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Links 19/5/2014: Ubuntu in HPC, New Linux Foundation Members

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • AdBlock Plus: A Memory Guzzler?

        If you ask users of the Firefox browser why they use it, a lot of them will say that they have favorite extensions that work with it. And, among those popular extensions, AdBlock Plus is among the most popular of all. However, a post from Mozilla’s Nicholas Nethercote claims that the almost 19 million users of AdBlock Plus don’t realize that bugs and some design aspects of the extension can cause it to guzzle memory, potentially slowing computers down.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • Preview of GhostBSD 4.0

      GhostBSD is a desktop distribution that’s based on FreeBSD. The core developers are from Canada, so I think it ok to call it a Canadian distribution. The only article I’ve written about this distribution was a review of GhostBSD 2.5 back in February 2012 (see GhostBSD 2.5 review). I wasn’t impressed.

      But that was then, this is now. The third alpha of what will become GhostBSD 4.0 was released a few days ago. To see how far the distribution has come since the 2.5 edition, I downloaded and installed it from a DVD image in a virtual environment. I’m still not terribly impressed, though I realize the this is only a third alpha release. The following screenshots were taken from that test installation.

      This is what the boot menu looks like. This needs to change. Even PC-BSD, another FreeBSD-based distribution, has abandoned this bland boot menu.


    • 50 key MIT-related innovations

      23. The free software movement (1983)

      Early AI Lab programmer Richard Stallman was a major pioneer in hacker culture and started the freesoftware movement by launching the GNU operating system, a compatible replacement for the (nonfree) Unix OS. The last gap in GNU was filled by the kernel Linux, yielding the widely used GNU/Linux system.

    • Terry Hancock on Free Software and Free Culture [Interview]

      Advocates of Free Software aren’t made in a single night. When it comes to computers, software, and digital art, inspiration and motivation are of utmost importance. Terry Hancock, part owner of Anansi Spaceworks and Free Software Magazine columnist, was surrounded by all three growing up.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source code helps governments share information with citizens

      Before open data, there was FOIA. Beginning in 1967, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowered the public to request access to government documents. Unfortunately, some branches of government quickly began to push back, and within the decade the infamous phrase “can neither confirm nor deny” had been devised to avoid releasing information.

      This came to exemplify the adversarial relationship between the public and government. Yet public records requests (also known as FOIL, Right-to-Know, public information or open records requests, depending on where you are) remain a fundamental way in which the public is able to obtain information from government agencies under FOIA-like laws in all fifty states.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Hackerlands: the rural version of urban hackerspaces

      They open up areas struck by digital exclusion. They develop autonomous Internet networks in mountainous areas, install organic solar panels, and let local Internet radio emerge. They can even transform abandoned water troughs into eco-jacuzzis. “Hackerspaces,” user-friendly spaces where technological tools are crafted, are spreading throughout the rural environment.

    • Open Data

      • Exploring the legal issues around open data and open hardware

        Drafting and using open licenses for data and hardware presents both familiar old challenges (like license proliferation) and new challenges (like less developed legal frameworks and different production models). About thirty people working in these areas recently gathered (under the umbrella of the FSF-E’s “European Legal Network”) to discuss the latest work in these areas under the Chatham House Rules. This article will summarize what the group learned, and, I hope, stimulate discussion to improve the state of licensing in those areas.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • effects analysis in guile

      OK kids, so I had a bit of time recently. I’ve been hacking on Guile’s new CPS-based compiler, which should appear in a stable release in a few months. I have a few things to write about, but today’s article is on effects analysis.


  • What the heck is Fog Computing?

    While many are still trying to figure out Cloud Computing, here comes a rival concept – Fog Computing. It’s computing that takes place at the edge of the network, closer to home. That is, computing that takes place on the devices that are nearest to you – your smartphone and other connected devices that are around you. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT), or Internet of Everything (IoE).

    Fog Computing is not a new concept. Like Cloud Computing, it’s just a marketing buzzword for something that’s already taking place.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Exposures by VA whistleblowers shake agency, reveal serious patient issues

      That’s one of the messages from a Senate hearing Thursday into a VA health-care system under fire on multiple fronts — from repeated complaints about long waits for service to unnecessary deaths.

      Yet even the American Legion, which has called for VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki’s resignation, finds “veterans are extremely satisfied with their health-care team and medical providers,” according to the Legion’s national commander, Daniel M. Dellinger.

    • I Went to the Nutritionists’ Annual Confab. It Was Catered by McDonald’s.

      One recent Friday afternoon, in a Mariott Hotel ballroom in Pomona, California, I watched two women skeptically evaluate their McDonald’s lunches. One peered into a plastic bowl containing a salad of lettuce, bacon, chicken, cheese, and ranch dressing. The other arranged two chocolate chip cookies and a yogurt parfait on a napkin. “Eww,” she said, gingerly stirring the layers of yogurt and pink strawberry goop. The woman with the salad nodded in agreement, poking at a wan chicken strip with her plastic fork.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Honest US Senator Wanted

      Looking for an honest US Senator my be a long shot, but we need one now to take forward the foiling of the British government’s attempts to block publication of the Senate report into torture and extraordinary rendition. Now we have got this into the mainstream media, it may have more traction. I am delighted that the Belhadj legal team have formally adopted the information that the UK is seeking to block release of key information in this report. Given that the Crown’s defence in the Belhadj case rests entirely on the argument that the USA does not want the facts revealed, that the Crown is then lobbying the USA to hide the same facts ought to be too much even for the most abject establishment lickspittle of a judge to stomach.

    • European day of action: Citizens call on MEPs to protect digital rights

      Today, a coalition of 36 civil rights organisations invites European citizens to take part in a day of action to make sure that the next European Parliament defends digital civil and human rights. Through WePromise.eu, people can pledge to vote for candidates who have signed up to protect digital rights.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why the U.K. might kill the EU’s net neutrality law

      While the debate over net neutrality continues to rage in the United States, the British government is planning to block European Union legislation on the matter.

      It’s a surprising turn of events. Just last month, the European Parliament voted to place the principles of net neutrality into law. However, before it becomes law throughout Europe, each member country must also pass the legislation. On Thursday, the British government indicated it may veto it instead.

      At issue is a new provision that critics argue would restrict the British government’s “ability to block illegal material.” The amendment made it so that only a court order would allow for the banning of content, and not a legislative provision, as originally proposed, according to RT.

    • NY Times And Washington Post Describe Yesterday’s Net Neutrality Vote In Diametrically Opposite Ways

      As we noted, yesterday’s FCC vote concerning the NPRM on “open internet” rules was really just the start of the process. A lot of people seem confused by this — and part of the problem is really the FCC. Tom Wheeler keeps insisting that the rules are designed to protect net neutrality and the open internet, but as lots of people keep pointing out, the rulemaking he’s proposing would likely do the opposite. Because of that, you get a ton of confusion, perhaps best shown by a simple comparison, put together by Drew Oden on Twitter of the summary from both the NY Times and the Washington Post about what happened:

    • Hollywood Is Still On The Wrong Side Of Net Neutrality

      But, tragically, the powers that be among the legacy entertainment industry still seem to view net neutrality as a problem, not an important part of their future. It appears this is a combination of a few factors, led by their continued and irrational fear of “piracy.” Because of this, they seem to think that any sort of “open” internet is a problem. In fact, back in 2007, the MPAA specifically argued that net neutrality would harm its anti-piracy efforts. Similarly, both the RIAA and MPAA have lobbied strongly in the past for special loopholes and exceptions to any net neutrality rules that would allow ISPs to block content the legacy guys don’t like. In fact, one of the most famous net neutrality violations involved Comcast throttling BitTorrent connections. The Songwriters Guild of America once claimed that net neutrality would mean an end to songwriting.

    • Who’s against Net neutrality? Follow the money

      The cable industry has not been shy about handing out campaign donations to Congress. So guess who’s sending letters to the FCC arguing against Net neutrality?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Urges Lawmakers to Protect Young Pirates From Cyber Threats

        The MPAA is urging lawmakers to protect young Americans from the “numerous hazards on pirate sites.” The movie industry group believes that young people may not be aware of the risks they face when visiting these sites and hopes that Senators will be able to address this cyber threat appropriately.

      • The Connection Between The Copyright Industry And The NSA

        There is a direct connection between copyright monopoly enforcement and mass surveillance, and between mass surveillance and lack of free speech. If you want to keep free speech, the copyright monopoly must be reduced sharply.

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