poor. A total of 5mn homes are expected to be built this year, with goal of reaching 36mn by 2015. However, the financing for this proposed rapid build out is questionable. The Government has increased central funding for low income housing by +23% to 212 Yuan this year, though the expected bill for the 36mn homes comes in at Yuan 5tr !!!. Local Governments, however, are not keen on spending on social housing. In addition, corruption has, in the past, meant that affordable homes have been sold to relatives/friends etc, etc – estimated at near 80% !!!! (Source GK Dragonomics) and authorities classify certain building programmes as social housing, when they are clearly not. As a result, I remain totally sceptical of this programme;

    • Money won’t decide the next president. But it may decide the next Congress.

      President Obama’s reelection campaign is likely to have more money than any presidential campaign in history. Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign, when you factor in the super PACs supporting him, could have even more money than that.

    • Muppets Protest at Goldman Sachs
    • Mirabile Dictu! Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Makes Case for Breaking Up Big Banks

      Goldman seems to be making a renewed effort at PR in the wake of the letter by derivatives staffer Greg Smith accusing the firm of caring only about profits and treating customers as stuffees (“muppets” was revealed to be the new term of art). That observation probably came as no surprise to anyone save Goldman staffers, most of whom probably thought they had conned their clients into believing otherwise, and a few like Smith who believed the party line.

    • Goldman Sachs pays £4.1m tax on £1.9bn profit

      The London arm of Goldman Sachs paid only £4.1m in corporation tax to the Treasury last year despite making pre-tax profits of £1.92bn, annual accounts have revealed.

      Goldman Sachs International (GSI) had a corporation tax bill of £422.3m but it deferred £418.2m – or more than 99 per cent of the amount – that it had to pay immediately in “current tax”. The Wall Street giant, presided over by Lloyd Blankfein, was able to postpone payment because of “timing differences”, according to the accounts.

    • Frontline’s Astonishing Whitewash of the Crisis

      Several of my savviest readers wrote expressing disappointment and consternation with the Frontline series on the crisis, “Money, Power, and Wall Street.” The first two parts of the four part series have been released, and it’s probably safe to say that this program is far enough along to be beyond redemption.

    • Goldman Sachs Closes Canadian Dark Pool Seven Months After Open

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) (GS) closed Sigma X Canada today, shutting down the dark pool for equities seven months after starting it.

      The stock trading venue stopped taking orders, according to a statement from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Since all orders expire daily on Sigma X Canada, none will be open after it closes, the agency said.

    • Goldman’s O’Neill tipped to join Bank governor race

      In theory the post of next Governor of the Bank of England won’t even be advertised for several months.

      In reality, the scheming and jostling for position are already in full flow. A new name in the frame today is Jim O’Neill, the affable Goldman Sachs economist now chairing the bank’s asset management division.

    • Goldman Looks to Hire Social Media Strategist

      Goldman Sachs may dominate financial markets, but there is one frontier it has not yet conquered: social media.

      So the Wall Street firm that many on the Internet love to hate plans to hire a “social media community manager,” according to a posting on its Web site. The position involves overseeing the firm’s online communities and developing a “positive online presence.”

    • Memo to Schneiderman Mortgage Task Force: When You are in a Hole, Quit Digging

      So we have yet to be completed incremental staffing of a grand total of 15? 65 people pursuing to the biggest consumer fraud in American history, when the savings & loan crisis had 1000 FBI agents tasked to it?

      The worst is the insulting five financial analysts. Tell me how “financial analysts” are supposed to get up to speed on securitization. There aren’t that many people who are experts who are willing to educate people going against the banks, and I’d bet big money that the Feds won’t be able to hire anyone of that caliber (they’d make more doing expert witness gigs).

    • Goldman Sachs Wins Dismissal of Some Claims in CIFG Suit

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) (GS) won dismissal of some claims in a lawsuit brought by CIFG Assurance North America Inc. over $275 million in residential mortgage-backed securities.

      The insurer sued Goldman Sachs in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan in August, accusing the investment bank of making misrepresentations in connection with the securitization of a portfolio of 6,204 mortgage loans.

    • Lack of Trust – Caused by Institutional Corruption – Is Killing the Economy

      Perhaps because we don’t trust our government, our big corporations or our other institutions to do anything very helpful for the country. Indeed, we don’t trust our government, big corporations and other institutions to even allow a fair playing field where we have a chance of competing fairly to get ahead on our own initiative.

    • Wrangling over anti-bribery law rages on, with top firms facing investigation

      The U.S. anti-bribery law that Wal-Mart may have violated in Mexico has ensnared leading companies from virtually every sector of the economy as federal prosecutors increasingly crack down on a wide range of transgressions, from improper accounting to giving foreign officials computers and bags of cash.

    • Councilmembers discuss ways to get out of bond debt deal with Goldman Sachs

      The City of Oakland should find a way to get out of its interest rate swap agreement with Goldman Sachs, a deal that costs the city $4 million annually, according to a city staff report. The problem before the city council now is figuring out the best way to do that without costing the city more money.

    • Want to stop banks gambling on food prices? Try closing the casino

      Recent price spikes in global food commodities – most notably the bubbles of 2008 and 2010-11 – have exposed a fundamental fault of economic analysis: although speculation in the world’s food supply has long been suspected, no one has been able to prove it. The world’s most precious resources may have been transformed into a casino for high rollers such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Barclays and Deutsche Bank, but it’s nearly impossible to figure out who is betting how much.

  • Censorship

    • German Ministry Advises Developing Countries Not To Sign ACTA

      Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) advises developing countries against signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, BMZ official Frank Schmiedchen said during a meeting of the Committee of Petitions of the German Parliament yesterday.

      The committee discussed a petition signed by over 60,000 German citizens calling for a stop to the ratification of ACTA by the German Parliament.

  • Privacy

    • Privacy concerns over popular ShowIP Firefox add-on

      A popular Firefox add-on appears to have started leaking private information about every website that users visit to a third-party server, including sensitive data which could identify individuals or reduce their security.

  • Civil Rights

    • Press Freedom Day – the world looks to Azerbaijan

      Today, 3 May, is United Nations World Press Freedom Day. For me this is a chance to remember the fundamental rights, including to self-expression, that are safeguarded for all of us in the European Union – whether you’re a journalist, blogger or ordinary citizen.

      And a chance to remember those people around the world who don’t have those protections, and are often restricted in what they can say or investigate.

      In places without human rights safeguards, the right to express oneself is all the more important. People who struggle for democracy must have a voice. People like Eynulla Fatullayev: Azerbaijani journalist, human rights activist and winner of the 2012 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. He dared to speak up to defend freedom of expression — and was for a time imprisoned for having done so. I salute his brave work.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How and How NOT to Re-License your Work for Free Culture

        The last week has been terrific for “Lunatics”. We’ve cleared the licenses on almost all of the music — and certainly the most important pieces. However, for a moment, I want to focus on the little problem with the one minute of music we probably won’t get to use, and the right and wrong way to relicense your art if you are ever in that situation.

      • Dutch Judge Who Ordered Pirate Bay Links Censored Found To Be Corrupt
      • Programming languages not copyrightable, rules highest EU court

        The European Court of Justice ruled this morning that the functionality of a computer program and the programming language it is written in cannot be protected by copyright.

        Europe’s highest court made the decision in relation to a case brought by SAS Institute against World Programming Limited (WPL), effectively leaving the door open for software companies to “reverse engineer” programs without fear of infringing copyright.

      • What’s at stake in Oracle v. Google

        Traditionally, application programming interfaces (APIs) have been presumed to be non-copyrightable, because unlike other elements of a software, which involve creativity, APIs are typically comprised of facts that enable one specific task: how does my software program talk to your software program and vice versa?

      • TLWIR 36: Why Hollywood MUST Embrace Free Software Concepts To Survive

        Google’s ultra high speed Internet project aims to bring Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri Internet speeds 100 times the current U.S. average. This has Hollywood petrified. Will users with gigabit connections pirate enough movies to decimate the movie industry’s revenue? Will piracy crush Hollywood in the way that it crushed the music industry? Not if Hollywood is smart: they need to CAREFULLY study how the Linux kernel is developed, and how Free Software is developed in general.

      • ACTA

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