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Links 19/1/2013: Aaron Swartz-Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Link Publicised

Posted in News Roundup at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • MobileDevHQ’s Ian Sefferman: So You Built an App – Now What?

    “Our starting point was obviously all open source. Our main framework was Ruby on Rails. We do a lot of processing in Hadoop. We are standing on the shoulders of giants here. Wherever we can find little bits and pieces that are easy for us to open source and do fixes that we can put back, we are happy to do it,” said Ian Sefferman, CEO of MobileDevHQ.

  • Vert.x’s journey teaches invaluable governance lessons

    As the Vert.x community selects its future home, it offers a fascinating illustration of the role of governance

  • SmartFile Announces Open Source App Contest for Indiana College Students
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox’s Move To a Rapid Release Cycle Didn’t Just Upset Users

        Purportedly, one of the best lessons in software development to have come from the open source movement is the rapid release cycle, and partly because the Google Chrome browser was benefiting from rapid releases, in February of 2011, Mozilla announced that it was moving the Firefox browser to a rapid release cycle. As you can see if you look at the comments on this OStatic post from April of 2011, not every user of Firefox was pleased with the arrangement, due to performance problems that were showing up in the browser.

      • Firefox 18.0.1 coming soon

        Critics of the Firefox web browser might say that Mozilla never gets it right the first time and base that assumption on the version updates the company releases shortly after Firefox moves to a new version.It happened several times in the past that Mozilla had to release an update after releasing a new version of the browser, and it appears that this streak won’t break with the release of Firefox 18.0

      • Silent installs of add-ons still possible in Firefox

        A security researcher has demonstrated how it is still possible to silently install extensions, or as Mozilla calls them add-ons, for the open source Firefox web browser. In a blog post, Julian Sobrier of ZScaler detailed the process, which makes use of the fact that Firefox uses an Sqlite3 database to maintain information about which add-ons are installed and, of those, which ones have been approved by the user.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice Writer English Grammar Checkers

      If you wish there was an English grammar checker for OpenOffice Writer, you’re in luck. Two popular extensions let you add an English grammar check to OpenOffice for free.

  • CMS

    • 10 free Drupal modules that make development easier

      When it comes to open-source content management systems, Drupal really stands apart from Joomla and WordPress, its closest competitors, for several reasons.

      The payoff for using Drupal is the development of very tightly configured sites that perform well and scale excellently. This is why many developers are willing to put up with its idiosyncrasies.

  • Education

  • Business


    • FSF

      Internet Freedom Day isn’t just about celebrating; it’s about action:

      * A free Internet needs free JavaScript: You can help by installing the LibreJS plugin.
      * Join millions of others in the actions at InternetFreedomDay.net.
      * Internet activist Aaron Swartz was a leader in the SOPA/PIPA protest. Watch and share this video:

    • GNU Press now selling GNU/Linux Inside stickers!

      By popular demand, we are now selling the GNU/Linux Inside sticker pack. For $15, you receive 10 GNU/Linux stickers. Because these stickers are high-quality and durable, they won’t fade away or scratch off your computer, making it the ideal way to rep your use of free software!

    • GCC 4.8 Improves Its Runtime Library (libstdc++)
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing

        Episciences Project to launch series of community-run, open-access journals.

      • The Growing Adoption of Creative Commons Textbooks

        Cable Green doesn’t have to look very far to find an example of an education system weighed down by what he considers a bloated and inefficient textbook industry. The director of global learning for Creative Commons simply points to his home state of Washington. “My state spends $130 million per year buying textbooks,” he says. “We only have a million public school kids in the state, so we’re spending $130 per kid per year.” Because each book is expected to last half a decade, the kids aren’t permitted to keep them or write in them. The books are only available in one format, paper, and are sometimes seven to 10 years out of date. If one of Green’s kids loses a textbook, as a parent Green is expected to fork over the money to replace it.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan to start building world’s biggest offshore wind farm this summer
    • Fracking Industry Goes After Promised Land Film

      The film chronicles the story of a gas industry salesman, played by Matt Damon, and his attempt to convince the residents of a rural Pennsylvania town to agree to fracking development. The questions raised by actors in the film mirror the debates taking place in communities across the country. What type of chemicals are used in fracking? What is the effect of fracking on air and water? While the industry may make a few struggling families rich, what is the cost for the community as a whole?

  • Finance

    • 20 Infamous Quotes That Wall Street Wishes Were Never Made Public
    • Ex-treasurer of Spain’s PP had €22m in Swiss bank

      The beleaguered government of Mariano Rajoy has been embarrassed by revelations that its party’s former treasurer had a bank account in Switzerland containing up to €22 million.

      Luis Bárcenas held the treasury post in the conservative Partido Popular (PP) from 2008 until 2009, when he resigned because of an investigation into his part in a massive fraud network. He stepped down from the party in 2010. The inquiry into that case continues and information a Spanish judge has requested from Swiss authorities shows details of an account held under the politician’s name which coincides with the time he was managing the PP’s finances.

    • What Is Goldman Sachs?

      …it derives about half of its income from things that many people would consider trading.

    • Finland: A nation in debt

      People in the 25–34 year-old age group carry the heaviest home mortgage burden.

      Sixty percent of all households owe money to the bank, with home loans accounting for 70 percent of this debt.

      Those in their thirties are the most saddled by debt, with 119,000 euros being the average amount owed. On the other hand, half of young families are debt-free, according to the statisticians.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Naked-Image Scanners to Be Removed From U.S. Airports

      The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • European Commission Backtracks On Net Neutrality

      European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has stated that it should be up to ISPs to decide how they manage their traffic, essentially admitting that Net Neutrality wouldn’t become part of EU legislation.

      Without appropriate laws, network operators will be able to offer cheaper, ‘tiered’ Internet connections with limited capabilities, alongside full strength Internet services. Before taking responsibility for the EU Digital Agenda, Kroes insisted that ISPs should be regulated in order to ensure that companies are not limiting access to online content “out of commercial motivation”, but critics say she has now backtracked.

    • Internet and filtering applications: a tale of choice and revenues

      That does not mean more pages to your 100-page contract! The Commission has been encouraging the advertising industry to ensure users get a clear choice about cookies, based on short, digestible information. The Commission is also working with a wider set of online actors to develop a “Do Not track” standard, so that consumers who make this choice can be sure it is respected.

      On net neutrality, consumers need effective choice on the type of internet subscription they sign up to. That means real clarity, in non-technical language. About effective speeds in normal conditions, and about any restrictions imposed on traffic – and a realistic option to switch to a “full” service, without such restrictions, offered by their own provider or another. Ensuring consumer choice can mean constraints on others – in this case, an obligation for all internet service providers to offer an accessible “full” option to their customers. But such choice should also drive innovation and investment by internet providers, with benefits for all. I am preparing a Commission initiative to secure this effective consumer choice in Europe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • A time for silence

        I hate my perpetual optimism about our government. Aaron was buried on the tenth anniversary of the time that optimism bit me hardest — Eldred v. Ashcroft. But how many other examples are there, and why don’t I ever learn? The dumbest-fucking-naive-allegedly-smart person you will ever know: that guy thought this tragedy would at least shake for one second the facade of certainty that is our government, and allow at least a tiny light of recognition to shine through, and in that tiny ray, maybe a question, a pause, a moment of “ok, we need to look at this carefully.” I wasn’t dumb enough to believe that Ortiz could achieve the grace of Reif. But the single gift I wanted was at least a clumsy, hesitating, “we’re going to look at this carefully, and think about whether mistakes might have been made.”

      • ‘I Have a Dream’ Posted in Defiance of Copyright for Internet Freedom Day

        As Friday is one year since the Internet blackout against the Stop Online Piracy Act, some Internet activists are marking the date by declaring “Internet Freedom Day.”

      • Ahimsa: Sita Sings The Blues Now CC-0 ‘Public Domain’

        A few years ago I started thinking about taking a vow of non-violence: a commitment to never sue anyone over Knowledge (or Culture, Cultural Works, Art, Intellectual Pooperty, whatever you call it). Copyright law is hopelessly broken; indeed, the Law in the US is broken all over the place. Why would I resort to the same broken law to try to fix abuses that occur within it?

      • Kim Dotcom on Mega, Hollywood, the internet and copyright enforcement – video
      • Senator John Cornyn Asks Eric Holder To Explain DOJ Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz

        While we’ve seen some politicians in Congress speak out about the prosecution against Aaron Swartz, for the most part, it had been the “usual crew” of folks who had formed the core of the anti-SOPA alliance — Reps. Lofgren, Issa and Polis. That’s great, but it also made it unfortunately easy for some to dismiss their complaints. However, it appears that this may be getting bigger.

      • The Six Week Delay in the Swartz Investigation

        As I noted, the same day that Aaron Swartz resubmitted his FOIA on Bradley Manning’s treatment, the Secret Service got a warrant to search most of the hardware captured on the day he was arrested (a USB on his person and a laptop and hard drive found elsewhere on MIT’s campus), as well as his home (and they subsequently got a warrant to search his office at Harvard).

      • Was Aaron Swartz’ Effort to FOIA Bradley Manning’s Treatment Why DOJ Treated Him So Harshly?

        I have shown earlier how, during the period when the Grand Jury was investigating Swartz, Swartz was FOIAing stuff that the prosecutor seems to have subpoeaned as part of a fishing expedition into Swartz. I have also shown that a FOIA response he got in January 2011 suggests he may have been discussed in a (presumably different) grand jury investigation between October 8 and December 10, 2010. And Jason Leopold has also pointed to some interesting coincidences in Swartz’ FOIAs.

      • The Prosecution of Aaron: A Response to Orin Kerr

        He had co-written a basic RSS spec the year before, when he was 14. He was to go on to play a fundamental role in Creative Commons. When you now search for stuff online, using its legal status as a search prerequisite, not just a text query (Physics textbook, available to use or share, even commercially) you are doing something that Aaron’s volunteer work helped to enable. People talk of him now as some kind of Data Liberation activist, which he certainly was, but principally he was and is one of the great architects of the commons, a builder, as Dave Weinberger stresses, not just a hacker — though hacker, of course, is actually a name that programmers wear with pride. The guy who invented the World Wide Web had this to say about him. “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”

      • Aaron Swartz
      • Hacktivism: Civil disobedience or cyber crime?
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