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08.02.10

Links 2/8/2010: Ubuntu Studio 2.1, “Open Source Bubble”

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu’s Wild Ride on the Dell Roller Coaster

      There are many occupational hazards associated with being a fan of FOSS, but one Linux Girl never expected to have to endure is what’s afflicting her now: whiplash.

      Yes, after all the unexpected twists and turns in Dell’s (Nasdaq: DELL) approach to Ubuntu, another surprise maneuver came up last week that was simply too much.

      The move in question, you ask? Well, just days after the news broke that Dell had removed all Ubuntu-preloaded machines from its site, reports emerged that the company is actually *expanding* its desktop Ubuntu selection.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC4 Architecture and What it Means for the Future

        KDE SC 4.0 was released in January of 2008 and KDE SC 4.5 will be released shortly (August 4th, 2010), roughly two and a half years later, and it is time to reflect on what KDE SC4 seeks to accomplish and how well it is doing in its goals. The critical shift KDE SC took in this series is abstracting the desktop from the underlying system through three pillars, phonon, plasma and solid making the desktop some sort of a virtual platform environment and easily portable to other operating systems.

      • Sports Activity Tracking App: The Baby Needs a Name

        This one’s an activity and sports tracking application similar to the .NET-behemoth Sport Tracks or Garmin Training Center.

        It’s not a hundred percent complete yet and has its share of rough edges, but to give you an impression of what works already,

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Leads Corporate Contributions to GNOME Desktop Project

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today highlights its leadership in open source desktop development with its ranking as the top corporate contributor to the GNOME project. In a census study published by Neary Consulting at GUADEC, held last week in The Hague, Netherlands, Red Hat placed first among the total 106 companies that have contributed to GNOME development over the past 10 years with nearly 17 percent of the total code commits. The study also showed that nine out of the top 20 contributors are Red Hat employees.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is The “Open Source Bubble” Over?

    Usually it’s a desire for control or exclusivity in some form, but the outcome is always to negate the “open source effect” by limiting the ability of every participant to get what they want and thus give what they can. While there’s clearly a niche for one or two expertly-balanced businesses, the propensity of commentators to focus on these colourful exceptions has created the perception this is the norm.

  • Can Day Software Propel Adobe Towards a More Open Business Strategy?

    As most involved in the broad content management market, I’ve seen the news of the week: Adobe acquires Day Software, the hot WCM vendor.

    [...]

    Adobe could concentrate on monetizing global service offerings: Omniture, Livecycle, end-to-end workflows for medias, acrobat.com on steroids, more online services, etc. Commoditizing the core WCM technology would keep the competition busy and let them make money where they hardly have any meaningful competition, innovate more with new services spanning and leveraging the wide reach of their offerings. We also would see an ecosystem thrive on CQ5, providing the ignition — for free — Adobe needs to enter the market. Kinda the Google way, after all.

    Actually the more I think to this and after having read Adobe’s plan for Day, I think it’s the best way to achieve it. If they truly want to create a platform for customer engagement management, this is the way. This is how the industry builds big platform nowadays, by open source software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements

      Research published this week suggests that the majority of federal government departments in Germany are ignoring requirements to implement Open Standards.

      A survey was conducted by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to investigate the state of government adoption of ODF, and to promote wider uptake of Open Standards. “Although federal policy has wisely embraced Open Standards for interoperability, accessibility and security, it is clear that most government bodies are still using inefficient proprietary formats” said Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE. “Ultimately citizens will end up paying the price for this lack of conformity through higher bills for public IT contracts, and slower services due to interoperability problems” he added. “They will also pay a price in freedom, as they are forced to use proprietary software and standards to communicate with government authorities”.

  • Project Releases

    • OTRS 3.0 Beta 1 includes new GUI

      OTRS Inc. has announced the release of the first beta of OTRS (Open source Ticket Request System) version 3.0, the company’s open source help desk system. According to OTRS Research and Development Director Manuel Hecht, the latest development version results in “up to 30% quicker ticket turnaround under demanding high-usage scenarios, on top of enhanced features and accessibility.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data and the voluntary sector

        Here at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) we’ve recently started taking an interest in open data, and its implication for charities and the voluntary sector.

        We know that some voluntary organisations which specialise in open data have been leading the charge – the Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit company, mySociety is a registered charity – and often the most exciting and innovative uses of open data are made by volunteers in their spare time. But we know that many voluntary organisations find it difficult to find the time and skills to develop their ICT capabilities, and can find the challenge of implementing new technologies in their organisation daunting. This is daunting not just because of the time and resources required, but also because it requires a change in organisational culture.

      • Can You Make Money from Open Source+Open Data?

        By contrast, the data underlying Google’s search engine is public – anyone can go out and crawl the entire Web (indeed, companies like Microsoft do that). But for all its support of free software, Google does not make the key part of its code – its PageRank algorithm – public.

        So, it’s definitely true that some of the most important players in the digital world offer either open source or open data, but not both: is it *necessarily* true, though?

      • From journalists to interpreters – is data changing the way we work?

        Well, the last year has answered that question for us. It has been an incredible one for public data. Obama opened up the US government’s data faults as his first legislative act (http://www.data.gov/), followed by government data sites around the world – Australia (http://data.australia.gov.au/), New Zealand http://www.data.govt.nz/, the British government’s Data.gov.uk and of course the London datastore.

    • Open Access/Content

      • $200 Textbook vs. Free. You Do the Math.

        “We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”

        The nonprofit Curriki fits into an ever-expanding list of organizations that seek to bring the blunt force of Internet economics to bear on the education market. Even the traditional textbook publishers agree that the days of tweaking a few pages in a book just to sell a new edition are coming to an end.

Leftovers

  • Financial Times chief sees paywalls as ‘morally’ necessary to protect journalism

    Taken in the economic context of the rest of the interview, it makes him appear ignorant of the fact market forces, not the opinions of free culture advocates, are what’s hurting his traditional industry. Not a smart impression to give, even if you are turning a profit.

  • Science

    • Department Of Outlandish Ideas: Build Solar Roadways

      If you want to change the world, you have to think big. Say what you want about the feasibility of Scott Brusaw’s idea to replace asphalt roads with miles of solar ribbons that cars and trucks can drive on, it is a very ambitious idea. Brusaw is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Roadways, a bootstrapped startup in Idaho. He is an engineer, and is building prototypes of solar panels that could be used as roads.

    • Quantum memory may topple Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

      A quantum memory may be all scientists need to beat the limit of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to a paper published in Nature Physics. According to a group of researchers, maximally entangling a particle with a quantum memory and measuring one of the particle’s variables, like its position, should snap the quantum memory in a corresponding state, which could then be measured. This would allow them to do something long thought verboten by the laws of physics: figure out the state of certain pairs of variables at the exact same time with an unprecedented amount of certainty.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Negative Equity in Underwater Homes

      Calculated Risk gathers the data on underwater homes:

      * There are 14.75 million underwater homes and 4.1 million of these have more than 50% negative equity (the homeowners owe 50%+ more than their homes are worth).
      * The total negative equity is $771 billion.

    • Garbage islands threaten China’s Three Gorges dam

      Thousands of tonnes of garbage washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China’s massive Three Gorges Dam, and is in places so think people can stand on it, state media said on Monday.

      Chen Lei, a senior official at the China Three Gorges Corporation, told the China Daily that 3,000 tonnes of rubbish was being collected at the dam every day, but there was still not enough manpower to clean it all up. “The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges Dam,” Chen said, referring to the gates of the locks which allow shipping to pass through the Yangtze River.

    • Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany

      As Germany’s wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Give & Take: Fifth Amendment Complicates Net Neutrality

      Opponents of net neutrality, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have pointed to numerous grounds upon which the detrimental scheme could be challenged. These include its deterrent effect on investment, its unsatisfactory grounding in FCC statutory authority, and that it violates the First Amendment.

      A forthcoming paper from Boston College Law Professor Daniel Lyons offers an even stronger basis for challenge: The Fifth Amendment. Under Prof. Lyons’s theory, net neutrality would run afoul of eminent domain. It would constitute a regulatory taking, requiring just compensation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • NAMCO Demands Takedown Of Pacman Game Created By Kid Using MIT’s Scratch Programming Language

      An anonymous reader sends over the story, found on Reddit of how Namco Bandai sent a letter complaining that a kid recreated Pacman online using Scratch. If you’re not familiar with it, Scratch is a very simple programming “language,” basically designed to teach kids how to program (or think about programming) from a young age. And what’s one of the best ways to learn to program? It’s to recreate an app that already exists.

    • Copyrights

      • Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

        At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

      • Hey NY Times: Can You Back Up The Claim Of $200 Billion Lost To Counterfeiting?

        It’s getting really frustrating watching the supposedly professional press repeat stats that have been thoroughly debunked as if they’re factual, so I think it’s about time that people started calling out the publications and reporters who make these mistakes directly. So, Stephanie Clifford, reporter for the NY Times, can you give any evidence whatsoever to support the claim that you made in your article this past weekend that counterfeiting “costs American businesses an estimated $200 billion a year?” I don’t think that Clifford can, because that number has been thoroughly debunked time and time again.

Clip of the Day

TYT On MSNBC: WikiProtest Launch (Share Your Ideas!)


Links 2/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Released, AppArmor in Linux 2.6.36

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Let’s Talk about Piracy III – Open Source Software

    But what about everything else? Do you need to spend Rs. 4,500 (USD 100) to purchase your copy of Windows? Let’s take the basic three requirements of PC users world-wide — surfing the internet, use of office productivity software and multimedia playback. You don’t NEED Windows to do many of the tasks today. Yes, that document you’re typing doesn’t NEED Microsoft Word (it could do just fine with a Google Doc or Open Office). Speaking of Operating Systems, there’s one that is free in the truest sense of the term — Linux

    For the uninitiated, Linux is an open source operating system. Actually, Linux is a kernel (i.e. the heart of an OS). Open source means you freely release the code of software you make for the rest of the world. Then anybody can take it and modify it to their liking. To cite recent examples, Google’s Android phones work on Linux’s kernel and their Chrome OS is also going to be based on the same.

  • [Linux Gazette] August 2010 (#177)
  • A Linux for everyone (and everything)!

    Here’s what would this magical distribution would need to include…

    [...]

    People would buy this. PC makers might even distribute it on new PCs. Who knows. But ultimately the consumer would be the big winner because they would be getting an operating system on their machine that is stable, secure, reliable, AND runs Windows applications. What more could a use need or want?
    Something like this is certainly feasible. It wouldn’t take a Canonical much work at all to roll the above application set into a retail version of Ubuntu and start selling it. I would buy it…if only to support the cause. Would you?

  • Why I prefer the Linux desktop for software development

    I’ve been a full time Linux user for the past 6 years. In this post I’ll try to explain why I prefer the Linux desktop for doing all my software development work. I will try to stay as objective as possible about the other OS’s when making my comparison.

  • Linux again

    My first foray into Linux was Mandrake 9.1. 2003 was still early days for desktop Linux and I found it difficult to work on – which admittedly was also because I had newly migrated from Windows and had to learn a whole new set of tricks to use. While I enjoyed the change, Mandrake didn’t suit me and I got frustrated enough to make a wholesale change to Kubuntu – Ubuntu using KDE – in 2006. In 2008 KDE 4 came out and I was one of those who decided to ditch it. I then discovered Xubuntu – Ubuntu running Xfce – and made that my new Linux desktop. Now I have migrated to the most popular Linux distribution – Ubuntu, which runs GNOME.

  • Linux in the Movies

    In the the movie “Blood Work” there is a scene where actor Clint Eastwood is interviewing a witness to a murder.

    Prominently displayed behind this person is a Redhat Linux 6.1 book; and the entire bookshelf has Linux books.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 160 – Outlaws Ride Twingos

      This time on Linux Outlaws: Thesis backs down, NASA drops Eucalyptus, Dell drops Ubuntu, BSOD and the oil disaster, Apple world leader in being insecure and interviews from GUADEC 2010 including Lennart Poettering talking shop on PulseAudio and systemd.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux

      • Linux 2.6.35

        So I said -rc6 would likely be the last -rc, and nothing happened to change my mind. I’d always be happier if it had been an even quieter week, but the appended Shortlog of changes since rc6 doesn’t contain anything earthshaking, and I don’t think we’d have been any better off by another rc, and waiting one more week. So 2.6.35 is out, go check it out.

      • AppArmor Is Going Into The Linux 2.6.36 Kernel

        James Morris has outlined a preview of the security subsystem changes he is currently carrying in his security-testing-next branch of the Linux kernel that he plans to have Linus Torvalds pull into the next kernel development cycle for Linux 2.6.36. The big change in the kernel security world is that AppArmor is being planned for integration into the Linux 2.6.36 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Overview: Common Linux desktops

      Something most new Linux users often struggle to understand is the concept of desktop environments. What a desktop environment actually is, I feel, gets further clouded when users start exploring different “spins” of a distro (short for distribution). For example, it is very common for a new user to think that Kubuntu or Xubuntu is something entirely different from the well known Ubuntu. Many do not know that they can easily install any *buntu on any other *buntu with a single command![1]

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Beautiful Screenshots

        This weekend I finally sat down and wrote a screenshot effect for KWin. This effect redirects the rendering of any window into an off-screen texture and saves the texture into the home directory. The advantage of this effect is that it is hooked into the normal rendering process and so we can also capture the shadow and the translucency to get beautiful screenshots. If we capture a transparent window it does not show the windows below but only the captured window with the alpha channel turned on correctly.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Proposal to make GNOME a fully-fledged OS

        Last weeks GUADEC was less like a developers conference and more like a presidential campaign rally! The enthusiasm, positivity and general feedback that it has garnered is incredible but amongst the many interesting things propositioned at GUADEC came the idea of a GNOME as an OS.

      • Elegant Gnome (Theme) Pack PPA For Ubuntu And Linux Mint Users

        Elegant Gnome Pack is an amazing theme pack we included in a post on 5 great Gnome themes last week so you’re probably already familiar with it.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux light – SalixOS 13.1 “LXDE” Edition

        After looking at SalixOS 13.0 in my comparison of light weight Slackware derivatives for the desktop I thought I should give 13.1 a full standalone review. This also, I’ll admit from the start, because I’m very fond of it. Yes, I’m biased.
        There’s nothing better for me out there apart from Slackware proper, and SalixOS is the unaltered Slackware with a little custom art and a few helpful tools strapped on optimized for the desktop, like easy localization, setting of the clock, adding users tool, and truly one-click adding of multimedia codecs. Thus it makes sense that it’s tracking version numbers closely as well. It has not diverged in the way Zenwalk and Vectorlinux have. This makes for one very solid, extensible system. But let’s take it one step at a time.

        [...]

        To sum it up, SalixOS is smooth and there really isn’t more to say about it. Particularly the LXDE install is a great way of starting with a basic fast but still functional desktop that can be built and upgraded into a fully featured work space with KDE or Gnome should you wish. Or you can use standard with Xfce. I’ll conclude with the same findings as in the previous article. Whether you’re an aspiring ex-Ubuntu or ex-Mandriva user, want a quick and easy Slackware install or just something light but with lots of possibilities, give Salix a try. It’s easy, very easy.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Powerpack: Upgrade or Fresh Install?

        So I started over and chose “install” this time. The process went on fast and I restarted the computer. The new Mandriva Spring Powerpack was working perfectly.
        I noticed that Avidemux, the video editor was included, which made me very happy because I had problems to install it with Mandriva 2010.

    • Debian Family

      • My life with Debian

        I’m not trying to set any records here. I’m just lazy enough to avoid re-installing my OS and setting it up. But I seriously doubt than any other OS or distro can handle it. It’s unique combination of Debian’s approach to distro development, package upgrade-ability policies and attention to software quality that makes it possible.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Golden Age of Open Source

    I mean, in 20 years time are there going to be IT students sitting in a lecture (virtual environment I would imagine), making notes on how 2010 was the year that the proprietary software model tipped into terminal decline?

    I have already seen the change happen in the world of content management. As we came out of the summer of 2009, hard on the tail of a global economic meltdown, something changed in the take up of open source ECM in the blue chip arena of business. Our projects suddenly shifted from strategic, point solutions leveraging the open source model of Alfresco to become main stream, enterprise adoptions of Alfresco as a chosen, strategic enterprise content management platform across global corporations and organisations. Not just on one or two occasions, not just in one or two sectors, but across the board.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Loses Market Share Again: Is That a Problem?

        First of all, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Internet Explorer has gained 0.42% in a month: that’s little more than statistical noise, and only from one data source. As for Firefox, it’s important to remember that over the last year its market share has hovered around the 23-24% mark, and so is essentially static in what is presumably a growing market: it is still gaining users. The main change in this time has been the undeniable rise of Google’s Chrome.

        That’s significant for a number of reasons. First, because it signals Google’s willingness to enter mature software markets. It confirms Google’s tactical use of open source to undermine proprietary competitors (something that other companies like IBM were one of the first to twig) – precisely its approach in the mobile sector too. It also has wider ramifications for Google’s future products, notable ChromeOS, which seems to be a browser-based approach to computing that places Chrome at the heart of the user experience.

      • 8 of the best web browsers for Linux

        The web browser is becoming the single most important piece of desktop software, if it isn’t already. Not only is the web a huge source of information, but also the conduit to a huge world of hosted apps and interconnected cloud services covering a range of new computer-based experiences.

        When you’re shopping, you want security; when you’re working, you want reliability; and when you’re being entertained, you want speed and compatibility with many different types of media.

  • Government

    • Defense Ministry wins open-source award

      Defense Ministry won this year’s Open-Source Award for its extensive use of open-source systems in its offices.

      Initiated by the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, the Research and Technology Ministry and the Administrative Reforms Ministry, in conjunction with the Indonesian Open-Source Association, the award is aimed at promoting the use of free, open source software using the Linux operating system, among government offices.

Leftovers

  • Taking Back the DNS

    I am stunned by the simplicity and truth of that observation. Every day lots of new names are added to the global DNS, and most of them belong to scammers, spammers, e-criminals, and speculators. The DNS industry has a lot of highly capable and competitive registrars and registries who have made it possible to reserve or create a new name in just seconds, and to create millions of them per day. Domains are cheap, domains are plentiful, and as a result most of them are dreck or worse.

  • Intel’s Discounts

    This is about Intel paying Dell and other OEMs a “discount” to ignore AMD CPUs. The report to the court likely is about the prices paid. In the absence of sales of AMD CPUs it is hard to demonstrate that consumers/customers paid too much but what of the lack of choice? Combined with Moore’s Law it is hard to prove that Intel’s prices were “too high” or “higher than they would have been” without the discounts. This is silly when you consider the size of the bribes in $billions. If Intel’s prices were not too high, how did Intel imagine they could recoup the payments? Increased volume? Supply and demand do work.

  • EU turning blind eye to discrimination against Roma, say human rights groups

    The European Union was today accused of “turning a blind eye” as countries across Europe carried out a wave of expulsions and introduced new legislation targeting the Roma.

    Human rights groups criticised the EU for failing to address the real issues driving Europe’s largest ethnic minority to migrate in the first place and for choosing not to upbraid countries for breaking both domestic and EU laws in their treatment of them.

  • Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa, land of a billion customers

    In the peaceful and prosperous Namibian capital of Windhoek, small Chinese businesses have been ruffling feathers.

    The trouble began in February when members of the Windhoek chamber of commerce complained that an invasion of Chinese corner shops, hairdressers, restaurants and traders was forcing out local businesses.

    “There has been rapid growth in the number of small-scale retailing outlets throughout the country, offering low-quality products and replacing long-existing locally-owned businesses,” the chamber announced, lobbying the government to protect Namibian businesses from such energetic Chinese competition.

  • Science

    • NSFW: Sorry Deathhackers; Life Is Short, And So It Should Be

      Bill Gates has described bio-hacking (deathhacking?) as the logical successor to computer hacking. More importantly though, Silicon Valley people are – by and large – massive overachievers. Company founders in their teens, rich by the time they’re 30, angel investors by 31, charitable foundation at 40. No wonder these people want to go on forever: just imagine what they could achieve by the time they’re 1030!

      And so the research goes on, millions more dollars are poured in to deathhacking startups by rich-mortal-and-terrified benefactors, dozens more books are published on the subject and every day countless startup founders jump into their Teslas and speed to their “doctors” to pick up the latest batch of pills that they hope will keep them around until someone figures this shit out. And why not?

      Here’s why not.

      A few months ago I finished writing my book about living in hotels – a second memoir by the age of thirty, which is unwarranted by any measure. My deadline was January 1st, but I finally scraped past the finish line somewhere around the start of March. The truth is, I didn’t need the extra time: I’d already had a year to write the thing, and much of that time was spent dicking around in the name of “additional research”, most of which never made it into the final manuscript. But it’s generally accepted that authors never make their deadlines, and my publisher gladly gave me the 90 days grace I claimed I needed to complete the task.

    • Space Cadets

      Basically, it’s not clear how large a system you need to support human civilization. We don’t know how to build biospheres from scratch yet, and indeed there’s worryingly little research being done on the topic (which may become a screamingly important priority in another half century, if the most pessimistic climate change projections are accurate). We can make a rough back-of-the-envelope guess at the size of human population it takes — given abundant raw materials and a favourable biosphere — to maintain a technological civilization; it’s many orders of magnitude larger than the proponents of Heinlein’s nostrum that “specialization is for insects” may be comfortable with.

    • British campaigners in legal bid after US file leak

      British rights campaigners have launched a bid to take defence officials to court over the alleged involvement of the country’s soldiers in the shooting of Afghan civilians, a report said Monday.

      Tens of thousands of classified US military files published last week by whistleblower website WikiLeaks documented unusual civilian shootings in Afghanistan involving two British army units, said the Guardian newspaper.

    • Leaked war files no surprise to Afghans

      Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has played down the fallout from the Wikileaks scandal, saying the information released was “not a big surprise”.

      “Actually for us Afghans, and especially some of us dealing with intelligence, we knew it all along,” he said during a visit to Malaysia on Monday.

      “For us it was not a big surprise because we were sharing intelligence. We were aware of the size of the activities and support of the Taliban,” he said.

      “It is good now that everyone knows about it.”

      The WikiLeaks website released more than 90,000 classified US military files dating from the Afghan war between 2004 and 2009, a period when tens of thousands of US and NATO troops ran into increasing Taliban resistance.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables

      Fossil fuels are the backbone of economies worldwide, so governments spend a lot to support them. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 anf $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says.

    • Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

      The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

    • Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit

      The BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, with its tragic loss of life and devastating impact on the Gulf Coast economy, has brought the risk and high cost of oil development to the public’s attention. Predictably a round of oil industry executives have testified before Congress offering countless apologies and empty assurances that such an incident will never happen again. But this is the fourth major oil spill in 33 years on North America.

    • BP’s incoming boss says clean-up operation may be scaled down

      Bob Dudley, who was named this week to replace BP’s much maligned chief executive Tony Hayward, announced that the company was appointing a former head of the US federal emergency management agency, James Lee Witt, to help recover from the disaster. BP intends to attempt a “static kill” to permanently plug the well with cement on Tuesday.

      Although he told reporters that BP remained fully committed to a long-term restoration of the tarnished environment, Dudley told reporters in Mississippi that it was “not too soon for a scale-back” in clean-up efforts: “You probably don’t need to see so many hazmat [protective] suits on the beaches.”

    • BP oil spill: A Louisiana tragedy

      There’s hardly a family in the Gulf region that does not have a member involved in the oil industry. My father was a tugboat captain who handled barges of crude oil for the sprawling refineries, my brother sells oilfield equipment and technology, my nephew captains offshore supply vessels, my great-nephew operates a giant crane currently picking Katrina-smashed equipment from the Gulf floor. Cousins manage oil leases.

      So, even though I am not an oil worker, the industry is part of my environment, my history, and when I saw images of the April Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire, I thought at once, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong. That rig is state-of-the-art, the size of a small factory, loaded with technology that rivals the space programme in complexity. Why is the fire so enormous?” And later, when the labyrinth of pipes and valves keeled over in a rumbling, hissing nimbus of flame, I was astounded, thinking, “Why didn’t the blowout preventer shut down the well?” And days later, when it was revealed that the device was not functioning, a dark spill began to spread in my soul, a burgeoning realisation that nothing could stop a runaway well 5,000ft below the Gulf’s surface. Nothing.

  • Finance

    • Greenspan: Modest economic recovery ‘in a pause’

      Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he thinks the economy is having a modest recovery, but right now there’s a “pause” in that recovery, so it feels like a “quasi-recession.”

    • What Would Roosevelt Do?

      ACROSS the United States, thousands of federally financed stimulus projects are under way, aimed at bolstering the economy and putting people to work. The results so far have not been spectacular.

    • Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

      IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

    • With Friends Like This …

      IS it a blinding statement of the obvious to say that trust in the world’s banks has suffered lately? Indeed, just when you think you’re ready to move past the steady drumbeat of disconcerting revelations, something else crops up to test your faith.

      [...]

      Here’s yet another data point: the recent conclusion of a lawsuit filed by a unit of Grupo Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, against its longtime lender, JPMorgan Chase.

    • Billionaire Brothers Long Suspected of Tax Evasion

      Sam and Charles Wyly have long cultivated an image as active philanthropists, funneling millions of dollars to arts groups, colleges, literacy programs and animal shelters.

    • 25% of Americans Have Bad Credit Scores

      Before the recession, the number of people with a FICO score of less than 600 was under 15%.

    • Greece’s national strike threatens chaos for British tourists

      Thousands of Britons heading to Greece for their summer holiday last night risked becoming caught up in the chaos of a nationwide strike by protesting truck drivers that is threatening fuel, food and medical shortages across the country.

    • US economy shows signs of slowdown as consumer spending falters

      The US recovery appears to be faltering after a slowdown in consumer spending dampened growth and fuelled fears of a double dip recession.

      President Barack Obama’s hopes of a strong showing in November’s congressional elections took a blow as official figures revealed that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.4% in the second quarter compared with 3.7% in the first three months of the year.

    • Dhaka garment workers in violent protests over low pay

      The protests were prompted by a government announcement that monthly minimum wages for the country’s millions of garment workers would rise by about 80%. Union leaders say the raise is inadequate and does not match the high cost of living.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nleash: Take Back Control of your Nspire

      Nleash will forcefully remove both the downgrade protection and the installed 2.1 OS, allowing the user to reinstall any desired older version. For instance, OS 1.1 can be installed in order to run third-party C and assembly software through Ndless 1.0 (which supports only OS 1.1).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA ‘Protects’ Radiohead’s In Rainbows

        In 2007 Radiohead sent a shockwave through the music industry by allowing fans to download their new ‘self-released’ album ‘In Rainbows’ for whatever price they wanted to pay, including nothing. Fast-forward three years and the RIAA and IFPI are sending takedown notices to people who share that album online. What happened?

      • Day One: AFACT v iiNet BitTorrent Piracy Appeal

        Six months ago Aussie ISP iiNet celebrated following its legal victory against the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft. Now the pair are back in Federal Court for the appeal, where AFACT hopes to show that iiNet acted illegally when it refused to take action against customers who file-shared movies and TV shows using BitTorrent.

Clip of the Day

Google Chrome, Japan


08.01.10

Links 1/8/2010: GNU/Linux Reviews and GhostBSD 1.5 Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • GSoC 2010: Mind Mapping in KOffice

        A key element of mind map is tree which layouts shapes with text. I decided tree may be usefull not only for mind mapping, but for some other things. So I started working on TreeShape plugin. Plugin makes it possible to layout any KOffice shapes in tree structure and manage it.

  • Distributions

    • Distributions – A Brief History

      It seems as though there are as many Linux distributions as there are letters in the alphabet with which to name them. Certainly, there is a flavor to satisfy almost any palate. It wasn’t always this way, however. How did it happen? Why hasn’t the Linux world just standardized on a single distribution?

      The beginning of the Linux distribution really started with Richard Stallman and his fledgling Free Software Foundation in the early 1980s. The GNU operating system was being developed, intending to re-implement a UNIX-like operating system as free software. Although many GNU tools enjoyed wide use, the project suffered various setbacks and delays in its hunt for a kernel. There was a lack of cooperation from some at Berkeley with using the BSD kernel, and there were licensing issues with Mach (Carnegie-Mellon University’s microkernel). Before these issues were resolved and the GNU Project was able to make headway building its own kernel, Hurd (another free kernel) became available for use.

    • Reviews

      • Sabayon – no, I dont know what it means!

        Sabayon on the whole is a very usable system. Not as slick as some of the bigger boys but certainly capable of handling itself in a scrap. Media support is a bit patchy but good enough and XBMC pulls it out of the bag and gives it a purpose and some edge.

      • Mepis Mepis Mepis

        Killer Feature: Hard to find one really. Mepis is solid and the DVD runs nicely but the not wanting to boot from the hard drive aspect worries me that if it doesn’t work for me then its likely to not work somewhere else. Several nice touches like gadgets and widgets on the desktop but nothing that really stands out.

        Final verdict on Mepis is that its …OK. It works for some and not others and has made me appreciate what KDE has to offer in terms of built in software. Not blown away but it looks nice and does most tasks reasonably well.

      • Arch Linux Promising, Disappointing

        Arch Linux looks promising. The installation is easy, the documentation is helpful, and the package manager interface is simple.

        [...]

        In summary, the helpfulness of the Arch docs is directly proportional to the brokenness of Arch packages. To me, Arch is yet another distribution inferior to Ubuntu.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux Spring 2010

        So far it has been a smooth ride except for one annoying problem. I am not able to shut down my laptop.

      • Distro Hoppin`: Mandriva 2010.1

        Mandriva enjoys the support of many mirrors for their repositories and the closest one to my location helped me achieve awesome speeds, beyond 10 MB/s. Sadly, there were quite a lot of times when that mirror didn’t work at all. As a simple workaround, you can always change the mirror to a more reliable one from Software Manager → Options → Media Manager → File → Add a specific media mirror.

      • Man Driver – Mandriva Linux

        Verdict on Mandriva is that its the best non-Debian based system I have tried in these tests. Its got all the right ingredients to keep most people happy other than some support for DVDs or an easy way of getting them to work without hours of fiddling and downloading codecs.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Mark Shuttleworth apologises for alleged sexist comment

          Mark Shuttleworth has apologised “unreservedly to all offended” for his “poor choice of language” during LinuxCon 2009 during which a comment made by the Ubuntu founder was deemed to be sexist by many members of the Linux community

          The redress, given in the comment section of his blog, states: – “I apologize unreservedly to all offended by my poor choice of language on that or other occasion.”

        • We’ve got issue 39 out for you!

          That’s right, Full Circle issue 39 is out! We’ve got a review of the iRobot iPad Android tablet, talk about virtualizing Fedora, virtual memory, new interviews, and more! (Oh, and we seem to have the recurring theme of ’13′ in our articles.)

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Yuhnke commentary: Can a free alternative really replace Microsoft Windows on your mobile computer

            Over the past week I’ve been testing out a free operating system designed for netbooks called Jolicloud . I downloaded the installer from their website, went through a few prompts and within about 30 minutes it was up and running. The best part is, I was able to keep Windows on my netbook too. After installation, a prompt appears when I first turn my computer on asking me if I want to load Windows or Jolicloud. This made me feel safe, knowing that I could always go back to Windows if things didn’t work out.

            The first thing I noticed was the simplicity. There’s very little clutter on the screen. The interface is similar to what you see on an iPhone, there are pages of app icons. You can click the “Add” button in the upper left corner to find more applications to add to your netbook. It’s almost like the App Store on an iPhone. Jolicloud is based off Linux so it runs pretty smooth and there are about 700 applications available for Jolicloud. This includes office applications that support Microsoft Office files, video players, music organizers, etc.

          • Kubuntu gets Global Menu

            Kubuntu 10.10 has finally got its application menu integration ready. The application menu, also called “Global Menu” is not same as the one found in UNE 10.10, but it is using the same infrastructure.

          • Pinguy OS (Remastered Ubuntu) – Ubuntu After A Week Of Customizations [Review]

            Pinguy OS is a remastered Ubuntu with a lot of useful default applications – great for those who don’t like to do a lot of tweaking and want an OS that “just works”. Pinguy OS doesn’t rebrand Ubuntu, so you’ll have the same Plymouth theme, the Ubuntu logo for the menu and so on.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open to Everyone: How Open Source Communities Can Benefit from Diversity Without Disunity, Teresa Jewell

    Open source is at once a type of software licensing, a community model, an ideology, and a social movement. As a movement aiming not only to promote open source software within the software development community, but also to change the attitudes of commercial users, it can benefit from lessons learned by earlier social movements.

  • Integrating Lessons from Other Disciplines into Open Source Practice, Mekki MacAulay

    Open source theory and practice is inherently interdisciplinary. Viewing the challenges faced by open source communities, businesses, and contributors through the lenses of different disciplines can yield novel solutions. This article reviews select lessons from the diverse fields of fashion, gaming, and scientometrics. It examines the way these other industries have addressed issues that are of relevance to the open source community and suggests ways to put these lessons to good use.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 1.5 Screenshots

      GhostBSD 1.5 is based on the FreeBSD live CD however because this release is a little larger it comes on as a live DVD. As of this release GhostBSD is completely installable by issuing a list of commands and pc-sysinstall. A file with instructions for installing GhostBSD appear on the desktop. Although this install method is a little bit tough to complete, Eric Turgeonhas stated “Now for the next 6 mount I gonna work on a graphic installer for 2.0.” You can find more in the official release announcement. Please keep in mind you can buy Free-BSD and PC-BSD in our cart.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ZeroPaid Interviews the Free Software Foundation

      Open source has been in the media for quite some time whether directly or indirectly. With ACTA leak and the ASCAP letter two big news items that affects open source, we decided to sit down with the Free Software Foundation and talk about these and other things related to the open source movement.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Emerging-technology expert calls for open access to academic knowledge

        It is almost “criminally irresponsible” to hoard academic knowledge in the digital age, according to a Canadian specialist in the field.

        Brian Lamb, manager of emerging technologies and digital content at the University of British Columbia, also said that open educational resources (OERs) could help to reassert the academy’s role as a “leader and guardian of free and open enquiry”.

      • Open Access sceptics: parallels with climate change

        As a closing thought, if we think of academic journals in the OA debate as oil in the climate change debate, we are only going to have less and less access to them as time goes on. Academic libraries cannot afford to subscribe to them all, and that is only going to get worse. In the same way that in 50, 100, 150 years time (whatever it may be) we will have no oil-based fuel to put in our cars, in 10, 15, 20 years time you may be even less likely than you are now to reach your desired audience by simply relying on the subscription base of a given journal. Rather than waiting to see if this happens, why not do something about it now?

      • For the last time – open access is not like stealing bread

        The Times Higher ran a piece on ceviche cooking edupunk Brian Lamb’s keynote at the recent JISC OER event in London. Brian makes his usual good points, but it was some of the comments that were revealing.

        In particular, one that states “We should also have ‘open access’ at Tesco: I should just be able to take from their shelves what I want without paying.”

  • Programming

    • An Accurate Comparison of Perl 5 and Rakudo Star

      Rakudo Star is a useful and usable subset of Perl 6 you can use right now. It does not implement the complete Perl 6.0 specification, and it’s by no means the final release: it contains bugs and misfeatures, and it’s had very little optimization work for speed or memory.

Leftovers

  • Is Punch Google’s Swing At Microsoft Publisher?

    There’s a new mystery on the web today. In an otherwise boring video about “Google Lookup in Google Docs,” the search giant appears to have inadvertently revealed a new Google Docs product called “Punch.” So what on Earth is it?

    The blog Google Operating System (which spotted the feature) has its guess: “Maybe Google Punch is a free-form document that lets you combine data from other documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms.” ReadWriteWeb expands on that a bit for a similar guess: “Perhaps a Punch is a mix of functions and content intended for collaboration, more than for posting publishing like Google Pages is.” Both sound plausible, but we have another guess.

  • Cautious Arm declines to revise guidance

    Arm, the UK’s largest technology company by market value, declined to raise its full-year outlook in spite of beating market expectations with its first-half results.

  • An e-reader skeptic converted
  • Science

Clip of the Day

Firefox 4 Beta 2 – Web Tech Preview


07.31.10

Links 31/7/2010: Google’s GNU/Linux Strategy, YAFFS2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Google

    • Google Apps for Government: Inextricably Tied to Chrome OS

      While Google Apps for Government, a version of Google Apps certified for use by the U.S. government, is much in the news, not everyone is perceiving how closely tied the move is with Google’s much-ballyhooed upcoming Chrome OS. Google’s operating system, due in a matter of weeks, with numerous high-profile hardware partners committed to making netbooks based on it, is at the center of many initiatives from the company. In the case of Google Apps for Government, Google hopes to lend credibility to its cloud-based applications because Chrome OS is, through and through, a cloud-centric OS.

  • Kernel Space

    • YAFFS2: Yet Another Flash File System

      As flash sizes increased and Linux moved into more embedded niches, the need for read-write flash file systems was answered by JFFS2 which for a long time was de-facto standard Linux flash file system. As flash sizes grew even more and devices such as cellular phones that store large amounts of information (pictures, mp3 files) started using Linux, JFFS2 reached its scalability limits. As a result, new file systems specifically designed for large NAND flash devices were developed — UBIFS, LogFS, and YAFFS. For a long time only UBIFS was part of the mainline kernel and both YAFFS2 and LogFS where available as a patches. At some point in time it looked like LogFS developed was stagnated, with the latest patch available for kernel version 2.6.24. However, LogFS suddenly resurfaced and rather surprisingly was quickly merged into kernel 2.6.34 indicating that its developers kept working on this project, albeit with little publicity. YAFFS2, which contrary to LogFS was widely used, undergoes a similar process with respect to inclusion into mainlaine Linux kernel. It looks like even though in the past YAFFS2 developers did not make any significant effort to put it into the mainline kernel, it is going to change now.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600g Gains Mip-Map, Face Culling Support
      • NVIDIA Puts Out Two Drivers, Including For OpenGL 4.1

        While there’s very few people that NVIDIA’s dead open-source driver update helps out, NVIDIA has released two new binary Linux driver updates. The NVIDIA 256.44 pre-release driver adds in support for some new GeForce and Quadro GPUs along with introduces some “Fermi” (GeForce GTX 400 series) stability fixes while the NVIDIA 256.38.02 Linux driver introduces initial OpenGL 4.1 support.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

      • Collaborate and manage projects with Todoyu

        You’ll need a machine running the Apache/PHP/MySQL stack, or the XAMPP package.
        You’ll also need the latest release of Todoyu.

      • Free Resources For Getting Your GIMP Graphics Game On

        If you’ve spent any time at all working with graphics–whether you favor open source software or not–you’re probably familiar with the power of GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications. Of course, if you know your way around GIMP, you’re probably also familiar with the many effects you can execute with it. Scott Photographics has an excellent exploration of how to create see-through text effects posted, and you can learn to do so with GIMP in about five minutes. While you’re at it, check out this post’s collection of useful, free resources for GIMP.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Opinion: Re: Canonical release cycle for Ubuntu Server

          Even though my goto operating system for servers is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, lately I have been working with Canonical’s Ubuntu Server 10.04 and I will admit that it has so far been a great experience. Just like what is expected of a server operating system, it is not intended for the general user base and focused more toward an experience Linux user; especially when by default there exists no GUI. That is one of the best parts in my personal opinions. Another great thing about the OS relates to its simplified installation process and how everything is automatically installed and to an extent configured should you choose to configure the server as a LAMP, DNS, etc. A couple of years ago, I had reviewed an older 8.10 release here and here and wasn’t impressed. Now, I can see things have changed for the better. Unfortunately I will not be discussing this. But before I get any deeper into this article, I wish to share my experiences with 10.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Hacking the Nokia N900 Phone

          Do you remember the Frankencamera? The API used for the Frankencamera has been released for the Nokia n900 Phone, making the phones camera programmable. For those with programming skills this could be a very interesting Journey. FCam API provides you with full low level control of your camera, enabling you to hack your Nokia N900 and program it however you wish.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Tab Candy is the first step to sweeter browsing

        Tabbed browsing has arguably had a significant impact on the way that people use the Web, but the feature hasn’t really scaled to accommodate the increasing complexity of the average surfing session. The existing tab management and overflow handling mechanisms that are present in modern browsers are dated and suffer from some fundamental limitations that significantly detract from user productivity.

  • Oracle

    • The AEGIS Conference website is open for business

      As announced recently, the first International AEGIS Conference – “Access for All in the desktop, web and mobile field: an end-user and developer perspective” – will take place in lovely Seville, Spain on October 6-9, 2010. Now the conference website is open for business. You can browse the conference programme, learn about the venue, review the recommended hotels, and most importantly, register for the conference! Also, potential exhibitors are invited to review the exhibitor package.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.5.1 Released; GCC 4.5.2 Is Up Next

      Just as expected, GCC 4.5.1 was released today thereby meeting their target of releasing this point update to the GNU Compiler Collection prior to August. GCC 4.5.1 targets regressions and other bugs since the release of GCC 4.5.0 in mid-April.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Mapping Startup CloudMade Raises $12.3M

        Steve Coast, a cofounder of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company founded the OpenStreetMap community mapping project in 2004, and CloudMade draws its data from OpenStreetMap. Through application programming interfaces and other tools, CloudMade helps developers take advantage of OpenStreetMap’s geographical data to power their own location apps, then takes a share from the apps’ advertising revenue.

Leftovers

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge to RIAA: No LimeWire asset freeze

        In March, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Group, parent company of Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton are liable for copyright infringement by enabling and “inducing” users of the file-sharing software LimeWire to pirate songs from the four major record companies.

Clip of the Day

OLPC Sugar Port of the MeeGo Multilingual Virtual Keyboard


Links 31/7/2010: Western PA Linux User Group, Android, and OLPC Goodwill

Posted in News Roundup at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part One

    The time was ripe for Linux and free software in the late 1990′s. Netscape formed mozilla.org in February 1998 to fight the Microsoft in the browse war. Oracle, the proprietary database, supported Linux as a platform in October 1998. Sun Microsystems released Star Office in November 1998, the previous name of the Microsoft-crushing Oracle Open Office suite. Red Hat went public in August 1999 and quickly acquired Cygnus, the makers of the Cygwin – a bash shell with GNU tools for Windows. Meanwhile Apache gained and maintained at least 50% market share in the web server market, an achievement which Microsoft has never been able to do.

  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part Two
  • Desktop

    • Why Windows still has good sales figures

      16:29:53 Agent Makrand_Karante
      is there any thing else that I may assist you with today?
      16:30:07 Customer Alan
      well not really. I just wanted a laptop running Ubuntu.
      16:30:19 Customer Alan
      Do you have any without an operating system at all?
      16:30:28 Agent Makrand_Karante
      I am afraid no
      16:30:36 Customer Alan
      oh
      16:31:23 Customer Alan
      so if I want a laptop from Dell I have to buy windows

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The State of the Android Ecosystem

          The G1 was almost completely un-branded as an HTC phone. Instead, HTC gave over control of the UI to Google to ship a completely “stock” version of Android OS 1.0 (later given an over-the-air update to 1.6), and carried by T-Mobile. But Google had been clear from the inception of the Android OS: Its intended goal was to have multiple hardware configurations, running multiple versions of the OS, supported by multiple carriers simultaneously.

        • Android’s UK phone sales quadruple

          Sales of Android-based phones more than quadrupled in the UK during the most-recent quarter.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology for $35 Tablet

        The nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child wants to join forces to help develop the Indian government’s planned US$35 tablet.

        In a congratulatory note to the government, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the world needs the $35 tablet, and he offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SAP Warms to Open Source

    In 2005, Shai Agassi, then the SAP executive in charge of the company’s product group, expressed ambivalence over using open-source software. In the years since, however, the company has warmed to the idea. Certainly, SAP’s chief rival Oracle, for instance, is an active, if controversial, supporter and sponsor of many open-source software projects.

  • Healthcare

    • Wrap-up of the health care IT track at O’Reilly’s Open Source convention

      The first health care track to be included in an O’Reilly conference covered all three days of sessions at last week’s Open Source convention and brought us 22 talks from programmers, doctors, researchers, corporate heads, and health care advocates. We grappled throughout these three days–which included two popular and highly vocal Birds of a Feather gatherings–with the task of opening up health care.

    • VistA scenarios, and other controversies at the Open Source health care track

      Yesterday, as I described in my previous blog, we heard an overview of trends in health care and its open source side in particular. Two open source free software projects offering electronic health records were presented, Tolven and openEMR. Today was VistA day, and those who stayed all the way through were entertained by accolades of increasing fervor from the heads of vxVistA, Medsphere, and ClearHealth. (Anyone who claims that VistA is cumbersome and obsolete will have to explain why it seems to back up so many successful companies.) In general, a nice theme to see today was so many open source companies making a go of it in the health care field.

Leftovers

  • American Psychological Association claims to pay for peer review. Should we send them a bill?

    The reality: publishers do not pay for peer review; this is provided on a voluntary basis by the academic community itself.

    This is an argument that keeps coming up over and over again, and I am wondering how to get the point across that it is foolish to claim to pay for valuable services that you are getting for free?

  • Bloomsbury to e-publish one-million page Churchill archive

    Bloomsbury is to make its first move into archive publishing, digitising and publishing in electronic form the one-million page personal archive of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

  • Publisher argues free access to research violates administration’s transparency initiative

    Free online access to federally funded research articles defies the White House’s open government directive, a journal publisher told House members at a hearing on Thursday.

    A December 2009 presidential memo on transparency in government instructed federal agencies to abide by the precepts of public disclosure, civic engagement in policymaking and collaboration with the private sector, but not at the expense of national security, privacy or “other genuinely compelling interests.”

  • Security/Aggression

    • Nuclear News: Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets’ Exposure to Depleted Uranium

      ‘For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans. But a little-known 1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance. Shinseki’s memo, under the subject line, “Review of Draft to Congress – Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium in the U.S. Army — Action Memorandum,” makes some small revisions to the details of these three orders from the DoD: 1. Provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with DU contaminated equipment. 2. Complete medical testing of all personnel exposed to DU in the Persian Gulf War. 3. Develop a plan for DU contaminated equipment recovery during future operations. The VA, however, never conducted the medical tests, which may have deprived hundreds of thousands of veterans from receiving medical care to treat cancer and other diseases that result from exposure to DU.’

    • FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

      FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

      Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

    • Italy will fine people who disagree with Berlusconi

      THE GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT of the Piccolo Duce Silvio Berlusconi wants to fine bloggers and Facebook users for writing things that disagree with government lines.

      Berlusconi took time away from his busy casting couch for European MPs to push through a law that will fine bloggers up to €25,000 for publishing “incorrect facts”.

  • Environment/Wildlife/Nature

    • Whale fossil stuck in Egypt customs wrangle

      For years archaeologists have been unearthing a remarkable collection of whale fossils, all the more surprising because the area is now inland desert in upper Egypt.

      It is believed that about 40 million years ago the area was submerged in water, part of the Tethys Sea. As the sea retreated north to the Mediterranean it left a series of unique rock formations and also a cornucopia of fossils.

    • Will notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas come clean?

      The short answer: not likely.

      In fact, not only will they not be likely to come ‘clean’, but today we are releasing fresh evidence that Sinar Mas’s notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

    • Al Gore cleared of assault allegations made by masseuse

      Rees also said the masseuse and her attorneys were uncooperative, witnesses could not remember anything unusual, and that the masseuse failed a polygraph examination and would not say whether she was paid by a tabloid newspaper for her story.

    • Curbing Emissions with BRT, Leading with Clean Energy, and Bringing Information and Communication Tools to Remote Areas

      Looking back one, two and five years ago today on Worldchanging…

    • Metroradruhr: Germany’s Ruhr Valley Inter-City Bike Sharing

      This summer brings a new regional bike-sharing system, Metroradruhr, to ten industrial Ruhr valley cities. Started on June 18th in Dortmund, Germany the system has now reached five of the cities. Bikes are now, or soon will be, available in Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen. This is not just a series of suburban satellite additions to a larger city system, but a single system connecting nearby cities together.

    • Subsidising oil spills

      When oil started leaking from Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, did you know that you were paying BP and Halliburton to contribute to the disaster?

    • Oil disaster impacts reach far and wide

      Today we visited one of the Bird Rehabilitation Centers in Louisiana. We saw dozens of birds, from different species, cleaned of oil with detergent, water and toothbrushes and tagged. They are monitored and then released to the wild. The center has treated and release more then 500 birds so far, a small number if you take into account that more then 550 miles (885Km) of shoreline has been impacted by the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

    • A funeral and a celebration: grim clouds over Dalian

      I arrived in Dalian on the day of the funeral for firefighter Zhang Liang, who drowned beneath the thick crude when his crew jumped into the ocean – without safety gear – to attempt, in vain, to fix an underwater pipe. Our lead photographer, Jiang He, who by now has reached legendary status globally for capturing the final seconds of Zhang’s life, continued to cover the very emotional moments of this oil spill disaster.

    • Oil spill in China worsens

      We continue to keep a close watch on the development of the oil spill in Dalian, China, which has already cost the life of a firemen and continues to grow, posing an increasingly severe threat to the area’s coastal ecosystem.

    • Floods wash 3,000 chemical barrels into China river
    • Oily action
  • Finance

    • Ponzi Schemer’s Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Florida GOP for Donations Payback

      Bankruptcy attorneys for the Scott Rothstein estate have filed suit against The Republican Party of Florida, seeking the repayment of $237,000 in campaign contributions from the jailed former attorney.

      In a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Lauderdale, Berger Singerman, the law firm for trustee Herbert Stettin, alleges that the Republican Party has refused to return more than 10 different donations made by Rothstein over a four-year period.

      “The Trustee has made repeated efforts over a period of several months to resolve this claim without resort to litigation,” said Paul Singerman of Berger Singerman in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • How WikiLeaks Could Change the Way Reporters Deal With Secrets

      For the past several decades, there has been an informal understanding between the reporters who uncovered newsworthy secrets and the government intelligence agencies, which tried to keep them from public view.

      We would tell senior officials what we’d learned. And they would point out any unforeseen consequences that might arise from publication, such as the death of an American informant. Ultimately, the call on what appeared rested with editors. But it was a decision informed by more than our own guesswork.

    • Sherrod Says She Will Sue Blogger

      Ms. Sherrod also said she intended to sue Andrew Breitbart, the blogger, who runs BigGovernment.com and who posted the edited video of her making what appeared to be antiwhite remarks in a speech that was really about racial conciliation.

      “He hasn’t apologized, and I don’t want it at this point,” she said of Mr. Breitbart, adding that she intended to sue him. “He will definitely hear from me.”

    • New partnerships

      There are several marvellous things to note about this latest bombardment from cyberspace. One, when new media challenges old media, it is still possible for the latter to outshine the former.

      Get on to the Afghan War Diary web pages on Wikileaks and you will be suitably fazed. How to get something useful out of these bald listings without investing inordinate time?

    • Military transfers Manning to Quantico, VA
    • US will press criminal charges against Manning, alleged Wikileaks source

      The U.S. military has announced that it will press criminal charges against 22 year old Pfc. Bradley E. Manning for allegedly transferring classified military information to his personal computer, “wrongfully adding unauthorized software to a Secret Internet Protocol Router network computer,” obtaining “more than 150,000 classified U.S. State Department cables,” and transmitting data to unauthorized persons.

    • WikiLeaks: We don’t know source of leaked data

      WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief claims his organization doesn’t know who sent it some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghan war, telling journalists the website was set up to hide the source of its data from those who receive it.

    • US Army: alleged Wikileaks source Manning faces 52 years
    • A tide turns

      Technology used to help spies. Now it hinders them

    • Russia blocks Youtube

      VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has been blocked by a Russian Internet service provider (ISP) after a court deemed that the service carries extremist videos.

    • Russian city blocks YouTube
  • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Role of Free Knowledge and Free Software in Education and Research


Links 31/7/2010: Dell’s Many Mysteries and Wine Development Release 1.3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Simmtronics Rolls Out Slim Desktop PCs

      Simmtronics SDC 2711S comes preloaded with Ubuntu.

    • Where are Dell’s Ubuntu PCs?

      Back in February, I covered Gripe Line reader Cal’s complaint that Dell seemed to have stopped carrying Ubuntu machines. At the time, I spoke to Anne Camden at Dell, who assured me that the company would be refreshing its Ubuntu line “in several weeks.” Thus, I was surprised to hear from Gripe Line reader Ken recently, who has been watching the Dell/Ubuntu situation closely because he is in the market for a Ubuntu desktop.

      “I just want you to know,” Ken writes, “that Dell still isn’t offering any new Ubuntu machines.” Instead, the company is carrying only one laptop and a netbook.

    • Dell release OpenManage Server Administrator for Ubuntu

      Dell has announced the release of its proprietary OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) 6.3 for Ubuntu 9.10 or later. OMSA is a web browser or command line driven system administration tool for servers. The .deb packaged and community supported release was completed with a “generous donation” of several weeks of engineering time by Canonical, which allowed the Dell Linux team to become better acquainted with .deb packaging.

    • Dell Adds Linux Desktop PCs, But Stops Web Sales of Linux Laptops

      In a reversal of its long-time approach to Linux, Dell has now added a desktop PC pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux to its Web site, while halting online sales of Linux-based netbooks and notebook PCs.

      Dell started selling the Studio XPS 7100 with Ubuntu on its Web site earlier this week at pricing of $459.99 without monitor. The price includes a one-year basic service plan.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

    • Wine

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 1.3.0 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Beginnings of a user interface for the builtin Internet Explorer.
        – Support for cross-process OLE drag & drop.
        – New builtin wscript.exe (Windows Script Host) program.
        – Open/save dialogs remember the last used directory.
        – Translation updates.
        – Various bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Open games with closed content

        Some Linux users have at least a general familiarity familiar with RMS’s four freedoms and the GPL. Some of the games mentioned in this column, in the past as well as in the future, are licensed such that the game itself is under the GPL or a similarly free license, but the content is not. That is, you are free to do whatever you want with the game engine itself, but don’t mess with the content.

        For example, let us consider the game Sauerbraten. Now, the Cube2 engine that is the heart and soul of Sauerbraten is totally copylefted. You can distribute it, modify it, and even rub it in your belly, if you so desire. However, the data files that are associated with Sauerbraten is not free. While you can run Sauerbraten with the associated data files that compose the actual content of Sauerbraten, you are not permitted to include the data files along with any changes you make to the Cube2 engine itself. If you want to modify the game engine and release your own modified version of the game called Schnitzel, for example, then you need to create your own maps, textures, skins, and music to go with Schnitzel.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Census report now available as free download

        I was delighted to see that the GNOME Census presentation I gave yesterday at GUADEC has gotten a lot of attention. And I’m pleased to announce a change of plan from what I presented yesterday: The report is now available under a Creative Commons license.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New controller chip sets stage for color e-readers

      Monochrome electrophorescent (EPD) displays sourced from E Ink Corporation have been used in the majority of e-readers to date. Examples include Amazon’s market-leading, Linux-based Kindle — updated today to become smaller and lighter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lockheed Goes Open Source. Blankenhorn Hates It.

    Wait, what? Open source advocates have, for years, been trying to encourage more code to come out from behind corporate skirts. Where companies can build business models around governing and supporting open source projects, we want them to take the plunge. If more code is open, that makes everyone smarter. And that, my friends, is exactly what Lockheed Martin did today. Someone who probably never contributed code in their lives just gave the community a project they’ve been working on for months, or even years. I think that’s amazing. In return, this brave developer gets painted as a nefarious secret agent out to steal our thoughts and bug our laptops. Or whatever.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Presentations at Debconf in NYC

      The first is “FSF’s Campaigns for Freedom” on Sunday, August 1st, from 14:00 to 15:00 in 414 Schapiro. I’ll give an overview of some of the current FSF campaigns, like the GNU Project, Working Together for Free Software, Defective by Design, PlayOgg, Windows 7 Sins, and the High Priority Projects List; and resources like the Licensing & Compliance Lab, Free Software Jobs page, Hardware Directory, and the Free Software Directory. But I’m going to save plenty of time to talk with the room about things the FSF should or could be doing.

    • Pictures from the GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague (July 2010)

      The European GNU Hackers meeting took place this weekend in the Hague. Two days of talks about GNU projects, nearly 50 hackers, prodigiuous amounts of coffee, and exotic food. All followed by two days of coding for those who stayed on Monday and Tuesday.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Mars site may hold ‘buried life’

      Researchers have identified rocks that they say could contain the fossilised remains of life on early Mars.

      The team made their discovery in the ancient rocks of Nili Fossae.

      Their work has revealed that this trench on Mars is a “dead ringer” for a region in Australia where some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth has been buried and preserved in mineral form.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Saudia Arabia and Russia

      As I have discussed previously, without Russia the world of Non-OPEC supply would have fallen down into a hole shortly after 2003. Indeed, without Russia Non-OPEC production (Non-OPEC ex-Russia) would have fallen every year from 2004 through the present day. What’s been a surprise is that Russia has been able to sustain its current ~9.5 mbpd for over four years now.

  • Finance

    • High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

      Last year Gomberg and a fellow programmer quit their jobs and cut a deal with HTG Capital Partners of Chicago, whose programmers typically trade on regulated futures exchanges. HTG supplies office space, technology and access to exchanges. Gomberg keeps 40% to 80% of net profits, with the percentage rising as his profits do. More importantly, says Gomberg, the programmers retain ownership of the code they write.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google Search Engine Is Blocked in China

      Google said that the search engine was functioning normally in China. “It’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage. That seems to be what happened last night, when there was a relatively small blockage,” said Jill Hazelbaker, a Google spokeswoman.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google adds ‘phone home’ DRM to Android Market

      Google has added a licensing server to the Android Marketplace which will allow an app to verify whether the user has purchased it or not before opening.

    • Internet ‘Key Holders’ Are Insurance Against Cyber Attack

      In a move that seems inspired by “The Lord of the Rings,” seven “keys” have been handed out to a trusted circle of people who might get called upon to “save” the Internet in the aftermath of a cyber attack.
      But contrary to other news reports, the seven key holders have not been vested with the power to resurrect the entire Internet should it be sabotaged by hackers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Copyright vs Community 2009


Links 31/7/2010: 2011 Desktop Summit Planned

Posted in News Roundup at 12:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Device support in Windows vs. Linux

    One of the highly debated subjects with Windows and Linux is with device support. The two have different methods of how drivers are created and implemented into the operating system. With Windows, Microsoft writes generic drivers to help ensure that users can get up and running, then 3rd party supplied drivers can be installed to optimize performance. With Linux, drivers are all included with the Linux kernel, and devices are detected and the appropriate drivers are then activated on the fly. There are no 3rd parties to contact for drivers (unless a proprietary driver is needed, in which case it has to be manually installed, similar to Windows; this is rare but sometimes necessary).

    I’ve found that driver support in Linux is excellent.

  • Server

    • Unisys floats mainframe cloud

      A mainframe cloud may seem oxymoronic like a lead Zeppelin (“a” included on purpose), or intuitively obvious (given the virtualization and metering capabilities that have been in mainframes for decades). But Unisys has nonetheless fluffed up a mainframe cloud for its ClearPath mainframe customers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA’s Dead Open-Source Driver Gets Updated

        The last time the xf86-video-nv driver was updated was in early March — just a couple weeks before NVIDIA announced it would stop supporting future ASICs in this driver nor would it deliver any support for features like DisplayPort. That March update didn’t bring much to the table nor does this update that’s coming out of NVIDIA’s Santa Clara offices on a Friday afternoon.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE e.V. and GNOME Foundation to Co-Host 2011 Desktop Summit in Berlin

        The 2009 Desktop Summit was a fantastic opportunity for the leaders of the free software desktop community to share talks, address common issues, and build relationships between the communities with combined social events.

        The 2011 Desktop Summit will build on the first Summit’s success. More than 1,000 contributors from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the 2011 event in Berlin. In addition to members of the GNOME and KDE development community, the conference will also attract many participants in the overall FLOSS community from local projects, organizations, and companies.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Three Months Until Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 End of Life

        Red Hat has issued another notification signaling the approaching end-of-life (EOL) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. The aging Linux distribution is approaching the end of its support cycle, patches and security updates will only be issued for another three months.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Where do you find Linux?

      Looking through my home for Linux systems I just realized that it is everywhere. First of all, I find it on my computers – from servers to laptop. That is the obvious place though. I wonder, where else can I find Linux running?

      Next, I find it on my set-top-box, a DM500 – a dreambox. The dreamboxes range from my very basic PAL receiver to devices with multiple receivers and HD-support. All are based on a Linux system running on a PowerPC processor. The box has networking and there is community driven development version of the software running on the box. The result – I can stream TV to my laptop, play content from my server and set record timers over the internet.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo at OSCON Wrap-Up

          There were also several MeeGo demo stations in the Intel booth at OSCON showing Netbook, Handset and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) demos. While the netbook demos have been around for a little longer, this was the first time many people had a chance to get a hands-on, closeup look at IVI or a handset running MeeGo, so those demos were very popular. Here is a picture of the IVI demo station in case you missed it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • GNU and Open Source

    The GNU project developed some of the 21st century’s most important software. The GNU Compiler Collection is used on Linux systems, BSD/OSX systems, and on Windows. GNAT has, for the most part, replaced any other Ada compiler ever created. The list could go on, but you get the idea. The sad thing about GNU is that it is so ideologically bent that I can no longer support it.

    I am not looking to start a fight here. Please respond with your opinions on this topic. Let me know where you stand. My mind is open.

  • Databases

  • Programming

    • Eclipse 4.0 SDK released for early adopters

      The Eclipse Foundation has announced the official availability of version 4 of Eclipse SDK. With this new generation of the Eclipse development environment, the Eclipse developers are aiming to modernise the IDE’s underlying architecture to include contemporary features such as a model-based user interface framework, CSS-based declarative styling of the UI and a services oriented programming model for consuming Eclipse provided services. A more modern look and feel for the workbench has also been incorporated along with binary API compatibility with previous releases to make migration simpler.

Leftovers

  • Finance

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Reject UltraViolet DRM

      Throughout the relatively short history of Digital Restrictions Management, we have seen various methods of user restriction come and go. Now, there is a new threat on the horizon: UltraViolet. A soon to be implemented DRM scheme, UltraViolet — or should that be Ultraviolent — is a joint effort between companies such as Sony, Adobe, Cisco, HP, Microsoft and Intel. What seperates UltraViolet apart from other types of DRM is its use of “the cloud.” Whereas most other DRM schemes are implemented locally, UltraViolet intends to store the digital media you purchase on a centralized server with the goal of preventing users from storing their digital media on unauthorized devices, sharing and making copies.

Clip of the Day

We are KDE! – FOSS.IN/2008


07.30.10

Links 30/7/2010: Mandriva One 2010 Spring KDE Reviewed, Neoclassical Economics

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Best Way to Learn Linux – Ubuntu

    You have no doubt heard some of the “I lost everything on my hard drive” stories that have come from feeble attempts to install various flavors of Linux in a dual boot system with Windows.
    Partitioning hard drives is probably not a good idea for the typical computer user, but the desire to learn more about Linux while keeping the Windows option open is entirely too mouth watering for the eager mind to resist. I have a story or two myself. Here are the basics I have learned about Linux and the best way to learn Linux while preserving ALL of your Windows files, etc.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

      • Open Source Toolchains for Linux Systems Administrators

        Software developers are very familiar with toolchains, series of programs where the output of one program forms the input for the next. A free software example would be using the GNU Emacs editor, the GNU bin-utils and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to write a program. Software developers frequently create programs and subroutines that are used in other programs rather than recoding the same process over and over again.

  • Distributions

    • UberStudent To Offer Online Courses

      UberStudent is upping the ante with its plans to offer free online courses, using the Moodle learning environment, to teach students to academically excel with its platform. UberStudent dubs itself ‘a free Linux learning platform for learning, doing, and teaching academic computing at the higher education and advanced secondary levels’.

      “I began UberStudent as a way to place sets of smart and dedicated computing tools, and just the right amount of support, into the hands of college and college-bound secondary students,” said Stephen Ewen, UberStudent’s founder and lead developer. “At core, it’s an academic success curriculum in the form of an installable, ready-to-go learning platform. With UberStudent, students can learn to really excel at the skills and habits they must have to succeed in college,” he added.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva One 2010 Spring KDE

        Like Mandriva Control Center, for example. It’s a very user friendly distro. It just needs to be a bit leaner, faster and less obnoxious to look at. If you want a heavyweight distro with a general ease-of-use, speed and looks, with a good KDE implementation and the latest software, plus all the proprietary drivers out of the box and um, music playing while the OS boots, I’d recommend going for Sabayon rather than Mandriva. The two fall in the same category, but Sabayon seems to be winning.

    • Debian Family

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does Neoclassical Economics Rot Your Brain?

    This is, of course, ridiculous. There’s no reason all lemonade stands need to be for-profit enterprises. Kids learn a variety of lessons from lemonade stands. Charging might teach valuable lessons about budgeting and self-sufficiency, but giving lemonade away can teach equally valuable lessons about generosity and public service. Savage apparently doesn’t care what the girls’ parents might have hoped their kids would get out of the experience. The mere fact that the girls were failing to conform to the neoclassical model of homo economicus was enough to condemn their activity.

    That’s a frivolous example, to be sure, but the same mixture of intellectual laziness and arrogance crops up in more serious contexts. I’ve written before about this Richard Epstein column where he criticizes the free software movement for, basically, failing to conform to the assumptions of the neoclassical model:

    The open source movement shares many features with a workers’ commune, and is likely to fail for the same reason: it cannot scale up to meet its own successes. To see the long-term difficulty, imagine a commune entirely owned by its original workers who share pro rata in its increases in value. The system might work well in the early days when the workforce remains fixed. But what happens when a given worker wants to quit? Does that worker receive in cash or kind his share of the gain in value during the period of his employment? If not, then the run-up in value during his period of employment will be gobbled up by his successor – a recipe for immense resentment. Yet that danger can be ducked only by creating a capital structure that gives present employees separable interests in either debt or equity in exchange for their contributions to the company.

    This passage bears no relationship to reality. Free software projects scale up just fine without “a capital structure that gives present employees separable interests in either debt or equity.” Contributors are not employees or shareholders. The inability to cash out does not, in fact, generate “immense resentment.” And Epstein could have learned all of this pretty easily if he’d talked to a few people in the free software community before writing his column. But why let facts clutter up a perfectly good theory?

  • Swivel Viewer, an open source embeddable album viewer

    If you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out
    the Swivel Viewer site at code.google.com, where you’ll find an open source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning.

  • Military Open-Source Software Could Increase Flexibility, Lower Cost

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are helping the U.S. military analyze and develop the advantages of open-source software — programs that make their source code open to others so it can be changed and improved.

    Bringing many minds to bear on a given program can lead to software that is both high quality and low cost, or even free. For example, the Linux operating system, which licenses its basic source code for free, is now used to run many servers in companies, government and academia.

  • Europe’s Tender Words About FOSS
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Science Online 2010: What shall I say?

        Seriously – is there any exciting and new we could communally do before in the next month? My guess it would have to be in the area of data-driven chemistry. I was talking with Jean-Claude Bradley at breakfast about liberating chemical reactions from the literature. There will be new science in that. Not world-shattering, but worthy.

      • Open Data needs Open Source tools

        The biggest problem many data-driven apps contests have is that it’s too hard to get started. A developer has to download some strange dataset off of a website like data.gov or the National Data Catalog, prune it, massage it, usually fix it, and then convert it to their database system of choice, and then they can start building their app. It reminds me of being a Linux user before APT existed. While fun, it was still a hassle to get all dependencies and compile everything from source.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • D.C. judge issues injunction against news organization

    D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff issued a temporary restraining order against the National Law Journal last Friday after she discovered the news organization was planning to publish a story regarding the fee dispute between District of Columbia-based law firm Hogan Lovells and one of its former clients, beverage maker POM Wonderful. POM had hired Hogan Lovells to represent the company during a regulatory investigation.

  • Glenn Beck’s gold-investment scam/scheme: an explanatory infographic

    Jess Bachman, infographic designer extraordinaire, shares this new work which shows how Glenn Beck “uses his influence to peddle dubious information and endorse fraudulent companies, and how how those companies go about scamming fear ridden consumers into buying terrible investments.”

  • U.S. sues Oracle, alleges software contract fraud

    The Justice Department said on Thursday it sued Oracle Corp, alleging it defrauded the federal government on a software contract in effect from 1998 to 2006 that involved hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Cell phone eavesdropping enters script-kiddie phase

      Independent researchers have made good on a promise to release a comprehensive set of tools needed to eavesdrop on cell phone calls that use the world’s most widely deployed mobile technology.

    • Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Giving Up On Victory, Not War

      If you ever needed convincing that the world of American “national security” is well along the road to profligate lunacy, read the striking three-part “Top Secret America” series by Dana Priest and William Arkin that the Washington Post published last week. When it comes to the expansion of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), which claims 17 major agencies and organizations, the figures are staggering.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Scientists warn of global warming threat to marine food chain

      Numbers of phytoplankton – the microscopic organisms that sustain the marine food chain – are plummeting as sea surface temperatures rise

    • Global warming pushes 2010 temperatures to record highs

      Global temperatures in the first half of the year were the hottest since records began more than a century ago, according to two of the world’s leading climate research centres.

      Scientists have also released what they described as the “best evidence yet” of rising long-term temperatures. The report is the first to collate 11 different indicators – from air and sea temperatures to melting ice – each one based on between three and seven data sets, dating back to between 1850 and the 1970s.

  • Finance

    • Citigroup Pays $75 Million to Settle Subprime Claims

      Citigroup agreed on Thursday to pay $75 million to settle federal claims that it failed to disclose vast holdings of subprime mortgage investments that were deteriorating during the financial crisis and ultimately crippled the bank.

    • Federal Reserve’s James Bullard: Long-term deflation is a possibility

      A top Federal Reserve official warned Thursday that the nation faces the risk of an extended period of falling prices known as deflation, such as that experienced by Japan over the past two decades.
      This Story

      *
      Fed official warns of deflation risk for U.S.
      *
      Fed ready to step in if economy relapses
      *
      Ezra Klein: The economy can’t recover until the economy recovers

      James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, argues in a new paper that large-scale quantitative easing — or purchases of government bonds and other assets by the central bank — would be the best policy tool to prevent that possibility, though he doesn’t endorse making such a move now.

    • SEC charges billionaire Texas brothers who donate to GOP with fraud

      Sam and Charles Wyly, billionaire Texas brothers who gained prominence spending millions of dollars on conservative political causes, committed fraud by using secret overseas accounts to generate more than $550 million in profit through illegal stock trades, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Thursday.

    • Obama hails auto bailout as good news in Michigan

      President Barack Obama on Friday heralded the recent turnaround for U.S. automakers, arguing that thousands of jobs and increased production vindicate his unpopular decision to bailout the industry.

      With Americans facing a still-limping economy and potentially pivotal congressional elections in three months, Obama is seizing on the positive new trends in the auto industry as evidence of broader economic good news. He launched an intensive campaign to highlight the story as a concrete area of improvement with direct ties to his administration’s actions.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Senators fail to agree on privacy approach

      After six months worth of allegations of privacy invasions involving some of the largest Internet companies, it should come as no surprise that politicians are calling for new laws. The fact that it’s an election year probably made it inevitable.

    • Second Student Sues School District Over Webcam Spying

      A webcam scandal at a suburban Philadelphia school district expanded Tuesday to include a second student alleging his school-issued laptop secretly snapped images of him.

    • DHS tries to defuse privacy criticism, asks for help

      A top Homeland Security official on Wednesday sought to downplay concerns about privacy and Internet monitoring raised by recent reports of the department’s activities.

    • Court Says Privacy Advocate May Publish Social Security Numbers

      A federal appeals court has ordered Virginia’s attorney general to back away from threats of suing a privacy advocate who publishes Social Security numbers of elected officials on the internet.

    • White House Seeks Easier FBI Access To Internet Records, Blocks Oversight Attempt… Just As FBI Caught Cheating On Exam To Stop Abuse

      Oh, and just to make this all more comically depressing, just as I finished reading both of these stories, I saw a story about a new investigation into reports that FBI agents were caught cheating on an exam, which was designed to get them to stop abusing surveillance tools. Yes, you read that right. After all the reports of abuse of surveillance tools, the FBI set up a series of tests to train FBI agents how to properly go about surveillance without breaking the law… and a bunch of FBI agents allegedly cheated on the test that’s supposed to stop them from “cheating” on the law. And, not just a few. From the quotes, it sounds like this cheating was “widespread.” But, of course, it might not matter, since the requirements for surveillance are being lowered, oversight is being blocked, and apparently the White House is willing to retroactively “legalize” any illegal surveillance anyway.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Broadband speed – the facts

      You may have read this morning about Ofcom’s report on broadband speeds. We thought it would be helpful to set out why speeds vary and what you can expect from an ISP like TalkTalk.

    • Ofcom Slams ISPs For Misleading Broadband Speeds

      In its latest delve into the state of the nation’s broadband provision, the regulator praised infrastructure providers for a 25 percent increase in the speed of the average actual fixed-line residential connection. The average connection was advertised to have a speed of up to 10Mbps in May 2010, compared to 8 percent in April 2009.

    • Ofcom Faces Backlash For Broadband Criticism
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Evidence from the Human Genome

      This paper provides empirical evidence on how intellectual property (IP) on a given technology affects subsequent innovation. To shed light on this question, I analyze the sequencing of the human genome by the public Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera, and estimate the impact of Celera’s gene-level IP on subsequent scientific research and product development outcomes. Celera’s IP applied to genes sequenced first by Celera, and was removed when the public effort re-sequenced those genes.

    • What IP is really about

      From my spam folder:

      You could be sitting on a potential gold mine!

      It’s right under your nose, in the form of intellectual property created by you & your lab. Don’t let your invention representing millions in potential revenue sit idle simply because you aren’t aware IP & patent protection laws and other key aspects of moving innovations from your lab to the market..

    • Copyrights

      • Copy Fight

        In a recent Wired.com article, Gibson was certainly candid about the money-making potential of his approach. “Media companies’ assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues,” he said.

        But in my phone conversation with him, he also characterized his approach as the best way to discourage infringing activity. “There are these folks out there who say, ‘Oh, they should send out a takedown letter.’ But people have been sending takedown letters for over a decade now and it’s had little or no effect on infringements. Infringements continue to grow.”

      • British Library Worries That Copyright May Be Hindering Research

        Michael Geist points us to the news that The British Library has apparently come out with a new report entitled Driving UK Research — Is copyright a help or a hindrance? The paper brings together 13 different researchers to all share their opinions, and the general consensus appears to be that copyright today is a serious problem in need of reform (and, no, the “Digital Economy Act” in the UK didn’t help at all).

      • Dear Warner Bros., It’s Not ‘Word Of Mouth’ If You Have To Pay People To Promote Your Movies

        There was an amusing post this week at TheWrap.com discussing how the various Hollywood movie studios are confused about the basics of social media and Twitter. You may remember (or, maybe not), back in 2003, when Hollywood suddenly started blaming text messaging for certain movies failing, because some kids would go to a movie, realize it sucks, and quickly warn their friends to stay away. Of course, Hollywood blamed text messaging, instead of the fact that they made a crappy movie, and couldn’t rely on their old methods of squeezing a ton of money out of people before word got around. In the age of Twitter, of course, this has only increased, so the studios started blaming Twitter, calling it “the Twitter Effect” and proceeding to freak out about it.

      • Our Rotting Video-Game Heritage

        Diverse technologies, missing or secret documentation, and hostile copyright laws threaten video-game preservation.

      • Perfect 10 Loses Again, As Court Says DMCA Notices Need To Be Properly Filed

        Just last week we were talking about Perfect 10′s lawsuit against Google in Canada, where we noted that in Perfect 10′s own bragging press release, it effectively admits that its takedown filings were not properly filed. They admit that they just sent images to Google saying that it owned the images, without telling Google where they were actually located to take down. This was the same charge that Rapidshare recently made against Perfect 10, noting that the company seemed to purposely not want companies to take down their images, so that it could sue.

      • ACTA

        • From Wellington to Lucerne: Tracking the Major ACTA Changes

          While the parties have not formally disclosed it, the immediate ACTA schedule now appears to include discussions between the U.S. and the EU next month in Washington followed by a full round of talks (Round Ten) in Japan in September. Some have criticized the exclusion of the remaining ACTA countries in the August discussions, but as I posted earlier, the ACTA text has really come down to a U.S. vs. EU document with the remaining countries picking a side. The sticking point in Washington will undoubtedly be scope of the treaty, with the EU pushing for inclusion of geographical indications and the U.S. making it clear they are willing to cave on almost anything that does not involve changes to domestic law. Geographical indications would require change, however, which is what led to my post speculating about the possibility of an ACTA without Europe.

Clip of the Day

Free Software Movement


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