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11.07.12

Links 7/11/2012: Steam Closed Beta, KDE 4.9.3 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 1:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • The Linux Setup – Brian Proffitt, Writer

      I love Brian Proffitt’s setup for two reasons. First of all, it’s OpenSUSE, my current distro of choice, and I always love to see that represented here. But also, Brian’s setup is shockingly stock. And in more and more of these interviews, we’re seeing people who are able to get an impressive amount of work done without a lot of configuring or manipulating. It makes me appreciate what a great time it is for desktop Linux. And reading some of this week’s Windows 8 reviews, I wonder if a lot of Windows users might be jealous of just how easy Linux has become.

  • Server

    • U.S. panel labels China largest cyberspace threat, report says

      China is increasingly using hackers to infiltrate U.S. military computers and defense contractors, according to a draft of Congressional report obtained by Bloomberg.

    • Brocade Acquires Linux Software Defined Networking Vendor Vyatta
    • Why do super computers use Linux?

      In our last few posts we discussed the fact that over 90% supercomputers (94.2% to be precise) employ Linux as their operating system. In this post, a sequel to our last posts, we shall attempt to investigate the potentials of Linux which make it suitable and perhaps the best choice for supercomputers OS.

    • Brocade to acquire Vyatta

      Brocade has announced that the company is acquiring the privately held Vyatta. Brocade produces a range of data and storage networking products, and considers the acquisition to be a good fit. Vyatta specialises in developing a software defined networking (SDN) and builds that software atop of an open source Debian-based distribution, Vyatta Core, which it commercialises as Vyatta Network OS.

  • Kernel Space

    • New Members Join Linux Foundation

      Componentality Oy is an automotive Research and Development company that builds passenger-oriented devices for public transportation; entertainment and connectivity for cars and road infrastructure; and unique technical solutions for special purposes in the automotive field, focusing on DSRC communications and eCall/ERA GLONASS systems.

      Host Concepts is a software development company specializing in Guest Interaction Experiences. From hotels and restaurants to cruise ships, cars and convention centers, the company designs, develops, supports and hosts custom software solutions. They specialize in universally accessible applications designed and coded for web, mobile and native operating systems.

      Micware is software integrator and is developing Linux-based software stacks for reference hardware systems for Automotive Grade Linux (AGL).

      MIRACLE LINUX (an apt name) is a Linux distributor for enterprise and embedded market based on Japan. It is also co-owner of Asianux Co. Ltd. which is based in China . The company has more than 13 years of experience in the field of Linux business.. It is joining to participate in the Long Term Support Initiative and the Automotive Grade Linux workgroup.

    • AMD Closes The Operating System Research Center

      AMD has indeed shutdown its Dresden-based Operating System Research Center (OSRC) in the latest round of cost-cutting efforts.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Marek Continues Improving Radeon Performance

        There’s been another improvement to Mesa with the Radeon Gallium3D R600 driver by Marek Olšák that can improve the OpenGL performance in certain situations for this open-source AMD Linux driver while also conserving memory usage.

      • Radeon Driver Is Now KMS-Only, 7.0 Released

        Alex Deucher announced the release of the xf86-video-ati 7.0.0 driver this morning, which is the first open-source ATI Linux graphics driver release that is strictly KMS-only.

      • NVIDIA 304.64 Driver Fixes Performance, New GPUs

        The NVIDIA 304.64 Linux graphics driver was released today with support for new graphics cards, address performance issues related to recent Linux kernels, and provide other fixes for those relying upon this closed-source driver.

      • Clock-For-Clock, Nouveau Can Compete With NVIDIA’s Driver

        Similar to last week’s testing of comparing the open-source vs. closed-source Radeon Linux driver performance from a stock Ubuntu 12.10 installation, the tables have now been turned to look at NVIDIA hardware on this latest Ubuntu Linux release. Benchmarks were done of the stock Nouveau open-source graphics driver, the official NVIDIA proprietary driver, and the proprietary driver when it was underclocked to match the clock frequencies as used by the reverse-engineered Nouveau driver.

      • XWayland Gets Updated

        Daniel Stone has updated the XWayland patches for supporting X.Org/X11 applications on Wayland.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Second alpha of Mandriva Linux 2012 dons “Moondrake” disguise

        The second alpha of Mandriva Linux 2012 has been released under a new name: “Moondrake GNU/Linux 2012″. In the release announcement, Mandriva Linux Project Leader Per Øyvind Karlsen says that “The name of the distribution used for this release isn’t actually the final name chosen, but only one of the likelier candidates under consideration, which we’re taking out for a test drive to try it on for now and prepare for a rebranding process.” While a possible new name has yet to be chosen for the distribution, last month it was announced that the foundation for the open source project would be called “OpenMandriva”.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Linux Top 3: Fedora 18 Delayed, Tiny Core Advances and a Shot in the ARM

          There are some Linux distributions that hold steadfast to their release schedules no matter what. That’s not the case with Fedora, which is aiming for quality and stability and will often delay a release and its milestone components for that reason.

          Fedora developers decided to push back the Fedora 18 beta release by at week during a go/no go meeting on Thursday November 1st. The decision to delay the beta release was due to a number of blocker bugs as well as issues with the upgrade tool.

          The anaconda installation tool currently has 7 blocker bugs listed for it that will need to be addressed for the release to go forward.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Valve opens Steam for Ubuntu to first wave of beta testers

            After receiving over 60,000 beta applications since last week, Valve has begun sending out the first wave of invites for the Steam for Linux beta today.

            The Linux version of Steam currently only works on Ubuntu 12.04, reflecting what Steam for Linux team member Frank Crockett said in a statement was “an overwhelming majority of beta applicants [reporting] they’re running the Ubuntu distro of Linux.” Other popular Linux distributions will be supported in the future, Valve said. The service will be opened to more beta testers going forward, then expanded to all Linux users “once the team has seen a solid level of stability and performance across a variety of systems.”

          • Open Source Ubuntu OS Makes Strides in Emerging Markets
          • Steam for Linux Beta Arrives, Only For Ubuntu

            Valve has launched a limited access beta for its new Steam for Linux client. There was an encouraging excitement around Steam for Linux. Valve received over 60,000 responses to its request for participants in the Steam for Linux Beta within its first week. The company has selected the first round of beta participants from those early adopters.

            The arrival of Steam for Linux owes a lot to Microsoft which has started to turn Windows from a platform for OEMs and developers into a Microsoft only product inspired by Apple’s walled garden.

          • Day 1 of LinuxCon Europe 2012 in Pictures

            The event started with keynotes from Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth…

          • Ubuntu 12.10: Unity Just Sort of Grows on You

            The Unity Launcher shows a hefty finessing — this is the icon bar that is hard-wired to the left edge of the screen for launching frequently used applications. Its displayed icons are more appealing visually with their rounded, uniform appearance. The ability to hide the Launcher bar until the mouse pointer touches the left screen edge makes the Unity icon row less annoying.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Here Comes Newebe, A New Kind Of Distributed Social Network

    Diaspora was one such project, which has become a community venture recently. Dispora stores user information in pods, which are servers where information and data of the users are stored. As its open source, user can run a pod in his own server and invite friends and co-workers to use it. Thus he may form a private social network without relying on other third party social site.

  • MIT Develops Open Source Game A Slower Speed of Light

    Are you a science buff who is curious how the world would look like if you travel at the speed of light? Will it twist everything around you as the light from different objects reach you at a different interval as per the special theory of relativity? How will everything look like if the speed of light is slowed down? This is what an open source game developed by MIT Game Lab tried to do.

  • New Open Source data storage solution coming soon
  • Contribute to an open source project no matter your experience level

    Okay, that has nothing to do with the subject of this post, but when I tweeted out a request for suggestions for an opening line, that was the most interesting response (thank you, @kantrn). I got others that were a lot more helpful (thank you, @justinlilly)—that’s the power of community, right?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Foundation to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle Up with the IRS

        For years now, a lot of people have misunderstood how the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation works. It is, of course, one of the most influential entities in all of open source, but Mozilla gets the vast majority of its revenues from Google, in exchange for favorable search placement in the Firefox browser, which benefits Google. According to the nonprofit law blog, last year the Mozilla Foundation got 88 percent of its revenues from Google.

        The IRS has been investigating the Mozilla Foundation with an eye toward the taxes that it pays, and the good news for Mozilla fans is that Foundation Chairman Mitchell Baker has announced that Mozilla is getting off with a very light $1.5 million tax bill.

      • Firefox vs. the Web

        One of the most hotly debated topics in years is now bubbling up in the Mozilla community as people debate the position of Web vs. Firefox.

        There was a time when Firefox was just a browser, the view by which freedom loving people could see and interact with the web. The primary brand was Firefox as an enabler of the Web. That’s now sliding a bit as Mozilla brands Firefox as its own operating system and ecosystem of app.

        “To what extent, if any, are we willing to promote ‘the open web’ or ‘HTML5′ over ‘Firefox’, when the success of one and the success of the other are in tension?” Mozilla staffer Gervase Markham wrote in a mailing list message.

      • Have some Mozilla with that Windows

        The only way I can describe this to you is that it’s the most idiotic ruling ever handed down by any group or judge anywhere. I’m shocked that it’s really come to this. OK, the story is this: The European Commission (EC), whoever they are and whose real purpose and power is questionable, handed down a ruling that stated that Microsoft has to give Windows users in Europe a browser choice. And, the fact that they didn’t in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, means that Mozilla lost millions of downloads of its Firefox browser. Mozilla estimates that loss in the range of six to nine million downloads during the non-compliance timeframe.

  • Education

    • Hampshire College distributes free software bundle to all incoming students

      Hampshire student and FSF campaigns organizer Kira shares the success of their ambitious project to help fellow students get started with free software. The achievements of Kira’s organization, LibrePlanet/Students for Free Culture, is exciting and replicable outside of Hampshire. Kira provides suggestions to help other students realize the same changes at their schools.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.8 Compiler Development Is Over

      Recently I reported that GCC 4.8 was nearing the end of stage one development — the period during which features and new development work can be merged — and will be moving to stage three. As of this morning, GCC 4.8 / the trunk code-base is now into this next stage where only bug-fixes and new ports not requiring changes to other parts of the compiler can be made. New functionality/features are not allowed during this period that will last for approximately two months until the official release happens.

    • LibreWRT: What we use for wifi at the FSF

      I would like to take a few moments to introduce Buffalo, the access point and router which provides network connectivity to portable computers in the FSF’s office.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • UK Government finalizes Open Standards Principles: The Bigger Picture

      Last week, the UK Cabinet Office released its Open Standards Principles: For software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT specifications. It became effective November 1, 2012, and applies to IT specifications for software interoperability, data, and document formats for all services delivered by, or on behalf of, central government departments, their agencies, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), and any other bodies for which they are responsible.

      For the open source community and advocates of open standards, the UK’s Open Standards Principles policy is a welcome and positive development. It follows a lengthy, and often tumultuous, consultative process that began in 2011.

Leftovers

  • Looking Past Search

    Can we make search organic again? Or should we look past search completely?

    Searching has become shopping, whether we like it or not. That’s the assumption behind the results, and behind recent changes, at least to Google’s search features and algorithms. I’m sure this isn’t what Google thinks, even though it is a commercial enterprise and makes most of its money from advertising—especially on searches. Credit where due: from the moment it started adding advertising to search results, Google has been careful to distinguish between paid results and what have come to be called “organic”.

  • Science

    • Why Conservatives Turned Against Science

      A prediction: When all the votes have been counted and the reams of polling data have been crunched, analyzed, and spun, this will be clear: Few scientists will have voted for Republican candidates, particularly for national office. Survey data taken from 1974 through 2010 and analyzed by Gordon Gauchat in the American Sociological Review confirm that most American scientists are not conservatives.

  • Hardware

    • ARM, Imagination Technologies Take Over MIPS

      MIPS Technologies has announced today that their patent portfolio is being bought out by a company largely backed by ARM while Imagination Technologies will be taking over the MIPS company.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Iran Sanctions Take Unexpected Toll on Medical Imports

      Sitting on one of the many crowded benches in the waiting room of the International Red Crescent’s pharmacy in central Tehran, Ali, 26, was working his phone. After nearly six weeks of chasing down batches of Herceptin, an American-made cancer medicine, Ali, an engineer, was wearing out his welcome with friends and relatives in other Iranian cities, who had done all they could to rustle up the increasingly elusive drug.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Human Rights Defender Brutally Attacked by Moroccan Police

      Washington) RFK Human Rights Laureate Aminatou Haidar is the latest victim of systemic violence and police brutality by the Moroccan government against the Sahrawi people. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) has received multiple reports in the last week that indicate dramatically increased police presence, repression, and assault against civilians in El Ayun, the of capital of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, coinciding with Ambassador Christopher Ross’s arrival in the area.

    • Israeli soldiers arrest son of detained Palestinian activist at West Bank protest

      The 16-year-old son of Bassem Tamimi, a detained Palestinian rights activist in the occupied West Bank, was himself arrested by Israeli soldiers today during the regular weekly protest against the encroachment of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land.

      Wa’ed Tamimi was arrested along with four activists during the demonstration on Friday afternoon in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, 21km northwest of Ramallah.

    • The Kafkaesque World of the No-Fly List

      Is there a good reason that Long is on the no-fly list? I have no idea. There might be. But what’s outrageous about this, aside from the sheer number of people we’ve placed on the no-fly list over the past decade, is the lack of judicial oversight. Someone has put you on the list, but you don’t know who. There’s presumably a reason for being put on the list, but no one will tell you what it is. There’s a procedure that provides you with a “redress control number,” but it often appears to be meaningless. If you go to court, a judge will tell you it’s a national security issue and there’s nothing to be done about it. It’s a cliche to call this kind of system Kafkaesque, but what other word is there for it?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Neil Barofsky on the Need to Tackle Banking Reform

      Between President Obama’s ineffectual proposals and Mitt Romney’s loving embrace, bankers have little to fear from either administration, and that leaves the rest of America on perilously thin economic ice. Neil Barofsky, who held the thankless job of special inspector general in charge of policing TARP, the bailout’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, joins Bill to discuss the critical yet unmet need to tackle banking reform and avoid another financial meltdown.

    • Liberals fear grand bargain betrayal if President Obama wins

      Labor unions and liberal interest groups are going all-out for President Barack Obama’s reelection — but they’re just as ready to turn that firepower back on him if he betrays them with a grand bargain.

  • Censorship

    • Media freedom at home and abroad

      I’m shortly off to Baku for the Internet Governance Forum. Azerbaijan is a country with serious issues of media freedom – where journalists regularly face arrest or imprisonment, and the suppression of very basic human rights. While I’m there I’ll be raising a number of concerns about how protection and promotion of human rights.

    • It’s Time to Stop Using the ‘Fire in a Crowded Theater’ Quote

      Ninety-three years ago, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote what is perhaps the most well-known — yet misquoted and misused — phrase in Supreme Court history: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

      Without fail, whenever a free speech controversy hits, someone will cite this phrase as proof of limits on the First Amendment. And whatever that controversy may be, “the law”–as some have curiously called it–can be interpreted to suggest that we should err on the side of censorship. Holmes’ quote has become a crutch for every censor in America, yet the quote is wildly misunderstood.

    • Harry Fox Agency Claims Copyright Over Public Domain Work By Johann Strauss

      The Harry Fox Agency (HFA) is the main licensing agency for mechanical licenses (i.e., actual reproductions of recorded works — which is different from things like ASCAP who handle licenses for performances). While it doesn’t get into as many ridiculous copyright scrapes as others, it still has been known to insert itself where it doesn’t belong at times. The latest, courtesy of BoingBoing is that HFA made a copyright claim on a YouTube recording of Thailand’s Youth Orchestra (Siam Sinfonietta) playing the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss. The work is 164 years old and clearly in the public domain. Furthermore, since HFA only covers mechanical licenses, and this is a new performance, not a use of a recorded song that HFA has rights over, the whole thing is completely ridiculous.

    • Oakland chief filtered out Occupy e-mail

      People who’ve e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn’t get much of a response.

      That’s because he used a spam filter to dismiss messages sent to him with “Occupy Oakland” in the subject line, according to a federal court filing Monday. Same goes for the phrases “stop the excessive police force,” “respect the press pass” or “police brutality.” Instead of landing in his in-box, those messages went straight into his junk mail folder, which he apparently never looked at.

    • Russia’s secret internet blacklist

      The Russian state has created a blacklist of blocked websites and internet addresses – but the list itself is secret.

      It was drawn up following the enactment of a statute called the “law to protect children from information detrimental to their health and development”, which is ostensibly aimed at protecting minors from harmful content.

  • Privacy

    • FTC to apply pressure on Do Not Track

      The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC ) is planning on increasing the pressure of the participants in the W3C standardisation process for the Do Not Track (DNT) header. “If by the end of the year or early next year, we haven’t seen a real Do Not Track option for consumers, I suspect the commission will go back and think about whether we want to endorse legislation” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz talking to Politico.

    • Why Privacy Is the Future of Competition

      Data protection legislation may protect our data locally, but internationally privacy is not just a personal issue, it lies at the heart of ensuring competitive markets.

    • Why We Need New Rights to Privacy

      Thanks to the real state website Zillow, it’s now super easy to profit from your neighbor’s suffering. With a few easy clicks, you can find out “if a homeowner has defaulted on the mortgage and by how much, whether a house has been taken back by the lender, and what a house might sell for in foreclosure,” as the Los Angeles Times recently reported. After using the service, you can stop by the Johnsons’ to make them a low-ball offer, perhaps sweetening the exploitation with a plate of cookies.

  • Civil Rights/Voting

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • End Of Bogus Trademark Lawsuits Over AdWords In Sight

        For years, we’ve pointed to the series of ridiculous trademark lawsuits filed against Google over Adwords, and wondered when it would finally be settled and understood that advertising on a third party site against a competitor’s trademark is just good marketing, not trademark infringement. To bring up an analogy, many of us are used to supermarkets that display coupons near competing products — or where you get handed competing coupons printed out at checkout. This is the exact same concept. It’s perfectly reasonably that if you’re searching for a certain brand name, a competing company may seek to buy clearly marked advertisements that attempt to offer you a better deal. There’s no confusion by the consumer and no “dilution” of the original brand. It’s just good competition. Even more bizarre is the fact that these lawsuits targeted Google, rather than the advertiser directly. After all, Google just provides the platform. If an ad is actually confusing to users, then the only trademark claim would be against the company who actually created the confusing ad, not the platform that hosts it.

    • Copyrights

      • Epic’s ‘Music First’ Approach: Delay Album Release; Drop Band When They Leak It

        Last month, we wrote about how the band Death Grips, an indie sensation who had signed with Epic Records (owned by Sony Music), had decided to release their latest album for free all over the internet, after some sort of dispute with Epic over the release date. The band was already considered one of the top authorized downloaded bands on BitTorrent due to earlier releases it had put online for free itself. However, with Epic trying to take a standard “slow down and wait” approach, the band posted its new album to various file lockers and started tweeting out links, noting that “the label will be hearing the album for the first time with you.”

      • Will Disney Block Star Wars Fan-Made Content?
      • EU backs away from copyright sanctions in Canada trade deal

        Following a meeting of the European Union member states on 5 October, leaked documents have shown this week that the EU plans to back away from criminal sanctions in its copyright agreement with Canada.

        CETA, the Canada-EU trade agreement, is currently being negotiated. It initially included many paragraphs lifted directly from the controversial ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) pact that was shot down spectacularly by the European Parliament earlier this year. ACTA triggered widespread protests from citizens concerned that it would breach their online civil liberties.

      • Kim Dotcom loses new domain in preemptive strike by government
      • Response to the CMS committee inquiry on the creative economy
      • Kink.com Owner Inoculating Against Piracy By Selling The Scarce

        Usually when I have the godly duty of writing about porn on this site, it has to do with a pornographic company acting (shockingly) nefarious. Maybe they’re reaping millions in a judgment over a handful (unintentional innuendo) of films. Or else they’re attacking speech using IP laws to silence critics of their jack-ass-ery. It might be very easy for readers to assume that pornographers as a whole (still unintentional, I swear) would be aligned against the philosophies and economics that we discuss every day. They’re an easily painted “bad guy” for a host of social reasons.

      • Author Explains The Joy Of Helping Russian ‘Pirate’ Translate His Book

        It was about five years ago that we first wrote about best selling author Paulo Coelho revealing that he was eagerly helping create pirate foreign translations of his books, and noting that sales of legitimate copies always seemed to increase whenever he did this — initially pretending to be someone else, under the username “pirate coelho.” The first time this happened was in Russia, where the Russian translation resulted in his books — which had almost no market previously — suddenly shot up into huge sales (from less than 1,000 to over 100,000). While he’s seen similar success stories elsewhere, it really seems like the Russian ebook market is an interesting one to observe.

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