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Links 1/10/2012: September News of Interest

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • The State of Open Source Spectrometry

    For those of you that slept through chemistry in high school, spectrometry (also known as spectroscopy) is the process of measuring the spectrum of light that either passes through, or is reflected off, of an object. As different chemicals and compounds have different spectral emission patterns, the wavelength of the light entering the spectrometer can be used to determine the makeup of the substance being tested.

  • Learning from Diaspora

    As the remaining founders of Diaspora hand the project over to the community, Glyn Moody asks what lessons we can learn from the success and failure of a free software project and considers the importance of thinking about what happens next.

  • FXPAL open source’s DisplayCast
  • Building Blocks for the Modern Web Application

    Planning on building the next Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr? Forget what you know about the LAMP stack, SQL-based databases, and web hosting. The building blocks for the modern web app are independent, shared-nothing, infinitely scaleable, and cloud ready. This is no longer the way of the future, it’s the way of right now.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Accelerates Firefox 18 with IonMonkey

        For better or for worse, the modern web relies on JavaScript. That’s why JavaScript engines are critically important in modern web browsers. For years, browser vendors have competed on JavaScript benchmarks (originally just SunSpider) and apparently they will for years to come.

      • Mozillux 12.09.1 Screenshots
      • Firefox OS Video Demo Released

        Firefox OS is put through its paces in this video showing off browsing the web and photos, as well as phone functionality and other features

      • Mozilla Lays Out Firefox Enterprise 17 Release Plans

        Enterprise users were never really fans of Mozilla’s insanely rapid release cycle for the open source Firefox web browser. So, in order to help out enterprise users, Mozilla launched the ESR (Extended Supported Release) with Firefox 10. That ESR is still maintained with security updates as Mozilla updates the mainline branch currently at Firefox 15.

        Mozilla developer Alex Keybl has now detailed the plans for how Firefox ESR 10 users will migrate (or not) to the next ESR release. The plan is for the next ESR to be based on Firefox 17 which should be out around November 20th.

      • Mozilla Firefox 15 Key Features | Download Firefox For Desktop And Mobile

        The final stable release of Mozilla desktop and Mobile browser version 15 is now available to download. Mozilla Firefox 15 brings several improvements for the desktop and mobile, which will allow you to have a better web browsing experience in desktop and mobile as well. Check the key features and installation instructions of Mozilla Firefox 15 down below.

      • Mozilla previews “command line” in Firefox 16 Beta

        Web developers will be able to drive Firefox from the command line thanks to one of the new features that has appeared in Firefox 16, which has just arrived in the Firefox Beta channel. The Developer Toolbar sits at the bottom of the browser’s window and provides quick, keyboard-driven access to many of the developer features in Firefox.

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 15 Officially Lands in Ubuntu
      • Firefox 15 Officially Lands in Ubuntu
      • Firefox 15 Goes on a Memory Diet

        Although Firefox has managed to stake out a sizable chunk of Web browser market share, it’s long been regarded by many users as something of a memory hog. Firefox aims to put those gluttonous ways behind it in the browser’s latest version. Firefox 15 includes a new memory management system, along with several other new features.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.2 works faster and smarter

      The new release of PostgreSQL, version 9.2, has arrived, four months after the appearance of the first beta version. The new release includes read and write performance boosts, index-only scanning, new web-oriented functionality, and support for range data types. As shown in the beta, the new version promises to be much faster than its predecessor primarily thanks to index-only scanning, which allows searches to avoid reading the underlying tables and instead search only indexes. This new feature is used automatically, though there are caveats as to how effective it can be all situations, but where the required data is already indexed, for example in “big data” scenarios, the boost in performance can be huge.

    • Commercial multi-master replication for PostgreSQL
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox Finds the Meaning of Open Source Life with Version 4.2

      In the spirit of full-disclosure, let me first tell you that I love VirtualBox. I use it every day and it is a core component of my workflow and my digital life.

      The new VirtualBox 4.2 release out today is now going to make my life, a bit easier. The new release enables the grouping of VMs, which is a simple, yet great idea. So now on my test box I can group multiple versions of a given Linux distro together for example, instead of scrolling through a (massive) list.

    • Journeying Itinerants Hijack Open Office For Profit
    • Openness is Alive and Well (and Living in Europe)

      The first quarter/half of 2013 will be the most exciting period for Linux Desktop – ever(!?) so far. This has to do mostly because many major distros are going to drop XServer for the shake of Wayland.

      While GTK3 port in Wayland is expected to be complete and stable by 3.8 around in March, some popular applications like Gimp, Libre Office, Firefox, VLC isn’t sure if they make it.

    • Whither now, OpenIndiana?

      Alasdair Lumsden, the project lead of OpenIndiana (OI), resigned from the project a few days ago. Following proper protocol, he announced his resignation in an email to the OI developer mailing list.

      If you do not know what OI is, it is a desktop-cum-server fork of OpenSolaris, which itself is an open source fork of Solaris. For a time, the guts of OpenIndiana was based on that of OpenSolaris, then it was recently changed to that of illumos. And, of course, illumos is a fork of OpenSolaris. Ok, this is the last use of the word fork in this paragraph, hopefully in this article.

  • CMS

    • Badgeville brings gamification to Drupal

      This week, Badgeville announced a partnership with Acquia, the enterprise Drupal integrator, to bring Badgeville gamification to Drupal installations.

      Badgeville uses gaming principles to drive positive user behavior. Peter Guagenti, vice president of products at Acquia, sees this as a logical partnership for his company. “Badgeville’s gamification platform is a natural extension of our Drupal Commons social business software, or any web experience built in Drupal,” he said.

  • Healthcare

    • Moorfields NHS trust deploys open source clinical modules

      ICT team at NHS trust roll out next phase of open source patient record system developed in-house

      Moorfields eye hospital NHS foundation trust has said that it has added three new modules for prescribing, operations notes and correspondence to OpenEyes, its open source (OS) e-patient record system.

      OpenEyes was developed by an in-house team, led by consultation surgeon and former medical director at Moorfields, Bill Aylward. He told Government Computing that the trust needed to replace its existing e-patient record system and decided to develop new software itself because of the lack of a suitable commercial system.

  • Funding

    • Google donates to an Eclipse performance test lab – update

      Google has contributed $20,000 to the Eclipse Foundation for hardware to assist in the task of performance testing the foundation’s integrated development environment (IDE). The extra contribution from Google’s Open Source Programs Office is over and above Google’s membership, and comes after the Eclipse community raised concerns about the faltering performance of Eclipse 4.2 especially when compared to Eclipse 3.8.

    • Google Donates $20,000 to Eclipse Foundation

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Do We Need an Affero Cloud? Nah.

      Donnie Berkholz of RedMonk has argued that the “infrastructure stack” needs an Affero LGPL to prevent the dreaded fragmentation. Do we? I’m not convinced that it’s necessary, desirable, or likely to catch on at all.

      Donnie’s argument is that an Affero LGPL (as opposed to AGPL) would be workable because it would allow businesses add proprietary bits that link to the stack, but be forced to open up their changes to the actual infrastructure stack itself.

    • jQuery dropping GPL from licence
    • Addressing license and source code concerns

      I will not change the license of Mayan EDMS. I will also continue to work on the software as scheduled. There were never plans for Mayan to go closed source or to stop being released under the GPL. Still, I gave the benefit of the doubt regarding the license choice and the opinion of the community echoes mine. My only concerns were for those that were not following the terms of the GPL license and that were infringing on my copyrights. I was not insinuating any type of adverse action against those complying with the GPL license. I understand your concerns regarding Mayan EDMS, and appreciate the fervor with which you have defended it. Rest assured knowing that Mayan EDMS is and will continue to be released under the GPL.

    • Mayan GPL Dispute Examined

      It’s been an interesting few days for the Mayan Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). Mayan’s developer, Roberto Rosario, made quite a stir when he spoke out against forks of his software which he believed to be violating the GPL. Reactions over Roberto’s claims and his resulting actions have been varied, and give interesting insight on the application of the GPL in the real world.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Openness is Alive and Well (and Living in Europe)

      Last week I took something of a trip back through time. The transition began somewhere over the dark Atlantic, on my way to Brussels via Heathrow, when the person sitting next to me struck up a conversation. Improbably, I found myself discussing ODF – the OpenDocument Format – with a former Sun engineer who had followed the ODF–OOXML contest with great interest back in 2005 – 2007. I was sorry to tell him, and he was sorry to hear, that things had not gone so well in the years that followed, and that many of the bright hopes of those that had supported ODF remained to be realized.

    • Digital IPA: The QR-Packing Open Source Beer

      If you’re reading this site, we can safely assume you’re a supporter and user of open source software. If you’re a serious about it, you may even drive an open source car. But are you hardcore enough to drink open source beer?

  • Programming

    • Author Interview: Jan Erik Solem Programming Computer Vision with Python
    • Crack 0.7 Released

      After the release of version 0.6.1 early this year, we were hoping that our next release would be 1.0. Unfortunately, implementing compiled module caching (a featured we deemed critical for 1.0) proved to be more difficult than expected, and we’ve ended up doing several big coding sprints interspersed with lots of other smaller scale improvements without ever quite making it happen.

    • A Brief Tour of the Go Standard Library
    • Python 3.3.0 Released 130
    • Review: Manjaro Linux 0.8.0 Xfce

      I was busy at home for the last two weeks with many people coming and going; plus, I never had any other reason to post much else. Well, now I’m into the last few days of my break at home before getting back on campus and there haven’t been as many people coming and going, so I’ve gotten some time to do a review. On DistroWatch, I read of the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.0, and while I initially didn’t think about it further, I saw quite a few articles reviewing it and other press about it, which convinced me that I should review it as well. That is what I’m doing now.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 UI editor Maqetta gets a visual makeover

      The Maqetta HTML5 user interface (UI) designer has been given a visual styling makeover for the new Release 7. The Dojo Foundation-hosted project offers an IDE-styled environment for the creation of HTML5 UIs, whether for the desktop or for mobile devices. Release 7′s makeover also includes new collapsible palettes of elements on the left and right side of the in-work user interface design, a streamlined HTML file creation interface and redesigned toolbar. The update comes with a number of performance improvements in both the page editor and the preview-in-browser mode, which now incorporates Dojo’s Zazl for server-side rendering.

    • The Document Foundation joins OASIS standards organisation

      The Document Foundation (TDF) has announced that it has joined OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), the international standards development consortium which focusses on ebusiness and web service standards, as a Contributor. According to Document Foundation director Italo Vignoli, TDF will primarily focus its efforts on the Technical Committees for the Open Document Format (ODF), representing the open source productivity suite LibreOffice which it sponsors and governs.


  • 60% of the apps on the Apple App Store have never been downloaded

    Looking at the Apple iPhone App Store, if I spend 30 seconds reading about each App to decide whether I wanted it or not, it would take me 150,000 minutes, or 2,500 hours or 104.17 days to go through them all.

  • Finance

    • A Rare Look at Why the Government Won’t Fight Wall Street

      The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial – but there have been very few who’ve come at the issue from the inside.

  • Censorship

    • Apple Feels Reporting Drone Strikes ‘Objectionable And Crude’ And Rejects App

      It seems that today you can’t spit in the wind without hitting a story about some US drone killing a bunch of people in a country somewhere overseas. Every known drone strike is accompanied by news reports of the location and the number of people killed. Yet, even with all these stories about drone strikes, it can a daunting task for those interested in following them to keep up with them all. So what is a drone enthusiast, or someone just appalled by the frequency of the strikes, to do?

  • Copyrights

    • Former Copyright Boss: New Technology Should Be Presumed Illegal Until Congress Says Otherwise

      One of the reasons why we live in such an innovative society is that we’ve (for the most part) enabled a permissionless innovation society — one in which innovators no longer have to go through gatekeepers in order to bring innovation to market. This is a hugely valuable thing, and it’s why we get concerned about laws that further extend permission culture. However, according to the former Register of Copyrights, Ralph Oman, under copyright law, any new technology should have to apply to Congress for approval and a review to make sure they don’t upset the apple cart of copyright, before they’re allowed to exist. I’m not joking. Mr. Oman, who was the Register of Copyright from 1985 to 1993 and was heavily involved in a variety of copyright issues, has filed an amicus brief in the Aereo case (pdf).

    • Feds Charge Activist with 13 Felonies for Rogue Downloading of Academic Articles

      Federal prosectors added nine new felony counts against well-known coder and activist Aaron Swartz, who was charged last year for allegedly breaching hacking laws by downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database via an open connection at MIT.

      Swartz, the 25-year-old executive director of Demand Progress, has a history of downloading massive data sets, both to use in research and to release public domain documents from behind paywalls. He surrendered in July 2011, remains free on bond and faces dozens of years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

    • Letting the baby dance

      WHEN Stephanie Lenz in Pennsylvania put a video on YouTube of her 18-month-old son bopping to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” she did not expect a lawsuit. But four months and 28 views later, the musician’s recording company, Universal, howled that the 29-second “performance” infringed its copyright and demanded that YouTube take it down.

      That was in 2007. Since then computers, smartphones and the internet have made copyright law look even more obsolete. But the response so far has been not to update the laws but to widen their scope and stiffen the penalties. In January websites including Wikipedia briefly shut down in protest against tough anti-piracy laws promoted by the entertainment industry in America and elsewhere.

    • Why Johnny can’t stream: How video copyright went insane

      Suppose I could offer you a choice of two technologies for watching TV online. Behind Door Number One sits a free-to-watch service that uses off-the-shelf technology and that buffers just enough of each show to put the live stream on the Internet. Behind Door Number Two lies a subscription service that requires custom-designed hardware and makes dozens of copies of each show. Which sounds easier to build—and to use? More importantly, which is more likely to be legal?

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