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09.24.10

Links 24/9/2010: Red Hat Passes $40.00, GNU/Linux ‘Laptop Assault’ on Apple, Microsoft

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The real problem with Java in Linux distros

    Java is not a first-class citizen in Linux distributions. We generally have decent coverage for Java libraries, but lots of Java software is not packaged at all, or packaged in alternate repositories. Some consider that it’s because Linux distribution developers dislike Java and prefer other languages, like C or Python. The reality is slightly different.

    [...]

    There are a few other issues I didn’t mention in this article, to concentrate on the “distributing distributions” aspect. The tarball distributions don’t play nice with the FHS, forcing you to play with symlinks to try to keep both worlds happy (and generally making both unhappy). Maven encourages projects to pick precise versions of libraries and stick to them, often resulting in multiple different versions of the same library being used in a given project. Java code tends to build-depend on hundreds of obscure libraries, transforming seemingly-simple packaging work into a man-year exponential effort. Finally, the same dependency inflation issue makes it a non-trivial engagement to contractually support all the dependencies (and build dependencies) of a given software (like Canonical does for software in the Ubuntu main repository).

  • A Failed Migration to GNU/Linux

    Munich had some of the same problems but they kept working and are arriving late but under-budget. Munich discovered they had more problems than the OS, a fragmented IT system barely able to interoperate with itself. They used their extra time to tune everything up. GNU/Linux is now icing on the cake, a solid cake filled with fuit and nuts, not an “air-cake”. Solothurn, it seems, had similar problems it did not address. The cause of the failure was a failure to plan portable/open-standards-based IT in the first place and not fixing the problems first.

    The one thing I have learned about IT is that a migration to GNU/Linux is always possible and worthwhile in the long run. Sometimes it is a long run because there are so many problems but fixing one problem at a time works. You can either fix the whole system in a provably-correct method developed in advance in detail or you can fix one problem at a time as fast as you can do it. If you always opt for open standards, the end-result will be the same but the latter will cost you a lot less time and energy and money. Trying to keep closed systems and lock-in is a recipe for disaster sooner or later.

    GNU/Linux sets you free. Just do it.

  • Desktop

    • Why is Dell UK Making it so Difficult?

      Remember IdeaStorm – “Where Your Ideas Reign” – Dell’s brave venture into the scary world of crowdsourcing? Amazingly, it’s still going, although it doesn’t seem to be the hive of activity it once was. One of the reasons why IdeaStorm was so important was that it allowed people to voice one of their key requests to the company: to be able to buy GNU / Linux-based systems. To its credit, Dell listened, and started selling them.

      [...]

      If you go to Dell UK’s site, the front page has nary a mention of Ubuntu or Linux. If you use the search box, there are some hits for Ubuntu – mostly netbooks, but a few other systems too. Excitingly, some of these systems even mentioned Ubuntu 9.10 in the technical specifications. However, when I tried to buy these systems, the “Customise” feature did not include an Ubuntu option (sometimes I received the ominous message “The page you requested may no longer exist on Dell.com”.)

    • 10 must-have Linux desktop enhancements

      Compiz is to the Linux desktop as HiDef is to the world of television. Is it necessary? Not at all. Will it enhance your experience? Absolutely. Compiz is a compositing window manager that adds tons of functionality to the desktop — from the stellar Desktop Cube to the various window switchers and everything in between, on top, on bottom, and around the corner. If you haven’t experienced Compiz, you have no idea what the PC desktop can really do.

  • Applications

    • Collection of 18 Popular APT & DPKG Tips for Debian and Ubuntu

      This is a guide containing the most popular and useful ways of using the APT and DPKG commands, and it applies to both Ubuntu and Debian (and their derivatives). I mentioned where super user privileges are required, the ones without a mention can be executed as normal user. If you’re using Ubuntu, precede a command with sudo in order to gain root privileges (and enter your user password); on Debian, type su, enter the root password, and then type in the commands as shown below.

    • 7 of the Best Free Linux Photo Management Software

      One of the biggest culprits of a cluttered hard disk are images taken with a digital camera. This device enable users to take literally hundreds or even thousands of photos storing them on a single small memory device. The photos are then transferred to a computer hard disk for sharing with family and friends, editing, and to print to a photo printer or one of the many online digital photo printing services.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • HOWTO: Adjust your monitor backlight from command line in Linux
      • 10 useful video Tutorials for Gimp users
      • Ubuntu on the HTC HD2

        The HTC Linux community now offers their second built of Ubuntu for the HD2. At the moment, there are drivers for the touchscreen, the Wi-Fi and the phone including 3G communication. There is, however, no audio driver and therefore no sound, even not in calls. It also includes USB host drivers, which support mass storage, audio and networking devices.

        On my phone, the boot process lasts 86 seconds until the desktop and its icons appear. The build uses its own Wi-Fi software (Wicd). You can switch between portait and landscape mode and access the Micro SD card. There is also an onscreen keyboard for text inputs.

  • Distributions

    • Open source for designing next-generation digital hearing aids

      At 64 Studio, we use the Linux kernel with real-time patches to ensure reliable, glitch-free I/O for our customers’ demanding audio applications. Having source code and full control over the design of the system means that we can tweak the machine for the best possible performance on the target hardware. Typically, our end users are in the “pro audio” market–music production, recording, or broadcast. When an audio engineer switches on their new mixing desk, they probably don’t realise that it’s actually an embedded GNU/Linux device, albeit one that weighs a few hundred times as much as their Android phone.

      Recently, we’ve been working on a rather different product which makes use of the same real-time Linux features that pro audio users already enjoy. We’d presented our work on real-time audio for mobile devices at the Linux Audio Conference in Parma, Italy in 2009. Following that presentation, we had an enquiry from Giso Grimm, a researcher on hearing augmentation algorithms at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. The trouble with designing next-generation digital hearing aids is that optimization and hardware miniaturisation are very expensive. If you pick a sub-optimal algorithm and build it into a hearing aid, you’ve just wasted a lot of money on a product that won’t deliver. So researchers at the Haus des Hörens R&D facility in Oldenburg field test new algorithms on standard PC hardware, using a specialized multi-channel USB audio interface with I/O cables that connect to ear pieces.

      Using a general-purpose operating system in place of highly optimized hardware presents a potential performance challenge. The PCs can run either GNU/Linux or Windows, but fortunately the real-time Linux kernel delivers better latency performance than Windows can. In a digital audio context, latency means the delay imposed by processing on the sound that the user hears. We can get away with a few milliseconds of delay, but if latency is too high, the brain begins to notice. The effect of excessive latency is not unlike watching a badly-dubbed movie, in which the lips of the actors are out of sync with the words; clearly, this would be unacceptable in a hearing aid field test.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Talks Turkey With The Motley Fool

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) just knocked the cover off another quarterly report, and the market is sitting up to take notice.

        In the second quarter of fiscal 2011, the inveterate Linux vendor reported 20% stronger sales year over year and roughly flat earnings; improving business conditions led management to raise guidance significantly. The stock reacted strongly to the news and is one of the biggest gainers on the market today. In fact, Red Hat is trading at 10-year highs now and looks set to run even higher.

        If you bought Red Hat when I told you to act on a temporary dip six months ago, you’re sitting on a 40% gain today. Over the same time period, that beats even fellow high-tech highfliers like Informatica (Nasdaq: INFA), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), or nearly any other market darling. Not bad for a company that makes a living selling software you can get for free.

      • Options Update for Red Hat (RHT)

        Shares of Red Hat gained $3.32 (+9.03%) to $40.07. The stock closed at $36.75 in the last trading session and today the shares of RHT opened at $39.33. So far today, the stock has hit a low of $39.33 and high of $41.48.

      • Fast Money Picks For September 24th (GLD, PBR, RHT, RAI, CREE)

        Guy Adami thinks that it is time to take the profits in Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT). Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) spiked 9.03% today.

      • Red Hat CEO Talks Turkey With The Motley Fool

        “We’re not selling software, right? The software is free,” Whitehurst said. “We have to add value around the software, beyond the software. The point is, are your applications certified? Is EMC (NYSE: EMC) certified to work with that? All of that work goes into taking the open-source development model and making that into an enterprise-class, stable ecosystem that’s just gonna work.”

        Whitehurst continued: “We recognize that we don’t sell functionality because that’s free. We’re adding value around that. That’s important, and I think that’s missed by a lot of people.”

    • Debian Family

      • debian-main
      • Loving Squeeze
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Taking a Step Back With Fresh Eyes

          this report structure (an example of which is here for the Translations method of contribution), and I have asked the following people to lead this assessment process in these different types of contribution:

          * Total Beginner (this is people who are entirely new to Ubuntu in the first place) – Jorge Castro
          * Translations – David Planella
          * Packaging – Daniel Holbach
          * Documentation – Matthew East
          * Advocacy – Laura Czajkowski
          * Support – TBC
          * Art – Martin Owens
          * Quality – Ara Pulido
          * Server – Ahmed Kamal

        • Popper – Feature-filled e-Mail notification applet for Ubuntu

          E-mail notification on the desktop has come a long way from the quaint era of ‘keeping an ear out for some faint sound effect’ to herald the arrival of new mail.

        • Track Your Apps Usage Patterns in Ubuntu Using Wakoopa

          Wakoopa is an online service which has a local tracker client specifically for Windows, Mac and Linux users. It tracks your usage of different applications and gives you a detailed picture of how you used it, your most used apps etc. And based on your usage patterns, Wakoopa even recommends new applications you might want to check out.

        • Ubuntu 9.04 reaches end-of-life on October 23, 2010

          Ubuntu announced its 9.04 release almost 18 months ago, on April 23, 2009. As with the earlier releases, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 18 months. The support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 9.04 will reach end of life on Friday, October 23, 2010. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Bugzilla 3.4 for maemo.org

          I posted this to the maemo community mailing-list before, but I guess it’s worth blogging, too. The long awaited Bugzilla 3.4 for bugs.maemo.org landed in trunk, including maemo.org specific customizations (avoiding it where possible) and a maemo.org skin for a (somewhat) consistent branding.

      • Android

        • Jorno Pocket Folding Keyboard for Android Unveiled

          Ever tried writing a full blog post via your mobile device? I have, and I quickly gave up. I am sure we can all agree that typing on mobile devices isn’t always the easiest task. If you find yourself typing a lot on your phone while on the move then check out this gadget.

        • TrackDropper for Android combines geocaching and music ‘piracy’

          TrackDropper, or ‘Piracy’, is a tiny, open-source Android app that is a proof of concept more than anything else. In essence, it is simply geocaching but with digital music files.

          Like geocaching, TrackDropper lets you leave something in a place that you’ve visited — but instead of a keepsake in a Tupperware box, you leave digital tracks in a virtual space. Other TrackDropper users can then visit the location of your musical ‘booty’ and listen to it — and leave another song in its place! There’s a cute video of it in action after the break.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google prepares laptop assault on Apple, Microsoft

        Having shaken up the mobile phone market, Google is now preparing to compete head-on with Apple and Microsoft in laptop computers with a range of Google-based “netbooks” due out this year.

        Glen Murphy, the Australian lead designer on Google’s Chrome operating system (OS) and web browser projects, said the first Chrome computers would go on sale this year. The big vendors have signed up including Samsung, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and HP.

Free Software/Open Source

  • “Open Source” is not a Verb; thoughts on Diaspora

    Diaspora isn’t screwed because the open source community is unreliable or unknowledgable. Diaspora is screwed because there isn’t just one open source community: communities develop around individual projects. And Diaspora blew the best chance they had to have an engaged, active community, today.

  • Are We Entering the Golden Age of Forks?

    There are two reasons why this is a wise course of action. First, it sends the right signal to the open source community – including those who might be engaged on other projects that are currently supported by the company in question. Oracle’s high-handed approach to open source is fast making it Public Enemy Number 1 as far as free software is concerned (yes, even relegating Microsoft to second place). This means that people working on the MySQL or OpenOffice.org projects are going to be far warier, and more distrustful of the company’s moves in future.

  • Events

    • Brussels – 14 and 15 October 2010

      This international plugfest is jointly organized by the Federal State, the Regions and Communities of Belgium. The event will be held in Brussels on the 14th and 15th of October 2010. The conference room in the “Boudewijn”-building – kindly provided by the Flemish Government – is conveniently located near the Brussels-North railway station.

  • Web Browsers

    • New features for the Chrome Web Store developer preview: Google Checkout integration & previewing for your apps

      Starting today, you can sign up for a Google Checkout merchant account via your developer dashboard. If you’re planning to use Chrome Web Store Payments to charge for apps, you’ll need to complete this setup before you can accept payments. If you already have a merchant account with Google Checkout, you’ll be able to associate it with your items in the store. Signing up for Chrome Web Store Payments is currently available to developers based in the US who have a US bank account. We’re working hard to also enable payments for international developers and will update you with a blog post once we have more details. If you have more questions about setting up your merchant account, see this help article we created.

    • Mozilla

      • Concept Series: Seabird – A Community-driven Mobile Phone Concept

        Since Mozilla Labs launched the Concept Series with an open call for participation we’ve had thousands of people join in, share ideas and develop concepts around Firefox, the Mozilla projects and the Open Web as a whole.

        In response to our open call Billy May, in early 2009, produced a throw-away concept for an “Open Web Concept Phone”. Working directly off of that community feedback, Billy has since finished the exploration with his concept “Seabird”.

      • 8 essential privacy extensions for Firefox

        hey say privacy doesn’t exist on the Web — but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to safeguard your personal information. Our computers are loaded with details about our personal and business lives, and it’s definitely not acceptable to reveal them haphazardly. With hackers becoming ever more sophisticated, you have to take precautions.

  • Oracle

    • What Oracle has not learned about open source

      Oracle’s ambitions were on display all week in San Francisco, along with its proprietary attitude, best summed up by the adage “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is none of your business.”

  • Education

    • Open Services: Sustainable ICT for UK Schools

      Today sees the publication a report from NWLG CEO Gary Clawson on the savings that would follow from a move to open source, open services and open content in schools and across local authorities. Gary argues that a switch to open source and open content would offer 25% savings on IT spend with relative ease, with a further 30-35% if LAs looked seriously at re-modelling how ICT is implemented and supported. Across a local authority with some 20 secondaries and 120 primaries, this would amount to over £1.4M pa.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Barriers to open science: From big business to Watson and Crick

      Open science must be partnered with a strong accountability system, perhaps more formal than the “Internet-as-public-record” variety used to establish reputation in open source software development communities.

    • A collaborative proposal on research metrics

      The obvious answer is to make these things matter. Research funders have the most power here in that they have the power to influence behaviour through how they distribute resources. If the funder says something is important then the research community will jump to it. The problem of course it that in practice funders have to take their community with them. Radical and rapid change is not usually possible. A step in the right direction would be to provide funders and researchers with effective means of measuring and comparing themselves and their outputs. In particular means of measuring performance in previously funded activities.

  • Programming

    • Coders must reprogram how they write for Wall Street

      As high-performance computing (HPC) becomes more important in helping financial services companies deal with a rising tsunami of data, there’s growing angst on Wall Street about a dearth of skilled programmers who can write for multicore chip architectures and parallel computing systems.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

    Curiously, Cleese’s formula for creativity somewhat contradicts another recent theory put forth by historian Steven Johnson who, while discussing where good ideas come from, makes a case for the connected mind rather than the fenced off creative oasis as the true source of creativity.

  • Uzbekistan: In “The year of healthy generation” the mothers with little kids are sent for cotton works in Kokand

    On September 22, 2010 the staff members of the Kokand teachers college were informed that all of them will join the cotton picking campaign, including the women with little kids, the residents of Kokand informed Ferghana.Ru.

    “We face the lawlessness again – says one indignant woman in Kokand. – We already got used to the fact that we join the cotton picking campaign and get no money for our labor. This became a norm. Now we see new form of abuse: from now on the mothers with little children are required to pick the cotton! Who is going to take care of kids while we are working? What is the government motivated by? In the Soviet Union there never was such barbarism against the motherhood. All actions of local authorities here directly contradict the decisions of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The Kokand authorities commit the sabotage. How can we talk about the health of future generations when the mothers are sent to the cotton fields with little kids?”

  • Alleged ‘domain slammers’ lose dot-ca licence, sue CIRA $10 million

    The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is defending against a $10 million lawsuit after denying recertification to a registrar linked to a company that many Canadian domain name holders will be familiar with.

  • New crime bills on government agenda

    Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is maintaining his seemingly inexhaustible attacks against what the Conservatives perceive as weaknesses in Canada’s justice system with new crime bills this fall on top of nine pieces of legislation that remained when Parliament adjourned for the summer.

  • Šefčovič: ‘Debate on net recipients and contributors is unhealthy’
  • Facebook Is The New Microsoft – Rebooting Fixes The Outage

    Jokes abound regarding yesterday’s Facebook outage, but apparently like Microsoft’s Windows, rebooting is almost always the solution to the problem.

    Facebook was down yesterday for around two and a half hours. Ironically, the error was caused by an automatic error-correcting system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Food Commodities Report released by the UN

      The briefing note, which can be downloaded from the site of the UN’s Special Rapporteur’s on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, shows that a significant portion of the increases in price and volatility of essential food commodities can only be explained by the emergence of a speculative bubble.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tenants slapped with trespassing tickets by NYPD, but they were just going inside their own home

      A Brooklyn man standing in front of his apartment was hit with a trespassing ticket, even after cops watched him use his key to get inside.

      Lindsey Riddick, still fuming over the bizarre Aug. 18 incident, said he showed police his identification. And when he opened the door to the Flatbush home, his girlfriend and two daughters greeted him and then ran outside the apartment.

    • I want to support Bradley, but there’s no event in my area. What do I do?

      Supporters who aren’t near one of the 16 19 cities hosting events for our International Days of Action have been contacting us asking: what can we do? Should I book a flight to, say, Quantico?

      Don’t worry, supporters – you can still be part of the International Days of Action in support of alleged whistleblower and ethical human being Bradley Manning. You can do it from your own hometowns!

    • How to Record the Cops

      In the remaining 47 states, the law is clearer: It is generally legal to record the police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with them. You may be unfairly harassed, questioned, or even arrested, but it’s unlikely you will be charged, much less convicted. (These are general observations and should not be treated as legal advice.)

    • Operation Crackdown

      On Saturday the Daily Mail ran details of a bizarre operation being run by Sussex Police called ‘Operation Crackdown’.

      The basic premise of OC is that local people are encouraged to submit reports of ‘anti-social driving’ online.

    • Patients’ details lost on train by Hertfordshire doctor

      East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has been found in breach of data protection after a doctor lost a memory stick on a train.

      The junior doctor had recorded details of patients’ conditions and medication on the device and was meant to hand it over to the next doctor on shift.

      But the doctor forgot and lost the unencrypted device on the way home.

      The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said NHS trusts should not risk data breaches.

      The doctor informed the trust immediately after discovering the loss and an investigation was conducted.

    • NHS IT manager guilty of snooping on patient records

      Dale Trever, 22, allegedly looked at records on 431 occasions. All the records were of female patients.

    • Parents banned from children’s sports sessions in Coventry

      MUMS and dads are being stopped from watching their children play sport in Coventry.

      The ban affects dozens of after-school clubs and sports centre sessions for under-eights.

      Bosses at Coventry Sports Foundation, which runs the coaching lessons, say children need a more relaxing environment “without pressure from the sidelines”.

      They also say the ban is needed for ‘‘child protection’’ reasons.

    • ‘They asked me where Bin Laden was, then they took my DNA’

      Hundreds of British Muslims leaving and returning from holidays abroad face harassment and intimidation by security forces when they pass through UK airports and seaports, an investigation by The Independent has found.

      One man interrogated by police over his British credentials was asked whether he watched Dad’s Army, while another was questioned over the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

    • Italy to abandon airport body scanner project: report

      After a six-month test, Italy’s government will drop the use of full-body scanners for security checks in airports, judging them slow and ineffective, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

      The scanners in the airports of Rome, Venice and the southern city of Palermo are no longer in use and Milan’s airport is likely to stop using the machines in the near future.

    • Paul Chambers appeal

      I can also recommend this post on the New Statesman blog from David Allen Green, whose legal firm are providing pro bono assistance to Paul during his appeal.

      David rather sweetly equates Paul’s tweet with the words of one of England’s finest poets, John Betjeman.

      “Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!”

      Which, if nothing else, is the perfect way of demonstrating the complete and utter stupidity of Paul’s treatment and conviction.

      We hope Doncaster Crown Court see sense today.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Oil and the Turtles

      Every year, Rancho Nuevo, 900 miles southwest of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, sees a spectacular phenomenon: the arribada—mass nesting—of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, which has already neared extinction. This year, thousands of baby ridleys swam off toward a deadly new enemy.

    • The world’s lungs

      THE summer dry-season, now drawing to an end, is when the Amazon rainforest gets cut and burned. The smoke this causes can often be seen from space. But not this year. Brazil’s deforestation rate has dropped astoundingly fast. In 2004 some 2.8m hectares (10,700 square miles) of the Amazon were razed; last year only around 750,000 hectares were.

    • Have the climate wars begun?

      Inhabitants protest next to the coffin of Leoncio Fernandez, a demonstrator who died during clashes in Espinar, province of Cusco, in southern Peru. Peruvians are protesting against an irrigation project that would leave them with no water.

    • Building sand castles on Florida’s beaches is illegal, feds tell oil-hunting reporter

      Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes?

      According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed “illegal.”

      The officers’ legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.

    • Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead

      The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome.

      A meeting in China at the beginning of October is supposed to clear the way for Cancún. The hosts have already made it clear that it’s going nowhere: there are, a top Chinese climate change official explains, still “huge differences between developed and developing countries”. Everyone blames everyone else for the failure at Copenhagen. Everyone insists that everyone else should move.

    • Ecuador looks to its own people in the battle against climate change

      The environment minister is the redoubtable Maria Fernanda Espinoza, who is grappling with the contradictions of having a revolutionary new constitution that guarantees the rights of nature and all living entities, yet depends on vast oil reserves. She is adamant that Ecuador wants to find ways to get out of the petrol economy and invest in renewables to avoid climate change.

      One plan is to guarantee to leave nearly one billion barrels of oil – nearly 20% of the country’s reserves – in the ground if rich countries and individuals give them $3.6bn, half the oil’s value. The money from the Yasuni project would go to a UN-run fund to pay for national park conservation, as well as health and education. It would save nearly 400m tonnes of emissions and is being hailed as an innovative climate change solution.

    • Sinar Mas gets ultimatum from RSPO over palm oil and deforestation

      At last, the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is threatening action following the release last month of the independent audit commissioned by Sinar Mas, which showed that the company had been breaking Indonesian law and RSPO rules.

      Yesterday, the RSPO uploaded to its website a statement confirming that they were taking Sinar Mas to task. However, before that happened they accidentally uploaded the letters they’d sent to Sinar Mas. These were strongly worded and pointed out that significant breaches of the RSPO’s principles and criteria had been made by several Sinar Mas companies holding RSPO membership.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Zombie cookie wars: evil tracking API meant to “raise awareness”

      Kamkar’s API comes just days after a lawsuit was filed against a company for making use of the HTML5 Web SQL database storage capabilities that come with Safari, Chrome, and Opera. First exposed by Ars Technica, this particular company (Ringleader Digital) made an effort to keep a persistent user ID even when the user deleted cookies and their HTML5 databases, telling Ars that the only way to opt out of the tracking was to use the company’s opt-out link (which gives the user no confirmation that they are, in fact, opted out.)

      Then there are a number of previous lawsuits over zombie Flash cookies, which have the same goal when it comes to user tracking. They don’t want you to delete their info, so they work around it by storing the data in multiple places and restoring it once you delete.

      While Internet users wait for software to protect against such extensive tracking, Kamkar did point out that the safe browsing mode in many browsers will probably help for now. “I found that using ‘Private Browsing’ in Safari stops all evercookie methods,” he said.

    • FBI misled Justice about spying on peace group

      There was a time in the 1960s when the FBI’s illegal surveillance of left-wing groups seemed, and maybe even was, sinister if not broadly menacing. Parts of today’s Justice Department report on its more recent activities, however, evoke that old saw about history repeating itself as farce.

      The Inspector General’s report covered a number of FBI targets following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: an antiwar rally in Pittsburgh; a Catholic peace magazine; a Quaker activist; and members of the environmental group Greenpeace as well as of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

    • Strict curfew silences media in Kashmir

      Very strict curfew enforcement in several cities in Kashmir since 12 September has had a dramatic effect on the free flow of news and information and the ability of journalists to work. Several local publications and regional TV stations are paralysed because their personnel cannot leave their homes and several reporters have been beaten by police.

      A total of 94 people have been killed since the violence and unrest erupted in Kashmir last June.

      “Trying to maintain order should not be confused with preventing the media from working,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Jammu and Kashmir state authorities and the security forces that are enforcing the curfew are failing to consider the importance of the local media’s work, or else there is an undeclared intention to prevent Kashmir’s media from operating during the protests.”

    • Statement on Tibet at the Human Rights Council

      Human Rights Watch is concerned about the situation of the Tibetan minority nationality in the People’s Republic of China as they continue to be the target of systematic governmental repression. The Chinese government continues to drastically restrict access to the Tibetan areas of China aside from a handful of closely-supervised government-organized tours for selected international media or foreign diplomats.

      In a new report issued on July 2010, Human Rights Watch documented the widespread abuses committed by Chinese security forces in suppressing the Spring 2008 wave of Tibetan protests. Human Rights Watch does not dispute that the Chinese government has the duty to maintain public order and prosecute violent protesters, and that a number of incidents in 2008 involved violence or had the potential to devolve into violence. Yet the report also found that Chinese security forces had used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality during and after the protests.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC approves Super WiFi

      When spectrum is sold, by contrast, only one company and its suppliers can innovate use of the spectrum. Manufacturers who want to improve service have to go through the spectrum owner, as a gatekeeper, and must deliver the same stuff across the network before service improves. A large investment is also required of the spectrum owner to improve service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mobile music service rejects Canada, blames fees

        But in Canada, the idea is barely getting off the ground, and one of the biggest players in the industry is blaming royalties sought by major record labels.

        “These rates … are astronomical,” Tim Westergren, founder of California-based Pandora wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

        “As long as rights societies take this approach, they will prevent Pandora from launching to Canadian users.”

      • Opinion: Bill C-32 heads to committee in a volatile political climate

        The resulting change was highly prejudicial to recording musicians and to the great benefit of the record companies that control the RIAA. The amendment was later repealed under intense pressure from performing musicians such as Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and Courtney Love. The staffer in question was subsequently hired by the RIAA.

      • MPAA: ACTA’s censoring firewalls will help governments avoid Wikileaks embarrassments

        The MPAA has updated one of its more ridiculous pro-censorship arguments; five years ago, they were telling lawmakers that blocking P2P would help block child pornography. Now they’ve presented at an information meeting in Mexico on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret, far-reaching copyright treaty that contains provisions for China-style censoring firewalls for every country. The MPAA wants these national firewalls to block sites like The Pirate Bay, but the case they’ve made to lawmakers for it is: “Bring in a censoring firewall to block piracy and you can use it to shut off sites that embarrass your government, like Wikileaks.”

        You can almost imagine the MPAA rep dry-washing his hands and licking his lips like a grand vizier manipulating a gullible sultan as he utters these words. During the Bush years, the MPAA recruited a bunch of Republican stalwart, ultra-conservative foot-soldiers (one of them told me that he believed in the Young Earth and Creationism). I can imagine that if you’re one of these square-jawed rock-ribbed types, you could believe that the government had the right to cover up murder and torture by blocking Wikileaks.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: A new obstacle for human rights?

          This paper shows how the negotiations of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, have become the emblem of the maximum protection approach of intellectual property rights (IPR), reversing the public interest approach that underpinned IPR originally. It argues that if such a vision is realized, through ambiguous rhetoric and aggressive negotiating strategies, it could lead to a new international institutional framework that will hinder the realization of human rights.

        • ACTA Negotiations – Start September 23rd, No Firm End Date

          Open Rights Group met with UK officials on ACTA this week and reports that negotiations on the next round will begin next week in Tokyo.

        • ACTA: Game Over?

          The Tokyo round of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has just begun. It could be the last one before the signature of the final agreement. The text, which is now close to completion, remains an alarming threat on fundamental freedoms online, and could lead to the generalization of anti-democratic legislation and governance.

Clip of the Day

Mozilla Seabird 2D


Credit: TinyOgg

09.23.10

Links 23/9/2010: Red Hat Inc. Climbs, FCC Adopts Drupal

Posted in News Roundup at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache hits millionth commit milestone

    A change to Apache Software Foundation’s SOLR, a sub-project of Apache Lucene, which added “full parameter substitution for function queries” became the millionth commit made to the Apache Software Foundation’s repository.

  • A Brief History: 35 Years of Open Source Software

    In this resources series I will focus on some great resources I have found doing research for my new startup StackFu.

  • 5 Tips for Aspiring Web App Developers

    So, you’re not content with just using the social web; you want to be part of building it, too.

    As a budding or beginning web app developer, you’ve got a difficult but rewarding path ahead of you. You have to master (or at least attempt to master) the intricacies of OOP and scripting languages, learn to build web apps the hard way (practice, practice, practice), and network your way into a few job opportunities. You must also decide whether you’d like to work as a solo/consultant/freelancer, a startup employee or founder, or a rank-and-file developer at an established company.

    [...]

    By far the most oft-repeated words of advice we heard from masters of the web dev trade were these: Put in some time on open-source projects. The hands-on experience will challenge you, educate you and help you build your body of work.

    Aside from code for code’s sake, open source projects are a good way to meet other devs and do some networking. You’ll have the opportunity to work with people who are much more skilled and experienced than you are yet; take full advantage of this situation and be a sponge.

    SourceForge and GitHub and good places to start looking for open source projects that appeal to you; also, as you follow various blogs around the web and see what projects might need a few extra hands. Sites like Code for America and organizations such as the Mozilla Foundation are always looking for good developers with free time.

    Finally, when working on open source apps, not only will you get great practice and be able to learn from some really excellent engineers; you’ll also be giving back to the community. As some would say, creating and sharing free and open-source software is one of the best things you can do to help your neighbors as a developer.

  • Events

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • Why exercise won’t make you thin

      Got a few pounds to lose? Cancel the gym membership. An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight. A result for couch potatoes, yes, but also one that could have serious implications for the government’s long-term health strategy

  • Business

    • StatusNet Launches Cloud Service Premium Plans

      StatusNet Inc. today released premium features for its StatusNet Cloud service. The 30,000 networks currently running on the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform may upgrade today to get additional features and further control.

  • Project Releases

    • SOGo 1.3.2 Final released

      The Inverse Team [External] is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SOGo 1.3.2. This is a minor release of SOGo which focuses on small new features and improved stability over previous versions.

  • Government

    • Secure WebOS Application Delivery Environment

      webinos is an EU-funded project aiming to deliver a platform for web applications across mobile, PC, home media (TV) and in-car devices.

    • IT: Italian regional administrations republishing proprietary software as open source

      The administration of the region of Basilicata in southern Italy, on behalf of all the Italian Regions, will republish as open source ‘Piattaforma Experience’ (Experience Platform), software to help monitor hydraulic and geohydrological risks. The software will most likely be published using the European Union’s open source licence (European Union Public Licence, EUPL).

    • Government pleas for open source business cases

      Open Source has the full support of one member of the Government’s IT management, but he has asked for more business cases to show how it can save the Coalition cash.

      Bill McCluggage, deputy chief information officer (CIO) for the Government, used his keynote at today’s 360 IT event at Earls Court to outline future plans for Government IT, and one of his first ports of call was open source.

      “We do operate in an environment where open source is used but it is only a minority,” he claimed, admitting our European counterparts were more advanced when it comes to adoption.

      “Our view there is… we can go heavily into specifying open standards… opening the way for open source to get in.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A Buzz between Rural Cooperation and the Online Swarm

      This article introduces and explores connections between rural traditions and contemporary projects of voluntary cooperation within emergent online network practices. The key examples are mainly from Finland, the Baltic Sea region, and USA. Reflections are made on the emergence of such connections during a trans-disciplinary seminar organised by the author. The main body of the essay mixes social and network culture history, including rural village community support, known as “talkoot” in the Finnish language, its establishment within cooperative development during the 20th century, and the information communications and technology society of contemporary Finland. Discussions of collaborative web platforms such as wikis, the BitTorrent protocol, and “crowd-sourcing” open up questions considering their relation to older cultural traditions. The paper concludes with contemporary examples of where traditions of rural cooperation have conceptually assisted several Finnish entrepreneurial and activist projects. Throughout the paper “the swarm” is identified as a concept worth exploring further to illustrate where the expansive potential of network culture meets concentrated local action.

    • GROUND LAB Part 2: Open source and the manufacturing shift

      The second major contextual situation that has influenced our company is the shift of manufacturing out of the US. With this shift, the US market is starting to lack the influence of American middle class spending habits. The general consuming structures of Fordism will apply less and less to the US market and therefore the R&D, design, and arts industries will also either move their nexuses to China or drastically change shape. This is because what the “creative class” is making product for is the language of the US consumer, and the current product language will be less and less profitable as the buying power of the people who speak the language decreases as the world’s consumer market shifts.

    • Open Data

      • Making OpenCharities even better… more features, more data, more charities

        We’ll also add some simple functionality to show payments from local councils that’s being published in the local council spending data. The information’s already in the database (and is actually shown on the OpenlyLocal page for the charity); I just haven’t got around to displaying it on OpenCharities yet. Expect that to appear in the next day or so.

Leftovers

  • Friended for $100 Million

    Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.

  • A Digital Media Primer for Geeks

    This first video from Xiph.Org presents the technical foundations of modern digital media via a half-hour firehose of information. One community member called it “a Uni lecture I never got but really wanted.”

    The program offers a brief history of digital media, a quick summary of the sampling theorem, and myriad details of low level audio and video characterization and formatting. It’s intended for budding geeks looking to get into video coding, as well as the technically curious who want to know more about the media they wrangle for work or play.

  • Cognitive Slaves

    The companies that have created the most new value in the last decade, are Internet companies like Facebook, Google, etc. They’ve created hundreds of billions in value. Good for them, but bad for us.

    Why? IF these companies represent the most valuable new industry of the early 21st Century, where are the jobs that will provide prosperity for millions today, and potentially tens of millions in the future? They don’t exist. These companies create few real jobs.

  • China rethinks its controversial one-child policy

    China’s one-child policy, probably the most audacious exercise in social engineering the world has ever seen, could be up for review, as Beijing policymakers worry about the effects of a population ageing fast, with insufficient numbers of youngsters to support them.

    There is speculation that a gradual rollback of the policy – first imposed 31 years ago – will start next year with pilot schemes in the five provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

  • Science

    • My bright idea: humans found a nicer way to evolve

      Most popular accounts of evolution stress the innate selfishness of the process. Species change because individuals are driven by a blind urge to thrive at the expense of others, it is claimed. Frans de Waal begs to differ.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • “New Order, Same Abuses”: Amnesty Condemns Iraq for Holding 30,000 Prisoners Without Trial

      Amnesty International is condemning Iraq for holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without trial, including 10,000 prisoners who were recently transferred from US custody.

    • A Tea Party Foreign Policy

      As one who is opposed to centralization, I am wary of attempts to turn a grassroots movement against big government like the Tea Party into an adjunct of the Republican Party. I find it even more worrisome when I see those who willingly participated in the most egregious excesses of the most recent Republican Congress push their way into leadership roles of this movement without batting an eye — or changing their policies!

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Why the single currency’s fallen off the Lib Dems’ agenda

      In the days before they were gung ho about the need for spending cuts, the Liberal Democrats used to be equally gung ho about the need for Britain to join the single currency. Indeed, Danny Alexander, the Treasury minister wielding the spending axe, was the spin doctor for Britain in Europe, the pressure group dedicated to seeing that the pound was scrapped.

      To be fair, Alexander was not alone. All the other Lib Dem big guns – Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, Vince Cable – were as insistent then that failure to join monetary union would be an error of historic proportions, as they are insistent now that there is no alternative to austerity.

    • IMF poised to send permanent officials to Greece

      The International Monetary Fund is to dispatch permanent officials to Athens, amid mounting speculation that the emergency aid programme currently propping up debt-stricken Greece will have to be prolonged.

      Although widely praised for implementing the toughest austerity measures in post-war history, the Greek government also faces growing criticism over the pace of reforms agreed in return for a €110bn (£90bn) EU and IMF-sponsored rescue package in May.

    • UN: Number of hungry people declines

      FAO director-general Jacques Diouf attends a press conference in Rome, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. The estimated number of chronically hungry people in the world dipped considerably below the 1 billion mark, thanks in part to a drop in food prices from the spikes that sparked rioting just a few years ago, U.N. agencies said Tuesday. They cautioned that the estimate, the first drop in 15 years, is no cause for celebration since there are still an estimated 925 million undernourished people on the planet. A report by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that there are 98 million fewer than in 2009, when the estimate just topped the 1 billion figure.

    • OECD predicts America will escape double-dip recession

      The United States will experience a slow, jobless recovery from its deepest and longest downturn since the 1930s but will avoid a double-dip recession, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said today.

      In its annual health check of the world’s biggest economy, the Paris-based OECD said that it expected activity to expand by 2.6% in both 2010 and 2011 without having a marked impact on the country’s near double-digit jobless rate.

    • Lauderdale man’s home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake

      fl-wrongful-foreclosure-0922-20100921

      When Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home in December, he paid cash. But seven months later, he was surprised to learn that Bank of America had foreclosed on the house, even though Grodensky did not have a mortgage.

      Grodensky knew nothing about the foreclosure until July, when he learned that the title to his home had been transferred to a government-backed lender. “I feel like I’m hanging in the wind and I’m scared to death,” said Grodensky. “How did some attorney put through a foreclosure illegally?”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Iraq: Stop Blocking Demonstrations

      Iraqi authorities should stop blocking peaceful demonstrations and arresting and intimidating organizers, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi security forces should also respect the right of free assembly and use only the minimum necessary force when violence occurs at a protest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gallo report: European Parliament U-turns on users rights

      The European Parliament has reneged on its previous position to protect users rights against 3-strikes/graduated response for copyright enforcement with a vote endorsing the Gallo report.

      To make matters worse, the French media has exposed how the European Parliament was informed by rights-holder lobbying which included the name of at least one dead person.

    • Stallman calls for end to ‘war on sharing’

      Stallman called digital rights management (DRM) technologies “malware” that could monitor usage and said they were “explicitly designed to do things to the detriment of users”.

      Using software-as-a-service (SaaS) was the same as using non-free software, he said, because users did not have access to the source code or executable file.

      “SaaS means that instead of doing your computing in your own computer, you do it by sending the relevant data to someone else’s computer,” he said.

    • Stallman calls for an end to file sharing war

      Open sauce guru Richard Stallman has called for everyone to get off file sharing’s case and has come up with some weirdie beardie advice as to how the entertainment industry can make money without charging anyone.

      According to IT News, Stallman claimed that artists and musicians were “not entitled to” compensation from listeners, but governments could introduce a tax to support their work.

      Stallman seems to think that Governments have piles of dosh to give away to rock stars. Arts are usually the first to get the chop in government restructuring as “more important things” such as education, health and science usually get the dough.

    • Stallman: End The File Sharing War

      Richard Stallman, an American freedom activist who founded the Free Software Foundation and pioneered the concept of copyleft has thrashed anti piracy outfits and said it’s time to give file sharers a break and put the problem to bed.

      Stallman, who has long been involved with openness and is the main author of the most widely, used software license (GNU General Public License), hit out at anti piracy outfits and called for an end to the file sharing war. He even came up with some advice on how he thinks the problem could be solved for all involved.

    • Copyrights

      • A Big Win for the Internet

        Today a federal court in Madrid dismissed charges of copyright infringement against YouTube. This decision is a clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it. Spanish broadcaster Telecinco had claimed that YouTube should be liable when users upload copyright-infringing material.

        The court rejected Telecinco’s claim, noting that YouTube offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website. This decision reaffirms European law which recognizes that content owners (not service providers like YouTube) are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on an Internet hosting service and states that websites like YouTube have a responsibility to take down unauthorised material only when they are notified by the owner.

      • Brighton tries to use copyright to censor Councillor

        A friend of mine, Councillor Jason Kitcat, who is also involved in ORG, is being disciplined for posting clips of Brighton & Hove Council meetings to Youtube.

        The clips are said to be a “political” use of “Council resources”.

        Their documents say Jason attempted to “hold the administration politically to account” by trying “to highlight what the he believed were the administration’s deficiencies”, while using “the council’s intellectual property” and website. Rather than concluding he was doing his job, they say Jason should face being suspended from his post.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, in this case Brighton & Hove are simply asserting that the copyright ‘belongs’ to them and therefore falls under their right to regulate Councillor’s use of council property: and in doing so are attempting to create a dangerous precedent.

        If Jason is held to have abused council “property”, Councillors will be intimidated from using information to tell residents what is going on. The same information, in words, is reported in minutes and placed in “political” leaflets. Will Brighton Councillors stop such reporting, as the same copyright subsists in Council minutes?

        Brighton is full of tech-savvy voters, and many people who are strong believers in human rights and dignity. Will they stand up for freedom of speech and protest against their Council’s attempt to place limits on the rights of their elected representatives? I certainly hope so.

      • Canadian Recording Industry Demands 45% Of Revenue; Then Blames ‘Pirates’ For No Streaming Music Services

        Ah, the recording industry. We’ve already discussed how ridiculously complex it is for a music startup to obtain the licenses it needs. Combine that with the ridiculously high rates demanded by the record labels and the fact that they demand licensing for things that shouldn’t need additional licenses, and you understand why it’s so difficult for music startups to survive, and why the market is so fragmented.

        You hear it all the time. Spotify isn’t available in the US. Pandora isn’t available outside the US. And so on. Name the startup and there are serious restrictions on it. Things in Canada are pretty bad, where they basically don’t have any of these music services, and it’s because the Canadian recording industry is apparently demanding absolutely, positively insane fees — such as 45% of gross revenue. Yes, gross revenues. If you know anything about the finances of these kinds of businesses, that’s laughable. As Pandora’s Tim Westergren notes, Canadian radio stations pay approximately 2.1% of gross revenue to the recording industry.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA and democracy

          The ZeroPaid article ACTA Still Hasn’t Been Seen by Any UK MPs makes the excellent point that ACTA negotiations are ongoing, continuing on their fast track with the intent of being concluded by the end of October prior to the American US election.

          [...]

          The main European ACTA site, La Quadrature du Net, along with the openACTA: Stop ACTA Now site from Mexico have been working tirelessly to keep citizens informed. We have been fortunate that in spite of powerful disincentives, there has been a steady stream of leaks from within the ACTA negotiations, so the secret treaty is not as secret as they would have liked.

        • Answer to mail from MEP SKa Keller:

          Dear Sirs

          Thank you for your message.

          We understand the Greens/EFA Group’s interest in the transparency very well.

          The Government of Japan also recognizes the importance of the transparency in ACTA negotiations and decided to arrange a lunch meeting with the public on September 24 as you know.

          However, it is with regret that we cannot arrange the meeting during the week of September 27 due to purely practical organizational reasons.

          We regret that we could not inform you earlier of lunch meeting as you pointed out. As we just settled the program of ACTA negotiations in Tokyo this week with the negotiating parties, we cannot inform our lunch meeting to public beforehand. Please kindly understand our situation.

          ACTA negotiating parties share the intention to promote transparency and we are to discuss any ways to promote the transparency of ACTA negotiations.

          Best regards

          武田修寛

          外務省経済局知的財産室

          Yoshihiro Takeda

          Ministry of Foreign Affairs

          Intellectual Property Affairs Division

Clip of the Day

Split videos into parts using FFmpeg


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 23/9/2010: Qt News, OpenShot Video Editor 1.2.2, Mandriva Not Dead

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Beginning [of LPI]

    As I said at the beginning of this blog entry, the members of Linux International were fully behind the creation of LPI in 1998. It was even suggested that LPI become a branch of Linux International, but I felt that this would be a bad idea. It would be better, I felt, to have a separate organization focused solely on certification, but I did volunteer my time, effort and experience to help move LPI along.
    Then one day in late 1999 the fledgling LPI had a slight problem, one that I am proud to say I helped to rectify. In order to verify that the exams were psychometrically accurate, fair and worthy of the LPI brand, LPI had to have a certain number of the exams performed and graded. But without the brand, there was nothing to induce a candidate to pay the money to take the exam. No inducement, no exams taken. No exams taken, no way to prove the validity of the exams. This was the classic “chicken and egg” problem.

  • Server

    • Linux thunderstorm in the clouds

      CloudLinux, as well as Canonical and its Ubuntu Linux, highlight the head start Red Hat, and to some extent its enterprise Linux counterpart Novell, have given other companies ready and willing to serve up Linux in the cloud. These vendors, many of which base their own offerings on CentOS, also highlight the ongoing presence of community Linux in cloud computing, a topic we’ve covered as well.

  • Ballnux

    • Virgin Mobile Announces Its First Android Smartphone, Samsung Intercept

      Virgin Mobile officials announce on the carrier’s Facebook webpage that they have plans to add Samsung Intercept to their offering in the coming weeks. While the announcement doesn’t specify the exact release date, Virgin Mobile subscribers should be thrilled as this is the first Android smartphone coming from the carrier.

  • Kernel Space

    • Native ZFS for Linu
    • Graphics Stack

      • Is Linux Power Management Getting Better Or Worse?

        From these battery power consumption results from the past five Fedora releases using three different notebooks, it does not appear that the power performance is vastly improving — or at least just not in the past two years for the selection of hardware we used. The Lenovo ThinkPad R52 tended to go through the least amount of power when running Fedora 14 Alpha, but the notebooks with newer Intel hardware did worse so we will have to wait and see how the final release performs. Coming up next we will be looking at the battery power consumption rate as we test each major Linux kernel release and that testing will be on a greater selection of hardware (netbooks including) as we look for any definitive changes in the power consumption rate of Linux. We will also be trying out Intel’s historical MeeGo/Moblin releases to see how its performance-per-Watt has changed with their intended Atom hardware configurations.

  • Applications

    • OpenShot 1.2.2 (Video Editor) Released With 3D Animated Titles, DVD Export

      OpenShot is a non-linear video editor for Linux (GNOME) with an amazing set of features: you can resize, trim or cut video, it comes with video transitions with real-time previews, image overlays, title templates, video encoding, digital zooming, audio mixing and editing, digital video effects and well, most of the features you can think of.

    • OpenShot Video Editor 1.2.2 Released with New Effects, 3D Titles and Netbook Optimizations
    • Hotot: A New Lightweight Twitter Client For Linux

      Hotot is a new lightweight Twitter client for Linux which although still in Alpha, it already looks very interesting! It doesn’t come with many features by default for now (other than the basic features you would expect to find in a Twitter client, including search), but it’s extensible through add-ons.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Wine Devs Have Mixed Feelings Over Direct3D In Gallium3D

        This state tracker does not use any Microsoft code, as confirmed by its developer. However, some are still uncertain about the legal status of Direct3D on Linux (along with the *BSDs and elsewhere that Gallium3D is compatible) and whether Microsoft could end up providing legal challenges to its adoption.

        Corbin Simpson even wanted to pull this Gallium3D state tracker out of Mesa, but VMware’s Jose Fonseca is in opposition to it being dropped and is calling for more discussion (mailing list). In another message, Jose mentions the D3D1x state tracker could be split into run-time and client driver components where the Wine developers (or ReactOS) could then re-code the run-time if they are concerned about the one living in Mesa.

        The debate over this fascinating Direct3D 10/11 state tracker is ongoing. Meanwhile, Luca has committed Wine DLLs that use this state tracker so that in fact Wine can now hook into Gallium3D for this Microsoft Direct3D acceleration on the GPU (or on the CPU if using LLVMpipe). See this Git commit.

    • Games

      • Take Part In Multiplayer War Games With Free FPS AssaultCube

        AssaultCube is available for Windows, Linux or Mac. The moment I installed and launched AssaultCube, I knew that I was in for a treat. Type in your nickname, set the screen resolution and you’re off and running. You’ll see yourself and your teammates in the map at the upper left of the screen. Obviously, you won’t see your opponents – you have to hunt them down!

  • Desktop Environments

    • Whose LXDE Is It Anyway?

      So what makes LXDE? On the one hand, its modularity allows for better customization and easier implementation of its tools in other DEs. This comes at a price, however, and that price is an identity as a unified DE.

    • Qt/K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Qt gets faster, adds touch UI stack

        Nokia’s Qt Software subsidiary released version 4.7 of its Qt cross-platform application and UI framework, touted for offering much faster performance. The Linux-compatible Qt 4.7 adds two building blocks of an upcoming high-level animation- and touch-enabled UI stack called Qt Quick: a Javascript-based QML language and a “Qt Declarative” C++ module.

      • Nokia Releases Qt 4.7 with Qt Quick
      • KDE will soon run even faster! (QT 4.7 released)

        Nokia announced yesterday the release of QT 4.7, which comes with very interesting new features, the most notable of which is probably speed.

      • Qt 4.7.0 in openSUSE; KDE updates

        With the release of Qt 4.7.0 it’s time to use it to build KDE packages destined for openSUSE 11.4. This means that Qt 4.7 will shortly land in KDE:Distro:Factory repositories. In a couple of months’ time it will be followed by betas of the KDE 4.6 releases. If you are using KDF just because it’s the latest KDE release, consider replacing it with KDE:Release:45 now, which will remain 4.5 and Qt 4.6 based.

      • Nokia releases Qt 4.7 with terrific new mobile UI framework

        Nokia has announced the official release of Qt 4.7, a new version of the company’s open source development toolkit. The update introduces an impressive new framework called “Qt Quick” that accelerates the development of mobile user interfaces that work across multiple platforms and form factors.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Top 6 Gnome Shell Themes Ever!

        If you are a regular reader of our blog, you probably need no introduction to GNOME Shell and its capabilities. We had a complete review of GNOME Shell before, and we were quite happy with the way it was evolving. GNOME Shell, even though it is still in its early stages of development, was an absolute delight to use.

      • Why Gnome? Why.

        I have a love/hate relationship with gnome. I use it, I develop for it and at the same time I dislike the way the gnome project produces functional libraires.

      • Making a Difference; Selling a Difference

        A few days ago, Mark Shuttleworth took some time to address critics who scoff at Canonical’s contributions to GNOME and the Linux kernel itself by sharing his thoughts on the subject in his personal blog. The post, titled “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption”, reflecting on Canonical and Ubuntu’s contributions to the world of free and open source software. There are a couple of interesting stories, some obvious rationalization, some genuine insights, and more than a few nods to the various forces that come together to create a Linux distribution.

      • Quick access to Zeitgeist’s Activity Journal

        Seif is proposing that the Activity Journal could pop out at lightning speed when the mouse hits a side of the desktop, in this case, the left side. He also wants people to notice how quickly the journal appears.

      • GTK Impression – Stealth Menus

        A core design element of the Impression themes is dark desktop and menu panels which displays well with the Ubuntu default wallpaper. A specific design element of the menu is the decision on how to “prelight” each menu item. The Impression themes use a prelight tint which is subtle to reduce strobing.

  • Distributions

    • Security

      • Is the Web heading toward redirect hell?

        Google is doing it. Facebook is doing it. Yahoo is doing it. Microsoft is doing it. And soon Twitter will be doing it.

        We’re talking about the apparent need of every web service out there to add intermediate steps to sample what we click on before they send us on to our real destination. This has been going on for a long time and is slowly starting to build into something of a redirect hell on the Web.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Reassures the Community That It’s Alive and Well

        A few days ago, former Mandriva employees as well as community members banded together to announce the Mageia project, from the Mandriva sources which, they say, will ensure the project’s survival.

        Mandriva has now come out to clarify the project’s future and has said that Mandriva will continue to be supported and developed on the desktop in both free and paid flavours.

      • Mandriva: We’re not dead

        In a reaction to the founding of the Mageia project and to a question posed on the Cooker mailing list, the French Linux distributor Mandriva has commented on its current situation and future plans. The company says the Mandriva distribution is far from dead and will continue to be consistently maintained. The next release of the Mandriva Community Edition is reportedly planned for the beginning of 2011.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s second quarter strong: Best billings growth in two years

        Red Hat continues to report strong quarterly results as the company plans to ramp up its cloud management capabilities.

        The company on Wednesday reported earnings of $23.7 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $219.8 million, up 20 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 19 cents a share.

      • Red Hat profit falls, beats Street view

        Red Hat’s shares rose 1.4 percent in extended trading to $37.25 after closing at $36.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

      • Red Hat: The 1st billion-dollar open-source company?

        A few months back Glyn Moody, noted open-source journalist, asked the question, “Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?” Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s CEO answered, “Red Hat could get to $5 billion in due course, but that this entailed ‘replacing $50 billion of revenue’ currently enjoyed by other computer companies. Guess what? Red Hat is on its way.

        In its latest quarter, Red Hat’s total revenue was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year. I guess Oracle’s attempt to snatch Red Hat’s business away with a re-branded RHEL really hasn’t worked.

      • Red Hat still kicking despite intense competition

        Red Hat is still a strong presence in the Linux distribution market as its latest financial results prove, declares a senior company executive who noted that the company’s success comes despite targeted maneuvers by its competitors, specifically, Oracle.

        Alex Pinchev, executive vice president and president of global sales, services and field marketing for Red Hat, told ZDNet Asia in an interview Thursday that the software company has increased its share of the Linux distribution market from 80 percent four years ago to 87 percent today. This growth comes despite of competition from companies such as Oracle and Novell, he said.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Beta Declared GOLD

          At the Fedora 14 Beta Go/No-Go meeting today, the Fedora 14 Beta was declared GOLD and ready for release on September 28, 2010.

    • Debian Family

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana Picks up Where OpenSolaris Left off

    For those disappointed by Oracle’s decision to discontinue supporting a free version of its Solaris Unix-like operating system, a new alternative emerged to take its place. OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation. OpenIndiana will be built on the last available version of OpenSolaris and will contain bits of Solaris 11. OpenIndiana is the new OpenSolaris.

    OpenIndiana is said to be compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express and should be an easy drop-in replacement for those systems. Initially OpenIndiana will contain some closed-source code since the current code-base is not fully open. These bits will eventually be replaced by fully Open Source code.

  • Why Open Source Is Free

    In Software Market 3.0, it’s not so much that the Freedom of the software leads to the freeness of the software – although, if you have the resources in-house, you never need pay anyone outside (that’s a big “if” by the way). In Software Market 3.0, everything is available at no charge to somebody because of the need for developer freedom, so it’s tempting to think it’s all available to everyone at no charge – but it’s not.

  • Events

    • lca2011 Announces Second Keynote Speaker

      Our second confirmed keynote speaker for lca2011 is the original author of Sendmail, co-founder and Chief Scientist of Sendmail, Inc., and co-author of Sendmail, published by O’Reilly and Associates. He has presented numerous papers on email and programming and while at U.C. Berkeley, he was the chief programmer on the INGRES relational database management project. He then led the Mammoth project to provide large-scale research software and hardware infrastructure. He has also designed database user and application interfaces at Britton Lee (later Sharebase) and has contributed to the Ring Array Processor project for neural-network-based speech recognition at the International Computer Science Institute.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An Early Look At Firefox 4

        Among all new browsers, Mozilla may have found the best compromise to bridge the old and the new. Users can easily switch between the new naked interface and the old legacy interface. The new reduced menu that hides below the orange Firefox / Minefield button feels lighter and more organized.

        Also new is a major update of the Gecko layout engine, which hits version 2.0 and delivers rendering improvements. Mozilla has not released a lot of information about its Mozilla 2.0 platform so far, but we will be updating our coverage as soon as more information becomes available.

      • Firefox 4 beta 7 dev going slow, RC1 not due until late October

        Firefox 4 Beta 6 was released on September 14. Beta 7, which is currently under development, is slated for release sometime in the second half of September and the first release candidate is expected to be delivered in the second half of October.

  • Oracle

    • Ellison & the GPL Part I

      You would think a firm that fancies itself a Linux development company would have some respect for the GPL. With most companies, you’d be right. But not with Oracle. It becomes more obvious with each passing day that Larry Ellison has absolutely no respect for the GPL. The FOSS community would do well to consider Ellison to be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing and act according – for “FOSS-friendly” Oracle might pose more of a threat than Microsoft ever did.

      Ellison seems to be making the GPL his play toy, shamelessly looking for holes in the license to exploit to his own advantage. Several years back, to show his displeasure at Red Hat for potentially moving into his territory when they acquired JBoss, he boldly announced the release of Unbreakable Linux, which was really Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) rebranded as an Oracle product (which he was perfectly free to do under the terms of the GPL).

    • Ellison & the GPL Part II
    • Proceed With Caution to Oracle’s Proprietary Linux Kernel

      The new kernel is faster than RHEL 5, the company says–though that’s not too surprising, given that the current RHEL is based on an older version of the Linux kernel. The next version, RHEL 6–due later this year–will presumably be similarly updated, with all the speed and other benefits that brings.

      What’s more concerning, I think, is the way Oracle is trying to introduce vendor lock-in in an area that’s supposed to be defined by openness.

      The company has already been showing its true feelings about openness lately. First, it sued Google over Android’s use of Java, then it pulled the plug on OpenSolaris, the open version of Sun’s Solaris operating system. One can only worry for OpenOffice.org.

    • What Oracle has not learned about open source

      But not everyone has made the adjustment. The Bells haven’t. Tech lobbyists like the Progress and Freedom Foundation haven’t, talking of “property” as sacrosanct even when it leads to monopolies that frustrate change, growth, and competition.

      Oracle most definitely hasn’t, and this is a big problem given their control over what many still consider the crown jewels of open source — Java and Open Office.

      Oracle’s ambitions were on display all week in San Francisco, along with its proprietary attitude, best summed up by the adage “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is none of your business.”

      There is nothing “socialist” about sharing infrastructure. America’s growth is based on it. From canals to railroads, from ports to freeways, from convention centers to the Internet, shared infrastructure has lowered costs for America’s businesses throughout our history, and made our economy the envy of the world.

    • Proceed With Caution to Oracle’s Proprietary Linux Kernel

      After years of using Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the basis for its own “Unbreakable Linux” distribution, Oracle this week announced that it has created its own version of the Linux kernel that’s optimized for use with its other enterprise offerings.

    • Oracle Announces JDK Roadmap for Advancing Java SE

      Oracle is announcing its plans for advancing the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) and optimizing it for new application models and hardware, including extended support for scripting languages, increased developer productivity and lower operational costs.

      The announced roadmap for the OpenJDK accelerates the availability of Java SE with two releases, one in 2011 and one in 2012. These OpenJDK releases will continue to serve as the basis for the Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 and JDK 8.

  • Government

    • UK Gov IT chief backs open source, small business

      The UK government’s deputy Chief Information Officer has outlined plans to hand public sector IT contracts over to small businesses and suppliers of open-source and cloud-based solutions in an attempt to balance the books.

      Speaking at the 360IT conference in London on Wednesday, Bill McCluggage also promised greater transparency over IT procurement, with tenders and contracts published online.

      “It is quite an interesting time, with some 120 days since the new government,” he told delegates. “The new administration’s policy is to promote small business procurement so that 25 per cent of government contracts should be awarded to SMEs.”

      “We want to move away from large system integrators,” he added.

      McCluggage said IT projects across all departments were being reassessed ion a bid to cut the bill for central government IT, which currently stands at more than £7 billion – nearly half of the £16.9 billion spent nationally on public sector IT services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can academia “release early, release often?”

      A few months ago, opensource.com ran a story on a textbook for college students learning programming (Can Professors Teach Open Source?, Greg DeKoenigsberg, Apr 6 2010). The textbook, “Practical Open Source Software Exploration,” was created the open source way on the Teaching Open Source wiki. (Read Greg’s article for more on what we mean by creating the textbook “the open source way”.)

      Although the textbook was written with students in mind, it turns out that professors are pretty important when it comes to teaching, too.

      Late July, I sat in on a conversation between primary authors of the textbook on my team at Red Hat and Timothy Budd, associate professor at Oregon State University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Budd used “Practical Open Source Software Exploration” in an introduction to free and open source software course in the spring 2010 semester. He reported that the book has potential, but that there are a few major things to get fixed.

    • Open Data

      • MapQuest debuts four new OpenStreetMap enhanced mapping sites in Europe

        Today, the company announced the beta launch of four new European mapping sites built on OpenStreetMap data, in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

        The AOL company says all four sites will utilize the new MapQuest brand and UI and will have data from OSM, allowing users to improve areas like streets in their neighborhoods, bike paths, parks and hiking trails. Each site will be a stand-alone offering that lives alongside the existing MapQuest sites – which are based on commercially available map data – in the four countries.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Budapest: 2 talks at the OpenOffice.org Conference 2010

      At the worldwide OpenOffice.org Conference 2010 in Budapest I have participated giving two talks: the main one was about ODF Scripting, which is about how to generate office texts, presentations and spreadsheets automatically. The other (very short) talk was about ODF-next, that is what should be in my opinion the evolution of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for office documents.

Leftovers

  • My geekiest strip ever.
  • DJ Chris Moyles plays down BBC pay tirade

    Radio One DJ Chris Moyles has played down an on-air tirade about not being paid, in his first show since he made the comments.

    Moyles said he was “not embarrassed, just very bemused” by the furore surrounding his “rant” on Wednesday.

    “Yesterday was a ridiculous day,” he said as his show began at 0630 BST. “Hopefully, this will go away.”

  • Finance

    • Recession Over in June 2009

      The National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of the start and end dates of a recession, determined that the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009.

    • 12 Reasons a Healthy Startup Ecosystem Matters to Founders (And One Big Reason It Doesn’t)

      If you have a startup in a city outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, ecosystem is a word you hear pretty frequently. And Montreal is no exception. I’ve been part of Montreal’s startup scene since I moved here from the Bay Area in 2002. I’ve been active in local events and projects since our first BarCamp in 2006. And I’ve taken an amateur’s interests in other cities’ efforts to kickstart their own startup virtuous cycle – New York, Portland, Vancouver and others.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Where We Are, Where We’re Going

      On Thursday, the House Committee on Administration will take a vote on the Fair Elections Now Act — the bill that we, along with many others, have been pushing for the past two years. The Committee will pass the bill. With a bit of luck, and a lot more pressure, the managers of the bill believe it could have the votes to pass the House as well. If they’re right, and if the Speaker allows the bill to come to the floor, then for the first time in a generation, the House will have ratified fundamental and effective campaign finance reform.

      This optimism will surprise many of you. As I’ve travelled to talk about this issue, the overwhelming attitude of people who want better from our government is that our government is incapable of giving us better. The House ratifying Fair Elections would be the first, and best evidence, this skepticism might be wrong. It would also be a testament to the extraordinary work of organizations like Public Campaign and Common Cause (especially the campaign director, David Donnelly), as well as many others, including MoveOn, the Coffee Party, You Street (as in “not K Street”) and many of you. This victory would give American voters an idea worth fighting for. It would be a critical victory, at least if we can gather the final few votes needed in the House. (You can help in that by using our Whip Tool).

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Tools to visualize access to information

      When Google’s services are blocked or filtered, we can’t serve our users effectively. That’s why we act every day to maximize free expression and access to information. To promote transparency around this flow of information, we’ve built an interactive online Transparency Report with tools that allow people to see where governments are demanding that we remove content and where Google services are being blocked. We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Third Time’s The Charm?

      After signing its intention to conform its copyright act to World Intellectual Property Organization standards 11 years ago, the Canadian government has introduced Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, to fulfill that mandate.

      But after the failure of two previous attempts — Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 both died on the vine due to unexpected election calls — some are warning the same fate could befall the CMA, especially since federal conservatives remain in charge and could be toppled by the opposition at any time.

    • Stevie Wonder calls for International Action to Enhance Accessibility for Visually Impaired Persons

      Stevie Wonder launched his “Declaration of freedom for people with disabilities” which he said was “a call to action, a plan to empower the independence of people with disabilities by providing them with the tools to learn and grow.” In addressing ministers and policy-makers from WIPO’s 184 member states, he said, “through your legislative efforts, incentives can be created to advance the blind and visually disabled towards the promise of a better life.”

    • Gallo report: European Parliament U-turns on users rights
    • Copyrights

      • Senior Judge Warns of End To File-Sharing Cash Demands

        A senior judge has given the clearest indications so far that patience could be running out with “pay up or else” letters currently being sent out in their thousands to alleged file-sharers. At a hearing to authorize yet more, the judge called the schemes “a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut” adding that once the Digital Economy Act is in force, further applications may not be successful.

      • Google Asking For Help In Making Sure Public Domain Books Are Recognized As Public Domain

        Perhaps in response to this, apparently Google is now asking people in their forums to identify books within Google Books that are in the public domain, so that Google can investigate and see if they should be opened up as public domain books (found via Glyn Moody).

      • Copyright As Presently Defined Is Unconstitutional

        The context is a discussion over whether it should be legal for users to strip off TUR (technological usage restrictions), also known as DRM, when the validation servers for their legally-purchased content (that is, music, video, and software) are shut down. Should Windows XP stop working when Microsoft shuts down its Genuine Disadvantage servers? Should people who bought “protected” music lose when Wal-Mart or Microsoft or Apple decide to shut down their authorization servers?

        [...]

        Now, we must understand that copyright and patents do not exist to enrich media and technology companies, but only to benefit society as a whole. The RIAA, the MPAA, and the BSA consist mostly of large and rich corporations. They are large and rich, I surmise, because misinterpretation of a simple clause of the Constitution into a near-perpetual right to compensation has enabled corporations and “stars” to get very high returns for their efforts. The bad thing about those ultra-high returns is the belief that they are entitled to them, which was the reason behind technological usage restrictions in the first place.

      • Supreme Court could take its first RIAA file-sharing case

        The US Supreme Court is weighing in on the first RIAA file sharing case to reach its docket, requesting that the music labels’ litigation arm respond to a case testing the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.

        The case pending before the justices concerns a federal appeals court’s February decision ordering a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750—or $750 a track—for file-sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader. The appeals court decision reversed a Texas federal judge who, after concluding the youngster was an innocent infringer, ordered defendant Whitney Harper to pay $7,400—or $200 per song. That’s an amount well below the standard $750 fine required under the Copyright act.

      • The Canadian Music Industry on C-32: A House Divided

        Musician Carole Pope has an op-ed in the Globe and Mail today calling on the government to reform Bill C-32 by extending the private copying to MP3 players. That approach was derided by both Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement as the iTax last spring and Clement tweeted a response today. Regardless of your view on the levy, the op-ed highlights just how divided the music industry in Canada is on Bill C-32. While sites like the CRIA-backed Balanced Copyright for Canada seek to project an image of strong support for the bill, the reality is that the Canadian music industry is deeply divided on many aspects of the proposed legislation. In fact, in recent weeks it has turned increasingly critical, touting the need to pass the bill, but simultaneously offering mounting criticism of its provisions.

      • How Canada’s new copyright law threatens to make culture criminals of us all

        Industry Minister Tony Clement’s iPod contains 10,452 songs, he told reporters on May 26, most of them transferred from CDs he bought. It’s a widespread practice generally known as “format shifting,” and in Canada, it’s illegal.

      • Copyright and Football: A Guest Post

        The theory behind copyright is simple – if we allow anyone to copy a good new idea, then no one will come up with the next one. The theory makes perfect sense – in theory. In previous posts, however, we have described how fashion designers, chefs, comedians and pornographers all continue to create, even though others are free to copy their fashion designs, recipes, jokes, and . . . images. In this post, we’ll take a look at something different: football.

      • Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill

        enator Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). This flawed bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time — by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. The bill would also create two Internet blacklists. The first is a list of all the websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second, more worrying, blacklist is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines — without judicial review — are “dedicated to infringing activities.” The bill only requires blocking for domains in the first list, but strongly suggests that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators who decide to block domains on the second blacklist as well. (It’s easy to predict that there will be tremendous pressure for Internet intermediaries of all stripes to block these “deemed infringing” sites on the second blacklist.)

      • Everything is a Remix
      • Leaked Report Admits That Hadopi First Strike Accusations Won’t Be Reviewed For Accuracy

        Read that bold part carefully. What this is saying is that despite the fact that you can be kicked off the internet based solely on accusations, not convictions, and despite all of the problems with false accusations and the fact that an IP address alone does not accurately identify an individual, and despite the fact that the massive number of notices being sent out mean that there will surely be false positives, the only people reviewing these notices to make sure they’re accurate will be employed by the agent hired by the copyright holders themselves. Due process? It’s dead.

      • Mulve – The Nightmare-Scenario Music Downloading Tool

        As pressure on file-sharing continues to mount, many people are searching for ‘safer’ methods to acquire music. Today we bring news of an application that seems to be almost too good to be true. With a huge database of songs, Mulve delivers music to users’ desktops at amazing speeds at the touch of a button with zero uploading, meaning that “getting caught” is no longer a concern. Question is, how long will it last?

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Still Hasn’t Been Seen by Any UK MPs

          Country’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirms that no democratic institution in the UK has yet seen a draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

          More news of the frighteningly secretive nature of the ongoing Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations has appeared with the confirmation by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office that no text of the treaty has yet been shared with any MP or the country’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

          What this means, as has been the case in other countries where the ACTA is being debated, is that to date no democratic institution in the UK has seen a copy of the ACTA draft.

        • Latest ACTA Negotiation Kicks Off By Making It Difficult For Consumer Rights Groups To Attend

          While it’s not clear that it’s done much, at least at the last few ACTA negotiation meetings, time has been set aside for various “civil society groups” to meet with the negotiators and ask some questions. Apparently, the ACTA negotiators would rather not do that anymore. Sean Flynn has detailed just how difficult the negotiators made it for such groups to attend the latest meeting in Tokyo. Everyone knew that the meeting was happening in Tokyo, but the rumors were that it started next week.

Clip of the Day

Nokia N900 user Interface


Credit: TinyOgg

09.22.10

Links 22/9/2010: Dell Announces Another Linux-powered Tablet, Facebook Adds to MySQL

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Are Your Desktop Effects Slowing You Down?

      Whenever I perform a 3D benchmark in Linux one of the first questions I get asked about the results is:

      Where your desktop effects turned off?

      For those who are not aware, desktop effects are the “flash” that is enabled by default in many popular Linux distros (namely Ubuntu and it’s derivatives) such as the wobbly windows, desktop cube, and sleek sliding effects. Something that has always been questioned is whether or not desktop effects slow down your 3D performance in other applications and if so, how much do they slow it down by?

    • Linux Live USB Creator

      One of the greatest options to test out a Linux distribution is to create a Live CD and use that to boot the operating system from. That way, no changes are made to the current system, and the user is still able to test Linux extensively. Then, when the user feels comfortable using the operating system, it can be easily installed next to existing systems, or even as the only new system on the computer.

    • “Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements”

      Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements (Adobe). The all-new Yahoo! Mail has not been tested with your operating system (Yahoo).

      What do these two messages have in common? In both cases, they were generated by trying to access the service or software from a Linux-based PC. I wish I could say it was because I am running 64-bit Fedora, or because I want to do something special with the sites, but sadly, that is not the case. In the case of Yahoo, I am just trying to access my mail box. It does work, but it “has not been tested,” which leads me to believe that if some feature fails to work as I expect it to, I am pretty much out of luck. In the case of Adobe, I need to download something called Adobe Digital Editions in order to read an electronic book from Cisco Press I guess this indicates that Cisco admins only use Windows or Apple as their desktop systems.

      And this bothers me. It bothers me on a number of levels. Linux is no longer just for servers, nor has it been for more than ten years. Major corporations, like Cisco, are pressing for a larger Linux presence, working with development shops and providing software that interacts or runs on Linux.

  • Server

    • Webmin’s virtual twin

      When you set up a domain on Virtualmin, you can configure applications to provide a fully featured set of web services from a single interface. Virtualmin will set up Linux users, ftp, email, DNS, web space and database access. Virtualmin uses Apache to host web sites and BIND for DNS. Email support is from Postfix, dovecot Cyrus and saslauthd. Databases services are provided by MySQL.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Time for some Enlightenment.

      In the days of old when knights were bold and computers not invented. Men did stocks with wires and blocks and results were not as intended. :)

      Then computers were conceived, with the result of massive sales of pizza, chips and fizzy and/or caffeine loaded drinks. The first computers were, by today’s standards, slow and limited. Programs had to be written to make the best use of available CPU cycles. They had to get the most bang for their buck so to speak.

    • 20 Linux Apps That Make the Desktop Easier

      In this article, I want to share some of the applications I use on a daily basis. Some of the applications are GNOME desktop specific, so whenever possible I have included their KDE counterparts to help even things out.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • B-Sides – What’s up with KDE?

        Since we didn’t record a KDE and the Master of the Universe episode this week, we decided to make a B-Sides episode for your listening pleasure.

      • What happens if Mr. Nepomuk meets a bunch of Telepathyans?

        Yesterday evening I came back from Cambridge where I attended the Telepathy-KDE sprint (note to self: never again fly with easyJet) which was smoothly organized by George Goldberg. A lot has already been said about the work at the sprint: Daniele “drdanz” Domenichelli provided us with nice pictures (I am looking really weird in the group photo), George Kiagiadakis gave a nice overview, and George G. himself spammed identi.ca with tons of comments on the sprint. Thus, obviously I will focus on the Nepomuk parts of the sprint.

        Since George G. and, thus, Telepathy-KDE is one of the most fearless (as in: does not fear to try all the broken Nepomuk features and then ask me to fix them) Nepomuk users/developers he had a list of topics for me to look at. There was the issue that the query service did not scale since it created a separate thread for each query. I quickly fixed that using QThreadPool and a predefined number of query threads which made the contact list populate correctly.

      • Anthony Kolasny Explains How KDE Software is Used At Johns Hopkins University

        While it is easy to focus on many other strong points of KDE software, one aspect that deserves a closer look is the ability for it to support science. Back in July, you may have caught the Dot story on “KDE-Science” discussing the background and initial call for engaging the scientific community. Today we would like to highlight some of the advances that have occurred since then and present a real world example of how KDE software is already helping to support research.

      • Weird Konsole Split

        Yakuake does splitting right. You can split several times horizontally and vertically and the resulting terminals are independent. You can also switch the focus of the terminals easily via keystrokes which makes yakuake an invaluable tool when working on the terminal under KDE.

  • Distributions

    • Experiments, adventures, and consequences

      I’ve been doing a fair amount of experimentation on my machines. Been playing with XBMC, Boxee, Ubuntu, and bleeding-edge Xfce and Freedesktop software stacks on Gentoo.

    • Reviews

      • Linpus Lite 1.4 review

        Linpus Lite is the distribution for netbooks and smartbooks developed and maintained by Linpus Technologies, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. The company’s flagship Linux distribution used to be Linpus Desktop until it decided to focus on the Lite and QuickOS line. Linpus Lite 1.4, announced on July 30, 2010, is the latest update, and also the first to come with a standalone installer. This article is the first review of the Linpus Lite edition to be published on this website.

      • How is FreeBSD 9.0 shaping up?

        Other ways (though with more technical discussions) to stay up-to-date with FreeBSD’s development are:

        * Following the FreeBSD Current Mailinglist or
        * Checking for changes in the FreeBSD source code and reading the reason for and the backgrounds of those changes.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia and Mandriva

        However, Mandriva is now at the crossroads. Yes, here’s where the road divides for the desktop distribution and the 11-year-old Linux company . The financial situation of the company has pushed a significant group of Mandriva developers to fork and they have started a new project: Mageia. This project comes as winds of hope for those of us who love the desktop distribution and that were puzzled by Mandriva S.A.’s secretism. Mageia’s boat is full of seasoned Linux sailors and this new project was applauded in the community forum.

        Shortly after the announcement about Mageia was made, Mandriva S.A. finally posted an official statement on the future of the distribution. Read about it here. So, it seems that the company does not want to let Mandriva (the distro) fall into oblivion.

      • Radical Innovation is needed for GNU/Linux distributions

        There’s a certain movement these days in the world of GNU/Linux distributions. I think we are experiencing one of these moments that starts with a question that has been asked and heard many times -should distros differentiate themselves in order to survive? & aren’t there too many distros out there?- and ends with a much more serious question: Innovating in the world of GNU/Linux. Rest assured this is not going to be that sort of rant where we conclude that “Linux is the copycat of other OSes” just like we will not, in fact answer the question of the pretendly too many distributions or their differentiation. That is, I will not really answer these questions; and the reason I won’t is that I think these are all bad questions that either miss the point or show a certain lack of understanding of FOSS and GNU/Linux in general.
        I guess by now all of you have heard of Mageia, the Mandriva fork. But these news overshadowed something else that is a developing situation
        elsewhere and matters perhaps even more: OpenSuse.

      • Mandriva Fork: and Unity

        So now we have some things that are very similar to Mandriva like drakxtools that are basically patched to use SMART instead or URPMI. We have become pretty familiar with drakxtools and themed it for Unity etc.. but it’s still drakxtools and we still sync the source (like we would do with any project) to Mandriva when there’s new upgrades that are worth the time in testing. We also follow PulseAudio pretty closely as it’s no secret that Mandriva has one of the best implementations. Even more on our BuildServer we can pull source packages from Mandriva SVN and build some (very few packages) will little or no changes. We tend to shy away from Epochs though, even though we have some packages that still have them. Yet Mandriva has no issues using them.

        So is Unity dependent on Mandriva? Yes too a point we are. We like their configuration tools (some times) and with some packages that really are straight forward to build we may import from Mandriva SVN. However these are just niceties. The real question is could we survive without Mandriva.. Yes we could and may have too until they get a clear direction (for that matter survive) or the fork gets off the ground enough so we can pull and push packages for them. What will this mean? In our case packages may not be updated as fast as normal, because packagers may have to take on a few more packages.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.7 – Hello, Old Friend

        I have not done anything with PCLinuxOS for quite some time. First there was some personal / political turmoil in the PCLinuxOS developer community, and then there seemed to be a long time with no activity. When development seemed to pick up again, in the first half of this year, I picked up a copy of the 2010 Beta release, and then through an unfortunate combination of a bug in the installer and my own complacency/inattentiveness, I made a mess of my primary laptop. Now the PCLinuxOS 2010.7 Final release has been out for a couple of months, and I have finally gotten around to loading it up again. It is, as the title of this entry says, like seeing an old friend again after a long time.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Reports Second Quarter Results

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2011 second quarter ended August 31, 2010.

        Total revenue for the quarter was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year.

      • Red Hat revenues bulge 20%

        Commercial Linux and middleware distributor Red Hat continued to grow at a nice clip in its second fiscal quarter ended on August 31, with sales up 19.7 per cent to $219.8m. But even after keeping cost growth under this level, a much higher tax bill compared to the year-ago quarter walloped the company’s net income, which fell by 18.2 per cent to $23.7m.

        In the quarter, software-subscription revenues across all of Red Hat’s product lines accounted for $186.2m, up 19.1 per cent, while training and services revenues hit $33.6m, up a slightly better 22.7 per cent. Red Hat had a one-time tax benefit in the year-ago quarter worth 4 cents per share, which made for a tough compare this time around. If you exclude this and look at non-GAAP net income, then Red Hat’s profits were up 19 per cent, almost in line with revenue growth.

      • Software Stocks at Year High (ROVI, INTU, RHT, TIBX)

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) added 0.63% to $38.58 and created a new 52-week high of $39.48. So far this year, the stock has jumped over 23.42% and has recovered over 55% from its 52-week low. The company is scheduled to announce its earnings on September 22, 2010. The analyst are expecting an EPS of $0.18 & revenues of $211.24 million.

      • Oracle’s Ellison Debuts Linux Kernel, Says Red Hat Is Too Slow

        Oracle debuted its own version of Linux four years ago, basing the operating system on Red Hat Linux and maintaining compatibility with that OS ever since.

      • Oracle Tries to Un-commoditize Linux

        The big news out of Oracle OpenWorld today was the announcement of Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux, otherwise known as OUEKOL.

      • Oracle releases its own Linux kernel

        Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has announced the release of the vendor’s own Linux kernel, slamming its existing Linux partner Red Hat for being too slow to update the version traditionally used by Oracle customers.

      • Red Hat Earnings Preview
      • Traders Hedging Bets in Red Hat as Put Volume Surges (RHT)

        The put volume today was 3,783 contracts, which is 1x the average daily volume of 3,648. Usually high put volume is an indicator that many investors are looking for lower prices in the near future.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Down 1.7% Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Second Quarter Earnings Report

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) opened at $38.96. So far today, the stock has hit a low of $38.00 and a high of $39.04. RHT is now trading at $38.32, down $0.66 (-1.69%).

      • Red Hat to post solid Q2: analyst

        Jefferies & Co. expects Red Hat Inc. to report a solid second quarter earnings results on September 22 after market closes. The brokerage maintained its ‘buy’ rating on the business software company with a price target of $45.

      • Fedora

        • Virtualization Test Day 2010-09-23

          It’s Test Day time once more! Tomorrow, 2010-09-23, will be Virtualization Test Day. Of course, virtualization is popular with many Fedora users and a key area of Fedora development, so this is another important test event.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian move to increase project members

        While the general resolution has met with broad support, there is some debate continuing over what such contributors would be called and what kinds of upload rights they should be granted.

        Debian has a fairly stringent process for those who want to join the project; the end result is that while the flow of new blood into the project has not been as high as some other projects, the quality of the distribution has been maintained.

        The move to welcome non-packaging contributions is in keeping with trends over the last couple of years where many people have called for contributions other than code to be recognised as making a meaningful contribution to a free software project.

      • Debian Project News – September 21st, 2010

        Linux Mint, a Linux distribution whose purpose is to “produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use”, has released an edition based on Debian. This new Linux Mint distribution will track Debian testing, as a more reliable upstream base. Linux Mint appears to be a popular Linux distribution ranking highly at DistroWatch.com as well as other non-scientific measures. Certainly they received a large number of comments to their blog post regarding their new distribution. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to this Debian-based edition as a popular move.

        The addition of Linux Mint to the Debian derivatives family is a welcome one, and should the Linux Mint developers wish to be in contact with Debian it has been suggested that they will be warmly welcomed at the Debian Derivatives Front Desk.

      • sidux changes to aptosid by upgrade or ISO

        A press release dated September 11 came to the community’s attention Monday, September 13 of the renaming or, as some reported, a fork of sidux to aptosid. Due to conflicts with the commercial backer of the Debian-based distribution, sidux developers have separated themselves from the Sidux e.V. association to continue developing aptosid on their own.

        aptosid is based on Debian Sid, the unstable developmental branch, with a heavy concentration on the desktop experience. It is a KDE distribution that adheres to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. These guidelines basically enumerate the main traits of the GNU General Public License, although they are not strictly confined to the GPL. sidux, now aptosid, tries to remain solely Open Source, however it is not included in the Free Software Foundation’s list of Free System Distributions due to binary blobs in or accompanying the kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Clearing the FUD around Ubuntu Application Review Process

          An application review process was announced today for getting your apps into Ubuntu “extras” repository. But like most other announcements of new things, this one was met as well with as much criticism as the praise it got. A lot of the criticism is FUD though, although mostly unintentional and caused by ignorance of some facts behind it. I’ll try to address some of these concerns here to the best of my knowledge from what I’ve been reading over the past some time about this development.

        • Alternative to Ubuntu One’s Music Streaming Solution

          I found Martin Albisetti’s blog announcing the new music streaming features for Ubuntu One’s music store to be some what funny.

          The streaming feature will be part of Ubuntu Ones payed plan. So I ask myself “Why would I want to pay for something I can do for free”. I personally prefer to use Ampache to stream my music collection to my desktop and laptops.

        • Lifesaver for Maverick

          I think that enough of the planets have aligned in the shape of a failboat that I have been able to successfully upload a source package of Lifesaver to its PPA for Maverick.

          I might be wrong though, we’ll find out shortly when Launchpad processes the ridiculous output of several ridiculous tools.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HP unveils printer with detachable Android tablet

          HP announced a multifunction inkjet printer that incorporates a seven-inch, detachable Android-based tablet. Based on the HP All-in-One printer, the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One adds web browsing, Barnes & Noble eBookstore integration, and access to HP print apps and widgets via the integrated, removable Android touchscreen, all for only $399, says the company.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Nicholas Negroponte on Success of One Laptop Per Child

        And so I can give you, let me give you one anecdote. In Uruguay, the President of the country announced that this would be his legacy, One Laptop Per Child. That he would do every single child within two years. And as an aside, they completed that a couple of months ago, so every child in Uruguay has a little green laptop.

    • Tablets

      • Dell Quietly Announces 7″ Android Tablet

        I wouldn’t even say they announced it. Apparently Michael Dell just casually mentioned it at Oracle-related conference. Of course, we already knew there would be larger versions of the streak. What I don’t understand is why they released the tiny version first, and not a larger version with wider appeal?

      • Michael Dell teases new 7-inch Android tablet, says Streak to land in Best Buy next month (update: pic)

        On a more solid note, Dell also announced that the smaller Streak is heading to Best Buy next month. That’s great, except some of us would rather see the tabletphone getting its share of Froyo sooner — here’s hoping that this bigger tablet won’t disappoint us with an outdated OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Open Letter to You and Alex Russell

    This is a two part letter to the Open Source JS authors of the world and to Alex Russell of Dojo (now Google) fame. But first, a little background.

  • Paying attention: when a (kind of) hacker meets sociologists

    I am not a real software hacker (a term whose real meaning is not “computer criminal”, thank you very much!). Sure, I only use Free Software like Gnu/Linux or OpenOffice, I write and teach as much as I can about it and I can proudly apply patches to source code and compile it all by myself if I really have to. However, almost always I stop at that much simpler, wonderful way to automate computer usage called scripting. Still, I was probably one of the closest things to a real hacker you could have found in that particular conference.

    [...]

    For the same reason, many “technologists” should think much more often to the social impacts of their work. It’s necessary to build many bridges soon between the two worlds, and use them often.

  • Inkscape in a computer orientation class
  • Events

    • Canonical Hosts Leading ODMs At Ubuntu Hardware Summit

      Engineers and product managers from device and computer manufacturers and designers will meet in Taipei, Taiwan for a free day-long session hosted by Canonical Ltd. on September 24, 2010.

      The commercial sponsor of Ubuntu will host its annual Ubuntu Hardware Summit, (UHS), which includes keynote speeches from various members of the Canonical team, and topics ranging from how Canonical works with Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), boot time optimizations, hardware enablement, debugging, multi-touch, networking and more. Over 200 attendees are expected to attend from all facets of the PC ecosystem.

    • HP’s Botched OpenWorld Keynotes: What Went Wrong

      Twitter can be as socially brutal as a middle school playground: Half-baked opinions are delivered by some people with questionable authority; reputations may be altered forever with a single sentence; and gossip serves as a valuable form of currency.

      Two HP executives who presented at Oracle (ORCL) OpenWorld 2010 conference felt the full force of Twitter’s instantaneous sharing Sunday night—even though the execs hadn’t a clue that the OpenWorld Twitter stream (#oow) had turned on them.

  • Databases

    • Facebook open source MySQL utility

      Facebook has open sourced a MySQL utility, OSC (Online Schema Change), which it uses to change server schemas on its live systems. The problem Facebook faced was that when it needed to change the structure of its MySQL databases on live systems, using ALTER TABLE statements took too long.

    • Facebook open sources live MySQL makeover

      Written by Facebook engineer Vamsi Ponnekanti, Open Schema Change lets the company update indexes without user downtime, according to Callaghan. “Previously, we could make an update quickly on a small number of machines, but to do it on all of the machines, it took six months,” Callaghan says, explaining that the company could only make updates during off-peak hours. “Now we can do it on all of the machines at pretty the same time and we can do it in about half a day.

    • Will PostgreSQL excite the open source DB community?

      Two guests join Alan for this podcast. First is Robin Schumacher, director of product strategy for EnterpriseDB and Selena Decklemann, PostgreSQL major contributor. Topics include the major new release of PostgreSQL and some of its exciting new features; the future of an Oracle-owned MySQL, Java One and the state of open source databases. We also discuss the NoSQL competition.

  • Oracle

    • The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

      The Exalogic Elastic Cloud is targetted at Enterprises that want to create their own private clouds. Exalogic installations consist of up to eight 42U racks. Each Exalogic rack contains hot-swappable compute nodes, a disk subsystem, multiple 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a high-bandwidth InfiniBand interconnect for connecting the components to each other and to other Exalogic racks or to Exadata Database Machine racks. Exalogic configurations are designed to be redundant.

    • Oracle: a good home for MySQL?

      I’m not able to attend the whole of Oracle OpenWorld / JavaOne, but I have sneaked in to MySQL Sunday, which is a half-day pre-conference event. One of the questions that interests me: is MySQL in safe hands at Oracle, or will it be allowed to wither in order to safeguard Oracle’s closed-source database business?

      It is an obvious question, but not necessarily a sensible one. There is some evidence for a change in direction. Prior to the takeover, the MySQL team was working on a database engine called Falcon, intended to lift the product into the realm of enterprise database management. Oracle put Falcon on the shelf; Oracle veteran Edward Screven (who also gave the keynote here) said that the real rationale for Falcon was that InnoDB would be somehow jiggered by Oracle, and that now both MySQL and InnoDB were at Oracle, it made no sense.

    • Oracle Growth Plans Worry Rivals and Customers

      Each year, Oracle’s presence looms over this city for a week, during the company’s Open World customer conference. About 41,000 people arrived this week to discuss business software in fine detail and talk over beers. Stretches of downtown streets closed and gave way to makeshift tents housing coffee stands, bars, Lego play areas and candy buffets.

      [...]

      Oracle built its business by dominating the database market, providing the central repositories of crucial information that businesses must maintain and use to complete transactions. This has given it an unrivaled position of power when dealing with customers. Capitalizing on such an edge, Oracle’s sales representatives have earned a fearsome reputation as hard-line negotiators determined to squeeze customers.

      But through its acquisition spree, Oracle moved well beyond the database and into business software, buying up the important products that companies use to keep track of their technology infrastructure, employees, sales, inventory and customers.

      With Sun, Oracle has found a way to sell customers hardware bundled wit

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m8) available

      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev OOO330m8 is available for download.

    • OOo4Kids: A workable compromise

      I am always of two minds about office suites or applications for children. On the one hand, I can see the value of offering a simplified interface for learning on. On the other hand, I wonder if children shouldn’t start with the interface they will be using as adults, so they don’t how to learn the interface all over again. OOo4Kids balances these conflicting needs better than any application I’ve ever seen — so much so that I think that the main OpenOffice.org project could benefit from adopting its code.

      As the name implies, OOo4Kids is a version of OpenOffice.org designed for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Its recently-announced 1.0 release is available in 13 languages, and on all major operating systems, as well as Sugar OS. Source code and .deb packages are available on a web site separate from the main one.

    • Java Creator James Gosling: Why I Quit Oracle

      An Oracle spokeswoman said the company had no comment on Gosling’s claims.

      Thus, “For the privilege of working for Oracle, they wanted me to take a big pay cut,” Gosling said.

      That in itself was not a showstopper. Indeed, given that constraint, Gosling moved on with his employment with the database giant. However, another annoyance arose when, according to Gosling, Oracle did not have a notion of a senior engineer or at least one equivalent to Gosling’s grade at Sun, where he was a fellow. “In my job offer, they had me at a fairly significant grade level down,” he said.

      But, even that was not the final factor in leading to his decision to leave the company. Perhaps the final straw was what Gosling said was Oracle’s move to rein him in. indeed they owned Sun and thus Java, so they also owned its creator and his intellectual property, so it was up to Oracle to decide what Gosling or anybody else had to say about Java.

      “My ability to decide anything at Oracle was minimized,” Gosling said. “Oracle is an extremely micromanaged company. So myself and my peers in the Java area were not allowed to decide anything. All of our authority to decide anything evaporated.”

  • Education

    • Opening up Computer Studies in the UK

      One of the biggest disgraces in this country is the way that computing is taught – or rather, the way it is not taught. I know as a parent from years of interaction with the school system at various levels that what passes for computer teaching is in fact little more than rote learning of where the Open command is on the menu in Word and Excel. That is, instead of teaching pupils how to use computers as a generic tool to solve their particular problems, it becomes instead a dull exercise in committing to memory various ritual Microsoft sequences to achieve one specific task.

      [...]

      There are representatives from Google, IBM and Microsoft Research, so why not one from Canonical, say, to fly the open source flag? As for the other individuals mentioned, I don’t recognise any names there as being particularly active in the world of free software: I presume (hope) that some of them are in some way. Maybe I’m just too parochial….

    • Planning grant paves way for open source Variations on Video project at IU Libraries

      A $49,504 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable the Indiana University Libraries to plan the next phase of development for its Variations digital music library system.

      Variations is an open-source system providing online access to selected sound recordings and musical scores. It was developed at IU and is now used by multiple college and university libraries.

  • BSD

    • Getting Started With FreeBSD 8.1

      FreeBSD isn’t as popular as the better-known Linux distros, but it has a strong reputation for reliability and robustness, and it’s still in active development. For my first foray into FreeBSD, I tried out the latest stable version (8.1), which was released mid-July.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Freedom Day 2010 – Shantou chapter

      As mentioned in my previous post, the event was organized by the Linux Association from Shantou University (STU). It started in the morning with an outdoor exhibition to demonstrate Free Software and followed with presentations in the evening. Fred gave an overview on why Software Freedom matters, a quick history review of Free and Open Source Software and talked about how the audience could get involved and contribute to the community. Then I introduced some cool Free Software that I use everyday and demonstrated how FOSS helped me to get things done. Unlike other events I have been involved with in China, we had the pleasure to talk to very active spectators asking plenty of questions such as:

      * How can Free Software sustain without any financial support from companies?
      * Which field / area do GNU/Linux systems apply to?
      * Knowing that Free Software is so cool, why the market share is so little in China?
      * How can we increase the market share of Free Software in China?
      * What are the benefits to use GNU/Linux systems and Free Software in terms of software development?
      * Do you think Free software will dominate the world market in the future?

  • Government

    • Bristol council set to embrace open source

      Bristol City Council is set to be the first local authority in the UK to implement a council-wide open source strategy.

      While other local authorities have implemented open source projects on a piecemeal basis, Bristol councillors are set to consider a proposal that could lead to open source software used throughout the council.

      Although Microsoft Office will continue to be used on desktops, open source alternatives will be introduced for email, file and print and other IT functions. The council has already introduced Open Office as a desktop alternative.

    • Free advertising ?

      While I’m writing this post, my mail box contains 1055 bug reports for the PDFreaders campaign. In other words, if we discard the double reports, at least 1000 institutions have been spotted doing exclusive advertising for non-free PDF readers… While launching this campaign, we knew that this practice was quite widespread. The more we see these advertisings, the more two questions keep coming :

      * Is this practice legal ?
      * since advertising online presupposes fees, how much money would proprietary companies pay to advertise on a normal website ?

    • EU publishes open source tools to preserve digital holdings

      Tools and techniques to help people and organisations preserve their digital holdings were published as open source software earlier this year.

      The tools, the result of the EU funded Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval project (Caspar), were highlighted in a press release by the European Commission on 7 September.

  • Licensing

    • Ubuntu, Canonical Wallow in Muddy Waters with Contributors’ Agreements

      As FSFE’s Shane M Coughlan told me several years ago, as projects grow in size, “it becomes more difficult to manage the copyright. Some authors might vanish due to accidents, death, or other factors. When it comes to making decisions about protecting the code, upgrading license, or other legal factors, it can become important to talk with copyright holders.”

      By contrast, in projects like the Linux kernel, in which there is no copyright assignment, managing copyright can potentially become difficult. For instance, even if Linus Torvalds had been willing to relicense the kernel under the third version of the GNU General Public License (and he most vocally was not), tracking down all contributors and obtaining their consent would have next to impossible.

      As Simon Phipps points out, copyright assignment remains popular among companies involved with FOSS. In particular, it can make dual-licensing — the practice of releasing software with two different licenses, usually one FOSS and one proprietary — and aggregate copyright — the terms of use for bundled software, such as in a commercial box — easier to manage.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500

    So, readers, here are a couple questions: What are the web-based social values that you think are most contrary to the managerial DNA one finds inside a typical corporate giant? And how should we reinvent management to make it more consistent with these emerging online sensibilities?

  • Pegatron enters all-in-one PC DIY market in China

    Taiwan-based notebook maker Pegatron Technology has recently had cooperation with Ingram Micro China and China-based BOE Technology to enter the all-in-one PC DIY market in China.

  • DtO: Pirates Are Overrated Anyway
  • Smartphones Begin to Replace Hotel Keycards

    The smartphone is always taking on new roles – from credit cards to MP3 players and digital cameras to airline boarding passes. Now, your smartphone will begin opening new doors for you, quite literally.

  • Thinking About The Viability Of Advertising-Dependent Business Models

    http://blogs.webconnectconsulting.com/nukeblogs/ombblog.php

  • Science

    • U of T student makes history with human-powered ‘flapping-wing’ plane

      Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate at the university’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, piloted the wing-flapping aircraft, sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds and covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.

    • Spring on Titan brings sunshine and patchy clouds

      The northern hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Titan is set for mainly fine spring weather, with polar skies clearing since the equinox in August last year. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring clouds on Titan regularly since the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Now, a group led by Sébastien Rodriguez, a Cassini VIMS team collaborator based at Université Paris Diderot, France, has analyzed more than 2,000 VIMS images to create the first long-term study of Titan’s weather using observational data that also includes the equinox. Equinox, when the sun shone directly over the equator, occurred in August 2009.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • No, you can’t have my password

      I got pulled up on my password policy yesterday; I don’t tell other people my passwords. The context was arranging that a friend could use my laptop while I was away at work – instead of telling her my login details so she could use that I created a new account. This provoked a “Don’t you trust me?” response.

    • 17-year-old Australian Boy, Japanese Developer Take Blame for Twitter Meltdown

      A 17-year-old boy from Australia claims he inadvertently triggered a chain of events that led to thousands of people being affected by a Twitter security flaw yesterday. But it all may have been started by a Japanese developer a couple of hours earlier.

      Pearce Delphin, or @zzap on Twitter, says he exposed the security flaw by tweeting a piece of code with an onMouseOver JavaScript function, which caused a pop-up to appear when a user merely moves his mouse cursor over the message.

      Very soon, the code was modified to do other sorts of things – perform auto retweets, open pornographic websites and generally create havoc on Twitter, which lasted a couple of hours until Twitter admins patched the vulnerability.

    • Twitter apologizes after hackers exploit security flaw

      Those hit by the bug included Sarah Brown, the wife of the former British prime minister who has over 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who has 97,000 followers.

    • Lily Allen sues Apple

      Lily Allen is launching a legal assault against Apple in an attempt to ascertain the identity of ne’er-do-wells who attacked her laptop.

      The news comes courtesy of The Sun, which reports in its Bizarre column that the singer received an unwelcome surprise when her MacBook laptop was cracked and personal information disclosed.

    • Legal Responsibility

      Maybe she should try GNU/Linux and hire someone to harden her system. By the scale in that link, I am not “truly paranoid” but at least I have not seen malware on hundreds of PC-years of usage. Lily Allen may indeed need the paranoid level of security. I do not.

    • A knock on Betjeman’s door

      Not perhaps as elegant as Betjeman’s first line, but it does share the following features: a specific target (Robin Hood Airport/Slough), an exclamation mark, and the prospect of a bombing exercise.

      As a matter of legal analysis, the CPS position on someone who tweeted Betjeman’s line cannot be distinguished from Chambers’ ill-conceived comment.

      They both would be “menacing communications” under section 127.

      And so would any “menacing” comment sent by anyone by email, or put on a blog, or loaded onto YouTube; indeed any content sent over the internet whatsoever.

      So, this Friday, it is not only Paul Chambers in the dock: it is also the ghost of Sir John Betjeman.

      And it is all of us who have ever sent content over the internet which some person at the CPS can somehow deem “menacing” and so commence the horrifying and inescapable bureaucratic procedure which lead to the imposition of a criminal record for simply making a light-hearted comment.

      This cannot be right.

      So if you are on Twitter at 10am on Friday, why not tweet “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!” in support of Paul (hashtag #TwitterJokeTrial) as his appeal begins.

    • Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed

      obile fingerprint-checking equipment is already controversial before it has even rolled out widely. An announcement today may presage the next such row, as developers say they will soon roll out a “compact” machine based on “a small, single chip” which will massively reduce the amount of time taken to check a DNA sample.

      The RapID™ system was unveiled today at a biometrics conference in Florida by ZyGEM Corp and its partner, US aerospace globocorp Lockheed, nowadays seeking to diverge into homeland-security areas.

    • Cowboy contractors: armed and dangerous

      A light-gold Toyota Corolla shipped from Kabul, Afghanistan, to a court house in Norfolk, Virginia, was the centre-piece for a jury trial last week on the alleged murder of two Afghan civilians on 4 May 2009 by two former employees of a subsidiary of Blackwater, the private military company.

      Fareed Haji Ahmad, the driver of the Corolla that night, was also brought from Kabul to testify. He was injured in a hail of bullets fired by Christopher Drotleff and Justin Cannon, the two US citizens on trial for murder. His passenger Romal Mohammad Naiem was killed, as was a passer-by named Rahib Mirza Mohammad.

    • OAuth 2.0 security used by Facebook, others called weak

      The emerging OAuth 2.0 Web API authorization protocol, already deployed by Facebook, Salesforce.com and others, is coming under increased criticism for being too easy to use, and therefore to spoof by malicious hackers.

      “The OAuth community has made a big mistake about the future direction of the protocol,” wrote Yahoo director of standards development Eran Hammer-Lahav in a blog post last week. Hammer-Lahav’s criticism may carry more weight than those from the usual naysayer, because he is actually one of the creators of OAuth.

  • Finance

    • The Terrible Tale of the TARP Two Years Later

      Two years ago, the top honchos at the Fed, Treasury and the Wall Street banks were running around like Chicken Little warning that the world was about to end. This fear mongering, together with a big assist from the elite media (i.e. NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), earned the banks their $700 billion TARP blank check bailout. This money, along with even more valuable loans and loan guarantees from the Fed and FDIC, enabled them to survive the crisis they had created. As a result, the big banks are bigger and more profitable than ever.

    • The recession is over! So where’s the party?

      It may be over, but you won’t be hearing any cheers from the millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job. Or are worried about the ones they have. Or have lost their homes. Or are behind on the mortgage.

    • A Conversation with George Soros

      Soros declares that there was twenty-five to thirty (25-30) years of a “Super Bubble,” which has now burst. It seems from the discussion that Soros believes the SuperBubble was worldwide. Recovery is being hindered by some policies—Germany’s talk about austerity was especially mentioned—by Soros sees strong hope in the Trade Shift that has accompanied the crisis. He noted that the “global economy is a lot better than the US economy,” and that he expects to see it continue growing even if the U.S. (or Europe, due to the German leadership, or even both) fall into a :double-dip.” (In this he is arguably more of an optimist than many.)

    • The Bush tax cuts need to expire to pay for Bush’s spending

      There’s not much more to be said about Todd Henderson’s financial situation. But one element of his complaint that hasn’t gotten much attention is what he thinks he’s being taxed for: “I would introduce [the president] to my family and our lifestyle,” Henderson writes, “one he believes is capable of financing the vast expansion of government he is planning.”

      Henderson’s taxes aren’t financing the government Obama would like to build. They’re financing the government America already has. George W. Bush passed his tax cuts without offering any offsetting spending cuts. It was apparent then, and is even more apparent now, that he’d brought federal revenue beneath the level of federal spending — and then he increased spending, too. Nothing Obama has signed into law will add as much to the deficit as Medicare Part D, for instance. Or the two wars George W. Bush began. Or, for that matter, the tax cuts Bush passed.

    • The next worst thing to recession

      That’s the problem we’re facing right now. David Leonhardt calls it “the long slog.” It’s not a recession, but it’s the next worst thing.

    • For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again

      Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group — 7.3 percent — is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.

    • Experts: Recession ended last year

      According to NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, the U.S economy experienced the beginnings of an economic expansion in the middle of last year, marking the end of an 18-month recession that began in December 2007. The findings are welcome news for the White House, which has struggled to make its case that the unpopular steps it took to limit the economic damage have worked, even as the unemployment rate continued to rise above 9 percent well into 2010.

    • Obama aide’s exit could be prelude to more changes

      The departure of President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser at the end of the year could provide the White House with an opportunity to revamp its economic team after the November elections, when voters are expected to take out their anxieties on Democrats.

    • Obama’s Economics Chief Is Set to Leave

      The White House said Tuesday that Lawrence H. Summers, the chief architect of President Obama’s economic policy, would leave at the end of the year, continuing an exodus of top-level advisers at a time when voters are expressing deep dissatisfaction with the president’s stewardship of the economy.

    • Woman CEO sought for Summers job

      Larry Summers isn’t leaving the White House until the end of the year but President Barack Obama’s team already knows the ideal candidate to replace him on the National Economic Council – a woman CEO.

      The pick doesn’t have to fit that bill precisely, but it’s highly likely Obama’s pick will be either a woman or a business leader – and preferably both, said several people familiar with the situation.

    • On the GMAC Foreclosure Stories

      The basic facts are:
      # The homeowners had a mortgage.
      # The homeowners are in default.
      # The lender was sloppy and filed inaccurate documents with the court.

      This is great for the lawyers (fighting foreclosure), and costly for the lender, but this is nothing new – except that GMAC must not have been paying attention!

    • Fed statement sets table for possible action on economy in fall

      Federal Reserve policymakers Tuesday opened the door to new action to try to boost the economy. They just didn’t step on in.

      With economic growth sluggish, the jobless rate seemingly stuck near 10 percent and inflation well below the level the Fed aims for, officials of the central bank are “prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed” to support the recovery and get inflation higher, said a statement from the Fed’s policymaking committee. But they stopped short of taking action Tuesday.

    • CFTC chairman wants new derivatives rules implemented quickly

      Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Tuesday laid out an aggressive timetable for implementing regulations for the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market.

      In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gensler said the commission will propose a wide array of new regulations this fall, with most of the rules scheduled for final adoption by mid-July 2011.

    • AP Investigation: Calif. pension bonuses examined

      As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country’s largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

      Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

    • Head of Basel Panel Defends Proposed Bank Rules

      ew rules on how much rainy-day capital banks must keep in reserve are more rigorous than they first seem and create “a road to a much safer banking system,” the chairman of the panel that is writing the regulations said Wednesday, implicitly answering criticism that the proposals are too lax.

    • Goldman whacked

      TWENTY-THREE years after he first championed greed, Gordon Gekko is back. Michael Douglas reprises his role as the slick-haired financial barbarian in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, due for release on September 24th.

      Half-reformed after prison, Gekko is more anti-hero than villain this time. He is still dazzled by lucre, but also determined to give warning of the dangers of excessive leverage. The real baddies are Bretton James and the securities firm he runs, Churchill Schwartz—perhaps the least disguised fictional name ever. Executives at Goldman Sachs are said to be unamused.

      James, played by Josh Brolin, is nothing like Goldman’s top brass. He wields phallic cigars, races superbikes and smashes his copy of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son” on a lamp when fingered for manipulating the share price of a rival firm.

    • Vatican Bank Facing Money Laundering Probe

      Italian authorities seized euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.

      The Vatican said it was “perplexed and surprised” by the investigation.

      Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank’s chairman and director general under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy’s anti-laundering laws, news reports said.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google denies a third of UK govt takedown requests

      Google has released data regarding requests from the UK government for data on individual surfers and to remove links from its index.

      The data, which is included in the Google Transparency Report for January – June 2010, also shows that government agencies made 1,343 requests for data about individual surfers in that time period.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Seeing the big picture on content

      The cracking of another content protection technology, comes as no surprise to Bill Thompson

      The only real surprise about the news that HDCP has been compromised was that it took so long.

      The ‘high bandwidth copy protection’ scheme has been in use since 2004 even though the possibility that someone would be able to reconstruct the master key by examining HDCP-capable devices was known even before any systems were commercially available.

    • AT&T boss: we’re innovating way too fast for regulation!

      AT&T now has its headquarters in Dallas, and there’s something about the Texas air that appeals to CEO Randall Stephenson. Perhaps it’s the scent of low taxes and deregulation carried on the breeze.

      “The environment for doing business in Dallas is really, really strong,” Stephenson told a reporter from the Dallas Morning News this week. “What I like about it is this is a community that not only is it not resentful of business, it likes business. People recognize that profitable companies are companies that hire and help cities grow. And that’s not the case around the country.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What’s in an analogy?

      The other view is that copyright is property, like a bar of chocolate or a car, with connotations of ownership, of exclusion of others, and of permanence (actually, in that case the chocolate bar is a very bad example, and the car is not too great, either).

      [...]

      And since, even after the meltdown, governments are still pretty much committed to free market ideals, whether someone adopts the “property” or “programme” stance can be very telling.

      Thus, you’ll find organisations like the RIAA, BSA, FAST and BPI talk a lot about “property”. And you’ll find organisations like the Free Software Foundation railing against that characterisation.

      It’s also fairly telling that the organ of the United Nations which deals with these issues is called the “World Intellectual Property Organisation”, and that the relevant government agency in the UK is Intellectual Property Office.

    • Copyrights

      • Senior Judge Warns of End To File-Sharing Cash Demands

        A senior judge has given the clearest indications so far that patience could be running out with “pay up or else” letters currently being sent out in their thousands to alleged file-sharers. At a hearing to authorize yet more, the judge called the schemes “a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut” adding that once the Digital Economy Act is in force, further applications may not be successful.

      • Richard Stallman calls for internet tax to combat piracy

        “The current system does a very bad job. So, I’ve proposed two methods of (supporting artists). One is the government can collect taxes. It can have a special tax on internet connectivity or perhaps use a little bit of general revenue and distribute this money solely to the authors and artists based on their popularity but not in linear proportion to their popularity,” Mr Stallman said.

        Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

        End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

        Mr Stallman said that the revenue could be distributed to artists in accordance with a mathematic progression. Their revenue would flatten regardless of whether their popularity could be measured as many hundreds of multiples of their peers.

      • U.S. to escalate War on Piracy at domain name level

        Seems like U.S. legislators noticed the limited scope of such measures as well. This is why there is a new proposed Bill, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which in my opinion will make the DMCA look like a minor administrative decree. I guess we can call the new act the COICA (remove the Infringement and you get an amusing acronym, sorry, feeling rather puerile today). COICA will take over where “In Our Sites” left off. The main purpose of the Bill is to overhaul the civil injunction system in copyright law. The law will create new injunctive relief whereby a court of law can order the registrar of a domain name issued in the United States to temporarily or permanently remove the domain from a site dedicated to infringing activities, including copyright infringement and counterfeiting. The site must be primarily dedicated to commercially pursuing the sale of counterfeit goods, or the illegal downloading of copies of the work. Upon receipt of an order of removal, registrars must suspend the operation of the domain and lock it.

      • Copyright Criminals w/ Steinski and Amp Live

        Is sampling recorded music to create new works a form of artistic expression or, quite simply, a crime?

      • How Many Words is Fair Use? Maybe More Than You and AP Thought: Let’s Look at a Righthaven Case

        There is no X number of words that the law sets as necessarily all right to copy or not all right, as you will see in the judge’s ruling.

      • Impressed? No, not really: my views on the new “Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” 09/22/2010

        I have always been impressed with how proactive the US legislature is in addressing issues pertaining to the Internet. So, you can understand my excitement when a copy of the “Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” fell on my hands. I have to admit that after reading it, I am not impressed at all.

      • Austrian Collection Societies Want A ‘You Must Be A Criminal’ Tax On Hard Drives

        techflaws.org points us to the news that seven different collection societies in Austria are demanding a private copying levy on all hard drives (Google translation of the original German). Since seven different collection societies are involved, and each needs to get a cut, when you add all their fees up — it means that all hard drives under 500 GB have 21.60 euros added to the bill, while hard drives over 750 GB get a whopping 43.74 euros added (it’s not clear what happens between 500 to 750 GB).

      • Judge Indicates LVRJ May Have Offered An ‘Implied License’ To Copy In Righthaven Lawsuits

        It’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions to the Righthaven lawsuits. Plenty of people find it to be an abuse of copyright law, clearly for purposes outside of what the law is intended to handle. However, some copyright system supporters seem to think it’s wonderful, and they’ve been mocking the various defenses that defendants have been trying out.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

OpenShot 1.2 Highlights


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 22/9/2010: Linux 2.6.36 RC5, Gallo Threat

Posted in News Roundup at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Anatomy of a Linux System
  • Desktop

  • Fog Computing

    • Amazon: Death by Cloud for Traditional Software

      So, today, Amazon is increasingly competing with the open-source vendors who sell support for a variety of open-source components of its Amazon Web Services offering. In the future, I expect we’ll see Amazon building out its AWS product portfolio in ways that make just about everyone in the traditional software market uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

    • SAP Moves an OnDemand Service to Amazon
    • A run on your cloud?

      The problem occurs when everyone tries to use their compute resources fully with an overbooked provider, just like everyone trying to get their money out of a bank. The provider is unable to meet its obligations and partially collapses. The likely effect will be compute units being vastly below their specification or some units which have been sold are thrown off the service to make up for the shortfall (i.e. customers are bumped).

  • Ballnux

    • Chrome OS Replacing Android on the next galaxy tab?

      Samsung’s much hyped Galaxy Tab hasn’t even been released yet and people are already speculating on the future of the device. Many are reporting that the next update for the current Tab or the next model will be sporting Chrome OS instead of Android 2.2. It all depends on what Google has in store for Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) if it’s more tablet friendly then it would be the next update. However, if it is still not built with a tablet in mind, like Google has stated was the case for 2.2, then Samsung may consider Chrome OS.

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab Offered By Amazon UK Starting November 1st, £599

      Amazon UK’s updated their listing for the Samsung Galaxy Tab to include a lower price and a hard date. According to their new listing, the device will definitely be released November 1st and will be offered for £599. That’s down from £799 we’ve all seen before. It’s still quite the investment, but at least it’ll be a bit easier to swallow for those of you who were going to be picking this one up anyway. This will be the version with both WiFi and HSDPA support for connectivity.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel updates

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has released three stable kernel updates: 2.6.27.54, 2.6.32.22 and 2.6.35.5.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.36 (Part 2)

      2.6.36 offers VFS optimisations, has returned to integrating Ext3 file systems with “data=ordered” by default and can store data from shared Windows or Samba disks in local cache to improve performance. Numerous new and improved drivers enhance the kernel’s storage and network hardware support.

    • Linux 2.6.36-rc5 Kernel Released; Fixes 14 Year Old Bug

      The Linux 2.6.36-rc5 kernel is now available after Linus Torvalds has got back on track with the weekly release candidates after being at LinuxCon in Brazil. Of course, this later release candidate just targets correcting bugs and other issues, including a fix for a 14 year old kernel bug.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

    • Radio Tray – Online radio streaming player

      Radio Tray is an online radio streaming player that runs on a Linux system tray. Its goal is to have the minimum interface possible, making it very straightforward to use.

    • CADuntu project has been started

      Development No, it’s isn’t an Ubuntu flavour for computer-aided drafting. It’s a fork of a well-known community edition of QCAD. And thus the month of CAD on Linux continues :)

      It’s hardly news that open source version of QCad long ceased to update, with proprietary version not being financially successful. The CADuntu project is a little over a month old, and the name of the project was picked just for fun and has nothing to do with Ubuntu per se.

      The point of this project is in updatiing source code to use QT4, much newer version of QT — a crossplatform development kit, and to improve the actual application.

    • Yet Another Music Player for Linux: Foobnix

      When it comes to music players, Linux evolved heavily during the last three or four years, and new players are announced on a regular basis. I remember that in 2006, when I was starting up with Linux, there were only a few applications to choose from, like Amarok, Rhythmbox, Listen or XMMS, and a few more less popular and not so full-featured. But times have changed and now the Linux platform benefits from players of all kinds: there are replacements for XMMS for both GNOME and KDE (Audacious and Qmmp), collection-oriented players like Amarok, Banshee, Exaile or Rhythmbox. There are less-known players like Quod Libet, Guayadeque or Jajuk, or the client-server oriented ones like MPD. And the ones I just listed are only the ones which came to my mind at the moment. Some would say having so many players for a single task is a bad thing, but I say it’s not. Having enough options to choose from is a great advantage. If you don’t like one style, try the next player, if you don’t like its approach either, try the next one, and so on.

    • Ohso Quicklaunch Chrome/ium web app
    • PDFMod

      I always do my presentations in PDF because it’s a common format. Sometimes however I want to add in a slide or remove a slide when I find out I messed something up but don’t have time to go edit the presentation and re export it.

      For Maverick’s Featured Apps we now have PDFMod, for quick an easy manipulation of PDFs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Direct3D 10/11 Is Now Natively Implemented On Linux!

        It’s a pity Luca Barbieri or any Mesa / Gallium3D developers are not at Oktoberfest as they are deserving of more than a few Maß of Augustiner. In fact, today a new Gallium3D state tracker was pushed into Mesa and it’s perhaps the most interesting state tracker for this open-source graphics driver architecture yet. It’s a state tracker that exposes Microsoft’s DirectX 10/11 API on Linux! And it’s already working and can be hooked into Wine!

    • Games

      • S2 Games Calls Their HoN Linux Port A Big Success

        During the summer we were giving away free beta keys for Heroes of Newerth, a game developed by S2 Games that had a native Linux client. During that time we gave away more than 1,000 keys, but since then the retail version of the game was launched to much excitement for both Linux and Windows gamers. This week we learned from S2 Games about how they view their Linux port.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Qt/K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Qt Is Now Drawing On Wayland

        Last week in Toulouse I learned just how much interest Intel has in Wayland and the active role they are playing in its development. Wayland and related work to bring it up is not limited to just Kristian Høgsberg, who switched from being a Red Hat employee to Intel during Wayland’s development, but Jesse Barnes and other Intel OSTC X developers are also contributing to different areas. Jesse Barnes has been working on the Qt support within Wayland and that’s hit a new milestone.

      • Qt 4.7.0 now available

        After many months of designing, coding, reviewing, testing and documenting, Qt 4.7.0 is finally ready for the big time!

        Although it’s a little more than nine months since Qt’s last feature release (4.6.0 on December 1st, 2009), the seeds of some of the new stuff in 4.7 were sown much earlier. Indeed, many of the ideas behind the biggest new feature in Qt 4.7.0, QtQuick, were born more than two years ago, not long after Qt 4.4 was released. We hope you’ll benefit from the effort and care that went into bringing the implementation of those ideas to maturity.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME.Asia Committee 2010

        One of the main objective of the GNOME.Asia Committee, and the summits we’ve organized every year since 2008, has been to build a stronger GNOME community in Asia. Thanks to the COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 event in Taiwan this year, we’ve moved a step closer to our goals and recruited five more members from various Asian countries to join our Committee.

  • Distributions

    • UberStudent -A Linux distribution for Students

      For those looking for OS perfect for higher education environment, UberStudent – a Ubuntu-based Linux distro should be the first choice. It has Ubuntu-like functions but has been modified for Students and contains student-friendly tools helping in research and writing, studying and self-management.

    • Security

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Google Summer of Code 2010 Debian Report

        This is indeed the 4th time we had the privilege of participating in the Google Summer of Code and each year has been a little different.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Announcing the Ubuntu Application Review Process

          Are you an application developer who would like to see your application appear in the Ubuntu Software Center and available by millions of Ubuntu users? Today we are announcing a new process we are trialing which is easier and more accessible for application authors to get their apps in Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Application Review Process announced, restrictive rules galore

          Ubuntu has this wicked content delivery system built into the operating system, something that Apple and Microsoft don’t have on their desktops. It’s obvious that having a lot of fresh applications constantly landing is a boon for platforms, and this would be the perfect area for Ubuntu to whip out a feature that its competitors lack. So what do Canonical do? Make it as hard as possible for developers to get content into the system, of course.

        • Did you know?

          While browsing Ubuntu Software Center, have you ever wondered:

          * how it displays screenshots?
          * who uploads the screenshots?
          * why some of the screenshots are totally outdated?

          Ubuntu Software Center pulls these screenshots from screenshots.debian.net. Anyone can upload screenshots to this site.

        • Some personal thoughts on the Ubuntu Application Review System

          In my personal opinion, it would be better for developers to implement their free software in the Universe repository. Universe has a good and working Stable Release Update policy and process. There are problems with actually getting new packages in to Universe because the package review system, called REVU often doesn’t have enough people paying attention to it and reviewing packages. However, it’s still possible to get packages into Universe without much trouble.

        • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Application Review Process, No Room For Closed Source Applications!

          In yet another attempt at making it big with Ubuntu Software Center, Canonical announces new Ubuntu application review process. Canonical claims that the new process will make it easier and more accessible for application authors to get their apps in Ubuntu.

        • How scalable is open source?

          At the moment, Ubuntu is venturing into unknown ground. Never before has an open source operating system attempted to win over the hearts of the mainstream. In fact, with the exception of a few medium sized projects such as Firefox, Moodle, GIMP, Drupal, WordPress et. al., we haven’t really tested how the mainstream would react to open source projects as large as Ubuntu.

          As we grow, there will be more people contributing, more people adding comments to bug reports, more people getting annoyed at changes and voicing their opinion. In proprietary software, companies generally develop behind closed doors and then release a product. Consumers either like it or they don’t – in open source, they can have a say during the development of a product.

        • Make Ubuntu Look Like Mac OSX In Seconds Using Macbuntu

          Although I am not a fan of copying an entire OS look (even though Ubuntu does some of it by default), I’m sure some of you want to get the entire Mac OSX look in Ubuntu. For that, you can use a script called Macbuntu which is very easy to use and can make your Ubuntu desktop look like Mac OSX in seconds.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 211

          In This Issue

          * Welcome New Ubuntu Members
          * Welcome New Ubuntu Developers
          * Ubuntu Open Week, request for instructors
          * Ubuntu App Developer Week
          * Archive frozen for preparation of Ubuntu 10.10
          * Fixing Community Processes
          * Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption
          * Alternative UDS Accomodation
          * Ubuntu Cowntdown 10.10
          * Ubuntu Stats
          * LoCo News
          * Launchpad News
          * Ubuntu Forums News
          * My role in Ubuntu
          * Helping improve Ruby on Debian and Ubuntu
          * Ubuntu Server Guide Retrospective
          * This week in design – 17 September 2010
          * In The Press
          * In The Blogosphere
          * Canonical announces provisional Ubuntu Developer Summit tracks
          * A Canonical Controversy
          * Why Red Hat should fear Amazon Linux
          * Bazaar team: want to work on Bazaar?
          * Canonical ISD: Ubuntu Pay is open for translations
          * Ubuntu Hardware Summit in Taipei 11 days away
          * Featured Podcasts
          * Weekly Ubuntu Development Team Meetings
          * Upcoming Meetings and Events
          * Updates and Security
          * UWN Sneak Peek
          * And much much more

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Shape Collage

            In this Screencast I show you how to create a photo collage easily with shape collage.

          • Edubuntu makeover

            I haven’t been involved with Edubuntu development for a year now. While I miss the work and especially the great people, I’ve come to see that the project is in great hands (better than mine for sure). Edubuntu made some really important strides in 10.04 with the enhancements made to the DVD installer and live system. One of the neat things that has happened a little more recently was a complete revamping of the edubuntu.org website. The work was done by Edubuntu community members Jonathan Carter and Stéphane Graber.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Adobe Updates Flash For Android; AIR Coming October 8th?

          That security hole that no one got fidgety over has been patched up by Adobe today. You can find the now-should-be-more-secure version in the Android market as version 10.1.95.1. There’s really no changelog to be had as this is only a quick fix for that critical flaw. Some other bit of news might have squeaked out of Adobe’s camp, however, and it concerns AIR for Android. According to a tip by one of AC’s forum members, Adobe AIR will be out October 8th in the Android market for users to download.

        • Orange San Francisco budget Android phone unveiled [Video]

          Orange UK has outed its latest Android smartphone, the somewhat bizarrely named San Francisco, and they’re targeting the budget-minded masses this time. The Orange San Francisco will cost £99 on the carrier’s “Dolphin” pay-as-you-go plan, which gets you a 3.2-megapixel camera, capacitive touchscreen and Android 2.1 Eclair.

    • Tablets

      • Slatedroid community firmware brings the £85 Android tablet to life

        Back in July I wrote about an Android tablet computer that I picked up on Amazon for £85. This is a really interesting device and seemed to do quite a lot. A couple of things really let it down though, its speed and the fact that you could not use Android Market with it, making obtaining most Android applications quite difficult. Fortunately a group of enthusiasts have formed a community around this device, the Eken M001, and similar devices over at Slatedroid.com. A couple of people there have put together a new firmware image which is still in beta but I’ve been trying it out and I am impressed so far! The tablet now has a working Market and feels much more responsive.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 Open Source Projects for 802.1X Network Authentication

    The 802.1X authentication protocol plays a major role in Wi-Fi security of business networks. It enables the Enterprise flavor of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) encryption for wireless networks, and can also provide authentication on the wired side. Here are six open source projects that deal with 802.1X authentication…

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Hadoop and MapReduce: Breaking records in the cloud

      Last week, a team of Yahoo researchers creating a long version of pi set a new record in the field of mathematics using the Yahoo cloud. According to Engadget’s report, “The team, led by Nicholas Sze of Yahoo!, used the company’s Hadoop cloud computing tech to break the previous record by more than double, creating the longest Pi yet.”

      The researchers leveraged Hadoop for this project. The widely distributed nature of Hadoop brought clear advantages by taking a divide-and-conquer approach. It cut up the problem into smaller pieces, then set different parts of the computer to work on different sections of the project.

  • Databases

    • Facebook open sources live MySQL makeover

      Facebook has open sourced a new MySQL utility that lets the social networking colossus update its database indexes and juice query times without staging the changes on test servers. With the tool – known as Online Schema Change for MySQL, or OSC – it can update indexes on live servers.

      In the past, according Facebook MySQL guru Mark Callaghan, the company needed a good six months to roll index updates across its sea of MySQL servers. Now, it needs no more than a few days. “This lets us make schema changes much, much faster,” Callaghan tells The Register. “And the benefit from the changes is that database queries will be faster.”

  • Oracle

    • Oracle silent on Java independence initiative

      While Java founder James Gosling has campaigned for Oracle to place Java under the jurisdiction of an independent foundation, Oracle is declining to comment at all on the notion.

      Asked about Gosling’s efforts during a press question-and-answer session at the Oracle OpenWorld conference Tuesday in San Francisco, Oracle’s Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development, simply declined to comment.

  • CMS

    • Open social networking: Diaspora tested

      For pre-alpha software Diaspora is surprisingly functional and feature-rich.

      At the moment Diaspora allows adding and organising friends into what it calls “aspects,” posting and receiving messages and uploading photos.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Anthropology of Hackers

      Perhaps one of the most important political interventions made by hackers is through the production of Free and Open Source Software (such as the web browser Firefox and the GNU/Linux Operating System). We start with the intellectual progenitor of Free Software, uber-hacker Richard Stallman. We read the “GNU Manifesto” published in 1985 where he proposes his philosophical and practical vision for Free Software. To get students up to speed about the fraught three hundred year history of intellectual property law, we read Carla Hesse’s magnificent “The Rise of Intellectual Property, 700 B.C – A.D. 2000: an Idea in Balance” — a gem for its ability to convey so much in such economical terms. Finally, we rely heavily on Chris Kelty’s excellent account: Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software.

  • Project Releases

    • Totem Arte Plugin 0.9.1

      The Totem Arte.tv plugin project is still alive. After Arte changed their video streaming platform we had to switch from WMV to RTMP streams. RTMP support is finally available in the latest (version 0.10.20) gstreamer-plugins-bad release. Nicolas Delvaux added many additional features like GNOME proxy support and asynchronous thumbnail downloading.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Inside the culture of Wikipedia: Q&A with the author of “Good Faith Collaboration”

      7. Q: What advice would you give companies who want to apply Wikipedia’s cultural principles when working within communities both inside and outside of company walls?

      A: I conclude the book by writing I don’t believe there is any such thing as “wiki pixie dust.” Wikis do permit asynchronous, incremental, and non-brittle contributions (i.e., it is easy to revert a mistake), but using them is not a guarantee of success. Similarly, there is much to learn from Wikipedia’s collaborative culture, but one shouldn’t approach this as a simple cultural graft or transplantation. The idea of Neutral Point of View doesn’t necessarily make sense for businesses, or even other wikis. Ward Cunningham’s original wiki was not neutral: it advocated for software patterns. However, I do think that there is a general lesson: we should look for ways to facilitate fast and flexible collaboration that is forgiving with respect to what the technology enables and in our attitudes towards our peers. For example, we might conceive of process as being less about reactive strictures and more as a sharing of best practices among collaborators.

    • Will the Internet of Things Be Open or Closed?

      At some point in the future, many more everyday objects will have tiny embedded chips that can communicate with networks. But just as we’re debating net neutrality and the value of the open web vs closed client applications, we will have to decide who will control the internet of things, too.

      Lines are already beginning to be drawn. Ashlee Vance, writing for the New York Times’ Bits blog, profiles chipmaker ARM’s efforts to bring the internet of things to the masses with its mbed project.

    • Open Data

      • Open source mapping tech goes global, helps women fight back

        Chiao said HarassMap offers victims “a practical way of responding, something to fight back with; as someone who has experienced sexual harassment personally on the streets of Cairo, I know that the most frustrating part of it was feeling like there was nothing I could do.”

      • Does your Government (and thus you) actually own its data?

        The problem is, this isn’t actually open data. As I argue in the three laws of open data (and the good folks at Berkman seem to share my sense of humour) crime data for cities that contract with Public Engines Inc isn’t open. You can look at the data, but you can’t touch it. Worst still… don’t even think about playing with it (unless you are doing so ON crimereports.com website, in a way that their license lets you – its all quite constraining stuff).

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT OpenCourseWare teams up with OpenStudy to help OCW users connect and study together

        MIT OpenCourseWare and OpenStudy are are teaming up to help OCW users connect and study together. MIT has been publishing the core academic materials—including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams—from the Institute’s courses since 2002, but since inception, the site has been a static presentation of MIT materials with no opportunity to interact with the MIT community or other users of the site.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Hardware Hacker Manifesto

        My name is Cody and I’m a hardware hacker. It started at the age of five, taking apart a toy computer to figure out how it worked. I live for that thrill of discovery and rush of power that I feel when I figure out what makes something tick, then figure out how to bend it to my will. This has led to me hacking everything from game consoles to phones.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • European Parliament wants Open Document exchange format for electronic business

      Today the European Parliament plenary adopted a report on completing the internal market for e-commerce prepared by Spanish rapporteur Pablo Arias Echeverría (EPP). The reports highlights the importance of an open document exchange format for electronic business interoperation and calls on the European Commission to take concrete steps to support its emergence and spread.

    • IETF approves customised version of e-crime reporting format

      An Internet standards group has approved an electronic crimes reporting format, which may eventually give security researchers a cohesive, broad set of data to gauge online crime.

    • SCAP: computer security for the rest of us.

      If you’re read this far, you’re probably sold on the value of SCAP. There are a few ways to get involved, and move this standard forward.

      First, check out NIST’s SCAP website. There’s a lot of great content there, and there are a bunch of mailing lists you can join.

      Next, the OpenSCAP project would welcome your help. It’s a low-level library that handles some of the rude mechanics of the SCAP protocol. There’s a wonderland of opportunity for folks who want to create a GUI, a web interface, or otherwise build on the excellent work that’s already been done. The secstate project is a good place to start.

Leftovers

  • British Chip Designer Prepares for Wider Demand

    Near the southeastern edge of Cambridge, where this idyllic university town gives way to fields of green, sits the headquarters of ARM Holdings. Neither the modest three-building campus nor its surroundings evoke notions of a thriving hotbed of computing.

    [...]

    “Our customers sell about 4 billion chips a year,” said Warren East, the chief executive of ARM, during a recent interview.

  • Scribd Puts User Docs Behind A Paywall Without Them Realizing It

    Last year, I wrote about some issues I had with the way Scribd tried to avoid liability by suggesting that public domain documents couldn’t be hosted on the site or that fair use was not allowed. To the company’s credit, it responded quickly and fixed the situation, but soon after that I switched to (mostly) using Docstoc to host documents. Doctstoc has its own problems as well, but for the most part has worked well for me. Still, in my experience Scribd is still quite popular among folks — especially for uploading and hosting legal documents. Apparently, the company recently made some quiet changes and it’s seriously pissed off law professor Eric Goldman, who has relied on the site for quite some time.

  • Bus driver seen ‘reading Kindle at the wheel’

    “When I departed the bus, he asked if I took his picture while he was driving,” the passenger who recorded the video told local news channel KGW.com. “I said I had, and he responded that I was not allowed to take his photo while he was driving.”

    A lawyer for the bus driver told KGW that although he had the device on the dashboard, he “would not be reading such a thing while engaged in traffic”.

  • Netezza buy further defines IBM’s analytics bent
  • Mapping Stereotypes
  • Science

    • Digital Agenda: €5 million EU funding helps turn the ancient Silk Road into ultra-fast research and education highway

      The European Commission today helped to increase the internet capacity available to researchers in the Central Asia region (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). With the Commission’s €5 million contribution to the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN), the ancient Silk Road has been upgraded to a 21st century high-speed internet highway for research and education. Researchers, academics and students in the region now have access to high-capacity internet connections, offering them unrivalled opportunities to play a major role on the international research scene. With Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also candidate countries to join the network, CAREN will link over half a million users at more than 500 universities and research centres

    • Workers unearth huge fossil cache in California

      Workers building a substation in California have discovered 1,500 bone fragments from about 1.4 million years ago.

      The fossil haul includes remains from an ancestor of the sabre-toothed tiger, large ground sloths, deer, horses, camels and numerous small rodents.

      Plant matter found at the site in the arid San Timoteo Canyon, 85 miles (137km) south-east of Los Angeles, showed it was once much greener.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Easy Money And Why We Must Resist

      Tell a friend. Your less tech-savvy friends need to understand what spam is (and is not) and how to deal with it, much the way they deal with blood-sucking telemarketers drinking up their cellular minutes. They need to deal with it themselves, not depend upon you, because their actions can help starve or feed a spammer.

    • The Twitter hack: how it started and how it worked

      The original discovery of the weakness, known as a “cross-site scripting” (XSS) hack, seems to have been made by a Japanese developer called Masato Kinugawa. He says that he reported an XSS vulnerability to Twitter on August 14 – and then discovered that the “new” Twitter, launched on Tuesday 14 September, had the same problem.

      At about 10am BST (the afternoon in Japan, where he is based) he set up a Twitter account called “Rainbow Twtr”, which showed how the XSS weakness could be used to make tweets turn into different colours.

    • NHS IT manager guilty of snooping on patient records

      According to his lawyer, Trever denied copying, printing or altering any medical records. He is due to be sentenced next month.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Ozone layer stable, on the way to recovery

      And it’s worth remembering that, when the Montreal Protocol (the international agreement that phased out ozone-depleting chemicals) was being debated, conservative extremists and industry spokespeople in the U.S. and U.K. said first that there was no need for it, then that it could never work with so many nations involved, and finally that it would destroy the economy if ratified. You might note that these are the same arguments made against climate action in these nations.

    • The Clean Air Act by the Numbers

      Forty years after the passage of the Clean Air Act, it is extraordinary to look at the numbers.

      Numbers like 200,000 — which is the count of premature deaths the Clean Air Act prevented in its first 20 years. Over the same period, the Act prevented 672,000 cases of chronic bronchitis and 21,000 cases of heart disease. It avoided 843,000 asthma attacks and 18 million child respiratory illnesses.

      1.7 million is the number of tons of toxic emissions removed from our air every year since 1990. In the last two decades, emissions of six common pollutants dropped 41 percent. Lead in our air is down by 92 percent since 1980.

    • Serengeti wildebeest spectacle under threat from development

      The world’s greatest migration spectacle – the annual charge of nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebra and other mammals across the Serengeti national park in east Africa – is under threat from plans to build a road across their route.

      Twenty-seven conservation experts from around the world have signed an article in the journal Nature condemning the plan, adding to growing international concern that includes thousands of signatures on petitions opposing the Tanzanian government project.

    • Commission sued over biofuels as suspicions mount

      Europe’s biofuels policy could cause unwanted side-effects equal to as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases – roughly the annual emissions of Russia or India, official reports warn.

    • Systemic Risk Arising from a Financial System that Requires Growth in a World with Limited Oil Supply

      The point I try to make in the essay is that the financial system requires economic growth, but oil supply seems to be flat, or even declining in the not too distant future. Because of the many benefits oil provides, this loss can be expected to constrain economic growth. If the economic system cannot grow, there are likely to be widespread debt defaults and other problems similar to the 2008 crisis. These problems can be expected to affect all types of financial institutions, including insurance companies.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Librarians Gone Wild: Violating Netflix Terms of Use!

      Whoops. Turns out Netflix isn’t actually cool with libraries using the service and doesn’t want early adopting librarians to be encouraging others to do so. Netflix doesn’t offer institutional subscriptions and expects its services to be limited to personal consumption.

    • Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill

      Senator Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). This flawed bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time — by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. The bill would also create two Internet blacklists. The first is a list of all the websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second, more worrying, blacklist is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines — without judicial review — are “dedicated to infringing activities.” The bill only requires blocking for domains in the first list, but strongly suggests that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators who decide to block domains on the second blacklist as well. (It’s easy to predict that there will be tremendous pressure for Internet intermediaries of all stripes to block these “deemed infringing” sites on the second blacklist.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • France Starts Reporting ‘Millions’ of File-Sharers

      This week the controversial French three-strikes anti-piracy law Hadopi went live. Copyright holders are currently in the process of sending out tens of thousands of IP-addresses of alleged infringers to Internet service providers, and this will increase to over a million in a few weeks. The ISPs have to hand over the identities of the associated accounts to the authorities within a week, or face a fine of 1500 euros per unidentified IP-address.

    • Copyrights

      • SXSW: Announcing Accepted Interactive Panels on September 20
      • Companies spark Gov’s Creative Commons movement

        Government 2.0 Taskforce member Bryan Fitzgerald today credited the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for setting the stage for an open government.

        In an overcrowded room at the World Computer Congress in Brisbane, Fitzgerald described Australian efforts to license public sector data under the Creative Commons license.

      • Lawmakers want power to shut down ‘pirate sites’

        A group of senators want to hand the U.S. Department of Justice the power to shut down Web sites dedicated to the illegal sharing online of film, music, software, and other intellectual property.

        “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue Web sites regardless of whether the Web site’s owner is located inside or outside of the United States,” according to a statement from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and committee member Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah).

        Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities. The Justice Department would have the authority to serve the accused site’s U.S.-based registrar with an order to shut down the site.

      • Intellectual Monopolies, the Open Net and ACTA

        But there’s worse: the US wants to arrogate these powers to itself even if the Web sites are outside its territory. Since much of the Internet’s infrastructure is run from the US, that’s a real threat. It’s also the strongest argument so far why we need to decentralise the Internet further, and remove it from the influence of any one country – including the US.

        There’s another important aspect, too. One of the constant refrains during the ACTA negotiations is that the latter won’t force the US, say, to introduce new laws. It looks like that will be true – because the US is introducing them anyway. But make no mistake, this kind of censorship lies at the hart of ACTA.

      • Support on instruction? – ACS:Law, its latest comments & the fall out of 4chan

        Receivers of these letters who have claimed innocence and subsequently had the matter dropped may want to look towards a civil case themselves. Receiving a letter like this can be extremely upsetting for some. Unlike the Police force who by way of their job have the powers in law to arrest/interview people under suspicion, that is not the case for ACS:Law. They are a business which is effectively in my view, interviewing you without caution (if you respond to these letters) and even worse than that you are then signing up to an agreement for future conduct which you may not have control over. The letters state you should seek legal advice, but how many people would look at that as an extra expense if they are already worried about a possible court case.

        They are an admittion of guilt and from reports many people have signed them out of fear of going through and expensive court case, not out of guilt.

      • New 4chan DDoS Targets Hated Anti-Piracy Law Firm

        After all-out assaults on the web presences of the MPAA, RIAA and later the BPI, last night a new company was targeted in a new 4chan DDoS attack. Anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law, one of the most despised and complained about law firms in Britain, had their website taken offline last night and it remains down “Account Suspended” this morning. TorrentFreak has spoken to one of the key figures in Operation Payback for the lowdown.

      • Creative Commons Mashup Contest!

        To celebrate the great collection of Creative Commons tracks on SoundCloud, we’re holding a remix contest… CC style! So in the spirit of “some rights reserved”, upload your best CC samples and loops and then get remixing them into brand new pieces.

      • Supreme Court could take its first RIAA file-sharing case

        The US Supreme Court is weighing in on the first RIAA file sharing case to reach its docket, requesting that the music labels’ litigation arm respond to a case testing the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.

      • Moral Rights, Endowment Effects, and Things in Copyright

        Some time back, I planned to post a short review of Bobbi Kwall’s recent book, The Soul of Creativity. The book summarizes a lot of recent thinking (including her own) about the law of moral rights and copyright and offers a new framework for adapting US copyright to international moral rights norms. But Jacqui Lipton beat me to it, and I’ve had to wait for an opportunity to post something distinctive about the book — and about what bothered me about it, despite its abundant strengths.

        The opportunity recently presented itself: a pair of outstanding recent papers by Chris Sprigman (University of Virginia) and Chris Buccafusco (Chicago-Kent). One is “Valuing Intellectual Property” ; the other is “The Creativity Effect.” Both are studies in experimental economics. The question that the authors explore, via cleverly designed games, is how “creators” identify and value the “works” that they create. In different respects, both papers suggest that “creators” tend to value their “creations” more than purchasers or third parties do. That finding has important implications for the design of an IP rights system, at least if that design is premised on creating conditions for efficient transactions in IP rights.

      • Google Wants You To Tell Them Which Books Are Public Domain

        There are two or more threads at the Google Book Search Help forum on the topic of making more books “full view” accessible.

        Full View is only available for books that are “out of copyright, or if the publisher or author has asked to make the book fully viewable.” The Full View allows you to view any page from the book, and if the book is in the public domain, you can download, save and print a PDF version to read at your own pace.

      • In Brazil, “File Sharing Is Cool!”

        Following a lengthy public consultation, a consortium of academics, educators, and musical and digital cultural organizations, known as the Network for Copyright Law Reform in Brazil, recently put forward a list of proposals on domestic copyright reform in Brazil. The most exciting of the 15 contributions proposed to “make sharing legal” (“Compartilhamento legal!”) by collecting a small levy from all Internet subscribers in exchange for legalizing noncommercial file-sharing.

        The global access-to-knowledge movement has often looked to Brazil as an ally in intellectual property reform. Back in 2004, Brazil launched one of the first country-specific Creative Commons licenses. That launch received the high-level endorsement of the then Culture Minister, Gilberto Gil, a man who since his appointment in 2003 has successfully married the Brazilian national ideal of “cultural cannibalism” (which he himself embodies as a forerunner of the Tropicalia sound), with the “remix” message of American intellectual property reformers like Lawrence Lessig.

      • ACTA

        • PIJIP Research Paper Series

          Submissions from 2010 2010

          ACTA: Risks of Intermediary Liability for Access to Medicines, Brook K. Baker

          WIPO and the ACTA Threat, Sara Bannerman

          ACTA and the Specter of Graduated Response, Annemarie Bridy

          Flouting the Elmo Necessity and Denying the Local Roots of Interpretation: “Anthropology’s” Quarrel with ACTA and Authoritarian IP Regimes, Alexander S. Dent

          Public Interest Representation in Global IP Policy Institutions, Jeremy Malcolm

          ACTA and Public Health, Peter Maybarduk

          ACTA, Fool: Explaining the Irrational Support for a New Institution, Gabriel Michael

          Navigating the ACTA Shoals to a Future Safe Harbor: Library and Hotspot Internet Access Liability in a Post-ACTA Universe, Michael R. Morris

          Collateral Damage: The Impact of ACTA and the Enforcement Agenda on the World’s Poorest People, Andrew Rens

          Welfare Implications of Intellectual Property Enforcement Measures, Xavier Seuba, Joan Rovira, and Sophie Bloemen

        • ACTA is…

          I have written a lot about ACTA mostly in my other blogs. But this little film distills it’s into an easily digestible morsel which beautifully explains what the fuss is all about.

        • Anti-ACTA
        • ACTA to meet Sept 23: Locking out civil society?

          It is hard to conclude other than that the negotiators of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, with the Obama Administration in the lead, do not want meaningful civil society input into the negotiation of the agreement.

          The latest evidence broke late yesterday afternoon when the USTR announced that the Tokyo round of ACTA negotiations is starting this Thursday September 23, not on September 27 as most had thought. This morning, the Japanese Embassy stated in a personal phone call to me (I don’t know who else they are calling) that there will be a civil society meeting on Friday Sept. 24 in Tokyo at noon to 1pm.

      • Gallo

        • Deadly Copyright Repression Threatens EU. Act Now!

          A resolution of the European Parliament calling for more repression of file sharing will be voted upon on Wednesday. European conservatives, led by a pro-sarkozy rapporteur and helped by a diversion from the liberal group, are pushing for the adoption of the Gallo report. If they succeed, blind repression and private copyright police of the Net will become the official position of the European Parliament. Our fundamental freedoms are at stake. In just 5 minutes, you can help rejecting it.

        • European Parliament Votes on Controversial Anti-Piracy Report

          Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote on the Gallo report that deals with the enforcement of intellectual property. Drafted by a partner of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the report paves the way for draconian anti-piracy measures to be introduced across Europe, potentially affecting the lives of millions of Internet users.

        • Not Just ACTA: Stop the Gallo Report

          One of the slightly depressing aspects of fighting intellectual monopolists is that they have lots of money. This means that they can fund their lobbyists around the world in multiple forums and at multiple levels. So, for example, we have the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is being negotiated behind closed doors by the representatives of rich and powerful nations. But we also have a threat at the European level that must be fought just as doggedly.

        • Gallo report contains scandalous lies!

          On Wednesday you are going to vote on the report on enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market by Marielle Gallo, the so called Gallo report.

          It has come to our attention that the authors of the petition supporting the Gallo report, Eurocinema, uses fake signatures to support it. They want to give the impression that copyright holders are united to enforce more repressive legislation, that will affect our lives and communications in the future. However, their support is rather empty, and what is left is nothing more than yet another industry smokescreen to convince you to support ideas that jeopardize the fundamental rights of EU citizens as well as the open and neutral character of the Internet.

Clip of the Day

Intel Core i5 Penguin Commercial


Credit: TinyOgg

09.20.10

Links 20/9/2010: Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine”, PostgreSQL 9.0, Firefox 4 Claimed Very Fast

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 40 Fascinating Quotes on Technology, Linux and Microsoft

    Who doesn’t like quotes especially if it’s about Linux and Microsoft. Here are some fascinating, funny, intriguing and totally awesome quotes on technology, Linux and Microsoft.

  • The geek who guides Linux Australia’s fortunes

    The presidency of Linux Australia fell his way recently in rather unusual circumstances when the man holding the job, James Turnbull, decided to accept a billet in the United States.

    Ferlito was not next in line, Lindsay Holmswood, the vice-president was. But he opted out due to the impending arrival of an addition to his family. Ferlito put up his hand, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Need some supercomputer power for your datacenter? Check the cloud.

      PEER 1 Hosting in the UK has launched a supercomputing cloud service based on the Nvidia Tesla S1070 and M2050 GPU computing systems. We’re talking serious computing power here; the S1070 is a 1U rack mount that contains 960 processor cores and four teraflops of computing power.

    • KVM: Your Key to Open Source Server Virtualization

      Considering a switch to a virtualized infrastructure strikes fear into the hearts of even the most educated among today’s CIOs. Technology confusion and vendor choices aside, the physical-to-virtual transition dread stems from security concerns, performance uncertainty and scalability questions. Red Hat’s Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) attempts to answer those trepidations positively.

      KVM is Red Hat’s commercial competition for Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX/vSphere. Like the others, KVM is a full virtualization technology. Full virtualization means that virtual machines (VMs) built with KVM fully abstract computer hardware, so the operating systems that run inside the VMs “think” they’re running on physical hardware. Memory, CPU, disk, peripherals, NICs and graphics adapters compose VMs using full virtualization technology.

  • Ballnux

    • More Information Leaked About The HTC Tablet Coming Q1 2011

      It looks like that Taiwanese component maker that previously ran their mouth about the HTC tablet coming in Q1 had a few more details to get off their chest. The folks over at DigiTimes – the previous rumor source – are now reporting that their source inside Pegatron Technology has now revealed some specs of this HTC tablet rumored to be launching in Q1.

  • Kernel Space

    • Oracle Debuts Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux

      Oracle today announced the availability of Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, a fast, modern, reliable Linux kernel that is optimized for Oracle software and hardware.

    • Oracle’s Ellison Debuts Linux Kernel, Says Red Hat Is Too Slow

      Oracle has developed its own Linux kernel software and will offer customers both the new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel as well as the Red Hat Linux-compatible kernel Oracle has provided for several years.

      The move could result in more fragmentation of the Linux industry.

      Oracle debuted its own version of Linux four years ago, basing the operating system on Red Hat Linux and maintaining compatibility with that OS ever since.

    • Graphics Stack

      • 2010 XDS Toulouse

        The X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse finished up over the weekend. It is now time for PhoronixFest at Oktoberfest in Munich, but here is a recap of what was discussed at this French X.Org event along with some photos.

      • Most Drivers Won’t Be Merged Into X Server 1.10

        The last talk of the 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit was regarding X.Org Server 1.10. The good news is that nearly every X.Org graphics driver will not be merged back into the xorg-server repository.

        The release schedule for X.Org Server 1.10 was talked about, which has the final release set to arrive in February. Some of the features for this next major X.Org Server release include libxkb, RandR 1.4, input clean-ups, threaded input events, and other clean-ups. “It’s pretty much our job right now to remove system-level code out of the server and into a share-able environment.” Such work also directly benefits the Wayland Display Server, like the XKB common library that was talked about.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • http://ivan.fomentgroup.org/blog/2010/09/18/stripes-arch/

        Previous wallpapers were just posted as previews here on the blog, but since this was not requested by the distro-art-managers of Arch, but only users, it will probably not end up as a part of the distro.

      • Lets Make the Dot Better

        Well, now I’m on the other side (so to speak) I’m painfully aware of the following: KDE.News relies on you, that is KDE promo contributors and the wider community, for its existence.

        Being a Dot editor is a busy job. We have to receive your articles, make them nice (or worse, depending on whether you like our edits), upload them into Drupal and add html tags, adjust pictures and often source them too. Complex articles can take an hour of work and a few days of emails – that’s just the stuff we do, after the article is written.

      • Are Kopete’s Days Numbered?

        Most KDE users use Kopete for their IM needs. There’s a reason why it’s the default IM client in Linux Mint KDE as well as nearly every other KDE-based distro out there. It works, it’s stable, supports plug-ins, and incorporates just about every major protocol out there. I’ve used it for years, and still do.

      • The wonders of Digikam

        As I am sure you can tell, this is simply a very high level introduction to Digikam. I consider it an impressive application with loads of features and very much encourage that you give it a try. Having said so, there is already news about the soon to come Digikam 2.0, the next production version of this high quality photograph manager.

      • Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine” released

        The Amarok Team is happy to announce the release of Amarok 2.3.2.

        This release brings with it much requested bugfixes for some long-standing bugs. Specifically, Dynamic Collection has received fixes and should now work better with hard drives and USB mass storage devices (Collection directories on these media will need to be rescanned for the changes to take effect). The Collection Browser now refreshes properly after a full rescan, fixing a bug where it would show incorrectly cached entries until Amarok was restarted.

      • Amarok New stuff – 2.3.2 Release, Insider 15
      • We’re back, baby!

        After a summer hiatus with lots of… well, not Amarok hacking… we are back with a fresh release. I won’t list all of the changes here in my blog, as you might as well head over to the official release notes.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Editor’s Note: Linux and Too Many Choices

      It must be the season for recycled anti-Linux whinges, because in the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of wading through a flurry of stories about Linux has too many choices, Linux is not ready for prime time, Linux is too expensive just like proprietary software, and FOSS is amateur hour and all insecure. We’ve heard it all before.

      The one that is worth a bit of discussion is “Linux has too many choices.” I rather like that the Linux/FOSS ecosystem is huge, messy, and highly productive. I understand that standing before such a vast colorful feast can be overwhelming. But there is one key point that has not been addressed: how could any kind of simplification be achieved? Think about it– how would this work? All I can think of is some kind of central clearinghouse run by an iron-fisted tyrant who approves or disapproves everything. It’s absurd. FOSS is a giant wonderful cat herd. There is no single turtlenecked dictator. By design it is decentralized and distributed. Anyone can play, and the only entry requirements are ability and desire to learn.

    • Best Linux Distro for 3D Performance

      Across all three tests Chakra scored the highest (With PCLinuxOS and Sabayon in close second and third). Ubuntu 10.04 was at the very bottom (over 10% behind Chakra). While I think Ubuntu is a great distro it appears that if you are a Linux Gamer, you are better off using a non-Ubuntu distro.

    • Security

      • IA32 System Call Entry Point Vulnerability
      • Monday’s security updates
      • Canonical and others close kernel holes

        Canonical has released updated kernels for Ubuntu versions 10.04 LTS, 9.10, 9.04, 8.04 LTS and 6.06 LTS to close the recently discovered holes in the Linux kernel. The updates are also for the equivalent versions of Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu and should be available through Ubuntu’s Software Update system.

        [...]

        Red Hat have evaluated their Enterprise Linux offerings and say only RHEL5 is vulnerable to CVE-2010-3081; RHEL4 and Red Hat Enterprise MRG have similar validation issues but lack the “compat_mc_sockopt()” function used by the exploit. The company plans an update to RHEL5 as soon as the fixes have passed testing and will address issues in RHEL4 and Enterprise MRG in a later update. The company says that no version of RHEL is vulnerable to CVE-2010-3301.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS Magazine: KDE 4 SC Special Edition Released
      • PCLinuxOS – Rolling on a river

        PCLinuxOS is a community driven distribution of GNU/Linux, which began in 2003 with the objective of creating a Linux that was radically simple, “worked out of the box, looked fabulous and didn’t require a technical degree from college to get it working.”

        At the time, the idea of a live CD – a version of Linux that ran from RAM and didn’t need to be installed on the hard disk – was still a novelty. Klaus Knopper’s Knoppix had been around since 2000, but the better-known Linux distributions had yet to pick up on the idea.

        The inspiration behind PcLinuxOS, also known as PCLOS, is Bill Reynolds, who is known to fans of PCLinuxOS as Texstar. PCLinuxOS began as an offshoot of Mandrake/Mandriva, to which Texstar had been a long time contributor of third-party packages.

        The objective was to build a fast, reliable distribution of Linux, that was both a Live distribution on the model of Knoppix and a fully installable and flexible Linux desktop, driven by Reynolds’ passion to make the perfect software package.

      • Mandriva is now forked as Mageia

        Apparently they want development be governed by a non-profit organisation or developer cooperative. A main concern of them seems to be the past business decisions of the Mandriva management. The business model looks unclear.

        Consider that Mandriva currently competes with a Russian consortium on a Russian National Operating system contract.

      • Controlling Interest in Mandriva Sold To Russian Firm; Former Developers Fork Distribution

        Last Friday the newspaper Vedomosti reported that a Russian firm, NGI, has purchased a controlling interest in Mandriva. The Quintura blog published a short English language summary of the article today. NGI had previously purchased a 5% stake in Mandriva in July for an undisclosed sum as part of the €3 million financial rescue of the company according to the Vedomosti article. NGI and Ceychas Fund are investing an additional €2 million to acquire controlling interest, including purchasing shares currently held by two other investors.

      • Forking Mandriva Linux: The birth of Mageia

        I usually view these developments with caution, but this one I am actually happy about. Here are my reasons:

        * Mandriva’s management has done a very lousy job with the resources they have. It is pretty appalling. Mandriva was supposed to be to the desktop space what Red Hat is to the server market. But no, the company got stuck somewhere between 1998 and 2005. There were no new ideas. They could have done what Steve Jobs did with Apple, if only they had the vision and a good understanding of the technology and community they had at their disposal.

      • Mageia: MandrivaLinux fork
      • Mageia – A New Linux Distribution
      • Mandriva news by the board

        The Mandriva Community will be autonomous and governance structures will be created to ensure freedom. The Mandriva enterprise is just an element of this independent community.

        A community manager will be hired by Mandriva to help the community to implement these plans.

        The next version of the Mandriva community distribution will be available in spring 2011.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat looks out of state for expansion

        Red Hat’s heady growth has led it to explore out-of-state options for a whopping 300,000 square feet of office space.

        Officials with the Raleigh-based Linux software business recently looked at office space about that size in Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

        The amount of space is substantially more than the 188,000 square feet the company occupies at its headquarters on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus, sparking speculation about whether the company is considering a relocation of its headquarters.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • What Makes Debian One of the Most Popular Distros Out There: 5 Good Reasons

        Debian is one of the oldest and most popular distributions among the Linux users. There are probably hundreds of distributions which are based on Debian, or others which are based on distributions which in turn are based on Debian. Although I’m not a Debian developer, I use it for over two years or so, and slowly got to love this OS.

      • Linux Mint, Debian Edition

        All in all, there are definitely some changes in the beta version of Ubuntu 10.10, but for some reason I’m not as impressed with it as I thought I would be. However, I think that Ubuntu is heading in the right direction by polishing up the interface before jumping into large changes. Additionally, it is my understanding that the GUI-based installer has been significantly improved in Ubuntu 10.10, however I have yet to experience this myself because I use the “alternate” text-based installer.

      • Linux Mint, Debian Edition

        I have loaded Mint Debian on my three main laptop/netbooks so far – Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 (Intel Core2 Duo), HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez (AMD Athlon Neo) and Samsung N150 Plus (Intel Atom), and it loads and runs very nicely, and it looks and feels exactly like the Ubuntu-based Mint 9 (Isadora) distribution.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Artwork Team – What are we doing here?

          I am amazed at the high quality artwork produced by Canonical for Ubuntu which permits Ubuntu to complete against other commercial products such as OSX and Windows. The problem is these products are created and release with little if any community involvement.

        • “Sent From Ubuntu” Removed From Evolution In An Update Today [Ubuntu 10.10]

          Well that was quick. The “Sent from Ubuntu” default email signature for Evolution in Ubuntu 10.10 has been removed – as you can see in the latest Evolution package changelog.

        • Logitech G15 tool for Ubuntu feeds Rhythmbox, CPU & more to your keyboard LCD
        • Ecolo switching to Ubuntu

          Ecolo is switching to Ubuntu desktops.

        • Who would win in a struggle between all the Mac OS X cats and all the Linux animals?
        • Previewing Moovida 2.0 on Ubuntu

          To me, that sounds like it means Moovida will not be entirely open-source. This fact may complicate its status for Ubuntu users, ruling it out as a replacement for Rhythmbox/Totem and driving ideologically minded users away.

          On the other hand, the flexible nature of the plugin licensing could prove beneficial to Linux users by making it easier for proprietary developers to reach them. Commercial programmers have a tendency to stay away from open-source applications because the viral nature of the GPL often makes it difficult to bring proprietary code anywhere near open-source programs. Moovida might make that barrier a little easier to overcome.

          For the time being, though, we can only wait and see what develops, since there’s been little word on when we can expect an official Linux release (the Moovida website promises an OS/X release in summer 2010, but the summer is just about officially over and the Mac build has yet to appear, so development may be running behind schedule).

        • Uniteee: 7 days with Ubuntu Unity on a 7” screen

          If you’re not already aware of Ubuntu 10.10’s new netbook interface, called ‘Unity’, then I would sincerely ask you to point to the rock under which you have been living.

        • Ubuntu Software Centre has great potential

          Also, the Ubuntu Software Centre should start charging for open source software and help out the hard working programmers that bring us great apps for the GNU/Linux desktop. This would enable the programmers and the many great open source projects to earn a revenue from the software they produce. Advanced games would be more plentiful and complex software would be available as well. The Ubuntu Software Centre has a lot of potential to create a great market for excellent GNU/Linux software and a great stream of revenue for open source programmers that are struggling to turn a profit. I hope that the next few versions of Ubuntu will have these great features implemented. The Software Centre can spur a new class of great applications for the GNU/Linux platform and bring more users to use Linux as their primary operating system.

        • Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu and Dell Tie Up

          Mark Shuttleworth interview about Ubuntu and Dell Tie Up

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Rolling in Mint

            There are a lot of things I like about the Linux Mint distribution. One is that they aren’t reinventing the wheel. Linux Mint is less an independent from-the-ground-up distro and has been more of the icing on the Ubuntu cake. It’s changing (I think improving) the Ubuntu experience without starting over from scratch. Essentially this means that the Mint team is able to introduce new ideas and features to the user without wasting resources on the underlying base. Another point in its favour is that I can easily slap an install on a new computer in twenty minutes and have all the basics right there with no configuring, no tweaking and no adding extra repositories. It’s really the pizza delivery to your door in under thirty minutes distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Kmart and Augen Still Kicking Up Dust

        They have just released a new netbook running Android and it promptly sold out. This puts the lie to the revisionist history some recount of the netbook as released in 2007 by ASUS. These things will sell and in the USA. There is always a market for smaller and cheaper computers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source: a savvy bet, even in tough times

    Even as the economy slouches its way toward another bout of recession, the software industry has been in comparatively rude health. Earnings across the board have been impressive and, as a recent SIIA and OPEXEngine study (warning: PDF) shows, software companies are returning to robust profitability after years of red ink.

    In other words, when the economy has boomed proprietary software companies have also boomed. When it went bust, so did they, to varying degrees.

  • Software And Other Legacy Of The Baby Boomer Generation

    We can blame the baby boomers for proprietary software. (We can also blame them for C++ and Java, and I write two chapters detailing why they have been a total disaster for the industry. I recommend everyone use Python today.) We can also blame boomers for outlawing nuclear power, never drilling in ANWR despite decades of discussion, never fixing Social Security, destroying the K-12 education system, and numerous of the other long-term problems that have existed in this country for decades, that they did not fix, and the ones they created. Linus Torvalds is a Generation X-er, having been born in 1969. It is this generation that is coming into its own now that will invent the future, as we incorporate more free software, cooperation, and free markets into society.

  • 58 Open Source Replacements for Commercial Communications Apps

    So without further ado, here are 58 open source replacements for popular commercial communications software…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Home Now Available Worldwide

        Firefox Home, a free app that syncs your Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and open tabs to your iPhone or iPod touch, is now available in 15 languages worldwide. Get Firefox Home in your language now!

      • Firefox 4 For Linux Video / Screenshots Preview (Beta 7 Pre)

        Firefox 4 won’t have the menu it has on Windows – according to THIS bug report, but it does have the other new features.

      • Mozilla Labs pops out JavaScript language tool for coders

        Mozilla has released a JavaScript engine strictly for testing purposes to allow web developers to gain deeper access to – and better understanding of – the code underpinning its browser.

        The Narcissus engine and Zaphod script look-up tool have been added to Mozilla Labs to help the open source outfit develop new ideas for the JavaScript language.

      • Pixlr Grabber, Firefox Screenshot Taking Add-On

        The free Firefox add-on Pixel Grabber makes it dead easy to take screenshots in the browser. How does it work? Simply right-click on a page, or click on the status bar icon to grab a screenshot of the whole page, custom or visible area.

        The first and last option display a selection menu to download the screenshot to the local computer, copy it to the clipboard, share it with the image hosting service imm.io or send it to an online editor for immediate image editing.

      • Free my memory
      • Firefox 4 startup gets faster

        Firefox 4 shutdown is already almost instant, but Mozilla has had their sights set on faster start-up times for quite a while. Over the summer, a pair of Mozilla interns looked at simple tweaks which would make Firefox appear faster. It now looks as if at least one of the suggested changes will make its way in to Firefox 4.

      • Firefox 4 now with optimized session restore
      • Boomerang Effect: Firefox 4 is 7x Faster than IE9

        … at least if we believe Mozilla. Mozilla has published new benchmark results that aim to prove that IE9 is not quite as fast as Microsoft claims. In fact, Firefox has gained the edge again.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 released

      PostgreSQL 9.0 is here! The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces the availability of our most eagerly awaited release. PostgreSQL 9.0 includes built-in, binary replication, and over a dozen other major features which will appeal to everyone from web developers to database hackers.

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 Final Release Available Now!
    • Oracle MySQL rival PostgreSQL updated

      While Oracle trumpets its open source MySQL database management system this week at the company’s OpenWorld conference, the creators behind MySQL’s rival, PostgreSQL, have released a major new version of their rival database software.

      The newly released version 9 of PostgreSQL includes a number of new features that are potentially appealing to enterprise users. It includes the ability to do streaming replication, the upgrade process has been made considerably easier, and for the first time, it can run natively on clients running the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows.

    • First release candidate of MySQL 5.5 with InnoDB as a default

      Clearly, the new owner has left its mark in the new default for the database engine. The transaction-capable InnoDB is used, instead of the old MyISAM engine. Oracle says it is much faster than the previous version, thanks partly to multiple roll-back segments and the use of asynchronous I/O under Linux. In particular, MySQL does not come to a standstill as often when there are simultaneous connections on multi-core machines. The developers have changed the threading that the server uses, for example, by using dedicated locks for individual tasks instead of the former global lock.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Talk about Sugar in Software Freedom Kosova 2010 Conference

      FLOSSK has invited me to talk about Sugar in the upcoming Software Freedom Kosova 2010 Conference that will take place next weekend (25th-26th September) in Prishtina.

    • Gnash needs more support

      I’ve just tested Gnash 0.8.8 in a recent firefox beta and it works very well with youtube here. Other famous video (e.g. vimeo) sites, checked some pr0n sites as well, don’t work (properly) though. Now the Gnash developers pointed out on their blog that a) many people, especially debian users, use way too old versions or don’t follow the informations given on setup and therefore don’t remove their youtube cookies, so they get a blank screen and b) many people seem to be barely interested in a free flash player, so they quickly install adobe flash, when gnash does not work or they simply don’t see any reasons to open that technology up. Now since both Google and Apple have turned away from Adobe flash player, Google by actually supporting them, but by breaking their main monopoly with patent-free html 5 video and powerful javascript runtimes and Apple by also focusing on open Webstandards and Html 5 video, flash’s days seem to be counted.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Cenatic report: “Europe leading in development and use of open source”

      Europe is leading in the development and adoption of open source, according to a report by Cenatic, Spain’s national competence centre on this type of software, published yesterday at an IT conference in Palma de Mallorca. “Government support is key for the adoption of open source.”

    • Uncle Sam meets open source with open arms

      Examples of open source in the U.S. government abound. The Smithsonian and Search.USA.gov use Solr/Lucene open source enterprise search. The White House re-launched whitehouse.gov using Drupal. The DoD and the Intelligence Community have proposed an Open Technology Development roadmap “to increase technical efficiency and reduce software lifecycle costs within DoD,” and the DoD has developed forge.mil to “enable continuous collaboration among all stakeholders including project managers, developers, testers, certifiers, operators, and users.” In fact, my own company, Lucid Imagination, is funded in part by In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, further evidence that open source and government are going hand in hand.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Visual 6502: a visual simulation of a vintage microprocessor, in Javascript
  • No Poaching?

    He said he worked in Microsoft’s Valley office and at some point in the conversation told me that you couldn’t jump either way between, specifically, Microsoft and Apple; that if you were talking to a recruiter from the one, they’d drop you if you came from the other. He said “They do that to keep people from going back and forth to get raises.”

  • Johann Hari: Suffocating the poor: a modern parable

    They democratically elected a president to stand up to the rich and multinational corporations – so our governments have him kidnapped

  • A Quick Review: Windows 7

    Should you get Windows 7 over a Linux distro? It really and truly depends on your needs. In terms what what you get for price, Linux is amazing. You get tons of programs for free. Your drivers are mostly all already installed. It runs faster on an SSD drive. This version of Windows cost me $99 for an OEM license. I bought it because I like to play computer games and because I want to run Adobe Photoshop Lightroom at maximum efficiency (not via Wine or VirtualBox). Although my wife still has bits here and there where she wishes she had Windows XP instead of Ubuntu, it’s usually because something is different, not because it’s lacking. So she’d be giving most of the same complaints if I had moved her to Windows 7. And, I use my Linux, Fedora-based computer for EVERYTHING that isn’t photography or video games. Sometimes I go for days without booting up my Windows computer.

  • Science

    • Brain’s grey matter helps you introspect

      What happens in our brain when the mind is considering itself? Until now, it has been unclear what happens during a navel-gazing session. Now a team of neuroscientists has shed light on the process by identifying an area of the brain that is larger in more introspective individuals.

      Introspection is the act of assessing or thinking about one’s own thoughts, decisions and feelings. Stephen Fleming from University College London and his colleagues were interested in how the act of introspection – thought to be a crucial component of consciousness – links to the physiology of the brain.

    • 3-million-year-old whale fossil unearthed in CA

      Unearthed during a construction dig at the San Diego Zoo in California last Thursday: The fossilized remains of a 24-foot-long baleen whale that lived 3 million years ago.

      The age of the find is remarkable, but what makes this even more rare is the fact that the entire skeleton appears to be more or less intact: head, vertebrae, flippers, and all.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How to save women’s lives – the lessons from Sierra Leone

      Before, Fudia would have been taken to the hospital in the midst of labor, and when complications arose, the medical care would have stopped. Someone would have called Alex saying he needed to get to the hospital to pay for a C-section delivery before the operation could take place. The operation would cost between $200 and $500. Alex would have turned to me and asked for help. I would have searched around for someone to deliver the money to the hospital. All that time would have passed before a doctor and nurses could deliver the baby. All that time was endangering the Fudia’s life, and the unborn baby’s.

      Now, because of free health care, a team at the hospital delivered their baby boy. The only phone call Alex received was to tell him that mother and child are healthy. This is one example among many. We are saving the lives of mothers and their children. That is something to celebrate not only in Sierra Leone, but around the world.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Remembering the US Soldier Who Committed Suicide After She Refused to Take Part in Torture

      With each revelation, or court decision, on US torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo—or the airing this month of The Tillman Story and Lawrence Wright’s My Trip to Al-Qaeda—I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who died seven years ago this week. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what most would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, on September 15, 2003.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The battle to save Russia’s Pavlovsk seed bank

      In 1929, Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov traveled to Central Asia on one of the many seed-collecting expeditions that took him to five continents over more than two decades. In what is now present-day Kazakhstan, Vavilov — the father of modern seed banks — found forests of wild fruits and numerous cultivated varieties. Around the city of Alma Ata, he was astonished by the profusion of apple trees, writing in his journal that he believed he had “stumbled upon the center of origin for the apple, where wild apples were difficult to even distinguish from those which were being cultivated.”

      [...]

      The fate of the station is now in limbo as, after an intense lobbying campaign by botanists and conservation groups around the world, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has announced that the government is investigating the effort to uproot one of the most valuable botanical collections on Earth.

      The priceless nature of the Pavlosk station can be traced directly back to Vavilov and his painstaking efforts to collect seeds from what he viewed as hot spots of plant diversity around the world, now known as Vavilov Centers. His insights into the importance of preserving botanical genetic diversity, particularly among food crops, are highly relevant today as that diversity faces unparalleled threats from industrial agriculture dominated by monoculture crops, destruction of wild habitats, and climate change.

    • Exclusive: Journalism professor Jay Rosen on why climate science reporting is so bad

      Rosen wrote a terrific comment for my August 29 post, “What’s the difference between climate science and climate journalism? The former is self-correcting, the latter has become self-destructive.” Since it was #52, I suspect many missed it, so I’ll repost it below.

      First, though, here are a couple of choice excerpts from Rosen’s Economist interview that readers identified:

      I do not think journalists should “join the team”. They bridle at that, for good reason. Power-seeking and truth-seeking are different behaviours, and this is how we distinguish politics from journalism. I think it does take a certain detachment from your own preferences and assumptions to be a good reporter. The difficulty is that neutrality has its limits. Taken too far, it undermines the very project in which a serious journalist is engaged.Suppose the forces that want to convince Americans that Barack Obama is a Muslim or wasn’t born in the United States start winning, and more and more people believe it. This is a defeat for journalism—in fact, for verification itself. Neutrality and objectivity carry no instructions for how to react to something like that. They aren’t “wrong”, they’re just limited. The American press does not know what to do when neutrality, objectivity, balance and “report both sides” reach their natural limits. And so journalists tend to deny that there are such limits. But with this denial they’ve violated the code of the truth-teller because these limits are real. See the problem?

      … When journalists get attacked from the left and the right, they take it as confirmation that they’re doing something right, when they could be doing everything wrong. There’s a certain laziness that creeps up too, which you can hear in phrases from the commentariat like “extremists on both sides”. No attempt to actually examine centre and margin and compare them across parties; instead, this sorry act of positioning, in which the political centre is associated with truth, common sense and realism. This is a very common prejudice in political journalism.

    • ‘We will have no water and that will be the end of the world for us’

      Peru is said to be the 56th richest country in the world, with 28 of the world’s 35 climates and more than 70% of the tropical glaciers on earth. Most are in rapid retreat, leaving behind devastated farmers and communities short of water.

      Julio invited us to his home, but we are in the hands of Oxfam and heading for another region far from the retreating glaciers but where climate change is impacting communities hard.

    • Sainsbury’s taken to court over ‘excessive’ packaging of beef joint

      A council has launched a landmark legal case against the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s for using too much packaging on a fresh joint of beef.

      Lincolnshire council’s trading standards claim “excessive” wrapping around the meat is damaging to the environment. The case is believed to be the first time a major supermarket has been prosecuted for failing to stay within acceptable levels of packaging.

    • Obama administration accused of helping BP hide the oil in the Gulf

      The Obama administration is facing two new charges of suppressing information about the BP oil spill.

      Independent scientists, environmental organisations and local groups in the Gulf have repeatedly accused government agencies of helping BP to under-estimate the amount of oil that spewed out of its well and play down its effects on marine life.

      The emergency phase of the spill may now be all but over: administration officials say the well could be permanently sealed by Sunday. But the Obama administration still faces a big trust gap over its handling of the spill, with environmentalists and scientists growing more vocal about their suspicions that the US public is being spun.

    • Where’s The Oil? On The Gulf Floor, Scientists Say
    • BP well threatens ancient Libyan sites

      Plans by the energy giant BP to sink an oil well off the Libyan coast could have disastrous consequences for the region’s rich heritage of coastal ancient city sites and shipwrecks – already under threat from oil tankers, coastal erosion and tourist developments – archaeologists from around the world have warned.

    • The US must show leadership on biodiversity

      If the world has been reminded of anything through the tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is that biodiversity and the health of ecosystems is neither an abstract scientific concept nor the pet project of a green elite. Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are the vital underpinnings of human society.

      Food and energy production on land and from the sea; medicine; tourism, and real estate: these industries and many others have been shown to be starkly vulnerable to the destruction of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. And yet, while the link between biodiversity and human well-being is better understood now than ever before, the news from the frontlines of the global effort to preserve the world’s biodiversity is bleak. The web of life that we all rely on for our very survival is being torn apart at an increasingly alarming rate and action to address this global crisis is still distressingly lacking and slow.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs: Bullies on the Block
    • How Goldman Sachs Makes Its Money

      From PBS comes this video which reviews how Goldman Sachs takes great pleasure in making money in whatever way presents itself while at the same time ignoring the sufferings of those from whom they obtain their money.

    • The Angry Rich

      Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

      [...]

      For one thing, craziness has gone mainstream. It’s one thing when a billionaire rants at a dinner event. It’s another when Forbes magazine runs a cover story alleging that the president of the United States is deliberately trying to bring America down as part of his Kenyan, “anticolonialist” agenda, that “the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.” When it comes to defending the interests of the rich, it seems, the normal rules of civilized (and rational) discourse no longer apply.

    • Confronting Our Complicity

      Building the Big Banks

      So, let’s start with me. I have a checking account at a Wells Fargo Wachovia bank and I regularly make deposits, withdrawals and debit purchases with it. A few months ago, Wachovia settled a case with the Department of Justice for $160 million on the charge of laundering potentially billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. High-level Wachovia executives would have us believe they had no prior knowledge of this serious criminal activity which helped keep their company afloat (at least for a little while), but evidence suggests there were numerous red flags they were made aware of and chose to ignore. At the very least they had been extremely negligent in establishing and maintaining money laundering “detection systems”, and why wouldn’t they be when due diligence may cost them millions in bonuses. [2]. Thousands of innocent Mexican and American citizens die every year at the hands of Mexican drug cartels and violence associated with their activities. The drug trade also contributes greatly to socioeconomic ills in both societies, such as the social costs resulting from habitual drug abuse and economic costs from medical treatment and prosecuting the “war on drugs”. [3]. I feel an acute sense of guilt for depositing my money at Wachovia banks, supporting their business activities and aiding them in growing to the extent that their managers can get away with financing murder, even though the amount in my checking account alone is negligible to their overall worth. There are obviously millions of other people in this country who also support Wachovia and other major financial institutions like it, and all that cash adds up to serious capital.

    • S.E.C. Seeks to Reinstate a Debt Rule

      The Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously approved on Friday a proposal to reinstate a requirement that publicly traded companies disclose more information about their short-term borrowings.

    • Chances of a Double Dip

      I look forward at the beginning of each month to getting Gary’s latest letter. I often print it out and walk away from my desk to spend some quality time reading his thoughts. He is one of my “must-read” analysts. I always learn something quite useful and insightful. I am grateful that he has let me share this with you.

    • Unofficial Problem Bank List increases to 854 institutions
    • Gold company sticking with Glenn Beck, other conservative pundits

      A gold trading company has no plans to end its high-profile sponsorship of conservative commentators despite coming under congressional scrutiny.

      Scott Carter, executive vice president of Goldline International, Inc., told The Hill that the firm is “very pleased” with its advertising relationship with Glenn Beck and other radio and television pundits that are popular among conservatives.

    • Greenspan@CFR – Freaking Doomed

      “We’re all freaking doomed.”, says Alan Greenspan.

    • A Conversation with Alan Greenspan (Video)
    • Poverty rate climbs to 14.3 percent, 15-year high

      The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said Thursday in its annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households. The report covers 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office.

      The poverty rate increased from 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million people, in 2008.

    • The Poverty Census: The poor get poorer & the rich get richer

      IN TODAY’S AMERICA, the poor are apparently getting poorer.

      Then again, so is the middle class. And just like in the days leading up to the Great Depression, the rich are getting even richer.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View

      The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, “going ghost”: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • International Internet Treaty proposed by Europe

      Europe has proposed an Internet Treaty to protect the net from political interference which threatens to break it up.

      The draft international law has been compared to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which sought to prevent space exploration being pursued for anything less than the benefit of all human kind. The Internet Treaty would similarly seek to preserve the Internet as a global system of free communication that transcends national borders.

      An early draft of the Treaty has come into our possession as governments around the world pile pressure on the United Nations to bring the Internet under political control. Their various hare-brained schemes threaten to make communication on the Internet conditional on criteria set by narrow political interests.

    • US Senators Propose Bill To Censor Any Sites The Justice Depatement Declares ‘Pirate’ Sites, Worldwide

      The entertainment industry’s favorite two Senators, Patrick Leahy (who keeps proposing stronger copyright laws) and Orin Hatch (who once proposed automatically destroying the computers of anyone caught file sharing) have now proposed a new law that would give the Justice Department the power to shut down websites that are declared as being “dedicated to illegal file sharing.” Other Senators signed on to sponsor the bill are: Sens. Herb Kohl, Arlen Specter, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Evan Bayh and George Voinovich. Perhaps these Senators should brush up on their history.

      They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a “pirate” venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right? Things change over time. Remember, that YouTube, which is now considered by Hollywood to be mostly “legit,” had been derided as a “site dedicated” to “piracy” in the past. It’s no surprise that the Justice Department — with a bunch of former RIAA/MPAA lawyers on staff — would love to have such powers, but it’s difficult to see how such a law would be Constitutional, let alone reasonable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Gallo report will be voted next week

      Wednesday next week the European Parliament will be voting on the Gallo report on intellectual property enforcement.

      Unfortunately, there is a major risk that the parliament will adopt the report, which would be bad news for the Internet community. I am one of the signatories on an alternative resolution submitted by the Green, Social Democrat and Left groups, but it is doubtful if we will be able to get a majority for it. But we will keep on trying until the final vote.

    • Copyrights

      • Swedish Pirate Party Fails To Enter Parliament

        The Swedish Pirate Party has failed to replicate last year’s massive victory in the European elections. The Party, which promised it would host Wikileaks and The Pirate Bay inside the Swedish Parliament if it was voted in, lost the majority of last year’s support and won’t reach the threshold that would allow it to enter Parliament.

      • Abstract Logix: Changing the music experience for everyone with the open source way

        Since its inception in 2003, Abstract Logix has consistently positioned itself at the cutting edge of every element of music–sales, production, and distribution. In addition to traditional record label functions, Abstract Logix has fostered a vital community of musicians and fans via its online portal, constantly taking advantage of the ever-expanding possibilities of the digital revolution. Yet, we understand that nothing can replace the exhilaration of master musicians performing in concert. Thus the idea behind The New Universe Music Festival. Our artists will connect with the fans at the festival. The artists will be approachable and will be interested in trading ideas with their fans.

      • 4chan attacks MPAA’s website with DDoS

        Members of the notorious 4chan image board have launched a coordinated a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against mpaa.org, the website of the Motion Picture Association of America. The attack began at 9:00 PM EST and is still ongoing. It only took eight minutes for the MPAA website to go down. According to an announcement posted on the Internet, 4chan members consider this a retaliation against film studios who paid an Indian company called Aiplex Software to attack torrent websites in a similar manner.Last week, Aiplex’s managing director boasted in the media that when websites refuse to respond to DMCA takedown notices sent by his company, on behalf of local and international film studios, his team resorts to DDoS.

      • Fox News Took ‘Dramatic Step’ In Suing Political Campaign, Says Copyright Expert

        Fox News’ decision to sue a Democratic candidate over her campaign’s use of footage first aired on the network in an ad is an apparent escalation of such fair use battles — bringing disputes between media companies and campaigns from YouTube to the courtroom.

        The suit the network filed against the campaign of Robin Carnahan, a Democrat challenging Rep. Roy Blunt (R) for a Senate seat in Missouri, appears to be the first time such a fair use fight between a media company and a political campaign has been taken to court. It is much more common for media companies to flag the videos to YouTube and assert their copyright.

      • Talk Like A Pirate Day marred by DDoS Attacks

        Kids (of all ages) around the world revel in a whole day in which they can “Talk Like A Pirate”. Arrr. Be a pirate. Sing and play pirate songs like the Arrogant Worms classic pirate tune Last Saskatchewan Pirate. Dress up in pirate gear. There is even an online Pirate Translator for assistance with pirate talking. It is nothing to do with politics, or copyright. The point of “Talk Like A Pirate Day” is fun. Yo ho ho.

        This year, not so much.

        The MPAA has been unsuccessfully trying to convince people that sharing is a bad thing by spending vast sums of money on ‘anti-piracy’ advertising. Of course it doesn’t help that they what they call piracy is not just commercial bootlegging, but includes personal use sharing and any number of things that users feel justified in doing. (Some copyright “reformers” say that we need to purchase copies of the same book for every member of the family.) Or format shifting. (Some copyright “reformers” say we should purchase copies of the same song for every device we would play it on.)

      • Linux Journal be Taken Over by Pirates, ARRRR!

        Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day everyone!

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Julian Huppert MP interview, part one: fighting the Digital Economy Act

          With a new Government telling us massive spending cuts are inevitable, and an old Government that forced through a shoddy piece of legislation called the digital Economy Act before it shuffled off, it hasn’t been looking good for broadband.

          However, each new intake of MPs brings with it new and younger blood, which hopefully has a better handle on the desperate need to keep this country’s broadband infrastructure up to date – or at least close – with our neighbours.

          One of those MPs is Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert. A tech savvy newcomer to Parliament with a PhD in Biological Chemistry, he’s just the kind of character we need to ensure the voice of gadget loving consumers and tech reliant businesses is heard.

Clip of the Day

Google Earth Guys


Credit: TinyOgg

09.19.10

Links 20/9/2010: “Sent Using Ubuntu”, OpenOffice.org Succeeds at Fullerton India

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSS Watch National Software Survey 2010
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 Is Now Available

      While we have yet to see any official release announcement, if you browse the PostgreSQL FTP server you can now find the final packages for PostgreSQL 9.0.0. This major update to PostgreSQL brings easy-to-use replication, mass permission-changing, anonymous code blocks, enhanced stored procedure support, exclusion constraints, deferrable unique constraints, and a variety of other enhancements.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle ships Secure Global Desktop 4.6

      Oracle has delivered an updated version of its Secure Global Desktop that offers more browser flexibility, enhanced availability and seamless integration with VDI platforms.

    • OpenOffice.org HackFest

      OpenOffice.org just finished their annual conference in Budapest, Hungary. One of the outcomes of the conference announced today is the need for developers to spend more time together to properly fix problems.

      In light of this, OpenOffice.org decided to have a HackFest specifically targeted at developers. The idea here is for the developers to spend more time face to face working on the code. The OpenOfice.org HackFest is scheduled for November 5-7, 2010 in Hamburg. The location can be seen on Google Maps and Open Street Maps.

    • Book review – Learn OpenOffice.org Spreadsheet Macros

      However, when I got my hands on this book, OpenOffice.org Spreadsheet Macro Programming, I was curious and hoped to find I was wrong, that this would open up new opportunities for clients and organizations that want to get away from Microsoft Office, clients who are already using OpenOffice, so I was really interested to see the level of capability that Calc had in its macro programming.

    • Working with Open Office and Microsoft Office

      Instead you can download an alternative. Rather than add Open Office formats to the Open window, there are options available for opening and saving with the ODF format added to the File menu.

    • OpenOffice at Fullerton India

      Fullerton India saved crores of rupees by moving the bulk of its users onto the open source office suite.

      [...]

      Fullerton India Credit Co. Ltd. wanted to convert the bulk of its users from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice. It would turn out to be quite a complex project involving macro migration, some hardware upgrades and educating users at numerous locations. At that point of time, the company had 850 branches (6,000 PCs, 15,000 users). Currently, after consolidating and downsizing, it has 400 locations (4,000 PCs, 9,000 users).

  • Hacking

    • Trouble with Diaspora
    • iRail meet-up: Report

      Ironically we started a little later as planned due to unforeseen traffic-jams for Yeri and Christophe. Nevertheless we did a great job and I want to start off by thanking all the participants and of course the hackerspace of Ghent.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE calls on governments to stop pushing Adobe Reader

      Free software and open standards advocates are encouraging web users to put pressure on governments not to ‘advertise’ proprietary Adobe software as a tool for reading documents created in PDF format.

      Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is asking users to conduct a month-long ‘hunt’ for examples of what it says is the promotion of proprietary PDF readers.

    • What is Lundy doing at Software Freedom Day?

      On Saturday, September 18, Melbourne will mark Software Freedom Day, a day observed worldwide to spread the message of free and open source software.

    • Look Who’s Using Free Software: CERN

      “CERN is a leading partner of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) that provides the distributed computing infrastructure for scientists working on the LHC experiments. This infrastructure links more than 300 computer centers and provides access to 260,000 CPUs on which users run about 20 million jobs every month. These machines are operated under several GNU/Linux variants.

    • [Hurd] what we need

      We created a list of the things we still need for using the Hurd for in our day-to-day activities (work or hobby).

  • Project Releases

    • Update kills code-execution threat in Samba

      Version 3.5.5, which was released on Tuesday, fixes the underlying buffer overrun in functions used to generate a credential known as a Windows Security ID. It can be exploited by sending a booby-trapped ID that overflows the stack variable and injects malicious code into memory.

  • Government

    • Italian Constitutional Court gives way to Free Software friendly laws

      Across Europe, several policy initiatives to implement rules that favour the adoption of Free Software and Open Standards in competitive tenders to public administration have been proposed or implemented. Many reasons have been posited to support such the favouring of such solutions, not least the evidence that proprietary software – through various mechanisms – is unjustly given preferential treatment in many tenders.2
      Italy is no exception. The main national law that rules on software procurement of the Public Administration3 is agnostic, and does not go farther than to say that a Public Administration shall always choose between various options – one of which is procuring “open source” software – and that the choice should be made according to a technical and commercial comparison.4 In the national law one cannot find guidance as to how to evaluate the characteristics of the competing offers. This means that any public administration can decide by following the general principles of public procurement.

      The Piedmont law was intended to take advantage of the limited but decisive role regional laws have in skewing the situation one way or the other. However, the national government objected to this approach, and the Constitutional Court found that it is constitutionally permissible for a regional law to try to alter the rules of the game of public procurement in order to favour one type of software offer over another, provided that certain conditions are met.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Iran: Exporting the Internet (part 2)

      Afghans headed to the polls today for parliamentary elections in a tense but hopeful atmosphere. If the Internet has a role to play this year in helping Afghanistan develop a peaceful civil society, it will probably turn on two key developments: cheap GPRS Internet delivered over mobile phones, and strong relationships with neighboring states to provide Internet transit.

    • In-house lawyers have no right to secrecy in EU competition cases, rules ECJ

      In-house lawyers at companies being investigated for competition law offences do not enjoy the same privacy rights for communications with their companies as lawyers from external firms, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said.

      The ECJ has ruled that in-house lawyers are in danger of suffering a conflict of interest because they have a duty to their permanent employer as well as to the law. They cannot be allowed the same legal professional privilege (LPP) as external lawyers because they are not independent, the Court said.

Leftovers

  • Report: Tech firms close to settling no-poach case

    Apple, Adobe Systems, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar are reportedly looking to settle the allegations to avoid a courtroom face-off with the Justice Department. The companies have been trying to persuade the government that nonpoaching agreements are not anticompetitive because they help ensure that employees can work on projects with other firms without fear of being stolen away.

  • U.S. Tech Probe Nears End

    Several of the U.S.’s largest technology companies are in advanced talks with the Justice Department to avoid a court battle over whether they colluded to hold down wages by agreeing not to poach each other’s employees.

    The companies, which include Google Inc., Apple Inc., Intel Corp., Adobe Systems Inc., Intuit Inc. and Walt Disney Co. unit Pixar Animation, are in the final stages of negotiations with the government, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Consumer group slams Britain’s digital radio switchover

    2015 is far too early, says the Consumer Expert Group in its report for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport today entitled Digital Radio Switchover: what is in it for consumers? to start the switchover process. The Group advises that any switchover should only occur when analog radio listening has fallen to 30 per cent of total listening – the current trigger is 50 per cent of “digital” – and says there is far more to do than the radio industry or current policy appreciates.

  • Ex-IBM executive gets six months for insider trading

    WE REPORTED back in March that former IBM senior executive Robert Moffat, who was once lined up as a candidate for chief executive, collected his pink slip and did not pass go when he pleaded guilty to insider trading. He was the 11th person to do so in the Galleon hedge fund probe – the biggest insider trading scandal the US has seen for some time.

  • Ex-IBM heir apparent gets six months in the slammer
  • Former IBM Executive Sentenced to 6 Months for Securities Fraud

    Authorities say profits from illegal trades topped $50 million, though Moffat’s tips resulted in no profits and he received no money, lawyers on both sides agreed.

  • Pi record smashed as team finds two-quadrillionth digit

    A researcher has calculated the 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of the mathematical constant pi – and a few digits either side of it.

    Nicholas Sze, of tech firm Yahoo, said that when pi is expressed in binary, the two quadrillionth digit is 0.

  • After Inmate Files Some 3,800 Lawsuits, Prosecutors Seek to Stop the Onslaught

    A federal inmate who once dubbed himself the “lawsuit Zeus” is so litigious that prosecutors are trying to put an end to the frivolous filings.

    Jonathan Lee Riches has filed more than 3,800 lawsuits, targeting defendants ranging from the planet Pluto to former president George W. Bush, the Associated Press reports. The Bush suit claimed the president and his brother had snuck into prison to clone his brain. A motion in another case, chronicled by Above the Law, claimed Riches became addicted to video games, causing him to lose touch with reality and his mind to become a living video game.

  • Supreme Court Justice Breyer denies influence of politics

    At a town hall-style meeting in L.A., Stephen G. Breyer says that the few times the court has acted under the sway of politics, the results have been disastrous.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • X Prize Winners Announced

    Edison2, a company based in Lynchburg, Va., won the $5 million top prize with its Edison2 Very Light Car. The competition was broken up into two classes: Mainstream, which was for four-seat vehicles, and Alternative, which had two divisions: two-seats side-by-side and two seats in a tandem, fighter-jet configuration.

  • Hardware

    • Credit Card with a Computer Inside

      The new cards are no bigger than the one in your wallet, and is actually slightly more flexible. It can display information at the press of a button, and can become several different cards by rewriting its own magnetic strip.

    • Intel wants to charge $50 to unlock stuff your CPU can already do
    • Intel + DRM: a crippled processor that you have to pay extra to unlock

      Intel’s latest business-model takes a page out of Hollywood’s playbook: they’re selling processors that have had some of their capabilities crippled (some of the cache and the hyperthreading support are switched off). For $50, they’ll sell you a code that will unlock these capabilities. Conceptually, this is similar to the DRM notion that I can sell you a movie that you can watch on one screen for $5 today, and if you want to unlock your receiver’s wireless output so you can watch it upstairs, it’ll be another $5.

    • ARM gets ready to enter Intel’s domain

      BRITISH CHIP DESIGN OUTFIT ARM is not flustered by Intel’s recent acquisitions and has been planning its assault on the laptop market for some time.

      That’s the message coming from the UK firm, hot on the heels of Chinese chip outfit Nufront demonstrating its dual core 2GHz system-on-chip (SoC) based on ARM’s Cortex A9 architecture. Speculation has been rife that Intel’s round of big money acquisitions means that Chipzilla is gunning for the plucky British company in the mobile space, but Nufront’s announcement has repositioned ARM as being on the offensive.

    • Intel won’t make more big acquisitions

      IN HIS KEYNOTE SPEECH at IDF 2010, Intel CEO Paul Otellini all but ruled out any more big acquisitions by the chipmaker within the next few years.

    • Lacie releases a USB 3.0 RAID drive

      STORAGE AND DISPLAY VENDOR Lacie is extending its RAID drive and external hard drive portfolios with a USB 3.0 external RAID hard drive.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Food Crisis is Not About a Shortage of Food

      The food crisis of 2008 never really ended, it was ignored and forgotten. The rich and powerful are well fed; they had no food crisis, no shortage, so in the West, it was little more than a short lived sound bite, tragic but forgettable. To the poor in the developing world, whose ability to afford food is no better now than in 2008, the hunger continues.

      Hunger can have many contributing factors; natural disaster, discrimination, war, poor infrastructure. So why, regardless of the situation, is high tech agriculture always assumed to be the only the solution? This premise is put forward and supported by those who would benefit financially if their “solution” were implemented. Corporations peddle their high technology genetically engineered seed and chemical packages, their genetically altered animals, always with the “promise” of feeding the world.

    • Stop Biotech’s Push for GMO Frankenfish!

      The FDA is poised to approve sale of the first GMO animal for human consumption, a fast-growing Frankenfish that hasn’t been fully assessed for food safety or environmental hazards, and that has little benefit outside of corporate profits.

    • FDA rules won’t require labeling of genetically modified salmon

      As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to approve genetically modified salmon, one thing seems certain: Shoppers staring at fillets in the seafood department will find it tough to pick out the conventional fish from the one created with genes from another species.

      Despite a growing public demand for more information about how food is produced, that won’t happen with the salmon because of idiosyncracies embedded in federal regulations.

    • Microbiologists find the dirt on hand washing

      The American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute wanted to see how often people wash their hands in public restrooms. (It’s flu and cold season again!) And, they found the “dirt” on people’s hand-washing habits.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Twitter airport bomb joker loses second job

      Paul Chambers, the Twitter joker victim, has been sacked from a second job a week before his appeal against a widely criticised conviction for sending a “threatening” message to to blow Doncaster airport “sky high”.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Czechs wait for Google Street View

      The Czech data protection authority has confirmed that Google does not have the proper licence to continue collecting images for its Street View service.

      The issue is not just about Wi-Fi data, as reported yesterday, but also images taken by its fleet of Street View cars which have already covered much of Prague, Český Krumlov and some major roads.

    • Appeals court reverses its own privacy ruling

      A US APPEALS COURT has reversed itself on the idea of computer privacy that it had previously upheld.

      Last year the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark data privacy ruling that curtailed the US government’s computer search and seizure powers. The ruling was made in the case of 104 US baseball players who had their hard drives ransacked by feds looking for evidence of drug use.

    • Mozambique blocked rioters’ texts

      A letter apparently from the Mozambique communications authority asked mobile networks to block text messages during food riots in the southern African country earlier this month.

      Hundreds of people were arrested over the protests and 13 killed, after the government put up the price of bread by a third. Petrol and electricity also went up sharply. The riots were encouraged by round-robin text messages.

    • Parents back legal ban of violent vidgames sales to kids

      The war between the video games industry and critics who think that playing violent games are harmful to children moves to the US Supreme Court in November.

    • T-Mobile Censoring Text Messages

      A mobile-marketing company claimed Friday it would go out of business unless a federal judge orders T-Mobile to stop blocking its text-messaging service, the first case testing whether wireless providers can block text messages they don’t like.

    • Public Knowledge Sees Lawsuit Over Unlawful Text Message Blocking as Another Reason for FCC Action

      Earlier today, EZ Texting, a mobile marketing company, filed suit in U.S. District Court in New York City against T-Mobile for unilaterally blocking its customers from exchanging text messages with EZ Texting’s customers, which the company said could put it out of business. The parts of the suit are here and here. The declaration of Shane Neman, CEO of EZ Texting, is here.

    • The Internet as a human right

      You don’t have to assert something as a fundamental human right to believe that it provides a social good of deep, deep of value. So, I remain an Internet exceptionalist and fanatic. I am all in favor of providing Internet access to the world, preferably for free. (Of course, I’d first want to make sure everyone can read and write, and has electricity, has a full belly, and has access to medical care, so that they can use the Net in the first place. Also, so they can live.) Access to an open Internet is an incredible social good. We who have such access should cherish it, use it, spread it, share it, and fight to keep it open. Nevertheless, calling Net access a human right blurs the line between social goods and demandable human rights. That does not bring the Net to the world any faster, and diminishes the effect of claims of genuine human rights.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gallo report plenary vote campaign

      If voted in the European Parliament, the Gallo report will promote a dogmatic, repressive vision of Copyright for the future of EU policymaking, calling for instance for more repression of not-for-profit online filesharing. A recently tabled proposal for a resolution by the ALDE group contains the same inaccuracies and biased approach; it is almost as bad.

    • Copyrights

      • Filmmaker Premieres Movie In Theaters and on The Pirate Bay

        While most filmmakers shy away from anything remotely related to BitTorrent, Swedish director Stina Bergman has partnered with The Pirate Bay for the release of her latest movie. Today the film, titled “Die Beauty”, debuts in Swedish theaters as well as on The Pirate Bay.

      • Police spent tens of thousands on failed BitTorrent probe

        A failed three-year police investigation of a filesharing website, run in cooperation with the music industry, cost taxpayers at least £29,000, and probably much more.

        Figures released by Cleveland Police detail some costs of Operation Ark Royal, a raid on invitation-only BitTorrent site OiNK.cd.

      • State Bar of Nevada reviewing grievance against Righthaven CEO

        The Nevada agency that regulates attorneys is looking into a grievance filed against the chief executive officer of Righthaven LLC, the Las Vegas copyright enforcement company that has sued at least 124 individuals and companies in North America since March over unauthorized online postings of Las Vegas Review-Journal stories.

        The nature of the grievance hasn’t been disclosed except that someone filed it with the State Bar of Nevada against Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson, a Las Vegas attorney, and that it is related to Righthaven.

        The State Bar calls complaints filed against attorneys by citizens or clients “grievances” so they’re not confused with “complaints” the State Bar may file against lawyers.

        The grievance under investigation could relate to any number of allegations defense attorneys have made against Righthaven and its procedures — which are unusual for the newspaper industry — of detecting online infringements of Review-Journal material, obtaining copyrights to the infringed material and then suing over the retroactive infringements.

      • Prof. Richard Dawkins Advocates the Use of BitTorrent

        Professor Richard Dawkins is one of the best known evolutionary biologists today. Affiliated with the University of Oxford and Berkeley, he is famous for his fierce and outspoken critique on religious institutions through his publications and documentaries. In common with many scientists, he wants his work to be read and seen by the public, even if that means ignoring copyright by going to The Pirate Bay.

      • 4chan to DDoS RIAA Next – Is This the Protest of the Future?

        Over the last 36 hours or so, the ‘Anonymous’ masses and many unaffiliated sympathizers joined forces to attack the MPAA’s website. Continuing with ‘Operation Payback’, today an attack will be launched on the RIAA. The ultimate in decentralized protests will go ahead and there’s not a lawyer or police force in the world who can do anything about it. Is this the protest of the future?

Clip of the Day

Avatard


Credit: TinyOgg

09.18.10

Links 18/9/2010: GNU/Linux in Dell China, Wine 1.3.3, Mageia (Mandriva Fork) Launched

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Need Ideas for Christmas or Other Presents?

    Want a finished product not requiring installation? Why not buy a PC with GNU/Linux installed for presents. Recipients will remember your generosity for years of trouble-free use and top performance.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Out Performs Windows in OpenGL

      Late last year I did a posting detailing how Windows 7 crushed Ubuntu 9.10 in the area of 3D performance. Nine months later I am happy to say:

      Linux out performs Windows 7 in OpenGL benchmarks!

    • Dell.com.cn

      Dell, in China, has no qualms about putting Ubuntu before consumers. On their site they do “recommend that other OS” according to Google Translate but the Mini-10 comes in two models, one with Ubuntu and one with that other OS. That other OS is RM100 higher price. They even have N series with FreeDOS or “Linux Ubuntu 9.10“. Isn’t the outside of the USA a different world?

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Next X.Org Developers Summit?

        The X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse, France just ended and it’s time in the morning to head to Oktoberfest to meet with many Phoronix readers at this annual outing. XDS 2010 turned out to be a wonderful event and more organized than some X.Org events in the past. Thanks to the wonderful organization by Matthieu Herrb, the venue itself was nice, the social event last night was terrific, the Internet and power at the event was plenty, etc. Stay tuned for Phoronix notes and some audio/video recordings to be published in the coming days, beyond what has already been reported. At XDS 2010 it was also brought up where to host XDS 2011.

        It was brought up whether to host the 2011 X.Org Developers’ Summit in Brazil, simply on the basis of the X.Org events usually being in the United States or Europe, even though that’s where a vast majority of the X.Org developers are located. No real reasons in favor of an XDS Brazil event were provided and there isn’t even any X.Org developers presently living in Brazil that could organize such an event. There were plenty of concerns though regarding the cost of transportation, the time needed to fly to Brazil for both Americans and Europeans, and just the overall location being inconvenient for everyone.

      • Most Drivers Won’t Be Merged Into X Server 1.10

        The last talk of the 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit was regarding X.Org Server 1.10. The good news is that nearly every X.Org graphics driver will not be merged back into the xorg-server repository.

  • Applications

    • Wine

      • Wine Announcement [1.3.3]

        The Wine development release 1.3.3 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Improved support for right-to-left text.
        – Support for CMYK JPEG images.
        – Beginnings of a Game Explorer implementation.
        – Improved 64-bit support in MSI.
        – Stub inetcpl control panel applet.
        – A number of fixes to crypto support.
        – Translation updates.
        – Various bug fixes.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia – a Mandriva fork

        Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project.

      • Mandriva’s Forked Into A New Project Called Mageia

        The Mandriva Linux distribution has been forked by a number of Mandriva contributors with the fate of this distribution formerly known as Mandrake being unknown due to financial troubles and layoffs facing Mandriva’s parent company. This new forked version of Mandriva is being called Mageia.

      • Mageia – A New Linux Distribution
    • Red Hat Family

      • UBS: IBM, Oracle could bid to buy Red Hat

        UBS strategist Thomas Doerflinger says in the note that the forces driving M&A activity include the economic slowdown and low interest rates. Also, the potential buyers have strong balance sheets and ample cash.

        Red Hat’s market cap is close to $7.3 billion. The company employs about 2,800 worldwide.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Shuttleworth: Defending Ubuntu

          I’m not talking about valid criticism or difference in philosophy either, I’m talking about people who personally attack rms and/or simply lie about the FSF (ala recent attempts to suggest the FSF supports software patents to attack non-GPL software [1][2]).

          I’m not sure how the Self-Loathing Free Software User gained traction in Ubuntu (or in any community for that matter), but it seems at odds with the messaging coming from Mr. Shuttleworth.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Device update: Analysts bullish on ereaders

      These forecasts not only predict a growing number of devices being used by consumers, but also a growing amount of online content to feed those devices. Taken together, these projections create an optimistic short-term picture for the ereader market.

      Turning to this week’s news: we’ve got announcements from Elonex, Ectaco, and Velocity Micro, as well as an update on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trade Practices Implications of Infringing Copies of Open Source Software

    Earlier in the year Linux Australia approved a grant for the production of a research note on the Trade Practices Implications of Infringing Copies of Open Source Software. The note has been completed and reviewed by the Linux Australia committee and is now ready for open release.

    The main finding of the research is that a vendor selling an infringing copy of open source software is likely to be in breach of at least one section of Part V the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) relating to misleading or deceptive statements or conduct, and likely more than one. There are many cases in which such breaches have been found in relation to infringing copies of software. Even where a vendor only offers to sell (as opposed to actually selling) an infringing copy they are still likely to be in breach of the Act.

  • Apache is Hanging in There…

    Netcraft reports that Apache has 66% share of the servers on the million busiest sites, 57% of all sites (up 1% which Apache stole from M$ last month), Since this demonstrates FLOSS works, it’s hard to see whence all the doom and gloom for GNU/Linux on the desktop comes.

  • Databases

    • Why NoSQL Matters

      “NoSQL” is a label which encompasses a wave of innovation now happening in the database space. The NoSQL movement has sparked a whirlwind of discussion, debate, and excitement in the technical community. Why is NoSQL generating so much buzz? What does it mean for you, the application developer? And what place does NoSQL have for apps running on the Heroku platform?

  • CMS

  • Education

    • 50 Reasons to Love GNU/Linux for Schools

      We have all read articles with 5 or 10 reasons to love/hate some facet of IT. I thought I would go for 50. It is not hard. What is hard is putting them in order of importance/preference. The first few are easy. The last few are a coin-flip, but there are many reasons to love GNU/Linux in education.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • What is Software Freedom Day About?

      Other things that encourage both my use and support of free software are the heavy handed application of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Technical Protection Measures (TPM). These are methods employed in hardware and software to force your tech stuff to be subservient to the manufacturer. In many if not most cases DRM/TPM result in degrading the hardware or software, sometimes making it difficult to use, sometimes just crippling it so that things that should work don’t, and sometimes breaking it so that it doesn’t work at all. It used to be inadvertent “bugs” were the biggest problem in running software. Today it’s deliberate DRM. I suppose you could put DRM on free software but people would know what it was and correct it out. As far as I’m concerned, DRM is as much malware as spyware or viruses. If it is going to be allowed at all, it needs to be clearly labelled. The fact that it is not and consumers only know about it after they’ve purchased it is a huge government #fail

      The biggest thing free software has done to change my outlook is that it has changed my way of thinking. Because the principals behind free software can be applied in many more things. For me, it’s made me rethink the idea of copyright, and then rethink it again. It has in fact encouraged me to join what Cory Doctorow calls the copyfight. As a writer, I’m embracing the concept of self publishing, and I will be releasing my debut novel under a Creative Commons License.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Introducing LAPSI and EVPSI

        Information generated and collected by public sector bodies represents a veritable gold mine: optimal access to and reuse of this public sector information (PSI) has a positive impact on market services improvements, but also on the democratic involvement of citizens in governmental decisions.

      • Mars Inc. Cacao Genome Database claims Open Access, public domain: falls short

        This initially looked very promising: Mars, along with a number of collaborators (USDA, IBM, Clemson University Genomics Institute; Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture at the University of California-Davis; National Center for Genome Resources; Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics at Indiana University; HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; and Washington State University), have sequenced the cacao genome and released it “Open Access” and “public domain” for the benefit of all, at a site called the Cacao Genome Project…

        [...]

        Clearly, this data set has not been released as Open Access and certainly not released into the public domain.

        Instead of Open Access or public domain, they have a restrictive license, which allows gated access for a restricted set of uses.

Leftovers

  • Email Netiquette – Part 1

    As with top-posting, not trimming your replies is lazy, and again, it’s rude. Some people don’t have the hard drive space you might, or the bandwidth to pull down such a noisy message. Cutting out the cruft, leaving the relevant pieces in, is considerate, polite and logically sound. Do you, and everyone else a favor, and trim your replies.

  • Jackson family lawsuit blames AEG for Michael’s death

    Michael Jackson’s family has sued AEG Live claiming the event production company is responsible for Jackson’s death.

    Here’s the complaint, filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by Katherine Jackson on behalf of the family. The lawsuit claims AEG, president and CEO Tim Leiweke, Anschutz Entertainment and others are responsible for Jackson’s death because his contract with AEG for the planned “This Is It” tour created a legal duty to keep him healthy.

  • The Trouble with the View from Above

    It is both striking and important to recognize how relatively little the pre-modern state actually knew about the society over which it presided. State officials had only the most tenuous idea of the population under their jurisdiction, its movements, its real property, wealth, crop yields, and so forth. Their degree of ignorance was directly proportional to the fragmentation of their sources of information. Local currencies and local measures of capacity (e.g., the bushel) and length (the ell, the rod, the toise) were likely to vary from place to place and with the nature of the transacting parties. The opacity of local society was, of course, actively maintained by local elites as one effective means of resistance to intrusions from above.

    Having little synoptic, aggregate intelligence about the manpower and resources available to it, officials were apt either to overreach in their exactions, touching off flight or revolt, or to fail to mobilize the resources that were, in fact, available. To follow the process of state-making, then, is to follow the conquest of illegibility. The account of this conquest — an achievement won against stiff resistance — could take many forms, for example: the creation of the cadastral survey and uniform property registers, the invention and imposition of the meter, national censuses and currencies, and the development of uniform legal codes.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Big Corn wants to change “High Fructose Corn Syrup” to “Corn Sugars”

      The US Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the FDA for permission to change the name “High Fructose Corn Syrup” to the much more innocuous-sounding “Corn Sugars.” This comes as 58% of Americans say they are concerned about HFCS’s impact on their health. HFCS is a heavily subsidized industrial byproduct of the corn industry, and is ubiquitous in American processed food — everything from Rice Krispies to “healthy” granola bars.

    • Obesity costs US at least $215 billion every year: study

      Obesity costs the US economy at least 215 billion dollars a year in direct and indirect impacts including medical expenses and lost productivity, a new study showed Tuesday.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Why the Paul Chambers case matters

      This week will see the appeal by Paul Chambers of his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

      He was convicted – and so given a criminal record – for what was, and what was intended to be, a joke contained in a tweet.

      [...]

      They send several anti-terrorist officers around to Paul’s workplace.

      (Unsurprisingly, Paul loses his job very soon after.)

      The police arrest Paul and keep him in custody for a number of hours.

      However, it appears that even the police do not think this is a serious matter.

      But again “process” means it needs to be taken further. And so the case is referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

      The CPS realise quickly that there is no evidence for Paul to be prosecuted under the bomb hoax legislation.

    • Body armor contractor convicted for $190M stock scam scheme

      NY jury convicts body-armor company founder of running $190 million stock scheme

      The founder of America’s leading supplier of body armor to the U.S. military was convicted Tuesday of charges that he ran a $190 million stock scheme.

      David H. Brooks, founder and former chief executive of DHB Industries Inc., was convicted of 17 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he used the company treasury for personal luxuries, with more than $6 million in unauthorized expenditures.

    • Darpa Wants You To Build An Anti-Secrecy App

      Usually the Pentagon expends time and technological effort to protect information. But now the far-out researchers at Darpa are looking for a few good futurists to help the Obama administration declassify reams of national security documents.

    • DRG SSH Username and Password Authentication Tag Clouds
    • WikiLeaks readying the ‘biggest leak of military intelligence ever’

      Whistleblower website WikiLeaks is teaming up with news outlets to release a “massive cache” of classified US military field reports on the conflict in Iraq, Newsweek magazine reported recently.

    • WikiLeaks founder Assange ‘free to leave’ Sweden

      Assange, 39, has said the allegations against him are part of a “smear campaign” aimed at discrediting his website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

    • Walt Disney, Monsanto discovered among Blackwater’s hidden clients

      Also on list: Royal Caribbean, Deutsche Bank, Chevron

      Almost three years ago exactly — Sept. 17, 2007 — a cadre of guards from the security firm then known as Blackwater shot and killed 17 Iraqis at a public plaza in Baghdad.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Week of Biking Joyously: An American Delegation Learns from the Dutch

      But the idea of learning from the success of the Dutch is not far-fetched. The Netherlands resembles the United States as a prosperous, technologically advanced nation where a huge share of the population owns automobiles. They simply don’t drive them each and every time they leave home, thanks to common sense transportation policies where biking and transit are promoted as an attractive alternative to the car. Indeed, millions of Dutch commuters combine bike and train trips, which offers the point-to-point convenience of the automobile and the speed of transit.

    • Measuring and Marketing in Japan’s Eco-Model Cities

      It’s an effort that has the support of top national leadership: in fact Chiyoda, home of the nation’s Imperial Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office, is one of the Eco-Cities. It has a population of 45,000 at night but swells with 800,000 government and business day tripper commuters. By 2050, the city portends a reduction in its volume of auto commuters: Chiyoda aims to reduce its greenhouse gases 50% from 1990 levels by that date.

    • The World Energy Congress kicks off with a splash

      This is how all energy industry events should begin. The World Energy Congress kicks off today in Montreal and as delegates arrived at the conference venue, hundreds of demonstrators were there to tell them that the industry needs to go beyond oil, and that dirty and risky fuels weren’t welcome here.

    • Unauthorised GE potato unleashed in Sweden

      In the North, in Haparanda, Greenpeace activists marked and sealed off the potato fields that were recently discovered to be contaminated with the illegal, unauthorised genetically engineered potato, named Amadea. Simultaneously, activists protested outside the Swedish Board of Agriculture office building in Jönköping, calling for the authority to order a full destruction of the contaminated fields in order to prevent further spread.

    • And the 2010 World Energy Congress Declaration is…

      I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, this is the energy industry talking to itself. But the reality is – as I said to the Congress yesterday – that the industry and governments that regulate it are accountable to us, the citizenry. And comforting words don’t do much good for those people still cleaning up in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, those people who have had their waterways and their air polluted by dirty energy or those who are suffering at the hands of greenhouse pollution-driven climate change.

    • Gulf oil well on verge of being plugged for good

      After five months, the oil well that had spewed millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico is on the verge of being plugged once and for all.

    • BP to completely seal Gulf well by late Saturday
    • Armed men kidnap seven foreign workers in Niger

      SEVEN FOREIGNERS working for French companies were kidnapped in a uranium mining region of Niger yesterday.

    • In legal filings, BP says thousands of oil spill victims do not have right to sue

      BP and its partners in the blown-out Gulf well said on Monday that thousands of fishermen, seafood processors, restaurants, hotel owners and others may not yet have the right to sue over the spill, according to court papers.

      BP and its partners such as Transocean Ltd and Halliburton Co said the majority of alleged victims who have brought about 400 lawsuits must first take their claims to a $20 billion fund established by BP.

  • Finance

    • World poverty seen falling sharply but patchily

      In China, whose economy this year officially surpassed Japan’s as the world’s second largest, the number living below the international poverty line fell from 60.2 percent in 1990 to 15.9 percent in 2005. By 2015, it is forecast to be 5 percent.

    • Motivating Miss Daisy

      The new small business legislation intended to support startups is based entirely on debt — getting banks to lend money to small companies. But the only kind of debt that most tech startups know is credit card debt. Little tech companies grow by selling equity, not borrowing money. Short-term debt goes on plastic at 18 or 23 percent because no bank has — or will — lend to real tech startups in any significant amount.

      They’ll finance new Burger King franchises, but lend money for electric cars or new kinds of data storage or — shudder — software? Forget about it.

      Presidents Obama and Bush didn’t know this, Fed chairman Bernanke doesn’t know it, nor does Treasury secretary Geithner. None of these men have a minute’s experience with tech startups, yet our economy is almost entirely dependent on those startups for real recovery.

    • Basel rewrites capital rules for banks
    • Basel III is out… who cares?

      In conclusion I suspect that is the way they want it. After all, as far as I can tell, Basel is a set of self-imposed rules by the banking system and their regulators and they are primarily concerned with their own survival, not the well being of the economy from a monetary standpoint. It should be no surprise that they avoid the larger question of systemic stability by monetary self-regulation. Beware of the invisible hand, it may be robbing your back pocket!

    • FBI arrests Ohio County Commissioner on bribery charges

      A Commissioner of Cuyahoga County in Ohio was arrested by FBI agents early Wednesday morning as part of a larger federal probe into corruption in the county.

      Seven other Cuyahoga County officials, labor leaders, and business people have also been arrested.

      Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, age 55, is accused of using his public office to obtain free home improvements, prostitutes, and trips.

    • US homes lost to foreclosure up 25 pct on year

      In all, banks repossessed 95,364 properties last month, up 3 percent from July and an increase of 25 percent from August 2009, RealtyTrac said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • UID is an Identity Crisis in the Making

      AN EXERCISE is currently underway to enter every resident in India on a database. In a few years, the unique identification (UID) is intended to become a ubiquitous number, to be used in many operations: enrolling in a school, maintaining a bank account, ticketing for travel, seeking treatment in a hospital and having one’s death recorded in a mortuary register.

      The sales pitch for the UID is, like most advertisements, intended to mislead. Enrolment is said to be voluntary. But, and as is now acknowledged, other agencies may refuse to provide a service if an individual is not enrolled, making it compulsory. The Working Paper of the UID Authority of India (UIDAI), which has been the basis of many discussions, starts with a claim that the UID will bring down barriers that prevent the poor from accessing services; but quickly adds: “UID will only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits and entitlements.”

    • Magid on Tech: Online privacy a key topic at UN-sponsored conference

      Participants from throughout the world are gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, this week for the fifth-annual Internet Governance Forum.

      The IGF is an annual United Nations-sponsored event where representatives from governments, nonprofits, academic institutions, and businesses worldwide discuss a broad range of policy issues including online safety, privacy, rights of children, equality issues and other topics pertaining to the way the Internet is affecting every country.

      The goal of IGF is “to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.”

    • Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

      The protester who burned pages from the Koran outside a planned mosque near Ground Zero has been fired from NJTransit, sources and authorities said Tuesday.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Time Warner Cable Sends a Message to Video Suppliers: Cross Us and You’re Out

      Why do we suspect that cable operators see online video as a threat and may try to use “managed services” exceptions to Net Neutrality rules to crush it? How about deals like this.

      Time Warner Cable has decided not to do any deals with the premium movie channel Epix, home to movies from studios like Viacom, Lions Gate, and MGM. Why? Because Epix decided to cut a deal with Netflix for streaming access to its movies.

    • The distinctions and controversies of net neutrality

      I started the wiki because I think we need it. Just over the past few weeks we’ve been treated to news coverage of a joint proposal from Google and Verizon, which I found muddled in ways that show why we need a finer understanding of the many topics involved. The FCC has released a request for comments that shows they’re trying to hone in on the distinctions. And a recent article where I made an initial stab at dissecting the arguments was well received and summarized in Forbes online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Woman Trademarks Her Name, Says No One Can Use It Without Her Permission

      She even goes so far as to post a list of websites “illegally” using her name, as well as a copy of the cease and desist letter (pdf) her lawyers will send you. Now, it may very well be that some of the sites in question are, in fact, violating her trademark (and at least one of the pages I’ve found does appear pretty questionable from a trademark standpoint) but the blanket claim that “it is illegal to use the name on any website without prior written permission” is simply false. That’s not how trademark law works. Dr Ann De Wees Allen does, in fact, have a trademark on her name, used in commerce related to dietary supplements, but just because you have a trademark, it does not mean you have complete control of the mark.

    • Copyrights

      • Prison for camming – a UK first

        Emmanuel Nimley, 22, yesterday received a 6-month sentence for filming movies with his iPhone at The Vue cinema in Harrow and uploading them to silverscreen.com. His motive: self-glory. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) say this is the first-ever UK prison sentence for ‘camming’.

      • 4chan DDoS Takes Down MPAA and Anti-Piracy Websites

        Following a call to arms yesterday, the masses inhabiting the anonymous 4chan boards have carried out a huge assault on a pair of anti-piracy enemies. The website of Aiplex Software, the anti-piracy outfit which has been DDoSing torrent sites recently, is currently down having been DDoS’d. They are joined in the Internet wasteland by the MPAA’s website, also currently under huge and sustained attack.

      • Why Are The Record Labels Demanding Money To Let People Stream Legally Purchased Music?

        Lately, I’ve been playing around with various music locker services, just to get a better understanding of how they work and to be able to access my (legally purchased) music collection on various machines and devices. So far, they’re all a bit limited, but it shouldn’t be long until they get better. However, the industry has always hated music locker services, and insisted that they somehow violate their copyright, even when the lockers simply allow individuals to place shift their own legal music. There’s an ongoing lawsuit over Michael Robertson’s MP3Tunes for which a decision is expected shortly. At the same time, Apple has been trying to quietly enter the market without disturbing the record labels.

      • How Much Did The Pointless OiNK Raid Cost UK Taxpayers?

        So how much did this entertainment-industry driven mess cost UK taxpayers? Well, police refused to release that information for a while, claiming that it “could undermine any ongoing and future investigations and cause potential damage to the criminal justice process.” Uh, right. About the only way it would do that is when people realized how much money was being wasted on bogus investigations. Eventually, however, it came out that the investigation itself cost about £29,000 — including £7,800 on overtime (OiNK after dark?) and £4,300 on “travel and subsistence.” Of course that doesn’t even get into what the actual trial cost taxpayers, which I’m sure is many times greater than that.

      • Pay what you want to see Freakonomics: The Movie

        In the most unique screening experiment we’ve heard of in a while (sorry, Jonah Hill), Magnolia Pictures and the Green Film Company will offer a pay-what-you-want preview of Freakonomics: The Movie on Sept. 22 for audiences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, and Seattle. The adaptation of Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s best-selling book applies economics-based thinking to everyday human behavior, using a “dream team” of documentary filmmakers like Seth Gordon (The King Of Kong), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), and Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room) to examine everything from Sumo wrestling to baby names to students who are paid to study harder, and by participating in this screening—which requires filling out a short questionnaire—you’ll actually become part of a Freakonomics study yourself, in keeping with the book’s examination of how people interact with a pay-what-you-want bagel service.

      • Fox News Sues Senate Candidate For Using Clip In Commercial

        But, really, the bigger issue, is that in suing and sending takedowns over this video, all Fox has done is draw significantly more attention to the story itself and the negative impression of Blunt. If I had to guess, I’d say that Carnahan has never been so happy to be sued. It’s tons of free advertising on an attack ad on her opponent.
        And, of course, if the video is found to be fair use — as I would bet it would be — we’ll have yet another example of how the DMCA’s takedown process is a clear violation of free speech. Even if the video is eventually allowed back online due to a counter-notice, copyright law was being used to silence political speech in the middle of a campaign.

      • ACTA

        • European ICT sector’s concerns about ACTA: ECIS position paper

          The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) is an international non-profit association that endeavours to promote a favourable environment for interoperable ICT solutions. Its members include both large and small companies in the ICT sector such as IBM, Nokia, Oracle, Opera, and Red Hat.

        • Internet Governance Forum a beacon of openness

          A representative from Internet Society (ISOC) proposed to extend the open and global multi-stakeholder approach of the IGF, its unique and sucessful governance model, to other processes such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations. The ACTA addresses Internet Governance issues along Camembert and is negotiated by a small coalition of supportive trade administrations.

        • ECIS ACTA position paper [PDF]

Clip of the Day

Stallman receiving Torvalds award at LinuxWorld conf 1999


Credit: TinyOgg

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