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Links 24/2/2011: Mutter 2.91.90 Released Alongside GNOME Shell, Android 3.0 Surfaces

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Synapse: Anandamide

      Just a quick shout about new release of Synapse – 0.2.4! There aren’t too many user visible changes in this release, besides a few new plugins. Mostly polishing and more polishing.

    • Synapse (Launcher) 0.2.4 Released With New Plugins

      The new version also brings multiple fixes to the Zeitgeist searches, copy to clipboard action, UI fixes and speedups and other bug fixes.

    • Proprietary

      • Buying VMware Fusion

        So, to recap:

        1. I bought a product that I couldn’t use out-of-the-box;
        2. in order to use it, I was sent to a site I had never dealt with before;
        3. the site requires me to enter part of my credit card to use it;
        4. it then takes me to a totally broken page, which, thankfully, has a license key;
        5. that license key is rejected for some indeterminate amount of time by vmware.com;
        6. once it’s finally not rejected, vmware.com still merrily asks me to give it an email that it knows damn well it didn’t give me.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Managing Multiple Linux Servers with ClusterSSH

        If you’re a Linux system administrator, chances are you’ve got more than one machine that you’re responsible for on a daily basis. You may even have a bank of machines that you maintain that are similar — a farm of Web servers, for example. If you have a need to type the same command into several machines at once, you can login to each one with SSH and do it serially, or you can save yourself a lot of time and effort and use a tool like ClusterSSH.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Last Minute Changes To GNOME Shell, Mutter

        Version 2.91.90 of GNOME Shell and Mutter were released last night and they carry some last minute changes to these major components of the GNOME 3.0 desktop.

        With GNOME Shell 2.91.90, there are workspace handling changes, a PolicyKit authentication agent, visual refreshments, suspend support is now shown from the power-off menu while the power-off button is concealed by default (hold down Alt to see), message tray improvements, Shell Toolkit improvements, memory leak fixes, Telepathy support being ported to a telepathy-glib library, and other work. The visual refresh is improving the appearance and behavior of the overview dash, using larger icons in the application browser, improving the top panel and round corners of the screen, and improving the search entity in the overview. Read more in the release announcement.

      • Mutter 2.91.90 released
      • Window controls for GNOME 3
      • Application categories
      • GNOME t-shirt contest winners
  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Meet Debian at CeBIT 2011

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that it will again be represented at this year’s CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany from the 1st to the 5th of March. Debian will again be a present as “special guest” at the booth of Univention GmbH, whose motto this year is “Open source keeps the promises of the cloud” and which can be found in hall 2 stand D36.

        Members of the project will be available for questions and discussions and demonstrate new features of the recently released Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, including the new port to the kernel of the FreeBSD project. Visitors will also have the opportunity to bring USB thumb drives or blank CDs in order to get a free copy of Debian 6.0.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • ChromiumOS uses eCryptfs for Home Directories

          This is a very interesting read, about how the good folks at Google are using eCryptfs to secure user data on ChromiumOS devices. I found a few of the design points particularly interesting, such as the hashing of user names and integration with the TPM. I was also pleased to see that eCryptfs was chosen, in part, in accordance with their design needs for both performance and power consumption.

        • Unity Bitesize Bugs Update for 23 February

          Other Unity Tidbits

          * Lots of enhancements in the places speedup (with unfortunatly some crashes in some cases)
          * We can now define static quicklists in .desktop files. This is something we can just add to launchers for things like “Open a new window”, or “Create a new document”, even if the application doesn’t explicitly support quicklists. A proposal has been made on the xdg-list for an OnlyShowIn=unity property. Here’s an example with gnome-screenshot.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu 11.04 Gets Package Selection In Ubiquity (So You Can Chose What To Install)

            Edubuntu 11.04 is becoming an amazing Ubuntu flavor. For instance, it seems that Edubuntu will ship with both Unity 2D (according to the latest edubuntu-meta) and Ubuntu Classic desktop by default (but the regular Unity will still be available). Unity 2D will also be used as fall-back for those that try to use the regular Unity but don’t have a capable graphics card. Further more, LibreCAD (formerly CADuntu), a great 2D CAD drawing tool based on the community edition of QCad ported to Qt will also be included by default starting with Edubuntu 11.04.

          • Edubuntu Bug Day – 10 March

            Bugs may sound cute and harmless, but often even small software bugs can have a huge impact on the overall user experience.

            The current development version of Edubuntu, codenamed “Natty Narwhal” which will in time become Edubuntu 11.04 is shaping up quite well. However, quite often attention is focussed on the big issues and sometimes the smaller problems just don’t get the attention they also deserve, which results in feedback like “Hey! Why didn’t you fix this, it would’ve only taken you 15 minutes!”.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt implementation for Android introduced
        • Qt Implementation for Android Introduced
        • Nokia: Culture will out

          Executive summary: Despite the omnipresent burden of responsibility, and the inherent risk of failure, there’s an excitement and pleasure in working on one’s own behalf that was for the most part missing entirely from my Nokian experience. The word I keep coming back to, in my head, is “unbound,” and it’s an unbelievably lovely and liberating sensation.

          My experience with a project we’re working on, even at this very early stage, might serve as a small illustration of why the entrepreneurial life has already been so rewarding, and incidentally, why I wouldn’t look for innovation from large organizations. At any rate, it’s as good a way as any to comment, hopefully constructively, on Nokia’s recent and ongoing troubles.

        • Former Nokia Designer: Nokia Bosses Have No Taste

          Since Nokia announced it was going to leap off its “burning platform” and into the arms of Microsoft, there have been plenty of arguments about whether the link between the two companies is going to work or not. Even here on GigaOM there’s been some division: I argued that two wrongs don’t make a right, while we also heard that it could be good news for developers.

      • Android

        • How To Improve Your Privacy and Security By Installing Tor On Your Android Smartphone

          Mobile communications can easily be surveilled. One step you can take to prevent tracking is to install Tor on your phone.

          Orbot, developed by the Guardian Project, is an application that implements Tor on Android phones. It allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging, and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider. Learn more about Tor at https://torproject.org or visit our how-to guide for using Tor on your computer.

        • Things overheard on the WiFi from my Android smartphone

          What options do Android users have, today, to protect themselves against eavesdroppers? Android does support several VPN configurations which you could configure before you hit the road. That won’t stop the unnecessary transmission of your fine GPS coordinates, which, to my mind, neither SoundHound nor ShopSaavy have any business knowing. If that’s an issue for you, you could turn off your GPS altogether, but you’d have to turn it on again later when you want to use maps or whatever else. Ideally, I’d like the Market installer to give me the opportunity to revoke GPS privileges for apps like these.

        • Facebook Mobile: All our base are belong to them [OPINION]

          Android users have long been able to merge their Facebook and Google contacts, a genius way to quickly get phone numbers, emails, and photo ID’s when available. But that privilege has been stripped from the latest update to the Nexus S and future lead devices from Google.

          Facebook was previously granted an exception from Google’s requirement that developers use the Android contacts API, but Google has revoked that access in the name of “data portability.” Regardless of the reasons given, this is really about Google’s effort to gain more user data, and this play for power will do nothing to hurt Facebook. Why? Because Facebook is already teflon in the mobile arena.

        • Best Practices for Honeycomb and Tablets

          The first tablets running Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) will be hitting the streets on Thursday Feb. 24th, and we’ve just posted the full SDK release. We encourage you to test your applications on the new platform, using a tablet-size AVD.

          Developers who’ve followed the Android Framework’s guidelines and best practices will find their apps work well on Android 3.0. This purpose of this post is to provide reminders of and links to those best practices.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom has relockable bootloader, activation cost, and gold streak for celebs

        There’s a new tidbit about the Motorola Xoom every 20 minutes, so I decided to combine all of them into one post so you don’t get overloaded with Xoom news Here’s the latest information about the world’s first Honeycomb tablet – or at least the most recent stories that are sure to be old news when a million new things come out next hour.

      • Android 3.0 Platform Highlights

        The Android 3.0 platform introduces many new and exciting features for users and developers. This document provides a glimpse of some of the new features and technologies, as delivered in Android 3.0. For a more detailed look at new developer APIs, see the Android 3.0 Platform document.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trying To Lure Suckers, Company Resells Open Source Blender

    I love that they promise “Free Updates For Life. All From the Thriving Open Source Community, This Software is Forever Improving.”

  • Please do not care about non-FOSS (Specially M$)

    Ex – Proprietary Technology vendor are much fanatic then us
    * M$ never try to create any product for non-FOSS, we FOSS guys prepare platform-independent code
    * M$ do not recognise grub but we can fix windows and mount them
    * M$ do not recognise ISO standard (odt) and blindly follow its close standards
    * M$ create patent and promote a FOSS-incompatible environment.
    * This list is very long and prove that proprietary and close technology vendors are much fanatic for their technology and ideals.

  • Technology That’s Free Like Speech, Not Like Beer

    Free Technology advocates are used to being misunderstood. Between open source, creative commons, and the plain old law, it’s sometimes hard for the layman to figure out what free tech is for and what it’s against. That’s where the Free Technology Academy comes in.

    The FTA is like no university you’ve ever seen – even though they offer accredited classes – partly because you can’t see it. The project is a collaboration between the Free Knowledge institute and universities in The Netherlands, Spain, and Norway, but has no campus. The courses in the FTA program stretch from the theoretical (“The concepts of Free Software and Open Standards”) to the practical (“Software development”, “Web applications development”), but all are devoted to the propagation and increased use of free technology. Students who wish to enroll in classes taught by professors pay small tuition fee and interact with their teachers through the FTA’s web interface. But what’s so free about that?

    In the coursebook for the FTA “Concepts” class mentioned above, they use Richard Stallman’s (the movement’s grandfather) four-part defintion for what makes free software free

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Chemistry as a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache Chemistry has graduated from the Apache Incubator as a Top-Level Project (TLP). This signifies that the Apache Chemistry community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic, consensus-driven process and principles.

  • Support Free and Open Source Software Community as a candidate for the Prince of Asturias Awards 2011 in the International Cooperation category

    Prince of Asturias Foundation has invited CENATIC to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award. During the last weeks CENATIC Foundation has been evaluating potential candidates, intending to find the one with the biggest chances of winning the award, which would, at the same time, represent the interests of all the agents of the Free and Open Source Software sector in Spain.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet 2011

      LibrePlanet 2011 will be a one-day conference on Saturday, March 19th 2011 at Bunker Hill Community College, in Boston, MA. If you’re coming in for the weekend, we have plans for Friday and Sunday as well, although these are informal.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Amping Up Chrome’s Background Feature

        Many users rely on apps to provide timely notifications for things like calendar events and incoming chat messages, but find it cumbersome to always keep a Chrome window open. Extensions and packaged apps can already display notifications and maintain state without any visible windows, using background pages. This functionality is now available to hosted apps – the most common form of apps in the Chrome Web Store – via a new background window mechanism.

      • Enable Instant in Chrome’s Omnibox for Faster Searching and Browsing Experience

        I am not really sure if this is a new feature on Google Chrome. It might had been there for a long time now. But I only noticed it yesterday and I was totally taken aback. Instant-inside-omnibox is a very useful and very innovative feature in my opinion.

    • Mozilla

      • Help Test the Faster, More Stable Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo

        The latest Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is now available from the Android Market and on your Nokia Maemo device. This release was focused on continuing to improve stability and performance.

        Firefox 4 Beta is faster and easier to use. You’ll experience better responsiveness to panning and zooming, faster start up time and with enhanced JavaScript performance you’ll see faster page load times. We also worked to make major stability improvements in this release.

      • Symbian is here to stay, says Nokia

        According to Nokia, there are currently 200 million Symbian users around the world. The Finnish outfit said it expects to sell about 150 million Symbian devices going forward.

      • The Next Million Mozillians (redux)

        A little over two years ago, I did a bunch of posts about the idea of recruiting ‘the next million Mozillians’. My thinking at the time: we need to grow our community dramatically. We need to build even more creativity, reach and resilience into who we are. This is how we build a 100 year organization for the open web.

      • Wiki Wednesday: February 23, 2011
      • Thunderbird Messaging Menu integration ready for testing

        Mike Conley from Mozilla Messaging sends along that he’s ready to have people testing his work on integrating Thunderbird into the messaging menu.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • You are our rockstars!

      In just one week, thousands of donors from all over the world did the unbelievable: You all donated more than 40.000 € for setting up The Document Foundation as legal entity. Honestly, we never ever even dreamed of achieving that in such a short period of time – what happened is just amazing, awesome and beyond imagination. Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much! You all contributed to the dream of a Foundation, and with 10.000 € left until we have the required capital stock, we’re close to making it a reality.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 brings new colored icons

      LibreOffice 3.3.1 also brings new colorful icons based on The Document Foundation branding guidelines, and includes updates to several language versions.

  • Education

    • Students in Los Altos delight in using Inkscape drawing program

      One of the fun parts of blogging for PCWorld.com is getting reader response e-mails from all over the world. You never know who is going to read what you write. Sometimes they’ll spot the blog post on the PCWorld Web page, or as a link in a tweet or even as a Google search result several months after the blog post was published.

      I’ve blogged previously about Inkscape, the free vector drawing program for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows, so I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Sheena Vaidyanathan, who teaches Inkscape to elementary school students in Los Altos, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Here is how Sheena explained her teaching to me: “I started adding Inkscape as an art unit, then as an after school program and it was so popular, that the school district asked me to start a program called Digital Design for all 7 elementary schools. I teach 20 classes each week to 4th-6th graders, and each class is an average of 25 students. After one trimester, I get a new set of students, so in one year I teach all 4-6th graders, about 1500 students! It is a lot of work, but I love teaching and sharing my enthusiasm for art and technology with kids. I love using Inkscape and other free open source software (I also teach SketchUp, and Scratch) because the kids can actually install it at home and use it outside the classroom. I am not sure if there are any other public schools that have a program like this, but it is a fantastic way to get kids excited about technology, and learn to use computers to express their creativity.”

  • Business

    • How does open source affect company culture?

      An open source company is naturally a company that produces open source code for others to consume. But how does the notion of producing software code in the open affect company culture?

      I believe that an organization cannot produce open source code if it is not generally open itself. By this I mean having culture of transparency and of openly sharing information and ideas. The same basic environment that is often found in open source development–a sense of open community, where everyone is welcome to share their opinions and ideas–is often present in open source companies as well.

      But a company is different from an open source community in a key way: in every commercial entity, there is information that cannot or should not be shared with everyone. How does an organization hold a balance between being culturally open and maintaining the level of professional discretion required by its customers, its board of directors and others? How do employees know when to act open and when to keep closed?

    • ForgeRock Signs Consulting, Training and Reseller Partnership with First Point Global to deliver Open Source Identity and Access Management Software Solutions

    • Fellowship interview with Massimo Babieri

      Massimo Babieri is an IT manager at the Earth Science Department, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. As well as holding a Ph.D in Geology, Massimo leads the band The Radiostars, releasing their music under a Free license. As well as being a member of the LUG Scandiano, he has been very active in the ongoing success of the PDFreaders campaign in Italy.

    • Igalia reinforces its support for the Free Software community.

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit organization with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all Free Software users. Igalia deeply appreciates their hard work driving the Free Software movement since its beginning and goes a step further by providing financial support for this organization.

  • Licensing

    • The Problem With Bilateral Agreements
    • ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

      A German court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether or not a company can sell second-hand versions of downloaded business software in a case involving software company Oracle.

      Oracle took action against usedSoft, arguing that that its sale of used licences for software is illegal. Customers who buy second-hand licences from usedSoft then download software from Oracle for their own use.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • free culture

      As I find them, I will list resources, information and discussion about the mind bending free culture concept.
      A lot of people think the idea of “free culture” means that nobody gets paid. And in fact, no one is compelled to pay. The way that it really works, is that people pay what they can when they can, because we know supporting the artists/musicians/fimmakers/designers/developers/writers allows more of the creations we want to be created. This means consumers only pay for what they like.

    • World Book Night to open with huge public reading in London

      What organisers believe will be the biggest single literary event in history is to raise the curtain on next month’s World Book Night, itself billed as “the biggest book give-away ever”. On 4 March London’s Trafalgar Square will be given over to a “glittering celebration of the written word”, with 10,000 people expected to attend.

      The free event will feature appearances from numerous celebrated authors, ranging from Alan Bennett to Nick Cave, reading from their favourite books.

    • Open Data

      • A first look at the council spending data: £10bn, 1.5m payments, 60,000 companies

        Like buses, you wait ages for local councils to publish their spending data, then a whole load come at once… and consequently OpenlyLocal has been importing the data pretty much non-stop for the past month or so.

        We’ve now imported spending data for over 140 councils with more being added each day, and now have over a million and a half payments to suppliers, totalling over £10 billion. I think it’s worth repeating that figure: Ten Billion Pounds, as it’s a decent chunk of change, by anybody’s measure (although it’s still only a fraction of all spending by councils in the country).

      • Bill documents — Protection of Freedoms Bill 2010-11
  • Standards/Consortia

    • What’s Still Missing in the HTML5 Spec

      The multimedia holes in the HTML5 spec The primary aspect of multimedia capability to be resolved this spring is multitracking for audio and video, though the W3C isn’t committing to having this capability in the final HTML5 spec. Multitracking would, for example, enable a choice of spoken languages to accompany a video, allow the presentation of a video within another video, and permit applications like chat rooms to display simultaneous audio from multiple people.


  • In the beginning, there was a dream

    My friends have always entertained my unconventional musings. A favourite being my desire to live a life of “freedom” on a sailboat in some remote sea passages of the Canadian West Coast. This didn’t seem to compute in my favour as a 28yr old single female. Hence, meeting another outdoor enthusiast with a handy streak and possessing the same desire struck me as … trouble! Having a small prior stint in living aboard a sailboat, I was fully aware that it’s not as romantic as it sounds, nor does it allow for much more storage than a suitcase of clothing. I was skeptical my well-dressed, large-dog-owning loved one understood the gravity of this.

  • SFU DNA lab seeks to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance

    SFU health sciences student Justin Long of Vancouver has supplied the university with four letters, believed to have been hand-written and sealed by Earhart. The envelopes were opened at the end leaving the gummy seal – and hopefully Earhart’s saliva – intact. Long acquired the letters froma collection of 400 pieces of the aviator’s correspondence collected by his grandfather Elgin Long, a lifelong Earhart biographer.

  • Nowcasts: Predicting the Present

    Nowcasting is a term used by the folks at Google to represent an analysis of large volumes of data that can be used to “forecast” current events for which official analysis has not been released. For instance, using these techniques one can “nowcast” what the current unemployment rate is before the official unemployment rate is determined. Google also calls this “predicting the present.”

    Another example is the way Google was able to pinpoint the emergence of flu outbreaks by monitoring outbreaks of search terms for flu-related words, as a proxy for the flu itself. As they put it: “web searches may not only be useful as a reliable indicator of the health-seeking behavior when facing the influenza pandemic but also they may contain a useful information for predicting the present stance of economic activity some time ahead of the official release of relevant data.”

  • Amazon Kindle goes social with Public Notes, Twitter and Facebook integration

    A free firmware update for Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader adds several new features, including an element of social networking.

  • Google Calendar Users Suffering Missing Data [Updated]

    We’re getting reports of many Google Calendar users suffering missing data right now. It appears that the when users load their accounts, all calendars and entries are missing.

  • Harry Reid’s prostitution lecture bombs

    What prompted Reid to call for abolishing prostitution wasn’t clear. In the speech, he framed it as a matter of economic development — but also a matter of shame.

  • BookRenter Raises $40 Million To Take On Chegg In Textbook Rentals

    College textbook rental startup BookRenter has raised $40 million in funding from Adams Capital Management, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. This brings BookRenter’s total funding to $60 million.

  • Reports of marginalia’s demise have been exaggerated

    As with most things, it’s easier to lament a loss than come up with a solution. Joe Wikert took The New York Times article mourning the death of marginalia in digital books head-on, choosing the more difficult path of coming up with a solution.

  • Investing in news innovation in Europe

    Journalism is changing fast. And as news businesses experiment with new ways of creating and delivering journalism in the digital age, Google is keen to play its part on the technology side. Over the last year, we’ve been partnering with publishers around the world to develop technological solutions—including, most recently, One Pass—to find new and engaging ways of presenting stories online and to generate greater revenues.

    As well as our focus on technological experimentation, we’re also investing at the grassroots level. Last October we announced that we would be giving $5 million in grants to non-profit organisations working on developing new approaches to journalism. At that time, we allocated around 40% of the total fund to the Knight Foundation in the U.S.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign policies denounced by rebel diplomats

    Nicolas Sarkozy is facing an unprecedented revolt by French diplomats who warn that his foreign policy gaffes have left France pathetically diminished on the world stage.

    After weeks of embarrassing French slip-ups – including Paris blindly standing by the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships until the last minute – a group of diplomats have published a scathing attack on the president in Le Monde.

  • Science

    • Plastics can now conduct electricity

      The discovery of a new technique will make it possible to create a whole new collection of plastics with metallic and/or superconducting properties.

      According to the University of New South Wales, plastics normally conduct electricity very poorly and they are used to insulate electric cables but, by placing a thin sheet of metal onto a plastic film and mixing it into the polymer surface with an ion beam, Australian researchers have displayed that the system can be used to make inexpensive, durable, flexible and conductive plastics.

    • Rolls-Royce develops all-electric Phantom prototype

      Rolls-Royce cars have never been known for their fuel efficiency – after all, if you can afford to buy one, you’re probably not that concerned about the price of gas.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Verizon Asked to Probe ‘Alarming’ Dropped 911 Calls

      Reports indicate Verizon’s network failed to connect 10,000 calls to 911 numbers in Washington’s suburbs during the Jan. 26 storm, the Federal Communications Commission said in a letter to the carrier today that was released by e-mail.

    • Anonymous: the amorphous ungroup

      As the revolt started by Anonymous in Tunisia slowly spreads across North Africa, moving inexorably towards Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with all that implies for the oil-dependent world, the lamescream media and ‘intelligence’ agencies try to pin down the amorphous ungroup.

      Anonymous is now what must be the most powerful universal force for change the world has ever seen. And that terrifies the Powers That Used To Be as they watch the control they once exercised over the Great Unwashed, disintegrate.

      HBGary’s Aaron Barr came unstuck when he claimed to have penetrated Anonymous. And you can be sure he still thinks there’s some kind of Anonymous Central where all the Operation Paybacks and other anon activities are planned and plotted.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Power of Nonviolent Resistance

      And the stories of resistance in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, and Libya are also fundamentally local ones.

    • Ordered to Attack Own People, Libyan Pilots Crash Their Jets

      On Wednesday, the Gadhafi regime ordered two of its pilots to attack the opposition stronghold of Benghazi – part of the Libyan government’s ongoing attempt to bomb activists into submission. But rather than make that attack run, Abdessalam Attiyah al-Abdali and his co-pilot Ali Omar al-Kadhafi bailed. They parachuted out of their Russian-made Sukhoi 22, and let the jet crash about 100 miles west of Benghazi.

    • Security Council Press Statement on Libya

      The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil):

      The members of the Security Council were briefed on the situation in Libya by B. Lynn Pascoe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whose Mission had requested a meeting of the Security Council.

    • Libya: Stop the Crackdown
    • As U.S. Rebuilt Ties With Libya, Human Rights Concerns Took a Back Seat

      The brutality in Libya has prompted the State Department to issue several statements in recent days strongly condemning the Libyan government and calling the bloodshed “completely unacceptable”—though it stopped short of threatening sanctions.

      The country’s dictator, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, said on Tuesday that the protesters who have been killed “deserved to die,” and he vowed to fight “until the last drop of my blood.”

    • Caller Personally Confirmed: 1500 young men buried alive in an Underground room in Benghazi

      1500 young men, buried alive, buried alive.

    • Libyan forces turn on Gadaffhi, declare “Free Benghazi,” capture foreign mercenaries

      Soldiers and police in Beghazi, Libya’s second city, have thrown in with protesters on the ground and declared the city to be “Free Benghazi.” The Guardian is carrying eyewitness reports of more than 4,000 foreign mercenaries being brought to the country to fight for Gadaffhi, some of whom are in custody of the revolutionary army.

    • Berlusconi’s Cut

      A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy. Just at the moment that would be too much even for Berlusconi to survive.

    • Petraeus’s comments on coalition attack reportedly offend Karzai government

      To the shock of President Hamid Karzai’s aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.

      The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

    • Torture inquiry is legally flawed, say rights groups as NGOs ponder boycott

      An inquiry set up by David Cameron to examine Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11 is running into trouble even before it has begun hearing evidence, with human rights organisations warning that it will fail to meet the UK’s obligations under international and domestic law.

      Such is the level of concern that some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are considering whether they should boycott the inquiry due to be headed by Sir Peter Gibson, because they fear it will not be sufficiently independent, impartial or open to public scrutiny.

  • Cablegate

    • 09CARACAS1284,

      Venezuela played host to 28 heads of state and representatives from 33 other countries at the Second Africa-South America (ASA) Summit on September 26-27 on the island of Margarita. Portrayed by President Chavez before and afterwards as an historic display of unity between long-oppressed continents, the Summit appears to have instead highlighted differences among participants over both substance and style. Despite efforts by Venezuela and Libya, the Summit declaration itself contained few unexpected provisions. Following the Summit, President Chavez signed a series of bilateral energy and mining agreements, and joined six other South American Presidents in signing a “constituting agreement” for his proposed regional development bank, Banco del Sur. Some Summit participants reported that their most lasting memory may well be the preparatory and logistical mess that the delegates encountered.

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Tuesday, Day 87

      5:05 Academics debate whether students, or anyone, even reading WikiLeaks are breaking the Espionage Law. The absurdity burns. But a good read, from Philly Inquirer.

      3:05 The Bradley Manniing Advocacy Fund launched today, with this endorsement from Dan Ellsberg: “There has been a concerted effort to paint Bradley Manning as a terrorist and traitor. He is neither. He is a patriotic American who deserves better than to be tried in the media – as is happening day after day on the basis of misinformation – before he has had any opportunity to speak publicly for himself or to present his own case in court. I hope others will join me in supporting the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund to ensure a free-flow of information on PFC Manning and give him a fair shot at due process and humane treatment.”:

      2:05 More major fallout from WikiLeaks usually overlooked: Why do we currently have no U.S. ambassador in Libya? Because he (Gene Cretz) was recently recalled after uproar over his cables critiquing Gaddafi. “Certainly doesn’t help in current crisis. (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

      12:30 Lengthy new piece on Wikileaks finances, past and present, and call for “transparency.”

    • How to Write a Cable

      Contrary to what Julian Assange might tell you, most ambassadors do not worry that the wrong people will read their cables, but that the right people won’t. The U.S. State Department receives several million cables a year, and while most deal with mundane administrative matters, several hundred thousand report on political and economic developments. The secretary of state reads just a handful of these, and assistant secretaries read a small portion of the cables from their geographic regions. Even the desk officer might only have time to scan the post’s voluminous cable traffic.

    • Whom do The New York Times and The Guardian work for?

      Bill Keller, an editor with The New York Times, has recently published an article titled “Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets.” In the article, the author wrote how the newspaper was working with secret cables. From what the article says, it seems that Russia appears to be a real stronghold of freedom of speech.

      Keller wrote: “Because of the range of the material and the very nature of diplomacy, the embassy cables were bound to be more explosive than the War Logs. Dean Baquet, our Washington bureau chief, gave the White House an early warning on Nov. 19. The following Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, Baquet and two colleagues were invited to a windowless room at the State Department, where they encountered an unsmiling crowd. Representatives from the White House, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. and the Pentagon gathered around a conference table. Others, who never identified themselves, lined the walls. A solitary note-taker tapped away on a computer.”

      The next meetings would take place in the form of daily conference calls. “Before each discussion, our Washington bureau sent over a batch of specific cables that we intended to use in the coming days. They were circulated to regional specialists, who funneled their reactions to a small group at State, who came to our daily conversations with a list of priorities and arguments to back them up. We relayed the government’s concerns, and our own decisions regarding them, to the other news outlets.”

    • Assange set to lose extradition case, then appeal

      Julian Assange is expected to lose his battle against extradition to Sweden today.

      Legal sources in London believe that the magistrate, Howard Riddle, will grant the European arrest warrant forcing the WikiLeaks founder to face accusations of sex crimes in Stockholm.

      However, it could take nine months to a year before a verdict, as both sides have already signalled their intention to appeal against today’s decision should it go against them, taking the extradition request to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Says Spill Settlement Terms Are Too Generous

      In the eight months since Kenneth R. Feinberg took over the $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he has been attacked by many of those filing claims and by coastal state politicians who argue that the process is opaque, arbitrary and slow. Many of them have also argued that Mr. Feinberg’s recently published estimates of future damage to those in the gulf are too optimistic, and thus his offer of compensation in a final settlement is too low.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Politics of Mother’s Milk

      You may have heard the old adage that “money is the mother’s milk of politics,” but money also has a lot to do with the politics of mother’s milk.

      Last week Rep. Michele Bachmann, R., Minn., criticized Michelle Obama for announcing that she would work to encourage breastfeeding as part of her campaign against childhood obesity, accusing the First Lady of encouraging a “new definition” of a “nanny state.”

      What was missing from the stories that followed, however, was that the powerful infant formula industry has tremendous influence in Washington, with PACs, employees and their family members of the three biggest producers donating $1 million to federal candidates and party committees in the 2010 election cycle and the companies themselves disclosing lobbying spending of $9 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Privacy

    • Passenger data and the UK Government

      As simple background, the U.S. started the policy of requiring airlines to submit the detailed biographical and behavioural information on all travellers to the U.S. In fact, the U.S. first required that all data on all passengers’ travel (not limited to the U.S.) be transferred to the U.S. authorities for any use under the sun.

      After years of debate and deliberation between the EU and the U.S., the EU agreed to the transfer of the information to the U.S. (with some limitations), and the EU began to seek its own passenger surveillance scheme. The Bush Administration clearly has left its mark on EU policy. This is the practice of ‘policy laundering’ that for years we have worked on: one country adopting the surveillance policies of other countries.

  • Civil Rights

    • What Does the “Track” in “Do Not Track” Mean?

      There is a lot of discussion about Do Not Track at the moment. The FTC has announced support for the idea; Mozilla has added a Do Not Track header option into Firefox betas, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced a Do Not Track bill. Other proposed privacy legislation, such as Rep. Bobby Rush’s bill, could also achieve similar objectives. And yesterday, EFF submitted comments urging the Federal Trade Commission to defend online privacy by supporting the header-based Do Not Track feature.

      Do Not Track is important because it creates a policy mechanism to augment the privacy enhancing technologies that we currently have. There is an arms race between practical privacy tools and ubiquitous online tracking, and we fear that the trackers have powerful techniques that will almost always allow them to win the arms race against ordinary people.

    • Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators

      Ian’s, a pizzeria near the Wisconsin state capitol that is sympathetic to the demonstrators, has been facilitating the process of supporters around the world who want to send pizza to the protest. They’ve fielded an order from Egypt — now that’s solidarity.

    • Exodus: Dems trigger Statehouse showdown

      Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.

      A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

      The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

    • Discretion please, not rulebooks

      I’m writing this on a plane, having just passed through Security at Heathrow airport. An obviously nice young mother was distraught because she wasn’t allowed to take on board a tub of ointment for her little girl’s eczema. The security man was polite but firm. She wasn’t even permitted to spoon a reduced quantity into a smaller jar. I couldn’t quite grasp what was wrong with that helpful suggestion, but the rule book was implacable. All the official could do was offer to fetch his supervisor. The supervisor came and, equally polite but firm, she too was regretfully bound by the rulebook’s hoops of steel.


      How often does a dangerous criminal walk free, not because evidence has been examined but simply because of a ‘technicality’? Perhaps the arresting officer fluffed his lines when delivering the official ‘caution’. Decisions that will gravely affect a person’s whole life can turn on the powerlessness of a judge to exercise discretion and reach a simple conclusion which every single person in the court, including the lawyers on both ‘sides’, knows is just.

    • Fake “Koch brother” calls up Wisconsin governor

      Ian Murphy, editor of the Buffalo Beast, just did something wonderful. Murphy, pretending to be billionaire industrialist and secretive conservative political activist David Koch, called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, currently in the midst of attempting to crush the public employees’ unions. “Koch” got through to Walker (who hasn’t been taking calls from the Democratic state Senate minority leader). He taped the call and put it online.

      So Walker will happily take a call from a Koch brother. He says that he considered “planting some troublemakers” among the protesters. He is convinced that everyone is on his side. Like most people who only watch Fox, he has a skewed impression of the popularity of his union-crushing proposals. (His plan is, nationally, roundly unpopular. Except on Fox.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Kerry, Wyden, Cantwell, Franken Fight to Protect Network Neutrality

      Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) today fought to protect the network neutrality rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last December. In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senators opposed any efforts to use the appropriations process or the Congressional Review Act to keep the FCC from doing its job and implementing these network neutrality rules.

    • In flight broadband cheaper than bell


    • Ottawa to force change in Internet fee ruling, Clement says

      Industry Minister Tony Clement is determined to promote Canada’s digital economy, and if that means overturning the CRTC on Internet usage-based billing for small providers, so be it.

      “We asked (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review their decision, and if they come back with the same decision the cabinet would overrule it because it wouldn’t be consistent with government policy … promoting competition and choice,” he said Wednesday after a forum with University of Alberta students.

      “You can’t have competition and choice if you allow a major carrier to force its business model onto an independent service provider.”

    • Towards a Distributed Internet

      In preparation for the Contact conference that I am helping to organize this October in NYC, I’ve been in discussion with many different communities about the types of initiatives they would like to bring to the table. The purpose of the event is to ‘realize the true potential of social media,’ and determine what infrastructures need to be in place to enable peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and governance.

  • DRM

    • Rumor: Sony developing a “hack-proof” PS3

      Well, this is certainly an amusing rumor. Apparently, the folks at Sony are attempting to build a “hack-proof” PS3. Although definitely an admirable initiative from a corporate perspective, we all know that any system is (eventually) crackable.

    • Sony to remotely clamp down on Piracy? & Other OS – Class action status looks unlikely

      I’ve covered my views on this before, so I won’t go over old ground, but suffice to say in the face of a vibrant pre-owned market, coupled with services like Lovefilm, I do have to wonder how many sales are actually lost through sharing software, look at how many isp offer “unlimited usage” with one hand and then sucker punching you with “fair use” with the other. For me, my unlimited data seems to stretch as far as 25gig a month, then it appears it’s no longer unlimited and out rolls the “fair use”. Consider how much gaming could be downloaded with even 25gig, not much I’d wager and then adding a few streamed HD movies on Lovefilm and its quickly eaten away. As far as I can gather, fair use applies to most if not all UK ISP’s, so that’s a very large group of users who just don’t have the facility to go on a downloading free for all….infringing or not.

    • Donations Pour In for PS3 Hacker

      George Hotz is in the middle of what could be a long, punishing legal battle with Sony, and his money is running out. “Media, I need your help. This is the first time I have ever asked. Please, if you support this cause, help me out and spread the word,” he wrote on his newest blog entry. “I want, by the time this goes to trial, to have Sony facing some of the hardest-hitting lawyers in the business. Together, we can help fix the system.”

      Ars Technica contacted Hotz’s lawyer to make sure this plea for cash was legitimate, and attorney Stewart Kellar confirmed that yes, the money raised goes to Hotz’s legal fund to fight Sony. It also appears Hotz has friends with deep pockets: The first round of fundraising is already over, and more lawyers will be hired for Hotz’s defense.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Truck Maker Discovers Chinese Knockoff Company; Helps It Come Up With Its Own Design

      We’ve seen different companies respond in different and creative ways to companies making knockoffs in the past. One of my favorites was the South African clothing firm that created an entire (secret) knockoff line of clothes to “compete” with unauthorized knockoffs.

    • Copyrights

      • International Music Score Library Project: humanity’s musical treasures freely available

        The International Music Score Library Project, a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of musical treasures available for free. This public domain repertory of classical music includes Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies, and much more: by simply following the example of Google Books and Project Gutenberg it has grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere.

      • Why Is The MPAA’s Top Priority ‘Fighting Piracy’ Rather Than Helping The Film Industry Thrive?

        We’ve already written about the news that ex-Senator Chris Dodd has gone back on his promises and his principles to take the top lobbying job at the MPAA, but this recent article in Hillicon Valley, talking with interim MPAA boss Bob Pisano, is bizarre in that it shows how incredibly misguided the MPAA’s entire strategy is. We’ve seen that the MPAA has an entire “content protection” staff, but doesn’t appear to have a staff of folks dedicated to actually helping filmmakers to adapt and to succeed in the modern era. But it strikes me as ridiculously short-sighted that the MPAA admits that its number one priority is getting the government to “fight piracy.”

      • Incentive to Create II
      • Irish Govt pushing through ‘illegal downloads’ changes to copyright law

        In its final days, the Government is believed to be rushing through a statutory instrument that will amend the existing Copyright Act and which will give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

        The move is believed to stem from October’s court case between the music industry (Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI) and UPC in which the judge pointed to a key gap in Irish copyright laws.

        Siliconrepublic.com has learned that the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation and the Department of Communications have tabled the legislation which is currently in the hands of the parliamentary draftsman with a view to passing it by Friday.

Clip of the Day

HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 23/2/2011: GNOME Shell 2.91.6 is Out, Linux Mint 10 KDE is Also Out

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 On Linux

        In this review today at Phoronix we are testing out the Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 Vapor-X 1GB graphics card to see how this popular AMD Radeon graphics processor is performing under Linux.

  • Applications

    • Openshot 1.3.0 is a major step forward

      In my experience, earlier OpenShot versions were somewhat unreliable, but most of the functionality was there. Effects worked as expected for the most part, and while the interface was a bit awkward to work with at times, most of what the application was offering was there to be used. Having said so, my main problem with OpenShot was performance. Even when working with videos well below HD quality, the application would choke on them. Simply trying to add a single audio track to a single video track was a nightmare, for the preview render would be useless, thus leaving me editing blind.

    • Audio Players For Linux

      Best of the best – Amarok

      Nothing on any other platform even begins to approach the raw power of the Amarok media player. Not even close. Scripts, add-ons, smart playlists, Amarok provides the kind of jukebox experience that actually made me want to switch to Linux full time years ago. I was using Linux back then anyway, but when I first saw everything Amarok could do…there was NO contest. The only thing lacking is access to a mainstream music store. Alternative artists are well supported here though.

    • GTimelog: A Beautifully Bare-Bones Approach to Time Tracking

      GTimelog is a simple task-tracking tool that doesn’t make you adjust your own work habits in order to conform to the way it works. It’s not exactly pretty to look at — there isn’t much going on in the GUI department. But it’s easy to learn, and for users who want to maintain strict control over a time-management app, its lack of full automation is actually an asset.

    • Instructionals/Technical

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell 2.91.6 released

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • Want To See How Gnome Shell 3 Is Progressing?

        Gnome is going for a major makeover with version 3 which will hit this summer. There is a lot of talk around the new Gnome Shell 3 which will redefine the user interface for Gnome, the way KDE did with KDE 4.x. Gnome Shell 3 and KDE 4x also show how progressive and innovative GNU/Linux based systems are as compared to Windows or Mac.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze: about relevance and visibility

        Coming back to Debian, our famous distribution seems to be slowly drifting toward invisibility. It’s not loosing relevance, since many important and popular distributions are based on Debian, but ever less people install Debian on their computer because they find a derived distribution that better fit their needs. Debian is becoming a sort of framework to build distributions where the invisible features like security, reliability, and coherence in licenses are ever more important.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Review: Hands on with the Boxee Box

      Everywhere you look these days, there is a new device for sale designed to get music, movies, and entertainment to your TV without the hassle of old-fashioned delivery systems like cable or satellite. So when media-center maker Boxee announced last year that it was adding a Linux-based set-top hardware device to what used to be a software-only product, it took on a decidedly tougher market.


      But in addition to the design, the navigation itself is also improved. I’ve used several generations of Boxee on Linux, and previous versions fell into what I call arrow-key-traps — where you can use (for example) the right-arrow key to move the cursor into some particular menu, but then the left-arrow key can’t get you back out. MythTV themes are riddled with these problems. On the Boxee Box, the arrow keys always move the direction they look like they should, the “pause” button always pauses, and “menu” button always brings up the menu — even if what you’re currently doing is watching a Flash-powered video via the built-in browser.

    • Rugged alternative for SO-DIMMs makes its debut

      The Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG) has comes up with a ruggedized alternative to SO-DIMM that offers more flexibility in memory sizes compared to memory soldered to a CPU board. The RS-DIMM Rugged Memory Specification, supported by two upcoming Swissbit and Virtium Technology modules, defines a rugged, DDR3 mezzanine memory module with a pin-and-socket connector optimized for small CPU boards.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Community SSU- Keep Your N900 OS Constantly Updated Without Nokia

          Seamless Software Updates is a term coined by Nokia to refer to the pain-free method of updating the OS of your Nokia Internet Devices like the N900.

          With the company now defecting to the Windows camp, the maintenance of Maemo 5 has virtually fallen on the shoulders of the community. To enjoy continous updates of your OS from the Maemo Community, you’d need to install the Community Seamless Software Updates or CSSU.

      • Android

        • Free Android Apps: 50 Top Downloads

          Free Android apps are wonderful things. If you’re on the hunt for yet more free Android apps for your phone, here’s a list of 50 free apps you should consider.

          1) SlideScreenThis app replaces your traditional home screen with one that shows summary information for SMS, Gmail, phone calls, Calendar, Google Reader, Stocks and Twitter, making seeing all your important information at once a snap.

    • Tablets

      • How to root a Nook Color to transform it into an Android tablet

        Barnes and Noble launched the Nook Color last year with the aim of enabling a more interactive user experience and tighter Web integration than conventional e-book readers. The device’s color touchscreen and assortment of Internet-enabled applications help differentiate it from Amazon’s increasingly ubiquitous Kindle.

        The Nook Color is an intriguing product, but its most compelling feature isn’t listed on the box. Beneath the e-book reader facade, the Nook Color runs Google’s powerful Android mobile operating system. Barnes and Noble intends to eventually expose more of the Nook’s Android functionality to end users in future updates, but Android enthusiasts have already gotten a head start.

      • 5 iPad Alternatives You Could Be Seeing in the Enterprise Soon

        Motorla Xoom

        Motorola made a splash with a big Super Bowl ad for this device, but this machine is also reportedly loaded and ready for enterprise use. Like the bigger Samsung, it will sport a 10.1 screen and run Google Honeycomb. At a reported price tag of $800, it’s going to be more expensive too. It could be available as soon as this week.

      • Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 Tablet Computer: The iPad 2 Killer?

        I believe no mobile OS could beat Android 3.0 Honeycomb at the moment. But since we haven’t seen the next version of iOS (to be released around Q2) yet, I will just keep my mouth shut and won’t make any comparison in the scope of operating system being used.

      • Android 3.0 SDK officially released ahead of Xoom launch
      • Here Comes SDK For Android Honeycomb

        Google has announced the availability of the full SDK for Android 3.0. Good news for developers is that these APIs are final so they can start developing apps for this new platform. The new API level is 11.

        The SDK has been timed well as Honeycomb running tablets are about to hit the market with Motorola Xoom leading the pack.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software: Top 59 Sites

    Frequently, Datamation puts together lists of top open source software. This time we’ve done something a little different and made a list of top open source Web sites.

    Of course, literally thousands of sites and forums provide news and information about open source software. To narrow things done, we focused on sites that provide a lot of links of open source applications – the top places to download open source software.

  • Events

    • Open Source System Integrators Forum

      Monday 21st February 2011 saw the first ‘Open Source System Integrators Forum’ held by the Cabinet Office and I’d like to share a few modest bits of news with you all…

      Firstly, the occurrence of the event itself is news! The Cabinet Office assembled all the big System Integrators who make up the majority of UK Government and Public Sector IT spending, currently running at between £16billion to £21billion every year. I was there too, not due to the proportion of this spend which comes Sirius’ way I hasten to add, but simply to provide some Open Source expertise..

    • National Leadership Conference Opening Opportunities, Freeing Learning

      This conference has been designed by school leaders and others in the Open Source Schools’ community to showcase to school leadership teams the best of educational free and open source software, whether used alone or blended with proprietary software.

    • Interview with Todd Miller – SUDO Maintainer

      Todd Miller will be presenting at SCALE later this week on the latest developments in the upcoming SUDO 1.8 release. We took a moment to connect with him to learn about his work at Quest Software on the upcoming release, and his presentation “Extending Unix Command Control with Sudo 1.8″. Quest Software will be on our exhibit hall floor as well demonstrating their identify management solutions for Linux.

      SCALE: For our readers who aren’t familiar with you, can you share a little about your background?

      Todd Miller: I’ve contributed to various Open Source projects since the early 90s including Sendmail and ISC cron. I’ve been a member of the OpenBSD project since 1996, focusing primarily on the userland libraries and utilities. In a former life I was an upstream maintainer for the SELinux toolchain. I’m probably best known for maintaining Sudo for the past 18 years.

  • Databases

    • Multiple Firebird Servers on Ubuntu

      In this tutorial I will show you how to install multiple separate Firebird 2.1 servers on a single Host, lets just say you are short on budget and you want to have your testing/integration database running on the same environment as your production database, which is usually not preferable, but in some weird cases you find yourself needing such a setup. Or for instance you have a number of production environments and you want to have them a bit seperated from each other saying you want to be able to kill all open sessions of a certain production environment, sometimes this can be very useful but like I said usually you shouldn’t really do this. But anyways I was asked once to do exactly such a setup and I wanted to share my knowledge on how to do exactly this with Firebird 2.1, the same procedure should also be adaptable to other versions of Firebird as long as you want to use Classic Server. Mixing different version should also work cause the required libraries will all be isolated in single directories.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open source is not always free (of charge)

      A contribution to The Foundation Document shall not be considered as a price for using LibreOffice. LibreOffice is free to use! But a contribution is to be considered as a recognition of the many volunteer hours that are being used around the world.

      In Magenta we use LibreOffice, and we make money by providing service to our customers. Were it not for open source software – including OpenOffice and LibreOffice – we could not lift the tasks for our customers as we do. We have therefore chosen to donate an amount of money to The Document Foundation. Also because we think that LibreOffice is a healthy and reliable project.

    • Matrix notation in OpenOffice.org Writer

      OpenOffice.org math formulas can similarly be added to other document types including as Impress (like PowerPoint) and Draw (somewhat like Visio).

      OpenOffice.org’s math editor is sufficient for math homework and casual math use, but if you are writing a scholarly paper, TeX is the de facto standard.

    • LibreOffice Is Now Integrated in Unity for Ubuntu 11.04

      Bjoern Michaelsen from the Canonical’s development team managed to integrate Ubuntu’s 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) default office suite, LibreOffice 3.3, with Unity’s global menubar.

      The Document Foundation write a post on their blog a couple of days ago, welcoming Canonical‘s contributions to the LibreOffice development. In particular they are welcoming Bjoern Michaelsen’s LibreOffice improvements.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 is available now

      LibreOffice 3.3.1 brings new colored icons and eliminates various problems to improve stability

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 Is Now Available for Download

      A few minutes ago, The Document Foundation company launched the first maintenance release of the LibreOfficeb 3.3 open source office suite for Linux, Windows and Macintosh platforms. LibreOffice 3.3.1 brings stability improvements, bug fixes and new colorful icons.

      LibreOffice 3.3.1 is available now (see download links at the end of the article), for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, and ready to be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 operating system. It updates several language versions, it is much stable than the previous release, and it brings new colorful and beautiful icons based on company’s branding guidelines.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 Available, Gets Colorful Icons

      The Document Foundation has announced LibreOffice 3.3.1, the first micro release which brings new colorful icons based on The Document Foundation branding guidelines, and includes updates to several language versions.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.1, lots of fun

      The long-awaited fourteenth release of WordPress is now available. WordPress 3.1 “Django” is named in honor of the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Version 3.1 is available for download, or you can update from within your dashboard.

  • Licensing

    • A New White Paper, Two New Training Classes, and Other Compliance Resources

      The Open Compliance Program continues its mission of making it ever easier for companies to achieve compliance with FOSS license obligations. I am pleased to announce the publication of our sixth white paper, titled “Keys to Managing a FOSS Compliance Program,” which can be freely downloaded (along with all our other white papers) from the Linux Foundation’s publications website. Our new white paper examines the managerial practices needed to plan, coordinate, and control a successful compliance program. Managing a FOSS compliance initiative requires establishing a plan, gathering sufficient resources, allocating the resources where they will do the most good, tracking accomplishments to plan, adjusting the plan as needed, and so on. This white paper focuses on a handful of the critical project management techniques needed to assure a successful compliance outcome, namely resource estimation, progress tracking, metrics collection and analysis, and use of management tools.


  • Rogers’ new ambient TV: Rotisserie chicken

    Forget 24-hour news or sports: starting Feb. 28, it will be all chicken, all the time on channel 208 for Rogers digital subscribers in Ontario. At launch, the Rotisserie Channel will feature non-stop footage of glistening chickens turning on a spit.

  • US Paid Millions For Bogus (Patented) Intelligence Software; Now Trying To Cover It Up Claiming ‘National Security’

    First off, the crux of the story is that a guy named Dennis Montgomery seems to have concocted an elaborate con on the US government that worked for years. He created some software, supposedly originally designed to help colorize movies, but it was later pitched for its capability to (I’m not joking) read coded messages in the “crawl bar” on Al Jazeera which (it was claimed) provided clues to planned terrorist attacks. Various US government agencies basically kept handing over millions and millions of dollars to Mr. Montgomery and partners. Some of those former partners now admit that Montgomery’s technology was a hoax, and his presentations included doctored videos and test results.

  • Science

    • Losing the Brains Race

      In November the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its Program for International Student Assessment scores, measuring educational achievement in 65 countries. The results are depressingly familiar: While students in many developed nations have been learning more and more over time, American 15-year-olds are stuck in the middle of the pack in many fundamental areas, including reading and math. Yet the United States is near the top in education spending.

      Using the OECD data, Figure 1 compares K–12 education expenditures per pupil in each of the world’s major industrial powers. As you can see, with the exception of Switzerland, the U.S. spends the most in the world on education, an average of $91,700 per student in the nine years between the ages of 6 and 15. But the results do not correlate: For instance, we spend one-third more per student than Finland, which consistently ranks near the top in science, reading, and math.

    • Launching a Space Station to Other Worlds

      Imagine strapping a giant rocket engine on the International Space Station (ISS), inflating a few balloon-like structures to hold your luggage, and adding a spinning carousel-wheel for artificial gravity.

      This ungainly-sounding assemblage, dubbed Nautilus-X, (“Non-Atmospheric Universal Transport Intended for Lengthy United States eXploration”) has been proposed by the NASA Technology Applications Assessment Team at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The group is chartered with examining key technologies that can advance space exploration in a timely and affordable manner.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Chinese authorities crush online call for Middle East-style revolution

      Chinese police staged a show of force yesterday to stifle a mysterious online call for a “Jasmine Revolution”, apparently echoing pro-democracy demonstrations in the Middle East.

      But the campaign did not gain much traction among ordinary citizens and the chances of toppling the Communist government remain slim, considering Beijing’s tight controls over the media and the internet. Police detained known activists, increased the number of officers on the streets, disconnected some mobile phone texting services and censored internet postings about the call to stage protests in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities. A student-led pro-democracy movement in 1989 was crushed by the military and hundreds – perhaps thousands – were killed.

    • Wife of jailed Chinese Nobel peace prize laureate ‘is a hostage’

      The wife of the jailed Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo said she and her family are “hostages”, according to a friend. The comment is thought to be her first contact with the outside world for four months.

      Supporters have been unable to reach Liu Xia since shortly after October’s announcement that her husband had won the award. It was initially thought she was under house arrest at the couple’s home in Beijing, but it is now believed she may be being held at her parents’ house.

    • Germany sent five undercover police officers to G8 protests

      Five undercover police officers from Germany were sent to the G8 protests in Gleneagles to infiltrate activist groups, German police have privately admitted.

      The officers took orders from the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the secretive police division that employed Mark Kennedy to spy on activists across Europe, said Jörg Ziercke, head of Germany’s federal police.

    • Ugandan leader wins again, but critics say vote was fraudulent

      Uganda’s long-serving President, Yoweri Museveni, has won another term in office, the country’s election commission said yesterday, but the main opposition leader claimed the vote was fraudulent and vowed to reject the results.

      The electoral commission said Mr Museveni won 68 per cent of the votes cast in Friday’s poll, allowing him to extend his 25-year hold on power. The commission said challenger Kizza Besigye – the President’s former doctor – took 26 per cent of the vote. Badru Kiggundu, the electoral commission chairman, said 59 per cent of voters in the East African nation participated.

    • Palestinians plan ‘day of rage’ after US vetoes resolution on Israeli settlements

      Palestinians are planning a “day of rage” on Friday in response to the US wielding its veto against a UN security council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

    • Pirates Kill U.S. Hostages, So U.S. Forces Kill Pirates

      U.S. forces uncovered a gruesome scene Tuesday off the Somali coast: Four Americans who had been taken hostage by pirates aboard their yacht were shot fatally by their captors. That prompted a deadly U.S. response.

      A raiding team came aboard the captive vessel Quest after pirates shot at U.S. forces from the yacht at about 1 a.m. local time. According to a statement from U.S. Central Command, the team killed two of the pirates, detained another 13 and found the corpses of two others, dead from a different incident. The command assessed that 19 pirates were involved in the capture of the Quest on Friday, though it’s not clear what happened to the final two.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Canadians more likely than Americans to believe in global warming

      A new survey – the first explicitly to compare US and Canadian attitudes to climate change – has found that Canadians are vastly more likely to believe in global warming.


      The differences in opinion between the US and Canada are also reflected by people’s willingness to pay a bit more for renewable energy. Only 55 percent of Americans said they’d be prepared to pay an extra $50 per year, compared with 73 percent of Canadians.

      More than one-fifth of Americans said they thought the Federal government had no responsibility at all to try to reduce global warming, compared with just eight percent in Canada.

    • Green economy needs 2% of every nation’s income, says UN

      The United Nations will call on Monday for 2% of worldwide income to be invested in the green economy, a move it says would boost jobs and economic growth.

      The call is expected to be matched by statements of support for low-carbon investment from heads of state including President Barack Obama of the US and Hu Jintao of China, and several chiefs of multinational companies.

  • Finance

    • The real reason for public finance crisis

      Nothing better shows corporate control over the government than Washington’s basic response to the current economic crisis. First, we had “the rescue”, then “the recovery”. Trillions in public money flowed to the biggest US banks, insurance companies, etc. That “bailed” them out (is it just me or is there a suggestion of criminality in that phrase?), while we waited for benefits to “trickle down” to the rest of us.

      As usual, the “trickle-down” part has not happened. Large corporations and their investors kept the government’s money for themselves; their profits and stock market “recovered” nicely. We get unemployment, home-foreclosures, job benefit cuts and growing job insecurity. As the crisis hits states and cities, politicians avoid raising corporate taxes in favour of cutting government services and jobs – witness Wisconsin, etc.

    • David Cameron to end ‘state monopoly’ in provision of public services

      David Cameron is to “completely change” public services, bringing in a “presumption” that private companies, voluntary groups or charities are as able to run schools, hospitals and many other council services as the state.

      Writing in the Daily Telegraph about the plans, to be published in a white paper in the next fortnight, the prime minister says he is seeking to end the “state’s monopoly” over public services, with only the security forces and judiciary exempt.

    • Can Someone Explain How Sponsoring NASCAR Is A Good Use Of Taxpayer Funds, If Funding Sesame Street Is Not?

      I’m sort of amazed at the silly and childish political games being played concerning attempts to cut funding here and there, but, seriously can anyone give me a logical explanation why the same folks who are so quick to demand that we stop funding NPR and PBS are so vehemently in favor of sponsoring NASCAR?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Koch Denies Interest in No-Bid Deals; Opens New Lobby Shop

      Madison, Wisconsin — The Capital Times reported on Tuesday that Koch Industries had quietly opened a lobby shop in Madison. This news comes amid concerns about the influence of the company and the billionaire brothers who lead it ,and the bankrolling of multi-million dollar ad campaigns like the one that helped sweep controversial governor Scott Walker into office. The company’s political action committee was also one of the largest PAC donors to contribute directly to Walker’s election, giving his campaign $43,000, second only to the realtor PAC. Amid controversy swirling around a provision in the budget bill Walker introduced that would allow his administration to sell off state heating, cooling and power plants or their operations “for any amount” in no-bid contracts and without any external oversight, Koch Industries denied last night that it was interested purchasing power plants here to go along with its pipeline, refinery, and coal companies in the state.

    • General Strike Looms if Walker Signs Union-Busting Bill

      Wisconsin’s South Central Federation of Labor is getting ready to call a general strike if the state’s legislature passes Governor Scott Walker’s bill to curtail collective bargaining rights. The Federation, which represents 97 unions and more than 45,000 workers in six counties, on Monday voted to endorse work shut-downs by both union and non-union workers around the country if the bill passes and the governor signs it.

  • Civil Rights

    • Who Knew Cairo Was This Chilly?

      It’s midnight Monday. A quiet snow is falling outside the Wisconsin State Capitol, and clean-cut fire fighters are rolling out their sleeping bags and getting ready to sleep on hard marble floors with students who looked a bit shaggy after five nights of the same. Since Tuesday, February 15, tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents have been flooding the State Capitol in Madison in protest of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget “repair” bill that would savage Wisconsin’s 50-year history of collective bargaining for state, county and municipal workers. Tuesday, February 22 will be a critical day in the fight. The Wisconsin Assembly will take up the bill, introducing over 100 amendments, starting at 11:00 a.m. and the Republicans in the Senate will attempt to lure their Democratic colleagues back into the state from their undisclosed location by scheduling votes on the bill the Democrats deplore. (Watch floor action on the Wisconsin Eye website).

    • Walker’s M.O. and Past Privatization Disaster Revealed

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did not campaign for office calling for the destruction of public unions, but a closer look at his past actions shows that he acted rashly toward union workers before, with disastrous and costly results.

      In early 2010, when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, he fired 26 union security guards who worked at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. They were public employees and were represented by a union, but he fired them anyway, in favor of hiring private security guards. The county board opposed Walker’s security-outsourcing move, but he pressed ahead with it anyway, claiming the action was needed due to a budget crisis, to help ameliorate a potential 2010 year-end deficit of around $7 million. After firing the guards, Walker hired private security contractor Wackenhut G4S to provide security services at the Courthouse, as well as two other venues in the county, under a $1.1 million contract.

    • Should Public Sector Unions Exist?

      Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill effectively dismantles over 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin. While bill supporters have obscured the reasons that hundreds of thousands have been protesting (acting as if the controversy is really about pension and healthcare contributions rather than union-busting, and claiming the fiscal gaps created by Walker’s tax cuts leave the state with no choice but to crush unions), others recognize the attack on collective bargaining rights but nonetheless support it as applied to taxpayer-funded public servants. Should public sector workers be allowed to organize?

    • Indiana Conducting “Immediate Review” of Official Who Called For Using “Live Ammunition” on Wisconsin Protesters

      This morning, Mother Jones reported that Jeff Cox, an Indiana deputy attorney general, had called for using “live ammunition” against Wisconsin protesters. Cox’s bosses have issued a statement noting that they are conducting an “immediate review” of the prolific tweeter and blogger and that the state attorney general will take “appropriate personnel action” when the review of the “serious matter” is complete.

    • Indiana Deputy AG Fired For Suggesting Use of ‘Live Ammunition’ Against Protesters

      It turned out that lawyer, Jeff Cox, is a deputy attorney general in the state. And — perhaps unsurprisingly — he’s left a long online trail of controversial statements and diktats.

      “[A]gainst thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor?” he tweeted back at Weinstein. “You’re damn right I advocate deadly force.”

      Six days ago he opined, “Planned Parenthood could help themselves if the only abortions they performed were retroactive.”

      And on his personal blog, Pro Cynic (now deleted), he compared former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to a Nazi, and concluded that George W. Bush’s words to the Iraqi people — “Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country” — are appropriate for citizens of America under Barack Obama, among other inflammatory statements.

    • PirateBox vs. FreedomBox

      This fits squarely with what the American government has been saying about the importance of open communications platforms to the cause of democracy. Yet the inspiring words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seemingly at odds with other administration and legislative efforts to expand the government’s powers to combat intellectual property infringement. (The Department of Homeland Security has its ICE web domain takedowns; there’s also a bill in Congress that would expand Department of Justice powers to do much the same.)

    • Feds Appealing Ruling That Said Warrantless Wiretapping Was Illegal; Will This Backfire?

      A year ago, a lot of folks were quite surprised when a court ruled that the federal government had violated wiretapping laws with its warrantless wiretapping campaign. The government had fought hard against the lawsuit at every turn, and went to ridiculous lengths to stall and even ignore the judge. The whole case revolved around the one situation in which the government revealed that it was wiretapping some people without the required warrant. Previous lawsuits over the program had been dropped, because without specific evidence from someone being spied on, no one actually had standing to sue. Yes, this is a bit Kafkaesque when you think about it. Basically, so long as the government keeps its illegal spying activity secret from those it’s spying on, no one can take legal action to stop it.

    • Alaska state rep refuses TSA grope of her mastectomy scars, drives home from Seattle

      Alaska State Rep Sharon Cissna, a breast cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy, was barred from flying home to Juneau from Seattle by the TSA when she refused to allow a screener to touch the scars from her operation.

    • Seattle-Area Restaurant Refuses To Serve TSA Agents

      Fed up with what he views as crappy treatment from the TSA, the owner of a restaurant near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has decided to put all TSA agents on his No-Eat List.

      “We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren’t allowed to come into our business,” one employee tells travel journalist Christopher Elliott. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.”

    • Feds Appeal Warrantless-Wiretapping Defeat

      The Obama administration is appealing the first — and likely only — lawsuit resulting in a ruling against the National Security Agency’s secret warrantless-surveillance program adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks.

      A San Francisco federal judge in December awarded $20,400 each to two American lawyers illegally wiretapped by the George W. Bush administration, and granted their attorneys $2.5 million for the costs of litigating the case for more than four years.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Scope

      Last week, the CRTC called for comments on whether it should expand the scope of its Review of Usage Based Billing (more formally known as: Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-77: Review of billing practices for wholesale residential high-speed access services).

    • Cerf: Future of Internet doesn’t include an IPv7

      Vint Cerf takes his title of Chief Internet Evangelist for Google seriously, and is knee-deep in several projects to bring the next versions of the Internet into being. These projects include pushing for worldwide IPv6 adoption, but they don’t include plans for an IPv7.

      Cerf sat down with Network World’s Cisco Subnet editor, Julie Bort, at the annual Digital Broadband Migration conference in Boulder, Colo., to discuss the future of IP, home networking, the Internet of Things, preventing the so-called Internet “kill switch,” and other topics. Here is part one of the edited interview.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stronger IP Rights In EU-Korea FTA: Precedent For Future FTAs?

      A European Parliament majority this week approved a free trade agreement with Korea with strong provisions on intellectual property rights protection, according to Robert Stury, rapporteur of the lead EP Committee on the dossier.

      The FTA, linked here, and welcomed by the conservative, socialist and liberal parties, carries expectations of creating new trade in goods and services worth €19.1 billion for the EU and save EU exporters €1.6 billion a year. It is the first of a series of FTAs passed under the Lisbon Treaty with additional scrutiny from the EU Parliament.

    • How Lawyers For Settlers Of Catan Abuse IP Law To Take Down Perfectly Legal Competitors

      So I was interested a few weeks ago when Michael Weinberg, a lawyer at Public Knowledge, put up a discussion about whether or not there was an IP violation in doing 3D printings of Catan pieces. He explained why there actually was no actual violations there. In reading that, I realized that most of the same arguments would apply to software as well… and like magic, someone popped up in the comments to that post, noting that he had written an Android clone of Catan, and their lawyers had forced it down. Weinberg has now written a detailed explanation of why the lawyers for Catan are flat-out wrong and are abusing intellectual property law to stifle competition.

    • Trademarks

      • A Chicken War in New York, Where Afghans Rule the Roost

        He has armed himself with an unwritten secret recipe that he claims allows him to fry the best bird in town. His main weapon, he says, is ownership of the trademark for the Kennedy Fried Chicken brand, which has spawned hundreds of imitators as far south as Georgia, and has become to oily drumsticks what the ubiquitous Ray’s name once was to New York pizza.

        That Kennedy, named after the former president, was itself a deliberate imitation of Kentucky Fried Chicken, down to those familiar initials — and that it had its own trademark battle a generation ago — seems to make little difference to Mr. Haye, 38. A wired and wiry resident of Whitestone, Queens, he began working as a chicken fryer when he was 17, soon after he immigrated in 1989, and describes his rivals with ire similar to that he reserves for the Taliban.

    • Copyrights

      • Goodbye, HD component video: Hollywood hastens the ‘analog sunset’

        Listen—do you hear that creaking sound? Don’t be too alarmed. It’s only the coffin lid slowly closing on your ability to get high-definition video via the analog component-video connections on your Blu-ray player.

        After decades of effort, Hollywood is finally “plugging the analog hole,” as it’s inelegantly been called, thanks to new restrictions imposed by the licensing administrator for the AACS, the copy-protection scheme used in Blu-ray players.

      • Report: Dodd on verge of becoming MPAA chairman

        Dodd’s hiring comes after reports that several candidates turned down the chance to represent Hollywood on K Street.


        But the MPAA is optimistic about its legislative prospects this Congress, thanks to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last year before stalling in the full Senate.

        The MPAA is among the strongest supporters of the legislation, which would give the Justice Department expedited authority to shut down domains found trafficking in counterfeit or pirated content.

      • Google Finally Gets Involved In Torrent Search Engine Lawsuit… But Just To Reject ‘Red Flag’ DMCA Violations

        TorrentFreak is noting that Google has, perhaps for the first time, waded into any of the lawsuits concerning torrent search engines, filing an amicus brief in the ongoing IsoHunt appeal. In the past, other torrent search engines have been somewhat upset that Google has stayed quiet, noting that many of the arguments used against them could equally apply to Google. Google, of course, has stayed away because it goes to great lengths these days to avoid any appearance of “supporting piracy.”

      • ICE Confirms Inadvertent Web Site Seizures

        A child pornography investigation led to the unintentional temporary shutdown of thousands of lawfully operating Web sites last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed.

      • CRTC denies AUX-TV right to air more music videos

        Three months after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission told MuchMusic it can’t air fewer music videos than it already does, the same federal agency has denied a request to play more of them on a cable music channel that’s become a launching pad for dozens of independent Canadian artists.

        The CRTC ruled last week that AUX TV, a specialty music channel owned by GlassBox Television, can’t allow music videos to account for more than 35 per cent of its broadcast content under its current licence because that could make AUX “directly competitive” with MuchMusic.

      • Did Scott Turow Keep The Copyright On His NY Times Op-Ed About The Importance Of Copyright?

        We were among many different commentators who mocked the recent op-ed in the NY Times by Authors Guild boss (and best selling novelist) Scott Turow, in which he seemed to suggest that to incentivize the next Shakespeare, the world needs much stronger copyright laws. The day after that op-ed was published, Turow was at the Senate speaking out in favor of censorship in the form of the COICA law. This is somewhat startling, and if you’re a member of the Authors Guild, you should be asking serious questions about an organization that supports censorship.

      • How to Control (and Cash In On) the Sarah Palin Brand

        Adding Sarah Palin to any event makes it bigger, more high profile and, for one restaurant owner in Manhattan, more litigious.

        Padriac Sheridan wanted to draw customers into his restaurant, Murphy & Gonzalez, on Waverly Place near NYU, by showing the 2008 Vice Presidential debate, featuring Palin and Senator Joe Biden.


        On September 13, 2010, Sheridan received a letter from an attorney representing a company claiming that Sheridan’s web site stole their photograph of Palin, and they wanted him to pay for it.

      • Court Not Impressed With ivi’s Legal Loopholes, Shoots Online TV Broadcaster Down

        The thing is, the more I read the details, the more I actually think that ivi’s legal argument makes sense, even if the court disagrees. The problem here is the way the laws are written. A strict reading of Section 111 certainly suggests that ivi probably qualifies and can rebroadcast network TV with a nominal payment to the Copyright Office.

Clip of the Day

GNU Parallel 20110205 – The FOSDEM Release

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 23/2/2011: Intrinsyc Becomes Linux Foundation Member, Dries Buytaert Defends Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Year of Linux (Unix)

    Today, I will dare say that it is the year of Linux (and Unix, for that matter).

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Can you run your own SOHO E-Mail Server?

      I’ve been running my own e-mail servers for decades. After all, back in the 80s I was helping run NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s e-mail systems and let me tell you in those days it wasn’t easy! Today, thanks to easy e-mail servers such as CapeSoft Email Server, hMailServer, and Zimbra pretty much any tech savvy user can run an e-mail server. Heck, if you’re a step above a power user you can even run OpenExchange and fully support Outlook users without breaking a sweat. If, that is, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will let you do it.

    • The meaning of Watson

      But Watson can’t really play Jeopardy! -not without a human puppeteer pulling strings behind the scenes. Even if we say that Watson knows how to talk (it’s a stretch), Watson doesn’t know when to talk. An operator is placed offstage, playing the crucial role of sending commands that prompt Watson when to speak, when to answer, when to choose a category or clue, and when to place a bet. It is the human puppeteer who, with our imaginative co-operation, creates the illusion that Watson is playing a game with humans. Without the subterfuge of human intervention, Watson remains a computational instrument -not a Jeopardy! contestant.

    • Still Think Linux Is Just for Start-Ups?

      Start-ups very rarely build themselves supercomputers, and certainly not the sorts of heavy duty number-crunching machines that make it on to the TOP500 list. But a quick glance at the latest list, from November 2010, shows that well over 80 percent of the fastest 500 machines in the world use a Linux server operating system. There’s a few UNIX machines in there too, and an handful of Windows HPC boxes — if one can call a supercomputer a box — but by and large it’s all Linux, Linux, Linux.

    • When in doubt, reboot? Not Unix boxes

      Rebooting Windows boxes is a way of life, but rebooting by default can you get you nowhere fast when running Unix

  • Kernel Space

    • Intrinsyc Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Intrinsyc is its newest member.

      Intrinsyc provides software design and services that help its customers compete in today’s high-stakes device market. Core to its strategy is the development of high-quality software while accelerating time-to-market for the world’s leading device makers. Intrinsyc achieved notable success with the development of the first Android-based e-reader and has followed up with several software and services agreements to support Android mobile device development.

    • Intrinsyc becomes Linux Foundation member

      The foundation has seen a steady growth in company membership of the non-profit organisation with several other companies having joined this year.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Try This Great Looking Conky Lua Configuration For Ubuntu, Fedora Or Linux Mint

        Despot77 posted a great looking Conky Lua configuration at Gnome-Look that displays some beautiful rings for the cpu, clock, ram, swap, disk, net and also comes with an easy way to display the weather that doesn’t involve you register to any website, work with API keys and so on. Another thing I like about this configuration is that it comes with various color themes and distribution logos: Fedora, Linux Mint and Ubuntu (update: the package also provides Debian and openSUSE configurations).

      • I thought we had deprecated regedit

        Why TF is regedit still used in Gnome? I’d switch to KDE, if only I wasn’t so lazy.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, the Universal Operating System for your Computer.

        Debian and I have an unusual relationship — I respect the work the Debian team does, I admire the huge amount of packages, infrastructure, coordination and testing which goes into the project. Quite often I find myself using the children or grandchildren of Debian for work and on my home machines.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Car computer runs Ubuntu 10.10, offers GPS and HSDPA

          Vic has begun selling an Ubuntu Linux-based, double-DIN car computer with GPS and 3G HSDPA for approximately $410. Based on an Intel Celeron M processor with 2GB of DDR2 memory, the NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G offers a 250GB hard disk drive, a seven-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, and extensive connectivity including multiple camera inputs, says the company.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Review: Boxee Box

      Shawn reviews the Boxee Box from D-Link. Oddly enough, it’s not really box shaped.

    • 10 Cool Hacks For Your NookColor

      If Android doesn’t do it for you, how about Ubuntu Linux? Inspired by similar Ubuntu-on-a-smartphone hacks, an XDA Developers member managed to install Ubuntu on the e-reader. There are still a few bugs and lag when using Ubuntu, but there is plenty of input into the hack’s coding currently to change that.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • All about Android

          The Android software has all the basics of an operating system, and developers can use a supplied “software development kit” to build applications that draw on any of the phone or tablet’s core functions, such as the ability to take photos, make calls and send texts.

        • 10 Android Apps for Linux Server Admins

          The Linux server admin on the go needs a good remote administration toolkit. Here are 10 useful remote administration apps for Android devices.

        • The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011

          Before Google’s mobile operating system came along, Motorola aggressively pursued Mobile Linux on phones. But once Android entered the public’s consciousness, Wyatt spearheaded a change in course.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • The-M-Project: new HTML5 Framework for Mobile Apps

    The M Project is a new open source HTML5 JavaScript framework. With The-M-Project, M-Way Solutions – a specialist in mobile enterprise software – has provided developers with a means to write cross-platform HTML5 applications for almost all smartphone platforms. So far iOS, Android, Palm webOS and BlackBerry OS are the operating systems supported.

  • OpenGeo and Farallon Geographics Announce Partnership to Offer Open Source Geospatial Solutions

    Farallon Geographics, a San Francisco GIS services firm and OpenGeo, a global leader in open source geospatial solutions, announced that Farallon Geographics has added the OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition to its product offerings and now provides support to local OpenGeo Suite users.

  • Brandon Regional Health Authority Partners with ByWater Solutions for Koha Implementation

    ByWater Solutions, an open source community supporter and official Koha support company, announced today that the Brandon Regional Health Authority, of Brandon, Manitoba, has partnered with them for their implementation and support of the Koha ILS.

  • Mentor builds its open source tool support with UVM

    Mentor Graphics continues to regcoginse the growing importance of open source software in the design industry.

    It has now announced support for Accellera’s Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) across many of its design tools.

  • Qualys Launches Open Source Web App Firewall Project

    Qualys last week unveiled IronBee, a new open source Web application firewall (WAF) project. The goal of the project is to leverage the open source community to build a high performance WAF that can protect users against the latest security threats to Web applications. The software will feature a liberal license, and will be free to anybody.

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo building cloud-serving engine for internal use, plans to use open source

      Yahoo intends to release the code that the company is currently developing as part of its internal cloud-serving engine. Todd Papaioannou, Yahoo’s vice president of cloud architecture described Yahoo’s cloud capabilities as akin to Amazon’s well-known EC2 platform, but with a higher level of abstraction for ease of development. Written in Java and C++, Yahoo’s cloud-serving engine is based on the LAMP and Java stack, and will support PHP and JavaScript on the front-end. Other languages could conceivably be deployed on top of it.

  • CMS

    • One on One with Dries Buytaert of Acquia

      DB: Yes, I think the open source label still matters. Organizations need a technology that provides the flexibility and freedom to customize it to their individual needs. Proprietary solutions can be customized but with a high price tag and long lag time. In the open source world, more often than not, plug-ins or customizations you need to build have already been created and are available for use. This is community-powered innovation, something that Drupal is great at and that provides a real benefit compared to proprietary solutions.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source and standards encouraged in the NHS

      Chelsom claims that the National Health Service Programme for IT (NPfIT), has wasted a decade in the development of its clinical information systems, and says that his paper is in response to the NHS itself seeking opinions about how it can move away from the centralised approach to IT development. He makes the case that the earlier use of open source software in the NHS was not successful because of certain perceptions: “the myth that it’s mainly programmed by hackers; the legal implications of its licensing models; and the degree to which open source implementations can be supported and maintained.”

    • An open source approach to Veterans Affairs medical info

      For years, the VA has run the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), which is their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Turns out it was written by clinicians themselves, and has served well over years. However, the VA believes it might be time to use open source methods in a kind of public/private partnership.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • Government

    • The government gets really serious about open source

      My favourite announcement of the day is the Government skunkworks project, where reusable solutions will be built from Open Source components. It’s live now, and headed by the CIO of the DCLG and DCMS. This time it’s serious…

      The move to Open Source is being driven both from No 10, and from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. You will hear the Prime Minister talking about Open Government quite a bit over the next few weeks. Open Government consciously includes Open Source as well as Open Standards and Open Data, and this is being driven directly from the top of the Coalition Government.

      Sirius will continue to bring Open Source Software to the UK Public Sector… We challenge the big SIs to join us and help reduce the UK’s IT bill…

    • Clicking Through Drupal 7′s Features

      When looking for examples of enterprise applications where open source products have competed effectively against expensive and complex commercial products, a good place to start is content management.

    • Review: Drupal 7 Simplifies Web Content Management
  • Openness/Sharing

    • “Open Source” at Carroll Square Gallery
    • Open Data

      • Reactions to the Nationwide Broadband Map
      • Gavin Newsom

        As former mayor of San Francisco, Newsom ignited transparency efforts with open source platform site DataSF.org, a clearinghouse of city and county data sets that residents can use to create innovative applications.

    • Open Access/Content

      • [Canada] Spectrum Consultation Could Form Cornerstone of Digital Policy for Next Decade

        Third, the government asks if it should establish “open access” requirements, mandating certain openness standards in the use of this spectrum. For consumers tired of the “walled garden” approach of current providers that use both contracts and technology to lock-in consumers, open spectrum policies would spur new innovation and heightened competition by facilitating greater consumer mobility and promote the introduction of new services not tied to a single wireless provider.

    • Open Hardware

      • Solid state drives refuse to delete data

        The first time I was briefed on developments that would lead to solid-state hard drives for laptops I thought it was such a great idea I couldn’t wait to get one. Improve speed, extend battery life and eliminate all that complaining when I close the lid and sling the laptop around before the disk stops spinning? Oh yeah.

        Unfortunately former colleague Galen Gruman was in the same meeting, and managed to shoot the idea into my “maybe someday” file before I got back to my desk. (Galen is wildly enthusiastic about technology himself, but has annoyingly accurate reasons for it when his enthusiasms conflict with mine.)

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Sencha Labs releases open source framework for WebGL development

      Sencha Labs has announced the availability of a new open source framework for WebGL development. The framework, which is called PhiloGL, makes it easier for developers to adopt WebGL and integrate its functionality in Web applications. The framework is distributed under the permissive MIT license.


  • Pa. judge guilty of racketeering in kickback case

    A former juvenile court judge defiantly insisted he never accepted money for sending large numbers of children to detention centers even after he was convicted of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups.

  • Judge Convicted in Pennsylvania Kids-for-Cash Scheme, Faces Long Prison Term and Class Action Lawsuit

    A federal jury has found a former Pennsylvania judge guilty of participating in a so-called “kids for cash” scheme, in which he received money in exchange for sending juvenile offenders to for-profit youth jails over the years.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • [Old:] Colonel Qaddafi—A Life in Fashion
    • Right-left symmetry photos of Qaddafi
    • Monopoly and Tyranny: Two Faces of Evil

      Libya earns $billions from oil and their few million citizens earn an average of a few dollars per day. All the wealth goes to the few and the rest are slaves, working cheaply.

    • Libya prepares for the last battle in Tripoli
    • Gaddafi family values

      As Libya spiraled further out of control today, WikiLeaks posted two new cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli detailing the family squabbles of strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi’s family. Both are from March 2009, and both are signed by U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz, the United States’ first ambassador in Libya since 1972, who lost his job last month following the release of the infamous “voluptuous blonde” cable (and/or other more serious dispatches) he had signed.

      The cables date from an eventful period in the life of the Gaddafi family. The previous July, Hannibal al-Gaddafi, the Gaddafi son best known for getting in trouble in Europe on a semi-regular basis, had been arrested in Switzerland for beating his servants at a Geneva hotel. Meanwhile, Saif al-Islam, Muammar’s heir-apparent and the best-regarded Gaddafi outside of Libya, was fuming over the growing closeness between his father and his brother Muatassim (above, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2009), the elder Gaddafi’s national security adviser and Saif al-Islam’s only real competition for the family business. According to the cable, “Saif reportedly bridled at the fact that Muatassim accompanied Muammar al-Qadhafi on the latter’s visit to Moscow, Minsk and Kiev last year…, and played a key role in negotiating potential weapons contracts.”

  • Cablegate

    • Ellsberg: WikiLeaks Helped Topple Despots

      WikiLeaks revelations helped topple despotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg told Newsmax.TV. The former Marine and Pentagon employee also characterized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as principled, idealistic, and a friend.

  • Finance

    • JPMorgan Grants Stock Bonus To CEO James Dimon

      JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM: News ) has granted restricted stock units and stock appreciation rights worth $17 million to its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Dimon, just a month after the New York-based financial services giant reported higher fourth-quarter earnings.

    • Sure It’s Legal… But Is It RIGHT?

      Now, THE largest expense for any financial company is SALARIES. So when banks and financial companies lobbied to have their leverage limits increased (or any number of other changes that were made in the ‘90s and ‘00s), they did it for one reason: to collect HUGE payouts.

      These folks were driven by greed and nothing more. They didn’t want more people to own homes. They didn’t care if folks lost money buying the AAA rated garbage they pawned off on pension funds and the like. They didn’t care if their OWN balance sheets were cesspools of crap loans no one would ever pay back. Heck, they weren’t even looking after their shareholders (leverage of 50-to-1 makes it extremely likely you’ll end up wiping out ALL equity sooner rather than later).

    • Goldman Sachs-Robbing and Thieving The American Sucker-AGAIN
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Expert: Copyright bigger threat than patents to OpenSim

      After ReactionGrid announced plans to patent a process for deploying and managing OpenSim earlier this month, the open source community responded with dismay.

      In comments on the initial announcement, and in ReactionGrid’s follow-up clarification, and in the OpenSim discussion list, open source advocates worried that patenting processes might hurt the development of OpenSim.

    • Copyrights

      • Presumed Guilty

        The argument is so strange it is hard to know where to begin. The problem is not simply that Shakespeare flourished without copyright protection for his work. It is that he made liberal use of the work of others in his own plays in ways that would today almost certainly generate a lawsuit. Like many readers, I found myself wondering whether Shakespeare would have survived copyright, never mind the web. Certainly, the dense interplay of unidentified quotation, paraphrase and plot lifting that characterizes much of Elizabethan theatre would have been very different; imagine what jazz would sound like if musicians had to pay for every fragment of another tune they work into a solo.

Clip of the Day

Deepak Chopra answers a question.

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 23/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC6, Fedora Adopts Sqlninja, HP’s Linux-powered TouchPad Scheduled for April

Posted in News Roundup at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Localising GNU/Linux to Telugu.
  • The iPhone Verdict + Ubuntu 10.10

    The road test on the new Ubuntu continues and I will soon be venturing into the world of the netbook which will be exclusively Linux.

  • Judge guts suit against Sony for killing Linux in PS3

    A federal judge has dismissed all but one of the claims leveled against Sony for dropping Linux support from its PlayStation 3 game console, but gave the plaintiffs permission to refile an amended complaint that fixes the deficiencies.

    A complaint seeking class-action status on behalf of all PS3 owners was filed in April and claimed that the disabling of the so-called OtherOS violated a raft of civil laws, including those for breach of warranty, unfair competition and computer fraud. Sony had touted the feature, which allowed users to run Linux and other software on their consoles, in interviews and presentations, but later dropped it after a well-known hacker figured out how to exploit OtherOS to jailbreak the PS3.

  • Desktop

    • HeliOS Rocks at Rock A Charity

      And really, what we do at HeliOS is perfectly suited for such a presentation…there’s not a lot of fluff here. We simply do what we do.

      The evening progressed at a busy level. We rarely found ourselves alone and between Skip Guenter, Diane and me, we took turns giving the presentation.

    • Paving the Last PC with Debian GNU/Linux

      So, today, we are truly free of that other OS. Two PCs run Ubuntu GNU/Linux and three run Debian GNU/Linux.

    • Amazon.com Includes Linux Users in new Movie Streaming Service

      Linux users have long searched for a way to legally watch premium movies on their computers with little luck. Netflix, Cinemanow, (and the now bankrupt Blockbuster) strictly forbid anything other than Windows or Mac systems. Even local video rentals or delivery services require the use of software that isn’t legal in the US. Well, Amazon.com has come to the rescue by allowing the streaming of recent premium movies to Linux machines.

    • The OpenPC project: Ready-made GNU/Linux Machines

      The Open Desktop communities Open-PC project is now offering three different models of open computers with turn-key GNU/Linux and KDE installations based on OpenSUSE (or Ubuntu). These systems could provide real competition with pre-installed Windows or Mac computers, overcoming some of the most frequently-cited problems with GNU/Linux on the desktop. The systems are now available from vendors in Europe and the USA.

      It’s not that uncommon to come across brave plans for GNU/Linux-based computer systems, ranging from games to netbooks to desktops, but they often turn out to be vaporware that never makes it to market. One thing that’s exciting about the Open-PC project is that it actually has hardware in stock now — so if you think you’re actually in the market for a low-cost “nettop” computer with GNU/Linux/KDE branding and a totally-configured operating system pre-configured for newbies (maybe for a gift?), then do read on, this is the real deal.

  • Server

    • How to build your own Watson Jeopardy! supermachine

      Because Linux is the fastest operating system on IBM’s Power platforms (at least according to the SPEC family of benchmarks), Big Blue chose a variant of Linux to run on the Power 750 nodes.

    • Jeopardy computer only uses a bit of its memory

      If you’ve been following the human vs computer Jeopardy shows on TV in the US recently, you’ve met the IBM supercomputer that is winning games. To make the humans feel better, it might be nice to know that the computer’s responses are supported by 90 servers and a network-attacked storage cluster with 2.16B of data (I read this in CIO).

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Two Awesome Tray Icon Sets for GNOME

        I had never experimented with tray icons alone in my Ubuntu before and this was my first experience with different try icons for GNOME. There is a dark and light version of the tray icon theme for GNOME and both of them looks very neat(and a tad too small to my liking). Give them a try and find out for yourself.

  • Distributions

    • New Linux OS-based service delivery platform for Indian telecom industry

      Donjin Communication Technology (Donjin Tech), a provider of multimedia communication platform technology and Contarra Systems, a worldwide telecommunica­tions software company, have launched Cameleon XR 1.5, a service delivery platform based on Linux Operating System for the Indian telecommunications industry.

    • New Releases

      • RIPLinuX 11.4 Ready

        Recovery Is Possible (RIP) Linux 11.4 is a boot, rescue, backup, maintenance, as well as general purpose system on CD or USB.

      • First Zentyal 2.1 beta available for download!

        The Development Team of Zentyal, the Linux small business server previously know as eBox Platform, is glad to announce the availability of the first packages and installer CD images for Zentyal 2.1! The new installer is now available for download at the Zentyal Beta Downloads page. Furthermore, the 2.1 packages can also be installed on an existing Ubuntu Server 10.04 following the instructions of the Installation Guide.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora to include hacking tool Sqlninja after all

          As recorded in the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fedora board, the Fedora Project is to integrate hacking tool sqlninja into its Linux distribution. The minutes record that Tom ‘spot’ Callaway, member of the Fedora board and Fedora Engineering Manager, met with Red Hat’s legal team who said they considered there was no risk involved in including sqlninja. The Fedora board voted unanimously to lift the block on the application.

        • Test Day:2011-02-22 Nouveau
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • LoCo Directory 0.3.1

          A new version of the Ubuntu LoCo Teams Directory was released this morning. It now includes interactive Google maps showing the locations of upcoming events (major props to Ronnie for this!). Make sure that your team’s venues have longitude and latitude values so they will appear and be counted on these maps!

        • Easily Support the Sound Menu in Python

          An important part of integrating with the Ubuntu desktop is ensuring that your application is using all of the appropriate indicators. In this entry, I explain how I added support for the Ubuntu Sound Menu to the sample application “Simple Player.”

        • UDS Diversity – Accessibility/Disability Version Meeting TODAY
        • Document Foundation Welcomes Canonical
        • Indicators and Accessibility

          With all the major user interface changes that are coming in Ubuntu Natty, its easy to get lost in exactly what is changing, how, and why. Things like how you access your most frequently used applications, files, and devices, are all changing. If not in Natty, then in the very near future with Natty+1 and beyond. With all these changes, there is one change that hasn’t been heavily talked about, at least in the Ubuntu accessibility community, and the change that I am about to talk about has been around since Lucid, if not longer.

        • The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011

          A little less than a year ago, Jane Silber stepped into the CEO role at Canonical, the privately backed company behind the popular open source Ubuntu Linux distribution. She has to maintain the delicate symbiotic relationship between the corporation and the operating system’s community of open source developers. In an interview, she described the company and its ecosystem as being “like a living animal.” Thanks to Silber’s leadership, Ubuntu continues to grow both as an enterprise/server solution and a viable OS for the desktop with developments such as the Ubuntu One cloud syncing program, Unity interface for netbooks, Ubuntu Light for instant-on, dual-boot installations, and the introduction of multitouch capability in the OS.

        • The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011
        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia and Microsoft: Match Made in the Twilight Zone

          “Elop is either a Trojan horse or completely incompetent,” consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack opined. “If the last 30 years of computing history has taught us anything, it’s that partnerships with Microsoft tend to turn out really badly for the partner that’s not Microsoft.” Elop’s “bewildering” assertion that the telcos want a third market player, he added, is “just madness.”

        • Renee James, Senior Vice President, Intel speaks about MeeGo – MWC

          They discussed the MeeGo tablet experience and how Intel views it and what are the unique selling points, the Growing MeeGo ecosystem and also other companies that support MeeGo.

        • Peter Biddle Talks MeeGo and Intel AppUp

          Peter explained that Intel has big plans for MeeGo…

        • Where now for MeeGo?

          The industry will now wait and see whether Intel has the resource or the incentive to to continue to develop silicon for MeeGo in the face of the rising popularity of Android.

        • Another CSSU (community update) now available

          Seamless Software Update (SSU) is the term Nokia used to brand the over-the-air updates of Maemo.

        • First Alpha of Qt For Android Released

          An anonymous reader writes “In the wake of Nokia’s announcement that it will be cheerfully throwing its existing developer community under a bus by not offering Qt for Windows Phone, a project to implement Qt on Android has announced its initial alpha release. Necessitas project lead Bogdan Vatra writes, ‘I had a dream that one day, I’ll be able to deploy existing Qt software on any Android platform. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications will use system wide shared Qt libraries. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications once compiled and deployed to one android platform, will run on any other newer android platform and will last for years without any recompilation. I had a dream that one day, I’ll be able to create, manage, compile debug and deploy Qt apps using a first class citizen IDE. Now, those dreams become reality.’ The Necessitas wiki offers some documentation on Qt for Android. A demo video of Qt for Android in action is also available.”

        • SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 released

          Since last night, SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 should be available for those who have the extras-devel catalog.

      • Android

        • It’s Way Too Early to Pronounce the Tablet Wars Over

          What you have to remember is that Android itself provides the best example of how rapidly a competitor to the iPad could be taken very seriously. As recently as March of 2009, everyone was questioning why there weren’t more smartphones running Android, including us. And what happened before March of 2009? Mobile World Congress did. This is the conference where everyone decides what is going to succeed and fail each year on the mobile front, but in 2009, people who saw few Android phones and pronounced Android dead were dead wrong. Android is flourishing.

        • MWC 2011: Android Mania

          “Android is poised to absolutely dominate the entire smartphone market. It has reached the point of penetration where consumers may not even really want or be aware that they are buying an Android phone,” said Ben Cull, entrepreneur and founder of development company TBODA.

        • VLC-Shares Streams Any Video to Your Android, AirPlay-Style
        • Comic Book Reader Graphicly arrives on Android

          Graphicly Comics has titles from more than 150 publishers, including familiar names like Marvel and IDW. It has a store that can be browsed by publisher, title, or paid and free comics. Once a user has a collection, he or she can then view the digital copies formatted for the device. When testing on an EVO, Atomic Robo #1 loaded after a few seconds and I was able to turn pages by swiping left or right. Each page turn featured a delay of about 1 second or less, but pinch-zoom was fairly quick and allowed me to focus on certain panels.

          A strong web connection is ideal because Graphic.ly browses comic books that are stored in the cloud. However, users have the option of download a list of books if they want to read their collection offline or store it locally. The Android app also features an Activity Stream that shows comments and recommendations from friends or other Graphic.ly members (I can’t say much about it because my phone force closes every time I open the tab).

        • Android: The Open Mobile Choice

          In the future, MeeGo, like Android a Linux-based mobile may offer developers and users alike a similar array of choice.


          An iPhone or WP7? If you’re like me and you don’t like dealing with control freaks, just say no.

        • AirAttack HD is a great top down air combat shooter – and it’s free

          Fans of classic top down air combat shoot ‘em up games such as 1942 will likely love a new game in the Android market called AirAttack HD Lite. Despite the “lite” label, there is currently no full version of the game, but the free release has plenty of features.

          AirAttack HD has apparently generated more than one million downloads on iOS, and the Lite version for Android includes two missions, 16 types of enemies and two different planes. Overall, the game feels very professional and polished with slick 3D animations, lighting effects and lush orchestral music.

    • Tablets

      • HP TouchPad reportedly launching in April

        The TouchPad will ship with the newest dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor. It will also feature a 9.7-inch XGA (1024×768) display and will be 13.7mm thick, packing 1GB of RAM and will come in 16GB or 32GB models.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Your Community a Community?

    I’ve been a community leader in the open source world for the last eight years. Before that, I was a community member. You cannot be a community leader without being a community member. To understand what a community leader does, you have to understand what a community is.

    1. A community is self-governing. Community members are empowered to decide the direction of the community. If you’re telling people what to do and how to do it, you don’t have a community. You have a workforce.
    2. A community is social. I don’t mean it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Community members might use Facebook or Twitter, but they might use something old-school like mailing lists or IRC. What’s important is that people are talking to each other, getting to know each other, and making decisions together. Without social interaction, you just have a random group of contributors.
    3. A community has a common interest. Community members will have differences on many topics, but there has to be something that brings and keeps them together.

  • Towards a Permission-based Web. Wherefore Net Neutrality? Or: Maybe Open Source Wins After All

    Apple didn’t make the list in 04, but it would now. Tim seems surprisingly passive in his analysis. But I think Open Source and open standards and neutral networks are worth fighting for – because of the potential for transparent development. Learning and pedagogy: “view source”. We need to agitate for open. So much of what makes open source great are the social aspects of the technology. Lower barriers to participation.

  • Sometimes ‘Piracy’ And Freedom Look Remarkably Similar

    I’ve complained in the past about The Pirate Party’s name, which I think does the party a serious disservice. It may work in the short-term, but I have my doubts about its long-term efficacy. While the Pirate Party’s leaders continue to defend the name, I still think it gets people focused on the issue of copyright much more than basic freedoms — which really does seem to be the core of the Party’s agenda. Still, there are times when I can see the reasoning, because all too often “piracy” looks quite a lot like “freedom.” Take, for example, this nifty contrast highlighted by Casey Rae-Hunter, from the Future of Music Coalition (hardly a “piracy defender”), where he notes that two separate projects, the PirateBox and the FreedomBox appear remarkably similar.

  • Can Montreal Become an Open Source Startup Hub?

    Seth Godin, in his great book The Dip, points out that the only place that’s worth being, in business, is first place. When power laws and network effects are involved, the first place in line is the only place to be. You need to be “best in the world” at something, or you need to quit and start doing something else.

    Technology ecosystems – most business markets, actually — have network effects. And that means that the only rank to have, as an ecosystem, is first place. Best in the world.

    Who’s best in the world in Web startups? The San Francisco Bay Area. Who’s second? Probably New York City. Who’s third? Who cares? Third prize is you’re fired.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web browser Midori ditches menu bar by default

      The latest development release of Midori follows the recent trend of web browsers downsizing their menu cruft in favour of ‘Google Chrome’ style single-button menus.

    • Chrome

      • 15 Google Chrome Extensions to Help You Save Time and Become More Efficient

        Google Chrome extensions have always been a great way to extend the functionality of Google Chrome in tune with the needs of each and every individual. We have featured here before incredible collection of Google Chrome extensions for enhanced security and privacy while browsing and now here is another collection which are going to help a lot among you to manage time better and become more productive and efficient in the process.

      • Extending the Omnibox

        One of the most powerful aspects of Google Chrome is the omnibox, also known as the address bar. You can type URLs and searches into one unified place and it all just works. With the new omnibox API, extension developers can make the omnibox even more powerful.

    • Mozilla

      • Why Firefox Could Still Be the Browser Story of the Year

        As we’ve noted, Firefox is rapidly being tuned for mobile devices, and smartphones and tablets represent a huge market opportunity for the browser. We’ve also noted Mozilla’s charge that Internet Explorer’s latest revision is “two years too late.” But perhaps the biggest news on the Mozilla front is that the company has committed to a rapid development cycle, where it never had one before. Specifically, Mozilla plans to release a whopping four versions of Firefox by the end of this year. That is definitely an answer to the rapid-fire release schedule that Google Chrome has been on.

      • Firefox 4 improves appearance in Ubuntu

        The latest nightly build of Mozilla Firefox 4 is looking rather dapper in Ubuntu of late, reader Sjoerd mailed us to say.

      • Outreach to get people to join the Firefox 4 Launch team

        We’ll be creating a project group on Basecamp (a web-based service) and hosting two sessions this coming week (Thursday) to debrief on campaign ideas and plans, as well as gather feedback. If you’ve already signed up, I’ll be giving you access to Basecamp as soon as you sign up.

      • Update your add-on in time for Firefox 4

        Firefox 4 is gearing up for full launch! We’re really excited about Firefox 4, with a streamlined Add-ons Manager, and numerous other performance and UI improvements.

        Firefox 4 Beta is now API frozen, so if you haven’t already done so, please make sure your add-on is compatible. Firefox 4 is a significant upgrade that may require a little more work to be done to make sure your add-on works than in previous Firefox releases.

      • Mobile Testday, F1, ReMo and more…

        In this issue…

        * Mobile Firefox 4 beta testday on Feb 25th
        * Moving forward with F1
        * Finding … ReMo
        * The Next Million Mozillians
        * Tracking Firefox UI response time
        * Thunderbird at CeBIT 2011
        * Upcoming events
        * Community calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Update add-ons to enter Firefox 4 collection competition

        Firefox 4 is just around the corner and the updated version of the Firefox API has been frozen for some time now. The Add-ons blog is reminding add-on developers to Update your add-on for Firefox 4.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.0.4 supports Ubuntu 11.04 alpha guests
    • Google must continue to fight Oracle’s copyright claims

      Google had requested that it be allowed to move the copyright component of the Oracle vs. Google case to summary judgement. The judge has now denied it leave to file the motion, saying “good cause has not been shown”, until more evidence has been gathered.

      Google’s request noted that Oracle had “only identified twelve files” from the fifty one “Android API package specifications”; Google says that this was not a substantial part of the Oracle code. It also made the case that any copying it did would qualify as “fair use”, as there were so few things alledgedly copied and where this has happened, the use was to enable interoperability. On this basis, Google said it should be free to file a motion for summary judgement.

    • Oracle responds to Hudson/Jenkins split

      So remember how some of the Hudson community got fed up with hosting the continuous integration server on Java.net, decided to chuck the whole thing and move Hudson to GitHub, which sparked an internecine fight that ended up with those team members splitting off from the mainline Hudson project to form Jenkins?

  • CMS

    • How Movable Type Lost With Open Source

      I say this as a Movable Type user, which is why it pains me to say these things. I’d hate to think my loyalty was misplaced, because in the time I’ve used it I watched as one fellow user after another defected to competing products — mainly Automattic and WordPress.


      It was how they went about doing it.

  • Education

    • Advancing student achievement through labor-management collaboration

      About 150 school districts from 40 states sent teachers and administrators to the summit so that school labor and management could talk about student achievement and learn from the successes and challenges of others, rather than to rehash the nuts and bolts of labor contracts.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source, a healthy choice

      “In 2004, six months after suddenly losing my father, I became a single dad. I was forced to give up my travelling position as an application specialist for a large ERP software manufacturer.”

      Aaron Nursoo first became interested in open source software because it was free. He saw in it an opportunity to teach himself skills that would help him to restructure his life and allow him to support his family.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open/Closed Data

      • Quebec ‘chooses’ to charge for public information

        An article that ran as part of The Gazette’s recent Secret Society series -which explored the difficulties in obtaining information from publicly funded bodies in Quebec -noted that while the salaries of senior civil servants and heads of public corporations in Quebec do appear in a weekly publication of cabinet decrees called Gazette Officielle, a subscription costs $258 a year, or $223 for access to it online.

  • Programming

    • Amount of profanity in git commit messages per programming language

      Last weekend I really needed to write some code. Any code. I ended up ripping just under a million commit message from GitHub.

      The plan was to find out how much profanity I could find in commit messages, and then show the stats by language. These are my findings:

      Out of 929857 commit messages, I found 210 swear words (using George Carlin’s Seven dirty words).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why You Need Document Freedom

      It seems everything has a special day. Among all the various red letter days, you may not have run into Document Freedom Day, which this year is being celebrated on March 30th. Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of document freedom. It sounds dull – not just mundane, but the forgotten esoterica of the mundane – but it’s a crucial driver in the dominance of major software vendors. If the other elements of our Digital liberty are to be allowed to unfurl in their natural order, we need document freedom.

    • The semantic Web gets down to business

      Cobb credits much of these gains to his company’s deployment of Endeca Technologies Inc.’s online retail platform, which uses semantic technology to analyze shoppers’ keyword choices and clicks, and then winnows down results from categories to subcategories and microcategories. The end result? “Guiding the shopper to the perfect bag very quickly,” Cobb says.


  • Alibaba And The Curse Of Chinese Manufacturing

    A fairly unnoticed story percolated through the interwebs this weekend about Alibaba’s CEO and hundreds of employees being implicated in what amounts to a payola scandal. Alibaba is a site that allows you to buy the worst junk imaginable. They represent over 500,000 factories in China. It is a sourcing site full of fake laptops, poorly made clothing, and potentially life-threatening auto parts. And, best of all, it was acting as a middleman to actual criminals.

  • Judge Rules Against China; ‘Green Dam’ Suit Heads to Trial

    About a year after Cybersitter sued the Chinese government and several Asian OEMs for allegedly copying its code to create the “Green Dam” software, a U.S. federal judge has allowed the $2.3 billion suit to proceed.

    Judge Josephine Staton Tucker, a California district judge, entered a judgement of default against the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday, after PRC officials failed to respond to the ruling. Although the PRC’s embassy sent a letter to the U.S. State Department protesting Cybersitter’s suit, such a letter did not qualify as a formal response.

  • Mother Suspended From Work For Taking Deployed Son’s Call

    When loved ones are deployed, communication is precious—and sometimes few and far between. With her son only able to call once or twice a month, answering her cell phone when that rare call from Afghanistan came in was a no-brainer for one Tennessee-based mother. But by doing so, she nearly put her job in jeopardy.

    On Valentine’s Day, Teresa Danford, an employee of Crane Interiors in Woodbury, Tenn., was suspended for three days without pay for answering her son’s phone call. Danford told CBS-affiliate WTVF that her managers informed her that she would be fired if it happened again.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • Anonymous 101 for journalists
    • Empty suit: the chaotic way Anonymous makes decisions

      On February 16, the freewheeling hacker collective decided to take on the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, best known for its “God Hates Fags” protests. The Anonymous hivemind, the “Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People,” has had enough of this sort of free speech and has decided to fight the church’s “assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots” who issue “venomous statements of hatred.”

      The manifesto contains the trademark Anonymous prose style, one that might be summed up with the words “florid bombasticism.” (Case in point: “Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man…”)

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Crews of 2 Libyan warships mutiny

      The crews of two Libyan warships have mutinied and are refusing to obey Muammar Gaddafi’s orders to attack the eastern port city of Benghazi.


      Pundits say the Libyan regime’s heavy-handed clampdown on the people seems to have seriously backfired since the anti-government demonstrations have actually gained momentum across the country.

      At least 1,000 people were killed in Tripoli on Monday by airstrikes conducted by the Libyan military in a desperate move meant to quell the popular uprising, according to some reports.

    • Libya: Col Gaddafi vows to die a ‘martyr’

      Gaddafi, swathed in brown robes and turban, spoke from a podium set up in the entrance of a bombed out building that appeared to be his Tripoli residence hit by US airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance. The speech, which appeared to have been taped earlier, was aired on a screen to hundreds of supporters massed in Tripoli’s central Green Square.

      Shouting in the rambling speech, he declared himself “a warrior” and proclaimed, “Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world.”

    • Qaddafi’s Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows

      Vowing to track down and kill protesters “house by house,” Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya tightened his grip on the capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday, but the eastern half of the country was slipping beyond his control.

    • Operation “Libya White Fax”

      This document helps people in Libya learn how to connect to dial-up internet, and route around the government-ordered communication blocks. In a time like this, that can make all the difference in the world.

    • Mystery behind two Libyan fighter jets landing in Malta, revealed

      Two Libyan fighter jets and two civilian helicopters landed unexpectedly. The office of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said at the time it was not clear whether the two fighter pilots intended to ask for asylum—they later did. They initially had asked to refuel.

    • Latest Updates on Middle East Protests
    • Using Fax Machines to Route-Around Internet Censorship in Libya

      As we’ve reported, Libya is facing an Internet crack-down similar to the one faced in Egypt earlier this month. As the organization did for Egyptians, French Data Network is offering free dial-up Internet for Libyans. But, if the Internet is offline, how are Libyans supposed to learn how to connect to the Internet? It turns out landlines are still up, so one group is using faxes to pipe information into the country.

    • MI5 decided not to follow lead that would have identified 7/7 ringleader

      MI5 could have identified the ringleader of the 7 July attacks as a trained jihadist four months before the bombings, it has admitted, but for reasons that it refuses to disclose it decided not to investigate a crucial piece of intelligence.

    • Imran sees ‘change’ in Pakistan this year

      He said that the people, who are ruling Pakistan, are nothing but puppets in the hands of their American masters. America asks them to bomb their compatriots and they obey. They show the Americans that they had dropped so many bombs on their compatriots and ask to reward. The Americans tell them ‘this is not enough. Do more’. This is the lowest level of humiliation that so-called leaders kill their citizens, he lamented.

    • Yemen Students Attacked at Sanaa University by Men with Knives, Guns, and Pistols

      Tom Finn, stringer for The Guardian in Yemen, reports that students were attacked by men carrying pistols, knives and guns. One student was shot dead on the spot. Another was shot in the head and is

    • Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security

      For eight years, government officials turned to Dennis Montgomery, a California computer programmer, for eye-popping technology that he said could catch terrorists. Now, federal officials want nothing to do with him and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his dealings with Washington stay secret.

    • Anti-government protests around the world (big photo gallery)
    • Navy senior chief in hazing case to retire with full pay

      A Navy senior chief petty officer censured over hazing and other serious abuses that allegedly took place under his leadership at a military working-dog kennel in Bahrain will retire with an honorable discharge and without a reduction in pay grade, the Navy said Thursday.

      Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint, now based in Virginia Beach, will not be allowed to re-enlist in the Navy because he “did not meet the standards expected of senior enlisted leadership in our Navy,” according to a written statement by Juan Garcia, the Navy’s assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Release Draws Attention In Peru’s Presidential Election

      A series of United States diplomatic dispatches, released by WikiLeaks, are drawing heated attention during the current election campaign in Peru.

      The dispatches mainly date to the period around the 2006 general elections, but they are casting a light, not always flattering, on some of the main players running in April’s presidential elections.

    • Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media against Assange?

      Svenska dagbladet, a main Swedish newspaper, illustrated its 17 Feb 2011 article “Idyllic picture of Sweden is darkened” with a montage showing the notorious criminal Göran Lindberg — a world-reviled, convicted serial rapist (including the rape of a 14-year old child) – portrayed together with Julian Assange and his lawyer Mark Stephens. A conspicuous columnist of the newspaper Aftonbladet refers 13 Feb 2011 to Julian Assange as “a paranoid idiot who refuses come to Sweden to confront trial”.


      As an overview, the aim of the analysis was to test the notion “trial by the media” in the official case of Sweden against Assange. This is a serious complaint because it involves issues of human rights violations. In Sweden, this allegation of human rights violations has not been specially commented upon and is ignored by most of media. But it is widely discussed in the rest of the world. The Australian Ambassador has recently conveyed a letter to the Swedish government containing a plea on that Assange’s human rights should be respected in the case of an extradition to Sweden. This alleged public media trial together with top-government statements, as expressed by Assange lawyers, would have generated a nationwide, hostile situation for Julian Assange, who has not yet even charged, heard or prosecuted by any Swedish Court.


      Petro-Canada has signed a series of 30-year contracts with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), bringing its old agreements into line with Libya’s preferred EPSA-IV contract standard. The new deals stem from Libya’s ongoing efforts to secure tougher terms from foreign oil companies, and mark the growing importance of Libya to Petro-Canada. End Summary. DONE DEAL – AT LAST 2. (SBU) On June 19, representatives from Petro-Canada and the NOC signed a total of six contracts covering all of Petro-Canada’s acreage in Libya. The contracts were crafted under the NOC’s EPSA IV agreement template, which has become the preferred framework for all international oil companies (IOCs) working in Libya (reftel). An agreement signed by the NOC and Petro-Canada in December 2007 was recently ratified by the General People’s Congress, paving the way to sign the actual contracts. 3. (SBU) Under the new deals, Petro-Canada has committed to pay a $1 billion signing bonus and invest $3.5 billion in the redevelopment of several large producing fields, and $460 million in oil and gas exploration. Petro-Canada will pay 50% of all development costs and 100% of all exploration costs. The company had to accept a lower production share (a flat 12% for all six contracts, regardless of location), but hopes to double its current production levels to at least 200,000 barrels of oil per day over the next five to seven years. LIBYA OF GROWING IMPORTANCE TO PETRO-CANADA 4. (SBU) As the latest company to renegotiate its presence in Libya, thereby extending its presence to 2038 (its existing deals were set to expire in 2015), Petro-Canada has now opened up new opportunities in both exploration and redevelopment projects, with a predominant focus in the prolific Sirte basin region. According to local contacts with the company, the renegotiation of the contracts is consistent with Petro-Canada’s efforts to re-position itself globally. Petro-Canada had not previously regarded Libya as an area central to its operations, given the company’s exposure stemming from its Alberta operations and gas production in Syria. This new deal elevates Libya to a priority area of operations for the company, with prospects for substantial growth. 5. (SBU) Comment: Petro-Canada’s re-negotiation is the latest in an emerging trend of contract extensions/renegotiations (reftel). The NOC is waging a concerted campaign to re-negotiate or extend existing contracts under better terms, principally with respect to production share. For their part, international oil companies – mindful of the high price of oil and limited venues for new exploration and production – have so far swallowed hard and signed up.

    • ‘Assange Is a New Kind of Journalist’

      Alan Dershowitz has recently become part of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team. He spoke with SPIEGEL about what the First Amendment has to say about WikiLeaks and the legal implications of social media’s role in the Arab uprisings.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead

      Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a scientist’s video and slides that demonstrate the oil isn’t degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.

      At a science conference in Washington, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn’t.

  • Finance

    • Back to bank bonuses: crisis survivors

      America’s banks rake in bumper profits just six months after they were on the ropes, begging for government bailouts. Faisal Islam went to the US to find out what the legacy of the banking crisis is.


      But with four million Americans facing repossession and unemployment surging to almost 10 per cent, anger with the banks continued to grow.

    • Janitors in Helmsley Building Pay Higher Tax Rates Than Millionaire Residents

      Tax Analysts Martin A. Sullivan (Tax Analysts) has published At the Helmsley Building, the Little People Pay the Taxes, 130 Tax Notes 855 (Feb. 21, 2011)…

    • Egypt freezes Mubarak’s assets

      Egypt’s top prosecutor requested on Monday the freezing of the foreign assets of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his family, announced state TV.

      Security officials said that the prosecutor general asked the Foreign Ministry to contact countries around the world so they can freeze his assets abroad. The president’s domestic assets were frozen soon after he stepped down, they added.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tea Party Leader Urges “Agent Provocatuer” Plan to Disrupt and Discredit Protests

      In an email sent this week, the “Tea Party Nation” urged members to impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union and the protestors. Former Tea Party leader Mark Williams urged the plan, according to Think Progress.

    • CMD Denounces Latest Andrew Breitbart Smear Campaign against Groups Challenging the Kochs

      Online provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his allies are trying to manufacture a new scandal, this one aimed at good government groups that dare to challenge David and Charles Koch and their corporate/political empire. It is a scam, of course, but the Breitbart effort is a reminder of his relationship with the Kochs.

      The centerpiece of Breitbart’s attack is a video smear, directed at Common Cause and other good government groups that held an “Uncloak the Kochs” rally in Rancho Mirage, California, on January 30, 2011. The Kochs and about 200 other corporate executives, TV talking heads and elected officials were meeting to plot political strategies at a resort across from the rally.

    • Tea Partyers gone wild!

      Global warming is good!

      A legislator in Montana has introduced “an act stating Montana’s position on global warming; and providing an immediate effective date.” Under the bill, the Legislature would make an official finding not only that ” global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it” but also that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.” There is no elaboration in the bill on that final claim.

    • The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator

      For some “fair and balanced paranoia,” check out the Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator at About.com’s Political Humor page. When you know there has to be a progressive plot somewhere but you can’t figure out which one.

  • Privacy

    • Deirdre G. Martin Memorial Lecture on Privacy Law

      Spurred by revelations in mainstream media of surreptitious monitoring, much of it spurred by the ascent of behavioral advertising, there has been a resurgence of interest in online privacy among government agencies and the general public. Despite its acknowledged failure, in the United States, notice-and-consent, fortified in one way or another, remains the fallback mechanism for privacy protection. In this talk, I will outline an approach based in the theory of contextual integrity that calls for a different starting place. I argue that notice-and-consent can function only against the backdrop of context-based substantive norms constraining what websites may do; what information they can collect, with whom they can share, and under what conditions. As a first step, however, it is useful to understand the role commerce has played in setting the agenda and how this influence should be contained.

    • The privacy industry: Scare and sell

      At two privacy conferences—one in New York, the other right now in Victoria, B.C.—I’ve watched the growth of privacy’s regulatory/industrial complex and seen its strategy in action: scare, then sell.

    • What “Do Not Track” Is and Why It’s Important

      What “Do Not Track” Is and Why It’s ImportantWhat’s so bad about ad tracking on the web, a.k.a. behavioral targeting? Nothing, if you don’t mind being a living stereotype. No, seriously—that’s what much of the fuss over “Do Not Track” browser options and opt-out options is about. Ad companies watch what you do online, and they make bold assumptions about you. How you feel about that is up to you.

    • Google and Facebook: Protect Our Privacy!
  • Civil Rights

    • Facebook, Unfriend The Dictators!

      Facebook should be congratulated and condemned in one go: they’ve built a revolutionary platform that’s catalyzed the political change sweeping the Middle East and beyond, but Facebook has also become a treasure trove of information for dictators, allowing them to identify and track down those who oppose them. In fact, under the existing Facebook platform all our photos, details, and contacts are at risk from identity thieves and hackers. While Facebook is reevaluating its policies, please sign the petition to protect our privacy and others’ very security.

    • Maryland Corrections Agency Demanding All Social Media Passwords Of Potential Hires

      You may recall back in 2009 that we wrote about how the city of Bozeman, Montana was requiring people who applied for jobs with the city to cough up all of their social networking usernames and passwords, so that city employees could log in and look around. Beyond being positively ridiculous, this seemed like a huge invasion of privacy. After an awful lot of public ridicule, the city (wisely) decided to drop the requirement, and claim the whole idea had been a “mistake.”

    • TSA cheat sheet: know your rights!

      …along with leaked excerpts from the TSA standard operating procedure manual.

    • St. Rep. Cissna objects to airport search demand

      She says Cissna will now travel by ferry from Seattle to Juneau.

    • TSA Source: Armed Agent Slips Past DFW Body Scanner

      An undercover TSA agent was able to get through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun during testing of the enhanced-imaging body scanners, according to a high-ranking, inside source at the Transportation Security Administration.

      The source said the undercover agent carried a pistol in her undergarments when she put the body scanners to the test. The officer successfully made it through the airport’s body scanners every time she tried, the source said.

    • Wisconsin Draws the Line on Austerity Opportunism and Class War.

      As a Chicagoan, I’m often lead to believe that the Upper-Midwest is the only place of sanity in this country. So I’m proud to see Wisconsin be the place where people draw the line and call BS on the attack on public workers, state budgets, and austerity amidst a financial, foreclosure and economic crisis where the government’s response has had the protection of banks, bondholders, creditors, Wall Street and the top 1% at all costs as the driving tenant, a class war driven by the rich. Here are some other things I’m reading on the protests.

    • Scott “Hosni” Walker blocking access to pro-union Web site

      Another parallel to Egypt and one that’s not good for Gov. Walker. Sounds like in addition to food donations, the Wisconsin protesters could use some broadband cards or mifi hotspots to get around this latest dictatorial act. Or Walker could recognize that, while he wants to be a dictator, that wasn’t what he was elected to be.

    • Journalist Returning from Abroad Has Notes, Computer and Cameras Searched and Copied by US Authorities at Airport

      Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan recently returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools in the earthquake-devastated country. However, when he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained after deboarding the plane by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is “on a list.” Jourdan joins us in our studio. Catherine Crump, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that Jourdan is not the only one facing such treatment by the Obama administration. Crump says many journalists and lawyers who often work abroad have also experienced similar interrogations—and the ACLU believes the First and Fourth Amendments must be honored within U.S. airports.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • 10 myths from usage-based billing supporters

      The usage-based billing fracas has calmed down considerably over the past few weeks, but a few people continue to beat the drum in support of it despite the fact that it’s looking dead in the water. UBB is, if you’ve forgotten, essentially an increase in prices by big internet providers on a wholesale service they provide to smaller rivals. The increase means it’ll be a lot more expensive, if not impossible, for smaller ISPs to offer the large internet usage buckets they’ve been selling.

    • Telecom needs a dose of foreign money

      Canadian policy around telecommunications and culture is bordering on incoherence, with regulation being relaxed in some areas, but maintained or increased elsewhere. That makes the Federal Court of Canada’s scathing broadside, in overturning a Cabinet decision around the licence approval for the wireless operator Globalive, quite understandable; it said the federal government was “misdirected…in law…. It is for Parliament not the [cabinet] to rewrite the [Telecommunications] Act.”

    • AllVid Battle Lines: Google, Best Buy, Sony Ally Against Big Cable

      Can you think of any high-profile consumer product that is just dying for this new standardized gizmo to become a fact on the ground? That’s right: Google TV. The HDTV system integrates internet and pay TV content, but Google, Sony and the gang don’t want to spend years coaxing suspicious broadcasters, content providers and cable networks into content deals. They want a device standard in which internet and cable content are interchangeable now (or relatively close to now).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Art is Stupid
    • UK Independent Review of “IP” and Growth

      A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the UK’s ”Independent Review of Intellectual Property and Growth”, which is currently soliciting submissions from interested parties. The corresponding Web site is very helpful, providing background information and an entire section that seeks to explain what exactly the review is looking for.

      In particular, it offers two very useful sets of questions, one about patents, and the other about copyright. There’s also a page that deals with “enforcement” issues.

      As I noted in my previous blog on the subject, what’s striking is how frequently the word “evidence” is used in these. This really is about showing hard evidence about intellectual monopolies, not just stating opinions or beliefs.

    • Trademarks

      • Riding the Fences of the “Urban Homestead”: Trademark Complaints and Misinformation Lead to Improper Takedowns

        A leading candidate has emerged for the next EFF Takedown Hall of Shame induction: the Dervaes Institute, which is claiming broad ownership rights over the term “urban homesteading” — a term commonly used to describe a social movement dedicated to achieving more self-sufficient, sustainable living in cities. Last year, the Institute managed to register the term as a trademark (in connection with “educational services” such as blogging) and it is now sending takedown requests and warning letters targeting individuals and organizations that have been using the term for years.

      • EFF takes on trademarkers of term “Urban Homestead”

        The EFF has stepped in to represent the publisher and authors of the book Urban Homesteading, who have been harmed by the Dervaes’ accusations.

    • Copyrights

      • Music Publisher’s Takedown Strikes The Wrong Chord

        My weekly law and technology column (Toronto Star version, Tyee version, homepage version, BBC version) focuses on the recent battle over the IMSLP. In February 2006, a part-time Canadian music student established a modest, non-commercial website that used collaborative wiki tools, such as those used by Wikipedia, to create an online library of public domain musical scores. Within a matter of months, the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) featured over 1,000 musical scores for which the copyright had expired in Canada. Nineteen months later – without any funding, sponsorship or promotion – the site had become the largest public domain music score library on the Internet, generating a million hits per day, featuring over 15,000 scores by over 1,000 composers, and adding 2,000 new scores each month.

      • Free Trove of Music Scores on Web Hits Sensitive Copyright Note

        Humanity’s musical treasures — Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies and the like — come to life in performance. But they truly survive as black marks on a page, otherwise known as scores. Now a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of this repertory available, free.

      • The Changing Geography of Pop Music

        The top ranked city is Nashville, which is literally off the chart. LA is second, Montreal third, Toronto (where Grammy nominated artists Justin Bieber and Drake hail from) fourth, and Vancouver fifth (home to Michael Buble, winner of the award for traditional pop vocal album), followed by New York in sixth.

        Nashville has become a major force in the music business. Miranda Lambert was nominated for three Grammys this year and took one home for best female performance for her record “The House that Built Me.” Alison Krauss, who won the 2009 Grammy for her record “Raising Sand” with Robert Plant, has won 26 Grammys, the third most in history after George Solti and Quincy Jones. Taylor Swift, last year’s Grammy Queen, has a home in Nashville.

        Over the past several decades, Nashville transformed itself from a rather narrow country music outpost in the 1960s and 1970s into a major center for commercial music. By the mid-2000s, only New York and Los Angeles housed more musicians. Nashville’s rise is even more impressive when you look at its ratio of musicians to total population. In 1970, Nashville wasn’t even one of the top five regions by this measure. By 2004, it was the national leader, with nearly four times the U.S. average. Today, it is home to over 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs, and 80 record labels.

      • Chris Dodd Breaking Promise Not To Become A Lobbyist Just Weeks After Leaving Senate; Joining MPAA As Top Lobbyist

        One of the worst kept secrets in DC and Hollywood over the last month or so is the news that former Connecticut Senator and failed Presidential candidate Chris Dodd is set to become the MPAA’s new boss (salary: $1.2 million per year). This came after a failed attempt to get former Senator (and failed presidential candidate) Bob Kerrey to take the role last year.

        Assuming Dodd takes the role, he’s already proving himself to be perfect for a Hollywood job, because it makes him a blatant liar. Last summer, Dodd insisted that he would not become a lobbyist. He made this abundantly clear. When asked what he would do, he was explicit: “No lobbying, no lobbying.” Yeah, apparently a million dollar plus salary makes you a liar barely a month after leaving the job. Of course, technically, Dodd is also barred from becoming a lobbyist for two years after leaving the Senate, but there’s a kind of *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* trick that Dodd and others use to technically claim they’re not lobbyists while merely running one of the bigger and most high profile lobbying organizations around.

      • Lady Gaga Goes Gooey & QED re Canada’s Proposed UGC Exception in Bill C-32

        Wherein Lady Gaga goes all gooey and confirms the wisdom of C-32′s UGC exception and the notion that many types of unlicensed uses can seriously benefit copyright owners.

      • High quality music downloads coming to iTunes, but do we really want them?

        I do wonder if many of us simply don’t care that much about sound quality any more. When I bought Radiohead’s new album last week, I had the choice between a standard MP3 download for £6, or a high quality version for £9. Despite the tiny three pound price difference, I knew that I’d mainly be listening through tinny laptop speakers or a cheap headphones so I opted for the lowest price option.

      • Capitalism Under Attack – Bill C-32 And The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

        So why are the American companies that are members of the RIAA and MPAA complaining so much about Canadian copyright?

        A total lack of ethics appears to be a big part of the complaints. It’s not that Canadian laws don’t provide the tools that they need, it’s rather that they are trying to block competition. We’ve heard a series of complaints also aimed at the Creative Commons licenses. They don’t want artists to be able to choose the license that they use.

Clip of the Day

Video Editing in Linux – Cinelerra Masks

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 22/2/2011: Graphics Test Week at Fedora, Telstra Complies With GPL, Python 3.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Challenges facing Linux on the desktop

    But let’s face it, most of you reading this article aren’t hardcore PC gamers. You (like me) spend your time playing those goofy little time-management games in your web browser. Similarly, you’re probably not using Quickbooks for your personal finances – and if you are, you can do that directly on the web now.

    If I had to guess, your most used program on the computer in front of you now is a web browser like Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer. Your second most used program is a music manager like iTunes. The funny thing is, there are Linux programs that accomplish the same things and usually do it better.

  • Desktop

    • Background: German Foreign Office drops Linux

      The German Foreign Office will migrate its desktop computers from Linux back to Windows. However, no truly compelling reasons for the decision appear to exist.


      The recently disclosed documents show that there are no compelling factual reasons; the decision is ultimately a strategic one. Incidentally, so was the decision to implement Linux a few years ago.

  • Server

    • NYSE, Deutsche Borse merger places IT on the front line

      The two parties, both big implementers of Linux-based technology, confirmed savings targets of 300 million (£255 million) from IT and other operations, as technology is merged, as well as highlighting increased scale for selling data services to clients. A name for the new group, in which Deutsche Borse shareholders will own 60% of the equity, has not yet been given.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 30th January 2011

        In the latest KDE Commit-Digest:

        * Work on the CSV importer in KMyMoney
        * Work across the board in Calligra, including improved PPT format support
        * Work on video and sending/recieving files with the Yahoo protocol in Kopete amongst other changes
        * Work on search history support in KDevPlatform
        * New Booksmarks Manager (including support for importing bookmarks) in Marble, amongst many bug fixes
        * Much work throughout Kst including optimisations


    • GNOME Desktop

      • Default Wallpaper for GNOME:Ayatana

        Not that I know a lot about Artwork or Wallpapers… For those, I am mainly a ‘customer’ most of the times, and things get easy for… either I like it, or I don’t. There’s a lot of stuff available out there, and initially I loved the snake (I still do), but since I couldn’t distribute it due to licensing, I’ve spent a couple of hours looking for Artwork with a compatible license and contacted a few artists about licensing and the possibility of using/distributing their work.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Launcher Gets Unofficial Patch To Allow Icon Resizing. But Will It Be Approved?

          Andrea Azzarone, who’s also behind the menu integrated in the window titlebar Unity mockup we’ve posted last week has created a patch that provides an option to change the Unity launcher (“dock”) icon size.

        • Fedora and openSUSE slow in adapting Unity

          It seems that so far, Ubuntu is going to be the only GNU / Linux, among the most popular, Unity will use the desktop in the short term. Adam Williamson, Fedora , and Nelson Marques on openSUSE were working on the adaptation of Unity for their respective distributions . For different reasons have been forced to halt its work.

          Adam Williamson commented on his blog that his work in adapting to Fedora Unity had been since the voluntary principle. Argues lack of motivation to continue with it, your job responsibilities and the non-resolution of Unity bug that had resolved at this stage by its maintainer.

        • What does ‘Natty Narwhal’ actually mean? You’ll be surprised…

          Two words that form the code name for the new version of Ubuntu – but both are rather unique. Here we take a look at where each word came from and what it means today…

        • Unity Launcher Will Support Icon Resizing!

          Well that was fast! Mark Shuttleworth has just posted a comment on the bug report regarding icon resizing support for the Unity launcher…

        • Ubuntu Pocket Reference app for Android

          Being an avid user of Android I’m always on the hunt for Ubuntu related apps on the Market place.

          A few days ago I came across ‘Ubuntu pocket reference’ – a free application for Android that claims to list ‘the most popular and most useful Ubuntu/Linux commands.’

        • Get an overview of what we’re doing

          Thanks to the nice folk at LeanKit Kanban, we’ve now got a guest account set up so that anyone can our kanban board. The board shows all of the high level features that we are working on (those are the green ones), the infrastructure projects we’re doing (those are the blue ones) and all of the community-driven work that we know about (the yellow ones).

        • Follow Ubuntu Progress at a Glance, or Not

          Unfortunately, the given login and password are still not working 12 hours after the announcement.

        • A warm welcome to Canonical

          The Document Foundation welcomes the contribution of Canonical‘s development team to LibreOffice.

        • Ubuntu: Where Did the Love Go?

          Over the next few years, Shuttleworth continued to stress the advantages of coordinated releases, arguing that it would allow centralized bug tracking, and suggesting that the cooperation might extend to common training materials.

        • Upstreams, Downstreams, and Revenue Streams in Ubuntu

          With great power comes great responsibility. No, I’m not talking about Peter Parker and superpowers by spiderbite, I’m talking about the control that vendors have over platforms like iOS, Windows, and Ubuntu. While Canonical may not be quite as powerful as Apple or Microsoft, the company still has a lot of power when it comes to connecting users to open source applications and choosing defaults in Ubuntu releases. How is Canonical using that power? Less heroically than one might hope.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Interview with Intel Peter Biddle, MeeGo, the Cosmos and Beyond

        Its not often I bump into someone almost as cool as me, but I got to Interview Peter Biddle who is the General Manager of Product and Services for Intel about MeeGo and its great to meet someone with a real fire in their belly.

        Intel is attracted to MeeGo as it is a Development Open Source Operating System as they have been investing in the Linux Kernel for over four years now. They are now shifting their focus onto two additional layers, the development platform including Qt and also Great development services. They are looking forward to a slick and sexy user interfaces powered by MeeGo.

      • Intel CEO says Nokia should have picked Android

        Otellini said Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop received “incredible offers — money” from Google and Microsoft to switch.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • GTK+/MeeGo Handset integration: Week 3

          The initial plan for this week was continue working on kinetic scrolling support for GtkScrolledWindow, however I decided to take a look at the other bugs to give some more time to get review/feedback of the kinetic scrolling work in progress patch.

        • Open ballot: does Qt have a future?

          Nokia’s recent bombshell announcement that it would team up with Microsoft has generated much brow-furrowing in the free software community. The Finnish mobile giant claims that it still plans to launch some kind of MeeGo-related product this year, and that Qt has an important role to play in it. But can we really believe that? Will Qt be alive and healthy 12 months from now, or is it really destined for the dustbin when the Micronokia deal gets into full swing?

      • Android

        • Is the HTC Flyer completely unique or a generation too late?

          At Mobile World Congress 2011, HTC announced its long-rumored Android tablet – the HTC Flyer. Running an Android 2.3, tablet-optimized version of Sense UI, the Flyer is a one-of-a-kind device. But after seeing the Flyer following close contact with the first crop of Honeycomb tablets, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Flyer’s rare qualities would also be its undoing.

          Mobile World Congress featured several devices running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the official version of Android sanctioned by Google as being ideal for tablets. There were also demo’s of apps that will require Honeycomb to work, or at least provide more features for 3.0-capable devices. Factor in Google’s own improvements like a new YouTube app and Movie Studio for editing videos, and the Flyer looks far less impressive than it would had the device been announced just four months ago.

        • U.S. Cellular Offering Android Deals, Including “Buy-One-Get-Five”

          U.S. Cellular recently took home Best Wireless Carrier (US) by Consumer Reports’ and it’s easy to see why. The carrier consistently comes up with great ideas and promotions that other providers can’t touch. And like your favorite radio station, the hits keep coming.

          Starting today and running through March 10, any customer who picks up a Samsung Mesmerize (Galaxy S) for $99.99 can get up to five additional LG Optimus U smartphones free of charge. Yea, that’s a BOGF (Buy One Get Five) deal. Further, they are also doing the same with the Optimus U in that buying one at $29.99 will allow for five more for free.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tips for an open source process

    Governance is the word for open source in 2011. Governance breaks down to two topics, structures and process.

    The same elements that make for a stable democratic system also make for good open source governance. This doesn’t mean you need a balance of powers, or a judicial branch. It means you need the rules of governance clearly stated, and a process that will allow the best ideas to get prompt action from those running the project.

    This is true regardless of the type of project you’re running, assuming you care about getting something out of your community. Not every project cares. If you see open source as a feature, something that just lets you distribute free and gain customers by dialing downloaders for dollars, then governance and process may not matter to you. On the other hand, community-driven projects badly need a process to give everyone a chance to participate fully. Corporate communities need process negotiated so the companies involved have their prerogatives protected.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird Indicator Adds Folders Support
      • Can We Ship Yet? Firefox 4 Bug Countdown

        I can’t quite remember that we have been so excited about any other bug list ever. Mozilla is getting very creative in keeping the focus on eliminating every single hard- blocking bug from the Firefox 4 code and has, to our knowledge, posted the first-ever bug countdown for a significant public software. Can we ship yet?

  • Healthcare

    • UK: Open systems towards improving NHS IT

      The City University London’s Centre for Health Informatics (CHI) launched Health Informatics research programme and policy challenge paper to identify how NHS information technology (IT) services can be improved and made more cost-effective.

    • An open source approach to Veterans Affairs medical info

      For years, the VA has run the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), which is their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Turns out it was written by clinicians themselves, and has served well over years. However, the VA believes it might be time to use open source methods in a kind of public/private partnership. This is a really big deal, novel in government, which might also improve the health record systems we all use. This could become the basis of a jointly developed health records platform.

  • Licensing

    • Telstra frees T-Hub open source code

      The nation’s biggest telco Telstra has made the open source software components used to build its T-Hub next-generation home telephone system publicly available, after it was criticised for keeping them private by an Australian software developer last year.

      In November, local software developer Angus Gratton pointed out that a number of new Telstra products introduced throughout 2010, namely the T-Hub, T-Box media centre and potentially its T-Touch Tab tablet device, were based on the Linux operating system, which has substantial portions licensed under the GNU General Public License.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why Platforms Leak: The Impact of Artificial Scarcity

      For nearly a decade, I have espoused the view that every artificial scarcity shall be met, and ultimately overcome, by an appropriate abundance. I think it’s time to view this statement in the context of platforms and “leakage”. Let me explain what I mean.

    • Open Hardware

      • Intel sends ‘Poulson’ Itaniums to the shrink

        Everyone else might have pretty much abandoned the Itanium processor, but Intel and Hewlett-Packard – who co-designed the 64-bit processor – remain firmly committed. That’s mainly because HP has a captive audience of HP-UX, NonStop, and OpenVMS customers that spend billions of dollars a year on systems and therefore make it worth Intel’s financial while.

        The future “Poulson” Itanium processor will close out the Monday sessions devoted to enterprise processors at the IEEE’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, but to keep the Poulson Itaniums from getting lost in the CPU news shuffle, Intel gave press and analysts a sneak peek at some of the details it will divulge at ISSCC.

  • Programming

    • Python 3.2 Released

      A major update to Python is now available. With Python 3.2 there are improvements spanning from the Python Debugger to its SSL module and behavior fixes for numeric operations.

    • Python 3.2

      Python 3.2 was released on February 20th, 2011.

      Python 3.2 is a continuation of the efforts to improve and stabilize the Python 3.x line. Since the final release of Python 2.7, the 2.x line will only receive bugfixes, and new features are developed for 3.x only.

    • Unifying the Two Worlds of Perl 5

      Perl 5 has two separate poles around which we users orbit when considering the historical stages of Perl 5 adoption: system administrators and developers.

      While explaining the meaning of the phrase “Modern Perl” the other day, I realized that there are two categories of users of Perl 5 when we consider the use of Perl 5.


  • How to Talk About Citizens United

    In response to the recent one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which overturned bans on corporate cash in elections, many friends on the progressive side of the aisle are drawing attention to this issue, talking about the impact in the 2010 elections, and discussing solutions to the problem. I promise to do none of those things here.

    If you’re reading this article, you probably already know most of the story of Citizens United and know that it’s a bad thing for our democracy. The question is how to talk about Citizens United in a way that convinces other people to realize this too. So, a few fellow message gurus, wordsmiths, and myself put our heads together and here’s what we came up with.

  • Google ‘Person Finder’ tool after Christchurch earthquake

    Technology is coming to the aid of those affected by last night’s earthquake in Christchurch.

    Within hours of the devastating 6.3-magnitude quake, Google’s “emergency response team” had set up a simple web tool to help people request and post information about missing friends and relatives.

  • Science

    • New anti-laser tech paves way for optical computing

      Yale University scientists have built what they call the first anti-laser, a device that can cancel out beams of light generated by a laser.

      Such a device could be an integral element in optical computers, a long promised successor to today’s computers that would use light instead of electrons to process information.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Japan unearths site linked to human experiments

      Authorities in Japan have begun excavating the former site of a medical school that may contain the remains of victims of the country’s wartime biological warfare programme.

      The school has links to Unit 731, a branch of the imperial Japanese army that conducted lethal experiments on prisoners as part of efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

    • AG Caldwell Files Fraud Suit Against Glaxosmithkline

      The suit claims that GSK wrongfully and illegally marketed, priced, sold and promoted the diabetes medication rosiglitazone maleate under the trade names Avandia®, Avandamet®, and Avandaryl®, violating Louisiana’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law (MAPIL), the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protections Law and other state laws.

  • Security

    • Monday’s security updates
    • Anonymous, Atlas Shrugged, George Washington, Science Fiction, And Disruptive Technologies

      Anonymous is a child of technology, specifically Disruptive Technologies. Computers. The Internet. Automobiles. Airplanes. And many other technologies, all of which combined to offer Anonymous options that the generations before would not have had. And all of these technologies were written about in Science Fiction long before they could be implemented in a practically.

    • How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central

      Three hours outside Bucharest, Romanian National Road 7 begins a gentle ascent into the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps. Meadowlands give way to crumbling houses with chickens in the front yard, laundry flapping on clotheslines. But you know you’ve arrived in the town of Râmnicu Vâlcea when you see the Mercedes-Benz dealership.

    • HBGary’s leaked e-mail ain’t getting boring yet

      One interesting little organisation to come to the attention of the information security industry since HBGary Federal got popped is a US-based company named Endgame Systems.

      It’s a slightly shadowy information security company based in the US that appears to offer its services almost exclusively to the US military and intelligence apparatus.

      It was founded in 2008 by a bunch of senior ex-ISS execs and founders like Chris Rouland and Thomas Noonan.

      Well, thanks to the “liberation” of HBGary’s e-mail by Anonymous and the leak-sifters over at Cryptome, we’ve now all got access to everything from a high-level overview of Endgame’s “capabilities” to its pricelist and a sample report.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya crisis: what role do tribal loyalties play?

      Women in Libya are free to work and to dress as they like, subject to family constraints. Life expectancy is in the seventies. And per capita income – while not as high as could be expected given Libya’s oil wealth and relatively small population of 6.5m – is estimated at $12,000 (£9,000), according to the World Bank.

    • Middle East and North Africa unrest
    • Two Libyan fighter pilots defect, fly to Malta

      Two Libyan Air Force fighter pilots defected on Monday and flew their jets to Malta where they told authorities they had been ordered to bomb protesters, Maltese government officials said.

    • Libya updates: U.S. keeping tabs on Libya

      U.S. authorities were keeping a close watch on Libya’s rapidly unfolding political crisis Monday in part to see what possibilities might exist for meaningful reform, a senior Obama administration official said.

    • UK Hague: some information Gaddafi on way to Venezuela

      British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday he had seen some information to suggest Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi had fled the country and was on his way to Venezuela.

    • Gun Shots At Malpensa: Tunisian Hurt

      Shots have been fired at Malpensa Airport, as a Tunisian attempted to reach his departing wife. The man is said to have crossed into the runway area in an SUV and apparently got out clutching a knife.

    • Libyan embassy staff quit in Stockholm

      “We, the undersigned staff of the Libyan embassy in Stockholm, condemn the genocide that is taking place in Libya against civilians as a consequence of the legitimate demands for a life of dignity and without the despot Qaddafi’s continued misrule and corruption.”

      The statement was written by three staff members of the Libyan embassy in Stockholm — translator Sayed Jalabi, receptionist Hamid Kassem and secretary Abdelali Mahfouf, says The Local.

    • Libya erupts as Gaddafi clings on – live updates

      10.32am: A Libyan political refugee from Manchester has gone on hunger strike and says he won’t stop until the British government “gets firm” with Muammar Gaddafi.

      Saad Amer, 52, spent seven years in prison in Tripoli during the 1980s for protesting against the regime. Amer, who now lives in Cheetham Hill after fleeing Libya in 1995, told the Manchester Evening News: “It is very important for the British government to say Gaddafi must step down now. I am not happy with the statements coming from here. There needs to be stronger language.”

    • Libya: US accuses Britain of legitimising Gaddafi

      Louis Susman, the US ambassador to London, suggested moves to repair relations with the Libyan dictator had only served to give him “greater stature” on the world stage while campaigners condemned the rapprochement as a failure.

      Up to 300 demonstrators are thought to have been killed after forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi attacked them with sniper fire, knives and heavy artillery.

      The eastern city of Benghazi was said to be in a state of “civil mutiny” after forces, believed to be African mercenaries, attacked crowds attending mass burials of the dead from earlier violence.

    • Why do you Libyans want Gaddafi gone? Here are some reasons…

      # Salaries in Libya are governed by law number 15 which sets the average salary of Libyans at 200 dollars per month. To make things worst it is customary to have this low wage paid intermittently.
      # Law number 4 caters for the confiscation of private and commercial property, practically passing such stolen properties to the members of his family and of its so called revolutionary committee members who are in charge of security.
      # The burning down of the land registry building in Tripoli to destroy any reference of legal ownership of property.

    • Ian McEwan attacks ‘great injustice’ in Israel

      The British author Ian McEwan launched an eloquent attack on Israeli government policies in his speech accepting the Jerusalem prize for literature, saying “a great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air”.

    • Texas poised to pass bill allowing guns on campus

      Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

      More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

    • Mapping Harassment on the Streets of Cairo

      In an interview co-founder Rebecca Chiao said that managing the project on a volunteer basis is a very difficult task. Rebecca says, “we don’t have any money, so we have to be creative. We love working on a volunteer basis, but it also means we all have other commitments like jobs and families, so it takes a lot of effort from us all to coordinate our little bits of free time to work together and make things happen.”

    • Twitter network of Arab and Middle East protests – interactive map
    • Thank Wisconsin’s courageous state senators who have joined with protesters to block the Republican attack on public employees.

      Amazing. Inspiring. This is what people power can do.

      When Republican Governor Scott Walker attacked state workers and threatened to call out the National Guard if they protested, it sparked a popular uprising in Wisconsin. And now the extreme proposal to take collective bargaining rights away from public employees is temporarily blocked as a result of mass protests.

  • Cablegate

    • US Ambassador Louis Susman on Julian Assange (20Feb11)
    • Journalism Should Not Be Fiction

      I just read a very disturbing Haaretz article, An inside look at the WikiLeaks revolution, in that the author assumes facts not in evidence.

      Bradley Manning has been charged but not heard. The word “alleged” is traditionally used in real journalism to describe charges laid but unproven. Under American law, that means that Bradley Manning is innocent– it’s called “The Presumption of Innocence.”


      Haaretz’ writer Yossi Melman should consider writing novels where flights of fancy are acceptable, even admirable. Writing fictional accounts in the guise of reportage is certainly not admirable, and in fact is generally considered unacceptable. Fraudulent, even. The point to remember is that the news is generally about real people. What one says or writes can have real repercussions.

    • Govt failures contributed to rise of neo-paramilitaries: Wikileaks

      Wikileaks has published a series of cables from 2006 highlighting significant failings in the Justice and Peace Law (JPL) that led demobilized paramilitary fighters to return to arms.

      In November 2006, Sergio Caramagna, the director of the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP/OEA), visited Colombia and identified 14 neo-paramilitary organizations with a possible eight more. These groups, he said, consisted largely of narco-traffickers along with paramilitaries who had refused to demobilize despite benefits offered by the government. There was also a small percentage of paramilitaries who had already purportedly demobilized.

    • Israel and Chile cooperated to spy on Iran, WikiLeaks reveals

      Chile and Israel both expressed concern over growing ties between Venezuela and Iran, and well as the potential Iranian presence on border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, cable says.

    • This House believes the world is better off with Wikileaks
    • American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 10 Most Endangered Forests on Earth

      2011 is the International Year of the Forest and never before have they been in more danger, or more essential. Forests supply the needs of 1.6 billion people who depend on them for income, they store over 25 gigatons of carbon while 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from destruction of forests. Equally importantly, they are mini-factories in the web of life, and clean air, crop pollination, medicine, healthy soil and fresh water are all produced due to the interaction of forest ecosystems.
      The 10 forest hotspots most threatened have already lost 90% of their habitat but are home to 1,500 plant species found nowhere else in the world. Join me in a closer look at each of them.

    • Study shows Welsh sheep ‘more clever than thought’

      Sheep aren’t viewed as the cleverest of creatures, but new research has found they might be a lot more intelligent than previously thought.

      Scientists at the University of Cambridge found that Welsh mountain sheep can map their surroundings, and may even be able to plan ahead.

    • Canada Bullying The European Union Over Tar Sands, Threatening To Scuttle Trade Agreement

      Canada is using Alberta’s dirty tar sands as an excuse to bully the European Union (EU) into watering down its climate change policies, leaving the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) in serious doubt.

      This brewing transatlantic dispute over the tar sands stems from the likelihood that the EU could officially block the sale of Alberta oil in Europe given its high carbon content.

    • Fourth baby dolphin found dead on Horn Island

      The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies has confirmed that a fourth baby dolphin has washed ashore on Horn Island,

      The island, one of the longest in the chain that comprises the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park, is about 12 miles south of Ocean Springs.

      Three baby dolphins were pinpointed Monday and a fourth was reported today by National Resource Advisory employees who are working with BP cleanup crews on the island.

  • Finance

    • Huawei drops a controversial US takeover bid for 3Leaf

      Huawei, a Chinese telecom equipment maker, has dropped a controversial takeover of US server firm 3Leaf.

      Huawei, which has had earlier US deals blocked on security concerns, bought 3Leaf in May 2010 for $2m (£3.1m) but did not immediately disclose the deal.

      A subsequent review by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States said the deal should not go ahead.

    • Microfinance guru Muhammad Yunus faces removal from Grameen Bank

      Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prizewinning economist and so-called father of microfinance, faces being ousted from the bank that he founded to help poor people in Bangladesh and across the developing world.

      Yunus, the managing director of the Grameen Bank, which has lent small sums to millions of deprived people to help them start or run their own businesses as a first step out of poverty since being created in 1983, has been caught in a bitter political battle in his homeland of Bangladesh.

      The campaign to remove Yunus, mounted mainly by politicians, is to intensify this week ahead of a key board meeting next Monday, which his supporters believe will involve an attempt to force the 70-year-old to quit as managing director.

    • Oil prices surge 7% on Libya unrest

      Oil prices jumped 7% Tuesday, spiking as high as $98 a barrel, as the crisis in Libya sparked concern that the turmoil roiling the Middle East could spread to other producing countries — including Saudi Arabia.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Time to mobilize against a governmental takeover of DNS

      For better or worse, my first post here is going to be a rather urgent call to action. I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this blog to register their support for this petition. Entitled, “Say no to the GAC veto,” it expresses opposition to a shocking and dangerous turn in U.S. policy toward the global domain name system. It is a change that would reverse more than a decade of commitment to a transnational, bottom-up, civil society-led approach to governance of Internet identifiers, in favor of a top-down policy making regime dominated by national governments.

      If the U.S. Commerce Department has its way, not only would national governments call the shots regarding what new domains could exist and what ideas and words they could and could not use, but they would be empowered to do so without any constraint or guidance from law, treaties or constitutions. Our own U.S. Commerce Department wants to let any government in the world censor a top level domain proposal “for any reason.” A government or two could object simply because they don’t like the person behind it, the ideas it espouses or they are offended by the name, and make these objections fatal. This kind of direct state control over content-related matters sets an ominous precedent for the future of Internet governance.

    • How the atom bomb helped give birth to the Internet

      The 1950s were a time of high tension. The US and Soviet Union prepared themselves for a nuclear war in which casualties would be counted not in millions but in the hundreds of millions. As the decade began, President Truman’s strategic advisors recommended that the US embark on a massive rearmament to face off the Communist threat.

    • Internet ‘kill switch’ is dead, but bill calls for cybersecurity plan

      The day after Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down, I was at a Starbucks in Long Beach, Calif., reading The New York Times while waiting for my Americano. A woman came up to me and mentioned how amazing it was that the protesters had used Twitter and Facebook so much that they brought down Egypt’s Internet infrastructure.

      “Um, not exactly,” I said. In fact, it was the other way around: Mubarak ordered the country’s Internet service providers to shut down Web access, hoping to thwart social communication among the marching mob.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stronger IP Rights In EU-Korea FTA: Precedent For Future FTAs?

      A European Parliament majority this week approved a free trade agreement with Korea with strong provisions on intellectual property rights protection, according to Robert Stury, rapporteur of the lead EP Committee on the dossier.

      The FTA, linked here, and welcomed by the conservative, socialist and liberal parties, carries expectations of creating new trade in goods and services worth €19.1 billion for the EU and save EU exporters €1.6 billion a year. It is the first of a series of FTAs passed under the Lisbon Treaty with additional scrutiny from the EU Parliament.

    • Tolkien Estate In Legal Spat With Author Of Historical Fiction; Will Publicity Rights Kill Off Historical Fiction?

      And here we go with another really dumb publicity rights case, that may result in yet another book burning in the US. This one involves the notoriously overprotective estate of JRR Tolkien, the famed Lord of the Rings author. An author by the name of Stephen Hilliard has written a bit of historical fiction, that includes a bunch of historical characters and a fictionalized version of Tolkien. The book is supposed to be a historical novel and a form of literary criticism of Tolkien — though I would imagine it’s partly called that in order to aid with any potential “fair use” claims.

    • Copyrights

      • Google Gets Involved in BitTorrent Search Engine Lawsuit

        Over the past several years many BitTorrent search engines have claimed in court that they’re “just like Google”, another search engine that allows users to find information scattered around the web. All this time Google itself remained silent on the issue, until now. The search giant has involved itself in the MPAA vs. isoHunt case recently, but not completely to the delight of isoHunt’s owner.

      • ICE Finally Admits It Totally Screwed Up; Next Time, Perhaps It’ll Try Due Process

        While the folks at Homeland Security refused to even admit that they had totally screwed up and seized a domain with 84,000 (mostly legal) websites last week, apparently someone at Homeland Security finally realized that the press wasn’t going to keep accepting them refusing to answer questions about it. So, it’s finally come clean and admitted they seized all of mooo.com, despite the vast majority of it being legal.

      • BREIN Uses Court Win As Leverage To Wipe Out Usenet Sites

        Following their recent legal victory over Usenet portal FTD, anti-piracy group BREIN have been using this momentum to scare even more file-sharing related sites into submission. The Hollywood-linked outfit has just announced that it has forced the closure of a further 11 Usenet-related sites servicing 900,000 members although reports suggest the damage could be even deeper. The question is, however, were they even illegal?

      • There Will Never Be A Shortage Of “Content”

        Lawyers who advocate maximization of the copyright monopoly can sometimes be heard complaining that if the monopoly is abolished or weakened, there will be no culture or knowledge to fill our precious gadgets with. Derogatorily, they call this culture and knowledge “content”.

        Claiming that there will be a shortage of culture if the copyright monopoly is weakened is so definite a state of denial, going way beyond a dimension of mere faith, that it probably deserves its own psychological diagnosis.

        People create more than ever. All of us create so much culture and knowledge — text, music, images, video — that there is more created now than at any time in history. And this doesn’t happen because of the copyright monopoly; it happens despite the copyright monopoly. The growth is not in the previous elite; it is with everybody else.

Clip of the Day

Motorola XOOM In Action

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 22/2/2011: More Reviews of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, PC-BSD 8.2 is Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A 3G-capable, Linux powered computer…in your car’s dashboard?

    I might have found the right answer in the Navisurfer II. It is a full-blown Linux-based computer, with touchscreen monitor and 3G HSDPA modem all built in. Oh, and as the name implies, it also has a built-in GPS receiver with the Navit navigation system.

  • My kind of rewards card.

    Though I probably don’t need another credit card, this one’s a little different. Instead of racking up points for me, my new MasterCard sends a portion of each and every purchase I make directly to The Linux Fund — supporting projects…

  • What’s Happening in the Class Action Against Sony About Removing OtherOS? – Updated

    I thought you’d be interested to know what’s been happening in the litigation against Sony filed by customers upset that Sony took away the OtherOS capability on their PlayStation3′s. Sony Computer Entertainment America, or SCEA, filed a motion to dismiss [PDF] the lawsuit.

  • Desktop

    • 20 New User Misconceptions about Linux

      The misconception that one OS acts just like another makes me crazy. It’s like me going from a Toyota Prius to a sixteen wheeler “big rig” and expecting it to handle exactly the same.

      The fact of the matter is that the Linux desktop has no singular way of presenting itself. That’s the power behind Linux on the desktop. It can be customized for different needs and distributions, while relying on a variety of desktop and software packages to make it work a certain way.

      Windows, on the other hand, has a “here it is” approach that works well enough for its intended audience.

  • Server

    • Dell (finally) peddling Canonical UEC clouds

      After nearly a year of futzing around, Dell and Canonical are tag-teaming to sell and support a mix of Dell servers and Canonical’s Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud hypervisors and management tools to customers who want to build private or public clouds that are clones of Amazon’s EC2 service.

      Back in March 2010, when Dell took a bunch of its servers that were custom-designed for hyperscale data centers by its Data Center Solutions unit and mainstreamed them as the PowerEdge-C servers, it said that its cloud strategy involved selling half-rack and full-rack configurations running Joyent’s cloud management tools, and added that it was partnering with a bunch of third parties to stand up hardware/software combinations on those machines.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8 Desktop Environment

        Although often classed as light-weight, Xfce qualifies as a medium weight amongst the Linux front ends. It’s heavier than, say, LXDE or Window Maker but it uses less resources than KDE or Gnome. However, it is a desktop environment rather than simply a window manager, and as such, it comes with a set of associated utilities.

        Actually obtaining and installing Xfce 4.8 proved to be a bit of an adventure in itself. At the time of writing, the Xfce devs haven’t released any binaries, instead leaving this to the distributions themselves and other third parties. When I looked, all I could find was an Ubuntu 10.10 PPA that was 64 bit only. Compiling from source is daunting as it involves downloading and unpacking a collection of tar files and then building them in a special order. In the end, I installed a beta of Zenwalk, an Xfce orientated distribution. Take into account that I am therefore not basing my observations on plain, stock Xfce 4.8.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Best Linux Distribution With No Proprietary Components

      Linux is a free and open source operating system. However, Linux (and other open source operating system) can use and load device drivers without publicly available source code. These are vendor-compiled binary drivers without any source code and known as Binary Blobs.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6: First Impressions

        Did Debian have a contest to redesign its graphics and it wasn’t made public? Did a third grader win that contest? Oh, the hallowed Debian developers must have had a fashion faux pas moment when deciding on a new look because this one makes me think it was designed for children or by children. It’s a good thing that once you’ve installed the operating system, you can change that horrid desktop background to something less kitchy. Other than the graphical goofs, Debian 6 is Debian and that’s a good thing.

      • Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0

        But how does their 6.0 release measure up? My first reaction to Debian’s latest was one of disappointment. The graphical installer feels like it’s about ten years behind the other big-name distributions, the issue with the package manager giving up when it couldn’t find the installation DVD struck me as something which shouldn’t have made it through testing. Most of my first day was a series of these sorts of little issues which I’d expect from beta software, not from a distro that had been in feature freeze for months. And that’s why this review is appearing two weeks after the official release, because after such a poor start I wanted to give the distro a chance to win me over. After a few days Debian’s virtues did shine through. For instance, the project’s implementation of GNOME is very light, putting the usually heavy desktop environment about on par with the mid-weight Xfce. The system is fast and responsive, boot times are quick and the presented software is stable without being terribly out of date. Apart from the early quirks with the package managers, adding and removing software went smoothly.

      • Debian 6: Have your Debian and eat your Ubuntu too

        For the rest of us, the Debian of 2011 makes a nice, stable alternative to Ubuntu, even if it does perhaps lack a little of the shine that has endeared Ubuntu to the masses.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Is Ubuntu playing with fire?

          And I went back into my past entries and found a couple of reviews of previous Ubuntu alpha releases that … actually were functional, and Ubuntu Natty at this point in time running a desktop window manager (is that what it is?), Unity, that is untried, barely tested and not terribly functional does not bode well for a release in under three months time.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Xoom to Ship Without Flash

          We’ve just gotten word from AndroidCentral that the Moto Xoom won’t be shipping with Flash 10.1 preinstalled.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Crawling in Open Source, Part 1

    Generally speaking, crawlers are used to find and bring in the content that interests you. Often the reason is that you want to make that information searchable by indexing it. The use case and context for crawling can vary greatly depending on the task at hand. For example the most popular web search engines, like Google and Yahoo, deploy a web crawler that primarily finds content that is publicly available via the web. The main challenge for such a generic web crawler is obviously scalability. The crawler architecture needs to be efficient because the amount of content to crawl is enormous and growing all the time at ever increasing speeds. Another example, of a completely different kind of use case, is a price comparison site where users are presented with products and their price information from various online shops.

  • A secretary’s problem

    A colleague had sent her the file, but apparently this colleague was using a different version of Microsoft Office. When she tried to open the file, an important table was missing in the document.

    I told her that I hadn’t used Microsoft software in more than a decade, but she insisted that I have a look at her file.

    So I opened her file in Abiword, without a problem, and to her surprise the table appeared exactly in the right place of the document. Consequently, she urged me to give her a copy of Abiword, which I gladly did.

  • Best Practices in Open Source Foundation Governance – Part I

    For some time now, I have been meaning to write a series of blog posts setting forth my views on best practices in forming and governing open source foundations. Why? Because despite the increasing reliance of just about every part of our modern world (government, finance, defense, and so on) on open source software (OSS) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), there has been very little written on the subject.

    That means that neither a community nor a corporation has much to refer to in creating the kind of governance structure most likely to ensure that the intentions of the founders are carried out, that the rights of contributors are respected, and that the code upon which end users will rely is properly maintained into the future.

  • Raleigh, NC—the world’s first open source city

    I started pondering what qualities would define an open source city a few months ago when my friend Tom Rabon mentioned it to me one day. I was curious how the city I live in, Raleigh, NC, could attract other open source companies and be the world’s hub for open source and a leader in open government. How could Raleigh be the open source capital of the world, similar to what Silicon Valley is to technology and Paris is to romance?

    I think the answer can be found in both the government and the people. First, our government has to be willing to embrace the open source way of doing things. They need to be transparent in their handling of business and foster citizen participation. Citizens need to be willing to participate and contribute their time and knowledge. Both need to embrace rapid prototyping to explore new ideas and innovative solutions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice the last word in open source software
    • LibreOffice Pips OpenOffice.org To The Post: Review

      In the open-source movement, the forking of a project is often a contentious matter, and can lead to the demise or mothballing of the applications that spawn from the original software. In many ways, it’s a “nuclear option” as developers choose their allegiances and take their skills with them. Often, the result is the loss of momentum as well as mindshare for all the spawned projects. But it’s not an inevitable one: the January release of LibreOffice 3.3 shows that sometimes forking can lead to a positive outcome.

    • An Open Letter to the Libre Office Design Team

      Another item to address with respect to the application itself are the fonts. This is a good chance to introduce non-Linux users to some of the great fonts that are out there. I think that Libre Office should use the Liberation Fonts for its default values.

    • Oracle looks for love at Java DevJam

      The Java* track at FOSDEM 2011 started off on the right foot by dealing with the state of the OpenJDK head on – both politically and technically – with a talk from Oracle’s Mark Reinhold. There were quite a few speakers at Java DevJam and lots of Java tech over the two days, but this talk was needed to start to clear the air, hindsight suggests.

  • Education

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Multi-Core, Multi-OS Scaling Performance

        In this article we are looking at how Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD scale across multiple cores. Benchmarked are CentOS 5.5, Fedora 14, PC-BSD/FreeBSD 8.1, and OpenIndiana b148 as we see how the performance differs when running on one, two, three, four, and six cores, plus when Intel Hyper Threading is enabled.

        To do this comparison the Intel Core i7 970 “Gulftown” processor was used, which boasts six physical cores plus Hyper Threading. With the ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard, from the BIOS the number of enabled cores can be adjusted as well as toggling Hyper Threading. CentOS, Fedora, PC-BSD, and OpenIndiana were tested in their stock OS configurations, aside from building GCC 4.5.1 on each of these operating systems to have a similar compiler across platforms.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dear Green Activists, will you please start to take file formats seriously?

      Shortly after its release, I explained why the .WWF file format isn’t a really green and smart idea.

    • DNA Structure Animation in HTML5

      If you don’t know what HTML5 is or how crucial it is to the whole future of the Internet ecosystem, you need to check out our previous article featuring 15 incredible HTML5 demos showcasing prowess of HTML5 over Adobe Flash. Here is another nice and interesting HTML5 experiment that generates a DNA structure on the fly.


  • Science

    • A step closer to Skynet? Pentagon wants fighting robots to talk to each other

      Over at the Department of Defense, they’ve got lots of robots. Most of them aren’t scary and glamorous like the lethal Drones you read about all the time. Perhaps the most useful land-based bot is the Tanglefoot, a short, roving critter that sneaks up on Improvised Explosive Devices, then graciously allows itself to be blown up for its trouble. Then there’s the Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) a nimble, 9.3-ton, unmanned ground vehicle that can turn on a dime and accelerate to a top speed of 50mph.

  • Law Enforcement

    • Driver accused of updating Facebook in fatal crash

      According to the Chicago Tribune, a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a woman was driving and updating her Facebook status when she hit a 70-year-old man who had stepped out of his car. CNET hasn’t yet been able to get a copy of the lawsuit, but we have confirmed its existence with the Cook County Circuit Court and double-checked party information.

    • I-Team: Dead Officer Signed Red Light Citations

      The WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned that Baltimore police and transportation officials are trying to correct a problem with about 2,000 red light camera citations that may bear the signature of a police officer who is dead.

      The I-Team learned that the citations were issued over the past few months.

    • Police Cameras and Crime

      If you want to be on TV, don’t go to Los Angeles or New York. Come to Chicago, where your wish is certain to be fulfilled. In fact, you couldn’t avoid it if you wanted to, thanks to the nation’s most extensive network of police surveillance cameras. Anytime you walk out your door, you may find an audience.

      This is one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proudest achievements, but the estimated 10,000 devices now in operation are not enough for him. He once expressed his intention to keep adding cameras until there is one “on every street corner in Chicago.”


      When cameras are used, common-sense restrictions should apply. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois recommends that police show probable cause that someone has committed a crime before they use facial-recognition software or conduct nonstop video tracking of an individual. Another proposal is to delete images after seven days unless there is reason to think they document a crime.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US fires 118 drone bombs, kills only two most wanted terrorists

      According to independent estimates a total of 118 CIA drone attacks on Pakistan killed only two terrorists on the US ‘most-wanted’ list.

      The CIA spent over $1 million per drone attack. The high cost and high number of attacks proved quite fruitless given the result – two highly sought terrorists killed.

    • The NYT’s journalistic obedience

      In other words, the NYT knew about Davis’ work for the CIA (and Blackwater) but concealed it because the U.S. Government told it to. Now that The Guardian and other foreign papers reported it, the U.S. Government gave permission to the NYT to report this, so now that they have government license, they do so — only after it’s already been reported by other newspapers which don’t take orders from the U.S. Government.

      It’s one thing for a newspaper to withhold information because they believe its disclosure would endanger lives. But here, the U.S. Government has spent weeks making public statements that were misleading in the extreme — Obama’s calling Davis “our diplomat in Pakistan” — while the NYT deliberately concealed facts undermining those government claims because government officials told them to do so. That’s called being an active enabler of government propaganda. While working for the CIA doesn’t preclude holding “diplomatic immunity,” it’s certainly relevant to the dispute between the two countries and the picture being painted by Obama officials. Moreover, since there is no declared war in Pakistan, this incident — as the NYT puts it today — “inadvertently pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A. ” That alone makes Davis’ work not just newsworthy, but crucial.

      Worse still, the NYT has repeatedly disseminated U.S. Government claims — and even offered its own misleading descriptions –without bothering to include these highly relevant facts. See, for instance, its February 12 report (“The State Department has repeatedly said that he is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention and must be released immediately”); this February 8 article (referring to “the mystery about what Mr. Davis was doing with this inventory of gadgets”; noting “the Pakistani press, dwelling on the items in Mr. Davis’s possession and his various identity cards, has been filled with speculation about his specific duties, which American officials would not discuss”; and claiming: “Mr. Davis’s jobs have been loosely defined by American officials as ‘security’ or ‘technical,’ though his duties were known only to his immediate superiors”); and this February 15 report (passing on the demands of Obama and Sen. John Kerry for Davis’ release as a “diplomat” without mentioning his CIA work). They’re inserting into their stories misleading government claims, and condescendingly summarizing Pakistani “speculation” about Davis’ work, all while knowing the truth but not reporting it.

    • US Caught in The Big Lie: ThisCantBeHappening! was Correct in Exposing Raymond Davis as a Spy

      So desperate has been the US effort to get the US government killer Raymond Davis sprung from police custody in Lahore, Pakistan following his execution-style slaughter of two Pakistani intelligence operatives in broad daylight in a crowded commercial area, that the government trotted out President Obama to declare that Pakistan was violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by holding “our diplomat,” whom he insisted had only been defending himself, and should in any case be entitled to absolute immunity.

      Now both the Guardian newspaper in the UK over the weekend, and the Associated Press today are reporting that sources in both the Pakistani and American governments are confirming that Davis works for the CIA. The AP is even reporting that he is a “CIA security contractor,” which is something less and a little more amorphous than a CIA employee, and that means he has no claim on diplomatic immunity whatever, and that raises the added question of who he actually is and who he actually works for. But more on that later.

    • US, UK Meddling in Cairo

      In an outrageously ill-timed visit, British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Cairo to meet with the new military ruler, General Tantawi – the defense minister and head of the ruling military council – on a mission to sell arms.

      Yes, Cameron actually flew to Cairo to see if Egypt’s armed forces, sans a president, might be willing to buy weapons from the UK.

    • Libyan soldiers reportedly burned alive

      Video has been posted on YouTube of what CNN is told are six badly burned bodies of Libyan soldiers in open body bags.

    • Report: military aircraft are firing at protestors in Libya

      Reuters, on the violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators in Libya: “Military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television said on Monday.”

    • Libya warplanes bombing Tripoli: resident

      Libyan warplanes were bombing indiscriminately across Tripoli on Monday, a resident of the Libyan capital told al Jazeera television in a live broadcast.

    • Friends Don’t Let Friends Violate International Law

      What do you do when your friend is blind drunk, slurring, staggering and boisterous as they fumble for their car keys? Do you cheer them on, slap them on their back and hand them another shot of whiskey? Of course not, no matter how much they may protest. And when it comes to America’s friendship with Israel, what is true for the ethics of bars holds true for international politics as well.

      Israel is America’s obnoxious drunk friend. And for over half a century, America has been Israel’s bartender and enabler: each year dumping billions of dollars in military aid that is used to oppress Palestinians, handing out bribe money to Arab tyrants in exchange for the suppression of their people’s outrage and, most importantly, protecting Israel from the UN Security Council despite repeated, flagrant violations of international law. On Friday, America did it again by vetoing a Security Council resolution that would have declared Israel’s settlements illegal… all other members of the council, longstanding friends of Israel included, had voted in favor of the reprimand.

    • The Pentagon Papers Donald Rumsfeld Doesn’t Want You to See

      More power to him! Except Rumsfeld, of course, only posted the information that he wanted to flow freely. The other stuff—like his callous attempts to keep John Walker Lindh from getting speedy trial, his effort to whitewash the Pentagon’s detainee policy, and the friendly op-eds he tried to plant in newspapers—he left out. Luckily, we were able to get a hold of some of the papers from his days as defense secretary that Rumsfeld reviewed and deliberately withheld from the archive.


      “I don’t really care what happens to Walker at this stage.” Here is Rumsfeld in January 2002 arguing that John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who had been wounded in battle and captured in Afghanistan three months before, should be sent to Guantanamo Bay instead of handed over to the Justice Department for a civilian trial—even though the military had concluded he couldn’t provide any more intelligence and wanted to get rid of him. “[T]he military doesn’t want him anymore,” Rumsfeld wrote. “We could put him in Guantanamo Bay until we are absolutely sure we are not going to get anymore information about him or from him.” A few hours later, in another memo, Rumsfeld acknowledged that Lindh should eventually go to the Justice Department, but said he still wanted to hold on to him a little longer and couldn’t understand why everyone wanted Lindh to get a speedy trial: “I am curious to know what the rush is.”

    • Yemen security forces shoot dead protester

      Yemeni riot police shot dead a protester and injured five others when they opened fire on a march of thousands of demonstrators in the capital Sanaa today.

    • Algeria’s long haul towards liberty

      Some 2,000 demonstrators again challenged the ban on protests in Algiers on Saturday. “On a marre de ce pouvoir” (we have had enough of this government!), they cried. An older man in the crowd told me, “What we want is a change of the system not a change in the system.”

    • Libyan protesters risk ‘suicide’ by army hands

      Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is confronting the most serious challenge to his 42-year rule as leader of Libya by unleashing his army on unarmed protesters.

      Unlike the rulers of neighbouring Egypt, Gaddafi has refused to countenance the politics of disobedience, despite growing international condemnation, and the death toll of demonstrators nearing 100.

    • The Genie is out of the Bottle

      But now it has spread all over the Arab world. To Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen. Jordan, Libya, even Morocco. And to non-Arab, non-Sunni Iran, too.

    • Afghanistan is being stifled by military operations

      Five years after Britain deployed forces to Helmand province in Afghanistan it is becoming clear that British and US policies in the country are not helping but setting back development prospects.

      Although more children now go to school and health services have improved, it is remarkable how little Afghanistan has progressed, given that it is the world’s most aid-dependent country, with 90% of its budget financed by donors. One in five children die before the age of five and one in eight women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

    • Obama, Egypt and Iran

      Yesterday, 15 Feb, Baraqqi said: ‘ My hope and expectation is that we’re going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that America cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran any more than it could inside of Egypt … What’s been different is the Iranian government’s response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people … Each country is different, each country has its own traditions, and America can’t dictate what happens in these societies ‘ [1]

      I live in Iran and I can see how Iranians feel anger at Obama. I feel anger too, and now I should try to control my own anger.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • You’re so wrong about salmon, Mr Salmond

      First minister Alex Salmond crowed that the Scottish fish-farming industry may need to double salmon production to satisfy Chinese demand. The announcement a few days later that China was halting the import of Norwegian farmed salmon (China’s retaliation, according to the Norwegian press, for the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo) lays Scottish government open to the charge that it is in effect supporting repression.

    • What does the Arab world do when its water runs out?

      Poverty, repression, decades of injustice and mass unemployment have all been cited as causes of the political convulsions in the Middle East and north Africa these last weeks. But a less recognised reason for the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and now Iran has been rising food prices, directly linked to a growing regional water crisis.

    • Spare Capacity Theory

      Of course, “everyone knows” that OPEC is sitting on lots of oil. However, as has been discussed here, at The Oil Drum, and elsewhere it remains decidedly unclear whether Saudi Arabia can indeed turn on extra taps at will. But the problems for world supply of oil do not merely end with production capacity. Even if OPEC is indeed sitting on 1-3 mbpd of spare capacity, it’s not clear for how long they can both increase production, and export that production to the world. Not only has Saudi Arabia’s production not increased in the past five years, but, Saudi is increasingly using its own oil for its own population. The result? Flat, to declining exports of oil from Saudi Arabia.

  • Finance

    • The Looming Assault on UW-Madison

      This story about Scott Walker and Biddy Martin’s efforts to dismantle the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To complete the corporatization of the public’s university is an important piece of what is happening both in Madison and nationwide. This story must be told before it is too late to save the university that belongs to the people of Wisconsin, and while democratic momentum is still on our side at the University, in Madison, and in the state of Wisconsin. Although seemingly specific to the UW, this is a case study about the future of public college education nationwide.

    • Wisconsin Fight: It’s Not About the Budget

      Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in a February 20, 2011 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, exposed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s disingenuousness in linking restrictions on collective bargaining to a need to cut the state’s budget. Wisconsin’s unionized workers have declared they are ready to start contributing to their pensions and health care to help resolve the state’s budget problems, Granholm pointed out

    • Yes, Wisconsin’s Public Employees are Undercompensated

      Even though the fight in Wisconsin is not really about the budget — a crisis manufactured by Governor Walker’s tax cuts and funny numbers — and not about government employees refusing to make sacrifices (for weeks they have said they will agree to concessions), the scapegoating of public servants as the 21st century’s welfare queens is particularly unfair given that they are compensated less than public sector employees.

    • Wisconsin Surprise: Walker Bill Likely Handing State Assets To Walker-Supporter Koch Industries

      And just who is the likely recipient of no-bid state sales of publicly-owned heating, cooling and power facilities? That would most likely be companies controlled by the brothers David and Charles Koch, owners of Koch Industries, and big financial supporters of Governor Scott Walker. The Koch brothers have also funded groups that are attempting to create a crisis atmosphere over the state’s budget, leading up to the attempt to pass this bill that could result in the low-cost transfer of state assets to their company.


      There are many questions raised by the connections between Governor Walker and the Koch brothers and their company and this emergency “Budget Repair” bill. The likely handing of state assets to the Koch brothers at a low price raises even more.

    • Stay-at-home PayPal crook used stolen funds to buy gold bullion

      Richard Kirk, 22, and from the Sherwood area of Nottingham, raided the PayPal accounts of 303 eBay users, transferring the money to accounts under his control. He used the stolen funds to buy a variety of goods, including laptops and bars of gold bullion.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Post- Citizens United, Crushing Workplace Democracy Can Crush American Democracy

      The only countervailing force on the left came from the public employee union American Federation of State, County, and Municipal, Employees (AFSCME), who spent $87.5 million in 2010, a relatively small number when compared to the numerous and coordinated corporate-funded interest groups on the right. As we wrote before last November’s election, unlike the right-wing groups funded by a small number of large, secret donations, “the vast majority of labor union funding comes from member dues, which are applied towards advocacy for member interests … when an ad ends with “brought to you by AFSCME,” viewers know what is motivating the message — the interests of the union and its employees. … In contrast, the innocuously-named conservative groups give no indication whatsoever about what is motivating the advertisement.”

    • Who Is Writing the AP’s Headlines on the Protests — the GOP?

      The AP’s headlines overall emphasize heavily the GOP’s point of view, although some of the stories are fairer than others. Three of the stories in this time frame involving the Wisconsin or national budget, however, feature only the GOP’s talking points, while none feature only union or Democratic talking points. So who is writing the AP’s headlines these days, and why are the AP’s editors putting stories on the wire for papers across the country that quote talking points interviews by only one political party in some instances, as with the Ryan and Palin pieces? Especially with online services like Yahoo’s, listing only the AP stories as the entry point for readers, the AP’s headlines need to be better and in this case not look like they were written by one political party or to favor one side. (The AP, unlike CMD, does not acknowledge having a point of view regarding unions or the corporate agenda as part of its coverage.)

    • Kochs Behind Wisconsin Union-Busting Effort

      Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Reason Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute have all been openly hostile toward public sector unions. For those who still doubt that what is happening in Wisconsin is part of a coordinated, national attack on unions, on February 18, the executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union sent a message to Governor Walker’s office saying the union agreed to the cuts in pensions and benefits Walker seeks in his “budget repair” bill. The governor’s response? No, not good enough. He is still holding out for nothing less than an end to collective bargaining rights for public unions. Why are the Koch brothers so keen on Wisconsin?

    • Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions

      The Americans for Prosperity group, a Tea Party group that is a Koch Brothers front, has put up a website and petition called www.standwithwalker.com. The website attacks all collective bargaining – not just for public employees’ unions. Americans for Prosperity is also organizing a rally tomorrow in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker.

  • Censorship

    • French journalist convicted on racism charge over drug dealer comment

      The controversial French journalist Éric Zemmour has been found guilty of incitement to racial hatred after telling a TV chatshow that drug dealers were mostly “blacks and Arabs”.

      The Paris trial sparked a fierce debate over freedom of speech and the extent of France’s racism problem, which is poisoning the republican ideal that all citizens are equal regardless of colour.

      Zemmour, a well-known media commentator and columnist for Le Figaro, prides himself on his outspoken defiance of what he deems political correct, woolly liberals.

    • Javelin Marketing Seeks to Suppress Criticism of Its “Insurance Leads” Sales

      A company called “Javelin Marketing,” which in turn operates a business called “Prospect Match” that generates and sells insurance leads, recently tried to suppress criticism of its business practices on several pages of Insurance Forums web site by threatening to sue the host of the forum. Trying to get around the forum’s section 230 immunity, Javelin’s lawyer, a self-proclaimed Internet law specialist named Richard Newman, included claims for “false advertising” and “trade libel” under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Newman compounded his error by threatening to sue for copyright infringement if the operator of Insurance Forums posted his demand letter. That demand letter is posted here.

    • Parent, Evanston school officials spar over YouTube video

      District 65 claims racially tinged clip from board meeting violates copyright rules

    • WTF: YouTube Musician Evan Emory Faces 20 Years in Prison for Clever Editing

      So let’s back up. What’s this all about? The 21-year-old Emory posted a video of himself on YouTube singing a sexually explicit song to elementary school students. Before you take the side of law enforcement, it’s not as raunchy and inappropriate as it sounds. The video was only edited to make it appear as if young children were in the classroom, even though they weren’t. Emory posted two disclaimers on the video that elementary school students were not exposed to the explicit lyrics.

      If Emory is charged with the count of manufacturing child sexual abusive material he is facing, he could spend 20 years in prison for what he says was just a joke. Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said Michigan law ‘provides penalty’ for those who actually manufacture child sexual abusive material ‘but also has a provision for those who make it appear that the children were actually abused.’

  • Civil Rights

    • Wisconsin, Trailblazer for American Workers’ Rights

      In 1959, Wisconsin became the first state in the union to guarantee collective bargaining rights for public employees by enacting a law that protects municipal workers from being fired or otherwise discriminated against for engaging in union-related activities. That law was further strengthened in 1963 to give either the union or the employer the right to call in a “fact finder” to help resolve bargaining disputes. In 1965, Wisconsin’s state employees won a limited right to bargain collectively, and those rights were further broadened over the next six years.

    • Big Brother Watch statement on the 2011 census

      “This census is a monumental waste of time and money. A large number of the questions duplicate data already held by the authorities on databases such as the electoral register, school records, tax returns and GP information.

      “It also makes the entirely hollow but nevertheless bullying threat of fines of £1,000 for non-compliance.

      “Back in 2001, 3 million people refused to comply. Given that there were fewer than 100 prosecutions for not filling the census in, it’s clear that non-compliance comes pretty much entirely without repercussions.

      “Last time, 390,000 people declared their religion as Jedi. There’s no reason to think people will take the census any more seriously this year”.

    • The Five Senators Who Refuse To Say If They Anonymously Killed The Whistleblower Bill

      They are:

      * David Vitter
      * Jeff Sessions
      * James Risch
      * Mitch McConnell
      * Jon Kyl

    • Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask for Your Facebook Login?

      The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of a Maryland man who was forced to cough up his Facebook password during a job interview with the Department of Corrections in that state.

      According to an ACLU letter sent to the Maryland Department of Corrections, the organization requires that new applicants and those applying for recertifications give the government “their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks.”

    • NJ Cop to Parents: Steal Facebook Passwords From Your Kids

      If you are a parent of a teenager, ask yourself a simple question. Would you allow your son or daughter to lock you out of his or her bedroom? Even though you own the house, your teen’s door is always closed . . .and you never get to come in.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Internet ‘kill switch’ bill revised, still angers civil rights activists

      Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Calpers (D-DE) introduce a revised version of their cybersecurity bill this week, entitled the “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act,” which they say prohibits any possibility of an Internet ‘kill switch” — they swear.

      Like the original bill, which was introduced last month, this version is intended to establish an office within the Executive branch that will handle the “coordination” of governmental responses to a “catastrophic” cyber attack against the United States infrastructure, according to a statement by Sen. Collins.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Fictional trademarks: protectable?

        “Duff Beer” is the trademark for the beer favored by “Homer Simpson.” Just as “Homer” is a fictional character, “Duff Beer” is a fictional trademark. But does that mean that “Duff Beer” isn’t protectable – that anyone may use the mark for anything? Fordham law student Benjamin Arrow tackles this question in Real-Life Protection for Fictional Trademarks in the latest issue of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. By the way, the “Duff Beer” question is not hypothetical. “Duff Beer” was used, without authorization, by a brewery in Australia; and Twentieth Century Fox did sue, successfully.

    • Copyrights

      • ReDigi Says They’ll Sell Your Used MP3′s Legally

        Startup ReDigi will be opening “the world’s first online marketplace to legally recycle, buy and sell, used digital music files” this summer. On the ReDigi Marketplace, music “owners” can “manage their music libraries by selling their unwanted digital music, or purchasing the music they do want, at drastically discounted prices”.

Clip of the Day

VLC: A slight misunderstanding…

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 21/2/2011: Wine 1.3.14 Released, Firefox 4 Beta 12 Delayed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Eprints Institutional Repository Software: A Review

    Setting up an institutional repository (IR) can be a daunting task. There are many software packages out there, some commercial, some open source, all of which offer different features and functionality. This article will provide some thoughts about one of these software packages: Eprints. Eprints is open-source, and the software is easy to modify. This presents clear advantages for institutions will smaller budgets and that have programmers on staff.

  • Events

    • CeBIT in Hannover, Germany: the trade show I hate to love

      Fortunately CeBIT has an affiliate “Hannover Fairs USA”, and they offered a turn-key booth scenario at a reasonable price that allowed Linux International to have a presence, and to investigate what other things could be done at CeBIT in following years. CeBIT also had other “country pavilions” to make it easier for foreign companies to exhibit.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 15 Killer Google Chrome Features You Might Not Know About

        Google Chrome has been steadily gaining in the browser market share since its launch 2 years ago. It’s not without its flaws but it definitely falls in the “kinda cool” category. Its simplicity and minimalistic, yet feature-rich, interface caused a lot of users to ditch their old and trusted browser in favor of this new tool.

    • Mozilla

      • Using Mozmill to Test Firefox Extensions

        Recently I’ve been working on a Firefox extension, and needed a way to test the code. While testing code is always important, it is particularly important for dynamic languages where code that hasn’t been run is more likely to be buggy.

      • Mozilla delays Firefox 4 beta 12, option for beta 13 on the table

        It’s slow progress over at Mozilla with regards to Firefox 4 beta. The next beta, which will be the twelfth, has been delayed.

      • Firefox 4 Final Beta Delayed – March Release Appears Likely

        In the gaming world it’s quite typical for a developer to tell the media they will ship “when it’s ready”, but another delay over at the Mozilla campus has pushed the Firefox 4 release out at least another month, and will likely pit the new browser up against some stiff competition from Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome 10 by the time it’s released. According to Christian Legnittom, Manager of Firefox releases, the final planned beta probably won’t ship for several more days while they try to iron out at least five major bugs on their “hard” blocker list.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Update: Google legal move could alter course of Oracle trial

      Google’s decision this week to ask the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to re-examine a number of the Oracle patents at issue in the companies’ ongoing intellectual-property case could have a significant effect on how the dispute plays out.


    • Eben Moglen: A free world needs free software

      Electronic rights activist, Eben Moglen, Executive Director of the New York-based Software Freedom Law Center, made an impassioned stand for the importance of free software, not just in the context of computers, but for political freedom and the future of a free society.
      “Software is what the 21st century is made of,” said Moglen to a packed lecture hall at the Université libre de Bruxelles campus, “What steel was to the economy of the 20th century, what steel was to the power of the 20th century, what steel was to the politics of the 20th century, software is now. It is the crucial building block, the component out of which everything else is made, and, when I speak of everything else, I mean of course freedom, as well as tyranny, as well as business as usual, as well as spying on everybody for free all the time.”

  • Licensing

    • Google has “no plans” to ban copyleft

      Both Apple and Microsoft have blocked the distribution of copylefted Free Software through their App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace respectively. Though there’s no indication or reason to believe this might happen with Google’s Android Market, I wrote their Open Source Programs Manager, Chris DiBona, asking him about the possibility.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sintel, 4k edition (and why it’s useful)

      This week brings us another open movie milestone: a 4k release of Sintel! This super-high definition version (4096 x 1744 pixels) is being hosted by the fine people at xiph.org. As mentioned in the article, there will be some screenings, though you can also download the files yourself. Be aware however that the files are very large.


  • [Canada] Memo altered to signal direct decision from Oda: Conservatives

    An aide to International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda stamped her automated signature on a bureaucratic memo in 2009 because she was travelling and scribbled the word “not” on it to signify she was rejecting the advice from her bureaucrats, the Conservative government says.

  • The bigger Clarence Thomas scandal

    It’s been a rough few months for Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginny.

    First, in October, Ginny left a bizarre, early morning phone message for Anita Hill asking her to apologize for the sexual harassment accusations she leveled at Thomas 20 years ago. Then, in January, the good government group Common Cause revealed that Thomas claimed “none” for “spousal noninvestment income” on a disclosure form during years where his wife pulled in six figures working for two conservative organizations, the Heritage Foundation and Liberty Central. Having a wife who worked for a group that opposed healthcare reform raised the question of whether Thomas should recuse himself in future cases on the law’s constitutionality. (74 House Democrats think so and they sent Thomas a letter saying as much).

  • Robber baron justice in the 21st century

    When Scalia and Thomas went to the Kochs’ events, they left behind the appearance of impropriety for the real thing

  • Top 4 Victories Handed to Corporate America by the Supreme Court — So Far

    One of the great works of American political literature is Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, first published in 1906. From A-Z, Bierce offered about a thousand irreverent definitions of political, legal, and cultural terms, getting much closer to the truth of what the words really mean than the formal definitions you’ll find in Webster’s. For example, consider this stinger: “LAWFUL, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.”

  • Journalists Facing Extinction

    Perhaps the problem is that most of the news industry employers fit this bill, so getting paid work in an honest environment is next to impossible. If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s time for journalists to rise up to save their own industry, and demand to be able to report facts as accurately as they can before the label “journalist” loses all credibility.

    People are often accused of unfairly labelling all journalists and politicians as scumbags. The problem is that many of them are, and the handful who are not don’t speak out about it in their chosen profession. They refuse to tackle the issue, to try and do some good and get it addressed for the better. Of course this is about keeping their job, anyone who rocks the apple cart is marked as a troublemaker and soon finds themselves ignored at work, then dismissed under some dubious grounds followed by being marked as a pariah in their industry meaning that no other company will employ them.

    The alternative is that they stay slient, knowing the rancid nature of their industry, and colluding to keep that train on the tracks. They are part of the problem, all the while their readers increasingly see the problem and the solution; avoid traditional journalists, they can’t be trusted.

  • 10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You

    The founding trio didn’t come up with the YouTube concept straight away. Legend has it that YouTube began life as a video dating site dubbed “Tune In Hook Up,” said to be influenced by HotorNot. The three ultimately decided not to go that route. The inspiration for YouTube as we know it today is credited to two different events. The first was Karim’s inability to find footage online of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and the second when Hurley and Chen were unable to share video footage of a dinner party due to e-mail attachment limitations.

  • The Value Of Expertise

    How many times do we complain that some political party or politicians are trying to introduce some laws covering technology that are completely unworkable and show the people promoting and suggesting them are completely clueless on what they’re talking about? They get their aggregated knowledge from advisers, who all come from special interests with their own agenda, and never let facts or reality get in the way.

    It does not help when the political system favours loyalty to the leader over competence. Where politicians only experienced in fooling the electorate are suddenly deemed fit to be put in charge of the nations education service. They may only be there for a year while the nations children see no new benefits and the politician decides to rearrange the deck chairs just for the sake of short term self interest in showing that they are in fact “doing something”. Often this is detrimental, and accumulating and compounding long term problems, which is the opposite of what they’re supposed to be getting paid to do.

  • Kidnapped toddler found by China internet campaign

    The six-year-old climbed out of the car and the crowd swept forward to see him. His grandfather picked him up, hugged him tight and wept.

  • Ex-Leader of Charity for Disabled Gets 10 Years in Prison, Must Pay $65 Million

    Yesterday, a judge sentenced the former CEO of an El Paso charity to 10 years in prison and $65 million in restitution for corruption and embezzlement involving the federal government’s biggest jobs program for the disabled.

    The sentence is the result of a federal probe launched after a 2006 investigation by reporters Les Zaitz, Jeff Kosseff, Byan Denson and photographer Faith Cathcart at The (Portland) Oregonian. Examining charities that hired the disabled nationwide, they found non-profit executives were cashing in huge paychecks while their disabled workers made pennies an hour.

  • Science

    • New fossils push algal origins back to 600 million years

      A recently published paper describes some fantastic fossil finds from China that date to the earliest era of multicellular life. The fossil deposits date from the Ediacaran, a period in which the first multicellular life was evident. Most of the Ediacaran fossils we’re aware of come from a bizarre and extinct group called the rangeomorphs (PDF), The new fossils appear to be even older than the rangeomorphs, but include forms that could be mistaken for modern algae.

    • How the Human Brain Retains Information

      The manner by which humans retain and retrieve information is an area widely explored and as of yet not completely understood.

      The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillian connections. This amounts to quite a large storage capacity.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Getting a grip

      Problems caused by smoking and obesity leave Akst dumbfounded. ”More than 400,000 Americans die from smoking cigarettes every year. Hundreds of thousands more die from obesity and its implications – diabetes, high blood pressure and so on.

      ”It’s absolutely astounding. To put that number in perspective: the number of Americans who die every year from smoking cigarettes exceeds the number of Americans who died fighting in World War II.”

    • Castro Pot Bust Goes Awry and a Law Professor Threatens to Sue

      When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for “proceeds” from an illegal marijuana grow.

    • 03ROME5149, ITALY/BIOTEC…

      A describes Italian Agriculture
      Minister Alemanno’s latest gambit to effectively ban biotech
      crop cultivation in Italy by pushing through an extremely
      restrictive coexistence decree-law. Given the likely
      negative consequences of this proposal, not least upon U.S.
      seed exports to Italy, Ambassador Sembler raised strong
      objections to Alemanno’s approach in separate meetings this
      week with Foreign Minister Frattini (Nov. 10), with PM
      Berlusconi’s top advisor, Prime Ministry Under Secretary
      Gianni Letta, and with the Prime Minister directly in a phone
      call from Letta’s office (Nov. 11). Letta and the PM
      assurred the Ambassador that, either at the technical level
      or the political level, the draft Alemanno decree-law would
      be blocked.

    • House Votes to De-Fund Planned Parenthood, 240-185
  • Security

    • Web Browser Insecurity

      With open sourced software, you can easily say to someone “Firefox 2 is no longer supported, you need to remove it and install the latest Firefox 3.6″ they don’t have to let money factor into the decision. “Microsoft Office Word XP isn’t being patched to prevent X exploit, you’ll have to go get Microsoft Office 2010″ involves forking over a LOT of cash, and often has the cascade effect of “not supported in this version of Windows, you need to go buy the new version of Windows too” which can cascade down the various applications you use. Proprietary software companies use the EOL (End Of Life) abandoning support as a stick to push people into forking over more cash for new versions of their software, the last thing they want is to give up that stick.

      Again, those who can’t afford to splash out for Microsoft Office 2010 are left with an unpatched Microsoft Office XP, either knowing or not knowing that the exploit is being increasingly used by people who will seek to harm them and their data. Constantly changing proprietary file formats are another stick used to force people to splash the cash for little to no benefit, where a version of .doc won’t open in another version of Microsoft Office Word.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Don’t Mess with Saif Gaddafi. He Carries Guns.

      Following our story about two of Colonel Gaddafi’s sons treating America as their playground a magazine reports that Saif has been shooting up parts of Europe recently too, along with some intriguing playmates.

      British magazine The Spectator is set to report tomorrow that Saif went on a shooting trip with Peter Mandelson (who has about a million government titles but is pretty much the power behind British Prime Minister Gordon Brown) and Cherie Blair (wife of former PM Tony) at the Rothschild estate in Buckinghamshire. He brought his own guns in, through the airport.

    • Libyan protesters and security clash in capital, as Gadhafi’s son warns of civil war

      One witness says snipers opened fire from rooftops. Two others say gunmen in vehicles with photos of Gadhafi sped through, opening fire and running people over. The witnesses reported seeing casualties, but the number could not be confirmed.

    • Libya turns off the Internet and the Massacres begin

      First, Libya blocked news sites and Facebook. Then, beginning Friday night, according to Arbor Networks, a network security and Internet monitoring company, announced that Libya had cut itself off from the Internet. Hours later the Libyan dictator’s solders started slaughtering protesters. As of Sunday afternoon, U.S. Eastern time the death toll was above 200 in the city of Benghazi alone.

      Welcome to 2011. While dictators in the most repressive regimes, such as North Korea and Cuba, have long kept Internet contact to the world to a bare minimum, less restrictive dictatorships, such as Egypt and Libya left the doors to the Internet cracked open to the public. Now, though, realizing that they could no longer hide their abuses from a world a Twitter tweet away, the new model autocracies, such as Libya and Bahrain have realized that they need to cut their Internet links before bringing out the guns.

    • Libya protests: 140 ‘massacred’ as Gaddafi sends in snipers to crush dissent

      Snipers shot protesters, artillery and helicopter gunships were used against crowds of demonstrators, and thugs armed with hammers and swords attacked families in their homes as the Libyan regime sought to crush the uprising.

      “Dozens were killed … We are in the midst of a massacre here,” a witness told Reuters. The man said he helped take victims to hospital in Benghazi.

      Libyan Muslim leaders told security forces to stop killing civilians, responding to a spiralling death toll from unrest which threatens veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi’s authority.

    • UPDATED: As Arabia Protests, Libya Blocks Internet Access

      In light of the ongoing battle of citizens against corrupt and unjust regimes throughout the Arab world (more on Wikipedia), protestors have been increasingly reliant on social media websites to rally their numbers and organize their meets.

      Over the past two days, protests have flared up considerably in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain resulting in mass casualties at the hands of government security. We now have reports from friends of NeoSmart Technologies in Tripoli, Libya (stay safe, guys! Please!) that the government has ordered ISPs to block access to most websites. Currently, most websites are unavailable and internet access is, by and large, being blocked.

    • If Libya Shuts Down the Internet, What Happens To .ly Domains?

      As we all know by now, there is unrest in the Middle East. You can read about the latest news from worldwide journalists located in all of the countries. The stories are amazing to read and watch. From an Internet perspective, the AFP is reporting that access to Facebook was cut earlier today in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The AFP notes, “From early evening it was impossible to access the popular Facebook site, and connections to other sites were either very slow or not possible, they said. The state of Internet connections in the rest of the country was not known.”

    • Libya Begins Internet Shutdown — Will Bit.ly Be Affected?
    • What will happen to http://bit.ly links if Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?
    • Libya forces ‘open fire’ at funeral

      At least 15 mourners reportedly killed in eastern city of Benghazi, as anti-government protests continue unabated.

    • Journalists targeted in Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya

      The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya to cease their attempts to prevent media from reporting on anti-government demonstrations. Bahraini authorities used live ammunition–including fire from a helicopter–against peaceful protesters and journalists, according to news reports. Pro-government thugs attacked at least two journalists in Yemen, and the Libyan government appeared to be shutting down Facebook, Twitter, and Al-Jazeera’s website as a means of silencing reporting on protests.

      “Security forces firing on journalists from a helicopter is a dangerous escalation in Bahrain’s attempt to censor media coverage of the political turmoil,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “The authorities must cease all hostile acts against journalists immediately and allow the press to work freely and securely. “

    • Anonymous warns Westboro Baptist Church to stop with the hate

      Anonymous is at it again. The controversial hacker collective made headlines two weeks ago when it broke into the email accounts of computer security firm HBGary. The hackers released a number of documents, including some that revealed the firm was plotting to destroy Wikileaks, in part by targeting journalists such as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald.

    • Open Letter to Westboro Baptist Church

      We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS – the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People – have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of religion.

    • Anonymous delivers ultimatum to Westboro Baptist Church

      Anonymous, a notorious collective of unnamed Internet activists, has put the Westboro Baptist Church on notice. Tuesday, the group Anonymous released an open letter to Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). The letter is nothing short of an ultimatum: a cease and desist order against the Westboro Baptist Church.

      The letter states “Rather than allowing the deceased some degree of peace and respect, you (WBC) instead choose to torment, harass, and assault those who grieve.” After chastising the WBC for “preaching your benighted gospel of hatred” and deploying “tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse,” Anonymous makes it clear that the church will soon be a target of attack.

    • Morocco: Thousands March for Reform

      Thousands of Moroccans in cities across the country demonstrated in favor of political reform on February 20, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Mostly peaceful demonstrations and marches took place in towns and villages largely without interference from police, who in some areas were barely in evidence.

    • Hundreds protest in Iraq, TV station torched

      Hundreds of protesters inspired by unrest around the Arab world took to the streets of the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya on Sunday and at least 48 people were injured.

      A police official said security forces fired in the air when demonstrators chanting against corruption tried to approach the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, where clashes on Thursday killed two people and wounded dozens.

    • Chinese Government Responds to Call for Protests

      Skittish domestic security officials responded with a mass show of force across China on Sunday after anonymous calls for protesters to stage a Chinese “Jasmine Revolution” went out over social media and microblogging outlets.

    • China tries to stamp out ‘Jasmine Revolution’

      Jittery Chinese authorities staged a show of force to squelch a mysterious online call for a “Jasmine Revolution,” with hundreds of onlookers but only a handful of people actively joining protests inspired by pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.

    • China police break up ‘protests’ after online appeal

      Police in China showed up in force in several major cities after an online call for a “jasmine revolution”.

      Calls for people to protest and shout “we want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness”, were circulated on Chinese microblog sites.

      The message was first posted on a US-based Chinese-language website.

    • “Jasmine Revolution” in China starting Sunday? — Another Facebook “Revolution”?
    • President Saleh Threatens to Cut Off ‘Genitals’ of Yemen Opposition
    • U.S.-Taliban Talks

      That was the first and last time that Omar spoke to an American government official, as far as is known. Before September 11th, some of his deputies had occasionally spoken with U.S. diplomats, but afterward the United States rejected direct talks with Taliban leaders, on the ground that they were as much to blame for terrorism as Al Qaeda was. Last year, however, as the U.S.-led Afghan ground war passed its ninth anniversary, and Mullah Omar remained in hiding, presumably in Pakistan, a small number of officials in the Obama Administration—among them the late Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—argued that it was time to try talking to the Taliban again.

    • Protests continue throughout the region

      Clashes in Yemen turn deadly and Algerian police push crowds out of May 1 Square. Maryam Ishani reporting.

    • Amazing Photo: Egyptians Turn Out to Support Wisconsin Counterparts

      Few things help unite disparate peoples and disparate struggles like hard times. The Egyptians recently conquered one major hurdle and are now moving onto the next challenge. Wisconsin’s unionized laborers, however, who are currently fighting state Republicans to keep their collective bargaining rights, have just begun their fight.

      Here, a young man in Egypt today shows his solidarity with his Wisconsin comrades, reminding us all that our problems, like our supporters, are often universal. “One world, one pain.”

    • Democracy Welcomed, but Risk Remains

      The Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof on the withdrawal of security forces from Pearl Square and Bahrain’s democratic future.

    • Boycott the UK census over links to Lockheed Martin, protesters say

      People are being urged to boycott next month’s UK’s census because the US arms manufacturer responsible for Trident is involved in gathering the information.

      Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record by refusing to fill in the 32-page questionnaire. Resistance to the decennial census is growing as a coalition of anti-war groups, pacifists, religious organisations and digital activists begin raising public awareness about the role of Lockheed Martin, America’s largest arms manufacturer.

    • Ottawa police on the beat

      It seems that a member of Ottawa’s finest was of the view that whipping his children was the fatherly way to enforce compliance. One child was lashed so severely on one occasion that he couldn’t walk. His ex-wife finally called police after his assault on the toddler, which left “large red whip marks.”

    • Ex-FBI Agent Still Missing in Iran after almost 4 Years

      A State Department cable released by WikiLeaks has bolstered the contention that former FBI agent Robert Levinson has been held in Iran after vanishing on March 9, 2007, while working as a private investigator on Kish Island, a popular tourist resort in the Persian Gulf.

      The diplomatic document cites an informant who told American officials he spent time in a secret jail operated by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There, the political prisoner saw the words “B. LEVINSON” written on the frame of his cell, beneath three lines of English which he assumed to be a “plea for help.”

    • Bahrain, Libya and Yemen try to crush protests with violence
    • Mousavi offered his apologies

      Mousavi has understood that the people would abandon him and his group if they want to be more stupid. This a good sing and shows the real power of the people. Mousavi could act as a catalyst for revolution and real change. The people could accept his apologies, but should show him and his group that they could not accept any further stupid acts. Apparently Mousavi has learned his lesson of 14 Feb, and we could give him one more chance.

  • Cablegate

    • Japan rebuilds foreign intelligence service to spy on neighbours

      FOR the first time since World War II, Japan is establishing a secret foreign intelligence service to spy on China and North Korea and gather information to prevent terrorist attacks.

      The spy unit has been created under the wing of Japan’s peak intelligence agency, the Cabinet Information and Research Office, or Naicho. It is modelled on Western intelligence services such as the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Britain’s MI6 and the CIA.

      The existence of the new Japanese espionage capability is revealed publicly in a leaked US diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to The Age. Japanese military and naval intelligence, together with the infamous secret police, the Kempeitai, ran extensive spy networks throughout east and south-east Asia up to the end of World War II.

    • ANC a ‘complete mess’: Wikileaks

      According to the cable, the ANC’s Gauteng spokesman Dumisa Ntuli told a US diplomat that crippling divisions were plaguing the ruling party, the City Press newspaper reported on Sunday. The newspaper obtained the cable through the whistleblower website Wikileaks..

      Ntuli, who has denied discussing internal ANC issues with the US embassy, did not mince his words about the party, according to the cable, which is dated October 29, 2009.

      He reportedly said the party was deeply divided not only between supporters of Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki, but “along multiple other lines”, City Press reported.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Recycle Your Old Computers

      Recycling old computer equipment is the only real option, but only around 10-15% of old computers are being recycled. The rest are either being stored in homes, garages, expensive office space or even worse being dumped in landfill sites.

    • Planet could be ‘unrecognizable’ by 2050, experts say

      A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an “unrecognizable” world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

      The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

    • Demand for uranium threatens Grand Canyon biodiversity

      The natural beauty and unique species of the Grand Canyon are “in the crosshairs” because of renewed interest in the region’s uranium reserves. That is the warning from critics of the mines, ahead of the release of a government report on Friday on the potential impact of fresh mining.

    • House votes 244-179 to kill U.S. funding of IPCC

      Just before 2 a.m. on February 19, the war on climate science showed its grip on the U.S. House of Representatives as it voted to eliminate U.S. funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Republican majority, on a mostly party-line vote of 244-179, went on record as essentially saying that it no longer wishes to have the IPCC prepare its comprehensive international climate science assessments. Transcript of floor debate follows.

    • Tough action on climate change is ‘cost-effective’, EU report shows

      Proposals to raise Europe’s ambitions on tackling climate change have been strongly boosted by a new analysis showing tougher action on greenhouse gases is “cost-effective” and already achievable in practice.

      Europe’s existing targets will be easily surpassed on current policies, according to the analysis. This means that taking on a higher target now is more efficient in the longer term.

    • Eat more anchovies, herring and sardines to save the ocean’s fish stocks

      We should consume less of the fish at the top of the food chain and more of their prey to rebalance the marine ecosystem, says fisheries scientist

    • Tar sands pipeline poses health risks, campaigners claim

      In a new report released yesterday, NRDC and several partner groups demonstrate that tar sands oil is more difficult and dangerous to transport than conventional crude. Known as DilBit, short for diluted bitumen, it’s thick as peanut butter and more acidic, highly corrosive, and abrasive. Yet the NRDC report says that pipeline developers and operators are using the same designs, operating practices, and materials to transport DilBit that work for conventional crude.

  • Finance

    • The Republican Strategy

      The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.

    • Liberty PAC Announces Presidents’ Day Money Bomb!

      2012 offers our movement a tremendous opportunity. Our nation is beset with crippling debt, an out of control federal government, and a foreign policy that weakens our national defense and isolates us from the world.

      But with hard work and determination, we can change course and turn our country back toward Liberty and all of its rewards.

      Quite frankly, we need to elect a President in 2012 who will do a lot less: less meddling in the economy, less spending, less warrantless ransacking, less bailing out of Wall Street, less inflating, and less foreign aid and overseas intervention.

    • Fannie, Freddie’s Legal “Feeding Frenzy” Costs Taxpayers $434 Million

      Taxpayers have covered $434 million in legal fees for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and their highly-paid executives since the federal government took over the wounded housing giants in September 2008, according to data (PDF) provided to Mother Jones by a congressional source.

  • Censorship

    • ProspectMatch Threatens Forum That Hosts Negative Reviews; Says It Will Bury Forum Owner In Legal Fees

      Paul Levy alerts us to yet another case of companies looking to abuse the legal process to shut down negative reviews and opinions. In this case, amazingly, someone involved in the company even seems to admit this in writing to the site being threatened. The situation involves a company called Javelin Marketing, but which is doing business as ProspectMatch.com — a company that supposedly sells leads. Over at InsuranceForums.net, a site run by Melnet Media, there are a few different threads where multiple people give negative reviews of ProspectMatch, which the Javelin Marketing/ProspectMatch folks weren’t very happy about.

    • European Commission shows a weak hand to Hungary

      Hungarian Media Law – commission amendments – web-based media are still required to register, under threat of a fine for non-compliance.

      The European Commission struck an eleventh hour deal with Hungary whilst the Commissioner herself was in the air between Milan and Brussels, and only minutes before a vote in the European Parliament criticising the Hungarian government’s media law. Commissioner Neelie Kroes, still a little breathless it seems, after rushing from the airport, told the Parliament that she would not shy away from defending media pluralism.

      Nevertheless, it seems the Commission’s strong stance has weakened since Mrs Kroes first wrote to the Hungarian government in December. And after Mrs Kroes’ dash from the airport, the European Parliament failed to vote on its Resolutions – apparently after some confusion as to what it should do.

  • Privacy

    • Tor Open Hackfest: February 19, 2011

      We’re holding a Tor hackfest on Saturday, February 19th. The bulk of the Tor developers are in town and coming to this event. Unlike last time when snow kept 75% of them outside the US.

    • When will Wapping tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

      Just in case the full import of today’s story gets overlooked… a single piece of devastating evidence in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal has emerged.

      The central point of the story is in the headline, Phone hacker ‘passed information to several News of the World journalists’.

      That’s ‘journalists’ plural.

  • Civil Rights

    • “Democracy Uprising” in the U.S.A.?: Noam Chomsky on Wisconsin’s Resistance to Assault on Public Sector, the Obama-Sanctioned Crackdown on Activists, and the Distorted Legacy of Ronald Reagan

      World-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky discusses several domestic issues in the United States, including the protests in defense of public sector employees and unions in Wisconsin, how the U.S. deification of former President Ronald Reagan resembles North Korea, and the crackdown on political activists with anti-terror laws and FBI raids.

    • Live Reporting from the Wisconsin Protests

      Recalls in the Works: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin Democrats and labor leaders are plotting recall elections for several Republican senators as soon as lawmakers push through Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plan to curb collective bargaining rights and require public employees to chip in part of their salary toward their health care and pension costs. “Those are options people are looking at,” said Marty Beil, director of the largest state employees union. Even more emphatic was Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48, which represents county and city employees in the Milwaukee area. “This is not a Plan B,” Abelson said Friday night. “This is going forward irrespective of how the vote turns out. Oh, yeah, we are going to make a full-court press.” Among the targets, Sen. Alberta Darling, a River Hills republican.

    • Under the U.S. Supreme Court: Using Twitter to build WikiLeaks case

      As the United States tries to build its case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, prosecutors are seeking Twitter messages sent by supposed WikiLeaks supporters — and possibly message information from Facebook, Skype and Google.

      At stake in the legal fight — beyond placing criminal responsibility for thousands of classified U.S. documents being posted on the Internet — is how much privacy Twitter and other social network users can expect or whether such messages are considered private at all.

    • Twitter account closed – Identi.ca Ftw

      There was a mass Twitter closing spree on identi.ca started by Reality the other day and it made me think about whether Twitter really is useful or not.

    • Building the Technology Stack for Internet Freedom

      Hillary Clinton called for the U.S. to promote Internet freedoms earlier this week and introduced a $25 million fund for technology companies that might help with the task. The New America Foundation has already applied for a grant under the program, which includes a $3.5 million proposal, of which $500,000 will be funded by the New America Foundation itself. The mission? To build the technology stack for a distributed, open-source telecommunications system.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Authors Guild argues in favor of censorship (also: they don’t know shit about Shakespeare)

        The Volokh Conspiracy’s David Post shreds the Authors Guild editorial in this week’s NYT. In it, Scott Turow and James Shapiro argue that America should introduce COICA, an official censorship law that blocks websites that large companies from the entertainment industry don’t like. It’s alarming to see authors arguing in favor of censorship, but the argument put forward in the editorial, “Would the Bard have Survived the Web?” is also profoundly ignorant account of how Shakespeare wrote his works…

      • Man sued for posting official Sarah Palin picture on his website

        When a New York City restaurant owner decided to advertise the airing of a 2008 Presidential debate he carefully chose a picture of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and one of Joe Biden and posted them on his business website, two-years later he was sued.
        Writers, bloggers and website owners beware – using a picture what appears to be “an official” photograph may not be so official and could be protected by copyright infringement laws, according to the War Room at Salon.com.

      • Swedish Courts Coming To Senses: €200 Filesharing Fine

        Swedish courts may be slowly coming to their senses regarding noncommercial violations of the copyright monopoly. In a verdict yesterday, a 26-year-old in Uppsala, Sweden was sentenced to pay a €200 fine for actively sharing 44 copyrighted works in classic filesharing.

      • Why The Name “Pirate Party”?

        Quite simply, we believe in copying and in civil liberties. Some people brand us pirates for that. Well, then we are pirates, and we stand tall and proud about it.

Clip of the Day

Hillary Clinton interrupted by protester heckler 15.02.2011

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 20/2/2011: Munich’s Migration to GNU/Linux Goes Well, Android 3.0 Clues

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Alcatel-Lucent Expands IP Address and DNS Management

    The VitalQIP 1200 is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and is also available as a software appliance.

  • Desktop

    • Munich Continues to Migrate to GNU/Linux

      So, they are all using FLOSS apps and about half the departments are using GNU/Linux. Slowly but surely, the promised migration is happening. The migration project has been extended to 2013 with no additional funds required.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Adds New Stars to Android Galaxy

      Lots of mobile manufacturers are finding a comfortable home with Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) open source mobile platform, but as the world’s second most prolific maker of phones, Samsung’s devotion is especially noteworthy.

    • I am Disappoint: No Love for Froyo on Galaxy S

      Based on an anonymous post on the XDA Developer Forums, the reason behind the lack of a Froyo update for Samsung Galaxy S phones in the US appears to be because Samsung is greedy.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE India Community to Organize Its First Conference in Bangalore

        Indian KDE Community is organizing its maiden conference – conf.kde.in in Bangalore on 9th, 10th and 11th March followed by a two day code sprint on 12th and 13th.

        conf.kde.in will provide a platform for Qt and KDE contributors and enthusiasts to meet up, share their knowledge, contribute, learn, play, have fun and create limitless possibilities.

      • When KDE 4′s Activities Finally Made Sense

        Here’s what happens with me. I have 4 virtual desktops, as you saw above. They are named main, chatting, coding, and web. Main holds Kontact and Amarok. Chatting has Kopete, Choqok, and Konversation. Coding either has Blender, Inkscape and Dolphn or Kate and Konsole. Web holds my web browser. So when I start up my computer, I need to start all these up. I could leave them all open when I logout and let KDE save that as a session. But that means KDE is sluggish to start up as it starts up all those programs. And if all I want is to listen to some music, I have to wait an unreasonable amount of time. What activities will allow me to do is associate those programs with an activity and whenever I start up the activity, those programs will automatically load. So on a day I’m not working on INM (http://www.notmadcomic.com), I don’t load the Blender activity. Same goes with coding. But when I *do* want to work on a new comic strip, I just load up the Blender activity and it will auto-load blender, Dolphin (to the right subfolder), and inkscape. When I’m done, I just close the activity.

        Whether this turns out to be awesome in practice depends on how annoying it is to switch activities vs how annoying it is to switch virtual desktops. Virtual desktops work well enough for me that the benefits aren’t worth it if it becomes more annoying to get to what I want to do. I can’t try it just yet – as I write this (it will be published about a week later) Fedora doesn’t have KDE 4.6, but I’m definitely excited about trying this new workflow.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

      • 4G base-station on a chip runs Linux

        Freescale Semiconductor announced a Linux-ready system-on-chip family for femtocell and picocell 4G base stations. The QorIQ Qonverge SoCs combine a Power-PC core for the PSC9130/31 femtocell version — or dual cores for the PSC9132 picocell model — as well as one or two Freescale StarCore DSP cores, a Maple baseband accelerator, and other accelerators that create a scalable “base station-on-chip.”

      • Phones

        • Android

          • Google Music Service Tied To Android 3.0: Report

            Is the long-rumored Google music service imminent? It appears that way, according to statements made by Motorola Mobilitiy CEO Sanjay Jha.

            Jha told reporters at Mobile World Congress that the tablet-optimized Android OS, Honeycomb, will include a Google music tie-in. Motorola’s Android tablet Xoom is expected to launch this spring and will be the first to ship with Android 3.0, dubbed Honeycomb.

      • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • FOSDEM 2011 slide & latest updates

      I’ve just uploaded the slide for my talk during FOSDEM 2011 here. It was very nice to be able to talk about our somewhat ambitious plan to bring LibreOffice Calc to the next level. Also, I regret that I haven’t been able to blog about what’s been going on lately; lots of time spent on writing, reviewing code, fixing bugs and integrating patches, and sadly little time is left on writing blogs.

  • Education

    • Few students make time to study computer science

      Elizabeth Jackson is different from other 17-year-olds.

      “Most kids are like, ‘Ooh, a computer! I can go on Facebook,’ ” the Ligonier Valley junior said. “They don’t think, ‘What a cool piece of technology!’”

      Jackson, on the other hand, has long been interested in how technology works.

      “I always liked pulling things apart, taking apart remote controls,” she said.

      Today, she is studying mechatronics, a combination of mechanical and electronic engineering, at the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in Derry Township. The class is centered around building and programming robots, and students graduate with knowledge of computer hardware, software and programming languages.


      “It’s not only important for a student to learn to write a letter in Microsoft Word,” Sudol-DeLyser said, explaining that every student should learn about basic computer security, media production and simple programming, and interested students should be encouraged to study computer science in depth.

  • Business

  • Licensing

    • Kinect – Licensing implications of open hardware projects

      I’ve been looking with great interest OpenKinect, an open source project that in its own words is an “open community of people interested in making use of the amazing Xbox Kinect hardware with our PCs and other devices. We are working on free, open source libraries that will enable the Kinect to be used with Windows, Linux, and Mac.” The Kinect is indeed a revolution in human-computer interface, much like the Wii was a revolution in how people interact with video-games. I have been tempted to get an Xbox just to try out the wonderful hardware.

      OpenKinect is trying to use this amazing hardware to create interfaces for other applications. As soon as I heard about this, my lawyerly sixth sense started flashing warning signs. Is Microsoft on-board with this? Is there a licence? Are the OpenKinect developers opening themselves to future lawsuits and licensing fee claims from Redmond’s finest Men in Black?


  • Science

    • Google-backed Moon robot teams confirmed

      The final line-up of teams competing for the $30 million (£18.5m) robotic Moon-explorer prize has been confirmed.

      The prize will go to the builders of the first robot to send back video as it travels over 500 metres of the Moon’s surface.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Diet Coke sponsors ‘heart health’ initiative as if aspartame were good for you

      The Coca Cola Company recently announced the launch of its fourth annual Diet Coke “Women’s Heart Health” campaign to “raise awareness and funds for women’s heart health education and research.” Similar to what Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Mike’s Hard Lemonade did with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer campaign last year, Diet Coke is this year pretending to advance the cause of improving women’s heart health via a chemical-laden soft drink that is literally destroying the health of millions.

    • This is what “pro-life” means?

      House Republicans just cut off funds for abortions — and breast exams, cervical cancer screenings and STD testing

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Algeria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain: 2011-2-19

      The situation in Libya has heated up. The government of Libya has brought in African mercenaries who are ruthless. The death-toll mounts. In Bahrain, the army and police have withdrawn from the Pearl Roundabout, allowing protestors to reoccupy that area. Let us hope this is not a strategic move to create a free firing zone. Let us hope it is a move towards actual dialogue. In Yemen violence continues.

    • Major Jolloud

      Long before I became involved with technology I worked as a reporter in the Middle East. My work there introduced me to many important characters of that era. Some of them, like Yassar Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and King Hussein of Jordan, are long gone from the scene. I effectively predated Mubarak, and in those days Bahrain was mainly known as the only place on the Gulf where drivers were polite and you could legally buy a drink. But one constant that remains is Colonel Qaddafi of Libya, though he’s not what this column is about. It’s about Major Jolloud, Qaddafi’s right-hand man.


      So now we have Libyan troops killing Libyan citizens in both protests and funeral processions. This is completely consistent with Major Jolloud. And it will continue until the government falls or all the protest leaders are dead. Not until the protests end — until the leaders are dead. That’s Major Jolloud’s way and the people of Libya probably know that by now.

    • Bahrain must reform now, Clinton says

      The wave of unrest spreading across the Middle East and North Africa is testing the underpinnings of US policy, which for decades has seen Washington side with rulers who kept a lid on dissent but provided relative geopolitical stability.

    • Update: Libya death toll tops 173, says Human Rights Watch

      Update: Death toll now at least 173, rights group says

    • Chinese police snuff out planned Arab-inspired protests

      Police dispersed scores of people who gathered in central Beijing on Sunday after calls spread online across China urging pro-democracy gatherings inspired by protest rallies across the Middle East.

    • North Korea digging tunnels for likely nuclear test: report

      North Korea is digging tunnels at a site where it has launched two nuclear tests, suggesting it is preparing a third, the South’s Yonhap news agency said on Sunday, a development which would trigger concern across the region.

    • As army withdraws from Bahrain’s Pearl Square, protesters return

      Thousands of jubilant Bahrainis returned on Saturday to Manama’s Pearl Square, the focal point of bloody anti-regime demonstrations, after police and troops withdrew in an apparently conciliatory move.

    • WATCH: 75,000+ protesters converge on Madison, Wisconsin
    • American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy

      The American who shot dead two men on a Lahore street, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the United States, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time of the incident.

      Raymond Davis has been the subject of widespread speculation since he opened fire with a semi-automatic Glock pistol on the two men who had pulled up alongside his car at a red light on 25 January.

  • Cablegate

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog—Special Weekend Edition!

      Finally! A WikiLeaks / football (soccer, to you) link! Sports Illustrated writer says he wants to run for president of FIFA, and finds maybe he is not joking. Among the weapons in his “Arsenal” (so to speak): “I would love to do a WikiLeaks on FIFA,” Wahl said. “If I’m president I’ll release all of the internal documents to the public, I’ll start an internal investigation to see if this organization really is corrupt. I think the international Olympic committee went through something like this and they have a much cleaner reputation now.”

      WikiLeaks just released hundreds of new Bahrainian cables. From one of new cables on Bahrain: Head of Bahrain intelligence agency “valued contact” of US embassy.

      Important piece on librarians and WikiLeaks. No, really, don’t miss it.

      Special one-day sale on my Age of Wikileaks book, just $10.95 in print and $4.99 e-book.

      In spirit of what I’ve been doing for awhile, Ryan Gallagher puts together long list of WikiLeaks revelations and how they’ve been covered.

      As Libya revolt grows, a collection of WikiLeaks cables on LIbya, well beyond the infamous “nurse.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Activist faces up to 10 years in prison for peacefully challenging big oil

      This is the story of an ordinary citizen (Tim DeChristopher) taking creative peaceful direct action to disrupt, as he put it, a “fraud against the American people and a threat to (his) future.”

      In December 2008, the Bush administration granted the oil and gas industry one last unethical auction in Utah, scurrying to lease out parcels of pristine red rock public lands for drilling and exploration.

      Exercising his inherent right to protest, Tim who was then a local college student, walked in the building, registered as bidder 70 and went up against Big Oil and friends. He soon outbid them—winning 14 parcels in a row and racking up over $1.7 million worth of land! When asked to step aside by security, Tim made it very clear that he was there to stop the auction and was promptly escorted out.

    • Speak out against ill-advised natural gas drilling regulations for Delaware River Basin

      Last December, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) released draft regulations governing natural gas drilling in the basin. The Delaware River watershed supplies drinking water to approximately 15 million people and gets its water from four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. New York City’s unfiltered drinking water supply – which supplies safe water to more than 9 million New Yorkers – is fed by the Delaware River system.

  • Finance

    • Deep Green: Debt, Human Rights and Nature

      In January, the bankers and corporate executives at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, presented a plan to create $100 trillion US dollars (about €700 billion or ¥7 trillion) in new international debt.

      During the last decade, world debt nearly doubled from $57 trillion to $109 trillion. Banks created ‘toxic assets’, ‘mortgage derivatives’ and ‘default swaps’ without substantial collateral to back them up. These schemes made bankers very rich, but helped collapse the world financial system 18 months ago. Public taxpayers have since bailed these bankers out with about $11 trillion in new debt. Now the financiers want more.

      As some economies slightly recovered, energy prices rose to trigger inflation, slowing real recovery. Thus, the WEF bankers published ‘More Credit, Fewer Crises’, proposing that the world double its debt once again to $210 trillion by 2020. This debt would be over three times the entire world annual economy.

    • NEW DETAILS: How Goldman Sachs Killed AIG
    • Goldman CEO gets salary boost, $12.6 million shares

      Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) tripled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein’s base salary and awarded him $12.6 million (7.9 million pounds) of stock, even after the bank’s net income plunged last year.

    • Simon Johnson With Eliot Spitzer: “The Banks Went Crazy; Nobody Stopped Them; J.P. Morgan Is The New GSE”

      Who are the government sponsored enterprises today? Which entities are too big to fail, in the eyes of lawmakers and regulators, and therefore are receiving implicit, no-cost government guarantees?

      The answer is our largest bank holding companies such as JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. bank in terms of assets behind Bank of America Corp. This point is made in the latest quarterly report from Neil Barofsky, the special inspector-general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Stephen Harper’s worst enemy

      What happens when the smartest man in the room (by his own estimation) proves too clever by half? What happens when a one-man band puts on a third-rate show? What happens when a “brilliant strategist” is so full of uncontrollable resentment and meanness that he keeps getting himself in trouble by interfering where he has no business?

  • Privacy

    • ‘Kill Switch’ Internet bill alarms privacy experts

      Just as the Egyptian government recently forced the Internet to go dark, U.S. officials could flip the switch if the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset legislation becomes law, say its critics.

      Proponents of the bill, which is expected to be reintroduced in the current session of Congress, dismiss the detractors as ill-informed — even naive.

      The ominously nicknamed Kill Switch bill is sure to be a flashpoint of discussion at the RSA Conference, the nation’s largest gathering of computer-security experts that takes place here this week.

      The bill — crafted by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Tom Carper, D-Del. — aims to defend the economic infrastructure from a cyberterrorist attack. But it has free-speech advocates and privacy experts howling over the prospect of a government agency quelling the communication of hundreds of millions of people.

    • Your Life Torn Open, essay 1: Sharing is a trap

      The author of The Cult Of The Amateur argues that if we lose our privacy we sacrifice a fundamental part of our humanity.

  • Civil Rights

    • A call to arms!

      Last week, joyful images of Damian Green standing next to the remnants of our multi-million pound ID card database were met with applause from those of us who pride personal freedom and resent an over-powering state. This is a state that, in its wisdom, has deemed it within its rights (and amazingly even its responsibility on occasions) to hold data on every single British citizen, information that delved into the most personal aspects of the individual.

    • Airport face-scanning robots switched off

      Facial recognition scaAirport face-scanning robots switched offnners at Manchester Airport have been switched off after an incident in which the robot guard let a couple through the gate even though they had swapped passports.

      An immigration officer stopped the couple after they got through the barrier.

    • EU bottoms up committee slates body scanners

      An obscure EU Committee has slammed the introduction of body scanners, raising concerns over the health and human rights risks of the technology.

      The European Economic and Social Committee has delivered an opinion on scanner technology, which sets out concerns over the scanners’ ability to improve security “which, coupled with the considerable cost of the scanners, remains the key issue”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

Clip of the Day

How Wikileaks REALLY Works

Credit: TinyOgg

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