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08.09.10

Links 9/8/2010: $149 Android Tablet, Linux a Winner

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Throwing down the gauntlet

    Recently I have had a lot of people comment (on this forum and other forums) that Linux isn’t user friendly, that Linux will never make it to the average user’s desktop, that “Windows rulez and Linux droolz”. Among most of those detractors hardly a one will offer a solid reason to back up their statement. So this time I am throwing down the gauntlet of challenge to say “prove to me that Linux is not user friendly”.

  • Linux is winning

    Linux doesn’t have a CEO. Consequently, there’s no annual keynote hosted by a charismatic alpha male. But if it did, and if there were a conference covering the first half of this year, the first speech would start with three words: “Linux is winning”.

  • Desktop

    • Some Notes on Linux Effects

      One of the many attractive features of Linux is the possibility to add beautiful effects to the desktop. Compiz provides the best known set of effects and they can be used both in Gnome and KDE distros. You get this set by installing it from the distribution repositories. However, KDE has its native effects, which are also nice although a bit stiffer: Kwin. (This is Kwin’s flipswitch, an application switcher effect that is is also seen in Compiz and in Windows Vista)

      [...]

      Some people consider effects a waste of computer power. They may be right but, in my modest opinion, the cube, the multiple wallpapers, fire-writing, water, and snow make my computer environment more appealing to me. I find this aspect significant because, believe it or not, those pieces of eye candy become quite relaxing when you are trying to write an article on, say, Japanese acceptance/rejection ambivalent syndrome or the dark night of the soul in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and the muses decide to hide from you. Plus, when the poor souls trapped in Windows 7 Starter see me enjoying my writer’s block by playing with the desktop effects, they always ask themselves why I get so many cool features for free and they have to pay to be able to use the over-rated Aeroshake.

    • Internet Hipster-ism

      One of my friends made a offhanded comment about me being an “internet hipster”. Well, and that got me thinking. Well, I don’t think
      that I’m that abnormal from my peers, so perhaps it’s time to look at how the collective “us” are conducting ourselves. The more I thought about
      it, the more I got myself thinking that the GNU/Linux community is the “Hipster” sub-culture of computing. Seems a bit backwards, after all, most
      of the actual hipsters use Apple products.

  • Kernel Space

    • The saga of Git: Lightning does strike twice

      Every now and then, a shiver runs through the Linux community as people realise afresh that the entire edifice has a single point of failure: Linus Torvalds. These episodes usually manifest themselves as concerns about the scalability of said individual – whether he can continue to oversee and manage the amazing distributed development model as it grows ever bigger and more ambitious. To counter those fears it is probably worth looking at what happened as a result of the first – and by far the most frightening – “Linus does not scale” episode, not least because it led to multiple positive outcomes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • LXDE

      • Still more LXDE desktops

        I keep running into LXDE derivatives. Not physically of course, but it could be an unintended side effect of being on the lookout for distros to try on the Mebius.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Upgrading Mandriva Linux 2010 to Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring

        One lesson I learned from this, something that was brought up in one of the comments in Manual LVM configuration on Fedora 13, is that if you are going to create a separate partition for /boot and you are going to run the system through several update/upgrade cycles, be very generous with disk space allocation – to /boot.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Switching from Gentoo to Fedora

          Round about last week, I switched my desktop from Gentoo to Fedora. It took a few days to get everything the way I wanted. But it only took that long because I had lots of data to backup and (selectively) restore, and I only worked in the evenings. Fortunately, a “re-install” is way less painful than Windows, since all you really need to keep is your home directory. I just don’t know how Windows users live through it, especially without all their programs in a convenient package manager. I can happily say I have never re-formatted Windows for any reason (and that’s not because I don’t used it).

    • Debian Family

      • [Debian Developers per country]
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • OMG! Ignorant!

          So, Benjamin Humphrey of OMG! Ubuntu! and Ubuntu Manual team lead has a blog post he considers so brilliant he made sure it went out twice: “Dude, you’re a 35 year old with a neck beard“.

          Mr. Humphrey’s particular post is so chock-full of ignorance that it deserves a proper dissection.

          Let’s begin!

          Step One: Mischaracterize and dehumanize the opposition

          Mr. Humphrey leads off with the old tried-and-true one-two punch of the anti-Free Software crowd: first, stereotype your opposition and second, blame them alone for all failings.

          Stereotype. “Extremist diehard Linux geeks” – according to Mr. Humphries – refer to Linux as “GNU/Linux”, use the terminal window, and only exercise once a year by walking their dog.

        • First Ubuntu UK Geeknic a Success
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Jolicloud: Free Cloud-based Netbook OS

            Version 1.0 of the operating system incorporates a user interface built with HTML5 that includes an application launcher, a library of compatible applications with one-click installation and removal, a display of all machines associated with user account, and a social activity stream that enables users to compare installed applications

          • Jolicloud 1.0 (robby) – Very Mixed Feelings

            I spent the past week installing and testing Jolicloud 1.0 on two of my systems – one “real” netbook, the HP 2133 Mini-Note, SVGA 1024×600 model, and one “oversize” netbook, the HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez. The results have been mixed, to put it mildly. I think that I see what they are doing, and where they are going with this. It is a very, VERY web-centric / cloud-based operating system, not only at the level of the applications such as Facebook et. al., but at the level of the operating system itself. That kind of operating system is not for me, on both levels. I don’t use “social networking” applications at all, period. I don’t want my computer(s) to be tied to, dependent upon, or constantly exchanging information with the “cloud”, period. But I am old, and my feelings and computer use patterns are probably not typical these days – perhaps even more so in the case of netbooks.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • [Ben Nanonote] Pure fun, but not for the faint hearted

      I must admit I’ve been very frustrated at times. And sometimes, I still am. But there is something about this tiny machine that makes you love it, no matter what. It’s very sturdy, although a foot has fallen off and I reconnected the rubber USB protection several times. I reset it, yanked the battery out of it, reinserted the mini-SD card time and time again, but it kept on working. The power button has been abused a zillion times, but it doesn’t give up. It’s really a brave little machine.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Report: Android coming on strong in race against iPhone and Blackberry

          The researchers found that 27% of people who bought a smartphone over the six months ending in June went with Android vs. 23% for iPhone. That put Android in second place, behind Blackberry with 33%.

          That’s a big change from Nielsen’s previous tally for the six months that ended in March. At that point, 36% of smartphone buyers went with Blackberry, 27% got iPhones, and just 17% allied with Android.

    • Tablets

      • Welcome: $35 tablet for education

        One Laptop per Child applauds Minister Kapil Sibal for promoting a $35 tablet. Education is the primary solution to eliminating poverty, saving the environment and creating world peace. Access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning. We agree with you completely.

        Please consider this open letter OLPC’s pledge to provide India with free and open access to all of our technology, and our experience with 2 million laptops, in over 40 countries, in over 25 languages. As a humanitarian and charitable organization, we do not compete. We collaborate, and invite you to do so, too.

      • Attention Kmart shoppers: $149 Android tablet on aisle 5

        The Android OS isn’t just powering high end smartphones, it also runs barebones tablets sold at Kmart for the price of an iPod nano.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Greenstone experiences in Latin America and Caribbean

    The open source Greenstone digital library software suite was developed by the University of Waikato in New Zealand, in cooperation with UNESCO and the Belgian NGO Human Info. Greenstone is a user-friendly, multilingual, multi-platform package for assembling electronic documents into digital collections and for publishing these collections on the web or on CD-ROM. It accepts documents in a wide range of proprietary and standard formats, supports numerous standards for document and metadata exchange.

    Since its creation in 1997, Greenstone software has spread to 90 countries and has been translated into 45 languages, which makes it a key tool for the development of knowledge societies and a promoter of social development at the international level. Greenstone is being distributed under GNU General Public License.

  • Open Source and Economics: How the Hold Up Problem Explains the Flash Wars

    The hold up problem is particularly severe in the IT sector. Building an Internet company on a foundation consisting of proprietary software owned by others is akin to building a house without owning the land under it. When software is sold in binary form, the buyer is subject to hold up by the vendor; if the software needs to be changed in the future, such changes can only be done with the cooperation of the original vendor at the price that the original vendor demands. By relying on open source, a company can invest in developing its product without fear of being held up down the road. Therefore, open source is an economically powerful solution to the hold up problem.

  • Lightspark Gains Faster Rendering, H263/MP3 Video

    Lightspark, one of the newest free software projects designed to provide an open-source implementation of Adobe’s Flash/SWF specification, has been progressing at a rather expedited pace. Lightspark continues to pickup new features with each new release, which as of late have been occurring frequently. Less than a month ago, Lightspark 0.4.2 was released and version 0.4.3 is already approaching with the first release candidate having been released this weekend.

  • Top best free software

    There is a lot of free software available and much of it rivals the quality of software that you have to pay good money for. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of the best software currently available for free.

  • Why can’t free software lead to hardware innovation?

    Next thing we know, along come a host of similar devices, many of them based upon Android which is free software, even if it is often locked down by the hardware manufacturers. It’s a similar tale with tablets, how many rumours of “Linux based” iPad wannabes do we have to endure before we actually see one?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Summit 2010 and dev culture

        Never has this been more apparent to me than at the 2010 Mozilla Summit. I couldn’t help but notice that every session I visited, every reception I attended, and every conversation I had was dominated by male hacker stereotypes. The game room was full of obscure board games, first person shooters, caffeine and candy. Group conversations inevitably drifted towards the finer details of an API or a technical discussion of the merits of one platform or another. I had many short-lived and terse conversations with shy and introverted but incredibly proud geeks like myself.

  • CMS

    • Hieroglyph Plugin for WordPress

      The idea of a plugin is that it can be added to any WordPress site and I will release it as open source code when it is finished. It is still in alpha development and I expect it will be several months before the plugin is ready for public release via the WordPress repository. It is also a very big plugin with a couple of thousand files and will probably be 20Mb or more when it is finished.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Links ‘n’ Thoughts on emerging science blogging networks
    • Open Data

      • Too Many Researchers Are Reluctant to Share Their Data

        A new model of data sharing and openness is emerging in the scientific community that replaces traditional ways of thinking about research findings as the private property of the primary investigator. Large granting agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, have embraced the new model of more-open access to research data. Later this year, the NSF will start requiring scientists seeking research grants to include a data-management plan in their applications, describing how and when their data will be shared.

      • Bermuda’s Legacy: Policy, Timing and the Genome Commons

        Although the open availability of scientific data is fundamental to the modern scientific enterprise, the sharing of data has not always been accomplished with the speed or regularity that traditional norms of scientific conduct would dictate. A group of scientists and policy-makers met in 1996 to develop principles for rapid pre-publication release of genomic data to enable better coordination of the massive human genome project and to accelerate the progress of science in general. The resulting Bermuda Principles, requiring the release of all genomic sequence data to public databases within twenty-four hours after generation, were revolutionary in their scope and lasting in their effect.

Leftovers

  • Network admin Terry Childs gets 4-year sentence

    Childs defended his actions during a long court trial, saying that he was only doing his job, and that his supervisor, Department of Technology and Information Services Chief Operations Officer Richard Robinson, was unqualified to have access to the passwords. Childs eventually handed over the passwords to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

  • Is Ushahidi a Liberation Technology?

    Larry recently set up the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University together with colleagues Joshua Cohen and Terry Winograd to catalyze more rigorous, applied research on the role of technology in repressive environments—both in terms of liberation and repression. This explains why I’ll be joining the group as a Visiting Fellow this year. The program focuses on the core questions I’m exploring in my dissertation research and ties in technologies like Ushahidi which I’m directly working on.

  • Books

    • Books: The vinyl record of the publishing business.

      There has been a lot of talk, lately, about the death of books due to the e-reader market. While I firmly believe that book sales are going to take a staggering loss, I’m fairly certain that we’re not ready for the eulogy. The saviors of paper and ink publishing will come in two forms: the purists and the poorest.

    • Nicholas Negroponte: The Physical Book Is Dead In 5 Years

      By “dead,” he of course doesn’t mean completely dead. But he means that digital books are going to replace physical books as the dominant form. His argument is related to his One Laptop per Child Foundation. On those laptops, he can include hundreds or thousands of books. If you think about trying to ship that many physical books to the emerging world for each child, it would be impossible, he reasons.

  • Science

    • The Internet Generation Prefers the Real World

      Jetlir is a high school student from Cologne. He could easily be a character in one of the many newspaper stories about the “Internet generation” that is allegedly in grave danger of losing itself in the virtual world.

  • Health

    • The Struggle Behind the Scenes Over Health Care Reform

      Big insurers are struggling for the freedom to keep spending less and less on medical care, because every dollar they don’t spend on medical claims means more dollars paid to shareholders and CEOs. Insurance companies are pulling out all the stops, Wendell says, including trying to manipulate the very definition of the term “medical care.” They are pressuring the NAIC to let them shift a lot of what the companies now count as administrative expenses into their “medical expense” category. If that happens, the insurance companies will look like they’re spending more on medical care, without really changing any thing at all, and that meets their goal of assuring no real change occurs at all.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Video: police officers filmed smashing up pensioner’s car

      Footage captured on a police dashboard camera shows one officer striking the driver’s seat window with a baton up to 15 times and another officer jumping on the bonnet of the car and kicking the windscreen in an apparent attempt to crack it.

      Police pulled over Robert Whatley, 70, for not wearing a seat belt as he drove through country lanes in South Wales. The 8-mile chase started after officers tried to give Mr Whatley a fixed penalty notice but he drove off.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Quebec couple wins right to complain about landfill

      The lawsuit was filed against Serge Galipeau and his wife Christine Landry, of Cantley, Que., just north of Ottawa, after they complained about the smell of hydrogen sulphide gas emanating from the landfill.

      Justice Pierre Dallaire ruled that the $1.25-million defamation suit, if allowed, would interfere with the public’s right to free speech.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Sandra Bullock Disowns BP-Backed Greenwashing Campaign

      Academy Award-winning actress and New Orleans resident Sandra Bullock has severed her involvement in a campaign to call attention to the BP spill, after learning from ThinkProgress that it was a greenwashing effort by the oil industry. Bullock is prominently featured in the Restore the Gulf campaign, run by Women of the Storm and sponsored by America’s Wetland Foundation.

    • Everything’s Okay in the Gulf — Or Is It?

      Suddenly BP’s oil disaster is getting an unusually high amount of positive publicity. Media reports are concluding that most of the oil has disappeared. The static kill has been successful at holding back the oil pressure, and the U.S. government issued a scientific report suggesting that 75 percent of the 4.9 million barrels of oil that gushed into the Gulf as been burned, dispersed or evaporated. But even if you assume that all of the dispersed oil has been degraded, there are still an estimated 1.3 million barrels out in the environment — five times the amount of oil released during the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.

  • Finance

    • A Banker Can’t Get Arrested in This Town

      The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have broad powers to root out and punish financial fraud. The Interagency Financial Fraud Task Force, formed last November, is an Obama-era innovation that enhances the government’s ability to track down financial criminals. As we look back on the last two years’ revelations about Wall Street misbehavior, then, it seems reasonable to ask the question:

      What’s a banker gotta do to get arrested in this town?

    • Contract fraud? CIA abuses? Financial crisis? Congress used to investigate.

      Congress used to know how to investigate. In response to events ranging from war profiteering to Wall Street excesses to espionage transgressions, Congress formed special committees. Directed by powerful lawmakers, well-staffed and armed with subpoena power, these panels provided the public valuable information about government activities and spurred important legislation.

    • U.S. Lost 131,000 Jobs as Governments Cut Back
    • July jobs report renews concerns over a stalled recovery

      The nation’s economic recovery continued to sputter in July as employers kept shedding jobs and 181,000 discouraged workers dropped out of the labor force, according to a government report released Friday.

    • Nothing ‘Normal’ About It

      Let’s brush past the pain of joblessness and take the issue right to corporate terms: People who don’t have jobs don’t make good consumers. But business is unmoved.

      Nonfinancial companies are hoarding cash. They’re sitting on a reported cash pile $1.8 trillion high, about a quarter more than at the start of the recession. But they’re not hiring. One recent survey of CFOs says most don’t expect unemployment to drop back to pre-recession levels until 2012 or later — even though they foresee rising corporate earnings.

    • Jobless and Staying That Way

      After the recession and the financial crisis, Mr. Gross came around to the view that something structural in the economy had been altered and that the debt-fueled boom led by consumers over the past two decades was over.

      Last week only provided more ammunition for his argument. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that unemployment could go up before it goes down, and on Friday, the jobs report showed that the economy lost 131,000 jobs last month.

    • Duration of Unemployment
    • UK jobs market recovery ‘to stall’

      The public sector employers in particular are planning cuts, with 36% of them looking to lose staff.

    • Goldman Sachs: Unemployment is Going Back to 10%

      Previously Goldman saw 2011 growth rising from 2.5% in the first quarter to 3.5% in the second half of 2011. Now the firm pegs growth at 1.5% in the first quarter to 3% in the fourth quarter. On an average annual basis Goldman’s view of 2011 GDP growth drops to 1.9% from 2.4%. “As a result of this downgrade, we now expect the jobless rate to rise to 10% by early 2011 and remain there for the rest of the year,” Goldman wrote.

    • U.S. Treasury-More HAMP homeowners falling behind

      The Obama administration on Friday acknowledged it had underestimated the number of homeowners who fell seriously behind on their mortgage payments even after getting government help.

    • Stiglitz Says U.S. Faces `Anemic Recovery,’ Needs More Stimulus

      Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz said the U.S. economy faces an “anemic recovery” and the government will need to enact another round of “better designed” stimulus measures.

    • Report: Fed Could Be Forced Into $1 Trillion Emergency Rescue

      The U.S. economic recovery has lost so much momentum that the Federal Reserve reportedly will be forced to return to “unconventional” monetary easing, which could result in a $1 trillion emergency rescue, as early as next week.

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., whose economists also cut their forecasts for U.S. economic growth in 2011, said these measures could involve more asset purchases, such as Treasuries, or a more “ironclad” commitment to low short-term policy rates, according to Bloomberg.

    • Wall St. Faces Specter of Lost Trading Units

      Under the new Dodd-Frank financial regulations, Goldman must break up its principal strategies group, the wildly successful trading unit that has helped power the bank’s profits. Goldman is considering several options, including moving the traders to another division or shutting the unit altogether, according to people briefed on the matter.

    • Angelides Says FCIC to Keep Pressing Goldman for Data: Video
    • Ex-Goldman Sachs Employee Compares Working At Bank To Being A ‘Fluffer’ On A ‘Porn Set’

      If you’re a fan of colorful financial metaphors and aren’t satisfied with Matt Taibbi’s “vampire squid” comparison, you’ll want to check out Adgrok’s blog, which has an interesting blog by an ex-Goldman Sachs employee. (Hat tip to The Business Insider.)

      The blog is the work of Antonio Garcia-Martinez, a former “quant” at the bank, who quickly became disillusioned with Wall Street’s “Boschian” culture . The title ‘Why founding a three-person startup with zero revenue is better than working for Goldman Sachs,” pretty much says it all.

    • What It’s Like To Be A Quant At Goldman Sachs: “Like A Porn Fluffer”

      A former quant on what it was like to work under the traders at Goldman Sachs: “we’re basically the trader’s little bitches.”

      Quants typically earn much less than the traders who use their algorithms.

      Just recently it seems, quants have started to revolt. There is evidence that quants are leaving some firms and joining others that will pay them more.

    • Goldman Sachs Said to Shift Principal Strategies Into a Fund
    • Did Deutsche Bank Use Goldman Sachs-Style Securities To Trade Against Clients?

      Was Deutsche Bank guilty of Goldman Sachs-style conflicts of interest during the mortgage boom? That’s the question posed by a Wall Street Journal piece this morning that delves into a potentially sticky position the bank seems to have put itself in with mortgage securities it sold to clients in the pre-crisis era.

    • Bank of America, Goldman, Deutsche Bank, AstraZeneca, BP in Court News

      Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit filed a claim at London’s high court on July 13, and UBS submitted its claim on July 21, court papers show. The banks are seeking to confirm that contracts with the region are valid and that they met their obligations, according to three people familiar with the claims who declined to be identified because the dispute is private. The London claims make it tougher for Lombardy to pursue the banks locally, lawyers said.

    • Housing Policy’s Third Rail

      Fannie and Freddie amplified the housing boom by buying mortgages from lenders, allowing them to originate even more loans. They grew into behemoths because they lobbied aggressively and played the Washington political game to a T. But after both companies bought boatloads of risky mortgages, they required a federal rescue.

    • Forced to retire, some take Social Security early

      Paul Skidmore’s office is shuttered, his job gone, his 18-month job search fruitless and his unemployment benefits exhausted. So at 63, he plans to file this week for Social Security benefits, three years earlier than planned.

    • Greenspan Calls for Repeal of All the Bush Tax Cuts

      Now Mr. Greenspan is wading into the most fierce economic policy debate in Washington — what to do with the tax cuts adopted, in large part because of his implicit backing, under President George W. Bush — with a position not only contrary to Republican orthodoxy, but decidedly to the left of President Obama.

    • After state aid vote, several unions plan to rev up recess action

      The AFL-CIO will begin a series of rallies, phone-banks and letters thanking House members who voted for the legislation. In contrast, union members will campaign against candidates — likely primarily GOP ones — who voted against the bill and “put their political interests ahead of 900,000 jobs,” according to a union official.

    • Bankster Scorecard

      One Bankster subscriber said: “the legislation is basically a Trojan horse that is a ‘gift’ for the people on the surface, but actually contains the seeds of a future defeat.”

      These concerns are shared by the only Democratic senator to vote against the bill, Russ Feingold (D-WI). You remember Feingold, he was the one vote against the Patriot Act at the height of the 9-11 hysteria. He also voted right on every banking bill in the last 17 years: voting against the interstate banking act which allowed the big banks consolidate strength and spread out across the nation; voting against the repeal of Glass-Steagall which encouraged big banks to gamble on Wall Street; and voting against the bill that prohibited Brooksley Born from regulating derivatives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Here’s an Idea: Apply the Journalistic Ethics Code

      Bernstein cites the round-the-clock demand for news, fewer reporters due to falling ad revenue and the growing popularity of sensationalism in news as exacerbating the declining quality of news reporting in the U.S. He urges news consumers to hold news producers accountable for adhering to the journalistic Code of Ethics to ensure the quality of their reporting.

    • Gavin Newsom Hopes to Leave His Sludge in San Francisco

      San Francisco, under its “green mayor” Gavin Newsom, has since 2007 perpetrated a greenwashing scam upon city gardeners. The city, known for its environmentally sound practices and commitment to a precautionary principle approach to dealing with environmental hazards, has deceptively and fraudulently been giving away free “organic Biosolids compost,” that is actually nothing but toxic sewage sludge from San Francisco and eight other counties, “composted” by the giant waste handler Synagro.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • On the Web’s Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only

      Bottom line: Mr. Eckersley determined Mr. Burney’s location (the small town of Avon, Colo.) and his Nielsen demographic segment (“God’s Country”) together offered about 26.5 bits of information that could be used to identify Mr. Burney individually.

    • Saudi says there’s a deal with Blackberry

      Saudi Arabia and the makers of the BlackBerry smartphone have reached a deal on accessing users’ data that will avert a ban on the phone’s messenger service, a Saudi official said Saturday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Genetically Modified Canola ‘Escapes’ Farm Fields

      Wilkinson says that just because the plants are genetically modified, doesn’t mean they’ll be more successful than wild plants. In this particular case, herbicide resistance will provide little edge to plants growing in areas that, almost by definition, don’t receive many herbicides. “It’s very difficult for either of these transgene types to give much of an advantage, if any, in the habitats that they’re in,” he says, referring to the genetically modified canola.

      Linda Hall, a researcher at the University of Alberta in Canada, agrees. She’s studied colonies of genetically modified canola in that country for years, but says that they haven’t spread far beyond the roads. “It’s pretty spoiled — it’s used to growing in well-fertilized, clean seedbeds without competition, so it does not do well if it is having to compete with other plants,” she says.

    • First Wild Canola Plants With Modified Genes Found in United States
    • Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

      Reader n4djs notes that Monsanto has been known to sue farmers for patent infringement when their crops unintentionally contain genetically modified plants.

    • Copyrights

      • Ex-Torrent Site Admin To Face ‘Copyright Crime’ Charges

        After years of doing comparatively little to protect copyright, in recent months authorities in Bulgaria came down hard on file-sharing sites. While two of the country’s biggest BitTorrent sites continue to function, the previous owner of one – Zamunda.net – will face court this year charged with crimes against copyright. The authorities are hoping for Pirate Bay-style levels of punishment.

      • TorrentReactor Buys and Renames Russian Town

        TorrentReactor, listed among the five most popular torrent sites on the Internet, has surprised friends and foes by acquiring a small town in central Russia. The town formerly known as Gar has reportedly been bought for the equivalent of $148,000 and was quickly renamed after the Russian-based torrent site.

      • Authors appeal for net ‘licensing fee’

        The bill, currently before the commerce select committee, requires internet service providers to issue up to three infringement notices to alleged offenders at the request of copyright holders.

        It enables the Copyright Tribunal to hear complaints and award penalties of up to $15,000, and allows copyright owners to seek suspension of an internet account for up to six months through the district court.

Clip of the Day

Computer Chronicles: Overview on BSD


08.08.10

Links 8/8/2010: Android Devices Sold in Volumes, But Google Stops Augen’s Use of Android Market

Posted in News Roundup at 3:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • [Compiz] Some weekend hacking.

    People kept asking me about minimized window thumbnails. I caved.

    1. Patch for core
    2. Patch for workarounds

  • How Do You Use Linux – The Survey

    If you are a Linux User or an IT professional using FOSS or Linux, this is a survey you might want to take. You can complete it in 10 minutes or so and it would greatly help Don and Iffat in completing their project.

  • The Bizarre Cathedral – 77
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • “Is it a PC?” “Is it a Linux?”… “No its PCLinuxOS”

        Booting the live DVD initially didn’t work but the boot menu does give the option of a safe graphics mode also known as VESA. This got the ball rolling and a good looking Gnome desktop followed. Similar in looks to Mandriva but with a massive menu. Seriously there are tons of applications included here and this is down to PCLinuxOS being aimed for easy use and compatibility with everything. Clicking the Install icon will ask you for a password which I thought was a bit strange however I guessed at Root and it seemed to work fine. The standard formatting questions follow and the install begins. The install process wont let you go without a bootloader so if you have one in place, make sure you don’t install over it and make your other systems un-bootable. Its not a pretty road back if that happens!

    • Red Hat Family

      • 4 Awesome RedHat Commercials You Need to See

        I was vaguely browsing through different Linux related videos in YouTube when I found out these incredible RedHat commercials. They are not just hard core RedHat commercials, they are more like advertisements for Free Software and Open Source in general. More over, these videos gives a glimpse of the kind of knowledge and expertise RedHat have on everything Linux and Open Source.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rise of Linux Powered Devices

      The gadget world (comprising of mini computers, network devices, multimedia consoles, gaming systems, electronic toys, mobile phones and a lot of embedded devices) is steadily turning to linux. Linux has become ubiquitous, many of us might be using it on our favorite devices even without being aware of it. Here is a list of the electronic devices on which Linux has made a prolific resurgence.

    • Android

      • SKT records its millionth Android phone user

        As of yesterday, 1 million Korean smartphones serviced by SK Telecom, Korea’s leading cellular service provider, now run Google’s Android OS, just six months after SKT introduced the first Android-based smartphone, the Motoroi, on the domestic market.

      • Another Day, Another 200,000 Android Devices Sold

        “People are finally beginning to figure out how successful Android is,” Schimdt said at the inaugural Techonomy conference. “The number was about 100,000 [a day] about two months ago. It looks like Android is not just phenomenal but incredibly phenomenal in its growth rate. God knows how long that will continue.”

        Probably for a long time, and that’s great if you have a vested interest in Google’s success. While the open source platform itself is free, the more Android phones in the wild, the more people are using Google for Web searches, and that translates into cold, hard Google greenbacks.

      • Google: Augen’s Use of Android Market Unauthorized

        We decided to take our question to Google and ask them if Augen was allowed to install the Android Market and other core Google apps and a spokesperson responded that “Augen included proprietary Google software in their product via an unauthorized vendor. Google only licenses its software to partners and OHA [Open Handset Alliance] members directly.”

        Why is this a big deal if Android is open source, anyway? As we’ve talked about before, the Google Android OS is open-source, but core Google apps, including the Android Market, are closed source and must be licensed.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Meet The 2600hz Project, The New Sound of Open Source Telephony

    Some of the core developers behind FreePBX — a well-known, open-source phone system — have teamed up and started The 2600hz Project, a commercial entity promoting a collection of open-source telephony applications and libraries. Today, they are releasing blue.box, a reworked version of open source FreePBX. The new venture is co-founded by Darren Schreiber and is also a subsidiary of newly formed VoIP Inc. The 2600hz Project received $250,000 in funding from an unnamed investor.

  • Students Present Open Source Software at Summer Institute

    Standing, Norman Danner, associate professor of computer science, speaks to students from Bergen Community College about privacy issues in medical records during the 2010 Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) Project Summer Institutes Workshop July 30. The group is developing a mobile application for use by EMS personnel for recording medical data when on calls.

  • Amadeus CEO talks cloud, data centres and open source

    CEO of travel industry transaction processing company Amadeus, David V Jones, has outlined the company’s gradual move to the cloud and discussed why open source software will be used across all areas of the business by 2012.

  • Open Source Mentality for Science, Technology and Healthcare in Africa

    In Africa, the Ubuntu Linux software package has kicked off adaptation, utilization and contributions to open source mentality. There is abundant beauty and functionality in Ubuntu (South Africa). Try it out. Wazobia (Nigeria) Linux as it prepares to make a debut promises to augment open source mentality in Africa. The availability and affordability of these open source packages for development will no doubt go a long way in helping established African scientists to attempt developing empirical solutions for common problems that will impact on science, technology, agricultural practices and local healthcare delivery practices.

  • “Would You Dial An Open Source Help Desk?

    From time to time, MSPmentor explores open source trends in the managed services market. There are anecdotal examples of MSPs leveraging open source. But for the most part, I think MSPs serving small business leverage traditional, Microsoft- and Windows-centric tools. Still, OTRS (Open Technology Real Services) caught my attention this week with a 3.0 help desk beta release. As you may have guessed, OTRS focuses on open source solutions. Is the OTRS help desk ready for prime time? Here’s a reality check.

  • Reactions to Adobe-Day purchase

    Yet Adobe has always tried to find a place on the back end and perhaps a web content management system like Day’s provides the entrée they have been looking for. But what of Adobe’s existing relationship with Alfresco, another open source content management vendor, and what might the deal mean to open source content management in general?

  • Are Open Source Applications Really Less Secure?

    Gottlieb does acknowledge there are differences:

    * Because the source code is open, the cycle of identification and resolution of security vulnerabilities happens a lot faster than with closed source code.
    * Open source software has lead the way in social software. Social functionality has the potential to be more vulnerable than read-only functionality. Anything that a user submits can be malicious and needs to be filtered for potential exploits. A static website with no user-inputs has less to worry about.
    * Open source software tends to be more modular. The modules that you use may be less secure than the core application.

  • Pervasive Links With Open Source Data Mining Tool
  • Free Open-Source Tool to Publish Blog Content

    After one week of intense collaboration, participants in the One Week | One Tool workshop, organized by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, announced the launch of Anthologize, a free, open source tool to publish weblog content in a variety of book formats.

  • Is open source right for your software business?

    As a software developer, should you consider the open source model for your products? When Richard Stallman first launched the Free Software movement in 1983, it was indeed a revolutionary concept in software development and distribution. But today’s concept of commercial open source is not as different from the traditional software sales model as some developers assume, and companies that adopt this model are likely to run into many of the same grim realities. Before you leap into a commercial open source model for your products, be sure to check your assumptions:

  • Eliminating gatekeepers helps talent thrive

    Make open source your friend. Back in the day, a fledgling entrepreneur had to spend millions on a tech team to write every line of code from scratch. Nowadays, practically everything is already written (and free) – you just need to know where to look.

    Find technologists that are comfortable mining the world of open source to create a prototype. When YouTube launched, they didn’t create their own Flash-player—they bought a 10 Euro license for a great open source player. Using open source software will save you time and money and will allow you to…

    [...]

    Open source and platforms are here to stay. They’re going to shake up industries that up until now we’ve thought were bullet-proof and redistribute the power back to the little guy. Personally, I can’t wait.

  • 2600hz Project Releases blue.box Telephony Software

    Developers, ISVs and systems integrators looking to add a telephony component to their homegrown portfolio of services now have an open source application from the 2600hz Project, a consortium of developers of telephony-related open source software.

  • Open Source Project Management with web2Project
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Is Almost Tops In Europe–Only A Matter Of Time

        Although Firefox has already emerged as the number one browser in a few countries, there are strong signs that what we’ve long believed would happen is happening right now: Firefox is emerging as the most popular browser of all. Yes, Internet Explorer does have more market share than any other browser, and even gained a bit recently. However, new data from Statcounter shows that Firefox will overtake Internet Explorer in European market share next month. That trend will only continue.

      • More Than 1 in 10 Mozilla Bug Finders Turn Down Cash
  • SaaS

  • Oracle

    • Two open source Java servers, two different paths?

      The beta version of Tomcat 7 came out last week. This is a Big Deal! Tomcat has been at various times the reference implementation of Java Servlets, and Tomcat 7 now includes support for the latest version of the Servlet spec. Then there’s GlassFish — once Sun’s, now Oracle’

    • “Ready for Business: Oracle GlassFish Server”

      The Oracle white paper “Ready for Business: Oracle GlassFish Server” announces the availability of Oracle GlassFish Server 3, the commercially supported offering for GlassFish Server Open Source Edition and the industry’s first application server to support Java EE 6. The white paper highlights the advantages of Oracle GlassFish Server 3 for businesses, providing an overview of the product’s core features along with a closer look at some of the new capabilities that are part of Java EE 6.

  • CMS

    • Open Scholar Takes Open Source CMS to School

      Drupal-based Open Scholar is a free, open source content management system designed to easily build Web sites for classrooms, academic projects, individual professors, or entire universities. It installs easily and can host an unlimited number of sites on a single installation. Open Scholar supports customizable domains so schools can have relevant URLs and requires no programming knowledge to have a site up and running in minutes.

    • Drupal Commons Social Business Software Released
    • Drupal Commons offers open source sociability for enterprises

      Acquia have announced Drupal Commons 1.0, an open source social networking tool for enterprises. Drupal Commons is a complete system for fast deployment of a fully functional social networking site, either as part of a company’s internal infrastructure, or as part of an externally facing community site.

    • Open source WordPress powering CBSNewYork.com

      In a major coup for open source software lovers, the newly-launched CBSNewYork.com is powered by popular blogging and content management platform WordPress.

  • Education

  • Business

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How to Find Cheaper College Textbooks

      The use of so-called open source textbooks, offered by companies like FlatWorld Knowledge, is also on the rise. “Students who are assigned open source textbooks can usually download a copy for free, or they can buy a printed and bound version for $20 to $40,” Ms. Allen said. (Suggest it to your future professors.)

    • Open source textbooks aim to reduce costs for students

      The University of Illinois system was awarded a $150,000 one-year grant from the Department of Education with the help of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to develop open-source textbooks for students. Charles Evans, University of Illinois associate vice president for academic affairs, will be heading the project.

    • Open Source Pharmaceuticals?

      Open source sharing of data could be the key to developing important new drugs.

    • IBM and IIT Bombay to Research Mobile Phone Interfaces

      The findings of the research and any applications or technology developed are to be released to the open source community, the spokesman said. Working with the open source community will help speed up the adoption of the technologies, and attract developers to build applications for the target populations, IBM said in March.

    • Mobile research project between IBM and IIT Bombay announced

      The company said that the Open Collaboration Research (OCR) project will focus on the development of new designs for mobile device interfaces that can easily be used by people who are semiliterate or illiterate, as well as those who have limited access, or no access, to information technology.

    • Open Data

      • Creating a Participatory, Open Source Map of an Entire Country

        Based on my work with Grassroots Mapping (you can read more in an earlier Idea Lab post) — especially in Lima, Peru — OMC and I have many common goals. We share an interest in participatory and open-source mapping and a desire to teach cartographic literacy as an enriching and empowering activity. The opportunity to use Grassroots Mapping tools — such as aerial photography from balloons and kites — to support such an ambitious project was too much to pass up.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Instantiations acquired by Google

      Google Inc. on Thursday acquired Instantiations Inc., a Tualatin-based developer of open source software development tools.

    • Google buys Instantiations, gets Eclipse, Java, and Ajax expertise

      RCP Developer is quite nice, so it’s a shame that the industry has largely moved on from Rich Client Java development towards HTML5, Flash, and mobile platforms. It’s a great product so there may be enough interest in it to sustain it as a viable open source community under the Eclipse umbrella.

Leftovers

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech NCHC Taiwan 2005


08.07.10

Links 7/8/2010: OLPC XO Laptops, Growth of Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • GHCA’s Computer Lab Running Gentoo Linux

    As a private school, GHCA would not have been able to afford a typical Microsoft or Apple lab. However, with Linux we were able to get the most modern hardware at the time. Even better yet, that hardware is still more than fast enough even though it is 5 years old, thanks to Linux!

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 129: Riak

      Riak, a highly scalable, fault tolerant, no SQL database.

      Guests: Mark Philips, Community Manager, and Andy Gross, VP of Engineering of Basho

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Linux 2.6.36 Kernel Will Have Some Fun DRM

        Now that the Linux 2.6.35 kernel was released a few days ago, Linus Torvalds has begun pulling in new code for the Linux 2.6.36 kernel as the various developers begin submitting pull requests of their new work. Dave Airlie, the maintainer of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) code in the Linux kernel, overnight sent in his first Git pull request of his DRM tree. This pull request brings many new features for Intel, ATI, and NVIDIA/Nouveau graphics hardware.

      • AMD Radeon HD 4250 880G On Linux
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Fifteen Puzzle: Overhauled!

        So that was my first contribution to KDE: a changeable number of pieces, a randomizer, and a color chooser.

      • KDE 4.5 is approaching, thanks to all Kate contributors

        KDE 4.5 will be released in the next days with the most polished Kate/KWrite and KatePart during the KDE 4.x series.

        A lot of work went into fixing bugs and cleaning up old code for this release. Many important aspects where redone, just to enumerate a few:

        * encoding detection & handling
        * the text buffer
        * the undo/redo system (thanks Bernhard)
        * search/replace (thanks again Bernhard)
        * handling cursors and ranges
        * improved spell checking (thanks Michel)
        * improved indentation (thanks Milian)
        * speed improvements (Milian too)
        * better JS scripting (Dominik)
        * porting of KDevelop to new interfaces (David Nolden)

      • Crash statistics for KWin

        The upstream bugs are mostly driver related bugs. The number does not reflect reality perfectly as some driver crashes are set to duplicate. So we see that we have more crashes in drivers than crashes we fixed!

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Purpose-built: Five specialised Linux distributions

      Tomato Linux

      Kickstart your old router with a little tomato juice. Tomato Linux is a small distro customised to be installed on Broadcom-based routers such as the Linksys WRT54G/GL/GS routers. Once installed Tomato can be administered through a web interface, Telnet or SSH. But more importantly it adds a bunch of new features to your router, including bandwidth monitor, QoS controls, DynamicDNS support, multiple wireless modes as well as the ability to manage the signal strength of the router. And, because it’s essentially an embedded Linux version, there are all manner of extra things you could configure your router to do. It also works like a bomb. I ‘ve been using it on my home router for the past year.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat near Resistance

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $33.99 with the current price action closing at just $33.25 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Board Meeting, 6 Aug 2010

          Here is an outline of the topics covered:

          * MeeGo Spin status
          * Upcoming FUDcons – Zurich and Tempe
          * Deadline for dealing with open Board tickets
          * fedoracommunity.org domains – how are they going & shall we approve the open requests
          * Community Working Group idea from Rex
          * start.fedoraproject.org
          * Vision for Fedora

        • Fedora 13 update issues
    • Debian Family

      • DebConf 10: Day 3
      • Debian Linux on cheap MIPS mini netbook

        Computing-wise, I’ve taken a break from the JamVM/OpenJDK port for a couple of days while I play with my latest toy : a cheap mini-netbook based on a Chinese MIPS clone. It’s branded CnMbook, but it’s available (or was) under dozens of names.

        [...]

        The cost? 65 quid off ebay for an ex-display model as you can’t buy them anymore, the ARM9 WinCE machines having completely replaced them.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04: Dual Boot vs Wubi vs Virtualization

          It can be a big question for some, “to Wubi or not to Wubi” :P ? So what is Wubi? It is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Do you really want to install Ubuntu inside Windows? Let me list out the pros and cons of using Wubi as well dual booting. and to make things more interesting let us throw in the Virtualization option (Sun VirtualBox or Vmware Player) in the mix. You can then decide whats the best option for you.

        • Finishing up controversial crap week: What Canonical ought to do

          The point is that Canonical has established itself as a big player in the F/OSS world, and to make the F/OSS world better for everyone in it – including Canonical – it’s important that everyone contributes; not just to marketing or UX design or whatever, but to the fundamental engineering. The argument isn’t ‘Canonical doesn’t contribute to $FOO so they’re a bunch of losers, nee ner nee ner!’, it’s ‘Canonical doesn’t contribute to $FOO and it would really be better for everyone if they did’.

        • Desktop Testing Team

          Today, one day after reaching the third Maverick milestone, Alpha 3, I am happy to announce the birth of a new testing project and team in Ubuntu: the Desktop Testing Team.

          Every time we release a new Ubuntu milestone, testers are encouraged to install the new milestone and play around with it, filing bugs as they go. We want to go a bit further and use a more methodological approach for those people that love testing and want to help improving Ubuntu that way.

        • Ubuntu’s vision for its Unity interface

          Ubuntu’s ambitions don’t stop with moving some window buttons and making everything purple – the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Belgium saw the announcement of Unity, a completely new desktop interface aimed at instant-on computing.

          What’s got us really excited is that fact that the creator of the fantastic Gnome Do, David Siegel, is working with the design team. Naturally, we wanted to find out some more…

        • Mark Shuttleworth announces new Ubuntu 10.10 audio feature
        • UNE 10.10 Unity Update Brings New Applets, Lots Of Changes [Screenshots And Video]
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Jolicloud 1.0 “the (free) iPhonesque OS for netbooks” goes live
          • Jolicloud OS Presents a New Way to Organize and Run Your Apps
          • Linux distro Jolicloud: the future of netbooks?
          • Jolicloud 1.0 Review and Screenshots

            Although this release is filled great stuff, the one single thing that caught my eye more than anything is the way cutting edge features have been used to improve the users experience. One I’m concerned about is that it’s built on the older Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope which Canonical will no longer support in October because of its age. Definitely worth trying if you have a Netbook-like device.

          • The State of Ubuntu Studio 2010

            Okay, if you skipped down from the top or you need a refresher about the points I made, here is the Cliff’s Notes version:

            * Several experienced people within the project have left recently and not enough new people have replaced them
            * Many things are not accomplished because of limited resources (i.e. people)
            * Even without prior developer experience you too can contribute to Ubuntu Studio
            * Long term commitment is unnecessary, just fix one thing or a couple
            * If you are not helping then it probably is not getting done

            I believe that about sums it up.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • enTourage eDGe Tablet and e-reader

      I recently stumbled across this interesting device from Entourage Systems. At first glance when closed, the enTourage eDGe may appear to be a typical netbook, but it is actually a combination of an e-reader and a Tablet computer running Android.

    • Phones

      • Linux set to dominate mobile market by 2015

        Analyst group ABI Research has predicted that Linux will account for over 62 per cent of the market for non-smartphone mobile devices by 2015. “The number of Linux-oriented initiatives recently seen in the mobile industry indicates that Linux will be a key technology in the next generation of netbooks, media tablets, and other mobile devices,” commented the report’s author Victoria Fodale.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • N900 Faster Application Manager – Review

          All in all FAM is an excellent application and it is much faster the default application manager. In fact the only real draw back to FAM currently is that it does not support installing applications from the Ovi Store as of yet. Also worth mentioning is that unlike the default application manager FAM supports portrait mode when you tip your device into a vertical position.

        • MeeGo for IVI 1.0 Screenshots
      • Android

        • How Android is turning the smartphone into a commodity and why that’s desirable

          Most smartphone users I know will never turn back to a conventional mobile phone again. They just derive too much productivity from it. It’s hands down the most efficient way to maintain a communications line to your contacts in the smallest form factor possible. Voice calls, texting, emails, instant messaging; they’re all available at your fingers with the right smartphone.

          [...]

          This is a significant step. While previously, cheap mobile devices often meant crappy software loaded inside, with Android, what you’re getting is probably just as good as you can get with any other manufacturer. Sure, you’ll probably be limited by crappy hardware, but the basic features of what I expect of a smartphone will be there. I do not need a top-of-the-line AMOLED or SLCD screen to view my calendar. I do not need a Snapdragon or Hummingbird CPU to check my email. All I need for it is to be decently made and cheap.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Where would we be without open source software?

    Computers without programs are like boat anchors. They are cold, heavy and just sit there like a lump of steel, which of course they are. It is the software which controls the movement of electrons through the computers memory. It is the software which transforms the computer from a cold silent box to a whirring, warm window into a greater world.

  • Events

    • Open source, the demo-meritocracy

      That engagement may be one reason that people were positive and participatory at the recent Apache Lucene EuroCon-our Lucene and Solr user conference in Prague-compared to some of the commercial vendor user conferences we’ve heard about where frustrated users end up yelling at the vendors.

  • Growth

  • SaaS

    • You Wave “Good-bye” and I Wave “Hello”

      I spent sixteen years of my life working for Digital Equipment Corporation. While that company is now gone, some of its innovations and technologies live on in Intel and ARM processors, and in various parts of different operating systems. If this was not true, I would be very depressed. However, even more technologies (both hardware and software) could have survived if those technologies had been “Open”, and that is what Google is doing.

      So I, for one, encourage Google to keep innovating, and putting those innovations out as FOSS. While some may not become products immediately, many more will be available for discussion and use in other ways that even the Google engineers may not have envisioned.

  • Databases

    • Oracle’s Next MySQL Move: Sept. 19 at Oracle OpenWorld

      When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems — and by association, MySQL — plenty of open source pundits expressed concern. After much silence there are at least two signs Oracle plans to show MySQL customers and partners some love. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.

  • Oracle

    • Illumos Makes OpenSolaris Board Threat Moot

      On August 3 Nexenta hosted a conference call to announce a new open source project called “Illumos.” Illumos is an open source alternative to a critical part of the OpenSolaris distribution free from the binds of Oracle. Still several days short of the deadline set by the OpenSolaris governing board to Oracle, perhaps this announcement makes it all moot.

      The effort is headed up by former Sun and Oracle Solaris developer Garrett D’Amore. He said that Illumos is not a fork of OpenSolaris, but more of a code base that perhaps Nexenta, Belenix, and SchilliX can be built on one day. Most important to D’Amore and Illumos supporters is that the code base will live on and be free from the control of any corporate entity.

      [...]

      With the days counting down to the probable disbanding of the board and the constant threat of losing access to the source, Illumos might be all that remains of OpenSolaris sooner or later. Several distributions are based on OpenSolaris now, and its loss could have spelled disaster for those systems. That’s why most of them as well as several current and former OpenSolaris developers have committed to Illumos. Other community partners include Joyent, berliOS, Greenviolet, and Everycity.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7: Everything you need to know

      The most notable improvement to Drupal’s user interface are overlays. Usability lab tests observed that many users coming from other CMS systems were accustomed to a dedicated back end for administration and content creation, and found it difficult to distinguish the administration layer from the rest of the website.

    • Drupal 7 release date mooted

      The final line-up has been announced for DrupalCon Copenhagen, this year’s annual European gathering for fans and developers of the popular open source content management system. Running from 23-27 August, alongside the usual ‘State of Drupal’ address from project founder Dries Buytaert, keynote speakers include Rasmus Lerdorf, author of the original PHP scripting language, and HTML5 expert Jeremy Keith.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Liquidware Announces Open Source Scientific Calculator and Computing Platform

        With the growing popularity of Open Source Hardware, Liquidware announces the first 100% Open Source Hardware and Open Source Software Scientific Calculator. Based on Linux, Arduino, and the BeagleBoard design specifications, the Open SciCal X101 brings modularity and customization handheld scientific calculators and research aids.

  • Programming

    • I hate Git

      I hate git. I really do. The people who designed the plumbing never stopped to think how any of it would be used, and the user interface is a bunch of ad-hoc bolted on independent bits that have nothing to do with each other.

Leftovers

  • Favorite computer myths
  • Security/Aggression

    • Media’s response to the Hacker != Cracker open letter

      Today I am happy to report that this action had a bigger impact that we hoped for!

      * Delo — probably the most serious Slovenian daily newspaper was very keen on publishing our open letter in the readers’ letters section in the printed edition.
      * Dnevnik — the other major daily newspaper has also published the open letter under readers’ letters in both the printed form and online.

      [...]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The EFF SSL Observatory

      The EFF has put up a new page for a project which it calls the SSL observatory. They have spent months collecting information about SSL certificates across the net; as one might expect, they have found some interesting things.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Internet traffic talks collapse

      Regulators halted closed-door negotiations about net neutrality rules with phone, cable and Internet companies on Thursday after reports of a side deal between two participants, Verizon Communications Inc and Google Inc, surfaced.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • SA copyright laws outdated and in need of urgent overhaul, says new study

        The ACA2K project has been examining the relationship between copyright and access to learning materials in Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa. The project, which began in 2008, is supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and South Africa’s Shuttleworth Foundation, and managed by the Wits University LINK Centre in Johannesburg.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech Girona Apr 2004


Links 7/8/2010: GNU/Linux Big in South Africa, Acer Android Netbook, Thunderbird 3.1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux big in SA

    Windows may still be the dominant operating system but in South Africa Linux has a good showing

    We all know that Windows is the dominant operating system, around the world. But how popular is Linux?

    According to analysts StatCounter, Linux is still minuscule in comparison with the Windows family of operating systems but there are some numbers worth looking at.

  • A Tiny Little Program

    He sent me back the Windows executable. And here is the directory listing of the Linux and Windows executables:

    -rwxr-xr-x 1 brad brad 7514 2010-07-27 10:07 fixfile
    -rw-r–r– 1 brad brad 163954 2010-08-04 07:17 fixfile.exe

    It’s a 45-line C program with only two functions. It compiles to about 7 1/2 kbytes on Linux. And it compiles to almost 164 kbytes on Windows!

  • Easing the Differences Between Unix and Linux

    Recently a friend of mine needed to convert a lot of videos from AVI format to Windows Media for a client. My friend is also of the Microsoft persuasion, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money acquiring batch conversion software.

    I recommended that he get a copy of Ubuntu, load it up with some video codecs and editing software, then use ffmpeg (with the handy WinFF GUI) to batch convert the files. This is how I usually do the job, and I have had great success with Ubuntu and openSUSE in finding and installing the right software and having this particular task Just Work.

  • Kernel Space

    • Realtime Linux: academia v. reality

      The 20th Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS2010) was held in Brussels, Belgium from July 6-9, along with a series of satellite workshops which took place on July 6. One of those satellite workshops was OSPERT 2010 – the Sixth International Workshop on Operating Systems Platforms for Embedded Real-Time Applications, which was co-chaired by kernel developer Peter Zijlstra and Stefan M. Petters from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal. Peter and Stefan invited researchers and practitioners from both industry and the Linux kernel developer community. I participated for the second year and tried, with Peter, to nurse the discussion between the academic and real worlds which started last year at OSPERT in Dublin.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Cloud Linux Inc. Goes Global as 16 New Hosting and Data Center Partners Come Online
      • Tech Certifications Are Worthy Again

        “Red Hat is doing very well and is taking advantage of open systems business demand,” said Foote in an interview with eWEEK. “Two Red Hat certs are in the top 10 on our IT Certifications Hotlist: Red Hat Certified Technician and Red Hat Certified Security Specialist. It appears that companies still want a support base, even in open systems where you don’t have to choose a vendor. But they are, and those investing in the cloud are looking at employee skill sets in Linux and open source.”

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze frozen

        During DebConf10, currently being held in New York, the Debian developers announced that Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” has been frozen. This means that the ongoing development of the next version of Debian has moved into a new phase where the focus will be on bug-fixing and polishing the distribution ready for release at some point in the future.

      • Debian’s next release frozen

        The Debian GNU/Linux Project has announced that its next release, Squeeze, has been frozen.

        This means that no new features will be added and that work will now commence on ironing out all release-critical bugs so that Squeeze can be officially released.

        The release will be based on the 2.6.32 kernel and will have version 4.4.5 of the KDE Desktop and 2.30 of GNOME. Other desktop environments like XFCE (version 4.6.2) and LXDE (0.5.0) are also included.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Is It Time To Use Ubuntu Server?

          Despite being treated like a stepchild due to the presence of heavyweights like RHEL, CentOS, SLES and the BSD Brothers, Ubuntu Server has consistently improved over the years.

          As of version 10.04, Ubuntu Server 10.04 makes the perfect choice for running your servers in a corporate environment with low to medium loads.

        • Ubuntu Accessibility Project Seeks Help with Survey

          When Ubuntu’s software designers sit down to design software, they prefer to do so with a total picture of the end-user in mind. Their method involves creating “personas,” a compilation of characteristics that represents various types of people who use the software. For instance, Mary might be a first time Linux user who loves working with media files and images, while Chuck may be a FOSS hobbyist who enjoys working at the command line.

        • Open Source Improves Internet Access For Senior, Disabled Netizens

          The new tooling technology simplifies the way Web applications are tested for compliance with current accessibility standards and guidelines, helping to speed up delivery of new accessible Internet applications.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Hands-on: Jolicloud 1.0 makes Web apps equal desktop citizens

            There are a lot of good ideas on display in Jolicloud 1.0, but the nascent product still feels incomplete. If the company behind Jolicloud can expand on the current implementation and fill in some of the gaps, it has the potential to be a real winner. I like where they are taking the user experience and I think that there are a lot of great things that they can do to make the launcher richer if they take full advantage of HTML’s inherent strengths.

            The real challenge will be continuing to expand the scope of Jolicloud’s differentiating features while keeping pace with Ubuntu and ensuring that Jolicloud users will benefit from Ubuntu’s steady stream of new features.

            Some of the technologies that Canonical is developing for Ubuntu’s own Unity environment (particularly the D-Bus-powered messaging indicators and application indicators) could potentially make it much easier for third parties like Jolicloud to ditch the conventional GNOME panel and integrate the underlying functionality into their own custom user experience in a more seamless way. It would be great to see the functionality of Ubuntu’s messaging indicators, for example, woven seamlessly into the Jolicloud launcher.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready SoC brings VoIP to optical end-points

      Mindspeed announced a new member of its Comcerto family of VoIP system-on-chips (SoCs), targeting media, signaling and control processing on low-to-medium density optical networking environments. The Comcerto 300xv offers dual ARM11 processors, a 64-bit DSP, dual gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and a PCI Host controller, and is available with an OpenWRT Linux-based evaluation board.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Questions for Nokia executive show support

          Several people who are clearly fond of their N900 phones expressed their dismay at feeling abandoned. The N900 runs Maemo, an operating system Nokia developed based on Debian Linux. Earlier this year Nokia said it would merge Maemo with Moblin, an open-source operating system that Intel developed.

      • Android

        • Android Phones bring revolution to Mobile Industry

          A lot of Mobile devices come with attractive features and fabulous designs, but when Android based phones get released in the market, everything looks pale and goes down. As if users are waiting for the glimpse of the model that is implemented by Google’s Android software.

        • Netflix: “Would Be Stupid of Us” to Ignore Android’s Continued Growth

          We knew Netflix had plans to bring an app to our beloved platform since the start of the summer (after a job posting uncovered their plans to do just that), but we didn’t get a concrete window. We still don’t have a concrete window, but at least Netflix isn’t keeping quiet. One of the company’s employees stated on Reddit that they would be stupid to ignore the Android userbase considering how much it’s blown up in the first half of the year (More on that here, here, here, here, and here.)

        • Why Android App Security Is Better Than for the iPhone

          On the Linux-based Android platform, each application runs in a separate “silo,” unable by default to read or write data or code to other applications. Associated with each isolated application is a unique identifier and a corresponding set of permissions explicitly governing what that particular application is allowed to access and to do.

          As a result, much the way Linux users typically don’t have “root” privileges with the associated power to do systemwide harm, so Android apps by default are limited in a similar way. Just as Linux minimizes the damage that could be done on the desktop by a virus affecting an individual user, in other words, so Android restricts the potential damage that could be done by a rogue application.

          In order for any data to be shared across Android applications, it must be done explicitly and in a way that informs the user. Specifically, before installation can even happen, the app must declare which of the phone’s capabilities or data it will want to use–the GPS, for example–and the user must explicitly grant permission to do so. Those wallpaper apps, it should be noted, were no exception. So, if a user sees upon installation that a simple wallpaper app is requesting access to her list of contacts, say, there’s probably reason to think twice before proceeding.

          On the iPhone, on the other hand, it’s a different story. All apps are considered equal and can access many resources by default, and without having to tell the user. So, while on Android you’ll be able to see that a malicious app is suspicious the moment you try to install it, on the iPhone iOS, you’ll have no idea–potentially until the harm is done.

        • Vodafone angers HTC Desire owners

          Vodafone has angered customers with HTC Desire mobile phones after delivering an update that added new applications which can’t be deleted.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Accenture survey sees open source investment rising

    According to survey results released by Accenture, two thirds (69%) of organisations anticipate increased investment in open source, with over a third (28%) saying they expect to migrate mission critical applications to open source within the next twelve months. The survey of three hundred large public and private sector organisations in the US, UK and Ireland, found that half of them said they were fully committed to open source and almost a third said they were still experimenting with open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.1.2

        The Mozilla developers have released version 3.1.2 of their open source Thunderbird email and news client, code named “Lanikai”. According to the developers, the latest maintenance update addresses several user experience concerns and improves the applications overall stability.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB 1.6 adds auto-sharding and replica sets

      NoSQL document store MongoDB’s new release from 10gen and the MongoDB community now offers automated horizontal scaling, high availability, automatic failover, replica sets and auto-sharding. MongoDB 1.6 is the fourth stable release of the NoSQL database.

  • Oracle

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • Court orders GPL compliance

      A court in the US has ordered a company not complying with the terms of the GNU General Public Licence ver 2.0 to stop distributing the software which was putting it in non-compliance and awarded damages to the plaintiffs.

      The Software Freedom Conservancy and Erik Anderson, the developer of Busybox, filed the suit against Westinghouse Digital Electronics and 13 others over the distribution of the Busybox utility in HDTV products.

    • The GPL Wins Again

      In December 2009, the Software Freedom Conservancy filed lawsuits against 14 consumer electronics vendors alleging that they were not in compliance with the GPL license. Of those 14 vendors, 13 have now either settled amicably or are in productive discussions toward a settlement.

      In one case, consumer electronics vendor Westinghouse failed to comply, and a U.S. District Court has now ruled in a default judgment against it.

    • BusyBox takes out bankrupt opponent in GPL lawsuit

      Basically, Westinghouse gets off easy in comparison with those who have shared music on P2P sites ($675,000 and $1.92 million, in the first two cases to go to trial) because it only shipped a single software package, even though it was done for commercial gain.

Leftovers

  • A tale of two prosecutions: Same facts, different result

    Two cases in which DAG has played a prominent advisory role were those of Paul Clarke, who was found guilty of possessing a shotgun which he had handed in to the police (at one point he was facing an automatic five year prison sentence, though thankfully the judge was able to find “exceptional circumstances”) and the ongoing case of Paul Chambers, whose Twitter joke about Nottingham airport led to his conviction for communicating a “bomb hoax”.

    In both cases, the letter of the law was used as a pretext for bringing charges despite the lack of any real public interest in doing so. Part of the problem may lie in the narrow way in which “public interest” is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service. CPS guidelines assume that once the evidence is strong enough to suggest a likelihood of conviction, a prosecution will always be in the public interest unless there are “clear” reasons suggesting otherwise. “A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor is sure that there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which outweigh those tending in favour” says the latest edition of the CPS code (pdf). I guess that because they are dealing with criminal cases day in, day out, CPS lawyers easily overlook the devastating effect that prosecution often has on an individual’s life.

  • Judge trounces Register.com in Baidu.com hijacking case

    As a result, Baidu — the world’s number-three search engine and the biggest in China — lost control of the baidu.com domain name for more than five hours. Register.com employees refused assistance when legitimate Baidu representatives appealed for help by phone and online chat, and didn’t begin to address the problem until two hours after first being told of the snafu.

  • Science

    • SpaceX Unveils Heavy-Lift Vehicle Plan

      The U.S. government should lead development of a nuclear thermal propulsion system for a future Mars mission and leave new heavy-lift launchers to commercial entities, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) says.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Defense Department message to Wikileaks

      All this may appear stupid or even funny (“returning electronic documents”) but the communication is a very professional way to deal with classic news agencies, given how they operate. Also the concept of “stolen property” looks pretty compelling from a media communication perspective, though US government documents are generally in the public domain (irrespective of disclosure).

    • Experiments in Torture: Physicians group alleges US conducted illegal research on detainees
    • Tom Ridge Joins the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Natural Gas Gold Rush

      Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has, for the most part, been out of the spotlight for the past year since he wrote his book titled The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege…And How We Can Be Safe Again, which came out in September of 2009. In that book, Ridge confessed that, although unsurprising to anyone who understood the rampant fear-mongering and propaganda that took place in the post-9/11 Bush era, he was pressured by others in the Bush Administration to purposely manipulate the infamous color-coded National Security Alerts for political reasons, and in particular, during the run-up to former President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Massive ice island 4x size of Manhattan separates from Greenland glacier

      Andreas Muenchow, an oceanographic researcher from the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, reports that an “ice island” four times larger than Manhattan has separated from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland (shown in the photo above from 2009).

    • BP oil spill mostly cleaned up, says US

      The US government said today that most of the oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico has been cleaned up as BP reported that a “static kill” blocking procedure was stopping more crude pouring into the gulf.

      The White House energy adviser, Carol Browner, said a new assessment had found that about 75% of the oil had been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf.

    • Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, figures show

      Despite repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and criticism from some quarters that government support for renewable energy technologies is too generous, global subsidies provided to renewable energy and biofuels are dwarfed by those enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry.

    • Ecuador signs $3.6bn deal not to exploit oil-rich Amazon reserve

      How much would you pay for the most biologically rich patch of land on Earth – some 675 sq miles of pristine Amazon, home to several barely contacted indigenous tribes, thousands of species of trees and nearly 1bn barrels of crude oil?

      Ecuador, home of the Galapagos Islands, the Andes mountain range and vast tracts of oil-rich rainforest, yesterday asked the world for $3.6bn not to exploit the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha oil block in the Yasuni national park. A knockdown price, it said, considering the oil alone is worth more than $7bn at today’s prices. The 407m tonnes of CO2 that would be generated by burning it could sell for over $5bn in the global carbon markets.

    • Deadly fungus threat to insect-eating US bats

      A North American bat regarded as one of the most voracious insect-eaters in the world faces extinction in parts of the continent within the next 16 years, scientists say.

      The little brown myotis bat is one of the most abundant in the US and Canada, but the population is threatened by a fungus that causes a lethal disease known as white-nose syndrome.

      The fungus, Geomyces destructans, causes a loss of body fat and disrupts the usual hibernation behaviour of the bats, causing them to wake early and leave their roosts during the daytime. In affected areas up to 99% of bats will die out.

    • A Real Mess in Orbit: Space Junk to Hang Around Longer Than Expected

      Space junk continues to clutter the friendly cosmic skies, posing threats to satellites and spacecraft, with scientists working to identify which bits of orbital rubbish to pluck from the heavens first. But a new study suggests they’re fighting an uphill battle.

      New research on changes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere suggests space debris could remain in orbit for longer than expected.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • TalkTalk becomes StalkStalk

      A little over 3 weeks ago, an observant UK TalkTalk customer discovered their ISP was stalking their web surfing. (Read more on the Phoenix Broadband forum).

      For a period of approximately two months, TalkTalk have been covertly monitoring the web pages requested by their customers. Then, moments later, replaying exactly the same requests, to obtain the same page content that their customers had been reading for analysis. Even TalkTalk staffers seem surprised that consent was not sought for this process.

    • Private browsing modes in four biggest browsers often fail

      Features in the four major browsers designed to cloak users’ browser history often don’t work as billed, according to a research paper that warns that users may get a false sense of security when using the built-in privacy settings.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • GM crop escapes into the American wild

      A genetically modified (GM) crop has been found thriving in the wild for the first time in the United States. Transgenic canola is growing freely in parts of North Dakota, researchers told the Ecological Society of America conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today.

      The scientists behind the discovery say this highlights a lack of proper monitoring and control of GM crops in the United States.

      US farmers have dramatically increased their use of GM crops since the plants were introduced in the early 1990s. Last year, nearly half the world’s transgenic crops were grown in US soil — Brazil, the world’s second heaviest user, grew just 16%. GM crops have broken free from cultivated land in several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan, but they have not previously been found in uncultivated land in the United States.

      “The extent of the escape is unprecedented,” says Cynthia Sagers, an ecologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who led the research team that found the canola (Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed).

      Sagers and her team found two varieties of transgenic canola in the wild — one modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (glyphosate), and one resistant to Bayer Crop Science’s Liberty herbicide (gluphosinate). They also found some plants that were resistant to both herbicides, showing that the different GM plants had bred to produce a plant with a new trait that did not exist anywhere else.

      [...]

      Sagers agrees that feral populations could have become established after trucks carrying cultivated GM seeds spilled some of their load during transportation. She notes that the frequency and population density of GM canola that they found may be biased as they only sampled along roadsides.

    • “Taco Tuesday” out at downtown restaurant due to challenge by Taco John’s chain, but promotion lives on

      Taco John’s — a chain that has seen at least three efforts to expand into Oklahoma fail over the past 25 years — is ordering owners of downtown’s Iguana Mexican Grill to quit using the phrase “Taco Tuesday” to promote its weekly $1 dollar taco nights.

    • Copyrights

      • Making A High Quality Film On The Cheap With A Digital SLR

        A few years back at a Cato Institute conference on copyright, a guy from NBC Universal challenged me with the question of “how will we make $200 million movies?” if content is freely shared. As I noted at the time, that’s really the wrong question. No one watching a movie cares about how much the movie costs. They just want to see a good movie. The question for a good filmmaker or producer or a studio should be “how do I make the best movie I can that will still be profitable?” Starting out with a “cost” means that you don’t focus on ways to save money or contain costs. You focus on ways to spend up to those costs. That’s backwards, and it’s how you fail as a business.

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

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

Clip of the Day

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on privacy


08.06.10

Links 6/8/2010: The Linux Desktop More Responsive, Android Succeeds on Smartphones

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Desktop Responsiveness Patches Are Feeling Good

      Fortunately, from our testing and the reports of other Linux users looking to see this problem corrected, the relatively small vmscan patches that were published do seem to better address the issue. The user-interface (GNOME in our case) still isn’t 100% fluid if the system is sustaining an overwhelming amount of disk activity, but it’s certainly much better than before and what’s even found right now with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The ATI R600/700 DDX & Mesa Now Have Tiling In Place

        Now that the Linux 2.6.36 kernel is set to ATI R600/700 tiling support within the Radeon DRM code, patches for hooking into this tiling support have been committed to the xf86-video-ati DDX and the classic Mesa DRI R600 drivers.

  • Applications

    • Spicebird: A Modern Thunderbird Remix

      Take Thunderbird, mix liberally with calendaring, instant messaging, and release it on Linux and Windows. What do you get? Spicebird, a collaboration client that remixes Thunderbird to bring the creaking mail client up to date for today’s users.

      Spicebird has been in the works for some time, but the 0.8 release is finally ready for a wider audience. To see if it’s ready for everyday use, I downloaded Spicebird 0.8 a week ago and started testing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Rigs of Rods Simulator Game Gets Marked 0.37-r1

        One of the free software projects we have been talking to as of late about better enhancing their benchmarking capabilities for likely integration into the Phoronix Test Suite is Rigs of Rods. While the graphics within this driving simulator may not be the best (at least when compared to Unigine, or within the open-source world, Nexuiz) it’s not the graphics that the developers pride themselves on but rather the physics capabilities. Rigs of Rods began as a truck driving simulator game, but since then has turned into a rather interesting physics sandbox of goodies. A new release of their code-base was just made.

      • The Amnesia Game Gets Ready For A Linux Release

        For those trying to find a new Linux game that offers good graphics while not being a first person shooter with little to no plot — as is the case for a majority of the commercial and open-source games available for Linux — the Amnesia: The Dark Descent game is expected to be released next month. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a graphic adventure horror game that will have a Linux-native client and has been in development by Frictional Games, the same studio that developed the Penumbra series.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Up-selling Has Had Its Day

        In the recession and as a means to kill netbooks, M$ and its partners decided to “up-sell” notebooks. There were those in the market who believed paying more got more but they have now bought and the rest of us, looking for bargains, are holding back. The result is a glut of notebooks on the market. The stockpiles are almost double their normal levels. Expect a resurgence of netbooks as the best way to buy a lower-priced PC. This comes just in time for the ARMed smart-thingies, too. The monopoly can delay the effects of market forces by concerted action but they cannot stop them.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why incentives don’t work in education—or the business world

    Open source may have some answers there. Every day, programmers around the world generate high quality code for open source projects—often for free.

    Yet the Heaths’ article mentions a production-increasing initiative by AT&T executives where programmers were paid for each line of (proprietary) code they produced. They weren’t more productive; they simply generated a whole lot of extraneous code.

    Open source coders and other highly motivated workers share three characteristics, according to Pink: purpose, autonomy, and mastery. The coders contributing to an open source project—some of whom may well be working for AT&T—are intrinsically motivated to do quality work. It seems that offering external motivation (in the form of money) should further increase their interest in a project. But in fact, the opposite occurs.

  • Healthcare

    • Freemed-YiRC V1.20 Released
    • GNUmed – from desktop to web application

      In the FOSS world there is choice. There are desktop oriented applications and web based applications. There is however no EMR application which offers both – at the same time. This is because the desktop and the web a fundamentally different – only the user stays the same.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Increasingly, Open Source Coexists With Proprietary Software

        In the ongoing debate between open source purists and people who appreciate and defend proprietary software, extremists will always have their voices, but many people in the open source community are waking up to the fact that proprietary platforms and applications can co-exist peacefully with open source ones. There are several trends boosting this fair dinkum version of the software landscape, including the growing ease with which open source and proprietary titles can work together in heterogenous network environments, and platforms aimed at consumers that embrace the sharing of proprietary and open source applications.

  • Licensing

    • Copyright assignment – Once bitten, twice shy

      Copyright denotes ownership of code, it is regarded as property and as such it can be bought, sold or assigned. This applies to all copyrighted material, and is a weakness in all free software licensing, which is why the FSF has always recommended that the ownership of GPL code be assigned to the FSF, which itself has caused ructions among some developers in the past, notably between the developers of Xemacs and GNU Emacs.

      The GPL, or any other software licence, depends upon the framework of copyright law. Copyleft is a hack on copyright law that puts the rights and responsibilities back into the hands of the user.

      The logic of Richard Stallman and the FSF is that “a copyright holder in a jointly-authored work is in a weak position to enforce its copyright unless all co-authors participate in the legal action”. If all the authors participating in an open source project assign their copyrights to the FSF this puts the FSF in a strong legal position to act as an umbrella in defence of the GPL and any code licensed under it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • OpenIDEO: a new experiment in open innovation

      This week, those smart folks over at IDEO launched a new project they are calling OpenIDEO. If you aren’t familiar with IDEO yet, you should be—they are the poster children for design thinking specifically and 21st century innovation more generally.

    • Cameras/Open Hardware

      • Open Source Project Aims to Breathe New Life Into Classic Holga Camera

        Photography buffs revere the Holga camera as something of a cult classic. Originally created as an inexpensive mass-market camera in China, professional photographers fell in love with the way its limitations created unique images that fancy high-end cameras could not.

        [...]

        “This kind of open-source product license would open up a lot of new possibilities,” writes Biswas. “For example, manufacturers would be able to produce lightweight and cheap plastic camera as well as more expensive and rugged metal body based on the same design. The manufacturers would also be able to develop simple or complex accessories like lens adapters for current or old lenses from other brands, lenses, viewfinders etc. Likewise, on the software/firmware side, the open source code would also open up new possibilities.”

      • Stanford ‘Frankencamera’ platform available on Nokia N900 ahead of unveiling at graphics conference

        Stanford’s open-source digital photography software platform, “Frankencamera,” which allows users to create novel camera capabilities, is available as a free download for Nokia N900 “mobile computers” starting today. Next week at the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles, the Frankencamera engineering team will describe the platform and several sample apps created with it.

        “We’re going public with Frankencamera,” said Stanford computer science and electrical engineering professor Marc Levoy, who leads the project. “We are releasing code so that people can create new imaging applications on their Nokia N900s.”

        In addition, the researchers have been awarded a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, shared with colleagues at MIT, to begin making professional-style, single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, equipped with the software platform, for free distribution to computational photography professors around the country. Non-academics could buy the camera at cost. Levoy said he expects those cameras will be available within a year.

Leftovers

  • Child Porn As a Weapon

    Want to get rid of your boss and move up to his position? Put kiddie porn on his computer then call the cops! This was the cunning plan envisaged by handyman Neil Weiner of east London after falling out with school caretaker Edward Thompson too many times. Thankfully, Weiner didn’t cover his tracks quite well enough to avoid being found out — earlier boasts about his plan to friends at a BBQ provided the police with enough evidence to arrest him for trying to pervert the course of justice.

  • The Irish Red Cross Sues Google To Silence Anonymous Blogger, Amplifying That Blogger’s Message
  • Red Cross in court to silence Google blog critic

    THE Irish Red Cross is taking Google – one of its biggest donors – to court today in an attempt to silence an anonymous critic who has posted comments on the internet which have criticised the organisation.

    The charity has claimed that a blog, which has been running since late last year, contains false and defamatory remarks about the Irish Red Cross and has become a major concern.

    The blog, entitled Governance Reform at The Irish Red Cross, is hosted by the Googleowned site Blogspot. The Irish Red Cross have filed a plenary summons with the High Court due to be heard today in an attempt to silence the blogger.

  • Phone Calls Are For Old People? Just Not Efficient Enough

    That last point is a really interesting one. One of the “features” of the “always on” society is the fact that we’re actually ending up with better tools for managing our time — and the “old” telephone system really doesn’t fit into that setup. Thompson notes in the piece that he simply won’t answer calls that aren’t scheduled — and I’ve been reaching the same stance lately myself. I actually find it odd when people call me without contacting me first to set up a time to call. If anything, it almost feels “rude.”

  • Political Campaign Against Craigslist Ratchets Up

    However, placing the blame on Craigslist is entirely misguided. Yes, it was the tool that was used, but the anger should be directed at those who turned them into prostitutes, and at law enforcement for not using these publicly available tools to do their job. Some law enforcement agencies have learned that Craigslist is a great tool for finding and catching those responsible. If these sorts of ads get forced off Craigslist, it won’t stop the prostitution. It’ll just go further underground and make it that much more difficult for law enforcement to do anything. As it stands now, Craigslist works closely with law enforcement to catch those actually responsible. Blaming the company (or Craig himself) is misguided and likely to do more harm than good.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • I hate Traditional Chinese Medicine

      The ground-up genitals of TCM pharmacists. Shocking, I know, but it’s a fact. TCM pharmacists never have sexual problems because they are constantly doping themselves up with their panaceas, and their tissues are saturated with the most effective reagents in their pharmacopias.

    • Mainstream Media Helps BP Pretend There’s No Oil

      With BP’s broken well in the Gulf of Mexico finally capped, the focus shifts to the surface clean-up and the question on everyone’s lips is: where is all the oil?”

    • BP oil spill: Obama administration’s scientists admit alarm over chemicals

      The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

      The US Environmental Protection Agency has come under attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2m gallons of the dispersant Corexit on to the slick and, even more controversially, into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges that EPA’s own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency.

    • Gulf oil spill: US scientists reject talk of plumes and report 75% of slick has gone
    • Climate deal loopholes ‘make farce’ of rich nations’ pledges

      Developing countries have argued strongly for minimum 40% emission cuts from industrialised nations by 2020. But new analysis from the Stockholm Environment Institute and Third World Network (TWN), released at the latest UN climate talks in Bonn, showed that current pledges amounted to only 12-18% reductions below 1990 levels without loopholes. When all loopholes were taken into account, emissions could be allowed to rise by 9%.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • A New DMCA Exemption for Security Research

        By now, most readers have probably heard about the six newly minted exemptions to the anti-circumvention measures of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), announced last week by the Librarian of Congress. For the uninitiated, Ars Technica has an excellent overview of the exemptions, which provide much-needed legal cover for a variety of activities including jailbreaking and unlocking cell phones, decrypting DVDs for non-commercial remixes, and several others.

        Of particular interest to folks in the security community is the exemption granted for security research on video game digital rights management (DRM) systems, stemming from both realized and potential security holes in systems like Safedisc and SecuROM.

Clip of the Day

Christopher Clay on YGAW


Links 6/8/2010: Linux Conferences, Android Market Passes 100,000 Apps Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 1:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Professional Institute Announces Volunteer Prizes and Community Initiatives

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced a number of initiatives for its community members: these include LPIMall.com (http://www.lpimall.com) — a webstore for LPI affinity products for Linux professionals, a survey of LPI alumni, and prizes for volunteer contributors from around the world who assist with LPI’s exam development program.

  • Events

    • The Secret to LinuxCon’s Success

      Even though I won’t be able to attend, I’m pretty excited about next week’s LinuxCon–excuse me, LinuxCon North America 2010.

      Last year’s inaugural event in Portland (disclaimer: which I assisted with in my former tenure with the Linux Foundation) was a great success, in no small part to the organizers, with whom I was fortunate to assist. With one such show under their belts, I expect this year’s offering to surpass the last one.

      The keynotes include some of the usual suspects: Stormy Peters, Marcus Rex, Eben Moglen, and Wim Coekaerts, just to name a few. But there’s some new blood in the speaker lineup that I will be very interested to hear from, such as Ravi Simhambhatla, VP and CIO of Virgin America. Virgin America is known for innovative business practices, so I will be interested in learning about how they integrate Linux and open source into their operations.

    • It’s That Time Again! LinuxCon Awaits.

      If you can’t join us in person this year, you might miss out on the social scene but you can still catch a select number of sessions via webcast.

    • MeeGo Conference 2010 Call for Session Proposals

      Do you want to speak at the first MeeGo Conference in Dublin, Ireland on November 15 – 17? Now is your chance! The call for session proposals has started, and anyone who wants to speak at the conference must submit a proposal. Proposals from community members, Intel, Nokia, the Linux Foundation and others will all be given equal consideration.

  • Desktop

    • This Is Your Brain on Linux Desktop

      This is your brain. This is your brain on Linux Desktop. It is a good thing.

      To borrow and twist the old “brain on drugs” PSA, your brain on Linux Desktop could be one of the best things that could happen to you for your computer fix.

      Linux Desktop continues its ascent into users’ collective consciousness with great graphics, powerful applications, and seamless interfaces. Linux Desktop frees your brain to think about the work (or the fun) at hand. Imagine — transparent computing, and it’s free!

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The X.Org Multi-Touch Protocol Specification Is Drafted

        Peter Hutterer, one of the few X.Org input developers and the developer behind Multi-Pointer X when he was a student in Australia, has now published the first public draft of the multi-touch protocol specification. The multi-touch protocol specification is a low-level spec to be integrated with the X Input Extension for further enriching the multi-touch capabilities on Linux and other operating systems using the X.Org Server.

  • Applications

    • Proprietary

      • Contacts Add-On Brings Your Web Address Books into Thunderbird

        Contacts is Mozilla’s nifty Labs project that compiles and manages all your web address books in Firefox, and now it’s made the logical leap into Mozilla’s email client, Thunderbird. It’s a really convenient syncing tool for your desktop email.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • wisotool 20100731 released

        Wisotool currently supports about 145 games and/or benchmarks (see below). Please consider contributing support for your favorite game, its not (too) hard. Thanks to everyone who contributed changes for this release.

    • Games

      • Linux Gaming Projects That Need a Little TLC (or How You Can Contribute)

        While we are discussing open source contributions to gaming projects (and just one gaming project, in this case), the buck need not stop there. This is all applicable to any open source project out there. So I encourage you to go out, find a project you are passionate about and find some way to contribute. It does not have to be a technical contribution. You can contribute documentation, translation, bug reporting or even marketing & advertising. Figure out what you’re good at and contact the project lead(s) and ask how you can help out and share with them what areas your skills lie in. While my own open source contributions are super duper minor in the grand scheme of things, I really liked the way OpenOffice.org broke down the areas where you can contribute. More open source projects need to embrace solutions for allowing potential contributors easy access to the “low hanging fruit,” if you will. To that end, there’s a project called OpenHatch which is providing these very types of resources and one which I will be spotlighting in the very near future.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Highlights of a Revolution

        The ideas that go around different OS’s and the way the represent highlighted and selected items differs greatly. Not to say that this is a problem. I believe it is rather a strength. OS’s dare to be different and they seem to be more interesting to work with. Simplicity is something that I value, I believe that openSUSE does not have this simplicity yet. The KDE desktop features a few ideas that can be used across the whole platform. I am not saying either that OSX and Windows treat this better.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • First GNOME 2.32 development snapshot released

        The GNOME Release Team have issued GNOME 2.31.6, the first development snapshot of what will eventually become version 2.32 of the GNOME desktop environment for Linux and Unix. According to the GNOME Project developers, the development preview is “looking great”. It is of course aimed at early adopters and developers.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Free Books For Approved LoCo Teams

          Prentice Hall are happy to send each and every approved LoCo team one free copy of The Official Ubuntu Book and one free copy of The Official Ubuntu Server book. To be entirely clear: this is one copy of each book per team. This will be a great addition to each team’s library of Ubuntu books!

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Supports Magic Mouse Out-Of-The-Box?

          Well, it looks like Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat is getting better and better everyday. According to Jasev from UbuntuForums, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat supports Apple’s Magic Mouse out-of-the-box.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Motorola and Verizon team up for TV tablet

          It will be built with two cameras, one for taking photos and the other facing the user for video conferencing.

          Motorola, Google and Verizon declined to comment.

        • Report: Android Market surpasses 100,000 apps

          According to a report from AndroLib, Google’s Android Market for mobile applications has surpassed 100,000 applications. The AndroLib team say they’re confident that “at least 100,000 applications have been submitted to the Android market since its creation”, but also point out that not all of them are active apps. They estimate the active number to be closer to 83,000.

        • Motorola Glam brings Android 2.1, plenty of ritz to South Korea

          Yeah, it may look like the Dell Aero when peeking it head-on, but Motorola’s Glam is apt to be far more sophisticated that the self-proclaimed “world’s lightest Android phone.”

        • Google: Nearly 60% of Android devices now running 2.1

          Google has published an updated breakdown of the number of active devices running a given version of its Android mobile operating system platform. According to the Platform Versions device dashboard on the Android Developer portal, nearly 60% of all Android devices in circulation are now running version 2.1 of the OS – up almost 10% compared to mid-June (50%). Android 1.5 and 1.6 devices now make up 15.3% and 20.3% of devices respectively, while only 0.2% of devices are running obsolete versions, including version 1.1, 2.0 and 2.0.1.

        • Android makes enterprise inroads, but security still an issue
        • Android Takes Over Top Mobile OS Spot

Free Software/Open Source

  • When To Use Open Source in the Enterprise — And When To Avoid It
  • What’s Next for Metasploit?

    For one thing, there’s a new Metasploit version on the way that sports new features, including improved social engineering testing tools. But there’s also the transition from a purely open source project to an effort that must balance the needs of its open source community with the commercial requirements of its new Metasploit Express proprietary product.

    At the center of these transitions is HD Moore, the researcher who founded the Metasploit project.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • One in ten Mozilla bug finders turn down bounty

        Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the serious security bugs reported since Mozilla launched its bug bounty program have been provided free of charge, according to Mozilla. “A lot of people would say, ‘Don’t worry about it. Donate it to the EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] or just send me a T-shirt,’” said Johnathan Nightingale, the director of Firefox development, in a recent interview.

      • Peer Participation and Software

        Firefox, a free Web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation, is used by an estimated 270 million people worldwide. To maintain and improve the Firefox browser, Mozilla depends not only on its team of professional programmers and managers but also on a network of volunteer technologists and enthusiasts—free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) developers—who contribute their expertise. This kind of peer production is unique, not only for its vast scale but also for its combination of structured, hierarchical management and open, collaborative volunteer participation. In this MacArthur Foundation Report, David Booth examines the Mozilla Foundation’s success at organizing large-scale participation in the development of its software and considers whether Mozilla’s approach can be transferred to government and civil society.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Takes Next-Gen Data Center Push on the Road

      Analyst Charles King said reassuring Sun customers should be Oracle’s first goal.

    • Open Source Software Comes to a Fork in the Code

      As for OpenSolaris and the whole idea of having an open source, cutting-edge version of an enterprise OS — like Red Hat has with Fedora and Novell has with OpenSUSE — well, that might be the way Red Hat and Novell like to develop their enterprise Linux OSes, but it’s not the way Oracle is used to developing its proprietary and highly profitable software offerings. Never has been, and probably never will be.

      So it’s hardly surprising Oracle is not a happy place for Solaris engineers to be right now. Although the company appears to be studiously ignoring the OpenSolaris community in the apparent hope it will eventually go away, it may well get its wish — some OpenSolaris community developers have started a new project, and a fork in the code looks imminent.

  • Education

    • To Share or Not to Share: Is That the Question?

      When we discuss terms like open textbook, open courseware, and open source, a common theme emerges: sharing content that might otherwise be protected under intellectual property laws. The use of open materials by faculty is something of a continuum, with those who closely guard their intellectual property and privacy on one end, with faculty who seek out and use open content and technologies in the middle, and with those who actively contribute to open content on the other end. However, to say that concerns over intellectual property or privacy are the defining characteristics of open faculty would be a mistake.

    • Questioning the Future of the Open Student

      The future of the “open student” is directly related to the willingness of those of us in both secondary and higher education to openly discuss these questions. Finding the answers will allow us to jump these hurdles to the future of learning. These are a few of the questions. Which people and organizations will answer them?

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Hurd: GNU’s quest for the perfect kernel

      So what is the state of the Hurd? Is it vaporware, like Duke Nukem Forever? Fortunately not: the code exists, there is still work going on (for instance as part of Google Summer of Code), and there are even some relatively functional Hurd distributions. Let’s look first at the code and the current architecture, and then at the Hurd distributions.

      The current architecture of the Hurd is a set of “servers” running on top of the GNU Mach microkernel. These servers implement file systems, network protocols, authentication, processes, terminals, and other features that traditional monolithic kernels implement in the kernel itself. The Hurd servers implement clear protocols that formalize how the different components of the Hurd kernel interact, which is designed to reduce mutual trust between components. To transfer information to each other, the servers use Mach’s interprocess communication (IPC) system. Collectively, these loosely coupled servers implement the POSIX API, with each individual server implementing its part of the specification.

  • Project Releases

    • qooxdoo 1.2 JavaScript framework released

      The framework has primarily been developed by employees from 1&1 web hosting company in Germany. qooxdoo is available under a dual licence, allowing users to choose either the LGPL (Lesser General Public License) or the EPL (Eclipse Public License) depending on project requirements.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Contributor Agreements: Purpose and Scope

      When a contribution is made to an open source project, there is an implicit assumption (and sometimes explicit consent) that the contribution (code, translation, artwork, etc) may be incorporated into the project and distributed under the license the project is using. However, many conditions of the contribution are not explicitly called out. The purpose of Contributor Agreements is to make the terms under which contributions are made explicit, thereby protecting the project, the users of the software and often also the contributors.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Fog Computing (SaaS)

    • From the Glass House to the Glass Cloud

      I am coming up on 20 years in Information Technology, and closer to 30 years of being exposed to it (my dad was big in IT as well), and over those years, with a few exceptions, the business of IT like all aspects of business, has gone around in a circle. Here in 2010 we are talking about the current big deal thing: cloud computing. To make cloud computing a reality, you need things like virtualization, and software as a service and …insert sound of needle being scrapped across a record

    • Headaches Abound with Mobile-in-the-Cloud

      While the cloud is taking the data center by storm few are noticing the thunderhead rolling in over mobile management. Perhaps since IT has successfully mastered mobile evolution to this point, it presumes “mobile-in-the-cloud” is just more of the same. To a degree, that presumption is understandable as the cloud does move smartphones closer to functioning like laptops — a device IT has years of experience in managing. This creates a false sense of security, however, as the cloud will change far more than that in mobile.

  • Health

    • Medicare fund will last extra 12 years – maybe

      The annual report by the trustees who oversee Medicare and Social Security, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, gives backers of the new health care law evidence of a positive impact on government entitlement programs, but it also undercuts the findings with a host of caveats.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Finance

    • US sees 131,000 jobs lost in July

      The private sector created 71,000 jobs, the government said. However, both figures were worse than expected.

      Despite the overall fall in job numbers, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5%.

    • Accounting Charge Aside, A.I.G.’s Profits Rise
    • Companies hire at slow pace for 3rd straight month

      Companies showed a lack of confidence about hiring for a third straight month in July, making it likely the economy will grow more slowly the rest of the year. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent.

    • Wall Street bill sweeps away stray remnant of 1933 Glass-Steagall Act

      In seven simple lines buried in this year’s financial overhaul bill, lawmakers swept away one of the last vestiges of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that held sway over markets for decades.

      The Depression-era bill is best known for separating commercial and investment banking — a wall that was effectively repealed in the late 1990s. Liberal Democrats, consumer advocates and a few Republicans pushed unsuccessfully this year to draw that line once more as part of the Wall Street bill.

    • Jobs bill brings some hope to teachers
    • Sales Were Sluggish in July for Retailers

      The second half of the year is off to a slow start for retailers, who reported Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year were weaker than expected in July, increasing 2.9 percent from July of last year, according to a tally by Thomson Reuters.

    • Caveat Emptor, Continued

      A few years ago, the securities markets financed hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages without any government guarantee. Now, those markets are virtually closed to such financing.

    • Thomas Jane on ‘Hung,’ Symbol of the Recession

      Though it feels like a cultural violation to talk about any television shown in contest with “Mad Men,” our national homage to past depravities, it is merely one of two series about a good-looking divorced white man in conflict with his virility that is offered on Sunday nights at 10. The other series is “Hung,” a comedy that, although it has not given birth to a single trend, expression or style of tie, has distinguished itself as the most topical fictional programming on television. As it’s moved into its second season on HBO, “Hung” has become an even more finely drawn satire of the Great Recession.

    • Fannie Mae’s second-quarter loss smallest since government seized housing firm

      Fannie Mae reported Thursday that its loss in the second quarter shrank dramatically and that the company had put away enough money to cover most of the losses it expects in the future, likely reducing — but not eliminating — the need for additional taxpayer aid.

      In a sign of the topsy-turvy world Fannie Mae now lives in, the company also said it would ask the government for another $1.5 billion to cover losses even as it was paying the government $1.9 billion in dividends on rescue funds it provided earlier.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • No anonymity on future web says Google CEO

      “True transparency and no anonymity”, he says, is the way forward – and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.

      According to a report on tech blog ReadWriteWeb, Eric Schmidt revealed the size of the Internet information boom yesterday at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe.

      “There was five exabytes [five billion gigabytes] of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003,” he said. “But that much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing… People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.

    • EFF at the Latin American Internet Governance Forum

      EFF International Rights Director, Katitza Rodriguez will be moderating the open dialogue on privacy at the Third Latin American Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will take place on 3-5 August 2010 in the city of Quito, Ecuador.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Shocker: FCC Says Closed Door Meetings Failed In Creating Transparency

      In the meantime, someone forwarded me a report from a DC think tank complaining that my last post on this subject represented a “new low” for Techdirt, because everyone knows the FCC has really been taken over by “leftist” consumer advocates. I find it ridiculous when anyone take an issue and pins “left wing” or “right wing” to the sides when the real issue is about neither. That’s a weak attempt at dismissing important arguments by focusing on the politicization of it, rather than the substance. But, part of that complaint was that having the companies involved work out a deal is much better than having “a small handful of elite, ‘consumer advocates,’ impervious to reason, debate or the sunlight of opposing viewpoints” make the decisions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright

      The emergence of the Internet and the digital world has changed the way people access, produce and share information and knowledge. Yet people in Africa face challenges in accessing scholarly publications, journals and learning materials in general. At the heart of these challenges, and solutions to them, is copyright, the branch of intellectual property rights that covers written and related works.

      This book gives the reader an understanding of the legal and practical constraints posed by copyright for access to learning materials in Africa, and identifies the relevant lessons, best policies and best practices that would broaden and deepen this access.

      The book reflects and showcases the outputs and findings of the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) research project, LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, launched in late 2007 as a network of researchers committed to probing the relationship between copyright and learning materials access in eight African countries: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

    • Sub Pop Leaning Towards Giving Away The Infinite And Charging For The Scarce

      Of course, we’ve seen some examples of this already. Earlier this year, we talked about a Swedish band that was releasing its latest album as a magazine. Last year, Mos Def tried releasing his latest album as a t-shirt with a download code. And, we just wrote about Kristin Hersh’s latest album being released as a book. The idea, of course, is to give fans a real reason to buy beyond just the music — which is effectively free for many people. But providing scarce value can really do amazing things.

      Of course, considering it sounds like the Sub Pop folks are still thinking about this, they might want to consider that selling scarcities can also expand a bit beyond just selling tangible goods. There are intangible scarcities that go well with music as well — including things like access and attention. Either way, it’s great to see such an iconic label realizing that there could be serious value in embracing (rather than complaining) about “free” within a business model, and looking at opportunities to use it to their own advantage.

    • Copyrights

      • Oscar Winner Sues BBC & CBS For Copyright Infringement Of His Photo

        THREsq has an interesting story about how the guy, Louie Psihoyos, who won an Oscar for best documentary this year for The Cove, apparently has a pretty quick legal trigger finger against anyone using a photograph he took 15 years ago. He’s sued a bunch of companies over the years, and the latest is the BBC and CBS.

      • C-32′s Fair Dealing Fears Greatly Exaggerated – Hill Times Edition

        The introduction of long-awaited copyright reform legislation has generated considerable discussion among Canadians about whether the latest bill strikes the right balance. While concern over Bill C-32′s digital lock rules has garnered the lion share of attention with expressions of concern from all opposition parties and a wide range of stakeholders, the other major issue in the bill is the extension of fair dealing – Canada’s version of fair use – to cover education, parody, and satire.

        [...]

        The case highlights that Canadian fair dealing analysis involves a two-part test. First, does the use (or dealing) qualify for one of the fair dealing exceptions. Second, if it does qualify, is the use itself fair. In this particular case, the court affirmed that the copying in question qualified under the first part of the test (ie. for research or private study), but that it did not meet the six-part test for fairness and thus was not fair dealing.

      • New Zealand Lawyers Suggest Full Internet Ban For Repeat Infringers

        We’ve covered the ongoing debates in New Zealand over the proposed three strikes law in the latest copyright reform bill. There are many, many people who are quite concerned about any sort of three strikes law — which is why the earlier version was scrapped and the process was restarted. However, there are still some who think that it doesn’t even go far enough.

      • Internet Ban Proposed for Serial Copyright Infringers

        The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which allows for large fines and six month Internet suspensions, has already passed its first reading in the New Zealand Parliament. However, according to copyright advocates, it doesn’t go far enough. Instead of simply disconnecting repeat infringers, they are calling for a heavier punishment that would take people’s right to Internet access away.

Clip of the Day

Judge Napolitano: The Plain Truth – The Government Lies to You!! Freedom Watch 7/31/2010


Links 6/8/2010: GNU/Linux Still in Sub-notebooks, Oracle’s Eclipse Plug-in

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • IT in the 21st Century

    I encountered a case of IT staff not knowing about GNU/Linux last year. I received a CD that would have been useful on our local web server. However, the file-names all over the CD were in random case. In some places file-names were all lower case, or all upper case or even mixed for the same file. I ended up editing dozens of index-files to use the identical name in all instances. This took hours of work. I e-mailed the distributor my changes. They had no clue that these things matter. Since they wanted their stuff to work in all schools, they thanked me for my input. Similarly, Manitoba Education uses a database that runs MySQL and Java but will not work on GNU/Linux. Can we say “hard-coded C:\paths”, boys and girls? How much pain does using open standards and rendering them non-open cause? Lots.

  • Desktop

    • Pondering the Potential of the $200 Linux PC

      There must be something about the US$200 price point — for the second time this summer, Linux bloggers have been pondering the notion of a $200 computer.

      Back in June, it was Phil Shapiro who kicked off the conversation by demonstrating how to configure an Ubuntu machine for less than $200.

    • Shopping With Lenovo

      When I clicked on “Help me decide” next to choice of OS, “Linux” appeared as a tab. I could see the merits of the versions of that other OS but was overjoyed with this information when I clicked on “Linux”:
      “While all ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops will ship with an operating system, ThinkStation workstations may be ordered without a preloaded operating system for users preferring an open-source solution.”

      OK! I took a look at ThinkStations… and there is a similar model for $60 more with a more powerful processor and a second drive bay. They also have thin clients as a choice under workstations but they are about the same price as these low-end desktops.

      How different is that experience compared to Dell because Dell isolate everything. Of course, Lenovo could do better. They could offer no OS etc. for all their PCs…

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.31.6 Release Arrives GTK3-Free

        Vincent Untz has just announced the release of GNOME 2.31.6, which is the first development snapshot of GNOME 2.32 following the announcement last week that GNOME 3.0 is delayed until March 2011. With the 2.32 release not being the 3.0 milestone, the 2.32 release will continue to use GTK+2 rather than the still-in-development GTK+3.

        Most of the GNOME packages have retained GTK+2 API support while adding in the GTK+3 capabilities and can be configured to use either tool-kit version at build-time. However, a few GNOME packages didn’t keep the GTK+2 support around, so for this GNOME 2.31.6 release some packages needed to be reverted to their 2.30 state so that this would be a GTK+3-free release. By the GNOME 2.32 beta, however, these packages should be fixed to work with either GTK+ version.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • 3 Aug 2010

        Here are my rough notes from DebConf 10. Nothing should be taken as a direct quote of the speaker who is supposedly associated with the talk as my own thoughts are interwoven with their points, the person switches around between they and I and we all the time… I made them for my own reference and publish them in the hope you might find them interesting but they must not be relied on. Happy hacking :P

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 9 KDE (Isadora)

            Summary: Linux Mint 9 KDE is Kubuntu as it should have been. This release adds new applications, a new software manager and so much more. It’s well worth a download for anybody interested in using KDE as his or her desktop environment.
            Rating: 4.5/5

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud 1.0 Review (Ubuntu Based Netbook OS)

        Jolicloud 1.0 is now available for all so I decided to install it on my netbook (Asus EeePC 1005 HA) and write a review for the WebUpd8 readers while waiting for the best netbook Linux distribution to be out – no, not Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 but Aurora.

      • Building a better netbook

        So, what could improve on this situation? I think you know where I’m going with this … yep, good ol’ free and open source Linux, and specifically Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook Edition.

        Ubuntu Netbook Edition uses the GNOME window manager with the most excellent custom Ubuntu Netbook Edition interface and includes pretty much every application you might want on a general purpose, portable system.

        But here’s what makes Ubuntu Netbook Edition so great: It is ridiculously easy to install and knows about a huge range of peripherals; it’s easy to configure; it isn’t a resource hog; and it runs really, really fast even on the 1.66GHz Atom N450.

        I downloaded UNE, installed it onto a 4GB USB drive ($10 from Fry’s!) using the Universal USB Installer, stuck the USB drive in the NB30, restarted the NB30, went into the BIOS set up and moved the USB drive above the HDD, told the BIOS utility to save the configuration, and, voila! The whole process (other than the download) took minutes and, on reboot, Ubuntu Netbook Edition was up and running in seconds.

      • Netbooks Escape Monopoly

        Mainstream netbook makers like Acer are down to $199. If they want to keep up volume and increase margins they will have to skip that other OS soon.

      • Techville: Wireless Windows Woes

        I put together a bootable flash drive with Ubuntu 10.04 on it and a 1 GB persistence file, and booted to it. I installed the Broadcom STA Wireless driver and rebooted. Thanks to the persistence file, the driver remained intact upon second boot, and I immediately had access to four wireless networks. For those not counting, that’s two more than every other PC in the room saw. And for those wondering, both boots and the driver install took less time than it took to boot the native Windows image once.

        Thanks to Ubuntu, my netbook runs faster and more stably than anybody else’s in the office, and the hacker in me is satisfied without my ever having to hack anything. I realize, too, that Ubuntu isn’t exactly a lightweight distro, and that Puppy (yes, I know it’s really Ubuntu) or Knoppix or even a custom-built Slackware would almost certainly run faster and more stably. But considering the convenience factor of getting Ubuntu installed (20-30 minutes), its built-in support for encrypted file systems (a mandate for these netbooks), and its overall great appearance and performance, it’s probably the best distro for this netbook at the moment.

      • Acer announces a dual boot netbook

        The Aspire One AOD255, first shown at this year’s Computex, will feature Google’s Chrome operating system along with Microsoft’s Windows XP.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wave

    • Google Wave code could live on in future open source projects

      There may be enough code out there already for ambitious developers to pick up where Google left off. While it’s easy to think Google’s failure indicates that it’s unlikely anyone else will succeed, Trapani notes that many successful open source projects are based on abandoned projects and forks.

    • The triumph of document layout and the demise of Google Wave

      I am frequently overly enamoured of the idea of where we might get to, forgetting that there are a lot of people still getting used to where we’ve been. I was forcibly reminded of this by Carole Goble on the weekend when I expressed a dislike of the Utopia PDF viewer that enables active figures and semantic markup of the PDFs of scientific papers.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle releases an Eclipse plug-in

      FULL SERVICE IT VENDOR Oracle has released a set of free plug-ins to help developers use Eclipse to code for Java Enterprise Edition 6.

      The Oracle Enterprise Pack supports the popular Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE). The company is also promoting several new features, including improved debugging for Weblogic Script Tool scripts, visualisation of MBeans and syntax highlighting for Python.

  • Education

    • Time for school IT to teach Open Source

      If you live in a world of daily technology use, rapidly changing online services, social networking, instant messaging and an explosion of new devices, new form factors and new platforms the ‘essential skill’ of creating a Microsoft Access database or writing an essay in Microsoft Word will seem as interesting and relevant to you as learing to drive a horse and cart to the owner of a Ferrari… that is, not much.

      The schoolchildren’s response is not only understandable, it shows intelligence and realism way beyond those who have chosen this set of historical anachronisms to teach them.

      Everything interesting happening in Information technology is driven by Open Source, enabled by Open Source, or contains a big chunk of Open Source.

      You think I exaggerate? not at all… Open Source is the technology of choice behind everything of interest in the online world, and social networking sites are jam-packed with OSS old favourites (and not just LAMP stacks) and sparkling new ones. Cloud and SaaS? even conservative firms like Gartner will tell you these are up to 90% composed of Open

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free Access to U.S. Research Papers Could Yield $1 Billion in Benefits

        A new economic analysis finds that making taxpayer-funded scientific papers freely available would yield more than $1 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy over 30 years—five times the costs of archiving the papers.

        A team led by John Houghton, an economist at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, examined the potential payoff of expanding a National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy requiring grantees to post their peer-reviewed manuscripts in a free database after a delay. A proposal in Congress would extend the policy to 11 more research agencies and shorten NIH’s 12-month delay to 6 months. Supporters say taxpayers should have free access to the results of research they paid for; publishers worry that they will be put out of business.

      • Five Reasons to Keep NoSQL on Your Radar

        Whether you are a fan of NoSQL, cynical of its merits, or just curious about its development goodies, there’s no escaping the presence and growth of NoSQL. In the next 18 months, at least half of all new websites will use NoSQL databases, reports GigaOM Pro Research.

Leftovers

  • Massive Censorship Of Digg Uncovered

    A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year.

  • Steve Furber: why kids are turned off computing

    One of the UK’s tech leaders believes students are staying away from computing classes because they teach nothing but the boring basics.

    Professor Steve Furber – the legendary Acorn and ARM processor designer – is working with the Royal Society to figure out why the number of students taking A-Level computing classes has halved in the past eight years, and why students who love technology aren’t signing up to study the subject.

  • UFO files: Winston Churchill ‘feared panic’ over Second World War RAF incident

    The claims are contained in thousands of pages of declassified files on UFOs, released on Thursday online by the National Archives.

    The 18 files, which cover from 1995 to 2003, are made up of more than 5,000 pages of reports, letters, and drawings drawn from correspondence with the public and questions raised in parliament.

    [...]

    Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO files and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said the “fascinating” files showed the level of concern about such “bizarre incidents” during the war.

  • Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That’s the standard line motorists hear when they say they weren’t aware of the speed limit, or gun owners hear when they say didn’t know about the gun laws in the jurisdiction they happened to get arrested in. Yet that ignorance is pretty understandable in an America where just about everything is being criminalized. At the federal level alone there are now more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that’s not counting the massive regulatory code, violations of which also can sometimes be punished with criminal charges.

  • Go Daddy Sued for $100 Mil for Aiding MJ Casino

    A $100 million war has erupted over the unauthorized Michael Jackson online casino — and now GoDaddy.com could be on the hook for allowing the casino owner to register the site with them.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Judge Napolitano: The Plain Truth – The Government Lies to You!! Freedom Watch 7/31/2010
    • Yes, Afghanistan is Vietnam

      With public opposition to the Afghan war growing, the US needs to rethink policy over politically schizophrenic ally Pakistan.

    • NATO acknowledges civilian deaths in Afghan clash
    • Pentagon Demands WikiLeaks Return All Documents

      The U.S. Defense Department demanded WikiLeaks return secret military reports from Afghanistan leaked to the website and purge all copies from their records, including tens of thousands of reports already publicly posted.

      “We want whatever they have returned to us and we want whatever copies they have expunged,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters today at a news briefing.

    • Wikileaks vs the Pentagon:Phony Fingerpointing

      Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week. He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. “Mr. Assange,” Mullen commented, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

    • Chasing WikiLeaks

      Marc Thiessen draws upon my article in The New Yorker to make his case against Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, and to argue that American “military assets” could be used “to bring Assange to justice.” Using the military for this purpose would be a terrible idea. WikiLeaks may not be a conventional news organization, but it is not “a criminal syndicate,” as Thiessen asserts, and the notion that the Defense Department should go about destroying privately run Web sites (with infrastructure in friendly countries), because of what those sites publish, suggests a gross misuse of military force. Rather than treating WikiLeaks like a terrorist cell, the military is better off accepting that the Web site is a product of the modern information age, and that it is here to stay, in some form or another, no matter who is running it.

    • The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars

      Many are saying that the Wikileaks documents tell us nothing new. In some ways this is true. Most Americans knew that we have been fighting losing battles. These documents show just how bad it really is. The revelation that Pakistani intelligence is assisting the people we are bombing in Afghanistan shows the quality of friends we are making with our foreign policy. This kind of thing supports points that Rep. Dennis Kucinich and I tried to make on the House floor last week with a privileged resolution that would have directed the administration to remove troops from Pakistan pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gulf oil spill: White House accused of spinning report

      The White House was accused today of spinning a government scientific report into the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP spill which had officials declaring that the vast majority of the oil had been removed.

  • Finance

    • Crop Circle of the Day – Quote Stuffing and Strange Sequences

      In our original Flash Crash Analysis report, we dedicated a section to an observed phenomena we termed “Quote Stuffing”, in which bursts of quotes (at very high rates) with extremely unusual characteristics were observed.

      As we continue to monitor the markets for evidence of Quote Stuffing and Strange Sequences (Crop Circles), we find that there are dozens if not hundreds of examples to choose from on any given day. As such, this page will be updated often with charts demonstrating this activity.

    • FT: The High Frequency Trading Scam

      No. The disadvantage was not speed. The disadvantage was that the “algos” had engaged in something other than what their claimed purpose is in the marketplace – that is, instead of providing liquidity, they intentionally probed the market with tiny orders that were immediately canceled in a scheme to gain an illegal view into the other side’s willingness to pay.

      Let me explain.

      Let’s say that there is a buyer willing to buy 100,000 shares of BRCM with a limit price of $26.40. That is, the buyer will accept any price up to $26.40.

      But the market at this particular moment in time is at $26.10, or thirty cents lower.

      So the computers, having detected via their “flash orders” (which ought to be illegal) that there is a desire for Broadcom shares, start to issue tiny (typically 100 share lots) “immediate or cancel” orders – IOCs – to sell at $26.20. If that order is “eaten” the computer then issues an order at $26.25, then $26.30, then $26.35, then $26.40. When it tries $26.45 it gets no bite and the order is immediately canceled.

    • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but with money: another look at HFT

      But just because the markets are electronic doesn’t mean you can’t take a picture of them. Market analysis firm Nanex has produced some very compelling visualizations of the type of sub-second trading that goes on in our electronic exchanges. A number of the pictures are from BATS—a fully electronic exchange that consists of a bank of computers in Jersey City—but others cross multiple exchanges.

      Nanex’s visualizations page contains an ongoing catalog of the traces that stock-trading bots leave in the market, as they move individual symbols up and down in price thousands of times per second. The obvious, repetitive, algorithmically generated patterns produced will be familiar to any physicist or electrical engineer—the stock market is a now a networked collection of high-frequency oscillators and feedback loops of varying sizes, where computers cycle stock prices by the millisecond.

    • Capitalists of Chaos and Catastrophe

      US small business sentiment is down. Consumer income is down. Consumer spending is down. Pending home sales are down. Worldwide, crops are threatened by drought and floods. And while some claim that a US bumper crop will ease the problems, American corn is not exactly a perfect substitute for Russian and Ukrainian wheat, which go a long way towards feeding extensive segments of Middle East and Northern African populations.

      [...]

      Needless to say, if you’re speculating on food commodities like wheat, whether it be through Commodity ETF’s or elsewhere, and you fancy yourself to be a Capitalist of Chaos, what’s not to like about failed crops and rising price uncertainties? You can corner markets, the way cocoa honcho Anthony Ward has, you can sell derivative instruments to pension- and market fund managers chasing yield without sufficient savvy, and at the end of the day, you can be filthy rich. Just don’t feel too bad about the hungry, starving and dying, or about those who see their pensions and other savings vanish. Hey, if you didn’t do it, someone else would, right?

      The biggest irony in all of it, of course, remains that the biggest players in these ultimate dog eat dog Darwinian capitalist schemes use US and EU taxpayer money to play the games. They wouldn’t be here anymore, sitting at their crap tables, if you wouldn’t have handed them the money to play their ultimate to-the-death fighting games with. If nothing else, it seems to be a fitting end to yet another economic system doomed by a lack of morals.

    • The Treasury’s Worrisome Position

      Former Secretary of State George Shultz famously quipped about Washington: “Nothing ever gets settled in this town. You have to keep fighting, every inch of the way.” This is proving just as true for banking reform as for other aspects of American government policy.

      For example, Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, after considerable effort, were able to place strong language in the Dodd-Frank financial-sector legislation — enacting a version of the “Volcker Rule” that would require big banks to become significantly less risky. While this idea originated with Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman and senior adviser to President Obama, and was announced with great fanfare by the president himself in January, it was clear – from the beginning and throughout the detailed negotiations this spring – that the Treasury Department was less than fully enthusiastic about this approach.

    • Geithner: Let Bush tax cuts expire
    • The Treasury Position – On The Volcker Rule

      Amazingly, Mr. Geithner made no reference to the Volcker Rule, either explicitly or even implicitly – despite the centrality of this idea to the recent debate. It appears to be nowhere at all in his list of priorities (or on the “to do” list of Michael Barr, the responsible Assistant Secretary, who gave a follow-up speech on Wednesday). He is apparently signaling to all the regulators involved that this is not a top priority for the administration and – presumably – they should toe this line if they would like to be reappointed. Treasury carries great weight on these issues, even with nominally independent regulators, and in the Treasury interpretation big banks would be allowed to rearrange their activities so they can still effectively take big risks – earning big returns in good times and creating major problems for the rest of us when the cycle next turns down.

    • Let Them Eat Wedding Cake

      The world has not witnessed such total failure of government since the final days of the Roman Empire. A handful of American oligarchs are becoming mega-billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the drain.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Police chief sues AT&T for giving wife phone records

      The police chief for Industry filed a lawsuit against AT&T Mobility recently, claiming the company improperly released his cell phone records to his wife.

      Garold Ray Miller filed the claim for invasion of privacy in Beaver County last month, but it was moved to federal court on Tuesday.

    • Digital Privacy: If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong, Do You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’?

      A few years back, I did a long newspaper story about the FBI snooping on the private records of ordinary citizens. As my old editor Michael Kinsley likes to say, the scandal is what’s legal. The Patriot Act unleashed the FBI to search your email, travel and credit records without even a suspicion of wrongdoing. The FBI was doing it, in secret, tens of thousands of times a year.

      As I dug into the story, government officials kept telling me that law-abiding Americans have nothing to fear. Why object to surveillance if you have nothing to hide? Joseph Billy Jr., a top FBI supervisor for whom I had great respect, told me, “I’ve had people say, you know, ‘Hey, I don’t care, I’ve done nothing to be concerned about. You can have me in your files and that’s that.’ Some people take that approach.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality Brawl: FCC Is Not Happy with Google and Verizon

      The Google-Verizon net neutrality saga has taken yet another strange turn as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ended closed-door talks with several companies over the future of net neutrality and has lashed out against the practice of paying for faster transmission of data over the Internet.

      [...]

      The entire affair has blown up into a PR nightmare. Google and Verizon have both denied they are attempting to end net neutrality, but they have confirmed that they are talking to one another. It seems as if the two are trying to define net neutrality through an agreement and model their definition as a standard for the industry.

    • Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Local arts and wisdom protected

      The Culture Ministry will add 25 traditional arts, wisdom and folklore as well as muay thai to its national intellectual copyright protection list.

    • My Dough Girl In Trademark Trouble With Pillsbury

      My Dough Girl’s menu features perky and pretty cartoon women in the style of 1950s pin-up girls. Each, like yellow-bikini-clad Betty—who has an oatmeal cookie with apricots and cherries named after her—are namesakes and mascots of various cookies. The menu doesn’t feature mascots actually made of dough such as the pudgy Pillsbury Dough Boy, but nevertheless, Dough Boy-trademark owner General Mills is demanding the locally owned cookie shop come up with a new name.

    • Copyrights

      • Der Spiegel

        You may recall that Eckhard Höffner has been examining the history of copyright in Germany – finding that in its absence there was an explosion of knowledge – that due to the late enforcement of copyright in Germany, Germany emerged from a poor agricultural country in 1800 to the leading science nation in 1900. The German media being more advanced than the U.S. media Der Spiegel,the preeminant German weekly news magazine with a print run of about 1 million, and one of the most widely circulated magazines in Europe has picked up the story.

      • Why World War I Recordings Won’t Enter The Public Domain Until 2049

        That seems like an important paragraph to show to folks who insist that copyright on sound recordings must obviously be covered by copyright and/or that it’s a “natural right” to include sound recordings under copyright. Clearly, even Congress felt it was likely to be unconstitutional for quite some time.

      • ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]

        While ASCAP is apparently too busy to debate Larry Lessig, they aren’t too busy to produce silly and ridiculous propaganda. ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to “spread the word” about ASCAP’s new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk. Seriously. I’d embed it here, but the technologically savvy folks at ASCAP are apparently too clueless to figure out how to include an embed on a video they claim they want people to “share.”

      • Law journal can publish information from court file

        A D.C. Superior Court judge abruptly lifted a temporary restraining order on Friday that had barred a legal journal from printing information it obtained from a court file, ending a dispute that legal observers said was destined to become one of the biggest First Amendment cases in years.

        The battle began when a reporter from the National Law Journal was investigating a story about money owed to a District law firm by POM Wonderful, a health juice manufacturer.

      • Copyright Getting In The Way Of Historical Realism On Mad Men [Updated]
      • UK Music Biz Kept Growing Before The Digital Economy Act; So Why Was It Needed?

        The report does spend some time noting that there are some significant differences in the US and UK markets, so it probably doesn’t make sense to directly extrapolate out the results. However, this certainly does call into serious question the reasoning of BPI and others for the Digital Economy Act. What it shows, quite clearly, is that the industry was doing a very good job adapting on its own. It even makes you wonder if the BPI/IFPI/RIAA lobbyists are actually upset about this report, which sort of takes away the entire crux of their “help us politicians, you’re our only hope” claim.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech for Curitiba Event 2003


08.05.10

Links 5/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Benchmarks, Jared Smith (Fedora Leader) Interviewed, 200,000+ Linux Phones Per Day!

Posted in News Roundup at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What Linux Hardware Upgrades Make Sense?

    While Linux runs great on most any hardware, it runs even better on a machine with ample memory and a recent CPU. Upgrade options abound for even the most hardware hacking averse. In this monthly roundup we’ll take a look at options to get your Linux system running even better without breaking your budget.

  • Desktop

    • 5 ways to ease desktop PC-induced pain

      Fix #2: The Open-Source Desktop PC

      Linux on desktop PCs offers the same cost savings potential as it does on server platforms: no upfront licensing costs. Novell’s SUSE Linux, Red Hat and, most recently, Canonical’s Ubuntu all have operating system distributions available via GSA Advantage.

    • OS Difficulty Myths

      Linux: First, Linux is scalable to a point that is kind of stupid. Linux can run mainframes and super computers, as well cell phones, and even less powerful embedded devices. Clearly, that gives it a wide range of application that neither Macintosh nor Windows can really deal with. Secondly, Linux has proven itself far more stable than its commercial competitors. Still, Linux lacks good CAD software, and good arguments have been made against Linux for tax, accounting, and other business related software not being up to par with commercial applications available for Windows and MacOS X. The general security, scalability, stability, and responsiveness of Linux make it perhaps the most capable general purpose operating system. So long as you are not using it for CAD, gaming, or certain very specific business tasks.

      Verdict: Each OS has its purpose. Each OS is easy to use.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Kernel column #90 – the state of the kernel

      I gave the keynote speech at this year’s Linux Symposium. The talk was entitled the ‘State of the Kernel’, and summarised the past year of kernel development. Attempting to summarise an entire year in the space of an hour is a daunting challenge and required over 70 hours of preparation in order to review each of the many proposals and discussions that have taken place. With that work done, however, I’d like to share a few of the things I have learned with readers.

    • Running The Linux 2.6.35 Kernel With A Core i7 Notebook

      While we benchmark the latest Linux kernel code on a daily basis at kernel-tracker.phoromatic.com using our automated testing platform built on the Phoronix Test Suite, now that the Linux 2.6.35 kernel was released, we have run a formalized set of kernel benchmarks on a ThinkPad W510 notebook with an Intel Core i7 CPU to see how the Linux 64-bit kernel is running with this high-end notebook under the Linux 2.6.32, 2.6.33, 2.6.34, and 2.6.35 releases.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Sabayon 5.3 Xfce & Lxde – a few impressions

        Good installer, easy to use and full of choices without overwhelming the new user
        Virtualbox and mouse integration working from the start
        A very standard Xfce
        Good looking fonts
        Effortless localization
        Helpful links and pointers how to use the system everywhere
        Great package manager works well and fast, updates without hiccups, good package search
        Friendly update-notifier with links to package search and website
        Xfce and Lxde versions fit on a CD rather than the DVD-size download of bigger environments
        Gnome network manager applet used

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Interview with New Fedora Project Leader Jared Smith

          Earlier this year, former Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields announced he’d be stepping down from the post and that Fedora and Red Hat were searching for a new project leader. At the end of June, Frields announced that Jared Smith would be taking up the position. Since this is a pretty important job in our community, we thought it’d be a good idea to talk with Smith and learn more about him and his plans for Fedora.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Invasion Has Begun: 200K Droids Activated Daily

          Google Wave may be gone, but there are still reasons to rejoice in Googleville. One of them is the continuing good news about sales of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. While the shock of Searchzilla’s announcement that it was driving a stake into the heart of its experiment in collaboration, its boss revealed to a gathering of reporters at Techonomy in Lake Tahoe, California that Android smartphone activations have reached 200,000 a day.

          That’s an increase of more than 200 percent since over this year’s first quarter, when activations were around 65,000 a day. At 200,000 activations a day, one million Android phones would be sold every five days, six million every 30 days and from August 1 to the end of the year, 30 million new handsets would be in consumers’ hands.

        • Androids, iPhones Prepped for Battle in Army’s First-Ever App Contest

          Unleash the iPhones of war! The Army’s announced the winners of its first-ever mobile phone app development contest. And the general behind the program says some apps will be in the field “within a year.”

        • The Open Source Army of the Future

          Anyway, as part of my news-catch up today I read this announcement from the U.S. Army about Apps for the Army, an “application-development challenge… used to help the service more quickly acquire software applications.” Soldiers and Army civilians were eligible to team up and develop software applications based on the iPhone OS or Android. They had 90 days, and 140 people competed. Today the 5 winners and ten runners-up in all five categories were announced.

          The winners included a program that breaks down a new physical fitness manual of 400 pages into an multimedia presentation, one that helps potential recruits size themselves up, and the Telehealth Mood Tracker app, which “allows users to track their psychological health over a period of days, weeks and months using a visual analogue rating scale.” An honorable mention went to an App that would turn an iPhone essentially into a black box in case of “extreme shock events” — so, for instance, if an IED exploded nearby. It would take a series of pictures and report its location, the time, etc. to help with compiling a report later on.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle

    • odt2braille brings Braille to OpenOffice.org

      The release of odt2braille by the Belgian university Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, has brought the ability to work with Braille to OpenOffice.org. The extension adds a “Braille” menu to OpenOffice.org’s Writer which allows users to translate documents into Braille formats such as .brf or .pef or send the content to Braille printers for embossing. The development was supported by the EU funded AEGIS project. Previously AEGIS helped deliver odt2daisy which allows for the creation of DAISY3 format digital audiobooks from OpenOffice.

  • BSD

    • BSD as Operating System

      Highlights:
      Introduction to MidnightBSD
      The FreeBSD Ubuntu challenge
      Network monitoring with Nagios and OpenBSD PART 1
      Replacing Microsoft Exchange Server
      Maintenance Systems over BSD
      Low Resource PCs with FreeBSD
      Making the Unknown Giant Visible and Known

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Citizen science: People power
    • We All Love The Bazaar Now

      While the world of Big Brands was initially too caught up in its sermons and fine words to notice the dwindling congregations, it has now woken up and joined the burgeoning world Bazaar. In fact, I suspect, many people, wish they had stayed in their pulpits where they were easy to avoid. But some brands are becoming very savvy and offering goodies including new soapboxes for people to use. Like the ‘Best Job In The World’ campaign run by the Queensland Tourist Board, that invited people to share their wares and talents in exchange for the type of adventure that sets the Bazaar buzzing.

    • Open Source Project Management with web2Project

      It’s easy to overlook open-source projects when exploring project management tools. But an open-source tool like web2Project can be the easiest way to choose a tool that will continue to grow with your needs.web2Project allows you to look to the future of what your organization needs, while still being able to get to work today.

    • U.S. Department of Education includes OER in notice of proposed priorities for grant programs

      The set of proposed priorities specifically mentions OER. Essentially, if the priorities are adopted, it could mean that grant seekers who include open educational resources as a component of an application for funding from the Department of Education could receive priority. OER is included in Proposed Priority 13–Improving Productivity:

    • Open Data

      • How The Guardian is pioneering data journalism with free tools

        Data Blog editor Simon Rogers gave me an action-packed interview in The Guardian’s London newsroom, starting with story walkthroughs and ending with a philosophical discussion about the changing role of data in journalism. It’s a must-watch if you’re wondering what the digitization of the world’s facts means for a newsroom.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Folklore
      • Why I want everything OA, right now

        I’ve started using Mendeley. I like it a lot, so far. Papers, but with a networking aspect. CiteULike, but with a quick PDF full-text search aspect. Free. Cross platform. Good stuff.

        But.

        The But isn’t Mendeley’s fault. It is a result of the evolution of our methods of scientific communication. I’m usually a fan of iteration, evolution. Not this time. I want instant, sweeping change.

        I want to share all the PDFs in my Mendeley library with everyone. Right now.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Gov 2.0 as means not end

    It’s often tempting to think that Gov 2.0 is common ground between those who always want smaller government and those who want government to help its citizens. To an extent, this is true: opening up services lets citizens and businesses do more for themselves, and means government doesn’t have to grow for more things to happen. In some cases, government can even get smaller.

    But government-as-platform doesn’t absolve us from asking what fundamental services should be provided by a government, as opposed to private industry. This is a big question. We didn’t come up with a single universally-agreed answer before Gov 2.0, and Gov 2.0 will neither answer it for us nor let us evade the question.

  • Getting Past The Hurdles Of Micropayments

    Much of the press coverage around Flattr, the “social payments” startup, focuses on the fact that it was founded by Peter Sunde, who is perhaps better known for being the (former) spokesperson for The Pirate Bay. I have no doubt that this is a big reason why the company got a lot of its initial attention, but I think what’s a lot more interesting is that this is one of the first “micropayment” platforms that actually tries to get around the historical problems of micropayments for content. There have been lots of micropayment companies out there, and almost all of them failed — and it wasn’t difficult to see why. First, they underestimated the “mental transaction costs” that micropayments entail. Just making the decision if something is worth paying for is a huge “cost” for users. Second, they heavily underestimated the “penny gap,” which is the effort that it takes to get someone to go from “free” to paying even a penny. Next, it’s an attempt to fight the basic economics of what supply and demand is pushing for the content be priced at. And, finally, required micropayments make it very hard to promote that content via word of mouth or sharing.

  • How Asimov’s Robot Laws Ended Up on Last.fm’s Server

    Like many websites, Last.fm’s web server contains a file called robots.txt, whose job it is to instruct the robotic web spiders employed by search engines like Google to ignore certain directories on the site.

  • Second Circuit Seeks More Input on Fleeting Nudity

    According to one of the parties in the case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has asked both sides for supplemental briefs in the NYPD Blue indecency case, wanting to know what effect a recent ruling by a three-judge panel of that same court has on the FCC’s fleeting nudity enforcement policy under challenge in the NYPD Blue case.

  • Conservative Digg Cabal Uncovered

    A blogger for liberal sites such as AlterNet and News Junkie Post has reported discovering a conservative group of online users who systematically work together to bury, or vote down, stories on liberal subjects and by posters they believe to be liberal, in order to keep those stories from becoming more widely known.

    “A group of nearly one hundred conservatives have banded together on a Yahoo Group called Digg Patriots (DP), and a companion site at coRanks to issue bury orders and discuss strategies to censor Digg and other social media websites,” reported the blogger, known as oleoleolson, who is the Senior News Editor and Chief New Media Strategist for News Junkie Post. “DP was founded on 21 May 2009. Since then, over 40,000 posts have been logged at a steady rate of around 3000-4000 per month. The “Patriots” Network on coRank is a tool to submit Diggs to a group list as opposed to sending an e-mail every time. It also has some tools that make submitting to the list as easy as clicking on a bookmark.”

  • Health

    • The Deadly Neurotoxin Nearly EVERYONE Uses Daily (VIDEO)

      According to statistics published by Forbes Magazine [i] based on Tate & Lyle estimates, aspartame had conquered 55 percent of the artificial sweetener market in 2003. One of the driving factors behind aspartame’s market success is the fact that since it is now off patent protection, it’s far less expensive than other artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda).

  • Security/Aggression

    • Naked Pictures!

      The government has assured us that the images made from “Digital Strip Search”” imaging technologies like millimeter wave and backscatter imaging wouldn’t be saved. They lied. It turns out the U.S. Marshals Service saved more than 35,000 “whole body” images of people who entered a U.S. courthouse in Orlando, Fla.

      And, if the U.S. Marshals Service can do this, why should we trust the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to keep their word about deleting these images? I can’t think of any good reason, can you?

    • It’s official: Saudi Arabia bans BlackBerrys

      The rumors are true: Saudi Arabia has become the second country inside of a week to block access to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices on grounds of national security.

    • For Kevin Mitnick, staying legal is job No. 1

      Kevin Mitnick was eager to participate in a social-engineering contest at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas last weekend and was told he would target Microsoft in the event.

      He figured it would be fun to show off his schmoozing skills, which he so easily used to trick employees at tech companies in the 1990s into handing over passwords and other sensitive information, ultimately landing him in jail.

  • Finance

    • Peak Capital – Our Ultimate Limit?

      So, the degradation of the world’ GPS system is not something unexpected, nor it is unrelated to such problems as peak oil or the depletion of mineral resources. It is just another kind of peak: “peak capital.” Maybe GAO has been too pessimistic; maybe we’ll decide that the GPS system is so important that we can’t let it decay. But, in any case, it is a sign of the times: the fifth problem.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Technology Lessons from the Wikileaks Saga

      The truth, or at least more of its constituent parts, will out. In the big picture, that’s a good thing. Those who have the most to fear from an open environment are ones with closed agendas, for whom public debate is a threat rather than an opportunity. Long-term strength lies in persuasion grounded in fact, rather than on carefully constructed artifice.

    • Latest Attempt To Create Federal Journalism Shield Law May Carve Wikileaks Out Of The Protections

      Apparently Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein are quickly drafting a special amendment that says the law wouldn’t apply to “websites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents.” That’s obviously targeted directly at Wikileaks, but it certainly could impact other sites that store documents as well, and that could create problems.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google, Verizon Try to Shape Net-Neutrality Law

      A Google spokeswoman declined to comment while a Verizon spokesman said in a statement that the companies have worked on an agreement for 10 months. “We are currently engaged in and committed to the negotiation process led by the FCC” that will allow both sides to “reach a consensus that can maintain an open Internet and the investment and innovation required to sustain it,” he said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • DMCA Exemption Process Highlights The Folly Of The DMCA

        Last week, of course, we paid a fair bit of attention to the latest round of DMCA exemptions, which come along every three years. It was surprising that the Copyright Office and the Library of Congress seem to keep moving the bar (slowly, slowly) towards a more consumer friendly approach, as compared to the early exemptions which never helped consumers at all. Still, the exemption requests that got rejected show how arbitrary the process appears at times.

      • The Corruption of Our ‘Public Domain’

        Did you know that the definition of ‘public domain’ as ‘the few published works not protected by copyright’ is very recent?

        All published works are supposed to be in the public domain. This was the original pretext behind copyright – to incentivise the delivery of novel and educational works into the public domain – for the public’s benefit (albeit at the cost of cultural liberty).

      • Internet Ban Proposed for Serial Copyright Infringers

        The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which allows for large fines and six month Internet suspensions, has already passed its first reading in the New Zealand Parliament. However, according to copyright advocates, it doesn’t go far enough. Instead of simply disconnecting repeat infringers, they are calling for a heavier punishment that would take people’s right to Internet access away.

      • The price of privacy

        Once-abundant privacy is now scarce. Once-scarce publicness is now abundant.

        It’s the second half of that that interests me most since I’m writing a book about that.

        So if we’ve seen Lessin’s Law on Privacy, then Jarvis’ Corollary on Publicness (which is my synonym for publicity because publicity as a word is so freighted with marketing meaning now) is this:

        Now publicness is free.

      • Can We Please Stop The False Dichotomy Of ‘Creators’ vs ‘Consumers’ When It Comes To Copyright?

        It’s a shame that the recording industry and its lawyers want to turn this into an us vs. them situation. It’s not. Plenty of people want to create a situation where there are wider opportunities for everyone acting as both creators and consumers, to really allow creativity to flourish. But you don’t do that by locking up creativity and pretending that many of those creators don’t appreciate art.

      • Estimating the Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders: Evidence from the Google Book Search Litigation

        Google Book Search (GBS) has captured the attention of many commentators and government officials, but even as they vigorously debate its legality, few of them have marshaled new facts to estimate its likely effects on publishing and other information markets. This Article challenges the conventional wisdom propounded by the U.S. and German governments, as well as Microsoft and other competitors of Google, concerning the likely economic impact of mass book-digitization projects. Originally advanced by publishing industry lobbying groups, the prevailing account of mass book-digitization projects is that they will devastate authors and publishers, just as Napster and its heirs have supposedly devastated musicians and music labels. Using the impact of GBS on the revenues and operating incomes of U.S. publishers believing themselves to be the most-affected by it, this Article finds no evidence of a negative impact upon them. To the contrary, it provides some evidence of a positive impact, and proposes further empirical research to identify the mechanisms of digitization’s economic impact.

      • FT Claims Paywalls Are Morally Necessary… And Then Shows How Immoral The FT Is

        Remember, this is the guy who was just saying that if a publications primary duty was to advertisers rather than readers, it was morally abhorrent. But, even here he admits that the subscriptions are driven by… advertisers. If this was really about getting the influence of advertisers away from newspapers, why is he playing up the increased ad revenue due to the paywall?

      • Beach Boys take on Katy Perry’s ‘Gurls’

        Reps for the Beach Boys are threatening to sue Katy Perry after she included their classic line “I wish they all could be California Girls,” in her song “California Gurls.”

        Rondor Music has fired off a letter to Perry’s label, Capitol Records, demanding Mike Love and Brian Wilson — who penned the 1965 classic “California Girls” — be given a writing credit on Perry’s hit summer song, as well as royalties.

Clip of the Day

FSCONS 2008 video cast.


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