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Links 4/11/2012: KDE Brazil, Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 12:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Help Wanted: KhanDesktop, TrafficSqueezer, Extreme Tux Racer, MathBench
  • CoreBreach now open source!
  • TLWIR 48: Revealing the Hidden Biases Against Free Software

    The problem is that people often take what writers say as fact without realizing that there is a lot of intentional disinformation being used to gain a certain objective. Sometimes the author is not spreading disinformation, but putting information in the wrong context to get the desired result. In the old days, news used to be disseminated by journalists who were trained to at least look objective. Now, any skillful writer has to power to inform or misinform people.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice: A Continuing Tale of FOSS Success
    • LibreOffice’s Dubious Claims: Part 2, Community Size

      In a previous post I looked at how LibreOffice inflates its user and download stats, claiming to have far more users than it actually has. Several journalists took these claims at face value and repeated them in their articles, never questioning whether LibreOffice representatives were peddling anything other than the plain, honest truth. No one seemed to noticed that the claims did not pass the” sniff test”. No one investigated more deeply. Until now. I hope that after reading these posts that you, gentle reader, will exercise your brain the next time you read a press release or blog post from LibreOffice, and try harder to separate fact from fiction. It will not be easy.

  • Funding

    • Maia shows early success on UK Kickstarter

      Maia is a colony management simulator for Windows, Mac, and Linux from indie developer Simon Roth. Launched on Kickstarter the day the service became open to projects based in the UK – October 31st – the game has already received £26,721 over 1,500 pledges at the time of writing. With a goal of £100,042 to be pledged by November 28th, that means the game is already 27% funded.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 3.2.1 Battles Against Linux For Speed

      DragonFlyBSD 3.2 brings kernel scheduler improvements, updates to the GCC compiler, and a port of the FreeBSD USB stack. It’s the kernel work though that’s interesting since in multi-threaded benchmarks it has been shown to do much better than DragonFlyBSD 3.0 and to compete with Scientific Linux 6.2.


    • RaspberryPi Secure VoIP access points with GNU SIP Witch

      I have recently been working on RaspberryPi GNU sipwitch servers. I actually have two things in mind for this. The first is a simple and complete stand-alone secure free software voip “switch” anyone could deploy and use, much like a FreedomBox for VoIP, as a kind of wallwort with ethernet you can plug into any router. A low cost and general purpose secure VoIP server does I think have appeal, and producing complete pre-configured and assembled servers would certainly be more interesting than selling project t-shirts. The second idea is a sipwitch VoIP public wifi access point to enable anonymous secure calling, like pictured here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source blueprints for a modern off-the-grid civilization

      Marcin Jakubowski dreams of living off the grid. Over the past few years, he’s been working on a set of 50 machines he believes necessary to found and sustain an independent, modern community. He wants to “take everything that civilization has learned to date” and use it create a blueprint for a “Global Village Construction Set” that others can use to follow in his footsteps. His Factor e Farm has already developed and built a tractor, brick press, table saw, and bread oven, as well as many other machines. The farm hopes to have the complete set of 50 ready in 2015.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • The AuroraUX Operating System Is Dead

    While figuring out what niche operating systems to benchmark on Phoronix next, I realized the AuroraUX operating system project quietly disappeared.

  • Dark Money Rises

    About a week before election day, a young girl, maybe 10 years old, confronted Colorado House candidate Sal Pace in a pew at his Pueblo church. “She said, ‘Is it true that you want to cut my grandmother’s Medicare?’” Pace remembers.

  • Election 2012: They Will Steal It!

    Back in 2000, Republican election officials in Florida led by then-Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris kicked nearly 60,000 mostly African American voters off the rolls just ahead of the election.

    They said that these people – who comprised 3% of the entire African American electorate in Florida – had been convicted of felonies and were thus ineligible to vote.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Romney Campaign Incorrectly Trains Iowa Poll Watchers To Check For Photo ID

    Earlier this week, ThinkProgress released internal documents from the Romney campaign detailing how it is training poll watchers to mislead voters in Wisconsin. Now, according to new documents, Wisconsin may not be the only state where Romney’s campaign is equipping volunteers with deceptive information.

  • Be an Expert Voter

    With Election Day on the horizon, most voters have settled on their choice for the oval office. But let’s not forget about the all the other choices on the ballot, many of which will have a great affect on the lives and livelihoods of Americans — Congressional and State representatives, local officials, and referenda.

  • Google targets confused Windows 8 users with new ad

    The just-launched Windows 8 has been nothing short of polarizing, in both the online community and users at large. But we can all agree it’s new, and a little bit confusing. Google wants to help — help you get your old Google back, anyway.

  • Review: Microsoft’s Surface RT will make even a fanboy cry

    After using a Surface tablet, it became crystal clear that the Surface is really an Office appliance, not a tablet à la the iPad. But it’s not a very good Office appliance. One reason is that the hardware doesn’t work well for Office, even with the bundled keyboard cover, because the Office apps are nearly unusable with the touchscreen and just so-so with the keyboard’s trackpad. You’ll want a laptop’s superior input hardware if you do a lot of Office work. Even then, you’ll suffer from the poor Windows touch environment, where text selection is difficult, gestures are limited, and the heavy reliance on menus is interruptive.

  • Security

    • Facebook flaw allowed access to accounts without authentication
    • A Day In Court? Maybe Not In America

      Over the last decade, judges have repeatedly told torture victims that they don’t have the right to a day in court when they seek compensation. Even when victims have substantial publicly available evidence to support their claims, our government and its private contractors have remained above the law.

      Under most circumstances, these plaintiffs would have their day in court. Our constitutional and civil rights demand that. But when it comes to national security, the Bush and Obama administrations asked courts to toss these cases, even before plaintiffs have a chance to share their side of the story, invoking the state secrets privilege and other procedural hurdles.

    • For sale: Windows 8 zero-day vulnerability

      Vupen occupies a gray area of computer security research, selling vulnerabilities to vetted parties in governments and companies but not sharing the details with affected software vendors. The company advocates that its information helps organisations defend themselves from hackers, and in some cases, play offense as well.

    • Judge Orders DOJ to Justify Secrecy of Watergate-era Wiretaps

      A federal judge in Washington today ordered the U.S. Justice Department to justify the continued need for secrecy over certain Watergate-era wiretap and grand jury records that remain sealed in a high-profile criminal prosecution.

      Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia told the government to send him copies of documents placed under seal in the criminal case against G. Gordon Liddy, charged in connection with the burglary at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The sealed records include grand jury information and “documents reflecting the content of illegally obtained wiretaps.”

    • Feds Ordered to Disclose Data About Wiretap Backdoors

      The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco concerns the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. Passed in 1994, the law initially ordered phone companies to make their systems conform to a wiretap standard for real-time surveillance. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2005 to apply to broadband providers like ISPs and colleges, but services like Google Talk, Skype or Facebook and encrypted enterprise Blackberry communications are not covered.

    • Megaupload and the Government’s Attack on Cloud Computing

      Yesterday, EFF, on behalf of its client Kyle Goodwin, filed a brief proposing a process for the Court in the Megaupload case to hold the government accountable for the actions it took (and failed to take) when it shut down Megaupload’s service and denied third parties like Mr. Goodwin access to their property. The government also filed a brief of its own, calling for a long, drawn-out process that would require third parties—often individuals or small companies—to travel to courts far away and engage in multiple hearings, just to get their own property back.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Leaks

    • Team GhostShell leaks 2.5M records from Russian govt, firms

      eam GhostShell, the hacker group responsible for the recent leak of some 120,000+ records raided from top universities around the world, has done it again.

      “GhostShell is declaring war on Russia’s cyberspace, in ‘Project BlackStar’. The project is aimed at the Russian Government. We’ll start off with a nice greeting of 2.5 million accounts/records leaked, from governmental, educational, academical, political, law enforcement, telecom, research institutes, medical facilities, large corporations (both national and international branches) in such fields as energy, petroleum, banks, dealerships and many more,” the wrote in the statement accompanying the leak.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • James Hansen: ‘Neither Party Wants To Offend The Fossil Fuel Industry’

      There’s been a noticeable shift in the way that prominent figures talk about how to deal with climate change. Many advocates have shifted from a more accommodating “let’s all join together and develop clean energy” message to directly targeting the fossil fuel industry as a villain. This effort, embodied in 350.org’s “Do the Math” tour, has become a central piece of messaging in the environmental community.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Kuwait: Charges against Musallam al-Barrak must be dropped

      The Kuwaiti authorities must drop charges against Musallam al-Barrak, who faces prosecution purely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression with remarks he made that have been deemed to undermine the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amnesty International said.

    • Netizen freed for lack of evidence in lèse-majesté case

      A Bangkok court acquitted the netizen Surapak Phuchaisaeng two days ago of charges of insulting the king (lèse-majesté), for which he had been remanded in custody since September last year.

      Reporters Without Borders is satisfied with the outcome of this case. “This case, involving a year in custody, underlines the failings of the Thai judicial system, particularly concerning allegations of lèse-majesté,” the press freedom organization said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Election predictions: The candidate in favor of GMOs, bankster bailouts and corporate domination will win!
    • Copyrights

      • Government: “Innocent” Megaupload user uploaded pirated music

        When the Electronic Frontier Foundation wanted to vindicate the rights of Megaupload users who used the locker site for non-infringing purposes, they put forward Kyle Goodwin. The Ohio videographer used Megaupload as a backup service, but he lost commercially valuable footage thanks to the unlucky combination of the government’s January raid and a personal hard drive crash. Since May, he has been seeking the return of his files.

      • Publishers Ordered to Pay $3 Million in GSU Copyright Case

        Not only did publishers not get the injunctive relief they sought in a closely watched case over e-reserves, last week they paid the tab. In a final order in the Georgia State E-reserves case, Cambridge University Press vs. Patton, Judge Orinda Evans directed the publisher plaintiffs to pay the defendants nearly $3 million in legal fees and costs, including $2,861,348.71 in attorneys’ fees and $85,746.39 in other court costs. And, last week, on October 26, records show that the publishers deposited more than $3.2 million into the Commercial Registry of the Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The money, however, isn’t gone yet—publishers have appealed the case, and the money will stay in escrow under a stay order until the appeal is settled.

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