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Links 5/8/2013: GNOME 3.9.5 , OLPC Tablet Distribution Channel Expands

Posted in News Roundup at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Mailpile: private, secure, open source, locally-run email service

    PRISM was a wake-up call for many even though it is still not really clear how extensive the spying, logging and wiretapping really is. One reasonable approach to the issue is to move away from products of large companies such as Google, Microsoft or Apple as they have been linked to PRISM. But that is not really enough, considering that other companies too may cooperate with the NSA or other agencies, or may do so when they are approached.

  • Type 1 Open Source Hypervisors and More
  • Introducing CONTRIBOOK

    I wan’t to introduce a small side project of me today that we needed for ownCloud but could be useful for other too. It’s call CONTRIBOOK and I planed to do this for many years. Lately I was sitting in planes and trains a lot so I have some time to finally do the version 1.0 It’s a tool that can be used for community building and showing community activity as we wanted to do on ownCloud.org but it’s very generic and can be used by other open source projects tool.

  • New phase of DocHive, open source tool for data extraction

    In February of this year, I reported that the Raleigh Public Record—a local, online news publication in Raleigh, NC—was in the process of creating an open source solution to extract data from PDFs. The problem many news journalists have is easily and quickly (which is very important given the nature of their job) converting data and images into a usable format from documents they use for their reports (see an example here).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Telefonica Announces Launches of First Firefox OS Devices in Latin America

        Today, Telefonica announced that the ALCATEL ONE TOUCH Fire and ZTE Open devices will go on sale in Colombia and Venezuela. Both devices are now available through Movistar stores and sales channels. Telefonica also announced that Firefox OS devices will launch in Brazil in Q4.

      • GeeksPhone Taking Pre-Orders for Firefox OS Peak+ Smartphone

        Several months after GeeksPhone developed two Firefox OS-based phones for the developer community, the Spanish smartphone startup is bringing Mozilla’s OS to consumers with the new Peak+ smartphone.

        The Peak+ is now available for pre-order and follows the April debut of the Keon and Peak developer phones, both of which sold out within hours.

      • First Firefox OS phones go on sale in South America

        South American Telefonica has announced two Firefox OS powered devices going on sale in Colombia and Venezuela. Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open are now available through Movistar stores and sales channels. Firefox OS based devices will be launched in Brazil in Q4.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.0.5 RC1 Signals the Arrival of a New Stable Version

      The Document Foundation has announced that the first Release Candidate version for LibreOffice 4.0.5 is now available for the Linux platform, bringing a lot of bug fixes and improvements.

    • Understanding designers – or at least trying to

      Part of this uncertainty or this difficulty that many Free and Open Source projects have when working with creative people, be it designers, artists or both, is that each operates and thinks along completely different line. While I could grasp that quite easily it is however necessary to understand what difference there is in how designers work and create compared to a set of more or less well defined contribution process of a software development project. My questions to the designer at La Fonderie ultimately led me to realize that the difference lies in the perception of what a contribution really is and the level of priority one gives to contribution’s formality. Let me explain.

  • CMS

    • What’s New In WordPress 3.6 “Oscar”

      The latest and greatest WordPress, version 3.6, named Oscar is released with a new blog-centric theme autosave and post locking options, native support for audio and video embeds and also improved integrations with SoundCloud, Rdio and Spotify.

    • WordPress and MathJax Integration Tutorial
    • WordPress 3.6 ‘Oscar’ released

      Great news for WordPress users. The version 3.6 aka Oscar has been released and it comes with some cool features including a beautiful new blog-centric theme, bullet-proof autosave and post locking, a revamped revision browser, native support for audio and video embeds, and improved integrations with Spotify, Rdio, and SoundCloud.

  • BSD


    • GNU Awk: This is Not Your Father’s Awk

      Awk’s features have advanced considerably in the last decade — such as the addition of a debugger and a profiler — all without removing any of the elegance or terseness of the fabled little language.

  • Project Releases

    • Csync Upstream Release 0.50.0

      Last week Andreas did an upstream release of the file synchronization software csync. Frequent readers know that csync is the sync engine that is used in the ownCloud client, so this is a very important and special release for us.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Congress posts U.S. Code in XML

        The House of Representatives has published all 51 titles of the U.S. Code in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format for download, as part of the leadership’s open government agenda. For developers and government watchdogs, it provides tools for rendering taggable, machine-readable versions of U.S. law.

        Developers are already taking advantage of the release and building tools to facilitate the searching and rendering of the code. “Putting U.S. Code into XML doesn’t revolutionize the way legislators and citizens interact with the law yet, but it could,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT Reviews Aaron Swartz, Google’s 100 Million Takedowns & More…

        There seems to be more than enough tit-for-tat to go around in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung. If we wanted to be snarky, we’d say we haven’t seen this much legal maneuvering since the last days of the Beatles and the “sue me, sue you blues.”

        Oddly, this fight puts us American FOSSers in the position of supporting the guys on foreign soil over our homegrown boys from Cupertino because Samsung is being sued and sued again over their implementation of Android, reportedly a version of Linux. Then again, maybe it’s not so odd given the fact that Apple doesn’t really make anything here. The United States is for dreaming stuff up and Asia is for actually getting things done, or so it sometimes seems.

    • Open Hardware

      • MakerPlane is an open source airplane you could build at home

        When it comes to building vehicles, cars are relatively easy. So are boats. Heck, you can even make your own model rockets without a hitch (mostly). But putting together a plane requires some real aviation design and expertise.

      • Durham tool maker ShopBot develops open-source power tools

        You’ve heard of open-source software that makes its source code freely available. Well, get ready for open-source power tools.

        ShopBot Tools, an established Durham manufacturer of computer-driven, multi-purpose industrial tools, has developed a portable, hand-held version aimed at consumers that it touts as an “open hardware platform.”

      • Intel Starts Shipping the “Best” Open Source PC to Date

        Intel started shipping their first “open-source” personal computer. According to several sources, Intel’s open source PC may be described as the best in terms of bare-bones system related to x86 devs. It also aimed to target the growing DIY market and the chip giant is well on its way in exploring what it has to offer.

  • Programming

    • Need a collaboration tool? Try email

      Collaboration is one of the key principles of the open source way and a major topic here on opensource.com. One of our goals to highlight great collaboration stories, and when we discuss collaboration, the need for the perfect collaboration tool frequently comes up. One article, Avoid the tool trap when building communities, provides some great insights (hint: people create community, not tools).

    • LLVM Clang 3.4 Enables SLP Vectorizer By Default

      As anticipated, the LLVM Clang compiler has now enabled the use of its SLP Vectorizer by default.

      LLVM developers have been anticipating turning on SLP vectorization by default and with today’s code activity they finally have turned it on when using the -O3 compiler optimization level.

    • PyPy 2.1 – Considered ARMful

      We’re pleased to announce PyPy 2.1, which targets version 2.7.3 of the Python
      language. This is the first release with official support for ARM processors in the JIT.
      This release also contains several bugfixes and performance improvements.


  • Tech Essentials: How Cory Doctorow Gets Around

    The co-editor of Boing Boing, novelist and fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation shares his tools for circumventing censorship in airports, easing back pain and sparking the curiosity of his 5-year-old daughter

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Bradley Manning and “hacker madness” scare tactic

      US Army private Bradley Manning was convicted on 19 counts, including charges under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for leaking approximately 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks.

      While it was a relief that he was not convicted of the worst charge, “aiding the enemy”, the verdict remains deeply troubling and could potentially result in a sentence of life in prison.

    • Julian Assange: Reporter discussion

      60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes discusses her time inside the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange, his take on current Australian politics and Julian’s concern for whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.

    • A Washington Riddle: What Is ‘Top Secret’?

      So how might the government deal with its classification problem? Herb Lin, a researcher at the National Academy of Sciences, believes that budgets must be used to change behavior.

  • Finance

    • Fumbling Through the Fog Around Too Big to Fail

      When Republicans invite a Democrat to testify at a congressional hearing and Democrats invite a Republican, we should pay attention. Such cross-partisan connections aren’t common and typically indicate that congressional leaders are trying to answer difficult questions. That was certainly the case recently, when the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on how to end “too big to fail.”

    • NoFlo Kickstarter, the hacker’s perspective
    • Chomsky: America’s Imperial Power Is Showing Real Signs of Decline

      On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

    • The whistleblower and the national security robber barons

      National Security Administration whistleblower Edward Snowden fits the mold too well. By coming forward to journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, Snowden creates news and commands attention from Obama Administration, Congress, European Union, trading partners and citizens across the globe.

      NSA is an out-of-control monster, Snowden contends. Top brass lie to Congress. Technocrats flout congressional authorization by conducting blanket searches when Congress okayed individual ones. Massive, intrusive surveillance of phone calls, email, web searches, Facebook accounts accompanied by secret orders of a secret court compromise and transform powerful American telecommunications network operators and Internet behemoths into spy engines.

    • Two Sentences that Explain the Crisis and How Easy it Was to Avoid

      Everyone should read and understand the implications of these two sentences from the 2011 report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC).

  • Censorship

    • Unblock Torrent Sites, Blocked Proxies, & Cameron’s Porn Filter With Immunicity

      In response to many torrent sites being blocked by ISPs in the UK, dozens of proxies sprang up to ensure that users could still enjoy access. However, ISPs responded to rightsholder requests by blocking proxy sites too. Now a new service has appeared that not only unblocks torrent sites, but also unblocks proxies. It’s called Immunicity – and it’ll crack Cameron’s porn filter too.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Groups oppose proposed change to Internet content ‘safe harbor’

      Section 230 of the law broadly protects Internet publishers and service providers from responsibility for user-generated content on their sites. But in June, a group of state attorneys general proposed a change to the law that would allow prosecution of publishers in cases where user-posted content violates state law.

    • The Corporate Strategy to Win The War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies

      Divide activists into four groups: Radicals, Idealists, Realists and Opportunists. The Opportunists are in it for themselves and can be pulled away for their own self-interest. The Realists can be convinced that transformative change is not possible and we must settle for what is possible. Idealists can be convinced they have the facts wrong and pulled to the Realist camp. Radicals, who see the system as corrupt and needing transformation, need to be isolated and discredited, using false charges to assassinate their character is a common tactic.

    • What would real democracy look like?

      As representative democracy sinks into crisis, we need to go back to democracy in its original meaning as rule of the people. What could this look like?

    • Noam Chomsky | Is Edward J. Snowden Aboard This Plane?

      On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

      Morales was flying home from a Moscow summit on July 3. In an interview there he had said he was open to offering political asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former U.S. spy-agency contractor wanted by Washington on espionage charges, who was in the Moscow airport.

    • Dotcom says Anonymous protest hack of NZ govt websites will backfire

      Hackers disabled several websites of New Zealand’s ruling party to protest a new law that would enable the country’s spy agency to snoop on its citizens. Kim Dotcom said hacking the sites only gave PM John Key “a new excuse to pass the GCSB bill”.

    • Dotcom tells National Party hackers to back off

      Government ministers and MPs are divided on whether the hacking of National Party websites is a legitimate protest or cyber crime.

      But the hackers’ actions have drawn the ire of internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

      The websites of 14 Government ministers, MPs and associated groups are out of order after being hacked by a group called “Anonymous” in protest at the GCSB legislation before Parliament.

    • Detroit Guild condemns police for photographer’s arrest, urges Free Press publisher ‘to take further action’

      The Detroit Guild on Thursday sent a letter to Police Chief James Craig denouncing Free Press photographer Mandi Wright’s arrest last week after filming an arrest with an iPhone.

      “The Guild demands that you issue a formal apology to Wright and that you take disciplinary action against the officers responsible for this illegal conduct against a photo journalist, who was just doing her job while witnessing a police arrest on a public street,” guild president Lou Mleczko wrote. He also sent a letter to Free Press publisher Paul Anger urging the organization “to take further action directed at the Detroit Police Department.”

    • Senators spar over definition of ‘journalist’ in seeking to protect them

      The Senate Judiciary Committee, looking to provide protections for journalists and their sources, ran into a roadblock Thursday when lawmakers couldn’t agree on the definition of “journalist.”

      Under the legislation, journalists wouldn’t have to comply with subpoenas or court orders forcing them to reveal sources or confidential information unless a judge first determines there’s reason to think that a crime has occurred and government officials have exhausted all other alternatives.

    • Spalding, Heritage: Wrong on Nullification. Again.

      But despite the impressive sounding title, Spalding doesn’t know squat about nullification, as he’s demonstrated time and again in his confused but emphatic dissertations on the subject.

    • Where are the modern day Sons of Liberty?

      But the situation is far more serious than what we thought. Yes, our Constitution is and has been under attack. And yes, the relationship between the individual and the government has been fundamentally altered. But the document that perhaps may be even more significant to us as Americans, the Declaration of Independence, is also under attack. The attack, if we want to be intellectually honest, started with the man the government touts as the greatest American president Abraham Lincoln.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google: We can ban servers on Fiber without violating net neutrality

      Tucked away in Google Fiber’s terms of service is one clause that might annoy some technically inclined users. “Unless you have a written agreement with Google Fiber permitting you to do so, you should not host any type of server using your Google Fiber connection,” Google tells subscribers to its Gigabit Internet service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Six Pro-Viacom Amicus Briefs Filed in the 2nd Appeal in Viacom v. YouTube – Yup. Hollywood Still Wants to Control the Internet

        There aren’t as many amicus briefs in this second Viacom appeal as there were in the first, less than half, but there are six die-hards supporting Viacom’s second appeal who have just filed their amicus briefs in Viacom v. YouTube-Google. They don’t understand the Internet. They hate the DMCA’s Safe Harbor provision, and they have learned absolutely nothing from history or from the rulings in this case so far.

      • Viacom Demands New Judge in YouTube Copyright Fight

        After swinging and missing twice, Viacom is telling an appeals court it needs an umpire who isn’t blind to YouTube’s alleged copyright infringement.

      • MPAA Recruits ‘Internet Analyst’ to Spy on Social Networks and Forums

        In its ongoing war against online piracy, the MPAA is currently recruiting new soldiers. One of the open positions that caught our eye recently is that of an “Internet Analyst,” tasked with manipulating media files and monitoring social networks, communities and forums. For those still in school the MPAA also has a job opening for an unpaid summer intern to assist with various “content protection” projects.

      • The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish

        A book published during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan.

        Last year I wrote about some very interesting research being done by Paul J. Heald at the University of Illinois, based on software that crawled Amazon for a random selection of books. At the time, his results were only preliminary, but they were nevertheless startling: There were as many books available from the 1910s as there were from the 2000s. The number of books from the 1850s was double the number available from the 1950s. Why? Copyright protections (which cover titles published in 1923 and after) had squashed the market for books from the middle of the 20th century, keeping those titles off shelves and out of the hands of the reading public.

      • U.S. Department of Commerce Produces Comprehensive Analysis Addressing Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

        The U.S. Department of Commerce today released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be updated; ensuring that copyright can be meaningfully enforced on the Internet; and furthering the development of an efficient online marketplace.

      • Why Do All Hollywood Movies Lose Money?

        A 2010 Planet Money podcast with “Hollywood economist” Edward Epstein explains how it’s done. For each new film, a movie “is set up as its own corporation, the entire point of which is to lose money” by paying fees to the studio producing the movie. So if Superhero Studios decides to film Spider-Man 10, they create a shell company, Spider-Man 10 Incorporated. Superhero Studios then overcharges Spider-Man 10 Inc for every aspect of making, marketing, and distributing the movie. By the time Superhero Studios finishes paying itself (through Spider-Man 10 Inc) to perform work that costs $100 million, Spider-Man 10 Inc will be on the hook for one billion dollars.

      • Congress Weighs Balance of IP Freedoms and Protections

        Companies involved in open-source code, crowdsourcing, and fair use of intellectual property on Thursday delivered a strong message to U.S. lawmakers reviewing IP laws: Don’t forget about our businesses.

      • Congress Weighs Balance of IP Freedoms and Protections

        Companies involved in open-source code, crowdsourcing, and fair use of intellectual property on Thursday delivered a strong message to U.S. lawmakers reviewing IP laws: Don’t forget about our businesses.

      • US federal agencies want NSA data to help nab copyright violators

        The primary defense of the necessity of the US National Security Agency’s broad spying powers—including, apparently, recording pretty much everything anyone anywhere is doing on the internet—is that its activities are necessary to protect against terrorists and violent criminals. But a report published Saturday in the New York Times indicates that federal agencies with far more mundane mandates are unable to resist the lure of the NSA’s vast trove of data.

      • A Tipping Point Against The Copyright Monopoly Regime Is A Lot Closer Than You Think

        When I founded the Swedish Pirate Party and decided to change the political landscape of the copyright monopoly, I frequently told reporters that the plan was to change Sweden, Europe, and the world – in that order. They usually backed away wondering whether I was serious, so I laid out the plan for them.

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