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11.04.12

Links 4/11/2012: KDE Brazil, Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 12:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Help Wanted: KhanDesktop, TrafficSqueezer, Extreme Tux Racer, MathBench
  • CoreBreach now open source!
  • TLWIR 48: Revealing the Hidden Biases Against Free Software

    The problem is that people often take what writers say as fact without realizing that there is a lot of intentional disinformation being used to gain a certain objective. Sometimes the author is not spreading disinformation, but putting information in the wrong context to get the desired result. In the old days, news used to be disseminated by journalists who were trained to at least look objective. Now, any skillful writer has to power to inform or misinform people.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice: A Continuing Tale of FOSS Success
    • LibreOffice’s Dubious Claims: Part 2, Community Size

      In a previous post I looked at how LibreOffice inflates its user and download stats, claiming to have far more users than it actually has. Several journalists took these claims at face value and repeated them in their articles, never questioning whether LibreOffice representatives were peddling anything other than the plain, honest truth. No one seemed to noticed that the claims did not pass the” sniff test”. No one investigated more deeply. Until now. I hope that after reading these posts that you, gentle reader, will exercise your brain the next time you read a press release or blog post from LibreOffice, and try harder to separate fact from fiction. It will not be easy.

  • Funding

    • Maia shows early success on UK Kickstarter

      Maia is a colony management simulator for Windows, Mac, and Linux from indie developer Simon Roth. Launched on Kickstarter the day the service became open to projects based in the UK – October 31st – the game has already received £26,721 over 1,500 pledges at the time of writing. With a goal of £100,042 to be pledged by November 28th, that means the game is already 27% funded.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 3.2.1 Battles Against Linux For Speed

      DragonFlyBSD 3.2 brings kernel scheduler improvements, updates to the GCC compiler, and a port of the FreeBSD USB stack. It’s the kernel work though that’s interesting since in multi-threaded benchmarks it has been shown to do much better than DragonFlyBSD 3.0 and to compete with Scientific Linux 6.2.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • RaspberryPi Secure VoIP access points with GNU SIP Witch

      I have recently been working on RaspberryPi GNU sipwitch servers. I actually have two things in mind for this. The first is a simple and complete stand-alone secure free software voip “switch” anyone could deploy and use, much like a FreedomBox for VoIP, as a kind of wallwort with ethernet you can plug into any router. A low cost and general purpose secure VoIP server does I think have appeal, and producing complete pre-configured and assembled servers would certainly be more interesting than selling project t-shirts. The second idea is a sipwitch VoIP public wifi access point to enable anonymous secure calling, like pictured here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source blueprints for a modern off-the-grid civilization

      Marcin Jakubowski dreams of living off the grid. Over the past few years, he’s been working on a set of 50 machines he believes necessary to found and sustain an independent, modern community. He wants to “take everything that civilization has learned to date” and use it create a blueprint for a “Global Village Construction Set” that others can use to follow in his footsteps. His Factor e Farm has already developed and built a tractor, brick press, table saw, and bread oven, as well as many other machines. The farm hopes to have the complete set of 50 ready in 2015.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • The AuroraUX Operating System Is Dead

    While figuring out what niche operating systems to benchmark on Phoronix next, I realized the AuroraUX operating system project quietly disappeared.

  • Dark Money Rises

    About a week before election day, a young girl, maybe 10 years old, confronted Colorado House candidate Sal Pace in a pew at his Pueblo church. “She said, ‘Is it true that you want to cut my grandmother’s Medicare?’” Pace remembers.

  • Election 2012: They Will Steal It!

    Back in 2000, Republican election officials in Florida led by then-Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris kicked nearly 60,000 mostly African American voters off the rolls just ahead of the election.

    They said that these people – who comprised 3% of the entire African American electorate in Florida – had been convicted of felonies and were thus ineligible to vote.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Romney Campaign Incorrectly Trains Iowa Poll Watchers To Check For Photo ID

    Earlier this week, ThinkProgress released internal documents from the Romney campaign detailing how it is training poll watchers to mislead voters in Wisconsin. Now, according to new documents, Wisconsin may not be the only state where Romney’s campaign is equipping volunteers with deceptive information.

  • Be an Expert Voter

    With Election Day on the horizon, most voters have settled on their choice for the oval office. But let’s not forget about the all the other choices on the ballot, many of which will have a great affect on the lives and livelihoods of Americans — Congressional and State representatives, local officials, and referenda.

  • Google targets confused Windows 8 users with new ad

    The just-launched Windows 8 has been nothing short of polarizing, in both the online community and users at large. But we can all agree it’s new, and a little bit confusing. Google wants to help — help you get your old Google back, anyway.

  • Review: Microsoft’s Surface RT will make even a fanboy cry

    After using a Surface tablet, it became crystal clear that the Surface is really an Office appliance, not a tablet à la the iPad. But it’s not a very good Office appliance. One reason is that the hardware doesn’t work well for Office, even with the bundled keyboard cover, because the Office apps are nearly unusable with the touchscreen and just so-so with the keyboard’s trackpad. You’ll want a laptop’s superior input hardware if you do a lot of Office work. Even then, you’ll suffer from the poor Windows touch environment, where text selection is difficult, gestures are limited, and the heavy reliance on menus is interruptive.

  • Security

    • Facebook flaw allowed access to accounts without authentication
    • A Day In Court? Maybe Not In America

      Over the last decade, judges have repeatedly told torture victims that they don’t have the right to a day in court when they seek compensation. Even when victims have substantial publicly available evidence to support their claims, our government and its private contractors have remained above the law.

      Under most circumstances, these plaintiffs would have their day in court. Our constitutional and civil rights demand that. But when it comes to national security, the Bush and Obama administrations asked courts to toss these cases, even before plaintiffs have a chance to share their side of the story, invoking the state secrets privilege and other procedural hurdles.

    • For sale: Windows 8 zero-day vulnerability

      Vupen occupies a gray area of computer security research, selling vulnerabilities to vetted parties in governments and companies but not sharing the details with affected software vendors. The company advocates that its information helps organisations defend themselves from hackers, and in some cases, play offense as well.

    • Judge Orders DOJ to Justify Secrecy of Watergate-era Wiretaps

      A federal judge in Washington today ordered the U.S. Justice Department to justify the continued need for secrecy over certain Watergate-era wiretap and grand jury records that remain sealed in a high-profile criminal prosecution.

      Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia told the government to send him copies of documents placed under seal in the criminal case against G. Gordon Liddy, charged in connection with the burglary at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The sealed records include grand jury information and “documents reflecting the content of illegally obtained wiretaps.”

    • Feds Ordered to Disclose Data About Wiretap Backdoors

      The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco concerns the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. Passed in 1994, the law initially ordered phone companies to make their systems conform to a wiretap standard for real-time surveillance. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2005 to apply to broadband providers like ISPs and colleges, but services like Google Talk, Skype or Facebook and encrypted enterprise Blackberry communications are not covered.

    • Megaupload and the Government’s Attack on Cloud Computing

      Yesterday, EFF, on behalf of its client Kyle Goodwin, filed a brief proposing a process for the Court in the Megaupload case to hold the government accountable for the actions it took (and failed to take) when it shut down Megaupload’s service and denied third parties like Mr. Goodwin access to their property. The government also filed a brief of its own, calling for a long, drawn-out process that would require third parties—often individuals or small companies—to travel to courts far away and engage in multiple hearings, just to get their own property back.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Leaks

    • Team GhostShell leaks 2.5M records from Russian govt, firms

      eam GhostShell, the hacker group responsible for the recent leak of some 120,000+ records raided from top universities around the world, has done it again.

      “GhostShell is declaring war on Russia’s cyberspace, in ‘Project BlackStar’. The project is aimed at the Russian Government. We’ll start off with a nice greeting of 2.5 million accounts/records leaked, from governmental, educational, academical, political, law enforcement, telecom, research institutes, medical facilities, large corporations (both national and international branches) in such fields as energy, petroleum, banks, dealerships and many more,” the wrote in the statement accompanying the leak.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • James Hansen: ‘Neither Party Wants To Offend The Fossil Fuel Industry’

      There’s been a noticeable shift in the way that prominent figures talk about how to deal with climate change. Many advocates have shifted from a more accommodating “let’s all join together and develop clean energy” message to directly targeting the fossil fuel industry as a villain. This effort, embodied in 350.org’s “Do the Math” tour, has become a central piece of messaging in the environmental community.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Kuwait: Charges against Musallam al-Barrak must be dropped

      The Kuwaiti authorities must drop charges against Musallam al-Barrak, who faces prosecution purely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression with remarks he made that have been deemed to undermine the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amnesty International said.

    • Netizen freed for lack of evidence in lèse-majesté case

      A Bangkok court acquitted the netizen Surapak Phuchaisaeng two days ago of charges of insulting the king (lèse-majesté), for which he had been remanded in custody since September last year.

      Reporters Without Borders is satisfied with the outcome of this case. “This case, involving a year in custody, underlines the failings of the Thai judicial system, particularly concerning allegations of lèse-majesté,” the press freedom organization said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Election predictions: The candidate in favor of GMOs, bankster bailouts and corporate domination will win!
    • Copyrights

      • Government: “Innocent” Megaupload user uploaded pirated music

        When the Electronic Frontier Foundation wanted to vindicate the rights of Megaupload users who used the locker site for non-infringing purposes, they put forward Kyle Goodwin. The Ohio videographer used Megaupload as a backup service, but he lost commercially valuable footage thanks to the unlucky combination of the government’s January raid and a personal hard drive crash. Since May, he has been seeking the return of his files.

      • Publishers Ordered to Pay $3 Million in GSU Copyright Case

        Not only did publishers not get the injunctive relief they sought in a closely watched case over e-reserves, last week they paid the tab. In a final order in the Georgia State E-reserves case, Cambridge University Press vs. Patton, Judge Orinda Evans directed the publisher plaintiffs to pay the defendants nearly $3 million in legal fees and costs, including $2,861,348.71 in attorneys’ fees and $85,746.39 in other court costs. And, last week, on October 26, records show that the publishers deposited more than $3.2 million into the Commercial Registry of the Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The money, however, isn’t gone yet—publishers have appealed the case, and the money will stay in escrow under a stay order until the appeal is settled.

11.03.12

Links 3/11/2012: Fedora as Rolling-Release Distribution Amid Delays?

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Progressives: Defeat Romney/Ryan in Swing States

    I agree with nearly everything Jill Stein of the Greens and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party say: except when they say “vote for me” in swing states.

  • Privatization of Public Services and Natural Resources

    The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.

  • Can You Take Fact Checking Too Far?
  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya mission was CIA operation: report

      THE US mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on September 11 was mainly a secret CIA operation, the Wall Street Journal reports, shedding new light on the deadly assault.

    • On the run with Murdoch’s pirates

      What happens when one of the biggest media groups in the world sets up its own private security force? What happens when part of this operation goes rogue? Fairfax reporter Neil Chenoweth’s new book, Murdoch’s Pirates, investigates News Corporation’s links to worldwide piracy. Here is an extract from the book.

    • Spy Stories From The Murdoch Empire: News Corp Fights With Itself In Grand Game Of Espionage

      The story is complex, but I’ll attempt to summarize. In the late 90s, NDS (the branch of News Corp that deals with private security and anti-piracy activities) sent top hacker Oliver Kömmerling undercover to Toronto, under the pseudonym Alex, with a mission: pose as a satellite pirate and infiltrate the rings selling hacked DirecTV smartcards. Oliver was also one of the hackers directly involved in the hacking of competitors’ smart cards, but in this case he was being put to work defending News Corp’s own satellite operation. But NDS made one big mistake: they never told DirecTV, which had its own security/anti-hacking division led by a former FBI agent, and they believed Oliver was still a bonafide satellite pirate at large. They had no idea he was now working for NDS—and one of the Canadian hackers Oliver met with turned out to be working for DirecTV, and ratted him out to them. Moreover, no matter NDS or Oliver’s intentions, he was breaking the law by hacking and selling smart cards to track down the “real” hackers—so he ended up facing potential arrest or detainment at the border.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hurricane Sandy Endorses Obama: Storm Provides a Counter-Narrative to the Hundreds of Millions in Fossil Fuel Campaign Contributions

      The fossil fuel industry has paid a hefty price for the privilege of framing the political discourse about America’s energy future. Hundreds of millions have flowed into campaign coffers from energy companies attempting to purchase complete freedom to drill, frack, and burn. Huge “dark money” groups, the Koch’s, Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, join dozens of oil and gas industry associations in pouring money into television ad campaigns demanding “energy independence,” while trashing wind and solar.

  • Finance

    • Effective Economic Policies Neither Candidate Advocates

      Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama even mentions six alternative economic policies that, deployed together, would reduce unemployment, increase workers’ real earnings and decrease the federal deficit.

    • World Bank’s Anti-Labor Analysis Is a Dirty Business
    • Greek editor Kostas Vaxevanis acquitted over Swiss bank list

      Kostas Vaxevanis hates being the centre of attention. On Thursday moments before taking the stand in one of the most sensational trials to grip Greece in modern times, the journalist said he was not in the business of making news. “My job is simply to tell the news and tell it straight,” he averred. “My job is to tell the truth.”

      Truth in the case of Vaxevanis has been a rollercoaster that has catapulted the 46-year-old from relative obscurity to global stardom in a matter of days. But , after a hearing that lasted almost 12 hours – with a three-member panel of judges sitting stony-faced throughout, he was vindicated: the court found him not guilty of breaking data privacy laws by publishing the names in Hot Doc, the weekly magazine he edits, of some 2,059 Greeks believed to have bank accounts in Switzerland.

    • Israel’s greatest fear – its diamond trade exposed

      The stakes couldn’t be higher for the $60 billion global diamond industry, and Israel’s burgeoning diamond industry in particular, as the dynamic forces of economics, human rights, and politics careen towards a major showdown in Washington. The fallout is likely to blow the lid on a cozy cartel that has kept the scandal of cut and polished blood diamonds hidden from public scrutiny.

      In November members of the Kimberley Process (KP) diamond-regulatory system, ostensibly set up to end the trade in blood diamonds, will come under severe pressure to adopt a US proposal, rejected last June, which would slightly broaden of the definition of a “conflict diamond” to include rough diamonds linked to violence by government forces associated with diamond mining.

  • Censorship

    • Bahrain activist gets prison term for Twitter posts critical of king

      A civil court has sentenced an online activist to six months in prison on charges of insulting the Gulf nation’s king in Twitter posts, the official news agency said Thursday.

    • Kuwaitis protest after activist held for insulting emir

      Kuwaiti police used teargas and smoke bombs on Wednesday to disperse thousands of protesters marching on a prison where an opposition leader is being held on charges of insulting the emir, witnesses said.

    • IAC volunteer tweets himself into trouble, faces three years in jail

      Does a tweet on reports of corruption, sent out to 16 followers, deserve a possible penalty of three years of imprisonment? The answer seems to be yes, at least according to Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti, who filed a complaint against small-time Puducherry businessman Ravi Srinivasan, and the Puducherry police which charged Mr. Srinivasan under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

      Section 66-A deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years.

    • Russia launches internet blacklist to protect the kiddies

      The Russian government has opened a blacklist of websites that will be blocked from domestic internet users to avoid them harming themselves with too much information.

      The new rules mean that ISPs will automatically block websites that the courts have deemed inappropriate. The law was introduced with the usual caveats about it being to protect children from online predators and to stop drug distribution, but political websites that criticize Tsar President Putin have already been blocked by the courts.

    • Amazon Removes Reviews

      I’ve been buried in a book deadline for all of October, and haven’t been paying much attention to anything else. When I finally took some time to catch up reading email, I noticed I had many authors (more than twenty) contacting me because their Amazon reviews were disappearing. Some were the ones they wrote. Some were for their books. One author told me that reviews her fans had written–fans that were completely unknown to her–had been deleted.

      I took a look at the reviews I’d written, and saw more than fifty of them had been removed, namely reviews I did of my peers. I don’t read reviews people give me, but I do keep track of numbers and averages, and I’ve also lost a fair amount of reviews.

    • Amazon Freaks Out About Sock Puppet Reviews And Deletes A Bunch Of Real Reviews
  • Privacy

    • Facebook admits error in censoring anti-Obama message

      Larry Ward will concede that he “poked the bear.” As president of the D.C.-based Political Media Inc., Ward administers the Facebook page of a group called Special Operations Speaks (SOS), an anti-Obama group consisting of “veterans, legatees, and supporters of the Special Operations communities of all the Armed Forces.” Essentially hard guys who want the president out of office. “These are the toughest sons of a guns out there and they say what they mean,” says Ward.

  • Civil Rights

    • ORG is ready for legal action

      Today ORG have launched a new campaign to fund a legal project which will allow us to create new case law and lead on bringing digital rights issues to the courts.

    • A Bit Of 1984: Biometrics Used In Argentina Today

      When I read and translated that post, I immediately thought of what happened and is happening in my home country, Argentina. I was about to start my vacations in Europe and I thought that particular trip would help me write this. I was not wrong.

      We Argies are not new to biometric data. One of the existing fingerprint-recording systems was invented in Buenos Aires and used as a tool during the military dictatorships the country suffered (particularly during the last). In fact, thanks to a law enacted during one of those dictatorships, every citizen must have a government-issued ID, consisting of his/her name, last name, address, date of birth, sex, fingerprint and photograph.

    • Is it Time to Police the Police?

      Every week, somewhere in the US, there’s a story of some kind of police activity that leads people scratching their head, or saying ‘That isn’t right’. It’s an issue that’s been around as long as police officers have and has become a cliche, accepted without question. The problem is that it’s a problem that’s only getting worse, not better, and it’s a problem that’s not being addressed.

    • Iran: Female detainees begin hunger strike after degrading treatment

      The Iranian authorities must protect all detainees and prisoners from harassment and degrading treatment, Amnesty International said today, after nine female political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, started a hunger strike in response to alleged abuse by prison guards.

      The women, who are all held in Tehran’s Evin Prison include activists and journalists. They say they were subjected to humiliating and degrading body searches by female guards from the Prison Security Section who subsequently confiscated some of their personal belongings on Tuesday

    • Israeli Authorities Must Release Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience in West Bank
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EFF Reminds Us That Open WiFi Isn’t A Bad Thing… And Should Actually Be Encouraged

      We’ve had plenty of stories concerning open WiFi, and there seems to be a general opinion among some that open WiFi is “a bad thing.” Some have even tried (and failed) to argue that having an open WiFi network makes you negligent. In some areas, law enforcement has even gone around telling people to lock up their WiFi. Those who argue against open WiFi are generally conflating different issues. It is true that if you use an open WiFi network without securing yourself you do open up yourself to snooping from others. Similarly, if others are using your open WiFi, it it could lead to at least an investigation if your access point is used for nefarious purposes. But combining those to claim that open WiFi itself is bad or illegal is a mistake. It is entirely possible to secure your own activities, and to set up an open WiFi network in a reasonable manner that minimizes any such threat.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Any Hint Of Evidence Based Copyright In The UK Seen As Nefarous Plot By Parliamentary Copyright Maximalists

        The laws governing intellectual monopolies in the UK are in a state of flux at the moment. After the previous government in its dying hours rammed through the shoddy piece of work known as the Digital Economy Act, the present coalition government took a more rational approach by commissioning the Hargreaves Review into the impact of digital technologies on this area. One of its key proposals was that policy should be based on evidence, not “lobbynomics”; the fact that this even needs to be mentioned says much about the way laws have been framed until now.

        As a result, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has been trying to gather evidence in order to help politicians draw up new policies that correspond to the data, not just dogma. Not surprisingly, perhaps, those that have done well under the previous evidence-free approach have been mounting a rearguard action against the changes.

      • LeakID And The DMCA Takedown Notice Farce

        The third party DMCA patrolbot featured today first made its name known by claiming malware uploaded by a computer security researcher as its own, resulting in a shutdown of the researcher’s Mediafire account. LeakID, the “company” (and we’ll explore those scare quotes in a moment) behind the takedown practices what many other sketchy content enforcers do — bulk keyword searches. This results in false positives that get swept up with all the actual infringement, such as in the case linked above. LeakID also ordered a Microsoft Office patch (freely available at Microsoft’s website) be removed from this user’s account.

      • BitTorrent Pirate Ordered to Pay $1.5 Million Damages For Sharing 10 Movies

        A federal court in Illinois has handed down the largest ever damages award in a BitTorrent case. In a default judgment defendant Kywan Fisher from Hampton, Virginia is ordered to pay $1,500,000 to adult entertainment company Flava Works for sharing 10 of their movies on BitTorrent. The huge total was reached through penalties of $150,000 per movie, the maximum possible statutory damages under U.S. copyright law. It’s expected that the verdict will be used to motivate other BitTorrent defendants to settle their cases.

      • No Copyrights on APIs: Help Us Make The Case

        Earlier this year, we applauded District Court Judge Alsup for getting it right and holding that, as a matter of law, one could not copyright APIs. The case, Oracle v. Google, is now on appeal to the Federal Circuit, where a three-judge panel is going to revisit Judge Alsup’s ruling.

11.02.12

Links 2/11/2012: Fedora Delays, LibreOffice 3.6.3, OpenBSD 5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 4 millions Windows 8 upgrades, that’s not much!
  • Microsoft’s New Cloud and Mobile Approach Uses Same Old Lock-in Strategy
  • Think cloud computing saved you from Sandy? Think again.

    It makes little sense for any Internet business to be dependent on a single data center. With server virtualization it is possible to put images of your server here and there to cover almost any failover problem. Not just multiple servers but multiple servers on multiple backbones in multiple cities supported by multiple power companies and backed by multiple generators. We do that even here at I, Cringely and we’re known to be idiots.

  • Abacus adds up to number joy in Japan
  • FTC Declares Rachel From Cardholder Services ‘Enemy Number 1′; Files Complaints Against Five Scammy Robocollers
  • Health/Nutrition

    • OPINION: Who wins with Medicare Advantage?

      The big five health insurance companies have begun reporting their third quarter 2012 earnings and so far, they are pleasing their shareholders with profits that are better than Wall Street expected, in large part because they are doing especially well in one key area: Medicare.

      [...]

      A Romney-Ryan victory likely would be the equivalent of winning the lottery for the big institutional investors that own the majority of health insurance company stock. Citigroup analyst Carl McDonald predicts that should Romney win and the GOP take the Senate, the value of health insurers’ shares would rise 10 to 20 percent.

    • Is the Junk Food Industry Buying the WHO?

      The US Food and Drug Administration is notorious for bowing to food-industry interests at the expense of public health. Consider the case of trans fats—whose damaging effects the FDA ignored for decades under industry pressure before finally taking action in 2006, a story I told here. Then there’s the barrage of added sweeteners that have entered the US diet over the last two decades, while the FDA whistled. This week, Cristin Kearns Couzens and Gary Taubes, who has been writing hard-hitting pieces on the dangers of excess sweetener consumption for a while, have a blockbuster Mother Jones story documenting how the FDA rolled over for the food industry on added sweeteners.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Why are there no famous financial whistleblowers in this crisis?

      This column discusses one of the more subtle issues raised by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) civil fraud action against Bank of America (B of A). The issue was so subtle that of the three articles about the lawsuit that I choose to review the night after the suit was filed, only the NYT article mentioned one of the most important aspects of the suit – the key role that the whistleblower played in making the action possible. The AP and the WSJ articles ignored the fact.

      The lawsuit threatens to impose steep fines on the bank. The Justice Department filed the case under the False Claims Act, which could provide for triple the damages suffered by Fannie and Freddie, a penalty that could reach more than $3 billion.

      The act also provides an avenue for a Countrywide whistle-blower, Edward J. O’Donnell, to cash in. Under the act, the government can piggyback on accusations he filed in a lawsuit that was kept under seal until now.

      Mr. O’Donnell, who lives in Pennsylvania, was an executive vice president for Countrywide before leaving the company in 2009. The government’s case in part hinges on the credibility of his claims.

    • Sharp admits ‘material doubt’ on survival
    • Welfare cuts will lead to shortfall in affordable homes

      Decrease in government spending set to leave low income families with a stark choice: buy less food or move out

    • Barclays faces record £290m penalty
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Getting the facts straight in the parental controls debate

      It’s useful to note that Westminster Hall debates aren’t particularly formal interventions or statements of the Government’s policy. They are secured by MPs who want to discuss something important to them, and can indicate MPs feelings and signal to the Government what Parliamenarians’ priorities might be.

      But even though it’s just a Westminster Hall debate, it seemed important to note that I spotted Claire Perry MP citing a statistic that I haven’t seen before, and which got my spidey senses tingling. She suggests that the number of parents installing network filters at home has dropped ten percent over the past three years, standing now at 39%.

    • Syria Using US Gear to Block Web

      A U.S. company that makes Internet-blocking gear acknowledges that Syria has been using at least 13 of its devices to censor Web activity there—an admission that comes as the Syrian government cracks down on its citizens and silences their online activities.

    • Journalist Attempts To Silence Criticism Of Her Ethics By Brandishing The Club Of UK Defamation Laws

      Defamation is only supposed to apply to cases where there’s a factually false statement made about someone. It shouldn’t apply to cases where the facts are accurate, or the statements are opinions. But while the US’s defamation laws generally deal pretty well with this, it’s not as clear elsewhere. The UK, unfortunately, is somewhat famous for its bad defamation laws, where the burden is generally on the accused to prove they didn’t defame someone — which can be an expensive process. Over the past week or so, video gaming journalists and industry watchers have been dealing with a bit of controversy. Eurogamer columnist Rab Florence wrote a column questioning the close relationship between some gaming journalists and the companies they cover, where it sometimes seems like the journalists are pitch people, rather than objective journalists. This is not a new concern, especially in video game journalism, where such accusations tend to show up pretty regularly (sometimes more accurately than others).

    • Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos
  • Privacy

    • The Kremlin’s New Internet Surveillance Plan Goes Live Today
    • CJOnline ordered to release poster’s information

      A Shawnee County District Court judge has ordered The Topeka Capital-Journal to relinquish identifying information of a CJOnline.com commenter claiming to be a juror in a high-profile murder trial.

      District Judge Steven Ebberts on Friday denied the newspaper’s request to quash the district attorney’s subpoena for the information. As a result, CJOnline will have to release the poster’s name, address and Internet Protocol address to the district attorney.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

10.31.12

Links 1/11/2012: Android Rises in Jobs Market, Ethiopian Kids Use Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Interface tricks could be a Linux treat

    I miss the days when I would get excited about the latest desktop interface to come from the GNOME or KDE projects, or downloading and installing the umpteenth Linux distribution on the continuing quest to find Linux nirvana.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Seeking Enlightenment

      Enlightenment is one of the oldest open source desktop projects in existence. With E17, the developers are gearing up to their latest release, an occasion that has been a long time in the making. The word is that the team will make some announcements at the EFL Developer Day taking place as part of Linuxcon Europe on 5 November. With a release likely being close at hand, The H spoke to project leader Carsten “Rasterman” Haitzler about how the desktop environment has been progressing and what the goals are for the project.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • one code base, multiple form factors

        Yesterday we pushed a small but significant clean-up to a feature set we’ve been working on for a couple of years now which is perhaps one of the more interesting things we’re doing in Plasma: the idea of “one code base, multiple form factors.”

        The idea is that whether your application is running as a widget on the desktop, docked in a panel, running full screen as part of a mediacenter, running in a touch based environment or as a regular ol’ app-in-a-window, much of the code can be shared. We often put the non-graphical bits into shared libraries, and traditional we’ve built multiple front ends that are optimized for different form factors and input methods which use these libraries.

  • Distributions

    • XStreamOS: An Illumos Kernel based Operating System

      Being a Technical Writer involves a lot of reading and research of new and emerging technologies. And one project that recently came to my attention through my email inbox was an Illumos kernel based Unix operating system called XStreamOS.

    • Luninux – The Quest For Freedom

      When I booted Luninux for the first time I noticed that this operating system is using the Gnome 3.4.1 shell which basically makes it look like Gnome 2 as well. At a first glance you could be confused into thinking that there isn’t much difference between Luninux and Fuduntu except that Luninux is based on Ubuntu and Fuduntu is based on Fedora.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Will XP Users Shun Windows 8 in Favor of Ubuntu?

            Historically, Windows hasn’t been tremendously effective in the area of backwards compatibility. Anyone who has migrated to a new Windows release with older peripherals has likely felt the pain I’m talking about.

            On the flipside, the idea that Windows 8 will drive Windows users to Ubuntu in droves is unlikely. If a new PC buyer has been content with the Windows OS, switching suddenly to something else is highly improbably. Even if keeping their existing hardware and locating a good Linux distro might be a more economical solution, most people will stick with what they know. It’s simply a matter of familiarity for most Windows users looking to upgrade.

          • Mark Shuttleworth and the secrecy of Ubuntu

            Canonical and Ubuntu are both drifting away from the free software (or even from the open source) movement, and they are doing this by adopting some ugly tactics like the one mentioned above.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 Will Come to Phones, TVs and Tablets

            Another 6 months, another Ubuntu Developer Summit event for Canonical, where Mark Shuttleworth is always present and keeps his audience captivated.

          • Ubuntu moves to new release schedule

            Canonical QA coordinator Nicholas Skaggs announced that the company’s popular Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu, would be moving to a substantially different release schedule.

          • Ubuntu To Drop Alpha Releases, Promises More Stable Development

            At Ubuntu Development Summit held in Copenhagen this year, developers of Canonical have decided to drop alpha releases of Ubuntu, and publish just one beta release prior to final stable release. Thus, next Ubuntu releases beginning with Ubuntu 13.04 will have just one beta ISO.

            The decision was taken to ensure better quality of ISO and a more full proof development cycle. Also, Ubuntu derivatives like Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc have the freedom to follow their own release cycles. They can follow Ubuntu’s 6 month cycle or choose their own, something new.

          • Wubi To Be Redesigned For Ubuntu 13.04

            Ubuntu 13.04, the next major release of Ubuntu will include Windows installer, popularly known as Wubi. This software allows one to install Ubuntu inside Windows operating system as a program and allows easy setup of disk partitioning, user setup etc. The installer was included by default in previous versions of Ubuntu but was dropped in Ubuntu 12.04 and Quantal.

          • LoCo Teams, Communication, and Community
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Makes Money with Minty Merchandise

              Linux Mint founder, Clement Lefebvre, has done an amazing job monitizing his Ubuntu offshoot. Not only does the project have sponsors in the business community who wish to assure Mint stays in production, but his monthly donations are impressive as well. Now Lefebvre has announced yet another partnership and the ribbon-cutting of his Minty fresh store.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android jobs rocket as iOS jobs stagnate

          Using data from 230,614 positions posted in Q3, Freelancer.co.uk saw 16 percent growth in the number of Android jobs, at 4,795. Meanwhile, the number of iOS jobs rose a comparatively small eight percent to 5,509.

        • Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction

          What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.

          The One Laptop Per Child project started as a way of delivering technology and resources to schools in countries with little or no education infrastructure, using inexpensive computers to improve traditional curricula. What the OLPC Project has realized over the last five or six years, though, is that teaching kids stuff is really not that valuable. Yes, knowing all your state capitols how to spell “neighborhood” properly and whatnot isn’t a bad thing, but memorizing facts and procedures isn’t going to inspire kids to go out and learn by teaching themselves, which is the key to a good education. Instead, OLPC is trying to figure out a way to teach kids to learn, which is what this experiment is all about.

          Rather than give out laptops (they’re actually Motorola Zoom tablets plus solar chargers running custom software) to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever. Just like, “hey kids, here’s this box, you can open it if you want, see ya!”

        • Public Alerts Now On Google Search and Maps for Android for Superstorm Sandy
        • Review: Ubuntu for Nexus 7

          We take a look at Ubuntu for Nexus 7, made possible with the new one-click installer promoted by Canonical. What we found certainly surprised us…

        • Ubuntu Gets Hacked On Google’s Nexus 7 By Canonical

Free Software/Open Source

  • When and Why Do I Update Open Source Policy Rules?
  • SaaS

    • Big data the NASA way

      Mattmann became involved in Nutch, an open source search engine program, when studying for his doctorate. Nutch was created by Doug Cutting, who went on to found the big data system Hadoop.

    • Hadoop Creator Outlines the Future of Big Data Platform
    • HP: Why an Open Cloud Matters

      Zorawar ‘Biri’ Singh, SVP Converged Cloud and HP Cloud Services, has some big responsibilities. Singh is responsible for HP’s cloud efforts, which increasingly involve the open source OpenStack platform.

      In an exclusive interview with InternetNews Singh detailed his views on the cloud and how HP can leverage the open approach and still provide competitive differentiation.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation Looking For Infrastructure Sponsors

      The Document Foundation is looking for infrastructure sponsors: Internet service providers, webhosters, universities and corporations can contribute to LibreOffice by sponsoring the use of dedicated machines.

    • LibreOffice’s Dubious Claims: Part I, Download Counts

      If you do an apples-to-apples comparison, of Windows and Mac users, which together constitute 97% of the desktop market, Apache OpenOffice, although it took a while to make its first release, 3.4.0, has taken off like a rocket, and has eliminated any head-start advantage LibreOffice had, and is racing ahead with 4x the downloads that LibreOffice is reporting. And since the LibreOffice numbers are inflated by duplicate counting of upgrade downloads, OpenOffice is probably already ahead of LibreOffice in users on these platforms by a factor of 10 or more.

  • CMS

    • Plone CMS vulnerable to privilege escalation and code execution

      The Plone Foundation has warned users that there are multiple vulnerabilities in its open source Plone content management system (CMS) as well as the Zope toolkit. According to the security advisory, these security holes could be exploited by an attacker for privilege escalation, allowing them to bypass certain security restrictions, or to execute malicious arbitrary code on a system.

  • Education

    • Open source provides schools with low-cost, high quality software

      Open source can provide schools with high quality, well-functioning IT solutions at low cost, according to a case study done by VTT, a Finnish government research institute. The researchers looked at the use of Linux and other open source applications by the Kasavuoren Secondary School in Kauniainen, a municipality near Helsinki. The case study, available since May 2011, underpins a plea to schools to increase their use of free and open source software.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Markdown may be defined as a standard

      An effort is emerging to take the Markdown plain text formatting conventions originally developed by John Gruber in 2004 and create a standardisable specification. Markdown’s syntax allows a minimal set of plain text ‘markup’ characters to offer useful basic formatting, for example, underlining text with “=” or “-” makes the text a heading as does preceding text with one to six “#” symbols. The apparent simplicity of the format has seen it used on many blogs, Reddit, GitHub and other sites as a way for users to present formatted text through the system. With this wide take up, developer Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, has called for a standardisation of Markdown.

Leftovers

  • The Ripple Effect of Windows 8

    Windows 8 has caused Microsoft’s worst fears to come true – users will no longer choose Windows because it is familiar and comfortable. Windows will no longer compete on a “devil we know” basis, but will need to compete on a usability basis. In our case, users said Linux Mint actually felt far more familiar and comfortable than Windows 8.

  • How Being Very Transparent May Have Saved A ‘Failed’ Kickstarter Project
  • A Congress Too Polarized to Protect Itself

    The U.S. Congress is on an extended election hiatus, yet there has been no noticeable decline in its productivity. As polarization and legislative gridlock have worsened in recent years, the nation’s great legislative body has withered, losing not only popular support but the ability to exercise its constitutional powers.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why Jill Stein went to the front line of the climate crisis today

      In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was handcuffed and arrested this morning after bringing food and supplies to a coalition of climate justice activists, known as the “Tar Sands Blockade,” who are attempting to stop the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. She is currently at Wood County Jail awaiting processing.

    • Did Romney Shift Climate Change Stance to Appeal to Kochs?

      One clue might come from a Romney campaign memo dated October 4, 2011 — just weeks before the candidate flip-flopped on climate change — indicating that Romney had been actively seeking the endorsement of Koch Industries heir David Koch. David and his brother Charles are top funders of climate change denial front groups and have long played an important role in choosing GOP political candidates, both via direct donations and through organizations like the David Koch-founded-and-led Americans for Prosperity.

      Romney at the time was struggling for Tea Party support, and the memo, obtained by the conservative Washington Examiner noted that the Kochs were the “financial engine of the Tea Party.” According to the Washington Examiner, just a few days after Romney announced his new agnosticism on climate change he bypassed an important Iowa event in advance of that state’s crucial primary to speak at an AFP event. Romney also had scheduled a meeting at Koch’s home in Southampton, NY, but it was cancelled because of the last natural disaster to pummel the East Coast, Hurricane Irene.

    • After Helping to Resupply Tar Sands Blockade, Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein is Arrested
    • US Media Covering Hurricane Sandy Mostly Ignore Whether Climate Change Fueled Storm’s Fury

      The reports of damage as the storm hit New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware were stunning.

      The flooding in Lower Manhattan was unlike what even meteorologists at The Weather Channel had predicted. It was worse than they feared, one meteorologist said during coverage.

      There was ample time to anticipate Hurricane Sandy after it killed at least 52 people in Haiti. New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC, all were very public about preparations that were being made. This gave media in the United States an opening to get in and cover before the storm did any damage.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Anatomy of a Lie: Right-Wing “Media Trackers” Strikes Again with Libelous Smear

      The Wisconsin-based, right-wing website Media Trackers reached a new low on Monday when it printed a libelous story against the partner of State Rep. Mark Pocan, accusing him of sending bizarre text threats to a volunteer for Chad Lee, Pocan’s opponent in his race for Congress. Although Media Trackers took down the story late in the day, the damage had been done. It was picked up by right-wing sources in Wisconsin and across the nation. The organization’s “mea culpa” fails to apologize or take responsibility for its role in the smear and the outlet still has a picture of Pocan and his partner Phil Frank on the front page of its website with a note that it would “continue to follow developments in this story” — as if there were a story to follow.

    • Anti-Pornography Guy Politicizes 10 Year Old Girl’s Murder

      The adult film industry gets mentioned on Techdirt frequently because, as everyone knows, “the internet is for porn.” Typically, we get to write fun little stories about silly journalists believing horse-poop statistics on home pornography. Or else an ice cream company is suing an adult film studio over a porno-parody of their silly flavors. Those stories are good for a laugh because, let’s be honest, there’s something inherently funny about movies of people bumping uglies coupled with the far less fleshy world of news and IP law. What isn’t laugh-worthy is when a tragedy occurs, such as the senseless slaying of a 10 year old girl, and the result is a bunch of grand-standing jackwagons lining up to use her death to promote their own false agenda.

      Yet that’s what is happening with the case of Jessica Ridgeway’s murder, now that the accused killer is a young man who reportedly is addicted to pornography. Let’s highlight one of the aforementioned grand-standing jackwagons, just so we can identify who is saying what before I get to the elephant-in-the-room-sized problem with his nonsense.

    • David Cohen may be Comcast’s secret weapon, but in D.C. he’s a wonk rock star

      In fall 2009, Comcast planned to launch an Internet service for the poor that was sure to impress federal regulators. But David Cohen, the company’s chief of lobbying, told the staff to wait.

      At the time, Comcast was planning a controversial $30 billion bid to take over NBC Universal, and Cohen needed a bargaining chip for government negotiations.

    • Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies

      On a brisk spring Tuesday in 1976, a pair of executives from the Sugar Association stepped up to the podium of a Chicago ballroom to accept the Oscar of the public relations world, the Silver Anvil award for excellence in “the forging of public opinion.” The trade group had recently pulled off one of the greatest turnarounds in PR history. For nearly a decade, the sugar industry had been buffeted by crisis after crisis as the media and the public soured on sugar and scientists began to view it as a likely cause of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Industry ads claiming that eating sugar helped you lose weight had been called out by the Federal Trade Commission, and the Food and Drug Administration had launched a review of whether sugar was even safe to eat. Consumption had declined 12 percent in just two years, and producers could see where that trend might lead. As John “JW” Tatem Jr. and Jack O’Connell Jr., the Sugar Association’s president and director of public relations, posed that day with their trophies, their smiles only hinted at the coup they’d just pulled off.

  • Censorship

    • HuffPost Moderates Comments To Please Advertisers

      We’ve been somewhat excited that we’re rapidly approaching one million total comments on Techdirt. We thought it was quite a nice milestone. But we feel a bit small to learn that the Huffington Post already has over 70 million comments just this year alone. Over at Poynter, Jeff Sonderman has a fascinating interview with the site’s director of community, Justin Isaf, about how they manage all those comments. Apparently they have a staff of 30 full time comment moderators, helped along by some artificial intelligence (named Julia) from a company they bought just for this technology.

    • How the Huffington Post handles 70+ million comments a year
    • Being A Jackass On Twitter Shouldn’t Be Illegal; Public Shame Should Be Enough

      We’ve been talking about the unfortunate set of cases in the UK lately, in which people acting like jackasses online are being held criminally liable for being a jerk online. There are, of course, significant problems with this. And if you thought it was just limited to Europe, where they tend to have a slightly less absolute view of the right to free expression than the US, well, don’t be so sure. There’s a lot of talk about whether or not legal action should be taken against one jackass who used Twitter (using the account @comfortablysmug — which, perhaps, should have been a tipoff) to spread fake news about emergencies and damages, while most people were sharing legitimate news. The guy in question was eventually outed by Buzzfeed as hedge-fund analyst and political consultant Shashank Tripathi.

    • Superstorm Sandy, Google, France, and Saving the Freedom to Link

      Even before the massive storm named Sandy battered the northeast U.S. last night, I was already planning a posting about the “link war” now brewing around the world.

      A few days ago, newspapers in Brazil pulled out of Google News, claiming they wanted compensation for the indexing of their freely available public Web sites.

      And in France, the government is directly threatening Google with laws that would require news indexing payments to public, freely available media sites in that country.

    • Republican Congressman Sues TV Stations Over ‘Defamatory’ Political Ad (Video)
  • Privacy

    • Toy helicopters restricted as China tightens security

      Restrictions on the sale of radio-controlled helicopters and planes have been imposed in Beijing as China heightens security before a once-in-a-decade leadership change, state media said Wednesday.

      For some models of helicopters and planes — which can only be guided within a few metres — purchasers must prove their identity to the shopkeepers, Beijing’s Youth Daily reported.

  • Civil Rights

    • Supreme Court Puzzles: How There Can Be Oversight Concerning Warrantless Wiretapping If No One Can Sue?

      One of the more ridiculous things about the government’s ongoing campaign of secret surveillance on Americans is how hard it’s fought back against anyone who has sought to have the policy tested in the courts. If the feds were confident that what they were doing was legal, they wouldn’t be so aggressive in blocking each and every attempt. When the ACLU and others filed suit over the warrantless wiretapping under the FISA Amendments Bill (the Clapper v. Amnesty International case) the lower court rulings were especially troubling, because it was ruled that there was no standing to sue, because there was no direct proof of such spying. So that leaves the public in quite a bind. They can’t complain about the program unless they can prove they’ve been spied upon, but they can’t do that unless they know more about the program, which is secret. Someone page Joseph Heller.

    • Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant

      A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval.

      The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant.

    • Court OKs warrantless use of hidden surveillance cameras
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • We Don’t Know, Exactly, What the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is, But I’m Against It

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is probably the most important trade agreement you’ve never heard of. Sometimes described as our “21st Century trade agreement,” its terms are being negotiated in secret by 11 countries, big and small, arranged around the Pacific Ocean.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Justices Worry About ‘Parade Of Horribles’ If They Agree You Don’t Own What You Bought

        As we were discussing, on Monday, the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in the Wiley v. Kirtsaeng case over whether or not you have the right to resell (or even display) a product you bought that was made outside of the country, which contains content covered by copyright. First off, a big caveat that needs to be mentioned every single time we write about oral arguments in a court case: it is not uncommon for what is discussed, and the questions asked, to really have almost nothing to do with the final decision. Everyone loves to read the tea leaves based on the questions the Justices ask, but, quite often, the questions (and answers) don’t necessarily have much bearing on the final decision. The written briefs usually have a much bigger impact. That said, it doesn’t mean the questions are meaningless, or that we can’t learn a little bit from them.

      • Movies Try to Escape Cultural Irrelevance

        But it’s starting to feel as if it might be “The Last Picture Show.”

        Next year’s Academy Awards ceremony — the 85th since 1929 — will be landing in a pool of angst about movies and what appears to be their fraying connection to the pop culture.

        After the shock of last year’s decline in the number of tickets sold for movies domestically, to 1.28 billion, the lowest since 1995 (and attendance is only a little better this year) film business insiders have been quietly scrambling to fix what few will publicly acknowledge to be broken.

        That is, Hollywood’s grip on the popular imagination, particularly when it comes to the more sophisticated films around which the awards season turns

      • UMG Reaches Settlement in Trendsetting Suit Over Digital Revenue from Eminem Songs

        A 2010 ruling in this case led dozens of big-name musicians to sue such corporations as Universal Music Group to collect more money from iTunes sales, ringtones and the like.

      • Marc Randazza Goes To War Against Revenge Porn Site Over Alleged ‘Takedown Lawyer’ Business Model

        Well, well. Last year, there was a lot of attention paid to a so-called “revenge porn” site called “Is Anyone Up”? The site reposted submitted nude photos, linked to the person in the photo’s social networking accounts. The “idea” (a horrific one) was that spurned people, who had naked photos of their ex’s, could publicize them. Not surprisingly, many people were completely horrified by the concept and the media coverage was not kind. The site eventually went down, but others popped up to take their place. Lawyer Marc Randazza has decided to go to war with one of them, which uses the very similar name “Is Anybody Down” (and, no, I’m not linking to it). Randazza points out that he has no problem with porn or porn sites, but when the participants are not consenting (and not necessarily adults) he has serious problems.

      • William Faulkner Estate Sues Washington Post Over Freedom Quote

        A day after Sony is sued over a quote in ‘Midnight in Paris,’ a second copyright infringement lawsuit is filed over a full-page Northrop Grumman ad in the Post.

      • India’s Recording Industry Wants The Power To Take Down Content Without Notification

        What the music industry is interested in is the powers granted by the IT Rules, which allow content to be taken down within 36 hours, without any notice to the content creator or uploader. There’s no doubt many in the content industry would like such a rule to be implemented worldwide, but considering how many bogus DMCA takedowns there are, it would definitely be a bad thing for anyone not protected by the legislation.

      • Megupload User to Court: Hold Government Accountable

        It’s been almost a year since Kyle Goodwin lost access to the lawful property that he stored on Megaupload. EFF, on his behalf, has asked the Court to order his data returned, and, more recently, has also asked the Court to unseal the confidential search warrants surrounding the third-party data at issue. And it appears Mr. Goodwin is making some headway: the Court is at least contemplating holding a hearing to get to the bottom of what really happened when the government shut down Megaupload, seized its assets, and deprived millions of customers of their property.

10.30.12

Links 31/10/2012: Valve Likes GNU/Linux. EFF Does Not Like Unity in Ubuntu 12.10

Posted in News Roundup at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • “Jitsi”… la alternativa libre a “Skype”.

    Como “todos” sabéis, “Skype” fue adquirido por Microsoft, y en su momento les prometí una alternativa libre. Pues bien, esa alternativa se llama “Jitsi”, antes conocido como “SIP Communicator”.

  • Day of Reckoning For Open Source Software May Be Coming
  • Open Source Orion 1.0 Browser based Code Editor Goes Live

    Back in January of 2011, the Eclipse Foundation announced the development of Orion, a browser/cloud based IDE. At the time, Mike Milinkovich, exec director of the Eclipse Foundation told me that Orion is more than just Eclipse in a browser. It’s a view that he re-iterated today with the official launch of Orion 1.0

  • Gild Source helps startups mine for developer talent gold
  • Architecture 3.0 and Open Source
  • Five More Common Myths Around Open Source Adoption [Slideshare]
  • Open source: not always a successful course

    In my early-October discussion of tech simplification at my former primary home, I’d mentioned that I was able to dispense with my powerline networking setup. But when I re-visited the CA residence a couple of weekends ago, I realized I’d forgotten about one particular node; my Power Mac G4 Cube upstairs. Instead of resurrecting a powerline spur, which would have necessitated a re-expansion beyond my solitary eight-port switch at the router, I instead decided to connect the G4 Cube to the LAN via an Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi bridge.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Cloud Apache OpenOffice plans to be discussed next month

      OpenOffice’s graduation to a top-level project at Apache now clears he way for faster cloud innovation, especially as Microsoft Office 365′s debut nears. Plans for “Cloud Apache OpenOffice” will be discussed at ApacheCon Europe in weeks

    • LibreOffice Quantal features: Unity Integration, PackageKit and Templates

      The PackageKit/Session Installer integration is implemented in UNO, that allow extensions and macro creators to trigger the installation of software from trusted archives in general — quite a nifty feature in itself. As we have this now in place, in the future we can also use it to complete the LibreOffice install by adding missing packages for certain actions that are not available in the default Ubuntu installation (which leaves out some parts of LibreOffice).

  • Semi-Open Source

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.8 Nearing End Of Stage One Development

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek issued a new 4.8.0 status report where he mentions “I’d like to close the stage 1 phase of GCC 4.8 development on Monday, November 5th. If you have still patches for new features you’d like to see in GCC 4.8, please post them for review soon. Patches posted before the freeze, but reviewed shortly after the freeze, may still go in, further changes should be just bugfixes and documentation fixes.”

  • Project Releases

    • Open source NAC system PacketFence 3.6 released

      PacketFence is a fully supported, trusted, free and open source network access control (NAC) system.

    • Clementine music player adds podcast support

      The latest major update to Clementine, version 1.1, expands the open source media player’s streaming support and adds long-awaited podcast functionality. Clementine is a cross-platform program that, its developers say, is designed to be both fast and easy-to-use, and was inspired by version 1.4 of Amarok (the current release is Amarok 2.6). It supports playback of local music libraries and streaming of online radio stations, and can be used to transcode music into MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Speex, FLAC and AAC files.

    • Sourcefabric’s Airtime 2.2 gets smart blocks

      Sourcefabric has released a new version of its open source radio automation software that brings with it several new features. Airtime 2.2 includes improvements to the rebroadcasting features of the application as well as new “Smart Blocks” that allow users to automatically assemble randomised playlists according to a set of parameters.

    • Bootstrap 2.2 becomes more flexible with new templates

      The Bootstrap developers have announced the release of version 2.2.0 of their open source web front-end toolkit. This new major update is the project’s first release since leaving Twitter, which made the framework available as open source in August of last year, and brings with it dozens of fixes as well as new templates and a new media component.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • From Open Source to Crowdfunding

      One of the premises of this blog is that the success and methodology of open source are not one-offs, but part of a larger move towards open, collaborative activity. Thus, by observing what open source does well – and not so well – lessons can be learned that can be applied in quite different fields.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Open Textbook Challenge [Infographic]

        With the cost of college textbooks as high as they are, students are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. The edtech world is finally starting to take notice: companies and edtech leaders are working to create resources for open-source textbooks. Online Colleges has created an infographic on the numbers behind the shift toward open-source textbooks, and some of the statistics will surprise you.

    • Open Hardware

      • Off to the Future with a new Soccer Robot

        Computer scientists from the University of Bonn have developed a new robot whose source code and design plan is publicly accessible. It is intended to facilitate the entry into research on humanoids, in particular, the TeenSize Class of the RoboCup. The scientists recently introduced the new robot at the IROS Conference (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in Portugal.

  • Programming

    • GCC 4.8 Compiler On AMD’s Eight-Core Piledriver

      This month from CPUs based upon AMD’s new Piledriver micro-architecture I have delivered results of compiler tuning on AMD’s Open64 compiler as well as GCC bdver2 tuning. That initial testing from an AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core processor didn’t show any big boost out of the “bdver2″ target with the new BMI/TBM/F16C/FMA3 instruction set extensions. Testing in this article from the AMD FX-8350 are GCC compiler benchmarks of the 4.6.3, 4.7.2, and 4.8.0 development snapshots to look for performance improvements on this new high-end AMD processor when using the very latest GCC compiler code.

Leftovers

  • Nothing Is Foreign to the Liar Willard Romney Anymore

    It was early in the proceedings here on Monday night when I was struck with a horrible vision. It may have been right about that moment in the final presidential debate when Willard Romney — who, for most of the past two years, has been the most bellicose Mormon since they disbanded the Nauvoo Legion — looked deeply into the camera’s eye and, inches from actual sincerity, said, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Or, perhaps, it was when, in a discussion of his newfound dedication to comprehensive solutions to complex problems, he announced his devotion to “a peaceful planet,” or when he cited a group of Arab scholars in support of loosening the grip of theocratic tyranny in the Middle East.

  • Tim Cook calls Surface tablet confusing

    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took a dig at Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Surface tablet during Apple’s earnings call on Thursday, referring to it as a “fairly compromised, confusing product”.

    “I haven’t personally played with a Surface yet,” Tim Cook said in response to a question about the Surface and the competitive landscape in the tablet market overall.

    “What we’re reading about it is that it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product.”

  • Microsoft’s Pivot — A Plan to Dominate “Devices and Services”
  • Surface is ‘a quirky cat,’ teardown shows

    iFixit determines Microsoft’s tablet is pretty tough to repair, coming in only slightly easier than the iPad.

  • Poll shows tepid interest in Windows 8

    52 percent of respondents had not heard of Windows 8 and that 61 percent had “little or no interest”

  • Mobile Devices Beating PCs As Default Gateway To The Internet
  • Windows 8: Does Microsoft’s Split-Personality OS Make Sense?

    In studies conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, a software consultancy, experienced Windows users had trouble finding applications on the Desktop interface.

  • Bizarre Trend: Journalism Professors Using Klout Scores As Part Of Students’ Grades

    We’ve raised questions in the past about the relevance of “Klout” scores. If you don’t know, Klout is one of a few companies that try to measure “influence” online by looking at your social media activity. The whole process seems kind of silly, but for whatever reason, once you put a number on things, people take it seriously, no matter how bogus the number might be. Lots of companies now use Klout scores to determine who they should give special perks to, leading to plenty of people just trying to game their scores. However, should Klout scores count towards your grade as a student? Adam Singer sent over examples of two separate journalism professors who think so.

  • Why We Have So Many Dumb Rules: A Case Study

    New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten a lot of abuse for his campaign to ban the sale of sugary drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces. There are lots of reasons for this, but among the economically literate his proposal is widely viewed as gratuitously inefficient. Simply taxing sugary sodas would be a lot more sensible, so why not do that instead?

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Supreme Court and the death of progress

      In tonight’s ‘Conversations with Great Minds,’ Thom talks with Frederick Kaufman, author and Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine. Tonight’s ‘Big Picture Rumble’ panel discusses Romney campaign Co-Chair John Sununu’s racist comments on Colin Powell, how simply living near foreclosed homes has cost families trillions and whether Hurricane Sandy will prevent the oligarchs from stealing the election.

    • Amid Cutbacks, Greek Doctors Offer Message to Poor: You Are Not Alone

      As the head of Greece’s largest oncology department, Dr. Kostas Syrigos thought he had seen everything. But nothing prepared him for Elena, an unemployed woman whose breast cancer had been diagnosed a year before she came to him.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Ex-CIA Officer, Torture Whistleblower to Be Sentenced for Leak
    • Video: Police Brutalize Defenseless Man at Aliya

      Over the next couple of minutes the man is also pepper-sprayed and beaten with a truncheon by the female officer, all while posing no threat to the officers’ well-being whatsoever.

      After a good two minutes of sadistic thrashing, the officers are joined by a squadron of their peers, and successfully put him in handcuffs and under arrest.

      A source confirmed with CrownHeights.info that the man had full permission to be there, and had been living there for a month without any trouble. It is unknown who called the police or why.

    • Capitol Hill’s Rabid, Ravaging Republicans

      Has there ever been a more crazed, cruel, anti-people, corporate-indentured, militaristic and monetized Republican Party in its 154-year history? An about-to-be-released list of some of the actual brutish votes by the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor, will soon be available to you from the House Democratic Caucus.

    • Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

      Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

  • Leaks

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: “Donors Trust” and “Donors Capital Fund”

      Earlier this year internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a major hub of climate change denial and right-wing extremism, were publicly leaked. The documents exposed the Heartland Institute’s funders and strategies for attacking climate science, and led to a mass exodus of Heartland’s corporate funders.

    • Einhorn Family Foundation Behind Voter Suppression Billboards

      One Wisconsin Now and theGrio have uncovered that the Milwaukee-based Einhorn Family Foundation is the “private family foundation” that funded controversial billboards in Milwaukee which warned: “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY! 3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine.” The billboards were denounced as voter suppression by Mike Wilder, director of the African-American Round Table, and other community groups. The billboards were put up in largely African-American and Latino communities in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Columbus by media behemoth Clear Channel, but the client remained anonymous.

    • Groups Use Fake Letters, Felony Threats to Suppress Vote

      When Phyllis Cleveland first saw the billboard on East 35th Street warning of prison time and a $10,000 fine for voter fraud, the city councilwoman concluded it had one purpose: to intimidate the constituents of her predominantly low-income ward in Cleveland, Ohio.

    • Telling Truths about Israel, Palestine
  • Censorship

    • Judge Rejects Request To Seal Filings In Case Over Miami Heat Owner’s Unflattering Photo

      Earlier this year, we wrote about how a minority owner of the Miami Heat, Ranaan Katz, was so upset about an “unflattering photo” that a blogger/critic had posted of him, that he apparently bought the copyright on the photo and sued the blogger, claiming copyright infringement.

    • The Year In SLAPPs: From The Oatmeal To Pink Slime

      2012 has been yet another year filled with meritless lawsuits filed solely to chill First Amendment free speech rights — so-called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). As websites relying on user-generated content continue to increase in popularity, we also see a rise in SLAPPs targeting online speech, from the everyday blogger to the one-time online reviewer. Some of the most talked about SLAPPs this year include:

    • Greek journalists warn over press freedom

      Tension rises between Greek government and media after TV presenters are suspended over criticism of public order minister

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • America’s Schools: Breeding grounds for compliant citizens

      For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ORG says IP Committee has missed the point

      Reacting to the All Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group’s report, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “We welcome the group’s desire for evidence based policy but think this sits ill with its’ call to move the Intellectual Property Office to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, which has had a dire record of inventing policy initiatives without a shred of evidence.

    • Three former Environment Ministers speak out on NK603 and Roundup
    • Of Course Monsanto Says It’s Safe

      If you’ve been paying attention to the news about food lately, you’ve probably read about the now infamous “Seralini study,” in which University of Caen (France) molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini demonstrated major health issues associated with eating Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) corn and the herbicide used in conjunction with it, RoundUp.

    • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

      Over the past year or so, there has been a slow and steady effort to generate support for a U.S.-EU free trade agreement. The Obama administration is now behind this, and there is no reason to think a President Romney would change gears. Thus, regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election, this trade initiative is likely to go forward.

    • Trademarks

      • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

        A couple years ago, we wrote about Hebrew University suing GM for using an image of Albert Einstein in an ad without first getting permission (i.e., paying up). Einstein left his assets to Hebrew University (of which he was a founder and a big supporter), and Hebrew University has taken that to an extreme, more or less arguing near complete ownership over Einstein’s likeness, and has been ridiculously aggressive in trying to enforce those rights — to the point of tricking print shops into printing Einstein images, only to threaten them with lawsuits. All this despite the concept of publicity rights barely even existing in Einstein’s time, and no indication that he cared one way or the other about such things.

    • Copyrights

      • Have EU orphans found a caring home?

        As promptly reported yesterday by the IPKat, the Orphan Works Directive has just been published in Official Journal of the European Union, thus becoming Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. This Kat agrees with Jeremy that there’s plenty of material for preliminary references to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as the various provisions in the Directive look, to say the least, open to various interpretations.

      • Memo To Congress: Stop Trying To Fix Silicon Valley

        But the more urgent motivator for lawmakers was the bruising battle early this year over SOPA—a bill aimed at reducing online copyright infringement that would have dramatically increased civil and criminal penalties associated with even minor violations of the law.

        What looked like a slam dunk for the entertainment industry, which authored the bill, instead sparked a revolt among Internet users that culminated in a day of website blackouts. Millions of average citizens called and wrote to Congress to complain, bitterly, about lawmakers’ casual and admittedly inexpert tinkering with the one growing sector we have left.

      • Exploring The Earnings Of A Humble Bundle Author
      • Yet Another Musician Discovers That Free, Implemented Well, Can Increase Fans & Make You More Money
      • Your Right to Own, Under Threat

10.29.12

Links 29/10/2012: Steam For Linux Beta Needs Testers, GNOME 3.7.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Another Look at the $180M HP Contract

    Mostly, we use the operating system called Linux, and we use it on those HP machines. One reason we use it is because it’s free — literally, downloadable for free, no strings, no catch. All the software we use on it, ranging from close equivalents to Windows Office to browsers to desktop publishing and technical software, and a good deal more, is also free. It ranges the Internet even better than Windows, no surprise since the bulk of Web server computers worldwide are run on Linux or on closely allied software. And not only that, it’s “open source,” which means you can (if you choose) go into the guts of the program, and change anything you want. Can’t do that with proprietary programs.

    This software is coded so efficiently that everything I use on my Linux machines can nearly fit onto a single CD; you’d need shelves of CDs to contain Windows or Windows Office. It can run more efficiently on smaller and older computers than Windows can, and run longer on them as they age. A nonprofit in Portland (called Free Geek) for years has been reconditioning old and small-capacity computers, outfitting them with Linux, and sending them to local nonprofits and to underdeveloped countries around the globe; those machines are great for education, and they cost a pittance. Open source runs faster, with fewer errors, and is nearly impervious to viruses, worms and the like. (No need for expensive anti-virus software.) The main area where Windows and Mac’s OS X clearly surpass it is in the realm of computer games. One of the main world headquarters for open source development is the Pacific Northwest; the original developer of Linux, a Finn named Linus Torvalds, lives outside Portland.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Hurricane Sandy: Climate Change Activists Offer Stark Reminder Before Storm Hits
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • onwards to Four

        Not being the sort who rest much, we’re already at work on Plasma Active Four. We met up on irc to firm up our plans. You can read the minutes here, thanks to Thomas who took the time to summarize the multi-hour session.

        We are moving to a devel workflow in which we aim to have an “always-releasable” master branch. All development will happen in branches, something we essentially do already, but we will now also have an integration branch so we can bring the various branches together for testing before merging them when ready, branch by branch, into master. We have been working towards for some time, adjusting our habits one step at a time. This will only cover the plasma-mobile, share-like-connect and plasma-active-maliit repositories for now, but my hope is that as Frameworks 5 arrives we’ll be able to broaden this to the bigger shared repositories such as kde-workspace.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd September 2012
      • KDE Commit-Digest for 9th September 2012
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.7.1 Is Now Ready for Testing

        Matthias Clasen has announced a few hours ago, October 26th, the first development release of the GNOME 3.8 desktop environment.

        After a two day delay, GNOME 3.7.1 is now available for testing, bringing lots of updated applications, new features, and numerous bug fixes.

        “GNOME 3.7 development is getting underway, with the 3.7.1 snapshot that is marking the beginning of this development cycle. Features are still being proposed and discussed. This release allows some early glimpses of whats to come.”

      • Gnome & Wayland

        Wayland is the next big thing in Linux Desktop since ..the beginning? It is meant to work aside with the problematic X (with the tremendous amount of functionality) and eventually (in many years!) is going to replace it.

  • Distributions

    • From Junk to a Security Station; How Mepis Gave New Life to a Discarded Computer

      Last week, a project that had been brewing for quite a while became a reality.

      We wanted to set up a basic security camera for the office where I work but, as the University is short of budget, all we were given was a webcam. With that contribution, the whole idea was pretty much a long-term goal (or a dream, to be more honest, given the circumstances).

    • DEFT 7.2 Screenshots
    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Looks To An SDK, Improved App Development

            Canonical and the Ubuntu development community hope to improve application development for developers targeting Ubuntu 13.04.

            Another one of the popular topics for the UDS Copenhagen summit next week for Ubuntu 13.04 is the “app development” track. There’s several different items to be discussed about Ubuntu app development from an Ubuntu SDK to improving the online documentation and support for those developers targeting Ubuntu support.

          • OpenERP and Ubuntu Unity Desktop Integration

            Ubuntu has been in the news quite a lot recently with the release of version 12.10 including the Amazon shopping lens and next week some game shop thing called Steam is going to be announced. It isn’t all toys and shopping though, some of the new features make a heap of sense for serious business applications too. One really interesting area for me is the webapp integration, this is an extension for Firefox and Chromium that allows stuff running in the web browser to integrate with the Unity desktop in a variety of ways, making the distinction between a web application and a desktop application a bit more blurry – which is a good thing. There is built in integration for an assortment of popular consumer websites like youtube, twitter, facebook etc. but it isn’t limited to these single domain software as a service sites. Any web site or web application can test for the presence of the extension then export it’s menu items, do notifications and other actions.

          • Time for an Upgrade
          • Ubuntu 11.04 Ends Support

            Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal released almost one and a half years ago will end support today. This comes according to the policy of drastic six months of OS upgrades and a support for one and half years for each. Long term support Ubuntu releases have a greater support period, extending upto five years for Ubuntu 12.04. These long term support releases are more suitable for business and enterprise environments can can be used in servers and workstations as the main OS.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 May Come Packed With An SDK
          • Join Us At the Ubuntu Developer Summit This Week!

            This week the Ubuntu Developer Summit is taking place in Copenhagen from Monday – Thursday. This is the event where we plan the features and goals for the next release of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 12.10 Review

              Xubuntu is the lighter weight brother of the ever popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. At the forefront, XFCE is the desktop environment of choice and it removes all the bells and whistles that we currently see in the star of the show, Ubuntu. It’s not just focused on older systems but those who want a great looking desktop and don’t need the extras.

              XFCE 4.10 is the forefront of this distribution and it uses less CPU and memory compared to its bigger siblings Ubuntu and KUbuntu as XFCE is focused on using less resources. What also makes XFCE also popular is the fact we don’t see drastic changes from one version to another which we see from Gnome or KDE.

            • Linux Mint Katya Reaches End Of Life

              The Linux Mint Team has announced the end of life of Linux Mint 11 “Katya”. This means users using this OS will not be able to get any security updates and the system will be open to venerabilities. Users still using Linux Mint 11 are highly advised to upgrade their system to Linux Mint Maya.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can European IT teams seriously consider open source?

    European businesses have long used IT to automate processes and drive down the cost of doing business. This pressure has increased in the current economic climate, and new issues such as bring-your-own-device and the ever increasing amount of data continue to appear.

    One of the solutions to the cost of software is to use open source solutions, but many businesses are fearful of the implications and potential hidden costs in the skills needed to manage open source technology. So what are the real challenges and can businesses across Europe really take advantage of open source?

  • Tiki Wiki 9.2 can now check system requirements

    The current 6.x and 9.x long term support (LTS) branches of the open source Tiki wiki, CMS and groupware solution have been updated to versions 6.8 and 9.2 respectively. Whereas Tiki 9.2 has more than 500 code changes, focuses on fixing various bugs and also includes several improvements, the 6.8 release only includes a patch to close an undisclosed security hole.

  • DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Marches On

    Now DARPA is opening the door to anyone, accepting admissions through February 2013 of “virtual robots” created using a free open source software program, the DRC Simulator, that DARPA has made available for download on its DRC website.

  • SaaS

    • Big Data Right Now: Five Trendy Open Source Technologies

      Big Data is on every CIO’s mind this quarter, and for good reason. Companies will have spent $4.3 billion on Big Data technologies by the end of 2012.

      But here’s where it gets interesting. Those initial investments will in turn trigger a domino effect of upgrades and new initiatives that are valued at $34 billion for 2013, per Gartner. Over a 5 year period, spend is estimated at $232 billion.

      What you’re seeing right now is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Does OpenOffice have a future?

      The Apache Software Foundation has made OpenOffice a top-level project but will that be enough to make OpenOffice matter? Should OpenOffice remain an independent open-source project?

  • Business

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A GNU Protest Against Windows 8

      The Free Software Foundation, in the form of a GNU, crashed the Windows 8 launch event in an effort to persuade Windows users not to upgrade to Windows 8 but move to GNU/Linux instead.

      Activists, one of them in the shape of a GNU, the FSF movement’s buffalo-like mascot, greeted visitors to Microsoft’s launch event on October 25. We can’t say if Microsoft actually noticed their gate crasher but Gnus probably find it difficult to conceal themselves at software launches.

      The GNU’s pumpkin bucket contained DVDs loaded with Trisquel, a free software distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Volunteers also handed out FSF stickers and pamphlets about the dangers of Windows 8 urging you to sign a pledge to upgrade to free software instead.

    • MediaGoblin crowdfunding campaign launches!

      Today we’re excited to announce a crowdfunding campaign to support MediaGoblin run in coordination with the Free Software Foundation! You may have heard that I quit my job as senior software engineer / tech lead at Creative Commons to pursue MediaGoblin fulltime and fund development. Instead of using one of the more mainstream crowdfunding sites, we decided to team up with the Free Software Foundation, who is supporting our fundraising infrastructure.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Don’t Like Partisan Politics? Then Don’t Vote By Party – Just Vote Pro-Science!

    We see Independent 40%, Democrat 31%, and Republican 27%! That’s right, the Republicans are in the minority, at just over a quarter of those surveyed!

  • A Linux User’s Perspective Of Microsoft Windows 8

    Also, I was *livid* when Microsoft’s highly-touted software failed and didn’t provide any meaningful error messages and left my system unbootable. I mean, this is the kind of shit that Lennart Poettering pulls off in Fedora Rawhide when he breaks systemd or dracut. This isn’t something I expect out of a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate pushing out production software on millions of people.

    Next, on my ThinkPad T530, I tried upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. The upgrade failed the first time, but the rollback to Windows 7 was perfect — I had upgraded from Windows 7 to… Windows 7. This Microsoft software is just unbelievably magical. You can’t make this up.

  • The Case for Irrational Voting

    Some smart friends of mine argue for a particular type of quasi-rational voting in such situations. Because of our antiquated electoral college that pretends an entire state voted for Tweedledee even if 49% of it voted for Tweedledum, moral voters should, this argument goes, vote for truly good candidates — even write-in candidates — in most states, in order to send a message. But they should only do so because there are too few such informed ethical strategic voters to actually swing the state. In the all-important handful of Swing States, however, where the contest between the two Tweedles is too close to call, we are advised to vote for the less hideous of the two.

  • Thoughts on Voting “Third Party”

    …we vote FOR things and not AGAINST things.

    This is the real, deeper problem behind a two-party system.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Binders Full of Generals

      Mr. Romney has promised to shoot the defense budget into the stratosphere at levels that have been unseen since the height of the Korean War. As in a past column, I have inserted here a chart that I think is one of the most significant of the presidential campaign, and it should be passed around to as many people possible before the election.

    • ‘They Brought an Army to Take Out a 16-Year-Old Boy,’ Says Father of Suicidal Teen Killed by Police Sniper
    • Researchers Expose Illegal Detention and Torture in Ivory Coast

      Amnesty International said today more than 200 people, including members of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front, are being illegally detained and tortured months after he was arrested and turned over to the International Criminal Court.

      Researchers spent one month in Ivory Coast interviewing dozens of people who described torture. In addition, Amnesty International met four detainees at the Génie militaire, a military barracks in Abidjan, who have been held incommunicado for more than a month.

    • WikiLeaks Releases US Military Policies for Detention & Avoiding Accountability for Torture

      The media organization WikiLeaks has released the first of more than one hundred classified or “otherwise restricted” policies from the US Department of Defense that lay out rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody. The “Detainee Policies” show how the US military has handled detention for the past decade and will be released over the course of the next month, according to a press release.

      On the first day of the release, five policies have been posted. The most significant of the postings is the 2002 manual for Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    • Protesters steal the show at Seattle police gathering to explain intended use of drones

      It was hard to hear Thursday night what Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh was trying to say about how the Seattle Police Department hopes to use drones to save lives and increase public safety — what with the chanting of “no drones” and the loud cries of “murderer” and “shame” drowning him out.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs and the sophisticated investor: Who’s duping whom?

      By all accounts, neither Michael Lewis nor Frank Serpico should be concerned about competition from Greg Smith, the erstwhile Goldman Sachs vice president whose supposed tell-all, “Why I Left Goldman Sachs,” was published Monday. I’ve only read the first chapter excerpt that’s been floating around the Internet since last week, but Smith clearly lacks Lewis’s humor and narrative verve, and reviewers who read advance copies of the entire book have said there’s not much substance to his assertions about Goldman’s culture. I suspect that Smith will have a short shelf life as a Wall Street chronicler and whistle-blower.

    • Greens chair shoots down Fennovoima nuclear project

      Green League Chairman Ville Niinistö has described the nuclear power project by the public power consortium Fennovoima as unprofitable nonsense. He said that the project should also be rejected by municipal decision makers.

    • Ten filthy rich, tax-dodging hypocrites

      The irony is that CEOs in the coalition’s leadership have been major contributors to the national debt they now claim to know how to fix. These are guys who’ve mastered every tax-dodging trick in the book. And now that they’ve boosted their corporate profits by draining the public treasury, how do they propose we put our fiscal house back in order? By squeezing programs for the poor and elderly, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    • The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

      There is some truth in both arguments. But the 1 percent cannot evade its share of responsibility for the growing gulf in American society. Economic forces may be behind the rising inequality, but as Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s former budget chief, told me, public policy has exacerbated rather than mitigated these trends.

      Even as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks. In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in 2009, 6 paid no federal income tax at all, and 27 paid 10 percent or less. None paid more than 35 percent.

      Historically, the United States has enjoyed higher social mobility than Europe, and both left and right have identified this economic openness as an essential source of the nation’s economic vigor. But several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls — a phenomenon Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has called the Great Gatsby Curve.

      Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding. This is the new Serrata. An elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.

    • Greece arrests editor for ‘Lagarde list’ leak

      Detained journalist defends publishing list of well-known Greeks who allegedly use Swiss banks to evade national taxes.

    • Steve Jobs’ Yacht, ‘Venus,’ Sets Sail
  • Privacy

    • CDB: Not Dead Yet

      My main point was that the Bill creates an unprecedented resource for the security services to “go fishing” in everyone’s private affairs. “Communications Data” means “everything that’s not the message” for every kind of internet use (e-mail, instant messaging, voice communication, streaming and so on), and collecting all of it from everyone in Britain on a rolling 12-month basis (with some information held indefinitely) offers a massive pool in which to use heuristics to pattern match answers to open questions.

    • Verizon’s ‘Precision Market Insights’ Data Mining Policy Raising Privacy Concerns

      A new initiative from Verizon is raising questions about the telecom giant’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its customers.

      The company’s new marketing program, Precision Market Insights, collects data information from iOS and Android users, based on geographic location gleaned from apps and sites being accessed. Verizon plans to continue to share that information with potential advertisers.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What’s behind the science academies’ attack on Seralini?

      It could hardly have been more damning – six French science academies jointly dismissing Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini’s recent paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology as a “scientific non-event.”

    • Agriculture Is The Number One Choice of Voters…

      “The appointment of Kofi Annan as AGRA’s chairman was a strategic decision that the Gates Foundation made to silence criticisms that its agricultural development agenda was a “White Man’s Dream for Africa.” In fact, this more reeks of Monsanto’s campaign: “Let the Harvest Begin.” Launched in 1998 to gain acceptance of GE crops around the world by projecting the benefits of the Green Revolution in Asia and its potential in Africa, Monsanto’s campaign managed to draw several respected African leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, to speak for a new Green Revolution in Africa. In response, all of the African delegates (except South Africa) to the UN Food and Agriculture Negotiations on the International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources in June 1998 issued a counter statement, “Let Nature’s Harvest Continue.” The delegates clearly stated their objection to multinational companies’ use of the image of the poor and hungry from African countries to push technology that is not safe, environmentally friendly, or economically beneficial.” Voices From Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa.

    • How a Supreme Court ruling may stop you from reselling just about anything
    • Copyrights

10.27.12

Links 27/10/2012: KDE Plasma Active 3, Raspberry Pi WebIDE

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A New Era of Operating System Competition Dawns

    …it has been many years since we’ve seen such healthy competition among operating systems.

  • Windows 8 launch – Jim Zemlin and the Free Software Foundation have their say
  • Share Will Shrink to ~30% for That Other OS in a Few Years
  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • LG Gets Serious About Linux, Joins ARM Focused Linaro

      LG is in limelight these days, yesterday we posted a story about LG working on open source implementation of WebOS for their SmartTVs, then they announced 4K TV (UHDTV) and now they are joining the Linux for ARM expert Linaro to cooperate on new ARM technologies.

      According to a press statement LG will contribute resources to work together with the resources from existing Linaro members. Linaro uses a unique business model where multiple companies create core open source software once with a shared investment in a single software engineering team, rather than by creating multiple, fragmented software solutions in isolation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Releases Plasma Active 3

        KDE has released a new version of Plasma Active. According to the announcement, the Plasma Active user interface is touch-friendly and works well across a range of devices, giving users a natural way to organize and access their applications, files, and information. Version 3 features an enhanced and expanded set of apps, improved performance, and a new virtual keyboard.

      • KDE Manifesto in action: bodega server

        I wrote the other day about why the KDE Manifesto is important for the KDE community. Today I’d like to show how it can be used in practice with a real-world case study: the bodega server. Coherent Theory has been working on this content distribution system for a while and it does things rather differently in a variety of ways including:

        * Free software licensed :)
        * multiple owner-defined store fronts to the same (or different) bodies of hosted content thanks to a tag-based metadata system
        * able to federate external content (a feature set I expect will evolve significantly over time)
        * good for books, music, services, artwork, etc. as well as for applications; essentially any content or artifact that can be delivered over the network works just fine (which is why we don’t call it an “app store”)
        * built-in purchasing system using a points mechanism which can be tied to monetary purchases (swipe integration is included), gift cards or pretty much any other system you can think of (e.g. in a school environment students could earn points through their performance in class)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What’s New in GNOME 3.7.1

        Matthias Clasen has just posted the news that GNOME 3.7.1 will be released sometime today and then takes readers on a tour. The latest on Nautilus, tweeks to the control center, and other tidbits are discussed.

      • The First GNOME 3.8 Development Release
      • Announcing Every Detail Matters, Round 2

        Details matter. Small aspects of a user interface make a huge difference. Get them right, and the experience becomes beautiful, satisfying and easy. Get them wrong, and it can be clunky, awkward and ugly. It’s only by paying attention to the details that we can raise the quality of the GNOME 3 user experience and make it fantastic.

      • Every Detail Matters 2 is open for Hacking!
      • Gnome 3.7.1 Out With OwnCloud Support, Some Screenshots

        he first release of Gnome desktop in 3.7 cycle is out. Among the most exciting features, this release comes with OwnCloud support in Online Accounts and support for faster recursive searching in Nautilus. This release is a early version of the next major release of Gnome 3.8.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cubieboard is like a Raspberry Pi on Steroids

      Here at GeekTech, we’re big fans of tiny Linux computer boards like the Raspberry Pi. If you wanted even more power after the Raspberry Pi got itsturbo on and a serious RAM upgrade, you might want to take a look at the amped up specs on the Cubieboard.

    • Mobile Devices Will Replace PC In The Workplace

      on26Oct

      Over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management (MDM) solution for their corporate liable users, according to Gartner, Inc. With the increased functionality of smartphones, and the increasing popularity of tablets, much of the network traffic and corporate data that was once the primary domain of enterprise PCs is now being shifted to mobile devices.

      With most employees coming to work nowadays toting their smartphone, and or Tablet, and it makes sense for businesses to adopt MDM. With more and more enterprise apps coming on the market and as remote access technology improves, more enterprise content will be stored on these devices. Users are already synchronizing corporate content into public clouds for later retrieval on the devices.

    • LG Working on an Open WebOS-Powered Smart TV
    • Raspberry Pi WebIDE

      If you are serious about using your Raspberry Pi (RPi) as a platform for writing and testing code, you’ll appreciate the WebIDE software developed by Adafruit. This server-based solution turns your RPi into a flexible coding environment which you can access and use from any machine with a browser. Although WebIDE is geared towards Python, it can handle other languages, including Ruby, JavaScript, and shell scripts. Better yet, WebIDE seamlessly integrates with the Bitbucket code hosting service.

      Using the provided installer script, you can deploy WebIDE in an RPi in a matter of minutes. Alternatively, WebIDE can be installed manually, and the project’s website provides instructions on how this is done. By default, WebIDE is configured to run on port 80, which can be a problem if your RPi is already running the Apache web server on that port. In this case, you need to configure WebIDE to run on another port. To do this, open the config.js file in the nano editor using the sudo nano /usr/share/adafruit/webide/config/config.js command, specify an alternative port, and restart WebIDE.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google’s Top 4 Free Android Apps

          Google’s top 4 free Android apps are available via Google Play. In order of downloads, they are – Facebook, Pandora Internet Radio, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

        • Android to beat Windows in 2016: Gartner

          Google’s Android operating system will be used on more computing devices than Microsoft’s Windows within four years, data from research firm Gartner showed on Wednesday, underlining the massive shift in the technology sector.

        • Samsung Releasing Arndale Community Development Board

          Samsung announced today the immediate availability of Arndale, a new community development board designed around its Exynos 5 Dual system-on-chip (SoC).

          It features the implementation of both the world’s first dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processor and the world’s first quad-core ARM Mali-T604 GPU based on 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology.

        • Samsung Galaxy Premier clears the NCC, shows its hardware
        • Nexus Wireless Charging Pad Shows Up

          We are already pretty well acquainted with the upcoming Nexus devices thanks to all the leaked photos of Quick Start Guide, camera photos, photos of the devices themselves and LG executive revealing info, Nexus is all over the internet. Since we already know so much about the new devices, let’s digest some news about the new accessory they will come with i.e. the wireless charging pad.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • NRO Readies Open Source Cloud For Launch
  • Tiki Wiki 9.2 can now check system requirements

    The current 6.x and 9.x long term support (LTS) branches of the open source Tiki wiki, CMS and groupware solution have been updated to versions 6.8 and 9.2 respectively. Whereas Tiki 9.2 has more than 500 code changes, focuses on fixing various bugs and also includes several improvements, the 6.8 release only includes a patch to close an undisclosed security hole.

  • SaaS

    • Cloudera Open Source Impala Brings Real Time Queries to Hadoop

      Cloudera, one of the leading commercial sponsors of Hadoop, is now aiming to enable faster Big Data queries by introducing a new technology codenamed Impala. The goal with Impala is to enable rapid and interactive queries.

    • OpenStack Foundation Board is all about Blocking and Tackling

      The name Alan Clark is a familiar one to those who follow open source governance. Clark sits on the Board of Directors at the Linux Foundation. He was also the former Chairman of the Board of the openSUSE Foundation, and Clark was recently selected to be the first Chairman of the newly formed OpenStack Foundation Board.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • CoffeeScript 1.4.0 released

      CoffeeScript creator Jeremy Ashkenas has announced the release of version 1.4.0 of his programming language that compiles into JavaScript. The first upgrade to the language since mid-May brings relatively few changes. Among them, the CoffeeScript compiler has been updated to allow developers to strip Microsoft’s UTF-8 BOM (byte order mark) from source files before compiling them.

    • Proxmox VE works with KVM and OpenVZ containers

      After six months of development, Proxmox Server Solutions has released version 2.2 of its Virtual Environment (VE) virtualisation platform. The system supports virtual machines running both under a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and in OpenVZ containers. Both can be simultaneously and transparently operated and managed on one system. While KVM completely virtualises almost every operating system, OpenVZ conserves resources by only running Linux guests on a common kernel in isolated containers. The company says that this strategy puts its product ahead of alternatives like VMware’s vSphere, Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Citrix’s XenServer.

    • Google Web Toolkit 2.5 with leaner code

      According to its developers, version 2.5 of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), a Java-based open source web framework for Ajax applications, offers significant performance improvements. Apparently, the overall code base has been reduced by 20 per cent, and the download size of the sample application dropped 39 per cent.

      GWT is built around a Java-to-JavaScript compiler that allows developers to almost exclusively use Java when writing an application’s client and server code. The user interface code is translated into JavaScript and deployed to the browser when required. The technology recently became a discussion topic when Google introduced its Dart alternative to JavaScript; however, Google has assured the GWT community that it will continue to develop GWT for the foreseeable future.

    • Clementine Music Player 1.1 Released
  • Openness/Sharing

    • The future of our open source world

      Open source shouldn’t just stop at the world of software. In fact, more and more manufacturers are warming up to the cause.

    • Open Hardware

      • Willow Garage’s Robotics Work Inspires a Spinoff

        We’ve covered the extraordinary open source robotics work going on over at Willow Garage a number of times. It is a project that originated at Stanford University. Robots being developed within it run the open source ROS (Robot Operating System) software. Now comes Suitable Technologies, a spinoff of Willow Garage doing some innovative things in the arena of remote presence robotics.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C publishes Working Draft for Push API

      The W3C has published a Working Draft for a push notification API for web applications. Currently, there are more than a dozen different approaches to sending push notifications from a server to a client, including EventSockets, PubNub and Urban Airship. The W3C draft, authored by Eduardo Fullea of Telefónica and Bryan Sullivan of AT&T, is a new approach that can use several different protocols and is intended to become a standard endorsed by the W3C.

Leftovers

  • Will Voter Suppression Tactics Threaten Free and Fair Elections?

    The wave of new voter restrictions and scare tactics being implemented for the 2012 elections — such as voter ID laws, early voting restrictions, threatening billboards, misleading mailers and vigilante poll watchers — could intimidate countless numbers of Americans from exercising their right to vote.

  • Science

    • Eating Cooked Food Made Us Human

      A new paper examines the metabolic restrictions of a raw diet, and suggests that our primate cousins are limited by their inability to heat their dinners. It bolsters the cooking hypothesis of Richard Wrangham, a primatologist and professor of biological anthropology at Harvard who believes cooking is our legacy.

      Brazilian biomedical scientists Karina Fonseca-Azevedo and Suzana Herculano-Houzel note that the largest primates do not have the largest brains, a perplexing question. Encephalization (a larger brain size per body size than you’d expect) has long been thought to be a key feature setting humans apart from other primates, and mammals as a whole, but there is no consensus on how or why this happened.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Spanish unemployment tops 25 percent

      Among workers aged 16-24 the jobless rate towered at 52.34 percent in the third quarter, only slightly down from 53.27 percent in the previous quarter, the institute said.

    • Neoliberalism Kills: Part Two

      Neoliberalism is an evolving ideological paradigm which can be traced back to the work of Hayek and von Mises in the 1920s and even earlier than that. I won’t however, do a historical survey here of the various developments and nuances. Instead, I’ll just rely on the definitions and specifications of this body of thought that seem to me to be the clearest statements of the current state of the paradigm.

    • The Price of Monopoly: $100 million
    • Don’t Be Fooled: For Investors, Charter Schools Are Cash Cows

      In Pennsylvania and across the nation, investors are making big bucks off of charter schools, and donating huge sums to the politicians who protect their interests.

    • ‘We Pay More’: US Austerity Well Underway

      Regardless of political persuasion, there isn’t one person I’ve met who isn’t infuriated by the fact that they pay more in federal taxes than a combined majority of most billion-dollar corporations. But what’s even more infuriating is that under the Budget Control Act that was passed after our austerity- crazed Congress forced it into being during the Summer-long debt negotiations of 2011, budgets for numerous essential social programs will be cut to the bone this January, under the false guise that our country is too broke to pay the bills.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • ACLU and EFF are in court against Twitter ID requests

      FREEDOM GROUPS the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will be in a US federal appeals court today as they fight government attempts to get internet user IDs without warrants.

      The ACLU and EFF are pushing back government advances on Wikileaks and Twitter where, they argue, there is a threat to liberty and privacy and want it made public whenever the government requests access.

    • How Companies Have Assembled Political Profiles for Millions of Internet Users

      If you’re a registered voter and surf the web, one of the sites you visit has almost certainly placed a tiny piece of data on your computer flagging your political preferences. That piece of data, called a cookie, marks you as a Democrat or Republican, when you last voted, and what contributions you’ve made. It also can include factors like your estimated income, what you do for a living, and what you’ve bought at the local mall.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • UN Agencies: A growing threat for the Internet?

      The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), led by Russian diplomat, Yury Fedotov, has just released a report (pdf) arguing for more surveillance and retention of data on all communications, even in the total absence of suspicion. Coincidentally, the Coordinator of the elegantly named 1267 Committee that was in charge of the report is British – and the British government recently proposed (even if it is likely to be rejected at national level) the most extensive suspicionless monitoring ever considered in a democratic society – the Communications Data Bill.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How Food Became Technology [Excerpt]

      Patent protection helped transform agriculture into agribusiness

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • No, Copyright Is Not A Human Right

        We recently discussed the common fallacy that “copyright is in the Constitution”, but that’s only one example of copyright defenders misrepresenting a document to support their cause. Another favorite, often invoked by folks like Rob Levine and David Lowery, is the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a relatively toothless document in the US (compared to the Constitution) but one that feels good to have on your side.

      • Sony Sued Over William Faulkner Quote in ‘Midnight in Paris’

        The lawsuit claims a line spoken by actor Owen Wilson in the Woody Allen film infringes on the author’s literary rights; a spokesman for Sony calls the complaint frivolous.

      • Copyright Office fails to protect users from DMCA

        The FSF has fought for years against the threat of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Users should have the right to modify, share and learn from the software on their devices, and technical measures put in place in the name of DRM offer a substantial roadblock. It’s even worse when those measures have the force of criminal law behind them, threatening people who simply want to change the software on their computers with jail time. The FSF wants to create a world in which there is no DRM. Until then, at the very least, users shouldn’t have to worry about legal consequences for disabling these malfeatures on their own devices.

      • Copyright: The New Mercantilism

        We’ve argued for a while that copyright is frequently used as a new form of mercantilism, the mostly discredited economic theory that basically said that the government should be heavily involved in “protecting” local industries with monopolies and tariffs. Adam Smith’s seminal works, which more or less created the field of economics were really, in part, a critique of mercantilism, and how it could cause more economic harm than good. When you take a wider view of copyright law and policy (especially in international trade), it’s not difficult to conclude that it’s very similar to classic 17th century mercantilism.

      • Six-Strikes “Independent Expert” Is RIAA’s Former Lobbying Firm
      • RIAA Failed To Disclose Expert’s Lobbying History to “Six-Strikes” Partners

        A month before the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy plan goes live in the U.S., the responsible Center of Copyright Information (CCI) is dealing with a small crisis. As it turns out the RIAA failed to mention to its partners that the “impartial and independent” technology expert they retained previously lobbied for the music industry group. In a response to the controversy, CCI is now considering whether it should hire another expert to evaluate the anti-piracy monitoring technology.

10.26.12

Links 26/10/2012: Talk of “EXT5″, Monsanto and Gates Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux makes the post-desktop world possible

    Much has been said about the look and feel of Microsoft’s new Metro interface and how the operating system that sits on 90-plus percent of the world’s desktops is now getting an upgrade that would be better suited for tablets and touch screens.

    That interface, and the direction that personal computing seems to be heading, represents a big opportunity for Linux… but perhaps not the one you’re thinking of.

  • Throwing Money at Shiny and Worthless Technology

    Intel had to find a way to get into the tablet market, but people only want to buy iPads and Android-powered ones. So Intel surrendered the consumer market altogether in favor of enterprise “solutions”, like its new Intel learning series “solution” for education, which relies on tablets nobody heard of with operating systems nobody heard of running proprietary education software nobody heard of. To sell those, Intel was looking for suckers, and in minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, it found the perfect sucker.

    Students in America are getting iPads, students in Africa are getting Kindles, but students in Lebanon will be getting MANDRIVAs.

  • Welcome Windows 8 to a Post-Desktop World

    Google’s Android OS only accounted for a 3.9% share of the smart phone market in 2009 (according to Gartner Group); last year that rose to 64% of the smartphone market. In 2011, smartphones for the first time outsold PCs (including tablets.) With hundreds of millions of those smart phones running Android, the consumer market is fully accustomed to Linux-based software.

  • Linux Foundation: Windows 8 is stuck in a “liminal space”

    If Microsoft has reinvented and reengineered itself to be able to position its OS to serve not just the desktop WIMP space, but also now the touch-enabled search-centric mobile-first always-on cloud-driven market — then this is a reinvention that was never going to happen without the firm facing a little criticism.

  • Desktop

    • ROSA Desktop 2012 Beta Is Compatible with Windows 8

      Konstantin Kochereshkin has announced yesterday, October 24th, the immediate availability for download and testing of the Beta release of the upcoming Rosa Desktop 2012 Linux operating system.

    • The Windows You Love is Gone

      Last month, I suggested that the transition to Windows RT bares the same hurdles as transitioning to Linux. Many obstacles blocking our path, like Adobe and PC gaming, are considering Linux; the rest have good reason to follow.

    • The Windows You Love is Gone

      Consumers who bought Vista or “7″ believing what they were told are justified in thinking “8″ is unnecessary. After all their current hardware idles all the time and it’s choked with RAM and storage. What could anyone possibly want from “8″? A new PC? Nope. They might buy a tablet this year however it won’t be running that other OS because all their friends don’t have that.

  • Server

    • Parallella: Low-Cost Linux Multi-Core Computing

      Parallella is an attempt to make Linux parallel computing easier and is advertised as a “supercomputer for everyone”, but will it come to fruition?

      Parallella is designed to be “a truly open, high-performance computing platform that will close the knowledge gap in parallel programing.” The Parallella computing board is built around Epiphany multi-core chips out of the Cambridge-based Adapteva semiconductor company.

  • Kernel Space

    • systemd for Administrators, Part XVIII
    • systemd for Developers III
    • Talk Of “EXT5″ File-System; Should EXT4 Be Frozen?

      In the discussion that followed when it was found a nasty EXT4 file-system corruption bug hit recent Linux kernel stable releases, one user proposed that EXT4 be put in a feature-freeze mode and future work then be put towards an “EXT5″ file-system, to which Ted Ts’o did respond.

      In the Phoronix Forums discussion about the EXT4 corruption bug hitting the Linux 3.4/3.5/3.6 kernels, Ted Ts’o, the EXT4 file-system maintainer, ultimately jumped in on the discussion to respond to the numerous and polarized opinions of Phoronix readers.

    • KVM Virtualization Support For ARM

      Within the forthcoming Linux 3.7 kernel there is support for Xen virtualization support on ARM when using a Cortex-A15 SoC. While not yet merged to mainline, KVM virtualization support for the ARM architecture is also coming about.

      Patches are now up to their third revision that enable KVM/QEMU support on ARM when using Cortex-A15 hardware. There’s kernel patches still needed to go upstream, which one would hope will happen for the Linux 3.8 kernel.

    • QEMU: Support KVM on ARM
    • AMD FX-8350 Linux Performance-Per-Watt

      The latest Phoronix benchmarks to share of the AMD FX-8350 “Vishera” processor are performance-per-Watt results for the Piledriver eight-core processor compared to the previous-generation Bulldozer FX-8150. Tests were conducted when running at stock speeds as well as overclocked settings.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ARM Freedreno Driver Begins Work On Gallium3D

        Rob Clark has provided a status update on Freedreno, his reverse-engineered ARM open-source graphics driver for the Qualcomm Snapdragon / Adreno hardware.

        The latest update on Freedreno came on Tuesday via his blog. Aside from getting the stencil buffer working and fixing batching problems in the 2D driver, Rob has also begun eyeing a Gallium3D-based driver and he’s already implemented DRI2 support within the xf86-video-freedreno DDX driver.

      • Atomic Mode-Setting Still Being Enriched
  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • BackBox 3.0 Screenshots
    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Recruitment: How do we perform?

        A couple of days ago, Tomas and I, gave a presentation at the Gentoo Miniconf. The subject of the presentation was to give an overview of the current recruitment process, how are we performing compared to the previous years and what other ways there are for users to help us improve our beloved distribution. In this blog post I am gonna get into some details that I did not have the time to address during the presentation regarding our recruitment process.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Linux 12.10 review

            As Canonical looks to recoup some of its investment in the Ubuntu Linux project it was widely thought that the firm would follow Red Hat’s route of offering paid product support, but instead Ubuntu 12.10 is the first glimpse of how Canonical apparently wants to recoup its investment. The firm’s decision to release Ubuntu 12.10 with Amazon adverts has added a sour taste to what still remains an accomplished desktop Linux distribution.

          • Mark Shuttleworth’s big mistake

            Last week marked eight years since Ubuntu made its appearance on the GNU/Linux scene. Since October 2004, there has been a release of this distribution every six months, the initial buzz being very loud and then gradually fading away.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Yocto Project 1.3 includes AutoBuilder

      With the release of version 1.3, the team at the Yocto Project has added a number of developer-visible features to its embedded distribution builder. First announced in October 2010, the open source collaboration project (a Linux Foundation workgroup) is aimed at device builders. It provides templates, tools and methods for developers to create Linux-based systems for various embedded systems and processor architectures such as ARM, MIPS, PPC or x86.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • IRCTC.co.in: Boon or Bane?

    It was in 2003, IRCTC felt the need of a high-performance and high-availability system to handle the high load of its operations and partnered with open source-based solution provider Red Hat to run its IT infrastructure, in order to automate and streamline its processes.

  • Why I left my MacBook for a Chromebook

    The Chromebook has inserted itself into my life in a way I never expected. Sorry, MacBook Pro — I just don’t need you right now

  • CMS

    • Acquia Introduces Open Web Experience Management For Drupal

      Acquia, a provider of paid cloud services specifically designed to support the Drupal open source web content management platform, is introducing a new concept it calls “Open Web Experience Management” or OpenWEM. It looks like digital marketing has officially come to Drupal.

  • Healthcare

    • VA unveils plans to certify VistA for meaningful use

      The Department of Veterans Affairs has laid out a roadmap toward meaningful use certification of its VistA EHR system, with a version that’s being updated and improved in the OSEHRA open source community.

      The Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA), a non-profit organization, manages a public/private community formed to modernize VistA for open source and to contribute to the VA-Defense Department’s integrated electronic health record (iEHR).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cork City Council to increase open source use in IT projects

      Aidan O’Riordan, systems analyst with Cork City Council’s IS operations, confirmed that the council is undertaking the projects in a way that will be compatible with open source work that will be carried out by the LGMA and the Local Government Efficiency Review Group.

      [...]

      Cork City Council already uses some existing open source applications and servers and is looking to build on that. To date, open source at the council had been restricted to operational applications, like network monitoring solutions or list servers rather than end-user applications, O’Riordan said.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • High School Teacher Lesson Plans Go Open Source

        For a high school French teacher looking for a creative approach to verb conjugation, new lesson plans are only a website away. The same is true for a biology teacher covering a unit on mammals, or a history teacher trying to spice up a lesson on the Gettysburg Address.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Exclusive: As Obama and Romney Agree on Afghan War, Israel and Syria, Third Parties Give Alternative
  • Australian Consumer Advocate CHOICE Encourages IP Spoofing To Get Better Prices

    I’ll be honest about my viewpoint to start this piece: I hate geo-restrictions, particularly on digital goods. I simply cannot see how they benefit anyone. Customers are blocked or pay different prices for like goods, often times angering them (not something you typically want to do to customers). Companies feel the brunt of this anger, or else at least feel the impact of the a restricted customer base through their own unwillingness to deal fairly in a global marketplace. Perhaps most importantly, for savvy customers, there are tools to simply get around the artificial barriers these companies erect, making them just more useless DRM-like nonsense.

  • Microsoft Surface gets the thumbs down in early reviews
  • ‘Obama, Romney – same police state’: Third party debate up-close (FULL VIDEO)
  • Security

    • Experts warn about security flaws in airline boarding passes

      Security flaws in airline boarding passes could allow would-be terrorists or smugglers to know in advance whether they will be subject to certain security measures, and perhaps even permit them to modify the designated measures, security researchers have warned.

    • Sony PS3 hacked “for good” – master keys revealed

      Perhaps “hacked” is the wrong word, because it can imply both criminality and lawful exploration. But we’ll stick with “hacked” here, in the sense of “some reverse engineers have figured out how you can adapt, or jailbreak, your PS3 to make it interoperable with software of your own choice.”

      The PS3 has been hacked before, but Sony was able to inhibit the hack with an update to its own firmware. This is much like the history of jailbreaking on Apple’s iOS, where hackers typically uncover a security vulnerability and exploit it, whereupon Apple patches the hole and suppresses the jailbreak.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Deepwater Horizon Won’t Settle Before the Election

      Political cycles present the obvious opportunity for prognostication. Polling is happening daily. Rather than present another poll, let us take this opportunity to make a simple prediction.

      There will be no pre-election BP Deepwater Horizon settlement despite an $18 billion deal being on the table last month and a rumored $21 billion settlement this past Friday, October 19.

    • US downplayed effect of Deepwater oil spill on whales, emails reveal

      Documents obtained by Greenpeace show officials controlling information about wildlife affected by the disaster

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • NY Times blocked in China as it reveals Wen Jiaobao’s obscene family wealth

      I remember when Wen Jiaao first became prime minister. There were such high hopes, and they’ve never really abated: Wen has always been seen as “the good CCP leader.” As if by magic, he was always on the scene as tragedies struck, be they earthquakes or floods or winter storms in Guangzhou at Chinese New Year time or high-speed rail crashes. And there was something genuine about the Man of the People, the one who cared about China’s disenfranchised. And maybe he really does care. He would have to be a damned good actor if he didn’t.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t want us to give false details? Then don’t ask for them

      Debate has once again surrounded social media and the topic of whether individual’s should be able to post anonymously and give false details when creating a social media account. Andy Smith, head of security at the Public Sector Technical Services Authority, caused controversy by advising internet users that giving false details to social networking sites was a “very sensible thing to do”.

      In an age where our personal information is becoming more and more valuable as a commodity, it is clearly sensible that people don’t share data unless it is absolutely necessary. The answer to the problem is that internet services need to reassess how much personal information they request from a user, for instance is it really necessary for a social network site to ask for your full birthday and gender?

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Policy Incoherence at the African Union Threatens Access to Medicines

      In a stunning development, following an obscure vote of Heads of State at the Africa Union in 2007 (Assembly Council/AU/Dec. 138(VIII)), the AU Scientific, Technical, and Research Commission has proposed a draft statute to establish the Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). This proposed legislation will be presented to a meeting of the African Ministers in charge of Science and Technology on 6-12 November 2012 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      The statute, drafted by true believers of IP-maximalist ideology, proposes to establish a region-wide intellectual property organization with the sole agenda of expanding IP rights, strengthening enforcement, harmonizing regional legislation, and eventually facilitating the granting of IP monopolies by a central granting authority that may well be legally binding on Member States.

    • Will Proposed Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization Enable The West To Impose Its Monopolies?
    • Monsanto, Bill Gates and AGRA (Axis of Greedy Rip-offs in Africa)
    • Gates and Monsanto Go After Milk

      In the near future, human development can potentially be dictated by corporate America, through the Bill & Malinda [sic] Gates Foundation and their $8.3 U.C. Davis grant.

    • Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push GE Crops on Africa

      Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation’s fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a “Trojan horse” to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

    • Wholesale Murder of Africans
    • Monsanto’s Former Head of Research Teams up with Bill and Melinda
    • Genetically Engineered Rice is a Trojan Horse: Misled by Bill Gates and Monsanto

      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has approved $20 million in new monies toward the development of “golden rice” — an untested, highly controversial GE (genetically engineered) crop that threatens biodiversity and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia’s farms.

      The leader of the Golden Rice project is Gerald Barry, previously director of research at Monsanto.

      Sarojeni V. Rengam, executive director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), has called the rice a “Trojan horse.” According to Rengam, the rice is “… a public relations stunt pulled by the agri-business corporations to garner acceptance of GE crops and food. The whole idea of GE seeds is to make money.”

    • Copyrights

      • Making The Most Of File Sharing: Free Market Research & A Captive Target Audience

        The demonization of file sharing by copyright maximalists blinds many companies to the fact that it is marketing in its purest form. That’s because people naturally only share stuff they think is good, and thus everything on file sharing networks comes with an implicit recommendation from someone. Not only that, but those works that appear on file sharing networks the most are, again by definition, those that are regarded mostly highly by the filesharing public as a whole, many of whom are young people, a key target demographic for most media companies.

      • Overworked, Underpaid, Illegal? Hollywood Interns Fight Back (Guest Column)
      • How Porn Copyright Lawyer John Steele Has Made A ‘Few Million Dollars’ Pursuing (Sometimes Innocent) ‘Porn Pirates’

        The rather long list of “People Most Hated By The Internet” — that guy who sued the Oatmeal, RIAA, Hunter Moore, Julia Allison, Violentacrez… — would be incomplete were it not to include John Steele. Steele is a lawyer who has partnered with the pornography industry to go after “pirates” who download their XXX films without paying for them. He has filed over 350 of these suits, and says he is currently suing approximately 20,000 people.

      • Megaupload Can’t Come Back Online, U.S. Tells Court

        The U.S. Government has just submitted its objections to Megaupload’s motion to temporarily dismiss the criminal indictment against the company. Megaupload’s lawyers had argued that a dismissal would allow the cyberlocker to rehabilitate itself, but the U.S. believes this can’t happen as Dotcom has sworn that the old Megaupload won’t return. According to Kim Dotcom the DoJ’s opposition is “full of frustration.” “Their bluff case is falling apart,” he says.

      • Torrent Site Webhost Ordered to Pay “Piracy” Damages

        Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won a landmark case against XS Networks, the former hosting provider of torrent site SumoTorrent. The Court of The Hague ruled that the provider is responsible for damages copyright holders suffered through the torrent site’s activities. The Dutch verdict has far-reaching implications for the liability of hosting providers for the conduct of their clients.

      • William Faulkner estate sues Sony over Midnight in Paris line

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