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Links 3/4/2013: MATE 1.6, US Justice Department Versus Online News

Posted in News Roundup at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Avetti.com Launches Enterprise Open Source E-Commerce Software

    Avetti’s enterprise e-commerce software used in many high volume online stores now has a Community Edition available under the OSL v3 Open Source License. A key feature is integration with the Open Ice Cat product database, which provides images, descriptions and specifications permitting merchants to create professional stores faster.

  • How Netcore Built Rs 50 Crore Biz With Open Source

    The Mumbai-based solutions provider, which focuses on email, messaging and e-marketing solutions, has saved $2 million on licensing costs with free and open source software (FOSS)

  • New marketplace connects open source contractors with clients

    In any field, a major challenge can be finding the right talent. For open source projects looking for contractors, it’s hard to organize possible candidates from all over the web. Flossmarket hopes to fill that void.

    A platform for connecting contractors and businesses/individuals, Flossmarket allows each party to search for and find like-minded partners faster for their projects. Contractors build a profile and are able to advertise their services on their page. And, anyone who needs contract open source work done can review candidates based on criteria they set in their search.

  • Crossing the Chasm

    Are you winning if you own ninety-nine percent of a moribund market ? I don’t think so. Linux and Open Source/Free Software has crossed the chasm now. It has become the mainstream. Every Android tablet or phone out there is a Linux and Open Source/Free Software platform, and in the next few years I fully expect this to become the most common form of computing for most people worldwide (disclaimer, I do work for Google so please take such predictions with the pinch of salt they deserve).

    For Free Software advocates like myself this is a tremendously positive change. The dirty secret of Samba, my own Free Software project, is that for a while the developers only ever run Windows ourselves in order to test Samba (which is an interoperability solution). Mostly everyone uses a different variety of Free Software desktops and servers (with the odd Mac or Solaris/Illumos user thrown into the mix). The default at least for us has become Free Software.

    So have we won ? Should we just pack up the advocacy tent and go home ? Unfortunately not. Most of the applications running on these devices are still proprietary. Most people using mobile devices, although they might be running a Free Software operating system underneath, still don’t realize why Free Software is important.

  • BBC sharing its TV application layer as open source

    Britain’s public service broadcasting corporation BBC is making available as open source the code for building HTML-based TV software solutions, called TAL. “Sharing the TV Application Layer should make building applications on TV easier for others, helping to drive the uptake of this nascent technology”, the organisation explains.

  • BBC Almost “Gets” FLOSS…

    Nothing in FLOSS restricts use of FLOSS in commercial products. You can charge money for services instead of charging for licences and GPL, for instance, permits charging per copy or whatever. Much FLOSS is commercial, like Linux, the kernel, worth $billions, FireFox, the web browser, worth $hundreds of millions and RedHat makes a $billion in revenue on FLOSS annually.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Celebrates 15 Years with Firefox 20

        Mozilla captured many a headline today as Mitchell Baker blogged about 15 years of “a better web.” Mozilla began life as Netscape’s Open Source branch of development in 1998 and has since changed the Web many times, if sometimes by accident. But as Mozilla celebrates this milestone, Firefox 20 is already making the rounds.

        Baker said, “Looking back, Mozilla’s plan was as radical as the Web itself: use open source and community to simultaneously create great software and build openness into the key technologies of the Internet itself. This was something commercial vendors weren’t doing and could not do. A non-profit, community-driven organization like Mozilla was needed to step up to the challenge.”

      • Firefox 20.0: Find out what is new

        Mozilla will upgrade the stable channel of its desktop browser to Firefox 20.0 today. The front page at the time of writing is still linking to a download of version 19.0.2, but you can use this link to download the new version of the browser right away. Make sure you change its url if you need a different localized version, this one downloads the US version of Firefox.

      • Celebrating 15 Years of a Better Web
      • Firefox 20 Drops In New Private, Download Features

        Mozilla has announced Firefox 20 with several prominent new features to the open-source web-browser.

        As shared on the Mozilla blog, prominent features of Firefox 20 include:

        - Support for starting private browsing in a new tab of an already existing web-browser session. Firefox for Android also now supports private browsing on a per-tab basis.

      • Mozilla and Samsung Collaborate on Next Generation Web Browser Engine
  • Education


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • On Data Science with Open Data

        In a previous blog post I offered up two interpretations of the term ‘data science’. These amounted to 1) ‘the science of data’ and 2) ‘doing science with data’. If you read the earlier post you’ll probably detect my mild irritation with the term when coupled with the second of these interpretations. Perhaps it’s the redundancy, or maybe the implication that plain ‘science’ is somehow devoid of data. It may be both.

    • Open Access/Content


  • The Meme Hustler

    Tim O’Reilly’s crazy talk

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Pie-in-the-sky or Real Growth in PC Shipments?

      Wait a bit… New hardware is something that might drive unit shipments and M$’s cutting of licensing fees might help if people actually wanted to buy M$’s OS, but M$ is cutting the prices because people don’t want to buy M$’s OS, so this is wishful thinking. Manufacturers should be shipping GNU/Linux if they want sales to pop. People are desperate to escape the clutches of M$ and the consumers who are a big piece of the pie cannot unless they find GNU/Linux on retail shelves.

  • Security

    • Exclusive: Ongoing malware attack targeting Apache hijacks 20,000 sites
    • EU data-protection authorities launch joint action against Google

      Data-protection authorities of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the Netherlands have launched a joint action against the Google for violating the European Union privacy rules.

      The joint action is the first co-ordinated and formal procedure by EU member countries against a single company on privacy.

      Currently, the European authorities can impose only fines below €1m. However, the new EU privacy rules, expected to be approved by the end of 2013, could allow the authorities to inflict on companies penalties up to 2 per cent of their global annual turnover.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Greek Nazi link group ‘set up here’

      A Greek political party with links to neo-Nazis say they have established themselves in Melbourne, but have no interest in Australian politics.

      Golden Dawn, which was founded by a Holocaust denier and whose members have been linked to dozens of violent protests in Greece, claims to have set up a group in Melbourne filled with Greek-Australians who will ”fight and defend both of our countries with pride and honour”.

      The group sent an email to Fairfax Media criticising the ”lies” of reporters, politicians and Greek community leaders since controversial Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris announced plans for a Melbourne office and a visit from MPs on a Melbourne radio station in February.

    • German Pastor Faces Trial Over Anti-Nazi Protest

      A German pastor due to stand trial for allegedly inciting violence at an anti-Nazi demonstration said Tuesday that authorities risk deterring people from standing up to right-wing extremists if he is convicted.

    • Is The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas about to Launch a Neo-Nazi Counter-Revolution?
    • Capitol Hill hawks object stripping CIA of drones
    • Symbols of Bush-era Lawlessness Flourish Under Obama

      Guantanamo Bay prison plans expansion, while CIA official linked to torture cover-up gets promoted

    • ‘Americans’ taps creator’s work at CIA

      When he was training to be a case officer for the CIA in the early 1990s, Joseph Weisberg soon learned that deception was a crucial skill — one that involved lying to his family regularly.

    • The Shift in the Drone Debate

      When a forum as hawkish at The Washington Post‘s editorial page starts running pieces arguing the drone war is creating more enemies than it is eliminating, you know the dialogue is beginning to shift.

    • An Urgent Proposal to Protect People From Domestic Drones
    • Drones: Secrets in our skies

      Hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles – known as drones – are aloft in our skies, many owned and built by recreational users. But safety and security issues alarm the CAA, which oversees our aviation system.

    • Officials want ‘drones’ buzzing over Utah
    • North Korea: Not Crazy but Very Misunderstoods

      It seems scary, even crazy: talk of a “sea of fire” and an “arc of destruction,” nuclear missiles slamming into distant shores. North Korea, an “isolated state,” as we’re constantly told by media reports, hurls invective at the world while its people, abused, hungry and cold, are led by an apparently well-fed young man, Kim Jong-un, who sits in front of shabby-looking computers running nuclear programs that are going, literally, ballistic.

      But is it all true?

      “Public discourse about the North in most of our enlightened world is crippled, condescending, irrelevant, and, like heartburn, episodic,” says James Church, the pseudonymous author of a series of novels about the country, in an article titled: “NK and Pluto.” He insists on anonymity because of the nature of his past intelligence work.

      As the rhetoric ratchets up again on the Korean peninsula with talk of mobilization, attack and counterattack, Mr. Church’s view is deeply counterintuitive and very valuable. His authorial name is a pseudonym for a former Western intelligence officer who has been in the country dozens of times and now, retired from government, writes about it through the eyes of a fictional North Korean policeman called Inspector O. (Full disclosure – I have met Mr. Church and he is definitely real.) In fact, the novels offer a superb demonstration of the idea that fiction tells the truth better than fact.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 350.org Calls for Public Comment on Keystone XL Pipeline

      After the recent tar sands pipeline spill in Arkansas, where thousands of gallons of toxic oil ran through the streets of a small community, the climate change organization 350.org is asking Americans to join in the public commenting process for the Keystone XL pipeline.

      The U.S. State Department is reviewing applications for permits needed for the international pipeline to advance. The State Department is soliciting public comment on the issue until April 22.

  • Finance

    • Taking back City College from the corporations – by any means necessary

      Like the Monsanto Protection Act, the support for all of this corporate destruction of our communities’ schools…

    • When America Came ‘This Close’ to Establishing a 30-Hour Workweek

      The April 15, 1933 issue of Newsweek, one of the first in the magazine’s history, contains a remarkable cover headline: Bill cutting work week to 30 hours startles the nation. Indeed only nine days earlier, on April 6th, the Black-Connery Bill had passed in the United States Senate by a wide margin. The bill fixed the official American work week at five days and 30 hours, with severe penalties for overtime work.

    • Pope to review Vatican bureaucracy, bank scandal

      …bank which has regularly damaged the Vatican’s image over three decades…

    • Food stamps and the database state…

      The latest proposal for ‘food stamps’ has aroused a good deal of anger. It’s a policy that is divisive, depressing and hideous in many ways – Suzanne Moore’s article in the Guardian is one of the many excellent pieces written about it. She hits at the heart of the problem: ‘Repeat after me: austerity removes autonomy’.

    • The Great British class calculator

      People in the UK now fit into seven social classes, a major survey conducted by the BBC suggests.

    • Bitcoin price goes on wild ride

      The price of the virtual currency bitcoin, already volatile in recent weeks, went through wild swings in overnight trading Tuesday and Wednesday.

      According to prices quoted on Mt.Gox, the main trading exchange for bitcoins, the value of one bitcoin ricocheted from $106 to as high as $147, then back down to $125, then to $141. They were trading around $139 per bitcoin in afternoon trading Wednesday.

    • Paulson Applies for Lawsuit Dismissal – Analyst Blog

      Paulson & Co applied for dismissal of a lawsuit made by ACA Financial Guaranty related to Abacus – a collateralized debt obligation (CDO). The plaintiffs accused the company of joining banking major The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. ( GS ) to obtain guaranteed payments from bond insurers on risky investments.

      In 2011, ACA Financial filed a $120 million lawsuit against Goldman and later in January, added Paulson & Co along with its hedge fund unit – Paulson Credit Opportunities Master II Ltd as the accused. The modified lawsuit claimed that Goldman and Paulson tricked ACA Financial into believing that Paulson was investing in the CDO. However, Paulson had taken a short position on it.

  • Privacy

    • NSA Chief Wants Companies to Share More Info With the Government

      Speaking at a conference at Georgia Tech, Director of the U.S. National Security Agency General Keith Alexander pressed Congress last week pass legislation creating a more effective information-sharing regime between government and businesses to help protect the nation’s security. Just as past legislative efforts such as the proposed Cyber Intelligence Protection Act (CISPA) have faced widespread backlash for imposing high regulatory costs on businesses while risking infringing basic rights, the fear remains that Alexander’s proposals simply suggest more of the same.

    • California Law Would Require Companies To Disclose All Consumer Data Collected
  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • Safe-harbor compliance for FOSS projects

      “DMCA” is a four-letter word among free and open source software developers, and for good reason: the 1998 act criminalized an entire category of programs and has been grossly misused in numerous cases. It’s in the news yet again this week, as activists are fighting to make it legal to carrier-unlock cellphones despite the Librarian of Congress’s decision not to exempt unlocking from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention rules.

      But the anti-circumvention rules are only one part of the DMCA—it also put in place the safe harbors that protect online services from liability for their users’ activity. These too have been the subject of some controversy, as large content owners have routinely abused the notice-and-takedown process to censor materials protected by fair use. But they’ve also done a lot of good. Before, it was difficult for service providers dealing with user-uploaded content to predict their potential liability for the infringing activity of their users. The safe harbors provide clear rules for avoiding secondary liability related to user content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Opinion: Rethinking the Internet

        Sharing knowledge, growing inclusion, increasing participation. The other benefits, economic and social will flow from these principles. Now that sounds like a good place to start to me.

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