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08.17.10

Links 17/8/2010: Palamida Joins Linux Foundation, Natty Narwhal is Next Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Is Linux the computing Tower of Babel?

    There is a story called “The Tower of Babel”. It is based in ancient times where all people spoke the same language and made a decision to build a tower to reach the heavens. Then, according to the story, the big guy from above saw their hubris and decided to scramble their languages and spread these people around like Vegemite on toast. If you don’t know what Vegemite is then beware of Australians offering sandwiches :)

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Showdown

      Last week I gave a presentation at LinuxCon in sunny Boston entitled Desktop Linux Distribution Showdown. The premise was to compare the three most popular desktop distributions to find out which is most user-friendly. It wasn’t easy, and the results might (or might not) surprise you.

    • Touch Slate PC: Made in Pakistan

      You are running a Linux Ubuntu Operating System on the laptop — Considering the Ubuntu penetration into the consumer market, what’s the target audience for this?

      We have customized the UBUNTU OS to feel and work like Windows OS. One major reason was the price of Windows 7 for touch screen is approximately US$ 110, which is 1/4th the price of the complete machine, and we have yet to find a customer willing to pay for the Windows OS. We installed Open Office and can install all Windows-based software through WINE, hence all Windows machine file formats are supported and interchangeable with those on our machine without any issues.

  • Server

    • LSI 3ware RAID Controller Cards Selected by Blue Box Group to Boost I/O Performance for Cloud-based Customers

      The improved data transfer rates and ease of management of 3ware 6Gb/s controllers, combined with Pogo Linux’s robust Intel(R)-based Iris servers, provide Blue Box Group with a scalable, high-performance infrastructure from which to build its cloud-based application and database solution.

    • Oracle dumping HPC: Genius or foolhardy?

      Oracle doesn’t seem to understand that HPC is the birthplace of IT innovation. Many of the technologies used in enterprise computing today got their start in HPC, including clustering for scale, the use of Linux for computationally complex tasks, and high-speed storage and networking gear.

    • IBM Bolsters Power7 Server Lineup

      IBM on Tuesday continued its introduction of servers based on its new Power7 architecture with the debut of several midrange systems, including one purpose-built for data intensive business analytics applications, and a high-end system that features 250 processor cores.

  • Kernel Space/OIN/LF

    • PyMT 0.5 advances multi-touch for Python

      The PyMT developers have announced version 0.5 of their Python multi-touch user interface library. PyMT 0.5 supports Windows 7 and Mac OS X multi-touch APIs and, in this version, now supports Linux multi-touch kernel events, which were introduced in the 2.6.32 Linux kernel.

    • Linux defense group invests in mobile ID security

      Linux patent defense organization Open Invention Network (OIN) announced a partnership with Arizona State University’s Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) office, focused on mobile device identity management research. As part of the agreement, OIN acquired key intellectual property from AzTE aimed at providing “intellectual property for defensive purposes” for open source software on mobile devices, says OIN.

    • Palamida Joins Linux Foundation

      Palamida has become the newest member of The Linux Foundation. It will participate in The Linux Foundation’s new Open Compliance Program.

      The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program includes a set of tools, training curricula and a new self-administered assessment that will allow companies to ensure compliance in a cost-effective and efficient manner. It also includes a new data exchange standard so companies and their suppliers can easily report software information consistently.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open Invention Network Sponsoring Innovative Mobile Device Identity Management Research at Arizona State University

        A defensive patent management organization formed by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony to support Linux systems, OIN has established a uniquely collaborative business model attractive to universities. OIN licenses the technologies from its defensive patent pool on a royalty-free basis. It typically works with universities on technology and patent acquisitions, funded research, and defensive publication programs.

      • Intel’s GLSL2 Branch Is Merged To Mesa Master

        As we reported last month, Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center developers responsible for working on their open-source Linux graphics stack has been wanting to merge their GLSL2 shader compiler into the mainline Mesa code-base by the end of August so that it can be released as part of Mesa 7.9 by the end of this quarter. Over the night this milestone was hit and the GLSL2 compiler is now in Mesa master and has replaced the antiquated GL Shading Language compiler long used by Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMyMoney 4.5 for KDE Platform 4 released

        After more than 15 months of development, the KMyMoney team has released the first stable version of their personal finance manager built on KDE Platform 4. KMyMoney 4.5, which aims to be the best, free personal finance manager, is now based on KDE 4 and competes with such similar finance applications as GnuCash, a cross-platform personal and small-business financial-accounting program.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GTK+2, GTK+3 Plays More With Cairo For Drawing

        With GNOME 3.0 not being released now until March of 2011, GNOME 2.32 is being released next month and will continue to focus on dependable and trusted GNOME 2.x technologies, such as the GTK+2 library rather than GTK+3 that’s been in development for quite a number of months and is already supported by most GNOME modules.

        While most development work on this primary tool-kit of GNOME is still focused towards GTK+ 3.0, GTK+2 continues to receive a bit of love with GTK+ 2.22 being the last planned stable release. Making way towards GTK+ 2.22 there was the release of GTK+ 2.21.6 last night as one of the final development snapshots towards this release that bids farewell to GTK+2. GTK+ 2.21.6 is being checked-in with the many other official GNOME modules that are providing updates for the GNOME 2.32 Beta release that’s expected later in the week.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Does your organization need a “no policy” policy?

        At Red Hat, employees were given a lot of freedom, much more than in any other company I’d ever worked for. Yet Red Hat also had a strong culture of accountability. What we found over the years (these values were first articulated back in 2002) would probably be counterintuitive to many people:

        The more freedom the company gave, the more accountability it received in return.

        We watched this play out over and over in different parts of the company. More freedom in a department = more personal accountability from employees in that department. Conversely, the less freedom, the less accountability.

      • Installing CentOS Server for Production

        Installing a Linux server is easy, especially if you download one of the latest CentOS ISOs. There’s a nice wizard to walk you through the installation process, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do a standard default install. But, if you intend to do any serious hosting or expect production quality performance out of the system, or if you are just as particular as I am, than a bit of customizing of the install at the beginning could save you lots of time later on down the road.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Dell Expands KACE Systems Management Marketing Team

          An Ubuntu Linux veteran has joined Dell as part of the PC giant’s effort to focus on systems management. Ken Drachnik, a former manager at Canonical (promoter of Ubuntu) has joined Dell as director of product marketing for KACE, The VAR Guy has confirmed. Here are the details and the implications for Dell’s systems management strategy.

        • N-imal?

          And so, we come swiftly to a conclusion: allow me to introduce the Natty Narwhal, our mascot for development work that we expect to deliver as Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Is Codenamed The Natty Narwhal

          Mark Shuttleworth has just announced via his blog that Ubuntu 11.04, which will be released in April of 2011, is codenamed the Natty Narwhal.

        • Canonical developer decodes Apple’s Magic Trackpad

          Canonical developer Chase Douglas says Ubuntu 10.10 will have multi-touch support for Apple’s Magic Trackpad, iPod, iPad, iPhone, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Canonical’s announcement yesterday that it had released uTouch 1.0, a multi-touch gesture recognising stack for multi-touch based devices, prompted queries about which Apple multi-touch devices were supported. In a Canonical log posting, Douglas has listed the supported devices and announced that he has decoded the protocol for Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SODIMM-sized SBC has onboard flash, microSD slot

      Keith and Koep GmbH announced a SODIMM-sized, Linux-compatible single board computer (SBC) and a compact baseboard to go with it. The Trizeps VI offers Marvell Armada 100-series processors clocked at 800MHz or 1.1GHz, up to 256MB of RAM and 512MB of flash storage, and an onboard microSD socket, while the baseboard adds an Ethernet port and HDMI, among other functionality.

    • Boxing Clever: Livestation On Boxee, EMI On PS3’s VidZone, Sky On I-Can

      Live TV news aggregator Livestation is taking an app on to Boxee, the internet TV media centre software for Mac, Windows, Linux and AppleTV.

      For the time being, Livestation’s premium channels, which it is now trying to push, are available on Mac and Linux only.

    • Cheap Linux wall warts small on size, big on possibilities

      Every geek and technology lover will undoubtedly have stumbled across online adverts for tiny headless Linux-powered devices that are barely larger than the power point they plug into. What can you actually do with them? Plenty, it seems!

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google releases Froyo and new Voice Actions widget

          Froyo is currently available only on a few phones, including Google’s Nexus One and some HTC Evo 4G and original Droid phones. It will soon ship on the Droid 2, and next month will be available for the Droid X, while many other Android devices will be updated in the coming months.

        • Tablets, eReaders, and More Coming from Verizon as 2H Details Emerge

          Motorola isn’t taking their foot off of the gas, bringing an XT610 which is said to feature a Droid X-like screen size (4.3-inches) but with hardware more in the middle of the pack (think 3.2 or 5-megapixel camera and slower CPU). PhoneArena’s source says to expect a $100-$130 price point with a contract. Also arriving in October is a Motorola A957 “Sick” which likely comes from a “Dude, check out how sick this phone is!”

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Archos thinks small for next Cortex-A8 Android tablet

        A 3.2-inch, Android 2.1 tablet called the Archos 32 has been spotted on the FCC’s website. Like the Archos 5 and Archos 7, the Archos 32 is said to run on an ARM Cortex A8 system-on-chip (SoC), and offers GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, accelerometers, and composite video out, according to a manual posted on the FCC site.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenLuna Picks Up Where NASA’s Moon Mission Leaves Off

    Though the Obama administration is ending NASA’s moon mission, not everyone is taking the news lying down. A group of engineers and scientists have teamed up with a handful of universities and companies in the space industry to form a collaborative volunteer organization called the OpenLuna Foundation. Together, they hope to pick up space exploration where NASA left off and eventually settle a manned outpost on the surface of the moon.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Really Expensive Software

    The “Great Recession” has businesses and consumers alike looking for ways to cut costs. That includes looking for cheaper alternatives to expensive software.

    In most cases, open source applications offer much lower prices, even if you need to purchase paid support. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of open source alternatives to software that tends to cost a lot.

    This list comes with a few caveats. First, it’s nearly impossible to find prices for the very most expensive software you can buy. Many enterprise software vendors don’t release their prices because they negotiate separately with each customer or because their licensing schemes are so complicated that they could never explain them adequately in less than 5,000 words.

  • OpenOffice Base – A Simple And Useful Database Management Tool

    When most people think OpenOffice, they think of word processing or spreadsheets. What many people do not realize is that OpenOffice also includes Base, a database system roughly equivalent to MS Access. Many businesses and individuals use these systems to allow even non-technical people to enter, store, retrieve and organize their data. Using Base, you can follow simple steps to create an easy, user-friendly way for people to store and retrieve information using custom-designed forms and reports.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • FoxToPhone sends URLs from Firefox to Android phones

        FoxToPhone, formerly known as SendToPhone, is an extension for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser that allows users to send their current web page directly and almost instantly to their Android-powered device using an address bar button. Users can also send any link, image or page to their mobile device by simply right clicking on it and selecting the appropriate action. Additionally, highlighted text can be sent directly to the phone’s clipboard.

  • Healthcare

    • Laws governing medical devices in the EU and their effect on free and open source software

      States of the European Union recently implemented Directive 2007/47/EEC of September 5th 2007 concerning Medical Devices. This Directive amended Directive 93/42/EEC from June 14th 1993. Given that this Directive should now have become part of the national legislation of each EU Member State, it is a good time to take a look at how the provisions of the Directive could apply to open source software.

  • Business

  • Project Releases

    • jQuery Mobile Project announced

      The jQuery Project developers have announced the launch of the jQuery Mobile project, a new project for a cross-platform mobile version of their JavaScript framework. According to jQuery creator John Resig, as part of the new mobile project, the core jQuery library is being improved to work across the various major mobile platforms and their browsers. Resig says that the developers are working to release “a complete, unified, mobile UI framework”. Current expectations are that this will be completed in late 2010.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • A Programmer’s Discussion: Procedural vs. OO

      So I have been writing code of one sort or another for over 15 years (mostly Perl) and there is still one thing I don’t get … what is the advantage of object oriented programming (OOP) over procedural programming (PP)?

      I want to have an open discussion on the topic. Obviously I deal with both OOP and PP, but I am strongly in the PP camp. I am wondering “did I miss the boat”? I heard that Perl 6 will have very strong OOP and possibly will be pure OOP only, so if Larry Wall (way smarter then me) thinks it is a good idea, I must have missed something.

Leftovers

  • Defamation reform – the role of juries

    Lord Lester explained that in his Bill he had reversed the presumption that trial is by jury rather than by judge in defamation proceedings because, in the present situation, the prospect of jury trial supposedly makes it more likely that parties hold out for the prospect of argument before juries rather than settling the case early, which would generally be in the interests of the parties (and, incidentally, save the state costs). I question whether the practical consideration about the likelihood of cases settling earlier is worth changing the principle of trial by jury, but – regardless of the accuracy or merits of that decision on its own terms – I would highlight the great risk involved in this approach.

  • How Do Native Apps and Web Apps Compare?
  • Health

    • Potter to NAIC: Be a Hero to Consumers

      A consumer watchdog told insurance commissioners here that consumers are looking to state regulators to protect them from health care companies’ tendency to put shareholders first.

      Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive who is now affiliated with the Center for Media and Democracy, Madison, Wis., addressed attendees at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC’s) summer meeting Saturday.

  • Security/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Welcome to the Infotainment Freak Show

      In a media atmosphere that prefers entertainment over enlightenment, segments such as the one occurring on Aug. 10 on Morning Joe have become the norm. Rather than spend time talking about issues of substance, Joe Scarborough and his team instead decided to spend a whole segment of his show poking fun at Rep. John Boehner new tan. It’s not as if anything else more important is occurring at the moment in the world, right? Infotainment, as epitomized by this segment, often reigns supreme in the mess that is the contemporary American “news” industry.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Pirate Party Strikes Hosting Deal With Wikileaks

      During his visit to the the Swedish capital Stockholm, Wikileaks spokesman Julian Assange struck a deal with the local Pirate Party. The Party, which participates in the national elections next month, will host several new Wikileaks servers to protect the freedom of the press and help the whistleblower site to carry out its operation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • iiNet counts meaningful ISPs on one hand

      There are only “four and a half” meaningful players left in Australia’s internet service provider (ISP) market, iiNet supremo Michael Malone said today, with companies like Primus and Eftel not relevant any more in terms of providing competition.

    • Reports Of The Web’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated Through Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

      In fact, much of both articles seems to be wishful thinking to support a view that the two authors — Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff — hope the world will come to eventually, rather than what seems to actually be happening. In both cases, it feels like they take the misleading graph at the top as the starting point, and then justify it, even though it’s not painting an accurate picture. There is this new fascination with app madness as the latest new thing — and companies love it because they think it gives them back some of the control they’ve lost to the open web. But, openness tends to find its way through. Closed systems are great for leading a charge to a new level, but they almost always stall out as more open solutions leapfrog them in the end. Apps are still digital, after all, and it’s tough to keep anything digital closed for too long.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U2 Manager Blames ‘Free’ And Anonymous Internet Bloggers For Industry Troubles

        Paul, the people responding to your speeches and interviews and columns with these concerns are not some bogeymen from the dark with no name reaching out to “attack” you. We’re people who love music and worry about an industry that is making many misguided and dangerous decisions that do more to harm the music world than the new services and technologies you apparently haven’t taken the time to understand. We’re not attacking you. We’re pointing out the very big flaws in your ideas. Rather than repeating the same flawed plans — with gratuitous and incorrect claims of some anonymous mob that’s out to get you — perhaps you could respond to the actual points that we’ve raised? Or is asking for that just a form of an attack?

      • Lawrence Lessig’s new journey (part one)

        Lessig is a visionary when it comes to digital freedom and is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the priviledge of meeting in person. I’m a huge Creative Commons fan. I see it and his work as championing one of the basic things there is to know and learn in life: sharing. We’re all part of one big community and, every chance we get, I feel like we should share knowledge, thoughts, science, research, art, and anything else that we know or create.

      • uTorrent Backs Artist, Bundles Album With New Downloads

        Following in the footsteps of The Pirate Bay and the successful BitTorrent distribution platform Vodo, uTorrent has now embraced an artist of their own. Starting today, all new uTorrent downloads will be bundled with the latest album from PAZ, an up and coming musician who hopes to achieve stardom through BitTorrent.

Clip of the Day

Ixquick’s New Proxy Service!


Links 17/8/2010: Linux in Portugal, ~55,000,000 Android Phones This Year

Posted in News Roundup at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cash and Community: Incentives and Open Source Development

    This is a concern for some members of the FOSS community, like Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center and Software Freedom Conservancy. During the session, Kuhn expressed dismay that “too many people make money” working on FOSS funded by corporations, and not enough projects are being driven by hackers looking to scratch their own itch. Kuhn’s concerns are echoed by a number of contributors in the FOSS community, who say that a strong community should include developers who work on a project out of passion rather than for a paycheck. While Kuhn doesn’t say that projects should be without corporate contributions, he says that too many projects are initiated and driven by companies rather than growing organically and becoming useful to companies over the long run.

    Sun’s purchase by Oracle highlights some dangers of corporate-driven FOSS projects, or projects depending too deeply on corporate largess. Many projects funded by Sun have floundered since Oracle took over the company, and other efforts — such as GNOME’s accessibility work — have taken a hit because Oracle laid off the only developers paid to work on those projects full time.

  • Business

    • New Report Details The Rise of Business Intelligence Software

      Not long ago, OStatic did an examination of Business Intelligence (BI) software applications and suites, and it got a lot of notice. That’s probably because BI is one of the fastest-growing categories in the whole open source arena. In fact, when we covered the results of North Bridge Partners’ 2009 Future of Open Source Survey, I noted that many of the respondents said that they see open source Business Intelligence applications as highly likely to cause disruption in the next five years. Now, there are new signs that BI software is gaining solid entrenchment.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain

      There he goes again, making up nonsense and making ridiculous claims that have no relationship to reality. Ray Kurzweil must be able to spin out a good line of bafflegab, because he seems to have the tech media convinced that he’s a genius, when he’s actually just another Deepak Chopra for the computer science cognoscenti.

  • Finance

    • The heresy of the Greeks offers hope

      The crisis that has led to Greece’s “rescue” by European banks and the International Monetary Fund is the product of a grotesque financial system that itself is in crisis. Greece is a microcosm of a modern class war rarely reported as such, but waged with all the urgency of panic among the imperial rich.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Amazon Case: We’re In!

      Last Friday, the district court in the Western District of Washington granted the motion to intervene that the ACLU filed on behalf of our clients in the lawsuit (PDF) challenging the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s (DOR) repeated requests for Amazon’s customer records in the course of its tax audit of Amazon. These customer records reveal highly personal and intimate details of people’s lives that DOR does not actually need for its tax audit, including what books people are reading, what films they are watching, and what other private and expressive materials they are purchasing. The First Amendment bars the government from demanding and collecting this information.

    • Lawsuit: Disney, others spy on kids with zombie cookies

      According to the complaint, each of the Clearspring affiliates independently and knowingly authorized the company to track users, even on non-Clearspring affiliated sites. A Flash-based tracking cookie was allegedly installed by the affiliate sites without users’ knowledge, and would recreate itself by digging into the Flash storage bin for the same user information if deleted. Essentially, users who were trying to remain privacy-conscious by regularly deleting their cookies were not able to rid themselves of the cookies deposited by Clearspring.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Intellectual Property Rights in Traditional Knowledge Cannot Contribute to Sustainable Development

      This paper makes a simple point: If sustainability (however defined) is the goal, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge do not move us toward the achievement of that goal. The reason is that the only social policy justification for recognizing intellectual property rights at all is that they supposedly serve as an incentive to create socially desirable works of authorship and inventions. They are not and should serve as a reward for past achievements. In other words, outside of their usual incentive function of promoting new technology, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge have no role to play in the sustainability analysis. This is not to say that traditional knowledge is irrelevant to sustainability; indeed, there is good reason to believe that much can be learned from study and implementation of traditional practices in a wide range of fields. Nor is it to say that intellectual property rights in general play no role in advancing the goal of sustainability. The incentives supplied by intellectual property rights to authors and inventors may help induce new technologies and methods for preserving what is left of the natural state of the planet and its ecosystems. The point is only that intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge can do no good (in promoting sustainability) and may do much harm, by tying up knowledge in exclusive rights that inhibit its application to sustainability (or anything else) without any compensating social gains.

    • Copyrights

      • CLA statement on Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act
      • How to save the music industry

        My message was quite simple – and remains so today. We are living in an era when “free” is decimating the music industry and is starting to do the same to film, TV and books. Yet for the world’s internet service providers, bloated by years of broadband growth, “free music” has become a multi-billion dollar bonanza. What has gone so wrong? And what can be done now to put it to right?

        To my amazement, my speech was splashed across the world media. Partly this was due to the timing – President Sarkozy of France had just become the champion of the global music industry, tabling a new law requiring the telecom companies to finally crack down on internet piracy for the first time. But there were other reasons too.

      • A Big Fat Thanks To Record Execs

        In their recent edition, Rolling Stone Magazine has issued a thank you letter to the record label executives. Hopefully they’ll read it and get the bigger picture. It is a very wise and concise note that brings to light the changing nature in which individuals discover and spread music. Hats off to Rolling Stone for trying to get the RIAA and the music big wigs to open their eyes.

      • ACTA

        • Privacy challenges facing the European Union from ACTA

          The WP29 observed that the current text of the ACTA at the very least encourages the implementation of the controversial three strikes policy, which requires disconnecting purported intellectual property infringers, by collaboration between Internet service providers and right holders. Even worst, this policy does not seem limited to piracy and counterfeiting, which was the initial purpose of negotiating the ACTA, but it would extend to infringement of any kind of intellectual property rights, even patents (Articles 2.18.3 and 2.18.3 quarter).

Clip of the Day

Big Buck Bunny (excerpt)


Links 17/8/2010: Multitouch Linux, X.Org Gesture Extension, Texas Memory Joins Linux Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • ARM backs Linux server chip start-up

    A US start-up chipmaker called Smooth-Stone has raised tens of millions of dollars to develop and sell ARM-based processors for servers, which ARM says will likely run Linux.

  • 5 Free or Open NAS Servers

    Here we’ll look at five different NAS servers provided by the open source community…

  • Free Linux-Based 2X CloudClient OS Achieves VMware Ready(TM) Certification
  • Treasury, Linux Australia collaborate on tax tools

    The Australian Treasury has begun working with Linux Australia to make its AUSkey and Standard Business Reporting (SBR) systems compatible with open source platforms.

  • Server

    • A Map to Your Nearest Data Center

      In preparation for the launch of its new backup and migration tool, Turnkey Linux has done some work to automate selection of the nearest regional data center.

    • IBM Unleashes 256-core Unix Server, Its Biggest Yet

      The Power 795 is IBM’s biggest Unix server to date. It’s aimed at companies that run large-scale database applications or want to consolidate multiple Unix or Linux workloads onto a single system using IBM’s PowerVM virtualization software.

  • Google

  • Multitouch

  • Kernel Space

    • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Texas Memory Systems has become its newest member.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD updates ATI Stream Software Development Kit

        The development platform brings a range of tools to the developer community including support for OpenCL 1.1, in addition to Ubuntu 10.04 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5.

      • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Development Effort
      • Introducing The X.Org Gesture Extension

        Earlier this morning Canonical had announced the UTouch Framework, which is their multi-touch framework to be formally introduced with Ubuntu 10.10. Canonical developers crafted up their own multi-touch solution and even their own gesture language for Ubuntu, rather than leveraging any similar free software projects, but — to some surprise — it turns out they are now going to try to engage with upstream developers to at least have a formalized extension to the X.Org Server for gestures.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE & GNOME cross-desktop development

      Fortunately, you can take care of this yourself, thanks to the Portland Project. Portland is a joint OSDL/freedesktop.org initiative to provide developers with stable APIs for desktop Linux and other free desktop platforms.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMyMoney Team Announces First Platform 4 Release

        The KMyMoney team is pleased to announce the release of the first stable version built on KDE Platform 4. With over 15 months of development, this is the starting point for a series of KMyMoney versions leveraging the stellar features offered by the new Platform.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 110

        · Announced Distro: VectorLinux 6.0 SOHO Edition
        · Announced Distro: Untangle Gateway Platform 7.4
        · Announced Distro: Salix OS 13.1.1
        · Announced Distro: Puppy Linux 5.1

        [...]

      • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Development Effort

        After more than a year of development, developer Tom Kerremans has announced the release of version 3.4 of the Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK). TRK is a Live distribution – bootable via a LiveCD, LiveUSB or over a network – that’s based on Mandriva Linux and is specifically aimed at recovery and repair operations for both Windows and Linux systems. For example, it includes a number of tools for recovering deleted files, resetting passwords and cloning drives.

      • Trinity Rescue Kit 3.4 Comes with Linux Kernel 2.6.35

        Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) 3.4 has been released after more than a year of development. TRK is a Live CD distro aimed at rescue and repair tasks on both Windows and Linux PCs. TRK 3.4 comes with the latest Linux kernel 2.6.35 and quite a number of new features.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Linux light – PCLinuxOS 2010.7 Openbox

        So this edition is a bit of a mixed bag. With plenty of apps it is a good base as is or if you want to add a more cut down custom KDE or Gnome installation, but it’s probably best for fans of Openbox who would like to create their own custom spin with MKLiveCD for the road. In these few days I have come to appreciate the simple elegance and functionality of this window manager when paired with tint2, and the PCLOS utilities help administration. There were no dead menu entries and the menu updated every time I installed an application, like emelfm2 for better file management options. Performance was quite good too (responsive unless opening the Control Center) and I can’t find anything else to complain about, except maybe the branding and the ugly included wallpapers. But this is, with no menu buttons, not as prevalent as in the versions with the major desktop environments, and Gdm theme and wallpaper are quickly changed. Most important to me, my wireless Ralink worked without any fuss while running from CD. Once installed, it lost connection to my WPA2 encrypted network a few times, but these teething problems quickly seemed to disappear and did not reoccur after a cold boot, and once again all was well. Nothing is perfect, and while other distributions may not suffer the problems I have discovered, most are also more difficult to set up in the first place. As always, you make your choice.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Wipro partners with Red Hat

        Wipro, a provider of IT services, has partnered with Red Hat, a provider of open source solutions. The two companies have strengthened their strategic partnership through joint marketing and integration opportunities designed to bring open source solutions to enterprises across India.

      • CirtexHosting Adds CloudLinux to All Servers

        CirtexHosting, a leader in Linux Web hosting, today announced it has added CloudLinux on all hosting servers, which is designed to increase server stability and prevent downtime, ultimately improving performance for customers.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Artwork Progressing!

          Time is running short for us to iterate this wallpaper for Fedora 14 Beta! Want to try your hand? All of the sources are available, and it’s a great excuse to try out Blender if you haven’t gotten a chance to yet. :) Not up for working on the design, but have some feedback you’d like to share? Join the conversation on the design-team mailing list, or drop your feedback in the wiki or in this blog post’s comments.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ding, ding – Sound Applet mock-ups round II

          Wyatt Kirby, whose sound applet mock-ups found favourable fandom both here and on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog, has put pixel to, er, palette and come up with a newly revised design.

          For those new to the whole ‘Sound Menu Saga’ I’ll be brief: Ubuntu 10.10 has a new sound menu which controls things like thythmbox and system volume. Some people like it & some people like it less so.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI launches 720p-ready Cortex-A8 SoC

      An evaluation module and BSP are currently offered for Linux and Android (the latter via Mentor Graphics), while Windows CE support will be available from Adeneo in the fourth quarter, says the company. RTOS versions are also under development by various vendors, says TI.

    • Tablets

      • Video: Take a Look at the $35 Tata Tablet

        The first video demonstration of the tablet prototype, above, shows that the computer will run on the Android OS instead of the rumored Linux setup. The video seems somewhat sped up, perhaps so as not to give a true indication of the using experience. And oddly enough, the tablet seems to be using a touch-stylus-interface, even for typing.

      • The Android-powered Augen GenTouch78 is no iPad

        The tablet does have some good things going for it. While it’s made from black plastic, it has a solid feel. Better still, it comes with a form-fitting, faux-leather case. I don’t know about you, but whether I pay $170 for a GenTouch78 or $500 for an Apple iPad, I appreciate getting a real cover to protect it without shelling out additional cash.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Project Snowstorm: Our New Open Development Program

    Almost two years ago, we set about revamping the Second Life Viewer and in March of this year we released Viewer 2. Over that two year period, we took a heads-down approach to our design and development process to create a Viewer that would be easier for new Residents to use. This heads-down approach meant we had very limited contact with you, and left many Residents feeling alienated. Now, we are making some big changes to better communicate with you and include you in our development process. Specifically, we’re beginning a new open-source program — known as Project Snowstorm — that will show you exactly what we’re working on and will also start to bring Resident contributions into our mainline Viewer build. We’re extremely excited to be firing up this program, and we’re confident it will lead to a better Viewer, one that benefits from the tremendous talent and creativity we’ve seen from the most committed members of our development community.

  • How corporate America went open-source

    According to recent surveys, more large companies are committing to open-source software. How the platform went from closet to corporate.

  • How open source is like a good marriage

    Zenoss’ Open Source Management Report indicates 98% of enterprises now have open source. Satisfaction with the product is growing, although support and documentation continue to lag. Half of enterprises are using cloud resources.

  • How To Find a Customer in a Divided IT Universe

    Frequently, these companies are also contributing innovation back to into the open source community. The myriad NoSQL projects are just one example of this trend. Many take things much further: modified Linux kernels, custom compilers, internally developed networking control planes, even building their own servers and switches.

  • Open software passes Australian tipping point

    Almost two in three Australian enterprises now has a policy or strategy in place regarding the use of Free Open Source Software, with just about every enterprise using elements of open source in their day to day operations.

  • Cost isn’t the only rationale for open source adoption

    “Going open source saves us $4 to $4.5 million each year in IT spending, and we have much better performance and reliability, so why wouldn’t we use it?” Simhambhatla quipped.

  • Open source software a frequent flier on Virgin America
  • Virgin America’s IT infrastructure is primarily opensource

    Virgin America is using mostly open-source software in its IT infrastructure, according to the airline’s CIO, Ravi Simhambhatla. The move from proprietary software is saving Virgin America millions of dollars, but that’s not the main reason for the transition, reports Sean Michael Kerner in an article at CIOUpdate.

  • Whisper – New Voice Solution for OpenSim

    Today, vComm Solutions of Switzerland released Whisper, a high quality voice solution for OpenSim based on the popular Mumble open source VoIP client. The key feature of this solution is that it enables avatar lip sync and speaker indication to work correctly, in addition to providing very stable, high quality voice.

  • Get App-y: Open source software not just for techies

    • Gimp.org, for photo editing. Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman’s photography director, told me about Gimp as a substitute for Photoshop, which costs about $700. Photoshop is still the industry standard, and Gimp isn’t organized as clearly as Photoshop, but the software application has the advanced photo editing features that professionals use. I can usually find the tools I need when using Gimp.

    • Scribus.net, for layout and desktop publishing. I found this through The Oklahoman’s Glen Seeber. I haven’t played around with it much. I’ll use it as an alternative to Adobe InDesign, which can cost $1,000 or more in a package.

  • Why do FLOSS developers keep ranting?

    Many of us do FLOSS coding for the ultimate glory of just doing it. Learning, filling empty days with something to do or simply because they need to feel important for somebody else (I’m pointing the finger to you, behated [my opposite of beloved] library developers).

  • Events

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Project Releases

    • Vi IMproved 7.3 Released w/ Fixes + New Features

      Marking the end of two years of development is the release of Vim (Vi Improved) version 7.3. While this is considered a minor release of Vim, there are a handful of new features along with many bug-fixes.

  • Licensing

    • Westinghouse Digital Ruling: Less than Meets the Eye

      The court ruled that Westinghouse Digital Electronics, LLC (“Westinghouse”) had infringed on the copyright in the BusyBox software by failing to comply with the terms of the GPLv2 in its distribution of the Westinghouse high definition televisions (“HDTV”). Although Westinghouse had originally “answered” the complaint, it then withdrew from participation in the suit, apparently due to financial difficulties, and ceased to respond to discovery requests from the plaintiff. If the failure to respond to discovery requests is due to “willfulness, bad faith or fault,” the court can grant a default judgment and Judge Scheidlin granted the motion. The financial problems of Westinghouse are evident through its use of the “assignment for benefit of creditors” procedure. The “assignment for benefit of creditors” is a California state law procedure similar to federal bankruptcy law to wind down companies. In this procedure, the company assigns its assets to a third party licensed by California who, then, disposes of the assets and then pays off the creditors of the company. Unlike bankruptcy law, the assignment for benefit of creditors does not “stay” litigation.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Free Parking Comes at a Price

    Many suburbanites take free parking for granted, whether it’s in the lot of a big-box store or at home in the driveway. Yet the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips. Legally mandated parking lowers the market price of parking spaces, often to zero. Zoning and development restrictions often require a large number of parking spaces attached to a store or a smaller number of spaces attached to a house or apartment block.

  • AP decides not to LOL

    The Associated Press almost shared a page with LOLcats.

    Pet Holdings Inc., which owns a network of blogs that post pictures of felines with silly captions, and videos of men getting hit in the groin on its Fail Blog, had been wrapped in rather lengthy negotiations with the Associated Press until this week.

    The talks began to stall when lawyers for the I Can Has Cheezburger proprietor were worried about wording in the contract. The Associated Press finally axed the project on concerns over “journalistic integrity,” Pet Holdings Chief Ben Huh said in an interview Monday.

    For the prestigious wire service to even consider associating itself with a business that makes a living from fan-made cat pictures may have seemed unthinkable a decade ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth’s Overdraft Notice

      According to the Global Footprint Network humanity crossed a threshold three decades ago when we stopped being able to live off of nature’s interest — “consuming resources and producing carbon dioxide at a rate lower than what the planet was able to regenerate and reabsorb each year” — and started living beyond nature’s capacity.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality protesters lay siege to Google (for an hour)

      With that, a dozen or so protesters (and Ars) rode from the city’s Opera Plaza to Mountain View, California, headquarters of Google, now fallen from grace since the release of its watered-down net neutrality manifesto with Verizon.

      The objective—to deliver 300,000 signatures protesting the move.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • uTorrent Backs Artist, Bundles Album With New Downloads

        Following in the footsteps of The Pirate Bay and the successful BitTorrent distribution platform Vodo, uTorrent has now embraced an artist of their own. Starting today, all new uTorrent downloads will be bundled with the latest album from PAZ, an up and coming musician who hopes to achieve stardom through BitTorrent.

      • Broadcast audience aging faster than population

        “It should be a concern, but it doesn’t seem to be a concern at the moment,” said Steve Sternberg, who wrote the report for Baseline Inc., an information source for the film and TV industries that is owned by The New York Times Co. “You don’t want to have CBS, ABC and NBC all having median ages in their mid-50s.”

Clip of the Day

Motorola DROID 2 for Verizon review – part 1


Links 17/8/2010: Android Tablets, Eben Moglen Warns About SaaS Again

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Diggs, Damn Diggs and Censorship: R.I.P. Linux?

    Substantiated with numerous account names, links and transcripts, Olson’s evidence is nothing if not damning, and more than 500 comments arose in short order as a testament to that fact.

    FreakOutNation, meanwhile, added fuel to the fire by publishing a list of hundreds of Digg users who were found to be among Digg Patriots’ primary targets.

    The blaze gained entry to FOSS County when Computerworld’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols picked up Olson’s torch and used it to examine the fate of Linux-related stories on Digg.

    “In early 2009, new popular Linux stories would pop up every day or two on Digg,” Vaughan-Nichols wrote. “By mid-2010, Linux stories on Digg became popular only once every week or so.”

    Indeed, Linux Girl can’t help but note that she has noticed this too!

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Eye Candy

      I chose the “Inverted” Gnome widget theme
      I chose the “Inverted” Window border
      I chose the “Faenza-Dark” Icon set, it can be found here
      I chose the “comfortaa” font that Fedora is using, it can be found here there is a Fedora rpm available for this as well, just search for comfortaa. The Droid fonts also look quite nice.

    • It’s Friday, I’m in love

      Ah, love! The Cure’s song that carries today’s blog title bounces gently off the walls of the office while I think about the things I love about GNU/Linux (or Linux, if you’re so inclined).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME vs KDE: which is right for you?

      For your convenience the article has been broken down into a number of sub-sections which weighs up the various pros and cons for GNOME and KDE in various situation for both users and developers.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma: now comes in tablets

        When designing Plasma Mobile, it was immediately clear that wouldn’t have been possible to do a “one design fits all” application: mobile devices vould have come in pretty diffrent forms:

        * Different resolution
        * Different phisical size
        * That implies, different DPI
        * Different use cases: an internet tablet and a phone put the emphasis on very different primary functions

      • KDE Desktop Activities explained

        This seemed like a redundancy in Linux, what with the existence of the pager and all. But as KDE grew a bit older and wiser, the usage of this feature become more and more clear. Now, in this Ghacks article I am going to help you to understand exactly why this feature is something you will certainly want to use to keep your desktop as organized as possible.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Happy 17th Birthday Debian (And some interesting history)

        You can show your appreciation for Debian by thanking a developer or the community – Debian Appreciation Day (Thanks to a Slashdot commentator for this)

      • Why prefer Debian GNU/Linux over another distribution

        Quite some time ago I wrote a blog post explaining why I preferred Mandriva over other distributions. But I have now switched to Debian GNU/Linux, so it is time for an update. I will mostly compare with Mandriva because that is where I come from and what I know the best, although most points are rather universal.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS review

            Here’s something I haven’t done in far too long..an OS review of course. So, my latest offering is called Peppermint OS. Yes, the name is why I chose to review it (she says defensively) This particular Linux OS has two versions..One and Ice. I am reviewing Peppermint OS One. The Ice version is all cloud based. The operating system is a fork of Lubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment, a lightweight desktop.

          • Linux Mint 9: Installation Review – A Not-So-Happy Story

            Fed up with my buggy PCLinuxOS, I decided to install the new Linux Mint 9. After burning the installation DVD image (which is just over 700MB), I decided to install it on my Lenovo Thinkpad Z60m.

            The loading process of the Live DVD was relatively smooth, though it felt a little slow to load the live image. (PCinux is still faster in the Live CD department)

            I then decided to install, and it asked for the customary questions like location, keyboard etc.

          • Thoughts on Linux Mint 9

            If I were to recommend a Linux distro for a desktop user with no background in Linux, it would be Linux Mint. Actually, Linux Mint is a great release for anyone who wants a easy to install, work out-of-the-box desktop environment. Great job guys.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Reviewed: Pandora Console

      If you’re familiar with the original GP2X and GP2X Wiz, the Linux-based handhelds produced by Korean techno-alchemists Game Park Holdings, you’ll be acutely aware of just how close they came to greatness; both consoles suffered from compromises that prevented them from truly fulfilling their potential. Interestingly, some of the guys in charge of distributing these two machines internationally felt the same way and back in 2008 they set about creating their own dream machine that would avoid the pitfalls that afflicted those two consoles. Read on to discover whether it was worth the effort.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Intel, Nokia tout MeeGo as inclusive alternative to Android

          During the annual LinuxCon conference last week in Boston, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin moderated a discussion panel about the Linux-based MeeGo platform with Nokia’s MeeGo Ecosystem Development head Thomas Miller and Intel open source technologist Derek Speed. During the panel, Miller and Speed discussed some of the technical and logistical characteristics that differentiate MeeGo from other mobile platforms.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola DROID Pro, World Edition and Tablet all found in Verizon Wireless systems

        The Motorola DROID Pro, the handset with a 4″ display, 1.3GHz CPU, and global roaming capability gets the model number A957, and is set for a November launch. Motorola is also apparently working on a more business-focused version of the DROID 2 with a World Edition global roaming feature, and it looks like that device will launch relatively soon with the model number A956. If that’s not enough, it also appears that the phone will come in two color choices, black and white.

      • WeTab Set for September German Release, Other Countries to Follow

        Our friends in Germany are proud to release the new WeTab (formerly known as the WePad) next month to retail stores (or pre-order online now.)

      • The $35 tablet isn’t hogwash

        Given India’s chequered history of non-deliverable low-cost devices, it’s easy to believe the sceptics of India’s $35 tablet.

        But this device might just turn the tables.

        While the media disses and dismisses the ultra low-cost tablet, Microsoft and Google are apparently fighting a pitched battle to place their operating systems on the device aimed at school children of the world. Microsoft has come forth and offered its Windows CE OS to run on the device which currently runs Google’s open source Android OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Decompiler Dilemma

    The whole advantage to free software is that you can take it apart and look at it, right? That is what most free software advocates would have you believe. So what would happen if the GNU Project released a Perfect Decompiler, a decompiler that could perfectly decode any binary into source code understandable by humans? (For the theoretical purposes of this discussion, let us also assume the impossible case that the binary is decompiled into a verbatim copy of the original source code.) Would this help or hurt the Free Software Movement?

    The only barriers ensuring that proprietary software remains proprietary would be those of law. In a pure state of anarchy, a perfect decompiler would be indistinguishable from having all software released as free software. It would essentially render the Free Software Movement perfectly successful in anarchist states. Complete access to the source code of any application could be obtained with little effort, and modification would be limited only by the quality of the newfound code. In the world as it exists today, however, this would not be the case. Proprietary software licenses across the board prohibit disassembling in the first place, and copyright laws prohibit the possibility of doing anything interesting with the decompiled code. It would seem that, besides abandonware and oddly-permissive proprietary licenses, a perfect decompiler would be meaningless to the Free Software Movement due to the artificially imposed limits of the government. Is that necessarily so?

  • An Organic Open Source Movement?

    Where open source has the open source definition, the organic food business has a community which has created a number of now internationally recognised definitions of what makes food organic and now has organisations that certify the organic compliance of companies that claim to make organic products.

  • Web Browsers

    • Five lesser-known browsers

      We’ve all heard of Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari. But have you heard of IceCat, Maxathon or NetSurf? There are literally hundreds of different web browsers available to users. We look at some of the lesser-known browsers available.

  • SaaS

    • Eben Moglen Calls To Free the Cloud

      At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on (‘for lack of a better term’) freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers.

  • Healthcare

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 15 HTML5 Demos Showcasing Prowess of HTML5 Over Adobe Flash

      HTML is basically a standard for structuring and presenting content in the internet and HTML5 is the newest incarnation of HTML. HTML5 is supposed to have features like video playback which currently depends upon third-party(and proprietary) browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash. And please do keep in mind that, HTML5 itself is still a work in progress and hence these 15 demos are far from perfect. But they are all you need to get inspired and start learning more about HTML5(I hope).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Sun’s ‘quiet period’ explained

      Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity.

      The most recent so-called “solar minimum” occurred in December 2008.

      Its drawn-out nature extended the total length of the last solar cycle – the repeating cycle of the Sun’s activity – to 12.6 years, making it the longest in almost 200 years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • More than 500,000 (or 5,000,000 according to Yahoo) Network Solutions parked domains actively serving malware
    • Michael Howard backs calls for inquest into death of David Kelly

      The former Conservative leader Michael Howard today backed calls for a a full inquest into the death of the government weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

      His call came after a group of prominent experts described the official explanation for the scientist’s death in 2003 as “extremely unlikely”.

      Howard, who is now a Tory peer, said their intervention confirmed his belief that there should now be a proper inquest.

      “In view of the growing number of relevant questions that have arisen and cast doubt on the conclusions reached by Lord Hutton, I believe it would now be appropriate for a full inquest to be held,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

    • Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That

      On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a gathering in London that the secret-spilling website is moving ahead with plans to publish the remaining 15,000 records from the Afghan war logs, despite a demand from the Pentagon that WikiLeaks “return” its entire cache of published and unpublished classified U.S. documents.

    • Elderly widow threatened with £2,500 fine for dropping cigarette ash

      Mrs Martin, from Oldbury, West Mids, was hit with the original fine by the Sandwell Council warden while at the bus stop on May 25.

      She said: “I still can’t believe what happened.

      “I was just sat at a bus stop quietly enjoying my cigarette and from nowhere a warden appeared and accused me of littering.

    • The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret, and Dangerous

      Illustrating this More-Surveillance-is-Always-Better mindset is what happened after The New York Times revealed in December, 2005 that the Bush administration had ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without the warrants required by law and without any external oversight at all. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old FISA law made every such act of warrantless eavesdropping a felony, “punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both,” and despite the fact that all three federal judges who ruled on the program’s legality concluded that it was illegal, there was no accountability of any kind. The opposite is true: the telecom corporations which enabled and participated in this lawbreaking were immunized by a 2008 law supported by Barack Obama and enacted by the Democratic Congress. And that same Congress twice legalized the bulk of the warrantless eavesdropping powers which The New York Times had exposed: first with the 2007 Protect America Act, and then with the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which, for good measure, even added new warrantless surveillance authorities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Ascent of Middle East Food and Energy Demand

      At the EIA’s International Energy Outlook (IEO) presentation this May the issue of future oil exports from OPEC nations came up, and in an interesting way. Readers may be familiar with the phenomenon of declining net exports, from major oil producing nations, as a result of internal demand from growing, domestic populations. The phenomenon was modelled last decade by Jeffrey Brown and Samuel Foucher. Their Export-Land Model showed that the rate of decline from oil exporters can become quite accelerated. While that may seem obvious, it was a point worth making last decade when it was widely presumed that gross production from large oil producing nations was largely available for export. The tipping, of both the UK and Indonesia, from net oil exporters to net oil importers should have put an end to such a presumption. More importantly, the rise of domestic oil consumption in Saudi Arabia was also a warning. Saudi oil exports have declined now for five years.

    • The Dirtiest Sport

      Since its inception, NASCAR has not received adequate scrutiny for the environmental impact it causes. There seem to be more positive references to NASCAR (conservative romanticizing of NASCAR dads) than there are serious investigations into the problems associated with the sport. What is most striking is that NASCAR stock cars are unregulated by Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA mandates certain levels of of cleanliness from everyday passenger cars, but the machines of NASCAR have been granted a loophole and can spew toxins in the air without using mufflers, catalytic converters or any sort of emissions control device.

    • BP to Pay Record Fine for Refinery

      BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6 million fine to the federal government for safety violations found by regulators last year at its troubled refinery in Texas City, Tex., where 15 workers died in a 2005 explosion.

    • The Federal Reserve Enters Decline

      The Federal Reserve came into existence during the fattest part of the abundance curve, made possible by the extraction of energy-dense fossil fuels. The early part of the last century was the moment when the world started to transition from Coal to Oil, with the fullness of oil’s resource spread out before the industrial economy like a broad forest.

  • Finance

    • US unemployment: Don’t let the elite pass the buck

      Growth is slowing and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care – that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is becoming the norm. And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural”, a permanent part of the economic landscape – and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.

    • Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’

      “How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lawmakers Worry Meritless Lawsuits Threaten Free Speech

      When Dallas developer H. Walker Royall found out about an impending book digging into one of his projects, he went on a lawsuit bender.

      He sued the author, Carla Main, and her publisher, Encounter Books. He sued Richard Epstein — the prominent libertarian academic — for a blurb he wrote praising the book. He sued Mark Lardas, who reviewed the book, and the Galveston County Daily News for publishing the review. His suit against Main and her publisher — the lower court dropped Epstein as a defendant on jurisdictional grounds, and Lardas and his newspaper settled with Royall out of court — has since become a poster child for so-called SLAPPs: strategic lawsuits against public participation.

    • EFF to Verizon: Etisalat Certificate Authority Threatens Web Security
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Geek Squad owners send cease-and-desist letter to God Squad

      Virus infected your computer? Call the Geek Squad.

      Temptation infected your soul? Ring up the God Squad – just don’t expect Father Luke Strand to show up in the same clever little car he’s been driving since his days in the seminary.

      The young priest’s attempt to add a little fun to his ministry has apparently run afoul of some corporate lawyers who care more about strictly enforcing trademarks than eternal salvation.

      Best Buy, the Minnesota-based electronics retailing giant, recently sent Strand a cease-and-desist letter concerning his car. The black Volkswagen Beetle has oval door stickers that read “God Squad” in a logo very similar to the black, white and orange logos on black-and-white Geek Squad Beetles driven by the computer and electronics trouble-shooters.

      The car has been around for at least two years, when it was featured in a photo of Strand and his then-colleagues at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. The car has a white square on the hood, to mimic a priest’s collar, and the license plate reads, GODLVYA.

    • Wisconsin ‘God Squad’ gets cease-and-desist letter
    • 4th Circuit: Post-Purchase Confused Restroom Users

      GP licenses the ENMOTION towel dispenser to distributors who license it to restroom operators. The restroom operators are contractually obligated to use only ENMOTION brand toweling. Von Drehle created compatible (and allegedly inferior) paper for the ENMOTION dispenser.

    • Copyrights

      • Comically Absurd IP

        Certain arguments come up over and over again in copyright debates. Mike recently wrote about copyright monopolists calling Free Culture “neo Marxist.”

      • More And More People Seeing How Collection Societies Have Distorted Copyright

        Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend around the world for various collection societies to become increasingly more aggressive. More aggressive in trying to increase the statutorily-defined rates. More aggressive in expanding what it is they cover. More aggressive in finding small businesses to pay up. And, more recently, more aggressive in lashing out at any organization that seeks to help musicians embrace alternatives. There are a few reasons for this. Obviously, the recorded music side of the music business has seen revenue decrease, so collection societies have tried to pick up the slack. But, more generally speaking, it’s an indication that the process of collection societies is broken. From their very design, they’re set up to allow certain industry interests to take charge and influence them, and then to aggressively seek to expand their own rights, influence and ability to collect.

Clip of the Day

“SPARC: The Power of Ideas”


08.16.10

Links 16/8/2010: ARM-based Servers Project, MeeGo Status

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Yet Another ARMed Server Project

      That other OS doesn’t work on them so this is another growth opportunity for GNU/Linux. This all comes together when folks are looking at virtual desktops, too. These things could compete very well with blade servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Main development phase for Linux kernel 2.6.36 concluded

        Linus Torvalds has released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.36 and closed the merge window – the first phase in the development cycle, during which the bulk of changes for a new kernel version are merged into the main development tree. The usual announcement mail for the new kernel is currently nowhere to be found, but the RC1 is tagged in the Kernel Git tree and available for download on Kernel.org.

  • Applications

    • Using Some Imagination
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gaming Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

        The results from this OpenGL game testing are similar to that of our workstation results earlier this month: for the most part, there is not a huge difference in performance between Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. With Lightsmark and Nexuiz when more taxing on the graphics card the NVIDIA graphics driver under Windows moved forward, but with the most demanding Unigine tests the performance was about the same. Of course, these results are just representative with regard to NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on both platforms, with the results likely to be different when using the ATI Catalyst driver or if comparing the performance to the Linux Mesa/Gallium3D driver stack, in which case the Linux performance would be abysmal.

  • Distributions

    • My first pocket Operating System – Slax

      I never owned a USB flash drive, until recently. I needed one not just for data transfer requirements but because I always wanted to carry an operating system with me. While trying out differnet OSs with various installation methods, my system sometimes had tremendous breakdowns and the only way to access & backup the data was to boot into a LIVE session. Luckily, I came across this really small pocket operating system, Slax. Its just 200 mb and the method to get it bootable on a flash drive is probably the quickest and most effortless of all I have ever used.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Community Simple – PCLinuxOS in Action

        I have mentioned PCLinuxOS in my other Linux posts because it is a good solid distribution, and works well with any computer I have installed it on. I downloaded the latest PCLinuxOS iso using Gnome desktop, and copied it to CD. It booted up and ran as it always does, perfectly. The real test was the wireless connection. I set up the wireless, and the network was waiting as it should be. The biggest hurdle was solved.

        I proceeded to install PCLinuxOS on all the laptops, and for the most part they all work identically with the exception of two. One of the Laptops occasionally drops the wireless in Windows, and another occasionally drops it in Linux. I do not think that is a fault of the operating systems, but rather the nature of the network itself.

        If you read some of what various Linux Guru’s write, they will tell you Linux is Linux. It is the Kernel that makes Linux unique and everything else is programming to support the Kernel functions. While there is no doubt this is true, it is PCLinuxOS going the extra step to include an older wireless driver in the right rev that made it possible for those Laptops to use Linux, and enjoy a solid eight month uptime as of this writing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Comments on Fedora 13

          I installed Fedora 13 on Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th as unlucky day may be a myth, but my experience with Fedora 13 was not.

          The first problem ws the install DVD boot menu. If I touched any key, including the cursor keys, the boot menu would hang. The only option was to let the clock run down to perform an install. It acted like the GRUB 2 menu problem that I encounter with Linux Mint 8. After the boot menu, there were no problems with the install.

          I installed Fedora on an HP Pavilion ze4300 laptop that only has 512 megabytes of memory. Since Fedora 13 includes XFCE as a graphical desktop, I decided to try it, instead of Gnome. Alas, the venture with XFCE came to a quick end.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Linux to go multi-touch

          This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu is heading toward making a Linux for tablets ala Android or MeeGo.

        • Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick

          Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined |a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

        • Ubuntu Linux: I like it, but it doesn’t like me
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu 10.10: Becoming More Unique

            The upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10 promises a variety of new features for Ubuntu’s desktop and server editions. But it will also bring significant changes for Ubuntu’s lightweight cousin, Xubuntu. Here’s a look at some of the most important updates for the Xfce-based Ubuntu variant, including several that will increase its independence from standard Ubuntu.

            Admittedly, until I downloaded the Xubuntu alpha 3 release, it had been a while since I tried the distribution. I used to run it on some lower-end machines, but I gave it up a couple years ago because the performance improvement over Gnome-based Ubuntu was not drastic enough to justify the features missing in Xfce, at least for me.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo: Where Are We Now?

          We established a robust governance structure led by our Technical Steering Group with people leading all of the various aspects of the project: program management, architecture, maintainers, community and more. While we have quite a few of the people identified for key areas, we are still in the process of continuing to add more details and beginning to define how the working groups and compliance efforts will be structured.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Evolution of Sharing

      Sharing is an invaluable and valueless transaction fundamental to our daily lives. We are social animals all invested in a massive species-wide collaboration to survive and thrive. We share for mutual benefit, for altruism, for deferred returns, and, increasingly, because we are compelled to contribute to the global brain. Facebook & Twitter are perhaps the latest apotheosis of this shift towards the compulsive sharing of everything in our lives. And it is this condition that seems to represent something uniquely spiritual, or at least inchoate and just beyond rational apprehension, about our progression into the 21st century: the boundaries around the Other and shadows held within are falling to the illumination of the global consciousness.

    • Open Data/Government Transparency

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJ Open: accessible medical research

        BMJ Open is an open access journal for general medical research. Using a continuous publication model the journal will provide rapid publication for research from any medical discipline or therapeutic area.

Leftovers

  • Health

    • Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people

      This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. More than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) can cause diabetes. So why do companies pay out money before cases get to court?

      An interesting feature of litigation is that various documents enter the public domain. This is how we know about the tobacco industry’s evil plans to target children, the fake academic journal that Elsevier created for Merck’s marketing department, and so on.

      One of the most revealing documents ever to come out of a drug company emerged from an earlier quetiapine case: an email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca. In it, he helpfully admits that they do everything I say drug companies do.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Russia launches inquiry into Pavlovsk seed bank after Twitter campaign

      The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate inquiry into the potential destruction of the world’s oldest seed bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian readers and others.

      The fate of the station appeared to be sealed last week when a court ruled in favour of the Pavlovsk research station and its surrounding farmland being turned into private housing. It holds the world’s largest fruit collections and was protected by 12 Russian scientists during the second world war who chose to starve to death rather than eat the unique collection of seeds and plants which they were guarding during the 900-day siege of Leningrad.

    • Pakistan flood response prompts rising anti-government resentment

      The agricultural heartland has been wiped out, which will cause spiralling food prices and shortages. Many roads and irrigation canals have been destroyed, along with electricity supply infrastructure.

    • BP to pay $50m fine for safety violations after Texas City explosion

      Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6m (£32.5m) fine for failing to fix hazards at its Texas City oil refinery in the wake of a disastrous explosion that killed 15 people five years ago.

      The fine imposed by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the largest penalty ever issued by the watchdog, although it is dwarfed by the billions that BP is set to pay out for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Fishing legacy fades from some New England ports

      Tourists swarmed the town pier in the 1970s and ’80s, snapping pictures and bantering with commercial fishermen as they unloaded another shimmering haul for Secondo’s company, Reliable Fish, to truck to points south.

  • Finance

    • China overtakes Japan as world’s second-largest economy

      Japan lost its place as the world’s second-largest economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.

      Gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of just 0.4%, the Japanese government said today, far below the annualised 4.4% expansion in the first quarter. The news added to evidence that the global recovery is facing strong headwinds.

    • Pensions and the Public

      One of the conservative causes du jour is the parlous state of public employee pensions these days. And there’s no question that this really is a problem. Thanks to years of overoptimistic economic projections and the habit of politicians to prefer future cost increases to current cost increases, public pension funds are pretty seriously underfunded right now. That means taxpayers are going to have to come up with many billions of additional dollars to fund pensions at the levels that have been promised to public workers.

    • Attacking Social Security

      Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

    • Obama claims GOP trying to destroy Social Security

      President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.

    • Construction Workers’ Union to Rejoin A.F.L.-C.I.O.

      A spokesman for the laborers, David Miller, declined to confirm the decision. But he said that leaders of his union, which has 800,000 members and represents construction workers, would have more to say after a meeting on Sunday. Mr. Trumka told the federation’s executive council last week that the move would become final in October.

    • Destroying Social Security to ‘Save’ It: the Arithmetic of Benefit Cuts

      We know what the Trustees say: 100% of scheduled benefits payable through 2037 and 78% after that declining to 75% at the end of the projection period. Meaning that any proposal based on a crisis defined by “threatened future benefits” that produces a worse result in 2037 and after is some mixture of ineffectiveness and bait and switch, particularly if if also cuts benefits BEFORE 2037, from the perspective of the future retiree no matter what the age that proposal represents a dead loss. For workers the simplest benchmark is ’22%’, any ‘fix’ in excess of that is just theft from workers serving to advance some other purpose. Those purposes might be worthwhile on their own, but it is up to proponents to make the case to a democratic majority why the tradeoff is actually either in the interest of the nation and/or the vast majority of that nation that participates in Social Security.

    • Don’t like your banking fees? Tell the FDIC.

      In the financial world, we’re fed up with a lot of things. For example, it’s time for a Slater Slide for offensively high overdraft fees and bank check-cashing policies that can boost those fees.

    • New Rules on Finance to Be Done in the Open

      The Federal Reserve, which was given expanded responsibilities to protect the financial system, plans to require all staff members, not just senior officials, to keep track of every meeting with private sector representatives about the rule-writing required under the new law, including who was present and what was discussed. Summaries of the meetings will be routinely released on the Fed’s Web site.

    • Rising Profits Are Good, but There’s a Catch

      While higher profits are normally deemed good news, it matters why they are rising. “The same thing that caused the profit gains is squeezing now,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P., said. “It is the lack of jobs.”

    • ‘Good ol’ boys’ in Warren’s way?

      She can’t get 60 votes in the Senate, some say — too polarizing. Others say Warren’s outspoken public persona and left-leaning impulses are an uncomfortable fit for the new post riding herd on Wall Street, where she has few backers.

    • Techno-Thriller: Why Was Goldman Sachs So Worried About One Nerdy Sentence?

      It sounds like the plot to a dozen movies: Picture a corporation so powerful that its tentacles circle the globe and reach into the highest corridors of power. Yet a single sentence on an ex-employee’s obscure website forces it to move into action. That sentence is so important that it leaves the corporation with no choice but to make that employee …

      No, not disappear. They just made him delete it. (This is where the movie comparisons end.) But the question is, why? The sentence described the Goldman Sachs risk system, SecDB (which stands for securities database). It read: “Unbeknownst to most of the non-strategists, you could see basically every position and holding across the company, whether you were supposed to or not.”

    • In This Play, One Role Is Enough

      These companies — the biggest are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank — operate as the back office for the mortgage lending industry. In good times, their tasks are fairly simple: they take in monthly mortgage payments and distribute them to whoever owns the loans. In many cases, large institutions like pension funds or mutual funds own the mortgages, and servicers are obligated to act in their interests at all times.

      When borrowers are defaulting in droves, as they are now, loan servicing becomes much more complex and laborious. Servicers must chase delinquent borrowers for payments and otherwise manage these uneasy relationships, possibly into foreclosure.

    • Why Girly Jobs Don’t Pay Well

      More than 97 percent of employees in kindergarten and preschool teaching are women. Though women now average higher levels of educational attainment than men, many continue to enter occupations dominated by women where wages are relatively low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a great way of making public statements that are at once frank, unorthodox, thought provoking – and a little frightening. This weekend The Wall St. Journal ran an interview with Schmidt that offered tidbits like that on a wide range of topics. One statement in particular, that Schmidt thinks teenagers should be entitled to change their names upon reaching adulthood in order to separate themselves from the Google record of their youthful indiscretions, is something worth stopping to take note of.

    • South African journalists condemn efforts to silence them

      Royal sex scandals rarely come riper. A government minister is caught in bed with the king’s wife – in fact, one of the king’s 14 wives. Ndumiso Mamba, justice minister in Swaziland, is forced to resign and could yet face much worse from King Mswati III.

      But just about the last people to read this story were those in Swaziland itself. The censorious atmosphere in the tiny, impoverished kingdom contrasts with South Africa, where newspapers had a field day.

    • Clueless Commentators Think That It’s Possible To Stop Wikileaks

      Marc Thiessen is a former Bush speechwriter, who seems to have tried to make a second career out of saying really clueless things as loudly as possible. Lately he’s been on a rampage against Wikileaks, first suggesting that it somehow made sense to use US military power to track down and capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This resulted in a reporter pointing out that Thiessen’s response to Wikileaks is like the RIAA’s response to Napster: destined to backfire due to a basic misunderstanding of the internet.

      Apparently Thiessen either didn’t read or understand that response. Or, perhaps in the business of being loud and wrong, he just doesn’t care. He’s since written a few more pieces attacking Wikileaks, including directly blaming it for an Afghan tribal leader being killed… though in the very next sentence he admits he doesn’t know if that had anything to do with Wikileaks. Accuse first, find out the truth later, huh?

    • A war on drugs? No, this is a war on the Mexican people
    • Russian police arrest 35 to prevent protest at Moscow mayor’s office
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: what does the Google Verizon proposal mean for GNU Linux?

      With GNU/Linux on the desktop and the server, costs can be reduced considerably. what a pity it would be to see those savings frittered away by having to purchase premium access in a net un-neutral world. The irony is that if the internet loses net neutrality where will the next Google or Napster, dreamed up in a suburban garage by citizen programmers, come from? If Microsoft Windows had been the only platform available when Google was starting up, the cost of Windows licences for their first server farm might have sunk them before they got off the ground; but they had free and open source software, and they should remember that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Radio, RIAA: mandatory FM radio in cell phones is the future

        Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much, including whether radio should be forced to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for the music it plays. But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics.

        The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. “The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is “not in our national interest.”

        “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

      • The Insanity Of Music Licensing: In One Single Graphic

        What you see there is basically the result of a century or so of “bolting on” new licenses due to changes in the market, rather than any concerted effort to look at whether or not the underlying laws or licenses make sense. It’s the result of massive regulatory capture, as industries unwilling to change just run to the gov’t and demand to be compensated even as their old business models are going away. At what point do people say it’s time to scrap this mess and start from scratch?

      • Freakonomics Flips The Window: Releasing Movie Online Before In Theaters

        We’ve talked numerous times about the movie industry’s love affair with release windows, where they basically try to get people to pay for things multiple times by releasing them in different formats at different times. The first window, normally, is the theatrical release — and the theaters go absolutely livid if anyone suggests shortening the theatrical release window. Heaven forbid anyone go so far as to suggest something as “radical” as a so-called day and date release, where it’s released in all formats at the same time, and watch the theaters go ballistic and boycott the film, as a startling admission that they don’t think they can compete with home theaters.

        So, it’s quite interesting to see that the Freakonomics movie that’s coming out in the fall is apparently going to flip the windows over.

      • Hollywood Targets 8.2 Million Torrents at Bitsnoop

        While Bitsnoop may not have the profile of The Pirate Bay, make no mistake, this site is a major BitTorrent player. The site indexes more than 8 million torrents linking to roughly 9 petabytes of data. In the last few days Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN began threatening the site with the clear aim of bringing its activities to an end.

Clip of the Day

Compiz Fusion


Links 16/8/2010: Birthday of Debian, KDE SC 4.5.0 Coverage, Gestures With Multitouch

Posted in News Roundup at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • TV

    • The Netflix Linux Conjecture: How Netflix snubs the Linux comunity

      Conjecture: A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven but appears correct and has not been disproved. If that statement confuses you (and it may if you’re not a student of math), then you understand exactly how I felt during a discussion with Netflix’ Steve Swasey (VP of Corporate Communications – aka “Spin Doctor”). Quite frankly, the man didn’t spin the discussion in such a way to make Netflix anything but a tiny bit ignorant of the topic at hand.

      Before I go any further, I should probably tell you what this is all about. Netflix has a feature that allows members to stream movies directly to their PCs. To accomplish this, they use Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. Silverlight is basically a web-application framework that provides functions similar to that of Adobe Flash.

      Now, with that out of the way, let me give you the gist of the conversation between myself and Mr. Swasey:

      ME: Hello, I am a freelance writer for Techrepublic (CNET), Linux.com, and Ghacks.net and I get a LOT of readers asking why Netflix does not support Linux. I plan on doing an article on this very subject and was wondering if I could get your official statement on this very subject.

      Steve: Jack, Netflix wants to be ubiquitous on any screen you want to watch TV shows and movies on and we’re working to get on as many platforms as we can. However, Linux currently does not have a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in that’s comparable with Netflix playback. Please let me know if you have other questions.

    • CWTV adds Support for Streaming to Linux

      Back in March I had mentioned that one of the only issues I had to deal with when converting my girlfriend’s laptop to Linux Mint was that her favourite TV show would not stream to Linux. The reason for this is that CWTV, instead of using Adobe Flash, uses Move Media player to stream to Windows and OSX (Move does not support Linux). Because of this if you are on a Linux system you would simply receive an “operating system not supported” message when browsing the page with the stream.

  • Versus Windows

    • The Fanboi Stops Here

      My company computers were hacked in 2005…a three city network went down due to the Bagle virus, specifically referred to as W32/Bagle.J@MM

      It was fast, it was tenacious, it spread through Outlook and it was devastating.

      That was when I migrated my company computers and network to Linux. Of course I had help and without a good friend who knew what he was doing, it would have never happened…

      But it did and it worked for us….Professionally

    • Windesperation

      In Linux, the ritual of rebooting after an install becomes a hazy memory buried in the back of your brain. But this WAS Windows, not Mandriva Linux. With full lungs, XP said to me, “I don’t care what you do in Sparta, but THIS-IS- BOOTLAND!!!” and I had to reboot to try the program… After almost an hour, I was getting closer to getting things done at last.

      But then the firewall blocked the anti-Malware program. When I was trying to solve the problem, the firewall showed an alert of a high-rate attempt to access my computer from the outside. And then, it flashed a warning: “the Win32 Sality Virus that disables antivirus programs is becoming too common. Your version of the firewall cannot stop it, but an upgrade of the program can. Do you want to upgrade for free?” A year ago, I would have clicked YES immediately. However, more than an hour and 15 minutes had elapsed and I had not accomplished anything. The missing installation required me to knock off the firewall, but the firewall was asking me to update! This was too much. I felt completely unproductive in front of the computer. I was mad while I thought that this was XP, the most popular OS today. From what I have seen happening to happy users, Windows 7 performs pretty much in the same fashion, except that it requires more computer resources to run properly. That, in itself, is a funny paradox. I buy clothes that fit me; I do not buy shoes too wide for my feet hoping to fatten until the shoes fit. However, Microsoft expects you to drop XP and buy Windows 7 and to buy new hardware if your PC does not fulfill the requirements for 7. So, Windows is an OS to which the computer has to accommodate! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 162 – Neckbeards Unite!

      This week on the show: The Google/Verizon deal, the SFLC defends the GPL again, Canonical tracking Ubuntu installations, Google kills Wave, the Illumos Project revealed and of course lots of neckbeard action.

    • Episode 29 – How to get a job as a Linux Admin….

      1) Introduction

      We talk about an E-Mail from Matt. Matt wants to know how to get a job as a Jr. Linux Admin. We discuss some things we think anyone looking to make this career choice should do.

      [...]

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • A Common Compositing Window Manager Specification

      Martin Gräßlin, one of the KDE developers that works on the KWin window manager, when not working towards OpenGL 3.0 support for KWin in KDE SC 4.7 has been writing a draft specification for what he proposes as a unified specification for compositing window managers. Martin hopes for this to become a FreeDesktop.org specification and that KWin/Plasma, Compiz, and other compositing window managers would implement this common specification.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • How much of an Open Source Gypsy are you?

      On the next step down, we have desktop gypsies. These folks might well stay in a distro they know well, but might switch between KDE, Gnome, Xfce, LXDE, and others as their mood strikes. Again, I think it can only help everyone if we try and help these folks make the easiest and smoothest transition between them. Some will stick with a desktop, and some won’t, but making it easier for them to do so helps everyone who switches to that desktop.

    • Reviews

      • Puppy 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” Review

        The most recent release of Puppy Linux, version 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” has some huge changes which include binary compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 packages, easier package installation with Quickpet and in the Puppy Package Manager, a new Simple Network Setup utility and more. The official release announcement is here.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLINUXOS

        I have been using linux for about 4 years. I am by no means an expert but I would consider myself a little bit above average. I don’t usually write on my blog but something urged me to do it this time just so I can spread the word about Linux and this wonderful distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Happy Birthday, Debian!
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gestures with multitouch in Ubuntu 10.10

          Multitouch is just as useful on a desktop as it is on a phone or tablet, so I’m delighted that the first cut of Canonical’s UTouch framework has landed in Maverick and will be there for its release on 10.10.10.

          You’ll need 4-finger touch or better to get the most out of it, and we’re currently targeting the Dell XT2 as a development environment so the lucky folks with that machine will get the best results today. By release, we expect you’ll be able to use it with a range of devices from major manufacturers, and with addons like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

          The design team has lead the way, developing a “touch language” which goes beyond the work that we’ve seen elsewhere. Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated “sentences”.

        • Stunning New Gnome Shell Motion Design Mock Up[Video]
        • 10 Beautiful Wallpapers For Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’ From Official Ubuntu Artwork Pool

          Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr is buzzing with activity once again. With the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick getting nearer everyday, the submissions onto Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr keeps piling on. Here are a few of those wallpapers that I think, are worth mentioning. Click on the links provided to get wallpapers with different resolutions.

        • Maverick Ubuntu

          No Gnome 3.0

          One of the big changes that most users have been waiting for is the Gnome 3.0 desktop. The brand new desktop interface won’t be making it into this release however. Originally Gnome 3.0 was scheduled for release in early October which was already cutting it fine for Ubuntu developers to include it. However, the Gnome developers have pushed back the release of Gnome 3.0 by another six months which means that the new desktop may not in fact reach Ubuntu until October 2011.

        • Trying Out The New Ubuntu 10.10 Installer

          Following last week’s Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 release but landing before the Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” feature freeze this week were a number of last-minute features like X Server 1.9 integration and other updated packages along with the committing of the revamped Ubuntu desktop installer to Maverick. Via this revamped Ubuntu installer it’s possible to install proprietary bits directly like support for MP3 audio files and proprietary graphics drivers.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 1 – Lubuntu

            Our candidate? Lubuntu, a Ubuntu flavor that uses LXDE as its desktop environment. I has everything that Ubuntu has going for it; large community support, tons of packages in the repositories and years of Ubuntu legacy and know-how.

          • Ubuntu Studio Sound Theme is Old But Still Really Good

            Ubuntu Studio is a multimedia enhanced Ubuntu variant packed with custom wallpapers, themes, screensavers, system sounds and more. With Canonical in the lookout for a new System Sounds theme for upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, all those who want to contribute may want to check out the original Ubuntu Studio sound theme for inspiration. They are pretty darn good IMO.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • We should all be using free software

    By free software, they do not mean software that is given away at no cost. Lifelong free software activist Richard Stallman uses the French word “libre” to describe his ideal software; it’s free as in freedom, not as in free beer. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) defines four criteria for this freedom: the freedom to run the software for any purpose; to study how it works (to have access to its source code); to redistribute copies; and to publish modified and improved versions.

  • Top tips for a successful open source project
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TabCandy becomes tab sets for Firefox 4

        Latest Firefox 4 nightly builds now feature Tab Sets, the ability to organize your tabs by visually grouping them to match your browsing style, introduced a few weeks ago as TabCandy.

        If you have tried the experimental build released at that time, you won’t notice much change except some important bug fixing for improved stability.

  • Oracle

    • Considerations For FLOSS Hackers About Oracle vs. Google

      James Gosling is usually pretty cryptic in his non-technical writing, but I think if you read carefully, it seems to me that Gosling regrets that Oracle now holds his patents on Java. I know developers get nice bonuses if they let their company apply for patents on their work. I also know there’s pressure in most large companies to get more patents. We, as developers, must simply refuse this. We invent this stuff, not the suits and the lawyers who want to exploit our work for larger and larger profits. As a community of developers and computer scientists, we must simply refuse to ever let someone patent our work. In a phrase: just say no.

    • Oracle Scorns Open Source: How to Respond?

      This was bound to happen, of course. Things were going too well. At a time when Google is activating 200,000 Android phones a day, and Android has overtaken the iPhone in terms of US market share, Oracle decided to drop the bomb…

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m4) available
    • Defending Free Software against Oracle’s attack

      I don’t think Google developed Dalvik to work round licensing and patent problems with Java, they developed it simply because Sun’s Java technology wasn’t good enough for what they wanted to do. If you watch Dan Bornstein’s presentation that is abundantly clear. Designing a new virtual machine runtime is hard, but not that hard. The JVM was influenced was influenced by the Pascal pcode system, and the Smalltalk virtual machine architecture from the 1970s has also been very influential. Recently there have been a pile of virtual machines for JavaScript being developed. Thirty years later after Smalltalk-80 the technology of virtual machines and JIT compilation is really mainstream.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Wondermedia WM8505 Linux + u-boot source code

      In recent months, a number of alleged GPL-violation reports regarding products (tablet computers, mini netbooks and the like) using the Wondermedia WM850x line of ARM SoCs. People have been contacting me, as I was working as VIA Open Source Liaison, and there is the general belief that VIA and Wondermedia Technology (WMT) are one company.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Truth-o-Meter, 2G: Andrew Lih wants to wikify fact-checking

      At the same time, though, “I welcome die-hard Fox viewers,” Lih says. “I welcome people who think Accuracy in Media is the last word. Because if you can cite from a reliable source — from a congressional record, from the Census Bureau, from the Geological Survey, from CIA Factbook, from something — then by all means, I don’t really care what your political stripes are. Because the facts should win out in the end.”

Leftovers

  • Grope Claim Against Donald Duck

    While visiting Epcot Center in Florida, a Pennsylvania woman alleges that a Disney employee dressed as Donald Duck grabbed her breast and molested her after she sought an autograph.

  • Health

    • Christopher Hitchens: Topic of Cancer

      One fine June day, the author is launching his best-selling memoir, Hitch-22. The next, he’s throwing up backstage at The Daily Show, in a brief bout of denial, before entering the unfamiliar country—with its egalitarian spirit, martial metaphors, and hard bargains of people who have cancer.

      [...]

      These are my first raw reactions to being stricken. I am quietly resolved to resist bodily as best I can, even if only passively, and to seek the most advanced advice. My heart and blood pressure and many other registers are now strong again: indeed, it occurs to me that if I didn’t have such a stout constitution I might have led a much healthier life thus far. Against me is the blind, emotionless alien, cheered on by some who have long wished me ill. But on the side of my continued life is a group of brilliant and selfless physicians plus an astonishing number of prayer groups. On both of these I hope to write next time if—as my father invariably said—I am spared.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fla. developer sues Halliburton over Gulf spill

      Florida real estate developer St. Joe Co. is suing Halliburton Co. over its role in the rig explosion that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Confessions of a recovering environmentalist

      I generalise, of course. Environmentalism’s chancel is as accommodating as that of socialism, anarchism or conservatism, and just as capable of generating poisonous internal bickering that will last until the death of the sun. Many who call themselves green have little time for the mainstream line I am attacking here. But it is the mainstream line. It is how most people see environmentalism today, even if it is not how all environmentalists intend it to be seen. These are the arguments and the positions that popular environmentalism – now a global force – offers up in its quest for redemption. There are reasons; there are always reasons. But whatever they are, they have led the greens down a dark, litter-strewn dead end street, where the bins overflow, the lightbulbs have blown and the stray dogs are very hungry indeed.

      What is to be done about this? Probably nothing. It was perhaps inevitable that a utilitarian society would generate a utilitarian environmentalism, and inevitable too that the greens would not be able to last for long outside the established political bunkers. But for me, now – well, this is no longer mine, that’s all. I can’t make my peace with people who cannibalise the land in the name of saving it. I can’t speak the language of science without a corresponding poetry. I can’t speak with a straight face about saving the planet when what I really mean is saving myself from what is coming.

    • Huge ice island could pose threat to oil, shipping

      An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

      Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912.

  • Finance

    • IT Hiring Continues to Improve, According to Surveys

      Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

    • IMF document illustrates plan to raise global currency

      It’s no secret that many of the world’s largest industrialized nations are somewhat eager to ease their reliance on the U.S. dollar. For months China and Russia have pushed ever subtly, for a new “global reserve currency,” to give governments around the world enhanced economic stability in the event of greater fluctuations in the dollar’s value.

    • Financial Fallout: The Surprising Effects of a Recession

      In March 2010, ScienceDaily published a story about an intriguing report investigating the connection between stock-market activity and the frequency of heart attacks.

      The researchers, a team from Duke University Medical Center, discovered an increased incidence of cardiac arrest in the United States between January 2008 and July 2009, precisely when the stock market showed a clear decline in the midst of a massive economic crisis.

      Although the scientists determined in subsequent tests that this inverse relationship wasn’t quite as pronounced as they believed initially (due to seasonal fluctuations in heart attack rates), their study remains groundbreaking in terms of its efforts to explore a rarely covered topic: the impact of economic patterns on cardiovascular events.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality is foremost free speech issue of our time

      If we learned that the government was planning to limit our First Amendment rights, we’d be outraged. After all, our right to be heard is fundamental to our democracy.

      Well, our free speech rights are under assault — not from the government but from corporations seeking to control the flow of information in America.

      If that scares you as much as it scares me, then you need to care about net neutrality.

    • Who Will Kill Net Neutrality?
    • eBooks, Open and Closed

      This means that I can’t buy an book in EPUB format and read it on my hardware or software EPUB reader of choice. Or rather, I can do so only under limited circumstances. For example, I can read a Sony B&N ebook on a Nook, but I can’t read a B&N ebook on a Sony reader. Or, when I Google anything to do with EPUB and DRM, I get a lot of links that seem to lead to instructions for stripping DRM.

    • Simple Coloured Bash Prompts
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Jay-Z spoof Newport State Of Mind removed from YouTube

        The hit internet spoof video Newport State Of Mind which parodies Jay-Z has been removed from YouTube due to a “copyright claim” by EMI Publishing.

      • Once More (With Feeling): There’s Still A Role For Record Labels… But It’s Changing

        But we’ve regularly highlighted smart labels doing cool things, and others are noticing that as well. The New Yorker has a nice article pointing out that there’s still a role for record labels to help a band do all the stuff it doesn’t want to do itself, and that many indie labels have done a good job figuring this out. The article focuses mainly on the band Arcade Fire, and the success it’s had, despite being on a small “indie label.” It mentions the band Vampire Weekend, which has also had similar success.

        There’s nothing revolutionary about what their labels are doing. It’s just that the bands generally have a bit more control and are less a cog in a giant machine, allowing them to stay a bit more true to their musical roots. As the article notes, this is “not a radical change so much as a scaling back, a return to a business model that involves fewer people, and concentrates on the product.” Indeed, it notes that the major record labels are still where bands may go to play the lottery — to try to get that one big check. But these more innovative and nimble indie labels are where a band is likely to go if it actually wants to make a career.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Talks Resume: Round Ten Opens Today in Washington

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks resume today as Round Ten opens in Washington, DC. The full agenda indicates that all the issues will be addressed along with discussions of many smaller matters that have been left until the end. Following the last round in Lucerne, Switzerland (which only concluded 47 days ago), I had several posts on the leaked draft that tried to identify the primary areas of disagreement, the Canadian positions, the U.S. decision to cave on anti-circumvention, the importance of geographical indications in the talks, and speculation on the prospect of the EU walking away from ACTA.

Clip of the Day

Qt 4.6 Mobile Demos on Maemo & Symbian


08.15.10

Links 15/8/2010: Dell Streak Catchup and Misc. News

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Terrafugia Flying Car Approved by FAA, Will Be Available Next Year

    Late next year, you’ll be able to buy your own flying car — er, “roadable aircraft” — thanks to a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration. As long as you have $194,000 and a sport pilot license.

  • Tour of full-sized Bloodhound SuperSonic car model
  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Geoengineering = Futurological Greenwashing

      Alex has similarly argued that geo-engineering is a form of greenwashing in this post.

    • Resource: New Mobile App to Combat Climate Skeptics

      Ever wish you had all the top climate information at your fingertips? If you’re the owner of a smart phone, then your wish has been fulfilled: the “Skeptical Science” app for iphones, Android phones, and Nokia phones is available now (for free!).

    • Hope for a future beyond oil

      We have a full crew and a pretty big campaign team on board with people from all over the globe including Argentina, Panama, India, Australia, Sweden, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Ukraine, the Cook Islands and Bermuda. I’ll introduce you to various members of the crew throughout our journey and there will be opportunities for you to talk directly with them via twitter and maybe even live video if our satellite system is up for it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    • The nuclear threat from Russia’s forest fires
    • Nuclear News: Iran ready to launch Bushehr nuclear power plant: official

      An Iranian official said Thursday that the country is ready to launch its first Bushehr nuclear power plant, the official IRNA news agency reported. Chief of Bushehr nuclear power plant workshop, Mahmoud Jafari, said in Bushehr that the main tests and inspections of the power plant have been successfully carried out during the last six months, the report said. Double-checks, “installations and montage stage is completed and we are about to launch the power plant,” Jafari was quoted as saying without referring to the specific time. In July, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia’s state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom, said that preparations for the launch of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant are proceeding as scheduled and the plant’s first stage will be finished late August. Iran handed over the Bushehr project, started by German firm Siemens in the 1970s, to Russia in 1995. The launch of project has been postponed repeatedly in recent years.’

    • Nuclear News: Russia declares state of emergency in nuclear town as wildfires blaze
    • Another Crack: Petermann Glacier, Giant Ice Island, Breaks Off Into The Sea

      While the Senate, the White House, and delegates in Bonn at the international climate negotiations dither, Mother Nature keeps the hits coming. Russia is of course baking in record heat and now the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland has lost an iceberg of 87 square kilometers in size. For scale, the ice sheet is said to be 4 times the size of Manhattan.

    • Security contractor: BP fired me for taking photos of dispersants

      A security contractor who was once responsible for keeping reporters away from cleanup workers is now coming forward to blow the whistle on BP.

      Adam Dillon claims he was fired by the oil company after he took pictures showing how dispersants were being used in the Gulf.

    • BP to pay 50 mln dlr fine for deadly 2005 Texas blast

      BP agreed to pay a record 50.6 million dollar fine for safety violations at its troubled Texas City refinery, officials said in a settlement which could deepen the energy giant’s legal woes.

    • BP’s Deep Secrets
    • Social-engineering contest reveals secret BP info

      With just two phone calls, entrant Josh Michaels managed to dupe a computer support employee at BP into spilling details that could have proved crucial in launching a network attack against the global oil company. The information included what model laptops BP used and the specific operating system, browser, anti-virus and virtual private network software the company used.

      Michaels was also able to trick the employee into visiting Social-Engineer.org, a feat that won the contestant extra points.

    • Climate data shows June 2010 to be Earth’s hottest month on record

      Temperatures warmer than average spread throughout the globe in recent months, most prominently in Peru, in the central and eastern United States and in eastern and western Asia, according to NOAA.

    • EU climate exchange website hit by green-hat hacker

      An EU Climate Exchange website was hacked as part of a political protest against carbon credits by a green-hat defacement crew.

    • A looming oxygen crisis and its impact on our oceans

      We’ve known for a while that we are poisoning the oceans and that human emissions of carbon dioxide, left unchecked, would likely have devastating consequences. A 2010 study found that oceans are acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred.

  • Finance

    • Did market efficiency cause the sub-prime mortgage meltdown?

      This time around I learned something even more interesting from Liar’s Poker: the most important thing for a young Wall Street trader to learn (from the perspective of the firm’s ‘mentors’) was how to take advantage of the firm’s customers. You see the greatest market inefficiency turns out to be trust. Anyone who went to a large Wall Street firm like Salomon Brothers in 1985 seeking financial advice was pretty much like an African wildebeest without the ability to smell lions.

      If you happen to have a copy of Liar’s Poker on your Kindle I would direct you to location 2954 – 3060 (about 65% of the way through the book). This is where Lewis describes his first experience “helping” a customer. He was set up by people within Salomon Brothers to push bonds that were likely to devalue, which caused his first (and very trusting) customer to lose so much money that he was soon fired from his nice job. Why would some trader at Solomon Brothers push bonds on a customer that were likely to devalue? Because Solomon Brothers owned the bonds and needed to get rid of them before they devalued more than they had already.

      Do you sense a conflict of interest? Yes, and so did Lewis (only because he was a newbie). When Lewis found out he had been used he confronted the trader who had set him up. Instead of being sheepish, the trader responded harshly to Lewis: “‘Look,’ he said losing his patience,’who do you work for, this guy, or Solomon Brothers?’” In other words, internally, the traders and managers didn’t even pretend that they were supposed to serving their customers.

    • Job ads up despite coalition cutbacks (UK)

      The number of jobs advertised in the public sector has fallen 21 per cent since the last survey in March. But contracting jobs for local and central government IT departments is still a strong sector and places more adverts than any others except for finance.

    • Geithner: Unemployment could go up before it goes down

      Geithner defends tax policy; Argues extending cuts for rich would be ‘deeply irresponsible’

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Websites take on bogus reviewers

      Customer review sites are a useful way to find out about products and services, and for the businesses themselves they can be a valuable source of publicity. But a number of spam reviews sweeping the web are damaging local firms who depend on them to help make or break their reputation.

    • Policing the Web’s Lurid Precincts

      Ricky Bess spends eight hours a day in front of a computer near Orlando, Fla., viewing some of the worst depravities harbored on the Internet. He has seen photographs of graphic gang killings, animal abuse and twisted forms of pornography. One recent sighting was a photo of two teenage boys gleefully pointing guns at another boy, who is crying.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • BlackBerry assures India on access to services

      Research In Motion has promised India a technical solution for decoding encrypted BlackBerry data, a senior official said on Friday, a step that could allay Indian security concerns about the smartphone and avert a shutdown.

    • Google lets uneasy Germans opt out of ‘Street View’

      Google said Tuesday it would allow Germans to opt out of its disputed Street View navigation service ahead of its launch in the country this year but privacy watchdogs were still not happy.

      The move is part of an effort to placate German authorities, who have serious concerns about the service that allows users to view online panoramic still photos at street level taken using specially equipped vehicles.

    • Suit alleges Disney, other top sites spied on users

      A lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges that a group of well-known Web sites, including those owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Records, and Demand Media, broke the law by secretly tracking the Web movements of their users, including children.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation – Cindy Cohn
    • How to Crush Dissent

      While in Berlin for the LinuxTag 2010 conference a couple of months ago, I took the opportunity for a 8-mile long meandering walk across the city, from Warschauer Strasse and the East Side Gallery to Wittenbergplatz and KaDeWe, taking in the various historical sites along the way. It was a great refresher course in 20th century European history. I especially enjoyed the free outdoor exhibit in Alexanderplatz, which dealt with the Revolutions of 1989 with a focus on the various dissident movements and publications in the DDR. Most were self-published, stealthily distributed samizdat newletters, copied laboriously using typewriters and carbon paper, primitive printing presses, or toward the end, some personal computers smuggled in from the West. They had on display an Amiga 500 and an NEC Pinwriter P6 used in 1989. Through “advanced” technology like this, document production could be raised from a few hundred to tens of thousands of copies.

      [...]

      I strongly believe that the capability for citizens to dissent is an essential complement to fallible leadership. And all leadership is fallible. Without such capabilities, transitions of power may be less frequent, but they also may be far bloodier.

    • Hiding files in Flickr pics will fool web censors

      Life is about to become more difficult for countries trying to censor access to foreign websites. A system dubbed Collage will allow users in these countries to download stories from blocked sites while visiting seemingly uncontroversial sites such as Flickr.

      Collage relies on a well-established technique known as digital steganography, in which an image file is changed to encode the hidden message without obviously affecting the appearance of the image. A prototype version is due to be unveiled on Friday, 13 August.

      Steganography normally requires specialist software, but Collage is designed so that anti-censorship activists and readers can publish and download the hidden stories without any specialist skills. A publisher or activist can, for example, use Collage to copy news stories from a website and embed the articles into Flickr images in a process that is almost entirely automated.

    • Legal action on ‘zombie cookies’ filed in US court

      A legal challenge has been launched in the US against a number of websites amid claims that they were engaged in “covert surveillance” of users.

      The lawsuit alleges that a number of firms, including Hulu, MTV, and Myspace, used a Quantcast Flash application to restore deleted cookies.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality for wireless? Don’t count on it.

      Earlier this week, Google and Verizon brokered a compromise on the definition — or at least, their definition — of net neutrality, a set of rules that ideally, would ensure that no company could place data-access restrictions on Web content, sites, platforms, and associated equipment. The deal itself sparked controversy over whose interests Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) really had at heart and whether the deal would — or more importantly, should — be used as a model by the Federal Communications Commission.

    • Wacky Google/Verizon net neutrality theory

      What if Google agreed to Verizon’s stance on wireless net neutrality in order to keep Verizon from making a deal with Apple for the iPhone?

      Rumors about Verizon and the iPhone are evergreens, and now that the iPhone 4 hype is dying down, those rumors are starting up again. Coincidental timing of “Huge CDMA chipset order” rumors and this net neutrality piece shouldn’t be anything other than coincidental.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Marking and Tagging the Public Domain: An Invitation to Comment

        Almost 1½ years have passed since we launched CC0 v1.0, our public domain waiver that allows rights holders to place a work as nearly as possible into the public domain, worldwide, prior to the expiration of copyright. CC0 has proven a valuable tool for governments, scientists, data providers, providers of bibliographic data, and many others throughout world. At the time we published CC0, we made note of a second public domain tool under development — a tool that would make it easy for people to tag and find content already in the public domain.

      • LA reporter abandons YouTube copyright case

        A Los Angeles journalist who was accused of leaking confidential court documents from his lawsuit against YouTube has abandoned his suit and has agreed to pay $20,000 to the video-sharing site.

      • New Jersey Hit With Fees Over Truth-in-Music Law

        New Jersey will have to pay the legal fees for a music promoter that sued the state to stop it from enforcing its “truth-in-music” law.

      • Brazil supports fair use

        The law change was discussed on Micheal Geist’s blog at the end of last week, where Geist, who is a Canadian law professor, said that it “Establishes equivalent penalties for hindering or preventing the users from exercising their fair dealing rights. In other words, the Brazilian proposals recognise what the Supreme Court of Canada stated several years ago – over-protection is just as harmful as under-protection.”

      • Pirate Party can’t contest Federal election

        “Our application to register is before the Australian Electoral Commission, however a party cannot be registered once an election has been called,” the party said in a statement over the weekend. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called the next Federal election for August 21.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Jan 07 2001


08.14.10

Links 14/8/2010: GNOME Foundation’s New Rules, X.Org Server 1.9 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Google

  • Kernel Space

    • Qualcomm’s Take on Open Mobile Platforms

      Chandhok: The Linux kernel is the central key element of the common baseline package we would like to see emerge in mobile Linux. This engineer will help QuIC make important upstream contributions to the Linux kernel that, ideally, would be part of this common package. At a minimum, we expect this individual to help make valuable upstream kernel contributions that make it into the main distributions on offer today, or coming in subsequent years.



    • There’s more to FOSS than the Linux Foundation

      As a Canadian, I’m always irked by airy statements by Americans that they won World War II. Yes, the Americans entry into the war was decisive, but their side was not called the Allies for nothing, and many other countries contributed to the victory or at least kept the fight alive in the years before the United Stated joined in. With all respect, I feel much the same way about the recent interview on Wired.com with Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation/

      Published to coincide with this week’s LinuxCon in Boston, the interview begins by describing Zemlin as “part legal guardian, part keeper of the flame. The non-profit foundation he runs is charged with promoting the growth of Linux, drafting new industry standards for its use, and defending it against legal challenges.”

      To be clear, let me emphasize that these are not Zemlin’s words. Nor, do the words in any way reflect the attitudes expressed by Zemlin or any of the Linux Foundation staff with whom I have had dealings over the years. Zemlin in particular, has always seemed to combine helpfulness and enthusiasm with far less ego than you might expect from someone with his level of responsibility.

      Nor would I deny for a moment that the Linux Foundation has done a reasonable job of representing the corporate face of open source and the Linux kernel. Not only does the Foundation seem to be a genuinely neutral meeting ground, but its support for major developers like Linus Torvalds, Till Kamppeter, and Theodore Ts’o benefits everyone in free and open source software (FOSS).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s 2D Performance With X.Org Server 1.9

        X.Org Server 1.9 is set to be released as soon as next week, has already been pulled into Ubuntu 10.10, and is part of the X.Org 7.6 katamari. While X.Org Server 1.9 does not bring many exciting end-user changes like previously releases that introduced RandR 1.2, Multi-Pointer X / X Input 2.0, and other new technologies, there are plenty of bug fixes and other minor improvements throughout the X Server. In this article, we are looking at how the Intel DDX driver performance changes when upgrading from X.Org Server 1.8.2 to the latest X.Org Server 1.9 development code.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.8.99.906

        A bunch of bug fixes for this (final?) release candidate.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Kiosk in KDE 4

        I’ve been working on my BS thesis with the name “Parental mode in KDE”. The name can be a bit misleading, because I was mainly working on some kdelibs internals (integration of KAuth into Kiosk) and the Kiosk Admin Tool application.

        The first part of the work uncovered some nasty things in PolicyKit and ended with a simple outcome: using KAuth/PolicyKit as a back-end for Kiosk is too problematic and would require rewriting a good part of PolicyKit to make it work at all. For example: unlike Kiosk, PolicyKit doesn’t have support for profiles that could be assigned to users and groups, is much slower compared to KConfig/Kiosk, and in the PolicyKit1 incarnation isn’t stable enough for heavy use. See freedesktop bugs 29394 and 29069 for some details. Only positive outcome up to now is that Dario Freddi fixed some problems I found in KAuth. I wanted to do it but he was faster ;-)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Foundation sets out new rules for copyright assignment

        The Foundation, with assistance from its Advisory Board, Bradley Kuhn and Michael Meeks, has now published the new policy. Although future decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, by both the Release Team and the Foundation’s board, the requirements of the new policy and the Foundation’s guidelines, aim to ensure that only sufficiently free code is included in GNOME.

      • Elementary, Ambiance, Sonar – Most Beautiful GNOME Shell Themes Ever!

        We saw the quiet evolution of GNOME Shell aka the next generation GNOME desktop environment. Now lets do some GNOME Shell theming. Hope you guys are familiar with Elementary and Ambiance GTK themes. Now they have these stunning GNOME Shell variants which are absolutely beautiful. First of all you need to download these themes.

      • Web services need to be Free

        Web services, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or other services could be a risk to users freedom if people aren’t careful. Peters suggested that users need to make sure that their data is portable so they can move their data if need be.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Tales From the Front: in Search of APT-GET UNDO

        I tell you (from my text editor) that a broken X-server is every bit as traumatic as the old “blue screens of death” were, and it doesn’t help when one realizes that searching for help usually reveals nothing but a few snide insults and a comment that when you start needing to downgrade packages, you’re only a step away from needing to reinstall your system.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat: A Preview

          These represent only the most noticeable of the changes planned for Ubuntu 10.10; there are certainly others already out there, and yet more may appear before the final development freezes are reached later this month. We’ll continue to follow Maverick as it nears its final release date of October 10.

        • Finding the Ubuntu font design

          Between ourselves and the Canonical team we chose version T3 from the remaining three designs as a basis for further development.

        • Free Software on the reservations

          When speaking of upstream providers, downstream sellers, and end users, this is an analogous representation of what a project like Ubuntu already does in terms of it’s upstream and downstream relationships, when paralleled into economics. Equally important, free software allows cooperative expertise rather than forcing rivalrous knowledge. Since one cannot derive exclusive benefit at the expense of another, there is much greater incentive for people working on similar problems to do so together, even when the outcome is in free software that will then be commercially sold. This might be thought of both as a market of both abundance and mutual interdependency, and such markets are the only kind I have seen that can self-sustain without abuse.

          With no market barriers to participation, and with the possibility for near zero cost in distribution, much of the cost of commercially starting in free software are entirely infrastructure and equipment costs. Given the cooperative nature of free software, this too could lend itself to shared or cooperative costs. Individual nations could even minimally invest in setting up small community development centers where equipment and infrastructure are particularly scarce. We had looked at starting something very much like this in Lakotah.

          Free software certainly will not solve all the problems of the captive nations alone. However, it certainly can even in a small way help contribute to the establishment of sustainable economic development as well as a means to enable individual and communal economic sovereignty even in the present world, and hence to do so without having to compromise core social and cultural principles in the process.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged box PC braces for global warming

      Kontron announced a fanless industrial box computer that runs on an Intel Atom N270 and can withstand temperatures of between five and 140 deg. F (-15 to 60 deg. C). The Kontron Embedded Box PC CB 752 is equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports and six USB 2.0 ports, plus serial, optional CAN bus, and Mini PCIe connectivity, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Palm enabling webOS apps to interact with Universal Search, dock mode?

        When our own esteemed Paul Miller cracked the mystery that allows the Motorola Droid to behave differently when docked than when in the hand, it took a little of the magic out the switch. However, that doesn’t diminish from its utility, and it’s a feature that could be coming to webOS.

      • Android

        • Introducing the Dell Blaze
        • Augen Switches to AndAppStore on Tablet No Longer Available at Kmart

          Augen, maker of the GenTouch78, the well known “$150 Kmart tablet,” has been under fire from Google for distributing the Android Market and other Google apps without permission. Since Augen and Google were not able to come to an licensing arrangement for the proprietary apps (no surprise since Google has not yet licensed the apps for any tablet without telephony capabilities), Augen has decided to use a 3rd party app store on the devices. AndAppStore, created by Funky Android Ltd., has been around for a couple of years and aims to provide an efficient connection between users and developers. Al Sutton, director of Funky Android, said they “are always willing to help OEMs and hardware distributors by providing them with a royalty and contract free alternative to Google’s Android Market, and we are happy to have been able to assist Augen in resolving this issue.” Augen has made AndAppStore available as a download from their support site, and any Android user can download and install the AndAppStore client directly from Funky Android.

Leftovers

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Movie Cammer Faces Jail Sentence

        A man has been charged with fraud and copyright offenses after being accused of camcording several Hollywood flicks, including the Jennifer Aniston movie The Bounty Hunter. Unlike other countries around the world, recording a movie in a theater is not specifically illegal in the UK so considering the serious nature of the charges, why is this man facing a potential jail sentence?

Clip of the Day

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish


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