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Links 1/3/2011: Mandriva 2011 Second Alpha, Red Hat “Obfuscates” Linux Code

Posted in News Roundup at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux-based Anti-virus rescue CDs – and the alternatives!

      And that’s it. Please, let me repeat the main message of this article once again: You do not need anti-virus software, honestly. But you should have a Linux live CD handy. Any one will do, since they all pack the mighty toolbox that you can use to fix your operating system, regardless of what caused the mess. Security wise, you should aim for a whitelisting approaching, with a strategy that spans pinpoint tactical solutions relevant only for specific operating systems and go with a generic formula that always works.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Pearls before swine..

      I know that comes as a big shock to everybody, since geeks in general are seen as the crème de la crème of society, and the common perception is that we live the life of rock-stars and party all night with all the other glamorous people.

      Not so.

      I sit in my office (which used to be in the basement, now it’s a room above the garage), usually in my ratty bathrobe, reading and writing email all day. And a lot of wasting time while waiting for people to answer or just report problems. I go to bed at ten, and wake up at seven to get the kids to school. And then it all repeats.

      So not glamorous. When I actually write code (which is usually in the mail reader these days – mostly telling people “do it like this” rather than actually writing real code), that’s about the most exciting part of the day.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600 Gallium3D Driver Does Instanced Drawing

        Instanced drawing support is not new to Mesa in general but last month there was instanced-draw support merged into Mesa for the GL_ARB_draw_instanced and GL_ARB_instanced_arrays support as part of the (slow) OpenGL 3.0 support upbringing. With the commits over the weekend, Christian König implements instanced drawing support in the R600g driver.

      • An Open-Source Intel GMA 500 Driver Appears

        If you’re an owner of a netbook or other hardware containing an Intel Poulsbo / GMA 500, the Linux 2.6.39 kernel should be rather exciting. Entering the Linux kernel’s staging tree is an initial open-source driver for this notorious Intel graphics processor derived from Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX graphics core.

        Intel’s Alan Cox has pushed forward an Intel GMA 500 DRM driver for mainline kernel inclusion that already has been pushed into the staging-next tree. It’s been a few days since the actual patch/driver was proposed, but for some reason it slipped under my radar until now when it was mentioned in the forums.

      • NVIDIA CUDA 4.0 Tool-Kit Released

        NVIDIA has announced the release of the CUDA 4.0 Tool-Kit this morning, which continues to be fully supported under Linux. NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture 4.0 focuses upon GPUDirect 2.0 Technology, Unified Virtual Addressing, and Thrust C++ Template Performance Primitive Libraries.

        GPUDirect 2.0 is geared to provide peer-to-peer communication between multiple GPUs in a single server/workstation, Unified Virtual Addressing provides a single memory address space for system memory and GPU memory, and the Thrust C++ Template Performance Libraries ramp-up the GPGPU computing performance via an open-source C++ library with parallel sorting abilities that are 5~100x faster than the Standard Template Library or Intel’s Threaded Building Blocks.

      • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Is Using X.Org Server 1.9

        Jeremy keeps pushing out new X.Org Server 1.9 stable updates to bring XQuartz fixes for Apple and various other bug-fixes for users of the xorg-server under Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems. With the Mac OS X 10.7 developer preview that Apple began seeding to developers last week, X.Org Server 1.9 can in fact be found.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Fluxbox 1.3.1 on Fedora 14, 13 or 12

      If you’re looking for Fluxbox 1.3.1 on Fedora 14, then you’re in luck. I’ve gone through the .spec and cleaned it up a bit, along with a version bump, and have built the 1.3.1 packages in SUSE Build Service under my home directory.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • [GNOME Shell] Re: The logic behind remove “Restart” and hide “Power Off” in User menu.
      • Why I Think Gnome 3 Is a Dead End

        In short because it’s cat-dog. What I mean is – what is the new gnome target audience? To me it seems like it tries to satisfy everyone which obviously cannot work. Let’s look at the potential users who might want to use it.


        Still from the design it seems like these people were thought of as well when making gnome shell. But that’s the problem. It stopped halfway. It tries to be both for power users and newbies and ends up neither. Sorry, but I really can’t see a way to satisfy both camps and that’s why I think gnome 3 is bound to fail. And it’s going to drag Fedora 15 down with it (being the default DE). But only time will show whether I’m right or wrong.

      • GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu Unity: Which desktop wins?

        Both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity are looming on the horizon. Both of these desktop replacements will incite a lot of reactions from users — some good, some bad.But when it all boils down, one of these two takes on the desktop will rise above the other. Which one? I’m going to compare the two and offer up a conclusion on the future of both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity.

      • My new favorite GNOME Patch

        For those of us without a disability, understanding the challenge users may experience when trying to use a computer can be a foreign concept. (Or at least it is for me.)

        Browsing Reddit, of all places, this weekend I came across this story of a user with ALS who created a patch for Eye of GNOME. The patch contributor’s son added a comment to the bug report (and a link to a picture) that is a must read. Go read it. Now.

  • Distributions

    • Hanthana Linux for all ~

      Hanthana Linux is an easy to use operating system in a environment with less or no internet facility. A lot of applications to be used to aid in school curriculum are included. Applications to study periodic table, planetary behaviour and astronomy as well as to generate 2D and 3D graphs, to solve equations are there in Hanthana Linux. Nevertheless, educational games, applications to design and simulate circuits, GNUoctave which is an alternative to MathLab for statistics and wine in case to run a .exe file and many more comes by default.

    • Reviews

      • Frugalware 1.4 Nexon

        Frugalware is not as well known as other distros like Ubuntu, etc. So I’ve included some background information below to get you up to speed if this is the first time you’ve heard of Frugalware. Yes, we do get some folks here on DLR coming from other platforms that sometimes aren’t familiar with various distros. So I like to include a bit of background links & information to help give them an overview of what the distro is all about. If you’re a Frugalware veteran you can skip down to the What’s New section of this page.

    • Arch

      • Arch’s Dirty Little Not-So-Secret

        A reader of my blog recently made a comment about Arch’s lack of package signing, and this got me looking into the issue more carefully. What I found has left me deeply concerned with a number of aspects of Arch.

        Most distributions, even Windows, sign their packages so that when the computer downloads and installs them, it can check the signature to make sure the package is authentic – it hasn’t been tampered with on the server, or anywhere between the server and the local system. This mechanism has been around for many years and works well – the tools to implement it are available and simple to use. Yet for some reason I can’t understand, Arch Linux has never had package signing. Arch packages are simple tarballs – they can be opened, modified, and retarred, and the updating system has no way to detect this. This tampering can take place on one of the many mirrors that host Arch packages, yet it can also take place elsewhere – in network proxies and misdirection, in intranet caches, and on local systems. Package signing gives admins a way to verify that the packages they’re using to update their system are authentic, regardless of how those packages have been delivered or stored, or who has access to the data.

      • Mirror Mirror
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s “obfuscated” kernel source
      • Red Hat’s “obfuscated” kernel source

        I tracked down and interrogated several Red Hat engineers on this issue, and while they were very reticent to speak about it, I discovered the following things:

        - It is not about Centos.

        - The primary motivation was to make it harder for Oracle Enterprise Linux to repackage the work that Red Hat do.

        - The kernel tarball inside the srpm is created from a git tree that is only accessible to Red Hat engineers.

        - This change to the way that kernels are dealt with inside Red Hat has angered and frustrated engineers who work on the product. Employees of the company are Not Happy.

        - The orders to do this, to make it harder to rebuild the kernel with and without patches, and to make it harder to extract specific patches from the Red Hat kernel came from the top. This is with the knowledge of, and by the order of, the CEO: Jim Whitehurst.

        - There is a web interface (somewhere!) that is available that will allow you to specifically omit specific patches and download a new kernel. This is a clunky web front end to the git tree.

        - An Oracle engineer I interviewed on this matter greeted this news with in-credulousness, and quickly got out his notebook so he could provide me with links to the various public git trees that oracle maintains of their kernels, and showed me where I could download them from.

      • Red Hat Announces Extended Lifecycle Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

        Today, Red Hat announced the availability of Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, in line with the one-year notification of the end-of-life of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, which is scheduled to occur on February 29, 2012. ELS, an optional Add-On for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, extends an existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for an additional three years over its standard seven year life-cycle. As a result, subscription customers have a choice of purchasing ELS to extend their use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, or to upgrade to a more recent Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or 6 version.

      • Fedora

        • Btrfs May Be The Default File-System For Fedora 16

          This news is a few days old, but not many people seem to have caught it while I was busy finishing up Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org: Btrfs may be the default file-system in Fedora 16.

          Brought up on the Fedora development list are the plans for Btrfs in Fedora, which provides a target of Fedora 16 when EXT4 will be replaced by Btrfs as the default Linux file-system on new installations.

        • Internationalization and localization Test Week this week!

          After the highly successful Graphics Test Week last week (thanks to everyone who came out! A full recap will be posted soon), it’s another Test Week this week: this time for internationalization and localization. This is a hugely important area (the majority of Fedora users pick something other than English with a US keyboard layout) which we don’t always test very comprehensively, so I’d like to say a huge ‘thanks!’ to Rui He, Igor Soares, and Aman Alam for their hard work in putting together these events.

    • Debian Family

      • MP3 files in Debian

        A lot of new users move from Ubuntu to another Debian based distro to limit the ammount of change they experience. But often can be a bit daunted by the challenges that Ubuntu made easy for them. One such is music files in MP3 format.

      • Debian Project News – February 28th, 2011
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04.2 released

          The second maintenance update of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has been released.

          Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will be supported with routine maintenance updates until April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers.

        • Legally open, socially closed

          By releasing Banshee under the terms of the MIT license (as was pointed out to me in the comments), it’s developers have given Canonical and anybody else the legal ability to change it however they want. Canonical would have been legally within their rights to keep 100% of all Amazon sales commission. I haven’t seen anybody arguing otherwise, even the detractors of the decision make it clear that the problem is not a legal one, but a moral and ethical one. Discussions about the legal (copyright/trademark/etc) options and implications I’m going to leave for other posts. I mention this only to get it out of the way so we can focus entirely on the moral question.

        • Legally open, socially closed: part 2
        • Faster ‘help’ browser lands in Ubuntu 11.04

          So you accidentally hit the F1 key and wince. Why? You know what’s coming.

          For the next few minutes your hard drive will churn and your patience will burn as GNOME’s built-in ‘Help’ browser loads on your screen like a 100KB .jpg arriving piecemeal through a 52k modem.

        • Ubuntu Developer Week kicks off today

          Today is a very special day. I’m sure that if you live in the Northern hemisphere you can feel it already: Spring is right around the corner. In addition to that it’s one of the most awesome weeks of the release cycle: It’s Ubuntu Developer Week!

        • Ubuntu Mascots Wallpaper
        • Jono Bacon Defends Ubuntu: An Insider’s Perspective

          “I want to do everything I can to bring free software to everybody,” Bacon says. “And that’s why I’m passionate about Ubuntu. Canonical as a company is incredibly committed to that goal. But you know what? With the best intentions in the world, people make mistakes.”

          Bacon suggests that there is currently a “natural tension” in FOSS between those who want the configurability and full set of options that is part of the traditional philosophy and those who emphasize usability.

          He personally favors focusing on usability first on the grounds that it “is additive and the other isn’t. If you take Ubuntu and design it around end-users, so it’s really simple, really easy, and there’s no unnecessary clutter — if you make some opinionated decisions, which we’ve always done — it’s easier to then build configurability on top of that. Giving my Mom and Dad an incredibly configurable distribution for Linux enthusiasts and trying to make that easier is harder. So that’s why I think the approach we’ve taken Ubuntu is a good one.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Infibeam Launches Pi2, EBook Reader With Wi-Fi Connectivity and Touchscreen

      # OS: Linux2.6.28

    • Further adventures in mobile Linux

      I picked up a couple of cheap Linux devices at the weekend. First of all, a $99 Android tablet from CVS, made by Craig. It’s a generic RK2818 device and of course it’s lacking any kind of GPL offer in the documentation. As far as I know the only company that’s released any Rockchip source so far has been Archos, and even then they haven’t released the tools you need to actually build an image – they seem to be floating around the internet anyway.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Google Nexus S with Android 2.3 (‘Gingerbread’): the 60-day internment review

          Pros: excellent functionality in operating system; press-and-hold (“long press”) adds contextual elements; very good integration with Google services; future-proofed if NFC becomes effective.
          Cons: keyboard can be extremely frustrating; Market still lacks apps from many big organisations; lack of markings on phone makes it hard to figure out which way you’ve got it up.

          Basically, Gingerbread is arguably the best smartphone operating system you can get at the moment – if you can live with the keyboard. (If we had a more subtle star system, I’d give it 9/10.)

        • Further evidence that RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will support Android apps

          A few days ago, Andrew reported that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet might be able to run Android apps when it’s released. Anonymous sources claimed RIM was working on a virtual machine that would enable this, and later the developer ShopSavvy discovered something curious in its logs: a series of old BlackBerry devices had been running the company’s Android app.

        • Turn your Android Into a Keyboard and Mouse for Your Playstation 3 or PC

          Another reason we all love technology, thanks to some clever development by XDA member berserker_devel, you can now use your rooted Android device as a keyboard or mouse on your Playstation 3.

        • Android Likely to Crush Nokia-Microsoft, Analyst Says

          With the rise of Android, the number of handset OEMs with significant smartphone market share increased in 2010. This competitive landscape is forcing handset OEMs to consider their device and portfolio strategies carefully as they jockey for position.

          Senior Analyst Michael Morgan elaborates: “Motorola has pinned its entire turnaround strategy on Android. As competitors flood the Android ecosystem, Motorola wants to become known as the OEM that brings Android devices to business.

        • Android phone to replace shop till

          Alcatel-Lucent has demonstrated Google’s Nexus S being used to accept a Near Field Communications (NFC) payment, showing that NFC can do more than replace a customer’s wallet.

          Mobile phones are going to replace physical wallets, but for taking payments, merchants still use expensive readers bought (or hired) from the banks. Alcatel-Lucent reckons that becomes unnecessary as its software will use a standard Android handset to enable Near Field Communications transactions.

        • Android Fragmentation is so last year. Processor fragmentation is the real issue [OPINION]

          Everyone discussing Android OS fragmentation should take a seat. You’ve have had more than a year to discuss the differences among Donuts and Froyo ad nauseam. The new source of headache for developers and end users will not be whether a device is running Android 2.2. It will be whether that device runs the right processor.

          MadFinger Games today released Samurai II: Vengeance, an excellent adventure game in which players slash their way through multiple levels of blood and bad guys. I played it briefly at Mobile World Congress, and that will probably be the only time I get to play Samurai II until I purchase a new device. According to its Android Market listing, Samurai II: Vengeance “is optimized for use on NVIDIA Tegra based Android devices only.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Contribute FOSS with Summer internship at IIT Bombay – FOSSEE project

    The FOSSEE textbook companion project is part of the FOSSEE project at IIT Bombay. This project is handled by the following professors at IIT Bombay…

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

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

  • Events

    • FSFE at ODF Plugfest and Pirate Party Conference

      On Wednesday night I travelled from Manchester to London to attend the ODF Plugfest event, located in nearby Maidenhead the following day. Just before catching the train from Manchester Picadilly, I collected a new 2m tall self-supporting FSFE banner, for use at the booth that I would be running a few days later at the Pirate Party Conference.

      I stayed with British FSFE team member Chris Woolfrey in his London flat, and on Thursday morning I took the train to Maidenhead, and headed to the town hall, where the ODF Plugfest was being hosted. During the day there were several talks on various technical aspects of Open Document Format, including new solutions in KOffice to old interoperability problems between desktop ODF editors.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Who Did The Most For X.Org Server 1.10? Oracle?

      Oracle’s (former Sun engineer) Alan Coopersmith led with the most change-sets, sign-offs, and reviews. Overall this put Oracle in first place for the most change-set contributions by employer, even beating out Red Hat, Nokia, and Intel.

      There were 70 employers involved during this process. When it came to the most changes lines overall, coming in first was actually Matthew Dew, who has been working on cleaning up and organizing the X documentation.

    • Sun’s Scott McNealy Recalls Triumphs, Near Misses

      The former Sun Microsystems CEO recollects brilliant innovations, hiring Bill Joy, and almost acquiring Apple, but talks little about missteps in a conversation with former Sun president Ed Zander at Silicon Valley’s Churchill Club.

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.4 Alpha Release (build DEV300m101) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.4 Alpha Release is available for download as Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev DEV300m101.

      If you find issues within this build please file them to OpenOffice.org’s bug tracking system BugZilla.

  • Healthcare

    • The Real Fight for Government Control is Open Source

      In the contracting model that dominates the boom town of modern Washington created by the Bush Administration (the Iraq War was almost all done by contract, and the Administration’s “privatization” efforts mainly involved contracting) this doesn’t compute. If you do switch to open source (and some contractors have) the savings are all the contractors’, both now and later.

      For government to get the most value from open source, it has to hire its own programmers whose time can be spent capturing that value on behalf of their employer, namely you and me.

      This is not necessarily a partisan issue. The Conservative government of the U.K. is pushing open source heavily, to the delight of the industry.

      But it’s moving ahead slowly, and there is little indication the government has accepted the move’s implications. They seem to think it relates to standards and interoperability.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • No matter what you call it, a rat is still a rat…

        In the past few months, as success of open source in several markets has sunk in, a number of players in those markets have started to behave very badly.

        I am not talking about the old, everyday proprietary vendor FUD – that’s an old story, and has become painfully cliché by now. FUD has been part of the software game for a long time, but it has certainly lost a lot of efficiency against open source – only the most laggard still dare to call open source “trialware for non-strategic projects”. Maybe the numerous deals they’ve lost in the past 18 months to enterprise open source vendors have forced everyone else to revise their position…?

        I am actually talking about several categories of rats:

        * those who have adopted “faux-pen source” strategies (from the French “faux” which means fake, and “open source”, which means… great!) after attacking open source
        * those who continue to attack open source for their own benefit
        * and – how could we forget? – those who walk away from open source

        In the first category (faux-pen source), you find the “rats” who have spent years claiming that “free stuff” provides no value and is a mere copy of traditional software. They mocked users of open source software who were “getting what they paid for”. Now, all of a sudden, “free” is the new great thing, and they’ve jumped on the bandwagon and released free versions of their own.

  • Government

    • Lend some code to your local representative

      There was a bit of news coming out the European Parliament recently that could be easily overlooked. MEP Indrek Tarand (of Estonia no less), along with some non-MEP partners, started the European Parliament Free Software User Group (EPFSUG).

      With goals like “assist people in using Free Software in the European Parliament” and planned sessions like “making your laptop free” it’s largely internal focused and not geared toward policy making. The acronym doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, in English at least, and the website leaves much to be desired, but there’s still something interesting here.

    • Zaragoza: ‘Spain’s public sector major driver open source desktop’

      Spain’s public administrations are an important driver for the advance of open source software on desktop computers. That is one of the conclusions of a desktop migration guide published by the IT department of the city of Zaragoza.

      Many Spanish public administrations have already adopted a free and open source desktop system, the report notes, listing implementations done by the administrations of Extremadura, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Zaragoza, Valenciana and Madrid. Most of the larger city administrations are interested in this type of software, the IT department writes, based on research by Cenatic, the national resource centre for open source.

    • True Open Standards; Open Source Next?

      That stark contrast between the watered-down version adopted at the European level, and the real openness now being promulgated in the UK is one reason why this is an important move. It shows that despite the European Commission’s pusillanimity in the face of lobbyists, national bodies are setting higher standards because they understand that anything less would be pointless if openness is the aim.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • “Like,” “share,” and “recommend”: How the warring verbs of social media will influence the news’ future

      But I’m less interested in the details of the implementation than the verbs: sharing (tonally neutral, but explicitly social) has clearly lost to liking (with its ring of a personal endorsement).

      There’s actually a third verb, “Recommend.” Unlike “Share,” it’s not its own separate action within FacebookWorld; it’s just “Like” renamed, with a less forceful endorsement. But it lives deep in the shadow of “Like” everywhere — except on traditional news sites, which have tended to stay far away from “Like.” I just did a quick scan of some of the web’s most popular news sites to see what metaphor they use to integrate with Facebook on their story pages.

    • Open Data

      • U.S. Public Sector Information as an Engine of Growth

        Vollmer ends with an uplifting Carl-Malamudism that underscores the positive, economic externalities. “Public data is “the raw material of innovation, creating a wealth of business opportunities that drive our economy forward. Government information is a form of infrastructure no less important to our modern life than our roads, electrical grid, or water systems.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJOpen launched

        BMJ Open – BMJ’s new online-only, open access journal – has been launched. The journal will publish “all research study types, from study protocols to phase I trials to meta-analyses, including small or potentially low-impact studies”.

        In a move to promote greater transparency in the peer review process, all published articles include the reviewers reports, responses from the author and (where necessary) a further commentary by the reviewers. All reviewer reports include details of who has undertaken the review (name, affiliation, and contact details.)

  • Programming

    • Mentoring Organization Applications Now Being Accepted for Google Summer of Code!

      Interested in finding bright, enthusiastic new contributors to your open source project? Apply to be a mentoring organization in our Google Summer of Code program. We are now accepting applications from open source projects interested in acting as mentoring organizations.

      Now in its 7th year, Google Summer of Code is a program designed to pair university students from around the world with mentors at open source projects in such varied fields as academia, language translations, content management systems, games, and operating systems. Since 2005, over 4,500 students from 85 countries have completed the Google Summer of Code program with the support of over 300 mentoring organizations. Students earn a stipend for their work during the program, allowing students to gain exposure to real-world software development and an opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits, thus “flipping bits, not burgers” during their school break. In return, mentoring organizations have the opportunity to identify and attract new developers to their projects and these students often continue their work with the organizations after Google Summer of Code concludes.


  • Mallick: We’ve found Gadhafi’s replacement — Charlie Sheen

    He’s a strange piece of famous, a mottled cheese, a hyper-haired man given to making jaw-dropping statements while people nod sycophantically and stare at the phalanx of tall beautiful salaried women who surround him under the palm trees. And the things he says! “I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordnance to the ground.”

    Frankly, I’m amazed they let him speak to the UN Security Council with those military threats and that level of ludicrous bombast, I think the Israelis were quite right to object. Not to mention the costuming … What? I’m sorry, I’m being told that wasn’t a quote from Moammar Gadhafi. That was Charlie Sheen giving the radio interview that finally got him fired Thursday.

    Well, six of one, half a dozen of the other, I’ll check the transcript.

  • Emergent Religions

    Emergent religions are primarily reflections of society. They are a collective attempt to understand and make meaning. In places like China where there is currently a vacuum of meaning — no scriptures, no constitution, just the little red book of Mao, and rampant Darwinian pressure to make money — it should be no surprise that vehicles of something larger to believe in will appear. In Russia, a belief in science mixes with a resident mysticism producing new religions. In Africa, the dire lack of health care summons all kinds of new faith healing churches. And in the west, the need to make sense of technology and our own mutating human identity will breed new religions.

  • IT graduates not ‘well-trained, ready-to-go’

    There is a disconnect between students getting high-tech degrees and what employers are looking for in those graduates.

    Employers agree that colleges and universities need to provide their students with the essential skills required to run IT departments, yet only 8% of hiring managers would rate IT graduates hired as “well-trained, ready-to-go,” according to a survey of 376 organizations that are members of the IBM user group Share and Database Trends and Applications subscribers.

  • London’s “King of the Looky-lous” top Baidu charts

    Paul offered his personal statement during a one-on-one interview: “I’m here, this is me. I am sorry I don’t have a suit, and I am not slender. I am always the one being neglected simply because I’m overweight. Maybe I have something great to say about a particular matter, but the microphone is always passed to those beside me. The more I am neglected, the harder I will try to make others notice me. I want to change the media’s belief that ugly fat people like me are an eyesore to the viewers!”

  • McLuhan on the future of newspapers

    Despite finding much of McLuhan absurd, this leapt out at me last night:

    The classified ads (and stock-market quotations) are the bedrock of the press. Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.

    Is this a case of even a blind pig finding an occasional acorn? Or of prescience bordering on genius?

  • Canadian developer to RIM: ‘I concede defeat.’
  • Olympic Logo Is ‘Racist’, Claims Iran
  • Anti-gay Christian couple lose foster care case

    A Pentecostal Christian couple have lost their high court claim that they were discriminated against by a local authority because they insisted on their right to tell young foster children that homosexuality is morally wrong.

  • Suffer the Little Children

    The state legislature of Oregon is debating a real step forward for human rights for their constituents: removing the special legal protection that shields faith healing parents from charges of homicide after the preventable death of their children. There is widespread support from the public, state prosecutors, and legislators for House Bill 2721. Clackamas County District Attorney, John Foote, said the measure will “make it easier to hold parents accountable who don’t protect their children.”

    According to the Oregonian, Oregon “is the only state that provides immunity from prosecution for murder by neglect and first-degree manslaughter to those who provide care or treatment to minors ‘solely by spiritual means pursuant to (their) religious beliefs.’” This is likely because any measure designed to protect children has, in the past, faced serious opposition from groups that encourage faith healing like Christian Scientists. This article of faith has caused dozens of preventable deaths in the last twenty years in the state of Oregon alone, and in a Pediatrics article, “Child fatalities from religion motivated medical neglect,” authors Asser and Swan found 172 U.S. deaths of children when medical care was withheld on religious grounds.

  • Science

    • Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us

      The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change, pollution and the destruction of our habitat. If you exhaust natural resources there will be nothing left for your children. If we continue in the same direction, humankind is headed for some frightful ordeals, if not extinction.

    • No proof of P=NP after all (yet?)

      Vladimir Romanov has conceded that his published “proof” of P=NP is flawed and requires further work.

    • Planet Earth valued at $4,800 trillion

      Such is the state of global capitalism, TechEye can confirm that everything has its price.

      This time it’s not a marketing exec who would have undoubtedly recieved both barrels from the late Bill Hicks, it is astrophysicist Greg Laughlin who reckons he’s worked out the monetary value of the earth itself.

      The price for our blue planet? Laughlin’s recommended retail comes in at an impressive £3,000 ($4,800) trillion, dwarfing even Manchester City’s 2011 wage bill.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Shifts All Liability For Damages Caused By Its GM Crops to Farmers, Now and For Perpetuity

      I’ll say it bluntly and blanketedly: I can’t stand Monsanto, even separate from my disdain for GM crops–they are a perfect example of the worst excesses of opaque corporate shenanigans that, alongside outright political dictatorship and oppression, are direct threats to true democracy.

      Here’s the source of that brief rant: As TruthOut highlighted earlier in the week, the Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement (the name itself is Orwellian in it’s use of language to obscure and not illuminate) indemnifies Monsanto against “any and all losses, injury or damages resulting from the use or handling of seed (including claims based in contract, negligence, product liability, strict liability, tort, or otherwise)…in no event shall Monsanto or any seller be liable for any incidental, consequential, special, or punitive damages.”

      Which would be bad enough, but even if you terminate your contract with Monsanto, “Grower’s responsibilities and the other terms herein shall survive.”

      If a Monsanto GM Crop Causes Damage, Monsanto Off the Hook

  • Security

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Vodafone’s UK network taken down by a break-in (update: some services restored)

      No further details have been provided, though work is naturally underway to repair the damage done and we’re assured customers’ private data has remained so. We can’t imagine quite such a service disruption being caused by a random act of vandalism or burglary, perhaps a disgruntled employee felt the need to vent his or her frustrations in grand style? Or has O2 gone gangster on the competition?

    • Anonymous vs HBGary

      In cyberspace, the balance of power is on the side of the attacker. Attacking a network is much easier than defending a network. That may change eventually — there might someday be the cyberspace equivalent of trench warfare, where the defender has the natural advantage — but not anytime soon.

    • That Soldier Wooing You Over Facebook Probably Isn’t Real

      Is a handsome young soldier currently professing his love to you on Facebook? He might be real! But probably, he’s not. Especially if he’s asking you to send him money. The AP reports that the fake-Facebook-soldier (or whatever the snappy conman name is) is “becoming an all-too-common ruse,” in one case costing a victim $25,000.

    • British Airways IT worker found guilty of plotting terror attack

      An IT expert for British Airways has been found guilty of using his position to plan a terrorist attack on behalf of the Yemen-based radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to news reports.

      Rajib Karim, 31, of Newcastle, used his job as a software engineer for the UK airline to aid attacks being planned by Awlaki, who is accused of having links to the to the attempted shoe-bombing of a plane over Detroit on Christmas 2009. The plot came to light after experts from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command spent nine months cracking 300 encrypted emails found on Karim’s hard drive.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • U.S. silent as Iraqi regime cracks down

      We saw it with Yemen, and now we’re seeing it again with Iraq: The Obama administration is conspicuously quiet when friendly Middle East regimes use ugly tactics — including violence and imprisoning peaceful demonstrators — to quell growing protest movements in their countries.

      That’s in marked contrast to the administration’s tough stand when similar tactics are employed by unfriendly governments like the one in Iran. In a statement yesterday, the White House “strongly condemn[ed] the Iranian government’s organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists and bloggers.”

    • Report calls for in-depth public inquiry into ‘shocking’ abuses at G20 summit

      A full-scale public inquiry is needed in light of the widespread and violent trampling of civil rights by police at last summer’s $1-billion G20 summit in Toronto, a new report concludes.

      The call for an inquiry is among recommendations in the report – by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and National Union of Public and General Employees – which is aimed at holding governments accountable and avoiding a recurrence.

    • G20 Report: Whose peace breached?
    • Qaddafi’s Private Jet Just Dropped Someone Off In Minsk

      Muammar el-Qaddafi’s private Dassault Falcon jet 5A-DCN dropped someone off in Minsk on Friday, according to reports in Haaretz and Malta Today.

      It is believed to have been someone in Qaddafi’s family. That person could be his daughter Aisha, who was denied entry to Malta last week, according to Al Jazeera.

      Qaddafi is friendly with Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko.

    • U.S. continues Bush policy of opposing ICC prosecutions

      It has been widely documented that many of the worst atrocities on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi have been committed by foreign mercenaries from countries such as Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia. Despite that, the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions Resolution aimed at Libya, which was just enacted last week, includes a strange clause that specifically forbids international war crimes prosecutions against mercenaries from nations which are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which protects many of the mercenaries Gadaffi is using.

    • ICE detainee passes away at Lock Haven Hospital

      A Chinese national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Feb. 14 passed away on Feb. 23 at the Lock Haven Hospital in Lock Haven, Pa., of an apparent suicide.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Goes After The Saudi Royal Family

      Wikileaks just released a motherload of info on the taboo subject of Saudi Arabian royal rents.

      The 1996 cable — entitled “Saudi Royal Wealth: Where do they get all that money?” — describes legal and illegal ways that royals grab money, according to Reuters.

    • “If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange”
    • “If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange”
    • How US choppers ended up in Colombian money-laundering hands

      To get a sense of just how interconnected the formal and illicit dimensions of international political economy are, take a peek at this brief cable from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota published by WikiLeaks Sunday.

      The cable details then-Ambassador William Woods’ hunt for two missing helicopters that had originally been sold to the Israeli military by the United States government, but had somehow ended up in the hands of multimillionaire Enilse Lopez, a businesswoman who was suspected of close ties to Colombian paramilitaries.

    • Julian Assange and Raymond A. Davis

      America wants them both – who should be released?

      The US desperately wants to extradite both Julian Assange and Raymond A. Davis but for different reasons.

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 93

      2:05 New Chomsky interview. Asked about whether U.S. knew truth about Tunisia, he replies: “In the case of Tunisia, which is kind of an interesting case, Tunisia was held as (the) very beacon of democracy and progress in the region. Some of the articles that appear kind of embarrassing to read now. But they knew. In fact one of the interesting WikiLeaks disclosures was series of cables by the American ambassador in Tunisia who said, very straight out, look this is a police state, there is no freedom of speech or association, the public is extremely angry at the corruption of the ruling family. So they knew but the … doctrine prevailed. It was quiet so everything was fine.” 9h/t Kevin Gosztola)

      2:00 Thanks to all for helping make my e-book The Age of WIkiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate become the top-selling book on this subject (even topping the big boys at NYT and Guardian –and Daniel Domsheit-Berg, too) at Amazon. Print edition here. Hailed by Dan Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, and more.

      12:45 New summary with links on Wikileaks cables impact from OpEdNews.

      12:15 Chris Hedges in new Truthout piece focuses on antiwar demos coming up in March, but also mentions protest to support Bradley Manning on March 20 — and the importance of earlier WikiLeaks docs on Iraq and Afghan torture and civilian casualties.

    • Musyoka: Lies, Lovers, and Mercenaries in Kenya’s Politics

      Summary: Kenyan auditor Peter Odhiambo exposed
      billions of shillings of tax evasion and money laundering at
      his former employer, Charterhouse Bank, by a group of major
      companies partly owned by notorious businessman John Mwau and
      MP William Kabogo. On July 20, Odhiambo briefed Emboffs on
      the details of the scam, and explained he had experienced
      death threats and a frightening attempt by some policemen to
      serve him with a bogus warrant. Because the people
      implicated in the scandal are dangerous and appear to have
      bought influence and protection from the GOK, Odhiambo
      requested refuge in the U.S. Refugee Officer is prepared to
      write an Embassy referral for Odhiambo to DHS for processing
      his application for refugee status, and DHS is willing to
      interview him.


      President Kibaki publicly stands firm behind
      the Kenyan Police raid on the Standard Media Group.
      Meanwhile, Standard journalists and others privately say the
      raids were prompted by a State House belief that the paper
      possesses documents implicating the President’s family in
      grand-scale corruption, possibly including narcotics
      trafficking. First Lady Lucy Kibaki has reportedly
      personally threatened to “burn down the Standard” unless the
      information on her is relinquished. Even as the government
      ridicules claims of “foreign mercenaries” in the country,
      political opponents and journalists believe unofficial Second
      Wife Mary Wambui is behind the foreigners — and the cocaine
      trafficking. Opposition leaders say they are being
      blackmailed to keep quiet; shocked by the steps already
      taken, they privately fear a cornered government will move to
      arrest them, with or without charges. And they worry about
      the possible use of lethal force.

    • 10NAIROBI181, Chinese Engagement in Kenya

      China’s engagement in Kenya continues to grow exponentially. China enjoys a large trade surplus with Kenya; exports increased by more than 25 percent a year from 2004 to 2008. The China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is drilling for oil in the Isiolo region. China may be a potential partner in the development of the new mega-port at Lamu. In addition, China is heavily involved in various infrastructure projects across Kenya primarily with roads. China is also providing weapons to the GOK in support of its Somalia policies and increasing their involvement with the Kenyan National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) by providing telecommunications and computer equipment. Recently, China signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement with the GOK providing new development grants. To date, China and the U.S. do not collaborate on development projects in Kenya.


      Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under
      Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
      Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United
      States of Aaron Gitonga Ringera and members of his family.
      Ringera was born in Meru, Kenya on June 20, 1950. Post
      strongly believes Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited
      from public corruption in his capacity as Director/Chief
      Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for
      the last five years by interference with judicial and other
      public processes, and that this corruption has had a serious
      adverse impact on U.S. national interest in the stability of
      democratic institutions in Kenya, U.S. foreign assistance
      goals and the international economic activities of U.S.
      businesses. Ringera travels frequently to the U.S. He is
      expected shortly to apply for a U.S. visa. The following
      provides information requested in ref a, paragraphs 26-28.

    • Julian Assange: At the Forefront of 21st Century Journalism

      If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is a journalist, recent events erase all those doubts and put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.

      The U.S. Department of Justice is still trying to find a way to prosecute Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks. A key to their prosecution is claiming he is not a journalist, but that weak premise has been made laughable by recent events.

      The list of WikiLeaks revelations has become astounding . During the North African and Middle East revolts WikiLeaks published documents that provided people with critical information. The traditional media has relied on WikiLeaks publications and is now also emulating WikiLeaks.

    • Equitorial Guinea ruler’s son ‘ordered superyacht’

      The son of Equatorial Guinea ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema has commissioned plans to build one of the world’s most expensive yachts, a rights group claimed on Monday.

      President Obiang’s son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorin, has commissioned plans for a yacht costing 288 million euros ($400 million), said Global Witness, which works to break the links between resource exploitation and bad governance.

    • What US cables reveal about France and the Ben Ali regime

      “Tunisia is not a dictatorship.” That was the analysis made in August 2007 by the then-French ambassador to Tunis, Serge Degallaix. Revealed by WikiLeaks in a series of cables published here by Mediapart, it succinctly sums up France’s position towards the regime of now-deposed ruler.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vancouver Island Bald Eagles Are “Falling From the Sky”

      It was one thing when starlings, robins, and turtledoves were falling dead from the sky in places like Kentucky, Italy, and Arkansas. Those places are far from the Pacific Northwest, and the birds are just common species that no one cares about anyway. Well, now bizarre bird deaths have finally made their way to the PNW, and it’s eagles that are falling from the sky. That’s right, bald freaking eagles.

      The Vancouver Sun reports that Maj Birch, manager of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, is currently caring for seven injured eagles that were starving and fell out of the sky. Several others didn’t make it.

    • Coal Is Cheap – Because We Pay $345 Billion Of Their Annual Costs

      Earlier today, we looked at the constantly rising price of dirty energy: both direct costs (extraction from the ground, transport, etc.) and the externalities, that is, costs or opportunities shifted to other sectors of the economy.

      The classic example of a negative externality (a cost shifted to another part of the economy) is pollution. If a chemical company forgoes proper disposal of its waste, and dumps it into a reservoir, they’re abdicating their responsibility to pay for that pollution, and shunting the cost on to the folks downstream.

    • The Great Climate Change Conspiracy

      Gotta love it. There’s so much money in Climate Science, that every climate scientist in the world is willing to lie about it. In fact they are not only willing to lie, they are willing to try and mess up scientists from other disciplines so that they can keep on enjoying the gravy train…

      It’s rather scary actually listening to the True Believers who know the truth about Climate Change. According to them we’ll never run out of oil. Oil is a renewable resource! Yes, isn’t it wonderful? Curiously none of them are capable of telling us exactly how it’s going to become renewable.

      Let’s take a look at some of the points that have been made:

      Lots of scientists don’t believe in Climate Change either – while this is true, the scientists who don’t believe in it aren’t Climate experts. When I pointed out that most of the scientists who disagreed with Climate Change were actually mathematicians, I was accused of hating mathematicians.

    • The Cove director sends dolphin slaughter DVDs to whole fishing town

      The director of The Cove, an Oscar-winning film about the annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji on Japan’s Pacific coast, has sent free DVDs of the movie to the town’s residents.

      Louie Psihoyos said he was concerned that the film had not been given enough exposure in Japan, particularly among the 3,500 residents of Taiji.

      The American director said Japanese-language copies of the movie, which last year won the Oscar for best documentary, had been delivered to every household in Taiji over the weekend with the help of a local ocean conservation group.

    • If climate scientists are in it for the money, they’re doing it wrong

      You can’t make a bundle pushing the consensus

      So, are there big bucks to be had in climate science? Since it doesn’t have a lot of commercial appeal, most of the people working in the area, and the vast majority of those publishing the scientific literature, work in academic departments or at government agencies. Penn State, home of noted climatologists Richard Alley and Michael Mann, has a strong geosciences department and, conveniently, makes the department’s salary information available. It’s easy to check, and find that the average tenured professor earned about $120,000 last year, and a new hire a bit less than $70,000.

    • Republicans recycle an old idea: the foam plastic coffee cup

      A bit like the Republican party, they are white, seemingly indestructible and bad for the environment. But after an absence of four years, foam plastic coffee cups have made a comeback in the basement coffee shop of the United States Congress building after Republicans began reversing a series of in-house green initiatives undertaken by Democrats.

      The about-turn was announced by a press aide to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who tweeted on Monday morning: “The new majority – plasticware is back”.

  • Anonymous/Wisconsin/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Anonymous Joins The Wisconsin Protests By Taking Out Americans For Prosperity

      The cyber protest group Anonymous has joined the protesters of Wisconsin and Americans all across this country in the battle against what they described as the “Koch brothers attempt usurp democracy.” The opening salvo in Anon’s OpWisconsin occurred today when the Koch brothers funded Americans for Prosperity was knocked offline in an attempt to take a small slice of the Internet back from the liberty stealing propagandists.

      In a press release Anonymous put the Koch brothers on notice, “It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.”

    • ‘Anonymous’ targets the brothers Koch, claiming attempts ‘to usurp American Democracy’

      The decentralized protest group “Anonymous” has a new target: no, it’s not a middle eastern dictator, a major bank or even a bit player in the military-industrial complex.

      It’s none other than tea party financiers Charles and David Koch, who were being targeted, an open letter stated, for their attempts “to usurp American Democracy.”

    • Anonymous versus Fox News’ Dan Gainor

      That’s Anon News in what a post on the site describes as a “Twitter Bitch-fight with FoxNews.com Columnist Dan Gainor”.

      Anon News is fast becoming a distribution and media centre for Anonymous and “THE FOLLOWING IS A TRUE STORY, AND TOOK PLACE ON THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 27″, says an Anon who’d engaged in a lengthy ‘discussion’ with Fux’s Gainor.

    • Making the world go around

      Now it’s become clear the explosions of citizen anger first manifested in Tunisia following a determined Anonymous campaign aren’t just examples of temporary “student unrest”.

      They’re the new paradigm in which people around the world take control of their lives, reversing the way things used to be when those who were supposed to serve us served only themselves.

    • Anonymous makes a laughing stock of HBGary

      Following a failed attempt at mediation on IRC, Anonymous published both the alleged identities of its leading figures and HBGary’s entire email archive online. And whilst the allegedly explosive data on Anonymous proved to be almost entirely without substance, the email archive painted a very detailed picture of the US security company’s leading figures and their business dealings. Whilst it’s worth bearing in mind that these emails could have been ‘interfered with’, plausibility checks offer no indication that this is the case.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Newspaper does not have to identify anonymous commenters, rules High Court

      The Daily Mail does not have to identify the people behind two anonymously posted comments on its website because to do so would breach their rights to privacy, the High Court has said.

      The subject of a news story had demanded information from the Daily Mail that would help her to identify the two commenters so that she could sue them for defamation, but the Court said that identification of those people would be disproportionate.

    • Europe’s highest court to rule on Google privacy battle in Spain

      Europe’s highest court looks set to decide whether Google should remove links to articles in newspapers, including El País, from its online search engine following a Spanish demand about invasion of privacy.

      Google was ordered to remove almost 100 online articles from its search results by Spain’s data protection authority earlier this year. The articles, some of which appeared in official gazettes, were subject to privacy complaints by their subjects.

  • Civil Rights

    • When does life mean life?

      Three convicted murderers are challenging their sentences in the European Court of Human Rights. They claim that the rare “whole life” tariffs which have been imposed in their cases is contrary to their human rights.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Right to Information in Brazil– Censorship, Fines for Sharing Wi-Fi

      Following up on several other related posts, two recent news items give us reason to wonder about freedom of information in Brazil. First, Brazil’s telecommunications regulator, ANATEL, confiscated the computer equipment of three young people and fined them $3000R (about $2000US) for sharing an internet signal among their three dwellings in an effort to save money. Second, news has surfaced that in the first half of last year, Brazil asked Google to remove more news articles from the internet than any other country in the world, a total of 398, of which 177 requests involved a Judicial order [postscript: this was misinformed news-- based on false reports by the Committee to Protect Journalists, please see correction, next post.]. Brazil’s efforts to censure information were more intense than Libya’s, which came in second.

  • DRM

    • Geohot: We Built Your PS3. We Built This World.
    • Limits on library e-books stir controversy

      Some librarians are “appalled” by a new HarperCollins policy that would allow library e-books to circulate only 26 times before their license expires. Others, however, note that some major publishers don’t allow their e-books to circulate in libraries at all.

    • The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

      Every eBook user should have the following rights:

      * the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
      * the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
      * the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
      * the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

    • The Debate Over Copyright Gets Loud At Digital Music Forum

      Not surprisingly, there was a fair amount of disagreement on some of the issues, with Bengloff doing the usual song and dance about “piracy” destroying the music industry. Julie Samuels, correctly, pointed out that Bengloff was being misleading, and it was the recording industry that was having trouble adapting, not the music industry. Bengloff insisted this wasn’t true, and insisted (contrary to every single study we’ve seen) that every other aspect of the music business was in massive decline. Petricone then responded by bringing things around to a key point: copyright law was designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to act as an incentive to create content. And, if you look at the market today, you’d have to be delusional to say that the market is having any problem in that area whatsoever. More music is being created today than ever before. More people are spending more money on music and music related goods than ever before. There’s a massive variety of music available today. Basically, the content space is absolutely thriving. So, arguing that there’s a problem in the market seems misguided.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Major Second Life Content Theft Lawsuit Against Linden Settled With Promise of Better Protection, Says Ex-Plaintiff

      A major lawsuit against Linden Lab filed by its own users in late 2009 has been settled. That news was recently announced by one of the plaintiffs, virtual adult entertainment impresario Stroker Serpentine, during the taping of Metaverse TV’s “Grumpy Old Avatars” show. The lawsuit alleged that the company was allowing and enabling content theft of the plaintiff’s material by other Residents. Last week, however, Mr. Serpentine (Kevin Alderman IRL) said the dispute had been resolved out of court:

      “We settled the lawsuit with Linden Lab,” he told the “Grumpy” hosts, “we settled amicably, and reasonably, and we’re anticipating a concerted effort on Linden’s behalf going forward towards content protection and the rights of content creators and at least being aware of the fact that there is a lot of content theft going on out there.”

    • Female Artists of Second Life: Stanford Libraries and Lynn Hershman Want Your Art!
    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Google looking to launch YouTube movie service in UK

        Google is actively looking to begin an unlimited streaming subscription service, one that will rival Netflix and Amazon, and may launch it first in the UK.

      • Righthaven defendant threatens to seek settlement refunds

        A South Carolina woman sued by Las Vegas copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC escalated her counter-attack on Sunday, arguing Righthaven should refund hundreds of thousands of dollars it has obtained in dozens of lawsuit settlements worldwide since May.

        Attorneys for the woman, Dana Eiser, based their refund claim on charges that Righthaven in its lawsuits regularly threatens to seize the website domain names of defendants — and that this demand is improper and is used to coerce defendants into settling.

      • Sustainable Models for Creativity in the Digital Age

        We can no longer put off re-thinking the economic structures that have been producing, financing and funding culture up until now. Many of the old models have become anachronistic and detrimental to civil society. The aim of this document is to promote innovative strategies to defend and extend the sphere in which human creativity and knowledge can prosper freely and sustainably.

      • Piracy is the Future of TV: commercial TV sucks relative to illicit services

        “Piracy is the Future of Television” is Abigail De Kosnik’s Convergence Culture Consortium paper on the many ways in which piracy is preferable to buying legitimate online TV options. None of these advantages are related to price — it may be hard to compete with free, but it’s impossible to compete with free when you offer something worse than the free option. De Kosnik finishes the paper with a series of incredibly sensible recommendations for producing a commercial marketplace that’s as good or better than the illicit one.

      • Securing a right doesn’t mean granting a monopoly

        Such an assumption of power was unconstitutional.

        Securing a right does not require annulling another right, as Thomas Paine makes clear.

        1. Abolish copyright.
        2. Secure the author’s exclusive right to their writings, for a time limited to that of their natural lifespan.

        Securing a right does not require the grant of a monopoly.

      • Hollywood Gone Mad: Complaining That Oscar Nominated Films Downloaded More

        The article also highlights, as we’ve discussed at great lengths, how the producer, Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Films, of last year’s Oscar winner for best picture, Hurt Locker chose to sue 5,000 fans of his film for unauthorized downloading. Of course, it leaves out the part where he also called someone a “moron” and a “thief” for explaining to him, quite politely, why such a strategy might backfire. The reporter asks Chartier about the backlash, and he suggests that nobody knows who produces what films, so he doesn’t care if he gets a bad reputation: “I don’t think anyone is waking up saying, ‘Let’s boycott movies made by Voltage.’” Apparently Chartier doesn’t use the internet much. There are, in fact, efforts by people to get everyone to boycott Voltage films because of his actions.

      • Falling off the edge of a flat world?

        This blog challenges an attempt by entertainment industry stakeholders to discredit the Andersen-Frenz report (2007): The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada.

        Findings from the report have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and used as expert evidence in two British landmark court-cases dealing with P2P filesharing (Oink’s Pink Palace and one other). It also plays a central role in the debate on copyright reforms internationally.

      • The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada

        Industry Canada undertook a music file sharing study during 2006-07 to measure the extent to which music downloads over peer-to-peer file sharing networks, for which the sound recording industry receives no remuneration, affect music purchasing activity in Canada.

      • 70% of the Public Finds Piracy Socially Acceptable

        A recent study on moral standards and whether some law breaking is socially acceptable has revealed an interesting stance on file-sharing among the public. Of those questioned in the study, 70% said that downloading illicit material from the Internet is acceptable. Three out four, however, felt it was completely unacceptable to then sell that product for profit.

      • ACTA

        • Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law

          Will ACTA be binding on the US, EU, France, Romania, the Netherlands and Singapore? Confusion over whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is binding is mounting. On 1 December 2010, Dutch Trade Minister Verhagen said in a parliamentary commission meeting: “It has never come up to implement ACTA in the Netherlands. It so happens that ACTA is not superior to European or national law.”

          This is a remarkable statement. It is in direct conflict with an EU Commission’s answer to a European Parliament question. It is also in conflict with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which was ratified by the Netherlands. The minister misinformed parliament.

          A group of prominent European academics state that ACTA will directly or indirectly require additional action on the EU level. ACTA goes beyond current EU law. ACTA is legislation by the back door.

Clip of the Day

Muammar Gaddafi – Zenga Zenga Song – Noy Alooshe Remix + Download

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 28/2/2011: LiMo 4 Arriving, 4 HTC Devices Will Get Gingerbread

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Five ideas for escaping the Blu-Ray blues

    Some of us want to be able to release high-definition video (possibly even 3D) without evil copy protection schemes. I’ve been avoiding Blu-Ray as a consumer since it came out, mostly because Richard Stallman said it has an evil and oppressive DRM scheme. After my first serious investigation, I can confirm his opinion, and frankly, it’s a pretty bleak situation. What can we do about it? Here’s five ideas for how we might release high definition video.

  • Desktop

    • reason i love my wife

      Then one day. Danny (my wife) says to me.

      “Ahh I hate windows. I have to do too much crap just to do something. Install ubuntu.”


      And now that ubuntu is up and running. My wife feels at home. And it is running way better then our last computer. I am in heaven ^_^

  • Server

    • Who Owns Your Datacenter?

      It is surprising how fast some proprietary software vendors can turn hostile towards their customers. Anyone who’s been in the IT field for the past decade or so should be familiar with the term “licensing audit”, and how it runs shivers up and down the spine of the entire organization. Those vendors can perform the audit on your company because they own your datacenter, and they know it. They can come in anytime they want and, probably, demand more money for the continued use of their product.

    • London Stock Exchange in crisis meeting with market data vendors
  • Google

    • Google’s CR-48: An adventure in brickdom

      Scanning for something easier, I located this little guide. Easy way to install Ubuntu? Sold.

      The instructions are ridiculously easy to follow and straightforward. Bear in mind it’s a rather large download (52 100MB files), so give it some time, especially if you’re rocking a slow connection. I did test to see if the script will pick up where it left off by battery pulling the unit mid-download and it absolutely does, so don’t worry about it being flakey in that regard.

  • Ballnux

    • Why all Symbian developers should become Bada Developers

      You might be aware about the news that Nokia will no longer using Symbian as their smartphone OS. They are going to use Windows Mobile and Meego. All the loyal Symbian Developers are now under the pressure to choose another platform. Few days ago, I asked prominent voices in Bada universe why these developers should choose bada as their next developing platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Upstream projects vs. Distributions

      You can globally split open source projects into two broad categories. Upstream projects develop and publish source code for various applications and features. Downstream projects are consumers of this source code. The most common type of downstream projects are distributions, which release ready-to-use binary packages of these upstream applications, make sure they integrate well with the rest of the system, and release security and bugfix updates according to their maintenance policies.

    • Have You Ever Wondered How Your Operating System Got Its Name?

      Have you ever wondered what “XP” stands for or where “Ubuntu” comes from? Some operating systems get their names from obvious places, but others need some explaining. Read on to find out where your favorite OS got its name.

    • Reviews

      • A look at Wolfer Linux 2

        If you have already settled into the Linux scene and have gained some comfort with the operating system, Wolfer probably won’t give you anything new. But if you’re standing outside the Linux community and considering which distro to try, Wolfer is one option that will make the transition easier.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Making the most of the planet.

          With a title like that, I could go two ways with this blog post, right? One way would be to encourage people to do stuff that’s good for the Earth, like recycling and so forth. There are probably lots of people who could do that better than me. Instead, this post is going to be about making the most of the Fedora Planet, which carries information about contributors and their work to each other and to audiences outside the Fedora Project.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Unity keyboard shortcuts have a distinct Windows 7 flavor
        • Legally open, socially closed

          Much has been said lately about the revenue sharing decision made by Canonical in regards to the Banshee music store sales, starting with the announcement on Jono Bacon’s blog. This was soon followed by posts questioning how the decision and announcements were handled. Sense Hofstede followed up with an excellent post discussing the value of Ubuntu as a distribution channel complimenting the value of Banshee as a product.

          What I haven’t seen discussed, and what I would like to bring up, is this often cited but never quite defined notion of the moral or ethical restrictions on the use of FLOSS.

        • Best Ubuntu 10.10 Feature

          Doing an install of Natty alpha in VirtualBox, I remembered what I love most about 10.10: The installation. Whoever decided to add the Download updates checkbox, brilliant.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Datalight Releases First Full-featured File System for Embedded Linux

      Datalight announced today that it has released Reliance Nitro 2.0, the first full-featured file system for embedded Linux. The new file system combines strong read and write performance with fast and consistent mount time, rock-solid reliability, a comprehensive tool set, and support by a dedicated team of in-house engineers.

    • Phones

      • LiMo hits version 4, reminds us why consumers don’t care

        Once considered a possible Android competitor, the LiMo Foundation has since dug in its heels as a carrier- and manufacturer-facing group rather than a consumer-facing one. To put that in more direct, un-politically correct terms: if you’re an end user, you probably don’t care that LiMo version 4 was just announced (though it’s possible that your carrier might). In fact, the announcement actually happened a few days back during MWC in Barcelona, but it was a quiet affair — the Foundation has yet to finalize device specs, the code won’t be available to the public until July, and commercial hardware isn’t expected until the second half.

      • Android

        • 4 HTC Devices to Get Gingerbread in Q2

          Good ol’ HTC has confirmed that the Desire Z, Desire HD, Desire, and the newly announced Incredible S will all be getting some Gingerbread love soon enough. While they didn’t give an exact date, they’re promising a Q2 release. This is one reason I always buy HTC: they’re reliable. They don’t promise an update and then delay or cancel it 2 months after the deadline. Of course, we can’t really say that until after Q2. But when it’s all said and done, I have no doubt that the 4 devices mentioned above will have some 2.3 goodness.

        • 40 best free Android apps
        • HTC tips Android global roaming phone

          HTC announced it will launch an Android-based “world phone,” including both CDMA and GSM. Due this spring, the HTC Merge features Android 2.2, a 3.8-inch display, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a five-megapixel camera, and appears likely to be heading for Verizon Wireless.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu gives new, speedier life to Netbooks

        For one, opening, closing and arranging windows and folders will throw off new users at first because they can’t be moved with total freedom. For example, the Ubuntu 10.10 operating system won’t let you drag and drop files on the desktop — you have to put them in a folder titled desktop. Another thing that sets Ubuntu apart from Windows and Mac is that the program and folder list is docked on the left side of the screen. But these are minor and inconsequential differences.

        Ubuntu boasts plenty of perks, mainly its software center that instantly connects you to thousands of free applications, including art and photo editing programs, word processors, games, video players and more. It’s like the app marketplace on most smartphones. And, like Ubuntu itself, it’s pretty much all free.

    • Tablets

      • Emergence of the Tablets

        Android phones are everywhere. Even on prepaid packages. Everyone can have them. This is where the open OS shines.

      • Odd One Out: My 5 Minutes With the Motorola Xoom

        Concluding, I didn’t hate the Xoom. Motorola did a great job (for the most part) of making a killer device to compete with the iPad. Google made a pretty awesome version of Android to run on said device. While both have their faults, they go well together. Does this mean I would buy a Xoom if I had the money? No, it doesn’t. Does that mean it’s a terrible device? No, it doesn’t. The Xoom just felt like it was released before it was finished. Whether this is Google’s fault, or Moto’s fault is irrelevant. The Xoom just isn’t ready for primetime yet. So, with all of this being said, bring on the agreeing or disagreeing (more likely the latter of the two) comments!

      • Freescale spins Cortex-A8 SoCs, tablet design, and $149 dev board

        Freescale Semiconductor announced two new members of its i.MX53 family of Cortex-A8 system-on-chips: an industrial-focused, 800MHz i.MX37 and the consumer-oriented, 1GHz i.MX538. Also unveiled were a $149 “Quick Start” development board for the original i.MX535 SoC, as well as a 10.1-inch, $1,499 “SABRE” tablet reference design, both compatible with Android, Linux, and Windows Embedded Compact 7.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ning Galaxy deployment management system open sourced

    Ning, provider of the social web site platform of the same name, has released its internal deployment management system, Galaxy, as open source. For the past four years Ning has used Galaxy to manage the various services its engineering produces.

  • Events

    • SCALE 9x: Day 2

      We’ve had a pretty successful day at SCALE. We’re all out of LiveDVDs. The fifty-disc spindle was gone by the end of the day, as was nearly half of the 100-disc spindle of minimal LiveCDs.

    • Day one at SCALE9x

      As I mentioned in my previous post, I am at the Southern California Linux Expo in Los Angeles this weekend. What I failed to mention in my previous post was massive showing from the openSUSE community at the exposition.

    • SCALE 9x lifts off on Saturday; Leigh Honeywell kicks off Day 2 as attendance numbers rise

      The 9th annual Southern California Linux Expo started its second day on Saturday with a keynote by Leigh Honeywell as the attendance numbers showed a significant increase over last year. Honeywell, who spoke on the topic “Hackerspaces and Free Software,” headlined a wide variety of sessions that included a standing-room only crowd for Owen De Long’s “IPv6 Basics for Linux Adminstrators” and various education-related talks in the Open Source Software in Education (OSSIE) track.

    • FOSDEM: Icing the robot

      Anybody who looks at an Android system knows that, while Android is certainly based on the Linux kernel, it is not a traditional Linux system by any stretch. But Android is free software; might it be possible to create a more “normal” Android while preserving the aspects that make Android interesting? Developers Mario Torre and David Fu think so; they also plan to soon have the code to back it up. Their well-attended FOSDEM talk covered why they would want to do such a thing and how they plan to get there.

  • SaaS

    • The Man Behind Swiss Federal Mapping Discusses What’s in His Cloud Stack

      Recently, we at OStatic launched our “What’s in Your Cloud Stack?” series, where we discuss components and processes that power some of the most sophisticated cloud computing deployments with people who know a whole lot about the cloud. The series began with our conversation with PHP Fog founder Lucas Carlson, where he provided many insights into a smart cloud stack.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL, OpenSSL, and the GPL

      The OpenSSL license, which is BSD-style with an advertising clause, has been a source of problems in the past because it is rather unclear whether projects using it can also include GPL-licensed code. Most distributions seem to be comfortable that OpenSSL can be considered a “system library”, so that linking to it does not require OpenSSL to have a GPL-compatible license, but the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and, unsurprisingly, Debian are not on board with that interpretation. This licensing issue recently reared its head again in a thread on the pgsql-hackers (PostgreSQL development) mailing list.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice software is here to stay

      If there was any doubt as to long-term ability of LibreOffice to sprint ahead of Oracle-backed OpenOffice.org, those concerns pretty much just flew out the window. In a wildly successful fundraising effort, the Document Foundation has succeeded in collecting $68,800 (50,000 euros) in just eight days, effectively ensuring a future for the open-source productivity software suite.

      Some 2000 donors from all over the world contributed the funds, which will serve as the capital stock necessary to set up the Document Foundation as a legal entity in Germany.

    • Made by the people, for the people

      Perhaps even more incredibly, we were not just busy at raising funds all this time. Not only did we release LibreOffice 3.3.1 and its brand new icons, we are also busy deploying our community processes. For instance we are almost done completing our trademark policy as well as offering a general, third party purpose logo with practical guidelines. We are also in the process of deploying a full set of automated testing tools for our QA teams, as to make it possible to everyone to help improve the quality of our software. Yes, you read well, everyone. Because LibreOffice is a software that is made by the people, for the people, an old principle that is coming back in force quickly these days and a principle the Document Foundation has been based on from day one.

    • LibreOffice gives OpenOffice a run for its Money

      OpenOffice and its curiously similarly named counterpart LibreOffice are officially neck-in-neck. Despite Oracle’s backing of OpenOffice, LibreOffice is still kicking, and recently received over $68,000 in funding — in just eight days.

      The fundraising effort from LibreOffice maker Ubuntu was short, sweet, and everything they need for now. Their over 2,000 donors raised enough money to serve as capitol for setting up the Document Foundation, a goal to become a legal entity in Germany.

    • Sudbury

      However the result of studies made was to migrate everyone to Office 2007 and “lowering costs”. It turns out that OpenOffice.org did work reasonably well that folks were using it instead of Office to do their document conversions… However, to get stuff/information in and out of the ERP system, Office was chosen as it was well integrated.

  • Healthcare

    • VA, DOD will decide on common EHR method in March

      At the same time, VA must proceed in revamping its VistA system. To that end, VA has been considering open source software with a request for information to gauge industry approaches.

      “No matter what happens in the joint session with the DOD, we have to increase the pace of modernizing VistA,” he said. “That’s why we’re exploring the open source avenue.”

      DOD has also been considering industry ideas for modernizing its AHLTA electronic health record with a Web-based system.

      As it examines the open source model, VA will be influenced by both the work it’s doing with the DOD for a joint electronic health record and also by substantial industry input in order to most easily integrate private sector technologies into the next version of VistA. Even in its updated form, VistA will still rely on its aging MUMPS code.

    • VA plans for an open source VistA
  • Business

    • Openbravo Emphasizes Modularity In New Release Of Open-Source ERP Suite

      Open-source ERP application vendor Openbravo unveiled a new release of its flagship software this week, offering a more modular system the company said is easier to implement than traditional ERP systems and is more adaptable to changing business conditions.

    • More than half of businesses have adopted ‘some’ open source
    • 3 Reasons Why Open Source Brings Better ROI for Businesses

      Quite often businesses view alternatives if products or services offer better Return on Investment. Open Source is one such option that is often debated in terms of better returns, lower operational costs and of course minimum breakeven time depending on the size of your organization etc. However, delving a little deeper into open source capabilities reveals great returns far beyond the initial investment in terms of time, investments etc and migrating to greener Open Source makes great practical sense. Some of these returns are subtle, some paradigm shifts from propriety sources but all effective and productive to every business. Here is a look at some of the top returns.

  • BSD

    • The Coding Studio OS Screenshots: PCBSD 8.2 Screenshots

      “PC-BSD has as its goals to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD. To accomplish this, it currently has a graphical installation, which will enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get it running. It will also come with KDE pre-built, so that the desktop can be used immediately. Currently in development is a graphical software installation program, which will make installing pre-built software as easy as other popular operating systems.” – read more at Distrowatch

    • PC-BSD 9-current
    • FreeBSD 8.2 Expands ZFS Support — Without Oracle

      When one door closes, sometimes another one opens.

      The open source FreeBSD operating systems is out this week with a new release expanding support for the ZFS filesystem and improving disk encryption performance.

      The FreeBSD 8.2 release is the first FreeBSD release in 2011 and follows the 8.1 release, which debuted in July of 2010. Alongside the 8.2 release, FreeBSD 7.4 is also being released, marking the final release in the FreeBSD 7.x branch.


    • When You Are Born To Be Great!

      By now, you may wonder, what makes me talk about this book and the hero, in a blog post, which is supposed to be dedicated for free and open source movement! Well, I don’t know why but I think, (Boray Qaplan) and Richard Stallman are so much alike.

  • Government

    • Satish Babu to head ICFOSS

      Trivandrum, Kerala, India, February 28, 2011 – The President of InApp, Mr. Satish Babu, has been appointed as the Director of the International Centre for Free and Open Source software (ICFOSS) by the Government of Kerala.

    • Procurement environment ‘discourages open source technology’

      According to Computer Weekly, chief engineer at Atos Origin UK Darren Austin said standard government contracts and enterprise software licences have proved a barrier to the desire for greater use of open source in the public sector.

    • RO: ‘Romanian government not against, nor in favour of open source’

      The government of Romania is not opposed to but also not in favour of using open source software in public administration IT systems, ICT minister, Valerian Vreme, recently remarked in public. However, advocates of free and open source software in the country fear this means the public administration will continue to rely on the usual proprietary IT vendors.

    • Cabinet Office pushes suppliers on open source

      The government’s deputy chief information officer has told suppliers that it wants to open source technology to feature in its ICT strategy.

    • Whitehall open source plan heralds a behaviour change for suppliers

      This time, says the Cabinet Office, it’s going to be different. This time, open government means open standards and open source. But will it?

    • Interoperability And Open Standards Would Drive Government ICT Procurment – Deputy CIO Tells Suppliers

      The Government wants large IT suppliers to provide open source and inter operable standards, the Deputy Government CIO Bill McCluggage told assembled system operators in a meeting last week.

      While there has been similar announcements in the past, this time the push for open source is being driven from the very top – No. 10 and No. 11 Downing Street. The government has even appointed an open source team within the cabinet office led by a Director and has laid out a clear strategy to implement the vision.

    • New federal deputy CTO chosen

      Vein worked on San Francisco’s open source and government 2.0 initiatives.

    • Land Registry deploys open source data management

      The UK Land Registry, the government agency that maintains land property records, has recently deployed an open source data management from Talend to support its business intelligence.

    • SI: Slovenian public administrations moving to open source desktops

      Public administrations in Slovenia are to increase their use of free and open source software on their desktop computers. Around 2015, 80 percent of the government’s offices should be using this type of desktop software, according to a plan published by the Ministry of Public Administration in January.

      The open source software stack to be implemented includes open source office suites, open source web browser and open source operating systems. The ministry is setting-up a task force for the migration project, including representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • DOTKLOK Is A Hackable, Open-Source, Arduino Clock. Also Neat Looking

        Sick of telling time the old way? Spice up your time-telling time with the open-source, hackable and Arduino-based DOTKLOK. Basically, you can get a bunch of different ways to tell time. Different customizable animations will make you proud to show off your hard work the next time someone asks for the time. Speaking of time, it passes in a unique way with numbers and abstract/geometric patterns. It also has classic video games like Pong, Tetris and Pacman, that pretty much makes it sweet in our book.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Webstock: Facebook leads the way with HTML5

      Recordon was in New Zealand for the recent Webstock conference in Wellington, where he spoke about the use of HTML5 at Facebook and later spoke exclusively to Computerworld.

      Two video codecs, H.264 and WebM, have been advanced as candidates for inclusion in HTML5. Each has its pros and cons, says Recordon and the debate has become somewhat heated, “about freedom and what does freedom mean, in terms of can I implement it in open source and is it royalty free, or is it an industry standard and can we collaborate freely on developing it?”

    • China hopes to take lead in int’l hi-tech standards

      China has announced its ambition at the National Standardization Conference held on Feb.24 to take the lead in high-tech international standards. China’s Standardization Administration (SAC) will launch the promotion and applications of some national technologies standards within key countries and regions.


  • Former president of MADD arrested on DUI charge

    A former president of the defunct local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was arrested recently by the Gainesville Police Department on a DUI charge.

  • Consumers Buy Less Tech Stuff, Keep It Longer
  • How to: Uyghur Homestay in Xinjiang

    One of the most asked questions I receive from travelers who will be heading to Xinjiang this next travel season has to do with homestays. Is it possible to do a Uyghur homestay in Xinjiang?

    The answer, thankfully, is YES! There are many places where homestays are offered, including Tuyoq (near Turpan) as well as outside Kashgar. Don’t mistake this with an overnight stay at a Kyrgyz yurt, which is also an incredible experience but not quite the same.

  • Google whacks link farms

    Free whitepaper – The benefits of choosing a Hosted Security Solution

    Google has made a major change to its search algorithms in order to try to scrub more link farm results from appearing near the top of search results.

    The search and advertising giant tweaks results all the time, but said these changes would hit 11.8 per cent of results, and so it wanted people to know what is going on.

  • Dear US gov: Stay the hell out of Silicon Valley

    It will come as no surprise to the largely libertarian technology industry that big government has done little to advance the interests of Silicon Valley. But you might raise your eyebrows at the degree to which the US government is hurting the very people it tries to help.

    As a general rule, Silicon Valley has been happiest when the bureaucrats in Washington, DC stay far away from tech and mostly uninvolved. Ever since the US Justice Department inserted itself into Microsoft’s business practices, however, the tech world has been forced to invest in lobbying federal lawmakers. Just last year, Google increased such spending by 29 percent over 2009.

  • Craigslist A ‘Cesspool Of Crime’? Or Are Bad Reporters A Cesspool Of Repeating Dubious Research?

    Slashdot points us to an article at the “International Business Times,” that reports on a study from the AIM Group which claims that Craigslist is ‘a cesspool of crime.’ Interesting claim. What seems to be totally missing from the IBTimes report is the fact that AIM Group works for Craigslist competitors and, in this case, the “research” was funded by Craigslist wannabe-Oodle. That’s not mentioned in the IBTimes report at all. In fact, the only mention of Oodle in the article is a quote by the CEO of Oodle mocking Craigslis and playing up Oodle… but never mentioning that he paid for the research in question.

  • Security

    • HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr Steps Down

      Embattled CEO Aaron Barr says he is stepping down from his post at HBGary Federal to allow the company to move on after an embarassing data breach.

      The announcement comes three weeks after Barr became the target of a coordinated attack by members of the online mischief making group Anonymous, which hacked into HBGary Federal’s computer network and published tens of thousands of company e-mail messages on the Internet. HBGary did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comments on Barr’s resignation.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Sometimes The Twitter Stream Makes A Funny
    • Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids

      Munyaradzi Gwisai, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s law school, was showing internet videos about the tumult sweeping across North Africa to students and activists last Saturday, when state security agents burst into his office.

    • Castro Pot Bust Goes Awry and a Law Professor Threatens to Sue

      When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for “proceeds” from an illegal marijuana grow.

    • Possible Actions in Libya

      Al Jazeera reports that “conservatives” in USA are recommending “military intervention”. The concern seems to be that this could be a repeat of Iraq.

      There are some similarities but also a lot of differences between Iraq and Libya. In Iraq popular uprisings were dealt harsh blows and were no threat to the Baathist regime. In Libya, opponents to Gaddafi have control of most of the country and are cooperating and it would not be necessary to occupy the country in order to bring down Gaddafi’s regime.

    • US neo-cons urge Libya intervention

      In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to “immediately” prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

    • The Coast Road Past Sirte in Libya

      A blogger reports that anti-Gaddafi forces in Benghazi are heading to Tripoli by avoiding the stronghold of Sirte which guards the coast road along the Mediterranean Sea by travelling hundreds of kilometres to the south. This might be the easiest strategy for forward observers or emergency relief supplies but for a lengthy campaign it would be much wiser to follow the coast road and detour around Sirte much closer to the town.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Data Diving and the Federal Reserve: The Politics of Food and Energy Inflation

      The Federal Reserve has come under strong attack recently for the outbreak in global food and energy price inflation. The ensuing discussion has drawn commentary from Paul Krugman, who favors climate-change and crop failure to explain recent food commodity prices, to various commentary such as today’s WSJ Op-Ed, The Federal Reserve Is Causing Turmoil Abroad. Krugman is a consistent defender of FED policy, and remains sanguine on inflation. The financial community more generally, despite its enthusiasm for the effects of reflationary policy on the stock market, suffers from normalcy bias with regard to commodity prices and is more persuaded by monetary policy’s role in prices.

    • What we need to do to stop the pointless waste of discarded fish

      Discards are disgusting. No-one with any sense can support the catching, killing, and throwing away of fish. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight – which Greenpeace has supported from the outset – has at long last made the waste of perfectly good fish a national outrage. It is a pointless waste of life, and potential resources. It’s abhorrent whether you eat fish or don’t.

  • Wisconsin and Finance

    • Wisconsin Protests, Friday, February 25, 2011
    • Cheeseheads Have Never Been So Chic

      In Washington D.C.: Protesters warn, “What’s happening in Wisconsin will hurt us all.”

    • “We Shall Not Be Moved”

      A large, multi-union coalition gathered near the “Fighting” Bob LaFollette bust on the first floor of the East Gallery in the Wisconsin State Capitol this afternoon. Wearing grey T-shirts with the words “Wisconsin United for Worker’s Rights,” printed in red across an outline of the state sat down and started to sing, “We shall not be moved,” just after the official building shut-down at 4 p.m.

      “We know we have a right to peaceful protest,” said Candice Owley, a Milwaukee nurse with the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. “We don’t believe they should be removing us from the State Capitol.”

      Owley said those in her group planned to follow directions outlined by a grass-root group inside the capitol that this week has been preparing those for today. The goal: to keep the protest peaceful, and allow those who wish to continue to keep vigil in protest of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill to remain in the building.

    • Wisconsin Protests, Saturday, February 26, 2011

      In addition to drumming and dancing, civil disobedience training continued Saturday night as people prepare to be asked to leave the building at 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

    • Prank Koch Call Prompts More Legal Questions

      The section of the tape that has come under the most scrutiny involved Walker’s comments that he considered planting “troublemakers” into the crowd. People on the ground here in Madison were quite aware that the first five days of protests were packed with children. The Madison school district and many surrounding districts were closed. Thousands of elementary school children and their parents marched at the capitol in support of local teachers. On the first day and second days, thousands of high school students walked out on their classes and headed to the capitol. The atmosphere was festive and fun, popcorn stands on the corner and thousands of homemade signs.

      When fake Koch says “We’ll back you any way we can. But what we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.” Walker says: “We thought about that,” but he rejected the idea in case it backfired, but not in the way one might think. He didn’t want to create a ruckus that would “scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has to settle to avoid all these problems.”

    • Boaters baffled by new federal rules, fee

      Many canoeists and kayakers are confused and worried about new federal regulations that re-classify their boats as commercial vessels.

      The Transport Canada regulations, brought in last fall, will require everyone from professional outfitters to people leading recreational boat trips to fill out five separate forms, measure their boat and pay a $50 fee.

      Federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl’s office told CBC News in an email that the department is reviewing the policy, and that “common sense would prevail.” But boaters are still concerned it could affect their summer paddling plans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Today’s News, Brought to You by Your Friends at the CIA

      Now that the revolution is over, Egypt’s newly free press will make a fascinating read—if you happen to know Arabic. How the Libyan crisis plays in the newspapers of oil-rich Azerbaijan might be intriguing, too—if your Azeri is up to snuff.

      If it isn’t—and if your Urdu is as rusty as your Mandarin—you might check out the biggest news service in the U.S. that almost nobody has ever heard of. It’s called World News Connection.

  • Civil Rights

    • Inspiring manifesto from China’s Jasmine revolution

      As Bruce Sterling notes, this manifesto of the Chinese Jasmine revolution (translated by Human Rights in China), “sounds almost identical to the gripes that the impoverished American populace might make to their own leaders. There’s nothing specifically Chinese about these demands.”

    • DOJ gets reporter’s phone, credit card records in leak probe

      A court filing in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets about Iran’s nuclear program provides new details about the extraordinary measures Justice Department prosecutors are using to identify government leakers.

      The former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed “national defense information” to New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • US citizen recalls ‘humiliating’ post-9/11 arrest

      Handcuffed and marched through Washington’s Dulles International Airport in his Muslim clothing, the man with the long, dark beard could only imagine what people were thinking.

      That scene unfolded in March 2003, a year and a half after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One of the four planes hijacked in 2001 took off from Dulles. “I could only assume that they thought I was a terrorist,” Abdullah al-Kidd recalled in an interview with The Associated Press.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Julian Assange applies for a trademark on his own name

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has applied to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office for a trademark on his own name.

        The application, submitted by Assange’s London law firm two weeks ago, covers use of his name in the fields of “Public speaking services; news reporter services; journalism; publication of texts other than publicity texts; education services; entertainment services.”

        It’s not uncommon for those in the public eye to protect their image with such a trademark to help ensure their financial stake in any commercial use of their name or likeness. Given Assange’s high profile in recent months, both as the frontman for WikiLeaks and for the drama surrounding his personal life, this seems like a smart move.

      • Hulk Hogan Sues Car Dealership for Stealing His Catchphrases

        Hogan is suing Southland Imports and Suntrup Automotive Group over a commercial that warns unwary car buyers of getting “body slammed” over bad deals and that invites customers “tired of wrestling for a good deal.” The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Florida District Court alleges that the defendant violated Hogan’s likeness and implied an endorsement by imitating his voice and using his catch phrases.

    • Copyrights

      • Three Pirate Rule

        There are only three exceptions to the Three Pirate Rule:

        1. Don’t do anything illegal.
        2. You can’t allocate party funds (although you can ask for them).
        3. You can’t do anything in Northern Ireland, due to current law. If you’re interested in doing stuff in Northern Ireland, please contact the NEC for more info.

        The NEC receives a lot of requests from members to grant some sort of Official Stamp of Officialness to various initiatives. Hopefully, adopting this rule will make it unnecessary for people to make this sort of request.

      • Court Drops FileSoup BitTorrent Case, Administrators Walk Free

        Two administrators of FileSoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – had their case dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today. The prosecution relied solely on one-sided evidence provided by the anti-piracy group FACT and was not able to build a case. Following the trial of OiNK BitTorrent tracker operator Alan Ellis, the FileSoup case marks the second where UK-based BitTorrent site operators have walked free.

      • 40,000 P2P lawsuits dismissed – bad week for copyright trolls
      • Hollywood Studios Kill ‘Family-Friendly’ DVD Service (Exclusive)

        A coalition of Hollywood studios has scored a victory against a company that has been marketing and distributing films stripped of objectionable content.

      • Roundup: Developments in Righthaven copyright suits

        Has Righthaven been so busy filing and settling lawsuits that it forgot to renew its state business license?

        Its status with the Nevada Secretary of State as of Monday was listed as “default” after the license expired Jan. 31. Net Sortie Systems LLC, Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson’s company that co-owns Righthaven, is also listed as in default.

      • Consumer group wants to tax Netflix to pay for rural broadband

        Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), says Netflix should have to pay into the Universal Service Fund.

        “The Internet is not an infant industry anymore. It can certainly bear the burden of making sure that wires and the communications mediums are there,” Cooper said.

Clip of the Day

Electing a US President in Plain English

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 28/2/2011: Android Tablets Get a Lot Cheaper

Posted in News Roundup at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 193 – Comments Are Off

      This week on Linux Outlaws: Canonical wants Banshee’s donations to Gnome, German Defense Minister steals his PhD together, FSF says Debian not free enough, Nokia has no taste, Alan Cox releases a graphics driver, Microsoft hates copyleft, more about our netbook competition and a lot of other stuff…

  • Ballnux

    • Galaxy Tab slashed to $300 on Xoom’s heels

      A funny thing happens when there’s a bigger and better Android tablet on the market – the one that previously had a stranglehold on the entire industry gets dropped radically in price.

      The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which originally launched at $600 after a mobile service contract subsidy, is now only $300 at Verizon. The timing comes immediately after Motorola’s Xoom tablet came out at nearly the same price as the Galaxy Tab’s initial cost.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.38 EXT4, Btrfs File-System Benchmarks

      Along with finally delivering Intel Gallium3D driver benchmarks comparing this unofficial, proof-of-concept i915/945 Gallium3D driver to Intel’s official classic Mesa driver, there’s also our benchmarks of the EXT4 and Btrfs file-systems from the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. These exclusive tests are coming this weekend as part of OpenBenchmarking.org being publicly available for the first day.

    • Go Benchmark, OpenBenchmarking.org Is Here

      In case you didn’t figure it out from two exclusive benchmarks appearing on a Saturday morning — Intel Gallium3D benchmarks and EXT4/Btrfs on the Linux 2.6.38 kernel — this is to celebrate the availability of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland and OpenBenchmarking.org

    • The OpenBenchmarking.org SCALE Video
    • Making More Informed Linux Hardware Choices

      Matthew Tippett and I talked this weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo on the matter of making more informed Linux hardware choices. While Linux hardware support has come along way, it is not perfect and there are still shortcomings. However, with Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org, which were released in Los Angeles, we believe there are now the capabilities to dramatically enhance the Linux hardware and software experience. These freely available tools are not only a game-changer for Linux, but have the capabilities to impact how projects and organizations handle their Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, and Solaris testing as well.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Overview of Xrandr
      • AMD Opens Up XvBA! Their Catalyst Linux Video API

        Back in 2008 we were the first to thoroughly talk about AMD’s X-Video Bitstream Acceleration (XvBA) API found in their Catalyst Linux driver to expose their UVD2 video engine now under non-Windows operating systems. However, when the XvBA library was made available, it was next to useless since they hadn’t published the documentation or any header files describing this video playback acceleration interface. A year later, in November of 2009, AMD and Splitted Desktop Systems released a VA-API front-end to XvBA so that VA-API multi-media applications could seamlessly use XvBA with the Catalyst driver.

      • Mesa Can Now Be Smaller, Build Faster

        As something of value to more users than Mesa receiving EXT_texture_compression_RGTC support is that the shared DRI core patch has been merged. This results in a significantly smaller package size for Mesa (circa 30MB savings) and results in Mesa building about 13% faster.

      • Intel Gallium3D Graphics Driver Performance

        While Intel remains to be the only major graphics vendor standing strong behind their classic Mesa driver on Linux for open-source support rather than drawing up plans to move to the Gallium3D driver architecture, there is actually available a Gallium3D driver available for Intel hardware. This Intel Gallium3D driver has been around since close to Gallium3D’s inception, but it targets the older generations of Intel IGPs and was developed by VMware as a proof of concept. The driver is incomplete, but our testing shows that for those with Intel 945 netbooks and other hardware, the “i915g” driver is usable. In this article are benchmarks showing how this Intel Gallium3D driver compares to Intel’s officially supported classic Mesa DRI driver.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Slax Community Remix Renamed to Porteus Portable Linux

      Last December I reviewed the Slax Community Remix for Distrowatch. At the time of writing the latest release of this dedicated community of Slax enthusiasts was v09. This now seems to have become the stepping stone on the way to the first official release 1.0 of the new Porteus Project and an updated v09 was released on 13th January. A website has been launched with documentation, FAQ’s and download section as well as a forum. A module library similar to the one Slax is offering is apparently planned to go live in about two weeks from now. Thus the split from Slax, which is dormant at the moment and has not had an official release or update since August 2009, is complete.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Preparing for Fedora’s SXSW Debut

          Fedora is going to have a booth at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interface conference expo in Austin, TX in just a little over a couple of weeks now.

          Why are we going? Well, our plan is on the Fedora wiki, but my main goal in attending is to promote free software to all of the designers (and developers, too!) that will be attending for the interactive conference, and hopefully even drum up in them some interest in getting involved themselves and help them get started.

        • Firefox in a sandbox with Fedora

          There is a really cool utility from the selinux folks called sandbox. It’s lets you run an application inside a sandbox which has limited permissions on the system. The idea being that you could run an untrusted process which shouldn’t be able to cause any real damage. I dare say these days the most untrusted process is a web browser. I know Chrome uses a technology similar to this where each tab gets its own sandbox, but I don’t run Chrome, so my goal is to make Firefox as safe as possible. Plus I’m a paranoid nut, so this sort of thing I find really interesting.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Software Center validating packages quality

          Today I have found bug 712377, it seems that Software Center is going to check packages quality and refuse to install them.

        • The latest Ubuntu Unity: Good or bad?

          It’s almost here. Ubuntu 11.04 will be arriving in less than two months and when it does, there will be reactions. Big reactions. Some of those reactions will not be so great. I took the time to install the latest Ubuntu Unity and thought I should give my reaction to how this new desktop is going to effect the crowds. My overall reaction really surprised even me.

        • G’MIC For GIMP Ubuntu PPA

          G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic Image Converter) is a tool that comes with a lot (more than 190) of pre-defined image filters and effects for GIMP and is available for Window, Linux and Mac OSX.

          The G’MIC Sourceforge page offers .deb files for download, but because new G’MIC versions are released very frequently, it’s a good idea to use a PPA to stay up to date with the latest versions in Ubuntu. Roberto @ LFFL has created such a PPA so you can easily stay up to date with the latest G’MIC for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IcedRobot or Cool Android/Linux

      Either way you slice it, all kinds of Linux-based systems will be running on PCs of all kinds.

    • Navisurfer II brings Ubuntu to your car

      As in-car entertainment systems get increasingly complex, the line between an entertainment and navigation system and a fully-fledged PC blur – and the Navisurfer II UBU-3G destroys the line utterly.

      The latest product from Vic Ltd., the Navisurfer II is a double-DIN (so it takes up two car audio head units) in-car entertainment system that packs an entire PC into the dashboard, powered by the popular open-source Ubuntu Linux distribution.

    • Overthinking Embedded Systems

      I wonder sometimes if we are making things too complex. This is especially important in embedded systems where code size and execution size still matter. The trend has always been to get further away from the hardware, of course. People lamented the introduction of C and then C++ into embedded systems. I myself have railed against using Java as a one-size-fits-all solution. Yet even with these, its often not the tool itself, but bad use of the tool that is the real problem.

      But it does seem to be getting worse. Linux and Unix have long been bastions of combining simple things into beautiful and possibly complex forms. But the community is moving away from that. I use a KDE desktop every day. But the idea that adding metadata tags to my files requires two separate database servers an indexing engine that seems to gobble memory with no constraint and software to manage the ontologies seems a bit much. Worse, its all poorly documented and just kind of “black magic.” To me that was always an advantage of Linux and Unix over more mainstream operating systems was the transparency of what they do, but this isn’t a good example of that being true.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Meego: Can it survive?

          The future for Meego now looks distinctly uncertain, even though Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini insists that nothing has changed. “I don’t see that Nokia changing its strategy changes the industry strategy,” said Otellini during the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

          Otellini said that he fully expects to see Meego in tablet PCs later this year and in other automotive and mobile devices soon after that. He may well believe that a Meego tablet is viable this year but who will provide the hardware? Nokia is now in partnership with Microsoft, HP is forging ahead with its new WebOS strategy, HTC and Samsung have both just introduced Android-based tablet PCs.

          Perhaps Asus or Acer will be the ones to ship Meego devices? Both have previously expressed interest in Meego, but that was in mid-2010 and n

        • How the Nokia-Microsoft Deal Could Boost Linux

          The LiMo Foundation on Monday released LiMo 4, a new release of the platform that offers a number of enhancements.

          Included in LiMo 4 are a flexible and powerful user interface, extended widget libraries, 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, social networking and location-based service frameworks, sensor frameworks, multitasking and multitouch capabilities. With support for scalable screen resolution and consistent APIs, meanwhile, the platform can deliver a consistent user experience across a broad range of device types and form factors, LiMo says.

      • Android

        • Xoom/Honeycomb launch impressions (spoilers: it’s not all goodness and light)

          Like many tech geeks out there who has yet to climb the ranks of tech journalism enough to get to go fancy places, I walked over to my local Verizon store on Xoom launch day to check out the Xoom tablet. It was my first experience with the tablet, and my first experience with Honeycomb.

        • Android Market Listed in the Android Market, Paradox Ensues

          Take a minute to mosey on over to the Androidify page at the Android Market website. Peak under at the “More from Developer” heading. Notice anything strange? A link to an Android Market page for the Android Market. Alas, clicking that link brings us to a “Not Found” page. We won’t be downloading the Android Market from the Android Market anytime soon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Linux Workshop Scheduled At OU-Z

      ZANESVILLE — Linux is a free operating system developed by volunteers across the world who think users should be able to view and modify the source code of their software, as well as share improvements with one another.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome alone?

        One of the most interesting projects announced last year, for my money at least, was Google Chrome OS. This was, as you probably know, Google’s signal of intent that it was going head first into the operating system market, having found a niche in which it figured it could make an impact.

        Its thinking was smart, too. It targeted the then burgeoning netbook market, coming up with a fast, quick-booting operating system that stored everything you needed in the cloud. When it was first demonstrated, and Google showed a portable machine booting to a working desktop in under ten seconds, I wanted to get cracking with the OS right there and then.

    • Mozilla


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikimedia presents its five-year strategic plan

      I am very pleased to present the summary report of the Wikimedia Foundation’s five-year strategic plan: our first-ever such plan, developed through a transparent collaborative process involving more than a thousand participants during 2009 and 2010.

    • Open Data

      • Open information

        Although «open data» and iRail are often mentioned in the same sentence, they are no synonyms. In fact, we don’t even want to provide open data! It’s not a goal of the non profit organisation (NPO) to provide datadumps or sublicense data that might be copyrighted. We are also not going to redistribute already available datasets. Let’s get this misconception out of the way…

      • Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?

        In 1964, Richard Muller, a 20-year-old graduate student with neat-cropped hair, walked into Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, and joined a mass protest of unprecedented scale. The activists, a few thousand strong, demanded that the university lift a ban on free speech and ease restrictions on academic freedom, while outside on the steps a young folk-singer called Joan Baez led supporters in a chorus of We Shall Overcome. The sit-in ended two days later when police stormed the building in the early hours and arrested hundreds of students. Muller was thrown into Oakland jail. The heavy-handedness sparked further unrest and, a month later, the university administration backed down. The protest was a pivotal moment for the civil liberties movement and marked Berkeley as a haven of free thinking and fierce independence.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No.16 Sept-Dec 2010

        Welcome to the sixteenth Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter! For a plain text version for email please see Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter No. 16 – on our main okfn-announce list.

      • 80 Open Education Resource (OER) Tools for Publishing and Development Initiatives

        Many Open Education Resources (OER) that have been introduced by governments, universities, and individuals within the past few years. OERs provide teaching and learning materials that are freely available and offered online for anyone to use. Whether you’re an instructor, student, or self-learner, you have access to full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, assignments, quizzes, activities, games, simulations, and tools to create these components.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • World Blind Union withdraws participation

    The feeling at the WBU seems to be that they get talked to death by the diplomates…

  • WBU suspends participation in WIPO & EU Stakeholder discussions, pending agreement at WIPO on legal framework

    On February 26, 2011, the World Blind Union issued a statement announcing it would “suspend participation in the WIPO Stakeholder Platform and EU Stakeholder Dialogue projects, pending agreement at WIPO on a proper binding legal framework.” [See full statement below]. The WBU statement is expected to dramatically change the environment for considering a new WIPO treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

    KEI welcomes the WBU suspension of its participation in the WIPO and EU Stakeholder projects. In our opinion, the publishers have used the private stakeholder discussions to undermine work on a treaty, and to shrink the rights of persons with disabilities. Now scarce time, attention, resources and ambitions can be focused on the more important historic effort to obtain a treaty to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

  • Publishers Slowly Warm to Library E-lending

    Can libraries continue their role as lenders when books are in digital form? While library executives are set on the idea, at least some book publishers seem to still be wary of having libraries circulate electronic copies of their books to multiple parties, even with controls in place.

    As sales figures of electronic books and periodicals start to approach those of their print counterparts, the question arises: should libraries lend electronic books out for the Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook? Digital books are overwhelmingly easy to purchase — the reader need not leave the comfort of an armchair to do so. So does the world still need libraries?

  • Missouri Legislator Wants to Increase Child Labor

    Missouri state senator Jane Cunningham is making an unusual plea for parents’ rights in the face of a supposed nanny state: she says the state’s “so over the top” child labor laws are preventing parents from teaching their kids a decent work ethic of the type that helped her sons work and buy cars as teens.

  • A Fifteenth Century Technopanic About The Horrors Of The Printing Press

    Honestly, it sounds like a near perfect 15th century version of Nick Carr. Carr loves books, but frets about what the internet is doing to our appreciation of books. But, of course, this all seems to come back to Douglas Adams’ famous saying, which I’ll paraphrase: everything that exists before you were born is just normal, the way things should be. Everything that is invented from your birth until you’re about thirty is cool and neat and innovative. And everything invented after you’re thirty is “against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.”

  • Cloud Wars Baffle Simmering Cyber Lawyers

    Like their celestial counterparts, cyber clouds are unpredictable and ever-changing. The Motorola Xoom tablet arrived on Tuesday. The Apple iPad II arrives next week. Just as Verizon finally boasts its own iPhone, AT&T turns the tables with the Motorola Atrix running on the even faster growing Google Android platform. Meanwhile, Nokia declares its once-mighty Symbian platform ablaze and abandons ship for a new mobile partnership with Microsoft.

  • Court Ruling Opens Up Terrorism to International Prosecution

    The UN tribunal investigating the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has ruled that acts of terrorism can be prosecuted under international law. The decision will have far-reaching legal implications, but could also increase political turmoil in Lebanon and cause the Hariri case to collapse.

    Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can already be prosecuted in an international court. Now terrorism is set to be added to the list of crimes which can be prosecuted under international law, thanks to a groundbreaking new court ruling.

  • The facebook problem

    Facebook has obtained more than $500M from investors to grow facebook.com to the size it is today, and has not taken a single penny from any of its users. In order to pay back the investors for their extraordinary risky investment, the investors must be looking for something like 10x cash back. That’s more than $5 billion! Of course it’s currently valued at over $50B. Just hold that thought for a second.

    Now a second thought: billions of people can use email and not have to be part of one, single, organisation. How can that be?

    Email is essentially a protocol. It’s called SMTP and is described by various RFCs. Any server that supports the SMTP protocol can advertise its MX record via DNS and receive email for that domain. Any client that ‘talks’ SMTP can send email to any SMTP server (it can reach). In fact, the SMTP client (or email client) can talk to its local SMTP server which will then forward on the email to its final destination.

    This is, of course, a distributed system. Due to an open protocol anybody can set up an email server and play in the big email ecosystem. Of course, the original inventors of the SMTP protocol didn’t envisage SPAM as we know it, and thus it was designed for a naive, friendly, co-operative world, where email users wouldn’t spam each other. i.e. academia.

  • Science

    • Darpa’s Cheetah-Bot Designed to Chase Human Prey

      Perhaps you thought the four-legged BigDog robot wasn’t eerily lifelike enough. That’ll change soon. BigDog’s makers are working on a new quadruped that moves faster than any human and is agile enough to “chase and evade.”

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • What the Libyans Want

      UK flew in a military transport to pick up oil-workers without formal authorization. More countries need to demonstrate that kind of initiative. If you are going to fly in a transport, ship in some supplies while you’re at it. Properly supplied, the Libyans can deal with Gaddafi.

    • Protesters say Egypt military used force to disperse them

      Egyptian soldiers fired in the air and used batons in the early hours of Saturday to disperse activists demanding the cabinet appointed by Hosni Mubarak be purged by the country’s new military leaders, protesters said.

      Thousands had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate two weeks since Mubarak’s removal and remind the country’s new rulers, who have promised to guard against “counter revolution” of the people’s power.

    • Bangladeshi MP ‘tortured’ by British-trained paramilitary unit

      A Bangladeshi MP who has been been behind bars for more than two months after allegedly being detained and tortured by a paramilitary unit trained by the British government has given a harrowing account of his mistreatment in a letter from prison.

    • As Libya uprising reaches Tripoli Gaddafi vows to ‘open up the arsenals’

      Libyan exiles said that a reported rebellion by military personnel at Tripoli’s Mitiga air base was linked to calls by air force officers in the liberated eastern city of Benghazi to come out against the regime. Analysts believe defections from the military are likely to prove more decisive than actual fighting as the nine-day uprising enters what may be its final phase.

    • 46 arrested in Zimbabwe for ‘planning uprising’

      Lawyers for 46 people facing treason charges for allegedly plotting an Egyptian-style uprising said yesterday that some of the group’s members were tortured by police.

      Alec Muchadehama, a defence lawyer, told a Harare court that 12 suspects said they were beaten with broomsticks.

      Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered the suspects be given medical examinations before a hearing on Monday.

    • Most charges dropped against G20 accused in jail since last June

      A computer security expert arrested on G20-related charges has had all but two of the charges against him dropped.

      Byron Sonne, who appeared in court at Old City Hall on Feb. 22, has been in jail since last June.

    • G20: The Untold Stories

      They were the most unlikely of troublemakers. There were thousands of ordinary citizens on the streets at Toronto G20 Summit marching peacefully until the police closed in and shut them down. Many had gone downtown simply to see what was going on, only to find themselves forcibly dragged away by police and locked up for hours in a makeshift detention center without timely access to lawyers or medical treatment.

    • Majority of G20 charges against security consultant Byron Sonne dropped

      The majority of the charges against security consultant Byron Sonne, whose arrest garnered national attention in the days before last summer’s G20 summit, have been dropped.

      After eight days of a preliminary hearing that ended this week, the presiding judge saw fit to proceed with just one of the six initial charges against Mr. Sonne, along with one additional charge recommended by the Crown.

    • Same old story — eight months later

      Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told the CBC’s the fifth estate Friday his officers were not given orders during the G20 to change the original stand down approach to become more aggressive after their police cars were set ablaze.

      “Not that I’m aware of, and certainly not that I gave,” Blair told reporter Gillian Findlay, adding, though, “I think there certainly was a change in the police response.”

      We still don’t know who gave them?

    • Spain to probe Guantanamo torture claims

      A Spanish court Friday agreed to investigate a complaint by a Moroccan who said he was tortured while in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, judicial sources said.

      The National Court said it was competent to take the case as the complainant, Lahcen Ikassrien, has been living in Spain for 13 years.

    • Major Yemen tribes join protesters

      Pressure on Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, to resign has increased after the leaders of two of the country’s most important tribes abandoned the president and joined the anti-government movement.

      Tribal leaders, including those of the Hashid and Baqil, pledged on Saturday to join protests against Saleh at a gathering north of Sanaa, the capital.

      “I have announced my resignation from the General People’s Congress in protest at the repression of peaceful demonstrators in Sanaa, Taez and Aden,” said Hashid tribal chief Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, in reference to the ruling party.

    • Lawmaker condemns question about shooting Obama

      A Georgia Republican said Friday he didn’t immediately condemn a constituent who asked about assassinating President Barack Obama because he was stunned by the question and didn’t want to dignify it with a response.

      Rep. Paul Broun, a conservative who has harshly criticized the president, confirmed that at a town hall event in Oglethorpe County, Ga., on Tuesday a man asked, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

    • Freedom protests spread to North Korea

      Popular protests launched by Anonynmous in Tunisia and which have since spread across North Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula have now reach North Korea.

    • No Protesters, but Beijing Police Sweep Streets of Bystanders, Journalists

      While effective, the Chinese government didn’t leave crowd control solely in the hands of the Department of Public Works. I was there for an hour and I haven’t seen that many police in one place since the Olympics in 2008.

      Most of the cops seemed alternately bored and annoyed, and with little else to do they started clashing with the other group well-represented this afternoon: the foreign press corps.

    • Fake Western Media Coverage Of Jasmine Revolution In China

      The website anti-CNN came into being because of the western media reporting about the Lhasa riots. Here is a post from the anti-CNN BBS about some western media coverage of the so-called Jasmine Revolution in China. It is actually not difficult to find these fake photos. You being with a suspicious-looking photo (e.g. people marching down on a major thoroughfare when it is known that the Jasmine Revolution demonstrations were sparsely attended gatherings in front of McDonald’s or Starbucks), you use a photo-identification site such as TinEye and you’ve scored again!

    • China’s jasmine revolution: police but no protesters line streets of Beijing

      Police in Beijing and other cities mounted a major show of force following an anonymous call for protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings.

      A US journalist was punched and kicked in the face and more than a dozen other journalists manhandled, detained or delayed as they covered the events which revealed official anxiety over similar protests against authoritarian rule in China.

    • Tyler Durden and the Anonymous uprisings

      I’ve been quoting him lately in respect to the Anonymous-inspired uprisings which are shaking the world, particularly in the Middle East.

      There’s a great post in Digital Trends which relates how an Anonymous V for Vendetta mask was mysteriously superimposed over Stephen Colbert’s face during a Colbert Report.

    • Guest Report: Return of the Saudi King!

      In Saudi, the most troublesome case has been Bahrain, because of its geographical proximity and close family ties and above all because most of the protesters are Shiites whereas the Power Regime in Bahrain is Sunni. The Shiites are an important part of the population in the Eastern Region of Saudi (on the Arabian/Persian Gulf facing Iran) and the Saudis (dominated by the Sunni branch of Islam) have much sensitivity about Iranian influences through Shiism translating itself into anti-Sunni unrest. Bahrain seemed to have the potential to quickly tip off a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi in the region, in the same way that Shiite/Sunni contests have vexed the development of a new government infrastructure in Iraq. Most Saudis I know point to Iran as the source of the problems in Bahrain: apparently Iranian sympathizers (who are also Shiites) have been the main instigators for the demonstrations.

    • BREAKING: Wisconsin Police Have Joined Protest Inside State Capitol

      From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey reports:

      “Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”

      Ryan reported on his Facebook page earlier today:

      “Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal.”

    • Wisconsin cops for the win

      Yesterday afternoon, hundreds of cops marched into the Wisconsin Capitol Building, where Wisconsinites have spent more than a week protesting their governor’s plan to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees.

    • Libya unravels — and the Brits suddenly discover an evil dictator

      It has been a busy month for Britons, with Foreign Secretary William Hague’s whirlwind three-day tour of Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, UAE and Bahrain (Feb. 8 to 10, with Mubarak not gone yet) and Prime Minister David Cameron’s just-concluded tour of Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. The ramifications of thinking behind these self-conscious diplomatic exercises in a region vital to their interests seem strange indeed, to the uninitiated.

    • Truth hard to find in US-Pakistan war of words over Raymond Davis

      A storm of media speculation has enveloped the case of Raymond Davis, the CIA official charged with murder in Pakistan, as officials from both countries seek to shape public opinion in an increasingly fraught diplomatic and legal standoff.

      Since it emerged this week that Davis, who shot two people on a busy street last month, was a working spy, Pakistan’s media has been gripped by lurid stories portraying him as a dangerous provocateur.

    • Why Is TeleSur a Flop? Look No Farther than Its Libya Coverage

      As a student of rebellion and resistance, when people rise up I pay attention, study and try to learn as much as possible. Humans are at our most creative when we rebel and the moments when many do it all at once are the great engines of innovation, invention and evolution. Any man, woman or child of any age who participates in a grand and successful revolt is forever changed and liberated by the experience. He and she are no longer so easily enslaved or cowered by fear. Rebellions against injustice and tyranny are the single best catalyst through which people become our better selves and fulfill our most human of destinies. For eighteen days in January and February 2011 the Egyptian people, especially its youths, treated the world to a lesson in civics. Their successful toppling of the thirty year dictator Hosni Mubarak was the very best kind of rebellion because it was disciplined, it was strategically and tactically executed, and the population understood that the justice and freedom it craved would not be found in bloody retribution against the sectors (most demonstrably in Egypt, the Armed Forces) that had propped up the regime, but in peeling those sectors’ support away from it.

    • Arab uprisings mark a turning point for the taking

      In the late 1940s, Simone de Beauvoir was already bemoaning our tendency to “think that we are not the master of our destiny; we no longer hope to help make history, we are resigned to submitting to it”. By the late 70s such regret, repackaged as celebration, had become the stuff of a growing consensus. By the late 80s, we were told that history itself had come to an end. The sort of history that ordinary people might make was to fade away within a “new world order”, a world in which a narrow set of elites would control all the main levers of power.

    • This is an Arab 1848. But US hegemony is only dented

      The refusal of the people to kiss or ignore the rod that has chastised them for so many decades has opened a new chapter in the history of the Arab nation. The absurd, if much vaunted, neocon notion that Arabs or Muslims were hostile to democracy has disappeared like parchment in fire.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange plea after extradition defeat: ‘Make this case bigger than me’

      In an impassioned denunciation of a mechanism that “drags people off to an uncertain destiny” on the basis of no more than “a two-page form filled out by a member of the bureaucracy”, Assange appealed to his supporters to challenge the system of European arrest warrants (EAWs), by which extradition requests are fast-tracked between EU member states.

    • Assange Extradition Reveals Total Hypocrisy & Political Bias Of British Justice
    • Wikileaks Peru: US feared Indigenous power

      Wikileaks releases from Peru once again reveal the pro-copper mining and anti-Indigenous sentiment of the US Embassy in Lima.

      Former US Ambassador Curtis Struble in Peru expresses fear that Indigenous may once again govern Peru. Struble is again on the look-out for Venezuela’s “meddling,” and again is tracking Indigenous activists.
      This time, on the US watch list, is Aymara activist Felipe Quispe of Bolivia, leader of Pachakuti Indigenous Movement, according to the June 19, 2007 cable.
      In one of six cables released Friday, Feb. 25, from Lima, Ambassador Struble writes of the regions of Peru. He said the southern highland province of Puno has an “affinity for far-left radicalism.” Struble fears Venezuela is involved here and fears the movement of Bolivarism.

    • Openleaks: Timid in the face of power?

      WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange’s leadership and character in a series of allegations.

      Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.

      Domscheit-Berg told AFP that Assange would “boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world” and that Assange’s “main criterion for a woman was simple. She had to be young. Preferably younger than 22.” He also accuses Assange as being power-obsessed.

    • The Julian Assange Conspiracy – Networks, power and activism

      The object of Wikileaks is to dismantle the conspiracies that, according to its founder, rule the world. But what is a conspiracy and are you part of one? According to Assange, it’s possible to be a member of conspiracy without even knowing that you are. This week, we look at Julian Assange’s political philosophy and his view of the world as a network of conspiracies.

    • Glenn Greenwald on the Assange Extradition Ruling, the Jailing of Bradley Manning, and the Campaign to Target WikiLeaks Supporters

      A British judge ruled today that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual crimes. Assange plans to appeal within 10 days. His defense team had argued against the extradition, in part by citing the potential he could wind up being extradited to the United States and prosecuted for publishing classified government documents, a crime that could result in the death penalty.

    • WikiLeaks: Cat’s Cradle in Colombia

      To get a sense of just how inter­con­nected the for­mal and illicit dimen­sions of inter­na­tional polit­i­cal econ­omy are, take a peek at this brief cable from the US embassy in Bogota pub­lished by Wik­iLeaks Sunday.

      The cable details then-Ambassador William Woods’ hunt for two miss­ing heli­copters that had orig­i­nally been sold to the Israeli mil­i­tary by the United States gov­ern­ment, but had some­how ended up in the hands of mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Enilse Lopez, a busi­ness­woman that was sus­pected of close ties to Colom­bian paramilitaries.

      The curi­ous his­tory of the heli­copters is in itself instruc­tive. The two Hughes 500 mil­i­tary grade chop­pers were sold to the Israeli gov­ern­ment in the early 1980s, but grounded about fif­teen years later when they were con­verted for civil­ian use. The heli­copters were then sold in 2002 to the Cana­dian multi­na­tional media firm CANWEST, which strangely never had the air­craft moved out­side Israeli ter­ri­tory. The next year, the cor­po­ra­tion sold the heli­copters to a Mex­i­can aero­nau­ti­cal com­pany, that shipped the pair to Miami under phony export and air­wor­thi­ness doc­u­men­ta­tion sup­pos­edly issued by the Israeli government.

    • No transparency over nukes, China tells US

      China will not accept limits put on its defence capabilities and has rejected United States overtures to become more transparent about its nuclear arsenal, Wikileaks data reveals.

      Fairfax newspapers say data in secret defence consultations between the US and China shows high ranking officials in the Asian nation have said there can be no limit to Beijing’s nuclear arsenal.

      In June 2008 the deputy chief of China’s People’s Liberation Army General Staff, Ma Xiaotian, told the US: “It is impossible for (China) to change its decades-old way of doing business to become transparent using the US model.

    • The WikiLeaks Threat
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • It’s time to end Canada’s billion-dollar handout to big oil and coal

      After two years of stimulus spending and years of tax cuts, Canada’s debt has ballooned to $56 billion. Now the Harper government is sharpening the axe. Who will feel the cut? Given the Conservative’s position on social spending, they will likely focus on provincial transfers that support healthcare and social welfare.

      Meanwhile, the federal government subsidizes oil companies to the tune of $1.4 billion every year, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It’s more if you factor in other fossil fuels such as coal. If the government is looking for ways to pay down the debt, ending fossil fuel subsidies in the 2011-12 budget is a good place to start.

    • Chimpanzee meat discovered in British restaurants and market stalls as officials uncover illegal bushmeat

      Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain, it has emerged.

      Trading standards officials uncovered the illegal bushmeat from the endangered species whilst testing samples believed to be seized from vendors in the Midlands.

    • Maybe no one cares about climate change because we’re wired for extinction

      In my unending (and thus far, I have to confess, largely fruitless) attempts to figure out why Americans aren’t more alarmed about climate change, one of the more intriguing ideas I’ve heard recently was put to me by a psychologist named Andrew Shatté.

      Shatté, a professor at the University of Arizona, is best known for his work on resilience — the ability of humans to deal with adversity. His thesis on climate change, in a nutshell, is that we are hardwired for extinction. He compares us to the Irish elk, which went extinct about 11,000 years ago. The male of that species evolved to grow big antlers — I mean really gargantuan antlers, racks up to 12 feet wide, designed for the usual reasons of aggression, defense, and sexual display. Over time, the antlers got so big that the elk couldn’t consume enough calories to sustain their growth, so instead the antlers began to feed in auto-parasitic fashion on the calcium in the animals’ bones. If galloping osteoporosis didn’t kill them, they got their antlers impossibly tangled up in the overhead branches and starved to death.

    • Obama’s $36 Billion Nuke Giveaway

      Barack Obama’s 2012 budget marks a major escalation in the nuclear war against a green-powered future, whose advocates are already fighting back.

      Amidst massive budget cuts for social and environmental programs, Obama wants $36 billion in loan guarantees for a reactor industry that cannot secure sufficient private “marketplace” financing for new construction.

    • Climate change halves Peru glacier: official

      A glacier on Peru’s Huaytapallana Moutain shed half its surface ice in just 23 years, officials said Wednesday, reinforcing concerns of climate change’s growing threat to fresh water resources.

      “Recent scientific studies indicate that between June 1983 and August 2006, the glacier has lost 50 percent of its surface ice,” Erasmo Meza, manager of natural resources and the environment in the central Andean region of Junin, told the official Andina news agency.

    • ‘Zero-carbon’ homes can still emit CO2

      Newly built houses will be allowed to emit tons of CO2 every year and still be called “zero carbon” under new rules being considered by ministers.

      In five years time, all new homes built in the UK were expected to be carbon neutral, using technology such as wind turbines, solar panels and ground-source heat pumps. But guidance drawn up for the Housing minister, Grant Shapps, now suggests that some developments will only have to achieve 50 per cent carbon reductions from present rules to qualify.

    • Australia unveils plans for a fixed carbon price

      Australia’s government launched a third attempt on Thursday to make carbon polluters pay for their emissions, unveiling plans for a fixed-price scheme from 2012 and vowing not to surrender this time in the face of fierce opposition.

      Prime minister Julia Gillard, whose predecessor, Kevin Rudd, stood down last year after two failed attempts to address climate change, said polluters would pay a yet-to-be-determined fixed price from July 2012, then move to a market-based system within five years.

    • Must-Read NY Times Story On Gas Fracking Reveals Radioactive Wastewater Threat

      An incredible piece just broke in the New York Times showing that hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale is drawing huge amounts of radioactivity up from the earth with the fracking fluids, often going straight through a municipal waste water treatment plant and then dumped into rivers — above public drinking water intake locations. The piece proves that EPA knows this is going on, and that it is likely illegal.

    • “Growth can’t go on”

      To have any hope of protecting Earth’s resources, we must first abandon our obsession with economic expansion, argues Viki Johnson.

    • Top medical groups warn Americans of health risks posed by climate change

      The following top health and medical experts came together Thursday to alert us of the serious health threats posed by carbon pollution and to remind us of the necessity of the EPA in protecting our air, water, and health, on a briefing call hosted by the American Public Health Association (APHA)

  • Finance

    • Why are America’s largest corporations paying no tax?

      Inspired by the UK Uncut movement, Americans are taking to the street, asking why they’re being asked to tighten their belts when the largest corporations in the country are paying no tax at all…

    • How Timidity in Washington Wrecked the Economy

      We now have even more evidence that inept policies from Washington are causing enormous suffering across the country. It is not quite the line that the right-wingers are pushing. The new evidence is that the stimulus worked and was in fact more effective than had been predicted.

      The new evidence comes in the form of a study by two Dartmouth professors, James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote. Past estimates of the impact of the stimulus on jobs and the economy relied on simply plugging the tax breaks and spending into standard macro models and reporting the predicted effect. In this sense, the impact of the stimulus was actually built into the model. However this new study directly measures the impact of stimulus spending on employment across states, comparing the number of jobs created to the amount of spending.

    • The NO2AV campaign lies about AV and is a front for the Conservative Party and big business

      There is not one true claim about AV on the NO2AV website – see below for their four biggest lies about AV and to find out how AV works. While we know 95% of the ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ campaign funding comes from the Electoral Reform Society and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, the NO2AV campaign refuse to say who funds them.

      There are some pretty obvious clues though. The head of the NO2AV campaign Matthew Elliot, doubled as founder of the ‘Taxpayers’ Alliance (which he’ll probably return to after the AV referendum is over). The Taxpayers’ Alliance is funded by the same wealthy business-people who fund the Conservative party and has a director who doesn’t pay any tax in the UK.

    • Enlisting Prison Labor to Close Budget Gaps

      There are, of course, concerns about public safety and competition with government or private workers. Professor Horn estimates that only 20 percent of inmates present a low enough security threat to work in public. And in some places, even financially struggling governments are not willing to take the risk of employing prisoners.

    • UK Uncut inspires US groups to attack cuts and tax avoidance

      Hundreds of activists in the US are planning to take part in a day of direct action in a move inspired by Britain’s fast growing protest group.

      US Uncut groups have sprung up from New York to Hawaii in the last three weeks and activists will demonstrate against government cuts and corporate tax avoidance in more than 50 cities on Saturday.

    • Cost of living crisis pushes ‘squeezed middle’ off the housing ladder

      People on low to middle incomes are facing a “perfect economic storm”, which is cutting their living standards and dramatically reducing their ability to buy their own homes, new research will show this week.

      The independent Resolution Foundation is to launch a major inquiry into living standards among the so-called “squeezed middle”, having identified economic trends – in existence since the 1970s – that have led wages for this income group to grow at a slower rate than the economy.

      The foundation, which aims to improve the lot of 11.1 million people, will reveal evidence that home ownership is slipping out of the reach of those living in households with below-median earnings.

    • Tell Democratic Leadership: Don’t cave to Republican extremists on the budget.

      It’s breathtaking to think that the Republicans would risk a government shutdown because Democrats won’t unilaterally capitulate to their demands for concessions in some of the most intractable ideological wars of our time.

      But last week the House passed and sent to the Senate for consideration an extremist’s wish list under the guise of the “Continuing Resolution.” The Continuing Resolution (CR) is a must-pass bill that is necessary to maintain funding for the federal government while Congress debates the 2011 budget.

    • Pay Down the Deficit with Inheritance Taxes

      The solution to America’s budget deficit is obvious; make the dead pay. Afterall, the dead are dead and they don’t care.

      Think about it. Who caused the budget deficit? Who voted for these outrageous entitlements? Who milked social security and Medicare while they were alive? The dead, of course.

      The current inheritance tax is outside down. It exempts the first $5 million of a dead person’s estate and then taxes the excess. Instead, the government should be recovering the dead person’s share of the budget deficit first.

    • BP claim threatens to reignite corporate tax row

      The oil company wants repayment of £300m stamp duty tax it paid when it took over Atlantic Richfield in 1999

    • Disgraced MP Eric Illsley ‘coping’ in jail, says wife

      The wife of former Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley has said her husband is “coping” in prison after being jailed for a year for expenses fraud.

      Illsley was sentenced earlier this month after admitting falsely claiming £14,000 for his second home.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sarah Palin Has Secret ‘Lou Sarah’ Facebook Account To Praise Other Sarah Palin Facebook Account

      Sarah Palin has apparently created a second Facebook account with her Gmail address so that this fake “Lou Sarah” person can praise the other Sarah Palin on Facebook. The Gmail address is available for anyone to see in this leaked manuscript about Sarah Palin, and the Facebook page for “Lou Sarah” — Sarah Palin’s middle name is “Louise” — is just a bunch of praise and “Likes” for the things Sarah Palin likes and writes on her other Sarah Palin Facebook page. “Lou Sarah” even says “amen” to Facebook posts by Sarah Sarah. UPDATE (2/23): The “Lou Sarah” account has been taken down.

    • Tobacco firms accused of funding campaign to keep cigarettes on display

      A shopkeepers’ trade body that has helped to persuade scores of MPs to oppose a ban on cigarette displays has been accused by its members of being a puppet of the tobacco industry.

      The National Federation of Retail Newsagents, which represents 16,500 shopkeepers, has emerged as an important player in the debate over whether “power walls” – behind-the-counter displays of cigarettes – should be banned.

  • Censorship

    • New Mortal Kombat banned in Australia

      Australia’s content classification regulator has banned the highly anticipate remake of the classic Mortal Kombat video game series from being sold in Australia, deeming the game’s violence outside the boundaries of the highest MA15+ rating which video games can fall under.

    • How The Indian Government Plans To Regulate Online Content & Blogs

      As a part of the rules being finalized to supplement India’s Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, rules are being included that will indirectly allow the Indian government to control content being published on the Internet. This is hardly surprising: last week, at the CII Content Summit, three government functionaries – Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Ambika Soni, TRAI Chief JS Sarma and I&B Secretary Raghu Menon, had all mentioned concerns about content on the Internet, even as they tried to downplay content regulation:

      - Sarma said that “How do you control the Internet? That is baffling and challenging, and it is fraught with issues of freedom and security. Security in terms of physical security and others. This will have to be studied over the course of next few months or the next year or so.”

    • WikiLeaks: Mario Montoya and Colombian False Positives

      When Major Gen­eral Mario Mon­toya Uribe was appointed com­man­der of the Colom­bian army in March of 2006, the US embassy in Bogota was largely unaware of his back­ground and bona fides. The Amer­i­can ambas­sador to Colom­bia at the time, William Wood, reported in a cable Wik­iLeaked on Fri­day, that rel­a­tively lit­tle was known about Mon­toya aside from his many dec­o­ra­tions as a career mil­i­tary man, his close per­sonal rela­tion­ship with then-president Alvaro Uribe, and per­sis­tent but as yet unsub­stan­ti­ated rumors that the com­man­der was cor­rupt and tied to con­ser­v­a­tive para­mil­i­tary forces through­out the country.

      Lit­tle was Wood aware that Montoya’s cor­rup­tion and para­mil­i­tary ties would prove to be the least of his offenses. By the time he was relieved of his com­mand eigh­teen months later, Mon­toya was widely per­ceived to be a dri­ving force behind the breath­tak­ingly hor­rific deal­ings of mil­i­tary per­son­nel in the fight against drug– and guerilla-related inter­nal disturbances.

  • Privacy

    • Swiss Officials Order Citizens to Wear Masks in Public – Ban Tourists Posting Photos on Web

      In a bold move to demonstrate that the Swiss government is as serious about privacy for its citizens as it has historically been regarding the protection of illicit foreign assets in Swiss bank accounts, the head of the newly created Switzerland Federal Department of Facial Anonymity, Nicolas J. Biellmann, today issued a preliminary order requiring that all Swiss citizens wear “full head coverage” masks at all times when outside their homes or places of business within the borders of Switzerland.

      This groundbreaking move, being enthusiastically supported by radical pro-privacy groups in Switzerland and around the world, comes on the heels of previous Swiss orders that search giant Google must obscure every single human face — even if this must be done manually — that appears in their “Street View” images, or else potentially terminate Street View services for Switzerland.

    • Google-Unique Names

      My name is not. According to the database How Many of Me, which calculates the likely incidence of first/last name combinations, 1,000 other guys in the US have my name, Kevin Kelly. I think that is a major undercount because I personally have met dozens of others with my name, surely only a fraction of those born with it. A website set up as a clearing house for all the Kevin Kellys on the web lists nearly one hundred people with my name, which can’t possibly be one tenth of those named.

  • Civil Rights

    • Iran’s Green Movement Died

      When we look at the first backlashes to the Charter of Green Movement we simply realize that Iran’s Green Movement has died . In fact, a new movement was born after Feb 14th. We could call this new movement “Real Change Movement” or “Civil Revolutionary Movement” or simply “Iranian Movement”. The outside world should stop using of ‘Green Movement’ term for referring to ‘Iranian Movement’. What Mousavi and his team have said in the Charter of Green Movement was totally unacceptable for many Iranians and showed the end and death of the Green Movement.

    • Iran used Tear Gas or Poison Gas?

      According to the three individuals, when they returned home after exposure to the tear gas, they suffered symptoms such as severe nausea, vomiting blood, and loss of voice and their symptoms have not yet subsided … I know of three people who are suffering from pains which were unprecedented as compared to the previous occasions. One of them had severe nausea and vomited blood, to the point where he was seen by a doctor and has had to take tests. One of them continues to have no voice through today and cannot be heard even 10 centimeters away. All three are suffering from severe muscular pains and cramps.

    • The Media and Iranian Protests

      Today many Iranians say: ‘We are so abandoned and isolated. The world has ignored us.’ Compared to the Egyptian protests, the media, especially Western mass media, have took different approach to the Iranian protests. Some of them deliberately ignored the Iranian protests, some of them had not access to the Iranian news, and some of them wanted to obey the regime’s orders. As Wall Street Journal approved, the regime’s Ministry of Information has sent a letter to foreign media offices in Tehran warning that their bureaus would be shut down and their reporters deported if they wrote ‘negative articles’ surrounding the opposition protests.

    • HamedNour-Mohammadi, a student of Shiraz University, slain in popular uprising in Shiraz by the mullahs’ regime

      NCRI – HamedNour-Mohammadi, aBiology student in Shiraz University, was murdered by the criminal agents of the Iranian regime on Sunday, February 20 during the valiant uprising of people of Shiraz only because of his protest against the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. The mullahs’ murderers threw down this young student from the pedestrian bridge causing his death due to being hit by a car.

    • Habeas hell: How the Great Writ was gutted at Guantánamo

      Andy Worthington analyzes how the Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions have been rendered meaningless by judges and the Obama administration.

    • On Wisconsin and America

      Right now, the flashpoint in this controversy is Wisconsin, where tens of thousands of people are demonstrating every day in an effort to block Governor Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining rights for public employees.

    • Koch Brothers “Prank” No Laughing Matter

      As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, the Koch PAC not only spent $43,000 directly on Walker’s race, but Koch personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association which spent $5 million in the state. Besides the Governor, the Koch brothers have other “vested interests” in the state.

    • Reporter’s phone, bank and travel records seized as hunt for whistleblowers is stepped up

      As the fallout from the Wikileaks revelations rumble on, new details have emerged of the extraordinary lengths prosecutors will go to identify leakers.

      Court papers in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets show that prosecutors got hold of a reporter’s phone, credit and bank records, his credit report from three different agencies and records of his airline travel.

      Ex-CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed ‘national defense information’ to New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • Humans Are The Routers

      On January 7, 2010 I was ushered into a small private dinner with Secretary Hillary Clinton at the State Department along with the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and a few others. We were there to talk about technology and 21st Century Diplomacy. As we mingled I noticed next to me the small table that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence. I was inspired by the history around us as we discussed the unfolding history before us. I was sitting in front of Secretary Clinton and when she asked me a question I said, “Secretary Clinton, the last bastion of dictatorship is the router.” That night seeded some of the ideas that were core to Secretary Clinton’s important Internet Freedoms Speech on January 21, 2010.

  • DRM

    • HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts

      LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

    • German PS3 Hacker Lashes Out at Sony Over €1 Million Lawsuit

      Alexander Egorenkov, better known as by his Graf_chokolo handle, is under fire once again by Sony and its legal team. Egorenkov, whose home was raided under court order, is now being sued for what he did in retaliation to Sony’s seizure. He released all his tools for hacking the PS3 known collectively as the Hypervisor Bible, and the proverbial shitstorm commenced as Sony slapped him with a large lawsuit.

    • Sony hires anti-piracy team

      Places job ads seeking staff to “develop and implement an anti-piracy program”

      Sony is hiring new members for an anti-piracy team following a spate of PS3 hacking and security breaches.

      SCEA placed job listings on its recruitment page – which have now been removed – reports IGN. These were for a senior corporate counsel and senior paralegal to “develop and implement an anti-piracy and brand protection program”.

    • Sony’s Neverending War Against The Freedom To Tinker And Innovate
    • Publishing Industry Forces OverDrive and Other Library eBook Vendors to Take a Giant Step Back

      The first bit – ownership of ebooks will now expire after a certain number of check outs to patrons.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hanafin has no plan for copyright legislation

        MINISTER FOR Enterprise Mary Hanafin yesterday quashed rumours that she was planning to rush through a statutory instrument relating to copyright issues before leaving office.

        Earlier, former minister for communication Eamon Ryan said he believed a “new law on internet downloads” was awaiting Ms Hanafin’s signature.

      • The Debate Over Copyright Gets Loud At Digital Music Forum

        I attended that excellent Digital Music Forum: East conference yesterday in Manhattan, where I appeared on stage to interview Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association and the author of the (really excellent) new book The Comeback. It’s really worth reading, and I think a ton of Techdirt readers would enjoy it, as it hits on a ton of points we regularly discuss, concerning innovation, policy and intellectual property. That discussion was fun, and Gary made some great points about trying to look towards the future, and avoiding mistakes like the recording industry suing its own customers.

      • Random defendant outlawyers P2P attorney, gets lawsuit tossed

        You know it’s tough out there for a P2P lawyer when even some random, anonymous, non-lawyer defendant is the more convincing party. That strange scenario unfolded yesterday in Illinois, where divorce-attorney-turned-porn-copyright-lawyer John Steele had his entire case against 300 defendants thrown out completely.

        The case involved CP Productions, “a leading producer of adult entertainment content within the amateur Latina niche.” The company ran a site called “Chica’s Place” from which a bit of material referred to as “Cowgirl Creampie” was allegedly downloaded illegally by 300 people. Though based in Arizona, CP Productions signed up with Steele, a Chicago lawyer, to bring the case.

      • Evil Pirates: Movie Industry Tops $30 Billion Box Office Record

        The MPAA has made it very clear that hundreds of thousands of jobs are under threat and the economy is losing billions due to piracy. Illegal downloads, they say, are slowly killing their creative industry.


        Does the MPAA chief truly believe that a shaky camcorded version of a movie is somehow depriving movie theaters of visitors? Are there millions of people who prefer watching a low quality camcorded version of a movie over a theater visit simply because they can save a few bucks?

      • Hosting Company: Anti-Pirates Stole $138,000 In Kit & Hijacked Our Email

        After seizing back equipment wrongfully seized by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, the owner of the servers which previously housed a huge warez topsite has spoken out. With claims that BREIN ruined his business, the man from Costa Rica says that the anti-piracy group stole $138,000 of his equipment and hijacked his email accounts. He will now pursue the matter with the police.

        In January, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN targeted one of the Internet’s largest warez piracy topsites. The site, known as Swan, was taken down by hosting provider WorldStream and in a cosy arrangement the company handed over the servers to the anti-piracy group with no legal oversight.

      • Should Piracy Punishments Scale To The Quality Of The Copy?

        In a case involving the administrator of a BitTorrent tracker this week, a judge felt that punishments should reduce if low quality movies were being shared. On the other hand the plaintiffs argued that since their product was being devalued with poor quality reproduction, compensation should actually increase. In a separate case in Argentina, seven pirates just walked because their copies were poor, and the public knew it.

      • Startup Claims It Can Sell Your Used MP3s Legally

        While not quite a truism, it’s pretty widely accepted that a music startup is a bad idea. The record industry is at best unsupportive and at worst litigious when it comes to digital music sales and sharing and when it comes to welcoming (or crushing or suing) new companies and technologies.

      • Swedish MFA Cracking Down On Net

Clip of the Day

Compiling with GCC

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 27/2/2011: X Server 1.10, Last Firefox 4 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Dissecting the New SGI’s Plan for Profitability

      In fact, Barrenechea told me about half of SGI’s business comes still comes from the public sector, including the Department of Energy laboratories, intelligence agencies and NSF-funded universities. “It’s a great market for us,” he noted, adding that SGI systems for these types of customers, as well as for large enterprise customers, typically pack between 50 and 100 teraflops per cabinet. SGI Altix systems accounted for 22 of the 500 fastest computers in the world according to November’s Top500 list, and, going forward, SGI also expects to be “squarely in the middle” of the race to exascale computers. The Obama administration is proposing $126 million for exascale research in its congressional budget.

    • Turning Cell Phones into Urban Supercomputers

      The possibilities are endless. “Consider what could be done with an API for addressing clusters of mobile sensors,” he writes.

      The idea reminds me of Open Sailing’s SwarmOS, which aims to help individuals make decisions based on the collective intelligence reported by “swarms” of users with mobile phones. Adding sensors to that mix is a powerful notion.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Bend to the will of the universe: freesweep

      There are powerful forces at work in nature. There are things about life I just don’t understand or comprehend, and one of them is the appeal of Minesweeper.

    • Games

      • The Humble Indie Bundle Reviewed – Part 1

        World of Goo, Lugaru and Overture alone each justify the Bundle purchase. As it is, you get these, as well as several other games. Now, Aquaria, Gish and Samorost2 are less fully featured, but still very decent titles. Personally, my taste leans away from them, but you will still find them quite lovely. Moreover, the games all ran well on Linux, with very simple and quick installations, no errors, no problems.

        Overall, the first Humble Bundle is a package of good fun and action. It’s definitely worth its money, whatever you may have decided to invest. In fact, if you’ve paid any less than the total sum of their standard prices, you’ve made yourself one hell of a bargain. Next week, we’ll review the second half, with five more games. For the time being, have fun.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Squeeze, Debian, and the FSF

        Historically, the relationships among Debian and the FSF have gone through mixed fortune (and that’s quite an euphemism). On the one hand, Debian is committed to 100% Free Software, is an open project explicitly inspired by “the spirit of GNU”, has been sponsored by FSF in its infancy, and properly calls itself “GNU/Linux” (or even “GNU/kFreeBSD”). On the other hand, Debian is the project who considers the GNU FDL license to be only conditionally free and which is not considered to be an entirely Free system according to FSF.
        So much for the history corner.


        Furthermore, I’m more and more convinced that Debian nowadays enjoys a rather privileged position among Free Software vendors.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • What do you see when you think of Natty?

          The greater artwork community reached out to Ubuntu and answered the question above with their illustrations.

          Words of inspiration included metaphors like “Entertaining, Simple, Carefree, Steady, Handy, and Quick”.

        • Unity Keyboard Shortcuts List
        • Ubuntu 11.04 – My Experience So Far

          I’m sure people are probably fed up of reading these by now. I know there’s several threads on this topic over on the Ubuntu Forums, for example. Nonetheless, what I have experienced so far is this (don’t worry, it’s short):

          Crashing. Lots of it, mainly compiz it seems. Yes, I know we’re only on Alpha 2 and yes, I expect alpha releases (of anything) to contain bugs. But still, I don’t even have to have done anything for compiz to crash! Admittedly, it could be my video driver (I have an Nvidia 9800GT) that’s the cause, I just don’t know.

        • Full Circle #46 out NOW!
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Quickie Conference Report: Day One – SCALE 9x

      Yesterday marked the opening of the Southern California Linux Expo, otherwise known as SCALE. SCALE’s venue this year is the Los Angeles Airport Hilton, just a stone’s throw from LAX Airport. SCALE opened strong with lots of technical content, much of it about the “DevOps” movement and how you can bring its benefits to your place of business.

  • Web Browsers

  • Business

    • Portland software developers ratchet up their open source ambitions

      The Reed College alum was 29 when he created an open source software tool called Puppet for managing data centers and other big computer networks. His project took off, winning adoption from a community of like-minded enthusiasts who deployed it at Twitter, Google, the New York Stock Exchange and many other organizations.

  • BSD

    • Dru Lavigne: Confessions of a community manager

      Dru Lavigne has been contributing to BSD since late 90s and is now the community manager for PC-BSD. At SCALE9x, which continues in LA through this weekend, she spoke about being a community manager and how to decide whether your project is ready to have one.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Internet Archive Partners With 150 Libraries to Launch an E-Book Lending Program

      The Internet Archive, in conjunction with 150 libraries, has rolled out a new 80,000 e-book lending collection today on OpenLibrary.org. This means that library patrons with an OpenLibrary account can check out any of these e-books.

      The hope is that this effort will help libraries make the move to digital book lending. “As readers go digital, so are our libraries,” says Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.


  • YouTube Video Satirizes Court Tech Project

    The YouTube cartoon starts with a cartoon judge who looks a bit like Betty Boop and a thuggish looking man in a track suit who says, “Just put the money in the bag.” What follows is a satire of the IT system for California’s courts now predicted to cost $3 billion. While the cartoon has been viewed only 700 times, it is likely the cognoscenti who are watching, those who are in a position to influence the fate of the oft-maligned system.

    The title to the vignette suggests why it’s viewership is likely to stay small: “Case Mismanagement: A Chat about CCMS.”

    “I need $150 million,” says the thug.

    “Why?” the judge questions.

    “For my case management system.”

  • Law Profs Urge Ethics Rules for Supreme Court Justices

    More than 100 law professors have signed on to a letter released today that proposes congressional hearings and legislation aimed at fashioning “mandatory and enforceable” ethics rules for Supreme Court justices for the first time. The effort, coordinated by the liberal Alliance for Justice, was triggered by “recent media reports,” the letter said, apparently referring to stories of meetings and other potential conflicts of interest involving Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas among others.

  • Executives at Alibaba resign amid fraud investigation

    Alibaba.com Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce website, announced the resignation of two of its most senior leaders Monday after an internal investigation found more than 2,000 fraudulent virtual storefronts had been set up with the help of company salespeople.

    In a company statement, Alibaba.com said Chief Executive David Wei and Chief Operating Officer Elvis Lee were not involved in the scams but wanted to shoulder responsibility for the “systemic break-down” in Alibaba.com’s “culture of integrity.”

  • Google’s war on content farms begins with algorithm update

    Google took a big step Thursday night towards dealing with the issue of content farms clogging results, changing its algorithms to weed out low-quality sites. The company said the changes would “noticeably impact” 11.8 percent of all queries, and could affect the rankings for a large number of websites, the company warned.

  • Can dreams predict the future?

    Psychiatrist John Barker visited the village the day after the landslide. Barker had a longstanding interest in the paranormal and wondered whether the extreme nature of events in Aberfan might have caused large numbers of people to experience a premonition about the tragedy. To find out, Barker arranged for a newspaper to ask any readers who thought they had foreseen the Aberfan disaster to get in touch. He received 60 letters from across England and Wales, with over half of the respondents claiming that their apparent premonition had come to them during a dream.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US man gets 25 years for South Park threats

      A US man was Thursday sentenced to 25 years in prison on terror charges, including threatening the creators of the animated series “South Park” for portraying the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit.

      Zachary Adam Chesser, 21, who grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, had pleaded guilty in October to providing material support to a terror group and inciting violence against the South Park creators.

    • Tunisia, Egypt, Libya…. Why Eritrea won’t be next

      Internet penetration is also pretty low. Only about 4% of the Eritrean population has access to the internet. (In places like Egypt and Tunisia it’s much higher – between 20 and 35%.) So there’s no need for Isaias to close down Twitter or Facebook – but he could if he wanted to, because he controls the monopoly telecoms provider.

    • Tribes’ support ‘legitimises’ uprising

      In Libya, several tribal chiefs have lent support to the anti-government movement. France24.com spoke to Hasni Abidi, director of the Study and Research Centre for the Arab and Mediterranean World in Geneva, about the role of tribes in the events.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Scientists Are Cleared of Misuse of Data

      An inquiry by a federal watchdog agency found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manipulated climate data to buttress the evidence in support of global warming, officials said on Thursday.


      Climate change skeptics contended that the correspondence showed that scientists were manipulating or withholding information to advance the theory that the earth is warming as a result of human activity.

      In a report dated Feb. 18 and circulated by the Obama administration on Thursday, the inspector general said, “We did not find any evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data.”

    • Coral reefs report warns of mass loss threat

      Three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs are at risk from overfishing, pollution and climate change, according to a report.

      By 2050 virtually all of the world’s coral reefs – from the waters of the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean to Australia – will be in danger, the report warns. The consequences – especially for countries such as the Philippines or Haiti which depend on the reefs for food – will be severe.

    • China’s weather forecasters reluctant to confirm rumours of rain

      Word has it that China’s weather forecasters expect rain in the next few days, but they are too skittish to make an official prediction. That is understandable, given the stakes. Gripped by its worst drought for 60 years, the world’s biggest wheat producer is desperate for a downpour to avoid a crop failure that would have an impact on food prices around the world.

      The challenge is evident from the burst of recent reports in the Chinese media about food, water and the environment.

    • Dead Baby Dolphins and Oil Wash in on the Gulf Coast

      In the Gulf, the temperature is rising. The magical spring season should soon bring warm waters teeming with life back to the region’s marshy bayous and sandy shores.

  • Finance

    • Big bankruptcies, big legal fees

      It’s been a good time to be a bankruptcy lawyer. Though it’s been almost three years since the economy began its meltdown, several massive bankruptcies are continuing to generate big fees for attorneys.

      Take, for instance, the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy, which — as widely reported by major news outlets — crossed the $1 billion fee threshold several months ago. Lawyers are earning more in the Lehman bankruptcy because the largest-ever Chapter 11 case involves restructuring $639 billion in assets and $613 billion in debt.

    • Irving Picard hits Securities and Exchange Commission’s top lawyer with Bernie Madoff lawsuit

      The family of the top lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission invested with Bernie Madoff and earned more than $1.5 million in ill-gained profits, according to trustee Irving Picard, who has named the lawyer, David M. Becker, as a defendant in a clawback lawsuit, a Daily News investigation has found.

      The apparent conflict of interest raises significant questions about the watchdog commission’s failure to stop Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, despite repeated red flags and investigations into his operations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • David Koch and Scott Walker really click.

      First, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spent the day denying he’d ever heard of billionaire David Koch.

      Really. A man who gives your political campaign almost $50,000 and you don’t know who he is?


      Believe it or not, Walker has presidential aspirations but the prank revealed him to be less a leader than a dog willing to don the leash of his masters. In other words, a good Republican.

    • The need to protect the internet from ‘astroturfing’ grows ever more urgent

      The tobacco industry does it, the US Air Force clearly wants to … astroturfing – the use of sophisticated software to drown out real people on web forums – is on the rise. How do we stop it?

  • Censorship

    • Iran forces ‘raid Karroubi homes, arrest son’

      Iranian security forces swept through the homes of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi and his family, arresting one of his sons and confiscating several documents, his website reported on Tuesday.

      A top judiciary official meanwhile warned that those who back the opposition movement will not be tolerated and will be considered as “anti-revolutionary.”

  • Privacy

    • Google’s Snowmobile Hits Swiss Slopes as Street View Faces Legal Challenge

      A Google Inc. camera-equipped snowmobile is setting out to chart Swiss ski slopes on the internet even as the company’s Street View service faces a court challenge over privacy concerns.

    • Patients’ privacy threatened in NHS shake-up confidentiality under threat, say doctors

      The association says new legislation will give the Government, quangos and local authorities the power to access sensitive medical details without the patient’s permission. It fears that the change will lead to patients withholding information from doctors. The doctor’s union raised its concerns in a letter to Simon Burns, the health minister, on Monday. It is calling for the legislation to be redrafted so that proper safeguards are in place.

      Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the head of science and ethics at the BMA, said: “If this legislation is enacted then doctors will not be able to guarantee patient confidentiality. It would undermine the bond of trust between doctors and their patients and could have appalling consequences.

  • Civil Rights

    • Airport scanners useless

      So, not only are these body scanners overly intrusive and potentially dangerous – they also don’t actually do anything to enhance the safety of airline passengers.

    • Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women
    • Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty for Miscarriages

      It’s only February, but this year has been a tough one for women’s health and reproductive rights. There’s a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • How To Remain Connected If Your Internet Gets Shut Off

      Turn to FidoNet, a networking system that can be used for communication between bulletin board systems. Mail and files can be exchanged via modems using a proprietary protocol. You must meet the technical requirements to join FidoNet.

      Check out Daihinia, an app that extends the range of a network of devices that aren’t connected to the larger internet but are connected to each other. Adding a chat client, like Pidgin, to this allows activists to talk to one another.

      Look into how you might be able to harness other chat clients as well. On a Mac you can use the “Rendezvous” feature in iChat to communicate with anyone on the network. In Windows use a third party app like Trillian, and Linux has a bunch of 3rd party apps you can use – note that this does require some technical knowledge, which is why it is all the more important to prepare in advance.

      Packet radio is a radio communications protocol that lets you create long distance wireless networks between devices like ham radios – if you look into this option before hand, you might be able to create a network using radios.

      Get involved with OPENMESH, a new project launched by investor Shervin Pishevar. So far, the forum is working as a place for engineers to offer solutions for building a mesh network in Egypt.

    • Congress zeroes in on FCC’s Net neutrality rules

      The new Republican members of both the House and Senate wasted no time following up on promises to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s December vote to apply new “Net neutrality” rules to some broadband Internet access providers.

  • DRM

    • SCEE Sues Graf_Chokolo For 1 Million Euros And He is Still Hacking

      I received a legal notice from SCEE lawyers requesting me to remove the coolstuff links that graf_chokolo has distributed on grafchokolo.com as well as the links at this blog. What i found interesting in the legal notice is that the lawyers are suing graf_chokolo for 1 million euros. That is quite a number, but graf_chokolo doesn’t seem to care.

      He still want to hack the PS3, where he said he cannot sleep knowing that he cannot touch the hypervisor of the PS3. Man, i never see someone like graf, he is an extraordinary genius hacker that Sony wasting it by making a lawsuit against him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property’s Great Fallacy

      Intellectual property law has long been justified on the belief that external incentives are necessary to get people to produce artistic works and technological innovations that are easily copied. This Essay argues that this foundational premise of the economic theory of intellectual property is wrong. Using recent advances in behavioral economics, psychology, and business-management studies, it is now possible to show that there are natural and intrinsic motivations that will cause technology and the arts to flourish even in the absence of externally supplied rewards, such as copyrights and patents.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Appellate briefs filed in SONY v Tenenbaum

        SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, where the RIAA appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, despite being awarded $2250 for each download, for a total of $67,500, and where Tenenbaum cross appealed on the ground that the $67,500 was excessive, in view of the actual damages being less than a dollar per download, the parties have filed their respective appellate briefs.

      • Over 40,000 Does Dismissed In Copyright Troll Cases

        These have been some eventful weeks in the world of copyright trolling. Thousands of unnamed “John Does” in P2P file sharing lawsuits filed in California, Washington DC, Texas, and West Virginia have been severed, effectively dismissing over 40,000 defendants. The plaintiffs in these cases must now re-file against almost all of the Does individually rather than suing them en mass. These rulings may have a significant impact on the copyright trolls’ business model, which relies on being able to sue thousands of Does at once with a minimum of administrative expense. The cost of filing suit against each Doe may prove prohibitively expensive to plaintiffs’ attorneys who are primarily interested in extracting quick, low-hassle settlements.

      • STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting

        And yet Warner Bros isn’t doing anything differently here than is done by every other studio. Clearly, nothing has changed since Art Buchwald successfully sued Paramount over the 1988 hit Coming to America when the subject of net participation was scrutinized, and a judge called studio accounting methods “unconscionable”.

Clip of the Day

Grep and Regex – BASH – Linux

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 26/2/2011: More GNU/Linux in Schools, Including Punjab’s

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • SCALE: The Best Little-Big Open Source Conference

      The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) is happening this weekend Feb. 25-27 and is, simply, awesome! I heard about it during its infancy but never even looked into it thinking it would be just as expensive as OSCON. Boy was I wrong! The first year I attended, it cost $60. This year the cost is $70. That’s $70 for THREE days, which is a steal! Factor in the discounts provided to local open source user groups & it is downright highway robbery. You really cannot beat it.

    • 2010 FLOSS Workshop Aftershock: An Unexpected Invitation

      1. How to install Ubuntu/Mandriva (I’d like to add Mepis, Pardus and Mint, haha)
      2. How to work with open word processors, spreadsheets, electronic presentations
      3. How to save documents in compatibility mode (This one is funny. People still fail to see that incompatibility issues spring from Microsoft, not from open documents)
      4. How to dual boot Linux/Windows.

      This hands-on workshop is again addressed to professors. They chose us, it turns out, because both Megatotoro and I are not technical users, which proves that ANYONE can use Linux.

    • Are you ready for SCALE 9X?

      The flights have been confirmed for some time and they’re now being boarded. Speakers are packing and heading to Los Angeles, ready to rehearse their presentations before they go on sometime between Friday and Sunday. Exhibitors prepare to set up their booths. Registrations for the expo continue to roll in. Are you ready for some Linux The 9th annual Southern California Linux Expo is set to start tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 25, at the Hllton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

    • What are you doing Friday? We’re Building a Cloud with Cloud.com, Openstack, and Opscode

      Heading to Southern California Linux Expo, SCaLE 9x? If so, join us this Friday, along with Cloud.com, Opscode, and Openstack, for a free Cloud building event in Los Angeles.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 10: Lean and mean

        Google released a stable version of Chrome 9 earlier this month but now the company has also pushed out a beta version of Chrome 10. As usual, there are many speed enhancements as well as changes in synchronisation and some of the dialog boxes.

      • Google updates Chrome developer tools
      • Run Google Chrome Apps In Background

        What do you prefer, keeping your Chrome browser open to get notifications about incoming mails, calender and chat or close the browser yet let these services run in the background? There can be many such service which will become more useful if they run in the background and notify a user if there is any update.

        There are many useful hosted apps, extensions available from Google’s Chrome Webstore which will become more useful if they get the capability of running in the background.

  • Sun/Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Joomla 1.6 – A detailed review from a user

      Joomla has been one of my favourite CMS’s for a while but I left it behind when WordPress answered the last questions I had with version 3. Secretly however, I have been waiting for J1.6 to come out in the hope that it also answered some of the questions I had about the last versions.

      Frankly speaking I always thought that Joomla had a better Content Management interface than WordPress, it was just easier to find stuff with bigger sites in Joomla. The massive draw back was the imposed Information Architecture due to Joomla’s content hierarchy.

    • Tiny blogs: When WordPress is too damn big

      So … FlatPress is mostly PHP, Blosxom and Ode are Perl, PyBlosxom is Python, NanoBlogger is a collection of Bash scripts.

      No databases. All “flat” files. You can see the code. It’s definitely non-commercial.

  • Funding

  • Government

    • Government IT suppliers claim procurement system excludes open source

      Systems integrators took on a disapproving audience of open source advocates this week after the government told its biggest suppliers to explain why its open source policy has been thwarted for so long.

      Five executives braved public censure to tell a meeting of the BCS Open Source Group that the fault was an industry ecosystem built over 20 years on principles inimical to the open source model. The hostile ecosystem sustained itself – they merely operated within it, they said.

    • Cabinet Office pushes suppliers on open source

      Bill McCluggage met with suppliers this week to make clear that the Cabinet Office, which leads on ICT policy, wishes to increase the deployment of open source across government.

      He emphasised that the government wishes to see the industry offer more solutions based on open source, and listed a number of approaches that it expects it to follow. These include: evaluating open source solutions in all future proposals; including open standards and interoperability as key components in IT systems; and moving towards the use of open source as normal practice.

    • UK finally moves on Open Standards

      This is one of the stronger policies that we’ve seen from European governments. It certainly is a leap ahead for the UK, which until now has lagged behind many other European countries in terms of Free Software adoption in the public sector. We’d like to see similarly well-considered steps from more European governments.

      The policy note is refreshingly clear on what constitutes an Open Standard. The requirement that patents which are included in Open Standards should be made available royalty-free is a welcome improvement over the fudged compromise in the new European Interoperability Framework. It’s good to see the UK government take leadership on this important issue, in its own interest and that of its citizens.

      As the lamentable OOXML charade has shown, it’s important that standards are developed in a process that’s independent of any particular vendor, and open to all competitors and third parties. We commend the UK government for making this an explicit requirement. The definition of Open Standards could have been even further improved by demanding a reference implementation in Free Software.

    • Government pushes for open standards

      Open standards should be sought in all government IT procurement specifications, the Cabinet Office has said in a policy note.

      When purchasing software, ICT infrastructure, security and other ICT goods and services, where possible government departments should deploy open standards, according to the note published with little fanfare on the department’s web site last week.

      Government assets should be interoperable and open for re-use in order to maximise return on investment, avoid technological lock-in, reduce operational risk in ICT projects and provide responsive services for citizens and businesses, said the Cabinet Office.

    • NL: Three nominees for the ‘Open call for tenders of the year’

      The programme office of ‘Netherlands in Open Connection’ (NoiV), the Dutch government resource centre on open standards and open source, announced the nomination of three authorities for the ‘Open call for tenders of the year’.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • How public is public data? With Public Engines v. ReportSee, new access standards could emerge

        In the settlement between the two websites, a new question arises: Just what constitutes publicly available data? Is it raw statistics or refined numbers presented by a third party? Governments regularly farm out their data to companies that prepare and package records, but what stands out in this case is that Public Engines effectively laid claimed to the information provided to it by law enforcement. This could be problematic to news organizations, developers, and citizens looking to get their hands on data. While still open and available to the public, the information (and the timing of its release) could potentially be dictated by a private company.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Converting ODF documents to PDF with WebODF

      It is quite common that one wants to send ODF files to people that lack the software to display ODF. One workaround is to convert the ODF to PDF. Most office suites that support ODF can export to PDF. To compare how different office suites do this conversion one can use the website OfficeShots. This website offers the ability to perform this conversion in many office suites at once and to compare the results.


  • Two Latino Leaders Arrested for Showing Up To The Senate Building. Yes, In Arizona.

    Details the events of that lead to the arrests of to Latino leaders who tried to enter the Senate building in Arizona. They were blacklisted from entering the building by senate leader, Russell Pearce. That’s right. Blacklisted. Without trail or notice.

  • The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies

    The video is called “The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies” and was created by FeministFrequency. It describes a test for all movies with three simple qualifications:

    1. Is there more than one woman in the movie who has a name?
    2. Do the women talk to each other?
    3. Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?

  • When The Net Was Young

    His and the other bureaucrats and politicians who supported the plan tried to assert that, like the Interstate Highway system has always been justified, long-distance data networks for use by the public are just too expensive for “private” efforts to successfully build. The backbone would have to be so big that only the Federal Government could successfully build it.

    Since I was working graveyard, then evening shift (graveyard and I don’t get along), I don’t recall the exact date that the change occurred, but here’s what it was: The National Science Foundation released control of the routing tables and eliminated the rules against commercial use. In fact and effect, they threw open the “Internet” to anyone and everyone that agreed to use the Internet protocols as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

  • How Apple Dodged a Sun Buyout: Former CEOs McNealy, Zander Tell All

    At a Churchill Club dinner, former Sun CEOs Scott McNealy and Ed Zander discuss why the company didn’t buy Apple in 1996, the real beginnings of cloud computing and why Linux should never have come into existence.

  • Hardware

    • All this has happened before: NVIDIA 3.0, ARM, and the fate of x86

      At a dinner this week with members of the press, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang laid out his view of NVIDIA’s past, present, and future in light of recent developments in the processor market. Jen-Hsun’s remarks are worth looking at in some detail, as much for what they say about Intel as what they say about NVIDIA. We’ll recap Jen-Hsun’s take on the processor and GPU markets, followed by a look at the implications of the trends he references for the future of Intel, the x86 instruction set architecture (ISA), ARM, and the CPU market as a whole. Ultimately, we could even see Intel get back into the ARM market, a market where it had considerable success with its XScale line before betting the farm on x86.

    • Godson: China shuns US silicon with faux x86 superchip

      If the Chinese government is scaring the world with its hybrid CPU-GPU clusters, what do you think the reaction will be when Chinese supercomputers shun American-made x64 processors and GPU co-processors and start using their own energy-efficient, MIPS-derived, x86-emulating Godson line of 64-bit processors?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Don’t Buy Insurance Industry’s “Objective Analysis”

      There are two things lawmakers can be certain of. One, “the study” they will get from AHIP, which was behind the successful effort to keep the federal government from creating a public option, will be anything but objective. And two, it will be the centerpiece of a multi-pronged strategic effort to scare people into believing, erroneously, that SustiNet will cost jobs, lead to higher taxes and bring to an abrupt halt the “market-based solutions” AHIP maintains insurers have brought to Connecticut.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Injustice Everywhere: The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project
    • Sex Crimes, Cell Phones and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

      If anyone deserves a longer sentence, it is a sex offender who victimizes minors. But no one would ever have anticipated that a sex offender would receive extra prison time for using a basic cell phone in the furtherance of his crime. Last week the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the enhanced sentence of the defendant Neil Kramer who pleaded guilty to transporting a female minor in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, Title 18, U.S.C. § 2423(a). Kramer’s prison sentence was increased by an extra 2 1/3 years because he had used his cell phone to make calls and text messages to the victim for a six-month period leading up to the offense. U.S. v. Kramer, 2011 WL 383710 (8th Cir. Feb. 8, 2011). In total Kramer was sentenced to over 13 years in prison.

  • Cablegate

    • Bush nixes Denver visit, citing invite to Assange

      George W. Bush said Friday he will not visit Denver this weekend as planned because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was invited to attend one of the same events as the former president.

      Bush planned to be at a Young Presidents’ Organization “Global Leadership Summit” Saturday but backed out when he learned Assange was invited, Bush spokesman David Sherzer said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Who is Caving to Pressure Against Josh Fox’s Oscar-Nominated Documentary, GASLAND?

      Something bizarre just happened at the Wall St. Journal. At 6pm I was reading a home page story on WSJ.com called “Oscar’s Attention Irks Gas Industry” by Ben Casselman which contained perhaps the most honest and revealing quote from the gas industry that I have read to date about their obsession with attacking my film GASLAND. The quote reads “We have to stop blaming documentaries and take a look in the mirror,” said Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for gas producer Range Resources Corp. Just thirty minutes later the quote mysteriously disappears, edited out and in its place is a far more typical spin controlled statement from Tom Price of Chesapeake energy saying, “We need to be able to respond objectively and accurately.” Sounds like a robot at a PR agency, more than a person.

  • Finance

    • How Wall Street and Wisconsin Officials Blew Up the State’s Pension Fund

      Wisconsin state employees fighting for their jobs should ask Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their money back.

      What’s the connection? During the dog days of the financial crisis in 2008, the investment bank advised clients to bet that Wisconsin and 10 other U.S. states would go broke by purchasing credit default swaps against their debt. For Goldman and other Wall Street firms that used this ploy, the beauty part was that they had also previously earned millions in fees by helping most of those states sell municipal bonds.

    • How Public Employees and Taxpayers Got Scammed

      Public employees have been cramming the Wisconsin state Capitol to protest the governor’s plan to cut their take-home pay and gut their collective bargaining rights. You can’t blame them for objecting when the state reneges on a deal. But they should have been protesting years ago, when politicians and union leaders struck a bargain that was too good to be true.

    • Politicians Slash Budget of Watchdog Agencies … Guaranteeing that Financial Fraud Won’t Be Investigated or Prosecuted

      It is very telling that we have enough money to extend the Bush tax cuts, to throw boatloads of cash at the big banks so that they can give lavish bonuses, and to continue fighting never-ending wars on multiple fronts giving no-bid contracts to favored contractors, but we can’t scrape together a little spare change to fund the regulators and prosecutors.

  • Wisconsin/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Caller posing as major GOP contributor dupes Walker

      Scott Walker took a prank phone call Tuesday, and Wisconsin learned a lot about its new governor.

      A recording of the call released Wednesday spelled out Walker’s strategies for dealing with protesting union workers and trying to lure Democrats boycotting the state Senate back to Wisconsin.

      Speaking with whom he believed to be billionaire conservative activist David Koch, Walker said he considered – but rejected – planting troublemakers amid protesters who have rocked the Capitol for a week.

    • What’s Really Going on in Wisconsin?

      But now, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, conservative, anti-labor politicians like Governor Walker are trying out a new and potentially more potent anti-union argument: We can no longer afford collective bargaining. The wages, health benefits, and pensions of government workers, these opponents say, are driving states into deep and dangerous deficits.

    • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Violates Reagan’s Legacy

      In his attack on workers’ right to bargain collectively, Scott Walker is diametrically opposing the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan — the same conservative figure Walker idolized in his prank phone call with a blogger posing as “David Koch.”

    • CMD Submits Open Records Requests to Governor’s Office

      Before news broke of the prank call from a David Koch impersonator to Governor Walker’s office, CMD had submitted the below open records request to the Wisconsin Department of Administration for all phone calls to-and-from the governor’s office since January 1. CMD confirmed receipt of the request via telephone on February 18 and expects a reply promptly. We have also submitted open records requests directly to the governor’s office for copies of all email and visitor log records.

    • The Mighty Mighty Teamsters Lend Support

      On the first day protesters occupied the Wisconsin Capitol building a young man held a sign, “Where is Jimmy Hoffa when you need him?” Well, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters President James Hoffa rolled into town today with a group of Wisconsin Teamster members to lend support to the Capitol protesters. Three members I spoke to were UPS drivers, private sector workers lending support to public sector nurses and teachers. I asked Hoffa about the news this morning that Governor Scott Walker had been caught on tape with a blogger who he thought was David Koch, of Koch Industries, specifically about Walker’s comments that he would “crank up” pressure on the workers with layoff notices. “We’ll announce Thursday, they’ll go out early next week and we’ll probably get five to six thousand state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit too,” says Walker on the call.

    • Billionaire Right-Wing Koch Brothers Fund Wisconsin Governor Campaign and Anti-Union Push

      In Madison, Wisconsin, record numbers of protesters have entered the 11th day of their fight to preserve union rights and collective bargaining for public employees, inspiring similar protests in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The protests have also helped expose the close ties between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who helped bankroll the Tea Party movement. On Wednesday, blogger Ian Murphy revealed he had impersonated David Koch in a recorded phone conversation with an unsuspecting Walker. We play highlights of the recording and discuss the Koch brothers’ influence in Wisconsin with Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy.

    • Koch Lobbying Office Draws Protest; Building Employees Gawk From Windows

      Cars, SUVs and buses whoosh down Madison’s King Street Thursday afternoon, honking, windows rolled down, thumbs up in solidarity as neon-vested police officers direct traffic.

      “Stay strong!” shouted a man out the driver’s-side window of a State Employee Vanpool van. A Madison Metro bus driver drives by, honking and cheering.

    • Wisconsin Protests, Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      News reports indicate that legislators in Indiana have crossed state lines to protest votes on legislation that would savage the right of working people to collectively bargain. McClatchy Newspapers summarizes the rustbelt rebellion: “In Wisconsin, where the state Senate has been paralyzed because Democrats fled to block Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from government workers, the governor warned he would send 1,500 layoff notices unless his proposal passes. In Indiana, Democrats in the state Assembly vanished, depriving that body of the quorum needed to pass a right-to-work law and limit government unions’ powers. And in Ohio, an estimated 5,500 protesters stood elbow to elbow in and outside the Capitol chanting “Kill the bill!” as a legislative committee took up a proposal that would similarly neuter government unions.”

    • Transcript of prank call to Walker

      Here’s a complete transcript of the Buffalo Beast prank conversation with Gov. Scott Walker Tuesday, from recordings by the Beast. Ian Murphy of the Beast poses in the call as David Koch, a billionaire contributor of Walker’s.

    • Full Transcript of Walker-”Koch” Call
    • 50 Rallies in 50 State Capitols to Support Wisconsin

      In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services.

    • Wisconsin Protests, Thursday, February 24, 2011
    • Walker’s Budget Plan Is a Three-Part Roadmap for the Right

      There’s a three-prong approach in Governor Walker’s plan that highlights a blueprint for conservative governorship after the 2010 election. The first is breaking public sector unions and public sector workers generally. The second is streamlining benefits away from legislative authority, especially for health care and in fighting the Health Care Reform Act. The third is the selling of public assets to private interests under firesale and crony capitalist situations.

    • What Else is in Walker’s Bill?

      While most news coverage has focused on how Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill attacks the state’s 200,000 public sector workers (and by extension, the entire middle class), the law is increasingly recognized as an attack on the poor. It curtails (and perhaps eliminates) access to the Medicaid programs relied upon by 1.2 million Wisconsinites, limits access to public transportation, and hinders rural community access to broadband internet. The bill keeps the poor sick, stranded, and stupid.

    • Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White

      Outside of services offered during crises and protests, the street medic ethic is one of “community medicine” where medical providers reach out to the community, build trust, and participate in education. In Madison, he said, street medics offer free clinics in the summer months, and free meals on Sundays as part of the “savory Sundays” program. The latter is aimed at the poor and homeless, and includes medical care and education; foot care, Brian says, is particularly important. These community events aimed at the most vulnerable populations also build relationships and allow the medics to better connect the disadvantaged with available resources.

  • Civil Rights

    • Feds Appeal Warrantless-Wiretapping Defeat

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

  • DRM

    • Sony’s PS3 Lawsuit Is About Control, Not Piracy

      We actually wrote about Sony’s response to AIBO hacks a decade ago, and it’s absolutely true. Copyright is supposed to be about incentives to create. But it’s generally been twisted into a tool for control against “stuff we don’t like.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Chilean and NZ Proposals for TPP IP Chapter: Counter IP Abuse, Support Public Domain

      The Chilean and New Zealand proposals for the intellectual property chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership have leaked (Canada has been excluded from the talks so far). The leaks demonstrate how much different many other countries view the inclusion of IP in trade agreements when compared to the U.S. and Europe.

    • Copyright Interlude: What is the Public Domain?

      Ironically (and without comment from the district court), the particular identifiable traits of the characters identified here (apart from the portraying actors) were all derived directly from L. Frank Baum’s 1900 Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel that is now out of copyright.

    • Copyrights

      • MP3.com’s Robertson Has A New Startup—And He Might Not Get Sued This Time

        Michael Robertson, an online music entrepreneur who has been something of a lawsuit-magnet for record labels, has launched his newest venture, DAR.fm, and has high hopes that it will stay litigation-free. DAR.fm is a “digital audio recorder” that allows users to record their favorite internet radio shows and store them in a cloud-based service. In an interview with paidContent, Robertson explained that the legal path for such a service should be perfectly clear now, since an appeals court already ruled in 2008 that it’s not a copyright violation to offer users remote, cloud-based DVR services.

      • iiNet fights off AFACT’s piracy appeal

        The trial has been viewed by Australia’s ISP industry as a major landmark case to help determine how ISPs will react in future to users using their networks to download copyrighted material. iiNet had not been forwarding email communication from AFACT to users who AFACT had alleged had breached copyright, whereas some other ISPs have been complying with the request.

      • Liberal MP Dan McTeague Emerges As Unofficial CRIA Spokesperson

        Last week, I reported on a major Canadian lawsuit filed by 26 record labels against isoHunt. The legal action, filed in May 2010 without any press releases or public disclosure by CRIA, seeks millions in damages and an order shutting down the controversial website. At the same time as the labels filed the statement of claim, the four major labels responded to isoHunt’s effort to obtain a declaration that it operating lawfully in Canada. Their Statement of Defence (posted here – excuse the poor scan) also makes the case that isoHunt currently violates Canadian copyright law.

      • Liberal MP Dan McTeague Emerges As Unofficial CRIA Spokesperson

        The McTeague comments – along with his positions at the C-32 committee – raise important questions about how the Liberal Opposition Critic for Consumer and Consular Affairs has emerged as the most anti-consumer MP on the committee from any party (a point noted in a follow-up letter to the editor). Even more troubling is evidence to suggest that McTeague’s comments are being actively fed by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, with McTeague using his platform on the committee to effectively become an unofficial spokesperson.

      • Re:Sound Proposed Tariff for Use of Soundtracks in Theatres & TV Nixed (Again)

        Presumably, very few copyright lawyers will be surprised to learn that the Federal Court of Appeal has just decisively (three days after the hearing) dismissed the application for judicial review brought by the collective Re:Sound (formerly NRCC) in its attempt to impose tariffs when a published sound recording is part of the soundtrack that accompanies a motion picture that is performed in public (i.e. movie theatres) or a television program that is communicated to the public by telecommunication (i.e. on TV).

      • Piracy Once Again Fails To Get In Way Of Record Box Office

        The movie business has — yet again — run up record numbers at the box office. In 2010, theaters around the world reported a combined total revenue of $31.8 billion, up eight percent from 2009. While the industry certainly has its share of piracy problems, they aren’t affecting box office receipts.

      • Google is still fighting the Belgian copyright cops

        The firm is responding to a court ruling from 2007 that found it in breach of copyright laws by reproducing some of the exciting and groundbreaking news that comes out of Belgium.

        Google is arguing that there is nothing wrong with what it does, which is to take something that someone else has written and use it on its own webpages, and in a bullish statement Google rejected everything that the Belgian courts had said about it.

      • Is Copying The Idea For A Magazine Cover Infringement?

        We’re always told by copyright system defenders that there’s an “idea/expression dichotomy” in copyright law that prevents copyright from really getting in the way of free speech. This is supposed to mean that it’s perfectly fine to copy the idea, so long as you don’t copy the fixed expression of that idea. In practice, this gets a lot trickier, with courts seeming to find all sorts of copied “ideas” infringing, even if they don’t copy specific expression. So where is the line?

      • Musician Sues Summit Entertainment For Taking Down His Song In Twilight Dispute

        This one is a bit confusing, but an artist named Matthew Smith apparently wrote a song back in 2002, but late last year he tried to re-market the song by trying to associate it with the Twilight Saga movies. He did so by doing some sort of deal with the company that sells pre-movie ads to promote the song in various theaters… and by getting an image designed as the “cover” image for the song that was inspired by the Twilight Saga — using a moon and a similar font to the movie’s advertisement. Summit — who has shown itself to be ridiculously overprotective of its trademarks and copyrights issued a takedown to YouTube, where the song was hosted. This part isn’t clear, because I’m not sure where the song image was included on the YouTube page. I guess in the video, but the article linked above doesn’t say.

      • Florida Court Realizes Its Mistake, Reverses Order For Ripoff Report To Take Down Content

        At the beginning of January, we wrote about a troubling court ruling in Florida, where a judge ordered XCentric, the operators of Ripoff Report, to remove some content from their website, despite the company’s policy against such removals and the clear and well-established safe harbors for Ripoff Report from Section 230. There were some serious problems with this ruling beyond just the Section 230 questions, including the prior restraint issue, whereby content was ordered taken offline despite the lack of a full evidentiary hearing on the merits.

      • Smarter Copyright Shills, Please

        In a Feb. 15 op-ed for the New York Times, three representatives of the Authors Guild — Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro — raise the question “Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?”

        In my opinion they have it just about backward. They’d have been better off asking whether the Bard would have survived copyright.

        In the course of this piece, the authors manage to recycle just about every pro-copyright cliche and strawman known to humankind.

        Their central focus is on the novel potential for making money through paid performances in Shakespeare’s day (“for the first time ever it was possible to earn a living writing for the public”), and the role of that development in the literary explosion of the English Renaissance.

      • Great Artists Steal

Clip of the Day

Android/iPhone/iPad Development with Corona-sound effects

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 26/2/2011: Linux, GNOME 3 User Day

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The mighty Linux spreads its wings

    Getting ready for a new competition, it’s time for another themed post. How about a Linux-based Gadget Master roundup?

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Watson? Commercial – not super – computer

      First of all, it’s not a supercomputer. It’s a commercial system – or rather, a bunch of commercial systems lashed together for parallel processing purposes. The hardware is readily available POWER-based gear that can run either IBM’s AIX Unix operating system or Linux.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 391
    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 4

      In this episode: Microsoft and Nokia form an alliance and the GPLv3 might not be welcome on Windows Phone. Canonical gets controversial with Banshee while openSUSE and Fedora users might have to wait for Unity. Hear our discoveries, our limited success with the challenge, and your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Geek Time with Jim Zemlin

      Jim Zemlin is the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, and earlier this month he sat down with the Open Source Programs Office’s Jeremy Allison for a chat about the future of Linux. In addition to talking about the future, Jim shares insights on the history and significance of Linux.

    • Stable kernel
    • Linux

      I’m announcing the release of the kernel.

    • Intel announces a BIOS Implementation Test Suite (BITS)

      Intel is pleased to announce the BIOS Implementation Test Suite (BITS), a bootable pre-OS environment for testing BIOSes and in particular their initialization of Intel processors, hardware, and technologies. BITS can verify your BIOS against many Intel recommendations. In addition, BITS includes Intel’s official reference code as provided to BIOS, which you
      can use to override your BIOS’s hardware initialization with a known-good configuration, and then boot an OS.

    • Intel Releases BIOS Implementation Test Suite
    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.38 (Part 3) – Network drivers and infrastructure

      Kernel version 38 will offer a new meshing implementation, loads of new and improved LAN and Wi-Fi drivers, plus various minor changes that promise to improve the network subsystem’s performance.

    • The debloat-testing kernel tree
    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Is Still Working On G45 VA-API Video Acceleration

        This is nice to see Intel is actually working on support still for these older-generations of Intel graphics processors, but it’s already long overdue. This quarter we do know Intel is expected to deliver VA-API accelerated video encoding support for Sandy Bridge, which should be quite interesting, if it is delivered on time.

      • Scheiße! RandR 1.4 Gets Yanked From X Server 1.10

        Only a few days have passed since the release of X.Org Server 1.10 RC2, but another release candidate has now arrived. Given the short turnaround time since the previous release candidate and now being days away from the final release, it’s a mundane release candidate, right? Actually, no. RandR 1.4 was just pulled in its entirety from xorg-server 1.10, which also caused the server’s video ABI to now be bumped again.

      • Mesa Can Do EXT_texture_compression_RGTC

        In Mesa’s quest to catch up to the proprietary Linux drivers (and the graphics drivers available under Windows), they are now a tiny bit closer. David Airlie has announced on the Mesa mailing list that he has implemented support for the EXT_texture_compression_RGTC extension into Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 88 watts per hour

        Surprisingly enough, it seems that GNOME Power Manager does not handle time paradoxes properly. If you run GNOME on a DeLorean or have your computer clock go back in time, it seems that g-p-m’s statistics does not take this into account, and draws… interesting graphs

      • The first GNOME 3 User Day

        The first GNOME 3 User Day was held last week. Thanks to everyone who helped out, the event was a real success. Enthusiastic GNOME users from all over the world packed into the #gnome IRC channel to discuss the new release and to ask questions. Attendance was excellent, to the extent that it was almost too busy to keep track of the conversation at times.

  • Distributions

    • How to Protect an Entire Network with Untangle

      As you’re likely aware, guarding your PCs from malware – viruses, trojans, spyware – and hacking is crucial for protecting your files and data. However, don’t forget about your mobile devices. Malware and hacking will be becoming more prevalent on smartphones, pads, and tablets. This makes network-wide security protection even more beneficial. It can cover your entire network, giving you protection for your mobile devices and adding a second layer of protection for your PCs.

      There are several ways to implement network-wide security. Today we’ll be discussing the Untangle platform, which you can install on a dedicated PC or run as a virtual machine (VM). It can also serve as your network’s router and firewall, plus can give you many more additional features. As Figure 1 shows, it features a user-friendly GUI to configure and manage all the components.

    • Lightweight Splashtop Linux-based OS Available for Download

      According to the folks at Splashtop, adjunct Linux versions have been pre-installed on over 60 million computers, which means that these operating systems are a significant part of the overall Linux ecosystem. Splashtop is now based on the open source Chromium code that underlies Google’s Chrome browser.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Mepis 11 Says Yes to LibreOffice

        Apparently, Mepis 11, that is, the new version of Mepis (currently on beta stage) has joined all the other Linux distributions that support LibreOffice.

      • Debian is dying, oh my word!

        Ever since the release of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, there’s an ongoing debate about whether Debian is still relevant or whether the project is going to die.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Natty Feature Freeze now in effect; Alpha 3 freeze 2/27 2300 UTC

          The Feature Freeze is now in effect for Natty. The focus from here until release is on fixing bugs and polishing.

        • Banshee In Natty To Ship Multiple Stores And Contribute To GNOME Foundation

          Recently the Canonical Online Services team, led by Cristian Parrino, has been in discussions with the Banshee project to coordinate a suitable revenue share for the built-in Amazon store. Unfortunately, there were a few crossed wires, but a call today helped to clarify the position.

        • Unity Update (3.4.6) Brings New “Super” Shortcuts For The Launcher [Ubuntu 11.04 Development]

          A new Compiz-based Unity version (3.4.6) was uploaded to the Ubuntu 11.04 repositories minutes ago, getting one of the features you’ve just seen in the Unity 2D video we’ve posted earlier: when pressing and holding the Super key, a number is displayed for each application in the Unity launcher and pressing that number will launch / raise that app. However, in the Compiz Unity you also have a shortcut for the application/file places, expo and trash as you’ll see in the video below (this isn’t available in Unity 2D yet).

        • Wayland Is Now Available In Ubuntu 11.04

          Canonical’s Bryce Harrington has just announced he has uploaded a snapshot of the Wayland Display Server to the Universe repository for Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. the upcoming “Natty Narwhal” Linux release.

        • Russia Today Report Thu24Feb11 on extradition of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange from London to Sweden
        • A few minor Unity Updates from yesterday…

          If you’re a fan of incremental progress then do carry on reading. If, however, you find minor ‘updates’ to be trivial you might want to read something else.

          The following small but noteworthy changes landed in yesterdays update to Unity in Ubuntu 11.04. You won’t see anything too startling but where you will find is solid, dependable progress in evidence.

        • Now we can rock this…

          Please note that this is new and I’m really just trying to sucker you into banging on it so you can file bugs and update documentation.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • What He Thinks, He Becomes

            Another episode from your friendly neighborhood Ubuntu Studio project lead discussing more Fun Facts, future plans for Ubuntu Studio, and more Meet the Team. Let’s rock it…

            Oh, also I’m going to try to rock some new headings that I hope play better with Planet Ubuntu. Blogger likes to set the font-size for headings, but I’m going to use HTML h1 tags.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt Is Exploring A Google V8 JavaScript Engine

          This V8 engine isn’t living in the mainline Qt tree but in a separate Git repository for now. “The status of the V8-based back-end is that we still have some QtScript API that’s not implemented, and there are autotests failing (QTBUG-17640), but several of the QtScript and QML examples and demos run. Aside from behavorial compatibility with current Qt, we also need to ensure that there aren’t any performance gaps in the C++/JS layer before a V8-powered Qt can become a viable solution. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re simultaneously looking to trim the fat of our current APIs to make a switch feasible.”

        • Why I believe Microsoft will buy Nokia

          Unfortunately for Nokia, developers are not jumping from the platform towards the same boat. They are going to miss the Microsoft boat because it is just a raft, right now. However, they will not miss the Android cruise ship, because it is enormous, it has a pool and a casino on it (check this fantastic video, it is amazing to see how fast Android grew).

          Giving up on Symbian, waiting for a Windows Phone to appear (at the end of the year), means wasting a long year, probably even two. If you consider where Android was two years ago (nowhere, check the video above for February 2009) and where they are now, you know what I am talking about. This market is moving at Silicon Valley speed, if you miss two years, you are history.

          That’s why I think Nokia is doomed as an independent company. Before the announcement, their market cap was $43B, now it is $32B (yep, eleven billions jumped off the platform too). That means today Microsoft has 7 times Nokia market cap (they are at $224B).

          With the devastation of the Symbian story (and the grow of low-cost devices from MediaTek and Android), I can only see the stock go south from here. In a year, I bet their market cap will be around $20B, just half of what it was before the announcement.

          Put yourself in Steve Ballmer’s shoes. At that time, your market cap will be ten times Nokia’s. Their company will be $20B cheaper. Apple will be out with iPad 2, iPhone 5 and maybe even an iPhone Mini, with the highest margins ever. Android will be over 80% of market share in mobile, with Google making billions in mobile ads. Where can you go? You can’t beat Android, because it is open source and it sells for zero dollars (and it has a momentum that cannot be stopped). But you can chase Apple.

        • Nokia asks users what excites them about the Microsoft deal

          That’s pretty embarrassing for a company that has a desperate need to be big in the mobile phone market and it is hardly reassuring for Nokia’s customers and shareholders.

          Still, the writing was always on the cards, even if Elop could never see it. However to the outsider the clues to failure were there, and perhaps most tellingly in the Elop crisis email.

        • import QtQuick 1.1

          For those who have been following QML , you might remember that we changed the imports to QtQuick 1.0 to allow us minor revisions of the Qt Quick module in minor revisions of Qt. One of those minor revisions is nearly done, and will soon be waiting in the 4.7 branch of Qt. There’s a bunch of good stuff there and one area in particular I’d like to focus on is the improvements we’ve made to versioning.

        • Qt Earth Team Mix Feb 2011

          During the month of January, my team decided to start releasing our working Qt version to the public once a month. We set 25th of February 2011 as the first release date, and as a “release process” we decided that we were not going to produce packages or anything like that but we would simply tag our repository and announce it to the world.

        • Not just another tablet. The first MeeGo tablet.

          It’s true. There are MeeGo devices being commercially distributed and they are built on Qt. The guys at WeTab GmbH have been shipping their MeeGo tablet, WeTab, since the third quarter of 2010.

        • AppUp developer meetup @ GDC

          Rhonda & I will be hosting a meetup at GDC at the Bin 55 lounge in the Marriott Marquis. We’d like any developers who will be attending GDC to come by and meet us and other AppUp developers. Drop us a note if you’re attending. This will be a good opportunity to chat, share stories and have some down time before the Application Lab starts at noon.

      • Android

        • Android apps running on BlackBerry devices? It may already be happening

          Bloomberg news reported earlier this month that RIM was working to make its BlackBerry Playbook tablet compatible with Android apps. The report cited only unnamed sources and seemed to be a strange development.

        • Animation in Honeycomb

          One of the new features ushered in with the Honeycomb release is a new animation system, a set of APIs in a whole new package (android.animation) that makes animating objects and properties much easier than it was before.

        • Motorola XOOM gets the root treatment in just two hours

          Forget taking the Motorola XOOM home to put it through its paces and experience the delight of Google’s Android Honeycomb operating system, it’s now a matter of how quickly you can install your own ClockworkMod recovery image and ROM Manager, rooting your tablet as soon as humanly possible.

          That’s what Koush did with his XOOM, installing the recovery image and ROM manager, obtaining SuperUser priviledges on the device, just two hours after purchasing the tablet. Whilst we haven’t heard of any ROMs in existence, it will mean that developers and Android hackers will be able to install custom Honeycomb ROMs on their Motorola XOOM.

        • Make Your Clock Widget lets you make your own Android clock [App Reviews]

          There’s a new popular clock widget every week, but what if you want more control over how you tell time? How do you make my own clock widget on Android? You download Make Your Clock Widget, of course.

          Make Your Clock Widget doesn’t give you the ability to build the same amazing widgets that we’ve covered in the past, but it does offer the ability to customize your clock with nice results. The app comes with a set of five pre-made templates, and several more designs available for download, that can be used as starting points to build a widget. Users can adjust font size, positioning, background color, and style to get the right look for their widgets of varying sizes.

        • Google releases manual 2.3.3 updates for Nexus One and Nexus S [Updated]

          Waiting up to a few weeks for the Android 2.3.3 OTA update to roll out may not be your style, so rather than dialing *#*#checkin#*#* in hopes that the update comes to you, Google has not released the zip file updates so you can manually update your phone.

        • Sony Ericsson could soon permit rooting of its Android handsets

          The rooting of Android handsets could soon be encouraged at Sony Ericsson after a tweet from Simon Walker, Head of Developer Program and Partner Engagement for Sony Ericsson Mobile said he was “in favour of rooting if it was done right”.

        • Things overheard on the WiFi from my Android smartphone

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • Making community software sustainable

    At Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln dated this nation’s founding to the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate July 4 as our national day.


    So far, I’m glad to say, the drive is doing a lot better than either the American Republic or the Confederacy. Over 40,000 Euros came in during just one week. “Your are our rockstars,” Florian wrote.

  • ☆ OBR Progress Report

    The Open-By-Rule Benchmark I talked about recently has now had several workouts, and there are a number more under review ready for future posting. So far, it seems to be working out well, with projects receiving scores that (to my eyes at least) are an accurate reflection of the openness. It’s been clear that every project has it’s strengths and weaknesses and that there’s no perfect model. I like the way the benchmark allows for this; as the dial I’m displaying suggests, I think an overall score below -2 suggests a closed project, a score over +2 suggests an open project and in between is a twilight zone.

  • Amateurism

    One of the false charges that anti-FLOSS protestors hurl at FLOSS is that FLOSS is run by amateurs. Begging that question, they conclude that FLOSS cannot be as good as their favourite non-free software.

  • Kerala launches International Centre for Free and Open Source Software

    The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) was inaugurated today by Chief Minister Shri V S Achuthanandan in Thiruvananthapuram. The Technopark based ICFOSS will focus on providing technical assistance for using FOSS to implement various government projects in Kerala in an endeavour to promote open source software.

    In his inaugural speech, the CM said, “As per the IT policy of the Government we will support the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in all projects, especially those for governance and education. Kerala was one of the first states in the country to adapt to free software. Today, other states are following our footsteps and we should ensure that we maintain the leadership position. ICFOSS is a step in this direction.” He also added that major projects of national importance like Aadhaar should have been developed on FOSS.

  • Liberation by software

    For the last half-thousand years, ever since there has been a press, the press has had a tendency to marry itself to power, willingly or otherwise. The existence of the printing press in western Europe destroyed the unity of Christendom, in the intellectual, political and moral revolution we call the Reformation. But the European states learned as the primary lesson of the Reformation the necessity of censorship: power controlled the press almost everywhere for hundreds of years.

    In the few places where the European press was not so controlled, it fuelled the intellectual, political and moral revolution we call the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, which taught us to believe, as Thomas Jefferson said, “When the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”

    But in the world liberal capitalism made, as AJ Liebling declared, freedom of the press belonged to him who owned one. Venality, vanity, fear, lust for profit and other forces brought the owner, slowly or rapidly as character determined, into power’s embrace. In the 20th century, the press – and its progeny, broadcast – became industrial enterprises, which married power and money far more incestuously than any megalomaniac press lord ever could, which is why the few remaining corporeal examples, nor matter how semi-corporate their vileness, retained a certain quaint, freebooting flavour.

    Now, the vast interconnection of humanity we call the internet promises to divorce the press and power forever, by dissolving the press. Now, every mobile phone, every document scanner, every camera, every laptop, are part of an immense network in which everything we see, we think, we know, can be transmitted to everyone else, everywhere, immediately. Democracy in its deepest sense follows. Ignorance ceases to be the inevitable lot of the vast majority of humanity.

  • The Idea is create FOSS KIT for on Intro to FOSS/Linux/OpenStandards for mass advocacy

    Even If we unable to create workshop by whatsoever reason, I will be able to distribute to 10000+ college in India via IIT and MHRD but we need this FOSS KIT as this stage. I am asking for contribution. please come forward as this contribution will help lakh of student to use FOSS.

  • Events

    • Scott McNealy, in Conversation with Ed Zander (Premier Event)

      Scott McNealy, Co-Founder, Former Chairman & CEO, Sun Microsystems
      Ed Zander, Former Chairman & CEO, Motorola; Former President, Sun Microsystems

    • Unfortunately, there will be no eLiberatica 2011

      I feel that I have to give a public and official response regarding eLiberatica conference. I tried to delay it in the hope that, some kind of miracle will happen – which is not the case. We cannot do this conference this time. There is as very slight chance to do it in autumn. Very light, I would not count on it.

      Unfortunately, there will be no eLiberatica 2011.

    • Talking Linux Hardware Tomorrow At SCALE

      OpenBenchmarking.org will be going public over the night and for those not in Las Angeles, slides and recordings from this presentation will be published on Monday.

  • Web Browsers

    • 3D Modeling in Your Web Browser

      Benjamin Nortier of London is our hero. Why? He’s taken on a huge challenge: create a 3D modelling program that everyone can use. He’s performed an analysis of available 3D modeling tools and came to pretty much the same conclusion we did: tools are too hard, too expensive or not usable for solid modeling. What’s he doing about it? He’s creating a fully functional, easy-to-use, browser-based 3D modeling tool: “I’m building a WebGL modelling tool for 3D printing”.

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Developer Tools: Back to Basics

        It’s been an exciting past few months in the Google Chrome Developer Tools world as we keep adding new features, while polishing up existing ones to respond to your feedback.

    • Mozilla

      • Another Beta: Mozilla Preps Firefox 4 Beta 13

        It’s the end of February and it appears as if Mozilla will miss yet another important target: It is unlikely at this time that Firefox 4 RC will become available this month, as the next beta is frozen, another beta is planned and 20 blocking bugs remain.

      • Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs Talks Firefox 4 and Chrome

        BoomTown spoke with Gary Kovacs, the relatively new CEO of Mozilla, about the near-to-official launch of Firefox 4, the increasing competition with Google and its Chrome efforts and where Mozilla goes next

      • Game On Spotlight: Far7

        Three boys decided to create a start-up. We were all into gaming, web development and space, so it was small wonder our project ended up as a browser-based space simulation game. Right from the beginning, we chose to employ only technology that would enable us to create a virtual world free from any limitations, be it platform, bandwidth or gameplay.

      • Mozilla F1 Updated

        A new version of Mozilla F1 is available. This is a bug fix/small enhancement release that builds on last week’s release.

      • Finding harmony in web development – a talk at London Web

        Last week I spoke at the London Web Meetup in London, England about a topic that is close to my heart: finding harmony as a group of professionals in web development. If you come from the outside of our little echo chamber and you see how developers communicate with each other and how we get incredibly agitated about certain subjects you get a very strange impression.

      • Customizing Home Dash with Snapshots

        One of Home Dash‘s goals is to create a browse interface where users can discover interesting websites. Home Dash 6 moves closer by adding some initial support for customizing the snapshots of these websites in the dashboard.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle and Google Tell the Court the Claim Constructions They Agree and Disagree On

      Oracle and Google have filed a joint claim construction statement [PDF]. This is a standard thing that you have to do in all patent infringement cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It’s a statement where the parties let the judge know how they each construe the words in the patents allegedly infringed.

    • Oracle’s share of server market cut in half

      Despite the bravado of chief executive Larry Ellison, Oracle continued to take a pounding in the EMEA server market during Q4 2010.

      Figures from Gartner reveal global server revenues in 2010′s closing quarter rose 16.4 per cent on the corresponding period last year to $14.7bn (£9.1bn). Across the full year, server sales rose 13.2 per cent to $48.8bn.

      In EMEA, Q4 server sales were up 10.4 per cent annually to $4.3bn, while unit shipments increased 4.4 per cent to 706,202.

    • The Document Foundation achieves its fundraising goal

      Thousands of donors contribute €50,000 in just eight days to The Document Foundation

  • Healthcare

    • FSFE welcomes paper calling for Free Software in the NHS

      Research programme publishes damning report of public health ICT, and recommends Free Software and Open Standards.

      Professor John Chelsom, founder of the Centre for Health Informatics at City University London (CUL), published a paper this week calling for the NHS to stop investing in proprietary software, and eliminate “once and for all, the product-centric culture” that has “held back” British healthcare. Arguing that the NHS is “just emerging from a decade of wasted opportunity”, the paper states that the National programme for IT (NPfIT) is a failure.

    • Bringing information sharing to healthcare

      The Direct Project took a page from the open source community by bringing together several dozen organizations to collaborate to create “a simple, secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet.” The group is working to establish standards and documentation to support simple scenarios of pushing data from where it is to where it’s needed.

  • BSD

  • Government

    • Roundup: Open source in the DOD

      The February issue of DACS’ (Data and Analysis Center for Software) Software Tech News focuses entirely on the U.S. Department of Defense and open source software. However, even if you aren’t interested in the use of open source in the military, there are still some gems that apply to all U.S. government agencies that you might want to check out.

    • ☆ The Open Source Procurement Challenge

      I am speaking at the ODF Plugfest here in the UK this morning, on the subject of the challenges facing the procurement of open source software by traditional enterprises (including the public sector). Based on a selection of experiences from ForgeRock’s first year, my talk considers procurement challenges that legacy procurement rules raise for introducing true open source solutions

    • U.K. Comes out for Royalty-Free Standards for Government Procurement

      The U.K. has become the latest country to conclude that for information and communications technology (ICT) procurement purposes, “open standards” means “royalty free standards.” While apparently falling short of a legal requirement, a Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note recommends that all departments, agencies, non-departmental bodies and “any other bodies for which they are responsible” should specify open standards in their procurement activities, unless there are “clear business reasons why this is inappropriate.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Engaging on the Digital Commons

      We at the Centre for Internet and Society are very glad to be able to participate in the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC). Our interest in the conference arises mainly from our work in the areas of intellectual property rights reform and promotion of different forms of ‘opennesses’ that have cropped up as a response to perceived problems with our present-day regime of intellectual property rights, including open content, open standards, free and open source software, open government data, open access to scholarly research and data, open access to law, etc., our emerging work on telecom policy with respect to open/shared spectrum, and the very important questions around Internet governance. The article by Sunil Abraham and Pranesh Prakash was published in the journal Common Voices, Issue 4.


  • Professor Pablo Boczkowski on news consumption — and how when you read affects what you read

    It’s an intriguing phenomenon, but it’s not the only one Boczkowski is studying. Another fascinating aspect of the professor’s research — the aspect, in fact, for which the book is named — is the study he conducted of the environments in which people consume their news. People tend to read the news at work; and that, in turn, skews the news content they consume. (For more on that idea — and for the broader trends it suggests about information consumption and civic life — check out the talk Boczkowski will be giving this evening, with the Lab’s own Josh Benton, as part of MIT’s Communications Forum. If you’re in the Cambridge area, the discussion will take place from 5 to 7 on the MIT campus; it’ll also be recorded and archived.)

  • Paris-on-Thames

    The French influx to London suggests what governments can and can’t do to boost their cities’ allure

  • Alternative search engine’s

    DDG (DuckDuckGo) is great for a number of reasons:

    * DDG doesn’t track your searches (Google does)
    * Uses a cool !bang syntax to make searching faster (example: ‘!w linux’ will take you directly to the Wikipedia page for linux, hundreds of !bang shortcuts are available for many popular sites and topics)
    * Almost as good search results as Google, there have only been a tiny handful of searches that havent been very good
    * Fast and minimal
    * The API is open source

  • Daily Show: American Workforce Makeover

    The American workforce needs a third world makeover if it wants first world corporations to find it attractive.

  • Craigslist ‘a cesspool of crime’: study

    “To be fair, Craigslist as an entity can’t be blamed for the things that happen among its users. It’s merely a facilitator of commerce, after all,” says Zollman in a blog post. “And we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados. Long before Craigslist, even, robberies were linked to newspaper classifieds from time to time.”

  • Cherokee teacher pleads guilty to duct-taping autistic student

    A Cherokee County teacher who duct-taped an autistic boy to a chair and confined a blind girl under a desk pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and was sentenced to six years of probation and $2,000 in fines.

  • Science

    • Rare Alan Turing papers bought by Bletchley Park Trust

      A collection of Max Newman’s hand-annotated offprints from sixteen of Alan Turing’s eighteen books have been purchased by the Bletchley Park Trust with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a USD100,000 donation from Google.

    • Eleventh Hour Rescue of Turing Collection

      Almost nothing tangible remains of genius Bletchley Park codebreaker, Alan Turing; so when an extremely rare collection of offprints* relating to his life and work was set to go to auction last year, an ambitious campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase them for the Bletchley Park Trust and its Museum. The Trust is today delighted to announce that the collection has been saved for the nation as the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has stepped in quickly to provide £213,437, the final piece of funding required.

    • Enigma code breaker Alan Turing’s papers have been saved

      According to the BBC, the final tally of public donations was still £200,000 short. It’s a shame that Apple couldn’t part with any of the £60 billion cash pile it’s sitting on and that other cash rich information technology companies didn’t donated something. Turing was, after all, a founding father of modern computing.

    • Adding a twist to radio technology

      The bandwidth available to mobile phones, digital television and other communication technologies could be expanded enormously by exploiting the twistedness as well as wavelength of radio waves. That is the claim being made by a group of scientists in Italy and Sweden, who have shown how a radio beam can be twisted, and the resulting vortex detected with distant antennas.

      The simplest kind of electromagnetic beam has a plane wavefront, which means that the peaks or troughs of the beam can be connected by an imaginary plane at right angles to the beam’s direction of travel. But if a beam is twisted, then the wavefront rotates around the beam’s direction of propagation in a spiral, creating a vortex and leaving the beam with zero intensity at its centre.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Security updates for Friday
    • RSA 2011: Winning the War But Losing Our Soul

      There was lots of noise and distraction on the crowded Expo floor of the RSA Security Conference this year. After a grueling couple of years, vendors were back in force with big booths, big news and plenty of entertainment designed to attract visitor traffic. Wandering the floor, I saw – variously – magic tricks, a man walking on stilts, a whack-a-mole game, a man dressed in a full suit of armor and a 15 foot long racetrack that I would have killed for when I was 10.

      The most telling display, however, may have been the one in Booth 556, where malware forensics firm HBGary displayed a simple sign saying that it had decided to remove its booth and cancel scheduled talks by its executives. This, after the online mischief making group Anonymous broke into the computer systems of the HBGary Federal subsidiary and stole proprietary and confidential information. The HBGary sign stayed up for a couple days, got defaced by someone at the show and was later removed. When I swung by HBGary’s booth on Thursday, it was a forlorn and empty patch of brown carpet where a couple marketing types where holding an impromptu bull session.

    • Credit cards at the turnstile across London by 2013

      Transport for London has confirmed that by the end of 2012 it will accept contactless credit and debit cards at the tube turnstiles, just after the Olympic tourists leave.

      Those tourists will be able to pay for bus journeys, as London’s 8,000 buses will be equipped to accept PayWave, PayPass and ExpressPay before the July kick-off, but upgrading the underground network will take a little longer so Londoners will have to wait until the end of 2012 before being able to cut up their Oyster cards.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Filmmaker To Create Egypt Documentary Through Social Media

      This was a particularly interesting to Mehta, who is a Knight Fellow at Stanford University and former New York Times video journalist currently working on ways to develop what he calls “participatory reporting.” After the initial celebration, he developed a project that he hopes will result in a crowd-sourced interactive documentary about the 18 days of protests that led up to the revolution.

      The project, #18DaysInEgypt, asks people who witnessed the protests to label what they recorded of them on Twitter, Flickr and YouTube with specific tags. Eventually, Mehta will put the entries together to create an interactive narrative. He hasn’t decided whether that narrative will involve a timeline, place the viewer at a specific location to observe what is going on, create a customized video depending on what the user wants to experience (Arcade Fire-style) or something else. For now, the biggest hurdle is collecting the content, a project for which he is soliciting help from partners in Egypt.

    • South Korea leaflets tell North of Egypt, but change unlikely

      South Korea’s military has been dropping leaflets into North Korea about democracy protests in Egypt, a legislator said on Friday, but doubts lingered it would trigger calls for change in the tightly controlled country.

      As part of a psychological campaign, the South Korean military also sent food, medicines and radios for residents in a bid to encourage North Koreans to think about change, a conservative South Korean parliament member, Song Young-sun, said.

    • Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators

      The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.

    • Lieutenant General William Caldwell illegally ‘psyched’ bigwigs

      A US general in Afghanistan illegally ordered a military psychological operations team to manipulate visiting US dignitaries into supporting their calls for further troops and funding, it was reported yesterday.

    • Libya in turmoil – live updates

      9.46am – North Korea: In the comments thread Benghazi217 reports that North Korea has seen protests in the past few weeks, while the economic and food situation is deteriorating. Earlier we heard reports that South Korea is dropping leaflets into its northern neighbour documenting the revolutions in Egypt and Libya.

    • CNN’s Brian Todd reports on WikiLeaks cables detailing excessive spending, violence of Gadhafi’s children.
    • Old Friend AndNew Deals, Ignoring Democracy

      Mubarak and Berlusconi are cheerful. After dinner, they chat and laugh about “their meetings with that madcap Qaddafi.” Who knows, they may even have talked about “bunga bunga” (think steamy frolics), a phrase invented by the Libyan leader. And there was much good cheer too during a private lunch not so long ago between the Cavaliere (Berlusconi’s nickname) and the Tunisian president Ben Alì at the latter’s Hollywood-style villa in Carthage. “Old friends, new deals” is how the US ambassador summed it up. But when the subject of the Mediterranean comes up, Italy’s foreign policy always goes off on two different paths: Berlusconi deals with the “sexier portfolio”, in other words special deals and the like, while foreign minister Frattini handles down-to-earth matters. The US diplomatic documents – obtained from WikiLeaks and published exclusively by “L’Espresso” – show how the regimes of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were a personal question for Silvio Berlusconi. After all, his style is to embrace the world’s dictators, from Putin to Lukashenko, from Chavez to Assad, while ignoring warnings from his ministers and allies. Not to mention the fact that he welcomes the sudden influx of “non- transparent” Libyan capital into the Italian bank Unicredit. With the risk that very private and hastily concocted deals will now carry a high price for the whole of Italy. While North Africa’s Maghreb region is undergoing dramatic changes affecting Italy’s future – refugees seeking asylum, energy cutbacks and stock exchange tremors – the government seems unable to come up with an appropriate response. And the WikiLeaks cables show how Italy’s executive is split from top to bottom – ministers with no compunction about trampling on their colleagues, a marked inability to find a single voice on major problems, bitter feuds amongst party factions, clashes with Bankitalia and with the President of Italy. For months the US ambassador David Thorne has been filing reports to Washington D.C. about the all-out fighting in the government coalition “while waiting to find out who will take over from Berlusconi.”

    • Libya’s ‘Love Revolution’: Muslim Dating Site Seeds Protest

      When Omar Shibliy Mahmoudi exchanged sweet nothings on the Muslim dating site Mawada, it wasn’t for love but for liberty.

  • Cablegate

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 89

      5:05 Wired: Pay Pal denies anything political about it freezing that Bradley Manning support fund. “Asked why, if the Courage to Resist account was opened in 2006, PayPal hadn’t raised the issue of linking it to a bank account earlier, Nayar did not have an immediate response. He said only that nonprofit organizations are allowed to open accounts easily and quickly.”

    • Clinton and the freedom to connect

      I’m disappointed that she used this speech to once more attack Wikileaks (even as she praised other nations’ citizens’ efforts to use the net to bring transparency to their governments) and that the Administration has not taken the opportunity of Wikileaks to examine its own level of classification and opacity. They could still disapprove of Wikileaks while also learning a lesson about being more open. By not doing that, some of the high-minded words in a speech such as this come off as at least inconsistent if not hypocritical.

    • There are many who fear exposure of Libya’s secrets

      For years his regime has given the west nothing but grief but been kept sweet for reasons of oil, trade and on the spurious notion that the “Great Leader” might be a useful ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism. Earlier this week a fresh batch of diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks again revealed the true nature of the corrupt and lavish lifestyles of the Gaddafi family. In what amounts to a personal fiefdom, his oldest son, Muhammad, dominated telecommunications, while another like Muatassim, was National Security Adviser, Hannibal was influential in maritime shipping, Khamis commanded a top military unit, and Saadi was given the job of setting up an Export Free Trade Zone in western Libya.

    • PayPal Lifts Ban on Fundraising Account for WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning

      PayPal has lifted its ban on the account of Courage to Resist, an organization that has raised a substantial portion of the funds needed for the legal defense of Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old former U.S. army private accused of leaking classified U.S. information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

    • Glenn Greenwald explains WikiLeaks to Stephen Colbert

      Anonymous recently revealed internal emails and documents from security firm HBGary that showed how it proposed targeting WikiLeaks and journalists, expecially Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of Bank of America.

    • “What has Wikileaks ever taught us?”

      Since 2006, the whistleblowers’ website WikiLeaks has published a mass of information we would otherwise not have known. The leaks have exposed dubious procedures at Guantanamo Bay and detailed meticulously the Iraq War’s unprecedented civilian death-toll. They have highlighted the dumping of toxic waste in Africa as well as revealed America’s clandestine military actions in Yemen and Pakistan.

    • Demand open justice for Julian Assange

      Julian Assange will, according to the judge’s finding of fact, be held in prison in solitary confinement when he is returned to Sweden and will then be interrogated, held without bail and later subjected to a secret trial on accusations that have been bruited around the world, not least by this newspaper. He has a complete answer to these charges, which he considers false and baseless. Even if acquitted, however, the mud will stick and, if convicted, the public will never be able to able to assess whether justice has miscarried. This country, which has given to the world the most basic principles of a fair trial – that justice must be seen to be done – denies that basic liberty for those that are extradited to Sweden.

    • Is WikiLeaks Driving Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa?

      Though the media may attack WikiLeaks on their editorial pages, Mitchell says many outlets depend on the cables for juicy details about Libya. Where else could we learn that US diplomats consider Qaddafi and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez “revolutionary brothers”?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hydrofracked? One Man’s Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

      There are few things a family needs to survive more than fresh drinking water. And Louis Meeks, a burly, jowled Vietnam War hero who had long ago planted his roots on these sparse eastern Wyoming grasslands, was drilling a new well in search of it.

      The drill bit spun, whining against the alluvial mud and rock that folds beneath the Wind River Range foothills. It ploughed to 160 feet, but the water that spurted to the surface smelled foul, like a parking lot puddle drenched in motor oil. It was no better — yet — than the water Meeks needed to replace.

      Meeks used to have abundant water on his small alfalfa ranch, a 40-acre plot speckled with apple and plum trees northeast of the Wind River Mountains and about five miles outside the town of Pavillion. For 35 years he drew it clear and sweet from a well just steps from the front door of the plain, eight-room ranch house that he owns with his wife, Donna. Neighbors would stop off the rural dirt road on their way to or from work in the gas fields to fill plastic jugs; the water was better than at their own homes.

      But in the spring of 2005, Meeks’ water had turned fetid. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline. And after 20 minutes — scarcely longer than you’d need to fill a bathtub — the pipes shuttered and popped and ran dry.

    • The Corn Ultimatum: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?

      I am not a fan of our corn ethanol policy as I made clear made clear during the last food crisis (see “The Fuel on the Hill” and “Can words describe how bad corn ethanol is?” and “Let them eat biofuels!“). In a world of blatantly increasing food insecurity — driven by population, dietary trends, rising oil prices, and growing climate instability — America’s policy of burning one third of our corn crop in our engines (soon to be 37% or more) is becoming increasingly untenable, if not unconscionable.

      I was glad to see former Pres. Bill Clinton start talking about this in a Washington Post piece headlined, “Clinton: Too much ethanol could lead to food riots” — though I tend to see the world’s increasing use of crops for fuel as an underlying cause for growing food insecurity, something that makes the whole food system more brittle and thus more vulnerable to triggering events, like once in 1000 100 year droughts and once in 500 year floods, which is to say climate instability (see WashPost, Lester Brown explain how extreme weather, climate change drive record food prices).

    • Real Climate faces libel suit

      Real Climate, a prominent blog run by climate scientists, may be sued by a controversial journal in response to allegations that the its peer review process is “shoddy.”

      Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller and Real Climate member based at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, has claimed that Energy & Environment (E&E) has “effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.” The journal denies the claim, and, according to Schmidt, has threatened to take further action unless he retracts it.

      “This is an insult, and what’s more it’s not true,” says Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, the editor of E&E and an emeritus reader at the University of Hull’s department of geography. Every paper that is submitted to the journal is vetted by a number of experts, she said. But she did not deny that she allows her political agenda to influence which papers are published in the journal. “I’m not ashamed to say that I deliberately encourage the publication of papers that are sceptical of climate change,” said Boehmer-Christiansen, who does not believe in man-made climate change.

  • Finance

    • Libya Placed Billions of Dollars at US Banks: WikiLeaks

      Libya’s secretive sovereign wealth fund has $32 billion in cash with several U.S. banks each managing up to $500 million, and it has primary investments in London, a confidential diplomatic cable shows.

    • Amidst Rumors That Gadhafi’s Been Shot, Swiss and Brits Freeze His Assets

      While rumors that Libyan ruler Muammar Gadhafi had been shot surfaced, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs announced it would freeze any and all assets held by Gaddafi or his “environment” to avoid any “misuse of state funds.”

    • Tell Kaplan & The Washington Post: Stop Cashing In On Low-Income Students

      Kaplan University Online promises convenient college degrees paid for with easy federal aid. But for many students, all they deliver is debt, unethical practices and misleading claims. Who cashes in? The Washington Post Company, which owns the lucrative chain of colleges and lends its stellar reputation to a scam for low-income students.

      Shannon Croteau was 11 classes away from a degree from Kaplan University Online when she learned she was out of financial aid, owed $30,000 and that the degree would be worthless in her state of New Hampshire.

      Croteau had been told by Kaplan — a lucrative chain of “for-profit” colleges owned by the Washington Post Company — that she could make more than $65,000 a year as a paralegal. Getting financial aid from the government was easy, they said, and earning a degree would be a snap.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • [Parody] Embarrassed Republicans Admit They’ve Been Thinking Of Eisenhower Whole Time They’ve Been Praising Reagan

      At a press conference Monday, visibly embarrassed leaders of the Republican National Committee acknowledged that their nonstop, effusive praise of Ronald Reagan has been wholly unintentional, admitting they somehow managed to confuse him with Dwight D. Eisenhower for years.

    • Celebrity names swamp News of the World phone-hacking inquiry

      So many messages are being examined by Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking inquiry that it is difficult to identify every mention of a celebrity’s name among “hundreds of intercepts”, lawyers for the police have claimed.

      The proliferation of legal actions generated by complaints against the News of the World is also in danger of congesting the courts with “parallel claims”, the judge hearing applications for disclosure in three cases has implied.

    • Seriously, Timothy Johnson, Your Idea Of How To Do PR For Clients Is A Joke

      The culprit in this case is Mr. Timothy Johnson, who just went off on my extremely sweet and mild-mannered colleague Leena Rao because she declined to cover some tidbit of news about a company he represents.

    • The best influence money can buy – the 10 Worst Corporate Lobbyists

      Getting politicians to bend policy to your company’s will is a fine art – requiring a combination of charm, dogged persistence, threats and bushels of cash. But corporate lobbyists know just which buttons to press in order to get politicians to stuff human rights, public health and the dear old environment – and put business interests first.

      Much as they shrink from the limelight, we feel they deserve a bit of exposure. So here’s why we think these 10 lobby groups have earned their place in the hall of shame.

    • Why nobody trusts the mainstream media

      Is it a problem that the top six media corporations dominate the information flow to most of the developed world?

      I think so.

  • Censorship

    • Letter from China

      The Chinese Communist Party can move like a gazelle when it senses that its grip on social stability might be at stake. Within days of Mubarak’s downfall, Beijing had rounded up liberal activists, slowed the Web to a crawl, and poured security forces into areas that it thought could be used for the kind of online organizing that is sweeping the Middle East. Smack in the middle of that, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on “Internet freedom” last week, and she singled out China and other authoritarian countries for facing a “dictator’s dilemma” in their attempts to control the Internet. For analysis, I turned to Rebecca MacKinnon, who knows as much as anyone about the Internet in China. She is a Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and co-founder of Global Voices Online, an international citizen media project. (Her book “Consent of the Networked” will be published next year by Basic Books.)

    • China calls for renewed fight against Dalai Lama

      A senior Chinese leader says Beijing should launch a fresh struggle against the influence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet.

      The comments were made by Jia Qinglin, who sits on the standing committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s powerful politburo.

      He said China also needed to raise the living standards of Tibetan people.

      The call comes nearly three years after riots and unrest in Tibetan areas which China blamed on the Dalai Lama.

    • LinkedIn hit as China clamps down on dissident talk

      Business networking site LinkedIn appeared to have been blocked in some parts of China, the company said.

      No explanation was given for the move, which LinkedIn is still investigating.

  • Privacy

    • HIPAA Bares Its Teeth: $4.3m Fine For Privacy Violation

      The health care industry’s toothless tiger finally bared its teeth, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a $4.3 m fine to a Maryland health care provider for violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The action is the first monetary fine issued since the Act was passed in 1996.

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Notice of Final Determination to Cignet Health care of Temple Hills, Maryland on February 4. The notice followed a finding by HHS’s Office of Civil Rights that Cignet failed to provide 41 patients with copies of their medical records and for failing to respond to requests from HHS’s Office of Civil Rights for information related to the complaints.

  • Civil Rights

    • Deconstructing the CALEA hearing

      US law is surprisingly clear on the topic of encryption — companies are free to build it into their products, and if they don’t have the decryption key, they can’t be forced to deliver their customers’ unencrypted communications or data to law enforcement agencies.

      While Skype uses some form of proprietary end-to-end encryption (although it should be noted that the security experts I’ve spoken to don’t trust it), and RIM uses encryption for its Enterprise Blackberry messaging suite, the vast majority of services that consumers use today are not encrypted. Those few services that do use encryption, such as Google’s Gmail, only use it to protect the data in transit from the user’s browser to Google’s servers. Once Google receives it, the data is stored in the clear.


      Building encryption into products, turning it on by default, and using it to protect all data is the ultimate form of privacy by design. While the FTC is encouraging firms to embrace this philosophy, the FBI is betting that poor security will remain the default. Sure, a few individuals will know how to encrypt their data, but the vast majority will not. It is because of this that the FBI can avoid a fight over encryption. Why bother, when so little data is encrypted?

    • Our human rights vs. The Others

      You know what else Human Rights Watch vehemently condemns as human rights abuses? Guantanamo, military commissions, denial of civilian trials, indefinite detention, America’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” renditions, and a whole slew of other practices that are far more severe than the conditions in Haiti about which Lopez complains and yet which have been vocally supported by National Review. In fact, Lopez’s plea for Allen is surrounded at National Review by multiple and increasingly strident attacks on the Obama administration by former Bush officials Bill Burck and Dana Perino for (allegedly) abandoning those very policies, as well as countless posts from former Bush speechwriter (and the newest Washington Post columnist) Marc Thiessen promoting his new book defending torture. Lopez herself has repeatedly cheerled for Guantanamo and related policies, hailing Mitt Romney’s call in a GOP debate that we “double Guantanamo” as his “best answer” and saying she disagrees with John McCain’s anti-torture views, while mocking human rights concerns with the term “Club Gitmo.” And National Review itself has led an endless attack on the credibility of Human Rights Watch, accusing it of anti-Israel and anti-American bias for daring to point out the human rights abuses perpetrated by those countries.

    • The Big Pornography BBS Raids & Byron Sonne

      On Identi.ca this morning we’ve been discussing the criminal charges against Byron Sonne, and the other people who were charged in the G8/G20 witch hunt. And of course someone reposted the link to the Gawker interview with one of the people that the FBI raided for being a member of Anonymous.

      All of which reminded me of another witch hunt…

      I used to run a BBS called ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ Hey, I’m a creature of habit :)

      It was a private board. You got invited to join if you were interesting. You had to be able to communicate. There was a posting requirement – you have to keep your ratio of posts above a certain level, or I’d kick you out.

      Quite frankly it was a lot of fun. We had a great bunch of people, and held brisk discussions about a wide range of topics. There were only 30 members, so everyone knew everyone quite well. It was a private club style setup, you didn’t even get considered for an invite unless someone who was already a member recommended you – and they were careful about who they recommended because we were all having so much fun.

      And then a MORAL PANIC hit southern Ontario. Some brainless cretin realized that Electronic Bulletin Board Systems could be used to distribute child pornography.

    • WI Assembly GOP Passes Walker Budget In Surprise Vote — Dems Chant “Shame!”

      The Wisconsin State Assembly has just passed Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, including its controversial provisions to eliminate almost all collective bargaining rights for public employee unions as well as many other provisions to weaken union organizing.

    • Why I Support the People of Thompson, Canada — And You Should Too

      To people down here in the U.S., Thompson, Canada and its fight with the Brazilian mining giant Vale may seem very far away.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • How India’s Draft Cybercafe Rules Could Strangle Public Internet Access

      - Definition of Cybercafe: According to the IT Act, “Cyber Cafe means any facility from where access to the Internet is offered by any person on the ordinary course of business to the members of the public,” and this is where a large part of the problem lies. By saying that the rules are applicable to any facility, it could refer to all WiFi hotspots, whether run by Aircel, Tata Indicom, or even small cafes and restaurants that want to offer patrons free WiFi access. And I’m not sure if those who framed these rules are aware, but today you can use an Android phone to set up a WiFi connection, and offer public Internet Access.

    • China Mobile CEO says Wi-Fi should be default data connection

      Sadly, the last point is what municipal wireless networks in the United States never got a chance to achieve. Municipalities in the US were trying to roll out these networks, a few years too early, before launch of the iPhone and the tsunami of Android phones.

      In life, timing is everything: the massive demand from mobile users had not yet occurred and there was (and perhaps still is) not enough wired backhaul in the form of fiber networks. There are a few successful muni WiFi networks in the US, but I believe that most of them will be deployed outside the United States.

  • DRM

    • Sony Sends Cops to PS3 Hacker’s Home

      PS3 hacking community member graf_chokolo says that Sony and the police raided his home and warns others to “be careful from now on.”

      A member of the PS3 hacking community known as graf_chokolo is learning the hard way that Sony means business when it comes to preventing people from circumventing the gaming consoles DRM protection scheme.

    • Sony’s War on Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

      Two weeks ago I proclaimed a winner in the microcontroller dev board arena with “Why the Arduino Won, and Why It’s Here to Stay.” There’s still lots of great debate going on, and conversations that still haven’t ended. Is my prediction right? We’ll see what happens in the upcoming months and years.

      This week I’m going to switch gears a little and declare an enemy for all makers, hackers, and innovators — it’s in a very different space: the consumer electronics industry. And who is this slayer of progress? Sony.

    • Microsoft Shows Sony a Better Way

      I don’t think even Sony believes it can be successful at producing hack-proof PlayStations. If they did, they wouldn’t be hiring lawyers and raiding people’s homes and grabbing their computers and PlayStation 3s, leading The Inquirer to call Sony the “overbearing Japanese company”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court Drops FileSoup BitTorrent Case, Administrators Walk Free

        Two administrators of FileSoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – had their case dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today. The prosecution relied solely on one-sided evidence provided by the anti-piracy group FACT and was not able to build a case. Following the trial of OiNK BitTorrent tracker operator Alan Ellis, the FileSoup case marks the second where UK-based BitTorrent site operators have walked free.

      • Battle Over Limewire Damages Drags Google And MySpace Into The Fray

        Limewire wants to know all about the deals that the record labels have struck with online services in the past. That’s likely because Limewire wants to show that the actual deals done by the record companies don’t justify their outsize damage demands. The record labels have said in the past that their damage demands against Limewire could be hundreds of millions of dollars, or even top $1 billion. There’s no way Limewire ever made that kind of cash, but the labels are hoping to force founder Mark Gorton, who also owns and manages a hedge fund, to pay up out of his personal fortune.

      • iiTrial: A green light to disconnect pirates

        Today’s judgment by the Full Bench of the Federal Court could clear the way for internet service providers to disconnect subscribers accused of copyright infringement.

        The majority ruling in the split judgment handed down today gives internet service providers no absolute protection over the actions of their subscribers.

      • So Much For The Big Guns’ Online Music Plans

        But this sounds mostly like merely a hard drive in the sky – a new place for existing customers to store files they already “own”.

      • BitTorrent Admin ‘Fined’, Despite Anti-Piracy Group Law-Breaking and Blunders

        Despite an anti-piracy group blundering through an investigation and breaking the law in the process, the administrator of a BitTorrent site has been ordered to pay compensation to rights holders. Jonas Laeborg, the operator of the EliteBits private tracker, was found liable for contributory infringement and ordered to settle to the tune of $18,500.

      • Amicus Brief Calls Into Question The Legality Of Righthaven’s Entire Business Model

        We’ve seen some of the defenses to Righthaven suits raise some of these issues, but never in such a detailed manner. And it’s especially interesting in this case, where the filing comes as an amicus brief, rather than lawyers for the defendant. In fact the defendant in the case, Bill Hyatt, did not reply. As we’ve discussed in the past, normally when that happens, the court will make a default judgment — basically giving the plaintiff everything requested. However, they don’t have to and Randazza points out that Righthaven’s claims reach far beyond reasonable. Among other things, it also challenges Righthaven’s ridiculous standard demand that those sued hand over their entire domain name, noting that copyright law does not allow such a remedy.

      • Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

        Free streaming services are replacing piracy as the chief culprit of music industry revenue loss in the minds of fiscally frustrated executives, if a number of panel discussions at a New York digital music conference are any indication.

      • Pirate Bay Documentary Gets Government Funding

        TPB-AFK is an upcoming documentary about The Pirate Bay and its founders, expected to be released later this year. To complete the project, Swedish filmmaker Simon Klose has now received over $30,000 in funding from the Swedish Government. This money will be added to the $50,000 that was already donated by peers through a successful Kickstarter project.

      • RIAA Defends $1.5 Million Thomas File-Sharing Verdict

        RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth defended the verdict as necessary to address her “blatant disrespect for artists, the legal system, and the law,” but doesn’t acknowledge that the amount is still so high – $1.5 mln – that the only message it’s sending is that the RIAA is completely removed from reality.

      • Random defendant outlawyers P2P attorney, gets lawsuit tossed

        You know it’s tough out there for a P2P lawyer when even some random, anonymous, non-lawyer defendant is the more convincing party. That strange scenario unfolded yesterday in Illinois, where divorce-attorney-turned-porn-copyright-lawyer John Steele had his entire case against 300 defendants thrown out completely.

        The case involved CP Productions, “a leading producer of adult entertainment content within the amateur Latina niche.” The company ran a site called “Chica’s Place” from which a bit of material referred to as “Cowgirl Creampie” was allegedly downloaded illegally by 300 people. Though based in Arizona, CP Productions signed up with Steele, a Chicago lawyer, to bring the case.

      • Karmic Punishment

        A story on TechDirt caught my imagination, about a P2P law firm who were sending out extortion letters after a judge had dismissed the defendants. It seems that you have to get pretty low to be less ethical than lawyers in some rackets these days. It seems that nothing stands in the way as a deterrent for them. I have a suggestion.

        Since their business model is about mass mailing extortion “pay up or else” threats, knowing that a significant number will pay out the $5000 or whatever the settlement fee is, than go to court with the intentionally inflated “$100,000′s” in fines and costs, why not fine them $5000 for EVERY letter they’ve sent illegally in addition to refunding everyone who’s paid up double?

      • ACTA

        • Japan Wanted Canada Out of Initial ACTA Group

          Another cable includes commentary on specifically excluding other international organizations, with the USTR stressing that the G8 or OECD “might make it more difficult to construct a high-standards agreement.”

          From a Canadian perspective it is worth noting that the Japanese proposed keeping Canada out of the initial negotiating group.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman w Polsce – AGH Kraków 14 styczeń 2009 [part 1/4]

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 25/2/2011: GNOME 3 Beta 1, Fedora 16 to Ship With BTRFS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Ubuntu is the 4th Most Popular Linux Distribution on Web Servers, Continues to Grow Faster

      Ubuntu has been the most popular Linux distribution on desktop systems for sometime now and according to Google Trends data, Ubuntu probably is the first ever Linux distro to overshoot popularity of Linux itself. And now, Ubuntu is steadily increasing its market share on web servers as well. According to w3techs.com statistics, Ubuntu is now the 4th most popular Linux distro on web servers and growing at a much faster rate than its competitors.

    • SGI lays off 4 per cent of workforce

      Supercomputer maker Silicon Graphics tightened its financial belt yesterday, announcing that it was laying off employees to make its fiscal 2011 numbers.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 4

      Title: Qt, or not Qt?

      In this episode: Microsoft and Nokia form an alliance and the GPLv3 might not be welcome on Windows Phone. Canonical gets controversial with Banshee while openSUSE and Fedora users might have to wait for Unity. Hear our discoveries, our limited success with the challenge, and your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

  • Kernel Space

    • Lomoco Is Still Around For Logitech Mice On Linux

      While we haven’t talked about Lomoco in a few years nor has there been a new release of this free software project for Logitech Mouse Control under Linux in a while, Lomoco is still being developed. Andreas Schneider is still working on Linux support for the latest Logitech mice via Lomoco.

  • Applications

    • TorChat, anonymous and secure messaging and file transfers

      Using the Tor network of virtual tunnels, TorChat is a small, portable and open-source IM client that allows for completely anonymous and secure communications and file sharing. It works on both Windows and Linux.

    • Proprietary

      • Barracuda gets some teeth

        Today we will ship the first of many changes for Speed Dial that is targeted for the upcoming Barracuda release. It will however be delivered in separate pieces before you will see the entire puzzle laid out.

        Opera’s Speed Dial was first introduced in an Opera 9.20 snapshot on Feb 28th 2007. The idea came about as we observed that people kept typing the same addresses for a few of their favourite websites again and again. Getting to their top web sites could mean hundreds or thousands of clicks on the keyboard in a single day. The solution we came up with was very simple, but very powerful. And today it’s still one of the most loved, and copied, features in Opera.

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell 2.91.90 Released – Screenshots And Video

        Here is a video I’ve recorded with the latest Gnome Shell 2.91.90 – not the best quality but as usual, the Shell recorder doesn’t play very nice with my Nvidia graphics card…

      • GNOME 3 Beta 1 (2.91.90) released!

        One more important step towards the great GNOME 3 release! It’s pretty clear that things are getting much more stable release-wise. Thanks everyone! This release has got a quite a lot of updates including bugs fixes and user-visible improvements in GNOME Shell. The Network Manager bits are going through a lot of changes for the 0.9 release.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS 4 Review

        Recently I have reviewed a number of interesting Ubuntu derivatives. Linux Mint is probably the most popular one, but other more obscure picks like MoonOS and PinguyOS also proved to be very interesting options. In future articles I also plan to review Bodhi Linux, but this time I want to talk about Zorin 4 OS, which is based off of Ubuntu 10.10.


        I would recommend Zorin to any kind of Linux user, but specially for those who are taking their first steps in the Penguin Universe.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 Has A Few Rough Spots: Review

        Debian’s kFreeBSD flavour works around these licensing issues by marrying the GNU C library and userland with the kernel from FreeBSD 8. As a result, this version of Debian inherits the kernel features and hardware support of FreeBSD, while maintaining compatibility with most of the Debian software package catalogue.


        I was pleased to note that some of the software management tools I’m accustomed to using in Ubuntu (which is a Debian derivative) have made it back upstream.

      • 7 mistakes to avoid when participating to Debian mailing lists

        You’re eager to start contributing to Debian, your first action is to subscribe to some high-profile mailing lists (like debian-devel and debian-project) to get a feel of the community. You read the mails for a few days and then you find out that you could participate to the discussions, it’s a simple first step after all. True enough.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Inspiration
        • Version number suggests Ubuntu changes
        • Ubuntu Compromises on Banshee Revenue Recipients

          Canonical and Ubuntu encountered quite a bit of resistance from its community recently when it changed the default Banshee profit sharing recipient. By default, in Banshee The GNOME Foundation was to receive a portion of revenue from music sales through the AmazonMP3 store. But in a recent Ubuntu 11.04 snapshot, users noticed that recipient was changed to Canonical. After a bit of an uprising from users and Banshee developers, Jono Bacon today announced a compromise.

        • Ubuntu Linux for beginners: Tips for getting started

          Maybe it was one piece of malware too many, maybe it was realizing that while Windows 7 doesn’t look like XP, there really wasn’t that much better about it, in any case the day had come when you decided to give Ubuntu Linux a try. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your new experiment in operating systems.

        • It’s time — apply NOW! UDS -O

          What’s the worst that can happen, after all? Canonical can say no, and then you’ll have to attend remotely. But what if the best happens, and they say YES? They told me yes, and flew me to Florida! The travel agents arranged to have me fly in early, so I could spend some time with my long-time friend who lives north of Orlando. (This time, the city is Budapest!)

        • Thinking About Ubuntu Developer Summit Attendance and Sponsorship?
        • Unity 2d’s new design in motion [Video]

          Unity 2D – the Qt implementation of Ubuntu’s Unity interface that doesn’t require 3D graphic drivers, etc. – is advancing apace.

        • New Unity 2D Design On The Way (Video)

          The changes you can see in the above video are not yet available in the Unity 2D PPA, but expect it to land soon.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • My favorite Linux desktop: Mint 10

            Over the years, I’ve seen more Linux distributions than anyone this side of the Distrowatch editors. Some end-up staying in my offices. For example, I use openSUSE and CentOS on my servers, and I’ve often used Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and MEPIS on my desktops and laptops. I’m also constantly looking at new Linux distributions, such as SplashTop and Peppermint on my test boxes or a VirtualBox virtual machine. Now, though, I find myself using Mint 10 as my main Linux desktop.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo / Qt – Alive and Kicking

          During the last week in MWC Barcelona I had countless meetings, and even larger number of phone calls after that, always starting with an equally blunt question: “what is happening, is MeeGo dead now?” After “buckets of cold water”, and the following chaos, the dust seems to be settled now. Follow MeeGoers are getting themselves reorganized. Personally I got an excellent excuse and decided to start this blog to shed some light for the current development, and to do my duty for the community and the business.

      • Android

        • WebM/VP8 support appears in Android 2.3.3

          Google’s recently announced Android 2.3.3, “Gingerbread”, is according to Google, now starting to be delivered OTA (Over The Air) to Nexus S and Nexus One smartphones. It appears that 2.3.3, as well as adding support for NFC (Near Field Communications) as found in the Nexus S, has also added WebM support. The details of the WebM support are on the Android Media Formats page where a new entry for the VP8 codec, as used by the WebM container format, has been added with the note “Android 2.3.3+”.

        • AT&T: HTC Aria getting Android 2.2 (Froyo) tomorrow

          AT&T has informed its friends that an Android 2.2 (Froyo) update for HTC’s mid-level Aria handset will be ready for public consumption beginning tomorrow. Ma’ Bell is asking eager Aria owners to hit up the company’s Facebook page tomorrow for download instructions.

        • “The Daily” coming to Android this Spring. Does anyone care?
        • Asus Brings Five Android Devices To China In Bid For Billions Of New Customers

          On Thursday afternoon in Beijing, Asus plans to announce a wide-ranging partnership with China Mobile that will make four Asus smartphones and one tablet available to the carrier’s millions of customers.

          The deal is the cornerstone of Asus’ newest strategy to boost its mobile devices business. Though Asus is widely known for its computer parts, laptops and netbooks, it remains a bit player in the global cellphone and smartphone markets.

        • Impressive video visualizes Android activations from October 2008 to January 2011

          I don’t think any technology enthusiast is unaware of Android’s rapid growth — there are a staggering 350 000 Android devices activated every day and even fans of other mobile platforms must have noticed that Google’s OS is everywhere now.

          Although Android’s rise in popularity was expected, the open-source platform was once the underdog and fans only had a small number of devices to choose from. Initially, there was of course just one single Android phone: the HTC Dream (G1).

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Splashtop Linux: A Free Chrome OS Alternative

        Web surfers tired of waiting for the official release of hardware featuring Google’s Chrome OS now have a browser-based alternative right at their fingertips: Splashtop Linux 1.0, a downloadable instant-on operating system tailored to life in the cloud.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The economics of a (software) cartel

    Early on it becomes fairly clear the article is written with an agenda:

    How, if at all, should governments use [open source software (OSS)]? One important theoretical insight starts from the observation that [OSS is] …imperfect [and] has distinct areas of advantage and disadvantage (von Engelhardt 2008). This implies that large modern economies will usually require a mix of both [OSS and closed source software (CSS)].

    The article goes on:

    [Engelhardt and Maurer] point out that the existence of CSS code increases OSS output and vice versa. To see why, consider an all-OSS world in which each company offers consumers exactly the same shared code as every other company. By definition no company can then compete by writing more OSS code than its rivals. This lack of competition suppresses code production for the same reason that cartels suppress output.

    From this point the argument is reasonably constructed and more or less appropriate in its conclusions. But this premise, that a pure open source world would (a) result in less code production and the implication (b) that that would inherently be “a bad thing” is totally unfounded.

    So, as it is a very good place to start, I’ll start at the beginning; with the definition of the economic concept referred to, a cartel.

    A cartel in economic theory is generally seen to occur at a particular point in a range of market types. This range stretches from perfect competition to monopoly. A monopoly market is the condition which the game of the same name defines as victory, that is the absence of competition. Perfect competition at the other end of the scale is a market where all parties know all things about the goods sold in the market (known as perfect knowledge) and it is easy to set up in business. As is clear in the terminology used, perfect competition is seen to be good and monopolies bad.

    Economists see a sliding scale between monopoly and perfect competition, and degrees along the way. It is generally accepted that a near or effective monopoly is as bad as a monopoly; a near monopoly can be seen to exist in a market where a single company controls more than two thirds of that market. Below a monopoly in economic badness lies an oligopoly, where a small number of large companies control the majority of a market. It is at this point in the scale that cartels are seen to form. A cartel is where a number of firms in the oligopoly get together and conspire to fix pricing, using their power to inhibit competition, to create an effective monopoly.

  • The Ada Initiative Announces Advisory Board

    More information about the advisors can be found in the press release and on the advisors web page. “The advisory board will work closely with the Ada Initiative founders in planning and executing their projects.”

  • The role of Open Source and Free software in today’s world, excellences, issues and frontiers to cross: an expert talk with Roberto Galoppini

    Unless you are going for the obvious names (Apache, Linux, etc) – for which you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that are sustainable projects – it is worth to have a method to create a short list of candidates on which to perform all functional and performance tests. In fact verification and validation tests require a significant amount time and resources to be run, that is why a method to limit the number of candidates maybe of great help.

    SOS Open Source is just an automated methodology to find and evaluate open source software, collecting information from the net and code analysis tools, correlating and aggregating it all in graphs for easy comparisons.

  • Apache opens Chemistry content management tool kit

    In an effort to make content management systems work more harmoniously with one another, the Apache Software Foundation has promoted its Apache Chemistry interoperability toolkit to a top level project.

    Chemistry is an open source implementation of the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard, developed by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards). CMIS provides a set of bindings for accessing data across multiple CMIS-compliant systems, without the need to understand the specific interface for each system.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • First attempt to have proper ad blocking in Chrome

        The current development build (Adblock Plus for Google Chrome removes the restriction that only some filters will really block downloads. It should block everything that the previous version was blocking and some more. So if you notice something that is no longer being blocked (as well as other issues of course), please report it with a comment here or in the forum.

      • Chromium: Why it isn’t in Fedora yet as a proper package

        People keep asking me about chromium (the generic name for Google Chrome), specifically, when it will be part of Fedora proper. Why do they ask me this? Well, because I’ve been packaging built-from-source-against-Fedora RPM packages here: http://spot.fedorapeople.org/chromium/

    • Mozilla

      • Poll: How would you use Firefox Add-on Sync?
      • Correction regarding opting out of add-on metadata pings

        Two weeks ago we posted about add-on metadata pings in Firefox 4 and included information on how to opt out of them. Shortly afterwards, a bug was discovered that caused the opt out process to not work properly.

      • How to support 400 million users with 4 people

        At Mozilla we have around 400 million Firefox users by now, that means that offering traditional support to them is completely impossible, especially since the support team has only 5 employees. But we still want happy users, and the only way that works is when users help other users. So, after evaluating the situation, we spent most of last year designing the best possible tools for our community. Because we are facing the same challenges most free software projects will face, I wanted to share our assessment and our solutions with the broader free software community, and since I needed a catchy title, it’s called “How to support 400 Million users with 4 employees.”

      • Firefox 4.0 beta 5 released

        The latest build of Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta 5 for Android and Maemo has been released and is available for download for the N900 here. This release was focused on continuing to improve stability and performance.

  • SaaS

    • What’s the problem with Twitter?

      Every day, we suspend hundreds of applications that are in violation of our policies.
      (Carolyn Penner on support.twitter.com, 18.02.11)

      Twitter reputes to act as the Boss and pinches off third party clients again, telling that it’s no isolated case.


      The most progressive idea in my opinion was delivered by Eben Moglen last week: Promoting the establishment of decentralized networks and making efforts to develop so-called Freedom Boxes with the newly formed FreedomboxFoundation. And apparently they touch a nerve: Where else would come NYTimes’ interest from? Or the huge number of $60,000 of donations in just 5 days?

  • CMS

    • Angela Byron on Drupal 7

      AB: I’ve been interested in free software ever since I first heard the term back in 1995, back when I completed my first successful Linux installation—this was back when Debian fit on 7 floppy disks. ;) I was both intrigued and excited by the profound humanitarian implications of the free software movement. Better-than-commercial-quality software, available to be tinkered with and expanded upon by anyone with an interest and drive to learn, given away at no cost to everyone, including non-profits and educational institutions. I became a fierce advocate of open source alternatives among my family and friends, and I was totally “that person” in school who would demand that in addition to teaching us ASP and Oracle, we needed to also learn PHP and MySQL.

  • Healthcare

    • Monopoly on pesticide test data set to be extended to 5 years

      The government has proposed an increase in the monopoly period enjoyed by pesticide manufacturers over test data , used to support claims for the efficacy of their products, to five years. The proposals form part of amendments to the pesticides bill, which were circulated to MPs last week. The amendment may prove controversial given that similar provisions, with respect to pharmaceuticals have been opposed by India in its negotiations with the European Union.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • UK Government defines open standards as royalty free

      Mark Taylor, CEO of Sirius IT, a UK open source integrator, who has previously led calls for more open source and free software use by government, told The H that the “Cabinet Office’s new Policy statement is simply the best of any European Government to date, and a great step forward in levelling the playing field for Open Source software”.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons sponsors WikiSym 2011

      We are thrilled to announce our involvement in the 7th annual WikiSym, International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. WikiSym explores the impact of wikis, open resources, and open technologies across all sectors of society, including education, law, journalism, art, science, publishing, business, and entertainment.

      WikiSym 2011 will be held in Mountain View, California on October 3-5. You don’t want to miss this conference. WikiSym draws an international group of leading thinkers from industry, non-profits and academia. Last year’s WikiSym 2010 in Poland was packed with exciting people and ideas. WikiSym 2011 is gearing up to be the best gathering on open collaboration ever held.

    • Open Data

      • The Privatization Of Public Data Sets A Bad Precedent

        Last summer we wrote about a troubling lawsuit filed by a company called Public Engines against a competitor called Report See. Each company runs their own open website that reports crime data. Public Engines runs CrimeReports.com. Report See runs SpotCrime.com. They have very different business models, however. CrimeReports is ad free. It makes its money because Public Engines signs expensive deals with local police departments around the country to take their crime data and format it for better use. SpotCrime, on the other hand, whose business model is based on advertising, collects whatever data it can from public sources, including police departments who publish the data, newspaper crime reports… and, at one point, the data it found on CrimeReports.com.

    • Open Hardware

      • DARPA Open-Sources Military Vehicle Design
      • Amazing MeeBlip Users, Making MeeBlips, Playing MeeBlips, and Other News From Our $140 Synth

        We introduced the MeeBlip, an open source, hackable synthesizer, back in early November. Designed by James Grahame of Reflex Audio (and blog Retro Thing) and co-produced with CDM, we placed the hardware and software of the MeeBlip under an open source hardware license, and it was something of an experiment for us. Affordability was paramount – you can get everything you need for $140 US; less if you’re willing to do a little DIY work. Now, the MeeBlip has made its way out into the world and into hands other than just our own, and we’re thrilled to see what people are doing with it.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Technologies for Mobile Web Applications

      I often get the chance of talking with developers, reporters and analysts about what technologies W3C is developing that are relevant for the ongoing debate on the role of the Web in mobile applications.

      While I have mostly a clear idea on the topic, there wasn’t a complete enough reference that I knew of on the topic, and that knowledge has been spread across various Working Group home pages, slidesets, specifications, etc.

    • Do Not Track at W3C

      Over the last year, W3C has ramped up its activities in the privacy space: Within the context of the PrimeLife project, we’ve looked at privacy considerations for device APIs, at policy languages, and we’ve taken a look at the broader Web and Internet privacy picture together with the Internet Society, the Internet Architecture Board, and some colleagues from MIT. As part of our strategic planning exercise, we have committed to further increase our focus on the topic.


  • The battle of the US-Mexico frontier

    Charlie Bruce was a Texas police chief of the old school. In more than four decades on the force he gave homegrown criminals good reason to steer clear of Del Rio, his small town on the United States’s southern border, but held no grudge against the steady flow of Mexicans across the frontier in search of opportunity. He admired them for their hard work and the chances they took to better themselves. Besides, some of them built his house.

  • Is it ethical to automate business?

    From an economic point of view, software often automates business processes that were formerly done manually. For example, contrast the human effort involved in accounting before and after spreadsheets. Of course the reduction in human labor has not been restricted to accounting. For example, enterprise resource planning software has facilitated detailed procurement based on actual customer demand, with full modeling of suppliers, plants, warehouses, work centers & cost centers. This degree of automation was not possible prior to ubiquitous computer networking. Technology makes it possible to do the same amount of work with fewer people.

  • Maybe Super Cheap Video Games Are Helping, Not Destroying, The Video Game Industry

    One of the early economics lessons you learn in any competent intro econ class is the concept of elasticity. The basic concept is how much does demand increase for a product if you lower the price. If a product is highly elastic, decreasing the price can often earn you more money. A simplified version of this: I have a widget that I want to sell for $100 dollars, but only one person is willing to pay that price. With that pricing, I’d make $100 (gross) on the widget. However, if I were to drop the price to $1, let’s say 1,000 people are willing to buy at that price. Then, I’d make $1,000 (gross) on the widget. So, even though producers often fear lowering the price, if there’s strong elasticity, lowering the price can often make you much more money (and, yes, the marginal cost matters here as well).

  • Case Study: How TED Learned That ‘Giving It Away’ Increased Both Popularity And Revenue

    The amazingly exclusive conference used to be excessively secretive as well. Attendees, who paid thousands for the privilege (and who could only attend if they were “invited”), had to sign non-disclosure agreements, and no one was supposed to publicly discuss or show what the TED speakers talked about. If you think about this from a classical “scarcities-only” economics viewpoint, you can see why people would think this was smart. After all, that content is valuable, so the natural desire is to hoard it, with the classical thinking being that by hoarding it and putting up an artificial scarcity around the content, you make it more valuable.

  • Old Media Is Being Unbundled, Just Like Telecom Was

    One of the biggest stories of my career — as someone who covered telecom industry — happened fifteen years ago: The 1996 Telecom Act was the start of the liberalization of an industry that had been vertical with very little competition. What followed was an amazing transformation of the staid calling industry — not necessarily for the better.

    One of the basic tenets of the 1996 Telecom Act was unbundled access to the telecom facilities of the local phone companies, which meant competing phone companies could access the so-called “last-mile” that led to people’s homes over the incumbent carrier’s network. The change in law created an insane amount of competition, and turned the economics of the business on its head. It led to kamikaze-style pricing of phone minutes. Voice had been the primary source of revenue for phone companies for nearly a century.

  • UK Government roundtable on online future

    Culture Ministers have met with key players from the music and creative industries yesterday to discuss ways to develop new online services.

    Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt and Communications and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey held the roundtable with internet service providers such as BT, Talk Talk and BSkyB alongside representatives from UK Music, PRS for Music, AIM, BPI, Universal, Warner Music, Sony and Beggars Group.

  • I’m still in charge, says David Cameron on Gulf trip

    David Cameron has insisted that he remains “in charge” despite his absence from Britain after his deputy Nick Clegg said he “forgot” that he was running the country.

    Speaking in Oman on the final leg of his tour of the Middle East, the prime minister stressed: “Just because I leave the country doesn’t mean I am not in charge.”

    He was pressed on comments made by the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister to the Metro newspaper in which Nick Clegg said he was looking forward to holidaying with his children at the end of the week and someone else would have to take over from him.

  • Study Finds the Internet Makes Youth More Engaged Citizens

    Arguably, the upheaval, activism and revolutions in of the last two months may serve to counter what has been a longstanding stereotype: youth are largely apolitical. Moreover, those that do participate in politics and activism online do so in shallow ways, the so-called “slacktivism.” But recent findings from a longitudinal study of high school-age students challenges these notions, suggesting that youth who pursue their interests online are more likely to be engaged in civic issues.

  • Google Launches Smart Recipe Search Tools
  • Science

    • Discovery set to blast off one last time

      NASA’s most travelled space shuttle, Discovery, was fuelled Thursday for its final voyage after nearly three decades of service.

      NASA finished pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel into Discovery at midmorning, as the six astronauts assigned to the space station delivery mission got ready at crew quarters for the late afternoon liftoff. It was their second stab at this. November’s launch attempt never made it this far.

    • Exciting New Research on Topological Insulators

      Topological insulators have become one of the hottest topics in physics. These new materials act as both insulators and conductors, with their interior preventing the flow of electrical currents while their edges or surfaces allow the movement of a charge.

  • Hardware

    • Intel’s Thunderbolt to Strike at Media Transfer

      Intel’s Thunderbolt connection technology, announced Thursday, will help consumers with one of their biggest digital problems: transferring huge media files in minutes as opposed to hours. It will also give Intel chips a home inside a variety of connected devices. For consumers, it means transferring an entire iTunes library won’t take all night (instead it would take a few minutes), and backups are a speedy dream.

    • Inside Google Native Client for x86 binaries

      Last week, Google announced a new version of its SDK for Native Client (aka NaCl, in a riff on the chemical formula for salt). For those who don’t recall, NaCl is the technology I once called “Google’s craziest idea yet.” In a nutshell, it allows developers to deliver code modules for Web applications in the form of native x86 binaries that execute on the user’s bare CPU — no interpreter, no virtual machine, no nothing.

      I called the idea crazy, but it’s really crazy clever. As Native Client continues to evolve, I thought it was high time I checked under the hood to see how this nutball idea actually worked in practice. To that end, I downloaded the new SDK, fired up my toolkit, and put a few of Google’s demo NaCl applications through their paces.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dying Ont. baby’s transfer to Detroit denied

      A Windsor, Ont., family’s mission to bring their terminally ill baby home to die has suffered another blow after a Detroit hospital refused to accept him for a tracheotomy.

      The parents of Joseph Maraachli, a 13-month-old with a fatal neurological disorder, had hoped to be able to transfer their ailing son to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

    • Cellphone Use Tied to Changes in Brain Activity

      Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cellphones.

      The researchers, led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, urged caution in interpreting the findings because it is not known whether the changes, which were seen in brain scans, have any meaningful effect on a person’s overall health.

    • Spy in the tuckshop at kids’ lunches

      CASHLESS canteens are the new weapon against obesity, letting parents spy on their children’s lunches online.

      The swipe-card technology also allows parents to block their kids from buying junk food.

      At Kardinia International College in Geelong, Victoria, students can buy items at the canteen only with an electronic card.

    • How the British fell out of love with drugs

      “A lot of young people who have used the stronger stuff simply don’t like it,” Barnes suggests. “That could be having an impact . . . What we also have seen, and it could be linked to the overall decline in illicit drug use, is fewer young people smoking . . . We do know that, for young people in particular, if they smoke or drink they are much more likely also to be using illegal drugs. Tobacco is probably the main ‘gateway drug’.”

      This sounds logical. The act of smoking takes a bit of getting used to; if young people are not practising on cigarettes, they are probably less likely to try joints. The fading fashion for cigarettes, in other words, might be dragging cannabis down with it. But then one never knows when an ageing fashion might perk up again.

    • Clayton Christensen: The Survivor

      Clayton Christensen beat a heart attack, advanced-stage cancer and a stroke in three years. Here’s what he learned about life, death and fixing the health care system.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya after Gadhafi

      With revolution spreading throughout Libya, chances are increasing that Moammar Gadhafi will release the brutal stranglehold he’s had on the country for over 40 years.

      “He will fall; it’s not if; it’s when,” said Jens Hanssen, an assistant professor of Middle East history at the University of Toronto. “I give him days rather than weeks.”

    • Gadhafi blames al-Qaeda for Libyan riots

      Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi blamed international terrorism and al-Qaeda for brainwashing youth and spurring the turmoil in his country.

      “What is happening now is not the people’s power. It is international terrorism led by al-Qaeda,” Gadhafi said in a rambling 30-minute phone call broadcast live on state television Thursday.

    • Report: Libya air force bombs protesters heading for army base

      Libyan military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television reported on Monday, quoting witnesses for its information.

    • BREAKING: Soldiers in Derna massacred for not firing at Libyans (GRAPHIC)
    • Mercenaries Captured in Libya With Passports [VIDEO]
    • Breaking Images: Oppostion to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime with a tank in Misrata (Feb. 23)
    • Libya unrest: David Cameron apology for UK response

      Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is “incredibly sorry” for the government’s handling of the evacuation of British nationals from Libya.

    • Libya: Gaddafi’s billions to be seized by Britain

      The funds are expected to be seized within days. The Treasury is understood to have set up a unit to trace Col Gaddafi’s assets in Britain, which are thought to include billions of dollars in bank accounts, commercial property and a £10 million mansion in London.

      In total, the Libyan regime is said to have around £20 billion in liquid assets, mostly in London. These are expected to be frozen as part of an international effort to force the dictator from power. A Whitehall source said: “The first priority is to get British nationals out of Libya. But then we are ready to move in on Gaddafi’s assets, the work is under way. This is definitely on the radar at the highest levels.”

    • Libya on the brink as Gaddafi promises showdown – live updates

      5.06pm: The Maltese ministry of foreign affairs is denying Gaddafi’s daughter was on board the Libyan plane that was turned away (see 4.51pm).

    • Global community isolates Gaddafi

      International condemnation of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Libya has escalated, with the European Union pushing for a UN-led probe into human rights abuses and preparing for possible sanctions against the African nation.

      A draft proposal by the 27-nation bloc on Wednesday spoke out against “extremely grave human rights violations committed in Libya, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators,” and said they could “amount to crimes against humanity”.

    • Foreign Mercenaries in the Middle East: A Brief History

      Though difficult to substantiate in the current chaos, reports from eastern Libya, in particular from the city of Benghazi, claim that snipers and militiamen from sub-Saharan Africa gunned down residents on the streets. The Dubai-based al-Arabiya network says some of the guerrillas were Francophone mercenaries recruited by one of the sons of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Qatar-based al-Jazeera detailed pamphlets circulated to mercenary recruits from Guinea and Nigeria, offering them $2,000 per day to crack down on the Libyan uprising. And, as further reports of defections from the Libyan military filter in, the cornered Gaddafi regime may turn more and more to hired guns from abroad. On television channels and Twitter, frantic rumors circulated about Gaddafi preparing for a mercenary-backed counteroffensive against his opponents. (See pictures of the rise of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi.)

    • Bahrainis protest peacefully in capital

      Tens of thousands of protesters waving red-and-white Bahraini flags flooded the central district of the capital Tuesday in the largest demonstration since a Shiite-led campaign against the government began eight days ago.

      People packed Pearl Square, the heart of the protests, as the country’s Shiite majority continued to press for concessions from the Sunni monarchy. But the day brought little political resolution.

    • Iraqis prepare for ‘Day of Wrath’ as protests turn violent

      Encouraged by the events in the neighboring Arab countries, Iraqis are gathering in central Baghdad preparing for their ‘Day of wrath’ on Friday. They’re fed up with corruption and want better living conditions.

    • The UN is ripe for advancing the Palestinian agenda

      The most important and, from Israel’s standpoint, alarming change is this: In the one UN body that has the authority to forcibly enforce resolutions, a new alignment of forces is rapidly taking shape, and a new distribution of influence is emerging between the United States and the other four members of the exclusive club of states with permanent membership and veto power.

    • Ivory Coast protesters killed calling for Laurent Gbagbo to step down

      Ivorian troops have killed at least six protesters who were calling on Laurent Gbagbo to step down as leader, witnesses say, as African presidents charged with resolving Ivory Coast’s crisis arrived in Abidjan.

      A dispute over the presidential election in November paralysed the country and led to the deaths of about 300 people.

    • Soldiers jailed for mass rape as Congo finally acts on abuse

      In a landmark case human rights activists hope will reduce a culture of impunity for sex crimes in the beleaguered central African country, a military court has convicted a lieutenant colonel in the Congolese army to 20 years’ imprisonment for mass rapes committed on New Year’s Day.

      Alongside Lieutenant Colonel Kibibi Mutware, a former rebel absorbed into government forces, three other officers received 20-year sentences. Another five soldiers received between 10 and 15 years.

    • U.S. Resumes Deportations to Haiti—One Deportee Dies

      They tell us is it’s all about public safety, keeping the American public safe.

      What they told us at the time [that they announced the new policy] was they were going to be deporting the worst of the worst criminal offenders—axe murderers, rapists, that kind of thing. We subsequently learned that anybody who is labeled a criminal— and in Florida, for example, if you’re driving with an expired driver’s license for four months, you’ve committed a crime—that even individuals like that could be subject to removal under this new policy. So obviously, we were very concerned.

    • When Will George W. Bush be Tried for His War Crimes?

      We should take a small measure of satisfaction in former President George W. Bush’s cancellation of his trip to Switzerland after human-rights groups threatened to bring legal action against him for authorizing torture. Persons detained by the U.S. government after 9/11 were subjected to what the Bush administration euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation,” including waterboarding. In reality those methods constituted torture, violating U.S. law and international agreements.

    • What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

      A strange thought occurred to me connecting two subjects I’ve never connected in my mind before, US Military recruiters and chuggers (charity muggers). Both home in on people they deem fits their criteria like limpet mines, bombard them with emotional (and patriotic in the case of the US military) blackmail and propaganda, then sign them up for a future commitment. The major difference is that when chuggers do it, it’s not life or limb threatening.

    • Syria clamps down on dissent with beatings and arrests

      Tensions are mounting in the Syrian capital, Damascus, after the third peaceful demonstration in three weeks was violently dispersed on Wednesday. There are increasing reports of intimidation and blocking of communications by secret services in the wake of violent unrest in neighbouring Arab countries.

      Fourteen people were arrested and several people beaten by uniformed and plainclothes police on Tuesday after about 200 staged a peaceful sit-in outside the Libyan embassy to show support for Libya’s protesters.

    • Zimbabwe charges 46 with treason for watching videos of Egypt protests

      Forty-six people in Zimbabwe have been charged with treason, and some allegedly beaten by police, after watching videos of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia

      The activists, trade unionists and students were at a meeting on Saturday titled Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?, when it was raided by police who seized a video projector, two DVDs and a laptop.

  • Cablegate

    • EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Wikileaks, Assange, And Why There’s No Turning Back

      Back in the fall of 2009, getting hold of Julian Assange wasn’t easy. The Australian founder of WikiLeaks seemed to be constantly on the move, and his email habits were unpredictable. My colleague Andrew Rasiej and I had invited him to speak at the inaugural European gathering of our Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) conference in Barcelona that November. “Micah, great!” he wrote in late October, accepting the invitation. “Currently in Laos. Denmark 18th Nov-ish. Iceland not long after. Can you send me all necessary details?”

      I wrote back right away, but a series of follow-up emails to his Sunshinepress.org account failed to get a response. The conference was just a few weeks away and we weren’t sure if one of our keynote speakers was really coming. In desperation, I went online to the WikiLeaks.org website and clicked on “live chat.” Within moments another screen opened, and I was given an anonymous user account name. I typed hello, and someone responded, telling me his name was “Daniel.” I started to explain who I was, and Daniel suggested opening a private one-on-one chat to continue the conversation. No, Julian wasn’t available right now, he told me, but he promised to relay my messages to him.

    • Where does Julian Assange go from here?

      The appeal can be on a question of law, or of fact: in other words, Julian Assange can raise legal arguments that the judge got the law wrong, or he can simply say the judge made a factual mistake – about why he ended up not being interviewed further in Sweden for instance. So it can be a wide-ranging appeal.

    • The judicial authority in Sweden -v- Julian Paul Assange
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil hits $103 US before retreating

      Oil prices continued their roller-coaster ride Thursday, with the North American benchmark passing above $103 US a barrel before retreating to trade lower.

      April light sweet crude rose as much as 5.4 per cent to $103.41 a barrel in electronic trading overnight, before trading at $97.15 US, down 95 cents at mid-afternoon in New York as turmoil in Libya continued.

    • Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming?

      Scientists call it “geoengineering,” but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades.

    • Rwanda makes saving its forests a national priority

      The rolling green countryside of Rwanda’s Thousand Hills area may look fertile and flourishing, but the area desperately needs help. At the launch of the United Nations International Year of Forests, the Rwandan minister of land and the environment, Stanislas Kamanzi, announced a forest landscape restoration initiative.

    • HR1: Deaf, Dumb, and Blind on Climate Change

      Early this morning, after making an atrocious bill even worse, the House of Representatives passed H.R.1 on a vote of 235 to 189, with only three Republicans joining all the Democrats in voting no. What was supposed to be a “continuing resolution” to fund the government through the end of this fiscal year is instead an all out assault on government, and the public health safeguards most Americans want government to enforce, at the behest of big polluters and anti-science ideologues. This is probably the single most irresponsible bill I have seen either Chamber of Congress pass in the more than 20 years I have been in Washington.

    • A Republican Rampage

      The winners, instead, are corporate polluters like Big Oil, cement makers and coal companies that blow the tops off of mountains and leave the landscape in ruins. The losers are Americans everywhere who expect responsible leadership from the Congress and a decent modicum of corporate stewardship from industry. What’s happened here makes a mockery of both. It’s a national disgrace.

    • Diamond jubilee tree-planting project launched

      A Queen’s jubilee year project to plant 6 million trees across the UK has been launched.

      The princess royal will plant the first tree for the Jubilee Woods project, organised by the Woodland Trust charity.

      The project, which has the Queen’s support and the princess as patron, aims to plant the trees across the UK and involve millions of people to celebrate the Queen’s 2012 diamond jubilee.

      To mark the launch, the princess will be planting a tree and placing a personal letter of support in a specially designed Jubilee Woods time capsule at Home Farm Wood, Burkham, Bentworth, in Hampshire.

  • Finance

    • Obama to Teachers: “Drop Dead”

      Obama could simply fly into Madison, deliver a few words of support for the strikers, and assure himself of a landslide victory in 2012. But he won’t do that, because he’s not the man that people thought he was. He won’t lift a finger to help his friends even when they’re embroiled in the biggest fight of their lives. He won’t support the people who supported him.

      Obama’s message to the teachers, “Drop dead!”

    • [Ralph Nader:] Time to Topple Corporate Dictators

      All this adds to the growing sense of powerlessness by the citizenry.

    • RBS was nicely bailed out – now it’s time to bail in

      Last week, I was admonished by an Edinburgh court, having been arrested at a protest in an RBS branch in 2010. The action consisted of the “Superglue 3″ attaching ourselves to the building with glue and politely talking to customers about the bank’s role in funding climate change-inducing projects. Meanwhile a seven-piece band performed rewrites of pop songs about the issues.

    • Chart of the Day: Republican vs. Democratic Spending

      Republicans, it turns out, actually spend a bit more money on social programs than Democrats, as the green bars in the chart below show (click for a larger image). The main difference? Democrats spend it on direct programs that largely serve “the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and the poor…ethnic minorities, racial minorities, and single mothers.” Republicans spend it indirectly on programs that “are biased towards workers who are White, full-time, in large companies, and high-wage earners.” But spend it they do.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Tor is ALWAYS a good idea – Log Analysis

      So, I decided to take a look and see what was happening with the logs, so because I was bored, I decided to use Google and I typed in RCMP IP address. This turned up an ugly webpage by some group called Fathers Canada that’s barely legible. Anyway, they had an article about the RCMP being spied upon by a “cyber-stalker”.

    • 2 Tory senators charged over campaign spending

      Elections Canada has laid charges against the Conservative Party and four of its members, including two senators, over alleged violations of election spending rules.

    • Why have major newspapers ignored Buscombe’s libel payout?

      Last week, Nick Davies reported on this site that the Press Complaints Commission chair, Baroness (Peta) Buscombe, had settled a libel action brought against her by lawyer Mark Lewis.

      In a formal high court statement, she apologised to Lewis and paid him damages. The case concerned a public statement by Buscombe a year ago at a Society of Editors’ conference in which she implied that Lewis had lied about an aspect of the police investigation into the News of the World hacking scandal. That was false: he had not lied.

    • Fox News boss persuaded fellow executive to ‘lie’ to federal investigators

      The chairman of the right-wing current affairs channel, Fox News, Roger Ailes, has been named in court documents as the previously anonymous executive who allegedly tried to persuade a fellow boss at News Corporation to lie to federal investigators over a crucial Washington appointment.

      The New York Times reported court documents had become available that for the first time name Ailes as the mysterious executive involved in the allegations. The claims were initially made in November 2007 by Judith Regan, one of Rupert Murdoch’s rising stars in News Corporation until she was dismissed the previous year in a row over her decision to publish a book with OJ Simpson.

    • Coalition urged to act over lobbyists who use party groups ‘to buy influence’

      Corporations and interest groups have channelled more than £1.6m to MPs and lords in the past year through sponsorship of parliamentary groups, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

      Parliamentary reformers given access to the Guardian’s findings have called on the coalition government to take action to prevent all-party groups acting as “mere front groups for lobbyists to buy influence”.

  • Iran

    • Satellite dishes confiscated to prevent access to information

      The Iranian regime has confiscated satellite dishes in several parts of Tehran to prevent free access to information, according to reports by Hrana this week.

      The news agency said the regime’s State Security Forces (SSF) raided some apartments in western Tehran districts like Shahrak-e Gharb and Ekbatan to confiscate satellite dishes.

    • Mousavi’s apology was rejected

      The Mousavi’s official website, Kaleme.com, has published a document and called it The Charter of Green Movement Publishing this unacceptable document as the charter of the movement, has made many Iranians angry. They say: “Our martyrs have not been killed, and our prisoners have not been tortured or raped for this stupid charter or for stupid reform in this incorrigible regime.” I think they are right, the charter is unacceptable. Indeed, Mousavi showed us that we could not trust him and his team. They are unreliable. This was the last chance of Mousavi and his team to correct their mistakes, but they showed us that they want to repeat their mistakes over and over.

    • Another regime diplomat quits post

      An Iranian regime diplomat has defected from his post in Italy and is seeking political asylum in France, according to the Associated Press on Sunday.

      As an attempt to downplay the defection and prevent similar moves in the future, the faltering regime claimed in its press reports that he had merely “transferred his post.”

    • Changes in VOA Farsi

      Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a well-known Iranian film director, has said to Channel One TV that:’ Mr. Sajadi was a puppet of regime … Last year he didn’t allow that the news of the Iranian protesters were broadcasted in the proper time … the VOA’s staff were angry with him … He fired many independent reporters form VOA … He was a regime’s puppet and the regime’s lobby supported him … if the US really wants to support the protesters, they should kick him out of VOA

    • Stealing a Funeral

      Furthermore, Mr. Karrubi and Mousavi were both placed under house arrest. On February 14, the state-run television reported calm streets in big cities and business as usual. It made a passing reference to sporadic unsuccessful attempts by a few hundred agitators who had tried to march but had been dispersed for lack of sympathy from the general public.

    • The Number of Victims
    • Chants of “We have not given our dead in the hopes of compromise or praising a murderous leader” in Vali-e Asr

      Protesters were protecting themselves by hurling stones and setting trash bins ablaze. In Vanak Square, ferocious clashes took place between the youth and anti-riot forces, continuing after tear gas, was fired to the Mirdamad area and South Kazeroon Ave. Sounds of gunfire were heard frequently from this area up to Yousef Abad. In Vali-e Asr Square, protesters chanted: “We have not given our dead in the hopes of compromise or praising a murderous leader”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Mikhail Gorbachev lambasts Vladimir Putin’s ‘sham’ democracy

      Russia under prime minister Vladimir Putin is a sham democracy, Mikhail Gorbachev has said in his harshest criticism yet of the ruling regime.

      “We have everything – a parliament, courts, a president, a prime minister and so on. But it’s more of an imitation,” the last president of the Soviet Union said.

    • Russia’s chief whistleblower wants to jail the corrupt

      Alexey Navalny leaps out of his chair and draws five black circles on a whiteboard. The circles represent players in Russia’s multibillion-dollar oil industry. With boundless energy and lightning speed, he draws lines and connects the dots, telling the story of what he calls classic Russian corruption.

    • LinkedIn Blocked in China After ‘Jasmine’ Pro-Democracy Postings

      LinkedIn Corp., operator of the largest networking site for professionals, became inaccessible in China after a user posted comments that Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution should spread to the Asian country.

      The blockage of the service “appears to be part of a broader effort in China going on right now, involving other sites as well,” Hani Durzy, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn, said in an e-mail. The company will continue to monitor the situation, he wrote.

    • Thai PM admits British nationality

      Thailand’s prime minister has admitted for the first time that he is also a British citizen, which opponents believe makes him liable for prosecution for alleged human rights abuses during a recent crackdown on anti-government protests.

      Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva publicly acknowledged his dual nationality on Thursday during a debate in parliament. He automatically holds British citizenship because he was born in Newcastle upon Tyne to parents from a well-to-do Bangkok family. He would have to specifically renounce it to lose it.

    • PayPal Statement on Courage to Resist Situation

      Upon review, and as part of our normal business procedures, we have decided to lift the temporary restriction placed on their account because we have sufficient information to meet our statutory ‘Know Your Customer’ obligations. The Courage to Resist PayPal account is now fully operational.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Rogers Disobeys Internet Openness Rules, Once Again Demonstrates Need for Strong Enforcement

      CRTC staff have written to Rogers Communications regarding customer complaints that the major ISP has been slowing the speeds of “time sensitive audio [and] video traffic.”

    • Say No to the GAC veto

      Tell the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that you oppose a U.S. Commerce Department proposal to give the world’s governments arbitrary power over the Internet’s domain name system.

    • If governments can block top level domains, is .gay doomed?

      The nonprofit in charge of the world’s Internet domains will meet in San Francisco next month, and plenty of eyes are nervously watching the process by which it will decide how to green light new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)—suffixes such as “.com,” “.org,” or “.info.” The International Committee on Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN) is circulating proposals for handling the next application round.

    • Brazil Fines Man $1,800 for Sharing Wi-Fi

      National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) fines Internet user $ 3,000 BRL ($1,797 USD) for sharing Internet connection with three other low-income neighbors. NTA says the open Wi-Fi connection made him an ISP and he lacked the proper permits.

      Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) apparently has too much free time on its hands. Rather than focus on the larger picture of telephone and ISP pricing, access, and competition issues it’s concerned that an individual from a low-income neighborhood is sharing his Wi-Fi connection with others.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Spectrum Disorders
    • Copyrights

      • Liberal MP Dan McTeague Emerges As Unofficial CRIA Spokesperson

        Last week, I reported on a major Canadian lawsuit filed by 26 record labels against isoHunt. The legal action, filed in May 2010 without any press releases or public disclosure by CRIA, seeks millions in damages and an order shutting down the controversial website. At the same time as the labels filed the statement of claim, the four major labels responded to isoHunt’s effort to obtain a declaration that it operating lawfully in Canada. Their Statement of Defence (posted here – excuse the poor scan) also makes the case that isoHunt currently violates Canadian copyright law.

      • DAR.fm Starts To Disrupt What’s Left Of The Music Industry

        Michael Robertson has been throwing bombs at the music industry in the name of users for almost a decade, and today he introduced another product that’s going to drive them nuts: Dar.fm.

      • iiNet again slays Hollywood in landmark piracy case

        The giants of the film industry have lost their appeal in a lawsuit against ISP iiNet in a landmark judgment handed down in the Federal Court today.

        The appeal dismissed today had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally.

      • iiNet Wins (again) Against Hollywood in Oz Appeal
      • iiNet Fights Off Hollywood, ISP Not Responsible For Online Piracy
      • Piracy once again fails to get in way of record box office

        The movie business has—yet again—run up record numbers at the box office. In 2010, theaters around the world reported a combined total revenue of $31.8 billion, up 8 percent from 2009. While the industry certainly has its share of piracy problems, they aren’t affecting box office receipts.

        Those receipts are up even as the number of people buying tickets has declined. In the US and Canadian markets, the total number of tickets sold fell by 5 percent last year, but theater owners made up for the decline by raising prices an average of 39¢. The motion picture industry would like to assure you that movies remain a very good deal.

      • Copyright Isn’t a Human Right

        Copyright = Monopoly
        Published works lie outside of an author’s human rights, so the state grants exclusive reproduction privilege — a monopoly — over the reproduction of published works. That is copyright.

        The printing monopolies predating the Statute of Anne in England were privileges granted printers, and so are even less beneficial to creators than copyright, and so not the same thing at all.

Clip of the Day

Anonymous on The Colbert Report

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 24/2/2011: Firefox 4 Days Away, Assange Loses Case, PayPal Cuts Service to Manning

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop training harder than you’d think

    Curiously, it may be Web 2.0 that gets around this problem. As web apps get more complex, you won’t need as many apps at the local OS level. You’ll just need a browser and whatever platform underneath. That’s the space Linux will ultimately live in, and training–at least at the OS level–may be a moot point.

    But will it be what we could call “desktop Linux”? That remains to be seen.

  • Fun with Linux: How to wipe out Windows to install Ubuntu, then decorate with a penguin

    If you’ve got some non-geek friends and relatives that need to be convinced to give Linux a try, here’s a how-to video to help. It will walk them through how to install Ubuntu to any Windows machine, to set up the fun stuff like the music store and using a dual-monitor setup — and even how to uninstall and go back to Windows (though, who would do that?). Once you’ve made them a convert, they can print out and enjoy this cute mascot penguin cut-out, too, courtesy of Aberdeen.

  • A Miniature Linux Office Solution (Mini ITX)

    In this case I chose Mandriva as it is my personal favorite and the end-user needs a relatively easy to use and configure Linux distribution.

  • Leaving Flickr Behind: Why You Should Host Your Own Photos and Why Linux Makes It so Damn Easy

    I’ve left Flickr. After many years as a loyal Flickr user, I decided not to extend my pro account and leave the popular photo sharing service altogether. Why? For starters, I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to a rather simple question: What would happen if Flickr fails? It may be difficult to imagine that Flickr would disappear, but remember that Flickr is just a business — and not a profitable one at that. And even if Yahoo! will continue supporting Flickr, what will happen if I wake up one morning and discover that my account has been deleted without any prior warning? Not that it has never happened to anyone before.

  • Desktop

    • Switching to Ubuntu 10.04 from Windows XP

      I’ve been a long-time Windows fan like the vast majority of computer users, having been introduced to the world of computers through the Microsoft marvel. But with the growing popularity of Linux flavors, aren’t open source operating systems worth giving a try?

      Ubuntu 10.04 is among the plethora of Linux distributions that you can choose from, touted to be very user-friendly and robust, especially the 32-bit version. It brings along a wave of benefits to those embarking on Operation Open Source. It’s fast and mostly reliable – it will help you out by suggesting commands to run if you’re missing an application. The installation is quick, and the boot up and shutdown are blazing fast. And importantly, like most Linux flavors, it provides a hostile environment for viruses to survive.

  • Server

    • Goodbye MS Exchange: Good Linux Email Servers

      Don’t pay top dollar for Microsoft lard when you can get the best mail servers for free. The Linux world is full of great servers, both free and with commercial support options.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Embedded Linux file system rev’d for performance

      Datalight released a new version of its Reliance Nitro file system aimed at embedded Linux devices. Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 offers improved read and write performance, fast boot times, solid reliability, and a wide assortment of validation and testing tools, says the company.

      The Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 is the latest in a number of Linux-compatible file system products from Datalight, including the Datalight Flash File System announced in early 2008. That product combined the Linux version of the Reliance file system with DataLight’s FlashFX Pro flash media manager and block device driver, an earlier version of the FlashFX Tera software mentioned farther below.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • digiKam Tricks 2.0 Released

        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. If you haven’t received your copy, please send me your order confirmation as proof of purchase to dmpop@linux.com and I’ll email you the latest version of the book.

      • How to Remotely Control KTorrent

        The KTorrent web interface is very basic but gets the job done. First, open your web browser, go to the IP address or hostname of the computer running KTorrent, and add the port number to the end. For example:

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 Almost Ready, or is It

        GNOME 3 Shell is nearing its projected released date and development snapshots have been coming from openSUSE and Fedora. GNOME Shell 2.91.6 was released today with lots of listed improvements. But not everyone is thrilled.

  • Distributions

    • Bayanihan 5 Kalumbata – A glimpse into the past

      Bayanihan is somewhere between Pardus and CentOS 5.X, when it comes to being easy to configure and use. It’s modern and archaic at the same time, a unique quality. Combined with some weird bugs and a strange choice of programs and features, Bayanihan manages to be neither the old, nostalgia-infused distro with all the functionality you need nor the ultra-modern, bleeding-edge vessel of technology adorned with retro looks and programs.

      As such, Bayanihan invalidates itself as an alternative to popular distributions you see in the top ten list on DistroWatch. Kalumbata is a weird mix of old and new that caters to no one really. I can appreciate the effort and the noble cause, but not the outcome.

      With regional-only repository, a legacy palette of programs, plus some technical voodoo difficulties with hardware and software, Bayanihan has all the relevancy of a typical 2007 distribution. Hardly a competition in the modern arena of Linux distributions.

      If you ask me, honestly, Bayanihan is a no go. It’s a thing of the past. Sweet and cuddly, KDE 3.5 is a nice touch, the programs might make you shed a tear of sorrowful joy, but overall, it’s outdated. There’s no critical incentive you should use it, for either technical or ideological reasons. Ubuntu, Mint, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, a bunch of others, they are all several years ahead.

      So it seems there is a good reason why you don’t see Bayanihan in the spotlight. It’s a dying star of a different era. And while it may serve you well and true, it’s time to you moved on to younger game.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Beyond FUDCon with Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Program Manager

          Robyn Bergeron: I’ve been a Linux user for a long time, though it hasn’t always been my primary OS. I remember running Slackware back in 1995, 1996, and was an on-again, off-again tinkerer through the early 2000s. My first real involvement with contributing to F/LOSS was a few years ago, when I volunteered to help out with editing papers and compiling the proceedings for the Ottawa Linux Symposium, which I did for two years before becoming involved with Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • A response to DistroWatch “Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0″

        I’m quite pleased that Mr. Smith took the time to give Debian 6.0 a real workout before writing his review. And I even understand his reservations about ” by being so general, so universal, I felt Squeeze didn’t excel at anything.”

        Maybe, Squeeze excels at being general and universal?

      • Ubuntu: there was never any love to start with

        It’s funny that seven years and a bit after Ubuntu came to life in October 2004, people still write about the project in a dreamy wide-eyed way, even mentioning the word “love” in doing so. Naive is the description that immediately springs to mind.

        Or is it that such people are willing to use any, and every, means to attack Shuttleworth simply because they don’t like him? Separating the personal from the professional has always been a major problem for those who claim to be part of the FOSS community. Especially when marketing droids are trying to pose as journalists.

        Shuttleworth is a shrewd businessman; Canonical is registered in a known tax haven, the Isle of Man. He made a few hundred million dollars by first nurturing, then building up, and finally selling a very successful business, Thawte.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • An Interview with Jane Silber

          I’m Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. I live in London and hold dual American/British citizenship. I spell like a Brit, speak like an American, and wave my hands about like an Italian. I grew up In Springfield, Illinois and have lived in Washington DC, Nashville, and Yokohama, Japan. I moved to the UK in 2002. My background includes jobs in start-ups and large companies, in domains ranging from health risk appraisal to artificial intelligence to military command and control. I hold degrees in Math/Computer Science from Haverford College, Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Oxford University. Outside of work I enjoy holiday travel, live performances, engrossing books, good food, witty people, and new experiences.

        • Loving Ubuntu Linux

          A short list would include Debian’s continued jealousy getting in the way of co-operation between the closely related Linux distributions; countless accusations that Canonical/Ubuntu is all about promoting Ubuntu and not Linux; and that Ubuntu doesn’t contribute its fair share to the Linux kernel and other up-stream open-source programs.

          But this, this is all old news. Ubuntu has long endured these criticisms. So have the other Linux distributions.

        • Over 50 Ubuntu Based Distributions – Wow!

          Ok so I wanted to know more about the distributions that were based on Ubuntu and the Wikipedia list is pretty long.

        • First look at Ubuntu “Natty” and the state of Unity

          Though buggy and incomplete, the implementation of Unity as it stands now looks interesting. It’s unlikely to appeal to GNOME 2.x stalwarts, but it’s unclear whether GNOME 3.0 will either. It’s an interface that may appeal to non-Linux users, if Canonical can find hardware partners to ship it pre-installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OSADL preps for real-time Linux conference, launches book series

      OSADL (Open Source Automation Development Lab) is calling for papers for its 13th RealTime Linux Workshop (RTLWS13) in Prague on Oct. 20-22. Also announced were an “OSADL Academic Works” book series — starting with Roland Kammerer’s “Linux in Safety-Critical Applications” — and two new academic partners, ZHAW’s InES lab in Winterthur, Switzerland, and the RealTime Systems Laboratory (RETIS) in Pisa, Italy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source with the Home Office and the British Computing Society

    The System Integrators are perfectly happy to work with Open Source. The customer just has to ask for it. All the SIs on the panel said this. They already provide Open Source solutions to other countries, they already use Open Source software where they are providing just a service (cuts their costs and gives them more control). They just pitch proprietary stuff at procurement contracts because that is what wins them here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome alone?

        One of the most interesting projects announced last year, for my money at least, was Google Chrome OS. This was, as you probably know, Google’s signal of intent that it was going head first into the operating system market, having found a niche in which it figured it could make an impact.

        Its thinking was smart, too. It targeted the then burgeoning netbook market, coming up with a fast, quick-booting operating system that stored everything you needed in the cloud. When it was first demonstrated, and Google showed a portable machine booting to a working desktop in under ten seconds, I wanted to get cracking with the OS right there and then.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 12 now expected Monday or Tuesday

        Developers continue to fire away on new and existing bugs before issuing the first Firefox 4 Release Candidate.

      • Update: Firefox update will patch CSRF bug, Mozilla says

        Mozilla said late Wednesday that it will ship security updates to Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6 next week that will include a patch for a bug that can be exploited using a malicious Adobe Flash file.

        (Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, published before Mozilla responded to a request for comment, said company meeting notes suggested that the Firefox security updates would not include the patch.)

        Firefox 3.5.17 and Firefox 3.6.14 will now appear Tuesday, March 1, Mozilla disclosed in meeting notes published today.

      • With Firefox 4 Days Away, Mozilla is Updating an Online Bug List Counter

        Mozilla has made a lot of changes to its procedures for shipping new versions of the uber-popular Firefox browser, including following a new, rapid release cycle, and now, the company has adopted an online bug list countdown to help mark how close the much-delayed new version of Firefox is to final form. Mozilla has targeted February for shipping Firefox 4, but a peek at the canweshipyet site shows, in real-time, that there are 13 bugs standing in the way of shipping the new version. The counter has bounced between about 22 bugs and 13 bugs for the past day or so, but the counter itself is a sign of how seriously Mozilla now takes Firefox development.

  • Databases

  • Programming

    • Cussing in Commits: Which Programming Language Inspires the Most Swearing?

      As any programmer can tell you, programming will make you swear. But did you know that writing C++ will make you swear considerably more than PHP or Python?

      Developer Andrew Vos was looking for a weekend project when he decided to grab some one million commit messages from GitHub and scan them for swear words. He limited the swearing to George Carlin’s seven dirty words and then broke down the results according to programming language. To make sure that the popularity of one language over another didn’t skew the results, Vos grabbed an equal number of commit messages per language.


  • Hardware

    • ARM Ships Billions of Chips but IDC Doesn’t Count Them

      With ARM shipping billions of units annually and approaching 100 million personal computing devices, I should think ARM will be having an impact on personal computing in 2011.

    • Samsung promises 20nm chips before 2012

      In an announcement from Samsung’s Ana Hunter, the company confirmed that it would be building 20nm chips by the second half of the year – and claimed that the process shrink will bring major improvements.

      A drop from the current 32nm and 28nm fabrication nodes used by the company will see the high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology, used to replace the traditional silicon dioxide gate dielectric in smaller nodes to reduce current leakage, introduced with the 32nm process size employed to allow the distance between components to shrink still further.

    • First Tegra 2-based Qseven module spins HD video on 5 Watts

      MSC Vertriebs announced an ARM-based Qseven module that appears to be the industry’s first such device using Cortex-A9 cores. The MSC Q7-NT2 is built around a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 290 processor, supports 1080p video, offers interfaces ranging from gigabit Ethernet to I2C, consumes only five Watts, and offers extended temperature support, says the company.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is co-existence possible for organic and GM food producers?

      In December 2010, organic farmer Steve Marsh from Kojonup, 250km south east of Perth in Western Australia, says he found canola plants on his property.

      Tests confirmed they were genetically modified canola.

      The discovery prompted his organic certifier, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia to suspend and subsequently remove organic accreditation from over 300 hectares of Mr Marsh’s property.

      Mr Marsh says as a result his livelihood has been ruined because he is no longer eligible for premium organic grain prices.

      He claims the plant material blew onto his property from a swathed GM canola crop grown by his neighbour, Michael Baxter. Mr Baxter has declined requests for interviews from the ABC, but it is understood that he has vowed to defend the allegation.

      Mr Marsh has engaged Perth lawyer Richard Huston to begin legal action against Mr Baxter.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya: “Full Range of Options”

      Let me suggest some options the USA, Canada and other countries could take:

      * Secure the borders of Libya to prevent mercenaries from entering Libya,
      * close the airspace over Libya to prevent everything but relief flights,
      * “bomb” hospitals in Libya with GPS-guided parachuted medical supplies,
      * secure beach-heads all along the Libyan coast to permit rapid influx of material and equipment for any eventuality,
      * secure airports in Libya or build landing strips as appropriate,
      * secure other critical infrastructure that might be destroyed by any “scorched earth” policy: communication, transportation, utilities and petroleum infrastructure,
      * supply communications equipment so that citizens can call directly for action in the face of violence and reporters can inform the world what is happening in Libya,
      * distribute food, water and medicines to citizens so they can remain close to home rather than going into danger,
      * resupply former units of Libya’s military to prevent the post-regime chaos seen in Iraq, and
      * dispatch forward elements to mark targets and pull the teeth of the tyrant: mercenaries, “loyal” military units, and propaganda machines.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation About Jim Flaherty and Goldman Sachs

      Maude Barlow, with the Council of Canadians, once said that Chantel Hebert was the only progressive voice on Canadian television. The last thing I ever heard Hebert say was that she felt that Jim Flaherty was the most underrated politician on Parliament Hill.

      I have never listened to another word from her and avoid her columns. If she told me the earth was round, I would have to rethink my position. But was her remark the result of lazy journalism, or was she, like most Canadians, simply brainwashed by the millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded advertising?

    • Jim Flaherty, Goldman Sachs and “The Swoop and Squat”

      At the height of the housing boom, Goldman Sachs was selling billions in bundled mortgage-backed securities, while also betting against those same securities. In other words they were going to have their cake and eat it too. Cashing in on one end and cashing out on the another, under a deregulation gold mine called the credit default swap.

    • Taibbi: Why Wall Street Isn’t In Jail – Video Interview

      The US government cannot effectively deal with the financial crisis and the required credible reforms because in fixing the problems they would necessarily expose the underlying fraud, and endanger the very powerful status quo that funds them and their political campaigns.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Biggest Issue for Canadian Digital Policy

      As public frustration with the state of telecommunications services such as Internet access and wireless competition mounts, a relatively obscure government consultation on spectrum deserves far more attention. Last November, Industry Canada released a Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the 700 MHz Band and Aspects Related to Commercial Mobile Spectrum. While the title alone is likely enough for most to look elsewhere, no issue will have a greater impact on the next 10 years of Canadian digital policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Wars: ChaCha, XOOM Taken to the Gauntlet

        It’s nothing new to hear about patent and trademark infringements in the Android market. Whether it be OEMs or developers, someone’s registered patent or trademark is always being infringed upon. Even Google “stole” Android at some point. That’s been settled with some ridiculous amount of money, of course.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

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