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Links 19/6/2012: Mandriva Linux 2012 Tech Preview, Linus’ Remarks, Dell Helps Ubuntu, Wine 1.4.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Weekend Project: Open Source Crowd Mapping with Ushahidi
  • Open Source Initiative Gets More Members

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) Board has announced that five significant organizations have been granted Affiliate Membership of the organization, including the first User Group.

  • 5 new affiliates for the OSI

    The ranks of the Open Source Initiative’s affiliate scheme have expanded with five new “significant” organisations joining. The new members are AFUL (Association Francophone des Utilisateurs de Logiciels Libres), a user association for French speaking free software users; The Document Foundation, legal and logistical home of LibreOffice; The OuterCurve Foundation, the Microsoft and AOL sponsored enterprise open source group; OW2, the open source community for enterprise infrastructure software; and The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation behind Wikipedia and many other collaboratively created reference projects.

  • OSI Welcomes New Affiliates, Opens For Affiliate Applications
  • SourceForge back-end code to be donated to Apache
  • Web Browsers

  • Education

    • Open source creates a more compassionate global education

      Rock legend Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame has asked many interesting questions (in song). This one (posted on his website) might be one you don’t expect: “Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?”

      Will educators, parents, and children view free and open source as a way to create a kinder, sharing, and cooperative relationships with one another in the United States and around the world?

    • A quest for change in education

      For the last few years, I have been increasingly interested in the area of Open Education Resources (OERs). MIT’s Open Course Ware was one of the pioneers of OER and the manner in which it was used across the world was truly fascinating. Khan Academy took the concept of OERs and made it wildly popular – the 3000 videos on its web site have been viewed more than 133 million times!

      Why this interests me is because I believe (as do many others) that education is one of the most critical inputs for India’s development. Well, more than an input, I’d say this is the critical factor that decides whether our country descends into chaos in the next few decades or emerges out of poverty and takes a place of pride on the world state as one of the developed nations. Think of it as that moment when an aeroplane gathers speed on the runway and generates enough thrust to break free from the gravitational pull of the earth and soar into the sky. If we educate our youth and make them skilled and able citizens of India, we will soar into the skies. If we don’t, we will land with a thud. As simple (and scary) as that.


    • Richard Stallman talking in the UK

      For those of you in the UK who wish to catch Richard Stallman – father of the Free Software movement and president and founder of the Free Software Foundation – he is giving three talks in Britain in the coming days.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming


  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Open Source PHP and Ruby on Rails Updated for Security
    • “Zero-day” exploit sales should be key point in cybersecurity debate

      Last week, Forbes’ Andy Greenberg investigated a dangerous but largely underreported problem in Internet security: the sale of zero-day exploits to customers not intending to fix the flaws. Zero-day exploits are hacking techniques that take advantage of software vulnerabilities that haven’t been disclosed to the developer or the public. Some companies have built successful businesses by discovering security flaws in software such as operating systems and popular browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer, and then selling zero-day exploits to high-paying customers—which are often governments.

    • Protecting Yourself in a Cyberwar World

      Which leads me to the second response: users are going to have to take even more responsibility for their own security. It’s not just “install antivirus and update regularly” anymore. You need to avoid the products which are most vulnerable — whether because they’re buggy, or just because they’re widely used and therefore often attacked. And, as I will elaborate in future posts, you need layered security — secure OS, secure browser and email, intrusion detection, and safe working habits. (Stop using your PC as “administrator,” and stop clicking on links in email!) This is where the real safety lies, because right now the industry has little incentive to make you safer, and — as EFF noted — the government has an incentive to make you less safe.

      You have to protect yourself…because no one else will protect you.

    • Hacked companies fight back with controversial steps

      Frustrated by their inability to stop sophisticated hacking attacks or use the law to punish their assailants, an increasing number of U.S. companies are taking retaliatory action.

      Known in the cyber security industry as “active defense” or “strike-back” technology, the reprisals range from modest steps to distract and delay a hacker to more controversial measures. Security experts say they even know of some cases where companies have taken action that could violate laws in the United States or other countries, such as hiring contractors to hack the assailant’s own systems.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Solar Power Goes Parabolic

      From a very small base, and from a tiny position in world energy supply, the buildout of global solar power is starting to go parabolic. Last year, according to the just released BP Statistical Review (you must access the Excel workbook for solar data), global solar generation nearly doubled to reach 55.7 TWh (terrawatt hours). | see: Global Solar Consumption in TWh (terrawatt hours) 2001-2011.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • New Zealand’s High Court Steps Into Extradition Fight Over Kim Dotcom

        As the Justice Department continues to pretend there’s nothing strange at all about its highly questionable tactics in shutting down Megaupload and having its executives arrested, the courts are still struggling with the details. A few weeks back, we noted that a judge in New Zealand rejected the US’s demand that New Zealand merely rubberstamp an extradition order to the US, despite there being numerous questions over the case itself and whether or not extradition is appropriate. As part of that, the judge also ordered the US Attorneys to hand over the evidence they’re using to make the case against Dotcom and his colleagues, such that they can properly respond to the evidence. The US, as you might expect has gone absolutely ballistic about this, insisting that such an effort is impossible — and that “it would take at least two months” to get the evidence together.

      • Copyright must foster innovation, not just protect a right

        It has never been clear to me how the growing criticism of copyright and patent law is faring. Not well, I would judge by the lack of coverage in widely read journals. At the same time, we are seeing more like this enteraining op-ed piece, titled “Fair Use, Art, Swiss Cheese and Me” in such widely read journals as the New York Times.

      • Google Threatens To Sue Huge YouTube MP3 Conversion Site

        According to a letter seen by TorrentFreak, Google are threatening action against one of the web’s largest YouTube conversion sites. The site, which according to Google’s own stats is pulling in 1.3 million visitors every day, extracts MP3 audio from YouTube videos and makes it available for users to download. Google’s lawyers say this must stop, and have given the site seven days to comply.

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