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Links 02/11/2010: GNOME Executive Director Resigns, Ted Ts’o on EXT4, Fedora 14 and OpenBSD 4.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • I’m back again ( GNU/Linux retrospection )

    Just a few weeks ago, I decided I should try something new to refresh my development inventory. I decided I should learn QT. After installing it, suddenly I remembered the good old GNU/Linux day’s and that was it. I was back, After trying various distributions I decided I should go on with Gentoo. Now I’m back and I’m planning to stay for a while. I’m about to rediscover my native world with all it’s pros and con’s. To join the community again. I’m glad I’m back….

  • Official Mac and Linux ID Card Software Released

    As of today, people using Macintosh and Linux operating systems can use Estonian ID cards with official software from a government agency rather than stopgap volunteer-developed programs.

    The official Macintosh ID software is available for OS 10.5 and 10.6 while the Linux versions were developed for the three most common Linux systems in Estonia: Ubuntu 10.04, Open Suse 11.3, and Fedora 13.

  • The Corporate Hoax on Linux Revisited, or I Said It Once…

    As for “no Linux drivers,” I’m not sure where that comes from. Yes, there is some hardware out there with no readily available Linux drivers, but I’m hard-pressed to name any. I’m sure readers can provide their lists. Still, I’ve seen no evidence Linux is more deficient in available drivers. Anecdotally, my personal experience has been the opposite.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung, Google said to be launching Nexus Two Android phone

      Samsung and Google are planning to announce a “Nexus Two” heir to the Galaxy S smartphone on Nov. 8 based on Android 2.3, says industry reports. Another report says the Nexus Two will go on sale exclusively in the U.K. for the holiday season.

  • Kernel Space

    • China Mobile Joins Linux Foundation as Gold Member

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that China Mobile Communications Corporation (”China Mobile”), whose holding company is majority shareholder of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), has become a Gold member, marking the first time a Chinese enterprise has joined The Linux Foundation.

    • Ted Ts’o: EXT4 Within Striking Distance Of XFS

      Our most recent desktop testing of the EXT4 file-system (along with Btrfs) indicate performance regressions in the Linux 2.6.36 kernel, while previous to that we also compared these two latest Linux file-systems to the ZFS-FUSE file-system, and when using these file-systems on a solid-state drive. Benchmarks of both EXT4 and Btrfs atop the latest Linux 2.6.37 kernel development code will be available in the coming weeks.

    • I have the money shot for my LCA presentation

      Thanks to Eric Whitney’s benchmarking results, I have my money shot for my upcoming 2011 LCA talk in Brisbane, which will be about how to improve scalability in the Linux kernel, using the case study of the work that I did to improve scalability via a series of scalability patches that were developed during 2.6.34, 2.6.35, and 2.6.36 (and went into the the kernel during subsequent merge window).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Improving The Linux Desktop: 20 Needed Fixes

      1) Focus on the casual user first, geek second. Many among you will likely point out that nine times out of ten, a Google search holds the answer to the most common questions people have when working with desktop Linux.

      Unfortunately, not everyone out there knows the right questions to ask Google in the first place. What’s needed is some kind of easy-to-use GUI troubleshooting tool that can be used to gather debugging information. This would make a trip to the various Linux forums a lot more productive for everyone involved.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What Will Happen to GNOME Now?

        Those who remember a time before Ubuntu will undoubtedly also remember that GNOME, although probably the second most popular desktop manager, didn’t hold too much share of the Linux desktop market. KDE was king, and GNOME was a distant second. Then Ubuntu appeared and not only climbed its way to the top of the distribution game, but brought GNOME with it. Polls over the last few years have shown its use increasing to the point that it is oftentimes equalling or out-ranking KDE. But what will happen to GNOME now that Ubuntu 11.04 is going to ship with Unity?

      • Changing Roles

        I have really enjoyed working with GNOME over the past 2+ years. Working with the GNOME community on creating a free desktop accessible to everyone has been fun and exciting – as well as challenging – which is part of the fun. :) It is the community that makes GNOME, and it’s working with that community, in particular the board, that has made my job so much fun.

        Over the past two years I think we’ve made great progress with the GNOME Foundation. We’ve more than doubled our income both from corporate investors and individuals. We’ve made great technical progress especially with all of the hackfests. And we’re well on our way to GNOME 3.0 which is looking like a solid release at this time. In addition we’ve grown teams and processes like the marketing team, the sys admin team and the travel committee. And you know all this because we’ve also improved our communication processes with things like the quarterly report and more active use of the GNOME Foundation blog.

      • Ubuntu’s Game-Changing Quest for ‘Unity’

        Yes, for those who missed it, Natty Narwhal — or Ubuntu 11.04 — will not use the distribution’s longtime GNOME Shell as the default desktop interface. Rather, it will feature the 3D and multitouch-enabled Unity, which just appeared in the netbook edition of Maverick Meerkat earlier this month.

      • Using Unity – Day 6

        Today I will tackle one of the areas where Unity irritates me a bit: Notifying me of actionable windows/programs.

      • Is Ubuntu Forking Gnome With Unity?
      • Install Unity to experience the future of Ubuntu

        Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the last couple of days, you know that Canonical has announced it is moving away from GNOME being the default desktop and switching to it’s netbook-centric desktop Unity. Why was this done? Mark Shuttleworth said that having a single interface for both netbook and desktop would improve quality assurance and make it easier for OEMs to integrate and support the desktop. I want to believe the reason is because Canonical has big, very big, things in store for the planet’s favorite Linux distribution.

      • Thoughts on Ubuntu and (dis-)Unity(?)

        Ok, so now pretty much anyone who is interested in this sort of thing has heard that Ubuntu will be changing from Gnome to the Unity desktop for their standard distribution in the 11.04 release. There are so many sides to this, and so many different ways to look at it, that I start getting dizzy every time I really try to get into it.

      • gtk hackfest summary

        perhaps the most surprising takeaway from the hackfest is that gtk4 is coming quite soon. we plan to do the bulk of the work required to get it out the door in 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Are there too many Linux Distributions?

      Only the newbies or newcomers are confused at first about the options. But they usually does not have hundreds of choice, they only have to choose one out of five.

      When someone tells me he wants to run Linux instead of Windows, and asks me which one to choose, I in no way face him with 20 or 200 options, I only gave him five at the most, usually only three, or even two.

      If we see the distrowatch home page, we can see the five most popular distributions in this order:

      1. Ubuntu
      2. Fedora
      3. Mint
      4. openSUSE
      5. Debian

    • What is today’s most popular linux distribution?

      Distrowatch, which ranks the popularity of Linux distributions based on page hits, does not include Android on its list. The top 10 Linux distributions there, as of this writing and with data based on the last 6 months, are:

      1. Ubuntu
      2. Fedora
      3. Mint
      4. OpenSUSE
      5. Debian
      6. PCLinuxOS
      7. Mandriva
      8. Sabayon
      9. Arch
      10. Puppy

    • Reviews

      • ZEN-Mini Gnome 2010.10 Reviewed! “Flying Under the Radar”



        * Small and light
        * Great Desktop look
        * Easy to use Package Manager
        * Great support via forums and PCLinuOS emagazine
        * Can be remastered easily


        * Gnome panel still buggy
        * Mount other partitions at boot with no easy way to turn off
        * Overall limited package selection
        * Long term support unknown
        * Need for 3rd-party repository similar to ARCH’s AUR

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0 International DVD

        Today we announce the availability of the international Trisquel 4.0.1 LTS DVD images, which include 50 language translation packs with up to 130 dialectal variants and come complete with writing tools, input methods, unicode fonts and spell checkers. This new edition was already used as the base for the current FSF live membercard system.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.10 Distribution Available

        If you haven’t tried PCLinuxOS until now, this would be a good time to do so. If you are already running it, make a note to update your installation media, so that installing it for your friends and family when they see how nice it is and how well it works. Good stuff, congratulations once again to everyone involved in the PCLinuxOS distribution.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat near Key Resistance Area

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $42.73 with the current price action closing at just $42.26 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • RHN Satellite 5.4, first analysis

        In another post, I was speculating about the upstream version. Now, Sat540 seems to be based on Spacewalk 1.2 which is not yet released. I was quite puzzled about that fact. Usually upstream (Fedora) projects are ahead of its commercial counterparts, this time it seems to be the other way round.

      • Fedora

        • ITworld review: Fedora 14 is leading-edge Linux

          The full distribution also includes the newest version of the KDE desktop, KDE 4.5.2, but I’ll be darned if I ever met a Fedora user who used KDE. Fedora has long been known as the GNOME’s user GNOME Linux of choice.

        • Fedora 14 vs. Ubuntu Maverick: Distinct Differences

          As contemporaries, Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10 provide an apt comparison. In past releases, the two distributions have been the most downloaded distributions on Distrowatch — although Ubuntu usually has 20-40% more downloads — and there is no reason to think these latest releases will be much different.

        • Fedora 14 Desktop Edition
        • Fedora 14 released with new features for developers

          The Fedora development community announced on Tuesday the official release of Fedora 14, codenamed Laughlin. The new version is a bit light on user-facing changes, but adds some useful features for developers. Fedora typically issues a new release every six months and is loosely aligned with the GNOME development cycle. Each release brings updated software and some new packages.

          Fedora 14 ships with GNOME 2.32, a transitional GNOME release that introduces some important architectural changes under the hood in preparation for GNOME 3. There aren’t many new GNOME features on the surface, however, because the GNOME developers are largely focused on preparing a new shell that will significantly overhaul the next version of the desktop. KDE 4.5, which was released in August, is also available in Fedora 14. It has a new notification system and preliminary support for tiling in the KWin window manager.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, Is it a perfect 10/10 ? : A Review

          For a convert from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X, the new Ubuntu 10.10 feels tempting to use! But, a regular Ubuntu user wont find anything ground breaking in the new release, although it can be considered a polished Lucid. However, the improvements in the sound applet are worth mentioning.

          Lucid Lynx was a big leap in terms of UI from Karmic by trashing the old brown theme and functionality by replacing Gimp as the default Photo Editor. Maverick improves on that. The next iteration in the Ubuntu release, 11.04 Natty Narwhal will come under the lime light on April 28, 2011.

          By the way we are going to give Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat a 9/10 rating.

        • Ending Another Chapter

          So for the last 5 years I’ve been associated with the Ubuntu ecosystems and dedicated a large chunk of my time trying to get the distro properly translated into Brazilian Portuguese and doing a lot of advocating along the way. I even got to attend the very first UDS-MTV and meet some of those guys and gals I had spent so much time talking/working online. It was a bitter sweet moment and an eye opener, as I was able to see first hand the direction that the distribution was heading to. Not too long after that I started moving away from my involvement, resigning from several groups I had belonged to to a very minimum core associations.

          Why I kept the Ubuntu Members membership for the past 3 years is a bit hard to explain in a few paragraphs, so I’ll save it for another time. I guess I had hoped that things would be a bit different and that Ubuntu would indeed become the contender for making sure that FLOSS projects would be first citizens in their plans. I also hoped that all of my hard work and the ground work I laid out for my successors would be acknowledged but it seems that the past has been forgotten by all.

          So in 6 days my membership will expire and with it the last thread still connecting me to Ubuntu will expire. I will remove my blog from Ubuntu Planet (I can hear a few cheers already for I have deliberately been harsh towards the directions Canonical has taken the distribution) and all of my efforts will be directed at helping the GNOME Foundation and the GNOME 3.0 release.

        • PPAs Turning Ubuntu into Arch?

          A few years ago I started hearing about ppas everywhere. More and more, I see developers telling people that if they want the latest of program X, they should load the developer’s ppa. A ppa is a repository of software that is neither maintained by Canonical nor the Ubuntu community.

        • Dell PowerEdge Ubuntu certifications

          I hope you didn’t miss the fantastic news that Dell has expanded the PowerEdge servers that are certified for Ubuntu Server Edition. We’ve also worked with them to port and package OpenManage 6.3 to Ubuntu which is important for anyone who uses this systems management framework.

        • The Major Happenings From The Ubuntu 11.04 Summit

          UDS Natty also resulted in discussions for better helping free software developers in their contributions to Ubuntu to make them easier and for advancing work in areas like multi-touch and gestures. There’s also work planned on tools and resources for game developers. Lastly, with the Ubuntu Software Center they will begin working on a feature for adding support to donate money to free software projects through this “Ubuntu app store.”

        • Living with a Maverick Meerkat

          The verdict? Change is a really difficult process. But it is those little steps that keep you moving forward. This is true for both Ubuntu and me. The Ubuntu OS still has a few more steps to go before it can be truly consumer-friendly. As for myself, to be honest, I was tempted to revert back to Windows on a number of occasions. On the other hand, after more than a week, I am still playing with Maverick Meerkat even as I write this very piece.

        • Move to Ubuntu

          A recent post in Planet Gnome about moving away from Arch into Ubuntu got me thinking, because I just did the same thing a few weeks ago, when Ubuntu 10.10 was released. But I didn’t really liked the reasons I did so.

          First, I love Arch Linux. It’s simplicity and speed are amazing. It’s clearly focused on power users, which is great for me. It’s package manager (Pacman) is very fast and powerful, while still easy to use. I love how I can search and query packages both installed and from the cache with concise commands that usually do what you want at the first time. Compared to Ubuntu’s apt-cache and apt-get, which I usually have to read the man page to remember a few commands and to Fedora’s yum, which I’m never comfortable with, Pacman is always the winner. If that was not enough, you can create useful packages in under 10 minutes. Better yet if you can find a pre-made PKGBUILD in AUR, which contains thousands of recipes to build packages. The binary packages are usually enough for a desktop, but sometimes you do need to dig into Yaourt, which automatically downloads and compiles recipes. It is time-consuming sometimes, but comparing to finding a PPA with a decent enough version of a package that you can’t find in Ubuntu, it’s not much different.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Introducing Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS

            In the end, I think Pinguy OS has a good concept, but at this stage it needs some polish in the implementation. The idea of taking Ubuntu and adding popular software and giving the system a familiar interface is a good one (it has served the Mint community well). However, the approach feels unfocused. Including popular codecs and software for a wide range of activities is a good plan, but in Pinguy’s case it makes the menu feel cluttered. Sometimes unnecessarily. For instance, why do I have five image viewers/editors, but no GIMP? If the distro is targeting newcomers then why include VirtualBox? For that matter, I find it odd that the system includes three graphical package managers. Likewise, there are two CPU usage monitors on the desktop, two network monitors and two clocks. All four sides of the desktop covered with panels which will cover up windows when they are moved into the same space. It feels crowded visually and takes up a noticeable amount of resources. I feel Pinguy OS would benefit from looking at Zenwalk and following the clean and integrated one-app-per-task approach and avoid making users choose between three different video players.

            Granted, this is early in the project’s development and it’s not reasonable to expect perfection the first time. And to Mr Norman’s credit, this initial release does achieve its goal of giving the user almost all of the software they need straight out of the box without requiring additional configuration. I’m hoping we see a new version of Pinguy down the line which combines the large selection of pre-installed software with a less busy interface.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Install Apps from Terminal

            This Screencast gives you an introduction on how to install, delete and search for software from the terminal with the command line tool apt-get.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • An Improved Experience With Qt Scene Graph

          Just days after blogging about Gallium3D and the TGSI IR that could be replaced with LLVM IR in LunarGLASS, Zack Rusin has written a new entry regarding 2D acceleration and the lack of really any innovation or major changes to this area of graphics processing in recent years. However, that is beginning to change at least in the Nokia world when it comes to QML and Qt Scene Graph.

          Zack basically goes on to say in his latest blog post that the 2D rendering model really hasn’t changed in years and that there’s much more that could be done to speed-up the process and make it more efficient. Among the 2D model shortcomings mentioned by Zack are pixmaps and surfaces are created too many times when they could be reused when the window and its widgets don’t change (or change minimally), pushing the data from every draw call into a temporary buffer and then copying it all at once, creating a shader cache for fill and composition modes, and the GPU downloading the same data with every frame being rendered.

      • Android

        • Android Continues to Gobble Up Mobile OS Share

          Google’s wildly popular Android mobile operating system gained even more momentum in the third quarter at the expense, primarily, of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices, according to latest smartphone industry data.

          According to market researcher NPD Group, Android expanded its lead among mobile operating system providers with 44 percent of smartphones sold in the quarter, up 11 percent from what was a blowout second quarter.

          Meanwhile, Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ: RIM) BlackBerry OS tumbled to third place in the third quarter, slipping from 28 percent to 22 percent. Apple’s iOS inched up 1 percent to 23 percent, good enough to take over the No. 2 spot among mobile OS installed on new smartphones sold in the quarter.

        • Highlights of the upcoming release

          Hannes lately implemented a lot of new features that were listed in the Roadmap, and I just made available a new apk on our google code page. The contributions have been merged in the main repository a few moments ago, and the changelog is in the message that Hannes sent to our mailing list. You can get an overview of the new features by looking at the following pictures and videos that Hannes made and shared.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Would the Amish Use This Hand-Cranked Laptop?

        The answer, basically, is yes.

        For the Amish, the bigger issue relates to connecting to the outside world. “Not being on the grid continues to be universal in Amish life,” explains professor David L. Weaver-Zercher, author of The Amish Way. “There is kind of a symbolic thing with the grid, that the wires themselves are physically connecting your house. That is a clear connection to worldly ways of doing things that we want to avoid.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • For the Symbian Foundation, Time Wasn’t the Only Problem

    It was all the way back in October of 2009 that an open kernel for the Symbian platform was released to the world. It’s important to note that at that time, the Symbian platform had 50 percent share in the smartphone market. It’s also important to note that the Symbian Foundation had hoped to deliver its open source tools much earlier than that.


    The Symbian Foundation simply didn’t find the right ways and the right pace at which to challenge the smartphone platforms that were beginning to move with great momentum. This was a colossal failure of judgment from an extremely well-funded organization, and at this point, there is not likely to be a turnaround for the Symbian platform.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Better Web Browsers for Linux and Everyone Else

        Just about all the mainstream web browsers today are available for download in Linux. Since most of your computing time is likely spent in front of the browser, you shouldn’t just settle with the one that came preinstalled with your distribution. We’ll review four different browsers you can use in Linux, where you can pick the one that’s best for you.

      • Does Firefox Tuning Make Firefox Faster?

        Like Chrome, Firefox has a somewhat hidden configuration area that enables users to adjust certain features of the browser. It this feature that you will have to access when you stumble across Firefox tuning tips that have been posted for years across the web. Do they work and if so, what effect do they have. We took the regular and modified Firefox out for a spin.

      • Mozilla: 10 Bugs Left In Firefox 4 Beta 7

        They may be serious this time: Mozilla just announced that there are only 10 bugs left to fix in the current pre-release version of the Firefox 4 Beta 7. It appears that the software could be released to the public within two weeks. The mobile Beta 2 for Firefox 4, known as Fennec, is already in testing and work on Beta 3 has begun.

      • Implementing A High-Performance Emulator In Javascript Using Run-Time Code Generation

        For a while I’ve been thinking about exploiting fast browser JITs and JS “eval()” to build really fast emulators and other language runtimes. Tonight I was feeling jumpy so I went ahead and hacked something up.

  • Oracle

    • Mass resignations from OpenOffice.org

      Oracle’s decision to decline to get involved with the Document Foundation and its announcement that it planned to continue to develop OpenOffice was followed by a call from an Oracle employee and OpenOffice.org council member Louis Suárez-Potts for council members with a connection with the Document Foundation to resign due to a conflict of interest.

    • The Oracle Fiasco’s Impact

      I now feel confident that things such as Firefox, Chrome, Linux, and the like are safe from megacorps. They’re safe from the hands of those who seek to control markets and products. Users are safe to consider the software they purchase their own without fear of prosecution should they need to change the software in some or redistribute the software for some reason.

    • Integration Watch: Oracle, IBM, and Google… and Java

      The early-October announcement from IBM that it was joining the OpenJDK project and abandoning Apache Harmony sent immediate ripples through the Java community. The predictable early reaction was that this was another step in Oracle’s litigation-based attack on Google. That dispute centers on a handful of software patents that Oracle claims were violated by Google’s use of technology that derived in part from Apache Harmony. According to this scheming view, by convincing IBM to support Harmony’s competitor, OpenJDK, Oracle marooned the search giant on an island of technology that had no future, save whatever enhancements Google might care to make.

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 3 (build OOO330m13) available
    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m91) available
    • OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Almost Here – Is It the Last?

      OpenOffice.org 3.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on November 1 with many updates and new features that have been in development for the last six months or more. This comes when as many as 33 OpenOffice.org developers are handing in their resignations. While the loss of the German team is unlikely to affect this release, one has to wonder what the future holds for OpenOffice.org.

    • Go LibreOffice !!!

      I have also sent a trivial cleanup patch in that was accepted, so now I know that if I ever have an annoying bug in LibreOffice I will not treat it with a shrug as I would do with proprietary software and as until now but will feel confident diving in the code.

    • Open letter to the JCP Executive Committee calling for JCP reform

      Indeed, the central problem with the current JCP is lack of transparency and openness. Although the JCP defines itself as “the open, participative process to develop and revise the Java technology specifications, reference implementations and test suites”, it’s not very open nor participative in practice. The community is almost entirely excluded when developing so called “open standards”.

    • 2010 JCP EC Election Results
    • Inside the OpenOffice.org coup
    • Fork off: mass exodus from OOo as contributors join LibreOffice

      The OpenOffice.org (OOo) community has declared independence from Oracle as members have joined the LibreOffice project, a fork of the open source office suite. In an open letter published on the OOo mailing list, a group of over 30 contributors affirmed their intention to abandon Oracle’s code base in favor of LibreOffice. They say that the fork’s more inclusive environment and community-driven management offer a powerful opportunity to advance the software.

      The LibreOffice project launched last month amid concerns that Oracle would not rectify the long-standing problems with the OOo development process and governance model. The fork was backed by The Document Foundation, a newly formed organization that includes Linux heavyweights Red Hat, Novell, Google, and Canonical among its supporters. The group initially hoped that Oracle would agree to participate, but the enterprise software giant appears to have no interest in finding a middle ground. Oracle insists that participating in both projects poses a conflict of interest and responded to the fork by forcing TDF members who have seats on the OOo community council to step down from their elected roles in OOo leadership. Oracle’s uncompromising attitude has now instigated a mass exodus of OOo community members as independent contributors flock to LibreOffice.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Software Firm Acquia Raises Another $8.5 Million

      Acquia, a company that sells products and services for popular open source content management system Drupal, has announced an $8.5 million round of funding led by by North Bridge Venture Partners.

      Although open source and capitalism may seem fundamentally opposed, Acquia — which has now brought in a total of $23.5 million of funding over three rounds — continues to highlight the commercial potential of open source projects. Other commercial open source business models include Automattic’s WordPress.com, the hosted version of WordPressWordPressWordPress.org and Dotnetnuke’s enterprise solutions.

    • Drupal Founder on Why Open Source is Good for Business [INTERVIEW]

      One of the things I’ve learned from Drupal is that commercial interests are a really good thing. But they have to be managed properly. For example, I think that the reason Drupal is successful is the community. I think the reason we have such a large community is because so many people make money with Drupal. They use Drupal to build websites for their customers. So it’s a tool that allows people to make money, and because they’re making money with Drupal, they’re invested in the project and they contribute to the project because their business depends on it.

  • Business

    • Community Escrow

      The story can easily be different with open source. If there is a market demand large enough to justify starting a new business to take on the code, as was the case for ForgeRock, it’s entirely possible there will be someone ready to provide seamless continuity. Otherwise, the businesses who have been working in the community are likely to have solutions for you. The fact they have been free to study and modify the code means they will have skills that only the staff of the vendor can have in the case of proprietary software. They may be able to provide continuity; at a minimum they will be able to support you as you plan a graceful migration.

      What can prevent this option existing? A community escrow option can only exist if your software freedoms have been respected and the sorts of measures in addition to open source licencing that Andy Updegrove mentions have been taken. If the product was “open core” – with the key commercial features kept proprietary – it will be very hard for anyone to provide continuity. This is especially true if you are using the software as a service, because the critical know-how to make the software reliably run in the cloud is unlikely to be included in the open source project. If your vendor scorns co-developers, there may well be no-one out there ready to step in. It’s thus not a matter of mere philosophy to check your software freedoms are protected; your ability to use community escrow to manage a vendor failure may be at stake.

  • Funding

    • Who Really Pays for Open Source Software?

      There has been significant growth in the open source software market over the last decade and as popularity continues to grow, the market doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. The Open Source community frequently attracts very intelligent, motivated and experienced developers driven by pride, personal curiosity and peer recognition to develop valuable solutions. No matter how much personal satisfaction developers receive from seeing the result of their efforts however, software developers still have to pay the bills and have some money left over to eat. So, how can software that isn’t for sale actually make money?

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 4.8 released

      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 4.8. This is our 28th release on CD-ROM (and 29th via FTP). We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than ten years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 4.8 Brings Improved Hardware Support

      OpenBSD 4.7 came out this past summer, but OpenBSD 4.8 is now available for those interested in this BSD operating system that focuses on providing portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security, and integrated cryptography. With OpenBSD 4.8 there is now ACPI-based suspend-and-resume support for most systems utilizing Intel or ATI graphics, but the suspend-and-resume support when utilizing NVIDIA graphics is still problematic. There’s also other hardware support improvements, new tools, daemon improvements, and various other improvements to this free software operating system.

    • DragonFly BSD 2.8 adds root partition encryption

      Developer Matthew Dillon has announced the release of version 2.8 of DragonFly BSD, a FreeBSD fork. Dillon notes that this major release features the return of the GUI and a larger 4GB USB image, which includes several additional packages, a functional X environment and full sources and Git repositories. According to Dillon, the developers are seeking feedback on this release and will “likely expand the number of packages and improve the environment in future releases”.

  • Project Releases

    • Release Notes for Rockbox 3.7

      The Rockbox project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Rockbox 3.7. Five months have passed since the last release, and in that time we’ve been busy adding new supported devices, adding features and fixing bugs to give you the best Rockbox experience yet on the widest range of targets ever.

  • Government

    • Taking Collaborative Risk at The State Department

      One success factor for Richard and his team as they guide the work style shift is focusing on “the how rather than the what” for starters and saving the “thorniest issues” for last. By thorniest issues, Richard means U.S. policy and diplomacy. Meantime, he and his colleagues are encouraging culture shift and emphasizing use of collaborative tools for brainstorming improvements in “how” policy can be crafted. As the culture warms to the new way of working, the change agents believe diplomats will more collaboratively create policy itself.

    • Productively lost in Cape Town: POSSE goes South Africa

      What can you do with a boardroom, a projector, and a wifi access point? A movie night, you say? Nope. Just a few tools is all it took to get Mel Chua and Jan Wildeboer (from Red Hat) and Pierros Papadeas (from Fedora) together with local organizer Michael Adeyeye from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The event? A week-long workshop on the principles of open source communities and how to employ these in university-level teaching–in Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Licensing

    • Are You in Compliance with Open Source?

      At the LinuxCon event this past August, the Linux Foundation officially announced a new license compliance program to help ease adoption of open source technologies. The checklist is one of the deliverables of the new compliance program, though it’s not a complete solution to ensure that an enterprise is fully open source license compliance.

      The self-assessment checklist for open source compliance provides enterprises with best practices on how to properly comply with open source license requirements. The checklist does not, however, provide a scoring mechanism by which enterprises can gauge their own levels of compliance.

    • The VLC-iOS license dispute and how it could spread to Android

      Video fanatics were thrilled when an iOS version of VLC made its way to the App Store recently. Finally, users could watch all manner of videos in a number of codecs from their iPhones or iPads, just like they do with the (ever-popular) VLC desktop clients. That may not last forever, though: a wrench has now been thrown into the mix by one of the many VLC code contributors, leading to a complex dispute over VLC’s GNU Public License (GPL) and whether an app released through the App Store—or any mobile OS store, for that matter—violates that license.

      Many of our readers are already quite familiar with VLC—the software is available for many platforms as open source through the GPLv2. VLC is promoted and managed by the nonprofit association VideoLAN, and the code itself is constantly being developed and improved by hundreds of programmers around the world. So, how did the VLC iOS app get into this mess, and what’s really going on?

    • FSF position on GPLv2 & current App Store terms

      salsaman asked me to come on this list and explain the FSF’s position on the current terms of service for Apple’s App Store, and how those relate to GPLv2. There have been changes to the terms since our original blog post on the topic. I confirmed that the changes did not affect the GPLv2 analysis before I blogged about Rémi’s enforcement action, but it’s fair to ask me to show my work and I’m happy to do that here.

      That’s all I’m here to do: point out the facts and explain the FSF’s analysis. If you all have questions about what I’ve written here, just ask and I’ll be happy to answer those too, publicly or privately. I only ask that you have a little patience when you’re expecting a reply: I’m several time zones behind most of you.

    • Why Apple may never reach the mass market and why it’s so obvious

      There is no mass market for Apple goods and there never will be.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Hardware & Arduino

        Usually I work only with the software, I’m not an expert of the hardware, but the excellent presentation by Riccardo Lemmi made me want to read a bit of material on the world of open hardware in general and Arduino in particular.

        Open source hardware ( OSHW ) consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software (FOSS). Open source hardware is part of the open source culture movement and applies a like concept to a variety of components. The term usually means that information about the hardware is easily discerned. Hardware design (i.e.schematics, bill of materials and PCB layout data) in addition to the software that drives the hardware are all released with the FOSS approach .

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Filesystem Hierarchal Standard

      If you open nautilus and browse to the root filesystem, you’ll see something that looks like the image to the left.

      This is the default layout of the filesystem in Ubuntu 10.10, and is a peek into the ancient (by computer science standards) history and genealogy of Linux. The directories listed above are holdouts from one of the oldest standards, the Filesystem Hierarchal Standard, FHS. FHS is the system that defines what belongs where.

    • Introducing: the Simple Java API for ODF

      We really want your help with this API. This is not one of those faux-open source projects, where all the code is developed by one company. We want to have a real community around this project. So if you are at all interested in ODF and Java, I invite you to take a look:

      1. Download the 0.2 release of the Simple Java API for ODF. The wiki also has important info on install pre-reqs.
      2. Work through some of the cookbook to get an idea on how the API works.
      3. Sign up and join the ODF Toolkit Union project.
      4. Join the users mailing list and ask questions. Defect reports can go to our Bugzilla tracker.
      5. If you want to contribute patches, more info on the wiki for how to access our repository.

    • A Presidenta Dilma Rousseff dá grande apoio ao Software Livre


  • Being untouchable no longer

    When President Obama visits India next month, it is quite certain that he will pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, perceived around the world as one of history’s most celebrated symbols of liberation, and a source of inspiration for the US president himself.

    But there are calls within India for Obama to look further than Gandhi in paying homage to Indian heroes. For India’s community of 167 million Dalits, once known as “untouchables”, the true icon is Dr B R Ambedkar. Himself an untouchable, Dr Ambedkar gained doctorates from Columbia University, where President Obama, too, was educated, and at the London School of Economics, before becoming the architect of independent India’s new constitution.

  • Judge realizes: on the Internet, no one can tell you’re a kid

    A federal judge today issued an injunction against a new Massachusetts law that tried to apply its “matter harmful to minors” law to the Internet. Because it’s difficult to ascertain someone’s age on the ‘Net, that attempt turned out to be far too broad.

  • Shocker! Kids spending too much time in front of TV screens, too little in loving parents’ embrace

    When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers’ coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

  • http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/02/shocker-kids-spending-too-much-time-in-front-of-tv-screens-too/

    There was an interesting story on WXYZ ABC Channel 7 television out of Detroit last week about how auto thieves just love GM’s $60,000 plus Cadillac Escalade as well as GM’s Tahoe and Yukon Denali. Apparently, experienced thieves can steal a Cadillac Escalade in about 14 seconds, and have it totally stripped in about 20 minutes.


    Well, the old fashion way.

  • Another Extremist+Engineering Data Point?

    The just-barely-thwarted printer cartridge bomb attempt of last week represents an interesting data point in the question of why Are So Many Political Extremists Engineers.

  • Radio 3 survey analyses the happiness of the nation

    When asked what caused personal unhappiness, 65% of the 2,000 respondents cited finances – putting it way beyond family problems (32%), health (27%) and the welfare of their children (21%). In addition:

    * 63% of people feel they need a salary of 40k or more to be happy and 68% would need a better salary to make them happier in their employment
    * 88% of those surveyed said that winning the lottery would make them happier
    * Money was the one thing that would make 50% of respondents happier overnight – far outweighing spending more time with family which was the top priority for only 9% of participants, better health (9%) or a new job (8%)

  • In which we betray our gender

    The comic below is a compulsive response to a recent, entirely unremarkable little dust-up over on Twitter concerning the excruciatingly polite, brief comments of a certain cartoonist concerning the way dudes talk about women cartoonists — and the shitstorm of whiny nonsensical defensive outrage that inevitably followed, just like any other time anyone on the internet has ever hinted at the possibility that perhaps, maybe, women could be treated a little more like, you know, humans.

  • Police Issued Guidelines On How To Behave While Trapped In A Wicker Man
  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Haitian cholera epidemic preventable

      The cholera outbreak in Haiti need not have happened.

      In just a few days, cholera has killed more than 250 Haitians, with more than 3,500 becoming ill. Cholera is caused by drinking dirty water or eating food cooked in contaminated water.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Leak ‘did not compromise sources’

      The posting of tens of thousands of secret Afghan war logs by the WikiLeaks website earlier this year compromised no sensitive intelligence sources or practices, the US Defence Department has said.

      But the military said the leak’s disclosure in July of the names of Afghans who co-operated with the US put them at risk, and would probably cause significant harm to US national security interests.

    • US army amasses biometric data in Afghanistan

      Since the Guardian witnessed that incident, which occurred near the southern city of Kandahar earlier this year, US soldiers have been dramatically increasing the vast database of biometric information collected from Afghans living in the most wartorn parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

      The US army now has information on 800,000 people, while another database developed by the country’s interior ministry has records on 250,000 people.

    • F35 Joint Strike Fighter – The Biggest Procurement Mistake Ever

      What exactly does Canada plan to do with the JFS? That may sound like a stupid question. It’s a fighter aircraft. You use it to fight. But what specifically are the targets? What is the range required? How many of them do we need to defend Canada?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP was warned about cement at gulf disaster well

      Halliburton, the US company responsible for the cement that was supposed to seal the well and prevent the fatal blow-out, carried out two tests of the mixture in February.

    • One-fifth of world’s back-boned animals face extinction, study warns

      One species is added to the endangered list every week as the risk of extinction spreads to almost one-fifth of the world’s vertebrates, according to a landmark study released today.

      The Evolution Lost report, published in the journal Science by more than 100 of the world’s leading zoologists and botanists, found that populations of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species had declined by an average of 30% in the past 40 years.

    • In this remote town in Mali, climate change takes on a sinister reality

      This is another paradox of climate-change politics: it is in remote places like this that climate change will hit first and hardest. It is cultures built on deep understanding of their environment – whether the Sami of the Arctic or the Dogon of the Sahara – whose way of life is the first to be threatened. Anakila’s residents are the canaries down the mine, their experience a foretaste of an Earth hostile to human inhabitation. But their experience of threat, potential devastation and loss of livelihood is discounted and ignored. No dunes are threatening Manchester.

  • Finance

    • More on the Mortgage Mess

      Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said recently that federal regulators are “looking intensively” at banks’ foreclosure practices. An investigation is long overdue, though it shouldn’t take a lot of digging.

    • How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater

      IN Congressional hearings last week, Obama administration officials acknowledged that uncertainty over foreclosures could delay the recovery of the housing market. The implications for the economy are serious. For instance, the International Monetary Fund found that the persistently high unemployment in the United States is largely the result of foreclosures and underwater mortgages, rather than widely cited causes like mismatches between job requirements and worker skills.

    • What would the 2010 deficit have been without the financial crisis?
    • Why growth will stay too weak to ease unemployment
    • Irish Court Backs ‘Bad Bank’ Structure
    • AIG set to repay $37 billion in bailout money

      AIG said Monday it raised nearly $37 billion from the divestment of two foreign insurance units and will use that money to repay a government bailout.

      The sale of the two units fits into AIG’s previously announced plan to repay the government’s bailout in full. The repayment will include the government taking a bigger stake in the company and eventually needing to sell common stock in AIG to recoup its money, similar to what it is doing right now with Citigroup Inc. shares.

    • Debt Collectors Face a Hazard: Writer’s Cramp

      The debt in these cases — typically from credit cards, auto loans, utility bills and so on — is sold by finance companies and banks in a vast secondary market, bundled in huge portfolios, for pennies on the dollar. Debt buyers often hire collectors to commence a campaign of insistent letters and regular phone calls. Or, in a tactic that is becoming increasingly popular, they sue.

  • Scams

    • NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients, says chief scientist

      Professor Beddington said ministers agreed to fund homeopathy on the grounds of “public choice”, despite there being “no real evidence” that the remedies work.

      “I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect and that there are serious concerns about its efficacy,” Professor Beddington told the Commons science and technology committee today.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Total Election Awareness: Watch Voting Problem Reports in Real Time

      This election day, EFF is once again assisting the Election Protection Coalition (EPC) in their nationwide voter-protection efforts. Right now, you can follow their work and keep an eye on election problems across the US live at OurVoteLive.org. We’ve already logged over 1,000 reports today (November 1), and are expecting to see tens of thousands tomorrow on election day.

    • Morocco bars al-Jazeera for ‘unfair’ coverage

      Morocco has suspended the activities of al-Jazeera on its territory for what it said was unfair reporting that had damaged the country’s reputation.

      The Moroccan communications ministry said it had noted several incidents in which the Qatar-based television station had violated journalistic standards for accuracy and objectivity.

    • Military wants to scan communications to find internal threats

      Now a Pentagon research arm is asking scientists to create a way to scan billions of e-mails to identify suspects in advance so that crimes can be stopped before they are committed.

      That’s the goal of the latest $35 million project announced by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is credited with breakthroughs like the internet, GPS and stealth technology.

      But this latest idea is already is drawing fire from privacy and security experts.

    • No terror arrests in 100,000 police counter-terror searches, figures show

      The statistics show that 504 people out of the 101,248 searches were arrested for any offence – an arrest rate of 0.5%, compared with an average 10% arrest rate for street searches under normal police powers.

      The figures prompted the former Conservative home affairs spokesman David Davis to call for the controversial policy to be scrapped.

    • Arundhati Roy faces arrest over Kashmir remark

      The Booker prize-winning novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy is facing the threat of arrest after claiming that the disputed territory of Kashmir was not an integral part of India.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nifty: Kindle owners in China gain access to banned web pages

      The 3rd Generation Kindle with built-in Wi-Fi ($139, $189 for 3G) is one of the best gadgets on the market. It’s bookishly chic, weighing only 8.7oz (the iPad weighs 1.6lbs), boasts a month of battery life and provides storage for about 3,500 books.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Access Copyright to the Supreme Court: No Need for Greater Fair Dealing Certainty

        It is important to stress once again – as the Federal Court of Canada did – that the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category will not open the floodgates to copying, but rather open the door to analysis of whether particular copying meets the fair dealing test that Access Copyright itself is now defending. One would hope that Access Copyright would maintain the same position on C-32 – bright line tests are not possible, the courts have guidance from the six fairness factors, and it is better to maintain flexiblity in the fair dealing doctrine to allow the courts to address on a case-by-case basis using well known criteria.

      • Why The Recording Industry Is A Bad Investment

        There’s a ton more. All of them point to one thing. Musicians aren’t in it for the money, because they could make far better money doing honest work.

        So if musicians are paid so badly, why is the Canadian Recording Industry Association screaming so loudly about how Bill C-32 will help musicians? Simple. If they screamed about how much it would help the recording industry, no one would care. That Bill C-32 won’t help musicians doesn’t bother the CRIA member companies. Lying doesn’t bother them either. All that matters is that they make money.

      • Against Bill C-32: Creator Groups Stake Out Strong Anti-Copyright Bill Position

        When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers’ coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

      • Second Reading for Bill C-32

        The copying levy actually works against the truly Independent recording artists (who comprised 30% of the Canadian Recording Industry at last count) who do not in fact share in the proceeds, but rather have to pay the levy themselves on the CDs they sell containing their own original material.

      • Copyrighted howl

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Unity desktop environment

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 1/11/2010: Linux 2.6.37 RC1, KDE’s KWin 4.6 and KWin Discussed

Posted in News Roundup at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Russia Plans Secure Operating System

    “Rather than opting for an existing Linux distribution instead, Russia will invest $4.9 million creating its own OS based on Linux for use across all government departments,” writes Geek.com’s Matthew Humphries.

  • Desktop

    • Facade

      There are plenty of folks selling PCs with another OS. Just use Google or go to LXer. The most popular brand of GNU/Linux for newbies is Ubuntu on desktops and notebooks and Android for smart-thingies. Ubuntu really makes an effort to produce a system easy for newbies. Once you are comfortable with GNU/Linux in Ubuntu, I would recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it gives much more control over the system. Android is a quite different GUI placed on top of GNU/Linux designed specifically for smart-thingies. It is probably the best OS for smart-thingies because of the huge number of applications you can get for it.

      Do not accept the facade of Wintel. There are other platforms out there and they will work for you. You will be able to save money and/or get better hardware too.

    • LOTD: GNU/Linux On The Desktop

      I believe that the year GNU/Linux became widely accepted on the desktop was 2009. The netbook settled that discussion as far as I can tell.

    • Acer Keeps Growing

      Acer sells lots of GNU/Linux PCs if you can figure out how to find them on their site. Acer.co.uk points to Ebuyer.com. Acer expects 25-35% of their growth for 2011 to come from the Founder deal.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Performance Optimizations For KDE’s KWin 4.6

        While some developers and other KDE contributors are busy voicing their opinions over merging the KDE libraries into the upstream Qt, which would lead to either KDE 5.0 or KDE 6.0 depending upon how it’s implemented and if it’s actually carried out, KDE Software Compilation 4.6 is still on the way and should officially arrive by the end of January. Martin Graesslin, who works on much of the KWin compositing manager and previously said KDE SC 4.7 may support OpenGL 3.x for compositing, has written about some of the KWin changes for KDE 4.6.

      • Declarative Knowledge Base

        As I described in the latest entry, with the KDE Plasma Workspace 4.6 there will be a new feature that will be a key one for the future evolution of the Plasma platform: the ability to write plasmoids with just QML and Javascript.

      • KDE Developers Discuss Merging Libraries With Qt

        Well, here’s some interesting weekend news: there’s a polarized discussion taking place right now among core KDE developers about merging the KDE libraries into upstream Qt. Cornelius Schumacher, a long-time German KDE developer and currently the KDE e.V. president, has come out yesterday saying, “Let’s merge Qt and the KDE development platform. Let’s put all KDE libraries, support libraries, platform modules into Qt, remove the redundancies in Qt, and polish it into one nice consistent set of APIs, providing both, the wonderful KDE integration, consistency and convenience, as well as the simplicity and portability of the Qt platform.”

      • Optimization in KWin 4.6

        Improving the performance is of course an ongoing issue and there are still some areas where we can get some clever caching in place. For example blur might be a good candidate for improvements. But this is topic for a blog post “Optimization in KWin 4.7″.

      • The Chakra Project – Innovating on KDE and Arch Linux

        The Chakra project started out releasing a live CD based on Arch Linux with KDE 4 for the desktop, initially to make it easier and quicker to install an Arch system with their favorite environment, while also providing an unofficial Arch live CD to test drive the distribution. It is in their own words for anyone who likes the KISS principle of Arch and the elegance of KDE and the Plasma desktop. The project is providing images for both the i686 and x86_64 architectures.


        Chakra GNU/Linux is a very interesting and well thought out project. It responded well on the desktop and was noticeably faster than the Kubuntu install on another partition once booted. I don’t mean to put another distribution down, but the difference in speed was very obvious. On the other hand, it did not enable desktop effects in KDE due to a problem with the current 2.6.36 kernel and ATI drivers. Suspending, hibernating and resuming were enabled and worked from the start without me having to install laptop-mode-tools, but wireless started to stutter after resuming and never recovered. Being based on Arch Linux should mean that, although availability of applications and in particular non KDE applications is limited and the bundles system not yet fully developed, everything should be available from the Arch repositories and in theory should run in Chakra too. Full localization will require more work.
        It certainly is a beautiful looking distribution that is KDE-centric with some unique customizations, that also introduces innovative features like the click’n’run bundle installer and its own live scripts. Although these features are not fully developed yet they have a lot of potential and, given enough time, Chakra could really make its mark. After all, it all appeared to work perfectly. The only limitation seems to be the availability of bundles, which can be easily remedied if enough people contribute builds for their favorite programs.
        For support, there are user friendly links in Konqueror and in the main menu structure (under Chakra) to the web site, for bug submission, to the documentation and to the forum, and the extensive Arch Linux documentation and wiki should also apply.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Release Party in Bucharest

          This is pretty much a tradition in our (Romanian) community: at the moment of a new Fedora release we are partying. This time we’ll meet (again) at Curtea Berarilor in the old city of Bucharest, Tuesday 2 November 2010, starting hour 19:00. You know you want to be there.

        • “Fedora Pumpkin”
        • I Voted

          I just voted for the release name of Fedora 15

          * Asturias
          * Blarney
          * Lovelock
          * Pushcart
          * Sturgis

        • Jumping the shark, no. 14.

          Once preupgrade downloaded everything it needed, it presented a dialog telling me I could reboot any time to finish the upgrade. After saving my work, I rebooted and the upgrade process started with no intervention needed. For 1549 packages, the final step of the process — upgrading the packages after rebooting — took approximately 75 minutes. A yum update process performs a lot of work beyond simply copying files onto the disk, to ensure your system’s integrity, so this extra time is to be expected. I like to wander off and work on something else while preupgrade runs, so the computer’s not wasting my time!

    • Debian Family

      • Mini DebConf Paris 2010

        So, I’m (almost) back from the first edition of MiniDebConf Paris, which was a success thanks to the great organizing skills in panic mode of Carl Chenet and Mehdi Dogguy. I think that everybody is already looking forward to the next edition.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 (Desktop) Will Get The Global Menu (AppMenu) By Default

          Even though Unity as been confirmed as default for Ubuntu 11.04 – desktop edition, there were still talks if the desktop version should also use the global menu (AppMenu).

        • AskUbuntu reaches 3000 questions – 7000 answers – 5000 users – 30000 votes
        • Desktop Unity: Your questions Answered

          Since the announcement last week that Ubuntu 11.04 will be shipping with a desktop-orientated version of the Unity interface as default the OMG! Inbox! has been inundated by anxious readers.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 upgrade woes

          Thank goodness today I discovered the Super Grub2 boot disk — what a life saver!

        • Using Unity – Day 5 How Does It Compare to Gnome Shell?

          Okay, so today is Sunday, so I am not spending a lot of time on the laptop. I decided to test Unity with the SaGeek 25 Part test to see how it fares.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 won’t be the same old Linux desktop

          Ubuntu’s new Unity Linux desktop interface is the change that everyone is talking about, but it was far from the only change that Canonical and Ubuntu’s developers are making to Ubuntu’s desktop. In fact, even without the change from straight GNOME to Unity, the developers are planning on major changes to the Ubuntu desktop.

          We knew some of these changes were coming. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, had already announced that Ubuntu would be moving from OpenOffice to LibreOffice for its default office suite. At this point, LibreOffice is 99.9% identical to OpenOffice. By the time Ubuntu 11.04 is released in April, LibreOffice is expected to have improved performance and increased interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 formats.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android is Still HOT!

          Canalys reports Nokia has slipped to 33% global share of smart-phones but Android is now up to 25%. It looks like it’s not a matter of if but when Android will catch up with Nokia.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks: XO, Intel, Asus EEE Usability Test

        The XO combined with Sugar is supposed to help collaborative efforts, as well as enable students to work on their own work. The visualization of the writing activity that I posted a week or so ago, shows how sugar can spark interactivity.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Links: Case Studies In Corporate Open Source

    At Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference last week, executives repositioned Silverlight – Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe Flash – as a framework for mobile applications rather than for all rich media applications, and talked up the emerging HTML 5 standard as the best approach for closs-platform rich media applications.

    While not directly related to open source, this is a very interesting development from Microsoft (which was also covered at GigaOm). Microsoft are trying to lead the race to the bottom with HTML 5, presumably in the hope of killing Adobe, rather than cascading money faster and faster into Silverlight in an attempt to fight the old way using proprietary might as if it were possible to hire all the smart people into one team. They only place Silverlight is still strategic is on mobile, and honestly they probably realise HTML 5 is the future there too.


    As GNOME is one of the most successful communities of co-developing competitors in open source, this is a serious faux pas and I am very surprised Canonical have sailed into it – no matter how much “clarification” they give. Presumably we now know one of the key motivations for Project Harmony, which they are sponsoring.

  • Report: Open Source Developers a Bunch of Moochers?

    A new bit of analyst data crossed my radar this weekend, this time from the annual Evans Data survey of over 400 Linux developers, “OSS/Linux Development Survey 2010.” While I haven’t read the entire report, the one bit of information that Evans is pushing from the report is, naturally, the most controversial.

    It turns out, according to the report, that nearly two-thirds of open source developers do some of their non-work related open source project work on their employers’ time.

    Whether that figure is accurate or not, I expect we’ll see a whole new line of FUD coming soon from those software companies which are less-than-enthused about open source software: open source projects steals your employees’ time and reduces their efficiency.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Featured Superhero: Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of Mozilla Foundation

        I’m pleased to introduce Mitchell Baker, the next of our exceptional CC Superheroes to tell you in her own words why she supports Creative Commons and why you should too. As the leader of the Mozilla Project, she is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser and other Mozilla products. Here is her story. Join Mitchell in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle doesn’t understand ‘community’

      Asked about the friction that has lead to the forming of the Document Foundation and the community’s very public split from Oracle, Meeks told us: “The Oracle people have decided that all of the non-Oracle people on the Community Council, which is there to govern the community, should be recused – as in, kicked off the council – because they have a ‘conflict of interest’ with the OpenOffice.org community that they’re supposed to be governing.”

    • 33 Lead Developers Leave OpenOffice in Favor of LibreOffice

      As announced in this letter, 33 lead developers of the OpenOffice project have decided to leave OpenOffice and instead support LibreOffice and the Document Foundation in the future.

      As, was previously reported on this site, Oracle is not willing not make the necessary changes to not only make this project benefit its own corporate goals, but also the community and the vast amount of contributions made by individuals and other entities that have been essential for the success of OpenOffice.

    • Community Rights and Community Wrongs

      Yes, today’s restrictive licenses embody powerful rights, but those rights are no stronger than the ability of their owners to assert them. Placing all one’s defensive reliance on a single legal tool can make no more sense than relying on a single weapons system. Why? Because it’s all too easy to be outflanked by an enemy with a more diverse armament. And ever since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, the traditional defenses of open source developers have been about as effective as France’s post-World War I Maginot Line.

    • Google’s ‘copied Java code’ disowned by Apache

      When Oracle sued Google over Android, many assumed the database giant would target code Google lifted from the Apache Foundation’s open source Java incarnation, Project Harmony. But Oracle just pinpointed six pages of Google code, claiming they were “directly copied” from copyrighted Oracle material, and according to Apache, this code is not part of Harmony.

    • Criminal Justice Blog Battles Copyright Troll

      A criminal justice blog that provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute murder cases is fighting bogus infringement claims from copyright troll Righthaven LLC and asked a Las Vegas judge Friday to dismiss Righthaven’s baseless attempt to seize his domain name.

      “Righthaven’s efforts to restrict what information is available to help police, prosecutors, and grieving families catch murderers is not only unlawful and an affront to the First Amendment, it’s just shameful,” said Thomas DiBiase, the former prosecutor and web publisher who was wrongly targeted in this case.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Colleen Bal and Bart Volkmer from the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and attorney Chad Bowers are representing DiBiase, an attorney who consults with law enforcement across the country on “no body” cases — where the victim is missing and presumed dead, but no body has been found. DiBiase runs a website at www.nobodycases.com to gather information on these complex investigations in order to help other prosecutors as well as family and friends of “no body” murder victims.

  • CMS

    • Source wars: Blackboard sets its sights on being more “free” than Moodle

      Recently Blackboard, the learning management system (LMS) company, announced its plans to seek new business using one of the open source way’s most attractive tools to educators: offering their services for free (as-in-no-cost).

      Meanwhile, Moodle, the free and open source software LMS, is working to maximize community resources and sharing in its next release (see the Moodle 2.0 release preview).

      With this path, Blackboard looks to be going after the low-hanging fruit that was formerly a major argument for Moodle adoption.


      To apply an idea from Chris Anderson, author of Free, Blackboard might beat Moodle’s “free” by becoming even more free. Blackboard is taking aim to undercut Moodle. For years Moodle has leveraged its zero cost to attract organizations with the wherewithal to install and manage the software. With this move, however, Blackboard eliminates barriers that previously prevented individual teachers from adopting an LMS.

    • LAMP stack Halloween cake

      Barry Jaspan and his wife Heather spent 20 hours creating this incredible cake for Acquia’s Halloween party. Creative duo! Not only did it look great, it was yummy. Trick or treat!

  • Project Releases

    • Midori 0.2.9 released with private browsing, Google reader fix & more

      A new version of lightweight webkit-based web-browser Midori has been released, adding support for private browsing, privacy improvements and fixes galore.

      Writing in the announcement post, Midori developer Christian Dywan says that a prime focus of Midori 0.2.9 was on privacy – with features such as improving cookie preferences, optimising HTML5 databases and the ability to clear form history all added.

  • Government

    • Cause and Effect

      Some folks budget $1000 per year per PC with that other OS when $200 year would be enough with GNU/Linux. Some people just don’t get Free Software. It will work for them. Special applications that only run on that other OS? The Scottish police force is big enough (12000 PCs) to write their own applications for less money than they pay in licensing fees if they used FLOSS.

  • Licensing

    • Self-Assessment Checklist: A Measuring Stick for Open Compliance Efforts

      If you’re serious about improving your company’s business practices, you probably want answers to some simple questions: “What’s important?” “What should I focus on and where do I start?” “What are best-in-class companies doing that I ought to be doing, too, and what can I learn from them?”

      That’s what the free Self-Assessment Checklist from The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program is all about. We’ve compiled an extensive list of open source compliance practices found in industry-leading compliance programs. And to be clear, compliance is essential if companies are to gain the maximum benefit from use of free and open source software while respecting license obligations.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing search relevancy

      As a 20-person startup, we asked ourselves how blekko could assemble this essential data. Hire contractors? Use Mechanical Turk? Elance?

      But – of course! – we know a much better way…. A way you can get orders of magnitude greater participation, while at the same time being very open about the process.

    • International Commons Conference Kicks Off

      The International Commons Conference starts in Berlin today — with the aim of “Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform”.

      Essentially the aim is to bring together representatives from all the open, free and “commons” movements to discuss what they share in common — in the hope that a more unified approach will emerge, and the necessary networks will be created to enable the larger movement become more politically effective.

    • Spec Work and Contests Part Two

      Don’t let our Free / Libre software culture inadvertently shout out the wrong message to the precise people we should be addressing. Don’t let people that know nothing and care less about the subject erroneously mix up and confuse the terms.

    • Open innovation and open source innovation: what do they share and where do they differ?

      STEFAN: You are right about this. Big companies engage with open innovation because the combination of their internal resources and the external resources provides more innovation opportunities that they can feed their corporate engines with. They want to increase revenues and profits, and they definitely put this focus first rather than “just” trying to do good things.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Dr. Double Down

    Halloween, computer science professor Hanna Wallach—a.k.a. El Estómago—decided to honor this year’s unhealthiest sandwich by making her own Double Down suit. Wallach, who tried the Double Down at 12:01am on April 12 and says she would be a competitive eater if she weren’t a professor, constructed the suit in under four hours. To test the suit’s efficacy, Wallach and her colleagues Tim Vieira (vegan) and Jason Naradowsky (dieting) paid a visit to the Colonel’s temple in Hadley, MA for a Double Down showdown. Employees were so impressed that they rewarded Wallach with a free Double Down.

  • LLVMpipe Scaling With Intel’s Core i7 Gulftown

    From the BIOS of the Intel X58 motherboard we used for testing, the number of enabled cores can be configured (from one through six) and Hyper Threading is easily controlled. This makes for very easy testing to see how well LLVMpipe is able to scale on the Core i7 970 and the performance of Intel’s Hyper Threading on their modern CPUs.

  • No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

    As far as I can tell, only Queen Mary College has undergrads bright enough not to be scared of C++, and even then less than half take the option. Kings College students/victims told me that they do operating system internals in Java, and no they weren’t joking. That pitiful process is actually better than the average CS undergrad, who seems to regard the insides of operating systems with the same superstitious fear experienced by greens over nuclear energy.

  • Bell Systems Technical Journals Published

    A small example of this exists in the name UNIX itself. Most people today write “UNIX” as “Unix”, but in these original typeset and scanned PDFs, you can see that the developers consistently spelled it “UNIX”, with all capital letters.

  • Science

    • The galaxy (probably) abounds in Earth-like planets

      What percentage of Sun-like stars have earth-like planets orbiting them? As many as one-fourth, according to a new survey performed by astronomers at the University of California. This result contradicts previous theories of planet formation, but is a tantalizing prediction that finding extraterrestrial life, or at least Earth’s twin, is not impossible.

  • Security

    • Keep Your Eyes on this Adobe Zero Day
    • 88 High-Risk Defects Found in Android Kernel
    • surrenders
    • Android faces critical security study
    • The Message of Firesheep: “Baaaad Websites, Implement Sitewide HTTPS Now!”

      The Firesheep Firefox extension has been scaring users across the Internet since its introduction at the Toorcon security conference this past weekend by security researchers Eric Butler and Ian Gallagher. Firesheep demonstrates a security flaw that the computer security community has been concerned about for years — that any network eavesdropper can take over another user’s session (say, a login to a webmail or social networking account) just by sniffing packets and copying the victim’s cookie. In other words, if the websites you visit are not taking steps to encrypt your communications, or you’re not taking advantage of the encryption they offer, it’s now an obvious and trivial fact that anyone else on that same network can use features from your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Flickr, and a number of other popular web sites. Since Firesheep is extensible, people will probably teach it to “support” more web sites in short order.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance

      In part because of the back-scatter imager’s invasiveness (a TSA employee in Miami was arrested recently after he physically assaulted a colleague who had mocked his modestly sized penis, which was fully apparent in a captured back-scatter image), the TSA is allowing passengers to opt-out of the back-scatter and choose instead a pat-down. I’ve complained about TSA pat-downs in the past, because they, too, were more security theater than anything else. They are, as I would learn, becoming more serious, as well.

      At BWI, I told the officer who directed me to the back-scatter that I preferred a pat-down. I did this in order to see how effective the manual search would be. When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them — the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down — said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. “No way. You think Congress would allow that?”

    • MI6 chief red-faced over daughter’s FaceBook page

      Spy chief Sir John Sawers, head of MI6, is having touble keeping things secret.

      Not only did his missus, Lady Sawers, post details of their domestic arrangements on FaceBook in June last year, including a picture of Sir John wearing in skimpy Speedos, but now his daughter is at it, using the anti-social vanity site to post a picture of herself posing by the Christmas tree with one of Sadaam Hussein’s golden Kalashnikovs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Petroleum Broadcast System Owes Us an Apology

      Last night, my dog Pluto and I watched the Public Broadcast System’s (PBS) “Frontline” investigation of BP, “The Spill.”

      PBS has uncovered a real shocker: BP neglected safety!

      Well, no shit, Sherlock!

      Pluto rolled over on the rug and looked at me as if to say, “Don’t we already know this?”

      Then PBS told us – get ready – that BP has neglected warnings about oil safety for years!

      That’s true. But so has PBS. The Petroleum Broadcast System has turned a blind eye to BP perfidy for decades.

      If the broadcast had come six months before the Gulf blowout, after the 2005 BP refinery explosion in Texas or after the 2006 Alaska pipeline disaster or after the years of government fines that flashed DANGER-DANGER, I would say, “Damn, that ‘Frontline’ sure is courageous.” But six months after the blowout, PBS has shown us it only has the courage to shoot the wounded.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • One month without Facebook

      So essentially I’m continuing my Facebook hiatus for an indefinite amount of time. I just wonder how to inform my Facebook friends that are expecting my back anytime soon … and I do hope they’ll at some point realize that some of their friends are not on Facebook by choice, but still deserve to be invited to parties and such.

    • [Old:] How Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Into Rival ConnectU In 2004

      Nevertheless, during 2004, Mark Zuckerberg still appeared to be obsessed with ConnectU. Specifically, he appears to have hacked into ConnectU’s site and made changes to multiple user profiles, including Cameron Winklevoss’s.

    • [Old:] In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg Broke Into A Facebook User’s Private Email Account

      As we’ve reported in detail in a separate story, the launch of TheFacebook.com was not without controversy. Just six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Mark of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.

    • [Old:] At Last — The Full Story Of How Facebook Was Founded

      Back then, Mark was known at Harvard as the sophomore who had built Facemash, a “Hot Or Not” clone for Harvard. Facemash had already made Mark a bit of a celebrity on campus, for two reasons.

      The first is that Mark got in trouble for creating it. The way the site worked was that it pulled photos of Harvard students off of Harvard’s Web sites. It rearranged these photos so that when people visited Facemash.com they would see pictures of two Harvard students and be asked to vote on which was more attractive. The site also maintained a list of Harvard students, ranked by attractiveness.

      On Harvard’s politically correct campus, this upset people, and Mark was soon hauled in front of Harvard’s disciplinary board for students.

    • DHS Singles Out EFF’s FOIA Requests for Unprecedented Extra Layer of Review

      The Identity Project notes on its blog today that the Department of Homeland Security singled out EFF, along with other activist groups and media representatives such as the ACLU, EPIC, Human Rights Watch, AP, etc, for an extra layer of review on its FOIA requests. Records posted online by the DHS in response to one of the Identity Project’s FOIA requests show that the agency passed certain requests through extra levels of screening. According to a policy memo from DHS’s Chief FOIA Officer and Chief Privacy Officer, Mary Ellen Callahan, DHS components were required to report “significant FOIA activities” in weekly reports to the Privacy Office, which the Privacy Office then integrated into its weekly report to the White House Liason. Included among these designated “significant FOIA activities” were requests from any members of “an activist group, watchdog organization, special interest group, etc. “ and “requested documents [that] will garner media attention or [are] receiving media attention.”

    • You Can’t Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall

      Aram Bartholl is mortaring USB drives into walls, curbs, and buildings around New York. These dead drops, as he terms them, are peer-to-peer file transfer points with true anonymity. Bartholl has a residency with EYEBEAM, a truly fascinating incubator of and studio for new ideas in technology and art.

Clip of the Day

[Ubuntu Ad] Got tired of that?

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 31/10/2010: Motorola Wins With Linux, Acer to Put Linux on Tablet (Out in November)

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 11 Uses for an Old PC

    You’ve heard about this Linux thing, and maybe you’d like to give it a whirl. But the thought of trying to create a dual-boot system on your primary PC leaves you a little green around the gills. Now you can experiment to your heart’s content on your old box.

    Check out Ubuntu, the sexy Linux distro that geeks love to, well, love. The neat thing about Linux is all the built-in support for older hardware, so installation is usually easy. In fact, installing Ubuntu is sometimes simpler than installing Windows. And there’s a wealth of free software for Linux just waiting to be tried out.

  • Mock-up: intelligent, ambient Boot Splash

    Reader Cullum Saunders pinged us with an interesting concept for an intelligent, friendly ambient boot screen, which he demoes in the video below.

  • Desktop

    • People Who Should Not Run Linux

      1) People with money to burn. There are people who buy a new car every year, have a chateau in the south of France and do not have to save to buy a house. That’s not me, but I hear that they exist. So if you are not money conscious, then you can afford to pay Microsoft or Apple for their latest creation. In fact, you can buy their super, deluxe edition with all of the bells and whistles and probably pay someone else to install it for you. For the rest of us, there is Linux, which is free as in beer and free as in speech, meaning that it costs you nothing and you can give away the disk after you have installed it.

  • Server

    • IBM: The Mainframe Is Back, Baby

      IBM announced third-quarter 2010 net income of $3.6 billion, compared with $3.2 billion for the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 12 percent driven by significant increases in systems and technology sales and IBM services as well as a boost in growth markets.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 172 – Port 25

      This week on the show: Ubuntu switching to Unity as their default desktop, Linux breaks world speed record at London Stock Exchange, more problems at Nokia, Apple violates Launchpad trademark and more…

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Vector Linux 7.0 Alpha 3 Reviewed!


        * Sharp Desktop layout
        * Fast with no-lag
        * Very stable Slackware 13.0/13.1 base
        * Great for low-ram and older PC’s


        * Installer doesn’t allow grub to be installed to extended partition
        * Lilo installation ends in error with no manual way to fix it ala Slackware
        * Some of the Wbar apps don’t work
        * No way to install proprietary video drivers except manually
        * Limited package selection and availability

    • Debian Family

      • Latest features of dpkg-dev: debian packaging tools

        I’m attending the mini-Debconf Paris and I just gave a talk about the latest improvement of dpkg-dev—the package providing the basic tools used to build Debian packages. Latest is a bit stretched since it embraces the last 2-3 years of development.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu To Challenge… Facebook?

          At the Ubuntu Developer Summit tomorrow there will be a session on the “WeMenu” (not to be confused with the “MeMenu”) the idea behind it is to bring the real relationships you have and the very real communities around you to your desktop.

        • Unity: Some Further Clarification Points

          So, I just wanted to clarify some of the key points regarding the transition to Unity by default in Ubuntu 11.04 to make sure these facts are clearly communicated:

          * Ubuntu is not ditching/forking GNOME – Unity is a shell for GNOME, but not GNOME shell. Ubuntu is still a GNOME platform. 11.04 will ship all the components required for GNOME application authors to have their software run out of the box in Ubuntu, and we will still ship all the GNOME apps you know and love in Ubuntu 11.04. The only change is that Unity will be the default shell. Likewise, this is not a fork: we are not diverging away from GNOME, just producing a different shell in much the same way others have (e.g. Meego). It is just a different porthole looking at the awesome GNOME platform.
          * Unity is the 3D experience, Classic GNOME is the 2D interface – if your graphics hardware cannot sufficiently run Unity, Ubuntu will present the 2D experience which is the two-panel GNOME desktop we currently ship, complete with all the Ayatana improvements such as application indicators, global menu, system indicators etc.

        • Maverick Meerkat on a Mac Machine – Lots of M!

          I don’t have anything too grand to say. Compare this experience with my Windows 7 installation on the Pavilion laptop and you’ll get the general idea how simple things are. Ubuntu, as the leading Linux distro, offers a smooth and seamless experience on pretty much any hardware, including the not-so-trivial Mac. This means that should you decide to explore the brave new world of geekdom, you probably have the ultimate testbed. And this includes you, the high-income Maccers.

          Ubuntu will work well with your Wireless adapters, even install them for you offline, your Nvidia and ATI cards, your USB and FireWire devices, including the HFS filesystem. Really great. The notion of dual-boot has never been more appealing. And so it begins. One distro to rule them all. Aha!

        • A week in Orlando (Ubuntu Developer Summit – Natty Narwhal)

          Currently flying from Orlando, FL where I had an awesome Ubuntu Developer Summit I wanted to quickly share what happened this week.

        • Coming Soon!

          Here is what I have been working on for Ubuntu Forum recently. At a session at UDS this week, we discuss the forums and how to bring it up to date with the new Ubuntu branding. There will be some big changes upcoming in the forums.

        • Happy Halloween With Ubuntu Pumpkin

          We are soon going to announce the launch of Cult Of Ubuntu, a website dedicated to Ubuntu Cult.

        • 4 steps to freedom
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Because I know you’re dying to know

            So far I’m quite liking Xubuntu 10.10. My only disappointment is that Chromium, which is Google’s Chrome browser for Linux, gets progressively slower on it, so I got rid of it and have stuck with Firefox for the time being. I recently moved away from Firefox because it just felt bloated and slow. But aside from that, it’s running smoothly overall. Also, I can’t play DVDs on the laptop, even after installing the necessary extra software to allow the decoding. I think it may be a hardware issue, though; this baby isn’t as spry as it once was. Whatever the case, it’s nice to be able to play around with all this FREE SOFTWARE.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • “Mint to Xbox… come in Xbox”

      The third option that I had planned to test was a program called Fuppes, however after an hour of failed installations, errors and generally getting quite hacked off with the whole thing, I have decided that if it cant be installed that easily then it cant make the list. I apologise in advance to all who use Fuppes without a problem as most forums seem to say that it is OK. Several attempts in different directories and after installing and reinstalling the necessary packages it refused to work so I am happy to put this one down as a win for Linux over my knowledge. I have decided to console myself by watching a film via PS3 with a smug “In your face Fuppes” look on my face.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Acer preps for November tablet launch

        Adding to the impending glut of tablet-style devices crowding a market resurrected by Apple’s iPad, computer maker Acer ‘s CEO Gianfranco Lanci told Dow Jones Newswire the company is planning to introduce a family of tablet computers in November, including Android and Windows models. The tablets will sell for between $299-$699 and will be unveiled during a press conference Nov. 23, says the story.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Advocacy doesn’t work if you tell someone they’re wrong

    Generally it isn’t a good idea to offend someone you’re trying to convince. This is sounding almost too obvious, but offending someone we are trying to get to free software is a tactic we often use unconsciously. Instead of getting your point across it will likely lead the other to strengthen or adopt a contrary believe. There’s much we can learn from social psychology in advocating free software.

  • Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

    It’s called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.

  • Eating Your Own Dogfood

    One of the reasons given for the writing of Free Software is to “scratch our own itch”, to create software the way we want it to work. If you then do not use it, how can you tell that the scratching satisfied the itch?

  • Events

  • Oracle

    • Take a Deep Breath, Then Vote for Eclipse: Our View on the JCP

      There is one thing that Matt, Ian Skerrett and others have gotten exactly right: the failure to communicate effectively with the Java community is costing Oracle dearly. They have got to fix that, and soon. The problem is that Oracle has always been an enterprise software company, with PR and AR people who think that controlling the message is the path to success. Oracle as an organization has a lot of internal institutional challenges to overcome before they can learn how to communicate with a community like Java’s. It will take time and there will be mistakes along the way, but I think they will. They have to, because as we have recently observed, silence is significantly worse than delivering even bad news in a clear and honest manner.

    • Read Beyond the Headers

      Recent reports on various blogs have attributed to the ASF a number of the source files identified by Oracle as ones that they believe infringe on their copyrights. The code in question has an header that mentions Apache, and perhaps that is the source of the confusion. The code itself is using a license that is named after our foundation, is in fact the license that we ourselves use. Many others use it too, as the license was explicitly designed to allow such uses.

      Even though the code in question has an Apache license, it is not part of Harmony. PolicyNodeImpl.java is simply not a Harmony class.

    • Have Oracle just made it worse for everyone?

      I guess everybody has heard that a majority of the key developers in the OpenOffice.org community decided to set up the Document Foundation: an independent foundation to continue and manage work on the Openoffice.org codebase. If you’ve not, then I can recommend Terry Hancock’s piece as a starting point (and a good summary of why forking is vital). To recap: Oracle are not behind the move so the foundation temporarily named their product LibreOffice. It was not, we were told, a fork. Oracle were invited to the party and asked if they would consider donating the OpenOffice.org brand to the foundation. After the mess with MySQL, here was an opportunity for Oracle to vastly improve relations with the free software community and their own reputation. In short Oracle missed their chance like an English footballer taking a penalty.

  • CMS

    • Reorganising The Screencast

      In the Drupal episodes I want to cover little known modules as well as Drupal Basics. The plan there is to explain basic concepts of Drupal such as blocks, regions, where to install modules to etc. In other words, the types of things that can help people get over the initial learning hump with Drupal with some basics of what not to do.

  • Business

    • Lighting the Fuse for an Enterprise FOSS Explosion

      The FUSE family of software is now under the FuseSource name and has gained new autonomy from Progress Software with its own corporate identity.

      Part of the IONA Technologies acquisition by Progress Software in 2008, FuseSource has now become its own company, owned by Progress, but now more independent, to aggressively pursue its open source business model and to leverage the community development process strengths.

      In anticipation of the news, our discussion here targets the rapid growth, increased relevance, and new market direction for major open source middleware and integration software under the Apache license.

    • Civil Rights Concerns as DHS Formalizes Military Role in ‘Civilian Cybersecurity’

      Speaking today at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano announced that the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command will be used in civilian cybersecurity matters, insisting it was perfectly appropriate to give the military this role.

  • Project Releases

    • PTS3 Iveland Development Update

      For those interested in the development activity of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland”, here’s an update as to the progress with a few notes.

  • Government

  • Programming

    • What Developers Think

      Nearly four out of five developers use some open source software for application development or deployment, little changed from last year. What has changed is the kind of open source software being used. Use of open source operating systems, primarily Linux distributions, jumped to 61% from 48% in 2009.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What the Pro-MS Office video does not say

      In addition, Microsoft is also slanting information to favor adoption of its office solution. I have heard several times that .docx is an ISO standard, just like .odt. That is simply not true. Basically, ISO approved .docx if certain changes were made to the format. This format version is called ISO/IEC 29500 “strict”. The reality is that neither Office 2007 nor Office 2010 can generate the ISO standardized “strict” format and Microsoft has not committed to implement it.

      The format that the company is using today is the version known as ISO/IEC 29500 “transitional”, which ISO determined was not to be used for the creation of new documents. In other words, it can never be the default format for saving new documents as it does not have the status of an international standard and, therefore, it should not be used for electronic transmission or storage of documents.

      This distinction is significant because official documents produced by government institutions, such as schools, have to be created following a principle of interoperability, which Microsoft has admitted not to follow with its default-save .docx.


  • Lillian McEwen breaks her 19-year silence about Justice Clarence Thomas

    For nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent — a part of history, yet absent from it.

    When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill’s allegations.

    Lillian McEwen was that woman.

  • Law Prof: Entire Supreme Court Should Decide Recusal Due to Activist Wife

    A Northwestern University law professor notes that Justice Clarence Thomas may find himself in a controversial position when the health-care reform issue reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, most likely in 2012.

    Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, is a leading opponent of health care reform legislation that passed this spring, law professor Steven Lubet notes in a Chicago Tribune opinion column. A memo briefly posted at the Liberty Central website founded by Virginia Thomas called the law unconstitutional, and it had Virginia Thomas’ signature. The memo was later taken down; the group’s chief operating officer explained that Virginia Thomas had neither seen nor signed the memo, and it should not have been posted.

  • Supreme Court bolsters protection of media’s confidential sources

    The Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed the public need to shield whistleblowers and bolstered the ability of journalists in Quebec to protect confidential sources, a significant ruling for media rights in this country.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Buy Wikileaks’ founder a beer

      Closing Wikileaks and executing Julian Assange won’t change this. Hundreds of such sites will follow it, each with its own agenda. Files will be leaked to the darknet and find their way out in unexpected ways.

      The only cure for Wikileaks is to eliminate this medium. The only cure for this light is a return to the darkness.

      David would have you think Wikileaks is a bug that must be squashed. I disagree. It’s a feature that must be protected, whatever the cost.

  • Finance

    • Kansas reaches $800K settlement with Goldman Sachs

      The office of Kansas’ securities commissioner, Marc Wilson, announced Friday that the state has reached an $800,000 settlement with Goldman, Sachs & Co.

    • Hedge Fund Fraud Alleged in Connecticut

      Hedge fund manager Stephen Hicks used his two unregistered hedge fund advisory companies to defraud investors “in three different ways,” after taking millions of dollars from them, the SEC says. The agency sued Hicks, 52, of Ridgefield, Conn., and his companies, Southridge Capital Management and Southridge Advisors.

      The three defendants defrauded customers “in three different ways,” the SEC says in its federal complaint.

    • Tribune investors sue banks that arranged financing

      A group of investors in bankrupt Tribune Co sued JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp and Bank of America, claiming the banks arranged $3.7 billion in loans in 2007 they knew the company could never repay.

      “The Lead Banks knew that this financing was barred by the terms of the Credit Agreement and it was tainted with fraud and other misconduct,” said the lawsuit, which was filed late on Friday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • A Web Pioneer Profiles Users by Name

      In the weeks before the New Hampshire primary last month, Linda Twombly of Nashua says she was peppered with online ads for Republican Senate hopeful Jim Bender.

      It was no accident. An online tracking company called RapLeaf Inc. had correctly identified her as a conservative who is interested in Republican politics, has an interest in the Bible and contributes to political and environmental causes. Mrs. Twombly’s profile is part of RapLeaf’s rich trove of data, garnered from a variety of sources and which both political parties have tapped.

    • FTC ends probe into Google’s Wi-Fi snooping

      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has closed an investigation into Google Street View cars snooping into open Wi-Fi networks, with the agency declining to take action.

      Google’s announcement in May that its Street View cars mistakenly collected data from open Wi-Fi networks raised FTC concerns “about the internal policies and procedures that gave rise to this data collection,” wrote David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a Wednesday letter to Google.

    • HTTPS Everywhere is in Beta!

      HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your communications with a number of major websites.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Prosecutors Seek to Block Xbox Hacking Pioneer From Mod-Chip Trial

      Want a live tutorial on how to hack an Xbox by the guy who actually wrote the book on it?

      If so, you should plan to attend what likely will be the nation’s first federal jury trial of a defendant accused of jailbreaking Xbox 360s — installing mod chips that allow the console to run pirated or home-brew games and applications.

      Celebrity geek Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, the designer of the Chumby and author of the 2003 title Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering, has agreed to testify for a southern California man charged under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How LimeWire’s Shutdown May Impact Urban Sustainability
      • LimeWire Today, and What’s in Store for the Future

        During this challenging time, we are excited about the future. The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business.

      • ACTA

        • The Proposed New Copyright Crime of “Aiding and Abetting”

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has caused concern for many reasons, such as secret negotiations and controversial provisions. Today, more than 70 law professors sent a letter to President Obama asking that he “direct the [U.S. Trade Representative] to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward.”

          Despite this beneficial attention, one clause has slipped under the radar. Article 2.14 of ACTA would require participating nations to “ensure that criminal liability for aiding and abetting is available.”

          This liability would apply to parties that assist others in engaging in “willful . . . copyright . . . piracy on a commercial scale.” Such scale includes “commercial activities for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.” These terms are not defined in the agreement. As a result, it would appear that any activity that would give an “indirect” commercial advantage (including the downloading of a single copyrighted song) could lead to criminal liability.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo OS running on a Mobile phone

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 31/10/2010: SplashTop Updates, Salix KDE Releases, Debian Installer 6.0 @ Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • B3 Wi-Fi home server review

      Operating system Debian Squeeze-based ( kernel)
      Processor ARM 1.2GHz
      Memory 512MB DDR2-800
      Ports 2x USB 2.0 and one eSATA

    • High Performance Community

      Now consider the Open Source mantra “give a little, get a lot.” All the organizations benefit from the combined efforts and the cost is cheaper than if they were to go at it alone or try to create complex IP agreements among the interested parties. A fair sharing model based on copyright, like the GNU license, short circuits many of the traditional impediments to cooperation. In addition, you get this thing called “a community” around your project. Within this community are your beta-testers, developers, reviewers, first customers, and most importantly conversations about your project/product.

    • Chinese Supercomputer Blazes Path to Glory

      The Tianhe-1A has a Linpack benchmark performance of 2.507 petaflops, according to Nvidia. One petaflop is a thousand trillion instructions per second.

    • LPI Exam Labs with InWent/FOSSFA in Africa

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced promotional exam labs for their Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) with the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) on November 13, 2010 (Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya) and February 12, 2010 in South Africa (location to be announced). These exam labs are part of a larger “train-the-trainers” program jointly sponsored by FOSSFA and InWEnt Capacity Building International of Germany (InWEnt).

    • Should Servers Be Rebooted?

      Another exception is that some AIX systems need significant uptime, greater than a few weeks, to obtain maximum efficiency as the system is self tuning and needs time to obtain usage information and to adjust itself accordingly. This tends to be limited to large, seldom-changing database servers and similar use scenarios that are less common than other platforms.

      In IT we often worship the concept of “uptime” – how long a system can run without needing to restart. But “uptime” is not a concept that brings value to the business, and IT needs to keep the business’ needs in mind at all times rather than focusing on artificial metrics. The business is not concerned with how long a server has managed to stay online without rebooting – they only care that the server is available and ready when needed for business processing. These are very different concepts.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Android PMP open for pre-orders

      French online retailer Material.net has begun taking pre-orders for an Android portable media player (PMP) spinoff of Samsung’s Galaxy S phones. Aiming to compete head-on with Apple’s iPod Touch, the Samsung Galaxy Player 50 offers a 3.2-inch 400 x 240 pixel display, a two-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo PAM developments

      You might remember that last time I stated that only two patches were applied on version 1.1.2. Well, this time around no patches are applied over the released Linux-PAM! This makes it the first version in five years that Gentoo is shipping without custom patches at all, and thus without needing re-building autotools. It is indeed a milestone for us.

    • Remember SplashTop? Here’s An Update On Them

      At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, DeviceVM launched SplashTop 2.0 with a redesign application dock, customization wizard, tailored themes, personalized packages, instant search, and other features. Previous to that the last time talking about SplashTop on Phoronix was when Lenovo began deploying SplashTop as QuickStart OS and then within the Phoronix Forums there were some users that hacked SplashTop to allow it to run on other devices from a USB device. During this time there’s also been the emergence of Phoenix HyperSpace as another instant-on Linux environment, and to a lesser extent, the once-popular gOS and Linpus Linux QuickOS.

    • New Releases

      • Salix KDE 13.1.2 releases are available!

        The Salix team is proud to announce the very first official release of Salix KDE edition. A collection of three KDE iso images are immediately available to our users, including 32-bit and 64-bit installation images as well as a live image that can be burned to a CD or used with a USB drive.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 sailing along

          As I said at the beginning of this entry, I’ll very likely spend at least a few more months in this Fedora 13 Xfce environment since it’s working so very well (and I’ve cranked through most of the configuration-related surprises and arrived at a pretty good place audio, video and suspend/resume-wise).

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Reaches Beta

        With the upcoming release of Debian Squeeze, the Debian Installer team has announced the first beta release of the Debian Installer 6.0. This version of the Debian Installer brings several fixes, package updates, and new features.

        Among the new capabilities of the Debian Installer 6.0 Beta 1 include the auto-selection of the kernel for the Sony PlayStation 3, recovery partitions for Microsoft Windows are properly recognized, support for new platforms, support for isohybrid images when using cdrom-detect/try-usb, the installer now looks for Debian firmware packages within the firmware/ folder on the installation media for bundling hardware firmware, hardware-specific packages are now installed automatically, and there’s improved localization.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Beta1 release
      • Debian totally flies (rant on the general state of Linux and my laptop included)

        Debian is fast. It’s always been so. I’ve run Debian on a half-dozen different machines since I downloaded my first Etch installer in April 2007. At the time I had just started getting interested in Linux, and the release of Etch just happened to dovetail with my growing ability to grab ISOs and try them out on test machines. I eventually spent considerable time running both Etch and Lenny on both Intel (Pentium II, Celeron and VIA C3) and PowerPC (Mac G4) architectures. (I could never get Sarge onto my Sparcstation 20, not that I didn’t try. I still don’t have enough geek skills for that one.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Adoption of Unity is the Most Significant Change Ever for Ubuntu, Says Mark Shuttleworth

          It’s going to be Unity all the way for Ubuntu’s next major release codenamed Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”. During Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) at Florida, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that the Unity shell will become Ubuntu’s default interface not just for netbook editions, but also for Ubuntu desktop editions.


          But our experience with Ubuntu Unity has not been good so far. While GNOME Shell was really easy to learn and adapt to(even the keyboard shortcuts work as you expect it to), Unity is no piece of cake yet. It’s not even stable in my Intel dual core Lenovo laptop.

        • Unity thoughts…..
        • Unity workspace mock-up; 4 workspace limit in Ubuntu 11.04

          In the above picture, the purple boxes represent workspaces. The user can also move windows among workspaces easily.

        • Generative wallpapers for Ubuntu: Game of Life

          We love the idea of Generative Wallpapers – self-updating ever-changing backgrounds – here on OMG! Ubuntu! and, seemingly, so do you!

        • Official Ubuntu Advert at Its Awesome Best!
        • Ubuntu 10.10 Release Forecasts Cloudy Skies Ahead

          I recently upgraded my trusty Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 netbook from Ubuntu Netbook remix version 10.04 to the recently released version 10.10. Canonical and the Ubuntu community have made some very significant changes to the user interface, but the changes were pretty intuitive, so they did not take a lot of getting used to. In this article, I will reveal some of the insights that I have had over the last several days using the latest Ubuntu, and how I think that Ubuntu is really going to help cloud computing become more popular.


          Ubuntu 10.10 is the best Ubuntu yet. It is clean, polished, user-friendly, and very functional.

        • Ubuntu Makes Private Clouds a Breeze

          The tools you use to accomplish this feat are all found on one simple platform: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), which is found on Ubuntu Server. Using an Ubuntu Server 10.10 disc, I was able to install all of the software I needed within a half-hour’s time: and a chunk of that time was downloading the software I needed, including Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MontaVista Android platform targets single-Watt ARM11 SoCs

      MontaVista Software announced the availability of an Android reference platform for the Econa CNS3xxx ARM11-based processors manufactured by its parent company Cavium Networks. The reference platform offers support for on-chip hardware acceleration blocks, and integrates drivers for peripherals including Bluetooth, 802.11n, and touchscreens, says MontaVista.

    • Full of Little Bugs but not without potential – First impression of the OYO

      The new e-reader on the European block was just released…

    • Huawei S7 Android tablet review
    • Android DIY kit builds on BeagleBoard platform

      LiquidWare announced an open source hardware development platform for Android-based tablet or HMI devices. Designed for rapid prototyping, the DIY Android Modular Gadget Platform is based on modular hardware, including a 720MHz TI OMAP3530-based BeagleBoard, a 4.3-inch OLED touchscreen, and a “BeagleJuice” battery pack.

    • PandaBoard opens up Cortex-A9 SoC to developers

      Digi-key is shipping a 1080p-ready development board based on Texas Instruments’ Cortex-A9-based, dual-core, 1GHz OMAP4430 system-on-chip (SoC). The $174 “PandaBoard” offers 1GB of DRAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, DVI, and HDMI connections, and targets smartphone and mobile device development using open source Linux distributions such as Android, Angstrom, Chrome, MeeGo, and Ubuntu.

    • PogoPlug Biz Review: File Sharing and Remote Access

      Enter the PogoPlug Biz, which aims to be an alternative to cloud-based storage, file sharing or collaboration services; it builds on the capabilities of the consumer-focused PogoPlug with some added features that offer small businesses more flexibility and control over remote access and file sharing.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Firefox’s Android play

          The mobile version of Firefox was originally only available for the Nokia’s Maemo platform which is not in widespread use. Now there is a version for Android, the rapidly growing mobile OS from Google.

        • Desktop Linux is Dead, but Linux is Still the Future

          Even if the train has left now, I think this approach is clearly working in other areas in which Linux indeed is a success. Google doesn’t sell “Linux OS”. They sell “Android”, and when people talk about Android they barely even think of “Linux”, let alone the whole debate over whether the name refers only to the Glossary Link kernel or to an entire OS. By treating it as an independent brand of its own, not tied to the confused legacy of the Linux ecosystem with all its antics, Google made Android seem like a platform that stands on its own even while it is actually “Linux in disguise”.

        • 10 great Android apps

          There are around 90 000 apps in the Android marketplace. We suggest 10 worth looking at.

        • The Gingerbread Man Cometh

          There’s still a bit of confusion swirling around Gingerbread. It’s not yet clear whether the OS will be dubbed Android 2.3 or 3.0. Further, Gingerbread is reportedly more suited for tablets than smartphones.

        • Android Gingerbread Baking Design, Video Chat Goodies
        • ObamaBerry tech heading to Android phones

          Although initially available for Android, the underlying security solution, described in a newly available white paper, could be applied to other open source operating systems, such as Linux or Symbian, says OK Labs.

        • Freescale’s Cortex-A8 SoC jumps into Android phones

          Lumigon Corp. announced three Android 2.1 phones — the T1, S1, and E1 — touted as the first smartphones to use Freescale’s 1GHz i.MX51 system-on-chip. Meanwhile, the company also reported contributing to Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman, an Android handset that will start at over $13,000, and Freescale announced an Android evaluation kit for the i.MX51.

        • Asustek, Garmin ending joint smartphone development
        • 10 Tips for Tricking Out and Optimizing your Android Smartphone

          Make no mistake, Android devices are amazingly powerful and useful right out of the box. Still, if you are a newcomer to Google’s mobile operating system, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed by the configuration and accessory options available to you. If you look at a lot of the advertising, the convenience and productivity gains that a smartphone brings to your daily activities will be about the unique mobile apps that you download and install. I’ve found that being a satisfied Android user is not just about the apps — settings, configuration and accessories can make an enormous difference. Here are 10 practical tips that will enhance your complete Android experience.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Asterisk SCF Goes for Scale in New Open Source VoIP Project

    The open source Asterisk project started off as an effort to be an on-premise IP-PBX. Over the years, demand for increasingly scalable and modular approaches for voice communications has grown, which is why a new Asterisk project is being announced this week.

    The Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework (SCF) is a new project sponsored by Digium that aims to build an open source VoIP system for large-scale deployments.

  • Asterisk 1.8 Secures Open Source VoIP

    The new Asterisk 1.8 release is intended to be supported for at least the next four years, as part of a new support model the project first discussed earlier this year. Asterisk 1.8 packs in a long list of new features, including reverse call display and integrated Google Voice support.

  • How Open Source Can Help Real People

    The success of open source is undeniable. Just about any website you visit today is running on some kind of open source software. Your shiny new Mac is running FreeBSD under its beautiful surface. Google uses open source software. So does Facebook. Yet if you mention open source software to most people, they probably will give you a blank look. Few non-technies know what it is, even though they use it countless times everyday.

  • OpenERP Makes Open Source Business Software Work

    OpenERP seems to be a rarity among open source business software companies. There are no special enterprise editions — open source and paying customers get the exact same software and features — yet the company has managed to turn a profit on services and hosted solutions.

    “Exactly the same software is available for both customers and downloads,” OpenERP COO Marc Laporte told eCRMguide. “We don’t have an enterprise edition.”

  • The Opening up of GSM

    Traditionally the development of GSM technology has been largely the reserve of GSM Association members and their partners, subcontractors and licensees. This was due in part to the complexity of GSM but perhaps also as a result of concerns over the legality of any entirely independent grassroots initiative. In addition it is quite likely that a fear of being perceived as a black hat hacker has played some part. However, the situation has started to change over the last few years and we are now seeing the opening up of GSM technology via a number of open source efforts.

  • Events

    • Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference Announced

      In an effort to bring Open Source education to America’s Heartland, a group of volunteers have teamed up to host the Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference on May 6-7, 2011. These dedicated volunteers have attended, spoken at and sponsored other similar events in far flung parts of the United States and the world, from Florida and California to The Netherlands and Australia.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Wants You to Build Your Own Browser

        Mozilla has officially revealed “Chromeless,” an experimental project by the Firefox creator that lets developers create their own browser interfaces using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies.

  • SaaS

    • Building a Test Platform in the Cloud with Open Source Technologies

      Cloud computing, which aims to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services on demand, offers new possibilities for testing. A cloud-based test platform delivers automated scaling — up or down — of testing infrastructure, which overcomes many challenges of traditional test environments.

  • Oracle

    • Every end is a new beginning

      the past days and weeks here in the project were marked by sometimes heated discussions, about how we perceive the cooperation in the project and how we make this more willing and able. Unfortunately, this discussion has not always been objective, problem- and goal-oriented, as it would have been desirable, but sometimes very emotional.


      Oracle’s official response to the announcement of The Document Foundation was clear – Oracle will continue OpenOffice.org as usual. The result is now indeed the lately postulated conflict of interest for those community members who are in charge of or representing project, but to whom it is not enough “to continue working as we always did”. Although it has been stressed several times that there will be collaboration on a technical level, and changes are possible – there is no indication from Oracle to change it’s mind on the question of the project organization and management. For those who want to achieve such a change, but see no realistic opportunity within the current project and are therefore involved in the TDF, unfortunately this results in an “either / or” question.

      The answer for us who sign this letter is clear: We want a change to give the community as well as the software it develops the opportunity to evolve. For this reason, from now on we will support The Document Foundation and will – as a team – develop and promote LibreOffice. We hope that many are going to join us on this path.

    • My dream: Java SE on Android Linux

      Although the Oracle – Google Java lawsuit looks ugly, there is a possibility that something good comes out of it: full Java SE appications running on Android.

      That would be an awesome success for Oracle since it is by nature (steward of Java) interested in running Java applications in Android devices. Devices shipping with Android (tablets with dual-core ARM processor and 512Mb to 1 GB of RAM) are powerful enough to run full Java applications, even with Swing. Desktop applications are quite common in the enterprise space and would make Android devices very appealing in this segment. Especially in the tablet form factor.

    • SAP concedes role in pirating Oracle software, moves to shorten trial
  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Commons Prosperity by Sharing
    • [Blender] Yafaray Shaders Database

      So this database now has 18 shaders and several categories, and you can help it growing.

      The site is hosted at Yafaray Shaders Database. Feel free to browse it, download and test any shader you want. You can also upload some worth-posting shaders, if you’re proud of your Yafaray work !

  • Programming


  • Curiosity is banned at Westfield High

    Westfield High School in Fairfax County is one of the largest and most competitive public schools in America. It is not unusual that 180 sophomores enrolled in Advanced Placement World History this year, more students than most U.S. high schools have taking AP courses of any kind.

  • New York Judge rules 6-year-old can be sued

    A girl can be sued over accusations she ran over an elderly woman with her training bicycle when she was 4 years old, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled.

  • Pressure group calls for TV licence boycott over S4C

    A Welsh-language pressure group is calling for people to refuse to pay the TV licence fee unless the independence of S4C is guaranteed.

    The Welsh Language Society is urging the action from 1 December unless plans for the BBC to take over part funding of the channel are stopped.


    The BBC will take over part-funding of S4C from 2013, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reducing its grant by 94% over the next five years.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Kernel vulnerabilities: old or new?
    • Metasploit Goes Pro for Security Testing
    • D.C. hacking raises questions about future of online voting

      For the upcoming election, Washington, D.C., was preparing to allow some voters to send their ballots in over the internet. It’s a good thing election officials tested the system first.

      Just two days after the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics opened the application for the public to experiment with this fall, the system was hacked. Unbeknownst to D.C. officials, a team of computer scientists from the University of Michigan took control of the Web site, and changed the code to make it play the school’s fight song.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP to link pay to safety after Gulf spill

      BP is to link staff bonuses just to improvements in safety standards in its fourth quarter, in an attempt to improve its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

      Bob Dudley, BP’s new chief executive, announced the move in an email to employees seen by the Wall Street Journal. He said the sole criterion for judging performance in the fourth quarter would be “each business’s progress in reducing operational risks and achieving excellent safety and compliance standards”.

    • Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century

      One of the most important tributaries of the Amazon river has fallen to its lowest level in over a century, following a fierce drought that has isolated tens of thousands of rainforest inhabitants and raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change on the region.

      The drought currently affecting swaths of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years, with the Rio Negro or Black river, which flows into the world-famous Rio Amazonas, reportedly hitting its lowest levels since records began in 1902 on Sunday.

    • Nagoya biodiversity summit is showing depressing parallels with Copenhagen

      Without a deal on these issues, Brazil and other developing nations – which are home to most of the world’s natural capital – are holding up international efforts to establish a strategic plan to halt biodiversity loss by 2020.


      In other words, Nagoya is another ill-tempered bout between the global haves and wanna-haves in which the fiercest blows are landing on the natural world that both sides claim to be protecting.

    • India examines cost of mining more closely

      Citing the need to protect the environment and local residents, Indian courts and government bodies have started blocking – or even cancelling – a growing number of industrial projects. Last month the high court in Madras ordered the closure of a copper smelter operated by the London-listed mining conglomerate Vedanta, to protect “mother nature” from “unabated air and water pollution”.

    • Borneo’s majestic rainforest is being killed by the timber mafia

      The cows are afloat, with squawking chickens sharing their sturdy bamboo rafts. Children splash and swim in and around their homes, keeping away from the deeper channel of peat-coloured water that powers through the village of Meliau. Adults tightrope-walk across makeshift paths of hardwood thrown over huge floating logs. Others paddle around in long wooden boats. Everything that floats is lashed to everything that doesn’t.

    • Rare scaled mammal threatened by traditional medicine

      An unprecedented haul of records from wildlife smugglers in Borneo has revealed the scale of the illegal trade in pangolins. They show that between May 2007 and December 2008, the smugglers bought at least 22,200 endangered Sunda pangolins, or spiny anteaters, and nearly a tonne of their scales, for export.

      By contrast, local police seized only 654 illegally shipped pangolins between 2001 and 2008. A report on the smugglers’ records from Traffic, the group that monitors wildlife trade for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says that this “raises serious concerns for the continued survival of the species”.

    • Seed saver with a germ of an idea

      Despite training as a nuclear physicist at an elite Mumbai research reactor and then gaining a PhD in quantum physics from a top overseas university, Shiva switched to environmental activism.

      “I went from nuclear science to quantum physics and then to being a natural philosopher,” she says. “I would describe my vocation as a combination of natural philosopher – the old, old notion of trying to understand nature in all the complexity, which is the original form of science – and as a protector of the Earth.”

      Shiva’s attempts to protect the Earth have brought her into regular conflict with big corporations, especially those patenting genetically engineered seeds.

  • Finance

    • Book by PM’s economic advisor wins award

      The book looks at the hard choices that will prevent another recession like the one in 2008, following the financial collapse of 2007.

    • Benefits cut, rents up: this is Britain’s housing time bomb

      At last the Tories have a final solution for the poor – send them to distant dumping grounds where there are no jobs

    • Pakistan’s feudalism boosts Taliban cause

      Millions of peasants, who in many places work as virtual slaves, have long demanded reform, but to no avail.

      “It’s to reduce the wide disparity of income and opportunity between rich landlords and poor tillers of the soil and to maximise the agriculture output,” said Farooq Sattar, a mover of the bill and leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) that dominates the politics of the commercial hub of Karachi.

      Tenants in Pakistan work the land for no pay because of debts owed to landlords, often incurred generations before.

    • Vodafone shops blockaded in tax protest

      Campaigners claiming Vodafone has been let off an unpaid tax bill of £6bn spent the day blockading several shops.

      Campaigner Ed Brompton said: “This money – £6bn – could be spent on schools, housing and hospitals.”

      But a Vodafone spokesman denied the tax bill reports, adding: “We pay our taxes in the UK and all of the other countries in which we operate.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Joe Miller Security Guards Handcuff & Detain ‘Alaska Dispatch’ Editor (VIDEO)

      Security guards for Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller handcuffed and detained the editor of the online magazine “Alaska Dispatch” on Sunday while he tried to interview the Republican nominee, according to multiple reports.

    • The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires

      The Tea Party movement is remarkable in two respects. It is one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen – and the biggest Astroturf operation in history. These accomplishments are closely related.

      An Astroturf campaign is a fake grassroots movement: it purports to be a spontaneous uprising of concerned citizens, but in reality it is founded and funded by elite interests. Some Astroturf campaigns have no grassroots component at all. Others catalyse and direct real mobilisations. The Tea Party belongs in the second category. It is mostly composed of passionate, well-meaning people who think they are fighting elite power, unaware that they have been organised by the very interests they believe they are confronting. We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business. Much of this money, as well as much of the strategy and staffing, were provided by two brothers who run what they call “the biggest company you’ve never heard of”.

      Charles and David Koch own 84% of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the United States. It runs oil refineries, coal suppliers, chemical plants and logging firms, and turns over roughly $100bn a year; the brothers are each worth $21bn. The company has had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements for oil and chemical spills and other industrial accidents. The Kochs want to pay less tax, keep more profits and be restrained by less regulation. Their challenge has been to persuade the people harmed by this agenda that it’s good for them.

    • Leading scientists accuse thinktanks of being logging lobbyists

      Twelve leading scientists, including the former head of Kew Gardens and the biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank, have written an open letter accusing two international thinktanks of “distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact” in their analysis and writings about rainforests and logging.

    • EU food safety chief forced to quit GM lobby role

      Questions raised over why European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) chair Diana Banati failed to make clear her connections to International Life Science Institute (ILSI), which advises biotech giants like Monsanto, Bayer and BASF

      A key figure in charge of food safety within the EU has been forced to quit her director role at a pro-GM group.

      European Green MEPs had called for EFSA chair Diana Banati’s resignation after she had failed to disclose her seat on the board of directors of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), which advises biotech corporations including Monsanto, Bayer and BASF.

    • Distorting Irish History, the stubborn facts of Kilmichael: Peter Hart and Irish Historiography

      The Newfoundland historian Peter Hart, who died recently at the age of 46, stimulated a debate on sectarianism within Irish nationalism and on the nature and conduct of the Irish War of Independence (WoI). He provoked controversy and subsequent research that has helped to clarify differences over the interpretation not only of Irish history but also of Irish society. Professor Paul (now Lord) Bew of Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said of Hart’s landmark The IRA and its Enemies (OUP, 1998), ‘The first work on the Irish revolution which can stand comparison with the best of the historiography of the French Revolution: brilliantly documented, statistically sophisticated, and superbly written’.[1] The weight of academic opinion afforded Hart numerous prizes and plaudits.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • YouTube removes video on torture of Papuans

      The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | A four-minute video depicting Indonesian soldiers torturing Papuan separatists has been removed from YouTube because of its “shocking and disgusting content.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Linutop OS 4.0, custom Ubuntu for web-kiosks

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 29/10/2010: ‘The Year of the Linux Desktop’ Again, China Has Biggest Computer (Runs GNU/Linux), Wine 1.3.6, Sub-notebooks Around

Posted in News Roundup at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Enterprise Linux Weekly Snapshot

    Following a New York Times story (subscription required) from a couple months ago, Russia announced this week it would reduce its dependence on Windows and work toward a national Linux-based operating system. As Katherine Noyes points out on NetworkWorld, we’ll have to wait to see how this unfolds given that this isn’t the first time Russia has said this. Noyes’ story includes some good information on what businesses can learn from this.

  • Readers’ Choice Awards 2010

    Welcome to the 2010 Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards. We love doing these awards because we get to interact with you, our readers, more than usual. This year, more than 12,000 of you generously took time to participate and share your perspectives on what tools are helping you work and play. We always are fascinated by your preferences and how your usage patterns change over time. This year, we have more categories than ever, so let’s get right to the results. Here, ladies and gentlemen, Linux geeks of all kinds, are the winners of your 2010 Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards.

  • Russian Teacher Fired For Complaining About Having To Use Microsoft Software

    In response to this high profile case, many Russian schools started to switch to Linux, and in response to that, Russia apparently declared that all schools should switch to Linux-based software by 2008.

    However, apparently that didn’t actually happen. Glyn Moody points us to the news that another Russian school teacher has been fired for complaining that his school still used Microsoft software. Even though the 2007 order required schools to switch to Linux, apparently a training system the government is making the school use requires Microsoft Office. So the teacher filed a complaint, pointing out the contradiction in orders… and for his efforts he was fired.

  • 2011: The Year of the Linux Desktop

    With penetration of Android will come mobile developers and with them will come a large application suite. Those applications will automatically run on an Android desktop.


    It is for this reason that I think it’s too early to write off Linux on the Desktop.

  • Desktop Linux, Where the Fun Begins

    Linux is my sandbox. It is where I go to play. It is also where many people go to be productive. Desktop Linux has many millions of users. You probably have not heard much about it because of the way that it is developed and promoted.

  • Linux Can Be Complicated … Or Not!

    On the desktop, you can run over 300 distributions or varieties of Linux.

  • Linux/Unix Horror Stories for Halloween

    For this Halloween season, I decided to post a few old but entertaining and somewhat educational Linux/Unix horror stories that were compiled by Anatoly Ivasyuk. Actually, Anatoly has created an entire page filled with Unix-related horror stories and I just picked a few interesting entries to share with you all. Don’t worry, I will provide you the link to the complete horror stories page right after my choices. Enjoy!

  • Linux Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit

    It’s Halloween and nothing scares proprietary companies more than the cute little Linux Tux. Our Editor set out to a mission to carve a Linux Penguin on our pumpkin and scare some non-free companies. Here is the step by step creation. The process has not been patented, you are free to copy, modify and distribute it, as long as you maintain the attribution.

  • Tech That Tried to Kill Us! How Hollywood Puts the Horror in Horrible

    Yes. We actually watched these movies. We suffered through them for you. We tracked them down in video stores and on Netflix, and sorted through piles of rubbish and even the Youtubes. We watched them all, and this is what we have gleaned: technology, guys, is scary. It causes addiction, it connects us with weirdos, and it is responsible, we suppose, for Emmerich-style mass destruction. Yet, Hollywood seems to be most fascinated with that last bit — and when it comes to attempting to scare the bejeezus out of its horror-loving public, current tech trends are unfortunately ripe for the picking.

  • The Linux credit card — with Tux on the front and everything

    I couldn’t make this up if I tried: The Linux Foundation is offering a platinum rewards Visa credit card. There is no annual fee, a low introductory APR — in fact, it’s a normal credit card with Tux on the front.

  • Server

    • China has the top supercomputer in the world, but it still runs Linux

      If you want a really, really fast computer, there are all kind of ways to build the hardware architecture, but one thing that almost all of them have in common is that they run Linux. The top spot now appears to belong to the Tianhe-1A , which means “Milky Way,” at a research center at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in Tianjin, China.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab launches in India; Available from Nov 10 [Update]

      Samsung today launched its much anticipated Android 2.2 tablet Galaxy Tab in India. Samsung Galaxy Tab will be available in India from November 10, right right after Diwali festivities, but if you are too excited, you can pre-book one now. It is available for pre-order on Samsung website as well as on Flipkart and Future Bazaar.

    • Samsung GT-P1010 WiFi-only Galaxy Tab clears FCC

      The WiFi-only version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has shown up in the FCC’s testing database, complete with the model number GT-P1010. The Froyo slate differs from its GT-P1000 sibling by omitting the 3G chipset and instead relying on WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 for its connectivity; otherwise it has the same 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, the 3-megapixel rear camera and front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel updates

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has released three stable kernel updates:,, and Users of these kernel series “must upgrade”. Also there will be only one more update for the 2.6.35 series, “so you should be using .36 instead.”

    • Linux Kernel Now Supports TILE Architecture

      The integration of the TILE architecture in the Linux kernel enables many open source projects to support Tilera natively and start optimizing their code for many-core. It also allows Tilera customers across embedded and cloud markets to run their Linux applications on Tilera’s technology without software change.

    • LF destroyed CELF
    • The end of the road for Linux kernel 2.4

      Kernel 2.4 was revolutionary because it was the first kernel release that was truly embraced by enterprise users for use in their operations. Linux had had support for SMP (symmetric multiprocessing – another term for multiple CPUs) since 2.0, but the improvements in 2.4 driven by the newly involved big players (such as IBM) brought improved scalability, stability and new features that finally pushed it over the edge as a serious contender to proprietary UNIX systems of old.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Patches So Nouveau Users Can Try Out Wayland

        Chia-I Wu, the open-source developer who previously worked to bring Mesa to Android devices and worked on the new EGL state tracker, is now working for LunarG and has just published a patch-set that enables the Nouveau graphics driver to run the Wayland Display Server.

      • Wayland Becomes A FreeDesktop.org Project

        Just earlier today we reported that Wayland is becoming compatible with Nouveau so that users of this open-source NVIDIA driver can begin using this alternative, lightweight display server that leverages the latest Linux graphics technologies. About the only caveat right now is the needed Nouveau page-flipping support, which is here for some hardware but not in the mainline Linux kernel yet and the page-flipping hook-up for the newer NVIDIA GPUs is coming soon. Kristian Høgsberg, the creator of Wayland, also made another announcement today.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Pardus 2011 Beta with new Package Manager

      Pardus have its own package management system: PiSi (For more information about pisi you can checkout development page). Package-manager uses its backend. As you may remember from my previous posts, we are using an infrastructrure for managing operations called Çomar. Package-manager calls Çomar where it can check that if the user have necessary priveleges to use PiSi by using PolicyKit (which calls PolicyKitKde on KDE). You may see that this operation resembles KAuth. One can ask why we are using this method, instead of KAuth. Well, the simple answer is that this infrastructure is nearly 4 years old. :-)

    • Reviews

      • Spotlight on Linux: Arch Linux 2010.05

        It attracts a lot of users because of its ability to give the user a feeling of ownership without an excessive amount of time and effort.

      • Quick Look: Tiny Core Linux 3.2

        Tiny Core Linux 3.2 is truly the polar opposite of Ultimate Edition 2.8; it provides the absolute minimum necessary to get you going and from there it’s really up to you to decide what you want to do with it. You’ll need to have a clear understanding of exactly what you want to use it for before it has the possibility of creating real value for you. So it’s definitely helpful if you know in advance what you want to get out of it before you attempt an install.

        I suggest that intermediate and advanced Linux users use Tiny Core Linux 3.2. Beginners can certainly give it a whirl in a virtual machine, but the install might prove to be a bit overwhelming to those who are completely new to Linux.

        Click to the next page to view the full image gallery (9 screenshots) of Tiny Core Linux 3.2 screenshots.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian totally flies (rant on the general state of Linux and my laptop included)

        As I’ve written more times than most any of you would probably care to read, the six or so months during which I ran Debian Lenny as my main desktop were some of the smoothest months I’ve experienced in my FOSS-running life. That’s because Debian releases are conservatively built and never change. Security updates are pretty much it; the kernel stays the same, with patches backported into the same version and then pushed to users via apt/Aptitude. I’m sure the occasional critical bug-fix comes through as well, but often a broken piece of a stable Debian release stays broken (e.g. the Ted RTF word processor in Etch, thankfully fixed in Lenny).

        But if your particular Debian setup (system and applications) is running well, you’re good for at least two and maybe even three years if you don’t want or need newer versions of your applications. I have yet to explore Debian Backports or pinning apps to Testing or Unstable. I might need to do that to get a 2.11/2.12 version of gThumb (I could also just install a .deb package with dpkg or gDebi).

      • Squeezing Linux Mint Debian Edition

        Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is awesome! Based on Debian Testing it is a rolling distro. That means if you are running LMDE you will always have an up-to-date system running, and as the saying and experiences go, Debian testing base is more stable than the so called final/stable releases of most other distros. But if you are a stability freak like me, you can make your Linux Mint Debian stable by pointing the apt sources.lst to squeeze. This ways you won’t have to install point updates of applications every now and then. You will always have the most stable and workable system for quite a long period, till squeeze becomes obsolete. Here is how I did it.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Mock-up of Unity with widgets

          Widgets on the desktop; some people can be quite snooty about them but there is a reason they are available by default on two of the most popular Operating Systems.

        • Ubuntu Software Center ratings and reviews to come by Christmas

          As if it were a Christmas gift to all ubuntu users, it has been announced at the UDS that a development version of Ubuntu Software Center with ‘Ratings and Reviews’ feature will arrive by Christmas.

        • Ubuntu Cloud Community needs You

          “I’m interested in Ubuntu and the cloud, how do I get involved” is a question I got a few times already. I thought it would be a good idea to answer this as a blog post. I believe one of the very first things you’d want to do, is to make sure you’re on the main communication channels, talking to the community, asking questions, seeing other questions being answered, trying to answer some yourself, sharing opinions and generally “connecting” with the rest of the community. That is a great first step. So I’ll highlight the main communication venues for the Ubuntu cloud community, as well as way to get kick-started.

        • Day 5 – Community Day (Live from UDS)

          Translators, educators, school children and students all have a natural home in Ubuntu too, I believe, and Edubuntu and a bunch of other efforts will continue to try and reach out to them.

          There are many many, more, I don’t doubt.

          A further benefit of reaching out to groups who tend to be more mixed in gender and background than the Linux community is that it brings that diversity into the Ubuntu community. It will be interesting to watch these efforts develop.

          But back to UDS. It’s been a great week.

        • Ubuntu Developer Summit Natty, Tuesday and Wednesday
        • Cutting through the noise about Unity

          Tonight I will concentrate on answering your questions about Unity on Ask Ubuntu. Questions will be answered based on the number of votes they receive and ones that I can answer.

          Unity developers will be advising me best on how to answer your questions and we can continue to develop the answers based on feedback. If you’ve already asked then we’ll keep working on our answers to be better.

        • Is Canonical Off its Rocker with its Unity Decision?

          Ask many Linux users about the concept of “fragmentation,” and they’ll pooh-pooh the very concept. They’ll argue that the beauty of open source is the rich array of software flavors that open platform components give rise to. Canonical is a business, though, and at a certain point it has to evaluate whether a “rich array” of desktop interface flavors is necessarily in Ubuntu’s best interests. Yes, Unity is new, and will have to go through bug testing and other challenges, but it is also a standardized desktop that Canonical can command control of.

        • Using Unity – Day 2

          One thing that I have noticed with Unity so far, is that heavy usage seems to have a greater impact on the performance of Unity than with Gnome or KDE.

        • Using Unity – Day 3

          RAM wise Unity is awesome, but the spikes in CPU usage tends to kill the interface, and often you need to wait for ten or more seconds between clicking a launcher and actual response. But there is hope…

        • Using Unity – Day 4 Custom Unity Launcher Colors and Patterns

          This day is starting early. We are going to a family get together in a few hours (why is the end of the year always to crazy!?) and I want to get something readable for you guys who are following this series before I am Internetless for a few hours.

          I have something interesting for you folks – a custom unity launcher…


        • It’s my Linux. I will distribute it how I want to.

          So what if Ubuntu does not have the user interface you want. You don’t have to use it. You can change it. You can do anything you want with it. You can even release your own distribution based on Ubuntu with your changes. Waaaiiit a minute….hasn’t that already happened? Something Minty I believe?

          If this Unity is more popular than Gnome then it will succeed. If not, well then back to the Gnome board. If the Ubuntu distributions users like what Canonical will do then Ubuntu will be more popular than ever before. If not then some other distribution will.

        • Ubuntu Unity Widgets Concept
        • Ubuntu’s “risky step” of standardizing on Unity instead of GNOME

          But while the decision may be in keeping with the times, it’s still every bit the ‘risky step’ that Mark Shuttleworth described it as when he made the announcement earlier this week.

        • Unity Clouding Up The Desktop

          It is an interesting viewpoint from Mr. Des Ligneris. I don’t see the Unity plans as a blessing though. There is no point in turning a full fledged desktop machine into a “Mobile Internet Device”. Their use cases do not overlap. While a desktop is certainly capable of performing MID tasks, it is not the intended operating area of a desktop machine.

        • Compiz based Unity will be available to test ‘ASAP’

          Ubuntu’s Jorge Castro has confirmed that Maverick users will be able to test the newly announced Compiz port of Unity via a PPA ‘as soon as possible’.

        • Do Artists Use Ubuntu?

          To celebrate the 500th member of the Ubuntu DeviantArt group. I’ve put together some stats for Operating System Use based on self stated use on profile pages:

          Windows 7/Vista/XP – 410,000 (76.9%)
          Mac – 87,700 (16.3%)
          Ubuntu – 20,300 (3.7%)
          Linux – 16,000 (3%)
          Total: 533,300

        • Opinion: Who’s afraid of the Maverick Meerkat?

          You may have heard this before, but the latest release of Ubuntu – Maverick Meerkat – shows that Linux is ready for the prime time. The reason? The unifying nature of the web.

        • 6 Fun Ways To Explore Ubuntu 10.10 [Linux]

          Learning a new operating system can be difficult, but is also really fun. If you’ve recently installed Ubuntu 10.10 on your computer and want to explore what this operating system is capable of, don’t panic: you’ll enjoy it.

        • Nautilus Terminal
        • 5 Things to Do First with Ubuntu

          It has often been said that the vibrant community of users and developers surrounding each distribution is Linux’s “killer app,” and I think in many ways that is true. Ubuntu is no exception. Not only is there free documentation and live support chat for help with the distribution, but there are also Web forums, mailing lists and a Launchpad-based Q&A system, among other resources.

          Even before you have any specific questions, it’s a good idea to begin to explore this community so that you know what’s out there when you need it. The resources available far outshine what any proprietary vendor’s 800-number could ever provide.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook review

          After reviewing Ubuntu 10.10 and Kubuntu 10.10, the next logical Ubuntu edition to review I think should be the Ubuntu Netbook Edition, or UNE. As the name implies, UNE is the edition of Ubuntu optimized for small screens, such as you will find on netbooks and tablet computers.

        • Canonical – Ubuntu 10.10 review

          Released at ten past ten on the 10th October 2010 (all the tens – get it?), Ubuntu 10.10 is the latest version of the popular Linux distro to hit the streets. If you were expecting a slew of new features and functionality, however, disappointment beckons. New features there are, but the expected headliners didn’t quite make it. Indeed, Ubuntu 10.10, or Maverick Meerkat as it’s known, is more about polishing the big changes of the last release, Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), than adding much that’s new.

        • [Full Circle Magazine] It’s number 42!

          See, 42 really is the answer to everything. We’ve got issue #42 out for all of our readers and it’s packed with all the goodness you’ve come to expect from a FCM issue. This month, we’ve got an exciting new feature called Linux Lab. Take a look!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why consolidation will boost use of open-source systems

    Most IT managers are well aware of the LAMP stack, which includes the Linux operating system, an Apache Web server, a MySQL database and a dynamic programming language such as Perl, PHP or Python. But other open-source system groups are growing rapidly. Some obvious examples are the JBoss Application Server with a JAX-WS Web services stack, the Zope object-oriented Web application server — written in Python — and the Plone open-source content management system that works with Zope.

  • Events

    • [NL:] Open Source

      Are you interested in Open Source? At the exhibition, you will find several companies and parties who have specialized in or work with Open Source software and/or applications. Not only in the field of data security, but also storage. The seminar programme also contains sessions specifically dealing with Open Source.

    • Call for participation Med-e-Tel FLOSS-HC track (6-8 April 2011, Luxembourg)

      We also want to especially encourage open source software companies to provide some insights in their open source based business model, offered services and products.

    • Guest Post: Apache Software Foundation on Servers, Innovation and the Cloud

      The ApacheCon conference–dedicated to all of the influential Apache-backed platforms and applications, ranging from Hadoop to Cassandra–is coming up Nov. 1st through 5th in Atlanta, Georgia, and we’ve been doing a series of guest posts in conjunction with it. Members of the Apache Software Foundation have weighed in on the foundation’s approach to open source projects, and now, Sally Khudairi, a VP at the foundation, has written a guest post focused on servers, innovation and the cloud. Here it is.

    • An Uncommon Conference on the Commons

      As you can see from the list of participants, yours truly will also be attending. Apparently, there will be a live video stream of some of the sessions: not sure whether mine will be one of them. If it is, you can see me spouting my common commons nonsense around 11am CEST, 10am GMT.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Women & Mozilla Survey Results

        WoMoz internal survey results and conclusions are now available. The blog post says that the main purpose of the survey was to “… detect areas of improvement related to gender issues in Mozilla and FLOSS communities,” but also notes that finding women who are active contributors to Mozilla was a challenge. Only 18 of the 30 women contacted responded to the survey. From these responses, the survey team concluded that many of the women have experience with the Ubuntu project, so reaching out to Ubuntu Women might help attract more contributors. Some of the women who are contributing to Mozilla are doing so as a result of being contacted from somebody already involved with the Mozilla project. Also, “lack of time” seems to hold women back from contributing to Mozilla.

      • Rainbow Firefox Add-in Brings Advanced Video, Audio to the Browser

        As noted on Slashdot, which also has an interesting discussion from readers about Rainbow, support for live streaming and WebM are planned as additions.

  • Oracle

    • More API copyright nonsense

      # Boggled at Oracle’s amended complaint against Google. Havn’t investigated the verbatim code copying claims in detail – which are of course fair game for copyright enforcement – but what interests me -far- more are the API copyright claims:
      # As I wrote before, I believe that Java has rather weak patent protection, not being particularly innovative or novel really – rather a collection of existing techniques packed together into one (useful) package. With a load of design artefacts in the API that can be claimed as in some sense ‘novel’ though of little intrinsic technical merit. I wrote a long screed on the background to this: Why Oracle’s Java Copyrights Might Matter in August. As I also wrote before: I am not a Lawyer, and have no very deep understanding of the Java situation.

    • Oracle vs. LibreOffice

      My first question would be, why is the majority of council members stacked with Oracle employees in the first place? It is a community council, not the project steering board, it should represent the mostly volunteer community, which has certainly different interests than the a for profit corporation. Hence, the people with a conflict of interest all along have never stepped down in the first place.

    • Copyright Assignments & the Document Foundation

      I would like to discuss a bit the position of the Document Foundationwith respect to copyright assignments. I understand there have been questions here and there about this topic, and it’s perhaps necessary to explain our position.

    • Oracle copying SCO playbook for Google fight

      The problem is that most of the people who are looking at the “line by line” example don’t actually understand code. SCO did this, through the same legal team (Boies Schiller) with its claims that Linux had direct copied code from UnixWare. That was debunked pretty quickly. The only thing missing here is Larry Ellison running around issuing open letters or ranting about Google to anyone who will listen. Never let it be said that Ellison isn’t classier than Darl McBride.

    • POOF! Go Oracle’s Claims Against Android

      Within hours Groklaw has an update that shows the “example” is from OpenJDK and was released under the GPL. Further, the “example” is not a copy but a derived work. This is like SCOG v World in fast motion.

    • Oracle Gets Specific — Files Amended Complaint – Updated 3Xs: And More, More, More

      Oracle Gets Specific — Files Amended Complaint – Updated 3Xs: And More, More, More

    • Into the sunset

      After four years working with the MySQL team, under three different companies, it’s time for me to pursue a new career.

  • CMS

    • DIASPORA* October Update

      Diaspora is getting better every day. Here are some of the features we’ve added over the last month:

      * Public messages are can now be posted to Twitter and Facebook
      * Friends can now be in multiple aspects
      * Re-sharing of status messages to aspects other than the one originally posted to
      * An invite system for inviting your friends not hip to Diaspora yet
      * Email notifications on new friend request and acceptance
      * Account data is exportable
      * A more friendly “getting started” experience

  • Education

    • Open education resources: Moving from sharing to adopting

      What is anything but inevitable is the adoption of any of these open educational resources. As a thought experiment, pick your favorite institution you believe is committed to open education. Have they ever adopted an open education resource produced at another institution for in-class use? If they have an open courseware collection, can you find a single third-party OER in the collection? If even the institutions that claim to be committed to open educational resources aren’t reusing them, who will?

  • Healthcare

    • Open source needs an attack of the heart

      Last Friday, I had a heart attack. As I was rushed to the hospital by the superb ambulance crews and through the operating theatre and onwards to the recovery room by the skilled surgeons, one thing stuck in my mind; how badly open source, and software development in general, has let down health care professionals, who I watched handle bundles of notes and forms which contained the crucial patient care information.


      It’s not just a software problem though; we need to come up with new ways of rapidly capturing the health care professionals thoughts and information, ones which are as fast as handwriting, with devices which aren’t going to act as a vector for infection. To create those devices and the software, we, as an open source and IT community, need to create the framework and intelligence pool so that we can approach the severely time constrained doctors, nurses and other professionals, and find out what they need and how we can build it.

    • Implementing FreeMED in Guatemala

      Through the efforts of the FreeMED Software Foundation, many generous donors and help from the Pop-Wuj Spanish Language School, we were able to install an advanced electronic medical record, somewhat customized, for the a clinic in Quezeltenagno, Guatemala.

  • Funding

    • Elspeth Revere of the MacArthur Foundation

      MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.

      With assets over $5 billion, MacArthur will award approximately $230 million in grants this year. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.

  • BSD


    • GCC 2010 Summit Presentations Now Online

      For those interested in compilers, particularly GCC, or are interested in some technical slides to look over this weekend, the presentations from the 2010 GNU Compiler Collection Summit are now available online.

      Some of the potential papers/slides that may be of interest are on GRAPHITE-OpenCL to generate OpenCL code from parallel loops, optimizing real-world applications with GCC LTO, real-time debugging with GDB trace-points, improving GCC’s auto-vectorization, the Google Go front-end to GCC, enabling more optimizations in GCC Graphite, GNU Tools for ARM, and the issues of supporting GCC on Microsoft Windows.

    • How to upload a video to YouTube and ensure it is viewable in WebM

      We’ve just posted a recipe to follow for converting your videos to the new free WebM format, using VLC.

  • Project Releases

    • monotone 0.99 released

      We, the monotone developers, are very proud to release version 0.99 of our distributed version control system.

  • Government

    • Open Source for Amercia Honors Open Source Advocates

      Award winners were announced during the Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) 2010, in Portland, Oregon today. Winners include:

      Open Source Deployment in Government: honors a U.S. government agency or body that has shown commitment to the use of open sourcee, through policy and/or adoption. The 2010 winner is Whitehouse.gov and the Executive Office for their deployment of Drupal open source content management system in October 2009.

    • ES: Andalusia: ‘Open source has helped save millions of Euro’

      On Twitter, Eduardo Romero, involved in the city of Zaragoza’s move to an open source desktop, was one of those who quoted the Secretary General: “Free software is in the heart of policy and strategies of Andalusia.”

    • DE: Resource centre helps public administrations implement open source

      Germany’s Competence Centre for Open Source Software’ (Ccoss), part of the country’s Federal Office for Information Technology, helps public authorities implement open source. The Ccoss website was renewed this summer and unveiled at the Linux Tag conference, which took place in Berlin last June.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sharing and the Creative Economy

      Sharing and the Creative Economy: Culture in the Internet Age builds upon “Internet & Creation : how to recognize non-market exchanges over the internet while funding creation” published in French in October 2008 by InLibroVeritas. See the French page for details on Internet & Création. Sharing and the Creative Economy has now found a publisher, and we are proceeding with finalizing the manuscript as soon as possible. The book is likely to be out in early 2011.

    • Open Services Innovation: An Open Your World Forum webcast with Henry Chesbrough and Gary Hamel

      Open means different things to different people. To some, open source and open innovation mean free access and a requirement to return enhancements back to a broader community. But businesses ask: where’s the competitive advantage? How can the two paradigms co-exist, for mutual benefit?

    • Open Data

      • Government not closing the loop on open data

        This week I attended a panel session on open data and mobile government. In simple terms, open data is about governments making public data available in a way that lets clever people do useful things with it, such as an iPhone app that tells you when your bus will arrive.

        A good panel had been pulled together. Chaired by Daniel Appelquist of Vodafone R&D and Mobile Monday London, it comprised David Mann from the DirectGov innovation team, Phil Archer of Talis, and Kenton Price of Little Fluffy Toys (makers of a Boris Bikes app). Broadly speaking they represented the owners, providers and developers

      • Open data in public private partnerships: how citizens can become true watchdogs

        Though anecdotal in many ways, Where’s My Villo?’s experiment shows that open- data allowing citizens to monitor the performance of a service of which they are the final users should be required in all public-private partnership contracts. Down the line, this may even play an ex-ante role by discouraging companies who intend to deliver frivolous services from chasing public-private contracts, as well as allowing citizens to demand better service ex-post.

  • Programming

    • ASCII crimps program development, coder says

      Programming languages are unnecessarily difficult to work with because they rely on the artificial constraint of using only ASCII characters, a noted programmer argues in the November issue of the flagship publication of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF Plugfest — Brussels

      Some good demos of new ODF-supporting software, including LetterGen, OFS Collaboration Suite, ODT2EPub and odt2braille.


  • China’s Internet Imperils Corrupt Officials, but Not Regime

    The Chinese Internet has been abuzz over a hit-and-run incident involving the young son of a high-level security official in Hebei Province, outside Beijing.

    The episode shows how quickly outrage over abuses by privileged Chinese officials can come to a boil, as well as the power of Internet-fueled popular pressure in today’s China.

    Still, many experts caution that while the Internet has become an outlet for anger against local officials, it is not a significant threat to the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power.

    What sparked the uproar was not only the hit-and-run itself, but the young man’s lack of remorse and high-handed attitude. “Go ahead and sue me, I’m Li Gang’s son,” he reportedly said, just after the accident.

  • Carbon trading project a world first

    A WORLD-FIRST trial of a personal carbon trading scheme that will also target obesity, is to be conducted by Southern Cross University on Norfolk Island.

    The three-year project will involve giving everyone on the island a card loaded with carbon units, according to the man leading it, Garry Egger.

  • Humans could form wireless nodes for high speed networks

    Now, this is a weird one. A team of Irish engineers says it could be possible to minimise the need for mobile base stations by getting phone users to act as base stations themselves.

  • Jade Goody website ‘troll’ from Manchester jailed

    An “internet troll” who posted obscene messages on Facebook sites set up in memory of dead people has been jailed.

    Colm Coss, of Ardwick, Manchester, posted on a memorial page for Big Brother star Jade Goody and a tribute site to John Paul Massey, a Liverpool boy mauled to death by a dog.

  • Twenty-First Century Stoic — Insult Pacifism
  • Save the world: Answer the FEMA challenge

    FEMA exists to help after a disaster. And when disasters strike, over and over again, we see communities working together to help within themselves and to help each other. But FEMA is hoping that people who are willing to help after a disaster are also willing to help before one. Those are the ideas they’re looking for. You might have an emergency kit if you live in a hurricane- or earthquake-prone area. But what else could we proactively do to help each other and ourselves on a larger scale before the need arises?

  • Head-stomping Rand Paul volunteer demands an apology from lady whose head he stomped.

    He wants an apology.

    Tim Profitt — the former Rand Paul volunteer who stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist — told told local CBS station WKYT that he wants an apology from the woman he stomped and that she started the whole thing.

    “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Profitt said. “I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you.”..

    Profitt also blamed the incident on his back pain.

  • Comparing leadership cultures and creating change

    The topic of the panel was “Cultural Leadership: Forging a Shared Kernel While Preserving Individual Differences.” In other words, how can leaders inspire today’s workforces across geographical and cultural boundaries and through times of uncertainty.

  • Hu Xingdou: Wen Jiabao, Hero of the Chinese People

    China’s Premier Wen Jiabao really has been on a roll in the past 8 months, seemingly mentioning the need for political reform and the importance of universal values like human rights, freedom and democracy on every possible occasion, starting with his prominently featured article about his former mentor Hu Yaobang in March.

  • Web Linking Gets Deeper with New Standard for Link Relations

    What does that mean? “Web linking is the most fundamental web building block,” says Yahoo! standards wonk Eran Hammer-Lahav. “Typed links – links with a clear semantic meaning – existed on the web since the very beginning, but for the most part lacked any generally acceptable definition… Agreeing on what a link type means across formats is critical for a semantically rich web, in which links are used to provide a richer user experience, as well as better search and automation features.”

  • Science

    • Toolmaking technique 55,000 years older than we thought

      Pressure flaking is a retouching technique that was used by prehistoric toolmakers to shape stone tips. They pressed the narrow end of a tool close to the edge of a piece they were working on to create rectangular, parallel marks; these are considered the hallmark of pressure flaking. This technique allowed them to more finely control the final shape and thinness of the tool edge than direct percussion could, and yielded sharp, thin, V-shaped tips with straight edges. The earliest evidence for pressure flaking came from the Upper Paleolithic Solutrean industry of Western Europe, and dates from around 20,000 years ago.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Biodiversity talks: Ministers in Nagoya adopt new strategy

      Environment ministers from almost 200 nations agreed late tonight to adopt a new United Nations strategy that aims to stem the worst loss of life on earth since the demise of the dinosaurs.

      With a typhoon looming outside and cheering inside the Nagoya conference hall, the Japanese chair of the UN biodiversity talks gavelled into effect the Aichi Targets, set to at least halve the loss of natural habitats and expand nature reserves to 17% of the world’s land area by 2020 up from less than 10% today.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Hire at Bank of Canada Followed Guidelines, Flaherty Says

      Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the country’s central bank followed conflict of interest guidelines when it hired an adviser from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

      Bloc Quebecois lawmaker Daniel Paille and Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party both asked about the hiring of Timothy Hodgson for an 18-month term. Flaherty said in response that the bank makes its own staffing decisions and that Hodgson has “severed” his ties to the private sector.

    • U.S. asks to seal courtroom to guard Goldman secrets

      Prosecutors asked a federal judge to seal the courtroom for part of the upcoming criminal trial of a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc computer programer, an effort to protect the secrecy of the bank’s high-frequency trading platform.

    • Who’s In Charge Here? Not The G20

      Most accounts of the ministerial meeting last weekend of the Group of 20 — 19 nations plus the European Union that represent the world’s wealthiest economies —implied that it continued to perform sterling service – heading off currency wars, keeping explicit protectionism under control and deftly managing the process of reforming governance at the International Monetary Fund.

      Post-financial crisis, middle-income countries continue to rise in economic importance, and the recent shift in global leadership from the Group of 7 (the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, France, Germany and Japan) to the G-20 is commonly supposed to accommodate the growing claims of “emerging markets” on the world stage.

    • Administration to get freer with trade

      U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has been a genial caretaker for an Obama administration trade agenda mostly aimed at placating labor unions and their Democratic allies by erecting barriers to imports.

      With the public more opposed to free trade than ever, and Democrats running hard against it this fall, the White House has shown no interest in the issue. Completed trade deals with other countries haven’t been sent to Congress, leaving U.S. allies hanging. Obama hasn’t even sought congressional authority for new agreements, a foreign policy tool presidents have cherished for 30 years.

    • Who wants to watch ‘Bank Bailout 2′?

      Life has been so dull since the nation’s major banks had their last existential crisis a year or so ago. Right now, it’s like watching a beloved rerun.

      We know how the story is most likely to end. The banks will lose billions. It will take a decade or so to drain the swamps — also known as the balance sheets of institutions like the Bank of America and Citigroup — of overvalued and underperforming assets. In the meantime, however, the government will probably jump in and save the banks from themselves once again.

    • The Post Election GOP War on Financial Reform

      Here’s the crucial thing to remember about financial reform: the status quo previous to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act financial reform bill was entirely favorable to Wall Street and the largest banks.


      They have already signaled to Wall Street that, starting the morning of November 3rd, 2010, the GOP will be the party that fights sensible Wall Street reform and returns us to the world of 2009, the world most favorable to Wall Street.

    • Tim Fernholz on Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the CFPB
    • Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decrease

      This is the lowest level for weekly claims and the 4-week average since July, however the 4-week moving average has been moving sideways at an elevated level for almost a year – and that suggests a weak job market.

    • Foreclosure activity up across most US metro areas

      The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle – cities outside of the states that have shouldered the worst of the housing downturn – seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings.

    • Foreclosure Error May Bring Home Break-In by Bank: Ann Woolner

      For all the scandalous news about systemically sloppy foreclosure documentation, bankers are trying to reassure the public that no undeserved evictions resulted.

      “At the end of the day, the underlying substance was accurate,” JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon told reporters on a conference call this week. “There’s almost no chance that we’ve made a mistake”

      That misses a key point, which I’ll get to shortly.

    • America By The Numbers

      Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show.

      Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Johann Hari: Protest works. Just look at the proof

      There is a ripple of rage spreading across Britain. It is clearer every day that the people of this country have been colossally scammed. The bankers who crashed the economy are richer and fatter than ever, on our cash. The Prime Minister who promised us before the election “we’re not talking about swingeing cuts” just imposed the worst cuts since the 1920s, condemning another million people to the dole queue. Yet the rage is matched by a flailing sense of impotence. We are furious, but we feel there is nothing we can do. There’s a mood that we have been stitched up by forces more powerful and devious than us, and all we can do is sit back and be shafted.

    • UK.gov plans net censor service

      The minister responsible for internet regulation is planning a new mediation service to encourage ISPs and websites to censor material in response to public complaints.

      Ed Vaizey said internet users could use the service to ask for material that is “inaccurate” or infringes their privacy to be removed. It would offer a low cost alternative to court action, he suggested, and be modelled on Nominet’s mediation service for domain disputes.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • CRTC Renegs – UBB is Coming Soon

      This means Usage Based Billing could begin implementation as early as January 2011. This will be a truly rude awakening for the many Canadians who are unaware that this is coming. Imaging getting an Internet bill for double what you are used to paying for monthly access. Just at the time Canadians are digging their way out of the seasonal spending chasm.

    • Overturn the CRTC Ruling
    • Internet usage: How do you preferred to be billed?
    • VLC developer takes a stand against DRM enforcement in Apple’s App Store

      Rémi Denis-Courmont is one of the primary developers of the VLC media player, which is free software and distributed under the GPL. Earlier this week, he wrote to Apple to complain that his work was being distributed through their App Store, under terms that contradict the GPL’s conditions and prohibit users from sharing the program.

    • From information overload to Dark Ages 2.0?

      Open standards for file formats ensure portability of the content artifact (often with relevant metadata or context) across authoring or viewing applications. The emergence of the PDF/A standard, for example, as an ISO-managed specification outside the corporate control of a sole vendor happened because of the reluctance of many public sector agencies to accept a proprietary format and risk losing the opportunity to preserve essential content for the long term.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Eye for an eye – RIAA & Limewire no score draw? & what LOIC users should consider.

        Limewire is probably more popular with the casual downloader who has maybe had use of the Limewire client for a number a years. Its certainly a simple application to use. The problem with Limewire seemed to me that the average user was not tech savvy and so Limewire became a haven for malware and all other sorts of nastiness. Its not a p2p Client I would have ever considered using nor would I have recommended it to anyone else.

        For me the loss (in respect of the “service”) is no loss. On 26th October 2010 when Judge Wood served an injunction on Limewire, I saw no loss (from a contributory point of view) but what was worrying were the implications it could have for other p2p services in the future.

        Whatever your views on copyright infringement, the technology behind it is not designed to infringe anything. As a user in a BT swarm for example, the sensible position is to give responsibility of any alleged infringement to the users engaging in it not a provider of a tracker or service where users frequent. If we look at this in the real world, it would be like holding a bus driver responsible for a robbery on his vehicle, a landlord responsible for their tenants behavior whilst renting his/her property. The idea that Limewire can be held responsible is to me as inconceivable as any of the above examples I have given.

      • RUSHKOFF: Why I Left My Publisher in Order to Publish a Book

        I’m getting more questions about my latest book than about any other I’ve written. And this is before the book is even out—before anyone has even read the galleys.

        That’s because the questions aren’t about what I wrote, but about how I ended up publishing it: with an independent publisher, for very little money, and through a distribution model that makes it available on only one website. Could I be doing this of sound mind and my own volition? Why would a bestselling author, capable of garnering a six-figure advance on a book, forgo the money, the media, and the mojo associated with a big publishing house?

      • Former Movie Piracy Scene Member Speaks Out

        To many people the movie piracy Scene is something mythical or at least hard to comprehend. Who are these people who are the source for the majority of the pirated movies online? In a rare conversation, TorrentFreak had the chance to pick the brain of a former member of one of the world’s largest movie piracy groups, who speaks out about pride, ego, money and the changes that the Scene has gone through in recent years.

      • Reminder: Despite What You May Have Heard, Happy Birthday Should Be In The Public Domain
      • The ‘Dancing Baby’ Lawsuit Will Shape Future of Fair Use

        When a Universal Music Group employee sent a routine notice to a San Francisco Bay Area mother back in 2007 ordering her to take down a grainy YouTube video of her son dancing, there’s no way he could have known what he was about to stir up.

      • Governments demonstrating leadership in openness with Creative Commons

        Governmental bodies around the world are adopting Creative Commons licenses and signaling to their constituencies that these works can be shared in simple, interoperable ways. Just this week, the current Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva released his official photostream under CC BY, while also posting a CC BY-licensed announcement to run for re-election on SoundCloud.

      • ACTA

        • Over 75 Law Profs Call for Halt of ACTA

          Dear President Obama,

          As academics dedicated to promoting robust public debate on the laws and public policies affecting the Internet, intellectual property, global innovation policy and the worldwide trade in knowledge goods and services, we write to express our grave concern that your Administration is negotiating a far-reaching international intellectual property agreement behind a shroud of secrecy, with little opportunity for public input, and with active participation by special interests who stand to gain from restrictive new international rules that may harm the public interest.

        • Memo to World: Stop ACTA Now!

          Funny, even though consensus couldn’t be reached, the ACTA countries have each taken the agreement back to their respective governments to try and get it signed. They have all agreed that there will be no further rounds of negotiation.

          Apparently though, changes can still be made to the text. Since I am a citizen, not a diplomat, I have to wonder if this means that each country can sign a version of ACTA that they are comfortable with, respective of the wants and needs of the others? If so, it would detract from the point of having one universal treaty.

        • Challenges to ACTA Mount: The week in Review

          In the midst of increasing controversy on the extent to which ACTA would alter current or proposed changes to U.S. law, over 75 law professors sent a sharply worded letter to President Obama asking him to “direct the USTR [US Trade Representative] to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward.” The letter comes as U.S. government officials having been informing public interest advocates that this is last week of consideration of the text, even while reports are increasing that the text as written conflicts with current and proposed US intellectual property law.

        • How ACTA Turns Limited Secondary Liability In Copyright Into Broad Criminal Aiding & Abetting

          However, some are noticing that it’s actually even worse than that. While I already disagree with the court’s interpretation of various forms of secondary liability, at least they’ve included some safeguards in terms of what standards need to be met before secondary liability might apply by looking at things like whether or not there are substantial non-infringing uses and whether or not there’s intent or knowledge. Unfortunately, it looks like ACTA partly seeks to wipe these out by changing these more nuanced standards into a simple “aiding and abetting” standard, which could lead to criminal infringement claims. As we’ve already noted, ACTA has already broadened the definition of “commercial scale” in order to increase criminal liability for infringement, but law professor Michael Carrier’s analysis suggests the “aiding and abetting” language also greatly broadens the liability for secondary liability as well

Clip of the Day

Android Netbook – Acer D250-1613

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 29/10/2010: Ubuntu Benchmarked, MeeGo 1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Excito B3 Mini ARM Powered Server

      Many interesting things come from Sweden whether it is Tunnbrödsrulle to Glögg to IKEA, but how well are these wonderful people able to create compact, home servers? After reviewing the CodeLathe TonidoPlug and PogoPlug, Excito, a company from Limhamn asked if we would be interested in checking out their new Linux-based home server, the B3. With that said, here is the review of the Excito B3 home server, which is actually a rather exciting device with its capabilities ranging from being a Bit Torrent download server to a home router with web serving capabilities.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Zack Rusin Talks About Gallium3D’s TGSI IR

        Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Gallium3D’s IR known as TGSI, or Tokenized Gallium Shader Instructions, and attempts by some to replace this intermediate representation. Efforts toward improving TGSI are not particularly new, but it’s been going on for a while and then just earlier this month a new shader and compiler stack was proposed by LunarG. As part of the LunarGLASS proposal, the LLVM IR would be used as a replacement to TGSI.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Ubuntu Developer Summit: Dropping KDE Desktop

        The Ubuntu Developer Summit is in full swing here in Florida. There have been a load of important decisions taken. For example today I dropped KDE from our desktop. I know this may be controvertial with some parts of the community but we can have unity in our new desktop.. Plasma. Of course we’re Kubuntu so we did it upstream.

        Martin and the X.org packagers had a face off about X drivers. Kubuntu Mobile has plans to make it more useful next round. We found problems that need fixed like KDE’s system localisation support. We reviewed all the patches Kubuntu and Debian has for Qt and found a load that can be dropped or moved upstream. Canonical decided it loves Qt and Qt asked what Canonical wants (accessibility was mentioned a lot).

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora to (try to) remove setuid files for F15

          The report from the October 26 FESCO meeting (click below for the whole thing) includes the news that the remove setuid feature has been approved for the Fedora 15 release.

        • Fedora 14 Dives Deeply into Memory Debugging

          Each release of Fedora offers new features to improve functionality for different audiences. One of those audiences is software developers, some of whose goals are being able to more effectively enhance performance and squash bugs in the software they write. Fedora 14 is expected to include some exciting innovations that allow developers to better achieve these goals.

          One of the tools developers use frequently is the GNU debugger, or GDB. In the past, when a developer started up the debugger, it would load a variety of information about the program to be debugged. This information was stored in indexes which had to be calculated each time GDB was launched. These indexes contain data that help the developer locate which part of their source code is being executed in a program. They similarly come in handy for reporting bugs, since a bug reporting tool like ABRT can use the indexes to report more detailed information to the developer.

        • Orphaning packages
        • Fedora 14 Has Its Head in the Cloud
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed

          If you’re currently using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx and everything works, it might be a good idea to leave your install alone. After running it for six months, we can tell you that Lucid is rock-solid. Only time will tell if 10.10 is as good, and we only had a week with it. So, if reliability is ranked highly on your OS wish list, go with the LTS. But if you’re experienced with Linux, or just the type who must have the very latest, there is nothing wrong with choosing Ubuntu 10.10, either. It all comes down to the type of user you are.

        • Other X.Org Discussions At The Ubuntu 11.04 Summit

          Two days ago we reported on what the graphics stack should look like for Ubuntu 11.04 in terms of its X.Org Server, Mesa / Gallium3D, and the open-source graphics driver versions to be deployed in this next Linux operating system release codenamed the Natty Narwhal. This though wasn’t the only X-related discussion to take place at the Ubuntu 11.04 developer summit in Orlando this week, but there were other related topics discussed such as KMS configuration / quirk handling, the multi-monitor experience on the Ubuntu desktop, and multi-touch support. There were also talks aimed at Linaro / embedded Ubuntu on ARM platforms with regards to embedded GPU drivers and OpenGL ES support.

        • Interesting Unity Concept For Managing Multiple Desktops [Mockups]

          Now that Unity will be used by default in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, it’s been getting a lot of attention and there are discussions going on about if and how the Global Menu (AppMenu) will behave on the desktop, a better way of managing multiple desktops and many other subjects. One such discussion drew my attention and I though I’d share it with you.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Some data on OSS TCO: results from past projects

    On the other hand, it is clear that OOo is – from the point of view of the user – not lowering the productivity of employees, and can perform the necessary tasks without impacting the municipality operations.

    - Hospital:
    The migration was done in two steps; a first one (groupware, content management, openoffice) and a second one (ERP, medical image management).
    In the first, the Initial acquisition cost was: proprietary 735K€, OSS 68K€

    annual support/maintenance cost (over 5 year): proprietary 169K€, OSS 45K€

    Second stage Initial acquisition cost: proprietary 8160K€, OSS 1710K€

    annual support/maintenance cost (over 5 year): proprietary 1148K€, OSS 170K€

    The hospital does have a much larger saving percentage when compared with other comparable cases because they were quite more mature in terms of OSS adoption; thus, most of the external, paid consulting was not necessary for their larger migration.

  • Symbian: A Lesson on the Wrong Way to Use Open Source

    Nokia hoped to revive Symbian’s importance, which once dominated more than 50 percent of the mobile market, by reinvigorating its developer base in light of a rush of Linux-based operating platforms like Android and LiMo. It hoped in vain.
    Related Research

    * Privacy: How to Avoid the Third Rail of Online Services
    * Navigating Google Instant – Tips for Search Marketers
    * Four Reasons to Watch for Power Line Communications
    * Social and Online Media Need Privacy Plan Now

    For years, companies have looked to open source to salvage dying products, and each time these efforts have failed. Often dismally.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Made for India, Epic Browser Speeds Up

        We earlier covered the made for India browser, Epic Browser, which is specifically targeted towards Indians keeping their browsing habits in context.


        Epic Browser, a derivative of Firefox offers a few great localized features that makes it an interesting product. We earlier shared some of the useful features of the browser – for example Built-in Antivirus (that scans documents automatically), ToDo (good implementation), snippets, social network integration etc.

      • Cloud, meet Rainbow

        At Mozilla Labs, we’re constantly trying to push the boundaries with respect to what the browser can do. We’ve experimented with audio recording in the browser as part of the Jetpack prototype earlier, and want to revisit the idea. There have been great strides on video playback recently, but there’s still some work to be done before users can create multimedia content for the web, on the web.

  • Oracle

    • A month of LibreOffice

      I strongly believe that in the end, it’s how we will shape the very fabric of our community -which today mostly amounts to the OpenOffice.org project volunteers- that will allow us to progress and innovate together. After a month, I am cautiously optimistic, but it seems we’re on the right track to do something extraordinary. Thank you everyone, looking forward to a great Document Foundation!

    • Oracle, Android and the copy claims: SCO all over again?

      But the relevant point is different: the PolicyNodeImpl.java that is presented comes from the OpenJDK distribution, and was as such released under the GPL+ClassPath exception (something that is not mentioned anywhere within the complaint, by the way). Here, the claims are two and different: the first is that Android (actually, Harmony) copied its API that Oracle claims is copyrighted. The second claim is that the actual source code of the PolicyNodeImpl.java file has been copied verbatim.

      Let’s start with the first one: the claim that Oracle Java APIs are protected and copyrighted. On this, it seem to me that the interface definition themselves (not the actual source code) as a mere interface does not fall within the copyright provisions, unless the actual names are trademarked, and thus its implementation requires the actual copying of a protected name in a way that is deemed incompatible by its licensee (something similar was done by Autodesk, embedding a copyrighted phrase that if not included in the file prevented the application from opening it directly).

    • Oracle says Google directly copied Java code: Here’s the line-by-line comparison

      In its tweaked complaint, Oracle ups the ante against Google, who has called the lawsuit baseless.

    • Oracle Claims Google Copied Java Code – Not So Fast, Though

      But there’s more. The code indeed looks copied, but is it, really? Carlo Daffara generated a diff of the two files, which paints a slightly different picture. According to a comment over at Groklaw (I know, I know, but he makes a good point), any similarities can easily be explained by “using the same naming convention for variables and the widespread use of automatic code generation in the Java community”.

      This is not as clear-cut a matter as it seems, but I’m sure the usual suspects will rail on Google anyway. Surely more to follow.

    • Oracle Responds to JCP Concerns
  • CMS

    • Vote for your favorite Hall of Fame CMS

      Vote for your favorite Hall of Fame Content Management System (CMS) here.

      From the list below, choose which Open Source Content Management System in the Hall of Fame category you would like to win.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • You’re making decisions by consensus, but are you collaborating?

      Recently I came across an article by Roy Luebke at Blogging Innovation that asked the rather interesting question, “Is Management by Consensus Killing Innovation?” While I’ve (thankfully!) never had a manager whose decision-making was contingent upon the agreement of a team, I have spoken with many people who confuse the concept of collaboration with consensus.

    • The Limits of Openness?

      Aside from their aesthetic value, what’s interesting about these films is that the content is released under a cc licence.


      Those are reasonable, if not killer, arguments. But his last point is pretty inarguable:

      One last thing on the “open svn” point: in theory it could work, if we would open up everything 100% from scratch. That then will give an audience a better picture of progress and growth. We did that for our game project and it was suited quite well for it. For film… most of our audience wants to get surprised more, not know the script, the dialogs, the twists. Film is more ‘art’ than games, in that respect.

      That’s fair: there’s no real element of suspense for code, or even games, as he points out. So this suggest for certain projects like these free content films, openness may be something that needs limiting in this way, purely for the end-users’ benefit.

    • Study Reveals Big Opportunities in the Sharing Economy

      Latitude and Shareable Magazine recently released the findings of The New Sharing Economy study, which uncovered new opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and established companies in the emerging sharing economy.

    • Group Genius and Collective Intelligence

      A new study in Science magazine* provides additional evidence for group genius. My own research with collaborating groups has repeatedly demonstrated that groups manifest emergent properties, that are not reducible to the individual characteristics of the group members; this new study confirms my own findings, using a novel qualitative approach combined with “smart badges” designed by MIT’s Alex “Sandy” Pentland.

    • Open Data

      • Let’s do an International Open Data Hackathon

        Last summer, I met Pedro Markun and Daniela Silva at the Mozilla Summit. During the conversation – feeling the drumbeat vibe of the conference – we agreed it would be fun to do an international event. Something that could draw attention to open data.

        A few weeks before I’d met Edward Ocampo-Gooding, Mary Beth Baker and Daniel Beauchamp at GovCamp Ottawa. Fresh from the success of getting the City of Ottawa to see the wisdom of open data and hosting a huge open data hackathon at city hall they were thinking “let’s do something international.” Yesterday, I tested the idea on the Open Knowledge Foundation’s listserve and a number of great people from around the world wrote back right away and said… “We’re interested.”


  • Expired software license halts N.M. voting

    Early voting in New Mexico was temporarily disrupted when a voter-registration computer system was made inaccessible due to an expired license, officials said.

    The secretary of state’s office, responsible for maintaining the license, said the Tuesday night problem was fixed within an hour.

  • What if the future of media is no “dominant players” at all?

    Denton’s Gawker, Huffington Post, and similar-scale ventures won’t “become dominant players.” But those that husband their resources and play their cards smartly will survive, continuing to grow and to figure out the contours of the new media we are all building. They’ll be active, important players, without “dominating” the way the winners of previous era’s media wars did.

  • Science

    • From touchpad to thought-pad?

      Move over, touchpad screens: New research funded in part by the National Institutes of Health shows that it is possible to manipulate complex visual images on a computer screen using only the mind.

      The study, published in Nature, found that when research subjects had their brains connected to a computer displaying two merged images, they could force the computer to display one of the images and discard the other. The signals transmitted from each subject’s brain to the computer were derived from just a handful of brain cells.

    • The Leaking Pipeline: Should I Go to Graduate School?

      You need to hear some horror stories; I’ve left quite a few out from this essay.

    • The new barbarism: Keeping science out of politics

      Joe Romm, climate activist extraordinaire, is upset at Scientific American for featuring a dumb online poll on global warming.

      Online polls are notoriously amenable to manipulation, and it seems pretty clear that climate skeptics organized in force to skew the results. Like Romm, I have a hard time believing that anything close to 56.1 percent of Scientific American readers believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”

      But even if you grant that the poll was the victim of an organized attack, I’m still amazed by what we can learn from it. In response to the question “Which policy options do you support?” 42 percent of the respondents chose the answer “keeping science out of the political process.”

      Say what?

      Keep science out of the political process? Science? I thought it was supposed to be the other way around; that the goal was the keep politics out of science. I can understand, albeit disagree with, categorizations of anthropogenic global warming as bad science, but I’m afraid I just can’t come to grips with the notion that we should keep “science” from influencing politics at all. What is the point of civilization in the first place if we don’t use our hard-won understanding of how the universe works to influence our decisions on how to organize ourselves?

    • How science funding is putting scientific data at risk

      A Policy Forum in today’s issue of Science takes a look at what’s become a significant problem in the sciences: enabling and maintaing unfettered access to large collections of scientific data. Although the report focuses on the biosciences, many of the problems it describes apply to other areas of research as well. The biggest problem, however, is fairly simple: there’s no good mechanism for determining who pays for maintaining large amounts of data, which leaves existing repositories at risk of either duplicating efforts or losing funding entirely, with a resulting loss of data.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Report: BP dispersants are making people sick

      Things could be going from really bad to even worse around the Gulf of Mexico, for residents and for BP. An investigation by Al Jazeera reveals that the dispersants BP is using to treat the spill are making people sick.

    • James Cameron on “Avatar 2″ and the Impending Environmental Crisis

      On stage at a private event in Silicon Valley last night, legendary director James Cameron and Google CEO Eric Schmidt held a fascinating two hour conversation that touched on everything from the technology needs of the upcoming Avatar 2 film to the perils that face the environment if action isn’t taken.

      Eric Schmidt, acting as moderator, questioned Cameron on a plethora of topics in front of an audience of Silicon Valley movers and shakers for the Churchill Club Premiere Event. The conversation started with a video highlighting Cameron’s decades of accomplishments, including Terminator, Rambo, Alien, Total Recall, Titanic and of course Avatar. It quickly moved into a conversation about how he created the most expensive and most profitable film in human history.

  • Finance

    • Ad server changes on Identi.ca

      As mentioned before, we have been using AdBard on Identi.ca for almost 8 months. Although we support what AdBard is doing, we haven’t been getting the kind of ad rates that we expected. AdBard is covering about 5-7% of the hosting costs of running identi.ca, with nothing left over to cover any percentage of the salaries of the people who support the site.

    • FTSE 100 executive pay rises 55%, survey says

      The pay received by chief executives of the companies listed in the FTSE 100 rose 55% this year, a survey has found.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Facebook Now Tries to Tell the Story Between Two Friends

      Facebook is rolling out a new breed of Pages called Friendship Pages that pull together the public wall posts, comments, photos (based on tags) and events that two friends have in common.

    • Database right: proving infringement

      In order to detect any infringement of their database right, Binley’s include in their database a number of what they call “seeds”. These are bogus entries, giving the address of Binley’s staff. When any post is received addressed to a seed address, Binley’s can then presumably check the source against their list of clients to check that the marketing comes from someone authorised to use their database.

    • An Upgrade for MyTube: Protect Your Drupal Website’s Visitors from Tracking

      Students at the Ohio State University Open Source Club have made some excellent and much-needed upgrades to EFF’s MyTube software.

      Real privacy risks are presented by all of the Web’s solutions for embedded video — from user-generated-content sites like YouTube to proprietary sites like MSNBC and Comedy Central. When you visit a site with embedded video, you’re not only sending your information to your destination site, but also to the website which hosts that video. In addition, you’re allowing the video-host to place cookies and other tracking devices onto your computer. This means that loading an embedded video from within a blog could enable the video hosting site (and, in some cases, its advertising partners) to compile a history of which blog entries you were reading and when — even if you didn’t try to play the video.

    • Government Withholds Records on Need for Expanded Surveillance Law

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against three agencies of the Department of Justice (DOJ) today, demanding records about problems or limitations that hamper electronic surveillance and potentially justify or undermine the Administration’s new calls for expanded surveillance powers.

      The issue has been in the headlines for more than a month, kicked off by a New York Times report that the government was seeking to require “back doors” in all communications systems — from email and webmail to Skype, Facebook and even Xboxes — to ease its ability to spy on Americans. The head of the FBI publicly claimed that these “back doors” are needed because advances in technology are eroding agents’ ability to intercept information. EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the DOJ Criminal Division to see if that claim is backed up by specific incidents where these agencies encountered obstacles in conducting electronic surveillance.

    • Breaching the great firewall

      Bloody ethnic riots in the far-western region of Xinjiang in July last year sealed the fate of Twitter and its domestic clones. The government, observing their growing popularity, feared that troublemakers in Xinjiang could use them to foment unrest. Since then Twitter has been available in China only to those with the skills to penetrate the Chinese internet’s “great firewall”. But the authorities quickly gave approval to new China-based microblogging services, or weibo, which employ armies of censors. In February even the Communist Party’s own mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, opened one.

    • New Freedom House Study Shows Blasphemy Laws a Serious Threat to Human Rights

      Domestic blasphemy laws, far beyond their clear violation of freedom of expression, are responsible for broad violations of human rights, particularly when applied in weak democracies and authoritarian systems, according to a study released by Freedom House today.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Has illegal filesharing just become “a little cheaper” in Germany?

        An interesting decision on damages in cases of copyright infringing file-sharing has been handed down by the Regional Court Hamburg (LG Hamburg, decision of 8 October 2010, case reference 308 O 710/09).

        In a press release the Hamburg court informs that it decided that a 16 year old file-sharer was only liable to pay damages of 15 Euros for each title he had illegally shared online. In this case the overall damages amounted to 30 Euros for two songs he had offered illegally on an Internet file sharing site. The claimant, who owned the distribution rights for these songs, had asked for damages of 300 Euros per title, which appears to be a fairly common amount usually awarded for such damages.


        …German courts appear to adopt a rather pragmatic real life approach when assessing the level of damages to be awarded.

      • Court Slams Music Pirate With Huge Fine – of $41.00

        A young man, who as a teenager file-shared two music tracks, has finally discovered his fate. After rightsholders demanded damages of 600 euros ($828) the case dragged through the legal system. After nearly five years a court in Germany has just published its decision. It ruled that the damages demands of the rightsholders were excessive and instead ordered the defendant to pay 30 euros ($41.00) damages.

      • If You Want to Download All 900 Gigabytes of Geocities, Now You Can

        Do you need to access the fan webring for Boy Meets World’s Rider Strong, but can’t now that Geocities has been shut down? Fret not! The “Archive Team” is putting all 900 GB of Geocities into a publicly-available torrent.

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintNanny


Links 28/10/2010: Finnix 100 Released, Colour E-reader With Linux, Mozilla Firefox 4 Delayed

Posted in News Roundup at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How did we learn to use our computers?

    It is a common argument that Linux will never make it mainstream because everybody already knows windows. It has been said that because everybody knows windows that there is nobody to teach them Linux. Ipso facto, nobody will learn Linux because there is nobody around to show them how to use Linux. What a load of bovine back end fertiliser. What people are referring to is that the uptake of Linux is a chicken and egg problem.


    This introductory period only went so far. After that time I bet that you started exploring for yourself and only asked questions when you became stuck. Or you learned enough to do what you needed and stayed at that level. This is exactly the same for any operating system, be it Macs, Linux or windows.

  • Why Newbies Should Use Linux

    But a large number of Microsoft’s customers aren’t customers because Microsoft makes good products, but because Microsoft products are default and a lot of people are afraid to delete those apps and OSes and try something different.

    If there is someone in your life who uses computers, but is not very computer literate, you can help wean them off of Microsoft’s bloated OSes and change-resistant user apps.

    The open source and Linux communities appeal to techies who are opinionated about computer technology, and want to have the best of everything.

    But the GUIs with Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Kubuntu, are no less user friendly than recent Microsoft OS GUIs.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 20

      In this episode: The London Stock Exchange is super fast, thanks to Linux, while Android celebrates its 100,000th app submission. We discover things and talk about tiling window managers, while our listeners talk about Ubuntu’s Unity.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Captivate AT&T, Completed Review by CNET

      Out of the four major U.S. carriers, AT&T was the most in need of a solid Android smartphone, and it’s finally got one in the Samsung Captivate. Part of the Galaxy S series, the Captivate is by far AT&T’s most powerful and feature-rich Android device, boasting a gorgeous Super AMOLED touch screen, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and some great multimedia features. It won’t win any beauty contests, and we wish AT&T would stop restricting app access, but overall, the Captivate delivers and is a great alternative to the iPhone 4. The Samsung Captivate for AT&T will be available starting July 18 for $199.99 with a two-year contract (voice plan and minimum $15 data plan required).

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The State, Direction Of The PSCNV Nouveau Fork

        Christopher Bergström of PathScale has passed along a note detailing some of the recent progress made by the Nouveau team and their developers working on PSCNV, their Nouveau driver fork. This includes 2D beginning to work on the GeForce 400 “Fermi” graphics hardware, open-source 3D for Fermi still being worked on, and a pool of documentation is beginning to form for the NVIDIA hardware by the open-source community. Here’s the details in full.

      • AMD’s R300 Gallium3D Driver Is Looking Good For 2011

        Along with the benefits of being easier to develop and maintain a driver within the Gallium3D architecture than a classic Mesa DRI driver and being able to extend its features and capabilities in a somewhat generic manner by state trackers, it’s also commonly said that Gallium3D drivers will be faster than the old Mesa drivers. We have looked at the R300 Gallium3D driver (R300g) performance a few times comparing it to classic Mesa, results showing R300g is still catching up to the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver, and that the rate of changes it was going through this summer was quite impressive.

      • Pixman 0.20.0 Is Here With Performance Improvements

        Just over a week ago we reported on Pixmain gaining improved gradients and is rendering much faster in the project’s latest development release. Now this free software project that provides pixel manipulation capabilities for the X Server and Cairo, has reached its version 0.20.0 stable milestone.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • 20 Stunning Illustrated Wallpapers: Halloween Edition

      Seeing a lot of user-submitted artwork and animations via Blender, GIMP, and Inkscape enthusiasts (some of which you can see in 10+ Amazing Short Films Made With Free Software) has made me really appreciate images illustrated by hand, which includes wallpapers. Given the season, illustrated wallpapers shouldn’t be too difficult to find, and it might even get you excited for Halloween!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ubuntu Aims for Linux Desktop Unity
      • Ubuntu drops GNOME in favor of homegrown Unity UI
      • Why Unity is good for the future of Ubuntu, Gnome, Canonical, etc.

        A few month ago I already blogged about “the end of the (Linux) desktop as we know it.” I will not blatantly repost this entry but draw some conclusions linked to the recent adoption of Unity for the default Ubuntu desktop.

        My conclusion was the following : “At a certain level, one can say that the battle is already lost : the current desktop environments can not really fight this war as they don’t own the key technology : the browser. As a consequence, the risk, for them (Gnome, KDE, etc.) is to be a tool that will launch a browser. A (relatively) simple tool that can be easily changed with almost no user impact…”

      • The Right Question

        [T]here is a list of prob­lems that are severe enough to cause Canonical & Co. to think it’s worth pay­ing devel­op­ers to work on a fifth desk­top inter­face con­tender for Linux rather than use any of the avail­able ones, includ­ing the Shell — an under­tak­ing that Dave Neary quite pre­sciently calls “really hard” (more on that later).

      • When is a Gnome Not a Gnome? In Ubuntu 11.04!

        At the Ubuntu Devloper Summit on Monday, it was announced that Ubuntu 11.04 will ship with Unity as its default shell. It will still focus on Gnome applications, and depend heavily on the Gnome libraries — but the default interface will be Unity. For those unfamiliar with Unity, it’s the default shell for the Netbook Edition of Ubuntu.

      • GNOME Developers Attack Canonical’s Ubuntu Decision
  • Distributions

    • Hacking Damn Vulnerable Linux

      If you can’t exploit it, you can’t secure it. I don’t know if that quote has been said before, but if you are deeply interested about computer security or ethical hacking, that should be your main mantra. To fully learn how to secure a computer program, you must know how to break it and find vulnerabilities. In relation to this, there is a unique Linux distribution that is primarily created to help teach you about software security, its name is Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL).

    • Learning Linux the hardcore way: Linux From Scratch

      For those not familiar with the project, it is a type of installation published in a book (freely available in PDF form) for someone to be able to read through and build their own Linux distribution straight from source. If you want to learn more about a Linux-based operating system and if you have some time to kill, this is a great start. My earliest of experiments were all successfully built in a virtual guest under VirtualBox. I was able to customize it the way I desired by installing only the packages that mattered to me and ran with it. Immediately after my first build, I went to the Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) project page, to install additional applications not documented in the LFS book. As dorky as this sounds, it was all part of an exciting experience.

    • New Releases

      • Finnix 100 released

        Finnix 100 comes over a year since its previous release, Finnix 93.0, and introduces a new version scheme, with future versions incrementing numerically.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • KDE 4.5.2 available for Mandriva 2010 !!

        I hadn’t noticed, but there are Mandriva 2010 Spring packages for KDE 4.5.2 available since some days now on KDE FTP. I currently don’t know whom to thank but thank you !! (neoclust maybe ??) Packages for both i586 and x86_64 are available.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Have You Seen The Latest Ubuntu Ad? Watch It Here!

          Ubuntu has released a new video ad which tells about some of the core markets of Ubuntu — desktop, servers and cloud. The ad also says that Ubuntu will always be free.

          The ad is undoubtedly good, but if it is targeted to be shown at business meets, conferences its good. If the ad is targeted at the home users, it is nowhere close to what it should have been. What do I mean? Just think if Apple iPad ad. It was all about what ‘you’ can do with the device and not what all an operating system can do, because you know what? No one cares.

        • New Ubuntu Advert makes for a slick introduction to the OS
        • Have Questions About Unity? Ask Them At AskUbuntu!

          Another interesting question asked is “Will Unity become themeable?”, however it seems no decision regarding this has been made so far.

        • Using Unity – Day One

          Overall I am rather happy-ish with Unity. There are some issues that I will explore as the days go on.

          Overall it feels quicker than regular Gnome, but there are moments when it really seems to wait for something when responding, like when you open the menu.

          Tomorrow I will be looking at how much resources it uses compared to Gnome2, and a few other things.

        • System 76 Starling Netbook Review

          I’ve had the pleasure of trying out plenty of netbook hardware. Just about every form factor and operating system combination available. These netbooks range from the hardly usable, to the might-as-well-be-a-laptop, and everything in between. It’s that “everything in between” space that appeals to the majority of users on the planet and that’s exactly where the Starling lands – but it does so while leaving quite a solid impression on the user.

        • Jolicloud 1.1 Hands On

          Jolicloud 1.1 will be provided as an upgrade for existing Jolicloud 1.0 users. It will be based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx), and supported until April 2013. But, the good news is that future patches from Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) will also be added in the new Jolicloud 1.1 release.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Review: Mint 9 Fluxbox Edition

            Released 09/06/2010, The Fluxbox edition of the ultra-popular Mint Linux OS is hailed as a newer Fluxbuntu type of derivative based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. So I’ll take it for a spin and see how it runs.

          • Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Review

            On October 10, Canonical released its latest installment of Ubuntu, codenamed “Maverick Meerkat”. Like previous iterations, Maverick also includes variations from the standard Ubuntu Gnome interface. Kubuntu is the KDE variation of Ubuntu, and last week, I decided to upgrade from 10.04 and give 10.10 a try.

          • Ultimate Edition 2.8

            Earlier this week I wrote a quick look over on EOL about Super OS 10.10. Super OS…well…it didn’t exactly live up to its name, though it does have its place among the many Ubuntu remasters out there. I ran into another distro though that does a more credible job of living up to its name. Ultimate Edition 2.8 is the latest release of yet another Ubuntu-based distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Most Touch Screen ebook Readers Run on Linux

      Want to go on an ebook-reading marathon for two weeks? You don’t need an iPad. All you need is a decent touch screen ebook reader. They can last more than 10 days (not just 10 hours) and, thanks to e-ink technology, so will your eyes.

      E-ink displays, which most of these ebook readers use, consume less power, are less susceptible to glare, are less strenuous to the eyes, and most of all, cost much less than even the most basic iPad.

    • Barnes & Noble unveils color e-reader

      US bookstore giant Barnes & Noble unveiled a color electronic book reader on Tuesday, getting the jump on rivals Amazon and Sony.


      Barnes & Noble said customers could immediately purchase the Nook Color, which is powered by Google’s Android software and has eight gigabytes of memory, through the bookseller’s website with shipping beginning around November 19.

    • PandaBoard opens up Cortex-A9 SoC to developers

      Digi-key is shipping a 1080p-ready development board based on Texas Instruments’ Cortex-A9-based, dual-core, 1GHz OMAP4430 system-on-chip (SoC). The $174 “PandaBoard” offers 1GB of DRAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, DVI, and HDMI connections, and targets smartphone and mobile device development using open source Linux distributions such as Android, Angstrom, Chrome, MeeGo, and Ubuntu.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC San Francisco Community Summit 2010

        There were six people who flew from Boston to SF for the OLPC summit this past weekend, three of them work for OLPC, one for SugarLabs, one for public media non-profit and myself. It was a beehive of a weekend, as everyone felt like a bee taking active part in presenting, learning and collaborating! The opening reception took place on Friday evening at the Market st location of SF State University, kindly arranged by Sameer Verma and SF OLPC community. It was great to hear Carol’s announcement of San Fran Mayor’s decision to proclaim Sat, Oct 23 of 2010 as One Laptop Per Child Day in San Francisco.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open doors to open source computing

    It wasn’t that long ago that open source computing was more a dreamy ideal than a working proposition. But as attested by the strength of the two-day government open source conference that kicks off in Portland today, it’s become a practical, problem-solving movement.

    Open source computing may be defined broadly as software that is developed, maintained and used in a collaborative way, across organizational boundaries, rather than software that is developed in-house and presented as a proprietary, commercial product. It’s the difference between the Microsoft Office suite of applications, for example, and OpenOffice, which provides free and broadly supported software applications. Open source can also apply to operating systems, servers, browsers and other software.

  • Open Data, Open Source, and the City of Portland

    Skip Newberry: I look forward to learning about some of the innovative open source and open data initiatives underway in other cities. In particular, I am interested in exploring opportunities for collaboration.

    Mark Greinke: Open Source is a platform that effectively enables collaboration and interactive communities. Attending GOSCON allows us to collectively share our tremendous experiences and talents in solving problems that benefit all our communities. I am extremely excited to learn how our peers are leveraging open source solutions and to share with the community some of the innovative things Portland is doing around Open Source and Open Data.

  • 7 Things We Don’t Have to Invent for Animation Production (Thanks to Free Software and Previous Free Culture Productions)

    Counting your blessings is good for the soul — not to mention for convincing yourself and any investors that your project will succeed. Free culture is highly conservative, because it’s possible to simply reuse ideas (and sometimes actual artifacts) with little to no cost. Here’s seven things I’m really glad I don’t have to worry about in designing the production model for our free culture animated series Lunatics.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Get a Feel of Firefox 4 in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

        Firefox 4 is all over over the news and the funny thing is, Firefox 4 final release has not even happened yet. Firefox 4 beta 6 was released recently and it boasts of key performance improvements and a number of new and useful features like Tab Candy. Let’s do a quick look at the latest Firefox 4 in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

      • Mozilla delays Firefox 4 release until 2011

        According to a just-revised timetable, Firefox 4 will now shift to release candidate status sometime in early 2011. Release candidate, often simply dubbed “RC,” is the final stage of development before a software maker gives the green light for a final version.

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.6.12 and Delays 4.0
      • What’s the matter with Firefox these days?

        Not long ago I was still defending Firefox as a good browser that never, or only very rarely like every few months, crashed on me. That may in retrospect have had something to do with hosts file and all sorts of nasties blockers, because once I disabled these for a while for a little test it suddenly kept crashing, like in abnormally exiting, at least once a day.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle: Google ‘directly copied’ our Java code

      Oracle has updated its lawsuit against Google to allege that parts of its Android mobile phone software “directly copied” Oracle’s Java code.

      Oracle filed a surprise lawsuit against Google in August, claiming portions of Google’s mobile OS platform infringe Java-related copyrights that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems.

  • CMS

    • Tate using Drupal

      The site is based on Drupal. Web design firm BrightLemon London was chosen to build the online community.

  • Government

    • EU’s procurement tool supports purchase orders and service catalogues

      The European Commission published version 1.0 of Open e-Prior, its open source electronic procurement solution for member states, in late September. The new version allows users to import and view catalogues of services, submit purchase orders and credit notes, and exchange invoices.

      The software is made available on the OSOR.eu.

      Open E-Prior version is developed by the Directorate-General for Informatics (Digit) of the European Commission. The tool is Digit’s contribution to the Pan European Procurement Online (Peppol) project. Peppol intends to simplify the cross-border electronic exchange of information between public administrations and their suppliers.


  • Star Trek cited by Texas Supreme Court

    The Texas Supreme Court when writing their opinion in Robinson v. Crown Cork and Seal cited Mr. Spock, effectively making him a legal authority for interpreting the Texas Constitution.

  • City Paper Mocks Competitors For ‘Policies’ Over Stewart/Colbert Rallies

    NPR specifically banned journalists from participating while the Washington Post similarly warned reporters, that they could “observe,” but “cannot in any way put themselves in a position that could be construed as supporting (or opposing) that cause.” Yes, how dare reporters be seen supporting sanity!

  • Multnomah County dumps Microsoft in favor of Google

    Multnomah County officials have decided to dump Microsoft in favor of Google, expecting to shave as much as $600,000 a year from the county budget.

    The government agency said that 3,500 county employees — excluding staff in the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices — will be using Google Apps for Government for e-mail, calendars and contacts Monday. Previously, they relied on Microsoft Outlook for the same functions.

  • Security

    • New Firefox and Thunderbird security releases
    • Pentagon cites hardware glitch in ICBM outage

      A communications malfunction at a Wyoming Air Force base knocked 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles offline for 45 minutes last weekend as technicians scrambled to diagnose the problem, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.


      Officials stressed that there was no possibility the missiles could have launched accidentally, nor was there any indication that foreign governments or terrorists had hacked into the system. If the U.S. had needed to fire the Minuteman III missiles in the affected squadron during the outage Saturday, officials said, backup systems could have been used.

    • Firefox 3.6.12 and 3.5.15 security updates now available
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • X-RAY VANS: Security Measure, or Invasion of Privacy?

      Privacy advocates worried about x-ray scanners making their way around U.S. airports may be surprised to know the technology is also making its way onto America’s streets.

      The Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military and even local law enforcement agencies are buying and deploying mobile X-ray vans that can see into the interior of vehicles around them.

      The Z Backscatter Van (ZBV), manufactured by American Science and Engineering (AS&E), can be used to detect contraband such as car bombs, drugs and people in hiding.

      But the vans, which can also see through clothing and into some buildings, are raising privacy concerns as well as questions about health risks — and what might happen if the technology gets into the wrong hands.

    • Airport body scanners are an unacceptable intrusion

      The introduction of body scanners at international airports followed the case of Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a flight to Detroit on which he was a passenger. He had flown from Yemen via Lagos and Holland’s Schipol Airport. There are real questions about whether the scanners work. Furthermore, they’re not needed; they invade privacy; and they’re potentially unsafe. In evidence before the Canadian parliamentary group investigating scanners, Rafi Sela, a leading Israeli security expert, derided them as ‘useless.’ His experience is acquired in a country which really knows something about security, and has no plan to introduce scanners. The scanners seem unable to penetrate beneath skin. So hiding material in body cavities or in implants conceals them.

    • UK airlines back call for airport security changes

      Mr Broughton said some “completely redundant” security checks should go.

    • BA slams stupid security checks

      Enough already with the security theatre

    • Tantric TSA: The art of foreplay
    • West Midlands Police Issue Apology Over Birmingham Mail Picture

      Reference the article in the Birmingham Mail on Thursday 21 October entitled “Masked Robbers Preyed on Women”.

    • Hotel guest blacklist website irks privacy campaigners

      A Bristol company that has launched a hotel guest blacklist website has prompted a privacy watchdog to call for a government enquiry.

    • Sobriety tests – the latest absurdity to pop into some politician’s foolish head

      He was touting a bonkers new scheme by which drinkers in London who fall foul of the law would be breathalysed or otherwise tested for booze twice a day for prolonged periods of time and, if they failed said tests, could be sent to jail. “It is not just punitive but corrective,” he said. For which, read, nannying and bullying.

    • Some thoughts on privacy and cloud computing

      In an paper published in 2009, HP identifies six cloud computing privacy issues when developing for the cloud. They are:

      1. Minimise personal information sent to and stored in the cloud
      2. Protect personal information in the cloud
      3. Maximise user control
      4. Allow user choice
      5. Specify and limit the purpose of data usage
      6. Provide feedback

    • Follow the Money: Pork-Powered Pig Preps for Flight

      The shifting formation is aimed at confusing potential attackers, a concern that reached a fever pitch after 9/11. It could just as easily apply to the corporations jockeying to replace the aging Marine One fleet — a boondoggle that’s wasted billions and fattened politicians’ war chests for years, as a short list of well-connected players maneuver to build a custom rotary aircraft deemed safe enough to fly the president through almost any crisis, even a nuclear blast.

    • The Revolution Will Be Distributed: Wikileaks, Anonymous And How Little The Old Guard Realizes What’s Going On

      Bear with me, as I try to connect a few different thoughts that are coming together in my mind in this particular post. My thought process kicked off with this monumentally clueless opinion piece by former state department official Christian Whiton, complaining that President Obama and Congress have failed us by not killing the folks behind Wikileaks. I’m not kidding.

  • Finance

    • Mean Street: Goldman Sachs’ Suckers Bond Trade

      Are you still unsure whether we’re in the midst of a giant bond bubble?

      Well, Goldman Sachs sure isn’t. Today, it is selling $1.25 billion in 50-year bonds to retail buyers at a yield of 6.125%.

      Do you believe that Goldman would be selling these bonds a week before the Fed meets if it thought interest rates were heading much lower?

    • Michael Lewis Exposes Goldman’s Prop Trading In Flow Clothing

      In other words, this is nothing less than prop trading masking as flow. Period. The problem is that as this does nothing to address the issue that the TBTFs are once again taking on massive risk in the form of huge principal inventory accumulation. Furthermore, due to the quirks of VaR reporting, this will actually have an impact of reducing reported VaR, even at a time when Morgan Stanley recently reported its highest blended VaR in history. In other words, the TBTFs, in their avoidance of Donk, have become even greater timebombs than ever imagined. And that banks will crash is certain…

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Ubiquitous “Too Much Big Government” Theme

      The “Government intrusion” argument is a powerful propaganda theme that has been around for a long time, and one that big businesses often use to manipulate public opinion. As with so many other corporate-derived propaganda tools, the anti-government theme originated largely with the tobacco industry, which has relied on it for decades to get its way in public policy.

    • Pro-Life Organization Calls Obama The “Angel of Death” (VIDEO)

      A few hours before I left my room for the opening plenary of a two-day conference on abortion, a friend sent me the link to Personhood USA’s latest ad. It was playing in the back of my head as I listened to academics debate, politely but forcefully, about selective abortion and fetal personhood, the right of conscientious objection and the issue of fetal pain. And although I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and left with a more nuanced view of several issues, I’m still terrified for the state of discourse on abortion in this country – in large part because of this ad.

    • Special Report on Outrageous Election Spin and Misinformation

      It’s difficult to watch almost any TV without being bombarded with repetitive ads “paid for” by some group that claims to be just like you, or like someone you want to be, like “Americans for Prosperity” and its so-called “Prosperity Network.” But you can help fight back.

    • Millionaire Insiders Hide Behind Group Attacking Feingold

      An activist group called SpeechNow.Org is running ads against Senator Russ Feingold. It blames him for the deficit and claims that clean election laws he spearheaded are “attacking free speech.” But who’s really behind SpeechNow’s folksy, cartoon attack ads?

      The Money Bags: One funder is multi-millionaire Fred Young, the heir of the Young Radiator fortune in Racine. He sold his Wisconsin company for over $70 million in 1998 to a group that quickly merged with Wabtec Corporation, a multinational with a history of outsourcing jobs to make goods in China and elsewhere.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Schmidt: Don’t Like Google Street View Photographing Your House? Then Move.
    • When Your CEO Suggests Moving In Response To Privacy Questions, Time For A New CEO

      We already had mentioned his bizarre idea that kids might change their names upon becoming adults in the future, but Schmidt just keeps on making rather creepy statements about privacy that suggests someone totally out of touch with what people are actually complaining about.

    • Things heat up in US privacy debate

      Internationally, the EU, OECD and Canada have all taken steps to address privacy concerns while strengthening their current practices. Canada, in particular, recently launched their Privacy by Design campaign that advocates privacy through the principles of IT, technical development, and best business practices. Additionally, US industry groups are taking the issues into their own hands in order to develop industry standard practice through self regulatory programs. In particular, the Interactive Advertising Bureau recently launched their new program.

    • Understanding what Facebook apps really know (FAQ)
    • Nailing the jelly fish

      Late European time on Friday (22 October 2010) Google slipped out a blog confirming that, contrary to previous public assurances, its global Wi-Fi privacy breach had resulted in the widespread collection of consumer data which was more than merely fragments of emails. This included the unauthorised interception of entire emails and passwords.

    • Amazon wins fight to keep customer records private

      In a victory for the free speech and privacy rights of Amazon.com customers, a federal judge ruled today that the company would not have to turn over detailed records on nearly 50 million purchases to North Carolina tax collectors.

      The state had demanded sensitive information including names and addresses of North Carolina customers–and information about exactly what they had purchased between 2003 and 2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Marvel Is Green With Rage Over ‘Hulk’ Power Tools

      Now that Marvel has again decided to revitalize its comic icon the Incredible Hulk with a new TV series, the company is bulking up to protect its “Hulk” trademark.

      In Marvel’s line of sight is an Ohio-based power tool manufacturer, Airbase Industries, that’s introducing a new line of industrial and home equipment under a “Hulk” brand. The company’s marketing tagline for these tools is “Unleash the Power.”

    • The Vatican Concerned About Intellectual Property

      Of course, this actually applies to developed countries as well, but we’ll skip over that for now. Still, it’s nice to see at least some folks recognizing that intellectual property creates competing incentives, and that the only way to judge whether or not it’s a net benefit involves looking at both impacts.

    • South Korea’s US-led copyright policy leads to 65,000 acts of extrajudicial censorship/disconnection/threats by govt bureaucrats

      Tens of thousands of South Koreans have had their websites censored or been kicked off the Internet by their ISPs on the strength of a single, unsubstantiated accusation of copyright infringement, in a process that has no right of appeal, no right to face your accuser, and no right to see or contest the evidence against you.

    • Copyrights

      • ACCESS COPYRIGHT 1,300% Proposed Increase – Update Re Proposed “Interim” Decision/Tariff

        I recently posted on how Access Copyright (“AC”) is trying to eliminate all but two of the 101 timely objectors to its proposed tariff hearing that would seek to increase its per student rate by about 1,300% for university and college students. AC is also seeking to charge for linking to and displaying digital content from the internet, which is interesting since no permission is required to do either.

      • Porn sets goal of ending piracy within 15 months

        Although the RIAA and MPAA have stopped suing P2P users for piracy, the porn industry has decided to take on the task of ridding the Web of file swappers. To show how committed they are the purveyors of porn have set a goal to stop P2P porn piracy within 15 months. That’s a pretty tall order considering that the RIAA and MPAA failed.

      • Third trial to begin in $1.92M music piracy case

        A third trial is set to begin in a bitter, closely watched legal battle between Minnesota native Jammie Thomas-Rasset and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

      • Mom Asks Court to Declare Universal Violated Law in “Dancing Baby” Case
      • Filesharing software distributor LimeWire ordered to close by Court

        One of the world’s largest distributors of Filesharing software, LimeWire, has been placed under permanent injunction by the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, to cease distributing and supporting its software. The injunction, requested by multiple parties including Bertlesmann Music Group, Motown, Capitol Records and Sony Entertainment, was filed and approved 26th October and was issued under Title 17 U.S.C §502, covering infringement of copyright.

Clip of the Day

Giver (more here)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 27/10/2010: Many Developers Choose GNU/Linux Desktops, Russia Moves to GNU/Linux Desktops

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • RedMonk Analytics: What Operating Systems are Developers Using?

    Windows is the easy winner, but Linux is as clearly second to Mac’s third. The primary takeaway for most is that Linux traction is strong amongst Eclipse users. The obvious next question is whether this trend holds amongst a wider development community or whether it’s a more localized Eclipse phenomenon. My hypothesis was that it was the latter; that we would instead see different trends amongst, for example, web developer communities. To test this, I decided to take an unscientific look at the raw data that powers RedMonk Analytics, but filtering it by subject to isolate individual community trends.

  • Russia developing alternative OS to Windows

    The Russian government has decided it is going to develop its own operating system as an alternative to using Microsoft Windows.

    Rather than opting for an existing Linux distribution instead, Russia will invest $4.9 million creating its own OS based on Linux for use across all government departments.

    A meeting is planned in December where vice-prime minister Sergei Ivanov will discuss the details and plan of action for the development. The key aims are to remove the dependence on Windows and allow for better security, while at the same time not becoming just another Linux distribution.

  • Russia to create ‘Windows rival’

    The Russian state plans to revamp its computer services with a Windows rival to reduce its dependence on US giant Microsoft and better monitor computer security, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

    Moscow will earmark 150 million rubles (3.5 million euros, 4.9 million dollars) to develop a national software system based on the Linux operating system, Russian deputy Ilia Ponomarev told AFP, confirming an earlier report in the Vedomosti daily.

  • Kernel Space/Linux Foundation

    • Linux Foundation and Consumer Electronics Linux Forum to Merge

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, and the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF), a nonprofit organization and international open source software development community focused on embedded Linux, today announced they will merge organizations, resulting in the CE Linux Forum becoming a technical workgroup at The Linux Foundation. As part of this merge, The Linux Foundation will expand its technical programs in the embedded computing space.

      The use of Linux in embedded products has skyrocketed in recent years, with Linux now being used in consumer electronic devices of all kinds. CELF and The Linux Foundation believe that by combining resources they can more efficiently enable the adoption of Linux in the Consumer Electronics (CE) industry. Given the broad overlap in members between The Linux Foundation and CELF, the similarity in the goals of both organizations, and the large increase of embedded participants coming to Linux in recent years, this aligning of resources will strengthen each organization and ultimately help the organizations’ members achieve their missions: growing the embedded Linux market.

    • CELF is joining the Linux Foundation
    • Yocto Project aims to standardize embedded Linux builds

      While announcing its merger with the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) today, the Linux Foundation launched an open source build system project called the Yocto Project. Based on the Poky Linux build system, the CELF- and Intel-driven Yocto Project aims to provide open source tools to help companies make custom, Linux-based embedded systems for ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and x86 architectures.

    • While Apple Debates Open vs Integrated, We Want the Best of Both Worlds

      Embedded systems aren’t just the fastest growing market for Linux; they are one of the fastest growing sectors of computing. And in that segment, Linux growth continues to eclipse all other platforms.

      Today, Linux-based systems are powering products and software that are household names: Android, Palm WebOS, Tivo, Sony, and more. But the majority of Linux use in this space is in traditional embedded systems such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, aerospace and defense, and networking, for example. These products typically consist of “roll your own” Linux comprised of upstream components such as the kernel, X, and glibc that run on top of a specific hardware product. Companies and developers in these markets, in particular, are able to leverage free software and build systems quickly and affordably. And while market-share clearly proves this system is working, at The Linux Foundation we have recognized there are even more places where the industry can collaborate to control costs and speed time to market.

    • Linux Embeds Itself Even Deeper

      Because anyone can take Linux and use it as they wish without needing to ask permission (provided they comply with the licence), it ends up being used in lots of places that we rarely hear about. This contrasts with proprietary operating systems, which only get used if they are licensed directly, which means that the licensor always knows exactly what is going on – and can issue yet another boring press release accordingly.

      This contrast between much-trumpeted proprietary activity and near-invisible open goings-on is probably most acute in the world of embedded devices. Most people aren’t even aware that there is an operating system being used in many of their more “intelligent” consumer electronics devices, let alone that it is likely to be a variant of Linux.

    • The Main DRM Pull Request For The Linux 2.6.37 Kernel

      David Airlie has just called upon Linus Torvalds to pull in his DRM kernel tree for the Linux 2.6.37 kernel merge window. We have talked about many of these features before that are now entering the mainline Linux kernel code-base as new capabilities of the open-source Linux graphics stack, but here’s the list of what made the cut for Linux 2.6.37 and details on some of the features we have yet to discuss.

  • Applications

    • 4 useful graphic and non-graphic linux apps for text and color

      Last weekend I hat some nice chats as well at Ubuntu Release Party in Berlin, as well as something like a talk circle. Out of those I like to share some application tipps with you:

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • You Can Finally Install Evernote (4) In Linux, Under Wine

        Evernote 4 has been released yesterday and the new version brings a completely redesigned user interface and a re-write of the code to C++.

      • Adobe To Use TransGaming’s SwiftShader; Remember Cedega?

        TransGaming, the company behind the Cedega program for running Windows games on Linux (as an alternative to using Wine or CodeWeaver’s CrossOver Games) and Cider as the Mac equivalent, has just announced that Adobe is now licensing its SwiftShader Technology for the Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR.

        SwiftShader is TransGaming’s pure software 3D renderer that supports features like vertex/pixel shaders, floating point rendering, and other DirectX 9.0 / OpenGL ES 2.0 level features. Adobe is hooking up with TransGaming so that developers targeting Flash and AIR can utilize 3D APIs (such as Direct3D and OpenGL) and those users that are without any 3D hardware/driver support will fall-back to SwiftShader for the software rendering in future versions of the Flash Player and AIR run-time. This is basically a proprietary CPU-based software renderer that Adobe is licensing from TransGaming.

    • Games

      • Excellent Youtube Channel Covering Linux Gaming Videos

        Linux Gaming by Jake Ward is an awesome Youtube Channel that covers lots of native Linux as well as Windows games that runs perfectly under Wine. The channel neatly categorises all the videos in simple playlists for easy access like native Linux games, free games, Windows games, must have games etc.

        Every video on the channel is accompanied by a brief description about the game and download links if the game is free or any demo is available. One of the cool features about the channel is if you want to see some Linux game in action, just suggest it on the channel and a video on it will be up.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What’s next in GNOME’s future?

        Canonical will be shipping Unity as the default desktop for Ubuntu 11.04. It’ll still be GNOME technologies underneath, GNOME applications will run on it and it’s still optimized for GNOME, but it won’t be the GNOME shell. Not the traditional GNOME shell that we all know and love nor the new GNOME Shell coming out in GNOME 3.0.

      • Orta GTK Theme: A Stylish Theme Based On Elementary

        Inspired (and actually heavily based on…) by the Elementary theme, Orta comes with some slick new elements to give your desktop a more polished look. The most interesting elements are the scrollbar – which even though look a lot like in Elementary, seem more polished -, the Nautilus Elementary breadcrumbs, buttons and the Gedit tabs.

  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic review

      Parted Magic is a compact and lightweight distribution of Linux to help you manage your disk. It is a live distribution that can run off a CD/DVD or a USB drive. It comes packed with several useful disk and partition management tools such as GParted and Clonezilla. Unlike a number of live distributions of Linux out there, Parted Magic has a pretty specialised approach to things.

    • Red Hat Family

      • IGEL Adds VDI Clients for Open-Source SPICE and VMware View 4.5 to its Linux Thin Client Range

        German thin client manufacturer, IGEL Technology, today became the first company in its sector to integrate the open-source software client SPICE into its Linux operating system for its Universal Desktop thin client range. With the SPICE client, IGEL customers who already use Linux at their server level can now provision high-performance virtual desktops with different guest systems. For instance, SPICE can be deployed within the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops solution in order to virtualize Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Fedora

        • Spending the afternoon in Fedora 13
        • Fedora 14 with Live USB Creator and persistent storage for a dry run of the distribution

          Right now I’m testing a recent daily build of Fedora 14 via the Fedora Live USB Creator with persistent storage. Theoretically this should allow me to modify the live Fedora image on the USB and test how the release runs on my hardware with whatever fixes need to be applied in order to make things actually work.

          At this point that means the fglrx driver direct from ATI/AMD, which I’m installing right now, and the creation/modification of /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf to allow for speaker muting when headphones are plugged in.

        • WE WANT YOU!! to help out with Fedora Elections.

          The Fedora Project is gearing up for our twice-annual elections process, for an election period in late November. During this election, we’ll be voting on positions in the following groups:

          * Fedora Board
          * Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo)
          * Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee (FAmSCo)

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • PointnClick guide to running Ubuntu in the cloud

          It doesn’t get any easier than this, so let’s hit it

        • Canonical Will Not Abandon Java, Says Mark Shuttleworth

          The founder of Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth, has announced at UDS that despite the recent decision of Steve Jobs and Apple to move away from the Java environment, Canonical will continue to consider Java a first grade development platform.

        • New UbuntuForums.org Design On The Way

          The Ubuntu website and basically all the official Ubuntu related websites have been upgraded to use the new Ubuntu branding, except for Ubuntuforums.

          But that’s about to change. Mike Basinger create a blueprint @ Launchpad regarding this matter which has already been accepted, so it looks like we’ll be getting a new Ubuntuforums design soon (I’m not sure when).

        • What is Ubuntu?

          Video produced designed to be looped telling people in a fun way what Ubuntu is.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu WebLive now features Edubuntu 11.04 daily builds

            Yesterday during the Edubuntu plenary at the Ubuntu Developer Summit I announced that you can now try the latest development release from WebLive.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Abiword Wordprocessing

            In this Screencast I show you the default wordprocessing application under Lubuntu 10.10 called Abiword.
            Abiword has some special features which allow you to work collaboratively on a document or search the web for translating passages of your text.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Playstation Phone Gets One Step Closer to Reality

          Engadget claims the phone will be most likely be running Android 3.0 but also mentions Gingerbread which we’ve been hearing is actually Android 2.3.

        • The PlayStation Phone? Images, hardware specs surface

          Are we moving closer to the official announcement of a PlayStation Phone? Engadget is running images of a device it claims to be the mythical hardware, with a few interesting details. The phone allegedly sports a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655, 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is “in the range” of 3.7 to 4.1 inches.

        • PlayStation Phone ‘is most definitely real’

          Images of the PlayStation Phone which emerged today are “most definitely real”, despite the spreading reports of it being fake.

          So says Engadget, who asserts that the images and spec information it reports have come from “multiple trusted sources”.

          “The PlayStation Phone in the photos we ran last night, and the device reported on back in August is most definitely real,” says the site, reminding us of an incredibly similar mock up it released in August.

        • PayPal Announces Android Market Payment Support, Quickly Pulls It

          Well, well, well. An eagle-eyed reader tells us PayPal posted a short announcement yesterday on its corporate blog, only to pull it mere seconds later. As you can tell from the URL, PayPal was poised to announce support for “all three major mobile platforms” (also see retweets of the blog post).

        • Is Android Open?

          Steve Jobs raised the question last week “Is Android Open?”. What was particularly funny was that he was using the word “open” in a sense that most people don’t use or hear these days. That’s why it was so funny to see Andy Rubin’s response, because they were talking about fundamentally different things. What a lot of people have forgotten is that the word “open” was seriously redefined in 1998 by the people who coined “open source.”

          Before open source “open” meant compatibility. “Open computing” was a selling point of the workstation market that said “if you compile your [usually C] code on a DEC workstation, you can send it to your friend who uses a Sun workstation, it will work. Fantastic! Buy our hardware!” Modern Macintosh computers are the descendants, not of Mac OS 9, but of NeXT computers, which were Steve Jobs’ workstation computers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Apache, KDE

    To get from commit 1 to commit 1,000,000 took the ASF roughly 14-and-a-half years and the effort of 2506 contributors in the VCS. For KDE it was roughly 10-and-a-half years and the effort of 2154 contributors in the VCS.

  • ForgeRock: Announcing OpenIDM

    You’ll recall that we started ForgeRock near the start of 2010 to provide continuity for customers of Sun’s enterprise identity middleware products and from that to establish a new ISV creating an identity-oriented application platform, all as open source software. So far we have rehosted OpenSSO in the OpenAM project, and rehosted OpenDS in the OpenDJ project. Demand has been strong and we’ve established a diverse international customer base already, after only 9 months.

  • ForgeRock Community Participation Agreement (FCPA) version 1.0
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • First Look at Firefox Mobile 4

        Mozilla has publicized beta releases of the desktop version of Firefox 4 since July, but mobile users can test out the next major update to the mobile browser as well. Firefox 4 for Mobile is officially at beta 1, with builds available for devices running Android and Nokia’s Maemo operating system.


        After all, it is all well and good that Android itself is an open source operating system, but the application marketplace and the OEM pre-installed app list is still dominated by proprietary software. Maemo is soon to be replaced in mass-market devices by MeeGo, and although its netbook builds run the usual stack of Linux applications, the handheld products may not. We might not see Emacs and XChat on our phones any time soon, but it’s reassuring to see a high-quality, extensible open source browser made available. I just wonder if we will ever see it preinstalled.

      • Mozilla delays Firefox 4 until ‘early 2011′

        Mozilla has pushed back the planned release of Firefox to sometime in “early 2011.” Previously, the open source outfit had said its latest desktop browser would be officially released next month.

  • Oracle

    • [Olivier Hallot leaves OOo]

      So by closing this important chapter, and with the feeling that I had my mission accomplished within the OpenOffice.org community, I must now to communicate that I am resigning from the roles I took in OpenOffice.org project in the last 9 years, namely in the Community Council as well as the translation lead for Brazilian Portuguese. My duties in the BrOffice community remains unchanged.

      Congratulations for the amazing new 3.3 release and farewell.

    • IBM releases Lotus Symphony 3 office suite

      IBM has announced the arrival of version 3 of its free Lotus Symphony office suite. The productivity tool suite consists of three applications, Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations, and is based on the 3.x branch of OpenOffice.org.

  • CMS

    • In Praise of Open Source Diversity

      What’s really great here is that the leader of one CMS projects comments directly on the blog post of another CMS leader. That’s what you’d hope from open projects working in the same space, but it’s still good to see. I also think it is rather healthy to hear that the two leaders differ here. As I mentioned at the start of this post, choice is central to free software, and that’s not just a matter of software: it also refers to people’s views. Just as proprietary monocultures bring with them great vulnerability, so open source diversity of this kind is a very real strength.

  • Government

    • FR: ‘Marseille’s desktop plans conflict with procurement rules’

      Plans developed by the IT department of the French city of Marseille to replace its three desktops operating systems by a single proprietary operating system, are breaking procurement rules, alleges April, an association on free software and Libertis, a association of IT service companies specialising in this type of software.

      In a call for tender, a public administration can request the use of open source, April and Libertis write in their statement published on 19 October. “However, to select one particular brand is strictly prohibited by the Procurement Code.”

      In its statement, the two associations protest the end to Marseille’s plans to move to an open source desktop operating system: “The chief technology officer (CTO) has abruptly stopped the switch to Linux and is imposing his personal choices. We denounce his illegal and authoritarian choices that go against the interests of the city and the taxpayers of Marseille.”

    • Why You Should Respond to the e-Commerce Consultation
    • PT: ‘Gvt must stop breaking procurement rules and move to open source’

      The Portuguese Association for Free Software (Ansol) is urging the government to stop buying proprietary software licences without a public tender, and to switch to free and open source software.

      The advocacy group uncovered that five public administrations in 2009 spent more than 120 million Euro in total on proprietary software licences for operating systems and office applications, without properly following procurement rules. “It is illegal, and in these times of crises, such volumes are unjustifiable.”

    • Speaker Guest Editorial | Linux: Reducing Costs in Government Application

      As we prepare for GOSCON this year, there are a number of key topics that come to mind. When one thinks about “Government” today, undoubtedly we hear discussions around cuts in government services; the need to raise taxes; stopping or reducing deficit spending and the general trend of doing more with less. This is not just at the Federal level, it is also a focus at the state and local government levels, too. In 2007, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population—3.3 billion people—lived in cities. By 2050, city dwellers are expected to make up 70% of Earth’s total population, or 6.4 billion people. So isn’t it critical for us to start to understand just how technology fits into this ever-growing clamor for improved government services at reduced costs to the taxpayer?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why We Hack: The Benefits of Disobedience

      Sometimes disobedience is necessary and good when rules fail us, and it’s at the core of why we hack. Hacking is a means of expressing dissatisfaction, confounding the mechanism, and ultimately doing better. Here’s why it’s so important.

    • Rethinking Wikipedia contributions rates

      About a year ago news stories began to surface that wikipedia was losing more contributors that it was gaining. These stories were based on the research of Felipe Ortega who had downloaded and analyzed millions the data of contributors.

      This is a question of importance to all of us. Crowdsourcing has been a powerful and disruptive force socially and economically in the short history of the web. Organizations like Wikipedia and Mozilla (at the large end of the scale) and millions of much smaller examples have destroyed old business models, spawned new industries and redefined the idea about how we can work together. Understand how the communities grow and evolve is of paramount importance.

  • Programming

    • Geek&Poke Looks Behind The Scenes Of Coders
    • 7 programming languages on the rise

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

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 web video flashes past Flash

      HTML5 now commands a majority of web-based video support, but its rise is being fueled by mobile devices. Adobe Flash still holds the lead in desktop content.

      This news comes from a new survey of HTML5-video penetration conducted by MeFeedia, the self-described “largest independent video site on the web with partnerships so big they make us nervous.” The company’s content partners include Hulu, CBS, and ABC, and they carry content from such sites as YouTube, Vimeo, and others.


  • Book review: The Return of the Public by Dan Hind

    It is becoming a cliché to say that we live in a time of crisis. Whether it’s catastrophic climate change, financial meltdown or collapse of trust in our political representatives, disaster is already upon us and the state seems powerless to construct a meaningful response.

    According to Dan Hind’s new book, underlying our inability to tackle these crises is yet another crisis – a crisis of publicity. In his view, the make up of the ‘public’ – “the informed autonomous body capable of initiating policy and driving legislative changes” – now excludes the vast majority of people. Instead, the state bends itself to an elite public dominated by those who control (though not own) the vast capital flows of major corporations and the financial markets which connect them.

  • Oct. 27, 1994: Web Gives Birth to Banner Ads

    1994: Wired.com, then known as HotWired, invents the web banner ad. Go ahead, blame us.

  • Girl turns her boring old minivan into the Ninja Turtles van

    Minivans aren’t the most exciting vehicles to drive around. But the Ninja Turtles’ van? Now that’s how you get around in style. So when 23-year-old Brittney Schneck came into possession of a ’94 Dodge Caravan, she decided to upgrade it to something a bit more gnarly.


    Top Mafia boss Gerlandino Messina was playing an Xbox game based on the popular Godfather movies before being arrested last weekend, police said Wednesday.

  • Research finds that databases are unreliable

    ACCORDING TO RESEARCH by Informatica Corp, databases are not doing the job they were intended to do.

    Informatica, which sells enterprise integration software, has published its research into how well databases are used and integrated, and warned that many are “falling short of ideals”.

  • Nearly half of top UK firms do not use software escrow

    Almost half of the 350 most valuable listed companies in the UK do not have software escrow agreements in place to give them access to technology if a supplier goes bust, according to an escrow services company.

  • Will the New MySpace Suck Less?

    Do you have some “Generation Y” teens or pre-teens lazing about your home? Because the terminally ill old social network down by the river, MySpace, would like to show them racy videos all day in his redesigned internet van. Exciting.

  • Jobs turned down Bungie… at first: how Microsoft burned Apple

    Tuncer Deniz worked at Bungie as a producer from 1996 to 1998 and served as the project lead on Myth 2, but he stayed in contact with top Bungie execs. After recently hearing the story of how Steve Jobs got angry when Bungie went to Microsoft in 2000, Deniz decided to tell us what had happened as he heard it. Turns out that Steve Jobs was angry for a very simple reason: he had wanted to purchase Bungie himself… after first turning the company down.

  • Google’s big buy

    Google appears close to buying the trophy 111 Eighth Ave. building, one of the largest buildings in Manhattan, The Post has learned.

  • Science

    • Giant crater may have been extinction trigger

      One of the largest meteorite impacts in the world has been discovered in the Australian outback – an impact so powerful it may have been the trigger for a major extinction event.

      The meteorite struck Australia around 300 million years ago and produced a ‘shock zone’ – the area of land deformed by the strike – at least 80 km wide.

    • FPGA manufacturer claims to beat Moore’s Law

      CHIP DESIGNER Xilinx has announced that it can beat Moore’s Law by introducing stacked silicon interconnects.

      The announcement debuts devices that allow for higher bandwidth, capacity and reduction in power by having multiple field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in a single package. The firm is saying that by using 3D packaging and through-silicon vias on its 28nm 7 series FPGAs, it can “overcome the boundaries of Moore’s Law and offer electronics manufacturers unparalleled power, bandwidth and density optimization”.

    • Three Gorges dam finally operating at full capacity

      The water level at the Three Gorges dam, aka the largest hydropower plant in the world, reached its maximum yesterday, spurring electricity output to full capacity for the first time since it began operations in 2008. Dam officials have been holding back water since September in order to let it rise to its peak height of 175m Tuesday morning.

    • Chip giants investigate more power efficient chip design

      IBM and other chip makers look beyond CMOS to design a more energy efficient processor

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • It’s the Occupation, Stupid

      In the decade since 9/11, the United States has conquered and occupied two large Muslim countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), compelled a huge Muslim army to root out a terrorist sanctuary (Pakistan), deployed thousands of Special Forces troops to numerous Muslim countries (Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, etc.), imprisoned hundreds of Muslims without recourse, and waged a massive war of ideas involving Muslim clerics to denounce violence and new institutions to bring Western norms to Muslim countries. Yet Americans still seem strangely mystified as to why some Muslims might be angry about this situation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The clamour for African coal

      Tete, in Mozambique, sits above one of the world’s largest reserves of high-quality coal. Money is pouring in and the mood is upbeat, writes Richard Lapper, but getting the product to market won’t be easy.

  • Finance

    • Belgium in Crisis: Potato Prices Rise

      Investors world-wide are braced for rising commodity prices: The cost of sugar is set to surpass the 30-year high recorded earlier this year, while breakfast cereal manufacturers will increase prices to reflect the soaring market value of corn. But for Belgium, the worst is yet to come: The potato market is “firm” and Belgian fries may be set to rise in price.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Armed with new treaty, Europe amplifies objections to U.S. data-sharing demands

      The Obama administration has encountered mounting resistance in Europe to its demands for broad sharing of airline passenger data and other personal information designed to spot would-be terrorists before they strike.

      Europe’s objections, based on privacy considerations, worry U.S. counterterrorism officials because computer scrutiny of passenger lists has become an increasingly important tool in the struggle to prevent terrorists from entering the United States or traveling to and from their havens. The would-be Times Square bomber was hauled off a Dubai-bound airliner in May, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said, after his name on the manifest produced a ding in Department of Homeland Security computers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM Is Toxic To Culture

      Digital Restriction Methods (DRM) aren’t just a nuisance that treats all customers as if they had stolen what they actually paid for. They also threaten our future cultural heritage.

    • British Library explores research technologies of the future

      Working with hardware partner HP and software partner Microsoft, the library is showcasing a range of research tools, including a prototype of Sony’s RayModeler 360-degree Autostereoscopic Display that uses gesture control to view static and moving 3D images and video.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How Trademark Law Has Turned From A Consumer Protection Law, Into A Weapon To Hinder Competition

      Trademark lawyer Ron Coleman, who runs the excellent Likelihood of Confusion blog, has now written a paper that highlights his concerns about where trademark law has been trending recently, and comparing it to the excesses of copyright law these days.

    • Copyrights

      • Consultation Lays Bare Divide Over Future of Canadian Book Industry

        Those cultural policies are part of a major government consultation that comes amid signals that Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore may be open to relaxing those policies as online sellers and electronic books shake up the marketplace. Last spring, the government approved the establishment of a physical distribution facility for Amazon.ca, a move opposed by the Canadian Booksellers Association. The approval came with strings attached – Amazon promised new investments in Canada, increased availability of French language content, and higher visibility of Canadian books – but the precedent was clearly established.

      • Torrent Site Launches VPN to Counter France’s Anti-Piracy Law

        With the introduction of its three-strikes law, France has positioned itself at the forefront of the ‘war on piracy’. Under the new Hadopi legislation, alleged copyright infringers will be hunted down systematically, but not if it’s up to France’s largest torrent site. In a counter-move the Smartorrent team recently launched a VPN service, and nearly 2500 users of the site have already signed up for an account.

      • 5 Ways To Download Torrents Anonymously

        With anti-piracy outfits and dubious law-firms policing BitTorrent swarms at an increasing rate, many Bittorrent users are looking for ways to hide their identities from the outside world. To accommodate this demand we’ll give an overview of 5 widely used privacy services.

      • New EU Music Copyright Rules for 2011

        This new copyright proposal forms part of the European Commission’s general overhaul – officially a relaunch – of the Single European Market. The announcement was made at a press conference in Brussels today, and encompasses 50 proposals to be put in place by 2012.

        The Commission’s big new idea is to acknowledge that citizens, as well as business, have a stake in the Single Market. The relaunch was therefore held jointly by Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market, and Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights.

      • The music industry’s new business model

        An interesting story from Financial Times is the result of an interview with Brian Message, a former accountant (i.e. lion-tamer in training) who is one of Radiohead’s three managers. Thom Yorke of Radiohead, according to the article, has predicted the demise of the major labels within months. Good. I don’t think he’s inflating things at all.


        I hope that Brian Message and Thom Yorke are right: what is about to happen to the a-holes running the major labels is not just “DIY record labels.” The music industry is cannibalizing itself and all that will be left will be small businesses that actually care about music. That will be the only way to get music: buy it from the artists themselves.

      • Ton Roosendaal, Sintel Producer and head of Blender Institute

        Sintel is the Blender Institute’s third “open movie”. Could you describe what “open movie” means to the Blender Institute?

        Oh… many things. First, I love to work with artists, which goes much easier than working with developers! And making short animation films with teams is an amazing and very rewarding activity. With this large creative community of Blender artists, the financial model enables it even; not many short film makers have this opportunity.

        But the practical incentive to do this is because it’s a great development model for Blender. Putting artists together on a major challenge is the ultimate way to drive software like Blender forward. That way we can also ensure it fits ambitious targets weeding out the ‘would be cool features’ for the ‘must need’ ones. And it’s quite easier to design usability with small diverse teams, than have it done online via feedback mechanisms, which easily becomes confusing with the noise of hundreds of different opinions.

      • ACTA

        • Corruption perception index and # MINUTES

          La nota de hoy sin duda es la publicación por parte de Transparencia Internacional (TI) de su lista anual del índice de corrupción por país. The letter of today is undoubtedly the publication by Transparency International (TI) in its annual corruption index by country. Para transparencia internacional, la corrupción puede ser definida como el abuso del poder para beneficio privado. For Transparency International, corruption can be defined as the abuse of power for private gain. El indice es la percepción que se tiene de la corrupción en el sector público y para ser medido se requiere como mínimo de tres fuentes. The index is the perception that there is corruption in the public sector is required to be measured at least three sources.

          Prometo hacer un análisis más amplio, pero de entrada me metí a ver cómo le había ido a los países negociadores de ACTA respecto del año pasado, esto fue lo que encontré: I promise to do further analysis, but the input I got to see how he had gone to the ACTA negotiating countries from last year, this is what I found…

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintMenu (more here)

Credit: TinyOgg

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