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Links 13/11/2012: India’s Android Tablets, Tails 0.14

Posted in News Roundup at 10:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why experiment with Linux?

    In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the announcement or release of a number of new products: the iPad Mini, an updated version of the full-size iPad, and Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Surface tablet.

    A lot less attention was paid to the October 18 release of one of the most widely-used Linux distributions, Ubuntu. That’s unfortunate, because Linux in its various flavors is a solid operating system. It’s even used by such major companies as Google on both their servers and their desktops.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • CloudSigma’s Membership to The Linux Foundation Reinforces its Position as a Customer-Centric Public Cloud Provider
    • Nagios plugin to check an OCSP server with hardcoded certificate
    • Ext4 Data Corruption Bug and Solution
    • LM_Sensors 3.3.3 Improves Linux Hardware Sensors

      With most of the interesting hardware monitoring/sensor drivers are living within the mainline Linux kernel, this week’s LM_Sensors point release update isn’t particularly interesting. The new release-, LM_Sensors 3.3.3, adds in support for humidity sensors within the sensors command. Additionally, the sensors-detect command no longer probes I2C adapters on graphics cards.

    • Linux 3.7-rc5
    • Download Linux Kernel 3.7 Release Candidate 5

      Linus Torvalds announced earlier today, November 11, that the fifth Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux 3.7 kernel is now available for download and testing.

    • VIA Kernel Mode-Setting Still Not Ready For Mainline

      It’s been several months since having anything to report on the state of VIA graphics under Linux. VIA hasn’t been doing anything officially to better their Linux support and the “OpenChrome” development community is quite limited and small. While the long-in-development OpenChrome DRM driver for providing VIA kernel mode-setting support has yet to be merged into the mainline code-base, it’s still being developed.

    • Thoughts on the ext4 panic

      In just a few days, a linux-kernel mailing list report of ext4 filesystem corruption turned into a widely-distributed news story; the quality of ext4 and its maintenance, it seemed, was in doubt. Once the dust settled, the situation turned out to be rather less grave than some had thought; the bug in question only threatened a very small group of ext4 users using non-default mount options. As this is being written, a fix is in testing and should be making its way toward the mainline and stable kernels shortly. The bug was obscure, but there is value in looking at how it came about and the ripples it caused.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Wayland LiveCD Now Supports XWayland

        It’s the Rebecca Black OS that serves as a live platform for experimenting with Wayland. There was a new release at the end of October but now it’s been updated again to handle the recent XWayland patches. XWayland allows for running X11 applications on top of Wayland. THe XWayland code should be merged into the mainline X.Org Server for the 1.14 release in March.

      • Intel 2.20.13 Driver Update Carries More Bug-Fixes

        For a while Chris was releasing new Intel X.Org driver updates weekly but that has settled down now with most SNA fall-out and other recent changes having been worked out. However, on Sunday morning he found it time to release the xf86-video-intel 2.20.13 driver.

      • Linux Consumers Should Still Avoid S3 Graphics

        Whenever writing about VIA Technologies on Phoronix, S3 Graphics always comes to mind due to its relations with HTC and VIA. In fact, it’s the only time that S3 Graphics usually ever comes to my mind aside from when talking about S3 Texture Compression. Anyhow, after writing this morning about the VIA KMS driver still not being mainline, it’s worth reminding uninformed Linux users that S3 Graphics products remain poorly supported under Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora and LVM

          Those following the progress of the Fedora 18 development cycle cannot have failed to notice that the rework of Anaconda, the distribution’s installer, is not going as smoothly as one might have liked. Complaints are common, and there is a real risk that installer problems will end up being what users remember about this release. Given that, it may seem surprising that the Fedora developers intend to change one of the fundamental decisions made by the developers of the new installer.

    • Debian Family

      • Help us to release “Wheezy”: participate to our BSP marathon
      • Tails and Claws

        One other thing I like about Tails, and I brought this up briefly in the review of Liberté, is there are a few different approaches to take when a user wants to perform an action which is not recommended. The operating system can allow the action, the operating system can warn the user of the potential danger and then give the user a choice as to whether to proceed, or the system can block the action. Liberté opted to block unsafe actions. Tails, on the other hand, takes what I feel is the more desirable approach of educating the user about the potential dangers of their actions and then letting the user decide whether to take the risk. It is a style which protects the operator, but doesn’t presume to know better than the user and I like this approach. Last, but not least, I found the documentation on the Tails website to be clear and fairly easy to navigate. The developers have done a good job of trying to educate their users, both explaining what Tails is and what it is not, and I see that as a good starting point. To date, Tails is probably my favourite security-oriented distribution.

      • Squash Some Debian Bugs, Party And Contribute To Community

        If you are a Debian user and you want to contribute to the community, then you have your chance this fall with the Debian BSP Marathon. You might know that the next release of Debian, codenamed “Wheezy”, is in the testing phase and your contribution might be helpful to speed up the release date.

        So what is a BSP? According to the Debian wiki: “A Bug Squashing Party is a come-together (either virtual or reallife) of Debian Developers and Debian enthusiasts on a specified timeframe where these persons try to fix as many bugs as possible.”

      • Tails 0.14
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 12.10: your next OS?

            With Ubuntu 12.10, Linux has grown up and learned to do its own marketing. It’s snappy, it’s tasteful, and it’s aggressively attacking ground in which competitors’ customers lie. That’s good. But it won’t succeed, not yet.


            Because in order for people to believe anything free can be good – anything at all – it has to be really good. As in, a better package than something you’d pay for. And Ubuntu 12.10 is good – but it’s not that. Not yet.

          • Introducing Ubuntu Google Play Lens for Unity
          • Ubuntu 12.10 review – Why so regressive?

            The Ubuntu team had an awesome LTS release with Pangolin, so they can afford to play silly with Quantal Quetzal. Indeed, Ubuntu 12.10 is a fairly buggy release overall, with lots of regressions. There are some tiny improvements, some visual polish, but you also get a whole lot of new problems, Amazon thingie notwithstanding. To name a few, memory and CPU usage, network activity, weird artifacts, dumb programs, bad virtual machine performance, and still more. Not at all what we used to see in Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu GNU/Linux PC Sales

            Ubuntu GNU/Linux has shipped on $7.5 billion worth of hardware in the last 2 years,

          • A second go at Ubuntu 12.10

            A STUBBORN streak led me to try installing Ubuntu 12.10 (a.k.a. Quantal Quetzal) on my home PC again, after an anti-climactic failure last week to get past the “Preparing to Install” screen the first time around.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Nadia Release Candidate Out

              The Linux Mint team has published a new release candite for the upcoming version (14) of Linux Mint, codenamed Linux Mint Nadia. This release is based on Ubuntu 12.10, and comes with MATE and Cinnamon desktops.

            • Download Linux Mint 14 Release Candidate, Based on Ubuntu 12.10

              Clement Lefebvre, father of the Linux Mint project, proudly announced a few minutes ago, November 11, that the Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux Mint 14 operating system is now available for download and testing.

              Being based on Canonical’s Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) operating system, Linux Mint 14 RC (Release Candidate) is powered by Linux kernel 3.5 and includes lots of new features and updated packages.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • PengPod, A Dual-Booting Android and Linux Tablet

        True, the Android operating system is based on Linux, but many dyed-in-the-wool Linux users would prefer a tablet running “real” Linux, which is exactly what Peacock Imports is trying to do with its line of PengPod Linux tablets.

      • How a $20 tablet from India could blindside PC makers, educate billions and transform computing as we know it
      • India gets $25 Android tablet

        The long-awaited low cost Aakash 2 tablet from UK firm Datawind has finally been officially launched in India, complete with several new hardware enhancements which the government will be hoping helps spur student learning.

        The Aakash 2, which is commercially available as the UbiSlate 7Ci for Rs 3,500 ($US64), is costing the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) Rs 2,263 ($US43), although government subsidies will put the price charged to students at just Rs 1,130($US24.65).

      • OLPC Comes to Canada

        Belinda Stronach is promoting use of OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) in aboriginal schools in Canada. I can relate to that. In many aboriginal communities, the ratio of students per PC is ~10 when most educators seek a range from 1 to 3. OLPC Canada is getting started with a first goal of 5000 OLPCs. It’s just a start. The need is at least 100K. OLPC has the advantage over using recycled desktop PCs, the solution I used, because they are a better size for small children and their classrooms.

      • New $199 Acer Chromebook Is Cheaper Than Samsung’s

        Signs are stil appearing that Google is aggressively pushing Chrome OS, after a somewhat lukewarm early reception for it. Recently, we covered the arrival of Samsung’s new Chromebook portable computer running Google’s Chrome OS and selling for the strikingly low price of $249.Now, Acer is out with a new C7 Chromebook, shown here, that sells for only $199. These devices, at these price points, along with some of the bundled deals that come with them, signal that a number of Google’s expected Chrome OS strategies have finally come to fruition.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Facebook open sources its MapReduce successor

      Facebook has open sourced its Corona scheduling component for Hadoop, which the company calls “the next version of Map-Reduce”. Facebook is using its own fork of Apache Hadoop which is optimised for the massive scale of its operations.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Community Live: DIYbio at Manchester Science Festival 2012

      DIY biology is a hot topic and has piqued the interest of the Wellcome Trust and NESTA in the UK and the FBI in the US. What has it got to do with open source and hacking? Quite a lot as it happens and those curious could get their hands dirty, metaphorically speaking, at a series of workshops held in Manchester over the weekend of 3 and 4 November 2012.

  • Programming

    • Top 5 Programming Tools for Kids

      The Raspberry Pi has created a lot of interest in the press for its low cost and credit-card size. The main reason for the creation of the Raspberry Pi was to see it used by kids all across the globe to learn programming. Computer classes in the UK have been constrained by the national curriculum for ICT, with students having to limit their computing activities to learning applications such as Word and PowerPoint, and using the internet to help with their school work. However, learning how to use Microsoft Office is often of little or no interest to students. Students are motivated by interactive activities such as programming, as they like to make things to find out how they work.


  • When Is a Mandate Not a Mandate?

    When it comes to explaining election results, there’s no precise way to determine whether voters gave the winner a “mandate”–defined by Oxford as “the authority to carry out a policy, regarded as given by the electorate to a party or candidate that wins an election.” That makes it interesting to see how media use the expression–and which presidents they think earned one.

  • White House website deluged with secession petitions from 20 states
  • Government says mounting damages claims support case for secret courts

    Seven fresh claims for damages involving highly sensitive national security evidence have been made in the past year, the government has revealed. Three cases have been settled confidentially.

  • Science

    • Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia

      A Georgia congressman who attacked the theory of evolution found himself with an unlikely opponent in Tuesday’s U.S. election, when 4,000 voters in one county cast write-in ballots for the 19th century father of evolution, British naturalist Charles Darwin.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer

      Brian Rinfret likes imported beer from Germany. He sometimes buys Spaten. He enjoys an occasional Bitburger. When he was 25 years old, he discovered Beck’s, a pilsner brewed in the city of Bremen in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516. It said so right on the label. After that, Rinfret was hooked.

      One Friday night in January, Rinfret, who is now 52, stopped on the way home from work at his local liquor store in Monroe, N.J., and purchased a 12-pack of Beck’s. When he got home, he opened a bottle. “I was like, what the hell?” he recalls. “It tasted light. It tasted weak. Just, you know, night and day. Bubbly, real fizzy. To me, it wasn’t German beer. It tasted like a Budweiser with flavoring.”

    • Pfizer caught “gaming the system,” loses Viagra patent in Canada

      Pfizer’s legal monopoly on one of its top-selling drugs just got shredded in Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled 7-0 the company should have its patent taken away because the drug company attempted to “game” the system, grabbing a patent without disclosing what their invention really was.

      Pfizer was able to acquire its Canadian patent without naming the compound required to make Viagra, namely, sildenafil citrate. The Canadian patent system, like all patent systems, is a kind of bargain between patentees, who are given a limited monopoly on a particular product or process, and the public, which is supposed to benefit from the disclosure of a new invention, the justices noted in their opinion.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • How to kick that Amazon habit

      Amazon is an extraordinary phenomenon. It is ruthlessly efficient, has low prices and excellent delivery (or “shipping” as it says, in distressing Americanese). It is renowned for economies of scale and tight cost control – and now for aggressive tax avoidance. The UK’s biggest online retailer has avoided paying corporation tax on profits it makes from billions in sales here.

    • The Safety Net is the Glory of America and the unending Wall Street Nightmare

      Wall Street’s leading “false flag” group, the Third Way, has responded to the warnings that Robert Kuttner, AFL-CIO President Trumka, and I have made that if President Obama is re-elected our immediate task will be to prevent the Great Betrayal – the adoption of self-destructive austerity programs and the opening wedge of the effort to unravel the safety net (including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

    • From Liberal Victory to Disempowerment in Six Easy Steps

      The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night’s election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant.

    • The People’s Bailout

      This is a long post but it’s about something pretty interesting so I hope you’ll indulge …

      Like many folks, Occupy Wall Street has been some doing good work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, helping people on the ground.

      Now OWS is launching the ROLLING JUBILEE, a program that has been in development for months. OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

    • Superstorm Sandy—a People’s Shock?

      Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city’s refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: “Mom-and-pop stores simply can’t do what big stores can in these circumstances,” he wrote.

      And the preemptive scapegoating didn’t stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then “pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act” would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

    • Victory of the Lesser Evil
    • Drums Beating to Privatize Social Security

      This Real News Network interview with Bill Black provides an overview of why Wall Street and the Administration are so keen to gut well loved and socially valuable safety nets for the elderly, in particular, Social Security. This talk is a good introduction for people who may not understand how high the stakes in the budget fight are and why the economic arguments used to justify it are bogus.

    • Thames Water – a private equity plaything that takes us for fools
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Melinda Gates Talks Eugenics

      This July, we will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of London’s First International Eugenics Conference of 1912. One century later, on July 11, 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the largest private foundation in the world) and the British government will co-host a new London conference on eugenics with global coalition partners such as American abortion chain Planned Parenthood, British abortion chain Marie Stopes International, and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA). The only difference is that the July 2012 London conference will never acknowledge that eugenics is its driving idea. Melinda Gates has claimed that the conference, which is officially dedicated to “deliver[ing] more modern family planning tools to more women in the world’s poorest countries,” should involve “no controversy.”

    • Final Factcheck: Political Lying Perfectly Balanced

      So the Republican claims about Obama’s welfare plan were “over-the-top”–which I guess is another way of saying flatly untrue. The questionable “counterspin” (hey!) Kessler is talking about would appear to be mostly about something Bill Clinton said, based on a letter written by Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The core of the Republican claim–that Obama was seeking to end the work requirements under current welfare law–is not supported by any evidence. But Kessler, even on this controversy, wants to make it seem like the deception is bipartisan.

    • PR industry: “Our bad actions are Wikipedia’s fault.”

      Yet another PR agency is blatantly busted doing the thing we patiently warn them against over and over, with the consequences we warn them of over and over.

      The apparently-unanimous industry response, per PR Week: “It’s all Wikipedia’s fault, they should make it easier for us to spin.”

      PRCA in particular appear to have turned their opinion 180° since June, when they heartily endorsed the CIPR/WMUK guidelines.

  • Censorship

    • Spanish magazine sentenced to a 10,000 Euro fine for investigating corruption in the Catalan health system

      On 24 October, Sibina and Dante were found guilty of defamation against Josep María Via, health advisor at the Government of Catalonia. Dante and Sibina accused Via, amongst others, of links with corruption. They were convicted to pay a fine of 10,000 Euros. Josep María Via justified his complaint with the title of the video (“The biggest robbery in the history of Catalonia”) and specifically the word “robbery”. Of the original sum of 20,000 Euros, the judge considered only half of the complaint and finally condemned the magazine to pay 10,000 Euro. Via, who manages the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, said he would give the amount to charity.

  • Privacy

    • Companies are Mining your Facebook/ Twitter Info… and Selling it (Beckett)

      Yesterday, we got a rare look at how information on your public social media profiles—including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn—is being harvested and resold by large consumer data companies.

      Responding to a congressional query, nine data companies provided answers to a detailed set of questions about what kinds of information they collect about individual Americans, and where they get that data.

      Their responses, released Thursday, show that some companies record — and then resell — your screen names, web site addresses, interests, hometown and professional history, and how many friends or followers you have.

    • Big Brother UK: 8 million children recorded on massive secret database

      A newly uncovered clandestine computer network, known as the ‘One System,’ can reportedly share children’s personal details across different UK agencies, including age, sex, address and their school behavior records – all without parents ever knowing.
      One of Britain’s biggest government contractors has created a database containing the personal details of 8 million children, the Sunday Times revealed.
      The database was created by Capita – a company specializing in IT systems – and includes information on a child’s sex, age, exam results, if they have special needs, bad behavior like absenteeism and how many minutes late they are to lessons.

    • Election 2012 — Privacy and Unfinished Business

      It was a little more than a decade ago that the United States was rocked by the events of 9/11. Much happened on that day, including a sharp turn away from personal privacy and toward national security. Up went the cameras and the Patriot Act, and down came many laws that help safeguard privacy. A new industry for domestic surveillance emerged.

      But does it need to be this way? At the beginning of a second term for President Obama, it is time to move beyond the paranoid strategies for public safety that have dominated both Democratic and Republican presidencies.

  • Civil Rights

    • Thousands protest while troops surround Potala Palace

      In the early hours of this morning around 5,000 young Tibetans took part in the biggest protests to happen in Tibet since March. The students marched through the streets of Rebkong County, stopping to demonstrate outside a local government building.

      The protest come one day after China mobilised paramilitaries to suppress the protests carried out in Rebkong yesterday.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Listen to Steve Wozniak when he talks about the internet and freedom

      WHAT A WEEK it has been. A hurricane thrashed New York City and New Jersey on the US east coast last weekend, killing over 100 people with fierce winds and storm flooding, demolishing entire seaside communities and cutting power to millions of homes and businesses. The region had only started to recover before it got hit by another storm. Tens of thousands of people are still without power and heat, and are miserable and starving due to transit disruption and petrol shortages.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Big Agriculture Bankrolls Defeat of California’s Proposition 37

      Opponents of genetically modified food will continue to fight despite defeat in California (Photo by asianfarmers via flickr) Opposition of Proposition 37 was spearheaded by large agribusiness and chemical companies—such as Monsanto and Dow—and big food manufacturers—including PepsiCo, Nestle, and Conagra—who dumped more than $45 million into the fight. Monsanto, a leading maker of genetically engineered seeds, contributed $8.1 million alone against the measure which would have required labeling on genetically modified food.

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