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Links 18/12/2010: Linux 2.6.37 RC6, Android 2.3 Source Code Out

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

GNOME bluefish



  • PS3 Jailbreak Now Legal In Spain

    deek writes “Spanish gamer site NicaGamerz.com have reported that it’s now legal to sell the PS3 Jailbreak modchip in Spain (Google translation of Spanish original). According to the article, one reason for the legal ruling is because Sony removed the ability to run GNU/Linux on the console. One can only wonder if Sony will soon rush out a firmware update that will re-enable the OtherOS feature, and appeal the court decision. Oh the irony of that thought. The legal ruling was made on the 13th December (Google translation). There are only 5 days to appeal, starting from that date.”

  • Google

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc6

      It’s been a bit over a week since -rc5, and now -rc6 is out. It was slightly delayed by the fact that I was traveling without a laptop, and while I was able to track things and read email, I didn’t do actual pulls for most of last week.

    • Kernel prepatch 2.6.37-rc6
    • The kernel and the C library as a single project

      The kernel has historically been developed independently of anything that runs in user space. The well-defined kernel ABI, built around the POSIX standard, has allowed for a nearly absolute separation between the kernel and the rest of the system. Linux is nearly unique, however, in its division of kernel and user-space development. Proprietary operating systems have always been managed as a single project encompassing both user and kernel space; other free systems (the BSDs, for example) are run that way as well. Might Linux ever take a more integrated approach?

    • System call fuzzing continued.
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 2010 Driver Year In Review

        At the end of each year for the past five years we have delivered “year in review” articles looking at the performance of NVIDIA’s (and ATI/AMD’s) proprietary Linux drivers. Both in terms of new features introduced during the year in their driver updates and benchmarking the driver releases to see how the performance has evolved over twelve months. With 2010 coming to an end, it is time for this year’s driver reviews. We are starting this year seeing how the NVIDIA performance has matured in 2010.

      • X.Org Multi-Touch Nears Completion

        X Input 2.1 Multi-Touch is the new solution rather than Canonical’s proposed X Gesture Extension. Nokia developers are already working on supporting the new multi-touch capabilities within the Qt tool-kit and there is a GTK multi-touch branch on the GNOME side, but it’s currently based upon an earlier specification of X multi-touch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Cardapio Gets An Avant Window Navigator Applet

        Cardapio is a simple menu for the GNOME desktop that comes with a lot of useful plugins. It can launch applications, run a command, pin items, search through your Firefox bookmarks or Ubuntu Software Center, includes a file search and full text search and more.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Experimental packages for Symbian development on Linux

          A while back we wrote about how you could do development for Symbian in Linux. However, the process was complicated and required a lot of manual setup. We have now taken the concept one step further and we now have prepackaged environments, complete with compiler, libraries and all you need to start developing!

          I’m obligated to report our disclaimer though: These packages are completely unsupported by Nokia. They are provided on a “best effort” basis only, and are not guaranteed to work correctly on your system! Also note that the packages are not guaranteed to receive updates, and in the future the same functionality may be delivered in a different format, for example through the Qt SDK.

      • Android

        • Chumby for Android Now in the Market

          Some of you may have heard of Chumby devices, personal Internet/media devices that strive to be a one-stop shop for all the information that you may want including social networks, news, video, music and games. There are Chumby apps covering most everything you want to consume. Chumby is moving to put their content hub on as many devices as possible and now it’s Android’s turn to come to the party. Their aim is “taking the best parts of the Internet and delivering them in a friendly, always-on, always-fresh format.”

        • Android 2.3 Gingerbread’s source code now available

          Want to dig through 2.3 and see what all the fuss is about for yourself? Well, you’re in luck, because Gingerbread has just hit the Android Open Source Project’s repository, which means you can set up your machine to download the code. It’s great news for hardware companies that don’t care to get Google’s certification to include Android Market access — but it’s also great news for casual and serious hackers alike who are looking to craft some seriously wild, wacky custom ROMs. So, what are you waiting for? Get to it, folks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix completes the open source giving cycle

    McEntee continues by talking about the passion shared by the contributors of a project, and not just the people employed by Netflix. Drupal founder and Acquia CTO, Dries Buytaert, often refers to this as “an itch to scratch.” McEntee mentions open source helps address common problems with sustainable solutions that reduce the work of many by sharing a common fix to a problem:

    “The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it’s own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement.”

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • A quick look at MySQL 5.5 GA

      I first have to acknowledge that I have not been able to follow the MySQL 5.5 development as closely as I would have wanted during the last 2 years as most of the planning of MySQL 6.0, 5.4 and 5.5 has happened behind closed doors, without insight for the community. The commits have been open, until recently, but it’s not easy to follow what is happening just based on the commits. I am sure that I am missing below some of the important features in 5.5 and forgetting to acknowledge some of the people that have done great work on 5.5.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Open Office 3.3 Released Too
    • Oracle Releases MySQL 5.5 With Many Improvements

      One of the open-source projects that Oracle is keeping around from Sun Microsystems is MySQL and just in time for the holidays they have put out the MySQL 5.5 release. The general availability release of MySQL 5.5 brings many new features to this popular database server.

    • Oracle butts into online collaboration space with Cloud Office

      Move over Google and Microsoft: Oracle wants to get in on the cloud productivity scene too. The company has announced Oracle Cloud Office, which will allow users to create and edit documents collaboratively in the browser without having to rely on desktop software.

    • Oracle Ends The Week With VirtualBox 4 Beta 4

      Oracle’s been on a wild ride the past few days. Besides Oracle’s second quarter earnings having beaten their own expectations and that of the street, they’ve been releasing updates this week to a number of their Sun-acquired open-source projects. MySQL 5.5 was finally released, Open Office 3.3 made it out (along with a new web-based Oracle Cloud Office product), and their German counterparts have been releasing VirtualBox beta releases like mad.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims: bugs found during code audit

      OpenBSD project head Theo de Raadt told iTWire: “We’ve been auditing since the mail came in! We have already found two bugs in our cryptographic code. We are assessing the impact. We are also assessing the ‘archeological’ aspects of this..”

    • Did the FBI Plant Backdoors in OpenBSD?

      I doubt this is true. One, it’s a very risky thing to do. And two, there are more than enough exploitable security vulnerabilities in a piece of code that large. Finding and exploiting them is a much better strategy than planting them. But maybe someone at the FBI is that dumb.


    • 172 public institutions removed non-free advertisement

      Only one month after the letters for the PDFreaders campaign of FSFE were sent, 172 public institutions have removed advertisements for proprietary PDF readers from their websites. Particularly outstanding were the responses from Croatia, Russia and Slovenia. In Croatia almost all reported institutions deleted the advertisement. Half of those contacted in Russia and Slovenia fulfilled FSFE’s request.

    • GCC and LLVM – What’s in a licence?

      GCC, the ultimate portable compiler, otherwise known as the GNU Compiler Collection, has been around since 1987. LLVM, first came onto the scene seven years ago in the form of a paper entitled “Architecture for a Next-Generation GCC”, which was presented to the 2003 Annual GCC Developers Summit by Chris Lattner and Vikram Adve.

      LLVM was conceived as a modular version of GCC, and has had some success as a more malleable alternative to GCC.

    • Geek Time with Peter Brown

      • A brief history of the free software movement (0:14)
      • The difference between open source and free software (4:12),
      • The importance of specifying “GNU/Linux” when referring to the first fully free operating system (7:42),
      • Linux Libre, a fully free kernel distribution, including the drivers (12:29)
      • The Free Software Foundation’s hardware endorsement program, Respects Your Freedom (13:54)
      • Unexpected places that free software is appearing around the world (18:42)
      • Peter’s career with the Free Software Foundation (20:50).
      • Ways that non-programmers can get involved and support the free software movement (26:23)

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Australian Bureau of Statistics plans open source census

      The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is ramping up for a massive change to its use of data standards, with plans to move to open source formats from next year.

      The 2011 Census of Population and Housing is expected to become the first dry run of the bureau’s implementation of XML-based Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) formats, with the ABS directing software developer Space-Time Research to utilise the standards for both input and output of all data collected next year.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 10 Hypotheses About Abundance and the Commons

      This is hardly news by now. New technologies have made possible a global digital infrastructure, which, in turn, has given rise to a new information economy. This economy has one obvious feature: the abundance of free or low-cost information and knowledge. With few exceptions, I usually find a needed piece of information, skill or knowhow – if it is public knowledge – on Wikipedia, YouTube, a blog, a Web site, or a mailing list somewhere.

      Disturbing issues remain, such as inappropriate content, unaffordability, exclusion, embedded value systems, toxic production and e-wastes. But if we are looking for abundance, the Internet definitely has it. To turn this wealth of information into wisdom though, users have to pick true from false, grain from chaff.

    • Happy Birthday CC! “Building on the Past” creator re-releases video under CC BY and explains why

      In 2004, designer and animator Justin Cone created “Building on the Past” as part of our Moving Images Contest and won. Justin originally made the video, which demonstrated Creative Commons’ mission in two minutes, available under CC BY-NC. At the encouragement of Wikieducator’s Wayne Macintosh, Justin decided to re-release “Building on the Past” under the most open CC license, CC Attribution (CC BY) and made a short video explaining why (also under CC BY). Both videos are featured in Creative Commons unplugged, a part of Wikieducator’s Open content licensing 4 educators workshop (a work in progress).

    • Authenticity and the Commons
    • Open your world forum: transcript of the Bob Sutton webcast
    • Why I and you should avoid NC licences

      I understand the sentiments and have shared them in the past. In fact I started this blog as CC-NC, but then moved to CC-BY (we may have lost that in the current blog-move but rest assured this blog is CC-BY).

    • Open Data

      • Exploring European Energy Data

        Today was the Eurostat Hackday, where coders and designers in several European cities gathered to dig into the Eurostat data, the biggest source of statistical information about Europe and European member states. We met at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London, who very kindly agreed to host us for the day.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • European Interoperability Framework – a new beginning?

      The most controversial document in the history of the European Commission’s IT policy is out. EIF is here, wrapped in the Communication “Towards interoperability for European public services”, and including the new feature European Interoperability Strategy (EIS), arguably a higher strategic take on the same topic.

      Leaving EIS aside for a moment, the EIF controversy has been around IPR, defining open standards and about the proper terminology around standardization deliverables. Today, as the document finally emerges, what is the verdict?

    • W3C establishes mobile app etiquette for developers

      In an effort to make mobile applications easier to use, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has established a set of guidelines for developers to keep in mind when creating their Web-standards based applications.

      Minimize network traffic, keep user needs in mind, optimize response timesm and keep the apps flexible, the guidance document advises programmers, offering specific tips of how to accomplish all of these tasks using HTML5, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Javascript, and other Web standards.

    • OpenIndiana Build 148 Arrives

      For those interested in Solaris/OpenSolaris, the Illumos-based OpenIndiana operating system has just pushed out their second set of ISOs that are based upon Solaris Nevada Build 148.

      Previously their early-look ISOs were still based upon Build 147, but now the developers have pulled in the b148 work and other changes.

    • Google releases beta 3D graphics API for JavaScript

      Google has moved to a beta phase with its WebGL 3D graphics API for JavaScript, the company said on Thursday.

      Featured in the Google Chrome beta channel, WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 API for embedded, accelerated 3D graphics. WebGL brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without installing additional software, Google said. “WebGL is a 3D graphics API for JavaScript that developers can use to create fully 3D Web apps,” said Kenneth Russell, of the Google  Chromium Team, in a blog post.


  • A Return of Radical Politics?

    In this old post, Broken Government: A Return of Radical Politics at Freedom Democrats, I opined about an impending return of radicalism in American politics. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that this radicalism will be borne out of the American descent into the “censorship regime.” The censorship regime is information control, and in the US, this regime is the marriage of Digital Copyright and the National security State. This marriage creates a input-output positive feedback loop of economic/political rent-seeking so pernicious that you end up with something resembling Richard Stallman’s Right to Read Dystopia, wherein reading becomes a licensing and security classification privilege.

  • Parliament gives go ahead to citizens’ petitions

    The European Commission will soon have to consider drafting new EU laws if it is asked to do so by at least one million people, after the European Parliament yesterday (15 December) gave the green light to a regulation on implementing the European Citizens’ Initiative.

  • Ed Miliband rebukes Bob Ainsworth over ‘legalise drugs’ call

    Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said today that the legalisation of drugs would send out “the wrong message” to young people as he distanced himself from a Labour backbencher’s calls for a “grown-up debate” on the issue.

  • ‘Her Morning Elegance’ Artists Create Elegant Reason To Buy

    So far it’s been viewed over 16 million times on Youtube. How does an artist convert all of that popularity into cash? In this case, by offering a limited edition of ONE print of every single frame of the movie, signed and numbered, for sale. According to the gallery website, 335 prints have sold so far, leaving 1761 available out of 2096 total.

  • Captain Beefheart dies aged 69

    Avant-garde musician and visual artist Don Van Vliet, who performed under the name Captain Beefheart, has died aged 69.

  • High Court orders writ to be served via Twitter

    The High Court ordered its first injunction via Twitter on Thursday, saying the social website and micro-blogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone.

  • How To Talk Like a Corporate Tool
  • MP queries Hargreaves review

    An MP has tabled a parliamentary question to find out how BIS arrived at its panel of advisors for the Hargreaves Review. Five experts are advising the former FT journalist with his six-month review into “IP and Growth”. But two in particular – campaigning professor James Boyle and former web monkey Tom Loosemore – have raised concerns as they lack business experience, and have a history of hostility to creator’s rights.

  • Smithsonian Celebrates COBOL’s 50th Anniversary With New Site

    One of the oldest programming languages, COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) turned 50 this past week. On December 6, 1960, COBOL was first used on two different makes of computers, proving that compatibility across systems could be achieved. To celebrate the anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History built out a new section of their website dedicated to documenting the language’s history; a related exhibit will open at the museum this spring.

  • Obama in Good Shape for 2012 Despite Current Woes, Poll Finds

    His party got hammered in the midterm election, he’s taking heat from fellow Democrats for compromising with Republicans on taxes, and his job approval levels are hovering around 45 percent, but a new survey concludes President Obama’s prospects for re-election in 2012 are fairly strong. Conversely, Sarah Palin’s numbers continue to be weak.

  • Is Yahoo Shutting Down Del.icio.us? [Update: Del.icio.us Responds]

    For a couple of days now, we’ve been hearing rumors that the Yahoo layoffs included the entire Delicious team. Now Former Yahoo employee and Upcoming founder Andy Baio has tweeted out the above Yahoo! product team meeting slide that seems to show that Yahoo! is either closing or merging the social bookmarking service as well as Upcoming, Fire Eagle, MyBlogLog and others.

  • R.I.P. Delicious: You Were So Beautiful to Me

    It’s a loss not just for the many people who used Delicious to archive links of interest to them around the web, it’s a loss for the future – for what could have been. Five years later, people are just beginning to appreciate the value of passively published user activity data made available for analysis, personalization and more. That could have been you, Delicious.

  • Goodbye, AltaVista. I Loved You Once, But I’m Happy to See You Die

    If you were going to compose a list of the ten greatest technology products ever, it would be a plausible contender. If you were compiling a list of the ten greatest Web services and didn’t include it, I’d tell you your list was wrong.


    In fact, I hope that Yahoo’s mercy killing starts a trend. AOL, how about doing away with the sad jokes that are CompuServe and Netscape in their current forms?

  • Yahoo Trying To Unload Del.icio.us, Not Shut It Down

    Yahoo says that while Delicious doesn’t have a “strategic fit” at the company, it will not be shutting the service down entirely for now. In fact, it looks like Yahoo is going to find a new home for Delicious (a.k.a. sell).

  • Delicious, Yahoo! Buzz, MyBlogLog, AltaVista all face axe
  • Beijing issues stark warning on EU-China relations

    Just days after the EU openly criticised China for boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese ambassador in Brussels slammed EU policymakers for being unable to “shut their mouths”.

  • West Papua: from morning star to mourning

    Instead of raising the Morning Star flag, ForDem asked people to observe December 1 as a day of mourning, fasting, prayer and to boycott Indonesian owned and run shops. Benny Giay, Moderator of the Kingmi Church, the largest indigenous church in West Papua, and member of ForDem says, “We are fasting, praying and wearing black to mourn the death of democracy in West Papua and to mourn Papuans killed by the Indonesian security forces.”

  • EU Summit Twitter Wall Trial Goes Awry As Berlusconi Bashers Flood #EUCO Stream

    Using Tweetwall Pro, a way for event organizers to feed live tweets onto screens, an experiment in the atrium of the EU summit building in Brussels held yesterday didn’t quite proceed as planned. The live tweet stream, which was displayed on multiple plasma TVs throughout the building, was abruptly shut down after Italian Twitter users hijacked the #euco stream with anti-Berlusconi messages, calling the politician a mafioso and a pedophile.

  • The future of publishing is writable
  • Google debuts text analysis tools
  • Dear Yahoo

    Many of us have relied on Delicious for years and have thousands of bookmarks organized on it. Please consider opening Delicious up to the open source community to keep it going.

  • Science

    • Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates

      Until the advent of modern neuroscience, free will used to be a theological and a metaphysical concept, debated with little reference to brain function. Today, with ever increasing understanding of neurons, circuits and cognition, this concept has become outdated and any metaphysical account of free will is rightfully rejected. The consequence is not, however, that we become mindless automata responding predictably to external stimuli.

    • Search for microscopic black hole signatures at the Large Hadron Collider

      The CMS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has completed a search for microscopic black holes produced in high-energy proton-proton collisions. No evidence for their production was found and their production has been excluded up to a black hole mass of 3.5-4.5 TeV (1012 electron volts) in a variety of theoretical models.

    • DIY Biotech Hacker Space Opens in NYC

      On the top floor of an old bank converted into an artist collective, just past prop design for Bjork’s next music video, the do-it-yourself biotechnology revolution has begun.

      A cadre of science entrepreneurs recently opened Genspace, the world’s first government-compliant community biotech laboratory. The bedroom-sized facility was two years in the making and, for a $100-per-month membership, anyone can use the space for whatever experiments they dream up.

    • Could we detect trees on other planets?

      It sounds like a zen koan. If a tree on an alien world falls, would we notice? Christopher Doughty of the University of Oxford and Adam Wolf of Princeton University think we just might.

      They say the shadows cast by trees would change the amount of light a planet reflects as it orbits its star. When the planet is behind its star as seen from Earth – as the moon is during its full phase – the trees would cast little visible shadow, while at other points in its orbit the shadows would grow longer from Earth’s perspective. Future telescopes should be able to search for these changes in brightness, they say.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is Gulf seafood really safe to eat?

      The Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper (LMRK) has released results from seafood sampling trips conducted along a broad area of the Louisiana coast since August. The results show significant levels of petroleum in a number of species — though the contamination was not apparent by sight or smell.

      For examples, levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons in flounder and speckled trout caught in St. Bernard Parish on Aug. 12 were 21,575 milligrams per kilogram, while oysters caught in Plaquemines Parish on Aug. 3 showed levels at 12,500 mg/kg. Petroleum levels found in fiddler crabs and periwinkles harvested from Terrebonne Parish on Aug. 19 were 6,916 mg/kg.

  • China

  • Security

    • How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Amazon’s Mechanical Turk used increasingly for spam
    • Security in 2020

      In 2020—­10 years from now­—Moore’s Law predicts that computers will be 100 times more powerful. That’ll change things in ways we can’t know, but we do know that human nature never changes. Cory Doctorow rightly pointed out that all complex ecosystems have parasites. Society’s traditional parasites are criminals, but a broader definition makes more sense here. As we users lose control of those systems and IT providers gain control for their own purposes, the definition of “parasite” will shift. Whether they’re criminals trying to drain your bank account, movie watchers trying to bypass whatever copy protection studios are using to protect their profits, or Facebook users trying to use the service without giving up their privacy or being forced to watch ads, parasites will continue to try to take advantage of IT systems. They’ll exist, just as they always have existed, and­ like today­ security is going to have a hard time keeping up with them.

    • Software flaws don’t negate “many eyes” in open source

      The allegations from Greg Perry regarding backdoors allegedly placed within OpenBSD about a decade ago seem to be shifting more and more into the realm of fantasy as each day goes by.

      To date, Perry has not responded to my inquiry regarding his Dec. 11 e-mail to OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt, nor to my knowledge has he responded publicly anywhere else. Meanwhile, the two (or three, depending on how you count it) people named in Perry’s message to de Raadt as parties to this supposed backdoor activity, Scott Lowe and Jason Wright, have denied their involvement–the latter within the same [openbsd-tech] thread that started all this.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Brutality at a Private Prison

      Guards at a privately run prison in Arizona stripped, beat and kicked inmates and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and “the warden himself” joined in threatening their families, 18 inmates say in state court.

    • Ontario Ombudsman Releases G20 Report “Caught In The Act”

      The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services quietly promoted the use of a likely illegal regulation to grant police “extravagant” powers on the eve of the G20 summit, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin says in his latest report.

    • The Media, the police and protest: now both sides of the story can be reported

      At the student fees protest in London last week, a young man with cerebral palsy was allegedly twice hauled from his wheelchair and dragged across the ground by police officers. Footage of the incident soon appeared on the internet, while the man, a 20-year-old activist and blogger named Jody McIntyre, was invited onto BBC News to recount his ordeal. “Did you shout anything provocative, or throw anything that would of induced the police to do that to you?” he was asked by the presenter, Ben Brown. “There’s a suggestion that you were rolling towards the police in your wheelchair, is that true?” McIntyre kept his calm and replied. “Do you really think a person with cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair, can pose a threat to a police officer who is armed with weapons?”

    • Let’s Be Careful About Calling This a Cyber-War

      Terms like “cyber-war” have been used a lot in the wake of the recent denial-of-service attacks on MasterCard, Visa and other entities that cut off support for WikiLeaks. But do these attacks really qualify? An analysis by network security firm Arbor Networks suggests that they don’t, and that what we have seen from the group Anonymous and “Operation Payback” is more like vandalism or civil disobedience. And we should be careful about tossing around terms like cyber-war — some believe the government is just itching to find an excuse to adopt unprecedented Internet monitoring powers, and cyber-war would be just the ticket.

    • Number of police in Canada on the rise

      The number of police officers in Canada has reached its highest point since 1981, with a strength of approximately 69,000 members.

      Canadian police forces added 2,000 members in the first four months of 2010 according to data released by Statistics Canada.

    • Police Brutality in Frankfurt

      No charges, no reasons, no explanation. Just random act of violence.

    • Audit reveals no irregularities, just political meddling at rights agency

      A confidential forensic audit into an embattled federal human-rights agency bolsters the arguments of opposition critics who accuse the Harper government of trying to limit the organization’s work in the Middle East with groups that do not meet Ottawa’s pro-Israel outlook.

    • TSA misses enormous, loaded .40 calibre handgun in carry-on bag

      A man who flew out of Houston’s George Bush airport discovered a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag after landing; he’d forgotten he was carrying it and the eagle-eyed TSA screeners were too busy ogling his penis to spot the loaded gun in the nearly empty bag from which he’d dutifully removed his laptop.

    • UK government to impose Orwellian-style surveillance

      The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is pushing ahead with plans to allow Britain’s security services and police to spy on the activities of every citizen who uses a phone or the Internet. The secret services and police will have unlimited powers to track every single phone call, email, text message and website visit made by anybody in the UK.

      The plans were contained within last month’s “Strategic Defence and Security Review” in which the government stated, “We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.”

    • Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you’re innocent

      In a brilliant pair of videos, , Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department present a forceful case for never, ever, ever speaking to the police without your lawyer present. Ever. Never, never, never.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Julian Assange Latest Interview 17 December 2010 1.14pm
    • Kroes: WikiLeaks will increase government transparency

      The WikiLeaks disclosure of US diplomatic cables highlights the need to secure networks and individuals from hackers, EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has said.

    • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks faces ‘very aggressive’ investigation by US

      WikiLeaks faces a “very aggressive” and secretive investigation by US authorities stung by a perceived loss of face following the release of thousands of secret American diplomatic cables, the organisation’s founder, Julian Assange, said today.


      He said he believed it was “80% likely” that the US authorities were seeking to prepare an attempt to have him extradited there to face charges of espionage.

      He added that he was reliant on public opinion to rein in “a superpower that does not appear to be following the rule of law”.

      “I would say that there is a very aggressive investigation, that a lot of face has been lost by some people, and some people have careers to make by pursuing famous cases, but that is actually something that needs monitoring,” he said.

      He criticised the way Swedish authorities have sought to have him extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault – the reason he was held in jail for 10 days.

    • Wikileaks Cablegate: The EU Files
    • The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

      No – the proper comparison is with the crowds that descended last week on Topshop stores. They didn’t break into the stores or take any goods from them, but they sure caused a nuisance for the owner, Philip Green. I wouldn’t like it one bit if my store (supposing I had one) were the target of a large protest. Amazon and MasterCard don’t like it either, and their clients were probably annoyed. Those who hoped to buy at Topshop on the day of the protest may have been annoyed too.

      The internet cannot function if websites are frequently blocked by crowds, just as a city cannot function if its streets are constantly full by protesters. But before you advocate a crackdown on internet protests, consider what they are protesting: on the internet, users have no rights. As the WikiLeaks case has demonstrated, what we do online, we do on sufferance.

      In the physical world, we have the right to print and sell books. Anyone trying to stop us would need to go to court. That right is weak in the UK (consider superinjunctions), but at least it exists. However, to set up a website we need the co-operation of a domain name company, an ISP, and often a hosting company, any of which can be pressured to cut us off. In the US, no law explicitly establishes this precarity. Rather, it is embodied in contracts that we have allowed those companies to establish as normal. It is as if we all lived in rented rooms and landlords could evict anyone at a moment’s notice.

      Reading, too, is done on sufferance. In the physical world, you can buy a book with cash, and you own it. You are free to give, lend or sell it to someone else. You are also free to keep it. However, in the virtual world, e-readers have digital handcuffs to stop you from giving, lending or selling a book, as well as licences forbidding that. Last year, Amazon used a back door in its e-reader to remotely delete thousands of copies of 1984, by George Orwell. The Ministry of Truth has been privatised.

    • U.S. Tries to Build Case for Conspiracy by WikiLeaks

      Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system. If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.

      Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks.

    • Human Rights Watch letter to President Barack Obama

      We write to express our concern at the prospect that the US government would employ espionage laws against WikiLeaks or its founder for the release of US State Department cables. Regardless of how one views the intentions, wisdom or strict legality of the WikiLeaks release, we believe that resorting to prosecution will degrade freedom of expression for all media, researchers and reporters, and set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.

    • John Pilger: Global Support for WikiLeaks is “Rebellion” Against U.S. Militarism, Secrecy
    • Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning’s Torture by Isolation

      Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking sensitive material to WikiLeaks, has been held for seven months in what Glenn Greenwald reports are “inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions.”

      Greenwald argues that Manning is being punished without first being convicted, and he speculates that the treatment is meant to intimidate and discourage other would-be whistle-blowers.

    • New WikiLeaks cables detail BP blowout in Azerbaijan 1.5 years before Gulf disaster

      The Guardian reports that a new set of leaked US documents show “striking resemblances between BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm 18 months beforehand.”

    • US builds case against Assange [days old]
    • House Judiciary panel convenes Thursday to explore legal attack on Wikileaks [days old]
    • Wikileaks: Julian Assange re-enters Wandsworth Prison (photo) [days old]
    • Openleaks? Brusselsleaks? Tradeleaks? The market’s getting crowded

      The whistleblowing website Wikileaks has company – suddenly, a lot of it. In the past week alone three new sites have sprung up offering to act as conduits for leaks – though with varying amounts of believability. Openleaks, Brusselsleaks and a new one launched overnight in Australia called “Tradeleaks” are all trying to garner the trust of internet users with stories to tell.

    • The Aesthetic Face(s) of Anonymous

      As an anthropologist of the digital I tend not to treat digital media as exceptional, except when it comes to the few exceptions that seem to rub up against our traditional categories and methodological tools. Anonymous, the online entity that has recently erupted full force engaging in wave after wave of protest following the Wikileaks drama, seems to be one such exception.

    • McDermott, O’Melveny Partners Testify Before WikiLeaks House Panel

      A House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act featured two witnesses from Am Law 100 firms: Abbe Lowell, head of the white-collar defense practice at McDermott Will & Emery, and Kenneth Wainsten, a former national security adviser now at O’Melveny & Myers.

    • Latin America – Prophetic memo about Honduras predicted “difficult” year for Zelaya one year before coup

      A year before popularly elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown in a coup, Charles Ford, the U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa, sent a memo (LINK) to Washington that stated: “The last year and a half of the Zelaya Administration will be, in my view, extraordinarily difficult for our bilateral relationship.”

    • Human rights organizations around the world condemn Wikileaks censorship

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katitza Rodriguez has rounded up the responses of many human rights organizations around the world to the commercial and governmental attacks on Wikileaks.

    • Courtroom sketches of Julian Assange

      But at no point did he let photographers into the courtroom, leaving the work of producing visual reportage to sketch artists. Working under enormous pressure to produce professional results quickly, courtroom artists are the field surgeons of the art world, able to work miracles in bare minutes. And yet the results are often, it must be said … odd. So far three such sketches of Mr. Assange are extant.

    • Wikileaks Watch: Julian Assange is to be freed on bail (Plus bonus Downfall parody)
    • Opinion: Wise up about Wikileaks

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the latest Wikileaks/Bradley Manning revelations “very irresponsible, thoughtless acts that put at risk the lives of innocent people all over the world.” Mike Huckabee stated that anything less than execution is too kind a penalty. Sarah Palin said of Julian Assange, the front-man of the Wikileaks ensemble, “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands … Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

      This past summer I wrote to The Tech with my thoughts on the release, encouraging MIT students to be careful with supporting Bradley Manning or Julian Assange. I was skeptical of Assange’s motives and abilities to handle the job of truth’s caretaker. I saw many people who I felt were missing the point and who took sides without properly understanding the issue.

      I feel that way again, though not for the same reason. Now, I’m suddenly bemused at the reaction both from the Democrats and the Conservative peanut gallery, who have rallied to condemn both Manning and Assange, and somehow compare the pair to terrorists.

      Don’t get me wrong; I get the whole ‘putting people’s lives at risk’ thing. The first leak, which was too undiscerning in redacting the names of informants in Afghanistan, seemed the most imprudent. It’s only now, after the latest release — which seems to have much more diplomatic bickering and much fewer strategy reports — that the anti-Wikileaks fervor is galvanized. Only now is Wikileaks having its servers pulled and Paypal account dropped. Only now do Clinton, Huckabee, and Palin seem to care.

    • Angry Assange back online

      The head of the whistle-blowing website said his time in a south London jail had only made him more determined to continue his secret-spilling work.

    • Forgetting Bradley Manning

      Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is out on bail—apparently headed for the 10-bedroom home of British former army officer Vaughan Smith, described by the Guardian as a rightwing libertarian. Assange’s lawyer joked that it would not be so much “house arrest as manor arrest” while he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

      There’s no manor for Bradey Manning. As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday, the alleged leaker of much of the WikiLeaks information–including the “Collateral Murder” video showing soldiers shooting Iraqi civilians—has been sitting in solitary confinement for seven months under torture conditions.

    • Bradley Manning’s Life Behind Bars

      Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, turns 23 in jail Friday. The Daily Beast’s Denver Nicks, in an exclusive interview with Manning’s attorney, reports on his solitary confinement, what he’s reading (from George W. Bush to Howard Zinn), and his legal strategy.

    • US Is Apparently Torturing Bradley Manning, Despite No Trial And No Conviction

      I knew Manning had been arrested and was being held somewhere, but Glenn Greenwald is now covering how he is being tortured, despite the fact he has not been tried. He has been held in intensive solitary confinement, meaning he spends 23 hours of the day in total isolation. He has not even been given a pillow or sheets for his bed. As Greenwald highlights, there is widespread agreement that such prolonged solitary confinement is well beyond the standard level of torture, is forbidden in many modern civilizations, and leads to long term psychological issues for those who go through it.

    • Cory Doctorow talks about DOS-attacks, Wikileaks and the power of protest

      Cory Doctorow gave a lightning fast presentation at the Future Internet Conference Week. Afterwards he sat down with us, and gave us his thoughts about Wikileaks and the tactics of a DOS-attack.

    • Cablegate vs Wikileaks and the new porn

      I’ve been trying trying to play around with a graphic to show the difference between the wikileaks driven cablegate and the pentagon papers (ah to live in an era before the suffix gate appeared everywhere).

    • Wikileaks Cables Amok

      The people from WL said that they will redact some of the names in order to remove personal identifiable information but in fact they have removed full paragraphs that although they could be a little bit embarrassing for US diplomacy they do not put anybody at risk.

      For example:

      - There were 13 cables deleted from WL cablegate site (e.g.: #09LONDON1385).

      - At least 11 cables were slightly redacted (e.g.: #07PARIS322).

      - 138 cables published by Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper but not yet put into WL.

      - 33 cables disclosed by the British paper The Guardian but not yet in WL.

    • Red Cross: India tortured detainees in Kashmir

      Of all the shoes we’ve been waiting to see drop in as the cables slowly — slowly — trickle out of the WikiLeaks vault, few seemed as inevitable as India. Considering the country’s intractable standoff with Pakistan, domestic and border conflicts, politically sensitive (for the United States, at least) economic rise, and place in Asia’s delicate new balance of power, the odds of someone in the New Delhi embassy writing something headline-worthy seemed to be — oh, about 100 percent.

    • Lawmakers and Legal Experts Call For Restraint in Wikileaks Hearing

      The House Judiciary Committee held a surprisingly subdued hearing this morning on the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Wikileaks’ publication activities. Committee members repeatedly emphasized the importance of protecting First Amendment rights and cautioned against overreaction to Wikileaks. The seven legal experts called to testify agreed, almost all of them noting that:

      * Excessive government secrecy is a serious problem that needs to be fixed,
      * It’s critically important to protect freedom of expression and the press, and
      * The government should be extremely cautious about pursuing any prosecutions under the Espionage Act or any legislation that would expand that law, which is already poorly written and could easily be applied in ways that would be unconstitutional.

    • French minister praises WikiLeaks boss Assange

      French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Thursday she found WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange an interesting person “determined to support freedom of expression.”

      Assange has drawn anger from politicians around the world, including France, for his website’s release of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

    • Bill Keller: WikiLeaks isn’t my kind of news org, but they have evolved

      Keller also detailed the process by which The New York Times vetted and processed the vast amounts of information, saying that the Times and other news organizations had now finished publishing all the major stories based on the documents they expected to write.

      * “The first thing we would do is talk with the lawyers about if there’s a legal problem with using this material and, if so, is there a way around it.”
      * The Times then vetted the cables with reporters familiar with similar secret documents and quickly decided the trove was genuine.
      * The Times’ computer-assisted reporting team dumped the database into a searchable format, bringing in reporters and professionals to search for interesting keywords to begin reporting. “No news organization claims to have read all of those documents,” he said.
      * Reporters then dove into and developed deeper stories based on the cables, occasionally sharing interesting segments with their colleagues overseas.
      * The New York Times performed “common sense” redactions on the material, removing names of low-level informants and other sensitive material
      * The New York Times took its redactions to the U.S. government, occasionally taking feedback and redacting information it felt would needlessly endanger lives.

      “We then basically agreed on a schedule where day one would be Pakistan day and day two would be Russia day, something like that,” Keller said. “We rolled out on that schedule, and we agreed to give WikiLeaks the documents we intended to publish on each day’s stories, with our redactions.”

      Throughout it all, however, Keller said the Times kept a very clear view of what WikiLeaks was and was not in its reporting. “What I have said from the very beginning of this is WikiLeaks is a source, not a partner. The Guardian was kind of a partner in this, because we swapped data and thoughts back and forth saying, ‘Hey, look at this table.’ There was none of that back and forth with WikiLeaks.”

    • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks faces ‘very aggressive’ investigation by US

      WikiLeaks faces a “very aggressive” and secretive investigation by US authorities stung by a perceived loss of face following the release of thousands of secret American diplomatic cables, the organisation’s founder, Julian Assange, said today.

      Speaking to reporters outside Ellingham Hall, the Norfolk house at which he is staying on bail following his release from prison, Assange said WikiLeaks faced “what appears to be an illegal investigation … certain people who are alleged to be affiliated to us have been detained, followed around, had their computers seized and so on”.

    • Kettling Wikileaks

      Calling these protests DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attacks is misleading, too. A DDoS attack is done with thousands of “zombie” computers. Typically, somebody breaks the security of those computers (often with a virus) and takes remote control of them, then rigs them up as a “botnet” to do in unison whatever he directs (in this case, to overload a server). The Anonymous protesters’ computers are not zombies; presumably they are being individually operated.

    • Some truth about Comcast – WikiLeaks style

      Ever wonder what Comcast’s connections to the Internet look like? In the tradition of WikiLeaks, someone stumbled upon these graphs of their TATA links. For reference, TATA is the only other IP transit provider to Comcast after Level (3). Comcast is a customer of TATA and pays them to provide them with access to the Internet.

    • Assange: Text messages show rape charges were ‘set up’

      “There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends that I’m told represents a set up,” Assange, who spoke from Suffolk, UK, said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “Those SMS messages the Swedish prosecutor has refused to release and in fact stated that my lawyer, who was shown the messages by the police, is gagged from speaking about them.”

      He continued:

      In their representations to the courts here over three separate court dates, the Swedish government stated that it didn’t need to provide a single piece of evidence to the court, in fact didn’t provide a single piece of evidence to back up its allegations. We’re not just talking about evidence in terms of physical objects, we’re talking not even a single word of the allegations themselves.

    • Julian Assange furore deepens as new details emerge of sex crime allegations

      Today Larry Flynt, the founder of American sex magazine Hustler, announced that he would give $50,000 (£32,000) to the Assange defence fund, calling him a “hero” who deserved a “ticker-tape parade”. Flynt’s support was not for WikiLeaks itself, but because he thought the rape charges a nonsense.

    • [Wikileaks] Video
    • US criticises court that may decide on Julian Assange extradition, WikiLeaks cables show

      US officials regard European human rights standards as an “irritant”, secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition.

      In a confidential cable from the US embassy in Strasbourg, US consul general Vincent Carver criticised the Council of Europe, the most authoritative human-rights body for European countries, for its stance against extraditions to America, as well as secret renditions and prisons used to hold terrorist suspects.

    • 10 days in Sweden: the full allegations against Julian Assange

      Documents seen by the Guardian reveal for the first time the full details of the allegations of rape and sexual assault that have led to extradition hearings against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

      The case against Assange, which has been the subject of intense speculation and dispute in mainstream media and on the internet, is laid out in police material held in Stockholm to which the Guardian received unauthorised access.

    • Where Assange was

      Something for Vaughan Smith’s Suffolk Manor.

    • How to donate to Bradley Manning’s defense

      1,454 individuals have donated a total $98,358! Another 111 supporters have given $11,953 directly to Bradley’s legal trust account. (Updated: 5pm PST Dec. 13, 2010)

      Bradley Manning’s total legal defense will cost about $100,000. We have transferred $62,000 towards that expense so far, are in the process making additional transfers, and are committed to funding the total needed. The defense fund also supports international public outreach and activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cut greenhouse gas emissions or polar bears doomed, report says

      Biologist Andrew Derocher has seen plenty of dead polar bears over the years, but the recent death of two extremely thin cubs in Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Man., was almost too sad for him to watch.

    • Feds sue companies behind BP oil disaster as extent of damages continues to emerge (video)

      The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it was suing BP and eight other defendants for their roles in the oil rig disaster that claimed the lives of 11 workers and spilled 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    • JBI, Inc. Plastic2Oil Process Commences Commercial Operation

      Today, JBI, Inc. (JBI) (OTCQX:JBII) announces that it has entered into a formal Consent Order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9, which will allow the Company to immediately run its Plastic2Oil process commercially and begin construction of an additional processor at its Niagara Falls, New York P2O facility.

    • Justice Department Sues BP, Others Over Gulf Spill

      The Justice Department on Wednesday sued BP and eight other companies in the Gulf oil spill disaster in an effort to recover billions of dollars from the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

      The Obama administration’s lawsuit asks that the companies be held liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the spill, including damages to natural resources. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

    • United States sues BP over Gulf oil disaster

      The Obama administration has sued BP and several of its partners in the oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially exposing them to billions in legal costs.

      The action, filed in a New Orleans court yesterday, accuses them of violating safety regulations, and seeks unlimited damages to cover the costs of cleaning up the oil, the losses suffered by local businesses, and the damage done to the environment. “I’ve seen the devastation that this oil spill caused throughout the region, to individuals and to families, to communities and to businesses, to coastlines, to wetlands, as well as to wildlife,” the attorney general, Eric Holder, told reporters.

    • Louisiana oyster beds hit after BP oil spill

      Economic uncertainty is something the fishermen of the Gulf of Mexico know all too well. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally their busiest season. But this year most of the oysters are dead.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street’s Sneaky New Way to Make Bank from Struggling Homeowners

      When Florida retiree Gladys Walker fell behind in paying taxes on her modest Pompano Beach home, she had no idea one of America’s biggest banks and a major Wall Street hedge fund engaged in frenzied bidding for the right to collect her debt–all $768.25 of it.

    • Matt Taibbi’s Great Squid Hunt

      The epic failure of America’s financial system in 2008 was, among other things, a sobering gloss on the American romance with technical expertise. The tidal onrush of securitized debt that kept the housing bubble afloat was more than the simple byproduct of decades of deregulation in the nation’s financial sector; it was also the handiwork of a new generation of market analysts known as the Quants. These ingenious souls harnessed arcane financial instruments like collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and credit default swaps (CDS) to magically scrub bad housing debt of all apparent risk as it was traded up the Wall Street food chain.

    • Is America the sick man of the globe?
    • The Republican language police

      At the Huffington Post, Shahien Nasripour takes the story one step further, reporting that last week, the four Republican commissioners voted to ban the words “shadow banking,” “Wall Street,” “interconnected” and “deregulation” from the entire panel’s final report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Business leaders given government advisory roles

      They include Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline; Sara Weller, boss of Argos; and Sam Laidlaw, head of Centrica.

      In total, 31 private, public and not-for-profit sector leaders are being appointed to departmental boards.

      As non-executive directors they will scrutinise how departments are run.

    • Lib Dems call by-election early

      The Liberal Democrats will today bring forward the date of their first big electoral test since joining the Coalition Government.

      The party is planning to take the highly unusual step officially calling the by-election in Phil Woolas’ former seat of Oldham East and Saddleworth on January 13.

    • Read the audit Rights & Democracy doesn’t want you to see

      The foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons was set to meet behind closed doors on Thursday afternoon to discuss a confidential audit into embattled federal agency Rights & Democracy.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Administrative Net Censorship adopted in France; Pedophiles unworried

      The French Parliament adopted article 4 of the LOPPSI law, which establishes the administrative filtering of the Net through the Trojan horse of “child protection”. Such a scheme will allow for the generalised censorship of Internet content while doing nothing to stop pedophiles and child pornography. The rejection of judiciary supervision clearly illustrates the will of the executive branch to control the Internet.

    • Council text on web blocking – breaking the law to fight crime

      The Council of Justice Ministers adopted a text on web blocking at its recent meeting in Brussels on 2-3 December 2010. The Belgian Presidency, for domestic reasons, felt obliged to adopt a text during its term of office. As a result, the outcome is a hastily cobbled together text that makes little legal sense and whose main value is to finally betray the real meaning behind the proposal.

    • Amazon’s latest Kindle deletion: erotic, incest-themed fiction

      “I want to be clear that while the subject of incest may not appeal to some, there is no underage contact in any of my work, and I make that either explicitly clear in all my stories or I state it up front in the book’s disclaimer,” Kitt wrote in a blog post. “I don’t condone or support actual incest, just as someone who writes mysteries about serial killers wouldn’t condone killing.”

    • The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

      A new episode in French internet legislation — French ministers have passed a bill (original in French) allowing the government to add any website to a black list, which access providers will have to enforce.

    • Season’s Greetings from EFF’s International Team
    • Google refuses Connecticut attorney general’s request for data

      Google Inc. has declined to meet a deadline set by Connecticut’s top prosecutor to provide detailed records on any information it may have collected from unsecured wireless networks in his state while taking photographs for its Street View feature.

    • Statement by Minister Cannon on Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í and Other Prisoners

      The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the Government of Iran’s continuing imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders and the ongoing denial of legal rights to other Iranians:

      “I note with regret the reports that Iranian authorities are continuing the imprisonment of the seven Bahá’í community leaders whose 10-year sentence was announced in September 2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • City of Vancouver Calls Out CRTC on Behalf of its Residents

      The City of Vancouver today passed a groundbreaking motion in opposition to usage-based Internet billing, calling on the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to disallow financial penalties for ‘too much’ Internet use.

    • Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

      The beauty of the Internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group. Its governance is bottoms-up—with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world. This model has not only made the Internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it’s also prevented vested interests from taking control.

    • Homeland Security Presents ‘Evidence’ For Domain Seizures; Proves It Knows Little About The Internet – Or The Law

      Earlier this week, we noted how the owners of the various hiphop blogs and Torrent-Finder, the torrent search engine, that were seized by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group still hadn’t been provided the details on why their domains were seized. However, that’s no longer the case. A partial affidavit and the seizure warrant for those sites has been released, and it highlights how ridiculously clueless Homeland Security is on this issue (you can read the whole thing at the bottom of this post). What’s troubling isn’t just that the folks who made the decision to seize these domain names don’t seem to know what they’re talking about, but that they seem to have relied almost exclusively on the MPAA for their (lack of) knowledge on the subject at hand.

    • Facebook and Social networking: Tim Berners-Lee closes the stable door after the horse has bolted

      Since I started using computers and since I abandoned the choppy waters of Windows for the safe harbour of FOSS, the internet has experienced huge change and rapid growth. Better web browsers, file sharing, iPhones, iPads and other touch screen tablets too. The one thing that has not changed much though is that GNU/Linux always seems to breast the tape second. It seems fated to forever be behind the curve. I can live with that as long as I’m using my software my way. Free and open. However, that has implications for freedom and privacy that I don’t like living with—and neither does Tim Berners-Lee. Specifically, he has been venting about those very things in respect of social networks and how they threaten that freedom and privacy.

    • Mobile Carriers Dream of Charging per Page

      Just a week before the FCC holds a vote on whether to apply fairness rules to some of the nation’s internet service providers, two companies that sell their services to the country’s largest cellular companies showed off a different vision of the future: one where you’ll have to pay extra to watch YouTube or use Facebook.

      The companies, Allot Communications and Openet — suppliers to large wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon — showed off a new product in a web seminar Tuesday, which included a PowerPoint presentation (1.5-MB .pdf) that was sent to Wired by a trusted source.

    • Sen. Hutchison moves to block funds for FCC on net neutrality rules

      Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee filed an amendment to an appropriations bill aimed at preventing the Federal Communications Commission from adopting net neutrality regulation.

    • BPI (British IFPI) call to block the ‘Net

      In the wake of yesterday’s Wikileaks drama, a call by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for Internet blocking to support music copyright, has gone almost unnoticed. But the BPI’s call is a siren warning that the freedom of the Internet is intensely under threat.

    • UN considers panel of governments to set policies for policing the Internet

      A United Nations task force formed last week said it was considering the creation of a new inter-governmental working group to help further international cooperation on policies to police the Internet.

      The discussion was undertaken to “enhance” and extend the work of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a UN-sponsored organization that makes recommendations on how governments should deal with the Internet. The IGF’s mandate is due to expire soon, so members of the UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development Bureau took up the issue and formed a task force to determine what the new IGF should look like.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Just Sue Them! Nike Went After One End User For Ordering Chinese Counterfeit Trainers Via The Internet

      Nike International Limited (Bermuda), Nike European Operations Netherlands BV and Nike UK Limited sued Mr E. Bateman for buying counterfeit trainers via the internet, in the England and Wales Patent County Court (served August 26, 2010 and heard October 11, 2010).

    • Sustainability, Openness and P2P Production in the World of Fashion


      Chapter 1: A path towards networked artisans (by Bertram Niessen)

      Chapter 2: Studying the structure of the fashion system (by Oleg Koefoed and Lise Skov)

      Chapter 3: Open Source, p2p, social innovation and clothing (by Bertram Niessen)

      Chapter 4: Sustainability in fashion (by Oleg Koefoed and Lise Skov)

    • US Ambassador: Over-Focus On Development “Will Kill” WIPO

      The World Intellectual Property Organization is headed in a controversial direction, and a focus on development at the expense of protection of intellectual property rights will mean the end of the agency, the United States Ambassador Betty King said yesterday.

      “If we get to a system where the protections of patents are abrogated in the name of development, then we certainly will kill that organization,” she said, referring to WIPO. “So I worry very much about that.”

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA, Pharma Demanding US Push Other Countries To Have Significantly More Draconian IP Laws Than The US

        The constant push to expand government granted monopoly privileges for those who benefit most from them never ceases. It seems like every other day or so, we hear about US lobbyists for those industries pushing for greater legal support around the globe. The latest is with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that the USTR is currently negotiating. The MPAA wrote a letter, which was co-signed by the major pharmaceutical trade group and the US Chamber of Commerce, pushing for the agreement to include rules that go well beyond current US copyright and patent laws.

      • How Much Does File-Sharing REALLY Cost Record Companies?

        In October, a federal judge ruled for record companies in their lawsuit against Lime Wire, issuing an injunction and delivering tough language on the file-sharing service’s copyright infringement.

        The case is about to move to a jury trial that will determine what damages are owed by Lime Wire to the labels, but before that happens, record companies are going to experience some pain, thanks to a decision on Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.

        In the lawsuit, the music companies are seeking more than $1 billion in statutory damages, so Lime Wire asked the judge to make the labels prove lost profits.

        In response, the labels offered to show “gross revenue” on the infringing works.

      • Dutch Anti-Piracy Group, With MPAA’s Help, Able To Grab 29 US-Hosted Domains… With No Trial Or Notice

        Now that the US government appears to be endorsing the idea of simply seizing domain names without notice to the proprietors of those domains, it appears that others are doing the same as well. TorrentFreak reports that the Dutch anti-piracy group, BREIN, with help from the MPAA, has been able to get 29 different domain names — all hosted in the US — to point to BREIN’s homepage instead. The owners of those domains were apparently given no notice and no recourse. It sounds like most of the sites did not host any content but linked to potentially infringing content.

      • More People Calling US Copyright Group’s Bluff

        Mass copyright lawsuit filer US Copyright Group (really, DC law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) has been claiming for a while that it really, really was going to file lawsuits against the thousands of folks they’ve sued in the specific jurisdictions where they’re located — though many have questioned whether or not it would really do this, since it would be quite expensive and DGW is a tiny, tiny law firm.

      • Record Labels Blame Google For Piracy, Hint At Censorship

        The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK’s main recording industry trade body, came out with guns blazing against Google today. BPI says that search engines like Google are as popular as P2P applications as a source for illegal downloads. The music industry is pressing Google and others to censor their search results in favor of ‘legal’ music services.

      • Judge Blocks Copyright Trolls in Porn-Downloading Lawsuits

        In a big victory in the fight against copyright trolls, a judge in West Virginia has blocked an attempt to unmask accused file sharers in seven predatory lawsuits involving the alleged illegal downloading of pornography. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), working with Charles J. Kaiser of Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser & Altmeyer, PLLC, filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the film companies were abusing the law in an attempt to pressure settlements.

        In these cases — as in many others across the country — the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film, and improperly lumped hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live. The motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims.

      • Conservative ad against the Coalition’s iPod tax
      • Warner Brothers Won’t Fight ‘Yogi Bear’ Video Parody

        A video parody of “Yogi Bear” that’s much darker than your average episode of that vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon – not to mention the coming Warner Brothers film adaptation – isn’t a viral marketing campaign gone awry. But the studio said on Monday that it wouldn’t try to take down the Web satire, either.

      • Warner Bros. Smarter Than The Average Studio? Won’t Fight Yogi Bear Parody

        So, kudos to Warner Bros. for not overreacting. It’s sad that it still needs to be highlighted when some of these firms don’t overreact, but hopefully it means they’re learning.

      • Canadian Association of Broadcasters Reacts to Liberal Party Stance to Abandon Local Radio Artisans in Favour of Foreign Record Labels

        Today’s announcement by the Liberal Party of Canada outlining their proposed amendments to Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, fails to recognize the significant role local radio plays in supporting Canadian music artists and local communities across Canada.

      • Warning over digital music and film purchases

        Consumers who buy digital music, films and computer software do not have the same legal protection as people buying CDs or DVDs, a consumer watchdog warned today.

        Consumer Focus said digital products are not considered “tangible goods”, so while consumers on the high street are protected by the Sale of Goods Act if their purchase is not of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose or as described, people buying digital goods online are not protected.

      • ArcticStartup Should Be Taxed For Copyright Purposes, Just In Case

        Last night I came home to read some news that Finland is considering adding a copyright tariff on external hard drives. A similar tariff is added to all different empty media, in this case empty CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and so on. Now, the Finnish parliament is discussing the possibility of adding this tariff to all external hard drives. It’s plain stupidity that will offer artists comfort for a year or so, before it begins to both hurt them and businesses selling hard disks.


        Update (17th December, 12.30 GMT): The correct compensation prices are 5 euros for hard drives between 250Gb and 950Gb and 10 euros for hard drives above 950 Gb all the way until 3 Tb. So you’d be best off getting a large 3Tb hard disk where there is no compensation included.

      • Judge kills massive P2P porn lawsuit, kneecaps copyright troll

        Only 10 days after a federal judge in Washington, DC sharply limited the US Copyright Group’s mass file-sharing lawsuits there, a federal judge in West Virginia has come down even harder on another set of mass lawsuits. Ken Ford, the lawyer behind the Adult Copyright Company, has just had his business model chopped off at the knees; not only did Judge John Preston Bailey dismiss every defendant but one in Ford’s mass lawsuits, he also demanded that each case be filed separately and that Ford only submit IP addresses likely to map to West Virginia Internet users.

      • More copyright lawsuits filed over Review-Journal ‘death ray’ graphic

        Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC, as expected, continues to crank out copyright infringement lawsuits over the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vdara “death ray” graphic.

        The latest website operators and contributors sued this week in U.S. District Court for Nevada, accused of posting the graphic online without authorization, were:

        • Eric Lipman, identified by Righthaven as a guest blogger for the website legalblogwatch.typepad.com.

        • An entity called Justmeans, along with Martin Smith and Andrea Brennen, allegedly associated with the website justmeans.com.

      • Judge In Limewire Case Wants To Explore How Much File Sharing Really Costs Record Labels

        It’s not entirely clear, from there, how each side will go about showing damages, but it is interesting that the plan seems to be to look for empirical evidence to determine actual damages. I’m really surprised by this — since my understanding was that with statutory rates, the whole idea was that the copyright holder never had to bother proving any actual damage (something I disagree with — but it’s what I thought the law said…). Either way, it certainly would be nice if there were some reasonable data to work with, so this should be worth following.

      • ACTA

        • USTR’s Request for Comments on ACTA

          USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • BPI Effectively Admits That Digital Economy Act Was Useless

          This past year was a banner year for BPI. The UK market has bucked the trend in pretty much every other part of the world and has seen recorded music sales growing, while its overall music industry (if you count how much money musicians actually make — beyond just recorded music sales) has been growing for quite some time. Even with all of that, BPI was able to push through the incredibly draconian Digital Economy Act in the UK via questionable means.

          So BPI should be thrilled, right? In the midst of a recession, and a massive decline in recorded music sales everywhere else in the world, it was able to buck that trend even before it got this new law passed.

          But no, to BPI, absolutely everything is about “piracy.” It’s put out a new report whining that “piracy” is still increasing and saying it’s all Google’s fault. Of course, this isn’t a surprise as BPI has been trying to set Google up for a lawsuit.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/12/2010: Mentor Graphics Joins Linux Foundation, Linux 2.6.37 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Have yourself a very Linux Christmas

    Whether you cut your teeth downloading Linux 0.x source code or you want to give Linux a try for the first time, we’ve got presents for you.

    What do you get for the Linux lover in your life? Or, for that matter, a would-be Linux user or someone you want to talk into giving Linux a try? Well, here are some of my suggestions. Got some of your own? Share them in the comments.

  • Best Gifts For the Linux Geek, Make Your Own Railgun, and More

    Tis the season! Linux is the gift that keeps on giving; here is a roundup of my suggestions for treating yourself, your loved ones, or other people with Linux and geeky goodness.

  • How’d Ya Do That?

    Since moving over to Linux, I’ve been using the graphics applications the come with this wonderful OS. And I use them exclusively to produce all my cartoon features. The Gimp (photo editing) and Scribus (Desktop publishing), especially, do a great job in helping me create my cartoon features for newspapers and other print publications.

  • Free Software turns DisplayLink docking stations into Linux client PCs

    DisplayLink, maker of graphics-over-USB solutions, has partnered with Canadian company Userful to turn Displaylink-powered docking stations into Linux-driven CPU-less client PCs.

  • Experiences with (very) rare Linux crashing, upgrades

    The CentOS upgrade process refreshed all of the binaries on the system including the kernel and the system booted up and was up and running in no time. No tweaking or adjustments were needed at all. This is one of the most amazing things about Linux is that the upgrade process can be so straightforward and so effective. Great great stuff here. I am so used to seeing upgrades in Windows and other software fail miserably.

  • Desktop

    • A Windows User Installs Ubuntu Linux

      Maybe I’ll look back and wonder why I didn’t try Ubuntu sooner. So far, it appears to be a great solution for older computers.

    • Serious games, KDE and Co

      I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say that they would use Linux if only it had xxx programs. I have also lost count of the number of times I have heard vendors say that it is not economically viable to produce programs for such a small user base. Both parties have a valid point but no solution. The solution is easy to say but hard to implement.

      The solution is. Either the user base must increase and kick start the vendors or the vendors must build up the user base with the offering of so called “killer apps”. Theoretically, either one of those solutions could work. The hard part is doing what is needed to make one of those choices a reality.

    • Windows 7 and the Linux desktop (PART 1)

      Anyways, as I am sure you know by now, I choose Linux Mint 10 and the Linux desktop in general over Windows 7, and it certainly is not just because I expected better from the latter.

    • The Next New Year of Linux on the Desktop: 2011?

      Those of us who have been part of the FOSS community for more than, oh, say 10 minutes, are no doubt already familiar with the recurring “Year of Linux on the Desktop” debate.

      It’s a topic that comes up again and again in the Linux blogosphere, typically fueled by some new success or promising advance in our favorite desktop operating system.

      The question — or questions, really — center on whether Linux has “arrived” on the desktop already, whether it’s on the verge of doing so, whether it might possibility get there at some point in the undefined future, and so on. You get the idea.

      Well, guess what? It’s baaa-ack.

    • AUSkey finally gets open source support

      Starting today, Linux users will be able to take advantage of the government’s AUSkey authentication software after months of waiting.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Nothing but ‘Net: hands-on with the Cr-48 Chrome OS laptop

      Google’s ‘Net-centric Chrome OS platform challenges conventional notions about what constitutes an operating system. It puts the cloud front and center, eschewing the familiar desktop paradigm and native applications in favor of a browser-only environment. It’s an audacious and intriguing experiment, but it’s not clear yet if it will resonate with a mainstream audience.

      To get a feel for how Google’s new platform works in the field, we spent a few days testing the Cr-48, an experimental laptop prototype that runs an early version of Chrome OS. Although the software is still under development and not yet mature enough to support an authoritative conclusion about the platform’s potential, we have assembled some observations based on our experiences.

  • Kernel Space

    • Official open source driver for Kinect
    • Mentor Graphics Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ: MENT) is its newest member.

      Mentor Graphics was founded nearly 30 years ago and today is a leading supplier of products and services that assist in the embedded design of chips and boards, as well as embedded operating systems, applications and drivers.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.37 (Part 3) – Network and storage hardware

      Numerous changes to the network and storage code are to increase processing speed and improve the system’s hardware support. Among the new additions are a PPTP stack, various drivers for Wi-Fi hardware by Atheros, Broadcom and Realtek, and code for hard disks with a logical sector size of 4 Kbytes.

    • The Linux 2.6.37 Kernel Nears Completion

      With it being just over a week since the release of Linux 2.6.37-rc5, Linus Torvalds has this evening put out Linux 2.6.37-rc6. This seventh release candidate to the Linux 2.6.37 kernel is just packing regression fixes as it nears completion

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Support GNOME by shopping at Amazon this Xmas

        With Xmas almost here you’re likely to find yourself edging near the starting line titled ‘the mad rush for last-minute gifts‘.

        If you’re going to be busy on Amazon over the festive period don’t forget to use the GNOME referral links. Using these cost you nothing and they work just like normal amazon links, but instead of the shopping giant getting every cent of your cash a small slice goes to help keep the wonderful folks at GNOME all warm and fuzzy.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon on a Acer Aspire Netbook

      I just bought an Acer Aspire One D255 Netbook with the intention of testing out Sabayon, and seeing how our distro stacks up against Win7 and other Linux distributions geared towards netbooks.

      I intentionally bought a lightweight, cheap netbook so I could gauge the experience other people might have if they decide to experiment with their netbooks. The crippled Windows 7 Starter edition that ships on many of these less expensive netbooks may prompt people to check out alternatives.

    • Easy Linux for Your Grandparents

      In the January 2011 Computer Power User magazine there is a review of a new Ubuntu derivative designed for novice computer users to run Linux on their desktop, Pinguy OS.


      Of course, I do have to question the basic concept behind this new distribution – Who is it really for? As the developer states, the idea was to build a simple to use operating system with everything a typical user would want built-in. Is the typical user someone who already runs Linux and likes the simplicity of not having to do all the legwork to get the OS up and running or is this the answer to the desktop Linux question; can my grandma use this?

    • Top 10 Distribution Developments in 2010

      Millions of Linux-based ARM client computers have shipped this year in the form of Android phones and tablets, and Canonical and other companies have seen the wisdom in supporting ARM for netbooks. You won’t find a lot of netbooks or desktop-type systems with ARM on the shelves right now, but I suspect 2011 will change that.

    • Interview with Doudoulinux’s creator.

      A: DoudouLinux is a young project that was launched this summer after 2-3 years of experiments. We want to provide a child OS for standard computers and our model for ease of use is gaming consoles. Indeed gaming consoles are just computers so why should standard computers be much more complicated to use? Additionally as it is based on Linux, DoudouLinux is not this kind of empty OS that are sold in supermarkets neither. Some people would have advertised for DoudouLinux as “The kid OS for human beings” [NDR Ubuntu like] but I chose “The computer they prefer” ;) .

    • Bodhi 0.1.3 Released

      This 0.1.3 release is a bit larger than previous versions, coming in at 385 megs (still under our 400 meg goal).

    • Reviews

      • Pardus Corporate 2 beta

        Pardus Corporate 2 is the corporate (professional) edition of Pardus, the Linux distribution developed and maintained by the National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), Turkey. This is the first beta, released on December 13. The final release will be made available on February 16, 2011 (see the release schedule). This article presents a cursory review of this beta release, and because the re-designed management tools in Pardus Corporate will also feature on Pardus 2011, this (review) will also give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on Pardus 2011, which is slated to be released on January 20, 2011.


        The final stable release of Pardus Corporate is at least two months away, and I think that is time enough for the developers to add the following features:

        * Full disk encryption support in YALI, similar to Fedora’s implementation. By the way, the next snapshot release of PC-BSD 9, will feature disk encryption support in the installer in a similar fashion.
        * The firewall rule creation process could use a few more options
        * Ability to search across tabs in the Package Manager.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Flash 2010 Christmas Sale

        Now here’s a special Christmas present for all of you Linux enthusiasts out there, as Mandriva announced the availability of its portable USB Mandriva Flash Drive. It is based on the KDE4 Edition of the Mandriva Linux 2010 distribution (released on July 8th, 2010) and it’s available as an 8GB USB flash drive.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to pay $20 million

        Software company Red Hat has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a 6-year-old class action suit that accused it of deceiving investors by falsifying its finances.

      • Red Hat’s New Strategies For Enterprise And SMB

        Red Hat has devised a two pronged channel strategy to address customers in the enterprise and the SMB segments in India. The strategy is essentially a part of Red Hat’s plans for RHEL 6 that was released last month.

        To target the large enterprise, the vendor is expanding partnerships with its advanced business partners (ABPs).

      • Serious games, KDE and Co
      • Fedora

        • [opinion] Fedora needs an architect

          I read yet another thread about Fedora randomly changing the way UNIX has done things forever (the specific thread was on /dev/shm mount options) and it reminded me that I’ve been saying for a while that Fedora urgently needs an architect. FESCo should appoint a person as their technical representative who speaks for overall system architecture concerns. The person in this role should actively seek out compatibility or integration problems but should also be a “go to” person for concerns that arise in the interests of distribution cohesion. Sure, they should be accountable, etc. but the idea that everything should be filed in some ticket and wait a week for FESCo to debate it is both the reason these things don’t get filed (because you can’t file every tiny annoyance) and also the reason why we have these long mailing list threads in the interim.

        • Fedora 14 KDE

          Pros: Comes with KDE 4.5; good selection of software.

          Cons: Install routine is a bit odd and could use a tweak or two; software management is good but not quite as good as Linux Mint’s or the Ubuntu Software Center.

          Suitable For: Intermediate and advanced Linux users, particularly those who prefer or require the KDE desktop.

          Summary: Fedora 14 KDE is a good choice for experienced Linux users that prefer the KDE desktop environment.

          Rating: 3.5/5

        • Red Hat Dictates Fedora 15 Wallpaper

          The whole purpose of using the upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper for Fedora 15 was because Fedora 15 will be the first distribution to feature GNOME 3 in its entirety as default. But as the conversation continued it came out that there is still a slight chance it would not ready for Fedora 15. In any case, GNOME 2 would be provided as a choice and fallback for those without sufficient hardware. So do they use the GNOME 3 wallpaper for GNOME 2 too?

          From there the conversation was joined by other team members very much against having to use the GNOME 3 wallpaper either as a basis for all the artwork or just as the GNOME 3 background because it breaks consistency. Alternative choices and default for other spins were also discussed.

        • Fedora Board Meeting, 13 December 2010
    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze Kernel to be Completely Free

        Debian developers have been working overtime to remove any of the proprietary drivers from their kernel that shipped with 4.0 and 5.0. Many users appreciate this firmware to convert bricks to useful hardware, but the Debian project strives to remain committed to their guidelines. One states that any code used must allow redistribution of it and its source code. Another says that any code must allow modification. Most closed-source code restricts or prohibits both of these. The press release said, “We hereby reaffirm Free Software as one of our priorities, as documented in the Debian Social Contract.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Changing how we track Launchpad’s bugs, questions and blueprints

          From today, all Launchpad bugs, code, questions and blueprints are tracked under the one launchpad project.

          We’ve already moved everything from the individual projects over to the parent launchpad project. All you need do differently is search/file bugs, questions and blueprints under that parent Launchpad project, rather than Rosetta, for example.

        • The future of Ubuntu

          Traditionally Ubuntu has been known for providing the world with a stable, friendly and usable GNU/Linux desktop while Fedora has been known for launching cutting edge technologies which might not be very mature at the point of release. Hence hardcore hackers swear by the likes of Fedora and Debian while casual users loved Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu as Intended. My Experience Of Using the ‘Default’ Ubuntu

          Like many so-called “power users”, the first thing I do after installing Linux is customize it. I set it to my preferred desktop settings, applications and configuration because I know what I like, and I normally go to great lengths to get it just right. Recently, after setting up a new Ubuntu Maverick install for my wife, I began to wonder what it would be like to run a system on the defaults. To try things their way – to use Ubuntu’s desktop settings, Ubuntu’s preferred applications and configuration. This meant I could not install any of my favorite applications (Chrome, VLC, Exaile…) if Ubuntu already provided an equivalent (Firefox, Totem, Rhythmbox…). How did it turn out? Frustrating, but with some surprising results. (Note: This is not your usual Ubuntu review, but my miscellaneous ramblings, and some praises. Read on for details.)

        • Ubuntu Up and Running Book Review

          With all that said, I would stay give this a book a “would recommend” as it is very detailed, and can go a long way in taking the interested reader from being interested in Ubuntu, to reasonably well versed in Ubuntu.
          The chapter covering the command line is thorough and clear. In fact, I learned a few things that I didn’t about using some CLI tools installed in Ubuntu.
          I look forward to future versions of this book covering newer versions of Ubuntu, and hopefully, through the Blogger Review program, is touched up in some of its rough edges.

        • Bored of your homepage? Try this bright Ubuntu-ized one instead

          Created by spideofdesign on deviant art the theme is bold, minimal and works just like a regular google search page – just a bit prettier.

        • It’s Been a Crazy Year

          So here I am, the official manager of the Canonical Ubuntu Server team (and acting manager of Foundations and Security)…..wow….up ’til now, I’ve been pretty client focused…..now I have to switch gears to the server workspace?…..backfill two positions?…..figure out our cloud infrastructure stack?….hell, figure out cloud!……what the %$#! did I just get myself into!!!!

        • Myth Busted #6: Ubuntu is only for n00bs and not for serious linux users ( n00buntu )

          Ubuntu is n00b friendly, yes. We work to help new and non-technical users going with Ubuntu, yes. We like n00bs, yes.

          However, we’re just as much complected GNU/Linux as anyone else, if you want it to be. In fact, tons of Ubuntu Developers love using tweeked systems, and we’d never “disable” that for ourselves!

          This myth is mostly false, and I say mostly, because we try to not let anyone act like they’re better then anyone else for using our distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • World’s first dual-core smartphone debuts in Korea

          LG Electronics announced an Android 2.2-powered handset claimed to be the world’s first dual-core smartphone, due for a release in Korea next month. The Optimus 2X is built around a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and offers a four-inch WVGA display, an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel webcam facing front, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Donates Java Tools Source Code

    Google on Wednesday plans to make a substantial contribution to the open source community: It’s giving over $5 million worth of code and intellectual property associated with two Java Eclipse products, WindowsBuilder and Code Pro Profiler, to the Eclipse Foundation.

    The company acquired WindowsBuilder, a Java GUI design program for Eclipse, and Code Pro Profiler, a Java performance analysis tool, when it purchased Java development tool maker Instantiations in August. After offering Instantiations software for free in September, Google received many requests from Java developers to “take it to the next level,” said Eric Clayberg, software engineering manager for Google Developer Tools and former co-founder and VP of product development at Instantiations.

  • Vietnam slow in applying open source software

    Vietnam has been developing open source software for the last 10 years, but it has witnessed no considerable progress so far, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle releases Open Office 3.3 and MySQL 5.5

      Since taking over Sun Microsystems, Oracle’s posturing has led many to believe that the open source projects MySQL and Open Office are set for the closed source scrapheap. Both MySQL 5.5 and Open Office 3.3 are the first major releases since the takeover. Somewhat surprisingly, Oracle is stressing the continuing free software character and free availability of both of these important open source products.

      Oracle’s Cloud Office mirrors moves by Microsoft and Google, both of which offer cloud based office suites. Cloud Office is essentially a web based office suite, offering users the opportunity to work on documents using their web browser. Oracle cites interoperability between Microsoft Office and Open Office, though anyone with experience will know that the difference between such claims and reality can be large.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 6.20 released

      Drupal 6.20, a maintenance release fixing issues reported through the bug tracking system, is now available for download. There are no security fixes in this release. Upgrading your existing Drupal 6 sites is recommended.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 9 installer preview

      KDE 4 will still be the default desktop environment, but you will be able to choose from GNOME, LXDE, Xfce.

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims denied

      The claims were made by Gregory Perry, a former OpenBSD developer who now heads a company in Florida named GoVirtual Education; it offers VMWare training.

      In an email to the head of the OpenBSD project, Theo de Raadt, Perry accused a couple of people by name of implementing the backdoors.

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims: bugs found during code audit

      De Raadt decided to go public with the mail, posting it to the openbsd-tech mailing list, along with his own comments.

      In that post, among other statements, he said: “The mail came in privately from a person I have not talked to for nearly 10 years. I refuse to become part of such a conspiracy, and will not be talking to Gregory Perry about this. Therefore I am making it public so that (a) those who use the code can audit it for these problems, (b) those that are angry at the story can take other actions, (c) if it is not true, those who are being accused can defend themselves.”

  • Project Releases

    • Paludis 0.56.1 Released

      Paludis 0.56.1 has been released:

      * We now show the number of skipped and failed packages in “x of y” output.
      * We now run pkg_pretend even if certain confirmations are required.
      * Various minor bug fixes and documentation tweaks.

  • Government

    • EU group to map advantages of public administrations using open source

      A consortium of public administrations in eleven EU member states, IT innovation centres, and the university of Sheffield have started a project to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software. It specifically wants to provide guidelines to those administrations that are less familiar with this type of software.

    • Is 2011 the year of open source in the public sector?

      Speaking shortly before Christmas, cabinet office minister Francis Maude reiterated the importance of open source software for future government contracts. Speaking to a delegation of large IT suppliers, including BT, Cap Gemini, Hewlett Packard and IBM, Maude pulled no punches, stating:

      “The days of the mega IT contracts are over, we will need you to rethink the way you approach projects, making them smaller, off the shelf and open source where possible.”

      The speech, at a supplier summit in London, broke no new ground, but it is the clearest indication yet that the coalition government is committed to pre-election pledges from both parties to level the playing field for both open source and smaller IT suppliers in providing IT goods and services to the public sector.

    • European Citizen Initiative powered by Open Source software

      The European Parliament wants to ensure that software used for the European Citizen’s Initiative (1 mio signatures for initialising European laws) is open source, adopted today…

  • Programming

    • Git Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes Git as its newest member. Git joins twenty-three other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.


  • 5 Best Websites With Awesome Christmas Wallpaper For Your Desktop

    It’s that time of the year again. There’s snow on the ground, you’ve got your holiday shopping done (right?), and everybody’s in a festive mood. Personally, I’m looking forward to kicking back with the family and watching Christmas Vacation, as well as catching some holiday bowl games.

  • Science

    • Periodic table to get atomic weight update

      The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights will update the atomic weights for 10 elements on the periodic table.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange has committed no crime in Australia: AFP

      Neither WikiLeaks not its founder Julian Assange has committed any crime in Australia over the leaking of official United States government documents, the Australian Federal Police announced this afternoon.

      This comes despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard labelling the actions of the group “illegal” two weeks ago.

    • Dear Government of Sweden …

      So imagine our surprise when all of a sudden you decided to go after one Julian Assange on sexual assault charges. Well, sort of: first you charged him. Then after investigating it, you dropped the most serious charges and rescinded the arrest warrant.

      Then a conservative MP put pressure on you and, lo and behold, you did a 180 and reopened the Assange investigation. Except you still didn’t charge him with anything. You just wanted him for “questioning.” So you — you who have sat by and let thousands of Swedish women be raped while letting their rapists go scott-free — you decided it was now time to crack down on one man — the one man the American government wants arrested, jailed or (depending on which politician or pundit you listen to) executed. You just happened to go after him, on one possible “count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape (third degree).” And while thousands of Swedish rapists roam free, you instigated a huge international manhunt on Interpol for this Julian Assange!

      What anti-rape crusaders you’ve become, Swedish government! Women in Sweden must suddenly feel safer?

    • Crime and Punishment

      “The lawyer said the only correspondence his client had received was a note telling him that a copy of Time magazine sent to him had been destroyed because the cover bore his photograph.”

    • EC’s IT chief hits out at open source hypocrisy claims

Clip of the Day

Athlete Robot: Sprint Running (1st video)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 16/12/2010: Debian 6.0 With Free Linux Kernel, Linux at Electronics Show

Posted in News Roundup at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google

    • Ubuntu running on a Chrome CR-48 notebook

      Google’s Chrome OS notebook, the not-so-snappily titled CR-48, has been demoed running Ubuntu Desktop edition.

      The procedure for getting Ubuntu up and running on the device is by no means as simple you’d think, requiring the use of another Linux machine on hand ‘with chroot set up for Chromium OS development.’

    • Chrome OS discoveries

      Speaking of partitions, it has twelve! The first is the “state” partition that stores all of your local data. Interesting to note is that all of your Chrome data (history, passwords, etc) is encrypted with eCryptfs and is mounted on login, so if someone were to steal your notebook you’d still be safe.

    • Chrome is Ready for Business

      Since we launched the Chromium project over two years ago, we’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from IT administrators who want to manage and configure Google Chrome. Of course, we were eager to do what we could to help them get Chrome deployed inside their organizations.

      Today, after talking directly to administrators and testing the features extensively with other organizations, we believe the first set of features is ready for prime-time. Both Chrome and Chromium are now manageable through Group Policy objects on Windows, plist/MCX configuration on Mac, and special JSON configuration files on Linux. We polished up the NTLM and Kerberos protocol support, and created a list of supported policies and administrative templates to help administrators deploy. For users needing access to older web applications not yet qualified for Chrome, we also developed Chrome Frame, an Internet Explorer (TM) plug-in that provides Chrome-quality rendering for the broader Web, while defaulting to host rendering for any web applications that still require IE.

    • Chrome is Ready for Business

      When we announced that Chrome is now used by over 120 million users and showed off some of its latest features last week, we saw a tremendous amount of excitement from both users and businesses. Many businesses asked how they can get the benefits of increased security, speed and the modern browser capabilities that Chrome offers with the configurability and customizations they need.

    • Chrome OS: Please Don’t Open the Hood

      By now, you may have seen the latest promo for the upcoming Chrome notebook. Advocating the advantages of the cloud-based Chrome OS, the video is mildly amusing and largely irrelevant — a case at least as strong could be made for preferring locally-installed applications, and I suspect that what people really want to see are close-ups of Chrome OS.

      However, those close-ups can be harder to see than you might expect. Since Google is not releasing any official downloads, you need to either compile your own code, or to sort through the unofficial releases until you find one that is not only reasonably current, but whose source also seems trustworthy. After struggling to determine if you have the latest version and learning how to convert it for a virtualization tool like VirtualBox, you might conclude that the easiest way to satisfy your curiosity about Chrome OS is to apply for the Chrome Netbook Pilot Program in the hopes of receiving a test machine.

    • RMS and Trust

      RMS has been a stalwart promoter of Free Software. His take on cloud computing is that it is “worse than stupidity”. In principle, he is right; trusting someone is worse than stupidity but we humans do it all the time. Not trusting anyone is paranoia. It is possible to use IT in the real world while being paranoid but a lot less gets done, networking, for instance. We should not trust our firewalls but we do. We trust other drivers to follow the rules of the road when that trust is obviously misplaced but the reward of getting from A to B is greater than the slight risk of a collision.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel
    • Multi-Core Scaling In A KVM Virtualized Environment

      Earlier this week we published benchmarks comparing Oracle VM VirtualBox to Linux KVM and the Linux system host performance. Some of the feedback from individuals said that it was a bad idea using the Intel Core i7 “Gulftown” with all twelve of its CPU threads available to the hardware-virtualized guest since virtualization technologies are bad in dealing with multiple virtual CPUs. But is this really the case? With not being able to find any concrete benchmarks in that area, we carried out another set of tests to see how well the Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine scales against the host as the number of CPU cores available to each is increased. It can be both good and bad for Linux virtualization.

    • The Linux Kernel’s Impact on the Desktop User Experience

      It’s a cliché that most computer users care more about bells and whistles than how software performs “under the hood.” And while there may be some truth in such a view, it’s also clear that the backend affects users in important ways, whether they realize it or not. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at some recently introduced features in the Linux kernel, and what they mean for the desktop user experience.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 260.19.26 Linux Driver Released

        Two weeks after NVIDIA had put out their unannounced 260.19.21 Linux driver, they have returned to the web and have officially released the NVIDIA 260.19.26 graphics driver for Linux x86/x86_64 along with Solaris and FreeBSD operating systems.

        The NVIDIA 260.19.29 driver adds support for new NVIDIA GPUs, fixes a bug that causes some OpenGL applications to become unresponsive, adds support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro, and adds a new 3D Vision Pro configuration file option to the xorg.conf.

      • X Server 1.9.3 Has Now Arrived

        Coming just as anticipated, Apple’s Jeremy Huddleston has announced the release of X.Org Server 1.9.3. This is the third maintenance release in the 1.9 series, which was originally introduced in August.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Review: Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 Looks Very Promising

        The first Amarok 2.4 beta, codenamed “Closer”, was released just a few days ago, on December 7, and it looks very promising. It comes with quite long list of new features, improvements and bug fixes, and among the top highlights are a collection scanner rewritten from scratch, option to transcode tracks when dragging and dropping them to the local collection, support for iPod Touch 3G devices, writing statistics and covers directly in files. These are not all though.


        All in all, this release could just be one of the most exceptional releases in a long time, and it’s only a beta yet.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: ZevenOS-Neptune 1.9.1

      ZevenOS is frequently described as Linux with a BeOS touch.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Eucalyptus Systems Partners with Red Hat to Deliver Open Cloud Solutions

        Eucalyptus Systems, creators of the Eucalyptus private cloud platform, today announced a partnership with Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, to offer the freedom of cross-cloud compatibility and expanded customer choice in the cloud. The two companies are collaborating to provide Eucalyptus support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Eucalyptus compatibility with the Apache Deltacloud application programming interface (API). These technology integrations will enable enterprises to easily transform Red Hat virtualized environments into a secure Eucalyptus private cloud, while increasing cloud interoperability and customer freedom through Deltacloud. End users will gain the ability to run applications and workloads on Eucalyptus or on public clouds supported by Deltacloud.

      • Red Hat buddies up in the cloud with Eucalyptus

        Eucalyptus Systems has struck a partnership with Red Hat that should ultimately ease the deployment of Eucalyptus private cloud platform on Red Hat software.

        With this new arrangement, Eucalyptus Systems engineers, with the help of Red Hat engineers, will make Eucalyptus easily accessible through Red Hat’s Deltacloud, which is a set of overlay APIs designed to facilitate cloud platform interoperability.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux At The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

      So far the Linux presence at CES 2011 looks to be mostly in the form of Android and other Linux-based operating systems appearing on new tablets and other mobile devices. Though there should be the assortment of usual companies innovating atop of open-source software / Linux, like SplashTop and others. There will also be the release of Intel’s Sandy Bridge, which already has open-source Linux support, among other PC hardware happenings at this event.

    • Linaro signs up HP and Canonical to give advice

      Linaro added HP, Canonical, the Limo Foundation, Montavista and GENIVI to its already impressive roster of industry partners. The fab five have become advisors to the organisation, which includes Linux heavyweights, IBM and Texas Instruments (TI).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Three UK launches new unlimited smartphone data plan

          That’s a pretty bold claim. Three’s One Plan currently lets you have the likes of the HTC Desire HD for £35 per month if you fancy having a go at testing these new claims. The company’s site still has the 1GB allowance attached to its plans, mind, so make sure you check your small print before signing up to anything.

        • Android Update Latest – Edition 401

          We were contacted by a representative this afternoon regarding thealleged NOOKcolor updatedue in January. As we feared, the news was too good to be true. The NOOKcolor isnot getting the Android Marketas part of any update, nor has one been announced for January. We heard at launch time that B&N were going to offer their own apps and distribution model for users and that is still the case. However, don’t look for access to the 100,000 strong library that handsets currently enjoy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Building Government 2.0 Through Collaborative Software Development

    uzzwords, these concepts, utilized by open source communities and projects such as Linux, Apache and Subversion, are driving tremendous value when applied to internal government development efforts. Specifically, community-driven collaborative development builds better software in shorter timeframes, allowing agencies to do more with less.

  • WindowBuilder becomes new open source project with major code contribution to Eclipse Foundation

    When Google acquired Instantiations in August 2010, everyone knew about our Java Eclipse products. Shortly after we joined, we talked about how best to help developers now that we are part of Google. We have always wanted to get these tools in more developers’ hands. So, back in September we decided to give them away for free! The community response has been fantastic. With that done, we asked ourselves, how could we make a good thing even better? How about by open sourcing the code and creating two new Eclipse projects!

  • EU-funded Open Source Initiatives: NESSI’s Missing Deliverables

    NESSI, is the “European Technology Platforms” – i.e. industry-led consortia considered by the EU relevant discussion partners to discuss how to achieve Europe’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability objectives – and its declared strategic objective was to support the evolution from software to services. Not suprisingly open source was supposed to play a major role, but things went differently.

  • Ushahidi 2010: A Year of Growth

    In 2010 the Ushahidi community managed to shift the way information flows in this world, just a little bit, and these repercussions will be felt for a long time to come. This year has been an exciting year for the Ushahidi organization, with major upgrades in the platform(s), greater visibility globally and amazing deployments around the world.

  • 56 Open Source Replacements for Popular Web Development and Design Tools

    Open source Web development tools have come a long way. The open source community offers a huge array of applications that are useful to Web developers and designers. In many cases, these open source tools are even more widely used than their closed source counterparts. And some open source Web tools don’t even have any real closed source competitors.

    As these tools mature, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sort them into categories. Some blogging platforms are robust enough to build an entire site. Content management systems often have some features you usually find in Web app development frameworks, and text editors begin to look more and more like full integrated development environments (IDEs).

  • Navigating the open source CMS selection process
  • Navigating the open source CMS selection process (Part 2)

    As the number of open source content management products on the market has grown, choosing a system has become more difficult for discerning IT and marketing shops. Much of the product confusion stems from the various open source licensing and business models out in the market; but once a company chooses a product which aligns with its licensing needs, there are other things to consider.

  • Netflix touts open source, ignores Linux

    Last week’s post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody’s called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don’t care to let their customers do the same.

  • Bitcoin – Open Source Virtual Currency Project that Could Become the Gold Standard of Digital Currency

    Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency project. Peer-to-peer (P2P) in this context means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network. This is one important open source project that holds a lot promises for the future.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Defining clouds, web services, and other remote computing

      SaaS has proven popular for programmers. In 1999, a company named VA Linux created a site called SourceForge with the classic SaaS goal of centralizing the administration of computer systems and taking that burden off programmers’ hands. A programmer could upload his program there and, as is typical for free software and open source, accept code contributions from anyone else who chose to download the program.

      VA Linux at that time made its money selling computers that ran the GNU/Linux operating system. It set up SourceForge as a donation to the free software community, to facilitate the creation of more free software and therefore foster greater use of Linux. Eventually the hardware business dried up, so SourceForge became the center of the company’s business: corporate history anticipated cloud computing history.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 3 Arrives Quickly
    • New front opened in legal dispute over Java licensing

      The Swiss Myriad Group and Oracle are each suing each other. Myriad is accusing Oracle of charging unreasonable licensing fees for HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Oracle in turn alleges that the mobile software specialist has made unauthorised use of Java trademarks. It’s also accusing Myriad of failing to adhere to licensing requirements.

      Myriad is demanding at least $120 million in damages – a sum made up of $20 million the company has paid in licensing fees since 2004 and $100 million the company’s customers are alleged to have overpaid.

    • Oracle Announces Oracle Cloud Office and Oracle Open Office 3.3

      Oracle today introduced Oracle Cloud Office and Open Office 3.3, two complete, open standards-based office productivity suites for the desktop, web and mobile devices – helping users significantly improve productivity, reduce costs and achieve greater innovation across the enterprise.
      Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Office enables users to share files on any system as it is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and modern web 2.0 publishing.

    • Oracle angles MySQL for Web apps

      With the release of MySQL version 5.5, Oracle is marketing the open-source database for Web application duties, while targeting its namesake Oracle database for enterprise applications.

      “We see them as being very distinct for different use cases,” said Monica Kumar, Oracle senior director of product marketing.

  • Education

    • Berkman Center Announces Digital Public Library Planning Initiative

      The Berkman Center for Internet and Society today announced that it will host a research and planning initiative for a “Digital Public Library of America.” With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Berkman will convene a large and diverse group of stakeholders in a planning program to define the scope, architecture, costs and administration for a proposed Digital Public Library of America.

    • Seven things I would change about my schooling
    • Supplemental Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs

      Open Educational Resources

      Comment: Many commenters supported including a reference to open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). Two commenters recommended revising the definition of this term to include language that makes clear that resources released under an intellectual property license should permit sharing, accessing, repurposing (including for commercial purposes), and collaborating with others.

      Discussion: We appreciate the commenters’ support for including open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). We believe that the proposed definition of open educational resources includes the characteristics of open educational resources that the commenters recommended including in the definition and, therefore, do not believe it is necessary to change the definition in the manner recommended by the commenter.

      Changes: None.

  • Funding

    • CrisisCommons Gets Funded $1.2 Million for Crisis Response 2.0

      The disaster response network CrisisCommons announced today that it has been funded to the tune of $1.2 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CrisisCommons is the organization behind scores of CrisisCamps in locations around the world, informal gatherings where technologists have developed mobile, data, analysis, mapping and other tools to use in response to crisis.

  • BSD

    • Allegations regarding OpenBSD IPSEC
    • The FBI Paid OpenBSD Developers For Backdoors?

      OpenBSD’s Theo de Raadt brought to light via an email from Gregory Perry, the former CTO of NETSEC, that the FBI paid several open-source developers to compromise the IPSEC stack. “the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI. Jason Wright and several other developers were responsible for those backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with originating from NETSEC.”

    • Can Open Source Be Trusted?

      This serious stuff – not just because it means that open source code may have been unwittingly complicit in who knows how many acts of surveillance, but because it calls into question the basic development model of open source, which places a high value on trust. If it is confirmed that hackers put a backdoor in open source code for money – and some doubts have already been expressed – then that will cast some doubt on that principle.

      Moreover, if eventually such backdoors are found, it will raise questions about the whole “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” philosophy. It’s true that backdoors aren’t exactly bugs, but there is still the issue of how something this serious – if confirmed – could lay undetected for a decade.

    • OpenBSD/FBI allegations denied by named participants

      Amidst startling accusations revealed by OpenBSD founder and lead developer Theo de Raadt today that 10 years ago the US Federal Bureau of Investigations paid developers to insert security holes into OpenBSD code, some confusion about the accusations has already emerged, with one named party strongly denying any involvement.

    • Former contractor says FBI put back door in OpenBSD

      A former government contractor says that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system.

      The allegations were made public Tuesday by Theo de Raadt, the lead developer in the OpenBSD project. DeRaadt posted an email sent by the former contractor, Gregory Perry, so that the matter could be publicly scrutinized.


    • Good Free Software related books as a present

      After my last year’s blog entry on Free Software books for friends I received new recommendations for this year.

    • Waiting for the rapture

      As soon as I post this blog entry, I’m going to log on to PayPal and make a small donation to the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation can sometimes be too inflexible, and it often starts far more than it can properly continue, but it’s still the closest thing the community has to an organization that has stayed focused on its basic goal. For that reason, I think I’m overdue to show support — even though I’m a Canadian, and won’t be able to write off a donation to a non-profit that’s registered only in the United States.

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.4.5 Flash Player Released

      Lightspark, one of the most recent yet most promising free software projects to provide an open-source Adobe Flash/SWF player and plug-in, just had its 0.4.5 milestone hit. Lightspark 0.4.5 is the release that brings its new advanced graphics engine for greater GPU acceleration by leveraging OpenGL and Cairo more heavily.

    • PacketFence 2.0 released
  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Google Invests in P2P Carsharing Service RelayRides

      Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Google invested an undisclosed sum in RelayRides, a service that let’s members rent their cars to other members. The traditional model of carsharing, exemplified by Zipcar, allows members to rent from a company which owns and manages a fleet.

    • Announcing $10k matching giving challenge from Tucows!

      We just received the exciting news that Tucows, a company that started offering free downloads of shareware and freeware on the Internet in 1993, will take part in a matching challenge of up to $10,000. This means that whatever you donate right now will automatically be doubled. We need your help to meet their challenge and turn $10,000 into $20,000 for CC.

    • Celebrating Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary on six continents

      In one month, Wikipedia will observe its 10th anniversary. On and around January 15th 2011, we will celebrate with volunteers, donors, and other supporters on six continents. From the launch of a new outreach project in Kenya to a film screening in Tel Aviv, there are currently 65 events of all kinds you can attend.

      The complete list of anniversary activities can be found at ten.wikipedia.org, the public collaboration space where we’re cataloging everything the Wikipedia community is doing to commemorate our first decade. Most events are free to attend or very low cost. All are open to participation by anyone who wants to join in reflecting on our collective accomplishments and goals for the future.

    • A New “Experiential” Gift Bazaar Could Lead to a Happier City

      “Sharing experiences with friends and family trumps getting stuff,” said Carey. “It takes you out of your day-to-day life.”

    • Creative Commons files comments in U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy

      Creative Commons has filed comments in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy. The Department received nearly 900 submissions over the comment period, which ended December 10.

    • All That We Share – A Field Guide to the Commons
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Parliament pushes open standards to increase public engagement

      Parliament has adopted a policy to use open technology standards to increase public participation in political debate.

      The Parliamentary Information Communication and Technology office (Pict) policy is part of proposed plan to distribute broadcasts of parliamentary debates in a form that people can embed in their own websites, in a similar manner to the way YouTube allows video content to be displayed on blogs and other sites.


  • The extraordinary story behind Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours
  • CBC approves budget; cuts expected

    The CBC’s board of directors, faced with a possible $200-million shortfall, approved on Tuesday a budget for the coming year that includes deep cuts.

  • US Response To Massive Decline In Foreign Travelers: Keep Crazy Policies, But Set Up Ad Campaign

    Sometimes it feels like the US government likes to take incompetence to new levels. It should come as little surprise that foreign tourism to the US is way down. Basically ever since the Patriot Act, visiting the US has become a huge pain for foreign tourists, and with our lovely new “we see you naked or we touch your private parts” strategy for airline passengers (thank you, TSA), it appears that things are getting even worse. So, if you’re the US government, how do you respond? Do you start thinking about modifying such policies to make visiting the US less unwelcoming? Do you start thinking about more effective, but less insulting security procedures? Do you start looking at why those foreign tourists are staying away in droves? The answer appears to be no, no and no.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Security Alert: Backdoor found in HP modular storage arrays

      It’s critical for any small business to be able to rely on the hardware they pay for to do the job without a ton of maintenance. Many small businesses don’t even pay a full time IT guy, much less keep up to date on the latest in security flaws that are found. They rely on companies like HP, who offer complete solutions in security, warranty, and maintenance to handle a lot of their day to day activities. So, what happens when relying on a solution like this results in ignoring a great big security hole that was created by the very group protecting you?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • How Can Anyone Defend Kissinger Now?

      Here’s what should now happen, and let’s see if it does. Henry Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded. No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers. One could have demanded this at almost any time during the years since his role as the only unindicted conspirator in the Nixon/Watergate gang, and since the exposure of his war crimes and crimes against humanity in Indochina, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus, East Timor, and several other places.

    • G20 law could be history next year

      The “secret” law used by police to search and arrest during the June G20 summit in Toronto is so anachronistic that Ontario is the last province in Canada to have such legislation.

      That’s why the Liberal government is eager to receive former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry’s review of the 1939 Public Works Protection Act and move on his advice, says Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley.

      “He’s got a very wide scope to look at the law. My expectation is he will make recommendations about how to amend the act or replace it altogether,” Bradley said in an interview Monday.

    • Glad Hand: Excuse Me, Your Baton is in My Face
    • Vindication for G20 protesters

      In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.

      But beyond being upset with the expense and disorder that weekend, many Torontonians (and city council) sided with the police, assuming that the arrest of 1,105 people must have somehow been justified, given the rampage of a small group through the downtown core.

    • Walkom: Why Ottawa’s new border scheme is such a loser

      The latest government attempt to create a common security perimeter around North America is another bad deal for Canada.

    • Canadian Senate Passes Mandatory Minimums for Five Marijuana Plants

      The Canadian Senate Friday passed the Conservative government’s crime bill, S-10, which institutes mandatory minimum sentences for a number of non-violent drug offenses, including a six-month sentence for growing five pot plants. The bill now heads to the House of Commons for hearings and a vote.

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, The United States of Fear
    • Afghan Ultraviolence: Petraeus Triples Air War
  • Cablegate

    • UN rights boss concerned at targeting of WikiLeaks
    • If you rule by code you will fall by code: the philosophy of Wikileaks

      Humans are animals of protocol. Our behavior is determined by rules – conscious and not. Until recently, the protocol was an instrument of hegemonic power: the rule-ing elites were makers and masters of the protocols that were used to control the people. The writing and policing of protocol was reserved for the elite.

      The Internet today is the place through which humanity is coming to realise that liberty will require that we – the collective we – take control of the building and re-design of protocol. Wikileaks is a real milestone in that process. The word “Wikileaks” has two components, each important. “Leaks”: the hermetically sealed circles of power, those that once seemed as solid as rock, are liquifying and losing their aura. “Wiki”: each and all of us can contribute to the process of active demystification of protocol.

    • The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention

      Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.


      Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here. But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico. He describes palpable changes in Manning’s physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he’s been visiting him. Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.

    • Wikileaks [cartoon]
    • WikiLeaks: Anonymous takes down Swedish prosecution website

      The Swedish prosecutor’s website crashed late yesterday, moments after the authority announced its intention to fight the decision to grant WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange bail in the UK.

    • Battling Wikileaks And The Art Of War

      Anyone who has studied tactics, for battle or otherwise, knows Sun Tzu’s legendary work, The Art Of War. Or at least they should. In reviewing what the first chapter of that work teaches about the five factors a battling faction must consider when endeavoring to battle, you have to scratch your head and wonder if the United States government might need a refresher course.

    • Spamhaus’ False Allegations Against wikileaks.info

      We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it. We do not know who else is hosted with Heihachi Ltd and it is none of our business. They provide reliable hosting to us. That’s it.

    • Wikileaks Mirrors

      Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 2194 sites…

    • What the State Fears Most: Information

      The battle has always been between the state and market, or man’s ability to circumvent the tentacles of government through economic progress. Until only very recently, man has been at a technological disadvantage. The ability to evade book burnings amounted to the ability to hide the book. The end of censorship in Germany, for example, came only with the end of the Nazi regime.[2]

      Presently, our ability to attain knowledge is threatened because said knowledge represents a threat to the state — not to “national security,” as is claimed, but to the legitimacy of the state itself. Julian Assange, through WikiLeaks, has made available to society a vast collection of information that undermines the state’s legitimacy. Assange cracked the government’s veil of benignity and brought into question the state’s tactics. His website undermines its moral authority.

      The threat posed by Assange is underscored by the government’s seemingly disproportionate response. Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, successfully used the power of the state to shut down part of WikiLeaks.[3] He did so by threatening to sanction Amazon, which at the time hosted that part of Assange’s operation.

    • A Look at DDoS Net Activism

      That said, I’ve personally gone back and forth about how I feel about DDoS. It is important to note that this is being used as a means for young people to have their voice heard in a political climate which otherwise ignores or labels them as “politically insensitive.” While they have now demonstrated that this is not true, I really can’t find justification for making a criminal of a 16 year old net activist.

      The young man, known by the nick Jeroenz0r, had been participating in DDoS activism, along with the rest of Anonymous Operation Payback activists, ”to protect anonymity and freedom of speech.”

    • China and its Double-edged Cyber-sword

      A recent batch of WikiLeaks cables led Der Spiegel and The New York Times to print front-page stories on China’s cyber-espionage capabilities Dec. 4 and 5. While China’s offensive capabilities on the Internet are widely recognized, the country is discovering the other edge of the sword.

      China is no doubt facing a paradox as it tries to manipulate and confront the growing capabilities of Internet users. Recent arrests of Chinese hackers and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pronouncements suggest that China fears that its own computer experts, nationalist hackers and social media could turn against the government. While the exact cause of Beijing’s new focus on network security is unclear, it comes at a time when other countries are developing their own defenses against cyber attacks and hot topics like Stuxnet and WikiLeaks are generating new concerns about Internet security.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted bail: live updates

      Julian Assange walks out of the High Court with a hand raised.

      It’s great to smell the fresh air of London again.

    • Wikileaks And A Changing World – Updated

      While the professional diplomats come through with their reputation in good order, their political masters do not. The American political class comes across as two-faced, accusing China of human rights abuses, while committing their own human rights abuses, accusing other regimes of secrecy, and losing their temper when their own secrets are exposed.

      Let’s take Defense Secretary Robert Gates who called Assange’s arrest on a Swedish warrant for having unprotected sex with two women Good News. And that’s the Gospel Truth (Gospel is a derivative of Old English gōd-spell [1] (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”). Exactly why would an ex-Eagle Scout say something like this? Possibly he’s not Eagle Scout material any more.

      How about the orders that diplomats act as spies? Everyone understands that diplomats report what they see. That’s part of their job. But ordering them to collect credit card numbers and DNA on United Nations staff? Hillary Clinton should be ashamed. Heck, Hillary Clinton should step down from her post as Secretary of State.

      And then we’ve got politicians calling Amazon, complaining that Amazon was hosting Wikileaks, and Amazon pulling the plug. We have the U.S. Government interfering with the .ORG domain system. The U.S. Military is now blocking serving members from the New York Times website (possibly the first time that an American government institution has blocked online access to an American newspaper).

      The Washington Elite look petty.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange freed on bail

      The founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has vowed “to continue my work and to protest my innocence” after being freed on bail.

    • A bit of 1771, an alternative Babbage quote, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan.

      Andrew McAfee has come out quite strongly against wikileaks and Assange’s principles and motives in particular. We disagree.

      However, like Andrew, I’m a fan of computer and political history and I often use ancient quotes to make an argument. This post will be no different, and I may ramble a bit.

      Andrew quotes Babbage,

      I’ll outsource my answer to the legendary Victorian computer pioneer Charles Babbage: “On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

    • WikiLeaks: Swedish government ‘hid’ anti-terror operations with America from Parliament

      The secret cables, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.

      They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government.

    • Lord Chief Justice wants debate on Twitter use in court

      The Lord Chief Justice says he will be seeking the input of the media on the question of whether tweeting from court should be allowed.

    • US: Don’t Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder

      The US government should not prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for releasing classified US State Department cables as this would imperil media freedom everywhere, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Human Rights Watch urged the US government to reject overbroad interpretations of national security that clash with the freedom of expression guarantees of the US Constitution and international law.

      “This is a signature moment for freedom of expression and information in both the US and abroad,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing leaked documents would set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.”

    • How Unusual Would Assange’s Extradition to Sweden Be?

      But I’ve been wondering how often Swedish officials go to the effort to get people in Assange’s position extradited.

    • Julian Assange bail decision made by UK authorities, not Sweden

      The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.

      The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.

      It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian it had “not got a view at all on bail” and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.

    • Statement on Wikileaks and the Implications for Companies

      Recent decisions by some technology companies to restrict access to or sever ties with Wikileaks highlight the difficulties companies face when governments attempt to restrict controversial information.

    • House Judiciary Committee to Hold WikiLeaks Hearing Tomorrow

      The full House Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Espionage Act and legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the hearing live here. We’ll also be tweeting our impressions throughout the morning.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Exclusive: How BP Drafted Brussels’ Climate Legislation

      Lobbyists for BP and other energy firms drafted climate change legislation that secured a nine billion euro subsidy from taxpayers, internal documents reveal.

      The sum covers the entire cost of new technology for cutting carbon emissions from ‘dirty’ coal-fired power stations, saving energy firms from having to pay for it themselves.

    • Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science

      This morning, MediaMatters released the bombshell e-mail “sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon … less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was ‘on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.‘ ”

      Well, okay, this would be a bombshell email coming from any other news organization in the world (see Howell Raines: “Why has our profession … helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?”) So maybe the only bombshell is that Sammon was foolish enough to put this egregious Fox News policy into an email.

      UPDATE: Al Gore blogs, “Fox News has consistently delivered false and misleading information to its viewers about the climate crisis. The leaked emails now suggest that this bias comes directly from the executives responsible for their news coverage.”

    • Ghana joins ranks of oil producers

      Ghana set to become Africa’s seventh largest oil producer with the president promising ‘benefits for all’.

  • China

    • China Expands Its Influence in Europe

      China is seizing on Europe’s debt problems to expand its influence on the continent with large-scale investments and purchases of government bonds issued by highly-indebted states. The strategy could push Europe into the same financial dependency on China that is posing a dilemma for the US.

    • Riding red tracks

      On an epic journey through China, Andre Vltchek was stunned by the quality of public transport. Here, he argues socialist central planning is to thank – and that other countries should take note.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • On Canadian Facts, Fiction, Lobbyists and Levies

      Ministers Clement and Moore did the right thing yesterday by saying that no means no.

      The levy lobbyists did the wrong thing by denying the incontrovertible truth.

      It is absolutely false – as ACTRA boldly states that:

      “The $75 dollar figure is pure fiction. The CPCC has not put a price on the levy.”

    • Lobbyist hired to head key congressional committee

      Gary Andres, a lobbyist for Dutko Worldwide, has been hired by incoming chairman Fred Upton to be the staff director for the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

      The Energy & Commerce Committee is one of the central committees in the House and Andres’ former clients are going to be involved in many of the most contentious debates that the committee will engage in over the next two years.

      In 2010 Andres represented health care groups including the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform and UnitedHealth Corp., technology titan Google, General Motors, FedEx Corp., HSBC, Union Pacific Corp. and the National Ground Water Association.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Constructive Direct Action Against Censorship

      What, then, can digital activists do to protect speech on the internet? Fortunately, there are a bunch of technical projects dedicated to reducing centralization in the internet infrastructure. Some are in the idea stage, some are up and running, and some are in-between. All of them could use help: development, documentation, security review, server infrastructure, testing, and evangelizing. EFF urges technologists of all stripes and skill levels to work on potential solutions to the centralization problem.

    • Wikileaks: U.S. Air force blocks more than 25 news sites that published secret cables

      I cannot recall a media blackout this massive ever having been implemented on a US military computer network. This is unprecedented.

      Reuters: “The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday.”

    • Crown Prosecution Service Delays Ruling on BT and Phorm UK Privacy Invasions

      The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has once again delayed plans to rule on whether or not to charge either Phorm and or BT over the broadband ISPs secret 2006/2007 trials of Phorm’s technology, which tracked customers private website visits (not unlike Spyware) for use in targeted advertising campaigns; this was done without end-users consent.

    • U.S. Air Force blocks NYT, Guardian over WikiLeaks

      The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

      Major Toni Tones, a spokeswoman at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, said the command had blocked employees whose computers are connected to the Air Force network from accessing at least 25 websites that have posted WikiLeaks documents.

    • TIME magazine must Zuck my leaks…

      Just ignoring all the facts about censorship,copyrights-killer and an outrageos privacy violator, TIME magazine is “proud” to announce Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year 2010 by connecting half billion facebookers, What the fuck!?

    • EFF Location Privacy Victory at Third Circuit Stands, With Implications Far Beyond Your Cell Phone

      In EFF’s second major privacy victory in as many days, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the government’s request that it reconsider its September decision regarding government access to cell phone company records that reveal your past locations. That means the court’s original opinion — holding that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records — is now the settled law of the Third Circuit, assuming the government doesn’t seek review by the Supreme Court. Importantly, this victory won’t just provide greater protection for the privacy of your cell phone records but for all other communications records that the government currently obtains without warrants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Court: You do not own that copy of WoW you bought

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling that those who bought and played World of Warcraft did not actually own the software, but were merely licensing the game, per the included End User Licensing Agreement.

    • Copyrights

      • Mass antipiracy suits looks less certain

        The chances that independent filmmakers and porn studios can find a cost effective way to sue thousands of alleged film pirates appears less likely with each passing day.

      • French “Three-Strikes” Warnings Far Below Music Industry Hopes

        This past October France’s “Creation and Internet” law formally went into effect and it seems that it has yet to warn as many suspected file-sharers as the music industry had hoped.

        The “Creation and Internet” law is the the controversial “three-strikes” measure to fight P2P in that country that was first proposed back in June of 2008. It was formally passed last September, but not after first before being ruled unconstitutional over the fact that an agency (HADOPI), and not a judge, was allowed to disconnect people from the Internet.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Digital Economy Act suffers wireless broadband set back

          A British judge has ruled that running an unsecured wireless broadband connection is not equivalent to facilitating illegal file sharing.

          It is believed to be the first time a judge has ruled on this element of the Digital Economy Act which the previous Labour Government was widely accused of rushing through in its last week of power. The Act was designed to allow ISPs to seek ‘technical measures’ (including, ultimately, disconnection) to prevent illegal file sharing.

        • UK Software Industry Breaks Out Lawyers to Challenge Digital Economy Act Debate

          The UK Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a not-for-profit group that campaigns for the legitimate use of software, has said that it plans to involve its “lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate” on the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).

Clip of the Day

Julian Assange Speaks After Release on Bail

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 16/12/2010: Google’s ChromeOS Criticised by Stallman, X Server 1.9.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The outlook for Windows 7 with Google Chrome coming up

      Microsoft Windows owned 91 percent of the PC operating system market in 2009, and IDC expects it to drop by 1 percent by 2014. Mac, which had 4 percent in 2009, is expected to increase to 5 percent by 2014. Linux is expected to hold steady at 4 percent.

    • Staying Safe Online This Holiday Season

      Give the Gift of Linux – The best thing you can do for your non-computer-savvy relative or friend is install Linux. Before you laugh, hear me out. Linux is great if all you’re doing is surfing the Internet and maybe writing some documents. Everything else, including photo sharing, is all cloud-based now anyway. Best of all, you won’t have to spend hours deleting junk out of the browser cache and you can do it all remotely via a VNC or an SSH connection. What more could you ask for?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • So You Wanna Start A Band?

      Many people only think about it from the fans perspective, without realizing the different steps it’s taken to get to them. ThistleWeb talks about the current copyright cartel thinking in how it affects musicians. The same people who claim to speak on behalf of artists, lobby to enshrine laws supposedly for the artists. He talks through the process of starting a band and how often these laws crop up forcing the next generation of musicians to spend a LOT of money to stay legal, or be criminalized. Staying legal means coughing up to maintain the status quo.

  • Google

    • Google’s ChromeOS means losing control of data, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

      Google’s new cloud computing ChromeOS looks like a plan “to push people into careless computing” by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control, warns Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the operating system GNU.

      Two years ago Stallman, a computing veteran who is a strong advocate of free software via his Free Software Foundation, warned that making extensive use of cloud computing was “worse than stupidity” because it meant a loss of control of data.

      Now he says he is increasingly concerned about the release by Google of its ChromeOS operating system, which is based on GNU/Linux and designed to store the minimum possible data locally. Instead it relies on a data connection to link to Google’s “cloud” of servers, which are at unknown locations, to store documents and other information.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel 2.6.35 longterm maintenance

      After Greg Kroah-Hartmann stopped maintaining 2.6.35-stable. I plan to maintain the 2.6.35 linux kernel tree longterm for now. Thanks to Greg for all his hard work on this.

      The primary consumers of 2.6.35 right now are Meego and the CE Linux Forum, but some others are interested and everyone who wants a long term stable tree is of course free to use it.

      The longterm tree continues after Greg’s stable release. It will not be called “stable”, but called “longterm” to make the distinction clear.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Manual Project Progressing… Slowly.

          It seems the biggest problem that the project is facing is the lack of time. As this is a community driven project, it effectively takes a back seat to everything else that is going on in people’s lives. Personally, I do not know what can be done to change the situation. I too have limited time as well, but I do my best, as do many others involved in the project. Thank you to all those people. Your help is greatly appreciated.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Designing wallpapers for Edubuntu and Xubuntu

            For this cycle, we discussed that the Ubuntu Artwork Team should do more for the community. The misconception that the team has anything to do with Ubuntu-the-product’s visual design and default theme has to die. I lean towards the same for the hope this could change.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Software Leaders to Advise Linaro

      Following completion of its first major release in November, Linaro announces the expansion of its ecosystem to include Advisory Partners Canonical, GENIVI, HP, LiMo Foundation and MontaVista Software all of whom are involved in building complex Linux based software. The Advisors will help to guide the Linaro Technical Steering Committee (TSC) on critical industry needs, facilitating the alignment of requirements.

    • Linux Embeds Itself Yet Further

      Embedded systems, of course, are the great iceberg of software.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • IBM readies Lotus Notes Traveler for Android

          “Today, IBM is shipping Lotus Notes Traveler New in this release — the Notes Traveler client for Android OS,” wrote Ed Brill, IBM’s director of product management for Lotus software, in a blog post Tuesday.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Looking at the code behind our three uses of Apache Hadoop

    We’ve now open sourced the exact versions of Apache Hadoop we run in production at Facebook. These branches are based on the Apache Hadoop 0.20 release, but have a number of new features which haven’t yet made it into any official Hadoop release. Our engineering team contributes changes (such as the patches in these branches) upstream to the Hadoop project and you’ll find that we’ve listed JIRA tasks along with most of the changes.

    Apache Hadoop is being used in three broad types of systems: as a warehouse for web analytics, as storage for a distributed database and for MySQL database backups.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Launches “Apache Extras” to Accelerate Innovation

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced apache-extras.org, the Google-hosted site for code associated with Apache projects that are not part of the Foundation’s more than eighty Top-level Projects and dozens of initiatives in the Apache Incubator and Labs.

  • Web Browsers


    • Please don’t get me any of these things as a gift

      It’s the holiday season, many people are buying gifts. Gifts for co-workers, friends, family and even strangers.

      Recently I received a gift from a stranger — a copy of Blood Bowl for Windows. Based on the fantasy football board game of the same name, the gift may have seemed like a no-brainer for someone who doesn’t know you very well, and may be forced to buy a gift based on your apparent likes and dislikes from your posts on a forum or website. What was intended as an innocent gift from a well-wishing anonymous giver was actually an instrument of DRM. What kind of DRM, I don’t know, but that the game proudly announces online activation is an indication that there’s some.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Cuba’s answer to Wikipedia, “EcuRed” Launches Tomorrow

      Wanting to “create and disseminate the knowledge of all and for all, from Cuba and with the world,” Cuba launches its own online encyclopedia, similar to Wikipedia, called EcuRed.

      The site officially launches tomorrow, but it is already up and running with 19,345 entries, as first reported by Reuters.

    • Cuba launches Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia
    • [CC] Meet our board members: Mike Carroll
    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • Operation: Stick Figure Army turns 2D teaching into 3D learning

        The Cupcake CNC is an example of open hardware: the design, from its electronics to its physical build, is licensed in an open manner. Given its low cost and small size (compared to many commercial 3D printers), it is possible to introduce students to the marvels of modern manufacture on a budget, even in the classroom.

        As a member of the Teaching Open Source community, I’ve watched the evolution of the POSSE programme as it reaches out to computer science faculty around the world. However, computer science graduates make up a very small percentage of the graduates of higher education, and I want to find ways for more students from more backgrounds to experience the benefits and rewards of communicating with and contributing to free and open source communities.

        It is hard work, finding ways to introduce fundamentally non-technical students into open communities that assume, coming in the door, that you know how to use a version control system. While projects like OpenHatch are excellent, I find myself looking for more tangible ways to get students from outside computing involved in things they can see and feel.


  • YouTube Looks to Become Its Own Video Production Company [RUMOR]

    Less than two weeks after Google acquired on-demand video service Widevine, the search giant’s video property is said to be exploring a premium content acquisition of its own.

  • How Our Brains Threaten Democracy: The Logic Behind Self-Delusion

    In light of these findings, researchers concluded that a defense mechanism, which they labeled “backfire”, was preventing individuals from producing pure rational thought. The result is a self-delusion that appears so regularly in normal thinking that we fail to detect it in ourselves, and often in others: When faced with facts that do not fit seamlessly into our individual belief systems, our minds automatically reject (or backfire) the presented facts. The result of backfire is that we become even more entrenched in our beliefs, even if those beliefs are totally or partially false.

    “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” said Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher of the Michigan study. The occurrence of backfire, he noted, is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

  • Kosovo PM is head of human organ and arms ring, Council of Europe reports

    Kosovo’s prime minister is the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

  • Competition: Commission adopts revised competition rules on horizontal co-operation agreements

    The European Commission has revised its rules for the assessment of co-operation agreements between competitors, so called horizontal co-operation agreements. As it is often vital for companies to work together to achieve synergies, there exist a vast number of horizontal co-operation agreements in many industries. The texts update and further clarify the application of competition rules in this area so that companies can better assess whether their co-operation agreements are in line with those rules. Modifications concern mainly the areas of standardisation, information exchange, and research and development (R&D).

  • Voice Search gets personal
  • Convicted judge swears and storms out of Carlisle court

    A judge who swore and stormed out of court after being convicted of failing to keep her German Shepherd under control has been fined £2,500.

    The dog, owned by Judge Beatrice Bolton who sits at Newcastle Crown Court, attacked a sunbathing student in his parents’ Northumberland garden.

    Bolton, 57, who was asked during the trial to stop chewing gum, denied one charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

  • Science

    • Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes

      There’s something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.

      This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.

    • Time to democratise science

      THE natural and social sciences exert a huge influence on the ways our societies develop. At present most of the funding for scientific research is controlled by the state and the private economy. Perhaps it is time to look at their track record and consider an alternative.

      In economics, we already have damning evidence that the funding system isn’t working. As the investment banker turned financial reformer Philip Augar has pointed out, over a period of 30 years the discipline became a servant of the financial sector. “Finance wrapped its tentacles around the relevant parts of the academic world… it is little wonder that so much academic research was supportive of the financial system.”

    • ESA Makes The Sun Available To Everyone

      New software developed by ESA makes available online to everyone, everywhere at anytime, the entire library of images from the SOHO solar and heliospheric observatory. Just download the viewer and begin exploring the Sun.

      JHelioviewer is new visualization software that enables everyone to explore the Sun. Developed as part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project, it provides a desktop program that enables users to call up images of the Sun from the past 15 years.

    • Bad Science in Star Wars
    • Brain-Controlled Wheelchair

      This could be useful for people who are paralysed, and are unable to control parts of their body enough to physically activate the joystick of an electric wheelchair. Many people may be able to use this technology to gain some independence, and to take a break from needing an attendant to push their wheelchair so they can get some fresh air.

      The parts of this system include an electric wheelchair, a laptop computer, an Arduino, an interface circuit, an EEG headset, and a collection of ready-made and custom software.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • UK Govt Moves Against 12-Year-Old Dissident

      Pointing to the Cameron government’s growing impatience over student protests, British officials have reportedly moved against 12-year-old Nicky Wishart, henceforth known as the Notorious Nicky of Oxfordshire, threatening him with arrest for threatening the public peace.

    • Foreign Office memo shows 2002 plan to sell Iraq invasion to UK media

      The Foreign Office was planning for the possibility that Britain might attack Iraq without UN approval more than six months before the invasion, according to a hitherto classified document written shortly before a meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush at Camp David.

      The document, drawn up by John Williams, press adviser to the then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, spells out ways to soften up the media, including “critics like the Guardian”. Under the heading Not taking the UN route, Williams wrote: “Our argument should be narrow, and put with vigour – Iraq is uniquely dangerous.”

      His memo, titled Iraq Media Strategy, is dated 4 September 2002, when the government was still trying to get UN support for military action and when Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, was advising that clear UN authority was needed. The document was also written as Whitehall and MI6 were being wound up by No 10 to provide much-needed ammunition for the government’s Iraq weapons dossier.

    • Report details ties between US and ex-Nazis

      Declassified CIA files reveal that U.S. intelligence officials went to great lengths to protect a Ukrainian fascist leader and suspected Nazi collaborator from prosecution after World War II and set him up in a New York office to wage covert war against the Soviet Union, according to a new report to Congress.

      Mykola Lebed led an underground movement to undermine the Kremlin and conduct guerrilla operations for the CIA during the Cold War, says the report, prepared by two scholars under the supervision of the National Archives. It was given to Congress on Thursday and posted online.

    • Phone-hacking scandal: Yard move may hide journalists’ spy roles

      The Metropolitan police have moved to close off the supply of information which could identify senior journalists at the News of the World who commissioned illegal phone hacking.

    • Do we hold the state to be legitimate?

      In Western democracies, we may well work under the belief that the state is legitimate, but we surely don’t operate under the view that everything it does is legitimate. That is our job — isn’t it? — to find and expose its illegitimate acts.

      I do not think I can accept as journalistic canon the idea that reporters and editors in every nation should view their states as legitimate. To the contrary, we root for them to challenge the legitimacy of illegitimate states; don’t we expect them to be the first, best hammer on the walls of secrecy built by the tyrannical and the corrupt?

    • Man killed by Long Beach police was holding a water nozzle, not a gun, police say

      Douglas Zerby, 35, was shot and killed by officers responding to a 911 call of an intoxicated man holding a ‘six-shooter’ Sunday in the Belmont Shore neighborhood.

    • Masks so realistic they’re arresting the wrong guy

      Expensive, realistic masks — the kind that are the hit of the costume party — are increasingly being used out of season, and not always for laughs.

      A white bank robber in Ohio recently used a “hyper-realistic” mask manufactured by a small Van Nuys company to disguise himself as a black man, prompting police there to mistakenly arrest an African American man for the crimes.

    • Can the F-35 win a charm offensive?

      The Conservatives touted ‘high-quality opportunities’ bound for Canada’s aerospace industry as a result of the JSF deal. Exactly how much work? It all depends who you ask.

    • McQuaig: Vindication for G20 protesters

      In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.

    • Sudan YouTube flogging video: Women arrested at march

      About 30 Sudanese women have been arrested for holding a protest march over a video which allegedly shows two policemen whipping a woman.

  • Cablegate

    • The Conservative Case for WikiLeaks

      Lovers necessarily keep or share secrets. Being in a healthy relationship means achieving a certain level of intimacy, where shared knowledge of each others’ weaknesses and insecurities is protected by a bond of mutual trust. Sometimes lovers might do devilish things that outsiders wouldn’t understand, or shouldn’t be privy to, and this is fine. But by and large, what they do is simply no one else’s business.

      But imagine that the man in the relationship kept it a secret that he had other women on the side, kids, a criminal record, venereal disease, and basically betrayed his lover in every way imaginable, unbeknownst to her?

      Now imagine a third party felt it was their moral duty to reveal it?

      No one questions that governments must maintain a certain level of secrecy, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who told Time that “Secrecy is important for many things … [but it] shouldn’t be used to cover up abuses.” The entire premise of Assange’s whistleblower organization is this: To what degree is government secrecy justified? And when particular secrets could be damaging to the other partner in the United States government’s relationship — the American people — should these secrets be revealed in the name of protecting the public?

    • WikiLeaks cables: US pressured British regulator to act against Iranian banks

      Senior US officials urged British banking regulators two years ago to take more draconian action against Iranian banks suspected of financing nuclear and missile programmes, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks show.

      Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, was forced to defend the regulator’s record on Iran – particularly with regard to Bank Sepah – to the state department under-secretary Reuben Jeffrey and the US treasury assistant Patrick O’Brien.

    • Julian Assange: Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year 2010
    • Inside Story – WikiLeaks’ financial crisis
    • Is a U.S. grand jury considering charges against Julian Assange?
    • Wikileaks supporters and Anonymous stage offline protests, too (photo)

      WikiLeaks supporters wear masks of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Guy Fawkes masks emblematic of “Anonymous” during a demonstration calling for the release of Assange from prison.

    • WikiLeaks exposes U.S. strategy at the United Nations

      WikiLeaks has released its first confidential cable written by diplomats from the U.S. mission to the United Nations. While the December 2009 cable — which discusses U.S. efforts on a range of issues before the U.N. General Assembly — provides no major news revelations, it contains some valuable insights into the way America conducts its business here.

      The confidential U.S. diplomatic communication — which was approved by U.S. ambassador Susan E. Rice — shows how reliant the U.S. is on its allies, particularly in Europe, to take the lead on politically sensitive issues like the promotion of human rights, where the U.S. often faces criticism for its military and detention policies. The cable credits the European Union with “collaborating pragmatically” with the Obama administration on its top priorities, including efforts to require emerging economic powers to pay a larger share of the U.N.’s administrative and peacekeeping costs, and to adopt U.N. resolutions criticizing the human rights record of Burma, Iran, and North Korea.

    • In Defense of DDoS

      Judging by the last two weeks, being an enemy of Julian Assange is only marginally less stressful than being Julian Assange. Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa, which all moved to cut ties with Assange’s WikiLeaks after the site’s release of diplomatic cables, have been the targets of distributed denial-of-service attacks from a group that calls itself “Anonymous.” There is nothing fancy going on here. DDoS attacks simply aim to send more traffic to a target site than it can handle, slowing it down or making it temporarily unavailable.

      Many prominent Internet personalities, including John Perry Barlow and Cory Doctorow, have spoken out against DDoS on the sensible-sounding grounds that one can’t fight for free speech by limiting it for others. How, then, does Anonymous defend its actions? In a press release (PDF), the self-described “Internet gathering” explains that its “goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by … companies to impair WikiLeaks’ ability to function.” For this author, however, the most interesting bit of the press release comes in the next paragraph: “[A DDoS attack] is a symbolic action—as blogger and academic Evgeny Morozov put it, a legitimate expression of dissent” (italics theirs).

    • WikiLeaks boss speaks out from prison

      The founder of WikiLeaks has issued a plea from jail for his supporters to keep fighting, accusing Visa, Mastercard and Paypal of being instruments of US foreign policy.

    • Party revolt growing over Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s WikiLeaks stance

      JULIA Gillard is confronting a growing backlash within her own party, with more Labor MPs yesterday attacking the Prime Minister’s language and declaring their support for WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange and free speech.

      Ms Gillard said the latest WikiLeaks information dump was based on an illegal act, but Canberra has since insisted that was a reference to the original theft of the material by a junior US serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange.

    • Understanding Wikileaks
    • Designer arrested over Anonymous press release

      A bloke named Alex Tapanaris, whose name appeared on the PDF press release circulated by online trouble-makers Anonymous has had his web site disappeared from the web and, according to a post on pastebin.com, the unfortunate chap has been arrested.

    • Speaker says WikiLeaks “information terrorism”

      The leaking of confidential documents by whistle-blower WikiLeaks is a case of information terrorism, Hungarian parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover said late on Sunday.

      Kover, who was minister without a portfolio overseeing the secret services between 1998 and 2000, said the WikiLeaks affair shows that “it is necessary to tackle” the taboo that surrounds the lack of control in online news reporting and “it is necessary to devise a method to prevent similar cases in the future.”

    • Assange Tells Mom Criticism Won’t Stop WikiLeaks Work

      “We now know that Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others are instruments of U.S. foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before,” he charged in the statement provided by his mother. “I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks.”

    • A Mother’s Plea: WikiLeaks Founder No Criminal
    • WikiLeaks protesters stopped by riot police

      WikiLeaks protesters have marched to Martin Place, sparking several violent clashes with police.

      The crowd overwhelmingly voted to march despite being told they were not allowed by police.

    • The Secular Fatwa on Julian Assange

      By any standard, these and other calls for Assange’s death constitute incitements to murder as much as Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa did. The question is whether such speech is protected under the First Amendment. I personally believe that all speech is protected—when it is speech. Julian Assange has the right to publish documents, as do the newspapers with which he shared the them. Salman Rushdie has the right to offend those who read The Satanic Verses—even to offend the many who haven’t read a word of it. In theory, Sarah Palin, Mike Flanagan, and Bob Beckel have the right to say what they think about Julian Assange.

    • Julian Assange banner [IMG]
    • An interview with Julian Assange’s lawyer

      Mark told me that Julian Assange is currently in the very same cell that was occupied by Oscar Wilde before the latter’s transfer to Reading Gaol. His client is not allowed to have any internet access, and nor has the library trolley come round. He is being kept in isolation, even though he is a model prisoner. He did have access to a television but this has now been removed (though he loathed having to watch British daytime television). All he has now is a wind-up radio.

    • Naomi Wolf: J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide

      How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden’s treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don’t involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in advance of questioning on state charges of sexual molestation. Lots of people have opinions about the charges. But I increasingly believe that only those of us who have spent years working with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled — and what a deep, even nauseating insult this situation is to survivors of rape and sexual assault worldwide.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted bail but sent back to prison as Swedish prosecutors appeal against decision

      # WikiLeaks boss will remain in jail ahead of appeal by Swedish prosecutors
      # Appeal will be heard within 48 hours by senior High Court judge
      # Assange desperately trying to raise £200,000 cash to meet bail security
      # His lawyer says ‘The begging bowl is out’
      # Michael Moore, Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan show their support
      # Judge allows live ‘Twitters’ from court

    • Michael Moore offers to post bail for Julian Assange

      Oh, goody. Perhaps upset that his last film, Capitalism, was a dud and he hasn’t been in the news for a while, filmmaker Michael Moore is now offering to post bail for WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange, who is currently languishing in a British prison while the Brits work out his extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning.

    • Why I’m Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange

      Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

      Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

    • Congressional Research Service on wikileaks and prosecution

      Here is a very interesting document titled “Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information” by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney from October 18, 2010. It gives you insight into how the US is struggling to find ways to prosecute Julian Assange for leaking documents.

    • One great thing about WikiLeaks

      It’s helping us all understand that the Internet isn’t just for tweeting what you had for lunch, watching (and making) viral YouTube videos, sharing family pictures on Facebook and buying stuff on Amazon.

    • Wikileaks and file sharing

      Yet again, I’m left noticing the similarities between the US government’s reaction to Wikileaks and the entertainment industry’s reaction to file sharing”, says Mike Masnick (right) on TechDirt.

      “Each move that it made, including going legal, backfired in a big, bad way. It’s really quite stunning to watch the US government make the same mistakes.”

      Stunning, but hardly surprising, particularly when one considers just how close the Obama administration is to the corporate entertainment industry, and how frequently Big 4 record label and Hollywood demands end up as US government policy.

    • Julian Assange: ‘His philosophy keeps evolving’
    • Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms

      Amazingly, the Obama administration is surpassing its predecessor when it comes to assaults on whistle-blowing and a free press. As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported, “President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has taken a hard line against leakers. . . .’They’re going after this at every opportunity and with unmatched vigor,’ said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.” The New York Times similarly documented: “the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.” The Obama DOJ has launched nothing less than a full-on war against whistleblowers; its magnanimous “Look Forward, Not Backward” decree used to shield high-level Bush criminals from investigations is manifestly tossed to the side when it comes to those who reveal such criminality. And they even revitalized an abandoned Bush-era subpoena issued to The New York Times’ James Risen, demanding that he disclose his source for an article in which he revealed an embarrassingly botched attempt to infiltrate and sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Granted Bail, With Conditions
    • Wikileaks, free speech and traditional media

      I find it fascinating how US government has chosen to try to dismantle the support network that makes wikileaks possible – pressuring paypal, amazon and numerous others into refusing to enable wikileaks to work.

      They have pressured pretty much every stakeholder with one exception. The traditional media.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Mervyn King plotted banks bailout by four cash-rich nations

      The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, was so concerned about the health of the world’s banks in March 2008 that he plotted a secret bailout of the system using funds from cash-rich nations, according to a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks.

      Six months before the world financial crisis reached its peak, forcing taxpayers to rescue collapsing financial institutions, King told US officials in London that the UK, US, Switzerland and Japan could jointly enable a multibillion-pound cash injection into global banks, overriding the “dysfunctional” G7 nations.

    • Assange’s planned home, when out on bail
    • A Question About Wikileaks, Amazon, and Intellectual Property

      I have a legal question about the Wikileaks case, prompted by this this Guardian piece, by John Naughton, linked in Henry’s comments. I must confess: I wasn’t surprised or particularly scandalized when Amazon kicked Wikileaks off its cloud, because I figured Amazon was probably technically in the right. Wikileaks had probably violated whatever terms of service were in place. I thought this sounded like the sort of thing any private company was likely to do, whether or not Joe Lieberman actually brought pressure to bear. If you have a problem customer who has violated your terms of service, you terminate service. (Just to be clear: I think ongoing attempts to shut down Wikileaks in patently legally dodgy ways are an utter scandal. Joe Lieberman pressuring Amazon is a scandal. I’m with Glenn Greenwald. I also think existing intellectual property laws are, by and large, an atrocious mess. Still, the law is what it is, so the question of how a private company like Amazon can and should be expected to react to this sort of situation is narrower than certain other more general questions about free speech and the press and so forth.)

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange crowned ‘Rock Star of the Year’ by Italian Rolling Stone

      The magazine said it decided to feature the Australian whistle-blower on its front cover because although he is not a musician, he “is the person who best embodied a rock’n’roll behaviour” during 2010.

      He is portrayed bare-chested and bathed in a mysterious white light in front of a bank of television screens.

    • Assange’s Extremist Employees
    • The Wikileaks Double Standard

      The division in Crowley’s mind between Bad Wikileaks and Responsible New York Times is entirely arbitrary. Each is a publisher; each routinely takes advantage of stolen goods and information. That one does so with an agenda that’s free for all to see and the other pretends it’s a disinterested observer makes no difference at all.

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange bail hearing makes legal history with Twitter ruling

      Howard Riddle, the Chief Magistrate, agreed that reporters could send the short messages, known as “Tweets” as long as they did so “quietly” and “did not disturb” the court.

    • Is The US Response To Wikileaks Really About Overhyping Online Threats To Pass New Laws?

      Okay, this post is going to take the extreme cynical view, which I don’t believe is true, but since it’s being suggested, we might as well flesh it out. In my post about how the US government’s response to Wikileaks has caused more harm than anything actually in the leaks so far, one of the commenters pointed to a Larry Lessig talk from a few years back, where he mentioned a conversation with Richard Clarke — the former anti-terrorism government official, who, more recently, has been selling his book on “Cyberwar” — where he said that the US government has had an “iPatriot Act” sitting in a drawer, ready to go at a moment’s notice whenever there was “an i-9/11 event.”

    • Julian Assange remains in jail as Sweden appeals against bail decision

      A dramatic day in and around City of Westminster magistrates court saw Assange win bail, but then be forced to return to what his lawyer Mark Stephens described as “Dickensian conditions” at Wandsworth prison while the international legal battle played out.

      Sweden has decided to contest the granting of bail to Assange, who is being held pending an extradition hearing, on the grounds that no conditions imposed by a judge could guarantee that he would not flee, a legal source told the Guardian.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beekeeper Who Leaked EPA Documents: “I Don’t Think We Can Survive This Winter”

      Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald never expected to become embroiled in a controversy between the EPA and the pesticide industry. But that’s exactly what happened when Theobald got hold of an EPA document revealing that the agency is allowing the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, in spite of warnings from EPA scientists.

      So how did Theobald (pictured above) end up with such a contentious document?

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • UK Flexes Its Muscles On Paid Blog And Tweet Disclosure

      The Office of Fair Trading has fired a shot across the bows of marketing companies that buy blog posts and tweets for sponsored promotions without disclosing the fact, after finding that a London-based company broke its code on disclosure.

      But it declined to say whether it will be going after other companies in the next few months, despite the insistence of Handpicked Media, an 18-month-old startup based in Carnaby Street which the OFT censured on Monday, that the practice is widespread.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Weighing The Benefits And Costs Of DRM: Type I & Type II Errors

      I think one of the problems that people have in discussing DRM is that they only look at one type of error, and never bother to compare the two. As a result of that, those who support strong DRM tend to focus only on the “error” of letting people get a “free ride,” and ignore all of the collateral damage, as Phipps explains. Yet, when you compare the two, it’s difficult to see how one can argue that the “free ride” problem is worse than the problem of collateral damage from limiting legitimate uses. And that is why so many people have such problems with DRM. It’s not that we want a “free ride.” It’s that we worry about the costs associated with all of those collateral damage points.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Notes from meeting with USTR on the TPP IPR chapter

      Today USTR provided some additional insight into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The USTR web page on the TPP negotiations is http://www.ustry.gov/tpp. At present, the TPP negotiators include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan and Canada have expressed interest in joining the negotiations, and USTR clearly would like to design an agreement that will be open to other countries. Our discussions focused on the intellectual property chapter in the agreement. According to USTR, the only text that has been tabled for the IP chapter concerns trademarks and general provisions — the patents, copyrights, test data and enforcement sections of the IP chapter are being designed now. USTR expects a number of health related issues to be raised in the upcoming Santiago Chile meeting in February 2011.

    • A Disastrous Development In The ‘First-Sale’ Copyright Doctrine

      The Supreme Court on Monday said Costco could be liable for copyright infringement for selling foreign-made watches without the manufacturer’s authorization.

      True – the Court split 4 to 4 and offered no reasoning for the vote, which technically means that no legal precedent by the high court is created. But on a practical level, it leaves in place the lower court’s opinion which said that copyright law prevents Costco from re-selling foreign-made watches that it lawfully purchased.

    • Author Slams ‘Piracy,’ Then Admits To A Huge ‘Pirated’ Music Collection And Counterfeit Purses
    • Copyrights

      • How Copyright Takes Away Rights From Consumers

        It’s amusing to see defenders of current copyright law often making final declarations about how copyright is a “right” for artists, and thus protecting those rights absolutely makes sense. What they never seem to talk about is how, at the same time, copyright quite frequently is removing rights from the public. Julian Sanchez points us to a fascinating new paper from law professor John Tehranian, which tries to bring user rights back into the discussion of copyright

      • Gov’t to allow unlicensed use of copyrighted works

        A government advisory panel on Monday basically approved a plan to tolerate the unlicensed use of copyrighted works unless the use unduly infringes on the interest of the copyright holder, government officials said.

      • ACTA

        • Australia Government Report Warns Against Including IP In Trade Agreements

          The report includes a detailed discussion of ACTA-like agreements that emphasize cooperation, information sharing, and enforcement activities. It notes what should be obvious to many participating countries, including Canada – “most of the benefits to IP rights holders from measures to promote adherence to existing rules in partner countries can be expected to accrue to third parties, such as rights holders in the United States.”

Clip of the Day

A Mother’s Plea: WikiLeaks Founder No Criminal

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 14/12/2010: OpenBSD IPSEC Claimed Backdoored, Puglia (Italy) Makes Free/Open Source Software and Standards Mandatory

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Twenty-ten: The picks of the litter

    That curiosity is bent toward very low-end computers though, and it’s not enough to me to just show a pretty desktop at 150Mhz if the overall experience feels like your head is being pressed through a bowl of mashed potatoes.

  • AT&T Blocks Linux Configuration

    In the past 45 days, I’ve done a ton of installs. Of that bunch, 17 of our clients in that 45 days had chosen AT&T DSL for their provider.

    For good reason I think…

    They offer a two year contract at 14.95 a month for Internet service.

    Pretty good deal, huh?

    Not if you are a Linux User.

  • Server

    • No, M$, We Will not Pay You $6K to use Our Servers

      SBS has been released with prices for the standard version including $72 CALs and a higher price and $96 CALs for the chocolate-icing version. We are not locked into M$ where I work so we can save a ton of money running Debian GNU/Linux on our ancient servers. Why would any organization pay a voluntary tax to M$ for the privilege of using the organization’s hardware? It beats me…

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernels 2.6.35 and 2.6.36: Storage Updates

      Recently, I have spent some time reviewing Linux kernels from a storage perspective; starting with 2.6.30 (actually going back into the 2.6.2x series) and ending with the 2.6.34 kernel. That article was published on June 8 of this year – just a short time ago. In the meantime, the pace of kernel development has continued and as of the writing of this article the merge window for the 2.6.37 kernel has just closed signaling the beginning of the great bug hunt before the release of the 2.6.37 kernel. So now seems like a good time to go over the 2.6.35 and 2.6.36 kernels to review what changes have happened that affect the Linux storage world.

    • Last week in Amarok

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) announced that their 2010 training partner program is up 10 percent from this time last year.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Say Hello To The Catalyst Linux Driver Christmas Edition

        AMD’s Toronto developers working on the ATI Catalyst Linux driver have just released their last public update of the year. The Catalyst 10.12 Linux driver (along with the Windows version) is now available for those interested in this high-performance, but proprietary, driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • [rant] Desktop application complexity (part 2)
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Last week in Amarok

        Since we were quite busy in the last weeks, here comes a report about the last month in Amarok. The main reason for this delay is the following:

        We released Amarok 2.4 beta !

      • The magic that we do :)
      • Oxygen + Gtk

        The primary goal of this port is to improve significantly the integration of Gtk/Gnome applications in KDE. However, we also aim to provide Oxygen as a modern, professional and polished theme for other desktop environments, that works seamlessly without having KDE even installed.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Is Zorin OS Really Easier than Ubuntu?

      Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution, which its developers say is, “designed specifically for Linux beginners who want to have easy and smooth access to open source software.” Well, isn’t that similar to what Ubuntu says? Why would anyone need anything easier than Ubuntu? Is it even possible to have anything easier than Ubuntu? Well, Zorin folks think so, but let’s see.


      In summary, Linux is Linux is Linux. Sticking an XP-like menu in there doesn’t change that. I’m not sure we should try.

    • Extreme Configurability with Gentoo Linux

      Gentoo is one of the most talked and noted Linux distributions that have been in active development stage for last 6-7 years. Although there are only a limited number of followers for Gentoo when compared with some other distributions such as Ubuntu, Gentoo has been delivering a best Linux distribution suited for power users. Let’s have a look at the nature of Gentoo first.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Plymouth on Statler

        P.S. I took a look at the new Debian Squeeze Plymouth theme whilst I was playing around, it is the mutt’s nuts! Squeeze is shaping up very nicely.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu-isms suck

          Do you wanna know why Ubuntu-isms suck? Because they make software non-portable. I have just spend a few hours to try to get Synapse, an alternative to the stagnant and buggy Gnome-Do, into my Gentoo Overlay.

          I knew that I had to package Zeitgeist and a few other packages but I was ready for it, I thought: “How bad could it be?”. It could be bad.

          With many devs only developing on Canonical’s GNOME fork every other distribution that might be running on a more vanilla GNOME is fucked. You want a launcher to start programs? Be ready to pull in Canonical’s weird indicator-library that is a systray, but just not a systray. Then there’s this helper library, and that helper toolkit, all hosted on Launchpad, no information on how to build it apart from (get it from our PPA or the current Ubuntu version) and all heavily depending on each other.

        • Goodbye Ubuntu Netbook Edition Maverick, hello Jolicloud 1.1 !

          Ubuntu’s Maverick Desktop edition was, to me, a great success. It’s fast, secure, and slick. Linux-Mint Julia, the Ubuntu-based Linux distribution was, however, a total success. Julia surpassed Maverick in ease of installation and use.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 10.10 review

            Pros: Plasma interface offers plenty of eye-candy, simple installation process, and an excellent selection of pre-installed applications
            Cons: Unfamiliar default browser, old-fashioned software installation GUI, and several areas such as Activities are still poorly documented

            Canonical’s Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions around, but it’s easy to forget that there is a wealth of alternatives built on the same user-friendly base – including, most famously, the KDE-based Kubuntu. While the back end of the OS is identical in both cases, the interface couldn’t be more different.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google revives ‘network computer’ with dual-OS assault on MS

        One of the great ironies of this year is that Google and Oracle – now owner of Sun and Java – are locked in legal combat. The irony stems from the fact that, even as they bicker, the concept they did more than anyone else to create is back in the limelight. This is what we used to call the thin client, which then morphed into the netbook and now the cloudbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

    Thanks to Glyn Moody, a UK-based technology journalist, I’ve just learned that Netflix is not only using, but also contributing, to numerous open-source projects. They’re in good company.

    As Kevin McEntee, Netflix’s VP of Systems & ECommerce Engineering explained on a recent blog posting, Why we use and contribute to open source software, “Our budget, measured in dollars, time, people, and energy, is limited and we must therefore focus our technology development efforts on that streaming video software that clearly differentiates Netflix and creates delight for our customers. These limits require that we stand on the shoulders of giants who have solved technology challenges shared in common by all companies that operate at Internet scale. I’m really just articulating the classical build vs. buy trade off that everyone deals with when developing software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why Mozilla doesn’t back Free Flash players

        Despite Apple’s best efforts to make it go away, the Web is still littered with Flash-based sites and content. The lack of an open source alternative to Adobe’s Flash player is still a major pain point for Linux users and vendors, and the proprietary player is a big source of bug reports for Mozilla. Which brings the question: Why hasn’t Mozilla backed one of the projects to create an open source player?

        A bit ago I was having a conversation over email with Nathan Willis about some of the open source alternatives like GNU Gnash and Lightspark, and the question came up – why doesn’t Mozilla back these?

      • Flock Refresh Trumps RockMelt

        RockMelt was released in beta in November with the claim that it would bring social networking into the browser. But Flock has been a social networking oriented browser for years now and a new version shows where Flock has several advantages over RockMelt.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • Released: FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 and 7.4-BETA1

      The first of the test builds for the FreeBSD 8.2/7.4 Release Cycle is now available for amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, and sparc64 architectures. Files suitable for creating installation media or doing FTP based installs through the network should be on most of the FreeBSD mirror sites.

    • OpenBSD IPSEC backdoored?

      I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. Around 2000-2001.


  • Government

    • IT: Puglia region makes open source and standards mandatory

      The Italian region Puglia will make the use of open source software and open standards mandatory for its public administrations. A law, adopted on 2 December by the regional administration, instructs regional and local public administrations to use open formats for the electronic disseminations of documents, and wherever possible use free and open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sintel DVDs have shipped with film, commentaries, and Blender tutorials

      My DVD set for the Blender Foundation’s latest open movie, “Sintel,” arrived this month. Considering the size, expense, and duration of the production, it’s a truly amazing short film. There’s much more emotional weight here than in “Elephants Dream” or “Big Buck Bunny.” More of interest here, though, is the huge amount of supplementary material included in the set. This is more than just the sources for the movie. There’s also a lot of tutorial information for Blender users and of course, an array of personal commentaries on the production process.


  • Google morphs Gmail into Microsoft backup service

    Known as Google Message Continuity, the service replicates all your Microsoft Exchange data on Google’s servers. If your Exchange servers crash or you take them down for maintenance, your employees can open up a browser and switch to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts. The service is based on technology from Postini, the business email outfit Google purchase in 2007.

  • Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings

    There’s a rather incredible story over in the Baltimore Sun about the extent Abbott Laboratories’ execs went to in their effort to sell more of their heart stents. This is not a unique story, but every time I see a similar story, it serves as a reminder of the problems of putting “healthcare” in the hands of companies who have every incentive to sell you snake oil — especially when that snake oil is patented and they can charge ridiculous monopoly rents for it.

    The story involves a heart stent sold by Abbott. Apparently, Abbott cultivated a few doctors and plied them with all sorts of… well… most people would probably refer to them as bribes… to implant more stents. The article focuses on one Dr. Mark Midei, who “set a record” by implanting 30 stents in one day. That would be great if those stents saved lives. Problem is… a study earlier this year showed that stents were no better than drugs for many patients. Now, in some cases, they can certainly be helpful, but there was little indication that Midei made much of an effort to see if the over 2,000 stents he was implanting per year were really necessary.

  • ‘The New Kingmakers’: Tech giants pay for the love of coders
  • News of The World hacking case gets dropped

    RUPERT MURDOCH’S The News of the World will not be charged for hacking into the phones of high profile people after a prosecutor said that there was not enough evidence.

    The News of the Screws was treated to a dose of dirt flying in its direction when it was accused of hacking into the mobile phone accounts of a number of people, including some royals and an MP. That was corroborated by an ex-employee in an interview with the New York Times and was discussed at length – with some apparent evidence mentioned- in the Guardian newspaper.

  • Science

    • NASA Ejects Nanosatellite From Microsatellite in Space

      NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.

    • Dinosaur bones prompt federal lawsuit in Montana

      Bones from two dinosaur specimens have prompted a federal lawsuit in a dispute between two organizations that preserve fossils.

      The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported a South Dakota research company is suing a Montana nonprofit dedicated to the study of fossils over castings of bones from two tyrannosaurus-rex specimens discovered in South Dakota.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • FBI ‘Thwarts’ Another Of Its Own Bomb Plots

      visual77 alerts us to the news of a guy arrested in Baltimore for a bomb plot. As you dig into the details, though, it looks quite similar to the case in Portland, where it appears that the entire “plot” was created with the help of the FBI.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange’s accusers are jealous liars, says lawyer Bjorn Hurtig

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange’s lawyer said he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistle-blower is innocent of sex assault claims made against him by two women.

      Lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, representing Mr Assange in Sweden where the charges were laid, said the papers reveal both women had “hidden agendas” and lied about being coerced into having sex.

    • Icelandic IT firm to sue Visa & Mastercard over WikiLeaks cut-off

      Icelandic IT company Datacell today said it will take legal action against Visa Europe and Mastercard in light of both companies decisions to cease processing payments associated with the WikiLeaks website.

      Datacell said they will use legal mechanisms to try to force the card companies to resume accepting WikiLeaks payments immediately.

      Datacell’s CEO Andreas Fink said that Visa should ‘just simply do their business where they are good at – transferring money’.

    • Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed

      Again, I’m struck by the simple split many have here: it really is an argument between those who believe in distributed and open vs. centralized and closed — and I’m still not sure if the folks supporting centralized and closed even realize this. Their response, to date, has been to act as if they’re fighting a centralized system. They focus on things like Wikileaks’ domain and its founder — as if that’s the issue. They target the centralized pieces. And even if you make the argument that Wikileaks needs Julian Assange to stay together, if it were to shut down, it wouldn’t take long for a ton of other, similar offerings to spring up in its place. And, they would probably be even more effective (and potentially more damaging).

      While I don’t necessarily like “war” analogies, what we’re seeing is very much a battle between the way people want to see information flow, and one side seems to be still fighting the last war.

    • Pentagon Not Properly Protecting Whistleblowers, Says DOJ

      Insufficient resources, lack of training for investigators and a variety of other problems have plagued the Defense Department system intended to investigate allegations of retaliation against military whistleblowers, according to a recently disclosed government report. At the same time, the number of military whistleblower retaliation allegations has “more than doubled” from fewer than 300 in 1997 to nearly 600 in 2007, according to the report.

    • Dutch Arrest Teen for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack on Visa and MasterCard Websites

      Dutch police announced Thursday they have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly participating in the online attacks against Visa and MasterCard as part of a vigilante campaign to support WikiLeaks.

      The secret-spilling site has raised the ire of the U.S. government and others around the world for its ongoing release of secret diplomatic cables allegedly provided to the site by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Though only a small portion of the 250,000 cables WikiLeaks possesses have been released so far, the cables include revelations about how countries in the Middle East urged attacks on Iran, what the U.S. diplomatic corps thinks of world leaders such as Russian President Vladmir Putin, and the details of behind-the-scenes negotiations on repatriating Gitmo prisoners, among other topics.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyers ‘preparing for possible US charges’
    • Ron Paul’s Sensible Thoughts On Wikileaks
    • Congressional Research Service Notes That There Are Serious Challenges To Charging Assange

      While a lot of the rhetoric from the US government — concerning Wikileaks and Julian Assange and whether or not any law was violated — has been overwrought and full of hyperbole, it appears that the Congressional Research Service (which tends to do a damn good job most of the time) has put out a nice simple report detailing the specific legal issues and laws that might apply here (pdf), and more or less summarizes that the US government would be breaking new ground in charging Assange, and may have difficulties in succeeding.

  • Finance

    • Fed critic Ron Paul wins oversight gavel

      Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, on Thursday approved Paul’s bid to lead the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cypress Hill Singer’s $250M Lawsuit Claims ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Stolen From His Story

      A model named Michael “Shagg” Washington is suing Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software for a cool $250 million for allegedly basing the lead character in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his troubled youth.

    • Superpowers as Personal Property

      The superpowers of many comic book heroes and villains are often in a state of flux. Powers can be gained, lost, used up, given away, abandoned, shared, and stolen, which sounds a lot like the attributes of property. Comic book characters even speak of powers as though they were possessions. Here we consider whether superpowers should be treated as personal property and the legal consequences of that view.

    • Parchment, Pixels & Personhood: User Rights and the IP (Identity Politics) of IP (Intellectual Property)

      This Article challenges copyright’s prevailing narrative on personhood, which has typically focused on the identity interests that authors enjoy in their creative output.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian court could kill hyperlinks

        Canada’s Supreme Court is hearing a defamation case in which the point of law under contention is whether a link counts as publication. The case involves Wayne Crookes, owner of a legal registrations firm, and Jon Newton, who runs a news site specializing in the peer-to-peer filesharing world.

        Crookes sued Newton for defamation: not for what he wrote, but for links to other articles that contain defamatory material.

      • Supreme Court Ruling: You May Not Be Able To Legally Sell A Product First Made Outside The US
      • Movie Exec Says Studios Should Stop Sending Out DVD Screeners For The Oscars

        Of course, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Summit Entertainment thinks this way. The company has built up quite a reputation for being an intellectual property bully. In the past 15 months or so, we’ve had multiple different stories of Summit’s overly aggressive attempts at IP enforcement, often threatening or suing people doing completely reasonable things, such as creating a fanzine or filming a documentary about the town where Twilight is supposed to take place. And that’s not even getting into questions about The Hurt Locker and its lawsuit campaign against thousands of file sharers — because that was really done by the movie’s producers, Voltage, rather than Summit. Of course, all these actions are doing is reminding me to avoid any pictures associated with Summit.

      • Drudge Report owner sued by Righthaven

        As in most of its recent lawsuits, Righthaven seeks in Wednesday’s lawsuit damages of $150,000 as well as forfeiture to Righthaven of the drudgereport.com and drudgereportarchives.com website domain names.

      • Torrent-Finder Determined to Fight U.S. Domain Seizure

        The owner of BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder, one of the sites that had its domain seized recently, is determined to put up a fight against the actions of the U.S. authorities. The Egyptian founder of the site has hired an attorney to assist him in regaining control over the website he maintained trouble-free for more than half a decade.

      • ACS: Law takes P2P users to court, fails miserably
      • Copyright Troll Righthaven’s Number One Supporter Caught Putting Infringing Material On His Own Blog

        Former Las Vegas Journal Review publisher and Stephens Media CEO Sherman Frederick was the main champion behind Righthaven. Early on he was the one who explained (in bizarre, nonsensical terms) why the LVRJ was funding and supporting Righthaven, and mocked those who pointed out the ridiculousness of his position. Part of his reasoning was that putting copyright infringing content on your website or blog is absolutely no different than stealing the Corvette out of his driveway. Even if we ignore how this is completely wrong (someone copying content doesn’t remove that content from his site, and he still has the content, etc.) and grant him that premise, it seems rather odd that Frederick himself has now been caught posting infringing material to his own blog.

      • Movie Studios Blocking Special Features On Rental DVDs

        In an apparent effort to give customers a reason to buy DVDs instead of renting them, movie studios have begun disabling certain features of new releases on discs rented out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

      • Turkey Looks To Copyright Its National Anthem After German Collection Society Tries To Collect Royalties For It

        So, I’m not too surprised to hear reports that the Turkish government is now scrambling to try to copyright its own national anthem after hearing that GEMA tried to collect royalties on it. The story is a bit confusing but it appears that GEMA, in standard collection society fashion, demanded that a Turkish school in Germany pay up for performing music. The school responded that the only music that was performed was the Turkish national anthem. This is where some of the dispute comes in. It appears that GEMA believes other covered music was also performed, and its asking for royalties from that and saying it never meant to collect for the Turkish national anthem. However, the school insists that was the only song performed — so it went to the Turkish Culture Minister to ask for help. At that point, the Turkish government realized that there simply was no copyright on the song.

      • Oh Look, Digital Downloads Aren’t Saving The Music Industry

        Earlier this year, we warned that the growth rate was slowing, and now as we hit the end of the year, it’s confirmed that while there’s still some growth, it’s slowed down dramatically. Betting on digital sales as the key business model for music is, and is going to remain, a mistake. There are lots of other opportunities to make money, but you have to think beyond just selling music.

      • P2P first seeders: pirates or “masked philanthropists”?

        Do some P2P file sharers see themselves as the Robin Hoods of the digital age—taking from the greedy content companies and giving to the global have-nots? Amidst all the angst over illegal Internet file sharing and what to do about it, there’s a related debate raging over two questions—why do people share files and what do they think about the ethics of the practice?

      • Musician Releases Album And Explains Why File Sharing Isn’t That Big A Deal

        The one thing that surprises me, though, is that while he’s using Bandcamp to handle sales of the CD, he’s not offering downloads via Bandcamp, where he could do things like offer flexible pricing. Instead, you have to buy it from iTunes. Kind of strange.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat Compiz-Fusion

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 14/12/2010: Richard Purdie a New Linux Foundation Fellow, Xorg-Server 1.9.3 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Window for Linux

      Since the new year in almost every school in the Amur Region will the computer revolution. 31 декабря закончится действие лицензии на пакет программного обеспечения от компании Microsoft, установленного на большинстве школьных компьютеров. December 31 will end the license for the software package from Microsoft, is installed on most school computers. Его сменит свободное программное обеспечение, которое будет работать на базе операционной системы Linux. He was replaced by the free software that will operate on the basis of the operating system Linux.

    • INDIA: $35 laptop a revolution in university learning?

      Sonakshi Pandit, studying for a doctorate in education at the University of Pune, hopes the laptop will force teachers and students to update their teaching and learning styles.

  • Server

    • IBM to build 3 petaflop supercomputer for Germany

      The global race for supercomputing power continues unabated: Germany’s Bavarian Academy of Science has announced that it has contracted IBM to build a supercomputer that, when completed in 2012, will be able to execute up to 3 petaflops, potentially making it the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

      To be called SuperMUC, the computer, which will be run by the Academy’s Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching, Germany, will be available for European researchers to use to probe the frontiers of medicine, astrophysics and other scientific disciplines. (The MUC suffix is borrowed from the Munich airport code).

  • Kernel Space

    • Willy Tarreau is taking over the 2.6.27-longterm kernel release
    • Linux KVM vs. VirtualBox 4.0 Virtualization Benchmarks

      Oracle’s been vigorously working on their VM VirtualBox 4.0 software and in just the past week they have delivered two public betas that bring a number of new features. Among the changes there is support for Intel HD audio / ICH9 to guest VMs, the concept of extension packs, user-interface improvements, support for limiting a virtual machine’s CPU time and I/O bandwidth, 3D acceleration fixes for guests, and a great number of bug-fixes. How though is this updated Oracle/Sun virtualization platform comparing to the older VirtualBox 3.2 release and that of the upstream Linux KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) that most Linux distributions rely upon? Here are a number of benchmarks that seek to answer this very question.

    • Richard Purdie appointed as a new Linux Foundation fellow
    • Linux Foundation Appoints New Fellow

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that OpenEmbedded core developer and Yocto Project maintainer Richard Purdie has been appointed to the position of Linux Foundation Fellow.

    • Mitigations and Solutions of Bufferbloat in Home Routers and Operating Systems

      Once tuned, Linux’s latency (and the router’s latency) can be really nice even under high load (even if I’ve not tried hard to get to the theoretical minimums). But un-tuned, I can get many second latency out of both Linux home routers and my laptop, just by heading to some part of my house where my wireless signal strength is low (I have several chimneys that makes this trivial). By walking around or obstructing your wireless router, you should be easily able to reproduce bufferbloat in either your router or in your laptop, depending on which direction you saturate.

      With an open source router on appropriate hardware and a client running Linux, you can make bufferbloat very much lower in your home environment, even when bufferbloat would otherwise cause your network to become unusable. Nathaniel Smith in a reply to “Fun with Wireless” shows what can be done when you both set the txqueuelen and change the driver (in his case, a one line patch!)

    • Graphics Stack

      • XBMC 10 Is Imminent, XBMC 11 Is Already In Planning

        We have just been told that the 10.0 “Dharma” release of XBMC is due out this coming week. XBMC 10.0 presents a unified add-on framework and a lot of features related to this work for providing new functionality, initial gesture support for the XBMC GUI Engine, improved mouse support, Broadcom Crystal HD decoding support, native support for unencrypted Blu-ray playback, support for Google WebM, and many other changes. While XBMC 10.0 isn’t even out the door, XBMC 11.0 “Eden” is already well into planning.

        Besides what’s already been mentioned, other XBMC 10.0 features include initial support for OpenGL ES 2.0 to allow the Linux renderer to support embedded devices, SSH file transfer protocol support, a number of new movie/video scrapers have been introduced, an improved video scanner engine, an improved meta-data scraper engine, upgrades against FFmpeg, and much more.

      • VirtualBox 4.0 OpenGL Gaming Performance

        Put out earlier this morning on Phoronix were Linux virtualization benchmarks comparing the native performance of a high-end Intel Core i7 system to that of the de facto standard Linux KVM virtualization method as well as Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.12 and Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 2. These tests focused largely upon the disk and CPU performance within Ubuntu Linux virtual machines, since that’s often where enterprise users are most concerned with virtualization performance. For desktop users, there’s also the matter of 2D/3D acceleration support within virtual machines.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.9.3

        xorg-server-1.9.3 is the third maintenance release of the 1.9 branch of the X11 server from X.org. It includes numerous bug fixes to address performance, stability, and correctness. This version is functionally equivalent to the second release candidate. The list below summarizes all changes since 1.9.2.

      • Say Hello To The Catalyst Linux Driver Christmas Edition

        AMD’s Toronto developers working on the ATI Catalyst Linux driver have just released their last public update of the year. The Catalyst 10.12 Linux driver (along with the Windows version) is now available for those interested in this high-performance, but proprietary, driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Slax – still alive in the Slax Community remix

      It has become quite a different beast in some ways, having grown for the first time to over 200 MB size and introducing KDE 4 and 64-bit to Slax among others, like its founder had envisaged for the future of the project. At the same time it has also created a small team of developers familiar enough with the system to continue if the project is abandoned, or to help Tomas M out, should he decide to return for Slax 7. On the other hand I wonder if this is not just an operating system for a small group of hardcore fans now that it has had its time and may become increasingly irrelevant, in a day and age where almost every distribution offers a convenient graphical way to copy to a USB device and back or create spins. In any case, I am glad it’s still around, and will keep using it from time to time just for fun.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CELF seeking embedded project proposals for 2011
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google Android Gingerbread Is Using EXT4

          Earlier this year Google announced they would be switching to the EXT4 file-system on their Linux servers (previously they were still using the mature EXT2) and at the same time it was made available they had hired Ted Ts’o, the lead developer of this file-system currently in use by a majority of the new Linux desktop distributions. Google’s continuing to love the EXT4 file-system and now with their new Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” operating system for smart-phones and other mobile devices, they are switching to EXT4 there too.

        • Android will be using ext4 starting with Gingerbread

          This is another reason why I’m glad to see ext4 being used on Android is that it validates my decision to keep working on ext4 2-3 years ago, even though newer filesystems like btrfs were promised to be coming down the pike. As I’ve said many times before, file systems are like fine wine, and they take many years to mature. So having ext4 ready today is a great way of giving more choices to developers and system administrators about what file system they want to use.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When Free Software Isn’t Better

    For free software advocates, these same projects are each seen as important successes. Because every piece of free software respects its users’ freedom, advocates of software freedom argue that each piece of free software begins with an inherent ethical advantage over proprietary competitors — even a more featureful one. By emphasizing freedom over practical advantages, free software’s advocacy is rooted in a technical reality in a way that open source is often not. When free software is better, we can celebrate this fact. When it is not, we need not treat it as a damning critique of free software advocacy or even as a compelling argument against the use of the software in question.

  • FSF essay argues freedom over quality

    Getting into the middle of a discussion on the virtues of open source versus free software is about as smart as trying to reconcile the two major US political parties at this point in history–in other words, a fool’s errand.

    But I’ve been called worse, so here goes.

    Benjamin Mako Hill is a well-known and -respected free software developer and activist, whose opinions I pay attention to, even if I don’t always agree with them. In this month’s Free Software Foundation Bulletin, Hill wrote an essay entitled “When Free Software Sucks,” which he has republished for public consumption under the title “When Free Software Isn’t Better.”

  • OSS is about access to the code

    I have a kind of a fetish – the idea that source code, even old or extremely specific for a single use, may be useful for a long time. Not only for porting to some other, strange platform, but for issues like prior art in software patents, for getting inspiration for techniques or simply because you don’t know when it may be of use. For this reason, I try to create public access archives of source code I manage to get my hands on, especially when such codes may require a written license to acquire, but may then later be redistributed.

  • The role of open source in emerging economies: A Malaysian success story

    1. They find that open source software helps improve national sovereignty, which is a very important goal for helping the government to do its job.

    2. Open source improves economic development.

    3. Open source helps to grow global knowledge.

  • Indian CIOs open up to open source

    In India, open source adoption has transitioned from mere hype to reality. It has graduated from a model driven purely by the developer’s community to one where the industry is the key driver. For CIOs, the benefits of open source software (OSS) have moved beyond cost and its usage has expanded beyond operating system to core applications.

  • Cellecta, Inc. Announces Launch of the Open Source DECIPHER Project to Provide Free Access to RNAi Genetic Screen Tools

    Cellecta, Inc., a provider of screening services for gene function analysis and therapeutic drug target discovery, announced the launch of the DECIPHER Project—an open source platform for genome-wide RNAi screening which offers reagents for running genetic knockdown screens, software tools for data analysis, and an open database of genetic knockdown screening results. Funded, in part, by several NIH grants, some jointly undertaken with collaborators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and The Scripps Research Institute, the DECIPHER Project objective is to provide free reagents and software tools for researchers to perform and analyze comprehensive shRNA knockdown screens and to develop a standardized yet versatile platform for collecting and comparing results from different studies and labs.

  • Events

    • Virtusan speaks at ‘Open Source India 2010′

      Head of Strategic Initiatives, Global Technology Office, Virtusa Corporation Chamindra De Silva delivered an address titled ‘Licensing with regards to Open Source Alignment to the Cloud’ at Asia’s largest open source conference ‘Open Source India 2010′ (OSI Days).

    • Why I came back…

      So what does this mean to the event this year? Only good things. We are working harder than ever to get things in place for the most memorable FOSS.IN ever, and make sure that our audiences have the time of their lives. We have always run the event with the objective of giving participants a feel of a “mega event”, the way they happen abroad (and that few people can afford going to), and we are going to make this last one precisely that – set the bar really high before we get off the stage (or fall off it :) )

      We have been lucky so far – sponsors have been generous, we managed to get online registration up with the help of our friends at DoAttend.com, we managed to get the venue at short notice (though only for 3 days, and right in the middle of the week), and things are going according to schedule.

      So come Wednesday, the 15th, we look forward to welcoming the many hundreds of delegates who have already registered, and the many more who will form the inevitable queue, to attend the last FOSS.IN ever.

    • Open Ballot: what was the biggest Linux event in 2010?

      We’re gearing up to record our last podcast of 2010, and in this episode we’ll be looking back on a very eventful year for the Linux community. In our Open Ballot – which isn’t really an Open Ballot this time, we’ll admit – we want you to tell us: what was the biggest event in the Linux world for you? Maybe it was the Mageia fork of Mandriva, or perhaps it was the release of MeeGo 1.0. Or maybe Ubuntu’s decision to transition away from X is your killer moment of the last 12 months.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

        The Mozilla Foundation is unabashedly committed to a free and open web. They see it as a vital part of a healthy digital ecosystem where creativity and innovation can thrive. We couldn’t agree more. And we couldn’t be prouder to have Mozilla’s generous and ongoing support. We were recently able to catch up with Mark Surman, the Foundation’s Executive Director, who talks about Mozilla and its myriad projects, and how his organization and ours are a lot like lego blocks for the open web.

  • SaaS

    • Resolving the contradictions between web services, clouds, and open source

      Predicting trends in computer technology is an easy way to get into trouble, but two developments have been hyped so much over the past decade that there’s little risk in jumping on their bandwagons: free software and cloud computing. What’s odd is that both are so beloved of crystal-gazers, because on the surface they seem incompatible.

      The first trend promises freedom, the second convenience. Both freedom and convenience inspire people to adopt new technology, so I believe the two trends will eventually coexist and happily lend power to each other. But first, the proponents of each trend will have to get jazzed up about why the other trend is so compelling.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle burnishes its Lustre

      While a number of small companies have been ramping up support for a file system called Lustre that Oracle acquired in its Sun Microsystems purchase earlier this year, Oracle itself has no plans to abandon the technology, a company executive told the IDG News Service in an interview.

      “Oracle is unwavering in our commitment to the Lustre technology, to the Lustre community and to the broader supercomputer community in general,” said Jason Schaffer, Oracle senior director of product management for storage. “Through the Oracle acquisition, there has been plenty of opportunity for our competitors to say things that are being a little presumptuous, if not overly presumptuous, in [terms of what] Oracle will develop or not develop,” he added.

  • CMS

    • Quick Thoughts On Diaspora

      First impression: If you’ve used Facebook, you know that it offers a grouping feature, to help you direct your posts to the appropriate “friends” and away from inappropriate ones. This is to keep your boss from seeing photos of you puking after a night of drinking. But Facebook’s feature is difficult to use, so much that no one I know uses it, and many people aren’t even aware of it. Diaspora’s “aspects” grouping feature is right up front and easy to use. It quite naturally invites you to partition your “friends” into such groups, while making it absolutely simple to send a post to all your aspects.

  • Project Releases

    • odfpy3 0.1.0

      Python API and tools to manipulate OpenDocument files

  • Government

    • Open source government needs open-minded procurement

      Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude declares the era of “Major IT Projects” over.

      Few will disagree with his observation that the Government has provided “easy margins” for the incumbent IT giants, in fact most will go further and in plain language say that Public Sector IT costs far too much and fails far too often.

      Simply getting an accurate figure on the spend is apparently not possible, the best-informed estimates vary from £14bn to over £21bn per year, whatever the figure it is too much – it is more than we spend on income support, more than we spend on the Department of Transport, more than we spend the Army… Worse still, the cost of just the mechanics of the procurement process is, frankly, appalling… We spend more on the IT procurement process than we spend on the Foreign Office – only Defence costs more to procure.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New copyright-like rights considered harmful

      Today a new German site launched, IGEL (“Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht”; in English, “initiative against a related right”). The site, spearheaded by German lawyer Till Kreutzer, provides information on a possible proposal for a new “related right” for press publishers. Original content on the site is released under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

    • Creative Commons Fantasy Portrait Marathon
    • The Bikera Plan
    • Open Data

      • Making data dance

        Much of the really useful information was hidden away in different systems around the world, and Dr Rosling found that even the biggest institutions were reluctant to share their findings. “Most public data was not made available in a licence where you were allowed to redistribute it. Neither was it in a unified structure or technological format,” he says. “It was better at a national level but at the international level it was awful. The UN, the World Bank and the IMF get free data from member countries, use taxpayers’ money to compile it and then sell it in an inefficient, stupid system. For instance, trade data makes up 80% of public statistics. This is what humans do: they produce and consume stuff. We have new software that can help poor countries understand the fragmentation of their trade but UN Comtrade (the world’s trade database) is still hoarding bulk data. We need to have that data free.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Dramatic Growth of Open Access: December 11, 2010 early year-end edition

        The number of journals actively participating in PubMedCentral is growing – now over 1,000 titles; over half provide OA to all articles, and nearly 60% provide immediate free access. Percentage-wise, OA mandates continue to lead in growth, with a total of 24 mandates added to ROARMAP this quarter, with the eprints OA Week Mandate Challenge a likely contributing factor. This fall’s OA Week was the biggest ever. A unique OA milestone this quarter was Jan Szczepanski’s personal OA title collection exceeding 10,000 titles. Looking forward to 2011 and beyond, clearly this is just the beginning! Suggested OA New Years’ Resolutions: adopt and implement an open access mandate policy, join the Compact on Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or both – or just keep up the good work and know that the small efforts the many thousands of us are making are adding up to all the difference in the world.

      • No More Paywall for E&P Online

        When former President Reagan told the head of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down The Berlin Wall in 1987, he was asking for change and openness across the Eastern Bloc.

        Editor & Publisher magazine wants that same change and openness for its readers. This week, it tore down its website paywall, allowing visitors to view more of the magazine’s exclusive content.

      • OCW Zeitgeist: A year in search


  • FHP: Deputy caused crash that killed 91-year-old man

    An Orange County deputy caused the crash last summer that killed a 91-year-old man who was on his way to the hospital for his daily visit with the sick and dying, the Florida Highway Patrol said Friday.

  • Cut Out the Fake Work and Focus on Projects that Really Matter

    If you’re at a job where you don’t feel like your work’s accomplishing much, business consultants Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson have a few suggestions for how to stop spinning your wheels with “fake work” and get real work done.

  • Google’s reading age tool – comparing UK newspapers

    UK newspapers reading age by GoogleSince Google just brought out its new reading age analysis tool, I’ve used it to compare the UK national newspaper websites. I’ve included three news aggregators – Yahoo, Newsnow and Google – to give a baseline (although Newsnow doesn’t fit the common Yahoo and Google baseline).

    No big surprises that the Sun, Mirror and News of the World sit together at the bottom of the list, or that they’re joined there by the commuter freebie Metro; nor that the FT contains almost no “basic” language pages and the most “advanced”. But the middle of the table is more interesting, with the Guardian scoring much the same reading age as the Daily Mail, and the Independent sitting at the top of the qualities isn’t necessarily what I’d have guessed.

  • Hispanic GOP group decries Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for opposing DREAM Act

    A national Hispanic Republican organization denounced Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s opposition to the DREAM Act on Friday and warned that the stance may hurt her re-election prospects in 2012 should she decide to run.

    “We are conservative Republicans who hold traditional military and social values,” the group Somos Republicans wrote in a letter to the senator. “We are troubled by the fact that you failed to recognize that Hispanics in Texas are overwhelmingly in support of the DREAM Act.”

    The bill would make illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. before age 16 eligible to begin a path toward citizenship.

  • The National Museum of Computing

    Britain boasts several museums devoted to the history of a single everyday object. You’ll be glad to hear, then, that there’s a museum devoted to possibly the most important everyday object of modern times. A device which didn’t exist 70 years ago, but which now pervades almost everything we do. Its story is told in the National Museum of Computing, which is based in the very building where the world’s very first digital programmable computer was operated. Block H, Bletchley Park.

  • Convincing
  • Public Knowledge Disappointed With Supreme Court Copyright Ruling

    “We are very disappointed with this ruling by the Supreme Court. There are many basic consumer issues at stake, and having the Court uphold the lower ruling on a tie vote leaves many of those issues up in the air.

    “Because of this ruling, the critical “first sale” doctrine U.S. copyright law is severely limited for goods manufactured outside of the U.S. but sold here. It applies even, as in this case, to goods that have copyrighted logos on them. That means that anyone, from a single person, to a giant corporation, which resells goods made abroad, could find themselves sued under copyright law unless they determine where a product was made and purchase the licensing rights.

  • Software Developer: Even the Vatican is a Pirate

    AVAST Software says only 1.8% of people using its Avast! antivirus program have paid for a user license, and that the original 14 – the only ones it’s sold – have been used in over 200 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – even Vatican City.

  • 4chan Declares War On Snow
  • Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing “P2P.com” in Landmark Domain Theft Case

    A 26-year-old New Jersey man has plead guilty to stealing and illegally selling an Internet domain in a first-of-its-kind case.

    Daniel Goncalves of Union Township entered a guilty plea earlier today in New Jersey state Superior Court for stealing the “P2P.com” domain from Mark Ostrofsky, Albert Angel and Lesli Angel. Prosecutors will recommend that he serves a five-year prison term and pay restitution for his crimes.

  • Science

    • Scientists create computer-programmable bacteria

      In research that further bridges the biological and digital world, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have created bacteria that can be programmed like a computer.

      Researchers built “logic gates” – the building blocks of a circuit – out of genes and put them into E. coli bacteria strains. The logic gates mimic digital processing and form the basis of computational communication between cells, according to synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt.

    • Dec. 13, 1809: First Removal of Ovarian Tumor

      The 45-year-old patient, Jane Todd Crawford, had been misdiagnosed as being pregnant with twins. McDowell, who ran a surgical practice in Danville, Kentucky, offered a different diagnosis — a large ovarian tumor. He decided to risk the previously untried surgery and set Christmas Day for the operation.

    • How the vertebrates were made: selective pruning of a double-duplicated genome
    • Sleepy bees slur their waggle dance moves

      No one works well when tired, and insects are no exception. Just like us, sleepy bees make shoddy dancers and poor communicators.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

      A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.

      U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.

  • Security

    • Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware
    • DeviantArt Mailing List Compromized
    • Don’t hand over your own personal WikiLeaks to Strangers
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • An Interview with Gnosis, the group behind the Gawker hacking
    • Quantum cryptography is secure… except when it’s not

      Not so long ago, we reported on a paper that purported to blow a hole in quantum key distribution (QKD) systems. Now, researchers at Toshiba have struck back with findings that show that the attack doesn’t really work. To which the original authors have replied, “Well, it depends.”

      First, a quick refresher course in QKD (click the link for more detail). Basically, the rules of quantum mechanics allow things like photons to be in two states at once, called a superposition state. But, when we make a measurement, we see only one of these two states, and the photon stays in that state until we do something to it. We can’t tell before we make a measurement if a photon is in one state or a mixture of two, but by making many measurements on similarly prepared photons, we can tell whether a given source produces photons that are in a superposition.

    • Update: Gawker Media Confirms That Their Commenter Database Was Hacked

      Yesterday Gawker Media denied reports that their database of 1.5 Million usernames, emails and passwords had been hacked. Comments broadcast via the apparently compromised Twitter feed of Gawker Media’s tech and gadget site Gizmodo strongly suggested a security compromise. Gawker Editorial Director Scott Kidder claimed through his own Twitter feed that “No evidence to suggest any Gawker Media’s user accounts were compromised, and passwords encrypted anyway.”

    • Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords
    • Exclusive: ‘Gnosis’ Explains The Method And Reasoning Behind Gawker Media Hack

      Over the last 24 hours Gawker Media’s network of sites have been under attack from a group who have identified themselves “Gnosis,” a seemingly mysterious collective of hackers who has been falsely considered part of the 4chan-related group of renegade vigilantes knows as Anonymous. Via several private email exchanges with Mediaite, an individual claiming to represent “Gnosis” has explained both the reasoning and methodology of his actions, which has led to a compromised commenter database and a content management system.

    • ‘Acai Berry’ Twitter attack reportedly linked to Gawker hack

      You may have seen a number of tweets circulating over the first few hours mentioning “Acai Berries”. Users are reporting that their accounts are tweeting out spam messages containing these words without their consent.

      The attack, first reported as a ‘worm’ by Mashable, may actually, it appears, be related to this weekend’s hacking of Gawker Media’s database. @Delbius, leader of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team says: “Got a Gawker acct that shares a PW w/your Twitter acct? Change your Twitter PW. A current attack appears to be due to the Gawker compromise.”

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • No surprise: G20 cams *not* down!

      As of last week, this CCTV camera remained in place at Queen and Peter, despite media reports that the security cameras erected for the G20 summit last June had been taken down.

      Although Toronto Police announced the 71 CCTV cameras acquired for the G20 would be removed upon “the completion of the event, when there’s no longer an issue of security,” research has shown that mega-events such as the Olympics and global summits typically leave a security legacy. Equipment purchased and installed on an ostensibly temporary basis become incorporated into the permanent infrastructure, altering in subtle and obvious ways the physical and psychological terrain of the city.

    • Pornoscanners trivially defeated by pancake-shaped explosives

      In case you were wondering whether pornoscanners are harder on the vast majority of innocent, non-terrorist fliers, or the minuscule minority of terrorists, wonder no more.

    • Police officers ‘tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester’

      Police have been accused of attempting to prevent seriously injured protesters being treated at the same hospital as officers hurt during last week’s tuition fees demonstration, igniting claims that one student’s life could have been put at risk.

    • Blair Peach killed by police at 1979 protest, Met report finds

      The anti-fascist protester Blair Peach was almost certainly killed by police at a demonstration in 1979, according to a secret report released today.

      Documents published on the Metropolitan police’s website shed new light on the death of Peach, a 33-year-old teacher from New Zealand, whose death marked one of the most controversial events in modern policing history.

    • Violated by TSA at Tampa airport

      I assumed I was finished, but a female Transportation Security officer yelled at me for “trying to get away from her.” She told me I had to stand in front of her – while I was still barefoot and trying to watch out for my stuff, which had gone through a different scanner – until my scan was read.

      I told her I had never undergone this process and was a bit afraid, and she laughed at me and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.

      The woman grabbed my wrist and said she had to look at my plastic watch. I tried to take it off and hand it to her, and she yelled at me not to interfere with her search.

      Then, with no explanation, she pulled up my shirt, exposing my stomach and the top of my underwear, and stuck the top half of her fingers inside the waistband of my pants. I yanked my shirt down and told her she was not showing the top of my underwear and my naked stomach to anyone.

    • India diplomat gets ‘humiliating’ pat-down at Mississippi airport
    • Thai investigators refuse to release report on shot Reuters cameraman

      Thailand’s department of special investigation (DSI) is refusing to release the full report on the death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto following a leak that he was killed by a Thai soldier.

      DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said the continuing investigation into the death of Muramoto during the Bangkok red-shirt protests in May could be affected by disclosure.

    • Swedish bomb inquiry expands to Britain

      British police on Sunday searched a house in connection with the alleged terrorist who blew himself up and injured two others in a busy shopping area in Stockholm – the first jihad-inspired suicide bombing in the Nordic country.

      A property in Bedfordshire, north of London, was searched in connection with two blasts which occurred on Saturday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said.

    • G20 Toronto: Police Illegally Smashed My Camera (Radio Interview)
    • Watchdog finds RCMP still using prohibited hog-tie restraints

      The watchdog over the RCMP is urging the police force to clearly tell officers not to hog-tie people after finding the generally forbidden technique was used in 40 per cent of cases in which someone died after being hit with a Taser stun gun.

      A new report by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP also reveals “a number of instances” among the 10 deaths where members who fired the Taser were not certified to use the powerful weapon.

    • Posted Toronto Political Panel: After G20, can we trust Police Chief Bill Blair again?

      Chris Selley, Jonathan Goldsbie and Matt Gurney debate whether Police Chief Bill Blair can regain Torontonians’ trust, and how best to hold his political masters to account.

  • Cablegate

    • The List: Famous traitors throughout history

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been called a traitor by some critics for posting confidential U.S. government documents on the Internet. This week, The List, looks at other characters who have been labeled traitors in the past.

    • The geek who shook the world

      The journalist Suelette Dreyfus collaborated qlwith Julian Assange to create Underground, a 1997 book about hackers in Australia and around the globe. Here she reveals the inside story on Assange, the geek who founded WikiLeaks and became the scourge of world governments.

    • Judge Napolitano To Sen. Ensign: Could Fox News Be Prosecuted For Wikileaks Talk?

      Wikileaks’ Congressional opponents are recharging their batteries, and while Julian Assange has bigger legal fish to fry in Europe, he could soon be facing the consequences of breaking U.S. law by outing foreign intelligence sources. One of the senators behind the legal push, John Ensign, debated vocal Wikileaks ally Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch on Friday, and while he made clear who he was protecting, he had a hard time defining “journalists”– and why Assange doesn’t count.

      The Republican Sen. Ensign, along with Senators Scott Brown (R) and Joe Lieberman (I), will introduce a bill in the Senate that would bar journalists from leaking the names of government informants whose lives may be jeopardized by their outing. This would any newswire publishing the information in as much trouble as Wikileaks, though Ensign argued that most news outlets had declined to put out as many names as Wikileaks had.

    • Keeping Secrets WikiSafe

      Can the government still keep a secret? In an age of WikiLeaks, flash drives and instant Web postings, leaks have begun to seem unstoppable.

    • WikiLeaks: U.S. having trouble tying Assange to Manning

      Even as some government officials contend that the release of thousands of classified documents by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange jeopardizes U.S. national security, legal experts, Pentagon officials and Justice Department lawyers concede any effort to prosecute him faces numerous hurdles.

      Among them: Prosecutors apparently have had difficulty finding evidence that Assange ever communicated directly with Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, an intelligence specialist who’s widely thought to be the source of the documents, but is charged only with misusing and illegally downloading them.

    • How AOL News Started The “Sex By Surprise” Lie

      The truth? There’s nothing in Swedish law about “sex by surprise” or broken condoms. (Here’s the penal code, see for yourself.) And despite reports to the contrary, Assange’s accusers have always said that this was not consensual sex.

      So what are actually very serious charges are being diminished by shoddy reporting and victim-blaming — and it all starts with AOL News. All of the news sources and blogs reporting that the Assange charges are simply “sex by surprise” cite this piece from Dana Kennedy at AOL News.

    • WikiLeaks backlash: The first global cyber war has begun, claim hackers

      Before WikiLeaks, Operation Payback’s initial target was America’s recording industry, chosen for its prosecutions of music file downloaders. From those humble origins, Payback’s anti-censorship, anti-copyright, freedom of speech manifesto would go viral, last week pitting an amorphous army of online hackers against the US government and some of the biggest corporations in the world.

    • Wikileaks
    • Operation “Black Face”

      “Operation Black Face” is an event scheduled on 18th December 2010. People around the internet would display a black profile pic across the major social networking websites to protest against the state’s hostility against whistle blowers (Wikileaks and Julian Assange).

    • WikiLeaks Shines a Light on the Limits of Techno-Politics

      Jeff Jarvis makes the same argument, suggesting that nothing in the documents is that bad anyway: “the revelation of these secrets has not been devastating. America’s and Germany’s relationship has not collapsed because one undiplomatic diplomat called Angela Merkel uncreative.”

    • Venezuelan missile purchases worried U.S.: WikiLeaks

      The United States tried to stop delivery of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009 amid concerns it could pass them on to Marxist guerrillas in Colombia or Mexican drug gangs, The Washington Post said on Sunday, citing diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks.

    • America’s “Coercive Diplomacy”. Washington Threatens Allies Over CIA Kidnapping and Torture Programs

      As revelations of U.S. government coercive “diplomacy” continue flowing from the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, much to the consternation of official Washington, ruling class circles are working feverishly to downplay the seriousness of the leaks.

      On the one hand, senior State Department and intelligence officials claim the cables offer “few surprises” and, at least according to The New York Times, the disclosures “have been more embarrassing than revelatory or harmful to national security.”

    • Mukasey: Prosecute Assange because it’s ‘easier’ than prosecuting New York Times

      It’s come to the attention of some observers that there isn’t much the US can charge Julian Assange with that it can’t charge the New York Times with as well.

      After all, the founder of WikiLeaks and the US’s pre-eminent major daily both basically did the same thing: They published confidential State Department cables allegedly stolen by Pfc. Bradley Manning.

    • Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

      Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

      Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

      “People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

    • Judiciary panel to take up Espionage Act, legal options against WikiLeaks

      Lawmakers might be getting anxious to wrap up business before the holiday recess, but the House Judiciary panel is pulling the full committee together Thursday to delve into options to tackle the WikiLeaks scandal.

      The Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder are faced with difficult legal questions as they decide the best course of action to pursue against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange even as the Capitol Hill drumbeat to charge the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act grows louder.

    • North Korea Thought Eric Clapton Could Foster ‘Good Will’ Towards the U.S.

      Because nothing makes people feel all warm and fuzzy like a live rendition of “Wonderful Tonight”, right?

      If there is anything that the WikiLeaks’ cablegate has shown us, it’s that sometimes world leaders have some pretty out there ideas. Case in point: one of the leaked cables has revealed that North Korean officials were campaigning to have Eric Clapton play a concert in Pyongyang.

    • Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

      The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.

    • With WikiLeaks Looming Large, State Dept. Announces Hosting of Press Freedom Event
    • Report: WikiLeaks Docs to Show US Military Supporting PKK in Turkey’s Civil War

      Speculation is flying fast and furious over the details of the upcoming WikiLeaks release, fueled in no small part by US official warnings to a number of its allies about how hugely damaging the release could be.

    • Greenwald quits CREW over WikiLeaks

      The Salon blogger and civil libertarian (and sometime POLITICO critic) Glenn Greenwald has quit his post on the board of the liberal ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over the group’s criticism of WikiLeaks.

    • Pentagon Papers Whistleblowers Call for a New 9/11 Investigation
    • Ray McGovern Defends Julian Assange! “You Should Be Following His Example” To American Media
    • Exclusive: ‘The Fourth Estate is dead,’ former CIA analyst declares

      Traditional lines of communication between the people and the press have fallen into such disrepair in America that a whole new approach is necessary to challenge the military-industrial-governmental complex, according to a former CIA analyst sympathetic to WikiLeaks.

      “The Fourth Estate is dead,” Ray McGovern, of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “The Fourth Estate in his country has been captured by government and corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus. Captive! So, there is no Fourth Estate.”

    • Funding illegal Israeli settlements? Priceless.

      Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law.

      It appears at least one of the major credit cards also enables donations to an extremist Jewish group that has placed a bounty on the lives of Palestinians.

      All three have in the last week ceased enabling donations to WikiLeaks. Neither Mastercard nor Visa have explained the basis for their decision to do so. PayPal has backed away from its initial claim that the US State Department told PayPal WikiLeaks had broken the law after the claim was discredited. This is the third occasion on which PayPal has suspended payment services for WikiLeaks.

    • Tag a wall for Wikileaks

      Now that Julian Assange is in jail and and Wikileaks has been shut down out of the streets it is time to get the word out. We have created a simple stencil kit for you to download, remix, and do what you will.

    • Indoleaks: Indonesia’s version of Wikileaks?

      Indoleaks was recently launched as Indonesia’s answer to Wikileaks.

    • WikiLeaks Defector Creates Spin-Off Site OpenLeaks

      The former right-hand man to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has created a rival online whistleblowing site that is to launch Monday.

      The site, called OpenLeaks, is an alternative model of promoting transparency that Daniel Domscheit-Berg envisioned after leaving the WikiLeaks organization over personal differences with Assange in September.

    • Wikileaks, Rendition, and the CIA’s Italian Job

      Among the hundreds of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks in recent weeks were a number pertaining to extraordinary rendition—the practice of effectively kinapping a suspected terrorist in one country and transporting him to another, usually Arab, nation for interrogation that almost invariably invovles torture. Most of the time, renditions happen quietly; CIA operatives swoop in and out and no one’s the wiser. Then came the February 2003 kidnapping of a cleric named Abu Omar in Milan, Italy. The operation was bungled (the American operatives used unencrypted, trackable cell phones, for starters), and, in a major embarassment to the US, the 23 CIA agents involved were eventually tried by an Italian court. In 2009, they were convicted in absentia of violating Italian law. (Peter Bergen wrote about the case, and interviewed Abu Omar himself, for the March/April 2008 issue of Mother Jones.) Recently, I spoke to Steve Hendricks, a freelance journalist and author whose most recent work is the just-released A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial, about Abu Omar, renditions, and the impact of the Wikileaks disclosures.

    • The WikiLeaks founder has the right barrister

      Robertson’s first case was the Oz trial in 1971, in which the magazine was accused of ”corrupting public morals”. The Oz editors were actually convicted under the Obscene Publications Act. But they were acquitted on appeal. And such was the outcry over the original trial result that police more or less gave up trying to bring such cases against subversive magazines. The verdict did not go Robertson’s way, but it ultimately turned into an important victory against state censorship.

      In 1995, Robertson was involved in the prosecution of the former Malawian dictator Hastings Banda, who was accused of ordering the murder of opposition politicians. Banda was acquitted. But the case helped to establish the principle that repressive national leaders should not be immune from prosecution. Seven years later, in 2002, the International Criminal Court, which Robertson had long pressed for, was established.

    • Is Treason a Civic Duty?

      Since 9/11, press freedom in the West has come under attack as governments argue that national security is more important than transparency. But the hunt for WikiLeaks is a greater danger to democracy than any information that WikiLeaks might reveal.

    • Could the Wikileaks Scandal Lead to New Virtual Currency?

      It’s not an exaggeration to say that the recent Wikileaks scandal has shaken the Internet to its core. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, various services have simply refused to handle Wikileaks’ business–everything from domain-name providers to payment services–and this has led to many questioning how robust the Internet actually is.

    • Twitter unveils top trending tweets of 2010

      “Pakistan’s Floods” came third and in fourth was “Korea’s Conflict.” “WikiLeaks Cablegate” came in at No 8.

    • Inside ‘Anonymous’: tales from within the group taking aim at Amazon and Mastercard

      The real reason he was worried wasn’t that he thought law enforcement might find out. He was worried about other people in Anonymous finding out – because in that group, to stand up and identify yourself is seen as the worst thing you can do. Stripping off the Anonymous mask is viewed as a form of betrayal by the wider group.

    • Anonymous Turns Operation Payback Toward “The Jester”

      The Jester, a hacktivist who is normally known for short term denial of service attacks against Jihadist web forums and who recently claimed responsibility for an outage at Wikileaks in the middle of Cablegate (Wikileaks publication of U.S. diplomatic cables) has himself become the target of the large scale hacktivist protest called Operation Payback.

    • Gillibrand Urges Harder Stance On Cyber Attacks

      As Wikileaks continues to run the headlines and release once classified documents, Gillibrand teamed up with Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, to advocate laws that will examine cyber criminals with a closer eye.

    • Media chiefs throw support behind WikiLeaks

      Some of Australia’s most senior media professionals, including bosses of major newspapers, television networks and websites, have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks.

      The letter was initiated by the board of the Walkley Foundation, Australia’s professional journalism organisation.

      The letter said the leaking of 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables was the most astonishing leak of official information in recent history and its full implications were yet to emerge.

    • Assange attorney: Secret grand jury meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks

      A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case, an attorney for the site’s founder, Julian Assange, told the Al-Jazeera network in an interview.

      “We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria. … They are currently investigating this,” Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera’s Sir David Frost on Sunday, referring to WikiLeaks. The site, which facilitates the disclosure of secret information, has been slowly releasing a trove of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables since November 28.

    • WikiLeaks and the Internet’s Long War

      On the other side are those who believe fundamentally that the world should remake the Web in its own image. This side believes that the Internet at its heart is simply a tool, something that should be shaped to serve the demands of existing institutions. Each side seeks to mold the technology and standards of the Web to suit its particular vision.

    • Indoleaks Touts Revealing WikiLeaks Documents, But Technical Problems Persist

      Suharto said: “Indonesia will not use force against the territory of other countries. With respect to Timor, we support carrying out decolonization through the process of self-determination.”

      But Suharto convinced Ford of the importance of integrating East Timor into Indonesia, using the threat of communism as his main argument.

    • Alternatives to WikiLeakS, which no longer caters for ordinary whistleblowers – OpenLeaks, BrusselsLeaks, BalkanLeaks, WikiSpooks, Cryptome, IndoLeaks

      The controversial WikiLeakS.org website (no longer the current website, this now only redirects to a partial mirror of the original website) is still no longer accepting any submissions of leaked documents from ordinary, local or regional whistleblowers.

      They and their mainstream media collaborators, have instead, been busy milking the vast amount of secret information which seems to have come from the imprisoned, but as yet unconvicted, low level US Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, Bradley Manning and they have survived various legal and illegal attacks on their computer and internet infrastructure as a result.

    • Trying to exclude WikiLeaks from shield law stinks

      On Aug. 4, Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat and Senate sponsor of the Free Flow of Information Act, announced that he intended to include in the proposed law new language specifying that WikiLeaks and organizations like it would not be able to use the act to protect the identities of confidential sources.

    • WikiLeaks: the revolution has begun – and it will be digitised

      But data has a habit of spreading. It slips past military security and it can also leak from WikiLeaks, which is how I came to obtain the data. It even slipped past the embargoes of the Guardian and other media organisations involved in this story when a rogue copy of Der Spiegel accidentally went on sale in Basle, Switzerland, on Sunday. Someone bought it, realised what they had, and began scanning the pages, translating them from German to English and posting updates on Twitter. It would seem digital data respects no authority, be it the Pentagon, WikiLeaks or a newspaper editor.

    • Julian Assange to appear in court to appeal for release

      The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will try to win his release from prison tomorrow, a week after being held on remand after Sweden requested his arrest over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.

      Even if the judge at Westminster magistrates court in London grants Assange bail, he could still be held.

    • The US’s Reaction To Wikileaks Is Doing A Lot More Harm Than The Leaks Themselves

      It’s becoming clear as the weeks go on, that the US government’s massive overreaction to the latest Wikileaks releases is doing much more harm to the US’s standings abroad than anything in the documents themselves. So far, most of the reaction from various politicians and diplomats concerning the actual content of the documents was that some of it might be slightly embarrassing, but there’s been nothing all that surprising. Some foreign diplomats have joked back: “you should see what we say about you.” And yet, we’re still hearing claims that Julian Assange needs to be put on trial or (worse) executed, and other forms of “attacks” should be made on Wikileaks itself. All this has done has been to have foreign governments and diplomats start mocking the US for not living up to its claims of supporting freedom of the press and freedom of expression. This will make it much, much harder any time the US tries to stop any form of censorship in other countries, as they’ll immediately point back at how many of our politicians flipped out over Wikileaks.

    • Julian Assange: Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year 2010

      The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll.

      Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey.

    • The Unknown Blogger Who Changed WikiLeaks Coverage

      So, who is this latest unknown to come out of nowhere to shape the national debate around a major issue? Bady is a seventh-year PhD student in African literature at the University of California, Berkeley who studies “the literature of empire and colonialism in the last two centuries.” He’s finishing up his dissertation on white Americans in Africa between the civil war and the civil rights movement.

    • Invisible Leaks

      In this clip from his forum at UC Berkeley, Julian Assange admitted that sources of his had been caught in the past, but argued that “the chances of your source being run over a car are vastly higher” than that of a source of a leaked document being caught…

    • The psychology of media statists

      Invitations to a secretive inner circle where maintaining confidences is the password for entry can be very seductive. The magnetic effects of power are very effective tools of socialisation and politicians know just how to deploy them to advantage.

      Some journalists, however, don’t need to be socialised because they are pre-programmed for obeisance. For those whose natural instinct is collaboration with the state, “don’t tell me, I don’t want to know and shouldn’t be told” is the media ethic of the moment. It’s a form of self-censorship based on the belief that the public cannot be trusted with diplomatic confidences. The challenge, as they see it, is not how to ensure that the public stays better informed but rather how governments around the world can improve their capacity to withhold information.

    • Obama Lashes Out Amid Calls to Free Assange

      Barack Obama has made his strongest condemnation yet of WikiLeaks, as supporters of Julian Assange demonstrated for his release.

    • Julian Assange granted bail: live updates
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Central Africa: four-nation ‘sting’ operation busts wildlife smuggling ring

      Sting operations by wildlife activists in central Africa have broken up highly organised smuggling rings sending endangered species abroad, leading to the arrest of key dealers and the recovery of hundreds of kilos of ivory, turtle shells and animal skins.

      The clampdown took place across four neighbouring countries: Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.Observers said the arrests last week, co-ordinated by the Last Great Ape Organisation (Laga), a wildlife law-enforcement NGO, in Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic and Congo-Brazzaville, marked a big step towards regional enforcement of the laws protecting endangered species.

    • Appeals Court gives green light to EPA carbon pollution standards, rejects claims of polluters and climate-science deniers
    • NASA explains how Europe can be so cold amidst the hottest November and hottest year on record

      The extreme warmth in Northeast Canada is undoubtedly related to the fact that Hudson Bay was practically ice free. In the past, including the GISS base period 1951-1980, Hudson Bay was largely ice-covered in November. The contrast of temperatures at coastal stations in years with and without sea ice cover on the neighboring water body is useful for illustrating the dramatic effect of sea ice on surface air temperature. Sea ice insulates the atmosphere from ocean water warmth, allowing surface air to achieve temperatures much lower than that of the ocean. It is for this reason that some of the largest positive temperature anomalies on the planet occur in the Arctic Ocean as sea ice area has decreased in recent years.

    • Wiki Drives a Wedge Into the Tandem

      Like all crazy theories, this one has an ounce of truth at the bottom of it. Although the initial target of WikiLeaks publications was the U.S. government, the first victims were corrupt government leaders, like the heads of the Persian Gulf states, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

      According to diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, Putin is the richest man in Russia — and in Europe as well — with $40 billion in secret off-shore accounts. He is reputed to be the co-owner of Gunvor, which exports Russian oil. If that didn’t make Putin angry, the derogatory nickname “alfa-dog” given to him in one of the cables must have sent him up the wall. A highly placed anonymous source in the Foreign Ministry seemed to reflect that anger when he warned WikiLeaks that Russia “has a way of turning off this resource forever.”

    • Toronto declares extreme cold alert

      The City of Toronto has declared an extreme cold alert aimed at protecting the homeless and other vulnerable people.

      The warning was issued Monday as temperatures plunged in the city to a low of – 13 C. With windchill, it feels like – 25C.

  • Finance

    • EU to target private lenders in future bail-outs

      The EU plans to make private lenders cover the losses of any future eurozone debt crisis, the BBC has learned.

      The decision may significantly raise the future cost of borrowing for over-indebted eurozone governments.

      It is part of a new permanent scheme – to be funded by eurozone governments, but not the UK – to replace existing bail-out funds that expire in 2013.

    • Wall Street’s Pentagon Papers: Biggest Financial Scam In World History

      What if the greatest scam ever perpetrated was blatantly exposed, and the US media didn’t cover it? Does that mean the scam could keep going? That’s what we are about to find out.

      I understand the importance of the new WikiLeaks documents. However, we must not let them distract us from the new information the Federal Reserve was forced to release. Even if WikiLeaks reveals documents from inside a large American bank, as huge as that could be, it will most likely pale in comparison to what we just found out from the one-time peek we got into the inner-workings of the Federal Reserve. This is the Wall Street equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.


      Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 TRILLION tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details?

      Yes. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves. The original copy of the Constitution spontaneously burst into flames. The ghost of Tom Paine went running, stark raving mad screaming through the halls of Congress.

    • If banking were more Open Source, we would need less Wikileaks

      Banks are important. The world economic crisis is due for a good part to insufficient transparency in banks. Wikileaks next document drop may target banks. And a small group of activists is trying to solve those bank problems in a (Open Source) way that may make Wikileaks less necessary.

      I already wrote about real openness at the last Open World Forum, but during that conference I also met Simon Redfern of the Open Bank Project (OBP). We only had a few minutes, so Simon could give me only an extra-short explanation, but it was enough to let me eager to know more.

    • Germany predicts EU ‘political union’ in 10 years

      German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said his country is willing to discuss greater harmonisation of eurozone tax policy, adding that the next decade is likely to see Europe take significant steps towards closer political union.

    • The Death of the Suburban Office Park

      The ongoing evolution of the American suburbs into slums will not be denied. Malls are dying. Now, the classic suburban office park is dying too.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • European Wikileaks spin-off launches

      Wikileaks spin-off Brussels Leaks launched out of the blue last Thursday to much excitement in the European capital and Twittersphere beyond.

      The European Journalism Centre’s exclusive email interview with an anonymous representative is amongst the very first media contact with the fledgling European whistleblower organisation.

    • Big Tobacco: Saving Lives is “Expropriation”

      So let me get this straight. Philip Morris – and all the other tobacco companies – make hefty profits by selling highly addictive substances to people that the company knows will probably give them cancer and/or a host of other life-threatening and painful diseases. Their deaths will cause huge losses not just personally, but economically – to their families, and to the state.

    • UK cracks down on undisclosed “sponsored” tweets, posts

      The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK is making good on its threat to punish companies that purchase coverage online without public disclosure. The OFT says it has “received undertakings” from at least one company for violating the UK’s fair trading laws—a warning to others that might pay for blog or Twitter posts without admitting to doing so.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The UN Needs to Ensure an Open and Inclusive Approach to Internet Governance
    • Transparency and Privacy Review to be led by Dr. Kieron O’Hara

      The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced a review of the impact of Transparency on Privacy to inform the Government’s approach to the release of data as part of the Transparency agenda.

      The Review will enable Government to ensure that on-going releases of data are done in a way that provides maximum transparency of data consistent with the appropriate level of privacy protection.

      Specifically the Review will:

      * Support the Government in striking the right balance between transparency and data protection safeguards, and between the interests of wider society and the interests of the individual or corporate body.
      * Identify the nature of the risk to privacy of the individual posed by transparency of public data, in particular the potential for ‘jigsaw’ identification.
      * Advise the Government on practical approaches to take

    • Former Googler Launches Disconnect, Browser Extension That Disables Third Party Data Tracking
    • Venezuela seeks to regulate Internet with media bill

      Venezuela plans to include the Internet in a law that regulates the media, under a proposed bill presented to parliament on Thursday that the opposition claims will result in censorship.

      Manuel Villalba, a lawmaker from President Hugo Chavez’s Socialist Party, said the law was aimed at protecting citizens.

      “Nowhere is the restriction of access to the Internet suggested. There should just exist protection of citizens’ moral and ethical honor,” said Villalba, who heads the National Assembly’s media commission.

    • Retaining the right to censor is an act of hate
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Development Agenda committee mandates WIPO to examine Bolivia, Barbados, Suriname and Bangladesh prize proposals

      On Friday, 26 November 2010, the 6th session of the WIPO Committee on Development Agenda and Intellectual Property approved a project entitled “Project on Open Collaborative Projects and IP-Based Models”.

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood’s Hadopi lobbying outed in French embassy cables

        Washington got high level, detailed briefings on France’s 3-strikes law – also known as the Hadopi law – and the Telecoms Package. With the Motion Picture Association and the RIAA in the loop.

        We always thought it, but somehow the leaked cables, released by the Wikileaks website from the American Embassy in Paris, are interesting even in their confirmation of our suspicions. In particular, they reveal how the American entertainment industry lobbied for 3-strikes measures in Europe.

      • Sherman Fredericks ‘Steals’* From Me

        On Friday, we pointed out that Sherman Fredericks, the former CEO of Stephens Media and publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (who lost his job last month), seemed to have a rather hypocritical view on copyright infringement, embedding an infringing Saturday Night Live video on his blog. This was the same guy who famously announced that as CEO, he had Stephens Media “grubstake” (i.e., “fund”) Righthaven, the company that has sued bloggers for quoting even snippets of LVRJ articles. He was quoted as saying that it was no different than stealing a Corvette out of his driveway. So, according to Mr. Fredericks, reposting 4 paragraphs out of a 34-paragraph article — or about 12% (as Righthaven did in at least one case) is just like stealing a Corvette. Ok.

      • Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate

        As part of an article investigating the growing phenomenon of eBook piracy, a Scandinavian news outlet interviewed a 19 year-old self-confessed pirate who bragged about his activities. To counter his viewpoint a well known author contributed to the piece, stating that she abhors book piracy since it costs her huge amounts of money. However, her moral stance took a bit of a beating when her son let an embarrassing fact slip out.

      • MPAA, RIAA: Lawsuits won’t protect content

        As an example, the coalition cited the litigation against the company behind the LimeWire file-sharing network, which concluded this year with a federal district court ordering the company to shut down the network. The coalition wrote that though the four largest recording companies prevailed in the case, “the LimeWire defendants were able to drag out the litigation for four years. Such massive civil cases do not provide a scalable solution to the full scope of the problem.”

      • Journalists Continue To Rely On Bogus Research About File Sharing As If It Were Factual

        Over the summer, we had pointed out how disappointing it was that the press relied on an obviously bogus research report from the University of Ballarat’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory, about how much infringing content was being shared on BitTorrent. As we noted at the time, the folks over at TorrentFreak carefully picked apart the study and showed how it appeared to have been done by folks who didn’t actually understand how BitTorrent and torrent trackers worked. Apparently, the TorrentFreak guys sent a note to the authors offering to help them fix the problems in their study methodology, and all they got back was a sarcastic email from one of the researchers saying that he’d gladly send the Torrentfreak guys a complimentary copy of O’Reilly’s Statistics in a Nutshell, as it “might give further insight into statistical methodology.” Snarky!

      • Rogers’ BitTorrent Throttling Experiment Goes Horribly Wrong

        Rogers, one of Canada’s largest Internet providers, has upset many customers with a recent change in their network management systems. Since mid-September both up and downstream BitTorrent traffic has been severely degraded in certain areas, which goes against the company’s network management policy. In addition, the new throttling technology has also slowed down non-P2P traffic in many cases.

Clip of the Day

Kuwait shuts down Al Jazeera office

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 13/12/2010: 300,000 Activations of Android Per Day, Jolicloud 1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Being safe with Ubuntu on a USB flash drive

    One of the best things a Windows user can do for Defensive Computing is to have a bootable copy of Linux on hand. The classic reason being to rescue a broken copy of the operating sytem, but the much more important reason is for on-line banking.

    Anyone that does online banking on a Windows machine is taking a huge risk.

    Most likely they don’t understand how sophisticated the bad guys are at writing malware. Or, perhaps, they put way too much trust in their antivirus program. Or, they may fail to appreciate how hard it is to keep all the installed software up to date with the latest patches. Perhaps the worst type of infection, a man-in-the-browser, can even defeat two factor authentication schemes.

  • Update This!

    I went to GNU/Linux 100% of the time. The patch that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was the fourth catastrophic patch failure I’d had on XP in three years. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t say that Linux has behaved totally angelically either. But… But… with Linux, it’s usually mea culpa, not the damned update or patch.

  • Non-Profits Lead The Way With Linux

    On a regular basis we see studies claiming that the way forward in effective IT is with open source concepts. This means open source software, Linux desktops, Linux servers, Linux embedded devices, and the list just keeps on expanding.

    At the same time, the forces behind big label proprietary software applications rail back against open source by saying the open source approach to enterprise needs will end up costing more money in the long run. And in instances where FUD doesn’t work, these same companies ride along with the old “legacy software” argument, explaining how open source solutions simply cannot match up in quality to their proprietary counterparts.


    Closer to home, I’ve seen evidence that Canada is also embracing the Linux experience more each day.

  • Market Shares

    While fans of M$ claim market shares for M$ of 91% and more realistic webstats show 86%, Treflis has estimated the current market share is about 75% (Forbes) and has been trending down. The current web stats lag reality in the market place because current web stats are generated by PCs that have shipped years ago.

    We know Apple ships about 4% of PCs shipped per annum (still not in top 10), so the other 20% could be shipping to folks with portable licences likely for XP that they do not have to buy again, illegal installation (no licence), thin clients and GNU/Linux or other OS. That’s a huge slice of the pie in which GNU/Linux can obviously grow. Then there is the huge number of P4ish XP machines that can be installed of GNU/Linux. 50% of all on-line machines by most estimates run XP and likely most of them will not be scrapped. They can run for years more as thin clients or GNU/Linux machines.

  • GNU/Linux Roll-outs in Schools

    There is news of a “huge” roll-out in Brazil, 1.5 million notebooks running Mandriva GNU/Linux. That sounds like a huge number but in a population of 200 million people it is a drop in the bucket, about one machine per classroom. My impoverished-IT-budget school has 5 or 6 times as many GNU/Linux PCs. If the government of Brazil really wanted to make a difference they could spend a bit more and using GNU/Linux terminal servers and thin clients they could provide many more computers for students.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Hiring Another Open-Source Driver Developer

        Yesterday we reported that AMD’s Catalyst Linux driver team lost another key developer with Piranavan Selvanandan, a senior engineer at ATI since 2003 when Matthew Tippett built-up the original ATI Linux driver team, leaving the company. While it’s unfortunate to see AMD lose another long-time Linux engineer, it appears they are hiring for both their open and closed-source Linux driver teams.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Release Polishing

        New KDE versions are released every six months nowadays. Roughly three months are spent on developing new features, the other three are devoted to release preparations. “What’s needed to get things ready for the release?” the curious might ask. “Why does it take that long?” the impatient. I’ll tell you from my perspective as a Marble developer.

      • oh look, it’s the future

        While nepomuk has seen improvements, I thought it was still only being used by dolphin and kontact. But then I did some poking… it can record the source of files downloaded by konqueror. It’s going to be involved in some telepathy thingy. It stores the custom icons for activities. I think there was something about koffice too, although I can’t remember it. For 4.7 we’ll hopefully have apps using it to record what resources they’re using and link them to activities n’stuff – but there hasn’t been time to do that yet. So… the second part is certainly true – even *I* don’t really know where nepomuk is – but I’m not sure if I can count the first part as true or not.

      • What the forums search can do for you

        This time i would like to write about a very underestimated feature of the KDE Community Forums, because i am pretty sure most of you don’t even know what it can do for you.

      • This week in KWin-GLES

        Another week is gone and my KWin-GLES branch got further polishing. All developing on the OpenGL ES code is nowadays happening on my notebook using KWin-GLES. So it is already so useable that I can develop on it without real problems. Most of the effects are already ported and can be used. Today I added the first 3D effects, that is CoverSwitch and FlipSwitch and a (locally) half finished Cube Desktop Switch animation. Quite nice to see the new code working as expected ;-) Only eleven effects are not yet ported, but these include some effects which won’t be ported, such as FPS, Sharpen or Shadow effect.

      • Krita 2.3, New Feature #5: Canvas Rotation

        I have been dreaming of this feature for ages, and then I bought a tablet PC a few days before it get implemented in Krita when I do not need it anymore :) But it is still an extremelly cool feature, that was started by Lukáš Tvrdý and finished by Dmitry Kazakov.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Synapse and a bit about Gnome Dictionary

        According to its creator, Synapse is essentially a search tool, which goes through many sources of information to present contents right at the user’s fingertips. I know, it does sound vague, but a few examples really help in understanding how Synapse works.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Reviews: Slax – still alive in the Slax Community remix

        Finally, a quick link to an interesting interview with NetBSD’s Amitai Schlair, a member of a committee that oversees the development of pkgsrc and the maintainer of the official NetBSD Wiki: “Originally, the official Wiki wasn’t intended to replace the unofficial one. People who wanted to contribute to a NetBSD Wiki had been doing just fine without us. That’s no longer the case. We want these people to be able to keep contributing to NetBSD as they have, so we’re adapting our Wiki plans to make room for everyone. This entails some careful rethinking — every other official project resource is, by design, writeable only by developers — followed by a fresh batch of integration work. We’d hoped to have time to prepare for a smooth transition from wiki.netbsd.se; alas, it’s not in the cards. Instead, we’re working as quickly as we can to make it possible for everyone to participate in the official NetBSD Wiki. A smooth transition would also, at minimum, involve moving worthwhile content to the new Wiki and providing HTTP redirects at the old URLs for a while. Of course, these require a modicum of assistance from the administrators of wiki.netbsd.se. For users’ sake, I hope assistance will be forthcoming.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat acquisition opens way for new cloud services

        The government cloud services market just heated up a bit more. Red Hat’s recently announced acquisition of Makara, a platform-as-a-service firm, indicates that the open-source technology provider is ready to compete with the likes of Microsoft and Google. Analysts note that the bottom line of the acquisition is that federal, state and local agencies have more choices for cloud service providers.

      • Future of U.S. economy debated

        At a time when many Americans are expressing grave concerns about the country’s economic future, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst sees the glass as half full.

        Whitehurst said Thursday that the U.S. is well situated to prosper in a global economy where success is increasingly tied to the ability to access, understand and share vast amounts of information.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Code-Lines

          The source management strategy above includes a code-line that Google will keep private.


          We recognize that many contributors will disagree with this approach.

        • 300K Installations of Android per Day

          Years ago, the “tipping point” for GNU/Linux was discussed as a possibility. We could see the tipping point in 2011 if Android keeps growing and ARM begins to eat into thin clients, desktops, tablets and notebooks. All the ducks are in a row. The final blow to Wintel will be the acceptance of GNU/Linux in all OEM and retail channels.

Free Software/Open Source

  • YafaRay [Blender 3D's Open Source Raytracing Engine] Commercial is a Treat to Watch!

    YafaRay is a free and open source raytracing engine. Raytracing is a rendering technique for generating realistic images by tracing the path of light through a 3D scene. I have no idea what a raytracing engine means or how critical a client it is to Blender. But this video showcasing different capabilities of YafaRay is an absolute delight to watch.

  • Netflix Opens up About Open Source

    What’s useful here is that Netflix is a very different company from either Google or Facebook, say; and so its message of support for open source confirms the latter’s ability to serve a wide spectrum of users. Moreover, the list of open source programs it uses and contributes to extends well beyond the classical LAMP stack that many associate might with free software, which confirms its breadth in a different, but equally important way.

  • Events

    • Live Web Event – The End Of The Free Internet

      Paul Jay, senior editor of The Real News Network, will moderate a virtual panel discussion promoting a dialogue for the technology community about the technological and legal ramifications of the WikiLeaks shutdown.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Tries to Pull Apache Back to Java Group

      Oracle has asked the Apache Software Foundation to reconsider its decision to quit the Java SE/EE Executive Committee, and is also acknowledging the ASF’s importance to Java’s future.

      The ASF announced its departure from the committee on Wednesday in a blog post, saying Oracle has too much control over Java. “The commercial concerns of a single entity, Oracle, will continue to seriously interfere with and bias the transparent governance of the ecosystem,” reads the ASF blog.

    • The JCP… Weep for the Experts

      Other resignations include Tim Peierls and of course Apache. Google will probably follow shortly. They have all realised that they were giving their work and IP to improve a proprietary Oracle product… for nothing.

    • The Future of Java

      ASF will obviously not let Harmony go to the waste-bin. Harmony will be an appropriate name for a replacement Free Software project for Java. A whole industry based on Harmony will emerge in the next year with all kinds of growth opportunities for ambitious people. Oracle will become a life-boat for the truly locked-in. Java being designed to be portable can almost instantly be ported to Harmony under a truly open organization. Expect ASF to announce a new direction in weeks. There is no rush and they will want to get it right.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.0 RC 2 Released

      We are proud to present to you the second release candidate of Drupal 7.0. Although there are still a few known issues that we are working on fixing, we are confident that our code is stable enough for wider testing by the community. Since the last release candidate two weeks ago, we have fixed upgrade path bugs, improved styling in the default “Bartik” theme, numerous bug fixes and improvements to strings, and fixed a critical bug preventing default Views from working. For the full list of changes, see the release notes.


    • European Commission IT chief tackles open source lobby over €189m contract

      Francisco Garcia-Moran, director-general of the European Commission’s directorate of informatics, refuted a claim made by the president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) that the contract had discriminated in favour of proprietary software suppliers.

      In a letter sent last week, Garcia-Moran told FSFE president Karsten Gerloff he had been “totally misleading” when he accused the EC of operating in “direct contradiction” of its own rules on the promotion and use of open source software.

      The director-general disputed the lobbyist’s accusation that the contract had been a bad deal for European taxpayers.


      The commission already used 250 open source products, he said. It operated 350 Linux servers and 800 open source web servers. The EC’s open source social collaboration system, called the Flexible Platform, hosted 400 wikis and blogs for 400 commissioners.

      * Open source authentication protected more than 300 web applications used by more than 60,000 users.
      * It used an open source content management system, and did its invoicing and ordering on open source software as well.
      * The EC’s 2,000 software developers were working on more than 600 projects on an open source collaboration platform.

  • Licensing

    • Back from the GPL Compliance Engineering Workshop in Taipei

      I’ve been a bit over a week in Taipei, mainly to co-present (with Armijn Hemel) the GPL compliance engineering workshop at Academia Sinica. The workshop was attended by more than 100 representatives of the local IT industry in Taiwan, from both legal and engineering departments.

      I think even only the sheer number of attendees is a great sign to indicate how important the subject of Free Software license compliance has become in the IT industry, and specifically in the embedded consumer electronics market.

    • Where did you get that open source licensed code from?

      Open source software is (of course) distributed (for the most part) under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which grants the right to modify and redistribute the software code itself. There are rules and stipulations covering combined works, combined libraries and conventions covering every element of application structure from object code, to headers and libraries.


  • ‘Parenthetical Purge’ Movement Seeks Emoticon-Free December

    Emoticons first appeared — in rudimentary fashion — over a century ago, but the online infestation of signifiers has definitely reached epidemic status. Nauseated by that scourge of smileys and winks, two valiant enemies of the emoticon have launched a campaign that urges everyone to — at least temporarily — spurn the annoying and inappropriate use of emotionally indicative symbols.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Exclusive: ‘Gnosis’ Explains The Method And Reasoning Behind Gawker Media Hack

      Over the last 24 hours Gawker Media’s network of sites have been under attack from a group who have identified themselves “Gnosis,” a seemingly mysterious collective of hackers who has been falsely considered part of the 4chan-related group of renegade vigilantes knows as Anonymous. Via several private email exchanges with Mediaite, an individual claiming to represent “Gnosis” has explained both the reasoning and methodology of his actions, which has led to a compromised commenter database and a content management system.

    • Tirades Against Nobel Aim at Audience in China

      As much of the world on Friday focused their eyes on the empty seat in Oslo that starkly represented the absence of the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, a lone Chinese blogger posted the image of a chair on the country’s most popular microblogging site.

    • All Guantánamo Prisoners Were Subjected to “Pharmacological Waterboarding”

      In one narrative of the “War on Terror,” President Bush scrapped the protections of the Geneva Conventions — including Common Article 3, which prohibits “cruel treatment and torture” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” — for prisoners at Guantánamo, and established the prison as an offshore interrogation center to protect the United States from further terrorist attacks. This narrative is distressing enough, as it involves a deliberate attempt to discard domestic and international laws and treaties so that prisoners seized in wartime — mixed up with a handful of terrorist suspects — could be held indefinitely and subjected to torture, but it is not, in fact, the most compelling explanation of the purpose of the detention policies implemented in the “War on Terror.”

    • Malaysia criticised over canings
  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks: DDOS attacks reflect ‘public opinion’

      WikiLeaks neither supports nor condemns the cyber attacks that have targeted its critics, it said Friday, just as it appears the attackers are mounting a fresh operation against Moneybookers.com.

      The whistleblowing website wrote on its Twitter feed that it is not affiliated with Anonymous, a group of online activists that have attacked websites of companies that cut off services to WikiLeaks.

      On its website, WikiLeaks went further.

    • Media may face legal issues for publishing Wikileaks cables

      The controversy created after the release of hundreds of US secret diplomatic cables have raised many important legal issues about national security and freedom of the press under U.S. law, according to Neil Richards, JD, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.

      Journalists and government officials have suggested that either WikiLeaks or The New York Times (NYT) might face legal liability for publishing the contents of diplomatic cables and other leaked documents.In order to find either WikiLeaks/Julian Assange or the NYT liable, the government would need to prove two things – first that a law had been broken, and second that enforcement of the law was constitutional under the First Amendment,” Richards said.

    • Rudd defends Assange’s rights

      Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has defended the legal rights of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’s preparing to face court in London.

      Mr Rudd said yesterday he’s prepared to intervene to have a laptop computer provided for Mr Assange in London’s Wandsworth prison to help the Australian prepare his defence and obtain bail at his appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

    • In defense of WikiLeaks

      But so far, WikiLeaks has shown a remarkable amount of responsibility and discretion.

      It has released only 1,000 of the more than 250,000 cables it possesses, and has worked with various other media outlets to redact names and decide which information not to release for reasons of national security.

    • Lieberman draws fire with Times remark on Wikileaks

      Attorney Daniel Klau, a First Amendment expert, particularly on press protections, takes issue with U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’s suggestion the New York Times should be investigated for printing stories based on documents released by WikiLeaks.

      “I certainly believe that WikiLeaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it? To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department,” Lieberman, I-Conn., said on Fox News.

      Klau, a partner with Pepe and Hazard in Hartford and president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, said the Supreme Court has been clear in several cases where it defined the role newspapers play in this scenario.

    • U.S. Assange charges ‘not imminent’; first congressional hearing Thurs.
    • Lula backs Assange, queries press freedom

      Outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva threw his support behind WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and questioned how the Australian’s arrest squared with international protestations about freedom of expression and of the press.

    • Ron Paul’s Passionate Defense Of Julian Assange And WikiLeaks On House Floor

      Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

      Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

      Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

      Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

      Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

      Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

      Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

      Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

      Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

    • ustice Department Considers Prosecuting Assange–But How?

      The Justice Department would kind of like to prosecute Julian Assange, who most recently leaked a list of “vital” U.S. facilities worldwide. All it has to do is figure out what crime the WikiLeaks founder has committed. Prosecuting Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 might proving tricky: The government has never successfully prosecuted someone for receiving leaked information, and it’s never even tried to prosecute a journalist, which Assange claims to be. Thus, government lawyers are looking at approaching the affair from other angles, as well. Other potential crimes include “trafficking in stolen property” and conspiracy, The New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports.

    • The media’s authoritarianism and WikiLeaks

      After I highlighted the multiple factual inaccuracies in Time’s WikiLeaks article yesterday (see Update V) — and then had an email exchange with its author, Michael Lindenberger — the magazine has now appended to the article what it is calling a “correction.” In reality, the “correction” is nothing of the sort; it is instead a monument to the corrupted premise at the heart of American journalism.

    • House Committee Plans Hearing on WikiLeaks

      The House Judiciary Committee is planning a Dec. 16 hearing on the legal issues surrounding WikiLeaks, making it the first congressional committee to do so since the organization began releasing U.S. diplomatic cables last month.

    • WikiLeaks and Anonymous

      They have, but they have also published actual (in some cases redacted) cables. Thus far, WikiLeaks has really just posted the same cables the news organizations it worked with have, with the same redactions. There is not that much of a difference between what WikiLeaks has done and what the Times and the others have done. That doesn’t mean that the Times, in doing so, did anything wrong.

    • WikiLeaks, the Web, and the Need to Rethink the Espionage Act

      There are likely few people reading the State Department cables released by Wikileaks with greater interest than students of international relations, who have every personal, academic, and professional reason to explore the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy. So it must have surprised the would-be diplomats of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs to receive an email last week from the Office of Career Services warning that — according to an unnamed Columbia alum in the State Department — any student who so much as tweeted about the cables could jeopardize his or her hopes of getting any job with the federal government that requires security clearance. “The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents,” the email read. “He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter.”

    • WikiLeaks: Would First Amendment protect Julian Assange?

      But isn’t there such a thing as free speech in America?

    • Prosecution of WikiLeaks depends on definition

      But Assange has portrayed himself as a crusading journalist: He told ABC News by e-mail that his latest batch of State Department documents would expose “lying, corrupt and murderous leadership from Bahrain to Brazil.” He told Time magazine he targets only “organizations that use secrecy to conceal unjust behavior.”

    • WikiLeaks cables: Sinn Féin leaders ‘were aware of’ Northern Bank heist plans

      Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness held lengthy negotiations with the former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern to save the Northern Ireland peace process in the full knowledge that the IRA was planning to carry out the biggest bank robbery in its history, according to leaked US cables passed to WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks: Brazil vulnerable to terrorism

      The 2009 crash of a stolen plane near the capital city of Brasilia exposed Brazil’s vulnerability to terrorist acts, said a U.S. diplomatic cable released Sunday by WikiLeaks.

      On March 12, 2009, a man kidnapped his 5-year-old daughter, hijacked a small plane, and flew around of the city of Goiania for two hours before crashing into the parking lot of a shopping mall, killing himself and the girl. The crash “highlighted a vulnerability to potential terrorist actions,” then-Ambassador Clifford Sobel wrote in a memo.

      Brazilian authorities considered shooting down the plane, which had no flight plan and was viewed as a threat, according to the March 28, 2009, report. Air defense authorities followed the country’s shootdown procedure, illustrating “the extreme caution with which a possible shootdown is approached, the broad understanding of the shootdown policy among air traffic controllers and the fact that the procedures are executed as written,” Sobel said.

    • WikiLeaks: Foreign Office accused of misleading public over Diego Garcia

      The Foreign Office stands accused of misleading the public over the plight of thousands of islanders who were expelled from their Indian Ocean homeland to make way for a large US military base.

      More than 2,000 islanders – described privately by the Foreign Office as “Man Fridays” – were evicted from the British colony of Diego Garcia in the 1960s and 70s. The Foreign Office, backed by the US, has fought a long legal battle to prevent them returning home.

    • Amazon’s Wikileaks Takedown

      So with this context, I’ve been watching the Wikileaks attack with great interest. It has been suffering a pretty big network attack (Wikileaks claims about 10Gbps, which is big enough to take down all but a couple dozen or less ISPs in the world; arbor claims about 2-4 Gbps, which is still big enough to cause the vast majority of ISPs in the world major disruption). The attack successfully took its site offline at its main hosting ISP. Wikileak’s textbook response was to move to Amazon’s web services, one of those core Internet services capable of defending against big network attacks.

    • WikiLeaks cables claim al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy

      Qatar is using the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks claim.

    • WikiLeaks: Google attacks ordered by Li Changchun
    • US diplomats broke laws by sending uranium on commercial flight, says leaked cable

      AMERICAN diplomats secretly sent uranium on a commercial airliner, in violation of US government rules about the abuse of the diplomatic bag system, and laws governing the air transportation of hazardous materials.

      The metallic powder was sent from the US Embassy in Burma, according to a cable published by WikiLeaks.

    • The state, the press and a hyperdemocracy

      For the past 300 years, the relationship between the press and the state has been straightforward: the press tries to publish, the state uses its various mechanisms to thwart those efforts. This has produced a cat-and-mouse steady-state, a balance where selection pressures kept the press tamed and the state – in many circumstances – somewhat accountable to the governed. There are, as always, exceptions.

      In the last few months, the press has become ‘hyperconnected’, using this extreme connectivity to pierce the veil of secrecy which surrounds the state. The press now uses that same connectivity to distribute those secrets to everyone, everywhere who wants them. The press has suddenly become incredibly powerful, unlike anything ever experienced before.

      WikiLeaks is the press, but not the press as we have known it. This is the press of the 21st century, the press that comes after we’re all connected. Suddenly, all of the friendliest computers have become the deadliest weapons, and we are fenced in, encircled by threats – which are also opportunities.

    • Julian Assange wined and dined at US Embassy

      To the United States, Julian Assange may now be Public Enemy Number One. Some American politicians have even called for his execution.

      But less than a year ago, the founder of WikiLeaks was officially entertained at a US Embassy cocktail party by one of the very diplomats whose secrets he would soon spill to the world.

    • Defenders of WikiLeaks Swarmed Wrong Target

      It is not clear if the mistake first appeared on a blog or flitted around in a Twitter message. But whatever its source, it swept Mark Jeftovic and his company, EasyDNS, into both sides of the storm over corporate support, or the lack thereof, for WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks.org domain comes back online, helped by new DNS providers

      Access to Wikileaks.org has returned after members of its consortium worked with Mark Jeftovic, founder of EasyDNS, to help them get their domains back online.

    • WikiLeaks ‘rape’ victims had hidden agendas … and I’ve seen the proof says Julian Assange’s lawyer

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyer says he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistleblower is innocent of rape claims made against him by two women in Stockholm.

      Björn Hurtig, who is representing Mr Assange in Sweden, said the papers, which form part of the official Swedish investigation, reveal both women had ‘hidden agendas’ and lied about being coerced into having sex with Mr Assange, 39.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • UN: Greenhouse gases at highest level since pre-industrial times

      Concentrations of the main greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached their highest level since pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said today.

    • Climate change threat to tropical forests ‘greater than suspected’

      The chances of northern Europe facing a new ice age, or of catastrophic sea-level rises of almost four metres that swamp the planet over the next century, have been ruled out by leading scientists.

      But the risk of tropical forests succumbing to drought brought on by climate change as well as the acceleration of methane emissions from melting permafrost, is greater, according to the Met Office Hadley Centre, in its latest climate change review.

  • Finance

    • 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts

      In a rare moment of candor last week, the third-ranking Republican in the House admitted the failure of the Bush tax cuts. “You know, I think it’s fair to say, if the current tax rates were enough to create jobs and generate economic growth we’d have a growing economy,” Mike Pence acknowledged, adding, “It’s not working now.”

    • Join us at Topshop and make Philip Green pay

      Tomorrow, on high streets across the country, there are likely to be sit-ins in Topshop, blockades of BHS, flash mobs in Dorothy Perkins, and occupations of Miss Selfridge. Why? Because Sir Philip Green, owner of the Arcadia Group of retailers, ninth richest man in Britain and a government adviser, is a tax avoider.

      While Green lives and works in the UK, the Arcadia Group is registered in the name of his wife, Tina, who is resident in Monaco and so enjoys a 0% income-tax rate. In 2005 this arrangement allowed the Greens to bank £1.2bn, the biggest paycheck in British corporate history, without paying a penny in tax. This completely legal dodge cost the British taxpayer £285m, enough to pay the salaries of 9,000 NHS nurses or the £9,000 fees of close to 32,000 students. In an age of austerity, the link between tax avoidance and public sector cuts becomes crystal clear.

    • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

      Janet Tavakoli talked about the federal government’s role in regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. She also responded to telephone calls and electronic communications.

    • Subpoena Everything!

      Do not forget: Virtually all the major players who brought us into the crisis are still there: the government officials, the CEOs, the investment bankers. The permanent plutocracy has survived unscathed. At a minimum, American citizens are entitled to know what happened.

    • Madoff son’s suicide followed battle with trustee

      For two years, the two sons of jailed financier Bernard Madoff portrayed themselves as honest whistleblowers of their father’s historic fraud. A court-appointed trustee depicted them as bungling money managers who did nothing to protect investors.

      The suicide of Mark Madoff leaves unanswered questions for investors seeking payback for the billions of dollars his father siphoned – and for criminal investigators who continued to pursue charging Madoff’s family for knowing participation in the fraud.

    • Timeline: Events leading up to Mark Madoff’s death
    • Payroll tax cut worries Social Security advocates

      President Barack Obama’s plan to cut payroll taxes for a year would provide big savings for many workers, but makes Social Security advocates nervous that it could jeopardize the retirement program’s finances.

      The plan is part of a package of tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits that Obama negotiated with Senate Republican leaders. It would cut workers’ share of Social Security taxes by nearly one-third for 2011. Workers making $50,000 in wages would get a $1,000 tax cut; those making $100,000 would get a $2,000 tax cut.

    • Batting Cleanup at Bank of America

      BRIAN MOYNIHAN isn’t one to look back. And as the chief executive of Bank of America, he has plenty of reasons not to.

      His company is staggering under the weight of his predecessors’ decisions, and each day seems to bring more bad news. More than 1.3 million of the bank’s customers are behind on their home loans, all 50 state attorneys general are investigating the industry’s foreclosure practices and Bank of America has become a leading symbol of the mortgage mess.

    • Recovery and Recession at the same time

      Some people are doing fine. Others are barely getting by and still trapped in a deep recession. A 9.8% unemployment rate is unacceptable … something to remember this time of year. Best to all.

    • The Fed? Ron Paul’s Not a Fan.

      Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has been attacked for failing to foresee the financial crisis, for bailing out Wall Street, and, most recently, for injecting an additional $600 billion into the banking system to give the slow recovery a boost.

    • A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives

      The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

      Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • South Korea says Facebook not complying with data privacy laws

      The Korean Communications Commission [official website] generally criticised [ITProPortal report] Facebook’s privacy policy, handling of personal information and the use of personal data of third parties. In particular, Facebook is said to be in breach of Article 22 [text, PDF] of the South Korean Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection, which states “If an information and communications service provider intends to gather user personal information, they shall obtain user consent.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Will Comcast Destroy Net Neutrality?

      You’re bored on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, so you settle onto your divan and call up a streaming movie on Netflix—Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, say. What happens then? You might imagine that the film gets shuttled to your house from a server in Netflix’s California headquarters. If every Netflix customer accessed the same data center, however, it would get overwhelmed with streaming requests and the network along the way would likely become clogged with Netflix traffic. Your movie, meanwhile, would look glitchy and terrible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACS:Law Suffers Embarrassing Copyright Case Failure

        Back in September the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) confirmed that it was investigating a major data breach at ACS:Law, after the unencrypted details of thousands of broadband users, who reportedly signed up to BSkyB services and were thought to be illegally sharing pornography, was leaked on its website. This website is still not operational months later.

        That breach could see the ICO hitting ACS:Law with a maximum penalty of £500,000.

      • Jammie Thomas-Rasset files motion to reduce judgment
      • Thomas-Rasset: I owe nothing; labels seek injunction; court to Nesson: you’re no amicus of mine
      • Warner Bros.’ Newest Consumer Segment: Pirates

        Prosecuting the criminals that steal content is one way of fighting piracy. Over at Warner Bros. (NYSE: TWX), they’re adopting a more opportunistic attitude, closely tracking pirates in hopes of converting them into consumers.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: Updated Analysis of the Final Version

          Following the release of the final, legally-verified version of ACTA (dated December 3rd), we have updated our analysis of the most worrying provisions of this dangerous anti-counterfeiting agreement.

          By putting legal and monetary pressure on Internet service providers (in a most subtler way than in previous versions of the text), ACTA will give the music and movie industries a weapon to force them to police their networks and users themselves. Such a private police and justice of the Net is incompatible with democratic imperatives and represent a real threat for fundamental freedoms.

Clip of the Day

Konqueror Rocks! on KDE 4.5.1

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 12/12/2010: The JCP Is Dead, Chrome OS Galore, Wikileaks Galore

Posted in News Roundup at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Computer Engineer Barbie has a penguin
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • A Year of Extensions

      It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a full year since we launched the Google Chrome extensions gallery.

    • I have one!
    • Cloud computing: the latest chapter in an epic journey

      On Tuesday, we announced a number of updates to Chrome and Chrome OS. For me, these announcements were among the most important of my working life—demonstrating the real power of computer science to transform people’s lives. It’s extraordinary how very complex platforms can produce beautifully simple solutions like Chrome and Chrome OS, which anyone can use from the get-go—as long as you get it right. And that’s very, very hard indeed as history has taught.

    • The Browser Takes All

      This week, Google unveiled a computer like no other: the Cr-48, a notebook that relies on the Web for all its software applications. Yet the Web search giant thinks the notebook can compete with computers that run all kinds of installed software.

      The matte black Cr-48 won’t be sold to the public, but thousands are being sent to consumers and businesses who have volunteered to test it. It introduces a new kind of operating system, called Chrome OS, that turns to the Web for almost everything. Google is pitching Chrome OS as its vision for a new form of computing—one that shifts the data, functionality and almost everything else you would expect from your desktop computer into the cloud. Chrome OS will get its biggest test when Acer and Samsung start selling notebook computers customized to run the software in mid-2011.

    • Keep calm and carry on: Chrome notebook

      At our Chrome event on Tuesday, we showed how Chrome notebooks can make computing simpler.

    • Why I’m *not* Signing Up for Google Chrome OS Pilot Program

      You must let them take statistics about your browsing.

    • Google’s Video Promoting Chrome Notebook
    • Google Chrome OS: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Cloud

      Free Software community has been working hard to get control over our computing. Free Software Foundation and similar organizations have been running various projects to release us from the clutches of proprietary technologies. Now, we have reached a point where are quite rich when it comes to the wealth of free and open source software.

      Suddenly, we see the emergence of cloud computing — arrival of Google Chrome netbooks and JoliCloud. How much should I, as a free software user, be concerned? Very much.

      As an individual user, cloud computing means I lose control from the computation, processing of my data as I don’t run/own the software which process my data. I will never be able to see the code or tweak it to improve performance if I want, because it runs on the servers of some giant corporate far far away in a distant galaxy. Cloud renders mute the whole concept of FOSS, the fun of hacking.

  • Kernel Space

    • Hacking on Kinect gets a whole lot easier

      PrimeSense, the company behind Kinect has released open-source drivers and established an Natural Interaction devices, applications and middleware organisation named OpenNI.

    • Kinect 3D Tech Company PrimeSense Releases Open Source PC/Mac Drivers

      PrimeSense, the company behind the 3D depth sensing technology in Microsoft’s Kinect accessory, has joined with two other companies to release a set of open source drivers for the device.

      The OpenNI project — a joint effort between PrimeSense, robotics company Willow Garage and motion control game developer Side-Kick — is a not-for-profit organization created to “certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction devices, applications and middleware,” according to its Web site.

    • PrimeSense releases open-source drivers for Kinect technology
    • HTG Explains: Which Linux File System Should You Choose?

      File systems are one of the layers beneath your operating system that you don’t think about—unless you’re faced with the plethora of options in Linux. Here’s how to make an educated decision on which file system to use.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Linux Team Takes Another Blow

        It was just one year ago that AMD lost its core Linux engineering manager, Matthew Tippett, who had been with ATI Technologies for the better part of a decade and had built up the ATI Linux driver team that went on to make all of the major improvements while Matthew introduced many changes along the way. Tippett left AMD for the United States to head the Linux kernel development of Palm’s (now HP) WebOS software platform and also a pivotal role with us on the Phoronix Test Suite. Today now marks the last day for another ATI/AMD Linux veteran, Piranavan Selvanandan, who is now heading to the same boat after relocating to California.

      • HPL-GPU 1.0 Released For GPU Super Computing

        Matthias Bach, a researcher and developer on high-performance computing with the Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt am Main, has written in to inform us of this German university’s release of HPL-GPU 1.0. The HPL-GPU software package is a rewritten version of the LINPACK library that is re-engineered to run atop CALDGEMM, which is a DGEMM implementation developed at this university designed to run atop the latest AMD graphics processors.

        The HPL-GPU 1.0 package is the code that’s running atop LOEWE-CSC, which is a 832-node CPU/GPU cluster at Frankfurt University’s Center for Scientific Computing. This LOEWE-CSC cluster HPL performance was measured at 285 TeraFLOPS this year making it one of the fastest super-computers in the world. LOEWE-CSC was ranked 22nd on this year’s top 500 super-computer list and took the 8th spot on the green 500 list for the most energy efficient super-computers. This Frankfurt super-computer put outs out a massive 741 MFlops per Watt.

  • Applications

    • Top 5 Open Source Backup Software

      Back up softwares for Linux are not a rarity and there are quite a number of them available for free to download and use. And this is probably because, Linux is mostly used as servers which apparently has the highest need for tools to backup and similar. Here is our compilation of 5 awesome back up softwares for Ubuntu and Linux.

    • 5 Open Source Music Games for GNU/Linux

      When a website gets too big, with thousands and millions of documents, it gets harder and harder to manage the entire thing. Some people to keep things organized buy expensive commercial products to regularly index their documents for quick search but there are also some who take advantage of what’s available for free and open source.

      In this article, we’ve put together a list of top 20 most popular open source search and indexing packages that you can use on your website for just that and much more.

    • Fotoxx – Simple, Lightweight Photo Editor for Linux

      Fotoxx is a simple, open source photo editing application for Linux. Fotoxx image editor is incredibly lightweight and packed with all the basic features you could expect in an image editor application. If you haven’t tried Fotoxx yet, it is definitely worth your attention.

    • Social browser Rockmelt is coming to Linux – just not yet

      Rockmelt, the much hyped social web browser famously backed by by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, is heading to Linux – only not just yet.

    • Proprietary

      • Opera Cruises While “Going To 11”

        Any fan of the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap certainly knows, the tongue-in-cheek bit about how the band’s amplifiers are better than anyone else’s is because when they need that last bit of oomph, theirs go to 11. You know, 1 number past 10.

        Well, Opera is getting things together nicely and proving that it is up to the task of outperforming anyone else in the browser field. Always a leader, Opera is leading again, almost effortlessly.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Wine 1.3.9 Brings An OpenCL 1.0 Library Wrapper

        Wine 1.2.2 was released last week as the second point release in the Wine 1.2 stable series, but this week the Wine developers are back to working on Wine 1.4 in the Wine 1.3 development series. Wine 1.3.9 was just-issued and it’s back to bringing some more interesting changes to this free software project, including in-browser ActiveX support and an OpenCL 1.0 library wrapper.

    • Games

      • Linux Can Deliver A Faster Gaming Experience Than Mac OS X

        Besides falling behind in frame-rates, Apple’s NVIDIA driver also only supports the full OpenGL 2.1 specification where as NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on Linux supports OpenGL 3.3 and other functionality not currently exposed on Mac OS X.

      • Alien Arena 2011 Is Coming Next Week

        John Diamond, the lead developer of the open-source Alien Arena game, has emailed in tipping us off that Alien Arena 2011 will be released next week. Alien Arena is a science-fiction first person shooter game that’s powered by a modified id Tech 2 game engine. We first reported on Alien Arena 2011 in October when talking about some of the planned features we were informed of, but as of next week it will be available to all Linux gamers (and those on Windows too) as an early Christmas present — it was just in May that Alien Arena 2010 was released.

      • Blub Volley – a nice little volleyball game for Ubuntu

        A reader by the name of Markus sent us an email to let us know of Blub Volley, a small, free and fun volleyball game.

      • 5 Open Source Music Games for GNU/Linux

        Believe it or not, GNU/Linux is already an amazing game platform. You might find this statement entirely implausible or rather incredulous but I really mean it. I didn’t know this until last evening when I was desperately looking for an open source alternative for the popular game “Guitar Hero”. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, in fact, I was preparing myself for a total flop, or yet another monotonous copycat of GH. Oh boy… how wrong was I. Not only did I found the sort of game I was looking for, but also, I stumbled upon some other cool open source music games that totally changed my perception about open source games. But don’t take my words for it, just go and search for a very specific genre of games. I assure you that eventually you will find some quality open source alternatives. I do believe some of these games can be competent competitors to their commercial counterparts if they get more attention from the community.

      • Best online games (for Linux users, too!)

        I have chosen a tricky title. Online games are available for anyone using a modern browser, be they Windows, Linux, Mac, BSD, or Solaris users. All that is required is either a Flash Player or the Java plugin, so if you have those, you can start enjoying online games instantly.


        All right, that would be all. If you’ve read all my gaming articles, most of the stuff written here is not really new. Furthermore, some of the reviewed titles are actually large game repositories, where you will find hundreds of cute games to play. Others are usually more complex standalone games, with in-depth plot and long gameplay. For example, you can RuneScape longer than you can WoW.

        The collection is fine-tuned to my own tastes and whims, so you may not like it all, but I think my best of the best list is fairly fair. It has a bit of everything, from classic first person shooters via artillery practice to solid British humor in ASCII. In between, you have some online roleplaying, arcade fighting, puzzles, physics, just take your pick. I honestly believe you’ll find a suitable game for just about anyone and anywhere.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • ‘Colors’ Is An Impressive Dark Gnome Theme With 12 Color Variations

        ‘Colors’ is an amazing – dare I say the best (or at least in top 3) – dark GNOME theme. I’ve found out about it from Nick, the Orta theme author who posted a link to ‘Colors’ in a comment on our last Orta post and even though I was a bit skeptic as I don’t like dark themes, after trying it out I must say I am truly impressed. Sure, it’s a matter of taste so you may not like it, but give it a try anyway because you can’t really get the real “feeling” by just looking at the screenshots.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro as Song ?

      After the article “Linux Distro as Food” which has been very successful i’ve decided to think this time: If every Linux distribution was a song, which would you choose to listen ?

      I’ll try to resume for every distro the keywords that come to my mind thinking at it; add to these keyword the year of publication and the word song, we’ll see what’s the first music video of an artist doing a search in google video.

    • Introducing UberBang 10.04

      Here is the download link. Also, here is the project page, where I’ve also uploaded things like the Openbox theme and icon set from #! 9.04.01 for my own use in creating UberBang 10.04. I hope you enjoy using this as much as I did creating it. That said, given all this random issues, as a #! developer would say, “please do not use this as your main stable system, as it may make your system go CRUNCH! BANG!”

    • New Releases

      • New ArchBang Live CD “Symbiosis” in January 2011

        Another newly found favorite, ArchBang, is going to release a new version in January 2011. Here’s a screenshot. Not that I needed a new release because it is just Arch Linux under the hood and that’s been updating perfectly here for the last two months without any stability problems or other issues. I am now running the latest 2.6.36 kernel etc. with wireless still working.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ripping out the safeties

        There have been the endless bull session threads on the CentOS main mailing list, nominally on the subjects of SELinux and IPv6 the last couple of weeks. I am just not of a mind to tolerate cr*ppy content on mailing lists anymore. On one such list, a ‘regular’ whom I identify as ‘…’ had the misfortune of being the ‘designated bad example’ of the day

      • Scientific Linux 6 Alpha 2 Out

        I’m not going to try and turn into Distrowatch and announce every release, but it’s quite exciting to see something moving on this front and have a free clone hopefully rather sooner than later. Also, the SL guys are always making some small additions to RHEL that I appreciate.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15: A Potential Savior?

          One of my friends was showing me today a Gource-created video of his semester’s work that he made on his Fedora 14 “Laughlin” laptop. It looks really nice, but even though it has a quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a very nice AMD ATI dedicated graphics card (I don’t know exactly what model/specs), it still took a couple hours to do (i.e. far longer than it should have).

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: David Kalnischkies, an APT developer

        The two first interviews were dedicated to long-time Debian developers. This time I took the opposite approach, I interviewed David Kalnischkies who is not (yet) a Debian developer. But he’s contributing to one of the most important software within Debian—the APT package manager—since 2009. You can already see him in many places in Debian sharing his APT knowledge when needed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Alpha 1 Unity Checkpoint

          While attending a sprint this week, I’ve gone ahead and updated my Dell mini 10v to Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1, and also took some updates on Tuesday.

          I have to say, I am finding Unity to be running really really well on this computer. I can use the spider diagram to provide a more structured description to what I think is going well, and also, how far we still have to go before we have a shippable product.

        • A nice autohide fix for the Unity launcher

          Jason Smith sends this along:

          So there was a seemingly simple bug, the launcher would autohide when the quicklist was open.This was due to the fact that the launcher was entirely unaware of when a quicklist was open.

        • PPA Updates: Minitube, gThumb, Launchpad Getkeys, Dropbox Share

          This post is just a short summary of some updated packages in the WebUpd8 PPAs.

        • Ubuntu Linux Gets a Manga Fan Magazine – Ubunchu!

          How many Ubuntu fans also like Japanese Manga comics? My guess would be that it’s a pretty high percentage. The author of this comic series, Hiroshi Seo, is apparently a big fan of Ubuntu, the Linux operating system that many of us have come to love.

        • Eva’s Great Guide to Ubuntu – Part 1
        • Ubuntu to Drop GDM for LightDM
        • Certification of HP Desktops

          Starting with these 11 desktop models is a great step and I would like to thank the team at HP for their cooperation, at the same time calling out the work of our unsung heroes in Victor Palau’s Canonical certification team.

        • Ubuntu Brainstorm Top 10 for December 2010

          As I mentioned recently, the Ubuntu Technical Board is reviewing the most popular topics in Ubuntu Brainstorm and coordinating official responses on behalf of the project. This means that the most popular topics on Ubuntu Brainstorm receive expert answers from the people working in these areas.


          Allison Randal, Ubuntu Technical Architect, answers with an analysis of the problem and the proposed solutions, an overview of current activity in this area, and pointers for getting involved.

        • Top Ideas for Upcoming Ubuntu Releases

          Ubuntu Brainstorm is a wiki-like interface that allows the Ubuntu community to input ideas that might make Ubuntu more usable, friendly, or fun. Almost 20,000 ideas have been entered and have received 2.5 million votes in the two years since its introduction. Entries can be sorted by all ideas, popular ideas, ideas in development, or implemented ideas. Matt Zimmerman, Debian developer and Canonical employee, thinks it might be a good idea to periodically collect and discuss the current status and future possibilities of the most popular ideas.

        • 3 Awesome Ubuntu/Linux Multi Touch Demo Videos

          Here are a bunch of interesting video demos showcasing native multitouch support in Linux. I especially liked the one which demoed a good looking Dell touch pad running Ubuntu Unity. Edit: A new video has been added taking the total count to 4.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Super OS – Do we really need it?

            Super OS, formerly Super Ubuntu, is a remastered (modified) Ubuntu, a Ubuntu clone if you will, designed to make Ubuntu more usable out of the box. As such, Super OS joins a long line of Ubuntu derivatives, all of which try to extend, enhance and pimpify the basic Ubuntu release.

            My personal experience shows that this benevolent and seemingly simple task is in fact a very complex and difficult project that very few can manage successfully and without lots of inconsistencies. For instance, Zorin, mFatOS and UberStudent are all Ubuntu modifications, but neither managed to quite beat the original. You gain a handful of improvements, in some cases, massive improvements, but each new layer of functionality adds problems and bugs that small teams with virtually no QA behind their projects cannot really manage that well.

          • Jolicloud 1.1 review

            Jolicloud comes with enough applications out of the box to satisfy the vast majority of users. The most important is, of course, the browser. Jolicloud offers you three to choose from. Chromium, by the way, is the default.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Why Nokia Is in Deep Trouble With MeeGo

          Since that time, Nokia has been heralding Maemo and then MeeGo as the future of its phone business, and in doing so have put significant faith in the open source universe.

          What Nokia really needs right now is a killer smartphone OS–n phones it’s selling at this very moment, during this holiday season, which is sure to go down in history as being the defining moment for smartphone sales. The revolution starts here, but Nokia isn’t 100 percent present.

      • Android

        • BioLock Coming Along Nicely, Biometric Authentication Not Far Off for Android

          Now that front-facing cameras are all the rage, there is a bit more than just video conferencing that they can be useful for. A promising and interesting use of the now common hardware is biometric authentication, through eye and/or facial scanning as a mean to unlock a device or private files stored on the device. Blue Planet Apps has been working away on their own BioLock, and from the latest demo video they have offered up, it is coming along quite nicely.

        • Android OS is on 80 percent of smartphones sold via Verizon

          ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman has noted this week that Android has quickly become the top selling smartphone OS on Verizon’s network, far outpacing RIM’s BlackBerry.
          In October of 2009, RIM BlackBerries controlled a full 93 percent of Verizon’s smartphone sales, with Windows Mobile controlling the rest.

        • fring Launches Smart DVQ For Android

          fring is rolling out its network-optimized DVQ mobile video calling technology. DVQ technology is compatible with all mobile data bearers: 3G, 4G, WIMax and WiFi.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we use and contribute to open source software

    We do utilize some commercial software but there is often the alternative choice of utilizing open source software, preferably open source software that implements an open standard. Open source software projects often originate as a labor of love by software developers who are tired of seeing a shared problem solved over and over again in one off solutions, or perhaps they realize that they can offer a more simple and elegant alternative to a commercial product. The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it’s own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and new features back out into the community, the community then in turn continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements back into Netflix.

  • On Symbian, Communities, and Motivation

    It seems strange. Considering the great successes of Gnome, KDE, Eclipse, and many other groups, it is curious that Symbian was not able to follow along the same path. I have always been a great believer in OSS consortia, because I think that the sharing of research and development is a main strength of the open source model, and I think that consortia are among the best ways to implement R&D sharing efficiently.
    However, to work well, Consortia need to provide benefits in terms of efficiency or visibility to all the actors that participate in them, not only to the original developer group. For Nokia, we know that one of the reasons to open up Symbian was to reduce the porting effort. As Eric Raymond reports, “they did a cost analysis and concluded they couldn’t afford the engineering hours needed to port Symbian to all the hardware they needed to support. (I had this straight from a Symbian executive, face-to-face, around 2002).”

  • What is the purpose of OpenWLANMap?

    To ensure the data to be free and to avoid abuse of commercial providers we have several security mechanisms. Beside of that all the data are licensed and published using the therms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL).

    This license gives users the possibility to use data out of the database with no need to get the permission from the originator. So for these data in every case the conditions of the GNU FDL are valid. A “document” according to the definitions of this license is a single data set out of the database (not the database structure and organisation itself).

  • The frustration is mounting

    About 56% of our office now uses OpenOffice for all their documents.

  • A lot of investment banks are using open source software, but techies shouldn’t worry

    One of the more interesting revelations to come out from the (imminently decided upon) Sergey Aleynikov trial is that Goldman Sachs’ code may not even have been worth stealing.

    Benjamin Goldberg, an associate professor in New York University’s computer science department, testified that the code Aleynikov took contained “lots of open source software”.

    Or, as Aleynikov’s lawyer Kevin Marino said: “The general common notion that Goldman Sachs is the New York Yankees and Goldman’s systems are the best ain’t necessarily so.”

  • LibreOffice: Document Foundation Steering Committee Public Phone Conference 11-Dec-2010

    Current agenda items:

    * Support models and how to organise this on an international basis
    * Bylaws State of Affairs

  • Open source news slowing down?

    I just did a tweet saying that I thought the number of news stories about open source seems to have slowed down quite a bit in the last month or so, outside of the major projects and companies. Indeed, the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was big news.

  • Events

    • FOSS.in [schedule up]
    • GSM: global social menace?

      What will be the outcome of 68% of all human beings relying on a communication system that is insecure, unconfidential and closed to inspection and understanding? GSM looks like a disaster waiting to happen; watch this space!

    • RLUG meet, December 2010

      Yesterday we had the last LUG meet for this year, and the last in this current location (from next month we need another place, still looking for it). One above another, it was a good one.

    • New US cybersecurity bill could threaten free software

      RMS recently called our attention to the Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010. This bill, currently being considered in a House subcommittee, has the potential to threaten free software.

      Its loose wording would allow bad measures like requiring companies, institutions, or even just major Web sites, to use specific proprietary software.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Response to Apache Departure from JCP
    • The JCP Is Dead

      Of course, we had hoped that our previous blog post would have spun up more support, but being the pragmatists that we are, we also knew that the other EC members were being seriously pressured by Oracle to vote YES, and so we held out little hope. We also hoped for a better response from Oracle, but what we got was basically self-serving lip-service with what is most likely the funniest and yet most inaccurate line yet in the whole ordeal:

      “Oracle provides TCK licenses under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms consistent with its obligations under the JSPA.”

      If that little nugget doesn’t show that Accuracy and Oracle don’t mix, I don’t know what will.

    • Apache is being forced into a Java Fork
    • Oracle set to launch MySQL 5.5 GA release

      Oracle is expected to launch the general-availability version of MySQL 5.5 during a webcast event on Wednesday, December 15.

      The event will be hosted by Tomas Ulin, vice president of MySQL development, and Rob Young, senior MySQL product manager, who will update attendees on the latest developments with the open-source database.

  • CMS

    • One Drupal to rule them all

      More and more, I see large organizations standardize on Drupal. Drupal’s low-cost entry point and open, modular architecture provides the perfect foundation. Drupal is one of the few solutions that can scale from very small to extremely large, and has the depth and breadth of functionality to support thousands of different use cases. Drupal sites can span a wide range of functionality; from blogs, to marketing microsites, social business community sites, corporate intranets, e-commerce sites and more. There are incredible success stories for each of these use cases already. Plus, we’ve now reached a point where many open source content management systems outperform proprietary solutions on technical superiority and pace of innovation. Drupal is in a very unique position.

    • Telenet using Drupal for knowledge base

      Telenet, the largest provider of broadband cable services in Belgium, wants happy customers, and customers are happy when they can solve any problems or answer any questions concerning a company’s products on their own, or by simply calling a friendly helpful client advisor.

  • Business

    • Conflicts in open source business models

      I can’t imagine a world in which compromise and collaboration could be more important than in an open source business model. The model itself opens a Pandora’s Box of issues that create a minefield that must be navigated on a daily basis and makes those concepts critical to success. Think, for an instance, about a world in which one or many of the possible points of differentiation are freely shared—and some even given away—without condition to parties whose interests are naturally misaligned with yours. The hope is through sharing that the collective community or society will be better served.

    • Conflicts in open source business models

      My suggestions to solve these three challenges are rather simplistic. Disavow those community members who do not take their responsibility seriously. Continue to educate the lawmakers of the world about the changes and challenges that the current environment presents to true innovation and collaboration. And finally, be wary of simply following the crowd, because true leadership isn’t about only doing what is popular. It is about way more than that. But those are mine, and quite frankly I’m more interested in listening to yours, so please let me know what you think. To be continued…


  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • “What free software licence should I use?”

      I often ask questions and answer them on Stackoverflow – an Open site available to anyone to who has programming questions. It’s so successful that over about 2-3 years it has had over 1MILLION questions. Yes, one million. That’s a wonderful example of crowdsourcing meeting a need.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Britain’s billions of individual human interactions, visualised.

        A team of researchers from MIT, Cornell University and University College London have combined to utilize one of the world’s largest telecommunications records to visualise calls made between individual towns and cities, indicating how tightly connected some of them are.

      • What “open data” means – and what it doesn’t

        Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal talked about the Open Data Partnership, which “will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people to choose to not be tracked at all.” The article goes on to discuss data mining and privacy issues, which are hot topics in today’s digital world, where we all wonder just how much of our personal data is out there and how it’s being used. These are valid concerns being talked about in other, more appropriate fora. I, however, would like to address my personal pet peeve about the dilution of the term open data.

        The Open Knowledge Definition says it this way, “A piece of content or data is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.” Generally, this means that the data should be released in a format that is free of royalties and other IP restrictions. The problem is that an increasing number of people are using the term open data to mean publicly available data.

  • Programming

    • Ranking Programming Languages by Size of Community and Number of Projects

      Drew Conway and John Myles White of the website Dataists decided to try ranking programming languages using a new system: the size of the community and the number of projects. In Conway’s blog post about the results, he admits that there’s no perfect way to find data about either measure. He and Myles settled on using the number of questions in StackOverflow as a measure of the community and the number of projects in Github as a measure of the number of projects.

    • Top 50 Programming Quotes of All Time
  • Standards/Consortia


  • Aurora: $190k seized because brothers were drug suspects

    Two brothers who say police unlawfully seized more than $190,000 from them during a traffic stop had been under surveillance and were suspected of drug-dealing, a lawyer for the city of Aurora said today during a court hearing.

    Though neither Jose nor Jesus Martinez is charged with a crime, authorities are seeking forfeiture of $190,040 found in Jesus’ truck when he was stopped by an Aurora police officer on Oct. 18.

  • Amazon, P2P and non-centralised infrastructure

    Now it’s clear Amazon, Paypal and others will disconnect their customers without many questions asked, perhaps it’s time to explore other approaches to networked infrastructure. The field is immature, but there are exciting experiments in progress.

  • MasterCard and Visa cut off Wikileaks, but the KKK is still OK!

    That’s right. MasterCard and Visa reportedly stopped transactions for those wishing to donate money to WikiLeaks, due to a “technicality”. But anyone who wants to do some Christmas shopping and buy “Klan Novelties” like this lovely little ceramic tchotchke, can visit the official Ku Klux Klan web site and put it on their credit card.

  • Phone hacking: Andy Coulson will not be charged says DPP

    Andy Coulson, the prime minister’s director of communications, will not face prosecution over allegations he knew of phone hacking while he was editor of the News of the World, it was announced today.

    The Crown Prosecution Service announced the decision after spending the last four weeks studying material from a renewed Scotland Yard investigation into the claims.

  • Germany and France vow tighter policy coordination

    Germany and France pledged on Friday to better align their tax and labor policies to foster convergence in the euro zone, but rejected calls for an increase in the bloc’s rescue fund and joint sovereign bonds.

  • Top 10 worst products ever
  • Silvio Berlusconi accused of buying MPs’ votes

    Investigation opens into claims of ‘transfer market’ defections as Italian PM’s party faces censure motions in parliament

  • Seven Thoughts on Wikileaks

    The wikileaks saga gives the lie to the claim of United States omnipotence over the naming and numbering system via ICANN. Even assuming the United States could order ICANN (through its contractual arrangements and de facto control) to shut down all wikileaks sites (something that is far from obvious), ICANN could not follow through because its main leverage over unwanted wikileaks websites is its threat to de-list top-level domain names where the wikileaks sites appear. It is doubtful that ICANN could make that threat credibly for many reasons, including (a) the sites are shifting across top-level domains too quickly, (b) ICANN is not going to shut down a top-level domain to get at a handful of sites, and (c) alternative and perhaps root-splitting DNS alternatives might arise if it did.

  • Jeremy Marks “Attempted Lynching” Case

    On Dec. 2, Jeremy Marks, a Verdugo Hills High School special education student, was offered a new plea offer by the L.A. County District Attorney: If he pled guilty to charges of obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, criminal threats and “attempted lynching,” he’d serve only 32 months in prison.

    That actually was an improvement from the previous offer made to the young, black high schooler — seven years in prison.

  • Invaders from Mars

    The rot set in back in the 19th century, when the US legal system began recognizing corporations as de facto people. Fast forward past the collapse of the ancien regime, and into modern second-wave colonialism: once the USA grabbed the mantle of global hegemon from the bankrupt British empire in 1945, they naturally exported their corporate model worldwide, as US diplomatic (and military) muscle was used to promote access to markets on behalf of US corporations.

    Corporations do not share our priorities. They are hive organisms constructed out of teeming workers who join or leave the collective: those who participate within it subordinate their goals to that of the collective, which pursues the three corporate objectives of growth, profitability, and pain avoidance. (The sources of pain a corporate organism seeks to avoid are lawsuits, prosecution, and a drop in shareholder value.)

    Corporations have a mean life expectancy of around 30 years, but are potentially immortal; they live only in the present, having little regard for past or (thanks to short term accounting regulations) the deep future: and they generally exhibit a sociopathic lack of empathy.

  • Bill of Rights in Cyberspace, amended

    I’m still refining my thoughts on a Bill of Rights in Cyberspace — the latest version in preparation for tomorrow’s PDF symposium on WIkileaks and transparency. The idea is to have principles we can point to when dealing with such events as Wikileaks, Google/Verizon, Google/China, and so on.

  • Amazon invites 5 terabyte mondo-files into the heavens

    Amazon has increased the maximum object size on its S3 online storage service to 5 terabytes. Previously, S3 users were forced to store large files in chunks no larger than about 5 gigabytes.

  • US suspects North Korea and Burma participating in ‘covert military’ activities

    In diplomatic cables released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks on Friday, it is revealed that the United States embassy in Rangoon suspects the North Korean and Burmese military are participating in “covert military or military-industrial” activities. In the cables dating back as early as January 2004, the embassy reports the military activities could include the construction of a nuclear reactor in or near Minbu, along with “SAM missiles” and an underground facility with as many as 300 North Korean military personnel assisting the Burmese military in the construction. Burma is primarily controlled by its military.

  • Hyperdemocracy

    For the past three hundred years, the relationship between the press and the state has been straightforward: the press tries to publish, the state uses its various mechanisms to thwart those efforts. This has produced a cat-and-mouse steady-state, a balance where selection pressures kept the press tamed and the state – in many circumstances – somewhat accountable to the governed. There are, as always, exceptions.

    In the last few months, the press has become hyperconnected, using that hyperconnectivity to pierce the veil of secrecy which surrounds the state; using the means available to it to hyperdistribute those secrets. The press has become hyperempowered, an actor unlike anything ever experienced before.

  • Underage Labor Around The World (PHOTOS): 2011 Child Labor Index

    According to the Guardian, there are more than 200 million children working throughout the world — and of these, roughly one in 12 is in a hazardous job such as mining. “Not only is child labour wrong, but the existence of child labour within a company’s value chain can have significant impacts on reputation and profits and it is critical that companies undertake stringent monitoring of all suppliers,” principal analyst Monique Bianchi is quoted as saying on the Maplecroft website.

  • Child labour most widespread in the key emerging economies – Maplecroft study

    A new study has identified the key emerging economies that supply the world with manufactured goods and natural resources, and that are fueling the global economic recovery, as the countries with the worst record of underage workers within their labour markets.

    The Child Labour Index and map, produced by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, rates 68 countries as ‘extreme risk’ with Bangladesh, China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan amongst those with the most widespread abuses of child workers.

  • “Revenge of the Electric Car” trailer released

    “Revenge of the Electric Car” is a new documentary from director Chris Paine, who also directed “Who Killed the Electric Car.” The new film, coming in Spring 2011, focuses on the dramatic resurgence of the electric car around the world, “tracks the electrifying race to challenge the age of gasoline,” according to its promoters.

    Quoting from the introduction to its trailer on YouTube…

    “In 2006, as many as 5,000 modern electric cars were destroyed by the major car companies that built them.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 15 year old Tells Establishment to Stick-it.
    • DiManno: How long can Blair stay shackled?

      Anybody got the keys to Police Chief Bill Blair’s handcuffs?

      Because Toronto’s top cop — indisputably the most powerful municipal law enforcement official in Canada — has got a bad case of the shackles.

      Five officers identified by late Wednesday afternoon as cop-on-civilian combatants during the G20 Summit protests and there’s apparently precious little Blair can do about it.

      Can’t fire ’em. Can’t suspend ’em without pay, pending a disciplinary hearing. Can’t compel them — if designated by the Special Investigations Unit as subject officers, which hasn’t happened yet with this quintet — to come forth for interviewing by the independent agency.

    • DiManno: New tape backs up protester’s beating allegation

      When he is finally allowed up off the ground after being stomped and pummeled by cops, Adam Nobody appears to have suffered no significant facial injuries — at least none that show.

      There isn’t any blood, nary evidence of wounds, and the nose — which Nobody suspects was snapped during that pile-on melee — is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

    • Ontario Ombudsman statement on G20 arrests and detentions

      Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today issued a brief additional statement about his special report Caught in the Act. The statement addresses issues and questions surrounding the use of police powers granted by the province’s enactment of Regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act.

    • 14 officers identified in G20 takedown

      The Special Investigations Unit has the name of the officer who used a baton to hit a G20 protester, as well as those of 13 other officers who were present or nearby at the time.

      The police watchdog is still gathering information and tracking down civilian witnesses, said spokesman Frank Phillips.

      By Thursday, investigators also identified one civilian witness, armed with a video camera, for whom they had made a public plea earlier this week.

    • Adam Nobody Vs Bill Blair -Man suffered Broken Nose at G20 Toronto
    • Build Settlements, Be Intransigent, Get Weaponry

      On Dec. 9, 2010, Haaretz, one of Israel’s top newspapers and news sources, reported that the United States would allocate some $205 million for something called an “Iron Dome anti-rocket system.” As a reward, then, for the non-stop building of settlements, Israel was showered with weapons by the U.S., thanks mostly to the Pro-Israel lobby, which has remained a huge obstacle in solving the Israel-Palestine conflict from time immemorial to begin with.

    • The Key to Majority Government in Canada
    • Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize

      Obviously it is deplorable on its own terms that the Chinese government continues to imprison the winner, Liu Xiaobo (left, from Reuters); that it will not allow his wife or other family members or representatives to attend; that it is pressuring so many other countries to boycott the event; and that it is preparing to block news coverage of the award within China. The Chinese central authorities no doubt intend all these as demonstrations of strength. In the rest of the world’s eyes, of course, there could be no more dramatic demonstration of weakness and insecurity. As would have been the case if the U.S. government had kept Martin Luther King in prison after his Nobel Peace Prize, blocked all coverage of his award, kept his family under house arrest, pressured other countries not to go to Oslo, etc. And as it was when South Africa jailed Nelson Mandela.

    • WikiLeaks continues to fund itself via tech startup Flattr

      WikiLeaks, which publishes anonymous leaks of secret material (most recently 250,000 previously secret US embassy cables) still has a trick up its sleeve. In the last few days its sources of funding have been gradually cut off. MasterCard, PayPal and now Visa have all suspended payments to the organsation and founder Julian Assange has been remanded in custody in London without bail (so far).

    • Lying is Not Patriotic
    • Wikileaks War: Anonymous Releases Heinlin-esque “Operation:Payback” Video
    • Police chief one of The Untouchables

      Despite being humiliated by Ontario’s top watchdog for a state of “martial law” that in some cases led to unacceptable strip searches and police beatings, Chief Bill Blair appears to be either a provincial government fall guy or someone in the sweet spot where no one above him has the courage to sanction him.

    • Human Rights Day

      Ordinary people may be able to make such comments as calling on Presidents to assassinate people as a “joke,” but people with strong ties to a sitting government should not be making such statements on news magazine programs that are being broadcast across Canadian’s national television broadcaster, CBC.

      No doubt Mr. Flanagan was on the program in question because of his strong ties to the Canadian government.

    • G20 report changes nothing: York cops

      Political fallout over the G20 summit in Toronto will not make York Regional Police less likely to lend a hand in other jurisdictions during major events, the force’s deputy chief said.
      About 400 York officers were deployed to Toronto sites, including the fence that separated demonstrators from world leaders and a detention centre, during the June summit.
      York police often assist during high-profile events in Toronto. For example, local officers helped police large-scale protests by the Tamil-Canadian community in 2009.

    • Arrest, Detention and the G20: There is More to Civil Liberties than Freedom From Arrest
    • Schoolboy warned by police over picket plan at David Cameron’s office

      The mother of a 12-year-old boy has criticised Thames Valley police for taking her son out of lessons because he was planning to picket David Cameron’s constituency office today.

      Nicky Wishart, a pupil at Bartholomew School, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, organised the event on Facebook to highlight the plight of his youth centre, which is due to close in March next year due to budget cuts.

      The protest, which was due to take place today, has attracted over 130 people on Facebook, most of whom are children who use youth centres in Cameron’s constituency, Witney.

    • Railgun developed by U.S. Navy can hit targets 100 miles away

      According to Fox News, the United States Navy has been developing a weapon called the railgun that has cost $211 million since 2005.

    • Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States

      This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

      These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans’ ignorance of their own history — an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act — a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used — was designed deliberately to be used — specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.

    • John Pilger: Why are wars not being reported honestly?

      In the US Army manual on counterinsurgency, the American commander General David Petraeus describes Afghanistan as a “war of perception . . . conducted continuously using the news media”. What really matters is not so much the day-to-day battles against the Taliban as the way the adventure is sold in America where “the media directly influence the attitude of key audiences”. Reading this, I was reminded of the Venezuelan general who led a coup against the democratic government in 2002. “We had a secret weapon,” he boasted. “We had the media, especially TV. You got to have the media.”

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks – USA

      Julian Assange has been labelled one of the most dangerous men on earth. With the most comprehensive archive of background reports in the world, we get right inside the guarded world of the whistle-blower.

    • The Sunshine Policy

      The United States has quietly asked allies like Yemen and Pakistan for some extraordinary favors in its war on terrorism. Is it really so terrible if WikiLeaks forces them to explain those demands?

    • [Search for Wikileaks]
    • Julia Gillard’s Left flank revolts over Julian Assange

      JULIA Gillard is facing a revolt from MPs in her left-wing parliamentary faction, enraged at the treatment of Julian Assange.

      The MPs are demanding the government stop treating Mr Assange as a criminal and protect his rights as an Australian citizen and whistleblower.

      A large number of MPs have spoken to The Weekend Australian to express grave concerns at the language ministers and the Prime Minister are using in relation to Mr Assange.

      Laurie Ferguson, a friend and factional colleague of Ms Gillard who was dumped as parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs and settlement services, told The Weekend Australian the government had overreacted to the WikiLeaks release of secret US documents. He said the information that had been released was crucial to democracy and exposing the truth.

    • Military bans disks, threatens courts-martial to stop new leaks

      It’s too late to stop WikiLeaks from publishing thousands more classified documents, nabbed from the Pentagon’s secret network.

      But the U.S. military is telling its troops to stop using CDs, DVDs, thumb drives and every other form of removable media — or risk a court martial.

    • American exceptionalism, American hypocrisy

      AMERICA’S reaction to WikiLeaks’ recent trickle of confidential diplomatic messages has not improved its reputation in Europe, at least according to this article by Steven Erlanger in the New York Times. Mr Erlanger offers an entertaining run-down of sharply critical opinions from pundits and politicos across the pond. Their theme, as Mr Erlanger puts it in his lede, is that “Washington’s fierce reaction to the flood of secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks displays imperial arrogance and hypocrisy, indicating a post-9/11 obsession with secrecy that contradicts American principles”.

    • A question of restraint: what prevents police officers from killing protesters?

      When asked about the (idiotic) attack by protesters on the car carrying the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, he praised the “restraint” of the firearms officers who were there.

      The implication appeared to be that, but for this “restraint”, the protesters would have quite properly been shot dead. The Commissioner furthermore described the restraint of his officers generally, not by reference to the officers following training, policies and procedures, but in terms which meant he could commend the officers’ moral qualities.

    • Leaks and Leakers

      The WikiLeaks plus Manning story has truly revealed that the US government will do anything necessary to silence its critics, legally or illegally. The way in which it is orchestrating a highly questionable international effort against both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is despicable. There exists a sharp divide between those who believe government secrets should always be protected at all costs and those who believe that secrecy in government exists only to conceal official misbehavior. Obviously there is a middle ground hidden somewhere between the two, but those who favor the narrative that accepts that there is a nefarious government in Washington ruthlessly manipulating a world empire have pretty much gotten it right. The documents and the Obama Administration behavior together tell the tale.

    • Predicting the future of WikiLeaks: Follow the media!

      The argument I’m making in the Times piece rests on three premises:

      a) WikiLeaks, at least in its post-Cablegate reincarnation, has two major assets: an easily recognizable brand and an extensive network of contacts in the media

      b) If the Cablegate release ends up having significant global repercussions — resignations of politicians, alterations in the behavior of governments and corporations — this is bound to encourage more people to take risks and start leaking

      c) The buzz generated by the Cablegate makes it clear that WikiLeaks is only as effective as their media partners: they are the ones screening the cables, identifying narrative threads, redacting the names, and, most importantly, embarrassing the parties involved.

    • Activist on Wikileaks: ‘This is a war… a war of data’
    • WikiLeaks cables: Pope wanted Muslim Turkey kept out of EU

      The pope is responsible for the Vatican’s growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU, previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome claim.

      In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.

      The Vatican’s acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger’s comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Vatican refused to engage with child sex abuse inquiry

      The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.

      Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy “offended many in the Vatican” who felt that the Irish government had “failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations”, a cable says.

    • State Department: We did not ask PayPal to cut off WikiLeaks
    • Pakistani media publishes fake WikiLeaks scoops
    • Paypal shut my account today because my business donated money to wikileaks.

      I go to log into my business account, and it’s locked. The girl on the phone told me it’s because my account handles a large amount of money (it’s a biz account), I recently sent a lot of money ($4000) overseas, and I also sent money to wikileaks. My account is being investigated for illegal activities and I have to account for what the money was used for. They want invoices and such.

      I sweep my money out of there daily because paypal sucks balls, so I am only out $30. We sure are heading towards an orwellian future, real fucking fast.


      I’ve been blacklisted as well. “This account has been permanently locked. All information associated with this account has been blocked from the PayPal system and cannot be registered with another account.”

      –update2– I will record my conversation on monday, paypal has no support on the weekend. Billion dollar company with no weekend phone support.

    • State Department: We did not ask PayPal to cut off WikiLeaks

      The State Department denied a report today that it contacted the online money transfer service PayPal and asked them to cut ties with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who remains behind bars in the United Kingdom.

      “It is not true,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told The Cable. “We have not been in touch with PayPal.”

      Osama Bedier, vice president at PayPal, told an audience Wednesday at Paris’ tech conference Le Web’10 that PayPal had shut down its business with WikiLeaks, which used the electronic money transfer service to collect donations, at the request of the State Department.

    • Wikileaks exposing a lot more than cable dispatches

      What do the leaks reveal? One opinion: WikiLeaks Shows the Skills of U.S. Diplomats. So what’s the real furor about? I’d say control.

    • Bye bye, #Paypal! You should not have harassed #Wikileaks

      I’ve just cancelled my Paypal account because I can’t agree with their actions regarding #Wikileaks. They should not have prevented them from getting donations, either by harassing them or harassing other customers who donated (if true).

    • WikiLeaks row: why Amazon’s desertion has ominous implications for democracy

      One of the most interesting aspects of the WikiLeaks controversy is the light it has shed on the providers of cloud computing. One after another they have fallen over like dominoes when the going got rough. First, some of the ISPs hosting WikiLeaks caved in; then EveryDNS, the company that mapped its domain names (eg wikileaks.org) on to machine addresses, dropped it; then Amazon, which had enough computer power and bandwidth to resist even the most determined cyber-attacks, took it off its computers; then PayPal and later Mastercard, the online conduits for donations, cancelled its accounts. The rationalisations these outfits gave for dropping WikiLeaks had a common theme, namely that it had violated the terms and conditions under which the terminated services had been provided.

    • Libération hosts WikiLeaks mirror: Statement

      Prominent French newspaper Libération is now hosting a WikiLeaks mirror at http://wikileaks.liberation.fr . Please find below a translation of the media group’s statement:

      ‘We have chosen to help prevent the asphyxiation of WikiLeaks at a time when governments and companies try to block its operation without even a legal order. Like thousands of other sites, Libération.fr decided to participate in the support movement that is being put into place on the internet, replicating WikiLeaks content fully. These sites, called mirrors, can be hosted by anyone who has server space available. This is what we did, in order to prevent the disappearance from the public record of WikiLeaks documents selected with partner media organizations. We have therefore opened this site: wikileaks.liberation.fr’

    • The right reaction

      BIG crimes deserve tough responses.


      But calibrating that response raises questions of principle, practice and priority. Businesses will go their own way. Some, such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, which handled donations to WikiLeaks, and Amazon, which provided web-hosting services, have dumped it as a customer in response to American outrage. More may follow. They risk attacks from its fans, just as those that refuse face hostility from their customers in America. Too bad: business is full of hard choices.

    • Freedom is not terrorism [IMG]
    • WikiRebels – The Documentary
    • Arrest of WikiLeaks leader indicates lack of democracy: Putin

      The arrest of enigmatic Wikileaks founder Julian Assange indicates a problem with democracy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

      “If they have a full democracy, why have they hidden mister Assange away in prison? Is that what democracy is?” the premier said at a briefing with his French counterpart Francois Fillon.

      “In Russian villages they say `some people`s cows can moo, but yours should keep quiet.` So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues,” Putin added.

    • Anonymous’ Operation Payback IRC Operator Arrested

      A teenager was arrested yesterday on suspicion of being involved with the Anonymous’ Operation Payback. The operation orchestrated DDoS attacks on anti-piracy targets in the last months, and more recently against those who obstructed Wikileaks’ work. Sources have informed TorrentFreak that the arrestee is one of the IRC-operators of Anonymous, known under the nickname Jeroenz0r.

    • The Anonymous group is taking aim at the wrong target
    • How to Think About WikiLeaks
    • Truth by ~Gamekiller48 [IMG]
    • Transparency | Flickr – Photo Sharing! [IMG]
    • First They Came for the Jews

      First they came for the hackers.
      But I never did anything illegal with my computer,
      so I didn’t speak up.

      Then they came for the pornographers.
      But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway,
      so I didn’t speak up


    • Manifestación a las 18:00 Sábado, 11 de Diciembre 2010
    • 2600 Magazine condemns DDoS attacks against Wikileaks censors

      2600: The Hacker Quarterly, has published a public statement opposing the Anonymous denial-of-service attacks on the services that abetted the censorship of Wikileaks. 2600′s position is that the inexcusable moral cowardice of Visa and Mastercard and PayPal, etc, do not justify the use of brute force. Additionally, 2600 says that DDoS attacks are tactically unsound, as they create sympathy for these companies, and are used as a pretense for more attacks on Internet freedom

    • Who Anonymous is. By Anonymous
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to get limited internet access in jail

      WIKILEAKS chief Julian Assange was in a segregation unit of a London jail for his own safety today as new secret US diplomatic cables were made public.

      The 39-year-old Australian has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, Jennifer Robinson, one of his legal team, said Friday.

      “The prison authorities are doing it for his own safety, presumably,” she told AFP.

    • John Bolton demands obliteration of Wikileaks’ electrons

      John Bolton, former U.N. Ambassador and President of the Presidium of the Supreme Stacheviet, has an opinion on Wikileaks! It is quite a predictable one, but his editorial in The Guardian offers this deathless, Thiessenesque proposition:

      The Pentagon’s cyber-warriors need target practice in this new form of combat, and they could long ago have practised by obliterating WikiLeaks’ electrons.

    • Predicting the future of WikiLeaks: Follow the media!

      What would happen to WikiLeaks pieces once they are written? One option is for WikiLeaks to become something like ProPublica and either try to syndicate their articles to whatever media would take them or strike exclusive deals with select few media partners. This won’t be terribly profitable and no U.S. foundation would want to touch WikiLeaks for a very long time (private donors, on the other hand, are a different case; there are plenty of rich oddballs like Peter Thiel who may find the idea of funding WikiLeaks very appealing — too bad he won’t be able to use PayPal to wire his dues though). On the other hand, the WikiLeaks brand right now may be strong enough for them to run on donations for quite some time — this seems to work with Wikipedia (but the latter do receive a lot of non-donations money as well).

      As the above should have made obvious by now, I clearly don’t think that the story of WikiLeaks is nearing its end with the full release of all the cables. I know for a fact that Assange has been thinking about the kind of relationship that WikiLeaks needs to have with their media partners for years. I suspect his thinking has evolved quite a bit this year, not least because WikiLeaks has become a media’s darling after spending a few years in relative obscurity.

      Whatever strategy Assange chooses to pursue, I don’t think it’s possible to get the future of WikiLeaks right without first addressing the media relationship piece of the puzzle.

    • Photos of pro-Wikileaks, pro-Assange protesters in Pakistan
    • Wikileaks: Espionage charges against Assange said to be “imminent”

      Lawyers for Julian Assange expect the United States to file spying charges against the Wikileaks frontman soon.

    • Operation Payback and online war over Wikileaks
    • 2600 Magazine Condemns Denial Of Service Attacks

      2600 Magazine, a quarterly journal for the hacker community that has published since 1984, is speaking out against numerous media reports that hackers are responsible for a spate of attacks on numerous e-commerce corporations as part of the ongoing Wikileaks controversy.

    • SU, the youth league of the second largest party in Norways coalition government, is now mirroring WikiLeaks!
    • Internet Press Vulnerable After WikiLeaks

      Some things truly haven’t been seen before. WikiLeaks might be one of them.

      It’s hard to believe that the founding fathers could have ever imagined the possibilities of the Internet or a journalist like Julian Assange when they crafted the First Amendment.

      If they were with us today they might well say they knew publishers they despised as much as some of our leaders today apparently do the editor-in-chief of the notorious website.

    • Wikileaks only exists because the mainstream media failed

      Readers of this blog will know we have been following the whole Wikileaks saga this week, and my intial annoyance with Wikileaks for (in my view) being too “gung ho” (see here) has been counterbalanced with an annoyance at the “chattering classes” – the Media and Politicians – in their attempts to misinform, misreport, and muzzle by veiled threat rather than legal action (because that they would likely lose a court case).

    • The Politics and Economics of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.

    • Cables Show Ireland Ceded to Vatican Pressure

      Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that Ireland caved in to Vatican pressure to grant immunity to church officials in the government probe of decades of sex abuse by Irish clergy in the predominantly Catholic nation.

      That the Holy See used its diplomatic immunity status as a tiny-city state to try to thwart Ireland’s government-led probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.

    • Chavez’s socialist sandwich emporium

      Some will doubtless wonder if President Obama is using this valuable intel to implement a sinister socialist sandwich agenda of his own.

    • Bunkering down, sans Assange

      LIFE without Julian Assange began for WikiLeaks yesterday.

      The website’s remaining staff and volunteers grappled with the absence of the Australian “editor-in-chief” who serves as its public face and private leader.

      Mr Assange’s lawyers were allowed just a three-minute phone call to him in Wandsworth Prison, in south London, yesterday and he has no internet or phone access to his colleagues on the world’s most controversial website.

      The group confirmed yesterday that Icelandic television journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson had taken over as WikiLeaks’ temporary leader and main spokesman, while other members of the secretive group began an organisation revamp and change of work locations to cope with Mr Assange’s detention.

    • Updated Notes on WikiLeaks

      A Dig trace on wikileaks.org now returns an IP Address of, which is an address a Dynadot web host(It should be noted that the actual Datacenter provider is Silicon Valley Web Hosting, which is located in Southern California). The Dynadot web host, however, is not actually hosting the wikileaks web site; it’s been configured to redirect requests for wikileaks.org to mirror.wikileaks.info, which is actually being hosted by Heihachi LTD in Russia. This actually the same hosting provider that was hosting anonops.net(Operation Payback) before it was shut down yesterday.

    • 6 Companies That Haven’t Wussed Out of Working with WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks – not so dull, after all

      In previous posts, I dismissed WikiLeaks as not such a big deal. Well, that was obviously wrong. I argued that everybody already knew that – for example – Nicolas Sarkozy is vain or Russia is a brutal and corrupt place, so the cables did not add much to the sum of human knowledge.

      But that was wrong on two counts. First, there is a difference between an idea being conventional wisdom in the media, and spelled out in a diplomatic cable – both in terms of authority and in terms of political impact. You can see that in the angry reactions to the leaks from everybody from Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to Kevin Rudd, the foreign minister of Australia. (Apparently Rudd is a “mistake-prone control freak”.) Second, with the arrest of Julian Assange on dubious-sounding sexual assault charges – and now the attack on Mastercard’s web-site, apparently by Assange supporters, the whole thing is shaping up into an unpredictable conflict between western governments and internet-based anarchists.And, as more and more material is released, there are some genuine surprises emerging.

    • The Wikileaks Revolution
    • What It’s Like to Participate in Anonymous’ Actions

      Anonymous, who have been on a week long sprint/spree to paralyze website sites like Mastercard and Paypal, are often described in the news as a “group” with “members.” This is usually followed by a series of prolonged qualifications and caveats because many characteristics we usually associate with groups don’t seem to apply comfortably with Anonymous: there are no leaders, anyone can seemingly join, and participants are spread across the globe, although many of them can be found on any number of Internet Relay Chat Channels where they discuss strategy, plan attacks, crack jokes, and often pose critical commentary on the unfolding events they have just engendered. Earlier this week, The Economist listened in on the IRC channels, opening a fascinating window into the order behind the seeming chaos of Anonymous and providing a sense of how the Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks are coordinated by a trusted group of Ops who leverage the labor of thousands of other contributors.

    • Melbourne’s Rally for Wikileaks

      There was a great turn out yesterday. We met at the State Library in front of the statue of the guy who hunted Ned Kelly. I’m not sure it that’s ironic or fitting.

    • The Julian Assange before WikiLeaks

      Now in a rare interview, a friend of Julian Assange has described what he was like in the years before WikiLeaks.

      He was apparently a brilliant, socially awkward crusader, a ‘hard-core geek’ who would rather interact with a machine than a person but who was also determined to change the world, reports News.com.au.

      Assange was described as a humanist, a man who serves no masters, a Renaissance man with 21st-century tools at his disposal, who ‘decided early on that the world is not as fair a place as it could be, but that Internet provides a way of creating a more level playing field in terms of justice’.

      When asked about Assange’s political beliefs, the friend said he flirted with the Left but became disillusioned.

    • WikiLeaks row: why Amazon’s desertion has ominous implications for democracy
    • Musing on Misinformation & Morons.

      The net is abuzz with a rumor claiming that the CIA is behind a Wikileaks mirror that was hosted at http://wikileaks.psytek.net. This rumor lacked any real evidence, yet was reported by many in the hacker/hacktivist community as fact.

    • Attacks by “Anonymous” WikiLeaks proponents not anonymous
    • ‘Anonymous’ WikiLeaks Proponents Not So Anonymous
    • Did he or didn’t he? The murky politics of sex and consent

      IT WAS 2pm in central Westminster Magistrates Court No. 6, a modern chamber, done in blond wood, looking curiously Scandinavian in style, and the world’s press were so focused on celebrities such as John Pilger and Jemima Khan crowded behind the defence desk, that few noticed Julian Assange slip into the room. Neatly dressed, more solid than he appears on screen, his white hair neatly clipped, he took his seat behind the semi-circular glass screen.

    • Is Wikileaks a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

      I have been following the unfolding of events related to the latest Wikileaks release with growing fascination. I am not going to comment here on the political implications of the cables’ contents – others have done so elsewhere, and will continue to do so, far better than I ever could. What I am going to comment on is the debate around Wikileaks, and a trend I have observed within that debate that I find very concerning.


      You think that Wikileaks was wrong to publish confidential documents that might put innocent individuals at risk? Then the government is right to do “whatever it takes” to stop Wikileaks, due process is a luxury we cannot afford in the face of this (or any) crisis, and Julian Assange should have been assassinated a long time ago.

      Of course I am exaggerating to some degree, but these are the general lines along which much of the discussion seems to happen. I have been bothered by this for the last few days, and decided to write this article to collect my thoughts, and perhaps even contribute to a more differentiated discussion. Please note this is in many ways a brain-dump, and not an attempt at a final answer in any way (hence the title).

    • Media Without Margins: To WikiLeak or not to WikiLeak — that is the question

      The United States has never used the law to charge a recipient who has published classified information. To date, the only charges against WikiLeaks or Assange are two counts of sexual assault by two Swedish women.

    • Letter From Canada: Why Is America So Furious About Wikileaks?

      Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, has called for Julian Assange’s prosecution, despite the general consensus that he hasn’t actually committed any American crime. Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has a slightly clearer-eyed view; he wants the law changed so that Assange can be prosecuted as a terrorist. Joe Lieberman wants a criminal investigation of not just Assange but also the New York Times.

      What exactly do they hope to accomplish? Do they think that if they do somehow manage to convict Assange—who, remember, was only the publisher, not the leaker—they will have eliminated the threat of Internet information dissemination forever? Don’t they realize that with every boneheaded speech and op-ed, they ratchet up the free publicity and do Wikileaks a huge favor, when a dignified silence plus a few veiled threats would have been far more effective? Can they really be so stupid?

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange moved to isolation

      Police moved WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange to the segregation unit of a London jail for his safety, a lawyer said Friday as new cables showed the U.S. suspects Myanmar has a secret nuclear program.

      The 39-year-old Australian has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, said Jennifer Robinson, one of his legal team.

      “The prison authorities are doing it for his own safety, presumably,” she said.

    • WikiLeaks: Advancing an Israeli Agenda?

      Asked on the night of September 11, 2001 what the terrorist attacks meant for U.S.-Israel relations, Benjamin Netanyahu, the then former prime minister, tactlessly but accurately replied, “It’s very good.” And on the day after WikiLeaks’ publication of U.S. diplomatic cables, Netanyahu “strode” into a press conference at the Israeli Journalists Association, looking “undoubtedly delighted” with the group’s latest embarrassment of U.S. President Barack Obama.

      “Thanks to WikiLeaks,” Aluf Benn wrote in Haaretz, “there is now no fear Washington will exert heavy pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction or to accelerate negotiations on a withdrawal from the territories.” Instead, also courtesy of WikiLeaks, the world’s attention had been shifted exactly where a “vindicated” Netanyahu wanted it – toward Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programme.

    • PdF Presents: A Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom
    • Assange’s Lawyer: He’s Upbeat, Surprised By Cyber-Attacks (EXCLUSIVE)

      Since he first landed in a London jail upon his arrest on Tuesday, the only thing that WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has been requesting is access to a computer.

    • Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange is Not a Terrorist

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain in a London prison until a British court takes up a Swedish request for extradition for questioning on sexual crime allegations. An international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials have released a statement in support of Assange. We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. “If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me,” Ellsberg says. “I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist… Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bolivia’s defiant leader sets radical tone at Cancún climate talks

      Of all the ministers and politicians parading the world stage in Cancún last week, President Evo Morales of Bolivia knows best the impact of a theatrical entrance. His entourage includes 15 colourfully dressed, bowler-hatted indigenous Aymara, an admiral in gold braid, teams of advisers and white-coated bodyguards, Mayan priests and ambassadors.

      When the mop-haired, chubby-faced poster boy of Latin American socialist politics speaks, they stand around him, filling the stage with the physical embodiment of what is now called the “plurinational” state of Bolivia.

    • Leaked Memo Sheds Light on Mysterious Bee Die-Offs and Who’s to Blame

      A new leaked memo from the EPA has the beekeeping world buzzing. Bad puns aside, the failure of the EPA to protect the environment — in this case, bees — jeopardizes beekeepers’ ability to continue in their work. Beekeeper Tom Theobald, who exposed the leaked memo, says that beekeepers now lose 30 to 40 percent or more of their hives each year, and it takes two years to recover each one. Theobald has been a beekeeper in Boulder County, Colorado for 35 years, but now he says he’s not sure he can continue. “I can’t afford to subsidize this as a hobby. I’ll fold the tent,” he says. “Commercial beekeepers will work themselves to death,” he continues, noting that it’s only the passion and commitment of beekeepers that has staved off a complete collapse of the entire beekeeping industry this long.

    • “Outbreak”: Fungus hits Alabama marshes — Something has “gone haywire”
    • OpenLeaks to mimic WikiLeaks—minus the “political agenda”

      The alternative whistleblower site created by WikiLeaks defectors may launch sooner than later, according to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN). The project is being referred to as “OpenLeaks” and is reportedly on track to launch this coming Monday. Though the newspaper didn’t name its sources, it’s clear from the group’s goals that the founders essentially want to be the anti-WikiLeaks.

      “Our long-term goal is to build a strong, transparent platform to support whistleblowers—both in terms of technology and politics—while at the same time encouraging others to start similar projects,” an anonymous person told DN. “As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.”

    • WikiLeaks sold classified intel, claims website’s co-founder

      John Young, whose name was listed as the public face of WikiLeaks in the site’s original domain registration, also alleged that the website is a lucrative business.

      Young said he left the site in 2007 due to concerns over its finances and that WikiLeaks was engaged in the selling of documents.

    • Ex-WikiLeaker Explains His Spinoff Group, OpenLeaks

      Former WikiLeaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg has always considered Julian Assange’s whistle-blowing site a two-pipe operation: One pipe takes submissions in from anonymous leakers, another publishes them out to an uncensorable web site.

      But since defecting from WikiLeaks in September and watching the global controversy build around the secret-spilling organization, he’s taking a different approach with his own leak-focused project: Keep the anonymous submissions channel. Ditch the controversial and resource-draining publishing piece altogether.

  • Finance

    • Cartoon on power grab [IMG]
    • Quietly Ticking Time Bomb in Fed Data

      The Fed data supports our long-held contention that the Congressionally-approved and much despised $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was only a small fraction of the total bailout. By our count, and as we illustrate below below, TARP funds were a mere seven percent of total funds disbursed by federal government to aid the financial sector since 2007. Why does this matter? Because the more we focus on the much-despised TARP, the less we see the invisible hand of the Fed doing the heavy lifting.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tobacco lobbying preceded label retreat

      Health Canada’s abrupt decision in September to back down from expanding warning labels on cigarette packages came after tobacco company lobbyists waged a co-ordinated, sometimes secretive lobbying campaign, CBC News has learned.

      An analysis by CBC News of lobby registry filings and other documents reveals tobacco executives and their paid lobbyists communicated dozens of times with key government ministries and their policy advisers, including the Prime Minister’s Office.

    • Uproar Over Government-Only Internet Governance Forum

      Civil Society and industry stakeholder groups are up in arms against a decision by the bureau of the United Nations Committee on Science and Technology for Development to task only governments with the decision on improvements for the Internet Governance Forum. Having a multistakeholder nature was said to be the biggest achievement of the non-decision making IGF – and a model for other UN and political processes – because it allowed governments, industry representatives, non-commercial organisations and the academic and technical community to share knowledge and jointly look for best practices in the field of Internet governance. Civil society representatives, according to Wolfgang Kleinwaechter from the University of Aarhus (Denmark), are very concerned that a government-only approach might do away with the multistakeholder model.

    • Here come the Wikileaks clones: BrusselsLeaks wants to blow the lid off the EU

      Even if Wikileaks does end up getting closed down for good it has a legacy. We could be about to see the dawning of a new age of Wikileaks-inspired sites, each with their own take on the idea.

      As we’ve already reported, OpenLeaks is a site hoping to open as soon as Monday, now it looks like European politics could be getting its own specific whistleblowing destination.

    • Porn Site Gave Federal Agents Free Rein

      The operators of a notorious pornography web site granted federal agents administrative access to the site, giving investigators the ability to monitor traffic and public and private chats in an effort to identify users trading “a significant amount of child pornography,” records show.

      Beginning in October 2008, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents secretly monitored activity on Free6.com from inside the porn site, which launched in 1998. That covert operation ended earlier this year when Los Angeles-based ICE agents discovered that the web site “had been removed from the Internet by the company responsible for hosting the website.”

    • “Friendly Reminder”: Fox’s Unbalanced Ethics Threaten Democracy

      Anyone who still clings to the notion that Fox News is actually a news organization rather than a propaganda machine for special interests — and that it actually is led by journalists who adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists — must read the leaked memos Media Matters disclosed this morning.

    • Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists

      Joseph Pettey is the owner of Pettey Oilfield Services Inc., and the 2003 Virginia Oil and Gas Festival Man of the Year. Thomas E. Stewart is a third-generation driller who lobbies the government on behalf of energy companies. Both sit on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which is increasingly positioning itself as an authority on drilling-related issues like hydraulic fracturing.

      The 38-state commission was created in 1935 to promote the efficient harvesting of oil and gas. Its mission was later expanded to acknowledge the need to protect health, safety and the environment while accomplishing that goal. It is funded by government grants and fees from the states. The commission members are appointed by the member governors. Most are state regulators who oversee gas and oil drilling, but at least seven states have representatives who are either lobbyists or energy executives.

    • More on Fox “News” and its Party

      In light of the new memos out about Fox News helping to orchestrate the Republican’s deceptive PR campaign on the health care bill that that Wendell Potter wrote about this week, the Center for Media and Democracy is reprinting and updating an excerpt from one of my personal encounters with Fox News’ efforts to stage-manage political theatre. The piece below also includes material from documented sources compiled in SourceWatch.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Tell FCC Commissioner Copps via our free fax service: Be a hero and save the Internet
    • WWF Is a New Green File Format That’s Impossible To Print

      WWF is currently only savable and readable on Mac, but a Windows version should be coming soon.

    • More than 80 Groups Demand Real Net Neutrality

      More than 80 organizations and businesses are today urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to enact real Net Neutrality rules, not the empty compromise the chairman has proposed.

      The letter highlights five key areas in the rules that should be improved to protect the free and open Internet. The Commission is slated to vote on Net Neutrality on Dec. 21.

      The signers include Reporters without Borders, Daily Kos, Common Cause, Entertainment Consumers Association, Nonprofit Technology Network, ColorofChange.org, Center for Media Justice, National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America Foundation, Media Access Project and Public Knowledge.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Music/Copyrights

      • International Music Software Trade Association Asks – Why Are We Loosing Sales – Gets Answer Wrong.

        But when I started serious recording, I used Rosegarden and Audacity, both of which are licensed under the GNU General Public License, and which were, and are free downloads. After my experience with Cakewalk, I wasn’t willing to spend money on something that might or might not work (for excellent lists of DAW and MIDI software see Wikipedia here and here also).

        And then some friends introduced me to Garage Band… I quickly bought a Mac. Sure, I could have tried to contribute to the Rosegarden or Audacity, but it’s a time thing. I had to make a decision as to what would get me to where I wanted to be, and going Mac was the best choice. And switching from Linux to Mac OS X on the desktop was easy. My servers still run Linux of course – I don’t trust Windows.

      • Copyright Trolls: The Meaner Stepsister of Patent Trolls

        Maybe even willfully, so not unlike like the false marking troll suits, isn’t USCG kind of right? A little shady and totally groan-inspiring? Perhaps. But unlawful? I’m not so sure. I suppose they shouldn’t be sending out settlement letters threatening statutory damages if statutory damages aren’t on the table, but meh, I’m not sure how far one could stretch that argument in this case. At any rate, the blogosphere is on fire with this one, leading me to believe that popular opinion is USCG had it coming.

      • Democratic Underground Responds to Righthaven Copyright Troll Lawsuit

        Righthaven is attempting to make a business out of suing Internet websites for copyright infringement. It has filed 180 copyright actions so far —without ever first asking that a work be removed from the target website—in each case alleging “willful infringement” and attempting to extract settlements by threats of statutory damages (up to $150,000), attorneys’ fees and seizure of the domain name.

        Democratic Underground — represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fenwick & West LLP, and attorney Chad Bowers — was sued by Righthaven on August 10 for a five-sentence excerpt of a Las Vegas Review-Journal news story that a user posted on the forum, with a link back to the Review-Journal website.

      • Irish ISP’s “Three-Strikes” Disconnects File-Sharers for 12mos

        Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP, has provided a clarification of its voluntary “three-strikes” regime to coincide with the launch of its new online music service called MusicHub which it says will offer downloads “up to 75% cheaper than iTunes.”

        Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP, has announced the launch of its new online music service MusicHub while reconfirming its commitment to disconnecting illegal file-sharing as part of its voluntary partnership with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).

      • Copyright Troll Demands Drudge Report Domain Name

        One of the litigation scare tactics employed by copyright troll Righthaven is it routinely demands allegedly infringing sites to forfeit their domain names.

        But in private, civil copyright litigation, there is no legal basis for such a demand, even if an allegedly infringing website is ultimately found liable for breaching copyright law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains the tactic is a method to coerce settlements from rank-and-file websites that cannot afford to defend themselves from the newspaper-lawsuit factory that is Righthaven.

      • Mininova Pays Settlement to BREIN to End BitTorrent Lawsuit

        Mininova, once the largest BitTorrent site on the Internet, has paid a settlement fee to Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN to end the legal clash between the two parties. In return, BREIN dropped the damages claim they were preparing and Mininova has withdrawn their appeal, making it impossible for the site to return to full swing.

      • uTorrent Adds VLC Media Player and Torrent Broadcast Apps

        The BitTorrent Inc. team has just added two of the most interesting apps yet to the popular uTorrent client. The first one allows users to integrate the all-round media player VLC to uTorrent, making it possible for users to play media files from within the client. The second is uCast, an exciting new app which enables users to share a ‘live’ RSS feed of selected torrents with friends.

      • PRs Appeal UK High Court’s Pay-For-Links Ruling

        The Public Relations Consultants Association is appealing the ruling made in November by a High Court judge, who said PRs should pay newspapers a copying license for receiving targeted intelligence via monitors like Meltwater.

      • News aggregators will have to pay for linking

        A UK Court has recently issued a decision which may have an impact on the online news market. According to the Court, providers of paid news monitoring and aggregation services which send their customers links to news published by others commit an act of copyright infringement if they do not obtain the consent from the relevant publishers. In the Court reasoning, there appears to be no distinction between content reproduced and merely linked and as a result linking has been held equivalent to reproducing.

      • Warner Bros. Finally Realizes That ‘Pirates’ Are Underserved Customers

        Apparently, they just started looking at this data only 18 months ago. Frankly, the fact that they weren’t looking at that data seven or eight years ago suggests a dysfunctional management team. What’s really silly, of course, is that plenty of folks have made this exact point to people at Warner Bros. and elsewhere for years, and were told that we were just “defending pirates.”

      • ACTA

      • Canada

        • Bill C-32 enshrines planned obsolescence

          Bill C-32, the Canadian copyright bill currently before Parliament, is a fairly balanced piece of legislation. It gives we consumers the right to format shift media for our own consumption, instead of re-buying that media. And it gives the entertainment industry broad rights to prosecute content thieves — those who never bought the content in the first place.

          The big flaw in Bill C-32 is in the section on digital locks. A content owner can lock a piece of digital media, and this bill would make it illegal to unlock it, even to make a backup copy. With a simply digital lock, the content owner can take away all the rights that a consumer has under the law. It’s a return to the early days of the United States Digital Millenium Copyright Act just as the US is relaxing key provisions of that legislation as they relate to locks. It’s a step in the wrong direction, and out of step with evolving industry practice today.

          A lot of folks are urging the government to pass C-32. The argument is that we, as a nation, can’t afford to wait any longer for copyright reform. Apparently we’re becoming digital pariah’s because folks like Hulu won’t provide their service in Canada.

        • “Canadians told us the TPM provisions in C-61 were too far reaching”

          According to documents I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, this quote was part of a draft speech for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore. The quote was removed by department officials before approval of the final version.

        • Of course fair dealing for education is fair

          As discussion over Bill C-32, the federal government’s controversial copyright bill, heats up in Ottawa, educators, publishers, and authors remain concerned over what consequences await them if the proposed bill becomes law.

          One aspect of the legislation that has sparked a fierce debate between the publishing world and the education community is the addition of “education” as a category under the bill’s fair dealing provision. Fair dealing gives permission to use copyrighted materials without the permission of or payment to the copyright holder for specific purposes covered by the Copyright Act. Currently, only materials used for research, private study, criticism, review and news reporting are covered under fair dealing.

        • University decides not to renew Access Copyright licence

          In order to protect students from a more than ten-fold increase in copyright fees, Athabasca University, like the majority of universities in Canada, has decided not to renew its licence with Access Copyright, a Canadian copyright licencing agency. The current agreement will expire on December 31, 2010.

        • Important Copyright Notice for Faculty and Staff

          Medicine Hat College’s existing photocopying licence with Access Copyright officially expired on August 31, 2010; however, the college did sign an extension of that licence to December 31, 2010. The college will not be renewing the licence beyond December 31, 2010 based on advice from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and on changes to the licence structure initiated by Access Copyright.

        • Objections to AC’s proposed Interim Tarifff – December 10, 2010

Clip of the Day

Student Protesters Attack Treasury, Supreme Court In London [Ed: selling the impression students are dangerous anarchists]

Credit: TinyOgg

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