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11.20.12

Links 21/11/2012: GNU/Linux Preinstalled on More Systems, Linux Rootkit Claimed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxQuestions – Still Making the World a Better Place After All These Years

    Years ago, when I was a GNU/Linux newbie, I found LinuxQuestions.org to be the site where I could find out just about anything about GNU/Linux in a rapidly growing on-line community. It’s still going strong so many years later.

  • Tranquilidade – Portuguese Insurance Company Switches to GNU/Linux and Saves

    Wouldn’t you like the cost of IT to drop 80%? You can have that with GNU/Linux. It is a cooperative project of the world to provide IT at minimal cost and it works for you and not for some supplier converting monopoly into a licence to print money. It’s not magic. If your software is designed to work for you instead of to generate licensing revenue, you have lower costs all around.

  • Ten things Linux and open source have to be thankful for

    It’s that time of year again — when all of the pundits, bloggers, and Max Headroom-like “voices of the future” spout off their thanks for all things tech and nerdy. Not one to jump on every bandwagon that comes along — I wanted to point out the things that the open source and Linux community have to be thankful for.

  • Has GNU/Linux Given Anything to You?

    It’s been about 3 years since I left Windows XP and became a full-time Linux user.

    In this time, I can proudly say that I’ve learned more than during my 15+ years of using Windows…all the way from 3.11 to XP.

  • The People Who Support Linux: Brazilian Developer Hacks Health Care with BeagleBoard and Android

    A few years ago, Brazilian developer Daniel Neis Araujo couldn’t imagine building open source health care equipment that could compete with traditional and respected proprietary solutions. But recent advances in Linux and the open hardware movement have allowed a faster development pace and a lower cost of entry for startups in the telemedicine field, in particular, he said.

  • Desktop

    • Haiti: Attempted assassination and death threats against Evel FANFAN
    • Drone Sub-Hunter To Patrol Seas
    • Documents reveal Italian National Police plans for October 15th 2011 demonstration

      The document sent on October 14th 2011 by the Italian National Police to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other national security forces, such as the Carabinieri, Polizia Stradale and Polizia Ferroviaria, reveals the organization of a task-force to control and inhibit the massive demonstration that was going to take place one day after in Rome.

    • Can Low-Cost Chromebooks Actually Replace MacBooks?

      Recently, we’ve been reporting on how Google is aggressively pushing Chrome OS, and the cloud-centric operating system is arriving on machines that are not only low priced, but Google is offering free incentives worth more than the computers running Chrome OS. 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. And now, Acer is out with a new C7 Chromebook that sells for only $199 (seen here). Interestingly, noted open source advocate Simon Phipps, writing for InfoWorld, says he has ditched his MacBook for a Samsung Chromebook.

    • System76 unveils 17.3-inch Bonobo Extreme Ubuntu-powered laptop for gamers

      Ubuntu is known for many things: ease of use, regular updates, widespread community support, and more. One thing it is not known for is gaming. This is changing, however, with Steam heading to Linux in the near future. System76′s new Bonobo Extreme is Ubuntu-powered and aimed at gamers, boasting some impressive hardware and a hefty price tag.

    • System76 unveils an ‘extreme performance’ Ubuntu Linux laptop
    • OEMs Build All-in-One PCs for Linux Users

      Selling PCs with Linux preinstalled is hard enough. Doing it without paying attention to the latest hardware trends makes it nigh impossible. That’s probably why two major Linux OEMs, ZaReason and System76, have debuted “all-in-one” (AIO) desktop PCs powered by open source operating systems. Will their initiatives pay off?

      In a sense, AIO computers — the kind where the monitor and central hardware are integrated into a single case — go back quite a long time. Many of the old, old Macintoshes used this format, as did machines such as the Commodore PET 2001 (which, despite its name, first debuted in 1977). But the contemporary implementation of the all-in-one PC, exemplified by the modern iMac, is a newer idea.

    • System76 Launch 17″ Ubuntu Gaming Laptop, Dub it ‘Worlds Fastest’

      Ubuntu hardware re-sellers System76 have today unveiled their product: the Bonobo Extreme laptop.

    • Samsung’s A15 Chromebook Loaded With Ubuntu Is Crazy Fast

      Google recently launched the Samsung Chromebook that for $249 USD features an 11-inch display, a 16GB SSD, a promise of 6.5-hour battery life, and is backed by a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC. The Samsung Exynos 5 packs a 1.7GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with ARM Mali-T604 graphics. With using this new ARM Cortex-A15 chip plus the Samsung Chromebook not being locked down so it can be loaded up with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or openSUSE, it was a must-buy for carrying out some interesting Cortex-A15 Linux benchmarks. The Exynos 5 Dual in this affordable laptop packs an impressive performance punch.

    • 6 Preloaded Linux PCs For Your 2012 Holiday Wishlist

      It may still be a bit early for the ubiquitous end-of-year story looking back at 2012, but even now, it seems safe to say that the “Linux preloaded” trend will surely go down in history as a big part of what has characterized this year in desktop computing.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • A wealth of stable kernel updates
    • Systemd journal provides more informative messages

      A recently introduced systemd enhancement allows programs to add a unique identifier to log messages sent to systemd’s Journal, which lets it retrieve extra information about the logged event from a message catalogue. Developers could, for example, add some further details and internet links concerning an error message to the information in the catalogue; the information could also explain the log data in a user’s local language if a suitable translation exists.

    • The Legacy of Linus Torvalds: Linux, Git, and One Giant Flamethrower

      Linus Torvalds created Linux, which now runs vast swathes of the internet, including Google and Facebook. And he invented Git, software that’s now used by developers across the net to build new applications of all kinds. But that’s not all Torvalds has given the internet.

      He’s also started some serious flame wars.

      Over the past few years, Torvalds has emerged as one of the most articulate and engaging critics of the technology industry. His funny and plainspoken posts to Google+ routinely generate more comments and attention than most stories on The New York Times — or even Wired.

    • Linux 3.7 File-System Benchmarks: EXT4, Btrfs, XFS

      From an SSD-backed Lenovo ThinkPad W510 with an Intel Core i7 720QM CPU and a 160GB Intel SSD, the XFS, EXT4, and Btrfs file-systems were benchmarked. For reference, the Linux 3.5 kernel was also benchmarked on the same system with the three Linux file-systems. Unfortunately, the Linux 3.6.x kernels failed to properly boot on this particular system so there are only Linux 3.5 and 3.7 Git results.

    • Linus Torvalds Cracks His Whip – udev breakages

      Oh boy! It’s good to see someone with his eye on the road at the wheel sometimes… We all make the mistake of thinking too locally or not considering consequences of our actions but Linus whips such failings back into shape. Good for him.

    • Linux users targeted by mystery drive-by rootkit

      Security researchers have discovered what appears to be an experimental Linux rootkit designed to infect its highly select victims during a classic drive-by website attack.

      Posted anonymously to Full Disclosure on 13 November by an annoyed website owner, the rootkit has since been confirmed by CrowdStrike and Kaspersky Lab as being distributed to would-be victims via an unusual form of iFrame injection attack.

    • New Linux Rootkit Emerges

      A new Linux rootkit has emerged and researchers who have analyzed its code and operation say that the malware appears to be a custom-written tool designed to inject iframes into Web sites and drive traffic to malicious sites for drive-by download attacks. The rootkit is designed specifically for 64-bit Linux systems, and while it has some interesting features, it does not appear to be the work of high-level programmer or be meant for use in targeted attacks.

    • Linux Top 3: Gentoo Forks udev, Peppermint Respins and Linux 3.7 RC7
    • Gentoo developers start udev fork
    • Kernel Log – Coming in 3.7 (Part 2): Networking

      Linux now supports network address translation (NAT) for IPv6. Other new features include server-side support for Google’s TCP Fast Open (TFO) acceleration trick and a tethering driver for the iPhone 5.

    • Linux File Encryption Made Easy In BestCrypt By Jetico
    • 30 Linux Kernel Developers in 30 Weeks: Glauber Costa
    • QEMU 1.3 Is Packing Interesting Features
    • Linux Kernel 3.7 Brings New Desktop, Server Features

      Another season, another Linux kernel. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes as kernel developers churn out new releases every two or three months. Within the next few weeks, Linux 3.7, the latest version of the code at the core of most mainstream open source operating systems — on Android phones as well as PCs and servers — will likely see its official release. And unlike some kernel updates, it will introduce a host of new features that end users may want to know about.

      We don’t cover Linux kernel development too frequently on The VAR Guy because it’s not something most end users are likely to care about or understand. Unless you’re deeply interested in how your computer works “under the hood” — and kudos to you if you are — chances are you don’t want to read about the latest innovations in Linux memory management or file systems.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland 1.0.1 Has Been Released

        The first point release of Wayland 1.0 is now available for those interested in this next-generation display server environment.

        Kristian Høgsberg announced the Wayland 1.0.1 release on Monday. It’s been just shy of one month since the release of Wayland 1.0 while today’s update provides some fixes for the recent release that marked the point of API/protocol stability and a guarantee on backwards compatibility with future releases.

      • 1.0.1 Releases are out
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Greenpeace Activist Confronts Coal Lobbyist at Energy Event
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell 3.7.2 release ..with support for Search Providers!
      • Controversial Nautilus 3.6 Lands Up In Raring Ringtail

        The much hyped Gnome’s file manager Nautilus 3.6 has made its way to the upcoming version of Ubuntu, Raring Ringtail. This version was earlier not adopted in Quantal due to many of its controversial changes. The whole desktop was upgraded to Gnome 3.6 while the file manager remained of 3.4 branch. Linux Mint developers on the other hand made their own fork of file manager called Nemo. This is similar to the earlier attitude taken by the developers, i.e. bring their own fork of Gnome as they did for Cinnamon.

      • Future Gnome Releases May Include Application Sandboxing

        With computers and applications becoming more and more smarter everyday, one is coming more close to security breeches and loopholes. Security issues today are more complex and harder to detect than they were five years ago. Developers are becoming more and more aware of this situation and they are finding out way to make computing more secure, fast and relaible.

      • Gnome Shell 3.7.2 Out, Supports Search Providers

        A new version of the Gnome Desktop, Gnone 3.7.2 is out. This version includes several stability and performance improvements along with bug fixes theta will make the Gnome desktop more stable, secure and reliable. Among the many changes in this release, the most important is the support for remote search providers. Now not only you will be able to search Wikipedia and Google from Gnome, but also will be able to search files, folders and documents from the single Gnome search bar.

  • Distributions

    • GALPon MiniNo 2.0 Screenshots
    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Tresys Technology Announces Certifiable Linux Integration Platform (CLIP) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.2

        Tresys Technology, a provider of technology and engineering services for customers with high-security requirements, today announced that the company has updated CLIP to support RHEL 6.2. The new release will be used by developers leveraging Linux to build appliances or systems with confidentiality, integrity, availability, and accountability requirements for U.S Intelligence and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies as well as for critical infrastructure and other communities that manage sensitive or classified information. The enhancements to the platform enrich integration features available in previous releases and include adding DCID (Director of Central Intelligence Directive) 6/3 Protection Level 4 (PL4) high-availability and high-integrity requirements support, a custom SELinux policy, and a new build system for generating installable media.

      • Red Hat Promotes Linux In Open Cloud Push

        Today, there’s a lot of cloud choices, and at their core, all major cloud platforms can provide the same kind of functionality with a vendor’s personal flavor. But when it comes down to mission-critical business applications that measure effectiveness down to the second, making a cloud choice may be a more difficult task when important variables are in play.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 18 and fedup

          Fedora 18 is still at least two months away from hitting a download mirror near you, but if you have read the articles on pre-stable versions that have been published on this website, you’d know that Anaconda, the Fedora system installer, will be a completely different beast on Fedora 18.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Is About 13% Complete

            For those curious about the state of Ubuntu 13.04′s development, there is a convenient status page to reflect the overall condition of this forthcoming Ubuntu Linux that is codenamed the Raring Ringtail.

          • Ubuntu Raring Now 13% Complete, 10% Of Porting To Mobile Devices Complete

            The Ubuntu development team have published a nice status page where you can readily monitor the development of upcoming versions of Ubuntu. From that status page, we learned that around 13% of the proposed work for Raring Ringtail is complete. One of the chief aims of Ubuntu 13.04 Raring, i.e. porting it to embedded and mobile devices is complete. However, only 1% of work is complete for Kubuntu 13.04.

          • Status for all teams
          • Review: Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal a mix of promise, pain

            Write this down: Ubuntu 12.10, the late-year arrival from Canonical’s six-month standard release factory, marks the first new release within the company’s current long-term support cycle. Got it? Good, because it may be the best takeaway from the latest Ubuntu release, codenamed Quantal Quetzal. After that, it’s a bit of a rocky ride.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 292
          • Ubuntu 12.10 Review
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 12.10 – Day 3 – 4 of the best music applications for Linux

              Welcome to the third part of my Xubuntu 12.10 review. The purpose of this set of articles is to take the base Xubuntu installation and show how easily it can be improved to make the best Linux operating system of them all.

              In the first part of the Xubuntu 12.10 review I reviewed the base install. In the second part of the Xubuntu 12.10 review I looked at how it is possible to customise all the aspects of the XFCE desktop to make it look the way you want it to look.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Mentor Graphics Corp : GENIVI 3.0-Compliant Infotainment Product Available from Mentor Embedded
    • GENIVI 3.0 specs-compliant Linux IVI from Mentor
    • Raspberry Pi reaches critical mass as XBMC hardware

      For years I’ve been dreaming of a streaming media device that could just be stuck to the back of a television. Since XBMC has been far and away my favorite set-top box software, I’ve closely monitored hardware developments that can run that package. Now I think it’s time to declare that the Raspberry Pi has achieved the base specifications to be branded the XBMC device that rules them all.

    • Phones

      • Digitimes Research: Global smartphone shipments to grow 30% in 2013

        Global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 30% to 865 million units in 2013, accounting for 43.9% of total handset shipments in the year, Digitimes Research has estimated.

      • Android 4.2 Source now Open

        Android 4.2 is now part of Google’s AOSP, making the source code available to everyone

      • Android

        • Sony coaxes indie Vita, Android developers with $99 SDK

          Sony has launched an indie-focused portal for developers that includes access to the now-out-of-beta PlayStation Mobile software development kit.

          The PlayStation Mobile SDK has been available in beta form for quite some time, but Sony has now officially given it the green light and slapped on a $99 (£62) annual usage fee.

        • Replicant 4.0 0001 images release

          After months of working hard to bring Replicant to the next upstream release, we are proud to announce the release of the Replicant 4.0 0001 images. This new release comes with support for both new devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S2 and devices that were already there in Replicant 2.3, like the Nexus S and the Galaxy S.

        • Nexus 4 Does Have An LTE Chip On Its Shoulder

          A teardown by iFixit reveals that Google’s flagship phone Nexus 4, manufactured by LG does have an LTE chip in it. It’s a Qualcomm 7-band LTE chip also found on LG’s Optimus phone, which is in some ways identical to this device.

          It’s unclear why the phone doesn’t support LTE service despite the presence of the hardware. There can be many wild guesses — one is that the chip is there only due to ease of assembly as it is the same board used in LG Optimus G and LG wants to cut down the cost by using the same assembly for this device.

        • Is enterprise Android a BYOD hell?

          Google’s release of Android Jelly Bean 4.2 has come at a time when somewhere around 50 manufacturers now support the open source mobile-focused operating system.

          Looking across the market there are now thought to be over 500 types of Android device and this of course now includes both tablets and smartphones.

        • Google is reportedly developing an open-source alternative to Apple’s AirPlay

          Google eventually plans to roll-out the service on a cross-platform basis with multiple hardware partners, according to reports.

          The search giant introduced the first phase of this new technology on YouTube last week, enabling users to Beam content from their Android smartphones to Google TV-connected HDTVs. But this is just the first step along the road to a bespoke open-source wireless streaming client.

        • Open source Java for Android? Don’t bet on it

          Google’s Android mobile software platform, as we know, has caused quite a conflict with Oracle, given Oracle’s failed lawsuit that claimed Java-like Android infringed on Java patents and copyrights. But now, might Oracle and Google, or even just one of them, decide to formally develop an open source implementation of Java especially for Android?

        • Elon Musk: With Jobs Gone, Google Will Win Mobile (And Look Out For The Hyperloop)

          It was appropriate then that several Valley players took part in Silicon Valley Comes To The UK events last week. But Musk was not there to sing their praises, but merely to expand on his general worldview. Interviewed by Number 10 special adviser Rohan Silva, Musk opened up on a number of issues, some he’s touched on in the past, and others he expanded upon more fully.

        • iPad mini and Nexus 7 go head-to-head

          The Nexus 7 from Google and the iPad mini from Apple are two of the hottest small tablets. Here are both of these capable tablets in a photo spread showing how they compare in size and with popular apps running.

        • Access Denied: why Android’s broken promise of unlocked bootloaders needs to be fixed

          Remember when mobile hardware manufacturers like HTC and Motorola promised to help customers unlock the bootloaders on their Android devices, paving the way to the promised land of rooting, mods, and custom firmware? Here’s a quick update: it’s not going so well.

          In the past year, we’ve seen HTC, Motorola, Sony, and others come out in support of unlocking, setting up special websites dedicated to safely open devices for custom ROMs and other “unofficial” uses. But those efforts have been sabotaged at nearly every turn as one flagship phone after another is sealed shut under the mandates of major carriers like Verizon and AT&T.

        • ZTE Grand X Pro and Avid 4G leak, show off newfound company sleekness
        • Say hello to Xperia™ Lounge

          Music, film, gaming or sports nut? Xperia Lounge has something for everyone, with exclusive content from Sony and our partners added every week – videos, imagery, competitions and VIP offers.

      • Ballnux

        • HTC’s Droid DNA going international

          As if it were any surprise, HTC looks to be readying an international version of the recently announced Droid DNA. A tweet from often-accurate @evleaks tells us the 5-inch smartphone will be released as a global edition and will be called the HTC Deluxe.

          If the Deluxe name sounds familiar it is because that was one of the code names tossed around in the months leading up to last week’s announcement. Some readers may recall recently hearing the phone tied to rumors of a HTC DLX moniker.

        • Samsung to announce Galaxy S II Plus in 2013?
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Here Comes PengPod Tablet Which Dual Boots Linux As Well As Android

        We have heard dual-booting in PCs, Macs and Laptops. The amazing technology allows one to oot into two OSes in a single computer. User has to specify different partitions for the OSes he wants to boot and is provides with options during booting. Dual booting was unknown in tablets and mobile phones until lately. Innovators have come out with PengPod, that will be able to boot Android as well as Linux in a single tablet.

      • Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Teardown: A Samsung Tablet By Another Name?

        With its little brother having already spilled its guts, it was always going to be interesting to see how the new 9-inch Fire compared. Turns out it owes an awful lot to Samsung.

        Powerbook Medic has torn the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 apart for the world to peer inside. It seems Samsung has done well out of the tablet, as it’s supplying—at the very least—the display, RAM, and flash memory. The processor is courtesy of Texas Instruments, though.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Words of Gratitude for the Bounty That Is FOSS

    It’s a general matter of course in any given year that as Thanksgiving draws ever closer here in the land of stars and stripes, more than a few Linux bloggers begin to wax sentimental about their favorite operating system, often recounting all the many reasons they’re thankful it exists.

    It is the start of the season of thankfulness, after all.

    Well, perhaps it’s the recent presidential elections or — even more so — perhaps it’s the fact that a sizable part of the country is preoccupied by a desire to divorce Uncle Sam. In any case, this year, the usual pattern doesn’t seem to have happened.

  • Open, Free and Commercial
  • Open source identity management: can 250,000 users be wrong?

    Identity management specialist ForgeRock has launched a 100% open source software stack intended to secure applications and services across enterprise, cloud, social and mobile environments.

    Boasting claims of more than 250,000 downloads in less than 24 months, the ForgeRock Open Identity Stack is positioned (in theory) as a community of global companies working to deploy identity management infrastructures more economically via the open model.

  • Whither OpenSolaris? Illumos Takes Up the Mantle

    After Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, its lack of interest in maintaining OpenSolaris as an open source operating system drove a group of dedicated developers to pick up where Sun left off. The Illumos Foundation has created a new distro that builds off of OpenSolaris, but calling it a form might not exactly be accurate.

  • RabbitMQ 3.0 plugs into STOMP and MQTT

    The latest release of the RabbitMQ messaging platform, RabbitMQ 3.0, includes plugins that support Web-STOMP, which allows the text-oriented STOMP protocol to run over WebSockets, and MQTT, the machine-to-machine/”Internet of Things” connection protocol.

  • Events

    • Open Forges Summit 2012: Presentations and Take-aways

      The Open World Forum is the best place to meet and talk about the present and the future of open source forges, as seen back in 2010 at the first Open Forges Summit, and again in 2011 to talk about interoperability among forges.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice vs. Microsoft Office in real life

      When people evaluate software for their own need and run X vs. Y checks, they always do it from their own perspective, placing their own needs at the forefront. They are of course doing the one sensible thing, but they are wrong. When you test software, you must ask yourselves how many people will be affected by that use?

      If the answer is one, then you can proceed with your own evaluation. If the answer is more than one, then the scale changes instantly and completely, and it’s no longer a question what everyone needs or things, it’s the simple of matter what the weakest link in your user pool needs. Let me elaborate.

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • November 2012 GNU Toolchain Update

      One month on and the GCC sources are now in a lot better shape. The cause for most of the problems last month was that a new register allocator pass has been brought in to GCC. This pass – LRA or Local Register Allocator – is meant to be simpler, easier to debug, and provide a better job of register allocation. It is still rather new however, which is why there were so many problems last month. A lot of these have been sorted out now, which is good news as the 4.8 branch will be happening soon.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study on free, open source software in governance

      A study is to be jointly conducted by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), Trivandrum, and the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore on the use of free and open source software in e-governance.

      The study, set to be completed in 18 months, will cover the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • California Über Uber: Why Ride-Sharing Ruckus Should Surprise No One
    • Cabbies sue to drive car service Uber out of San Francisco
    • Sweden’s Open Source Music Festival Lets Fans Vet Its Branding
    • Open source is not limited to software

      I am a technology practitioner and promoter of open source software (OSS). It ismy job to speak about the open source model in order to facilitate its adoption, to discuss its relevance and viability with regards to the strategic and economic needs of our time.

      When I began my career, I spent several years working with closed source and proprietary software. It was then that I was first introduced to open source software. At first, it seemed rebellious, but I soon realized it was just the tip of iceberg. I could sense this was a revolutionary idea capable of a paradigm shift, representing deep topics: sustainable innovation, broader collaboration, and sharing of intellectual outcomes.

    • Open source design in music and ecology

      The participatory ethic of open source software has become so widespread these days that it is migrating into some unexpected places… like musical instruments, tractors and ecological technology.

    • Open Data

      • Open data set provides objective doctor ranking

        Are you an academic, scientist, health policy junkie… or just a person who goes to see your doctor every now and then? Well, listen up: a new project by Fred Trotter and Not Only Development was recently granted protection under the Freedom of Information Act and met it’s crowdfunding effort on MedStartr to move ahead with plans to generate an open data set that promises to alter the healthcare landscape and have drastic implications on how we navigate it.

      • Wikidata – Wikipedia’s Game-changer

        Wikidata is one of the biggest technical overhauls of Wikipedia in its history and the ripples of change will reach far beyond its own shores. Dr Karl Beecher investigates…

  • Programming

    • New Book Teaches Kids Open Source Programming

      You know your programming language is a hit when it becomes the subject of a children’s book — or, at least, a book written for kids. Python, the popular open source programming platform, can now claim that title, with the recent release by No Starch Press of Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming. Will the book assure your kid’s success as the next prodigy of the computer world?

    • LLVM Developers Prefer Git Over SVN

      While the LLVM compiler infrastructure is primarily developed around Subversion, a poll was recently conducted that found LLVM developers overwhelmingly prefer Git over SVN for version control.

Leftovers

  • Lawyers say Clarke’s justice bill smacks of repressive and undemocratic regimes

    Secret trials and withholding evidence are reminiscent of “repressive regimes and undemocratic societies”, the legal profession warns in a letter opposing the government’s justice and security bill.

    Ken Clarke’s plans will erode core principles of justice and “fatally undermine the courtroom as an independent and objective forum”, according to the organisations representing solicitors and barristers. The UK’s international reputation for “fair justice” will be significantly damaged, they say.

  • The Lords must halt this draconian plan

    Nobody believes more fervently than the Mail in the importance of protecting members of the security services who risk their lives for our country.

    Nor is anyone more appalled to see terrorist suspects granted huge
    compensation payments, agreed out of court because the Government believes contesting their claims in public would put witnesses or their contacts in danger.

    But as this paper has passionately argued, security considerations can be no justification for the draconian clampdown on open court hearings proposed in a Bill now going through the Lords.

  • Why you should never, ever steal an image off the internet

    The folks at Denver’s ABC-affiliated 7News last night ran a story about the David Petraeus sex scandal, his “mistress,” Paula Broadwell, and her biography of Patraeus, All In.

    Except instead of pulling an actual copy of the book cover, somebody just ran a Google search and pulled in the first thing they found. Which, unfortunately for 7News, was an altered copy of the book cover.

  • Denver News Crew Accidentally Livens Up Broadcast With An Inappropriate Image ‘Borrowed’ From The Web

    It’s a well known fact that many people mistake Google’s image search for a license-free stock photo repository. Of course, many people are unaware (or simply uninterested) in the nuances of copyright law, making liberal borrowing of images the norm, rather than the exception.

    On the other hand, members of industries that rely on the protection of copyright laws shouldn’t have to be reminded that “running an image search” is not even in the same neighborhood as “properly sourcing a photo.” This distinction is even more important if you’re in a business that relies on integrity, along with various IP laws. Having a staffer just grab an image from “The Internet” for use during a news broadcast could, at the very least, put you in the situation of having to pay up and apologize publicly for using someone else’s photo without permission. At worst, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

  • The incredible persistence of email
  • David Cameron axes equality assessments in war on ‘red tape’

    David Cameron has axed standard assessments used to gauge how policies affect different social groups as part of a drive to get rid of the “bureaucratic rubbish” that gets in the way of British business.

  • Hardware

    • Intel chief Otellini to retire in May
    • Intel CEO Paul Otellini Will Retire This May After 40 Year Tenure

      Intel CEO Paul Otellini Will Retire This May After 40 Year TenureAt this point, there aren’t that many people who’ve worked at Intel as long as CEO Paul Otellini has. But after 40 years at the 45-year old chip maker—the last eight of them as CEO—he’s hanging up his stirrups this May. His timing couldn’t be better.

    • While the Intel board was firing Paul Otellini they should have fired themselves, too

      Paul Otellini this week resigned his position as CEO of Intel as I’m sure you’ve already heard or read. Analysts and pundits are weighing-in on the matter, generally attributing Otellini’s failure to Intel’s late and flawed effort to gain traction in the mobile processor space. While I tend to agree with this assessment, it doesn’t go far enough to explain Otellini’s fall, which is not only his fault but also the fault of Intel’s board of directors. Yes, Otellini was forced out by the board, but the better action would have been for the board to have fired itself, too.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bad air means bad news for seniors’ brainpower

      Living in areas of high air pollution can lead to decreased cognitive function in older adults, according to new research presented in San Diego at The Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) 65th Annual Scientific Meeting.

      This finding is based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study. The analysis was conducted by Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Biodemography and Population Health and the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California.

    • The Red Cross: Missing in action

      THE RED Cross was nowhere to be found after Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29 and New Yorkers most needed the best-known private humanitarian and disaster relief organization.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Grantham To Climate Scientists: ‘Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)’

      I have yet to meet a climate scientist who does not believe that global warming is a worse problem than they thought a few years ago. The seriousness of this change is not appreciated by politicians and the public.

    • French President Rejects Fracking, Reduces Nuclear, Asks Greater EU Carbon Reduction 2030

      François Hollande has slammed the door on the exploitation of France’s big oil and shale gas deposits using “hydraulic fracking”, risking further tensions with business leaders anxious not to lose access to what they see as a potentially vital energy asset.

      Mr Hollande said he had ordered the rejection of seven applications to open up the country’s shale deposits, citing “the heavy risk to health and the environment” of fracking, which injects water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into rock to release oil and gas.

    • Frack Fight: A Secret War of Activists — With the World in the Balance

      There’s a war going on that you know nothing about between a coalition of great powers and a small insurgent movement. It’s a secret war being waged in the shadows while you go about your everyday life.

      In the end, this conflict may matter more than those in Iraq and Afghanistan ever did. And yet it’s taking place far from newspaper front pages and with hardly a notice on the nightly news. Nor is it being fought in Yemen or Pakistan or Somalia, but in small hamlets in upstate New York. There, a loose network of activists is waging a guerrilla campaign not with improvised explosive devices or rocket-propelled grenades, but with zoning ordinances and petitions.

  • Finance

    • Join the Rolling Jubilee: “You Are Not a Loan”

      Americans always feel charitable around the holiday season, giving some $300 billion to a diverse array of charities in 2011 alone. Now there is new way Americans can help their neighbors in need, by purchasing and forgiving their debt.

      This is the idea behind the “Rolling Jubilee” being organized by “Strike Debt”, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since November 15, 2012, they have raised over $350,000, enough to abolish over $7 million in debt.

    • An MMT Fiscal Responsibility Narrative: Some Truths After A Second Crowd Sourcing Revision

      The only real crises is one of a failing economy and growing economic inequality in which only the needs of the few are served, and also one of lack of political desire or will to solve these real problems. MMT policies can help to bring an end to the first economic crisis; but not if progressives, and others continue to believe in false ideas about fiscal sustainability and responsibility, and the similarity of their Government to a household. To begin to solve our problems, we need to reject the neoliberal narrative and embrace the MMT narrative about the meaning of fiscal responsibility. That will lead us to the political action we need to solve the political crisis and eventually toward fiscal policies that achieve public purpose and away from policies that prolong economic stagnation and the ravages of austerity.

    • Next Act for Super PACs and Dark Money Nonprofits: Lobbying to Block Compromise on the “Fiscal Cliff”
    • Wall Street’s Great Scapegoat Hunt

      And yet, we are now supposed to believe that many things that went wrong leading up to the financial crisis were caused by a handful of junior bankers and traders supposedly acting on their own. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission continue to blame Fabrice Tourre, a former Goldman Sachs vice president, for the botched manufacturing and selling of the Abacus 2007-AC1 synthetic collateralized debt obligation.

    • Hostess Blames Union For Bankruptcy After Tripling CEO’s Pay

      oday, Hostess Brands inc. — the company famed for its sickly sweet dessert snacks like Twinkies and Sno Balls — announced they’d be shuttering after more than eighty years of production.

      But while headlines have been quick to blame unions for the downfall of the company there’s actually more to the story: While the company was filing for bankruptcy, for the second time, earlier this year, it actually tripled its CEO’s pay, and increased other executives’ compensation by as much as 80 percent.

    • Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged

      The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Responding to the Gates Foundation: How do we Consider Evidence of Learning in Teacher Evaluations?

      The Gates Foundation continues to fund Teach For America, Stand For Children, The Media Bullpen, the National Council for Teacher Quality, Teach Plus, The New Teacher Project, and literally scores of other groups which carry on campaigns to undermine due process for teachers, and actively lobby for coercive legislation that forces public schools to use faulty test scores for the purposes of teacher evaluation, against the best judgment of administrators and academic experts.

    • Does Africa need more investment in family planning?

      Contraception will not help reduce deaths in childbirth or infant mortality: it is just a population control tool.

    • Beat the FBI: How to Send Anonymous Email Without Getting Caught

      “Security is a function of the resources your adversary is willing to commit,” said Julian Sanchez, a policy expert with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

      “If you’ve been flagged as a high-priority target by the NSA [National Security Agency] and are under active observation,” Sanchez said, “then no, you can probably never have ‘total confidence’ that your communications won’t be traced.”

      But for the rest of us, it’s definitely a possibility. With the right tools, some vigilance and a little bit of Web savvy, you, too, can best General Petraeus, Hamas, al-Qaida and the Taliban with communiqués so virtually untraceable that they would make James Bond blush.

    • Shareholder resolutions for political disclosure enjoy significant support

      Americans are still reeling from the cacophony of secret money and negative ads that was the 2012 election. Much of the money spent on the congressional and presidential campaigns came from undisclosed sources, underscoring the continued need to fight for reforms to promote transparency in elections.

  • Censorship

    • Government laughs uneasily as Lukashenko praises Hungary for rejecting democracy

      The Hungarian government was forced to awkwardly rebuff some rare international praise this weekend, following some approving comments about the country on Friday by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. According to a report from Belarusian state news agency Belta entitled “Lukashenko: Western society changes views on democracy and market economy”, the Belarusian president – who has often been dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” – said the following during the appointment of new Belarusian envoys to Hungary and France:

      “Hungary used to be a socialist country. We used to be good friends with them. We used to have very close relations. After they became fed up with ‘democracy’ and market economy… they got sober.”

      Lukashenko then went on to say that Belarus needs to build relations with Hungary, as it “cannot lose this country.”

    • Russia Demands Internet Takeover By The UN… And Then Retracts It

      Quite a week for random governmental retractions. Back in February, when we first warned about the upcoming “World Conference on International Telecommunications” (WCIT) meeting of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), we noted that the thing to be most afraid of was countries like Russia and China using the process to take over control of aspects of the internet, in part to allow greater control for the sake of censorship, but also to set up questionable “tariffs” on internet traffic, designed to basically divert money to state owned or “closely associated” telcos. While much of the focus over the past few months was on the EU telcos proposal, you had to know that even worse was coming.

    • Yes, A Domain Name Can Be Protected By The First Amendment

      A year and a half ago, we wrote about a lawsuit from a lawyer in Texas, John Gibson, who is an expert in workers’ comp issues in the state. He — quite reasonably — set up a blog at the URL TexasWorkersCompLaw.com. Shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong. It seems that Texas has a law that you can’t use the words “Texas” and “Workers’ Comp” together. Seriously. The law explicitly says that anyone advertising Texas Workers’ Comp law help “may not knowingly use or cause to be used… any term using both ‘Texas’ and ‘Workers’ Compensation’ or any term using both ‘Texas’ and ‘Workers’ Comp’;”

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Patrick Leahy Ready To Cave To Law Enforcement: Has ECPA Reform Amendment To Include Loopholes For Warrantless Spying

      Back in September, we wrote about how Senator Patrick Leahy had introduced a really good bill for ECPA reform. ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act) is an incredibly outdated bill concerning (as it says) the privacy of electronic messages. It was written in a time (the mid-1980s) before everyone had email, let alone everyone used web-based, cloud-stored email. And thus, it has weird provisions, such as considering that messages stored on a server for more than 180 days are “abandonded” and thus subject to very little privacy protections. And that’s just one of many, many problems with ECPA, which treats all kinds of messages differently.

    • Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants
    • China activists dead in custody: rights groups

      At least two activists died in custody before or during China’s Communist Party congress and tens of thousands had their movements restricted, rights groups said Monday.

      The action was part of the government’s “maintenance stability” campaign aimed at preventing any sign of unrest during the party gathering in Beijing, which ended last week, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said.

      The congress ushered in a once-a-decade leadership change, with President Hu Jintao stepping down from his top party post to make way for Xi Jinping, who is due to be named state president in March.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • So Much For Competing In The Market: Grab Bag Of IP Weapons Used In Legal Fight Between Options Exchanges

      We’ve pointed out that while we’re told that intellectual property is supposed to be about the incentive to create, the reality is that it tends to be a protectionist tool to attack the competition. If you want to see an amazing example of this and how some companies will use any and all possible IP claims, look no further than the ongoing legal battle between the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the International Securities Exchange. Now, you might think that financial markets wouldn’t need “intellectual property protection” in order to incentivize their creation and continued innovation. And you’d be right. But, if you wanted to use those tools to annoy the hell out of competitors, well, you’ve stepped up to the right window.

    • Payright: A Copyright/Patent Reform Proposal To Make Piracy Obsolete

      Copyright and patent monopolies can be reformed to be less terrible, but in the long-term they need to be reformed into smithereens with a sledgehammer. Politically, this may be impossible. Practically, doing nothing to encourage creativity and innovation may not even be desirable. Erik Zoltan and I have a new alternative: the Payright System.

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Hammers Google With DMCA Takedowns In Six Strikes Prelude

        Very soon the six strikes anti-piracy program will kick off in the United States but the RIAA isn’t just sitting back and presuming that it will be an anti-piracy cure-all. Since early November the recording industry group has massively upped the number of DMCA notices it issues to make content harder to find. From an average of between 200,000 and 240,000 URL requests sent every week to Google, the RIAA has just posted 463,000 and 666,000 in successive weeks.

      • Rep. Darrell Issa Wants To Make It Clear That You’re Allowed To Rip Your DVDs

        Back in October, we noted that in the latest triennial DMCA exemption review, the Copyright Office/Librarian of Congress refused to say it was legal for you to rip your own legally purchased DVDs so that you could watch them on a computer or tablet. That seems fairly ridiculous, especially given that similarly ripping your CDs is recognized as legal. Rep. Darrell Issa has apparently recognized how silly this and is planning a bill to fix the Copyright Office’s mistake.

      • App Developer Hijacks Customer Twitter Accounts In An Attempt To Shame Pirates

        I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for DRM in my heart, mostly because it makes me laugh. If you think about it, it’s generally rather funny in its uselessness. Pirates don’t care about it as they simply route around any DRM. Customers can certainly be annoyed, but they always end up with the same tools the pirates use to break the DRM on their purchased products. There’s a question of legality in doing so, obviously, but generally nobody really seems to care all that much and software developers just end up in a DRM arms race against nobody, which is inherently funny. All the while, we get wonderful gems like Ubisoft’s vuvuzela DRM, which was hysterical. Now, don’t get me wrong, DRM sucks, but upon reading stories about its effects my range of emotions tends to be anywhere between annoyance and raucous laughter.

      • Copyright Hardliners Adapt ‘Copyright Reform’ Language; They Just Mean In The Other Direction

        Neelie Kroes has emerged as perhaps the most Net-savvy politician in the European Commission, with her repeated calls for a new approach to copyright in Europe that takes cognizance of the shift to a digital world. That’s one measure of how mainstream the idea has become. Another is the fact that even copyright hardliners like Michel Barnier, the Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market in Europe, are starting to frame the discussion in a similar way.

      • Republicans Going Copyleft?!

        The Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives has issued an extremely interesting (though rather clumsily written and clumsily titled) Report on “Three Myths About Copyright Law, and Where to Start to Fix it.”

      • Rep. Lofgren Looks To Reddit To Help Crowdsource Anti-SOPA

        Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who has been one of the few leaders in Congress when it comes to pushing for real copyright reform and pushing back against the bad proposals of Hollywood, is apparently looking to use Reddit to crowdsource a new bill concerning internet freedom. Earlier this year, we noted that Lofgren had introduced two good bills — one on ECPA reform (pushing for more privacy for your communications) and one called the Global Internet Freedom Act to create a task force designed to ensure internet freedom. It will be interesting to see how well this works.

      • House Democrat enlists Reddit in pushback against website seizures

        Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is taking to the social news website Reddit on Monday to crowd source ideas for legislation that would provide new protections for websites accused of copyright theft.

        Lofgren wants to craft a bill that would stop the government from shutting down a website accused of copyright violations until the owners are given notice and a chance to defend themselves.

      • Micro-Stock Photo Agency Prefers Converting Customers To Cracking Down On Infringers

        In this bold era of copyright trolling, calmly (ir)rational takedown bots, baseless legal threats and ridiculous statutory damages, it’s a true rarity to see a copyright holder deal with infringement, especially non-commercial infringement, with a reaction that’s actually in line with the “crime” committed.

      • AC/DC And Kid Rock Finally Realize That Selling Tracks Online Is Probably A Good Idea

        A few years ago, people always referred to the Beatles as the biggest holdouts in terms of releasing their music for sale as MP3s online (mainly iTunes). However, the Beatles finally came around in November of 2010. After that, people started putting together lists of who was left and AC/DC and Kid Rock seemed to top most of those lists.

      • Ever Wanted To Present At One Of The Music Industry’s Key Events?

        In 2009, I attended Midem for the first time. It’s an event that the music industry has put on for decades. Over the past few years, they’ve really embraced the idea that the music industry needs to adapt and modernize and have continuously brought in a stream of speakers and participants showing that there are ways for the industry to thrive. In 2009, they invited me to present a case study on Trent Reznor, which remains one of the most popular presentations I’ve ever given. Four years later I still get at least an email a week about it, and sometimes more.

      • Don’t Let Retraction Distract From The Simple Fact: GOP Copyright Policy Brief Was Brilliant

        While there’s been plenty of attention paid over the weekend to the fact that the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the conservative caucus of House Republicans, pulled its report on copyright reform after some entertainment industry lobbyists hit the phones/emails late Friday/early Saturday (and, no, it wasn’t directly to RSC, for the most part, but to “friendly” members asking them to express their “displeasure” with the report to the RSC leadership). But we shouldn’t let that distract from the simple fact that the report was brilliant — perhaps the most insightful and thoughtful piece of scholarship on copyright to come out of a government body in decades. You can still read the whole thing as uploaded to Archive.org.

      • Forthcoming book on conservative and libertarian skepticism about our copyright system

        As you likely know by now, the Republican Study Committee published a briefing paper critical of copyright, but then later pulled it down claiming the memo had not received adequate review. Some have suggested that IP-industry pressure may have led to the reversal. I hope we will find out in due time whether the paper was indeed reviewed and approved (as I suspect it was), and why it was removed. That said, I think what this take-down likely shows is a generational gap between the old, captured, and pro-business parts of the Republican Party and its pro-market and pro-dynamism future.

        I also hope that this dust-up sparks a debate within the “right” about our bloated copyright system, and so it’s propitious that in a couple of weeks the Mercatus Center will be publishing a new book I’ve edited making the case that libertarians and conservatives should be skeptical of our current copyright system. It’s called Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess, and it is not a moral case for or against copyright; it is a pragmatic look at the excesses of the present copyright regime and of proposals to further expand it. The book features:

      • Artifact: A musician’s struggle against a giant corporation

        Jared Leto is perhaps best known to the general public for his work as a film actor, most notably in David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999) and Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000). However, in recent years he has devoted his attention to the world of music, as the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars.

        Artifact, directed by Leto himself, under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins (of Dr. Seuss fame), revolves around major record label EMI’s decision to sue the band for $30 million in August 2008. The film was screened November 8 as part of the New York City documentary festival DOC NYC and previously, in September, at the Toronto film festival.

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