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Links 24/7/2013: OLPC in Rwanda, $4,165,421 Raised for Ubuntu Edge

Posted in News Roundup at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The increasing value of community management

    “Every year, the art and science of community management is becoming more predictable,” said Jono Bacon, the Community Leadership Summit lead organizer. It’s becoming a renaissance, and over the last few years the practice is starting to be written down and documented. It’s evolving.

  • First Australian open source geospatial laboratory

    The University of Melbourne will be home to Australia’s first open source geospatial laboratory, which will support urban research and educational excellence through the use of geospatial data and tools.

  • 7 Huge Benefits of Free Open Source Software
  • Fusion-io Accelerates Flash Apps With Open Source Contributions

    At the O’Reilly OSCON 2013 this week in Portland, Oregon, Fusion-io made the announcement that its Atomic Writes API contributed for standardization to the T10 SCSCI Storage Interfaces Technical Committee is now in use in mainstream MySQL databases MariaDB 5.5.31 and Percona Server 5.5.31.

  • MulticoreWare releases its x265 project into the open source universe
  • x265: Open-Source H.265/HEVC Video Encoder
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Works on Draft for Web Literacy Standard

        Back in March, Mozilla announced Open Badges 1.0, which it billed as “an exciting new online standard to recognize and verify learning.” Immediately, the program picked up some enthusiastic backing from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and then, the folks behind Blackboard’s free, hosted CourseSites platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs) backed Open Badges.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Sync Progress Display

      here is something new and eye candy in the ownCloud Client, so let me show a bit of what we have worked on recently.

      Many users of the ownCloud Client were asking for sync progress information, in fact there was none at all until today which is a bit boring. The reason why we hadn’t it was simply that csync, which is the file synchronizer engine we use, did not have an API to hand over progress information of an actual up- or download to higher levels of the application.

      We implemented two callbacks in csync: One that informs about start, end and progress of an up- or download of an individual file. Another one processes the overall progress of the currently running sync run, indicating for example that eight files have to be processed, current is file number four, and x of the overall sum y bytes have been processed already.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice 4.0 Has A New Sidebar
    • Apache OpenOffice Extensions New Site Goes Live!

      In parallel with the launch of the new Apache OpenOffice 4.0 release SourceForge has released the new Apache OpenOffice Extensions website.

    • OpenOffice 4.0 arrives

      It may be trailing LibreOffice, but OpenOffice is still alive and kicking — now with better Microsoft Office Open XML support.

    • LibreOffice 4.1 Approacheth

      As Apache announced the release of OpenOffice 4.0 with handy sidebar, The Document Foundation was busy sweeping up the last bug reports for the upcoming LibreOffice 4.1 release. In a post to The Document Foundation blog, Italo Vignoli, founder and board member, acknowledged the contributions made by OpenOffice developers while taking stock of the achievements of the LibreOffice project the last couple of years.

    • Getting Close to LibreOffice 4.1

      I still remember the second I pushed the “send” button of the very first TDF press release, on September 28, 2010. A simple gesture, and a giant leap forward for the free office suite ecosystem.

      On that day, though, the feeling was completely different.

    • Apache OpenOffice now comes with a handy sidebar

      In its first major revision in more than a year, the Apache OpenOffice suite now comes with a sidebar, from which users can launch their favorite tools.

    • Apache launches major revision of OpenOffice suite

      OpenOffice 4.0 comes with a handy sidebar that beats the feature overload issue by devoting room on the side of documents for feature controls

  • CMS

    • Enhancing Drupal’s Reputation As A World-Class, Open-Source ECommerce Platform Through PCI Compliance

      In a rapidly growing eCommerce industry, many agencies are finding it difficult to keep up with ever-changing standards and regulations, but a newly released white paper on Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance will provide the Drupal community with insight into this essential process. Written and reviewed by experts in the Drupal community, the white paper provides a high-level overview and well-defined next steps to protect businesses accepting credit card payments.

  • Funding

    • In-Q-Tel Backs Open Source Mapping Company

      In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence community, has signed a new technology development agreement with OpenGeo, which develops open source geospatial software.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.68 is smoky!
    • [ANNOUNCE] systemd 206

      After introducing all those new concepts in 205 this release fixes a few issues in that new code, and adds pretty much all missing documentation for it. Also, lots of bits and pieces that waited to be merged got merged, so we have some new features as well.


  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) Acquires HopSpot, Cuts Off Windows Phone Users

    Popular public transit navigation app HopSpot dropped support for Windows Phone users this weekend, just a few days after it was acquired by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), reports Daniel Eran Dilger of Apple Insider. The app helps people find the most convenient routes using public transportation information for over 300 major cities.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Measles is back. It had help

      The modern anti-vaccination scare began in the late 1990s, when a British physician named Andrew Wakefield began warning people that the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) causes autism in children. Medical experts refuted his claims, but parents panicked. Vaccination rates in Britain sank from 92 per cent to 73 per cent. Dr. Wakefield’s research has since been widely condemned as a giant fraud, and many of the current crop of measles victims were never vaccinated because of him.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Bolivian Magazine Denounces US Interference

      US interference in the Bolivian internal affairs and the plans to destabilize the Government of President Evo Morales by agencies of that country were revealed here by the weekly magazine La Epoca.

      A three-page report of the mentioned magazine denounces that three US entities and a European ultra-right party are channelling ideas and resources to support the Bolivian opposition.

    • CIA Blocked Security Team Departure During Benghazi Attack

      The CIA “repeatedly blocked” the departure of a security team that was ready “within minutes” to respond to the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.)

      Wolf revealed on the House floor on Monday that “trusted sources have confirmed” to his office “that the security team was ready to respond within minutes after receiving the initial call for help, but the CIA repeatedly blocked their departure for more than 30 minutes.”

    • CIA scales down Afghanistan operations amid troop pullout

      The CIA is seeking to reduce the number of its Afghanistan bases of operation from a dozen to as few as six over two years, going with the overall American withdrawal. But even after 2014 it will maintain a significant footprint.

      The manpower and equipment will be relocated from Afghanistan to other destinations, particularly Yemen and North Africa, places where Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are presented, reports The Washington Post. CIA operatives would also be needed for operations not involving anti-insurgency, like the planned supplying of weapons to the Syrian armed opposition.

    • Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging CIA Covered Up Murder Of Frank Olson

      A federal judge ruled last week that it’s too late for the family of deceased CIA bioweapons expert Dr. Frank Olson to sue the CIA for his death.

      [...] CIA admitted to spiking his drink as part of the controversial MK-ULTRA program…

    • Americans arming for drone hunt

      Riflemen and the US government are taking aim at each other over surveillance drones. Given the expansion and intensification of government surveillance in recent years, this altercation should not come as a surprise. The Federal Aviation Administration warned on Friday that attempting to shoot down drones is punishable by fine and/or prosecution. The warning was a response to a ordinance under consideration in the small Colorado community of Deer Trail, which would distribute drone hunting permits to encourage defense of the town against unwarranted surveillance. The permits would be applicable to any drone incursion (belonging to the US government, a corporation, terrorists, or anyone else) into the sovereign airspace of the town, defined as reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_24/Americans-arming-for-drone-hunt-3106/

    • US drone strikes in Yemen cast a long shadow over life on the ground

      Tiny, bright-red flashes twinkle in the night sky over Obeiraq, accompanied by a short, sharp detonation then a heavy thud. It shakes the houses and their windows. Smoke rises from the valley below. It makes the women “sick” and they stay indoors, but the menfolk strut around in the streets, flaunting their indifference to the unmanned aircraft. “We’re not afraid of drones,” they say.

    • Pakistan Withdraws Bid for Drones over ‘Legal Implications’

      U.S. drone attacks on in North-East Pakistan, south of the Afghan border, are one of the sour points between Islamabad and Washington. According to the Pakistan’s Tribune Express, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently withdrew a planned request for the transfer of US drone technology to Pakistan. The reason behind this turn was ‘legal implications’, of drone attacks aginst tribal areas in North-east Pakistan.

    • US produced so many drones it will spy on friends and foes alike

      Manufacturers in the US have produced so many drones that now the US government is in search of a place to use all these products, cofounder of globalexchange.org and author Medea Benjamin told RT.

    • DARPA Is Building a Submarine Mothership to Launch Drones From the Sea

      Drones are nuts. After all, they’re robotic war machines that kill on command. But the mad scientists at DARPA are working on something that’s even more nuts: a submarine that can carry an assortment of drones around the sea and launch them into the air. That’s nuts.

    • Germans Play for Time in the Debate on Drones

      “There is a knee-jerk reaction to armed drones in Germany. Germans are against the use of force.”

    • ‘Dronestagram’ filters satellite photos of US drone strikes for your social feeds

      Dronestagram is the latest project from renowned “new aesthetic” pioneer James Bridle, an Instagram feed which posts satellite images corresponding to US drone strikes in the Middle-East and Asia. Much like Josh Begley’s Drones+, the Apple-banned smartphone app which sends alerts whenever drone strikes are reported, Bridle says Dronestagram is a way of “making these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real.”

  • Finance/Plutocrats

    • The babies we don’t care about today

      Of all future subjects of our new infant overlord, none are more scapegoated than teenage single mums. Let’s not forget about them and their children today.

    • The Royal Birth frenzy is a sign of our lack of community, story and self-worth

      Yesterday our frenzied response to Kate Middleton — dubbed “brilliant” for giving birth to a boy — has exposed just how dissatisfied we are with our personal life stories.

      It is not entirely unfathomable that many people would feel a sense of excitement that Kate Middleton has given birth to the third heir to the throne. After all, as social storytelling beings we make meaning of the world, create relationships and derive inspiration from the lives of others. In addition to being perfectly normal — it is healthy and a part of our collective history. Since the beginnings of humankind we’ve sataround fires in the middle of forests, in caves, atop mountains, and at the mouth of rivers sharing stories of great individuals — mostly male monarchs, warriors and magicians — on epic journeys. These stories created wander, helped to explain a mystifying world and engendered a sense of possibility. However, our current preoccupation with the life stories of others — especially rich and famous others like Kate Middleton — has become a social phenomenon.

    • Detroit’s decline is a distinctively capitalist failure

      The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism’s ability to generate and sustain a large “middle class”, one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern “American Dream”.


      When those capitalists’ decisions condemn Detroit to 40 years of disastrous decline, what kind of society relieves those capitalists of any responsibility to help rebuild that city?

      The simple answer to these questions: no genuinely democratic economy could or would work that way.

    • Breaking the Set: Bailing Out Detroit
    • Proprietary credit score model now embedded in law

      I’ve blogged before about how I find it outrageous that the credit scoring models are proprietary, considering the impact they have on so many lives.

      The argument given for keeping them secret is that otherwise people would game the models, but that really doesn’t make sense.

      After all, the models that the big banks have to deal with through regulation aren’t secret, and they game those models all the time. It’s one of the main functions of the banks, in fact, to figure out how to game the models. So either we don’t mind gaming or we don’t hold up our banks to the same standards as our citizens.

    • SEC Confirms That Bitcoin Savings & Trust Was A Ponzi Scheme; Files Lawsuit

      A little less than a year ago, an operation called the Bitcoin Savings & Trust (an updated name from what had been the “First Pirate Savings & Trust”) shut down suddenly, right after there was growing evidence that it was a pyramid scheme — or, as some called it, the Bernie Madoff of Bitcoin. The “deal” promised an insane 7% interest weekly. If you know even the slightest thing about compound interest (or can use a calculator for a few rounds), you’d recognize that’s insane and obviously unsustainable in any real world situation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

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