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Links 8/1/2011: GIMP 2.8 Status Update, Ubuntu GNU/Linux Ported to Nook

Posted in News Roundup at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2011 Calendar Linux Style

    What better time to create your own calendar for 2011, even better if based on the Linux world ?.

    I saw this idea on the site http://cursorlibre.com/ where they made a nice dodecahedron with a Ubuntu theme.

    In the download package, there is a pdf version ready to print and assemble, plus a pdf version of a guide in which is explained what parts should be cut and how to bend the paper to obtain the dodecahedron.

  • LPI 101 screencast from PaulPaulito.com

    LPI is pleased to introduce another great resource for LPI exam preparation available on YouTube: screencasts from Paul Paulito.com

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.01.07

      Topics for this podcast:

      *Our preview of open source highlights for 2011
      *Progress spins off open source middleware company FuseSource
      *Sonatype Professional highlights Apache Maven commercialization
      *Neo Technology updates Neo4j open source graph database
      *2011 to be year of Linux in cloud computing

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux has been released

      A new longterm kernel has been released. This release contains security fixes and all 2.6.34 users are encouraged to update. This continues the 2.6.34 stable series under the new “longterm” name.

    • Expert: Linux capabilities don’t add security

      The developer behind the grsecurity project, Brad Spengler, has pointed out that most of the privilege control capabilities implemented under Linux carry a significant potential for compromising a system and wreaking other havoc.

      The intended purpose of capabilities is to prevent precisely that by restricting services and processes to certain operations and specific resources. Among other things, they aim to reduce the effects of successful attacks and can, for example, prevent an exploit for an office tool from installing a back door because the office tool doesn’t have the capabilities required for binding services to network ports. Capabilities can also make it unnecessary to use SUID – Ubuntu and Fedora are considering this approach. OpenWall has reportedly already implemented it in version 3.0, which was released towards the end of December: The standard installation doesn’t contain a single SUID program.

    • Linux kernel slips out at CES

      This week most of the world did not notice Linus Torvald, the creator of Linux, releasing the next generation of the Linux kernel, since everyone who is anyone is either at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, or watching every bit of news surrounding it.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

        One of the points that Linux users commonly say in lobbying hardware vendors to provide open-source drivers and/or documentation — particularly for GPU drivers — is that the open-source community will take the released code or documents and from there develop it into a reliable, working open-source Linux driver. However, that isn’t exactly true.

      • AMD Releases Radeon HD 6000 Series Open-Source Support

        A limitation though of today’s open-source push is that it only supports the Radeon HD 6000 “Northern Islands” GPUs as in the Barts, Turks, and Caicos GPUs, but not the newest GPUs under the Cayman codename, which are the Radeon HD 6900 graphics processors. There’s significant enough differences in the ASICs that the support couldn’t be delivered at the same time. When this Cayman support is delivered, it will come only atop the Gallium3D driver and not the classic Mesa driver.

      • Update On The HD 6000 Series Open-Source Support

        Yesterday afternoon AMD released the Radeon HD 6000 series open-source support for all non-Cayman GPUs. We covered the initial information regarding this kernel DRM / Mesa / DDX code drop well, but there’s a few more tid-bits of information to pass along now that we have received additional feedback from AMD’s John Bridgman and Alex Deucher and have also had time to look at the code patches ourself.

      • Intel Sandy Bridge Linux Testing Is Coming Real Soon

        Following a challenging week for Intel’s Sandy Bridge Linux support in other publications getting the open-source graphics drivers working, Intel came forward to supply us with a Sandy Bridge processor so we can carry out the tests using the needed Linux Kernel / Mesa / DDX / libva Git code. We don’t even need to wait for Intel to send out any hardware, as it was hand-delivered today during a meeting with them.

      • CES 2011: AMD Unveils Low-power Fusion APUs

        After over four years of hoopla, AMD has finally announced the low-power Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit chips. These Fusion APUs incorporate multi-core x86 CPU, DirectX 11 capable graphics with parallel processing engine, dedicated HD video acceleration block and high-speed bus for speedier data processing across the cores. Intel had just announced the Sandy Bridge CPUs and to complement them in the CPU game, AMD rolled out the new low-power platform Brazos based Fusion APUs for notebooks and desktops. The low-power Fusion APU loaded Tablets and embedded devices would be made available in the first quarter of this year.

  • Applications

    • 15+ Useful AppIndicator Applets For Ubuntu

      Appindicator was first introduced in Ubuntu karmic as a replacement for the Gnome panel applet. It is a small applet to display information from various applications consistently in the panel. It can also be used as a access point to access (and control) the application without having to open the application. if you are running Ubuntu Lucid or Maverick, you should see the messaging menu (the applet that contains Empathy, Evolution and Gwibber icons), which is a good example of an appindicator.

    • Best media players for Linux – A choice selection

      As I’ve mentioned before, my multimedia skills and taste probably cater to the average medieval user, but even so, my choice of programs should be decent enough. Without bombarding you with too many options, you have an adequate selection, whether you like KDE or Gnome, whether you prefer free or slightly proprietary software, or better yet, care nothing for things of that sort.

      This compilation is a good starting point. Pick any among the top listed candidates and you will enjoy your media experience. If you’re a fresh Windows convert or just someone looking for more information on media players in Linux, you have a solid baseline, now.

      Amarok is probably the best KDE player, Totem is the best Gnome player, VLC and MPlayer are the best all-around programs. Banshee has music stores, Amarok displays lyrics, Totem can stream Youtube, VLC will play subtitles, and XBMC is a complete media center. Your oyster has just turned a pearly one.

    • GIMP 2.8 still needs some more time!

      Currently there are some features that need to be completed and some bugs that prevent GIMP 2.8 from being finally released. Martin Nordholts just posted something about that on the official mailing list. There is also a discussion about spending money for fixing bugs (so-called bounties), which could be a good way to speed things up. However in the past the devs didn’t like the idea of bounties, because it is difficult to determine what bugs are eligible of being bountied, and of course it isn’t so easy to get a good workflow for a bounty-system in place.

    • Proprietary

      • Opera 11.01 snapshot

        This is a snapshot of Opera 11.01, a possible future minor/bugfix release for Opera 11.

        In addition to mouse gesture fixes and various other things, we have also looked at the top crashers in Opera 11, and several of them have been fixed in this snapshot.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Ubuntu ported to the Nook color

        While unrelated to one another, the Wine development community has released their newest development build (Wine v1.3.11) following TransGaming’s announcement earlier this morning of GameTree Linux replacing Cedega for running Windows games under Linux.

        The Wine 1.3.11 release isn’t too interesting. Its changes include using PO files for translations, JavaScript improvements, fixes to the Wine debugger, translation updates, and various bug-fixes.

      • Classic RPGs, thanks to gog and wine

        I’m happier than a pig in mud today, after getting copies of three of my favorite games off gog.com, and finding that they all work flawlessly in Arch Linux and wine.

        I’ve mentioned my unnatural affection for Neverwinter Nights, and I have an original boxed copy of the Platinum edition. I even “maintain” (if I can call it that) a quick step-through for a script that installs it.

    • Games

      • Cedega To Be Replaced By GameTree Linux Software

        Here’s something interesting, but all of the details are not yet known at this time as the official announcement doesn’t seem to have been issued yet. TransGaming, the company behind the Cedega software for running Windows games on Linux, is going to be replacing the Cedega Gaming Service with something now called GameTree Linux.

      • A list of some commercial GNU/Linux games

        I thought I’d be nice to make a little list of some of the GNU/Linux games I’ve tried out this past year. I’ve tried to keep the list heterogeneous (different game genres, all from different producers, some freshly released and some quite older…).

      • Play Bioware’s Infinity Engine Games PlaneScape Torment, Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale Natively on Linux

        Bioware’s Infinity Engine was home to many great games in past that totally defined RPG game genre with deep storyline, engaging gameplay, isometric graphics, and dungeons and dragons rules based gameplay. Almost all the games under infinity engine became hugely popular and are even today considered to be best games in their genre with huge dedicated fan base.

      • The Spring Project – An Open Source Strategy Game Engine With An Impressive Selection of Free Games

        Developers can take the engine and use it as they please, without having to pay the creators any money for the licence. This has helped the Spring engine build up a roster of games that will please even the most seasoned RTS fan.

      • Hedgewars sees special 0.9.15 Winter Release

        Hedgewars, a popular open source Worms-like strategy game, has received a winter update which brings a variety of new features.

      • Open source gaming

        Looking for something to while away the hours? Try some of these open source games

        Gaming has never been a strong point in the open source world, but gradually things are getting better and more open source games are emerging for Linux, as well as other non-open source platforms. Here we look at some of the better open source games, most of which run on multiple platforms.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • January Stable Updates Available

        Today, KDE has issued a series of stable updates to the Plasma workspaces, the various applications and the KDE development frameworks, versioned 4.5.5. Between 4.5.4 and 4.5.5 there have been 54 commits to the codebase, so the somewhat meagre changelog does not include all the fixes.

      • KDE Platform, Workspaces and Applications 4.6 RC 2 Available

        Packages for the release of the KDE Software Compilation 4.6 RC 2 are available for Kubuntu 10.10 and Natty.

        These are beta packages for beta software, expect bugs.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Notifications with Character

        Persistent and resident notifications enable complete interaction between the user and the application using only notifications. In GNOME 2, authors would use GtkStatusIcon to anchor the information shown in the notifications, but this is no longer necessary and the applications should move away from the GtkStatusIcon usage. The suggestions for individual applications and system components can be found in these compatibility guidelines. Please find us on #gnome-shell IRC if you would like to discuss the use of the notifications by your application in GNOME 3 or help out with the message tray features.

      • AwoKen – full iconset Token-style theme for Ubuntu Gnome

        inside the pack there is a customization script that give the possibility to change between:
        * 84 distributor logos (this number is growing according to the requests)
        * 34 folder types
        * 4 trash types
        * 5 computer icons
        * 5 gome icons

      • GNOME Shell Theme Pack- A nice collecion of themes for Gnome shell

        This is a nice pack of themes for Gnome shell, the pack contains 6 nice themes : deviantart theme that is based on the deviantART website, Gaia theme based on gaia style, a site raising awareness of climate change, Dark Glass, Elementary -Based on the GTK theme, Equinox Ambiance Light theme ,Ambiance – (Based on the GTK theme in Ubuntu 10.04), Sonar – Based on the GTK theme in openSUSE and finally Tron Legacy.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Reasons why Arch Linux Rocks

      Arch Linux is a distribution for advanced linux user. The basic goal of Arch Linux is to provide users with a fast & smooth linux experience. I’ve been using Arch Linux for over a month now & I’m quite liking it. If you’re a seasoned linux user & want to try out a new distro then maybe Arch Linux is for you. Here are five reasons I feel Arch Linux rocks.

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS 4 reviewed

        Aside from those quibbles, I quite like Zorin OS 4. I’m going to leave it on this laptop and use it for work indefinitely. When the next Ubuntu comes out in April, I may need somewhere to go to still have Gnome available, and right now it’s quite possible Zorin OS will become my default choice.

      • Fastest OS Puppy Lucid 5.2 Quick review

        Barry Kauler created Puppy Linux, bringing out version 0.1 in June 2003. Now Puppy Linux
        reached its Lucid 5.2 version, an independent, minimalist Linux distribution for the desktop.

    • New Releases

      • Waiting (im)patiently

        OK, this is the list of final releases I’m waiting for (im)patiently during this year…

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making Ubuntu More Personal

          Community is a deeply personal experience. While write communities such as Open Source get together to make things (as opposed to read communities who consume content together), the attraction and thrill is only partially in the collaboration. What really makes write communities fun are the personal relationships that develop; what starts as nicknames on a screen shortly burst with life and become friends who we enjoy spending time with, sharing our ideas with, and in many cases relying on to help us through tough patches of our lives. The very reason Open Source and community attracted me in the first place is that this is not just boring, cold, and unfeeling computing, it is computing driven by people who share their humanity to make the world a better place.

        • Integrating with web apps

          Everyone knows I love web apps. You have two extremes. Old school “native apps and in control of my data” and then the other which is basically ChromeOS; No local state, all web. Most people are in the middle. You might love Gmail but the thought of having a remote word processor might not work for you.

        • User Days

          Its that time of the year again! We’re having the Ubuntu User Days!

        • Ubuntu ported to the Nook color

          Another day and another device finds itself capable of running Ubuntu.

          This time the device in question is Barnes and Noble’s ‘Nook Colour’ eBook reader.

        • Breaking: Nook Color Hacked to Run Ubuntu
        • Ubuntu At CES: Courtesy Chinese Companies

          Chinese company Nufront has announced a series of laptops powered by ARM chips and running Ubuntu. It is good to see Ubuntu’s presence at CES through a Chinese vendor, but it’s also disheartening to see that the entire tablet market that could have been Ubuntu’s forte has gone to Google’s Android. None of the major brands are considering Ubuntu on the machines.

          Brands like Sony don’t have issues with GNU/Linux; their love for Android proves that. Then what are we missing here? Why we don’t get Ubuntu running popular brand? What’s stopping the same companies which adore Android to keep a distance from Ubuntu? Only Canonical can answer, we can only speculate.

        • Ubuntu Adds Sparkle to Nufront Laptops at CES

          Two Nufront laptops were actually unveiled at the show, according to reports: one 10-inch and another 14-inch version. Both are powered by a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 running at 2GHz, and both are displayed running Ubuntu. Either 1 or 2GB of RAM is expected.

          A reference design of the 10-inch model, for instance, features HDMI output, full-size VGA, two USB hosts, and an SD card. It is reportedly “very light” and offers lengthy battery capability, but no further details were available.

        • Declan’s Freestyle Ubuntu

          I originally wrote this script for myself to simplify the installation of Ubuntu 10.10 on multiple computers, it includes the Medibuntu repositories and all multimedia codecs, restricted, multiverse and others to play all audio or video files. A friend suggested that I should make this available to a wider audience by putting it on Infowars Ireland – Basically it involves installing an Ubuntu ‘command line system’ and then running a Bash Script which downloads and installs everything for you.

          Not included in this installation are most of the default applications normally bundled with Ubuntu, there is no Totem media player – VLC and Gnome Mplayer do the job very nicely instead, GMplayer provides the functionality for Mozilla browsers to play absolutely all multimedia content on the internet, all the plugins are configured, including the Flash plugin which gets installed during initial set-up.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Cambridge firm puts MeeGo into set-top boxes

          Amino Communications is to launch an “add-on” set-top box to add new functions to existing pay-TV services.

          Based on the Cambridge-based company’s Freedom media centre, the Freedom Jump is powered by the Intel Atom processor CE4100 and the MeeGo Linux operating system for TV.

        • HTC HD2 Hacked To Run MeeGo Linux

          Independent iPhone and Macintosh developer Steven Troughton-Smith has been able to get MeeGo Linux running on the HTC HD2 smartphone.

        • Intel demonstrates first open source MeeGo tablet at CES

          In a quiet corner of the giant Intel booth at CES there’s a not-so-crowded demo stand with the the label MeeGo. There you’ll find the WeTab tablet, the first MeeGo tab already shipping in Europe. From this underwhelming beginning the Intel/Nokia-sponsored effort, now under the direction of the Linux Foundation, hopes to offer a better open source alternative to Android.

      • Android

        • Android Users Now Outnumber iPhone Users In U.S

          The report, which takes into account smartphone subscribers over the age of 13, puts RIM at the top of the smartphone platforms with a 33.5% market share over the three month period – it did however find its market share drop 4.1% from 37.6%.

        • VideoSurf is like Shazam, but for video

          Most people with an Android phone remember the first time they used Shazam to tag a song they heard on the radio. It was one of the coolest apps in the early days of Android and probably one of the most used when people wanted to show off what their new smartphone could do.

          VideoSurf hopes to recreate that same magical experience, but this time with video.

        • Parrot ASTEROID – Android for your car stereo

          AV equipment maker Parrot has stuffed Android into its newest in-car entertainment system, bringing a 3.2″ touchscreen and Google features to your car stereo. It is a significantly more elegant solution for Google Maps and GPS than licking a suction pad and sticking a cheap car dock to your windscreen.

        • CES: Moto spills full details on Atrix 4G and laptop dock

          AT&T gave us a sneak peek at the Motorola Atrix 4G this morning, but it was up to Motorola to announce the full details of the device at its CES press conference that ended a few minutes ago.

          As we told you, the Atrix’s biggest draws will be its dual-core processor and support for AT&T’s 4G network. Yet, a deeper dive shows some equally impressive features plus a unique accessory. We’ll start with the device first.

        • CES: Hands-on with the Motorola Droid Bionic

          Motorola kicked off the Verizon 4G extravaganza that was promised this week when it introduced the Droid Bionic, one of the first few phones to run on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. If that wasn’t enough to have the tech enthusiasts drooling, it even boasts a dual-core processor, with each core running at 1GHz for a total of 2GHz. And from what little we saw of it, we have to say we’re impressed.

        • Asus’ new Eee tablets include Android, Windows

          Asus introduced four tablets today, the Eee Pad Slider, a 10-inch Android tablet with a slide-out keyboard, the Eee Pad Transformer, another 10-incher with a breakaway keyboard, a 7-inch Android tab and a 12-inch Intel Core i7-powered Windows 7 “slate.”

    • Tablets

      • Open Ballot: will you be buying a tablet in 2011?

        Maybe the shiny videos of Android 3 have whetted your appetite, or perhaps you’d rather have a full-on Linux installation with all the Gnome/KDE bells and whistles. Alternatively, you could be getting tempted by Apple’s famed Reality Distortion Field, or you just think that tablets are a silly fad that will go away soon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Lion Collars and the Coolest T-Shirt You’ve Ever Seen

    New York-based consulting and research firm GROUND Lab has come up with one of the most creative implementations of open source technology I’ve ever seen. As part of a collaborative effort with Lion Guardians and Living With Lions, the GROUND Lab development team is building an open source lion tracking collar system. At first glance, the idea may seem a little odd, but once you understand the reasoning behind it, it’s actually quite awesome.

    The Maasai tribe in Southern Kenya raise and herd cattle as a primary source of income and sustenance within their community. Unfortunately, the local lions find their livestock to be a pretty tasty buffet so the Maasai keep the lions at bay by killing them. Conservationists estimate there are only about 2,000 lions left in Kenya and they may disappear entirely within the next two years if the Maasai continue to hunt them.

  • GROUND LAB Part 3: How open source objectively affected our development process

    GROUND LAB is a research and development company focused on designing and fabricating prototypes and solutions for a wide range of clients, ranging from large organizations like UNICEF to smaller NGOs, conservationists and artists. We use the open source approach in our development not only for the benefits and context described previously, but also for the advantages it provides for our clients.

  • We’re Hiring: Full-Time Developer Opening in Corvallis, Oregon

    Reporting to the Operations Manager of the Open Source Lab, the Analyst Programmer will contribute in-depth knowledge of open source software development using languages such as Python, Ruby and Java.

  • Events

    • ODF plugfest UK

      The fifth ODF plugfest will take place at Maidenhead town hall, in the Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, on February 24/25th 2011.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • HTML5 Guitar Tab Player with the Firefox 4 Audio Data API

        Greg Jopa, an Illinois State University grad student studying web development, built a web-based guitar tab player using Firefox’s Audio Data API and Vexflow (HTML5 music notation rendering API). Here is some details from Greg. You can also read more about this experiment on his blog.HTML5 Guitar Tab Player with the Firefox 4 Audio Data API

      • Changing Jobs

        Today was my last day as an employee of the Mozilla Corporation. I’m leaving to work at the law firm of Greenberg, Traurig. This was not an easy decision for me to make, but I’m pretty sure that it is the right one, both for me and for Mozilla.

      • Firefox Mobile and window.console Support

        Desktop Firefox added native support for a subset of the window.console API. It’s a subset in that only the following API methods are supported:

        * console.log(arguments)
        * console.info(arguments)
        * console.warn(arguments)
        * console.error(arguments)

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Makes TTM GPU Drivers Work On Xen

      Yesterday and today there’s been patches published by Oracle’s Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk that make it possible for open-source GPU Linux drivers that use the TTM (Translation Table Maps) in-kernel memory management to work within Xen virtualization. The TTM drivers include the open-source Radeon and Nouveau DRM drivers, among others.

    • Forget the hype: Oracle Cloud Office is just a demo

      Of course, the devil’s in the details, and the details aren’t at all apparent. Perhaps Oracle is saying that, among other things, you can open a Word .doc or .docx file with Oracle Open Office, then share that opened (and converted) document via Oracle Cloud Office. That’s a little bit different than collaboratively editing a native Office document.

      The Oracle Cloud Office data sheet [PDF] mentions that Oracle Cloud Office has browser-based collaboration capabilities using Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It also says that you can “view documents on smartphones and tablets” — implying that collaborative editing can’t take place on a mobile device.

    • Open for Business

      Sometimes, relatively small things can make a big impact. Take the case of the MySQL database. First released in 1995 and purchased by Sun in 2008, MySQL has quickly graduated from the realm of hobbyists to the world of business, becoming the leading open source database for many Web applications and an integral part of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) Web application stack. Almost a year after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, MySQL plays an even bigger role in enterprises of all sizes worldwide.

  • CMS

    • My Initial Thoughts On Drupal 7

      Yesterday I started playing with Drupal 7 since it hit final, and it’s different. I am far too used to Drupal 6, so it’s a case of unlearning some things to use Drupal 7. To be honest, I’m still kinda lost at times in the UI but that’s just familiarity. I have a few obvious changes to relearn.

    • Social-network open-source project Diaspora named ‘rookie of the year’

      Showing how social networking was a hot trend in 2010, open-source project Diaspora topped Black Duck’s third annual “Rookies of the Year” list, which distinguishes the most “buzz-worthy” open-source projects started last year.

    • Drupal 7 dives into machine-readable web

      That means Drupal 7 is adding native support for the W3C’s RDFa – a set of XHTML attributes that are designed to turn human readable data into data that’s readable by machines. That could be data such as a location’s map coordinates. RDFa is already being used by Google (see here).

  • Business

    • If you open source an old market, are you doomed to fail?

      A few years back, a host of open-source businesses raised hundreds of millions of dollars on the promise that they would commoditize old, dying markets, and make a bundle of money in the process. Missing from this thesis, however, was its logical conclusion: winning in a fading market is tantamount to losing, as the commoditizing vendor goes down with the sinking ship.

    • As Dimdim Loses Independence, Some Doors Close, and Others Open

      In the wake of the news that open source online conferencing and collaboration provider Dimdim is being swallowed up by cloud CRM provider Salesforce, one conclusion seems clear: Many long-standing open source applications are low hanging fruit for powerful proprietary software companies to acquire and metamorphosize for their own purposes. It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that this is happening at the same rate that it used to, but the rate at which well-known open source technologies are being flipped under the wing of proprietary software companies is in fact picking up pace exponentially. In Dimdim’s case, there are positive and negative aspects of the buyout.

  • BSD

    • Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

      The most common Linux file-systems we talk about at Phoronix are of course Btrfs and EXT4 while the ZFS file-system, which is available on Linux as a FUSE (user-space) module or via a recent kernel module port, gets mentioned a fair amount too. When it comes to the FreeBSD and PC-BSD operating systems, ZFS is looked upon as the superior, next-generation option that is available to BSD users. However, with the DragonFlyBSD operating system there is another option: HAMMER. In this article we are seeing how the performance of this original creation within the DragonFlyBSD project competes with ZFS, UFS, EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs.

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.56 Beta Released[Ubuntu PPA]

      Blender is an incredible open source cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation. And if you are unaware of the capabilities of Blender, you should watch these stunning Blender made short films and animations you probably haven’t seen ever before. Blender 2.56 beta is the fifth beta release of Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 is undergoing massive changes and the final release date is still quite uncertain.

  • Government

    • Irish Government Adopts Open Source

      The application can be used seemlessly out-of-the-box allowing users to begin reaping ROI from the very beginning, or customised to suit the specific needs of a business and its users. It’s unique in so far users can choose to host the application either in the cloud or on-premise, and gives users the flexibility to access their data in whatever location they are.

    • Kundra Encourages Open Source…& Proprietary

      White House officials on Friday sent agency chief information officers and senior procurement executives a memo directing them to weigh open source options when buying technology.

      Open source refers to technology based on nonproprietary parts, which allow third-party developers to improve and modify the product without having to pay the technology’s maker. Advocates have said a move toward open source in the government could save taxpayer dollars and bolster security.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creating democratic, scalable innovation

      There has been a big response to Dave Briggs’s blogpost, Is there a need for a local government skunkworks?, some of which Dave summarises here. Dave’s point goes beyond the traditional technology-prototyping skunkworks, familiar from companies like Lockheed Martin, and I think he is really asking “do we need to have a machine/structure that will create and implement innovation in local government?”.

    • Tau Meta Tau Physica: Bringing Open Source to Fashion

      In this exclusive interview, Susan Spencer Conklin tells Linux Pro Magazine how she re-entered the open source world with a project that combines her programming skills with her interest in fashion. Susan explains how her vision for an open source fashion tool has expanded since she first introduced the Tau Meta Tau Physica application at the Libre Graphics Meeting in Brussels last fall.

    • Open Data

      • Opening up public bodies to public scrutiny

        New plans to extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to open up government and other bodies to public scrutiny, were unveiled by the Ministry of Justice today.

        The changes will make it easier for people to use FOI to find and use information about the public bodies they rely on and their taxes pay for, by:

        * increasing the number of organisations to which FOI requests can be made, bringing in bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Services Ombudsman, and higher education admissions body UCAS; and also all companies wholly owned by any number of public authorities


      • Mozilla Open Data Competition – Winners To Be Announced on Jan. 11

        We want to give a short update on the announcement of the winners of our first Mozilla Open Data Visualization Competition. We originally planned to announce these winners tomorrow, but will now make the announcement on Tuesday, January 11th.

      • The DH documents that mock open government

        Below are some of the edits in two NPfIT Gateway Reviews that officials published after removing all useful information.

        The published portions of the reviews exclude all information on the progress or otherwise of the projects under scrutiny. All of the findings and recommendations in each review have also been excluded.

      • Jon Stewart Calls Out Facebook, Goldman Sachs for Their Shady New Deal

        Jon Stewart Calls Out Facebook, Goldman Sachs for Their Shady New Deal

        On Monday, news broke that Goldman Sachs had invested $500 million into Facebook, valuing Mark Zuckerberg’s social network at $50 billion. Tonight, Jon Stewart laid bare the real—and hypocritical—reason for the investment: an avoidance of government-regulated transparency. Uh-oh.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Nature Publishing Group Announces New Open Access Journal and Support for CC!

        Nature Publishing Group has long been a leader in scientific and medical publishing. The company’s flagship publication, Nature, has been publishing across a broad range of scientific disciplines since 1869 and is the world’s most cited interdisciplinary journal. In the past several years, Timo Hannay as head of web publishing and Annette Thomas as CEO of MacMillian (NPG’s parent company) successfully brought NPG into the digital age with a wide variety of new scientific journals and projects that leverage the power of the Internet.

        As part of this program, NPG has made very clear its support of open access publishing. Last month, the company announced that an additional 15 of its journals now offer open access options. And this week, the company announced a brand new online open access journal called Scientific Reports. With this launch, a full 80% of NPG academic and society journals and 50% of all journals the company publishes offer open access options to authors.

      • PLoS (and NPG) redefine the scholarly publishing landscape

        Nature Publishing Group yesterday announced a new venture, very closely modelled on the success of PLoS ONE, titled Scientific Reports. Others have started to cover the details and some implications so I won’t do that here. I think there are three big issues here. What does this tell us about the state of Open Access? What are the risks and possibilities for NPG? And why oh why does NPG keep insisting on a non-commercial licence? I think those merit separate posts so here I’m just going to deal with the big issue. And I think this is really big.

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino The Documentary now online

        Arduino The Documentary is finally out. We have been waiting for long, but now you can see it at Vimeo (EN, ES) and download it from Archive.org (links coming soon). The file is licensed under CC-SA 3.0 and can be redistributed.


  • Sad John Boehner and Sad Don Draper (Update: by popular demand, now with Sad Glenn Beck, Tiny Sad Keanu, Sad James Van Der Beek)
  • Fog Computing cartoon
  • Whose house is of glasse, must not throw stones at another.

    All broadband technologies are suffering badly from bufferbloat, as are many other parts of the Internet.

    You suffer from bufferbloat nearly everywhere: if not at home or your office, then when you travel, you will find many hotels are now connected by broadband connections, and you often suffer grievous latency and jitter since they have not mitigated bufferbloat and are sharing the connection with many others. (More about mitigation strategies soon). How easy/difficult to fix those technologies is clearly dependent on the details of those technologies; full solutions depend on active queue management; some other mitigations are possible (just set the buffers to something sane, as they are often up to a megabyte in size now, as the ICSI data show), as I’ll describe later in this sequence of blog posts.

  • Decoding Nick Clegg

    I don’t want to join the sheer hate campaign against Nick Clegg. Not because I want to be generous to him on his birthday, even though I’m a humanist. But for three reasons: it is driven by Labour scapegoating that displaces the way they screwed up onto the Lib Dems; because it displaces attention from the Prime Minister who is the prime mover and architect of government policy and goes along with his use of Clegg as a heat shield; and because Nick Clegg is not a cynical, wicked politician. In fact his problem may be that he does not know how to be a politician at all.

  • The ‘Lost’ Paradox: Why Some Free Shows On The Web Are So Heavily Pirated

    The No. 1 most-pirated show—that would be ABC’s Lost, which was illegally downloaded nearly six million times—had a strange characteristic about it. It was available, for at least several months of 2010, for free via Hulu.

  • Koo af, yinz: regional US slang thrives on Twitter

    It’s commonly accepted that widespread national television helped smooth over many local US accents and standardized “proper” English usage; will services like Twitter, where people use more colloquial language, have the same effect on regional slang? A new study from Carnegie Mellon University finds that, so far, regional variation is alive and well on Twitter. All yinz in Pittsburgh and all yous in New Jersey can still find plenty of support on the microblogging service.

  • How a ‘free school’ will deliberately exclude poorer pupils

    Plans for a new ‘Free school’ in Wandsworth will include pupils from households from rich households, but deliberately exclude students from poorer households, even though the latter are 0.2 km nearer to the selected site.

    The ‘Free schools’ policy has been loudly championed by Conservative minister Michael Gove. It allows practically anyone to get state funding to set up a school.

  • Musical Chairs: Tom Goldstein Is Leaving Akin Gump

    Superstar Supreme Court litigator Thomas Goldstein — who has argued 22 cases before the high court, racked up numerous honors from legal and general-interest publications, and, most importantly, served as a judge of ATL Idol — is leaving Akin Gump.

  • Science

    • Bacterial bloom ate Deepwater Horizon’s methane

      The Deepwater Horizon oil leak released far more than just crude oil; prodigious amounts of methane gas also spewed out of the well. This gas was responsible for many of the problems associated with the disaster. While the well was uncapped, all of that methane ended up being released into the ocean. A study in today’s issue of Science, however, suggests that it never made it to the surface. Instead, a large bloom of methane-eating bacteria seems to have thrived during the leak. The authors of the new paper suggest that their results have implications for some future climate change scenarios.

    • Plasma jets make Sun’s corona so much hotter than the surface

      The Sun’s core is millions of degrees, while the solar surface is a balmy 5800 kelvin. But travel to the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, and it heats up to millions of degrees again. The corona is a wispy plasma envelope extending millions of miles above the Sun’s surface. Why the tenuous atmosphere above the sun is hotter than the actual surface has remained a mystery. One generic explanation has been that magnetic fields must be involved, but getting beyond this superficial understanding has required more detailed observations.

    • GOP Kills Science Jobs Bill By Forcing Dems To Vote For Porn

      In an example of Republican obstructionism rendered beautiful by its simplicity, the GOP yesterday killed a House bill that would increase funding for scientific research and math and science education by forcing Democrats to vote in favor of federal employees viewing pornography.

      Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the ranking member of the House science committee, introduced a motion to recommit, a last-ditch effort to change a bill by sending it back to the committee with mandatory instructions.

      In this case, Republicans included a provision that would bar the federal government from paying the salaries of employees who’ve been disciplined for viewing pornography at work.

    • When Innovation, Too, Is Made in China

      AS a national strategy, China is trying to build an economy that relies on innovation rather than imitation. Clearly, its leaders recognize that being the world’s low-cost workshop for assembling the breakthrough products designed elsewhere — think iPads and a host of other high-tech goods — has its limits.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Supreme Court to decide drug marketing case

      This data mining is a multiple-billion dollar business, and drug makers say it is invaluable in helping them promote new drugs to physicians. Last year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said this data helps the industry “properly educate doctors about prescription drugs and their characteristics…in a more targeted and expedited manner.”

      But lawmakers in three New England states moved to halt the practice. They said the tracking of prescriptions “really interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and leads to more spending on expensive drugs,” according to Sharon Treat, a Maine legislator and executive director of the National Legislative Assn. on Prescription Drug Prices.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Everyone’s spam is unique

      How much spam you get depends on three main things, how many spammers know (or guess) your email address, how good your spam filtering is, and of course, how active the spammers are.

    • Proof of ownership for IP addresses

      On 3 January 2011, RIPE NCC officially ushered in a new era in internet routing. 73 of RIPE’s 7,000-odd members have already certified IP address blocks. The practice is intended to prevent future internet routing ‘hijacks’, but should also help prevent incorrect addressing. In practice, the latter is more frequently responsible for sites temporarily disappearing from the web than hacking.

    • PlayStation 3 hack – how it happened and what it means

      This feature allowed owners to install their own Linux OS onto the console, giving them the ability to create and run their own applications, and to load apps developed by other users.

    • How to Secure Your Smartphone

      With phones falling into the wrong hands every day and California residents subject to warrantless cellphone searches, now’s a pretty good time to think about protecting your smartphone.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Drug gangs seize parts of northern Guatemala

      Narco gangs have opened a new front in South America’s expanding drug war by seizing control of parts of northern Guatemala, prompting the government to suspend civil liberties and declare a state of siege in the area.

      Hundreds of soldiers have reinforced police units in an offensive against a Mexican cartel known as the Zetas which is said to have overrun Alta Verapaz province.

    • Separating Terror from Terrorism

      Nineteenth-century anarchists promoted what they called the “propaganda of the deed,” that is, the use of violence as a symbolic action to make a larger point, such as inspiring the masses to undertake revolutionary action. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, modern terrorist organizations began to conduct operations designed to serve as terrorist theater, an undertaking greatly aided by the advent and spread of broadcast media. Examples of attacks designed to grab international media attention are the September 1972 kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the December 1975 raid on OPEC headquarters in Vienna. Aircraft hijackings followed suit, changing from relatively brief endeavors to long, drawn-out and dramatic media events often spanning multiple continents.

    • A chapter of accidents

      2010 was not a particularly good year for airline safety. Data put together by Ascend, which provides information to the aviation industry, show that the year’s rate of one fatal accident for every 1.3m flights compared poorly with one per 1.5m in 2009 (the safest year ever). Similarly, the number of fatal accidents rose from 23 in 2009 to 28 in 2010. And passenger deaths on passenger revenue flights rose from 609 to 726, of whom 472 died in four main accidents.

    • Feds relax export curbs on open-source crypto

      Federal restrictions will be relaxed on the export of open-source software that incorporates strong encryption, the US government announced on Friday in a lengthy disclosure.

      The effect of the changes announced in the US Federal Register is that cryptography software now may be exported to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan as long as the source code from which it was derived is already “publicly available”. To qualify for the exemption, exporters must first notify the federal government exactly where the code is located.

    • Cross-sex strip searches ruled unconstitutional

      female jail guard’s strip search of a male inmate was a “humiliating event” that violated his rights, a divided federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Wednesday.

      Such searches of a prisoner by a guard of the opposite sex are unconstitutional except in an emergency, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 6-5 decision.

    • Emergency human rights petition seeks to halt deportations to Haiti

      Civil and human rights advocates filed an emergency petition [pdf] this week with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in an effort to halt the imminent deportation of hundreds of Haitian nationals by the U.S. government, calling the move a “death sentence.”

  • Cablegate

    • Vanity Fair profiles Julian Assange: Wikileaks threatened to sue Guardian over leaked cables

      But among the more interesting revelations in this piece: at one point, VF reports that Assange threatened to sue The Guardian because he was upset that the newspaper secured an unauthorized copy of one leak “package” from a Wikileaks volunteer, and was considering breaking the embargo.

    • Why Bradley Manning is fighting for his sanity

      For the past seven months, 22-year-old US Army Private Bradley Manning, first in an army prison in Kuwait, now in the brig in Quantico, Virginia, has been held 23 hours out of 24 in solitary confinement in his cell, under constant harassment. If his eyes close between 5am and 8pm he is jolted awake. In daylight hours he has to respond “yes” to guards every five minutes. For an hour a day he is taken to another cell where he walks figures of eight. If he stops he is taken back to his other cell.


      Accusations that his treatment amounts to torture have been indignantly denounced by prominent conservatives calling for him to be summarily executed. After the columnist Glenn Greenwald publicised Manning’s treatment in mid-December, there was a moderate commotion. The UN’s top monitor of torture is investigating his case.

    • Julian Assange Captured by World’s Dating Police

      I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims’ complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women’s apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, ‘reading stories about himself online’ in the cab.

      Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).

    • An open letter to the president of the United States, regarding WikiLeaks and PFC. Manning

      The letter was signed by David Jaris; and outlined some very interesting quotes stated by Obama himself.
      “We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk. . . Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal.”

      ~ Senator Barack Obama, 2008

    • Wiki Rehab

      Until Cablegate, this situation, while theoretically problematic, was something that most geeks accepted as some kind of necessary evil inherent to capitalism. It seemed unlikely that Amazon or PayPal would bow down to pressure from the governments of Vietnam, Azerbaijan, or Tunisia (the moral resolve of Facebook and Google, which had ads to sell in these very markets, was a different case). Likewise, it seemed unlikely that democratic governments would want to bully the intermediaries rather than pursue their grievances via the legal system.

    • Assange vs. Zuckerberg
    • DOJ sends order to Twitter for Wikileaks-related account info

      The U.S. Justice Department has obtained a court order directing Twitter to turn over information about the accounts of activists with ties to Wikileaks, including an Icelandic politician, a legendary Dutch hacker, and a U.S. computer programmer.

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of 63 members of Iceland’s national parliament, said this afternoon that Twitter notified her of the order’s existence and told her she has 10 days to oppose the request for information about her account since November 1, 2009.

      “I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone,” Jónsdóttir said in a Twitter message.

      The order (PDF) also covers “subscriber account information” for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private charged with leaking classified information; Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum; Dutch hacker and XS4ALL Internet provider co-founder Rop Gonggrijp; and Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.

    • DOJ subpoenas Twitter records of several WikiLeaks volunteers

      Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir — a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament — announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information “about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009.” Several news outlets, including The Guardian, wrote about Jónsdóttir’s announcement.

      What hasn’t been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter — which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested — seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks’ Twitter account.

      The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope. It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the “means and source of payment,” including banking records and credit cards. It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present. A copy of the Order served on Twitter, obtained exclusively by Salon, is here.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans attempt to stifle action on climate change


      Republicans have wasted no time in using their new majority in Congress to try to block the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act on climate change.

      In their first full day in the new Congress, Republicans outlined three different bills – encapsulating three different strategies – aimed at limiting the powers of the EPA. It also shut down a house committee that had tackled energy and climate issues.

      The first, introduced by Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, would declare that greenhouse gas emissions are not subject to the Clean Air Act – even though supreme court ruled in 2007 that they are.

    • NSFW: Official tells Coast Guard to “Kiss my ass” — “This Is Bullsh!t” (VIDEO)
    • More than 8 months after BP disaster, boat tour finds oil still fouling Louisiana marshes

      Federal and Louisiana officials got into a heated argument Friday over the cleanup of oiled marshes during a tour of an area that remains fouled 8 1/2 months after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Thousands of crabs die along Thanet’s coast

      THOUSANDS of dead crabs and mysterious deposits of black sand have littered the Thanet coastline.

      Environmental experts belive the cold weather is again to blame for the deaths of velvet swimming crabs, which have been found at Palm, Walpole and Westbrook Bays.

      In January 2010, the dead bodies of 30,000 to 40,000 of the crabs – also known as devil crabs – came ashore.

  • Finance

    • Facebook, Goldman Sachs & How Money Seeks Regulatory Free Zones

      This is, in many ways, the exact opposite of what was intended with things like SOX — which was designed to increase oversight. But, instead, it’s done the opposite. The end result is that wealthy clients of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms can invest in these companies, but others cannot. Now, some might claim that this is a “good” thing, in that the general public shouldn’t be investing in highly risky stocks that could easily collapse. But, it’s also creating a tiered system where these companies are able to avoid going public for much longer, but the wealthy and well-connected can get in at about the same point that the public used to be able to get in. And, they are buying. Goldman has already announced that it’s already oversubscribed.

    • Showdown looms over raising the nation’s debt limit

      As lawmakers and the White House engage in another game of economic chicken, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says hitting the debt ceiling would cause ‘catastrophic damage to the economy.’

    • MPs’ expenses: David Chaytor jailed over false claims

      Ex-Labour MP David Chaytor has been jailed for 18 months for fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses.

      Chaytor, 61, the former MP for Bury North, last month admitted three charges of false accounting.

      He submitted bogus invoices for IT consultancy work and claimed rent he never paid on homes owned by his family, the court was told.

    • Hedge Funds Bet Heavily on Republicans at End of Election

      A small network of hedge fund executives pumped at least $10 million into Republican campaign committees and allied groups in last year’s elections, helping bankroll GOP victories that changed the balance of power in Washington, according to a review of campaign records and interviews with industry insiders.

    • Goldman Sachs Efforts to Burnish Image May Be Undermined by Facebook Deal

      Just as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. prepares to unveil business standards aimed at improving its reputation after settling fraud charges last year, the Facebook Inc. stock sale to clients shines new light on the firm’s potential conflicts of interest.

    • Facebook Readies Track for I.P.O.; Goldman Faces Questions

      The S.E.C. is interested in several issues surrounding Goldman’s Facebook deal, including its structure and news media reports about the offering, which was supposed to remain private, according to people with direct knowledge of the inquiry who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

    • So, Now That We Know Facebook’s Numbers, Is It WORTH $50 Billion?

      From a high level:

      2009 REVENUE: $775 million
      2009 PROFIT: $200 million

      2010 REVENUE: ~$2 billion
      2010 PROFIT: ~$500 million

      So, based on this, is the company WORTH the $50 billion that Goldman’s clients are desperate to buy it for?

      The answer, as always, is “It depends.”

    • SJC rules against banks on mortgage assignments

      The Supreme Judicial Court has upheld a Land Court judge’s decision in U.S. Bank v. Ibanez invalidating foreclosure sales conducted by two plaintiff banks to which mortgages had been assigned.

      “We agree with the judge that the plaintiffs, who were not the original mortgagees, failed to make the required showing that they were the holders of the mortgages at the time of foreclosure,” Judge Ralph D. Gants wrote for the SJC. “As a result, they did not demonstrate that the foreclosure sales were valid to convey title to the subject properties.”

      The banks claimed that “securitization documents” they submitted established valid assignments that made them the holders of the two mortgages before the notice of sale and the foreclosure sale.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • House leader invites corporate criminals to submit regulatory wish lists

      The new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been sending letters to various companies and industry groups asking business leaders what regulations they think should be stricken — and among those whose ideas he solicited are companies with a history of serious wrongdoing.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Uncle Sam has $30M to bypass Chinese, Iranian ‘Net filters

      Need to get around a Chinese government firewall? Burning to smuggle your samizdat writings past Iranian Internet censorship? Hoping to blog with impunity in Burma? Uncle Sam wants to help. The US government has a $30 million pot of money to spend on “Internet freedom” programs around the world, and it’s not afraid to make a few enemies.

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year gave a major speech on Internet freedom and the new “Information Curtain” of censorship that has fallen in some parts of the world. In that speech, she said that State would support development of tools that can bypass Internet censorship. She also outlined a program in which State would fund mobile phone apps that allow people to rate government ministries on responsiveness and efficiency and that can ferret out corruption through crowdsourcing. The hardware is already in the wild, she said; all what’s needed is some money to make it worth developers’ time.

    • MP thinks privacy is a “waste of public money”

      According to This is Derbyshire, Conservative MP Heather Wheeler wants police to be able to access raw Streetview footage without needing a court order because proper checks on what the police are up to are “a waste of public money”. This is despite the fact that the UK already tops the Google snoopers chart when measured as a number of requests per person in the country.

    • Columbus Dispatch Issues Takedown On Famous YouTube Video Of Homeless Guy With Great Radio Voice

      Unless you’ve been under a rock the past week, you probably have heard about Ted Williams, the homeless guy in Columbus, Ohio, who panhandles off of a highway, but whose panhandling sign noted that he had an amazing radio voice. Someone from the Columbus Dispatch shot a short video of the guy showing off his voice, and after it went up on YouTube it went viral. Within days there were over a million views, and people were talking about how the guy really deserved a voice over job. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered him a job and apparently MSNBC has hired him to do some voiceover work. All that sounds good.

    • Still No Country For Good Men

      Dr Binayak Sen — a man who has now become a cause célèbre across the country — was sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, for “conspiracy to commit sedition”. Sen had worked for 30 years with the tribal poor in the state both as a doctor and a human rights activist. According to the Chhattisgarh state, however, Sen is a dangerous Maoist leader who is a serious threat to national security.

      There was a spontaneous surge of outrage in civil society and the media over this scandalous miscarriage of justice. But there was little that could be done. The State had timed itself well. It was a day before Christmas. The high court and Supreme Court were on vacation; most lawyers were away. It would be at least two weeks before Sen’s family could appeal. Enough time for the dread to sink in; the message to go out.

    • Facebook CEO Makes the Rounds With Tech Executives, Fueling Speculation Over Effort to End Ban

      Facebook CEO Makes the Rounds With Tech Executives, Fueling Speculation Over Effort to End Ban

    • Facts and Figures: China’s efforts in fighting porn, illegal publications in 2010

      China has made steady progress in containing the spread of illegal publications and cracking down on the dissemination of lewd content through the Internet and mobile phones in 2010, according to the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.

      The office has recently disclosed the following facts and figures about the related efforts China has made so far this year:

    • Google Digital Newsstand Aims to Muscle In on Apple

      Apple is planning to share more data about who downloads a publisher’s app, information publishers can use for marketing purposes. According to people familiar with the matter, Apple would ask consumers who subscribe to an iPad version of a magazine or newspaper for permission to share personal information about them, like their name and email address, with the publisher.

      Some publishers remain unhappy with this arrangement because they think few customers would opt to share such data, according to these people.

    • Cell Phones Can Be Searched After Arrest, Justices Say

      Delving into privacy concerns in the age of the smart phone, the California Supreme Court determined today that after police take a cell phone from a suspect during an arrest, they can search the phone’s text messages without a warrant.

      The majority in the 5-2 decision reasoned that U.S. Supreme Court precedents call for cell phones to be treated as personal property “immediately associated” with the suspect’s person.

    • Mark Zuckerberg shares his info only with . . .

      There is a delicious irony in the reluctance of Facebook to go public. Mark Zuckerberg may not care for your privacy but it seems he can see some advantages to his own; hence the company’s preference for private share placings and the use of Goldman Sachs to create a secondary market for its shares

    • What They Know – Mobile

      Marketers are tracking smartphone users through “apps” – games and other software on their phones. Some apps collect information including location, unique serial-number-like identifiers for the phone, and personal details such as age and sex. Apps routinely send the information to marketing companies that use it to compile dossiers on phone users. As part of the What They Know investigative series into data privacy, the Journal analyzed the data collected and shared by 101 popular apps on iPhone and Android phones (including the Journal’s own iPhone app). This interactive database shows the behavior of these apps, and describes what each app told users about the information it gathered.

    • PRR – Privacy Respecting Router a #freedentity idea

      The only solution is actually quite simple. In order to gain more control over your privacy and data, you should keep it under your control whenever possible. Handing your data to Facebook, twitter or gmail however is the opposite of that. You hand over your data under typically broad terms of use that give Facebook, Twitter, Google a lot of rights and leave you in the dark about what actually happens with it.

    • Internet Freedom Alert: Obama Admin Pushing Ahead Today with Dangerous “Internet Trusted Identity” Scheme

      Greetings. At this moment — as I type this — the Obama administration is pushing forward with its horrendous DHS-linked “Trusted Internet Identity” scheme (formally – “NSTIC”: “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace”) via a meeting and announcements today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

      As I’ve discussed in Why the New Federal “Trusted Internet Identity” Proposal is Such a Very Bad Idea and postings linked within that article, NSTIC is an incredibly dangerous concept fraught with all manner of major direct and collateral risks to individuals, organizations, freedom of speech, and civil rights in general.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Intel Insider tech risks monopoly accusations

      Intel’s Sandy Bridge line of processors is impressing the tech community with its power, but a sneaky little feature designed to appease Hollywood has some concerned about Intel’s intentions: Intel Insider.

      The new technology, which ships as standard with Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs, is designed to offer a trusted computing platform for high-definition video streaming over the Internet – a sort of HDCP for TCP/IP, as it were.

      Taking the Intel Insider technology at its face value, it seems like a win-win scenario for publishers and consumers: it provides a way of turning the humble desktop or laptop PC into a ‘trusted’ device in the same way as a Blu-ray player or HDMI-connected TV, meaning that video streamed over the Internet can be encrypted and piracy made significantly more challenging.

      With such technology, studios are significantly more likely to offer streaming services for new-release feature films to PCs – and the fact that the Intel Insider security can be layered over existing Digital Rights Management (DRM) implementations means that Hollywood stays in control of the video the entire time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When Will Quora Be Quorate?

      Over on Twitter, Brenda Wallace asked me a very good question:

      do you know a good umbrella term for things like ACTA, TPPA, 3strikes, guilt on accusation etc. ?

      Since I couldn’t think of one, I naturally turned back to Twitter to ask people what they thought. And since I’ve recently joined the all-too trendy Quora, it occurred to me that this was just the kind of thing it was designed to answer: what is effectively a “new” question whose answer is not available elsewhere, but which the collective efforts of qualified people might successfully address.

      Literally within minutes, I had dozens of witty suggestions from people on Twitter, which you can see by scrolling this list of tweets; here’s just a small selection:


      IP enclosure

      legislative o’erweening

      LRM (legislative rights management)

      Corsair Laws


    • Johnson & Johnson Leads $9 Million Investment In Personal Genetics Startup 23andMe

      23andMe, which was founded in 2006, aims to help individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and Web-based interactive tools. DNA analysis helps participants find information about their ancestry and their risks of getting certain diseases (Michael has tried the service).

    • Tobacco Companies Using Trademark Claims To Try To Avoid Putting Warning Labels On Cigarrettes & Cigars

      Apparently, Australia has a new rule coming into effect that says all such products must soon be offered in plain packages — and some lobbyists in support of the tobacco companies have been claiming that plain packages violate trademark, and go against Australia’s treaty obligations — including its free trade agreement with the US. For years, we’ve noted that when lobbyists break out the “international obligations” claim, you know that they’re really full of it, but this seems especially ridiculous.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Party Slams Anti-Piracy Outfit for Filing ‘Illegal’ Complaints

        Wearing “Piracy is Illegal” T-shirts and carrying several boxes of complaints against file-sharers, a group of movie industry representatives showed up at the Attorney General’s Office doorstep in Portugal this week. By clogging the judicial system they hope to raise awareness of widespread online movie piracy. However, this ideal may backfire as the local Pirate Party believes that the actions of anti-piracy activists may very well be illegal.

      • Harry Potter plagiarism case thrown out of US court

        A plagiarism case brought against author JK Rowling has been dismissed in the US, after a judge ruled that comparing the two books involved “strains credulity”.

        The estate of British author Adrian Jacobs, who died in 1997, had claimed that Rowling plagiarised part of his book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard for the plot of her fourth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A PR representative for the Jacobs estate claimed in February that it would be a “billion-dollar case”.

      • Swedish Music Service Launching In U.S. (No, Not That One)

        While many continue fretting over whether and when Spotify will open up Stateside, another digital music company from Sweden is going ahead there – and may even become a beachhead for its better-known compatriot.

      • Right to free use of sound recordings in student bars removed.

        A little noticed statutory instrument that came into force on 1 January, the snappily entitled “The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (Amendment) Regulations 2010″ – SI 2010/2694.

      • The Atlantic Posts Profit for First Time In Years

        The Atlantic says it turned its first profit in decades in the fourth quarter of 2010, driven by double-digit revenue increases year-over-year in digital (up 70 percent), events (up 37 percent) and even print (up 27 percent). Overall advertising revenue grew 37 percent.

      • Claim: ISP Identified Non-Subscriber In Troubled File-Sharing Case

        Last year when thousands of Internet users had their privacy breached due to the actions of ACS:Law, watchdog Privacy International said it would pursue the anti-piracy law firm for breaching the Data Protection Act. Now, in PI’s 2010 report, there is a suggestion that BSkyB “contaminated” subscriber information it sent to ACS:Law, which led to someone being accused of piracy who had no broadband account with BSkyB.

      • EU law not tough enough for online piracy, says Brussels

        Rates of intellectual property infringement in the EU are “alarming”, according to the European Commission. It says that an EU law on IP rights has had some effect, but that the legal measure was not designed to deal with online piracy.

        Current laws are not strong enough to combat online IP infringement effectively and powers to compel internet service providers (ISPs) and other intermediaries to take more proactive steps should be examined, the Commission said.

      • When You Have A ‘Chief Content Protection Officer,’ You’re Doing It Wrong

        . What I didn’t realize is that there’s a whole bunch of folks with similar titles. Hillicon Valley has an article about how the MPAA’s content protection staff is shuffling roles, and it mentions how Suh has been promoted from VP of Content Protection to Senior VP of Content Protection (congrats, btw). But the article also points out that his boss, Mike Robinson, has been promoted to Executive VP of Content Protection and his boss is “Chief Content Protection Officer” Daniel Mandil.

      • CC Website Changes

        If you watch our website carefully, you’ll notice a few changes today. Some of those changes are small, and some are fairly significant, and we’ll be making more changes later in 2011.

        We’re making these changes because we’ve received feedback — from our community of users, friends, supporters, and more — that the current set of web properties we have here at Creative Commons isn’t working as well as it could. Our websites have always emphasized using Creative Commons tools, or finding Creative Commons-licensed works. But we haven’t always made it easy to understand exactly how we are making possible the full potential of the internet via open licensing.

      • Second Life Ordered to Stop Honoring a Copyright Owner’s Takedown Notices–Amaretto Ranch Breedables v. Ozimals

        Amaretto Ranch Breedables v. Ozimals, Inc., 2010 WL 5387774 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2010). The Justia page. The complaint with exhibits. Ozimals’ C&D to Amaretto and its blogged statement on the case.

        Here’s a line you don’t see every day in judicial opinions: “The gist of the copyright dispute between the parties is whether Plaintiff’s virtual horses infringe on copyrights associated with Defendant’s virtual bunnies.” This reminded me a little of that great line from Ghostbusters: “dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

Clip of the Day

Debian Squeeze Artwork

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/1/2011: Linux Foundation Expands, GTK+ 3.0 is Near

Posted in News Roundup at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Rant Mode Equals One: Linux on the Door Stop

    Paul Ferris reviews the state of Linux over the past decade from multiple perspectives: cloud, desktop, tablet and finally infrastructure market. The most pressing question rises to the top: Will 2011 be the year of Linux on the Doorstop?


    So, in some kind of funky way, Linux truly runs on the doorstop (or rather, doorstep), after all.

  • My Switch To FOSS (Debian, QEMU, Mercurial, vi & Python) For My 5th-Gen Framework

    After much soul-searching, painful deliberation, and cursing the technology for not being in a better state, I chose *Nix systems on any hardware as my core foundation, and the Debian distribution of Linux in particular, because it installs easily on such a wide variety of hardware including ARM and MIPS, plus subsequent software installations are so easy, and it’s the underpinnings of Ubuntu, which is the underpinnings of Google’s ChromeOS. Yep, I know Google is a vendor, and this sounds like being beholden to a vendor, but it’s a lesser-of-two-evils compromise, especially when you consider it is actually the basic underpinnings of ChromeOS that I chose, and not ChromeOS itself. There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about Debian.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom joins the Linux Foundation

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

    • Timesys Joins Linux Foundation

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

      Timesys has been providing Linux offerings for more than 15 years and was one of the first companies to market with an open source, commercial-grade, embedded Linux development framework (LinuxLink). Timesys is joining The Linux Foundation to collaborate on initiatives that help provide tools and resources designed to ease embedded Linux development.

    • Protecode Joins Linux Foundation
    • [GIT PULL] scheduler changes for v2.6.38

      The biggest user-visible change is the new auto-group scheduling feature – it can be enabled via CONFIG_SCHED_AUTOGROUP=y (disabled by default).

    • New Linux Kernel Strengthens SMP Support

      In regard to the ext4 file system, the file system will no longer use a buffer layer to communicate. “The buffer layer has a lot of performance and SMP scalability issues that will get solved with this port,” the kernel’s changelog noted. In one set of benchmarks, using a 48-core system connected to a 24-unit SAS storage array, the new ext4 implementation was able to speed 192 simultaneous FFSB (Flexible File System Benchmark) threads by 300 percent while reducing the load on the CPUs by a factor of three or four.

    • Why Linux is Alpha and Omega

      I’m sure most people remember DEC – Digital Equipment Corporation – that later rebranded itself as the singularly unmemorable “Digital” before being swallowed up by Compaq in 1998, which was itself digested by HP a few years later. But I wonder how many people remember the DEC Alpha chip.


      I’m sure the ARM Partnership is indeed “excited”: it can’t lose. It already has a healthy share of several new sectors, mostly thanks to Linux-based products; the addition of Windows-based systems can only grow that share. But it’s worth emphasising that these are future Windows systems: Linux has been up and running on ARM for years.

      Once again, this is a clear demonstration of how Windows is technically way behind Linux, for all Microsoft’s boasts about its “innovation”. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to cross-platform support, Linux is – and has been for a decade – the Alpha and Omega of portability.

    • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly

      Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors.

      The libva 1.0.7 release also has better Google Android support for VA-API, and bug-fixes. The previous libva release (v1.0.6) was christened at the end of October.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Says It Will Deliver ARM CPUs Spanning PCs to SCs

        NVIDIA has announced from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it’s working to deliver ARM CPUs for a range of devices from PCs to super-computers. NVIDIA plans to build high-performance ARM CPUs for a range of devices, including servers and workstations. Internally this is being worked on at NVIDIA under the Project Denver codename.

      • There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3’11

        If the PR representative I just spoke with at CES actually knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Linux, in the third quarter of this year there may be an open-source PowerVR driver for Linux.

      • VIA’s Open Linux Graphics Driver Has Been Defenestrated

        For those that were hoping that VIA Technologies would pull through in providing their open-source graphics driver support like they had promised with kernel mode-setting, a Gallium3D driver, and being Linux friendly, kiss those thoughts goodbye as they’ve been basically thrown out the window. Sadly, it’s not happening. I had a very productive conversation with VIA’s Stewart Haston, who is their international marketing specialist, and their Linux outlook is extremely dark.

      • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly

        Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors.

  • Applications

    • Open Source HTPC’s That Don’t Suck

      In our next installment of Distros That Don’t Suck we will be looking at open source HTPC software. Sure you can load up VLC or even use Windows Media player, but having a dedicated solution with a UI that is made for a TV is a lot easier and pleasing. I’ve left the PVR-centric software like MythTV and Freevo off the list since their main purpose is to act as a PVR. I’ll be reviewing open source PVR software by itself at a later date.

    • What is Upstart?

      Originally created for use in Ubuntu, Upstart is suitable for deployment in all Linux distributions as an alternative to the System-V init.

    • 4 Open Source Applications for the Visually Impaired

      Orca – This screen reader is bundled with the GNOME desktop (version 2.16 and newer), and ships with the Open Solaris, Ubuntu, and Fedora operating systems, but it is also available for separate download. It supports the OpenOffice word processing suite and Firefox browser, and the Java platform, making Orca one of the most versatile open source screen readers available. It also works with an ever-growing assortment of stand-alone apps.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Best Windows Games and Apps That Run Under Linux

        The following article was created to inform our readers about popular native Windows games and applications which install and run under Linux-based operating systems, with the help of the Wine software.



        · World of Warcraft 4.0.x
        · Warcraft III The Frozen Throne: 1.x
        · Left 4 Dead Full (Steam)
        · Team Fortress 2 (Steam)
        · Half-Life 2 Retail (32-bit)
        · Guild Wars All Versions
        · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 1.7
        · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 1.2.x
        · Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 1.x
        · Counter-Strike: Source Retail and Steam
        · Final Fantasy XI Online Windows Client W00
        · Fallout 3 1.x
        · Steam Official Release
        · StarCraft I Retail CD/DVD
        · StarCraft II Retail
        · EVE Online 6.33.x – Incursion
        · Supreme Commander SC 1.x.3xxx
        · Bioshock 1.0
        · Garena 3.0
        · The Sims 3 All
        · Warhammer Online Live
        · Gothic 3 1.x
        · Homeworld 2 1.x
        · Aion: The Tower of Eternity 2.0.x
        · Dragon Age: Origins 1.x

      • CodeWeavers And Linsoft Announce Linsofts 10 Year Anniversary Sale
    • Games

      • M.A.R.S 2D space shooter brings retro pink back into fashion

        M.A.R.S is an open source, free 2D space shooter built on OpenGL which promises crazy neon graphics, multiplayer, artificial intelligence and superb physics.

        The game has some pretty interesting and unique artwork which resembles neo-punk movements from the 80s. I wonder if the developers have ever seen Bladerunner?

      • ‘Angry birds’ may be coming to Ubuntu

        With the words ‘app store’ emblazoned across the Internet today thanks to Apple’s launch of a desktop software store, a familiar band of apps and games have also been in the news – albeit due to their collective selves gaining poll position as ‘apps available on launch’.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The kde-www war: part 2

        Before I begin this (delayed) post, I would like to reemphasize that a sub-agenda for these blog posts is to raise community-awareness about design issues in KDE.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Devanagari support on GNOME Terminal

        We are Currently working on the Devanagari support on GNOME terminal as our B.Tech. project. Gnome terminal is vital and commonly used application in Linux. There are problems in rendering complex scripts like Devanagari. Our work deals with the improvement in rendering the Devanagari scripts. We have done part of it but facing some problems.

      • GTK+ 3.0 Is Just About Here

        Red Hat’s Matthias Clasen has just announced the release of GTK+ 2.99.0 as the first beta for the forthcoming GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit release in conjunction with the much-anticipated GNOME 3.0 desktop. While the final release is nearing and there’s already been several interesting GTK+ advancements in recent weeks, with GTK+ 2.99.0, there continues to be noteworthy happenings.

      • Tron Legacy GNOME Shell theme is all kinds of cool

        There’s very little to say about the theme that can’t be deduced from its awesome look, as exampled above.

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi, a cool little distro!

      The other day I stumbled upon a new distro called Bodhi. The website claims that Bodhi is a minimalistic OS (based on Ubuntu) using the enlightened desktop. I have never had luck using the Enlightment desktop, but I really wanted to try this distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • RSS notification Indicator adds new features

          Rss-Aware – a neat indicator applet for monitoring RSS feeds – has been updated to include a refresh button and an easier way to add and edit feeds.

        • Ubuntu Set to Kill Fullscreen Applications?

          With Ubuntu’s new Unity interface maximize becomes the new fullscreen. No, Ubuntu is not removing the ability to go fullscreen but is eliminating the need to do so. Of course for some applications, namely games, maximize is not as effective under the current implementation. To make it more effective in those situations Ubuntu could fully hide the panel and launcher until a specific key/combination is pressed (“super”/windows key)-effectively “fake fullscreen.” This design would help bypass a very large technical issue in Linux with a great design implementation.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110105

            New CrunchBang Statler images are available now. The new images were built on Wednesday 5th January 2011 and feature all package updates available at that time from the Debian Squeeze and CrunchBang Statler repositories.

          • Puppy Linux 5.2 Is Based on Ubuntu 10.04

            Barry Kauler, the father of Puppy Linux, announced earlier today, January 6th, the immediate availability of Puppy Linux 5.2, a major version that is based on the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) operating system.

            Puppy Linux 5.2 features lots of updated and improved applications, the new Quickset dialog to easily setup your system (language/locale and keyboard settings, timezone, video resolution), Browser Installer, Browser-Default, Quickpet, improved Puppy Package Manager, and a lot more for you to discover.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android 3.0 Preview
        • A Sneak Peek of Android 3.0, Honeycomb

          The past few weeks have been exciting ones for the Android team: we recently released Nexus S and Android 2.3, Gingerbread, and we’ve even had some of our most popular team members take a trip to space. But we haven’t stopped buzzing with excitement: today at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we previewed Android 3.0, Honeycomb.

        • Honeycomb will not require dual-core CPU as minimum hardware spec

          Oh, never mind then. Google’s ever-informative and ever-knowledgeable Dan Morrill has disabused the world from the bogus belief that Android’s “made for tablets” iteration, aka Honeycomb, will require a dual-core processor as a minimum to run.

        • CES: Motorola Atrix 4G turns smartphone into laptop

          Motorola has released a smartphone which comes with a laptop docking station that provides a full size keyboard and screen.

          The Atrix 4G, unveiled at CES in Las vegas, is a dual-core Tegra 2 handset, each core running at 1GHz, with 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, 16GB of storage and microSD support.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC cuts price of XO 1.75 laptop to $165, power by half

        The XO-1.75, with its 8.9-inch touchscreen, will start shipping in the second quarter of this year to countries around the world trying to bring schoolchildren into the computer age. OLPC was formed by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a low-cost laptop for kids in poor countries to help make sure nobody is left behind in the computer age.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom tablet (CES 2011)

        Apart from being the first device runnng the tablet optimised Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)the Xoom will feature a 1 Ghz dual core processor, 10.1 inch widescreen HD display, 2 megapixel forward facing camera and a rear facing 5 megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD, built in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, and accelerometer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Meet The ‘Real’ FOSS Contributors

    He has developed a methodology–the first lab for an institution is free of cost, the others are paid for–and he also arranges Faculty Development Programmes, with the help of local Linux User Groups. Baskar can be reached at baskar@linuxpert.in. At the other end of the country is Narendra Sisodiya from the NCR. When not indulging in his favourite pastime of chiselling off the Windows keys on any keyboard he can get hold of, Narendra is engaged in a plethora of FOSS activities, which are too numerous to mention here. Among other things, he is the promoter of LUG@IITD, which has become the premier Linux Users’ Group in the NCR. He has set up the portal for jobs at http://fossjobs.in, and started a project called eduvid (http://eduvid.techfandu.org), which proposes a whole new architecture of Web content delivery. Project Svg-Edit is a sub project he started, which is now a successful project; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SVG-edit. This has subsequently been taken up by the main SVG community of developers, and they have extended it.Still, his main contribution is undoubtedly http://schoolos.org, a distro for schools around which an active community for promotion of FOSS in schools is built. A feature of SchoolOS is that it is completely without non-free software. He is now launching ELPA, an online shop to purchase pre-installed Linux machines. Narendra can be reached at narendra@narendrasisodiya.com.

  • Are you an expert in building communities? Prove it.

    The deadline for entries is January 20th—only about two weeks away.

    The grand prize winner will get a chance to present their story or hack to a global audience at the HCI Human Capital Summit in Atlanta in March, and there are other interesting prizes as well. So if this sounds compelling to you, get on over to the MIX and submit your entry.

    Make our community of passion here at opensource.com proud and let’s show these future-of-management-types that we open source folks know a thing or two about building community.

  • No Business Like Bad FOSS Business

    In response to Bruce Byfield’s article on how We shouldn’t feel bad when businesses have no morals. I feel compelled to point out the flaw in his logic and hopefully add some sense to why moral outrage is the correct response to unscrupulous behaviour by companies.

    It’s not a surprise when companies are inconsiderate/naughty/evil, but that doesn’t make what they do any less wrong and it doesn’t make a negative reaction any less justified. The most important thing to remember as a consumer is that your aversion to certain behaviours of others directly affects your willingness to engage in business with someone. To put it another way: What we think about a business being bad, effects their profit. Just ask BP or Toyota.

  • Graphics

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Website Archive

        David Boswell spoke at the Mozilla Summit in July, 2010 about the issues we faced with the growing collection of over 100 websites under the Mozilla umbrella. One of the issues he mentioned is that some of the websites no longer have product owners, while other sites no longer served the purpose for which they were originally intended. Some sites were created for campaigns that ran 2 to 3 years ago, and while we within the Mozilla organization know that those campaigns are no longer relevant, website visitors won’t necessarily be aware of that fact when they visit the website.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Clegg pledges to expand freedom of information

      Freedom of information laws are to be dramatically extended as part of a Coalition drive to ‘resettle the relationship between people and government’.

      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Daily Mail it was a ‘fundamental right’ of all citizens to be able to hold their government to account.

      He said hundreds more taxpayer-funded and charitable bodies should be subject to the transparency of the Freedom of Information Act, which currently applies only to most public authorities.

    • Transparency in energy usage

      I’m pretty passionate about renewable energy. After I read Thomas L. Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” I was sold on higher prices for gas and putting solar panels on every roof in America. In fact, I was so eager to contribute, I had 18 solar panels installed on the roof of my home.

      When I was checking out the energy infographic, “Interactive Transparency: America’s Energy, Where It’s From and How It’s Used” over at GOOD, I was re-energized on the topic of renewable and sustainable energy.

    • Open Data

      • Changes to the OS OpenData licence

        From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

        That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Rights Reductio Ad Absurdum

        You can’t blame Elsevier’s Perplexed Permissions Personnel for trying: After all, if researchers — clueless and cowed about copyright — have already lost nearly two decades of research access and impact for no reason at all, making it clear that only if/when they are required (mandated) by their institutions and funders will they dare to do what is manifestly in their own best interests and already fully within their reach, then it’s only natural that those who perceive their own interests to be in conflict with those of research and researchers will attempt to see whether they cannot capitalize on researchers’ guileless gullibility, yet again.

        In three words, the above “restrictions” on the green light to make author’s final drafts OA are (1) arbitrary, (2) incoherent, and (3) unenforceable. They are the rough equivalent of saying: You have “the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional web site or server for scholarly purposes — but not if you are required to do so by your institution or funder.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • People of HTML5 – Bruce Lawson

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


  • LinkedIn plans to go public in 2011: sources

    LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public in 2011 and has selected its financial underwriters, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters.

    Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the book runners, these sources said. Bankers made their pitches to the privately-held company in November, one of the sources said.

  • First look at Ridley Scott’s YouTube movie

    Last summer, YouTube announced that legendary Hollywood figure Ridley Scott would be producing ‘Life In A Day’, a movie consisting entirely of user-submitted video clips from around the world, capturing snapshots of life around the world on 24 July 2010.

    Now Google’s video service has shared the first in a series of clips of the movie, which will get its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on 27 January. In the run up to that, more clips will be posted on the Life In A Day YouTube Channel.

  • Have We Reached A Tipping Point Where Self-Publishing Is Better Than Getting A Book Deal?

    Ross Pruden points us to a recent post by author Joe Konrath (whose musings on why authors shouldn’t fear file sharing, as well as his own experiments with “self-piracy” we’ve discussed before), in which he goes back on his previous views against self-publishing and makes the argument that authors should self-publish. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but the crux of his argument is that if you self-publish at a low price, you’re likely to get more sales and you get them started much, much, much sooner than if you go through the hellish publishing process, which can delay actual publishing by years. There are some other arguments, including the financial viability of the big publishers, as well as the rise in ebook popularity, which makes it such that you can self-publish just in ebook form and solve a lot of the distribution questions (a la the music industry).

    Of course, there are some implicit assumptions that Konrath makes that I’m not really sure apply across the board. He seems to assume that it’s easy to sell 1,000 ebooks per month (which is the basis for his calculations). If you have an audience already, that’s possible, but if you don’t, it’s a lot harder. A publisher can really help an unknown author with marketing, and that’s certainly not something that should be diminished. Now, obviously, that doesn’t mean everyone has to do it that way. There are certainly other ways. Some authors may be naturally good marketers themselves, or they can outsource the function to someone else, at a lower “cost.” Separately, while Konrath notes at the top of his post that in the past he hated self-published books because the quality was almost always low, he doesn’t seem to mention that again. The editing process can be pretty important (though, again, there may be other options there).

  • Guy Kawasaki promotes his latest book by giving away his first one
  • Yammer Proclaims The Death Of Old Media Through Old Media

    Yeah, our officemate Yammer has decided to wedge a billboard-sized nail in the coffin of old media (i.e. “one-way communication”) which conspicuously includes print magazines, newspapers and eh hem, billboards. Says Yammer marketing designer Aria Shen, “Simply put, we wanted to make a statement about the new paradigm of how people and organizations communicate, and figured what better way to do that than to use the oldest mode of paid media.”

  • Putin and Medvedev: a split in the tandem?
  • Romania declares witchcraft a legally-recognized (and taxable) profession, pisses off witches

    The government of Romania has updated labor laws to officially recognize witchcraft as a profession, part of a “drive to crack down on widespread tax evasion in a country that is in recession.”

    But some Romanian witches who will now have to pay taxes on income they earn for spellcrafting are not amused.

  • College Newspaper to Erect Paywall: It’s Academic

    Pray, what is the sound of a college newspaper erecting a paywall?

    We will soon know — or, as that butchered koan might really mean, we never will.

    The Oklahoma State University newspaper, in the belief that it is leaving money on the table, has decided to charge readers who aren’t affiliated with the institution and don’t live in the neighborhood. The move is thought to be a first for a college newspaper.

    In other words, if you didn’t go to OSU, and you live, say, in Alaska, then you’ll have to pay to read articles in the Daily O’Collegian about on-campus goings-on at Stillwater, where news runs deep.

  • The Gollum Effect

    The concrete idea is something I call the Gollum effect. It is a process by which regular humans are Gollumized: transformed into hollow shells of their former selves, defined almost entirely by their patterns of consumption.

  • ‘Huck Finn’ sanitized for your protection

    It’s that awkward classroom moment that I want to zero in on. As the only black kid in class, I know all about those awkward moments. Reading aloud and hearing passages in history books about slavery or in literature about the disparaging views and treatment of blacks the awkwardness for me would range from embarrassing to painful. Each utterance of the N-word or some other derogatory term (say, coon or darkie or Sambo), even in context, was like a kick to the groin that hurt worse than that time in the fifth grade when I got a little too cute on the balance beam after school.

    But I wouldn’t trade that pain for a cleaned-up version of history in order to make me or anyone else feel better. Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but I prefer the unvarnished truth to one sanitized for my protection.

  • Digital Agenda: simple smart phones and remote controls help elderly and disabled to manage their homes

    With €2.7 million of EU funding, researchers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have developed a solution to give elderly and disabled people easier control over the various electronic appliances and services in their homes using their mobile phone or other devices. The “I2HOME” project has developed a personalised and simplified Universal Remote Console interface based on existing and evolving open standards. This interface can be in a universal remote control, a mobile phone, a computer or other devices and can be used to, for example, switch on and programme washing machines, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, DVD players/recorders and other household devices.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2: amazing mobile power that hints at the future of client computing
  • Science

    • Deep space objects guide Earth’s GPS system
    • Ancient Timbers Found At Vauxhall

      The oldest wooden structure ever found along the Thames has been uncovered at Vauxhall. Timbers dating from around 4500 BC (two millennia before Stonehenge, for what it’s worth) were found in the foreshore mud last year. The spot is close to where the River Effra once emptied into the Thames, and the yellow Duck boats now potter in and out of the water beside the MI6 building.

    • Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

      The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

      The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

  • Security

    • Critical PHP Bug Security Notice and Patch
    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Ten Ways to Think About DDoS Attacks and “Legitimate Civil Disobedience”

      Distributed denial of service attacks (a.k.a. DDoS), and whether they form a legitimate expression of civil disobedience in this distributed, often virtual age was one topic that seemed to provoke some passionate reaction at the event that PdF held on Saturday about Wikileaks, broadly written. There was even a bit of intermission yelling that occured amongst a handful of participants.

      Above, activist and current New York State Senate employee Noel Hidalgo frames the question: Are DDoS attacks, where a group of people come together online to overwhelming a particular website or online service by sending a disabling amount of traffic its way, a reasonable evolution of the tactics humans reasonably and productively use to get things to change when it comes to politics or society, akin to sit-ins? Or is DDoS vandalism the suppression of free speech and freedom of assembly dressed up in digital glitz? A little of both? Something else entirely?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Why one U.S. diplomat didn’t cause the Gulf War

      On July 25, 1990, Saddam Hussein summoned April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, to discuss Iraq’s brewing dispute with Kuwait. Their discussion would eventually cost Glaspie her promising career as a diplomat.

      One week after the meeting, Saddam’s troops would storm into Kuwait, beginning the chain of events that eventually led to the Gulf War. Now, with WikiLeaks’ release of Glaspie’s cable describing her meeting with Saddam, we have her firsthand perspective on one of the seminal events that preceded the conflict.

      The cable is more interesting for what is not discussed than what is. Glaspie doesn’t show any awareness that war is just around the corner; she mainly offers diplomatic pablum that the United States is interested in “friendship” with Iraq. Due to her failure to warn Saddam that the United States would forcefully retaliate in the event of an invasion of Kuwait, the Washington Post described her as “the face of American incompetence in Iraq.” Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer piled on in a 2003 article for Foreign Policy, arguing that Glaspie’s remarks unwittingly gave Iraq a green light to invade Kuwait.

    • Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Trial

      If charges are dismissed or a mistrial is granted, the speedy trial clock is reset to begin on; date of dismissal in cases where the accused remains in pretrial restraint; date of mistrial, or; earlier of re-preferral or imposition of restraint for all other cases. R.C.M. 707(b)(3)(A), United States v. Bolado, 34 M.J. 732 (N.M.C.M.R. 1991); aff’d, 36 M.J. 2 (C.M.A. 1992). If there is no re-preferral and the accused remains in pretrial confinement, then the time period starts the date the charges are dismissed or a mistrial is declared. If a rehearing is ordered or authorized by an appellate court, then there is a new 120-day period. See United States v. Becker, 53 M.J. 229 (C.A.A.F. 2000) (applying R.C.M. 707 timing requirements to a sentence rehearing but finding that remedy of dismissal of charges too severe).

      A commander can dismiss charges even if there is an intent to re-institute charges at a later date. Dismissal of charges cannot, however, be a subterfuge to avoid the 120 day speedy trial clock. United States v. Robinson, 47 M.J. 506 (N.M.C.C.A. 1997). Factors courts will consider to decide if a dismissal is a subterfuge are: Convening Authority’s intent, notice and documentation of action, restoration of rights and privileges of accused, prejudice to accused, and whether there were any amended or additional charges. See also United States v. Anderson, 50 M.J. 447 (C.A.A.F. 1999), wherein CAAF finds no subterfuge under the facts of the case and declares, contrary to the Government’s concession, that the speedy trial clock was restarted on the date of dismissal. Withdrawal by a commander under R.C.M. 604, however, does not toll running of speedy trial clock. United States v. Weatherspoon, 39 M.J. 762 (A.C.M.R. 1994); See United States v. Tippit, 65 M.J 69 (C.A.A.F. 2007) (based upon the SJA’s advice, the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA) signed a withdrawal of charges – C.A.A.F. honored the SPCMCA intent to dismiss the charges despite the misnomer and found no violation of R.C.M. 707).

    • The Man Who Spilled the Secrets

      The collaboration between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Web’s notorious information anarchist, and some of the world’s most respected news organizations began at The Guardian, a nearly 200-year-old British paper. What followed was a clash of civilizations—and ambitions—as Guardian editors and their colleagues at The New York Times and other media outlets struggled to corral a whistle-blowing stampede amid growing distrust and anger. With Assange detained in the U.K., the author reveals the story behind the headlines.


      The Guardian partnership was the first of its kind between a mainstream media organization and WikiLeaks. The future of such collaborations remains very much in doubt. WikiLeaks, torn by staff defections, technical problems, and a crippling shortage of money, has been both battered and rejuvenated by the events of the past several months. A number of companies—PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard—stopped acting as conduits for donations, even as international publicity has attracted high-profile supporters and many new donors. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a close associate of Assange’s and a WikiLeaks spokesman, promises that WikiLeaks will pursue legal action against the companies.

    • Wikileaks: an excuse for Whitehall backlash against Gateway review openness?

      Senior civil servants at a recent function were saying that disclosures by Wikileaks have given permanent secretaries and heads of agencies reasons to resist the coalition’s campaign to brush away the cobwebs of secrecy in government affairs.

      The civil servants said that one casualty of the paranoia could be the coalition’s plans to publish gateway reviews in full and at the time they are completed. IT Gateway reviews are short reports on the progress or otherwise of large and risky projects and programmes.

      Downing Street’s policy is that the coalition should be “the most open and transparent government in the world”. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister who’s in charge of the policy on transparency promised that Gateway reviews would be published by the end of December 2010.

    • Frenchman suspended over Wikileaks-style website

      A French regional council has suspended a computer engineer after he leaked council business onto a Wikileaks-style website.

      Bouches-du-Rhone council, based in the southern city of Marseille, took action after Philip Sion set up a site on 1 January called “Wikileaks 13″.

      He appealed to the public to send him evidence of malpractice in the region.

      Mr Sion was accused of “disloyalty” for uploading audio of a council commission meeting in December.

  • Finance

    • Chinese visit to Spain helps calm markets

      A visit to Spain by a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Li Keqiang during which agreements worth 5.7 billion euros were signed yesterday (5 January) helped calm markets and provided some relief for the country’s recession-hit economy. EurActiv Spain reports.

    • Hackers find new way to cheat on Wall Street — to everyone’s peril

      High-frequency trading networks, which complete stock market transactions in microseconds, are vulnerable to manipulation by hackers who can inject tiny amounts of latency into them. By doing so, they can subtly change the course of trading and pocket profits of millions of dollars in just a few seconds, says Rony Kay, a former IBM research fellow and founder of cPacket Networks, a Silicon Valley firm that develops chips and technologies for network monitoring and traffic analysis.

    • Tell Reid and Schumer: Stand strong on filibuster reform in the Senate

      For the past two years, the Senate Republicans have shamelessly abused Senate rules — including the filibuster — for patently political reasons.

      Sadly, the Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism was met with complacency rather than conviction by most Senate Democrats.

    • More Allegations Of Fraud By Goldman (ACA)

      ACA is suing Goldman over the ABACUS deal that blew up in their face and in which Paulson (John, not Hank) was involved. If you remember, this was the deal over which the SEC sued as well, and “settled.” The argument at the time was that it would be very difficult to prove fraudulent intent, and therefore the settlement (without admission of guilt, of course) was “in the best interest of everyone.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Measuring Tunisian Tor Usage

      Out of interest, I wondered how Tor usage in Tunisia has fared over 2010. I wonder if Facebook, Twitter, and other social network services are seeing an increase of users logging into Tunisian social networks from Tor.

    • Which colleges restrict free speech?

      In its annual report, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed speech code policies at the top 100 national universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges from U.S. News and World Report, along with 237 colleges the organization labeled as “major public universities.”

    • Default censorship is a poor and ineffective idea

      Yesterday and this morning we heard calls from government ministers and others for Internet Service Providers to block adult sites by default on customers’ accounts.

      Such options were rejected during the Byron Review into child safety. Meanwhile, industry initiatives have created good solutions to protect minors with differing restrictions based on age, religion and other preferences based on actual knowledge of the children involved.

    • Tor fan art [IMG]
    • ‘Laughing stock’ libel laws to be reformed, says Nick Clegg

      Nick Clegg will tomorrow set out the most ambitious plans yet to relax Britain’s libel laws, saying he will back a raft of reforms including a statutory public interest defence.

      He will promise that a bill this spring, likely to reach the statute book in 2013 following hard-fought lobbying, will turn “English libel laws from an international laughing stock to an international blueprint”.

      He will say: “We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest. And to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment and justification.”

    • What Everyone Seems to Miss In Facebook’s Private or Public Debate…

      Facebook is the greatest repository of data about people’s intentions, relationships, and utterances that ever has been created. Period. And a company that owns that much private data should be accountable to the public. The public should be able to review its practices, its financials, and question its intentions in a manner backed by our collective and legally codified will. That’s the point of a public company – accountability, transparency, and thorough reporting.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Dear Premier McGuinty

      The CRTC has approved Bell’s application to assess an additional layer of Usage Based Billing along with Usage caps to the customers of the Independent ISPs. Unfortunately this will artificially increase the cost of Internet access.

    • Detecting net neutrality violations—there’s an app for that!

      The FCC wants you… to help it shame companies into net neutrality.

      It’s notoriously difficult to know how an ISP might be managing, throttling, or degrading Internet traffic. Comcast’s P2P-limiting technology was only caught through a fluke, and it’s certainly possible that many ISPs have been up to similar shenanigans for years without ‘fessing up. Net neutrality rules passed in December are meant to address this, but the strictest ones only apply to wired networks and may well be overturned by judges or Congress in the next year or two. So what’s a toothless regulator to do?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Poverty

      Opponents of the state monopoly privilege grants that the state and supporters propagandistically call “intellectual property” use a variety of alternative terms, in attempt to better describe these “rights” without implying they are valid, as the word “property” seeks to do.

    • Ownership
    • ECJ rules that GUIs can be copyright-protected

      Though a graphical user interface (GUI) cannot be protected under the EU’s Software Directive it can be protected under the Information Society Directive, the EU’s highest court ruled.

      In the Czech Republic, Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace (BSA) applied to the Government for the right to act as the collective administrator for computer program copyrights, but was refused.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Years After The RIAA Suggested ISPs Were Ready To Implement 3 Strikes, Most ISPs Have No Such Plans

        It’s been a little over two years since the RIAA dropped its strategy of suing music fans for sharing files online — a strategy that was an unequivocal disaster for the record labels. Of course, when the news came out, the RIAA suggested that the reason they had done so was because of a backroom deal with various ISPs to implement three strikes plans. And yet, here we are, two years later with no major ISP having put in place such a policy. Greg Sandoval has been following this story closely, and his contacts at most of the major ISPs indicate no interest in putting in place such policies, and a widespread recognition that the ISPs have enough lobbying clout to push back on the RIAA if necessary.

      • How Spotify’s Failure to Launch in the US Could Save the Company

        Here’s my advice: Pivot. Spotify has spent two years, and undoubtedly plenty of money and focus, fighting what was always a Don Quixote like battle to make the US labels listen to reason. This is the same industry who sued their users. It was a valiant effort, but it didn’t work. We can argue why they should back Spotify all day long, but the last two years has proven that they are just not going to listen without Spotify having to make some major concessions.

      • Special Report: Music Industry’s Lavish Lobby Campaign For Digital Rights

        The music industry has spent tens of millions of dollars to lobby government officials worldwide during the past decade, but whether or not the initiative has helped to shape a viable legal and commercial framework is a subject of debate.

        According to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis based on data collected from the United States Secretary of the Senate Office of Public Records (SOPR), the recorded music industry and the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) have spent over $90 million in lobbying efforts in the United States alone since 2000.

      • ACTA

        • Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

          Back in December we noted that the industry lobbyists fighting for increased protectionism via copyright and patent laws never stop trying, and as soon as one thing finishes, they pop up somewhere else. Specifically, we were noting calls from the industry for the USTR to negotiate a hardline in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which involves a bunch of Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, U.S, and Vietnam — though Japan and Canada may join as well. Apparently, the US government has already indicated that it will not allow any form of weakening of intellectual property law for any reason whatsoever in this agreement. In fact, the USTR has directly said that it will only allow for “harmonizing” intellectual property regulations “strictly upwards,” meaning greater protectionism. Given the mounds of evidence suggesting that over protection via such laws is damaging to the economy, this is immensely troubling, and once again shows how the USTR is making policy by ignoring data. This is scary.

Clip of the Day

Standalone Linux on PS3 Slim (27c3 demo update)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/1/2011: KDE 4.6 RC 2 Released, CUBRID 3.1 Goes Stable

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

GNOME bluefish



  • 2011 to be year of Linux in the clouds

    It’s time for our annual outlook on Linux for the new year, and after spending the last few years highlighting non-desktop Linux in 2008, the range of Linux in 2009 and hidden Linux in 2010, they will all be coming together in 2011, which will be the year of Linux in cloud computing. This is a trend that has been building over the past few years, but I believe it will hit a tipping point in 2011.

  • Switching to Linux (For the Right Reasons)

    Instead I think there needs to be more focus on “control” over how things are running.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux.com Gift Card Winners Announced
    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.37

      After about eleven weeks of development, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux kernel 2.6.37. The new version of the main development line has many improvements. Advances in the Ext4 file system mean it should be able to compete with XFS on larger systems and new discard functions can inform slow SSDs of vacant areas, without negatively affecting performance.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6 RC 2 Released
      • KDE Plasma, Applications and Development Platform 4.6 RC2 Available

        KDE, including all its libraries and its applications, is available for free under Open Source licenses. KDE can be obtained in source and various binary formats from http://download.kde.org and can also be obtained on CD-ROM or with any of the major GNU/Linux and UNIX systems shipping today.

      • 4.6 RC2 Available, Last Chance to Test

        KDE’s release team has rolled another set of 4.6 tarballs for us all to test and report problems: 4.6 RC2 This is the last test release leading up to 4.6.0, which is planned for 26th January.

      • fire up the synchrotron!

        I carved out a few days to work on this idea and finished up the last bits today. I called it synchrotron. It goes with the whole particle physics naming theme in Plasma and sounded like something out of an awesomely bad sci-fi movie. Win-win, really.

      • light up the synchrotron

        A few people asked if Synchrotron could replace kde-look.org or kde-files.org and the simple answer is: “no”. The reason is that Synchrotron is not meant to allow for uploads and sharing of content by users. It is quite specifically an upstream tool. It’s designed to make our lives as upstreams as easy as possible, in fact, but this makes it rather useless as a public file and data sharing hub. In theory it’s possible for Synchrotron to be extended to be such a thing, but I have zero personal interest in that. :)

  • Distributions

    • 6 Lightweight Linux Distributions To Give Your Old PC A New Lease of Life

      If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got at least one old desktop PC or antiquated laptop lying dormant in the attic, cupboard or still under your desk. I’d even hazard a guess you’ve got a CRT monitor and a serial mouse to boot.

      Now, you’re never going to use that old machine for anything particularly demanding, but if a simple web browser and word processor is the order of the day then there’s plenty of lightweight solutions that can come to your rescue.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Bullish Moving Average Crossover Alert (RHT)

        Today, shares of Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) have crossed bullishly above their 10-day moving average of $46.32 on volume of 518 thousand shares.

        This may provide swing traders with an opportunity for a long position as such a crossover often suggests higher prices in the near term. Watch for a close above this moving average level for confirmation.

        SmarTrend issued an Uptrend Alert for Red Hat on October 29, 2010 at $42.22. In approximately 2 months, Red Hat has returned 10.7% as of today’s recent price of $46.74.

        In the past 52 weeks, shares of Red Hat have traded between a low of $26.51 and a high of $49.00 and are now at $46.74, which is 76% above that low price.

    • Debian Family

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 88
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Details Emerge on Ubuntu-Powered Tablet

          We’ve already heard news of Augen’s dual-booting Gentouch Espresso Doppio–offering users the choice of Android 2.2 or Ubuntu–but an alternative focusing exclusively on Ubuntu could be attractive.

          It didn’t take long, after all, before recipients of Google’s Chrome operating system-based CR-48 notebook computer got Ubuntu up and running on the device.

        • First Look: Ubuntu’s Unity Makes Bold Statement, But Needs Work

          There is plenty of time left for the next version of Ubuntu, version 11.04 now in Alpha, also known as “Natty Narwhal,” to leap some of its current technical obstacles.

          But an initial look at an Alpha version of the forthcoming Linux distro shows a dispiriting number of technical issues with its vaunted new “Unity” interface that need to be smoothed over before it will be the reliable, smooth technology we’ve come to expect from the Ubuntu community.

        • Evolution of Ubuntu Over the Years – A Brief History

          All in all, 2010 proved to be *the* most important year as far as Ubuntu and Canonical are concerned. Two major Ubuntu releases and a bunch of new strategies and change of platforms that are going to makeover Ubuntu over the years. Here is a nice and simple listing of changes that completely reinvented Ubuntu in 2010.

        • Top 5 List Of Reasons Why Ubuntu Is A Great Alternative To Windows

          By joining the millions of users today who are using Ubuntu, you are doing good deeds for your computer; you are preventing it from being damaged by spyware and other viruses.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Motorola Unleashes an Android Onslaught

          Motorola delivered on its rumored Android tablet Wednesday. It presented the Xoom, a tablet running Android 3.0, aka “Honeycomb.” The tablet will have 4G capabilities using Verizon’s network. Another star of Motorola’s show was the Atrix, a heavily powered smartphone that can connect with a docking station to create a laptop- or desktop-like form factor.

        • Comcast To Bring Live TV To Android Tablets

          Today’s announcement is yet another in a series of scheduled app releases Comcast’s development team will deliver on as many different devices as possible including other smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

        • 8Pen Reinventing Android Keyboard
        • How Amazon Will Help Android Beat The iPhone

          Android app store is growing at a precedented rate. Apps for Android are all set to explode the market, reason being an 800-pound gorilla entering the Android app segment with a lucrative paid model. This gorilla specializes in selling out stuff over the Internet. If I may say, this gorilla has become the defacto online market. It’s called Amazon.com.

        • Amazon, Don’t Infect Android With Your DRM Cancer

          DRM is the cancer of the digital world. It attaches its value degrading quality to everything it touches. Ironically its a failed model. Amazon, the on-line middle-man is now exposing Android market to its DRM cancerous cells. The company is all set to launch its own Android app store and it will allow developers to attach DRM to their apps.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Subversion to WANdisco: +1 on the code contributions, -1 on the attitude.

    In conclusion, we reiterate that we welcome WANdisco’s involvement in Subversion, and failure on WANdisco’s part to address the above concerns will have no effect on the acceptance of technical work funded by WANdisco. We simply felt it necessary to clarify WANdisco’s role in Apache Subversion, for the benefit of our users and potential contributors.

  • Open source needs firm foundations

    So as we reach the start of 2011, you might want to ask: will those developers really be there in a year?

    That’s a question of more than theoretical concern, as the events of the past year have shown. Oracle Corp.’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. and the impending sale of Novell Inc. have thrown many of the most important open-source projects into a state of uncertainty, or worse. Widely adopted tools, including the MySQL database, Java software platform and OpenOffice productivity suite have all been in play, as has SUSE Linux, the second most popular enterprise distribution of Linux.

    To varying degrees, each of these projects has suffered. Initially, the fear and uncertainty caused by the protracted sales of Sun and Novell allowed competitors to cherry-pick their open-source project development teams. After the Sun sale went through, Oracle’s actions led to further departures. Worse, Oracle abandoned support entirely for some projects, and declined to clearly signal its intentions regarding others. The consequences have been significant, including new forks of MySQL and OpenOffice. In the Java community, turmoil is ongoing, as evidenced most recently by the resignations of several representatives from the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process.

  • FOSS Is Fun – The Unsung Heroes

    The very point is that the community as such does not distinguish between a user and a contributor. Every user is, by definition, also a contributor—and vice versa. How does one contribute? By writing code, doing documentation, translating, testing applications, reporting or fixing bugs, using applications, advocating FOSS adoption, writing tutorials, textbooks and how-tos, conducting training workshops, giving talks at user group meetings, attending user group meetings, monitoring mailing lists and chat channels, and asking and answering questions… or by just talking about FOSS—the list is endless.

  • What the WWF has to learn about FOSS

    It seems it will be some time before the WWF will release a Linux version. But wait a minute: Linux is already supported! Yes, a set of simple bash scripts was able to fill the gap, simply because the FOSS ecosystem is very rich already. And it is performing very well.

    In a test performed by Hermann Radeloff this file was printed using the WWF driver, which resulted in this file. The same file generated by the Linux toolkit resulted in this file. In short, a 104 KB file was bloated to a massive 686 KB file, while the Linux toolkit reduced it to a meager 95 KB. That is: with WWF banner.

  • My Top 5 Favorite Open Source Happenings in 2010

    It’s a new year, and as we look to 2011 as the year that open source kicks butt, we should take a few moments to reflect back on 2010. After all, that’s what you’re supposed to do in January, right? Look back, then look ahead, then resolve to be better.

    So during my retrospective look, I realized that sitting among the rubble of the open source landscape in 2010, there were a few gems that stood out. These are in no particular order, and I think they all represent what the future of open source is truly about: community, giving back, driving imagination, challenging assumptions, and not accepting the status quo or the mandates of others. In short, it’s about freedom, innovation, and collaboration.

  • Key open source security benefits

    Discussions of the relative security benefits of an open source development model — like comparative discussions in any realm — all too often revolve around only one factor at a time. Such discussions tend to get so caught up in their own intricacies that by their ends nobody is looking at the big picture any longer, and any value such discussions might have had has already evaporated.

  • LibreOffice – The Likely Future of OpenOffice

    With many of the major Linux vendors behind them, it looks like LibreOffice will be the office suite of the future, at least on many non-Microsoft platforms. Oracle, while perhaps never a darling of the open source community, seems to be making more enemies than friends as of late. If they cannot build more good will toward one of their most prominent offerings, the days of OpenOffice as the free suite of choice may soon be at an end.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Firefox Set To Turn Against Flash?

        Rob Sayre, one of the leading developers of the Firefox platform has posted a very candid opinion about Apple’s influence on the web and it is not the kind of opinion you would expect. In fact, Sayre openly criticizes Flash as being incompatible with the mission of Firefox.

  • CUBRID/Databases

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Q&A: A Refresher on Unbreakable Linux Kernel

      Oracle caused quite a stir in 2010 when it announced its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux. With the New Year upon us, we checked in with the company’s Senior Director of Open Source Product Marketing Monica Kumar to get a refresher on the ABCs of this important introduction as well as the company’s latest take on Linux.

  • Education

    • Spend more, not less on school ICT

      A few years ago I fell for the official Government line when Becta announced (pre-bank crisis) that school ICT spending was unsustainably high. Of course this kind of talk fired up the apologists for free, open source software and as the recession bit the idea of saving money grew.

      Obvious cuts could be made in software costs, energy consumption and technical support but few took up the challenge. Then came the big cuts and the new Coalition Gov axed nearly all BIG IT projects setting the mood music for the possibility of further money saving through technological change maybe like low energy thin-client workstations running off free, open source software (stop me if you have heard this one)?

  • Business

  • Programming

    • CollabNet Extends Agile ALM Cloud Leadership With Lab Management Upgrade

      CollabNet®, the leader in Agile application lifecycle management (Agile ALM) in the Cloud, today announced the immediate availability of CollabNet Lab Management 2.3, the latest version of the company’s Cloud-based server provisioning and profile management offering. Lab Management enables distributed development, build, and test teams to significantly reduce infrastructure costs while promoting development productivity and rapid innovation.

    • WANdisco Shakes Up Software Change Management With Overhaul of Subversion

      WANdisco, the makers of Enterprise Subversion, has today announced a major new initiative to overhaul the Subversion open source Software Change Management (SCM) project. With more active developers from the Subversion project on staff than any other company, WANdisco will use its vantage point to lead efforts to improve Subversion with major new features and enhancements that the user community have been asking for.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Payment standard for Internet TV to be implemented next year

      China UnionPay and various Chinese authorities plan to draft an online payment standard for Internet TV which is expected to be launched in the first half of 2011, according to a report of the National Business Daily Tuesday, citing Liu Fengjun, assistant president of China UnionPay.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Haiti to the US Embassy: Here’s the Will of the People

      By the time United States policymakers in Haiti are finished playing with Haiti, they will hang Preval out to dry, ignore the process that was not inclusive, not fair, not free even before one ballot was cast; ignore that most of the candidates asked for the (s)election to be annulled by midday of the farce, their voters then stopped voting – and go on with their farce. But with Manigat and Martelly. I think that’s most likely what they will do.

    • Crying out loud

      It might have all ended there, but Shaul and a few others decided to continue: Today, six years later, Breaking the Silence, which consists of six people on salary and another 15 volunteers, constitutes part of the public discourse in Israel. Since the exhibition, the organization has published five pamphlets of testimonies from soldiers who served in the territories, all of them describing infringements of the rights of the local population (including testimonies from Hebron, soldiers talking about the rules of engagement in the territories, testimonies of female soldiers and more ).

    • Egypt’s discredited elections blighted by shadow of police violence

      The Mahmoudia canal wends its way through some of Alexandria’s poorest quarters before eventually reaching the middle-class suburb of Somoha, where elegant blocks of flats abut the water’s edge and a rickety old footbridge connects one bank to the other.

      It was here that 19-year-old Ahmed Shaaban’s body was found floating among the reeds, battered and bruised. The police say he drowned himself deliberately, though it is difficult to see how – the channel is so shallow it barely reaches one’s knees. A few days later, Shaaban’s uncle stood in front of a local journalist’s video camera and addressed Egypt’s leader, Hosni Mubarak, directly. “You are at war with your own people,” he said softly. “Your gang is running loose killing citizens, and all you care about is the presidential chair.”

    • Nader: TSA is delivering naked insecurity [old headlines obscured by Wikileaks news]
    • Anatomy of a journalistic smear job

      John Tyner, a software engineer who posted an Internet blog item saying he had been ejected after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit for refusing a groin check after turning down a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport

    • TSA turns off naked body scanners to avoid opt-out day protests
    • Israeli forces raid Madaa during children’s classes, director Jawad Siyam arrested

      Israeli police raided Madaa Community Center this afternoon and arrested Jawad Siyam, director of the Center. A force of uniformed and plainclothes police stormed the Center at 2pm today, seizing Siyam amidst several children’s classes run by the Center each afternoon and instigating fear and panic. Officers shouted aggressively at Siyam to comply in front of the young students, including Siyam’s 7 year old child.

    • More on How the IDF Spin Machine Works in the Abu Rahmeh Killing

      A female protester dies at a Bil’in protest from tear gas inhalation. The IDF is not only faced with a public relations nightmare, but also with the real possibility that there will be pressure to change its mode of operations, and to use a less effective (from its standpoint) tear gas. There may even be pressure to conduct a military investigation, which the IDF certainly doesn’t want. So the only thing that it can do is to attack the credibility of the woman’s family and witnesses.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Pakistan opposition ‘tipped off’ Mumbai terror group

      Pakistan’s president alleged that the brother of Pakistan’s opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, “tipped off” the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) about impending UN sanctions following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the outfit to empty its bank accounts before they could be raided.

      Six weeks after LeT gunmen killed more than 170 people in Mumbai, President Asif Ali Zardari told the US of his “frustration” that Sharif’s government in Punjab province helped the group evade new UN sanctions.

    • Cables Show U.S. Government Works for Boeing

      In 2006, a senior Commerce Department official hand-delivered a personal letter from George W. Bush to the office of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, urging the king to complete a deal with Boeing for 43 airliners, including some for the king’s family fleet.

    • Diplomats Help Push Sales of Jetliners on the Global Market

      To a greater degree than previously known, diplomats are a big part of the sales force, according to hundreds of cables released by WikiLeaks, which describe politicking and cajoling at the highest levels.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Leaked EPA Memos May Explain Massive Bee Die-Off

      CMD’s guest blogger, Jill Richardson, has done some ground-breaking reporting on the potential cause of the massive bee die-off. According to Jill’s investigation, leaked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memos reveal that the agency gave conditional approval to pesticides now in wide use, without requiring adequate proof that they are safe to use around honeybees. In the wake of the new information, beekeepers are starting to blame the country’s massive die-off of honeybees on the pesticides.

  • Finance

    • Corporate Junk Economics Return to Capitol Hill

      Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, has reportedly asked more than 150 trade associations, corporations and think tanks to provide a wish list of public health, environmental and other public protections that they would like to see eliminated. The purported rationale for such an effort is to spur growth, but in fact this is the cutting edge of a movement to trade away public health, clean air, and a stable economy to gin up corporate profits already at record highs.


      * Corporations and their apologists routinely overstate the costs of public protections and ignore their benefits. To take one example, the Heritage Foundation attributes more than a third of all costs of regulation issued in 2010 to fuel economy standards. Yet Heritage fails to mention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found those rules would confer benefits three times as great as the costs.

    • Congress unlikely to extend hand to ailing states

      Cut spending, raise taxes and fees, and accept billions of dollars from Congress. That’s been the formula for states trying to survive the worst economy since the 1930s.

    • Gene Sperling Thinks Asset Bubbles Are Cool

      I will depart from my policy of not commenting on articles where I am mentioned to clarify the issues (to me) surrounding Gene Sperling’s selection as a President Obama’s national economic advisor. The primary issue is not that Sperling got $900,000 from Goldman Sachs for part-time work, although that does look bad. The primary issue is that Sperling thought, and may still think, that the policies that laid the basis for the economic collapse were just fine.

    • A banker for White House chief of staff

      Granted that Bill Daley, whom Obama will announce Thursday afternoon as his new chief of staff, is not your typical banker. He’s a former commerce secretary, who headed up President Bill Clinton’s effort to enact the historic NAFTA treaty, served as chairman of Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, and happens to be a member of a storied political dynasty in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

    • Gene Sperling 101

      Starting in 2001, Mr. Sperling took on a variety of jobs, mostly part time, including a position at the Brookings Institution, as a columnist for Bloomberg News and as an adviser to Goldman Sachs. For much of this period, he worked for the Council on Foreign Relations, where girls’ education around the world was one of his main interests.

    • Ireland bailout protest draws 100,000 to Dublin streets

      One of the largest demonstrations in the Irish Republic’s history brought more than 100,000 people on to Dublin’s streets in protest over the international bailout and four years of austerity ahead.

    • Oil prices may threaten global economic recovery, says energy agency

      Oil prices are entering the “danger zone” and threaten to derail the fragile global economic recovery, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.

      The Paris-based government policy adviser calculates that the oil import costs for the 34 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) soared by $200bn over the past year to reach $790bn by the end of 2010.

    • Full-Catastrophe Banking in 2011

      With a $4.7 trillion dollar bailout under their belts with no harm done to their billion-dollar bonuses, don’t expect Wall Street bankers to be chastened by the 2008 financial crisis. Below we list eight things to watch out for in 2011 that threaten to rock the financial system and undermine any recovery.
      1. The Demise of Bank of America

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the troubled Bank of America (BofA). BofA is already under the gun, defending itself from multiple lawsuits demanding that the bank buy back billions worth of toxic mortgages it peddled to investors. The firm is also at the heart of robo-signing scandal, having wrongfully kicked many American families to the curb. If Assange has emails showing that Countrywide or BofA knew they were recklessly abandoning underwriting standards and/or peddling toxic dreck to investors, the damage to the firm could be irreparable.

    • Governance, Triangulation and Compromise

      Those of us who want President Obama to improve his relationship with the business community and bring more people with actual business experience into his administration are hoping that such steps will make the President more pragmatic and better able to address the very complex problems the nation faces. We are hoping that such steps will make him a more effective leader, better able to get things done.

      And, as Matt Bai points out at the end of his column: “Such compromises [like the tax deal], ideal or not, are the building blocks of responsible governance. If that makes Mr. Obama some kind of triangulator, then it could also make him a successful president.”

    • Principles and Compromises
    • The Evolution of Money

      Money, as one of the podcasts observes, has been one of the great constants in human affairs, right up there with sex and war. Money was not necessary when people lived in small communities where they knew and trusted their neighbors and could therefore exchange labor, food or goods in kind. But the need for inventing money arose once civilization started to expand and people were dealing with strangers they may never see again and could not trust, as was the case in Lydia and neighboring communities a few thousand years ago.

    • BankofAmericaSucks.com

      According to the publication Domain Name Wire, Bank of America (BofA) is buying up hundreds of domain names such as BankofAmericaSucks.com and BrianMoynihanBlows.com. The megabank is prepping for the possible release of damaging information from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the hard drive of a big bank executive.

    • Bank of America Wants You to Know Its Executives Don’t Suck

      Company defensively registers hundreds of domain names for its senior executives and board members.

      As Bank of American awaits a possible release of information from WikiLeaks, it wants to ensure that you don’t think its executives suck. Or blow for that matter.

      The company has been aggressively registering domain names including its Board of Directors’ and senior executives’ names followed by “sucks” and “blows”.

    • AltriaKills.com

      Tobacco industry documents, for example, show that in 2001, after Philip Morris changed its corporate name to Altria Group to escape the bad image of being a tobacco company, the company bought up a huge number of similarly derogatory domain names, including AltriaSucks, Altria-Sucks, AltriaKills, and AltriaStinks, each one with the suffixes .com, .net and .org.

    • Lorillard Buys “MentholKillsMinorities.com”

      Lorillard, Inc., manufacturer of the country’s best-selling menthol cigarette, Newport, is working behind the scenes to keep the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning menthol as a cigarette flavorant. Adopting a PR tactic other embattled companies like Bank of America and Altria have used, Lorillard is scooping up a host of menthol-bashing domain names to keep them out of the hands of critics, including MentholKills.com, KillerMenthol.com, MentholKillsMinorities.com and MentholAddictsYouth.com.

    • Lorillard Fights to Snuff Menthol Ban

      Among the company’s tactics: buying up a host of menthol-bashing Internet domain names, including MentholKillsMinorities.com, MentholAddictsYouth.com and FDAMustBanMenthol.com.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The battle for hearts and minds

      Lobbying firms are expanding their roles beyond the corridors of the Capitol by establishing public relations and communications divisions to work their issues directly to the public through television ads, rallies, radio, print and the Internet. (Times Union archive)

    • Lobbying and PR Firms Converge, Use Election Tactics Full Time

      Professional lobbyists are expanding their activities beyond the traditional cajoling of legislators in the halls of the Capitol and are now using election-season tactics — like polling, “grassroots” rallies, radio, print and television ads, and social media like Facebook and Twitter — full-time to push legislation. As a result, the PR and lobbying fields have exploded with firms that do all of the above and more.

    • Locals hire PR help over chicken plant flak

      “In this business, what we do is build narratives and tell stories,” he said.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Senator Wyden: Thank You For Fighting Internet Censorship

      More than 300,000 Americans have signed our petition opposing the “Internet Blacklist Bill” — the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). (Click here to sign the original petition and read more about the bill.) The bill would give the government the power to force Internet service providers to block your access to certain sites. It’s shockingly similar to what goes on in places like China and Iran — and it’s the kind of thing that’s just not supposed to happen here.

Clip of the Day

Motorola Atrix 4G Walkthrough — CES 2011

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 6/1/2011: Beta of PowerTOP 2.0, Android Chosen by Almost Majority of Buyers

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Ease of Use: Designing The Ultimate Grandmother-Ready Computer

    When it comes to ease of use, there is no difference between a computer with Windows and a computer with Linux, assuming both systems are installed properly. That there is a meaningful difference is a myth perpetuated by Windows fanboys or individuals who have outdated experience with Linux. Also, the comparison that is often being made is unfair: One’s experience with a computer purchased as Best Buy or supplied at work, with OEM Windows already installed (see below) is being compared with a self-install of Linux onto an about to be discarded computer.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook hacked to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread

      Hexxeh, who recently released a Cr-48 tool to boot any OS, including Windows or Mac OS X, has now successfully got Android 2.3 Gingerbread to run on his Cr-48 netbook.

      All we have right now is a single photo (above), but you can click it for a super-high-res (cellphone camera?) photo if you like. According to unnamed sources close to Hexxeh, it is indeed Gingerbread running on Cr-48, but beyond that we know nothing.

  • Kernel Space

    • False Boundaries and Arbitrary Code Execution

      In Linux 2.6.24, file capabilities were introduced, which allowed for the distribution or the administrator to set the capabilities needed for an application via modification of the application’s extended attributes on disk. The immediate application of file capabilities is to remove the need for suid-root binaries on the system. It can also be used however to reduce the capabilities used by a normal root-running daemon, by clearing the effective bit in the file capabilities.

    • Announcing the beta release of PowerTOP 2.0

      After two alpha releases, with really valuable feedback from testers, I’m now releasing the beta release of PowerTOP 2.0 to go with the release of kernel 2.6.37, which has some features that the new PowerTOP will use.

    • Iveland, OpenBenchmarking.org Launching From SCALE

      It’s official: Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” and OpenBenchmarking.org will be launching next month at the Southern California Linux Expo in Los Angeles, California.

      In the talk entitled Making More Informed Linux Hardware Choices by Matthew Tippett and myself, Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org will be officially unveiled and launched.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Big Comparison Of The AMD Catalyst, Mesa & Gallium3D Drivers

        There has been much progress over the past year to the open-source ATI drivers and the Linux graphics stack in general, but it still has a ways to improve. Our similar set of results for the NVIDIA side with the open-source Nouveau Gallium3D driver will be out in a few days. Also worth noting is that at this time only the R300 class Gallium3D driver is enabled by default in Mesa (and most Linux distributions) while the R600 classic Mesa driver is still used rather than its newer Gallium3D driver. Based upon the faster performance, minimal regressions (just Nexuiz with Evergreen ASICs and a few other areas), the superior architecture (support for state trackers, etc), better OpenGL 2.1 support, and other benefits, hopefully in Mesa 7.11 we will see R600g by default and it being utilized by most Linux distributions upon their next major update.

      • VIA KMS + TTM/GEM Driver Moves Along Without VIA

        At the end of December we reported on the 3Dfx KMS Linux developer working on VIA code to provide kernel mode-setting support for VIA’s IGPs in the Linux kernel and thus TTM/GEM memory management support too. This is after VIA had promised to deliver this support (along with Gallium3D support) in 2010, but failed miserably. This code though is now moving along but without any support for VIA.

      • VIA Releases The Dual-Core Nano X2 CPU

        For the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, VIA Technologies has just released their Nano X2 Dual-Core CPU.

      • There May Finally Be Better ATI Linux Video Playback

        It would be really great if they would implement NVIDIA’s VDPAU within their driver, but that’s perhaps too optimistic.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • A Tale of the Synaptics “ClickPad”

      PCLinuxOS – works, including left/right buttons and tapping, but to actuate the buttons you have to touch only the very corners at the bottom of the ClickPad. In particular, if you try to click at the point where the “dot” for the buttons is marked on the ClickPad, it will not work. I believe that it works here because PCLinuxOS is still using a somewhat older version of X and synaptics, such as the version which worked on Ubuntu 10.04.

    • DouDouLinux: A Linux Distribution Especially Designed For Kids

      DouDouLinux is, maybe, the greatest aid for parents who don’t have enough time to spend with their children while they have fun on the computer but who also don’t want to come back and find out that their operating system kind of crashed or that some important document was accidentally erased. That’s because you don’t have to install DouDouLinux to be able to use it, all you have to do is boot it from an USB stick (and when booting you can choose if you want the changes to be saved or not) or a CD/DVD and the kids don’t have to log in to be able to play!

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Managing Yum Plugins

        If you’re using Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, or a number of other RPM-based systems, you are probably very familiar with using Yum to install packages and update your system. It’s very useful out of the box, so to speak, but it can be extended to add even more functionality.

      • Tuning Fedora for SSDs

        A while back, I found myself reading a generic PC magazine in a waiting room, and they had an article on Tuning SSDs for Windows 7. It made me wonder what the Fedora equivalent would be. So, I asked my friend and Red Hat coworker Jeff Moyer about it. Jeff knows more about SSDs in Linux than anyone else I know, he does most (if not all) of the testing of SSDs for Red Hat’s storage team.

    • Debian Family

      • DACA Could Mean Fewer Bugs in Debian

        Every piece of software written has bugs. From the insignificant to the showstopper, bugs are there despite the herculean efforts of developers. But thanks to a new Debian project, many previously undetected bugs may finally get squashed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Cult of Ubuntu aka CoU Launched

          CoU is the best place to find beta testers for your applications and concepts. One of the best way is to connect with your users directly. You can publish your own write-ups and blogs on CoU without any editorial intervention. Either send your write-ups to the editor or send an account request and we will create an account for you to publish your content at your will. If you think there is better way of doing this, let us know and we will do what ever is possible.

        • What Is Cult of Ubuntu aka COU?
        • This Just In: “Ubuntu Myopia Continues…”

          Ever on the watch for mainstream media articles that don’t quite *get* Ubuntu, yet another questionable article catches my eye.

          Short summary: “Ubuntu is ruining the kernel. It’s buggy and a copycat of OS X. No wonder it has so many bugs: It’s based on Debian UNSTABLE. Even Dell is dropping it. And to top it off, Ubuntu is switching to Unity and not making it easy for users to opt out. Their existing user base is no longer the focus.”

        • First peek at ratings n’ reviews in Ubuntu Software Centre

          The Ubuntu Software Centre in 11.04 Natty Narwhal will comes with support for application ratings and reviews.

        • Raising Caine

          Caine is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04 for forensic scientists and security-conscious administrators. Poised to do battle against IT ne’er-do-wells, Caine has a comprehensive selection of software, a user-friendly GUI, and responsive support.

        • Ubuntu Software Center Getting Search Suggestion

          Aside from Unity, the Software Center is one of the main areas of development in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal. It is getting a lot of new features like support for user ratings, reviews etc. Another feature – search suggestion – has quietly landed in trunks.

        • Ubuntu isn’t replacing OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice … yet

          It looks as if some folks got a little bit carried away with the news yesterday that the next version of Ubuntu, 11.04, will feature LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org.

          Because, actually, that’s not exactly what’s happening. Yet.

          On Monday, Linux Magazine’s Amber Graner got it right, when she reported that Ubuntu Desktop Engineer Matthias Klose announced that “LibreOffice would be included in the Alpha 2 Natty Narwhal release for evaluation and possible inclusion into the final Ubuntu 11.04 release.”

          Somehow, by the next day, the news was mistakenly distorted to headlines in more than a few outlets that stated “LibreOffice Replaces OpenOffice In Natty, PPA For Lucid And Maverick,” or similar. It hit the Twittersphere, and I even re-tweeted the news myself. And off it went, with a lot of folks, including me, thinking that LibreOffice had indeed made the Ubuntu big-time.

        • LibreOffice: Ready for Liftoff

          LibreOffice, the Oracle-free fork of the OpenOffice office suite, may, or may not, end up being the default office suite in Ubuntu, but its first release is almost here.

          Before getting into that though, there have been rumors running around that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, had already committed to using LibreOffice in its next release, Ubuntu 11.04. True, Ubuntu has always been interested in replacing OpenOffice with LibreOffice Indeed, Mark Shuttleworth told me back when LibreOffice was starting to break away from OpenOffice that, “The Ubuntu Project will be pleased to ship LibreOffice from The Document Foundation in future releases of Ubuntu. That’s not the same thing though as saying it’s going to ship in Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Natty nm-applet improvements

          In light of the discussion I’m referring to above, as well as a number of bugs that have been reported against network-manager-applet, I’ve been working on fixing these issues, including making the animations work again, re-adding icons for wireless signal strength and fixing the icons when connected to VPNs.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • MoonOS is a complete, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE and Enlightenment 17 desktop managers and imaginative, original artwork.

            moonOS is a complete, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE and Enlightenment 17 desktop managers and imaginative, original artwork.

            A project created and designed by Cambodian artist Chanrithy Thim, moonOS is intended as an operating system for any desktop, laptop or virtual machine.

          • Bodhi Linux hits Alpha 4, gets ace new look

            I’ll cut to the meat of this review right away: Bodhi Alpha 4 has had a dramatic makeover. The new default E17 theme – called A-Nogal-Bodhi – gives the whole desktop a lighter, less oppressive feel than the black and green ’80′s terminal’ theme previously used.

            The icon set has been changed to the popular Faenza set.

          • moonOS 4 “NEAKE” Released With File Hierarchy System, AppShell

            moonOS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. moonOS 4 codenamed “NEAKE” has been recently released, replacing E17 with GNOME for the main edition and is currently available for 32bit only. While it provides a new stylish interface by default, the most interesting new feature in moonOS 4 is the use of a new File Hierarchy System which aims to make the filesystem more user-friendly. Read on!

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Share/Backup packagelist

            In this Screencast I show you how to share and backup your packagelist of currently installed applications. This is especially usefull if you want to share you list of applications between different computers or you want to have a backup in case you reinstall Lubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • mPlayer — the cross-platform, open source media player — ported to webOS

        Sure, the webOS App Catalog lags behind the markets of other mobile OSes — but the homebrew community continues porting apps to HP/Palm’s platform. One of the more recent additions is mPlayer, the cross-platform open source media app.

      • Checking out JQuery Mobile, Part 1
      • Android

        • Verizon preps Motorola Droid Xoom tablet, HTC Thunderbolt phone

          Motorola’s first Android tablet will be called the Droid Xoom, and will ship in February with an external 4G LTE modem, say industry reports. Meanwhile, photos have leaked of a purported HTC Thunderbolt 4G phone due to be announced by Verizon next week at CES, and more evidence piles up for Honeycomb being Android 2.4 instead of 3.0.

        • What Are Your Six Go-To Android Apps?

          If you’re the proud new owner of an Android-based smartphone or tablet you might be digging through the Market wondering what you should be installing. So I thought we’d take this chance to tap the collective wisdom of the Linux Mag audience and see what everyone is using on their phones and tablets.

        • Android tablets, smartphones to rule at CES

          Android is set to “explode” at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, with smartphones and tablet computers including a newly revealed HTC Shift 4G phone for Sprint and a four-inch smartphone/tablet hybrid from ViewSonic. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is cutting the price of the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet by $100 to $500, says an industry report.

        • Best Android apps

          Smartphones are now an essential business tool and there are hundreds of applications to choose from

          Smartphones are a key part of any businessperson’s gadget lineup and Android-based phones are among the most popular. We look at some of the best Android applications on offer.

        • Motorola finally breaks up. What now?

          Motorola is no longer one company. A long-in-the-works breakup of the smartphone and telecom equipment maker finally took effect Tuesday morning — probably to the delight of frustrated institutional shareholders like corporate agitator Carl Icahn.

        • Amazon’s Disruptive Android App Store Now Open To Developers — Full Details

          First, some background for those who don’t follow Android too closely. All Google-endorsed Android devices ship with the Android Market, along with a suite of other Google-made applications like Gmail. Android Market is a lot like Apple’s App Store with a few key differences: it doesn’t have an approval system, so developers can quickly submit and iterate on their applications. It also tends to have a lot of junky applications that Apple would reject — things that crash on launch on certain devices, or apps with that occasionally have features that don’t work as expected. While Google’s terms do require descriptions to be accurate, the general attitude is to let the market decide what works, and it surfaces the top rated applications (most of the time) while letting the junk sink.

        • 40 percent of new users are choosing Android

          More than 40% of U.S. customers who purchased smartphones over the last six months have chosen Android-based phones.

        • Galaxy Tab review: Android hitchhiking its way to tablet success

          The Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the first high-end Android tablets from a mainstream hardware vendor. Available with 3G connectivity from a wide range of carriers, the Tab is arguably the vanguard of the legion of Android tablets that are expected to arrive in the coming year.

    • Tablets

      • Android At CES Means Bad News For Apple iPad

        All this is about to change. Android is coming to strike back. CES will witness a whole new species of Android Tablets competing with the iPad. Just the way Android has beaten the iPhone in the mobiles space, Android is all set to beat iPad in the tablet segment.

      • Asus slips out keyboard equipped Android tablet

        Asus has outed its Android tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including one that cannily solves the problem of typing quickly on a touchscreen: it has a drop-down physical Qwerty deck.

      • See If You Can Spot The Problem With Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy

        Earlier today, computer maker Asus kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show a day early by announcing four upcoming tablet computers. Three of them run Google’s Android operating system. One runs Windows 7. See if you can guess which one is the outlier:

        * Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499

        * Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499

        * Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399

        * Eee Slate: starts at $999

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source community building: a guide to getting it right

    A diverse developer community is critically important to the long term viability of free and open source projects. And yet companies often have difficulty growing communities around their projects, or have trouble influencing the direction of the maintainers of community projects like the Linux kernel or GNOME. Sun Microsystems and AOL are prominent examples of companies which went full speed into community development, but were challenged (to say the least) in cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with community developers. There are many more examples – but often we never even hear about companies who tentatively engage in community development, and retreat with their tail between their legs, writing off substantial investments in community development. Xara, for example, released part of their flagship software Xara Xtreme for Linux as open source in 2005, before silently dropping all investment in the community project in late 2006.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/01/04


        * These posts written every 2 weeks explain the current state of add-on reviews and other information relevant to add-on developers. There’s a lengthy overview of the Add-on Review Process that should be read as a general guide about the review process.
        * Most nominations are being reviewed within 10 days.
        * Most updates are being reviewed within 5 days.

      • Game On Submissions: 1 Week Away

        Friendly reminder: the finish line for the Game On competition is just one week away on the 11th of January, 2011! If you want to build a game for the whole wide Web to use, this is your chance to make that game. We’re beyond excited to see what the possibilities will be, so we’re building a gallery to show your games to the world! This gallery will be opening soon after the contest ends.

      • How to develop a HTML5 Image Uploader
  • SaaS

    • Behind the Cloud Redux

      Behind the cloud it is still just computers – not the Great and All Powerful Oz – (and data, data connections and us IT professionals), but there is certainly a lot more that needs to be considered before connecting to it.

    • Cisco, Cloud Computing and Open Source Software

      The move to cloud-based infrastructure is one that is set to dominate networking discussions in 2011. One of the leaders in the move to cloud is networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), which provides servers, routing and switching infrastructure that enables cloud computing deployments.

      At this stage of cloud development and deployment, standards are still emerging, which is where open source software may be able to help.

  • CMS

    • Friendly and powerful: Drupal 7

      We are proud to present to you our best work yet – Drupal 7, the friendly and powerful content management platform for building nearly any kind of website: from blogs and micro-sites to collaborative social communities.

    • Drupal7 Released with Revamped UI, Semantic Tech, and More

      Drupal, the popular open source content management platform that powers websites like WhiteHouse.gov and NPR Public Interactive, got a fresh new look this week. It took three years, and the effort of thousands of contributors from more than 200 countries, but Drupal 7 is now available for free download at the project’s website. More than just a facelift, this release sports several important new features.

  • Healthcare

    • Reporters Not Welcomed At Corporate-Sponsored Rick Scott Inaugural

      Reporters did manage to catch up with the woman who briefly heckled Scott during the inaugural speech. Her basic complaint appears to be the fact that Scott would prefer to blow off his singular achievement as a human being — the record-setting fraud penalty that Columbia/HCA had to pay after systematically bilking Medicare under Scott’s leadership.

  • Business

    • Getting Down to the Business of Open Source

      All-in-all, “The Business of Open Source” offers some useful stuff to get the mental wheels turning after the holidays at the start of what will doubtless be another exciting and successful year for open source in business.


    • FSFE Newsletter – January 2011

      Get active: Help with Euro 2012 championship

      Help us gathering information about government’s Free Software usage. This information helps us to evaluate the current situation and of course it will decide who will be the European Free Software champion in 2012. Add the information on our website before March 25 and it will influence the next matches, add information continuously and it will help Free Software activists all over the world.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source animation movie comes to India

      The techies in Kerala have one more feather to add in their cap. India’s first open source movie concept is getting ready under Chamba Swathanthra Movie Project, started in Kerala.

      Open source films (also known as open content films and free content films) are films which are produced and distributed using free and open source software methodologies. Under this concept, the movie and its sources are made publicly available via an online download or by other means that are either free or with a cost that covers only reasonable reproduction expenses. About 20 people have already registered to film an open source animation movie in the website www.chambaproject.in and are working to make possible the open source movement in the Indian movie sector.

    • What you see is FOR THE WIN.

      I posted to foundation-l concerning the other way to get more people editing Wikipedia: the perennial wish for good WYSIWYG in MediaWiki.


      Eight times the number of smart and knowledgeable people who just happen to be bad with computers suddenly being able to even fix typos on material they care about. Would that be good or bad for the encyclopedia?


      Here’s how it works:

      1. An Internet site that allows people to search on an address to view a picture of that location.
      2. An address specific self-service advertising system (akin to adwords and earlier work on context sensitive advertising).
      3. A cell phone application that makes it easy for anyone to take a digital picture and upload it to the site.

      The twist in this approach comes in how it is built at the software level. It provides a way for tens of thousands to contribute and earn nearly all of the revenue it generates.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • PHP floating point bug crashes servers

      The bug will cause the PHP processing software to enter an infinite loop when it tries to convert the series of digits “2.2250738585072011e-308″ from the string format into the floating point format.


  • Why ProPublica is publishing web ads — and what that means for the nonprofit outfit’s funding future

    Check out ProPublica’s website today, and you might notice — along with blog posts, donation buttons, links to special projects, and the kind of deep-dive investigative journalism that the nonprofit outfit is celebrated for — a new feature: advertisements. Starting today, the outfit is serving ads on its site to complement the funding it takes in from foundation support and reader contributions, its two primary revenue streams.

    “This has been something we’ve been expecting to do for some time,” Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s general manager, told me in a phone call. “It was a question of when.”

  • Real, Live Practice Babies

    Once upon a time, infants were quietly removed from orphanages and delivered to the home economics programs at elite U.S. colleges, where young women were eager to learn the science of mothering. These infants became “practice babies,” living in “practice apartments,” where a gaggle of young “practice mothers” took turns caring for them. After a year or two of such rearing, the babies would be returned to orphanages, where they apparently were in great demand; adoptive parents were eager to take home an infant that had been cared for with the latest “scientific” childcare methods.

  • To tweet or not to tweet: How companies are reining in social media

    Social media like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn enable ordinary people to do international live broadcasting. It’s little wonder companies worry about the potential damage to their brand or reputation from wayward tweeting employees, and I am told many a celebrity’s agent has considered adding a “no drinking and tweeting” clause to his contract. Here’s a look at how some companies are writing (and rewriting) their social media policies to deal with the risks they face.

  • Science

    • Philosophy Lives

      Philosophy, Étienne Gilson observed, “always buries its undertakers.” “Philosophy,” according to Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their new book The Grand Design, “is dead.” It has “not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics, [and] scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” Not only, according to Hawking and Mlodinow, has philosophy passed away; so, too, has natural theology. At any rate, the traditional argument from the order apparent in the structure and operations of the universe to a transcendent cause of these, namely God, is wholly redundant—or so they claim: “[Just] as Darwin and Wallace explained how the apparently miraculous design of living forms could appear without intervention by a supreme being, the multiverse concept can explain the fine tuning of physical law without the need for a benevolent creator who made the Universe for our benefit. Because there is a law of gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

    • The Next $100 Billion Technology Business

      That headline is the cover language from the current issue of Forbes magazine – for a story I wrote about DNA sequencing and, particularly, about Jonathan Rothberg and his new Personal Genome Machine.

      What we are declaring in this story is that DNA sequencing, the technology by which individual letters of genetic code can be read out, could be the basis for a $100 billion market that encompasses not only medicine, where sequencing is already being evaluated to help cancer patients, but also other fields like materials science, biofuels that replace petroleum, and better-bred crops and farm animals. There are even synthetic biologists who are talking about using biology to make buildings and furniture based on the idea that this will be better for the environment than current plastic and concrete.

    • The Central Dogma of molecular biology

      This video captures the beauty of “The Central Dogma” of molecular biology, which is that “DNA makes RNA makes protein”. (For you twitter fiends, this translates as “DNA>RNA>protein”.)

      This nicely done animation describes how proteins act similarly to “molecular machines” to copy, or transcribe, specific genes in the DNA of every cell into small, portable RNA messages, how those messenger RNAs are modified and exported from the cell nucleus and finally, how the RNA code is translated to build proteins — a process known as “gene expression.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why does health care in Cuba cost 96% less than in the US?

      Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care [government-funded universal health insurance] advocates compare US health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

      But there is one country with very low level of economic activity yet with a level of health care equal to the West: Cuba.

  • Europe

    • Five years with EU under focus of ministers, diplomats

      Full European Union membership is still a strategic goal for Turkey, several ministers and top diplomats have maintained, despite admitting making significant errors along the way, including a decrease in public support for this bid.

      On the second day of a week-long annual gathering of ambassadors, the Foreign Ministry hosted on Tuesday a session titled “A balance sheet on the fifth year of our EU membership process: Negotiations and reform process.”

    • China Promises Support for Euro Zone

      China’s leadership has launched a charm offensive aimed at Europe. The country’s vice premier, who is visiting Spain and Germany this week, has promised that Beijing will continue buying up government debt to support the troubled euro zone. He has also called for more bilateral trade.

    • ‘Federalism now’, Northern League insists

      Northern League leader Umberto Bossi on Wednesday insisted that the government must pass its pet federalism project by the end of the month.

      Bossi, Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s key ally, said the week of January 17-23 would be crucial to get the bill out of a parliamentary commission and on the way to final approval.

    • Expenses watchdog reminds MPs of level of public mistrust

      The watchdog introduced last year to govern MPs’ expenses today hit back against threats that it could be reformed or even scrapped with a poll reminding parliament of the depth of public mistrust they still face in the wake of last year’s expenses scandal.

      David Cameron issued a warning before Christmas that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should reform and improve the way it works after complaints from every corner of the House of Commons of slow payments, troublesome IT systems and unfair rules. He set an April deadline for Ipsa to improve or face being forced to change, meaning it could even be scrapped.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Court OKs searches of cell phones without warrant

      The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday to search arrestees’ cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they’re carrying when taken into custody.

    • The conviction of Michael Thompson

      Does warning other drivers about speed cameras constitute obstructing a police officer?

    • Rise of Tibetan soft power

      Many Tibetans these days are rightfully feeling dismayed, believing that their culture and identity is increasingly being eclipsed and their hopes for a resolution to the Tibetan question dashed by the rise of China.

      But hold on a minute. Though China is already on the path to being an undisputed economic and military power, Tibet has also become a superpower in its own right.

  • Cablegate

    • US Gov’t Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked

      I didn’t realize that you needed to use such professional help to figure out if you had a disgruntled worker on your hands. Isn’t it the role of managers themselves to have a sense as to whether or not their employees are disgruntled? Though, I’m somewhat amused by the idea that the US government thinks that a psychiatrist or sociologist can accurately pick out who’s likely to leak documents.

      Not that it’s a bad thing to try to figure out if there are disgruntled workers or to make sure secure systems really are secure. I’m all for that. I just think it’s a bit naive to think any of this will actually prevent future leaks. You just need one person to get the info out, and there’s always someone and always a way to do so — as demonstrated by the fact that this document itself “leaked” so quickly. It seems a better situation would be to focus on making sure that any damage from such leaks is minimal.

    • Bradley Manning’s Trial – Update

      The army court-martial defense specialist and Bradley Manning’s attorney David E. Coombs published his Motion to Dismiss Manning’s case for Lack of Speedy Trial in his blog Army Court Martial Defense dot Info.

    • Shirky squares the circle

      There is even a delightful irony in his prescription. Among the groups Mr Shirky proposes that American embrace is WikiLeaks. His essay was evidently penned before the site was cursed by American officials for releasing hundreds of US diplomatic cables onto the net. America can benefit from promoting social media, he concludes, “even though that may mean accepting short-term disappointment”. If only he had known what was to come.

    • U.S. tells agencies: Watch ‘insiders’ to prevent new WikiLeaks

      The Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive new steps to prevent more WikiLeaks embarrassments, including instituting “insider threat” programs to ferret out disgruntled employees who might be inclined to leak classified documents, NBC News has learned.

      As part of these programs, agency officials are being asked to figure out ways to “detect behavioral changes” among employees who might have access to classified documents.

    • Israel said would keep Gaza near collapse: WikiLeaks

      Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.

      Three cables cited by the Aftenposten newspaper, which has said it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks, showed that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on its internationally criticized blockade of the Gaza Strip.


      Palestinians say impoverished Gaza remains effectively a “prison” sealed off by Israel, and have called for an opening to allow normal trade and other links with the world.

    • From Judith Miller to Julian Assange

      Today it is recognized at the Times and in the journalism world that Judy Miller was a bad actor who did a lot of damage and had to go. But it has never been recognized that secrecy was itself a bad actor in the events that led to the collapse, that it did a lot of damage, and parts of it might have to go. Our press has never come to terms with the ways in which it got itself on the wrong side of secrecy as the national security state swelled in size after September 11th. (I develop this point in a fuller way in my 14-min video, here.)

      In May of 2004, the New York Times, to its great credit, finally went back and looked at its coverage of the build-up to war in Iraq. (Shamefully, NBC and the other networks have never done that.) But the Times did not look at the problem of journalists giving powerful officials a free pass by stripping names from fear-mongering words and just reporting the words, or of newspapers sworn to inform the public keeping secrets from that same (misinformed) public, of reporters getting played and yet refusing to ID the people who played them because they needed to signal some future player that the confidential source game would go on.

      In its look back the Times declared itself insufficiently skeptical, especially about Iraqi defectors. True enough. But the look back was itself insufficiently skeptical. Radical doubt, which is basic to understanding what drives Julian Assange, was impermissible then. One of the consequences of that is the appeal of radical transparency today.

    • Prentice was ready to curb oilsands: WikiLeaks

      Former environment minister Jim Prentice told U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson that he was prepared to step in and impose tougher regulations on the oilsands if the industry damaged Canada’s green reputation, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

    • WikiLeaks: the latest developments

      Iran’s president ‘slapped’ by the head of the revolutionary guard, a German CEO blasts French industrial espionage and the latest on WikiLeaks

    • December 2010 Web Server Survey

      Open source HTTP accelerator Varnish gained 545k hostnames. A recent blog post on the varnish site identifies WikiLeaks as one particularly prominent user of the software, with both cablegate.wikileaks.org (performance graph) and warlogs.wikileaks.org (performance graph) served by Apache via Varnish.

    • Is Openleaks The Next Haystack?

      As everyone who’s even half-awake knows by now, a bunch of people who used to work on Wikileaks have got together to work on Openleaks. From what I hear, Openleaks is going to be so much better than Wikileaks – it will have no editorial role, it will strongly protect people who submit leaks, it’s not about the people who run it, it’ll be distributed and encrypted.

    • WikiLeaks: cables indicate Japan asked USA for help fighting Sea Shepherd

      The Wall Street Journal notes that cables released by WikiLeaks show the Japanese government repeatedly asked the US for help against anti-whaling activist organization Sea Shepherd (covered many times on BoingBoing in the past). These repeated requests for assistance included asking the US to revoke the group’s tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization.

    • Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange–For the U.S.’s Sake, Not His

      6. If the government can pressure private companies to silence Wikileaks, it can silence anyone.
      Senator Lieberman’s staff seemed to apply some governmental pressure to Amazon, which found a violation of its broadly worded “terms of service” to remove Wikileaks from Amazon servers. (The administration has not applied similar pressure, to my knowledge.) Paypal and Mastercard refused to process donations, applying a standard far lower than the standards applying to government.

      I agree with those who view these moves as an Internet “tax on dissent.” To put this in perspective, what if Amazon interpreted its terms of service to kick controversial politicians off its servers? What if Paypal stopped processing payments to controversial newspapers, political blogs, or … Klansmen and flag burners? What if Mastercard, after receiving calls from a Senator, refused to process donations to the Palin or Romney campaigns, while processing donations for the Obama reelection? The affected speakers would be harmed and would have no legal means to defend themselves by challenging the government’s attempt to silence them.

      The New York Times has raised concerns about these actions: “A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.”

    • EFF at SF4D January Meetup: Changes At S.F. City Hall & the Wikileaks Fallout

      EFF staff activist Rainey Reitman will be participating in a panel discussion on WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Happy New Year from The North Sea. Or, Secrecy By Complexity

      The dramatic fall of Mexican oil production, and its largest field Cantarell, is often cited as a signature example of the problems facing Non-OPEC supply. Since the production highs of 2004-2005, Mexican production has lost over 800 kbpd (thousand barrels per day) which is fairly dramatic for a country that was producing around 3.4 mbpd as recently as 5-6 years ago. But as accelerated as these declines have been in Mexico, another oil producing region has seen even quicker declines.

    • The Decline of Available Energy to Society

      Quantification of the decline of available energy, which results from the increased cost of energy extraction, is difficult.

    • Dead birds in Louisiana; dead fish in Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand

      After reports over the weekend of thousands of dead birds falling from the sky in Arkansas and around 100,000 dead fish washing up on the shores of the Arkansas River, more mysteries abound with hundreds of birds dying in Louisiana, dead fish in Maryland, dead sardines on Brazil’s beaches, and hundreds of snapper floating in New Zealand waters.

    • China Lights, Global Floods, Australian Coal

      One detects a slow, ironic hooray welling up from the climate change community this week because after a year of intense weather that’s devastated food crops worldwide now an epic flood in Australia threatens to cripple the production of coal. Accounting for 30% of global energy supply–and ready to go higher as oil supply declines–coal was thought to be permanently relegated to the 19th century only a decade ago. Now, however, coal is the go-to energy source of the developing world, the 5 billion people now passing through the gears of industrialism. And Australian coal, both thermal and metallurgical, is called upon heavily to feed this soaring demand. But as flooding in Queensland, Australia’s northern coal country, spreads over an area as large 350,000 square miles, what will happen to coal production and the export of coal?

    • Ratcliffe coal protesters spared jail sentences

      Environmental activists who planned to shut down a coal-fired power station near Nottingham were spared jail today after a judge declared they acted with “the highest possible motives”.

      The campaigners were convicted of planning to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in what would have been one of the most audacious protests by green activists in the UK.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • In The ‘Net Delusion,’ Internet Serves Oppressors

      From bloggers of Myanmar’s 2007 Saffron Revolution to tweeters of the protests that followed Iran’s 2009 election, the Internet has proven itself to be a tool in promoting change and democracy in the world.

      But Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion, argues that it doesn’t always work out that way.

    • Privacy vs. Security vs. Anonymity

      First, let’s establish some basic definitions. For the purpose of this blog post, the following definitions will suffice (I’ll address alternative definitions later):
      • Privacy: having control over one’s personal information or actions
      • Security: freedom from risk or danger
      • Anonymity: being unidentifiable in one’s actions

    • French Minister Uses Non-Existent Benefits to Sell LOPPSI 2 Legislation

      LOPPSI 2, the surveillance legislation in France, has been making headlines recently given that the legislation has re-entered political debate in recent weeks. The Interior Minister reportedly was out in the media telling everyone that one of the benefits of LOPPSI 2 is that it would stop cell phone theft in its tracks. Critics point to one tiny little problem with that sales-pitch – it doesn’t exist in the legislation in its current form and blocking stolen phones is already possible.

    • EU ratifies UN Convention on disability rights

      Following formal ratification, it is the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty – the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The Convention aims to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as a whole. It has also been signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of these (see Annex). The EU becomes the 97th party to this treaty. The Convention sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities. It reflects the EU’s broader commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU by 2020, as set out in the European Commission’s disability strategy (IP/10/1505).

    • Virginia DMV Revokes World’s Greatest License Plate

      A man in possession of the world’s greatest license plate has lost his battle with the Virginia DMV, who ridiculously claim it encourages oral sex with kids instead of just cannibalism. Here’s their predictably unfunny response to the funny plate.

      According to poster WHOWANTSBEEF at Reddit, he’s the owner of the infamous “EATTHE Kids First” license plate floating around the internet for years. Unfortunately for him, someone complained his plate was advocating something beyond hilarious cannibalism.

    • Court: No warrant needed to search cell phone

      The next time you’re in California, you might not want to bring your cell phone with you. The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can search the cell phone of a person who’s been arrested — including text messages — without obtaining a warrant, and use that data as evidence.

      The ruling opens up disturbing possibilities, such as broad, warrantless searches of e-mails, documents and contacts on smart phones, tablet computers, and perhaps even laptop computers, according to legal expert Mark Rasch.

    • Consultation on the cabinet manual: have your say on a document being described as the first step to a British written constitution

      Views are being sought by January 10th on a document being described by some as the first step towards a British codified constitution. The 150-page draft cabinet manual, drawn up on 14 December, aims to set out how the UK is governed. While the cabinet secretary, Gus O’Donnell, has stressed in his introduction that the manual is intended only as a source of information and guidance on governance, the draft document has instigated a debate over Britain’s constitutional status in part thanks to the Cabinet Secretary himself proclaiming in interviews before it was issued that it was an eagerly awaited stage on the road to full codification. The political and constitutional reform committee is now heading a consultation on the manual, with responses to be submitted at 10am on Monday 10th January if possible, and otherwise by Friday 28th January. This is a chance to help broaden the debate around a document that could prove the foundation to a written constitution for Britain.

    • Boston Tor Hackers, join us Saturday, January 15th

      We’re holding a Tor hackfest on Saturday, January 15th. The bulk of the Tor developers are in town and coming to this event.

    • The EU Must Stop Hungarian Net Censorship

      La Quadrature du Net joins the blackout operation launched by Hungarian civil rights activists who oppose the newly enacted media law. Everybody is invited to join the blackout and contact their representatives to oppose any kind of censorship in the European Union.

      This law imposes a stringent regulation of printed, audiovisual and online media which severely undermines the democratic foundations of the Hungarian republic.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Untrustworthy Computing

      This is the latest example of how that other OS hides an endless stream of problems in its bloat. This is about displaying an image on your computer screen and compromising security. It is another example of how an OS designed by salesmen to sell in a desktop monopoly was not designed to deal with a hostile environment on the network and should be avoided like the plague.

    • Paying through the nose for last-gen DSL

      If you haven’t yet taken a look at what’s happening in Canada to DSL pricing “you may want to, given that if North American incumbent ISPs get their wish — all broadband customers continent wide could be looking at paying an arm and a leg for aging DSL technology”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons Sends Cease-and-Desist to SF’s Park Life Store

      Among the items San Francisco gallery and store Park Life stocked for holiday gifts was that most innocent of objects — a bookend in the shape of a balloon dog, made by a company based in Toronto. But right before Christmas, Park Life co-owner Jamie Alexander received an unusual Christmas present.

      Lawyers for artist Jeff Koons sent a letter asking Park Life to stop selling and advertising the balloon dog bookends, return them to some mutually agreed upon address, tell Koons how many have been sold and disclose the maker of said bookends — a fact, Alexander said, that could easily be found via Google.

    • Copyrights

      • Open Letter by the Brazilian civil society to President-elect Roussef and Minister of Culture Ana Buarque de Hollanda

        The Points of Culture, the Digital Culture Forum, the Forum of Free Media, the development of free software, the initiative to revise the copyright law, the rejection of irrational proposals for the criminalization of the network, the construction of a Bill of Rights for the Internet (the Marco Civil) and the rejection of ACTA are well-known examples of this inclusive policy, and they are based on the guarantee of the right of access to the network and to knowledge, enabling a fertile and innovative environment for cultural production.

      • EFF Wins Landmark Ruling Freeing Promo CDs for Resale

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has shot down bogus copyright infringement allegations from Universal Music Group (UMG), affirming an eBay seller’s right to resell promotional CDs that he buys from secondhand stores and rejecting UMG’s attempt to claim that a sticker on a CD created a license agreement forbidding resale.

      • Copy some webpages, owe more than the national debt

        The Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” is a set of snapshots of the Web over time. It’s a wonderful way to delve into the past (see Ars in its 1999 black-and-green glory to learn why “ERD Commander turns me on”), but it’s only possible thanks to rampant copying—and the potential copyright infringement that goes along with such copies. Thanks to US law, a successful copyright suit against the Wayback Machine could put the nonprofit Internet Archive on the hook for up to $150,000 per infringement.

        Multiply that $150,000 by the number of individual pages in the Archive and you quickly run into some serious damages.

      • ACTA

        • FFII requests proof ACTA’s criminal measures are essential

          The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) requests proof that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’s criminal measures are essential. The EU can only harmonise criminal measures if approximation of criminal laws and regulations of its Member States proves essential to ensure the effective implementation of a Union policy. The same is true for harmonisation by way of trade agreement. The FFII also requests documents which discuss the proportionality of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’s criminal measures.

Clip of the Day

Drupal 7 Marketing Video

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 5/1/2011: Linux 2.6.37 is Released, Android Duplicity

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A New Year’s Eve Reflection…

    On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we delivered the last three. Joi and her son Jack were the last install of 2010. Jack is an honor roll student, looking forward to entering Middle School next year and with a Dell D610 laptop from The HeliOS Project, he can go forward with confidence.

    And his mom has one less thing to worry about.

    In the meantime, we had a backlog of requests for laptops. They were mostly students preparing to enter college or trade schools. Unfortunately, many of them had already moved or had begun college and had not provided us a forwarding address.

  • ‘Iran to unveil national OS soon’

    Taqipour also pointed out that an open source operating system would help pinpoint penetrable portholes in systems and said, “Many countries are turning to the open source [OS] as a solution to this problem.

  • Linux Security, one year later…

    This post (tries to) describe what happened in 2010 about GNU/Linux security. What this post is not is a long list of vulnerabilities, there are some people doing it way better that me.

    The first part of this post is dedicated to new vulnerability classes where the second one focuses on the defensive side, analyzing improvements made to the Linux kernel. Before closing this post, some selected quotes will be presented, pointing the finger at some of the Linux failures.

  • Desktop

    • Speed Up Your Computer In 2011!

      As many readers of this blog already know, I love radio! I listen to the radio in my studio when I’m at my drawing table or in front of my PCLinuxOS computer.

  • Server

    • Version Vexations: Keeping Big Linux Operations on the Same Page

      As data centers have grown in complexity, so has the task of keeping all or even most of the machines on the same page in terms of Linux version control and modeling. “Overall, the tension between ‘We have to have the latest patches installed’ and ‘Leave well enough alone’ means that a lot of different systems are at a lot of very different patch levels,” Illuminata’s Johnathan Eunice said.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Run OS X, Linux or Windows on Chrome Notebook

      There aren’t many Chrome notebooks out there. Google has been sending a select few out to developers and those who signed up for its pilot program, but you can’t buy them at retail stores. Unless you count yourself among the lucky few that got a Cr-48, or work for a tech blog and were sent a review unit, it’s kind of hard to get your hands on one. Still, if you’ve read reviews or had a chance to play with one, you’ll know that Chrome OS is all web-based and completely different to the desktop experience we’re used to.

  • Kernel Space

    • The kernel column #96 with Jon Masters – 2010 in review

      2010 was another exciting year for the Linux kernel and its community. Over the course of four kernel releases and many tens of thousands of mailing list messages, over one thousand individual developers (some working alone, some working for corporations) contributed two new architectures, several new file systems, and drivers for key hardware in the form of the Nouveau Nvidia driver (produced independently of Nvidia) and an open source Broadcom driver for its recent Wi-Fi chips. Of course, many more features were added, too…

    • The 2.6.37 kernel is out

      Linus Torvalds has released the 2.6.37 kernel. Not much has changed since the 2.6.37-rc8 prepatch, just some VFS locking documentation updates, ASoC codex register cache changes, and “small and boring” fixes.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Official Sandy Bridge DDX Nears

        Intel’s Carl Worth has just announced the xf86-video-intel 2.13.903 driver release. He hopes this DDX release candidate will be the last before the xf86-video-intel 2.14.0 driver is officially released carrying the proper X.Org driver support for their new Sandy Bridge CPUs.

      • Intel Will Work On Better Linux Timing For Ivy Bridge

        The Sandy Bridge Linux graphics support isn’t actually too bad besides lacking out-of-the-box support or any easy way to easily upgrade the driver stack for novice end-users of Linux. There’s open-source OpenGL acceleration (though it’s over classic Mesa and not Gallium3D), VA-API video decoding (and encoding support is evidently on the way this quarter), 2D/KMS, etc. This support though will be found in Ubuntu 11.04 when released in April and Fedora 15 in May, so it’s really just the very early adopters that will be impacted by having to roll their own driver stack or find any third-party package repositories.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • 10 of the best Linux window managers

      With Windows you’re stuck with, well, Windows. With Linux, you have a choice. And whether you have a preference for a ‘do everything’ approach, or a ‘do nothing at all’ one, there’s a window manager made for you.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Kolab Server 2.3 alpha Release

        New year, new alpha release; Kolab 2.3 alpha is now released for testing!

        For users, Kolab 2.3 introduces new mobile synchronisation features in the form of ActiveSync integration and, for packagers, provides improved code modularity for the web client. Detailed information on the release can be found here: Release Notes

      • Phonon Loves Codecs

        As the Phonon team is hard at work to prepare for the release of Phonon 4.4.4, the GStreamer backend has seen some awesome improvements these past few days.

        Not only will it be the second backend to support the experimental video capturing features introduced with Phonon 4.4.3 but has also seen tremendous improvements with regards to stability. But most importantly of all it got improved codec installation support.

      • fire up the synchrotron!

        Over the Christmas holidays, I spent some time coming up with a solution to a new challenge we have been running into in Plasma, and which I suspect other KDE teams may be as well: quick and easy deployment of application addons.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 28th November 2010

        In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:

        * Non-destructive editing (with an interface fully adapted to versioning) arrives in Digikam, along with work on demosaicing and interpolation options, and filters
        * Drag-and-drop support for launchers, and version 4 of the SlimGlow theme in Plasma
        * User interface improvements in KFileAudioPreview

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Wayland Back-End For GTK+ Pushed Forward

        While busy discussing Sandy Bridge Linux support, it’s been brought to my attention en route to Las Vegas that the Wayland back-end for GTK+3 has been merged!

        With this Git commit by Intel’s Kristian Høgsberg, the Wayland back-end has been pushed forward.

      • GTK Theme Updates: Atolm, Borderless Elementary

        Atolm, the new but already popular dark theme created by the Orta author has been updated yesterday. Here’s the changelog for Atolms 0.6.5:

        * Speed optimizations, the theme is now faster than Orta
        * Notebook spacing changed.
        * Notebook tabs changed.
        * Nautilus breadcrumbs and mode button improved.
        * Check, radio buttons and tabs now share the same coloring with buttons.
        * White arrows on spinbuttons fixed.
        * Ubuntu Software Center text colors fixed.
        * Emesene status button text color fixed.
        * Pidgin status toggle button text color fixed.
        * Various Evolution Fixes.
        * OpenOffice text visibility fixes.

      • Multiple Back-Ends With The GTK+ Wayland Back-End

        Yesterday there was quick, airborne coverage of the GTK+ Wayland back-end moving forward for GTK+ 3.0. Not only was the back-end merged, allowing the GTK+ tool-kit to begin working on this alternative display server that’s quickly garnering attention, but it also works with the new GTK+ multi-backend capabilities.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 5.8 can boot and fully operate from RAM

        After several months of development, the Parted Magic developers have issued version 5.8 of their open source, multi-platform partitioning tool. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with as little as 64MB of RAM. File systems supported include NTFS, FAT, ReiserFS, Reiser4 and HFS+. LVM and RAID are also supported.

        The latest maintenance update is based on the 2.6.36 Linux kernel and features the addition of the SciTE SCIntilla-based text editor. According to Parted Magic developer Patrick Verner, version 5.8 marks the first time that the ISO image can be booted completely from RAM. Verner says that this means, for example, “that the default syslinux menu can be used for a PXE boot”.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva sudoers file has changed :-)

        Mandriva sudoers file has changed, I can’t speak for other distros, but after my post about setting up sudo with mandriva, and using zsh (z-shell) for cli shortcuts/aliasing.

        Now most of that aliasing can be configured in sudoers instead, so it wont matter what shell you use.

    • Red Hat Family

      • What’s your leadership multiplier?

        As we’ve described before, we have a unique organizational model here at Red Hat in that we’ve combined the more traditional Human Resources and Corporate Marketing functions into a single department that we call People & Brand. Thanks to this structure, we are able to explore the places where our brand intersects with many different elements of our culture and associate programming, such as recruiting, interviewing, orientation, on-boarding, and training & development (among other things).

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition, 32 bit Re-spin

        When the Linux Mint Debian Edition 201012 distribution was released recently, I installed it on all of my 64-bit systems without problem. But I couldn’t get it to install on my HP 2133 Mini-Note, the installer always hung. I assumed it was because of the very finicky Broadcom 4312 WiFi adapter, or perhaps something else out of the ordinary with that system. Now it turns out that it wasn’t my 2133 after all, there was a problem with the 32-bit distribution. The details of the problem, and what they are doing to ensure that it doesn’t happen it again, are in this Linux Mint Blog post.


        In my opinion, Mint passes easily on all points.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Search suggestions in software-center

          While the software-center team is currently focusing on ratings&reviews there are still some nice features landing in trunk.

        • Looking for a quick way to help Ubuntu Weekly News?

          The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter has been in a state of flux since the Editor in Chief had to step down. I worked with Nathan Handler over the weekend to get Issue 218 out the door today covering much of December and it gave me a taste of how challenging and time-consuming the task was (and made me hugely thankful that the former Editor so thoroughly documented it all). It also made me realize that it could be more succinctly divided up into small sections that volunteers can take – we just need to do a better job of documenting that so we can give pieces out easily when volunteers come along.

        • Why Is Canonical Selling An Ubuntu Branded Keyboard With A Windows Key?

          Canonical has a new Ubuntu branded keyboard for sale on their website. The keyboard is made from silicon which makes it moisture resistant, easy to clean and it is flexible – you can just roll it up and take it with you. It even has a screaming huge Ubuntu logo on the left.

          This should make the perfect keyboard for all the Ubuntu supporters out there. Except that it is not. And it is the fault of that Windows logo that the keyboard sports.

        • Windicators ‘not critical’ to 11.04
        • Ubuntu Software Center Getting Search Suggestion

          Aside from Unity, the Software Center is one of the main areas of development in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal. It is getting a lot of new features like support for user ratings, reviews etc. Another feature – search suggestion – has quietly landed in trunks.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ubuntu Remixes: 4 Of The Best Alternatives to Ubuntu

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

          • Linux Mint 10 – How Good Is It?

            This morning I read a blog article from Intel in which it was discussed how Linux was once again making inroads on the enterprise. The survey indicated that about 75% of those surveyed stated they were planing on adding Linux servers to their organizations in the next 12 months. Only 41% stated they were going to add Windows servers to their business. So who conducted the survey? The Linux Foundation.

            So let me tell you about my recent experience with Linux. Every year, usually towards the end of the year, I select a Linux version to try for several weeks. Inside of me there is a Linux freak trying to break out and a little voice in the back of my head saying how nice it would be to dump Windows. Before I proceed let me state that I really enjoy my Windows 7 boxes. They have been working flawlessly since I installed W7 and I have had no major, or for that matter, no minor issues with the OS.Basically Windows 7 has been problem free for except for the self-induced problems I have caused on my own.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Time Runs Out for Monopolies of IT

      ARM and Android are exploding and taking GNU/Linux along for the ride.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • iPhone still king; new smartphone buyers opting for Android

          Sometimes it seems like everyone on the subway or in the café is using an iPhone, but according to market research firm Nielsen, new smartphone buyers are going after Android phones in droves. Nielsen says that 40.8 percent of US consumers who bought a smartphone in the last six months bought Android devices, while 26.9 percent bought iPhones and 19.2 percent bought BlackBerrys.

        • Android is gaining on IOS

          According to beancounters at Nielsen, data from November 2010 shows the Iphone is still the most popular smartphone in terms of marketshare in the US but Apple must be looking in its rear view mirror as Google’s Android juggernaut starts tooting and telling it to get out of the way.

        • Two faces of Android

          The most remarkable thing about Android is that it is the first widely adopted Open Source client operating system. It’s long been clear that Open Source is the best way to preserve infrastructural code from the vicissitudes of corporate and governmental volatility, but using it for client applications has so far not taken off as well. There has often been a separation between an open source underlying layer and a proprietary user experience that is built atop it.

          Android does follow this pattern to some extent – the underlying OS code is fully Open Source under an Apache License, so anyone can bend it to their own uses, but in order to get the “with Google” logo on your device, you need to conform to Google’s Compatibility Definition Document. That has changed over time; for example the 2.1 version specifies that your device MUST have a camera and 1.6 requires telephony.


          You can buy iPad lookalikes, things that look like a huge iPod, TV-based video game systems and more that run Android, often for under $100.

        • Android sends texts to wrong recipients
        • Lenovo teams LePad Android 2.2 tablet with Windows 7 PC dock

          This is… unbelievable. PC and laptop specialist Lenovo has officially unveiled its IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook – a combination device that blends a standalone Android 2.2 tablet with an Intel PC.

        • Two Android Operating Systems!?

          It seems that the forthcoming Android Honeycomb will require a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, such as the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, to work. I can buy that. It’s tough luck for anyone using a Samsung Galaxy Tab or a Dell Streak, but that’s life on the bleeding edge of technology.

          To users ready to blow a fuse because they no longer have the newest and best toy on the block, I suggest that they chill out. Does your device still do what you bought it for? After all, I’m still perfectly happy with my first generation iPod Touch, and it will never see a significant operating system upgrade again.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2010 Year-End Letter to Stakeholders

    The Open Source Research (OSR) Group was founded in Sept 2009, so it has been 16 months since inception. We hope to be writing a year-end summary every year, available to anyone interested. FAU is the university, CS is the computer science department, “we” is the group, and “I” is Dirk Riehle.

    * Hiring: During 2010 I succeeded in hiring three top-notch Ph.D. students; this fills the initial positions available to us. The three are actively working on their dissertations now. A first funding proposal for another Ph.D. student was submitted to the DFG during 2010, more are to follow.

  • The Open Source Year Ahead

    Open source vendors playing in the cloud arena are growing in number, probably in 2011 others will come, but only who will be able to nurture its community has good chance to be a winner in 2012. Among interesting players I didn’t mention before I would definitely enlist Cfengine and OpenStack.

  • Revisiting the 2010 Predictions

    Failure is part of predictions. Certainty demands comprehensive intelligence, which is by definition absent in the business of forecasting. But in prediction, the question isn’t whether you fail: that’s expected. The metric by which success is determined is rather how often. That is what separates the genius from the idiot.

    Let us score last year’s predictions, then, so that you may know whether to pay attention to the 2011 iteration.

  • NASA Open Source Architecture Wins Apache Support

    A NASA-led project has won the full support of the Apache Software Foundation, bolstering development efforts around Java-based middleware that uses metadata to foster cross-platform collaboration.

    Apache has deemed the Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) architecture, originally developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a Top Level Project, according to the space agency. This means it is one of a handful of the foundation’s open source projects to receive project management and resource support.

  • Apache web server hit a home run in 2010

    The World Wide Web would be nothing without web servers, and Apache has been king of that hill for a long time now. Although its market share has been slipping a bit in recent years, Apache came back with a vengeance in 2010.


    This article shows that Apache is pulling away from its “arch enemy, ” Microsoft’s IIS. In December 2009 there were 2.2 times as many Apache websites as there were IIS websites. In December 2010 Apache had 2.7 times as many websites as IIS.

    Apache is arguably one of the most emphatic open source successes, a product that has consistently since its birth been the preferred web server for millions upon millions of webmasters. Unless something drastic happens, it will remain dominant for a long time to come.

  • Web Browsers

    • 2011: The Year of Firefox – or of Chrome?

      The key event is immediately evident: as the graph shows, Firefox’s market share has overtaken that of Internet Explorer, with 38.11% against 37.52% (although I wouldn’t place much – any – faith in those last few significant figures).

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer as Europe’s dominant browser

        The figures show that the gap between the two browsers started narrowing in March 2010. However, it appears that the real winner over the past year has been Chrome. Google’s browser ended 2010 with almost 10% extra marketshare than it started the year with. The main casualty of Chrome’s rise was Internet Explorer, which lost 7.32% during the year, according to StatCounter’s figures.

      • What’s up with SUMO – Jan. 3

        The big things this week:

        * No big issues since the release of Firefox Beta 8, Mobile Beta 3, Firefox Home 1.1 and Sync 1.6
        * Fancy-schmancy SUMOdev schedule (links below)
        * Improved search on SUMO

      • Qn: Which is the Most Popular Browser Version in India? Ans: Firefox 3.6

        IE’s market share in India is slipping (following the global trend), and while Google Chrome continues its offline promotions, a browser version that comes out winner is Firefox 3.6.

        IE is still the most popular browser (i.e. combined market share of IE 6, 7 and 8), but when it comes to a browser version, Firefox 3.6 takes the cake (23.25% market share as of today).

      • The best and the novelty of Firefox 4

        The newer version of Firefox from Mozilla is definitely better than Firefox 3.6 and is definitely worth trying out. Firefox 4 runs on the Gecko 2.0 web platform. Earlier today I downloaded Firefox 4 and put it through some drills, here is a review of Firefox 4 Beta 1 where you can find the new features and also the how Firefox 4 fares against other browsers in web browser benchmarks.

      • Next release of Firefox – beta 9, will have tabs on Title Bar

        Well, the time has come. For the first time probably, we can see firefox with tabs on the title bar. This is not available in the current beta 8 release but this feature will most probably be added and supported in the upcoming 9th beta.

  • Oracle

    • Rival Demands $110 Million from Oracle

      Oracle Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary Passlogix stole confidential information to deprive a competitor of royalties, force it into bankruptcy, and use the stolen intellectual property for their own profit, 2FA Technology says in a $110 million claim in Federal Court.

    • Which Java EE 6 App Server ? – JBoss 6.0 or GlassFish 3.x

      It’s been over a year that Java EE 6 was released in Dec 2009 along with GlassFish as the Reference Implementation. JBoss contributed two new specifications to the Java EE 6 platform – JSR 299 (Contexts & Dependency Injection) and JSR 303 (Bean Validation) and contributed in multitude of other ways to make the platform successful, many thanks for that. RedHat released JBoss 6.0, their first Java EE 6-compliant app server (no production support and only Java EE 6 Web Profile) last month, a very hearty congratulations to them!

  • CMS

    • Energy.gov to move to Drupal

      For those who track such things, the U.S. Department of Energy has hundreds of websites, all of which are currently maintained through a variety of content management systems (CMS).

  • Education

    • Open Scholarship at #pmrsymp and #pmrhack

      It has now become clear to several of us that we need to identify an ethos of Open Scholarship. This means that – when and however disseminated – scholarship should be created in a semantic manner which allows us – and machines – to make better decisions and bout what we do, and to re-use the material that we create. By transferring the power of semantics to authors we give them greater voice; the costs can be very low and toolsets can be free and transparent. I shall pull this together in my presentation and several of us will have worked to create a first draft of Open Scholarship principles and practice, building on Panton and other initiatives.

  • BSD

    • NeoKylin. China’s new domestic FreeBSD based desktop O/S

      Two respected Chinese software companies of two operating systems used in China are said to be joining forces (20/12/2010) to create a domestic operating system called NeoKylin.

      China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology have signed a strategic partnership to launch an operating system brand known as “NeoKylin” that will be used for national defense and all sectors of the country’s economy.

    • Kylin, a Chinese FreeBSD based, secure O/S

      Kylin is based on FreeBSD 5.3 with some proprietary security extensions to add an extra level of security to that operating system. Kylin, named after qili, a mythical beast, has been organised in a hierarchy model, including the basic kernel layer which is responsible for initializing the hardware and providing basic memory management and task management, the system service layer which is based on FreeBSD providing UFS2 and BSD network protocols, and the desktop environment which is similar to Windows. It has been designed to comply with the UNIX standards and is compatible with Linux binaries.

  • Project Releases

    • GCC 4.6 Release Candidate Is Nearing

      A release candidate for version 4.6.0 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is nearing. Novell’s Richard Guenther has provided a GCC 4.6 status update whereby this version of the leading free software compiler has now left “stage 3″ of its development and the code-base is now only receiving regression fixes and documentation work.

    • Conky Colors Gets A New “Board Mode”

      A new Conky Colors version has been released (5.0 beta 1) today which adds a beautiful new “board mode” which you can see in the screenshot in the beginning of the post.

    • Blender 2.56 beta released

      The Blender Foundation and associated online developer community have released Blender 2.56 Beta, the fourth official beta release of the Blender 2.5 series. On final release this development code will become Blender version 2.6.

      This beta is for the most part feature complete and over 440 bugs have been fixed since the 2.55 beta, although a very bad bug in “undo” for the Cloth / Fluid sim was discovered the day after the initial release. This bug has now been fixed and the developers say they will probably release a 2.56a update including the fix, soon.

    • LibreOffice Is Getting Ready For Ubuntu 11.04

      We’ve known that Canonical has been looking at LibreOffice replacing OpenOffice.org within Ubuntu and it looks like this packaging work is indeed materializing for the forthcoming Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” release.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m96) available
  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Anti-openness gifts: An open advocate’s confessions

      For my birthday several months ago, I got a Kindle. No fewer than three people have since asked me, “What are you doing with a Kindle? It’s not very open source-y.”

      Confession: I love my Kindle. I only have one book to carry when I travel. I can play games. And it let me tweet from Paris over free 3G from Open World Forum, where cell data was expensive and, like many conferences, the wifi was shaky. Surely that counts for something?

      But the accusers are right. It’s not very “open source-y.” The DRM is painful and prevents sharing.

    • Internet Commerce Pioneer Seeks to Crack Secretive Culture With Cancer Commons

      “We see Cancer Commons as the harbinger of a new patient-centric paradigm for translational medicine, in which every patient receives personalized therapy based upon the best available science, and researchers continuously test and refine their models of cancer biology and therapeutics based on the resulting clinical responses,” Tenenbaum and colleagues wrote in their October white paper.

      That may be how you need to talk to entice a recalcitrant scientific audience, but when I spoke to Tenenbaum just before Christmas, he summed it up in a way that’s easier for patients to digest.

    • Open Data

      • Open Transit Data: NYC MTA’s Transformation

        For years, useful MTA data – including route schedules, service disruptions, and station details – were unavailable to software developers. While these data are technically public domain and available under the Freedom of Information Law, the MTA (like many transit agencies) faced many obstacles to providing it to developers. Internal regulations, licensing issues, and concerns about data quality hampered efforts to release the data, and the relationship between MTA and developers had become litigious.

  • Programming


  • Mellow Out or You Will Pay: Satire Now a Crime in California

    California is now destined to take its place among such stalwarts of free speech, such titans of comedy, as Morocco and India, both of whom arrested its citizens for making Facebook pages for others.

  • Founders of The Huffington Post sued for ‘stealing website blueprint’

    Peter Daou and James Boyce claim they came up with the site’s signature blend of blogs by prominent people, news aggregation, original reporting and online community-building, originally envisioned as a liberal counterpoint to such conservative-tilting sites as the Drudge Report.

  • Academic Library Autopsy Report, 2050

    In summary, it is entirely possible that the life of the academic library could have been spared if the last generation of librarians had spent more time plotting a realistic path to the future and less time chasing outdated trends while mindlessly spouting mantras like “There will always be books and libraries” and “People will always need librarians to show them how to use information.” We’ll never know now what kind of treatments might have worked. Librarians planted the seeds of their own destruction and are responsible for their own downfall.

  • Notability, deletionism, inclusionism, ∞³

    I’m not a fan of deletionism (more below), but given the current rules around notability, I am either somewhat questionable as an English Wikipedia article subject (using the general, easy to interpret charitably summary of notability: “A person is presumed to be notable if he or she has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject.”) to unquestionably non-notable (any less charitable interpretation, which presumably any “deletionist” would use, thus my user page statement).

  • New year mobile bug strikes French texters
  • 3D Printed Couture Shoes

    Designer Marloes ten Bhömer is well-known for her unorthodox shoe designs, and now she’s apply 3D printing technology to her craft. Pictured above is her latest creation, the Rapidprototypedshoe, showing at the Design Museum Holon in Israel until January 8th.

  • Murder victim takes photo of his killer, milliseconds before he is shot

    The gunman was identified as has since been detained, as was his “lookout”, the man behind the elderly woman in the photo.

  • RSS War! (As Fought On Twitter, Naturally)

    This evening I was just minding my own business and doing what I like to do from time to time, look over data. In particular, I was looking over the 2010 TechCrunch data, because we had earlier posted some data given to us by WordPress.com (which hosts TechCrunch) that seemed a bit odd. Namely, Facebook was nowhere to be found as a top referrer to TechCrunch. That’s weird because as we’re all well aware by now, Facebook was the most visited site in the U.S. in 2010.

  • William Zinsser’s 5 tips for becoming a better writer

    In a recent phone interview, Zinsser talked with me about the craft and shared these five tips for journalists who want to grow as writers.

  • If You Didn’t Blog It, It Didn’t Happen

    Clive Thompson’s newest Wired piece argues that the flow of short-form messages as we see on Twitter and Facebook is encouraging longer meditations in other media. I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon for a while in terms of the impact that it has on me and other bloggers, with the simple premise that I’d like to be writing the content that everyone links to in those media, instead of merely passing around links to other people’s work.

  • US government getting more interested in IPv6

    The US federal government seems to have IPv6 on the brain as of late: both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) came out with IPv6-related documents recently. The FCC document is a collection of previously known information—it’s not about FCC policy—but they managed to include a few things we weren’t aware of.

  • Mining Peru

    A leading candidate for president in Peru’s April election “took his campaign” to Vancouver, reported the city’s leading daily. Earlier this month Alejandro Toledo — who served a previous term as president — met mining officials, investment bankers and journalists, telling them his government would improve the climate for mineral exploration and mine development.

  • Science

    • Outstanding, superlinear cities

      New York City seems pretty extraordinary: Its residents make more money, produce more stuff and commit more violent crimes than those of any other U.S. city. And New Yorkers are nearly the most creative, as judged by the total number of patents they produce. But according to mathematician Luís Bettencourt, New York is actually quite average, given its size. For a really exceptional place, swap coasts and look at San Francisco.

    • Periodic table gets some flex
    • INSANELY awesome solar eclipse picture

      Earlier today Europe, Asia, and Africa got to see a nice partial solar eclipse as the Moon passed in front of the Sun, blocking as much as 85% of the solar surface. The extraordinarily talented astrophotographer Thierry Legault traveled from his native France to the Sultanate of Oman to take pictures of the eclipse.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Republicans and Tea Party will use Congress to bash Barack Obama

      The Republican party is to use the new Congress, which begins on Wednesday, to mount a guerrilla campaign aimed at destroying Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms, slashing the federal budget and preparing the ground for his defeat in the 2012 White House race.

    • Online hypochondriacs make themselves crazy with self-diagnosis

      Of the 12,000 people questioned internationally, 81 percent searched for advice about health, medicines or medical conditions.

      Russians were found to be the most curious, searching for health advice the most on the internet, followed by China, India, Mexico and Brazil. The French search for online health information the least, according to the survey’s findings.

    • I Am Uninsured and Scared

      Many of the people I know are dealing with chronic health issues that require daily medications and ongoing treatments

    • Cuba to help build pharmaceutical plant within three years

      According to the Sefar Website, the state institution is planning to produce Atenolol, Vitamin C, Ethambutol, Ibuprofene, Loratadine and other drugs.

    • Interests in Conflict

      At the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting in New Orleans this summer, 200 protestors chanted “no conflicts of interest” and held up photos of individual doctors outside the convention center. Inside the hall, their charges were verified.

      The meeting’s Daily Bulletin disclosed that the APA president himself, Alan Schatzberg, has 15 links to drug companies including stock ownership and serving on a speakers bureau.

      Doctors on other speaker bureaus like Shire’s Ann Childress and Wyeth’s Claudio Soares gave presentations and workshops that — surprise! — extolled company drugs.

      And signing books, side by side, was the duo now accused of penning an entire book for the drug industry: Alan Schatzberg and Charles Nemeroff.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Gigabytes of government data stolen in fake e-card scam

      Several gigbaytes of sensitive government data has been stolen from government and online security staff in a fake White House e-card scam, according to KrebsonSecurity.

    • Hole in VLC Media Player

      Virtual Security Research (VSR) has identified a vulnerability in VLC Media Player. In versions up to and including 1.1.5 of the VLC Media Player, specially crafted files can be used to inject code that will trigger a buffer overflow in the demultiplexer used for Real Media format files.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Two girls race to top of US-Mexico fence in 15 seconds
    • Italy considers taking Brazil to Hague Criminal Court

      Italy is considering taking Brazil to the International Criminal Court in The Hague over its failure to extradite leftist ex-terrorist Cesare Battisti.

      The Brazilian government said it would refuse to hand over the convicted murderer on Friday, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s last day as the South American country’s president, sparking an angry response and a crisis in diplomatic relations, with Italy’s ambassador called back to Rome for consultations.

    • Editorial: Doubts about the death penalty emerging in Texas

      But new numbers tell a different story, suggesting that doubt is creeping into the state’s psyche. While Texas is still No. 1 with a bullet, carrying out more than twice as many executions as any other state, the number of new death sentences has plummeted.

      In 2010, only eight Texas juries sentenced someone to die – a record low since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Compare that with 1999, when 48 juries in our state handed down death sentences.

    • The Toppling

      How the media inflated a minor moment in a long war.

    • Please boycott us

      The current Israeli government (as well as past governments, whether led by Labour, Likud or the catch all Kadima party) has zero intention of moving forward with negotiations with the Palestinians.

    • Gazan youth issue manifesto to vent their anger with all sides in the conflict

      An anonymous group of students has created a document to express their frustration born of Hamas’s violent crackdowns on ‘western decadence’, the destruction wreaked by Israel’s attacks and the political games played by Fatah and the UN

    • In defense of dignity and freedom

      After 43 years of occupation, Israel has lost the right to be called a state of law

    • Afghanistan: Our mandate for action is finally exhausted

      This year will see the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and, according to current plans, the beginning of British troop withdrawal. A decade into the military campaign, there is no longer even discussion of winning. The initial objective to release the country from the despotic grip of the Taliban and prevent its use as a safe haven for al-Qaida was achieved within months. Since then, it has only ever become harder to discern what victory might look like.

      There is some clarity on what would count as defeat. If Nato withdrawal leads to the total collapse of Hamid Karzai’s government and a return to Taliban rule, there would be no disguising the humiliation to western powers, nor the increased security threat from jihadi terrorism. Not that President Karzai is an attractive ruler. His administration is corrupt and repressive.

    • Ivory Coast on the ‘brink of genocide’

      Ivory Coast is on the “brink of genocide” and the world must take urgent action, the country’s new ambassador to the UN has warned. Youssoufou Bamba also claimed that some houses were being marked according to the tribe of the occupier.

    • Why are ‘witches’ still being burned alive in Ghana?

      Ghanaians are waiting for their normally slow court system to deliver a verdict in a shocking case that illuminates resurgent beliefs in witchcraft.

    • Research links rise in Falluja birth defects and cancers to US assault
    • Belarus presidential candidates charged over election protests

      At least four former presidential candidates in Belarus are facing up to 15 years in prison after they were charged with “organising mass disorder” during protests over the disputed re-election of hardline leader Alexander Lukashenko this month.

    • Joy Gordon: U.S. responsible for human toll of Iraq sanctions

      Last week the U.N. Security Council voted to lift the sanctions that it imposed on Iraq 20 years ago. Vice President Joe Biden hailed the occasion as “an end to the burdensome remnants of the dark era of Saddam Hussein.”

      What he did not say was that the sanctions were more than burdensome. They triggered a humanitarian crisis that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children, and the collapse of every system necessary to sustain human life in a modern society. And he certainly did not mention that among all the nations on the Security Council, it was the U.S. — and the U.S. alone — that ensured that this human damage would be massive and indiscriminate.

    • Mali: whose land is it anyway?

      A new complex of government offices on the banks of the river Niger in Bamako, Mali, is like a wedding cake; pale pink, frosted with decorative detail, its plate glass winking in the sun. It’s called the Administrative City and it was financed by the Libyan-backed Malibya development company. It is a powerful symbol of North African oil money and what it has to offer one of the poorest countries in the world.

    • US military investigates ‘death squad’ accused of murdering Afghans

      The US military is investigating the leadership of an army brigade whose soldiers are accused of running a “kill team” that murdered Afghan civilians, as further evidence emerges of widespread complicity in the deaths.

      A brigadier general is conducting a “top to bottom” review of the 5th Stryker brigade after five of its soldiers were committed for trial early next year charged with involvement in the murders of three Afghans and other alleged crimes including mutilating their bodies, and collecting fingers and skulls from corpses as trophies.

    • Denmark and Sweden arrest five over suspected ‘Mumbai-style’ terror plot

      Police in Denmark and Sweden arrested five men today on suspicion of planning a “Mumbai-style” attack on the Danish newspaper that printed cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad.

      In a series of raids, Danish police seized an automatic weapon, a silencer, ammunition and plastic strips that could be used as handcuffs, foiling what they described as the most serious terror operation ever uncovered in the country.

    • Indonesia’s ‘slow motion genocide’

      I have a hit list in my hand. Fifteen people are threatened with assassination because they speak out for freedom and democracy, against a massacre. One of them, in a list of civilians including church ministers, youth leaders, legislators and an anthropologist, is a friend of mine.

  • Cablegate

    • US embassy cables: Tsvangirai tells US Mugabe is increasingly ‘old, tired and poorly briefed’
    • WikiLeaks cables reveal differing views of ‘crazy’, ‘charming’ Robert Mugabe

      There are two Robert Mugabes, according to the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks. One is a frail “crazy old man” who has a young helper kneel at his feet during high-level meetings so he can wash his hands on a silver tray. The other is a physically fit, mentally agile and “charming” leader in full control over all factions in his party.

    • James Richardson’s Collateral Damage in the Guardian: WikiLeaks & Tsvangirai

      Today, James Richardson had an opinion and analysis piece published in The Guardian about the fallout in Zimbabwe from the publication of the 09HARARE1004 cable. Information about Morgan Tzvangirai’s meetings with US embassy officials was disclosed in the Harare cable, and this will likely be the subject of a politically motivated high treason trial brought against Tzvangirai by Mugabe, the ultimate penalty for which is a death sentence.

      It shouldn’t be downplayed how serious it is that Tsvangirai might be facing the death penalty. But there are problems with the conclusions that Richardson draws, and they derive from a worrying looseness with the facts.

      It would surely be unreasonable to claim that merely expressing approval of the sanctions in private meetings with US officials warrants a treason trial. But these are the sorts of concerns that journalists must consider when conducting harm minimization, and the unreasonableness of a particular regime is always something that has to be considered a factor when assessing the consequences of publication.

    • US cable leaks’ collateral damage in Zimbabwe

      When WikiLeaks whistleblowers began circulating in April footage of a 2007 Iraq war incursion in which US military personnel unwittingly killed two war correspondents and several civilians, the international community was aghast at the apparent murder. With sobering questions on the material’s full context largely falling on deaf ears, the group was free to editorialise the scene as it pleased: “collateral murder”.

      But now, with the recent release of sensitive diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder, upending the precarious balance of power in a fragile African state and signing the death warrant of its pro-western premier.

    • Transcript of OpenLeaks video
    • Decentralized Infrastructure for Wikileaks

      The idea is simple – each participant can download and run a small program acting as a web server and serves the files and the information from the site. Thus, anyone who wishes to participate and to help WikiLeaks may install on their computer this small software which does not take lots of resources. Resources are not a problem because sites of the WikiLeaks type to not take much space. There is no problem with Internet speed either as the many users together provide a huge capacity, while individually (one session, for a segment of the site) does not require high speed to access small web files; large data files will be transported through the peer to peer distribution technology such as bittorrent, recombining the speeds of the many participants.

    • 2010 Review of Books

      Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg

      A fantastic book. Ellsberg turns out to be an incredible writer and he tells not only his own incredible story of the fight to release the Pentagon Papers (did you know the New York Times actually stole them from his house?), but, even more interestingly, recounts a great deal of fascinating personal experience about what it was like working with McNamara and Kissinger and trying to maintain your sanity in the highest levels of government.

      With the WikiLeaks cables in the news, this book is more relevant than ever. And personally, I can’t wait until Ellsberg’s next book, The American Doomsday Machine, comes out. (Here’s an excerpt from back when he planned to publish it online; since then Bloomsbury snapped it up.)

    • (2010) Wikileaks vs. Pentagon: Excerpts from Aug. 3, 2010 Briefing From Spokesman Geoff Morrell
    • Why Journalists Aren’t Standing Up for WikiLeaks

      If you think prosecuting journalists is the province solely of the sort of authoritarian governments in the developing world and the former communist bloc, think again. In the wake of WikiLeaks’s late-November dump of thousands of diplomatic cables, American provocateurs are urging the prosecution of the site’s founder, Julian Assange, and others who were involved in bringing the cables to the public’s attention. Of course, the alleged leaker, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, will face prosecution for giving away state secrets. Reporters and publishers who receive material from a government leaker, however, are typically considered protected from prosecution under the First Amendment.

    • SPJ statement on ethical journalism in response to latest WikiLeaks release
    • Many Arab officials have close CIA links: Assange

      Top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency, says Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks.

      “These officials are spies for the US in their countries,” Assange told Al Jazeera Arabic channel in an interview yesterday.

      The interviewer, Ahmed Mansour, said at the start of the interview which was a continuation of last week’s interface, that Assange had even shown him the files that contained the names of some top Arab officials with alleged links with the CIA.

    • Anonymous hackers target Zimbabwe government over WikiLeaks

      Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has become the latest victim of online attacks by supporters of WikiLeaks, it was claimed today.

    • Wired journalists deny cover-up over WikiLeaks boss and accused US soldier

      Two journalists with access to a secret transcript of comments by Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking confidential material to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, have denied speculation that the material could potentially help a prosecution against Julian Assange.

      The pair, from Wired magazine, said there was nothing “newsworthy” in unpublished internet chat logs between Manning and Adrian Lamo, a former hacker who claims to have discussed the leak with the young intelligence officer and later tipped off the FBI.

    • UK faces legal challenge from family of Bangladeshi allegedly tortured by ‘death squad’

      The British government faces a legal challenge over allegations it was complicit in the torture of Bangladeshi MP Salauddin Chowdhury, who was arrested by the country’s security forces earlier this month.

      Lawyers acting for the 63-year-old’s family claim the training provided by British forces to Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion [RAB], which arrested Chowdury, places the UK in breach of its obligations under international law.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A wilder future
    • So you want to find a peer-reviewed paper in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report

      This is a post about my website Zvon.org where I’ve created a resource for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4). I’ve created a searchable database of almost every peer-reviewed paper referenced in the AR4, with links to each paper’s abstract and lists of all the authors. This provides a powerful tool that lets you search the AR4 by author, subject, title and journal.

    • 71 months and counting …

      The doors of perception often hang heavy on rusty hinges. Regardless of motivation, though, good advertising can work like good art. It issues an irresistible invitation to see the world differently. Here we leap from the familiar grumble about congestion, to the unsettling realisation that we are the thing we grumble about.

  • Finance

    • Bank of America to pay Fannie, Freddie $2.8 billion

      Bank of America (BAC) said it agreed Monday to pay $2.8 billion to taxpayer-funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to settle claims that it sold the mortgage giants bad home loans.

      The agreement is the biggest so far between Fannie and Freddie and lenders that sold them loans during the subprime lending boom and before standards were tightened.

    • The Coalition’s apparent disdain for learning

      The Coalition surely cannot wish to impair the education and lives of children, but in that case, why force such philistine cuts on local councils? Why plan to cut 100% of literacy charity Bookstart‘s funding?

    • Rumor: Google Working on Mobile Payments System

      Businessweek put together an article about opening up the NFC market to allow shoppers to just “swipe their phone” at a register to pay for goods. While at a restaurant, you’d be able send half the bill to your dining companion’s phone. Your store loyalty card info may also be stored on your device.

    • Serfing USA

      Along with the staggering theft in broad daylight of Americans’ assets that has occurred in the course of the ongoing financial crisis, as taxpayers funded multi-trillion bank bailouts and banks stole homes through foreclosures with the help of fraudulent paperwork, American companies have also been picking the pockets of workers more directly.

      This second round of paycheck theft has come in the form of stolen productivity gains.

    • Of Luxury Cars and Lowly Tractors

      At least 17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009, the worst figure for farm suicides in six years, according to data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This is an increase of 1,172 over the 2008 count of 16,196. It brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 2,16,500. The share of the Big 5 States, or ‘suicide belt’ — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — in 2009 remained very high at 10,765, or around 62 per cent of the total, though falling nearly five percentage points from 2008. Maharashtra remained the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth successive year, reporting 2,872. Though that is a fall of 930, it is still 590 more than in Karnataka, second worst, which logged 2,282 farm suicides.

    • 2011: calling time on capitalism

      The end of 2010 brought renewed Washington rhetoric, media hype and academic me-too declarations about the US economy “recovering”. We’ve heard them before since the crisis hit in 2007. They always proved wrong.

      But recovery noises are useful for some. Republicans claim that government should do less since recovery is underway (of course, for them, government action is always counterproductive). Likewise, Republicans and many centrist Democrats claim that income redistribution policies are no longer needed because recovery means growth, which means everyone gets a bigger piece of an expanding economic pie. Recovery hype also helps the Obama administration to claim that its policies succeeded.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • China announces Skype ban to protect telco revenues

      China has banned Skype and other Western VoIP providers in a move designed to stop the services from eroding the profits of traditional telecoms operators in the country, China Telecom and China Unicom.

    • A Reality Check on Righteous Privacy Indignation

      When I first heard about The Wall Street Journal’s expose article last weekend, titled “Your Apps Are Watching You,” I was outraged: My iPhone apps where sending my iPhone 4′s Unique Device Identifier (UDID) to marketing companies? They were tracking my location and sharing it with advertising networks? They were sharing my age and gender and ZIP code? And when I spent a certain amount of time navigating some apps, they were tattling on me — communicating how much time I spent with them, how deep into the app I delved? And after they sent this off willy nilly to various marketing companies, the marketing companies built profiles and judged me, then slapped me into a category to sell to advertisers?!

    • Amazon realises it is selling anti-Amazon book

      Online book seller Amazon has taken down an ebook which dishes the dirt on its best seller ranking system.

    • Verdict in Binayak Sen’s a blot on judiciary

      Ilina Sen, wife of rights campaigner Dr Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life for sedition, on Sunday stressed the need for judicial accountability. She felt that though the judgment of December 24 has so far affected only her family, but its implications goes much beyond it.

      “The immediate impact of the judgment is on me and my family. But the implications goes beyond and can affect the entire country. We need to take our steps carefully so that our future is secure. It is more on how we select the judges and how monitoring of the judiciary is done. Judicial accountability is more serious subject than corruption,” she said.

    • Never saw such a disastrous beginning of presidency!

      Sorry for being so blunt, but reality looks worse than the apprehensions some of us had. The Hungarian EU presidency also has a remarkably bad press.

    • Blackout for Hungary

      On the 21st of December the party holding the majority of the Hungarian parliament voted in favor of a new media law that is a collection of some of the most oppressive and undemocratic laws from all over Europe and with some worrying changes.

      To show our concern for fundamental rights and free speech we black out its online presence on the 5th January 2011 for 24 hours.

    • Tunisia: Anonymous vs Ammar – Who Wins the Battle of Censorship?

      According to Gawker, Anonymous, the loosely-organised band of hacker activists and vigilantes, attacked the government sites, including that of the president, prime minister, the stock exchange and several ministries, in protest against Tunisia’s censorship of access to whistle-blower site Wikileaks, following the Cablegate affair, and for the country’s repressive censorship.

    • “E-Personation” Bill Could Be Used to Punish Online Critics, Undermine First Amendment Protections for Parody

      A bill that could undermine a new and important form of online activism has quietly worked its way through the California legislature. If signed by the governor, the new law would make it a crime to impersonate someone online in order to “harm” that person. In other words, it could be illegal to create a Facebook or Twitter account with someone else’s name, and then use that account to embarrass that person (including a corporate person like British Petroleum or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or a public official).

      Here’s the problem: temporarily “impersonating” corporations and public officials has become an important and powerful form of political activism, especially online. For example, the Yes Men, a group of artists and activists, pioneered “identity correction,” posing as business and government representatives and making statements on their behalf to raise popular awareness of the real effects of those entities’ activities, like the failure to Dow to adequately compensate victims of the Bhopal disaster and the U.S. government’s destruction of public housing units in New Orleans. These sorts of actions regularly receive widespread media coverage, sparking further public debate. Last year, the activists staged a thinly veiled hoax, presenting themselves at a press conference and on a website as the Chamber of Commerce and, in direct opposition to the Chamber’s actual position, promising to stop lobbying against strong climate change legislation. (Not amused, the Chamber promptly sued the Yes Men based on a trumped-up trademark complaint; EFF is defending the activists.)

    • A Clear Danger to Free Speech

      THE so-called Shield bill, which was recently introduced in both houses of Congress in response to the WikiLeaks disclosures, would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to make it a crime for any person knowingly and willfully to disseminate, “in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States,” any classified information “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States.”

      Although this proposed law may be constitutional as applied to government employees who unlawfully leak such material to people who are unauthorized to receive it, it would plainly violate the First Amendment to punish anyone who might publish or otherwise circulate the information after it has been leaked. At the very least, the act must be expressly limited to situations in which the spread of the classified information poses a clear and imminent danger of grave harm to the nation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • AT&T Raises U-Verse TV Rates

      You’ll recall that before AT&T entered the TV business they sent their lobbyists around the country to gut the traditional video franchise system, instead replacing it with a system of state-level laws that in many instances were little more that legislative wishlists directly written by AT&T. The laws were sold to states as a way to lower TV prices by speeding competition to the TV space, though in reality they wound up legalizing deployment cherry picking, killing off useful consumer protections, and eroding local community rights (including eminent domain).

    • BT is readying a two tier Internet in the UK

      NET NEUTRALITY OPPONENTS have had an encouraging start to the new year with British Telecom (BT) introducing a service that could create a two tier Internet.

    • BT broadband ‘could create two-tier internet’

      providers the opportunity to charge content owners for high quality distribution of their videos to consumers, say it will create a two-tier internet, the Financial Times said.

    • BT Content Connect service faces ‘two-tier net’ claims

      BT has introduced a controversial service that some say could allow broadband providers to create a “two-tier internet”.


      In addition, net neutrality advocates says that allowing large content providers, such as YouTube, to pay for premium delivery could put smaller companies at a competitive disadvantage, reinforcing the gap.

    • BT announces fibre optic winners

      BT’s attempt to take the nation’s broadband pulse with a nationwide survey and competition called “Race to Infinity” has resulted in six winners. The company initially had said it would hook up five winning areas to superfast broadband in 2012 but it has added another winning entry.

    • US wants SOIs on ‘internet freedom programs’

      The Obama administration says it wants to hear from organisations interested in fostering “internet freedom programs”.

      The US department of state’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) have issued a Joint Request for ‘Statements of Interest’ (SOI) from organisations “interested in submitting proposals for projects that support Internet freedom under the ‘Governing Justly and Democratically’ Foreign Assistance program objective.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Exposing The False Sanctity Of ‘Intellectual Property’

      Even those of us who know better refer to copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other monopolies as “IP.” Some of us excuse this by saying “IP” stands for “Imaginary Property” (the word imaginary is weaker than intellectual) or “Intellectual Privilege” (privilege is much weaker than property), but neither of those phrases have the power of intellectual property. On the other hand, they keep the initials IP, which is good – they can be used wherever “IP” is. But we need to use bigger guns. What this problem calls for is a word of the same potency as property – one that sticks in the head so that once the association is made, it can never be lost.

    • The History Of Intellectual Property Based On Its Use In Books

      As you can see, copyright initially got much less coverage than patents, but that changed somewhere around 1950. Trademark first popped up around 1900, but didn’t really get much attention at all until about 1970 or so. That’s not all that surprising if you’re familiar with the history of trademark law. What struck me as most interesting — by far — is the fact that there’s basically nothing doing on “intellectual property” until you get to 1980. I always find it amusing when people insist that “intellectual property” has been a common term for patents and copyright going back ages, when the reality is that, as a popular term, it’s really quite recent.

    • EFF Calls for Court to Affirm Downsized Copyright Damages

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal court Monday to affirm downsized damages in Sony v. Tenenbaum, a file-sharing case in which a jury originally ordered a college student to pay $675,000 for infringing copyright in 30 songs. EFF was represented by the Stanford Fair Use Project and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic in filing the amicus brief.

      A federal judge reduced the jury award to $67,500 last July, citing constitutional concerns and basic fairness. The record companies appealed the judge’s decision to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In Monday’s brief, EFF argues that the judge was right to try to ensure that damages in infringement cases bear a reasonable relationship to actual harm.

    • Copyrights

      • As Expected, Court Tells AFP That Posting An Image On TwitPic Does Not Grant Anyone A License To Use It

        One of the more ridiculous lawsuits of 2010 involved AFP — the big news organization that once sued Google claiming that merely linking to AFP news articles was copyright infringement. However, when it came to others’ copyrighted works, AFP took a rather different position. After the Haitian earthquake a year ago, AFP got into a legal tussle with photographer Daniel Morel, who is based in Haiti.

      • Did Scotland Accidentally Create A ‘Use It Or Lose It’ Copyright Law?

        This seems to be upsetting to some, but I find it rather amusing that the only reason why copyright is even considered “property” is because those who wanted to pretend copyright was something more than a limited government granted monopoly started calling it property.

      • The relentless absurdity of piracy

        If you’re an artist, let’s rule out the middleman. In fact, if your music is any good, you don’t need any protection of your music. Your real fans will buy your CD. Others will have a listen by hearing it on the radio, getting it over the Internet, by getting a CD of a friend… But don’t say these people are pirates for being curious! In fact, these people are the most important link in the chain of mouth-to-mouth advertising. Since no middleman need to be paid, the percent of the money paid by a consumer for a CD going to you, will increase enormously. Also songs bought online will have a much higher return. This will make up for the money not gained by songs played on parties or levies pulled on empty carriers or Internet connections.

        If this incentive for a new business model appeals to you, you might want to take a look at what creative commons is all about. In 2012 I hope to start an organisation in Belgium which helps artists to take their music to consumers in a brand new way.

      • Arguing Over The Copyright In Schindler’s List — The Actual List, Not The Movie

        Stern hired Zimet to sell the list, which seems straightforward enough… except that Rosenberg claimed that she has full ownership of the list, via her copy, including a copyright on the list. The court, in its decision basically punted on the question of copyright, because Zimet isn’t looking to publish the list, but merely sell the physical copy of the list — which has nothing to do with copyright. However, the court still does suggest that there may be a (state) common law copyright claim here. However, I have to agree with Eugene Volokh, who suggests the court got this wrong.

      • Anti-Piracy Outfit Threatens Pan-Indian Torrent Site Ban

        AiPlex Software, the Indian anti-piracy outfit that made a name for itself when it allegedly DDoSed several major BitTorrent sites including The Pirate Bay, has returned to the scene. The outfit is once again sending out many DMCA takedown requests to torrent sites. In addition, they threaten to impose a pan-Indian ban by the local Government on sites that dare to contest their requests, even when they have the right to do so.

      • Court Rules That It’s Legal To Sell Promotional CDs

        Last year, we had noted that the 9th Circuit appeals court was set to hear three separate cases, all revolving around the first sale doctrine, which allows you to resell copyrighted works that you possess. The first ruling of the three, back in September, was bad news: overruling a good district court ruling, in Vernor v. Autodesk, saying that anyone could effectively wipe out your first sale rights by simply putting a “license” on it. The second ruling, in MDY vs. Blizzard, was more of a mixed bag. It accepted the basics of Vernor but said that just because you violate a “license,” it doesn’t automatically mean you violate the copyright.

      • ACTA

        • Free Trade: does CETA have it right?

          Interestingly, while Canada stood mute on ACTA, the European Union very firmly put the breaks on ACTA by calling for transparency.

          Who’s zooming who?

Clip of the Day

Google Android running on ASUS P535

Credit: TinyOgg


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

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux everywhere

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

  • GNU/Linux Returns to Walmart

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

  • Linux: CrunchBang Linux 10 on a MacBook Pro

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

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

  • How your secure your Linux system

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

  • Desktop

    • Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2010

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

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

    • A tip for software companies.

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

  • Server

  • Ballnux

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

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

    • Peerless Finds Linux

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

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

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

      • The Challenge In Delivering Open-Source GPU Drivers

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Multiple backends for GTK+

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

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Is Red Hat Ready to Rebound?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 review

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

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

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

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

      • Fedora

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

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

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

        • Download every default Ubuntu and Fedora wallpaper in one pack

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

    • Debian Family

      • 16 Debian contributors that you can thank

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

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

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 218

          In This Issue

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

        • LibreOffice Is the Default Office Suite for Ubuntu 11.04

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

        • Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition

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

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Conservancy Activity Summary, October-December 2010

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

  • Why I am still supporting Free Software?

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

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

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox, Linux and the future of the web

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

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

  • Oracle

    • A Year After: The People

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

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

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

  • BSD

    • Learning About NetBSD 5.1

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

  • Project Releases

    • OCRFeeder 0.7.3 released

      I’ve just released OCRFeeder 0.7.3.

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

    • HandBrake 0.9.5 Has Been Released (Ubuntu Installation Instructions)

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

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

    • Muon Suite 1.1 RC

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

  • Government

    • Code for America: A New Kind of Public Service

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

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

  • Licensing

    • The Unlicense: The First Year in Review

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Public Domain Day 2011

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

    • CC: Thank You!

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

    • Open Data

      • Mashing up library data with open source

        Open Data

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

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

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

    • Open Access/Content

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

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

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

  • Programming

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

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

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

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

    • New JBoss puts Java EE 6 to work

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

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

    • Minimalism

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

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

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Future-proof your data archive

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


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

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

  • News of The World unique user numbers collapse behind paywall

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

  • Gamer Completes Quake Under 1 Hour @ 100%

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

  • 2011 New Years Computer Resolutions

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

  • Google Linux search suggestions

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

  • Is RSS becoming irrelevant?

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

  • Science

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

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

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

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

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

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

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

    • Monitoring schoolchildren

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

    • United Nations against internet filtering
  • Cablegate

    • Why we must all join in the battle for WikiLeaks

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

  • Finance

    • The New Speed of Money, Reshaping Markets

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

    • NJ Server Farms Remake the US Financial Markets

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

    • Goldman Sachs Prospers at Taxpayers’ Expense

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


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

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

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

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

    • New year resolutions for the business world

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

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

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

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

    • Prosperity, Real or Imagined

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

    • Barack Obama: Jobs a priority in 2011

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

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

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

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

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

    • Oil rises to near $92 as global equities rally

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

    • Career Shift Often Means Drop in Living Standards

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

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

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

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

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

    • Mortgage lenders now advertising as crisis solvers

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

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

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

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

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

    • About Grand Ole Ponzi

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

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Web Browser Privacy

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

    • Anonymous Attacks Tunisian Government over Wikileaks Censorship

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

    • A Bittersweet Goodbye Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

Clip of the Day

Bohemian Rhapsody, for Four Violins

Credit: TinyOgg


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

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Why I Use Linux

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

  • Evangelistic Linux
  • Desktop

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

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

    • How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops

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

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

  • Server

    • Excito B3 and Internet Freedom.

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

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

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

  • Audiocasts/Shows

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

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

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

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

    • FLOSS Weekly 146: Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware

      Hosts: Randal Schwartz and Simon Phipps

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

    • Podcast 87 Openbox + Xorg 1.9 -hal

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

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

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

  • Google

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

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

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung confirms Galaxy Player, will showcase at CES 2011

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

  • Kernel Space

    • [kernel] Linux Kernel with BFS

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

    • The BeagleBoard [part 1]

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

    • The differences between Linux IO Scheduler

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

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


    • Graphics Stack

      • Happy New Year! A Big Linux GPU Comparison!

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

      • Broadcom CrystalHD Decoder support for FFmpeg and MPlayer

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

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

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

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

      • Sandy Bridge is the biggest disappointment of the year

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KOffice 2.3.0 Released

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

      • KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – Another Look

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

    • GNOME Desktop

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8pre3 Released

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

  • Distributions

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

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

    • Get Slack!

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

    • Archie

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

    • New Releases

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

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

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

      • New applications land in Parted Magic 5.8

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

    • Debian Family

      • This Week in Debian Episode 13

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

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

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

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

        sudo apt-get install libpam_cracklib

      • Happy New Debian GNU/Linux Release

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

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

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

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

        • I Love Ubuntu – And Here Are the Reasons Why

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

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Linux Desktop Edition Few Week Review

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

        • FCM#44 is HERE!

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

          … last issue of 2010 that is!

        • Ubuntu Bug Fix Wishes for 2011

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

        • Ubuntu and the Boy Scouts of America

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

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

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

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

        • Ubuntu Is The Rich Man’s OS X

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

        • Linux Ubuntu

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


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

        • Thinking About Ubuntu And 2011

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

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

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

        • Flavours and Variants

          • 5 reasons to try Zorin OS Linux

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

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

          • LMDE 201101 32-bit re-spin

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

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

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

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

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

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

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

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

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

      • Nokia/MeeGo

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

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

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

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

        • MeeGo 1.1 running on HTC’s HD2

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

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

        • MeeGo-Harmattan Is Handling FreeDesktop.org X

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

        • MeeGo’s Community Woes: Improvement in 2011?

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

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

      • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Archos 101 Internet Tablet Review: Part 1 – hardware

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

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

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

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

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

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

  • Is Netflix a Friend or Foe to FOSS?

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

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

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tsinghua University, Mozilla Launch Browser For IPv6

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

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

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

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

  • Oracle

    • And Then Along Comes Larry….

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

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

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

  • CMS

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

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

  • Funding

    • Wikipedia Raises $16 Million to Remain Ad-Free

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

  • BSD

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • 2010 Dramatic Growth of Open Access

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

  • Programming

    • Report on the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers Meeting

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


  • Anti-Corruption Officials Laud the Internet

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

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

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

  • DVD touted by Glenn Beck stirs up archaeological spat

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

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

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

  • Facebook Close To Naming Sun Microsystems Campus As New Headquarters

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

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

    • The Joy of Stats (Video)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • New Year

    • Federated Social Web: Top 10 of 2010

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

    • Reasons to be Cheerful

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

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

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

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

    • A Dozen Copyright Predictions for 2011

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

    • Linux and open source prognostications for 2011

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

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

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Russian fifth-generation fighter: high hopes

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

  • Cablegate

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

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

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

    • Messenger refuses to be shot

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

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

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

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

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

    • From Wikileaks to OpenLeaks, Via the Knight News Challenge

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

    • Good Leak, Bad Leak: Why Wikileaks Matters

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

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

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

    • Rig owner refuses to honor oil spill subpoenas

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

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

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

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

    • 8 Smears and Misconceptions About WikiLeaks Spread By the Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • One tip enough to put name on watch list

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

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

    • Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Timeline

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

    • Half-formed thought on Wikileaks & Global Action

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

    • Julian Assange Given Press Freedom Award

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

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

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

    • Wanted [IMG]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

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

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

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

  • Finance

    • Interview: How Bitcoin Created a Decentralized Crypto-Currency

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

    • Vatican enacts laws on financial transparency

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

    • Support the Dominant Paradigm

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

    • Western Union: Stop the crippling fees!

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Triangulating Murdoch

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


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

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Fidesz: The story so far

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

    • Boycott Amazon.com

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

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Global Internet Censorship

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

    • VoIP decision means Skype now illegal

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

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

    • Leaving Facebook

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

    • YouTube Legally Considered a TV Station In Italy

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

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

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

    • The visionaries

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

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

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

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

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

    • Home Internet with Anonymity Built In

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

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

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Global Internet Censorship

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

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

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

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

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

    • The Struggle for Net Neutrality

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

    • Net Neutrality 2011: What Storms May Come

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

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

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

  • Monopolies

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • ‘Tis the season… to sign petitions

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

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

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

      • Waiting for ‘Waiting for Godot’

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

      • Pirate Party Leader Rick Falkvinge Resigns on 5th Anniversary

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

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

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

Clip of the Day

Google Demo Slam: Streetview Road Race

Credit: TinyOgg


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

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #8

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

  • Google

    • Google Sees Life in the Cloud w/o Windows

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

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

    • Chrome OS: A Shot At Microsoft’s Bow

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

  • Applications

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

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

    • Choosing Computer Tools for Tiny Geeks
    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Open Source and Games

        Motivations for Open Sourcing

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

        Working with Others

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

        Community Maintenance

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


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

        Because it makes sense

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

      • Why Indie Games Need GNU+Linux

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

      • Dilogus fantasy RPG comes to life with Unigine engine

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

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

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMail adventure

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

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

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Near the 50 Day

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

      • Fedora

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

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

    • Debian Family

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

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Share the Knowledge with Freedom: Partimus

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

        • Jack Valenti on Ubuntu

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

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

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based NAS supports 45TB of storage

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

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

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

    • Phones

      • Android

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

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

        • The irony of Microsoft being Android’s safeword

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

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

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • Education

    • Potsdam schools eye switch from Microsoft to save money

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


  • Project Releases

    • Pligg 1.1.3 updates open source digg clone for Karma

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

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

  • Programming

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

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

    • Java Lives

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


  • Twins’ Facebook Fight Rages On

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

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

  • A Game of Clue: What Killed Skype

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

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

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

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

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

  • Science

    • ‘Eternal’ solar plane’s records are confirmed

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Worst Kind of Ham Sandwich

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

  • Security

    • Elgan: How spammers will poison your social graph

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

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

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

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

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

    • UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • U.S. Rare Earth Mine Resumes Active Mining

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

    • Radioactive spill at AREVA Uranium mine in Niger

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

    • Japan finally starts taking action against its corrupt whaling industry

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

    • Finnish Forest Rescued!

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

  • Finance

    • SEC Probes Private Trades In Facebook, Other Firms

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

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

    • MasterCard may cut off file sharing sites over piracy

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

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

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

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

    • For Las Vegas, cold comfort on jobs front

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

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

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

    • A Censorship-Resistant Web

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

      • Your Party Needs You

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

      • Porn Site Says Revealing Takedown Notices Infringe Copyright

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

        Fast forward to today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Fashion Design and Copyright

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

      • Court Dismisses ShareConnector Case Citing Faulty Evidence

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

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

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

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

      • ISP won’t reveal names of alleged porn pirates

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

      • Online music previews case goes to top court

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

Clip of the Day

Linux, Debian 6 (Squeeze), KDE 4.4.5

Credit: TinyOgg

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