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Links 22/1/2011: Pardus 2011, Red Hat’s Andreas

Posted in News Roundup at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux time… again

    I’ve recently turned to looking at lighter weight distros with lower impact on on the limited resources. After some research I found an excellent article on Tuxradar which attempts to answer the question What’s the best lightweight linux distro? I’ve seen a few excellent options and after further reading the distro I’m particularly interested in trying is Lubuntu. All I need now is time, hopefully I will be able to try Lubuntu over the next few days. I will of course be posting a first impressions followed by a review.

  • Linux lovers riled up over Sony PS3 lawsuit, Firefox woes

    The Linux blogosphere is “all shook up” these days, skewering Sony for suing a hacker for jailbreaking the PS3, and hammering Mozilla for skimping on hardware acceleration in the Linux Firefox 4 beta. Meanwhile, Google’s decision to drop H.264 from its Chrome browser for open source alternatives received praise from the open source world, but also a surprising amount of criticism.

  • Home Computer – Green, Palm Sized Computer For Rs 5000

    elLoka Techsolutions Pvt Ltd a Hyderabad based product design and manufacturing company that delivers Ultra Low Cost Computer Platforms(ULCCP), has come up with a palm-sized computer that is very cheap and consumes very little power.

  • Search is One of the Strengths of GNU/Linux

    Searching is one of the five major functions of computerized information processing: searching, creating, modifying, storing and presenting. In the early days of PCs one could keep a scrap of paper or such with a list of floppies and a directory listing would get you close to your data sooner or later. Now, one can keep track of stuff on many terabytes of storage in an instant.

  • Tux Planet, an awesome source for Linux wallpapers

    I recently stumbled with this great French site, which contains some of the most amazing Linux wallpapers I have found. Many Linux distributions are featured, including the usual suspects, like Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Fedora, but also some other distros that are perhaps not as popular yet, such as CrunchBang or Pardus.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Revisited: 3 Newbie-Friendly KDE Distributions

        Pardus 2009.2 “Geronticus Eremita” Live CD
        This one’s going to be short. I selected Pardus, saw a little bit of boot text, and then…nothing. I was stuck at a blank screen. I tried again, this time waiting for 15 minutes — still nothing. I find it slightly ironic that Pardus won the last comparison test considering that it couldn’t even start here. Then again, I have a strong suspicion that it’s an issue with MultiSystem and that MultiSystem doesn’t support Pardus nearly as well as its (MultiSystem’s) developer(s) thought it would. Oh well. That was the end of that.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Mutter: window and compositing manager for GNOME 3 based on Clutter.

        GNOME 3 is the GNOME project’s ambitious effort to take its desktop into the future. A key component of the desktop is the window manager, which defines much of the overall feel of the system. Thomas Thurman, the maintainer of Metacity—GNOME’s current window manager—is looking ahead to “Mutter” as the window manager for GNOME 3. Metacity 2 will gradually be phased out in favor of Mutter; in GNOME 2.28 it will be an alternative window manager, while in GNOME 3, it will take over the reins from Metacity.

  • Distributions

    • Why I Use Gentoo Linux

      I’ll admit it right here: Gentoo is my primary operating system and remains my favorite distribution of Linux.

    • PARDUS 2011 is here!

      For those of you were waiting for Pardus 2011, the waiting is finally over!

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Waiting for a Break Out?

        Latest price action range, defined by a peaks and troughs algorithm places calculated support at $45.50 and calculated resistance at $48.78. These levels will be closely watched by traders, as they provide great insight into the latest price dynamics defined by Red Hat shares.

      • Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) 6 Released

        Kevin Fenzi, one of release-engineers for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) and long time member of the EPEL Fedora Special Interest Group (SIG) discusses the EPEL 6 release.

      • Introducing Andreas

        Andreas currently detects bugs in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 cases, and is expected to quickly expand to include additional products, including earlier versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and our JBoss Enterprise Middleware product suite.

    • Debian Family

      • Myths and Facts about Firmwares and their non-removal from Debian

        Debian’s announcement to release “Squeeze” with a completely free Linux kernel caused quite some attention, which is actually a good thing. However, it also seems to have caused quite some uncertainty and was often partially misunderstood and miss quoted.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal – First Impressions

          At the time of writing this article, Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed “Natty Narwhal” is still very much in its nascent stages of development. I really wanted to take it for a spin and write about my first hand impressions on latest build Ubuntu Natty. I installed Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 in my USB drive and things went pretty smooth from the word go.

        • Ubuntu Business Model – A Misunderstood Concept

          Canonical, the business arm of Ubuntu, has one of the most promising business models in the Linux world, and also the most misunderstood. First of all, Ubuntu is in a market termed by economists as a perfectly competitive market. This means that it cannot charge any price beyond that which is determined by the market. The only way to make profit, as has rightly been identified by Canonical is to create an ecosystem of products and services around Ubuntu, which would complement the functions of the OS.

          This is model of making profit is not new. There are other companies that make money from this method. Give the primary product for free but then create other value added products and services that complements this primary product. To make profit from this kind of business model takes time and a lot of investment. Mark Shuttleworth, the financial backbone of the Ubuntu project rightly knows so and is doing exactly that. Most critics of the Ubuntu distro, are convinced that it’s only a matter of time before Ubuntu also capitulates like its predecessors for lack of funds. They couldn’t be further from reality.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 switches to LibreOffice in latest daily builds
        • Ubuntu Unity Adds 2D Support

          Honestly, I’m not surprised by this. We’ve been down this road once before, with the original Ubuntu Netbook Remix requiring advanced graphic support, and in subsequent releases it was adapted to work quite adequately without the fancy graphic bells and whistles. If there is anything surprising about it, it is that Canonical/Ubuntu didn’t learn the lesson the first time. If you are going to start dictating hardware requirements to your users, and demanding that they have nothing but the absolute latest, greatest and most powerful systems, then you might want to consider changing your name to “Microsoft”.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Getting Enlightened with Bodhi Linux

            Much of E17′s functionality is contained in modules.

          • Bodhi Linux is Blossoming

            I am also especially pleased to welcome Christopher Michael (devilhorns) to our team. Christopher has been working with the Enlightenment development team for nearly ten years. He is working hand in hand with the Bodhi team and community to get any issues that occur with the desktop corrected ASAP. He will also be coding some new things that will allow Bodhi to provide a better desktop experience for everyone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When “open source” software isn’t truly open source

    Once the term “open source software” was coined, it was also defined. The official Open Source Definition is clear, and explains how software must be licensed to qualify as open source software. The specific points of the Definition address issues related to:

    1. Redistribution
    2. Source Code
    3. Derived Works
    4. Integrity of the Author’s Source Code
    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
    6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
    7. Distribution of License
    8. License Product Specificity
    9. License Restrictions on Other Software
    10. License Technology Neutrality

  • Pirates: Good for Microsoft, great for open sourcers

    Perhaps for that reason, since 2008 Cisco Systems, EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, SAP, and others have dropped off its membership rolls, as pointed out on TechRights.

    These companies may recognize the PR hit they take each time the BSA succeeds in nabbing an alleged pirate. But perhaps they also recognize that there are better ways to policy piracy.

  • Development of FFmpeg under new management

    With over 100 audio and video formats, FFmpeg is at the heart of countless multimedia programs, and it is one of the show-piece projects on the open source scene. Originally founded by Fabrice Bellard, Michael Niedermayer started maintaining the project in 2004. However, a team of 18 developers has now ousted him and appointed seven new project maintainers, among them the main x264 developer, Jason Garrett-Glaser (“Dark Shikari”), and Ronald S. Bultje. Some of the most active FFmpeg developers had been dissatisfied with Niedermayer’s project management and had accused him of slowing down the development of the codec library, which is licensed under the GPL / LGPL, by focussing on unnecessary details and causing superfluous discussions.

  • 5 open source security projects to watch

    Data security is always top of mind for CIOs and CSOs, and there is no shortage of challenges when it comes to picking the right tool for the job.

    With network and software vulnerabilities growing at a perpetual rate, good security software can help defend against many of the large-scale threats that occur locally and from all over the Internet.

  • Events

    • Everything you need to know about Linux.conf.au 2011

      The annual conference is one of the largest Open Source conferences in the southern hemisphere, and one of three major international grassroots Linux conferences worldwide, the other two being Linux Symposium and Linux Kongress.

      Originally founded in 1999 by Linux Kernel Hacker Rusty Russell under the acronym “CALU,” the conference changed its name to linux.conf.au in 2001, when it was held in Sydney.

  • Databases

    • MySQL: Drive Your Performance Problems Away!

      You’ve just heaved a sigh of relief after the latest release of your online system—but you can already see troubled times ahead, with performance issues cropping up after adding on just a few concurrent users. You don’t have time for elaborate load or scalability testing, since the user count will grow rapidly in the next few weeks. As the solutions architect, you know that you’ll get the maximum returns on your investment of effort by taming the database. Will you start scrambling for tools, hoping they will help you? Or will you simply decide to throw more powerful hardware at the system, to postpone solving the problem?

      The approach we advocate is to tune your MySQL database system for the most efficient performance before you begin throwing new hardware at the problem, or begin re-designing the very solution itself. Let’s learn to use some very effective tools—most of which are included in your MySQL installation—to make this process a pleasure. We can start right away if you are ready to take the plunge.

  • Oracle

    • Sun’s open source legacy

      Colbourne later recounted that “Shortly after the merger I spoke to a Sun employee who was now employed by Oracle. Their view was that Oracle had no idea what they had really bought with Java. The meaning was that Oracle did not understand the role of the wider community in the success of Java”. Since then, a specification for Java SE 7 has been released, but Oracle’s intransigence on the IP issue has led the Apache Software Foundation to leave the JCP.

  • CMS

    • So long, Drupal 5.x (End of Life Announcement)

      When Drupal 7 was released that meant that Drupal 5 was no longer supported. This announcement is merely a reminder of that fact. It is the policy (and, to large extent a matter of pragmatics) of the Drupal community to support only the current major release of Drupal (currently Drupal 7.x), and the previous release (currently Drupal 6.x). See Drupal’s version info for more details on this policy.


    • Call for IceCat developers

      The GNU Icecat project is a web browser built to deal with the influx of threats to freedom and privacy on the web from traps such as nonfree plugins and nonfree JavaScript.

  • Government/Transparency

    • Legal advice on enhanced cooperation kept secret

      The European Council has some difficulties to apply the TURCO judgement of the ECJ which clearly mandates a disclosure of legal advice unrelated to court proceedings. Legal advice concerning the enhanced cooperation on an unitary patent, they think they are permitted to keep it confidential. I strongly doubt so.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML Versioning Eliminated

      There will be no HTML version 6 or version 6.2.3, or any other numbered version. Instead, HTML will just be considered a “living document,” one that will be updated on an ongoing basis, said Ian Hickson, a member of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), in a blog post Wednesday.


  • Student protester who threw fire extinguisher from roof jailed

    A student who admitted throwing a fire extinguisher from the roof of Millbank Tower during November’s tuition fees protests was sentenced to 32 months in jail today by a judge who warned those who abuse the right of peaceful protest to expect lengthy custodial sentences.

  • Italian court waters down Berlusconi immunity law

    Italy’s constitutional court has opened the way for Silvio Berlusconi to be put back on trial, throwing out crucial parts of the law that represented his latest attempt to shield himself from prosecution.

  • Haiti earthquake: Corruption kills, not tremors

    Buildings kill people, not earthquakes. The seismologists’ saying has never been more true, with deaths from tremors continuing to rise despite advances in earthquake resistant design.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed

      In the first part of a special BMJ series, Brian Deer exposes the bogus data behind claims that launched a worldwide scare over the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and reveals how the appearance of a link with autism was manufactured at a London medical school

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Mark Kennedy knew of second undercover eco-activist

      The undercover police officer whose seven-year infiltration of the green protest movement has sparked widespread controversy is said to have named another eco-activist as a fellow police spy, the Guardian can reveal.

    • Police spy who married activist suspended from duty

      One of three police officers revealed by the Guardian to have infiltrated the green protest movement has been restricted from duty pending an investigation into his professional conduct.

      Jim Boyling, who carried out covert surveillance for five years while undercover as eco-activist Jim Sutton, was accused of engaging in sexual relationships with targets. It emerged this week that Boyling had married an activist and had gone on to have two children with her before divorcing two years ago.

    • Mark Kennedy: secret policeman’s sideline as corporate spy

      The undercover police officer whose unmasking led to the collapse of a trial of six environmental protesters on Monday apparently also worked as a corporate spy, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

    • The state’s pedlars of fear must be brought to account

      So “Mark Stone” was not acting alone. The most extraordinary feature of the police penetration of the green movement was the alleged presence of a woman constable, “and others … lots of others.” I looked again at the picture of the Ratcliffe Six, who appeared to be “greens” from central casting. It recalled Chesterton’s satire on the early Met police special branch, The Man Who Was Thursday, in which all the members of the “supreme anarchist council” turned out to be policemen. So, are the greens all policemen, and if so what is their game?

    • US gun crime: death for sale

      “The endurance of the gun in America is not about nostalgia for a golden past,” says Sugarmann. “It’s about political fear. Politicians have abandoned their moral responsibility to ensure public safety because of the perceived power of the gun lobby.”

    • Thought experiment

      To the extent that any liberals have talked like number 2 about conservatives, that is beyond the pale and unacceptable. I don’t think I’ve done it. I use big words and I snarl and I sneer and I call people idiots and liars and so forth, but I don’t say things like let’s have open season on right-wingers, or don’t retreat, reload. I don’t use that kind of imagery. If I have, I am sorry. But I don’t think I have. Guns aren’t part of my life, so it’s just not the imagery that comes to mind for me.

    • Tomgram: William Hartung, Lockheed Martin’s Shadow Government

      If one giant outfit gives war profiteering its full modern meaning, though, it’s Lockheed Martin. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read today’s post. As much as any robber baron of the nineteenth century, that corporation has long deserved its own biography. Now, William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation, has written Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, the definitive account of how that company came to lord it over our national security world.

    • Israeli Court Extends Jail Term for Abdallah Abu Rahma, Anti-Wall Activist

      UPDATE: Today, the Israeli Military Court has accepted the military prosecution’s appeal to extend Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s sentence. Abu Rahmah was supposed to be released on November 18th 2010, but was kept in detention at the military prosecution’s request despite having finished serving his term. He will now serve an additional 2-3 months in prison, making his serving time a total of sixteen months.

    • Shameful imprisonment

      Jonathan Pollak, an activist against the occupation and a leader of the group Anarchists Against the Wall, is due to enter Hermon Prison this morning to serve the three-month term to which he was sentenced for illegal assembly. In January 2008 Pollak took part in a protest by bicycle riders in Tel Aviv against the siege of the Gaza Strip. Some 30 riders participated in the demonstration, but Pollak was the only one arrested, tried and punished. His arrest should trouble every citizen who cares about human rights in Israel.

      Pollak had participated in a peaceful, non-violent demonstration, which is not merely the right of every citizen, but also the duty of everyone who wishes to fight against wrong. In similar demonstrations that took place on highways, such as that of the motorcyclists against raising insurance rates or the demonstration by firefighters, no one was arrested. The fact that Pollak was the only one arrested in the cyclists’ demonstration raises serious suspicions that he was being singled out by police and the courts because of his long struggle against the occupation.


      Pollak’s incarceration is a dark day: not only for Pollak but for all those who fear for democracy in Israel.

    • Hundreds displaced in village demolition

      Three-hundred Palestinians were displaced Wednesday afternoon when their homes outside a village were torn down by Israeli military order, and witnesses said parts of a schoolhouse were also destroyed.

    • Ivory Coast: Stop Conflict Chocolate

      Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war, and chocolate companies could play a critical role in saving lives and bringing peace.

    • Palin to be prosecuted for inciting violence if she visits Australia, attorney says

      Under Australian law, inciting violence is a serious crime: an offense which could even trigger the prosecution of members of the US political class and mainstream media who called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to his attorney.

      Comments by Robert Stary, Assange’s Melbourne-based lawyer, were carried in the US by a Friday broadcast of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Conservationists unveil plans to save coral from extinction

      Conservationists have unveiled plans to preserve and protect the world’s most important species of coral, in a response to increasing threats that they say will lead to “functional extinction” within decades.

      Led by scientists at the Zoological Society of London, the Edge Coral Reefs project has identified 10 coral species in most urgent risk of becoming extinct.

    • BP Gulf oil spill final report backs British safety model

      The final report from the presidential commission investigating the causes of BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster is expected to recommend today that the US oil industry adopt the North Sea approach to safety.

      The US government is expected to radically overhaul its discredited regulatory regime covering offshore operations, which had merely required companies to fill out uniform box-ticking safety audits. It is also expected that the commission will recommend the setting up of an independent safety institute responsible for auditing companies’ plans.

    • BP oil spill: Colombian farmers sue for negligence

      BP failed to observe proper environmental safety procedures during construction of an oil pipeline in Colombia, according to allegations in a case lodged by a group of farmers at the high court in London.

      The case comes at the worst possible time for BP as it deals with the fallout from the new report into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the shutdown of the Trans-Alaska pipeline on Saturday after a leak.

    • Don’t look to North Sea oil
    • Congress must act on oil spill commission recommendations

      On January 11, the oil spill commission released its final reporting. The report offers a sweep of reforms that would protect taxpayers and make offshore drilling safer for workers, while also protecting the environment and Gulf Coast businesses from future oil spills that damage wetlands and hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries.

    • Forbes’ rich list of nonsense

      While it is no longer surprising, it remains disheartening to see a blistering attack on climate science in the business press where thoughtful reviews of climate policy ought to be appearing. Of course, the underlying strategy is to pretend that no evidence that the climate is changing exists, so any effort to address climate change is a waste of resources.

      A recent piece by Larry Bell in Forbes, entitled “Hot Sensations Vs. Cold Facts”, is a classic example.

    • Last year was joint warmest on record, say climatologists

      The year of devastating floods, freak snowstorms, forest fires and heatwaves that was 2010 has tied for the warmest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.

      The Earth’s temperature was 0.62C (1.12F) above the 20th-century average of 13.9C(57F), tying 2005 for the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, the analysis by the National Climatic Data Centre showed.

    • Tagging penguins limits survival chances, study shows

      The researchers found that the survival rates for king penguins with flipper bands dropped by 16% and the birds produced 39% fewer chicks. The finding raises serious questions about the ethics of banding penguins for research and casts doubt on years of data produced by tagging the birds in this way.

    • Green investment bank could help to build nuclear reactors

      The government’s Green Investment Bank could fund the building of new nuclear reactors, it has emerged.

  • Finance

    • Banks given go-ahead to pay unlimited bonuses

      Britain’s banks have been given the go-ahead to pay unlimited bonuses, drawing to a close a two-year political battle to rein in the City.

      After months in which a series of government ministers of all parties have threatened a toughening in the stance over City bonuses, Downing Street said the government did not intend to intervene in the pay of the UK’s top bankers.

    • The Market and Inequality

      Paul Krugman joined a debate on the morality of markets, arguing that the United States has not met the fundamental condition of equality of opportunity that libertarian conservatives agree is necessary for fairness. While this is true (only in looney tune land does a kid growing up in Anacostia have the same opportunity as a kid growing up in Chevy Chase), this argument wrongly cedes the main point to the right.

      It is ridiculous to argue that the inequality in the U.S. is simply the result of free markets. Markets are structured by governments, and the rich have used their control of the government to structure the market in ways to make themselves richer.

      The mechanisms for upward redistribution can be seen everywhere.

    • The Ibanez Effect on Past, Future Foreclosures

      The Ibanez case ruled against the lender in a lender-borrower dispute over the validity of a foreclosure proceeding is not just a highly political homeowners’ protection issue. It sets a precedent expected to greatly affect the mortgage industry in the future.

    • The Golden Ticket at Goldman Sachs
    • Investors to take hit when gov’t dismantles banks

      Creditors and shareholders will now have to absorb some of the losses when the federal government steps in to dismantle large failing financial firms.

    • Credit card problems ebbed in December

      Fewer credit card accounts slipped into default in December than in any other month of 2010, and signs point to further improvement ahead.

    • Study Points to Windfall for Goldman Partners

      Goldman Sachs executives have long been among the most richly paid on Wall Street in the best of times. They are now poised to reap a windfall that was sown in the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008.

      Nearly 36 million stock options were granted to employees in December 2008 — 10 times the amount issued the previous year — when the stock was trading at $78.78. Since those uncertain days, Goldman’s business has roared back and its share price has more than doubled, closing on Tuesday at nearly $175.

    • Obama Asks for Review of Rules Stifling Jobs

      President Obama on Tuesday ordered “a governmentwide review” of federal regulations to root out those “that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive,” but he exempted many agencies that most vex corporate America.

    • Business lauds Obama’s call for review of ‘excessive’ regs

      The White House announced a new government-wide review of regulations Tuesday, heeding the call of business groups.

      In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, President Obama said the country’s “excessive” and “inconsistent” regulations have sometimes had a “chilling effect” on job growth and — in a nod to the priorities of the new House Republican majority — observed that small businesses often bear the burden.

    • Europeans Vow to Get Tough on Bankers Pay

      The European Union finance ministers vowed Tuesday to closely monitor rules governing bankers’ compensation while promising that new banking stress tests would be stricter than the ones conducted last year.

    • Elizabeth Warren faces first inquiry

      The chairman of a financial services oversight panel sent a letter to Elizabeth Warren, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying he is skeptical of the new bureau’s very existence and demanded details about how it will operate.

      Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who chairs an oversight panel of the Financial Services Committee, said in the letter sent Tuesday that he thinks Warren is “tasked with executing a fatally flawed plan.”

    • Citigroup dips into reserves to post 4Q profit

      Citigroup Inc. was profitable in the fourth quarter, but only after reaching into reserves that it no longer needed for loan losses. Revenues from trading stocks and bonds fell sharply.

      The New York bank reported fourth-quarter income of $1.3 billion Tuesday, or 4 cents a share, falling short of the 7 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Citi’s stock fell 6 percent to $4.82 in heavy trading.

    • Why Did Goldman Blink?

      Goldman Sachs’s decision to offer shares of Facebook only to offshore investors is simple risk management. The risk here can be attributable to the scrutiny that this transaction, and Goldman Sachs generally, are now under.

      About a week ago, I discussed the legal issues associated with the Goldman-Facebook share sale. One of the items I noted was that in order to make sure that the full registration requirements of the securities laws were inapplicable, Goldman could not engage in a “general solicitation” of shareholders.

  • Politics/PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Won’t Obama Meet With the Left? (By RALPH NADER)

      The sentiments expressed in this letter may have more meaning more for you now that the results of the mid-term elections are clear. You have seen what can happen when a number of your supporters lose their enthusiasm and stay home or do not actively participate as volunteers.

      In your first two years, you have developed a wide asymmetry between your association with Big Business executives and the leaders of national civic and labor groups whose members are in the tens of millions. You have met repeatedly at the White House and other locales with corporate officials, spoken to their gatherings and even traveled abroad with them to promote their exports.

      Recently on your trip to India with a covey of business leaders, you vigorously touted their products, some by brand name (Boeing and Harley-Davidson’s expensive motorcycles). Your traveling companions could not have been more gratified as you legitimized their view that WTO trade rules were a net plus for employment in the United States as well as India. Imagine—the President as business agent.

    • Guantánamo at nine and Obama’s broken promise

      His story is one of many that reflect the callous nature of the ordeal several returnees have had to face: continued isolation and enforced separation from their families. Lahmar and his wife and children, the youngest of whom he’s never seen – an all too familiar consequence of the Guantánamo experiment – continue to live apart, as he has no way of getting to Bosnia, nor they of coming to France.

    • Lawyer: FBI Illegally Interrogating Gulet Mohamed

      FBI agents are taking advantage of an American teenager’s detention in Kuwait to illegally harass and interrogate him without counsel, the teen’s lawyer said Wednesday. Gulet Mohamed, a Somali-born American Muslim, says he was tortured and interrogated after he was detained by Kuwaiti security officials last month. He claims that Kuwaiti interrogators asked him questions about his travels, his past, and his family that he and his lawyer believe were fed to the Kuwaitis by US officials.

    • Obama’s Drone Memo Dilemma

      Sometime during Barack Obama’s term in office, there’s a good chance an American citizen will be killed on the president’s orders.

    • State Denies Request for Info on TransCanada Connection

      The Department of State has denied a Freedom of Information Act request that environmental groups filed seeking a record of correspondence between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a former member of her campaign staff who is now lobbying for an international oil services company. The company is seeking approval from the State Department for a massive oil pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas.

      Friends of the Earth, Corporate Ethics International and the Center for International Environmental Law submitted the request last month, seeking any communication between Clinton’s office and the top lobbyist for TransCanada, Paul Elliott, who served as her national deputy director during the 2008 campaign. The ties between the two have drawn scrutiny, as the State Department is in the process of deciding whether to approve TransCanada’s proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline. Clinton raised ire among environmental groups and some senators when she indicated last October that the pipeline would likely be approved despite the fact that the evaluation of the proposal is still underway.

  • Censorship

    • Miami’s World Erotic Art Museum Fraudulently Uses the DMCA to Take Down Items in Their Collection From the Web

      Unfortunately, a set of mine with hundreds of photos in it has now been almost entirely deleted on Flickr. Oddly Flickr deleted every single photo in the set (except for the ones that I’d manually marked as “moderate” or “restricted” content) in conjunction with this notice on my account. I suspect those will be the next to go.

    • Communists Gag the Web

      By clamping down on the Facebook.com social networking service, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party is revealing its discomfort with the rapidly expanding avenue for free expression even as it pushes to transform the once poor agrarian nation into a modern industrial society by 2020.

    • UPD UK and EU ISPs Bash European Proposals to Force Blocking of Child Abuse Sites

      The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) has called on the European Parliament to consider permanently removing internet based child sexual abuse content at source, which would be instead of forcing EU and UK ISPs into merely filtering out (blocking) such material. The latter would only provide a merely cosmetic appearance of having done something useful and is easily circumvented.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘Evil spirit’ sweeping over Israel, warns opposition leader Tzipi Livni

      Israel’s opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, today said a wave of evil was sweeping the country, characterised by legislation to investigate the funding of civil and human rights organisations.

      Her party, Kadima, would oppose the establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into groups such as B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights, she said. Her comments followed an attack by the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose party sponsored the bill, on rightwing opponents of the measure. He said they had “bleeding hearts” and were harming the “national camp”.

    • Israel’s Assault on Human Rights

      Imagine a college student returning to her university after spending Christmas break at home. At the airport she logs on to the Internet to double check some of the sources she used in her final take-home exam for the course “Introduction to Human Rights.” She gets online and begins to surf the web; however, she soon realizes that the websites of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are blocked. She calls the service provider’s 800 number, only to find out that all human rights organizations’ websites have indeed been restricted and that they can no longer be accessed from the airport.

      This, you are probably thinking, cannot happen in the United States. Such practices are common in China, North Korea and Syria, but not in liberal democracies that pride themselves on the basic right to freedom of expression.

      In the United States students can of course access human rights websites, no matter where they surf from. But in Israel, which is also known as the only democracy in the Middle East, human rights websites as well as the websites of some extreme right-wing organizations cannot be accessed from Ben-Gurion, the country’s only international airport.

    • Hi, Joe!

      In your time, you succeeded in infecting all of the US with hysteria. You detected a Soviet agent under every bed. You waved a list of Soviet spies in the State Department (a list which nobody was ever shown). In a hundred languages around the world – including Hebrew – the name McCarthy, McCarthyism, has become a household word. Yes, you made your mark alright.

      But you were, after all, only a plagiarist. Before you, the House Anti-American Activities Committee terrorized the country, destroyed careers, hounded people into suicide and tarnished the reputation of the US throughout the democratic world. It “investigated” intellectuals and artists and branded many of them as “anti-American”.

    • ACLU Lens: Citizenship At Birth Under the 14th Amendment

      Today a group of state legislators announced they will introduce bills in their state legislatures intended to deny Americans the fundamental protections of the 14th Amendment by requiring states to deny standard birth certificates to many U.S. citizen babies born in the U.S. to immigrant parents. The proposed legislation directly contradicts the long-standing 14th Amendment guarantee that all people born in the U.S. and under its jurisdiction are citizens of the U.S. and the state in which they reside and subject to equal protection under the law. If enacted, the bills are unlikely to survive legal scrutiny since the Constitution can only be changed by amendment, not by state or federal statute.

    • Don’t Put Your Trust in “Trusted Identities”

      The involvement of the private sector in this non-centralized or “federated” identity scheme is of course preferable to a direct, centralized government-run identity system. That kind of a system would be a non-starter. But we would also have questions about what the private sector will do with this system. The interests and values of large companies tends to push toward stability, security and predictability — not toward the raucous freedom that online privacy and anonymity makes possible. Once a standard is in place, will people have to start identifying themselves everywhere online — even when it’s totally unnecessary. This has happened all too often in the offline world. It could be driven by the need for legal due diligence (we need to know you’re over 18 or we can’t market to you and our lawyers say if we don’t use this system we could be liable; we need to track you in case you later turn out to be a hacker) and the opportunity to collect reliable personal data for online advertising and other purposes.

Clip of the Day

Symphony of Science – ‘The Big Beginning’ (ft. Hawking, Sagan, Dawkins, Shears, Tyson)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 21/1/2011: Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) 6, Parrot 3.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ask the Experts: How to Get Paid to Work on Linux

    But it’s looking like there is some light at the end of the tunnel, at least in the industry in which we all work and play. According to Dice.com, a career website for IT and engineering professionals, job postings on its site are up 40 percent year-over-year. What’s better? Dice.com says that postings asking for Linux knowledge are up 47 percent over last year, while Windows-related postings are only up 40 percent.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)/Qt

      • Developing my first plasmoid Part 1

        Recently the wife wanted to go to JoAnne’s so I went to Borders and the latest issue of Linux Format Magazine (which I used to be subscribed to) had a QT programming example. I bought the issue solely for that. It had this neat tutorial on QT Quick which is this semi-new prototyping language based on Javascript. In just a few lines of code (less than 100 for sure), Graham Chapman showed how to create a program that would take a geo feed from flickr and map the photos onto Google.

      • Resolving QtScript’s “Legacy” APIs

        We want Qt to have the best possible JavaScript technology. To make this happen, we need the ability to make drastic changes to the implementation — even replacing it — underneath our public APIs. If an API exposes implementation details, that will cause us to limp.

      • Qt SDK 1.1 Technology Preview released
  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • EPEL-ANNOUNCE Announcing EPEL 6

        The Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) project is happy to announce the release of EPEL 6 today!

        EPEL 6 is a collection of add-on packages available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 and other compatible systems, maintained by the community under the umbrella of the Fedora Project. EPEL 6 is designed to supplement RHEL 6 by providing additional functionality and does not replace any RHEL 6 packages. As a community project, EPEL is maintained and supported by volunteers via Bugzilla and
        mailing lists. EPEL is not commercially supported by Red Hat, Inc.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Cobbler Accepted Into Ubuntu Archive

          Cobbler, a linux installation server originally developer by Red Hat’s Emerging Technologies group to accelerate setup of network installation environments, has been accepted into the Ubuntu Archive according to Chuck Short on his blog earlier today.

        • Docklet API ‘coming’ to Unity Launcher

          Unity’s launcher could get some added oomph with the release of a new Launcher API for developers to use.

        • Free Culture Showcase

          For the 11.04 Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase we (the attendees at the UDS session) thought it would be really good to set a theme. The decision was made in order to encourage people to create content with wider artistic merit.

          The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is designed to help all of us show off the beauty of our creative work. We want the brief to inspire people to explore and celebrate their interpretation of Freedom.

          The Brief: To create photography, illustration, music and video which express Freedom.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Wallpaper Required for Edubuntu 11.04

            The Ubuntu Artwork team has been going through a revival over the last few months, which is great, they now offer services to other Ubuntu teams in a structured way.

            We took them up on their offer and requested a wallpaper for the next release that we can also use to base the rest of the artwork on.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Pingus – free Lemmings clone for the N900
        • QTv – TV series watcher

          QTv by Harri Kovalainen is a TV series searcher, a Qml interface for searching TV show information from thetvdb.com.

        • MyAgent-IM – instant messaging application for Mail.ru
        • Video: Amino Freedom MeeGo TV – Work 3 times faster with MeeGo than any other platform.

          As you know, MeeGo isn’t just for phones and tablets, it’s pretty much for everything that has a screen or can be viewed on a screen. Here’s the first generation of Intel and Nokia’s MeeGo for the TV on the Amino Freedom OTT Hybrid Media Centre box, brought to you by the MeeGo Experts folks who went to CES 2011. (Cheers for the tip Jim!)

        • Gtk+/MeeGo Handset bidders selected

          The GNOME Foundation Board is happy to announce that following the call for bids for MeeGo/GTK+ integration work, Igalia was selected as the preferred bidder to perform the work set out.

          We received a number of very interesting bids for the project, but Igalia’s bid was the one that focused the most on integrating elements of Hildon into GTK+ upstream. This should mean easier porting of older Hildon/Maemo applications to the new MeeGo Handset platform, as well as easier porting of existing desktop GTK+ applications to the handset.

Free Software/Open Source

  • With Page as CEO, Open Source is stronger than ever at Google

    Who, after hearing about Android, the Linux-based smartphone and tablet operating system for the first time decided that Google didn’t want to just support it, but buy Android and keep it open? That was Page.

    When I spoke with Chris DiBona, Google’s open-source program manager, a few years back when Google was big but not yet Google, DiBona told me, that Page was “passionate about open source.” DiBona added, that Google also supported its engineers working on “open-source and Linux,” and that “many of them use part of their time to work on open-source projects.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium release management explained

        Some people seem to be confused about the Chromium release management, the weird x.y.z.t versions, the channels, the PPAs… I often receive questions about those subjects from end-users, but also from fellow Ubuntu developers. In this post, I will try to explain and demystify a few things. In order to do that, I also need to cover Google Chrome.

      • Last.fm Free Music Player Google Chrome Extension Works Like a Charm

        Tech Drive-in has covered several posts on useful Google Chrome extensions before, the most prominent being the one where we featured useful Chrome extensions for a more secure browsing experience. But this one is special. A Last.fm music player extension for Google Chrome that does exactly what you expect it to.

    • Mozilla

      • Blocking the Skype Toolbar in Firefox

        The Skype Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that detects phone numbers in web pages, and re-renders them as a clickable button that can be used to dial the number using the Skype desktop application. This extension is bundled with the Skype application, and is installed into Firefox by default when Skype is installed or, in some circumstances, updated. As a result, a large number of Firefox users who have installed Skype have also installed the Skype Toolbar, knowingly or unknowingly.

  • Oracle

  • Project Releases

    • Parrot 3.0.0 “Beef Stew” Released!

      On behalf of the Parrot team and an enthusiastic but undiscriminating dachshund that followed me home last week, I’m proud to announce Parrot 3.0.0, also known as “Beef Stew”, or at the insistence of a shadowy government organization, “Snowflake”. Parrot is a virtual machine that dreams about running all dynamic languages everywhere, even the one you’re think about right now. Parrot has big plans, even if needs a haircut and sometimes goes outside with its shoes untied.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Canada’s Grassroots National Digital Library Takes Shape

      Several European countries have set very ambitious digitization goals. The National Library of the Netherlands has committed to digitizing everything – all Dutch books, newspapers and periodicals dating back to 1470. The National Library of Norway set a similar goal in 2005, setting in motion plans to digitize its entire collection that now includes 170,000 books, 250,000 newspapers, 610,000 hours of radio broadcasts, 200,000 hours of television and 500,000 photographs.

    • Knowledge Workers & The Commons – A Reflection

      I began to understand something about the nature of this gap when Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation made a comment about the place of knowledge workers (programmers, architects, designers, writers, salespeople, managers) in the commons movement. To paraphrase, he said they have a different world view than common activists on the left or right but share a similar vision. I thought that this might explain the reception of my ideas on the listserv. It also resonated with what I learned about the differences between the social organization of moderates and those at the political extremes while writing white papers for a political consultancy.

    • BitTorrent Inventor Demos New P2P Live Streaming Protocol

      Bram Cohen, the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol that revolutionized file-sharing, is finalizing the code for his new P2P-live streaming protocol. With his efforts he aims to develop a piece of code superior to all other streaming solutions on the market today. The release of the application is still a few months away, but Cohen has shown a demo exclusively to TorrentFreak.

    • U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education commit $2 billion to create open educational resources for community colleges and career training; CC BY required for grant outputs
    • Open Grantmaking in Practice, Not Just In Principle

      The Department of Labor in partnership with the Department of Education announced two billion dollars in grants to support educational and career training programs for workers. Known as the “Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant” – or TAA CCCT inside the Beltway – the program is precedent setting in its magnitude of support for 21st century job skill training and for making the default-setting in grantmaking much more open.


  • Belarus Accuses EU States Of Plotting ‘Poll Coup’

    Belarus today accused EU members Poland and Germany of seeking to topple President Alyaksandr Lukashenka by organizing the December mass protests against his reelection.

    “Sovyetskaya Belorussia,” the official newspaper of the presidential administration, today said that the German and Polish secret services had devised the plot and Poland had even trained opposition activists.

  • How Facebook Beat MySpace

    Giving dedicated people permission to do whatever it takes, and resources, then holding their feet to the fire to demonstrate performance. Letting dedicated people learn from their successes, and failures, and move fast to keep the business in the fast moving water. There is no manager, leader or management team that can predict, plan and execute as well as a team that has its ears close to the market, and the flexibility to react quickly, willing to make mistakes (and learn from them even faster) without bias for a predetermined plan.

  • The EU will not disintegrate: it will integrate further

    Euro-sceptics have had great fun in recent weeks tracking the bond markets’ onslaught on the euro in European Union countries. Some, more excitable, bond market vigilantes and euro-sceptic ideologues have predicted the eventual break up of the 17-member euro-area. Others have even suggested that the disintegration of the euro might undermine the economic and then the political foundations of the European Union itself.

    There is no denying the shock the euro-area has received as a result of the crises first in Greece, then in Ireland and more recently in Portugal and Spain. Even the most dedicated supporters of “the European project” have warned that a combination of political indolence at the highest level of euro-area governments and antiquated ideas about how to respond to the bank generated crises could put the entire Union at risk.

  • United States: Buckeye Socialist Network launched

    The emergence of the right-wing Tea Party movement and the general rightward shift in political discourse created an urgent need to articulate a left alternative. Thus far, the left has largely been unable to capitalise on the widespread confusion and anger that working people feel.

  • Science

    • i.Materialise Metalises

      This very advanced process seems unique to i.Materialise, and involves a powder based process. Powedered titanium metal is laid in a very thin layer. An extremely powerful laser then traces the solid portions by melting the powder. A second layer of titanium powder is deployed and the process repeats, gradually building up a whole object.

      The strength of titanium is legendary, of course – but this means that the minimum wall thickness can be quite small. In this case, i.Materialise is able to print with a minimum wall thickness of 0.2mm, enabling very fine structures to be printed.

    • Italian scientists claim to have demonstrated cold fusion (w/ Video)

      Few areas of science are more controversial than cold fusion, the hypothetical near-room-temperature reaction in which two smaller nuclei join together to form a single larger nucleus while releasing large amounts of energy. In the 1980s, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion – which could potentially provide the world with a cheap, clean energy source – but their experiment could not be reproduced. Since then, all other claims of cold fusion have been illegitimate, and studies have shown that cold fusion is theoretically implausible, causing mainstream science to become highly speculative of the field in general.

    • Peer review: Trial by Twitter

      Blogs and tweets are ripping papers apart within days of publication, leaving researchers unsure how to react.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The third world war
    • Plain-clothes Metropolitan police officers were at G20 demonstrations

      The Metropolitan police was forced to admit today that one of its senior commanders gave false information to MPs when he denied having plain-clothes officers in the crowd at the G20 demonstrations in London in 2009.

      Giving evidence to the House of Commons home affairs committee a month after the protest – in which thousands of demonstrators clashed with police – Commander Bob Broadhurst insisted there were no plain-clothes officers among the crowd, saying it would have been too dangerous to do so.

    • On-duty cop rapes woman, pleads sentence down to one year
    • Undercover Agitators Everywhere – G8/G20 Too?

      There’s been rumors going the rounds that the ‘Block Bloc’ protestors who trashed parts of downtown Toronto were actually police officers. For example, why, exactly was a police cruiser left unattended where protestors could destroy it?

    • BombRot

      Every single technology except one: explosives. Explosives do have limited beneficial uses: mining, quarrying and demolition come to mind. However, the principal use of explosives is the opposite of beneficial – it is killing. What’s more, virtually every machine that we make for killing relies on explosives. These machines range from those such as the suicide vest or the nuclear bomb that have killed comparatively few people, to viscously lethal weapons of mass destruction such as the assault rifle.


      What has the selective breeding of microbes to do with alleviating the misery caused by explosives? Well – explosives are organic molecules with a lot of energy locked up in their chemical bonds. In other words they are an ideal potential food source for yeasts, bacteria and archaea. But explosives haven’t been around for long enough for such explosive-eating microbes to evolve by natural selection.

    • 25 Tons of Bombs Wipe Afghan Town Off Map

      An American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandahar’s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. It’s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into America’s counterinsurgency strategy — which supposedly prizes the local people’s loyalty above all else.

    • Daniel Hamilton: Join Big Brother Watch’s campaign against the EU’s INDECT surveillance project

      In the project’s own words, the EU has tasked scientists with creating a system which will allow for the “registration and exchange of operational data, acquisition of multimedia content, intelligent processing of all information” accessed online in the EU in order to detect terrorists operating online.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks: the latest developments

      The latest newspaper to get access to the WikiLeaks cables appears to be Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat.

    • Swiss banker linked to Wikileaks is found guilty

      A former Swiss banker who said he gave Wikileaks details of rich tax evaders has been found guilty of breaching Switzerland’s strict bank secrecy laws.

      A judge in Zurich did so even though the leaked documents referred to accounts in the Cayman Islands.

      Judge Sebastian Aeppli fined Rudolf Elmer, 55, more than 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,250; £4,000).

    • Claim: WikiLeaks Published Documents Siphoned Over File Sharing Software

      Music and movie pirates may not be the only ones trolling peer-to-peer networks for booty. The secret-spilling site WikiLeaks may also have used file sharing networks to obtain some of the documents it has published, according to a computer-security firm.

      The allegations come from Tiversa, a Pennsylvania peer-to-peer investigations firm, that claims it passed information of WikiLeaks’ file sharing activity to U.S. government officials, according to Bloomberg.

    • Former Quantico Commander Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning, the Alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower

      Via WarIsACrime.org, here’s a powerful letter to General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, by retired Marine Corps captain David C. MacMichael, the former commander of Headquarters Company at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, where Pfc Bradley Manning, the young soldier accused of providing a trove of classified US government documents to WikiLeaks, is being held in conditions that amount to prolonged solitary confinement, as I explained in a recent article, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?

      Capt. MacMichael makes a number of valid and powerful points, in particular asking why Manning is being held for so long before trial (in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights), and also questioning his conditions of confinement. On the first point, he states, “I question the length of confinement prior to conduct of court-martial. The sixth amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing to the accused in all criminal prosecutions the right to a speedy and public trial, extends to those being prosecuted in the military justice system.” On the second, he notes, “I seriously doubt that the conditions of his confinement — solitary confinement, sleep interruption, denial of all but minimal physical exercise, etc. — are necessary, customary, or in accordance with law, US or international.”

    • Sign Our Letter: Stop the Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning
    • Obama administration keeps new policy on Miranda secret

      The Obama administration has issued new guidance on use of the Miranda warning in interrogations of terrorism suspects, potentially chipping away at the rule that bars the government from using information in court if it was gathered before a suspect was informed of his right to remain silent and to an attorney.

      But the Department of Justice is refusing to publicly release the guidance, with a spokesman describing it in an interview as an “internal document.” So we don’t know the administration’s exact interpretation of Miranda, even though it may have significantly reshaped the way terrorism interrogations are conducted.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Fails to See Hype That Derailed Facebook’s Private Sale

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s decision to scuttle a sale of Facebook Inc. shares to U.S. investors shows the bank miscalculated by trying to privately offer stock in a company with more than 600 million users.

      In a statement yesterday, New York-based Goldman Sachs said the sale, first reported Jan. 2, will be restricted to non-U.S. investors because “the level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a U.S. private placement under U.S. law.” The firm planned to sell as much as $1.5 billion of closely held Facebook to clients of its private wealth unit.

    • Blame the Victims and Enrich the Perpetrators

      The same banks that supplied money — and in some cases now own — suspect mortgage lenders also packaged up and sold those loans to investors. These banks also own or owned “servicers” that are supposed to act as stewards for investors. But if servicers cannot recover foreclosure costs combined with the costs of maintaining and reselling the house, they often abandon the property. After pumping up appraisals and falsifying borrowers’ income on applications, banks are walking away. Once again, American taxpayers will foot the bill…

    • The SEC Just Hired This Woman To Oversee Asset Managers — Guess Which Bank She’s From

      Goldman Sachs’ former Asset Management CIO, Eileen Rominger, just got a new job as the head of the SEC division that oversees asset managers and hedge funds, Dow Jones reports (via FoxBusiness).

      Rominger managed equity funds at Goldman before she was made chief investment officer for its global portfolio management teams.

    • Richard Trumka v. Goldman Sachs: Different Visions of America

      Even back in “the good ‘ole” days of Wall Street — before the 2008 collapse — we, the people, suffered from the Goldman Sachs ethos. Wall Street has been the financial engine behind the unwinding of the American Dream. It financed leveraged buyouts and corporate takeovers based heavily on debt — which resulted in the shedding of millions of good-paying jobs and will continue to create the same sick dynamic in the financial system whereby the “health of a company” is measured by its stock price, not by how well the workers are doing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Threats block anti-Iran movie screening

      A suspicious package and a rash of phone calls threatening protests shut down the planned screening of an anti-Iran documentary at Library and Archives Canada Tuesday night.

      Iran’s embassy in Ottawa had tried to censor the film, Iranium, by complaining to the national library, which cancelled it until Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore stepped in.

    • Paulo Coelho Books Banned In Iran… So He Offers Them As A Free Download

      There are few successful authors who have jumped in and embraced what the online world allows you to do more than Paulo Coelho. Three years ago, we wrote about his efforts to “pirate” his own books and how he found that it only served to help his sales. He’s also talked up the importance for authors of setting ideas free to help them spread. He’s also gone even further than that with cool experiments like having his fans make a movie out of one of his books, via a sort of crowdsourcing methodology.

  • Privacy

    • DuckDuckGo Challenges Google on Privacy (With a Billboard)

      DuckDuckGo, a one-man-band search engine based out of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, is aiming at Google’s privacy practices with an unusual tactic: a billboard in San Francisco that proclaims “Google Tracks You. We Don’t.”

    • Social Media and Law Enforcement: Who Gets What Data and When?

      This month, we were reminded how important it is that social media companies do what they can to protect the sensitive data they hold from the prying eyes of the government. As many news outlets have reported, the US Department of Justice recently obtained a court order for records from Twitter on several of its users related to the WikiLeaks disclosures. Instead of just turning over this information, Twitter “beta-tested a spine” and notified its users of the court order, thus giving them the opportunity to challenge it in court.

      We have been investigating how the government seeks information from social networking sites such as Twitter and how the sites respond to these requests in our ongoing social networking Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, filed with the help of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic. As part of our request to the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, we asked for copies of the guides the sites themselves send out to law enforcement explaining how agents can obtain information about a site’s users and what kinds of information are available. The information we got back enabled us to make an unprecedented comparison of these critical documents, as most of the information was not available publicly before now.

  • Civil Rights

    • Destruction of ID card data to cost £400,000

      The destruction of the National Identity Register (NIR) and the personal data held on the controversial ID card system will cost about £400,000.

      The NIR was designed to hold the biometric and biographic details of ID card holders. But last May the ill-fated project was shelved.

    • How truly liberal is the coalition government?

      The two parties – then in opposition, now in government – seemed to find common ground in defending the rights of the individual against the increasingly shrill demands of the agencies charged with upholding our safety and security. Whether it was the introduction of national identity cards, and the gargantuan accompanying database, or three months detention without trial for terror suspects, Cameron’s and Clegg’s parliamentary troops seemed conjoined in civil libertarianism.

      But has entering government changed them? We have seen in the past how politicians can change in government. Back in 1994, Michael Howard, then Home Secretary, proclaimed the merits of ID cards. Labour railed against the plans. But seven years later – in the wake of the 9/11 outrage – senior Labour figures, by then in government, found merit in the proposals.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • CRTC Says Rogers Not Complying With Net Neutrality Disclosure Requirements

      CRTC concerns with Rogers and its response to net neutrality complaints escalated this week when the Commission sent a letter to the company advising that it has received a growing number of complaints and that its public disclosures have not been compliant with CRTC Internet traffic management policy requirements. The case began last fall when the CRTC received a complaint over changes to Rogers’ practices that affected downstream P2P traffic.

  • DRM

    • iDOS emulator back on App Store, requires hack to load games

      iDOS, a repackaged version of the open source DOSBox emulator, is back on the App Store after getting rid of the ability to load games and other software using iTunes file syncing. While that might make the emulator seem far less useful, users have discovered a simple, no-jailbreak-required hack to load any old DOS software they want to run.

    • Sony v. Hotz: Sony Sends A Dangerous Message to Researchers — and Its Customers

      For years, EFF has been warning that the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be used to chill speech, particularly security research, because legitimate researchers will be afraid to publish their results lest they be accused of circumventing a technological protection measure. We’ve also been concerned that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How ‘Cyberlockers’ Became The Biggest Problem In Piracy

      Since Napster exploded into the public consciousness when it was founded 12 years ago, the world of digital piracy has been associated with a particular type of software—“peer-to-peer” download services. (Sometimes fairly, sometimes not.) Either way, 2011 is likely to be the year when P2P is finally eclipsed by “cyberlockers,” a wildly popular type of site that many in the entertainment industry see as a new threat that could be even bigger than P2P. So what are cyberlockers, anyway? Why are they so popular—and so alarming to those who fight against piracy?

    • Copyrights

      • Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-14

        Call for comments on amendments to the Radio Regulations, 1986, Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987, Pay Television Regulations, 1990, Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, and the Broadcasting Information Regulations, 1993

      • URGENT: Canadian Copyright Bill C-32 Another Step Closer To Becoming Law
      • Send A Letter To Ottawa To Stop The Canadian DMCA
      • Copyright development in China: writers transferring digital copyright

        During a signing ceremony held on January 10, writers Zhou Guoping and Deng Xian transferred their digital copyright to Zhongnan Media.

      • Brazil’s Copyright Reform: the tip of the iceberg?

        Sister of acclaimed composer and singer Chico Buarque de Hollanda, Ms. Ana de Hollanda is herself a singer and composer as well. As soon as Brazil’s new president Mrs. Dilma Rousseff nominated Ms. Ana de Hollanda for the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for Brazil’s copyright agenda, several academics, activists and civil society have been voicing concerns against the twist of policy that she might implement from now on.

        Over 1,000 signatures have been gathered thus far on an Open Letter from the Brazilian civil society that is concerned that “the broad and open participation by society might be replaced by “commissions of notables” or “lawyers” giving their biased views on the subject”.

      • Blaming Piracy, Music Industry Says It’s Lost a Third of Its Value Over Past 7 Years

        While digital music revenue has grown 1,000% over the past seven years, the entire music industry has lost a third of its value over that same time period. And while digital music seems to represent both the best hopes and the worst fears of the industry, even its growth is slowing – only 6% last year, down from 9.2% growth in 2009. Digital sales comprise about a third of the industry’s total revenue.

      • ACTA

        • Where to get the detailed response to Question E-8847/10

          Where is the “detailled response” to Marietje Schaake’s question? The Dutch MEP is not aware of it. Does De Gucht have something to hide? Will Pedro Velasco-Martins carry along a printed copy of the answer for participants of his stakeholder meeting on ACTA to demonstrate their unprecedented openness?

        • FFII requests answer to Parliamentary ACTA question
        • Opinion of European Academics on ACTA

          A group of prominent European academics has released today an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The opinion identifies the most critical aspects of ACTA and invites European and national institutions to carefully consider the opinion before ratifying the Agreement or withholding consent.

        • ACTA resolution contains fundamental flaws

          Contrary to what De Gucht said, whether border officials can do something or not is not part of material law, but is part of procedural (enforcement) law. The EU IPR Customs Regulation and ACTA both are about enforcement law. By saying that the EU law is in another field, De Gucht wrongly created the impression ACTA can not touch upon EU law. De Gucht mixed up basic legal concepts. The Parliament copied this misconception.

          Conflicting with its earlier statement, the resolution later on acknowledges the existence of EU enforcement legislation. The resolution emphasises that ACTA will not change present EU laws in terms of IPR enforcement, because EU law is already considerably more advanced than the current international standards – following another Commission statement.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • ORG will intervene in Digitial Economy Act Judicial Review

          Some excellent news: ORG has been given permission to intervene in the Judicial Review of the Digital Economy Act. The review was granted to BT and Talk Talk late last year on four specific points (there’s a good roundup of the background here). Having permission to intervene means that we’ll be able to put forward our case, in court, in clear terms, to outline why we think the Act is so badly flawed. Across all four points we will be making arguments that the Act threatens to curtail people’s rights to freedom of expression, endangers their privacy, and will have a disproportionate impact not only only the public but on businesses too.

Clip of the Day

XUbuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 Review

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 20/1/2011: China and GNU/Linux, Linux 2.6.38 RC1, gnome3.org Debut

Posted in News Roundup at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Tron: An open source legacy

    When I first started using Linux, one of the first open source games I played was GLTron, a faithful recreation of the movie’s light-cycle scenes. Maybe it was the simple, fast-paced gameplay or the fact that the graphics were identical to that of the film in almost every way, but that game still sticks out in my mind as one of my first open source gaming experiences. Suffice to say, open source and Tron are married in my mind forever thanks to that program (not to mention that both are tantamount to my geek cred).


    It’s not the first time that Disney has advocated open source, dating back to their switch to Linux and monetary support of Crossover Office to help get Photoshop running in Linux. Disney was quick to announce that this saved Disney, Pixar, and other animation studios thousands of dollars a year in license costs alone. It was a huge deal at a time when most corporations were far from considering deploying Linux on anything other than scientific workstations. Still, it’s one thing to use open source as a cost-cutting business move. But to make it the underlying premise of an entire feature film–well that’s pretty cool to say the least.

  • China, The Most Linux-friendly Country on Earth

    As a barometer of growth of GNU/Linux in emerging markets, China is a leading indicator. They consume the vast quantities of IT that they produce. GNU/Linux is popular globally but only India, Indonesia and Europe come anywhere close to the popularity of GNU/Linux in China.

  • Steve Ballmer Wants China to Switch to GNU/Linux

    President Obama:“So we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China. And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels — intellectual property and high-value added products and services.”
    see US-China Press Conference at the Whitehouse

    That’s an interesting statistic. 90% of users have obtained a copy without a licence/permission. They could have used GNU/Linux for little cost but their suppliers gave them that other OS. Presumably those same suppliers provided other software such as Office or PhotoShop or games to make the package attractive. If China cracks down further on this illegal supply-chain, will licensing fees result or will Free Software with a legal supply of usable software? Probably some of both. Given a choice of a higher-priced product with that other OS or the same old price with Free Software, there will be competition on price/performance and some will go either way.

  • Events

  • Desktop

    • £98 PCs target UK digital divide

      Distributor Remploy hopes to sell 8,000 machines in the next 12 months.

    • Refurbishment

      One business along these lines has been announced in UK but they are aiming low, 8000 units a year. That’s peanuts compared to the size of the opportunity. They seek to supply low-end consumers. There’s a large opportunity for mainstream consumers of PCs. What other business can look at cost of materials being so low compared to the value of the end-product?

    • How to convert people to Linux

      Converting people to Linux is not different from converting people to anything, be it a new religion, new lifestyle, new diet, new language, whatever. It’s a painful and frustrating process for both parties, often compounded by overzealous and sometimes good-natured intentions on behalf of the converters. The only way to make the transition more pleasant is by using humor, bribes and incentives.

      Unfortunately, too many people take their digital thingies too seriously. It’s almost frightening to read some of the articles out there, which lay out the dominion plain in such simple terms, as if switching to Linux is going to cure cancer or expose new fossil fuel resources. Relax. It’s only software.

  • Server

    • Rackspace’s CEO on Open Source and OpenStack

      As well as dedicated machines, it offers what it calls “Cloud Servers” – virtual machines running either GNU/Linux or Windows. Interestingly, the majority of virtual machines are running the former. Companies often use these cloud offerings to add extra resources to their computing capabilities at peak times. For example, the main e-commerce system might be hosted in-house, but cloud computing resources added to provide flexible and scalable Web hosting.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.38-rc1

      It’s been two weeks, and the merge window for 2.6.38 is thus closed. And an interesting merge window it has been.

    • Linux 2.6.38-rc1 Is Here With Two Features Linus Loves

      After keeping the Linux 2.6.38 kernel merge window open for two weeks, Linus Torvalds has this evening announced the release of the Linux 2.6.38-rc1 kernel. This kernel has a lot to love about it, including Linus’ two favorite features of the group scheduling improvements and the RCU-based path name lookup support. Performance improvements!

    • Main development phase of Linux kernel 2.6.38 completed

      Exactly 14 days after Linux version 2.6.37 was released, Linus Torvalds has published the first beta version of kernel 2.6.38, which is expected to be completed at the end of March or beginning of April. With this release, the merge window for the development cycle has come to an end and Torvalds has now integrated most of the changes for this version into the main development branch’s source code management system.

    • Linux 2.6.38 eliminates last main global lock, improving performance

      The first release candidate for the upcoming Linux 2.6.38 kernel is now out and it could further improve Linux performance.

      With 2.6.37, the Big Kernel Lock (BKL) was removed, but apparently there is at least one more big global lock that needed to come out. In 2.6.38 there is a new RCU (Read/Copy/Update)-based path name lookup.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Desktops for 2011

      It’s been a long while since I wrote an article sharing some of my current desktops. I thought the beginning of 2011 was a good time to show how some of my Linux desktops look like today.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Changes in KDE Git infrastructure

        As some of you may be aware, sysadmin is currently preparing to launch a big change to git.kde.org: New hooks. These new hooks will be launched tomorrow, so the repositories may be in maintenance mode for a period of time.

        The biggest improvement to these hooks is commit mails, which have improved significantly. Particular highlights of this is the format of the mails, and the extra information about what changes took place being included.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 19th December 2010
    • GNOME Desktop

      • gnome3.org is live!

        In case you haven’t heard: the GNOME 3 website is now live! Check it out, if you haven’t already. And spread the word: we want as many people to hear about this as possible.

        The launch of gnome3.org is an exciting development, since it’s the GNOME project’s first major opportunity to tell the world about all the cool stuff that’s going to be in the upcoming release. The site will evolve over the coming days and weeks to include additional information, new, rich content (such as Jason‘s awesome videos), and ways to try the new release: so look out for updates. If you would like to help with the site, please get in touch via the marketing mailing list or #marketing on irc.gnome.org.

      • GNOME 3 website now live, tries a bit too hard to be cool, looks like Unity

        New, clean-and-simple HTML5 websites are obviously in this week: GNOME, one of the most popular desktop environments for Linux, has just released a new website to celebrate the features of version 3, which will be released in April.

      • Some thoughts on GNOME 3

        I stumbled across a website talking about GNOME 3 today, with a few screenshots. It’s not really my first exposure to gnome-shell and friends, but it’s the first time I sat down and really looked at it, and imagined myself trying to work with it.

    • Xfce

      • Forget GNOME and KDE, Xfce 4.8 Runs Simpler and Faster

        A few times each month, I tire of the complexities of GNOME and KDE. Then I turn to a simpler, faster desktop for a couple of days or a week — and that desktop, more often than not, is Xfce. No other desktop I’m aware of balances convenience and speed half so well.

        The only drawback has been that, until this week, the current version of Xfce has been a couple of years old and looking blocky and a little limited in what it can do. Consequently, the release of Xfce 4.8 is both welcome and overdue. The new release gives Xfce a facelift and some new enhancements to general functionality, settings, and — most of all — the panel, while not compromising previous releases’ functionality and lightweight.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Release Update: timings, status and awesomeness

        From the usertags page[1]: you can see a total of:
        Blockers for Squeeze bugs (4 bugs)
        Planned for removal bugs (22 bugs)
        Ignored for Squeeze bugs (109 bugs)

      • Debian 6 Expected by February 6

        After nearly two years the light at the end of the Debian 6.0 tunnel may finally be in sight. Delay after delay has pushed the release of Debian 6 nearly a year passed its original estimated release date. Many observers had put the elusive release in the same category as Duke Nukem Forever. But those Doubting Thomases are eating their words now as Neil McGovern posted that 6.0 is definitely on its way – well, barring “something really critical” like “a needed machine crashes, RC2 exploding in a giant ball of fire etc.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Inclusion of Qt in Ubuntu 11.10 is a win for developers

          In an announcement published today on his personal blog, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth revealed that Nokia’s Qt toolkit will be included as a standard component in future versions of Ubuntu. The move will pave the way for applications built with Qt to become a part of the popular Linux distribution.

          Qt’s numerous technical advantages, excellent cross-platform compatibility, and strong positioning in the mobile space are making it an attractive choice for third-party developers and commercial ISVs. Supporting Qt out-of-the-box on Ubuntu could help bring more software to the platform and will help to accelerate third-party application development. The move could be viewed as controversial, however—as a GNOME-based distribution, Ubuntu has historically been aligned with the competing Gtk+ toolkit.

        • The last 12 months in Ubuntu (and a brief look ahead)

          One of the features that is most exciting is uTouch, which is multi-touch and gesture support. This is some significant work that Ubuntu has been undertaking since Maverick; with compatible hardware, it will change the human-computer interaction mechanism for the better. Gestures vary from one- to four-finger interaction and this system is rather groundbreaking when compared with multi-touch on other operating systems. One of the interesting projects to watch is GEIS, which is ‘Gesture Engine Interface and Support’, along with Grail (Gesture Recognition And Instantiation Library). While these are not significant to the end user, together it is these that will shape what the future of multi-touch. The current development version has around nine blueprints that are targeted towards uTouch, which makes the next release of Ubuntu very exciting.

        • Natty’s new Ubuntu One Control Panel takes shape

          Long time readers or those with good memories may remember that a new – and very elegant – Ubuntu One control panel was targeted for Ubuntu 11.04.

          As we surmised back in July, the aim of the redesigned-application is to’ improve the user experience of using the Ubuntu One service by allowing users to join, sign in and manage their accounts directly from the Ubuntu desktop.’

        • Siding With Canonical on Unity for Ubuntu

          Perhaps this will mark me as an Ubuntu fanboy in the eyes of some, but in the Unity vs. Gnome debate, I’m with Canonical. That isn’t to say that I believe the Unity shell is superior to the GNOME shell. I have no idea, having not tried out Unity. So why do I support it? I don’t. I support Canonical’s decision to go part ways with the Gnome community.


          Fourth, if Canonical is right that this will make Ubuntu more attractive to more “common users,” more power to them.

        • Oops! Updates are a Part of Life

          I noticed as I was installing Ubuntu it brought back a frequent complaint I see towards Sabayon. A fresh install has many updates to be performed. I installed Ubuntu 10.10 x86 and during the actual install it was doing updates from the internet and upon completion of install and reboot, many more updates needed to be performed. I also didn’t have my nvidia-drivers and had to install them and setup my xorg for dual display. So this update thing is just not a Sabayon ordeal. My install of Ubuntu took longer as I had to wait for it to download packages during the install. Sure I could of said no, but they would of needed to get there eventually. I hope to not see any more complaints about updates. It’s part of computing, get use to it. A windows install will even take longer. Do the install and than get through windows updates is hours unless you have the service packs and even than there is more updates after them. I think Sabayon is balanced well with updates and releases. We always have a fresh spin to grab also.

        • Canonical’s Qt decision may also be mobile power play

          When Mark Shuttleworth informed the world yesterday the Qt libraries would be included in the next Ubuntu release alongside the Gtk+ libraries, my very first thought was “Huh. Qt on GNOME. Sounds like MeeGo.”

          Then it was my second thought. And my third. Because all that stuff Shuttleworth wrote about building a vibrant ecosystem is all very well and good, and certainly true–but it isn’t really a reason for a business decision, is it?

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ozone: New Lubuntu 11.04 Proposed Theme

            A new theme called O³ (Ozone) has been proposed for being default in Lubuntu 11.04 (an LXDE unofficial Ubuntu spin). The theme looks a lot like the new Xubuntu theme (introduced in Xubuntu 10.10) and in fact it’s based on the same theme: Zuki Blues by Lassekongo.

          • Pinguy OS – An Ubuntu Based Linux Distribution on Steroids

            Ubuntu has helped spawn umpteen Linux distributions. Pinguy OS is yet another Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (version 10.10 to be exact).

            Pinguy OS is targeted at lay persons – people who are going to use Linux for the first time, or those who want an out-of-box working OS.

            It is currently available to download as a DVD ISO (~1.3 GB size) for the 32 and 64 bit architecture PCs.

          • Review: Trisquel 4.0.1 LTS “Taranis”

            Well, that’s all I have to say about Trisquel. I appreciate goals of the distribution and the time and effort put into all parts of the presentation of this distribution. That said, the Gnash issues and lack of Skype mean that I won’t be using this on a regular basis anytime soon. This distribution is probably good for someone who has somewhat more limited needs (i.e. doesn’t need Skype, doesn’t watch YouTube so much, and in any case, MiniTube is available and works without Adobe Flash) or someone who truly cares about not using proprietary software.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Thin Client Usage in Largo, FL

      I don’t know what Largo pays for 48 processor servers choked with RAM but HP sells similar products from $30K and up. That’s in the neighbourhood of $100 per user, a bit more than I usually pay ($25 fully loaded and $50 lightly loaded custom-built). It’s clear Dave Richards spends a lot of time customizing his servers/services. Amen.

    • Phones

      • Android vs. iPhone: The GPL Question

        Well, now we know. You can’t sell software using the General Public License (GPL) on the Apple App Store& because it conflicts with its Terms of Service (ToS) . The popular VLC media player, was the first major GPLed software to be pulled from Apple’s App Store, it won’t be the last. But, what about Google’s Android Market? I asked the experts and they tell me that, in general, GPL developers can offer their wares on Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • trx

          TxPad is a code editor i created for the Maemo OS.

      • Android

        • Notion Ink’s Adam Android Tablet Said To Ship This Week

          junaidslife86 writes with news that the Notion Ink Android tablet has gotten the regulatory go-ahead from US authorities, and should soon be shipping.

        • Notion Ink Adam clears FCC, begins shipping ‘around Wednesday’
        • Android Virtualization: It’s Time

          James Kendrick, our new Mobile News columnist has a serious beef with the mobile carriers and the device manufacturers. It’s taking them way too long to get updates out for all of the Android handsets out on the market.

          The Android platform is extremely successful and it’s only becoming more so. By this time next year, it will almost certainly eclipse the BlackBerry as the leading smartphone platform in overall market share.

          That’s great news for Android, but there’s a downside to this rapid expansion. There’s a vast array of handsets currently on the market, not to mention all of the devices that were released in the last year or so, all of which have unique “Value Add” in their modification of the Android OS, a.k.a platform fragmentation.

        • Betting on Android! Shanda Announced RMB20Millions Funds for Android Development

          We reported that The9′s $100million fund, NetDragon’s $50million fund together with IDGVC, we also have the angel investor Lei Jun’s Xiaomi mobile application team with valuation at $200million and of course you would not forget Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works. The competition on China mobile market in 2011 will be tough, but with so much investment money stimulating the market, It is going to be a really good thing.

    • Tablets

      • Compal aims to ship 3.8 million tablet PCs in 2011

        Compal Electronics expects to ship 3.8 million tablet PCs in 2011, the largest volume among ODM makers, according to company president and CEO Ray Chen.

        Demand for tablet PCs will grow quarterly at the expense of conventional notebooks through 2011, Chen said, adding global tablet PC sales in 2011 will reach 60 million units, 70-75% of which will be iPads. Of the Compal-produced tablet PCs in 2011, 90% will be ARM-based, Chen noted.

      • Tablets in 2011

        iPads start at about $500 and Android phones start at about $100. I cannot see iPad taking 75% of the market with those price differences and manufacturers could easily double their shipments of Android in 2011.

      • Businesses Will Buy 10 Million Tablets in 2011: Deloitte

        Deloitte said healthcare and retail sectors alone could purchase some 5 million tablets this year.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Software downloads for Iran

    During the protests that erupted in Iran following the disputed Presidential election in June 2009, the central government in Tehran deported all foreign journalists, shut down traditional media outlets, closed off print journalism and disrupted cell phone lines. The government also infiltrated networks, posing as activists and using false identities to round up dissidents. In spite of this, the sharing of information using the Internet prevailed. YouTube and Twitter were cited by journalists, activists and bloggers as the best source for firsthand accounts and on-the-scene footage of the protests and violence across the country. At the time, though, U.S. export controls and sanctions programs prohibited software downloads to Iran.

  • Open Source in GSM Could Breed Mobile Mayhem

    The open source code for GSM base station programming could allow malicious hackers to set up rogue base stations and grab control of peoples’ cellphones, according to security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann. He’s raised particular concern about such activities near places like airports and embassies, but other researchers have questioned the seriousness of the threat.

  • Study charts global open source trends

    The 150-page report, published by the National Open Source Software Observatory of the CENATIC Foundation, charts globally the popularity and deployment of OSS. Primarily aimed at – by its own admission – boosting competitiveness of the Spanish business sector by identifying international projects that can be relevant to Spain, the report analyses, rather comprehensively, trends in both public and private sector adoption of OSS, and the role and participation of technology communities in many advanced IS.

  • FFmpeg turmoil

    A group of FFmpeg developers has announced that the project has a new set of maintainers – news which came as a surprise to existing maintainer Michael Niedermayer. Developer Diego Biurrun has posted an explanation of how the coup came to be, but it’s clear that not everybody is satisfied.

  • [ANNOUNCE] New FFmpeg maintainership
  • Re: [ANNOUNCE] New FFmpeg maintainership
  • How Unemployed Developers Use Open Source to Get Hired

    Solve a problem, provide a solution and watch your name circulate among all the right people. Sounds like a fantasy, yet if you play your cards right, you might just be surprised at how easily this can happen. The key however, is finding that ideal “pain-point” that will make the enterprise user want to try your new open source project in the first place. Perhaps the best approach is to find a problem that the enterprise market is either not addressing or – an even better opportunity – costs a fortune with its current proprietary software options.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browser Security User Interfaces: Hard to Get Right and Increasingly Inconsistent

      A great deal of online commerce, speech, and socializing supposedly happens over encrypted protocols. When using these protocols, users supposedly know what remote web site they are communicating with, and they know that nobody else can listen in. In the past, this blog has detailed how the technical protocols and legal framework are lacking. Today I’d like to talk about how secure communications are represented in the browser user interface (UI), and what users should be expected to believe based on those indicators.

    • Mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/01/18


        * These posts written every 2 weeks explain the current state of add-on reviews and other information relevant to add-on developers.
        * Last week a new version of the Developer Tools was pushed live at AMO. They include a new review process among a ton of other changes. More information here.
        * Most nominations are being reviewed within 10 days.
        * Most updates are being reviewed within 5 days.
        * Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 5 days.

      • Zooming and rotating for video in HTML5 and CSS3

        The source of the code examples in this post is available on GitHub and you can see the demo in action.

        There are dozens of video players that allow you to do all the normal things with videos: play, pause, jump to a certain time and so on. More advanced ones also allow you to fast forward and reverse the video and support subtitles.

      • Firefox and the open web in the Philippines

        I don’t have much to say because Chin says it better than I can.

  • Databases

    • HBase: Shops swap MySQL for open source Google mimic

      Facebook isn’t the only one swapping MySQL for HBase, the open source distributed database platform based on Google’s BigTable. The Hadoopian HBase is now in play at several of the web’s most recognizable names – including Adobe, Yahoo!, Mozilla, and StumbleUpon – as well as smaller operations looking to climb their way to such online prominence.

    • Manage MySQL with Consummate Ease Using SQL Buddy

      phpMyAdmin is probably the most popular Web-based tool for managing MySQL databases, but it is definitely not the only fish in the sea. In fact, if phpMyAdmin’s interface is not your cup of tea and the tool itself is overkill for your needs, then you’d be better off using something like SQL Buddy. This lightweight tool sports a slick user-friendly interface that puts all essential management features at your fingertips. Better yet, SQL Buddy is ridiculously easy to install. Grab the latest version of the application, unzip the downloaded archive, move it to your server, and SQL Buddy is ready to go.

  • Oracle

    • A Year After: The Open Source Projects

      Below is a summary of the status of the main Open Source projects that had been sponsored by Sun, as of a year after Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun. Like A Year After: The People, all information here is public.

      The projects covered are: DarkStar, DTrace, Drizzle, Fuji, GlassFish, GridEngine, Hudson, JXTA, Lustre, MySQL, NetBeans, ODFtoolkit, OpenDS, OpenESB, OpenJDK, OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, OpenSSO, Pymonkey, VirtualBox, Wonderland, WebSpace Server, ZFS.

    • Impressive LibreOffice UI Mockups You Need to See

      LibreOffice is already my default office suite in Ubuntu though there is not much of a difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice for now. But things are moving fast and LibreOffice is going to have its first official release soon. Meanwhile, you might want to remove all traces of OpenOffice and install LibreOffice in Ubuntu for a change. Trust me, it feels good.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.0 RC3, Finally Uploaded To The LibreOffice PPA

      A quick update: LibreOffice 3.3.0 RC3 which was released last week has finally been uploaded to the LibreOffice PPA. Unfortunately the Ubuntu Lucid packages were not updated so only Ubuntu Maverick and Natty users will receive this update.

    • Starting 2011 : a progress report on LibreOffice

      * The Document Foundation has joined the OpenDoc Society. The OpenDoc Society is an international community (based in the Netherlands) that promotes the use of open standards such as ODF and helps various initiatives related to open standards. I think it illustrates our unwaving commitment to ODF -despite what you might have read around the Internet these past weeks- and you should expect more news to come about our commitment to ODF in the coming months.

      * LibreOffice RC3 has been released; will we be releasing the final version soon? Suspense! In any case, give it a shot, and bring us your feedback!

    • First LibreOffice Stable Release Nears: What Now?

      LibreOffice 3.3 is almost here. The third release candidate came out on Thursday, January 13 and looks to be very near complete. It’s not a major upgrade over OpenOffice.org 3.2, but should put the project on solid footing going forward.

      The list of show stoppers for 3.3 is just about cleared out. If 3.3 doesn’t turn up new blockers, it looks like we’ll have a final release that looks very much like the RC3.

  • Business

    • Who is profiting from open source?

      It’s good to see Mark Hinkle has a new open source-related blog (The Fountainhead) although I was somewhat amused by his first post, Open source status report reveals good health and profits.

      It wasn’t so much the relative health of open source, which is supported by his list of open source-related statistics, but the reference to profits. The only other mention of profit in the post is in the description of the “non-profit Mozilla Foundation”.

      The relative profitability of open source-related software vendors has been on my mind recently. Having updated the database of open source-related vendors we use for our business strategy research I was left pondering how many of the 323 vendors listed are profitable.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD development in 2011

      Continuing with the “2011″ series, let’s have a look today at the development planned for GhostBSD. Earlier posts can be found here: PC-BSD, pfSense, HeX Live, MaheshaBSD.

      GhostBSD is relatively new. This project started in 2010 and is being worked on by Eric Turgeon and Nahuel Sanchez. GhostBSD is a live CD for general use and is based on FreeBSD 8.1 featuring the Gnome window manager. This operating system can also be installed on your hard drive by using PC-BSD’s pc-sysinstall (link – video).


    • 1 year FSFE Fellow – 1 year deepening of Free Software in Greece

      Tommorow, January 19th, I will renew my membership at Free Software Foundation Europe. Its been exactly a year since I joined FSFE and the Fellowship. This year (2010) many actions took place for the deepening of Free Software by public institutions and people in Greece:

  • Project Releases

    • Funambol v9 Simplifies Over-the-air Syncing of iPhone Pictures and Android Calendars via the Cloud

      Funambol, the open source mobile cloud company, today introduced Funambol v9 to allow users to wirelessly sync iPhone pictures and Android calendars via the cloud. Funambol v9 simplifies over-the-air sharing of iPhone pictures with Flickr, Picasa, Facebook and PCs. It wirelessly syncs calendars on Android phones, tablets and devices with other cloud services and computers. The software provides on-device mobile signup with an easy three step setup process while on-the-go, without requiring a PC, and supports localization of the Funambol Portal into multiple languages. The release removes the 90 day limit on the myFUNAMBOL Portal to let users easily and freely sync and share contacts, calendars, pictures and more via the cloud.

  • Government

    • The World’s Top 10 Gov 2.0 Initiatives

      The Gov 2.0 movement continues to gain momentum around the world with a number of inspiring people, projects & ideas rising to prominence over the last year or so. Sometimes the most important innovations emerge from the periphery where creative citizens take a “do it first, ask for permission later” approach that can generate a wealth of benefits for the entire global community. So here’s my pick of the world’s best Gov 2.0 initiatives. What are your favourites?

  • Licensing

    • Hoist by my own petard: How to reduce your impact with restrictive licences

      Across the audience people didn’t tweet, and indeed in a couple of cases deleted photographs that they had taken. Again the respect for the request people thought I was making was solid. Even in an audience full of radicals and open geeks no-one questioned the request. I’m slightly gobsmacked in fact that no-one shouted at me to ask what the hell I thought I was doing. Some thought I was being ironic, which I have to say would have been too clever by half. But again it shows, if you ask, people do for the most part respect that request.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Viewpoints: what the world thinks of Wikipedia

      Love it or hate it, Wikipedia is now the fifth most visited site in the world and shows no signs of going away any time soon. As such, the collaborative encyclopaedia rouses a wide range of opinions. In the hater corner lie accusations of unreliability, systemic bias and cliquishness. In the lover corner you will find admiration of its sheer scale, the generosity of people with their time and expertise, and its mission to spread information for free to the world. Wired has garnered viewpoints from a range of experts including one of Wikipedia’s founders, a former editor-in-chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica and some of the site’s editors.

      Larry Sanger, philospher and co-founder of Wikipedia
      I started Wikipedia in the first place because I believed, and still believe, that there is an enormous opportunity: getting all the smart people in the world together to create content that is free to everyone. There are three sorts of freedom inherent in the idea of Wikipedia: freedom to create it, freedom to use it, and freedom to redistribute it. With publishers and their slow-moving mechanisms out of the way, I was convinced that volunteers could quickly create a large free encyclopedia.

    • Single point of failure.

      Monopoly isn’t a goal for Wikipedia, it’s something that just happened.

      There’s basically no way at this stage for someone to be a better Wikipedia than Wikipedia. Anyone else wanting to do a wiki of educational information has to either (a) vary from Wikipedia in coverage (e.g., be strongly specialised — a good Wikia does this superlatively) (b) vary from Wikipedia in rules (e.g., not neutral, or allow original research) and/or (c) have a small bunch of people who want to do a general neutral encyclopedia that isn’t Wikipedia and who will happily persist because they want to (e.g., Knowino, Citizendium).

    • Yochai Benkler on Wikipedia’s 10th Anniversary

      Ten years ago, when Jimmy Wales put a few hundred stubs on a web platform to which anyone could write, and which anyone could edit, but no one was paid to do either of these, it was doomed to failure. Or so then-conventional wisdom would have said. Anyone who would have proposed that within five years Nature would claim that Wikipedia’s science articles are not fundamentally worse than those of Britannica; or that by the end of a decade it would become the standard reference online would have been laughed out of the room. Wikipedia was impossible. So, by the way, were free or open source software, Yelp, or Tripadvisor. They were all impossible because the dominant model of human behavior said that we were all fundamentally self-interested, and that without systems to reward good behavior and punish or constrain bad behavior, human enterprise cannot flourish. Without law or markets, we would simply devolved to mutual shirking and abuse.

    • Open Data

      • JFK Library opens largest online digitized presidential archive

        Marking the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, the JFK Library Foundation today unveiled the nation’s largest online digitized presidential archive, providing access to papers, records, photographs and recordings of the 35th president’s thousand days in office.

      • How London Leads the Way in Techno Wizardry

        Boris Johnson sparked the revolution a year ago when he launched the London Data Store website as a repository of London government data, provided for free. Last week, the Government launched the Public Data Corporation, and it is essential that it also commits to providing that data for free, or else it will have limited impact.

        We now provide hundreds of different streams of information, covering everything from air quality and Tube timetables to voting patterns and hospital performance, from fires to road accidents. More than 1,000 firms have accessed the data so far.

      • The Next International Open Data Hack Day – initial thoughts

        It also has two nice benefits:

        * it gets us away from an exclusive focus on government and might get people in the headspace of creating applications with tangible uses – something almost everyone can relate to
        * many people have mom’s! so getting into the shoes of a mom and imagining what might be interesting, engaging and/or helpful shouldn’t be impossible
        * it might engage new people in the open data movement and in the local events

      • Parliament, data and eDemocracy: A big step forward

        From an eDemocracy perspective, one of the most exciting individual proposals is to open up the procedure relating to amendments to legislation.

    • Open Access/Content

      • World’s largest medical student organization joins Right to Research Coalition

        In a move that demonstrates the building global momentum for student commitment to Open Access, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) today announced its membership in the Right to Research Coalition, an international alliance of undergraduate and graduate student organizations that promotes a more open scholarly publishing system through advocacy and education.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • No double standards: supporting Google’s push for WebM

      We’ve signed up as a supporter of the WebM Project, and we encourage other foundations and organizations to join us—write to webmaster@webmproject.org to learn how. Today, we’re also urging Web site operators to distribute videos in the WebM format, and abandon H.264

      Last week, Google announced that it plans to remove support for the H.264 video codec from its browsers, in favor of the WebM codec that they recently made free. Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion about how this change will affect the Web going forward, as HTML5 standards like the video tag mature.

      We applaud Google for this change; it’s a positive step for free software, its users, and everyone who uses the Web. For a while now, watching video on the Web has been fraught with peril. Most of it is delivered with Flash, which is proprietary, nonstandard software. Free software alternatives like GNU Gnash are available, but the user experience isn’t always as seamless as it ought to be.

    • On WebM again: freedom, quality, patents

      So, after all this text, I think that there may be some more complexity behind Google’s decision to drop H264 than “we want to kill Apple”, as some commenters seem to think – and the final line is: software patents are adding a degree of complexity to the ICT world that is becoming, in my humble opinion, damaging in too many ways – not only in terms of uncertainty, but adding a great friction in the capability of companies and researchers to bring innovation to the market. Something that, curiously, patent promoters describe as their first motivation.

    • The Truth Behind HTML5′s New Logo Fiasco

      So what’s the problem? Well, it’s not particularly because of the way it looks (it doesn’t appear particularly offensive), or what it’s replacing (it is new). This time, people are angry simply because it exists.


  • The Return of Winklevoss Vs. Zuckerberg

    A long-running legal quarrel returns to a courtroom in San Francisco on Tuesday: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg versus his collegiate business partners Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

  • [License Agreements] Cartoon for Jan 14, 2011
  • The Rise And Fall Of Yahoo: The Infographic

    It’s no secret that Yahoo is in a troubled place. And has been for awhile. We just learned of the news that Yahoo is looking to sell bookmarking service Delicious and “sunsetting” a number of other web services. Preceding this debacle was a massive round of layoffs that affected over 500 employees. Many have tried to pinpoint where Yahoo went wrong (i.e. product strategy, leadership etc.), but this infographic, titled “The Rise And Fall Of Yahoo,” gives you a play by play of the company’s history, acquisitions, highs, lows and more.

  • Vatican letter on sex abuse from ’97 revealed

    A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure with the potential to fuel more lawsuits worldwide against the Vatican, which has long denied any involvement in coverups.

    The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of an Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests.

  • Vatican officials told Irish not to report child abuse

    A Vatican department advised Ireland’s Catholic bishops in 1997 not to report priests suspected of child abuse to the police, a newly revealed letter shows.

  • Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse
  • Youth more radically opposed to present government than tea parties, poll finds

    Predictions of a youth uprising sweeping the United States in 2011 appear to be turning increasingly true, according to a recent poll.

    Figures supporting that hypothesis, produced by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) for a liberal blog, were cited by partisan news figures as proof of a growing violent radical element in the tea parties.

  • Is 25 Old?


    * Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook
    * Ian Murdock founds the Debian Project


    * Steve Jobs co-founds Apple Computer
    * Rob Malda starts Slashdot (then Chips & Dips)


    * Linus Torvalds releases Linux 0.01
    * Darren Kitchen launches Hak.5
    * Mark Shuttleworth founds Thawte
    * Dries Buytaert releases the first version of Drupal

  • Max Mosley Says Newspapers Must Alert Famous People Before Writing Stories About Them

    Ima Fish alerts us to the bizarre idea of Max Mosley, the former head of the international motorsports organization FIA, to create a special rule for the rich and famous that would require the media to alert them to any stories mentioning them before publication.

  • Chinese parenting

    There are nearly 7,000 comments to Amy Chua’s now infamous article in the Wall Street Journal titled, modestly, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. I read the piece, as I’m guessing most of you did, with grim fascination. Its main contention is that Chinese parents raise kids who are more successful than their Western counterparts because these parents deprive their kids of fun, slave-drive them to study constantly, prohibit them from acting in school plays and sleeping over at friends’ houses, and insisting that they never get a grade below A. Chua’s description of how she terrorized her daughter to force her to master a piano piece is not something you’ll soon forget.

  • Science

    • What the humble fruit fly is teaching the powerful computer

      A new study reveals that the fly arranges the hair-like structures of its nervous system to feel and hear. That method now serves as a model for refining wireless sensor networks, among other computer applications.

    • Excellent Little Apps: PDF-Shuffler

      Rummaging through my blogposts related to Ubuntu, too many of them are grumbling or complaining posts. We forget about the awesome stuff in Ubuntu because it Just Works; it’s the stuff that’s broken or that we dislike that consumes our attention.

    • Abandoned Knol

      Knol’s homepage says a lot about the current state of the project. There’s a big empty section called “what’s new”, a single featured knol that has 1,000 views, while the “most discussed” section doesn’t include any knol and the search feature no longer works properly.

      Knol has been last updated in December 2009 and it’s obvious that the service has been abandoned. Somebody needs to close Knol before it’s too late.

    • RightNow acquires natural language search firm Q-Go

      CRM vendor RightNow has agreed to buy Q-go.com, a vendor of natural language-based search software, for US$34 million in cash, the companies announced Tuesday.

    • About Face: Hu at the White House

      The Chinese president had not even taken off his overcoat off before Obama, on the White House lawn, said, “Societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful, and the world is more just when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.” So began a state visit that nudged debate over China’s political values back into the spotlight, after two years in which the Obama White House tried, and abandoned, an effort to reframe the relationship around other issues. This tack is likely to defuse some of the criticism of the Administration for soft-pedalling human rights. But these tougher words came in an elegant package, and, like all Chinese gift-exchanges, that was at least as important as the contents.

    • Silicon quantum computer a possibility

      By achieving entanglement in silicon, researchers have brought quantum computing a step closer.

    • New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight

      Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pols: Spare drug-addled former mayoral worker

      Ex-Senate president Robert Travaglini and City Councilor Sal LaMattina are among dozens of compassionate supporters asking a federal judge to spare the rod on an erstwhile rising star in Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s camp, whose addiction to painkillers poisoned his political career.

    • Can you be both obese and healthy?

      Countless epidemiological studies have shown that as you move from a normal body weight towards obesity the risk of many chronic diseases increases exponentially. However, more and more research suggests that the relationship between body weight and health is much more nuanced than previously thought.

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Tarsnap critical security bug

      Tarsnap versions 1.0.22 through 1.0.27 have a critical security bug. It may be possible for me, Amazon, or US government agencies with access to Amazon’s datacenters to decrypt data stored with those versions of Tarsnap. This is an absolutely unacceptable compromise of Tarsnap’s security principles, and I sincerely apologize to everyone affected.

    • An Example of Malware in GNU/Linux

      MacOS has a much lower share than 16%. Why are they hit so often? It’s because GNU/Linux is hardly hit at all. Java applications shouldn’t care what OS someone is using to operate. Why would the malware authours not go after GNU/Linux machines using Java?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • In Wake of Tucson Shootings, a ‘Distracted’ Time For Judges

      Even though Arizona Chief U.S. District Judge John M. Roll was not the intended target of Jared Lee Loughner’s assualt Saturday morning, the Tucson massacre has raised legitimate questions about judicial protection and security. On Sunday, I asked another federal trial judge, who, like Judge Roll, has faced his share of threats over the years, to share with me a few of his thoughts about what happened.

    • Lithuania drops CIA torture site inquiry amid claims of official cover-up

      Reprieve challenges bizarre excuses for refusal to investigate horse-riding school believed to have imprisoned ‘high-value detainee’ Abu Zubaydah.

      Lithuania’s Prosecutor General has blamed a ‘lack of NGO transparency’ for his sudden decision not to investigate CIA torture sites operating in Lithuania between 2004 and 2006.

      Prosecutor Darius Valys unexpectedly announced last Friday that he was terminating his official inquiry into allegations that Lithuania’s secret services teamed up with the CIA to host one or more ‘black sites’, including one in a disused horse-riding academy.

    • Thousands of federal officials under lifelong gag order, records show

      More than 12,000 current and former federal intelligence officials must take the secrets of their most sensitive work to the grave, newly obtained records show.

      The number of people “permanently bound to secrecy” is more than double the figure expected in 2003 when the government began putting the provisions in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • Canadian TSA’s Non-Apology Apology To 82-Year-Old Woman

      We just had a story about how the Canadian version of the TSA, the CATSA, had treated an 82-year-old woman to ridiculous security procedures — berating her for not originally telling them about the gel in her prosthetic breast (there due to her mastectomy because of breast cancer) and then arguing with her because she physically could not lift her arms in the new naked scanners. Reader Joe points out that the CATSA eventually did offer an apology… of sorts. It’s not a real apology, in that they don’t say they’re sorry for what they did.

    • French photographer ‘murdered’ in Tunisia

      Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, working for the European Press Photo Agency (EPA), has died in Tunis’ Rabta hospital from head injuries sustained on January 14 when police are said to have “deliberately fired a tear gas grenade at him” during the Tunisia protests, says Reporters Without Borders.

      “I think it was a crime, a real murder”, it has EPA spokesman Horacio Villalobos declaring.

      Dolega, 32, the first French photographer to die in the line of duty since 1985, was also the first foreign journalist to be killed in Tunisia, says the story.

    • Arrr! Pirates Take Up to $12 Billion Worth of Booty

      Don’t let the dilapidated fishing boats or the rusting AK-47s fool you. Pirates mean serious business. A maritime industry group crunched the numbers and found that the measures companies and governments take to avoid and combat the piracy threat cost between $7 billion and $12 billion every year.

  • Cablegate

    • So you think death threats are against the law?

      Well, apparently they’re not. Just so long as the threats are contained in a registered domain name linked to a website with no content. Just so long as they’re directed against Julian Assange. Vivantleakers is keeping a list of death-to-assange websites springing up around the net, with whois searches including registrars and admin contacts.

    • vivantleakers.org

      Tracking cyber-bullies who promote illegal murder or harm to Assange and his associates.

    • Russian WikiLeaks site blocked

      It was blocked today because it showed pix of what’s said to be Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin’s palace, built at a cost of some $1 billion.

      That’s it on the right, according to BritInRussia in a pic uploaded to travel.webshots.com in 2006.

      President Putin’s Palace, it says. “This is where the G8 Summit is going to take place.”

      Visitors started experiencing problems on Tuesday after ruleaks.net “posted photos of an Italian-style palace on the Black Sea coast that according to The Washington Post belongs to Putin”, says RIA Novosti.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Wales’ carrier bag charge becomes law

      The law, which will come into force from 1 October next year, will see Welsh shoppers paying 5p per single use carrier bag.

      Wales is the first country in the UK to introduce a charge as part of its efforts to dramatically reduce the volume of carrier bags given out to shoppers.

    • 10 Most Alien like Insects on Earth

      A common mistake when searching for alien life forms is to look up into the sky for something big. But alien life is right here, at our feet, in our backyards. Millions of tiny but frightening aliens, many just a few millimetres long. We’ve convinced the most cheerful of the lot to give us a tour…

    • The last of a species, caught on film

      As a kid, I was fascinated by the photos of the extinct quagga that were bolted to the sides of the zebra pen at the Topeka Zoo. I knew about extinction, of course. Dinosaurs were extinct. And I knew that buffalo had been shot by the 1000s a long time ago and might have become extinct, if they hadn’t been protected.

  • Finance

    • Goldman to exclude U.S. from Facebook placement

      Goldman Sachs will limit its private placement of shares of social networking site Facebook to investors outside the United States, citing “intense media coverage,” the investment bank said.

      Goldman expects to raise $1.5 billion for Facebook, the wildly popular site used as a message board and for online social networking. The chance to buy a slice of Facebook ahead of any future public listing attracted widespread commentary and news coverage, which potentially could bring it under regulatory scrutiny.

      “In light of this intense media coverage, Goldman Sachs has decided to proceed only with the offer to investors outside the U.S.,” the company said in a statement provided to Reuters.

      Goldman began notifying clients of its decision on Sunday.

    • How accurate are property records?

      A Utah court case in which the owner of a Draper townhouse got clear title to the property, even though he still owed $132,000 on it, raises new legal and financial questions about a property-records database created by mortgage bankers.

    • Bankers are paid too much admits RBS chief

      The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland has conceded that bankers get paid too much, mostly because of what he calls a “gangmaster” culture in investment banking.

    • Obama, entourage showered with Saudi gifts: report

      The Federal Register reported Tuesday that King Abdullah gave some 34,500 dollars worth of presents to Obama, some 146,200 dollars worth to First Lady Michelle Obama and 7,275 dollars worth to their children Malia and Sasha.

    • Switzerland freezes assets of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Laurent Gbagbo

      Switzerland’s federal council today agreed to freeze any assets of Tunisia’s ousted president and the incumbent leader of Ivory Coast.

      The Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey, told reporters the measures would take effect immediately and target Tunisia’s former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and the Ivorian incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

    • Bank Overcharged Military Families On Mortgages

      The banking giant JPMorgan Chase is admitting it made some very big mistakes. As first reported by NBC News, the firm says it overcharged more than 4,000 active-duty military personnel on their home loans and foreclosed in error on 14 of them.

      Julia Rowles and her husband, Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles, have been fighting with Chase ever since Rowles was commissioned as an officer in 2006.

    • Goldman Sachs bankers to receive $15.3bn in pay and bonuses

      Goldman Sachs has set aside $15.3bn (£9.5bn) to pay its staff in 2010 – an average of $430,000 each – in a move that re-ignites the controversy over City pay and bonuses at a time when youth unemployment is hitting record highs in the UK.

      The best known of all the Wall Street firms did not attempt to show the restraint of last year when it reduced the amount being paid into its bonus pool in the fourth quarter of 2009 to make a $500m public donation to a charitable foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hunt’s Local TV Plan Re-Invents The Wheel As A Square

      Nicholas Shott’s review for Hunt made clear there is little chance of such an enterprise making money. Yet Hunt has conceived a model which, first and foremost, invites commercial tenders, funded by national advertising. Far better might have been an effort that puts the citizen first – a grassroots one, run on a cost-neutral basis, whose product would likely have been more direct-access information and interpretation than TV talking heads. Why not involve community groups from that same Big Society which the UK government is trying to create, rather than just commercial broadcasters?

    • Key House Committee Hires Three More Former Lobbyists

      The House Energy & Commerce Committee has hired three more lobbyists after naming a top Washington lobbyist as Staff Director in December, 2010. The lobbyists have represented a range of companies and industries that all have business before the committee.

      Michael Bloomquist will join the committee as the deputy general counsel from his position at the lobbying firm Wiley Rein. Bloomquist was most recently registered as a lobbyist for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a coalition of independent natural gas exploration and production companies, and Nucor Corp., a giant steel company. Bloomquist previously worked for Energy & Commerce Committee, the Science & Technology Committee, and the Department of Interior before becoming a lobbyist.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • censorship and children

      But as a parent, there were things I knew would disturb him. Being in tune with my child, I was uniquely positioned to have a good idea what protection was necessary. For instance, in the early years, good guys could never die. As he grew and learned acquired the ability to protect himself, the terms of censorship changed. Before he was 18 he had acquired enough maturity that external parental censorship was no longer necessary.

      Of course I never did show him Old Yeller, a film that traumatized me as a child. Just seeing a commercial for it makes me burst into tears to this day.
      rewriting history is a bad idea

      Although there is a time to protect children, I thoroughly disagree with the practice of rewriting literature to “protect” children.

    • Berlusconi’s lackeys want to ban our books. They started from Venice. Let’s fight back!

      The Assessor for Culture of the province of Venice, a guy called Speranzon – a former activist of the MSI [the old neo-fascist party, active from 1946 to 1994] and now a member of Berlusconi’s party – approved a proposal from a party colleague and will order Venetian libraries to:
      1) Remove from shelves all the books written by any author who signed a 2004 petition asking for Cesare Battisti’s release from jail;
      2) Abstain from organizing events featuring such writers (they must be declared “undesirable persons”, he says).
      Any librarian who will not accept this diktat “will be held responsible” of his behavior. Is this a hint about fund freezing, withdrawal of patronage, mobbing, hostile media campaigning?
      The proposal was lauded by the COISP, a policemen union. The poor librarian will think twice, before opposing local authorities and the police.

    • DoD Blocking Access To Techdirt Because It’s About ‘Computers And Internet’?

      Sent in by an anonymous person in the Defense Department is the notice that they were unable to read our recent story about customs and border patrol harassing Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum as he flew into Seattle from a vacation in Iceland. What struck me, however, was the hilarious wording explaining the block:

      This Page Cannot Be Displayed


      Based on DOD access policies, access to this web site ( http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110112/16054412641/customs-hamfisted-attempts-to-intimidate-wikileaks-volunteers.shtml ) has been blocked because the web category “Computers and Internet” is not allowed, your IP address and username have been recorded and forwarded to your IA staff for review.

    • he Companies Who Support Censoring The Internet

      Anyway, here’s the full list of companies that support censoring the internet, because they’re too lazy to compete in the marketplace or innovate when that market changes:

      * Nike – Beaverton, OR
      * Achushnet – Fairhaven, MA
      * Curb Music Publishing – Nashville, TN
      * NBC Universal – New York, NY
      * Viacom – New York, NY
      * Callaway – Carlsbad, CA
      * Cleveland Golf – Huntington Beach, CA
      * Rosetta Stone – Arlington, VA
      * Activision – Santa Monica, CA
      * Adidas Group – Portland, OR
      * Xerox – Norwalk, CT
      * Hastings Entertainment, Inc. – Amarillo, TX
      * Fortune Brands – Deerfield, IL
      * Coty Inc. – New York, NY
      * EDGE Entertainment Distribution – Streetsboro, OH
      * Oakley, Inc. – Foothill Ranch, CA
      * PING – Phoenix, AZ
      * Louis Vuitton – New York, NY
      * D’Addario and Company – Farmingdale, NY
      * Monster Cable Products, Inc. – Brisbane, CA
      * Tiffany and Co. – New York, NY
      * Farouk Systems, Inc. – Houston, TX
      * Beam Global – Deerfield, IL
      * Chanel USA – New York, NY
      * True Religion Apparel, Inc. – Vernon, CA
      * Concord Music Group – Beverly Hills, CA
      * Village Roadshow Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
      * National Basketball Association – New York, NY
      * National Football League – New York, NY
      * The Collegiate Licensing Company/IMG College – Atlanta, GA
      * Anderson Merchandisers – Amarillo, TX
      * Trans World Entertainment Corporation – Albany, NY
      * Timberland – Stratham, NH
      * Major League Baseball – New York, NY
      * Lightening Entertainment/Mainline Releasing – Santa Monica, CA
      * Sierra Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
      * Voltage Pictures LLC – Los Angeles, CA
      * Worldwide Film Entertainment LLC – Westchester, CA
      * Nu Image, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
      * Burberry Limited – New York, NY
      * Big Machine Records – Nashville, TN
      * The Little Film Company – Studio City, CA
      * Columbia Sportswear Company – Portland, OR

    • Dire Straits tune banned — after 25 years!

      Result? Just one — one — complaint, “but the self-regulating Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has upheld it, and no outlet in the nation can now play Money for Nothing the way Dire Straits intended it to be heard”.

    • Customs Boss Defends Internet Censorship; Says More Is On The Way

      Here he’s just being disingenuous. The law does not protect criminals. There are existing laws that allow the government or private parties to file a lawsuit against anyone accused of breaking the law, and allowing (as per our normal due process system) an adversarial hearing to be had in court so that both sides get their say. What Morton and his team did ignores all of that. It ignored due process. It seized sites that had substantial non-infringing content, it used serious technical and legal errors to get a judge to rubber stamp seizures of domain names that were widely used by the music industry to promote their own works. And he addresses none of that.

    • Fingerprints Go the Distance

      The device, called AIRprint, is being developed by Advanced Optical Systems (AOS). It detects fingerprints by shining polarized light onto a person’s hand and analyzing the reflection using two cameras configured to detect different polarizations.

    • Police DNA test plan to put off prostitutes’ punters

      West Yorkshire Police have sought to clarify a senior officer’s remarks after she called for a database of all men who use prostitutes, irrespective of whether or not a crime has been committed.

      Chief Superintendent Alison Rose from Bradford South said in a report by the BBC that she wanted to set up a DNA database of men who employ the services of sex workers.

    • Your Employer Can Read Your Work Emails, Even to Your Lawyer

      There are many, many reasons not to use your work email address for anything remotely personal. Here’s one more: a California appellate court has ruled that even attorney-client confidentiality doesn’t apply when the email is on company servers.

    • AT&T Case Asks High Court to Assign Privacy Rights to Companies

      A business privacy case that comes before the U.S. Supreme Court today may rekindle a debate among the justices over whether corporations are like people, even to the point of suffering embarrassment.

      The case, set to be argued in Washington, pits the Obama administration against AT&T Inc. over the release of documents stemming from a government investigation of the company. The question is whether corporations can invoke a Freedom of Information Act provision that protects against invasions of “personal privacy.”

    • Fuzzy Boundaries: The Potential Impact of Vague Secondary Liability Doctrines on Technology Innovation

      If a technology company induces its customers to use its product for infringing purposes, for instance, both the users and the company should be liable for such infringement—the users for direct infringement and the company for contributory infringement, which is a species of secondary liability.

      The doctrine is appealing as a practical solution to widespread infringement because it targets the entities that enable illegal behavior—e.g., the Napsters and Groksters of the world—and thus eradicates the distribution mechanism that enables infringement in the first place. Judge Kozinski and Mr Goldfoot (I’ll generally refer to them as “the authors” from here on), like the movie and music industries, certainly believe that the doctrine of secondary liability should be readily used as a handy and effective tool for weeding out copyright infringement. According to the authors, people “who provide powerful tools that can be used for good or evil have some responsibility to make sure that those tools are used responsibly.” Put more bluntly, however, if you outlaw the tool, you needn’t chase after the users, so in practice it’s less a question of ethics and more a question of convenience and efficiency.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Senator Al Franken: No joke, Comcast trying to whack Netflix

      Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has had it with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who has just created “essentially two Internets” with weak net neutrality rules and who this week signed off on the mega-merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. A common thread unites the two decisions: both highlight the “growing threat of corporate control” over information.

      Franken’s remarks came yesterday during a speech to a Netroots Nation gathering in Minnesota. The former comedian and NBC employee (during his Saturday Night Live days) has made media consolidation and network neutrality two of his signature issues, and he hammered on both of them during his talk.

    • Sweden: miles ahead of Canada on the internet

      I was flipping through the latest issue of Wired the other day and I came across an article on Spotify, a music-streaming service based in Stockholm. I’d heard a little about the service before but, because it’s not available in North America, I hadn’t paid much attention to it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Conservative tech policy goal: ramp up IP enforcement

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who has already introduced a bill to gut the FCC’s net neutrality rules, this morning issued a tech policy call to arms for her fellow conservatives. Atop her agenda: ramping up intellectual property rights and passing “Rogue Websites” legislation to “go after organized online criminals who steal from American creators and rights holders.”

      A keynote speaker at today’s “State of the Net” conference in Washington, DC, Blackburn laid out a conservative approach to Internet regulation that largely boiled down to the idea that we shouldn’t have any.

    • Zynga Becoming A Trademark Bully: Threatens Blingville For Daring To Use ‘ville’

      What I really don’t understand is why Zynga is acting this way. It has no reason to be a trademark bully, and doing so only makes the company look petty.

    • Copyrights

      • Las Vegas’s copyright crapshoot could maim social media

        “We are absolutely continuing to develop the law of copyright in the area in respect to fair use,” says Gibson. “There is very substantial guidance in the courts already that make it clear that the kinds of reproduction that Righthaven is addressing is not fair use. One hundred percent takings are seldom fair use, whether by a for-profit or a non-profit institute. The notion of fair use has been very stretched by advocates of reproductions.”

      • Oppose ISP copyright liability in free-trade agreement – NZ professor

        The University of Auckland’s Professor Jane Kelsey, a noted commentator on free trade, is apprehensive that US negotiators at the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement (TPP) talks, backed by powerful entertainment-industry lobbies, will want to return to the question of internet service provider liability for customers’ copyright breaches through downloading or uploading.

        Such liability was knocked back at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks last year.

      • Jailed Pirate Party member becomes Tunisian government minister

        From imprisoned Pirate Party member to government leader, it’s been an eventful week for Tunisian blogger and software developer Slim Amamou. Arrested by security forces a week ago, Amamou emerged from jail a few days later only to watch as president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country and the new “unity” government asked Amamou to join.

      • Hotfile, 1000 Users and PayPal Named In Piracy Lawsuit

        Liberty Media, the company involved in achieving the largest headline settlement against a BitTorrent user last month, has widened its net to include cyberlocker-based infringement. The movie studio has now filed suit against file-hosting site Hotfile and 1000 of its users. PayPal is also named in the suit alongside calls for it to freeze Hotfile’s account. The court is asked to seize Hotfile’s domain name.

      • Exposed: file-sharing lawyers collect fines using ‘dormant’ company

        Controversial legal firm ACS Law is discreetly using another company to collect payments from alleged file-sharers.

        ACS Law has long acted on behalf of copyright holders, demanding hundreds of pounds from people accused of file-sharing or threatening them with the prospect of court action.

        The law firm is currently being investigated by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, following accusations by consumer watchdog Which? that it had “bullied” people into making payments for infringements that they didn’t commit.

        ACS Law was in court earlier this week, attempting to have 27 cases of alleged file-sharing dropped.

        However, the judge refused to drop all but one of the cases, giving the legal teams of the defendants the chance to fight for punitive damages from rights holder MediaCAT – which has accused the defendants of illegally downloading pornographic films.

      • US Official Speaks Untruths About Torrent-Finder Domain Seizure

        Two months ago the United States Government seized more than 80 domains that were allegedly involved in copyright related offenses. Among these sites was the relatively unknown BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder. From the start there has been a lot of critique, but the director of ICE has now come out to defend their actions. Unfortunately, his ignorance and hugely misleading comments add yet more black marks to the track record of his office.

      • Italian regulator asks for copyright reform after Google settlement

        Italy’s competition regulator has asked the Italian parliament to reform copyright law after accepting Google’s settlement of a dispute with newspapers. It does not have the power to solve the problem of the exploitation of newspaper content, it said.

        The Italian Federation of Newspaper Editors had complained in 2009 that if newspapers refused to have their content appear in Google News it would also disappear from Google’s search engine, which could affect the amount of web traffic they received.

      • Adventures in copyright

        We had time, then, to look through what they planned on turning in. “Where did you get this information?” “Was this picture CC licensed?” If they didn’t know, hadn’t written it down, or the images were copyrighted, one of our class mantras came into play: don’t be lazy. There are no more thoughts of, “Oh well, just dock my grade.” We’re at the point where grades aren’t on anyone’s mind. We’re about the process. “Fire up a laptop and let’s find some CC pictures!” We have 3 computers in my room, but with so many students using them for the same reason–finding images–they were working 3 or 4 to a computer.

        While talking about CC images, one of my students just could not wrap her head around why someone would not want other people to be able to use their images. Most of the other students agreed with her. I’m right there, too. I guess I can see someone whose job it is to take pictures not wanting other people make money off their work, but that’s what the CC 3.0 license is for. I don’t know. I’m sure there are cases I’m just not seeing.

      • RIAA to ICANN: Music TLDs Better be Piracy Free

        Music coalition warns that it better change new requirement that an objector to a proposed gTLD must show “likelihood of material detriment” to the “broader Internet community”or else it will “escalate” the confrontation. Is worried that a person could “hijack a music themed gTLD to enable widescale copyright infringement” of its works.

        The music industry has never met a new form of technology it likes, and ICANN is the latest to feel its wrath over a new top-level domains program.

      • ACTA/Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

        • Will the EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee tomorrow ask the legal service whether ACTA complies with the Treaties?

          Member of Parliament Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens) wants to ask the “legal service of the Parliament if the final Version of ACTA and its foreseen legislative procedure is in line with the Treaties of the European Union and which legal possibilities there are for the European Parliament to challenge this in front of the European Court of Justice”.

        • “Release the Text” Campaign Demands End to Secrecy in Trade Talks

          The sign on letter echoes broader demands from the peak union bodies in almost all the TPPA countries that all working texts are published after each round of negotiations, along with government position papers, on a neutral electronic forum that allows for a frank exchange of information and views.

          “Three decades of free markets and free trade deals show that while big business tends to be the winner, workers and poor communities, who have no say in the process, pay the price. These secret deals have to stop.”

          “We call on the government to secure agreement to basic rules for transparency during the next TPPA talks in Chile in mid-February,” said Campbell.

Clip of the Day



Links 19/1/2011: Cybercom Enters Linux Foundation, Qt in Canonical

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Foursquare Releases Two Open Source Development Tools

    Today Foursquare released the code for two applications on GitHub: Rogue, a MongoDB query domain-specific language written in Scala, and Full-Loaded, “a caching image loader for iOS.”

  • Of China, Piracy and Open Source

    As news stories prove every day, China is more than capable of creating technology that matches that of the West – think of maglev trains or stealth fighters. It could easily knock up its own operating system and applications to replace the proprietary ones that are pirated across the land. But in fact it doesn’t even need to go to all that trouble.

    For some years, the China government has been quietly supporting and promoting the use of free software within its borders – conscious, no doubt, that it forms a handy insurance policy against the day when it might not want to be so dependent on Western proprietary products.


    It’s sad to see a serious newspaper like the Corriere della Sera spouting the kind of unrealistic nonsense; it bolsters the erroneous view that software piracy is a serious problem around the world, and that vast sums of money are involved. When you look closely at the details, neither turns out to be true. The real sums involved in developing countries are relatively small, and in any case, as Gates himself admits, companies like Microsoft actually prefer piracy to the alternative: a world running on open source.

  • In defence of hackers and open source

    With open source code, you have various objective metrics – speed, size, portability etc. When it comes to designing interfaces, it’s very subjective – and hence hard to ensure that things always improve through iteration. But these problems are not about “openness” or the “collective” approach as such: top-down, centralised efforts have just as much difficulty determining what is “progress” for areas where judgement matters, and just as little problem when there are clear metrics.


    The fact that he trots out the old FUD about open source being unable to innovate – maybe he’s heard of this thing called the internet, which was created almost entirely using open protocols and open code – is perhaps an indication of the tiredness of his arguments.

    Similarly, the idea that the middle class have fewer opportunities to finance content creation overlooks the fact that people are now creating unprecedented quantities of content for *free*, purely for the love of creation – you know, that “l’art pour l’art” thing again. It’s true that not every one of them is a masterpiece, but guess what? That’s always been the case: the vast majority of creation has *always* been mediocre. The difference is that today we are more aware of how much rubbish there is because we have unparalleled access to it.


    In other words, hackers and open source are precisely the forces that Lanier should be praising, since they are closely aligned with his desire for an allegiance to people, not machines. It’s a pity that someone with his pedigree doesn’t recognise that.

  • If it sounds mad

    I’ve just been reading Glyn Moody’s article on the defence of hackers and open source. And no doubt I fully disagree with any notion that Free and Open Source is as relatable to some mass anarchistic insensible process.

    I thought to myself that there probably is a quick test to see if what someone is saying about open source makes sense. A quick and dirty litmus test for checking if the author understands open source in principle and in practice.

    If you replace “Open Source” with the word “Science” and set the date of the article or book back to 1650, does it sound like it’s totally mad?

  • Open-Source Projects Are Getting Ripped On Amazon

    It’s been brought to my attention today by a Phoronix reader that several major open-source projects are being ripped off and sold for-profit on Amazon by a small company out of the United Kingdom. FlightGear, InkScape, and Scribus are among the free software projects being affected right now and Amazon apparently has yet to catch onto this or act.

  • The Butterfly-Amazon Open-Source Saga Continues

    It’s also been discovered by Phoronix readers that this company is passing off GnuCash as “Small Business & Personnel Finance Manager”, the Ardour music application is called “Music/Audio Editing Tool-kit”, PDF Creator is resold as “Create Your Own PDF”, and DVD Flick is “DVD Studio.”

  • Being a Free/Open Source Software Catalyst : Part I

    This is no time for Holy War. If you have a chance to switch to Apache, switch! Your Boss may not know it’s Apache (I can’t believe it’s not butter!), or he may be fully aware. In either case, he’s coming to you with a golden opportunity.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Storage Software

    Here are 50 noteworthy open source replacements for commercial storage-related tools.

  • Open Source in GSM Could Breed Mobile Mayhem

    The open source code for GSM base station programming could allow malicious hackers to set up rogue base stations and grab control of peoples’ cellphones, according to security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann. He’s raised particular concern about such activities near places like airports and embassies, but other researchers have questioned the seriousness of the threat.

  • Five open source network management projects to watch

    Open source software has a long history in lower-level network software so it’s not surprising there is a healthy range of free tools available for network and systems management.

  • Events

    • LPC 2011 Call for Track Ideas

      The organizers behind the Linux Plumbers’ Conference have put out a call for track ideas for this Linux conference taking place in Santa Rosa in early September. Jesse Barnes asks that anyone interested read the below message.

    • [LCA2011-Chat] lca2011 venue update

      The conference venue is now officially confirmed as being at the Qld. University of Technology – Kelvin Grove campus. Unfortunately due to the damage sustained by the recent floods in Brisbane, the original buildings located at QUT – Gardens Point campus will not be available for the week of the conference.

  • Web Browsers

    • Midori vs Epiphany Review

      In the last couple months I’ve been seeing a lot of articles concerning the Midori web browser. It’s a lightweight GTK-based browser that uses the WebKit rendering engine also used by browsers like Chromium and Safari. At version 0.2.9, it’s relatively new (it’s still a ways away from a 1.0 release), but it’s included as part of the Xfce “goodies” package. It’s also the browser of choice of the Elementary project. I’ve tried Midori before and like it because it isn’t too much of a system resource hog, and it faithfully displays the webpages I visit.

    • Mozilla

      • School of Webcraft Charter (draft)

        For about a year now, Mozilla has been working with Peer to Peer University to set up a School of Webcraft. The vision is simple enough: a free, community run school for web development. It’s going well, with almost 30 courses on offer for the January term.

      • Firefox Mobile – Managing Profiles

        Last week we were talking about the need for private browsing, or something like it, in Firefox Mobile. Even though you might not share your phone with other people, you might share a tablet – especially the “family tablet”, sitting there on the coffee table. Private browsing is an obtrusive system, at least as implemented in Mozilla, and it’s doubtful we could add it for Firefox Mobile in time for the upcoming release. Also, private browsing doesn’t really satisfy the sharing use case for tablets.

      • Threads and Workers for Add-ons in Firefox 4

        The upcoming Firefox 4 includes a ton of significant changes, many of which have a direct effect on add-ons. The majority of these changes are just new and different ways of doing things. Unfortunately, there are a couple of changes that offer no alternative and add-on authors will just need to cope with them. The stability changes that were introduced in the threading model for Firefox 4 are an example of this.

      • Firefox Mobile- The Good and the Ugly

        Firefox mobile is also the first mobile browser to support addons. There’s a handy collection of really cool ones already available. Then finally, it really does render pages just like they were designed.

  • Databases

    • Cassandra service company Riptano changes name to DataStax

      Founded last April, Riptano, a company that provides training, advice and support for the NoSQL database Apache Cassandra, has been re-named as DataStax. Riptano was founded by Jonathan Ellis, chief of the Cassandra Project and Matt Pfeil. Both were previously employed by the cloud provider Rackspace, and Rackspace supplied the seed capital for Riptano.

  • Oracle

    • More LibreOffice Mockups: Citrus UI

      Speaking of LibreOffice, WebUpd8 reader Nathan Moos mentioned some refreshing mockups called Citrus UI (please note that these are not official mockups!).

      Citrus tries to remain somewhat familiar while brining more logic by reorganizing things differently – such as the File menu which currently holds commands that are in no way related to the current file. Further more, the menus are contextual meaning you won’t get any grayed-out menus and instead, they are hidden by default.

    • OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice Release Candidates Duke It Out

      Oracle-owned OpenOffice.org and independent LibreOffice are both nearing their freely available 3.3.0 versions and show their wares with recent release candidates. Commercial OpenOffice.org 3.3 was released by Oracle last month at a licensing fee starting at $49.95 for the Standard Edition, but has yet to release the freely downloadable version for home and small business use. That version has reached RC9, which is said to probably be the last development release before final. On the other side of town, LibreOffice has been releasing development versions as well with the latest being RC3 on January 13, which is rumored to be its last before final as well. LibreOffice has gained popular support probably primarily due to breaking from Oracle control and ownership while offering largely equal functionality.

  • Business

    • Open source status report reveals good health and profits

      2010 marked the 25th year of the Free Software Foundation, founded by Richard Stallman to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software. In that time the use of free software has become pervasive. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some open source software usage statistics today. It’s truly amazing the size of the open source software community and the levels of participation in them.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Backdoors in OpenBSD? Reply hazy, try again

      On Dec. 11, OpenBSD founder and lead developers Theo de Raadt received an email from Gregory Perry, CEO of GoVirtual Education, a Florida-based VMWare training firm, in which Perry told de Raadt he was “aware of the fact that the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system implemented by EOUSA [an acronym for the US Dept. of Justice], the parent organization to the FBI.”


      History may show otherwise, but right now this incident seems to be a story of missteps, and not maliciousness.

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • Gevent Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes Gevent as its newest member. Gevent joins twenty-four other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Work is not the opposite of play!

      HR and legal are going to have to give up some reflexes biased against greater transparency on employee performance.

    • Can open source reinvent the music business?

      Under the traditional music model, bands create an album, sign their distribution rights to a record label, and the label distributes the music and benefits from the majority of sales. Recent economic problems and the advent of digital distribution and file sharing have squeezed labels for cash, which has limited distribution and marketing. Consequently, bands have suffered by losing their distribution rights to companies that no longer have the funds to effectively distribute their music.

      This poses a few unfortunate outcomes for bands. First, they lose control over their distribution, and if a label is not doing a good job, this can cripple a band’s ability to spread awareness of their material. Second, labels typically provide tour support if a band sells a certain number of units. However, low investment in distribution translates into limited sales, meaning bands won’t get to tour and raise that awareness. Finally, bands usually make money through tours and merchandise sales. With the labels not providing adequate marketing and distribution, bands are not sent on tour, so they don’t make much money. The net result is that the romantic dream of a record deal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    • Open Data

      • Launch of the Principles on Open Bibliographic Data

        The initial idea for something like the Principles on Open Bibliographic Data dates back to May 2010 and originated in the German OKFN chapter. Originally, they were directed at the library world. It was not before July 2010 that the OKFN Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data started work on the principles – taking ideas (and text) from the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science.

  • Web Standards

    • An HTML5 Logo

      W3C unveiled a logo for HTML5 today. HTML5 in the broad sense covers many different technologies at varying degrees of standardization and adoption. Commercial sites have begun to take advantage of some of the technology, and we are excited that this logo will help raise awareness about HTML5 and W3C. Please check out the logo home page for information about free stickers. We are also selling T-shirts and part of the proceeds will support the HTML5 test suite effort.

    • W3C Introduces an HTML5 Logo
    • W3C’s new logo promotes HTML5–and more

      Underscoring the confluence of technology, politics, and marketing, the World Wide Web Consortium today unveiled a new logo for HTML5.

      With the logo, the W3C wants to promote the new Web technology–and itself. The Web is growing far beyond its roots of housing static Web sites and is transforming into a vehicle for entertainment and a foundation for online applications.


  • Facebook’s 3rd Biggest Advertiser is (Allegedly) a Bing Affiliate Scam (With Updates)

    Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s anti-webspam team and tonight he came across what looks like a huge trove of scammy, spammy spam – on Facebook. And it involves Microsoft. Advertising publication AdAge reported tonight on findings from advertising analysts that Facebook sold an estimated $1.86 billion in worldwide advertising for 2010, an amazing sum. Who’s spending all that money on Facebook ads? A long, long tail of self-serve advertisers for sure – but near the head of the tail is someone that should have raised a whole lot of red flags.

    At the end of the AdAge article is a passing mention that the 3rd largest advertiser across all of Facebook, after AT&T and Match.com, is a mysterious company listed as Make-my-baby.com.

  • Legal Thuggery, or Law as Transaction Cost

    There are two great things about this. First, the BoingBoing post isn’t even about Academic Advantage: it contains those words, but is utterly unrelated. Second, the allegedly bad part (which L, A, & Y complains about) is the use of the term “scam.” But: the term “scam” was put up by a poster. That means that BoingBoing is immune from any tort action – like defamation – under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Any lawyer admitted to the bar should know that – this is Internet Law 101.

  • Audio slideshow: On the map

    Until recently, what is often billed as one of Africa’s largest slums – Kibera, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi – was a blank spot on official maps. But a group of volunteers have been training young people living there to create their own digital map of the area.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Whitehall chief blocks release of Blair’s notes to Bush on Iraq

      Britain’s top civil servant, Sir Gus O’Donnell, is preventing the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion from publishing notes sent by Tony Blair to George W Bush – evidence described by the inquiry as of “central importance” in establishing the circumstances that led to war.

      O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary, consulted Blair before suppressing the documents, it emerged tonight. The Cabinet Office said: “There is an established convention covering papers of a previous administration whereby former ministers would normally be consulted before release of papers from their time in government.” The prime minister’s spokesman said David Cameron had not been consulted.

    • The Real Domestic Extremists

      Who threatens us most – peaceful campaigners or a private militia run by police chiefs?

    • Clean-up of covert policing ordered after Mark Kennedy revelations

      The government said today that a private company run by police chiefs should be stripped of its power to run undercover spies in the wake of a Guardian investigation into the police officer Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years posing as an environmental activist.

      The Home Office minister Nick Herbert and senior police officers acknowledged for the first time that “something had gone very wrong” in the Kennedy case, which led to the collapse last week of the trial of six people accused of planning to invade a Nottinghamshire power station.

    • FBI Issues Death Threat in U.S. Citizen Interrogation

      An FBI agent reportedly issued a death threat against a U.S. citizen traveling abroad, according to the January 13 New York Times. The American, 19-year-old Gulet Mohamed, also alleges beatings and sleep deprivation in his interrogations since his arrest by Kuwaiti authorities in late December.

      After he was detained by Kuwaiti authorities, “Mr. Mohamed said the agents began yelling the name ‘Anwar al-Awlaki’ at him,” the Times reported, “prompting Kuwaiti officials to intervene and request that the agents end the interrogation.” New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen and Islamic cleric who has emigrated to Yemen and advocated jihad against America, and President Obama has reputedly put him on an assassination list of U.S. citizens for when he is found.

      Making a death threat against a defenseless prisoner is a crime of felony torture under the U.S. criminal code, and the jurisdiction of the crime for federal agents is anywhere in the world. The U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 2340 defines felony torture as follows: “torture means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control,” including “the threat of imminent death.”

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sales of sustainable seafood soar in UK supermarkets

      Sales of “alternative” species of fish and seafood have soared after being championed in Channel 4′s newFish Fightcampaign, the UK’s leading supermarkets reported today.

      Consumers are favouring coley, dab, mussels, squid and sardines over the staple salmon, cod and tuna following the programmes last week, which highlighted the wasteful use of “discard” in fishing practices while encouraging shoppers to take the pressure off popular fish stocks by being more adventurous in what they eat.

  • Finance

    • Executive order: Gov. Haslam throws out income disclosure rules

      Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has signed an executive order that eliminates a requirement for the governor and top aides to disclose how much they earn.

      Under the order signed after Haslam took office on Saturday, the disclosure rules applying to himself and senior administration officials will be the same as those for members of the General Assembly. Those only requires them to list sources of income, but not how much they make.

    • Ex-Swiss banker says he’ll hand files on alleged tax evasion in offshore havens to WikiLeaks

      Elmer said he would not reveal what specifically was in the documents, and said that he personally would not disclose “individual companies or individual names” of the account holders.

    • Tax havens and the men who stole the world

      Shaxson has compiled a remarkable dossier: part analysis, historical and contemporary, part expository, part anecdote and gossip, wholly revealing, shocking and, yes – entertaining. His publisher’s proof copy for reviewers suggests that he has written a thriller, and certainly his often over-written narrative strains for that effect. For me it is possibly the most important political book that I have read since The Spirit Level.

      The scale of abuse is staggering. More than half of world trade passes, often just on paper, through tax havens. More than half of all banking assets and a third of all multinational corporations’ foreign direct investment is offshore where the assets and revenues escape not only tax, but also the rule of law and democratic regulation. UK Uncut’s estimates of lost tax revenue come to some £100 billion over four years. Shaxson quotes a National Audit Office finding in 2007 that a third of the UK’s biggest companies paid no tax at all in this country in the previous boom year. It is of course not only developed nations like the UK that lose out. Developing countries lose some $160 billion annually just through manipulative price fixing that drains tax revenue out of poor countries – as well as sustaining corrupt rulers in power.

    • Ex-Banker Gives Data on Taxes to WikiLeaks

      Rudolf M. Elmer, who ran the Caribbean operations of the Swiss bank Julius Baer for eight years until he was dismissed in 2002, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but he told reporters at a news conference that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” were among them.

      He told The Observer newspaper over the weekend that those named in the documents come from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”

      Mr. Elmer handed two computer disks to Mr. Assange at the news conference, the first significant public event the WikiLeaks founder has held since he was arrested in London in early December after Swedish prosecutors sought to have him extradited on charges of sexual crimes there. He has denied the charges but was briefly jailed last year before bail was granted.

      Wearing the same dark blue suit he has worn through his legal battles, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks would verify and release the information, including the names, in as little as two weeks.

    • Would More Education Reduce Unemployment and Income Inequality?

      Some people argue that education is the answer to some of the big current problems the U.S. economy faces. Want to fix the unemployment problem? That’s easy: just provide additional educational opportunities for those having difficulty finding jobs. Want to lessen income inequality? That’s easy too: if more people have college degrees, they’ll qualify for higher wage work. While these arguments appear to make sense, looking at the data over the past several decades provides the opposite answer: more education would solve neither problem.

      Lawrence Mishel of the Economics Policy Institute makes this argument in a new paper. While he agrees that a better-educated workforce would ultimately help U.S. growth, he shows pretty convincingly that these two current economic problems can’t be solved with more education.

    • Conservatives Ruined the Economy and Now They’re Blaming Liberalism

      Really? Reagan and “vigilance about big government and balanced budgets” in the same sentence? Time for a reality check:

      Reagan made big government bigger; he never submitted a balanced budget; and his deficits piled up more government debt than in all the United States’ prior history, due precisely to low taxes and the bloated defense budgets underpinning “peace through strength.” Bottom line: conservatives’ combination of “low taxes” and “strong defense” during the Reagan and Bush II administrations produced huge fiscal deficits to be passed on to future generations. Wait until they find out all those Reaganomics tax cuts were, in fact, future tax increases on them. To add insult to injury, the revenue hole left by the Reagan tax cuts was filled by loans from Asia and OPEC, suddenly prosperous thanks to huge trade surpluses. During Reagan’s watch, therefore, the United States swung from being the world’s largest creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation, undermining America’s financial sovereignty. “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

    • 85-Year-Old-Woman Arrested for Bank Protest — 6 Revolts the Tea Party-Obsessed Corporate Media Overlooked

      Some of the most undercovered stories of 2010 were actions taken by ordinary people standing up for a more just and equitable society. People are taking to the streets on a regular basis across the country, but unlike the corporate-sponsored Tea Party — whose spokespeople can’t answer basic questions about the deficit they claim to be so worried about — those who believe in health care, affordable housing, economic justice, education, a living wage, and a better life for all rarely, if ever, get the attention they deserve. Instead, the media, even the alternative media, spent the better part of last year obsessing over the Tea Party and manufactured personalities like Sarah Palin, while ignoring people like 85-year-old Julia Botello.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • FCC gives green light to Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday gave the green light to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in NBC Universal by a vote of 4-1.

    • Indoctrinating Children To Hate Freedom Of The Press?

      I just listened to a recent podcast from This American Life with the theme of “Kid Politics.” As per usual, it’s an entertaining hour, but the First Act struck me as especially interesting, given the current debates about Wikileaks and free speech. In that story, reporter and TAL regular Starlee Kine visits the Ronald Reagan library, where a bunch of school children visit and run through an exercise in which they get to simulate the invasion of Grenada and get to make all the decisions just like Reagan did. They’re prepped for this with a bit of laughably propaganda-filled version of history (e.g. if we didn’t invade Grenada, then Grenada, Cuba and Nicaragua would have invaded the US and made us communist). Then, they go through this simulation — in which they’re told there are “no right or wrong answers.” However, it later turns out that if you answer differently than Ronald Reagan actually did, an angry buzzer buzzes and the students are told they’re wrong — if you answer the same as Reagan, a bell dings, and the students are told they made “the correct choice.” In most cases, of course, the students are lead to the “easy” answer being exactly what Reagan did.

      Then, suddenly, in the middle of the exercise, the evil press ruins everything, by revealing that two US carriers have been rerouted to Grenada, ruining the element of surprise. To be honest, if you look through historical reports of the invasion of Grenada, the press leaking this bit of information is pretty hard to find. Yet, in the Reagan Library, it’s the key to the whole story. The element of surprise has been blown, and now the faux-Reagan needs to decide whether to move forward with the invasion.

    • The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution

      However ADTI had first become publicly noticed a few years prior, when as part of the 1998 Tobacco Settlement Agreement, the Philip Morris corporation released millions of pages of documents concerning their operations. In them was evidence that Philip Morris had hired ADTI to campaign against tobacco regulations.

      It’s a rather curious that an institution dedicated to the ‘ideas and ideals’ of Alexis de Tocqueville, on the extension and perfection of democracy would be working as hired guns for the tobacco industry. And if they worked as hired guns for the tobacco industry, who else have they worked for? Microsoft was suggested immediately after the UPI article was published.

      In May of 2004 our questions were answered. ADTI put out a press release stating that Linux could suffer from patent issues. The original press release has vanished from the ADTI site, but a copy is here. The press release appeared to have only one reason for existence, to push users away from Free and Open Source Software, and towards using proprietary software.

      The final capstone was a week later, when ADTI put out another press release in which they questioned whether Linus Torvalds really wrote Linux, which Pamela Jones deconstructed at the time.

      Later Ken Brown, the staffer who supposedly was writing a book exposing Linux, was exposed as a liar. Ken made claims about what certain people, including Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the man who designed and programmed the Minix operating system, said, and curiously every single person that he quoted disagreed with his quotes. Such a total repudiation is unusual to say the least.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Righthaven extends copyright lawsuit campaign to individual Web posters

        Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is now suing individual message-board posters, not just website operators.

        Righthaven, which files copyright infringement lawsuits over unapproved online postings of material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post, filed seven infringement lawsuits Tuesday and Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Nevada, lifting its lawsuit total since March to at least 203.

      • Senior Judge ‘Astonished’ By Actions Of ACS:Law in File-Sharing Cases

        Following on from our article detailing ACS:Law’s no-show at the directions hearing for their 27 active file-sharing cases, today we take a closer look at yesterday’s proceedings. Judge Birss QC said that he found ACS:Law’s actions both “remarkable” and “unprecedented” and was “frankly astonished” by their behavior, while defense lawyers made serious allegations concerning ACS:Law’s conduct.

        Following a review of all outstanding active ACS:Law cases, last month Judge Birss QC found that a total of 27 had been filed, many of them displaying what he described as “unusual features”. In order to decide how to progress these cases he ordered a directions hearing to take place at the Patents Court in London yesterday.

      • No Ads, Domain Seized and No Anonymity For Pirate Site, Judge Rules

        A U.S. District Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction against two advertising networks and a Whois protection service of a site that offers pirated e-books. Advertising networks Clicksor and Chitika are now prohibited from serving advertisements to the site, while Enom’s Whois Privacy Protection Service was ordered to hand over all personal details of the site’s owner and make the site inaccesible.

        Just a few days ago we discussed several strategies that can be employed to take down or hurt sites that are associated with online piracy. One of those strategies is pursuing the ad-networks of these sites, in order to cut off their revenue streams. Another is to target domain registrars and push these services to disable access to the sites.

      • MPAA trumpets new filesharing ’study’

        “Expect to see this ’study’ quoted ad nauseum in ‘findings’ emanating from various entertainment cartel disinformation units”, said p2pnet in a post on a new ’study’ underlining the supposed horrors to the entertainment industry’s bottom line.

        Constructed for the US Chamber of Commerce, it’s “about counterfeiting and ‘piracy’ in general terms”, we said, going on, “But, big surprise, file sharing gets most of the attention.

Clip of the Day

How to Root and Install a Cyanogenmod ROM

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 18/1/2011: Xfce 4.8 is Released, Firefox 4.0 Anticipated

Posted in News Roundup at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • System76 add 2 more laptops to their Ubuntu-based line-up

      Ubuntu-dedicated hardware company System 76 has today announced the launch of two new laptops.

    • Saying goodbye to my System76 notebooks
    • Lane Fox promises sub-£100 PCs

      Martha Lane Fox is promising £98 computers to tempt the last remaining digital refuseniks in UK to get online.

      The machines, refurbed by Remploy, will come complete with telephone support, monitor, mouse and Linux software.

      Lane Fox, David Cameron’s Digital Champion, told the Financial Times (subscription link): “Motivation and inspiration are still two of the biggest barriers [to using the internet], but clearly perception of price is another big deal for people. A good price point is certainly part of what helps people get online.”

    • Lane Fox To Champion £98 PC Scheme In UK

      The UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox is launching a new scheme under which Brits with no internet access will be able to purchase a refurbished Linux-based PC for £98.

      The PC will come with a Linux operating system, a flat-screen monitor and telephone support along with a warranty, The Financial Times reports. The scheme is part of Lane Fox’s Race Online 2012 campaign which aims to bring every Brit online by the end of 2012.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel ASLR Implementation
    • Broadcom Wireless Networking Adapters and Linux

      I expect things to get better, at least on the 4313, as the open source driver finishes the cleanup and integration that it is going through now, and is incorporated in more common distributions. I hope it will be in the upcoming Debian 6.0 release, as that will then get it into a lot of other derivative releases, as it is already in Mint Debian and SimplyMEPIS 11. It should also be a part of a standard kernel release (perhaps 2.6.38?), which will then get it into the distributions which track the latest kernels.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Fermi Acceleration Merged Into X Driver

        The Nouveau (and PathScale) developers working on reverse-engineering the NVIDIA Linux binary driver in turn to write a free software driver with 2D/3D acceleration for all of NVIDIA’s graphics processors, have another accomplishment under their belt today. They’ve now merged the NVC0 (a.k.a. “Fermi”) acceleration support into the xf86-video-nouveau DDX driver.

        Landing into the Linux 2.6.37 kernel DRM was initial mode-setting support for GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” graphics cards, but it went without any actual acceleration support. With the Linux 2.6.38 kernel there is now initial open-source acceleration support for NVIDIA Fermi GPUs, so the DDX driver bits have now been merged into the mainline xf86-video-nouveau display driver.

      • Linux and hybrid graphics cards

        I recently bought a Dell laptop (Vostro 3300) and directly installed Fedora 14 on it. Everything worked out of the box, I just needed to install Broadcom wireless driver.

        But, I was wrong! The laptop come with a Nvidia card, and checking the output of lspci, I found an Intel VGA card too. So I start reading why I have a Nvidia and an Intel cards in my laptop to find the new cool technology : Optimus graphics from Nvidia…

      • Mesa Now Supports A Bit More Of OpenGL 3.0

        This work, plus improvements going into the various Gallium3D and classic Mesa drivers along with state trackers, etc will eventually be released as Mesa 7.11 in a few months time.

      • The VIA TTM/GEM Patch Appears Ready

        Just one month ago an independent developer began working on VIA TTM/GEM support for the VIA kernel DRM driver along with VIA kernel mode-setting support, even while VIA’s open-source Linux strategy is dead. Just a few weeks later, James Simmons’ VIA TTM/GEM memory management patches are now ready.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 12th December 2010
      • New features in Amarok 2.4

        Amarok 2.4 features support for the third generation iPod Touch, the option to have Amarok write statistics and album covers back to the files directly, as well as a completely re-written collection scanner that better detects compilations. A mass-tagging user interface using the MusicBrainz open content music database is now included that allows users to update their songs with accurate information, as is transcoding support – the developers note that transcoding will be expanded to media devices in a future release.

      • 5 Splash Screens to Spice up digiKam

        Every new version of digiKam features its own unique splash screen. But you don’t have to wait for the next digiKam release to get a new splash screen. Here are a few ready-to-go designs created by yours truly. To learn how to replace the default splash screen in digiKam, take a look at the Replace digiKam’s Default Splash Screen article.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Announcing Foresight Linux 2.5.0 ALPHA 1 GNOME Edition

        After a very, very, very long time I can finally announce another Foresight Linux release! We have gone through a lot of changes and it took us a while to rebuild our developer/maintainer/user base, but here we are! The goal is to go back to having a rolling release schedule and keep bringing the latest and greatest mix of GNOME and applications!

      • Run Unity Qt Panel Or Launcher In A Classic GNOME Desktop

        WebuUpd8 reader Anurag sent us a very interesting tip: you can run any part of Unity 2D (Qt) under the classic GNOME desktop. To use the Unity panel or launcher without the whole Unity Qt, you firstly have to install Unity Qt (2D).


        In the same way you can run the “unity-qt-panel”, either as stand-alone or togheter with the “unity-qt-launcher”. To fix the double titlebar for maximized windows you can use Window Applets – select the option to remove the titlebar for maximized windows.

      • GNOME Commander – A nice file manager for the GNOME desktop

        GNOME Commander is file manager aimed at people who want a fast and efficient file manager. GNOME Commander can currently perform most common file operations, and will detect changes to files caused by other programs and update its views without the need for the user to manually reload. The program also supports Copy and Paste, DND and MIME.

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8 Desktop Environment Released

        After a pre-releases came in November and then another in December, Xfce 4.8 has been officially released today.

      • Xfce 4.8 adds remote shares browsing, new desktop panel, more

        The latest version of lightweight desktop environment XFCE has been released, adding support for remote shares browsing, a rewritten desktop panel, and improved settings/file transfer dialogs.

      • Xfce 4.8 released

        Aside from the features implemented in Xfce, the 4.8 development cycle brought us a bunch of other goodies. For the first time we had a serious release strategy formed after the “Xfce Release and Development Model” developed at the Ubuntu Desktop Summit in May 2009. A new web application made release management a lot easier. We worked hard on improving the situation of Xfce translators which led us to setting up our own Transifex server. Something else you will hopefully notice is that our server and mirroring infrastructure has been improved so that our servers hopefully will not suddenly surrender shortly after this release announcement.

      • Loss of Installer Dampens Xfce 4.8 Release

        XfceXfce is a wonderful mid-sized desktop environment for those that want some customization without excessive system overhead. Xfce began life in 1996 as a simple clone of CDE, but has since progressed along side contemporaries such as KDE and GNOME. Some might even think of Xfce as a compromise between the highly customizable KDE and the higher performing GNOME. It was very popular in lighter Linux distributions for a time, and is still commonly included as an alternative choice. For a while an easy one- (or two-) click installer was available that downloaded the individual packages, compiled them, and installed Xfce for you. But no more. Today the developers released version 4.8 with some new goodies and a bit of an updated look, but with no convenient installer.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Introducing Zorin OS 4

        Zorin OS is, according to the project’s website, an easy-to-use, fast operating system which attempts to be useful straight out of the box. The distro appears to be targeting people who have, up to this point, been using Windows and the project makes much of its ability to ape the Windows GUI and run Windows applications through WINE. The project offers us the Core edition of their OS for free and charges a small fee for their premium editions. Zorin’s website includes a news section, a page for frequently asked questions, a support forum and on-line store. All of this is well laid out, navigation is easy and I found the design appealing. The Core edition of Zorin OS 4 is downloadable as a DVD image and weighs in at 1.17 GB.


        In conclusion, while the rough start makes me think Zorin isn’t a good choice for computer novices, it may be good for Linux novices who were formally Windows power users. The system is set up to appeal to that crowd and, for someone who wants a large collection of software available and doesn’t get scared off easily, I think Zorin is a good option.

      • Linux armageddon Linux Mint vs Slackware

        Winner is – Slackware! This is really more tongue in cheek. I’ve been using slackware as my primary machine for the last four months and like a clock, you set it and let it run.

      • MoonOS 4 Neake

        MoonOS is an interesting alternative to generic Ubuntu, and to other Ubuntu derivatives such as Linux Mint. This release has some positive things for existing MoonOS users. However, I don’t see anything here that’s likely to grab users from other distros. There is not real standout feature that might possibly attract people and get them to switch to MoonOS 4.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Innosoft Gulf offers seminar to public about new features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

        Following the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Innosoft Gulf, the leading Certified Red Hat Training Partner and Oracle Approved Education Center (OAEC) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is pleased to offer a seminar to the public about the new features of Red Hat Enteprise Linux (RHEL 6).

      • RHEL 5.6 boasts new bug and security fixes

        Though Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 may have just been released in November, RHEL 5 still has a lot left in the tank: Red Hat just announced version 5.6 of the platform with a host of new bug and security fixes.

      • Red Hat Server Edition 6: Long Life Cycle With Lots to Like

        Red Hat Enterprise 6 (aka Santiago) was released Nov. 10, 2010 — 3.5 years after the first release of RHEL 5 and 7 months after RHEL 5.5. It will be supported to at least some extent for another 10 years (until Nov. 30, 2020), which is a pretty impressive life cycle, especially compared to the 5-year support of Ubuntu’s LTS releases. It’s just one confirmation of the intended market for RHEL6, which is clear throughout the release specs.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition – a green goddess

        I hope I’ve inspired you to try this interesting new distribution – I’m certainly hoping to keep it on my netbook in the long term.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Qt apps on Ubuntu

          As part of our planning for Natty+1, we’ll need to find some space on the CD for Qt libraries, and we will evaluate applications developed with Qt for inclusion on the CD and default install of Ubuntu.

          Ease of use, and effective integration, are key values in our user experience. We care that the applications we choose are harmonious with one another and the system as a whole. Historically, that has meant that we’ve given very strong preference to applications written using Gtk, because a certain amount of harmony comes by default from the use of the same developer toolkit. That said, with OpenOffice and Firefox having been there from the start, Gtk is clearly not an absolute requirement. What I’m arguing now is that it’s the values which are important, and the toolkit is only a means to that end. We should evaluate apps on the basis of how well they meet the requirement, not prejudice them on the basis of technical choices made by the developer.

        • Displex: Fusion-Icon Alternative With Ubuntu AppIndicator Support

          Displex (indicator-displex) is an application that provides similar functionality as “fusion-icon”, but using an Ubuntu appindicator. It can be used to control Compiz, Emerald and the Gnome Display Manager.

        • 4 Beautiful Ubuntu Unity UI Mockups/Ideas

          When you look back at the history of Ubuntu through the years, you will see that, Ubuntu Unity is *the* most significant change ever happened to Ubuntu. Ubuntu Unity is a really interesting idea with limitless possibilities. Now, here are some innovative user created Ubuntu Unity UI mockups/ideas you might find interesting.

        • Ubuntu Unity Desktop Mockup
        • [UbuntuWomen] Diversity and Encouraging More Women To Attend UDS
        • Do you Ubuntu – or do you do ‘poo poo’ Ubuntu?

          The Ubuntu “server team” and Canonical are in inquisitive lot, they want to ask the community just exactly how it is using the Ubuntu Server Edition — and in what kinds of organisations, scenarios, environments and/or deployments — hence the Ubuntu Server Edition was born and is now in its third year.

        • Ubuntu Server Survey 2011 — How do You Ubuntu?
        • Ubuntu Server Edition Survey 2011 (v1.0.0)
        • 5 Great Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Tips And Tricks

          Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat was released on October 10th, 2010, and it really is the best Ubuntu release to date. Everything was made to be super easy for regular users, and advanced Linux enthusiasts still can take advantage of all that it can offer. A lot of functions have been completely automated (the screen type and resolution settings, for example) and most of them also got graphical menus for easier configuration.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 and Citrix

          Many of us with the opportunity will have met up with logging via a Citrix server. With that in mind, I set to getting an ICA client going on my main Ubuntu box at home. There is information scattered about the web in the form of question on the Ubuntu forum and a step-by-step guide by Liberian Geek. To summarise the process that I followed here, you have to download a copy of the Citrix Receiver installer for Linux from the company’s website.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 219

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is Issue #219 for the week January 04- 17, 2011 and is available here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google Nexus S

          Here is what I like:

          * Android 2.3 (first and currently the only phone to have this)
          * 16GB Internal Memory
          * 4″ Display
          * 1 GHZ Processor

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC XO-1.75, ARM Powered OLPC XO Laptop is faster than x86!

        OLPC CTO Edward J. McNierney gives us an overview of the ARM Marvell Armada 610 version of OLPC XO Laptop, XO 1.75, to be released soon, being optimized now in Taiwan, it provides for a sub 2 Watt One Laptop Per Child XO Laptop. One Laptop Per Child created the Netbook market, now they will push the PC/Laptop industry towards ARM support for lower power consumption and lower prices through increased industry competition and optimized SoC designs. The $100 Laptop is nearer. Marvell’s 610 is now one of the ARM SoC platforms that is now powerful enough to power a full desktop/laptop system.

      • OLPC Arm version is faster than Intel’s

        While Intel says that it has nothing to fear from Arm chips, it seems that the One Laptop Top Per Child project might disagree. The OLPC group, which aims to bring cheap laptops to kids in developing countries has been experimenting with the RM Marvell Armada 610 chip.

        OLPC CTO Edward J. McNierney showed Arm devices how the chip went faster than the Intel equivalent. The chip provides for a sub 2 Watt One Laptop Per Child XO Laptop with much more back for its buck.

      • $10 Laptop? India’s Educational Laptop Is Here, But Not At $10

        Although both of these projects are far-fetched and unlikely to enter the market anytime soon, we have something up our sleeves — Yet another Indian laptop! The new laptop, eBerry, is the richer cousin of the $10 laptop.

    • Tablets

      • Linux Geeks and Tablet Temptation

        Blogger Robert Pogson — also an educator — has “spent years teaching students not to touch the screen of the monitor,” so “I am not sure I will ever be ready for a touchscreen,” he told Linux Girl.

        “I could hook monitor, keyboard and mouse up to one,” he pointed out. “I have a bunch of thin clients, a notebook and a terminal server in my home.”

        Still, “I doubt I will be buying any new device for a year or so,” Pogson concluded. “If I were to buy something with touch it might be a smartphone, just because I love ARM (Nasdaq: ARMHY) and GNU/Linux running on ARM.”

      • WebOS: The Other Smartphone/Tablet Linux

        Regardless of what I think, the rumor-mill is going full-speed ahead that, on February 9th, HP will be showing off new smartphones, tablets and maybe even netbooks running webOS. Some folks, like James Kendrick, think that this news would be the cat’s meow. “Of all the product categories HP is considering for webOS, the tablet has me excited as I believe the OS is so fitting for the tablet form that it can take the competition by storm.” Really? Much as I like the idea of Android on tablets, once Google clears up exactly what it’s doing for programmers with Android for different platforms, I can’t see anyone storming Apple’s iPad anytime soon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source: we are buying, but are we engaging?

    We recently completed our 2010 national survey of open source in the UK academic sector (the full report is currently being finalised). This post examines the extent to which suppliers to, and staff of, UK universities and colleges contribute to open source as a matter of course. This kind of engagement is important since it realises the maximum benefits of open source software.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • No Hardware Acceleration Firefox for Linux Due to Buggy X Drivers

        Yesterday, the ninth Firefox 4.0 beta was released. One of the major new features in Firefox 4.0 is hardware acceleration for anything from canvas drawing to video rendering. Sadly, this feature won’t make its way to the Linux version of Firefox 4.0. The reason? X’ drivers are “disastrously buggy”. Update: Benoit Jacob informed my via email that there’s some important nuance: hardware acceleration (OpenGL only) on Linux has been implemented, but due to bugs and issues, only one driver so far has been whitelisted (the proprietary NVIDIA driver).

      • New Contributions features
      • Talking about HTML5 games development at MIT in Boston

        As part of our university outreach programme, a few Mozilla people and volunteers went to Boston last week to give a series of lectures on web technologies for games development.

        During the week we covered topics like WebGL for 3D development, basics of JavaScript, debugging and performance, canvas development, offline development and local storage and multimedia on the web. We’ll make these slides available in the comments to this blog post.

      • Attention Turns To Open-Source Drivers & Firefox

        Last week we reported on Mozilla Firefox developers having issues with Linux GPU drivers to the point that the Firefox 4.0 Linux build will not have GPU acceleration enabled by default, but it can be found for Mac OS X and Windows users. Fortunately, to fix the situation, there’s now some open-source Mesa/X developers looking into these problems of Firefox GPU acceleration.

        Mozilla’s Benoit Jacob wrote to the Mesa mailing list about the WebGL conformance tests to fix bugs in Mesa’s OpenGL implementation. “The goal of this email is to discuss steps towards whitelisting Xorg OpenGL drivers for WebGL rendering, and more generally for all OpenGL-based features, in Firefox. Although I’m only directly concerned with Firefox, this really applies equally well to all browsers implementing WebGL.”

      • How Fast Is Firefox 4?

        Mozilla has the finish line for Firefox 4 in sight: Beta 9 was just released and the first builds of Beta 10 have been posted to the company’s FTP server. There are just over 100 blocking bugs left and there isn’t much that will change until the final release will be available sometime in February or March. Time to check how fast this new browser is. The first article of this series focuses on JavaScript performance.

      • Firefox 4.0 beta release slights Linux

        The latest release has hardware acceleration, which is great news if you are a Windows user but pants if you prefer the penguin. It even works on Windows XP and Mac OS X

      • 5 reasons why I’m sticking with Firefox

        5. Mozilla: I like the fact that Mozilla is an non-profit organization with an aim to keep the net as open as possible in a time when net freedoms are under attack. Although I have nothing against them, I don’t like the idea of being locked into using Apple’s Safari or Google’s Chrome – I think both companies already have enough influence over my online time as it is!

      • New Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta: A “huge pile of awesome”

        Offering a developer tool overview of the Firefox 4 Beta, and noting that developers will benefit from support for HTML5, WebM and HD video, 3D graphic rendering with WebGL, hardware acceleration and the Mozilla Audio API for sound, Chris Blizzard – Mozilla’s director of product platform management – termed the latest beta as a “huge pile of awesome.”

      • Reduce the Firefox 4 menu button to an icon in Linux
      • First Look: Firefox 4 Beta 9
  • Oracle

  • Funding

    • OpenGamma secures $6 million Series B to power open source for financial markets

      To that end today OpenGamma is a new kind of financial startup, based in London, which has an open source analytics and risk management platform for the financial services industry. Today it’s completed a $6 million Series B round of equity financing led by FirstMark Capital, a New York-based VC. Accel Partners joins the round as a return investor. OpenGamma previously had a Series A round of $6m from Accel Partners.

    • EU funds open source language Scala

      As proudly reported in the developer blog for the programming language, Scala creator Martin Odersky will soon be able to double the size of his team. Over the next five years the group of developers working at Switzerland’s EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) will be receiving €2.3 million from the European Research Council. The goal is to overcome the challenges of parallel programming, which is becoming increasingly important as multi-core and multi-processor systems become more widespread.

  • BSD

    • Available: FreeBSD 8.2-RC2

      Ken Smith has announced the availability of FreeBSD 8.2-RC2. This is the second iteration of Release Candidates which will lead to 8.2-RELEASE.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • How to Identify a Good Perl Programmer

      The article Why You Can’t Hire Great Perl Programmers addressed the core Perl community. We need to encourage Perl dabblers to improve their skills and to join the community.

    • What *is* OOP?

      So I’ve played around with Python, and then with PHP, and now Perl. All three can be used for object-oriented programming.

      A while ago, when I was trying to learn more PHP, I started to feel the lack of knowledge about its OOP aspect. Having started out with K&R’s book on C, procedural logic has always made sense to me: What was this object thing?

    • Upstreaming your code – a primer

      The Linux kernel community has its own set of rules regarding various things, such as coding style, communication, and so on. Many of the leading developers in the Linux kernel community have little time, so it is best to follow these rules to make the whole process as smooth as possible.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • How to Encode to WebM

      With Google’s announcement that it’s dropping H.264 support in Chrome in favor of WebM, it’s time to start looking at the format. Here’s a look at how to get the best WebM quality.

    • Google’s WebM v H.264: who wins and loses in the video codec wars?

      Google announced last week that it is axing support for the H.264 video codec from its Chrome browser. (Only the one it distributes for desktops, at the moment; but it’s not clear whether the Android browser includes an H.264 codec. We’ll come to it.)

    • Google Clears Up Confusion in Web Video Brouhaha

      One way to look at the impact that Google’s open source Chrome browser is having is to consider the ripple effect that the company created with its recent blog post on web video standards and browsing. We covered the post and its implications here, and Microsoft–with its market share-leading Internet Explorer browser–served up a response dripping with sarcasm, here. Now, Google is delivering some specifics about its actual intent.

    • Some patent reflections on WebM

      So, one of the concerns cited about WebM is its possible vulnerability to patents from entities other than Google. Yes, we have rock solid patent grants from Google covering the WebM spec, but it’s possible other people have patents which cover functions you would need to implement in order to implement the WebM specification. So, the argument goes, you can’t rely on the royalty-free-ness of WebM.


  • Moving beyond “mountains of dead and mulched
    trees with interesting things inked on them”

    A Canadian-born lover of books and prominent science fiction author, Cory Doctorow is a champion of the cause of freedom of access to knowledge. When asked to do an interview with School Libraries Canada, he replied, “Generally, I’m not doing any interviews right now as I struggle with an imminent book deadline. However, given the nature of the publication, I feel duty-bound to do something with you, if we can make it happen….” He made it happen, and in the interview he reveals a few of the reasons for his commitment to positive social action, his deep-rooted attachment to school libraries, and his sense of common-cause with the library community in general.

  • 10 Websites With Fun Tests To Gauge Your IQ
  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • OECD study: an actual cyberwar is improbable

      Conducted on behalf of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a study has found that a cyberwar conducted solely via the internet between states is very improbable. The authors believe that most crucial systems are simply too well protected. While attacks on systems such as the one involving Stuxnet can be successful, they have to be carefully targeted and limited – and the effects have to be calculated exactly.

      The study finds that the term “cyberwar” is now “overhyped” as it is used for all kinds of things, including activities that used to fall under the category of espionage or sabotage. Indeed, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks related to WikiLeaks have also been called cyberwar even though they only constituted blockades.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Social Network Platforms and Subversive Politics

      Now the Tunisian government, however, most certainly viewed the Social Networking Platform as a threat. Here’s a post from last July by technically knowledgeable Tunisian citizen documenting how the Government was collecting social networking platform credentials of it’s citizens. At the time, this would be appear to have been some type of an official DNS cache poisoning/Phishing attack. The Tunisian Internet Agency(ATI) is the upstream provider for all Tunisian ISPs. Certainly, then, from a technical standpoint, it would have been feasible. However, the blogger notes that the attacks occurred only intermittently so as to not arouse too much suspicion.

    • Mission Creep: How the ACPO empire hyped eco-terrorism

      The collapse of the trial of the Ratcliffe coal protesters earlier this month has drawn new attention to police infiltration of protest movements.

      However, the controversy sparked by the exposure of undercover cop Mark Kennedy has been building for several years. While police have charged that environmental direct action represents a new and growing threat to public order, environmentalists have claimed the threat is being hyped to justify the growth of a labyrinthine and unaccountable intelligence structure under the control of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

      It is illuminating to re-examine the chronology of those debates in the light of what we now know about the activities of Kennedy and other police agents, thanks to a long running investigation by Guardian journalists such as Paul Lewis and Rob Evans.

    • GoDaddy pulls Pakistani website over CIA ‘murder’ case

      US-based web hosting company GoDaddy demanded the removal of a controversial article concerning a top CIA operative in Pakistan, leading to the source of a story that went global being taken offline.

      At the start of the month, GoDaddy demanded that “PakNationalists” removed an article that discussed a potential court case against Jonathan Banks, the CIA’s former Islamabad station chief who was accused of being responsible for allegedly illegal drone attacks on parts of Pakistan.

      The article, which was removed but can be seen from the Google cache, was called “CIA Station Chief In Islamabad Sued For Murder And Terrorism.”

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks turned the tables on governments, but the power relationship has not changed

      WikiLeaks “changes everything”. So says Christian Caryl in the latest New York Review of Books, as the media, technology and foreign policy worlds ponder the effect of the industrial dumping of US government cables. For several years American analysts in particular have been trying to make sense of the information free-for-all facilitated by the internet. Julian Assange’s perhaps inadvertent contribution is to have brought a previously arcane debate into the forefront of global politics.

  • Finance

    • WikiLeaks receives details of mass offshore tax evasion, could be released within weeks

      A Swiss whistleblower has handed documents, which he claims contain details of widescale tax evasion, to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a press conference in London this morning.

      The documents are said to contain details of wealthy individuals and organisations from the US, Europe and Asia who are using the secretive nature of the Swiss banking system’s offshore Cayman Islands accounts to avoid paying tax in their native countries.

    • WikiLeaks discloses offshore banking secrets

      “British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London”, said the Observer yesterday, stating, “Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, ‘approximately 40 politicians’.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The incredible shrinking sound bite

      If you’ve watched any political coverage since 1992, you know what happened: CBS’s experiment failed. This week, as Congress’s 112th session begins, the shrinking sound bite stands as a rare enemy of Republicans and Democrats alike. Whether running for president of the United States or for city council, politicians can count on seeing their words broken into ever smaller and more fragmentary bits. You might debate whom to blame — asked about nine-second sound bites, one TV executive replied, “the politicians started it” — but you can’t dispute the trend. In recent presidential elections, the average TV sound bite has dropped to a tick under eight seconds. A shorter, dumber, and shriller political discourse, it seems, has become another hazard of modern life.

    • Two cents on election financing..

      The question of whether political parties should receive roughly $2 for every vote they garner from the Canadian public is being raised again in the news and political discourse lately. The Conservatives are in favor of getting rid of the subsidy, while the opposition parties are in favor of keeping it.

    • New batch of Tory ads slated to start running soon.

      That said, the Conservatives have resorted to a smear campaign at the expense of Ignatieff (and to a lesser degree Layton) and it can only mean one thing: Remember what your mother told you in high school?

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Why you should always encrypt your smartphone

      Last week, California’s Supreme Court reached a controversial 5-2 decision in People v. Diaz (PDF), holding that police officers may lawfully search mobile phones found on arrested individuals’ persons without first obtaining a search warrant. The court reasoned that mobile phones, like cigarette packs and wallets, fall under the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

    • Rogue Facebook apps can now access your home address and mobile phone number

      In a move that could herald a new level of danger for Facebook users, third party application developers are now able to access your home address and mobile phone number.

    • Man stole nude photos from women’s e-mail accounts

      He then posted many of these photos to his victims’ Facebook pages.

    • China: No more award and prize!

      It is clear that the Chinese government is not happy about the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. However, it is beyond normal people’s imagination that the propaganda machine would turn its resentment into the censorship of the terms “award” and “prize”.

      According to the latest general notice from the Central Propaganda Bureau regarding news and propaganda in 2011, all news and commercial websites should not initiate any kind of nation-wide selection (listings and awards) of news, people or events. The background of this notice is related to a series of events last year:

      Firstly, Chinese political dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

    • MEPs briefed on web sanctions in Hungarian Media Law

      Confirmation that the Hungarian Internet is at risk comes has been submitted to the European Parliament, by a security organisation which monitors for breaches of free speech in the new East European democracies.

    • Tor is released (security patches)

      Tor continues our recent code security audit work. The main fix resolves a remote heap overflow vulnerability that can allow remote code execution. Other fixes address a variety of assert and crash bugs, most of which we think are hard to exploit remotely.

    • European court deals blow to no win, no fee deals in Naomi Campbell case

      Judgment provides boost for press freedom following marathon legal battle by Daily Mirror over privacy ruling

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ Disappears In 27 Markets

      Nokia’s struggle to compete against Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), and drive more sales of its own smartphones, hit a new low today, as the Finnish company said it would be discontinuing its free, bundled music service, Comes With Music, in 27 of the 33 markets where it has operated since 2008, after low subscriber takeup in several markets.

    • Has Bell Upgraded Internet Infrastructure?

      When the Internet was first made available to the public, Canada quickly became a world leader. When Bell and Rogers entered the High Speed Internet market, they offered Canadians top speeds, and low prices for unlimited access. (They did such a good job that they killed off all the competition.)

      Cheap and fast access is why Canadians so whole heartedly became early Internet adopters. And that’s why Canadians are currently some of the most Internet savvy and Internet connected people in the world.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stupid legal threat of the young century

      Boing Boing has been on the receiving end of one or two stupid legal threats in our day but this one from the firm of Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh takes the cake, the little cake topper, the frosting and all the candles, as well as the box and the cake-stand and the ornamental forks.

      Back in July, I posted about the research on the academic advantage some people with autism exhibit. In the comments, someone else used the word “scam” in a message board post.

      Here’s where it gets good. The legal eagles at Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh represent an (apparently extremely touchy) company called Academic Advantage and they apparently earn their keep by using alerts or searches for “Academic Advantage scam” to see who’s badmouthing good old AA, and then they fire off a legal threat and demand that the content be removed from the Internet posthaste.


      And to the lawyers at Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh (whose motto is “Experienced Attorneys. Proven Results.” and who boast of degrees from Harvard, NYU and UCLA): shame on you. What would your parents say if they could see you squandering your top legal educations with this kind of careless, sloppy inanity?

    • Copyrights

      • The cloud is the future – Google joins the EFF in MP3tunes’ battle against EMI

        Google have reportedly filed a paper with the New York District Court in support of MP3tunes.com in its ongoing legal battle with EMI, joining The Electronic Frontiers Foundation who had previously filed an Amici curiae brief in support of the company and its founder Michael Robertson. MP3tunes provides an online music “locker” service where users can store their music and access it from computers and mobile devices. MP3tunes also operates a music search engine called Sideload where users can find music tracks on other sites and then put them in their locker. EMI says the service makes mass copyright infringement easy by letting users upload music they didn’t buy and providing links to online songs that users can then “sideload” into their library and EMI claims that digital locker service such as MP3tunes infringes copyright unless licensed by rights holders . Robertson unsurprisingly argues that EMI’s position is an incorrect interpretation of copyright law saying that MP3tunes is shielded from liability by the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – because it doesn’t encourage copyright infringement and promptly removes infringing content when notified but EMI.

      • Speak Out on Copyright: The Bill C-32 Edition

        Thousands of Canadians have spoken out many times on copyright reform, but it is important to do so once more. Bill C-32 is a better bill than its predecessors and with some tinkering would be a bill worth supporting.

      • Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian State Secretary

        After weeks of public protests on- and offline the Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resigned and escaped the country last Friday. Today, the head of the transitional government, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, announced his new cabinet members which include a familiar name. Slim Amamou, the Pirate Party member and freedom of speech activist who was arrested just a few days ago, is now the (deputy minister) State Secretary of Youth and Sports.

Clip of the Day

From SiCKO: How Liberals Respond to Their “Enemies”

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/1/2011: MeeGo/Maemo Apps, Unigine Engine Comes to Android

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Will The Free Software Desktop Ever Make It?

        In something not too far off from where he said the Linux desktop will be dead if Keith Packard got his way in merging graphics drivers back into the X Server, his new blog post is entitled “This way, the free software desktop is never going to make it.”

  • Applications

    • Weather Indicator Lives On, Gets A New PPA

      Weather Indicator is an Ubuntu appindicator that displays the current weather. Its development stopped a while back and the PPA was removed but Vadim Rutkovsky brought Weather Indicator back to life – for the past two weeks he’s been fixing bugs for the old Weather Indicator and also, he has created a new PPA for easy installation.

    • The weather indicator project revives; what might have been

      The indicator-weather project has kicked back into life this week – meaning none of us need to go without ‘weather-info-at-a-glance’ on our desktop panel come Ubuntu 11.04.

    • Proprietary

      • WebM Decoder in Flash using Alchemy

        Ralph Hauwert has been posting on twitter about work he’s done on getting WebM decoding to work in Flash by compiling the libvpx source code using Adobe’s Alchemy technology.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Simple, Easy To Use Facebook Batch Uploader For Ubuntu: Starry Hope Uploader

        Starry Hope Uploader is a simple, easy to use Facebook batch uploader. To use it, all you have to do is drag and drop some photos to the uploader drag-n-drop area, select the album (or create a new one) and click “upload”. In the preferences window you’ll also find an option to upload high resolution photos. For now, these are all the features but expect more in future releases!

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Muon Suite 1.1.0 released

        After six months of development, I’m proud to announce the release of the Muon Suite, version 1.1.0. The main focus of this release has been to add additional package management utilities to help further round out the package management experience. More specifically, Muon Suite 1.1.0 introduces the Muon Update Notifier, Update Manager, and Software Center.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Orta Window Applets Theme

        Window Applets is a package that comes with two Gnome panel applets: Window Title and Window Buttons which are controls for windows that are placed on the Panel instead of the window. They provide a clever way to increase vertical screen space. See THIS screenshot to understand what this is about.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • So Canonical ported Unity to Qt…

          To me it seems very weird, though. All that replacing and porting over and over again (UNR port to EFL, later a rewrite of UNR as Unity for Clutter/Mutter, then porting Unity from Vala/Mutter to C++/Compiz and now from Clutter to Qt with whatever window manager) makes me wonder if there are people in charge at Canonical who don’t change their mind every few months…

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Is Prepping For Mesa 7.10, X Server 1.10

          The Ubuntu X developers are getting ready to push the Mesa 7.10 graphics library and X.Org Server 1.10 into the Natty Narwhal repository for Ubuntu 11.04. Due to API/ABI breakage, this also results in new driver builds going into Natty, and for a period of time at least where the ATI Catalyst driver will no longer be compatible with the xorg-server (though the NVIDIA binary driver should properly support Linux 2.6.37 and xorg-server 1.10 right now).

        • Firmware Test Suite for Ubuntu 11.04

          Most of the key features for Ubuntu 11.04 are now in the Firmware Test Suite, so now seems an appropriate time to mention them.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • A Tablet Conundrum

        Microsoft makes much of its money by selling software licences in bulk; specifically most of its profits are generated by software sales, with a large proportion of that being OS licences in massive quantities. But in the current tablet market there seems little opportunity for charging for an OS. Apple’s pricing certainly has a premium, but that is accounted for by the brand; the Android tablet market is highly competitive on both price and design innovation, as will be the desktop Linux tablet market, while RIM will sell to RIM users with, maybe, a slight premium based on their unique proposition.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tomcat 7 finalized

    The volunteer developers behind Apache Tomcat have released version 7.0.6 of the open-source Java servlet container.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Next Major Version of Firefox is Ready to Test

        The latest Firefox 4 Beta is available to test the cool features and improvements in the next version of Firefox. As we continue to refine features and performance in Firefox 4 Beta, this release includes faster start-up time, bookmarking and makes complex animations smoother.

        Firefox 4 Beta is built for the way people use the Web today, offering more control over the browsing experience. It introduces a fresh new look and features like App Tabs and Panorama to make it easier and more efficient to navigate the Web. Firefox 4 Beta also includes performance enhancements to make everything faster from start-up time to page-load speed and the performance of Web applications and games. Firefox Sync is integrated into the browser with Firefox 4 Beta, giving you access to your Awesome Bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across computers and smartphones.

      • Firefox Developers Have Issues With Linux GPU Drivers Too

        Mozilla Firefox 4.0 will feature GPU hardware acceleration using OpenGL (or Direct2D/Direct3D under Microsoft Windows) acceleration for WebGL content and even HTML5. This support is there for Windows and Mac OS X, but for Firefox 4.0 the Linux support has been disabled and WebGL is also blacklisted for most drivers. Why? It’s the problematic GPU drivers, of course.

      • [Canonical] Application menu support update for Thunderbird

        Due to the work done on Firefox support, it wasn’t long before Thunderbird would follow…

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 Surpasses 30 Million Downloads

      WordPress 3.0, the most recent self-hosted version of the world’s most popular blogging platform WordPress has surpassed 30 million downloads today, crossing the barrier earlier this morning.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A Decade of Thanks!

      People throughout the world are gathering at more than 450 events in 120 countries to celebrate Wikipedia’s 10th birthday. I’m amazed and thrilled and humbled by the significant support Wikipedia has in every corner of the world. When I started Wikipedia a decade ago, I never imagined that everyday people in places like Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Algeria would come together to celebrate Wikipedia in such an extraordinary way.

    • Wikimedia India Chapter takes shape

      Wikimedia India Chapter, an independent organisation that will support and promote Wikimedia, a collaborative project of Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopaedia, has been formally established here.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Happy 25th birthday, IETF

      The Internet’s leading standards body – the Internet Engineering Task Force – turns 25 on Jan. 16.

    • More about the Chrome HTML Video Codec Change

      There has been a lot of discussion regarding this week’s announcement of upcoming changes to HTML video codec support in Chrome. The future of web video is an important topic, we welcome the debate, and want to address some of the questions raised.

    • Video Wars


  • Europe’s Babel, America’s Moral Divide

    The Wall Street Journal dislikes Europe as much because of what it accomplishes as for its inefficiencies. America mumbles about improving infrastructure, Europe invests in it massively and redevelops infrastructure to transcend (and remove as sources of discord) national and regional boundaries. America turns to off-shore drilling to ensure energy security, Europe turns to energy efficiency. America talks about being a land of opportunity, Europe ensures equal access to education, housing, and health, the real basis for meritocracy. The US bails out banks, Europe bails out entire countries so as not to abandon the security of multi-national community.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GM chickens created that could prevent the spread of bird flu [patented chicken?]

      Scientists have produced genetically modified chickens that appear to prevent the spread of avian influenza. Though the chickens can themselves become infected with flu viruses such as H5N1, say the researchers, they cannot pass on the virus to any other birds with which they come into contact.

  • Security

    • Montra TeK: The most famous hackers in history

      The news about computer attacks are becoming more frequent and the threat of cyberwar hover over the claims of various countries, among which include Iran and South Korea, who recently complained about these practices.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Local talk radio host Bob Durgin pulls no punches in wake of Arizona shootings

      “God, I hate the liberal media,” Durgin said Monday during his highly rated afternoon show on WHP580. “It’s like, if you don’t follow Obama and believe in Obama’s policies, then you are a potential terrorist.”

      In talking about The New York Times, often seen as queen of the left by conservatives, Durgin added, “Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water.”

    • Mary Fallin Suffers Constitution Oath Fail At Swearing-In Ceremony

      Mary Fallin was sworn in Monday as Oklahoma’s first female governor, but in reciting the oath of office she really didn’t promise to “support, obey and defend the Constitution.”

      At an outdoors ceremony in bone-chilling and teeth-chattering cold, Fallin told Oklahoma Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor that she would “support, obey and offend” the U.S. and state constitutions.

    • DHS cancels virtual border fence

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Friday her department is canceling a $3 billion program to erect a problem-plagued, high-tech, virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.

    • Residents Allege Police Violations

      Some residents tell 9NEWS NOW that the increased police patrols following the murder spike in Prince George’s County has led to some questionable activity.

      “The yanked me out of the car, put a knee on my back, and checked my rectum several times,” said a 20 year old man who did not want to use his name.

      Police said cavity searches are never allowed in public and with 16 officers present, as alleged, it is “very unlikely” an officer violated that policy. Still, police encourage the young man to file a complaint with the civilian oversight panel. A spokesperson told 9NEWS NOW police are “committed to constitutional policing.”

    • Sacked teacher falsely accused of groping girls

      A TEACHER falsely accused of groping four schoolgirls has fought a seven-year battle to clear his name after being subjected to what he calls a “witch-hunt”.

      Science teacher Robert King, 45, was acquitted of sexually assaulting four girls by a jury – but was still sacked by Handsworth Grange Community Sports College and has been effectively barred from teaching ever since.

    • Leaderless and Under Pressure, Firearms Agency Keeps Gun Tracing Records Secret

      Following the mass shooting in Arizona, elected officials have put forth new proposals to curb violence by preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands. One of those proposals called on Congress to at last approve a director for the federal agency responsible for regulating the gun industry and cracking down on gun crime.

      The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—better known as the ATF—has gone without a permanent director for four years. The Obama administration, while stating its commitment to doing “all that we can” to stop the flow of U.S. weapons to Mexican drug cartels, waited more than a year and half to even nominate a director—and when a nominee was named, the National Rifle Association was quick to oppose the nomination. The administration re-nominated Andrew Traver last week.

    • Arizona shooting victim blames Palin, others
    • What the “right to bear arms” really means
  • Cablegate

    • How The Press Attacks WikiLeaks, Julian Assange
    • Do We Have Ahmadinejad All Wrong?

      Is it possible that Iran’s blustering president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, long thought to be a leading force behind some of Iran’s most hard-line and repressive policies, is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even “Persianize” Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country’s more conservative factions? That is the surprising impression one gets reading the latest WikiLeaks revelations, which portray Ahmadinejad as open to making concessions on Iran’s nuclear program and far more accommodating to Iranians’ demands for greater freedoms than anyone would have thought. Two episodes in particular deserve special scrutiny not only for what they reveal about Ahmadinejad but for the light they shed on the question of who really calls the shots in Iran.

    • What’s Happening in Tunisia Explained
    • Not Twitter, Not WikiLeaks: A Human Revolution

      Beginning this afternoon, shortly after (former) president Ben Ali fled Tunisia, I started getting calls about the effect of social media on the Tunisian uprising. I answered a few questions, mostly deferring reporters to friends in Tunisia for their side of the story, and then settled in for the night…only to find rantings and ravings about Tunisia’s “Twitter revolution” and “WikiLeaks revolution” blowing up the airwaves.

    • Tunisia, Twitter, Aristotle, Social Media and Final and Efficient Causes

      A debate has been raging on the role social media—especially Facebook and Twitter— played in the apparently successful uprising in Tunisia. Most of the discussion seems to be centered around the use of the term “Twitter Revolution.”

      Ethan Zuckerman responds that “the Internet can take some credit for toppling Tunisia’s government, but not all of it.” When you read Ethan Zuckerman’s great piece –and he is, along with Jillian C. York—among the few people participating in this debate who were in touch with Tunisian dissidents on the ground not just through this crisis but over the years, it becomes clear that being able to disseminate information using social media was key in multiple respects…

    • ‘First Wikileaks Revolution’: Tunisia descends into anarchy as president flees after cables reveal country’s corruption

      Events in Tunisia have led to it being called the ‘First Wikileaks Revolution’.

      Although there has long been opposition to the corrupt rule of President Ben Ali, protests gathered pace when US embassy cables were published by Wikileaks.

    • Tunisia and WikiLeaks

      Raise your hand if, before the street protests started, you had focussed very much—or at all—on what the WikiLeaks cables had to say about Tunisia. Does any one person know enough about all of the countries mentioned in the cables to say for sure how significant they are? Unless someone does, it is rash to keep talking about how they add texture but “no great revelations.”

    • Wikileaks disclosures play key role in Ben Ali’s outing

      First of all I would like to say that I am sorry for the repression and the people who have died in Tunisia but excited about the unexpected overthrow of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali by its own people.

    • Secrecy is the problem, not leakers

      Ukrainian activists cover their mouths with US flags during a rally in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in front of the Swedish embassy to Ukraine in Kiev on December 22 2010.


      In some ways WikiLeaks is a traditional investigative news operation. It gets its information from a source and the journalists decide what they will publish. It needs a platform, an audience and revenue just like any other newsroom. It can also be sued, censored or attacked. But because it is trying to operate online outside of normal national jurisdictions it is harder to hold to account. It can use mirror sites and multiple servers to avoid physical restraint.

    • Death Threat Domain Names: Registrar Says Killjulianassange.com Will Not Be Removed

      BoingBoing has a quick post up today claiming that “Registering death threats as domain names is the hot new thing in psychopathic anti-Wikileaks action!”

      According to vivantleakers.org — a new site created to track “cyber-bullying domain names of wikileaks associates” — multiple death-threat domain names have been registered going after Wikileaks director Julian Assange. Killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com are recently registered examples, although they have no content on them at this time.

      Go Daddy, the site which registered both killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com said there is nothing that can be done about either site while they are contentless. Go Daddy registers a domain name every .8 seconds — any domain name can be registered and there is no human intervention.

    • Treasury Dept. Won’t Put Wikileaks On Terrorist List; Tells Rep. King It Doesn’t Meet The Criteria

      Following the request by Rep. Peter King that the Treasury Department list Wikileaks and Julian Assange on various terrorist/organized crime lists, which would prohibit US companies from dealing with them, the Treasury Department has, quite reasonably, said it will not do that.

    • Miss America 2011: “Wikileaks was actually based on espionage.”

      But I bet she could locate South Africa and The Iraq and the Asian Countries on a map. Anyway, I demand video and a remix, STAT.

    • Wikileaks Protest San Francisco 1/15/11

      Scenes from the January 15 event in San Francisco titled “A Media Intervention for Wikileaks” (http://goo.gl/lh8RM). The speaker is conscientious objector Justin Kauker.

    • January 15, 2011 Global Freedom of Information Rallies

      Istanbul, Turkey:Wonderful video of Anonymous in Istanbul.

      Sydney, Australia: More than a thousand in attendance. Here are some Photos. In addition, there is a video of the Pirate Party’s own Rodney Serkowski speaking: Video. (Stick around for the written message from Phillip Adams–you won’t regret it!)

      Our own JLo, who was on the scene, has now covered the Sydney protest, and provided a gallery of photographs from the event.

      Vancouver, Canada: The number of protesters was much lower than in Sydney, but rest assured that their passion made up for their numbers. Read about it!

    • Libya’s Gaddaffi pained by Tunisian revolt, blames WikiLeaks

      Libyan President Moammar Gaddaffi said he was pained by events in Tunisia surrounding the overthrow of former president Zine al-Abedine ben Ali, Libyan television reported Sunday.

    • Qaddafi’s View of the Internet in Tunisia
    • WikiLeaks Contributes $15,000 to Bradley Manning’s Defense

      WikiLeaks has finally made good on a months-old pledge to contribute financially to the defense of 23-year-old Bradley Manning, according to a group raising money for the imprisoned Army private suspected of providing WikiLeaks its most important U.S. releases.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sweden cries wolf – and faces European court

      The European Commission is preparing an infringement procedure against Sweden, after it allowed a cull of 20 wolves by 6,747 hunters on Saturday (15 January), in defiance of a request by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

    • BP and Russia in Arctic oil deal

      BP has signed a joint venture with Russian energy firm Rosneft to exploit potentially huge deposits of oil and gas in Russia’s Arctic shelf.

      The “strategic global alliance” will see the firms exchange expertise in exploring the region.

      As part of the deal Rosneft will take 5% of BP’s shares in exchange for approximately 9.5% of Rosneft’s shares.

    • BP Targets One of the World’s Last Unspoilt Wildernesses

      The Arctic is to become the “new environmental battleground”, campaigners warned yesterday after BP announced plans to drill in one of the last great unspoilt wildernesses on earth.

      Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have vowed to confront BP’s American boss, Bob Dudley, over the agreement with the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft to explore the Kara Sea, north of Siberia. The British energy firm was branded the world’s “environmental villain number one” by Friends of the Earth (FoE) yesterday in response to its move to exploit potential oil reserves in the remote waters.

    • False Prophets And The Green Dragon

      In the United States there is, and has been for a while, a movement to close the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Agency does add some costs to businesses. However it lowers costs to the general population.

      Consider Tetra-Ethyl Lead. Banning it’s use in gasoline caused extra costs to the oil companies, COSTS THAT THEY PASSED ALONG TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. In other words, they recouped the costs. At the same time removal of Tetra-Ethyl Lead from gasoline, caused a drop in environmental lead poisoning, especially in communities along highways.

      One of the symptoms of Tetra-Ethyl Lead poisoning is a lack of judgement caused by neurological impairment. About five years after the ban of the use of Tetra-Ethyl Lead in gasoline fuel, there was an apparently unconnected drop in crime rates. The drop continued until about 25 years after the ban came into place, at which point the crime rate leveled out, at a new, far lower level.

    • Angry Progressive Coalition to Protest Billionaire Gathering Hosted by Koch Brothers, Major Tea Party Funders

      Increasingly, Democrats, liberals and progressives are coming to understand that the Koch brothers, a secretive right-wing billionaire family that pours limitless money into virtually every destructive anti-democratic initiative affecting tens of millions of Americans, are “Public Enemy Number One.”

    • Fearing high gas prices, Sean Hannity proposes re-invading Iraq and Kuwait to “take all their oil”

      Friday’s Hannity on Fox News featured a discussion by the Great American Panel about high gas prices, which host Sean Hannity claimed are “now gonna go up to three, four, five dollars a gallon again.” The panel ruefully noted that Arab sheiks possess great amounts of oil, and pointed out a recent statement by Kuwait’s oil minister that he believes the market can withstand $100-per-barrel oil. After noting that Kuwait is a country that “would not exist [but] for us,” Hannity angrily offered his remedy…

  • Finance

    • Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks

      The offshore bank account details of 2,000 “high net worth individuals” and corporations – detailing massive potential tax evasion – will be handed over to the WikiLeaks organisation in London tomorrow by the most important and boldest whistleblower in Swiss banking history, Rudolf Elmer, two days before he goes on trial in his native Switzerland.
      British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London. Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, “approximately 40 politicians”.

    • Swiss Whistleblower Rudolf Elmer Plans to Hand Over Offshore Banking Secrets of the Rich and Famous to WikiLeaks

      Elmer, who after his press conference will return to Switzerland from exile in Mauritius to face trial, is a former chief operating officer in the Cayman Islands and employee of the powerful Julius Baer bank, which accuses him of stealing the information.fd

    • Chinese tycoons trawl UK antiques market for treasures

      When Bainbridges, a firm of auctioneers in West Ruislip, Middlesex, made international headlines last year for the £53m sale of an imperial Qianlong vase to an anonymous Chinese buyer, many assumed that it was an isolated – albeit glorious – coup for Britain’s suburban art market.

      But that wasn’t the end of the story. Chinese art collectors are now buying antiques in UK auction houses at an unprecedented rate, transforming trade across the country as millionaires trawl low-profile stocks for stunning treasures. Regional sellers, who used to strive to reach an annual turnover of a few million pounds and hardly ever sold anything for more than £1m, have never seen anything like it, as single items go under the hammer for as much as auction houses once made in a whole year. Ivan Macquisten, editor of the industry weekly Antiques Trade Gazette, told the Observer the “staggering amounts of money” were a “phenomenon”.

    • Bill Daley and associates are already Plotting the course for a Second Bailout

      Incoming Obama chief of staff Bill Daley was formerly a board member for Third Way, a pro-Too Big To Fail think tank that exists solely to perpetuate the corporate-welfare guzzling policies that landed America in this horrible recession, so you know that the group’s ideas will carry weight in the Obama White House.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Today’s Award for the Silliest Theory of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

      …goes to the arguments made by Sony’s lawyers in a complaint and motion for a TRO in a recently-filed civil case: Sony Sues PS3 Hackers. The argument: You’re guilty of felony computer hacking crimes if you access your own computer in a way that violates a contractual restriction found in the fine print of the licensing restriction of the product imposed by the manufacturer.

    • French ISP Throttles Direct Download Website Megaupload

      In what might be the first of many, French Internet Service Provider Orange has been caught throttling traffic to one of the world’s biggest direct download websites, Megaupload.

      The site, which also operates Megavideo, states that Orange, which is owned by France Telecom, is preventing its users from accessing its downloading and video streaming service freely and says that it can prove it.

    • Dealing with Bittorrent traffic shaping/blocking by your ISP

      So, here’s a guide several people have been asking me to write. Let’s just put a big fat disclaimer above it first: I’m just writing this because I think all internet traffic should be considered equal, and I find it downright wrong for an ISP to prioritize certain connections or deny access to an arbitrary number of sites because they can be used for copyright infringement. Take care of our internet roads and crossings, and leave it to the end user’s responsability to pick the destinations.

    • A tangled web

      These details are important, but the noise about them only makes the omission more startling: the failure in America to tackle the underlying lack of competition in the provision of internet access

    • There are no bandwidth hogs

      There has been an ongoing effort made to convince consumers that bandwidth consumption is expensive.

    • HOWTO break Kindle book DRM

      Most of the Kindle owners I know love their gadgets, but I always wonder how they’ll feel about them if they decide to switch devices and can’t bring their books — dozens? hundreds? thousands? — with them because of Amazon’s use of DRM.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Barry Sookman Puts Foot In Mouth Again – Doesn’t Read Articles He Links To

        Tonight I’m picking on my old friend Barry Sookman again. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Barry doesn’t like me, because I catch his mistakes, and it appears that he thinks that I shouldn’t do that. Hell, I wouldn’t do that, if he didn’t screw up so often.

        And now he’s done it again. I was nice. When I caught the mistake, I posted a note telling him about it. Now, 24 hours later, he hasn’t done anything to fix the problem. He hasn’t even sent me a note saying he was going to look into the issue.

        So I’m going to tell the world about it. Barry won’t be happy, but since when have I ever cared about whether Barry is happy?

        Spooftimes is one of the funniest sites on the internet. With a site name like Spooftimes and article titles like Local man in war of attrition over toilet roll with flatmate even a lawyer with no sense of humor should be able to tell that anything posted there isn’t serious. But not Barry. In his Computer and Internet Law Updates for 2011-01-13 column, Barry included one of their spoofs as true.

      • Irony Alert: NYC’s Anti-Piracy Propaganda Campaign Using ‘Free’ YouTube

        A few weeks back, we wrote about the anti-piracy propaganda campaign that NYC has been running, paid for by taxpayer dollars, which spreads typical MPAA FUD, and concludes with the line: “There’s no such thing as a free movie.” However, in looking over the campaign, I just realized that the videos are hosted on YouTube… for free. In other words, while NYC and its Hollywood friends are claiming that if you get something for free, it must be illegal, they’re making use of free online services themselves. Without YouTube, they’d have to pay for the hosting, bandwidth, streaming software, etc. themselves. But this way, they get it for free.

      • Police Arrest 18 Alleged Movie, Music and Software Uploaders

        This week, Japanese police have been carrying out raids all over the country against individuals alleged to have uploaded copyright works to the Internet. In total, 18 people were arrested for sharing movies, anime, music, games and software.

      • Anti-Piracy Outfit Unplugs Warez Topsite ‘Swan’

        Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN managed to pull one of the largest warez scene topsites offline yesterday. The servers of Swan, formerly known as ATS, were unplugged by their hosting provider WorldStream. The provider acted based on evidence provided by BREIN, and also handed over the servers to this private outfit. The police were not involved in the takedown, but instead it was the result of information allegedly provided to BREIN by a rogue member.

      • Paying Users To Report Fake Torrents is Illegal, Anti-Piracy Outfit Claims

        TorLock, a torrent site that claims to be virtually free of ‘fake torrents’, is offering $1 to users for every fake file that they can find. The offer was put in place by the site’s owner since he’s confident that the site’s collection of 140,738 torrents is as clean as it gets. However, the Indian anti-piracy outfit Aiplex Software is determined to put an end to the offer, claiming it is highly illegal.

      • Scan to notify illegal sharers

        Beginning Tuesday, computers accessing the Internet in residence halls will automatically be scanned for file-sharing programs.

        The Network Access Control service will scan for file sharing programs such as BitTorrent and LimeWire. If the service detects a file-sharing program, a pop-up message will notify him of the dangers of illegal sharing and ways to securely use the program.

      • P2P Lawsuits Gone Wild

        Thousands of file sharers have been sued in recent months for downloading movies like The Hurt Locker and Avatar XXX. U.S. rights holders model these lawsuits after similar litigation in Germany, where P2P piracy has led to hundreds of thousands of cases in recent years. The goal of this type of persecution isn’t so much to stop piracy, but to profit from it — and new statistics from Germany show that the strategy could be working, with P2P litigation becoming a multimillion dollar business.

Clip of the Day

Motorola Droid X: Unboxing and First Boot

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 17/1/2011: Amarok 2.4 “Slipstream”, Firefox 4 for Qt4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Security on *NIX

    It seems as if most UNIX and Linux users honestly believe that they are secure from day one of installation/purchase. This is simply not true. Any network connected system stands the risk of attack, and beyond that any data transfer from an outside source to a non-network machine is also a risk. Beyond that, there are always exploits than can be done from the physical location. Preventing these attacks is not always easy or convenient, but in an increasingly risky metaverse-like world it is necessary. After all, your entire existence is verified through a computer database somewhere.

  • Linux Fund and anti-harassment policy

    What does an organization’s anti-harassment policy — or lack of one — say about it? Is a policy as meaningless as a mission statement, or does the willingness to have one reflect an organization’s values and how it operates? How an organization answers such questions can directly effect on how it is perceived, as well as its ability to operate, as a recent semi-public discussion about Linux Fund clearly shows.

    Linux Fund is a non-profit organization set up to distribute funds to free and open source software projects and events, chiefly through an affinity credit card program. A few years after it was founded in 1999, the organization became dormant. In 2005, Linux.com staff member Jay Lyman reported that funds were still being collected, and shortly afterwards, Linux Fund was reorganized by an entirely new group of directors.

  • Desktop

    • Huge Migration to Thin Clients

      Once most PCs in an organization run thin clients, it is much easier to migrate to GNU/Linux. If the protocol is RDP, they can just switch the server to run GNU/Linux and XRDP and they are on their way. Searches for “xrdp” are hot in Russia, Taiwan and Europe. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Eight Great Enlightenment Modules

      Awhile back I did a posting about useful/interesting Gnome Panel Applets. Of the late I’ve been featuring the Enlightenment desktop more and more so I figured it was only fitting that I do a post highlighting some of my favorite Enlightenment Modules.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.4 “Slipstream” Released

        It’s been a busy end of year for the Amarok developers, as the seasons bring the chilling winds of winter for some and the searing suns of the summer to others. Most of the big development branches have been merged, and a lot of new features were implemented. A major version is always a big step forward and it is with pride that we are here to bring you the release of Amarok 2.4, codename: Slipstream.

      • KDE 4.5.5 available for Mandriva 2010.1 and 2010.2 !!

        These packages also include kdepim 4.4.9 and other goodies. Please read his blog for the installation instructions as they are very detailed so it doesn’t make much sence to copy/paste them here.

      • KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – An INTELligent Update

        A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the beta release of KDE SC 4.6. I lamented the regression that seemed to have occurred with kwin performance on my intel based graphics chip, whilst the performance on my NVIDIA based box had improved markedly.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Should you move to Arch Linux?

      Suppose that you have been using GNU/Linux for a number of months now. You had previously been using Windows or Mac OS X, but heard about the freedom, openness, and performance inherent to open source operating systems. More likely than not, you picked up an Ubuntu live CD (or one of numerous other new-user friendly distributions) and gave it a test run. If your case is anything like mine was, you found that this operating system ran faster off of a CD than your current operating system ran while installed! So you decided to install this “Linux” thing and worked through whatever bugs or trouble you may have encountered. That was it, you were sold!


      After installing and using Arch Linux, you are guaranteed to have learned a lot about how your operating system works and what you can do to make it work exactly the way you want it to work.

    • Choose Your Distro according to the Zodiac! (PART II)

      This ends my list of Linux distros and BSD operating systems chosen according to the zodiac. I took the info on each OS from Distrowatch and the info on the zodiac signs from different sources online. So, next time you hear of a friend having trouble picking a distro, tell him/her to look at the stars! ^__^

    • How To Pick The Best Linux Distribution

      I think it really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a lot of flashbang in your desktop environment? Then perhaps going with a distro using KDE is a good approach. Something simpler and more straight forward with less option-overload? Consider GNOME or one of the other lightweight desktop options out there.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Tweak – The Ubuntu pimp

          If you are completely clueless about Linux, let Ubuntu Tweak be for a while. If you’re a hardcore user, you definitely do not need a frontend for your customizations. However, if you belong to a majority of intermediate users, Ubuntu Tweak is a very handy tool.

          It works as advertised, it’s fairly simple to navigate and use. The risks are relatively low, although a determined person will be able to inflict damage. Overall, Ubuntu Tweak can improve your Ubuntu desktop experience, especially if you use the tool with moderation, allowing time between tweaks and changes.

        • Ubuntu Unity 2D gets a PPA for Maverick and Natty testers

          The slick Unity 2D we told you about yesterday has now got a PPA for Ubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 11.04 users to test.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Unity update adds new look launcher, more effect options and scrollwheel indicator support

          A few new features/options for Unity landed in the Ubuntu 11.04 alpha recently.

        • Unity 3D Gets New Experimental Options [Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal]

          As usual, here is a video with the latest Unity (build as of January 15th, 2011), showing these latest changes…

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Is Prepping For Mesa 7.10, X Server 1.10

          The Ubuntu X developers are getting ready to push the Mesa 7.10 graphics library and X.Org Server 1.10 into the Natty Narwhal repository for Ubuntu 11.04. Due to API/ABI breakage, this also results in new driver builds going into Natty, and for a period of time at least where the ATI Catalyst driver will no longer be compatible with the xorg-server (though the NVIDIA binary driver should properly support Linux 2.6.37 and xorg-server 1.10 right now).

        • Canonical’s Landscape should be cheaper

          This is a rounded, enterprise-aimed solution and its price tag mirrors this: £104.21 per desktop and £202.11 per server. Plus VAT (sales tax). In total I’d have to spend £1102.75 per year for six computers! For a one-man operation to small businesses or just somebody who wants to manage their home machines, this sort of price seems like a bit of a joke.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Buffalo launches first Pogoplug device with internal storage

      Buffalo Technology announced a web-accessible “Buffalo CloudStor” networked-attached storage (NAS) device for home users with up to 2TB of storage, based on Cloud Engines’ Linux-driven Pogoplug device. The company also announced a new series of “TeraStation Pro” NAS devices for small businesses that can scale from 4TB up to 24TB and run on a dual-core Intel Atom D510 processor.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • The N900- Why I chose Maemo over Android

          Being a Linux user, I’ve gotten used to having absolute control over my system, a system that’s created for hacking and experimenting, one that gives u power in the real sense of the word. I found all these and more in Maemo.

        • Dear Nokia, I was not completely right

          The view I actually hold now is that Nokia has a device that Apple will never match. Yes. Apple will never produce a device to match Nokia’s N900 running the legendary Maemo OS. It’s not that Apple can’t produce the hardware or software, it’s that it’d be against their business strategy.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Tablets WIll Not Finish Off Netbooks in 2011

        Despite eWeek and others touting the idea that the netbook is dead, I hold that netbooks will survive and thrive in 2011. The reasons are many:

        * A physical keyboard can be better than a touch keyboard: tactile feedback matters. That’s why we still teach “touch” typing.
        * You can add touch to a netbook.
        * Tablets with slide-out keyboards are here. Are they netbooks version 2?
        * A netbook with GNU/Linux + ARM beats that other OS any day.
        * Prices of netbooks are still falling.

      • Motorola XOOM Makes iPad Look Like A Toy

        XOOM makes iPad look like a toy as the Linux-powered device has a bigger screen, dual core processor, the newest operating system, faster network and two cameras.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Google Apps contracts promise no ‘scheduled downtime’

    Google has updated the contracts for its Google Apps suite so that they no longer make allowances for scheduled maintenance, and that any downtime – no matter how small – will be counted and applied to the customer’s agreement.

  • Thin clients and the cloud: how ARM beat x86 to the punch

    On the first day of CES, I dropped by the Qualcomm booth looking for ARM-based smartbooks to try out. As I poked and prodded the Lenovo Skylight, I pulled out my Nexus One and dropped it on top of the unit for a size reference so that we could snap picture of it. As I stood there looking at the phone laying on top of the smartbook and contemplating the fact that both of these (Android-based) devices had 1GHz, ARM-based Snapdragon processors in them, I glanced across the booth and spotted an ARM-based game console sitting right next to the ARM-based iRex Iliad e-reader. And then there was the portable media player (PMP) positioned not far away… then it really sunk in: smartphone, netbook, e-reader, PMP, game console—all popular consumer electronic categories with real computing needs and a huge audience, and all on ARM right now.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Deadly Spin Strikes a Chord

      The sad story of Nataline Sarkisian is pivotal in Wendell Potter’s new book, Deadly Spin, because it was the event that transformed Potter from corporate flak to a human being with a heart. Potter worked as Cigna’s highly-paid vice president of public relations, and after living through the Sarkisian PR nightmare, he decided that he no longer had the intestinal fortitude to remain an advocate for America’s uniquely cruel system of doling out health care funding.

    • Rite Aid Healthwashes Cigarette Sales

      Rite Aid not only knows cigarettes cause heart disease, but has taken steps to inoculate itself against legal claims arising from that fact. Drug store chains, like Rite Aid, Walgreens and others that sell cigarettes, sign indemnification agreements with tobacco companies to protect against lawsuits that could arise from knowing selling cigarettes, a product that, when used as intended, kills the user.

    • Wendell Potter: The Deadly Spin on Health Care Repeal

      Insurers helped finance the “government takeover” fear-mongering campaign not because they wanted the law repealed but because they hoped it would enable the GOP to regain at least one chamber of Congress. They fare much better when Republicans are in control. They also are not too worried about the challenges to the law’s constitutionality because insurers had a hand in writing the individual mandate provision to ensure that it could ultimately withstand a court challenge.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • As Tunisians tear ousted strongman’s picture from buildings; gunbattles erupt in several areas

      Major gunbattles erupted outside the palace of Tunisia’s deposed president, in the center of the capital, in front of the main opposition party headquarters and elsewhere on Sunday as authorities struggled to restore order and the world waited to see if the North African nation would continue its first steps away from autocratic rule.

      Police arrested dozens of people, including the top presidential security chief, as tensions appeared to mount between Tunisians buoyant over Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s departure and loyalists in danger of losing major perks.

    • Army’s “Spiritual Fitness” Test Comes Under Fire
    • The Army’s Religious Test

      Non-religious soldiers say the test’s spiritual component asks questions written predominantly for soldiers who believe in God, leading atheists and other non-believers to score poorly and be forced to take remedial courses which employ religious imagery to “train” troops up to a satisfactory level of spirituality.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Global Oil Production Update and EIA Data Changes

      Global crude oil production in 2010 has been benefiting from two factors. One, the financial collapse and reduced global oil demand of 2008-2009 reduced pressure on supply, and allowed for projects to come on stream. Second, 2010 average oil prices were the second highest ever, at $79.48 per barrel. That particular price is just high enough for the world to fight decline, from existing fields. However, as you can see in the chart, with only two more months of data yet to come through on 2010 it’s a near certainty that–for a fifth year in a row–global oil production will come in below the peak year of 2005.

  • Finance

    • Schedule for Week of January 16th
    • U.S. Bills States $1.3 Billion in Interest Amid Tight Budgets

      As if states did not have enough on their plates getting their shaky finances in order, a new bill is coming due — from the federal government, which will charge them $1.3 billion in interest this fall on the billions they have borrowed from Washington to pay unemployment benefits during the downturn.

    • State Budgets: Year Ahead Looms As Toughest Yet

      States that already have raided their reserve funds, relied on borrowing or accounting gimmicks, and imposed deep cuts on schools, parks and public transit systems no longer can protect key services in the face of another round of multibillion dollar deficits.

    • State and Local Budget Update
    • Stricter Lending Guidelines for Condos

      STELLAR credit and steady income will go a long way in helping borrowers secure a home mortgage, but they may not be enough when it comes to buying or refinancing in certain condominium buildings.

    • Arbitration, Litigation, Aggravation

      WHEN investors file complaints against their brokers, the matters are almost always heard by an arbitration panel rather than by a judge or jury. Arbitration forums like those run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority typically adjudicate cases more quickly than the courts and less expensively, because costs associated with discovery and extensive legal filings are minimized if not eliminated.

    • Early Social Security Projections

      Well, it turns out that Table 9 in the 1945 report (pdf) shows high and low estimates of the population distribution looking forward as far as 2000, which we can compare with the actual population distribution in 2000.

      What you can see right away is that the SSA expected a much smaller population than we actually ended up with — the baby boom and immigration weren’t anticipated. But they also expected a somewhat older population than we actually got: their “low” estimate put the ratio of seniors to adults under 65 at 20.8%, almost the same as the actual 21.1%, while the “high” estimate put the ratio at 29.1%. That is, in 1945 the Trustees thought that America would probably be a grayer, older country by 2000 than it actually ended up being.

    • Camden, NJ braces for deep police, fire cuts

      Yet another crisis is upon this burdened city, among the most impoverished and crime-ridden in the country.

    • Small Business Lending Fund getting mixed reviews from bankers

      While Cardinal closed more loans in December than any other month, Clineburg can attest to an overall lull in demand for credit. He suspects that some small businesses are still trying to regain their footing.

    • Utopian Thinking on Jobs and Unemployment at the Washington Post

      Fox on 15th went Utopian on its readers today, ridiculing the suggestion by James Galbraith to temporarily lower the age at which workers can receive full Social Security benefits to 62. The plan, which also was put forward in a bill by Representative Dennis Kucinich, would pull some number of older workers out of the labor force and thereby create more jobs for unemployed younger workers.

    • Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China

      But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.

    • Is Law School a Losing Game?

      In reality, and based on every other source of information, Mr. Wallerstein and a generation of J.D.’s face the grimmest job market in decades. Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.

    • Goldman Sachs: “We Consider Our Size An Asset That We Try Hard To Preserve”

      To great fanfare, this week Goldman Sachs unveiled the report of its Business Standards Committee, which makes recommendations regarding changes for the internal structure of what is currently the 5th largest bank holding company in the United States. Some of the recommended changes are long overdue – particularly as they address perceived conflicts of interest between Goldman and its clients.

    • What Goldman Sachs Failed to Acknowledge

      To great fanfare, this week Goldman Sachs introduced the report of its business standards committee, which makes recommendations regarding changes to the internal structure of what is currently the fifth-largest bank-holding company in the United States. Some recommended changes are long overdue – particularly as they address perceived conflicts of interest between Goldman and its clients.

    • Goldman Sachs, Business Standards and the Critics

      Goldman, Sachs & Co.’s release of its 67-page report of its business standards committee on proposed internal changes in practice has been met with skepticism — with one exception. The Wall Street Journal Wednesday chose to interpret it as a sign that investment banking is making a comeback at the firm. The report “showed how Goldman is trying to reassert the traditional primacy of deal making while playing down the firm’s recent reliance on trading. One of the bigger reasons why: Trading caused most of the turmoil, suspicion and reputational damage suffered by Goldman since the financial crisis erupted.”

    • The Financial Times Vindicates BoomBustBlog’s Stance On Goldman Sachs – Once Again!
    • Vincent McCrudden, CEO Of Alnbri Management, Arrested For Threatening To Kill Members Of SEC, FINRA And CFTC

      Yet another person appears to have flipped out, and attracted the government’s attention, this time luckily without any actual casualties. Curiously the target of the latest FBI arrest is not some insane gun toting troglodyte, but a 20 year Wall Street veteran: Vincent McCrudden of Alnbri Management. Presumably the reason for the arrest is that the commodities trader had threatened to kill 47 members of the SEC, CFTC and Finra in a post on his website.

    • Revisiting the rights and responsibilities of business

      A short-term focus on shareholder gains has substantially increased the velocity of stock market trading. In the past 25 years, holding periods for stocks have fallen from eight years to six months. CEOs focusing on meeting the demands of short-term investors have led to the destruction of many once-great companies, including General Motors, Sears and Enron. This culminated in the 2008 global financial meltdown, when over-leveraged financial institutions collapsed as they tried to maximize short-term value.

    • The Stakes Are Huge: There’s Another Bank Crash Looming, and We Must Prevent Another Bailout

      Everything I am reading these days on financial issues points to some serious reckoning soon to come, especially because of — as the folks at Third Way are calling it — foreclosure-gate. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in the Ibanez case, along with a growing body of cases where the banks and/or their servicers have been ruled against in foreclosure cases, and even the banks’ lawyers are being castigated in court by judges for bringing in made-up paperwork, is causing a growing sense of panic among the biggest banks that hold the most mortgages. Spokespeople for the banks are talking bravely, trying to dismiss the situation as some minor paperwork errors, but everyone who has been paying attention to the situation fears that there are really big consequences afoot.

    • Dr. Martin Luther King’s Economics: Through Jobs, Freedom

      Martin Luther King Jr. was working hard to get people to Washington, DC. But when he told an audience, “We are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. We are going to bring those who have known long years of hurt and neglect…. We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago,” the year was not 1963, and his issue was not segregation. Instead, it was 1968, five years after his “I Have a Dream” speech, and now the issue was joblessness and economic deprivation. King was publicizing a new mass mobilization led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a drive known as the Poor People’s Campaign.

    • Structural Unemployment in America and Liebig’s Law

      HSBC has released a fanciful report this week that forecasts a trebling of world economic growth between now and the year 2050. It’s a reminder that most in the global financial community, informed by neo-classical economics or Abundance Economics, do not understand limits to the system.

    • Peak California Budget? Or Brown-ian Motion?

      The headline out of California this week is that second-time-around Governor Jerry Brown has delivered a tough-love budget, one designed to make everyone equally miserable.

    • What Does Wikileaks Have on Bank of America?

      BofA doesn’t just want you to know that their CEO Brian Moynihan doesn’t suck, they want you to know that their top staff does not suck either. The bank has started buying damaging domain names for a long list of executives, prompting many to wonder: just what have those executives been up to over there at BofA?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Political Rhetoric, Before and After Arizona

      Jesse Kelly, a former Marine, Iraq war veteran and Gabrielle Giffords’ Republican opponent in last November’s election, ran a campaign that used gun imagery as its main eye-catching visual. Several of Kelly’s campaign ads show him brandishing an M-16 automatic rifle with the slogan, “Send a Warrior to Congress.” A print ad for one of his fundraising events reads, “Sat., 6/12/10, 10:00 AM – Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.” Kelly’s spokesman, John Ellinwood, naivley claims he doesn’t see any connection between promoting fundraisers featuring weapons and the public shootings in Tucson.

    • ‘Beat You to a Pulp,’ Says Cowardly Delegate

      The same PR Society Assembly delegate who verbally assaulted this reporter and threatened physical harm while I was standing in front of the Washington Hilton Oct. 16, 2010, has sent me a letter saying he might “beat you to a pulp.”

    • Awful PR for the Public Relations Society of America

      O’Dwyer also reports other harassment while attempting to attend the conference, like getting an anonymous letter in which the writer threatened to beat him “to a pulp,” and being set upon by a flash-mob while he was conducting an interview. O’Dwyer has criticized PRSA for withholding transcripts of their organizational assemblies over the last five years, concealing the names of their delegates and refusing to make available a PDF version of their members’ directory. O’Dwyer has also exposed techniques now in wide use by big PR firms that violate PR ethics, like working through front groups and creating and disseminating fake news.

    • “Power Balance” Wristbands: Rubber Bands with a Big Marketing Budget

      But on December 22, 2010, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled that claims that the bracelets improve strength, balance and flexibility “were not supported by any credible scientific evidence,” and made Power Balance admit that it engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of 2.52 of the Trade Practices Act of 1974.”

    • Slap on the wrist for Power Balance bracelets

      Skirting the line between truth, fiction and a bitch slap from the advertising regulator – the ongoing Power Balance bracelets scenario is a great case study in finely crafted messaging, of the art of spin, and discipline in damage-control PR.
      Power Balance of Orange County, California, may or may not make a band that makes you stronger and more flexible, but it certainly is a fine example of consistency power and messaging flexibility.

      Let’s backtrack a bit. Power Balance is the makers of R500+ rubber bracelets with a hologram inset, “are designed to work with your body’s natural energy field” to increase strength, balance and flexibility.

    • Closure of Fiji Water Facility Should Be Permanent

      “Bottled water company Fiji Water has pulled out of Fiji after the government imposed a tax of 15 Fiji cents per liter on the water, up from just one-third of a cent per liter. While Fiji Water’s announcement may be posturing at this point in protest of the tax, the closure should be permanent. Fiji Water exports bottled water to the U.S., which enjoys clean and safe water from the tap, while half of Fijians lack access to safe water. There is something wrong with this picture.

    • ‘Podbuster’ Ads, Calculated To Make You Hit Pause

      Call it smart advertising — or bad boundaries. You may have noticed a spike in the number of TV commercials designed to look and feel like whatever show you’re watching. They’re called podbusters, DVR busters or interstitial ads, and they’re designed to remove viewers’ fingers from the fast-forward button during blocks — or “pods” — of ads.

      The advent of TiVo and similar devices can be thanked for the rise of the podbusters. About 40 percent of households have DVRs — meaning 40 percent of households can easily zip past commercials. Think of podbusters as speed bumps for ads.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Don’t Make An App That Shows You ‘Drinking’ Liquid From Your Phone, Or One Company Might Sue You

      A few years back, we wrote about how indie iPhone app developer Hottrix had sued beer giant Coors for making a competing beer app. Hottrix, of course, makes various gimmicky apps that make your iPhone look like it is full of some sort of liquid that “drains out” as you tilt the device to make it look like you’re “drinking” from the phone. They’re pretty silly, but some people have liked them and were actually willing to give Hottrix money for them. One of Hottrix’s apps was iBeer. Coors created their own beer drinking app, called iPint, and offered it for free. That’s when Hottrix sued. I can’t find any information on what happened to that lawsuit. After it was filed nothing much seems to have happened. Perhaps it was settled out of court?

Clip of the Day

Joomla 1.6 – Thoughts from Around the World!

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 15/1/2011: 1-Second Linux Boot, Firefox 4 Beta 9

Posted in News Roundup at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Transferring Linux over the network.

    It finally happened. I managed to get my hands on a superseded workstation that had been replaced by a newer model. This workstation also had a brother of the same model in which the motherboard had failed. So I did what any good Borg would do and mashed the two together to make one monster, multi-cpu, fat ram beastie. The only thing left to do was install Linux on it.


    Lo and behold! Everything worked! Of course due to some different hardware some files had to be tweaked but that was a minor task compared to installing from scratch and having to set up everything again.

  • Welcome to the 2010 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards
  • I’m Not A Linux Geek.

    Granted, since running Linux, I’ve learned more about my computer, its hardware, and the way the OS works. But this would be the same if I ran Windows or Mac.

  • The Writer’s PC

    None the less, I was confident that I could build a working machine from an 11 year old 600MHz Celeron with 256MB of RAM.

    I started by downloading the latest Debian Squeeze Beta from here.

    I should say here that even though it’s officially a Testing release, it is , I have found, more stable than many final distributions.

  • Desktop

    • Lawyers Can Leave Windows for Linux OS – Ubuntu

      Most lawyers are managing most processes online or in standard office applications. In fact, when you get on a different operating system like Mac OS X or Ubuntu, you will find FireFox and suddenly experience a feeling of familiarity. With most of your daily work online, transitioning from Internet Explorer to FireFox or Chrome will take no time at all to adjust to and you can immediately proceed with business as usual.

      As for office applications, Oracle’s freely downloadable OpenOffice 3.2 (comes installed on Ubuntu) is compatible with Microsoft Office files and comes with a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation creator (compatible with MS PowerPoint), and OpenOffice Draw, a more functional desktop publishing tool than Microsoft Publisher (not compatible with MS Publisher formats). OpenOffice is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, so you could download it on your Windows computer before committing to it on a Linux installation. We actually switched to OpenOffice four years ago and have not looked back, with only a few of our computers still running Microsoft Office. [3]

  • Server

    • I, for one, welcome our Linux Penguin, Jeopardy Overlords

      There’s nothing surprising about that. The fastest of fast computers have long used Linux In the latest TOP 500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, 459 of the Top 500 supercomputers were running Linux.

      Watson is made up of ten racks of IBM POWER 750 servers running Linux, and has 15Terabytes of RAM; 2,880 3.55GHz POWER7 processor cores and operates at 80 Teraflops. You’re not going to find one of these at your local Best Buy.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • RFC: An Overview of the Linux Integrity Subsystem
    • Upstreaming your code – a primer

      This document describes what steps chip vendors need to take to successfully upstream their code into the mainline Linux kernel.

    • ULatencyD Enters The Linux World

      Daniel Poelzleithner has announced to the Linux kernel world his new project named ulatencyd. The focus of ulatencyd is to provide a script-able daemon to dynamically adjust Linux scheduling parameters and other aspects of the Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA OpenCL Linux Benchmarks

        In testing of OpenBenchmarking.org and preparations for the release of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland at the end of February from SCALE, a lot of benchmarks have been happening to test the various analytical features and other new capabilities of this open benchmarking platform. In fact, it is really an overwhelming amount of benchmarks; the power capacity in my office is maxed out as benchmark after benchmark and system after system there is all sorts of test scenarios being looked upon. The benchmarks coming out on Phoronix.com over the past two months have just been barely scratching the surface of what has been going into the OpenBenchmarking.org system. Recently a lot of OpenCL compute benchmarks were pumped in, and since we have only published a few OpenCL Linux benchmarks — OpenCL on Linux vs. Mac OS X and OpenCL NVIDIA vs. ATI on Linux — here’s some more in this article.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Different Desktop Environments on Linux

      There are a TON of things that happen when you install an OS, but you only see the graphical parts of it, the “graphical user interface” or GUI. Obviously, if that’s the main thing your seeing, its fairly important to you on every level. Linux however, took this whole concept a step further, and established several “flavors” of GUI for your desktop on your Linux OS. Wikipedia describes a desktop environment as just that: A Desktop Environment (DE) commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface (GUI) derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers.

    • The super new compiz debugging tool

      The tool activates in two ways: Firstly, it handles any signals that would cause compiz to die and spews all information in that case. It then uses some neat tricks the kernel team taught me to re-flag the signal again without our handler installed so that apport can catch it and grab the output we just spewed out. Secondly, if you hit some weird issue (like incorrect menu stacking, or something similar) you can just hit Control-Super-Shift-? and compiz will also begin spewing as much information as possible and feed that to apport so you can just file a bug directly.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Burns Supper and KDE Release Party

        Me and Colin and Tomas are having a Burns supper at my place in Edinburgh to celebrate 4.6, let me know if you want to come

      • Random Ideas for a revolutionized Amarok Icon

        I like the icon, but I am sure that more could be done with it.

      • Revolution Music Player

        Taking after what great work Amarok has done over the years, it has come to my attention the different changes that Amarok has gone through. Now, with their current version 2.3.1 I am left wondering about what more could be done with the graphical interface. Amarok has wonderful technologies underneath as a music player. Amarok is also neatly connected to KDE widgets that display information for just about anything.

      • Opinion: Why KDE is People, Not Software

        A little over a year ago, an article was published on the Dot titled ‘Repositioning the KDE Brand’. The article publicized the outcome of a process within KDE to make sense of the relationship between the community and its products, and to reach a durable solution regarding the terms that should be used to refer to both.

      • Bug Statistics for KWin 4.6 Cycle

        Once again I used Bugzilla to get some statistics on how many bugs are opened, closed in KWin during the last development cycle (statistics are from Final Tagging 4.5 till today). Overall 437 new bugs have been reported and 425 bugs have been “closed”. Many thanks again to the bug day – without it the numbers would look worse. So this means that each day 2.4 bugs are reported. Assuming that we spent 10 minutes on each bug (in general Thomas Lübking and I are reading and responding to each bug comment), we spent 8 days just on bug managing. That sounds reasonable, but is very bad as it’s time spent managing and not fixing the bugs. This can be seen in the table below.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 2D Unity To Be Available As An Option In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal [Screenshots]

        “Does Natty’s Unity require proprietary graphics card drivers?” was a question posted on AskUbuntu and who better to answer this question then Mark Suttleworth himself (who apparently is quite an active AskUbuntu user)? Mark answered that there will be a a 2D implementation of Unity, available in 11.04 as an option and posted a link to further info and screenshots but unfortunately the link cannot be accessed anymore.

      • A collection of nice themes for Gnome and Ubuntu | 01-10

        This a nice collection of themes for Gnome

      • GNOME T-Shirt Design Contest Extended

        There were a few periods where the submission form was broken and your entry may not have been submitted. If you would like to confirm we have received your entry, please email Paul Cutler to inquire. We apologize for the inconvenience.

      • Wallpaper Community Pack #1

        * GNOME:Ayatana will have a small Artwork Package by the Community, I’m currently contacting Kmurat to check if he can change the licence on this artwork piece (with over 20.000 downloads on gnome-art) so I can use it for distribution. Currently it’s licensed as CC BY-NC-ND, in which the NC can be probably a problem. Let’s wait a couple of days and see… Either way for those who asked for the source of this wallpaper, click on the image above.

      • Backgrounds in The Board

        When I started writing The Board, I was quite pragmatic about the appearance of the app. I used my limited Gimp and Inkscape skills to produce the UI theme images and grabbed some free background images from internet.

  • Distributions

    • The Gentoo Service Station

      If you have a really ancient Gentoo install that needs to be updated to this decade, or you managed to horribly break things, or you want a lesson in Python programming, or you want a vServer running Gentoo, or you want to play a game of chess, or … well, if in doubt just ask, we’ll most likely do it. Conventional or unconventional, as long as no law is broken and no damsel in distress left hanging it can be arranged.

    • 7 Best Network Security Linux Distributions

      Here are some of the best Linux distributions (in no particular order) specially made for securing computer networks…

    • The ’69 Dart of Software

      The first was a blog post by an Emery Fletcher which paints Ubuntu as the be-all and end-all of Linux implementation. While I am eternally grateful for Ubuntu’s efforts in promoting Linux in the general public (even if it is to the point of putting itself first and FOSS second, but I digress) and while the blog presents an interesting point about Linux implementation, it’s hard to determine whether this blog item suffers from anything more than mere myopia.

      Current versions of Debian, OpenSUSE and Fedora are all as user-friendly as the current version of Ubuntu, but that does not enter into the equation in this blog. That’s unfortunate, too, because what both Fedora and OpenSUSE — with its new Studio spin — have done consistently with each upgrade have been remarkable. Mr. Fletcher may be lacking some perspective — think about where Ubuntu would be without the contributions to kernel development (warning: that link is a PDF file, courtesy of the Linux Foundation) and desktop development without the three distros mentioned at the beginning of the previous sentence — a harrowingly depressing thought, indeed.

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 5.9 Is Available for Download

        Patrick Verner announced a couple of days ago, on January 12th, the immediate availability for download of the Parted Magic 5.9 Linux distribution for partitioning tasks. The new release is just a maintenance version that updates two programs and fixes various booting issues.

        The new Parted Magic 5.9 has been released just three weeks after Parted Magic 5.8 was announced on December 28th. It fixes an important booting issue with the for the DVD/CD version. It also fixes some issues with the Save Session function.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Pulse 2 version 1.3.0

        Mandriva announces the release Mandriva Pulse 2 version 1.3.0 which had been in beta since March 2010.
        Mandriva Pulse 2 is a solution for the management of workstations, mobile computers and servers, designed to help users manage their information systems, notably in heterogenous environments.

    • Red Hat Family

      • What do you want to see ? CentOS 5.6 or CentOS 6.0 ?

        As you probably know (if you are interested in the Enterprise Linux market), Red Hat released earlier today 5.6 . So automatically some CentOS QA team members started to discuss about that in the appropriate IRC channel. As CentOS 6.0 isn’t (yet) released nor ready, the discussion was about putting 5.6 build & release as priority number one or not.

      • Linux ecosystem spins around Red Hat

        And then there’s Red Hat, king of the Linux and open-source crowd. It’s also sitting at a fortuitous moment in software history, when the industry is shifting to the cloud, which is essentially an open-source phenomenon in terms of its composition.

        In fact, Red Hat has become so essential to enterprise infrastructure, that even competitors like Salesforce build on Red Hat technologies.

      • What’s new in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6

        Used for more than a year in a number of desktop distributions, such as Fedora and Ubuntu, Ext4 offers a number of advantages, such as more efficient storage with the use of extents, faster checks of file systems than in Ext3, more robust journaling and support for large file systems.

      • Fedora and Derivatives

        • Blag 139k alpha avialable

          After 5 days of hard work, finally an iso is avialable for blag i686. I’ll upload the x86_64 version later today.

        • Live from Fedora Moonbase Alpha, part 3.

          Quite a while ago, I wrote about the dead-simple process for setting up a microphone with Fedora’s PulseAudio sound system. That was part 2 in a series that was meant to discuss creating a better podcast. At the time, I meant to follow up with a piece on how to do some audio sweetening to make your recording sound better to your listeners. Unfortunately, life and work got in the way, and I didn’t get to part 3 — so here it is, hopefully better late than never.

          Thanks to John Poelstra for inspiring me to write this. We had a nice conversation about audio the other day, and I figured it would be worthwhile to capture some of what we spoke about, but also to explain better some of the concepts I tried to pass on to John but perhaps didn’t do it well.

        • Fedora Board Proposes Project Goals

          Fedora Board members have been working for quite some time to etch their vision and long-term goals for the Fedora project in stone. A Vision statement came together last year, but more specific goals were still desired. Well, after a lot of discussion some long-term goals have been proposed.

    • Debian Family

      • Changes to the Debian Mozilla team APT archive

        I made some changes as to how packages from the Debian Mozilla team that can’t yet be distributed in the Debian archives are distributed to users.

      • Invitation to the January 18th Debian-NYC Novice Night

        Novice Nights are Debian-NYC’s meetings for everyone. If you would like to install Debian, come on by. If you would like help with configuring or making Debian do what you need, we can do that too. If you want to hang out with Debianistas to pick up tips and tricks, come on by. We can also provide some help with other derivatives of Debian, such as Ubuntu.

      • Debian Project News – January 14th, 2011

        The first release candidate of the installer for Debian Squeeze was released on January 12. Many fixes are included in this release of the installer, along with new improvements: better OS and partition detection, new supported hardware, etc.

      • Debian Squeeze RC1 is released! | With Screenshots Tour
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Earth Sunrise Is A Gorgeous Plymouth Theme For Ubuntu / Linux Mint
        • Why democracy will die

          Back in October there was the very controversial news that Canonical would be replacing the GNOME Shell with their own Unity project as the default desktop shell for Ubuntu 11.04 and going forward. The original version and specification for Ubuntu Unity (and as found in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook) required 3D acceleration and would use Compiz as its compositing window manager. For those without the necessary graphics drivers to support the functionality, Canonical’s plan for Ubuntu was to have it fall-back to the traditional GNOME desktop and inform the user of their sad graphics support. However, now Canonical’s developing a 2D version of Unity for such scenarios.

        • Unity 2D (Qt) Now Available in A PPA For Ubuntu 10.10 And 11.04 [Video]

          I’ve tried Unity Qt in VirtualBox and I must say I am impressed: it’s not identical to Unity 3D but it’s A LOT faster! Further more, because Unity 2D seems to have more elements from Ubuntu 10.10 then 11.04 (even though some new stuff from 11.04 is there), it already has Dash (the application launcher / file browser) – something that’s currently missing in Unity 3D in Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Eva’s Great Guide to Ubuntu – Part 6

          Summary of part 6

          A. External monitor with NVidia
          B. Printers
          C. Useful Ubuntu and Linux links
          D. Ubuntu branding
          E. Final thoughts

        • Ubuntu To Launch Developer Portal

          In what is probably a long over due move: Ubuntu is putting together a developer portal. This portal includes the basics of making applications on Ubuntu, everything from which IDEs to use to publishing your applications in the software centre is covered.

        • Ubuntu 11.10 To Be Called Oscillating Ocelot?

          This was tweeted by Matthew Paul Thomas, who works for Canonical as an interface designer for Ubuntu. But until I hear it from Shuttleworth or as an official announcement, I will continue to support Orgasmic Okapi.

        • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.11: bug fixed release for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty

          Yet another bug fixed release is coming, but it is for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty only. If you don’t use Natty, you can just ignore it.

        • Ubuntu Hardware Issues Poll – Results

          Proving from this information, half of the voters still find issues with critical pieces of hardware – graphics cards, wireless cards, printers, and scanners. We shouldn’t be focusing our efforts on making the desktop look nice when you can’t even effectively use the desktop because of hardware support fallacies.

        • 2D Unity To Be Available As An Option In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal [Screenshots]

          “Does Natty’s Unity require proprietary graphics card drivers?” was a question posted on AskUbuntu and who better to answer this question then Mark Suttleworth himself (who apparently is quite an active AskUbuntu user)? Mark answered that there will be a a 2D implementation of Unity, available in 11.04 as an option and posted a link to further info and screenshots but unfortunately the link cannot be accessed anymore.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 to get 2D Unity option
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition 10: Rolling Release Nirvana

            We first looked at Linux Mint Debian Edition when it was released in September of last year. Just before Christmas, the Mint team released a new spin of the Debian Edition with features from Linux Mint 10 that’s better than ever.

            The first release of LMDE was a bit of an experiment. I think the Mint team wanted to see how much interest there was in a Debian-based release rather than Ubuntu-based. Answer? A lot. Or at least enough to merit a second take.


            For Linux enthusiasts who like Debian but feel it could use a few additional touches, LMDE10 is exceptional.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 1 second Linux boot!
    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • EPUB E-Rook Reader

          Eugeniy Meshcheryakov has released an E-Book Reader optimized for Nokia N900 with support for EPUB file format. The reader has library functionality, e-books on the device are automatically discovered using Maemo services.

        • Video: Cool as fek: Nokia N900 + MeeGo 1.1.8 + Xbox Media Centre (XMBC!)

          Now think about hooking this up to your TV, connecting it via BT remote, perhaps even an IR remote since it does have an IR app and IR receiver. BAM – pocketable media centre. This would be soooo great on a MeeGo phone or any MeeGo tablet.

      • Android

        • Tablet Battle to Heat Up, Prices to Fall in 2011

          Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was indisputably dominated by tablets. Almost a year since Apple redefined portable computing with its iPad, competitors launched attempts to cut the Cupertino company’s lead. Taken together, the announcements at CES provide a much clearer picture of the likely evolution of the tablet market in 2011 and provide consumers a few tips on what to look for and when to buy.

    • Tablets

      • Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy and How Linux Compares

        Linux already works on ARM, and virtually every other architecture. Linux was designed for architecture portability and because it’s open, companies like Intel and IBM can work on optimizing the code for their platforms. This is one reason there is so much cross-architecture support.

      • Shogo, the tablet you can control, extend and hack

        Ability to install the software you want based on GNU/Linux in order to run Qt, C++ and HTML applications (See the developer documentation and forums)

      • A new Android tablet aimed at education

        A Canadian startup called mySpark Technologies is creating an Android tablet that sports a dual-core 1Ghz processor, and it’s aimed at educational institutions.

        The tablet slated to launch mid 2011, was solely designed with students and teachers in mind, and it will integrate with campus stores and libraries allowing students to download content and digital textbooks. Hopefully, at a dramatically discounted price.

      • CES 2011: A Tale of an Android Onslaught

        When you look at the wide range of tablets announced at CES, you have to try to break it down by differentiators. The first category is existing tablets running Android 2.2. This would include the Samsung Galaxy, which will soon have both a WiFi-only and a 4G-LTE model available. Then there is a group of devices that will release in the near future with Android 3.0. On the low end of the scale are any number of low-cost devices aimed at the price conscious consumer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source distributors beyond the Thunderdome

    Besides, as previously noted, we do not dispute that the open source distributor approach will survive, or suggest that Red Hat will be the last man standing. But we do question whether any other vendors will achieve or better the scale achieved by Red Hat.

  • Report: Use savings of open source to develop new tools

    Public administrations should use the savings they realise by their use of generic free and open source applications, to pay for development of specialised IT solutions. “These resources could be used to pay for highly specialised tasks that are too special to attract the attention of the open source community. It will encourage the software companies that operate in this sector.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • New Cassandra comes with big data support

      Latest version of Apache’s open source distributed database can pack two billion columns into a row, which could be useful to big data cloud computing projects

  • Oracle

    • Libre Office VS Open Office – Looks And Stability

      Given time, the code bases may diverge, but at present, they are so close that there isn’t any substanial difference.

    • OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 RC9 arrives

      While Oracle had already released Oracle Open Office 3.3 in mid-December, the OpenOffice.org developers have only just issued the ninth release candidate for OpenOffice.org 3.3.0, the next major release of the Oracle owned open source office suite. According to the OpenOffice.org Wiki, this release candidate is expected to be the final development preview before the final version arrives. However, a final release date has yet to be confirmed.

    • The localization process changed into a continuous process

      The OpenOffice.org process has been changed into a continuous process which allows to provide l10n turnarounds cycles at every milestone. This process was presented at the OOoConf In Budapest: http://www.ooocon.org/index.php/ooocon/2010/paper/view/207 and is the outcome of Gregor Hartmann, Ivo Hinkelmann and Rafaella Braconi working on the so called “Continuous L10n” project.

  • CMS

    • A First Look At Diaspora – The Open Social Network

      Some people love Facebook, others hate it, and many have a little of both. It can be a great way to keep in contact with old friends and relatives, but it’s also a great way for third parties to harvest loads of free data that may not be used the way you want. Plenty of social sites have popped up over the years in the hopes of dethroning Facebook, but not many have had the goods, or really provided much that would entice a user to switch.

  • Education

    • An Education in Open Source

      The school relies on a text-to-speech program that allows teachers to scan a book and create audio files for students to listen to and take notes on. WordQ, SpeakQ, and Kurzweil Educational Systems’ Kurzweil 3000 lack open source licenses. However, Oracle’s free and open source OpenOffice.org provides word prediction, one of the features provided by the proprietary alternative, WordQ.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense development in 2011

      Recently I contacted lead developers of different FreeBSD based projects and asked them about their development plans and ideas for 2011. Yesterday we looked at PC-BSD, let’s now see what the pfSense developers have in store.

      As most of you will be aware, pfSense is a free, open source customised version of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.

    • FreeBSD Foundation requesting project proposals (2011)

      The FreeBSD Foundation has requested proposals for potential funding. If you have any ideas how you can FreeBSD can be improved in 2011, why not submit you idea. In case you have no ideas but don’t mind getting paid for FreeBSD Development, have a look at the FreeBSD list of projects and ideas for volunteers.


  • Government

    • Open Source for America releases Federal Open Technology Report Card

      The results are in for U.S. agencies’ use of open source, thanks to a scorecard released today by Open Source for America. The Departments of Defense and Energy had the highest scores, largely due to the fact that they have “published agency-created software code as open source and provide clear guidance identifying open source as a permitted procurement option.”

      The survey of the federal departments included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technologies practices. The Executive Summary states, “[t]he use of open formats, open source software, and open standards enables the government to make data freely available to the public for a variety of purposes, as well as to create programs that are more efficient and consumer-driven.”

    • Open Source for America Delivers Federal Report Card

      Ever since its inception, Open Source for America (OSFA) has had lofty goals and has been backed by some very heavy hitting people. Red Hat, Jaspersoft, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth, The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin and many other companies and people back the organization, which is primarily aimed at encouraging the use of open source software at the U.S. Federal level. Now, the folks behind Open Source for America have published a Federal Open Technology Report Card that “evaluates key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee.” The report card includes questions and responses regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technology practices.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • European Commission Plans for All-Out War Against Sharing

      The European Commission just launched a new consulation on its disastrously dogmatic report on IPRED, a directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, adopted by the EU in 2004. The report — whose logic is similar to ACTA — is based on an analysis of the application of IPRED. It calls for the massive filtering of the Internet to tackle file-sharing: according to the Commission, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should “cooperate” in the war against sharing to avoid the threat of litigation.

    • Open Data

      • Public Data Corporation: How Open, and How Public?

        Judging by the phrasing of that, it seems that the government hasn’t yet learned that open data is not an end itself, or something that can be bolted on to traditional government. It is actually part of a wider move towards a more transparent, collaborative form of democracy – and that implies seeking input from anyone interested before making major decisions. That’s particularly important for a body that calls itself the Public Data Corporation: we need to know just how open, and just how public it will really be.

      • What’s that coming over the hill, is it… the Public Data Corporation?

        A couple of days ago, there was a brief announcement from the UK Government of plans for a new Public Data Corporation, which would “bring together Government bodies and data into one organisation”.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase

        Without a doubt, Laser Projectors are a great way to project large, bright images on any surface you can imagine. With a high enough quality projector and software package, excellent images and visualizations can be displayed in real time. [marcan], of the openkinect project, decided that there were not any open source laser projection packages out there that suited his wants or needs, so logically he decided to write his own. Because home-made laser projectors often use the audio out port of a PC, building the framework on top of the JACK unix sound software to control the hardware made perfect sense. OpenLase includes plugins for audio visualizations, 2D and 3D gaming, as well as converting video streams into laser format in real time.

  • Programming

    • Is Hand-Coding Becoming Obsolete?

      Increasingly, software developers are turning to a new approach for rapidly building robust database applications without programming — application generators. Today’s business environment demands managers find ways to do more with less, and application generation allows for building applications quickly and efficiently.

    • Why You Can’t Hire Great Perl Programmers

      It’s difficult to find great developers in almost any language, unless your language community is so small that it’s self-selecting against people just in it for a paycheck. (Even in that case, the truly great developers who know Haskell or Smalltalk or Common Lisp tend not to be in want of work for long.)

      In another sense, it’s difficult to hire great Perl developers because it’s so very easy to become a mediocre Perl developer. Despite the repeated myth that Perl 5 is difficult to learn, it’s not. It’s shockingly easy to learn just enough Perl 5 to build a working system. If you remember the mid to late ’90s at all, think back to all of the tiny little form scripts that you could FTP into a cgi-bin directory. Most weren’t worth using, due to various limitations, but real people learned just enough Perl 5 to write them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The march of WebM

      On Tuesday Google announced that it would be withdrawing support for the video standard h.264 from its Chrome browser in two months’ time. Back in June 2009 we covered the contortions that Google had gone through to use the open source video codec FFmpeg in Chrome to decode embedded videos without risking the wrath of the the owners of that standard, the MPEG LA h.264 patent pool. Essentially Google used FFmpeg but did not acquire a licence from the patent pool for FFmpeg itself, but instead for its Chrome browser. This was a cunning move but at the time it annoyed some around the open web standards community who felt – with some justification – that Google’s move was something of an ‘I’m alright Jack’ statement to the rest of them. Representatives of the Mozilla project who produce Firefox scalded Google on public lists, as reported in that previous post.


  • EU Report Warns of “Digital Dark Age” if Digitization of Cultural Heritage Left to Private Sector

    The European Union says its member states must do more to digitize Europe’s cultural heritage and not simply leave that work to the private sector. To do otherwise, suggests a recently commissioned report, could steer Europe away from a digital Renaissance and “into a digital dark age.”

  • Google Buys eBook Technologies – Possible Plans Leaked

    A company by the name of eBook Technologies has recently become part of the internet monster known as Google. ebook Technologies is aimed towards supplying “intelligent” reading devices and licenses technologies that enable publishing to be completely automated as well as control over content distribution.

  • Runet: Why the Russian internet doesn’t need the West

    Last month I visited Moscow to help chair the country’s first English speaking technology conference (TechCrunch Moscow) and was pleasantly surprised to discover a very self-contained and self-sufficient industry.

    The US technology giants, such as Google and Facebook, have a presence in the country, but unlike the majority of territories they have entered around the world, they have failed to dominate; Russian companies reign across search, social networking, digital media and email services.

  • Internet 2010 in numbers
  • What to Do When You Find Something Cool on the Internet: A Flowchart
  • First thoughts on Tunisia and the role of the Internet

    News from Tunisia looks good. For better or worse, many of us will be pondering the role that the Internet played or didn’t play in the events of the Jasmine Revolution. Below are some preliminary reflections, which, if you know me well, are likely to change by the end of next week!

    One thing to keep in mind is that revolutions will continue and Twitter won’t go away anytime soon. So, it’s reasonable to assume that there WILL be some new-media activity for any social or political turmoil. But correlation, as well all know, doesn’t always mean causation.

  • Tweeting tyrants out of Tunisia: the global Internet at its best

    Even yesterday, it would have been too much to say that blogger, tweeters, Facebook users, Anonymous, and Wikileaks had “brought down” the Tunisian government, but with today’s news that the country’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country, it becomes a more plausible claim to make.

    Of course there was more to such demonstrations than some new technology. An individual act of desperation set off the last month of rioting, as a college-educated young man set himself on fire after police confiscated his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart. Tunisia’s high unemployment rate, rampant corruption, and rising food prices added to the anger at Ben Ali’s 20+ year rule.

  • One tweet *can* change the world

    Knowing that I wanted to do more to help people in the developing world, I took Karl up on his challenge immediately—lending $100 to a group of women in Bolivia who wanted to start small businesses selling groceries.

    And I felt remarkable.

  • Science

    • Bright star on January 2011 evenings? It’s the planet Jupiter

      Do you see a bright ’star’ in the south to southwest sky at early evening on these January evenings? You’re really seeing a planet, Jupiter.

    • Science: Ugly fonts aid content memorization

      Having difficulty getting your message across? Try an uglier font.

      Perhaps because people learn better when it’s a struggle to do so, content written in difficult-to-read fonts is more readily remembered than content rendered in visually pleasing fonts, a group of researchers has found.

      Their seemingly counter-intuitive findings could interest computer user-interface specialists wishing to maximize the impact of their designs.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover’

      A terrorist bomb is likely to be relatively small — possibly only a fraction of the Hiroshima bomb’s explosive power — and likely exploded at ground level. This means that the area totally destroyed by the explosion is likely to be much smaller than the area exposed to lesser damage or to fallout radiation (this nuclear weapons effects calculator from the Federation of Atomic Scientists will let you see the effect of different sized bombs burst at different heights). Because of this, Homeland Security people in the Obama Administration have been encouraging a duck-and-cover approach, followed by advice to “shelter in place” against fallout rather than trying to evacuate the area.

  • Cablegate

    • The First WikiLeaks Revolution?

      Tunisians didn’t need any more reasons to protest when they took to the streets these past weeks — food prices were rising, corruption was rampant, and unemployment was staggering. But we might also count Tunisia as the first time that WikiLeaks pushed people over the brink. These protests are also about the country’s utter lack of freedom of expression — including when it comes to WikiLeaks.

    • Confinement Conditions Update

      Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement. This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable. Further steps to address PFC Manning’s confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary.

    • Song for Bradley Manning
    • NRC, RTL access 3,000 Wikileaks cables from The Hague

      Iran, Geert Wilders and the joint strike fighter are among the subjects covered in some 3,000 diplomatic cables from US officials in The Hague to Washington, the NRC reports on Friday.

      The NRC and RTL news were given access to the cables – part of the 250,000 cable Wikileaks collection – by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten using a back door route.

    • A Media Intervention for Wikileaks

      EFF staff activist Rainey Reitman will be talking about the rights of online publishers and the perils of censorship during an outdoor rally for Wikileaks. This event is part of the global days of action called for by Wikileaks activists. There will be outdoor art projects as well as speakers.

    • Blacklisting WikiLeaks

      Peter King, Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wants WikiLeaks placed on the Treasury Department’s blacklist in order to “strangle (its) viability,” by threatening, if not strangling, the viability of any person or company that dares to engage in any economic transaction with WikiLeaks or Assange. Conducting business, or providing any economic assistance to a blacklisted entity, even unknowingly, no matter how trivial, is a violation of federal law, for which you too may be blacklisted, losing access to all your property and interests in the U.S. (I’ve written previously about the blacklists here and here.)

      King is especially incensed that an American publisher, Knopf, has entered into a book deal with Assange (who is reportedly receiving over a million dollars for his memoir); and if he is now blacklisted, you could conceivably break the law merely by buying his book, or contributing to a WikiLeaks defense fund. In other words, King is not simply targeting Assange and Wikileaks; he is targeting all of us — every American citizen and company. In his view, even a paying consumer of information and ideas from WIkiLeaks or Assange is collaborating in terrorism.


      Blacklisting is enabled by a network of federal statutes and executive orders, which requires study to begin to understand. (I doubt many members of Congress can explain it.) Complicated, obscure, and arbitrary, with an incredibly wide reach, this is a legal regime practically designed to be abused. It represents the politicization of law, for which both parties are responsible; and it’s a lot more tyrannical than health care reform.

    • John Pilger’s Investigation Into the War on WikiLeaks and His Interview With Julian Assange

      The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders in politics and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell-hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • US environmental agency revokes mine’s permit for mountaintop removal

      The Obama administration has vetoed one of the biggest coal projects in the US in a historic decision against the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining.

      The Environmental Protection Agency said it was revoking the permit granted to the Spruce Number One mine in West Virginia, which would have involved blasting the tops off mountains over more than 2,200 acres, because it would inflict “unacceptable” damage to surrounding valleys and streams.

    • Japanese team confident of cloning a mammoth

      Previous attempts to clone the mammoth have failed because nuclei in the cells were too badly damaged by ice crystals. But in 2008, Japanese scientists succeeded in cloning a mouse from cells which had been frozen for 16 years, raising hopes for the resurrection of the mammoth.

    • Borneo indigenous leaders arrested

      Police in Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, have arrested two indigenous leaders for possession of ‘seditious materials’.

      The offices of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) were raided and its secretary, Nicholas Mujah, arrested along with two others, while indigenous lawyer Abun Sui Anyit was arrested at a Sarawak airport last Thursday. The two men were held separately and questioned, then released on bail. Abun Sui Anyit was called for further questioning by police yesterday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Interception Modernisation Programme

      That this House expresses its deep concern about the Government’s proposal, contained within the Strategic Defence and Security Review, to develop an interception modernisation programme; notes that such a programme would include a proposal to store every email, webpage visit and telephone call made in the UK for an unspecified period; further notes that the Home Office has previously estimated that sucha database would cost in the region of 2 billion to develop; believes that the development of an interception modernisation programme raises serious privacy, data storage and access concerns; and calls on the Government to issue a full public consultation on its proposals as soon as possible.

    • Facebook, the Control Revolution, and the Failure of Applied Modern Cryptography

      Fast forward to 2011, and the world is vastly more centralized than it ever was. Almost everyone’s most intimate conversations are held by four companies. And one company knows basically everything about everyone under 25.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: Why It Matters

      The discussion about Net Neutrality continues to heat up. Over at LifeHacker, they asked “What Would You Miss Most if the Net Wasn’t Neutral Anymore?” One user responded with a comment that compared Cable TV to the Internet. Either I failed to understand his sarcasm, or he’s totally missing the point.

      Until recently, your cable company was just a transporter of someone else’s data — the TV networks. You paid extra for extra channels, which is fine with me, as your cable company is then paying the TV producers for the content. If paying my ISP meant all sites were then free to access, that might even be fine. But it won’t be, I’ll still be paying Netflix and my ISP.

    • The costly anti-piracy lesson Sony failed to learn from Microsoft

      Sony is in the news right now. It has taken several security researchers to court, after they released code circumventing the company’s digital rights management (DRM) technology. Unfortunately for Sony, this problem could have largely been avoided had it learned from Microsoft’s lessons.

    • The .wwf format in practice

      These were the reactions I got:

      1. My girlfriend wasn’t even able to open it, because the MIME-type wasn’t known in her Vista installation.
      2. I p*ssed off a very expensive consultant at work who ordered me to send a printable version or I’d have to look for another assignment.
      3. A colleague of mine who prints virtually everything sent it to another nerd colleague of mine who returned a printable version of the document using my “cracking” pages.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Megaupload to Copyright Critics: If We’re “Rogue” So is Google

        Says that Google is “probably hosts the world’s largest index of pirated content” and yet the site is “non-rogue,” and that we don’t blame Microsoft because people use its OS to transfer and “consume pirated content on a massive scale every day.”

      • Deep Linking Could Be Infringement In Germany If Website Puts Even Ridiculous Weak Attempts To Block It

        We’ve pointed out numerous problems with anti-circumvention rules, which make it infringement to break pretty much any attempt at circumventing any type of content protection measures (even if not to infringe on the copyright). Sometimes courts realize how silly this is, such as a ruling from a few years ago in Europe, which noted that it’s silly to consider such anti-circumvention rules reasonable if the technical protection measures are not considered “effective.” In other words, if your protection scheme is laughable, it’s silly to make it infringement to get around it. Apparently not all the courts in Europe have gotten this message yet. An anonymous reader points us to a case from a few months back in Germany, in which the court said that deep linking to content that had ridiculously weak measures to block deep-linking is still infringing (that link is a not so great Google translation of the original German — though, the submitter gave a more complete explanation).

Clip of the Day

Watch President Obama’s Full Speech at Tucson Memorial

Credit: TinyOgg

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