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Links 19/11/2012: Precise Puppy 5.4.1, Ubuntu/Canonical Loses Compiz Developer

Posted in News Roundup at 7:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Study on free, open source software in governance

    In a statement issued here Monday, ICFOSS said the study would bring out the extent to which free and open source software is used in government projects, and assess the economics of its use.

  • Business

    • Why businesses are adopting the open source community approach

      A few months ago, I joined Red Hat as a marketing apprentice (intern) in Paris, France—where I am also continuing my studies at France Business School—and it became clear to me that my vision of what open source is and what it means to be part of the community has changed. This evolution has significantly altered the way I am participating in projects and communiticating with peers.

  • BSD

    • What’s Exciting About FreeBSD 9.1: Intel KMS

      While FreeBSD 9.1 is running behind schedule, one of the exciting additions to this forthcoming BSD operating system is finally debuting Intel kernel mode-setting on FreeBSD support.

      The most exciting feature in this release is undoubtedly the availability of Kernel Modesetting and new drivers for intel chipsets. The drivers are not perfectly up-to-date (xf86-video-intel is at 2.17 and mesa is at 7.11) but it is a significant improvement over what was previously available (2.7 and 7.6, respectively).

    • FreeBSD project servers hacked

      The FreeBSD project has announced that an intrusion was detected on two of the machines within its project cluster on November 11.

  • Licensing

    • Relicensing VLC to the LGPL the hard way

      VideoLAN president Jean-Baptiste Kempf has completed relicensing most of the popular open source VLC media player from GPLv2 to LGPL. In a blog post, Kempf explains the reasoning for the relicensing: the project is trying to attract more developers, especially for app store versions of the application. VLC was removed from the iOS App Store back in January 2011 because it was licensed under the GPL. By the end of the year, the developers had already relicensed libVLC, the core library of the media player.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Should Hostess open source their recipes?

      In other words, should they release their recipes under a license like Creative Commons or the GPL that would allow people to use, modify, and enhance the recipes?

    • Ray Kurzweil on the future of work: Lifelong learning and an open source economy

      Singularity University, on the grounds of the NASA Research Center at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley, abounds in optimism, and, as Singularity’s vice president of innovation and research, I have understandably caught the bug. I have written about why I believe this will be the most innovative decade in human history, how we are headed for an era of abundant and affordable health care, and how robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing will lead to an era of local manufacturing in which the creative class flourishes.

      But deep down I also worry about the dark side of advancing technology; specifically, how we could create doomsday viruses, be in ethical gray zones, and impact employment with new technologies. So my exchanges with Singularity University founders Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis often turn into lengthy debates. While we agree on the positives, we never quite reach an agreement on the risks and downsides. I usually run out of arguments, and their optimism always wins me over — until it wears off.

    • Open Hardware

      • Chumby inventor, Huang. to keynote at LCA

        The inventor of the Chumby, Dr Andrew “bunnie” Huang, has been named as the first of four keynote speakers at the Australian national Linux conference next year.


  • If I Were Your Lawyer I’d Tell You Not to Brag About Your Crimes on the Air

    The Denver Post reports that a woman who faked mental illness to get out of jury duty, and then bragged about it on a talk-radio show, has pleaded guilty to perjury and “attempting to influence a public servant.” The “public servant” in question was the judge who had presided over jury selection, and who excused the woman after she claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress. But this potential juror went the extra mile: she “sold her act” by dressing crazy, with “heavy makeup smeared on her face while her hair hung askew in curlers, with shoes and reindeer socks mismatched.” She also spoke “disjointedly.”

  • Americans Voting Smarter About Crime, Justice At Polls

    A headline from the Denver Post this week read: “Colorado Drug Force Disbanding.” Another from the Seattle Times announced, “220 Marijuana Cases Dismissed In King, Pierce Counties.”

    Just 15 or 20 years ago, headlines like these were unimaginable. But marijuana legalization didn’t just win in Washington and Coloardo, it won big.

    In Colorado, it outpolled President Barack Obama. In Washington, Obama beat pot by less than half a percentage point. Medical marijuana also won in Massachusetts, and nearly won in Arkansas. (Legalization of pot lost in Oregon, but drug law reformers contend that was due to a poorly written ballot initiative that would basically have made the state a vendor.)

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How Germany Is Getting to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

      There is no debate on climate change in Germany. The temperature for the past 10 months has been three degrees above average and we’re again on course for the warmest year on record. There’s no dispute among Germans as to whether this change is man-made, or that we contribute to it and need to stop accelerating the process.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs and Litton Loan Servicing: A Very Uncomfortable Divorce

      rior to the 2008 when Wall Street was laying on big bets on the housing market, mortgage servicing was the equivalent of blackjack; the odds for a player who knew the rules were very good and having a company that collected monthly mortgage payments from homeowners provided a reliable revenue stream. Even better were the companies that operated in the sub-prime space — “default servicers” — because if you couldn’t shake the shekels out of the homeowners pocket, you could always seize the property in foreclosure and make back your nut and then some. In the colorful vernacular of the industry these mortgage loans are referred to as “S&D” (scratch and dent).

    • US Government Campaign Against Whistleblowers and Electronic Robin Hoods
    • Italian Catholic Church to pay property tax from next year
    • Freedom From Religion Foundation sues IRS for not enforcing electioneering restrictions on churches

      On the heels of a presidential election in which hundreds of preachers publicly promised to flout Internal Revenue Service rules by endorsing candidates from the pulpit, the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the IRS for failing to enforce electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations.

      Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the lawsuit charges that Douglas Shulman, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, “has violated, continues to violate and will continue to violate in the future, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by failing to enforce the electioneering restrictions of 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code against churches and religious organizations.”

    • Sanders: Going Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Better than Bad Tax Deal

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Monday that if the lame-duck Congress can’t agree on a tax deal by the end of the year, briefly going over the “fiscal cliff” is preferable to accepting a bad deal.

  • Censorship

    • Julian Assange labels Obama ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has described re-elected President Barack Obama as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and says he expects the US government to keep attacking the anti-secrecy website.

    • Lurk no more

      ON NOVEMBER 11th Russian internet-users began to notice that Lurkmore, a sometimes funny, often vulgar website with a cult following, was no longer accessible. Lurkmore (pictured) is a user-generated encyclopedia, a Russian-language wiki Wikipedia focusing on obscure internet jokes and memes, or what its co-founder, Dmitry Homak, calls “the kind of stuff said by the characters on SouthPark”. Although no one had officially told Mr Homak anything, it soon became clear that the site had fallen into the Russian government’s “Single Register” of web content to be banned under a law passed by the Duma in June.

  • Privacy

    • The Hackers of Damascus

      It didn’t matter. His computer had already told all. “They knew everything about me,” he says. “The people I talked to, the plans, the dates, the stories of other people, every movement, every word I said through Skype. They even knew the password of my Skype account.” At one point during the interrogation, Karim was presented with a stack of more than 1,000 pages of printouts, data from his Skype chats and files his torturers had downloaded remotely using a malicious computer program to penetrate his hard drive. “My computer was arrested before me,” he says.

  • Civil Rights

    • Vendetta masks declared illegal in UAE
    • Court Orders Password Turnover and In Camera Review of Social Media Accounts – EEOC v. Original Honeybaked Ham Co.

      The court says that the fact this type of information “exists in cyberspace . . . is a logistical and, perhaps, financial problem, but not a circumstance that removes the information from accessibility by a party opponent in litigation.” Based on the evidence cited by the employer, the court says it’s satisfied that there’s no fishing expedition. Accordingly, it orders “each class member’s social media content . . . produced.” The court proposes to use a special master, and orders the parties to collaborate and work out the specific instructions to the special master. The special master will produce information which the court will then review for relevance, and then allow the EEOC (or plaintiffs) to designate privileged material. The remaining items will be turned over to the employer.

    • International Organization Finds U.S. Violating the Rights of Protestors

      The right to peacefully assemble, enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law, is an intrinsic element of the democratic fabric of the United States. Yet according to a report released Friday by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), an international organization of which the U.S. is a member, America is failing to uphold this fundamental right. The report is the first comprehensive OSCE report on violation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly that covers the U.S.

  • Copyrights

    • But Does It Copy Macrovision, I Mean, Run Linux?

      Two decades ago, old VCRs were in disproportionately high demand. Newer ones were unable to copy movies as they were distorted by a special signal. Hollywood is fighting for this war on equipment owners to carry over to general-purpose computers. Will they succeed?

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