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01.04.11

Links 4/1/2011: Linux is Everywhere, GNU/Linux to be Sold in Walmart

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux everywhere

    2010 was the year in which Linux took over. Not that many people will have noticed.

  • GNU/Linux Returns to Walmart

    Walmart lost interest in GNU/Linux on netbooks for some reason but welcomes it again on tablets.

  • Linux: CrunchBang Linux 10 on a MacBook Pro

    I tried CrunchBang Linux 10 on a MacBook Pro. Previously, I had a lot of trouble dual booting with OS X, so I did the same thing I did for Ubuntu–I told it to use the entire disk. This turned out to be a big mistake.

    I put GRUB on the MBR since I wasn’t dual booting. I also set up an encrypted LVM. The system wouldn’t boot. I just got a flashing folder with a “?” icon. I think this is a known problem with Debian right now.

  • How your secure your Linux system

    There is no golden rule for security that applies in every single case, and even if there were it would have been cracked already. Security is something that needs to be worked upon, and personalised. Follow the tips and tools in this tutorial as we show you how to adapt them to your very own Linux installation.

  • Desktop

    • Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2010

      Browsers
      Firefox 57.11%
      Chrome 16.44%
      Internet Explorer 16.40%
      Safari 3.43%
      Opera 3.25%
      Mozilla 2.21%
      Konqueror .47%

      Firefox is now on a multi-year slide while Chrome has passed IE to move into the number two position. Safari made some significant gains while Konqueror use was cut in half.
      Operating Systems
      Windows 51.71%
      Linux 41.33%
      Macintosh 5.78%
      iPhone .21%
      Android .15%

    • A tip for software companies.

      It amazes me that so many times people who are in charge of large and small software companies make dumb decisions. They get nice salaries but often make decisions that come back and bite them later on. One good strategy for any large or small company that is lagging behind on the Windows or Mac OS market is to create software for GNU/Linux.

  • Server

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Galaxy Player up for pre-order at Amazon UK, £150 buys 8GB worth of Android Market apps

      We Americans may not see it until summer, but Samsung’s 3.2-inch Galaxy Player is about to call Europe home, as following French presales the PMP has now appeared at Amazon UK. There, it’s sporting a tentative January 7th release date and a pair of capacities and prices, with a modest £150 (about $234) nabbing you 8GB of storage and £180 (roughly $280) fully doubling that capacity to 16GB.

    • Peerless Finds Linux

      Companies rely on technology for marketing, human resources, supply chain and numerous other applications, and as a rule, executives understand the tasks these singular tools execute and comprehend their cost-cutting benefits.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • VIA Launches A Graphics Card. Will It Work With Linux?

        Linux is not mentioned once in the press release. At least its better than their S3 Graphics side talking about magical Linux drivers in their press releases.

      • The Challenge In Delivering Open-Source GPU Drivers

        In order to see same-day support “out of the box” for Sandy Bridge graphics, in the case of Ubuntu 10.10 the Intel developers would have had to mainly meet the Linux 2.6.35 kernel and Mesa 7.9 releases of months ago. The final Sandy Bridge bits would have had to be done over six months ago when the 2.6.35 merge window was open and Mesa 7.9 was released this September. The 2.6.35 kernel merge window, which is what’s used by Ubuntu Maverick, opened in early May and per the Linux kernel development process, only bug-fixes would have been allowed after that window closed. While the Linux kernel release schedule is predictable for the most part, the Mesa updates come every quarter too and are generally released by Intel’s own Ian Romanick. Even if Ubuntu 10.10 shipped with “out of the box” OpenGL acceleration support for these new Intel processors, the code would have still been months out of date. There certainly would have been new features and bug-fixes the users would have wanted, like the VA-API Sandy Bridge support not going into libva until early December and the many Mesa Sandy Bridge fixes since then.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Multiple backends for GTK+

        I have to blog about this before the other Kristian finds out and beats me to it. Kris wrote about the new GDK backend work that Alex Larsson started and Benjamin Otte and Matthias Clasen finished. The backend work lets us compile several GDK backends into GTK+ at the same time. Over the holidays I was able to dust off my Wayland backend work for GTK+ and bring it up to date with all the cleanup that’s been going on and make it work with the multi-backend stuff.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Is Red Hat Ready to Rebound?

        Linux provider Red Hat has taken a beating of late, as investors sold their shares following a sizable run in the stock. But with the stock up 2 percent on Monday, can investors assume the declines are finished?

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) EVP, CFO Charles E Jr Peters sells 22,364 Shares
      • Cramer’s Mad Money – The Top Dow Stock for 2011 (1/3/11)
      • Suit of Red Hat ex-CEO is referred for mediation

        The $60 million lawsuit filed by the former chairman and CEO of Red Hat against his family’s former financial advisers has been referred to mediation.

        The referral by the federal court in Raleigh means that the next stage in the lawsuit filed by Matthew Szulik and members of his family, which accuses an investment management firm of losing $60 million of their money through improper investments and fraud, will be conducted behind closed doors.

      • FSMLabs TimeKeeper Supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 for High-Precision Time Synchronization

        Support of Leading Linux Platform Enables Refined Market Response and Venue Arbitrage Through Precision Time Data Delivered to Trading Apps

      • Press Release: Linux RedHat Advanced Adapter is Now Being Released by IdentityForge

        In their latest venture into server based OS adapters IdentityForge announced today that they now support Linux RedHat OS. IdentityForge is the leader in standard access integration into many different target systems, including ERP, OS, Mainframe, and application security managers.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 review

        A sensible new release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform that, with enhanced hardware scalability plus support for the latest RAS technologies, should enable it to maintain its position at the top of the corporate Linux tree.

        It’s not cutting edge and there are no big surprises, but then that’s what the enterprise Linux market demands, the only worrisome note being the move to KVM rather than Xen virtualisation.

        Pros: Scalability to 4,096 cores/threads and 64TB of memory; default EXT4 file system; integrated KVM virtualisation; SELinux sandboxing of VMs; new range of subscription-based add-ons

        Cons: EXT4 limited to 16TB; move to KVM virtualisation may deter some customers from upgrading

      • Fedora

        • Fedora: How many Fedora-based distros are there?

          I noticed the creation of a new Fedora mailing list today when Rahul Sundaram sent out the first post on it… a mailing list for Fedora Remixers.

          That made me wonder just how many Linux distributions there are that are Fedora-based. I did a quick search and found a Fedora wiki page that says, “There are roughly over a hundred distributions based on Fedora.” Then it links to a distrowatch.com search page that shows 41 distributions that are “Fedora based”.

        • Download every default Ubuntu and Fedora wallpaper in one pack

          Well it’s now been updated to include the latest Fedora 14 drapes and the Maverick murals.

    • Debian Family

      • 16 Debian contributors that you can thank

        I put 5 EUR in Flattr each month and I like to spend those among other Debian contributors. That’s why I keep a list of Debian people that I have seen on Flattr (for most of them I noticed through an article on Planet Debian).

      • How to install build-essential in Debian
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 218

          In This Issue

          * Announcing the next Ubuntu User Days Event
          * Results from the December 17th Americas Membership Board meeting
          * Results from the December Asia-Oceania Membership Board meeting
          * Welcome new Edubuntu members and an Edubuntu Developer
          * Announcing Ubuntu IRC Membership
          * Natty Alpha 1 Released
          * Ubuntu Stats
          * LoCo News
          * Launchpad News
          * Caching Ubuntu Package Downloads
          * Sound Indicator news and updates
          * Natty Translations Plans I-III
          * Ubuntu Screencasts: How To Sign the Ubuntu Code of Conduct
          * Working together to get Unity ready for Natty
          * Project Unity L10N
          * Unity Bitesize Progress Report for 20 December
          * Checking in with the Artwork Team
          * No More PS3 CD Builds for Natty
          * Paul Tagliamonte’s “Myth Busted” Series
          * Ubuntu Translations Interviews: André Gondim (Brazilian Portuguese Translation Team)
          * AskUbuntu reaches 5000 questions – 11000 answers – 7000 users – 50000 votes
          * Ubuntu Cloud Screencasts
          * Design Museum exhibition London
          * Full Circle Magazine – Issue #44
          * Full Circle Magazine – Issue #43
          * Featured Podcasts
          * Weekly Ubuntu Development Team Meetings
          * Monthly Team Reports: October 2010
          * Monthly Team Reports: November 2010
          * Upcoming Meetings and Events
          * Updates and Security for 6.06, 8.04, 9.10, 10.04 and 10.10 in December
          * And Much Much More

        • LibreOffice Is the Default Office Suite for Ubuntu 11.04

          Matthias Klose announced yesterday, January 3rd, some details regarding the replacement of the old OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 packages with the new LibreOffice 3.3 ones, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) Alpha 2 release.

        • Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition

          I am the sole editor and contributor of new content for the just-released Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition. This book is intended for intermediate to advanced users.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Conservancy Activity Summary, October-December 2010

    I had hoped to blog more regularly about my work at Conservancy, and hopefully I’ll do better in the coming year. But now seems a good time to summarize what has happened with Conservancy since I started my full-time volunteer stint as Executive Director from 2010-10-01 until 2010-12-31.

  • Why I am still supporting Free Software?

    Today I no longer do programming, except for a few improvements at getdeb and some scripting at my job when I look at code this days is mostly to identify a problem or feature. For me the (open source) code has lost the magic it had a few years ago. Thankfully to my loved wife, daughter and friends I no longer have the required free time or desire to learn/work on what is required to fix bugs or develop new features. I have lost most of the capacity to use one Free Software’s fundamental freedoms “The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1)” , I can still do many things with the code, but no longer the ones I wish.

    Why am I still here, an Ubuntu member, supporting Free Software yet economically dependent on and surrounded by commercial/closed source software?

    I have assimilated the values of the Free Software -without the radicalism of some of it’s activists-.
    I believe that the ability to keep and expand such freedom is still more important than to use it.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox, Linux and the future of the web

        Tristan Nitot started working for Netscape in 1997, and was one of the first volunteers to work on the Mozilla project that rose out of Netscape’s ashes.

        He started Mozilla Europe (he’s now president of that organisation) and has seen the birth, growth and worldwide success of Firefox from the inside – so who better to ask about the future of the project, how its guiding philosophy chimes with that of Linux and why the folks at Mozilla welcome the competition from Google’s mighty Chrome.

  • Oracle

    • A Year After: The People

      It’s been (almost) a year since Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun. Some of the ex-Sun folks stayed at Oracle but others moved to other companies, small and large, public, private or still in stealth mode. This Diaspora will contribute talent, expertise and experience to many companies, and, I hope, also some of the culture at Sun that I’ve enjoyed for so many years.

    • Despite anti-Oracle hysteria, firm is an Open Source powerhouse

      Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, one of the IT industry´s most hard-working firms in the fight for open standards and against the Redmond juggernaut, the Evil Empire of Redmondia. Sun was also one of the most unrecognised firms by FOSS pundits, despite its vast contributions to the open source movement, be it in the form of developers on Sun´s payroll collaborating with FOSS projects -from Gnome to MySQL to OpenOffice.org to you-name-it, and also when taking into account the hundreds of thousands of lines of proprietary code turned to open source.

  • BSD

    • Learning About NetBSD 5.1

      The NetBSD project isn’t one which I’ve given much thought to over the years. Its reputation of being able to run on just about any architecture is something I consider amazing, but not specifically useful for my purposes. The project’s famed flexibility, when placed against the backdrop of the rest of the open source community, brings to mind a contortionist in a room full of gymnasts: impressive, but not so much as to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps that’s unfair, I am very much an outsider where NetBSD is concerned. Aside from my pleasant brush with Jibbed last year, I’ve never taken the time to properly investigate the project.

  • Project Releases

    • OCRFeeder 0.7.3 released

      I’ve just released OCRFeeder 0.7.3.

      This first version of 2011 doesn’t introduce as many features as the previous ones but fixes a few issues and introduces user documentation (F1 help).

    • HandBrake 0.9.5 Has Been Released (Ubuntu Installation Instructions)

      Handbrake is a multithreaded video transcoder that supports any DVD-like source and most multimedia file it can get libavformat to read and libavcodec to decode.

      Even though it’s not its first aim, Handbrake is used by many as a DVD ripper and it was voted as “best Linux DVD ripper” by the WebUpd8 readers.

    • Muon Suite 1.1 RC

      The release candidate of the Muon package management suite 1.1 is now available. As with beta 2, the main focus for the release candidate milestone was to iron out issues to make sure the 1.1.0 release rocks. (Expect 1.1.0 to be released in around 2 weeks) Packages are available for the development version of Kubuntu 11.04 as well as for Kubuntu 10.10 via the QApt PPA as usual. Packages of interest are the muon and muon-installer packages.

  • Government

    • Code for America: A New Kind of Public Service

      Government can be seen as an answer to the often messy question of collective action. There are some things people need together, but since that’s not easy to coordinate, we set up institutions to do so. Over time, the government’s focus and expectations developed — understandably — to a place where it was seen less as a coordinator and more as a service provider. This is what some call the vending machine model of government. My tax dollars in, a safe and well-kept community out.

      But, as we’re all seeing now, that machine is profoundly broken. Buckling under the weight of the budget crisis and burdened with ever-increasing demands from its citizens, governments are unable to provide those services we’ve come to expect. The federal debt is in the trillions, many cities and states are nearing bankruptcy, and some already have. And so this analogy needs to change. Government can’t be a vending machine any longer; it must be a building block, something we use together to create the communities we hope to live in.

  • Licensing

    • The Unlicense: The First Year in Review

      It’s Public Domain Day again, and it’s now been exactly a year since I first introduced the Unlicense.org initiative: an easy-to-use template and process intended to help coders waive their copyright and dedicate all their code to the public domain with no strings attached. It seems a good time for a brief recap of the happenings on this front over the last 365 days.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Public Domain Day 2011

      It’s January 1st, 2011, New Year’s Day and, for millions of “works” in the copyright law sense of the term, the first day of the rest of their existence. Yes, it is Public Domain Day, the day on which “life-plus” copyrights expire in those countries which calculate the duration of copyright from the death of the author, for N years thereafter, and to the end of that final year.

    • CC: Thank You!

      Thanks to all our supporters who helped us raise over $500,000 for our annual fundraising campaign! Stay tuned for a precise total and analysis — we’re still counting mailed checks! If you didn’t get a chance to donate to the 2010 campaign, start 2011 off right by showing the world how much you appreciate CC.

    • Open Data

      • Mashing up library data with open source

        Open Data

        Let’s start with the obvious. Without open data there wouldn’t be mashups. Coming from the library industry I’ve often heard vendors or computer services staff say “you can’t have access to that,” but it never sat well with me. I always wanted to know why. Why if I spent eight hours a day entering that data couldn’t have access to it in any format I wanted?

        The ludicrousness of it all became even clearer to me as I was doing my mashups research. There were all if these amazing APIs out there that I could use to enhance the data I was putting into our systems, but without proper access to my own data I was stuck watching organizations around the world making use of these tools instead of being able to participate in mashing up content. I’ve heard this phenomenon in libraries referred to as a “culture of learned helplessness.” After years of being told “no” we have come to just accept that the answer is going to be “no” and we no longer ask “why” or try to find a way around the limitations.

        This experience isn’t limited to libraries of course. We all have been in situations where we too have come up against these barriers of entry. Being the stubborn person that I am though I couldn’t accept it and so I moved away from the “culture of learned helplessness” to become an educator, teaching the power that comes along with open source and open data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2011?

        What other works would be entering the public domain if we had the pre-1978 copyright laws? You might recognize some of the titles below.

        * The first two volumes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers
        * Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (his own translation/adaptation of the original version in French, En attendant Godot, published in 1952)
        * Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim
        * Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception
        * Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
        * Pauline Réage’s Histoire d’O
        * Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, subtitled “The influence of comic books on today’s youth”
        * Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
        * Mac Hyman’s No Time for Sergeants
        * Alan Le May’s The Searchers
        * C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy, the fifth volume of The Chronicles of Narnia
        * Alice B. Toklas’ The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

  • Programming

    • Parallel Programming: Announcement
    • What happens when over 1000 Java developers compare their development environments?

      Last year, we published a report on turnaround time, tools and application containers in the Java ecosystem. Over 1300 Java developers ended up sharing info about their development environment, and over 40,000 people found these results helpful.

    • Fujitsu Accelerates Exhaustive Verification of Java Software Through Parallel Processing
    • 7 programming languages on the rise

      Programmers looking for work in enterprise shops would be foolish not to learn the languages that underlie this paradigm, yet a surprising number of niche languages are fast beginning to thrive in the enterprise. Look beyond the mainstays, and you’ll find several languages that are beginning to provide solutions to increasingly common problems, as well as old-guard niche languages that continue to occupy redoubts. All offer capabilities compelling enough to justify learning a new way to juggle brackets, braces, and other punctuation marks.

    • New JBoss puts Java EE 6 to work

      The newest version of the open source JBoss Application Server has been released, and is now one of the first production-ready app servers to support Java EE 6.

      Java EE 6 is the newest version of the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition, which was designed to build enterprise applications with the Java programming language and related tools. The Java Community Process (JCP) oversees the development of Java EE.

    • Minimalism

      What do Scheme, Bash, and elisp have in common?

      They’re infinitely flexible and infinitely customizable and, if you force two users with great libraries of customizations to swap profiles, you are a cruel, cruel person.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Future-proof your data archive

      For example, Archivematica’s media-type preservation plans convert .doc, .rtf, and .wpd word processing files to the XML-based Open Document Format (ODF) for preservation and to Adobe’s PDF for viewing. Likewise, the system saves .bmp, .jpg, .jp2, .png, .gif, .psd, .tga, and .tiff raster image files as uncompressed TIFFs for preservation and as JPEGs for viewing.

Leftovers

  • Twitter 2010 by the Numbers
  • How Cumbria’s village halls are pioneering a hi-tech revolution

    This winter, 130 activists gathered to discuss superfast broadband in a village hall in Cumbria. They had come from 100 villages, by 100 paths. Ali had presumably travelled north along the shore of Ullswater, rounded Loadpot Hill and turned south down the Lowther valley, until (three miles from where she began, but 45 minutes by car), she could take the narrow track east across the moor. Brian came over Hartside at 3,000ft, down the switchbacks into Eden, and worked his way along the East Fellside. They were joining a community experiment, which is becoming almost a revolution.

  • News of The World unique user numbers collapse behind paywall

    The News of the World website has recorded a 59 per cent decrease in unique users to its website in November -it’s first full month behind a paywall – compared to September 2010 – its last free-to-air month, according to comScore data supplied to the Beehive.

  • Gamer Completes Quake Under 1 Hour @ 100%

    A gamer completed the original Quake title for the PC in just over 52 minutes, killing off all enemies and discovering all secret areas.

  • 2011 New Years Computer Resolutions

    Every year about this time, people make resolutions. The origins of this practice are shrouded in mystery, but it suffices to say that for most people they have become a joke. Few people actually follow through on any of them. This is mostly because they are unachievable resolutions. This year, I have a list of universal resolutions for computer users that may solve part of this problem and help them improve themselves in the process.

  • Google Linux search suggestions

    Google Inc. continues to make incremental improvements to web search, and in this vein, Instant search was added in 2010. For better or worse, the accompanying search suggestions cannot be disabled. This drop down list is intended to save time, but it also gives some clues about what other people are searching for.

  • Is RSS becoming irrelevant?

    If you’re reading this post via a feed, you aren’t a “typical” user. According to stats gathered by Mozilla only about 7% of users use the RSS button. Though fewer Windows use the button, and nearly 14% of Linux users make use of it.

  • Science

    • ‘intelligent design is not creationism in any shape or form’ – yeah, right!

      A few weeks ago one of my fellow SciBloggers, Siouxsie Wiles, wrote an interesting piece about a childrens’ film that she’d seen where the underlying message seemed to be: you don’t have to understand, you just have to believe. Which as she says, does rather encapsulate a lot of pseudo-scientific nonsense that’s promoted these days (homeopathy, ‘miracle mineral supplements’, etc etc etc). Anyway, Siouxsie mentioned creationism in her post, & now a new commenter has dropped by to inform us that ‘intelligent design… is not creationism in any shape or form, but serious scientific debate about the latest evidence for the origins of life.’ My immediate response emulated the famous Tui billboards (here’s an example), but then I & other regulars there went on to point out that this comment is a long way off-base. And I thought the subject was worth revisiting in a separate post.

      For Siouxsie’s correspondent is wrong – so-called ‘intelligent design’ is creationism, pure and simple, and not a valid scientific explanation for life’s diversity. There’s a lot of evidence out there to back up this statement.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Britain’s anti-terror control orders condemned as ‘trademark of despots’

      A powerful coalition of human rights groups has intensified pressure on the government to abandon its use of control orders, as ministers continue to wrangle over whether to scrap the controversial counter-terrorism measure.

      An international alliance of civil liberties organisations has united to condemn the UK for presiding over one of the “most serious violations” of natural justice in any developed democracy.

    • Monitoring schoolchildren

      Hundreds of schools have begun monitoring children in the past few year with the United Kingdom intent on stepping up the pace in the new year. Biometrics and CCTV are the most prevalent with many schools in Scotland planning on introducing or expanding schemes in the coming year.

    • United Nations against internet filtering
  • Cablegate

    • Why we must all join in the battle for WikiLeaks

      The WikiLeaks saga could be summed up as an affair which pitches the no-frontier freedom of the internet against the might of the world’s most powerful state. Its operations, impeded in the United States where private companies buckled under pressure from the administration, but relayed across the world thanks to the multiplication of ‘Mirror’ sites (see Mediapart’s WikiLeaksMirror site here), the daily disclosure of confidential US diplomatic cables has been continuing in the manner of a kind of Chinese torture. Totalling 251, 287, they have been released at the rate of a little less than 2,000, day after day, drop by drop.

  • Finance

    • The New Speed of Money, Reshaping Markets

      A SUBSTANTIAL part of all stock trading in the United States takes place in a warehouse in a nondescript business park just off the New Jersey Turnpike.

    • NJ Server Farms Remake the US Financial Markets

      he engine of Wall Street has shifted from the stock exchange floor to data centers in New Jersey, where computer-driven trading now accounts for 56 percent of all trading activity, according to the New York Times.

    • Goldman Sachs Prospers at Taxpayers’ Expense

      Robert Rubin was a very powerful man. After 26 years and rising to the level of co-senior partner, he left Goldman Sachs in 1994 to become Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.

      [...]

      What is this Goldman Sachs that issues forth such powerful people as Robert Rubin? What is its magic? Maybe we can find something out from their financial statements? If we look at the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Statements of Earnings for December 2009, the company identifies itself as being in three businesses: Investment Banking, Trading and Principal Investments, and Asset Management and Securities Services. To get a better historic picture of these businesses, we have gone back to the beginning of Goldman Sachs’ life as a publicly held company in 1998.

    • Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Were on Dudley’s Agenda in First Days on The Job

      Meetings with top Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. officials were on the schedule of Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley in his first days on the job in February 2009, the regional reserve bank chief’s daybook showed yesterday.

      Dudley, a former partner and chief U.S. economist at Goldman, had an appointment to meet that bank’s chairman, Lloyd Blankfein, on Feb. 6, 2009, according to his schedule for 2009 and the first nine months of 2010. Four days earlier, Goldman was the topic of a planned meeting between Dudley and his staff.

    • New year resolutions for the business world

      Halt your threats and turn on the charm. We’ve heard enough dire warnings that JP Morgan, HSBC and hordes of hedge funds will quit the square mile in favour of Hong Kong or Geneva if higher taxes and bonus restrictions come into play. The public, for the most part, doesn’t care – in fact, there are plenty of volunteers who would pay bankers’ taxi fares to Heathrow in the hope of seeing the back of them.

      If you want an end to “banker bashing”, change tactics. Make the case persuasively for the contribution that finance makes to Britain’s economy. Explain how you’re helping business to grow. Teach us about how you can put our savings to work. Give us lessons that you’ve learned from the credit crunch. Tell us why we should love bankers. Nicely.

    • Special Report BAC, GS, C, JPM, MS, AIG, MET, DB

      A suggestion that banks deemed “Too Big” to fail should be broken up or made small enough to fail. an idea backed by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and hedge-fund manager David Einhorn, also failed to win any support from US policy makers, as bank executives argued that size alone did not make a company risky, and that it could be essential for banks to compete.

    • Prosperity, Real or Imagined

      The author sees a conflict at the heart of Americans’ attitudes toward money and debt. We tend to view ourselves “as reasonably prudent and sober people,” he writes, while “the choices we make at the ballot box seem to be at odds with that self-image.”

    • Barack Obama: Jobs a priority in 2011

      President Barack Obama began the new year with a fresh promise to make jobs his top priority in 2011, even as he expressed optimism the nation has been “riding a few months of economic news that suggests our recovery is gaining traction.

      “And our most important task now is to keep that recovery going,” Obama said in his weekly address. “As president, that’s my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class. That’s my resolution for the coming year.”

    • How the mortgage clearinghouse MERS became a villain in the foreclosure mess

      In the early 1990s, the biggest names in the mortgage industry hatched a plan for a new electronic clearinghouse that would transform the home loan business – and unlock billions of dollars of new investments and profits.

      At the time, mortgage documents were moved almost exclusively by hand and mail, a throwback to an era in which people kept stock certificates, too. That made it hard for banks to bundle home loans and sell them to investors. By contrast, a central electronic clearinghouse would allow the companies to transfer thousands of mortgages instantaneously, greasing the wheels of a system in which loans could be bought and sold repeatedly and quickly.

    • Oil rises to near $92 as global equities rally

      Oil prices rose to near $92 a barrel Tuesday, close to a two-year high, as a stock market rally to start 2011 boosted crude trader optimism.

    • Career Shift Often Means Drop in Living Standards

      The study, conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, was based on a survey of Americans around the country who were unemployed as of August 2009 and re-interviewed about their job status twice over the next 15 months.

      As of November 2010, only about one-third had found replacement jobs, either as full-time workers (26 percent) or as part-time workers not wanting a full-time job (8 percent).

    • U.S. stock markets up in 2010 despite Europe crises, double-dip recession threat

      In a year of political upheaval, fiscal crisis in Europe and the threat of a double-dip recession in the United States, the stock market weathered all challenges, plodding upward.

      The final tally after Friday’s light trading day: The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed up 12.8 percent for the year, at 1257.64, and the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 11 percent, at 11,577.51.

    • Mortgage lenders now advertising as crisis solvers

      PacWest Funding’s CEO watched in late 2007 as rival mortgage brokerages, banks and collaborators collapsed under the weight of the declining housing market.

      Fearing his company would be next, Curtis Melone restructured his business to offer what he felt people needed most: help with their crushing mortgage debt.

    • Bank of America hit with setback in MBIA Insurance mortgage liability lawsuit

      The bank lost a major procedural ruling in a lawsuit over its liability for allegedly toxic mortgages. The ruling will make it harder for the bank to defend itself in that case, and it could set a standard for similar disputes.

      Bank of America had tried to set a high bar for plaintiff MBIA Insurance by requiring that the files for each of 368,000 or more disputed loans be evaluated individually. That process would have cost MBIA $75 million, and it would have taken a team of 24 people more than four years, MBIA estimated.

    • About Grand Ole Ponzi

      Grand Ole Ponzi exposes the GOP’s intentional Ponzi Scheme being perpetrated on the American people. The GOP intends to make the top 2% wealthiest Americans even wealthier while making the middle class and everyone else poorer.

      A Ponzi scheme is an intentional fraud set up to get you to invest money while promising you that you’ll get a lot more money back – even though the schemers promising this know you will not get a lot more back and that they will be profiting from your money.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Web Browser Privacy

      At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we’re going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting.

    • Anonymous Attacks Tunisian Government over Wikileaks Censorship

      Anonymous, the loosely-organized band of hacker activists and vigilantes, has chosen its next victim: The government of Tunisia. (They’ve taken down its official website.) Why? In part, because it tried to block access to secret-sharing website Wikileaks.

    • A Bittersweet Goodbye Post

      So I’ve been dreading this for some time. But this is going to be my last post for FDL, a community I’ve been honored and fucking thrilled to join ever since Jane let me take Attackerman 2.0 here in June 2008. My departure is pretty mundane: the congressional press galleries are wary of giving me permanent credentials while I’m affiliated here, and I don’t want to impede any of my reporting responsibilities at my day job with Wired‘s Danger Room. So off I go.

      It’s really hard for me to imagine writing Attackerman without it being a part of FDL. I’ve been incredibly privileged to host it among a community as thoughtful, challenging, provocative and passionate as this one. Thanks to everyone who challenged me in comments: even if I got pissed, you helped me reexamine the weak points in my thinking. I love seeing FDL expand, grow and develop. Now I’ll watch it happen as a commenter, well-wisher and reader.

    • Saudi Arabia clamps down on bloggers, news sites, others

      Saudi Arabia is beginning a major internet clamp-down, starting with blogs, forums, news sites, personal websites, electronic archives, chat rooms and online ads.

      New regulations were approved by Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Mohee Al-Dien Khoga, the Minister of Culture and Information, which will require licences for the operation of an e-publishing site within the country when the laws come into effect in a month’s time,

    • FTC Chairman: ‘Do Not Track’ Rules Would Help Web Thrive

      Let’s say I stop at the mall to pick up a new jacket. As I browse through the stores, I am followed by a man with a walkie-talkie, reporting on every item I look at and passing that information to the other stores in the mall. By the time I reach the third floor, out of a store pops a salesperson, holding exactly the madras jacket I want, in the red-and-yellow plaid I favor as well as in my size.

      Disconcerting? A little. Convenient? Absolutely. I buy the jacket.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

      The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

      In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

      “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

      “The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

    • Copyrights

      • Publishers worry that Ottawa will allow more access to foreign firms

        At a recent panel discussion about the book industry, publisher David Kent cut through the moderator’s polite introduction and jokingly accepted the label Satan. The bubbly Kent might seem an unlikely incarnation of evil, but he’s the CEO of HarperCollins Canada, a foreign-owned publisher, and his Canadian competitors were out in force that night in Toronto, ribbing him as they aggressively denounced foreign ownership – just in case anyone was thinking we might need more of it in the Canadian book industry.

Clip of the Day

Bohemian Rhapsody, for Four Violins


Credit: TinyOgg

01.03.11

Links 3/1/2011: KOffice 2.3.0 Released, New View for Activity Journal

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Why I Use Linux

    Diversity: Don’t like something or anything about your computer? Change it.

  • Evangelistic Linux
  • Desktop

    • System76: Bringing Linux to the desktop, 1 stupid-fast computer at a time

      The netbooks were perfectly nice,and represented a solid choice for schools because of their abundant free software and competitive prices when compared to other netbooks with similar specs. However, System76 also sent me a high-performance, consumer-oriented laptop to evaluate in the broader context of desktop Linux.

    • How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops

      The smart mobile user shouldn’t overlook Linux. The question is, which distro should you pick?

      You’ll get a different answer depending who you ask. You’ll probably be pointed in the direction of Arch for performance, Debian for stability and Ubuntu if you want easy access to the biggest collection of apps.

  • Server

    • Excito B3 and Internet Freedom.

      As far as the power requirements go for this ARM-based Linux server, the power consumption ranges between 8 and 13 Watts, or as low as 5 Watts if using the SSD-equipped model.

    • Hackers obtain PS3 private cryptography key due to epic programming fail? (update)

      The group intends to generate a proof-of-concept video tomorrow, and release the tools sometime next month, which they claim should eventually enable the installation of Linux on every PS3 ever sold. Catch the whole presentation after the break in video form, or skip to 33:00 for the good stuff.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Thanks to You, Dan Will Be at FOSDEM 2011!

      So today, on a hunch, I set up a crowdfunding site to get Dan to FOSDEM. The site I used has a minimum target of $500, but I estimated $400 would suffice to fly Dan in, pay his accomodation, all the fees and fly him back again. I set the end of the campaign to January 20 and only advertised this on identi.ca and in less than twelve hours, we not only met our target, but well exceeded it. As I write this, the fund sits at an amazing $555. Once again, the absolutely unbelievable generosity of the LO community totally floors me! Even better, while all this happened, Dan was in studio with the band, totally oblivious to what was happening. I can only imagine he was pretty amazed as well when he eventually found out.

    • Linux Outlaws 183 – Darkfield Lasers (The Year 2010 in Review)

      In the longest Linux Outlaws episode ever (by far!), Dan, Fab and guest-host Ade Bradshaw discuss Linux and open source in the year 2010 and celebrate the move to the new year with loads of beer.

    • FLOSS Weekly 146: Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware

      Hosts: Randal Schwartz and Simon Phipps

      Tiki is a tool to build and maintain your Website/Wiki/Groupware/CMS/Forum/Blog/Bug Tracker or any other project you can run in a browser window.

    • Podcast 87 Openbox + Xorg 1.9 -hal

      In this Podcast an ozmart tip, dvtm, fun with openbox, and xorg 1.9 without hal.

    • Full Circle Side-Pod Episode Seven: The End of the Shortbread Biscuits

      This is an extra, irregular, short-form podcast, which is intended to be a side-branch of the main Full Circle Podcast. Somewhere to put all the general technology, non-Ubuntu news and opinions, hobby-horses and kruft that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Be prepared for a healthy dose of British sarcasm.

  • Google

    • Will Chrome OS fail or be the next big thing? Depends who you ask

      A quick scan of Google News this morning revealed alternating headlines about Chrome OS. Some pundits say “Google Chrome OS Faces Serious Risk of Failure.” Others say “Google’s Chrome notebook will succeed.” I’ve certainly had great impressions of the notebook in educational settings and it works well for a lot of what I do.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung confirms Galaxy Player, will showcase at CES 2011

      Samsung has announced a new Android-based Galaxy Player that will be showcased next week at the CES 2011. Samsung says the new music player takes inspiration from its successful Galaxy S phone and is spec’d similarly sans the cellular connectivity.

  • Kernel Space

    • [kernel] Linux Kernel with BFS

      So, after reading all this, I downloaded the patch, spent some good 30 minutes playing with the kernel configuration (as always :p), enabling the BFS feature and compiling it into the kernel. The compilation took a little more than an hour, while sitting at FOSS.in, giving me the bzImage which I immediately put into my GRUB configuration. Rebooted and ta-da, it was BFS running on 2.6.35 vanilla.

    • The BeagleBoard [part 1]

      Execution of the ARM kernel begins in the inferred standard location of arch/arm/kernel/head.S, at the place very obvious labeled with “Kernel startup entry point”. At this point, the MMU must be off, the D-cache must be off, I-cache can be on or off, r0 must contain 0, r1 must contain the “machine number” (an ARM Linux standard assigned number, one per machine port, passed from the bootloader code), and r2 must contain the “ATAGS” pointer (a flexible data structure precursor to things like fdt and device trees that allows a bootloader to pass parameters). First, the processor mode is quickly set to ensure interrupts (FIQ and IRQ) are off, and that the processor is properly in Supervisor (SVC) mode. Then, MMU co-processor register c0 is copied into ARM register r9 to obtain the processor ID. This is followed by a call to __lookup_processor_type (contained within head-common.S, the common file for both MMU-enabled and non-MMU enabled ARM kernels – the latter are not covered by this document).

    • The differences between Linux IO Scheduler

      The Linux kernel input/output scheduler (IO Schedulers) controls the way the kernel handles read/write to disks. Different I/O schedulers may have different impact on certain workloads. Here are the list of available Linux I/O schedulers:

      1) Noop
      Noop scheduler is the simplest IO scheduler available in the kernel. It does not perform sorting or seek-prevention. It is intended for devices that has no mechanical parts or is capable of random access such as SSD or flash-disk.

      [...]

    • Graphics Stack

      • Happy New Year! A Big Linux GPU Comparison!

        This comparison is being done not only to satisfy requests from our Phoronix Premium subscribers, but to also test some of the new OpenBenchmarking.org features. [Yes, besides OpenBenchmarking.org tests causing a large FirePro driver comparison, it's also caused this large cross-GPU cross-driver comparison, new Amazon EC2 benchmarks (the new benchmarks of all Amazon cloud instances using the Amazon Linux AMI will be here by mid-January), and other yet-to-be-announced articles that are very exciting for early 2011.]

      • Broadcom CrystalHD Decoder support for FFmpeg and MPlayer

        At the end of last year, Broadcom released open-source drivers and a library for their CrystalHD hardware video decoder; You can read the details about that at Jarod Wilson’s blog if you’re interested.

        The hardware is particularly attractive because it’s low cost and can be added to any system, regardless of the GPU it uses. It provides MPEG1/2, H.264 and VC-1 decode capabilities in all hardware versions, and the latest 70015 part also adds MPEG4 Part 2 / DivX / XviD support – and, if you care about such things, it does so in a way that means all the infamous patent issues are handled in hardware.

      • Intel Sandy Bridge Linux Graphics? It’s A Challenge

        This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (I’ll be there again looking out for Linux), Intel will officially launch their next-generation Sandy Bridge micro-architecture and CPUs. The NDA though expired at midnight on these first CPUs so there is now a stream of reviews coming out. Is there any Linux graphics test results for the Core i3 2100, Core i5 2400, Core i5 2500K, and Core i7 2600K? Unfortunately, there is not.

      • Sandy Bridge is the biggest disappointment of the year

        That said, what am I talking about? If you try to use Sandy Bridge under Linux, it is simply broken. We tried to test an Intel DH67BL (Bearup Lake) with 2GB of Kingston HyperX DDR3, an Intel 32GB SLC SSD, and a ThermalTake Toughpower 550W PSU. At first we tried to install vanilla Ubuntu 10.10/AMD64 from a Kingston Datatraveler Ultimate 32GB USB3 stick. The idea was that it would speed things up significantly on install.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KOffice 2.3.0 Released

        The KOffice team is happy to announce the 2.3 release of KOffice. This release brings many small improvements to all the KOffice applications, but not as many large new features.

      • KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – Another Look

        Looking forward to the final release, which must be due out in a few weeks.

    • GNOME Desktop

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8pre3 Released

        Today we are pleased to announce the third and hopefully final preview release of Xfce 4.8 which is set to be pushed out to the public on January 16th, 2011. Compared to Xfce 4.8pre2 this release mostly features translation updates and bug fixes.

  • Distributions

    • Updated: Ubuntu And Fedora Wallpaper Pack [Official Wallpapers]

      Ankur has updated the wallpaper collection we’ve mentioned a while back that includes all the Ubuntu and Fedora official wallpapers in the 4:3 and 16:10 formats. The update includes the Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10 wallpapers along with 10 extra wallpapers (from Linux Mint, Mandriva and the latest KDE 4.6 wallpaper)…

    • Get Slack!

      How I started with Slackware?, Well I’m using Arch Linux for about two years now. In the Arch Linux Wiki, there is a comparison of Arch Linux with other distributions, one of them is Slackware.

    • Archie

      It has been over two years since I first switched from a mighty popular “Linux” distribution to ArchLinux. And two fine years it has been.

    • New Releases

      • Pardus Linux 2011 RC Overview/Review
      • Wary Puppy 5.0 Available For Download

        Wary Puppy is a project of the Puppy Linux developer, Barry Kauler, to develop a linux distro which provide support for older hardware. Puppy Linux is already a very light weight distro and runs well on many older systems. However, Puppy Linux is moving to a new software base and it may no longer run so well on the older hardware. To maintain the support for the older hardware Wary Puppy has been introduced.

        Wary Puppy uses the older Linux kernel 2.6.31.14 because it provides better support for older hardware. Other components in Wary are a mix of old and new software. X.org which comes in Wary is quite old, Mesa is also fairly old and GTK, gcc etc. are fairly new. Wary also includes the latest releases of applications like SeaMonkey, Abiword, Gnumeric etc. and the latest drivers for printers, scanner etc.

      • New applications land in Parted Magic 5.8

        Parted Magic 5.8 is released, this new release comes with new software and many bug fixes. The following programs have been updated:partedmagic clonezilla-1.2.6-40, plpbt-5.0.11, psensor-0.4.4, linux-2.6.36.2, busybox-1.17.4, nwipe-0.03, simpleburn-1.6.0, syslinux-4.03, clamav-0.96.5, e2fsprogs-1.41.14, gparted-0.7.1. These are the new programs that were added: zerofree-1.0.1, cmospwd-5.0 ( A password recovery tool), open-iscsi-2.0.871, hfsprescue-0.1, gscite223.

    • Debian Family

      • This Week in Debian Episode 13

        Interview with George Castro, discussing Ubuntu as a Debian derivative.

      • Debian: Force users to use more secure login password with pam_cracklib

        One of the factor that makes your system easily crackable is the weak password. PAM cracklib forces users to choose stronger password by analyzing the password strength, length and entropy.

        To enable pam_cracklib in Debian / Ubuntu operating system, you need to install libpam_cracklib:

        sudo apt-get install libpam_cracklib

      • Happy New Debian GNU/Linux Release

        Squeeze is not officially released yet but the bug-count is in the same ball-park as the last release, Lenny, and the bugs I have examined are pretty narrow. With the additional available manpower on the weekend I would not be surprised that Debian Squeeze could be released within a few days. That will start 2011 off right.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Official Ubuntu keyboard for sale… with a Windows key?

          A new officially branded waterproof keyboard has gone on sale in the Canonical store.

          Made from silicon, the keyboard is flexible and can roll up for easy travel.Waterproof too it can withstand most liquid spills (I.e. and not fry), weighs a relatively light 204 grams and, best of all, has a whacking great Ubuntu logo on it to scream out your OS of choice.

        • What we should really be working on December 30, 2010

          It’s hard to get new users when the new users can’t use what you’ve made to a effective degree. If Ubuntu is going to be competitive with the rest of the operating systems out there (mainly Windows and Mac OS), then we have to first ensure that it works on the user’s computer to the highest degree that we possibly can.

        • I Love Ubuntu – And Here Are the Reasons Why

          In the meantime, I will continue to love and support the development of Linux and Ubuntu, even if it doesn’t get the respect that I feel it does.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Linux Desktop Edition Few Week Review

          In Summary, using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat has been a great experience since it is fast, simple, and reliable to use as an everyday operating system for my web browsing, Linux gaming,watching video files on my computer or YouTube, listening to music and online radio, and office/school related tasks like e-mail, word processing, making slide presentations, and spreadsheets.

        • FCM#44 is HERE!

          This is it folks, the last issue of Full Circle…

          … last issue of 2010 that is!

        • Ubuntu Bug Fix Wishes for 2011

          Both are responsible for a disruptive desktop experience for many users. I also wish that the effort for the new “consistent user experience for desktop” does not keep or increase our current inability to fix such severe open source problems.

        • Ubuntu and the Boy Scouts of America

          In short, Eagle Scout candidate Raymond Westbrook of Boy Scout Troop 534 from Chicago, IL built a computer lab from 6 recycled PCs and running Ubuntu 10.04.

        • Ten worst things about Ubuntu
        • Why I use (and love) Ubuntu

          Since my inspiration to write has been rather dry the past couple of months, mostly due to work and work, I thought it would be cool to re-ignite my writing by sharing some reasons why I use (and love) Ubuntu. So here goes.

          There are many reasons why my partner, my son and I use Ubuntu but here is just a few.

        • Ubuntu Is The Rich Man’s OS X

          This is an awkward thing for me, because I do enjoy my expensive gadgets, and I’m not actually decided on Ubuntu – I might go for a Hackintosh instead – but there’s no question in my mind after reviewing the relevant research that choosing Ubuntu over OS X is the rich man’s (or woman’s) move.

        • Linux Ubuntu

          I am seriously thinking of making the switch from Windows to one of the Linux Operating Systems.

          [...]

          We got ripped off being forced to buy Vista, now Vistas flaws pressure us to spend more buying Windows 7. How much is Windows 7? Too freakin much.

        • Thinking About Ubuntu And 2011

          So here I am, and it is the night before I go back to work for my first day back in 2011. I have had some wonderful and frankly much needed time off work. Towards the end of 2010 I was pretty bushed and was ready to spend some time with my wife and family, my guitar, and my Playstation. The time off was worth every second and I am now rested and raring to go…raring to contribute to making Ubuntu a success in 2011.

        • Ubuntu’s fundamental flaw: Frozen full-screen apps
        • Ubuntu and the price of Unity

          Canonical’s decision to go with the Unity shell on GNOME may be a game changer for Ubuntu, but it doesn’t come without risk. Mark Shuttleworth’s declared aims are to unite design with free software. He hopes to blur the line between the web and the desktop, to create an intuitive Linux desktop that is a thing of beauty, and to make Ubuntu and free software popular among the kinds of user who have never heard of free software before.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • 5 reasons to try Zorin OS Linux

            One of the best features of the open source Linux operating system is that there are so many distributions to choose from.

            Ubuntu gets by far the lion’s share of the media’s attention, it’s true–largely by virtue of its top ranking at the top of DistroWatch’s popularity list–but there are hundreds of other options out there as well, many tailored to particular kinds of users and situations.

          • LMDE 201101 32-bit re-spin

            As re-spin of the LMDE 201012 32-bit ISO was made available under the name “201101″.

            The new ISO comes with an up-to-date live kernel which addresses the following issues:

            * “Black screen of death”, live session hanging with a black screen.
            * Installer hanging while configuring Grub.

          • Mint vs. LMDE: Sudden weight gain
          • Linux Mint vs Pinguy OS Review

            Linux Mint is one of the oldest, and arguably one of the best-developed, spin-offs of Ubuntu. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing more articles talk about another similar spin-off of Ubuntu called Pinguy OS, and I thought, “Another Ubuntu derivative? How many more does the world need?” But then I saw that these articles were placing Pinguy OS on the same level of Linux Mint. I figured this warranted a full-on comparison test.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • The parable of the the PDA: predicting the smartphone’s future

        When reading the comments disputing the possible end of the voice-phone era I’m reminded of similar comments disputing the end of the PDA era.

        Although the Apple Newton pioneered the market in 1992 and John Sculley came up with the acronym, the Newton did not sell in significant volumes. It wasn’t until 1997 with the Palm Pilot that the PDA market took off. Microsoft quickly followed with a licensed OS based on Windows CE. In 2001 Microsoft launched the Pocket PC brand to cement its attack on the PDA market. The first phones using a Microsoft OS were using something called Pocket PC Phone Edition. The first Nokia smartphones (Communicators) were built like mobile PDAs.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • [maemo-developers] Qt Mobility 1.1 for Fremantle
        • The Rabbit Game for the N900
        • Team behind WebTab Tablet launches Widget Developer Tool; Now available for Download

          WebTab also features 11.6-inch display and a custom Linux operating system based on MeeGo Linux. The tablet features a custom user interface that offers a sidebar that lets you navigate through apps, web pages and widgets that are on the home screen.

        • MeeGo 1.0 Mobile Application Development Cookbook
        • Qt experts talking to you almost 50 hours on videos! Irresistible!

          In the year 2009 we started to spend dedicated effort in recording of Qt Developer Days and got very positive responses from Qt users. Surprisingly, even archived records from the years 2005-2008 found a large audience. People even voted against removing old videos! Sure, we will not do this!

        • MeeGo 1.1 running on HTC’s HD2

          While bored today, I decided to take a look at getting MeeGo running on the HTC HD2.

          The HD2 is very similar to the Nexus One hardware-wise, and MeeGo is already known to run on that, but as far as I know, nobody had ever got it running on the HD2. I set to work, and a few hours later we were up and running!

        • MeeGo-Harmattan Is Handling FreeDesktop.org X

          While Intel is looking to use Wayland on MeeGo Touch for their mobile/embedded purposes, the Nokia side is still focusing upon X for the time being. But rather than using X with KDrive, developing all of their X support out of the mainline trees, or going down any other messy paths, they are working towards using the mainline X.Org Server as found on FreeDesktop.org along with the other X libraries.

        • MeeGo’s Community Woes: Improvement in 2011?

          When one open source developer complains about corporate influence on a project, it’s not necessarily a danger sign. It’s a big community full of a diverse range of opinions, and some folks are easily agitated or provoked to anger when things don’t go entirely their way — and generally do a good job of broadcasting their displeasure. So I take it with an enormous grain of salt when one developer complains about a project.

          But in this case, the drumbeat is loud and coming from several projects. MeeGo has done a pretty good job of alienating most of the downstream projects that would re-package it and help MeeGo gain some traction in the developer and FOSS user community.

      • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Archos 101 Internet Tablet Review: Part 1 – hardware

        The Archos 101 Android based internet tablet is now available for $299 in the U.S.. I’ve had mine for about a week now and have some initial likes and dislikes. First I want to discuss the hardware. Can a sub $300 device compare well with an Apple i-Pad or Samsung Galaxy Tab? Surprisingly yes. Archos has been in the media player business for some time now and in general their devices are well thought out and ergonomic.

      • Notebook vendors seeing R&D delays for Android 3.0 tablets

        Notebook vendors have expressed concerns about the launch schedule of their Android 3.0 tablet PCs as Google is currently giving priority for Android 3.0 support mainly to smartphone players such as Motorola, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, High Tech Computer (HTC) and Nokia, leaving notebook vendors facing delays in their R&D schedules.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software seen as way to resolve many of Lebanon’s economic woes

    Free Open Source Software (FOSS) may seem to many to be more of a catchphrase than a reality, since it is not immediately clear why anyone would produce software without charging a price. But around the world, it is a widespread enterprise that saves consumers $60 billion a year in software expenditure, according to a 2008 study by Boston-based Information Technologies consulting group, Standish Group. It is also highly profitable, many proponents of free open source technologies have argued.

  • 6 Free Linux-Friendly Office Suites For Getting The Job Done

    Many people install Linux on their machines for its simplicity, believe it or not. Distributions like Ubuntu and Mint target the curious inexperienced user and provide a complete suite of free software to tackle most PC-related tasks.

  • Is Netflix a Friend or Foe to FOSS?

    “Like most businesses, [Netflix has} to struggle with the balance between contributing to open platforms and protecting their business models from upstart competition,” said Slashdot blogger Chris Travers. “Doing this in an all-FOSS manner is rather difficult, but it’s not impossible.” In any case, Netflix, “like Microsoft, should be complimented on the things they support, and encouraged to support more.”

  • Free Software: the road to a Universal bundle, a powerful app store, and world domination

    Apple is doing it again: they are releasing an app store for OS X on the 6th of January. Just like the iPhone app store, and the Android app store, this is going to be a hit: the OS X ecosystem will get a giant boost from it, and we are left — once again — with a lot to learn. Before you mention that GNU/Linux doesn’t need an app store because it’s free software, and before you even say that GNU/Linux already has an app store through one of the many software managers (Synaptics, Ubuntu Software Center, apt-get), please read this article.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tsinghua University, Mozilla Launch Browser For IPv6

        Tsinghua University and Mozilla China have jointly developed a new Internet browser product that is specially designed for IPv6.

        Based on the core of Firefox, the widely-used browser by Mozilla, the new browser product, with the help of IPv6 tunnel technologies, enables smooth access to some IPv6, Facebook, and Google services, which are usually unstable. Facebook, at the present moment, is blocked in most areas of China. At present, this browser mainly targets the campus network of Tsinghua University with initial V1.0.6 version. It also has a “green download” edition which is about 16MB.

      • Mozilla Says Its Time To Create Firefox 4 Add-Ons Now

        Firefox 4 is nearing its final release date. Another milestone was reached when Mozilla confirmed that developers can now create add-ions for the new browser without having to be afraid that future Firefox 4 versions will bring further changes.

  • Oracle

    • And Then Along Comes Larry….

      I am not defending Oracle’s undermining of Open Source nor do I support it, but the company is at least being clear about its intentions and convictions. Customers like that.

    • The H Year: 2010′s Wins, Fails and Mehs

      Meh – Oracle took over Sun – With the completion of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, a new regime of Oracle’s “special” brand of communications took over from Sun’s bloggy, chatty style. The Oracle brand of communications mostly involves Oracle not saying anything or so little that the community is left to fill in the blanks.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.0 RC 4 Released
    • New Drupal 7.0 Book: Foundation Drupal 7

      The primary audience for this book is web site designers interested in using Drupal to build web sites. The audience may have previous experience using Drupal but do not consider themselves proficient. They are familiar with coding a basic HTML/CSS web site, although these skills are not required to benefit from the book.

  • Funding

    • Wikipedia Raises $16 Million to Remain Ad-Free

      The Wikimedia Foundation announced this morning that it has reached its goal of $16 million in record time, more than doubling the $7.5 million the organization raised in 2009. The foundation, which is the non-profit parent organization of massively collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia and a multitude of other wikis, says that more than half a million people from all over the world donated to the effort this year.

  • BSD

    • Announced: FreeBSD 8.2-RC1 and 7.4-RC1
    • Considering FreeBSD Jails

      The jail does not boot its own kernel, and does not run a full version of the operating system. A jail is comprised of a filesystem, a hostname, an IP address, and an application. Jails can be seen as the logical successor to the older chroot environment, which restricted an applications access to the filesystem by providing the application it’s own root. Jails expand on this concept by further separating the host operating system and the application they are running. The difference between virtual machines and jails can be summed up by saying that virtual machines are for operating systems, jails are for applications.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • 2010 Dramatic Growth of Open Access

        2010 was the strongest year for open access growth so far. In 2010, 1,401 journals were added to DOAJ for a total of 5,936 journals. The Electronic Journals Library now records over 27,000 journals that can be read free of charge; over 3,500 were added in 2010. 1,037 journals actively participate in PubMedCentral, an increase of 313 over the past year, and more than half of these journals contribute all articles as open access. PMC now provides access to over 3.2 million free articles, an increase of over 300,000 this year. OpenDOAR lists 1,817 repositories, having added 257 this year. A Scientific Commons search encompasses 38 million items, an increase of over 6 million since last year. There are 261 open access mandate policies, an increase of 83 this year.

  • Programming

    • Report on the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers Meeting

      In the meantime, other people arrived there, and we talked about how to get more people to contribute, about making use of CPAN modules in projects and about which versions of Perl are used in the enterprise. Then the talks began.

Leftovers

  • Anti-Corruption Officials Laud the Internet

    After another year in which prominent corruption scandals and embarrassing controversies were brought to widespread public attention on the Internet–despite an intensifying clampdown on information by the government–you might think the government isn’t a big fan of the Internet’s role in the corruption issue.

  • No category of digital content has attracted payments from more than 33% of American Net users

    Pew Internet reports that 65% of American Net users (75% of the people they contacted) have paid for online, digital content. Ever. And there’s no category of goods in which more than one third of the respondents have ever paid for content.

  • DVD touted by Glenn Beck stirs up archaeological spat

    But, Lepper said, “The evidence is overwhelmingly that they are a fraud. And the premise that the Smithsonian or anyone made an effort to cover this up is not factually based.”

  • How Much Copyright Infringement Can You Cram Into a Single Tweet?

    Chilling Effects says it received records of 11,500 total takedown notices in 2010, as of Dec. 15. Major contributors include Google, Yahoo and Digg.

  • Facebook Close To Naming Sun Microsystems Campus As New Headquarters

    It’s been less than two years since Facebook moved into its 150,000 square foot office space at 1601 South California Ave in Palo Alto, but the rapidly growing company is already itching for a new home. Now we’re hearing from multiple sources that Facebook has chosen the site for its new headquarters: the former Sun Microsystems/Oracle campus in Menlo Park CA, just off the Bayfront Expressway at 1601 Willow Road (map). The campus is around six miles from Facebook’s current home, and is bordered by Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

  • Why waste money? Free software just as wonderful
  • Science

    • The Joy of Stats (Video)

      The Joy of Stats is an hour long BBC documentary by Professor Hans Rosling, in which he illustrates the beauty and importance of statistics as a means of understanding the world and society in which we live.

    • Top 10 Things Science Fiction Promised Us That DID Happen in 2010

      1. Walk through X-ray airport scanners — Who can forget the classic scene in Total Recall where Ahnuld walks through the scanner at the space port and we get a full x-ray of his body? Well, for some reason, people didn’t think this technology was quite as cool when it was brought to an airport security line near them this year. Maybe it was the the thought that someone in a dark room is looking at virtual nudie pictures of us. Maybe it was the increase in radiation bombarding our bodies. Whatever it was, many want to leave this advance behind in 2010.

    • Top 10 Things Science Fiction Promised Us That Didn’t Happen in 2010
  • Health/Nutrition

    • What Is in Fast Food? A Newly Discovered Reason to Avoid Fast Food

      According to Madbury, regulators who approved these chemicals for use with food and other products made three assumptions, which have now been proven wrong:

      1. The chemicals won’t migrate from paper into food.
      2. The chemicals won’t become available to your body.
      3. Your body won’t process these chemicals.

  • New Year

    • Federated Social Web: Top 10 of 2010

      Here are a few of the FSW developments that I think have been important in 2010. The list is in order from least important to most important, and all opinions come from yours truly only. My criteria for inclusion were influence on future uptake of federation technologies – positive and negative. I didn’t exclude events or developments that my company or I personally was involved in; it would be a pretty short list in that case.

    • Reasons to be Cheerful

      Our computers are about ten times faster in clock speed than they were circa 2000, but have vastly more (and faster) storage, are cheaper, and are crawling into everything from hotel room doorhandles to automobiles and TVs. My mobile phone today is significantly faster and more powerful — and has a higher resolution display and more storage! — than my PC in 2000. And my broadband today runs roughly 32 times as fast as it did in 2000. (Whether this is good or not is a matter of opinion, but at least it’s available if you want it.)

      There’s been enormous progress in genomics; we’re now on the threshold of truly understanding how little we understand. While the anticipated firehose of genome-based treatments hasn’t materialized, we now know why it hasn’t materialized, and it’s possible to start filling in the gaps in the map. Turns out that sequencing the human genome was merely the start. (It’s not a blueprint; it’s not even an algorithm for generating a human being. Rather, it’s like a snapshot of the static data structures embedded in an executing process. Debug that.) My bet is that we’re going to have to wait another decade. Then things are going to start to get very strange in medicine.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Online Video
    • The Best Internet Memes Of The Decade: Chuck Norris, Rickroll, Lolcats And More From 2001-2010
    • A Road Less Traveled

      Amid the planes, trains and automobiles of the holiday season comes a surprising finding from transportation scientists: Passenger travel, which grew rapidly in the 20th century, appears to have peaked in much of the developed world.

    • A Dozen Copyright Predictions for 2011

      Here are a dozen copyright predictions for 2011, mostly but not solely of interest to Canadians…

    • Linux and open source prognostications for 2011

      So…what exactly is in store for Linux and open source in the upcoming year? Will it FINALLY be the “year of the Linux desktop”? We’ve been saying that for, what, three thousand years now? Let me don my Nostradamus cap and reach into the future and find out what is in store.

    • Geek&Poke’s Predictions For The Next 20 Years
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Document – Belarus: Further information: Opposition activist tortured in detention

      Andrei Sannikau, an opposition activist in Belarus and presidential candidate in the 19 December presidential election, has been tortured while in detention. Andrei Sannikau’s lawyer reported that his legs appear to be broken and the way he speaks and holds himself indicates that he may have brain damage. He needs urgent medical attention.

    • China’s new netizens voice suspicions over death of village chief

      An activist decapitated, a journalist killed, a lawyer beaten, a magazine closed and an embarrassing legal case mysteriously settled out of court. In the past few days China’s netizens have dug their claws into a smorgasbord of crimes and controversies in which the only constant is a reluctance to believe the official version of events.

    • Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

      The new shadow transport minister has suggested that the country’s network of average speed cameras could be used to monitor and reward careful drivers with prizes, cheaper car tax, or by deducting penalty points from their licence.

      Conscious that her party was perceived as anti-motorist when in government, Angela Eagle suggested such uses for the cameras “might make people understand there is a point to [them]” she told The Daily Telegraph.

    • Revealed: The full shambles of the ID card trial in Greater Manchester

      Civil servants were urged to sign up their own families for ID cards as the controversial scheme flopped, it can be revealed today.

      Confidential reports into trials of the controversial £30 cards, obtained by the M.E.N., expose for the first time the chaos that surrounded their introduction.

      The £1bn scheme was launched in Greater Manchester in November last year but proved a hugely expensive failure, with only 13,200 people signing up.

    • Justice Department Refuses Cooperation With Polish Prosecutors Investigating Torture at CIA Black Site

      Polish prosecutors looking into the torture (including waterboarding) of prisoners held at the former CIA black site in northeastern Poland near Szymany air base turned to the U.S. Department of Justice with a request for help in collecting information relevant to the case.

    • Russian fifth-generation fighter: high hopes

      Under secrecy, Russia’s first fifth-generation PAK FA fighter jet has successfully completed a test flight. Its appearance has now been revealed by Sukhoi, the plane’s manufacturer, which released footage of the flight.

  • Cablegate

    • Wired.com: Lamo/Manning Wikileaks chat logs contain no unpublished references to Assange or private servers (Updated)

      Wired.com’s Kevin Poulsen and Evan Hansen have confirmed key details concerning unpublished chat logs between whistleblower Bradley Manning and informant Adrian Lamo. Responding to questions on Twitter, Poulsen wrote that the unpublished portion of the chats contain no further reference to ‘private’ upload servers for Manning, while Hansen indicated that they contain no further reference to the relationship between Manning and Wikileaks chief Julian Assange.

      U.S. Army Pvt. Manning, who allegedly sent 250,000 diplomatic cables and other secrets to Wikileaks, awaits trial in Quantico, Virginia. Wikileaks, working with newspapers in Europe, has so far published about 2,000 of the cables, with minor redactions.

    • Messenger refuses to be shot

      This highlights an issue that also came up with WikiLeaks. The US government used a system for holding its confidential communications that was intrinsically insecure (a unified database with something like two million officials authorised to use it). When its insecurity is finally revealed by Bradley Manning (and then WikiLeaks), the response is to rage against the breach whereas the rational thing to do is to rethink the security architecture. Governments are entitled to keep some secrets. But if those secrets are important, then they ought to be seriously protected, not put at risk in such a clueless way. So exposure fulfils a vital function, however annoying it may be at the time.

      One wonders, though, if anyone in the UK Cabinet Office is paying attention to all this. As far as I know, the Coalition is still committed to the computerisation of NHS medical records embarked upon by New Labour. This means that the UK is constructing the same kind of intrinsically-insecure system as that breached by WikiLeaks. If the NHS system is built, the UK will have a centralised database of highly confidential documents — the medical records of every citizen — to which upwards 100,000 people of different organisational grades will have routine rights of access. Imagine the fuss there will be when the News of the World pays some bent geek to access the medical records of Cabinet ministers, celebrities and the like.

    • Bankers fail to censor thesis exposing loophole in bank card security

      A powerful bankers’ association has failed in its attempt to censor a student thesis after complaining that it revealed a loophole in bank card security.

      The UK Cards Association, which represents major UK banks and building societies, asked Cambridge University to remove the thesis from its website, but the request was met with a blunt refusal.

    • From Wikileaks to OpenLeaks, Via the Knight News Challenge

      Back in 2009, Daniel Domscheit-Berg applied to the Knight News Challenge in the name of Wikileaks for $532,000 to fund a project to “improve the reach, use and impact of a platform that allows whistle-blowers and journalists to anonymously post source material.” At the time Domscheit-Berg was known to the world by the pseudonym “Daniel Schmitt” and made frequent appearances on behalf of Wikileaks alongside its editor-in-chief Julian Assange (including at the October 2009 Personal Democracy Forum Europe conference in Barcelona). Now, as is widely known, he and Assange have parted ways and Domscheit-Berg is part of a group organizing the launch of OpenLeaks.org, which is being described as more of a technological service provider to media organizations than as a central hub for leaks, and which is promising to roll out a detailed description of its organization and plans in January 2011.

    • Good Leak, Bad Leak: Why Wikileaks Matters

      There is more to fighting for freedom than simply picking up a gun.

    • Wikileaks: Crowdsourcing Cables and Coverage of the Cables. Nothing Else.
    • Assange: I’ve got the names of Arab officials spying on their own countries for the CIA

      The Internets are buzzing about an interview Julian Assange gave to Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel Wednesday, in which the WikiLeaks frontman reportedly threatened to release cables showing that various Arab officials were working with the CIA.

    • Rig owner refuses to honor oil spill subpoenas

      The owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico is refusing to honor subpoenas from a federal board that has challenged the company’s involvement in monitoring the testing of a key piece of equipment that failed to stop the oil spill disaster.

      Transocean said the U.S. Chemical Safety Board does not have jurisdiction in the probe, so it doesn’t have a right to the documents and other items it seeks. The board told The Associated Press late Wednesday that it does have jurisdiction and it has asked the Justice Department to intervene to enforce the subpoenas.

    • Just Weeks After Cutting Off Wikileaks, Amazon Brags About How US Federal Gov’t Is One Of Its Biggest AWS Customers?

      Again, no one is saying that Amazon has no right to deny service to whomever it wishes, but it does seem a bit odd from a PR standpoint, and raises questions about how much anyone should trust working with Amazon web services. I know it’s making me reconsider my own use of the platform for various projects.

    • 8 Smears and Misconceptions About WikiLeaks Spread By the Media

      As Glenn Greenwald has argued, mainstream news outlets are parroting smears and falsehoods about the whistleblower site and its founder Julian Assange, helping to perpetuate a number of “zombie lies” — misconceptions that refuse to die no matter how much they conflict with known reality, basic logic and well-publicized information.

    • Ministers must ‘wise up not clam up’ after WikiLeaks disclosures

      The government should take the WikiLeaks revelations as a lesson that civil servants and ministers can no longer assume they operate in private, and “wise up” to a world where any official communication could be made public, according to the information commissioner.

      Christopher Graham, the independent freedom of information watchdog, told the Guardian that the website’s disclosures had profoundly changed the relationship between state and public, in a way that could not be “un-invented”. But he warned against “clamming up,” saying the only response was for ministers to be more open.

    • WikiLeaks reveals State Department discord over U.S. support for Canadian tar sands oil pipeline

      A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed that a U.S. diplomat warned the Obama administration about significant environmental impacts stemming from Canada’s controversial tar sands oil production program.

      The language in the cable contradicts recent statements by U.S. State Department officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that underplay the environmental impacts of tar sands oil while defending a proposed pipeline that would bring the extremely polluting oil from Canada to the U.S.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange: 2,000 sites now have all documents

      In the event of his untimely death or long-term incarceration, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would make public all the leaked documents his group has, the activist reiterated Thursday in an interview with the broadcaster al Jazeera.

      “If I am forced, we could go to the extreme and expose each and every file that we have access to,” he said, according to media groups reporting on the interview.

    • One tip enough to put name on watch list

      A year after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials say they have made it easier to add individuals’ names to a terrorist watch list and improved the government’s ability to thwart an attack in the United States.

      The failure to put Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the watch list last year renewed concerns that the government’s system to screen out potential terrorists was flawed. Even though Abdulmutallab’s father had told U.S. officials of his son’s radicalization in Yemen, government rules dictated that a single-source tip was insufficient to include a person’s name on the watch list.

    • Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Timeline

      Private First Class Bradley E. Manning was arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of U.S. diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. He has been held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico since sometime in May 2010.

    • Half-formed thought on Wikileaks & Global Action

      It’s possible that the plain meaning of the Pentagon Papers case will clear Assange and Wikileaks, full stop, and the era of self-restraint of the press in response to extra-legal constraints is over, at least in the US context. It’s possible that the Pentagon Papers case will be re-adjudicated, and the press freedoms of the traditional press in the US will be dramatically constrained, relative to today. It’s possible that new laws will be written by Congress; it’s possible that those laws will be vetoed, or overturned, or amended. Whatever happens, though, this is new ground, and needs to be hashed out as an exemplar of the clash of basic principles that it is.

    • Julian Assange Given Press Freedom Award

      A Romanian online publication known for its editorial independence is honoring Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for his service to press freedom, which it warns is under threat in Eastern Europe.

      Cotidianul.ro said Saturday Assange was given the “Free Dacia” award for exposing the “duplicitous behavior of some democratic countries.”

      Wiklieaks has begun publishing some 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables.

    • Wanted [IMG]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Italian shops to bin plastic bags from New Year’s Day

      The window of New Market on Via Antonio Cantore in the Prati quarter of Rome was crammed with the delicacies that go into a traditional Italian New Year’s Eve feast – lentils, zamponi (stuffed pig’s trotters) and hyper-calorific cotechino sausages from Modena.

      Tomorrow’s cenone (literally, “big dinner”) will usher in not just a change of the year, but a revolution for shoppers and store owners. From 1 January Italy’s hundreds of thousands of retailers will be banned from giving their customers plastic bags.

  • Finance

    • Interview: How Bitcoin Created a Decentralized Crypto-Currency

      Bitcoin is an open source, peer-to-peer electronic currency created by Satoshi Nakamoto and maintained by a small team of developers. As part of what’s turning into an ongoing series on the distributed Web, I talked to contributor Gavin Andresen about how the software works. This is a technical overview. If you’re interested in an economic or political look at the software, you can read the Wikipedia entry or Niklas Blanchard’s essay on the project.

    • Vatican enacts laws on financial transparency

      The Vatican, whose bank is the focus of a money laundering investigation, enacted laws on Thursday to bring it in line with international standards on financial transparency and the fight against funding terrorism.

    • Support the Dominant Paradigm

      Democracy has been rendered a quaint exercise in which we are asked to select which robber baron will loot our resources, which moral entrepreneur will pander to us, and which corporate elitist will decide our fates.

    • Western Union: Stop the crippling fees!

      As the new year starts, millions of hard-working men and women gather the money they have saved throughout the year, go to a local Western Union office and wire it to their relatives throughout the developing world. But up to 20% of these savings are taken in transfer fees, allowing companies to make billions of dollars in profit on the backs of the world’s neediest.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Triangulating Murdoch

      UK media and political watchers and workers continue to be captivated by Rupert Murdoch’s every breath and word. Owning five newspapers that regularly boost or end politicians’ careers with editorial endorsements and slant as well as controlling a hugely successful television franchise News Corporation has undisputed clout. With zestful assurance News Corporation, through its subsidiary News International, announced its intention to acquire shares in pay-TV company BSkyB it doesn’t already own within minutes of Conservative Party leader David Cameron, endorsed by News Corporation newspapers, becoming UK Prime Minister after parliamentary elections.

      [...]

      Sky News, which operates under News International, drew heat from some quarters fearful it would morph into something like News Corporation’s veracity -challenged, teabagger-supporting US all (sort of) news channel Fox News.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Fidesz: The story so far

      FIDESZ, a right-wing party, was elected to government in Hungary in April with a stonking majority and a large popular mandate for change following what it saw as eight years of misrule and corruption under the Socialist Party. In office, Fidesz, led by the belligerent prime minister, Viktor Orban, has interpreted this mandate in a liberal fashion, extending state control over independent institutions and appointing party men to roles of authority. With Hungary about to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union, some observers are concerned about what they consider to be a growing trend of assaults on the country’s independent centres of power. Our interactive chart chronicles the events of the last eight months.

    • Boycott Amazon.com

      They removed another one of my books from their list and are still ignoring me.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Global Internet Censorship

      At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we’re going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting.

    • VoIP decision means Skype now illegal

      The Chinese regulator has declared Internet phone services other than those provided by China Telecom and China Unicom as illegal, which is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country.

      The decision was criticized as a measure to protect the duopoly of state-owned telecom carriers, media reports said yesterday.

    • Leaving Facebook

      Facebook is like a casino: garish, crowded, distracting, designed to lure you in and keep you there far longer than you ever intended. (The same is true of its predecessor, MySpace.) Status updates—not only by actual friends and acquaintances but also from companies, news outlets, celebrities, sports teams—jockey for space with videos, ads, games, chat windows, event calendars, and come-ons to find more people, make more connections, share more data.

    • YouTube Legally Considered a TV Station In Italy

      Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that YouTube and similar websites based on user-generated content will be considered TV stations (Google translation of Italian original) in Italian law, and will be subject to the same obligations. Among these, a small tax (500 €), the obligation to publish corrections within 48 hours upon request of people who consider themselves slandered by published content, and the obligation not to broadcast content inappropriate for children in certain time slots.

    • Censorship In The United States – WARNING – Avoid U.S. Hosting And TLDs

      TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the affidavit filed by the DHS agent. It makes an interesting read.

    • The visionaries

      Tim Wu in the Meat Packing district in Manhattan, NY on December 19, 2010. Tim Wu specializes in telecommunications law, copyright, and international trade. He is the co-author of Who Controls the Internet?— Jimmy Jeong for The Globe and Mail

      ‘This is not about selling wristwatches or sweaters,” says Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School professor considered one of the world’s leading thinkers on technology policy. “This is information – information is power.”

      Raised in Toronto and a graduate of McGill University, he argues in The Master Switch, his new book, that information empires from radio to the modern Internet have a standard “cycle.” They begin with intense and extremely positive innovation but eventually lead to the rise of monopolistic entities that stray from their roots and, in some cases, stifle progress rather than foster it.

    • Websites Black-out as Drastic Internet Censorship is Introduced in Hungary

      A new media law in Hungary creates a powerful censorship authority without oversight and excessive powers under control of the governing party, which endangers the freedom of speech, the Internet and journalism as a whole. Citizens are called to black-out the Internet from the 5th January – when Hungary is taking over the EU presidency on the 6th January 2011.

    • Home Internet with Anonymity Built In

      Many political activists, nonprofits, and businesses use an anonymity system called Tor to encrypt and obscure what they do on the Internet. Now the U.S.-based nonprofit that distributes Tor is developing a low-cost home router with the same privacy protection built in.

      The Tor software masks Web traffic by encrypting network messages and passing them through a series of relays (each Tor client can also become a relay for other users’ messages). But using Tor has typically meant installing the software on a computer and then tweaking its operating system to ensure that all traffic is routed correctly through the program.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Global Internet Censorship

      U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton staked out clear a position for the American Government in favor of global online freedom and against Internet censorship. But subsequent developments have been much less encouraging. In fact, as 2010 draws to an end, the United States has veered dangerously towards becoming a significant Internet censor itself.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Intel’s Sandy Bridge sucks up to Hollywood with DRM

      CHIPMAKER Intel has cut a deal with Hollywood in its Sandy Bridge chips to put digital restrictions management (DRM) in them.

    • Amazon Kindle Now Lets You Loan Your E-Books (Sorta)
    • Hack turns Nook Color into Kindle

      As soon as Barnes & Noble released the Android-powered Nook Color, one question that many people were asking was would you be able to run the Kindle app for Android on the device. Of course, Barnes & Noble wasn’t going to authorize it, but it was only a matter of time before people started “rooting” the Nook Color to run a customized flavor of Android that would allow you to download Android apps, including the Kindle app.

    • The Struggle for Net Neutrality

      Will Net Neutrality fare better? As the last frontier of press freedom, it gives consumers access to any equipment, content, application and service, free from corporate control. Public interest groups want it preserved.

    • Net Neutrality 2011: What Storms May Come

      When the Federal Communications Commission passed its first binding network neutrality rules earlier this month, it brought a sort of closure to a long-running, raucous debate that had left nearly all participants exasperated, if not exhausted.

      But one would be hard pressed to find an observer who really thinks the FCC’s Dec. 21 order will be the final word in the net neutrality debate. So what happens next?

      FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski billed the rules as a compromise that would establish some baseline prohibitions against service providers blocking lawful content on their networks, while shielding them from the heavy-handed regulatory oversight cable and phone companies had long fought against.

  • Monopolies

    • Despite Promises That Franchise Reform Would Lower TV Rates, The Opposite Has Happened

      For years, the telcos pushed for cable franchise reform, which was sorely needed to some extent. Basically, for decades, various local municipalities would offer a “franchise” for cable TV providers, so that residents really only had a single choice. When I was growing up, if you wanted pay TV you had one option and one option only. The reason for this did make some sense at the time. Laying infrastructure for cable was disruptive and expensive, and towns didn’t want multiple providers to dig up everyone’s lawn or whatever. On top of that, with a single franchise managed by local government, that local government could put conditions on the franchise that helped local residents (for example, here in Silicon Valley some franchises required super high speed broadband connections between schools, government building and a few other facilities). However, with it also came the downsides of a monopoly.

      [...]

      I think the real turning point on pay TV prices (contrary to the claims of some) won’t come due to franchise reform, but as more people ditch pay TV altogether and cut that cord to go internet-only.

    • When Sending A Bogus TM C&D, Don’t Send It To A Lawyer Who Understands TM Law

      Of course, using a logo in such a manner is not trademark infringement in the slightest, but it doesn’t stop Olson from making claims that it is. The letter claims that this is “misappropriating Career Step’s goodwill… and confusing the public. This will damage and likely has damaged, Career Step.” Of course, I’d argue that having its lawyer send out such a cease & desist would likely do more damage than the original post.

    • New Year’s Message: From Pessimism To Optimism… And The Power Of Innovation

      A couple months back, I had a really fascinating experience. I had two meetings in a row, each with incredibly successful content creators — people who have embraced new business models and new technologies to amazing results, both creatively and monetarily. We were discussing the state of the entertainment industry today, as well as additional strategies for navigating what’s coming next. What I found amusing, however, was how at some point, in the middle of each of those meetings, the person I was talking to sat back, laughed, and said “you’re such an optimist about these things!” I was amused, since both of these individuals had already shown an ability to thrive in these new, often unchartered waters, but they still weren’t completely convinced of their own success.

      But the part that really struck me, was that immediately following these two meetings, I went to check on Techdirt, and was reading a series of comments about how reading Techdirt each day was making people more and more pessimistic — what with new, more draconian copyright laws, domain name seizures, free speech violations and the like happening. And the juxtaposition of the two things struck me as odd. Yet, it seems to happen quite frequently.

    • Firms fight move to obtain cheap anti-blindness drug Avastin

      The NHS has moved a step closer to obtaining a cheap drug to prevent the leading cause of blindness, in spite of attempts by drug companies to block it.

      The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which decides which drugs may be prescribed on the NHS, has decided to move towards an official appraisal of a drug, Avastin, that has been widely and cheaply used to prevent wet age-related macular degeneration – even though the drug companies that make and market it refuse to seek a licence. They have a licensed version which is many times more expensive.

    • Copyrights

      • Dilma announced new minister of culture – and the end of the copyright reform?

        In the media interviews so far, the new minister, who is not a member of the PT, points out that she had been approached about ten days earlier and received the invitation to head the ministry only two days before her appointment. Nevertheless, as a professional artist and someone who has worked in the public culture administration, her initial statements are astonishingly clueless. The direction in which she is set to go, however, seems to be already clear. One of the first interviews, published by O Globo (in a DRM format that prohibits copying of the text) is headlined “Culture Minister will review the new Law on Copyright” (Ministra da Cultura vai rever a nova Lei do Direto Autoral, André Miranda, O Globo, 23.12.2010)

      • Radiohead Charity Pay-What-You-Want DVD On BitTorrent

        In January 2010, in response to the emerging tragedy from the earthquake in Haiti, Radiohead performed before a limited audience at a charity concert in the United States. Since that performance, footage of the event has been painstakingly compiled by fans and now a twin DVD has been released, endorsed by the band. All proceeds are going to charity and the fastest way of acquiring it? BitTorrent of course.

      • Only one of over 7,000 Batman XXX P2P defendants remains

        Holy downloads, Caped Crusader—the judge that has been kneecapping copyright troll suits right and left has done it again. This time, West Virginia United States District Court Judge John Preston Bailey has “severed” 7,097 out of 7,098 Joe Doe defendant subpoenas in a lawsuit alleging that they illegally downloaded copies of Batman XXX: A Porn Parody.

        Bailey’s reason for the dismissal? Same as the massive smackdown he dealt to a host of porn movie infringement suits earlier this month. Bunching them all together in one big case made no sense, since the defendant’s actions weren’t related to each other.

      • ‘Tis the season… to sign petitions

        But the card also comes with an inserted petition, urging people to sign to protest Bill C-32, the Harper government’s proposed copyright legislation. The petition says the legislation would tamper with existing copyright protection for artists and musicians.

      • China’s Ministry Of Culture To Clear Illegal Music Websites

        China’s Ministry of Culture has published a notice stating that it will further clear the Chinese online music market and shut down irregular and illegal music websites.

      • Waiting for ‘Waiting for Godot’

        Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1954 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2011.

      • Pirate Party Leader Rick Falkvinge Resigns on 5th Anniversary

        Five years ago the first Pirate Party was founded in Sweden. In the years that followed the Party shook up the political climate in its home country and the European Parliament where it holds two seats. Now, five years later, founder and chief architect Rickard Falkvinge is stepping down as leader. He will focus on promoting the Pirate position internationally, while Party deputy Anna Troberg will take over the reins.

      • 5 Anti-Piracy Strategies Designed to Hurt Torrent Sites in 2011

        In 2011 the war against BitTorrent and other file-sharing sites will reach a new level. Since sites such as The Pirate Bay have proven that no amount of litigation or criminal sanctions against their operators can take them down, the focus will switch to undermining their infrastructure. Companies and organizations providing file-sharing sites with essential services are set to face the glare of the spotlight and attempts to hold them accountable for the actions of their customers’ users.

Clip of the Day

Google Demo Slam: Streetview Road Race


Credit: TinyOgg

01.01.11

Links 1/1/2011: Google’s Use of Linux Against Windows, Indie Games’ Use of GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #8

      The topics for this edition include a discussion of various open source BIOSes (also known as kernals) for personal computers and my experiences with CoreBoot and SeaBIOS. We also talk about using FreeDOS and running old MSDOS programs in the modern era. Duration is a bit over 16 minutes, 38 megs in size.

  • Google

    • Google Sees Life in the Cloud w/o Windows

      But perhaps most troubling to Microsoft, they now must compete with the economics of free, as Google is offering its Open Source Chrome operating system (O/S) free to hardware manufacturers—taking dead aim at the core business model that sustains rival Microsoft.

      That’s give-away O/S, give-away browser, give-away video player technology all from Google. This can power literally hundreds of next generation devices, from netbooks to iPad tablet /EBR wannabe’s ready to hit the market.

    • Chrome OS: A Shot At Microsoft’s Bow

      Google’s Cr-48 notebook with Chrome OS is an incredibly sophisticated strategy to build traction and reputation for an operating system that is far from being ready and far from being able to replace any major operating system on the market today. But the implication and the goal is clear: The target is to become the future Windows in breadth and reach. There has never been a greater threat for Microsoft’s core business than today.

  • Applications

    • DockBarX 0.42 comes with a new feature codenamed “ScrollPeak”

      DockBarX 0.42 is released, this version comes with some improvements and a new feature codenamed “ScrollPeak” : ” With ScrollPeak instead of rising windows while scrolling, the windows will simply be opacified one by one until you found the one you are looking for and when you move the mouse cursor away from the group button it will be raised. Nothing revolutionary but it should improve the work flow for some of you.”

    • Choosing Computer Tools for Tiny Geeks
    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Open Source and Games

        Motivations for Open Sourcing

        Why do people Open Source code in general? Looking at a lot of Open Source code I came in contact with I can probably assign each piece of code into one of four categories:

        Working with Others

        If you want to work together with other people, Open Sourcing code is a great idea. If you want to connect different systems it makes a lot of sense to make the communication interface open source so that everybody can work on that. I think the buzzword for that is probably “interoperability”.

        Community Maintenance

        If a company went out of business or is no longer maintaining a particular piece of software, projects are often opened for everybody.

        Marketing

        Some people open source code for marketing reasons. These releases come often with ridiculous strings attached to the license or are missing essential bits. At the very least, these projects are not noticed as Open Source projects, even if they are technically Open Source.

        Because it makes sense

        Certain things only make sense to be distributed as open source. Either because people expect it to be open source (like libraries for Python or other dynamic programming languages) or because there is just no reason to keep it closed. My stuff falls under this category for instance. None of the Pocoo projects would work in any way if they would not be Open Source.

      • Why Indie Games Need GNU+Linux

        Indie games are not very popular, on any platform. They are independent of the big game companies like EA, id Software, Infinity Ward, and Crytek. Thus they also lack the kind of funding these companies have. Windows users started taking games for granted a long time ago. With Windows being the dominant operating system, Windows users know that high quality commercial games have to have Windows versions, so when an indie game comes out, with an average price of $20, they seem too expensive to most people using Windows. As evidence, the average price Windows users are paying for the recent “Humble Indie Bundle #2″ is $6.63.

      • Dilogus fantasy RPG comes to life with Unigine engine

        Unigine Corp. announces that Digital Arrow Studio has started working on “Dilogus – The Winds of War” fantasy RPG based on Unigine engine.

        Do you enjoy Unigine Heaven benchmark? Have you ever imagined a game with the same setting powered by its stunning to the eye technology? Your dreams come true: now there is a RPG based on the Unigine engine featuring floating islands and mystical caves in a fantasy setting.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMail adventure

        After I moved to Linux, I favored Thunderbird as my email client because I found it easy to configure. Of course, I knew that KDE includes a client called KMail, but its appearance was not attractive enough for me. However, I decided to give it a try now that I have some spare time…those brief moments in which my four-month old daughter is asleep and I can go play with the computer.

        The question was if I could configure KMail on my own and get it to work properly. Given the fact that I am not an expert, the issue is significant because if I can handle it, that means that KMail is user friendly.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Near the 50 Day

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) closed the trading day at $46.25 close to its 50 day moving average currently set at $44.32. Red Hat’s price action is just above this important support level translating into a trading opportunity.

      • Fedora

        • gbuild: Meet the new boss (Same as the old boss)

          Checking that nothing (or almost nothing) needs to be rebuild is faster. On a sample system (Notebook with Core2Duo, 2 GHz) on Windows XP (anti virus software installed), rechecking that nothing needs to be done for module sw takes 7 sec with a warm cache. On the same machine build.pl/dmake took 210 sec with the same “full” header dependencies.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition now available in 64-bit, with performance boost

        The Linux Mint Debian Edition — built from Debian Testing, unlike “regular” Mint editions that start with an Ubuntu base — just released a new image that pushes the project forward much more quickly that I expected.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Share the Knowledge with Freedom: Partimus

          Partimus is a California Ubuntu LoCo Team and 501c(3) non-profit which has successfully deployed Linux on the desktop in 6 Bay-Area schools.

        • Jack Valenti on Ubuntu

          In a post yesterday, we mentioned Jack Valenti, the late but not lamented ex-boss of Hollywood’s MPAA (centre).

          With him (on both counts) is/are Dan ‘The Joker’ Glickman, the failed and now departed but still alive ex-MPAA boss.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based NAS supports 45TB of storage

      Synology announced a high-end model in its line of NAS (network attached storage) devices targeting small- and medium-sized business. The DS1511+ has a 1.86GHz dual-core processor, room for up to five hard disk drives and 15TB of storage, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and compatibility with two external storage units, according to the company.

    • Review: Giada Slim N20
    • HP’s webOS-based PalmPad may play spoil sport for Microsoft

      FoxNews reported that HP will release three versions of PalmPad that will run on webOS juice, version 2.5.1. It further reported that the fourth tablet primarily crafted for university students will not be showcased at the CES event.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • My 5 Essential Android Applications
        • Android Watchers See Thunderbolts on Verizon’s Horizon

          Verizon’s first LTE phone, an Android smarpthone called “Thunderbolt,” will reportedly make its first official public appearance at CES next week. Meanwhile, Thunderbolt specs and images are making their way around the Web. The phone will allegedly have a 4.3-inch touchscreeen with a resolution of 1,280 by 800.

        • The irony of Microsoft being Android’s safeword

          It’s nice when a post with such a grandiose title like “The Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995″ actually delivers. It takes a look at the number of “Android will crush everyone in 2011” articles and ponders what that actually means. Not directly for the industry as a whole, but what it means for Google as a business, and the hardware partners who have tied themselves to the Mountain View company?

        • Google Aims Twin Daggers at Microsoft’s Heart: Rich Jaroslovsky

          Of the two new offerings, the Nexus S is the one most visible to consumers. The phone went on sale in the U.S. yesterday at Best Buy Co. stores and online for $199 on a two- year contract from Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA, and for $529 with no contract.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Education

    • Potsdam schools eye switch from Microsoft to save money

      James M. Cruikshank, a middle school principal and member of the Potsdam Central School District’s technology committee, said the switch would alleviate the rising cost of licensing fees associated with Microsoft’s suite, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The free alternative, OpenOffice, has similar components and can open Microsoft documents.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Pligg 1.1.3 updates open source digg clone for Karma

      The open source Pligg project has been around now for five years and is celebrating with a new release.

      The Pligg 1.1.3 release provides security and bug fixes as well as a new Karma-based voting method to complement the existing digg and reddit styles of voting.

  • Programming

    • Application Development: Java, C, C++: Top Programming Languages for 2011
    • The Top 7 Java Stories of 2010

      eWEEK takes a look at seven of the biggest stories to impact or raise the interest of the Java community in 2010 – starting with Oracle acquiring Sun.

    • Java Lives

      Many users see Java as stuck in a quagmire. But there’s hope. The innovation needed to keep Java relevant will come from the broader Java ecosystem, and not from Oracle or the Java Community Process. However, frameworks and APIs can only provide so much innovation. The community is starting to turn to new programming language paradigms.

Leftovers

  • Twins’ Facebook Fight Rages On

    The Winklevosses — identical twins and Harvard graduates — say that they, along with another Harvard student, Divya Narendra, had the original idea for Facebook, and that Mark Zuckerberg stole it. They sued Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg in 2004, and settled four years later for $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook shares.

    They have been trying to undo that settlement since, saying they were misled on the value of the deal. But it has not been an easy decision.

  • A Game of Clue: What Killed Skype

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: People should be forced to upgrade their systems if they’re going to be on the Internet. One way to do that is to make sure applications, like Skype, which depend on the Internet, can be automatically updated. Yes, that can be a headache for system administrators, but then so is having out-of-date software on the loose that contributed to taking down an important service.

  • IT Acquisitions 2010: Who Bought What?
  • 10 Most Popular Linux.com Stories in 2010
  • When Will That Other OS be FREE?

    No amount of advertising, FUD, bribery or corruption will keep the Wintel monopoly strong after 2012. M$, Intel and their “partners” will have to earn a living the old-fashioned way, by working for a living.

  • Marvell CEO Says ARM Chips are “Here to Stay,” With or Without Microsoft Windows

    The CEO of Santa Clara, CA-based semiconductor maker Marvell, Sehat Sutardja, has downplayed the significance of rumors circulating this week that Microsoft plans to unveil a version of Windows that runs on low-power ARM chips like those made by Marvell, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many other companies.

  • Science

    • ‘Eternal’ solar plane’s records are confirmed

      The UK-built solar-powered Zephyr aeroplane has been confirmed as a record-breaker following its non-stop two-week flight earlier this year.

      The world governing body for air sports records, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), gave Zephyr three records including longest time aloft.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Worst Kind of Ham Sandwich

      Over the last decade, the federal government has been targeting doctors who treat pain patients with prescription drugs like Percocet and Oxycontin. Advocates like Reynolds argue that doctors who overprescribe painkillers should be disciplined by medical boards if they are sloppy or unscrupulous, not judges and prosecutors. Dumping them into the criminal justice system puts drug cops in the position of determining what is and isn’t acceptable medical treatment. One promising treatment of chronic pain known as high-dose opiate therapy, for example has all but disappeared because doctors are too terrified of running afoul of the law to try it.

  • Security

    • Elgan: How spammers will poison your social graph

      Well, it wasn’t. And it won’t be, at least not anytime soon. The reason is that unscrupulous, shameless marketers who pursue a spam strategy evolve and adapt like a virus. As soon as you build a better spam filter, they figure out how to get around it.

      As a result, e-mail long ago became a bad neighborhood. And now an increasing number of people, especially young people, avoid e-mail altogether.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Jaron Lanier’s Virtual Reality: Secrecy Is Good Because Secrecy Is Necessary

      If I had several hours to spare, I might try to go through it addressing his various arguments, from those which amount to unsubstantiated assertions about “the ideology that drives a lot of the online world,” to ad-hominem sniping (for example, “we didn’t necessarily get to know where Mr. Assange was at a given moment” — maybe because he is doing things a lot of governments and organisations don’t like and so discretion is the better part of valour), to outright misapprehension (“Wikileaks isn’t really a “wiki,” but it is designed to look and feel like the Wikipedia” — er, well, no actually, it doesn’t look like it in the slightest), and to various straw men: “What if we come to be able to read each other’s thoughts? Then there would be no thoughts. Your head has to be different from mine if you are to be a person with something to say to me.” As far as I am aware, nobody is calling for mandatory telepathy.

    • UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info

      The United Nations has responded to the ongoing WikiLeaks kerfuffle, urging member states to – ahem – remember the basic human right to access information held by governments and other public authorities.

      In issuing a joint statement on Wikileaks with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression does not mention the US or other involved countries by name. But he does mention “the release of diplomatic cables by the organization Wikileaks” – a reference to the classified US State Department cables released late last month – and clearly, he’s concerned that in responding to the leaks, the US and other countries will step on established international legal principles – if they haven’t already.

    • Nuclear News: WIKILEAKS – Africa Offers Easy Uranium – ‘abysmal safety and security standards’

      Wikileaks cables have revealed a disturbing development in the African uranium mining industry: abysmal safety and security standards in the mines, nuclear research centres, and border customs are enabling international companies to exploit the mines and smuggle dangerous radioactive material across continents.

    • John Pilger in conversation with Julian Assange
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tears for the Tuna
    • End the Ethanol Insanity: Ed Wallace

      It is now conceivable that the myth of ethanol as the salvation for America’s energy problem is coming to an end. And maybe we always should have known it would wind up in italics, underlined, with the real facts of the damage ethanol can do to gas-powered motors laid out for all to see in a court of law. I say that because this past Monday a group calling itself the Engine Products Group, comprising small-engine manufacturers, automakers, and boat manufacturers, filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to vacate the EPA’s October ruling that using a 15 percent blend of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supplies would not harm 2007 and newer vehicles.

    • U.S. Rare Earth Mine Resumes Active Mining

      A major U.S. mine for rare earth metals has gone back into operation, adding a much needed source to offset China’s control of the unique group of materials necessary to build tech gadgets like smart phones and laptops.

    • Radioactive spill at AREVA Uranium mine in Niger

      Greenpeace has today received and verified reports that since December 11th, more than 200,000 litres of radioactive sludge from three cracked waste pools has leaked into the environment at the SOMAIR uranium mine in Niger, operated by French energy company AREVA [1].

    • Japan finally starts taking action against its corrupt whaling industry

      After two and a half years of hard work in Japan to expose corruption at the heart of the whaling industry – we have a significant victory!

    • Finnish Forest Rescued!

      And that’s where the good news comes in. last week, Matti, Greenpeace’s hard-working forest campaigner in Finland, let us know that following a decade of endeavor, a final victory has been achieved in the campaign to protect old-growth forests in northernmost Finland. Negotations between the Saami reindeer herders and the Finnish state forestry company Metsahallitus have resulted in a deal to protect 80% of the forests defined as important by both reindeer herders and Greenpeace in 2002.

  • Finance

    • SEC Probes Private Trades In Facebook, Other Firms

      The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the trading of shares in privately held companies that include Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

      Such trading has taken off on small, private exchanges in the past year, helping to boost the multibillion-dollar valuations of the social-networking companies and other closely held concerns.

    • MasterCard may cut off file sharing sites over piracy

      This piracy link means that the sites in question could fall foul of the proposed—but essentially dead—Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). COICA would allow judges to force service providers, including credit card companies, to block payments to websites “dedicated to infringing activities.” However, the bill was blocked by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who described it as a “bunker-busting cluster bomb,” when what was needed was “a precision-guided missile.”

      In spite of COICA’s failure to pass—in this Congress, at least—the RIAA and MPAA have been pressuring payment providers, advertising networks, and ISPs to do more to fight piracy, and the combination of industry pressure and the possibility of legislation appears to be having some effect. Earlier this month, Google announced a range of measures to improve its response to copyright infringement.

    • Nigerian E-mail Scam Victim Sues Bank, Loses Appeal

      While many victims of the so-called “Nigerian e-mail scam” would be too embarrassed to trumpet that fact, others end up infamous for their victimhood like the appellant in a published opinion of the California Court of Appeal in Riverside. Also known as an advance-fee fraud, the Nigerian scam baits the victim with an advance sum of money now in the hopes of realizing an even larger payment later.

    • For Las Vegas, cold comfort on jobs front

      Here in this large, airy room, all high ceilings and exposed beams, it’s warm; outside it’s cool and breezy, in advance of the near-freezing temps said to be coming just in time for Black Friday. Lowest November lows in 17 years, they say. But the real chills are coming from the economy — on Monday came word of a study by Forbes.com that seemed to confirm what we already know: Las Vegas is the hardest city in which to find a job.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Arch-networker Mandy banned from lobbying: No Blair-style cashing in for next two years, say MPs

      Peter Mandelson has been barred from lobbying ministers and civil servants for two years – amid fears he could exploit his former government contacts for private gain.

      The former Labour business secretary has been told he must not attempt to influence decision-makers in Whitehall on behalf of the foreign billionaires and wealthy corporations expected to employ the services of his new ‘global consultancy’.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Analysis: California’s Online Impersonation Law, Effective January 1

      As of January 1, 2011, California’s first online impersonation law – SB 1411 – goes into effect, making malicious digital impersonation a misdemeanor that comes with fines up to $1000 and/or up to a year in jail.

    • A Censorship-Resistant Web

      What’s nice about this system is that it gets you censorship resistance without introducing anything wildly new. There are already certificate authorities. There are already hash-to-URL servers. There are already mirrors. There’s already Tor. (There’s already tor2web.) The only really new thing specific to censorship resistance is URL-to-hash servers of the form I described, but they’re very simple and hopefully uncontroversial.

      There is some work to be done stitching all of these together and improving the UI, but unlike with some other censorship-resistance systems, there’s nothing you can point to as having no good purpose except for helping bad guys. It’s all pretty basic and generally useful stuff, just put together in a new way.

    • *PC Pro scoop* – the ICO colluded with Google in the course of their “investigation” into the Wi-Fi scandal

      Over at PC Pro, an unbelievable story: the Information Commissioner’s Office and Google “teamed up” on their response to Rob Halfon MP’s complaint about the search giant’s Wi-Fi scandal.

      PC Pro obtained documents using the Freedom of Information Act which support this explosive allegation of collusion between “watchdog” and data snatcher.

      As readers of this site will know well by now, Google was caught scraping private data from unsecured Wi-Fi connections in May as their cars trundled around the country, but initially said no personal information was collected.

    • Hungarian media authority punishes radio for playing “It’s On” by Ice-T

      In another thread, I have already mentioned the situation in Hungary. In a nutshell, if you don’t feel like reading that, the new media related law in Hungary consists of the following ridiculous regulations effective 1st January:

      - News about crimes can’t take up more than 20% of the total amount of news in any news program in any kind of media. Which is just ludicrous. What’s next? Ministry of Happiness?

      - Anything in any media can be reported by anyone on the grounds that it violated some hazy rule (the section which explains what can be regarded as a violation is deliberately ambiguous). Nationwide television and radio stations can be punished up to 200 million Hungarian Forints ($1 million ballpark) – any random person who owns a blog, writes down their opinion and gets reported by some moron can be punished up to 50 million Hungarian Forints (approx. $200.000)!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gibson Gets An Injunction Over PaperJamz; Retailers Ordered To Stop Selling Them

      If you happened to have received a PaperJamz guitar toy for the holidays this year, you may want to hang onto it as a collectors’ item. In November, we wrote about how Gibson, the famed guitar company, was suing a bunch of companies over PaperJamz. The main target, of course, was Wowwee, the toymaker who makes the devices (which are plastic — not actually paper — guitars with a capacitive touch screen that turn your air guitaring into something a bit more real), but Gibson also sued a bunch of retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Target, etc. for selling the toys.

      Eric Goldman now lets us know that Gibson successfully got an injunction against all the defendants, with the court ordering them to stop selling the toys, just days before Christmas, though the defendants quickly appealed the ruling. The full injunction is embedded below.

    • American judges, European citizens – and the Vatican: It’s NO to GE!

      In San Francisco last week, US district judge White couldn’t have been clearer. The GE seeds company Monsanto had illegally planted GE sugar-beet in Arizona and Oregon; the permits for it had been granted by the US Department of Agriculture in violation of an earlier ruling. The judge’s order: Up-root and destroy the whole lot of it!

    • Copyrights

      • Your Party Needs You

        On Thursday 13th January we will have a world first, a Pirate Member of Parliament. Did you just laugh or rubbish that statement? Well, I don’t want your help. If you didn’t and you do genuinely believe that we have a chance of winning the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election, albeit an outside chance, I want to hear from you as soon as possible.

      • Porn Site Says Revealing Takedown Notices Infringe Copyright

        The copyright-infringement allegations are part of Perfect 10’s ongoing lawsuit against Google, a suit with a tortured procedural history. In 2007, a federal appeals court rendered a far-reaching decision, saying search engines like Google were not infringing copyrights by displaying thumbnails and hyperlinking to Perfect 10’s perfect babes.

        Fast forward to today.

        Part of the case, originally filed in 2005, is back before the San Francisco-based appeals court. Among other things, Perfect 10 (NSFW) alleges Google’s forwarding of Perfect 10’s takedown notices to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse website constitutes copyright infringement.

      • United States: Appeals Court: World of Warcraft “Bots” Do Not Infringe Video Game Developer’s Copyright But DMCA Claim Survives
      • Megaupload dares the RIAA to sue it

        Megaupload has hit back saying that it is not up to payment processors to take the law into their own hands.

        Bonnie Lam of Megaupload said that it is not up to them, rather than elected governments, to decide what’s right and what’s wrong.

        Otherwise we would be getting into the silly situation where people cast their votes by choosing a conservative or a liberal credit card, she said.

      • Indie Music Association Comes Out In Favor Of Seizing Domain Names Of Blogs That Promote Their Music

        Yet, we’ve noticed an unfortunate pattern. A2IM often seems to want to be the “mini-RIAA,” frequently staking out identical positions on the issues, and simply adding a “me too” to whatever the RIAA says. Early on it came out in support of ACTA. It’s also been involved in astroturfing campaigns in favor of 3 strikes laws, and most recently, argued against the concept of net neutrality (Update: to be clear, as Bengloff explains in the comments, they were only against specific aspects of a proposed net neutrality plan). The group’s leadership has effectively admitted at times that they take orders from the RIAA. For example, on the issue of ACTA, A2IM’s President, Richard Bengloff, admitted he had not seen ACTA, but supported it because the RIAA told him to.

      • Fashion Design and Copyright

        Should fashion designs be eligible for copyrights? When I listen to people talk about this issue, many of the same interesting arguments come up. These people know about designer knockoffs and feel that something is not quite fair about them. Yet they also view copyists as moving innovation along in the fashion world. Copying releases new fashions from the small circles of their origins to the wider marketplace; it translates designs from abstract experimentation on the catwalk to concrete wearability on the sidewalk. Copying thus plays a vital market role in fashion. And so, in my admittedly small and biased sample, a typical conversation about fashion copyright invariably trends toward a reluctant opposition.

      • Court Dismisses ShareConnector Case Citing Faulty Evidence

        After six years, the criminal proceedings against P2P index site ShareConnector have finally come to an end, much to the embarrassment of the Dutch Department of Justice. The Court dismissed the case and ruled that the Public Prosecutor relied too much on evidence provided by anti-piracy outfit BREIN, and failed to do a proper investigation of its own.

      • walling off another garden: is Soundcloud turning on its supporters?

        This is a real shame. Every aspect of music that I care about and that I participate in, for the past 15 years Djing across 19 countries on 3 continents, has been based in practices and traditions in which remixing and mixtapes are a fundamental element. In fact, similar practices are fundamental to every living musical tradition (from hiphop & reggae to jazz improvisation to tecnobrega and beyond (and are vital to nonmusical creative traditions too). Whether they involve re-using copied digital recordings or live re-performances or re-incorporating riffs, quotations, basslines, and beats… those specifics are different in different times and places, but their legality is not relevant to the creative practice. Recycling/repetition/reference is a basic element of creativity. Creativity is a living, social practice that arises from people (and peoples) interacting and communicating.

        So I am sorry to hear of Soundcloud cracking down on this practice and making it harder. I don’t really care what they say their official policy was (it’s there if you look), in practice they knew what was happening because they benefited from it. And the law on this is hazy, there’s fair use arguments to be made even within the law as it stands, but nobody can afford the lawyers to make it.

      • ISP won’t reveal names of alleged porn pirates

        Time Warner Cable, one of the nation’s largest Internet service providers, has refused to turn over customers accused in a lawsuit by Larry Flynt Publishing of pirating one of the company’s porn films, according to Flynt’s attorney.

      • Online music previews case goes to top court

        The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case involving whether previews of music downloaded from the internet should be subject to royalties.

Clip of the Day

Linux, Debian 6 (Squeeze), KDE 4.4.5


Credit: TinyOgg

12.30.10

Links 30/12/2010: PlayStation 3 Cracked for Linux, 2011 Looks Great for Android

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How You Know When It’s Time to Switch to Linux

    It’s no longer fun waiting to see when Microsoft will fix bugs, or what new features it will come out with. You’re ready to start driving changes like that yourself.

  • The Real Future of Linux and FOSS (Is Not Shiny Toys)

    I do not like this word consumer. I prefer customer. The definition of customer is much more interesting than consumer: “1. a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron. 2. Informal. a person one has to deal with: a tough customer; a cool customer.”

    A customer is courted, a consumer is herded. A customer must be won over, a consumer is told what to do. A customer negotiates and bargains, a consumer accepts whatever is dumped on them.

    What does this have to do with Linux

    What does this have to do with Linux and FOSS? Everything. FOSS users have strong rights. We can do whatever we want with FOSS code for personal use. Actually that is true of everything, since trying to place limits on personal use of anything requires unwarranted invasions into our private business. But that is exactly what is happening.

    We can open up FOSS code, tear it apart, mix and match, and install it all over the place. You know, just like normal possessions. In my life I have repaired and customized vehicles, modified furniture, modified my homes, messed with appliance guts, made lawnmowers into go-karts, made super-powered electric razors that buzzed really loud and went really fast until they fried out, and done strange and wondrous things to bicycle parts (art!). That is normal.

  • PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

    The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective on the version of firmware the games console was running.

  • Linuxy Hopes, Dreams and Resolutions for 2011

    Continuing to advocate “for all things Open Source or built with Open Source” is on Slashdot blogger yagu’s 2011 to-do list — “and I resolve to call out any and all reaping the benefits of Open Source who don’t give back.” Also, “I resolve to be respectful and humble in regards to everything Microsoft,” he asserted sincerely before adding, “I always like to pick at least one resolution I can break early.”

  • My 2011 Linux Resolutions
  • Desktop

    • The Tax

      Shame on Dell for making a simple purchase complex. Give the customers what they want. Give them choice. Don’t promise choice but make them struggle to get it.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • IBM

    • Mostly obvious predictions for open source in 2011, or are they?

      Here’s a list of these types of questions and my guesses at answers:

      * Will ChromeOS from Google be an interesting player, will it merge with Android, and will it replace Windows on hundreds of millions of desktops? Yes / maybe / no.
      * Will Android devices surpass those from Apple? Perhaps, but only in aggregate volume.
      * Will one emerge that will clobber the iPad in market share? No way.
      * Will some flavor of Windows be more significant than Android on tablets? No.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.37 (Part 5) – Drivers

      Support for fast USB 3.0 storage devices with USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), an audio loopback driver plus extensions to support Apple’s Magic Trackpad are only some of the advances that improve the hardware support of the forthcoming Linux kernel version 2.6.37; final release is expected in January.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Interesting Tale Of AMD’s FirePro Drivers

        Earlier this week we published our annual look at AMD’s Catalyst driver releases from the past year. Not only did the Catalyst Linux driver this year picked up a couple new features, its driver performance had improved slightly over the past twelve months. In building up some initial test data for OpenBenchmarking.org we decided not only to do these tests on the latest consumer-grade graphics card this year, but expand it to cover the workstation performance too and to go back nearly two years in time. These results for an AMD FirePro V8700 graphics card with the monthly driver updates going back to Catalyst 9.2 are quite interesting. AMD announced twice this year optimizations to their FirePro driver software, but in reality these “optimizations” were largely unsustainable and not optimizations as much as they were attempting to address driver regressions from the past.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • More Enlightenment FAQ

      While the Enlightenment desktop is fantastic, there is no doubting that in all it’s grace and glory it is a bit different from other desktop environments. While I know there are some people (such as myself) that like to just muck their way through things on their own, I also know that others like a bit of a guide to follow along with. A couple of months ago I made a post detailing the answers to some common questions those new to the Enlightenment desktop have. Today I would like to address a few more such questions and give a few tips I have picked up over the years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Improving Gnome…

        I’ve mentioned in previous posts (The non-operating system operating system and My Personal Gnome) that I’m not too worried about the underlying operating system (although I do prefer it to be a Debian derivative – currently I’m using Mint 8.0) but I do like the tools that I’m used to that come with the Gnome desktop.

        Here, I’d like to take a look at what I don’t like or, more specifically,

      • Kick off for GNOME:Ayatana Project

        This has been one of the guidelines in my life for quite some time… It started as a curiosity a long time ago with Notify OSD and evolved to full project in openSUSE. It is important to acknowledge at this point the motivation provided by the openSUSE GNOME Team from which I’ve been getting plenty of guidance and help, namely from Vincent Untz (vuntz) and Dominique Leuenberger (Dimstar). Thanks to them, we have now a GNOME:Ayatana Project on OBS (openSUSE Build Service), currently being populated with the support libraries for Ayatana’s Unity and Indicators.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: VectorLinux 6.0

      Development is slower than many other distributions, but that means a long life span. This can be either good or bad depending upon your point of view. The latest stable release is the various 6.0 editions, but 7.0 is on its way. Don’t wait for it though. Developers are cautious and 7.0 is unlikely to go gold much before fall of 2011. Finally, don’t let all the versions confuse you. You can go and grab any of them really and then install about anything you need from repositories.

    • Gentoo: A critical look at the QA process

      The QA team has said that there is some sort of “policy” on masking packages that break reverse dependencies. I’ll subscribe that that policy for the sake of not breaking users machines on purpose, however, let’s take a look at the current case study: poppler-0.16

    • Dependency-confessions from a Slacker

      Because of the large proportion of my AntiX-install and the inconsistency of packages that grew over time I decided that it was necessary to start a fresh install. This time I chose PClinuxOS (the LXDE-version). In reviews it was considered absolutely userfriendly. Within twenty minutes the install was completed. What a dissappointment. Everything worked out of the box. My printer, my scanner, it all functioned allmost immediately. Nothing to do for me. No puzzles to solve, nothing to tinker. What a turnoff. But a comfort to my wife and children though, because here they had an OS that their daddy would leave well enough alone.

    • Salix OS 13.1.2 “LXDE” introduces tool to easily install from source

      A few days ago I mentioned Salix OS, a Slackware-based distribution, as one of my top five distributions of 2010. Even at the end of the year they are still keeping up the momentum and have released the last remaining version of 13.1.2, this time with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). Salix now has images for four different desktops: the standard XFCE, LXDE, KDE4 and since recently Fluxbox. Like the other, the LXDE release is now available for x86_64 as well. Seperate live images are currently available for all but the Fluxbox version.

    • 6 Alternative Ubuntu Desktops Worth Trying

      You may have also heard that the next Ubuntu version–Natty Narwhal, version 11.04–will use the 3D-enabled Unity desktop by default instead, along with the Wayland graphics system.

      Unity is still based on GNOME, so it won’t affect the use of any GNOME-based applications, Canonical says. It will also still be possible to reinstall GNOME, if you really want it.

    • Reviews

      • In-Depth Chakra “Ashoc” 0.3.0 Review and Impressions

        This is guest blogger Prashanth Venkataram, and I write and manage the blog Das U-Blog by Prashanth, where I post reviews of Linux distributions and software as well as my thoughts about the current state of science, technology, and people’s freedoms (especially with regard to technology).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 “LoveLock” To Get MySQL 5.5 & PostGreSQL 9

          Fedora has always kept it’s promise of bringing cutting-edge computer technology to it’s users. It has now been confirmed that Fedora 15, codenamed LoveLock will ship two database packages: MySQL 5.5 and PostGreSQL 9. Fedora 15 Lovelock will have a couple of other advanced features too like Wayland & Systemd about which we have already told you earlier.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu and the Apple point of view

        There was a presentation by Gaurav Paliwal on Debian vs Ubuntu and why you should pick Debian over Ubuntu. I’ve been associated with Ubuntu for a very long time now. I started using Ubuntu when it was a nascent project (in 2006) and I was a passionate (severe and extremist would also do here) evangelist of the system. Ubuntu was doing something that no distribution had ever done before. It was bringing Linux to the masses. I was a part of those “masses” too. I supported them and I was proud to be a tiny part of the movement.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • A slightly less open Ubuntu recovery mode

          Ubuntu recovery mode is a basic boot configuration for repairing a broken system. In this mode it skips most configuration files and daemons in order to achieve a functioning root prompt. For the security-conscious administrator this itself is a problem.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1

            The download is simple enough, from the Pinguy OS page on Sourceforge. With all of the extras that they have added to Ubuntu, this is strictly a LiveDVD distribution, they haven’t attempted to shoehorn it into a CD image. But, how to turn that LiveDVD image into a LiveUSB stick?

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition review

            Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE, is the edition of Linux Mint based on Debian Testing. The latest release was made available for download on December 24, 2010. LMDE was announced as an alternate edition of Linux Mint in first week of September 2010. A review of that release was focused on the installation program. This article presents a more detailed review of this distribution.

          • Ubuntu Remixes: 4 Of The Best Alternatives to Ubuntu

            Our recent article entitled Ubuntu As Intended drew in a fair amount of discussion about the base software and configuration in the default Ubuntu install. Some readers pointed out a few alternatives that aim to take the standard Ubuntu desktop and give it more polish than the original. Some of these projects just include a few extra packages, some replace the standard software suite, and others are complete makeovers. Today we aim to sift through a few of the more popular Ubuntu variants to find the best ones of the bunch, and see what they can offer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Can Ubuntu revive the netbook segment?

        Netbooks still matter in education, especially K12. They’re cheap (almost to the point of being disposable) and fit well into small hands. They can often last through a school day and generally give students lots of what they need with few of the bells and whistles they don’t. With all the talk of tablets, netbooks remain the easiest, cheapest way to get kids connected to the Internet and taking advantage of ubiquitous computer access at home and at school.

        That being said, netbooks aren’t sexy or inspiring. Give the average teacher a choice between netbooks for his or her students and iPads all around and, chances are, the iPads are going to win out, even if the teacher can’t describe the relative merits of either platform. It’s not that the iPads are a bad idea for students, by the way. It’s simply that there are times when netbooks (or full-sized laptops, for that matter) will lend themselves better to classroom use than iPads. Like when a student needs to type. Or use a Flash application.

    • Tablets

      • The Kno Textbook Tablet Preview

        Furthermore, the operating system of the Kno is Ubuntu Linux with a Webkit-based interface. This means that all apps for the Kno are written in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Reality Check: Open Source Milestones in 2010
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Open Source, The Cloud and Channel Partners: A Reality Check

      During a mid-2010 meeting I had with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, he predicted open source combined with cloud computing would allow Red Hat to thrive within small businesses. Whitehurst certainly didn’t go out on a limb. Plenty of open source companies — everyone from Canonical to Zmanda — are making cloud computing moves. But will those moves pay dividends to VARs, managed services providers (MSPs) and other types of channel partners?

  • Oracle

    • Oracle wins the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize

      The year 2010 has seen a number of enemies of open source software making waves. After thinking about it long and hard — about five minutes or so — I have determined the proper winner of the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize, though some other contenders deserve a Dishonorable Mention.

  • BSD

    • Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1

      After reading PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 Available for Testing last week I decided to give the latest version of PC-BSD a try on my ESXi server. I failed earlier to get the installation to succeed using PC-BSD 8.1, but I had no real issues with the new BETA1 based on FreeBSD 8.2 PRERELEASE. (PC-BSD will publish their final 8.2 version when the main FreeBSD project publishes 8.2 RELEASE.)

    • Linux Out, FreeBSD In

      Update 12/23: It turns out Linux programmers aren’t the only ones who find the RealTek 8139 chips frustrating. While perusing the FreeBSD code for the 8139 driver, I found a comment at the top of a source file to the effect that the 8139 “brings new meaning to the term ‘low-end.’” Ouch.

    • PC-BSD 8.2 Beta1 is released! Screenshots Tour

      The first beta release of PC-BSD 8.2 is released, a user-friendly desktop operating system based on FreeBSD. The Version 8.2 contains a number of enhancements and improvements.

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • If you are building an API for your product how much time should you spend researching existing open standards ?

      So how much time should you spend looking at existing standards? What would it be worth to you if there was a free specification that solved your problem, but was already designed, tested, was cleared of known patent clams, and which made your product more interoperable with other products? On the other hand, if you don’t look at existing standards, then what position does it put you in compared to a competitor who does implement an open standard?

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Republican betrayal of 9/11 responders

      Recently, though, perhaps the most unconscionable act was the blatant obstructionism Republican Senators engaged in recently: they threatened to deny healthcare to 9/11 first responders who are now suffering illnesses resulting from toxic exposures at Ground Zero. Reflecting the party’s flawed moral character, every single Senate Republican followed through on their threat to block the bill until Democrats agreed to extend Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firms’ lobbying push comes amid rancor on TSA use of airport full-body scanners

      The companies that build futuristic airport scanners take a more old-fashioned approach when it comes to pushing their business interests in Washington: hiring dozens of former lawmakers, congressional aides and federal employees as their lobbyists.

    • Morgan Tsvangirai faces possible Zimbabwe treason charge

      Zimbabwe is to investigate bringing treason charges against the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and other individuals over confidential talks with US diplomats revealed by WikiLeaks.

      Johannes Tomana, the attorney general, said he would appoint a commission of five lawyers to examine whether recent disclosures in leaked US embassy cables amount to a breach of the constitution. A cable dated 24 December 2009 suggested Tsvangirai privately insisted sanctions “must be kept in place”.

    • Iranian government stirs up antisemitism with invented massacre
    • The TSA’s state-mandated molestation

      As an American – that is, someone considered lucky to get seven consecutive days off work – the only way I could possibly travel such distance is to fly. But flying includes the legal obligation I submit to having my genitalia groped by some TSA thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers’ underwear. There’s only two ways an American flyer can reliably avoid this: be rich enough to buy your own plane, or a high-ranking congressman or other VIP exempt from the indignities they inflict upon ordinary citizens.

    • Briton goes on trial in Iraq charged with killing two colleagues

      Danny Fitzsimons, 29, from Middleton, Manchester, is charged with shooting dead another Briton, Paul McGuigan, and an Australian, Darren Hoare, in August 2009 and wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing.

    • Tunisian president vows to punish rioters after worst unrest in a decade

      Tunisia’s leader, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, has threatened a crackdown against violent protests over graduate unemployment following some of the country’s worst unrest in a decade.

    • Detained journalist questions right to freedom of speech for Palestinians

      An independent West Bank journalist detained for five days by Palestinian security forces after broadcasting a news item relating to frictions within the ruling Fatah party has questioned the extent to which freedom of speech is permitted by the Palestinian Authority.

    • Beatings and intimidation in the West Bank

      On Friday, I was detained by Border Police officers in Nabi Saleh along with another Israeli. We were handcuffed behind our backs, thrown to the ground and beaten. The other Israeli was beaten much worse than I. His head was smashed against the ground and he was kicked repeatedly in the stomach. All of this happened in front ofa Palestinian Btselem photographer who captured the whole thing on video. After the beating, we were then detained and held in a Jerusalem prison for thirty hours. This story is only unique because it happened to Jews.

    • Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer
    • Billions Down the Drain in Useless US Afghan Aid
  • Cablegate

    • Assange vows to release all files in case of death or incarceration

      In the interview, Assange reportedly said that 2,000 websites are prepared to flood the Internet with information if it is deemed necessary. Right now, that information is under strong password protection.

      Assange noted that the safeguard showed his group was acting responsibly.

  • Finance

    • Totally Busted: The Truth About Goldman’s Bailout by the Fed

      Thanks to these spectacularly large taxpayer-funded bailouts, Goldman was able to continue “doing God’s Work” – as CEO Lloyd Blankfein infamously remarked – like the work of producing billion-dollar trading profits without ever suffering a single day of losses.

      Thanks to the Fed’s massive, undisclosed assistance, Goldman Sachs managed to project an image of financial well-being, even while accessing tens of billions of dollars of direct assistance from the Federal Reserve.

      By repaying its TARP loan, for example, Goldman wriggled out from under the nettlesome compensation limits imposed by TARP, while also conveying an image of financial strength. But this “strength” was illusory. Goldman repaid the TARP loans with funds it procured days earlier from the Federal Reserve. Then, over the ensuing months, Goldman recapitalized its balance sheet by selling tens of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to the Fed.

      And the public never knew anything about these activities until two weeks ago, when the Fed was forced to reveal them….

      Secret bailouts do not merely benefit recipients; they also deceive investors into mistaking fantasy for fact. Such deceptions often punish honest investors, like the honest investors who sold short the shares of insolvent financial institutions early in 2009.

    • Goldman Sachs is a Bank: “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One”

      If Goldman Sachs was insolvent in 2008 (and we know that they were borrowing massively from the Fed which suggests insolvency), then it should have been shut down rather than bailed out by the taxpayer. Goldman Sachs is right now pretending that recovery has occurred but the rules were gimmicked to the banks’ advantage so that mainly finance has recovered. In spite of the mortgage crisis, not a single arrest, indictment or conviction has been made!

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Dying for data: the Indian activist killed for asking too many questions

      Shashidhar Mishra was always a curious man. Neighbours in the scruffy industrial town of Baroni, in the northern Indian state of Bihar, called him “kabri lal” or “the news man” because he was always so well informed.

      Late every evening, the 35-year-old street hawker would sit down with his files and scribble notes. In February, the father of four was killed outside his home after a day’s work selling pens, sweets and snacks in Baroni’s bazaar.

      The killing was swift and professional. The street lights went out, two men on motorbikes drew up and there were muffled shots. Mishra, an enthusiastic RTI activist, as those who systematically use India’s right to information law to uncover wrongdoing and official incompetence are known, became the latest in the country’s growing list of RTI martyrs.

    • Israeli activist imprisoned for protest against Gaza blockade

      Human rights activists condemned the prison term, saying it was an unusually harsh punishment for a charge that usually results in a non-custodial sentence.

      Pollak, 28, is one of the founders of a leftwing Israeli group called Anarchists against the Wall, which demonstrates with Palestinian activists in the occupied territories.

    • Iran arrests family of Kurdish activist due to be executed

      Iran has arrested the family of a Kurdish student whose execution, scheduled to take place on Boxing Day, was delayed because of protests outside the prison in which he has been held for three years.

    • US suspects top officials behind activist’s murder

      State Department cables revealed to the Herald by WikiLeaks, show that senior police briefed the embassy about the investigation into Munir’s murder, which has dogged the country’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudiyono.

    • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Russia’s political prisoner

      Vladimir Putin said, earlier this month, that a thief must be in jail. After his president, Dmitry Medvedev, said no official had the right to comment before a verdict had been reached, Putin said he was referring to the first conviction of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, not the second, which took place yesterday. Even if we discount the flagrant breach of due process that Putin’s comment constituted – it is only one of a lengthy list – his words rang hollow. As everyone who lives there knows, thieves in Russia don’t exclusively belong in a jail. They belong in government. They are in and around the Kremlin. Every official, high and low, steals. Whether you end up in jail, in government or owning a chunk of Cyprus, London or Nice, stems ultimately from a political calculation. Get the politics right and you stay a very wealthy man, whether you have stolen assets or not.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Beyond Wikileaks: How to get legal access to ACTA documents

          You can request legal access to ACTA related documents from the Council. Either documents are available through the register or for the confidential ones just fill out a form with your address and mention the requested document numbers. The Council will either enable public access to the documents and sent you a pdf or deny your request and state reasons for that or they sent you a crippled, a redacted version. If your request is refused you can file a confirmatory application and when that is denied again, you can go to court or complain at the EU ombudsman. In the case of ACTA the confidentiality at the Council was so rigid. Many first applications were rejected which is quite unusual.

        • Did the EU Commission secretly initial ACTA?

          According to European Parliament sources, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has already been initialed. That would be amazing: normally the initialling of a trade agreement is a PR moment. Take for instance the EU – Korea free trade agreement: “EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon have today initialled a free trade agreement (…) Speaking following the initialling in Brussels, Commissioner Ashton said (…)”. The initialling of a trade agreement signifies the closing of negotiations with a stable legal text. Negotiators sign with their initials.

Clip of the Day

Console Hacking 2010


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 30/12/2010: Linux 2.6.37-RC8, Interview with Chris DiBona

Posted in News Roundup at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 2010′s Top Five Linux and Open-Source Stories

    Sure, unlike me, you’re probably not reading this on a Linux desktop–Mint 10 for those who care about such things–but do you use Google, Facebook or Twitter? If so, you’re using Linux. That Android phone in your pocket? Linux. DVRs, network attached storage (NAS), trade stocks? Linux, Linux, Linux.

  • Cuba sets to migrate to free, open-source software

    Cuba has set a strategic goal in 2011 to migrate most of its computers to open-source software, a move designed to strengthen the country’s technological security and sovereignty.

    Once the migration is fully implemented on the ground, the Cuban Nova Linux will be the operating system used in 90 percent of all working places, and Microsoft Office will be replaced by Open Office in all government institutions, Vice Minister of Information and Telecommunications Boris Moreno told Xinhua Tuesday.

  • Is Open Source a Failure?

    I agree with him that “The Year of the Linux Desktop” is a myth that will never materialize (at least it won’t be called “Linux desktop”), but “niche OS” is a bunch of bologna. It ignores the fact that most of the world’s servers are run by this niche OS, but it also ignores the fact that people choose to use software for reasons other than how successful it is in a highly anticompetitive market. People use GNU/Linux not just because it’s easier to use, more featureful and more reliable than Microsoft Windows (if you disagree then you haven’t tried GNU/Linux lately), they use it because of the freedom it allows them. Everything else (ease-of-use, features, stability) just comes along for the ride. (not to mention that his argument about Google needing device drivers is BS, too; he obviously forgot what ChromeOS is supposed to do; I’ve never had trouble with keyboards and mice, as those are most of the time controlled by the BIOS; duh)

  • Google

    • Geek Time with Chris DiBona

      The end of the year is always a great time to take a moment and look back at the developments of the past twelve months. Two members of the Google Open Source Programs Office, Chris DiBona and Jeremy Allison, sat down together for a review of open source accomplishments in 2010, and the conversation is shared with you here. Chris is the Open Source Programs Manager at Google, which means he directs Google’s open source compliance, releasing, and outreach efforts. He reveals lots of insights into Google’s approach towards open source and the influence of open source on technology and business.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc8 Kernel Ends Out The Year

      For those hoping Linux 2.6.37-rc7 was the last release candidate of the Linux 2.6.37 kernel before going gold, it’s not. Linus this evening decided to go ahead and make a Linux 2.6.37-rc8 release.

      Linux 2.6.37-rc8 was tagged in Git two hours ago and we’ve been waiting for an official announcement but so far nothing has come down. Though unless there ends up being some severe last minute issues, it would be quite surprising if a Linux 2.6.37-rc9 emerges in the coming days.

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc8

      Another week, another -rc. This should be the last for the 37 series, so I still expect the merge window to open early January when people are hopefully back to working order after having eaten (and drunk) too much.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The 3Dfx KMS Developer Now Working On VIA TTM

        With VIA not really doing anything for open-source and Linux as all of their efforts seemed to have stalled, the small open-source development community centered around VIA has become quite fragmented as we have talked about multiple times now. There’s multiple X.Org drivers for VIA, with not a single one clearly dominating or being feature-complete and well maintained, while other areas like the DRM/KMS and Mesa/Gallium3D support are just in shambles.

      • The Fourth Version Of X.Org Multi-Touch Support

        Earlier this month we reported that the X.Org multi-touch work was nearing completion and now this work is getting even more readied for X.Org Server 1.11 once its merge window opens in February. Daniel Stone has today put out a fourth version of these X patches that provide proper multi-touch support to Linux and other operating systems running X.Org.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Season of KDE 2010

        Season of KDE (SoK) allows KDE to help support students and worthwhile projects who didn’t manage to get one of the limited places in the Google Summer of Code program. Each SoK student works on their chosen project with a mentor from KDE with experience in that area to help and guide them.

        [...]

        Please enjoy the gifts from KDE and Google commemorating your contributions. They will be sent to you soon.

      • Beta of the Qt Creator Buildservice Plugin released (Project Bretzn)

        The plugin lets you perform all the actions required to get data sent to the various build services and publishing sites, by contacting the server part, which then distributes the information to the appropriate places. The implementation of this also prompted ammending the Attica library with new features. As some will already know, Attica is the full featured implementation of a OCS client library built by KDE which is now officially included in the MeeGo platform as well.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • GIMP 2.8 Is Struggling To Make It Out The Door

    Martin is one of the core GIMP developers but this past spring after coming up with this release schedule he ended up becoming too busy with other work to contribute to GIMP on a daily basis, which left this free software project with less than three dedicated developers. That ended up being a significant setback for the GIMP project and has now pushed back the GIMP 2.8 release by at least a month or more.

  • Web Browsers

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Will Cleantech Open to Open Source?

      The software world has turned this process on its head, at least with respect to certain types of fundamental technology. Open source software has come to play a significant role in the infrastructure of the Internet and open source programs such as Linux, Apache and BIND are commonly used tools in the Internet and business systems. (for a good background article, see Kennedy, A Primer on Open Source Legal Issues.) Leading software companies with proprietary technology portfolios, such as IBM, Novell, and Oracle have learned to work with open source programs and even to profit from them. See Koenig, Open Source Business Strategies. Not to mention the successful enterprises founded with the goal of supporting, integrating and maintaining open source platforms (Red Hat, Progeny, 10X Software).

    • Open Data

Leftovers

  • Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die
  • 2011: A Brave New Dystopia

    The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

    [...]

    The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

  • Media Industry Predictions for 2011

    If we have learned anything about the Internet economy it is that it moves faster than most organisations ability to adapt. Our internal view at Briefing Media, is that the coming thing is curation. It is a topic that has been bubbling under for a year or two and has begun to be more mainstream in 2010, with a couple of conference events and some interesting online debate from many quarters on both sides of the Atlantic. The premise of curation (it is not aggregation), is that some kinds of content are more valuable and useful if they are organised and contextualised. The very essence of curation is that although technology plays a part, human editing is vital. That’s why we spend a lot of time improving our taxonomy, making it unique to our community needs.

  • Adsense, no sense at all – what it’s like being sacked by a computer…

    On Monday the 13th of December – two weeks before Christmas – I was sacked by a Google algorithm.

    It sent an email to me and summarily killed my main source of income. No humans were involved in this process at all. It was, literally, the most inhumane letting go I have ever experienced.

    As well as ‘letting me go’ the Google Algorithm also confiscated all my earned income October 31st to December 13th. Tough indeed – and no human has ever done that to me; they have always paid me for work done.

    Then twio days before Christmas I got a letter from my bank saying that the check for October – worth £1,700 had been stopped.
    That is £3,700 gone from my family fiancés in the two weeks before Chisitmas.

    Welcome to the world of Google. Kafka would be proud of Google, whilst Orwell would be perfectly unsurprised.

  • Delicious In Purgatory

    On December 16 Yahoo accidentally told the world they were shutting down popular bookmarking site Delicious. They fired most or all of the Delicious staff. Then they untold that story, saying they intended to sell it off and that the press got it all wrong.

    Ok great. So how’s that sale process going?

  • Sarah Palin: Americans Have “God-Given Right” to Be Fat?

    Americans don’t usually get fitness advice from Sarah Palin, but last week the mother of five lashed out at Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program to help curb childhood obesity by helping kids eat well and stay active.

    “Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat,” Palin said on Laura Ingraham’s national radio show.

  • Asia

    • Japan – One of the Top Pirates in Somalia

      Japan just poached the impoverished country’s top-level Internet domain, the so called Top Level Country Code (TLCC) dot SO (.so), at a time when the state of the embattled nation is at an all-time low.

      “Governed” only for the sake of whitewashing the dealings of their UN-, US- and EU-masters by a Transitional Federal Government, which rules over two roads, a villa and the air-and seaport with he help of mercenary troops from US- and EU-paid African nations assembled in the African Union (AU), Somalia continues to be pillaged again and again by the UN, the U.S., the EU, the AU and other robber-baron-conglomerates. Under the oversight of a pseudo-governmental parliament, whose members were chain-selected by the UN, who is playing on the one hand the role of an overlord towards the Somalis and on the other the stir-up holder for the interests of the most powerful UN member states like U.S., France and the UK, the robbery continues even in cyberspace.

      Japan – now closing shoulders with the U.S. in the emerging power-games with China and Russia – has a particular role and uses that window to fill their own pockets.

    • China counts £130bn cost of economic growth

      China’s economic growth is inflicting more than a trillion yuan’s worth of damage on its environment each year, according to a government report that increases pressure on planners to slow the breakneck speed of development.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Paper That Finally Changed The Law on Drugs

      The case for the end of the war on drugs has never been stronger than it is today. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs published a paper in The Lancet last month demonstrating the clear scientific evidence that stands to oppose UK government drugs policy. This follows a recent paper directly calling for an end to the “War on Drugs” in the British Medical Journal. Two former UK Government drugs tzars have now come out publicly in opposition to the war on drugs.

    • Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear

      A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.”

      It’s a high-stakes tug-of-war that will almost certainly end up in the courts, with two armies of scientists arguing over technical findings that could have real-world impact for seafood consumers and producers.

  • Twitter

    • General FAIL: The Military’s Worst Tweeters
    • Evan Williams: The Challenges of a Web of Infinite Info

      Evan Williams and I have known each other for a long time. From a struggling entrepreneur who started Blogger, to a successful founder who got liberal funding for his podcasting start-up Odeo, to the accidental launch of Twitter — to me, he has been pretty much the same person. He prefers to stay out of the limelight, leaving (most if not all the media duties) to his co-founder Biz Stone. And even in crowds he is quiet.

    • How Newark Mayor Cory Booker Made All Politics Super Local With Twitter Following The Blizzard

      I’m getting a similar feeling after reading about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s use of Twitter in response to the big blizzard that hit the northeast this past weekend. He’s been tweeting up a storm, as he travels around Newark helping to plow streets and dig out cars and help people in trouble. As you look down the thread, he’s specifically responding to different people calling out for help — either sending people to help or showing up himself, such as the case of the woman who was stuck in her home and needed diapers, which the mayor brought himself.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • MP backs G20 outlay

      The Beacon Herald kicks off a series of year-end interviews with local political leaders with Perth- Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger. Wednesday, Perth-Wellington MPP and provincial Environment Minister John Wilkinson.

      Perth-Wellington’s MP is backing the government all the way on its controversial pension reform plan and on its stand that spending close to $1 billion on security for a weekend G20 summit in Toronto was justified.

    • DATA: Don’t get too excited about speed camera data just yet

      One of the most frustrating and bizarre Freedom of Information request standoffs could be about to come to an end after the Government said more data about speed cameras must be released.

    • Police demand new powers to stop and search terror suspects

      Police have asked the government for a new counter-terrorism power to stop and search people without having to suspect them of involvement in crime, the Guardian has learned.

      Senior officers have told the government the new law is needed to better protect the public against attempted attacks on large numbers of people, and are hopeful they can win ministers’ backing.

    • Kettling – an attack on the right to protest

      As night fell, and the House of Commons moved towards its vote on tripling student fees, the police in full riot gear closed in on the protestors in Parliament Square on 10 December. They began to corral them towards Westminster Bridge having formed a ‘kettle’ to contain them. They then trapped them onto the bridge which the demonstrators thought was being used as an exit – and a long cold walk – away from Whitehall. Once they had captured them there the police were ordered to squeeze the ‘kettle’ and crush the demonstrators so that they could barely breathe. This was indeed an operation of gross police brutality.

    • World much stupider than returning soldier remembered [TSA]

      The eminent minds at TSA saw fit to confiscate an armed soldier’s nail clippers because he might use them to take over the plane. At this point I would like to point out that he was not armed with nail clippers, he was armed with an assault rifle – which was apparently acceptable because it didn’t have bullets.

  • Cablegate

    • 2010: The Year We Lost Free Use of Our Money

      I’m really concerned with the public complacency about the recent blocking of donations to Wikileaks by the biggest bank in the US: Bank of America, one of the leading credit card companies: Mastercard and the largest online payment provider: PayPal.

    • FBI Raids Web Hosts Over Wikileaks Advocates’ Operation Payback

      The FBI has reportedly raided a Texas web host and worked with international authorities to search servers in pursuit of the anonymous leaders of the group Anonymous, who blocked the website of PayPal earlier this month in retribution to the company’s decision to stop its customers from making donations to Wikileaks. That according to an affidavit posted in part by the legal watchdog website The Smoking Gun today.

      “These coordinated attacks, investigators allege,” writes The Smoking Gun, “amount to felony violations of a federal law covering the ‘unauthorized and knowing transmission of code or commands resulting in intentional damage to a protected computer system.’” How several hours of inaccessibility constituted damage to the system was not described in the part of the affidavit posted online.

    • Conspiracy Theories Linking Israel to WikiLeaks Circulate on the Internet

      Although the theory that Israel orchestrated the WikiLeaks’ affair is circulating on a relatively small number of Web sites, it has gained traction with those catering to the far right and the left, as well as on some Arab and Islamic sites, and others dedicated to spreading “anti-Zionist” messages like Islam Times and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Web site.

    • A killing in Dubai

      On Thursday, Julian Assange told reporters that WikiLeaks would be releasing State Department cables concerning the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, and he has made good on the promise with a couple of short dispatches from the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi. They don’t offer any more insight into the still-unsolved killing, but they do paint a picture of the diplomatic conundrum the incident posed for the United Emirates and the United States.

    • The curious case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine

      Four days later, Poulsen and Zetter published a new article on Manning, as well as an incomplete transcript of Lamo and Manning’s chats, which had begun on May 21 and continued for a few days. “The excerpts represent about 25 percent of the logs,” they wrote. “Portions of the chats that discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal apparently sensitive military information are not included.”

    • Putting the Record Straight on the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs

      Armchair critics, apparently unhappy that Manning was arrested, have eagerly second-guessed our motives, dreamed up imaginary conflicts and pounded the table for more information: Why would Manning open himself up to a complete stranger and discuss alleged crimes that could send him to prison for decades? How is it possible that Wired.com just happened to have a connection with the one random individual Manning picked out to confide in, only to send him down for it?

    • Wired’s refusal to release or comment on the Manning chat logs

      …Wired, with no justification, continues to conceal this evidence and, worse, refuses even to comment on its content, thus blinding journalists and others trying to find out what really happened here, while enabling gross distortions of the truth by Poulsen’s long-time confidant and source, the government informant Adrian Lamo.

    • Greenwald vs. Wired in 1000 words or thereabouts

      The Washington Post also received yet another version of these mysteriously never-quite-identical logs. But no-one cares about that, because discussing journalism with the Washington Post would be like discussing metaphysics with a melting knob of butter.

    • The Unlikely Story of Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning, Wired Magazine and the Federal Government

      I’ve now gone through just about everything I can find of various accounts of what transpired between Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo, Wired and the federal government. (A data base of all the relevant media can be found here.)

      And having reviewed all the material, I cannot tell you how implausible I find the cover story to be (Wired 6/6/2010, CJR 6/18 2010). Furthermore, I cannot believe that anyone of any journalistic standing has not seriously questioned it before going into print using Lamo as a source.

    • Haikuleaks: “Cable is Poetry”

      HaikuLeaks searches through the Wikileaks “Cablegate” data for haikus. I’m not sure if it’s fully automated, or human-generated—seems too perfect to be computerized. Either way, genius.

    • My Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act — Here’s Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange

      It appears obvious that the Espionage Act is unconstitutional because it does exactly what the Constitution prohibits. It is, in other words, an effort to make an end run around the Treason Clause of the Constitution. Not surprisingly, however, as we’ve seen in times of political stress, the Supreme Court upheld its validity in a 5-4 decision. Although later decisions seemed to criticize and limit its scope, the Espionage Act of 1917 has never been declared unconstitutional. To this day, with a few notable exceptions that include my parents’ case, it has been a dormant sword of Damocles, awaiting the right political moment and an authoritarian Supreme Court to spring to life and slash at dissenters.

      It is no accident that Julian Assange may face a “conspiracy” charge just as my parents did. All that is required of the prosecution to prove a conspiracy is to present evidence that two or more people got together and took one act in furtherance of an illegal plan. It could be a phone call or a conversation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Supported by Tea Party polluters, incoming GOP energy chair Upton flips on threat of global warming

      In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, incoming energy chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined Americans For Prosperity (AFP) president Tim Phillips — a global warming denier who pushes the dumbest denier myth — to support the lawsuits by global warming polluters against climate rules. One of the companies leading the charge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding is Koch Industries, the private pollution giant whose billionaire owners have been directing the Tea Party movement through its AFP front group.

    • Science is self-correcting: Lessons from the arsenic controversy

      Recent attention to NASA’s announcement of ‘arsenic-based life’ has provided a very public window into how science and scientists operate. Debate surrounds the announcement of any controversial scientific finding. In the case of arseno-DNA, the discussion that is playing out on the blogs is very similar to the process that usually plays out in conferences and seminars. This discussion is a core process by which science works.

  • Finance

    • The 10 Greediest People of the Year
    • Obama to Name His Top Economist in January

      Among the first announcements President Barack Obama will make upon returning from his Hawaiian Vacation is his choice for top economic adviser, a decision that could si

    • Where are the jobs? For many companies, overseas

      Actually, many American companies are – just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

    • Obama administration steps up monitoring of banks that miss TARP payments

      The Obama administration has begun monitoring the high-level board meetings of nearly 20 banks that received emergency taxpayer assistance but repeatedly failed to pay the required dividends, according to Treasury Department officials and documents. And it may soon install new directors on some of their boards.

    • After holiday spree, doubts about economy linger

      Holiday spending surged this year, but Americans still have their doubts about the economy.

      With unemployment high and home prices falling in the nation’s largest cities, consumer confidence took an unexpected turn for the worse in December.

    • Michigan Town Is Left Pleading for Bankruptcy

      Leaders of this city met for more than seven hours on a Saturday not long ago, searching for something to cut from a budget that has already been cut, over and over.

    • Obama & Wall St.: Still Venus & Mars

      On the mental list of slights and outrages that just about every major figure on Wall Street is believed to keep on President Barack Obama, add this one: When he met recently with a group of CEOs at Blair House, there was no representative from any of the six biggest banks in America.

    • Retail Sales Rebound, Beating Forecasts

      Shoppers spent more money this holiday season than even before the recession, according to preliminary retail data released on Monday.

    • New Voters May Sway Fed Actions

      As the Federal Reserve debates whether to scale back, continue or expand its $600 billion effort to nurse the economic recovery, four men will have a newly prominent role in influencing the central bank’s path.

    • Baby boomers near 65 with retirements in jeopardy

      Through a combination of procrastination and bad timing, many baby boomers are facing a personal finance disaster just as they’re hoping to retire. Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years.

      The boomers, who in their youth revolutionized everything from music to race relations, are set to redefine retirement. But a generation that made its mark in the tumultuous 1960s now faces a crisis as it hits its own mid-60s.

    • Alternate Unemployment Charts

      The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • China’s MIIT Declares Most VoIP Services, Including Skype, Illegal

      China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently issued a circular declaring that VOIP services other than those offered by State-owned giants China Telecom and China Unicom are illegal.

    • Spanish Web Censorship Supporter Calls Opponents Dictators, Cowards and Likens Them to Terrorists

      There are very few times we see someone who supports restricting copyright laws that are so direct, but Alejandro Sanz probably should win an award for most direct and honest opinion (and maybe rather asinine as well) of those who don’t agree with his point of view on matters. Still, it appears to be quite a good indicator of just how tense the debate over Spanish web censorship has become. Maybe the defeat of the web censorship bill has only served to infuriate foreign interests as well as those who side with them.

      The Sinde Law, a law that would allow the Spanish government to censor any website they deem to contain pirated material, was defeated in a government vote shortly after Wikileaks revealed that such laws were brought forth due to, what some would argue, foreign (US) interference. In spite of the law being defeated once it was brought to a vote, the minister responsible for the law vowed to pass the law anyway, regardless of any difficulty she may have passing it after it was defeated once already.

    • Binayak Sen Judgment/ Shiv Viswanathan’s Letter to the PM

      The point I wish to make is simple. We do not have to agree with Binayak Sen, anymore than we have to agree with Mahaswta Devi or Arundhati Roy or Baba Amte. But these have been voices of conscience. These are people who have care and healed, given a voice to the voiceless. They represent the essential goodness of our society. They are Indians and outstanding Indians and no nation state can negate that. I admit that such people are not easy people. They irritate, they agonize over things we take for granted or ignore. They take the ethical to the very core of our lives. Let us be clear. It is not Sen’s ideology that threatens us. It is his ethics, his sense of goodness. We have arrested him because we have arrested that very sense of justice in ourselves.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MDY v. Blizzard Opinion

      Though there was an interesting tortious interference decision in the appeal, I’m going to focus on the two copyright issues that were decided by the Ninth Circuit, one involving a claim that users of MDY’s Glider program breached World of Warcraft (WoW)’s software license and the other claiming that users of MDY’s Glider program violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s prohibitions on circumventing technological protection measures that limit access to copyrighted works. This second claim focused on the operation of Blizzard’s Warden program, which monitors a player’s computer to see if it is running any unauthorized software.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Fair Use of Trademarks

      We’re watching this one closely, as it may set important precedent for political fair use. And the Chamber of Commerce continue to pursue their trumped-up trademark claims against the Yes Men, in retaliation for a Fall 2009 press conference in which the activists put out a press release and held a spoof news conference on Monday, claiming that the Chamber of Commerce had reversed its position and would stop lobbying against a climate bill currently in the Senate. We’re looking forward to a court decision affirming the legality of the Yes Men’s actions in early 2011.

    • The DMCA Re-Fanged: Courts Now At Odds Over Copyright Protection for Software Security Devices

      The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it unlawful to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected by copyright, and to traffic in devices designed to accomplish that end.

      In last month’s IP Update, we expressed wonderment at the reasoning of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in MGE UPS Systems Inc. v. GE Consumer and Industrial Inc. In that case, the court was unable to find a violation of the DMCA where software had been modified without authorization so that it would not check for the presence of an external hardware device that the software vendor distributed only to authorized users of the software.

    • ‘Spinning’ Trademarked; Gyms Being Threatened For Holding Spinning Classes Sans License

      If you’ve been to a gym lately, you’ve probably seen how “spinning” classes have become quite popular these days. When I first heard of them, I couldn’t figure out why they called them “spinning,” rather than just “stationary bike” classes, but now I know: apparently “spinning” is a trademarked term, held by a company called Mad Dogg Athletics, and the company is gaining a reputation for trying to enforce that trademark around the globe. If you look at the USPTO, the company appears to have a ton of different trademarks on “spinning,” covering not just exercise classes, but also sports drinks, lotions and creams, nutritional supplements and computer software. It looks like the original spinning trademark was filed for back in 1992 — so it’s entirely possible that this company really did come up with the term and popularize it.

    • “Against Intellectual Property” in ePub
    • Copyrights

      • The Well-Pilfered Clavier

        A new study by a German economic historian hints at an answer. In his two-volume History and Nature of Copyright, Eckhard Höffner compares and contrasts the industrial-age economic histories of Britain (which provided copyright protection beginning with the 1710 Statute of Anne) and the 39 German states (where a uniform copyright code was impossible to enforce across a loose federation).

        Höffner’s discovery: German writers produced more books and made more money than their English counterparts. Through the middle of the 19th century, the German book market produced and sold roughly five times as many books as the British. The advantage was interrupted only by the Napoleonic occupation, and it did not end permanently until after 1848, when Germany began to enforce consistent copyright rules.

      • Kindergartens told to pay up before singing

        A group representing German musicians found itself accused of Scrooge-like meanness on Tuesday after pressing kindergartens to pay up for singing songs that are protected by copyright.

      • Kindergartens ordered to pay copyright for songs

        A tightening of copyright rules means kindergartens now have to pay fees to Germany’s music licensing agency, GEMA, to use songs that they reproduce and perform. The organization has begun notifying creches and other daycare facilities that if they reproduce music to be sung or performed, they must pay for a license.

      • Hadopi Sends 100,000 Warning Emails To Suspected Pirates

        Hadopi, the French authority with responsibility for issuing warnings to illicit file-sharers, has just announced that so far it has sent out 100,000 email warnings. While the figure is far below the 50-70,000 reports filed by the entertainment industry every day, around 15% of warning recipients have responded by email, some with confessions, some with confusion.

      • FilmOn Founder Plans to Sue CBS, CNET for Distributing Piracy Software

        FilmOn founder Alki David charges CNET, a subsidiary of CBS, with the distribution of “illegal software” that allows users to circumvent DRM technology in violation of the Copyright Act as well as other software that lets users illegally stream and download copyrighted material. Countersuit is in response to claims by CBS and other TV broadcasters that FilmOn illegally retransmits copyrighted programming.

      • Court Rejects Agence France-Presse’s Attempt to Claim License to Haiti Earthquake Photos Through Twitter/Twitpic Terms of Service — AFP v. Morel

        The Southern District of New York issued an order denying AFP’s request to dismiss photographer Daniel Morel’s copyright claims, rejecting AFP’s argument that uploading pictures to Twitter/Twitpic granted third parties (including AFP) a broad license to exploit this content. The result is not surprising from a legal standpoint, but should allow photographers (and others who upload content into Twitter’s ecosystem) to breathe a sigh of relief.

      • Piracy Isn’t The Problem, A Bad Business Model Is The Problem

        And this is where I think some of the confusion often comes in in these discussions. No one (well, I’m sure there are a few, but they’re a minority) denies that there is value in the works created. The question is where is that value captured. Many content creators feel that it should be captured in you paying up before you’ve consumed their work for the first time. Many content consumers don’t like that bargain. And so they seek out something else. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t value created when someone experiences the music or the film. It’s that value that Barnard was discussing in the emotional impact of the work. The trick then is not to worry about getting paid for every copy or every download, but to set up all sorts of opportunities for people to support you as a content creator. Now, this can come in all sorts of formats. Fan-funding has become popular these days, via platforms like Kickstarter, and that can work for some artists. Others are doing creative things like selling related tangible goods that are made more valuable due to their connection to music or movies (Amanda Palmer selling off special ukuleles). Others are selling their experience (Kevin Smith is offering a wonderful 10-week “film school” discussing how he made his latest film). Others are selling a wide variety of things (Nina Paley’s long list of ways in which she makes money from her film, Sita Sings the Blues).

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 1


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 2


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 3


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 4


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 5


Credit: TinyOgg

12.29.10

Links 29/12/2010: Another Massive School Move to Desktop GNU/Linux, Ubuntablet Rumours

Posted in News Roundup at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Putin Orders Russian Gov’t to Move to Open Source

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [cq] has ordered government agencies there to open-source software by 2015, according to translated documents.

    Putin’s order, signed this month, follows news reports from October saying the Russian government was planning to drop Microsoft products in favor of a national open-source operating system based on Linux.

  • Vladimir Putin Orders Russian Government to Switch to Free Software by 2015
  • Russia Moves to Linux In 2011

    Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, signed a government order for the transition of federal executive bodies and agencies of the federal budget to use free software between 2011 – 2015.

  • Finally a Download Accelerator for Linux that Works with Chromium

    There are not many download accelerators for Linux that integrate well with web browsers and have support for downloading links right from the browser. Command line tools like Axel download accelerator and Aria2 are available for Linux but then you have to download links by copy/pasting them into terminal or in a GUI for it.

  • Desktop

    • Dysart Unified School District saves more than $100,000 by switching computer operating systems

      In a little-known approach to saving money, the Dysart Unified School District has switched about 3,000 of its computers from the Microsoft Windows operating system to Linux.

    • Schools Prefer Not To Scrap Working PCs

      Same old story. Budget cuts. PCs growing old. GNU/Linux gives them new life and the school district saved $100K in a year. If that is mainstream, imagine the motivation a school like mine without any budget for IT has to switch…

    • Panic at M$

      Further, M$ calls “office workers” demanding and needing better performance. If that were true they would already be using thin clients because with files already cached in the RAM of a powerful server there is no waiting for I/O. Office workers are the least demanding users of PCs that I know. They think IT is just fine if the machine boots quickly and keep ahead of typing. That has been true since P3 and thin clients are more powerful than that these days.

    • Linux for the rest of us?

      However, the Ubuntu distribution installed on my netbook in about 10 minutes and installed all the necessary drivers. Well, almost all of them. I couldn’t get my Wi-Fi card to work with Ubuntu, but a quick Google search led me to the solution. In under an hour, then, I had an operating system that up and running. In other words, you don’t have to be a software engineer or someone with a ton of time on his hands to install this and get it to work well. Linux has come a long way, indeed.

    • Can an old PC be saved by Linux? Yes, but it’s not for everybody

      Jason Detzel of Maplewood converted a nine-year-old Windows laptop to Linux after upgrading its RAM (random access memory) to 1 gigabyte.

      “I’m blown away how fast this system runs,” Detzel said. “If I stick with Web browsing, e-mail and downloading pictures, this PC will last for several more years.”

    • Is Linux dead on the desktop?

      It’s the libertarian’s choice. But Linux needs to stop competing with ‘free’.

    • Buying a Dell without Windows is not easy, but possible

      Buying a PC from any large manufacturer/retailer without a copy of Windows pre-installed is difficult. You have some companies that refuse to sell a machine if you want Windows removed, then there are others that will remove it and reduce the price. Dell offers certain confirgurations without Windows installed, but it’s not clear from the website, and has to be requested either offline or over Live Chat.

      Harish Pillay found this out by actually trying to buy a Dell laptop with Ubuntu installed. He had actually done this before, purchasing a Dell Vostro V13-N series laptop with Ubuntu. However, this time the N-series was nowhere to be seen and a Live Chat was required to get a Windows-less laptop.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • The kernel column #95 by Jon Masters

      We’re now free of the Big Kernel Lock (in many configurations – it’s a config option that will hide other not-yet-compatible options when used) and I have been running systems BKL-free for some time now. Arnd Bergman and others have done an excellent job to rid us of this last vestige of truly ancient non-scalable Linux and unless you need a V4L (Video-4-Linux – TV tuner, webcam etc) device, you can probably run BKL-free today too. It is hoped that V4L will be fixed soon, maybe in time for 2.6.37. You probably won’t notice a huge performance benefit of running without the BKL unless you happen to have something more high end than a desktop, but it’s still pretty cool to know that you could get higher performance if only you could afford to have a system with dozens of CPUs to take advantage of it.

    • Just How Big Is OpenBenchmarking.org?

      With Iveland Alpha 5 arriving earlier today and more information beginning to be released about OpenBenchmarking.org for its February debut with Phoronix Test Suite 3.0, many have become more curious about what this project entails. Last week I posted a few very small screenshots of OpenBenchmarking.org in its current form. I also have already said OpenBenchmarking.org will become bigger than Phoronix itself, so here are a few statistics right now.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Will Intel’s Sandy Bridge & P67 Play Well With Linux?

        Next week Intel is set to roll out their much-anticipated “Sandy Bridge” CPUs during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. With these 32nm, LGA-1155 next-generation Intel Core processors will also come the Intel P67 Chipset on a whole selection of new motherboards at launch like the ECS P67H2-A2 and ASRock P67 Pro3. How well though will Intel’s newest hardware play with Linux?

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Clementine Review: Resurrecting The Wolf

        “Thriving on the success of the popular Amarok 1.4, Clementine tries to provide a reminiscent user experience and on par acoustics to the Amarok 1.4.x user base”.

        The Kde 4.x and QT 4 desktop changed the way people used the PC. Touted to revolutionist the PC experience, KDE 4 desktop brought some drastic changes. To cope up with the KDE development Amarok team tried to follow the same bandwagon and audited the ever loved Amarok 1.4 to a newly refurbished Amarok 2. Some hated it, while some loved it. However the mixed bag review was much to the downside of Amarok.

      • YaRock 0.0.41 Released With New Toolbar And IceCast / ShoutCast Radio Browser

        YaRock is a new Qt4 music player designed to provide a nice overview of your music by allowing you to browse your music collection based on the album cover art. We love YaRock here at WebUpd8, especially for it’s simplicity and the nice cover art overview it provides, as well as the ability to fetch albums cover art from Last.fm.

      • call for 4.6 release parties

        A new major release is around the corner and it’s time for all of you to help with KDE release parties around the globe. This is a guest blog by my Google Code-in student Sasu.

        It’s been over four months now from previous major release by KDE and it’s time for a new one. 4.6 is about to be released on 26th of January and it is party time again! Release parties are very fun and educational for visitors. If your party has represented KDE well you can even get new local KDE community members.

      • Promo Release Parties 4.6
      • conf.KDE.in: First KDE Conference in India

        The Indian KDE community will organize its first conference at Bengaluru in March 2011. The 5 day event will bring together KDE contributors, Qt developers, users and FOSS enthusiasts.

        We realise that there are not many KDE/Qt related events that are accessible to Indians. FOSS conferences or meetings are an excellent way to show people the technology first hand and ways to contribute to it. We not only dazzle them with the world of KDE, but show them first hand how simple it is to get involved and make a difference. This is our motivation for conducting this event.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 64-Bit Suffers Delays, but Still Coming

        A long anticipated 64-bit version of PCLOS was reported to be in development this past November. And as 2010 draws to a close, some wonder what its current status is. Bill Reynolds, not known for long-winded conversations or laying out rigid development schedules, has given a bit of an update.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat reasserts itself in Thailand

        Currently, Red Hat has a 75% to 80% share of the Linux market and Gartner predicts that at least 80% of all commercial software solutions will soon be based on open source.

      • Fedora

        • Switched to Fedora

          Yeah. Yesterday I was so annoyed by my computer that I burned a cd with Fedora and installed it. I also had a 1,5TB disk waiting to be inserted, combining that made the switch pretty easy.

          For the last couple years, I ran KDE from trunk from svn. That meant that I only had a need for a basic Linux OS. Debian was fine for that. Combined with Equives I could still use some distro packages while compiling most of it myself. But there were problems. Mostly these were caused by my own lazyness in configuring the right stuff in the right way.

          [...]

          So up to now, big compliments to the Fedora team. Nice job, and that needs to be said too sometimes!

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu tablet rumored for early 2011 launch

          “A new Linux powered tablet is on it’s way!” writes Andrew Sykes, publisher of the China-based gadget site Gizchina, with more enthusiasm than grammatical precision.

        • More details emerge on ‘mystery’ Ubuntu tablet

          More information has surfaced on the new Ubuntu-powered tablet device we wrote about last week.

        • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.9: urgent update for single-sourceslist users

          In the last Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.8, I made a mistake. If you disabled the “Use Separated Sources” in the preferences in Ubuntu Tweak, all your Launchpad PPA sources may be “lost”(In fact, they’ve been moved to the separated file).

        • 3 Things That Ubuntu One Should Sync, That It Doesn’t

          Ubuntu One a syncing service that Canonical bundles with Ubuntu. I think it’s great that it’s bundled with the OS, but it doesn’t feel like it’s being extended to its full potential (or even most of it). Recognize that I’m talking about the syncing service alone, as opposed to syncing+music store+[insert new feature here].

        • Flavours and Variants

          • AriOS: Light Interface And Heavy Application Base In A Ready To Use Ubuntu Remaster

            AriOS is the successor of mFatOS, an Ubuntu remaster we talked about a while back. AriOS 2.0 was released today and it’s based on Ubuntu 10.10 – the new version tries to replicate Unity but as opposed to Unity, it’s customizable thanks to Avant Window Navigator. In AriOS, everything works out of the box and most popular applications are installed by default which I’m sure those with a limited Internet connection will appreciate.

          • [Mint] News Update

            # The Community Website is now running on its own in our Canadian server in Toronto.
            # We lost our development and testing server in London.
            # A second Cloud Server was allocated to host our public archive (which was previously in London).

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibreOffice

    I did download and install LibreOffice 3.3-rc2 this morning and it worked like a charm.

  • 9 Free and Open Source Software Stories to Watch in 2011

    Unless GNOME developers can pull a last minute rabbit out of their collective hat, a mixed response for GNOME 3.0 seems inevitable. Even then, a fork to continue development of GNOME 2.0 is probable. A strongly hostile reaction may weaken GNOME’s dominant position on the desktop, increasing the popularity of KDE or opening the way for Ubuntu’s Unity desktop.

  • 7 Predictions For Open Source in 2011

    This feels like a no-brainer at this point, but Android is clearly going to continue on its upward path throughout 2011. Holding nearly a quarter of the smartphone market in October, it’s widely expected to become the number-one mobile operating platform in the world in the next few years; I predict that will happen sooner rather than later, possibly even by the end of next year.

  • Year in Review: Open source

    The Apache Foundation also had a busy year, with Hadoop taking most of the spotlight. The open-source map/reduce implementation was the most popular project at Apache in 2010, whether you’re measuring by code contributions, sub-projects or discussion lists.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Education

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Upcoming Release 8.2 – RC1

      27 December: The first Release Candidate builds for the FreeBSD-7.4/8.2 release cycles are now available. ISO images for Tier-1 architectures can be downloaded from most of the FreeBSD mirror sites. Please see the official announcement for further details about these releases.

  • Project Releases

    • Shotwell .8 is out.

      The Yorba folks have released a new version of Shotwell. You can snag it here.

  • Programming

    • Open Source Languages in 2010: Developer Year in Review

      In terms of tools and servers, 2010 was a year of plenty for Java users.

    • Ettercap Troubles on SourceForge

      Recently, there have been reports in the news that an unauthorized third party viewed and modified ettercap forums database (hosted on our Project web service). Among other things, this exposed hashed values of ettercap forum user passwords. (In other words, if you have an ettercap account/password and you’re using the same password other places, such as your SourceForge account, it would be in your best interest to change them. And not do that anymore.)

    • Coding styles comparison in the Open Source Software world

      While looking for existing C coding standards I discovered that the GNU and Linux projects officially suggest very different styles. Inside the Linux kernel documentation, Linus Torvalds goes so far as to mock GNU coding standards:

      First off, I’d suggest printing out a copy of the GNU coding standards, and NOT read it. Burn them, it’s a great symbolic gesture.

      At this point I wanted to understand the difference between the coding styles of established open source projects.

Leftovers

  • Infographic: Chinese, the new dominant language of the internet
  • The Letters of the Law: 2010 in Tech Law from A to Z
  • Our Economy of Kindness

    Who wouldn’t agree that our society is capitalistic, based on competition and selfishness? As it happens, however, huge areas of our lives are also based on gift economies, barter, mutual aid, and giving without hope of return (principles that have little or nothing to do with competition, selfishness, or scarcity economics). Think of the relations between friends, between family members, the activities of volunteers or those who have chosen their vocation on principle rather than for profit.

  • No web access at home for 2m poor pupils, warns charity

    The original web headline for this article – More than 3m UK children have no internet access at home, warns charity – conflated two figures: 1m children are without computers and 2m are without internet access. This has been corrected.

  • Libel Reform Part I: the purpose of defamation law

    So familiar are we with its presence in English legal and media life that we perhaps take the existence of defamation law for granted.

    In practical terms, the law of defamation provides the means by which legal action can be taken (or threatened) in respect of statements which are unwelcome to the claimant, regardless of any public interest in those statements being made.

  • 2011 preview: Peak internet comes into view

    The internet is already considered so important in Finland, Spain and Estonia that access is a legal right. And the list of online possibilities keeps on growing. In 2010, the launch of Apple’s iPad and other touchscreen computers made surfing more fun and intuitive, while several smartphone operating systems, especially Google’s Android, took off, extending the mobile net’s reach.

  • What lies ahead: Publishing
  • Anti-LGBT Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa Charged With Blackmail

    Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa has been charged with blackmail for allegedly paying a man to falsely accuse another pastor of sexual assault. Ssempa is notorious in Uganda and around the world for his anti-LGBT sentiments and past efforts.

  • Science

    • The Truth Wears Off

      On September 18, 2007, a few dozen neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and drug-company executives gathered in a hotel conference room in Brussels to hear some startling news. It had to do with a class of drugs known as atypical or second-generation antipsychotics, which came on the market in the early nineties. The drugs, sold under brand names such as Abilify, Seroquel, and Zyprexa, had been tested on schizophrenics in several large clinical trials, all of which had demonstrated a dramatic decrease in the subjects’ psychiatric symptoms. As a result, second-generation antipsychotics had become one of the fastest-growing and most profitable pharmaceutical classes. By 2001, Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa was generating more revenue than Prozac. It remains the company’s top-selling drug.

    • Light Peak Explained: New Connection Standard Promises 10 Gbps Or More

      Transfer junkies may be excited for USB 3.0, but Intel’s Light Peak solution promises up to double the speeds of that standard. We’re talking data rates of up to 10 gigabits per second, fast enough to transfer a full 1080p digital copy of No Country for Old Men (about 4GB) in less than 4 seconds (normally a two-hour process). But that’s not all Light Peak can do. To learn more about this exciting technology, we spoke with Victor Krutul, director of the I/O optical team at Intel and a former head Light Peak engineer.

    • Researchers: Ancient human remains found in Israel

      A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

    • Printing Musical Instruments

      Tipster Jb pointed us at a video of a rather startling project: Printing a complete musical instrument. In this case, MIT Media Lab researcher Amit Zoran attempted to print an entire and working flute in one operation.

    • How to afford a big sloppy genome

      Prokaryotes are all about efficiency and refinement, while eukaryotes are all about flamboyant experimentation by chance, not design.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NHS staff cuts could cost lives, says nursing chief

      Patients could die because staffing levels in the NHS are being reduced to dangerously low levels, the leader of Britain’s 400,000 nurses has warned.

      The quality of care received by patients in hospitals is also bound to worsen as tens of thousands of posts are cut, says Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing.

    • Nicotine patches to be offered to England smokers

      The government is offering free nicotine patches to smokers in England planning to quit in the new year.

      A week’s free trial of the patches – part of the NHS Stop Smoking Quit Kit – will be available at many chemists for the first time from 1 January.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Humiliate, strip, threaten: UK military interrogation manuals discovered

      The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions, the Guardian has discovered.

    • Iran poised to execute student accused of being Kurd terrorist

      A 29-year-old Iranian student activist is facing execution tomorrow unless an international campaign launched by human rights groups can persuade authorities to quash his conviction.

    • “The Darkness to Expel!”

      The book makes very depressing reading, and not because it details gruesome atrocities. On the contrary, the editors made it a point not to include incidents of exceptional brutality committed by sadists, which can be found in every army unit in Israel and throughout the world. Rather, they wanted to throw light on the grey routine of the occupation.

    • Help Silwan Resident Adnan Gheith Stay in Jerusalem
    • Brooklyn-Jenin: Why didn’t the judges prevent the demolition in Lod?

      One morning, when the storm started shaking the treetops and the dogs howled in terror because of the thunders and the flashes of lightning, fifty children of different ages went out to school in the city of Lod, Israel. During the day most of them worked diligently on their studies, hoping the storm would abate so they could go back safely to the home where they were born and raised. To the sound of the bell announcing the end of the day they all set off running back home. The tempest intensified, and with it the will to find oneself in the warmth of one’s home; in the warmth of the seven homes of their extended family – the Abu Eid family.

    • Airline Pilot Disciplined After Posting Video of Security Flaws

      The Transportation Security Administration did not like a series of Youtube videos posted by an airline pilot, which highlighted the ineptness of its security procedures.

      So they dispatched a team of federal and local agents to his Northern California home to intimidate him.

    • More consumers letting insurers monitor mileage

      Car insurance rates have always been based on risk, and risk has usually been measured by the number of miles driven. So drivers often underreport the miles they travel to keep their rates low — at the expense of other drivers.

      But a form of insurance that requires electronic verification of miles driven, in return for a discount, is gaining popularity. These so-called pay-as-you-drive policies — miles are often tracked through a GPS system in the car — are now offered in more than half of the states and are spreading, albeit slowly, despite privacy concerns.

    • Suicide bomber kills 45 outside Pakistan food relief centre
    • Mr Cameron doesn’t understand Pakistan. Sadly, he is not alone
    • Tory-appointed watchdogs reluctant to probe wrongdoing, critics charge

      The three independent federal watchdogs created by the Conservative government operate largely behind the closed doors of their own offices and, after one was exposed this fall for having done little in three years, critics are asking questions about the effectiveness of the other two.

    • TSA has no system to test its body-scanners

      According to the post on Boing Boing that references an AOL news investigation, even when an expert endorses the TSA’s scanners they are careful to preface their support with some warnings: the safety of the machines depends heavily on their being properly maintained, regularly tested, and expertly operated.

      You may or may not be in favor of the radiation that comes from the Transportation Sex-crime Administration’s scanners, but I think most people would agree that a malfunctioning machine that beams your vital organs with 10,000 or 100,000 times the normal dosage is bad thing.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange: FOX News Is Closer to Terrorism Than WikiLeaks

      Say what you will about Julian Assange, but the guy’s smart as a whip. In an interview with MSNBC yesterday, the WIkiLeaks captain eloquently and vehemently defended his First Amendment rights, while decrying the U.S. media’s “digital McCarthyism,” entailing a call for his assassination.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Japanese whaling vessel collision with Sea Sheperd – NZ’s perspective

      Japanese Whaling Vessel Collision With Sea Sheperd Boat –
      New Zealand’s Perspective

    • Assange warns of ‘digital McCarthyism’
    • WikiLeaks cables: Mauritius sues UK for control of Chagos islands
    • Wired Magazine Slammed for Withholding Chat Logs That Could Prove Assange and Bradley Manning Did Not Conspire

      By his own admission, Wired Magazine Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen is withholding a large majority of chat logs that could prove WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did or did not conspire with the US soldier accused of leaking a cache of diplomatic cables.

    • Social Preferencing Note: Wired

      There will be no more Wired renewals from this household so long as Wired continues to shill for the state versus Bradley Manning.

      A complete reversal, a public apology and a substantial financial contribution to the Bradley Manning Support Network might get that subscription back in play.

    • OPEN LETTER

      THOSE INCITING MURDER UPON JULIAN ASSANGE AND/OR MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY.

      We, among many law abiding citizens of the world deplore and condemn, as applicable, your utterances and writings calling for the extra judicial ie unlawful: kidnapping/assassination/murder/physical harm of Julian Assange, his supporters, Wikileaks workers or members of Assange’s family.

    • The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired

      For more than six months, Wired’s Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen has possessed — but refuses to publish — the key evidence in one of the year’s most significant political stories: the arrest of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks’ source. In late May, Adrian Lamo — at the same time he was working with the FBI as a government informant against Manning — gave Poulsen what he purported to be the full chat logs between Manning and Lamo in which the Army Private allegedly confessed to having been the source for the various cables, documents and video that WikiLeaks released throughout this year. In interviews with me in June, both Poulsen and Lamo confirmed that Lamo placed no substantive restrictions on Poulsen with regard to the chat logs: Wired was and remains free to publish the logs in their entirety.

    • [Old] Wikileaks writers killed in Kenya

      From Wikileaks: Two Wikileaks-related senior human rights activists have been assassinated. We ask for your assistance.

      On Thursday afternoon March 5, Oscar Kamau Kingara, director of the Kenyan based Oscar legal aid Foundation, and its programme coordinator, John Paul Oulo, were shot at close range in their car less than a mile from President Kibaki’s residence. The two were on their way to a meeting at the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights.

    • Julian Assange, My Parents and the Espionage Act of 1917

      I view the Espionage Act of 1917 as a lifelong nemesis. My parents were charged, tried and ultimately executed after being indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Espionage under that act.

    • Case Overview

      Julius Rosenberg was arrested in July 1950 a few weeks after the Korean War began. He was executed, along with his wife, Ethel, on June 19, 1953, a few weeks before it ended. The charge against the Rosenbergs was vague – “Conspiracy to Commit Espionage.” But they really were tried and sentenced for giving the secret of the atomic bomb to the USSR. Their co-defendant Morton Sobell also was convicted and received a 30-year prison sentence.

    • WikiLeaks’ Imitators Proliferate But Go Their Own Way: A Catalog of Clones

      The contentious whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks has ruffled so many feathers that it’s been shut down not just in the countries we think of as repressive, but in those we like to think are open. Because of that, mirror sites have proliferated. But accompanying the mirrors are clones. Clone sites reproduce access to some or all of the material available on the home site or serve a similar function as WikiLeaks but independently of that group. All of them add value by focusing on a specific concern or geography.

    • ‘Jewish WikiLeaks’ goes live in Jerusalem

      “A breakthrough in journalism research,” the director of the National Library of Israel, Oren Weinberg, called the institution’s project to scan and upload to the Internet hundreds of thousands of pages from Jewish newspapers from the 19th century to the present.

      Historical Jewish Press, whose official launch was on Monday, is a joint initiative of the national library and Tel Aviv University “that will give researchers, teachers, students and the general public rapid, easy and unprecedented access to periodicals,” Weinberg said.

    • FDL Manning-WikiLeaks Key Articles Table

      The task was made all the more challenging by the fact that most of those conflicting stories were being told by one person, the principle source for almost all media stories regarding Bradley Manning: the recently institutionalized hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned his alleged chat logs with Manning over to authorities.

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 31

      El Pais only news outlet still publishing daily WikiLeaks stories based on cables. Question remains for others: Why?

    • How Many Documents Has WikiLeaks Published?

      In recent weeks, NPR hosts, reporters and guests have incorrectly said or implied that WikiLeaks recently has disclosed or released roughly 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Although the website has vowed to publish “251,287 leaked United States embassy cables,” as of Dec. 28, 2010, only 1,942 of the cables had been released.

    • Wikileaks-Lamo-Manning Transcription Roundup: What We Still Need

      The response has been absolutely amazing to the call we put out last night for transcription help. So far we have:

      * CBC Radio Interview, transcribed by SteveNS AND nedits
      * Glenn Greenwald Interviews Lamo Pt. 1, transcribed by bmull
      * Glenn Greenwald Interviews Lamo Pt. 2, transcribed by calamar
      * Adrian Lamo at The Next HOPE Informants panel, Pt. 1 of 5, transcribed by LC
      * John Draper interviews Lamo at The Next Hope, pt. 1 of 4, transcribed by nedits and KF
      * John Draper interviews Lamo at The Next Hope, pt. 1 of 4, transcribed by Michele in PDX
      * LocalFrequencies Extended audio, transcribed by Duncan

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan to drill for controversial ‘fire ice’

      Japan seeks to improve energy security by drilling for frozen methane but environmentalists fear a leak of the greenhouse gas, which is 21 times as damaging as carbon dioxide

    • Why biodiversity loss and climate change are equal threats

      Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the media and many organisations have pursued as separate narratives the issues of climate, biodiversity and sustainable development. One of the changes this year, at a UN level, has been recognition that this does not make sense.

      Without protecting and enhancing biodiversity in forests and other systems we are losing our biggest ally. These living systems can lock away carbon at a fraction of the price that technical solutions for carbon storage could only do at huge cost and by expending even more energy.

    • Climate change leaves Assam tea growers in hot water

      Climate change is affecting the cultivation of Assam tea, with rising temperatures reducing yields and altering the distinctive flavour of India’s most popular drink, researchers say.

      High hills and abundant rainfall make the north-eastern state of Assam an ideal place to grow tea, with 850 gardens over 320,000 hectares (593,000 acres) producing the majority of the country’s harvest. But in the last 60 years, rainfall has fallen by more than a fifth and minimum temperature has risen by a degree to 19.5C.

    • Weatherwatch: Global warming is evident in Scotland

      As Scotland has endured its second extreme cold weather event of the winter it is hard to accept that overall the climate is warming. But the evidence is that despite human doubts, the natural world north of the border is responding to an increase in average temperatures.

      Flying insects, particularly noticeable ones like butterflies, are the first to take advantage of more favourable conditions and colonise new areas. Perhaps the most dramatic expansion is that of the orange tip. Thirty years ago it would have been rare to see one in Scotland but now the species is common as far north as Easter Ross and Sutherland. Only Caithness, Orkney and Shetland have yet to report sightings.

    • The Tiger Summit and the “Tiger State”

      With as few as 3200 tigers in the wilds of the world as many as thirteen tiger-range countries met in November 2010 in Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg in an effort to save the species. They committed around $300 million during the next five years towards doubling the current world population of the species by 2022. Hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, governments concerned capped a year-long political process with new funding to support the plan, known as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme

    • Today’s war on climate scientists is worse than under the Bush Administration

      “The war on climate science and scientists that’s going on now makes the Bush Administration look moderate,” we said to Science for their December 17 news article “Climatologists Feel the Heat As Science Meets Politics.” Bush can’t be rehabilitated on climate change, but during the past two years the global warming denial machine has launched a nihilistic war on climate science and climate scientists that makes Bush officials seem tactically subtle and rhetorically nuanced in comparison.

    • Overstretched Jakarta’s future as Indonesia’s capital is in doubt
  • Finance

    • Regulators exist to ‘serve the banks,’ next House finance chairman declares

      Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the incoming chairman of the House banking committee, suggested Congress and federal regulators should play a subservient role with banks.

      “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” Bachus told The Birmingham News in an interview.

    • Shouldn’t We Fix The Check Clearing Loophole That So Many Scammers Abuse?

      Slashdot points us to a recent story about a guy who lost his lawsuit against a bank, over a variation on a classic Nigerian email scam. The scam is one we’ve discussed many times in the past: somehow the victim gets a big check, which they’re expected to deposit in a bank. After the check “clears,” the victim/recipient is supposed to transfer a large chunk of that money to the scammer, on the belief that they get to keep whatever is left over. What really happens is a few days after the check “clears,” the bank finds out it’s fraudulent, and tries to void the transaction. But, by then, the victim has already transferred out a big chunk of money (and the scammer has already taken all that cash out of the bank and disappeared) — leaving the victim footing the bill, with the bank expecting them to come up with the missing cash.

    • Economic growth expected to slow in 2011

      Canada’s economy faces subdued growth in the new year as an initial strong rebound from the recession shifts into a more sluggish expansion, a prominent business group says.

      In its outlook for 2011, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said “more prudent spending” by Canadians is a factor in the country’s slowing economic growth. Gross domestic product expanded by 2.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2010 and only one per cent in the third quarter.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • RapidShare Shows MPAA/RIAA: We Can Lobby Lawmakers Too

      Last month RapidShare discovered that they had been reported by the MPAA and RIAA to the US Government for being one of the world’s “most notorious pirate markets”. Now, on the heels of reports that the entertainment industries spent a small fortune lobbying for domain seizures in the last quarter, RapidShare has hired a Washington based lobbying firm to represent its interests in the US and to start correcting misconceptions.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Why the Internet Is a Great Tool for Totalitarians

      The last time American leaders were this ecstatic about the power of information was at the end of the Cold War, when illicit fax machines and photocopiers and the work of broadcasters like Radio Free Europe were presumed to have been a leading cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union. (In 1990, Albert Wohlstetter—the ur-technocrat who was one of the inspirations for Dr. Strangelove—told an audience of perplexed eastern Europeans that “the fax shall make you free.”) Today, most historians reject such views as reductionist, but they are still extremely popular among US politicians (probably because celebrating smuggled technology allows them to celebrate the politicians who made the smuggling possible—particularly Ronald Reagan). Such Cold War thinking showed in Clinton’s speech: “Virtual walls,” she said, are “cropping up in place of visible walls,” and viral videos and blogging are “becoming the samizdat of our day.”

      But not all blogs are revolutionary. China, Iran, and Russia all have bloggers who are more authoritarian in their views than their governments are.

    • Online anonymity will come as standard on a Tor router

      If you want to remain anonymous on the Web, then Tor is a very good solution. Our identity is governed by the IP we use, which your ISP knows, and which can be shared with the authorities if requested.

      To get around that identification and tracking problem, Tor offers a solution by routing your requests through multiple servers. All your ISP, or anyone else looking will see is a repeated request to a non-descript Tor server rather than the actual destination you are heading to.

    • Report: Spanish Minister Vows to Pass Site Blocking Anyway

      A few days ago, we reported on the defeat of web censorship in Spain where ISPs would be mandated to block websites if the government ordered them to block them over copyright infringement. The law was brought forth due to US industry threats, lobbying and pressure. Now, news is surfacing that the defeat won’t be enough to deter site blocking in Spain.

      There was no shortage of Spanish celebration when site blocking was defeated. Spanish copyright observers noted the celebrations on Spanish sites that a law the Spanish people fought so hard to defeat was finally shot down. For many Spanish, the Sinde Bill represented one of the very symbols of foreign industry intervention on the domestic marketplace and the very country itself. It’s no surprise many in Spain were happy to see foreign interference defeated by a vote.

    • The first truly honest privacy policy

      It’s been a hell of a year for consumer privacy, or the lack thereof. From Facebook leaking personally identifiable information to advertisers, to data brokers harvesting reams of user information on social nets, to Google’s Wi-Fi slurping, 2010 may be remembered as the year the privacy chickens came home to roost — and quickly got roasted.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Three Strikes: Truth and Consequences

      As we also expected, IP rightsholders and global policy-makers have realized that Three Strikes automatic disconnection laws and policies are a short-term measure, and are now focusing their efforts on Internet intermediary obligations to block webpages.

    • Anonymity
    • Video: Scrap the law on Sedition
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Beware Counterfeit Goods

      There is an assumption that consumers are unsuspecting in what they’re buying, that somehow they don’t know that a video game bought for £5 from a flea market on a domestically burned DVD with the name scribbled in marker pen and maybe a cheap inkjet photocopy of the cover badly sliced to fit is not in fact the real deal. They know it’s a copy. They see the difference in being able to play a DRM free version of a video game for £5 is a vast difference from buying a DRM infested version of the same thing for £40+. This is not what I’d call “counterfeit” as it’s obvious to both buyer and seller that it’s not legit. Counterfeit is about passing something off as legit when it’s not.

    • How ‘Piracy’ Helped Establish The Dominance Of Nigerian Films

      Earlier this year, we wrote about Kevin Kelly’s fascinating look at the movie industries of India, Nigeria and China, which represent the three largest film industries in the world. Yes, all three are larger than the US. And all three are places known for extremely widespread “piracy.” Given that Hollywood insists that “piracy” kills the movie industry, it certainly seemed worth noting that these three countries had hugely thriving movie industries despite (or perhaps because of) widespread infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • NBC Universal & MPAA Get NYC To Run Propaganda ‘Anti-Piracy’ Ad Campaign

        Reading through the details of the “ad campaign,” we’re not surprised to see the driving force behind it is our old friend, Rick Cotton, the General Counsel at NBC Universal, who often seems to have no shame in saying stuff that makes absolutely no sense concerning movie piracy. Cotton, most famously, is the guy who once made a filing with the FCC where he tried to claim that movie piracy was killing the American corn farmer. This ignored two rather important points: (1) people who watch unauthorized copies of movies can also eat popcorn and (2) corn — one of the most subsidized crops in the US — continues to grow as a market. Oh yeah, speaking of growing markets, have we mentioned how the movie industry keeps breaking records at the box office, despite all of this file sharing.

      • Once Again, More State Dept. Cables Show Swedish Copyright Enforcement At The Behest Of US

        There’s absolutely nothing surprising at all about the following, but Christian Engstrom (one of the two European Parliament Members from The Pirate Party*) highlights yet another leaked State Department cable that shows that many of the copyright enforcement efforts of the Swedish government were in response to a six point checklist given to the Swedish government by the US Embassy (English translation from the original Swedish — though at the end of the Swedish post the original cable is available in English). The six point check list passed on by the embassy was almost certainly originally from US industry lobbyists. There’s nothing in this that is even remotely surprising (and hints of this had already leaked previously).

      • “Copyright expired, everybody free. 2011 will be the year of Gatsby and Margarita”

        A comprehensive article published last week on Il Venerdì, a weekly magazine of the Italian daily la Repubblica, is focused on various international authors whose works are now entering the public domain and the upcoming publications of many new translations (in Italian). Under the title “Copyright expired, everybody free. 2011 will be the year of Gatsby and Margarita” (full pdf here), Brunella Schisa explains that right after the 1st January 2011 deadline — also known as Public Domain Day — several Italian publishers will launch new translations of such masterpieces as “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov and Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s best novels (“The Great Gatsby”, “Tender Is the Night”).

      • Permission Culture And The Automated Diminishment Of Fair Use

        SinkDeep alerts us to the news that a bunch of DJs are upset after discovering that SoundCloud took down a bunch of the mixes they had hosted on the service. If you’re not familiar with SoundCloud, in the last few years, it has become one of the most popular tools for musicians and DJs to host their music. It offers a really nice toolset for anyone looking to promote their music online (and for others to build apps on top of it). SoundCloud has also been a pretty big supporter of open culture, supporting things like Creative Commons along the way.

        I contacted SoundCloud to find out what was going on, and the response was pretty much as I expected. Due to the nature of the copyright world we live in today, the company recently implemented a fingerprinting-type technology, similar to those used by YouTube (ContentID) and MySpace (Audible Magic), which lets copyright holders designate their own works, and which SoundCloud then automatically blocks. While the original link above “blames” SoundCloud for becoming a “walled garden,” that’s not really fair nor accurate. The real problem is the nature of our copyright laws today, that assume infringement over fair use. As we’ve discussed before, copyright law is effectively broken when it sets up fair use as a defense, rather than a proactive right. Fair use should be seen as the default until proven otherwise, if fair use is really (as is claimed) designed to be a pressure valve on copyright law to allow free speech.

      • Copyrights vs Human Rights

        What crime do you have to commit where you live to be forbidden use of electricity (not just disconnected)? To be forbidden use of a phone? To be forbidden to walk on the streets? To have your family punished along with you? Yes, the lack of due process in these bad laws promoted covertly by USTR is an enormous worry, but much more of a concern is its calculation that the infringement of a copyright justifies the removal of the main conduit of social engagement from a citizen. Removal of basic rights is a matter of criminal not civil law so moves to make “internet bans” easy are an unacceptable expansion into criminal law for something that was never even meant to affect ordinary citizens in civil law.

        This is not a matter for a “voluntary code of conduct” either. As use of the Internet becomes more complex and more fundamental, it’s becoming clear that groups like the Internet Watch Foundation – a group set up by ISPs so they wouldn’t be regulated over every politician’s excuse for bad legislation, “protecting children” – is harmful to us all, cracking small nuts with pile drivers and lacking transparency and accountability. Development of a voluntary code of conduct so citizens rights can be repeatably infringed in support of media business models is as unacceptable as a hard law because it still agrees that citizen access to the internet is worth less than media business models. On the contrary, if we need new laws at all, they should be to prevent businesses from terminating service without a court order.

      • Cables: US driving Swedish Data Retention

        Taking a closer look at the Stockholm 09-141 cable, we find that the United States was the driving force behind the IPRED legislation, that it was the driving force behind threats to Swedish ISPs in 2008, and that it is currently the driving force behind the so-called “step two of the data retention”, which was presented by the Justice Minister last Thursday. This legislation will give police at-will access to all and any collected records under Data Retention in the proposed Police Methods Report (polismetodutredningen, PMU). Ordinarily, prison sentences of more than two years would have been required to collect IP addresses, but the PMU changes this before the Data Retention is even in place.

        [...]

        The United States Government is driving the creation of a Big Brother state in Sweden, including draconian data retention measures, in order to have it combat simple and everyday petty copyright infringements on behalf of American interests.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

you need to get off facebook


Credit: TinyOgg

12.28.10

Links 28/12/2010: Putin for Russian Migration to GNU/Linux, Ex-Red Hat CEO is Suing Over Kickbacks

Posted in News Roundup at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Putin Orders Russian Move to GNU/Linux

    The fact that Putin has signed the order for this project could be critical: there have been several previous plans for moving parts of the Russian government to using free software, notably in the educational sector, but in practice they have mostly failed to materialise because there has been insufficient political weight behind them. But if Putin says: “make it so”, I suspect that a lot of people will jump pretty fast to make sure that it *is* so. And once that happens, other plans to roll out free software might well suddenly look rather more attractive.

  • 2010′s Biggest Linux Thing

    Well another year is drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to begin taking stock of all that has passed in 2010.

  • The Golden Tux awards for 2010: Linux and open source winners

    Most improved award

    Without a doubt, this award must go to the KDE desktop environment. When KDE 4.0 was released it looked like it was going bomb miserably. It was slow, buggy, and far from ready for public consumption. But 2010 saw more improvement in KDE 4 than it seemed in the whole of software. And because of that epic push towards stability and usability, KDE has finally been able to stand back up in the front lines with the likes of GNOME.

  • Why Linux Isn’t Used in Broadcast Media

    No longer are we being held down by proprietary software companies, “big media” or those who support this way of doing things. An unregulated (for the most part) Internet along with plenty of the free software available with open source friendly licensing means that anyone with something to say can express themselves and share it with the world.

  • AXE and your shell receives

    I was at a Linux Meetup a couple of months ago and I ran into another former employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (“They are everywhere, everywhere!”) named Larry Camilli. We started talking and somehow the conversation came around to a program called “AXE” (vaX Archictecture Exerciser). Larry looked at me with a strange look on his face and said “That was my program! That is what I did for Digital!” Larry went on to say that few people he met, even those who worked for Digital, knew about the AXE (or its equivalent for the MicroVAX, the “MAX”) program. I replied that I worked in an operating system group, so we often delt with new CPUs, and we knew the *AXE programs and their capabilities very well.

  • AlwaysOnPC – Office & Firefox

    This powerful app lets you control a cloud-based desktop PC running Fedora Linux with 2GB of storage, the OpenOffice Suite, Firefox, Dropbox, and many other open-source programs.

  • Desktop

    • How to buy a Dell WITHOUT windows

      I have received a quotation for the Dell Vostro V13 and here are the numbers:
      a) S$887.15 for the N-series
      b) S$1045.79 for the same machine with ‘doze.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD 2010 Catalyst Driver Year In Review

        Earlier this month we delivered our annual performance look at NVIDIA’s 2010 Linux graphics drivers and now the tables have turned to do our annual examination of the ATI/AMD Catalyst graphics drivers for the Radeon graphics processors. This was certainly an interesting year — both good and bad — for AMD with their Catalyst Linux driver.

      • A New Open-Source AMD OverDrive Utility For Linux

        AMD has allowed their Radeon GPUs to be overclocked on Linux since 2008 when using their Catalyst driver with OverDrive support. Previous to that there was Rovclock for overclocking select ATI Radeon ASICs using an open-source program along with support for tuning the video memory timings and other options, which was a program written via reverse engineering. The Catalyst Linux driver supports OverDrive manipulation of the core and memory clocks, which is enough for most enthusiasts, but if you’ve been looking for more extensive features there is a new option.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Lightweight Linux Choices For Older Computers

      The Linux winner for my desktop was arrived at in an unlikely manner. Puppy garned a slice of my hard drive because it is such an amazing little distro and such a small foot print. As much as I wanted VectorLinux on my laptop, I could not get VectorLinux to multi boot with more than Windows.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • KNOPPIX 6.4.3 Switches to Nouveau, LibreOffice

        KNOPPIX 6.4.3 has been released bringing several updated packages along with the usual bug fixes. This is also the first release to bring support for the open-source nouveau driver for Nvidia video cards. KMS is now also included in the kernel shipped with the latest KNOPPIX release.

        “The current version has been completely updated from Debian ‘Lenny’, ‘Testing’ and ‘Unstable’ and uses Linux kernel 2.6.36.1, X.Org 7.5 for supporting current computer hardware,” the release notes of KNOPPIX 6.4.3 read.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • New Personal Goal: Photobomb for Natty

          I’m on holiday for the next week, yeah! I’ve started filling some of my free time by resurrecting Photobomb (again). There have been some technical improvements to the APIs I’ve been using, and also, I’ve learned some ways to do a few things better. I’m hoping that by spending a few hours a day, I can pretty much complete Photobomb by the end of this week, and then work on getting it into Universe for Natty.

        • Ubuntu update policy change is probably a good thing

          Despite some premature reports on the net, Canonical isn’t moving to a rolling release schedule for Ubuntu. However, the organisation is open to making some changes to the way that some software packages are updated. It’s seems likely that a mechanism that supports the adding of up to date application packages outside of the normal software repository updates is probably on the cards, and I’d say that it’s about time.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • XUbuntu 10.10 – gksu fails [Solved]

            In an attempt to gain some stability and speed in my life without having a different distro on my desktop and netbook, I’ve decided to install XUbuntu on both. XUbuntu is community driven and based on XFCE, thus no need to worry about Unity vs GNOME. However after installing XUbuntu on my desktop, I came across a strange issue. When ever I attempted to sudo inside of the gui, it would fail. However, it would work at the command line level.

          • Kubuntu 11.04 alpha1 (dailybuild) with Kde 4.6rc Overview
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open*Business: 2010 in review

    2010 has been a fantastic year on the Business channel here at opensource.com.

  • A bountiful year for open source

    Code is everywhere, and it is more and more likely to be open source from the bottom to the top of the stack. Ruby, Python, Perl, JavaScript, and PHP dominate the list of top languages at GitHub. This code, in turn, runs on open source libraries that sit on Linux. Although proprietary coding tools and extensions continue to proliferate, the core is increasingly fully open source.

    This domination is pushing into other areas. Open source content management systems like web.py, phpBB, CakePHP, Lift, Drupal, Joomla, and probably hundreds of other open source CMS frameworks are packaging up most of the information you read today. It is rare to find a website that depends on just Apache to deliver the content.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Wars III

      Cue the new browser war. Maybe it will help fix all of the annoying problems and sloppiness you encounter when using browsers.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox is most popular browser in Armenia

        According to data of Circle.am Armenian ranking system, website visitors, who are registered on Circle.am, mostly use Firefox (41.05%) browser, as well as Chrome (27.36%). Safari rounds out the top five browsers in Armenia – 0.29%, while the share of other browsers makes – 0.25%.

  • CMS

    • New book: Drupal 7 Module Development

      Drupal 7 Module Development has been published by Packt, just in time for the release of Drupal 7. This book provides in-depth coverage of key elements of Drupal 7 and is designed for professional developers. Every chapter provides fully functional code samples illustrating the APIs and strategies discussed in the chapter. With this foundation, developers can quickly build sophisticated tools on their own by making use of the strategies and techniques exemplified in this book.

  • Education

    • Free Software in education: October – December 2010

      Here’s a little summary again of what I found noteworthy in the field of Free Software in education in the last few months of this year in no particular order:

      * After Sam Tuke informed the edu-eu mailinglist about (k)mando recently, it was quickly put into a debian paket by Georges Khaznadar from OFSET. I’m still looking for people who have actually used that software.
      * I stumbled on a blog post in kde-edu planet that describes how to report a bug. I think this touches an important point. When we encourage educational institutions to use Free Software, we should not forget to teach them how to contribute and make them part of the community.

      [...]

    • Linux in education: a genuine alternative

      The best thing about Linux training in education is that there are already people doing it. There are establishments up and down the UK that have decided to include Linux on their syllabus and make a concerted effort to provide their students with the choice.

      So if you’re a parent frustrated with the lack of options for your child, or you’re maybe a student who wants to learn Linux skills from the outset, there are places to go and people to speak to. They may be able to help you make the difference. But even if you can’t influence the training regime at your local establishment, Linux can still play a part.

      Unlike in schools, Linux and open source software isn’t badly served by professional training. It’s this kind of training that pits Linux against Microsoft’s certification, and it’s the kind that prepares IT people for the real tasks they face while dealing with Linux systems.

      The Linux Professional Institute, for example, has been dishing out qualifications for over 10 years, and its LPI certification levels have become something of a standard for Linux system administrators.

  • Project Releases

    • Cobbler 2.0.10

      I am proud to announce that I’ve released the latest version of Cobbler. This version includes several fixes. The biggest one being a fix for broken SNIPPETS on Fedora 14 due to a change in Cheetah.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The many definitions of a open standard

      One of the reasons I like the Digistan definition of “Free and Open Standard” is that this is a new term, and thus the meaning of the term has been decided by Digistan. The term “Open Standard” has become so misunderstood that it is no longer very useful when talking about standards. One end up discussing which definition is the best one and with such frame the only one gaining are the proponents of de-facto standards and proprietary solutions.

Leftovers

  • QQ coin for netizens who hunt suspects

    Police have started offering virtual online money to encourage Internet users to report clues in criminal cases.

    Police hope the hunt for suspects can be sped up by harnessing the growing population of Internet users in China.

  • Man quits job, makes living suing e-mail spammers

    From San Francisco Superior Court small claims court to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Balsam, based in San Francisco, has filed many lawsuits, including dozens before he graduated law school in 2008, against e-mail marketers he says violate anti-spamming laws.

    His many victories are mere rain drops in the ocean considering that Cisco Systems Inc. estimates that there are 200 billion spam messages circulating a day, accounting for 90 percent of all e-mail.

  • Internationalising the public interest

    The arrest and detention of Algeria’s most prominent anti-corruption campaigner last month attracted wide media attention inside the country, but it received little or no attention internationally in the English-language media.

    The reporting silence may be due to linguistic barriers: much of the relevant documentation is in French and Arabic. Perhaps reporting on Algeria’s opaque political system is not seen as newsworthy (no matter the international relevance), or maybe there is simply a lack of interest in the plight of anti-corruption activists outside the developed world.

    There is now widespread recognition that pervasive corruption is a violation of basic human rights and a severe impediment to development.

  • How Much Did It Cost AOL To Send Us Those CDs In The 90s? “A Lot!,” Says Steve Case
  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bush officials: Obama’s terror policies echo Bush’s

      While Vice President Dick Cheney and other prominent conservatives have faulted President Barack Obama for slacking in the war on terror, two top Bush administration intelligence officials are arguing that the White House has been just as tough – if not tougher.

      “The new administration has been as aggressive, if not more aggressive, in pursing these issues because they’re real,” former National Intelligence Director and retired Navy Vice Admiral Michael McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

      “You commend them for that?” host Candy Crowley asked.

      “I do commend them for that,” McConnell said.

    • White House Terms Permanent Detention Without Trial ‘Regrettable’

      Speaking today on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that the administration views its own decision to hold detainees permanently without trial “regrettable.”

    • One Time Only: Scientist-on-Scientist TSA Smackdown

      I heard last night from a reader who shares the physicist’s skepticism of the TSA but challenges his explanation of the underlying science. After the jump, because they’re so long, are this second reader’s message, and then a response from the original physics professor.

    • Verdict in the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev Case
  • Cablegate

    • Spain rejects Sinde Law

      It looks like Wikileaks is making people think for once

    • Wikileaks reveals U.S. Gov’t GMO secret dealings

      Remember when countries all over the world were free to choose whether or not they adopted genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Well, if the U.S. State Department (who is controlled by big agriculture) has its way, the whole world will be pimping GMOs before long.

      Yet another important Wikileaks revelation, this time involving the world’s food supply, has been swept under the rug by the establishment media. Thankfully Rodale News has the guts to report on the issue and bring some much needed attention to it.

    • A Holiday Statement from Bradley Manning

      “I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time. I am also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense. I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions. Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”

  • Finance

    • Protect Whistleblowers at the Big Banks!

      Crimes committed by the big banks helped crash our economy — and WikiLeaks is saying that a whistle-blower has sent them enough evidence to take down Bank of America. So now the big banks are fighting back by trying to get the government to muzzle future whistle-blowers.

    • 2010-12-28: Operation Payback DDoS attacks on Bank of America

      On Monday, Bank of America’s web site suffered sporadic downtimes, apparently as a result of DDoS attacks–the same kind of attacks that also plagued Visa, Master Card and Paypal, each of which also recently halted its financial services to Wikileaks.

    • Infographic: New Lenses of Wealth

      The infographic summarizing our research for The Future of Money project is now complete! Thanks to Patrizia Kommerell for the design work, and Gabriel Shalom & Jay Cousins for concept work. You can check out Pati’s post and download the infographic in A1 or A4 size PDF over at emergence.cc.

    • A Merry Christmas to all Bankers

      The bankers’ trade association has written to Cambridge University asking for the MPhil thesis of one of our research students, Omar Choudary, to be taken offline. They complain it contains too much detail of our No-PIN attack on Chip-and-PIN and thus “breaches the boundary of responsible disclosure”; they also complain about Omar’s post on the subject to this blog.

      Needless to say, we’re not very impressed by this, and I made this clear in my response to the bankers. (I am embarrassed to see I accidentally left Mike Bond off the list of authors of the No-PIN vulnerability. Sorry, Mike!) There is one piece of Christmas cheer, though: the No-PIN attack no longer works against Barclays’ cards at a Barclays merchant. So at least they’ve started to fix the bug – even if it’s taken them a year. We’ll check and report on other banks later.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Tell the FCC: Block the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal

      The increased accumulation and consolidation of corporate power is a threat to our democracy. And nowhere is this more evident than in our media.

    • ENDitorial: Net neutrality – wait and see the end of the open Internet

      At the joint European Parliament and European Commission net neutrality summit in Brussels on 11 November there was a clear political message – that interference with Internet traffic is permissible as long as companies tell their consumers that it is happening.

      The Commission will “wait and see” if such interferences cause problems for the market and will consider taking action if this is the case. In a whole day of discussions, the fundamental rights aspects of the interference by private companies with citizens’ communications were only questioned by Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net and Jan Albrecht MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany).

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Net Neutrality

      We’re still looking at the actual rules, which were released publicly several days after the ratifying vote, and we’ll comment more when we’ve completed our review. But from what we’ve gleaned from FCC statements, and despite some rumors otherwise, the FCC’s current theory for jurisdiction seems to be somewhat new. On the other hand, the substantive principles laid out in the final rules appear to be largely the same as those discussed by policymakers and other stakeholders throughout the year, and which we have repeatedly warned about for their loopholes and exemptions. We’ve also warned about the Trojan horse we may find on our hands if the FCC’s authority to regulate is approved in the courts.

      We’ll be watching to see what 2011 holds; it seems likely that the new Congress will have something to say as well.

    • My new Audible books won’t load on my Android phone

      Audible now has an Android app, yeah!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intelligent Theft

      It is impossible to be entirely devoid of influence, it is in our nature to imitate. This is how children learn to speak, form a sense of moral responsibility, and develop their interpretations of societal norms; by copying their elders. Litigating against imitation shares the futility of attempts to outlaw sex.

      Copyright laws have never stopped copying, they’ve just distorted our culture to favour that which can be legally reproduced. For example, while Oasis did not infringe the copyright of the The Beatles, they copied just about everything that was legally copyable about them, with healthy profits. Yet if they had sampled even a brief section of any one of their songs, they would have needed to clear it and pay large royalties. I would argue with anyone who claimed the insipid dirge of Oasis was more relevant to nineties music than the inventiveness of hip-hop (a genre built on sampling), yet we have a system that levies financial penalties against the latter rather than the former.

    • Copyrights

      • New project for WikiLeaks

        Net neutrality and linking depend on each other.

        But if Hollywood and Big Music get their way, net neutrality will be dead, and the links which bind the World Wide Web will be broken.

        The entertainment cartels are using the claim that linking equals publishing to have sites closed down without any kind of due process, and with the Obama administration looking on with approval.

        The internet isn’t a new communications phenomenon: it’s a shining new communications paradigm. Some of the brightest people on the planet have created this amazing network linking music, art, different cultures, information, ideas, data.

        Now, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music; and, Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal and Sony Pictures want it torn down, using file sharing as the wrecking ball.

      • Righthaven disputes fair use defense in copyright case

        Las Vegas newspaper copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is disputing arguments that one of its lawsuits should be dismissed on fair use and other grounds.

        Righthaven, a partnership between Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson and an affiliate of newspaper chain owner Stephens Media LLC, since March has filed at least 192 copyright infringement lawsuits against website operators.

      • Copyrighting a Wrong and Injecting Fairness into Bollywood

        A Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation that music composers and lyricists are to get an equal share of all revenues that flow from the commercialisation of film music has stirred a hornet’s nest.

        Bollywood producers are now threatening to strike against this provision and apprehend that if this provision converts to law, they will be forced to shut down! As we debate the pros and cons of this historical provision, we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question. What is the “law” really about? Isn’t it about fairness? About justice?

        [...]

        Copyright is about creativity..indeed, it aims to foster the creativity of the content creator, and not line up the pockets of the funder/packager at the cost of the content creator. To my mind, even a 50% split seems unduly skewed in favour of someone who merely pumps in the moolah. However, the standing committee decided, in its infinite wisdom, that if film music were to be exploited in any other form other than as part of the “film”, the proceeds of such exploitation were to be split equally between the lyricist, music composer and the film producer. In other words, a 50:50 split of the profits between the content creator and the content funder/packager. Seems like more than a fair provision to me. In fact, similar provisions ought to be transposed to other contexts such as book publishing, where authors are often at the receiving end of a paltry single digit royalty sharing percentage!

      • The Top 20 DMCA Cease and Desist Senders of 2010

        DMCA takedown notices are sent in large numbers to dozens of organizations on the Internet every month. The ChillingEffects clearing house has been receiving copies of these from some of the Internet’s biggest players including Google, Yahoo, Digg and more recently Twitter. It will come as no surprise that the music and movie industries are some of the biggest complainers, but there are also some unexpected entrants.

Clip of the Day

GLENN GREENWALD vs FRAN TOWNSEND WIKILEAKS DEBATE


Credit: TinyOgg

12.27.10

Links 27/12/2010: The Humble Indie Bundle Ends, Mandriva 2010.2 Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Session Restore Not Working? Try This Fix

        I have been experiencing problems with Firefox’s built-in session restore which was configured to load the tabs from the last browsing session automatically on the next startup to allow me to continue working exactly where I stopped the last time.

      • Why Iceweasel?

        It is a valid question. Iceweasel/Firefox is fantastic software, but when compared to some of the newer WebKit based browsers, it begins to look somewhat stale. This lack of freshness is often compounded on Debian systems where the Iceweasel packages can lag some way behind Mozilla’s official Firefox releases.

  • Databases

    • Ubuntu Upstart for automatic MySQL start and stop

      Here at Recorded Future we use Ubuntu (running on Amazon EC2), but so far we have not explored Ubuntu Upstart that much. During the holidays I made an effort to get acquainted with Upstart and to implement proper MySQL start and stop with it.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.1 Release Candidate

      An RC comes after the beta period and before final release. That means we think we’re done. We currently have no known issues or bugs to squash. But with tens of millions of users, a variety of configurations, and thousands of plugins, it’s possible we’ve missed something. So if you haven’t tested WordPress 3.1 yet, now is the time! Please though, not on your live site unless you’re extra adventurous.

    • WordPress New Beta– to Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free software campaigners put pressure on Brussels

      “We would like to see the European Commission back up its public rhetoric regarding free software, open standards and interoperability with its own actions,” it said. “This would require DIGIT to rethink some procurement practices in order to open up public software procurement to competition.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Pirate Apple App Store Innovates With ‘Reverse BitTorrent’

      Hackulous, the community dedicated to the cracking of Apple DRM and the indexing of unprotected software for iPhone, iPod and iPad, has announced some interesting innovations. As well as having cracking software for the yet-to-be-released Mac App Store already up their sleeve, they also have an intriguing “reverse BitTorrent” system for jailbroken devices which will increase cracked app availability on the Internet.

    • Zen and the Art of Self-Publishing (cont.)

      You see, in trying everything—audiobooks, POD, limited editions—I’ve discovered the thing that captures the public’s interest is also the thing that makes the most money is also the thing that has the least logistics: super-premium limited editions. Over and over again, when I describe With a Little Help to people, they fixate on the limited editions. I’ve had dozens of e-mails from people practically begging to buy the $275 editions I’m doing—and I stand to make $50,000 or more from them.

  • Programming

    • Progress in Algorithms Beats Moore’s Law

      Every so often Lance tweets about some science policy report. My natural tendency, like any good techie, is to keep my distance from such reports. I do recognize that they serve an important social function (like dentists or lawyers) but personally I would want to have as little as possible to do with them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Is Ogg Theora a free and open standard?

      For a while now I have tried to figure out of Ogg Theora is a free and open standard according to this definition. Here is a short writeup of what I have been able to gather so far. I brought up the topic on the Xiph advocacy mailing list in July 2009, for those that want to see some background information. According to Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves and Monty Montgomery on that list the Ogg Theora specification fulfils the Digistan definition.

    • Microsoft opens playpen for ‘unstable’ web standards

      Microsoft has unveiled an online sandbox where developers can experiment with unfinished web standards you won’t find in its Internet Explorer browser.

      After years of cold shouldering the web standards movement, Redmond has taken a very different approach with Internet Explorer 9, now available in beta. And with the introduction of its new sandbox, the company hopes to convince you that its promotion of web standards is more prudent than the approach favored by its rivals.

Leftovers

  • The Putinization of Hungary

    NEXT MONTH many European Union members may be regretting their system of a rotating presidency. That’s because the gavel will be handed to Hungary, whose populist and power-hungry government has just adopted a media law more suited to an authoritarian regime than to a Western democracy.

    The right-wing Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban won 53 percent of the popular vote in an election this year but gained 66 percent of the seats in parliament – enough to change the constitution. It proceeded to take over or attack the authority of every institution it did not control, including the presidency, the Supreme Court and the state audit office; the central bank is now under its assault.

  • The Unwelcome Return of Platform Dependencies
  • Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills

    Parents, the next time you fret that your child is wasting too much time playing video games, consider new research suggesting that video gaming may have real-world benefits for your child’s developing brain.

    Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.”

  • Winklevoss Twins Take One Last Shot At Facebook In Court

    Despite the film’s tidy ending, the Winklevosses’ litigation is marching on.

    That’s because the twin brothers have asked for a remarkable series of “do-overs” since signing the settlement agreement in February 2008, surrounded by their lawyers. First, they complained that the settlement wasn’t fair, because they were duped into believing that the Facebook stock was worth more than it actually was. Then, they got into a battle with the lawyers who won the settlement for them, from the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Hedges, alleging the firm had engaged in malpractice. (That dispute ended up in arbitration, which was resolved in September, with the Quinn Emanuel firm collecting the full fee it asked for, reportedly $13 million.)

  • Phone-Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers

    Last year, he might have just dropped the $184.85 Garmin global positioning system into his cart. This time, he took out his Android phone and typed the model number into an app that instantly compared the Best Buy price to those of other retailers. He found that he could get the same item on Amazon.com Inc.’s website for only $106.75, no shipping, no tax.

  • Is Julian Assange a Journalist?

    Despite Vice President Biden’s recent squabbling with Republican senators over the meaning of Christmas, he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell do agree on something. They both say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has published thousands of confidential Pentagon and State Department documents on his group’s website, is “a high-tech terrorist.”

    But assuming that President Obama is not ready to drop a bomb on Assange, punishing him for disseminating military records and diplomatic cables will require specifying what crime he committed under U.S. law. That won’t be easy, unless the Justice Department is prepared to criminalize something journalists do every day: divulge information that the government wants to keep secret.

  • Virgin Passengers Not Named Madonna Wait 3 Hours To Get Off Plane

    When bad weather forced a London-bound Virgin flight to reroute from Heathrow Airport to Stansted, passengers had to wait three hours on the tarmac before they could disembark. A select group did, however, get to leave the plane after about an hour. No, they weren’t disabled, sick or parents with small, noisy children. The group making an early exit consisted of once-popular singer Madonna and her entourage of about 15 people.

  • Paper: Brown letter ‘affront to the First Amendment’

    I couldn’t quite believe that, as that Florida Times-Union editorial I linked to earlier suggests, Rep. Corrine Brown had threatened a libel suit against a newspaper columnist for the sort of criticism most politicians face.

  • Why is international data roaming so expensive?

    How high are international data roaming rates? I have direct evidence from two providers: an Italian provider TIM charges about $10 per megabyte; a U.S. provider T-mobile charges $15 per megabyte. The typical business user uses receives about 15 megabytes per day of email. My smartphone uses about four times this. By way of contrast, you can buy a SIM from Vodafone UK with 30 megabytes of data for about $30. Wifi at the airport or a hotel runs about $10-$60 per day. Over-the-air prices charged to local customers is much lower: TIM charges $25 per month for 5 gigabytes of data, of which probably about 2 gigs is actually used, so the effective rate is about $0.0125 per megabyte. T-mobile in the US charges a similar amount for similar service.,

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US Senate votes for Russian nuclear arms treaty

      The US Senate today voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

    • Rights groups drop suit after government changes terror suspect defense licensing scheme

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy websites] on Friday dropped a lawsuit [notice of dismissal, PDF] challenging the US government’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) licensing scheme after the government changed the policy. The groups announced in August that they would pursue a legal challenge [JURIST report] to the scheme despite being issued a license to represent Anwar al-Awlaqi [NYT profile; JURIST news archive], a US citizen who was labeled an SDGT in July.

    • One law for them, another for us: is it illegal to record the police on the job?

      In Reason magazine, Radley Balko takes an in-depth look at all the places in the USA where it’s nominally illegal to record the police, and all the people who’ve faced fines or prison for recording law enforcement officers breaking the law with illegal beatings and harassment.

    • America’s Inefficient and Ineffective Approach to Border Security

      Last week, the Senate refused to approve the DREAM Act, a bill that would have offered a path to citizenship for children brought into the country illegally if they attend college or serve in the military. Opponents stated that no immigration reform will happen without first “securing” the 1,951 mile U.S. border with Mexico. America’s current approach to border security is wasteful and ineffective, and “securing the border” will never be achieved until we redefine our approach to, and definition of, border security. With many in Washington expressing concern about fiscal responsibility, reigning in the billions wasted annually on current border security policies should really be a priority. But America’s xenophobic preoccupation with an “invasion” by brown-skinned “illegals” may keep us pursuing an expensive and unreasonable approach to border security.

    • A Banana Republic Once Again?

      Edward L. Bernays, Chiquita, and the CIA-backed Guatemalan Coup

      Chiquita’s most famous act of interference with Central American politics is its role in toppling Guatemala’s left-leaning government in 1954. For the first half of the 20th century, Chiquita poured investment capital into Guatemala, buying the country’s productive land and controlling shares in its railroad, electric utility, and telegraph industries; as a result, the Guatemalan government was subservient to Chiquita’s interests, exempting the company from internal taxation and guaranteeing workers earned no more than fifty cents per day. At the time of the 1944 Guatemalan revolution, Chiquita was the country’s number one landowner, employer, and exporter.

      In 1950, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was elected with 65% of the vote, and Chiquita perceived his agrarian land reforms as a threat to their corporate interests. Chiquita, with the help of the father of modern public relations, Edward L. Bernays, waged a propaganda war and managed to convince the American public and politicians that Arbenz was secretly a dangerous communist who could not be allowed to remain in power. With McCarthy-era hysteria in full swing, President Eisenhower secretly ordered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overthrow the democratically elected Arbenz in a 1954 covert operation.

  • Cablegate

    • Issues and challenges for the post-Cablegate world

      Legislation — privacy, anti-terrorist, national security, copyright, ACTA, SHIELD, Digital Agenda

      Probably the first and if carefully watched, most visible issue will be the legislation.

      After the national security fiasco that resulted in Cablegate most governments around the globe (with the US at its front) will be hard-pressed to “do something about it”. Because neither police, nor court, nor governement can (or rather should) operate against the law and current law does not direcly criminalise WikiLeaks, they will have to change the law.

    • NZ in Iraq to help Fonterra – cable

      Revelations in WikiLeaks cables that senior civil servants are pushing the United States government’s agenda rather than acting in New Zealand’s interests are disturbing, Green MP Keith Locke says.

    • Julian Assange in £1 million book deal

      “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism. I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism’’, he alleged. The lawyer of the two women who have accused Mr Assange of sexual misconduct hit back saying that he was spreading “false rumours’’ to smear his clients. He denied allegations made by Mr Assange’s legal team that they were CIA “pawns’’ and pointed out that, on the contrary, they were “supporters of WikiLeaks’’.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman’s new bonus plan captures seasonal spirit

      Goldman Sachs’ new bonus scheme should give shareholders and regulators cause for a little celebration this Christmas.

      The Wall Street firm is to link top bankers’ compensation to a wide range of financial measures, in a formal break with the industry tradition of crudely paying out a slice of revenues.

    • Goldman Sachs May Pay Bonuses Tied to Profit, Revenue

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., weighing 2010 pay packages for a year that could rank as Wall Street’s second best, said it may grant bonuses that depend on future earnings, in addition to stock performance.

    • Teach for Goldman Sachs

      I’m convinced that the best way to track the mood of Stanford University is to keep an eye on your News Feed. And there’s one thing in particular that keeps popping up on mine- a prestigious program for which dozens of my friends have applied, and to which a lucky few have been accepted. I’m talking, of course, about Teach for America, the educational service corps that places fresh-faced graduates in troubled urban and rural classrooms across the U.S. The program’s rise has been meteoric: it currently boasts 8,200 corps members and claims to have reached 3 million students since it was founded in 1990. Its popularity at Stanford is no mere trick of my News Feed. The Daily recently reported that TFA and similar organizations “have witnessed a surge in applications from Stanford” in recent years.

    • Banks and WikiLeaks

      But a bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Great Islamophobic Crusade

      Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country. With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005.

    • Taxpayers Subsidize Big Screen Movie Promos for Cigarettes, and More

      Steven Antin’s new movie, Burlesque (PG-13), features about twenty different brands of products, including gratuitous use of R.J. Reynolds’ Camel cigarettes. Other films that have showcased cigarettes this year include the Disney film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (rated PG, which features Newport cigarettes), and For Colored Girls (rated R, by Lionsgate, which features Marlboros).

    • New Memo Shows Fox News’ Unacceptable Level of Bias

      Media Matters uncovered another internal email sent out by Fox News’ Washington, D.C. Managing Editor Bill Sammon which ordered Fox Network journalists to slant coverage of the climate change issue by “refrain[ing] from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” The memo is inflammatory because the increase in global annual average temperatures over the last 50 years is a well-established fact.

    • Fox Slammed by L.A. Times — ‘Shouldn’t Call Itself a News Organization’

      The editorial was prompted by the leak of an internal Fox News memo ordering its “reporters” to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” The memo was sent by Bill Sammon, Fox News’ Washington managing editor, in 2009 and released by Media Matters last week.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Reactionary forces are shaping the debate on internet porn

      Government plans to block internet pornography at source, amid concerns about the “premature sexualisation” of children, have prompted a fierce backlash from digital rights campaigners. The proposals have also highlighted how the debate around children and sexual material is increasingly shaped by religious conservatives.

      One of the organisations quoted extensively over the last few days is Safermedia, a pressure group campaigning to “reduce the harmful effects of the media on our children, families and society”.

      Safermedia, formerly known as Mediamarch, supports the “porn lock” proposals and its spokespeople claim academic research substantiates their view that sexual imagery harms children’s mental health. But their moral stance is an explicitly Christian one – the group’s co-founder Miranda Suit is an organiser for the Christian People’s Alliance, and its website cites Saint Paul’s epistles to the Philippians and the Ephesians as inspiration for the campaign.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Hardware Hacking
    • Full Homeland Security Affidavit To Seize Domains Riddled With Technical & Legal Errors

      Another day and even more evidence that Homeland Security’s decision to have its Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group seize a bunch of domain names without any warning or adversarial hearing was a colossal screw up. We haven’t heard too much about the sites seized concerning trademark infringement, but there were five that were the focus of copyright infringement — including a bunch of hiphop blogs (which were regularly used by artists and record labels alike to promote their songs) and a search engine. Last week, we went through a partial affidavit from a newly minted ICE agent named Andrew Reynolds, which showed numerous technological and legal errors in explaining why the domain of the search engine, Torrent Finder, was seized. Yesterday, we wrote about how some of the “evidence” used against the blogs included songs sent by the labels for promotional purposes.

    • Warrantless-Wiretap Win Nets Victims a Paltry $40K

      A federal judge on Tuesday awarded $20,400 each to two American lawyers illegally wiretapped by the George W. Bush administration, and granted their counsel $2.5 million for the costs litigating the case for more than four years.

    • Web attacks target human rights sites

      Human rights groups and campaigners are being hit hard by huge web attacks launched by those opposed to their views, finds research.

      Many web-based campaigning groups are being knocked offline for weeks by the attacks, it found.

      The researchers expect the tempo of attacks to increase as the tools and techniques become more widespread.

    • DDoS attacks threaten free speech, says report

      Computer attacks launched against sites run by human rights and dissident media groups threaten to knock free speech off the Web, a new report warned this week.

      The study conducted by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society showed that distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks frequently knocked such sites offline.

    • Shock jock Hal Turner gets 33-month prison sentence

      “This is beyond opinion … beyond commentary. He wanted to threaten and intimidate these judges” by trying to incite an audience made up of dangerous extremists, she said. The judges testified they feared for their lives, she said.

      Turner maintained the posting was nothing more than protected political speech.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Not Neutrality

      On Tuesday FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave AT&T a decision that was gift-wrapped for the holiday season. By a 3-to-2 vote, the FCC passed a rule that, in the chairman’s words, “protects Internet freedom.”

      If only that were true.

      After a year of promises to deliver on President Obama’s pledge to protect Net Neutrality, this chairman has pushed through a rule that favors the very industry his FCC is supposed to regulate, leaving Internet users with few protections and putting the future of the open Internet in peril.

    • The Trojan App

      Look for shortly to appear what I’m calling the Trojan App, a hybrid mobile application that doesn’t exist yet but certainly will within hours or days of the new rules going into effect. The Trojan App is a legitimate mobile application that performs multiple functions, at least one of which is to circumvent the new wireless rules.

      Here’s what I mean. Maybe you saw the story a couple of days ago about technology being brought to market that would enable mobile phone companies to charge Facebook users by the page for access. Under the new rules a mobile carrier can do that, no problem. But because that mobile network offers its own voice service (they all do) under the new rules they can’t similarly restrict Skype or Google Voice or any of the dozens or hundreds of Voice-over-IP third-party services out there. So what’s to keep Skype or Google or Yahoo or iChat or MrVoIP from offering a mobile version of its service that includes a free gateway to Facebook?

      Nothing.

      These are perfectly legitimate applications that are protected from throttling by virtue of their competing with a core service of the ISP, yet in this instance they will have gained a secondary function of acting as a Virtual Private Network link to an otherwise-regulated service like Facebook.

      It’s a digital loophole.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Software Copyright Infringement by the EU Commission

      In a decision as remarkable for its amusement value as for its value as a precedent in law, the General Court has ordered the Commission to pay Systran liquidated damages of over €12 million

      Between 22 December 1997 and 15 March 2002, Systran Luxembourg adapted, under the name EC-Systran Unix, its Systran-Unix machine translation software to the specific needs of the EU Commission.

    • What not to do about China’s IP violations

      The New York Times lead editorial today is entitled China and Intellectual Property link here. It is a familiar litany of complaints about their theft of U S “property” with no suggestion that there might be another side to the question.

      If we were in China’s position, still poor and backward in so many areas, we too would try our hardest to skate around the obstacles to using the latest innovations. Innovation is the key to rapid development and national material progress. We ourselves have violated the IP of other countries when we were behind and trying to develop. Of course, that was before we had fully developed the mythology of IP as “property” and that copying without paying was robbery.

      [...]

      The present IP system in the US is marred by its harmful and excessively long term, by its grossly ambiguous and generous definition of what constitutes innovation, by the capture of the system by big business which dearly loves its monopolies, and by a legal system that grows fat on litigation.

    • Copyrights

      • Porn site: publicizing takedown notices is copyright infringement

        Perfect 10, the porn website that bills itself as displaying “the world’s most beautiful natural women,” claims that disclosing its copyright takedown notices is a little too revealing.

        The copyright-infringement allegations are part of Perfect 10’s ongoing lawsuit against Google, a suit with a tortured procedural history. In 2007, a federal appeals court rendered a far-reaching decision, saying search engines like Google were not infringing copyrights by displaying thumbnails and hyperlinking to Perfect 10’s perfect babes.

      • Discussing The Music Industry Comically Speaking, With Mimi & Eunice

        Mike’s recent post about OK Go is just crying out for some Mimi & Eunice cartoons.

      • isoHunt Continues Legal Fight To Thwart MPAA Censorship

        BitTorrent search engine isoHunt is fighting the permanent injunction issued by the District Court of California last summer in their case against the MPAA. isoHunt contests the imposition of a site-wide keyword filter based on a list of movie industry keywords. By doing so, the search engine also makes a case for the public’s ‘freedom of search’, not just on BitTorrent, but on the Internet in general.

      • Newspaper Lawsuit Factory Sues Over ‘Death Ray’ Image

        Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright troll formed this spring, has moved beyond lawsuits over newspaper articles and begun targeting websites for the unauthorized reposting of images. First up, more than a dozen infringement lawsuits concerning the so-called Vdara “death ray.”

Clip of the Day

Frost over the World – Julian Assange


Credit: TinyOgg

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