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Links 31/1/2011: A Look at Mandriva 2010.2, Sabayon Linux 5.5 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The hidden places where Linux dominates

    While the fight for desktop dominance is still raging somewhere in the distance, Linux has quietly succeeded in the places no one thinks to look.

    It’s being used in mobile phones, set-top boxes, media streamers and routers. It’s being used to fuel the London Stock Exchange and to provide in-flight entertainment for thousands of travellers.

  • Desktop

    • When Is It Time To Switch Operating Systems?

      Is Linux really harder? Well, for a Windows user trying to switch a friend or relative…my goodness, yes. If I blasted back to early 2003 and tried to switch people over to Linux with the understanding I had back then, it would have been a mess. But like being the “support guy” for any family or group of friends, it can work and most DEFINITELY has its place. The key is to be the support guy who knows how to use it in the first place. You know, much like Windows or OS X.

  • Server

    • Microsoft Asks Intel to Make 16-Core Atom Chip

      ARM is reported to be developing chip design for switches and servers. Microsoft recently stated that it is porting Windows to Arm processors to be used in mobile devices but servers are different because it is expected to run various existing software. Arm on the other hand reiterated that most servers need only to run a few software such as Linux, Apache, MySQL database, and PHP.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 188 – Minix Lint

      This week on Linux Outlaws: Eric Schmidt replaced as Google CEO, OSI and FSF join forces to protect software freedom, Florian Mueller spreads anti-Android FUD, a review of Linux Mint 10 Debian Edition and much more…

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Version 1.0 Of Enlightenment Foundation Libraries

      If you missed it this Friday night, version 1.0 of the core Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) have been released.


      After Enlightenment E16 1.0 was released in 2009, other milestones since then have been an E17 snapshot, Samsung sponsoring Enlightenment’s development, and Enlightenment is now even running on refrigerators.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • It’s like someone rewrote Plasma from scratch

        Ever since I switched to KDE4 I kept having the weirdest issues with Plasma. The problems ranged from small design glitches to freakishly strange behavior which rendered Plasma unusable every now and then. Today I’ve solved (almost) all of those issues, which, as it turned out, could all be fixed within a minute. But let’s not jump to the cause & workaround just yet.


        Finally: I can’t tell you how great and polished KDE 4.6 suddenly feels. It’s been a while I’ve been that proud of it. And all because of two extra digits in a little text config file.

      • How To Install Oxygen-Transparent Style In Ubuntu [KDE]

        KDE 4.6 was supposed to ship with a transparent Oxygen style but in the end it didn’t make it “due to serious issues (notably with embedded widgets, such as videos) which cannot be fixed at the style level”. But that doesn’t mean you can’t install Oxygen-Transparent. Read on!

    • Xfce

      • XFCE 4.8 Ubuntu 10.04 And 10.10 PPAs

        XFCE 4.8 was released about two weeks ago, bringing GVFS support for Thunar (so it can now browse remote shares using FTP, Windows Shares, WebDav and SSH), XFCE panel improvements and more.

  • Distributions

    • Maverick boots in 8 seconds on SSD!

      There you go. Enjoy the under-10-second boot! As promised, it finally arrived. But then, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint what makes one laptop boot faster and another slower. You have ancient laptops that boot as quickly as brand new high-end notebooks. It’s a tricky combination of hardware and software, almost a magic, if you will.

      Still, eight seconds – or rather, almost nine seconds, is an extremely reasonable number, more so when you compare to other operating systems. I did test with Fedora, openSUSE and several more distros, none gave boot times as good as Ubuntu. Furthermore, taking Windows as the main antagonist in this race, Maverick wins hands down. There’s the humble and unexpected battery life bonus, too.

      I hope you liked this article. If you got any crazy ideas about other benchmarks, feel free to send me your ideas and your hardware. I’ll be more than glad to abuse them.

    • Linux Vendors Putting Up an App Store

      Linux is joining the app store bandwagon. Major Linux distributions announced that they will team up to make an app store for Linux users. With a Linux app store in place, users will have a place to look for apps no matter what distribution they use.

      An Application Store will bring more users to the Linux platform. Third party developers will also be lured to the platform. The normal users can find and install applications that will be added to the current package management.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2010.2 makes Linux easy

        Mandriva Linux’s latest release is testament to the work done by developers to make it one of the easiest to use Linux releases ever.

        Despite ongoing financial woes, Mandriva Linux developers have delivered the latest version of this popular desktop Linux operating system. Mandriva Linux 2010.2 is the latest in a long line of Mandriva releases from the company that used to be known as Mandrake Linux, and it every bit as user-friendly as promised.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Torrents

        No fear, “torrent site:debian.org” finds 4700 hits. Perhaps the censorship is more targeted or being phased in.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • [Full Circle] issue 45

          * Command and Conquer.
          * How-To : Program in Python – Part 19, Virtualization : Debian Xen Part 2 and Installing Ubuntu with m23.
          * Linux Lab – Creating a Multiboot USB stick.
          * Review – KDE 4.5.
          * Top 5 – Music Annotation Apps.
          plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and much much more!

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux Release Candidate

            Today the Bodhi team and I are happy to announce our release candidate (0.1.5) is now available to the general public. This disc includes a number of package updates, most notably Firefox beta 10 and EFL 1.0 stable release. For a full change log see here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Google Android Honeycomb ported to the NOOKcolor: Doesn’t really work yet

        The good news is that the first version of Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb has been ported to an existing Android tablet. Xda-developers forum member deeper-blue combined data from the preview SDK Google released this week with a kernel for the NOOKcolor eBook reader to get the software up and running on the tablet.

        The bad news is that the port is mostly a proof of concept at this point. There’s no hardware acceleration yet, and while deeper-blue did manage to get touch input to start working, he says the tablet is very slow while running Android 3.0. Hardware graphics acceleration might improve things, and he hopes to work on that this weekend.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why I’m not an open source person any more

    I still use open source software extensively (I’m writing this in WordPress, using Mozilla on Gnome on Ubuntu), but then, so does everyone, whether they know it or not. Sometime around the early 2000s, Linux and other open source software stopped being a fringe, weirdo thing and started just being a sensible choice for most Internet projects. And since almost everything’s on the Internet these days, well, open source is just something that is.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • New Class Suit Hits LexisNexis for Unfair Fees

      Days from announcing a commitment from Ubuntu, The Document Foundations debuts its first full, stable (and free) release of the next generation of OpenOffice – LibreOffice 3.3. Steven J. Vaughan has details on the new release and following is a gallery of some of the most important new features.

    • Jenkins!

      So what does this mean now? Well, it means Jenkins lives. We’ve registered jenkins-ci.org, though it’s empty at the moment. In the coming days, we will be renaming the existing Google Groups to jenkins-*@googlegroups.com, renaming the Twitter account from @hudsonci to @jenkinsci, and renaming our organization at Github from hudson to jenkinsci. I wanted to make sure everyone had notice ahead of time that this was happening, so that no one gets surprised by changes to their incoming mail, etc. As said before, the initial, interim governance board will consist of me, Kohsuke and, if he and Oracle are willing, Winston. If Winston is unwilling or unable to continue in that role with Jenkins, we will select a replacement interim member. The interim board will work on the details of a more permanent governance process going forward. Discussions on the infrastructure changes (including things like the Maven groupId/artifactIds, etc) will be in public, on these lists. We’re working to get the JIRA and wiki contents migrated over to the Jenkins site, and hope to work with Oracle to get that done in the next couple days.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • As Egypt Erupts, Al Jazeera Offers Its News for Free to Other Networks

      Qatar-based cable news network Al Jazeera is not available on United States cable systems — except in local markets in Vermont, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

      But that hasn’t stopped the major American news outlets from relying on the international news network for critical reportage on the growing unrest in Egypt.

    • [Old] How to Train Death Squads and Quash Revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq

      Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as “what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places”. Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.

    • Open Data

      • Open Public Data: Then What? – Part 1

        The following guest post is by Daniel Kaplan, Director of Fing (the Next-Generation Internet Foundation, France). Today he explores three possible futures for Open Public Data, and on Monday he will suggest ways to ensure that we are moving in the best direction.

        We tend to assume that the opening up of public data will only produce positive outcomes for individuals, for society and the economy. But the opposite may be true. We should start thinking further ahead on the possible consequences of releasing public data, and how we can make sure they are mostly positive.

    • Open Access/Content

      • All Icelandic literature to go online?

        Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson, formerly of the National Library of Iceland had a big idea: digitize all Icelandic literature all the way to the current day and make it available to everyone interested in reading it. The Internet Archive was eager to be a part of this bold vision.

  • Programming

    • Ruby Dropped in Netbeans 7

      Ruby/RoR in NetBeans made headlines three years ago, but after Sun was acquired by Oracle there where fears that support for dynamic languages would suffer, as this IDE would be downsized. This has become a reality, since as of version 7, NetBeans will no longer support Ruby.

    • Which Programming Language Should I Learn Next?

      What Makes a Language Usable or Worth Learning?

      This is a common question I see people discuss: most often I’ve seen it in “Common Lisp vs. Scheme” discussions common in Lisp forums. The question there seems directed at why Common Lisp has been so much more popular than Scheme. That’s a dubious premise, seeing that many people learn Scheme in college CS classes, at least that’s my impression (as I said, I’ve never taken such a class). The real premise of the question is “Why does Common Lisp have so many libraries, whereas Scheme makes you recreate format?” Paul Graham’s creation of Arc was driven by this contention: people say “If you want to actually get work done, use Common Lisp,” but Scheme is so cool, right? I have come to a different question which is “How does this language fit into my workflow?” This was also a critical part of choosing a Scheme implementation. There are tons of them, but they are all designed for slightly different purposes, or they are someone’s proof-of-concept compiler. Guile is a great example of the reasons I would put time into learning to use a particular language.


  • New Class Suit Hits LexisNexis for Unfair Fees

    LexisNexis has been charging litigants “unconscionable” rates to file online documents in some Texas state courts, creating a poll tax-like situation that creates an unconstitutional barrier to open courts, a class action claims in Bexar County Court. The company, and its Netherlands-based parent, Reed Elsevier, faces similar lawsuits in Georgia and Texas federal court.

  • A Simple African Wishlist to Larry Page of Google

    My personal life has been enriched enormously by the massive array of splendid products that you give out for free- of course in the hope of making some ad money. Since you now are at the helm of affairs, I’d like to put to you this simple wish-list of mine with regards to my continent Africa.

  • Senator Jim Alesi’s broken leg lawsuit

    An area lawmaker is suing a Perinton couple who are also his constituents.

    Senator Jim Alesi is also suing the builder of the couple’s home. The lawsuit claims he was injured when he decided to look inside their house which was under construction at the time.

  • Nanny State: More Politicians Against Pedestrians Listening To Headphones Or Texting
  • Voting reform bill: peers threaten ‘mass revolt’ over guillotine attempt

    She said that any attempt to introduce a guillotine – which David Cameron has threatened to do early this week following agonisingly slow progress on the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill – would provoke uproar and would almost certainly be defeated.

  • HP’s New Plan: No More Worthless Hype

    Broken promises are part of technology’s natural cycle, but Leo Apotheker, HP’s new boss, says that’s not going to happen anymore at his company.

    From now on, HP will only announce tech products that are a few weeks away from shipping, Apotheker said in an interview with the BBC. “”HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn’t have,” he said. “… That’s a simple management decision, I don’t need to re-engineer the tanker to do that.”

  • How fast are the Amish growing?

    Some Amish may average from 5-6, while others register birth rates as high as 9 children per family (such as the Swiss Amish churches of Adams County, Indiana). Typically the average number of children is cited as 6 or 7 per family. Compared to a non-Amish average of slightly more than 2, the Amish family size is indeed quite large.

  • Model predicts ‘religiosity gene’ will dominate society

    In the past 20 years, the Amish population in the US has doubled, increasing from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010. The huge growth stems almost entirely from the religious culture’s high fertility rate, which is about 6 children per woman, on average. At this rate, the Amish population will reach 7 million by 2100 and 44 million by 2150. On the other hand, the growth may not continue if future generations of Amish choose to defect from the religion and if secular influences reduce the birth rate. In a new study, Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University, has looked at the broader picture underlying this particular example: how will the high fertility rates of religious people throughout the world affect the future of human genetic evolution, and therefore the biological makeup of society?

  • Shakespeare’s Globe takes issue with the Queen over Bible reading royalties

    Thirteen years after the Queen fulfilled the dream of the late film director Sam Wanamaker and officially opened his reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe, she has become inadvertently involved in an unseemly squabble over money with its managers.

  • All of Pearl River Delta to be amalgamated into a 42-million-person megacity

    The Chinese government has announced plans to amalgamate the nine major cities in the Pearl River Delta (home to a manufacturing-driven economic boom) into a single city with a population of 42 million people (more than Argentina, the world’s 32nd largest country), occupying an area twice the size of Wales.

  • Science

    • Does Google do “research”?

      I’ve been asked a lot by folks recently about whether the work I’m doing now at Google is “research” and whether one can really have a “research career” at Google. This has also led to a lot of interesting discussions about what the role of research is in an industrial setting.

    • Science Students Stand Tall at State of the Union

      President Obama made his commitment to science and technology very clear in the first minutes of his presidency, when he promised in his Inaugural Address that his Administration would “restore science to its rightful place.”

      Tonight that rightful place will be the First Lady’s Box in the U.S. Capitol, where four remarkable science students from across the country will join Michelle Obama and other guests during the President’s State of the Union Address.

    • FBI serves 40 search warrants in Anonymous crackdown
    • ‘Radical Redesign’ Urged for Future Computers

      A study suggests the emergence of multicore processors will support an overhaul of computing architecture and much faster operations.

  • Security

    • Accused Scareware Operators Settle with FTC for $8.2 Million
    • Sourceforge Attack: Full Report

      The general course of the attack was pretty standard. There was a root privilege escalation on one of our platforms which permitted exposure of credentials that were then used to access machines with externally-facing SSH. Our network partitioning prevented escalation to other zones of our network.

      This is the point where we found the attack, locked down servers, and began work on analysis and response.

  • Politics/Defence/Police/Aggression

    • News finds way around Egyptian blockage

      While the popular satellite channel Al Jazeera has been broadcasting live footage of mass protests in Egypt, a nearly countrywide clampdown on the internet means there have been little information from people on the ground via blogs and Twitter.

      Despite this, and a mobile service shutdown, Egyptians have been finding ways around the internet blockage, using old-fashioned landlines, faxes and even ham radio. Telecomix News Agency said in a post on Twitter on Friday that it has been providing dial-up modem service and that activists are receiving Morse code messages over ham radio out of Egypt.

    • Is Qaddafi Next?

      And with Libya’s immediate neighbors convulsed by public protests over the brutality and kleptocracy of their ruling familes, a newly leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in Libya suggests that strongman Muammar Qaddafi has created a decadent, money-hungry family dynasty that could find itself the target of the next Arab revolution in the streets.

    • Undercover police officer warns against giving Met control of spy unit

      The first undercover police officer to infiltrate the environmental movement has warned against allowing the Metropolitan police to take over the unit responsible for monitoring “domestic extremists”.

      Peter Black, who was undercover for four years, said it would be a “terrific mistake” if Scotland Yard were given control of the secretive unit, which has been running spies in protest groups.

    • Côte d’Ivoire: Violence Campaign by Security Forces, Militias

      Security forces under the control of Laurent Gbagbo and militias that support him have, since late November 2010, committed extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, and rape, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Tunisian foreign minister Kamel Morjane resigns

      Tunisia’s foreign minister, Kamel Morjane, has announced his resignation, state media reported, as authorities sought to appease protesters who want to oust other peers of the deposed former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

    • Iraq war inquiry: Top admiral told ‘regime change not the goal’ by Blair

      Britain’s most senior military officer at the time of the invasion of Iraq told the Chilcot inquiry he repeatedly asked Tony Blair for an assurance that the war would be lawful and was emphatically assured the aim was never “regime change”.

      In striking contrast to previous evidence about the former prime minister’s war aims, Admiral Lord Boyce said : “Our policy absolutely and specifically was not regime change”.

    • Kagame’s authoritarian turn risks Rwanda’s future

      When President Paul Kagame of Rwanda won re-election in August, he could look back with pride on his accomplishments. Rwanda has emerged from the devastation of genocide and become more secure and prosperous than anyone had a right to expect. The central task of his second seven-year term, which by law must be his last, is to add broader democracy to this security and prosperity.

    • British terror suspects banned from returning to UK

      Eight people suspected of terrorist links have been banned from returning to Britain under deprivation of citizenship orders, described bya lawyer for some of them as “far more draconian” than control orders.

      A freedom of information request by the Guardian revealed that, since 2007, eight people have been issued with these orders and had their passports cancelled while out of the UK, the same number as currently are subject to control orders. Often they were visiting family members abroad in school holidays when the notices were served, followed within a day or two by a signed order and an exclusion order preventing them from returning to the UK.

    • Airport officials declare tiny toy gun a safety threat
    • Airport security officials brand three inch toy gun “firearm”
    • Police officer guilty of assault

      An Edmonton police officer was found guilty Friday of assaulting a man he had taken into custody.

      Const. Haoyin Zheng was found guilty of assault in relation to the arrrest of two suspects in a west Edmonton alley on Dec. 15, 2008.

      Zheng faced three charges but was found not guilty of assault with a weapon and a second assault charge.

    • G20 accused decries detention conditions

      Joe “Grim” Thomson has spent about eight years in jail. His rap sheet has 31 convictions, from theft to assault to break and enter. He was “jumped in” to a Toronto gang at the age of 10.

      He’s been on the inside of the Don Jail and Metro West and experienced a prison riot at maximum-security Millhaven. But none of those compare to the makeshift G20 detention centre that housed more than 1,000 people arrested during the summit weekend.

    • Egyptian army storms museum to protect from looters

      The Egyptian army has secured a famed antiquities museum from looters after dozens tried to steal priceless artifacts.

    • Mubarak’s planning exile to Tel Aviv

      According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.

    • Juju’s message to Mubarak
    • Stand with the People of Egypt

      Something incredible is happening in Egypt. Protests are spreading across the country, threatening a 30-year dictatorship.

    • Regime Change In Egypt And Undercover Police Actions

      We may have seen it in Canada, where the trashing of a police cruiser may have been a setup. The cruiser was supposedly stripped of it’s valuable computer, and abandoned, and the protestors who trashed it were wearing the same combat boots that uniformed police were wearing.

    • Pres. Mubarak’s Steals 40 Billion

      Jan. 28, 2011 President Mubarak’s Steals 40 Billion. President Mubarak’s stash is worth 40 billion dollars as his personal worth or what he stole from the Egyptian people has risen to epic proportions.

      Mubarak’s name can be added to the names of wealthy dictators throughout the world that most likely received the aide from the United States in their attempt to affect influence in foreign country politics.

    • It’s Not Twitter or Facebook, It’s the Power of the Network

      Just as it was during the recent uprisings in Tunisia, the role of social media in the recent upheaval in Egypt has been the subject of much debate since the unrest began on Thursday. Daily Show host Jon Stewart on Friday poked fun at the idea that Twitter might have played a key part in the demonstrations, and there are many observers who share his skepticism. The real trigger for the uprisings, they argue, is simply the frustration of the oppressed Egyptian people — which is undoubtedly true. But it also seems clear that social media has played a key role in getting the word out, and in helping organizers plan their protests. In the end, it’s not about Twitter or Facebook: it’s about the power of real-time networked communication.

    • Women of Egypt

      I found this collection of pictures of women in Egypt protesting against the regime on Facebook collected by Leil-Zahra Mortada.

    • Could Egypt Happen Here? Obama’s Internet “Kill Switch”

      First it was Facebook. Then it was Twitter. Now, in the face of massive protests in the streets of Cairo and throughout the country, Egypt has pulled the plug on the entire Internet for its citizens. As this chart from Arbor networks shows, Internet traffic mounted steadily in Egypt steadily over several days, then suddenly and precipitously dropped to nil at 5:20 PM EST yesterday.

    • Why US Foreign Policy Is Flummoxed by Egypt’s Uprising

      As the United States struggles to respond to rapidly changing conditions in Egypt, it is informative to look at the arc of US foreign policy over the past half century or so. Foggy Bottom is stuck in a fog precisely because the approach to foreign policy has not evolved sufficiently since the demise of the Cold War. US foreign policy today is just as dependent on supporting individual despotic leaders today as it was in the 1950′s and 1960′s.

    • An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

      As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.

      For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.

    • RCMP Chief Supt. Alphonse McNeil

      The concept of awarding any officer an award, for any involvement in the G8/G20 fiasco is beyond the pale.

  • Cablegate

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog — Special Weekend Edition!

      1:30 Just got email from Chris McGreal, Guardian correspondent in Washington, D.C., responding to my item earlier today about Bradley Manning as (possible) British citizen. Here, with his permission, from the email: “I think you are almost certainly right about him being a British citizen at birth through his mother who still lives in Wales. It maybe that he even obtained a British passport because, as the Daily Mail reports today, he went to Tasker Milward secondary school in Haverfordwest for a number of years before returning to his father. Which means he either entered the UK with a British passport or would have had to have obtained some kind of visa in his US passport that recognised his right to be in the UK through citizenship. Either way, there must have been some form of official British recognition of his UK citizenship for him to have gone to school in Wales.” If he is a citizen, British authorities would normally take an interest in the case, visit him in prison, etc.

    • U.S., British Govts Keep Pressure on WikiLeaks

      U.S. and British government officials have begun a global crackdown against pro-WikiLeaks “hacktivists” who briefly shut down Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon.com December 9. The loose group of hacktivists began a global cyber-attack called “Operation Payback” against the companies that earlier had caved-in to what was likely a U.S. federal government pressure campaign and similar electronic attack against the WikiLeaks website earlier in the year.

      Five British citizens were arrested on January 27 in the anti-WikiLeaks government probe, and the U.S. government issued 40 search warrants the same day in a related move. The British arrests all involved young men aged 15 to 26. ABC News reported that many of the U.S. searches were “conducted in the San Francisco Bay area and the Boston area as part of an ongoing investigation that involved 26 FBI field offices executing search warrants.”

    • Bangladesh ‘death squad’ trained by UK police resumes extrajudicial killing

      David Cameron set to raise issue with visiting Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina after UK connection revealed by WikiLeaks

    • Bill Keller and Wikileaks

      Bill Keller, the New York Times’ executive editor, published an enormous article on the 26th of January about the New York Times’ dealings with Wikileaks. The article develops further the running story of Wikileaks’ relationship with its media partners, the subject of a Vanity Fair piece earlier in the month.

      Much has been made of the negative light in which Julian Assange appears in the article. Wired’s Kim Zetter published a digest piece, in which the more absurd claims of the piece are given particular attention but little critical treatment. The more colourful parts of the article were, predictably, grist to the celebrity gossip mill.

    • Join a New Video Project in Defense of WikiLeaks

      The following is a brief description of this project with instructions on how to participate and submit your video clips. Julian Assange’s extradition hearing date is set to occur on either Feb 7th or 8th, 2011. Our goal is to release this video is the day of his hearing. With your help it will be a very powerful message that will be heard by many people around the world. Due to our very tight deadline we ask that you submit video clips back to us by February 1st.



    • Julian Assange: ‘How do you attack an organisation? You attack its leadership’

      Julian Assange awakes to talk, from the nap he has stolen in an armchair at the Norfolk country house where he is staying. He has been up all night disseminating, on his WikiLeaks site, US State Department cables and documents relevant to the momentous events unfolding in Egypt, and they make remarkable reading.

    • The Age of Wikileaks
    • Updates as they trickle in

      11:45 – The Daily Express (UK tabloid) has reported that the military are protecting the Valley of the Kings but that there has been no move by the UK government to evacuate Luxor.

      CNN has reported on two tours and their experiences in Cairo. One tour, which started in Cairo, arrived safely in Luxor where they saw tanks but apparently no signs of trouble. They were transferred to their cruise ship which has sailed south, but the atmoshpere on board is described as “somber”.

      Reuters has suggested that the protests may have only a short term impact on tourism in Egypt, but I guess that that will depend on the political outcome of the protests.

    • How we know Bradley Manning is a UK citizen – FOR SURE

      This is an important blog post. Please distribute it widely.

      My legal information is sourced from the UK Border Agency, specifically their caseworking instructions for all issues arising under The British Nationality Act of 1981. This piece of legislation has formed the basis of British nationality law since coming into force on 1 January 1983 and the caseworking instructions derived from it are the guidelines Border Agency employees refer to on a day-to-day basis when deciding who is entitled to British citizenship. This is an absolutely authoritative source.

      Bradley Manning is a UK citizen by virtue of his mother’s nationality. He holds both US and UK citizenship.

      Bradley Manning was born in the United States on 17 December 1987, the son of Brian and Susan Manning. As the son of an American father, born on US soil, Bradley Manning has held US citizenship since birth.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate change: Barack Obama less interested than Bush, analysis reveals

      Barack Obama has paid less attention to climate change in his State of the Union addresses than any other president in the past 20 years, an analysis by a British researcher has found.

    • Greenland ice sheet is safer than scientists previously thought

      The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.

    • If water vapour is the key greenhouse gas, why are man-made emissions important?

      It’s true that water vapour is the biggest overall contributor to the greenhouse effect and that humans are not responsible for directly emitting this gas in quantities sufficient to change its concentration in the atmosphere. However, the scientific evidence suggests that the warming caused by man-made emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is increasing the amount of water vapour in the air by boosting the rate of evaporation.

    • The cultural life of whales

      Whales are not only the largest animals that have ever lived – they are also among the most intelligent, and yet we still know very little about them. New research, however, suggests that sperm whales at least use sophisticated communication techniques to develop distinct and separate cultures. Here to discuss the latest in cetacean research to mark next month’s Peninsula Arts Whale Festival, are Philip Hoare, a self-confessed “whalehead” and author of Leviathan or, The Whale, winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, and Dr Hal Whitehead from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a world expert on sperm whales.

    • Pushing policies that would destroy a livable climate, Chamber of Commerce lectures on “energy reality”

      In actual “energy and economic reality,” the oil and coal industries are killing Americans, weakening our economy, and destabilizing our planet. Pollution from burning coal and oil kills at least 20,000 Americans a year. Oil company profits are soaring — ConocoPhillips up 46 percent to $1.9 billion, Chevron up 72 percent to $5.3 billion — on rising prices that are sucking the lifeblood out of the economic recovery. Even Dr. John Felmy, American Petroleum Institute’s top economist, admits that raising taxes on oil companies could create two million American jobs.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Contributed Vastly to The Financial Meltdown

      The headline of the excerpt below says it all: Goldman Sachs is very much responsible for the size and length of the financial disaster that came to a head in 2008. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report is a very large book-length document but one that is not difficult to read. In Chapter 8 entitled “The CDO Machine” a small section is devoted to Goldman Sachs beginning on page 142. It is worth reading but really doesn’t tell us any more than what we have already been reading and writing about.

    • Philip Maddocks: Goldman Sachs deal lets wealthiest clients invest in themselves

      The banking giant Goldman Sachs has created a “special purpose vehicle” for its high-net-worth clients that it says would further set them apart from the rest of the world by allowing the elite group an exclusive opportunity to invest in themselves.

      “We just want to do our part for our business’ economy and make sure all of us are living the life we deserve,” said a Goldman Sachs spokesman. “We are capable of doing great things for this company, and if that happens to help out the country, too, then all the better. But we’re not worried about that right now and neither are our clients.”

      In having its most prized customers invest billions in themselves through Goldman, the New York bank has established itself as the leading candidate to win the lucrative and prestigious assignment of its clients’ initial public offering, whenever that offering comes. It also puts Goldman in the position to reap millions of dollars in banking fees.

      Goldman says it has already begun the process of wooing its wealthy clients to invest in themselves, forming an investment vehicle that seeks to raise as much $100 billion through the cabal of the super wealthy.

    • Why corporate tax reform will be hard, in one graph

      Binyamin Appelbaum, as an addendum to this sobering look at the realities of corporate tax reform, points to the work of NYU’s Aswath Damodaran, who has compiled a rough estimate of the effective tax rates in various industries. You might already anticipate that the rates vary.

    • Obama’s fundraisers are rebuilding bridges to big donors for 2012 campaign

      In an attempt to patch up the relationship between the president and the nation’s top donors, Jim Messina, the 2012 reelection campaign manager and former Obama deputy chief of staff, will headline a Democratic Party event next week at the Park Avenue apartment of Jane Hartley and Ralph Schlosstein, the Obama fundraising flagship in New York. The conciliatory mission, along with the selection of Julianna Smoot, the outgoing White House social secretary as Messina’s campaign deputy, signals an intention to rebuild the big-donor establishment that President Obama obliterated.

    • Poll: Americans increasingly view global economy as a negative for U.S.

      A growing number of Americans consider the accelerating trend toward globalization a bad thing for the United States. At the same time, a majority now sees being the world’s No. 1 economic power as an important national goal.

    • Bill Gross sees dangers in the debt-limit debate

      The world’s largest bond investor says the fight over raising the country’s borrowing limit threatens to throw the debt market into a tailspin.

      “It’s the wrong way to do it,” says Bill Gross, manager of the $241 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the largest mutual fund. “Obviously, I’m all for a move to a balanced budget over time. But this is like imposing the death penalty for shoplifting.”

    • Crisis Panel’s Report Parsed Far and Wide

      Behind closed doors, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, called it “the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression.”

    • At Davos, Geithner notes confidence about economy

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that his country has more confidence now that there is a sustainable expansion – but added that it is not a boom.

      “There’s much more confidence now that we’ve got a sustainable expansion,” he said at the World Economic Forum, but added, “It’s not a boom.”

    • Senator Kent Conrad Advocates Default on the National Debt

      This would have been an appropriate headline for an AP article which included a quote from North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad implying that it would be reasonable to default on the government bonds held by the Social Security trust fund:

      “I’ve received the lash from those who say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t have to cut Social Security because there are trillions of dollars of assets.’ It is true there are trillions of dollars of assets. It is true that they’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is also true that the only way those bonds get redeemed is out of the current income of the United States.”

    • Crisis May Seem Criminal, but Try Making a Case

      The findings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have pretty much wiped away the already dwindling chances that federal prosecutors will try to hold a prominent Wall Street executive criminally responsible for the crisis. Both the majority and dissenting reports describe a wide range of serious problems in the financial system that led to the downfall of firms like Lehman Brothers and the American International Group, setting off a deep recession when the credit markets seized up in 2008.

    • Workers saw 2 percent rise in wages and benefits

      Workers saw their wages and benefits rise slightly faster in 2010 than 2009, but the gain was still the second-lowest increase in nearly three decades.

    • More robust spending helps economy gain steam

      A more active consumer was the main reason the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the final three months of 2010, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was up from 2.6 percent the previous quarter and the best since the start of last year.

    • Citigroup bailout to make US taxpayers $12.3bn profit

      US taxpayers are likely to make a $12.3bn (£7.75bn) total profit on their bailout of financial group Citigroup, according to government officials.

      The US treasury expects to net $312.2m on Monday when it sells the rest of its stake in Citigroup. The government holds 465.1m warrants in Citi that entitle it to purchase common shares in the banking group.

    • Jealous Davos Mistresses

      The point about Davos is that it makes everyone feel wildly insecure. Billionaires and heads of state alike are all convinced that they have been given the worst hotel rooms, put on the least interesting panels and excluded from the most important events/most interesting private dinners. The genius of World Economic Founder Klaus Schwab is that he has been able to persuade hundreds of accomplished businessmen to pay thousands of dollars to attend an event which is largely based on mass humiliation and paranoia.

      Wives feel sympathetic to their husbands and share their pain. But we have our own problems to cope with. After all, we are the on the bottom rung of the Davos ladder.

  • Political PR/Deception

    • Scalia meets with tea party House members

      Justice Antonin Scalia spoke Monday afternoon at a closed-door meeting organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and the House Tea Party caucus. In 2009, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas organized a tea-party group called Liberty Central, which urged conservatives to fight for the repeal of “Obamacare.”

    • Sarah Palin Calls Obama’s Sputnik Mention A ‘WTF Moment’

      Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin made her first media appearance since discussing the Tucson shooting with Sean Hannity, this time speaking to Greta Van Susteren about her thoughts on this year’s State of the Union address.

      Palin was, of course, disappointed in Barack Obama’s speech, calling his decision to refer to America’s “Sputnik moment” as a “WTF moment.”

    • Why the BBC’s old guard called time on the Wibbly Wobbly Web

      So the BBC is slimming down, in response to government pressure. The World Service is to lose five of its foreign-language services, and a quarter of its staff. And BBC Online’s budget will be cut by a quarter to £103m and the unit will lose 360 staff, at the same time as it embarks upon a radical “redesign” of the website and its navigation. Introducing these developments, the corporation’s director general explained that the hatchet-work was part of a broader strategy to do “fewer things better”. The changes to BBC Online would, he maintained, make the corporation’s web services “more focused and more valuable”.

    • A lot of Americans can’t even find their own country on a map. So I’m not surprised Fox News has no idea about Egypt!
    • Wiping Iraq off the map

      It’s a sobering thought that despite all the turmoil in Yemen there are people who look to it as a haven of safety.

      Almost a quarter of a million Somalis have fled their homes since May 7 to escape fighting in Mogadishu and up to 12,000 of them have gathered in the northern town of Bossasso, hoping to be smuggled into Yemen.

      So far, 30,000 have made the dangerous sea crossing to Yemen but more than 300 have died or gone missing in the process, AP reports via al-Jazeera and the Washington Post.

      “These people are obviously reaching the end of their rope,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news conference. “They see no future in Somalia and many of them are so desperate that they’re willing to risk their lives and the lives of their families to escape.”

      In Yemen itself, four policemen were killed and one injured – apparently by separatists – at al-Ayn (Abyan province). A local official said 10 gunmen attacked at 2am while four of the police were asleep and the fifth was on guard.

    • The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape

      Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

    • Rupert Murdoch – A Portrait Of Satan

      Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like the BBC

      And sometimes the BBC doesn’t seem to like Rupert Murdoch either.

      Following the principle that you should know your enemy, the BBC has assiduously recorded the relentless rise of Rupert Murdoch and his assault on the old “decadent” elites of Britain.

      And I thought it would be interesting to put up some of the high points.

      It is also a good way to examine how far his populist rhetoric is genuine, and how far its is a smokescreen to disguise the interests of another elite.

      As a balanced member of the BBC – I leave it to you to decide.

      Murdoch first appears in the BBC archive in a short fragment without commentary shot in 1968. It shows him ambling into the City of London on his way to see Sir Humphrey Mynors who was head of the City Takeover Panel

  • Censorship/Neutrality

    • Regulating Google’s Results? Law Prof Calls ‘Search Neutrality’ Incoherent

      “Neutrality” — if it’s good enough for the core of the internet, isn’t it good enough for the edge? The biggest internet providers say it is, and they would love to have the government slap a few neutrality rules on Google, just to see how the advertising giant likes the taste of the regulatory bridle.

      In 2010, while the FCC was debating net neutrality rules, ISPs like Time Warner Cable settled on a “they’re gatekeepers, too!” strategy.

    • 3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet

      The OLPC’s XO has meshnetworking capabilities. And some gaming systems, such as the Nintendo DS, have mesh networking built in. But we want to look at projects that are specifically aimed at replacing or augmenting the public Internet.

    • The Tweets Must Flow

      Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don’t always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content.

      The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief. On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day. From an ethical perspective, almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right. Many countries also agree that freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities and has limits.


      Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely and preserve their ability to contest having their private information revealed. While we may need to release information as required by law, we try to notify Twitter users before handing over their information whenever we can so they have a fair chance to fight the request if they so choose.

    • Blocking child porn sites “exacerbates policing problem”

      Handing the responsibility of shutting down child porn sites to web firms and watchdogs removes any incentive for police to investigate the crimes, according to a European digital rights group.

      In a report, The slide from “self-regulation” to corporate censorship, European Digital Rights (EDRI) criticised the trend of passing extra-judicial powers to an ever-widening pool of web monitors, including ISPs, bodies such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and European watchdogs.

    • OPENMESH Is Seeking Alternatives To Egypt-Style Internet Blackouts

      Galvanized by the unprecedented Internet shutdown in Egypt, angel investor Shervin Pishevar has launched OPENMESH a forum for people who want to discuss ways of preventing governments from blocking communications networks. The site (which is admittedly sparse at the moment) was up within hours of Pishevar tweeting out his ideas, designed and built by followers @Laksman and @garyjaybrooks.

    • No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
    • After Egypt, Will U.S. Get ‘Internet Kill Switch’?

      With reports of Egypt’s government completing shutting down the Internet in the country, talk about an “Internet kill switch” bill in the U.S. has reemerged. Could it happen here?

      The bill in question is the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, a cyber-security measure introduced in June by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. It was an over-arching cyber-security measure that, among other things, would create an office of cyberspace policy within the White House and a new cyber-security center within the Homeland Security Department.

    • Egypt not trending in China

      Beijing blocks searches for “Egypt” from microblogging site following protests there.

    • Recent events in Egypt

      The current state of affairs in Egypt looks quite bleak for people using Vodafone, Orange, TE Data, and other well-known service providers. It is reported that each of those companies was ordered by the Egyptian government to turn down their internet services. The nature of the order and its legality is of course very unclear at this time. What is known is that nearly in perfect unison many Egyptian ISPs turned down their BGP route announcements to countries outside of Egypt and from what we’ve been able to gather they’re also not peering with each other. The cables connecting (FLAG and SEABONE) Egypt to the world are still physically intact.

      The impact of de-peering is significant; even if someone is able to get packets directly to the edge routers of TE Data or another ISP, no response will be forthcoming. Renesys, RIPE, and BGPmon have fantastic technical details for those without access to an active BGP router.

    • Sublime or Shameless: Facebook Censors Nude Paintings

      Maybe Facebook is not the place to display our work as figurative painters. But in this difficult economy, and truly at any time, it’s hard to accept a limitation on your potential success based solely on a handful of people who don’t understand what you’re doing. It’s hard not to be angry when someone seems to blindly attack the thing that you hold so close to your heart… labeling it vulgar and obscene, when you see it as a thing of beauty and human dignity. You see it as a gift to them, and they see it as a threat. The issue with Facebook seems to be the same as the issue with the work itself: each of us has different definitions of what it is and what is should be… and for now at least, we’ll all have to agree to disagree.

  • Privacy

    • UK ISPs Moot Anonymous Internet Solution to Circumvent New Data and Piracy Laws

      A Swedish ISP that is also responsible for hosting WikiLeaks, Bahnhof, has this week triggered a fresh debate into internet privacy by announcing its intention to avoid the new European Data Retention Directive and stick all of its customers behind an effectively anonymous Virtual Private Network (VPN).

      Most VPN’s act as private networks that piggyback the public internet and are traditionally used to help employees stay connected with their work while away from the office. They can also have many other uses, such as allowing virtual Local Area Network (LAN) connections between users.

    • Opera Study: Americans Most Fearful About Online Government Monitoring

      The study finds that more Americans worry about their online privacy being violated (25 percent) than going bankrupt (23 percent) or losing their job (22 percent).

  • Civil Rights

    • TN Fusion Center Calls ACLU Terrorist Group

      A DHS fusion center in Tennessee — an agency designed to aid cooperation between state, local and federal officials in anti-terrorism investigations — has put the ACLU of Tennessee on a map of terrorist organizations because it sent a letter to schools warning them about Christmas celebrations and the First Amendment.

    • US lawyers start to mine private Facebook zones

      AN OUTCRY is erupting in the US over how judges are giving lawyers rights to plunder private emails and posts in social notworking websites.

    • EFF: FBI may have committed more than 40K intelligence violations since 9/11

      A new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation analyzes more than 2,500 pages’ worth of FBI documents extracted using Freedom of Information Act litigation and finds disturbing, system-wide violations of civil liberties on a scale that is far beyond anything reported to date…

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Senators bash “telecom oligarchs,” propose strict net neutrality bill

      In the month since the FCC adopted its open Internet rules, most of the DC debate over net neutrality has focused on FCC overreach. Verizon sued the agency. MetroPCS sued the agency. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a bill to strip the FCC of any authority to regulate Internet access.

      But Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) have another point of view: the FCC didn’t go far enough. The pair yesterday introduced the “Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011″ (PDF) to extend net neutrality to all forms of Internet access (including wireless).

    • The US Commerce Dept position paper for the ICANN Board negotiations

      IGP has obtained a copy of the US Commerce Department’s position paper for its February 28 negotiations with the ICANN Board over the new top level domain program. The “USG Submission to the GAC Scorecard” shows that the U.S. Commerce Department’s ICANN crew has gone off the rails. It supports direct governmental veto power over domains and demands that ICANN completely rewrite most of the consensus policies developed over 4 years.

  • DRM

    • Sony sends out DMCA Takedown Notices!

      Soon after Sony won in SF with a TRO against Mr. Hotz regarding the ‘metldr keys’, their MIB Team started the next step and have issued DMCA Takedown Notices to a number of various ‘scene’ developers that had code either mirrored or stored on their GITHUB’s or websites!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France court convicts former Vivendi bosses of misleading investors, insider trading

        A Paris criminal court on Friday convicted former Vivendi SA [corporate website] chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier of misleading investors during his tenure at the helm of the French entertainment giant. Canadian Edgar Bronfman Jr., former vice-chairman of Vivendi and current Warner Music Group chairman and CEO, was convicted of insider trading and fined five million euros.

      • MPAA, BREIN take down more torrent sites; Internet barely notices

        At least 51 torrent sites have been taken down this month thanks to joint efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its dutch counterpart BREIN—12 in the US and 39 in the Netherlands. The two groups say they were able to work with the sites’ hosting providers to take them offline, though the names of the affected sites have not been released.

      • Wyden pledges to delay Internet anti-piracy bill

        “Under current law, Hollywood already has powerful tools to police online infringement, such as the DMCA takedown process, that were the result of years of negotiation and include protections against abuse.”

      • Online community is under siege, says Pirate Party UK

        THE ONLINE COMMUNITY believes it us under siege after the arrests of five Anonymous suspects, according to Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye.

        While stressing its opposition to illegal activity, Kaye’s party says it understands why, in the face of government and corporate attacks against Wikileaks, individuals around the world want to fight back.

      • Mass P2P filesharing lawsuits, chapter and verse

        Once in a very long while something comes along when the overused superlative ‘awesome’ can be applied appropriately. Something that’s truly extraordinary.

        This “may be of interest to your readers, and perhaps might be worthy of a short posting”, says an email from someone who prefers to remain anonymous.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Fedora Site Hacked? Sourceforge Hacked?? Unified Package Installer! KDE 4.6 Released!

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 29/1/2011: KDE SC 4.6 Reviewed, Linux.conf.au 2012 Planned to Reach Ballarat University

Posted in News Roundup at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Plays well with Others

    Two of my friends transfered out NIU this semester, both of them are running various forms of GNU/Linux on their personal computers. One of them is not so technically inclined and he asked me to help him trouble shoot why his Ubuntu system could not get an internet connection. After doing a bit of searching online I found that NIU had some special settings for connecting to their wired network via Cisco NAC.

  • Desktop

    • The Desktop Computer Comeback

      Although people spend all day with their iPhones, iPads or whatever else they’re using to casually search the web while watching TV or sitting at a cafe, most of them still have some sort of real computer on a desk somewhere. Some of these poor people (too many in fact) have been suckered into using a laptop as a desktop replacement. There’s really no such thing as a desktop replacement.

      That said, the honkin’ desktop computer with the multi-core CPU isn’t in vogue, plain and simple. The productivity benefits have been forgotten.

      First of all, let’s get real about computing in the modern world. It’s not about looking things up on the Web; it’s about getting more work done in a shorter period of time than ever before. This is largely because of the processing power of desktop computers. And, yes, a powerful laptop can be a workhorse, but get real. If given a choice between using a laptop – no matter how powerful – with a 15-inch screen and using a multi-core tower machine with two or three or four 20-inch to 30-inch monitors, why would I choose the laptop?

  • Server

    • Microsoft pushing for 16-core Atom CPUs: something to do with Linux?

      These systems would be perfectly served by Linux distributions (Red Hat, Ubuntu, Suse) and Microsoft could not offer anything for them. Linux is already the strongest player in the datacenter and this would grow its market share considerably while reducing the market-share of Windows simultaniously.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Defining Wayland & Its Input System Are Discussed

        If you have any interest at all in the technical side of the Wayland Display Server, there’s been two mailing list threads in particular worth paying attention to this week. One is about proposals for Wayland’s input system an the other is in terms of defining a Wayland implementation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Yakuake (Quake-Like Terminal Emulator) 2.9.8 Finally Adds KWin Support

        Yakuake is a very cool Quake-like drop-down terminal emulator for KDE. If you’ve never seen Yakuake in action before, check out the following video which I’ve just recorded with Yakuake 2.9.8 in KDE SC 4.6…

      • KDE 4.6 Has Arrived, with Many Enhancements for Users and Developers

        Plasma Workspaces and KDE Applications are built on the KDE Platform, which is also newly enhanced. Application developers can take advantage of a new “mobile build target” for deployment on mobile devices. Developers can also use the Plasma framework for creating desktop widgets in QML, the Qt language, and there are new Javascript interfaces for working with data. Nepomuk, the technology behind metadata and semantic search in KDE applications, now provides a graphical interface to back up and restore data, and there is enhanced support for Bluetooth wireless technology. If you’re interested in more on the platform additions, read the KDE Platform 4.6 announcement.

      • KDE SC 4.6 Review

        Is KDE SC 4.6 a good release? It is indeed.

      • Editor’s Note: Replacing KDE4

        It’s been an interesting and useful exercise in choice and alternatives, at any rate. You see, we KDE3 lovers are not averse to change– we’re averse to changes that don’t work for us.

      • KDEMU with Prince gamaral and Duke padams

        On this release of KDEMU! We talk about KDE 4.6, KDE.in, Nightly KDE builds in ?ubuntu, TRON, and much more.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 26th December 2010
      • Spanish Language Support in Fedora 14 (KDE)

        Overall, it appears to be supported quite well. The big exceptions are the statuses on Kopete and Choqok. Choqok needs some real work when it comes to Spanish language support. If it weren’t so broken I would have stayed in Spanish for a while. There were a lot of terms that I had no idea were the right or proper term! It’ll definitely be fun to use it to learn technical terms. I just need to wait until Choqok is working.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Activity Journal 0.6.0 Released With Xchat Support, More

        Gnome Activity Journal – a semantic file browser based on Zeitgeist – has been updated to version 0.6.0, adding quite a few new features.

        Gnome Activity 0.6.0 comes with Xchat and Bazaar version control support, drag and drop for tree view and bookmark/pin area as well as some eyecandy tweaks like a welcome screen, usability tweaks, path’s label is now clickable and more.

  • Distributions

    • A Cross-Distro Unified Installer Is On The Way

      Developers from Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Suse, and Mageia attended to a conference last week in which they’ve tried to find a way to make “installing and removing software on Linux suck less.”

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • People’s Choice Award winner: Máirín Duffy

        Máirín is a senior interaction designer at Red Hat. She’s highly creative and a great artist, who is also is also passionate about open source. For her the two intersect in Inkscape, an open source SVG graphics program. Read how she used it to introduce middle school students to open source.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Becoming an Ubuntu Developer: a short guide

          I’ve heard and/or read a number of complaints over the past while about how the process of becoming an Ubuntu Developer is difficult, so I thought I’d write up a short guide to one of the many paths to becoming a developer. I send this to the Ubuntu Developers list for maximum distribution, although I realise that many of you are already developers, so won’t find this as useful: please skip past it, or pass it on to those you know that are currently interested in becoming Ubuntu Developers (or extending the set of packages to which they have been granted upload rights).

        • Ubuntu Software Center Gets Ratings And Reviews Support [Natty Updates]

          An update in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal finally brings ratings and reviews to Ubuntu Software Center.

        • Mechanig: Tool To Easily Perform Various Cleaning (And More) Tasks In Ubuntu

          WebUpd8 reader Georgi Karavasilev, inspired by our own Y PPA Manager, has created a GUI tool called Mechanig which you can use to refresh the repositories, upgrade packages, clean leftover .deb and unnecessary packages and more.

        • Alpha-2 coming next week

          Next Thursday we are aiming for releasing the second Alpha milestone of Ubuntu Natty. Please help us to resolve the numerous targetted bugs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • First taste of Honeycomb: Android 3.0 user interface preview

          This suggests that we might not have to wait long before Android 3.0 arrives on phones in addition to tablets.

        • Why Android will win the tablet wars

          The rise of Android in the smartphone sector nullifies Cook’s arguments against Android in the tablet world because precisely the same dynamics are at play. Apple’s locked-down approach means that it cannot compete when it comes to offering users a huge choice of systems from multiple suppliers. Choice engenders competition, which will drive down Android prices, helping to increase uptake yet further.

          Indeed, the extraordinary proliferation of Android tablets has already begun. This includes famous brands like ASUS, Toshiba, LG, Samsung (with a new version of its Galaxy Tab rumoured) and Motorola, whose Xoom offering which has already garnered “huge pre-orders”, according to some reports.

          But most of these are at the high end of the market, and therefore compete with the iPad. Far more interesting – and important – are the no-name systems that are beginning to pop up everywhere. If you want to get a feel for the future of the Android tablet market, try taking a look at site Newpad.cn, which covers the world of tablets. Yes, it’s in Chinese, but scanning through the product page and looking for the tell-tale “Android” amidst the Chinese characters (or using this Google Translate version), it’s clear that there has been a sudden rush of Android tablets launched recently (in Taiwan / China, at least) – and that’s even before the proper tablet version of Android (“Honeycomb”) is available.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source challenge to Microsoft Exchange gains steam

    An open-source, cloud-based e-mail alternative to Microsoft Exchange called Open-Xchange has signed up two new service providers and predicts it will have 40 million users by the end of 2011.

    Based in Germany, Open-Xchange has tripled its user base from 8 million to 24 million paid seats since 2008, with the help of three dozen service providers including 1&1 Internet, among the world’s largest Web hosting companies. Open-Xchange has 7 million users in North America today, but says most of its 2011 growth will occur on this continent, in part due to new agreements with service providers Lunarpages of California and Cirrus Tech in Toronto.

  • Open Source’s 7 Lucky Forecasts for 2011

    Well, nobody gets tired of making predictions, or at least thinking of what the future looks like. Predictions were made for several technological categories like Security, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and a more generic forecast on Information Technology as a whole. Similarly, we can never stop thinking of making forecasts for one of the most loved technology solutions in the world – Open Source.

  • Events

    • Linux.conf.au – Day Four

      Valerie Aurora, kernel developer, delivered a fascinating presentation on easing kernel development using User Mode Linux – a version of Linux that runs as a process within an already existing Linux installation. UML provides an alternative to having a seperate dedicated test machine or virtual machine, that needs constant rebooting in order to test. Valerie also mentioned briefly an upcoming project of hers – the Ada Initiative, to encourage women in Open Source.

    • LCA 2011: Keynote speaker censured over sexual images

      Update, Jan 29, 1.45pm: Chief conference organiser Shaun Nykvist was asked for his take on the issue; he deferred to Linux Australia president John Ferlito, saying he had been told not to comment.

      Ferlito told iTWire that some people, of both sexes, had complained both to him and the conference organisers. “There were some complaints on Twitter and one or two came to Shaun and me and said this infringed on our policy,” he said.

    • Linux.conf.au 2012 venue announced

      Linux.conf.au 2012 is set to be held at Ballarat University in Victoria, an institution that launched its bid to host the conference in July last year.

    • Days 3 and 4 of #LCA2011; rockets, balloons, Linus Torvalds
  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • NoSQL at Netflix

      For our systems based on Hadoop, Apache HBase is a convenient, high-performance column-oriented distributed database solution. With its dynamic partitioning model, HBase makes it really easy to grow your cluster and re-distribute load across nodes at runtime, which is great for managing our ever-growing data volume needs and avoiding hot spots. Built-in support for data compression, range queries spanning multiple nodes, and even native support for distributed counters make it an attractive alternative for many of our use cases. HBase’s strong consistency model can also be handy, although it comes with some availability trade offs. Perhaps the biggest utility comes from being able to combine real-time HBase queries with batch map-reduce Hadoop jobs, using HDFS as a shared storage platform.

  • Oracle

    • The Deeper Significance of LibreOffice 3.3

      I’d say it’s more of an issue of fragmentation, and that we see this all the time – in Android itself, in Windows, say, and in the world of GNU/Linux through hundreds of distros, each with different versions and configurations. Nothing really new there.

      Real forks are relatively few and far between precisely because of the differences between forking and fragmentation. The latter may or may not be inconvenient, but it’s rarely painful in the way that a fork can be. Forks typically tear apart coding communities, demanding that programmers take sides.

    • LibreOffice – A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac

      There’s not an awful lot of difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice on the surface. The rapid development from beta to RC and soon a stable release means the team are putting a lot of effort in under the hood.

      It’s just nice to know that if OpenOffice is discontinued then there’s a worthy replacement just waiting to take its place.

    • LibreOffice 3.3 – Advancing Without Oracle

      After looking at the installed OxygenOffice 3.2 that I had installed on my machine, then the LibreOffice 3.3 release, and finally the newest OpenOffice 3.3, I must say that I believe that the newbies will be wowed by the improved interface of LibreOffice. It simply looks better, and more professional (more like something designed by the old Word Perfect staff, unlike the OOo interface, which looks like a great effort from a garage).

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Alfresco Enterprise 3.4 brings enhanced user interface

        Alfresco has announced the availability of version 3.4 of its Enterprise Edition of its content management system. The latest release of the commercial version of its CMS is aimed at providing a platform for social content management by making it easier for users to collaborate and share their content as quickly and easily as possible.

  • Government

    • DE: Freiburg: open source office three to four times cheaper

      Moving to the open source suite of office applications OpenOffice is three to four times cheaper than using a proprietary alternative, according to figures presented by the German city of Freiburg.

      Rüdiger Czieschla, head of IT at Freiburg, presented on the city’s use of OpenOffice on 1 December, at a conference in Badajoz organised by Osepa, a project to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software. According to him, using OpenOffice cost the city 200.000 Euro. The proprietary alternative would have cost between 600.000 for just a text editor and 800.000 Euro for the proprietary office suite.

    • FI: City of Helsinki to start open source desktop pilot

      The City’s IT department manages some 20,000 desktop PCs, used by some 38,000 city employees. The IT department in the summer of 2009 began migrating from one version of a proprietary operating system to the latest version of the same vendor.


  • A Look Back On Andrew Keen’s Failed Predictions

    In writing my recent post about the failure of Google’s Knol, I went back to look at what I had written previously about it and I dug up a post from October of 2008, in which I discussed a series of predictions from Andrew Keen that struck me as particularly shortsighted and wrong. It was right after the latest economic crisis had shifted into overdrive and Keen had predicted that this economic change would lead to the end of “open source” and “free” business models because people would have to actually start making money. He also predicted that things like Facebook and Twitter would collapse in the economic realities of 2009:

    The altruistic ideal of giving away one’s labor for free appeared credible in the fat summer of the Web 2.0 boom when social-media startups hung from trees, Facebook was valued at $15 billion, and VCs queued up to fund revenue-less “businesses” like Twitter. But as we contemplate the world post-bailout, when economic reality once again bites, only Silicon Valley’s wealthiest technologists can even consider the luxury of donating their labor to the latest fashionable, online, open-source project.

    How’s that prediction looking today? Right. (Update: For those who missed it, there’s a sarcmark around that “Right”)

  • This Is Where All Your Productivity Disappears
  • The computer games museum opens in Berlin, showcasing 60 years of gaming history
  • Science

    • NASA’s Hubble Finds Most Distant Galaxy Candidate Ever Seen in Universe

      Astronomers have pushed NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to its limits by finding what is likely to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe. The object’s light traveled 13.2 billion years to reach Hubble, roughly 150 million years longer than the previous record holder. The age of the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years.

    • 25 years later, Challenger tragedy maintains a powerful hold on the nation’s memory

      The explosion spread itself across the sky, pinned against the Earth’s atmosphere like a giant butterfly. A moment earlier, the Challenger shuttle had been a white streak propelled upon a tongue of flame, building to its ferocious full-throttle speed of 17,000 mph, and then, suddenly, frozen in time. Forever.

    • Teachers Back Away From Evolution In Class

      Teachers who are unable or unwilling to teach the theory of evolution in biology might be one reason U.S. students are falling behind in science, according to new research.

      The study, done at Penn State University, polled 926 high school biology teachers from around the country. It found that a large majority are reluctant to address the evolution in their classrooms.

    • Next-Generation Supercomputers

      Supercomputers are the crowning achievement of the digital age. Yes, it’s true that yesterday’s supercomputer is today’s game console, as far as performance goes. But there is no doubt that during the past half-century these machines have driven some fascinating if esoteric pursuits: breaking codes, predicting the weather, modeling automobile crashes, simulating nuclear explosions, and designing new drugs—to name just a few. And in recent years, supercomputers have shaped our daily lives more directly. We now rely on them every time we do a Google search or try to find an old high school chum on Facebook, for example. And you can scarcely watch a big-budget movie without seeing supercomputer-generated special effects.

  • Patents/Patented Seeds/GMO/Nutrition/Health

    • USDA Caves to Industry Pressure, OKs GMO Alfalfa
    • US Stem Cell Research is Being Hindered by Rush for Patents

      Experts have said that cures for paralysis, blindness and diabetes could all be in reach with embryonic stem cell research, but the pursuit of medical progress is being choked by the US rush to secure patents.

      Scientists are busily filing for legal patents that give them exclusive intellectual property rights for each discovery they make in the hopes that one day, one will lead to a blockbuster cure and big cash for those who devised it.

    • Smoke Signals

      These companies failed because each of them – my own among them – coveted the whole prize. With the eyes of a megalomaniac, each firm was going to ‘rule the world’. Each did lots of inventing, holding onto every scrap of invention with IP agreements and copyrights and all sorts of patents. I invented a technology very much similar to that seen in the Wiimote, but fourteen years before the Wiimote was introduced. It’s all patented. I don’t own it. After my company collapsed the patent went through a series of other owners, until eventually I found myself in a lawyer’s office, being deposed, because my patent – the one I didn’t actually own – was involved in a dispute over priority, theft of intellectual property, and other violations.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Iran: two ‘green wave’ leaders hanged
    • Joe Biden says Mubarak isn’t a dictator, questions legitimacy of protesters’ demands

      US vice-president Joe Biden told PBS NewsHour that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (who as presided over a 29 year reign characterized by blatantly stolen elections, suspension of civil liberties, torture and arbitrary detention) isn’t a dictator and questioned the legitimacy of protesters’ demands. The USA provides $1.3 billion/year in military aid to the Mubarak regime.

    • Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Legislation Back in Play

      Legislation granting the president internet-killing powers is to be re-introduced soon to a Senate committee, the proposal’s chief sponsor told Wired.com on Friday.

      The resurgence of the so-called “kill switch” legislation came the same day Egyptians faced an internet blackout designed to counter massive demonstrations in that country.

    • “Plan D” – How To Disrupt the U.S.A.’s Internet

      Let’s leave aside for the moment the federal push for centralized “cyber security” operations controlled by military and intelligence agency entities and operatives. We can even skip for now the calls — about to be reintroduced in Congress — for what many would consider to be mandated U.S. Internet “kill switches” under government control, with the possibility that much of the Internet would ultimately be declared to be “critical infrastructure” subject to their purview.

    • How the Internet went out in Egypt

      We think of the Internet as universal. We think of it in terms of a utility like electricity or water. It’s none of those things. In some countries, like the U.S., it would be very hard to ‘turn off’ the Internet. In places like Egypt, though, with a limited number of Internet backbones and a handful of Domain Name Service (DNS) servers, it’s easy. Here’s how it appears the Egyptian government turned their country’s Internet off.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeak’s Truth Just Lost In This American Noise Machine

      It is certainly interesting what else WikiLeaks is revealing. For instance, the assumption that the New York Times is a “liberal rag” as the right blathers on and on about. RIGHT! It is obvious that Bill Keller is “uncomfortable” with a great many things including an informed American electorate.


      Do we as Americans really want to continue supporting our global imperial garrison of possibly 1000 military bases? Or will we choose to allow wikileaks to let the gas out of this bag and finally reveal the truth that America’s addiction to war is killing not only our own democracy at home but democracies all around the world? Not to mention eventually leaving our nation both morally and financially bankrupt!

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • CBO Paints Black Picture If Republican Policies Are Continued

      For 2011, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf (pictured) says that the deficit will be about $1.5 trillion (nearly one-third of which will be due to the massive Republican tax breaks for the richest 2% of Americans — projected to be over $400 billion a year). So while complaining about the deficit, the Republicans actually increased it by nearly 50%. They promised in the last campaign to cut $100 billion, but now are only talking about cutting a little over $50 billion for 2011 (a drop in the bucket compared to the huge increase they created).

    • House GOP Votes For Electoral Advantage

      Of course they didn’t admit they were acting in their own political interest. They couched the elimination in terms of saving the federal government some money and cutting the federal deficit. They bragged that this action would save $617 million over a ten year period (or about $61.7 million a year). While that may sound like a lot of money to the uninitiated, it is really a tiny amount when compared to the federal budget and will make very little impact on the deficit. In fact, it is only 0.000155% of the tax cut they gave the super rich (which increased the deficit by $400 billion a year).

      Sadly, there will be some teabaggers and other right-wingers who will believe this is a real deficit-reduction measure. It isn’t. It’s nothing more than a naked attempt to give Republicans an advantage in the 2012 presidential election.

    • “This Country Is Moving In The Direction Of An Oligarchy!” Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Censorship/Egypt

    • Google flips the switch on autocomplete censorship
    • Egypt Leaves the Internet

      Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

    • A message to Anon from inside Egypt.
    • Egypt’s cutoff from the Net [IMG]
    • Vodafone CEO Explains Egypt Phone Cutoff

      Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said “Egyptian authorities” had asked the company to “turn down the network totally.” Mr. Colao said Vodafone determined that the request was legitimate under Egyptian law, and therefore complied with the request. “I hope” the decision will be reversed by Egypt “very soon,” Mr. Colao said, in comments to a Davos session on mobile devices.

    • Egypt – Evidence of torture and repression by Mubarak´s Police

      Many well-known activists including Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate, have been arrested in their homes, civilians have been wounded and even killed in clashes with Egyptian police and security forces. As an Internet blackout imposed by the state covers the country, every citizen and grassroots organization will now be exposed to arbitrary police forces. As secret documents from US prove, during the demonstrations today, authorities might use physical threats, legal threats and extraordinary laws such the Emergency Law as an excuse to persecute and prosecute activists during the pacific demonstrations taking place in Cairo and other cities.

      As described by Cable 10CAIRO64 sent from the Embassy of Cairo on 12January, 2010, “Egypt’s State of Emergency, in effect almost continuously since 1967, allows for the application of the 1958 Emergency Law, which grants the GOE broad powers to arrest individuals without charge and to detain them indefinitely”. The cable also describes how “The GOE has also used the Emergency Law in some recent cases to target bloggers and labor demonstrators”.

      Excessive use of force by police during the protests led to arbitrary executions and detentions in a vast array of abuses, a situation that is known and acknowledged in the past by U.S. diplomats based in Egypt. It is important to bear in mind the long record of police abuse and torture by Egyptian police forces.

    • Egypt – Egyptian Military Succession Plans Told to US Embassy

      The Egyptian military planned for a “smooth” transfer of power to the president’s son in the event of regime change, according to recently published US diplomatic cables.

      A senior Egyptian politician told an American diplomat in July 2009 [09CAIRO1468] that the military would safeguard a “constitutional transition of power” and implied the armed forces would support Gamal Mubarak, the son of current president Hosni Mubarak. Dr. Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki, a former minister in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), claimed that even though “the real center of power in Egypt is the military”, they would have “no objection to a civilian” as the next president.

      A remark interpreted by the US official as a “pointed reference” to Gamal Mubarak. Dessouki went on to dismiss the possible danger of protests against the current regime, calling opposition parties “weak” and democracy a “long term goal.”

    • Viewing cable 09CAIRO79

      ¶1. (C) Summary and comment: Police brutality in Egypt against common criminals is routine and pervasive. Contacts describe the police using force to extract confessions from criminals as a daily event, resulting from poor training and understaffing. Brutality against Islamist detainees has reportedly decreased overall, but security forces still resort to torturing Muslim Brotherhood activists who are deemed to pose a political threat. Over the past five years, the government has stopped denying that torture exists, and since late 2007 courts have sentenced approximately 15 police officers to prison terms for torture and killings.


      ¶1. (C) During an hour-long meeting on February 17, Gamal Mubarak discussed with Senator Joseph Lieberman the problems with Gaza and Palestinian reconciliation, as well as the broader political split within the Arab world. Senator Lieberman sought Gamal’s advice on ways for the U.S. to engage Iran; Gamal offered that the best way to defeat Iranian ambitions in the region is to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Unfortunately, Qatar is playing “spoiler” in order to get “a seat at the table.” Gamal, a former international banker, opined that the U.S. needed to “shock” its financial system back to health, and said that Egypt — which had so far escaped much of the pain of the global economic crisis — was preparing to face tough economic times ahead. The Ambassador, Senator Lieberman’s foreign policy adviser, and the ECPO MinCouns as note taker were also present. End summary.


      ¶1. Key Points
      – (SBU) U.S.- Egypt military relationship is strong, but should change to reflect new regional and transnational threats.


      – (S) NDP insider and former minister Dr. Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki dismissed public and media speculation about succession. He said Egyptian military and security services would ensure a smooth transfer of power, even to a civilian.

      – (S) Dessouki called opposition parties weak and democracy a “long term goal.” He said that the MB had no legitimate political role, adding that mixing religion and politics in Egypt was not wise and would not be permitted.


      ¶1. KEY POINTS

      – Egypt’s State of Emergency, in effect almost continuously since 1967, allows for the application of the 1958 Emergency Law, which grants the GOE broad powers to arrest individuals without charge and to detain them indefinitely.


      ¶2. (C) Comment: Per ref B, credible human rights lawyers believe police brutality continues to be a pervasive, daily occurrence in GOE detention centers, and that SSIS has adapted to increased media and blogger focus on police brutality by hiding the abuse and pressuring victims not to bring cases. NGOs assess prison conditions to be poor, due to overcrowding and lack of medical care, food, clean water, and proper ventilation. Per ref E, following a landmark 2007 sentencing of police officers for assaulting and sodomizing a bus driver, courts have continued to sentence officers to prison terms for brutality.

    • Viewing cable 10CAIRO181, Scenesetter for Admiral Mullen
    • Viewing cable 10CAIRO197, Egypt: New Round of MB Arrests

      – (C) According to media reports the group is being held “under investigation” for an initial period of 15-days. MB sources tell us that the group was originally detained, and their homes searched, under the Emergency Law but that their detention will likely be justified under an “investigative file” that will opened to their lawyers next week.

    • Viewing cable 10CAIRO344, ILLEGAL ADOPTIONS IN EGYPT

      ¶2. (SBU) The FPU has confirmed 31 cases where children have been illegally adopted in Egypt and either taken to the United States or raised in Egypt. The earliest confirmed case by the FPU is from 1989, although one Coptic priest admitted the practice has been going on since 1976. This particular priest also provided other insights during an interview with the Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM) on February 11, 2010. He stated that the majority of the priests involved in illegal adoptions are very charismatic, have numerous followers and are consumed with their position of power as leaders of the Coptic community. According to this priest, the “big” personalities of these individuals have prompted them to engage in activities not condoned by many others in the Coptic Church. He mentioned that the Church is more than capable of raising and educating unwanted Coptic children. He added that in Alexandria, literally hundreds of babies are given to childless families and only a few have been taken out of Egypt.

    • Viewing cable 10CAIRO237, El Baradei Returns to Cairo

      The Egyptian “people blame America” now for their plight.


      ¶4. (C) A/S Posner asked why the GOE has detained blogger Hany Nazir under the Emergency Law without charge since October 2008. (Note: per ref B, Nazir, a Coptic Christian, was detained following blog posts deemed offensive to Islam and Christianity. End note.) General Rahman responded that Nazir’s posts criticizing Islam were inflammatory, and in the context of Upper Egyptian sectarian tensions could have caused Muslims to attack him. Therefore, Rahman continued, the GOE detained Nazir “for his own security.” Rahman claimed that the GOE detained Nazir under the Emergency Law to gather evidence to prosecute him for defaming religion.


      ¶5. (C) According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the worst police torture takes place during murder investigations. He said that his brother-in-law who is a police officer in the Delta Governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh described “unrelenting pressure” from superiors to solve murder cases by any means necessary. XXXXXXXXXXX said human rights lawyers and XXXXXXXXXXXX have told him that to conduct murder investigations, police will round up 40 to 50 suspects from a neighborhood and hang them by their arms from the ceiling for weeks until someone confesses.

    • Viewing cable 09CAIRO79,

      ¶2. (C) Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread.


      – (C) GOE officials, including presidential advisor Soliman Awad, expressed displeasure with the number and the tone of U.S. recommendations at the February 17 UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt’s human rights record.


      – According to the Amir, Hamas will accept the 1967 border with Israel, but will not say it publicly so as to lose popular Palestinian support.

    • Browse by Embassy Cairo
    • Thousands protest in Jordan

      Thousands of people in Jordan have taken to the streets in protests, demanding the country’s prime minister step down, and the government curb rising prices, inflation and unemployment.

    • Egypt supporters rally worldwide

      Protests held across globe in a show of solidarity with Egyptian demonstrators attempting to oust president.

    • US-Egypt military chiefs meet in Washington

      A high-level Egyptian military delegation was in Washington on Friday for pre-scheduled defense talks, even as Egypt’s army took to the streets to face unrest sweeping the country.

    • WikiLeaks cables show close US relationship with Egyptian president
    • US reported ‘routine’ police brutality in Egypt, WikiLeaks cables show

      Police brutality in Egypt is “routine and pervasive” and the use of torture so widespread that the Egyptian government has stopped denying it exists, according to leaked cables released today by WikiLeaks.

    • US embassy cables: Mubarak: Egypt’s president-for-life
    • US embassy cables: Egypt’s bloggers take on key role as political activists
    • Cables Show Delicate U.S. Dealings With Egypt’s Leaders

      It was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first meeting as secretary of state with President Hosni Mubarak, in March 2009, and the Egyptians had an odd request: Mrs. Clinton should not thank Mr. Mubarak for releasing an opposition leader from prison because he was ill.


      ¶1. (S/NF) On January 9, 2010, the Islamic Shari’a Scholars
      Committee of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political
      wing of the JORDANian Muslim Brotherhood, issued a fatwa
      (religious ruling) condemning Egyptian construction of a
      steel wall near Rafah. The significance of the fatwa lies
      not in the decision itself — the proposed wall is deeply
      unpopular with practically all segments of JORDANian society,
      both religious and secular — but rather with its harsh tone
      and its apparent readiness to support or condone violence
      against the Egyptian authorities. The fatwa is highly
      unusual in its willingness to address issues completely
      outside of JORDAN and because of the force with which the
      scholars condemn the actions of a neighboring Arab and Muslim


      ¶1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: JORDAN’s top military advisor and
      brother of the King, Lieutenant General (LTG) Prince Faisal
      bin Al Hussein, and Minister of Planning Jafar Hassan will
      travel to Washington during the week of January 25. Their
      itineraries include meetings with senior U.S. officials in
      the Department of Defense, the Air Force, the Department of
      StaQrQQ^,ON2}g5Congress. In the meetings, the
      JORDANians are expected to offer significant increases to
      JORDAN’s security support in Afghanistan in exchange for
      additional economic assistance through an anticipated
      Afghanistan supplemental appropriation. Contributions that
      support U.S. goals can likely be obtained for reimbursement
      at cost if we want to hold the line and not include JORDAN in
      the supplemental.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Tasmanian Police Pepper Spray a 13 Yr-Old Boy

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 28/1/2011: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Update, Red Hat Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Learning from the open source movement

    The open source movement has developed a new philosophy about intellectual property, maintaining that knowledge should be free – that although it is important to prevent plagiarism or passing off an inferior product as a trusted brand, to curtail the free exchange of knowledge and ideas is a disservice to society. In pharmaceuticals, this is literally a matter of life and death – or blindness. South Africa’s health minister once called the high prices of lifesaving medicines ‘a crime against humanity’. But this is increasingly an issue for our own NHS. One current struggle involves big business trying to prevent the licensing of Avastin – already being used with great success by doctors treating the main cause of blindness in the UK – at £50 per dose – and instead force them to use the ‘very similar’ but differently licensed drug Lucentis, at £750 a dose. Obviously, this sort of thing is unacceptable – but the importance of the open source movement is that it does not simply reject such approaches to intellectual property, but has built viable alternatives – real business models that outperform proprietary interests but still freely share the knowledge they embody. Viable business models that can deliver free services – something that ought to get the attention of social enterprisers engaged in health and social care. It is also relevant to social franchising.

  • opensource.com on Flickr
  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Wars 2.0: Us vs. Them

      Don’t you just miss the previous version of browser wars? Netscape vs Internet Explorer. Scrappy young start up vs. Mr. Softy. Then Firefox vs IE. Scrappy young startup vs. Mr. Softy, round two. Then Chrome jumped into the mix and gave consumers another horse to bet on.

      But what I didn’t see coming — and I presume many others didn’t either – was that the dynamics of the browser war would change from “Them vs Them” to today’s “Us vs. Them.” How did we, the online advertising community, suddenly find ourselves in the crosshairs of the browsers?

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 is so close I can taste it

        Today we’ve shipped Firefox 4 Beta 10. If you haven’t tried a Firefox 4 beta yet, you should definitely give this one a spin. It’s pretty amazing.

      • Firefox 5 announced for Q2 2011

        However, the next version of Firefox is unlikely to require almost a year to be completed. Mozilla’s CTO, Brendan Eich, recently said that Firefox 4 will be released within four month after the final release of Firefox 4. This seems to be a result of discussions at Mozilla to accelerate the release schedule, which is one of the reasons why Google is gaining market share. Faster release cycles support the perception of a fresher browser, whether it delivers lots of new features or not. If you look at it, Firefox 3.6 looks pretty antiquated today.

      • Mozilla’s ‘Home Dash’ is a Dashboard for Your Personal Web

        If you’d like to take it for a spin, head over to the Firefox add-ons site and install Home Dash (you’ll need to be using a Firefox 4 beta release for Home Dash to work). For some tips and help with Home Dash, see Mozilla’s follow-up post.

  • Oracle

    • LibreOffice 3.3: Hands-On With the Free Office Suite

      Two downloads are necessary: the installer for LibreOffice itself, and a “help pack” executable, which contains US English helpfiles. If the latter isn’t installed, clicking the Help menu takes you to the documentation section of the LibreOffice Web site.

    • What’s Next for LibreOffice?

      LibreOffice 3.3 wasn’t even released yet when plans for upcoming versions were being hammered out. A release plan is now in place as well as a development philosophy.

    • OpenOffice.org 3.3

      Editors’ rating:

      7.9 out of 10

      User rating:

      10 out of 10

  • BSD


    • GCC 4.6 Still Has Too Many Serious Regressions

      There’s a new status report from Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek as to the state of GCC 4.6. While a GCC 4.6 release candidate is nearing, as Jakub says in today’s update, “significant effort has been made recently to fix lots of regressions, yet there are still way too many serious regressions.”

    • GNU Status Reports: January 2011

      Table of Contents

      * GNU Status Reports: January 2011
      * Binutils (http://www.gnu.org/software/binutils)
      * Coreutils (http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils)
      * Electric (http://www.gnu.org/software/electric)
      * Freefont (http://www.gnu.org/software/freefont)
      * Gawk (http://www.gnu.org/software/gawk)
      * GCC (http://www.gnu.org/software/gcc)
      * GNUCOMM (http://www.gnu.org/software/gnucomm)
      * GNUtrition (http://www.gnu.org/software/gnutrition)
      * Grep (http://www.gnu.org/software/grep)
      * GSASL (http://www.gnu.org/software/gsasl)
      * GSEGrafix (http://www.gnu.org/software/gsegrafix)
      * GSL (http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl)
      * GSRC (http://www.gnu.org/software/gsrc)
      * Guile (http://www.gnu.org/software/guile)
      * Hello (http://www.gnu.org/software/hello)
      * Hurd (http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd)
      * Texinfo (http://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo)
      * XBoard (http://www.gnu.org/software/xboard)

  • Government

    • CH: Public spending cuts for cantons using or migrating to free software

      Eva Herzog, Consultant Director of State Finance of the Basel Canton, summed up her Canton’s free software strategy adopted in early 2010, stating, inter alia, that in the future all software developments for the cantons should be made available as open source. She also presented a project where a hundred of workstations will be migrated to GNU/Linux and other free software over a period of two years while being integrated to the current system.

    • Why AGIMO’s open source policy will change nothing

      I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the irony of it all this afternoon when I read Gary Gray’s pompous pronouncement that from now on, Federal Government agencies must consider the adoption of open source software in any technology purchase that they make.

      Does anyone, I thought to myself, take this kind of thing seriously?

      On the face of it, the policy sounds sensible enough, representing what many have long considered to be a rational idea; that is, if a government department or agency needs to procure software, it should look around to see whether there are free and flexible alternatives available first, before it jumps into bed with a proprietary software vendor like Microsoft or Oracle — with all the cost and, often, technical rigidity that implies.

      The faster moving private sector has recognised this principle for decades now. Long before vendors like Red Hat came along to provide supported versions of Linux, system administrators around the world were covertly running their print and file servers on early versions of Slackware and Debian — and in many cases, their managers didn’t even know.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Al Jazeera Releases Egypt Coverage Under Creative Commons (UPDATED)

      Qatar-based news service Al Jazeera has a long relationship with Creative Commons licensing. Now, for its coverage of the Egyptian uprising, it has released photographs via Flickr and video on a CC license.

      Available photographs and video are available for free use so long as the user gives attribution and does not alter the products. For the record, all the photographs and video in this post are from Al Jazeera.


  • A List of all the things I love about Microsoft Windows
  • Security

    • Sourceforge.net attack
    • FBI Executes 40 Search Warrants for DDoS Attacks, UK Arrests 5

      Paris police also announced on Thursday that a French teenager suspected of involvement in the DDoS attacks in the United States was taken into custody for a few hours last December.

      Meanwhile, in the UK, Scotland Yard arrested five young men, aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26. They are also suspected of having carried out DDoS attacks and are said to face a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to 5,000 pounds.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Watching Egypt disappear from the Internet

      My colleague at CPJ, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, was the first to mail me. “Just a second ago,”, he wrote, “about 10 contacts of mine all disappeared off instant messaging in unison. That cannot be a coincidence.”

      That was yesterday, January 27th, at 5:34pm New York time. A stream of similar emails followed. Everyone I knew had lost contact with Egypt. On the wider Internet, the Twitter streams and Facebook updates from Egyptian journalists, bloggers, and others, which had been overwhelming us since the protests on the 25th, had all suddenly gone quiet.

    • look what’s still made in the USA! (SPOILER: tear gas fired on egyptians demanding democracy) #Jan25 #Egypt
    • Who’s doing Mubarak’s bidding in Washington?

      As protests rage on in Egypt, the close relationship between the U.S. government and the regime of Hosni Mubarak has already garnered a lot of attention. But it’s also worth taking a moment to examine the lobbying muscle that Egypt employs to secure its interests in Washington, including a mammoth $1.3 billion annual military aid package.

    • Amidst chaos and riots, Egypt turns off the Internet

      In response to increasing civil unrest, the Egyptian government appears to have disabled almost all Internet connectivity with the rest of the world. The Internet’s global routing table, which is used by Internet routers to determine where to send traffic, has had virtually every Egypt-bound route withdrawn, giving the Internet traffic no path either into or out of the country.

    • When Egypt turned off the internet

      Almost simultaneously, the handful of companies that pipe the internet into and out of Egypt went dark as protesters were gearing up for a fresh round of demonstrations calling for the end of president Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule, experts said.

      Egypt has apparently done what many technologists thought was unthinkable for any country with a major internet economy: It unplugged itself entirely from the internet to try and silence dissent.

    • Protesters across Egypt defy curfew

      A nighttime curfew has begun in the Egyptian cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, after a day where thousands of protesters took the streets, demanding an end to Husni Mubarak’s 30-year presidency.

      The curfew was implemented on Friday on the orders of the president, along with an order that the military take charge of security, amid violent clashes occurred between police and protesters.

    • Vodafone confirms role in Egypt’s cellular, Internet blackout

      An executive at London-based Vodafone Group PLC explained Friday morning that it did indeed have a role in the phone and Internet blackout affecting Egypt since Thursday night, confirming speculation that the firm had cooperated with the regime to close off protesters’ communications.

      Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said that because the order by Egyptian authorities appeared to be in line with the nation’s laws, the company was “obligated” to comply.

      Egypt, which has been under a declared state of “emergency” for decades, long ago passed a series of security provisions that were later mirrored in post-9/11 powers assumed by leaders in the US. Egypt’s provisions, however, went much further.

    • Watching a new beginning in Egypt

      For much of Friday afternoon, this city teetered between hope and fear. We knew the army would come – the question was when. About 7:30 p.m., six armored personnel carriers with mounted machine guns arrived at the main square. Then something extraordinary happened: The soldiers were surrounded by hundreds of people – and after several minutes, welcomed. As I write this, ordinary citizens are walking up to the two vehicles stationed at Ramleh Square, and photographing each other flashing victory signs. The mood, tense for so much of the day, is turning festive.

  • Cablegate

    • An Inside Look at Difficult Negotiations with Julian Assange

      The publication of the US diplomatic cables was a journalistic sensation for WikiLeaks and its media partners, including SPIEGEL. In an excerpt from a new book, Holger Stark and Marcel Rosenbach recount the tense negotiations with Julian Assange in the run-up to the publication of the diplomatic cables.

      The joint publication of classified United States embassy cables in November 2010 in a number of major newspapers and magazines rocked the diplomatic world. In newly published books, editors at SPIEGEL and the New York Times have documented relationships between the founder of WikiLeaks and the publications that were at time tumultuous during preparations for the documents’ release.


      ¶1. KEY POINTS

      – (C) Egypt’s bloggers are playing an increasingly important
      role in broadening the scope of acceptable political and
      social discourse, and self-expression.

      – (C) Bloggers’ discussions of sensitive issues, such as
      sexual harassment, sectarian tension and the military,
      represent a significant change from five years ago, and have
      influenced society and the media.

      – (C) The role of bloggers as a cohesive activist movement
      has largely disappeared, due to a more restrictive political
      climate, GOE counter-measures, and tensions among bloggers.

      – (C) However, individual bloggers have continued to work to
      expose problems such as police brutality and corporate

      ¶2. (C) Comment: The government generally allows bloggers
      wide latitude in posting material critical of the GOE.
      Exceptions to this policy are bloggers who directly insult
      President Mubarak or Islam, and the government has arrested
      and jailed bloggers who have crossed these red-lines. The
      GOE has also arrested activists, such as XXXXXXXXXXXX and
      XXXXXXXXXXXX, who have used blogging to organize and support
      protests (refs A and C). Activists are increasingly writing
      blogs to advance their political aims. Contacts accurately
      point out that bloggers have ceased to function as a cohesive
      activist movement. It is noteworthy that bloggers did not
      play a significant role in the most recent example of mass
      cyber-activism — the April 6, 2008 strike orchestrated
      through Facebook (ref G).

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • How Egypt did (and how your government could) shut down the Internet

      How hard is it, exactly, to kill the Internet? Egypt seems to have been able to do it. But Egypt’s situation isn’t exactly the same as that in the Western world. And even though Egypt only has four big ISPs, the fact that everything went down after midnight local time suggests that it took considerable effort to accomplish the ‘Net shut-off. After all, it seems unlikely that President Hosni Mubarak ordered the Internet to be shut down as he went to bed; such a decision must have been made earlier in the day, and then taken hours to execute.

      Also, the fact that such a drastic measure was deemed necessary may indicate that more targeted measures, such as blocking Twitter, didn’t get the job done. This nuclear option—see below—was intended to make online coordination of anti-government action impossible; at the same time, the mushroom cloud may give protesters hope that their efforts are not in vain. As one blogger writes: “It’s as if the regime has done the information aggregation for you and packaged it into a nice fat public signal.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Bell Canada is Terribad Part Three

      So the history of this issue is that I had DSL and a Cell phone with Hell Canada. The DSL is from a year ago. They are only contacting me about it now. Meanwhile, if you want to switch services from Hell Canada to Rogers or Telus, they will give you mad discounts. Yet if they steal from you and rip you off, they won’t help you.

  • DRM

    • Sony Wins TRO, Impoundment

      Sony’s motion for a temporary restraining order, asking for an injunction and impoundment, has been granted [PDF]. The Hon. Susan Illston says she thinks Sony has demonstrated that it is likely to prevail on its DMCA claim. She has also ruled that Sony has met its burden to show that the Court has specific jurisdiction over George Hotz in California, because “he purposefully directed his activities at the forum state.”

      A TRO is designed to prevent injury until a full hearing can take place, and a date for that isn’t set yet. So that will be the next step. Meanwhile, there’s a list of things that Hotz and anyone working with him can’t do and must do. Like clean up the Internet by taking back whatever he put up there about how to circumvent. Sigh. And hand over any computers or equipment that has any infringing stuff on it, and not erase anything. The judge says Hotz’s lawyers are free to file a motion challenging jurisdiction “on a fuller factual record,” if they want to, and they’ve said they want to. But I doubt it will influence anything, judging by this order.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Sugar beet growers in limbo with Roundup Ready beets

      Russ Mauch is concerned because sugar beet growers don’t know if they will be able to plant Roundup Ready beats this spring.

      Mauch, a Barney farmer and president of the American Sugar Beet Growers Association president, says sugar beet growers are in limbo when it concerns Roundup Ready.

      At issue is a lawsuit filed by several environmental groups concerned about Roundup Ready sugar beets.

      The legal journey for Roundup Ready sugar beets began in January 2008. On Aug. 13, 2010 California Judge Jeffrey White vacated the deregulation of sugar beets, Mauch said. The crop is now regulated and can’t be grown until the USDA prescribes conditions for planting and cultivating the crop.

      In separate litigation, Judge White issued an injunction in November against 256 acres of sugar beet stecklings or seedlings. The stecklings had been authorized by permits under the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The stecklings were part of a research and breeding project for basic seed and hybridproduction for 2012 and beyond. According to the injunction, the stecklings were to be destroyed by Dec. 7.

Clip of the Day

Raw Video: Man Shot in Egypt Protest

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 28/1/2011: CrossOver Impersonator, Egypt Updates

Posted in News Roundup at 10:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Land the Perfect Linux Job with Security Smarts

    Looking for a Linux system administration job? Many employers are looking for admins with Linux skills, but plenty of people are vying for those jobs. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to make sure you have the security skills that employers are looking for above and beyond Linux administration experience.

  • Server

    • Tiny Linux Plug Computers: Wall Wart Linux Servers

      Ever wish you could set up a small, efficient server? Maybe you’re setting up a mail server for a couple of people, or something to hand out music files over a home network. Do you really need a full-fledged PC with a noisy fan, sucking down 100 watts and heating up the room?

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Ships 2 Million Galaxy Tab Devices

      Samsung has announced that it has now shipped over two million of its Galaxy Tab tablet devices, surpassing the figure in just three months since the device launched.

      The 7-inch tablet is now sold via 200 mobile carriers in 94 countries, with 750,000 Galaxy Tab’s being shipped to Europe, 350,000 to North America and 330,000 units in Asia.

  • Kernel Space

    • Benchmarks Of The Official KQ ZFS Linux Module

      Last summer we delivered the news that a native ZFS file-system implementation for Linux was coming by an Indian company known as KQ Infotech where they leveraged the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories ZFS Linux code, finished it off in some areas, and took care of the POSIX support. This ZFS Linux module was eventually released to a group of beta testers — us included — and we ran some ZFS Linux benchmarks back in November using the latest beta code. Since that point, however, KQ Infotech has made their ZFS Linux port publicly available and earlier this month they declared this work as stable via its general availability release. We have decided to benchmark this latest ZFS Linux code to see where the performance now stands against the EXT4, Btrfs, and XFS file-systems.

    • Graphics Stack

      • This GLX Patch Can Really Boosts The FPS (~ +60%)

        The past few months Chris Wilson has been on quite a coding spree with making many changes and improvements to the xf86-video-intel DDX driver, among other components. Today though he has put out a patch to the X.Org development list that will affect far more individuals than just those using the Intel graphics driver, which is his primary focus being an employee of the Intel Open-Source Technology Center. This GLX patch has boosted the in-game frame-rate for him in one of his tests by about sixty percent!

  • Applications

    • Wine

      • CodeWeavers Introduces CrossOver Impersonator

        The Minnesota developers at CodeWeavers have made the surprise release this morning of CrossOver Impersonator and CrossOver Games Impersonator. The “Impersonator” is their name for the version 10.0 family of CodeWeavers products since they feel that this Wine-based software does a very nice job impersonating Microsoft Windows under Linux and Mac OS X operating systems.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • E-Readers in Africa: Non-Profit Brings Thousands of Books to Ghanaian Children

      For the study, Amazon donated 20 Kindles and associated accessories, including covers and power adapters.

    • Linaro image downloads

      The Linaro 10.11 cycle was a great success. A huge amount of engineering effort was undertaken and the organisation as a whole has grown at such a rate as to quadruple since its launch in June last year. Whist the main goal of Linaro is to fundamentally change the way Linux works on ARM hardware upstream it is imperative that any changes Linaro does are well integrated, tested, and validated together in a common platform and that is where Linaro’s whole system images are most valuable.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • PlayStation titles coming to Android-based devices

          While Sony didn’t make its upcoming PlayStation Phone official at its press event, the company did show off the “PlayStation Suite,” a new initiative that will bring original PlayStation games to Android-based devices. The games are coming this calendar year, with titles like Syphon Filter, Wild Arms, and Cool Boarders 2 shown at the event.

        • Google Previews Its Tablet-Optimized Android Honeycomb OS

          Google released Wednesday a platform preview for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and an updated set of SDK tools.

          This preview offers the best glimpse that we have seen thus far of the tablet-optimized Android. At CES earlier this month, Google showed off Honeycomb alongside the Motorola Xoom tablet.

        • Android overtakes iPhone in user reviews

          If you’re looking for the fully apped-out 21st century smartphone experience, for the moment the choice really comes down to Apple’s iPhone or a phone running Google’s Android OS. Here at Reevoo, we power reviews for around 18% of the UK market so we have access to a lot of data.

        • I, for one, welcome our new Android forking overlords

          Of course conventional wisdom states that developers don’t want to target multiple environments. Yeah – that was the wisdom that got us a decade of Java uber alles thinking, and a 20 years of Oracle-for-everything architectural decision making. The truth is Android so far has been been pretty decent on phones. I really like my HTC Desire. I am also lucky enough to have a Dell Streak loaner to play with; another solid device, that makes for a great armchair TV companion. But Android wasn’t designed for a bigger form factor, like Apple’s 10 inch iPad, at least in its early versions.

        • Here Comes Mobile: Operating System Performance, 2010

          As the graph indicates, RedMonk properties saw the relative share of Windows usage decline by 8.1% in 2010. The Android, iPhone and iPad platforms gained 6.28% collectively over the same period. Given that Linux and Mac platforms were essentially static on the year, both growing less than 1 percentage point, it seems self-evident that as developers use more mobile platforms, they’re using less Windows.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source powers new Aussie space race

    A group of Australian Linux enthusiasts are using freely available software and hardware designs to engineer a space craft that could one day land on the moon and reap millions of dollars in prize money from Google.

    The Lunar Numbat project was started by a team of Australians and New Zealanders who have partnered with the Google Lunar X-Prize team White Label Space.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tips and Troubleshooting for Home Dash 1 (and 2)
      • People of HTML5 – Rob Hawkes

        HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.

  • Education

    • Obama bets big on open ed — with one little catch

      For those who haven’t heard, the Obama administration recently announced $2 billion in funding for 2-year colleges, much of which will be used to produce open educational resources. The details are complicated and still being hashed out in discussions all over the internet, but it’s clearly the largest single investment in OER since, well, ever. It’s an event of seismic proportions in the world of open education. With silver linings, though, come clouds — and the SCORM cloud looks like it could be a big one.

      Last Thursday, the Department of Labor announced a big grant program with a big name: the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program, or TAACCCT for “short”. A large part of the grant’s goal is to create great learning materials for career training — with the stipulation that all materials created with these grants will be licensed as CC-BY.


      One possible solution might be to earmark some of that $2 billion in grant money for improving SCORM integration with open source projects like Moodle or Sakai, or even for Drupal. There’s nothing wrong with SCORM vendors making money, of course, but it seems like a good idea to invest in open tools to build open content. It’s not yet clear whether anyone will pursue grants for this purpose, and if they do, whether the grantors will consider this to be a good way to spend their money.

    • VIDEO: Education without limits: Why open textbooks are the way forward

      There are 400 million openly licensed materials that can empower teachers to be better instructors through that openness. But there’s a big barrier: adoption. In this video, David Wiley talks about the opportunity and the challenges.

  • Healthcare

    • HMRC’s Latest IT Fail – and What to Do About It

      And the connection of this sorry saga with open source? Well, I’d hazard a guess that we are dealing with proprietary software here, and that my experience offers further compelling reasons why open source should be used instead. I don’t know for sure if proprietary software is at fault here, but I do know there is something that could be done about this ridiculous state of affairs that only open source could facilitate.

      Supposing the system had, indeed, been written with and as open source software. This would mean that by definition it would be available for others to download. Which would mean – in theory, at least – that people could fix some of the bugs that may contributed to people like me wasting hours thanks to downtime and the general uselessness of the code.

      Now, I’m not claiming that I could do that fixing (well, not unless they write these programs in FORTRAN), but surely at least having the possibility that someone could do that has to be better than what we’ve got at the moment?

  • Government

    • US: Government instructs its procurers not to discriminate against open source software

      The ‘technology neutrality’ memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urges Government agencies to “analyse alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.” The memorandum also emphasises several key open source factors, such as interoperability and re-use in the selection of IT. The economic implications of this might be considerable, given that currently US Government agencies spend almost $80 billion (approximately €59 billion) to buy IT.

    • EC Research Center makes available its open source guidelines

      The Joint Research Center of the European Commission (JRC) is making available its internal open source guidelines. The document is meant to help it’s software developers to manage their use of open source software.

      The JRC approved its internal guidelines on the use of open source software in its projects on 6 October. The document can be useful to other public administrations, and the JRC kindly permitted the OSOR to make the document public.

      According to the JRC guidelines, one of the leading ideas of open source projects is the building of a community of developers, that share their contributions and benefit from the contributions of the others.

    • Cellphones Track Voting in Southern Sudan

      Fareed Zein: That’s right. So the technology behind this is called Ushahidi. It’s an open-source system that is developed by an organization called Ushahidi.com, and it’s a great platform. It was started by a group of developers in Kenya after the elections in 2008 where violence broke out. And so there was basically a simple texting mapped into a Google map. And then later on it was developed by volunteers around the world, really, into this open-source system that’s now available and has been used in many many instances, such as the earthquake in Haiti, or the floods in Pakistan, and other election events around the world. So this is the system that we have used, and we are supported obviously by the volunteers from Ushahidi.com that have done a fantastic job of supporting deployments around the world.

    • Ushahidi & Pete Warden Join Forces to Add Open Source Geocoding to Platform

      Disaster response network Ushahidi has been using software called Yahoo Placemaker for this function, as many other developers do. But this week the organization announced that it is adopting an open source alternative called GeoDict. GeoDict, which was created by ReadWriteWeb contributor Pete Warden, detects, standardizes and returns coordinates for text regarding 2.7 million locations around the world. As a part of the deal, Warden has officially joined Ushahidi parent organization SwiftRiver.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Fighting Openness with New Corporate “Rights”

      This would clearly have a chilling effect on efforts by whistle-blowers to expose corporate wrong-doing. But it gets worse, much worse.

      The French government, already one of the chief enemies of a free and open Internet (think HADOPI) wants all of Europe to give business this new “right”…


  • Socialism Puts the Social in Social Democracy

    I keep hearing some of the political discourse from the United States. Apparently socialism is worse than any of the dirty words. I’m surprised the FCC doesn’t bleep the word on network TV.

    Did Americans forget they are a Social Democracy? This means that the US is mainly a capitalist state, but it uses socialism to smooth over some of the rough spots of capitalism.

    In fact all the developed countries do this. But since the Americans do this slightly less than their developed country brothers and sisters they have convinced themselves in their discourse that socialism is evil.

    But Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the latest advance in socialism. That is they bailed out some banks and other lenders saying that there will be a trickle down effect to every person in the US. This is corporate socialism or corporate welfare. There is no way that every Democrat and Republican didn’t realize this.

  • Openness, Socialism, and Capitalism

    I frequently hear people attempt to equate the open education movement with socialism. After all, the logic goes, what could possibly be more socialist than freely sharing things with everyone? The attempt to characterize the entire movement in a single assertion assumes a uniformity within the movement that anyone working in OER knows does not exist. I will neither agree or disagree with broad, general assertion in this post. Instead, I want to disagree with the statement in a very specific context, and carve out a specific and concrete space in the discourse about the motivations that underlie OER.

  • Schwarzenegger gives MacKay geography lesson

    Defence Minister Peter MacKay might want to give his old Grade 5 geography teacher a call for a brush-up.

  • i might pay for the FT, why won’t I pay for the Times? And: girls.
  • Facebook’s new sponsored stories feature: Are you ready to be in your favorite companies’ ads?

    Facebook’s defense is that they’re not telling anyone anything they wouldn’t have seen anyway. If you check in at Cora’s Cafe, that shows up in your friends’ news feed in accordance with the level of privacy you’ve specified.

  • 100 Apologies
  • India’s most expensive movie yields most astonishingly violent and demented action-scene in cinematic history

    Imagine that you took the Axe Cop kid and teamed him up with the Wachowskis, along with every serious SFX wizard on the subcontinent, and said, “Go ahead kid, spend whatever it takes to make the most demented, blood-drenched, bullet-addled, ultra-super-duper-violent action sequence in the history of films.” Then you waited a generation for another Axe Cop kid to be born and raised on the first kid’s output, to grow to maturity, and you gave her the same challenge: that’s about one tenth of one percent as demented, glorious and violent as this ten-minute climactic scene manages.

  • Science

    • NASA’s Hubble Finds Most Distant Galaxy Candidate Ever Seen in Universe
    • 3D Print a Kindle!

      Not exactly, but it’s surprisingly close to printing a Kindle. Maker Stergios Stergiou has designed a combination case and magnifier that blows up an iPhone 4 screen to 6 inches in size – approximately the same size as an actual Kindle. This makes it much easier to read eBooks, for example.

    • Chemists turn gold to purple – on purpose

      Color change confirms a new way to harvest energy from sunlight

    • Tenure and all that, part 2

      There were some interesting comments on my last post on tenure, and they got me thinking of science in academia and why the tenure track (TT) is becoming so competitive and difficult to enter.


      The 300:1 ratio also comes at a time when science education standards in the US are clamoring for more political support. I didn’t realize that today if you’re a prospective US graduate student it’s much less competitive to get into the top graduate schools in the sciences that even10 years ago. So if you do have a prestigious degree from a highly ranked program it’s worth less than in the past. Coupled with this decline in prestige is the push for universities to require higher levels of specialization for positions. The system wants everyone to have more education and raise the bar for professional work. This is fine if the jobs are commensurate with the higher standards. But the 300:1 ratio suggests we here in the US are running the equivalent of a puppy mill. If you read the link you’ll see there are some distressingly similar parallels between current graduate education in the sciences and breeding dogs for profit.

    • Did modern humans go global twice as early as thought?

      Homo sapiens might have spread across the world much earlier than previously thought – and it was a favourable climate, not a sophisticated culture, that allowed them to go.

      Anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Most palaeoanthropologists believe they stayed there for 140,000 years before migrating around the world, except for an abortive colonisation of what is now Israel about 120,000 years ago.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Happy New Year text prematurely blows up suicide bomber

      The message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people, The Leader-Post reported. She ended up dying at a safe house instead.

    • The Laser Sharp Intellect Of John Prescott

      Yesterday I listened to an interview on 5 Live with John Prescott, on the recent news that further evidence had came to light about the News Of The World phone hacking story. He was laser sharp on the dissecting the issues and very passionate in expressing himself. In short that interview showed his attributes that make him a very good MP. Where was this John Prescott on Iraq?

      For people who don’t know John Prescott is now Lord Prescott; awarded a title after spending a long time as a Labour MP and his most recent role as a long serving Deputy PM to PM Tony Blair. John Prescott was an integral part of the cabinet during all of the good, bad and controversial decisions taken under Tony Blair’s time in office.

    • Police could use more extreme tactics on protesters, Sir Hugh Orde warns

      Police could be forced to adopt more extreme tactics to counter the threat posed by student protesters and “hacktivists”, according to Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

      Speaking before major protests planned across Britain at the weekend, Orde admitted that use of text messages, Twitter and Facebook to organise campaigns in record speed had created “a whole new dimension to public order”.

    • Bandwagon Jumping In Ottawa – Former Tunisian Regime Not Welcome In Canada

      I agree. We don’t want or need the kleptomaniacal members of the ‘former Tunisian regime’ in Canada. But where the hell has our Prime Minister been hiding for the last two weeks? While Tunisians have fought for their freedom, Stephen Harper appears to have made no comments until now. In fact searches do not turn up any comments by him on Tunisia in the past. Ever. Curious that.

    • Bloody and bruised: the journalist caught in Egypt unrest

      In the streets around Abdel Munim Riyad square the atmosphere had changed. The air which had held a carnival-like vibe was now thick with teargas. Thousands of people were running out of nearby Tahrir Square and towards me. Several hundred regrouped; a few dozen protesters set about attacking an abandoned police truck, eventually tipping it over and setting it ablaze. Through the smoke, lines of riot police could be seen charging towards us from the south.

    • How are protestors in Egypt using social media?

      This question has been posed to me constantly over the past two days from journalists doing their best to understand the relationship between online and offline forms of protest. I feel their pain – after the mainstream media went gaga over Iran’s 2009 protests, journalists must be considerably wary when tackling this subject: Go one way, and you risk overstating the influence, go the other and you’re dismissed as assuming individuals in the Arab world incapable of leveraging social media tools for organizing.

  • Cablegate

    • Medvedev says WikiLeaks ‘positive’, ‘healthy’

      Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday he thought the release of leaked US diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website could have a positive effect on international diplomacy.

      Brandishing his iPad, the tech-friendly Medvedev said modern communications had linked people in such a way that “no very serious secret can be guaranteed immune from being disclosed today.”

      “At the end of the day, I believe this WikiLeaks story should make the spirit of international relations healthier even if, in itself, this was an illegal activity,” he added.

    • No proof WikiLeaks breaking law, inquiry finds
    • WikiLeaks Cables Help Uncover What Made Tunisians Revolt

      A set of 10 diplomatic cables released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks offers some insight into the recent upheaval in Tunisia and starts to answer the question of why so many Tunisians took to the streets to topple their leader.

      The cables, written by the U.S. Embassy in Tunis between January 2006 and June 2009, cover topics ranging from corruption in the country to a dinner for the U.S. ambassador hosted by the son-in-law of Tunisia’s then-President, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

    • Whispering at Autocrats

      In one fell swoop, the candor of the cables released by WikiLeaks did more for Arab democracy than decades of backstage U.S. diplomacy.

      It would be rational, for example, for American diplomats to believe that the revolution in Tunisia is unlikely to spur similarly successful popular movements in other authoritarian Arab countries, such as Egypt and Algeria. But by the same token, it would have been rational for them to believe just a month ago that no such revolution was possible in Tunisia. Or to discount the likelihood that the people of Kyrgyzstan would overthrow their corrupt government just weeks before it happened last year. Or to dismiss as a pipe dream that the mighty Soviet Union would fall, and that the powerless Baltic nations would become independent, democratic states, just a year before it happened. If we bet on the stability of authoritarian states, we will be right most of the time, but wrong at the crucial time.

    • Julian Assange to Appear on “60 Minutes” Sunday

      Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, has given a lengthy interview to Steve Kroft for a segment to be broadcast on “60 Minutes” this Sunday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

      Kroft spent two days with Assange on the grounds of the private residence in England where he is under house arrest as he fights attempts to extradite him to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault.

    • Marines change commander at facility where WikiLeaks suspect held

      The Marines have changed the commander of the detention facility where WikiLeaks suspect Pfc. Bradley Manning is being held, days after his attorney filed a complaint claiming that Manning is being unfairly treated in detention.

      Chief Warrant Officer James Averhart, who had been in charge of the detention facility at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, was replaced by Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes, Quantico spokesman Lt. Brian Villiard said.

      The change in command was ordered back in October and is not related to the concerns raised by Manning’s lawyer, said Villiard. But Manning’s lawyer is holding out hope that the new commander will move his client to a less restrictive incarceration status.

    • PFC Bradley Manning Is Not Being Treated Like Every Other Detainee

      Despite the assertion of Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, PFC Bradley Manning is not being treated like every other detainee at the Quantico brig. Morrell stated during today’s Pentagon briefing that PFC Manning’s “confinement is not in the least different from the manner in which anyone else at the brig is being held.” This statement is patently false.

      PFC Manning is being treated differently. He is the only detainee being held in Maximum (MAX) custody and under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch. Every other detainee is being held in Medium Detention In (MDI) and without POI watch restrictions. What is the difference?

    • DOD News Briefing with Geoff Morrell from the Pentagon
    • Localeaks: A Drop-Box for Anonymous Tips to 1400 U.S. Newspapers

      Although the mission of WikiLeaks is to “open governments,” it’s done quite a lot to make us think about how to open journalism as well. We’ve seen a number of new whistleblower sites crop up – OpenLeaks and Rospil, for example – as well as major news organizations – Al Jazeera, and perhaps even The New York Times – investigate ways to facilitate more whistle-blowing and leaking.

      But why wait for local newspapers to roll out their own anonymous tips pipeline when a project from CUNY Graduate School’s Entrepreneurial Journalism program has designed just that thing.

    • Visa: WikiLeaks Guilty until Proven (Twice) Innocent

      The AP reports that a Swedish company Visa Europe hired to study whether WikiLeaks was breaking the law or Visa’s own rules has “found no proof the group’s fundraising arm is breaking the law in its home base of Iceland.” But, the AP goes on, Visa will not accept WikiLeaks donations until it completes its own investigation, which has thus far lasted eight weeks.

      Shorter Visa: “we’re going to keep investigating this until we find some justification to explain why we’ll accept donations to the Ku Klux Klan but not WikiLeaks.”

    • Wikileaks ISP Anonymizes All Customer Traffic To Beat Spying

      In order to neutralize Sweden’s incoming implementation of the European Data Retention Directive, Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP and host of Wikileaks, will run all customer traffic through an encrypted VPN service. Since not even Bahnhof will be able to see what its customers are doing, logging their activities will be impossible. With no logs available to complete their chain of investigation, anti-piracy companies will be very, very unhappy.

    • Wikileaks ISP refuses data hand-out to Swedish government

      No details, no data

    • WikiLeaks: the latest developments

      • Assange has been giving interviews and taking part in online Q&As. He told the Associated Press he currently has 20 media partners and hopes to enlist as many as 60 as WikiLeaks seeks to speed up its release of the cables. In an online Q&A on a Brazilian blog, he said he was taking no part in the current slew of WikiLeaks film projects, but if he were to sell production rights it would be on condition that he was be played by Will Smith. (I get the impression Assange isn’t taking WikiLeaks the Movie / TV mini-series that seriously.)

    • Welcome to OpenLeaks

      OpenLeaks is a project that aims at making whistleblowing safer and more widespread. This will be done by providing dedicated and generally free services to whistleblowers and organizations interested in transparency. We will also create a Knowledge Base aiming to provide a comprehensive reference to all areas surrounding whistleblowing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • England’s forest sell-off plan gets a partial rethink

      The government is to make a partial climbdown tomorrow over proposals to sell off England’s woodlands, following pressure from campaigners and Liberal Democrats. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is expected to announce that up to 80,000 hectares of England’s most cherished woodlands, such as the Forest of Dean and Cannock Chase, will be put into charitable trusts with the requirement that their current goals are maintained.

    • The future of the Public Forest Estate in England

      This consultation is about the future ownership and management of the public forest estate in England – land managed by the Forestry Commission on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

      It sets out the rationale for a move away from the Government owning and managing significant areas of woodlands in England and the principles which will guide the Government in deciding on the way forward. The consultation proposes a mixed model approach to reforming the ownership and management of the public forest estate to create a far greater role for civil society, businesses and individuals.

      We invite views on the mixed-model approach, the criteria for deciding which parts of the estate fit within each model, the principles guiding each model, the safeguards for providing public benefits, and alternative approaches. We also invite views on the implications for the future role of the Forestry Commission in England of these proposals.

    • Right to roam is not good enough – without robust rights of access we need to keep our forests in public ownership

      But I’ve since discovered our rights to roam will not be enough to guarantee continued access for everyone who currently enjoys our forests, if they’re sold off.

      Firstly the right to roam only applies to walkers – it does not extend to cyclists, horse-riders and other activities that are currently permitted in many of our forests.

      Secondly, there’s nothing to compel private landowners to maintain the existing car parking, toilets and play areas available at many forests. Without such facilities, a visit to the forest comes difficult if not impossible for some, especially families with small children and those with disabilities.

    • PhotoCrawl

      The entire global capacity to generate electricity is about 2 TW.

      To give you some idea of how big that is, if you were to weigh all the electricity humans generate in a year (we’re talking E = mc2 here) it would come in at almost a tonne. A year of the world’s electricity weighs about as much as your car.

      To give you some idea of how small that is, if you were to cover a 100 kilometer square of one of the world’s deserts near the equator with solar photovoltaic cells, they would comfortably generate more than 2 TW, at least in the daytime. That’s an area slightly bigger than Devonshire.

    • Koch Brothers Feel the Heat In DC, as Broad Coalition Readies Creative Action to Quarantine the Billionaires Gathering in California Desert

      Charges of conflict-of-interest — particularly in the infamous Citizens United decision that opens the floodgates to anonymous corporate money in elections — have been raised by Common Cause. Both Scalia and Thomas have admitted, according to a newspaper in Palm Springs, to speaking at private dinners hosted by Kansas oil tycoon Charles Koch, who, along with his brother David, has funded a wide array of right-wing causes and spent many millions on behalf of right-wing candidates.

  • Finance

    • Official: Trading software did not cause financial crash

      High speed trading systems were not the cause of the 2008 economic crash, according to the results of a two-year US government investigation.

      “The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire,” said a leaked copy of the report’s conclusions, seen by the New York Times. The investigations instead blame incompetence, aggressive risk taking and a total failure of political oversight.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Guess What? Letting Corps. Make Anonymous Unfettered Political Donations Quadrupled Contributions!

      That’s a bit different outcome from what the Supreme Court majority wrote in their opinion, which held that “with the advent of the Internet” citizens and shareholders would basically be able to Google all the information they would need and that would provide the necessary transparency.

      The answer is obvious. Instead of complaining about corporations perverting our democracy, average Americans should buckle down and make make more money so they can out-contribute them.

  • Censorship/Libel Tourism

    • In the Dock, in Paris

      My entire professional life has been in the law, but nothing had prepared me for this. I have been a tenured faculty member at the finest institutions, most recently Harvard and NYU. I have held visiting appointments from Florence to Singapore, from Melbourne to Jerusalem. I have acted as legal counsel to governments on four continents, handled cases before the highest jurisdictions and arbitrated the most complex disputes among economic ‘super powers.’

      Last week, for the first time I found myself in the dock, as a criminal defendant. The French Republic v Weiler on a charge of Criminal Defamation. The setting could not have been grander. As I entered the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, the French Old Bailey, my lawyer whispered: ‘Emile Zola was tried here.’ Vive la difference: This was no Dreyfus Affair but the stakes for Academic Freedom and liberty of expression are huge.

      As Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law and its associated Book Reviewing website, I commissioned and then published a review of a book on the International Criminal Court. It was not a particularly favorable review. You may see all details here. The author of the book, claiming defamation, demanded I remove it. I examined carefully the claim and concluded that the accusation was fanciful. Unflattering? Yes. Defamatory, by no stretch of imagination. It was my ‘Voltairian’ moment. I refused the request. I did offer to publish a reply by the author. This offer was declined.

    • Google Starts Censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare and More

      It’s taken a while, but Google has finally caved in to pressure from the entertainment industries including the MPAA and RIAA. The search engine now actively censors terms including BitTorrent, torrent, utorrent, RapidShare and Megaupload from its instant and autocomplete services. The reactions from affected companies and services are not mild, with BitTorrent Inc., RapidShare and Vodo all speaking out against this act of commercial censorship.

    • Will Google’s New Hamfisted Censorship On Autocomplete Raise Questions Of Human Meddling?

      One of the key arguments that critics have often made against Google is that the company “meddles” in search results, effectively “picking winners and losers.” Google’s — quite reasonable — response for years has been that it’s all in the algorithm, rather than any personal choices. And, the algorithm was just trying to recommend the best result, no matter what that might be. Indeed, this is a perfect and sensible response. However, after lots of pressure from the entertainment industry (and politicians closely associated with the entertainment industry), last month Google announced plans to start censoring “autocomplete” results, such that “terms that are closely associated with piracy” don’t appear.

    • Google won’t autocomplete “bittorrent” but will autocomplete “how to kidnap a child”

      Google won’t autocomplete searches for “bittorrent,” but if you are interesting in learning how to kidnap someone, make meth, build a bomb, cheat on your taxes, or shoplift, they will happily autocomplete your search for you.

    • Internet Security Savvy is Critical as Egyptian Government Blocks Websites, Arrests Activists in Response to Continued Protest

      As we’ve seen in Iran and Tunisia, social networking tools have given activists in authoritarian regimes a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond their own country. But the use of social networking tools has also given their governments ways to identify and retaliate against them. This week we are watching the same dynamic play out in Egypt. This is why it is critical that all activists —in Egypt and elsewhere—take precautions to protect their anonymity and freedom of expression. The protests in Egypt this week also highlight another important point: authoritarian governments can block access to social media websites, but determined, tech-savvy activists are likely to find ways to circumvent censorship to communicate with the rest of the world.

  • Privacy

    • Spying in a see through world: the “Open Source” intelligence industry

      The Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) industry has grown rapidly over the past decade. Private companies and state agencies are now collecting and analysing “publicly available” data on a vast scale.

      This article by Ben Hayes, published in the Statewatch Journal last year, looks at the evolution, theory and practice of OSINT; its use by police and security agencies; the rapidly developing OSINT industry; the blurring of the boundaries between OSINT and covert surveillance; and the embrace of OSINT by the EU.

    • RIPA – a victory for privacy (and, ahem, BBW)

      Over at Public Service, I’ve written an article about the fact that (rejoice) local authorities have finally been denied surveillance powers for many purposes and have to get warrants to authorise use for the rest. Just as we called for in our report, our manifesto and our book. Very pleased. Let’s call this a win.

  • Civil Rights

    • Cuban dissident released after brief detention

      Cuban authorities have released a well-known dissident after detaining him briefly as he and other opposition figures tried to block the eviction of a woman from a home in the central city of Santa Clara.

      Guillermo Farinas told The Associated Press on Thursday he and 25 other opposition figures and local residents were taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, then released with a warning to stay out of trouble late in the evening.

    • Congress & DOJ Take On Internet Data Privacy

      The Justice Department hopes to force ISPs to archive personal user data usage for help facilitate future law enforcement investigations, which puts the fate of our Internet privacy up in the air. Kevin Pereira talks to EFF’s Richard Esguerra about the upcoming hearing and the details.

  • DRM

    • Sarkozy wants a “civilised” Internet

      With France at the Presidency of the G20 group in 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy has recently announced the intention to convene a G20 meeting to discuss Internet and copyright issues, before the full G20 summit of heads of state and government in Cannes in November.

      The French President has had the same discourse for some time now, having pushed the idea of a “civilised” Internet on various occasions since the signature in November 2007 of the so-called “Olivennes agreement”, which established the Hadopi authority.

      The subject of a “civilised” Internet will also be discussed during the G8 meeting that will take place in Deauville, France, on 26 and 27 May 2011. “We will table a central question, that of a civilised Internet (….).We cannot consume as never before images, music, authors, creation, and not ensure the property rights for the person who put all the emotion, talent and creativity (…). The day we no longer remunerate the creation, we will kill the creation” said Sarkozy.

      In the French government’s opinion, expressed by Deputy Muriel Marland-Militello, France is the “world’s pioneer of the civilised Internet”, thanks to Hadopi.

    • 25 Years of Digital Vandalism

      Last fall, when I learned of the Stuxnet attack on the computers running Iran’s nuclear program, I briefly thought that here, finally, was the real thing: a cyberweapon purpose-built by one state actor to strategically interfere with the business of another.

      But as more details emerged, it began to look less like something new and more like a piece of hobbyist “street” technology, albeit one expensively optimized for a specific attack. The state actor — said to be Israel, perhaps working with the United States, though no one is sure — had simply built on the unpaid labor of generations of hobbyist vandals.

    • Sony wins restraining order against Geohot

      The courts have just issued a temporary restraining order against George Hotz (Geohot). Sony filed this lawsuit because they were unhappy that Geohot had released the Playstation 3 decryption keys so other people could play unsigned games on it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mickey Mouse Protection

        There is a reason US copyright law is sometimes “affectionately” known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act; there is a strange coincidence at play here – every time the copyright on Walt Disney’s early creations is about to expire, US copyright terms get magically extended by another few years. Currently, a work is under copyright both in the US and the UK for 70 years after the author’s death. This might make sense for Disney—at least someone is still making money from Walt’s creations—but for the vast majority of creative works out there, this lengthy copyright term is an issue.

      • Spanish Film Academy President May Be Fired For Listening To Fans Who Don’t Like New Copyright Law

        While he claims his decision is because he believes that “pitting creators against the web is a mistake,” and noting that politicans have refused to listen to the people, his critics are claiming that “his compulsive passion for Twitter has played a dirty trick” on him. Not only that, but the Advisory Board of the Film Academy is threatening to oust him before his resignation, because of his being “tricked” by the internet. Apparently just talking the consumers and film fans and getting their opinion is prohibido in the Spanish Film Academy.

      • MPAA Takes A Dozen Torrent Sites Offline

        The MPAA has managed to take a dozen torrent sites offline in the United States, with help from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The 12 torrent sites – which remain anonymous – were pulled offline by their hosting companies following complaints from the two organizations. What effect this ‘massive’ takedown operation will have on the BitTorrent ecosystem is yet to be seen, but thus far there are no reports of ‘missing’ torrent sites.

Clip of the Day

Blocks & Regions

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 27/1/2011: Release of Sabayon Linux 5.5, Fedora 14 for IBM System z 64-bit

Posted in News Roundup at 2:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Audacity of Carla Schroder

    In this exclusive Linux Pro Magazine interview, tell-it-like-it-is, Linux Today editor Carla Schroder talks about her latest book, The Book of Audacity , shares facts about herself you won’t find anywhere else, a peek into her current projects, and offers advice for women on making their own paths, encouraging children, and more.

  • Server

    • Linux vs Windows Hosting Servers

      When you’re looking at hosting options, especially for a virtual private server or dedicated server, you have a choice between Windows hosting or Linux hosting. The reference to Windows or Linux is to the operating system that is used on the server or on the virtual private server. So you might be wondering which one is better.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 2

      In this episode: Ubuntu is going to bundle Qt libraries with its base install. Google will no longer bundle H.264 with Chrome and Firefox 4 will only have limited hardware acceleration. Share our discoveries, try XFCE, and listen to your own conversion stories in our Open Ballot.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok Insider – Issue 16

        In This Issue

        * What’s New in Amarok
        * Google and Amarok
        * Roktober Success
        * Interview with a Developer: Bart Cerneels
        * Automated Playlist Generator: How to Use it
        * Queue Manager in Amarok
        * Installing and using a script in Amarok
        * Amarok on Windows
        * Transcode your media files
        * Amarok Live CD

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon – PackageKit, the Other GUI

      Alright, some of you are out there mumbling and grumbling about Sulfur, the gui front-end to entropy. The largest complaint I see is how slow it is on start up and even slow operations after it is up and running. I personally don’t see this issue. It takes a bit for it to start up, but don’t see it any worse than starting up firefox. There is an alternative to using Sulfur and it’s called PackageKit.

    • Interactive GNU/Linux distro timeline

      An absolutely massive interactive HTML-based graphic shows the timeline of your favorite Linux distributions. With the left side presenting 1992′s Debian, Redhat, and SLS, it shows how the various distributions we know today came into existence. Follow the lines to the right as they branch into CentOS, Fedora, Tinfoil Hat, Knoppix, Freespire, and many many more. Click on each name to be taken to the home site for that selected distribution.

    • Lin4Neuro: a customized Linux distribution ready for neuroimaging analysis

      A variety of neuroimaging software packages have been released from various laboratories worldwide, and many researchers use these packages in combination. Though most of these software packages are freely available, some people find them difficult to install and configure because they are mostly based on UNIX-like operating systems.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • LCA 2011: Travelling far and wide to spread the Debian gospel

        It’s a long way from the cold boulevards of Paris to the searing heat of Brisbane but Stefano Zacchiroli has spent the 20-odd hours needed to make the trip because he wants to tell people in the FOSS community about the vital role that the Debian GNU/Linux Project still has to play.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The New X Stack Is Going Into Ubuntu 11.04

          For those following closely the development of Ubuntu 11.04, in the process of going into the Ubuntu Natty repository this week is its new X stack. This means the latest snapshot of the unreleased X Server 1.10 and Mesa 7.10 for the open-source DRI / Gallium3D drivers. Due to the usual API/ABI breaks, this also means updated X.Org drivers are also going into the “Natty Narwhal” repository at the same time.

        • Full Circle – Special Edition #01 – The Perfect Server

          Yes, the cover looks familiar, but don’t worry, inside are many pages of Ubuntu 9.10 goodness.

        • Ubuntu 11.04′s Unity: What’s new

          Since Unity has been introduced in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, there have been many changes in it just since 10.10′s release. The switch from Mutter to Compiz is one example: Compiz, unlike Mutter, has more animations and other effects that allow some incredible things like autohiding of the Unity Launcher, Launcher transparency, and familiar things like the world-famous desktop cube enabled by other Compiz plugins that can run alongside Unity (also a Compiz plugin).

        • Other Distros May Adopt Ubuntu Software Center

          Samuel: We already agreed that we would like the current Ubuntu Software Center to be improved and used in various distributions. If this happens, then we will have the same software center in many distributions, but this doesn’t mean that the available applications have to be exactly the same in every distribution. There are no plans to merge software repositories for now, nor package managers.

        • Ubuntu’s Warm and Fuzzy Qt Embrace

          After all, there’s been Canonical’s decision to adopt Unity as the next desktop Ubuntu’s default interface, and there’s been the equally shocking plan to switch away from X.org and onto Wayland as the distro’s new graphics system. And that’s on top of a raft of smaller but still significant changes!

          Well, one can only hope Ubuntu fans have been taking their vitamins lately, because recently word got out that yet another big change is planned. Specifically, future versions of Ubuntu — post-Natty Narwhal, that is — will incorporate the Qt user interface libraries; they may, in fact, even include applications based on Qt.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Preview: Bodhi Linux 0.1.4 Beta

            I’ve been reading a lot of good things about Bodhi Linux recently. It’s a young (just a few months old) Ubuntu-based distribution that exclusively uses the Enlightenment E17 WM. (The name is appropriate because Prince Siddartha (later to be known as the Buddha) achieved enlightenment under a bodhi tree.) I’ve used GNOME, KDE, Openbox, and a bit of LXDE, Xfce, and Fluxbox, but I’ve never used Enlightenment before, so this is a totally new experience to me. Plus, not only is Bodhi Linux in beta at version 0.1.4, even Enlightenment itself, after over a decade of development, is still in beta at version 0.17 (hence E17); the release of E17 after E16 (Enlightenment 0.16) was a huge deal for its users. It’s a good thing that it’s built on a familiar Ubuntu base, or else I’d be totally lost. I made a live USB of this with UnetBootin and went on my way, so follow the jump to see how this experience goes.

          • [New release of] Greenie Linux
  • Devices/Embedded

    • And It Came To Pass, The Tiny ARMed PC

      This thing is pocket-sized but it’s not a mobile thingie, it’s a desktop PC. CompuLab has been making industrial controllers and such using x86 but lately it is going with ARM. No doubt they like the performance per cubic centimetre/dollar.

      I was expecting things like this to appear in the fall but these guys plan on shipping in April. No prices yet… If they can undercut eeeBox, we should have some competition in this space. Good.

    • Tiny Tegra-based computer touted as open ARM development platform

      CompuLab announced a 5.1 x 3.7 x 0.6-inch computer built around the dual-core, 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, designed as an open platform for ARM software development, among other uses. Claimed to run on only three Watts, the “Trim-Slice” features 1GB RAM, dual SDHC slots, a SATA SSD, dual-head HDMI/DVI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, plus gigabit Ethernet, USB, and serial connectivity.

    • Navigation SoCs will adopt ARM Cortex cores

      CSR plc announced a “major licensing agreement” with ARM that will result in the former’s GPS receivers being integrated with the latter’s IP (intellectual property). The “location-aware” SoC (system on chip) platforms will include application processors with Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A9 cores, according to the companies.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Is Nokia planning to enter the tablet market with MeeGo?

          Over the past few months, there have a lot of potential iPad competitors entering (or preparing to enter) the market. The most common are Android-based tablets running either the current/recent Android releases or models that will ship with Google’s tablet-optimized Honeycomb release. There’s also a couple of new platforms on the horizon including RIM’s PlayBook and HP’s upcoming webOS tablets (along with potential webOS netbooks).

      • Android

        • Android trumps Apple, every time

          Given the choice of an Apple iOS or and Android powered device, my choice is clear.

          At the risk of sounding like a “hater” – I won’t be buying an iPad.

          I know all the cool kids have iPads but I really don’t want one. I’m also tired of hearing how “awesome” the iPad is. It’s just a tablet PC, for goodness sake. The way some people carry on you’d swear the iPad was the equivalent of finding a cure for cancer or brokering world peace.

          Of course the iPad looks cool. That’s what Apple does best: Apply their excellent design and marketing skills to relatively standard pieces of technology. No matter how cool it is, it is not enough to convince me to become an Apple disciple, which is what most Apple users quickly become.

        • Google has forked Android

          The last thing I wanted to see was Android to split into two “official” versions. Well, guess what, for all intents and purposes that’s what’s happened. Ack!

          It’s bad enough that Android has multiple current versions. Then, Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK (Software Development Kit) Tech Lead, announced “Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is a new version of the Android platform that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets.”

        • Preliminary Android 3.0 SDK reveals new delights

          The Google-sponsored Android project has released a preview software developers kit (SDK) for the tablet-oriented Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”). In the process, it has revealed many more details about Android 3.0, including a revamped “holographic” UI, redesigned keyboard, a new animation framework and graphics engines, and enhanced Bluetooth support — among many other changes.

        • An NXP App For Android

          If you are an engineer and own an Android phone, you can keep a close eye on NXP products through this new app.

          The app allows users to search, buy and share information on over 10,000 products from NXP’s High Performance Mixed Signal and Standard Products portfolio.

        • Android, open source and ZTE conquer world with entry-level phones

          Android as an open platform is continuing to spread its wings far and wide and keeping sure that the smartphone is en route to becoming the standard. By 2015, it may be time to drop the “smart” and just call them phones.

          We have already seen own-brand handsets and cheaper models particularly from the likes of Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei. TechEye has previously reported that ZTE, with its affordable mobile phones and aggressive strategy for going global, is on the way to world domination. Juniper Research agrees: “Pricing of smartphones will come down to $80 by 2015,” analyst Anthony Cox says. With the internet widely regarded as not just a privilege but a right, it makes sense: mobile browsing in emerging markets can be sold on the cheap.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • My Triple-boot Netbook…No More

        In July last year, I wrote about my little netbook Toshiba NB-100. Even though it originally came with Windows XP preinstalled, I forced Redmond’s OS to make room for SimplyMepis 8.0. That’s how my dual-boot computer was born.

        Sometime later, encouraged by the stability of Mepis and the flexibility of Linux, I went for a bolder move and installed Mepis 8.5 as well. I then had a triple-boot computer!! Oh, I was so proud of it!

        Back in those days, I was happy to experiment with Linux. In fact, I seldom booted XP. Little by Little, XP moved away from the center and became more like a storeroom on my netbook. I didn’t wipe that system out because of nostalgic reasons. Besides, the thought “if something goes wrong with Linux, you can boot Windows” was still present in my mind.

        Bullseye! At least in part. Something went wrong with Linux! This was something that both Mepis 8.0 and Mepis 8.5 brought about…

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Factors Justify the Use of Apache Hadoop?

    The question posed at this week’s San Francisco Hadoop User Group is a common one: “what factors justify the use of an Apache Hadoop cluster vs. traditional approaches?” The answer you receive depends on who you ask.

    Relational database authors and advocates have two criticisms of Hadoop. First, that most users have little need for Big Data. Second, that MapReduce is more complex than traditional SQL queries.

  • Events

    • LFNW 2011, Call for Presenters, Exhibitors, Sponsors

      The LinuxFest Northwest organizers are pleased to request proposals for exhibits and presentations for the 2011 Fest! Attendee participation is important to the success of the Fest. Thanks to sponsors and exhibitors the event is free to attendees again this year. Thank you for your support!

    • Texas Linux Fest Seeks Koha Guru

      The first Texas Linux Fest was, by most measures, a success.

      Personally, I attended as a voyeur…attending many of the talks and I caught Joe Brockmeier’s keynote. Something I enjoyed throughly. I also messed around and learned some things…both about Linux and the people that breath the rarefied air at the top.

    • LinuxFest Northwest 2011: Calls for Exhibits and Presentations

      LinuxFest Northwest, which will be held in Bellingham, Washington from April 30 through May 1, is calling for exhibit and presentation proposals.

    • Linux.Conf.Au – Day Three

      Wednesday opened with Geoff Huston from APNIC presenting on Internet Address Exhaustion, and how it presents a real and present threat to the openness of today’s Internet. Geoff walked the audience through the history of the internet, and covered some of the barriers to IPv6 adoption. Geoff then discussed how without open addressing there’s no open network, and detailed how the current environment provides little incentive for the very big internet players who have benefited from the initial openess of the Internet to maintain that openness when it levels the playing field for their competition. Geoff’s vision of the IP apocolypse was a bleak one, with only one viable solution left – to alter our environment to favour the rapid adoption of IPv6.

    • SambaXP 2011 conference call for papers

      Organised by German information security and data protection specialist SerNet, the 10th international Samba conference, Samba eXPerience 2011 will take place in Göttingen, Germany from the 9th to the 11th of May.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • OpenOffice.org 3.3 New Features
    • OpenOffice.org 3.3 Released to Deaf Ears
    • LibreOffice – A beginning

      If you’re a person inclined toward free software, your automatic reaction toward LibreOffice will be a positive one. You will also rebel against Oracle and find it a cold, cruel, merciless corporation. But please don’t, the first part, at least.

      Least of all, LibreOffice needs your approval. What it needs is support and criticism. The splitting from Oracle is an excellent opportunity to make it a so much better product. Yesmanning it won’t do here, I’m afraid. You should be objective and harsh, if needs be, so that LibreOffice can learn from existing mistakes and grow into a powerful and modern competitor for the office suite market.

    • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: LibreOffice 3.3 Suite Advances While Staying True to OpenOffice Roots

      In September 2010, a third of OpenOffice.org developers (about 20) objected to the open-source office suite falling under the custodianship of Oracle after the company completed its buyout of Sun Microsystems. They feared that Oracle wouldn’t provide whole-hearted support to an open-source application project that didn’t significantly contribute to its bottom line. They created the Document Foundation and forked the office suite code to create another open-source suite they dubbed LibreOffice. A little more than four months later, the developers unveiled on Jan. 25 a stable release of their first product, LibreOffice 3.3 (the numbering sequence conforms to the OpenOffice product chronology). The developers spent the time adding new features as well as extensively cleaning up portions of the the legacy code, said Italo Vignoli, one of the founding members of the Document Foundation. Previous OpenOffice fans will appreciate that LibreOffice 3.3 looks very similar to OpenOffice 3.3 and that many of the new features are also new in OpenOffice. But there are also a number of key differences that set the two open-source suites apart. The installer file is available on libreoffice.org, as well as a “help pack” executable, which contains the English language help files. Not installing the help pack means users end up in the documents section on the LibreOffice Website. If Java is not installed on the system, the application returns an error, but the installer doesn’t perform that check. So check that Java is installed before running the installer. Here are a few new features and cleanups that eWEEK found noteworthy.

    • Five things I love about LibreOffice 3.3

      It’s only been a few months since the Document Foundation fork of OpenOffice.org was announced, and here they are with the first stable release of LibreOffice. The 3.3 release isn’t a huge leap away from OpenOffice.org, but it does have some features that make it worth the switch.

      There’s a long list of new features for the 3.3 release, but a couple stand out above the rest for me.

    • Yes We Can

      Yesterday the Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 3.3 . I guess you may already have seen the news if you read this blog. I wanted to express my joy and my pride of our community who made this release possible. Not only did we make our first release, but we also showed everyone we could improve the software in a significant way. This is just a beginning as you can imagine. In addition, we have now published our short term roadmap (stay tuned for our other releases of February, March and May) and announced our will to work along time-based releases.

    • Office Automation Suites, Interoperability and Migrations

      As promised we are finally organizing an Open Source Focus Group meeting to talk about office automation suites, interoperability and migrations.

    • Finally, Java That We Knew Is Dead!

      Java seems to be joining the community/open source versions of OpenSolaris and OpenOffice as they slide under the butcher’s knife.

      The day ASF decided to quit the Java Executive Committee, Java’s distance with the community started to broaden. Unfortunately, Oracle took a U-Turn from its previous stand on Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs). When Java was under Sun, Oracle was pushing Sun lift restrictions from Java but the day Oracle acquired Java, it also acquired Sun’s stand on TCKs.

      Oracle’s stand on TCKs has made it clear that the only reason Oracle wanted Sun to lift TCK restrictions was to gain access to it, there weren’t any concern for the community.

      Oracle doesn’t need the community. It’s one of the hard-core enterprise centric proprietary companies, which is also known to be ruthless. The company was recently sued by the US government for overcharging the government itself.

  • Business

    • Ten More ERP Trends: Open Source and Pricing Pressures

      Last month, eCRM Guide wrote an article on the top ERP trends. As it turns out, there’s a lot more going on in this vibrant $20 billion market than could be squeezed into one article. So here are 10 more major trends in enterprise resource planning (ERP).

    • In search of thriving open source

      But then, for the sake of completeness, I looked at Chrome’s extension count, and was completely blown away: Google’s rising-star browser lists 11,431 extensions. That’s nearly 250 percent more extensions than Firefox!

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Talend Tops Off 2010 with Company Growth and Expansion

        Talend, a global open source software leader, today announced that it continued record growth and innovation in the second half of 2010. In just the last six months, Talend broke into the application integration market with the acquisition of SOPERA, completed a $34 million round of funding led by Silver Lake Sumeru and attained record growth numbers for the fourteenth straight quarter. Heading into 2011, the company is ideally positioned to extend its leadership position in the open source middleware market.

      • BIRT onDemand Provides Cloud Based Interactive BI, In-Memory Analytics, Google Friendly Dashboards & Mobile Deployment
      • Jaspersoft Announces Industry’s First and Only Native Reporting Offering for Any Big Data System

        Jaspersoft today released a broad set of software to support a wide variety of Big Data sources for Business Intelligence (BI) reporting. Companies are storing more and more of their data in data stores such as Hadoop, NoSQL databases and massively parallel processing (MPP) analytic databases because of their inherent cost and scale advantages relative to traditional databases. Today, with the release of over a dozen Big Data connectors as part of its open source “Big Data Reporting” project, as well as beta connectors for selected Big Data proprietary databases, Jaspersoft becomes the first and only BI vendor to deliver native reporting for Hadoop, NoSQL and MPP analytic databases.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Aust govt enforces equal rights for open source

      Government agencies in Australia should actively participate in open source communities and will be required to consider open source options equally when going to tender, under new policy announced Wednesday.

    • Leading the govt to open source

      Another option for open source could be a government open-source advocate like the government’s small business advocate Don Easter. Certainly in enterprise, open source seems to get more of a run if there’s a passionate advocate in the company (think De Bortoli CIO Bill Robertson or CIO for the Sydney Anglican diocese George Lymbers).

    • Australian government forces open source option

      Australia’s federal government has published a policy that mandates the consideration of open source software equally alongside proprietary products.

      The move represents a dramatic change in the government’s position, according to Australian reports.

      The policy was anounced just days after a decision by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) to standardise on Microsoft’s Office Open XML document standard sparked controversy.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Pirate Bay, Decentralised P2P-DNS, ICANN and the law of Unintended Consequences

      I’ve always been a great fan of the law of unintended consequences. It takes you places. Unexpected places. Sometimes good, sometimes bad but never a dull moment. The recent kerfuffle over Pirate Bay is too well known to require detailed recounting here. What is really interesting though is where it might just eventually take us in terms of internet freedom. This article describes the one fallout of the legal judgements against Pirate Bay and how its response may unintentionally help to protect and promote internet freedoms.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Creativity: Hackerspaces

        I hadn’t heard of hackerspaces prior to producing this story about Noisebridge, a hackerspace located in San Francisco’s Mission District. A member of the space and our Tuesday Tech blogger, Laura Khalil, gave me a tour and introduced me to one of its co-founders, Mitch Altman.

        Mitch is a technological Renaissance man; he’s a hacker, author, instructor and the inventor of TV-B-Gone, a device that allows one to turn off any television with a click of a special remote.


  • What Does a Good IT Manager Look Like?

    In the previous two installmants of this series (It Management Fail: Always Blame the Worker Bees and More Tales of Terrible IT Managers) I shared some bad IT manager horror stories. We could mine this topic forever, and I would be tempted to except Scott Adams already does it with Dilbert, and I can’t improve on Dilbert.

  • Prizes

    I can remember about 1957 I won a 5 cent coin for my efforts in the high jump at Field Day in a one-room school house in the bush. That was a prize rewarding me for accomplishment. Another more recent prize was for $600K or so for development UNIX by Dennis Ritchie, Ph.D., Distinguished Member of Technical Staff Emeritus, Bell Labs,
    Alcatel-Lucent Inc., and Ken Thompson, Ph.D., Distinguished Engineer, Google Inc., a major step up in operating systems and, as it turned out, something of lasting value still widely used. That’s sweet. Here, I have been told that GNU/Linux or any UNIX-like OS is so old-fashioned.

  • CRTC endorses telecommunications consumer agency and extends membership requirements to better serve Canadians

    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today reaffirmed its support for the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), an agency that works to resolve disagreements between Canadians and their service providers.

  • Ron Paul, Ralph Nader agree on ‘progressive-libertarian alliance’

    In this corner, a libertarian, tea party hero who ran several campaigns as a candidate for US president on the Republican ticket. And in that corner, a progressive icon of the left who also ran several campaigns for the US presidency but on the Green Party ticket.

  • Barack Obama’s State of the Union address – full text
  • Bush White House Broke the Law

    A new report issued by the Office of Special Counsel says George W. Bush’s Office of Political Affairs routinely violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits using federal dollars to pay for political activities and bars federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug experiment

      What happens when an entire country legalizes drug use?

    • “How Everybody Exists” Doesn’t Have To Be

      Here’s the context. Pierce — an old (and probably now former) friend from my nearly two decades inside the insurance industry — was quoted by DiStefano as saying that I erred when I wrote that APCO set up and operated a fake grassroots front group, Health Care America, to discredit Moore and his movie because insurance company executives were terrified that Sicko would convince even more Americans that the government should play a much greater role in the U.S. health care system.

  • Security

    • Are you in danger of Phone call hacking?

      Unlike the UK’s Royal family, I doubt anyone is listening in on my phone calls. But, if someone wanted to, they could.

      Many mobile phone calls in the U.S. and Europe are encrypted with a stream cipher called A5/1, which is commonly used, in GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) voice communications. A5/1 is not secure. It’s been broken for years.

      More recently, in 2009, A5/1 was busted by a German hacker in a way that demonstrated that if you can capture the voice stream anyone with generic computer equipment could break it. Since then, A5/1 has only gotten easier to crack.

    • Five arrested over ‘Anonymous’ web attacks

      Five men have been arrested over a spate of recent web attacks carried out in support of Wikileaks.

      The five males are being held after a series of arrests at residential addresses in the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey and London this morning.

      The men were arrested in relation to “recent and ongoing” attacks by an online group that calls itself “Anonymous”.

      Targets included the websites of PayPal, Mastercard and Amazon.


      It is not the first arrests in relation to the attacks. In December two Dutch teenagers were taken into custody and subsequently released over allegations that they had helped coordinate them.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • In the Crosshairs

      That, as H.G. Wells imagined it in 1898, was first contact with a technologically superior and implacable alien race from space, five years before humanity took to the air in anything but balloons. And that was how the Martians, landing in their “cylinders,” those spaceships from a dying planet, ready to take over ours, responded to a delegation of humans advancing on them waving a flag of peace and ready to parlay. As everyone knows who has read The War of the Worlds, or heard the 1938 Orson Welles radio show version that terrified New Jersey, or watched the 1953 movie or the Stephen Spielberg 2005 remake, those Martians went on to level cities, slaughter masses of humanity using heat-rays and poison gas, and threaten world domination before being felled by the germs for which they were unprepared.

    • The Gun Lobby Removes Its Silencer

      After the shooting spree in Tucson, a simple message appeared on the website of the nation’s premier gun-rights booster, the National Rifle Association: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless tragedy. We join the rest of the country in praying for the quick recovery of those injured.” Asked to comment on gun-control legislation floated since the massacre, the NRA sent a similar statement to Mother Jones: “At this time anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate.” Was the powerful gun lobby standing down amid calls for stricter gun laws? Nope, it was merely prepping for what could be a fierce legislative fight.

    • Extremist Killing Is as American as Apple Pie

      Not much, you might say, when taken in the context of about 30,000 gun-related deaths annually nationwide. As it happens, though, these murders over the past couple of years have some common threads. All involved white gunmen with ties to racist or right-wing groups or who harbored deep suspicions of “the government.” Many involved the killing of police officers.

    • David Davis: ‘Control orders lite’ will not make us any safer
    • Iraq Inquiry: Freedom of Information lives!

      Transparency and disclosure in action! But wait! I shouldn’t mock! We can see from the punctuation that at least one exchange involved a question!

  • Cablegate

    • NY Times considers creating an ‘EZ Pass lane for leakers’

      The New York Times is considering options to create an in-house submission system that could make it easier for would-be leakers to provide large files to the paper.

      Executive editor Bill Keller told The Cutline that he couldn’t go into details, “especially since nothing is nailed down.” But when asked if he could envision a system like Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit, Keller said the paper has been “looking at something along those lines.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Scrap Metal Cowboys

      Schnitzer Steel of Portland, Oregon reported record revenues earlier this month. No surprise. The recycled-metal giant, which has roots going back over 100 years to the Alaska Junk Company, is uniquely positioned for the ongoing commodity supercycle. With iron ore, copper, and a selection of other metals now exceeding their 2008 price highs, the demand for salvaged metal is soaring. 2011, so far, pressages more of the same as the worst copper deficit since 2004 is set to unfold over the next two years. With production from mining under pressure, industry will have to turn increasingly to scrap.

    • “Clean Natural Gas?” Not So Fast.

      Acquiring “clean natural gas” and “getting off of foreign oil” are pitched as reasons to continue natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. And yet, beyond all the problems associated with fracking, Pro Publica’s Abrahm Lustgarten revealed in a January 25, 2011 article that “clean natural gas” isn’t all that clean after all.

    • “Gasland” Up for Best Feature Documentary At Oscars

      Gasland, the documentary produced and directed by Josh Fox, is up for an Oscar for Best Documentary in the Feature Category.

      The film put the harms associated with natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in the national limelight and begat a propaganda campaign by Energy in Depth (EID). EID, for those who have not heard of it, is a pro-oil-and-gas drilling industry front group formed by the American Petroleum Institute.

  • Finance

    • Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds

      The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.

    • Republican draws line on funding boost for ‘failed’ regulators

      A Republican who will play a leading role in the oversight of the Wall Street reform law said federal regulators should not be “rewarded” with budget increases for past mistakes.

      Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) told The Hill in an exclusive interview that it is “troubling” that financial regulators want to be given more funds and staff after failing to prevent the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    • Wonkbook: So much State of the Union

      The question that gets asked of every investor is the same: “How much?” Investments, after all, primarily matter for how much capital they give their beneficiary access to. But “how much” was a question that President Obama studiously avoided answering in last night’s State of the Union. And without knowing what Obama is actually asking from Congress, it’s hard to know what his vision amounts to. Yes, it would be good “to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” and yes, public policy has a role in helping us do that. But a small commitment to public investment is very different than a big commitment to public investment. Obama, after all, is not the first president to make competitiveness a theme of his State of the Union. The question is whether he’ll be the first to actually do something serious about it.

    • Yen hit by S&P’s downgrade of Japanese debt

      The dollar spiked higher against the yen Thursday after a leading credit ratings agency downgraded its view on Japan’s debt amid concerns over its elevated borrowings.

      Stock markets mostly traded higher, however, after the U.S. Federal Reserve gave few, if any, indications that it is thinking about changing its policy anytime soon. That suggests interest rates will remain at historically low levels and that the central bank will continue its program to pump $600 billion into the U.S. economy – a welcome combination for stock market investors.

    • Goldman Sachs scholarship challenged at Senate

      A controversial MBA scholarship has been introduced at Western. As it sits now, the Goldman Sachs Scholars Fund MBA Award (School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Business) is under review by the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Awards (SCAPA). It is under review because Dr. Nick Dyer-Witheford, Associate Dean and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS), raised concerns at the past SCAPA meeting about UWO receiving money from an organization such as Goldman Sachs.

    • Financial crisis was caused by corporate mismanagement, says US government

      The 2008 financial meltdown was avoidable and largely caused by unnecessary risk-taking, corporate mismanagement and inept regulation, according to the US government’s official report.

      The financial crisis inquiry commission’s official report is due tomorrow but according to leaks in the New York Times it will conclude: “The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done. If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”

    • Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report Due

      Word is beginning to leak out about the contents of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s (FCIC) final report, a 576-page official analysis of the causes of the crisis. The Commission, which got off to a slow and rocky start, managed to hold 19 days of hearings and interviewed 700 witnesses. According to the New York Times, the report puts blame where blame is due, on reckless Wall Street gambling, but also on the colossal failure of government.

    • Why Do Firms Exist?

      The Economist marked Professor Coase’s 100th birthday with an article, Why Do Firms Exist?, that reviews his major accomplishments. I like its edgy first paragraph:

      “For philosophers the great existential question is: ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ For management theorists the more mundane equivalent is: ‘Why do firms exist? Why isn’t everything done by the market?’”

      Professor Coase’s work provides simple answers to to these questions. He explained that, in principle, a firm should be able to find the cheapest, most productive goods and services by contracting them out in an efficient, open marketplace. However, markets are not perfectly fluid. Transaction costs are incurred in obtaining goods and services outside the firm, such as searching for the right people, negotiating a contract, coordinating the work, managing intellectual property and so on. Thus, firms came into being to make it easier and less costly to get work done.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Report: Fox News gave GOP presidential candidates $55 million in free advertising

      Being on the Fox News payroll has its advantages.

      Not only did five potential Republican candidates get regular paychecks from the network last year, but they also got something even more valuable: airtime

      Liberal watchdog group Media Matters found that the five received about $55 million in free advertising over the course of more than 85 hours of appearances in 2010.

  • Censorship

    • Twitter and web video site face clampdown in Egypt

      Egypt appears to have clamped down on web services, such as Twitter, that have been used to help organise anti-government protests in Cairo.

      Twitter confirmed that its service has been blocked in Egypt on Tuesday from around 1600GMT.

      A Swedish mobile video site called Bambuser also reported that it had been blocked around the same time.

  • Privacy

    • Privacy Superhero Reveals Her Plan

      By virtually every measure, 2010 was a remarkably successful year for Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. Riding the wave of high profile investigations into the privacy practices of Internet giants Facebook and Google, Stoddart received accolades around the world, while garnering a three-year renewal of her term at home.

      Last week Stoddart used her first public lecture of 2011 to put the Canadian privacy and business communities on notice that she intends to use her new mandate to reshape the enforcement side of Canadian privacy law. Speaking at the University of Ottawa, Stoddart hinted that she plans to push for order-making power, tougher penalties and a “naming names” strategy that may shame some organizations into better privacy compliance practices.

    • Jennifer Stoddart’s Shot Across the Privacy Bow

      By virtually every measure, 2010 was a remarkably successful year for Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. Riding the wave of high profile investigations into the privacy practices of Internet giants Facebook and Google, Stoddart received accolades around the world, while garnering a three-year renewal of her term at home.

      My regular technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that last week Stoddart used her first public lecture of 2011 to put the Canadian privacy and business communities on notice that she intends to use her new mandate to reshape the enforcement side of Canadian privacy law. Speaking at the University of Ottawa, Stoddart hinted that she plans to push for order making power, tougher penalties, and a “naming names” strategy that may shame some organizations into better privacy compliance practices. Canadian privacy law has quietly undergone some important changes in recent years. Legislation designed to implement changes to the broad-based private sector privacy law (PIPEDA) has been stuck in the slow lane, but the federal government has passed anti-spam and identity theft legislation, while several provinces have enacted health privacy and security breach disclosure reforms.

    • Facebook ads use your face for free

      Yesterday, Facebook introduced a handful of new ad units that combine your “Likes,” Facebook Places check ins, and your use of certain apps with advertisements for things like Starbucks, Coke, Levi’s jeans and Budweiser.

    • ICO warns local councillors on data protection responsibilities

      Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned local councillors who handle personal information that they may have to register as a data controller or risk a fine of up to £5,000.

    • 13,000 councillors may risk data fines

      Up to 13,000 councillors could be breaching data protection laws, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said.

      Warning of financial penalties, the ICO said councillors who handle personal data must check if they need to register as a data controller or potentially face a fine of up to £5,000.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jesse Ventura Sues TSA Over Body Scans, Pat Downs

      The lawsuit said the pat-down “exposed him to humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body.”

    • Mark Kennedy: 15 other undercover police infiltrated green movement

      Mark Kennedy, 41, a former Metropolitan Police officer who posed as a climate change protester known as “Mark Stone”, spoke out about the “grey and murky” world of undercover policing in which he said “really bad stuff” was secretly going on.

      Last week the £1 million trial of six environmental activists accused of plotting to break into the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire collapsed amid questions over Mr Kennedy’s involvement.

      The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now investigating whether Nottinghamshire Police withheld secret recordings made by Mr Kennedy showing that those accused were innocent of conspiracy from the prosecution.

    • House Panel Presses for ISP Data Retention Mandate
    • When is Terrorism Not Terrorism?

      The mainstream media largely ignored a story about an especially sophisticated and deadly backpack bomb found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Washington last week, barely covering it beyond an initial mention. The device drew special attention from some news outlets because it contained shrapnel, was equipped with a remotely-controlled detonator, was “directional” (meaning aimed toward the parade route) and in the FBI’s words, was “capable of inflicting multiple casualties.” The major media barely mentioned the incident, and the lack of follow-up stories on it is even more deafening now that the FBI has concluded that the connection between this incident and racism is “inescapable.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Senators Bash ISP and Push Extensive Net Neutrality

      “Remember when Verizon sued the FCC over net neutrality rules? Well, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) see it a bit differently and have authored a new working bill titled ‘Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (PDF).’ The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including ‘(6) charge[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers’ end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets; (7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization… (9) refus[ing] to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions.’ And that doesn’t count for packets sent over just the internet connections but also wireless, radio, cell phone or pigeon carrier. Franken has constantly reiterated that this is the free speech issue of our time and Cantwell said, ‘If we let telecom oligarchs control access to the Internet, consumers will lose. The actions that the FCC and Congress take now will set the ground rules for competition on the broadband Internet, impacting innovation, investment, and jobs for years to come. My bill returns the broadband cop back to the beat, and creates the same set of obligations regardless of how consumers get their broadband.’”

    • Mobile mesh network finds interest in NGOs

      Paul Gardner-Stephen, who co-founded the Serval project, first demonstrated the mesh network technology while experimenting with the use of Wi-Fi transmitters on phones to carry VoIP conversations.


      Presenting at linux.conf.au 2011 this week, Gardner-Stephen said community response had already surpassed expectations, with the Australian Red Cross voicing enthusiasm at the possibilities.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Great RetCon of Twenty-Eleven

      About a week ago we got a nice letter from Franklin Covey letting us know that the number “7″ in conjunction with the word “habits” was their trademark, and that in order to keep their trademark they needed to vigorously defend it. The words “cease” and “desist,” while not trademarked, appeared in the letter as well. But it was worded as nicely as such a thing can be.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadians: Speak Out on Copyright

        Bill C-32, the bill to amend the Copyright Act, is now being examined by a parliamentary committee in Ottawa.

      • BitTorrent Users Sued for Sharing Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape

        Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the company exploiting the Paris Hilton Sex Tape ‘One Night in Paris’ has filed lawsuits against 843 alleged BitTorrent users. While it has already made millions of dollars in profit from the dubiously obtained ‘motion picture’, the company is demanding compensation for losses allegedly caused by mass copyright infringement on BitTorrent networks.

      • How Long Until A Lawsuit Is Filed Against eBook Trading Service?

        We’ve already talked about how people are starting to freak out about “lending clubs” forming on Facebook to share Kindle ebooks, now that Amazon has launched a ridiculously limited “lending” feature. Not surprisingly, such efforts are quickly moving beyond Facebook as well, such as with the launch of a service called eBookFling, which is basically a marketplace for matching up folks for “lending” such limited ebooks.

      • “Bullies”: P2P lawyers demand sanctions against those suing them

        Late last year, Massachusetts resident Dmitriy Shirokov teamed up with a pair of young lawyers to file a class-action lawsuit against attorneys from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver—the firm operating as the US Copyright Group. Shirokov had received a letter from DGW saying that he had shared the film Far Cry online; would he please pay $1,500 ($2,500 if he waited too long) to make the whole matter just go away?

        He would not. Instead, he sued the DGW lawyers for racketeering, extortion, and committing fraud on the US Copyright Office (among 25 total claims). Even the settlement letters were said to be misleading, since they referenced other cases like the Joel Tenenbaum $675,000 P2P verdict—but without noting that a judge has already slashed that amount as being unconstitutional. According to Shirokov, DGW’s idea is merely to scare the accused into paying up.

      • Universal Cuts 50, WMG & EMI Sale Rumors Grow. But At The Top, They’re Playing Musical Chairs

        The major label roller coaster ride has intensified over the last few days with a series of staff cuts, executive changes and sale rumors that should radically shift the major label landscape. But will they lead to real change? Last week, new UMG CEO Lucian Grainge began his reign with 50+ staff cut across the U.S. operation. Finance, IT and administrative services appear to be the heaviest hit. Over at Warner Music Group, CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. seems to be trying to have it both ways.

      • Digital Music Has Only ‘Failed’ If You’re Not Paying Attention

        Apparently Forrester music analyst Mark Mulligan told the press recently that “digital music has failed,” which seems like an incredibly short-sighted statement. Mulligan’s a smart guy, and while we’ve disagreed with him in the past, I’m hoping he really said that because it’s a good line to feed the press, rather than because he had any actual belief in it. The fact is digital music has been a massive success for those who know how to use it. Digital music has allowed musicians to go from nobodies to stars. Digital music has allowed artists to connect with fans they never would have reached before. Digital music has allowed artists to massively expand their fan bases. Digital music has allowed artists to cut out unhelpful middlemen and route around gatekeepers. Digital music has meant more music is being produced, released and available today than ever before. How you can consider that a “failure” is beyond me.

      • Is copyright the devil? Or should we store Icebergs in the Sahara?- speech at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2011 Hans

        If I would only find myself on Twitter and not in real life I would almost believe that copyright is just a burden, just so much dead weight. And today I have the honour to exchange ideas with you about whether this is in fact true. Is copyright the devil?

      • ACTA

        • ACTA and the EU’s historic mission to “civilize” the Internet

          “The creation of a civilized internet” is what French President Nicolás Sarkozy proposed a few days ago for the agenda of the upcoming G-8 meeting. President Obama has also agreed to give priority to the issue of “taming the web” at the meeting of the most powerful countries. There seems to be a certain coincidence of interests in favor of varying degrees of repressive digital measures from a broad coalition formed by intellectual property hardliners, rabid wikileaks critics and a number of big brother authoritarian governments like those of Egypt or China.

        • European Commission Sued Over ACTA Secrecy

          The European Commission has revealed that it is currently being sued over ACTA secrecy. In October 2010, MEP Marietje Schaake asked several questions of the EC including one on non-transparency.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • How does the Digital Economy Act compare to ACS:Law?

          In some ways, the DEA will make it much easier for copyright holders to pursue those they believe have infringed their rights than it was for those who worked with ACS:Law.

          Whereas Andrew Crossley needed court orders to identify those he wanted to target, the new laws will force large ISPs (with more than 400,000 subscribers) to cooperate immediately.

          They will not hand over the names and addresses of customers observered unlawfully filesharing to rights holders, however, but will send out warning letters their on behalf.

Clip of the Day

MyScript Handwriting Technology for Google Android

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 27/1/2011: Preview of Linux 2.6.38 and Android 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Switching to Desktop Linux? 6 Ways to Ease the Migration

      One of the most common mistakes new desktop Linux users make is to give up too easily, often citing the frequently heard myth that “It’s too hard.” The truth, however, is that it’s just different. It may be difficult to remember at this point, but Windows took some getting used to, too.

      How can you make the desktop Linux migration process as easy as possible in your business? Here are a few suggestions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.38 (Part 1) – Graphics

      Kernel version 2.6.38 supports AMD’s new Fusion CPUs and offers 2D and 3D acceleration with many current GeForce and Radeon graphics cards. Power economy for the graphics cores in Intel processors and chip-sets has been improved; new page flipping features aim to eradicate image flickering, tearing and incomplete rendering issues.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Five Best Alternative Window Managers for Linux

      GNOME and KDE are the most popular desktop environments for Linux by a mile, but they’re not the only games in town. If you’re ready to shake things up on the desktop, we’ve got five of the best alternatives for you to choose from.

      I’m using the term “window manager” a bit loosely in the headline because, well, it’s a headline. For the purposes of this round-up, I’m looking at the best desktop environment/window managers for Linux. What’s the difference between a desktop environment and a window manager? I’m glad you asked. Window managers do just that — manage placement and handling of “windows” in X. GNOME and KDE, for example, have default window managers (Metacity and KWin, respectively) but also provide a lot of features and applications that you won’t find with something like, say, FVWM or twm.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Selection in The Board

        Since I started dogfooding The Board on a daily basis, it became clear to me that not having a simple way to arrange multiple elements in the page is quite annoying. If you wanted to arrange multiple elements in a specific area of the page, you’d end up having to move each element separately, one by one. Argh! This is why I decided to focus on an initial set of features targeting this specific issue for the upcoming release.

      • GNOME Zeitgeist is NOT a file manager

        What’s wrong? Zeitgeist is not a file manager. The GNOME Activity Journal can be used to replace a file manager and do file manager-like things, but Zeitgeist is more than that. Check the official Zeitgeist website for details.

      • Zeitgeist For Gnome Shell Goes Public [Video]

        The code is now available for anyone who wants to try it out – for now there’s no GIT branch or such and instead, you must download an archive and replace the ~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/js folder with the js folder from this archive.

      • First public GNOME Shell Zeitgeist efforts

        With the help of “magcius”‘s async work and other on the shell channel now I am ready to have people try out my work. Sadly I am shitty with Git, so for now I will upload my whole js directory for GNOME Shell and hope someone can help me clean it up. Tomorrow I will bug the ppl on #gnome-shell to help me create a patch out of it. This is how it looks like now…

      • Apologies to GNOME

        While I might not be the best developer around I do try to bring something new to the table and I do hope that GNOME can see it at some point. What started off as a GNOME project is now being endorsed by Unity, KDE and lots of small community projects. We worked on being a cross-desktop project with our roots in GNOME. I am not going to debate what needs to be changed in Zeitgeist to be more GNOME friendly (moving to git etc…) since its not fair for other deployments and not fair for us as developers who are used to our work environment. And while I might be the face of Zeitgeist the project has outgrown me and we have lots hackers and contributors around, so please feel free to get to know them.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The Natty Wallpaper contest – an important update!

          Two weeks into our wallpaper contest we’re seeing lots of really interesting entries for the photographic part. As those of you who read the previous post about the contest will know we’re also reserving at least three places this release for non photographic wallpapers. The plan _was_ to use another site to manage these entries. Unfortunately the dedicated community team working on this site have hit some issues with keeping it running and so we’ve decided to move all entries to Flickr. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and we’ll explore this solution again next cycle.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Software Center to add ratings and reviews in February

          Ubuntu 10.10 users will be able to rate and review applications within the Ubuntu Software Center come February, according the official wiki page timeline for the project.

        • User Days: Unity Q+A and other sessions
        • Creating an Ayatana for streamling development?
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux Review – Incredibly Good, Lightweight, Very Minimal Ubuntu Derivative

            Bodhi Linux is NOT yet another Ubuntu based Linux distro. Bodhi Linux is among a very few number of Ubuntu based distros that run Enlightenment(E17) window manager instead of the popular alternatives like GNOME or KDE. I had never used anything other than GNOME, KDE and XFCE desktops before and I have to tell you, my experience with Enlightenment desktop has been a completely refreshing one.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Google “not happy” with Android Market paid-app performance

          Google is “not happy” with the number of paid app purchases from the Android Market, with Android platform manager Eric Chu telling developers that the company had several strategies for driving app buyers in 2011. Speaking at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco this week, Forbes reports, Chu confirmed that carrier billing would be extended beyond just AT&T, so as to remove the payment obstacle for more users, while in-app payments would also come sometime this quarter.

        • Android 3.0 Platform Preview and Updated SDK Tools

          Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is a new version of the Android platform that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. It introduces a new “holographic” UI theme and an interaction model that builds on the things people love about Android — multitasking, notifications, widgets, and others — and adds many new features as well.

          Besides the user-facing features it offers, Android 3.0 is also specifically designed to give developers the tools and capabilities they need to create great applications for tablets and similar devices, together with the flexibility to adapt existing apps to the new UI while maintaining compatibility with earlier platform versions and other form-factors.

        • Google Announces Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” Platform Highlights

          Google just announced the Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform highlights which include tons of new features such as a new “holographic” UI theme, an interaction model that builds on multitasking, notifications, widgets, and many others.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What does Google’s management change say about the open source way?

    A few questions for you:

    * Will Larry Page use open source principles to lead Google from a bureaucratic culture back toward a more entrepreneurial culture?
    * Does the disagreement over the China decision show that Page and Brin have a commitment to openness that Schmidt does not have?
    * Do you think Google is better off staying committed to openness, or would the company become even more innovative if they moved closer to the direction of Apple?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4.0 Beta 10

        RPM of the tenth Beta of next major version of Mozilla Foundation browser is available in remi repository for Fedora >= 10. Available for 76 locales.

      • Towards Browse-Based Browsing with Home Dash

        If you’re already running the latest Firefox 4 Beta, you can immediately try out Home Dash without restarting Firefox. You can leave feedback in this Google Groups thread and check out the source on GitHub.

      • The new Socorro
      • WikiLeaks barrister Geoffrey Robertson receives NY Bar Association award, warns US

        While accepting an award for distinction in international law and affairs from the NY Bar Association, Geoffrey Robertson, who will defend Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at his extradition hearings in London in February, warned that the United States “risked irrevocable damage to its reputation if it pursued Assange” by “aiming the blunderbuss of its 1917 Espionage Act, death penalty and all, at a publisher who is a citizen of a friendly nation,” according to the The Age: US told to drop Assange pursuit.

      • Robertson accepts US law award with warning to back off Assange

        GEOFFREY ROBERTSON, QC, has been given an award by the New York Bar Association – but used his thank you speech to deliver a broadside to the US, warning it risks its reputation as a ”bastion of free speech” if it continues to pursue Julian Assange.

        Accepting the award for distinction in international law and affairs, Mr Robertson joked about Sarah Palin ”shooting from the lip” but seriously cautioned the US legal fraternity against ”aiming the blunderbuss of its 1917 Espionage Act, death penalty and all, at a pub- lisher who is a citizen of a friendly nation”.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle fails to keep Hudson creator’s trust

      The dispute between Oracle and the Hudson community over control of the open source continuous integration (CI) software has become more divisive as Oracle says it does not plan to give up its ownership of the trademark. Oracle’s Ted Farrell, chief architect for tools and middleware, said in a blog posting that Oracle was intent on retaining control of the trademark “to ensure stability and consistency to Hudson users”. He also proposed that anyone who took the hudson-ci.war, the core library of Hudson, unmodified, could call the result Hudson even if it was shipped with “as many extensions and plugins as you like”. But, if the core library of Hudson was a modified version of Oracle’s definition, then a developer would have to change the name to something else.

    • First release of LibreOffice arrives with improvements over OOo

      The Document Foundation (TDF) has announced the availability of LibreOffice 3.3, the first official stable release of the open source office suite. It introduces a number of noteworthy new features and there are improvements throughout the included applications. More significantly, the release reflects the growing strength of the nascent LibreOffice project.

  • CMS

    • Basque Parliament using Drupal

      The Basque Parliament has recently replaced a portion of its older site with a new Drupal site that can be seen at http://www.parlamentovasco.euskolegebiltzarra.org.

      This continues the trend of various government bodies around the world using Open Source software — and especially Drupal to power their official websites.

    • The Open Source Advocate Who Became Minister

      Slim Amamou is one of the main figures of the Tunisian Open Source community, first arrested for his activism against the Tunisian regime during the last revolution, later appointed as Minister of Youth after the Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s fall. Issa Mahasneh asks in this blog post: “Should the Arab World need revolutions to have Open-Source-friendly ministers?”.

  • Government

    • IT’S MANDATORY: Govt forces open source option

      In a statement published on AGIMO’s blog, Gary Gray — the Special Minister for State who oversees the agency — said the Government’s previous policy on open source, established in 2005, was one of “informed neutrality” — meaning agencies did not favour open source or proprietary solutions by default, but picked the technology which represented the best value for money and fit for purpose

    • Government Moves to Actively Consider the Greater Use of Open Source Software

      The Government’s previous policy, established in 2005, was one of ‘informed neutrality.’ This meant that agencies took an unbiased position that did not favour open source or proprietary software and procured the solution that was the best ’value for money’ and ‘fit for purpose’ for their specific requirement. Since then, there has been an increase in the maturity of the open source software products and the use of open source software by governments around the world. In recent years, many governments have revised their policies to increase the adoption of open source software.

      This revised Australian Government policy on open source software will ensure that we maintain international best practice and that our purchases of software will continue to reflect best value for money for the Government.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • State of the Union: Is collaboration boring?

      Many pundits were disappointed last night because collaboration doesn’t make good TV. Conflict is much more interesting to watch, if the success of Jersey Shore is any indication. Collaboration means working together towards a common goal. While collaborators may not agree on everything, they generally do agree that the goal is worth compromises on all sides. That’s how democratic government ideally should work.

    • Transparency In The SOTU

      President Obama’s mentioned several of Sunlight’s core issues in his State of the Union Address issues last night. A closer look at what he said, and what he said last year, helps to sort out the rhetoric from the reality.

    • Open Data


  • Royal Household faces the fax

    The mainstream press is all a flutter that the wedding invites to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials were sent out by fax.

    However what the great unwashed might not understand is that the Royal Household treats technology with some suspicion.

    In the early 90s, I worked briefly for her Majesty in Windsor Castle, and I was present when the first fax machine arrived in the office. Since I was the computer bod I had it sat next to my desk and was the only one who ever used it.

  • Awesome Foundation offers cash for crazy ideas

    Melanie Redman, Rich Cooper, Matt Thompson (holding paper bag), Linda Read, (in green) Eric Boyd, (redhead) and Karl Lee, (foreground) are trustees of the Awesome Foundation’s Toronto chapter. They are six of the 10 people who will donate $100 each to the paper bag grant each month, which is bestowed on the creator of an “awesome” idea, with no strings attached.

  • Intel wins EU approval for McAfee deal

    Intel’s acquisition of data security firm McAfee Inc cleared its last major hurdle after EU regulators approved the $7.68 billion deal on condition Intel grant rival firms access to its technology.

  • Bush Officials Illegally Used Taxpayer Dollars to Engage in Electioneering

    Most of the abuses occurred in 2005 and 2006, as “Bush’s advisers were anxious about the looming midterm electoral losses that would hand control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats,” according to the Post. Conveniently, around that time, officials all of a sudden needed to take a lot of official business trips to key battleground states such as Ohio and Connecticut. What a coincidence.

  • Vision: How We Can Beat Conservatives With Progressive Culture

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In the dark days following George W. Bush’s re-election, frustrated progressives set out to build an enduring movement that would effectively advance and communicate their ideas, policies, and values. Funders and strategists created new institutions and scaled up existing ones, including think tanks, civic-engagement organizations, and media-watchdog groups. These institutions played a key role in the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress, the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, and the passage of parts of the Obama platform in 2009 and 2010.

  • Science

    • Ancient puzzle gets new lease of ‘geomagical’ life

      An ancient mathematical puzzle that has fascinated mathematicians for centuries has found a new lease of life.

      The magic square is the basis for Sudoku, pops up in Chinese legend and provides a playful way to introduce children to arithmetic. But all this time it has been concealing a more complex geometrical form, says recreational mathematician Lee Sallows.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Does the DH have faulty genes when it comes to running big IT schemes?

      Before David Nicholson was formally appointed Chief Executive of the NHS in 2006 he was warned that the NPfIT would be an important part of his brief.

      He accepted the challenge and was later appointed the NPfIT’s Senior Responsible Owner,

      To his credit he tried almost immediately to move the NPfIT away from a centralised programme. In 2006 he set up the NPfIT “Local Ownership Programme”. But the NPfIT continued to be dominated by its centralised contracts – which were signed long before Nicholson’s appointment.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • RCMP tried to ‘smear’ kicked man: advocate

      The B.C. Civil Liberties Association wants Kelowna RCMP to explain their actions in the wake of an excessive force scandal involving one of their officers.

      Unsubstantiated allegations were made in the media against Buddy Tavares after video became public showing the Kelowna man being kicked in the face by an arresting RCMP officer on Jan. 7, said association executive director David Eby.

  • Cablegate

    • Bradley Manning situation exposes wanton homophobia of those on the right

      But that is the point. Everything is pure speculation to this point. No one knows what exactly Manning did or why he did it. The only thing that we knew was that he was a possible suspect.

      To spin a theory that simply because Manning was gay he leaked secrets in order to attack the military’s DADT policy is an irresponsible stretch. And to demonize the lgbts, who have served and continue to serve bravely, for Manning’s alleged actions – without even waiting to confirm his guilt – is beyond irresponsible. It’s disgusting.

      But it’s business as usual with these folks. And that’s even sadder. Those who bear the standard of decent journalism (Loesch) or the standard of “true Christian values” (Family Research Council, Kincaid, Fischer) should aspire to higher ground rather than to the level of pigs in the mud.

    • GlobaLeaks Wants To Be The Bittorrent To WikiLeaks’ Napster

      WikiLeak-alikes are popping up around the globe, from regional sites focused on the Czech Republic to Indonesia. Even mainstream media like Al Jazeera and potentially the New York Times are getting in on the secret-spilling action. But few of these copycats and spinoffs can claim quite as much wild, conceptual ambition as an early-stage project called GlobaLeaks, which bills itself as “a worldwide distributed leak amplification network.”

    • Inside The Bahnhof Bunker, Home Of Wikileaks’ Servers

      If you’re going to reveal a quarter of a million diplomatic cables that one of the most powerful governments in the world doesn’t want you to reveal, you’re gonna need secure servers. Bahnhof AB, a firm that offers hosting on its servers, is housed in a former bomb bunker drilled into the White Mountains of Sweden.

    • “KGB Tactics Being Used on Pfc Bradley Manning are Obscenely Un-American they are also wholly Unconstitutional and Unlawful”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • News Corp. Admits Fox “News” Is Biased

      Buried deep in a 216 page report News Corp. submitted to the U.K. government earlier this month is an unusual acknowledgment from the company: News Corp.-owned Fox News is “opinionated news.”

      The description flies in the face of what Fox News executives have been telling U.S. audiences and advertisers about the channel for years: that while certain Fox News shows like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity have an editorial slant, a significant chunk of programming — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. — is objective news.

    • Even Rich People Losing Faith in Business, Gov’t and Media

      Again, there’s nothing surprising about these findings. An inherent distrust of government is part of the American creed, we lionize business in a way that the citizens of other advanced countries do not, and especially since the 1980s, the corporate right has relentlessly emphasized that “free enterprise” is good and government is the problem.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • House Subcommittee Revives Mandatory Data Retention Debate…With a Surprise Attack on EFF

      This morning, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on mandatory Internet data retention, once again reviving the debate over whether Congress should pass legislation to force ISPs and telecom providers to log information about how users communicate and use the Internet. The hearing, awash with rhetoric about targeting Internet crime and including an unexpected condemnation of EFF’s privacy advocacy, was purportedly an information- and fact-finding hearing to explore the issue of data retention and consider what Congress’ role should be. However, it’s already clear where the new House Judiciary Chairman, Representative Lamar Smith, stands on the issue: he introduced data retention legislation just last year and likely will do so again this year.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix: ISPs who charge by the gigabyte are ridiculous

      Some ISPs want to start charging customers by the gigabyte, or they want to set low data caps and charge overage fees. Netflix has a word for this idea: ripoff.

    • Canada wages YouTube war against metered Internet billing

      Canadians can’t stand going without coffee. Even worse? Not having a team in the FIFA World Cup event for 2014. Absolutely unthinkable, say eight of ten Canadians.

      But you know what they really hate? Metered Internet pricing, or Usage Based Billing (UBB) as they call it—letting the dominant Internet Service Providers charge broadband subscribers and smaller competitive ISPs by the quantity of data use.

    • Bell Canada is Terribad Part Two

      You guys made a billion dollars in Q3 last year, yet you employ DEEP PACKET INSPECTION to ARTIFICIALLY LIMIT THE SPEED OF MY INTERNET. That’s how Hell Canada made so much money, and then they bribe and lobby politicians so that YOU CAN MAKE EVEN MORE!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Red State’s Kevin Smith marches on with his loyal legion of fans behind him

        It was a surprise. He’d previously promised that a live auction for Red State’s distribution rights would happen right there in theatre, and the audience anticipated a spectacle. But following a short bit of theatre led by the film’s producer Jon Gordon, the pair sold the rights to themselves for $20.

      • Musical Chairs At The Major Record Labels

        The one thing that the major record labels could really use at this point is an injection of new blood from folks who actually understand technology and where the market is headed. There are a few such folks out there, but they seem few and far between. Instead, it appears that the major labels are simply playing musical chairs at the top.

      • Movie Studio Tells BitTorrent Users: Turn Yourselves In!

        A movie studio that filed suit against file-hoster HotFile and 1000 of their users recently has revealed their latest plan to extract money from file-sharers. Unlike untold numbers of their competitors who sue people first and then demand cash payments, Liberty Media want file-sharers to be proactive. That’s right BitTorrent users, it’s time to repent. Hand yourselves over to this movie company and make sure you have $1,000 with you.

Clip of the Day

Cops Don’t Have To Protect You!

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 26/1/2011: KDE 4.6.0 Arrives, Red Hat Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 3:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Technicolor Uses Blackmagic Design`s DaVinci Resolve for Color Grading on “The Fighter”

    Blackmagic Design today announced that colorist Tony Dustin of Hollywood-based Technicolor used the DaVinci Resolve Linux non-linear color correction system for color grading work done on Paramount Pictures/Relativity Media?s critically acclaimed feature film ?The Fighter,? directed by David O. Russell. The film stars actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, and recent Golden Globe® winners Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, and is currently in theaters nationwide.

  • Server/Routing

    • Cisco Updates Small Business Networking Gear

      Cisco is expanding its push to attract more small business professionals to its networking gear. This week Cisco announced a new set of 200-series switches and a new router platform that adds several big-business features tailored for the needs of small business.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • kdeexamples moves to git!

        My KDE hero of the day is Nicolás ‘PovAddict’ Alvarez who dove into the KDE Examples module and turned it into a git module, complete with history even of the examples that existed prior to the creation of the KDE Examples module intact! When I queried Ian Monroe the other day about how much work it would be to migrate this module over, Nicolás simply jumped in and attacked the problem with the usual KDE gleam in the eye.

      • How a “Welded-to KDE3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE4.4 Part III “Konquering the Dolphin”

        In this extension of his two part guest editorial and tutorial Dr. Tony Young (an Australian Mycologist by trade) goes into detail comparing the functions of Konquerer and Dolphin and along the way discovers that he might actually keep Dolphin as his file manager.

      • KDE 4.6.0 Has Arrived
  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project at several conferences and trade fairs

        The Debian Project is pleased to announce that it will be present at several events in the coming weeks, ranging from developer oriented conferences to user oriented trade fairs. As usual, upcoming events are also listed on our website.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Natty Narwhal Ditches OpenOffice for LibreOffice

          Future versions of Ubuntu will ship with LibreOffice, the fork of OpenOffice created by developers disillusioned with Oracle’s lukewarm — at best — relationship with the open source community. “Oracle is probably the prototypical vendor of commercial software, and its vision of open doesn’t include a lot of open source,” said Jonathan Eunice, principal IT analyst at Illuminata.

        • Ubuntu Unity Plays a Frustrating Shell Game

          Ubuntu Natty Narwhal will usher in a major change to the distro’s desktop appearance. The new Unity shell design will present a new appearance, a version of which I’ve been using on netbooks and laptops. I realize that my displeasure with Unity is based on my personal preferences for how I compute. But I subscribe to the theory that if something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. I think the Unity design goes too far.

        • Deja Vu: IBM Pushes Virtual Desktops With Virtual Bridges (Again)

          IBM today launched a Virtual Desktop for Smart Business push — which allows Windows or Linux desktops to be hosted and managed centrally. The VAR Guy is intrigued. But the Big Blue effort sounds suspiciously like a previous initiative called the IBM Client for Smart Work package, launched in 2009 with Virtual Bridges and Canonical (the Ubuntu Linux advocate). So how does IBM’s latest virtual desktop push differ from earlier efforts? Here’s the update.

        • The Other Side of the Road: Ubuntu Linux

          I’ve been a Mac user since 2006, and for good reason – nothing compares to the build quality and attention to detail Apple puts into its products. Still, I’m beginning to get this half-sinking/half-exhilarating feeling that the next big thing is Ubuntu (pronounced oo-boon-too) Linux. And why not? After all, “Bunt” is free, yet it offers much more functionality than a stock install of Windows – and with none of the malware troubles. It’s not quite Mac OS X, but it’s slowly getting there.


          Ubuntu is great. Rakarrack is great. That old PC, with a few tweaks and a few upcoming upgrades, will be really great.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River teams with BMW and Magneti Marelli on infotainment system

      Wind River and automotive component manufacturer Magneti Marelli announced they’re collaborating on the first in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) solution based on the open source Genivi Alliance spec. Based on Linux (and MeeGo, most likely), the system will first be brought to market by BMW, says Wind River.

    • Fanless 3-watt PC with Dual Core ARM CPU, HDMI and Linux

      Now, Intel’s Atom also has competition from ARM in the desktop PC arena. Israel’s CompuLab has presented the Trim-Slice, a tiny, fanless PC using NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 platform. The System-on-Chip (SoC) has two ARM Cortex-A9 CPU cores with clock rates up to 1 GHz, offering roughly the same computing power as an Intel Atom. But the multimedia equipment is even better. Two HDMI ports are provided, and Tegra 2 also includes an HD video accelerator.

    • Tablets

      • 2011: The Year of the Linux Tablet

        For what seems like forever, we’ve been hearing the Linux fanboys of the world proclaiming that the coming year will be the “Year of the Linux Desktop.” It’s has become somewhat of a joke amongst Linux naysayers and even with the Linux faithful. I don’t know if we’ll ever see the year of the Linux Desktop or not, but it looks like 2011 is going to be the year of the Linux Tablet. The future success of Linux as a tablet and phone platform might not look as open and utopian as many supporters of free software would like, but it seems that it’s inevitable none the less.


        Will it really be “The Year of the Linux Tablet”

        Linux based OSes have the clear advantage when it comes to competing for market share against the iPad. If Microsoft had its act together and if Apple was the type of company to license operating systems, I might not have much hope for Linux’s success. But looking at the current market demand for tablets and the lack of a solid OS from Microsoft, I think this will truly be the year of the Linux Tablet.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 stumbling along

        The Firefox 4 browser is edging closer to final release but still faces hurdles

        Once the darling of the Internet digerati, the Firefox browser is still battling problems to issue a new release. Version 4 of the browser has suffered multiple setbacks and although it now looks likely to be released in February, the delays have caused Firefox to lose some of its shine.

      • “Do not track” – Mozilla advocates new data protection standard

        Online advertising networks use cookies to recognise internet users and serve them tailored advertising. Users can defend against this practice by deleting cookies, not accepting cookies, or setting an opt-out cookie, which declares that they do not want their online activity to be tracked.

  • Project Releases

    • VideoLAN updates open source VLC 1.1.6 video for security, VP8

      VLC is among the most popular open source video players. According to the VideoLAN project, the 1.1.5 release has had 58 million downloads.

      Now it’s time for those 58 million downloaders to update to VLC 1.1.6, for some security, bug and stability fixes.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Filmaster unveils movie recommendation API

      It’s ready and it’s hot. First totally open and free (as in beer and as in freedom) film recommendations API is here for you as a gift from Filmaster. The API enables external programmers to create independent services or apps using our data and algorithms, it allows to easily integrate any website with Filmaster by presenting our content like reviews and film recommendations. Sounds interesting? Read on!

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 drops the 5 to become an evolving standard

      Oh, the ever evolving nature of the web. Just a few days after the W3C unveiled its shiny new branding for HTML5, WHATWG has announced that it will stop using numbered versions to better represent the evolving nature of the standard.

      According to WHATWG’s Ian Hickson, HTML5 was supposed to be finalised in 2012, but the rapidly changing nature of technology and the demands of the people who actually use it mean that new features would have to be added on a near continuous basis. For that reason, it makes a lot more sense to have the standard as a “living document” that can more easily be added to and updated.

    • Google documents VP8 at standards group IETF

      The VP8 encoding technology at the heart of Google’s effort to spread royalty-free video across the computing industry now has a home at the Internet Engineering Task Force–but not so Google can standardize it.


  • More Tales of Terrible IT Managers
  • Lee Harvey Oswald’s Brother Sues Funeral Home and Auction House for Selling the Assassin’s Casket

    Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother has sued a funeral home and an auction house, claiming they sold the assassin’s original coffin, embalming table and records, and their mother’s funeral records, for more than $160,000, invading his privacy and breaching contract. Robert Edward Lee Oswald sued the Baumgardner Funeral Home, Allen Baumgardner Sr. and Nate D. Sanders Inc. – the Los Angeles auction house – in Tarrant County Court, Fort Worth.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Playing for health

      Binge eating, chronic pain, and addiction. Three very different medical conditions, all hard to treat. Could the virtual exploration of an island be part of the solution for these three patients?

      Some European scientists are convinced it is. So this is the story of how research has managed to develop a serious videogame, for a serious purpose.

    • The Overuse of Antibiotics

      Reading a recent issue of Public Citizen’s excellent Health Letter titled “Know When Antibiotics Work,” I recalled the recent tragic loss of a healthy history professor who was rushed to a fine urban hospital, with a leading infectious disease specialist by his side. No antibiotics could treat his mysterious “superbug.” He died in 36 hours.

      Wrongful or overuse of antibiotics has a perverse effect—causing the kinds of bacteria that these drugs can no longer destroy. The World Health Organization has cited antibiotic resistance as one of the three most serious public health threats of the 21st century.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that just in hospitals, where between 5 and 10 percent of all patients develop an infection, about 90,000 of these patients die each year as a result of their infection. This toll is up from 13,300 patient deaths in 1992. Some percentage of these people have problems because of antibiotic resistance.

  • Security

    • Facebook defends security strategy
    • Top WordPress themes on Google riddled with spamlinks and obfuscated code
    • Tunisia plants country-wide keystroke logger on Facebook

      Malicious code injected into Tunisian versions of Facebook, Gmail, and Yahoo! stole login credentials of users critical of the North African nation’s authoritarian government, according to security experts and news reports.

      The rogue JavaScript, which was individually customized to steal passwords for each site, worked when users tried to login without availing themselves of the secure sockets layer protection designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. It was found injected into Tunisian versions of Facebook, Gmail, and Yahoo! in late December, around the same time that protestors began demanding the ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the president who ruled the country from 1987 until his ouster 10 days ago.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • I Have Been Summoned to Appear Before a Grand Jury

      I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.

      I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made. And when it raided several prominent organizers’ homes and offices on Sept. 24, the FBI acknowledged that there is no immediate threat to the American public. So what is this investigation really about?

      The activists who have been ensnared in this fishing net with different groups to end the US wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end US military aid for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and US military aid to Colombia, which has a shocking record of repression and human rights abuses. All of us have publicly and peacefully dedicated our lives to social justice and advocating for more just and less deadly US foreign policy.

    • Report Condemns Widespread Tolerance for Torturers

      The international community – from Western authorities to Southern powers – lacks courage and hides behind “soft diplomacy” in confronting human rights abusers, a leading rights group accuses in a 649-page world report released Monday.

    • Two Toronto Police Officers Guilty Of Assaulting A Disabled Man

      Two Toronto police officers were found guilty Tuesday of assaulting a mentally challenged man they thought was drunk.

      Richard Moore, 58, was headed home to his Gerrard St. East rooming house when he passed by two officers dealing with another situation on April 24, 2009.

    • Palestine papers: MI6 plan proposed internment – and hotline to Israelis

      Evidence in leaked documents highlights role British officials played in creating and bolstering PA administration

    • Palestinian Papers: What The Al Jazeera Blockbuster Means

      Al Jazeera`s stunning revelations about Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have different meanings for Israelis, Americans and for Palestinians.

      The bottom line is that, despite the assurances it gave to the Palestinian people that it was driving a hard bargain with the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority accepted Israel`s position on every key point: borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees.

      On no major issue did the PA hold the line. None.

      The Palestinians offered Israel everything Israel wants and Israel still said `no` with the backing of the United States.

      So what does it mean?

    • Cairo protesters in violent clashes with police

      Egyptian police used teargas and rubber bullets and beat protesters in a bid to clear thousands of demonstrators from a central Cairo square late last night after people had taken to the streets earlier today demanding the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule in mass demonstrations inspired by the toppling of the government in Tunisia.

    • Flier beats TSA video recording charge in court

      Phil Mocek knows he isn’t required to show ID to fly, and that it’s perfectly legal to record video in publicly accessible areas of an airport. A jury agreed with him earlier this week, acquitting him of trumped-up charges brought against him by TSA and police officers who demanded obedience. He didn’t need to call any witnesses or testify himself; he was acquitted based on the evidence entered against him.

    • Passenger cleared after TSA checkpoint stare-down
    • Another Illinois Resident Charged for Recording Police

      The New York Times reports on the Illinois eavesdropping law, which allows for a felony charge and up to 15 years of prison for people who record police officers on the job. In addition to artist Christopher Drew—whom I’ve written about before and who goes to trial in April—the article finds another person currently being charged under the law. Tiawanda Moore, 20, goes to trial next month. She too could face 15 years in prison, in her case for using her Blackberry to record her conversation with internal affairs officers at Chicago PD about an alleged sexual assault by a police officer. Moore recorded her interview after feeling her initial attempt to report the incident wasn’t taken seriously.

    • Artist Could Face 15 Years In Prison For Recording His Own Arrest

      Chris Drew was finally ready to get arrested. An artist and activist, Drew had spent years protesting a Chicago ordinance that puts tight restrictions on where and how people can sell their art on the street. He was downtown, on State Street, selling silk-screened patches for $1 and defying the city to stop him.

      He’d tried his act of civil disobedience three times before — a First Amendment lawyer on hand to argue his case, a team of videographers ready to film the arrest — but the police simply let it slide. When, on December 2, 2009, he finally succeeded in getting booked, Drew was ready for a few hours in lock-up on a misdemeanor, and a lengthy court battle. He was in no way prepared for what he would actually face.

  • Cablegate

    • “The New York Times” May Start Its Own Version of WikiLeaks

      The New York Times is considering developing a system that will let anonymous leakers easily submit large and confidential files directly to the newspaper. Sound familiar?

      While nothing is concrete yet, NYT executive editor Bill Keller says that it could be similar to Al Jazeera‘s Transparency Unit, a system launched earlier this year that encrypts file submissions from anonymous leakers.

    • No proof WikiLeaks breaking law, inquiry finds

      A company asked by Visa to investigate WikiLeaks’ finances found no proof the group’s fundraising arm is breaking the law in its home base of Iceland, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

      But Visa Europe Ltd. said Wednesday it would continue blocking donations to the secret-spilling site until it completes its own investigation. Company spokeswoman Amanda Kamin said she couldn’t say when Visa’s inquiry, now stretching into its eighth week, would be finished.

    • Despite WikiLeaks drama, State Dept promotes documentary celebrating Pentagon Papers leaker

      Even as prosecutors build a case against the U.S. Army private suspected of passing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, the State Department is promoting a documentary film that celebrates Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.

      Amid its struggle to contain damage from the WikiLeaks revelations, the State Department announced Saturday that “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” has been selected as one of 18 films that will tour the world this year as part of its “American Documentary Showcase” program.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate sceptic ‘misled Congress over funding from oil industry’

      A leading climate sceptic patronised by the oil billionaire Koch brothers faced a potential investigation today on charges that he misled Congress on the extent of his funding from the oil industry.

      Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, a thinktank founded by Charles and David Koch to promote their libertarian, anti-government views, appeared before the house energy and commerce committee in February 2009.

  • Censorship

    • Kroes gives Hungary an ultimatum on media law

      The EU commissioner in charge of media issues, Neelie Kroes, has raised “serious doubts” about Hungary’s new media law in a letter to Budapest and given the country a two-week ultimatum to the government to explain itself. Hungarian leader Viktor Orban however said the law was intended to combat racism.

    • Some pols say Twitter ban for the birds

      The social media phenom Twitter may be sweeping America, but it’s banned in the Massachusetts Legislature, which has blocked lawmakers and staffers from tweeting from their office computers.

      The Twitter ban is frustrating some Web-savvy legislators, who say they use the popular Web site to communicate with constituents.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Why Is Civil Discourse So Important – Yet So Difficult

      In his remarks at the memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shooting, President Obama urged us to be more civil in our dealings with each other:

      “The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better. To be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors and coworkers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy – it did not – but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud.”

    • US wants Internet, cell records held longer

      The US Justice Department wants Internet service providers and cell phone companies to be required to hold on to records for longer to help with criminal prosecutions.

      “Data retention is fundamental to the department’s work in investigating and prosecuting almost every type of crime,” US deputy assistant attorney general Jason Weinstein told a congressional subcommittee on Tuesday.

    • Civil liberty campaigners fear ‘control orders lite’ regime

      Leading civil liberty campaigners tonight voiced fears that the reform of counter-terror laws to be detailed tomorrowwill amount to little more than “control orders lite”.

    • The Voter ID Tap Dance

      The incidence of actual voter fraud at the polls in America is indistinguishable from zero.

    • Germany urges drug companies to boycott US executions

      Berlin has asked pharmaceutical companies not to supply the United States with a drug used in executions for prisoners on death row, after the sole US manufacturer announced it would pull out of the market.

    • AT&T says it’s a person under the law and should enjoy the right to personal privacy. What’s wrong with this picture?

      AT&T wants us to believe that corporations are people, just like you and me, and that just like us, they have a constitutional right to privacy. Their case, argued before the Supreme Court last week, hinges in part on the relationship between an adjective and the noun it derives from. To prove their point, AT&T wants us to look both at the law and at the dictionary.

    • Domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement likely to prompt privacy debate

      The suspect’s house, just west of this city, sat on a hilltop at the end of a steep, exposed driveway. Agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety believed the man inside had a large stash of drugs and a cache of weapons, including high-caliber rifles.

      As dawn broke, a SWAT team waiting to execute a search warrant wanted a last-minute aerial sweep of the property, in part to check for unseen dangers. But there was a problem: The department’s aircraft section feared that if it put up a helicopter, the suspect might try to shoot it down.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Canada: Where Innovation Comes To Die

      Aside from how outraged I am about that news, I’m going to say something rather bold: Rogers, Bell, and Telus are killing innovation in Canada.

      Every single year, we are gouged to the bone by these three gigantic corporations by receiving less service for more money. They treat us poorly, and they know they can get away with it because we have no choice. They don’t need to improve a damn thing because we are stuck.

    • Canada regulator OKs metered Internet billing

      Smaller Canadian Internet service providers, who operate via networks owned by bigger telecom firms such as BCE Inc, will soon have to pass along the bulk of their host’s charges for extra bandwidth use, the federal telecom regulator said on Tuesday.

      The move limits the independent ISPs’ ability to offer unlimited data plans, just months after Netflix opened for business in Canada, and gives greater pricing power to large carriers such as BCE’s Bell unit and Telus.

    • Obama may get power to shut down Internet without court oversight

      A bill giving the president an Internet “kill switch” during times of emergency that failed to pass Congress last year will return this year, but with a revision that has many civil liberties advocates concerned: It will give the president the ability to shut down parts of the Internet without any court oversight.

      The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act was introduced last year by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in an effort to combat cyber-crime and the threat of online warfare and terrorism.

    • Internet ‘kill switch’ bill will return

      A controversial bill handing President Obama power over privately owned computer systems during a “national cyberemergency,” and prohibiting any review by the court system, will return this year.

  • DRM

    • Just What No One Needs Or Wants: Web Images With DRM And An Expiration Date

      The BBC is reporting on a new project to create web images that “expire” after a certain period of time. The thinking is that people who put photos up on social networking profiles may be embarrassed by them later, so, this way, the photo can only stay up for a set period of time and then no longer be viewable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Twisted Pixel CEO: We won’t pursue legal action over Capcom’s MaXplosion

      Twisted Pixel CEO Michael Wilford says his comparatively tiny team won’t be suing mega-publisher Capcom for its blatant attempt to rip off the studio’s Splosion Man with iOS clone MaXplosion (pictured). “We’re definitely not going to pursue legal action,” Wilford told Joystiq. “While I think the similarities are pretty nauseating, we’re too small to take on a company like Capcom. That, and we owe them one for inventing Mega Man, so we’ll let them slide.”

    • How I Beat a Competitor Who Stole My Ideas

      Once I realized we were wasting valuable time, resources and money in court, I decided to focus all of that energy on outdoing our competitor instead. We vowed to differentiate ourselves by focusing closely on our clients’ needs. Innovation became very important. When we started out we only offered a single software option. Now we have six tailor-made modules to meet the varying needs of companies of different sizes and industries. We might not have worked so hard to build out new tools if we hadn’t had a competitor biting at our heels.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • IFPI’s Annual Attack On Piracy Once Again Riddled With Errors And Bogus Claims

        IFPI boss Frances Moore apparently claimed that this is “a crisis affecting not just an industry – but artists, musicians, jobs, consumers, and the wider creative sector.” Except that’s not true. There are more people making music today than ever before. It’s cheaper than ever before to make, distribute and promote music. If you’re a musician, there are more ways than ever before to build a fanbase and to build a business model to make a living. It’s a great time to be a musician. It’s also a fantastic time to be a consumer. It’s hard to see how Moore can make such a claim that is obviously false, and no one calls her on the obviously false nature of her claims. When Moore took over last year for John Kennedy, I had hoped that maybe she’d bring some sense to the IFPI. Instead, she seems to be spreading the same propaganda as her predecessor.

      • USCG Refiles Several P2P Lawsuits – in Minnesota

        US Copyright Group makes good on its promise to target settlement holdouts in courts with proper jurisdiction, targeting two BitTorrent users, one for “Call of the Wild” and one for an unnamed movie.

        For almost a year now the US Copyright Group has been trying to hold tens of thousands of BitTorrent users responsible for illegally distributing either of the less than stellar independent movies “Steam Experiment,” “Far Cry,” “Uncross the Stars,” “Gray Man,” or “Call of the Wild 3D.”

      • Obama Nominates RIAA Lawyer for Solicitor General

        Verrilli is best known for leading the recording industry’s legal charge against music- and movie-sharing site Grokster. That 2003 case ultimately led to Grokster’s demise, when the U.S. Supreme Court sided with a lower court’s pro-RIAA verdict.

      • Piracy Doubled My App Sales

        What were the stat changes?

        - Period 2 had 38.6X more Pirates than Period 1

        - Period 2 had 2.3X more Sales than Period 1

        - (For every 15 or so Pirates, I received an extra Sale)

      • MPAA urges action against campus piracy

        The Motion Picture Association of America published an open letter in December discussing the contents of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which require universities’ participation in preventing illegal downloading.

        The act requires schools to implement a plan to stop the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the institution’s network, MPAA chief content protection officer Daniel Mandil said in the letter.

      • This unwanted interruption is brought to you by the RIAA.

        By RADIOGIRL [from Comments to Stephen Hough's blog post on Liszt, Daily Telegraph] – Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has now in place guidelines with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), that any qualified public broadcasting station that wishes to broadcast sound recordings over the Internet must not only register for agreement for those rights but must comply with the new rules. (BTW, this does not apply to commercial webcasters such as WQXR nor does it apply to recordings of live performances made for broadcast purposes.)


        The influences that shape new musical trends are diffuse, complex, and impossible to codify, but if one person can be credited as being the fountainhead of modern music it is Franz Liszt … in three, totally different stylistic directions. Whether we like his own compositions or not, we cannot avoid contact with Liszt if we have contact with music from the late-19th or 20th centuries. Firstly, the heady combination of bel canto with chromaticism, a Lisztian fingerprint formed early in his life, was a major influence on Wagner and on to the latter’s progeny. It has been claimed that Liszt invented the ‘Tristan chord’. Even if such a ‘patent’ is open to discussion, the febrile harmonic instability of Tristan und Isolde is heard in Liszt before it is heard in his son-in-law. On rare occasions of collegial generosity Wagner even admitted this debt.

      • German Mass Copyright Letter Sender Using Debt Collectors To Pressure People To Pay Up

        We’ve seen the various mass copyright infringement factories popping up all over the world, often using similar strategies: suing or threatening to sue thousands of individuals based solely on an IP address. The whole “business model” is based not on traditional copyright infringement statutory awards, but on convincing people to pay up beforehand to avoid being sued. The model feels quite similar to what’s normally considered extortion (“pay up or we harm you”). Someone recently sent us a copy of what’s alleged to be a contract being used by a German law firm, Schutt, Waetke Rechtsanwalte, which has been involved in such mass threats for many years. You can find references online going back to at least 2005 of this law firm sending out such pre-settlement letters to thousands of Germans. I contacted the firm to see if they would confirm or deny the legitimacy of the contract, and they would not respond. So, perhaps take the details with a grain of salt, even though the firm has been connected to these sorts of pre-settlement jobs for a while.

Clip of the Day

GNOME Shell + Zeitgeist

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 26/1/2011: Mageia Comes Soon, Fedora Hack Explained

Posted in News Roundup at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Next Stop: OpenSim!

    The CEO of virtual world hosting service ReactionGrid, Gomboy and his team currently operate more than 100 private regions for educators in the ascendant virtual environment platform OpenSimulator, and, Gomboy says, are renting out space to three to five new schools each week.

    Why all the new settlers converging on OpenSim?

    They’re part of a wave of K-12 educators packing up their 3D content and moving away from Second Life, long the dominant virtual world. The mass migration was prompted by parent company Linden Lab’s announcement in August that it would be closing the Teen Grid, an area within Second Life reserved for 13- to 17-year-olds and home to hundreds of learning projects belonging to teachers intent on engaging their students through the 3D environment. A second blow came in the fall–the ending of the half-off educator discount, meaning property rates in Second Life would be doubling for K-12 institutions, from $150 a month per region to $300 a month.

  • Reflections on one year of opensource.com

    Dozens of you contributed articles–from students leading open source in their schools to luminaries like Gary Hamel, Tim O’Reilly, and Simon Phipps. These articles were read a combined 1.3 million times by over 500,000 different people.

  • Lower the barriers to entry

    Getting new users actively involved in your open source project is one of the most important aspects of community development. A healthy open source project welcomes new contributors of all kinds and makes it easy for them to contribute. Prospective contributors feel welcome and are guided towards their first contribution, whatever their skills are. My OSS Watch colleague Steve Lee pointed out the website of LibreOffice; they managed to do this very well.

  • Preparing for the Future of Open Source

    The presentation of North Bridge Ventures’ Future of Open Source survey has long been one of the highlights of the Open Source Business Conference, keeping attendees up to date with the views of open source users and vendors alike, and providing details about the trends that will shape open source in the future.

  • Human Love, Probe – Two New Short Films Using Blender for VFX[Video Trailer]

    Here comes even more movies and short films made using Blender for visual effects. For starters, Blender is a free and open source 3D content creation application. If you have seen the brilliant collection of Blender made videos we have featured here before, you probably don’t need any more lecturing on the abilities of this incredible open source tool called Blender.

  • Events

    • Second batch of FOSDEM 2011 speaker interviews

      Here is the second batch of interviews with our main track speakers.

      * Martijn Dashorst (Wicket)
      * David Fetter (PL/Parrot)
      * Andrew Godwin (Django)
      * Soren Hansen (OpenStack)
      * Lennart Poettering (systemd)
      * Spike Morelli (devops)
      * Kenneth Rohde Christiansen (Qt WebKit)

    • Linux.conf.au 2011 Day Two

      The second day of Linux.conf.au in Brisbane, Australia, opened with keynote speaker Vinton Cerf, vice president of Google. Vint Cerf is often spoken of as one of the ‘fathers of the internet’, having been one of the co-designers of the tcp/ip protocol.

    • Linux.conf.au 2011 kicks off: photos

      This year’s Linux.conf.au kicked off with a bang yesterday, with hundreds of delegates from all over the world converging on Queensland University of Technology, despite the flood crisis which threatened to can the annual conference.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What’s up with SUMO – Jan. 24
      • ECMAScript 5 strict mode in Firefox 4

        Developers in the Mozilla community have made major improvements to the JavaScript engine in Firefox 4. We have devoted much effort to improving performance, but we’ve also worked on new features. We have particularly focused on ECMAScript 5, the latest update to the standard underlying JavaScript.

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 4 Beta 10

        According to Mozilla’s latest platform meeting minutes, the final beta (11) is scheduled for a final build this Friday afternoon.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Nominates Bruno Souza of SouJava to JCP EC

      Oracle is nominating SouJava, the Brazilian Java User Group, to a seat in the JCP Executive Committee. SouJava is one of the oldest and largest Java User Groups in the world with 40,000 members and based in a region where Java and open-source software is prominent. The organization will be represented by its former president Bruno Souza, a well-known independent Java and open source advocate, and earlier member of the OSI.

    • Oracle, LibreOffice: ideally a co-opetition, not competition

      Choice is great. It’s one of the key selling points of open source — a guarantee that no one company can monopolize a software category, at least illegally.

      It’s what enabled the first official release today of LibreOffice 3.3, a version of OpenOffice sponsored by the recently formed Document Foundation. The foundation was formed in September by many leaders of the OpenOffice project, who were not too happy with the way megacorporation Oracle was running the show.


    • Annual Free Software Foundation Fundraiser

      The Free Software Foundation is in the last week of its annual fundraiser and has still has a bit of ground to make up. The FSF needs members and donations to merely sustain its basic activity protecting free software and engaging in minimal outreach. So as I’ve done in the last couple years, I’ve written a fundraising appeal for the organization. That why today my face is plastered, Jimmy Wales style, all over the FSF website. (For the record, the last bit was not my idea and I find it a little embarrassing.)

  • Government

    • Basque Government will make other institutions benefit from its successful Open Source experience

      Ms. Mendia said that in the field of free software, her Government “seeks to contribute and share results” with their environment, “starting with the rest of the Basque administrations, in particular for developments that may be in the public interest.”

    • FI: Municipalities increasingly interested in open source software

      According to a survey of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (AFLRA), more than 80 % of the Finnish municipalities use open source software. Four years ago [2006], only 57 % of them invested in open source software.

      With open source software, the Finnish municipalities seek to achieve costs savings on licence fees. For example, in Helsinki alone desktop computers and office software licence fees are nearly €5 million a year; licence fees come on top of this for various computer systems and servers. Hence, in November 2010, the Municipal Council of Helsinki decided that the city will try open source software on the client side (desktops).

    • FR: City of Rennes opens up its data to the public

      A French communication agency in partnership with Rennes Metropolitan District (Rennes Métropole), the City of Rennes and public transports operator Keolis Rennes released under GNU Project’s General Public License version 3 (GNU/GPL v3) an OpenData platform. The platform has served as a base through which Rennes Metropolitan District/City and Keolis Rennes made their data public, at www.data.rennes-metropole.fr and http://data.keolis-rennes.com respectively.

    • IT/EU: Emilia Romagna Region shares findings on open source usage in public administrations

      The administrative region of Emilia Romagna (Northern Italy), has recently participated in the first international conference ‘OSEPA’ (Open Source usage by Public Administration), an EU-supported project.

      The OSEPA project establishes a regional network at European level for the promotion and further spread of open source software within public administrations. The project is intended to conduct a systematic debate among European public administrations, supported by analysis and exchange of experience, on the issue of free and/or open source software (FOSS). Consequently, the exploration of the main benefits /disadvantages and cost effectiveness of FOSS adoption and use by public authorities will be critical for the project.

    • EU to Get Feedback on Its Public Procurement Policy

      The European Commission will launch a consultation Thursday to get feedback on modernizing the European Union’s public procurement policy

  • Licensing

    • Brazil’s New Trademark License

      I’m in Brazil for a few days, having given lectures several times at the start of the week, most notably for the extraordinary Campus Party event. There have been several news items here of interest to open source followers:

      * a decree by the new President of Brazil that open source software is preferred by the government,
      * controversy surrounding the expectation that the new Minister of Culture and music industry insider Ana de Hollanda will put a stop to the hard-won copyright law reform that’s in progress, and
      * news that the government will be requiring submissions to its public software portal to grant broad trademark licenses in addition to open source licenses for the copyrights.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • China plans city ‘twice the size of Wales’

    It’s official: the inexorable rise of China has rendered meaningless ancient units of area such as the square mile, as reporters struggle to express the extent of the country’s megacities in terms the average reader can understand.


    This, of course, is properly expressed as 35,636,280 linguine, 541,173 double-decker buses laid bumper-to-bumper or 36,078 brontosauruses/brontosauri, give or take the odd tail.

  • People’s Medical Publishing House: to build a media group with 10 billion RMB in assets and sales (China)
  • Why TripAdvisor is getting a bad review

    In quiet moments, Jared Blank likes to kick back by looking at reviews of the world’s greatest hotels on TripAdvisor. Specifically, the terrible reviews. Blank is a long-time analyst of the travel industry, and a user of TripAdvisor – the consumer review site that has become one of the world’s biggest travel resources, attracting 41.6 million users a month, and featuring 40m reviews of hotels and restaurants worldwide. But the pettiness and hysteria of some of the complaints never fail to astonish.

  • Google to hire 1,000 in Europe

    The outgoing chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, has announced a plan to hire more than 1,000 staff over the coming year to boost its European operation.

  • Cuba continues to provide Venezuela with electricity know-how

    Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas met with Electric Energy Minister Alí Rodríguez Araque Monday in Caracas to assess the state of 23 one-year old cooperation agreements on electricity, and to announce new projects.

    Cabrisas was accompanied by Vicente Delaó, general director of Cuba’s Unión Eléctrica.

  • Berlusconi’s “Rubygate” in Italy: Private Vices, Public Virtues

    Of course they refer to the Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, and his endless squalid story with underage girls, professional paid escorts, TV stars who become deputies and government officials, all thanks to his protection.

    “Rubygate” they call it in the Italian press: it’s named after his biggest and weirdest sex-scandal yet, with an illegal, thieving, juvenile delinquent belly dancer from Morocco.

  • TV show stings Berlusconi into action

    Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi rang a TV show discussing his alleged prostitution scandal, exchanged insults with the host and said the programme was like a “brothel”.

  • Clarence Thomas failed to report wife’s income, watchdog says
  • Unix dynamic duo awarded Japan Prize

    Gray beard Bell Labs scientists and Unix operating system co-creators Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson have been awarded the 2011 Japan Prize for information and communications.

  • Science

    • The Fantastical Promise of Reversible Computing

      The world of computing is in transition. As chips become smaller and faster, they dissipate more heat, which is energy that is entirely wasted.

      By some estimates the difference between the amount of energy required to carry out a computation and the amount that today’s computers actually use, is some eight orders of magnitude. Clearly, there is room for improvement.

    • What is it with researchers and peer review? or; Why misquoting Churchill does not an argument make

      I’ve been meaning for a while to write something about peer review, pre and post publication, and the attachment of the research community to traditional approaches. A news article in Nature though, in which I am quoted seems to have really struck a nerve for many people and has prompted me to actually write something.

    • ‘Darwin talk’ at Turkish school goes to court, sparks new debate

      A warning issued to a primary school teacher for talking about Darwinian evolutionary theory during class has sparked a debate over whether education in Turkey is becoming more religious.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • More troops lost to suicide

      For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Terrorists, technology and fighting back

      Firstly, the explosives were hidden inside a laser printer toner cartridge. Furthermore, it was reported the bomb contained a detonator connected to a mainboard and battery taken from a regular mobile phone.

      According to various accounts, the bombs could have been set off by calling the phone and subsequently activating the vibrating motor. A calendar alert set in the phone could also have triggered the vibrator and therefore the bomb as well.

    • Protests in Egypt and unrest in Middle East – as it happened

      Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have clashed with police in Cairo and other cities in the largest demonstration in Egypt in a generation. Demonstrators want an end to the authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak’s near 30 years of power.

    • Revolution Day in Egypt

      Egyptians will be demonstrating today in solidarity with Tunisia and in hope for change within their own government. An Egyptian national holiday in honour of the police, has been renamed ‘The Day of Wrath’, ‘Revolution Day’, and the ‘Koshari Revolution’, the latter referring to a rice, lentils and pasta dish frequently eaten by lower income Egyptians.

    • Will Tunisia’s ‘Internet revolution’ endure?

      There has been a great deal written online about how much of a positive role the Internet played in recent events in Tunisia (if you’d like to catch up, Alex Howard’s link round-up provides a good summary of the many sides, both for and against). At CPJ, our focus is on slightly different questions: How did the repression of the Internet hamper the ability to safely gather news, report and analyze such events? Did that repression grow worse in the dying days of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s government? Will it improve in the future?

    • Police officers guilty of assaulting disabled man

      Two Toronto police constables have been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm during the arrest of a disabled, verbally abusive man in Cabbagetown.

      Edward Ing and John Cruz were stone-faced and had no comment on after Justice Elliott Allen gave his verdict in Brampton court Tuesday morning.

    • Jesse Ventura slams TSA with lawsuit

      Count Jesse Ventura among fliers who don’t want their “junk” touched by Transportation Security Administration agents.

      The former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Minnesota against the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA.

      The suit alleges enhanced airport security procedures, including pat-downs and full body scanning, violate Ventura’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    • Ventura sues over body scans, pat-downs

      Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, alleging full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints violate his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    • Met counter-terrorism chief to take over protest spy unit

      Britain’s most senior police officer in charge of counter-terrorism will next week take over a secretive unit that deploys undercover police officers in the environmental protest movement.

      John Yates, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, will take command of the operation to monitor climate change campaigners in a move that police chiefs hope will bring greater accountability.

      However, the move, which was confirmed in parliament today, is likely to cause controversy among activists who complain that their peaceful movement is being equated to terrorism.

      Tim Godwin, the acting head of the Met, and another senior Scotland Yard officer, Bob Broadhurst, were today brought before parliament to apologise for misleading MPs over the presence of undercover police at the G20 protests two years ago.

    • US child appeals against being tried for murder as an adult

      Jordan Brown, who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father’s pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole

  • Cablegate/Leaks

    • Swedish PM denies political role in Assange extradition case

      We know from the cables and other sources (see the summary in section 7, 92-96, of the “skeleton” legal argument) that Swedish courts have in the past been complicit in the illegal kidnapping of refugee claimants by US agents. More broadly, the role of diplomacy as mediator between law and politics has arisen repeatedly in many of the cables released by its major media partners and WikiLeaks.

    • PdF presents: A symposium on WikiLeaks and Internet freedom (II)
    • PdF Presents: A Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom (II)
    • Bradley Manning and Mohamed Bouazizi

      Activists David House and Jane Hamsher tried to visit Pfc. Bradley Manning, who stands accused of leaking classified US government documents, at Quantico on Sunday. They allege that while still outside the base, they were given a run-around, threatened with having their car towed, and then essentially detained for two hours, until the 3:00 pm end to visiting hours arrived. They were not on the base, and House is on an approved visitor list. They were trying to see Manning, whose health they say has deteriorated because of the harsh terms of his detainment, and to deliver to the base commander a petition with 40,000 signatories asking that the terms be eased.

    • Inhumane Treatment of WikiLeaks Soldier Bradley Manning

      US authorities must alleviate the harsh pre-trial detention conditions of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking information to Wikileaks.

      The US army private, 23, has been held for 23 hours a day in a sparsely furnished solitary cell and deprived of a pillow, sheets, and personal possessions since July 2010.

      Amnesty International last week wrote to the US Defence secretary, Robert Gates, calling for the restrictions on Bradley Manning to be reviewed. In the same week, the soldier suffered several days of increased restrictions by being temporarily categorized as a ‘suicide risk’.

    • WikiLeaks, hackers and conspiracy theories

      At the time, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, a staunch supporter of WikiLeaks, tweeted “the point of the Quantico episode was to deny Manning his only real visitor: more likely solitary will crack him & induce anti-WL testimony.”

      Greenwald’s claim — for which of course there’s no evidence, only the logic that that’s exactly how law enforcement frequently operates — echoes Julian Assange’s comments about Manning. He recently told John Pilger “cracking Bradley Manning is the first step. The aim clearly is to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired with me to harm the national security of the United States.”

      But while there’s more than a touch of the conspiracy theorist about these claims, it’s hard to avoid seeing a pattern in a number of recent events around WikiLeaks and its supporters.

      First there was the claim, advanced with virtually no evidence, that WikiLeaks might have obtained information by hacking, rather than receiving material from whistleblowers. Last week, Bloomberg ran a piece on claims made by the Pennsylvania company Tiversa that “it discovered that computers in Sweden were trolling through hard drives accessed from popular peer-to-peer networks such as LimeWire and Kazaa. The same information obtained in those searches later appeared on WikiLeaks.”

      One assumes Bloomberg meant “trawling”, but anyway. “Trolling” sounds worse.

    • Palestine papers reveal MI6 drew up plan for crackdown on Hamas

      British intelligence helped draw up a secret plan for a wide-ranging crackdown on the Islamist movement Hamas which became a security blueprint for the Palestinian Authority, leaked documents reveal. The plan asked for the internment of leaders and activists, the closure of radio stations and the replacement of imams in mosques.

      The disclosure of the British plan, drawn up by the intelligence service in conjunction with Whitehall officials in 2004, and passed by a Jerusalem-based MI6 officer to the senior PA security official at the time, Jibril Rajoub, is contained in the cache of confidential documents obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared with the Guardian. The documents also highlight the intimate level of military and security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli forces.

    • New York Times, Al-Jazeera Do An End-Run Around WikiLeaks

      The New York Times is considering creating an electronic tip line so that leakers of classified documents can go direct instead of having to use a middleman like WikiLeaks, according to executive editor Bill Keller. Keller said the plan is still in its formative stages, but the idea is to create a “kind of EZPass lane for leakers,” to make it easier for them to contact the paper and deliver information. And the Times isn’t the only one doing this; Al-Jazeera has already launched its own drop-box for leaks called the Transparency Unit, and recently released thousands of documents related to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

    • NYC Installs Virtual Suggestion Box

      New York City is harnessing the power of employee-based collaborative filtering to solicit new ways to save money and improve city government.

      The city has set up what is in effect a virtual suggestion box, called IdeaMarket, where eventually all 300,000 of the city’s employees will be able to give the city their ideas about how to improve operations.

    • Blow the Whistle!

      On December 22nd, in the face of seemingly unanimous bipartisan support, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Bill S.372) was killed at the last minute when a mystery Senator placed what’s called an anonymous hold on the bill. This bill had already been passed by the Senate earlier in December and by the House earlier that same day, but in the final vote on the reconciled bill, which is designed to protect government workers from being punished – as they usually are – for exposing illegality, waste and corruption – it was shut down by a lone anonymous hold.

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 59!

      4:50 Assange tells AP in London that WIkiLeaks now seeking SIXTY media partners to spread the release of the almost 99% of cable still not published. Would be dramatic expansion of its collaborative efforts and in line with much else happening this week. But outlets would have to agree to full redaction of names. “Sometimes, that could mean doing what Assange called ‘triangulating the politics of a country’ — giving documents to a left-wing paper in a country with a right-wing government, or offering cables to conservative titles in countries with a left-leaning administration.”

    • AP Interview:WikiLeaks seeking more media partners

      WikiLeaks hopes to enlist as many as 60 news organizations from around the world in a bid to help speed the publication of its massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic memos, the site’s founder said Tuesday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Rolling Stone names 12 politicians and executives blocking progress on global warming

      1. Rupert Murdoch: No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade — the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that “global warming doesn’t exist” and speculated about “the true agenda of global-warming hysterics.” Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was “too many polar bears.”

      Murdoch’s entire media empire, it would seem, is set up to deny, deny, deny….

      Murdoch knows better. In 2007, he warned that climate change “poses clear, catastrophic threats” and promised to turn News Corp. into a model of carbon neutrality. But at his media outlets, manufacturing doubt about global warming remains official policy. During the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the Washington editor of Fox News ordered the network’s journalists to never mention global warming “without immediately pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” Murdoch may be striving to go green in his ­office buildings, but on air, the only thing he’s recycling are the lies of Big Coal and Big Oil.

    • Was Genghis Khan history’s greenest conqueror?

      In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan’s unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere.

    • Newt Gingrich proposes abolishing EPA

      Gingrich has long been just another pro-pollution conservative eco-fraud pretending to care about the environment while adopting the anti-regulation, pro-technology rhetoric suggested by GOP strategist, Frank Luntz, and popularized by his protege, George Bush (see Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah” and “Eco-fraud Gingrich has always opposed clean energy, climate action“).

  • Finance

    • [Satire] Gap Between Rich And Poor Named 8th Wonder Of The World

      At a press conference Tuesday, the World Heritage Committee officially recognized the Gap Between Rich and Poor as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” describing the global wealth divide as the “most colossal and enduring of mankind’s creations.”

    • Banks Return With a Goal: Pushing Back

      Bankers at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, played the roles of bogeymen. French President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out at their “indecent behavior” and “morally indefensible” pay packages.

      The bankers aren’t likely to win any popularity contests at this year’s gathering at the Swiss ski resort. But they are hoping some of the stigma of having helped plunge the world into a financial crisis has faded.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • UK gives Murdoch last chance to avoid BSkyB probe

      Britain will give News Corp (NWSA.O) a final chance to avoid a prolonged investigation into its $12.5 billion buyout of BSkyB (BSY.L), a move likely to draw flak for the government’s relations with Rupert Murdoch.

    • Hunt and Cameron’s extraordinary decision on Murdoch/BSkyB

      Just 11 days ago I speculated that a judicial review was a near-certainty when the Culture Secretary made his decision on whether to refer Murdoch’s News Corporation bid to take full control over broadcaster BSkyB to the competition commission over concerns of media plurality in the UK.

      Ofcom’s widely-leaked recommendation was confirmed today: the bid should be sent for competition review. Whether the full Ofcom report will be unveiled is at this stage unclear, and in my guess unlikely.

      But the extraordinary part is Jeremy Hunt’s decision to grant a stay of execution and allow News Corp extra time to address concerns over media plurality if Murdoch’s group controlled news output from Sky, along with a raft of newspapers and news websites it already owned.

    • Chevron, under pressure for destruction Of Amazon, was top oil lobbyist last quarter

      Chevron, responsible for a multi-billion-dollar environmental disaster in Ecuador, is instead spending millions to shore up political support and to evade the clean up. Brad Johnson has the story.

      Senate disclosure forms reveal that oil giant Chevron spent $2.9 million lobbying the federal government last quarter, eclipsing even Exxon ($2.6 million) and BP ($2.2 million). Chevron’s 2010 lobbying totaled $12.89 million, following a tremendous outlay in 2009 of $20.8 million.

    • People trust search engines says PR company

      Whether people trust PR firms is another question

    • Pat Sajak says he’s profoundly sorry for infecting the country with Keith Olbermann

      Pat Sajak is finally taking full blame for giving Keith Olbermann his start on national television. Historians note that civil discourse has never been the same in American politics.

      Sajak clearly feels guilty about launching the liberal lamenter into the nation’s thought process like a virus.

  • Censorship

    • Hungary’s New Media Law Faces Opposition in the EU

      Just three weeks after Hungary took over the European Union’s presidency, the Hungarian government is already facing protests over a newly passed media law in the nation. According to Digital Civil Rights in Europe, the approved legislation gives the government the right to “unilaterally judge content material on the basis of broad and unclearly defined criteria,” including protection of the “public order.” The law gives Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn’s party the right to take down media outlets in the country. Furthermore, it also requires media sources to register before publishing.

    • Twitter Is Blocked In Egypt Amidst Rising Protests

      Inspired by the recent Tunisian demonstrations against corruption, protesters are filling the streets of Cairo. And like the protests in Tunisia, the Egyptian ones were partly organized on Facebook and Twitter. And now Twitter appears to be blocked in Egypt, according to various Tweets and tips we’ve received. However, so far only the Twitter website itself is blocked (including the mobile site), but people in Cairo are still using Twitter third-party clients to keep on Tweeting. There are also reports of the entire mobile Web being blocked through mobile carriers, but at least one carrier, Vodafone Egypt, denies that it is blocking Twitter, attributing the problem to overloaded networks instead. Update: one tipster says Twitter apps are blocked as well and that the only way to Tweet is by using Web proxies. Update 2: Asked to confirm that Twitter is blocked in Egypt, Google PR points to this Herdict Report, which indicates that it is in fact inaccessible in that country.

    • Tunisian State Secretary Says Censorship Is Fine Because The West Does It Too

      Both the US and the EU are obviously failing to be a rolemodel when they should be. Many politicians in the EU have embraced the idea of an internet filter to block child pornography. As for the US, they could be seen seizing domain names of ‘rogue websites’. On the one hand, politicians of the west love talking about the principles of freedom, but on the other hand they hate to actually live up to their own standards when something like WikiLeaks or a music blog comes along. The problems of this for the US and the EU have been discussed here in detail before.

  • Privacy

    • Justice Department seeks mandatory data retention

      Criminal investigations “are being frustrated” because no law currently exists to force Internet providers to keep track of what their customers are doing, the U.S. Department of Justice will announce tomorrow.

      CNET obtained a copy of the department’s position on mandatory data retention–saying Congress should strike a “more appropriate balance” between privacy and police concerns–that will be announced at a House of Representatives hearing tomorrow.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Will our Internet Rates Suddenly Climb?

      Met an interesting couple at Mayor Cowan’s Levee. In this small world, turns out they are in-laws of a guy I went to school with. In any case, they have a blog about the CRTC approving a change that could put our internet rates through the roof, particularly if you use something like Netflicks or WOW.

    • Two-thirds of U.S. Internet users lack fast broadband

      Two-thirds of U.S. Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders South Korea and Japan.

    • Don’t Take Digital Innovation for Granted

      For example, Over 22,000 people and counting have signed the Stop The Meter petition, demonstrating widespread discontent with big telecom companies who are attempting to hogtie competing indie Internet service providers (ISPs) and make the Internet much more expensive to use.

    • A damaged process and a damaged community

      Here’s the big news from the world of Internet governance world: some vague details of a meeting between the ICANN Board and governments, in the form of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), have emerged. But adding concern to the the general vagueness is the inclusion of precise wording that means something specific, although no one is quite sure what. It is this:

      This meeting is not intended to address the requirements/steps outlined in the Bylaws mandated Board-GAC consultation process.

      This wording is indecipherable to any but the greatest of insiders. And that fact, combined with the reality that this Board-GAC meeting is one of the most significant Internet governance meetings in the past five years, makes it all the more frustrating. Despite the global impact, and the open processes, and the much-vaunted bottom-up multi-stakeholder model, here is a very, very small group of people making crucial decisions about the future of the Internet and they are using arcane and indecipherable terminology in order to keep everyone else out.

    • France Telecom To Buy 49% of Video-Sharing Site Dailymotion

      France Telecom’s Orange has announced plans to buy a 49% stake in video sharing site Dailymotion for €58.8 million ($79.9 million).

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Publishing

    • Newspapers Try to Reimpose Scarcity on News With Ongo

      In what feels like another attempt to put the Internet genie back in the bottle, three traditional media companies — the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Gannett chain, publisher of USA Today — have launched a new service called Ongo that they hope will convince readers to pay for their content, even though much of that content is already available for free. Although it has some interesting features aimed at compensating readers for sharing content, Ongo seems like yet another Hail Mary pass aimed at trying to rewind the clock and impose scarcity on media content, and one that will likely fail just as quickly as others have.

    • This is the Big Society, you see. It must be big, to contain so many volunteers.

      In the world I know about, the world of books and publishing and bookselling, it used to be the case that a publisher would read a book and like it and publish it. They’d back their judgement on the quality of the book and their feeling about whether the author had more books in him or in her, and sometimes the book would sell lots of copies and sometimes it wouldn’t, but that didn’t much matter because they knew it took three or four books before an author really found his or her voice and got the attention of the public. And there were several successful publishers who knew that some of their authors would never sell a lot of copies, but they kept publishing them because they liked their work. It was a human occupation run by human beings. It was about books, and people were in publishing or bookselling because they believed that books were the expression of the human spirit, vessels of delight or of consolation or enlightenment.

      Not any more, because the greedy ghost of market madness has got into the controlling heights of publishing. Publishers are run by money people now, not book people. The greedy ghost whispers into their ears: Why are you publishing that man? He doesn’t sell enough. Stop publishing him. Look at this list of last year’s books: over half of them weren’t bestsellers. This year you must only publish bestsellers. Why are you publishing this woman? She’ll only appeal to a small minority. Minorities are no good to us. We want to double the return we get on each book we publish.

    • Copyrights

      • Obama nominates former RIAA lawyer for Solicitor General spot

        President Barack Obama on Monday nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

        If confirmed by the Senate, Verilli, now the White House deputy counsel, would assume the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Obama said he was “confident” that Verrilli, one of five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, would “serve ably.”

      • ACS:Law Can’t Take The Pressure, Quit Chasing File-Sharers

        ACS:Law, the law firm that has terrorized untold thousands of alleged file-sharers in the UK, has quit the anti-piracy business. The company made the announcement in a hearing at the Patents County Court yesterday set to a backdrop of scathing comments by a senior judge who said he found their cases “mind boggling”.

      • Law firm ACS: Law stops ‘chasing illegal file-sharers’
      • Mysterious Non-Company ‘Helping’ ACS:Law Collect Fines Now Says Forget The Whole Thing

        As ACS:Law’s legal mistakes mount, there was a recent story about how the company had passed on some collections efforts to a firm called GCB, but the details suggested another total screwup. People tracked GCB back to an accounting firm, which quickly put on their website that while GCB was formed by it, it “appears to be being misused by some third party,” and that it was “taking urgent steps” to end this

      • How many Internet pirates are there, anyway?

        For US numbers, we can turn to Warner Music, one of the world’s largest music labels and a company that devoted plenty of time to researching the audience for its products. Last year, Warner execs stopped by the offices of the Federal Communications Commission to brief the agency on its findings—and what it found was that 13 percent of Americans were music pirates.

      • Why Tyler Cowen’s new book will be on Kindles, not bookstore shelves

        Cowen is a noted libertarian economist at George Mason University who writes for The New York Times and other esteemed publications — but he’s probably best known as the coauthor, with Alex Tabarrok, of Marginal Revolution, the very popular economics blog they’ve run for approaching a decade.

      • Google/Coadec Copyright Report: We Want Your Case Studies

        In early November, the government announced that it was launching a review in the country’s intellectual property laws, with a view to spurring technological innovation and “to see if we can make them fit for the Internet age.” The review, which is being chaired by Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University, has now called for evidence on how the current IP regime affects innovation.

      • Law to Shutdown P2P Sites Resurrected By Spanish Coalition

        In recent months a controversial piece of legislation aimed at shutting down file-sharing sites has resulted in massive opposition from the public in Spain. In December the protests appeared to have been successful as the House of Representatives rejected the proposal. However, yesterday the Spanish Government resurrected the law with some minor changes, a move that has outraged the public.

        Traditionally, Spain has been one of the few countries where courts have affirmed that P2P-sites operate legally. This, to the disappointment of the United States who behind closed doors helped the Spanish Government to come up with new laws to protect the interests of copyright holders.

      • Will New Solicitor General Take Harder Line On Copyright?

        To fill the key legal post of Solicitor General, the Obama administration has turned to a lawyer with deep entertainment-industry roots who has taken on some of the industry’s toughest copyright battles. The nominee, Donald Verrilli, is best known for having buried the Grokster file-sharing service at the Supreme Court. Verrilli is one of several lawyers with recording-industry backgrounds who were brought into senior positions in the Department of Justice under Obama.

        The Grokster win is without a doubt one of the most significant entertainment-industry legal victories in the internet age. It created a new copyright doctrine of “inducement” that has allowed other peer-to-peer services, such as Limewire, to be shut down under the theory that even though the services didn’t handle copyrighted material themselves they went too far in encouraging users to illegally share.

      • China Authorities Threaten BitTorrent Sites with Prison Time

        Country’s Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security jointly announce that anybody guilty of illegally distributing copyrighted material that reaches 50,000 hits will face between 3 and 7 years in prison.

        Chinese authorities are stepping up their anti-P2P efforts with news of a joint declaration made by the country’s Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security earlier this month that anybody caught sharing copyrighted material without authorization will face criminal penalties of between 3 and 7 years in prison.

      • ACTA

        • LQDN at the EU Commission’s Ad Hoc Meeting on ACTA

          Today, La Quadrature du Net is attending the European Commission’s meeting on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

          Now that the negotiations on ACTA have come to an end, the Commission wants to “inform and consult civil society” about ACTA. That’s something that should have been done years ago.

          We will be distributing a one-page memo explaining why ACTA — which seeks to establish extremist enforcement measures for copyright, patent and trademarks — runs counter to fundamental rights and innovation. As suggested by dozens of academics across the EU in their common analysis, ACTA is a fundamentally flawed international agreement that needs to be rejected by lawmakers.

Clip of the Day

SmallLuxGPU 1.6 Blender 2.5 Exporter

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