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Links 31/10/2012: Valve Likes GNU/Linux. EFF Does Not Like Unity in Ubuntu 12.10

Posted in News Roundup at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • “Jitsi”… la alternativa libre a “Skype”.

    Como “todos” sabéis, “Skype” fue adquirido por Microsoft, y en su momento les prometí una alternativa libre. Pues bien, esa alternativa se llama “Jitsi”, antes conocido como “SIP Communicator”.

  • Day of Reckoning For Open Source Software May Be Coming
  • Open Source Orion 1.0 Browser based Code Editor Goes Live

    Back in January of 2011, the Eclipse Foundation announced the development of Orion, a browser/cloud based IDE. At the time, Mike Milinkovich, exec director of the Eclipse Foundation told me that Orion is more than just Eclipse in a browser. It’s a view that he re-iterated today with the official launch of Orion 1.0

  • Gild Source helps startups mine for developer talent gold
  • Architecture 3.0 and Open Source
  • Five More Common Myths Around Open Source Adoption [Slideshare]
  • Open source: not always a successful course

    In my early-October discussion of tech simplification at my former primary home, I’d mentioned that I was able to dispense with my powerline networking setup. But when I re-visited the CA residence a couple of weekends ago, I realized I’d forgotten about one particular node; my Power Mac G4 Cube upstairs. Instead of resurrecting a powerline spur, which would have necessitated a re-expansion beyond my solitary eight-port switch at the router, I instead decided to connect the G4 Cube to the LAN via an Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi bridge.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Cloud Apache OpenOffice plans to be discussed next month

      OpenOffice’s graduation to a top-level project at Apache now clears he way for faster cloud innovation, especially as Microsoft Office 365′s debut nears. Plans for “Cloud Apache OpenOffice” will be discussed at ApacheCon Europe in weeks

    • LibreOffice Quantal features: Unity Integration, PackageKit and Templates

      The PackageKit/Session Installer integration is implemented in UNO, that allow extensions and macro creators to trigger the installation of software from trusted archives in general — quite a nifty feature in itself. As we have this now in place, in the future we can also use it to complete the LibreOffice install by adding missing packages for certain actions that are not available in the default Ubuntu installation (which leaves out some parts of LibreOffice).

  • Semi-Open Source

  • Funding


    • GCC 4.8 Nearing End Of Stage One Development

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek issued a new 4.8.0 status report where he mentions “I’d like to close the stage 1 phase of GCC 4.8 development on Monday, November 5th. If you have still patches for new features you’d like to see in GCC 4.8, please post them for review soon. Patches posted before the freeze, but reviewed shortly after the freeze, may still go in, further changes should be just bugfixes and documentation fixes.”

  • Project Releases

    • Open source NAC system PacketFence 3.6 released

      PacketFence is a fully supported, trusted, free and open source network access control (NAC) system.

    • Clementine music player adds podcast support

      The latest major update to Clementine, version 1.1, expands the open source media player’s streaming support and adds long-awaited podcast functionality. Clementine is a cross-platform program that, its developers say, is designed to be both fast and easy-to-use, and was inspired by version 1.4 of Amarok (the current release is Amarok 2.6). It supports playback of local music libraries and streaming of online radio stations, and can be used to transcode music into MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Speex, FLAC and AAC files.

    • Sourcefabric’s Airtime 2.2 gets smart blocks

      Sourcefabric has released a new version of its open source radio automation software that brings with it several new features. Airtime 2.2 includes improvements to the rebroadcasting features of the application as well as new “Smart Blocks” that allow users to automatically assemble randomised playlists according to a set of parameters.

    • Bootstrap 2.2 becomes more flexible with new templates

      The Bootstrap developers have announced the release of version 2.2.0 of their open source web front-end toolkit. This new major update is the project’s first release since leaving Twitter, which made the framework available as open source in August of last year, and brings with it dozens of fixes as well as new templates and a new media component.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • From Open Source to Crowdfunding

      One of the premises of this blog is that the success and methodology of open source are not one-offs, but part of a larger move towards open, collaborative activity. Thus, by observing what open source does well – and not so well – lessons can be learned that can be applied in quite different fields.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Open Textbook Challenge [Infographic]

        With the cost of college textbooks as high as they are, students are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. The edtech world is finally starting to take notice: companies and edtech leaders are working to create resources for open-source textbooks. Online Colleges has created an infographic on the numbers behind the shift toward open-source textbooks, and some of the statistics will surprise you.

    • Open Hardware

      • Off to the Future with a new Soccer Robot

        Computer scientists from the University of Bonn have developed a new robot whose source code and design plan is publicly accessible. It is intended to facilitate the entry into research on humanoids, in particular, the TeenSize Class of the RoboCup. The scientists recently introduced the new robot at the IROS Conference (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in Portugal.

  • Programming

    • GCC 4.8 Compiler On AMD’s Eight-Core Piledriver

      This month from CPUs based upon AMD’s new Piledriver micro-architecture I have delivered results of compiler tuning on AMD’s Open64 compiler as well as GCC bdver2 tuning. That initial testing from an AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core processor didn’t show any big boost out of the “bdver2″ target with the new BMI/TBM/F16C/FMA3 instruction set extensions. Testing in this article from the AMD FX-8350 are GCC compiler benchmarks of the 4.6.3, 4.7.2, and 4.8.0 development snapshots to look for performance improvements on this new high-end AMD processor when using the very latest GCC compiler code.


  • Nothing Is Foreign to the Liar Willard Romney Anymore

    It was early in the proceedings here on Monday night when I was struck with a horrible vision. It may have been right about that moment in the final presidential debate when Willard Romney — who, for most of the past two years, has been the most bellicose Mormon since they disbanded the Nauvoo Legion — looked deeply into the camera’s eye and, inches from actual sincerity, said, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Or, perhaps, it was when, in a discussion of his newfound dedication to comprehensive solutions to complex problems, he announced his devotion to “a peaceful planet,” or when he cited a group of Arab scholars in support of loosening the grip of theocratic tyranny in the Middle East.

  • Tim Cook calls Surface tablet confusing

    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took a dig at Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Surface tablet during Apple’s earnings call on Thursday, referring to it as a “fairly compromised, confusing product”.

    “I haven’t personally played with a Surface yet,” Tim Cook said in response to a question about the Surface and the competitive landscape in the tablet market overall.

    “What we’re reading about it is that it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product.”

  • Microsoft’s Pivot — A Plan to Dominate “Devices and Services”
  • Surface is ‘a quirky cat,’ teardown shows

    iFixit determines Microsoft’s tablet is pretty tough to repair, coming in only slightly easier than the iPad.

  • Poll shows tepid interest in Windows 8

    52 percent of respondents had not heard of Windows 8 and that 61 percent had “little or no interest”

  • Mobile Devices Beating PCs As Default Gateway To The Internet
  • Windows 8: Does Microsoft’s Split-Personality OS Make Sense?

    In studies conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, a software consultancy, experienced Windows users had trouble finding applications on the Desktop interface.

  • Bizarre Trend: Journalism Professors Using Klout Scores As Part Of Students’ Grades

    We’ve raised questions in the past about the relevance of “Klout” scores. If you don’t know, Klout is one of a few companies that try to measure “influence” online by looking at your social media activity. The whole process seems kind of silly, but for whatever reason, once you put a number on things, people take it seriously, no matter how bogus the number might be. Lots of companies now use Klout scores to determine who they should give special perks to, leading to plenty of people just trying to game their scores. However, should Klout scores count towards your grade as a student? Adam Singer sent over examples of two separate journalism professors who think so.

  • Why We Have So Many Dumb Rules: A Case Study

    New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten a lot of abuse for his campaign to ban the sale of sugary drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces. There are lots of reasons for this, but among the economically literate his proposal is widely viewed as gratuitously inefficient. Simply taxing sugary sodas would be a lot more sensible, so why not do that instead?

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Supreme Court and the death of progress

      In tonight’s ‘Conversations with Great Minds,’ Thom talks with Frederick Kaufman, author and Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine. Tonight’s ‘Big Picture Rumble’ panel discusses Romney campaign Co-Chair John Sununu’s racist comments on Colin Powell, how simply living near foreclosed homes has cost families trillions and whether Hurricane Sandy will prevent the oligarchs from stealing the election.

    • Amid Cutbacks, Greek Doctors Offer Message to Poor: You Are Not Alone

      As the head of Greece’s largest oncology department, Dr. Kostas Syrigos thought he had seen everything. But nothing prepared him for Elena, an unemployed woman whose breast cancer had been diagnosed a year before she came to him.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Ex-CIA Officer, Torture Whistleblower to Be Sentenced for Leak
    • Video: Police Brutalize Defenseless Man at Aliya

      Over the next couple of minutes the man is also pepper-sprayed and beaten with a truncheon by the female officer, all while posing no threat to the officers’ well-being whatsoever.

      After a good two minutes of sadistic thrashing, the officers are joined by a squadron of their peers, and successfully put him in handcuffs and under arrest.

      A source confirmed with CrownHeights.info that the man had full permission to be there, and had been living there for a month without any trouble. It is unknown who called the police or why.

    • Capitol Hill’s Rabid, Ravaging Republicans

      Has there ever been a more crazed, cruel, anti-people, corporate-indentured, militaristic and monetized Republican Party in its 154-year history? An about-to-be-released list of some of the actual brutish votes by the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor, will soon be available to you from the House Democratic Caucus.

    • Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

      Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

  • Leaks

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: “Donors Trust” and “Donors Capital Fund”

      Earlier this year internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a major hub of climate change denial and right-wing extremism, were publicly leaked. The documents exposed the Heartland Institute’s funders and strategies for attacking climate science, and led to a mass exodus of Heartland’s corporate funders.

    • Einhorn Family Foundation Behind Voter Suppression Billboards

      One Wisconsin Now and theGrio have uncovered that the Milwaukee-based Einhorn Family Foundation is the “private family foundation” that funded controversial billboards in Milwaukee which warned: “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY! 3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine.” The billboards were denounced as voter suppression by Mike Wilder, director of the African-American Round Table, and other community groups. The billboards were put up in largely African-American and Latino communities in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Columbus by media behemoth Clear Channel, but the client remained anonymous.

    • Groups Use Fake Letters, Felony Threats to Suppress Vote

      When Phyllis Cleveland first saw the billboard on East 35th Street warning of prison time and a $10,000 fine for voter fraud, the city councilwoman concluded it had one purpose: to intimidate the constituents of her predominantly low-income ward in Cleveland, Ohio.

    • Telling Truths about Israel, Palestine
  • Censorship

    • Judge Rejects Request To Seal Filings In Case Over Miami Heat Owner’s Unflattering Photo

      Earlier this year, we wrote about how a minority owner of the Miami Heat, Ranaan Katz, was so upset about an “unflattering photo” that a blogger/critic had posted of him, that he apparently bought the copyright on the photo and sued the blogger, claiming copyright infringement.

    • The Year In SLAPPs: From The Oatmeal To Pink Slime

      2012 has been yet another year filled with meritless lawsuits filed solely to chill First Amendment free speech rights — so-called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). As websites relying on user-generated content continue to increase in popularity, we also see a rise in SLAPPs targeting online speech, from the everyday blogger to the one-time online reviewer. Some of the most talked about SLAPPs this year include:

    • Greek journalists warn over press freedom

      Tension rises between Greek government and media after TV presenters are suspended over criticism of public order minister

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • America’s Schools: Breeding grounds for compliant citizens

      For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ORG says IP Committee has missed the point

      Reacting to the All Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group’s report, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “We welcome the group’s desire for evidence based policy but think this sits ill with its’ call to move the Intellectual Property Office to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, which has had a dire record of inventing policy initiatives without a shred of evidence.

    • Three former Environment Ministers speak out on NK603 and Roundup
    • Of Course Monsanto Says It’s Safe

      If you’ve been paying attention to the news about food lately, you’ve probably read about the now infamous “Seralini study,” in which University of Caen (France) molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini demonstrated major health issues associated with eating Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) corn and the herbicide used in conjunction with it, RoundUp.

    • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

      Over the past year or so, there has been a slow and steady effort to generate support for a U.S.-EU free trade agreement. The Obama administration is now behind this, and there is no reason to think a President Romney would change gears. Thus, regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election, this trade initiative is likely to go forward.

    • Trademarks

      • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

        A couple years ago, we wrote about Hebrew University suing GM for using an image of Albert Einstein in an ad without first getting permission (i.e., paying up). Einstein left his assets to Hebrew University (of which he was a founder and a big supporter), and Hebrew University has taken that to an extreme, more or less arguing near complete ownership over Einstein’s likeness, and has been ridiculously aggressive in trying to enforce those rights — to the point of tricking print shops into printing Einstein images, only to threaten them with lawsuits. All this despite the concept of publicity rights barely even existing in Einstein’s time, and no indication that he cared one way or the other about such things.

    • Copyrights

      • Have EU orphans found a caring home?

        As promptly reported yesterday by the IPKat, the Orphan Works Directive has just been published in Official Journal of the European Union, thus becoming Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. This Kat agrees with Jeremy that there’s plenty of material for preliminary references to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as the various provisions in the Directive look, to say the least, open to various interpretations.

      • Memo To Congress: Stop Trying To Fix Silicon Valley

        But the more urgent motivator for lawmakers was the bruising battle early this year over SOPA—a bill aimed at reducing online copyright infringement that would have dramatically increased civil and criminal penalties associated with even minor violations of the law.

        What looked like a slam dunk for the entertainment industry, which authored the bill, instead sparked a revolt among Internet users that culminated in a day of website blackouts. Millions of average citizens called and wrote to Congress to complain, bitterly, about lawmakers’ casual and admittedly inexpert tinkering with the one growing sector we have left.

      • Exploring The Earnings Of A Humble Bundle Author
      • Yet Another Musician Discovers That Free, Implemented Well, Can Increase Fans & Make You More Money
      • Your Right to Own, Under Threat
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