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05.23.13

Links 23/5/2013: Threat to Civil Rights in UK, KDE 4.11 LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 12:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • $99 Linux stick turns any HDMI display into a virtual desktop

    Hard on the heels of the news that Dell’s “Project Ophelia” thumb PC is expected to ship this summer, thin client vendor Devon IT on Tuesday rolled out a similar contender of its own called the Ceptor.

  • Samsung Talks About Its Aggressive Linux Talent Recruitment Strategy
  • From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux
  • CCE Addresses Growing Demand in CAE Space by Extending Support to Linux Platforms

    CCE, a leader in advanced interoperabilitytechnology, announced that in response to a growing demand from customers in the CAEspace, it has successfully completed porting of its 3D CAD interoperability technology toLinux platforms.

  • GNU/Linux chosen as operating system of the International Space Station

    This is a wise choice for the space station, and a high-profile victory for software freedom. It brings good publicity for free software, demonstrating its respected position in the world of science and technology.

  • It’s Easier Than Ever to Slap Your Favorite Linux Distro Onto a Chromebook

    If you’ve been in the market for a portable computer, you may very well have considered buying a Chromebook. And, if you favor a particular Linux distro, perhaps Ubuntu or Mint, you may be interested in buying a $200 or $250 Chromebook only to put your favorite flavor of Linux on your new system. (The Acer system shown here sells for $199.) As we’ve reported, many OStatic readers have expressed interest in buying a Chromebook to run Linux. Now, there are very simple instructions for doing so online and a growing body of evidence that people are having good experiences with their Linux Chromebooks.

  • Designing Electronics with Linux

    In many scientific disciplines, the research you may be doing is completely new. It may be so new that there isn’t even any instrumentation available to make your experimental measurements. In those cases, you have no choice but to design and build your own measuring devices. Although you could build them using trial and error, having a way to model them first to see how they will behave is a much better choice—in steps oregano. With oregano, you can design your circuitry ahead of time and run simulations on it to iron out any problems you may encounter.

  • LinuxTag: LiMux firmly established in Munich

    Peter Hofmann, the leader of Munich’s Linux migration project, has denied rumours that the LiMux clientGerman language link will be “decommissioned” when the initiative runs out at the end of the year. “The City of Munich has no intention to switch”, he said at the LinuxTag conference in Berlin on Wednesday. The basic instruction given by Munich’s City Council in 2003 was to create more independence and autonomy for Munich’s IT, said Hofmann. This task won’t be completed when the project runs out in October, he explained, adding that further adjustments will be needed in the specialised application and server areas.

  • Linux Ranks Among Top Skills for Big Data Jobs
  • Linux Format 172 On Sale Today – Has Ubuntu lost it?

    With its Distrowatch ranking falling faster than Man Utd now that Sir Alex Ferguson has departed, Ubuntu is no longer the all-conquering force that it was. So what’s happened? Has it, in fact, lost it, or is there a more subtle game afoot? We answer this conundrum (sort of) in the latest Linux Format.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.1 Launches on Tizen with Standard Look and Feel
      • Finnish mobile maker Jolla announces first MeeGo phone

        Another thing to notice is that a compatibility layer on the device allows the user to even run Android apps on the phone.

      • May Updates to KDE Plasma and Applications
      • Plasma Workspaces 4.11: A long term release

        One of the most exciting things about this direction is that our distribution and packaging partners will be able to have a version that will see releases which focus exclusively on stabilization for at least two years. There will be no new features added after 4.11.0 to Plasma Desktop and Netbook, though the code will be adjusted as needed to maintain and improve existing functionality. This should make Plasma Desktop 4.11 an excellent candidate for inclusion in distributions that have a longer shelf-life.

      • KDE 4.11 to be Long Term Release

        It was just last week we looked at some of the proposed features for upcoming KDE 4.11 as it neared soft feature freeze. Well, today some new information about KDE 4.11 came to light. Aaron Seigo said today that 4.11 would be a “long term release.”

        A long term release means a particular version will be kept up to date with stabilization and security updates for an extended period of time; in this case, two years. This will give distributions that skate safely in the well-worn groove of stability a chance to have a longer term plan and more stable offerings. Seigo said, “no new features [will be] added after 4.11.0 to Plasma Desktop and Netbook, though the code will be adjusted as needed to maintain and improve existing functionality.” He believes this will help developers and distribution developers a chance to focus on polishing.

      • Digia previews “Boot to Qt” platform
      • Digia launches Boot to Qt technology preview

        Digia launched a technology preview of Boot to Qt, a commercial offering that provides “a fully-integrated solution for the creation of slick user interfaces on embedded devices.” The current version of Boot to Qt is built on top of an Android kernel base layer, and includes support for the Nexus 7, BeagleBoard-xM, SABRE Lite, and x86 hardware.

      • ReKonq Gaining Chrome Extension Support, Still Sponsored By Blue Systems

        It’s been just a little over a year since the mystical Blue Systems started sponsoring development of ReKonq. Blue Systems is second only to the KDE e.V. in platform investment, sponsoring not only numerous core applications, but multiple distributions as well. ReKonq has come a long way since 0.9.2 (May 2012) and with the help of Blue Systems developer Adjam, it is taking baby-steps towards Chrome Extension support.

      • Quo vadis, Dolphin? First results from the user study.

        We conducted a large study about strength and weakness of file managers in may 2013. In this article we present first results, discuss issues and questions that occur during the study, and present the schedule for the statistical analysis.

      • Homerun 1.0.0!

        Today, I am happy to announce the release of Homerun 1.0.0. This new version comes with a few new features.

  • Distributions

    • Another Day, Another Distro: Antergos Linux Is Born

      “A distribution I never heard of has changed its default desktop, stopped supporting Cinnamon — though it is still included — and changed its name,” said Mobile Raptor blogger Robin Lim. “To me, it really is of little significance. No offense meant to the development team — I am sure it is a fine distribution — it is just that it is floating in a sea of fine distributions.”

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Rating Lowered to Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets (RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Raspberry Pi’s Fedora becomes Pidora

          Fedora and the Seneca Centre for Development of Open Technology released an optimized Fedora 18 Remix for the Raspberry Pi, and unveiled a new name for the remix. “Pidora 18,” based on a new build of Fedora optimized for ARMv6, features speedier performance and includes packages from the Fedora 18 package set, says the Pidora project team.

        • Free and open source support for RAR archives in Fedora

          RAR is somewhat of a legacy format in terms of compression ability but RAR remains popular in many places especially for its split archive feature. Current Fedora users are used to installing unrar command line utility from RPM Fusion to get the ability to extract RAR files and unrar is supported by the GNOME (File Roller) and Ark (KDE) archive managers however it is a proprietary utility and unavailable for other architectures like ARM which are getting popular in Fedora as well.

        • Another week of rawhide (2013-05-21 edition)
        • When Xubuntu and Debian fail, Fedora it is for HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop

          I’ve spent just about a month with this new HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop that shipped with Windows 8. That means UEFI and Secure Boot.

          And new hardware. We all know how difficult Linux can be with new hardware.

        • Fedora 18 Comes To ARMv6, Raspberry Pi

          While Fedora 18 has been out for months and so has Fedora 18 for ARM, an ARMv6 spin of Fedora 18 targeting the popular Raspberry Pi development platform has finally been released.

          Fedora 19 isn’t too far out now, but Fedora 18 for ARMv6 to cater towards the very low-end Raspberry Pi hardware has been spun. This release is being falled “Pidora 18″ and was announced on Wednesday,

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 rounded up

        The GNU/Hurd development team at the Debian project has released a version of the Distribution based on Debian 7 “Wheezy” and the GNU Hurd kernel. Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 is the first major release of the distribution after years of development work, even though it is not an official Debian release. The Hurd kernel is a Unix-like microkernel design based on the Mach kernel and has itself been under development since 1990.

      • CrunchBang 11 Waldorf

        CrunchBang 11 has been released so it’s time for a review. I last looked at CrunchBang back in 2009. Wow! Has it been that long? I’m pleased to report that CrunchBang 11 didn’t disappoint in any way.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-friendly SBC suits display apps on trains, planes, buses

      MEN Mikro announced a compact, rugged single-board computer based on Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom E600-series embedded processors. The Linux-friendly SC27 SBC is aimed at driver displays and in-seat infotainment systems in trains, buses, and airplanes, where wide-temperature operation and resistance to shock, vibration, and dust are critical.

    • Raspberry Pi Gets New Wayland Weston Renderer

      After working on the Raspberry Pi support for Wayland/Weston, Pekka Paalanen has announced a new “rpi-renderer” for the low-cost ARM development board.

      The rpi-renderer is better than the current gl-renderer and should be better for the hardware although it’s not as flexible.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Driving innovation with Open Source

    Yesterday, eighteen technology decision-makers from the Singapore Government gathered at the FutureGov lunch briefing — conducted in partnership with Red Hat — to discuss how Open Source technology can drive openness and innovation in the public sector.

  • Why The “Star Trek Computer” will be Open Source and Released Under Apache License v2

    If you remember the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, then you know exactly what someone means when they use the expression “the Star Trek Computer”. On TNG, “the computer” had abilities which were so far ahead of real-world tech of the time, that it took on an almost mythological status. And even to this day, people reference “The Star Trek Computer” as a sort of short-hand for the goal of advances in computing technology. We are mesmerized by the idea of a computer which can communicate with us in natural, spoken language, answering questions, locating data and calculating probabilities in a conversational manner, and – seemingly – with access to all of the data in the known Universe.

  • Concurrent is building a Hadoop assembly line in open source

    Cascading creator Concurrent has developed a new open source tool called Pattern for running machine learning models on Hadoop clusters. When combined with its SQL tool called Lingual, users can move data from one stage to another easily.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Public Cloud Setbacks: Real or Imagined?

      Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) has killed its OpenStack public cloud plan. Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) is not growing as quickly as planned, despite betting the company on OpenStack. Some pundits now wonder if a giant like IBM can save OpenStack. Should cloud integrators be concerned about the open source platform? Absolutely not. Here’s why.

  • Databases

    • A Look Inside Tumblr’s Architecture

      tumblrYahoo recently purchased Tumblr for a cool $1.1 billion. Tumblr pushes some surprisingly high numbers through their service, so aninside look at the architecture that Yahoo bought is well worth the read. The portion I found most interesting are the details on the MySQL database setup, and how Tumblr uses MySQL to scale massively, and keep the service available.

    • SQLite gets memory-mapped I/O

      SQLite, the ubiquitous, lightweight, C-based SQL engine, which is embedded in many applications, has been updated to SQLite version 3.7.17 with support for memory-mapped I/O which could potentially double performance and use less RAM. The new functionality adds xFetch() and xUnfetch() methods which are automatically called if memory-mapped I/O is activated, to map the data into memory. The developers point out that there are disadvantages to the technique that require coders using the functions be more robust in how they handle pointers and errors and that it is possible to not see performance boosted in certain test cases. Therefore, by default, memory-mapped I/O is turned off. Programmers wishing to exploit the functionality should consult the documentation.

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Public Services/Government

    • Impact of open by default on local government

      For those of you that may not have read the memorandum in its entirety it directs federal agencies to make all data open and machine readable by default. Obviously there are caveats to that. Agencies can redact data that does not meet disclosure standards regarding security and privacy. The excitement centers around the language of open by default.

  • Licensing

    • Unlicensed code: Movement or Madness?

      One of the hot topics of commentary on open source development at the moment is the licensing situation on GitHub. When code is committed to GitHub, the copyright owner (usually the author or their employer) retains all rights to the code, and anyone wishing to re-use the code (by downloading it, or by “forking” and modifying it) is bound by the terms of the license the code is published under. The point of discussion in this case, is that many (indeed, the majority) of repositories on GitHub contain no license file at all.

    • Jante’s Shield

      It’s difficult to be critical of open source software. Often, it’s created by volunteers who are motivated purely by the challenge and the desire to do something good. This attitude is why we’ve got such a thriving ecosystem of distributions and software, and why the GPL has become such a disruptive idea. It has also enabled many companies to build a viable business model supporting, extending and distributing this software in ways that would never occur if they were shipping their own proprietary software. This is what causes the occasional friction in the community, and it’s completely understandable. On the one hand you have communities working together in a way that I think is similar to the Swedish ‘Law of Jante’ – the idea that individual success is downplayed in favour of the achievements made by the groups. On the other hand you have traditional company values, bigging up its individual success and vitality in order to compete with other (non-open source) businesses doing the same.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Science finds a better foundation for research in the open

      The flipside of having to resolve such issues, though, is the incredible power of transparency in the research process which openness offers. Any researcher that has hammered away at a piece of published research for months in a futile attempt to recreate its findings will understand the feeling of extreme frustration when the scientific literature falls short of reproducibility. If so much of our research isn’t repeatable, aren’t we building houses upon rather sandy foundations?

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Linux System Programming, 2ed
    • Google Code disables direct file downloads

      Google has announced that it will in future not allow direct file downloads from its Google Code hosting service. The company says that “increasing misuse” of the service has forced it to take the step in the interest of keeping the platform’s community “safe and secure”.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Source, Open Standards 2013 Conference, 18/04/2013, America Square Conference Centre

      A member of the Geospatial Engineering team at Newcastle, David Alderson, recently attended a GovNet series conference in London, entitled “Open Source, Open Standards”. This was held at the America Square Conference Centre, and more information about the conference can be found here.

      The conference delegates were largely comprised of various government agencies including the Department for Transport, Office of National Statistics, representation from emergency services, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as well as representation from many local councils from around the UK. From within these various organisations the delegates were largely found to be based within some part of their specific IT operations.

Leftovers

  • Driver who tweeted about knocking cyclist over is under investigation

    A motorist is being investigated by police after she boasted on Twitter that she had knocked a cyclist off his bike.

  • Apple Mobile Devices Cleared for Use on U.S. Military Networks

    The Pentagon cleared Apple Inc. (AAPL) devices for use on its networks, setting the stage for the maker of iPhones and iPads to compete with Samsung Electronics Co. and BlackBerry for military sales.

    The Defense Department said in a statement today that it has approved the use of Cupertino, California-based Apple’s products running a version of the iOS 6 mobile platform.

  • A shield law for reporters? Thanks, but no thanks!

    A lot of journalists have embraced the idea. But I believe that journalists should say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    Tempting as it might be, a federal shield law is a bad idea for journalists. We do not need it, and we may ultimately regret it. The relevant part of the First Amendment to the Constitution says: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. That powerful simple phrase “no law” means just that – no law, period. It means Congress simply cannot legislate in this area.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Raw Milk Supporters Rally in Baraboo, Wisconsin for Farmer Vernon Hershberger’s Criminal Trial

      Farmer Vernon Hershberger’s trial started May 20 in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and will most likely continue until May 24 at the earliest. Hershberger is a raw milk producer. As the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has reported, he is charged with four misdemeanor offenses: operating a retail food establishment without a license, operating a dairy farm as a milk producer without a license, operating as a dairy plant without a license, and violating a holding order. If convicted, the Amish father of ten children faces up to 30 months in county jail and fines of over $10,000.

      Supporters suspect that he is being singled out to make a cautionary example threatening other raw milk producers in Wisconsin (Wisconsin’s law allows “incidental sales” of raw milk on the farm, but its interpretation has been increasingly strict in the last few years).

  • Security

    • Report: DDoS service as a legitimate, FBI-approved business

      US security blogger Brian Krebs writes about a service that is relatively new, at least to the general public: DDoS attacks. Apparently, one enterprising “stress tester” discovered by Krebs even told the blogger that he was working for the FBI.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust

      Forty-nine years ago, Ashley Yost’s grandfather sank a well deep into a half-mile square of rich Kansas farmland. He struck an artery of water so prodigious that he could pump 1,600 gallons to the surface every minute.

  • Finance

  • Censorship


    • RIAA: 20 Million Piracy Takedowns Sent to Google, Still No End in Sight

      To mark the occasion of 20 million URL takedown notices sent to Google by RIAA member companies, the organization has complained that search engines still aren’t doing enough to reduce the piracy problem. The RIAA says it is using a bucket to deal with “an ocean of illegal downloading”, one in which content is replaced and re-indexed in a never-ending loop. Notice and takedown procedures aren’t fit for today’s reality and must be revised, the music group argues.

  • Privacy

    • Privacy Alert #1: Explicit Consent, the Cornerstone

      When you are browsing the web, can you say who collects information about you, what is the nature of that information and who may access it? Can you control who may know what about you? The European Commission intended to give you the power to do so, but European Parliament may vote otherwise, under pressure by corporate lobbies.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jailed Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike

      A jailed member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot told a court she is on a hunger strike after being barred from attending a parole appeal hearing in person, Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported Wednesday.

      Maria Alyokhina was sentenced in August to two years in prison for performing a song critical of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a prominent Orthodox cathedral last year.

    • Feds Tracked Reporter’s Movements, Personal E-Mail in Criminal Conspiracy Investigation

      In an effort to unmask a leaker who fed a reporter classified information about North Korea, FBI investigators tracked the journalist’s movements in and out of a government building, obtained copies of e-mails from his personal account and also took the unprecedented step of alleging that the reporter engaged in a criminal conspiracy simply for doing his job.

    • US Suspends Constitution in Permanent World War on Terror
    • Capitalising on tragedy

      Yesterday’s events in Woolwich were appalling, but Lord Carlile and John Reid wasted no time in attempting to use this atrocity in justifying a return to reductions in personal privacy and other human rights.

    • Now is not the time for politics, Lord Reid

      Today, the country begins the process of coming to terms with the horrific attack in Woolwich yesterday.

      We know little about those who have committed this brutal terror attack. Videos and photographs have brought the chilling savagery of the perpetrators into our homes.

      As the Prime Minister said:

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year

      In 2011, Alcatel-Lucent had American e-commerce on the ropes. The French telecom had sued eight big retailers and Intuit saying that their e-commerce operations infringed Alcatel patents; one by one they were folding. Kmart, QVC, Lands’ End, and Intuit paid up at various stages of the litigation. Just before trial began Zappos, Sears, and Amazon also settled. That left two companies holding the bag: Overstock.com and Newegg, a company whose top lawyer had vowed not to ever settle with patent trolls.

    • European Parliament aims for fake openness in TTIP / TAFTA

      The draft European Parliament resolution on EU trade and investment negotiations with the United States of America aims for fake openness. Paragraph 21 of the draft resolution recalls the need for continuous and transparent engagement by the Commission with a wide range of stakeholders. I have visited some Civil Society Dialogues organised by the Commission. The Commission just states there are no problems and, sorry, as trade negotiations are secret, they can give no details. A masochist may find such meetings rewarding.

      Civil society organisations want access to draft negotiation texts, at least for regulatory aspects. Companies have access, the Commission discriminates against citizens, while access is a human right. See the FFII letter to European Parliament Trade committee; see also KEI comments.

    • How Cheap Genetic Testing Complicates Cancer Screening For Us All

      Sometimes, more medical information is a bad thing. The influential United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends against most women getting genetic screenings for their susceptibility to breast cancer. Why? Because the tests are imperfect: for every woman who gets tested for genes associated with onset breast cancer, even more will falsely test positive, leading spooked patients into needless surgery or psychological trauma. Super cheap genetic testing from enterprising health startups, such as 23andMe, have complicated cancer detection for us all by increasing the accessibility of imperfect medical information.

      After discovering a mutated BRCA1 gene, known to increase the likelihood of breast cancer 60 to 80 percent, actress Angelina Jolie underwent a radical preventive double mastectomy. Her brave confession in the New York Times brought much needed attention to breast cancer awareness, but it’s dangerous in the hands of a statistically illiterate population.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom to Google, Twitter, Facebook: I Own Security Patent, Work With Me

        Kim Dotcom has announced that he is the inventor of the so-called two-step authentication system and has a patent to prove it. The Megaupload founder says the security mechanism, which has just been introduced by Twitter, is being used by U.S. companies more than a billion times every week without permission. Dotcom says he doesn’t want to sue, but might if the likes of Google and Facebook don’t help fund his legal battle with the U.S. Government.

      • Is a broadcast to everyone private under the Copyright Act?

        For the final post in my copyright series, I want to focus on another example in my series of discussions about formalism vs. policy in copyright. Today’s case is WNET v. Aereo, which allowed continued operation of a creative television streaming service. As I’ll discuss below, the case pretty clearly complies with the statutory scheme, much to the relief of those who believe content is overprotected and that new digital distribution methods should be allowed. This time, the policy opposition is best demonstrated by Judge Chin’s dissent in the case.

      • TAFTA: First Step Towards a Super-ACTA

        In a plenary vote, the European Parliament just adopted a mandate to the European Commission explicitly allowing it to “include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)” in the proposed EU-US trade agreement negociations, the “Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement” (TAFTA), also know as “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP).

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