05.30.13

Australia Steps in the Right Direction With New Document Formats Policy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sydney
Sydney, Australia

Summary: Although the Australian government does not guarantee the use of open standards and/or Free software, it does give way for better facilitation of those

After years of OOXML-related abuses such as bribes, Microsoft might — just might — see some consequences. According to this announcement from Australia, ODF is a winner, but the “proposal does not require that ODF be used as a standard. Rather, it just specifies that productivity suites must support ODF. Recent versions of Microsoft Office, as well as Google Docs, Libre Office and OpenOffice support the file format,” says this post. It is not entirely true that Microsoft supports ODF; it is just its proprietary hybrid which it labels ODF. The news sites, nonetheless, welcome the news. Here is a bunch of reports about it:

  • Australia mulls requiring OpenDocument Format compatibility

    Australia’s government may mandate that its agencies use software compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF), an international file standard.

    The country’s government agencies mostly use Microsoft’s Office software, but support for an open standard eliminates the “potential for a vendor ending support for specific format,” wrote John Sheridan, Australia’s chief technology officer.

    If the draft proposal is approved, however, government agencies would not be required to work only with ODF documents, Sheridan wrote. The proposal is now open for comments and will eventually be taken up by the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board for approval.

  • Feds propose Open Document Format support

    The office of the Australian Government Chief Technology Officer (AGCTO) is proposing support for the Open Document Format (ODF) in an annual review of computing system policies.

  • Australia government goes with ODF document standard

    The AGCTO’s office says that requiring support for ODF will not preclude use of other formats and does not mandate use of ODF 1.1. But it will establish ODF 1.1 as the baseline for compatibility within the Australian government. According to Australian tech news site Delimiter, in 2011, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) decided to standardise on Office Open XML, but was pushed to reconsider that choice after receiving complaints. The new proposal has now been published and the AGIMO and AGCTO are seeking public feedback before progressing further.

We previously covered outrage in Australia over choice of OOXML (entryism possibly the cause, i.e. Microsoft moles), so this latest news sure is a positive change and a step in the right direction. Have they just rewritten the policy to conform with a t prior decision of choosing Microsoft Office though? We shall see…

Another Reason to Avoid Hardware With UEFI

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Securing Windows monopoly, crushing competition

Lock

Summary: How Windows refunds are further impeded by an antifeature in UEFI

Petter Reinholdtsen (Debian/SkoleLinux developer) has complained about UEFI ‘secure’ boot, stating, as many people including famous distribution developers before him did, that he could hardly install GNU/Linux on a new computer in spite of being a guru. He writes: “Two days ago, I asked how I could install Linux on a Packard Bell EasyNote LV computer preinstalled with Windows 8. I found a solution, but am horrified with the obstacles put in the way of Linux users on a laptop with UEFI and Windows 8.”

“I found a solution, but am horrified with the obstacles put in the way of Linux users on a laptop with UEFI and Windows 8.”
      –Petter Reinholdtsen
Meanwhile, says Pogson, a prominent 'secure' apologist distracts from the key issue (pun not intended) and focuses on the EULA. Pogson writes: “Well, at least those machines bearing “8″ aren’t taking over the world as earlier versions did. That makes the problem of Black Hole Booting smaller. Expect a lot of folks to return PCs they can’t use if their intention was to install GNU/Linux. When are retailers going to demand open hardware on PCs?”

The distraction comes from Dr. Garrett, who, in the words of iophk, highlights “Preventing the Windows Refund by disallowing non-acceptance of the EULA” (iophk adds that Garrett “is backing this change apparently”).

To quote Garrett himself, “So what’s the problem?

“Well, the Windows 8 setup environment doesn’t offer that reboot icon. Turn on a brand new Windows 8 system and you have two choices – agree to the Windows 8 license, or power the machine off. The only way to get into the firmware menu is to either agree to the Windows 8 license or to disassemble the machine enough that you can unplug the hard drive[1] and force the system to fall back to offering the boot menu.” (source)

This is not acceptable. It is yet another reason to antagonise or even boycott UEFI, which Intel is trying to push into more mobile devices (without boot menu) in guest posts like this new ones as well as an approach to critics. I shall relay my concerns to the UEFI Forum.

The EPO Has Gone Rogue, Disregards the Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flags

Summary: The European Patent Office finds itself under fire from a growing list of public interest groups and even politicians, the core issue being patent scope

The EPO was covered here many times before, most recently when it got slammed by German politicians for disregarding the law and granting patents on algorithms. Mike Masnick has this new post bemoaning the EPO’s granting of more patents which are not legal to grant. He says: “Two years ago, we wrote about how the European Patent Organization had granted a patent on broccoli. The patent was originally on the breeding method, but then it was ruled that the breeding methods were not covered by the patents, leaving just the basic broccoli as patented. Both the European Parliament and the German Parliament have said that the EPO should stop granting vegetable patents, but apparently it hasn’t stopped. It’s now issued a patent on a kind of pepper. While the new peppers are supposedly “resistant to insects,” people are pointing out that it was derived from conventional breeding — and that’s what was rejected in the broccoli case. What’s amazing, by the way, is that this pepper patent appears to have gone to Syngenta, which I believe was one of the companies that fought against the broccoli patent.”

“While the new peppers are supposedly “resistant to insects,” people are pointing out that it was derived from conventional breeding — and that’s what was rejected in the broccoli case.”
      –Mike Masnick
To quote more on this subject: “The European Patent Office is continuing to grant patents on conventional plants despite demands from the European Parliament and the German Parliament that the patent office refrain from granting such patents, the coalition of nongovernmental organisations called “No patents on seeds” said in a release.”

The press release can be read in its entirety. We have just set up a Wiki page for the EPO in order to start chastising its offending practices more effectively. When the goal becomes increasing profit rather than public service, then it is absolutely clear that the EPO has gone rogue.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Links 30/5/2013: Linux Mint 15 Released, Linux Reigns in Embedded

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Transformers: More Than Meets the Automotive Eye

    Cadillac, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota. These carmakers are transforming their industry through software. Cars are no longer just about metal. A new car already has 5 to 15 million lines of software code that are reliant on and integrated with thousands of mechanical and electrical components. If you’re in the car business today you’re also a software maker.

  • [VIDEO] Former Microsoft Exec Embraces Linux for Networking Software

    For more years than I care to count, I read statements and saw Microsoft server events where Bob Muglia declared why Microsoft’s server was so good.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland they’d called it

        Let’s commence with a joke. If the British automotive industry of the 70s had been the one to invent the display server protocol, they would have called it British Wayland. Get it? It’s subtle. Very subtle. Anyhow, without focusing too much on the technical lingo, Wayland is a new protocol, designed to replace the sturdy and reliable X Windows System. The idea is to create a more modern, more relevant method of transferring video frames from applications to the on-screen display, in a manner that is fast, efficient and extensible. On paper, it’s an interesting approach to an old problem, but the question is, is there a problem really?

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Ivy Bridge: UXA vs. SNA – Updated Benchmarks

        With the testing of the very latest Intel X.Org graphics driver, the SNA 2D acceleration back-end for the Ivy Bridge graphics is now the clear-cut winner for the Linux desktop over using the default UXA back-end.

        If you aren’t familiar with Intel SNA, you surely haven’t been reading enough of Phoronix as it’s been extensively covered on the site over the past two years through many articles. Long story short, SNA is an experimental 2D acceleration architecture that’s been extensively tuned to insane detail by Intel OTC’s Chris Wilson. For the past several months now it’s generally been working well across all generations of Intel hardware from Sandy/Ivy Bridge to even old Intel IGPs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • XBMC running in Linux on a TV box with an Amlogic AM8726-MX chip (video)

      The folks behind the XBMC media center application have made a lot of progress porting the software to run on Android. But if you’d rather have a small, low-power XBMC box that runs on Linux, new options might be available soon.

    • Linux strong, Android surging says embedded survey

      Linux crept up slightly in the EE Times 2013 Embedded Market Study, representing 34 percent of current projects while Android showed the greatest growth, jumping to 16 percent, for a total of 50 percent for Linux-based platforms. Meanwhile, ARM processors continue to attract more embedded developers.

      In early March, UBM Technology shared some preliminary details on current OS use from its survey-based EE Times “2013 Embedded Market Study.” Now, UBM has released the full report, showing further details on future OS plans among embedded developers, processor preferences, and much more.

    • BeagleBone Black Review
    • Add More Fruit to Your Raspberry Pi!
    • Phones

      • Android

        • How to Get Android as Google Intended

          Ever since Android became a mainstream mobile operating system, companies like Samsung and HTC have continuously tinkered with their phone and tablet interfaces to deliver their own unique take on the platform. While these manufacturer modifications have improved over time, some users still yearn for the stock Android experience — one that can only be found on a handful of devices, primarily with Google’s own Nexus line of smartphones and tablets. Fortunately, there is more than one way to use the OS in the way Google intended, which can be enjoyed by owners of both rooted and non-rooted devices.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nivis Announces Open Source ISA100 Wireless Software Platform

    Nivis, a global company active in smart grid and industrial wireless networks, has announced the release of an ISA100 Wireless Application Layer Software Development Kit (SDK) along with the availability of the ISA100.11a communication stack and related code on an open source basis. The SDK and open source ISA100.11a code can improve supplier’s ROI for ISA100 Wireless products by reducing development time and per-unit costs.

  • Web Browsers

    • What’s the best Firefox or Opera browser alternative?

      One of Google Chrome’s major weaknesses or shortcomings is the browser’s lack of user interface customization options. It is a take it or leave it interface that is giving users no options whatsoever to customize it.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s WebFWD accelerator helping Anahita become ‘the Linux of social’

        Anahita is the ancient Persian goddess of water, which is essential for life, health, and fertility. It’s also a very modern set of software building blocks for a social infrastructure for everything essential for enterprise-level life, health, and — in a sense — fertility.

        At least, according to Vancouver-based project founder and core architect Rastin Mehr.

      • Foxconn to announce Firefox OS devices, maybe a tablet

        Apple OEM contractor Foxconn is prepping several products based on Mozilla’s Firefox OS, says an industry report. The new products, one of which is rumored to be a tablet, are expected to be announced on June 3 in collaboration with Mozilla.

        On May 27, Focus Taiwan reported that Mozilla and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, will on June 3 unveil a device running Mozilla’s Linux- and HTML5-based Firefox OS. The story also noted that an industry insider told the publication the product was likely to be a tablet.

      • Rumour: Foxconn Firefox Tablet Coming June 3rd

        Foxconn is rumoured to be making a new tablet PC for Firefox OS, and we could catch our first glimpse next week.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Take action for free JavaScript

      Choosing to run free software on your computer is a powerful statement. Unfortunately, regardless of what you have installed on your desktop or laptop, you are almost certainly running hundreds of nonfree programs as you surf the Web. Web sites often use programs written in JavaScript to expand the capabilities of HTML, adding menus, buttons, text editors, music players, and many other features. Browsers come configured to download and run the JavaScript without ever making the user aware of it. Contrary to popular perception, JavaScript does not run “on the Web site” — it runs locally on users’ computers when they visit a site.

    • Free Software is Activism

      The Free Software is defined such as software that gives some freedoms to his users: use, copy, modify and redistribute modified copies. So, we can understand the free software as collective property generated by the users and developers.

      Although, from the Open Source philosophy, this problem has changed until that if the Free Software continues being collective property, sometimes is not being generated by the real interests of users and developers, it’s generated by the market interest, with especulative criteria and financial bumbles in a similar way than another market product.

      So, the Open Source philosophy, drop the ethical arguments about if is reasonable or don’t use Free Software, the only argument will be if technically is or don’t a good option, if is a good business and another similar arguments. But they don’t think if it’s good the good common, it’s out of the discourse. Many corporations has done good contributions creating Free Software products from this philosophy, but sometimes mixed with the philosopy of the propietary software: Ubuntu, Android, etc.

    • Denemo – News: Release 1.0.4 is imminent
  • Licensing

    • VP8 cross-license draft compatible with FOSS licensing

      Google and MPEG-LA recently disclosed a draft cross-license under which patents related to the VP8 video compression format would be licensed to the general public. SFLC reviewed these terms and considered some criticisms that have arisen in the free software community. Our opinion expressed here is ours alone, and does not necessarily reflect the position of any client of SFLC.1

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source, 3D printing and the race to re-engineer manufacturing

        While we’re all arguing about the future of Australian manufacturing in the wake of Ford announcing the closure of their Australian factories, the entire manufacturing industry is facing another wave of massive change as 3D printing and open source hardware change the economics of the sector.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Internet: Basket In Which We Put All Our Eggs

      Naturally, we’re filled with umbrage and are busy blaming the Chinese military for being dastardly. How dare they do what we would expect any country’s military to do? Also naturally, we’re not putting any blame on ourselves. No one is suggesting that such sensitive information, perhaps, shouldn’t be placed on a computer facing the Internet, no matter how secure. Nor is anyone suggesting that maybe the largest and most advanced military on the planet needs to have their own world wide web that’s not connected to the one used by the rest of us. No one is suggesting that this isn’t the way we won World War II.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange: Stratfor Hacker Jeremy Hammond Guilty Plea Part of Crackdown on Journalism, Activism

      Jeremy Hammond of the hacktivist group Anonymous has pleaded guilty to hacking into the private intelligence firm Stratfor, the FBI and other institutions. Hammond says his goal was to shed light on how governments and corporations act behind closed doors. Some five million Stratfor emails ended up on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, shedding light on how the private intelligence firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. In a statement, Hammond said he accepted the plea deal in part to avoid an overzealous prosecution that could have resulted in at least 30 years in prison. He has already served 15 months, including weeks in solitary confinement. Joining us from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Hammond’s prosecution comes as part of a wider crackdown “on effective political activists and alleged journalistic sources.” Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.

    • Assange: U.S. Probe of WikiLeaks & “Show Trial” of Bradley Manning Aims to Scare Whistleblowers

      Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of disclosing a trove of government documents and cables to WikiLeaks, is set to go on trial next week. Manning has already pleaded guilty to misusing classified material he felt “should become public,” but has denied the top charge of aiding the enemy. Speaking from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange calls Manning’s case “a show trial … to terrorize people from communicating with journalists and communicating with the public.” Assange also discusses his own legal status as he continues to evade extradition to Sweden. Assange fears that returning to Sweden would result in him being sent to the United States, where he fears a grand jury has secretly indicted him for publishing the diplomatic cables leaked by Manning. Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.

  • Finance

    • Good News, Everyone! (Except You Wage-Earners)

      When you look into the numbers, it looks more dubious still. The average U.S. household spends about 4 percent of its gross income on gasoline–so you’d need a pretty dramatic change in gas prices to have an appreciable impact on a typical family’s finances. In fact, they’re down roughly 15 percent from their peak earlier this year, but they’re still about 15 percent more than the low they hit around this time last year–and if you look at gas prices over the past couple of years, they’ve bounced up and down without really going anywhere.

    • Meet the New and Improved Goldman Sachs

      The bank announced plans to undergo a “rigorous self-examination” to avoid an Abacus repeat. Goldman certainly took its time, but the deep look into the mirror is complete. Meet the new and improved Goldman Sachs.

    • German Official Warns of Immediate ‘Revolution’ if EU Adopts US Model

      German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble urges adherence to Europe’s welfare model

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • The courage in Egypt is breathtaking, Europe should push for it in leadership too

      I’ve just returned from Egypt: impressed by the courage and ambition I found, worried by some of trends I saw, and pleased that the Minister was willing to commit the open internet.

      Deep inside one of the Pyramids in Giza (you can climb many stories into them! incredible experience), the guide turned and announced: “the problem with Egypt is that we talk too much about the things we DID, and nothing about the things we will DO.”

    • The Denial of Justice

      I don’t think any single person who has considered the matter seriously, has any real doubt that Jack Straw was complicit in torture in an active and involved way, and has lied about it continually. There are some who would argue he was ethically justified, but that is a different argument. It is not worth engaging in ethical argument with anybody who maintains that the facts which are the basis of the argument, should not be known.

    • Reporters Tell Attorney General Eric Holder They Won’t Agree To ‘Off The Record’ Meeting As Scale Of Journalist Spying Expands

      A few quick updates on the continuing saga of the DOJ’s highly questionable spying on the communications of reporters. First up, we find out that the AP is claiming that the DOJ’s scooping up of phone records wasn’t nearly as limited as some people have suggested, but rather contained records for “thousands and thousands” of phone calls. Remember, the DOJ’s own guidelines say that any such record retrieval must be very targeted rather than broad.

    • Holder’s Regrets and Repairs
  • DRM

    • EFF Makes Formal Objection to DRM in HTML5

      Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a formal objection to the inclusion of digital rights management (DRM) in HTML5, arguing that a draft proposal from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) could stymie Web innovation and block access to content for people across the globe.

      The W3C’s HTML working group is creating a technical standard for HTML5, an upcoming revision to the computer language that creates webpages and otherwise displays content online. The working group has accepted a draft that includes discussion of Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which will hard-wire the requirements of DRM vendors into the HTML standard.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU Ombudsman: EFSA fails on conflict of interests

      European Food Safety Authority mishandled a major revolving doors case with biotechnology company Syngenta

    • WHO warns countries not to hoard secrets of coronavirus

      The World Health Organization (WHO) warned countries with possible cases of the SARS-like novel coronavirus on Thursday that they must share information and not allow commercial labs to profit from the virus, which has killed 22 people worldwide.

    • How Long Before A Patent Kills A Hundred Million People?

      Fortunately, the virus does not seem to have spread widely during that three-month delay, but next time we might not be so lucky. It seems bordering suicidal that concerns about patenting should over-ride health concerns, especially when a viral pandemic could potentially kill a hundred million people, as it did in 1918. Let’s hope that the Supreme Court recognizes this as yet another reason not to allow patents on genes, and that this becomes part of a broader move to share freely vital knowledge that can save lives and alleviate suffering around the world.

    • Copyrights

      • White House Makes It Impossible For The Blind To Sign Petition Supporting Copyright Treaty For The Blind

        Last week, we discussed a recent We The People petition at the White House, asking the administration to support the treaty for the blind, which would make it easier to access creative works for the blind by creating a few small “exceptions” to copyright law (i.e., returning rights to the public) for the sake of sharing formats that are accessible to the blind across borders. However, some blind advocacy groups have discovered that, if you happen to be blind/visually impaired, it’s basically impossible to sign the petition.

      • Blind advocates blast White House

        The National Federation of the Blind is fuming mad over the White House web site, complaining that its members have been unable to sign an important online petition.

      • TV Broadcasters Launch Aereokiller Lawsuit in Washington

        Is the battle over the digital distribution of broadcast television eventually headed to the U.S. Supreme Court?

      • Inside the GOP Labs – Internet Association at odds with RIAA over DMCA – Swire: Consensus doesn’t equal unanimous – New tech makes gov’s buying easier, cheaper
      • Internet Association Hits Back At RIAA’s Desire To Wipe Away DMCA Safe Harbors

        On Friday, we wrote about how the RIAA has already started pitching the terrible idea that we should do away with the important DMCA safe harbors, which make sure that liability for infringement is properly applied to those actually infringing, rather than tools and services. The RIAA, however, thinks that it should be everyone else’s responsibility to prop up their increasingly obsolete business model, so they want to do away with the safe harbors and make every internet service liable if anyone uses their service for infringement. Of course, what this would do is stifle innovation broadly, because companies would avoid any kind of user generated services, because the liability would be super high. Sure, some of the big players would stick around, because they’ve got enough money and lawyers, but new startups would be few and far between.

      • The Aftermath Of Napster: Letting Incumbents Veto Innovation Slows Down Innovation Drastically

        Last fall, law professor Michael Carrier came out with a really wonderful paper, called Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story. He interviewed dozens of people involved in the internet world and the music world, to look at what the impact was of the legal case against Napster, leading to the shutdown of the original service (the name and a few related assets were later sold off to another company). The stories (again, coming from a variety of different perspectives) helps fill in a key part of the story that many of us have heard, but which has never really been written about: what an astounding chill that episode cast over the innovation space when it came to music. Entrepreneurs and investors realized that they, too, were likely to get sued, and focused their efforts elsewhere. The record labels, on the other hand, got the wrong idea, and became totally convinced that a legal strategy was the way to stem the tide of innovation.

05.29.13

Links 29/5/2013: Humble Indie Bundle 8, Fedora 19 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A lesson from Tumblr: Who’s in control?

    It’s no surprise that many Tumblr users are less than pleased with Yahoo!’s recent acquisition of their favorite personal publishing platform. The news is a sobering reminder that creators who don’t control the tools of their trade are at the mercy of those who do.

  • Open source project management on the rise

    Frank Bergmann, founder of ]project-open[, talks with us about the open source project management solution and how the company strives for an open culture at the office. He says maintaining communication is essential, and it entails complete transparency and honesty.

  • Glyn Moody Trashes Latest BSA-Study

    After seeing MSCEs spend hours trying to update one of my computer labs I found I was able to convert most labs to the latest installation of Debian GNU/Linux in one hour and update all the software in a few minutes for routine updates and less than an hour for migration to a new release. The rest of my time was then freed for useful business, education. With that other OS, I was a slave giving very little economic benefit to my employer because that other OS was constantly giving us trouble.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Foxconn reportedly building a Firefox OS smartphone

        According to Focus Taiwan, Taiwan’s Hon Hai, which trades as Foxconn, and Mozilla will be holding a press conference on Monday 3 June to announced a partnership around the Firefox OS mobile device operating system. The event will take place in Taipei in the run up to the Computex trade show and will, says the news site, be the nineteenth wireless telecomms company to form a partnership with Mozilla.

      • Is Mozilla Aiming Firefox OS at Tablets and Phones?

        While Mozilla has not officially taken the wraps off a specific device, The Register, CNET and other media outlets have followed up on reports regarding the Mozilla Foundation saying that it is working with Apple hardware specialist Foxconn on a tablet device that will run the new Firefox OS mobile platform. Until now, there had only been phones discussed for the operating system, which Mozilla is putting massive resources behind. Not only is the news of a tablet of interest, but Foxconn is a world-class hardware partner for Mozilla to have.

      • Mozilla teams up with Foxconn for Firefox ‘fondleslab’

        Mozilla is working with Apple hardware-maker Foxconn to release a mobile device running Firefox OS, it told news outlets on Monday, and plans to unveil it at an event next week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What Will Follow OpenStack Havana?

      The current OpenStack open source cloud platform release is named Grizzly – due to the fact that OpenStack had a Summit in San Diego, which is in California, which has a Grizzly bear on its flag.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuCash 2.5.2 (Unstable) released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.5.2, the third release in the 2.5.x series of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.6.0. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OSX.

  • Project Releases

    • Xine Now Supports VA-API, GL 2.0 Output, EAC3

      A new version of xine-lib was released today, which is the library that powers the Xine multimedia playback engine. The xine-lib 1.2.3 release brings numerous features including VA-API hardware video decoding and support for OpenGL 2.0 output.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Civic coding strengthens open source skills

      I’ve been thinking a bit too much lately about GitHub and Drupal.org. More broadly, I’ve had my mind on open source + community. Sometimes this is called social coding.

    • Slow progress on govt open source policy

      More than six years after Cabinet approved a policy for free and open source software (FOSS) in government, little has been achieved.

      This was conceded by chairman of the State IT Agency’s (SITA’s) board, Jerry Vilakazi, at the Government Information Technology Officers (GITO) Council Summit yesterday.

    • Schools In Basel Are Using The Open Source Groupware Kolab

      Following their overall Free Software and Open Standards strategy, the public schools in the Swiss city of Basel are providing the Open Source Kolab Groupware Solution to their teachers, students and administrative staff. This enables them to coordinate their work and collaborate as efficiently as possible. The students are learning early to make use of modern information and communication technologies. Markus Bäumler head of the responsible ICT Media department in Basel says “We are delighted to have a Free Software solution that we can deploy for this purpose which reliably meets our professional requirements.”

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google defends its use of proprietary tech in Hangouts

      oogle is feeling the heat over its decision to build its new Hangouts IM and audio/video chat product with proprietary technology that doesn’t support server federation via the XMPP industry standard, but the company is defending its move.

      Specifically, Google maintains that XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) industry support is weak, which dilutes its purpose as a common protocol, and that its technology hasn’t kept up with the times.

Leftovers

  • Bob Schieffer Is Tired of Booking Bad Guests on His Show

    It’s more good than bad that a lot of mainstream reporters are speaking openly about the chilling effect of the Obama White House’s investigations into leaks of classified material. But this willingness to talk about how the White House operates can lead some journalists to make some rather strange arguments.

  • Yearbook prank leads to high school student’s arrest in Columbia, Mo.

    A Columbia high school student faces a possible felony charge after her arrest for changing a classmate’s name in the school yearbook to a sexually suggestive term.

    The 17-year-old Hickman High School junior was arrested May 14 after she allegedly changed a student’s last name from Mastain to “masturbate” in the 100th edition of the Hickman Cresset yearbook. She could be charged with first-degree property damage, a felony, and harassment.

  • Science

  • Security

    • DoS vulnerability in ModSecurity fixed – Update
    • PayPal vulnerable to cross-site scripting again

      17-year old German schoolboy Robert Kugler has posted information on a cross-site scripting vulnerability in payment processing service PayPal to the Full Disclosure mailing list. Kugler wanted to report the bug to PayPal as part of its official Bug Bounty Program, but the program only pays out to participants who are 18 or over. To vent his frustration, he has now gone public with the bug.

    • OpEDL: ‘Anonymous’ targets far-right English Defense League

      Individuals claiming to be part of international hacktivist group Anonymous have published phone numbers and addresses for supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) as part of what they said was the first phase of a campaign to destroy the far-right street protest movement.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece

      The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.

    • Toronto cops hospitalize hotel guest who recorded them arresting another guest

      A man staying at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel used his Blackberry to video-record police who were arresting another guest. The police objected and several of them piled onto him, beating him savagely while screaming “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” They broke two of his ribs. The whole thing was captured on the man’s phone and on hotel CCTV. He’s suing.

    • Did Senator McCain Violate NDAA by Hanging Out with Syrian Rebels?

      In case you missed it, Senator John McCain took the opportunity this Memorial Day to cross the Turkey-Syria border and hang out with Syrian rebels. These are the same rebels with ties to Al Qaeda. These are the same rebels cutting out and eating the hearts of dead soldiers. According to reports, Senator McCain wanted to go further into combat but was not allowed.

    • Stop NDAA in your State? Grassroots Activism Works

      Last week, the California Liberty Preservation Act, AB351, was passed unanimously by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and sent to the full State Assembly for a vote.

      The bill would play a big part in nullifying the “indefinite detention” provisions of both the NDAA and the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).

    • Washington steps up hacking allegations against China

      On Monday the Washington Post published a classified list compiled by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board of military systems and technologies allegedly compromised by Chinese hacking. Though the previously undisclosed report does not present any evidence for these claims, it is being used to escalate charges against China that it is hacking US secrets.

    • Guantanamo: the Legal Mess Behind the Ethical Mess

      LAW profs deem force-feeding “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”

    • Tyranny Got You Down?

      Our political strategy brings to mind the definition of insanity often attributed to Albert Einstein..

    • America’s Greatest Challenge

      I’ve been reading a few articles on the “alternative” media which really have me thinking. One, by Chris Hedges entitled “Rise Up or Die” made me think about just how bad things really are nowadays here in the USA. The other article by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, “You are The Hope” was also a particularly dark piece.

      It’s not that I don’t agree with what the two have said…I do; still, I don’t think they quite accurately reflect the growing dis-connects between what many Americans and the mainstream media, along with the Powers That Be would have us believe.

    • Woolwich Attack: Overreacting To Extremism ‘Could Bring Back Al Qaeda’ Ex CIA Officer Warns

      One of the world’s leading terrorism experts has branded the government’s proposals to muzzle Islamist hate preachers and crack down on violent extremism in the wake of the Woolwich attack as “a waste of time”.

      Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA operations officer who worked with the Afghan mujahedin in the late 1980s, says that “a good [counter-extremism] policy should be based on an understanding on what’s happening on the ground.

      “The notion that there is any serious process called ‘radicalisation’, or indoctrination, is really a mistake. What you have is some young people acquiring some extreme ideas – but it’s a similar process to acquiring any type of ideas. It often begins with discussions with a friend.”

    • Drone Strikes Mostly Transferred from CIA to DoD

      As promised in his speech this week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is largely assuming control of the embattled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) combat operations in the Middle East. The program had been run over the past several years by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and was responsible for death strikes on four Americans, only one of which was an intended target for death.

    • CIA/MI6 helped spawn a Frankenstein’s monster

      In response to the hacking to death of Lee Rigby, a young off-duty British soldier killed on a London street in broad daylight, Britain’s Home Office plans measures to prevent the radicalization of Muslim youth which include censorship of jihadist Internet websites, a crackdown on extremist organizations and the cleansing of mosques and place of learning from preachers promoting “a poisonous narrative.” That’s all very well but unless the government acknowledges the root of the problem those steps will constitute a mere band-aid covering a suppurating sore.

    • Kern County Coroner Declares David Silva’s Death To Be ‘Accidental,’ Heart Disease-Related

      Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood held a press conference last Thursday to declare his department’s innocence in the death of David Silva. This claim is based on the coroner’s report prepared by the Kern County Coroner’s office, which reports to the Sheriff’s Office. David Silva’s death has been declared “accidental,” with the official cause of death listed as “cardiac hypertension.”

  • Cablegate

    • AGP slams Rahul Gandhi after WikiLeaks revelation

      Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Guwahati, AGP secretary Durga Das Boro said that the party was contemplating legal action against Rahul Gandhi for making such a comment on the Assam’s regional party, which formed the government in the state for three terms since 1986. Boro said that the WikiLeaks had recently revealed that “(Gandhi) had said that AGP leaders were insurgents and India allowed separatists to form the government in Assam and the United States should also allow Hamas.”

    • Julian Assange’s human rights are being violated by UK, says Ecuador
    • Ecuador accuses UK of ‘violating Assange’s human rights’

      Ecuador has accused the UK of violating Julian Assange’s human rights by refusing to allow the WikiLeaks founder to take shelter in South America, which granted him political asylum nearly a year ago.

    • Ecuador: Concern for Rights of WikiLeaks Founder
    • ‘Hactivist’ Faces 10 Years in Fed Prison for Stratfor Leaks

      Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond agrees to “non-cooperating plea agreement” as alternative to endless court battle and decades of prison time

    • LulzSec Hacker Jeremy Hammond Pleads Guilty To CFAA Charge; Faces 10 Years

      In yet another Computer Fraud and Abuse Act case, in which the DOJ piled on charge after charge after charge until the person they were pressuring accepted a plea bargain, Jeremy Hammond has officially accepted a plea deal for helping LulzSec/Anonymous hack Stratfor. He admits that he did it, and given that, it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that some punishment is warranted, but it still seems troubling the amount of pressure that the DOJ used to get him to take a plea bargain.

    • Setting an example: Why we must defend Manning and Assange

      WikiLeaks released an enormous treasure-trove of classified US government documents in 2010. It included US military logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 250,000 diplomatic cables, and Collateral Murder, a video depicting the killing of 12 civilians by a US helicopter gunship in Iraq.

      The source of the leaks, US Private Bradley Manning, acted on his conscience. He believed that people have a right to see the information he had been privy to as an army intelligence analyst. He was prepared to risk his life and liberty to reveal that information.

    • Bradley Manning’s Trial begins 3 June. Call-out for solidarity everywhere
    • ‘We Steal Secrets’ Documentary Focuses on Personalities of Assange, Manning Over Significance of WikiLeaks

      Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney held a special screening for his new documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, in Washington, DC, on May 21. Gibney also participated in a question and answer session after the film that was moderated by POLITICO‘s Josh Gerstein.

      First, the title reinforces widespread perceptions created by the United States government that the WikiLeaks organization is out to “steal” secrets. Gibney has claimed that the title is “ironic.” Actually, the US government steals secrets. Former NSA director Michael Hayden says this in the film, but this aspect of US government operations takes up only a few seconds of the film. He does not explore how US government agencies are actually the ones engaged in stealing so the “irony” does not come through at all.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Solar-Powered Hospital in Haiti Yields Sustainable Savings

      But in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the flow of energy is intermittent at best. Consider that in Mirebalais, located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the power goes out for an average of three hours each day. This poses an enormous challenge to running any hospital; surgeries are jeopardized, neonatal ventilators stall, the cold chain is interrupted, and countless everyday tasks get derailed. As Partners In Health co-founder Paul Farmer noted during a recent lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health, “It’s not great if you’re a surgeon and you have to think about getting the generator going.”

    • South Korea’s faked safety certificates: just another nuclear scandal
    • Solar Power Notches A Victory In Minnesota

      By 2020, 1.5 percent of the energy that public utilities in Minnesota generate will have to come from solar. It’s estimated that this new requirement, signed into law last week by Gov. Mark Dayton, will result in a 32-fold increase in solar capacity in the state, up to 450 megawatts.

  • Finance

    • The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping Upward

      Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.

    • Digital currency biz Liberty Reserve shut down, founder arrested

      Digital currency Liberty Reserve has been shut down after U.S. and Costa Rican authorities arrested founder Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk in Spain.

    • Stressed Ecosystems Leaving Humanity High and Dry

      On average, humanity has built one large dam every day for the last 130 years, which distorts the natural river flows to which ecosystems and aquatic life adapted over millennia. Two-thirds of major river deltas are sinking due to pumping out groundwater, oil and gas. Some deltas are falling at a rate four times faster than global sea level is rising.

  • Censorship

    • Facebook gives way to campaign against hate speech on its pages

      Company agrees to update policies in response to protest by more than 100 advocacy groups

    • Now PETA Wants to Sue People Who Leave Anonymous Comments

      PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is incensed over an article in the Huffington Post that details that organization’s unsettling practice of euthanizing animals in a Virginia facility that many have assumed is a no kill shelter.

      According to the New York Post, PETA wants to sue some of the people who have left comments on the article. The problem is that, following the practice of many on the Internet, many of the comments are under assumed names or are anonymous. PETA is attempting to discover the true identities of their critics so that it can sue them for defamation.

    • Judge Deems Facebook-Posting Rapper Cameron D’Ambrosio A ‘Threat,’ Denies Bail

      Cameron D’Ambrosio, the Massachusetts teen arrested and charged with “communicating terroristic threats” (or “bomb threats,” depending on who’s doing the reporting) via a Facebook post (in the form of rap lyrics — CammyDee has aspirations), has been denied bail by the state’s Superior Court.

    • In Denmark, Online Tracking of Citizens is an Unwieldy Failure
    • Danish Police Admit That Data Retention Hasn’t Helped At All

      There’s been a big push around the globe to ramp up data retention rules, which require various online services to keep all sorts of data on their users for a long time, just in case it’s possible that law enforcement officials might need that data at some later date. That this only adds to the pile of data, and often makes it more difficult to find useful data, is never discussed. That this likely puts more people’s private data at risk of being hacked or accidentally revealed is never discussed. Also, almost never discussed: whether or not such data retention laws actually help solve crimes.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Hundreds of workers ‘illegally’ dismissed in Alexandria

      Around 350 workers have been dismissed from their jobs at a factory in Alexandria on Sunday morning, without adequate justification, according to the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

      Mohamed Adel, a lawyer at ECESR said that between 350 and 400 workers at the Hi Tech Textile factory in Alexandria were relieved of their duties because they demanded higher wages. According to Adel, the owner of the factory laid off the Egyptian workers in favour of foreign workers because their wage demands are lower than the Egyptian workers.

    • Teacher facing discipline for reminding students of Constitutional rights

      An Illinois community is rallying around a teacher who is reportedly up against disciplinary action for informing his students of their rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment before the high-schoolers answered a survey regarding their personal behavior.

    • Amnesty International defends refugees in Kenya
    • How Prosecutors Fought to Keep Rosen’s Warrant Secret

      The Obama Administration fought to keep a search warrant for James Rosen’s private e-mail account secret, arguing to a federal judge that the government might need to monitor the account for a lengthy period of time.

      The new details are revealed in a court filing detailing a back and forth between the Justice Department and the federal judges who oversaw the request to search a Gmail account belonging to Rosen, a reporter for Fox News. A 2009 article Rosen had written about North Korea sparked an investigation; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, insisted that the reporter should not be notified of the search and seizure of his e-mails, even after a lengthy delay.

    • Two Judges Told DOJ It Had To Disclose Spying On Journalist; DOJ Found A Third Judge Instead
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Authoritarian Governments Still Trying To Seek More Control Over The Internet

      There was plenty of attention paid to the failed WCIT meeting last year, in which some countries effectively sought greater control over the internet, leading many countries to refuse to sign on. There has since been plenty of reasonable concern that the end result of this is a fragmented internet, with one internet for those who believe in internet freedom and openness… and one for those who don’t.

      And, of course, the whole ITU WCIT process was never going to be the end of such discussions. Eli Dourado, who has been following this stuff closely for a while, recently had a good report about how various authoritarian governments made a bit of a power play for more control over internet governance. The issue may seem bureaucratic and messy, but that’s also why it’s important to pay attention. Because mixed in with all that bureaucracy are some key decisions.

    • Jaron Lanier’s Ignorance Of History, Basic Economics And Efficiency Is Getting Ridiculous

      So… we’d already taken a stab at debunking Jaron Lanier’s “gobbledygook economics” a few weeks back when it started appearing, but since then there’s been more Lanier everywhere (obviously, in coordination with his book release), and each time it seems more ridiculous than the last. Each time, the focus is on the following economically ridiculous concepts: (1) there should be micropayments for anyone doing anything free online because someone benefits somewhere (2) modern efficiency via technology has destroyed the middle class. Both of these claims make no sense at all.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Fear Mongering Report Suggests ‘IP Theft From China’ One Of The Biggest Problems America Faces

      A bunch of folks have been sending in variations on a report that came out last week, grandly titled “The IP Commission Report” as if it were some sort of official body. In the subhead, we find out that it’s actually by the even more ridiculously named “The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.” Who put together this “commission”? Well, it’s the National Bureau of Asian Research, which also is not an official government organization as you might think, but a private think tank that more or less was spun out of the University of Washington, and was originally the National Bureau of Asian and Soviet Research, put together at the behest of Senator Henry Jackson, who believed strongly that America should intervene around the globe to promote American interests, often at the expense of those where we were intervening. He supported interning Japanese Americans during WWII. He strongly supported the Vietnam War. He’s considered the spiritual father of today’s neoconservatives. As you may have guessed, the “National Bureau of Asian Research” is not exactly about figuring out the best way to understand and improve relationships between the US and Asia. It’s about how US interests can dominate Asia.

    • US-EU Trade Deal In Trouble Before It Even Starts?

      For the last few months, Techdirt has been following the surprisingly rapid embrace on both sides of the Atlantic of the proposed transatlantic free trade agreement, known variously as TAFTA or TTIP. Coming out of nowhere, the agreement is being talked about as if its success and benefits are more or less guaranteed.

    • WHO calls Middle Eastern virus, MERS, ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises

      …they patented the virus…

Techrights Scope

Posted in Site News at 1:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fog Computing harms your soul

Resurrection

Summary: Inquiry to readers about this site’s focus

TECHRIGHTS has been focused on patents, especially as they relate to Free/Open Source software (FOSS), since its very early days. The Novell/Microsoft deal was a patent deal — a conspiracy against FOSS at large. Would there be interest in Techrights covering other areas of technology such as privacy (surveillance, data sharing, Fog Computing, etc.)? If so, it oughtn’t take away attention from the usual topics we cover, it would just relay some items from daily links into standard blog posts. Any subject worth covering other than that? Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Heise/The H Labels Microsoft Lobbyist ‘Commentator’, Parrots Android-hostile Talking Points Amid EU Probe Into Competition Violations

Posted in Apple, Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 12:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Irresponsible journalism

The H Logo

Summary: Failure by the press to correctly identify people leads to misguided coverage which brings back mostly old news and helps smear Linux/Android

The borderline illegal tactics, such as blocking of competitors, are not new to Apple. The company has always been very restrictive as it allowed almost nobody else on its platform/s. Apple also dodges tax. Apple has in it everything a sociopath would love, so Apple’s popularity in some segments says a lot about today’s society.

Based on this report from CBS, “Antitrust regulators send questionnaire to wireless carriers to determine whether Apple is using anticompetitive sales tactics to squeeze out rival handset makers.”

Apple is no stranger to such tactics. More recently, boosted by European lobbyists like Florian Müller, Apple also deceived regulators. It tried to pretend that Android devices are worthy of bans in Europe. EU-based Microsoft-run Nokia did the same thing in recent months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], aided again by this bribed lobbyist, who is quoted by Heise’s London-based branch (report by Walker-Morgan, who can’t deny knowing about Müller’s connections). A new article says: “It has now been revealed that Nokia’s recent submission to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) alleges that HTC smartphones are infringing six US patents. According to a report by patent commentator Florian Müller, one of these (US 6,711,211) describes methods that are apparently infringed by Google’s VP8 video codec. VP8 is currently being proposed for standardisation with a number of organisations.”

“Microsoft pays this guy, and it no longer keeps it secret, either.”First of all, he is not a commentator, he is a lobbyist and he is funded by anti-Android companies. Secondly, he has been boosting MPEG-LA for years (Apple, Nokia-, and Microsoft-funded). Last but not least, he has a history of lying at Microsoft’s behalf, so why quote him? He is a mouthpiece that mass-mails journalists, he is no “commentator”.

The article continues: “The patent, granted in 2004, is entitled “Method for encoding and decoding video information, a motion compensated video encoder and a corresponding decoder”. In a document submitted to the ITC, Nokia explains in some detail, illustrating with source from VP8 open source code, how it believes VP8 is infringing on claims made in its patent. All devices which run Google’s Android 2.3 or later are able to play VP8 videos. According to Nokia, this means that the HTC One also infringes this patent.”

We covered this before, it is not news. The BBC has been doing the very same thing recently, as it repeatedly cited this lobbyist in anti-Android (or pro-Microsoft extortion) articles without correctly identifying him. Microsoft pays this guy, and it no longer keeps it secret, either.

05.28.13

Links 28/5/2013: Salix 14.0 (Live Xfce), Elive 2.1.42

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Top 3: Puppy, Backbox and Linux 3.10

    Linux continues to grow not just because of any one vendor or particular use case, but because Linux is applicable to so many different use cases.

    Two such very different use-cases were on display this past week, with new releases of Pupply Linux and Backbox Linux

  • Is Linux Still Short on Apps vs Windows? Reality Check

    Sometime this July will mark my seventh anniversary of becoming a desktop Linux user. While I may or may not bake a cake to celebrate the occasion, it has gotten me thinking about what has changed in the world of Linux since I entered it — and, especially, how much more usable my Linux PC has become then. And what better way to quantify those improvements than to take stock of just how many apps are now available for Linux users that were not seven years ago?

  • Desktop

    • DesktopLinux.com Finally Dies

      A while back DesktopLinux.com changed ownership when the corporation owning it was sold. Since then the site has been rudderless with no moderator/authour and gradually fewer contributors to the public forum.

  • Kernel Space

    • Did You Know? – 15 Less Known But Interesting Facts About Linux and Linus
    • Rustboot: A 32-Bit Kernel Written In Rust

      Rust, the general purpose programming language developed by Mozilla for being a safe, concurrent, and practical language, can even be used to write a system kernel.

    • Linux Foundation Adds New Members From Car Software and Gaming Industries

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that AllGo Embedded Systems, Suntec Software and Wargaming are joining the organization.

      The demand for devices to become more intelligent and connected in the gaming and automotive industries is driving more demand for interactive entertainment and embedded software in the Linux market. The newest Linux Foundation members are expanding investment in Linux in order to advance software in-vehicle systems and online gaming and leverage the collaborative development model. These and other topics will be discussed this week at the Automotive Linux Summit Spring 2013 in Japan on May 27-28 followed by LinuxCon Japan and CloudOpen JapThe Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that AllGo Embedded Systems, Suntec Software and Wargaming are joining the organization.

      The demand for devices to become more intelligent and connected in the gaming and automotive industries is driving more demand for interactive entertainment and embedded software in the Linux market. The newest Linux Foundation members are expanding investment in Linux in order to advance software in-vehicle systems and online gaming and leverage the collaborative development model. These and other topics will be discussed this week at the Automotive Linux Summit Spring 2013 in Japan on May 27-28 followed by LinuxCon Japan and CloudOpen Japan on May 29-31.an on May 29-31.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Replacing X With Wayland On The Raspberry Pi

        Last week I wrote about the emergence of a new Wayland Weston compositor renderer for the Raspberry Pi. There was a fair amount of discussion about it and since then additional details have emerged.

      • Intel 2.21.8 Driver Takes Care Of COW Regressions

        Just one week after the Intel X.Org driver was updated with support for all known Haswell variants and introducing some new copy-on-write support for cloning pixmaps, a new release has been warranted.

      • Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian Improves Its Performance

        The Debian-based “Raspbian” Linux distribution for the Rasperry Pi ARM development board is now a heck of a lot faster thanks to recent software improvements.

        Raspbian is the Debian Linux distribution optimized for the ARMv7 Raspberry Pi. Older versions of Raspbian are based upon Debian Linux 6.0 on the Linux 3.1 kernel and GCC 4.4.5. However, the latest Debian Linux 7.0 on the latest Raspbian package-set has the Linux 3.6.11 armv6l kernel and GC 4.6.

    • Benchmarks

      • Eight-Way BSD & Linux OS Comparison

        Being benchmarked today at Phoronix is a comparison of eight different BSD and Linux operating systems. The contenders for this performance roundabout include PC-BSD 9.1, DragonFlyBSD 3.4.1, Ubuntu 13.04, Linux Mint 15 RC, CentOS 6.4, Fedora 18, Mageia 3, and openSUSE 12.3. Which of these operating systems are the fastest and slowest for a variety of different workloads? Read on to find out.

      • CPU-Z for Linux?: 6 Free Linux System Profilers

        A system profiler is a utility that presents information about the hardware attached to a computer. Having access to hard information about your hardware can be indispensable when you need to establish exactly what hardware is installed in your machine. For example, the information will help a technical support individual diagnose problems, or help to evaluate whether a system will support certain software or hardware.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Akademy-es 2013 schedule ready!

      As you probably know we are having Akademy-es 2013 just a few days earlier than Akademy in Bilbao, from 11th to 12th of July.

    • News in kdepim 4.11: Header theme (3/3) Grantlee theme generator (headerthemeeditor)

      For helping user to generate a KMail theme based on Grantlee, I created an application: “headerthemeeditor”.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • One serving of 53 amazing students please

        The accepted students for Google Summer of Code and the Outreach Program for Women have just been announced. I am so happy that we were able to accept 50 students for GSoC.

      • A Summer of Coding — and More!

        Google has just announced the 2013 Google Summer of Code students! And that means that the Outreach Program for Women list is also announced. It’s been some weeks of anxious waiting, not just for the students and interns involved, but also for the whole Krita community, developers and artists. But everyone can breathe again now!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 on the loose

        I’ve used Mageia 3 full time since its release and it’s not perfect – but it’s darn close. Nothing is perfect and that is so true for Linux. It’s a matter of what bugs bug you less. I used Mageia 1 for quite a while and I’ll probably hang around in Mageia 3 too. It performs well. It boots really quickly and the desktop as well as most applications are very responsive. Never underestimate the charm of instantaneous results. I have a nice fresh install of Sabayon Linux 13.04 just waiting, but it looks like I may end up not using it.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – May 27th, 2013

        The Debian GNU/Hurd team announced the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2013. This is not an official Debian release, but it is an official Debian GNU/Hurd port release. On the Debian Ports archive you can find the installation ISO images to download (netinst, CD or DVD), as well as a pre-installed disk image which makes it even easier to try Debian GNU/Hurd. Debian GNU/Hurd is currently available for the i386 architecture with more than 10,000 software packages available.

        Please make sure to read the configuration information, the FAQ, and the translator primer to get a grasp of the great features of GNU/Hurd.

      • Elive 2.1.42 development released

        This version includes some misc features like:

        Bug fixes in the automatic date and time configuration
        If you move to another country it is automatically detected and your time is updated to the new location
        Updated firmwares to support a wider range of wifi’s and other devices
        Automatic detection of lvm devices inside crypted filesystem
        Fixed a bug with thumblerd process, which can sometimes block devices from unmounting

      • Debian Linux 7.0 Wheezy: Hands on

        I’ve been experimenting with installing the new Debian release across a number of devices – here’s what I’ve found so far.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Another Reason Why Open Source Wins: Fairness

    I’ve written a number of posts looking at less-familiar advantages of open source over closed source, and here’s another one. Proprietary systems can’t be forked, which means that it’s not possible to change the underlying ethos, for example by tweaking the software or using code on a different platform. But you can with open source, as this interesting example shows.

    Fairphone is, as its name implies, built with fairness in mind. That contrasts with today’s smartphones which contain many minerals sourced in a variety of unsavoury ways, ranging from being “merely” exploitative to downright bloodstained. That’s not something we think about much as we play with our latest shiny toy, but Fairphone wants to change that. And of course, as part of its fairness, everything will be open (although it’s based on Android 4.2, so I wonder whether some elements will be closed nonetheless.)

  • Migrating to open source needs a plan

    Perhaps you’ve considered migrating your company to an open source desktop productivity suite? There are a host of good reasons for such a move. The most obvious one that comes to mind is to save on license fees, but don’t be fooled. For the migration process to be a success and the full benefits to be reaped, you must invest in the changeover itself. Don’t believe that because you want to save money long term you should skimp short-term. A look at the City of Freiburg’s attempted migration reveals the dangers of treating the new software as a drop-in replacement.

  • When It Comes To FOSS, Who Don’t You Trust?

    Probably the best corporate ownership of free and open source products comes from Red Hat, for reasons that should be obvious. Red Hat makes their living developing and supporting FOSS products, so they tend to be excellent FOSS players, obeying both the spirit and letter of the GPL. In addition, they defend the license, because what’s good for free and open source software is good for Red Hat.

    The other side of the coin, the bad players in the free software world, might be best represented by Oracle, who inherited a slew of important open source projects with their takeover of Sun Microsystems a few years back. As we’ve observed before, part of the problem with Oracle is that sharing and software freedom isn’t in the company’s genetic structure. Like many proprietary vendors, they believe in nurturing their clients by using the mushroom philosophy–that is by keeping them in the dark and feeding them plenty of malarkey.

    Oracle also obviously has some conflict-of-interest issues when it comes to one of their most important FOSS offerings, the MySQL database, which probably steers at least half of the worlds websites. Oracle, of course, became one of the biggest companies in tech by selling their own proprietary database. Although in most instances Oracle’s database doesn’t directly compete with MySQL, we know it gripes Larry Ellison’s arse to be giving a database away when he thinks he could be making money selling it.

  • BSA Study Demonstrates Open Source’s Economic Advantage

    I love the spring. Not, of course, because of the glorious weather, since we don’t have any. But because it’s time for the annual BSA report on piracy, which is guaranteed to provide me with hours of innocent fun as I go through finding its methodological errors and dodgy data.

  • One Small Step for NASA, One Giant Leap for Open Source

    “When you really need performance/weight as in the space program, who are you going to call: an OS designed by salesmen in secret and in league with hardware suppliers,” asked blogger Robert Pogson, “or an OS designed by computer geeks trying hard in the open to get the last bit of performance and reliability out of hardware?”

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cloud Hosting For Static Sites

      GitHub Pages: GitHub is most well known as a popular source code repository, but they also offer free hosting as part of GitHub Pages. You can use a standard git repository to publish your site, which is how I managed my personal blog for years. For each new article, run the jekyll command line tool, and then push the site to GitHub. GitHub’s Pages takes care of the rest. There is also a web based tool with a few themes and an online markdown editor.

    • OpenStack Brings Open Source Cloud to CeBIT

      The OpenStack® community will take part in CeBIT Australia for the first time when the show opens in Sydney this week, bringing the promise of cost savings, speed of deployment and freedom from vendor lock­in to Australian enterprises. CeBIT will run from May 28th through 30th and will be held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour; OpenStack will be on stand O01 in the Cloud Ecosystem section in Hall 4.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Blogging Platform WordPress Turns Ten, And Its Community Gets To Blow The Candles Out

      Ten years ago today, WordPress, the open source blogging software, was born. It’s amazing to think that it’s been that long, but considering it had all of the elements that other startups and projects have tried to emulate over the past 10 years, then it makes sense.

      When speaking with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, you’d think that he was only a small part of the movement that attempted to empower anyone and everyone to self-publish. While that might be partially true, Mullenweg has taken all of his learnings over the years and poured them into the for-profit arm, Automattic.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-Source House Building

      Think of a world where you could simply download the blueprints of your future home for free just like you download any open source software today. A team of British architects developed just that and they are hoping their project called WikiHouse will radically change the way we think about building homes.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • CGit Update Adds Exciting Features, Security Fix

      CGit, the widely-used replacement to GitWeb, has out a new release today. Besides incorporating some useful new functionality, it also takes care of a security fix where out-of-date CGit installations could allow arbitrary access to files from the system.

    • OCLint: Another Way For Clang Static Code Analysis

      For those looking at new static code analysis tools, OCLint is an open-source utility powered by LLVM’s Clang foundation to provide a variety of features when inspecting C, Objective-C, and C++ code-bases. In recent testing of OCLint for an internal C-based Phoronix code-base, OCLint proved to be quite useful.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • This Pentagon Project Makes Cyberwar as Easy as Angry Birds

      For the last year, the Pentagon’s top technologists have been working on a program that will make cyberwarfare relatively easy. It’s called Plan X. And if this demo looks like a videogame or sci-fi movie or a sleek Silicon Valley production, that’s no accident. It was built by the designers behind some of Apple’s most famous computers — with assistance from the illustrators who helped bring Transformers to the silver screen.

    • PayPal denies teenager reward for finding website bug

      A 17-year-old German student contends PayPal has denied him a reward for finding a vulnerability in its website.

      Robert Kugler said he notified PayPal of the vulnerability on May 19. He said he was informed by email that because he is under 18 years old, he did not qualify for its Bug Bounty Program. He will turn 18 next March.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • F*ck You NRA! Principal Fires Guards, Expands Arts and Sees Test Scores Soar

      In defiance of societal trends, a K-8 principal fired all his public school’s security guards and reinvested in the arts, drastically improving grades and test scores in a school that once “had a prison feel,” NBC News reports.

      Orchard Gardens, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was founded in 2003, but quickly fell to the bottom of public schools in the state. Of 800 students, “more than 90% qualify for free or reduced lunch, 25% are learning to speak English, and 25% require Individual Education Plans to meet special needs,” according to the pilot school’s website.

    • Did Obama’s Speech Really ‘Narrow’ the War?

      followed the coverage of President Barack Obama’s May 23 speech at the National Defense University, you would think something big happened to the “war on terror.” Specifically, its scope was narrowed, perhaps considerably, as the war as it is currently being waged winds down.

  • Cablegate

    • Statement from Jeremy Regarding His Plea

      Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.

  • Finance

    • Is EVERY Market Rigged?

      Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Libor scandal.

    • Delinquent US student loans hit record high, with over $100 billion past due

      The number and value of overdue student loans has reached an all-time high in the US as nearly a third of 20- to 24-year-olds are currently unemployed, according to a report by the Department of Education.

      With continued concern regarding rising college costs, the amount of outstanding student loans has now reached $1 trillion, making that the largest category of consumer debt in the US aside from home mortgages.

    • UK courts face radical privatisation shake-up

      The idea would establish the courts service as a commercial enterprise, paying its way and freed from Treasury control, with court buildings and thousands of staff put in the hands of private companies. It would save the Ministry of Justice pound stg. 1 billion ($1.56bn) a year.

  • Censorship

    • Houston police shut down Kanye West screening at Rothko Chapel

      Houston singer Dominique attended the library screening and said it was shut down due to “technical difficulties.” It was rescheduled for later that night/morning, but police eventually shuttered that screening, too, after a tense back and forth.

  • Privacy

    • Labeling Reporters “Criminals,” or Just Complying With the Privacy Protection Act?

      There has been a lot of outrage expressed recently over the contents of an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant to search the e-mail accounts of reporter James Rosen. The government’s affidavit offered the view that Rosen violated the law by aiding and abetting the alleged violations of laws prohibiting the disclosure of classified national security information. Specifically, the affidavit stated, “there is probable cause to believe that the Reporter . . . has committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. 793(d) either as Mr. Kim’s co-conspirator and/or aider and abetter.” To some, the fact that the government would make this argument shows that the Obama Administration is engaging in a War on Journalism. According to this thinking, the Obama Administration is not only trampling on the rights of a free press by going after its sources. Incredibly, they even think of a reporter as a criminal — and are willing to say so in court.

    • Leakers, Recipients, and Conspirators

      Leaks to reporters — and investigations of the leaks that included subpoenas of reporters’ e-mail logs and searches of reporters’ e-mail — have been in the news; see this post by Orin about the AP story and this post by Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic) about the Fox News story. I thought I’d say a few things about the First Amendment issues involved in such matters, especially in response to the Friedersdorf post.

    • Yet more Communications Data Bill confusion

      During the debate about the Communications Data Bill, one of the points we repeatedly made was that while this bill was not about reading the contents of messages, but that the details of who you communicate with were still incredibly private information.

    • Snoopers’ Charter – How You Can Stop it Coming Back…Again

      The Snoopers’ Charter is back in the news. It’s come back sooner than any of us expected. We’ve stopped it twice already so we know we can win. What can you do to help stop a revived Snoopers’ Charter?

    • Metropolitan Police were offered access to mobile users’ individual personal information

      The reports suggested that the Metropolitan Police were offered access to mobile users’ individual personal information – including web history, location and spending patterns. The claims were subsequently rejected by Ipsos MORI and mobile operator EE.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Russia Warns Obama: Monsanto
    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Protection: Is Litigation Worth the Cost?

        Anybody who has any involvement with Intellectual Property (“IP”) knows full well that protecting IP means a multi-step process. Obviously, step one is the conception of the invention, idea, trademark, trade name, or other innovation where protection might be necessary. Step two is the decision about what to do with the “new” idea, etc. in terms of the need to try for exclusivity on it –or not. Many “new” things do not need IP protection – and other “new” things may not qualify for it. If the “new” idea fits into the area where protection is desirable and it qualifies, then the next step is to seek legal protection. Of course, such protection will have a cost – whether or not the protection is sought by the inventor/conceptualizer himself/herself or itself (in the case of an organization) or assistance of counsel is required.

    • Copyrights

      • US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates!

        The hilariously named “Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property” has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that’s pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there’s a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware.

      • Vine, hip-hop and the future of video sharing: old rap songs and new copyright rules

        What does video tool Vine have in common with iconic rappers like the Beastie Boys and the Notorious BIG? More than you think. Like hip-hop, Vine is a way to sample and collect culture — and it may have to run the same legal gambit that rappers did a decade ago.

      • Hollywood Studios Want Google to Censor Dotcom’s Mega

        Two major Hollywood studios have asked Google to remove the homepage of Kim Dotcom’s Mega from its search results. Warner Bros. and NBC Universal claim that their copyrighted content is hosted on the URL and want it taken down. Dotcom is disappointed by the news and points out that constant takedown abuse is restricting access to legitimate files. “This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years,” he says in a response.

      • Commission suggests hacking and hijacking the computers of suspected IP pirates

        Should owners of intellectual property be allowed to attack anyone they suspect of pirating their goodies? That’s a question that was raised last week by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.

      • Five Undercover Police Cars Sent To Arrest Single Alleged Movie Pirate

        Police assisted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft showed up in large numbers to arrest an alleged movie pirate in the UK this week. Armed with an emergency search warrant issued out of hours by a judge, five undercover police vehicles containing detectives and FACT officers were deployed to arrest a 24-year-old said to have recorded the movie Fast and Furious 6.

      • Why Are UK Police Allowing Entertainment Industry Employees To Arrest And Interrogate People With Their Help?

        We’ve discussed in the past the oddity of how a UK anti-piracy group, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), which is a private organization set up and controlled by large entertainment industry players, being deeply involved in criminal investigations and cases against individuals. In the case against Surfthechannel, FACT was directly involved in seizing and keeping the computers involved and then in paying the police for the prosecution. Even if you can reasonably argue that they should be involved in helping with providing information for the investigation, you’d think most people would agree that that’s where the industry’s involvement should end. They shouldn’t be present on raids. They shouldn’t get to touch or keep the evidence. And they certainly shouldn’t be financing and pressing the criminal case.

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