EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Links 26/9/2010: More Oracle and Java, Defenders of Software Freedom in the New York Times

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Krita – The KDE Answer to GIMP

        I was recently browsing through various Linux news sites and bumped into this article, a taste of a comic done in Krita, the KDE painting and image editor application, which is part of the KOffice suite. Now I rarely use image editors, and I’m totally untalented at it, but when I do, I use GIMP for basic cropping, coloring or other simple stuff. Anyway, I remembered I only tried Krita once, in KDE 3, and I was a little dissatisfied with it (can’t remember exactly why), so at the time I decided to stay with GIMP. This is why this article brought Krita again in my attention, so I decided to give it a spin and see how it looks like.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Device update: The latest multifunction innovations

      In the meantime, I’ve still been able to dig up a few exciting announcements and breaking news stories. In last week’s update I referenced a study by Informa Telecoms & Media. While that study reported large growth in the ereader market, it also predicted that by 2014 dedicated ereaders would eventually lose favor to multifunctional portable devices. The material include in this week’s update shows strong support for that conclusion.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The 5 Most-Used Android Apps on My Phone
        • Google’s Schmidt says requiring stock Android would violate ‘the principle of open source’

          The suggestion has been made countless times that manufacturers who customize their devices’ builds of Android (that is to say, nearly all of them) should have the decency to offer users the option of reverting to a completely clean, stock version of the platform if they so choose. The concept came up at a press lunch featuring Google CEO Eric Schmidt last week, and the dude responded with an interesting explanation for why they don’t require that of their partners: “if we were to put those type of restrictions on an open source product, we’d be violating the principle of open source.”

    • Tablets

      • Dell, Samsung Android iPad rivals demo’d

        First up, we have a segment from Michael Dell’s OracleWorld keynote, which, as we reported yesterday, involved the CEO whipping out the upcoming 7in Streak tablet.

      • HP has a tablet

        HP would not say which operating system runs on the tablet. HP is trying out almost every operating system on the market at the moment other than Mac OS X. It even has Palm’s WebOS to play with. The Times of India seems to think that it is running Android 2.1, but without access to the Android App store. It thinks the tablet will be a bit limited.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tweet Nest Archives Your Tweets for Easy Reference

    Tweet Nest is a free, open source app that stores all your tweets on your server for easy storage and backup. This is particularly handy for people who tweet frequently, since Twitter archives tweets on its own servers for about two weeks.

  • A Brief History: 35 Years of Open Source Software
  • CSIS Updates Open Source Policy Survey

    e CSIS documents when Red Hat began its own research into open source policies and initiatives, published as the Open Source Index in 2008. At that time the CSIS report had identified about 250 open source policies, so it’s impressive to see a growth of more than 100 policies in the past two years. While some of these policies are smaller in scope, some are fairly major, setting forth national-level policies effecting trans-national IT transformation, such as the establishment of the Asia Open Source Software Center, which was created by joint R&D policies of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Or the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which called for a study and report on the availability of open source health IT systems (Section 4104(b)).

  • The enterprise market is not walking away from open source
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 7 dev going slow, RC1 not due until late October

        Firefox 4 Beta 6 was released on September 14. Beta 7, which is currently under development, is slated for release sometime in the second half of September and the first release candidate is expected to be delivered in the second half of October.

        These dates are very tentative. Based on the discussion at the group’s weekly meeting Tuesday, much work needs to be done before the next beta is released. There are currently 51 blockers that need to be fixed before beta 7 ships, and a total number of 758 blockers identified in the code.

  • SaaS

    • Guest Post: How the Cloud is Changing the Way SysAdmins Work

      Cloud computing provides the ability to elastically expand and contract a large number of systems in terms of processing power, network throughput, disk storage, and memory. In order to keep up with this fast paced and on-demand resource availability, system administrators are turning to open source automation tools to reduce the costs of configuration management, mitigate the problems associated with platform and operating system management, and provide an extremely fast time to market for new services.

    • There Can Only Be So Many Winners in the Cloud

      Red Hat is a smart company, and has built a flourishing business around delivering top-notch support for its Linux offerings, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is due out in a promising new version 6 later this year. But as enterprises become more dependent on the cloud, will they drift toward established huge companies or be willing to trust smaller players like Red Hat?

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Still Shows Few Signs of Open Java Goals

      I agree with the points that Blankenhorn makes, except that Oracle’s attitude correlates with “failing.” Microsoft built a huge pile of money pursuing goals that weren’t open, and boxing out competitors who were open. But Blankenhorn is correct that Oracle’s general business stance raises questions about its attitude toward opportunity creation.

      With regard to Java, there remain few signs that Oracle will walk down any type of truly open path. The company needs to assure the development community that Java won’t become a card the company plays in an attempt to control customers.

    • What Oracle wants

      Technology should be about rapid growth, about carving grand new niches that pour out opportunity in every direction. It should be about tapping a vein that no one company can exploit on its own, that sees perpetual change as the only constant.

      Linux is like that. That’s the secret of open source. There are Linuxes for clouds, Linuxes for desktops, Linuxes for mobile devices. There are Linuxes meant for enterprises, and Linuxes meant for individuals. Each distro seeks to carve out its own niche, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    • Oracle’s invisible elephant
    • How Ellison could fight Google’s Android – without lawyers

      First, the good news. Java on mobile phones has been a palpable success. Installed on eleven billion mobile phones worldwide, Java ME is one of the most widely available software development platforms – ever.

      Its APIs are powerful and a pleasure to program with (as long as you’re targeting a single device, of course). Also, the Sun Microsystems team did a sterling job of integrating NetBeans with connected profiles, making it easy to create MIDP apps – MIDP, or Mobile Information Device Profile, being the most common Java ME profile for phones.


      Frothy-mouthed developers can’t seem to stop writing Android apps. It helps that Android has its own mascot, the grinning green robot that looks like it’s about to start ‘dissing mashed potato and selling you its powdered variety. But more practically, the platform fragmentation that has so beset Java ME doesn’t seem to have affected Android quite so much. That’s because Android controls the entire software stack and Google seems prepared to stand up to the nakedly self-serving phone manufacturers.

    • Larry Ellison’s first Sparc chip and server

      Oracle has announced the Sparc T3 processor and its related Sparc T3 systems at the OpenWorld extravaganza in San Francisco, giving Solaris shops who had run out of headroom on the existing Sparc T2 and T2+ machines a little breathing room – and giving Oracle a chance to chase some entry and midrange Unix server sales against rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

    • Oracle pushes Java for mobiles

      JAVA TOOK THE SPOTLIGHT in San Francisco today as Oracle opened the Java One show, running alongside its main Openworld event.

      Java One 2010 marks the first year that Oracle has run the show since its acquisition of Sun. Thomas Kurian, EVP of Oracle product development, took to the stage on Monday evening to shed light on the firm’s three-year development plan for Java.

    • Oracle to webify mobile Java against Android

      OpenWorld JavaOne Oracle is throwing hardware-accelerated graphics and web integration into mobile Java to catch and contain Google’s rogue Android

      The database giant has laid out plans for Java ME – Oracle’s preferred flavor of Java on mobile – that will let the stack render HTML, CSS, and Javascript by default.

    • Oracle Promises To Maintain Open-Source Status For Java Tools

      In addition to those open-source Java offerings, Oracle is committed to releasing the JavaFX user interface controls as an open-source technology, Kurian said.

  • CMS

    • FCC.gov Announces Open Source Redesign

      At its core, the FCC’s new online platform will leverage the same open source technology powering WhiteHouse.gov, and they’re planning active engagement with the open source community. We’ve found open source technology to be a great way maximize the scalability and accessibility of WhiteHouse.gov, and we’ve even contributed some of the custom code we’ve written back to the public domain.


    • Open – Just like Windows or Mac

      It’s a common ploy to suggest that since the FSF advocates for Free Software, and discourages the use and promotion of Closed and Proprietary software that this somehow means that the FSF is actually ”anti-freedom” or whatever nonsense detractors are trying to spin out of nothing.

      Of course, if the FSF advocated that “any choice you make is equally acceptable”, then they would hardly be advocating Free Software, would they.

  • Government

    • Westminster eForum Speech

      Today I had the pleasure of addressing the Westminster eForum event on Free and open source software in business, in government. I had a five minute slot following the excellent Karsten Gerloff of the Free Software Foundation Europe, then after speeches from Paul Holt, Andrew Katz and Christopher Roberts we had a panel Q&A with questions from the audience. Here are the notes from my speech, transcripts of the whole event will be distributed around Westminster. T

    • Bristol Council mulls mixed FOSS, Microsoft upgrade

      On 30 September Bristol City councillors will be asked to adopt a proposal, steered by UK open source consultancy outfit Sirius Corporation, to “commit resources” for FOSS tech.

      But sadly for the council, and the UK open source community at large, Bristol can’t ditch Microsoft completely yet.

  • Licensing

    • The Defenders of Free Software

      Mr. Hemel serves as a volunteer watchman for free, open-source software like the Linux operating system, which competes with Microsoft’s Windows. The use of free software has exploded, particularly in gadgets as varied as exercise bikes, energy meters and smartphones. Companies like Google, TiVo and Sony often opt to piggyback on the work of others rather than going through the ordeal of building all of the software for their products from scratch.


      Last month, for example, Dell received a public tongue-lashing from the geek kingdom and a cease-and-desist letter courtesy of Mr. Hemel for shipping its new Streak tablet without providing the underlying open-source software code. Dell representatives acknowledged the issue and later put the code on a Web site. “We are committed to fulfilling all of our obligations when using open-source code in our product,” said a Dell spokesman in a company blog.

      Mr. Hemel says companies should make sure they know the ins and outs of everything they sell. “If we all play by the rules, we can make some really good stuff,” he says.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • How do we get government to share data?

        On Tuesday we wrapped up the Manor Makeover in Manor, Texas, population 6,500. In some ways, this is ground zero for Gov 2.0 at the local level. The City of Manor has done some very innovative things on a shoestring, gaining attention ranging from the blogosphere to national press and all the way up to the White House. In fact, keynote speaker Beth Noveck, Deputy CTO in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House wrote up a blog post just last night. The makeover is pretty impressive — they even followed my blog post from earlier this year about how to embrace Gov 2.0. (Not that they’ve seen it — it’s probably just obvious if you think hard enough about prioritizing limited resources.)


  • Apple, Google, Others Settle Antitrust Probe Into Their Hiring Practices

    Six major technology companies—Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Intel (NSDQ: INTC), Intuit, Adobe Systems (NSDQ: ADBE), and Pixar—will no longer agree not to poach employees from each other, as part of a settlement they just announced with the U.S. Department of Justice. The government began an investigation a year-and-a-half ago to determine whether the companies, along with a few others, broke antitrust law by colluding on hiring practices.

  • US sues/settles with Apple, Google, Intel…

    On Friday, the US Department of Justice sued and then announced a settlement with Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar, in a move that will stop the six companies from entering into what the DoJ characterized as “anticompetitive employee solicitation agreements.”

  • How to disconnect from your online life

    There is now a generation who do not remember the world before the internet took off, and who live out their lives in a slew of public online arenas. But there is also a growing number of people who feel their life online has spun out of control.

  • Mixed Result for Google Today in European Courts

    Also today, Google had a legal setback in France where the Paris Court of First Instance ruled that a Google official had committed slander based on the results of queries to Google Suggest. The plaintiff — a person previously convicted of corruption of a minor — sued the Google Suggest director personally because the plaintiff’s name was returned in response to queries on search terms such as rape, satan worshipper, and other things. The court ordered the Google official to immediately remove all these references from Google Suggest, upon penalty of 500 euros per instance he fails to do so.

  • French court convicts Google and boss of defamation

    A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its “suggest” function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.

    The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine, legalis.net reported.

  • Fired teacher fights to clear name after ‘hit’ allegation

    To this day, Randolph Forde experiences a small panic attack whenever the local news comes on the television.

    The former Georgia high school special education teacher was arrested in October on allegations that he offered money to one student to kill another. The story appeared on the local TV news before making national and international headlines, casting Forde as a man with an bizarre vendetta against a student he suspected of being gay.

  • Online hotel bookings to be probed for price-fixing

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is investigating whether the sale of hotel room bookings on the internet breaches competition law, looking into whether an allegedly long-established pricing mechanism is anti-competitive.

    An online reseller of hotel rooms complained to the OFT about a practice it said was called ‘rate parity’, in which hotels agree a minimum price for rooms. That reseller, Skoosh.com, claimed that the hotels it bought room bookings from were under pressure from other resellers to maintain those minimum prices.

  • WTF, kids swearing earlier now, researcher says

    Children as young as two are now dropping f-bombs, with researchers reporting that more kids are using profanity — and at earlier ages — than has been recorded in at least three decades.

    So finds data presented at this month’s Sociolinguistics Symposium in the U.K., at which swearing scholar Timothy Jay revealed that the rise in vulgarity within adult culture dovetails with similar spikes in the number of youths using offensive language.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA begins considering genetically modified ‘frankenfish’ for US food supply

      Fish or frankenfish? A Massachusetts company wants to market a genetically engineered version of Atlantic salmon, and regulators are weighing the request. If approval is given, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to join the foods that go onto the nation’s dinner tables.

    • Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long-term health risks, experts say

      “We have not found it,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott claimed. “Every sample that we have tested for PAHs has come back clean. It has the potential to [bioaccumulate]. But we have not found it, even from samples taken from inside of closure areas.”

    • Microsoft warns of in-the-wild attacks on web app flaw

      A Long Island township has imposed restrictions on the placement of new cell towers that are among the toughest in the country, and one phone company says it effectively bans new construction.

      The town of Hempstead is a notable example on a list of municipalities tightening rules on where cell phone companies can place antennas. The moves come as consumers are demanding blanket wireless coverage for their phones and buying laptops and, more recently, tablet computers that also rely on cell towers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Ozone layer stable, on the way to recovery

      Nearly all life of the planet benefits from this. People benefit especially (millions of cases of skin cancer averted, crops and livestock protected, etc.). This is an unmitigated success for the Earth.

    • Ship blog: The good, the bad and the ugly

      And now for the ugly. Well if we needed any kind of reminder of why we’re here, it came today in the form of news from Norway. We mentioned before that UK government representatives were heading to Bergen to scupper a German call for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Well today we heard they’d succeeded. But what makes this bitter pill particularly hard to swallow is that in the end the Germans weren’t even calling for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. All they wanted was a commitment to discuss it at the next OSPAR meeting. But even that was too much for our supposed representatives, who made sure – along with Norway and Denmark – to delete any mention of a moratorium from the final conference text.

    • Going Beyond Oil
    • Captain’s blog: Blind Faith

      The well to the south is called “Thunderhorse”. The rig to the southeast is “Blind Faith”. Really. Could I make that up? Who would name an oil rig Blind Faith? Someone with a realistic sense of adventure? Don’t get me wrong; I like the names, even if I do not like what they do.

    • EU may speed up approval of genetically modified food crops

      As America chews over a bid to market “Frankenfish” salmon, Europe wants to drop scientific objections to genetically modified (GM) crops in a move even its backers admit leaves a strange taste.

      With the GM industry and its opponents each sharpening their legal claws, European nations will debate a proposed rule change on Monday that would allow officials to accelerate authorizations for 15 new transgenic crops while letting those who want to keep them off their territories do so.

    • Could the garbage heap help save us from global warming?

      In New Haven, W.Va., the Mountaineer Power Plant is using a complicated chemical process to capture about 1.5 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces. The gas is cooled to a liquid at a pressure of about 95 atmospheres and pumped 2,375 meters down to a sandstone formation, where it is meant to remain indefinitely. The objective is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere from the coal burning at the plant.

    • Amid Tension, China Blocks Vital Exports to Japan

      Sharply raising the stakes in a dispute over Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain, the Chinese government has blocked exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.

    • Chernobyl plant life endures radioactivity

      One of the researchers speculates that such mechanisms could trace back millions of years, when early life forms were exposed to higher levels of natural radiation.

  • Finance

    • Toxie’s Dead

      Toxic assets — bundles of mortgages that Wall Street sliced up and sold to investors — were at the center of the financial crisis. When the housing market tanked, no one wanted to own them. That’s when we bought one.

    • Blockbuster Reportedly About To File For Bankruptcy

      The rental landscape has already been transformed by number two player Movie Gallery’s decision earlier this year to shut down all of its 2,666 locations after it too filed for bankruptcy.

    • Blockbuster winds itself into Chapter 11

      In the meantime, the firm said its US operations will stay open and continue to serve customers. So sympathetic customers might want to dig out that old overdue Molly Ringwald video that’s been lurking behind the sofa since 1991 and pop it in the drop box.

    • Akin Gump, Creditors Win Philly Papers Auction

      One additional note for bankruptcy buffs: The rules of the auction banned senior creditors from making a so-called credit bid, through which creditors essentially exchange their debt holdings for equity in the new company. The creditors in this auction would have to pay cash to the bankruptcy estate of the newspapers’ parent company. But in a funky (if common) twist in bankruptcy auctions, that cash will go right back to the buyers, since they are secured creditors and thus first in line to be repaid by the estate. It’s not a credit bid, but it’s close.

    • Americans Have No Idea About Wealth Inequality in America
    • Adobe stock cops a big whack

      The stock fell about 19 per cent on the US market yesterday, following announcement of third-quarter revenue of $US990.3 million.

    • Is Seagate poised to go private?

      Seagate has been in discussion with a pair of private equity firms about a move off the stock market and back into private ownership, according to reports.

      The alleged discussions have been reported by normally reliable Reuters, Bloomberg and others.

    • Taxman rejects ‘lie detector’ tech

      The government has denied claims it will extend use of telephone “lie detector” tests to the tax system.

      Proponents of such software – known as voice risk analysis (VRA) – say it is able to calculate the probability someone is lying over the phone by measuring variations in their voice. Scientists charge it is no better at identifying fraud than tossing a coin.

    • The Surprising Religion of Jack Ma

      Ma says three things are at the core of his company and business philosophy, calling them “his religion” on the show. The first is that technology isn’t Alibaba’s core competency, rather it’s the company’s culture. That first bit is the surprising part– Ma goes on and on about how untechnical he is. That’s something I’ve never heard any executive of a tech company say, even if they aren’t technical. Ma says “I know nothing about technology,” adding he can’t write code and the most he can do is send and receive emails. That takes some confidence as a leader to be so bold about what you don’t know.

      The second element of his “religion” is that shareholders come last– the most important groups are customers and then employees. He says matter-of-factly that customers are the ones who pay him and employees are the ones who stick with him but shareholders come and go. (Note: There’s some interesting subtext, whether it was intentional or not. The largest shareholder is Yahoo, who Ma would very much like to go.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Liberalism and Economic Freedom

      A big part of the problem is that the political right has become so effective at branding deregulation as their issue that people have come to talk about these things in a very right-wing way. Libertarians see the deregulation of barbering as part of a broader “economic liberty” agenda that also includes privatizing government services, cutting taxes, and so forth. And this means that even when regulations have clearly inegalitarian effects, the left has a knee-jerk tendency to support them on the grounds that anything the other side supports must be bad.

    • Watchdog: ‘Christine O’Donnell is clearly a criminal’

      Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a complaint alleging O’Donnell had used $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

    • Christine O’Donnell Is a ‘Criminal,’ Claims Watchdog Group

      A watchdog group has filed official federal complaints against Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, upset winner of Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in Delaware, and has labeled her a “criminal” for allegedly using campaign contributions for rent and other personal expenses.

    • Crew Files Ethics Complaint Against Senator David Vitter (R-La)

      Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) over his improper use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the personal expenses of staff member Brent Furer and for lying about Mr. Furer’s legislative portfolio. Mr. Furer is infamous for brutally assaulting his girlfriend in 2008, while handling women’s issues for Sen. Vitter. According to Senate financial records, at taxpayer expense Mr. Furer flew to Louisiana in 2007 to appear in court to face a DWI charge, and again in 2008 to sign his probation agreement in the same matter. Sen. Vitter’s office claimed the senator was unaware of the court proceedings.

    • O’Donnell called evolution ‘a myth’, said she wanted to stop Americans from having sex
    • Netflix apologizes for allowing actors to talk to reporters at Canadian launch

      Problem is, many in the crowd were actors who were paid to be there. And some of those “extras” gave interviews to journalists, who didn’t realize they weren’t real consumers interested in the product.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Cries Foul On Censorship Bill

      That’s a big problem with censorship. The ripple effect from it extends far beyond freedom of speech issues, and can create a black market for freely distributed information, pitting governments against individuals.

    • Global ‘internet treaty’ proposed

      The proposal was presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania last week, and outlined 12 “principles of internet governance”, including a commitment from countries to sustain the technological foundations that underpin the web’s infrastructure.

    • Publisher agrees to drop US spy secrets from book: Pentagon

      A publisher has agreed to remove US intelligence details from a memoir by a former army officer in Afghanistan after the Pentagon raised last-minute objections, officials said Friday.

      The book, “Operation Dark Heart,” had been printed and prepared for release in August but St. Martin’s Press will now issue a revised version of the spy memoir after negotiations with the Pentagon, US and company officials said.

      In an unusual step, the Defense Department has agreed to reimburse the company for the cost of the first printing, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP.

      The original manuscript “contained classified information which had not been properly reviewed” by the military and US spy agencies, he said.

      St. Martin’s press will destroy copies from the first printing with Pentagon representatives observing “to ensure it’s done in accordance with our standards,” Lapan said.

      The second, revised edition would be ready by the end of next week, said the author’s lawyer, Mark Zaid.

    • Real-Time NSA Eavesdropping

      Eavesdropping is easy. Getting actual intelligence to the hands of people is hard. It sounds as if the NSA has advanced capabilities to automatically sift through massive amounts of electronic communications and find the few bits worth relaying to intelligence officers.

    • My report was too hot to broadcast: Brisbane war correspondent

      Brisbane war correspondent Michael Ware is set to reveal that an alleged war crime he filmed in Iraq has never been seen or investigated by authorities.

      Mr Ware, who covered the Afghanistan war from 2001 and the Iraq war from 2003 for Time magazine and the US television network CNN from 2006, returned to Brisbane in December suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

      His harrowing near-decade of war coverages were documented last Monday in the first of a two-part ABC Australian Story series, with the second part to be broadcast tomorrow night.

      Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.

    • Saudi Arabia denies it will license blogs

      A Saudi official denied on Friday that bloggers and web forums would be forced to register under a new electronic media law, after remarks he made sparked outrage among Saudi internet users.

      Ministry of information domestic media supervisor Abdulrahman al-Hazzaa clarified that the new law will require on-line news sites to be licensed, but would only encourage bloggers and others to register.

    • Police lay charges of libel, obstruction against Calgary website operator

      RCMP have laid five charges against a Calgary man related to the operation of a website highly critical of Calgary police officers.

      In a news conference Friday morning, RCMP announced the charges against John Kelly, 53, of Calgary.

    • Is Quoting Someone Out Of Context Defamation?

      Earlier this year, there was certainly plenty of discussion in the political news business of the Shirley Sherrod incident, where Andrew Breitbart posted a video of Sherrod speaking, which implied she had made certain decisions on the basis of skin color. However, after Sherrod was fired from her job at the USDA, it quickly came out that the video clips of Sherrod speaking were taken totally out of context, and the message of the speech was completely the opposite of what had been implied. This quickly resulted in a scramble as pretty much every publication in the world covering the story wrote articles questioning whether or not she had a legitimate case of libel.

    • Hotel Kicks Couple Out, Accusing Them Of Writing Bad Review

      A recovering cancer patient and his wife were hanging out in their room at the Golden Beach Hotel when the manager stormed in and accused them of writing a negative review of the hotel on TripAdvisor. He kicked them out of the hotel, threatened to call the police, and refused to give them a refund.

    • Patrick Leahy Against Internet Censorship In Other Countries, But All For It At Home

      But a bigger point is just how hypocritical the Senators supporting this bill really are. Reader Dark Helmet already did a nice job highlighting the massive conflicts of interest among many of the Senators supporting this bill — including the fact that lead sponsor Patrick Leahy has among his top campaign contributors the TV/Movie/Music industries, with Time Warner, Walt Disney and Vivendi showing up near the top of the list. But, I’m sure that’s got nothing whatsoever to do with this bill…

    • Sorry, But We Don’t Just Hand Out Information On Our Commenters

      Since this is something that we certainly believe strongly in, we’re not about to just roll over and give out information on commenters, without a clear legal requirement to do so. Our policy is pretty firm that we believe that it’s proper to protect the interests of our community, within legal boundaries (of course). There were some oddities with this subpoena — issued from a Florida court — including the fact that it had apparently initially been issued way back in January and sent to a random law firm in Philadelphia that I’ve never heard of, which has never represented Techdirt/Floor64 and certainly is not authorized to accept subpoenas on our behalf. Thus, we never received it when it was first sent out — but were finally emailed a copy last week.

    • Legal case against TripAdvisor intensifies, comment posters also in spotlight

      The reputation management company behind the planned action, UK-based Kwikchex, says the number of enquiries from hotels that consider some comments made on TripAdvisor about their properties are defamatory is “escalating and, more importantly, so does the severity”.

    • Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in ‘Public Places’

      The Obama administration has urged a federal appeals court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move.

      The Justice Department is demanding a federal appeals court rehear a case in which it reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month, without a court warrant. The authorities then obtained warrants to search and find drugs in the locations where defendant Antoine Jones had travelled.

    • Obama Comes Out Against Censoring The Internet; Will He Veto Leahy/Hatch Censorship Bill?

      Again, all of this sounds good… but it makes me wonder how the administration feels about the new “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” from Senators Leahy and Hatch, which set up a system that avoids due process to censor websites in a clear attempt to “undermine fair competition and create market share for preferred businesses.”

    • Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

      The warnings may indicate wholesale spying by the Chinese government a year after the Google Aurora attacks or simply random attacks.

    • ConLibs get shifty on spam and behavioural ads

      Last week, the government published its ideas as to how it would implement the changes to EU Directive 2002/58/EC. In relation to spammers and behavioural advertising it has decided to keep the low privacy standards that were acceptable to the previous New Labour government.

    • Czechs stop Google Street View

      Google will not get permission to continue developing its Street View database of images unless it obeys Czech laws.

    • Google responds to Czech ban

      Google’s Czech tentacle has responded to yesterday’s move by data protection regulators to stop the company collecting any more images for its Street View service in the country.

      The statement does not address data protection president Igor Němec’s main complaint: that Google failed to register as a processor of personal information, as is also required in the UK. We’ve asked Google why it failed to register and will update this story if we get an answer.

    • German gov gives Google Street View privacy deadline

      German officials have given Google until December 7 to set acceptable privacy standards for its Street View service.

      Other tech firms including Apple have also been asked to collaborate on a voluntary privacy charter for geographical services, under threat of legislation.

    • Street View prompts privacy code in Germany
    • T-Mobile admits to censoring text messages

      The admission came in legal case in which the mobile operator is being sued by the short-code text service EZ Text. The text marketing firm, which signed up a California marijuana dispensary found that it fell afoul of T-Mobile’s apparently secret guidelines.

    • T-Mobile sued for allegedly blocking pot-related texting

      In a case with free speech and Net neutrality implications, T-Mobile has been sued by a text message marketing company for allegedly blocking access to the T-Mobile network because of a client that provided information on medical marijuana.

    • T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages

      The Bellevue, Washington-based wireless service is being sued by a texting service claiming T-Mobile stopped servicing its “short code” clients after it signed up a California medical marijuana dispensary. In a court filing, T-Mobile said it had the right to pre-approve EZ Texting’s clientele, which it said the New York-based texting service failed to submit for approval.

      EZ Texting offers a short code service, which works like this: A church could send its schedule to a cell phone user who texted “CHURCH” to 313131. Mobile phone users only receive text messages from EZ Texting’s customers upon request. Each of its clients gets their own special word.

    • Users Sue Internet Companies Over Hidden ‘Flash Cookies’

      If you don’t want your personal information and browsing history tracked, be sure to clear that history and delete browser cookies after every session. Or use “in private” search offered by Internet Explorer or similar anonymous search features found in Firefox, Chrome and others.

    • ZoneAlarm slammed for scarewarey marketing

      ZoneAlarm has run into criticism from its customers for using scary pop-up warnings as a marketing tactic designed to persuade users to purchase the paid-for version of its personal firewall.

    • Global Virus Alert! ZoneAlarm’s scare tactics raise hackles
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone

      The announcement on the site’s front page says, in part, “This doesn’t mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.”

    • IPv6 uptake still slow despite looming address crunch

      Even though many ISPs have begun offering IPv6 services to customers, uptake and use of the next-generation internet technology remains low, according to a European Commission-funded study published last week.

    • Vodafone shares subscriber info with world+dog

      Vodafone has been caught taking liberties with customers’ email accounts, and it seems at least some of the customers aren’t happy about the practice.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Marketplace’s Misleading Report On Fashion Copyright

      It’s about other designers and some “fast fashion” houses that create similar (but cheaper) designs targeting the lower end of the market. Counterfeiting is really a trademark issue — and is already against the law, but has nothing to do with copyright. Conflating the two is really bad, and confuses the issue totally, falsely giving the impression that fashion copyright is about protecting designers from counterfeit goods sold in alleyways.

    • Anti-Pirates List Dead and Pre-Teen Artists as Petition Signatories

      Yesterday the European Parliament adopted a report that paves the way for the introduction of draconian anti-piracy measures. A final push for accepting the report came from entertainment industry lobbyists who presented petitions signed by hundreds of artists. Among other suspicious circumstances, the signatories of the petitions include a 7-year old singer from Romania and a movie producer who died three years ago.

    • Runkeeper’s Ability To Outrun Nike & Adidas Shows How Big Companies Don’t Always Copy & Win

      What we’re seeing is, once again, plain old imitation by itself doesn’t appear to work very well, but imitation, plus some element of innovation to make it better does wonders. And yet, so many people don’t seem to recognize this and simply assume that the “big guys” will automatically copy and kill any new startup.

    • Copyrights

      • Europe on verge of criminalizing file-sharing

        The European parliament pressed on Wednesday for a crackdown on film and music piracy on the Internet, raising fears among online rights groups that a new law will soon follow.

        The European Union’s legislature adopted a non-binding resolution in a 328-245 vote calling for the creation within European law of the right to pursue people who violate intellectual property rights.

      • Supreme Court Eyeing RIAA ‘Innocent Infringer’ Case

        The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing into the first RIAA file sharing case to reach its docket, requesting that the music labels’ litigation arm respond to a case testing the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.

      • Leaked Report Admits That Hadopi First Strike Accusations Won’t Be Reviewed For Accuracy

        As the French “three strikes” Hadopi process begins, with tens of thousands of notices being sent out to accused file sharers (their “first strike”), things may be even more ridiculous than previously assumed. Guillaume Champeau fills us in on the details of a leaked report from the French privacy commissioner (Google translation from the original French).

      • Spanish Collecting Society Targets Group Proposing Alternative Royalty System

        A Spanish group lobbying for alternative ways to protect and promote creative production has been asked to cease activity or face a lawsuit for damages, unfair competition and infringement by the Spanish collecting society SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores), according to the group. The collecting society also charged that the lobbying group is undermining its reputation.

        Lobbying group EXGAE has claimed they received a fax in August asking them to effectively disappear “from the face of the earth within the next seven days.” EXGAE “facilitates a legal consultancy service for artists and those affected by the actions of traditional royalties management organisations and other cultural industry groups,” according to its website.

      • Taiwan copyright poster winner turns out to be copycat

        The man, identified only by his surname Wu, apologised and admitted that his winning design was copied from a work by Dutch artist Dennis Sibeijn featuring a paper plane and, ironically, titled “Truth”.

        Wu was ordered to return to the Intellectual Property Office the 50,000 Taiwan dollars (1,600 US) prizemoney he won in the contest last year when he was a university student.

        His deception surfaced after a commuter recognised the work on a billboard carrying Wu’s prize-winning design at a Taipei subway station and reported to the office.

      • My Challenge To Jim Urie Of Universal Music: Instead Of ‘Drowning Out’ Those You Disagree With, Let’s Come Up With Solutions

        Back in June, we wrote about a ridiculous major label astroturfing campaign, spearheaded by Jim Urie, the CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution, involving a faux “grass roots” group called MusicRightsNow, which is just a major label front group, connected to Music United — also a major label front group. Well, he’s back. As a few of you have sent over, Urie appears to be claiming that the letter he sent out back then is responsible for the new pro-censorship Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The new letter urges people to click a link to send emails to elected officials supporting the bill. Amusingly (but not surprisingly), the link in the email (which I’m not providing here), does not allow people to edit the letter.


        How incredibly insulting and how incredibly wrong. The people that Urie is lying about here care very much about art and the difference between right and wrong. It’s why we focus on new ways for artists to make money. It’s why we look at what the actual evidence shows, including the fact that artists are making more money today than in the past — in part, by getting out from behind gatekeepers like the major record labels. And this makes us happy, because we do care about art and we do care about the ability of musicians to make a living and to keep doing what they love doing.

      • Judge puts hammer down on Hurt Locker P2P subpoena

        A federal judge in South Dakota this week quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state. Why? Jurisdiction, and a fax machine.

      • US ISP Disconnects Alleged Pirates for 6 Months

        The United States Internet Service provider Suddenlink has effectively implemented a three-strikes policy for repeated copyright infringers. After three DMCA notices, alleged copyright infringers are disconnected from the Internet for six months, without a refund. According to a company representative, the DMCA requires them to take such drastic measures.

      • Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity

        My real point — and the point that drives a lot of what I write on this blog — is that we confuse things and act to our cultural detriment when we treat intellectual “property” like we treat real property. And that confusion of course extends to the ways we give dead people continued influence over their intellectual and artistic creations. So it seems serendipitous that in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine Elif Bautman has an article about the ongoing legal battle in the Israeli courts over the fate of Franz Kafka’s personal papers.

      • Music streaming service rejects Canada

        Millions of people in the United States and Europe are using these and other services to stream music to their mobile devices. For monthly fees ranging from free to $15 (U.S.) (usually depending on whether you’re willing to pay to avoid embedded advertisements), users can choose from millions of songs — simply type in the name of a tune and enjoy it anywhere there’s a decent cell signal.

      • Piracy threats lawyer mocks 4chan DDoS attack

        ACS:Law obtains court orders to force ISPs to reveal the identities of customers linked to IP addresses observed sharing copyright files in BitTorrent swarms. It then sends letters demanding payment of several hundred pounds to avoid a civil lawsuit.

        The files are typically video games or pornographic films, with copyrights held by Digiprotect, a specialist German monitoring firm that aims to profit from piracy. ACS:Law does not usually take anyone who refuses to pay to court, however, and is currently under investigation by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority. A tribunal is expected next year.

      • US broadcasters group accuses Ivi of copyright abuse

        INTERNET TV BROADCASTER Ivi didn’t have to wait long before hearing a response from the US broadcasters’ mouthpiece after filing for a judgment to stop lengthy court battles.

        The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an “advocacy association” for US broadcasters, issued a statement shortly after we reported that the Internet TV upstart issued a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment of Copyright Noninfringement in US District Court in Seattle, Washington. It is hoping that the judgment will help it avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

      • Broadcasting group issues statement on ivi Inc.’s TV service

        Since launching the ivi live television service on September 13, several major broadcasters (including NBC Universal, Fox Television Stations and CBS Broadcasting) have issued cease-and-desist letters to the company. As a preemptive move, ivi filed a lawsuit Monday against those broadcasters and others arguing that it had rights to rebroadcast the live feeds from TV stations in New York and Seattle under the Copyright Act.

      • Guest Post: Open Season on Copyright Infringement Claims? All Hail, or Hate, the “Troll”?

        Is it me, or has there been a noticeable uptick in publicity about copyright infringement claims in 2010? There is the prolific new so-called “copyright troll,” Righthaven LLC, which has sued more than 120 parties on behalf of its sole newspaper client, the Las Vegas Journal-Review (including against some high-profile defendants, such as politician Sharron Angle). The Fox network has been defending against claims that it violated a plaintiff’s copyright when it ran footage of Bernard Madoff, and now the Fox network (in an unrelated claim) is suing politician Robin Carnahan for alleged unauthorized use of Fox clip in a political ad. Some blame the poor economy, some blame the lawyers, some blame a heated election season. Maybe it is all of those reasons, or none of those. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t appear that anything has really changed in the substantive copyright law.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Negotiators Refuse To Set Up More Timely Meeting For Consumer Advocates

          Talk about lip service to transparency while at the same time mocking it. Also, while some supporters of ACTA seem to claim that because the documents were shown once to such public interest groups everything’s perfectly transparent, it seems pretty damn obvious that those working on ACTA have done their best to keep rather important stakeholders very much out of the conversation. Of course, the industries, who are such fans of ACTA, may discover that screwing over consumers and consumer advocates comes back to bite them. You don’t have much of a business without consumers after all.

Clip of the Day

Christian Grothoff – “Introduction to GNUnet”

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 26/9/2010: Many New GNU/Linux Releases, Free Software in British Government

Posted in News Roundup at 2:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Proof of Concept PSGroove ported to PlayStation 3 Sixaxis/DualShock 3

    There were reports of people trying to use the SixAxis controller to Jailbreak the PS3. However, we stopped hearing about any progress on it and heard more about clones such as the PS3Key and P3Free and many others. Now, there seems to be proof of a PSGroove port on a PlayStation 3 SixAxis/DualShock 3 controller! Forum user hasuky from http://www.elotrolado.net/ stated that he’ll be putting more info online tomorrow.

  • Are Platform Vendors Stealing Linux?

    Of course, such advantages are good for the companies, but not so much the end user. As I already pointed out, trying to un-do the commoditization of Linux does the customer a huge disservice, because you’re essentially introducing vendor lock in again. Ultimately, I think the customers should get wise to this and resist such “tuned” versions of Linux.

    But what if they don’t? If a vendor can tune a Linux enough, customers might want to stick with the vendor’s brand. Make the pricing and implementation simple–as Sprint did with its cellular pricing plans a couple of years ago–and customers may even pay an extra premium for the platform vendor’s Linux.

    The success of just such a plan hinges on just how much “better” a platform vendor’s Linux is and how compatible its application space is with other Linux distros. Not to mention what the response of Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical will be for their respective RHEL, SUSE Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu Server offerings.

    It will need to be an interesting response, because right now Oracle and Amazon have something these other three companies don’t: a platform (be it physical or virtual). That will be a tricky thing to negate.

  • Kernel Space

    • The People Who Support Linux: “My Heart for Open Source Began with Linux”

      Linux has a way of inspiring all of us. Joshua Drake is a major contributor to the PostgreSQL.org community, lead consultant at Command Prompt, Inc., and is president of United States PosgreSQL, but he says his love for open source began with Linux.

      “I honestly don’t know exactly how long {I’ve been using Linux} but my first distribution was SLS and then Yggdrasil. It was pre-Linux 1.0 IIRC.”

      Five points to each of our readers who can say the same.

    • Graphics Stack

      • For Those Interested In Direct3D Over Gallium3D

        There still is great interest and discussion among many users interested in Direct3D 10 and 11 being natively implemented on Linux using a new state tracker that was published this week for the Gallium3D driver architecture. It seems some Wine developers are still in opposition to this effort even though their Direct3D 10 implementation within Wine is still very limited in terms of translating the calls to OpenGL and their Direct3D 11 support really hasn’t taken off.

        Besides our links to the original Git commits and mailing list posts, for those wishing to follow the development of this “D3D1X” state tracker and Wine, there’s a few more links to pass along.

      • Keith & Peter Talking About X.Org Development

        The 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse has been over for a week, but the disappointing weather in Munich today Oktoberfest finally made it sound more enticing to take care of the remaining XDS 2010 coverage rather than drinking Augustiner in a wet pair of lederhosens. With that said, below are the video recordings of when Keith Packard and Peter Hutterer were talking about the X.Org Server development process changes that have resulted in surprisingly on-time releases.

  • Applications

    • Lightspark’s Advanced Graphics Engine Progresses

      For those interested in the state of the “advanced graphics engine” for Lightspark, the newest and promising open-source project to implement support for Adobe’s Flash/SWF specification, there’s an update. This graphics engine is progressing, according to Alessandro Pignotti, the lead developer of Lightspark.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Organizing photos with jBrout
      • User Riots: What Does Not Work with Launcher Menus (Part 2)
      • UNetbootin – Bootable USB Media Made Easy

        I think that one of the most useful developments of the past couple of years has been bootable USB sticks. Not just “LiveUSB” sticks, from which you can actually run Linux, although those are wonderful too, but just plain old bootable distribution installers. They keep me from having piles of used CD/DVD discs around my desk, save me time in creating and booting the installation media, and even give me a bit better conscience about not continuously using discs for Alpha/Beta/RC/whatever releases one or two times and then tossing them on the pile.

    • Games

      • Lost Luggage Studios “Anirah” Mac and Linux Versions Released

        Lost Luggage Studios releases v1.2 of “Anirah: Riddle of the Pharaohs,” an ancient Egyptian-themed puzzle game best described as, “Similar to MahJongg, but with math.”

        Not the typical Match-3 type of game, in Anirah you are given a target number and can select as many tiles as it takes to total that number. Tiles can be selected if they can freely slide off the board – straight up, down, left, or right. You can make a match with three tiles, ten tiles, or even just one tile. The goal is to clear the board and proceed to the next round.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.3.2 Raises The Bar On Linux Media Players Another Notch

        A heads up, for those who haven’t heard: the venerable flagship media player Amarok has released a new version upon the masses. 2.3.2, Codenamed “Moonshine”, includes a series of bug fixes along with some cool new features as well.

      • be vewwwwy quiet .. i’m hunting pixmaps.

        The impact on Plasma mobile should be even larger, as “bunches of things of the same size” is a very common occurrence (e.g.a phone dialer, a grid of app icons, ..) and graphics performance is a rare commodity. Keeping the animations tamed through fewer generated pixmaps, only generating pixmaps actually pushed to screen, etc. helps out as well. I don’t yet have numbers of the impact on the N900, but it can only be good news there if it’s noticeable on a desktop system.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • 200th Post: Preview: ArchBang 2010.09 “apeiro”

        I think ArchBang has a lot of potential as a usable, modern desktop for old computers. I’m a little confused about the whole “stable release” thing, given that Arch Linux is a rolling-release distribution. More importantly, however, ArchBang is another example of the identity issues LXDE has, in that it uses some LX-tools like LXAppearance and LXTerminal, but it advertises its DE as Openbox (not LXDE) and uses tint2 instead of the LXPanel. That’s not meant as a ding on ArchBang at all. If you’re even remotely interested, please do go try it out!

    • New Releases

      • SuliX 5
      • SMS 1.5.3
      • NEW! CAINE 2.0 – NewLight is out!
      • Toorox 09.2010 “GNOME”
      • 16th September 2010: PLD Live with KDE4 4.4.5 is out!
      • Pardus 2-preview (Corporate)
      • aptosid 2010-02

        Now that aptosid has opened its gates, we have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the aptosid 2010-02 “Κῆρες” release. Aptosid is created by the same team of volunteers developing software under the Debian Free Software Guidelines and continues what has been started in November 2006 under the name “sidux”. This release is shipping in the following flavours:

      • Salix Live 13.1.1 Xfce and LXDE editions

        It has been exactly one year, day for day, since Salix OS has published its very first public release.

        One year which has also seen the birth of a 64 Bit version, new and improved GTK+ system utilities (mostly written in Python), Salix Live, Salix LXDE, considerably improved localization (thanks to the great contributions of dedicated translators and Transifex coordination: http://www.transifex.net/projects/p/salix/) and the establishment of one of the largest repository of fully compatible Slackware packages with full dependency management. Thus getting ever closer to one of our ambitions which is to extend the wonderful simplicity of Slackware KISS design to daily ease of use as well.

      • Nexenta Core Platform 3.0.1 released

        NCP 3.0.1 has been released. This includes few more backports from future releases, and also fixes for nexenta zones. Grab the iso from here.

      • IPFire Core Update 40
      • “0.1、1.0.0、4年” Qomo Linux 1.0正式发布
      • NuTyX Attapu
      • The Next Stable Clonezilla Live – 1.2.6-24

        This release of Clonezilla live includes major enhancements, changes
        and bug fixes.

      • Quirky 1.3
      • VortexBox 1.5 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.5. As always our goal it to make VortexBox work with any media player. The recent release of iTunes 10 does not work work with the old VortexBox DAAP server. We took this opportunity to replace the DAAP server in VortexBox with a better one. The new DAAP server not only works with iTunes 10 but it can server FLAC files to iTunes by encoding them as WAV files inline. This reduces the need to keep a mirror of your music files in mp3 format.

      • ArchBang-2010.09 – RELOADED is out!

        It’s entitled RELOADED because we went back to our orginal combo (AB=Arch Linux + OpenBox) & also because I’m back in action (after months with no laptop lol). The 64 bit version is the only one available @ this time but by the end of the week the 32 bit version should be available as well. Enjoy!

      • 23 September 2010 : GParted 0.6.3

        This release of GParted improves motherboard BIOS RAID support and includes bug fixes, and language translation updates.

      • SchilliX 0.7.2 [Not Linux]
      • Openwall Current-20100924
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Texas Mint Tea, anyone?

        PCLinuxOS, originally based upon Mandrake/Mandriva and its RPM Package Manager, PC championed the notion of “use the best of the best” in its rolling release distro. PC has been active since late 2003.

        LinuxMint championed “take the best and make it better.” Starting with Ubuntu and tweaking it with their own additions and new tools. Mint uses the .deb package system, offering package management with its own Software Manager or Synaptic. Mint has been around since mid-2006.

      • PCLinuxOS Progresses Undeterred

        #2 PCLinuxOS magazine: These days PCLinuxOS has bringing out its monthly magazine regularly religiously. I am sure it won’t win a FOSS award for the literature. But it has a lot to make us mortals happy and engaged in Linux. The mag has a system approach to teach newbies essential commandline magic, use/management of popular desktop environments and developments specific to PCLinuxOS. It has those fun stuff elements also that you expect from a community or school magazine.

      • Developers fork Mandriva Linux – Welcome Mageia
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based signal processing system from Spectrum Signal Processing uses PCI Express form factor for embedded systems

      Engineers at Spectrum Signal Processing by Vecima (TSX:VCM) in Burnaby, British Columbia showcased their Linux-based signal processing platform — the SDR-2010 at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. The SDR-2010 targets electronic warfare, signals intelligence including wideband spectral analysis and multi-channel direction finding, and military satellite communications applications.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • I Don’t Want a Tablet, So When Can I Get One?

          What about the software, you ask? Funny thing: it’s juts not the priority for me – I’m far more concerned with the hardware. Any of Android, Chrome OS or webOS would probably be acceptable as a tablet operating system. For me, anyway. Google’s Director of Mobile Products, Hugo Barra, was unequivocal in his belief that Android isn’t ready for that device type, which while technically true probably isn’t going to help Samsung’s marketing efforts.

        • Should Android be Startups’ First Choice?

          Yes, Android has been slower to pay dividends to its third-party developer community than Apple’s iOS, in part because of its platform fragmentation problems. However, this strikes me as a transitory problem: one that is being resolved by Google, and that entrepreneurial developers are likely to help fix. There’s simply too much money at stake for the problem not to be solved.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Students to Take Computers and Wikipedia to Africa

    The students were also trained to use Ubuntu, the free operating system based on Linux on which the software was installed, in order to be able to teach the locals how to use it.

  • Events

    • OWF Open Source Barometer 2010 is coming…

      Next week at the Open World Forum on the 30 September will take place the “Open Analysts summit: The 2010 barometer of Open Source“, a session bringing together leading open source analysts Matthew Aslett, Jeffrey Hammond and Mathieu Poujol.

  • SaaS

    • Hiding in Plain Sight: The Rise of Amazon Web Services

      Initially believed to be an Ubuntu derivative, which would have been an even more interesting choice, Amazon’s new custom Linux distribution is actually binary compatible with CentOS, which is itself a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. All of which means, effectively, that Amazon is following in the footsteps of Oracle [coverage] and getting into the Linux distribution game via Red Hat. By leveraging the availability of open source assets, they are systematically bootstrapping themselves into markets that have, historically, been vigorously defended by their respective dominant players.

    • Scality Launches Open Source Cloud Program with $100,000 Incentive Fund for Software Developers

      SNIA Software Developers Conference, Santa Clara, California, 21st September 2010 – Scality, the pioneer of object-based cloud storage, today announced plans to open-source the Software Development Kit (SDK) of its patented RING technology. As a kickoff incentive, Scality is offering contributing developers bounties from a $100,000 USD fund.

    • EMC Greenplum and Cloudera Form Alliance to Tackle Big Data Challenge

      EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced a new alliance to enable integration of technology from Cloudera, a leading provider of Hadoop-based data management software and services, with the EMC® Data Computing Products division’s Greenplum technology to help businesses better manage and analyze large and continuously growing amounts of structured and unstructured information such as log files, sensor data, streaming data, sales receipts, e-mails, research data and images collectively known as “big data.”

    • Twitter Analytics Lead, Kevin Weil, and a Presenter at Hadoop World Interviewed

      Prior to Hadoop, we had a MySQL-based data warehouse and ETL system, like many companies start with. It worked for a while, but over time the daily job began taking 16, 18, 20 hours. That’s never been an issue since we switched to Hadoop because it allows us to scale our cluster horizontally as Twitter usage grows. It would probably take 2 weeks to run a day’s worth of numbers today if we had to go back to our old system.

  • Databases

    • Guest Post: Do we need a new programming language for Big Data?

      Could the Big Data complexity be factored out somehow with a new general purpose programming language? No doubt. Having worked with Anders on the creation of Delphi many years back, this is right up his alley. Or maybe we already have a good starting point with Erlang, Scala, and Google’s Go. Go is particularly interesting having been designed by Rob Pike and Ken Thompson of Bell Labs / Unix fame.

  • CMS

    • VideoEgg to Acquire Six Apart and Create SAY Media

      Mena Trott, Six Apart co-founder: “SAY Media continues Six Apart’s mission to make passionate creators successful. Whether on TypePad or another platform, developing a game or an application, the company will empower people to create great content and make money doing it. This acquisition marks a new beginning as we launch a modern media company centered on the creators, the content, and the audiences that are redefining media.”

  • Semi-Open Source

  • MySQL

    • Oracle Announces MySQL 5.5 Release Candidate
    • Founding SkySQL

      Another question presented to us by many is what our relationship is to Michael “Monty” Widenius and his company Monty Program. To ease some curiosity, let me explain the situation.

      * Monty Program will be a close business partner with SkySQL, and provide deepest-level engineering backing to the MySQL part of SkySQL’s product offering, and provide SkySQL with access to top development talent on the product.
      * However, both companies are completely separate and have different owners and goals.
      o a) Monty and his company are focusing on future community development of MariaDB. The company is practically owned by the personnel, and has the goal of i) being a great place for engineers to work, ii) ensuring long term survival of the MySQL technology in the world, and iii) not be driven by outside investors, but share profits to personnel and not to owners. (BTW: number iii is the main reason why Open Ocean is not an investor in MP).
      o b) SkySQL Corporation Ab is a commercial, for-profit company. It focuses on serving customers with MySQL and MySQL-related products and services, to enable the customers to be successful in using the products in all their needs, at affordable cost, long term. As indicated by “MySQL-related” we plan to expand both the technology (through own development and through partners) and the service offering beyond what MySQL AB did, in line with how the industry and customer needs have developed and are expected to develop.
      * Monty himself has no active role in SkySQL. Yet, as a close partner through Monty Program, he is logically very supportive of our operation.

      Now, the work begins.

  • Government

    • Bristol councillor makes stand for open source

      The political head of ICT at a city struggling to wrestle free of Microsoft has declared it will give up its open source ambitions “over my dead body”.

      Mark Wright, the Bristol City councillor who handles the cabinet portfolio for ICT, made the stand at a political meeting in London yesterday.

      Bristol’s attempts to use open source software instead of Microsoft on its desktop computers have been hampered by the widespread use of proprietary Microsoft standards in Britain’s public sector. But Wright said the council would not give up the fight.

      “I was put in charge of IT in Bristol. I made it very clear to the department that we would retreat from open source over my dead body,” Wright told the Westminster eForum in London yesterday.

      Bristol spent five years trying to use open source software on 5,500 desktop computers, but its staff became isolated and unproductive, as they were unable to use the Microsoft file formats used almost everywhere else in the UK.

    • Open Source Community Welcomes Government Support

      “Free software is an idea whose time has come,” said Taylor, at the Westminster eForum today, predicting that it would finally break through in the public sector because of the coalition’s twin ideas – cuts to deal with the deficit and the “big society”, in which the government will cease to do things that people can do for themselves.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Save only in ODF
    • European Parliament takes clear stance on openness in the context of completing the internal market

      Earlier this week the European Parliament finished its “Report on completing the internal market for e-commerce” (2010/2012(INI)). It is a very interesting document, very comprehensively addressing the full spectrum of electronic commerce in relation to the internal marekt – and definitely worth reading.

      In this report, once again, the Parliament takes a very clear stance on openness as critical for the internal market in many ways. It acknowledges the “importance of open and neutral access to a high-speed internet connection, without which e-commerce would be impossible” (clause 43). And it asks the Commission “to work towards creating rules and standards” to overcome the “non-interoperability of software on commercial and social networking websites” (clause 47).


      More specifically, the parliament clearly requires the use of an open standard in the area of document formats. As stated in clause 41 the parliament “Highlights the importance of an open document exchange format for electronic business interoperation and calls on the Commission to take concrete steps to support its emergence and spread”. For sure, the Open Document Format (ODF) standard which was developed by OASIS and approved by ISO (ISO/IEC 26300) is the standard available for use today. It has been implemented in multiple competing products and is demonstrating interoperability in real life on a daily basis.

    • Large-scale migration to an open source office suite: An innovation adoption study in Finland [PDF]


  • Intel unveils controversial PC upgrade scheme

    Critics have derided the idea as a way for Intel to charge customers for something the chip can already do.

    Intel said the scheme was about offering “choice and flexibility”.

    “The pilot in a limited number of retail stores will centre on one Pentium processor, one of our value brands, and will enable a consumer to upgrade the performance of their PC online,” Intel spokesman George Alfs told BBC News.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Health Care Provisions Begin to Pay Off for All Ages

      For those who think the law should be repealed, I ask them to just stop and think how their loved ones might already be bet­ter off than they were six months ago — and how much bet­ter off we all will be when the law has been fully imple­mented in 2014.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bountiful crop lands farmer in legal trouble

      A Georgia man is headed to court over how many vegetables he can grow on his land. Code enforcement says until recently, the farmer had too many vegetable plants for his property in Clarkston, just outside Atlanta.

      Steve Miller’s profession is landscaping, but his passion is growing organic vegetables. That passion landed the Clarkston man in court. Before he rezoned the land two months ago, DeKalb County Code Enforcement cited him for illegal growing crops and using unpermitted workers.

    • CIA used ‘illegal, inaccurate code to target kill drones’

      The CIA is implicated in a court case in which it’s claimed it used an illegal, inaccurate software “hack” to direct secret assassination drones in central Asia.

      The target of the court action is Netezza, the data warehousing firm that IBM bid $1.7bn for on Monday. The case raises serious questions about the conduct of Netezza executives, and the conduct of CIA’s clandestine war against senior jihadis in Afganistan and Pakistan.

    • THE IRAQ WAR — PART I: The U.S. Prepares for Conflict, 2001

      Following instructions from President George W. Bush to develop an updated war plan for Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered CENTCOM Commander Gen. Tommy Franks in November 2001 to initiate planning for the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government and the empowerment of a “Provisional Government” to take its place.

    • Six held after allegedly burning Qur’ans

      A security expert warned yesterday that the alleged burning of two Qur’ans in northern England risked making Britain more of a terrorist target and endangering British troops.

      Police have arrested six men over the apparent burning of the Muslim holy book behind a pub in Gateshead on the anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the US. Police refused to say whether those arrested were connected to the far right English Defence League (EDL). A witness said the pub had been the subject of police attention because some customers were alleged to have links to the EDL.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Volcker Fails to Sell a Bank Strategy

      Listen to a top economist in the Obama administration describe Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who endorsed Mr. Obama early in his election campaign and who stood by his side during the financial crisis.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The risks of Facebook’s Instant Personalization program

      In April, Facebook unveiled a new technology called Instant Personalization. Initially released to just Yelp, Pandora, and Docs.com, Instant Personalization has been widely misunderstood by the media and Facebook users alike.

      Instant personalization allows any site that Facebook chooses to partner with to use your current Facebook session as its own authentication system. In other words, if you are logged into Facebook when you visit Yelp.com, Yelp will immediately know who you are and some basic information about you (such as your profile photo and friends list) without any further action on your part.

    • Google releases censorship tools
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • US communities pin hopes on ‘super wi-fi’

      Wi-fi as most people know it is about to get a major shot in the arm in the US. After two years of talks, officials have approved the use of “white spaces” that will enable wireless broadband to reach greater distances than ever before, as the BBC’s Marc Adams reports.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Benjamin Franklin, the first IP pirate?

      In his essays, letters, and actions, Franklin was a “commonwealth man in the style of Jefferson,” Hyde writes. He understood the United States Constitution’s copyright language “as a balance between a short-term monopoly and a long-term grant to the public. That the clause might become the ground for creating a perpetual property right for individuals and private corporations would have astounded him.”

      Benjamin Franklin rebelled against knowledge as eternal property through his whole life. Hyde gives us a portrait of him that reveals this in his writings and works.

    • Copyrights

      • An Explanation Of My Views On Copyright Part Four The Sky Is Falling
      • Copyright enforcement firm ACS:Law hit by embarrassing email leak

        More seriously there is discussion about how they could “scare” people into paying by pursuing them directly, and allegedly an email with attached file containing the names and addresses of thousands of Sky broadband users (plus the names of pornographic movies they’re supposed to have downloaded) which if true constitutes a serious breach of the data protection act.

        File sharing news site Torrent Freak is busy sifting through the messages and has uncovered all kinds of worrying information, including emails from couples complaining that accusations of gay porn downloads have caused trouble with their marriage and desperate letters from people who can’t afford the fines.

        The leak further confirms the suspicion that ACS:Law seems more concerned about how much money it can get than protecting intellectual property. One email found by TF shows the company accepting a settlement figure despite having acknowledged the accused wasn’t responsible for any infringment, and giving up on chasing someone else because they’re bankrupt and won’t be able to pay. It also reveals that in some cases Crossley’s firm is netting over 50% of the cash received, the rest being split between the copyright owner and other third parties

        At a time when the company is under investigation from the SRA for its questionable tactics this has to come as a major embarrassment, and should there be anything in there which breaks the law or breaches ethical guidelines it could lead to serious repercussions for Crossley and his company.

      • Citigroup uses copyright to censor a critic

        Brad DeLong reports that Citigroup published an appraisal of the Obama administration’s bank reform policy in 2009 link here. It was mild and viewed the changes favorably, so the report conveyed a sense of relief at the bank. Come 2010, the bank has now sent a blog which posted the report, a take-down notice for violating its DCMA link here.

Clip of the Day

Martin Pool – “Bazaar – a distributed version control system for free software communities”

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 25/9/2010: The 5 Dollar KDE Challenge, Etc.

Posted in News Roundup at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How do you copy 60m files?

    So the best way to move 60 million files from one Windows server to another turns out to be: use Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Making a Difference; Selling a Difference

      Some will argue that the desktop no longer matters or if it does, it won’t for long. They will tell you that the age of mobile technology is here, that Web apps do it all, and that since Linux, in its Android persona, is on its way to ruling the mobile roost, that we should all sit back happily and congratulate ourselves on finally achieving Linux World Domination.

      They are wrong.

      Sure, mobile devices are cool. But for the foreseeable future, the desktop will continue to be the place where the real work gets done. It’s the place where large scale productivity applications will continue to dominate. It’s still where you’re going to do your accounting, write letters, create cool graphics, edit video, and so on. Try to imagine creating a complex marketing presentation on your iPhone just for fun. See if you can find many businesses out there that have plans in the next 5 years to dump all their desktop systems in favor of everyone typing on their smartphone touchpads. Uh huh. The desktop matters as much as it ever did and there’s a damn good chance that it’s never going away, at least not anytime soon. Barring some truly revolutionary *ahem* paradigm shift in the way we interface with computers, of course. That revolutionary shift hasn’t happened. Not yet anyhow.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Linux’s new Gnome desktop to take on KDE and Windows

      The next major release of Gnome promises to re-define the Linux desktop the way KDE has. Ashton Mills previews the new shell for Ubuntu’s default desktop.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The 5 Dollar KDE Challenge

        Anyways this is not meant to be a review of Choqok, cool as it is, but to allow me to make a point: We are lucky to have many great applications in KDE. Everything from financial apps to great media players to CD/DVD authoring tools to a full-fledged office suite. Great games. And on and on it goes. Not to mention to gorgeous KDE Workspaces we luckily get to look at every day. And let’s not forget all the work and costs associated with running the KDE e.V. as it supports and funds so many KDE activities. And it’s all free! And while we’re at it let’s not forget the individual distributions out there that put it all together for us. And the bloggers and all of the people who donate their time in order to promote and support KDE in many ways every day.

      • The future of KDE

        MeeGo is less than a year old. KDE, by contrast, has 14 years of experience in building the Linux desktop. Even with the backing of the world’s largest mobile phone and processor vendors, it takes a bold man to turn up at Akademy, KDE’s annual global conference, and announce that MeeGo is “redefining the Linux desktop landscape”.

      • Linux finally matches Windows’ eye candy with the KDE desktop

        KDE is an interesting beast: up to version 3.0 it competed with Gnome for the mind share of Linux desktop users. KDE 3.0 was an excellent alternative, often favoured by the power users for its emphasis on configurability and flexibility.

        For version 4.0, the KDE team took the drastic action of re-inventing and re-building KDE almost from the ground up. This included re-designing the desktop paradigm and breaking functionality into core components that include Plasma (desktop display and effects), Phonon (multimedia backend) and Solid (hardware abstraction layer).

  • Distributions

    • Linux: Paradox of choice

      Are hundreds of different Linux versions a good or a bad thing for open source?

      Every so often every Linux advocate is subjected, yet again, to the question: “Are there too many Linux distributions?”

      The answer is both simple (“no”), while at the same time being a lot more complicated than that.

    • New Releases

      • Momonga 7
      • SystemRescueCd 1.6.0
      • Absolute 13.1.5 released

        Security updates including mozilla-nss package, (and Firefox, Seamonkey and Thunderbird on CD2.) Icewm menu fixes and re-arrangement and AbiWord is back in base install with gtk printing preview by epdfview (so no more abiWords crashes… right?) Also several package updates including OpenOffice, Imagemagick, Inkscape, Chromium Browser, and new default sound mixer – alsamixer-qt4. New script in menu to change screen locker mode and updated find-installed script.

      • Tiny Core 3.1
      • Parted Magic 5.5
      • Kongoni 1.12.3 (Cicero) released!

        This is the final and stable release of Kongoni 1.12.3 (Cicero). With this release most issues and problems should be solved, also most packages where cleaned-up, updated to the latest version. Kernel upgraded to version, improved the stability and speed, re-build with support for more hardware devices, cleaned-up the kernel configuration, set Rekonq browser as the default web browser, Gnash upgraded to verison 0.8.8, KDE upgraded to version 4.5.1, removed Ktorrent and replaced it with qBittorrent, which should be much more faster and lightweight.

      • PelicanHPC 2.2
    • Red Hat Family

      • Amid Oracle Threats, Red Hat Remains In Growth Mode

        Oracle is making some lofty claims about its Linux strategy, but entrenched rival Red Hat continues to gain momentum with its three-pronged open source strategy: Linux, virtualization and middleware. Here’s the update, which includes Red Hat’s first $1 million-plus private cloud deal.

        After the markets closed today, Red Hat said its Q2 2011 total revenue was $219.8 million, up 20% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year. Although net income fell to $23.7 million (down about $5.2 million), Red Hat’s earnings still beat Wall Street’s expectations.

      • What’s Next for Java at Oracle?

        The future of Java under Oracle’s leadership is one that includes continued innovation across multiple deployment areas including servers, desktops and mobile devices. That’s the message delivered by Thomas Kurian, executive vice president, Oracle Product Development during a JavaOne keynote address detailing the road ahead for Java.

        New graphics, performance and enhanced programming capabilities are all on Oracle’s roadmap for Java development. Oracle took over the stewardship of Java as part of its acquisition of Sun which closed earlier this year.

    • Debian Family

      • aptosid 2010-02

        I recently reviewed Linux Mint Debian, a very user-friendly version of Linux Mint based on Debian. This time I looked at another distro based on Debian, called aptosid.

        Aptosid, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is actually made by the same developers that created the popular distro Sidux. There was apparently some conflict and controversy within the Sidux e.V association that resulted in Sidux morphing into Aptosid.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Apple’s multi-touch Magic Trackpad tested in Ubuntu 10.10

          Today I got my hands on Apple’s new cool peripheral that everyone is talking about, the Magic Trackpad. When it was first released, a lot of people said that this was the beginning of the end of the humble and trusty mouse. I’m not entirely convinced that the magic trackpad spells the end, but this idea of bringing laptop multitouch to the desktop is certainly is an interesting concept.

        • Tale of two Ubuntus

          The console version of Ubuntu 10.04, as I expected, wouldn’t even start. My experiences earlier this year foretold that a machine with a meager 32Mb of memory wouldn’t get past the grub menu.

        • Ubuntu Netbook Edition Review

          I got a very good conditioned asus eeepc 701 and the first distro of choice after chatting on freenode channel #eeepc was ubuntu netbook edition or une for short (10.04 Lucid).

        • Can Ubuntu Linux Attract More Hardware Partners?

          This is the second year Canonical is hosting the Ubuntu Hardware Summit. The event, located in Taipei, Taiwan, arrives roughly five months after Canonical shipped Ubuntu 10.04, a long term support (LTS) release designed for servers, desktops, mobile devices and private clouds. As an LTS release, Ubuntu 10.04 potentially provides customers and partners with long-term peace of mind on the support front.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • More than Twenty Cities Rally for Bradley Manning

      From September 16-19, supporters of Bradley Manning held public rallies and vigils for the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower, currently imprisoned in Quantico. Events were held in twenty-one cities in the United States, Canada and Australia in response to a call for action sent by the Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist.

    • “Welcome Home, War!”: Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale

      Activists, concerned citizens, and democrats (written purposely with a lower “d”), watch out. As George Orwell stated in his ominous book 1984, “Big Brother is watching you.” One need to look no further than the creepy and covert Orwellian events that were recently unearthed in Pennsylvania as Exhibit A for a reflection of the current horrifying environment that exists for those who choose to speak out against governmental and corporate injustices and in this instance, against fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

  • Finance

    • Millennium Development Goals- Another Awesome Joke on the Poor!

      it is being received.

      I would not go into the economics of why this ‘project’ is a joke. This piece originally tweeted by William Esterly really brings the point home. Forget about aid and all the other philanthropic overtures. Take away the subsidies that have killed the farming businesses of hundreds of thousands of petty farmers in all poor countries, let there be a little fairness in trading between the haves and have-not countries.

    • SPIN METER: Largest tax increase ever? Not quite

      The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts in January has sparked a partisan bickering match this election season, and much of the rhetoric from both Democrats and Republicans is misleading. Here’s a look at three prominent arguments, sorting the spin from the facts:


      THE SPIN:

      Republicans warn that America faces the largest tax increase ever if Congress doesn’t extend the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, which are due to expire in January.

      “Democrats in Washington are now plotting the largest tax increase in history,” says the website for Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, makes a similar claim in a press release, and so does Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.


      THE FACTS:

      Few members of Congress want to let all the tax cuts expire. Republicans want to extend all the tax cuts, and President Barack Obama — along with Democratic leaders in Congress — want to extend them for individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000.

    • Spinning the Tax Cuts

      A 1942 tax increase accounted for over 71 percent of federal revenues. By contrast, the currently-proposed potential tax increase would raise revenues less than ten percent. Republicans also argue that the dollar amount of next year’s potential increase would be the largest ever, even accounting for inflation.

    • Already Elizabeth Warren Deserves a Promotion

      She appears to be happy about all this, but it leaves us here at BanksterUSA unsatisfied. This is a temporary appointment. What is she? A Kelly Girl? We are sick of temporary jobs. We prefer permanent things like a title, a salary, benefits, five years guaranteed, and most importantly, power.

    • Tell Larry Summers, “Don’t Delay!”

      A Resume Only Wall Street Could Love

      Summers has a long resume that makes him an ideal candidate for a job on the Street. For years, he promoted the concept of “a post-industrial age” where manufacturing takes a back seat. An expression he was fond of repeating was, “Financial markets do not just oil the wheels of economic growth. They are the wheels.” And has he worked very hard his entire career to grease those wheels.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • In Wake of Ballot Initiatives, Questions About the National Organization for Marriage’s Funding

      Add to that list a donation of a whopping $1.4 million in 2009 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage through the ballot initiative system in California, Maine and other states. While NOM hasn’t yet made public its 2009 fundraising numbers, the amount of charitable contributions it received in 2008 totaled approximately $2.9 million.

    • Netflix apologizes for using actors to meet press at Canadian launch

      Problem is, many of those in the crowd were actors who were paid to be there. Many of the “extras” on hand were interviewed by journalists, who didn’t realize they weren’t real consumers interested in the product.

    • Ad Campaign Aims to Change Americans’ Image of Mormons

      The Mormon Church has launched a television ad campaign in nine test markets. The ads contain no Bible verses or doctrinal discussions … just everyday folks talking about their everyday lives. And, oh, by the way … they practice a faith that nearly half of Americans know little to nothing about.

    • Mormons Use PR Campaign to Boost Their Image

      The Utah-based Mormon church is running a television ad campaign to try and address stereotypes about their adherents. The TV ads show regular people doing regular things, and then saying they are Mormon. The ads attempt to influence how people think of the religion, and drive traffic to the church’s official web site, Mormon.org.

    • Journalists Flee Utah Newspaper Overtaken by PR

      Journalists working for Utah’s oldest continuously-published daily newspaper, the Deseret News, are leaving the paper in a dispute over the new direction in the paper’s journalism. The problem started when the paper published a front-page story written entirely by Michael Purdy, the head of the LDS Church’s public relations department.

    • Open Container: D-News Exodus

      The Mormon Media Observer, Joel Campbell, leaves the Deseret News because of ethical conflicts. Senior political reporter Lee Davidson is also leaving.

      Joel Campbell (pictured) is moving to the Salt Lake Tribune, effective immediately, because he does not consider the bold, new direction of the paper as journalism. Campbell also said he is not alone, and that there are some other reporters leaving the Deseret News for the same reasons.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Remotely wiping mobile phones

      As Nathan Hamblen reports on his blog, remote wipe is currently being misused by Exchange administrators to punish users who access their corporate email from unapproved devices. In many, perhaps most, cases, those unapproved devices are the personal property of a user who is just trying to get their work done. One can understand administrators wanting to impose draconian access rules, and even to enforce them, but punishing users by deleting their photos, applications, and other personal data seems just a tad beyond the pale.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • A Big Week For Broadband

      But the Internet is not just for developed countries – it should be for everyone, and that’s why I am getting involved in the United Nations Broadband Commission.

      Finally, I am quite inspired by this video (also above) – this is a case of broadband by the people, for the people you might say. I really recommend you watch it. As the women explaining the process says: “if we can you do it, anyone can do it.” That is exactly the spirit we all need in the coming years – our digital future belongs to people willing to get invovled in building it!

    • Gallo report adopted: A stab in the back of citizens’ freedoms

      The European Parliament has just adopted the Gallo report on copyright enforcement by 328 to 245 votes. This very repressive text is one more step in the entertainment industries’ crusade against their own public. The Members of the Parliament have failed to recognize that the measures called for in this non-legislative text profoundly undermine fundamental freedoms1. For the next steps, citizens must remain on their guard and should continue to inform their elected representatives about the lies of the industry, and the importance of the Internet for the future of our societies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Kafkaesque Question Of Who Owns Kafka’s Papers

        Law professor Peter Friedman has an interesting discussion on his blog about who owns Franz Kafka’s papers, based on a recent New York Times piece about a big legal fight over the matter. Yes, Kafka died back in 1924. Apparently, when he died, he left a note to his friend Max Brod, ordering him to burn all of Kafka’s papers (“diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches and so on.”) Much to the benefit of modern literature, Brod totally ignored this request, and published a series of posthumous Kafka works, including some of his most famous and respected works, such as “The Trial.”

      • Kafka’s Last Trial

        The National Library’s argument is complicated by Brod’s so-called gift letter of 1952. The most crucial and enigmatic document in the case, it appears to give all of the Kafka papers outright, during Brod’s lifetime, to Esther Hoffe. The sisters presented the court with a two-page photocopy of this letter. The National Library, however, produced a photocopy of a four-page version of the letter, of which the two missing middle pages appear to clarify the limitations of Brod’s gift. When the court ordered a forensic examination, the sisters were unable to produce the original letter.

        Last year, the court decided to grant the National Library’s request that the papers in the sisters’ possession be inventoried: some evidence suggests that the vaults contain further documentation clarifying Brod’s intentions for the papers. The sisters appealed the decision, maintaining that the state has no right to search private property for documents whose existence can’t be proven beforehand. The hearing I attended was to determine the outcome of their appeal.

      • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Law Firm Torn Apart By Leaked Emails

        Earlier this week, anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law had their website taken down by a 4chan DDoS attack. Adding insult to injury, owner Andrew Crossley was harassed at home in the middle of the night by prank phone calls. Now, through a fault with his website, hundreds of megabytes of private emails have been exposed to the public and uploaded to The Pirate Bay. To those hoping that this is a MediaDefender-type fiasco all over again, trust us – it is.


        Financial problems? Interesting. Many tens of thousands of people who received letters from ACS:Law are also experiencing the same problem, having already paid up several hundred pounds each to make non-existent lawsuits go away.

        “We’re still sorting through it. There’s a lot of stuff here to go through. But, basically, we were told we were less important than a 10 minute late train, or a queue for coffee by Andrew,” the attackers’ spokesman told us, adding:

        “Payback is a bitch, isn’t it Andrew?”


        – ACS:Law and USCG (of Hurt Locker fame) appear to be cooperating
        – Crossley boasts that his retained lawyer “literally wrote the SRA rules!”
        – Crossley accuses Which? of ‘defamation’ and articles designed to “demean” and “denigrate”
        – Crossley gives veiled warnings to Which? that he could sue them for libel
        – Internal documents reveal intentions to take down Slyck.com

      • ACS:Law (Gay) Porn Letters Target Pensioners, Married Men

        Last night, the private emails of anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law were spilled onto the Internet. Today, as we continue to dig through the mountain of information, we take a look at some of the human victims of this scheme. From poor people pleading for clemency, to bewildered old age pensioners accused of sharing adult movies, to married men who have been confronted with allegations of sharing gay porn, the cost is significant.

      • Forget digital tunes; analog music on the upswing

        Seventy-two years ago last week, the 33-1/3 long-playing vinyl record was invented. And while most music fans have moved on to streaming Bluetooth audio, MP3s and other digital music formats, LP sales are higher today than at any time in recent history.

      • Sharing is legitimate

        For centuries, people were free to transmit to others cultural works such as books or records as they wished. This was codified under two separate mechanisms: the first sale doctrine and the recognition that acts in the private sphere were none of the business of right holders3. It was accepted that such a transmission of works between individuals is at the root of a shared culture, and in the end benefits authors and other contributors.

        With the development of information technology, digitization and the Internet, the scale and scope of sharing was immensely extended. Its usefulness did not disappear in the process. Actually, sharing has now acquired another function: it counterbalances to a certain degree the ability of centralized media to concentrate attention on a limited number of works for the purpose of maximizing per title profits. In the digital era, in the absence of large scale sharing providing an alternative non-market distribution channel, access to culture would be severely impoverished.

Clip of the Day

Paolo Carlini – “The new C++ Standard and library (C++0x)”

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 25/9/2010: GNU/Linux in British Government, Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • GCHQ spooks top UK Linux installations

    The largest installation of Linux desktops in any British Government site is at GCHQ, the high-tech spy-station in Cheltenham, according to industry sources.

    Whispers in the courtly corridors around Westminster, the seat of British government, have it that British intelligence uses Linux because it is secure, good at number crunching, and doesn’t cost much to deploy.


    Another relatively big British Linux site is the Met Office, which monitors the weather. Number crunchers prefer Linux, say open source advocates, and that is why the UK’s private sector has been slow to catch onto it: the bleeding-edge Web 2.0 businesses that install enough Linux machines to actually support a supply-side industry simply don’t exist in the UK.

    Take Ubuntu, the blend of Linux touted by Canonical, that rare of rare beasts: a company that not only makes money out of Linux but is based in the UK. The largest known private sector installation of Ubuntu, across a respectable 21,000 machines, is in California. The site is Google, though that’s hush-hush as well.

    Things are, however, about to change. And for three reasons. The Liberal Democrats, traditionally the political party for people who wear socks and sandals – the natural Linux party – have taken power as one half of the British coalition Government. The other reason is that there is emerging across the board a generation of politicians who simply “get it”, as they say in the open source trade.

  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 166 – Narwhals in Your Head

      The Linux Outlaws are back with a new site, a new server, awesome music, a recap of the most important Linux and F/OSS topics of the last few weeks and a load of your feedback.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Running An Encrypted LVM In Ubuntu 10.10
    • Tracking Weekly Enterprise Linux News & Trends

      In an effort to capture notable enterprise Linux news and trends, The Linux Foundation will be surfacing some of the important milestones and announcements for enterprise Linux each week. We hope this is useful to our members and to the Linux.com community and we welcome your feedback and additions to these highlights in the comments section.

    • Graphics Stack

      • CUDA support in OpenCV announced at GTC

        At the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, NVIDIA announced that the Open Source Computer Vision (OpenCV) library, which includes image processing algorithms, will, from the start of next year, be able to utilise the computing power of NVIDIA GPUs by making use of CUDA GPU acceleration.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok Insider – Issue 15
      • David Faure

        Can you tell us what you do for KDE?
        KDE developer since 1998, maintainer of Konqueror and large portions of the KDE libraries. In addition to development (mostly bugfixing, occasionally new features), I review many patches from others, and help people with specific development questions on IRC. As such a long-time contributor to KDE, people often come to me with questions about why things in kdelibs were done in a certain way, so despite my usually bad memory, I end up playing the role of the “memory of the project” a little bit :) Old-timer joke: Radej’s beer wasn’t cold while he wrote kmenubar…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Beta Testers On GNOME 2.30, Making Progress

        Lots of things keeping me busy, but making excellent progress on building a new server to run 64bit OpenSuse 11.3 and GNOME 2.30. Now that gdm is working with XDMCP, I was able to get the logins working. Halfline (thanks!) once again helped me with turning off the animations that were displaying when the authentication screen appears and also then as it goes away and the users wallpaper appears. This type of animation is too slow over remote display, and caused you to have to wait while the screen blinked multiple times. I’m sure it looks great on a local video card, but not suitable for here and not needed in a business/work environment.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel 4.0 LTS Is Based on Ubuntu 10.04

        Rubén Rodríguez has announced the release Trisquel 4.0 LTS, an Ubuntu-based derivative which uses only free software. The major goal of Trisquel is to have a pure, 100 percent free distro based on the popular Ubuntu.

      • Trisquel 4.0 LTS “Taranis” strikes!

        As our special way to celebrate Software Freedom Day, we are pleased to announce that Trisquel 4.0 LTS, codename “Taranis” -the Celtic god of thunder- is ready for download. It is our second Long Term Support release, and it is a sweet one! It comes in the usual GNOME flavor and with a light LXDE based environment in the shape of the new “Mini” edition. Netinstall images are also available for servers and custom installations. Soon we will also add an international DVD with a big translation set -the standard images contain complete support for English and Spanish- and educational and professional oriented environments as well.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS vs. Ubuntu – or – Linux XXX vs. Linux YYY

        This blog post was actually written as a comment to my previous post about PCLinuxOS, in answer to a question posted in the comments there. It quickly exceeded the length limit for comments here, so I have moved it to its own blog posting. I hope that is considered a fair move, because the subject matter can actually be extended from the original question of PCLinuxOS compared to Ubuntu, to the more general question of comparing two different Linux distributions.

      • Mandriva and Mageia: two open roads

        Then, suddenly, the fog of gloom that had been encircling the whole Mandriva/Mageia business vanished. To be honest, I was getting worried about what distro to use if Mandriva plummeted when I first heard the news about the company’s financial woes. This apparently unsubstantiated worry cannot be understood unless one has suffered enough with Windows and happens to find a Linux distro that resembles his or her “ideal OS”. That was my case with Mandriva.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • No, we are not infringing any licenses

          Nobody on the Ubuntu One team commented on any of his blog posts either. Ampache seems like a nice piece of software and even some people on the Ubuntu One team use it.

        • LC Brazil: Consumers, experts, or admins?

          Jane Silber is the (relatively) new CEO at Canonical; she went to Brazil to deliver a keynote on the “consumerization of IT” and, in particular, its implications on open source. What she was really there to talk about, of course, was the interesting stuff that is being done with the Ubuntu distribution. Linux serves the needs of expert users very well, but, according to Jane, the future of Linux is very much in the hands of “consumers,” so we need to shift our focus toward that user base. There are a number of things being done in the Ubuntu context to make that happen.

        • Faenza icon set gets a PPA

          Quick heads up to something I forgot to mention before – the very slick Faenza icon set now has a PPA, making it easy to stay up-to-date with the latest additions to the square-y icon set.

        • Ubuntu shows off new facial recognition interface technology

          This all-seeing eye future of interface seems to have stuck in the minds of the guys over at Canonical, who are demonstrating a Ubuntu prototype that uses facial recognition in coordination with other sensors to allow users to interact with PCs in new and intuitive ways.

        • Ubuntu Prototype Uses Facial Recognition to Interact With UI
        • Top Ubuntu (Linux) applications
        • Ubuntu 10.10: a meaningless release
        • Goodbye Ubuntu 9.04

          Dear Ubuntu 9.04 users, the time has come to say goodbye to the Jaunty Jackalope release of the popular Ubuntu operating system. One month from today, on October 23rd, it reaches end of life.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Moving To Open-Source Software

      With the typical cost of software accounting for 40% to 60% of an SoC, semiconductor OEMs are under more pressure than ever to meet margins. As a result, they are drawing on their ecosystem partners to provide a more complete foundation including hardware, software, FPGA prototypes, verification IP and virtual models, as well as an increasing demand for open source software support for their SoCs.

    • ARM and Trident link up on Cortex-A9 STB design

      Other forms of Linux are supported as well, with the help of the not-for profit firm Linaro, which is chartered to develop standardized open source software and tools for ARM Cortex processors. Linaro is said to be focusing on “the lower software layers” of the platform, providing “the best tools and Linux development experience on ARM, quickening the time to market for Linux,” say the partners.

    • Linux networking software adds management interfaces

      IP Infusion and Tail-f Systems say they’ll jointly develop packet-based, carrier-grade management solutions combining the former’s Linux-based, carrier-grade ZebOS middleware with the latter’s ConfD configuration software — supporting CLI, web, SNMP, and Netconf management interfaces. Meanwhile, IP Infusion says that ZebOS is acting as the control and management plane software for Centec Networks’ new Carrier Ethernet CTC6048 processor.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Hack Delivers a Linux Tablet for Under $200

        Hackers have created a sub $200 Linux-based tablet device, all thanks to a little tinkering with an Internet Media Display.

        The device used to create this basic tablet was the Insignia Infocast — a simple $170 Chumby-powered Linux media device that was originally designed to share pictures and display information from the Web.

      • First MeeGo tablet ships

        Neofonie-owned WeTab GmbH has shipped what appears to be the first MeeGo-based tablet, the 11.6-inch, Intel Atom N450-based WeTab, which is also said to be compatible with Android. Meanwhile, a super-light NFS N-Pad tablet prototype has popped up running Android on an Intel Atom N6xx (“Moorestown”) processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • My Top 5 Favorite Free Software Programs

    Happy Software Freedom day!

    In celebration of it, I’ll list the top 5 free software programs I use.

    * GNU Emacs Very powerful text editor. I do most of my tasks in it, specially using and developing Identica-mode. I recommend it a lot for other tasks other than programming in any language, like organizing your todos and schedule in org-mode.
    * KDE SC My desktop environment. A very customizable and very nice looking desktop manger. If you like customization and good looks, you’ll like it.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • How and Why Chrome Is Overtaking Firefox Among Power Users

      Firefox has long been the go-to web browser among power users for its impressive feature set, extensibility, and openness. But Google’s nimble, light, also extensible and open browser, Chrome, has won over Firefox’s core user base.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Plans Firefox Home for Symbian

        Software company Mozilla is considering the release of a Symbian version of Firefox Home, thus making its solutions available on yet another mobile operating system out there, in addition to Android, iOS, Maemo or Windows Mobile.

        Mozilla developer Ragavan Srinivasan was the one to break the news on the matter, via a recent tweet calling for developers interested in the area to give a sign.

      • A photo tour of the Mozilla offices in Mountain View, California
      • Firefox 4.0 Removes The Statusbar But Adds A New Add-on Bar; New Stand-Alone Profile Manager On The Way

        Just when I though Firefox 4 is finally coming together, the latest Firefox 4 nightly brings a so called “Add-on bar” which is just like the old statusbar which Mozilla has been trying to deprecate with the recent changes (links and progress bar in the location bar), only bigger.

      • Firefox for Android Is Growing Up Fast

        This most recent nightly build of Firefox for Android fixes most of the performance issues. Wired.com still doesn’t fare too well (probably our fault), but surfing the rest of the web is much more pleasant in the new Fennec. Scrolling and the pinch-zoom gesture are about as fast as Android’s stock WebKit browser. Page rendering is a touch slower in Fennec than in the Android browser, but we can expect that to improve.

        As with the previous releases, Fennec syncs up with your other versions of Firefox, so your history, Awesomebar searches, auto-fill form data and passwords will be the same as you move from desktop to mobile and back again throughout your day. Another cool feature is the unique side-to-side swipe action, which brings up menus for things like tabs, bookmarks and settings. It minimizes the browser chrome and leaves more screen real estate for web pages.

        Since taking a screenshot on the Nexus One is still a total chore, I shot this video of Fennec in action. Sorry about my massive thumbs.

      • Mozilla Seabird phone is full of good ideas

        If you want a phone today that will impress your friends and give you bags of functionality to play with, then there’s an iPhone or one of the many Android handsets from HTC. But in the future, I hope we have the option of using the Mozilla Seabird phone.

        The video above is for a concept phone created by Mozilla community member Billy May. It was Billy’s concept when Mozilla asked for ideas for an Open Web Concept Phone early last year. But he kept working on it to produce a phone that incorporates a number of new features that make a lot of sense and that no other phone currently has.

      • Mozilla Seabird agitates for better mobile phones

        Mozilla doesn’t plan to build a mobile phone, but it’s hoping a new labs project called the Seabird unveiled yesterday will spur others to improving the ever more important devices.


  • Project Releases

    • Oracle unveils open-source database MySQL 5.5 release candidate

      Oracle has unveiled MySQL 5.5 release candidate, an open-source database, which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), with enhancements in performance and scalability, availability and usability.

    • Codec 2
    • Ghostscript 9.0 supports ICC profiles
    • Ruby-in-Ruby Rubinius 1.1 released

      The BSD licensed release 1.1 is the first feature since May’s release of 1.0, and includes performance improvements, better Ruby compatibility and bug fixes. The new features include, JIT block in-lining and a new GIL (Global Interpreter Lock) algorithm for better performance and reliability, support for dbm, sdbm and gdbm extensions and bad extension detection. A full list of new features and fixes is available in the 1.1 announcement.Ruby-in-Ruby Rubinius 1.1 released

    • PacketFence NAC 1.9.1 released

      The GPL licensed PacketFence 1.9.1 is considered ready for production use and is available for downloading from the PacketFence web site as source or RPMs for RHEL5. Installation, Administration and Developers guides are all available to download as PDF files.

  • Government

    • Get going already! On the dire state of Free Software and Open Standards in the UK’s public sector

      According to Mark Taylor of Sirius IT, 80% of government IT spending in the UK goes to only five companies. The comparable figures in the US are ca. 50%, and 20% in the Netherlands. This means that the UK’s market for IT services is enormously centralised, with very little competition. Or, as one speaker put it: “Proprietary software companies just love doing business here in the UK, because the margins are great.”

      The new government may just shake things up a bit, though mostly inadvertently so. To combat Britain’s massive deficit, government organisations are facing brutal budget cuts of about 30%, so everyone is currently scrambling to identify possible savings.

      While this might lead some IT departments to think about using more Free Software, the big stumbling block is the lack of an Open Standards policy. Without it, anyone attempting a desktop migration will continue to be affected by the lock-in of that blights the public sector.

    • It’s time to turn on the ‘freedom’

      With software that creates federated web services, where data is not put on centralised servers but in dispersed virtual servers or even pocket servers, and the ‘Freedom Box’ that allows lay users to run their own servers, the ‘Free Software’ movement is on the right track. Dismissing those who decree the Free Software movement irrelevant, Moglen explains that the Free Software or GNU/Linux empowered ‘clients’ against their masters by providing technically superlative alternatives to proprietary software. “We put the freedom in everything. Now is the time to build on this platform for free software to achieve social results. It’s time to turn on the freedom.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Versus Individual Rights In Networked Culture

      It is true that the modes for executing and building a system are just as important as the systems goals, but should we consider the extensions of such a system beyond the Wikipedia community itself, for if this information often guides assumptions in everyday vernacular, how does the populist approach of Wikipedia subvert individual knowledge?

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Hardware: What’s It All About?

        Open hardware is rapidly evolving from a curiosity to a sound business practice. As Phillip Torrone says, “Hardware seems to be in the same state software was in the 1980s; lots of commercial developers, very few open source developers (or like the 1970s when only a few had computers at all). We’d like to see the world of hardware when there are millions of developers.” Now is an excellent time to dive in.

      • Bug Labs Open Source Hardware on Verizon’s ODI

        Other developers that spoke with RWH indicated the major attraction of the “open” approach is the ability to gain access to hardware without the fear of certification woes by trying to build in 3G (or 4G). A common thread to this discussion was a desire to see if adding in sensors of various kinds was possible or how it might react in different types of network scenarios that were 3G networks or having a mix of Ethernet, WiFi, and 3G in an easily transported form factor.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open APIs bring business opportunities

      It’s been argued that developers are increasingly becoming kingmakers in the software industry. The impact of this can be seen particularly in the middleware market, where software vendors have reconsidered pricing and source code availability in an effort to attract developers to their platforms. But vendors are by no means alone in courting developer interest. Luckily, enterprises seeking to attract developers to their platforms can learn valuable lessons from the software industry.


  • Pixel Qi touts power-saving display for seven-inch tablets

    Pixel Qi claims it will begin sampling a seven-inch transflective LCD for tablet devices by the end of this year, and deliver the display in quantity during the first half of 2011. First touted more than a year ago, the company’s screens will offer both color and monochrome e-paper modes, and are said to require up to 80 percent less power of an ordinary display.

  • Marvell’s tri-core ARM chip has near-PS3-level graphics

    Yesterday, Marvell announced a whopper of a processor—the ARMADA 628. While most of the coverage so far has focused on the three A9-class processor cores, the craziest feature of this chip is its on-die GPU. The 628′s GPU can push 200 million triangles per second (MT/s); for some perspective, compare the Playstation 3′s GPU at 250MT/s This GPU, plus the three Sheeva PJ4 cores, means that you can put console-caliber gaming performance—1080p graphics and all—in a handheld.

  • Study: Data Loss Affects Nearly One-Third of Enterprises

    Nearly one-third of organizations with more than 1,000 employees were affected by data loss events in the past 12 months, according to a study recently released by cloud-focused security firm Proofpoint.

  • VideoEgg acquires Movable Type blogging software

    Video advertising expert VideoEgg has purchased Six Apart, creator of the Movable Type blogging tool, for an undisclosed sum. VideoEgg comments on the acquisition on its web site, saying “The Six Apart team adds a ton of new skills and technology that will enable us to serve advertisers and publishers much more effectively”. The merged companies will now operate under the name SAY Media.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Guest Post from Yves Smith: Goldman Sachs’ Glass Ceiling Remains Intact

      Three women filed a sex discrimination suit against Goldman seeking class action status. It has gotten some attention in the press and on the Web for not the best reasons, namely, the complaint recounts in some detail how one of the plaintiffs, Christina Chen-Oster, a convertible bonds sales rep, had had a colleague force himself on her after a business-related group outing to a strip club. When she reported it some time after the fact (the perp had asked her to keep it secret), she was increasingly ostracized and marginalized.

    • Another Ill-Informed Front Page Washington Post Editorial on Social Security

      The Washington Post ran another front page editorial calling for cuts to Social Security. The context was a discussion of the Republicans’ “Pledge to America.” The editorial complained that the plan did not include any concrete ways to deal with Social Security.

    • The GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’: a closer look at the details

      Why they are proposing it: In two words, the tea party. Throughout last year, GOP lawmakers heard activists at town hall meetings asking repeatedly if they had read the entire health-care bill (which ran nearly 2,000 pages) and how Congress had the authority to pass it.

    • Anthony Weiner confronts Goldline

      Weiner grew red-faced while slamming Scott Carter, executive vice president of Goldline International, for inaccurately portraying the value of the gold coins the company sells to its customers, many of whom hear about the company from its ads on Fox News and conservative talk radio shows. Several of the ads include the show hosts themselves explaining why buying from Goldline is a good investment.

    • Dems try to deflect voter anger toward Wall Street

      Then she started bashing Wall Street and saying her opponent is in the pockets of bankers who want to repeal financial regulations.

      Now, less than a month before ballots are distributed in Washington’s vote-by-mail election, Murray is apparently benefiting from some old-fashioned class warfare. She has gone from essentially being tied with challenger Dino Rossi to leading in the latest round of polls, proving that the 2010 Democratic campaign theme of linking the GOP to Wall Street greed can resonate with voters.

    • Volcker: Financial System Still at Risk

      Real Time Economics reports that former Fed Chair Paul Volcker ditched his prepared remarks at a Federal Reserve of Chicago event yesterday. In its stead, he opened fire on all of the corruption in banking and Wall Street.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Thailand activist arrested after #IAL2010 needs your support!

      Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai director was arrested at Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport.
      A Journalist and anti-censorship believer (@Jiew on twitter) was returning from the Conference “Internet at Liberty 2010: The Promise and Peril of Free Expression” held in Budapest.

      She leads an important news source for Thailand, a country with a growing record on internet censorship, as reported by OpenNet, human rights violations and actions against freedom of expression. Threatened voices has followed and mapped many arrests of Thailand digital activists, including Chiranuch’s previous arrest on 2009-2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Verizon CEO confirms plans for tiered data pricing

      We told you so. The Wall Street Journal has updated its recent article detailing disclosures from Verizon Wireless chief Ivan Seidenberg, and the latest news is as bad as it is predictable: VZW plans to consign unlimited data plans to the annals of history over the next four to six months, to be replaced by tiered, consumption-based pricing

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pushing the limits of imitations in Switzerland

      Now it seems that Migros may have overstepped some boundary. As the Tagesanzeiger reports (in German), the new line of ice cream “Jane & Mary”, a clear imitation of “Ben & Jerry”, will be modified once the current stock is sold. Brand holder Unilever must have made some legal threat that had some impact, but how is unclear. Migros does not need Unilever, being quite self-reliant, and there have been more blatant imitations in the past.

    • Speeding medical orogress: better coordination or less IP?
    • Copyrights

      • Introducing Nathan Yergler

        I’m Chief Technology Officer at Creative Commons (CC). My responsibilities include managing the team that builds the technical infrastructure behind Creative Commons legal tools. I’m also responsible for looking at ways Creative Commons technology can be applied, and how our experience and expertise with linked open data can be leveraged. Open educational resources are a core application of Creative Commons licenses, as they depend upon license interoperability to scale.

      • ACS:Law Email Database Leaked onto The Pirate Bay

        There appears to have been a serious data security breach on ACS:Law’s website today, as the website’s root directory was temporarily exposed for several hours. One of the files may have been a backup file of the website, which possibly included the firm’s email correspondence of solicitor Andrew Crossley.

        ACS:Law’s website was initially brought down a well organized Denial of Service (DoS) attack that also targeted the MPAA, RIAA, BPI, Aiplex, and Davenport Lyons websites. The ISP hosting ACS:Law’s website did the smart thing and suspended the account, preventing any further access to the site. However for some reason, the site became responsive again this morning, but not pointing to the typical ACS:Law website. Instead it pointed to ACS:Law’s root directory – and possibly a treasure trove of information. How the site became activated is unknown, but could present an cataclysmic data breach, as a torrent file claiming to be the internal email database of ACS:Law and solicitor Andrew Crossley has been posted to The Pirate Bay.

      • CRIA Goes To Washington

        As always, none of this is to say that Canada should not engage in copyright reform. It should. And as I note in the Toronto Star piece, I think there is much to like in Bill C-32 and if we can find a compromise on the digital lock issue, I believe it is a bill worth supporting. That said, Canada needs to reform its laws based facts and the national interest, not lobbying trips designed to embarrass the country into changing its laws.

      • An Email From a Reader

        It seems to be a suggestion that the ability to claim for copyright infringement should be available, not just to the author, but anybody who might find it useful as a tool for censorship.

Clip of the Day boot messages

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 24/9/2010: Red Hat Passes $40.00, GNU/Linux ‘Laptop Assault’ on Apple, Microsoft

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The real problem with Java in Linux distros

    Java is not a first-class citizen in Linux distributions. We generally have decent coverage for Java libraries, but lots of Java software is not packaged at all, or packaged in alternate repositories. Some consider that it’s because Linux distribution developers dislike Java and prefer other languages, like C or Python. The reality is slightly different.


    There are a few other issues I didn’t mention in this article, to concentrate on the “distributing distributions” aspect. The tarball distributions don’t play nice with the FHS, forcing you to play with symlinks to try to keep both worlds happy (and generally making both unhappy). Maven encourages projects to pick precise versions of libraries and stick to them, often resulting in multiple different versions of the same library being used in a given project. Java code tends to build-depend on hundreds of obscure libraries, transforming seemingly-simple packaging work into a man-year exponential effort. Finally, the same dependency inflation issue makes it a non-trivial engagement to contractually support all the dependencies (and build dependencies) of a given software (like Canonical does for software in the Ubuntu main repository).

  • A Failed Migration to GNU/Linux

    Munich had some of the same problems but they kept working and are arriving late but under-budget. Munich discovered they had more problems than the OS, a fragmented IT system barely able to interoperate with itself. They used their extra time to tune everything up. GNU/Linux is now icing on the cake, a solid cake filled with fuit and nuts, not an “air-cake”. Solothurn, it seems, had similar problems it did not address. The cause of the failure was a failure to plan portable/open-standards-based IT in the first place and not fixing the problems first.

    The one thing I have learned about IT is that a migration to GNU/Linux is always possible and worthwhile in the long run. Sometimes it is a long run because there are so many problems but fixing one problem at a time works. You can either fix the whole system in a provably-correct method developed in advance in detail or you can fix one problem at a time as fast as you can do it. If you always opt for open standards, the end-result will be the same but the latter will cost you a lot less time and energy and money. Trying to keep closed systems and lock-in is a recipe for disaster sooner or later.

    GNU/Linux sets you free. Just do it.

  • Desktop

    • Why is Dell UK Making it so Difficult?

      Remember IdeaStorm – “Where Your Ideas Reign” – Dell’s brave venture into the scary world of crowdsourcing? Amazingly, it’s still going, although it doesn’t seem to be the hive of activity it once was. One of the reasons why IdeaStorm was so important was that it allowed people to voice one of their key requests to the company: to be able to buy GNU / Linux-based systems. To its credit, Dell listened, and started selling them.


      If you go to Dell UK’s site, the front page has nary a mention of Ubuntu or Linux. If you use the search box, there are some hits for Ubuntu – mostly netbooks, but a few other systems too. Excitingly, some of these systems even mentioned Ubuntu 9.10 in the technical specifications. However, when I tried to buy these systems, the “Customise” feature did not include an Ubuntu option (sometimes I received the ominous message “The page you requested may no longer exist on Dell.com”.)

    • 10 must-have Linux desktop enhancements

      Compiz is to the Linux desktop as HiDef is to the world of television. Is it necessary? Not at all. Will it enhance your experience? Absolutely. Compiz is a compositing window manager that adds tons of functionality to the desktop — from the stellar Desktop Cube to the various window switchers and everything in between, on top, on bottom, and around the corner. If you haven’t experienced Compiz, you have no idea what the PC desktop can really do.

  • Applications

    • Collection of 18 Popular APT & DPKG Tips for Debian and Ubuntu

      This is a guide containing the most popular and useful ways of using the APT and DPKG commands, and it applies to both Ubuntu and Debian (and their derivatives). I mentioned where super user privileges are required, the ones without a mention can be executed as normal user. If you’re using Ubuntu, precede a command with sudo in order to gain root privileges (and enter your user password); on Debian, type su, enter the root password, and then type in the commands as shown below.

    • 7 of the Best Free Linux Photo Management Software

      One of the biggest culprits of a cluttered hard disk are images taken with a digital camera. This device enable users to take literally hundreds or even thousands of photos storing them on a single small memory device. The photos are then transferred to a computer hard disk for sharing with family and friends, editing, and to print to a photo printer or one of the many online digital photo printing services.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • HOWTO: Adjust your monitor backlight from command line in Linux
      • 10 useful video Tutorials for Gimp users
      • Ubuntu on the HTC HD2

        The HTC Linux community now offers their second built of Ubuntu for the HD2. At the moment, there are drivers for the touchscreen, the Wi-Fi and the phone including 3G communication. There is, however, no audio driver and therefore no sound, even not in calls. It also includes USB host drivers, which support mass storage, audio and networking devices.

        On my phone, the boot process lasts 86 seconds until the desktop and its icons appear. The build uses its own Wi-Fi software (Wicd). You can switch between portait and landscape mode and access the Micro SD card. There is also an onscreen keyboard for text inputs.

  • Distributions

    • Open source for designing next-generation digital hearing aids

      At 64 Studio, we use the Linux kernel with real-time patches to ensure reliable, glitch-free I/O for our customers’ demanding audio applications. Having source code and full control over the design of the system means that we can tweak the machine for the best possible performance on the target hardware. Typically, our end users are in the “pro audio” market–music production, recording, or broadcast. When an audio engineer switches on their new mixing desk, they probably don’t realise that it’s actually an embedded GNU/Linux device, albeit one that weighs a few hundred times as much as their Android phone.

      Recently, we’ve been working on a rather different product which makes use of the same real-time Linux features that pro audio users already enjoy. We’d presented our work on real-time audio for mobile devices at the Linux Audio Conference in Parma, Italy in 2009. Following that presentation, we had an enquiry from Giso Grimm, a researcher on hearing augmentation algorithms at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. The trouble with designing next-generation digital hearing aids is that optimization and hardware miniaturisation are very expensive. If you pick a sub-optimal algorithm and build it into a hearing aid, you’ve just wasted a lot of money on a product that won’t deliver. So researchers at the Haus des Hörens R&D facility in Oldenburg field test new algorithms on standard PC hardware, using a specialized multi-channel USB audio interface with I/O cables that connect to ear pieces.

      Using a general-purpose operating system in place of highly optimized hardware presents a potential performance challenge. The PCs can run either GNU/Linux or Windows, but fortunately the real-time Linux kernel delivers better latency performance than Windows can. In a digital audio context, latency means the delay imposed by processing on the sound that the user hears. We can get away with a few milliseconds of delay, but if latency is too high, the brain begins to notice. The effect of excessive latency is not unlike watching a badly-dubbed movie, in which the lips of the actors are out of sync with the words; clearly, this would be unacceptable in a hearing aid field test.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Talks Turkey With The Motley Fool

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) just knocked the cover off another quarterly report, and the market is sitting up to take notice.

        In the second quarter of fiscal 2011, the inveterate Linux vendor reported 20% stronger sales year over year and roughly flat earnings; improving business conditions led management to raise guidance significantly. The stock reacted strongly to the news and is one of the biggest gainers on the market today. In fact, Red Hat is trading at 10-year highs now and looks set to run even higher.

        If you bought Red Hat when I told you to act on a temporary dip six months ago, you’re sitting on a 40% gain today. Over the same time period, that beats even fellow high-tech highfliers like Informatica (Nasdaq: INFA), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), or nearly any other market darling. Not bad for a company that makes a living selling software you can get for free.

      • Options Update for Red Hat (RHT)

        Shares of Red Hat gained $3.32 (+9.03%) to $40.07. The stock closed at $36.75 in the last trading session and today the shares of RHT opened at $39.33. So far today, the stock has hit a low of $39.33 and high of $41.48.

      • Fast Money Picks For September 24th (GLD, PBR, RHT, RAI, CREE)

        Guy Adami thinks that it is time to take the profits in Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT). Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) spiked 9.03% today.

      • Red Hat CEO Talks Turkey With The Motley Fool

        “We’re not selling software, right? The software is free,” Whitehurst said. “We have to add value around the software, beyond the software. The point is, are your applications certified? Is EMC (NYSE: EMC) certified to work with that? All of that work goes into taking the open-source development model and making that into an enterprise-class, stable ecosystem that’s just gonna work.”

        Whitehurst continued: “We recognize that we don’t sell functionality because that’s free. We’re adding value around that. That’s important, and I think that’s missed by a lot of people.”

    • Debian Family

      • debian-main
      • Loving Squeeze
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Taking a Step Back With Fresh Eyes

          this report structure (an example of which is here for the Translations method of contribution), and I have asked the following people to lead this assessment process in these different types of contribution:

          * Total Beginner (this is people who are entirely new to Ubuntu in the first place) – Jorge Castro
          * Translations – David Planella
          * Packaging – Daniel Holbach
          * Documentation – Matthew East
          * Advocacy – Laura Czajkowski
          * Support – TBC
          * Art – Martin Owens
          * Quality – Ara Pulido
          * Server – Ahmed Kamal

        • Popper – Feature-filled e-Mail notification applet for Ubuntu

          E-mail notification on the desktop has come a long way from the quaint era of ‘keeping an ear out for some faint sound effect’ to herald the arrival of new mail.

        • Track Your Apps Usage Patterns in Ubuntu Using Wakoopa

          Wakoopa is an online service which has a local tracker client specifically for Windows, Mac and Linux users. It tracks your usage of different applications and gives you a detailed picture of how you used it, your most used apps etc. And based on your usage patterns, Wakoopa even recommends new applications you might want to check out.

        • Ubuntu 9.04 reaches end-of-life on October 23, 2010

          Ubuntu announced its 9.04 release almost 18 months ago, on April 23, 2009. As with the earlier releases, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 18 months. The support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 9.04 will reach end of life on Friday, October 23, 2010. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Bugzilla 3.4 for maemo.org

          I posted this to the maemo community mailing-list before, but I guess it’s worth blogging, too. The long awaited Bugzilla 3.4 for bugs.maemo.org landed in trunk, including maemo.org specific customizations (avoiding it where possible) and a maemo.org skin for a (somewhat) consistent branding.

      • Android

        • Jorno Pocket Folding Keyboard for Android Unveiled

          Ever tried writing a full blog post via your mobile device? I have, and I quickly gave up. I am sure we can all agree that typing on mobile devices isn’t always the easiest task. If you find yourself typing a lot on your phone while on the move then check out this gadget.

        • TrackDropper for Android combines geocaching and music ‘piracy’

          TrackDropper, or ‘Piracy’, is a tiny, open-source Android app that is a proof of concept more than anything else. In essence, it is simply geocaching but with digital music files.

          Like geocaching, TrackDropper lets you leave something in a place that you’ve visited — but instead of a keepsake in a Tupperware box, you leave digital tracks in a virtual space. Other TrackDropper users can then visit the location of your musical ‘booty’ and listen to it — and leave another song in its place! There’s a cute video of it in action after the break.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google prepares laptop assault on Apple, Microsoft

        Having shaken up the mobile phone market, Google is now preparing to compete head-on with Apple and Microsoft in laptop computers with a range of Google-based “netbooks” due out this year.

        Glen Murphy, the Australian lead designer on Google’s Chrome operating system (OS) and web browser projects, said the first Chrome computers would go on sale this year. The big vendors have signed up including Samsung, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and HP.

Free Software/Open Source

  • “Open Source” is not a Verb; thoughts on Diaspora

    Diaspora isn’t screwed because the open source community is unreliable or unknowledgable. Diaspora is screwed because there isn’t just one open source community: communities develop around individual projects. And Diaspora blew the best chance they had to have an engaged, active community, today.

  • Are We Entering the Golden Age of Forks?

    There are two reasons why this is a wise course of action. First, it sends the right signal to the open source community – including those who might be engaged on other projects that are currently supported by the company in question. Oracle’s high-handed approach to open source is fast making it Public Enemy Number 1 as far as free software is concerned (yes, even relegating Microsoft to second place). This means that people working on the MySQL or OpenOffice.org projects are going to be far warier, and more distrustful of the company’s moves in future.

  • Events

    • Brussels – 14 and 15 October 2010

      This international plugfest is jointly organized by the Federal State, the Regions and Communities of Belgium. The event will be held in Brussels on the 14th and 15th of October 2010. The conference room in the “Boudewijn”-building – kindly provided by the Flemish Government – is conveniently located near the Brussels-North railway station.

  • Web Browsers

    • New features for the Chrome Web Store developer preview: Google Checkout integration & previewing for your apps

      Starting today, you can sign up for a Google Checkout merchant account via your developer dashboard. If you’re planning to use Chrome Web Store Payments to charge for apps, you’ll need to complete this setup before you can accept payments. If you already have a merchant account with Google Checkout, you’ll be able to associate it with your items in the store. Signing up for Chrome Web Store Payments is currently available to developers based in the US who have a US bank account. We’re working hard to also enable payments for international developers and will update you with a blog post once we have more details. If you have more questions about setting up your merchant account, see this help article we created.

    • Mozilla

      • Concept Series: Seabird – A Community-driven Mobile Phone Concept

        Since Mozilla Labs launched the Concept Series with an open call for participation we’ve had thousands of people join in, share ideas and develop concepts around Firefox, the Mozilla projects and the Open Web as a whole.

        In response to our open call Billy May, in early 2009, produced a throw-away concept for an “Open Web Concept Phone”. Working directly off of that community feedback, Billy has since finished the exploration with his concept “Seabird”.

      • 8 essential privacy extensions for Firefox

        hey say privacy doesn’t exist on the Web — but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to safeguard your personal information. Our computers are loaded with details about our personal and business lives, and it’s definitely not acceptable to reveal them haphazardly. With hackers becoming ever more sophisticated, you have to take precautions.

  • Oracle

    • What Oracle has not learned about open source

      Oracle’s ambitions were on display all week in San Francisco, along with its proprietary attitude, best summed up by the adage “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is none of your business.”

  • Education

    • Open Services: Sustainable ICT for UK Schools

      Today sees the publication a report from NWLG CEO Gary Clawson on the savings that would follow from a move to open source, open services and open content in schools and across local authorities. Gary argues that a switch to open source and open content would offer 25% savings on IT spend with relative ease, with a further 30-35% if LAs looked seriously at re-modelling how ICT is implemented and supported. Across a local authority with some 20 secondaries and 120 primaries, this would amount to over £1.4M pa.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Barriers to open science: From big business to Watson and Crick

      Open science must be partnered with a strong accountability system, perhaps more formal than the “Internet-as-public-record” variety used to establish reputation in open source software development communities.

    • A collaborative proposal on research metrics

      The obvious answer is to make these things matter. Research funders have the most power here in that they have the power to influence behaviour through how they distribute resources. If the funder says something is important then the research community will jump to it. The problem of course it that in practice funders have to take their community with them. Radical and rapid change is not usually possible. A step in the right direction would be to provide funders and researchers with effective means of measuring and comparing themselves and their outputs. In particular means of measuring performance in previously funded activities.

  • Programming

    • Coders must reprogram how they write for Wall Street

      As high-performance computing (HPC) becomes more important in helping financial services companies deal with a rising tsunami of data, there’s growing angst on Wall Street about a dearth of skilled programmers who can write for multicore chip architectures and parallel computing systems.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

    Curiously, Cleese’s formula for creativity somewhat contradicts another recent theory put forth by historian Steven Johnson who, while discussing where good ideas come from, makes a case for the connected mind rather than the fenced off creative oasis as the true source of creativity.

  • Uzbekistan: In “The year of healthy generation” the mothers with little kids are sent for cotton works in Kokand

    On September 22, 2010 the staff members of the Kokand teachers college were informed that all of them will join the cotton picking campaign, including the women with little kids, the residents of Kokand informed Ferghana.Ru.

    “We face the lawlessness again – says one indignant woman in Kokand. – We already got used to the fact that we join the cotton picking campaign and get no money for our labor. This became a norm. Now we see new form of abuse: from now on the mothers with little children are required to pick the cotton! Who is going to take care of kids while we are working? What is the government motivated by? In the Soviet Union there never was such barbarism against the motherhood. All actions of local authorities here directly contradict the decisions of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The Kokand authorities commit the sabotage. How can we talk about the health of future generations when the mothers are sent to the cotton fields with little kids?”

  • Alleged ‘domain slammers’ lose dot-ca licence, sue CIRA $10 million

    The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is defending against a $10 million lawsuit after denying recertification to a registrar linked to a company that many Canadian domain name holders will be familiar with.

  • New crime bills on government agenda

    Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is maintaining his seemingly inexhaustible attacks against what the Conservatives perceive as weaknesses in Canada’s justice system with new crime bills this fall on top of nine pieces of legislation that remained when Parliament adjourned for the summer.

  • Šefčovič: ‘Debate on net recipients and contributors is unhealthy’
  • Facebook Is The New Microsoft – Rebooting Fixes The Outage

    Jokes abound regarding yesterday’s Facebook outage, but apparently like Microsoft’s Windows, rebooting is almost always the solution to the problem.

    Facebook was down yesterday for around two and a half hours. Ironically, the error was caused by an automatic error-correcting system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Food Commodities Report released by the UN

      The briefing note, which can be downloaded from the site of the UN’s Special Rapporteur’s on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, shows that a significant portion of the increases in price and volatility of essential food commodities can only be explained by the emergence of a speculative bubble.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tenants slapped with trespassing tickets by NYPD, but they were just going inside their own home

      A Brooklyn man standing in front of his apartment was hit with a trespassing ticket, even after cops watched him use his key to get inside.

      Lindsey Riddick, still fuming over the bizarre Aug. 18 incident, said he showed police his identification. And when he opened the door to the Flatbush home, his girlfriend and two daughters greeted him and then ran outside the apartment.

    • I want to support Bradley, but there’s no event in my area. What do I do?

      Supporters who aren’t near one of the 16 19 cities hosting events for our International Days of Action have been contacting us asking: what can we do? Should I book a flight to, say, Quantico?

      Don’t worry, supporters – you can still be part of the International Days of Action in support of alleged whistleblower and ethical human being Bradley Manning. You can do it from your own hometowns!

    • How to Record the Cops

      In the remaining 47 states, the law is clearer: It is generally legal to record the police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with them. You may be unfairly harassed, questioned, or even arrested, but it’s unlikely you will be charged, much less convicted. (These are general observations and should not be treated as legal advice.)

    • Operation Crackdown

      On Saturday the Daily Mail ran details of a bizarre operation being run by Sussex Police called ‘Operation Crackdown’.

      The basic premise of OC is that local people are encouraged to submit reports of ‘anti-social driving’ online.

    • Patients’ details lost on train by Hertfordshire doctor

      East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has been found in breach of data protection after a doctor lost a memory stick on a train.

      The junior doctor had recorded details of patients’ conditions and medication on the device and was meant to hand it over to the next doctor on shift.

      But the doctor forgot and lost the unencrypted device on the way home.

      The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said NHS trusts should not risk data breaches.

      The doctor informed the trust immediately after discovering the loss and an investigation was conducted.

    • NHS IT manager guilty of snooping on patient records

      Dale Trever, 22, allegedly looked at records on 431 occasions. All the records were of female patients.

    • Parents banned from children’s sports sessions in Coventry

      MUMS and dads are being stopped from watching their children play sport in Coventry.

      The ban affects dozens of after-school clubs and sports centre sessions for under-eights.

      Bosses at Coventry Sports Foundation, which runs the coaching lessons, say children need a more relaxing environment “without pressure from the sidelines”.

      They also say the ban is needed for ‘‘child protection’’ reasons.

    • ‘They asked me where Bin Laden was, then they took my DNA’

      Hundreds of British Muslims leaving and returning from holidays abroad face harassment and intimidation by security forces when they pass through UK airports and seaports, an investigation by The Independent has found.

      One man interrogated by police over his British credentials was asked whether he watched Dad’s Army, while another was questioned over the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

    • Italy to abandon airport body scanner project: report

      After a six-month test, Italy’s government will drop the use of full-body scanners for security checks in airports, judging them slow and ineffective, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

      The scanners in the airports of Rome, Venice and the southern city of Palermo are no longer in use and Milan’s airport is likely to stop using the machines in the near future.

    • Paul Chambers appeal

      I can also recommend this post on the New Statesman blog from David Allen Green, whose legal firm are providing pro bono assistance to Paul during his appeal.

      David rather sweetly equates Paul’s tweet with the words of one of England’s finest poets, John Betjeman.

      “Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!”

      Which, if nothing else, is the perfect way of demonstrating the complete and utter stupidity of Paul’s treatment and conviction.

      We hope Doncaster Crown Court see sense today.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Oil and the Turtles

      Every year, Rancho Nuevo, 900 miles southwest of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, sees a spectacular phenomenon: the arribada—mass nesting—of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, which has already neared extinction. This year, thousands of baby ridleys swam off toward a deadly new enemy.

    • The world’s lungs

      THE summer dry-season, now drawing to an end, is when the Amazon rainforest gets cut and burned. The smoke this causes can often be seen from space. But not this year. Brazil’s deforestation rate has dropped astoundingly fast. In 2004 some 2.8m hectares (10,700 square miles) of the Amazon were razed; last year only around 750,000 hectares were.

    • Have the climate wars begun?

      Inhabitants protest next to the coffin of Leoncio Fernandez, a demonstrator who died during clashes in Espinar, province of Cusco, in southern Peru. Peruvians are protesting against an irrigation project that would leave them with no water.

    • Building sand castles on Florida’s beaches is illegal, feds tell oil-hunting reporter

      Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes?

      According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed “illegal.”

      The officers’ legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.

    • Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead

      The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome.

      A meeting in China at the beginning of October is supposed to clear the way for Cancún. The hosts have already made it clear that it’s going nowhere: there are, a top Chinese climate change official explains, still “huge differences between developed and developing countries”. Everyone blames everyone else for the failure at Copenhagen. Everyone insists that everyone else should move.

    • Ecuador looks to its own people in the battle against climate change

      The environment minister is the redoubtable Maria Fernanda Espinoza, who is grappling with the contradictions of having a revolutionary new constitution that guarantees the rights of nature and all living entities, yet depends on vast oil reserves. She is adamant that Ecuador wants to find ways to get out of the petrol economy and invest in renewables to avoid climate change.

      One plan is to guarantee to leave nearly one billion barrels of oil – nearly 20% of the country’s reserves – in the ground if rich countries and individuals give them $3.6bn, half the oil’s value. The money from the Yasuni project would go to a UN-run fund to pay for national park conservation, as well as health and education. It would save nearly 400m tonnes of emissions and is being hailed as an innovative climate change solution.

    • Sinar Mas gets ultimatum from RSPO over palm oil and deforestation

      At last, the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is threatening action following the release last month of the independent audit commissioned by Sinar Mas, which showed that the company had been breaking Indonesian law and RSPO rules.

      Yesterday, the RSPO uploaded to its website a statement confirming that they were taking Sinar Mas to task. However, before that happened they accidentally uploaded the letters they’d sent to Sinar Mas. These were strongly worded and pointed out that significant breaches of the RSPO’s principles and criteria had been made by several Sinar Mas companies holding RSPO membership.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Zombie cookie wars: evil tracking API meant to “raise awareness”

      Kamkar’s API comes just days after a lawsuit was filed against a company for making use of the HTML5 Web SQL database storage capabilities that come with Safari, Chrome, and Opera. First exposed by Ars Technica, this particular company (Ringleader Digital) made an effort to keep a persistent user ID even when the user deleted cookies and their HTML5 databases, telling Ars that the only way to opt out of the tracking was to use the company’s opt-out link (which gives the user no confirmation that they are, in fact, opted out.)

      Then there are a number of previous lawsuits over zombie Flash cookies, which have the same goal when it comes to user tracking. They don’t want you to delete their info, so they work around it by storing the data in multiple places and restoring it once you delete.

      While Internet users wait for software to protect against such extensive tracking, Kamkar did point out that the safe browsing mode in many browsers will probably help for now. “I found that using ‘Private Browsing’ in Safari stops all evercookie methods,” he said.

    • FBI misled Justice about spying on peace group

      There was a time in the 1960s when the FBI’s illegal surveillance of left-wing groups seemed, and maybe even was, sinister if not broadly menacing. Parts of today’s Justice Department report on its more recent activities, however, evoke that old saw about history repeating itself as farce.

      The Inspector General’s report covered a number of FBI targets following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: an antiwar rally in Pittsburgh; a Catholic peace magazine; a Quaker activist; and members of the environmental group Greenpeace as well as of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

    • Strict curfew silences media in Kashmir

      Very strict curfew enforcement in several cities in Kashmir since 12 September has had a dramatic effect on the free flow of news and information and the ability of journalists to work. Several local publications and regional TV stations are paralysed because their personnel cannot leave their homes and several reporters have been beaten by police.

      A total of 94 people have been killed since the violence and unrest erupted in Kashmir last June.

      “Trying to maintain order should not be confused with preventing the media from working,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Jammu and Kashmir state authorities and the security forces that are enforcing the curfew are failing to consider the importance of the local media’s work, or else there is an undeclared intention to prevent Kashmir’s media from operating during the protests.”

    • Statement on Tibet at the Human Rights Council

      Human Rights Watch is concerned about the situation of the Tibetan minority nationality in the People’s Republic of China as they continue to be the target of systematic governmental repression. The Chinese government continues to drastically restrict access to the Tibetan areas of China aside from a handful of closely-supervised government-organized tours for selected international media or foreign diplomats.

      In a new report issued on July 2010, Human Rights Watch documented the widespread abuses committed by Chinese security forces in suppressing the Spring 2008 wave of Tibetan protests. Human Rights Watch does not dispute that the Chinese government has the duty to maintain public order and prosecute violent protesters, and that a number of incidents in 2008 involved violence or had the potential to devolve into violence. Yet the report also found that Chinese security forces had used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality during and after the protests.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC approves Super WiFi

      When spectrum is sold, by contrast, only one company and its suppliers can innovate use of the spectrum. Manufacturers who want to improve service have to go through the spectrum owner, as a gatekeeper, and must deliver the same stuff across the network before service improves. A large investment is also required of the spectrum owner to improve service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mobile music service rejects Canada, blames fees

        But in Canada, the idea is barely getting off the ground, and one of the biggest players in the industry is blaming royalties sought by major record labels.

        “These rates … are astronomical,” Tim Westergren, founder of California-based Pandora wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

        “As long as rights societies take this approach, they will prevent Pandora from launching to Canadian users.”

      • Opinion: Bill C-32 heads to committee in a volatile political climate

        The resulting change was highly prejudicial to recording musicians and to the great benefit of the record companies that control the RIAA. The amendment was later repealed under intense pressure from performing musicians such as Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and Courtney Love. The staffer in question was subsequently hired by the RIAA.

      • MPAA: ACTA’s censoring firewalls will help governments avoid Wikileaks embarrassments

        The MPAA has updated one of its more ridiculous pro-censorship arguments; five years ago, they were telling lawmakers that blocking P2P would help block child pornography. Now they’ve presented at an information meeting in Mexico on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret, far-reaching copyright treaty that contains provisions for China-style censoring firewalls for every country. The MPAA wants these national firewalls to block sites like The Pirate Bay, but the case they’ve made to lawmakers for it is: “Bring in a censoring firewall to block piracy and you can use it to shut off sites that embarrass your government, like Wikileaks.”

        You can almost imagine the MPAA rep dry-washing his hands and licking his lips like a grand vizier manipulating a gullible sultan as he utters these words. During the Bush years, the MPAA recruited a bunch of Republican stalwart, ultra-conservative foot-soldiers (one of them told me that he believed in the Young Earth and Creationism). I can imagine that if you’re one of these square-jawed rock-ribbed types, you could believe that the government had the right to cover up murder and torture by blocking Wikileaks.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: A new obstacle for human rights?

          This paper shows how the negotiations of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, have become the emblem of the maximum protection approach of intellectual property rights (IPR), reversing the public interest approach that underpinned IPR originally. It argues that if such a vision is realized, through ambiguous rhetoric and aggressive negotiating strategies, it could lead to a new international institutional framework that will hinder the realization of human rights.

        • ACTA Negotiations – Start September 23rd, No Firm End Date

          Open Rights Group met with UK officials on ACTA this week and reports that negotiations on the next round will begin next week in Tokyo.

        • ACTA: Game Over?

          The Tokyo round of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has just begun. It could be the last one before the signature of the final agreement. The text, which is now close to completion, remains an alarming threat on fundamental freedoms online, and could lead to the generalization of anti-democratic legislation and governance.

Clip of the Day

Mozilla Seabird 2D

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 23/9/2010: Red Hat Inc. Climbs, FCC Adopts Drupal

Posted in News Roundup at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache hits millionth commit milestone

    A change to Apache Software Foundation’s SOLR, a sub-project of Apache Lucene, which added “full parameter substitution for function queries” became the millionth commit made to the Apache Software Foundation’s repository.

  • A Brief History: 35 Years of Open Source Software

    In this resources series I will focus on some great resources I have found doing research for my new startup StackFu.

  • 5 Tips for Aspiring Web App Developers

    So, you’re not content with just using the social web; you want to be part of building it, too.

    As a budding or beginning web app developer, you’ve got a difficult but rewarding path ahead of you. You have to master (or at least attempt to master) the intricacies of OOP and scripting languages, learn to build web apps the hard way (practice, practice, practice), and network your way into a few job opportunities. You must also decide whether you’d like to work as a solo/consultant/freelancer, a startup employee or founder, or a rank-and-file developer at an established company.


    By far the most oft-repeated words of advice we heard from masters of the web dev trade were these: Put in some time on open-source projects. The hands-on experience will challenge you, educate you and help you build your body of work.

    Aside from code for code’s sake, open source projects are a good way to meet other devs and do some networking. You’ll have the opportunity to work with people who are much more skilled and experienced than you are yet; take full advantage of this situation and be a sponge.

    SourceForge and GitHub and good places to start looking for open source projects that appeal to you; also, as you follow various blogs around the web and see what projects might need a few extra hands. Sites like Code for America and organizations such as the Mozilla Foundation are always looking for good developers with free time.

    Finally, when working on open source apps, not only will you get great practice and be able to learn from some really excellent engineers; you’ll also be giving back to the community. As some would say, creating and sharing free and open-source software is one of the best things you can do to help your neighbors as a developer.

  • Events

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • Why exercise won’t make you thin

      Got a few pounds to lose? Cancel the gym membership. An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight. A result for couch potatoes, yes, but also one that could have serious implications for the government’s long-term health strategy

  • Business

    • StatusNet Launches Cloud Service Premium Plans

      StatusNet Inc. today released premium features for its StatusNet Cloud service. The 30,000 networks currently running on the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform may upgrade today to get additional features and further control.

  • Project Releases

    • SOGo 1.3.2 Final released

      The Inverse Team [External] is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SOGo 1.3.2. This is a minor release of SOGo which focuses on small new features and improved stability over previous versions.

  • Government

    • Secure WebOS Application Delivery Environment

      webinos is an EU-funded project aiming to deliver a platform for web applications across mobile, PC, home media (TV) and in-car devices.

    • IT: Italian regional administrations republishing proprietary software as open source

      The administration of the region of Basilicata in southern Italy, on behalf of all the Italian Regions, will republish as open source ‘Piattaforma Experience’ (Experience Platform), software to help monitor hydraulic and geohydrological risks. The software will most likely be published using the European Union’s open source licence (European Union Public Licence, EUPL).

    • Government pleas for open source business cases

      Open Source has the full support of one member of the Government’s IT management, but he has asked for more business cases to show how it can save the Coalition cash.

      Bill McCluggage, deputy chief information officer (CIO) for the Government, used his keynote at today’s 360 IT event at Earls Court to outline future plans for Government IT, and one of his first ports of call was open source.

      “We do operate in an environment where open source is used but it is only a minority,” he claimed, admitting our European counterparts were more advanced when it comes to adoption.

      “Our view there is… we can go heavily into specifying open standards… opening the way for open source to get in.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A Buzz between Rural Cooperation and the Online Swarm

      This article introduces and explores connections between rural traditions and contemporary projects of voluntary cooperation within emergent online network practices. The key examples are mainly from Finland, the Baltic Sea region, and USA. Reflections are made on the emergence of such connections during a trans-disciplinary seminar organised by the author. The main body of the essay mixes social and network culture history, including rural village community support, known as “talkoot” in the Finnish language, its establishment within cooperative development during the 20th century, and the information communications and technology society of contemporary Finland. Discussions of collaborative web platforms such as wikis, the BitTorrent protocol, and “crowd-sourcing” open up questions considering their relation to older cultural traditions. The paper concludes with contemporary examples of where traditions of rural cooperation have conceptually assisted several Finnish entrepreneurial and activist projects. Throughout the paper “the swarm” is identified as a concept worth exploring further to illustrate where the expansive potential of network culture meets concentrated local action.

    • GROUND LAB Part 2: Open source and the manufacturing shift

      The second major contextual situation that has influenced our company is the shift of manufacturing out of the US. With this shift, the US market is starting to lack the influence of American middle class spending habits. The general consuming structures of Fordism will apply less and less to the US market and therefore the R&D, design, and arts industries will also either move their nexuses to China or drastically change shape. This is because what the “creative class” is making product for is the language of the US consumer, and the current product language will be less and less profitable as the buying power of the people who speak the language decreases as the world’s consumer market shifts.

    • Open Data

      • Making OpenCharities even better… more features, more data, more charities

        We’ll also add some simple functionality to show payments from local councils that’s being published in the local council spending data. The information’s already in the database (and is actually shown on the OpenlyLocal page for the charity); I just haven’t got around to displaying it on OpenCharities yet. Expect that to appear in the next day or so.


  • Friended for $100 Million

    Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.

  • A Digital Media Primer for Geeks

    This first video from Xiph.Org presents the technical foundations of modern digital media via a half-hour firehose of information. One community member called it “a Uni lecture I never got but really wanted.”

    The program offers a brief history of digital media, a quick summary of the sampling theorem, and myriad details of low level audio and video characterization and formatting. It’s intended for budding geeks looking to get into video coding, as well as the technically curious who want to know more about the media they wrangle for work or play.

  • Cognitive Slaves

    The companies that have created the most new value in the last decade, are Internet companies like Facebook, Google, etc. They’ve created hundreds of billions in value. Good for them, but bad for us.

    Why? IF these companies represent the most valuable new industry of the early 21st Century, where are the jobs that will provide prosperity for millions today, and potentially tens of millions in the future? They don’t exist. These companies create few real jobs.

  • China rethinks its controversial one-child policy

    China’s one-child policy, probably the most audacious exercise in social engineering the world has ever seen, could be up for review, as Beijing policymakers worry about the effects of a population ageing fast, with insufficient numbers of youngsters to support them.

    There is speculation that a gradual rollback of the policy – first imposed 31 years ago – will start next year with pilot schemes in the five provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

  • Science

    • My bright idea: humans found a nicer way to evolve

      Most popular accounts of evolution stress the innate selfishness of the process. Species change because individuals are driven by a blind urge to thrive at the expense of others, it is claimed. Frans de Waal begs to differ.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • “New Order, Same Abuses”: Amnesty Condemns Iraq for Holding 30,000 Prisoners Without Trial

      Amnesty International is condemning Iraq for holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without trial, including 10,000 prisoners who were recently transferred from US custody.

    • A Tea Party Foreign Policy

      As one who is opposed to centralization, I am wary of attempts to turn a grassroots movement against big government like the Tea Party into an adjunct of the Republican Party. I find it even more worrisome when I see those who willingly participated in the most egregious excesses of the most recent Republican Congress push their way into leadership roles of this movement without batting an eye — or changing their policies!

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Why the single currency’s fallen off the Lib Dems’ agenda

      In the days before they were gung ho about the need for spending cuts, the Liberal Democrats used to be equally gung ho about the need for Britain to join the single currency. Indeed, Danny Alexander, the Treasury minister wielding the spending axe, was the spin doctor for Britain in Europe, the pressure group dedicated to seeing that the pound was scrapped.

      To be fair, Alexander was not alone. All the other Lib Dem big guns – Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, Vince Cable – were as insistent then that failure to join monetary union would be an error of historic proportions, as they are insistent now that there is no alternative to austerity.

    • IMF poised to send permanent officials to Greece

      The International Monetary Fund is to dispatch permanent officials to Athens, amid mounting speculation that the emergency aid programme currently propping up debt-stricken Greece will have to be prolonged.

      Although widely praised for implementing the toughest austerity measures in post-war history, the Greek government also faces growing criticism over the pace of reforms agreed in return for a €110bn (£90bn) EU and IMF-sponsored rescue package in May.

    • UN: Number of hungry people declines

      FAO director-general Jacques Diouf attends a press conference in Rome, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. The estimated number of chronically hungry people in the world dipped considerably below the 1 billion mark, thanks in part to a drop in food prices from the spikes that sparked rioting just a few years ago, U.N. agencies said Tuesday. They cautioned that the estimate, the first drop in 15 years, is no cause for celebration since there are still an estimated 925 million undernourished people on the planet. A report by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that there are 98 million fewer than in 2009, when the estimate just topped the 1 billion figure.

    • OECD predicts America will escape double-dip recession

      The United States will experience a slow, jobless recovery from its deepest and longest downturn since the 1930s but will avoid a double-dip recession, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said today.

      In its annual health check of the world’s biggest economy, the Paris-based OECD said that it expected activity to expand by 2.6% in both 2010 and 2011 without having a marked impact on the country’s near double-digit jobless rate.

    • Lauderdale man’s home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake


      When Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home in December, he paid cash. But seven months later, he was surprised to learn that Bank of America had foreclosed on the house, even though Grodensky did not have a mortgage.

      Grodensky knew nothing about the foreclosure until July, when he learned that the title to his home had been transferred to a government-backed lender. “I feel like I’m hanging in the wind and I’m scared to death,” said Grodensky. “How did some attorney put through a foreclosure illegally?”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Iraq: Stop Blocking Demonstrations

      Iraqi authorities should stop blocking peaceful demonstrations and arresting and intimidating organizers, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi security forces should also respect the right of free assembly and use only the minimum necessary force when violence occurs at a protest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gallo report: European Parliament U-turns on users rights

      The European Parliament has reneged on its previous position to protect users rights against 3-strikes/graduated response for copyright enforcement with a vote endorsing the Gallo report.

      To make matters worse, the French media has exposed how the European Parliament was informed by rights-holder lobbying which included the name of at least one dead person.

    • Stallman calls for end to ‘war on sharing’

      Stallman called digital rights management (DRM) technologies “malware” that could monitor usage and said they were “explicitly designed to do things to the detriment of users”.

      Using software-as-a-service (SaaS) was the same as using non-free software, he said, because users did not have access to the source code or executable file.

      “SaaS means that instead of doing your computing in your own computer, you do it by sending the relevant data to someone else’s computer,” he said.

    • Stallman calls for an end to file sharing war

      Open sauce guru Richard Stallman has called for everyone to get off file sharing’s case and has come up with some weirdie beardie advice as to how the entertainment industry can make money without charging anyone.

      According to IT News, Stallman claimed that artists and musicians were “not entitled to” compensation from listeners, but governments could introduce a tax to support their work.

      Stallman seems to think that Governments have piles of dosh to give away to rock stars. Arts are usually the first to get the chop in government restructuring as “more important things” such as education, health and science usually get the dough.

    • Stallman: End The File Sharing War

      Richard Stallman, an American freedom activist who founded the Free Software Foundation and pioneered the concept of copyleft has thrashed anti piracy outfits and said it’s time to give file sharers a break and put the problem to bed.

      Stallman, who has long been involved with openness and is the main author of the most widely, used software license (GNU General Public License), hit out at anti piracy outfits and called for an end to the file sharing war. He even came up with some advice on how he thinks the problem could be solved for all involved.

    • Copyrights

      • A Big Win for the Internet

        Today a federal court in Madrid dismissed charges of copyright infringement against YouTube. This decision is a clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it. Spanish broadcaster Telecinco had claimed that YouTube should be liable when users upload copyright-infringing material.

        The court rejected Telecinco’s claim, noting that YouTube offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website. This decision reaffirms European law which recognizes that content owners (not service providers like YouTube) are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on an Internet hosting service and states that websites like YouTube have a responsibility to take down unauthorised material only when they are notified by the owner.

      • Brighton tries to use copyright to censor Councillor

        A friend of mine, Councillor Jason Kitcat, who is also involved in ORG, is being disciplined for posting clips of Brighton & Hove Council meetings to Youtube.

        The clips are said to be a “political” use of “Council resources”.

        Their documents say Jason attempted to “hold the administration politically to account” by trying “to highlight what the he believed were the administration’s deficiencies”, while using “the council’s intellectual property” and website. Rather than concluding he was doing his job, they say Jason should face being suspended from his post.


        Unfortunately, in this case Brighton & Hove are simply asserting that the copyright ‘belongs’ to them and therefore falls under their right to regulate Councillor’s use of council property: and in doing so are attempting to create a dangerous precedent.

        If Jason is held to have abused council “property”, Councillors will be intimidated from using information to tell residents what is going on. The same information, in words, is reported in minutes and placed in “political” leaflets. Will Brighton Councillors stop such reporting, as the same copyright subsists in Council minutes?

        Brighton is full of tech-savvy voters, and many people who are strong believers in human rights and dignity. Will they stand up for freedom of speech and protest against their Council’s attempt to place limits on the rights of their elected representatives? I certainly hope so.

      • Canadian Recording Industry Demands 45% Of Revenue; Then Blames ‘Pirates’ For No Streaming Music Services

        Ah, the recording industry. We’ve already discussed how ridiculously complex it is for a music startup to obtain the licenses it needs. Combine that with the ridiculously high rates demanded by the record labels and the fact that they demand licensing for things that shouldn’t need additional licenses, and you understand why it’s so difficult for music startups to survive, and why the market is so fragmented.

        You hear it all the time. Spotify isn’t available in the US. Pandora isn’t available outside the US. And so on. Name the startup and there are serious restrictions on it. Things in Canada are pretty bad, where they basically don’t have any of these music services, and it’s because the Canadian recording industry is apparently demanding absolutely, positively insane fees — such as 45% of gross revenue. Yes, gross revenues. If you know anything about the finances of these kinds of businesses, that’s laughable. As Pandora’s Tim Westergren notes, Canadian radio stations pay approximately 2.1% of gross revenue to the recording industry.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA and democracy

          The ZeroPaid article ACTA Still Hasn’t Been Seen by Any UK MPs makes the excellent point that ACTA negotiations are ongoing, continuing on their fast track with the intent of being concluded by the end of October prior to the American US election.


          The main European ACTA site, La Quadrature du Net, along with the openACTA: Stop ACTA Now site from Mexico have been working tirelessly to keep citizens informed. We have been fortunate that in spite of powerful disincentives, there has been a steady stream of leaks from within the ACTA negotiations, so the secret treaty is not as secret as they would have liked.

        • Answer to mail from MEP SKa Keller:

          Dear Sirs

          Thank you for your message.

          We understand the Greens/EFA Group’s interest in the transparency very well.

          The Government of Japan also recognizes the importance of the transparency in ACTA negotiations and decided to arrange a lunch meeting with the public on September 24 as you know.

          However, it is with regret that we cannot arrange the meeting during the week of September 27 due to purely practical organizational reasons.

          We regret that we could not inform you earlier of lunch meeting as you pointed out. As we just settled the program of ACTA negotiations in Tokyo this week with the negotiating parties, we cannot inform our lunch meeting to public beforehand. Please kindly understand our situation.

          ACTA negotiating parties share the intention to promote transparency and we are to discuss any ways to promote the transparency of ACTA negotiations.

          Best regards



          Yoshihiro Takeda

          Ministry of Foreign Affairs

          Intellectual Property Affairs Division

Clip of the Day

Split videos into parts using FFmpeg

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 23/9/2010: Qt News, OpenShot Video Editor 1.2.2, Mandriva Not Dead

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Beginning [of LPI]

    As I said at the beginning of this blog entry, the members of Linux International were fully behind the creation of LPI in 1998. It was even suggested that LPI become a branch of Linux International, but I felt that this would be a bad idea. It would be better, I felt, to have a separate organization focused solely on certification, but I did volunteer my time, effort and experience to help move LPI along.
    Then one day in late 1999 the fledgling LPI had a slight problem, one that I am proud to say I helped to rectify. In order to verify that the exams were psychometrically accurate, fair and worthy of the LPI brand, LPI had to have a certain number of the exams performed and graded. But without the brand, there was nothing to induce a candidate to pay the money to take the exam. No inducement, no exams taken. No exams taken, no way to prove the validity of the exams. This was the classic “chicken and egg” problem.

  • Server

    • Linux thunderstorm in the clouds

      CloudLinux, as well as Canonical and its Ubuntu Linux, highlight the head start Red Hat, and to some extent its enterprise Linux counterpart Novell, have given other companies ready and willing to serve up Linux in the cloud. These vendors, many of which base their own offerings on CentOS, also highlight the ongoing presence of community Linux in cloud computing, a topic we’ve covered as well.

  • Ballnux

    • Virgin Mobile Announces Its First Android Smartphone, Samsung Intercept

      Virgin Mobile officials announce on the carrier’s Facebook webpage that they have plans to add Samsung Intercept to their offering in the coming weeks. While the announcement doesn’t specify the exact release date, Virgin Mobile subscribers should be thrilled as this is the first Android smartphone coming from the carrier.

  • Kernel Space

    • Native ZFS for Linu
    • Graphics Stack

      • Is Linux Power Management Getting Better Or Worse?

        From these battery power consumption results from the past five Fedora releases using three different notebooks, it does not appear that the power performance is vastly improving — or at least just not in the past two years for the selection of hardware we used. The Lenovo ThinkPad R52 tended to go through the least amount of power when running Fedora 14 Alpha, but the notebooks with newer Intel hardware did worse so we will have to wait and see how the final release performs. Coming up next we will be looking at the battery power consumption rate as we test each major Linux kernel release and that testing will be on a greater selection of hardware (netbooks including) as we look for any definitive changes in the power consumption rate of Linux. We will also be trying out Intel’s historical MeeGo/Moblin releases to see how its performance-per-Watt has changed with their intended Atom hardware configurations.

  • Applications

    • OpenShot 1.2.2 (Video Editor) Released With 3D Animated Titles, DVD Export

      OpenShot is a non-linear video editor for Linux (GNOME) with an amazing set of features: you can resize, trim or cut video, it comes with video transitions with real-time previews, image overlays, title templates, video encoding, digital zooming, audio mixing and editing, digital video effects and well, most of the features you can think of.

    • OpenShot Video Editor 1.2.2 Released with New Effects, 3D Titles and Netbook Optimizations
    • Hotot: A New Lightweight Twitter Client For Linux

      Hotot is a new lightweight Twitter client for Linux which although still in Alpha, it already looks very interesting! It doesn’t come with many features by default for now (other than the basic features you would expect to find in a Twitter client, including search), but it’s extensible through add-ons.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Wine Devs Have Mixed Feelings Over Direct3D In Gallium3D

        This state tracker does not use any Microsoft code, as confirmed by its developer. However, some are still uncertain about the legal status of Direct3D on Linux (along with the *BSDs and elsewhere that Gallium3D is compatible) and whether Microsoft could end up providing legal challenges to its adoption.

        Corbin Simpson even wanted to pull this Gallium3D state tracker out of Mesa, but VMware’s Jose Fonseca is in opposition to it being dropped and is calling for more discussion (mailing list). In another message, Jose mentions the D3D1x state tracker could be split into run-time and client driver components where the Wine developers (or ReactOS) could then re-code the run-time if they are concerned about the one living in Mesa.

        The debate over this fascinating Direct3D 10/11 state tracker is ongoing. Meanwhile, Luca has committed Wine DLLs that use this state tracker so that in fact Wine can now hook into Gallium3D for this Microsoft Direct3D acceleration on the GPU (or on the CPU if using LLVMpipe). See this Git commit.

    • Games

      • Take Part In Multiplayer War Games With Free FPS AssaultCube

        AssaultCube is available for Windows, Linux or Mac. The moment I installed and launched AssaultCube, I knew that I was in for a treat. Type in your nickname, set the screen resolution and you’re off and running. You’ll see yourself and your teammates in the map at the upper left of the screen. Obviously, you won’t see your opponents – you have to hunt them down!

  • Desktop Environments

    • Whose LXDE Is It Anyway?

      So what makes LXDE? On the one hand, its modularity allows for better customization and easier implementation of its tools in other DEs. This comes at a price, however, and that price is an identity as a unified DE.

    • Qt/K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Qt gets faster, adds touch UI stack

        Nokia’s Qt Software subsidiary released version 4.7 of its Qt cross-platform application and UI framework, touted for offering much faster performance. The Linux-compatible Qt 4.7 adds two building blocks of an upcoming high-level animation- and touch-enabled UI stack called Qt Quick: a Javascript-based QML language and a “Qt Declarative” C++ module.

      • Nokia Releases Qt 4.7 with Qt Quick
      • KDE will soon run even faster! (QT 4.7 released)

        Nokia announced yesterday the release of QT 4.7, which comes with very interesting new features, the most notable of which is probably speed.

      • Qt 4.7.0 in openSUSE; KDE updates

        With the release of Qt 4.7.0 it’s time to use it to build KDE packages destined for openSUSE 11.4. This means that Qt 4.7 will shortly land in KDE:Distro:Factory repositories. In a couple of months’ time it will be followed by betas of the KDE 4.6 releases. If you are using KDF just because it’s the latest KDE release, consider replacing it with KDE:Release:45 now, which will remain 4.5 and Qt 4.6 based.

      • Nokia releases Qt 4.7 with terrific new mobile UI framework

        Nokia has announced the official release of Qt 4.7, a new version of the company’s open source development toolkit. The update introduces an impressive new framework called “Qt Quick” that accelerates the development of mobile user interfaces that work across multiple platforms and form factors.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Top 6 Gnome Shell Themes Ever!

        If you are a regular reader of our blog, you probably need no introduction to GNOME Shell and its capabilities. We had a complete review of GNOME Shell before, and we were quite happy with the way it was evolving. GNOME Shell, even though it is still in its early stages of development, was an absolute delight to use.

      • Why Gnome? Why.

        I have a love/hate relationship with gnome. I use it, I develop for it and at the same time I dislike the way the gnome project produces functional libraires.

      • Making a Difference; Selling a Difference

        A few days ago, Mark Shuttleworth took some time to address critics who scoff at Canonical’s contributions to GNOME and the Linux kernel itself by sharing his thoughts on the subject in his personal blog. The post, titled “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption”, reflecting on Canonical and Ubuntu’s contributions to the world of free and open source software. There are a couple of interesting stories, some obvious rationalization, some genuine insights, and more than a few nods to the various forces that come together to create a Linux distribution.

      • Quick access to Zeitgeist’s Activity Journal

        Seif is proposing that the Activity Journal could pop out at lightning speed when the mouse hits a side of the desktop, in this case, the left side. He also wants people to notice how quickly the journal appears.

      • GTK Impression – Stealth Menus

        A core design element of the Impression themes is dark desktop and menu panels which displays well with the Ubuntu default wallpaper. A specific design element of the menu is the decision on how to “prelight” each menu item. The Impression themes use a prelight tint which is subtle to reduce strobing.

  • Distributions

    • Security

      • Is the Web heading toward redirect hell?

        Google is doing it. Facebook is doing it. Yahoo is doing it. Microsoft is doing it. And soon Twitter will be doing it.

        We’re talking about the apparent need of every web service out there to add intermediate steps to sample what we click on before they send us on to our real destination. This has been going on for a long time and is slowly starting to build into something of a redirect hell on the Web.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Reassures the Community That It’s Alive and Well

        A few days ago, former Mandriva employees as well as community members banded together to announce the Mageia project, from the Mandriva sources which, they say, will ensure the project’s survival.

        Mandriva has now come out to clarify the project’s future and has said that Mandriva will continue to be supported and developed on the desktop in both free and paid flavours.

      • Mandriva: We’re not dead

        In a reaction to the founding of the Mageia project and to a question posed on the Cooker mailing list, the French Linux distributor Mandriva has commented on its current situation and future plans. The company says the Mandriva distribution is far from dead and will continue to be consistently maintained. The next release of the Mandriva Community Edition is reportedly planned for the beginning of 2011.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s second quarter strong: Best billings growth in two years

        Red Hat continues to report strong quarterly results as the company plans to ramp up its cloud management capabilities.

        The company on Wednesday reported earnings of $23.7 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $219.8 million, up 20 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 19 cents a share.

      • Red Hat profit falls, beats Street view

        Red Hat’s shares rose 1.4 percent in extended trading to $37.25 after closing at $36.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

      • Red Hat: The 1st billion-dollar open-source company?

        A few months back Glyn Moody, noted open-source journalist, asked the question, “Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?” Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s CEO answered, “Red Hat could get to $5 billion in due course, but that this entailed ‘replacing $50 billion of revenue’ currently enjoyed by other computer companies. Guess what? Red Hat is on its way.

        In its latest quarter, Red Hat’s total revenue was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year. I guess Oracle’s attempt to snatch Red Hat’s business away with a re-branded RHEL really hasn’t worked.

      • Red Hat still kicking despite intense competition

        Red Hat is still a strong presence in the Linux distribution market as its latest financial results prove, declares a senior company executive who noted that the company’s success comes despite targeted maneuvers by its competitors, specifically, Oracle.

        Alex Pinchev, executive vice president and president of global sales, services and field marketing for Red Hat, told ZDNet Asia in an interview Thursday that the software company has increased its share of the Linux distribution market from 80 percent four years ago to 87 percent today. This growth comes despite of competition from companies such as Oracle and Novell, he said.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Beta Declared GOLD

          At the Fedora 14 Beta Go/No-Go meeting today, the Fedora 14 Beta was declared GOLD and ready for release on September 28, 2010.

    • Debian Family

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana Picks up Where OpenSolaris Left off

    For those disappointed by Oracle’s decision to discontinue supporting a free version of its Solaris Unix-like operating system, a new alternative emerged to take its place. OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation. OpenIndiana will be built on the last available version of OpenSolaris and will contain bits of Solaris 11. OpenIndiana is the new OpenSolaris.

    OpenIndiana is said to be compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express and should be an easy drop-in replacement for those systems. Initially OpenIndiana will contain some closed-source code since the current code-base is not fully open. These bits will eventually be replaced by fully Open Source code.

  • Why Open Source Is Free

    In Software Market 3.0, it’s not so much that the Freedom of the software leads to the freeness of the software – although, if you have the resources in-house, you never need pay anyone outside (that’s a big “if” by the way). In Software Market 3.0, everything is available at no charge to somebody because of the need for developer freedom, so it’s tempting to think it’s all available to everyone at no charge – but it’s not.

  • Events

    • lca2011 Announces Second Keynote Speaker

      Our second confirmed keynote speaker for lca2011 is the original author of Sendmail, co-founder and Chief Scientist of Sendmail, Inc., and co-author of Sendmail, published by O’Reilly and Associates. He has presented numerous papers on email and programming and while at U.C. Berkeley, he was the chief programmer on the INGRES relational database management project. He then led the Mammoth project to provide large-scale research software and hardware infrastructure. He has also designed database user and application interfaces at Britton Lee (later Sharebase) and has contributed to the Ring Array Processor project for neural-network-based speech recognition at the International Computer Science Institute.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An Early Look At Firefox 4

        Among all new browsers, Mozilla may have found the best compromise to bridge the old and the new. Users can easily switch between the new naked interface and the old legacy interface. The new reduced menu that hides below the orange Firefox / Minefield button feels lighter and more organized.

        Also new is a major update of the Gecko layout engine, which hits version 2.0 and delivers rendering improvements. Mozilla has not released a lot of information about its Mozilla 2.0 platform so far, but we will be updating our coverage as soon as more information becomes available.

      • Firefox 4 beta 7 dev going slow, RC1 not due until late October

        Firefox 4 Beta 6 was released on September 14. Beta 7, which is currently under development, is slated for release sometime in the second half of September and the first release candidate is expected to be delivered in the second half of October.

  • Oracle

    • Ellison & the GPL Part I

      You would think a firm that fancies itself a Linux development company would have some respect for the GPL. With most companies, you’d be right. But not with Oracle. It becomes more obvious with each passing day that Larry Ellison has absolutely no respect for the GPL. The FOSS community would do well to consider Ellison to be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing and act according – for “FOSS-friendly” Oracle might pose more of a threat than Microsoft ever did.

      Ellison seems to be making the GPL his play toy, shamelessly looking for holes in the license to exploit to his own advantage. Several years back, to show his displeasure at Red Hat for potentially moving into his territory when they acquired JBoss, he boldly announced the release of Unbreakable Linux, which was really Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) rebranded as an Oracle product (which he was perfectly free to do under the terms of the GPL).

    • Ellison & the GPL Part II
    • Proceed With Caution to Oracle’s Proprietary Linux Kernel

      The new kernel is faster than RHEL 5, the company says–though that’s not too surprising, given that the current RHEL is based on an older version of the Linux kernel. The next version, RHEL 6–due later this year–will presumably be similarly updated, with all the speed and other benefits that brings.

      What’s more concerning, I think, is the way Oracle is trying to introduce vendor lock-in in an area that’s supposed to be defined by openness.

      The company has already been showing its true feelings about openness lately. First, it sued Google over Android’s use of Java, then it pulled the plug on OpenSolaris, the open version of Sun’s Solaris operating system. One can only worry for OpenOffice.org.

    • What Oracle has not learned about open source

      But not everyone has made the adjustment. The Bells haven’t. Tech lobbyists like the Progress and Freedom Foundation haven’t, talking of “property” as sacrosanct even when it leads to monopolies that frustrate change, growth, and competition.

      Oracle most definitely hasn’t, and this is a big problem given their control over what many still consider the crown jewels of open source — Java and Open Office.

      Oracle’s ambitions were on display all week in San Francisco, along with its proprietary attitude, best summed up by the adage “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is none of your business.”

      There is nothing “socialist” about sharing infrastructure. America’s growth is based on it. From canals to railroads, from ports to freeways, from convention centers to the Internet, shared infrastructure has lowered costs for America’s businesses throughout our history, and made our economy the envy of the world.

    • Proceed With Caution to Oracle’s Proprietary Linux Kernel

      After years of using Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the basis for its own “Unbreakable Linux” distribution, Oracle this week announced that it has created its own version of the Linux kernel that’s optimized for use with its other enterprise offerings.

    • Oracle Announces JDK Roadmap for Advancing Java SE

      Oracle is announcing its plans for advancing the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) and optimizing it for new application models and hardware, including extended support for scripting languages, increased developer productivity and lower operational costs.

      The announced roadmap for the OpenJDK accelerates the availability of Java SE with two releases, one in 2011 and one in 2012. These OpenJDK releases will continue to serve as the basis for the Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 and JDK 8.

  • Government

    • UK Gov IT chief backs open source, small business

      The UK government’s deputy Chief Information Officer has outlined plans to hand public sector IT contracts over to small businesses and suppliers of open-source and cloud-based solutions in an attempt to balance the books.

      Speaking at the 360IT conference in London on Wednesday, Bill McCluggage also promised greater transparency over IT procurement, with tenders and contracts published online.

      “It is quite an interesting time, with some 120 days since the new government,” he told delegates. “The new administration’s policy is to promote small business procurement so that 25 per cent of government contracts should be awarded to SMEs.”

      “We want to move away from large system integrators,” he added.

      McCluggage said IT projects across all departments were being reassessed ion a bid to cut the bill for central government IT, which currently stands at more than £7 billion – nearly half of the £16.9 billion spent nationally on public sector IT services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can academia “release early, release often?”

      A few months ago, opensource.com ran a story on a textbook for college students learning programming (Can Professors Teach Open Source?, Greg DeKoenigsberg, Apr 6 2010). The textbook, “Practical Open Source Software Exploration,” was created the open source way on the Teaching Open Source wiki. (Read Greg’s article for more on what we mean by creating the textbook “the open source way”.)

      Although the textbook was written with students in mind, it turns out that professors are pretty important when it comes to teaching, too.

      Late July, I sat in on a conversation between primary authors of the textbook on my team at Red Hat and Timothy Budd, associate professor at Oregon State University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Budd used “Practical Open Source Software Exploration” in an introduction to free and open source software course in the spring 2010 semester. He reported that the book has potential, but that there are a few major things to get fixed.

    • Open Data

      • MapQuest debuts four new OpenStreetMap enhanced mapping sites in Europe

        Today, the company announced the beta launch of four new European mapping sites built on OpenStreetMap data, in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

        The AOL company says all four sites will utilize the new MapQuest brand and UI and will have data from OSM, allowing users to improve areas like streets in their neighborhoods, bike paths, parks and hiking trails. Each site will be a stand-alone offering that lives alongside the existing MapQuest sites – which are based on commercially available map data – in the four countries.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Budapest: 2 talks at the OpenOffice.org Conference 2010

      At the worldwide OpenOffice.org Conference 2010 in Budapest I have participated giving two talks: the main one was about ODF Scripting, which is about how to generate office texts, presentations and spreadsheets automatically. The other (very short) talk was about ODF-next, that is what should be in my opinion the evolution of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for office documents.


  • My geekiest strip ever.
  • DJ Chris Moyles plays down BBC pay tirade

    Radio One DJ Chris Moyles has played down an on-air tirade about not being paid, in his first show since he made the comments.

    Moyles said he was “not embarrassed, just very bemused” by the furore surrounding his “rant” on Wednesday.

    “Yesterday was a ridiculous day,” he said as his show began at 0630 BST. “Hopefully, this will go away.”

  • Finance

    • Recession Over in June 2009

      The National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of the start and end dates of a recession, determined that the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009.

    • 12 Reasons a Healthy Startup Ecosystem Matters to Founders (And One Big Reason It Doesn’t)

      If you have a startup in a city outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, ecosystem is a word you hear pretty frequently. And Montreal is no exception. I’ve been part of Montreal’s startup scene since I moved here from the Bay Area in 2002. I’ve been active in local events and projects since our first BarCamp in 2006. And I’ve taken an amateur’s interests in other cities’ efforts to kickstart their own startup virtuous cycle – New York, Portland, Vancouver and others.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Where We Are, Where We’re Going

      On Thursday, the House Committee on Administration will take a vote on the Fair Elections Now Act — the bill that we, along with many others, have been pushing for the past two years. The Committee will pass the bill. With a bit of luck, and a lot more pressure, the managers of the bill believe it could have the votes to pass the House as well. If they’re right, and if the Speaker allows the bill to come to the floor, then for the first time in a generation, the House will have ratified fundamental and effective campaign finance reform.

      This optimism will surprise many of you. As I’ve travelled to talk about this issue, the overwhelming attitude of people who want better from our government is that our government is incapable of giving us better. The House ratifying Fair Elections would be the first, and best evidence, this skepticism might be wrong. It would also be a testament to the extraordinary work of organizations like Public Campaign and Common Cause (especially the campaign director, David Donnelly), as well as many others, including MoveOn, the Coffee Party, You Street (as in “not K Street”) and many of you. This victory would give American voters an idea worth fighting for. It would be a critical victory, at least if we can gather the final few votes needed in the House. (You can help in that by using our Whip Tool).

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Tools to visualize access to information

      When Google’s services are blocked or filtered, we can’t serve our users effectively. That’s why we act every day to maximize free expression and access to information. To promote transparency around this flow of information, we’ve built an interactive online Transparency Report with tools that allow people to see where governments are demanding that we remove content and where Google services are being blocked. We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Third Time’s The Charm?

      After signing its intention to conform its copyright act to World Intellectual Property Organization standards 11 years ago, the Canadian government has introduced Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, to fulfill that mandate.

      But after the failure of two previous attempts — Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 both died on the vine due to unexpected election calls — some are warning the same fate could befall the CMA, especially since federal conservatives remain in charge and could be toppled by the opposition at any time.

    • Stevie Wonder calls for International Action to Enhance Accessibility for Visually Impaired Persons

      Stevie Wonder launched his “Declaration of freedom for people with disabilities” which he said was “a call to action, a plan to empower the independence of people with disabilities by providing them with the tools to learn and grow.” In addressing ministers and policy-makers from WIPO’s 184 member states, he said, “through your legislative efforts, incentives can be created to advance the blind and visually disabled towards the promise of a better life.”

    • Gallo report: European Parliament U-turns on users rights
    • Copyrights

      • Senior Judge Warns of End To File-Sharing Cash Demands

        A senior judge has given the clearest indications so far that patience could be running out with “pay up or else” letters currently being sent out in their thousands to alleged file-sharers. At a hearing to authorize yet more, the judge called the schemes “a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut” adding that once the Digital Economy Act is in force, further applications may not be successful.

      • Google Asking For Help In Making Sure Public Domain Books Are Recognized As Public Domain

        Perhaps in response to this, apparently Google is now asking people in their forums to identify books within Google Books that are in the public domain, so that Google can investigate and see if they should be opened up as public domain books (found via Glyn Moody).

      • Copyright As Presently Defined Is Unconstitutional

        The context is a discussion over whether it should be legal for users to strip off TUR (technological usage restrictions), also known as DRM, when the validation servers for their legally-purchased content (that is, music, video, and software) are shut down. Should Windows XP stop working when Microsoft shuts down its Genuine Disadvantage servers? Should people who bought “protected” music lose when Wal-Mart or Microsoft or Apple decide to shut down their authorization servers?


        Now, we must understand that copyright and patents do not exist to enrich media and technology companies, but only to benefit society as a whole. The RIAA, the MPAA, and the BSA consist mostly of large and rich corporations. They are large and rich, I surmise, because misinterpretation of a simple clause of the Constitution into a near-perpetual right to compensation has enabled corporations and “stars” to get very high returns for their efforts. The bad thing about those ultra-high returns is the belief that they are entitled to them, which was the reason behind technological usage restrictions in the first place.

      • Supreme Court could take its first RIAA file-sharing case

        The US Supreme Court is weighing in on the first RIAA file sharing case to reach its docket, requesting that the music labels’ litigation arm respond to a case testing the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.

        The case pending before the justices concerns a federal appeals court’s February decision ordering a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750—or $750 a track—for file-sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader. The appeals court decision reversed a Texas federal judge who, after concluding the youngster was an innocent infringer, ordered defendant Whitney Harper to pay $7,400—or $200 per song. That’s an amount well below the standard $750 fine required under the Copyright act.

      • The Canadian Music Industry on C-32: A House Divided

        Musician Carole Pope has an op-ed in the Globe and Mail today calling on the government to reform Bill C-32 by extending the private copying to MP3 players. That approach was derided by both Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement as the iTax last spring and Clement tweeted a response today. Regardless of your view on the levy, the op-ed highlights just how divided the music industry in Canada is on Bill C-32. While sites like the CRIA-backed Balanced Copyright for Canada seek to project an image of strong support for the bill, the reality is that the Canadian music industry is deeply divided on many aspects of the proposed legislation. In fact, in recent weeks it has turned increasingly critical, touting the need to pass the bill, but simultaneously offering mounting criticism of its provisions.

      • How Canada’s new copyright law threatens to make culture criminals of us all

        Industry Minister Tony Clement’s iPod contains 10,452 songs, he told reporters on May 26, most of them transferred from CDs he bought. It’s a widespread practice generally known as “format shifting,” and in Canada, it’s illegal.

      • Copyright and Football: A Guest Post

        The theory behind copyright is simple – if we allow anyone to copy a good new idea, then no one will come up with the next one. The theory makes perfect sense – in theory. In previous posts, however, we have described how fashion designers, chefs, comedians and pornographers all continue to create, even though others are free to copy their fashion designs, recipes, jokes, and . . . images. In this post, we’ll take a look at something different: football.

      • Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill

        enator Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). This flawed bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time — by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. The bill would also create two Internet blacklists. The first is a list of all the websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second, more worrying, blacklist is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines — without judicial review — are “dedicated to infringing activities.” The bill only requires blocking for domains in the first list, but strongly suggests that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators who decide to block domains on the second blacklist as well. (It’s easy to predict that there will be tremendous pressure for Internet intermediaries of all stripes to block these “deemed infringing” sites on the second blacklist.)

      • Everything is a Remix
      • Leaked Report Admits That Hadopi First Strike Accusations Won’t Be Reviewed For Accuracy

        Read that bold part carefully. What this is saying is that despite the fact that you can be kicked off the internet based solely on accusations, not convictions, and despite all of the problems with false accusations and the fact that an IP address alone does not accurately identify an individual, and despite the fact that the massive number of notices being sent out mean that there will surely be false positives, the only people reviewing these notices to make sure they’re accurate will be employed by the agent hired by the copyright holders themselves. Due process? It’s dead.

      • Mulve – The Nightmare-Scenario Music Downloading Tool

        As pressure on file-sharing continues to mount, many people are searching for ‘safer’ methods to acquire music. Today we bring news of an application that seems to be almost too good to be true. With a huge database of songs, Mulve delivers music to users’ desktops at amazing speeds at the touch of a button with zero uploading, meaning that “getting caught” is no longer a concern. Question is, how long will it last?

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Still Hasn’t Been Seen by Any UK MPs

          Country’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirms that no democratic institution in the UK has yet seen a draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

          More news of the frighteningly secretive nature of the ongoing Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations has appeared with the confirmation by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office that no text of the treaty has yet been shared with any MP or the country’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

          What this means, as has been the case in other countries where the ACTA is being debated, is that to date no democratic institution in the UK has seen a copy of the ACTA draft.

        • Latest ACTA Negotiation Kicks Off By Making It Difficult For Consumer Rights Groups To Attend

          While it’s not clear that it’s done much, at least at the last few ACTA negotiation meetings, time has been set aside for various “civil society groups” to meet with the negotiators and ask some questions. Apparently, the ACTA negotiators would rather not do that anymore. Sean Flynn has detailed just how difficult the negotiators made it for such groups to attend the latest meeting in Tokyo. Everyone knew that the meeting was happening in Tokyo, but the rumors were that it started next week.

Clip of the Day

Nokia N900 user Interface

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 22/9/2010: Dell Announces Another Linux-powered Tablet, Facebook Adds to MySQL

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Are Your Desktop Effects Slowing You Down?

      Whenever I perform a 3D benchmark in Linux one of the first questions I get asked about the results is:

      Where your desktop effects turned off?

      For those who are not aware, desktop effects are the “flash” that is enabled by default in many popular Linux distros (namely Ubuntu and it’s derivatives) such as the wobbly windows, desktop cube, and sleek sliding effects. Something that has always been questioned is whether or not desktop effects slow down your 3D performance in other applications and if so, how much do they slow it down by?

    • Linux Live USB Creator

      One of the greatest options to test out a Linux distribution is to create a Live CD and use that to boot the operating system from. That way, no changes are made to the current system, and the user is still able to test Linux extensively. Then, when the user feels comfortable using the operating system, it can be easily installed next to existing systems, or even as the only new system on the computer.

    • “Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements”

      Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements (Adobe). The all-new Yahoo! Mail has not been tested with your operating system (Yahoo).

      What do these two messages have in common? In both cases, they were generated by trying to access the service or software from a Linux-based PC. I wish I could say it was because I am running 64-bit Fedora, or because I want to do something special with the sites, but sadly, that is not the case. In the case of Yahoo, I am just trying to access my mail box. It does work, but it “has not been tested,” which leads me to believe that if some feature fails to work as I expect it to, I am pretty much out of luck. In the case of Adobe, I need to download something called Adobe Digital Editions in order to read an electronic book from Cisco Press I guess this indicates that Cisco admins only use Windows or Apple as their desktop systems.

      And this bothers me. It bothers me on a number of levels. Linux is no longer just for servers, nor has it been for more than ten years. Major corporations, like Cisco, are pressing for a larger Linux presence, working with development shops and providing software that interacts or runs on Linux.

  • Server

    • Webmin’s virtual twin

      When you set up a domain on Virtualmin, you can configure applications to provide a fully featured set of web services from a single interface. Virtualmin will set up Linux users, ftp, email, DNS, web space and database access. Virtualmin uses Apache to host web sites and BIND for DNS. Email support is from Postfix, dovecot Cyrus and saslauthd. Databases services are provided by MySQL.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Time for some Enlightenment.

      In the days of old when knights were bold and computers not invented. Men did stocks with wires and blocks and results were not as intended. :)

      Then computers were conceived, with the result of massive sales of pizza, chips and fizzy and/or caffeine loaded drinks. The first computers were, by today’s standards, slow and limited. Programs had to be written to make the best use of available CPU cycles. They had to get the most bang for their buck so to speak.

    • 20 Linux Apps That Make the Desktop Easier

      In this article, I want to share some of the applications I use on a daily basis. Some of the applications are GNOME desktop specific, so whenever possible I have included their KDE counterparts to help even things out.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • B-Sides – What’s up with KDE?

        Since we didn’t record a KDE and the Master of the Universe episode this week, we decided to make a B-Sides episode for your listening pleasure.

      • What happens if Mr. Nepomuk meets a bunch of Telepathyans?

        Yesterday evening I came back from Cambridge where I attended the Telepathy-KDE sprint (note to self: never again fly with easyJet) which was smoothly organized by George Goldberg. A lot has already been said about the work at the sprint: Daniele “drdanz” Domenichelli provided us with nice pictures (I am looking really weird in the group photo), George Kiagiadakis gave a nice overview, and George G. himself spammed identi.ca with tons of comments on the sprint. Thus, obviously I will focus on the Nepomuk parts of the sprint.

        Since George G. and, thus, Telepathy-KDE is one of the most fearless (as in: does not fear to try all the broken Nepomuk features and then ask me to fix them) Nepomuk users/developers he had a list of topics for me to look at. There was the issue that the query service did not scale since it created a separate thread for each query. I quickly fixed that using QThreadPool and a predefined number of query threads which made the contact list populate correctly.

      • Anthony Kolasny Explains How KDE Software is Used At Johns Hopkins University

        While it is easy to focus on many other strong points of KDE software, one aspect that deserves a closer look is the ability for it to support science. Back in July, you may have caught the Dot story on “KDE-Science” discussing the background and initial call for engaging the scientific community. Today we would like to highlight some of the advances that have occurred since then and present a real world example of how KDE software is already helping to support research.

      • Weird Konsole Split

        Yakuake does splitting right. You can split several times horizontally and vertically and the resulting terminals are independent. You can also switch the focus of the terminals easily via keystrokes which makes yakuake an invaluable tool when working on the terminal under KDE.

  • Distributions

    • Experiments, adventures, and consequences

      I’ve been doing a fair amount of experimentation on my machines. Been playing with XBMC, Boxee, Ubuntu, and bleeding-edge Xfce and Freedesktop software stacks on Gentoo.

    • Reviews

      • Linpus Lite 1.4 review

        Linpus Lite is the distribution for netbooks and smartbooks developed and maintained by Linpus Technologies, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. The company’s flagship Linux distribution used to be Linpus Desktop until it decided to focus on the Lite and QuickOS line. Linpus Lite 1.4, announced on July 30, 2010, is the latest update, and also the first to come with a standalone installer. This article is the first review of the Linpus Lite edition to be published on this website.

      • How is FreeBSD 9.0 shaping up?

        Other ways (though with more technical discussions) to stay up-to-date with FreeBSD’s development are:

        * Following the FreeBSD Current Mailinglist or
        * Checking for changes in the FreeBSD source code and reading the reason for and the backgrounds of those changes.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia and Mandriva

        However, Mandriva is now at the crossroads. Yes, here’s where the road divides for the desktop distribution and the 11-year-old Linux company . The financial situation of the company has pushed a significant group of Mandriva developers to fork and they have started a new project: Mageia. This project comes as winds of hope for those of us who love the desktop distribution and that were puzzled by Mandriva S.A.’s secretism. Mageia’s boat is full of seasoned Linux sailors and this new project was applauded in the community forum.

        Shortly after the announcement about Mageia was made, Mandriva S.A. finally posted an official statement on the future of the distribution. Read about it here. So, it seems that the company does not want to let Mandriva (the distro) fall into oblivion.

      • Radical Innovation is needed for GNU/Linux distributions

        There’s a certain movement these days in the world of GNU/Linux distributions. I think we are experiencing one of these moments that starts with a question that has been asked and heard many times -should distros differentiate themselves in order to survive? & aren’t there too many distros out there?- and ends with a much more serious question: Innovating in the world of GNU/Linux. Rest assured this is not going to be that sort of rant where we conclude that “Linux is the copycat of other OSes” just like we will not, in fact answer the question of the pretendly too many distributions or their differentiation. That is, I will not really answer these questions; and the reason I won’t is that I think these are all bad questions that either miss the point or show a certain lack of understanding of FOSS and GNU/Linux in general.
        I guess by now all of you have heard of Mageia, the Mandriva fork. But these news overshadowed something else that is a developing situation
        elsewhere and matters perhaps even more: OpenSuse.

      • Mandriva Fork: and Unity

        So now we have some things that are very similar to Mandriva like drakxtools that are basically patched to use SMART instead or URPMI. We have become pretty familiar with drakxtools and themed it for Unity etc.. but it’s still drakxtools and we still sync the source (like we would do with any project) to Mandriva when there’s new upgrades that are worth the time in testing. We also follow PulseAudio pretty closely as it’s no secret that Mandriva has one of the best implementations. Even more on our BuildServer we can pull source packages from Mandriva SVN and build some (very few packages) will little or no changes. We tend to shy away from Epochs though, even though we have some packages that still have them. Yet Mandriva has no issues using them.

        So is Unity dependent on Mandriva? Yes too a point we are. We like their configuration tools (some times) and with some packages that really are straight forward to build we may import from Mandriva SVN. However these are just niceties. The real question is could we survive without Mandriva.. Yes we could and may have too until they get a clear direction (for that matter survive) or the fork gets off the ground enough so we can pull and push packages for them. What will this mean? In our case packages may not be updated as fast as normal, because packagers may have to take on a few more packages.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.7 – Hello, Old Friend

        I have not done anything with PCLinuxOS for quite some time. First there was some personal / political turmoil in the PCLinuxOS developer community, and then there seemed to be a long time with no activity. When development seemed to pick up again, in the first half of this year, I picked up a copy of the 2010 Beta release, and then through an unfortunate combination of a bug in the installer and my own complacency/inattentiveness, I made a mess of my primary laptop. Now the PCLinuxOS 2010.7 Final release has been out for a couple of months, and I have finally gotten around to loading it up again. It is, as the title of this entry says, like seeing an old friend again after a long time.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Reports Second Quarter Results

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2011 second quarter ended August 31, 2010.

        Total revenue for the quarter was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year.

      • Red Hat revenues bulge 20%

        Commercial Linux and middleware distributor Red Hat continued to grow at a nice clip in its second fiscal quarter ended on August 31, with sales up 19.7 per cent to $219.8m. But even after keeping cost growth under this level, a much higher tax bill compared to the year-ago quarter walloped the company’s net income, which fell by 18.2 per cent to $23.7m.

        In the quarter, software-subscription revenues across all of Red Hat’s product lines accounted for $186.2m, up 19.1 per cent, while training and services revenues hit $33.6m, up a slightly better 22.7 per cent. Red Hat had a one-time tax benefit in the year-ago quarter worth 4 cents per share, which made for a tough compare this time around. If you exclude this and look at non-GAAP net income, then Red Hat’s profits were up 19 per cent, almost in line with revenue growth.

      • Software Stocks at Year High (ROVI, INTU, RHT, TIBX)

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) added 0.63% to $38.58 and created a new 52-week high of $39.48. So far this year, the stock has jumped over 23.42% and has recovered over 55% from its 52-week low. The company is scheduled to announce its earnings on September 22, 2010. The analyst are expecting an EPS of $0.18 & revenues of $211.24 million.

      • Oracle’s Ellison Debuts Linux Kernel, Says Red Hat Is Too Slow

        Oracle debuted its own version of Linux four years ago, basing the operating system on Red Hat Linux and maintaining compatibility with that OS ever since.

      • Oracle Tries to Un-commoditize Linux

        The big news out of Oracle OpenWorld today was the announcement of Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux, otherwise known as OUEKOL.

      • Oracle releases its own Linux kernel

        Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has announced the release of the vendor’s own Linux kernel, slamming its existing Linux partner Red Hat for being too slow to update the version traditionally used by Oracle customers.

      • Red Hat Earnings Preview
      • Traders Hedging Bets in Red Hat as Put Volume Surges (RHT)

        The put volume today was 3,783 contracts, which is 1x the average daily volume of 3,648. Usually high put volume is an indicator that many investors are looking for lower prices in the near future.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Down 1.7% Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Second Quarter Earnings Report

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) opened at $38.96. So far today, the stock has hit a low of $38.00 and a high of $39.04. RHT is now trading at $38.32, down $0.66 (-1.69%).

      • Red Hat to post solid Q2: analyst

        Jefferies & Co. expects Red Hat Inc. to report a solid second quarter earnings results on September 22 after market closes. The brokerage maintained its ‘buy’ rating on the business software company with a price target of $45.

      • Fedora

        • Virtualization Test Day 2010-09-23

          It’s Test Day time once more! Tomorrow, 2010-09-23, will be Virtualization Test Day. Of course, virtualization is popular with many Fedora users and a key area of Fedora development, so this is another important test event.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian move to increase project members

        While the general resolution has met with broad support, there is some debate continuing over what such contributors would be called and what kinds of upload rights they should be granted.

        Debian has a fairly stringent process for those who want to join the project; the end result is that while the flow of new blood into the project has not been as high as some other projects, the quality of the distribution has been maintained.

        The move to welcome non-packaging contributions is in keeping with trends over the last couple of years where many people have called for contributions other than code to be recognised as making a meaningful contribution to a free software project.

      • Debian Project News – September 21st, 2010

        Linux Mint, a Linux distribution whose purpose is to “produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use”, has released an edition based on Debian. This new Linux Mint distribution will track Debian testing, as a more reliable upstream base. Linux Mint appears to be a popular Linux distribution ranking highly at DistroWatch.com as well as other non-scientific measures. Certainly they received a large number of comments to their blog post regarding their new distribution. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to this Debian-based edition as a popular move.

        The addition of Linux Mint to the Debian derivatives family is a welcome one, and should the Linux Mint developers wish to be in contact with Debian it has been suggested that they will be warmly welcomed at the Debian Derivatives Front Desk.

      • sidux changes to aptosid by upgrade or ISO

        A press release dated September 11 came to the community’s attention Monday, September 13 of the renaming or, as some reported, a fork of sidux to aptosid. Due to conflicts with the commercial backer of the Debian-based distribution, sidux developers have separated themselves from the Sidux e.V. association to continue developing aptosid on their own.

        aptosid is based on Debian Sid, the unstable developmental branch, with a heavy concentration on the desktop experience. It is a KDE distribution that adheres to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. These guidelines basically enumerate the main traits of the GNU General Public License, although they are not strictly confined to the GPL. sidux, now aptosid, tries to remain solely Open Source, however it is not included in the Free Software Foundation’s list of Free System Distributions due to binary blobs in or accompanying the kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Clearing the FUD around Ubuntu Application Review Process

          An application review process was announced today for getting your apps into Ubuntu “extras” repository. But like most other announcements of new things, this one was met as well with as much criticism as the praise it got. A lot of the criticism is FUD though, although mostly unintentional and caused by ignorance of some facts behind it. I’ll try to address some of these concerns here to the best of my knowledge from what I’ve been reading over the past some time about this development.

        • Alternative to Ubuntu One’s Music Streaming Solution

          I found Martin Albisetti’s blog announcing the new music streaming features for Ubuntu One’s music store to be some what funny.

          The streaming feature will be part of Ubuntu Ones payed plan. So I ask myself “Why would I want to pay for something I can do for free”. I personally prefer to use Ampache to stream my music collection to my desktop and laptops.

        • Lifesaver for Maverick

          I think that enough of the planets have aligned in the shape of a failboat that I have been able to successfully upload a source package of Lifesaver to its PPA for Maverick.

          I might be wrong though, we’ll find out shortly when Launchpad processes the ridiculous output of several ridiculous tools.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HP unveils printer with detachable Android tablet

          HP announced a multifunction inkjet printer that incorporates a seven-inch, detachable Android-based tablet. Based on the HP All-in-One printer, the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One adds web browsing, Barnes & Noble eBookstore integration, and access to HP print apps and widgets via the integrated, removable Android touchscreen, all for only $399, says the company.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Nicholas Negroponte on Success of One Laptop Per Child

        And so I can give you, let me give you one anecdote. In Uruguay, the President of the country announced that this would be his legacy, One Laptop Per Child. That he would do every single child within two years. And as an aside, they completed that a couple of months ago, so every child in Uruguay has a little green laptop.

    • Tablets

      • Dell Quietly Announces 7″ Android Tablet

        I wouldn’t even say they announced it. Apparently Michael Dell just casually mentioned it at Oracle-related conference. Of course, we already knew there would be larger versions of the streak. What I don’t understand is why they released the tiny version first, and not a larger version with wider appeal?

      • Michael Dell teases new 7-inch Android tablet, says Streak to land in Best Buy next month (update: pic)

        On a more solid note, Dell also announced that the smaller Streak is heading to Best Buy next month. That’s great, except some of us would rather see the tabletphone getting its share of Froyo sooner — here’s hoping that this bigger tablet won’t disappoint us with an outdated OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Open Letter to You and Alex Russell

    This is a two part letter to the Open Source JS authors of the world and to Alex Russell of Dojo (now Google) fame. But first, a little background.

  • Paying attention: when a (kind of) hacker meets sociologists

    I am not a real software hacker (a term whose real meaning is not “computer criminal”, thank you very much!). Sure, I only use Free Software like Gnu/Linux or OpenOffice, I write and teach as much as I can about it and I can proudly apply patches to source code and compile it all by myself if I really have to. However, almost always I stop at that much simpler, wonderful way to automate computer usage called scripting. Still, I was probably one of the closest things to a real hacker you could have found in that particular conference.


    For the same reason, many “technologists” should think much more often to the social impacts of their work. It’s necessary to build many bridges soon between the two worlds, and use them often.

  • Inkscape in a computer orientation class
  • Events

    • Canonical Hosts Leading ODMs At Ubuntu Hardware Summit

      Engineers and product managers from device and computer manufacturers and designers will meet in Taipei, Taiwan for a free day-long session hosted by Canonical Ltd. on September 24, 2010.

      The commercial sponsor of Ubuntu will host its annual Ubuntu Hardware Summit, (UHS), which includes keynote speeches from various members of the Canonical team, and topics ranging from how Canonical works with Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), boot time optimizations, hardware enablement, debugging, multi-touch, networking and more. Over 200 attendees are expected to attend from all facets of the PC ecosystem.

    • HP’s Botched OpenWorld Keynotes: What Went Wrong

      Twitter can be as socially brutal as a middle school playground: Half-baked opinions are delivered by some people with questionable authority; reputations may be altered forever with a single sentence; and gossip serves as a valuable form of currency.

      Two HP executives who presented at Oracle (ORCL) OpenWorld 2010 conference felt the full force of Twitter’s instantaneous sharing Sunday night—even though the execs hadn’t a clue that the OpenWorld Twitter stream (#oow) had turned on them.

  • Databases

    • Facebook open source MySQL utility

      Facebook has open sourced a MySQL utility, OSC (Online Schema Change), which it uses to change server schemas on its live systems. The problem Facebook faced was that when it needed to change the structure of its MySQL databases on live systems, using ALTER TABLE statements took too long.

    • Facebook open sources live MySQL makeover

      Written by Facebook engineer Vamsi Ponnekanti, Open Schema Change lets the company update indexes without user downtime, according to Callaghan. “Previously, we could make an update quickly on a small number of machines, but to do it on all of the machines, it took six months,” Callaghan says, explaining that the company could only make updates during off-peak hours. “Now we can do it on all of the machines at pretty the same time and we can do it in about half a day.

    • Will PostgreSQL excite the open source DB community?

      Two guests join Alan for this podcast. First is Robin Schumacher, director of product strategy for EnterpriseDB and Selena Decklemann, PostgreSQL major contributor. Topics include the major new release of PostgreSQL and some of its exciting new features; the future of an Oracle-owned MySQL, Java One and the state of open source databases. We also discuss the NoSQL competition.

  • Oracle

    • The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

      The Exalogic Elastic Cloud is targetted at Enterprises that want to create their own private clouds. Exalogic installations consist of up to eight 42U racks. Each Exalogic rack contains hot-swappable compute nodes, a disk subsystem, multiple 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a high-bandwidth InfiniBand interconnect for connecting the components to each other and to other Exalogic racks or to Exadata Database Machine racks. Exalogic configurations are designed to be redundant.

    • Oracle: a good home for MySQL?

      I’m not able to attend the whole of Oracle OpenWorld / JavaOne, but I have sneaked in to MySQL Sunday, which is a half-day pre-conference event. One of the questions that interests me: is MySQL in safe hands at Oracle, or will it be allowed to wither in order to safeguard Oracle’s closed-source database business?

      It is an obvious question, but not necessarily a sensible one. There is some evidence for a change in direction. Prior to the takeover, the MySQL team was working on a database engine called Falcon, intended to lift the product into the realm of enterprise database management. Oracle put Falcon on the shelf; Oracle veteran Edward Screven (who also gave the keynote here) said that the real rationale for Falcon was that InnoDB would be somehow jiggered by Oracle, and that now both MySQL and InnoDB were at Oracle, it made no sense.

    • Oracle Growth Plans Worry Rivals and Customers

      Each year, Oracle’s presence looms over this city for a week, during the company’s Open World customer conference. About 41,000 people arrived this week to discuss business software in fine detail and talk over beers. Stretches of downtown streets closed and gave way to makeshift tents housing coffee stands, bars, Lego play areas and candy buffets.


      Oracle built its business by dominating the database market, providing the central repositories of crucial information that businesses must maintain and use to complete transactions. This has given it an unrivaled position of power when dealing with customers. Capitalizing on such an edge, Oracle’s sales representatives have earned a fearsome reputation as hard-line negotiators determined to squeeze customers.

      But through its acquisition spree, Oracle moved well beyond the database and into business software, buying up the important products that companies use to keep track of their technology infrastructure, employees, sales, inventory and customers.

      With Sun, Oracle has found a way to sell customers hardware bundled wit

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m8) available

      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev OOO330m8 is available for download.

    • OOo4Kids: A workable compromise

      I am always of two minds about office suites or applications for children. On the one hand, I can see the value of offering a simplified interface for learning on. On the other hand, I wonder if children shouldn’t start with the interface they will be using as adults, so they don’t how to learn the interface all over again. OOo4Kids balances these conflicting needs better than any application I’ve ever seen — so much so that I think that the main OpenOffice.org project could benefit from adopting its code.

      As the name implies, OOo4Kids is a version of OpenOffice.org designed for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Its recently-announced 1.0 release is available in 13 languages, and on all major operating systems, as well as Sugar OS. Source code and .deb packages are available on a web site separate from the main one.

    • Java Creator James Gosling: Why I Quit Oracle

      An Oracle spokeswoman said the company had no comment on Gosling’s claims.

      Thus, “For the privilege of working for Oracle, they wanted me to take a big pay cut,” Gosling said.

      That in itself was not a showstopper. Indeed, given that constraint, Gosling moved on with his employment with the database giant. However, another annoyance arose when, according to Gosling, Oracle did not have a notion of a senior engineer or at least one equivalent to Gosling’s grade at Sun, where he was a fellow. “In my job offer, they had me at a fairly significant grade level down,” he said.

      But, even that was not the final factor in leading to his decision to leave the company. Perhaps the final straw was what Gosling said was Oracle’s move to rein him in. indeed they owned Sun and thus Java, so they also owned its creator and his intellectual property, so it was up to Oracle to decide what Gosling or anybody else had to say about Java.

      “My ability to decide anything at Oracle was minimized,” Gosling said. “Oracle is an extremely micromanaged company. So myself and my peers in the Java area were not allowed to decide anything. All of our authority to decide anything evaporated.”

  • Education

    • Opening up Computer Studies in the UK

      One of the biggest disgraces in this country is the way that computing is taught – or rather, the way it is not taught. I know as a parent from years of interaction with the school system at various levels that what passes for computer teaching is in fact little more than rote learning of where the Open command is on the menu in Word and Excel. That is, instead of teaching pupils how to use computers as a generic tool to solve their particular problems, it becomes instead a dull exercise in committing to memory various ritual Microsoft sequences to achieve one specific task.


      There are representatives from Google, IBM and Microsoft Research, so why not one from Canonical, say, to fly the open source flag? As for the other individuals mentioned, I don’t recognise any names there as being particularly active in the world of free software: I presume (hope) that some of them are in some way. Maybe I’m just too parochial….

    • Planning grant paves way for open source Variations on Video project at IU Libraries

      A $49,504 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable the Indiana University Libraries to plan the next phase of development for its Variations digital music library system.

      Variations is an open-source system providing online access to selected sound recordings and musical scores. It was developed at IU and is now used by multiple college and university libraries.

  • BSD

    • Getting Started With FreeBSD 8.1

      FreeBSD isn’t as popular as the better-known Linux distros, but it has a strong reputation for reliability and robustness, and it’s still in active development. For my first foray into FreeBSD, I tried out the latest stable version (8.1), which was released mid-July.


    • Software Freedom Day 2010 – Shantou chapter

      As mentioned in my previous post, the event was organized by the Linux Association from Shantou University (STU). It started in the morning with an outdoor exhibition to demonstrate Free Software and followed with presentations in the evening. Fred gave an overview on why Software Freedom matters, a quick history review of Free and Open Source Software and talked about how the audience could get involved and contribute to the community. Then I introduced some cool Free Software that I use everyday and demonstrated how FOSS helped me to get things done. Unlike other events I have been involved with in China, we had the pleasure to talk to very active spectators asking plenty of questions such as:

      * How can Free Software sustain without any financial support from companies?
      * Which field / area do GNU/Linux systems apply to?
      * Knowing that Free Software is so cool, why the market share is so little in China?
      * How can we increase the market share of Free Software in China?
      * What are the benefits to use GNU/Linux systems and Free Software in terms of software development?
      * Do you think Free software will dominate the world market in the future?

  • Government

    • Bristol council set to embrace open source

      Bristol City Council is set to be the first local authority in the UK to implement a council-wide open source strategy.

      While other local authorities have implemented open source projects on a piecemeal basis, Bristol councillors are set to consider a proposal that could lead to open source software used throughout the council.

      Although Microsoft Office will continue to be used on desktops, open source alternatives will be introduced for email, file and print and other IT functions. The council has already introduced Open Office as a desktop alternative.

    • Free advertising ?

      While I’m writing this post, my mail box contains 1055 bug reports for the PDFreaders campaign. In other words, if we discard the double reports, at least 1000 institutions have been spotted doing exclusive advertising for non-free PDF readers… While launching this campaign, we knew that this practice was quite widespread. The more we see these advertisings, the more two questions keep coming :

      * Is this practice legal ?
      * since advertising online presupposes fees, how much money would proprietary companies pay to advertise on a normal website ?

    • EU publishes open source tools to preserve digital holdings

      Tools and techniques to help people and organisations preserve their digital holdings were published as open source software earlier this year.

      The tools, the result of the EU funded Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval project (Caspar), were highlighted in a press release by the European Commission on 7 September.

  • Licensing

    • Ubuntu, Canonical Wallow in Muddy Waters with Contributors’ Agreements

      As FSFE’s Shane M Coughlan told me several years ago, as projects grow in size, “it becomes more difficult to manage the copyright. Some authors might vanish due to accidents, death, or other factors. When it comes to making decisions about protecting the code, upgrading license, or other legal factors, it can become important to talk with copyright holders.”

      By contrast, in projects like the Linux kernel, in which there is no copyright assignment, managing copyright can potentially become difficult. For instance, even if Linus Torvalds had been willing to relicense the kernel under the third version of the GNU General Public License (and he most vocally was not), tracking down all contributors and obtaining their consent would have next to impossible.

      As Simon Phipps points out, copyright assignment remains popular among companies involved with FOSS. In particular, it can make dual-licensing — the practice of releasing software with two different licenses, usually one FOSS and one proprietary — and aggregate copyright — the terms of use for bundled software, such as in a commercial box — easier to manage.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500

    So, readers, here are a couple questions: What are the web-based social values that you think are most contrary to the managerial DNA one finds inside a typical corporate giant? And how should we reinvent management to make it more consistent with these emerging online sensibilities?

  • Pegatron enters all-in-one PC DIY market in China

    Taiwan-based notebook maker Pegatron Technology has recently had cooperation with Ingram Micro China and China-based BOE Technology to enter the all-in-one PC DIY market in China.

  • DtO: Pirates Are Overrated Anyway
  • Smartphones Begin to Replace Hotel Keycards

    The smartphone is always taking on new roles – from credit cards to MP3 players and digital cameras to airline boarding passes. Now, your smartphone will begin opening new doors for you, quite literally.

  • Thinking About The Viability Of Advertising-Dependent Business Models


  • Science

    • U of T student makes history with human-powered ‘flapping-wing’ plane

      Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate at the university’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, piloted the wing-flapping aircraft, sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds and covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.

    • Spring on Titan brings sunshine and patchy clouds

      The northern hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Titan is set for mainly fine spring weather, with polar skies clearing since the equinox in August last year. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring clouds on Titan regularly since the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Now, a group led by Sébastien Rodriguez, a Cassini VIMS team collaborator based at Université Paris Diderot, France, has analyzed more than 2,000 VIMS images to create the first long-term study of Titan’s weather using observational data that also includes the equinox. Equinox, when the sun shone directly over the equator, occurred in August 2009.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • No, you can’t have my password

      I got pulled up on my password policy yesterday; I don’t tell other people my passwords. The context was arranging that a friend could use my laptop while I was away at work – instead of telling her my login details so she could use that I created a new account. This provoked a “Don’t you trust me?” response.

    • 17-year-old Australian Boy, Japanese Developer Take Blame for Twitter Meltdown

      A 17-year-old boy from Australia claims he inadvertently triggered a chain of events that led to thousands of people being affected by a Twitter security flaw yesterday. But it all may have been started by a Japanese developer a couple of hours earlier.

      Pearce Delphin, or @zzap on Twitter, says he exposed the security flaw by tweeting a piece of code with an onMouseOver JavaScript function, which caused a pop-up to appear when a user merely moves his mouse cursor over the message.

      Very soon, the code was modified to do other sorts of things – perform auto retweets, open pornographic websites and generally create havoc on Twitter, which lasted a couple of hours until Twitter admins patched the vulnerability.

    • Twitter apologizes after hackers exploit security flaw

      Those hit by the bug included Sarah Brown, the wife of the former British prime minister who has over 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who has 97,000 followers.

    • Lily Allen sues Apple

      Lily Allen is launching a legal assault against Apple in an attempt to ascertain the identity of ne’er-do-wells who attacked her laptop.

      The news comes courtesy of The Sun, which reports in its Bizarre column that the singer received an unwelcome surprise when her MacBook laptop was cracked and personal information disclosed.

    • Legal Responsibility

      Maybe she should try GNU/Linux and hire someone to harden her system. By the scale in that link, I am not “truly paranoid” but at least I have not seen malware on hundreds of PC-years of usage. Lily Allen may indeed need the paranoid level of security. I do not.

    • A knock on Betjeman’s door

      Not perhaps as elegant as Betjeman’s first line, but it does share the following features: a specific target (Robin Hood Airport/Slough), an exclamation mark, and the prospect of a bombing exercise.

      As a matter of legal analysis, the CPS position on someone who tweeted Betjeman’s line cannot be distinguished from Chambers’ ill-conceived comment.

      They both would be “menacing communications” under section 127.

      And so would any “menacing” comment sent by anyone by email, or put on a blog, or loaded onto YouTube; indeed any content sent over the internet whatsoever.

      So, this Friday, it is not only Paul Chambers in the dock: it is also the ghost of Sir John Betjeman.

      And it is all of us who have ever sent content over the internet which some person at the CPS can somehow deem “menacing” and so commence the horrifying and inescapable bureaucratic procedure which lead to the imposition of a criminal record for simply making a light-hearted comment.

      This cannot be right.

      So if you are on Twitter at 10am on Friday, why not tweet “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!” in support of Paul (hashtag #TwitterJokeTrial) as his appeal begins.

    • Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed

      obile fingerprint-checking equipment is already controversial before it has even rolled out widely. An announcement today may presage the next such row, as developers say they will soon roll out a “compact” machine based on “a small, single chip” which will massively reduce the amount of time taken to check a DNA sample.

      The RapID™ system was unveiled today at a biometrics conference in Florida by ZyGEM Corp and its partner, US aerospace globocorp Lockheed, nowadays seeking to diverge into homeland-security areas.

    • Cowboy contractors: armed and dangerous

      A light-gold Toyota Corolla shipped from Kabul, Afghanistan, to a court house in Norfolk, Virginia, was the centre-piece for a jury trial last week on the alleged murder of two Afghan civilians on 4 May 2009 by two former employees of a subsidiary of Blackwater, the private military company.

      Fareed Haji Ahmad, the driver of the Corolla that night, was also brought from Kabul to testify. He was injured in a hail of bullets fired by Christopher Drotleff and Justin Cannon, the two US citizens on trial for murder. His passenger Romal Mohammad Naiem was killed, as was a passer-by named Rahib Mirza Mohammad.

    • OAuth 2.0 security used by Facebook, others called weak

      The emerging OAuth 2.0 Web API authorization protocol, already deployed by Facebook, Salesforce.com and others, is coming under increased criticism for being too easy to use, and therefore to spoof by malicious hackers.

      “The OAuth community has made a big mistake about the future direction of the protocol,” wrote Yahoo director of standards development Eran Hammer-Lahav in a blog post last week. Hammer-Lahav’s criticism may carry more weight than those from the usual naysayer, because he is actually one of the creators of OAuth.

  • Finance

    • The Terrible Tale of the TARP Two Years Later

      Two years ago, the top honchos at the Fed, Treasury and the Wall Street banks were running around like Chicken Little warning that the world was about to end. This fear mongering, together with a big assist from the elite media (i.e. NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), earned the banks their $700 billion TARP blank check bailout. This money, along with even more valuable loans and loan guarantees from the Fed and FDIC, enabled them to survive the crisis they had created. As a result, the big banks are bigger and more profitable than ever.

    • The recession is over! So where’s the party?

      It may be over, but you won’t be hearing any cheers from the millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job. Or are worried about the ones they have. Or have lost their homes. Or are behind on the mortgage.

    • A Conversation with George Soros

      Soros declares that there was twenty-five to thirty (25-30) years of a “Super Bubble,” which has now burst. It seems from the discussion that Soros believes the SuperBubble was worldwide. Recovery is being hindered by some policies—Germany’s talk about austerity was especially mentioned—by Soros sees strong hope in the Trade Shift that has accompanied the crisis. He noted that the “global economy is a lot better than the US economy,” and that he expects to see it continue growing even if the U.S. (or Europe, due to the German leadership, or even both) fall into a :double-dip.” (In this he is arguably more of an optimist than many.)

    • The Bush tax cuts need to expire to pay for Bush’s spending

      There’s not much more to be said about Todd Henderson’s financial situation. But one element of his complaint that hasn’t gotten much attention is what he thinks he’s being taxed for: “I would introduce [the president] to my family and our lifestyle,” Henderson writes, “one he believes is capable of financing the vast expansion of government he is planning.”

      Henderson’s taxes aren’t financing the government Obama would like to build. They’re financing the government America already has. George W. Bush passed his tax cuts without offering any offsetting spending cuts. It was apparent then, and is even more apparent now, that he’d brought federal revenue beneath the level of federal spending — and then he increased spending, too. Nothing Obama has signed into law will add as much to the deficit as Medicare Part D, for instance. Or the two wars George W. Bush began. Or, for that matter, the tax cuts Bush passed.

    • The next worst thing to recession

      That’s the problem we’re facing right now. David Leonhardt calls it “the long slog.” It’s not a recession, but it’s the next worst thing.

    • For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again

      Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group — 7.3 percent — is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.

    • Experts: Recession ended last year

      According to NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, the U.S economy experienced the beginnings of an economic expansion in the middle of last year, marking the end of an 18-month recession that began in December 2007. The findings are welcome news for the White House, which has struggled to make its case that the unpopular steps it took to limit the economic damage have worked, even as the unemployment rate continued to rise above 9 percent well into 2010.

    • Obama aide’s exit could be prelude to more changes

      The departure of President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser at the end of the year could provide the White House with an opportunity to revamp its economic team after the November elections, when voters are expected to take out their anxieties on Democrats.

    • Obama’s Economics Chief Is Set to Leave

      The White House said Tuesday that Lawrence H. Summers, the chief architect of President Obama’s economic policy, would leave at the end of the year, continuing an exodus of top-level advisers at a time when voters are expressing deep dissatisfaction with the president’s stewardship of the economy.

    • Woman CEO sought for Summers job

      Larry Summers isn’t leaving the White House until the end of the year but President Barack Obama’s team already knows the ideal candidate to replace him on the National Economic Council – a woman CEO.

      The pick doesn’t have to fit that bill precisely, but it’s highly likely Obama’s pick will be either a woman or a business leader – and preferably both, said several people familiar with the situation.

    • On the GMAC Foreclosure Stories

      The basic facts are:
      # The homeowners had a mortgage.
      # The homeowners are in default.
      # The lender was sloppy and filed inaccurate documents with the court.

      This is great for the lawyers (fighting foreclosure), and costly for the lender, but this is nothing new – except that GMAC must not have been paying attention!

    • Fed statement sets table for possible action on economy in fall

      Federal Reserve policymakers Tuesday opened the door to new action to try to boost the economy. They just didn’t step on in.

      With economic growth sluggish, the jobless rate seemingly stuck near 10 percent and inflation well below the level the Fed aims for, officials of the central bank are “prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed” to support the recovery and get inflation higher, said a statement from the Fed’s policymaking committee. But they stopped short of taking action Tuesday.

    • CFTC chairman wants new derivatives rules implemented quickly

      Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Tuesday laid out an aggressive timetable for implementing regulations for the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market.

      In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gensler said the commission will propose a wide array of new regulations this fall, with most of the rules scheduled for final adoption by mid-July 2011.

    • AP Investigation: Calif. pension bonuses examined

      As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country’s largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

      Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

    • Head of Basel Panel Defends Proposed Bank Rules

      ew rules on how much rainy-day capital banks must keep in reserve are more rigorous than they first seem and create “a road to a much safer banking system,” the chairman of the panel that is writing the regulations said Wednesday, implicitly answering criticism that the proposals are too lax.

    • Goldman whacked

      TWENTY-THREE years after he first championed greed, Gordon Gekko is back. Michael Douglas reprises his role as the slick-haired financial barbarian in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, due for release on September 24th.

      Half-reformed after prison, Gekko is more anti-hero than villain this time. He is still dazzled by lucre, but also determined to give warning of the dangers of excessive leverage. The real baddies are Bretton James and the securities firm he runs, Churchill Schwartz—perhaps the least disguised fictional name ever. Executives at Goldman Sachs are said to be unamused.

      James, played by Josh Brolin, is nothing like Goldman’s top brass. He wields phallic cigars, races superbikes and smashes his copy of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son” on a lamp when fingered for manipulating the share price of a rival firm.

    • Vatican Bank Facing Money Laundering Probe

      Italian authorities seized euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.

      The Vatican said it was “perplexed and surprised” by the investigation.

      Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank’s chairman and director general under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy’s anti-laundering laws, news reports said.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google denies a third of UK govt takedown requests

      Google has released data regarding requests from the UK government for data on individual surfers and to remove links from its index.

      The data, which is included in the Google Transparency Report for January – June 2010, also shows that government agencies made 1,343 requests for data about individual surfers in that time period.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Seeing the big picture on content

      The cracking of another content protection technology, comes as no surprise to Bill Thompson

      The only real surprise about the news that HDCP has been compromised was that it took so long.

      The ‘high bandwidth copy protection’ scheme has been in use since 2004 even though the possibility that someone would be able to reconstruct the master key by examining HDCP-capable devices was known even before any systems were commercially available.

    • AT&T boss: we’re innovating way too fast for regulation!

      AT&T now has its headquarters in Dallas, and there’s something about the Texas air that appeals to CEO Randall Stephenson. Perhaps it’s the scent of low taxes and deregulation carried on the breeze.

      “The environment for doing business in Dallas is really, really strong,” Stephenson told a reporter from the Dallas Morning News this week. “What I like about it is this is a community that not only is it not resentful of business, it likes business. People recognize that profitable companies are companies that hire and help cities grow. And that’s not the case around the country.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What’s in an analogy?

      The other view is that copyright is property, like a bar of chocolate or a car, with connotations of ownership, of exclusion of others, and of permanence (actually, in that case the chocolate bar is a very bad example, and the car is not too great, either).


      And since, even after the meltdown, governments are still pretty much committed to free market ideals, whether someone adopts the “property” or “programme” stance can be very telling.

      Thus, you’ll find organisations like the RIAA, BSA, FAST and BPI talk a lot about “property”. And you’ll find organisations like the Free Software Foundation railing against that characterisation.

      It’s also fairly telling that the organ of the United Nations which deals with these issues is called the “World Intellectual Property Organisation”, and that the relevant government agency in the UK is Intellectual Property Office.

    • Copyrights

      • Senior Judge Warns of End To File-Sharing Cash Demands

        A senior judge has given the clearest indications so far that patience could be running out with “pay up or else” letters currently being sent out in their thousands to alleged file-sharers. At a hearing to authorize yet more, the judge called the schemes “a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut” adding that once the Digital Economy Act is in force, further applications may not be successful.

      • Richard Stallman calls for internet tax to combat piracy

        “The current system does a very bad job. So, I’ve proposed two methods of (supporting artists). One is the government can collect taxes. It can have a special tax on internet connectivity or perhaps use a little bit of general revenue and distribute this money solely to the authors and artists based on their popularity but not in linear proportion to their popularity,” Mr Stallman said.

        Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

        End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

        Mr Stallman said that the revenue could be distributed to artists in accordance with a mathematic progression. Their revenue would flatten regardless of whether their popularity could be measured as many hundreds of multiples of their peers.

      • U.S. to escalate War on Piracy at domain name level

        Seems like U.S. legislators noticed the limited scope of such measures as well. This is why there is a new proposed Bill, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which in my opinion will make the DMCA look like a minor administrative decree. I guess we can call the new act the COICA (remove the Infringement and you get an amusing acronym, sorry, feeling rather puerile today). COICA will take over where “In Our Sites” left off. The main purpose of the Bill is to overhaul the civil injunction system in copyright law. The law will create new injunctive relief whereby a court of law can order the registrar of a domain name issued in the United States to temporarily or permanently remove the domain from a site dedicated to infringing activities, including copyright infringement and counterfeiting. The site must be primarily dedicated to commercially pursuing the sale of counterfeit goods, or the illegal downloading of copies of the work. Upon receipt of an order of removal, registrars must suspend the operation of the domain and lock it.

      • Copyright Criminals w/ Steinski and Amp Live

        Is sampling recorded music to create new works a form of artistic expression or, quite simply, a crime?

      • How Many Words is Fair Use? Maybe More Than You and AP Thought: Let’s Look at a Righthaven Case

        There is no X number of words that the law sets as necessarily all right to copy or not all right, as you will see in the judge’s ruling.

      • Impressed? No, not really: my views on the new “Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” 09/22/2010

        I have always been impressed with how proactive the US legislature is in addressing issues pertaining to the Internet. So, you can understand my excitement when a copy of the “Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” fell on my hands. I have to admit that after reading it, I am not impressed at all.

      • Austrian Collection Societies Want A ‘You Must Be A Criminal’ Tax On Hard Drives

        techflaws.org points us to the news that seven different collection societies in Austria are demanding a private copying levy on all hard drives (Google translation of the original German). Since seven different collection societies are involved, and each needs to get a cut, when you add all their fees up — it means that all hard drives under 500 GB have 21.60 euros added to the bill, while hard drives over 750 GB get a whopping 43.74 euros added (it’s not clear what happens between 500 to 750 GB).

      • Judge Indicates LVRJ May Have Offered An ‘Implied License’ To Copy In Righthaven Lawsuits

        It’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions to the Righthaven lawsuits. Plenty of people find it to be an abuse of copyright law, clearly for purposes outside of what the law is intended to handle. However, some copyright system supporters seem to think it’s wonderful, and they’ve been mocking the various defenses that defendants have been trying out.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

OpenShot 1.2 Highlights

Credit: TinyOgg

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts