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01.31.13

Apple Uses Patent Law to Drive Down Wages, Block Linux, Inflate Prices

Posted in Apple, Patents at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

President Obama with two ‘friends’

Obama and Jobs

Summary: Apple a manifestation of the anti-American dream and its cartel, shared with Microsoft, does real harm to everyone, even Apple customers and employees

Emory University School of Law (i.e. lawyers) has this new paper which says: “Since 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court has been extremely active in patent law. The Supreme Court not only is taking more cases but also is addressing issues at the core of patent law, such as the law of obviousness and the doctrine of equivalents and its limitations.”

Patents are a government-enforced favouritism-driven tool for corporations. Now, watch what happens to government-funded projects: “In 2003, the agency’s investment arm, DARPA, tapped the non-profit research institute SRI International to lead a five-year, 500-person effort to build a virtual assistant, one the government hoped might yield software to help military commanders with both information overload and office chores. Although it wasn’t the project’s mission, this helper, the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes, or CALO, would ultimately provide the inspiration and model for Siri.

“The Defense Department’s financial backing, $150 million in all, united hundreds of top-tier artificial intelligence experts for an ambitious and uncertain endeavor that most corporate R&D labs could only dream of tackling: teaching computers to learn in the wild. The army of engineers at “nerd city” — one SRI researcher’s nickname for the lab — were tasked with creating a PC-based helper smart enough to learn by observing a user’s behavior, and all the people, projects and topics relevant to her work. The undertaking was “by any measure, the largest AI program in history,” says David Israel, one of the lead researchers on CALO.”

“Wait a second,” wrote Pamela Jones. “How does Apple get to sue people over Siri, if my tax dollars invented it? I don’t want my tax dollars used for fodder for patent infringement lawsuits.”

It is the same with NASA. Always remember the circumstances under which Apple snatched Siri. Apple also uses the patent system to drive wages down. Surely we covered this before, but here is some more.

Pamela Jones calls it “The smoking gun that supports what I’ve been telling you,” namely “that Apple (and Microsoft) are going after Android with patents not because they care about the patents but that they are using patent law as an anticompetitive club. The nice detail is that the class action lawsuit is happening in Judge Lucy Koh’s courtroom, just like the Apple v. Samsung litigations are, so she gets a peek at what’s really going on. Here’s the affidavit as PDF.”

Apple has been colluding with Microsoft for years, so for The Guardian to say this is rather curious:

Apple has one challenge to learn: do not become the next Microsoft.

Apple is already becoming like part of Microsoft. It is evident when it comes to patent blackmail, but sometimes they hide behind patent trolls. This new article recognises the issue. “The recent indications from the FTC, the DoJ and the PTO,” says the blog, “might reinforce the view that in the case of trolls, the public interest counsels against the issuance of an injunction. If a valid patent belonging to a troll is infringed, a royalty should be paid by the user but the threat of injunction produces some of the same anti-competitive effect that the DoJ and PTO identified for patents included in standards.”

Jones wrote:

How about patents that are de facto standards, meaning patents that cover functionality that the public expects to see in, for example, a smartphone. Why wouldn’t it be in the public interest to insist on no injunctions for those kinds of patents too? Apple and Microsoft have opened the door of our minds to many possibilities. If you can remove a property right, the right to enforce via injunctions from one set of patent holders, why not others?

The pathetic behaviour from Apple has its shares collapse. Apple tried in vain to block Android devices through the ITC. ITC is a misnomer. It’s not international, it’s imperialistic. All it does is, it blocks non-US products at behest of US companies, with few exceptions.

Apple boosters try to tell us, unlike the Korean press and more like dedicated Apple boosting sites, that Apple gets the upper hand. Jones has more objective analysis

Judge Koh Rules in Apple v. Samsung – No Willfulness, No Enhanced Damages for Apple but No New Trial Either ~pj

The presiding judge in the Apple v. Samsung litigation in San Jose, CA, the Hon. Lucy Koh, has issued four rulings on the parties’ post-trial briefs. No to a new trial for Samsung, as she views the trial as fair. No to more money for Apple. They failed to prove they were undercompensated by the jury, she writes without conscious irony. And she has ruled that Samsung did not willfully infringe.

Next stop, appeals court, where we will find out if they agree with Judge Koh that the trial was fair. Meanwhile, poor Apple will have to make do with a mere $1 billion as its jury award. We’ll see if that stands on appeal too. A billion dollars for infringement that was officially not willful. Your US patent law at work. How do you like it?

Apple has been making Europe a battleground too and the trend is disturbing. Steve Jobs used patent troll MPEG-LA against Ogg and WebM. The recently-disgraced (for Internet censorship) ITU now provides more patent ammunition against free codecs:

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has signed off on High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), a video compression standard expected to succeed the wildly popular H.264.

ITU-T H.265 / ISO/IEC 23008-2 HEVC, to give the new standard its full name, is seen by the ITU as “designed to take account of advancing screen resolutions” and “is expected to be phased in as high-end products and services outgrow the limits of current network and display technology.”

This was also covered here. Apple must be proud because it’s a big proponent of this.

Microsoft’s Anticompetitive Attack on GNU/Linux Booting is Bricking Laptops

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time to sue Microsoft?

UEFI

Summary: New lows for Microsoft’s low blow against Linux

Now starts the sabotage stage. Microsoft should be seriously nailed for this obstruction of fair competition, but instead we see spin while cowardly Canonical and Red Hat play along (it is not clear if Red Hat really intended for this now that Dr. Garrett no longer works there). See this seminal report:

Booting Linux using UEFI just once on various Samsung laptops is enough to permanently stop them working. Several reports have been posted on the Ubuntu bug tracker, but the problem is likely to also be present in other Linux distributions, as it appears to be caused by a kernel driver for Samsung laptops. Kernel developers are currently discussing a change which would disable the driver when booting via UEFI.
Ubuntu developers were informed of the problem by one user last year, after he had tried to UEFI boot Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.04.1 on a Samsung 530U3C live from a USB flash drive. He had prepared the drive with Ubuntu’s Startup Disk Creator, which sets everything up for booting via BIOS or EFI. Ubuntu froze shortly after loading the kernel and the user then powered down by holding down the power button. Thereafter the laptop refused to boot and the firmware would not even show basic startup information. Samsung repaired the laptop, which was under warranty, by replacing the motherboard. When the same thing occurred with the repaired machine, the user alerted the Ubuntu development team.

This has spread to more news sites [1, 2], one of which says:

Ever since Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS arrived, many Linux users have been asking which distribution they can download and install that will just work out of the box on their new certified Windows 8 machines. That’s been a difficult question to answer, thanks to the whole UEFI Secure Boot BIOS implementation found in Windows 8 machines, which prompted last year’s post “Will Windows 8 Lock Linux Out of PCs?”

The Linux Foundation and others have been slow about delivering solutions to the problem, but some Linux distributions have appeared that provide a reliable workaround. Now, though, there are reports that Samsung machines–which are popular among Windows 8 users–can be completely bricked if you attempt to boot just a single time via UEFI into Linux.

Garrett tells his story where there is focus on recent work that legitimised UEFI. How proud is he now? To quote the SCALE Web site, “We had a chance to sit down with Matthew Garrett, SCALE 11x keynote speaker, to discuss his upcoming keynote “The Secure Boot Journey” as well as a host of other topics including the future directions of Linux.”

UEFI was widely opposed by many while Garrett helped make it seem legitimate. As Will Hill puts it: “Don’t let anyone tell you Restricted Boot is something people are getting around.”

There is another new nightmare story:

Setting up multi-boot on UEFI-based systems has turned out to be quite an ordeal. Here is what I have learned so far.

Linux backers should file complaints against Microsoft, not explore workarounds.

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

USPTO Drives Business Out of the US

Posted in Patents at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

Summary: How a software patents- and patent trolls-friendly system prevents import of innovation

THE USPTO is probably the biggest suppressor of innovation, substituting innovation with protectionism that depresses creativity and productivity. Patents on software are back to the headlines in New Zealand and IDG says:

Call centre software specialist Zeacom might have joined the small list of technology companies on the New Zealand stock exchange if the sharemarket analysts hadn’t stood in the way.

Instead, the company was sold to Enghouse Systems, a Canadian enterprise software company, for US$30.6 million ($36.9 million). Zeacom founder Miles Valentine says that when he needed to raise capital for expansion into the US market, his first choice was the NZX, but the reception he received from the stockbrokers was unwelcoming.

Guess what he says? Patent trolls in the US are blamed. The punch line is, “the patent holder sued 86 companies on the same day and they nearly all (including Zeacom) paid out. He won’t disclose the amount paid but he says that case was settled five minutes before the Enghouse deal went public.”

Watch a new patent troll being created with a massive arsenal:

In other words, Ericsson will profit from any litigation or settlements Unwired Planet manages to extract from tech companies. Pretty good money, if you don’t mind being part of the problem. Mulica was on hand again to put lipstick on the troll-pig with plenty of words that dance around the shakedown-and-sue “business model” Unwired is calling a “corporate strategy” these days.

We covered this before.

Warning: DRM in HTML5, It’s Microsoft Again

Posted in DRM, Microsoft at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Draconian Restrictions at Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft and an ally want DRM in web standards

After Microsoft had infiltrated W3C [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] Microsoft pushed DRM fonts and now there is this (also Microsoft proxy Netflix):

  • DRM in HTML5

    A few days ago, a new proposal was put forward in the HTML Working Group (HTML WG) by Microsoft, Netflix, and Google to take DRM in HTML5 to the next stage of standardization at W3C. This triggered another uproar about the morality and ethics behind DRM and building it into the Web. There are good arguments about morality/ethics on both sides of the debate but ultimately, the HTML WG will decide whether or not to pursue the specification based on technical merit. I (@manusporny) am a member of the HTML WG. I was also the founder of a start-up that focused on building a legal, peer-to-peer, content distribution network for music and movies. It employed DRM much like the current DRM in HTML5 proposal. During the course of 8 years of technical development, we had talks with many of the major record labels. I have first-hand knowledge of the problem, and building a technical solution to address the problem.

  • Truly Stupid Ideas: Adding DRM To HTML5

    This is the fundamental reason why DRM is doomed and should be discarded: the only people it annoys are the ones who have tried to support creators by acquiring legal copies. How stupid is that?

Microsoft infiltrators seeking to hijack the voice of FOSS (recent examples in [1, 2, 3]) are an equally disturbing problem, but let’s not let Microsoft ruin the Web again. Microsoft is a ruthless, unethical company. Never trust its claims that it “changed”.

Even Mossberg Does Not Like Vista 8

Posted in Vista 8, Windows at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tell us all about it, Walt

Mossberg and Jobs
Photo by Joi

Summary: Microsoft sympathisers too are unable to make the trainwreck run

SO Vista 8 is a pile of trash (yes, I tried it) and Mossberg, a Microsoft booster of sorts, cannot make it work for him. He still tries to sound optimistic:

I only wish that, as a laptop, it had more storage and a snappier processor.

Well, even financial manipulations cannot hide losses in cash cows [1, 2] and Linux gains at Windows’ expense, as we showed days ago.

Microsoft by Proxy: Intellectual Ventures, Silver Lake, Ignition, and Now HP

Posted in Microsoft at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Peter Detkin

Summary: Microsoft-tied entities which help Microsoft irritate and abuse the industry

The company known as Microsemi has been turned into a 'customer' of Microsoft's patent troll if the Microsoft spinners are to be believed. John Cook pretends that trolls have customers. Where Intellectual Ventures “turns them into a customer” we should note anti-spin, such as this reply which says: “Hey, @geekwire I think the word you’re looking for is “victim”" (don’t start laughing, the choice of word is deceptive).

Microsoft is working through proxies and often enough we see Microsoft boosters embellishing extortion. Speaking of proxies, Microsoft can now spy on many people using Skype, which it acquired with help from a proxy. As the EFF points out, there is too much secrecy around Skype surveillance:

Open letter from privacy advocates, Internet activists, journalists, and others calls on Microsoft to provide public documentation about the security and privacy practices around Skype.

There is no transparency, so users hardly know for sure what is being done to them when they use the software. It is already confirmed, however, that spying in Skype is happening. Microsoft, unlike Google and Yahoo, also refuses to comment on privacy violations in its E-mail service. Here is how one journalist put it in a story about E-mail hosts requiring a warrant:

The nation’s other major consumer-facing e-mail provider — Microsoft — which markets the Hotmail and Outlook brands, declined comment for this story.

Yahoo, like Skype, was approached by a proxy before Microsoft tried buying it, That proxy is Silver Lake, which we covered here before.

Silver Lake Partners and Microsoft, it seems, really like each other’s company.

With the potential buyout of Dell edging toward an announcement this week or next, now comes word that Silver Lake and Dell founder Michael Dell are in talks with Microsoft ab out teaming up to bid for the computer maker. It’s unclear what form Microsoft’s investment might take, but a person familiar with the deal deliberations said the software giant might put up a couple of billion dollars in financing.

Yes, now Dell too. According to this and this, they seek takeover or at least derailment of GNU Linux efforts, as we saw in Yahoo (FOSS was harmed there by Microsoft infiltration). Another Microsoft takeover proxy seems to to be Ignition Partners, stuffed with former Microsoft executives who prop up Mono and Moonlight by passing money to Xamarin

Last but not least, HP is silently attacking Linux in Germany and elsewhere while publicly pretending to embrace Linux. HP does this because Microsoft apparently paid for it [1, 2, 3].This form of AstroTurfing is hinged upon Microsoft kickbacks or gentle bribes. To quote IDG, ‘”I would struggle to see how a Windows deployment would be cheaper than a Linux installment,” said Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, who added that he couldn’t imagine why Microsoft wouldn’t release a study that actually proved that Microsoft is cheaper than Linux. “I would suspect that they read it and they suspected that there are some errors in there,” he said.,

Pamela Jones wrote: “Think they might use it in private business negotiations? Hahahaha. Microsoft is still Microsoft. Full o’ Fud. But the world has gotten smarter, I see, which might explain Microsoft’s refusal to release the study.”

01.30.13

Links 30/1/2013: Android Market Share at 70%

Posted in News Roundup at 8:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Professional Audio Production on Linux

    And now we come to my favorite part of this series, high-end Linux audio production. Linux is a superior platform for professional audio production: stable, efficient, and you don’t get gouged for software licenses. You have to be careful to select audio hardware that is well-supported on Linux, but this is less of a problem than it used to be. Look for USB audio interfaces that don’t need custom proprietary drivers, but stick to the USB spec like they’re supposed to. The hardy FFADO developers toil away developing and improving drivers for Firewire audio interfaces. No, Firewire is not dead, and you can easily add a Firewire card to almost any PC if it doesn’t already have one. I use FFADO for my cherished old Saffire Pro 26 I/O, and neither have let me down.

  • HTG Explains: Why You Don’t Need an Antivirus On Linux (and When You Do)

    Believe it or not, there are antivirus programs targeted at desktop Linux users. If you have just switched to Linux and started looking for an antivirus solution, don’t bother – you do not need an antivirus program on Linux.

    There are some situations when running an antivirus on Linux makes sense, but the average Linux desktop isn’t one of them. You would only want an antivirus program to scan for Windows malware.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks on the Rise As Big Hardware Players Announce Devices

      When Google began promoting its Chrome OS platform a couple of years ago, there was lots of criticism. For one thing, Google hadn’t quite ironed out some of the “cloud-only” issues that the operating system imposes on users, many of whom are used to using local applications. Since then, of course, Chromebooks running the operating system have improved dramatically, and are now available at $200 price points that challenge the laptop status quo (a $199 example from Acer is shown here).

  • Server

    • SprezzOS: Linux On A Server In 120 Seconds

      Earlier this month I wrote about SprezzOS, a new Linux distribution where its developers boasted it’s the most robust, beautiful, and performant Linux. Well, SprezzOS is now out in the while. The developers are now boasting they can install a Linux server in 120 seconds with their operating system.

    • Cisco Brings Unified Access to Catalyst Switching

      For the most part, wired and wireless networks on the enterprise campus have been two separate entities controlled by different technologies. That’s about to change, thanks to a new suite of Unified Access technologies announced today by Cisco.

  • Kernel Space

    • QEMU 1.3.1 Brings In A Bunch Of Fixes

      The first (and only planned) point release to QEMU 1.3 is now available. The QEMU 1.3.1 release fixes just over two dozen bugs, including critical issues for OpenBSD guests.

    • Systemd Dreams Up New Feature, Makes It Like Cron

      Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers at Red Hat hope to work on a handful of new systemd features as part of the Fedora 19 development cycle. One of the features includes work to make systemd have its own time-based job scheduler that’s similar in nature to cron.

    • A wait and see approach that worked

      Wilcox’s first kernel patch was submitted in 1997; he wanted to move some files from his Acorn Archimedes system to a Linux system and he couldn’t do it as the ISO format did not support the necessary extensions.

      The patch was accepted, after a few comments that he deems to be “on target” and his career was more or less decided.

      But things did not fall into place for a while; he was hired as a Java programmer by a bio-informatics start=-up after he graduated. Wilcox then got involved in porting Linux to the PA-RISC platform and he ended up getting hired by LinuxCare.

    • Perforce joins the Linux Foundation

      Enterprise management company Perforce has joined the Linux Foundation, the non-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the growth of the Linux operating system.

      Perforce see its membership as part of its commitment to encourage collaborative software development on both sides of the firewall.

    • Perforce Joins Linux Foundation, Increases Commitment to Open Source Collaboration
    • KVM: Linux Virtualization That’s Halfway There

      While the KVN infrastructure is built into the Linux OS, you need a modern version of the Linux kernel to use this virtual machine. KVM requires machine extensions. The kernel component of KVM is included in mainline Linux as of version 2.6.20. Even if your Linux distro has the stuff inside, your hardware configuration might not be cooperating. Intel VT or AMD-V support could be disabled by default.

    • Toradex Announce Release of V2.0 Alpha1 Linux BSP for Colibri T30

      Toradex have announced the release of V2.0 Alpha1 Linux BSP for their Colibri T30 Computer on Module. This product is based on the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and ARM architecture.

    • Intel Begins Publishing Linux Patches For “Avoton”
    • Intel Still Tidying Up Linux Support For Haswell

      Intel will be introducing their Haswell processors in the coming months. If using the Linux 3.8 kernel, GCC 4.7/4.8, Mesa 9.1, and other recent open-source Linux packages, you should be mostly set for experiencing the full benefits of the Ivy Bridge successor. However, there’s still a few pieces of Haswell’s Linux support still being worked out.

    • Multi-Threading Cairo-Image For Better Performance

      In terms of Chris Wilson’s benchmark results when comparing the threaded cairo-image, UXA with the Intel driver, and his experimental SNA acceleration architecture for the Intel driver, he concludes, “For the cases that are almost entirely GPU bound (for example the firefox-fishbowl, -fishtank, -paintball, -particles), we have virtually eliminated all the previous advantage that the GPU held. In a notable couple of cases, we have improved the image backend to outperform SNA, and for all cases now the threaded image backend beats UXA. However, as can be seen there is still plenty of room for improvement of the image backend, and we can’t let the hardware acceleration be merely equal to a software rasteriser…”

    • Lennart Poettering Takes To Battling Systemd Myths
    • Graphics Stack

      • Running OpenCL On The GPU With Gallium3D

        With all of the recent improvements going into Mesa/Gallium3D, along with some work advancements to the AMD GPU LLVM back-end, it’s slowly becoming a suitable time for enthusiasts wishing to experiment with OpenCL on the open-source Linux graphics stack through Gallium3D and the “Clover” state tracker.

        OpenCL support in Gallium3D is still far from complete and not yet comparable to the proprietary OpenCL/GPGPU offerings bundled within the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers. In reality, it will probably be at least another year before open-source OpenCL is in good shape for the Linux desktop. At this point, there’s just some simple OpenCL demos working for select graphics processors on Nouveau and Radeon.

      • Intel SNA Continues To Be Tweaked

        SNA, Intel’s newest acceleration architecture for their open-source X.Org graphics driver, continues to receive improvements on a near daily basis.

        Intel SNA is what most of the xf86-video-intel driver changes have been about since this 2D acceleration architecture was introduced back in 2011. SNA is the pet project of Chris Wilson at Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center and is the one responsible for a majority of the work.

      • Wayland/Weston 1.0.4 Released; Per-Output Workspaces

        Wayland 1.0.4 was released this week along with an adjoining update to its Weston reference compositor. Separately, a new patch-set has emerged for supporting per-output workspaces.

        The Wayland/Weston 1.0.4 release was a bit behind schedule due to Kristian Høgsberg being ill, but the point releases are out now for those interested. The main 1.0.4 change is for Weston and it’s to address a “CPU eating bug” within the compositor’s plane code. There’s also been a few documentation fixes. With Wayland 1.0.4, destroy signal APIs were added and a more robust version of the event loop test case.

      • Mesa 9.1 Release Reaffirmed For Late February

        Mesa 9.1 should be released by the end of February as the latest version of this bi-annual open-source OpenGL implementation that continues to slowly but surely pickup new functionality for most major graphics drivers.

      • VESA BIOS Extension DRM Kernel Driver Released

        David Herrmann, the open-source developer that has made it a personal crusade to kill the Linux kernel console and to replace it with a user-space solution, has published the code to a new DRM kernel mode-setting driver. This new kernel driver is a generic VESA BIOS Extension DRM implementation like the vesafb VESA frame-buffer driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Fedora 18 vs. Ubuntu 12.10, Ubuntu 13.04 Benchmarks

        As the next chapter after the Fedora 17 vs. Fedora 18 benchmarks for the Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution, here are benchmarks comparing Fedora 18 to Ubuntu 12.10 and Ubuntu 13.04 on two separate PCs.

        The performance between the latest Fedora and Ubuntu Linux releases aren’t incredibly surprising with many of the key components being the same (or similar) versions, but nevertheless I ran a bunch of benchmarks on a Core i7 3770K “Ivy Bridge” and Core i7 3960X “Sandy Bridge” Extreme Edition system with Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.10, and Ubuntu 13.04 using the 64-bit Linux releases. Benchmarks in full are on OpenBenchmarking.org.

      • A Number Of New & Updated Linux Benchmarks

        After yesterday writing about recent benchmarking improvements, including over a dozen new open-source benchmarks graciously provided by Intel and then ongoing improvements to the Phoronix Test Suite client, there’s more to talk about this morning for those interested in open-source benchmarking.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma.next()?

        Sebastian wrote a pair of blog entries in the last week about where we are heading with Plasma in the near future. The first was an overview of the pathway to Frameworks 5 and what we’re provisionally referring to as Plasma Workspaces 2. The second entry covered his work on making it possible to write widget layouts (aka Containments) in QML.

      • Kdenlive 0.9.4 Is Here

        Kdenlive, an advanced video editor for the KDE desktop has been updated to a new version. This version fixes bugs which made the software to crash, so all users are highly advised to install this release as soon as possible. Some other new features of this release has been summarized below:

        * A rewritten DVD wizard
        * Improved clip markers
        * Rewritten Screen Capture
        * Support for multiple streams clips
        * Clip analysis feature
        * Stability and Performance improvements
        * Over 124 bugs fixed

      • Kdenlive 0.9.4 information page

        The DVD Wizard was mostly rewritten, now allowing 16:9 menus. It now also autodetects the format of your videos and proposes a trandcoding if it is necessary. In fact, you can now drop any video in the Wizard and just click transcode to get it in the correct DVD format.

      • What’s Being Brewed For KDE’s Plasma Active

        Aaron Seigo wrote this morning about some of what’s happening next for KDE’s Plasma Active, which reveals some interesting future endeavours.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Is GNOME’s Open Source Web Browser Ready for the Masses?

        From Internet Explorer (IE) to Firefox to Google Chrome, there’s no shortage of Web browsers to choose from these days–a luxury that can be easy to take for granted for those who have forgotten what things were a number of years ago, after Netscape collapsed and IE was the only game in town. But GNOME, the open source development community, thinks it can offer a better browser than these bigger-name alternatives in the form of Web, formerly known as Epiphany. Is it right?

      • Researching the GNOME3 experience: Question by Question

        The work that has happened ever since I wrote the last post, is actually the work which would take atleast 5 posts, but it has to start somewhere, so I am starting it off with this post.

      • GNOME 3: A new perspective

        GNOME 3: A desktop that brings a certain level of ire to the hearts and minds of many a Linux user. When this desktop first arrived, my opinion was fairly high. Why? It was new, fresh, and seemed like it could easily take the desktop world by storm. But then the developers stopped listening to the users and things seemed to fall apart.

      • Epiphany Web Browser may ditch tabs
      • Running in the office with Gnome!
  • Distributions

    • Slax 7.0 – Slax Is Back

      December 2012 saw the final release of Slax 7.0 after more than three years without an update, quickly followed by several bug-fix point releases. In 7.0.3 the ability to act as PXE server was re-introduced, which had been present in earlier versions but was missing from the early 7.0 branch. I tried it in VMware Player, VirtualBox, from Live CD as intended and installed to external USB connected to an Acer 5551 laptop with ATI graphics, 4 GB Ram and a Phenom II X3 processor.

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 2.1 “Eris” Ultra Edition

        The system is built as all 2.x releases on Debian testing “Wheezy”.
        All packages have been synchronized with Debian testing repositories of 23/01/2013.
        It features customized ultra light and fast Openbox desktop.

      • Clonezilla 2.1.0-12
      • Linux Deepin 12.12
      • New Products

        ROSA Desktop 2012

        The fact that Russia’s ROSA Labs once collaborated with Mandriva is evident in the company’s latest release, ROSA Desktop 2012. Nevertheless, since breaking from Mandriva, ROSA Labs has forked the distro onto its own unique development path. ROSA Desktop 2012 is an LSB-compliant distro that features a customized KDE desktop. The free edition sports only free software; the Extended Edition includes nonfree components and proprietary software, such as codecs. ROSA Labs says that by developing ROSA Desktop 2012 with its own software development and build environment—ROSA ABF—the company is able to achieve unmatched technological independence, high quality and up to five years of technical support. Examples of new features include EFI/UEFI support, improved hardware detection and improved compatibility with Windows 8. Supported languages include English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian.

      • Parted Magic 2013_01_29
    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Ann Coulter Refuses to Board Airplane With Black Pilot

    Conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter refused to stay on board a Miami to New York commercial airline flight today after learning the pilot was a woman of African-American descent.

    According to witness reports Coulter was concerned the experienced, decorated pilot in question may have gained her position as a result of affirmative action and wasn’t fully qualified to fly.

  • Is Egypt on the Brink of Collapse? Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports from Restive City of Port Said

    Ongoing mass protests have led the Egyptian government to declare a state of emergency and the country’s defense minister to warn of the potential “collapse of the state.”

  • the real wikipedia of maps

    In the wake of Google’s CEO Schmidt going to North Korea on an official visit, American media has been abuzz with stories. Yesterday, CNN carried a story about how Google Maps is expanding in North Korea thanks to “a community of citizen cartographers” (that is Google’s claim) allowing it work “in a similar way to Wikipedia, allowing users to add, edit and review information” (that is CNN’s take on it).

  • Security

    • Latest VLC version has dangerous hole

      The developers of the VLC video player have warned of a crashing bug in the latest 2.0.5 version of the application, which might be exploited to execute arbitrary code. The issue is a problem in the ASF demuxer (libasf_plugin.*), which can be tricked into overflowing a buffer with a specially crafted ASF movie. The developers note that users would have to open that specially crafted file to be vulnerable and advise users to not open files from untrusted third parties or untrusted sites.

    • Unseen, all-out cyber war on the U.S. has begun

      There’s a war going on, and it’s raging here at home — not in the streets or the fields, but on the Internet. You can think of it as a war on the digital homeland. If you work for a power company, bank, defense contractor, transportation provider, or other critical infrastructure type of operation, your organization might be in the direct line of fire. And everyone can become collateral damage.

    • Oracle: ‘We Have to Fix Java’
    • Disable This Buggy Feature On Your Router Now To Avoid A Serious Set Of Security Vulnerabilities.
    • Pentagon’s New Massive Expansion of ‘Cyber-Security’ Unit is About Everything Except Defense

      Cyber-threats are the new pretext to justify expansion of power and profit for the public-private National Security State

    • A Line Has Been Crossed: Anonymous Hacks DOJ

      Launching “Operation Last Resort,” Anonymous twice hacked the Justice Department’s Sentencing Commission this weekend to protest the death of Aaron Swartz and a legal system “wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control (and) power.” The group threatened to release Justice Department data if the government fails to reform flawed cyber crime laws that allow almost unfettered prosecutorial power, and then turned the website into a videogame and Guy Fawkes mask proclaiming, “We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Amelia Hill is a Dirty Liar

      The Guardian hit a new low in Amelia Hill’s report on Julian Assange’s appearance at the Oxford Union. Hill moved beyond propaganda to downright lies.

      [...]

      Just that hearty applause is sufficient to show that the entire thrust and argument of Amelia Hill’s article moves beyong distortion or misreprentation – in themselves dreadful sins in a journalist – and into the field of outright lies. Her entire piece is intended to give the impression that the event was a failure and the audience were hostile to Assange. That is completely untrue.

    • Step inside the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange

      It’s just been announced that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will run for a seat in the Australian Senate during this year’s elections. He is currently avoiding arrest by living in the Ecuadorian Embassy and a little while ago I photographed a note held by a police officer detailing the lengths they would go to in order to arrest him. Including what to do if he came out ‘in a diplomatic bag’… This photograph made news around the world because it appeared to show police would ignore any laws governing diplomatic immunity. What it didn’t do was shed any more light on the conditions inside the Embassy for Assange himself.

    • Ellsberg at Berkeley Salute to US Soldier Accused of Aiding WikiLeaks

      A “Salute to Bradley Manning,” the Army Pfc. accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, will be held in Berkeley Thursday with Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg and Kevin Gosztola, co-author of a book on the Manning case.

    • Assange confirms Senate run

      Julian Assange will run for a Senate seat in the 2013 federal election and his mum reckons he’ll be awesome.

      Christine Assange confirmed her son’s candidacy on Wednesday after WikiLeaks tweeted the news.
      “He will be awesome,” she said.

    • Julian Assange to run for Senate seat as his mother says he will be ‘awesome’

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will run for a seat in the Australian Senate during this year’s elections, his organisation announced Wednesday, with his mother saying he would be “awesome” in the role.

    • Prosecuting Whistleblowers Instead of Criminals

      Long the disclaimer of those bearing bad news, the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” may soon become a rallying cry of the American public.

      Under an ostensibly liberal, Democratic president, government prosecutors have ushered in a new era of targeting whistleblowers. Prosecuting those responsible for the wrongdoings, meanwhile, has been made no such priority. The recent sentencing of former CIA officer John Kiriakou represents the latest example in the crackdown on leaks to the media and public.

    • Stand Up for Julian Assange

      Last month, on December 13th, 2012, I visited Julian Assange, Australian founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, in the Ecuadorian embassy, in Knightsbridge, London.

      It’s been seven months now since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy and was given political asylum.

      He entered the embassy after the British Courts shamefully refused his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning about sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). Julian Assange has said he is willing to answer questions in the U.K. relating to accusations against him, or alternatively, to go to Sweden, provided that the Swedish government guarantee he will not be extradited to the U.S. where plans are being made to try him for conspiracy to commit espionage. The Swedish Government refuses to give such assurances.

      [....]

      Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book,

    • Chagos cable chronology
    • Judge orders cross-examination of officials over WikiLeaks documents

      Unprecedented step in Chagos Islands case is first time one of the WikiLeaks cables has featured in a UK court case

    • The Guardian’s obsession with sullying the reputation of Julian Assange

      After Julian Assange gave a speech at the Oxford Union on January 23, 2012, The Guardian published an article criticizing his appearance, saying “he refused to be gracious”. At the time, video had not been uploaded of the event, so it was impossible to contradict The Guardian’s claims. Now that the Oxford Union has uploaded the full speech and Q&A session (albeit only after editing out footage of “Collateral Murder” due to copyright fears), The Guardian’s blatant smear tactics can be revealed.

    • Assange’s allies
    • Farewell to McClelland, a ministerial cipher for the security state

      But more than ASIO has changed. Between Murphy’s raids on ASIO in search of information about Croatian terrorism he believed the agency was hiding from him, and Robert McClelland expanding ASIO’s powers via the “WikiLeaks amendment”, something has changed in Labor’s relationship with the national security apparatus of the country.

    • FBI Investigation into Leaks & the Threat to Press Freedom (VIDEO)
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch links sympathy for Palestinians to anti-Semitism. The truth is more complex

      In a futile bid to preempt the allegation that automatically follows an article of this nature, I begin with a clarification. It is lifted from the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where a man in a cinema queue berates Larry David as “a self-hating Jew” for whistling an aria from Wagner. I certainly do hate myself, is Larry’s reply, but it has absolutely nothing to do with being a Jew.

      There was a time when a writer could address the spirited disputes sparked by World Holocaust Day in a tone sympathetic to the Palestinian cause without feeling the need to absolve himself of any form of anti-Semitism, though it feels like a distant age now. It is more than 10 years since the Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, for decades as passionate a friend of Israel as parliament knew, was jostled at St John’s Wood synagogue, on Yom Kippur, by congregants enraged by his criticisms of Ariel Sharon.

    • The 50 million dollar lie

      Bill Gates has spent $50 million for a three year project known as the MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) project. They just concluded the study and released a final report which can be found here. In the final report they conclude that teacher evaluations have an ideal weighting of 33% value-added, 33% principal observations, and 33% student surveys. They justify the 33% value-added because they have analyzed the data and found, contrary to everyone else’s analysis of similar data, that teachers DO have similar value-added scores from one year to the next. To prove their point, they print on page 8 this very compelling set of graphs.

      [...]

      As even a ‘paint ball’ produces such a nice line when subjected to the principle of averaging, we can safely assume that the Gates data, if we were to see it in its un-averaged form would be just as volatile as my first graph.

      It seems like the point of this ‘research’ is to simply ‘prove’ that Gates was right about what he expected to be true. He hired some pretty famous economists, people who certainly know enough about math to know that their conclusions are invalid.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Porn trolling firm accused of colluding with defendant in sham lawsuit

      Every time we think Prenda Law can’t get in any more hot water, the firm behind dozens of mass copyright lawsuits proves us wrong. In recent months we’ve written about a Florida judge blasting Prenda for “attempted fraud on the court.” We’ve covered a Minnesota man’s charge that Prenda named him the head of one of its shell companies without his knowledge or permission. And we’ve covered Prenda’s efforts to avoid answering questions about these allegations by claiming that California defense lawyer Morgan Pietz invented his “John Doe” client. Prenda also unsuccessfully sought the dismissal of a California judge who started asking questions about Prenda’s alleged misconduct.

    • Copyrights

      • Meet the money behind Dotcom

        Who is the mysterious millionaire, who left school at age 15, who is now listed as the new CEO of Kim Dotcom’s latest venture? Geraldine Johns gets a glimpse into the world of the elusive Tony Lentino.

      • Anita Busch, Michael Ovitz At War in Anthony Pellicano Civil Case

        Hollywood’s most powerful figures had ordered the intimidation attempt.

      • Court Says Trial Needed To Determine If Universal Music Violated DMCA With Dancing Baby Takedown

        We’ve covered the Stephanie Lenz / dancing baby / fair use case for years — but now it looks like there’s finally going to be a trial to consider if Universal Music can be punished for sending a DMCA takedown notice on a video of Lenz’s infant son dancing to 29 seconds of a song by Prince, which Lenz asserts was clearly fair use. If you haven’t followed the case, it’s been argued back and forth for years. At one point, the court ruled that a copyright holder does need to take fair use into account before sending a DMCA takedown, but that there needs to be “subjective bad faith” by Universal Music in sending the takedown. In other words, Lenz (and the EFF, who is representing her) needs to show, effectively, that Universal knew that it was sending bogus takedowns. The EFF has argued that willful blindness by Universal meant that it had knowledge (amusingly, using precedents in copyright cases in the other direction, where copyright holders argue that willful blindness can be infringement).

      • Dealing With Aaron Swartz in the Nixonian Tradition: Overzealous Overcharging Leads to a Tragic Result
      • Government Persecution, From Aaron Swartz to Bradley Manning

        The Justice Department’s legal assault on Swartz is of a vindictive piece with the prosecution of others who have carried important information into the public realm. Front and center is 25-year-old Bradley Manning, the Iraq War enlistee accused of being WikiLeaks’s source in the military. The restricted foreign policy documents that Manning allegedly released don’t amount to even 1 percent of the 92 million items the government classified last year, but the young private faces life in prison at his court-martial in June for the charge, among twenty-one others, of “aiding the enemy.” Then there’s Jeremy Hammond, age 28, who in his freshman year at the University of Illinois hacked the computer science department’s home page, then told them how they could fix its problem. He got thrown out of school for that; now he’s in a federal prison facing thirty-nine years to life, charged with various hacks and leaks (all apparently led by an FBI informant) including the 5 million internal e-mails of Stratfor, a private security firm hired by corporations to surveil private citizens, among other activities.

      • Critical Fixes for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
      • Human Rights Lawyer Explains Why He’s Working For Kim Dotcom: Exposing American Corruption

        We recently wrote about how Kim Dotcom has retained famed human rights lawyer Robert Amsterdam to explore whether or not there’s a human rights angle to his case, specifically alleging “contract prosecution” by the entertainment industry. I’m still somewhat skeptical that such an argument could go anywhere, but Amsterdam himself has put up a rather detailed blog post, explaining why he’s taking the case, which may seem quite different than his usual fare: taking on corruption and human rights violations in far flung parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America. After highlighting the many problems with the case (and the continued failures in court to date), as well as the close ties prosecutor Neil MacBride has with big copyright holders, he points out that he sees some serious similarities to what’s happening here with the kind of corruption he’s witnessed in third world nations.

      • Picking up Aaron Swartz’s dropped flags

        My first quality time with Aaron Swartz was at the last Comdex, in the Fall of 2002. He had just turned 16, but looked about 10. His old Mac laptop featured a screen with no working backlight. Only he could read it, which he rationalized, with a smile, as a “security precaution.” When I asked him about school, he said he had moved on. He was still learning all kinds of stuff, but he didn’t need school for that. And hey, there was work to be done, and he was too busy with that.

      • Congress Demands Justice Department Explain Aaron Swartz Prosecution
      • Memorial for Aaron Swartz at the Internet Archive
      • Part 2: EFF’s Additional Improvements to Aaron’s Law

        Now we present part two: suggestions to address the CFAA’s penalty structure. The CFAA, which is the primary federal computer crime law, allows for harsh punishments and makes too many offenses felonies. The statute is also structured so that the same behavior can violate multiple provisions of the law, which prosecutors often combine to beef up the potential penalties.

      • O’Brien blasts feds for dusting off statutes used on mafia

        The lawyers for disgraced former Probation commissioner John O’Brien blasted prosecutors in a filing yesterday, calling their decision to charge O’Brien and two of his top deputies as if they were greedy mobsters “breathtaking” while accusing them of not turning over key evidence.

        The attorneys, writing in a 29-page motion requesting documents from the US Attorney’s office, said their clients are confident they will beat the accusations they created a “rigged” hiring system catering to the requests of state lawmakers and others.

      • Triumphant motel owner slams Carmen Ortiz

        …latest critic to accuse the Hub’s top fed of prosecutorial bullying.

      • the next words: A Lecture on Aaron’s Law

        When a law professor is given a “chair” s/he gives a lecture in honor of the honor. I am the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership. On February 19, at 5pm @ HLS, I was scheduled to give my chair lecture. After Aaron’s death, I asked the Dean to let me reschedule the lecture. But after some more thought, I’ve decided to make the lecture about Aaron, and about how we need to honor his work. Anyone is invited. More details to follow. And the event will be webcast.

      • Aaron’s Army

        Aaron wasn’t a lone wolf, he was part of an army, and I had the honor of serving with him for a decade.

      • Feds Hounded ‘Net Activist Aaron Swartz, Says EFF’s Parker Higgins
      • How to honor Aaron Swartz

        Rarely does the name of one person, lacking political office or seat of power, echo across the internet so thoroughly as it did in the wake of Aaron Swartz’s death. How was the work of one person revered by so many, from the front page of every major paper in the US, to radical communities working against various axis of oppression?

      • Aaron’s Law, Drafting the Best Limits of the CFAA, And A Reader Poll on A Few Examples
      • More Thoughts on the Six CFAA Scenarios About Authorized Access vs. Unauthorized Access

01.29.13

Links 30/1/2013: Axis Communications, D-Link, O.S. Systems and Perforce Join Linux Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 9:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Top 3: Alan Cox, CloudForms and KDE
  • 5 Dilemmas of Linux Evangelists

    Stereotyping on the Internet is almost unavoidable due to the opacity of the medium and there are now hundreds of types of “fanbois” online since the dawn of the Internet. For tech enthusiasts with plenty of time on their hands, it’s easy to troll for the occasional MacOSX, Microsoft, Android, iOS, and Apple fanboi (and yes, Apple has several categories on its own). I’m an unabashed Linux user and Linux evangelist despite being platform agnostic (the industry where I work in requires a certain level of MacOSX and Windows proficiency). Although Linux evangelists make up a small percentage (even smaller than the alleged percentage of Linux desktop users) of computer users out there, there are still hazards to attempting to promote Linux. The difficulties aren’t always associated with the freakishly crazy Mac worshipers who would skewer you at any negative comment about their beloved Apple devices:

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS gains on Windows 8′s pains

      After only a few months Acer’s Chromebook already accounts for 5 to 10 percent of Acer’s US shipments and HP will soon be launching its own Chromebook. In the meantime, Windows 8 PC sales remain anemic.

    • M$ Drives More To GNU/Linux and FLOSS

      News: You can get a great desktop or server operating system for $0 from Debian and a great office suite for $0 from The Document Foundation. Buy pizzas with your savings or whatever you want to boost the economy locally.

    • User Abuse

      At some point, I discovered Linux. I can recall the thrill of getting my mouse to work when I stumbled across a RedHat 5.0 book with the disks in the back. I always thought Another Level was a great desktop, if lacking the highly integrated functions of Windows. I surfed with Netscape Navigator 3.06 for several months before I discovered updates. Nor can I forget buying Applix 4, then the thrill of getting my hands on the retail box of WordPerfect 8 for Linux. Despite the occasional crash with it on RedHat 6.3, I thought it was wonderful, a real advancement over 6.1 on Windows. Applix 5 was cool, too. I still have the boxed sets for WP8, Applix 5, and RH 6.3. I’m currently running WP8 on Ubuntu Hardy in a virtual machine with VMware.

  • Server

    • R.I.P. Boxee Box: 2010-2013

      When Boxee announced its new Boxee TV product last October, it also stated that the original Boxee Box, which had already ceased being manufactured, would soon transition into “maintenance mode.” Additionally, the company promised one last firmware update, which would “update the Flash player and fix some key bugs.”

    • HP Extends Serviceguard to Linux
  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 5 Episode 1

      In this episode: Canonical is to launch a phone. Fedora 18 has been released. Friends of Gnome are looking for money and Valve is to make a Linux-powered games console. Hear our first discoveries of 2013 and how you’d like the podcast to improve in season 5.

    • Linux Outlaws 295 – Veneering the Planet
    • Tech Tuesday: Open Source Software

      Tech Geeks from around the world are meeting in the nation’s capital this week for the Linux Conference.

      It’s a five-day love-in for fans of open source software—non-commercial software where the source code can be modified and redistributed for free.

  • Kernel Space

    • Torvalds slams prosecutor for Swartz’s suicide
    • 32 bit Vs 64 bit OS architecture in Linux
    • Btrfs Still Working To Address Corruption Issue

      Another bug-fix pull request was sent in on Tuesday for the Btrfs file-system in the yet-to-be-released Linux 3.8 kernel. Chris Mason notes that he’s still working out an older CRC corruption issue.

    • Google Wants Fast Queue Spinlocks For The Linux Kernel

      A Google engineer has proposed “Fast Queue Spinlocks” for the Linux kernel as an alternative in select cases to the default ticket spinlock.

    • ACPI Support Continues To Be Improved In Linux

      There’s a number of ACPI updates that are being shown off and will likely make their debut in the Linux 3.9 kernel for improving the power management support.

    • Linux Foundation Announces New Members

      Axis Communications, D-Link, O.S. Systems and Perforce

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston DRM Back-End Now Supports Pixman

        A set of seven patches published today allow Wayland’s Weston compositor with its DRM back-end to support rendering through Pixman.

        Earlier this month I wrote about the work being done on software rendering in Weston using Pixman. The pixel manipulation library was used to achieve “pure software rendering” and was combined with work on MIT-SHM shared memory support for the X11 back-end. This work allows for Wayland/Weston to run better in non-hardware-accelerated environments.

      • Mesa 9.0.2 Officially Released

        For most Phoronix readers out there that are Linux enthusiasts into hardware tweaking, performance optimizations, and getting the most out of your Linux box, Mesa 9.0.2 is rather boring. It’s just the usual bug-fixing and stable changes that were back-ported from Git master. Most of you reading Phoronix are likely already on Mesa 9.1-devel from Mesa Git master, which is where the exciting work happens.

      • R600 LLVM Back-End Gets Indirect Addressing Support

        The open-source Radeon R600 LLVM back-end has finally received support for indirect memory addressing.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 3.2 To 3.8 Kernels With Intel Ivy Bridge Graphics

        With the Intel Haswell product launch coming up soon, here’s a look at how the Intel “Ivy Bridge” HD 4000 graphics support has matured on the seven most recent Linux kernel releases. This benchmarking shows how the performance of the Intel DRM driver has changed between the Linux 3.2 kernel and the Linux 3.8 kernel that’s presently under development when using the integrated graphics found on the latest-generation Core i7 CPU.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Introducing LXDE

      Let us be non-mainstream. In the world of Linux desktop environments, Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) is not your typical first or second choice. Most people will mention Gnome, KDE, perhaps Unity. You may have heard of Cinnamon and MATE lately, and Xfce is also a solid, longtime niche player. LXDE keeps slipping under the radar.

      The thing is, without decent financial backing by the big names, it is very hard creating and maintaining a robust and bug-free desktop environment that can address the needs of the common user, if a Linux user can ever be classified as common in any way. Still, deviating from the usual formula is very tricky, and few distributions manage to balance beauty and functionality well. And the more exotic the desktop environment gets, the more difficult the challenge. For example, in the world of Xfce, Dreamlinux was one of the few players to tackle it properly. Even the big shot struggle, Gnome 3 and KDE being no exceptions. So what happens when you take LXDE and skin your desktop with it?

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Active 4

        At the end of March, we will be releasing Plasma Active 4. Since Plasma Active 3, We’ve made improvements to the Files, eBook reader (Okular), Settings and Alarms applications along with a large number of bug fixes and performance improvements. We’re also in the middle of moving to the KDE Platform 4.10 release as well as getting closer in line with other Mer based efforts, such as sharing the description files with Nemo that are used when building images for different device targets and adapting to a systemd driven user session. These two changes introduced a relatively large number of regressions that are being ironed out. In fact, we paused on the feature development and turned focus to fit and finish work before continuing on.

      • rekonq 2.1
      • Rekonq 2.1 Web-Browser Brings More Features

        Less than one month after the release of the Rekonq 2.0 web-browser for the KDE desktop as an alternative to Konqueror, Rekonq 2.1 has surfaced and it brings more features to this open-source WebKit-powered project.

      • KScreen Sees Its First Alpha Release

        KScreen, the new way of managing monitors/outputs on Linux when running the KDE Plasma desktop, saw its first alpha release this weekend.

      • KScreen Sees Its First Alpha Release
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Pear Linux 6.1 – Review

      One of the biggest draw backs of Linux adoptions for home users is that it looks so clunky and fearfully difficult to use. Pear Linux is one promising distro that is out to change that perception. And so far, it is doing an outstanding job.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.1.27 development released

        We appreciate your feedbacks about the overall speed/lightness of the system compared to last stable version of Elive. You can say something in our chat channel directly from the running system. If you detect any lagging in the system please consider different setups like disabling composite (which you can select on the startup of the graphical system) in order to report improvements. We would also appreciate feedbacks about composite enabled or disabled in old computers, suggestions for better performances, and memory usage compared to Topaz.

      • Groovy 2.1.0 arrives ready to invoke dynamically

        The developers of Groovy have announced the release of Groovy 2.1. The new release of the JVM-based language now has full support for Java 7′s “invoke dynamic” byte code and API, which allows dynamic languages on the JVM to make dynamic method calls as efficiently as Java programs make static method calls. Groovy 2.0 had support for most method calls using “invoke dynamic”, but now all method calls make use of it. The GPars concurrency framework is also now bundled with Groovy 2.1.

      • SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 Previews Its GNOME Fork

        Announced last week was a new fork of GNOME Classic as the Consort Desktop. Released today by the Linux distribution behind this project, SolusOS, is the first alpha version of their next Linux release that integrates this forked GNOME desktop.

    • Screenshots

      • Netrunner 12.12.1 Screenshots (01/24/2013)

        Netrunner is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu with a focus on options that won’t make it into mainline Ubuntu and alternatives to some mainline Ubuntu decisions. Some features are WINE included by default, some selected Qt/KDE applications in the GNOME desktop, and no Mono.

      • Descent OS 3.0.2 Screenshots
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 Beta 2 Released

        Mageia 3 Beta 2 was announced a wee bit late last Friday with some major version jumps. The team say they’re in the final run, but they still have time to clean up those bugs before Final. The live image returned a release or two ago, but today it finally worked on my hardware.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • The fashionably late Fedora

          During my week with Fedora there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind and it took a while to figure out what it was that bothered me about this release. What I think was troubling me is that the components of this release don’t feel integrated nor coordinated. Perhaps Fedora is going through a more tumultuous stage than usual as will happen from time to time with an experimental distribution. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that some applications use the GNOME Shell integrated menu and some do not; the system admin tools have distinctly different styles of interface when compared side-by-side and even parts of the installation process feel like they were designed by different people. This approach is in contrast to other mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Mageia where system components tend to hold to a central, integrated design. This feeling of disunity added to the overall impression that Fedora 18 feels very experimental and not yet finished. There were a lot of little bugs and a few big ones in this release and it led me to believe that even with the two month delay Fedora 18 was released too early.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian guru’s plea for sane computing future

        CANBERRA: When Bdale Garbee talks about the future of the Linux desktop, it is not so much a visionary view as a view of how he would like computing to evolve.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu smartphone to launch without app store, won’t support Android apps

            One of the most exciting announcements of the beginning of the year is the Ubuntu phone – not to be confused with Ubuntu for Android. Canonical is ready to make a serious play for the mobile business – at least part of it – that’s dominated by Android and iOS, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry left to battle for third place.

            And the Ubuntu phone certainly looks like an interesting alternative. The new mobile platform will surely appeal to current PC users that choose Ubuntu as their desktop OS, but not only.

            As you already know, any Android device that runs Google’s OS will be able to run Ubuntu, as long as you’ll be willing to perform the installing part, and the Galaxy Nexus could soon get its first Ubuntu phone code.

          • Canonical Wants Help With Ubuntu Phone Apps
          • Ubuntu phones to come with a terminal—prepare your command line skills
          • Things You Should Know About Ubuntu Phone

            Canonical is all set to break new grounds with its Ubuntu Phone, which the company was developing in utter secrecy for couple of months. The announcement got a mixed response. It excited the hard-core Ubuntu users who look forward to the idea of running Ubuntu on their phones; it excited a typical user due to the refreshing and well polished inter face.

          • This Week’s Ubuntu Q&A
          • issue 69
          • Ubuntu 13.04 Will Improve Gaming On Open-Source GPU Drivers

            While still a ways from being comparable to the proprietary graphics drivers in terms of features and OpenGL performance, the open-source GPU drivers found by default in the forthcoming Ubuntu 13.04 release are a big improvement over the out-of-the-box graphics drivers found in earlier Ubuntu Linux releases. The Ubuntu desktop is also faster thanks to improvements to its Unity desktop environment and Compiz compositing window manager. In this article are Linux gaming benchmarks looking at the performance of Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.10, and a preliminary Ubuntu 13.04 development snapshot. In this first article, the OpenGL performance of Intel and Radeon graphics are being benchmarked.

          • Ubuntu Phone Will Come Complete With a Terminal App, If You’re Into That Sort of Thing

            The terminal isn’t the kind of thing casual users will get a lot of use out of, and that’s true of the terminal in the desktop version of Ubuntu as well. I’m not an experienced or particularly skilled Linux user, but the times I’ve needed to do anything in the terminal I’ve been glad it’s there, and I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the few terminal commands I do know. Instead of digging through menus or utilities, with a few lines in the terminal you can do just about anything in Linux.

          • Canonical Commits to Regular Updates for Ubuntu Cloud
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 15 Codenamed “Olivia”, Will Be Available In May

              Linux Mint team has announced the codename of Linux Mint 15 and future plans on Github. Linux Mint 15 is named as “Olivia” – pronounced as “oh-LIV-ee-ah” – Latin origin. Meaning of Olivia is “olive tree”. The olive tree is a symbol of fruitfulness, beauty, and dignity. As name suggests this release will focus on beauty and user interface, as well as improvements in Cinnamon, Nemo, MDM, Live installer, Mint tools.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Closed minds of “Open Source” eject iTWire from Linux conference

      In the more than 30 years that I have been involved with the tech industry I have seen a lot of strange things but none stranger than the events of today at the Linux Conference Australia. iTWire senior Linux writer Sam Varghese has been ejected from the conference. Why? Well, you may ask and then wonder what the Linux community in Australia has come to.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks Signs on to OpenStack Foundation

      As 2013 begins, there is continued momentum for OpenStack, the open source cloud computing framework. As we reported last September, OpenStack has its very own foundation, which is packed with heavy-hitting technology titans among its members. And now, the newest member of the OpenStack Foundation is Hortonworks, which provides an enterprise-class Hadoop distribution and resources for Hadoop. As a member of the foundation, Hortonworks has an opportunity to marry open source Big Data crunching with cutting-edge cloud computing.

    • OpenNebula open-sources service management layer with enterprise in mind

      OpenNebula, the European answer to the likes of Eucalyptus and OpenStack that counts CERN and China Mobile among its customers, is moving to differentiate itself from competitors by freely releasing OpenNebulaApps, a suite of cloud application management tools that sit on top of its traditional infrastructure management toolkit.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.5.1 tightens security and stops HTML from disappearing

      The WordPress developers have announced a maintenance update to the popular open source blogging software. WordPress 3.5.1 fixes 37 bugs and addresses three security issues, including two cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. Users running WordPress on IIS might run into a problem that prevents the upgrade; the developers have prepared documentation to help users work around this problem.

  • BSD

    • Arch BSD: Arch Linux Atop The FreeBSD Kernel

      The Arch BSD operating system is moving forward, an attempt at a BSD platform that’s inspired by the Arch Linux distribution and using its package-set.

      An email arrived at Phoronix this morning that the ArchBSD.net web-site is now online. This new site looks just like ArchLinux.org, but Linux references are replaced by BSD. Right now there isn’t too much information available on Arch BSD, but the news from this week states that a test ISO should be available shortly.

    • NetBSD is here!
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Using Technology To Transform Government

      What’s going on? They are accepting FLOSS to do the lion’s share of the IT in government and small businesses to work on smaller slices of IT instead of getting some large business to slap Wintel and “partners” into a pig barn. The plan is to replace the web presence with FLOSS and not just to add a server. They are cutting through paperwork wherever they can from top to bottom.

    • FLOSS In Action In Government

      The UK developed a “Fix My Street” web application as FLOSS. Source code is on GitHub (GNU Affero General Public License). It’s now being copied by Switzerland and Norway is using it to allow citizens to report potholes and such, giving government the ability to respond quickly and to keep on top of the overall situation with roads. Beautiful.

    • Open source policy no guarantee governments will actually use open source

      The distance between government policy favoring open source technology and solicitations that don’t actively discriminate against it can be great.

    • Sweden follows Norway with open source “Fix My Street”

      According to a report on the EC’s open source portal, Joinup, Sweden is following the example of Norway in using the “Fix My Street” open source software that was developed in the UK. The software enables citizens to easily report problems and helps authorities identify and prioritise them. A pilot version of the national service, “Fixa Min Gata”Swedish language link, is expected to become operational in March or April and will allow citizens to report such things as potholes, broken pavements, graffiti or non-functional street lighting.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source ecology explained

      Tristan sez, “Open Source Ecology founder Marcin Jakubowski and the OSE team explain the philosophy behind their work and the open source movement as a whole. We’re always looking for remote collaborators to pick up and run with our designs. If you’re interested in building or improving on our work, please visit the OSE wiki.”

    • Open Data

      • Open data economy: Eight business models for open data and insight from Deloitte UK

        When I asked whether the push to free up government data was resulting in economic activity and startup creation, I started to receive emails from people around the United States and Europe. I’ll be publishing more of what I learned in our ongoing series of open data interviews and profiles over the next month, but two responses are worth sharing now.

    • Open Hardware

      • Interview: Kyle Rankin

        We had a chance to sit down with Kyle Rankin, SCALE 11x keynote speaker, to discuss his upcoming keynote as well as a host of other topics including 3D printing, Linux desktops and whether Jorge Castro is the barometer for cool technology.

  • Programming

    • Automating translation of software using the Microsoft Translator and Python

      January 25, 2013 at 07:40 AM | categories: Sysadmin, Tips, Unix, Linux | View Comments

      The Microsoft translator provides an API that you can use for automated translation. It currently supports about 39 languages.

      True to the nature of open source i found that someone had already written a python wrapper to the API. I extended the wrapper to use the requests and pofile packages.

Leftovers

  • On Data Tagging
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Proof that God hates its Customers

      The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, which has attracted widespread media attention over the size of its staff bonuses, says he believes banks serve a social purpose and are “doing God’s work.”

    • JPMorgan bet against itself in “Whale” trade

      There is a new twist in the London Whale trading scandal that cost JPMorgan Chase $6.2 billion in trading losses last year. Some of the firm’s own traders bet against the very derivatives positions placed by its chief investment office, said three people familiar with the matter.

    • Iceland wins legal battle over failed bank

      Iceland has won a legal battle over its reponsibilities to British and Dutch savers who lost money when an online savings bank collapsed.

      The European Free Trade Association court said Iceland did not have to guarantee minimum levels of compensation when Icesave went bust.

      Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, the country’s prime minister said: “It is quite clear that this judgement will add force to the economic rebuilding in Iceland. Possibly the ratings agencies will revise their results. This will also have a positive influence on the lifting of capital controls.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • GOP Vote Rigging Stalls in Virginia and Florida but Pushes On in Wisconsin and Michigan — Why?

      Virginia’s governor has come out against a partisan effort to reallocate electoral college votes by Congressional district, but the plan is far from dead in other states, with governors in Wisconsin and Michigan voicing support for similar measures. The split between Virginia and other states on this issue may not be explained entirely by cooler heads prevailing — it might be part of a political calculation about how best to elect a Republican president in 2016.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Happy Data Privacy Day!

      Happy Data Privacy Day! To mark the day the Market Research Society (MRS) has launched ‘Fair Data, a new ethical mark they claim will help members of the public to easily identify between those organisations which collect, use and retain personal data properly and ethically, and those that do not.

      MRS hope that all organisations that collect and use personal data will be able to use the Fair Data mark which will become the instantly recognisable standard for an organisation that can be trusted to do the right think with all individuals’ data.

    • Facebook Graph Search: Privacy Control You Still Don’t Have

      Facebook’s Graph Search has certainly caused quite a stir since it was first announced two weeks ago. We wrote earlier about how Graph Search, still in beta, presents new privacy problems by making shared information discoverable when previously it was hard—if not impossible—to find at a large scale. We also put out a call to action—and even created a handy how-to guide—urging people to reassess their privacy settings.

    • How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Graph Search
  • Civil Rights

    • Unlocking new cell phones to become illegal on Saturday

      An edict from the Library of Congress is about to make phone unlocking illegal for the first time in 6 years. The decision, issued in October, is part of a triennial process whereby the Librarian of Congress hands out exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    • How Unlocking Your Phone May Now Be A Crime: $500,000 Fines And 5 Years In Prison For First Offense

      Last week, we warned about the impending deadline if you wanted to unlock your phone “legally.” That’s because the Librarian of Congress took away the DMCA anti-circumvention exemption that allowed phone unlocking. If you’re wondering why we even have the Librarian of Congress deciding such things, that’s a much longer discussion. In the meantime, though, Derek Khanna has written an interesting piece of at The Atlantic, in which he points out that, not only is it illegal now to unlock your phone, it’s possibly criminal thanks to some broad and ridiculous readings of today’s copyright law. Until now, most people had been regarding this as purely a civil matter — and one where it seemed (mostly) unlikely that companies would take too many people to court.

    • Israel Stays Away from U.N. Human Rights Review
  • DRM

    • Macmillan will sell e-books to libraries in pilot program at $25 per title

      While the e-book market has certainly skyrocketed in recent years, it’s still not always easy to get digital books from your local library. Yet unlike physical books, which obviously degrade over time—digital books won’t. So publishers have figured out that they need to start selling a license to the book, rather than the book itself, to our venerable institutions of public learning.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Briefs Filed by Petitioner and His Amici in Bowman v. Monsanto

      Center for Food Safety argues that extending patent exhaustion to progeny seeds will benefit farmers by curtailing Monsanto’s patent enforcement actions targeting farmers. The Center also claims that extending the patent exhaustion doctrine in this way will benefit scientific research and innovation in agriculture, and lower the cost of farming. The Center further contends the Federal Circuit’s decision is contrary to Quanta, and reiterates petitioner’s argument that producing progeny seed constitutes use of the patented seed, not making it, and hence falls within the scope of patent exhaustion. The amici voice is concerned that farmers whose fields have been “contaminated” by Monsanto’s patented seeds could be subject to infringement lawsuits.

    • US Government Brief: Farmer who Purchases Commodity Soybeans Cannot Replant Those Beans Without Committing Patent Infringement
    • Trademarks

      • The International Olympic Committee Has Already Staked A Trademark Claim On The Number ’2014′

        Man, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sure loves its trademarks. Many, many, many, many, many, many, many cases of the IOC’s fierce brand protection have been detailed here, including taping over non-sponsor logos and seeking the power to enter homes to remove “unapproved signage.” This has also rubbed off on a few Olympians, triggering trademark office filings to protect made-up words stolen from middling hip hop artists and self-given nicknames.

        [...]

        So, with the kind of efficiency you only find in the most brutal of trademark bullies, the IOC has trademarked a number many people were planning to use starting next January, nine years in advance. And the IOC isn’t leaving anything to chance. It has staked a claim on all 45 of the possible registration classes, including (but good god, certainly not limited to) chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals/alloys, machines, tools, scientific equipment, surgical instruments, lighting, heating, vehicles, firearms, musical instruments, furniture, ropes, tarps, string, textiles, toys, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, other alcoholic beverages, tobacco, insurance, conferences and seminars, design and development of computer programs, restaurant services, asbestos and security.

    • Copyrights

      • Antigua’s Legal “Pirate Site” Authorized by the World Trade Organization

        During a meeting in Geneva today the World Trade organization (WTO) authorized Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights. The decision confirmed the preliminary authorization the Caribbean island received in 2007, and means that the local authorities can move forward with their plan to start a download portal which offers movies, music and software without compensating the American companies that make them.

      • Ortiz to motel owner: We’re not done yet

        U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said her office is weighing an appeal against a Tewksbury motel owner who criticized her for prosecutorial bullying last week after he won his battle in the feds’ three-year bid to seize his business, citing drug busts on the property.

      • House panel demands answers regarding Swartz prosecution

        Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder says committee has “many questions” about the Justice Department’s handling of prosecution of the Internet activist, who committed suicide earlier this month.

      • Linus Blames Prosecutor For Aaron Swartz’ Suicide

        Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux kernel, says that prosecutor Carmen Ortiz “zealously prosecuted” the 26 years old hacker-activist Aaron Swartz, pushing him to the suicidal path that ended mid-January.

      • BitTorrent Launches Private and Secure Dropbox Alternative
      • Bad Week For Carmen Ortiz: Admits To Botched Gang Arrest As Congress Kicks Off Swartz Investigation

        Carmen Ortiz is not having a good month. The US Attorney who was in charge of the ridiculous Aaron Swartz prosecution — and now has over 50,000 people asking the White House to fire her — now will have to deal with an official investigation by Congress into that particular case. A bipartisan pair of Congressional representatives, Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings — who are basically the top dogs from each party on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — have officially kicked off their investigation.

      • Ortiz says suicide will not change handling of cases
      • Carmen Ortiz’s Sordid Rap Sheet

        The suicide last Friday of information activist, computer hacker and technical wunderkind Aaron Swartz has focused attention on Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, whose overzealous prosecution may have led to his death. Swartz, co-founder of a website later acquired by Reddit as well as a prime developer of the online publishing infrastructure known as Rich Site Summary (RSS), was under federal indictment for logging into JSTOR—a database of scholarly articles accessible from universities across the country—and downloading its content with the intent to distribute the articles online free of charge.

      • Glenn Reynolds: “Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime”
      • How Aaron Swartz helped to defeat Hollywood on SOPA

        Aaron Swartz’s former roommate, Peter Eckersley, says the late activist started Demand Progress because from D.C.’s perspective, it “doesn’t matter” if their laws break the Internet.

      • Senator disputes Aaron Swartz’s SOPA, Protect IP role
      • Honouring Aaron Swartz, Internet Activist

        Digital rights advocate’s death places spotlight on more open access to info.

      • Memory to myth: tracing Aaron Swartz through the 21st century

        “However, it was extremely funny that in such a formal setting, with imposing red drapes surrounding the room and the Justices sitting high above the supplicants in big chairs that the Justices were so informal. They interrupted each other, spun around and tipped back and forth in their chairs, and some even pretended to go to sleep with their head on their desks. The whole thing looked like a bunch of kids and school, all of which would almost certainly be diagnosed with ADD for their curiosity and inability to resist asking questions. Macki mentioned that Justice Clarence Thomas looked like he was chewing gum, trying hard to hide it from the teacher.

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